A new phase of service
A Gazette article (“Center for Homeless Veterans Closes Doors”, June 11, 2022) noted that the Crawford House was discontinuing substance abuse and transitional housing services to former military members after 22 years. This unfortunate conclusion was caused by a lack of referrals from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which has been the sole contractor for Crawford House programs. The Colorado Veterans Resource Coalition (CVRC), which operates the Crawford House, has lobbied the VA to provide more veteran placements under its existing contract; sadly, these requests have not been accommodated.
Crawford House referrals from the VA have fallen dramatically during the COVID pandemic as funding flowed to other vehicles such as the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program. While the GPD program undoubtedly helps veterans by providing up to $60 per day for housing, it does not provide or require participation in substance abuse treatment plans or drug testing, as was required under the Crawford House program.
VA placements fell to zero this year, as the Crawford House now sits empty and running at a deficit.
The CVRC recognizes the critical role previously filled by the Crawford House in the Colorado Springs military veteran community. While we are no longer able to operate in our past capacity, the coaltion is exploring transition options for a new phase of service that will complement existing community programs — we are not simply shutting down. The CVRC remains committed and determined to help our veterans for another 22 years and beyond.
Stephen R. Coutant
Funding for museum, parks
A few months ago, I was invited to join the Pioneer Museum’s Acquisition Committee, a group of mostly senior citizens who serve an unpaid five-year term to help the city-owned Pioneers Museum acquire, manage and appropriately stored thousands of mostly Colorado Springs historical artifacts.
Among the thousand items is the bed of our city founder, Gen. William Jackson Palmer, a Union officer, his saddle, and a host of similar items from across the many important people of all racial and ethnic groups who have made Colorado Springs the jewel of the Rockies.
I was honored to be asked to join. However, after a few months on the committee I have discovered we are underfunding and to some level mismanaging a gigantic positive city owned asset our museum and our parks. When my grandkids (now all adults) were children, I took them to the museum. It was a positive, educational, and enjoyable experience.
I am calling on the mayor and City Council to take steps to expand or increase the budget line item for the museum, in such a manner that will improve storage, maintenance, transportation and personnel. I dare say, if we can afford a penny of a dollar for tax for improved roads, curbs, and bridges, and related infrastructure, then we can afford a penny or a faction of a penny to improve our Pioneers Museum and our parks. As many of us know many parks are used by some pet owners as bathrooms. This restricts park usage by many citizens especially young families with small children.
Yet again, I am urging Mayor John Suthers and the City Council to take immediate decisive action to increase funds for our wonderful Pioneers Museum and our 135 city parks. Possible sources of revenue half penny tax: hotels, rental cars, fire arms, alcohol and marijuana sales.
Addressing rewolfing in Colorado
Thanks to Sean Paige for a truthful perspective and forecast in Sunday’s Gazette addressing the Rewolfing, (and other wild things) of Colorado. Our governor will not have the livestock producer’s back, as in some states. He has a dismal report card in agriculture-related issues and appointments.
Just as we have the right to defend ourselves, livestock is private property, and Colorado livestock owners should have the right to kill any predator that is killing their livestock on their private land. Per “The Fence Post”, (an agricultural-related publication), despite advice from the 16 or so experts, rancher Don Gittleson has had six claims, or losses since December and been paid for one.
Developers and water
In a recent Gazette article on the potential annexation of the Kane Ranch, the article states that “Colorado Springs is appealing to developers because it has invested in extensive water supplies from outside the area to serve growth.” It further states that “Utilities is planning to serve nearly 54% more people.” Why?
Why are we, the current ratepayers, under watering restrictions of three days per week while our City Council, who also oversees Utilities operations and rates, continues to promote growth and expansion of our community with limited resources.
Don’t get me wrong! I am all for water conservation efforts, but I am against water restrictions when we are using this strategy to continue to allow for developments to be annexed into our city.
Economic viability coupled with managed growth is important for our community, but let’s not let the City Council restrict our water resource use to satisfy the development community.
Pence isn’t a noble hero
It is galling to hear Mike Pence suddenly becoming a “hero” for refusing to try overturning the results of the 2020 election. The man spent four years gazing at Donald Trump adoringly while Trump lied to the American people, going along with everything Trump said and did, acting like nothing but a lapdog. Now suddenly the man is a hero because he did one thing that was the lawful thing to do? He didn’t do it because he is such a moral person. He did it because he knew he would be in deep you-know-what if he didn’t.
He would like to run for office, continue his career in politics, etc. The man isn’t a noble hero, he’s trying to save his own neck.