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"I could tell you that when you have trouble making up your mind about something, tell yourself you’ll settle it by flipping a coin. But don’t go by how the coin flips; go by your emotional reaction to the coin flip. Are you happy or sad it came up heads or tails?"
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 6 June 2019  

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Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In

    Sarah’s Home: a haven for trafficking victims
    More on Sarah’s Home
    MVEA CEO cites co-op efforts at annual meeting
    Thank you for your service
    What are you thankful for?
    Building and real estate update
    Road rage in Falcon
  Sarah’s Home: a haven for trafficking victims
  Leslie Sheley

   Human trafficking is defined as “a situation in which an individual is compelled to work or engage in commercial sex through the use of force, fraud or coercion,” according to, an organization focused on preventing and “disrupting” human trafficking.
   The Polaris Project refers to trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery. It’s a $150 billion industry that affects 25 million individuals worldwide.
   The National Human Trafficking Hotline reports that in 2017, 110 human trafficking cases were reported in Colorado; 79 of those were considered sex trafficking cases; 84 were female; and 28 were girls 12 to 18 years of age. A 2014 study by the Urban Institute (posted at estimated that the “underground sex economy” ranged from $39.9 million in Denver to $290 million in Atlanta.
   Vicky Proffit, the executive director of Sarah’s Home, a nonprofit faith-based housing program for victims of sex trafficking, said the number of victims in the U.S. is staggering but there are only about 300 spaces in the country where victims can recover and rehabilitate after they have been rescued. Sarah’s Home has eight beds available and is located on the eastern plains of Colorado. They serve girls ages 12 to 18 who have been rescued from sex-trafficking rings.
   The Rocky Mountain District Women’s ministries came up with the idea of Sarah’s Home, Proffit said. And members of a group called MAPS, Mission America Placement Service, helped refurbish a church into a five-bedroom home for sex trafficking victims; Sarah’s Home opened in 2013. The nonprofit provides room and board, medical services, enrollment in a private school, therapy, individual and family counseling and more, Proffit said.
   Kelly Dore is a survivor of the child trafficking industry; today, she is the executive director of the National Human Trafficking Survivor Coalition, which trains government officials how to deal with trafficking and how to develop policies related to trafficking. The coalition also supports organizations that do not receive state or federal funding, Dore said. Of the children who are commercially exploited, 90 percent were sexually abused by a family member or family friend prior to their abduction, she said. Boys and transgender children are among the victims.
   “Kids from every walk of life can become victims, although those with a sexual assault past are more at risk — (and) runaways,” said Sgt. Craig Simpson, an officer with the Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Division of the Colorado Springs Police Department. “It is estimated that within 48 hours of leaving home, one out of three runaways will be approached by a pimp.”
   Pimps also advertise on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Simpson said. They advertise a glamorous lifestyle that includes good money and travel.
   The pimp wears down the victims’ self-esteem, by telling them they won’t be able to take care of themselves, that not even McDonalds will hire them because they don’t have a high school degree, Simpson said. Victims of trafficking think they have to protect their pimps so they don’t report them.“There is a lot of psychology at play,” he said.
   Proffit said success with victims is often indicated when they can distance themselves from their pimps. Success is measured when a girl stops calling her pimp “daddy” or referring to him as a “boyfriend,” Proffit said. Most girls are branded or tattooed to show they are owned by someone, so a good sign of recovery is when they ask to remove the marks, she said. “When they stop asking for a staff member to stand guard at the bathroom door while they take a shower or when they smile or laugh at appropriate times; these are all signs of success that we look for,” Proffit said.
   The average age when children are picked up from trafficking operations is 16, Simpson said.
   “The hard thing about recovering youth from trafficking is because it is right below the surface and easy to hide; you may be behind a victim at Walmart and not even know it,” he said.
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  More on Sarah’s Home
  Leslie Sheley

