Colfax Cemetery District board in place

By: Gloria Beverage
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Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery received approval of her appointments to the Colfax Cemetery Board from the remainder of the county board on Tuesday. In June, Montgomery had announced that terms for the district trustees Helen Wayland and John Dugan had expired on May 1. The third board member, Charlie Gray, had resigned earlier this spring due to ill health. The previous board had come under attack in the wake of efforts by the Todds Valley Consolidated Tribe to claim ownership of the burial grounds. For the past year, the board has attempted to sell the property to them, but the tribe claims they can’t afford to buy it. In addition to returning Dugan to the board, Montgomery asked to appoint Nancy Hagman and Otis Wollan. “It was difficult to make a decision,” Montgomery said. “I had a lot of very good candidates.” In the end, she decided to return Dugan to the board because he “brings continuity to the board. He serves as the institutional memory of what went on.” A resident of Colfax for six years, Dugan was originally asked to serve on the board after a former member resigned. “It seemed like a straightforward job,” he said. Prior to retiring and settling in Colfax, Dugan was employed as a parts manager for a Cadillac dealership in the San Francisco Bay Area. Montgomery said Tuesday that she was impressed with Nancy Hagman’s extensive background in research and history and selected Otis Wollan for his vast experience serving on state boards and agencies. Hagman, who is a self-described community organizer, asked to serve on the board because of her interest in local history. “The history of the cemetery and the people ties closely into the heritage of this region. It (cemetery) has just been part of the research I’ve been doing on this area,” she said. “My background in doing this research will assist in resolving the current issues at hand.” She is currently the events coordinator for the Grace Hubley Foundation, a non-profit organization whose purpose is the preservation of the Grace Hubley heritage, arts and architecture in the foothill region. She also volunteers three days a week at the Colfax Heritage Museum and has served on the Elections board for a number of years. Hagman has masters’ degree in education from the University of Nevada, Reno. Originally from Southern California, she worked in the resort industry for several years before returning to Colfax in 1983 to help care for family members. Her term will expire on June 1, 2014. Wollan, a longtime Colfax resident, has worked for more than 20 years as a facilitator/mediator and organizational development consultant. He applied for the position because of his expertise as a conflict manager and mediator. “I don’t know much about the content or the issues. Those are things you learn,” he said. “I have total respect for the Native American culture and for the way things have to be done in government. Beyond that, we’re just trying to understand what everybody is interested in and come up with a resolution that will work.” He served as an elected director of the Placer County Water Agency from 1987 to 2008. Wollan is currently president of the American River Watershed Institute and executive director of Public Officials for Water and Environmental Reform. To comply with the state mandate for staggered terms, the seats held by Wollan and Dugan will expire on June 1, 2012, but will become a four-year term afterwards. The seat held by Hagman will expire on June 1, 2014. The board meets quarterly or as needed.