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Historic Hotel Faces Foreclosure

LEADVILLE – The historic Tabor Grand Hotel in Leadville is facing foreclosure – by its owner.

The city of Leadville received a notice of foreclosure on the property on May 9. Marcel Arsenault claimed that the first lienholder, Superior Investment, intends to foreclose on the property. Arsenault is 100 percent owner of Superior Investment as well as 100 percent owner of Capital Solutions which owns the hotel. He claims the building continues to operate at a deficit, according to the Leadville Herald-Democrat.

Completed in 1884 and opened in July 1885, the hotel was renamed the Hotel Kitchen in 1887 after being purchased by the Kitchen brothers, according to the Democrat. In 1892 it was again renamed, this time the Vendome, which over the years fell into disrepair and eventually closed in the 1980s. In July 1989 a section of the building collapsed after a heavy rain. It was then purchased by Arsenault, who restored the building with the aid of public funding and renamed it the Tabor Grand. There are currently about 50 residents living in the building.


Rodeo Announcer Dies

SALIDA – Fritz Rundell, a well-known rodeo announcer and auctioneer died in his Salida home on May 2 at the age of 74.

Rundell was a member of the Colorado Auctioneers Association and was the announcer for the Little Britches Rodeo. He was also involved for 50 years with the original 4-H fair and the current Chaffee County Fair, according to The Mountain Mail. He was considered by many to be “the voice of the fair.” Funeral services were held on May 5 at the fairgrounds.


Still the only Western

GRAND JUNCTION – Western State College (WSC) in Gunnison rested easier in late April after trustees at Mesa State College (MSC) in Grand Junction decided against a name change that may have caused confusion with the two schools.

MSC had been considering changing its name to University of Western Colorado or Western Colorado University but instead decided on Colorado Mesa University as its new brand.

“The risk of identity confusion was our biggest concern,” said WSC President Jay Helman, according to the Gunnison Country Times.


Forest Fire Extinguished

WETMORE – A forest fire burned nearly 555 acres near Wetmore in late April.

The blaze, dubbed the Sand Gulch Fire, occurred on San Isabel National Forest land and in Hardscrabble Canyon on private lands. Residents of the Greenwood subdivision were evacuated but no lives or structures were lost. Nearly 100 firefighters battled the wildfire, according to the Wet Mountain Tribune.


Local Foods, Local Jobs Act Stalls

DENVER – The Colorado Senate passed a bill sponsored by Senator Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass) to help promote local foods and create local jobs.

Senate Bill 258, would allow non-perishable foods such as baked goods, jams and jellies, as well as eggs, to be sold at farmers markets and similar venues by vendors who produce the goods in their home kitchens. The bill will also support local farmers by allowing them to increase the selection of foods sold in farmers markets.

Senator Schwartz told Colorado Central that the bill is currently stalled in the House.


Historic Route Sites under Study

BUENA VISTA – The Grater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) is doing a feasibility study on the sites of the Colorado Midland Railroad and the Cañon City to Leadville Stage Coach Road for potential preservation and for attracting visitors.

The study is being funded by a grant from the Colorado State Trails Program and will help determine their potential use for recreation and historic preservation. GARNA hopes to have the study completed by the fall. For more info visit:


Two New Councilors, No Pot

GUNNISON – Gunnison has two new city councilors after an election to fill three seats was held on May 10. Ed Seymour and Bob Drexel will be joining current Mayor Pro Tem Jonathan Houck on the council. Voters also dispatched with a measure that would have allowed medical marijuana operations in the city by a 589 to 441 vote. Despite the ban voters still approved an additional 5% sales tax assessment on the sale of MMJ.


Natural Resource Center Receives Lease

SALIDA – A non-profit 63-20 organization formed by the city of Salida for the purpose of bidding on a Natural Resources Center (NRC) received a lease from the U.S. Forest Service in late April, according to The Mountain Mail.

Construction of the multi-agency facility is proposed for the city-owned Vandaveer property east of town. It would include offices and shops for the U.S.F..S. and the Colorado D.O.W. and State Parks.

A complaint filed in May with the U.S. Government Accountability Office by a private developer over the bidding process for the center was dismissed.


State Parks/DOW Merger on Track to Pass

DENVER – The merger between the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks seems to be a done deal. Senate Bill 208 passed the Senate in April and the House on May 6. It returns to the Senate for some minor changes before being signed into law by the governor.

The state hopes to cut costs and improve efficiency by merging the two agencies as well as to avoid cutting parks or reducing wildlife work in the future.


Note: Stanford Addison, the Native American horse trainer who was the subject of author Lisa Jones’ book, Broken: A Love Story, reviewed in our August 2009 issue, passed away on May 10 in a hospital in Casper, Wyoming.


Notable Quotes:

“He was probably the warmest person at the event. That’s what rabbit fur will get you.” – Salida Easter Egg Hunt Organizer Jeanine Zeman, referring to the guest of honor Bunny. – The Mountain Mail, April 25, 2011.

“As far as burglaries in general, some of these are a crime of opportunity. This gentleman that we arrested, he was pretty good at what he did. These other ones don’t really fall into that realm.” – Gunnison Police Captain Chris Wilson, discussing the arrest of a suspect in a string of burglaries. – The Gunnison Country Times, May 12, 2011.

“I resent it being rammed down my throat.” – Westcliffe resident Joe Cascarelli.
“I moved here to get away from big city ideas.”
– Westcliffe Resident Mike Hess. – Both men objecting to a proposed Custer County Conserves document which promotes local energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Opponents claim the document is an attempt to implement the United Nations Agenda 21 program, which they apparently don’t like. – Wet Mountain Tribune, May 12, 2011.

“I know you’re all shocked, but I think you actually did something right.” – Salidan Jim Miller speaking at a city council meeting regarding a city-formed corporation formed to construct a Natural Resources Center on city-owned property.,– The Mountain Mail, May 19, 2011.

“That some, with no college diploma, make more than a teacher with a master’s degree will ever earn is a slap in the face and a continual morale killer.” – Response in a 2011 teacher’s union survey compiled by the Lake County School District compiled in February 2011. – Leadville Herald-Democrat, May 19, 2011.

“We didn’t want to have something that people would get real turned off of, so it’s not real demonic, but it’s a pretty awesome demon.” – Buena Vista businessman, Mark DeFurio who helped organize a fundraiser to pay for a new costumed mascot for Buena Vista High School. – The Chaffee County Times, April 28, 2011.