Thanks from Eternal Hills Presbyterian Church and Preschool

What an exciting, delicious, outrageously fun night it was!   We want to thank more than 180 people who attended and 120 people who volunteered to plan, publicize, cook, serve, clean up and manage the traffic at our Annual Soup Supper at Presbyterian Church of the Eternal Hills.  Folks poured into sample 50 homemade soups, breads and desserts—some even brought muffin tins to sample a wide variety. No one went home hungry!

We also want to thank Winter Park Times for its generous publicity of our event through its Community Calendar. This is a very important communication resource for our wide-spread community.
Thank you very much, Michael Turner, Mary and staff!

All the donations will benefit Eternal Hills Christian Preschool. Preschool parents, staff and the church congregation co-sponsored this fun event to help our preschoolers and families from all over Grand County.  

Thank you to everyone who supported us and who shares our love for children!  

From Eternal Hills Preschool and Presbyterian Church of the Eternal Hills

Nancy Henry

Granby, Colorado


To the Editor:

I am writing this letter in response to Andy Miller’s column October 20 about Ehren Samuelson’s sawmill and the neighbors that oppose it. Andy reported one side of the argument, here’s another side.

Our property owners at the Valley at Winter Park bought their land and are building mountain retreats with the expectation of peace and quiet and to enjoy the serenity the area offers.  Our community position is that the Special Use Permit being sought by the Samuelson Family so that Ehren can have a sawmill and his wife a wedding venue is not consistent with the quiet, peaceful neighborhood that attracted buyers to our community, nor with maintaining property values.  

Our primary concern is the degree to which noise from the operations of a commercial saw mill and wedding venue would impact our expectation of peace and quiet.  The saw mill on CR 125 can be heard as far as City Market and the saw mill in Fraser can be heard from the rodeo grounds.  Unfortunately, sawmill operations during daytime hours on weekdays and wedding venues on weekends until midnight presents a considerable amount of noise.  Our concerns also include increased usage of the local roads for 75 daily additional trucking traffic and the associated increase in road maintenance, dust, and noise.

The Samuelson family was illegally operating for years without the required Special Use Permit until neighbors began complaining about the noise.  The saw mill operation is in the midst of single family residential neighborhoods and virtually all of the surrounding families will be negatively impacted and have opposed the SUP.  

Deb Thomas-Dobersen
Valley at Winter Park


To the Editor:

Much of this letter is a condensed version of one I sent directly to Andy Miller regarding the misinformed, ill-researched, half-truth column that he recently penned in The WP Times (October 29) supporting the Samuelsons and their non-permitted business ventures. The previous letter addressed his deceiving and misguided article point-by-point with facts which Miller was either unaware of or conveniently left out.

I am one of the neighbors that Mr. Miller spoke against as trying to “severely limit what work can be done on (their) rural, Forest and Open zoned property”.

What he didn’t realize is that when he said “neighbors”, he was not just addressing the 3 of us who live off the same privately owned, single lane, dirt easement that connects the opposed commercial/industrial enterprises to CR519. There are over 100 households, plus several Home Owners Associations, in and around that area that have voiced complaints about everything from noise, dust, light, and traffic nuisances to safety, dumping, liability, fire, environmental, water rights/water use and groundwater contamination issues…all resulting from the Samuelson’s multiple nonpermitted businesses, buildings and ponds. This is not a petty feud.

Mr. Miller failed to share with his readers that on September 27th, the County issued a Cease and Desist letter to Cathy, Dick and Ehren Samuelson because of flagrant and on-going violations of zoning laws.

This C&D was finally obtained after a year+ of documentation, photos providing proof of guilt, and much legal research and assistance. There were attempts by the County to hold three meetings to discuss these findings that were either cancelled or postponed by the opposed, allowing for the non-permitted businesses to continue. I can assure you, the County did not issue the Cease and Desist without confirming that there were gross violations occurring and allowing for every chance possible to resolve this in other ways.

Miller attempted to gain favor for these activities by suggesting that “most” (his words) area farmers/ranchers do the same things that caused this Cease and Desist order to be issued. I wondered if those folks he spoke of would appreciate him saying this, since he all but states that they are also breaking laws. His article appeared to be further suggesting that because the Samuelson name has been around for a long time, they shouldn’t be made to follow the rules and the County should stay out of it.

Miller closed this article by implying that people like myself – and anyone opposed to the Samuelson’s activities – are trying to “design” Grand County and are attempting to control how others “can, and can not, make a living”.

