Read what your neighbors are saying about political differences and the intention behind holiday gifts.


To the citizens of Cripple Creek:

As your mayor, I would like to thank every citizen of Cripple Creek in helping to keep the COVID-19 virus from spreading in our city.

Through social distancing, wearing masks and good common sense we have kept the virus to a minimum in Cripple Creek.

We would like to show our first responders how much they are appreciated for the many hours they have put in helping our community stay safe. Also our staff and all of the departments have worked very hard in keeping our city operating under these very difficult times. Thank you all for your dedication, it is appreciated very much.

We are awaiting the restrictions to be lifted so our restaurants, shops and casinos can get back in full operation. Again, thank you for your patience through these difficult times, together we will get through this.

Milford Ashworth, Mayor

Cripple Creek


Generosity abounds in Cripple Creek

Penrose St. Francis Primary Care at the Cripple Creek-Victor Mountain Health Center (CCV MHC), School-Based Health Center and the Cripple Creek-Victor School District would like to thank the Cripple Creek ELKS BPOE No. 316 for an amazing $2,000 grant to support the health of our students for the past eight years. Students were given information on the importance of eating fruits and vegetables in an assembly presentation. This grant funding is used for medications, health and dental needs, along with other medical needs. Thank you for helping our students stay healthy and in school.

In partnership with Penrose St. Francis, we at the health center remain open to all health care needs for the entire community. New patients are welcome from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Thursday (there are modified hours currently) with the provider, Alessandra “Ali” Bullis, FNP. There are virtual visits, in-person non-sick visits and sick visits. Please call 719-776-4310, for appointments.

Student registrations must be completed each school year with a parent present at the first visit. Teller County Public Health and Environment has a satellite office co-located within the building and provides immunizations, confidential/reproductive health services, and Women Infants and Children (WIC) services to our students and the community. Please call them directly at 719-687-6416 to schedule an appointment. Counseling services are available onsite.

Call me — Laureen Murray, School Nurse, CCV MHC Coordinator — if you need assistance to pay for medications or any physical health visits at 719-689-9230, ext. 2393.

Laureen Murray 

Cripple Creek


Authentic freedom

Freedom is not an individual absolute! Freedom is not limitless! This old line demonstrates: “The freedom to swing one’s fist ends where the other person’s nose begins.”

Freedom to do whatever one wishes is limited by laws precisely because one individual’s freedom most definitely ends when that individual’s actions threatens the freedom of another to remain alive or not be assaulted, or that other’s property, or that other’s livelihood — among many examples.

The current actions by protestors claiming that they think freedom only truly exists if they are free to refuse to do whatever government officials require them to do, when those officials are seeking only to protect and serve the health and well-being of the citizens they were elected to protect and serve—even including those very same protestors, whether they want it or not — demonstrates precisely that it is not authentic freedom whatsoever, but intentional and reckless willingness to threaten the freedom of living of others. Yes, COVID-19 has been that life-threatening — just ask anyone connected to the nearly 85,000-and-still-counting dead.

Without debate or question, no individual’s freedom is authentically dependent on refusing to wear a mask, or refusing to social distance. All those who have fought and died in wars for our freedom did not do so for the freedom to refuse to wear masks or social distance, thus possibly endangering the lives of others.

Freedom does not exist in an individual vacuum! Freedom only makes good-and-worthwhile sense within a framework of freedom with responsibility. This means there is no actual reality of only individual freedom because all individuals live within some connection to other individuals — that is, within some connection to community. Freedom to act depends on whether or not those actions negatively affect or limit the freedom of others. Freedom for living is definitely dependent on being responsible for one’s actions toward and with others. That is the primary basis for most laws that appropriately limit freedom.

So, when any of us hears that demand to be free to not wear a mask or not, or to be free to social distance or not, know that this is not an appeal for authentic freedom, but a demand to be allowed to threaten the authentic freedom of others to live. Please do not support such demands! These demands are reckless endangerment.

And those who say they are Christian while making such demands, where did Jesus ever say that endangering the lives of others is compassionate living? You are actually disobeying his teachings to love others as you love yourself, and to do for others what you want them to do for you. Please stop the demands and follow Jesus in loving others. Thank you.

Rodney Noel Saunders

United Methodist Pastor, Retired



Re: "Teller County nears limit on its $200,000 COVID-19 reserve" (May 4):

I think that it is shameful to charge Teller County $10,000 per month during a national health crisis, for rent on a building space that has been sitting empty for years. Maybe Gold Hill Square South LLC can now find the funds to have the City Market parking lot striped properly, it is currently a confusing mess!

Leslie St. Onge

Woodland Park


Safely support Teller County businesses

I strongly believe that it is important to support our local businesses in Teller County.

As a 40-plus-years resident, there are many businesses I want to see continue and thrive. But I also feel that it is important during these challenging times for businesses to want to keep their customers safe. In fact, based on the Colorado Safer at Home requirements for operating a business, one of the requirements is to “Wear gloves and face coverings or masks during all customer interactions and whenever possible during other work activities.”

