** Latest Update from Lake County Office of Emergency Management as of 6 p.m. Janary 5 **
“The Search and rescue operation seeking 2 skiiers near Uncle Bud’s Hut near Torquoise lake has ended. The youth has been taken off the mountain and reunited with his family. The adult, Brett Beasley, was treated for hypothermia but did not survive. Our condolences to the friends and family of Brett Beasley. Please allow the family time to deal with this very sad situation.”
** Initial Story Posted Jan 5 1 p.m. **
Search Initiated For Two Skiers Lost Near Turquoise
By Kathy Bedell © Leadville Today
The first major snow storm of the season in Leadville has also led to the first Lake County Search and Rescue mission. An active search has been issued for two cross-country skiers reported missing near Turquoise Lake late Wednesday, Jan. 4 as a powerful winter storm continues to pummel the Colorado high country.
The skiers had set their sites on the popular Turquoise Lake area, located 5 miles west of Leadville for a day of cross country skiing while the rest of the group, all from Salida, Colo. opted for some alpine turns at a nearby ski resort. When the other members of their group returned late Wednesday afternoon and realized that the two cross-country skiers had not returned, an alert went out to local authorities and a search and rescue mission was initiated by Lake County Emergency Manager Mike McHargue.
According to family friend Kris Ellisor in an exclusive interview with Leadville Today, the missing skiers are 47-year-old Brett Beasley of Salida and a 14-year-old male, the son of prominent Salida physician Dr Joel Schaler of the First Street Family Health. Beasley is an employee of the United States Forest Service in Salida.
Beasley is skilled and trained not only in outdoor survival but is extremely familiar with the trails and area near and around Turquoise Lake.
According to Lake County Public Information Officer (PIO) Betty Benson Search and Rescue crews from Summit County and Chaffee County are actively involved at this time, with crews from the US Forest Service standing by as more information about backcountry safety conditions is ascertained, for a particularly meaningful rescue of a colleague.
“A group of people, including Dr Schaler and his son went up for a ski trip to a cabin near Leadville,” stated Ellisor, who called the Leadville Today news room to provide information that could prove helpful in the rescue. “The last that they heard anything from these two was yesterday (Jan. 4) morning at about 11 a.m.”
As word reached Salida friends at dawn this morning that the two were missing, groups with snowmobiles mobilized and headed up towards Leadville. However, PIO Benson is cautioning people NOT to conduct their own searches as backcountry avalanche conditions are dangerous and ever changing under the present conditions, which include a winter storm warning in effect until early Friday morning.
Weather in the area for today has been reported as snowy, high near 17. Wind chill values between -5 and 5. West northwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible. Tonight’s forecast calls for more snow, mainly before midnight. Low around -9. Wind chill values between -15 and -20. North wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Ellisor also relayed reports from people with the group that the two missing skiers were prepared for back country conditions and were traveling with beacons as well. Anyone with information about this rescue is encouraged to call the Lake County Sheriff’s office at 719-486-1249.
Safe, Budget-Friendly Transportation in Leadville
by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor
Traveling to and from Colorado’s highest city can be daunting in the wintertime. There have already been five traffic fatalities in the state this month, and though Colorado’s Department of Transportation (CDOT) does a superb job keeping the highways safe, there’s nothing they can do about ill-prepared drivers and unexpected changes in weather. Not everyone has a vehicle prepared to take on the region’s winding, often poorly visible, and slick roadways–in fact, not everyone has a vehicle. So what viable options are there when a friend flies in to visit or when cabin fever sets in?
A traveler can step right off Leadville’s Historic Harrison Avenue into Denver Union Station for under $20, Denver International Airport (DIA) for under $30, and Vail for under $10. While talks continue about re-purposing old stagecoach roads or defunct rails from Eagle to Buena Vista, there is already in place a host of transit methods that run as far as Fort Collins and Glenwood Springs. Whether bringing in family from DIA, tackling last minute Christmas shopping in the city, or getting to-and-from ski resorts, this list of services highlights the best alternatives to taking out the rear-wheel drive and/or bald-tire commuter that serves so well in the summertime. Starting with the closest and cheapest and ending in luxury and convenience, here they are:
The Summit Stage Lake County Link picks up at nine locations in Leadville and connects for $5 to their extensive–and free–network in Summit County that runs to Copper Mountain, Frisco, Silverthorne/Dillon, Keystone, and Breckenridge. The CDOT Frisco Transfer Station connects with Bustang (below), Greyhound, and Park-n-Ride. Read a Leadville Today article for more about Summit Stage and CLICK HERE for their 2016/2017 winter schedule.
Operating in the Vail Valley and offering destinations such as Minturn, Vail, Beaver Creek, Eagle and Gypsum, this is a service provided by Eagle County Regional Transportation Authority picking up in Leadville twice a day. Purchase a day pass for $14, or $7 buys a one-way ride: Nobody can deny an alternative to chancing Battle Mountain or Vail Pass in a snowstorm. CLICK HERE for their route schedules.
This CDOT service in its sophomore year added a second bus to its West Line from Glenwood Springs to Denver, stopping twice a day at the Frisco Transfer Center. This is a crucial component in getting to and from Colorado’s capital city–with only one connection, for under $20, and in less than four hours. Bustang’s North Line to Fort Collins/Colorado Springs also transfers in Denver. CLICK HERE for a full schedule and fares.
Bustang is operated by Ace Express Coaches who, despite their low fares, provide a luxurious ride with wide and comfortable seating, free wifi, stowaway luggage, and on-board restrooms.
RTD’s A-Line to Denver International Airport
Sponsored by the University of Colorado, RTD’s new A-line is an express train from Denver Union Station to DIA for nine bucks. If headed to the airport via Bustang, this train, departing every 15 minutes, covers the last leg without breaking the $30 mark.
For those on tight schedules and with a little more to spend, most of Denver’s shuttle services won’t come direct to Leadville, but pick up at Copper Mountain instead (accessible via Summit Stage). Oftentimes a more private ride, these shuttles are perfect for a straight shot to DIA while getting some work done on a free wifi connection. Book a shuttle for around $45 at whichever time of day is most convenient with Peak1 Express or Colorado Mountain Express.