   Vicky Proffit, the executive director of Sarah’s Home, said besides age criteria, admission to the home requires proof of trafficking, some sort of insurance (Medicaid is acceptable), and parents or guardians must be willing to participate in classes and counseling.
   Each girl is assessed based on her individual needs, which includes developing a curriculum specific to education goals. Proffit said many of the girls are way behind in school. Sarah’s home has its own accredited private school called Aspire.
   The girls need to be taught life and job skills and appropriate social and sexual behavior. The home offers intensive counseling, equine therapy spiritual guidance and field trips. The girls also volunteer monthly at a hydroponics garden, and they also have their own garden on the property. The girls are responsible for planting, caring for the plants and harvesting them, Proffit said.
   Family counseling is vital for a successful return home. Proffit said parents or guardians need to be aware of what the home is teaching their children, so the household is in sync with healthy behaviors and habits.
   Often, the home life the girls come from is dysfunctional, and the parents may have even encouraged the girl to get into trafficking, Proffit said. “Some parents assisted their daughters into trafficking; some are mortified, but all are wounded,” she said. Parents who assist their daughters into trafficking usually do so for financial reasons, whether it’s to pay for living expenses or buy alcohol and drugs.
   Sarah’s Home also provides medical services such as visits to an ophthalmologist and a dentist who provide free services.
   The monthly rate for the home is determined according to the family’s income but is never more than $700, Proffit said.
   Besides staff, there are three levels of vetted volunteers that provide support to the home and the girls — from maintenance to mentoring.
   They sponsor three galas a year as fundraisers, Proffit said.
   And they accept sponsorships for the girls, and are always in need of household and personal items like laundry detergent and soaps. “We welcome gift cards for eating out, going bowling, to a movie, to a play or opera; going to The Nutcracker at Christmas time or anything that a normal girl their age would be doing and going to,” she said.
   “The community has been very supportive of Sarah’s Home and the girls and is supported by everyone, which is wonderful. It’s a community effort.”
   For more information about Sarah’s Home, visit, see them on Facebook or call 719-347-3026.
It’s not an easy recovery for girls who are victims of sex trafficking. Their pimps have stripped them of any normal sense of self.
Sarah’s Home has their own accredited private school; many of the victims of sex trafficking rings who come to the home are way behind in their schoolwork.
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  MVEA CEO cites co-op efforts at annual meeting
  Leslie Sheley

   The annual Mountain View Electric Association Lamplighter Dinner was held at the Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center in Black Forest Oct. 3. Errol Hertneky, a District 3 board director, served as the master of ceremonies; and Jim Herron, MVEA chief executive officer, was the featured speaker.
   Herron spoke to the crowd about how the MVEA is “community-focused, community-involved and community-engaged.” He said what makes the MVEA different is that it is owned by co-op members. Mountain View Electric has offices in Falcon and Limon, and, as of this summer, Monument, he said.
   Members should take advantage of the Energy Efficient Rebate programs, including the 2018 LED bulb rebates, Herron said. MVEA gave away four whole home-lighting packages as part of an online registration contest. This year’s winners were Ronald and Michelle Carr of Peyton, who were present at the dinner; Thomas and Jeanette Cole of Elbert; Tim and Janet Schulte of Monument; and Darlia Simmons of Calhan.
   MVEA has written about 15,800 checks to equal $300,000 worth in rebates the past couple of years, Herron said. The rebates help the members and the co-op. “What it does for Mountain View Electric is, it defers or postpones the building of new generation plants; and it also extends the life of the current ones we have out there,” he said.
   Herron discussed the Environmental Protection’s Clean Power Plan, which is being replaced by the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, or ACE.“The Clean Power Plan was designed to control carbon dioxide; at the time there was no way from a commercial standpoint to control carbon dioxide, and there was the possibility it would mean shutting down power plants, which would have had a major impact on MVEA, its members and all electric utilities across the U.S.,” he said. Because of legal actions taken on behalf of MVEA and other utilities and organizations, the Clean Power Plan was postponed.
   Meanwhile, the White House changed administrations, and the Clean Power Plan is being replaced by ACE, which Herron said is friendlier to the states.“It allows states to have control over what they might do and to set unit-specific standards, although there are limitations as states cannot add to or substitute their judgement about what constitutes the best system of emission reduction,” he said. The Clean Power Plan set requirements for power plants that weren’t feasible because of the lack of technology at the time, Herron said. “ACE says we are not going to require you to shut down your plants just because of performance issues, and allows the utilities to feather that in according to their plan,” he added.
   Co-op reliance on coal-based generation declined from 2014 to 2016. “Renewable energy (nationally) has gone up to 17 percent, and Tri-State is No. 1 in solar projects among Cooperative G & T’s (Generation and Transmissions),” Herron said. Thirty percent of the electricity consumed by Tri-State members comes from renewable resources, which includes hydro power, he said. MVEA has a voluntary program where members can buy Green Power Renewable Energy credits (RECs), which allow individuals to be part of the renewable energy program. Many members are adding solar panels to their homes; 140 were added in 2017, which makes more than 675 in the service area, Herron said.
   Mountain View Electric Association is an electric cooperative, organized in 1941. Today, MVEA serves more than 46,000 members with almost 55,000 meters in portions of eight counties. Visit for more information.
Jim Herron, chief executive officer of Mountain View Electric Association, talked about energy efficiency and the Affordable Clean Energy Rule at the annual Lamplighter dinner.
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  Thank you for your service
  Veterans Day trivia
  Leslie Sheley