This is simply not true. Speaking for myself, I can simply tell you that I am certainly pro-business but am in favor of the County enforcing their laws.

I believe that many of the fictitious and fact-lacking points Miller made were done to scare readers into thinking that there were going to be unfavorable County-wide changes should the laws be enforced. He also tried putting readers into an uncomfortable position of having to side against people that they might know and like, if they support those laws. I know that having to go against one of my neighbors does not feel right to me either, but because of what has been said by Mr. Miller and because of the negative impact I have witnessed regarding these issues, I have been left no choice but to take sides, try and get the actual facts out and work with the County to uphold the process to enforce their own laws.

I do not know why Miller would take the side of not following County laws … one would think that as a Board of Trustee in Fraser, Miller would be in favor of – if not required to –uphold those laws. When you look on the website, under the Government tab, Miller’s name appears directly above the paragraph on Values Statement…a statement that includes the word FAIRNESS. I would venture to say that there will be a large number of people that once they know the facts, would not believe that what he wrote would be considered fair.

Additionally and in support of that assumption, I have been made aware that Mr. Miller is fighting a Fraser company about many of the very same issues, but in “his town” (Fraser) he is against the business owner, while in “my town” (Tabernash) he is for them. In my opinion, his “fake news” was not written to be an ethical, honest or informative view on this subject. While I know it was an OPINION column – and everyone is entitled to an opinion – he has taken this to a different level because of his local leadership position, his lack of actual knowledge about this issue and his double-sided view of the laws – the very laws he was elected to uphold.

In my opinion, he has shown himself to be an embarrassment to the public process in attempting to sway public opinion by distributing illegitimate and sensationalized information prior to the official hearing.

The location of the property that is under scrutiny is rural, agricultural, and at the end of a lane where each resident owns their own section of the easement. It is not a public, nor a county road. The Samuelsons own the smallest section of that easement. When Mr. Miller spoke of “bottomless generosity” in the same breath and paragraph where he talks about being “good people to know” – he certainly could not be aware that although the opposed do maintain this easement, they charge their neighbors $150 an hour for that service. Additionally, readers may find it helpful to know that those he favored are the last house on that lane and as such need the service they charge others for the most. There is also much documentation to support the fact that their use accounts for the vast majority of traffic and wear-and-tear to that road caused by their large trucks, trailers, construction equipment and simple vehicle volume contributed by employees, customers, etc.

When my husband and I purchased our property, no one told us of this aspiring commercial park up the road. Why? Because no one knew. Many of the commercial operations are not allowed in that area and so those opposed never obtained any of the Special Use Permits that were required. When neighbors had had enough, forcing SUP applications to be made, the applicants then did everything in their power to not allow/attend scheduled hearings – hearings where those affected would have been allowed to discuss grievances and attempt to get resolution.

Prior to purchasing we researched the area and discovered that most of the land around us had been placed into Conservation Easements. Again, this fact led us to believe that we were in an area that was not allowing commercial/industrial use. The neighbors directly between us and the Samuelsons did this without regard as to how this designation might lessen their ability to sell in the future and, in fact, may lower the price that they can get per acre. They did this because of their strong desire to protect the environment, wildlife and to curtail development.

I’m not sure why anyone lucky enough to live in this area would want to invite traffic, noise, liability, pollution, etc. to the doorstep. I’m assuming it has to do with the all-mighty dollar, because the opposed already has a successful, established outfitting business and tells of extended exotic vacations, owns pricey equipment including bulldozers, front end loaders, massive storage facility, sawmill and other large-scale items used for their road maintenance, fencing and construction businesses. They also have over 30 head of quality horses used in the outfitting business, and very expensive greenhouses that are home to their cannabis grow.

This issue most certainly does not appear to be about making a living, as Mr. Miller’s article suggests.

There are a myriad of concerns and violations on this property that will be addressed in the future with County and State authorities. For now, those opposed to the commercial/industrial activities off of CR519 have chosen to have faith in the process, take this one step at a time and look forward to finally being able to present their complaints, concerns and supporting documentation in a public forum on November 8th.

Mr. Miller stated in his article that this is a nightmare…on that one single point, I agree.

I would respectfully ask you, Mr. Editor, to curb Mr. Miller’s “update” scheduled for the Nov 3rd column. I believe that the Grand County Zoning and Planning officials should be allowed to do their jobs without his further questionable interference.

Deb Culig Opposed Neighbor