First Issue of The Valley Beat!
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Thank you so much and welcome to The
Local Postal Issues Hot Topic Today
** PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE ** Silver
Cliff, Westcliffe and Custer County
Hi All! FYI - Congressman Scott Tipton has
"invited" officials from the U.S. Postal
Service to attend a public meeting to address
the concerns and complaints arising from the
Westcliffe/Silver Cliff Post Office that have
been ignored since last January.
The public meeting will be held on Monday,
JULY 29, from 10:30 a.m. until noon at
Tony's Pizza in Silver Cliff.
The complains range from, but are not
limited to, customer service issues, our
citizens being abused, berated, and
embarrassed (especially our Veterans and
elderly), medications being returned, lost or
damaged packages, mail being returned,
being refused curbside delivery, or being
harassed, annoyed or threatened...
If you've been subject to, or have been
victimized by the USPS at the Westcliffe /
Silver Cliff Post Office please attend and
voice your concerns and specific complaints.
(A full article will be in next week’s issue of
The Valley Beat.)
Senator Cory Gardner Visits The Valley
U.S. Senator, Cory Gardner made a stop in Westcliffe
on Friday, July 12. The purpose of the visit was to
hear from local business owners, residents, and
community leaders what their concerns were and how
he might work on addressing them.
Gardner began the morning in Silver Cliff where he
spoke with Sam Hepp, Owner of Tony’s Mountain
Pizza, along with Commissioner Bill Canda,
Undersheriff Chris Barr, Silver Cliff Mayor Pro-Tem
Sgt. HA “Buck” Wenzel, and Westcliffe Mayor Paul
Wenke, before heading out on a horse-drawn wagon
courtesy of Freeman Miller. While in Silver Cliff, he
also spoke with Willie Quinney and his wife, Cheryl
from the Silver Cliff Mountain Inn, A.K.A. “Willie’s
Place,” Barbara Phillips, owner of Scorpion Gym,
Custer County School board member, Jake Shy, and
Nancy Watson and her son, Paul, an Iraq war veteran.
As the local dignitaries rode along the roads of Silver
Cliff, they shared with the senator the concerns the
town faces with trying to maintain roads and best
serve the citizens of the community on a tight budget.
For decades now, Silver Cliff has faced a shortage in
sales tax revenue due to losing its zip code.
The second stop in the tour was to visit with owner of
Westcliffe Petroleum, Russ Hartbauer. He shared
with Gardner the concerns that a raise in minimum
wage would present to small business owners if the
proposal would pass. Gardner replied that, “you want
people to earn more money and it is by growing the
economy, growing business, and having more people
coming in and getting more people to come to the
business.” The senator also expressed that he would
help Custer County any way he can, including with
grants, letters of support, and anything else his office
Gardner wanted to let the citizens know that with
regards to broadband, “we just introduced and hope
to get it passed, a bill. The federal government holds
all the spectrum and it needs to get out to the private
sector. We think the next auction could be worth $60
billion dollars.” Canda emphasized that the county is
currently working with Sally Clark from the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on a grant
for both municipalities and Custer County, along
with a continuing relationship with the Department of
Local Affairs (DOLA) on broadband support for
more wireless towers to come into the Valley.
Gardner continued, “we will take 10 percent of the
proceeds from the auction, which equates to $6
billion dollars for rural broadband, infrastructure, and
employment. Believe it or not, the bill has bipartisan
agreement,” he chuckled. It is called the “Airwaves
Act.” “Roger Wicker from Mississippi, also a strong
advocate for rural broadband, and Marsha Blackburn
of Tennessee sits on the committee.”
Wenke expressed that there are a lot of consultants
and other professionals that would love to come up to
the Valley to live this lifestyle but they need reliable
high-speed broadband. Gardner stated, “it is beautiful
here. This is where I have to be frustrated with my
ancestors. My ancestors took a wagon and they got
lazy, 10 more days and they could’ve been here. But,
they got lazy and stayed in Yuma!”
The next went further into Westcliffe with a stop
outside of Salty Pine, where he spoke with Angie
Arterburn of Arterburn Fine Arts & Graphics, Sue
Barton of Barton Manor, and John Johnston, owner
of the Courtyard Inn and local real estate expert.
They spoke of the challenges facing local businesses
and expressed how tough it is to make it in Custer
County and the towns. How do we build the area and
also preserve what we already have, at the same
time? Gardner commented that in Yuma, CO where
he is from, it is small and they don’t want to become
another Greeley or Denver. The challenge is the same
we face in the Wet Mountain Valley.
The final stop was down at the Village Shop and a
visit and tour of the store owned by Gary and Janice
Canda presented the senator with the Custer County
seal and a money clip. It was empty, of course but
Canda told Gardner that the next time he sees him in
Custer County, he “wants him coming back with big
The visit took about an hour and a half and in that
time, Gardner was shown our great hospitality, our
challenges, the beauty of the area, and all that makes
the Valley what it is and the importance of keeping
our values such as preserving our heritage, while
growing our economy.
To reach out to Sen. Gardner, please call his local
office in Pueblo at: 719-543-1324
- By Tracy Ballard
- In back: Cathy Garcia, Regional Director for U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner. In front from L: Undersheriff Chris Barr, Westcliffe Mayor Paul Wenke, Owner of Westcliffe Petroleum Russ Hartbauer, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, Custer County Commissioner Bill Canda, and Silver Cliff Mayor Pro-Tem, Sgt. HA “Buck” Wenzel. - Photo by Tracy Ballard