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  1. 1. 50Cents Trinidad Colorado Proudly Serving Southeastern Colorado and Northeastern New Mexico • ~ Vol. 138, No.99 Monday May19,2014 MAY 19 ~Celebrate National EMS Week THRU FRIDAY (4-9 p.m. each evening) The public is invited to an open house at The Trinidad Ambu- lance District building, 939 Robinson Ave. Register to win one of four free gifts on MAY 24/SATURDAY (10 a.m.) at the Family Fun Day at Trinidad Cath- olic Football Field complete with a Fire- men’s Challenge and Chili Cookoff. ~Aguilar Schools MONDAY (5:30 p.m.) Board of Ed- ucation regular session at the school, 420 N. Balsam. Information: Natalie Grubelnik, 719-941-4188. ~Town of Starkville MONDAY (6 p.m.) Board of Trust- ees public meeting in the Fisher’s Peak Fire Department boardroom, 8361 County Road 69, Starkville. Informa- tion: Crick Carlisle, 719-680-7199. Today’s Quote “Talk low, talk slow and don’t say too much.” ~John Wayne MAY 20 ~Las Animas County TUESDAY (9 a.m.) Please be advised that the County Commis- sioners regular meeting sched- uled for Tuesday, May 20 has been rescheduled for Thursday, May 22. Information: 719-845-2568. COUNTY COMMISSIONERS: Gary Hill (719-845-2595), Mack Louden (719-845-2592), and Anthony Abeyta (719-846-9300). ~Trinidad City Council TUESDAY (7 p.m.) Regular ses- sion, Council Chambers, City Hall, 135 N. Animas St. Information: Audra Gar- rett, 719-846-9843. PUBLIC SERVICE ~Fisher’s Peak Archers Club Anyone interested in joining the new Archers Club can stop by 409 N. Com- mercial or call 719-422-5046. ~Help Save the Veteran’s Post URGENT: All interested parties who would like to help the veterans save Trinidad’s local VFW Post 984 from closing, please contact Commander John Rios at 719-846-6094. The Post is in desperate need of caring individu- als to champion this organization that provides so many honorable benefits to the community. ~ Library Volunteers Needed If you want to volunteer at the Carn- egie Library bookstore, Books & More, 132 N. Commercial St., please call: 719-846-8522. ~2014 ARTOCADE CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS: Anyone interested in participating in the September ArtoCade please con- tact Rodney Wood at 719-334-0087 or ~Community Blood Drive JUNE 6 (Noon-4 p.m.) Help save a life! Bonfils Blood Drive will be held in the Pioneer Room at Trinidad State Junior College, 600 Prospect St. Sign- up and information: Bonfils Appoint- ment Center, 800-365-0006 or www. ~Stonewall Fishing Tournament JUNE 7 (9 a.m.-3 p.m.) Join in the fun at the 18th Annual Stonewall Fire Auxiliary’s Fishing Tournament at Mon- ument Lake. Registration and informa- tion: ~SUICIDE/CRISIS HOTLINES: *ADULT HOPE: 800-784-2433 *TEEN: 877-968-8454 *GLB-YOUTH: 866-488-7386 *VET-2-VET: 877-838-2838 “When the world says, ‘Give up!’ Hope says, ‘Not today!” ~Unknown ~ ABUSE HOTLINES: *Domestic Abuse Hotline: In Trinidad call 719-846-6665 (24-hours a day). National Hotline call: 1-800-790- SAFE (7233). *Animal Abuse: Do your part and help put a stop to animal cruelty. Re- port animal abuse and dog/cock fight- ing at Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line: 720-913-7867. TheFinePrint WeatherWatchMonday: Sunny, with a high near 84. Breezy, with a W-SW wind 10 to 15 mph in- creasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph. Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 48. Breezy, with a W-SW wind 20 to 25 mph. Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 84. Breezy, with a SW wind 10 to 20 mph. Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 48. Breezy, with a SW wind 15 to 20 mph decreasing to 10 to 15 mph in the evening. Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Breezy, with a S-SW wind 10 to 20 mph. Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 49. Breezy, with a S-SW wind 15 to 20 mph. Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 76. W-SW wind around 10 mph becoming south in the afternoon. Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 47. South wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west after midnight. RiverCallPurgatoire River Call as of 05/16/2014. Ignacio Chacon ditch: Priority #33 / Appropria- tion date: 04/30/1867. Trinidad Reservoir Accounting: Release 270.69 AF Inflow 192.90 AF -- 97.25 CFS Evaporation 6.21 AF Content 14,869 AF Elevation 6,175.62 Precipitation 0 Downstream River Call / High- land Canal: 04/01/1884. TheChronicleNews AThousandWordsThe Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range west of Trinidad glows as the sun sets in a haze behind the snow- capped peaks. ACHIEVEMENT School ceremonies honor top graduates, send students forwardBy Steve Block The Chronicle-News Students who are striving for academic excellence know they have to work hard, use their time efficiently and go that extra mile to serve their schools and communi- ties. The area valedictorians and salutatorians in the Class of 2014 have excelled in all of these areas