Raising money for the Dumb Friends League

A couple of young men in Castle Rock are dog watching to raise money for the Dumb Friends League, and are also accepting donations as well.  Please support these kids in their efforts!  Contact for questions or job offers: 303-489-3774 / 469-271-8694. 

Volume 5 Issue 30

ROWLAND + SCHLEGEL: "YOU GOT IT WRONG", DEEPAK MORRIS is a long way from Kondhwa, how to get a $50 electric bill, Littleton Historical society too late to save willowcroft manor, approaching nature, remembering the dangers of deforestation, SHIVA talks about wind power, freedom of religion only for Christians, flamin' hot zombification, buddhism, non-violence, and much much more!
We are community supported, and appreciate your support! Subscriptions are only $12 per year for the electronic edition, $45 per year for the paper. We also have very affordable advertising rates, as well.

Heinous animal cruelty case results in Psychiatric Evaluation

        I spoke to the attorney for Christine O’Rourke and David Antoine after the sentencing.  “They were caught up in a vortex of uncontrollable circumstances,” he said.  “Many ranchers have had to sell cattle because of bad times, and this situation is little different.” 

        Except, instead of selling animals that they could no longer afford, Christine and David let their herbivorous animals starve, and then fed them to the carnivorous animals.

        The Attorney indicated most of the trouble arose from a neighborly dispute, and then terminated the interview.  But Deputies responding to the home in February upon the complaint of a dead llama found a dog running through the property with part of a horse’s leg in its mouth. 

        The horse’s name was Roy.

        They told Deputies they were unaware that the llama had died.  The name of the llama was not known at the time of publication.

        During a search of the property, two kittens were found dead, frozen in plastic bags.  It is not clear if they had names.

        At the sentencing, David was clearly angry and expressed that he was unfairly characterized as an abuser of animals.  Christine similarly expressed to Judge Holmes that their intention was to simply provide for animals in need.  They were overcome by compassion for animals, and took in more animals than they should have because they did not want to see them euthanized at shelters. 

        Judge Holmes was obviously moved by the explanation of their behavior, and believed its veracity.  Which apparently contributed to his order that they undergo psychiatric evaluation. 

        David, wisely, and with considerable exertion of self control, refrained from insulting the Judge or its Court, but did express his desire to do so.

        Christine and David were also sentenced by Judge Holmes to 5 years probation  for two second degree cruelty to animals.  They pled guilty in a plea bargain.  In addition to probation, they were sentenced to 90 days in-home detention, a $1,000 fine each, plus restitution totaling around $2,000. They must also complete a mental health evaluation.  They are limited to own only 3 cats or dogs.

        At the sentencing, they asked Judge Holmes for permission to have 3 cats or dogs each, in consideration for the very elderly dogs and cats that would be euthanized if taken to a shelter.  This was denied because of the heinous nature of their particular crime and in consideration that this is their second offense: in 2012, they were sentenced to probation for animal cruelty and the latest violation violated the condition of that probation as well.

        They had violated their 2012 probation terms by obtaining new animals, and committing new criminal offenses.

        Animal Control is re-homing or sheltering eight horses, two miniature horses, two donkeys, 15 dogs, seven puppies, four cats, one potbellied pig, two birds (an African Grey Parrot and a Cockatoo), numerous goats and numerous poultry.  They are under orders from Judge Holmes to attempt to re-home and not euthanize the older dogs and cats, and to work with Christine and David to do so.

        According to the Sheriff's Office, most of the horses were underweight and did not have access to food or water.

        Two goats have already had to be euthanized because of poor health.

        Contributing to the increase of animals at their property was the birth of puppies and kittens.  This led Judge Holmes to additionally require that all animals in their possession be sterilized. 

IREA no longer paying postage, Rep. Cory Gardner speaks to members

by Frank Reeves

        Recently, the provider of electric power (IREA) to Elbert County and a service area of approximately 5000 square miles and 38,000 e-bill and a total of 140,000+ total customers, hosted a Congressional Current Events Discussion at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. The event was open to approximately 200 IREA customers and lunch was served. IREA is a corporation owned by its customers. IREA purchases power wholesale from the Western Area Power Administration.

