Tag Archives: Leadville

Latest News – October 31

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The Day Hunter S. Thompson Came to Leadville 

HeadShotGraphicBy Kathy Bedell © Leadville Today

The day started out different. It was Halloween 1990 and the series of costume parties from the night before, left me with a splitting headache and a hollow belly. It was a late-start Wednesday on my schedule, and I was taking in one more cup of coffee, soaking up the sun on my front porch, when the whirring of a mechanical bird interrupted my recovery.

Looking up, shading my eyes from the brilliant sun against October’s bright blue skies, I quickly determined it was not a Flight for Life helicopter. But then, who would be coming to our fine town, especially by air?

I sat upright, remembering it was “Justice for Jessie” day. It was the day Hunter S. Thompson came to the Cloud City.

Like many young journalists, Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” had whet my appetite for the crazy, carefree life on the road, writing about adventures. Little did I know that I would soon be experiencing my own “Cigars and Margaritas” in Lead-Vegas!

The Gonzo Journalist Hunter S. Thompson came to Leadville as a character witness in a legendary Lake County court case. Photo: publicbroadcasting.net

The Gonzo Journalist Hunter S. Thompson came to Leadville as a character witness for the “Justice For Jessie” Lake County court case. Photo: publicbroadcasting.net

From time to time, Hunter S. Thompson would take up the causes of some under-privileged, under-paid, and under-the-thumb of justice person. “Justice for Jessie” had become his most recent cause, and he was coming to Leadville be a character witness for a Pitken County resident who found herself in trouble while passing through Lake County on her way home to Aspen.

One summer day, Jesse had hitched her way home as far as the Kum and Go on Harrison Avenue.  But it wasn’t until her ride was long gone, that the damsel-in-distress realized that she had left her backpack in their car.

Quick, albeit questionable, thinking on her part, resulted in a call to the Lake County Sheriff Department, who was able to locate and stop the car, and retrieve Jessie’s backpack. A quick search of the backpack by deputies revealed the owner’s identify, and also turned up illegal paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana.

The boys in blue returned to Kum & Go to reunite the pack with its rightful owner, which she cheerfully identified as hers, and then was promptly charged with possession of an illegal substance.

Now the story probably would have ended there, but this particular woman was already on probation out of Pitken County and had rallied the support of Hunter S. Thompson to help fight her battles. This most recent “search and seizure” of a down-on-her-luck Aspen housekeeper only seemed to amplify the gonzo journalist’s cause.

The “Justice for Jessie” case would be heard on Halloween, which only added to the media circus that started to gather at the Lake County Courthouse.  The publications known for their sensational reporting wanted to hear what Hunter had to say. Now remember, it was 1990, so it was way before the borage of smart phones with cameras and the onslaught of social media’s immediate tweeting or posting. In fact, in today’s world this may have been a very different story.

Regardless, the court docket for Wednesday, Oct. 31 said the case would start at 1 p.m. Knowing that not much started on time in these parts, I lingered over another cup of coffee at the Golden Rose (now, the Chinese restaurant) and watched the scurry going on across the street, as everyone bevied for position and a glimpse of the famous character witness.

Just as I swilled that last of my coffee, a small parade of people whisked past the window and the door swung open. Yes, the door swung open just like in the Wild West movies – and in walked the Gonzo Journalist himself; he bellied up to the empty bar and called out, “Margaritas for everyone!”

Then he added, pointing to me sitting at a nearby table, “A margarita for her too” And so it began – “Cigars and Margaritas” in Lead-Vegas!

The Lake County Courthouse provided the stage for "Scene Two" of the Justice for Jessie real-life-courtroom-drama, starring the legendary Hunter S. Thompson, as the infamous character witness.

The Lake County Courthouse provided the stage for “Scene Two” of the Justice for Jessie real-life-courtroom-drama, starring the legendary Hunter S. Thompson, as the infamous character witness.

Hunter set up camp in the restaurant, as his minions would run back and forth to the courthouse, keeping him apprised of the cases’s progress, waiting for his turn to take the stand.

“Screw the court case,”  I thought. “I’m drinking margaritas with Hunter, and it’s not even noon.”

