======= UPDATE ====== UPDATE ===== UPDATE =======
At the end, I’ve posted an e-mail I received from Morgan Wood, daughter of Jeffrey Wood. It is a response to my column.
Raul Acosta has given up hope and plans to move from the house where he and his wife have raised their nine children since 1998 in the Woodside at Briargate neighborhood in northern Colorado Springs.
Acosta is hopeless that things will ever improve between him and his neighbor, Jeffrey Wood. The two have been in a feud for months and it is escalating.
They live across the street from each other. Acosta lives on Gracewood Drive behind Wood, whose address is on Ramblewood Drive. The issues between them are numerous. Here’s a look at their properties from FlashEarth.
Acosta claims he and his family are being harassed by Wood. He said Wood objects when he parks in the street along the side of Wood’s house.
Wood declined to talk to me about the situation.
Acosta said Wood criticizes his children when they use the sidewalks that run along his corner lot. Other neighbors confirm Acosta’s allegation that Wood is very protective of the public street and sidewalks. They describe Wood as frequently videotaping neighbors and confronting them.
Problems escalated in 2009 when Wood started accusing Acosta’s 17-year-old son, Joseph, of harassment.
Wood called police nine times last year to report eggs thrown at his house, kids hanging around, a property sign stolen, kids taunting him, cussing him, harassing them.
In July, it was Acosta’s turn to call police when his white truck was sprayed with red paint by Wood’s son, Corey, a college student who was painting a backyard fence. Acosta eventually sued Wood in Small Claims Court and on Jan. 4 he was awarded nearly $600 in damages and court costs.
Guess what happened in September . . . Wood accused Acosta’s son of calling him a “faggot” and called police. They cited Joseph and a friend with criminal harassment.
Wood told authorities he was in his backyard looking through his telescope when one of the boys uttered the slur.
The misdemeanor charge was dropped this week, city prosecutor Kenny Hodge says, because harassment requires “repeated insults, taunts or challenges.”
Authorities have urged the two sides to go to mediation. But Acosta said Wood refuses. Police routinely send warring neighbors to the Neighborhood Justice Center for help.
Police also have flagged Wood’s address requiring a police supervisor to respond with an officer whenever he calls now.
Wood has called so often that Sgt. Craig Simpson of the Stetson Hills police substation immediately recognized the address when I mentioned it.
“It is one of those situations where we do have a notice on the address,” Simpson said. “There are ongoing problems there. It needs a little extra attention. We’re trying to keep a handle on things over there.”
Acosta is tired of the problems and has lost hope the situation will calm down. So he has made a decision.
“We’re putting our house on the market,” he said. “It’s gotten so bad we’re going to move.”
===== Morgan Wood responds to the column:
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 2:27 PM
To: Bill Vogrin
Subject: Rebuttal to your article
Today, I read your article concerning a person very important to
me; my father. It was incredibly disturbing to read how negatively my
father is being portrayed to this community that we have called home
for nearly a decade now.
I understand that my father declined to comment on this issue, but what this does reveal is the true nature of my father in his personal life. He is no more a child harasser than you or I and this situation has been blown out of proportion.
I am writing to you in an attempt to set the record straight. As a result of my
parents honorable career in the United States Air Force, of which they
each served 20 years, we just recently moved back to the springs from
the United Kingdom. Needless to say our first few months here were not
as welcoming as we had hoped.
From the beginning, my brother was the victim of taunting remarks from Acosta’s older children. As a result of the surprising lack of adult supervision, these remarks continued and on several occasions many of the younger children would block the
street with their skateboarding and portable ramps.
In addition, trash and skateboard wax made its way into our yard along with the occasional children running around on our lawn and damaging our property.
One incident that was particularly upsetting occurred on a summer’s day in August. My parents decided to have a backyard BBQ for my friends and I to celebrate the day. As we all sat in the backyard enjoying some music, Joseph Acosta and his friend decided to park their car near our fence and blast rap music to exercise their teenage rebellion. In order to ease the tensions rising, two of my friends went to kindly ask the
boys to turn down the music because we couldn’t have a conversation over the blaring noise.
Instead of respectfully complying, the two boys began to shout obscenities at my two friends . After this my father decided to call the police to settle this issue. I don’t know how many children you know whose behavior brinks on criminality, but this is not a common occurrence in my world Mr. Vogrin.
I find it absolutely ridiculous that these children are being painted as little angels when 90% of the time they are unsupervised. In response to the argument that my father used a camera to harass Mr. Acosta’s children, he was only complying with
the directions of the police officer who dealt with many of these issues.
Also, the issue of the paint on the car. Raoul Acosta has grossly inflated the details of this incident in the fact that my brother maliciously sprayed paint of his son’s new car. In reality, the condition of this said car is far from new and is in fact brinking on
not even being acceptable for the road. This multicolored “jalopy” has more paint smears than it has quality features.
The truth of the matter is that my brother was not using a sprayer nor was he anywhere near the car in question. Also the paint that had supposedly damaged
this vehicle was not even the same color as our fence stain. The fact is, this man is singling out my 19 year old brother, a young adult just out of high school, to pay $600 for a car not even worth $400.
Is this the characteristic behavior of a neighborly man? My father is one of the most good humored and intelligent men I know and I cannot sit by and see his reputation tarnished by this hypocritical “neighborly man”.
If you have any desire to speak to me I would gladly do so under the pretense that a fair non biased article will be published. I do not want my family painted as this offensive image of a uncivilized and “redneck” family. I think it is sad that the protection that my father has tried to give his property and family is so
negatively portrayed in your article.
Thank you for your time and concideration of this issue. I hope to hear back from you about this as it is affecting my family greatly and needs to be addressed.