During the most recent Las Animas County Commissioner’s meeting, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s representative Kathy Garcia was in attendance to report on several topics the commissioners felt were important for Las Animas County and its residents.
“I gave you each a copy of the bills the senator passed last year and things he has worked on,” said Garcia. “This week the Senate is working on the trade agreement, the USMCA, which will replace NAFTA. Judge nominees are going through that as well and also looking at the new administrator for the Small Business Administration this week.”
Garcia added that there is still a holdup in regards to the presidential impeachment hearings.
“Right now as you know the Senate is in limbo,” said Garcia. “House Speaker Pelosi has not yet turned over the articles of impeachment. I don’t know if the Senate is going to put a deadline and then start their own trial. I don’t know what’s going on yet. Hopefully, we’ll know by the end of the week.”
Additionally, she asked that if anyone happened to spot any of the drones that were mentioned in the January 8 edition of The Chronicle-News, to report that information to the county and for the county to let her know immediately.
“As you have heard, there are drones flying around in eastern Colorado,” said Garcia. “There was a meeting yesterday that my colleague attended with the FBI, law enforcement, and FAA, and they’re trying to figure out where these drones are coming from. If you see any down here, please let me know right away because we’ve got to get this taken care of. I did receive calls from Otero County as they saw some in their county.”
Commissioner Tony Haas added that a friend from Otero County had further informed him of these drone sightings.
“A friend of mine in Otero County said these aren’t little drones,” said Haas, “they’re very large drones with eight-foot wing spans and there’s several of them, maybe six or eight, flying in formation. He said these are $100,000 drones at least that are doing this.”
“This matter is something [FBI and FAA] have been researching and we don’t know if it’s part of the military, where they’re coming from, or if they’re spying on us or have weapons,” said Garcia. “We don’t know yet.”
Garcia wrapped up her comments by clearing the air around potential rumors circulating regarding an expansion of Pinion Canyon.
“I’d like to remind you that there was a law that Senator Gardner, Congressman at the time, passed in 2013, December 26, that prohibits the army from expanding Pinion Canyon without going back to Congress,” said Garcia. “Keep that in mind and if you hear anyone say they are expanding, let me know because they’re not.”
In addition to Garcia’s presentation to the commissioners, Commissioner Luis Lopez brought some light to recent discussions surrounding Cougar Canyon.
“Yesterday [January 6] we met with our county assessor and had a discussion regarding Cougar Canyon,” said Luis Lopez. “This is one of the big hot topics in the community as well. Our assessor gave us a lot of information regarding the properties and back taxes due on a lot of the properties out there. Keep your ears open and hopefully the city and the county will be able to work side by side in helping to resolve these issues out there.”
The majority of the meeting was spent considering some basic housekeeping resolutions for the county for 2020. This included resolutions designating KCRT-FM as the official radio station, and The Chronicle-News and Huerfano World Journal as official publications for Las Animas County.
Commissioners also heard the reading of resolutions establishing dates and times for conducting regular and periodic meetings, holiday’s observed, hours of operation, and posting locations. Those posting locations will be the county website as well as a bulletin board posted at the West entrance and in front of the Commissioner’s Chambers of the Las Animas County Courthouse.
A consideration of a resolution designating Dixon Waller and Company as fiscal auditor for the county and a license renewal for Trinidad Ambulance District were accepted, along with a unanimous acceptance of opposition to the reintroduction of wolves to the state, which is discussed in more detail in the January 9 issue of The Chronicle.
Lastly, Raymond Odem was unanimously accepted as Veteran Service Officer (VSO).
“I’d be honored to nominate Raymond Odem for the VSO Service Officer,” said Haas. “He’s done a fantastic job in my opinion and received several notices of achievement from the military for what he’s been doing here in Las Animas County. He’s an honorable and knowledgeable person for this position and I’d like to keep him there.”
As the meeting was the first commissioner’s meeting of the year, Luis Lopez said he has high hopes for continuing the positive path Las Animas County has established over the past year.
“I’m looking forward to a new year and to being as productive as this county has been this past year,” said Luis Lopez. “We’ve done extremely well as far as productivity as a board, as a county and collectively with our staff.”