   The creation and timeline of Veterans Day
   United States President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11, 1919, as the first Armistice Day in commemoration of the armistice that was signed a year prior, which eventually led to the end of World War I. Observations of Armistice Day included a moment of silence at 11 a.m., the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
   On Armistice Day in 1921, the first Unknown Soldier from World War I was reburied in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The tomb is dedicated to the U.S. service members whose remains are unidentified, and is inscribed with the following: “Here rests in honored glory An American Soldier Known but to God.”
   In 1938, Armistice Day, “dedicated to the cause of world peace,” was declared an official federal holiday in the U.S. However, after much lobbying by veterans’ service organizations, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the 1938 act declaring Armistice Day a holiday by changing the word “Armistice” to “Veterans.” On June 1, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation.
   Unknown Soldiers from World War II and the Korean War were reburied next to the first Unknown Soldier on May 30, 1958.
   In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday of October to give federal workers a three-day weekend. Effective in 1971, the date was returned to Nov. 11 in 1975, when President Gerald Ford acknowledged the confusion created by the date change and the historical significance of the original date. He signed the legislation on Sept. 25, 1975, and the change became effective in 1978.
   On May 28, 1984, an Unknown Soldier from the Vietnam War was reburied at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He was identified through DNA testing in 1998 as Michael Blassie, a 24-year-old pilot who was shot down in 1972.
   Veterans’ numbers in the U.S.
  • 16.1 million living veterans served the U.S. during at least one war
  • 5.2 million veterans served the U.S. during peacetime
  • About 558,000 of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II are still alive
  • 2 million veterans served the U.S. during the Korean War
  • 7 million veterans served the U.S. during the Vietnam War
  • 5.5 million veterans served the U.S. during the Persian Gulf War

   There are more than 399,450 veterans in the state of Colorado, with women representing 9.1 percent. The total U.S. population of veterans is more than 21,369,600, with women representing 7.3 percent. As of 2014, 2.9 million veterans had received or were receiving compensation for service-related disabilities.
   In Colorado and across the nation, the largest population of veterans served during the Vietnam Era, and almost 40 percent of all Colorado veterans are 65 years or older.
   The Veterans Association health care system had 54 hospitals nationwide in 1930. It has since expanded to include the following: 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 25 live-in care facilities for disabled or injured veterans.
   CNN American Community Survey
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  What are you thankful for?
  Leslie Sheley

