Manpower needs are burning issue in Glenwood fire district election
Residents and property owners in the Glenwood Springs Rural Fire Protection District, which surrounds Glenwood Springs like a doughnut, will be asked to elect three board members in the May 4 election.Three seats on the five-member board are open, all for four-year terms. All three incumbents are seeking re-election, as are two challengers who are former volunteer firefighters.The candidates are incumbents Loren Anderson, Chuck Johnson and John Taufer and challengers John Tessadri and Thomas Morelli.The board meets monthly, and members are paid $50 per meeting.Voters can go to the single polling place, the West Glenwood Fire Station at 0090 Mel Ray Road, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 4.Eligible voters are people who are residents of the rural district, which runs from Westbank to No Name to Canyon Creek, but excludes the city of Glenwood Springs. Property owners within the rural district who are registered to vote anywhere in Colorado may also cast a ballot.Absentee ballots may be cast through Friday, April 30, at the city clerks office at Glenwood Springs City Hall, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.The following are interviews with each of the fire district candidates.Name: Loren AndersonAge: 76Occupation: Retired Air Force colonelPrevious elected offices: Glenwood Springs Rural District Fire Board, Church Council member in Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Texas, Ohio and Glenwood Springs.Volunteer projects: Glenwood Springs Kiwanis Club, committee chair for Hugh OBrian Youth Leadership conference in Denver the past three years, West Point field representative, Community Advisory Committee for Colorado Mountain College. Years in the community: 8.5Family: wife, Marjorie T. Marje Anderson, retired teacher; four grown children.Why are you running for the board? To serve as a member of the team that will provide efficient rural fire protection to the 12,000 voters in the Rural Fire Protection District. What makes you qualified to serve? Career and volunteer service.What are the three most important issues facing the fire district?How to provide three or four people on duty at all three fire stations at all times. To consider the issues involved in moving to a fire protection district to stabilize the budgeting process and provide superior fire protection at lowest cost to all the taxpayers. How to maintain or improve ISO ratings to keep fire insurance rates down for business and homeowners.What would your goals be for the fire district? The most important goal is for every rural business or home owner to vote in this election. Name: John TessadriAge: 54Occupation: sign/traffic/hazmat coordinator for Glenwood Springs Public Works DepartmentPrevious elected offices: NoneVolunteer projects: Not recentlyYears in the community: 54Family: Single, two dogsWhy are you running for the board? Being a property owner and having a background in the fire business, I think I could be a positive contributor to the board and the fire department.What makes you qualified to serve? Fifteen years of experience as a volunteer firefighter for the Glenwood Springs Fire Department. I also was an EMT, and made the ranks of lieutenant and captain. I have since retired from the department.What are the three most important issues facing the fire district? Manpower is the most important issue. We have a great bunch of people but we need a manpower pool for those scenes like house fires or multiple car accidents where a lot of people are required. With proper training and incentive, a volunteer program is the best and most economical way for the department to proceed.What would your goals be for the fire district? Work to get the most from our tax dollar and develop a workable plan for the future of the department.Name: John TauferAge: 56Occupation: Landscape architect and land planner Previous elected offices: Glenwood Springs Rural District Fire BoardVolunteer projects: Storm King 14 Committee, Glenwood Springs Soccer Club Gates Soccer Fields, Bolitho Elementary Playground Improvements Committee, Re-1 school volunteer, various city of Glenwood Springs tasks force committees, Glenwood Springs Sunrise Rotary, Sunlight Ski Team.Years in the community: 23Family: Wife, Maurine; sons, Jake and AshtonWhy are you running for the board? Having been a fire district board member for 16 years, I want to continue to represent the district and the community. What makes you qualified to serve? Sixteen years of service to the board.What are the three most important issues facing the fire district?Increasing current staff levels.Maintaining the current ISO rating of 4.Advanced personnel training for life support paramedic response.What would your goals be for the fire district? Insuring that all personnel are adequately cross trained, and maintaining the excellent level of service and response time to which the community is accustomed.Name: H.C. Chuck JohnsonAge: 75Occupation: Retired forester, former director of regional park system in the Chicago suburbs.Previous elected offices: Glenwood Springs Rural Fire Protection District.Volunteer projects: Church board, Kiwanis Club, Aspen Valley Land Trust board, Canyon Creek Homeowners Board, Storm King 14 Committee, caretaker of Storm King 14 memorial at Canyon Creek Estates.Years in the community: 10Family: wife, Beverly; four adult children.Why are you running for the board? I was instrumental in conceiving and passage of the recent fire district equipment and facilities bond issue and I want to continue working on improving fire and ambulance services in the district.What makes you qualified to serve? Have served on the fire board for eight and a half years, and as president of the board for four and half years; administrative experience as executive director of a regional park system; have served on policy-making boards with Aspen Valley Land Trust and Kiwanis; was a former wildlands firefighting crew chief with the Forest Service in Oregon and Idaho.What are the three most important issues facing the fire district?Increased population, development and tourism are rapidly increasing the demands for fire and ambulance services. As such, the issues are:Working to provide funding to address critical personnel shortages to adequately staff each of the fire stations.Continue to work in close cooperation with the city of Glenwood Springs to improve fire and ambulance services for the greater Glenwood Springs community.Completion of Fire Station No. 2, now under construction in downtown Glenwood Springs, providing protection to central Glenwood.What would your goals be for the fire district? My goals are to dedicate myself in addressing the most important issues facing the fire district that I defined above.Name: Tom Morelli Age: 48Occupation: City of Glenwood Springs Public Works DepartmentPrevious elected offices: noneVolunteer projects: Volunteer firefighter with the Carbondale & Rural Volunteer Fire Protection District, former volunteer firefighter and EMT for the Glenwood Springs Fire Department.Years in community: Valley native; I was born and raised in Glenwood.Family: Wife, Terri; grown son and daughter-in-law; daughters Erin, 21, and Mary, 16; and three grandchildren.Why are you running for the board? I would like to remain active in our fire community as well as bring new ideas and insight. I want to continue to Protect and Serve this valley as it continues to grow. What makes you qualified to serve? As a member of the Glenwood Springs Fire Department for 14 years, local fire and emergency personnel provided me with many years of training, knowledge and skills. I started as a new recruit and served as a lieutenant, and was elected by the members to the captains position. I was a member of the executive committee, where I became involved with the decision-making processes and budgets vital to a healthy department. With 17-plus years in fire and EMS, I have hands-on experience both in the field and internally. What are three important issues facing the fire district?Change is constant and we need to keep up with the expansion of this valley. The fire department faces a shortage of personnel on major incidents. Organization budgets are always an issue.What would your goals be for the fire district? My goals would be to make sure the firefighters and EMS personnel have the support system to allow them to do their jobs safely and with the skill necessary for this type of profession, and to implement a process that would assure the community we have enough persons to effectively handle emergency situations.
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