As it has for the past five years, the Hotchkiss Town Council welcomed the Hotchkiss High School student council to the November monthly council meeting. Involving students in the democratic process allows for better interaction between the town and the school and provides students valuable experience, said Mayor Wendell Koontz in welcoming the students to the head table.
Before reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, student body president Nolan Egging chose to read a quote President Theodore Roosevelt: "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
Mayor Koontz also chose a quote from Roosevelt: "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues."
On the eve of Veterans Day, Mayor Koontz recognized trustees Lindee Cantrell and James Roberts for their service. "I know we're all better off for your service," said Koontz.
Egging reported on the good news from HHS. The school recently held a successful blood drive, and a National Honor Society coat drive is underway. Coats can be dropped off at the high school. Art students of Jamie Roeber are working on a new mural in the gymnasium. Hotchkiss placed first and second at a recent AP Physics boat-building contest at Delta High School, and winter sports practices have begun.
Engineering students are designing a solar lighting system to light the recently refurbished "H" near the school. "Everyone worked hard so it could look nicer," said trustee John Marta, an HHS alumnus who volunteered on the project. "It gives a lot of pride to the school."
Lynda Cannon with the Farm to Fiddle Festival addressed council. The first-year event was a big success and highlighted agriculture, arts, music and the outdoors. She and co-organizer Marci Moore, who were named the Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce co-citizens of the year, are planning a bigger and better festival for 2017 and are holding fundraisers this winter. She invited council and students to participate in organizing the 2017 festival.
Next July marks the 100th anniversary of the Lions Clubs International. Dr. Diane Redden told council that the Hotchkiss Lions Club would like to honor the anniversary with a gift to the town. "We would like it to be meaningful or something that people perceive that we need," said Redden. Several ideas have been mentioned, but the club would like some input. Does the town need a bench placed somewhere or a pocket park that needs something?
The town also proclaimed November as "Hospice and Palliative Care Month" in Hotchkiss. HopeWest community development director Nancy Hovde made the request on behalf of the nonprofit. She explained HopeWest's mission and described all the services they provide throughout Delta County and beyond.
HopeWest's main services are hospice and palliative care. "I want you to know that so far this year, just in Hotchkiss, we have provided care for 10 patients," said Hovde. "We do not turn anyone away."
Trustees approved a donation of $200 to the annual North Fork Children's Christmas Party. The event benefits about 250 children each year, said town clerk Marlene Searle. Organizers shop all the post-holiday sales to provide new hats, gloves, socks, coats, toys, coloring books and more to the children at a cost of $50 per child.
During public comment, citizen Dan Bolton thanked the council for giving students a chance to participate in the meeting. "Regardless of what political beliefs you might have, we need young people involved in politics, and on city council."