Oak Creek Police Chief Russ Caterinicchio prepares paperwork for court cases in his office Friday afternoon. The Oak Creek Town Board rejected a proposal Thursday to disband the department.

Photo by Brian Ray

Oak Creek Police Chief Russ Caterinicchio prepares paperwork for court cases in his office Friday afternoon. The Oak Creek Town Board rejected a proposal Thursday to disband the department.

Police issue not over

Oak Creek municipal elections just around the corner

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— With Oak Creek's municipal election just more than two weeks away, dueling viewpoints about the Oak Creek Police Department are poised to take center stage.

Mayor J. Elliott proposed an ordinance Thursday that would have disbanded the town's two-officer police department in favor of contracting with the Routt County Sheriff's Office for law enforcement services. Elliott's proposal resulted in his public censure by Town Board members. Elliott is seeking re-election April 1 and is being challenged by former mayor Gerry Greenwood and former trustee Bill Paxton.

Reconciling the divergent views that increased police presence in Oak Creek is either sorely needed or damaging to the community will take many more months, Police Chief Russ Caterinicchio said.

"I'm very pleased with (Thursday's) outcome - but it's not over yet," Caterinicchio said Friday. The department plans to continue doing business as it is has been - professionally and according to the letter of the law, he said.

Elliott's censure, an official reprimand, barred him from further involvement in Town Board discussion of police issues. Trustee Tom Bleuer moved to censure Elliott because of his "inappropriate and vindictive actions."

Many town trustees and members of the public present Thursday, including those who have voiced their displeasure with the police, criticized Elliott's decision to direct the town attorney to draft an ordinance dissolving the department - a decision made without input from the Town Board, public discussion and without research into the cost and details of contracting with the Sheriff's Office.

Saying he represented a large voice in Oak Creek, the mayor previously had refused to recuse himself at the request of Trustee Dave Fisher, who cited Elliott's "obvious conflict of interest" in discussions about the police department.

Elliott owns the Colorado Bar with his wife, Becky Elliott, who was the author and primary circulator of a letter of concern enumerating complaints against the police department. That letter was delivered to the Town Board last month. Some local business owners have complained that increased police presence has hurt their bottom lines.

"This furthers your agenda as a business owner, to dismantle the police department," Fisher said.

The Town Board voted, 4-2, in favor of censure, with John Crawford and Steve "Spike" Beven voting against it. That vote and the board's previous action striking down Elliott's ordinance prompted some local residents to leave the meeting in anger, saying those who seem to favor the police department should not be re-elected.

Trustees Crawford, Beven and Wisecup are seeking re-election April 1. Fisher and Mayor Pro-Tem Angie Krall are not up for re-election this year, and Bleuer is not seeking another term.

The incumbents will be challenged by Larry "L.A." Anderson, David Ege, Bernard Gagne, Wendy Gustafson, Cal Martindale, Ed Paxton, Josh Voorhis and Richard Wisecup.

Comments

katrinkakelly 6 years, 9 months ago

Actually, I would like the RSCO to take care of the ditch!

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bluntman 6 years, 9 months ago

the cheese stands alone... and often smells bad.

J. finally got the hard slap that he deserved for behaving like the former mayor who quit once did. Oak Creek doesn't like to be intimidated or bullied is the word on the street...

now is the time to continue Oak Creek's forward progress. we recieved some solid leadership, accoutability and responsibility at town hall in the last election by voting for the "New Oak Creek". keep the momentum going again this time.

vote for:

Gerry Greenwood for mayor

Chuck Josh Wendy for trustees

Richard would probably be pretty good, too, compared to the rest of the candidates...

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justice4all 6 years, 9 months ago

I for one, congradulate Mayor Elliott for standing up for the obvious majority that stated their opinion in the previous meeting. The Chief has a problem with the way he exibits his authority that comes with the badge. He needs to remember that he is in Oak Creek and not in Chicago. A good officer is one that blends in and displays authority only in a time of need. This is the one quality that is really needed in a small town. The heavy-handed practice now so obvious in our town is one that may cause a problem when an officer needs physical assistance from a by-stander and the only ones there are the ones that have been harassed by the officer now in a jam. I will continue to support Mayor Elliott and encourage everyone to remember that he stood up for what is the obvious desires of the community. VOTE FOR MAYOR ELLIOTT

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shortbus 6 years, 9 months ago

AWESOME! Sounds like Oak Creek is heading down the right path already! Hopefully winds of change are coming.