Want to go your own way, but haven’t a vehicle fit for the drive? Hertz is located on US-24 at the Leadville-Lake County Airport and rents out a selection of vehicles equipped with all-wheel and four-wheel drive. Pick the car up in Leadville and drop it off at DIA, or pitch in with a group of friends to rent out a private ski-shuttle for the weekend. Hertz also offers business rentals at a competitive rate. Currently running deals for seniors, weekend rentals and metro parking, CLICK HERE to connect with Hertz and to place a reservation.
Think about these options if having doubts about a vehicle’s performance, waiting to spring for winter tires, or wanting to relax instead of white-knuckling it through the Rockies; a little more planning and patience is involved, but such is the case with most smart choices. Just don’t forget to bring along a good book.
Whether taking a service directly provided by CDOT or otherwise, thanks is always due to those who perform an unparalleled job in making mountain roadways safe in inclement weather (salt-free!) and who provide consistent travel advice, road conditions, and safety information. All this is available 24 hours a day on CDOT’s website, mobile app, or by calling 511.
Be sure to travel safely and conscientiously by whichever means, and remember, the best part about leaving Leadville is coming back!
Brennan Ruegg is a public transit enthusiast, and loves offering travel advice to anyone trying to leave or come into the great city of Leadville.
Authors Keep Tabors’ Story Alive in Literature
This Wednesday, Sept. 28 the Friends of the Lake County Public Library (LCPL) will host a Leadville Authors event from 6:30 -8 p.m. Join award-winning historical novelist Donna Baier Stein with fellow author Ann Parker for an evening of readings and discussion! Stein’s reent release earlier this month of The Silver Baron’s Wife (Serving House Books) masterfully resurrects the scandalous, unusual true story of Colorado’s infamous Lizzie Tabor, aka Baby Doe.
Readers will immediately get swept up in this unique novel of Colorado history: the book is a fictional re-creation of Baby Doe’s life but it’s also carefully researched, compelling, and beautifully written, which may be one of the reasons the novel received the PEN/New England Discover Award for fiction prior to release!
The Silver Baron’s Wife is the true story of a fiercely independent woman who rose above every social and gender expectation, and became a key figure in the West’s most scandalous love triangle. In the 1870s, Lizzie Tabor notoriously defied convention.
While most locals are intimately familiar with the Tabor saga, literally living in the places where these tales of rags to riches took place, the story is still just as engaging to readers today.
According to the publishers press release: When her first husband failed as a provider, Baby Doe descended into the mines herself. When she caught her husband in a brothel, she divorced him. And when she captured the attention of Horace Tabor, a silver baron 30 years her senior, she married him after he left he left his wife amid huge scandal–officially branding Lizzie one of the wealthiest women in America, and an outcast in high society. When the couple lost everything with the repeal of the Sherman Silver Act, Lizzie stayed by Horace’s side until his death, moving to a one-room shack at the Matchless Mine where she lived the rest of her life in mysterious isolation, writing down thousands of dreams and spiritual visitations.
Stein is a three-time Pushcart nominee and author of Sympathetic People (Iowa Fiction Award Finalist and 2015 IndieBook Awards Finalist) and Sometimes You Sense the Difference (poetry chapbook). She is the recipient of a Johns Hopkins University MFA Fellowship, Allen E. Ginsberg Poetry Prize, grants from the New Jersey Council on the Arts and Poetry Society of Virginia, and more.
Wednesday will provide literary lovers with a double hitter as Ann Parker will join Stein for the evening’s presentation. Parker’s award-winning Silver Rush mystery series features saloon-owner Inez Stannert in the 1880s silver boomtown of Leadville, Colo. The series includes Silver Lies, Iron Ties, Leaden Skies, and Mercury’s Rise. Parker herself as ancestral ties to The Cloud City, including a Leadville blacksmith, a Colorado School of Mines professor, and a gandy dancer.
The Lake County Public Library is located at 1115 Harrison Ave, Leadville, CO 80461.
LCPL and Friends of the Lake County Public Library are always seeking volunteer support for these events. If you are interested in participating or have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call LCPL at (719)486-0569, or visit their Facebook page.
Tradition Welcomes New Fire Engine to Lake County
by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor
Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue (LLCFR) welcomed its newest member Wednesday, Aug 31, to a reception of community cheers and tradition. Pierce Fire Engine 1, still gleaming after a two-day journey from Appleton, Wisc., entered Leadville city limits at precisely 10:58 a.m., and is anticipated to serve Lake County for the next 20 years.
The $700,000 apparatus, built by Pierce Manufacturing, spent two-and-a-half years in the making after the need was first recognized in 2014. Pierce Fire Engine 1 will replace the 13-year-old Sutphen Engine as the first due. The new apparatus is equipped with features optimal for Lake County’s specific needs: extra horsepower for climbing, 250 extra gallons of water capacity for the remoteness of some locations in the county, and an Onspot automatic tire-chain system for the blizzards the truck will no doubt weather.
A host of traditions christened the new engine, some dating to the earliest days of emergency service. Bells have always been significant in the practices of fire departments from the town alarm to the Tolling of the Bell Ceremony, which honors the fallen firefighter at his funeral or welcomes a new apparatus. The bell at the Old Church in downtown Leadville tolled as Pierce Engine 1 rolled down Harrison Avenue with Fire Chief Dan Dailey at the wheel, followed by a procession of Fire Marshall Steve Boyle, representatives of St. Vincent Hospital, Sheriff Fenske, and Police Chief Glenny. But there were a few more steps before Pierce finally entered the station.
Half of the water from the old engine was filled into the new one. The same water was then used to spray the new engine in what’s called a “Wetdown”, which is very much like a Baptism. All members of the community participated in drying and shining before Jason Horning of Cornerstone Church and Kevin Martschinske, chaplain of Black Hawk Fire Dept. and former Assistant LLCFR Chief, blessed the engine and the LLCFR Company with bowed heads. A radio transmission across all bands announced the availability of service and thanked those that participated in escorting the apparatus to its new home. Finally, it was pushed into the station three times: Once for God, once for country, and once for company!
