End of Year Greetings to those of you who love Lake City. I got just what I wanted for Christmas – to be able to live in and be a part of your awesome community. Thanks from deep in my heart for your welcoming and kindness and help moving and finding my way around during my first days. I’m Leslie Klusmire and I’m your new Town Manager. I’m so grateful to be chosen to serve you and the community of Lake City. I will be writing a weekly blog to keep you up to date on Town issues, policy changes, talk about process and practice of small town community policy and project making, and just write about what you’d like to know. Send me suggestions.
Since most of you don’t know me yet – a situation I hope to remedy soon! – I will make my first two posts all about me J. This one will be about me personally and the next about my philosophy and practice of civil service and community development.
A brief background: I was born in Long Beach, CA. My father Jake was a WWII and Korean War vet, and was a Navy athletic coach (mostly baseball) when I was born. My mother Margie just celebrated her 90th birthday and was a Headstart teacher and expert seamstress and tailor. She lives in Encinitas, CA. I have 5 half sisters – all older and from my father’s previous marriages, 3 live in Phoenix – and a younger brother Jim - a master plumber in Glenwood Springs, and a younger sister Lisa - a thoroughbred horse trainer and ranch manager in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. My family’s hobbies growing up included attending musicals and concerts, hiking, camping, backpacking, geology and horticulture.
My undergraduate degree is in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona, and I have an MBA with an emphasis in finance and am finishing a second master’s in Ministry from Creighton University in Omaha, NE. I am a little over half way to becoming “pre-certified” as a Chaplain and did my training at Banner Good Samaritan in Phoenix and Bridgeport Yale/New Haven Hospital in CT. I also have considerable training in municipal law and finance, as well as advanced mediator training.
As an employee or contractor, I have done planning, municipal or project management work for Colorado’s Crested Butte, Gunnison, Craig, La Plata, Pitkin and Garfield Counties, Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale, Snowmass Village, Castle Rock, and for Butte (MT), Inyo County (CA – Eastern Sierra and Death Valley area), San Clemente (CA), Oceanside (CA), Hemet (CA), Mammoth Lakes (CA), Park City (UT), the Columbia River Crossing Project (Portland/Vancouver) and other governments and private clients. If you noticed a theme in my locations – mountains – you are correct. Even though I’ve worked in and for several world class ski resorts, I don’t downhill ski, just cross-country.
In Colorado, I’ve done facilitation for Leadership Aspen, the Colorado Association of Ski Towns, the Governor’s Smart Growth conferences and other entities. I was Community Development Director in Glenwood Springs for 9 years. I developed skills and a specialty of shepherding complicated and controversial projects through the formation and decision-making process and getting them into the ground. As a planner, I don’t just talk about it; I want to get it built for the community. I broadcasted for KVNF for a year and if you’ve lived here at least ten years, you probably have heard my voice broadcasting the call letters for Lake City et al.
I’ve been married and divorced two times and have three children who you may have met last week here in Lake City. Devin is 34 and lives in Seattle; he graduated from college in math and science. He’s a great cook and baker. My twins Ansel and Mariah are 24. As Klusmires, the twins are fourth generation natives of the Roaring Fork Valley. Their great grandfather Eldo came to Aspen from Rocky Ford to build the first ski lift. Their grandfather Neut operated the White Kitchen in Aspen and owned and operated the Frying Pan restaurant in Basalt. Their dad Jon was a reporter and/or editor at the Rifle Citizen Telegram, the Aspen Times, the Glenwood Free Weekly, and the Glenwood Post/Independent. He started the Glenwood Independent which later merged with the Post. Ansel moved to China after he received a degree in economics, lived there for two and a half years and has just moved back to the states. He’s a writer like his dad. Mariah was a Catholic Worker working with the homeless and other social justice issues for five years. She is now in a pre-nursing program in Santa Barbara and will enter a BS program in nursing in San Francisco next year. They are planning their return trip to Lake City this summer.
Personally, my main interest is in art. I have been serious about art since I was very young and spent most of my adult life in fiber art – first in weaving, then papermaking. I switched to oil and pastel painting five years ago and love it. I’m best at figure painting but love landscape and still life as well. I play the violin and have played in community orchestras in the places I’ve lived. I was a founding member of my first orchestra – Symphony of the Valley - and noticed that your own Kelly Thompson is the new conductor of that orchestra. Small world!
I like to read non-fiction, hike and backpack. I completed my ultimate backpack trip – the Sierra’s 56 mile Evolution Valley Loop – a few years ago and am making plans with family to do it again. I have two cats – Sheba – a calico named after the Queen of Sheba, and Vashti – a kitten named after Queen Vashti the first wife of King Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther.
PS – A grateful shout-out to Jud Hollingsworth, Greg Collins, Greg Levine and Clint Ediger for hauling my boxes and boxes of books and art supplies into my newly rented home. I’m now halfway through unpacking. I am not fond of moving and hope this is the last one.
For those of you who study personality types, I’m an INTJ on the Meyers-Briggs scale and a One on the Enneagram.
I’m spending Christmas Day with my brother and his wife Rose and my three kids in Glenwood Springs after which we will all return home. For me, that now means Lake City.
I sincerely wish you a peaceful, gentle and meaningful end of the year season and if I haven’t already met you, I hope to meet you soon.
Next week: What I’ve learned about small towns and my approach to management and community development. I believe in democracy and even though it can get messy and complicated, we all count!