and richly deserve the honors they have received. Trinidad High School will grad- uate approximately 65 seniors at its commencement ceremonies, which will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 25 at Donnelly Gymnasium. This year’s valedic- torian is Nicholas Ruybalid and the salutatorian is Chelsea Lauren Rhodes. Ruybalid, the son of Frank and Sarah Jane Ruybalid, will attend Princeton University this fall on the full-tuition Mary Goree Schol- arship. He plans to major in biol- ogy so that he can attend medical school, but he wants to keep his academic options open. He’s done more than 200 hours of commu- nity service while in high school and has won numerous awards, including an Academic Letter, the rank of Eagle Scout, the Masonic Outstanding Junior Award and the John Phillip Sousa Award for Music. When he can fit some fun into his busy schedule, he enjoys playing the trumpet, helping his sister Sally Jane, hiking, camping and woodworking. He currently serves as Class President, Student Council President, Honor Soci- ety President, Knowledge Bowl Team Captain, Drum Major of the Mighty Miners Marching Band and Assistant Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America. Rhodes has completed both her high school academic career and her stint at Trinidad State Junior College (TSJC). She graduated Magna Cum Laude from TSJC with Associate of Arts, Associate of Science and Associate of Gen- eral Studies degrees. The daugh- ter of Lonny and Melissa Rhodes, Chelsea is the recipient of the Kane Family Scholarship, the Bi- anco Memorial Scholarship and the San Isabel Electric Associa- tion Scholarship. She’s carrying a grade-point average of 4.143, has received an Academic Letter all four years and is also a member of the National Honor Society, Stu- dent Council, the THS Leadership Team and has served as a class of- ficer. She was on the track team all four years, was named All Confer- ence in 2013, and was a member of the relay team that competed in the finals of the state track compe- tition. This fall she plans to enter the Nursing Program at Trinidad State Junior College (TSJC), and upon completion of the program she intends to transfer to the Uni- versity of Colorado at Colorado Springs to complete the course- work needed to become a nurse practitioner, specializing in pedi- By Steve Block The Chronicle-News No Armed Forces Day Parade was held this year, though the mo- torcyclists traveling on the Ride to the Wall did roll through town as usual on Saturday morning. Tara Marshall, president of the board of directors of the Trinidad & Las Animas County Chamber of Com- merce, said on Thursday that the board had decided not to hold the parade this year because of the im- portance of the various events tak- ing place that commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre last weekend. Marshall said the board didn’t want to hold another event that might cause people to stay in town and not go to the anniversary events. Marshall and the board also is- sued a press release on Thursday about the status of Santa Fe Trail Days, which reads as follows: “This year due to the economic downturn the Chamber of Com- merce is not going to be able to hold Santa Fe Trail Days. The Board of Directors is committed to continuing the rebuilding of the Chamber and we look forward to forming strategic partnerships with other organizations. We feel that by forming partnerships our community can accomplish great things. We want to express our ap- preciation for our members and supporters and we want to apolo- gize for any inconvenience that has been caused by the cancella- tion of the festival. We encourage people to come out and support several upcoming events in the community. The Fantasy Cruiz- ers Car and Bike Club of Trinidad will hold their annual car and bike show on Saturday, June 14, and the following week on June 20-22, the Family Fun Days returns to the Fairgrounds.” Armed Forces Day Parade not held; Santa Fe Trail Festival cancelled CHAMBER APOLOGIZES Students learn, have fun at Water FestivalBy Steve Block The Chronicle-News Water issues seem to be grow- ing in importance with every passing year, as ongoing drought conditions increase the threat of wildfires and other forms of envi- ronmental devastation. Trinidad’s Third Annual Water Festival on Thursday was designed to teach the approximately 1,400 students in attendance about the impor- tance of water-related issues in a variety of entertaining and infor- mative ways. The event offered the oppor- tunity for the kids from every elementary and middle school in Las Animas County to get out- side in the fresh air at Trinidad State Junior College (TSJC) and have some interactive fun, as they moved through a series of 20-min- ute presentations by experts in various fields. Ten new presenta- tions were added this year, bring- ing the total number to 40, many of them hands-on and nearly all of them directly connected to water issues. Presenter Sarah Ferguson