The community then enjoyed an enormous spread of food provided by Cookies with Altitude, as the firemen acquainted themselves with the engine and answered questions posed by interested townsfolk.
Since all the first traditions were fulfilled, maybe too will the last: a bit of unofficial firefighting lore that predicts the engine will be hit, dinged, crashed, or damaged within its first week, and then never again until the end of its service. Keep an eye out for this sharp new addition to the LLCFR, but stay out of it’s way. It has a very important job to do.
A Great Deal of Thanks is due to Phyllis Carnahan who has volunteered with LLCFR for several years and in many capacities, and who arranged the food, balloons, and bruhaha. She rode passenger in Pierce 1 on the final leg of its journey from Copper Mountain to Leadville.
For more information about LLCFR visit their facebook, or call (719)486-2990.
Brennan Ruegg drives a 1.5 L Honda engine
Forest Service Erects Osprey Nest at Turquoise Lake
If you’re a regular fisherman or hiker out to Turquoise Lake there’s little doubt that you’ve noticed the 90 foot pole at the west end of the lake. Or maybe you’re a racer or crew in town for the Leadville Trail 100 “Race Across The Sky” run this weekend and are wondering what the new addition is at the May Queen Campground.
This week, the US Forest Service erected an osprey nest platform out at Turquoise Lake. The hope is that the platform will encourage the birds to build a nest, breed, and increase fledging populations in the area. The 90 ft utility pole has been placed among lodgepole pines and the surrounding fir forest.
Many locals may remember the long standing osprey nest which could be seen from the Valley View Overlook Site at Turquoise Lake, above the north shore. Last year that nest blew over, creating quite a social media conversation, as the birds’ long-standing home was beloved by many Leadville residents – for generations – as the osprey would return year after year to their nest.
Osprey are beautiful and fascinating birds that play an important role in the area’s ecosystem. These birds are common sights soaring over shorelines, patrolling waterways, and standing on their huge stick nests, white heads gleaming. Osprey happily build large stick-and-sod nests on telephone poles, or in this case an Excel energy utility pole. The nests are a bulky mass of sticks often five feet in diameter and two to seven feet thick, which could explain why the old one finally blew down from its weight!
While these large, rangy hawks do well around humans, but please enjoy these birds from a distance. Allowing them the space they need will ensure that they continue to thrive at Turquoise Lake.
As with many successful projects, the osprey nest erection was a group effort, including a Leadville Girl Scout Troop, which built the platform with their Dads. Other in-kind and financial contributions were made by the Colorado Chapter #2 Order of Eastern Star, Cutting Edge, Xcel Energy, and the hard working crew at the Lake County Public Works Department.
Leadville Wildlife Biologist Jeni Windorski coordinated the efforts.
It’s one of several osprey nest projects under way locally.
To read about the efforts at Forebay Reservoir above Twin Lakes, connect HERE.
Library News: Picked Up A Book This Summer?
It’s a welcomed stormy, hopefully rainy, Tuesday morning in Leadville Today, a good time to check in with some Lake County Public Library news.
Hopefully at this point in the rearing-up process, parents and families have received the “keep them reading” message that has been shouted from the proverbial mountaintop for years now. So, if you haven’t seen your child pick up a book in a while, it might be time to step away from the screen and have them turn a page or two BEFORE they head back to school.
Of course, one of the best places to do that in Leadville is the Lake County Public Library. And a reminder, their summer reading program continues through the end of this month. This year, readers of all ages have been reading for health, sports and fitness, as the 2016 theme for the summer library program is “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read.”
The 2016 Summer Reading Program is open to young people, preschool through young adult, with programs, prizes, reading club, and more. Although the programs which will award prizes have been ongoing, everyone is invited to enjoy them for stories, crafts, games and lots of fun activities. For complete details, including times and days see the Library Summer Reading Brochure. Oh and be sure to give them a wave in the annual Boom Days Parade on August 6 – this program always makes an award-winning entry! For more information, stop by the Library, or call (719) 486-0569.
Library Offers FREE Use of CO Parks and Wildlife Pass
Lake County Public Library has partnered with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to loan a state park entry pass for one week. This partnership provides an outdoor learning experience for library cardholders and expands public library services. The goal of the program is to provide residents an opportunity to explore state parks before purchasing a park pass, and the hope is that library cardholders will enjoy the experience they will want to purchase their own park passes.
This summer, the public library has two backpacks to loan that each contain a state park pass hang tag for the rear view mirror, one set of binoculars, a Colorado wildlife guide, a Colorado trees and wildflower guide, a guide to Colorado’s 42 state parks, a Leave No Trace card, an activity ideas list and a program evaluation card.
One of the requirements is that you inventory all items in the backpack to make sure they are in good repair before return, and to fill out the evaluation form to help sustain the program. Packs and passes will circulate to adults, with no holds or renewals. For more information, stop by the library, or call (719) 486-0569.
Friends of Fish Hatchery Turn Attention to Trails
It’s summertime and for Lake County Resident and visitors that means hitting the trails and getting out into the woods and back country. So, it’s a good time to check in with the Friends of The Leadville National Fish Hatchery (FLNFH) and see what’s new at one of everyone’s favorite local attractions!
This year the FLNFH has undertaken an initiative to motivate, facilitate, and support the National Forest Service in rehabilitating certain sections of the Highline Trail between the Rock Creek dam and the Colorado Trail, and the Kearney Park Trail.
The FLNFH is in the early stages of establishing a Permanent Trails Committee. This is a chance for Member Friends to become active in the organization, and have a real impact on improving the hiking environment above the hatchery. The group reports on their official FLNFH website, many of the trails are in REALLY BAD shape in spots, so bringing the hatchery trails up to standard is their number one priority this year.
The first step will be to survey these trail sections, take pictures, record GPS coordinates, and describe conditions. To that end, the Friends will be organizing two day hikes this summer to collect the data needed by the Forest Service in order to initiate the project.
