E L B E R T C O U N T Y, C O L O R A D OA publication of
February 12, 2015VOLUME 120 | ISSUE 2 | 7 5
ELBERT COUNTY NEWS(USPS 171-100)
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A legal newspaper of general circulation in Elizabeth, Colorado, the Elbert County News is published weekly on Thursday by Colorado Community Media. PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID AT ELIZABETH, COLORADO and additional mailing o ces.
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Full-time library director post cut Kari May will be leaving at the end of this week By Rick Gustafson Special to Colorado Community Media
Citing budgetary matters, the Pines and Plains Library District Board of Trustees voted 3-1 on Jan. 28 to eliminate the full-time director position, meaning Kari Mays job will end Feb. 13.
The proposed change had been the subject of a special meeting on Jan. 12, and the board followed up with the vote at its regular-ly scheduled meeting.
Susan St. Vincent, board president, said the board convened the special meeting to address bud-getary concerns that came to a head in December.
At that December meeting, she said, it was brought to the boards attention that during the fi nancial brokers effort to refi nance the Elizabeth Branch building loan, there was only one bank interested in taking on the risk of this loan.
Financial projections point to contin-ued defi cits within the district through 2021. The board cited a number of factors including declining property tax reve-nues and disappointing fundraising results tied to the districts continuing defi cit, a defi cit that has forced it to rely on proceeds from the sale of the old Elizabeth Library and the Carlson Building to supplement revenues.
We are choosing to be proactive in this situation and not waiting until it is a crisis beyond recovery, St. Vincent said. The board is committed to continuing servic-ing our patrons at the present level; this is a priority.
In the past, the board has implemented other efforts to ease the strains on the dis-tricts budget such as a reduction of branch service hours and employee working hours. St. Vincent anticipates that the re-fi nancing of the Elizabeth Branch building and the elimination of the full-time direc-tor position will eliminate the requirement for additional cuts in the near future.
May has been the public face for the district since she moved to Elizabeth to ac-cept the job as the districts full-time direc-tor in 2008.
During her tenure, May oversaw two upgrades to the library districts catalogu-ing systems, the relocation of the Elizabeth Library from East Main Street to its pres-ent location on Beverly Street, and the rebranding of the district from the Elbert County Library District to the Pines and Plains Library District last fall.
May also held the position as the president of the Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL), serving as elected presi-dent, president and past president under the organizations three-year leadership structure. CAL membership is made up of librarians, library employees and other institutions that support intellectual free-dom, offers professional development, and provide the opportunity to network with librarians and civic leaders.
In a news release issued after the meet-ing, the board expressed its appreciation for Mays service to the district and wished her good luck in her future endeavors.
Ms. May has brought a high level of
Court-appointed volunteers help youths traverse the foster system By Christy Steadman [email protected]
They are managers of fraud investigations, homemakers and customer-account and mar-keting managers.
But to the children they are assigned, they are a friend to play video games or watch movies with, a tutor for homework help or someone to take them to the park or mall.
Most of all, they are a trusted adult the child can talk to.
They are Court Appointed Special Advocates.CASAs have no other reason to be there ex-
cept for the kid, said Kevin Gedeon, a CASA vol-unteer since spring 2012. Theyre always good kids, but they are in the worst imaginable situ-ations.
The advocates are volunteers appointed by a judge or magistrate to children involved in a de-pendency or neglect case, said Kristen Kunz, 18th Judicial District CASA program director. The case will involve either imminent risk of harm to the child or familial struggles. Poverty is not consid-ered a struggle, Kunz said, but may go hand-in-hand with challenges that do qualify physical, sexual or substance abuse, mental illness or do-mestic violence.
The process begins once a court case is trig-gered, Kunz said, and a child is entered into the custody of social services and placed in a foster home. An advocate is matched with a family, generally, within 60 days of the case opening. The advocate stays with the family until the case closes, she said, which averages about 12 to 18 months.
The Department of Human Services works to help get families back on track, Kunz said, and advocates do a lot of the legwork investigating what is in the childs best interest.
Its easy to think that once a case is in the courts, everything just takes care of itself, said C.J. Whelan, Centennial city councilmember, District 4, but that is far from the truth.
A reliable presenceCASA provides the resource that helps the
child as they traverse the system, he said.Advocates are the voice for the children in the
foster system, said Yolanda Bryant, a CASA vol-unteer since 2006. We are those childrens advo-cate until they are reunited with their families or are adopted by a new, forever family.
Its hard on children if they are placed into a strange home, or if they have been abused by a parental fi gure, Gedeon said.
Their whole world has been completely de-
molished, he said. It puts everyday worries into perspective, in comparison to a young kid whose world is upside down.
Often, a childs advocate is the most consis-tent person in their life, Bryant said. The child can always rely on their CASA, she said, whether its spending time together as a trusted friend or as a confi dant to discuss any issues the child may be experiencing at the foster home or school.
You try and talk to them as much as you can fi nd out how things are going, Gedeon said. It makes a big impression on them to see a stranger who cares.
CASA is the only volunteer opportunity writ-ten into law, Kunz said. Therefore, advocates re-ceive court orders that allow them access to rel-evant information to best help the child, she said. Such information includes details on therapy sessions, and school, medical and court records.
The written reports, which are submitted by a childs advocate at every court hearing, Kunz said, often are the main vehicle for advocacy in the courtroom.
CASAs really get to know these kids. You help the judge and lawyers make the choices that are in the best interest of the child, Bryant said. Sometimes youre the only one in the courtroom who really knows the child.
Closing the communication gap is key to be-ing an advocate, said Josiane Edy, a CASA volun-teer since 2007.
Yolanda Bryant wrote One Child at a Time: The Mission of a Court Appointed Special Advocate with the hope that the book will lead others to volunteer for CASA. In the book, Bryant tells Kellys story. Kelly is a 3-year-old girl that Bryant championed as she went through the foster care system. She is pictured here with her canine companion, Abba. Courtesy photo s
Yolanda Bryant has been a CASA volunteer since 2006. She wrote the book, wrote One Child at a Time: The Mission of a Court Ap-pointed Special Advocate with the hope that the book will lead others to volunteer for the organization.
e voice for the children
CASA continues on Page 14 Library continues on Page 14
2 Elbert County News February 12, 20152
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Bands to battle on Kiowa stage Groups compete for cash, prizes, opportunity By Rick Gustafson Special to Colorado Community Media
The second High Plains Battle of the Bands is set for Feb. 21 at the Elbert County Fairgrounds in Kiowa. The competition features six bands competing in a head-to-head competition for cash, prizes and the opportunity to perform at the 2015 Eliza-beth Music & Art Festival.
The organizer and president of Peak Events, Mike Anthony, said that the six bands participating are school-aged mu-sicians ranging from middle school to high school, coming from across the Front
Range, including Douglas County, Denver and even as far away as Fort Collins.
There are two types of battles of the bands, Anthony says. The fi rst type is where the band plays for a panel who judg-es their musical ability. Ours isnt like that. Ours is a pure popularity contest.
Each band will have a 30-minute win-dow to set up, perform and strike. Audience members then vote for their favorite band via a text network, donated by Viaero Wire-less in Elizabeth, that tabulates the results