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11/28/2013 Thanksgiving: A time to be grateful, think optimistically

Thanksgiving is a time spent with family and close friends, being thankful, and to gain a few pounds in turkey meat. As sweet potatoes and buttered rolls get passed around tables this Thursday, a few elected officials dish about what is forefront in their hearts this year.

Westcliffe Trustee Brian Clince lounged with an afternoon mimosa at his house and chuckled as dozens of little "heathens" ran through the living room.

"Of course, I am most grateful for my family and friends," Clince said. "I’m thankful to have surrounded myself with a strong unit that is always there to tell me when I’m out of line or when I’m doing well."

Clince paused as visiting family members hollered and laughed with each other in the kitchen.

"I’m grateful for my wife," Clince smiled as he continued. "I’m grateful that she keeps me under her thumb. What else does an individual need?"

Westcliffe Mayor Christy Veltrie pondered what she was most grateful for this season as she poured herself hot tea. Customers at Rancher’s Roost chattered over their breakfasts and she began to smile.

"You know," Mayor Veltrie said, "I’m grateful for my family and friends. I’m grateful for a job and a roof over my head. Most important are my family and friends."

Then they were asked a lighthearted, hypothetical question. If they had all the money and the means, what would they do to celebrate Thanksgiving in the town?

"Of course we would have a huge celebration," Clince announced. "We would give out Thanksgiving dinners to every family that wouldn’t have had one otherwise. Then we would do bingo from helicopters with half-thawed turkeys. We would want a really nice splat, not have the turkey bounce off its square."

Clince brainstormed other celebratory ideas, including pumping chunking from one end of Main Street to the other.

"But first and foremost," Clince said, "we would make sure that not one family went without Thanksgiving. If money is no option, it would be spent as a combination of charity and fun. It would be so much fun."

Mayor Veltrie agreed with Clince, stating that she would, "make sure everyone in the valley had a Thanksgiving meal for their families."

On the east side of the valley, Mayor Larry Weber and trustee Lela Craven discussed what they would do if they had access to unlimited resources. Both have good ideas in how to spend it to better their community.

Cravens, who waits tables at Rancher’s Roost, was found there behind the counter, and smiled when she pondered all the things she would do with a pot full of Thanksgiving money.

"First thing I’d do is give our deserving employees a raise…they work hard for us," she said. "Then, next, I’d complete the Geyser Memorial Park. Finally, I’d pave the streets of Silver Cliff!"

She arranges newspapers on the counter. "Paving the streets – that would cost a substantial amount of money!"

Mayor Weber who, interviewed on the phone on Monday, sat in his house waiting for the plow to go by. "I’d love to hire a second person to move the snow and help with roadwork," he said. "The public works supervisor, Troy Hobby, has been plowing since early this morning and he’ll probably be working late tonight."

Weber also stressed the need to take care of Silver Cliff citizens and help people get a holiday meal.

He said, "I’d like to coordinate the Senior Citizens Center to host a meal for those who don’t have families to visit. If folks need help to get together with families, I’d help with that too….send people to be with their families."

Weber stated that he believed families are important.

"I support family," he said. "And if people want to be with family over the holidays, I’d like to make that happen."

Weber concluded the interview saying he had to dash off. He wanted to stop Hobby on his tractor and offer him a cup of coffee.

"He’s been working hard," Weber said. "He deserves a break."


– J.E. Ward and Cyn Williams