Some of the initial work was done last July when several members hiked the Highline Trail up to the Colorado Trail intersection. They recorded locations and took photos of spots where the trail needs erosion controls built, or other serious maintenance.
This summer the group continues their efforts, inviting community members to join their efforts and consider joining the Friends formerly by becoming a member or making a donation of money or resources toward their efforts.
For additional information contact Judy Cole at 719-486-0176.
About the Friends of the Leadville Fish Hatchery
It was the fall of 2013 when the concern over the future of the second oldest continuously working federal hatchery in Leadville might be in jeopardy due to budget cuts. Fortunately by then, a group of local citizens had already mobilized as the Friends of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery (FLNFH), creating an entity that could advocate for saving the hatchery all while staying within the guidelines set forth with how the federal facility is operated.
While the group defines their mission as dedicated to promoting and developing the facilities of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery, and supporting programs which will make the hatchery a more valued resource to the community, their efforts have been far more valuable than that for Leadville.
Since then, not only have the FLNFH successfully brought one of Lake County’s biggest tourist attractions back from the edge of extinction, but they continue to make sizable improvements to the grounds and facility.
Sometimes their efforts focus on making improvements to the 125+ year old building(s), an act that would take months to make its way through budgetary approvals (if there’s even a chance of that), while other accomplishments include building a beautiful new pavilion at Evergreen Lake to be enjoyed by folks planning weddings, school reunions, and family gatherings. This group of dedicated citizens knows how to mobilize efforts and get the job done. Yes, they do all of that while continuing to monitor the hatchery’s future, keeping that message before politicians and residents. Interested in joining their efforts? Connect with them HERE.
About the Leadville National Fish Hatchery
Construction of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery began in 1889. Initially the hatchery supplied eggs and fingerling fish to streams and lakes throughout Colorado, the western U.S. and even to Europe and Japan.
Currently, the hatchery supplies anywhere from 60,000 to 200,000 trout to Turquoise Lake, the Forebay, Twin Lakes, Clear Creek in Chaffee County and beyond. The hatchery is also the location of one of three populations of the endangered greenback cutthroat trout. The federal hatchery system originated as a way to ameliorate the negative effect on native fish populations from mining, logging, ranching, stocking of non-native species and over-fishing.
The Leadville National Fish Hatchery still plays a role in mitigating the impacts of these activities. Additionally, it has become a well-loved destination for historical tourism and outdoor enthusiasts. Reunions, school functions and special events are often held at the picnic grounds. According to local hatchery management, it’s estimated that the economic impact of the fish hatchery to the local area and Colorado is over $3 million. Now that’s somethings worth catching . . . and NOT releasing!
** Leadville Lodgepole Fire UPDATE @ 2 p.m.
Lake County Emergency Manager Mike McHargue reported that the Lodgepole Fire was determined to be at 100% containment as of 10:30 a.m. today – July 11.
The situation is in mop-up operations and resources will be released as appropriate. The investigation is complete: indeterminate cause.
It’s also a good reminder to sign up for the Emergency Alert system for Lake County: HERE
Local Fire, Emergency Crews Have Busy Weekend
Leadville and Lake County Emergency responders had a busy weekend between the Lodgepole Fire south of Leadville, a three-car accident on Highway 91 north of Leadville Sunday evening, and a structure fire right in town yesterday.
Incident command officials for the Lodgepole Fire report the fire’s status remains at 60% containment with several agencies on the ground monitoring activity and battling certain strongholds of the blaze. On Sunday, July 10 several hot spots flared up making neighbors in the area a bit nervous to see smoke again. However those incidents were within the perimeter of the affected area and the size of the Lodgepole Fire has NOT grown according to officials.
On Sunday, July 10 as visitors were headed out of town and locals were returning home, Highway 91 between Leadville and Copper Mountain was closed for hours due to a head-on collision at Mile Marker 6 near the snow mobile operations north of town. According to Colorado State Trooper Tim Sutherland there was one fatality and two people who sustained serious bodily injury in the three car accident. As of 6 a.m. this morning the identities of the victims have not been publicly disclosed at this time.
The accident resulted in the closure of Highway 91 for several hours, forcing travelers to back track and come in the long way via I-70 and Highway 24 through Minturn.
There was no catching their breath as local emergency responders then had a structure fire to deal with at 613 Elm Street which was reported at 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 10. According to Lake County Public Information Officer Laurel McHargue, the cause of the fire is currently under investigation, although neighbors in the area reported hearing an explosion. There were no injuries as a result of the fire and no visual sign of structural damage to the outside of the building.
Lodgepole Fire on “Pipeline” North of Twin Lakes
Residents of Leadville and Twin Lakes are relieved to be waking up to blue skies this morning after yesterday’s ominous smoke billowed from the “Lodgepole Fire” located north of Forebay Reservoir, above Twin Lakes Village.
On Saturday, July 9 at approximately 2:37 p.m., a fire was reported about 8 miles south of Leadville at the base of Mt. Elbert on Forest Road 136. For locals the road is more most commonly known as the “Pipeline,” because it was an underground aqueduct which transports water from Turquoise Lake to Forebay and Twin Lakes.
According to US Forest Service Incident Commander – John Markalunas the fire was quiet overnight and is 50% contained and had affected 16 acres of grass, sagebrush and lodgepole pine. The fire is 100% on San Isabel National Forest. There have been no injuries and no personal damage reports. Additional resources arrive today to work on the fire until it is fully contained. Gusty winds today will be closely monitored for threats to the fire.
Smoke is likely to be visible, especially from US Highway 24, and the Mt. Massive Lakes subdivision, over the next few days. Fire managers prefer folks not report this smoke unless there is personal danger. Residents will also find that County Road which was closed during the heat of the battle yesterday is now re-opened. Highway 82 over Independence Pass to Aspen remains open and has not been affected by the incident. However, Forest Roads 130 and 136 remain closed, an important note for Leadville Trail 100 athletes who often train on these roads.
