In Telluride former Historic Preservation Architect Michael Davenport got promoted to Planning and Building Director following the departure of his predecessor for a job in Mountain Village….The ranching lifestyle of the Old West lost a champion with the January 11 death of Dick Swyhart, 86, in Denver, from burns he suffered when his Montrose home caught fire. Swyhart, who grew up in the Ridgway area, loved the mountains and ranching and wanted to see that way of life preserved, as did his employer, legendary rancher Marie Scott….
The fledgling Telluride Figure Skating Club hit the ice….San Miguel County lost a 31-year local described by a friend as “an indomitable high country spirit who skied with the gods and fished and hunted with the coyotes and bears,” on February 1, when a freak ski accident claimed the life of Kevin Green, 51, near the entrance to Prospect Basin at the Telluride Ski Resort. A Telluride Hockey Club Squirts coach and a 15-year member of the Placerville Volunteer Fire Department, Green was one of a trio that made the pioneering first descent of the San Joaquin Couloir in May 1982 (alongside brother Dennis Green and Hugh Sawyer)….
An era ended late during the night of February 9 when Telluride’s oldest eatery, Baked in Telluride, burned to the ground after a fire triggered by the cumulative effects of years of intense heat from the popular restaurant’s oven began to smolder and eventually blaze. (A reproduction of the historic building is currently under construction)….The Telluride Montrose Regional Air Organization, the quasi-public enterprise that underwrites commercial air traffic to the region, saw a change in leadership when Tom Hess, who had chaired the organization since 2004, resigned from his position….In Mountain Village, Stickers, the curly fries-loving porcupine whose food-grubbing antics had become a popular attraction on the slopes of the Telluride Ski Resort, was relocated near Woods Lake for her own good…. Family and friends of Abade “Abe” Martinez, 52, got closure on his August 2009 disappearance from Olathe when his remains were discovered in a dry drainage ditch in Delta County….Telluride’s Cornerhouse got new direction under the ownership of The Sweet Life entrepreneur Kenny Rosen….
The Ophir Loops Matterhorn Mill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties effective February 24. Known as the Valley View Leasing and Mining Company Mill and built in 1920, the flotation mill was state-of-the-art in its time….
In European fashion, the Telluride Ski Resort installed a new bridge and staircase to the left shoulder of Gold Hill’s Palmyra Peak to improve access to the uppermost Gold Hill Chutes….In early March news broke that at the end of 2009 former California gubernatorial candidate, eBay chief executive and local property owner Meg Whitman purchased 847 acres on Turkey Creek Mesa and in Gold King Basin that had been slated for a controversial cluster development, raising conservationists’ hopes that the high country holdings might be protected from future development….Telluride lost resident Theresa J. Powell, 50, after she drowned in the main outdoor pool at the Orvis Hot Springs sometime in the early hours of March 5. Alcohol intoxication was a contributing factor….
San Miguel County Clerk Peggy Nerlin confirmed that she would not seek re-election in November, citing a desire to spend more time with her family….John Bennett replaced former Telluride Fire Protection District director Gary Whitfield….Telluride’s main street coffee house mainstay traded hands when Steaming Bean owner Mick Hill sold the retail portion of his business to locals Meghann McCormick and Brian Werner….
Just down the street Bootdoctors’ owners Bob and Penelope Gleason entered into a purchase agreement for Paragon Ski and Sport, a Colorado Avenue fixture since 1983….In late March the decades long legal battle for the Telluride Valley Floor reached its ultimate conclusion when the 572-acre property was annexed into the town’s municipal boundaries….Meanwhile controversial developer Tom Chapman, who specializes in acquiring overlooked, but sensitive, privately owned “inholdings” surrounded by federal lands was busy purchasing mining claims in Telluride’s Upper Bear Creek Basin through the Gold Hill Development Company in which he is a partner. The GHDC immediately announced the purchase would affect public access to parts of popular backcountry ski and hiking routes in the basin….