used photographs and a miniature version of a rainwater-capturing system that she and her husband had installed at their rural home to show the kids how to preserve precious rainwater. The system offers homeowners the chance to put captured water from rooftops to good use by storing the water in barrels or cisterns, and then using it to water plants and trees when the rains don’t come regularly. State Wildlife Officers Bob Holder and Jake Way presented information about how much wa- ter various wildlife species need on a daily basis to ensure their survival. Each student got a flash card featuring a different wildland animal, and Holder and Way dis- played various animal skulls and skins and asked the kids to iden- tify each one, based on the colorful flash cards they’d been given. The wildlife officers also demonstrated to the kids the sounds and calls made by various animals. Potter John Raggio used his potter’s wheel to show the kids how he uses water as an important part of crafting beautiful and use- ful ceramic pieces. A demonstration by History Colorado presenters taught the kids about the history of the Pur- gatoire River and pioneers such Felipe Baca and other ditch dig- gers who developed the first irri- FANTASTIC TURN OUT Photos by Steve Block / The Chronicle-News A presenter from Mad Scientists of Colorado, above, shows students how a small piece of paper that has been specially treated with chemicals can be made to vanish instantly, as if by magic. The presentation was one of many at the 2014 Water Festival, held on Thursday at Trinidad State Junior College. State Parks and Wildlife Officer Jake Way, above left, holds the skull of a Big- horn Sheep as he describes how water impacts the lives of the wildlife of the American West at Thursday’s annual event. Continued on Page 2 ... Photo courtesy of Michelle Goodall / A Lock in Time Photography . . . a thousand words Continued on Page 2
  2. 2. Page 2 Monday, May 19, 2014 The Chronicle-News Trinidad, Colorado General Manager Allyson Sheumaker Advertising Sales-Adam Sperandio Classifieds, Memorials, & Circulation- Lauri Duran Design & Legals- Krysta Toci News Room Editor: Bruce Leonard Features Editor & Fine Print Catherine Moser Reporter: Steve Block Business Hours: Monday - Friday 8 AM - 5 PM USPS #110-040 200 West Church Street P.O. Box 763, Trinidad, CO 81082 Member: Associated Press, Colorado Press Association Periodicals Postage Paid For At Trinidad, CO. Published Monday - Friday w w Subscription Rates Effective Aug. 1, 2013 Home Delivery Trinidad 1 Month ................$7.00 3 Months.............$21.00 6 Months.............$42.00 1 Year....................$84.00 LasAnimasCountyMail 1Month................$12.00 3Months..............$36.00 6Months..............$72.00 1Year...................$144.00 OutsideCountyMail 1Month................$18.00 3Months..............$54.00 6Months............$108.00 1Year...................$216.00 Harold Charles Odorizzi age 87, passed away on May 11, 2014, at Avamere Nursing Care in Northglenn, Colo. Visitation will be at Comi Chapel on Monday, May 19, 2014, from 3pm to 7pm. Funeral Services for Harold will be held on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 9am. with Rosary at Comi Chapel followed by the Funeral Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church at 10am. Interment will follow at t h e T r i n i d a d C a t h o l i c Cemetery with graveside services conducted by the US Naval Honor Guard. Arrangements made under the direction of the Comi Funeral Home. Nick Brandolino Nick Brandolino, age 88, passed away at Mt. San Rafael Hospital on May 15, 2014. Arrangements are pending and will be announced later by the Comi Funeral Home. 62 Memorials In Loving Memory of Alex Mestas on his birthday, May 19 As time goes on, some memories fade, But his won t fade, no, never. The memory of our darling husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather And the cares we shared together. So rest, dear one, forever more, And pray for us who love you, Till we meet on yonder shore May your soul rest in peace. Sadly missed by wife, Rose, and Family. Elizebeth Dekleva Sadly Missed by her Loving Family and Friends on her 5th Anniversary in Heaven 63 Card of Thanks The family of Elviro Ernest Garduno would like to thank everyone who supported us at our time of loss of our loved one. To Columbine Chateau's of Pueblo West, Colo for the care and love you bestowed on Ernest during his stay at your facility. A special thank you goes out to Chelsea, Amanda and Diane for going beyond their responsibilities to make Ernest's days enjoyable. To Comi Funeral Home and Kitsy for the compassion displayed during the difficult planning of funeral arrangements. Your professional and dignified preparation of the entire funeral service is unmatched. Thank you to Holy Trinity Church for a beautiful Rosary and funeral service. A special "thank you" to Natalie Trujillo and the gift of her vocal talents. Your voice was