Updated: May 6, 2005 at 12:00 am
PALMER LAKE - The day well water finally began flowing into Palmer Lake, Jeff Hulsmann stepped away as the volunteer lake restoration committee’s spokesman. Hulsmann, co-owner of a Mexican restaurant in Palmer Lake, was arrested in an April 26 raid on suspicion of allowing illegal gambling. Twenty-two people who allegedly were playing poker in Guadala Jarra were also arrested that night on suspicion of professional gambling. Hulsmann’s common-law wife and restaurant co-owner Peggy Jardon was arrested Thursday, bringing the total arrests to 24. Hulsmann told the Palmer Lake Town Board that his arrest had made it impossible for him to continue as the voice for the lake committee. “The focus needs to be on the Awake the Lake committee, not Jeff Hulsmann,” he said. “I’ll still remain active behind the scenes, but as far as being spokesman, this is the last time I’ll address the town.” The two board members who also sit on the committee, Chuck Cornell and Gary Coleman, thanked Hulsmann for his work with the group. Hulsmann led the effort to use town well water to fill Palmer Lake, which receded to a few large puddles in the past four years. The Awake the Lake committee has raised more than $40,000 to refill the lake and hosted an April 16 celebration the day the tap was scheduled to open. An outdated pump and a broken pipe delayed the refilling, but water was released Thursday morning. The committee’s goal is to fill it in time for the town’s annual fishing derby June 4. The Awake the Lake committee is pursuing a long-range solution, seeking permanent storage rights that would allow it to use water from reservoirs above the town. Hulsmann, 48, and Jardon, 41, were arrested on suspicion of allowing illegal gambling at an establishment licensed to sell liquor, a felony, and suspicion of professional gambling and operating a gambling premises, both misdemeanors.