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With a voter turnout of more than 80 percent of the active voters in Chaffee County, Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder Lori Mitchell said Tuesday’s midterm election felt more like a presidential election for officials.

She said voting was brisk Tuesday both in Salida and in Buena Vista. A voting site was also set up in Poncha Springs.

By 10:30 p.m. 11,027 ballots had been scanned of more than 13,400 active voters in the county.

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According to unofficial results Tuesday evening, voters in Buena Vista voted against ballot issue 2A, which would have created a flat-rate lodging tax to fund capital investments in town.

Voting against the measure were 814, compared to 476 who voted in favor of the tax.

With 1,290 votes cast, 70 percent of town voters turned out, higher than the historic turnout for April’s elections for mayor and four seats on the board of trustees.

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Ballot language stipulates that a minimum of 25 percent of funds generated be used to strengthen forest health and another 25 percent go toward conserving and supporting working ranches, farms and rural landscapes; and 5 percent be used for managing impacts of growth.

VOTE411 has the most comprehensive nationwide coverage with more candidate statements than any other election site. With so many voters using the site, powered by the League of Women Voters, VOTE411 is on track to have its best year ever.

The Chaffee County Democrats’ September meeting will present information on state and county ballot initiatives. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 27, at the First Presbyterian Church, 7 Poncha Blvd., Salida. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

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Chaffee County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to approve resolution 2018-46, which sets the ballot language and parameters for an increase in county sales tax by 0.25 percent, to be used to strengthen forest health, conserve and support working ranches and farms and rural landscapes…

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If approved by voters, the tax would be set initially at $3 per room per night for businesses paying commercial property tax (i.e. hotels and motels) and $5 per night for businesses paying other types of property tax (i.e. short term vacation rentals).

Colorado Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jodi Wright confirmed to Sheriff John Spezze Wednesday that an audit of the Colorado Crime Information Center system showed no criminal history check had been run on sheriff candidate Stephen Hall.

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Democrat Erin Kelley, a Salida resident and Colorado native, is running for the Colorado House District 60 seat against Rep. Jim Wilson.

Kelley said she is running because she believes there are several issues affecting our rural area that currently are not a focus on the state level.

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Next week, Buena Vistans will decide on four trustees and one mayor out of a slate of 11 trustee candidates and two mayoral candidates, the most competitive municipal race in recent memory.

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Democrat Erin Kelley, a Salida resident and Colorado native, is running for the Colorado House District 60 seat against Rep. Jim Wilson.

Kelley said she is running because she believes there are several issues affecting our rural area that currently are not a focus on the state level.

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Next week, Buena Vistans will decide on four trustees and one mayor out of a slate of 11 trustee candidates and two mayoral candidates, the most competitive municipal race in recent memory.

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The Buena Vista Event Cooperative and The Chaffee County Times co-sponsored a well-attended candidate forum March 14 to familiarize BV voters with its slate of 13 candidates seeking public office in the April 3 elections.

Two are seeking to take the seat of Mayor Joel Benson, who is term-limited: Duff Lacy, a town trustee and the co-owner of Buena Vista Automotive and Jed Selby, the developer of the South Main neighborhood and the Surf Hotel, which is scheduled for a spring opening.

Eleven people are running for four trustee positions. Two of those terms will run for 4 years and two will be 2-year terms.

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Voters should take a moment to verify that their voter record is current, especially their residential address and their mailing address. This can be done online at www.GoVoteColorado.com or by calling our Election Office at 530-5606.

While we adamantly believe it is bad luck to be superstitious, we’d like to call to your attention the number 13. 

Thirteen candidates on the ballot – two for the mayoral seat and 11 for four trustees positions – is a win for Buena Vista.

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Please be sure your voter registration is updated to reflect your current address. Voters with a Colorado Driver’s License or ID card can register or update their information at www.GoVoteColorado.com at any time up to and including the day of the election.

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To familiarize readers with the 13 candidates seeking to fill four seats on the board of trustees and the seat of mayor in April, The Times sent out a questionnaire including a prompt for the would-be public servants to gaze into the future of this mountain community, as much as anyone truly can.

With the word growth inspiring such strong reactions as it does in Buena Vista, the question is a pertinent one from voters to the town’s future stewards: “What is your vision for Buena Vista 5, 10 and 20 years from now?”

The two candidates for mayor, Duff Lacy and Jed Selby, peered into their proverbial crystal balls and gazed forward.

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It is hard to believe I am finishing my third term as the state representative for HD 60. Time does seem to fly when you are having fun.

 It has taken awhile to gain respect for rural issues under the Golden Dome, but we are finally being heard. 

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 Board directors serve four-year terms and are term-limited after eight years. Board members Debbie Farrell, Dr. Harry Payton and Tom Eve will complete their first four-year term in May 2018 and are up for re-election. The other board members, Jeff Post and Jean Moltz, have served 2 years of their first 4-year term and are not up for re- election.

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Consider the vile political environment at the national level – and please leave it there. As we move forward with our election, let’s remember that what makes our community so special is that we’re neighbors.

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The Buena Vista Event Cooperative will be hosting a candidates’ forum on March 14 at the Buena Vista Community Center, giving voters a chance to hear the positions of the 11 people running for four seats on the Board of Trustees and two people running for mayor before they turn in their ballots.

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Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell became the new president of the Colorado County Clerks Association Thursday during the association’s winter conference in Colorado Springs.

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Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze announced he will seek re-election in November, and Chief Deputy Coroner Jeff Graf said he will run for the office of coroner.

Buena Vista High School students James Ongley and Jenna Karlsson represented Buena Vista at Western State Colorado University All-Colorado Honor Band on Feb. 23-25 in Gunnison. They are posing with the Mountaineers mascot Mad Jack.

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Pokrandt has been providing interim campus leadership in Leadville and Chaffee County since Aug. 1, 2016, after the previous campus vice president, James Y. Taylor, accepted a position with Utah State University.

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While the updated guidelines were not approved at the Dec. 5 school board meeting, School Board president Leslie Quilco said the board would need to further review and digest the new guidelines before approving them at a district level.

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Unaffiliated candidate Greg Felt won the District 2 Chaffee County commissioner race Tuesday with 41 percent, or 4,578 of the 11,037 votes cast, according to preliminary results from the Chaffee County clerk’s office at 9:34 p.m. Tuesday.

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Preliminary results show Republican Rep. Jim Wilson of Salida has been re-elected to his seat in House District 60.

Chaffee County approved ballot issue 1A, a 5-percent excise tax on unprocessed marijuana products cultivated within the county, with preliminary results showing 5,732 votes, or 52 percent, in favor and 4,925 against.

Salida residents approved ballot issue 2A Tuesday, with preliminary results as of 9:34 p.m. showing 1,749 votes in favor and 1,361 against for a 56-percent win.

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The fate of new facilities and new middle and high school buildings for Buena Vista School District R-31 has been determined.

Chaffee County's District 1 commissioner winner is Keith Baker, D, unofficial Chaffee County general election results show. In a contested election that was decided by less than 450 votes, Baker said affordable housing and infrastructure were his two biggest issues.

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With 10,288 of the 11,577 ballots counted, Chaffee County voters have rejected ballot issue 3A. Yes votes are leading on issues 1A and 2A, but both were too close to call as of 8 p.m.

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One person was killed and at least three others were wounded this afternoon when an active shooter open fire in a residential area near a polling place in Azusa, California around 2 pm WST. The Los Angeles sheriff's office said they are dealing with one suspect who it appears to be heavily armed.