The plan for today, according to officials is to conduct burnout operations to secure and reinforce containment lines, continue to assess the fire perimeter’s integrity and mop up as needed. They encourage area visitors and residents to continue to refrain from using open flame during these frequent windy days the area has been experiencing.
According to Lake County Public Information Officer Laurel McHargue, the initial response consisted of Leadville/Lake County Fire brush trucks and Lake County Road and Bridge, Salida Fire, Chaffee County Fire, Red, White and Blue Fire, Copper Mountain Fire, Eagle River Fire, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Department of Fire Prevention and Control, Lake County sheriff and Office of Emergency Management.They are also attacking the fire from the air with 3 type 6 helicopters.
Here’s another map of the Lodgepole Fire location from LCOEM
Leadville Hospital Reveals Plans for New Facility
Last November, Lake County voters passed two ballot initiatives concerning health care in the area, creating new tax increases for residents living within the St. Vincent Hospital (SVH) District.
Part of that plan included a new hospital. According to SVH officials, the current hospital facility is out of date and faces many plant challenges from failing infrastructure, heating and plumbing – to ADA non- compliant rooms and potential asbestos remediation, if remodeling were to be undertaken.
Since voters gave the go-ahead, efforts have moved forward towards building a new medical facility. On June 15, local residents were invited to a “New Construction Meet & Greet” to review the new medical facility’s design and architectural plans. Representatives from the SVH Board and administration, Centura Health and Davis Partnership Architects were in attendance to answer questions and listen to feedback from the public and Lake County residents.
The proposed location of the new facility was the topic that created the most concerns from neighborhood residents. The hospital’s current location is at 822 W. 4th Street, while the proposed new site sits east of that, between the new dog park – in the treed area – and the hospital’s emergency entrance. This puts the new facility a bit more “in people back yards.”
“Many of our neighbors on 6th Street are concerned with the effect the hospital location will have on them – being closer to their homes,” stated Karen Onderdonk, SVH Director Outreach and Development in an email to Leadville Today. “It is our goal to have open discussion and dialogue with them. We will invite them to a meeting in the near future.”
In the meantime, there is a conditional use permit hearing at the Leadville City Council meeting on July 5 that will also address concerns about the proposed new location. The meeting is at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall located on the corner of 8th and historic Harrison Avenue.
“We anticipate and look forward to an ongoing conversation with the community about the new facility,” added Onderdonk. Concerned citizens are also welcome to attend hospital board meetings and make public comment. The SVH Board meets on the 4th Thursday of the month at 1 p.m. in the hospital conference room. There is also a St. Vincent Hospital telephone hotline which is checked every 48 hours for any questions or concerns: 719-486-7131.
Other feedback that came out of the design meeting concerned the overall look of the building. It was apparent right away that folks like design #1 over #2; most agreed it matched up with Leadville’s overall historic architectural feel.
In addition, the floor plan was revealed. The approximate size of the new hospital is 19,000 square feet and will be home to the services currently offered at St. Vincent Hospital and include options for future service expansion. View floor plan HERE.
The services currently intended to be in the new facility are:
- Emergency Room
- Primary Care Medical clinic
- Specialty Clinics
- Physical Therapy
- Support services such as IT and Plant Operations
So what’s all of this going to cost? What’s the bottom line, the price tag?
The budget for the new facility is $18.6 million. According to hospital officials, the new facility will be financed by a federal USDA loan for 35 years and 2.87% interest. The USDA loan will also be used to refinance $1.6 million in existing revenue bonds that the hospital holds. SVH will receive a formal response regarding the loan from the federal agency in September. Current BUDGET Info.
While the process was described by one attendee as “building the plane as you’re flying it,” the century-old healthcare provider stays committed to transparency to voters. Residents and other interested parties can stay plugged into the latest news via the St. Vincent Hospital Facebook Page and/or their website. The St. Vincent Hospital Board Meets every third Thursday at the hospital conference room. For more information, call 719-486-7135.
Forest Service Protects Osprey Nests at Forebay
By Danielle Orcutt, Leadville Today Contributor
The warmer weather has finally arrived in the high country and for most residents that means it’s time for outdoor fun! But as locals get ready to go fishing or just spend the day at Mt Elbert Forebay Reservoir, it’s important to keep in mind that Ospreys nesting in the southwest area of the reservoir are doing the same.
“People and pets will sometimes get too close to the nests, stressing the birds to the point where they often abandon their nest,” said Leadville Ranger District Wildlife Biologist, Jeni Windorski. She added that if an Osprey sounds an alarming call or flaps its wings, then you’re too close and need to retreat to a respectful distance.
This is why one third of a mile of the reservoir’s 3-mile shoreline will be barricaded and posted with signs instructing people to enjoy these amazing birds from afar. This temporary restriction began on June 6 and will last until August 31.
In addition to restricting access to key nesting areas, the Forest Service provides fishing line recycling bins at many of the local fishing area.
“Folks will sometimes accidentally leave their fishing line behind. When this happens, fish can become entangled. If an Osprey brings one of these fish to the nest, their offspring can become entangled as well. In the past, we had a pair of nestlings die because they were tangled in fishing line,” said Windorski.
Osprey are beautiful and fascinating birds that play an important role in the area’s ecosystem. Allowing them the space they need will ensure that they continue to thrive in the Forebay Reservoir.
Mt Elbert Forebay Reservoir is a favorite watering hole among Leadville locals, from fishermen to hikers. It is located just north of Twin Lakes off County Road 24. This 275 acre impoundment, offers excellent fishing for brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. It also produces good numbers of trophy lake trout. Amenities are primitive.
Use caution when fishing this highly fluctuating reservoir, especially during this time of the season with spring run-off conditions.
Danielle Orcutt is a bird-lover from Massachusetts who is discovering new fine-feathered friends during her first summer in Leadville.
10th Mountain Division and 99th Battalion Honored
The 57th Annual Tenth Mountain Division Foundation Memorial Day Ceremony was held yesterday, May 30, at the Tennessee Pass War Memorial Monument on US-24 in Lake County. An immense turnout welcomed Colorado Senator Michael F. Bennet who spoke at the ceremony along with retired Lt. Gen. Lawson W. Magruder III, David J. Little, and Thomas E. Hames.