like the sound of angels singing. Thank you to the VFW Post 964 for the graveside prayer; the Fort Carson Honor Guard; UMWA Local 9856; Jujo's and the many family and friends who paid their respects through phone calls, cards, emails, and in person. God bless you all. The Family of Elviro Ernest Garduno The family of Sylvia Mantelli, would like to extend heartfelt thanks to her family, her extended family and her many friends, who offered love & support during this difficult time. To Mt. San Rafael Hospital, Trinidad Nursing Home Inn, Hospice and the many caregivers who cared for Sylvia, you were greatly appreciated. To Comi Funeral Home for assisting us in the arrangements. To Father Richard Becker for the beautiful mass, and to everyone who participated in the mass and the funeral. Sylvia was a great friend and was loved by everyone who knew her. She never knew a stranger, and she will be greatly missed by all. May she rest in peace. Sincerely, Sylvia's Family gation systems in the area. Presenters from Colorado Universi- ty’s Science Discover Program offered a two-part demonstration of the relation- ships between climate, forest fires and water quality, first using a 25-minute computer-mapping and technology- based presentation and then a 25-min- ute hands-on activity that explored the relationships between wildfires, ero- sion and water chemistry. Colorado Parks & Wildlife officials showed the impact of beavers on a wa- ter system and the role of the beaver in the history of North America. A colorfully dressed “Water Wizard” led various classroom teams in compe- titions in which they could win prizes by answering water-related questions. Presenters at the Louden-Henritze Archeology Museum showed what life might have been like in Southern Colo- rado many thousands of years ago when the area was almost entirely covered by water. Two “Mad Scientists of Colorado” were on hand to use interactive tools to show the students the water cycle, statesofmatterandwaterconservation. Water Festival organizer Tom Perry said he was very pleased by the kids’ re- actions to all they had seen and heard. “We want to thank the community for the generous sponsors and donors who have helped us put this on, and thank our committee and our volun- teers,” Perry said. “To see the fun, ac- tive participation of the kids is very special. We try to make it fun, and we want it to be interactive, so it’s nice to see the kids’ hands raised and engaging the presenters. We hope they got some real educational value out of all these presentations, so I hope they learned a lot.” The budget for this Water Festival was $29,000, Perry said, and was funded by sponsors and donors, who included the VW Cabot Foundation, the BNSF Foundation, Trinidad State Junior Col- lege, Pioneer Natural Resources, XTO Energy, the Purgatoire River Water Conservation District, the University of Colorado, the Spanish Peaks-Purga- toire River Conservation District, the City of Trinidad, Century Savings and Loan, the Kiwanis Club, the Rotary Club, Wendy’s, Rendi, the Trinidad & Las Animas County Chamber of Com- merce and Imprinted Sportswear. Students learn, have fun at Water Festival School ceremonies honor top graduates ... Continued from Page 1 ... Continued from Page 1 atrics. Arthur MacWaters took a different path toward his high school diploma, and the Trinidadian managed to excel despite not attending a brick-and-mortar school. MacWaters earned valedictory honors for his academic performance at the online school Colorado Connec- tions Academy, leading the pack of 105 Academy graduates statewide, with 12 of the graduates hailing from the Trinidad area. He travels with his mother as she participates in Renaissance Festivals all around the United States, so he said an online school was the best option for his situation. “Connections Academy worked out very well for me,” MacWaters said. “I missed out on some of the social aspects of school, but I feel I got a very good edu- cation.” MacWaters logged on to his virtual school every day and did well enough to earn a full scholarship to Princeton University, where he plans to major in political science, with a minor in engi- neering. “I’m majoring in political science be- cause everyone should be in a position to help their fellow citizens, which is what being a good citizen is all about,” he said. “I’m also going to be studying engineer- ing so I can learn the technical knowl- edge that will help me get a job.” Hoehne High School will graduate 31 seniors this year, with Jordan Coffman and Isaac Torres bringing home top hon- ors as the class co-valedictorians, while Colleen Iuppa earned the salutatorian honors. PrimeroHighSchoolhas12graduates intheClassof2014,withTressaKinnison earning the top prize as the school’s vale- dictorian and Roxanne Quezada earning the salutatorian award. Kinnison said the faculty at Primero helped her get the most out of her academic abilities. Both young ladies will enter the nursing pro- gram at TSJC