Unfortunately, I am seeing many employees of businesses in Teller County that are not bothering to take even this small precaution in order to protect their customers and make them feel as safe as possible to patronize their business. I know that many people feel that wearing masks is unnecessary or infringing on their freedoms, but if you want to encourage customers to return, this approach will not work for me or my family. And keep in mind that in this day and age of online shopping opportunities, I can easily avoid an unsafe shopping experience locally by getting what I need through the mail.

Please don’t force me and my family to take this approach, I would much rather support a local business that not only wants to thrive but also cares about the health and well being of the community that supports it.

Denise Snow



Phil Mella for Teller County Commissioner

Here are three reasons Phil will be a great choice for Teller County Commissioner:

  1. Business Experience — Phil will bring his strong business experience to local government. Phil had a successful business career for over 35 years in healthcare management and Director of Business Operations for a large medical group in Colorado Springs managing multimillion-dollar budget. This type of business experience is priceless and can be and will be a tremendous asset while serving as County Commissioner whose primary responsibility is fiscal governance.
  2. Public Service — Phil served for over seven years on the Woodland Park City Council and 4 of those years as Mayor Pro Tem. Phil also served on the City of Woodland Park’s Planning Commission. These experiences are critical to understanding the needs and challenges of our local community. Just as important is Phil’s commitment to volunteering on local boards such as: Board of Trustees of our local hospital; Board of Directors, Help the Needy; Board of Directors, Rampart Library District Foundation Board; and he currently serves on the 4th Judicial District Nominating Commission. These volunteer opportunities round out the experience needed to be an effective local elected official.
  3. Integrity — I’ve worked closely with Phil for over seven years while he served on Woodland Park City Council and Phil always displayed honesty while being respectful and truthful. Phil listens, is grounded in his conservative beliefs, attempts to build consensus with an open mind with an eye toward consensual solutions that are innovative and thoughtful while keeping an eye on limitations of fiscal realities.

Phil is also one who engages with the citizens, in particular those whose voices aren’t always represented when public policy is discussed.

I am confident he will bring those same skills to his work as Teller County Commissioner. Therefore, I am endorsing Phil for commissioner and strongly urge you to vote for him as he will be a strong advocate for conservative governance and defender of our liberties.

Jim Ignatius

Teller County Commissioner (2003-2013)

Colorado Springs


Vote Rusterholtz for County Commissioner

This is intended for my community to gain a little information on the upcoming election at the end of June. We have two candidates running for Teller County Board of Commissioners in District 1 to replace Marc Dettenrieder, whose term has ended.

I was recently given an assignment in my college English class that required me to research a problem that exists within my community that affects the entire community. It required that I write a Letter of Advocacy with a solution for the problem, addressed to someone who would have the authority to make the change.

My plan was to contest the prohibition of retail recreational marijuana establishments, Teller County Ordinance No. 18, which took effect in 2014 under the county commissioners' authority. I learned about the upcoming election and that Mr. Dettenrieder would soon be replaced as County Commissioner.

Since he is at the end of his term, I thought I would try to get the opinions from the candidates running to replace him. I was hoping the candidates might help point me in the right direction to conduct my research. To be honest, I did not expect either candidate to respond at all, but still I sent emails to Dan Williams and David Rusterholtz simply asking them "Where do you stand on Ordinance 18? Do you think the ordinance should be reconsidered or at least updated?" I briefly explained my assignment and how their opinion or feedback would be appreciated.

Rusterholtz replied that same day. He was very cooperative and patient with me, making sure all my questions were answered. I felt like he respected me and respected my intentions.

Days later, I received a response from Dan Williams. I must have made a typo when I sent Mr. Williams the email that said Ordinance No. 08 when I meant to type Ordinance No. 18. A comment correcting my typo was the only help Williams had time to give. He said he wouldn’t want to risk his own integrity by answering me. He was busy with the COVID-19 crisis and couldn’t help.

The way Williams responded to me made me feel negative in so many ways. It made me discouraged about the entire assignment after receiving his email.

To allow recreational distribution of cannabis could possibly double the county's revenue and provide employment opportunities and accumulate non-local consumers (tourism).

I received a follow-up email from Rusterholtz later that week, making sure there was nothing else he could do to help me. Once again making me feel as if what mattered to me was at least worth a moment of time.

I’m sharing my experience in hopes that when the time for election comes that Williams is recognized for his true colors as well as Rusterholtz for his. It became instantly clear to me through my school assignment that there is only one choice as to who should win the vote of Teller County for District 1 commissioner.

I feel it would not be fair to my community for me not to speak about the way I was treated by each candidate. I would never want my neighbor to feel the way Williams made me feel that day. The only power I feel I have to prevent that from happening is by voting this election in favor of Rusterholtz for showing me respect. 

Cody Michalko



Letters to the editor are published on a space-available basis, first-come, first-served in The Courier and/or online at pikespeakcourier.com. Send letters to michelle.karas@pikespeaknewspapers.com. Priority goes to letters 250 words or fewer. Letters should have the author's full name, address and phone number for verification purposes. The Courier reserves the right to edit submissions. No more than one letter per person will be published per month.

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