The rest of the journalists were across the street in a packed courthouse, waiting for some tidbit, some sound bite. I was sitting across the table from the Gonzo Journalists, wearing his hat and swilling Cuervo. I was living every journalist’s dream!

There are many things that stay with me from that day; I’ll share a couple. First, I was amazed at his ability to consume tequila. I mean, it wasn’t until about 3:30 that he actually had to testify and he seemed pretty together for drinking pitcher after pitcher of margaritas. It was classic Hunter S. Thompson; but honestly I don’t know if I would have believed it, unless I saw it.

Which leads me to my second impression, the guy was very smart. I felt like I was part of some high-level, roundtable discussion, as the politics of the day were discussed, dissected and diluted over massive amounts of tequila.

Eventually, Thompson took the stand.  I went over to witness the legendary event,  peaking through the small windows of the courtroom back doors. The place was packed with journalists and there he was on the stand – as a character witness! I couldn’t hear a thing he said, I just stared in amazement, watching through those small windows, as he swung that unlit cigar from his hand, pontificating about the case.  

After his testimony, the media circus moved across the street; word must have got out that Hunter was hanging out at The Golden Rose and the crowd started to grow. I was surprised at the number of generally, unimpressed-with-celebrities locals who turned up. But this was Hunter S.Thompson. As the day stretch into Happy Hour, the margaritas continued to flow.

The party finally came to a screeching halt with the arrival of Hunter’s pilot, who announced that if they didn’t leave now (FAA regulated aircrafts to be airborne by sunset from small airports with no runway lights), that they would be spending the night in Leadville.

Whoosh! They were gone. The party was over.

But as I walked back to “our” table to get my jacket, I spied a notebook out of the corner of my eye. I quickly picked it up, looked around, and slid it under my coat. Jackpot!

I couldn’t walk home fast enough. I sat down on my couch and began flipping through Hunter’s notebook. There were half written essays, scribbling about the “Justice for Jessie” case, and notes on an upcoming trip to Hawaii. It was the latter that I found most interesting; the “grocery list” and budget for this Hawaiian vacation was something I could only aspire to.

That fantasy was interrupted by the whirring of Hunter’s helicopter; I knew it was him, after all Leadville does not have an afternoon flight pattern. As the sun set over the mountains, I watched Hunter’s helicopter head over Mount Massive, back to Aspen, back to Woody Creek.

What a day, I thought! And I suppose it was that feeling that prompted my next action. I put the notebook in a manila envelope, sealed it up tight, wrote “Property of Hunter S. Thompson” on the outside, then put it inside another envelope and addressed it to the Aspen reporter who was part of Hunter’s entourage, and had given me her business card at some point in the day. I then slapped enough stamps on it to ensure its journey, and walked it down to the post office.

Did I hesitate for a moment as I stood in the dark before the mailbox? You bet I did! Not only had the tequila, and ethical determination to return his personal property, begun to fade, but I started to think about all the money I could make by selling it. I thought about my call to Rolling Stone Magazine or the National Enquirer. There was some classic Hunter on these pages.

But justice prevailed again that day, and the envelope slid from my hands down into the depths of the big blue box.

That day stayed with me for a while and the Hunter stories reigned supreme at the local bars, until somebody else did something we could talk about. As the weeks passed, it seemed like just another story; I story I’d tell to people, would always ask, “Is that true? Did you really have his notebook? Why didn’t you keep it?”

I started to wonder if the notebook found its way to back to its owner, until I got a call from the reporter at the Aspen newspaper; she had a message from Hunter.

It seems the Gonzo Journalist was pretty impressed by my gesture to return his private notebook, and had invited me to his New Year’s party at his Woody Creek home. Quite honestly, I was thrilled, and a bit scared. After knowing what a day of tequila-drinking in preparation for a court case was like, I could only imagine what a New Year’s Eve with Hunter might bring. 

Believe it or not, I never went. A bad case of the flu left me down-for-the-count that New Year’s. Besides, that’s definitely a story that nobody would have believed!

Latest News – October 30

Trick or Treat Street is Ready With Sweets!

Leadville’s Trick or Treat Street will be held on the first two-hundred blocks of W. 7th Street tomorrow Friday, Oct. 31 from 5 – 9 p.m. This annual event allows children to go door to door Trick or Treating in a safe, supervised environment. 

