Minturn sticks with Hawkeye — by 3 votes
MINTURN ” Voters chose Tuesday to elect newcomers Shelley Bellm and Kelly Brinkerhoff to serve alongside town government veterans Gordon “Hawkeye” Flaherty and Bill Burnett on the Minturn Town Council.
Voters also supported the enaction of a smoking ban at restaurants, bars and public facilities.
Council candidates Bellm and top vote-getter Brinkerhoff could not be reached for comment Tuesday night, but 85-year-old Burnett offered a few words in reaction to getting 132 votes, the second most in the election.
“Sounds good,” he said.
Fellow old guard candidate Flaherty topped councilman George Brodin by just three votes, prompting election judges to do a recount.
“My wife said I won by three votes ” that’s exciting,” Flaherty said.
Flaherty also offered words for Brodin.
“I’m glad he stepped up to show that kind of interest in the town, and I look forward to working with him over the next couple years,” he said.
Brodin in turn congratulated Flaherty, and offered a reason why the race ended so close.
“There’s a difference of opinion out there, I guess,” Brodin said. “They’re looking for different leadership on different sides.”
The stream of voters steadily flowed into the Minturn Town Center throughout the day Tuesday, casting ballots and talking with other residents.
“It’s been steady ” never really backed up,” election judge Beth Christiansan said, teaching some fellow judges to play the game Soduko during down time.
One man joked outside the voting room, telling resident Tim Campbell he penciled him in for the newly minted position “Minturn King.” Campbell came not to be king, rather because “It’s a critical time in Minturn when we’re all about change,” he said.
Change means development of a private ski resort including 1,700 homes and a golf course on 5,300 acres of land south of Minturn. The proposal ” from Florida developer Bobby Ginn ” has prompted residents to get involved and ensure the associated impacts of the development don’t force them out of town, Campbell said.
“In general people gravitate to Minturn because they love it,” Campbell said. “Some people feel the dream may be at risk, and it’s time to get involved.”
Campbell mentioned one candidate he cast a ballot for ” Shelley Bellm.
“She’s got a family like mine,” Campbell said. “It’s important when you’re a citizen to be represented (on council).”
Resident Jeff Sample pedaled his way to the polls on his mountain bike shortly after he finished work, the Ginn project also on his mind.
“The election is very important because of the impacts of the ‘Ginnturn’ project, which I’m against,” Sample said.
Sample cast a ballot for candidate David Clapp because he opposed the project more than other hopefuls, and Minturn staple Gordon “Hawkeye” Flaherty, he said.
Voters overwhelmingly favored a town smoking ban at bars, restaurants and public facilities.
The council now possesses the voters’ blessing to pass the ban in Minturn, despite a more restrictive statewide law that takes effect July 1.
“It’s still important on a local level,” Wendy Sapuntzoff said.
Campbell also supported the smoking ban.
“Why not ban it in all public businesses?” he said. “I think everybody agrees with it.”
Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622 or email@example.com.