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"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out (that) going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity."
– John Muir  
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 7 July 2018  

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  Chamber news
  By Jeremy Kniffen
  Liberty Tax Services

   The Eastern Plains Chamber of Commerce held its monthly meeting May 2, with about 30 members and guests in attendance. Two of the candidates for El Paso County sheriff, Mike Angley and Grace Sweeney-Maurer, also attended the meeting. After brief introductions, Jim Ozburn provided some great historical information about the Falcon area.
   
   Jim is the owner of the Falcon Meadow RV Campground and the Falcon Food Store and Gas Station. Jim has lived in the Falcon area since 1958. The Falcon Meadow RV Campground opened in 1959, when Falcon was nothing more than a wide spot in the road with a few businesses: Falcon Store, Ed’s Motel and the Falcon School District building. As is the case today, Falcon was not officially a town because it lacked a post office.
   
   In the late 1960s, Falcon Store burned down, and the store at the campground became the community store, with gasoline added later. Through the 1970s and 80s, Falcon grew with Latigo, Paintbrush Hills and Cimarron Hills. The school district also grew to five buildings.
   
   Falcon has been around since 1888, and celebrated its 100th year in 1988 with a parade. Jim’s concern now is that as it grows more, Falcon is not on most maps or a GPS. He would like to see signs put on the entry roads to Falcon so people are aware that this is a growing and thriving community. If anyone is interested in helping with this project, contact Jim or the chamber board.
   
   After Jim spoke, both candidates for El Paso County sheriff were given the floor. Mike Angley spoke about his background and his priorities if elected. Mike is a Republican candidate running against the incumbent Bill Elder. Mike retired from the United States Air Force as a colonel, with 35 years of service. He worked in the Office of Special Investigations and was the commander or SAIC of five different federal offices throughout his career. If elected, Mike will focus on public trust through accountability, transparency and communication. Also, Mike would like to improve the professional development of the employees of the sheriff’s office and create career progression plans, mentoring programs, merit based promotions and zero tolerance for sexual harassment. Mike would also like to improve operations through increased manpower, especially in the jail, and increased presence and visibility of the sheriff. Mike would also like to address gangs and drug cartels currently in El Paso County.
   
   Democrat Grace Sweeney-Maurer then spoke about her experience and her goals if elected. Grace was a facilitator of a course at a law enforcement academy for the Honolulu police department. She has also worked in a crime lab and for the Department of Justice. One of Grace’s top priorities would be to flatten the command staff of the sheriff’s office and increase the number of line level staff. Grace would also like to find a way to address the increase in mental illness showing up in the detention centers; she believes jail is not the appropriate place to deal with mental illness.
   
   Grace would like to see more community policing and would use grants to increase education and equipment for deputies. Finally, Grace indicated that she is pro Amendment 2, but would like to see assault rifles taken off the streets.
   
   The next meeting is June 6. Please invite friends and fellow business owners.
   
   Upcoming speakers:
   June –- Breakfast sponsor is Suzanne Craig of Legal Shield; guest speaker is Sheriff Bill Elder
   July –- No membership meeting –- possibly a member/guest barbecue
   
   Announcements:
   June 30 –- Falcon Freedom Days at Antler Creek Golf Course
   
   There are many open spots in the coming year for both breakfast sponsorship and featured speakers. The breakfast sponsors typically get 10-15 minutes to share information about their business. The featured speaker gets 20-25 minutes on a topic of his or her choice. As we have done in the past, we will be filling spots with community leaders but would also like the opportunity to spotlight our members.
   
   If you or your organization would be interested in being the featured speaker for one of the upcoming meetings, contact the chamber board at board@easternplainschamber.com.
   
   The Eastern Plains Chamber of Commerce meets the first Wednesday of each month, from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at Grace Community Church, 9475 Grace Church View in Falcon.
  
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  Grand Reopening

   Plush Lady Consignment held a grand reopening May 9. Owner Joyce Sakwe has remodeled the shop, which is located at the Falcon Highlands Marketplace. She would like to invite the community to stop by and see the new look and new clothing lines.   
Photos by Christel Blaylock
 
 
 
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