        Patrick Mooney, IREA GM Patrick Mooney, General Manager, opened the program with a warm welcome and Timothy White, President, discussed the Agenda and provided an introduction to the Featured Speaker, Rep. Cory Gardner.  A very good lunch and service was provided. Topics included Job Growth, Healthcare, Colorado's Energy Future, Foreign Affairs, and other items of interest.

        U.S. Congressman, Cory Gardner running for CO Senator Cory Gardner discussed his multi-generation, small town heritage leading to his commitment to keeping the qualities that have made Colorado a special place. By empowering people and by getting government out of the way, innovation and creativity thrive. Cory has two children and is an honors graduate of CSU.

        He has learned the value of hard work and working with a community to get things done. When he first was elected to the House his first action was co-sponsoring a bipartisan balanced budget amendment. Our national debt has climbed above $17 trillion and Cory has fought to reduce it by eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in all sectors of government and making it more accountable to the people. His main topic focused on low-cost energy that affects jobs, national security, healthcare and almost every aspect of our society.

        Cory is a member of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. Cory has supported all cost effective sources of energy, which are efficient. The U.S. must reduce our dependence on foreign imports to improve national security. Cory then opened the floor to several questions from the audience and closed to a standing ovation.

        At this point Mr. Mooney took the stage to discuss several business issues and some changes to IREA policy. Approximately 60% of IREA costs are wholesale gas. With the remaining dollars they must cover cost of delivery of electricity to the home, accounting, repair service (Downtime is minimal in my experience.), etc. They will be implementing a disconnect fee to cover costs. They will be stopping providing postage for bill payment. He explained that most customers use the free internet method to pay their bills and the cost is significant. Since IREA is a customer owned corporation cost savings are good. The customer-owners left happy and better informed after the event.

EDITOR: One of the joys of volunteering with the Herald is seeing the improvement in the other citizen reporters you work with.  Frank Reeves has outdone himself on the coverage of the IREA meeting!

Volume 5 Issue 29

NORM HAPPEL BLACKMAILING THE ELIZABETH SCHOOL BOARD? Dick Eason saves Elizabeth a lotta money, interview with Sheriff Heap about marijuana, why prairie dog towns should be protected, DEEPAK MORRIS, remembering Annie Oakley and Shannon Alder, Mizpah!, Ask Shiva about opening the heart chakra, ARUN MEHTA on modern Hinduism, the Majjhima Nikaya, non-violence, and much much more!
We are community supported, and appreciate your support! Subscriptions are only $12 per year for the electronic edition, $45 per year for the paper. We also have very affordable advertising rates, as well.

Rowland, Schlegel: "you got it wrong" request correction

Commissioners Rowland and Ross request correction

After reading your article on the Sheriff's budget and the Commissioners requiring the writing of tickets to add county revenue and add deputies I asked Commissioner Rowland about it. He said,

“You had it backwards. Sheriff Heap approached them with the plan. It is admirable that the Sheriff department is doing something to improve their revenue and not whining about not enough money that does not presently exist. More elected officials could learn from this example.”

        This statement was confirmed by Commissioner Schlegel. 
        The Commissioners have made mistakes it the past but are now moving in a positive direction, including a more accurate accounting and audit, hiring a competent County Manager, appointing a very good county clerk, exploring cost containment and new revenue, etc. Money is still tight and progress is not at lightning speed but realistic, achievable progress is being made.
by Frank Reeves

Robert Rowland: “BOCC not telling Sheriff to write tickets”

by Robert Rowland, Commissioner of Elbert County

        Make this NOW very public knowledge.

        I'm not in favor of proofing, editing the free press, I simply make my judgments, for whatever they're worth on the writers or publishers honesty, skill of writing and journalistic integrity.