Music provided by the Lake County High School Band set a reflective tone for the colorful display of patriotism, as wreaths were brought forward and laid at the monument and profiles of the fallen recounted. Not only fallen 10th Mountain Division soldiers were remembered, but all United States service-men and -women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
They shall grow not old
as we who are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
and in the morning,
We shall remember them.
Good Crowds Honor Fallen Heroes in Leadville
Memorial Day Weekend’s true meaning did not go remiss in America’s highest City, as Leadville and Lake County residents and visitors saw two Memorial Day Services over the 3-day holiday weekend.
On Sunday, May 29 the Lake County Veterans Memorial was standing room only as patriotic crowds filled the bleachers and outer edges of Leadville’s Evergreen Cemetery to honor America’s fallen heroes. This year’s ceremony included the Presentation of Colors by Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue, a moving rendition of “Amazing Grace” by resident bagpiper and teacher Colin McFee and student bagpiper Jude Hill, and a closing “Taps” bugle by Lake County High School Music Director Jonathan Cole that hardly left a dry eye in the house.
Keynote speaker Rachele Palmer shared her story of becoming a Gold Star Mom when the news of her son Nicklas’ death arrived at the door one cold December night in 2006. The courage to share personal stories like these allow the importance of this day to continue Memorial Day traditions so important to American freedoms. It was nice to see more younger children in attendance to see and hear these ceremonies of honor.
The remainder of the program included a rousing patriotic speech by former State Senator Tom Wiens; the placing of the wreaths and rituals by the VFW 2 Mile High Post 859 and Leadville Elks Lodge #236; and inspirational prayer by Jake Farber.
The day’s events started with the Fallen Heroes Run, a motorcycle ride that travels along Fallen Heroes Highway (aka hwy 91) from Summit County to the Lake County Veteran Memorial. Fifty-five riders participated this year, many traveling from as far away as Albuquerque, N.M. and parts of Wyoming.
Local Postal Workers Help Feed Leadville Hungry
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
While this commonly misidentified saying is often believed to be the creed of mail carriers rather than a simple inscription found on the General Post Office in New York City, the phrase’s accolades could certainly apply to Leadville letters carriers this past weekend.
On May 14, “Team 80461” went above and beyond, as they picked up food donations left by Lake County residents next to their mail boxes as part of the annual National Association of Letter Carriers food drive campaign. The 24th annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive is the nation’s largest one-day, providing letter carriers, other postal employees and thousands of volunteers across the nation the opportunity to meld forces together to conduct the drive in their local communities.
And in Leadville, that means that food collected locally on Saturday, will stay right here and distributed to the Leadville/Lake County Senior Center, the First Presbyterian food pantry, and St George’s Episcopal Church food pantry, according to Leadville Postmaster Greg Sandoval.
This year the group’s efforts collected 926 pounds of canned goods and non-perishable items! Well-done!
The drive is held each year on the second Saturday in May, and a relief to local banks who watch as food supplies collected during winter holiday drives dwindle day by day. The drive also comes just before many school systems end their academic years, and that often can mean a suspension in subsidized meals for many students.
So thanks Lake County for helping to restock community food banks, pantries and shelters for needy families throughout the summer.
And of course, a big SWAK to “Team 80461” for leading the charge and doing all the heavy lifting! Thanks to Leadville postal workers/volunteers: Rick Medina, Amanda McNicholas, Luke Roberts, Leaf Trienen Madgi Medina, Rita Colton, Glen Renz, Josh Valverde, Leonard Ortega and Shirley Hoffacker, along with the Leadville Postmaster Greg Sandoval. These are the people in your neighborhood, and they’re awesome!
Youth Mental Health Training Offered in Leadville
Recently, there was been a heightened focus and interest on mental health issues in Leadville and Lake County. What services are available to assist a person who may be in distress or experiencing a mental health challenge? And what can be done to specifically increase an awareness of youth mental health concerns?
Well, thanks to Solvista Health there are two upcoming Leadville sessions that deal with just that, so if you are involved with youth at all, from educators to counselors to legal and law enforcement officials, please consider this training and staying current with the ever-changing challenges today’s youth navigate.
The Youth Track Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course is a public education program committed to empowering individuals to identify, understand and respond to young people in mental health and substance abuse crises. This course is open to everyone and is a highlight of the White House plan to reduce community violence.
The 8-hour certification course helps attendees to learn the signs, symptoms and evidence-based actions to help connect youth in need to support systems that can help them recover. MHFA breaks down the stigma of emotional problems and gives you the tools to make a real impact on youth in the community.
This program is designed for adults, family members, caregivers, school staff, health and human services workers who work with young people ages 12-25 and may also be appropriate for peer advisors.
The first training is a two-morning session on Thursday, June 2 and Friday, June 3 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Or you can choose the full day training session on Thursday, June 9, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The location for all sessions is Solvista Health at 714 Front Street in Leadville. The cost is only $20 and interested parties can register HERE.
For questions, contact Danielle at email@example.com
Leadville Senior Citizen Center Picks County Umbrella
Here’s the latest news from the Leadville/Lake County Senior Citizen Center.
The Senior Board has made tremendous leaps and bounds thanks to coordinated efforts from volunteers, staff and local officials. Remember, these older residents make up 35% of the local community, so groups and organizations are encouraged to continue to ask, “how can we include the older residents of Leadville,” when making plans for programs and events. The group is now organized and growing, so no excuses! To view a larger version of their monthly newsletter, click on the image below.
FREE Legal Assistance Available to Leadville Families
Colorado’s 5th Judicial District (Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties) is offering assistance to couples and families representing themselves in family law matters during a free event at the Eagle County Justice Center this Thursday, March 10, 2016.
A no-cost parenting class fulfilling requirements in domestic-relations cases for parents is offered from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., and a variety of professional services will be available from 2 – 6 p.m. including counselors to help offer guidance for a parenting plan, mediation services, Child Support Services, Legal Aid services, assistance in completing domestic-relations court forms, and assistance in child support and maintenance calculations. Spanish interpretation will be available.
