OWN incumbents, newcomer win seats

       Incumbents Jim Fenimore (District 6), Dave Hughes (At-Large) and newcomer Sean Chambers (District 1) were elected to the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) board at the annual membership election Jan. 11.
       All were elected to three-year terms. The board has nine members in all (six of them representing districts and three at-large).
       The trio will join the holdover board members in choosing 2007 officers at the next board meeting Thursday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at the West Center, 25 N. 20th St.
       A 28-year resident of the Pikes Peak region, Chambers works for a water and wastewater utility company. He bought a 110-year-old Westside Victorian house in 2003. Hobbies include house repairs, a backyard garden and outdoor activities. “Overall, I want to see the preservation of our history, charm and the spirit of our neighborhood community,” he wrote in a candidate paper that was presented at the meeting.
       Fenimore has been on the board for 3 1/2 years. In 2005, when he was president, his representation of Westside interests made him a finalist for the Chamber of Commerce's annual Business Citizen of the Year award; however, health issues kept him mostly inactive last year. Hughes, who helped start OWN 30 years ago as part of the Westside revitalization effort, was appointed to the board a year ago to finish out a term after an elected member resigned. Fenimore works for a motorcycle company; Hughes owns a telecommunications business in Old Colorado City.
       A total of 35 ballots were cast in the election. Eligible voters needed to be at least 18 and live or own residential property within the OWN boundaries.
       Fenimore lives in District 6 - the Near Westside area bordered on the West by Seventh Street and Manitou Boulevard, on the north by Uintah Street, on the east by I-25, and on the south by Highway 24. He was the only candidate from that area.
       District 1 is the OWN area south of Highway 24, including Midland and Gold Hill Mesa. Chambers, who does not live in that area, had originally sought to run At- Large against Hughes and Bunny Blaha (another new candidate). However, with no candidate present from District 1, the membership voted to let people write in any of the At-Large candidates, and Chambers prevailed.
       After the meeting, Blaha, a three-year Westside resident who won a Spirit Award from OWN last November for a major restoration of her house, accepted a request from OWN President Welling Clark to work with the neighborhood advocacy group by serving on volunteer committees. “We'd like to have your energy,” Clark said.
       In questioning before the vote, none of the candidates called for an end to Territory Days, the annual three-day festival in Old Colorado City that some Westsiders have complained about in recent years because of parking, trash and crowd-control issues. Although Chambers said that the merchant-sponsored event tends to be “too much about making a buck,” he added that it is “part of the pulse of the Westside and I'll do anything I can to make it more a part of it.”
       The current board officers are President Welling Clark, Vice-President Amy Filipiak, Treasurer Hughes and Secretary Dick Strauch. Other board members are Stormie Wells, Kristine Van Wert and Jim Larsen.
       OWN is the city-recognized advocacy group for an area bounded by I-25 on the east; Rio Grande Street on the south; city limits with Manitou Springs on the west (except for Pleasant Valley); and Uintah, 19th and King streets on the north.

Westside Pioneer/press release