        Recent articles from some of the usual suspects of the local ideologically flawed media have accused the BOCC (Board of County Commissioners) of directing, ordering or telling the Sheriff to go out and increase the number of traffic violations in order to raise money for the General Fund of the county.

        First it’s important to understand that the Sheriff is an elected official, and is not under the direction or control of the BOCC. While it is true the BOCC manages the budget of all departments, including the Sheriff’s Department that is where the oversight ends. Once the overall budget for the SO is established and approved by the BOCC each year, the management and use of that total budget is the responsibility of that department, independent of the BOCC.

        Second, we have a very capable Sheriff in Elbert County in Shayne Heap, and anyone who knows this man would immediately know that he would not tolerate any such interference nor would he ever agree to such a scheme, raising money on the backs of the taxpayers and citizens of this county.

        This latest distortion of the truth, as best I can tell is rooted in a plan brought to the BOCC at the beginning of this fiscal year by the Sheriff, who after being notified that the State Highway Patrol, who had been assigning multiply patrols to the I-70 corridor of Elbert County on the far eastern side. This change was going to reduce that coverage leaving a void that needed to be addressed from a public safety point of view. To fill this void, and to try and bring overall patrol up to a minimal level, given the limited resources currently existing in Elbert County due to fiscal restraints, we received a proposal to add two vehicles and two deputies to take up the void left by the State Highway Patrol. Under current State Statutes, we operate with a program called Model Traffic, whereas local law enforcement can use some of the funds from traffic control to fund the necessary enforcement operations needed to maintain public safety levels that are determined by the local Sheriff. After much discussion, and after bringing a well thought out plan to the BOCC for budget approval, we voted to approve the program that our SO determined was necessary. The increase in revenues would go only into the Model Traffic Program and is designed as a revenue neutral plan, funding only the levels of operation necessary to attain that level. It is not designed, nor does it permit a flow of revenue into the General Fund of the County for general government expenses, and therefore the broad accusation made by the misinformed local media was completely erroneous.

        In the end, the program was not and has not been implemented, we have not hired the two positions that were approved and we have not acquired the two vehicles approved, not because it wasn’t valid and needed, which it still is, but due to other unforeseen circumstance as follows;

        At the beginning of this fiscal year, shortly after approval of the program, the SO lost several key Deputies to other counties and jurisdictions. This was due to several factors, with the two key factors being that due to our fiscal position in Elbert County, we are not able to offer pay scales or benefits that keep us competitive with other law enforcement agencies. Therefore, when several surrounding agencies started to increase their staffs at the beginning of the fiscal year (January 2014), we lost experienced Deputies to higher paying positions elsewhere.  This not only creates staffing and service challenges, it makes it very difficult to find and hire replacement law enforcement personnel to take their place, let alone add two more that we needed. Even when we find new hires, the training in this highly professional and hazardous profession takes a significant amount of time and money and we are still in this transition to get to the staffing levels we need not only to meet minimal service levels, but to meet the needs of the voids described to insure overall public safety in all areas.

        Let me be clear, our SO does an incredible job providing the level of public safety and response times to all of Elbert County even with their staffing challenges. This happens due to the dedication of the staff, the creative and thoughtful management of the SO by our Sheriff and his senior staff, and of course requires the use of overtime and other management tools to get everything done. These things happen without any direct impact on our citizens, and in most cases are invisible to most of us. But the challenges exist none the less, and we will continue to work responsibly and to the best of our fiscal ability to maintain the levels of this most important government function, all within the confines of a very tight fiscal budget.

        In closing, I find it appalling and I reject the irresponsible manner that local media uses to give a platform to those who would intentionally seek to discredit the SO and the county without presenting the full story, or in my opinion, the truth, for no other apparent reason than to meet their own political and ideological end. I invite criticism, oversight and spirited debate, disagree and challenge us if you will, but do it honestly and present both sides of every story when you do.   As Paul Harvey used to say, “And now for the rest of the story”

BRACHFELD: Sir, having undertaken research I am prepared to publish this story.  However, there are a few items I would seek your clarification on…I could find no evidence that the Sheriff brought to the BOCC any such plan as you described, and the Sheriff's statements on the matter contradict your own.  Furthermore, his actions seem to indicate a contrary opinion.  What was the date of the meeting this proposal was made?  Are there meeting minutes from that meeting that may be referenced?

