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Potential tree board members cause a stir

by Carol Dunn
LA VETA- At the La Veta Town meeting Tuesday night, board members learned that three letters of interest have been received for positions on the park & tree board, but the volunteers did not get a nod from everyone in the audience.
Jimmy Taft and Heather Craft live in La Veta. Russell Keeling indicated that he would like to occupy one of two seats allocated for people who do not live in La Veta. Town Ordinance 145 specifies that these two seats are non-voting positions.
From the audience, Rena Kaplowitz, former member of the P&T board said, “Mr. Keeling has written letters to the paper saying that the trees on Poplar Street should be cut down. I’m questioning whether that is appropriate.” She continued, “Heather Craft is a good citizen, but she is one of four people in town that wanted the trees cut down. I don’t think either Heather or Russell would be good for this. I don’t think they can be neutral.” Trustee Dave Molyneaux replied, “Any letter that is presented to this board is going to be subject to this neutrality situation regarding these trees on Poplar. It’s going to come down to these two trees.”
Referring to a recent letter to the editor, Chip Kraynyk stated, “Russell Keeling implied that people who wanted to save the trees were pro-abortion … It shows how far out there he is.” He added, “It is legitimate for a tree board to solicit for people who are appreciative of trees.” Finally Trustee Bill Stark voiced his opinion, “Volunteers are damn tough to come by, pardon my French, and I think we owe it to these people to interview them.”
However, the board decided not to set a precedent of interviewing prospective volunteers, so, on a Molyneaux/Davis motion, the board voted 5-1 to accept the letters of interest from all three people, with Trustee Nancy Dick voting no.
Kaplowitz told the HWJ after the meeting that none of the previous P&T board members, who were all term limited off the board January 1, have submitted letters of interest to be reappointed.
Two Peaks Fitness submitted a letter regarding its mission as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. To improve the quality of life for La Veta residents, Two Peaks offers exercise equipment and classes at no charge. Kerrie Meyler thanked the board for allowing Two Peaks to hold larger classes at the community center and requested that two additional classes be held there from May 1 through Labor Day. Meyler said she anticipates larger classes when seasonal residents return. The vote to allow Two Peaks the use of the center was unanimous.
The board accepted an application for a liquor license for La Mission Mariposa restaurant at 220 South Main Street. A public hearing will be held on April 16 at 6:30 pm. Roberta Masias said, “We were closed for the winter. We plan to reopen the end of April.”
Town Clerk Laurie Erwin addressed a matter brought up by Trustee Ken Sajdak at a previous meeting, when he said the town was in violation of a state law because it doesn’t have a personnel committee.
Erwin said she has checked multiple local government sources plus the town’s attorney, and “there is no law that you have to have any committees at all.” She did point out that the employee handbook directs employees with problems to the personnel committee. Erwin advised, “If the town continues to not have a personnel committee, then the handbook needs to be amended.”
Molyneaux reported on meetings over the past two weeks between the dam inspector and the contractor regarding the repairs on the town lake. “Our mystery line through the dam has been grouted and sealed,” he said. The repairs are approved, and he said the hope is to begin refilling the lake soon. The plan for refilling has to be filed, requiring that the town work with water commissioner Doug Brgoch on the timing of water diversions.
Molyneaux described the process, “We can add water and wait, then add more water and wait.”

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