Attorneys will be available to help with legal questions. Self-represented parents with children are asked to make child-care arrangements; services will not be available to people who bring children to the event.
For more information, please contact Family Court Facilitator Laurie Mactavish at 970-328-8566.
Lake County Landfill Fees Set to Increase in April
For Lake County residents, the price to dispose of a cubic yard of trash at the Lake County Landfill will go up from $10 to $15 on April 4, 2016. For the commercial haulers, prices will also go up from $20 to $30 for a cubic yard of compacted trash. Prices for non-residents will continue to be approximately triple that of in-county residents. All other fees will remain the same including disposal fees for e-recycling, refrigerators, appliances, slash/yard clippings, concrete blocks, oil recycling, antifreeze, and vehicle batteries.
“The new fees are a better reflection of the actual cost of running the landfill,” says Michael Irwin, Lake County Landfill Manager.
Recycling is still free at the Lake County Landfill and Recycling Center and at the two Lake County Drop Sites located at the Lake County Community Park and seven miles south of town on County Road 10 across from the solar farm. Both Lake County Drop Sites accept Pre-Paid Lake County Trash Bags in specially marked dumpsters. Pre-Paid Lake County Trash Bags can be purchased for $5 at Big Horn True Value, Saturdays Discount, the Courthouse and the Cloud City Conservation Center office in the post office building.
Increasing tipping fees shifts the costs of running the landfill to those that use it, instead of being dispersed among tax-payers. Landfill operations have been subsidized annually from the Lake County General Fund for the last five years.
Lake County continues to budget and plan for the closure of its current landfill and construction of a new landfill. The new pricing structure may also encourage people to find ways to throw less away, including options such as recycling and composting.
Fresh, Healthy Food and Fellowship in Leadville
Finding fresh, healthy food in the high country can be a challenge, especially in the winter. So here are a couple of options – something old and something new – thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers.
One of the best things going on in Leadville is the St. George Community Meal Program. The dedication that Revs. Ali and George Lufkin, and their countless volunteers have shown over the years is quite palpable. Every week they make it happen!
Whether it’s feeding the hungry, or simply creating a welcoming place where people from all walks, can gather around a table, an altar, or a stage, St. George Church is an integral part of the local community.
While the Community Meals program runs year-round, during the summer months the program has a need for volunteers (individuals or groups) who would be willing to “Adopt-A-Meal” one Saturday. Or maybe even one Saturday a month?
For those interested in helping, they would come at 4 p.m. with a simple meal prepared and ready to serve, or you may borrow the church’s large pans, if needed. Meal service would be for approximately 30 people. A Meal Coordinator would be there to greet you, help you serve the meal, clean up and available for any questions or assistance.
Please call Ali at 719-486-4731 if you have any interest. St George Church is located at 200 W 4th Street in Leadville.
St. George Church is also the distribution center for Food Bank of the Rockies. The big semi truck can be found in Leadville on the third Wednesday of every month, the next date being February 17. They distribute FREE food to the local community.
The distribution takes place from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. If you, or someone you know is in need, please stop by for a food box. Volunteers to help with distribution are also appreciated.
Food Bank of the Rockies is the largest private hunger-relief organization in the state of Colorado, providing food for more than 350,000 people annually.
Leadville Residents Bring It To The Table – FINALLY!
The Leadville Bountiful Baskets site is being started by Lesli Crenshaw and Dena Strader and is completely volunteer driven. Things are slated to be up and running by this March, with the first fresh food delivery anticipated shortly after that, this Spring. So here’s an update on their progress and how you can take advantage of getting fresh groceries delivered to you in Leadville and Lake County.
From salad and soup packs, to conventional and organic groceries, Bountiful Baskets offers fresh, healthy items, ending the ongoing frustration of other local, unreliable options. The Co-op offers a conventional produce basket every other week which is generally ½ fruit and ½ veggies. The monetary contribution is $15 and is generally worth $50 retail. Organic baskets require a contribution of $25.
According to the Leadville volunteer site coordinators, Crenshaw and Strader, the local interest has been enthusiastic, however they need a few more participants in order to reach the magic number of 80 people. Seems easy enough, so to register, readers and eaters can go to bountifulbaskets.org.
Participants can set up a FREE account, with a Leadville address which will tally towards the local number.
Once that requirement is met, things move along pretty quickly and before long, a regular semi-truck will be rolling into town to fill your refrigerator and dinner table with fresh, healthy foods for the family. Readers may also connect with the group on their Facebook Page: LINK.
“We’re hoping to have all of the criteria met by mid March,” stated Bountiful Baskets organizer Lesli Crenshaw. “We’re excited to get this program up and running for Leadville!”
So there you have it Leadville. In a world where there are a lot of promises and so few results, it’s the counter balance of private citizens who want to do the right thing, that are getting the job done. Bon Appetite!
Summit Stage Bus Expands Service in Lake County
The holiday season is officially underway with Thanksgiving week. And if you’ve got travel plans, particularly down to Denver International Airport (DIA) or perhaps anticipate a visiting relative or friend flying into DIA, there’s good news: your transportation options just expanded.
Beginning today, November 22, The Summit Stage’s Lake County Link will be running a morning, midday, afternoon and evening service. The additional service will allow Lake County residents to make connections with the Bustang, the new Interregional Express Bus service from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The Lake County Link’s expanded schedule, which includes a late evening run, could help commuters and travelers complete that last leg of the journey back home, connecting at the Frisco Transfer Center.
“We’re almost tripling service to Lake County,” stated Len Wise, Operations Manager for The Summit Stage in an interview with Leadville Today. The new schedule will run daily, year-round.
The Lake County Link provides commuter transit services between the Frisco Transfer Center and various stops in Lake County and the City of Leadville. This is NOT a free service. Prices for Lake County Link range in price from a onetime, one way fare of $5, to punch passes costing between $35 (10 punch) to $60 (20 punch). In addition, the bus system offers discounted rates for seniors (60+), middle and high school students (proper ID required), as well as disabled riders.