ROWLAND: You may print or not, your choice. I can't speak for the Sheriff, I stand by my position. Yes there are minutes of the meetings, check with the County Clerk. No, I will not routinely respond to your stories specifically, only issues I consider important to our citizens, I'm not interested in having the tail chase the dog.

BRACHFELD:  But when was the meeting so I can ask the clerk? It is not in any of the minutes on the website. 

ROWLAND: I suggest you approach the Clerk, tell the the subject, and request the audio if the minutes don't reflect the exchange about the intent of this request from the Sheriff and Ed Ehmann, both of who presented the proposal.  You can check with Ed.  There may have also been discussions in Study Sessions, and those may not have minutes, in that case you will simply need to rely on the people who were in those meetings, sounds like you already have my version and that of Commissioner Schlegel.   Again, I stand by my written position on this issue, period, if you wish to print as my opinion, with opposing perspectives, that's fine, or you can simply not use it, that's find too.

Meadowlark Herald Editor: “we require a standard of evidence”

by Aaron Brachfeld

            The Herald did indeed follow up, but could not confirm Mr. Rowland’s version of facts.

        Mr. Rowland, at this time I am unable to confirm with objective evidence your version of events.  Though testimony is important - especially in presenting an interpretation of evidence - and I will print your emails, I would like to ask you again for any assistance you may provide in obtaining evidence of your version of events.

        Mr. Reeves tells me that you and Mr. Schlegel are concerned that this is a kind of personal attack, but nothing could be farther from the truth: my hesitation arises not out of any enmity, but because there is so much evidence against your position as to make it incredible without similar evidence to support it.  I am happy to "sit" on the story until the complete story can be told, and will gladly retract any error that I printed - on the front page, and in every edition, with linkbacks to the initial story.  However, at this time, I cannot retract this story on the simple basis of testimony.

        I would be quick to also say that this is no judgment against your character, I do trust you believe what you say is true.  However, the standards I apply to every story is somewhat higher than other e-zines and magazines in the County: my newspaper license requires a standard of physical evidence when two stories conflict. 

        I would assist you in any way I can - perhaps there was some demonstration or presentation by Mr. Heap? He usually has some powerpoint or other presentation or demonstration to justify his policy decisions.  Or maybe there was an audio recording of the meeting? You said you typically record audio from meetings and encounters with anyone who has different ideology than you... 

        In absence of these or similar physical evidences, I cannot correct or retract, but must encourage you to simply confront your own beliefs in what happened, and what is presently happening in Elbert County, based upon a foundation of physical evidence.  It is likely unsettling to have your understanding of events challenged, but I mean you no harm and would comfort you as best I can.  Such things happen to all people: Gotama taught that reality is sometimes difficult to understand, but that none the less certain truths may be understood upon the premise of fact, and that fact should be the foundation of belief.  Therefore, we should not attach to our beliefs, but to facts. 

        You said, yourself, that there are times when you have thought something was said when it was not, and I have even seen times when many people believed one thing happened, but there was no evidence of that occurring, and in fact, considerable evidence to the contrary.  Time blurs memory, which is a good reason to keep records of events, and to allow free access to them.

Rowland answers: “OK.”


Meadowlark Herald Editor’s position: “We stand by our story"

        With no evidence presented to justify retraction or correction, we stand by our statements that politics motivated funding cuts to the ECSO by the BOCC when the ECSO refused to participate in illegal enforcement actions that were ordered by the BOCC – because there is evidence of this fact. 

        There is evidence both that illegal enforcement actions were ordered by the BOCC, and that the ECSO made a policy decision to not participate in them.  And evidence that the funding was reduced after that policy decision, to statistically unusual levels, lending credence to the conclusion that there was a relationship of causation to that policy event.  Furthermore, we stand by our statements that these cuts were disguised in the County’s Budgetbecause there is evidence of this fact.  The actual funds received by the ECSO diminished, even as funds were reported to increase. 

