Commissioner McCracken whips up leadership

Photo by Patrick Shea On Feb. 21, Saguache County employees and volunteers distributed boxes of provisions to residents at the Lazy KV Estates and then later (pictured here) across the street from Crestone Town Hall.

SAGUACHE — Commissioner Tom McCracken has consistently questioned food bank conundrums throughout Saguache County in recent months, and he went on record again on Feb. 21 to ask for leadership from county employees. While Social Services Director Christina Wilson delivered her report to commissioners, her staff members delivered provisions to Lazy KV Estates residents in the morning and Crestone in the afternoon.

Counting trucks with families, more than two dozen residents received boxes with provisions and bags of food in Crestone. Five or six people picked up Everyday Eats applications to register to receive food and commodities from the county. Rescheduled from the snowstorm of Feb. 14, the delivery is not the only food bank operating in Crestone.

Every Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Baca Grande Property Owners Association Library, residents can participate in another regularly scheduled food bank distribution run by Crestone volunteers.

McCracken questioned what appeared to him to be a duplication of effort.

“I would like to see the county take the lead,” McCracken said. “That’s our job, is the way I look at it. Public health, too. We should find a way to provide services in places that are underserved.”

Commissioners Lynne Thompson and Liza Marron seemed to agree to accompany Wilson for a meeting with the Food Access Coalition on March 3.

Before the department head reports, the board recognized David Frees for receiving the 2022 Emergency Manager of the Year Award for the San Luis Valley. Members of Search and Rescue operations and other emergency professionals from across the valley joined the recognition celebration in the courthouse. In addition to Search and Rescue, Frees devotes time to the fire department out of Villa Grove and is a trained EMS technician who also runs his ranch.

The public comment period featured two tales of blight in Saguache County. A resident in the room encouraged the county to use more carrots than sticks and hoped the community could find a way to help people on hard times who do not have the resources to clean up properties. The following public comment via Zoom seemed directed at legal justification for unregistered motor vehicles on private property, but the man failed to cite the statute number for Commissioner McCracken.

Throughout Colorado, residents who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will notice a sharp reduction at the start of March when the emergency assistance ceases. For a household of four, the funding drop will be approximately $360 below what they have been receiving monthly since the emergency assistance increase began during the pandemic. In the meantime, inflation has risen sharply, perhaps equaling the pre-pandemic spending power of SNAP benefits.