Good to see the board stand up for the VERY OBVIOUS conflict of interest.

Great job.

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justice4all 6 years, 9 months ago

P S I understand that the Chief had no law enforcement experience before coming to Oak Creek. I was told that he only worked as a security guard in his previous employment. If this is true, this might explain why he does not know how to handle a small town's police business. Can someone with the facts please inform all of us that need to know. Thanks

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bluntman 6 years, 9 months ago

the former mayor who quit appointed him to the job of Poolice commish. she appointed J. as well, go figure. i didn't see anywhere in the article that it said anyone was "bored" with all of the drama. (?)

VOTE FOR THE CANDIDATES WHO REPRESENT PROGRESSIVE THINKING AND A BETTER FUTURE FOR THE COMMUNITY OF OAK CREEK.

GERRY GREENWOOD for MAYOR

CHUCK for TRUSTEE JOSH for TRUSTEE WENDY for TRUSTE RICHARD for TRUSTEE

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bluntman 6 years, 9 months ago

my spell & grammarticularity check is broken today. sorry, all.

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Ms_E_Bronte 6 years, 9 months ago

There are really mixed messages here -- justice4all -- some one TOLD you about the Chief's prior experience, and you took that for gospel? Better check out the facts. Also, the "majority" do not want to get rid of the OCPD -- just want to reach a middle ground. There's room for communication and compromise on both sides.

Why don't you go to town hall and meet with the Chief yourself and check out his resume? That way, as an informed individual, you can educate others. We're impressed that this Chief has reached out to the public and has a respectable VIPS staff on board; not to mention the possibility of getting a B&G club in this town. We haven't gotten this far for our youth since we had a town manager and summer programs. AND, he's always looking into grants to off set expenses AND we're not paying $35/hour for him to do this (that's where VIPS comes in).

We are really disappointed in the mayor's actions this last go around -- while we respect him, we feel he has a problem with ethics/conflict of interest and should have recused himself from any and all discussions/decisions involving OCPD since his wife submitted the letter of concern. For some reason, he's keeping the pot boiling with his latest actions (at the taxpayers' expense) and glossing over other important issues facing the town.

At this point, we agree with bluntman's choices. We need a mayor (and a Board) WITHOUT a personal agenda, and feel Mr. Greenwood fits the bill at this time, especially since he's had prior experience on the Board.

nmyopinion, we don't think Mr. Fisher is a "jerk." After talking with him at length on several occasions, he seems to be pretty well informed about what's going on -- not only with the OCPD, but other important issues facing the town. -- justouropinion.

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contrarian 6 years, 9 months ago

justice4all: If you can open pdf files, you can view what the Chief has written about his background here: http://www.stjoes.org/FileUploads/15186_TODAY_Winter.pdf The file opens his high school alumni magazine where the Chief is discussed on page 4 and page 10. Page 4 states: Russ Caterinicchio '66 As you will read in the classnotes section of this issue, Russ has had an adventurous life He most recently entered the police academy (at the age of 57), graduated third in his class in academics and fourth in skills proficiency, and was sworn in as a police officer. He contacted us to update us on his re-location:"To Colorado to accept the position of chief of police in the Town of Oak Creek in Routt County. Oak Creek is located at the foothills of the beautiful Flattop Mountains in Yampa Valley about 21 miles SW of Steamboat Springs. I will be renting a home on a 35-acre ranch there:I go where the Lord puts me."

The page 10 section has his extensive resume.