Leadville Trick-or-Treaters wait patiently at a house on W. 7th Street for their turn to get some goodies, which should not be in short supply this year, thanks to generous donations from the community.

Leadville Trick-or-Treaters wait patiently at a house on W. 7th Street for their turn to get some goodies, which should not be in short supply this year, thanks to generous donations from the community.

This year, Amanda Stinnett took over organizational responsibilities, with help from Bernadette Bifano. The team has received some generous cash and candy donations this year from ALCO, Wild Bill’s, The Mule Kick, City On A Hill Coffee, The King Family, Veterans of Foreign War (VFW), Order of the Eastern Star (OES) Colorado Chapter #2, Cloud City Medical, Lady Sage Vacation Rental, Liz Stuart/8th Street Bookkeeping, Leadville Liquors, Helping Hands, The Lafferty Family, Leadville Today, The St. Vincent Hospital Foundation, Leadville Lions Club, The Miller Family, Silver City Conoco, Neenan Construction, and The Overland Property Group (owners of the Tabor Grand Hotel Apartments).

A caped-crusader makes the rounds at Leadville's Annual Trick or Treat Street.

A caped-crusader makes the rounds at Leadville’s Trick or Treat Street.

“So many people gave anonymously or contributed candy to the event,” said Stinnett, who has collected more than $1,500 for the annual event. Hopefully that means that there will be plenty of candy supplies for all of the generous residents on the first two-hundred block of West 7th Street, who lavishly decorate their homes and give out goodies to the Trick-or-Treaters at this FREE family-fun event.  

Neenan Construction and Overland are also taking extra safety pre-cautions to make sure that the kiddos are safe in the area, which has been under construction as the Tabor Grand Hotel under goes a $7 million dollar renovation. However, parents are still encouraged to use extra caution around any scaffold/construction area. Neenan also told Leadville Today that they have planned a special Halloween fence decoration for the west side of their caged area. Can’t wait to see what they come up with!

See you there . . . . if you dare!

See you there . . . . if you dare!

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Get Your Spook on at the Stapleton Haunted House

The Stapleton Manor Haunted House (118 W. 7th St.) will be open Halloween Night, October 31 and then again on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 6 – 9 p.m.  Come and get your spook on in a fun, safe environment located in an historic 1880s carriage house.

The Stapleton Haunted Mansion on W. 7th Street in Leadville.

The Stapleton Haunted Mansion on W. 7th Street in Leadville.

Children 13 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult. The cost is $5 per person. The event is an annual fundraiser for Full Circle of Lake County, a non-profit youth services program. Countless volunteer hours and the generosity of the Stapleton Family, who host the haunt at their home, allow this event to take place – Thank You!

Makali Beck, Youth Activities Assistant at Full Circle invites you to the Stapleton Manor Haunted House. Photo: Full Circle Facebook Page.

Makali Beck, Youth Activities Assistant at Full Circle invites you to the Stapleton Manor Haunted House. Photo: Full Circle Facebook Page.

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Monster Mash Nightlife Fun at The Scarlet

For the adult set the fun can be had at The Scarlet’s Annual Halloween Bash and Monster Mash. On Halloween Night get your bones rattling to the tunes of Hayes, Epp and Bones. TheScarlet Monster MashThey will also hold their famous costume contest with cash, as well as bar tab, prizes.

The party continues Saturday night with the some live music from String Board Theory (SBT). There is no cover charge for either show, must be 21+, and the music starts at 10 p.m. The Scarlet is located in downtown Leadville at the corner of 4th and historic Harrison Avenue.

Latest News – October 29

Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair in New Location

The Annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair, sponsored by the Leadville Arts Coalition has a new location this year. The popular, festive event will be held at Colorado Mountain College – Leadville, in the Climax Leadership Building on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21 & 22.

The Arts and Crafts Fair: same great hand-crafted items, in a new location.

The Arts and Crafts Fair: same great hand-crafted items, in a new location.

Shopping begins on Friday from 4 – 8 p.m. and continues on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Attendees can find an amazing assortment of merchandise, as local and regional vendors provide offerings from handcrafted arts, crafts, holiday décor, specialty food items, gift baskets, jewelry, and clothing items.

