OWN board election successful ... after open seats determined

       Despite some confusion over which seats were up for grabs, one board member was re-elected and two new members elected at the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) meeting Jan. 13.
       Kristine Van Wert, the current vice president, retained her at-large seat, while Jim Larsen and Welling Clark took over as District 3 and District 5 representatives, respectively.
       The board will elect a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer at its meeting Thursday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. at the West Center, 25 N. 20th St.
       The meeting is open to the public.
       OWN has served as a volunteer advocacy group for the older Westside since the late 1970s, receiving some funding from the city to help in reaching out to the Westside community.
       The election of the board members ended a period of uncertainty regarding what people held which seats and which ones were up for election. OWN members had told the Westside Pioneer (for an advance article in December) that the election was for two seats - District 4 and at-large. However, this turned out to be inaccurate, based on research that came out at a special OWN board meeting Jan. 8.
       The District 5 seat was formerly held by Sallie Clark, who recently became a county commissioner and had questioned how much time she could devote to OWN. Welling Clark, her husband, is a retired Naval officer who is employed as an engineer and serves on other volunteer boards, including the Public Safety Sales Tax Oversight Committee.
       District 3 was held by Nancy Micelli, who had been appointed to the board several months ago. However, until the Jan. 8 meeting, she thought she was at-large and her seat was not up for re-election.
       “I found out that morning (Jan. 8) that I was filling the District 3 position, and I didn't even know it,” Micelli commented afterward. She could conceivably have run for re-election in District 3, although she doesn't live there, under OWN rules allowing a person to represent an area if no resident is available to serve . However, on the night of the election, Larsen - a District 3 resident who has not previously been on the OWN board - stepped forward.
       Micelli said she also had the option of running against Van Wert for the at-large seat, but she didn't want to do that because “Kristine is a very able member.” She added that she plans to keep attending OWN meetings and would be willing to step in as a board member again if another vacancy comes up.
       Research into OWN records going back several years revealed the facts about board members' terms and represented areas, she said. Also discovered was that President Joyce Gibson, who in December had been listed as the District 4 board member whose seat was up for re-election, is actually at-large and has time left on her term.
       Continuing board member Dave Hughes, also treasurer of the Old Colorado City Historical Society, said one of his goals with OWN is to help tighten up its operations so these kinds of problems don't happen again.
       Larsen is retired from the Colorado Springs Fire Department, on which he had served for 40 years.
       He and Clark were unopposed in the election, in which any Westside residents at the meeting could vote, while Van Wert had one opponent.
       Continuing as board members are current President Gibson (at-large), Treasurer Rose Kliewer (District 4), Hughes (District 2), Phil Micelli (District 1), Jim Fenimore (District 6) and Bob Kliewer (at-large).
       The OWN districts are as follows:
       1 - south of Highway 24 between 31st and 8th streets and north of Lower Gold Camp Road and Rio Grande Street.
       2 - north of Highway 24 between 14th and 21st streets and south of Uintah Street and Manitou Boulevard.
       3 - north of Highway 24 and west of 26th Street, going up to Uintah Street and including older areas south of Pleasant Valley.
       4 - north of Highway 24 between 21st and 26th streets, bordered on the north by Uintah Street and northeast by 19th Street.
       5 - north of Highway 24 between 14th and 7th streets south of Manitou Boulevard.
       6 - north of Manitou Boulevard, south of Uintah Street and west of I-25 down to Highway 24.

Westside Pioneer article