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uporpeopleu 6 years, 9 months ago

yes. greenwood has previous experience at buying town property dirt cheap by using his mayoral position. as 4 u're choices bluntman...they are all wrong. john crawford - has more time and experience on the board than all candidates put together. he knows oc and will protect it from those of u who couldn't afford to live in stbt and now want to change oc to be like stbt. bernard gagne- has a serious passion for both the town and her people and would work hard to keep the town as it has been....warm & friendly cal martindale- was born & raised here, is a businessman and is intelligent enough to not follow the newcommer's "need to change" the town. (why'd you new people move here if it is so bad?) dave ege- good man who now happens to have plenty of time on his hands.....the new board will need to have time to sort thru all the crap that has happened since cargo quit. as for jay elliot- very intelligent when it comes to numbers. only one with accounting experience. isn't a yes man to the clerk. should not have tried to dissolve ocpd. bill paxton- long time resident and town servant and honest to the core. bluntman- u wouldn't happen to be kh?

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Ms_E_Bronte 6 years, 9 months ago

Isn't it true that Wendy Guftason is an accountant? And attends most, if not all, board meetings? Wouldn't an accountant have accounting experience?

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aristocat 6 years, 9 months ago

Wasn't Gerry appointed to Mayor and not elected? Has he ever ran for Mayor?

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Ms_E_Bronte 6 years, 9 months ago

Messrs. Greenwood and Elliott were both appointed to their terms as mayor. This is a first time run for both of them.

Did both Paxton's really drop out?

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Slapper 6 years, 9 months ago

I said the mayor "attacked a resident at their place of work". That is unfair and refuse to return to those times of yester year when that word was used so much. Interfere with is a better and accurate phrase. Sorry about that.

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Dave Ege 6 years, 9 months ago

I have absolutely no criminal record. Not even a traffic ticket in over 20 years. I won't comment on any other issue on this blog. Just wanted to clear that up before the rumor mill has me as a meth cooking child molester! Dave Ege

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Slapper 6 years, 9 months ago

you got that right. smart move. want to hear what you have to say on tuesday.

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Slapper 6 years, 9 months ago

Bill Paxton has not dropped out of the race. Ed Paxton has.

Slapper is headed to the penalty box.

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upstream 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree Slapper, it will be very interesting to hear what the candidates have to say come Tuesday. I, for one, may have to excuse myself to the vomitorium if any of them even mention the police department- the grand daddy of all NON issues.

There is NO POINT voting for anyone who: - cannot speak intelligently regarding the genuine issues at hand - does not bring any useful skills/experience to the table - cannot stay awake for meetings ( ie. Spike) or admits to going to bed rather than attend work sessions (ie. Crawford) - views their role on town board as a way to further a personal agenda (ie. Elliott)

After long and careful consideration I must agree with the slapster. For Mayor- Greenwood (Jerry the truck driving voice of reason)

For Trustee- Gustafson (Wendy the CPA) Voorhis (Josh the Forest Service guy) Wisecup (Chuck the Fire Chief) and either Ege or Renegade... depending on what they have to say come Tuesday.

It is very inspiring to see such an outstanding group of people ready to go to work for our town!

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upstream 6 years, 9 months ago

Oh...and so you don't have to wonder: I am not "KH" (whatever that means)

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justice4all 6 years, 9 months ago

My Thanks to all that contributed to my request for help in regards to the Chiefs' credentials. I will use the information that you have provided and do my follow-up. I was asking for help to dispell any unfounded rumors.

I urge everyone to research all the credentials of the candidates and vote your conscience on election day. Do not just consider yourself, do what is best for our town.

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Timberline 6 years, 9 months ago

I think we have some very good canidates running. I have talked to almost all of them running, and I haven't heard any of them say they want to get rid of the Police Department. It sounds to me that a middle ground between the Police and the residents is what the goals is. I think most of them have the Town's interests in mind, and not just about the PD. I would like to hear what is said Tuesday before I make my final decision. It should be an interesting election though. Good luck to all the canidates running......

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Ms_E_Bronte 6 years, 9 months ago

Scott -- who are you going to vote for in the OC elections? What are your views on the treatment plant, annexation, B&G club, town finances, grants awarded the town with no matching town funds available from the OC taxpayers (previous administration and 3 present board members were in on this -- remember?) etc.? Oops! Forgot -- you live in Steamboat -- you can't vote in OC! But, keep up the good work on the rumor mongering and helping with the conspiracy theories. These candidates need your support.