If you are interested in being a vendor at the show, there is still time (and space), but act fast, as the deadline is Nov. 3. For a copy of the VENDOR INFO or an APPLICATION. Or for more info, email lac.arts.info@gmail.com.

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Latest News – October 28

UPDATED (from this morning’s post)

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Advocates, Residents to “Take Back the Trail”  Nov. 5

Submitted by The Advocates of Lake County

The Advocates of Lake County have heard from several residents who are concerned about their safety in the aftermath of the sexual assault that took place near the intersection of 12th Street and Harrison Avenue, adjacent to the Mineral Belt Trail, on Saturday. Oct. 11. at 11:30 p.m. 

The Nov. 5 "Take Back The Trail" walk hosted by The Advocates of Lake County will walk from the LCIS parking lot, to 12th Street and Harrison Avenue at the Lake County Public Library. The group will return on the same route, after a presentation in the library, in a silent candlelight procession. Everyone is welcome.

The Nov. 5 “Take Back The Trail” walk hosted by The Advocates of Lake County will walk the Mineral Belt Trail from the LCIS parking lot, to 12th St. and Harrison Ave. at the Lake County Public Library. The group will return on the same route, after a presentation at the library, in a silent candlelight procession. Everyone welcome.

In an effort to ease some of the fears that residents have expressed, the Advocates will ‘Take Back the Trail’ to show the perpetrators of this crime that we do not tolerate sexual assault in our community. Many residents have expressed a need to renew a sense of safety when walking or running the Mineral Belt Trail alone. By taking back the trail, we can show support to victims of sexual assault and break the silence surrounding violence and abuse.

The sad truth is there should be one more sign added to the group on the Lake County Courthouse lawn, to represent the most recent victim of domestic violence. The display went up on October 1 in honor of domestic violence month. The pink signs represent the number of domestic violence victims in Lake County from Jan-Sept of this year. Photo: Leadville Today.

The sad truth is there should be one more sign added to the group on the Lake County Courthouse lawn, to represent the most recent victim of domestic violence. The display went up on October 1 in honor of domestic violence month. The pink signs represent the number of domestic violence victims in Lake County (from Jan-Sept of this year). Photo: Leadville Today.

If you would like to join the Advocates to “Take Back the Trail” please meet at the Lake County Intermediate School (LCIS) parking lot on Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m. The group will walk the Mineral Belt Trail from the LCIS parking lot to the Lake County Public Library where there will be refreshments donated by Cookies With Altitude and conversation in the community room upstairs at the library. At 8 p.m. the group will walk back to the LCIS parking lot in silence with candles to represent the silence that surrounds sexual assault victims.

If you love the Mineral Belt Trail and want to show your support to keep Leadville safe, please join the Advocates on November 5 to ‘Take Back the Trail’. Please bundle up and bring flash lights. For more information about this event or The Advocates, contact 719-486-3530.

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Established in 1983, the Advocates of Lake County’s mission is to assist any victim of crime, violence, or other traumatic event, primarily victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The Advocates work for positive social change, seeking to promote a safe and healthy community. Contact 719-486-3530. Obit_Spacer_Thin

Friends and Neighbors of the Victim Rally Support 

Friends and neighbors have also rallied together to help the victim of this recent violent crime. Victim Support copy
So if you can, please consider donating directly to this victim by contacting Jewlee Washburn at 970-389-2814. Gift cards, special presents and cards, or cash donations are being collected.Obit_Spacer_Thin

Police Chief Leake to Release Update on Case Today

Amid growing community concerns, and a lack of details regarding the Oct. 11, 2014 sexual assault case in Leadville, Police Chief Mike Leake informed Leadville Today by phone yesterday that an update will be released today. 

Police Chief Mike Leake

Leadville Police Chief Mike Leake

“I plan to provide an update regarding the case by the end of tomorrow (Oct. 28),” stated Chief Leake.

Since the crime occurred within the city limits, the Leadville Police Department (LPD) will act as lead investigator for the case.  Chief Leake added that the investigation is ongoing and that his department would be conducting more interviews regarding the case today.

Leadville Today will immediately post those updates to this report as they become available. However, it’s important to note where things go from here, legally.

