Tag Archives: Lake County News

Latest News – March 26

Meals On Wheels and County Deals: Leadville Seniors

Since its initial report more than 14 months ago, Leadville Today remains committed to bringing readers updates about the progress being made for senior citizens in Lake County. Below is the March 2017 Lake County Senior Citizen Center Newsletter.

The Lake County Senior Citizen Center provides community meals and a place to socialize in Leadville.

It includes information about local services and programs for senior citizens. The newsletter also includes a first-hand report from Ruth Purkat who has been the Lake County Representative to the Regional Advisory Council (RAC) of the Area Agency on Aging  (AAA) for the past couple of years. It was a seat she accepted after a more than 7-year gap of Lake County representation. RAC consists of laypersons and service providers who represent the interests of older adults in the AAA Planning, and advocate on their behalf.

The RAC reviews agency outreach, long-term planning, programs, and service delivery that affect older adults. The RAC encourages and supports the involvement of older Coloradans in sharing their views on these policies and programs.

In addition to her local commitment to senior services, Purkat was born in Leadville, she went to school here, raised a big family here, owned a business here, and volunteered for countless boards and committees in Lake County.  Most would consider her opinion not only valuable, but perhaps essential to good, open, accountable democracy, especially in a small community like Lake County.

The Leadville/Lake County Board of Directors provides an update on their progress to residents and county officials during their April 2016 meeting. Unfortunately, budgetory politics would play heavy in the final negotiations, and instead of necessary services, Lake County Seniors would receive a $24,000 study to be conducted by Lake County Build-A-Generation, a youth-driven group. Photo: Leadville Today


Leadville Today thinks leaders like Purkat should be heard, which is why you will find the March 2017 Lake County Senior Citizen Center newsletter posted below. You may click on each image in order to generate a larger, more easy-to-read version of the newsletter. Also for readers who are interested in comparing the progress with older LT reports: March 2016 and May 2016.

There’s a lot of serious changes on tap for senior services under the current administration in Washington, including the coveted Meals on Wheels programs. Stay tuned to Leadville Today for updates about how many Lake County residents will be affected by this decision and how the local community can help. 


Latest News – March 24

Women’s History Month: Mountain Medicine

In honor of March being celebrated as Women’s History Month, Leadville Today brings readers the story of Lake County’s first female physician. Be sure to celebrate your favorite women heroines, Leadville has plenty of them!

Colorado history buffs may have heard the name Doc Susie, an American doctor who tended to thousands of early settlers in and around the Fraser, Colo. area.

Doc Susie Anderson, MD

Doc Susie Anderson, MD

Known as one of the foremost female Pioneer physicians, Susan Anderson, M.D. (1870-1960) practiced medicine in the rugged mountains, treating families, ranchers, loggers, railroad workers, and even an occasional horse or cow, which was not uncommon at the time.

Often paid in firewood, food, services and other items that could be bartered, Doc Susie never became “rich” practicing her skills, but she was beloved by her community who was grateful to have a doctor on hand in such remote, harsh environments, with danger lurking around every mountain pass.

Today, injuries and ailments incurred in small rural communities like Leadville might range from altitude sickness and mining accidents to gunshot wounds and car crashes. And while new highways of communication allow rural doctors access to pertinent medical information, miles of physical barriers still stand between Leadville, and the state-of-the-art medical equipment and expansive staffs that facilities with bigger bank accounts can offer. Therefore, when winter conditions close mountain passes, limiting road and air traffic, even today’s Doc Susie must be adept, adaptable, and available.

Dr. Lisa Zwerdlinger

Dr. Lisa Zwerdlinger

For nearly two decades, Dr. Lisa Zwerdlinger has been that doctor in Leadville. In fact when she arrived in 1998, she was Leadville’s first female physician. So in the spirit of Pioneer physicians, Leadville Today is bringing readers this three-part series about Dr. Lisa, as she is affectionately known by the thousands of patients she has served throughout her 18 years of practicing medicine in Lake County.

Leadville’s First Female Physician: Breaking Down Barriers

by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor

Lisa Zwerdlinger was raised in the small town of Conifer located in Jefferson County just off Highway 285 if you take the “back way” down into the city. Her father was a career military man of the United States Air Force who retired when his daughter was born, and died only twelve years later. Zwerdlinger’s mother carried no formal education and supported her three children working as a receptionist.

Rocky Mountain Family Practice is located at 735 Hwy 24 in Leadville, Colorado. Photo: Leadville Today.

Zwerdlinger left for the city to attend the University of Colorado for eleven years, but she always knew she’d return to a small town in the mountains. She completed her four years of undergraduate studies in Boulder, graduate school and respective residencies in Denver.

In 1998, having graduated from medical school and ready to enter the workforce, Dr. Lisa was offered jobs in all of Colorado’s most affluent cities and mountain towns. But after attending a rural health fair and finding the greatest need for high-standard evidence-based care in Leadville and Lake County, Zwerdlinger decided to return to a place much like Conifer, much like home. Arriving in 1998 she became Leadville’s first female physician.

Dr. Lisa’s goal was to provide the same standard of care for the people of Lake County that anyone would receive in Denver or Aspen. She joined Dr. Wayne Callen and Dr. John Perna at the private practice of Lake County Medical Center, where for six years she formed relationships with the community she would continue to serve for nearly two decades now.

As Dr Perna motioned to retire in 2004, Zwerdlinger was pregnant with her first child and posed with decisions about her future and that of her family. She was once again offered a high paying position in the city of Denver, but already 1,000 feet higher and 100 miles away from the metroplex, Zwerdlinger reflected on the six years she’d already spent in Leadville, and again on its needs in healthcare.Spac_50

The Flight for Life helicopter lands at Rocky Mountain Family Practice during the private practice's community health fair.

The Flight for Life helicopter lands at Rocky Mountain Family Practice during the private practice’s community health fair.

Spac_50Dr. Lisa recalls a heartfelt conversation with her husband, Jeff Foley, that year in the parking lot of the local hospital, where they weighed the decisions before them, against the future they wished to have for themselves.

“Jeff and I looked at each other and said ‘We love it here. We like Leadville. We don’t want to move to the city. We don’t want to raise kids in the city. We want to live here,’ So we hawked everything we owned, and built this.”


Dr. Lisa is of course, referring to Rocky Mountain Family Practice (RMFP), which she and her husband began in 2005, and which continues to operate today as Leadville’s one and only private healthcare practice.

This post was part one of a three-part series, Leadville Today readers can find Part Two: Giving Birth To Babies and Businesses and Part Three: Meaningful Medicine by clicking the respective links.Take care and stay healthy.

Rocky Mountain Family Practice is located at 735 Hwy 24 South, and may be contacted by phone at (719) 486-0500.

LT Contributor Brennan Ruegg is from Akron, OH, birthplace of marbles and Judy Resnick.