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aristocat 6 years, 9 months ago

http://steamboatpilot.com/news/2007/sep/23/oak_creeks_new_police_chief

He graduated from the police academy in 2005 at the age of 57 and worked as a reserve officer for several years. He is Colorado POST certified. His extensive management background will get our police force back where we need. He was introduced to law enforcement in 1994 at the Lone Tree Police Department when he was hired to set up the department's records division. Despite having little street experience as a cop, Caterinicchio is confident his managerial style and skills balance out his "meat and potatoes" grasp of law enforcement.

Justice, there was an interview when he first was hired. These were some of the comments made. I think that is the correct web page, if I did it right.

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aristocat 6 years, 9 months ago

or you can just search " Caterinicchio". It will pull up everything he has been quoted as saying....

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Dukebets 6 years, 9 months ago

slapper - I hope you haven't mentioned anything in your previous posts about 'tax dollars' being wasted...............Because you post from your office at town hall on a daily basis.

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Slapper 6 years, 9 months ago

dumbbets-you don't have a clue monkey!

contribute something that has a bit of substance if you have it in you.

there are serious issues ahead

it's time for an end to town business being discussed and determined at the colorado bar by a few leaving all the rest of it's residents in the dark. that has been a detriment for years.

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Dukebets 6 years, 9 months ago

Slapper - your comments truly reflect your intelligence level............And, if I don't have a clue, you shouldn't retaliate so aggressively....................So, put a cork in it KH!

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justathought 6 years, 9 months ago

Duke, I for one would appreciate your proof as to slapper being KH. Without proof all you are doing is spreading more rumors and it's time for the citizens of OC to rise above the rumor mongering and demand facts. OC is not only growing, it seems to be growing up and I doubt these type tactics will work much longer. If you can prove what you say, it needs to be brought out in the open so it can be addressed by her commissioners, otherwise, reflect your true intelligence level and stop with the unfounded accusations.

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aristocat 6 years, 9 months ago

I really don't see that it is appropriate that "breaking" Town Hall news be released on a blog either. If Slapper has all this inside information, post a letter at the Post Office and not be anonymous. Reporting facts of who is running or dropping out or who is contacting the town lawyer on a blog and having it discussed before it becomes a fact is more sleezy than discussing them at the Colorado after they becomes a fact. I think they see theirself as "Deep Throat"!

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Ms_E_Bronte 6 years, 9 months ago

Maybe we're all KH -- whatever/whoever that is. Seems like some of you posters are grabbing at straws and creating more rumors. Like justathought said, and katrina seconded, enough of this juvenile behavior -- get on with the big picture instead of fixating on who's who in your own little worlds.

BTW, any new word on the proposed B&G club for the kids?

Also, how come the new water treatment plant is under fire? Thought it was state of the art, etc. per the previous board and former mayor -- wasn't Mr. Elliott on the previous board when all of this was being done? What abut Messrs. Bevan and Crawford -- weren't they there then, too? Does anybody know what really happened?

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Dukebets 6 years, 9 months ago

justathought - The last sentence of your post should keep the slapper quiet for a while.

And, Aristocat is right on spot..............Check out all of the slapper posts..........She gave herself away a couple of years ago.

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dave reynolds 6 years, 9 months ago

I do not mean any disrespect to anyone in Oak Creek but this is insane.population less than 1000 people you have to many people in government and on the board with to many personal agendas..just get along and do what is right for Oak creek and its residents..I do have my own opions on this but some things are better left unsaid

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Slapper 6 years, 9 months ago

Excellant points Ms Bronte.

To be perfectly clear. Anything posted by Slapper was and is available to all as it was to me because it is in the public domain. The two posters above are a perfect example of why so many are misinformed. Similar to Mr. Gagne suggesting at the public forum there is a conspiracy concerning public meetings. That alone is reason enough why he is not viable as a candidate. Larry Anderson another candidate brings a video camera to that meeting and to the last board meeting for what? Mr. Anderson's attendance is about the same as Mr. Bevans. Neither are viable candidates to make decisions on several important issues coming very soon. Does it make sense that Mr. Gagne's conspiracy theory may have been discussed in other venues-of course it does.