In Ridgway resident and well-known mountain guide Heidi Kloos, 41, was killed in avalanche near Baldy Peak while headed out to do remote ice climb on March 30. One of only a few female alpine guides certified by the American Mountain Guides Association, Kloos had guided extensively around the world and in 2008 received the Denali National Park Service’s “Denali Pro Award” for her efforts in assisting the National Park with a difficult rescue there in 2007. Kloos left behind her mother, Irene Kloos, her brother Andy Kloos, his wife, their two children, and a cadre of friends, climbing partners, clients, and pets….Oak Grove Elementary School in Montrose lost a beloved teacher, Jesse Permann, who died of cancer on March 31 at the age of 29….
In an early April deal that could be interpreted as paving the way to a future ski area expansion, the Telluride Ski and Golf. Co (through its TSG Asset Holding, LLC) purchased a 4.11-acre parcel in Upper Bear Creek known as the Dandy Lode, a site that CEO Dave Riley allowed could serve as the base for future lifts….April elections in Montrose saw Bill Paterson win the At Large City Council seat, with Thomas Smits and Carol McDermott winning the District 1 and District II City Council Seats, respectively. Montrose voters also approved a 5-mil levy to create a Downtown Development Authority….
In Ridgway Town Council incumbents John Clark and Rick Weaver were voted back and Rich Durnan took the third seat in the four-way council race. Mayor Pat Willits ran uncontested….In the Town of Norwood 111 voters (a little less than one-third of those registered) turned out to re-elect Mayor Kerry Welch and to elect newcomer Kieffer Parrino to a two-year seat on the Town Board. Sandra Esch and incumbent Rich Sanchez ran uncontested for the two four-year seats on the board….
Acknowledging vast improvements made to its trauma care in the last two years, Montrose Memorial Hospital was promoted from Level IV to Level III trauma center….In San Miguel County, Emergency Management Coordinator Jennifer Dinsmore was named West Region Emergency Manager of the Year for 2009 by the All Hazard Emergency Management Division of the Colorado Emergency Manager’s Association….Former Telluride resident Mary “Helen” Pilcher, 86, who graduated high school and married in Telluride in 1940, died on Montrose on April 14. She was to be buried next to her husband Gene in Telluride’s Lone Tree Cemetery….Former Redondo Beach, Calif.-based consultant Ken Brengle was hired to head the newly formed Montrose Association of Commerce and Tourism, a consolidation of the Montrose Area Merchants Association, the Montrose Chamber of Commerce and the Montrose Visitor and Convention Bureau…A late April tularemia outbreak (also known as “rabbit fever” or “deer fly fever”) in Telluride’s Beaver Pond was blamed for the deaths of four beavers there….Although nearly blind and almost totally deaf, Russell Cook received his high school diploma from Montrose High Assistant Principal Kathy Lemon at the Sunrise Creek Assisted Living Facility in May. Cook, who came of age during the Great Depression and never finished high school to enlisted in the Army Air Force in September, 1942, got the diploma as part of Operation Recognition, which awards high school diplomas to men and women who gave up their educations to serve in World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam wars….
The same month the previously run-down Westward Ho motel at the west entrance to Norwood opened for business as the tastefully restored BackCountry Inn….Watch Newspapers contributor Martinique Davis and husband Craig Prohaska welcomed a second daughter, Lena Emmeline Prohaska, into the world on May 31….Replacing an aging 69-kilovolt line owned by the San Miguel Power Association, the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association began construction of its new, 115-kilovolt Nucla-Sunshine transmission line on June 1….The following day former Ridgway Town Manager Greg Clifton took over as the new Telluride Town Manager….
Shortly thereafter the City of Montrose finally got the deed to a 10-block section of East Main Street that was formerly US Highway 50 and under Colorado Department of Transportation control….Thirteen-year-old Austin Barrett was tragically killed while riding his dirt bike after being hit by an SUV at the intersection of State Highway 349 with 5600 Road near Olathe on June 15.