   The NFH asked a group of local kids what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving, and their answers gave us hope for the future.
   Declan, age 8: “Family, and knowing they are always by my side.”
   Rylee, age 6: “I’m thankful for my friends, when people show respect and compassion to one another and when I need a brown crayon and someone shares.”
   Aidan, age 9: “I am thankful for my mom and having a house and having a healthy life.”
   Asher, age 6: “Video games.”
   Aria, age 5: “For loving me.”
   Dacey, age 10: “My friend Olivia.”
   Joey, age 6: “My mom, my dad, Declan, Dacey and Declan’s friend, Aiden.”
   Sophie, age 10: “I am thankful for my cats and family.”
   Aminah, age 8: “Family.”
   Sanaa, age 9: “Family and school.”
   Isabelle, age 12: “Friends, family, dogs and food.”
   Camden, age 8: “A warm house.”
   Preston, age 3: “I’m thankful for sprinkles.”
   Naiya, age 2: “Preston.”
   Brooke, age 10: “My mom, dad, sister and my friends and my dog.”
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Meridian Ranch
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the preliminary acceptance of certain streets within the Stonebridge Filing No. 3 in the Meridian Ranch subdivision into the EPC road maintenance system. All public improvements have been completed and inspected, bringing the total miles of county maintained roads to 2200.45.
   The commissioners also unanimously approved the final release of bond money for public improvements at the Stonebridge at Meridian Ranch Filing No. 3 subdivision for $311,038. Eighty percent of the improvements have been completed and inspected. Additionally, the commissioners unanimously approved the partial release of bond money for other public improvements in the same location for $1,406,622.
   The commissioners unanimously approved the final acceptance of certain streets within the Meridian Ranch Filing No. 11-B subdivision into the county road maintenance system. The board previously approved the preliminary acceptance of these improvements on June 28, 2016. Additionally, the BOCC approved the final release of bond money for a defect warranty at the same location for $55,797.40.
   The BOCC unanimously approved the final acceptance of certain streets within the Meridian Ranch Estates Filing No. 2 subdivision into the county road maintenance system. The board previously approved the preliminary acceptance of these improvements on March 10, 2015.
   The board unanimously approved the final release of bond money grading and erosion control in the Meridian Ranch Winding Walk subdivision for $2,783,092. All of the improvements have been completed and inspected.
   The commissioners unanimously approved the final release of bond money for grading and erosion control at The Shops at Meridian Ranch Filing No. 1 for $18,653.20.
   The EPC planning commission unanimously approved a request by GTL Inc., to rezone 68 acres of planned unit development to PUD and the preliminary plan for 209 single-family lots on the property located at the northwest corner of the Eastonville Road and Stapleton Drive intersection. The property is located within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   Retreat at TimberRidge
   The planning commission approved a request by Arroya Investments LLC, Jacob Decoto, and Robert Scott General Contractors for the preliminary plan to create 205 single-single family residential lots on eight parcels, totaling 234.05 acres. The area is zoned PUD and located north of the proposed extension of Stapleton Road and Briargate Parkway, bisected by Vollmer Road. It is included within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan. The vote was 5-2, with Joan Lucia-Treese and Lawrence Wood opposed.
   The request was forwarded to the BOCC, who approved it in a 4-1 vote.
   Falcon Marketplace
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request by LG HI Falcon LLC, for the preliminary plan to create 11 commercial lots, public rights-of-way, a tract for a sub-regional detention basin and a tract for a detention and water quality facility and other utilities at the northwest corner of the intersection of Woodmen Road and Meridian Road, south of Owl Place. The BOCC also approved predevelopment site grading to include installation of wet utilities and storm sewers. The 36.4-acre property is zoned commercial regional and is located within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Plan.
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  Road rage in Falcon

   On Oct. 17, according to a Facebook report, a 49-year-old man became irritated that the car in front of him was not going fast enough on Woodmen Road near Meridian Road. The car was being driven by a “new” driver, with her dad, Randy Cottey, riding along. The irate driver, David Connor, then followed the slower car, eventually cutting off the Cottey car. When both cars were stopped, Connor jumped out of his car. Cottey jumped out of his car to try and calm Connor down, but Connor started beating him; as his daughter watched in horror. When Connor saw that Cottey’s daughter was taking a picture of his license plate, he attacked her. Luckily, she memorized the license plate.
   Connor is now facing charges of second-and-third-degree assault and harassment. Cottey's injuries (broken bones and cuts) required surgery and will keep him out of work for at least four months. A Go Fund Me account has been set up for Cottey and his family:
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