Since the LPD is the lead investigator on this case, they have the burden of gathering evidence, conducting initial interviews, including making an arrest, if their investigation leads to that course of action, and essentially helping to build the case against any suspects/perpetrators.

DA Bruce Brown will ultimately decide what charges - if any - will be filed in the sexual assault case.

DA Bruce Brown will ultimately decide what charges – if any – will be filed in the sexual assault case.

Once the LPD concludes their investigation, they turn their findings over to the District Attorney Bruce Brown. From there, DA Brown reviews their findings,to determine what charges, if any, are to be filed. 

District Attorney Brown confirmed in a phone interview with Leadville Today that his office is in regular communication with the Leadville Police Department and Chief Leake regarding the case.

All parties seemed to concur that investigations take time. Stay tuned for any official updates from law enforcement.

 

Latest News – October 27

The Kiddie Korral mural got a bit of a face lift on Saturday as the old stairwell was filled in and and that portion of the wall was painted to finish the mural. Special Thanks to Sonja (LCHS Class of 2008) and Tim (Leadville Maintenance Department) who volunteered to spend the day beautifying our community. Welcome Dora and Nemo to one of Leadville's most colorful and beloved pieces of art!

The Kiddie Korral mural got a bit of a face lift on Saturday as the old stairwell was filled in and and that portion of the wall was painted to finish the mural. Special Thanks to Sonja (LCHS Class of 2008) and Tim (Leadville Maintenance Department) who volunteered to spend the day beautifying our community. Welcome Dora and Nemo to one of Leadville’s most colorful and beloved pieces of art!

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SCHOOL NEWS

West Park, County Receive GOCO Design Grant

by Kathleen Fitzsimmons, Lake County School District

The West Park Wellness Committee, with support from Lake County and the Lake County School District, recently received a design partnership award from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to update and redesign the West Park Playground.

West Park Elementary School has received grant money for a redesign of their playground.

West Park Elementary School has received grant money for a redesign of their playground.

The GOCO partnership, worth $5,000, will allow for specialized design consulting to help the Lake County School District with its goal to create the best playground for Kindergarten to 2nd grade students. The award also invites partners to apply for future GOCO funds to construct the playground they have designed.Obit_Spacer_ThinFootball_Finale copy
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A Capella Experience Comes To High School Nov. 4

November 4, the nationally known a capella group “re:Voiced” will be coming to Lake County High School! Please join the Lake County School District for this music event, which also serves as a fundraiser for the music department. Tickets are only $8 for students and $10 for adults, and are available by calling 719-486-6950, or by returning this form, with your payment, to any LCHS choir student.

When you hear the term, “a cappella,” does your mind travel back in time to the eras of that classic barbershop sound. Guys standing on a sidewalk singing in consonant four-part harmony, wearing stylish straw boater hat. You know, the ones.

ReVoiced, however, is NOT your classic barbershop group.

Encompassing five talented, charismatic men, reVoiced is the vocal quintet that will keep your “ears on their toes” and will have audiences enthralled while experiencing their band without instruments sound. They’re more than just five guys with microphones, they embody the full sound of a band using only their five voices.

Not relying solely on smooth vocals, reVoiced brings professional showmanship, audience interaction and sleek sophistication to the stage to create a perfect mix of impactful moments that will leave crowds not just impressed, but also inspired.ReVoiced_ A Cappella

The collective experience of reVoiced includes performing in venues ranging from the Nokia Theater and Lincoln Center in NYC, to headlining on popular cruise vessels around the world. ReVoiced members have shared the stage with globally recognized artists like Ben Folds and Rockapella, and appeared on NBC’s hit TV show The Sing-Off.

Covering a fun and exciting combination of classic and current music, reVoiced appeals to audiences of all generations and rekindles old flames while lighting new ones. They have their audiences singing, dancing and clapping along as they “revoice” old favorites and new hits with their unique style, moves, personalities, and their powerhouse vocals. Simply stated, reVoiced is THE vocal group to take you from enjoyable event to unforgettable experience.

Tickets are only $8 for students and $10 for adults, and are available by calling 719-486-6950, or by returning this form,
with your payment, to any LCHS choir student.