Grand Lake ‘re-do’ election may be in July | SkyHiNews.com

Grand Lake ‘re-do’ election may be in July

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

Grand Lake’s re-do election is hung up in a scheduling snag.

After much deliberation, the town board chose July over September to hasten closure of election 2008, an event muddled by voter disqualifications that altered the outcome.

But that date is in question as Town Clerk/Election Judge Ronda Kolinske awaits a clean registered-voter list under review.

As it stands, Kolinske reported, 25 names have been forwarded to the County Clerk and Recorder through a voter challenge process, names that “are being looked at by the DA’s office,” she said. An added 25 names, with a total of 50, are categorized as “questionable.”

“I want that list made not questionable,” Kolinske said, “to make sure that I have a good registration list.”

Many of the names were deemed suspect prior to the April 1 election, she said.

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State law says special elections may not be held within 32 days before or after the date of a primary or general election.

That meant a juggling of possible dates, with the primary election set for Aug. 12 and the general election on Nov, 4.

Two dates in July and two in September were chosen for Grand Lake’s special election, with July 8 the board’s favorite.

But Kolinske asked the board to table its decision until the next board meeting, May 27, so she can get confirmation that the checklist of voter eligibility is completed.

Town Manager Shane Hale further explained the reason for the delay.

“We don’t want to face the same thing again after the last election,” he said.

Although the two top candidates who ran in the recent election both say they are re-running, any Grand Lake citizen could join the race, according to the town.

In a petition filed in district court shortly after the April 1 election, six names were originally listed as being highly questionable, a list eventually pared down to three names.

In district court last Tuesday, May 7, Judge Mary Hoak found two electors not eligible to have voted in the April 1 election.

This was enough to oust former Glenn Harrington from his two-vote mayoral victory over former Mayor Judy Burke, leaving a vacancy in Grand Lake’s mayoral office.

“I think a lot of second homeowners were encouraged to vote,” the clerk said about voter complications surrounding this past election.

Voters who own property in both Grand Lake and elsewhere should claim only one place of primary residency, where they are qualified to vote.

The clerk said she becomes suspicious of voter eligibility when tax notices, water statements and absentee ballots routinely are sent to someone’s out-of-town address.

The possible glitch of residents voting in two places, prompting clerks like Kolinske to exercise a much keener eye, is hitting many Colorado resort communities where second homeownership rises to 65 percent or above.

“It’s not just in Grand Lake. It’s all over the state of Colorado,” Kolinske said.

Grand Lake chooses to spray

The town of Grand Lake voted to spray its high-value trees for another year, in spite of pleas from some citizens to set an example and cease the use of chemical pesticides.

Citizen Lenny Brooks, in particular, has approached the town with research on chemical hazards.

But the town decided to protect the few green trees it has left.

Carbaryl seems to be the only proven choice, according to Hale, who said he looked into using alternatives.

Trustee Jim Peterson announced that he wants the town to make sure a licensed applicator is hired, and that the licensed person is on-site during spraying.

“If they’re just going to spray away, if that’s what’s going to happen, I don’t want spraying,” he said.

Grand Lake has set up a commercial pesticide applicators meeting for 1 to 4 p.m. May 29 with John Scott of the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the agency that oversees applicator licensure and regulation, at Grand Lake’s Town Hall to further educate applicators. The class provides credit to commercial pesticide applicators.

Hale said the town, too, could help regulate applicators by monitoring work in town.

“We’re going to really have a lot more town presence driving around,” he said, “and assist the state in that way.”

The town plans to spray trees in Thomasson Park, the cemetery, town square and possible trees in the lakefront park.

Having heart for public art

In other news, Grand Lake agreed to contribute $250 for a sponsorship to bring qualified “Creative Class” speakers to Grand Lake. The Grand County Business Economic Development Association (BEDA) and Neville Studios have been awarded a “Small Steps” grant from the Colorado Arts Council for the purpose of educating the community and business leaders in Grand County about the benefits of a Creative Economy and the Appreciation of Public Art. The Grand Lake reception with expert speakers and local and statewide artists will be held on June 6 at the Water’s Edge.

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