Regional News

Redistricting Maps Approved

DENVER – Redistricting maps submitted by the Colorado Reapportionment Commission were approved by the Colorado Supreme Court on Dec. 12, which will serve to realign districts for the Colorado House and Senate.

The new Senate District 5 will include Lake, Eagle, Chaffee, Pitkin, Gunnison, Hinsdale and Delta counties. House District 60 will include Park, Custer, and Chaffee counties, and most of western Fremont County. Lake and Summit counties will join Delta, Pitkin and part of Gunnison counties in HD-61. Some state Republican politicians publicly complained the maps were redrawn to benefit the Democratic Party.

Gunnison County Commissioners filed a statement of opposition to a plan that would split the county into two separate House districts, HD-61 and HD-59.

Monarch Mountain hopes to Expand

SALIDA – Monarch Mountain, small but successful in recent years, despite being more than two hours from the nearest metropolitan area (Colorado Springs), hopes to keep growing bit by bit. The Forest Service has accepted a plan that calls for a new chair lift in ski terrain on the back side of the mountain, plus additional parking, an expanded base lodge and other adjustments as needed to push the annual skier days to 200,000. The resort has been logging 175,000, says The Mountain Mail. – by Allen Best

Superfund Site Delisted

LEADVILLE – The delisting of California Gulch Operable Unit 9 from a Superfund Site designation was commemorated in Leadville on Dec. 9, according to The Leadville Herald-Democrat.

The 27-year project involved cleaning hazardous waste from most of the residential area of Leadville including downtown as well as blood-lead monitoring. The site covered 18 square miles and was divided into 12 geographic areas called operable units.

Group delegated task of studying Olympics

DENVER – A 22-person committee has been appointed to explore the upsides and downsides of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics in Colorado.

“We need to flush out every single issue involved with a potential bid,” committee-co-chairman Don Elliman told The Denver Post. “The questions are what will be the benefits, and if there are downsides, pinpoint what they are.”

The committee appointed by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper includes Harry Frampton, chairman of the Vail Valley Foundation, and Ernie Blake, former mayor of Breckenridge.

Reno-Lake Tahoe has already announced plans to pursue the U.S. nomination for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The basin’s Squaw Valley hosted the Olympics in 1964, and Denver had secured rights to host the 1976 games. However, concerns about the environmental effects of rapid growth, combined with a shoddy track record by Denver’s Olympic Committee, persuaded Colorado voters in 1972 to reject state taxpayer subsidies for the Games, causing Denver to withdraw. – by Allen Best

Ranch Awarded GOCO Grant

SALIDA – The historic Hutchinson Ranch, located between Salida and Poncha Springs on U.S. Hwy. 50, was selected to receive a $545,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant for its Phase III project.

The grant will allow for a conservation easement on 240 acres of the 696-acre ranch by the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust.

Pro Cycling Challenge Chooses Routes for 2012

Leadville’s gain was Salida’s loss when organizers of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge announced the routes for this year’s race.

The professional bicycle race began its first stage in Salida in 2011 but chose Durango for that honor in 2012. The race will visit central Colorado as stage three goes from Gunnison to Aspen, which involves climbing Cottonwood Pass into Buena Vista and through Twin Lakes to Independence Pass. Stage four goes back over Independence Pass into Leadville, ending at Beaver Creek Village.

Rancher Found Guilty of Neglect

FAIRPLAY – A Hartzel rancher has been prohibited from managing or owning cattle in Park County in a Dec. 15 ruling, according to The Fairplay Flume.

After a five-day trail, rancher Vern Wagner was found guilty of mistreating and neglecting his cows by failing to provide them with adequate food and water during the winter of 2009-10. 11th Judicial District Judge Stephen Groome believed the evidence of 143 dead animals and another 379 found “in dangerous condition” was enough to prove the charges.

Wagner, who has owned a cattle ranching operation in Park County since 2000, claimed he was hampered by financial and mechanical problems.

No Uranium Processing in Cañon City

CANON CITY – The Cotter Corp. has announced it will not move ahead with plans to process uranium at its Cañon City uranium mill, according to The Denver Post. Citing the lack of economics, the company says it will instead focus on cleaning up the contaminated site, which has been a concern to area residents for years.

Cotter fist began processing uranium at the site for weapons and fuel in 1958. Years later well tests in the area revealed contamination and the mill was on a national list for Superfund cleanups. Cotter’s operating license for the facility expires Jan. 31.

In the Mail Today …

U.S. Postal Service officials removed the post offices at Pitkin and Sargents from their list of possible closures. About 4,000 local post offices nationwide are being studied for “discontinuance.”

A proposal to move the sorting operation from the Salida Post Office to Denver has been postponed.


Notable Quotes:

“We’re aware that you’re going to be going off to two weeks of electronic wonderland so we wanted to give this information now.” – Gunnison Middle School teacher Mark High speaking to students in a lesson about the internet and social media sites such as Facebook. – Gunnison Country Times, Dec. 22, 2011.


“Having horse drawn vehicles and cars interacting safely on the road is also important.” – CDOT engineer Dan Lawler, on a plan to widen shoulders on Hwy. 69 in Custer County. The highway has seen an increase in Amish buggies over the past several years. – Wet Mountain Tribune, Nov. 24, 2011.


“Don’t drive if you’re tipsy, buzzed or Blitzen. Call a cab or get a sober ride home.” – From a CDOT campaign to prevent holiday drinking and driving.