In respect to the water treatment plant the issue is not the plant but finding and paying for a qualified operator very soon.

That is one major issue out of many that needs to be confronted and dealt with by the new board.

There are only four viable candidates at this time that have the awareness and knowledge to confront these issues and make the correct decisions. They are

Chuck Wisecup Josh Voorhis Wendy Gustafson Gerry Greenwood

Most of the others are either compromised in some way or outright incompetant to be making any decisions on issues that reach far into the future of the town of Oak Creek

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Ms_E_Bronte 6 years, 9 months ago

Thanks Slapper. Was the town aware that a qualified operator would be needed when the plant was "born," or is this due to a new state/federal mandate? I do understand that some previous/now current trustees were sort of "out of the loop" on a lot of matters concerning the town, and some of the present board members have been trying to get these items straightened out so they have a clearer view of where every thing stands. Am very interested in OC's future, but travel so much it's almost impossible to keep up to date on these important facts and issues. Wish the newspaper/citizens would focus more on matters like this and keep the public informed. As it is, the latest, ongoing BS about the OCPD has over shadowed the REAL future needs of OC. It's time to move on!

Video cameras in the forum meetings? Conspiracy theories? You've GOT to be kidding!!! More intimidation in store for those who dare speak any good about this town?

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Slapper 6 years, 9 months ago

Stop hitting so far out of the park. It's hard work getting it back.

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Ms_E_Bronte 6 years, 9 months ago

Don't understand what you're trying to say. Perhaps you can enlighten me.

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nmypinon 6 years, 9 months ago

I guess the good thing about this site is that since 1 employee & at least 1 board member post on here on a regular basis,that those of us that do not get to attend all of the meetings will still be able to know what is going on. Even if it happen before the meeting.

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Scott Wedel 6 years, 9 months ago

Why did Larry Anderson bring a camera to the public meeting?

Maybe because the Town's tape broke at a previous meeting and some people think transcripts have serious errors. So someone else recording the meeting provides an independent record that should generate trust that nothing improper is going on.

I do not understand why anyone questioned a citizen recording a public meeting. It helps provide the one thing most missing in OC politics which are verfiable facts.

People should have thanked him and hoped that he would continue to record meetings. The meetings are public and anything that provides a more accurate recording or easier access to the public record should be applauded, not criticized.

The only reason to oppose such independent recordings would be if there really are intentional distortions and ommissions in the record provided by the Town.

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upstream 6 years, 9 months ago

Thank you, Scott, for your always condescending diatribe.

Some of us have been a little taken aback by LA and the conspiracy theory crew taping every meeting that involves police issues because they are being so obnoxious about it.

You do a lovely job here of whipping up the rumor mill by suggesting there may be, "intentional distortions and ommissions provided by the Town". Atta boy.

Mayor Pro Tem Kralj asked LA to respectfully ask the group if they agreed to being filmed - likely because LA was doing so quite surreptitiously from the hallway.

Pretty standard group process stuff Scott- but keep up the good work...and enjoy the replays.

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aristocat 6 years, 9 months ago

News cameras come into our homes daily via television and our attention are quickly tuned in, especially during election times. Why would our little town board feel any differently than major city councils?

If Slapper, Upstream, Bronte and Bluntman to name a few are the representatives for Oak Creek and some of the people running, as nasty as they constantly are, why would you want anyone representing Oak Creek associated with them!

I guess tonight we will find out who will be the best representative for Oak Creek!

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Ms_E_Bronte 6 years, 9 months ago

aristocat -- sorry if the posts have offended you -- or hit a nerve.

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shortbus 6 years, 9 months ago

Bronte,

I am sorry, but I disagree with you. I think that the videotaping of public council meetings is a great idea... now if Larry could just find a way to stream his taping to the Internet then we would be in great shape. What a way to eliminate conspiracy theories!

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aristocat 6 years, 9 months ago

You have not offended me. I think it just makes Oak Creek come off a rude small minded town, when there are a few nasties always being nasty. You haven't offended me because there is nothing you can say that will effect whom I choose to vote for. If you are running, and not anonymously, and choose to knock on my door, I will listen to your stand, other wise you are of no consequence to me.

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