San Miguel County also saw the loss of three residents that month when Gene Melvin Cross, 78, died at his Norwood home on June 15, followed by well-known painter, carpenter and former Norwood resident John William Rowe, 63, on June 23, and longtime Telluride resident Kevin R. Smith, 66, on June 28….Dorothy Ann Harrison, a 17-year Ridgway resident, died on June 23 at Montrose Memorial Hospital at the age of 84….Norwood beautician Kimberly Anne Youngblood, 42, of Redvale, died on June 25….In happier tidings, Sante Architects was awarded Telluride’s first Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom house at 629 East Colorado….and Watch Newspapers associate editor Gus Jarvis married fiancée Torie Bowman at Walther Ranch near Ridgway on June 26….
Ouray was left grief-stricken over the July 5 death of James Peter Morss, 21, who fell to his death from a 100-foot cliff on Country Road 361, also known as Camp Bird Road while celebrating Independence Day with friends in area known as the Drinking Cup….Norwood’s Steve Lidgey, a familiar face at Sawpit’s Blue Jay Lodge and Café where he had worked since August 2003, died on July 14 after a quick illness….A few days later on July 19 the Montrose County Coroner confirmed that a body found in South Canal was that of popular KUBC radio morning show host and DJ Ricky Dean Steele. Steele, 48, had not been seen since July 1 when co-workers found his truck and dogs near the canal after he didn’t report for work that morning. He is survived by his sister, Kimberly Farnell, and brother Robert Steele….Jeanne Mennell, 84, was smothered to death by her son-in-law, Mark Koeman, 61, on July 23 in Montrose; Koeman then shot himself at the scene of the murder/suicide.
On July 26 retired Army colonel Peter A. Topp of Colorado Springs, who had climbed more than half of Colorado’s fourteeners, was the first of two summer rockslide deaths on the ridge between Mt. Wilson and El Diente Peak in Dolores County and responded to by the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office….In July the Telluride Foundation honored Andrea Benda of Telluride and Dan and Greer Garner of Mountain Village with the organization’s Outstanding Citizen Award for 2010….
The following month the US Environmental Protection Agency began cleanup of the Elizabeth Mining and Development Inc. site in Montrose, including 6,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid, under the purview of the Superfund Act. It was not the first Superfund cleanup created by its owners, the late Joseph Casebolt and his son Steven. Both men were arrested in Montrose in April of 2007 and charged with a 44-count indictment that included charges of racketeering, securities fraud, attempting to influence a public servant, forgery and 28 violations of the Hazardous Waste Act.
Joseph Casebolt died in 2008 and, subsequently, Steven Casebolt’s charges were drastically reduced. The duo previously owned Hi-Tech Metal Refiners on Bill Road in Montrose, which was cited by the EPA in 1998 for illegally handling 82 tons of toxic waste….Mike Ouellette, 60, of Montrose, a member of the Elk’s Lodge in Ouray and who managed The Bunkhouse Lodge in Ridgway, died on August 17….A few days later Harry Force, 67, the owner of Telluride’s O’Bannon’s Irish Pub also died….Norwood celebrated the grand opening of its newly expanded Umcompahgre Medical Center on September 1 thanks to $440,000 in federal stimulus funding….Zachary Thomas Culmer, 19, of Montrose, died on September 5 after being stabbed during a fight at a house party.…On September 15 the San Miguel County Commissioners unanimously approved a three-year extension of a preliminary cluster plan development approval on land purchased by Meg Whitman last year. The intent of extending the approval was “…quite frankly, for valuation,” her attorney said.…In late September the first ever Montrose Colorado Indian Nations Powwow was celebrated at Friendship Hall at the Montrose County Fairgrounds, held after the long-time Council Tree Powwow in Delta was canceled for lack of funds….The same weekend Cortez climber John Merrill, 30, was the second climber killed in a rockslide on the route between Mt. Wilson and El Diente over the summer. It would have been his 15th summit of a peak over 14,000 ft. Remarkably, his 100-pound dog, Oof, survived the slide, to be adopted in the following days by Telluride’s Kacey Long. Just days before Merrill’s demise, Long’s 5-year-old Siberian husky was killed in a freak hiking accident….