        We stand by our statements that the ECSO’s budget is set by the BOCC through the General Fund. And that the ECSO has been receiving statistically significantly less funding than other Offices and Departments funded by the BOCC.  Because there is evidence of these facts. 

        We stand by our statements that the BOCC is acting criminally when they have obstructed justice, subverted justice, falsified legal codes, violated constitutional limitations of power, undertook illegal enforcement actions, interfered with public elections, and contemned the Court.  Because there’s evidence to support these allegations: they are criminal, and they did happen. 

        We stand by our statements that the BOCC attempted to cover up their criminal wrongdoing.  Because there is evidence of this fact.  We stand by our statements that the Federal and State Courts have voided Elbert County’s “fictitious” zoning and building codes.  Because there is evidence of this fact.   

        And we will stand by our opinion that it is the duty of all citizens to resist the illegitimate government of Elbert County using every legal means possible. 

        Now is the time for the County to restore the law and relieve victims. 

        Now is the time for us all to make difficult decisions and perform our duty.

Elizabeth School Board blackmailed by Norm Happel?

        As a public servant, there are several ways to respond to citizens who complain about your policies,  your character and your qualifications.  Threatening to press charges of blackmail and influencing a public official is probably not the best one. 

        The story is complicated, and took me over four months to fully investigate.  The best place to begin is not with the allegations made by a Board Member that the Board was being threatened, but with Mr. Norm Happel. 

        Norm Happel is a citizen. He is also an honorably retired a Veteran of the Air Force.  He has taken an active interest in both local politics, and, when possible, speaking at public meetings.  He was once famous for assisting in the investigation that led to a Grand Jury indictment of 27 criminal charges against the Elizabeth School District Superintended and the Finance Officer

        He never experienced any trouble until he wrote letters and spoke to Elizabeth Schools’ Directors.

        He showed me his correspondence.  In one letter to Deb Spenceley, the President of the Elizabeth School Board, he explained that he was “distraught” and that the source of his distress was that she was “deceitful, and willingly misinforming the voting public” during her campaign for election because her signs read “re-elect” not “elect.”  His exact words were, “you were aware that voters unfamiliar with candidates will generally vote for the incumbent. And, you surely remember you have never been elected to the Elizabeth Board of Education - - you were APPOINTED,” wrote Citizen Norman Happel to Director Deb Spencely.

        In his letter, Mr. Happel also quoted one of his heroes, General Curtis LeMay to explain why integrity and credibility are important to him, and are essential to the trust of public office.  He also quotes from Spenceley’s own publically approved policy designed to preserve and increase confidence in the Board by creating ethical standards, such as honesty.  His summation was a polite request for her resignation.

        You and I might see this as small issue (elect vs. re-elect), and in fact when similar uses of “re-elect” have been brought to the attention of the Secretary of State of this and other States, it was discovered to be a non-issue.  

        Deb Spenceley also never saw it as an issue – because she returned the letter to Mr. Happel, unopened.  You see, Mr. Happel had mailed it to her home, and she doesn’t answer mail concerning her work at the District if is sent to her home.

        Though she is not into reading letters, Deb Spenceley would appear to enjoy writing letters.  On April 9, she wrote a long, rambling 2-page letter of wandering and elaborate language to Happel.  Having first praised the collaborative efforts of the School Board to help students, Spenceley expounded upon the general theory of democratic governance before coming sharply to the point.

Dear Mr. Happel,

   It has come to the attention of the Board of Directors of the Elizabeth School District that you recently threatened one of the district’s directors, in writing, as part of a recurring effort on your part to force that director to resign[…]

   We view your threats to publicize informaiton from this director’s personal life, and to characterize that information in a negative fashion, unless he steps down, as a form of blackmail and an attempt to influence a public official under the Colorado Revised Statutes[…]

   You are hereby advised to refrain from further activity of the nature described above, which is deemed disruptive to and detracting from the educational mission of the school district, and possibly unlawful. If you choose to continue such behaviors, your involvement in the district may be restricted or denied, and the board may have to consider legal action for the most egregious actions on your part.