Part of the change in service is compliments of an additional CDOT grant which Lake County officials secured to allow for a the later evening trip. That change prompted a organizational shuffle for Summit Stage which reduced the need for the three buses that formerly provided the service to Lake County, downsizing now to only one bus which will do back and forth runs to Leadville and Lake County, according to Wise. While commuters will appreciate the additional runs, clearly the caveat to the new services would be any mechanical issues that the dedicated Leadville bus would have.
Started in 2010, The Summit Stage’s Lake County Link is financed by a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation, which is matched by Lake County. In addition, some of the operational costs are offset by rider fares.
Yes, You Canned, and You Did! Food Drive Success!
“This means so much, every can helps!” said Mabel Bogeart regarding the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Drive as she sat surrounded by bountiful bags of canned goods and other essential food items, donated during the month of October. “It’s twice as much as we’ved ever collected!”
So give yourself a round of applause, Leadville! You answered the challenge and put together local events and programs to help restock the four food banks that serve Lake County’s residents in need.
In addition to the dry goods, each food center, which includes Lake County Senior Center, St. George’s Church, First Presbyterian Church of Leadville, and Holy Family Parish, will also receive financial support.
The proceeds from area donation jars were divided equally, allowing each to receive $150 in cash and a $25 grocery gift card.
Building off the success of this year’s efforts. Bogeart hopes that all participates will put the Neighbors to Neighbors food drive on their October calendars and plan to start or expand a program or event to make sure that local food banks don’t ever come to dangerously low levels again, especially heading into the colder, winter months.
“Thank you to everyone, this year was overwhelming!” said Bogeart. “And remember, what you give comes back to you!”
Those interested in participating or giving to the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Drive, may also contact Mabel Bogeart directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. or 719-486-0259.
Two New, Remote Recycling Centers Now in Place
Last week, Lake County Public Works made going green a bit more convenient with two new recycling drop off sites which opened on September 25.
The first remote location is situated off County Road 10, also known as Sure Pretty Drive. This center is tucked in nicely off the road, so as not to be an eyesore to one of those most scenic views in the state. This will make recycling more accessible for residents living in the southern portion of the county who no longer having to make the trip into town to drop off cardboard and cans at the Lake County Landfill Recycling Center.
The second drop-off center is located at the Leadville Community Park, on the southern portion of the property with access off McWethy Drive/County Road 31. This drop-off spot will allow city-dwellers the same remote convenience, especially on Wednesdays and Thursdays when the recycling facility at the landfill is closed.
“Recycling has improved tremendously in the county,” said Public Works Director Brad Palmer. “However if these remote drop-offs are not kept clean or abused in any way, we will pull them.”
Residents will additionally find a trash bin at each drop-off location. But, please note that only trash in pre-paid bags will be acceptable for disposal in the trash dumpsters. And this is being monitored, by Public Works officials. Last week, there were a few people who – perhaps unknowingly – deposited trash in the dumpsters and they were notified that they cannot do that. In the future this will be considered illegal dumping and there is a trash ordinance in place which comes with a $1,000 dollar fine!
Pre-paid trash bags can be purchased at the following locations: Saturday’s, True Value, the Lake County Clerk and Recorder’s Office in the courthouse, and up at the landfill. Each 40 gallon bag is only $5 and will be particularly helpful for visitors looking to discard any trash accumulated during their stay.
Also please note that steel and tin are not accepted at the drop sites, please do not mix in with the aluminum bin.
“So far, the first week has been pretty good,” Palmer added. So keep it up Lake County! And thanks to the Public Works Department who continues to stay committed to recycling, making the community a greener place to live and preventing all those items from going into the landfill.
Advocates Recognize Domestic Violence Awareness
If you’ve driven by the Lake County Courthouse in the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen the bright pink display of silhouettes. Those signs represent the 238 victims of domestic violence that The Advocates of Lake County assisted in 2014, mostly women and children. And with the recent fresh snow, the sea of pink is also a stark reminder that October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
To that end, The Advocates are joining with law enforcement and other partners in the community to raise the awareness that domestic violence affects not only its victims, but their children, extended family and friends. This cycle can continue for generations without intervention.
The Advocates of Lake County, Inc. is a private non-profit organization that provides confidential services to victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault as well as operate an emergency shelter. The Alder House.
“We work with many people who never involve the police,” read a statement released by the non-profit organization. “As well as one third of victims whose issues have risen to a level of violence where law enforcement must intervene.”
Sixty-five percent of the clients access The Advocates’ services through their 24/7 hotline (719-486-3530) or are referred by family and friends. Approximately 35% are referred by law enforcement. The Advocates offer the following services: crisis intervention, safety planning, court advocacy, information and referral to available services in the community, as well as shelter housing. For more information call 719-486-3530 or connect with them on The Advocates of Lake County Facebook Page.
5th Judicial District Offers Legal Resources for Families
In celebration of Conflict Resolution Month, Colorado’s 5th Judicial District (Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties) is offering legal resources and assistance to couples and families representing themselves in family law matters during an event at the Summit County Justice Center from 2 – 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015.
A variety of professional services will be available at no cost. They include a parenting class from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. to fulfill requirements in domestic-relations cases, counselors to help create a parenting plan, mediation services, Legal Aid services including information on financial aid and assistance in completing domestic-relations court forms. Spanish interpretation will be available.
Attorneys will be available to help with legal questions. Self-represented litigants with children are asked to make child-care arrangements; services will not be available to people who bring children to the event.
For more information, please contact Family Court Facilitator Laurie Mactavish at 970-547-2636.
Lake County Needs More Red Cross Volunteers!
The American Red Cross is recruiting disaster services volunteers in Lake County. Currently, there’s only one Red Cross volunteer in Lake County. More volunteers are needed to increase local disaster preparedness and response capability.
Anyone interested should contact Doug Constance (719) 966-9732 or email@example.com. This training is sponsored by American Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado. (719) 632-3563.