Ridgway lost 11-year resident, Log Hill Volunteer Fire Department member, school tutor, and Ouray County Chorus singer Almon Wilson “Will” Coulter on September 24….The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced that although the Gunnison Sage-grouse should receive protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, a lack of funding meant it would have to take a back seat to other species with higher priority….Police arrested Montrose District Attorney Myrl Serra on September 30, ultimately charging him with sexual contact with no consent, indecent exposure and official misconduct. He faces charges of felony extortion, felony sexual contact with no consent, two misdemeanor charges of official misconduct, and three misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure….
The same day 3M, perhaps more readily known as the manufacturer of Post-it Notes and Scotch Tape, announced it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ross Reels with the vision of combining the Montrose-based fly-fishing company’s equipment and accessories and with 3M's Scientific Anglers branded fly fishing line….In early October Telluride’s Eric Jacobson transferred his 99-year lease on the Bridal Veil Powerhouse back to the Idarado Mining Co. from which he acquired it in 1988, and Telluride became the first community in the state to ban grocers and other retailers from distributing most types of disposable plastic bags to consumers, effective March 1, 2011….By October an 11,000 square-foot expansion of the Montrose Regional Airport passenger terminal was well underway….Jennifer Wyrick and Chad Leaver of Colorado Springs bought Ouray’s historic Beaumont Hotel with the goal of making it a center of community activities, as it was when its doors opened in 1887.…Watch Newspapers art director Cecily Bryson and husband, Mike Bryson, welcomed new son Boden Hale Bryson into their lives on October 8 at 7 pounds and 6 ounces….
Alan Todd and Beecher Threatt from Longview, Texas, bought the Ouray County Plaindealer and the Ridgway Sun from longtime owner/publisher David Mullings.…Former Ridgway Town Planner Jen Coates became the new Town Manager following the June departure of her predecessor to Telluride….
In Telluride, summertime festival capital of the Rockies debuted its newest addition, the Telluride Horror Show, mid-month….The Montrose Board of County Commissioners grew closer to hammering out a deal with German-based aircraft manufacturer Extra, which announced in July that it had chosen Montrose as the site for its new assembly plant that would create an estimated 200 jobs. Shortly thereafter the deal seemed to head south….“Burdened with debt which is not supported by the current financial performance of the property,” RAL Mountain Village Lodging LLC, the real estate development firm responsible for the construction of Capella Telluride and the Inn at Lost Creek, confirmed that the two luxury properties were entering foreclosure….Despite bidding for a spot in the inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge Bike Race announced by Gov. Bill Ritter and Lance Armstrong taking place next summer, Telluride learned it would not be part of the seven-day, seven-stage tour destined as the state’s first major pro cycling race in nearly two decades….Meanwhile Telluride’s Peaks Resort got started on a $13 million upgrade to the facility including new decks, a 1,600 square-foot game room, and a state-of-the-art fiber optic internet system….
In Ridgway, RIGS owner Tim Patterson was sworn in to fill seat vacated by longtime town councilmember Paul Herbert….The Delta-Montrose Electric Association and San Miguel Power Association announced on October 26 that the two rural electric cooperatives would not merge following an initial investigation into the possibility….Telluride’s new Ames Conservatory took over the former Telluride Dance Academy with vision of becoming a leading advocacy for the arts and global destination for arts education and development….November elections in San Miguel County ushered in a new Coroner, Emil Sante, and new Clerk and Recorder, Kathleen Erie….While Mike Fedel won the Ouray County Commission seat for District 2, by 34 votes, Dominic Mattivi Jr. retained his position as Ouray County Sheriff and Colleen K. Hollenbeck won the race for Ouray County Coroner….US Army Corporal Aaron “Moon” Cruttenden, 25, of Norwood, died in Afghanistan on November 7 from wounds he sustained after his unit came under small-arms fire during a route-clearance operation in Kunar province. A Full Honors Guard brought his body back via private jet to Montrose Regional Airport….