   On behalf of the Board of Directors, Deb Spenceley, President, Elizabeth Board of Education

        These are extraordinary statements by Deb Spenceley.  But it is interesting to learn that the letter that was sent is NOT the draft letter that the School Board had approved to be sent to Mr. Happel: according to inside sources, the draft did not threaten prosecution, or revocation of rights – or any retribution at all.

        Sources inside the Board say that Deb Spenecely may not have even written the letter, even if she did sign her name to it: apparently, the draft of the letter was prepared by the Board Member who felt blackmailed and influenced and desired the Board to respond in his defense.  Then it was given to a District Officer to finalize.  I was even told that, because of several more pressing matters of personal nature, it was unlikely that Deb Spenceley read the letter before signing it.

        After the letter was sent, though Mr. Happel desisted in writing letters and did nothing to provoke the Board, the Board contacted the Sheriff’s Office so that charges could be made against Mr. Happel.  Thankfully, the Sheriff’s Office declined to investigate, since Mr. Happel is quite clearly NOT blackmailing or influencing a public servant.  He stands to gain nothing by his remonstrance.

        So here is the basic fact of the story: the Board is in the wrong. 

        Mr. Happel had not attempted to blackmail or influence a public servant.  Mr. Happel wrote private letters to his public servants.  I have seen two of these letters, to different School Directors: they are of similar character, and though the beliefs expressed in them of are dubious or erroneous quality, they are respectful and harmless.  Mr. Happel encourages them to look to General LeMay as an example of an honest, loyal public officer and he asks them to reform and resign. Mr. Happel’s letters are an important function of the American system of Democracy: everyone should write to their public servants.  

        I contacted President Spenecley personally and the District Communications Director (Ms. McCarron) about President Spenceley’s letter to gain clarification and comment. 

        And Mr. Happel would be pleased to learn that Spenceley has more in common with LeMay than he gave her credit for initially – both apparently have extensive skill in attrition warfare and deception, but fail to understand any role for diplomacy.

Dear Sir,

   We are unaware of any correspondence or allegations that you seem to be referring to in your email message to the district Communication Specialist, Michele McCarron and me dated April 22. If it were your wish that we engage with you on such matters, it would be your choice whether to provide us with any relevant documentation or information for our review and consideration.

   Please direct any district related communication to my district email address (dspenceley@esdk12.org). I will not respond to school business through my personal email.  Sincerely yours,  Deb Spenceley

        As if this wasn’t enough, shortly afterward, I got a very rude phone call from the District’s Communication Director.  Then, I got a polite and friendly request from another Director, the one who was supposedly blackmailed by Mr. Happel, the one who had tipped me the story in the first place, telling me that he’d prefer if I not print about this story because it embarasses the District. 

        This did not seem like the Deb Spenceley and School Board I thought I had known.  So I sought clarification from other Board Members and I was assured I misunderstood her.  Apparently, she actually meant to express how she did not read the letter recieved by her from Mr. Happel – not the letter she sent to Mr. Happel. 

        I admit I found this line difficult to believe – in my email to Ms. Spenceley, I referenced very clearly the letter she sent to Mr. Happel.  However, considering the other nincompoopery that may have led to the letter being sent at all, it is plausible and I am satisfied to simply pass on this excuse to the readers, at face value.  Ms. Spenceley encouraged this belief in a subsequent email: 

In your first email, you referenced threats against directors and a communication from Norm Happel.  I have never read any communication directly to me from Norm Happel on this or any other issue.  That is the communication I was asking you to provide.  As far as the letter signed by me, on behalf of all five board members, we believe that communication to Mr. Happel speaks for itself.  Deb Spenceley

        I am assured by Board Members that the Board will not be taking any action against Mr. Happel. 

        I am also assured they will not be offering an apology to him, either. 

        So where does this leave us?