next fall. “The teachers at our school made a huge impact on my life,” Kinnison said. “They really pushed me to do my very best. I think our school is tremendously wonderful.” Quezada said she was very excited when she learned she’d been named Primero’s salutatorian. She said her favorite subjects in school were math and English. After attending TSJC, she plans to continue her nursing studies at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. “I would really like to be an emergen- cy-room nurse, maybe because of the adrenaline rush,” Quezada said. “I think it would be very rewarding to save some- one’s life right on the spot.” Aguilar High will have six graduates in the Class of 2014. Dr. Stacy Houser, the school’s superintendent, said that no valedictorian or salutatorian was named this year, though he said he felt the school was making very good progress and had had a successful school year. Gabrielle Aragon will be the only graduate at Kim High School this year. Branson School Online will graduate 30 seniors this year at its commence- ment ceremonies at Colorado State University-Pueblo on May 24. Branson’s brick-and-mortar school has no gradu- ates this year. Three seniors, Iman Dwe- by, Lana Falah and Brandeise Martinez, have been named co-valedictorians for the online school, while Matthew Pike has earned salutatorian honors. GOAL Academy’s Trinidad site will feature 18 graduates in its Class of 2014. Students work online at the site with the assistance of academic coaches, advi- sors and directors to help them achieve success. Goal Academy does not award valedictory or salutatory honors. GOAL spokesman Ramon Arriega said on Fri- day that he believed that GOAL had an excellent educational product that helps students make real academic progress, preparing for the challenges they would face in the future. Raton, New Mexico High School will have 80 seniors graduating in its com- mencement ceremonies on Friday, May 23. School counselor Lynette Simpson said the valedictorian and salutatorian would not be known until Wednesday, when the final cumulative grade-point averages were finalized. Simpson said the race for valedictorian was very close this year and was “within thousandths of a point.” Trinidad’s Holy Trinity Academy, which will hold its commencement cer- emonies later this summer, did not pro- vide any graduation information, and Joshua Riebsomer will be the lone grad- uate of Grace Christian School this year. Miners Colfax Medical Center Raton, New Mexico May 13, 2014 Baby Girl Arrazola Zach and Magen Arrazola Trinidad, Colo. May 7, 2014 Baby Girl Fager Trey Fager Shandi Glenn Raton, N.M. May 5, 2014 Baby Girl Mascarenas James A. Mascarenas Tricia Garcia Raton, N.M. AreABirths Steve Block / The Chronicle-News Ceramic artist Raggio! shows students at the 2014 Water Festival how to use a potter’s wheel and explains the importance of water in the pottery-making process. Southeast Colorado’s future may include National Heritage Area By Grady Grissom, Rancher Fowler, Colo Special to The Chronicle-News There has been much discussion regarding a National Heritage Area (NHA) in recent months. This letter adds my thoughts – not so much on the subject of NHAs, but on the nature of the discussion and the future of South- east Colorado (SECO). Ken Salazar pointed out seven years ago that the “golden curtain” stretches eastward from the Front Range north of Pueblo and south of Colorado Springs. It separates the northern areas that have experienced explosive popula- tion and economic growth from SECO, which remains the poorest and least de- veloped sector of Colorado. It also sepa- rates political power and money (north) from “untapped resources” (south). The future prosperity of SECO de- pends on our ability to keep our land and water resources. We lost the initial two battles when water from Crowley County went north and the Pinon Can- yon Maneuver Site (PCMS) created a black hole in the rangelands south of the Arkansas River. It appears that (for now) we won the third battle over the expansion of PCMS with the retraction of “The Waiver” by the Department of Defense. The battle to keep our water in the Arkansas goes on daily. The citizens of SECO succeeded in stopping expansion because we spoke with a single voice, united across ur- ban, rural, political and social distinc- tions. My experience as a Pinon Can- yon Expansion Opposition Coalition (PCEOC) board member transformed me from one who only cared about my own land and business to a person who takes pride in and cares about our re- gion. The biological and historical stud- ies carried out by PCEOC documented a very unique place where social, eco- nomic and ecological systems function sustainably. Private land agriculture is the key to this unique place. PCEOC’s biological study documented that mil- lions of acres of grasslands are man- aged by private owners in a way that creates one of the largest intact prairie ecosystems in the U.S. Cattle produc- tion on those