After 12 years in the job, Telluride School District Superintendent Mary Rubadeau announced her plans to retire at the end of the current school year to pursue educational writing and consulting and hobbies.”…Hot yoga” arrived at Shantihi Yoga in Ridgway….While Sun Edison pulled the plug on a small-scale solar energy project slated for construction in Ouray County citing “unexpected funding issues.”…The Friends of the Wright Opera House met a seemingly unobtainable goal, announcing the group had raised enough pledges to save the 122-year-old Ouray building despite being $250,000 short in September.
The era of abundant free parking in Mountain Village ended just in time for Thanksgiving as the 460-space Gondola Garage converted to paid….Governor-Elect John Hickenlooper tapped longtime San Miguel and Ouray Counties Social Services Director Allan Gerstle to serve on his newly-created Human Services Committee….Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library garnered another five-star rating in the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service 2010 for a third time running….Signaling a win for developer Tom Chapman and his Bear Creek private mining claims purchase, Telski announced the cancellation of its backcountry guide program in the Bear Creek Drainage citing “a lack of alignment with private owners of mining claims in the drainage.”…Ouray’s George Newton Swift, 100, died at home on November….The US Forest Service announced the immediate closure of three access points along Telluride’s Gold Hill Ridge to prevent trespass across private landholdings in the basin, chalking up another victory for Tom Chapman….
Telluride TV hired Katie Karow as its new executive director and launched a new local program called “Telluride Time” with local personality Ashley Boling….While Daiva Chesonis, Bobbi T. Smith and Jon Hubbard bought the Between the Covers bookstore from owners Stuart and Joanna Brown following Hilary Douglass’s purchase of the coffee shop portion of the business one day earlier….Both the nation and Telluride lost a good friend with the passing of Richard Holbrooke, special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan for the Obama Administration and father of Mountainfilm Festival Director David Holbrook, on December 13, following surgery for a ruptured aorta….
The Telluride Ski Resort hosted its second Visa Snowboardcross World Cup event from December 14-18….There, 40 new short-term “hotbed” rentals and 20,000 square feet of commercial space might one day be built after the Mountain Village Town Council gave final approval to the Mountain Village Hotel Planned Unit Development mid-month….Melanie Kline joined Montrose’s new Downtown Development Authority….Two days after it opened for the season the Ouray Ice Park had to close, a casualty of the massive, warm weather pattern affecting the western US called the Pineapple Express.…Disgraced former District Attorney Myrl Serra was arrested a second time, on Wednesday, Dec. 22, for violating conditions of his bail bond and a restraining order from an earlier arrest for felony sexual misconduct and other charges. The arrest stemmed from a Dec. 5 encounter with an alleged victim, in a Montrose department store; as she “hunched down,” in an attempt to avoid Serra, he stared at her for several seconds, she stated in a police report. After viewing store videotapes, CBI agents ascertained probable cause, and arrested Serra at his home. Now facing additional charges of violation of bail bond conditions and violation of a protection order, he was released after posting a $5,000 bond. Serra is set to appear for a preliminary hearing on the original charges on Feb. 11 at the Montrose County Justice Center in Grand Junction.
Meanwhile, attorney Dan Hotsenpiller, a former, 10-year, Assistant DA in the 7th Judicial District, will fill Serra’s shoes. Hotsenpiller was appointed to the position by Judge J. Steven Patrick last week….Telluride Tourism Board head Scott McQuade announced his resignation after five years to take a similar position in the Golden Isles off the southern Georgia coast closer to family….Project contractors were putting the finishing touches on one of the largest photovoltaic systems in Western Colorado and the first large-scale, net-metered, grid tied array within the SMPA’s service area, a 118-kilowatt system at the Telluride Regional Wastewater Plant….The San Miguel County Clerk and Recorder announced it had received approval for a branch Motor Vehicle Office expected to open in Norwood in July 2011….
After more than two years, the Mountain Village Town Council and members of the community reviewed a final version of the town’s Comprehensive Plan, which explores upzoning certain active open space and single-family parcels to achieve community goals of economic vitality and professional housing.