        I began this story when a Board Member alerted me that Board Members were being threatened.  And if a School District Board Member is genuinely threatened, it becomes a matter of public concern, just as much as if a School District Board Member is threatening a citizen with an unconstitutionally illegal and shockingly gratuitous deprivation of his access to his own government. 

        Our American system of Democracy allows anyone to achieve a position of power through public office.  But our system of Democracy has also allowed for Deb Spenecely to become a School Board President with no training or aptitude for the work she must undertake (see our interview with her about her qualifications in 2013). 

        While it is unfounded to presume Ms. Spenceley’s atrocious behavior might somehow embarrass the excellent and capable students and teachers of the District, if the Board takes no corrective action, it will reflect upon the District as a whole.  The Board sets policy and directs the District – and this is a bad policy and direction.

        It is important that the public be aware of what their public servants are doing when those public servants exceed their authority.  And it should be said: Ms. Spenceley threatened through an oppressive act of public authority to deprive Mr. Happel of his right to participate in his government, and report him to law enforcement for serious crimes he is obviously innocent of.  In doing so, she commited several crimes, herself.

        This is not the Deb Spenceley that the Herald endorsed in 2013 who said,

We want to hear ideas and concerns that parents and community members have.

–Deb Spenceley, 2013

        I think Norm Happel should have the last word: “my first interests in school districts came about in the late 1970's with the Aurora school district - I had a daughter in their K-12. I have been active in the Elizabeth school district since late 2001. I devoted more than 400 hours to financial management research within the district between December 2001 and about June 2003. My efforts resulted in a Grand Jury indictment of 27 criminal charges against the superintended and the finance officer. I believe I have a vested interest in this school district.  My primary interest begins in the management and accountability of the local government(s) and school district. Those who have designated administrators of my government.” 

Meadowlark Herald Opinion

        I met for comment with the District before publishing this.  And the facts stand unchallenged: Yes, Mr. Happel did write inflammatory, insulting and ultimately erroneous – and private – letters to his public servants.  But Norm Happel is neither blackmailing or intimidating officials.  And though the Board seems to understand they acted improperly, they will not apologize or correct their behavior.

        It should be said: the proper action would have been to respond by private letter back to Mr. Happel, and to discuss with him his concerns.  Or simply not respond.

        And it should be said, also: it would have also been proper to submit a letter that was approved by the Board, instead of some insidious inspiration by one perturbed member.  Together, the Board works better than any individual would, and less emotionally.  They should work together as a unified team.

        Our opinion is that Deb Spenceley should immediately apologize on behalf of the District, and indeed resign.  She has proven herself incapable of honoring the public’s trust.  She represents the Presidency of the School Board either as a nincompoop – or as a tyrant who won’t bother to even regard the opinions of her fellow Board members, let alone that of the Public whose trust she would defend.

Elbert County Building no longer handicapped accessible

by Lee Fifield
        Yesterday my husband went to the Elbert county courthouse in Kiowa, and it appears that handicapped people no longer have access to the courthouse parking or elevator, although workmen (see white van) have close access to courthouse parking and the elevator. The closest parking to the handicapped elevator and parking is reserved for "elected officials only". My husband is handicapped, has a valid handicapped license plate, was told that the person who handles ADA problems is off on Thursday and will not be back untill Monday. Why has no provisions been made for handicapped acess to the Elbert county Courthouse?

        Followup: My husband phoned all day Monday playing telephone tag with county employees trying to locate whoever is in charge of handling Americans with Disabilities Act issues, this person is called a ADA compliance officer, which by law is required of all government entities. This is for the protection of disabled people, who, if you are lucky enough, NOT to be one, you probably never heard of it, but should you be disabled or a family member you are trying to take to a Elbert county office, and need just a small consideration, a reasonable consideration, by your local government, don't look to Elbert county. AND by the way the telephone numbers on the Elbert are not correct, the numbers listed don't match the departments listed.

