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We would like to acknowledge the students of Avery-Parsons Elementary School as they took part in the traditional Halloween parade down East Main Street last Friday.

You impressed us, students, by wearing masks as you marched up and down the street showing off your costumes.

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State rep. District 60: Jim Wilson. Seeking a fourth 2-year term, Rep. Jim Wilson has focused on education and rural issues in his 6 years at the Capitol.

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Chaffee County voters are being asked to support ballot issue 1A, a 0.25 percent sales tax increase to be used for conservation purposes.

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At its surface, this might seem like a good idea. Unfortunately, it is an idea that came to a ballot before its time.

The Chaffee County Times will adhere to the following guidelines concerning letters to the editor about elections including candidates and ballot issues.

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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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.

Staffer Mary Lee Bensman is an opinion columnist in the same right that other contributors – ministers and lay people – to the Faith page are, and there is a difference from other content providers.

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NEWS COMMENTARY

It was just about 3 years ago that the state of health care in the Upper Arkansas Valley looked ill.

To the north, there was talk of closing St. Vincent’s Hospital in Leadville.

To the east, Park County’s only health care provider left Fairplay over a weekend and hung a note on the door.

In Chaffee County, and Buena Vista in particular, it seemed we couldn’t keep health care practitioners. It’s been said there was a revolving door out of the valley.

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Considering the old adage “No news is good news,” perhaps the most notable difference between last year’s ballot proposal to build new middle and high schools and this year’s effort has been the lack of campaign signage.

A year ago, during a contested presidential election on down through state and county races, local 3A signs for and against outnumbered the other campaign signs in the Buena Vista area. Fast forward one year, and Vote No signs are nowhere to be seen. Vote Yes signs began popping up just recently.

The difference this year, proponents say, is that they listened to the objections of homeowners and business owners in the district by holding numerous information-gathering sessions following last year’s failed effort.

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We refer here to the loss of service to Charter Communications-Spectrum internet, email and telephone and Verizon Wireless customers, for some 24 hours starting at about 1 p.m. Thursday.

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Benson is accurate in crediting the community, but it was Buena Vista’s mayor who brought the handshakes together so willing parties could find a way to make the project work.

Besides giving patrons a streetside seat to all the action vibrating up and down Main Street, the patio also serves to visibly call attention to all our fine shops and stores from travelers flowing through the stoplight U.S. 24.

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I hadn’t been here very long back in 2012. We were waiting to see if the Mayans were going to be right about their calendar come year’s end. Drought gripped the state.

Most weeks, we’re pleased and proud to bring you news of Buena Vista. This week is one of those rare occasions we wished we didn’t have to. The news hits you in the gut and knocks the breath out of you. And you can’t breathe.

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What a perfect time for a hike that mid-afternoon near Marion in 1990, where I worked my first newspaper job as a stringer at 50 cents a column inch and five bucks a photo.

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I was 9 years old back in the summer of ‘69, a boy whose suburban neighborhood and world were filled with riding bikes, scouring the golf course property lines for errant shots that landed in backyards, swimming in the back yard pool – and baseball.

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The following missive was emailed by me to Chaffee County Commissioner Dave Potts, along with commissioners Giese and Holman last week:

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It’s time to call out all smiley faces to outshine the frowny faces when Chaffee County Commissioners take some public comment during a county work session on the Vertex music festival Monday morning about 10:30 a.m., Sept. 12, at the Buena Vista School District building, following their regular meeting at 9 a.m.

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While our standard policy is 500 words or less for Your View letters to the editor, we will limit election letters to 250 words or less beginning noon, Aug. 24.

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Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about those people who couldn’t wait to spew vile and vitriol on social media at any and every one who didn’t share their opinions.

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If there’s one thing that can be said about last weekend that would be in complete agreement all over town, it’s Vertex shook Buena Vista.

I was there, from Thursday until late Sunday evening, researching everything there was to be seen and heard as thoroughly as possible.

The Vertex music festival brought all genres to be sampled, enjoyed and danced to – and there was dancing everywhere to be watched or joined in – as 8,000 or so souls smiled their way through the weekend.

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Vertex 2016 is a week away, so here’s some things residents pro and con should consider and file with their forgone conclusions:

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An in-district email last Thursday announced Holmes was resigning.

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Because, “challenged to show up and actually live out ‘Can you hear me now?’” might appear to be a bit aggressive.

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Here’s some things from the last couple of months or so I didn’t want to get overlooked or left behind:

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I can understand teachers being upset at the way the change was handled, and that could and should have been handled better and with more communication. That way, it wouldn’t have the appearance of being shoved through.

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We contacted Colorado’s Petroleum Marketers Association director Mark Carson, who advised, then admonished us to be careful using the word collusion.

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You’d think Buena Vista was doomed to be the set for a bad sci-fi movie about a pot-smoke fueled apocalypse where doobie-smokin’ bearded hipsters and the like are turned into zombies looking for brain munchies.

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The idea of bringing upwards of 20,000 festivalgoers to Buena Vista is an exciting one, especially considering the outstanding job Madison House Presents did last year with Salida’s Gentlemen of the Road event.

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For those with a religious perspective, it was Intelligent Design. Those who worship science often ridicule creationists for being naive, but to me, it’s just a question of where you put your faith.

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When livestock get branded, the hot iron burns hair and hide, and presumably, if you are the animal, hurts a little. At least I think it would.

An expected $1.5 million in revenues would be earmarked for emergency medical services, the dispatch center and emergency management office.

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In this gig, one has to be part duck, and just let the barbs slide off the end of the tailfeathers. It comes with the turf, quite literally sometimes.

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 “Please try again later,” the annoying voice on the recording said. Paperweight? Or Frisbee? I don’t own one of those really expensive gadgets and I’m not locked into a contract, so the Frisbee choice was a real temptation.

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Two years after the project began, the board backed off late last month when an independent appraiser valued the property at what can only be described as bargain basement prices.

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Camping under the tall Ponderosa pine at Woodsy Rock is a popular destination in Fourmile. The graffiti was up a cleft in the rock formation to the right of the tree.

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All across the West, special interests are fanning the flames of a wildfire set to consume public access – my access and your access – to public lands.

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The old Texaco station was built at the key intersection of Main Street and U.S. 24 in 1948 for three reasons – say it with me: “Location, location, location,” – the most basic of real estate rules.

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Then on Tuesday, our door to our Facebook friends was closed and locked by the lords of social media.

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The just-concluded year showed a number of things readers already knew. Buena Vista is a very generous community, from helping strangers and families in need to supporting dozens of worthwhile events and causes throughout the year, both financially and through volunteerism.