grasslands is economical- ly symbiotic with irrigated agriculture in the lower Arkansas. Small towns on the Arkansas provide the social ties: education, commerce, fellowship and recreation for all. My description sounds idealistic, but it is very real. The whole system is driven by one factor: Private landown- ers depend on their land for their liveli- hood. They must operate in a way that conserves the function of their land. Those who do not conserve the func- tion of their land disappear by natural selection. The ongoing struggle of every landowner to make a living creates the sustainable whole. The battle to stop expansion was po- litical in mind and body, but the soul of that struggle was the recognition that SECO is a unique place, generally poor in cash flow but rich in land, water and people. How do we keep our water “in basin” and “in agriculture”? How do we keep family ranchers and farmers on their land so they can continue sustain- able operation? How do our towns fight the demographic change toward a drug and welfare culture? How do we keep some of our agricultural products lo- cal so our kids don’t eat frozen crap for lunch at school? The answer to all these questions is economic health and resilience. Only a vibrant economy can compete with out- of-basin water purchasers. Our farmers and ranchers need diverse enterprises to stay on their land and the freedom to sell aesthetic and recreation values through easements. Diverse enterpris- es may include retailing agriculture products locally to schools and individ- uals. Finally, a healthy economy will draw businesses and hard-working citi- zens who share our values to our towns. This is our best insulation against the drug-welfare culture. This is my vision for SECO. With this vision in mind, I attended meet- ings to apply for and carry out the grant from the Gates Family Foundation. I at- tended those meetings as a board mem- ber of Rocky Mountain Bird Observa- tory. I also reported back to the PCEOC, which monitored the grant process. Ev- ery entity that participated in the meet- ing embraced the fundamental concept that we must “preserve local control of land and water.” That means private control! The individuals who participated concluded that a NHA had potential to help economic development. A NHA could provide a greater public knowl- edge of heritage resources like Bent’s Fort, Boggsville, the Sand Creek Site, the Santa Fe Trail, and all public or pri- vate museums or historical sites. Peo- ple do not spend their money in hotels, restaurants and stores until they know about a destination. A NHA would also provide private individuals wishing to diversify into hunting, birding or agri- tourism with a first-order marketing vehicle. Finally, a NHA could serve as an additional layer of protection from PCMS expansion. The NHA was simply a way to celebrate a history of private agricultural production that created a unique ecological, economic and so- cial balance. Private landowners have helped with similar designations in Colorado including the San Luis Val- ley. NHAs are designed as a designation to bring economic development, not as a tool to control private property. Prop- erty owners are “opted out” until they choose to take advantage of the NHA resources. Many will disagree with my descrip- tion of a NHA; that is fine and healthy. But realize this: Nobody, absolutely nobody who participated ever envi- sioned the NHA as a means to weaken the rights of private property owners. I welcome the discussion from those who believe a NHA could have unintended consequences. However, I deeply resent statements that the individuals or enti- ties involved intended to mislead the people of SECO. There are a small per- centage of environmental extremists that would do away with agriculture. There are also a small percentage of ag- riculture producers who mistreat land and animals. Mislabeling good conser- vation organizations or agricultural producers that value private property rights serves no positive purpose. The conservation organizations active in the Gates effort are missioned to con- serve the function of the land. Their definition of function includes the peo- ple who own land, spend their lives on it, and manage it for sustained produc- tion. We have an opportunity here. There is a significant chunk of money on the table to promote the economic and eco- logical health of our region. We need to think about what we are for as well as what we are against. The door is open for those who oppose a NHA to propose better alternatives. In 1983, the Army conquered by dividing. They sorted individuals and created factions with their rhetoric. We cannot afford to di- vide ourselves and should embrace new viable opportunities and make de- cisions based on fact. I look forward to future, local meetings on the topic and encourage all of you to attend and offer your input on our collective vision for southeast Colorado and tools that will help us attain that vision. Op-ed