Second Followup: Yesterday, after a phone call finally telling him who the ADA compliance officer for Elbert County was, John called and of course got voice mail, never got a return call. John went down to the Elbert county court house and found that the barricades have been moved, as you can see. Not a call back, not a sorry, not a "glad you called it to our attention because we care about the disabled of Elbert County and want to make sure they have the same access as any citizen", nope nothing, just an example of the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and the complete lack of feedback, responsiveness, basic common courtesy.....this is Elbert County, kinda makes me wonder about our county officials, oh wait, I do know about our county officials!

        EDITOR: Here in Elbert County, it is just as easy to change the designation of parking spaces to "reserved for handicapped" in the night as it is to change someone's zoning.  At least it's fixed!

Flamin' Hot Cheetos cause zombification

by MJ McShay

        It had come to our attention that if you eat a bag of “Flamin’ Hot Cheetos” your fingers will turn red. Moreover, getting back to an un-red state is excessively difficult requiring many scrubbings with a manly soap. In addition, if one unconsciously rubs one’s eyes while in a state of “Cheetos Redness” you will wish you were a “non-Cheetos eating zombie.” Burns like a sonofabitch, plus you will have red fingers, red eyes and likely a red face. If you are spotted in Kiowa that way also wearing a red tie you will likely be mistaken for a Republican and be forced to talk about guns and beer.

        Yes, Be forewarned. If you partake from the tree of empty calories it is a gateway drug that can only lead you down the path to personal destruction. Of those going to rehabilitation for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos addiction, 45 percent are under 21 years of age. When those 24 and younger are included, the percentage rises to 55. Rehabilitation dropouts go on to harder stuff like Barbeque potato chips and chili poppers. It’s only downhill from there until you become a Libertarian and develop “Twitter thumb” boasting about your wonderfulness and demanding people believe you.

        Soon you’ll start believing Fox News is factual. Too much of that and eventually you’ll look in the mirror to discover you have turned. You are a zombie. And zombies don’t eat Cheetos, they only eat brains. Now you’ll have a really big problem; finding a brain to eat in Elbert County. Buddy they are scarce.

        It’s not too late to save yourself! Put down the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Stick to the regular Cheetos and the Orange Cheeto Finger look. Nobody knows what to do with an orange guy (look at John Boehner) so they’ll probably leave you alone unless they want to borrow your tractor or something. Just be sure to check out their fingers first, they may be one of “those people” and too far gone. If they are, bash them with an eggplant and run.

Editor Whoa. What are the implications, MJ McShay, as more people using the gateway drug marijuana suffer from the debilitating disorder "the munchies" and turn to Flamin' Hot Cheetos next? Is this all part of the subversive Republican Revolution I've been hearing about?

MJ McShay Yes, soon we will all be required to wear teabag earrings and American flag underwear with strategically placed stars. When you hear a bunch of religious zealots with torches approaching your house chanting "Heap of Shayne," "Heap of Shayne" best you move to Pittsburgh. Look for the red fingers, it's a dead give away that somebody is mainlining Flamin' Hot Cheetos and that the zombie transformation is eminent.

Editor Holy crap...

MJ McShay Start storing up zucchini. It's like Kryptonite to Superman or facts to Brooks Imperial. Brain-eating-zombies can't stand the stuff. Barring that, get yourself some custom made teabag earrings because it's all coming down.

Editor I'm going to put out a public service announcement right away... wait a moment, seems like there's some kinda parade going on... everyone's very excited about... something... jeep aflame? Let me grab a zucchini and check
MJ McShay is a regular satirist at the e-zine, New-Plains.com.  This is not a true PSA.

Sometimes it is too late for conservation

The remains of Willowcroft Manor in Littleton. Built in 1884, the Manor only recently (this past April & May) succumbed to the developers wrecking ball. Just two weeks until the opening of Mansions of Rhyolite at the Castle Rock History Museum.

The Castle Rock Historical Society is attempting to conserve several historically important structures in Castle Rock that are presently endangered. To volunteer, donate or otherwise help, or to learn more, contact them at http://www.castlerockmuseum.org/