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Dominika Piech, a graduating senior at Lake County High School (LCHS), is the valedictorian of the class of 2020. In anticipation of students graduating over Memorial Day weekend, the Herald reached out to Piech to ask a few questions about her time at LCHS, what graduating amidst a pandemic…

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On May 12, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners voted to cancel all special event permits through September. The BOCC’s decision that large gatherings are unsafe amid the pandemic was the result of consultations with different agencies and event organizers.

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The Lake County Tourism Panel is inviting local retail shops to add their listings to a soon-to-be-created “shopping section” on LeadvilleTwinLakes.com. This new section is intended to support area shops during COVID-19 and beyond by providing an additional avenue to promote online sales.

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The Leadville Lake County Economic Development Corporation (LLCEDC) announced earlier this week that Marla Akridge of Clifton Forge, Virginia has accepted the position of executive director effective July 13. Akridge brings 15 years of experience in rural economic development to her position…

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The Herald Democrat’s editorial and advertising staff members received three awards earlier this month in the Colorado Press Association’s 2019 Better Newspaper Contest.

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Are you confused about the various construction projects happening in Leadville this summer? Do you need help planning your route to the grocery store or gas station?

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On May 18 a fire was reported in the Forebay area at 4:05 p.m. Leadville/Lake County Fire-Rescue responded with an engine and tactical tender, along with the ambulance service, local law enforcement, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Chaffee County Fire.

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Lake County public officials, law enforcement and local organizations are grappling with the need to enforce shifting public health orders issued by the state and adhered to by the county, though they are unsure how enforcement can be carried out effectively.

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Colorado Mountain College hosted a remote commencement ceremony for each of its campuses last weekend. The celebrations included a combination of pre-recorded addresses, student profiles and materials sent to graduating students before the ceremonies took place.

AP
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Last Monday, a severed bear foot was found on the Lake County Courthouse lawn, though it was originally mistaken for a human appendage.

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On May 4, excavation began at the West Park Elementary School site for a new preschool through grade two (PK-2) school that is expected to be ready for students in August 2021.

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Lake County Government is bracing for immediate and long-term impacts as the Climax mine begins to reduce its production and workforce.

On April 24, Freeport-McMoRan, the mine’s owner, announced that production at the Lake County operation would be reduced to half of its regular output. Lake County Government is now preparing for the widespread impacts that the loss of revenue will have on county functions, Commissioner Kayla Marcella said.

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The Collegiate Peaks Forum Series (CPFS) is bringing back Dr. Scott Tinker with his new documentary, “Switch On.” In January 2013, Dr. Tinker screened and discussed his first documentary, “Switch.” While “Switch” looked at energy in the developed world, “Switch On” takes viewers on a new adv…

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When Colorado Mountain College leaders decided to cancel seven different spring commencement ceremonies this year, it was with a heavy heart.

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Jen McLaren is the current president and general manager of Smartwool, located in Steamboat Springs. She is the first female to lead the world-renowned brand. McLaren is responsible for the oversight and strategic direction of the Smartwool global brand. She has been with Smartwool for more …

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After Governor Jared Polis issued the Safer-At-Home Executive Order on April 23, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued an accompanying Safer-At-Home Public Health Order on April 26. Both state-level orders dictate how county-level public health orders must provi…

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The farm at Cloud City Conservation Center is preparing for the summer season and making adjustments to past years’ operations to safely continue work through the pandemic.

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Contractor Technology Constructors, Inc. will resume work Monday, May 18, on the U.S. 24 at Mountain View Drive intersection-improvement project. With the warmer weather, crews can now complete signal wiring, concrete sidewalks and curbs and minor roadway resurfacing.

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On Monday, May 11, the Summit Stage began increasing service levels on its spring 2020 limited public transit service along three fixed travel corridors within Summit County; the bus service also initiated limited service on its Leadville and Fairplay commuter routes. Summit Stage bus fares …

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On May 6, Lake County Public Health Agency hosted its now-weekly virtual town hall meeting to engage with community members, address the state of the pandemic in Lake County and field questions from the public.

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Lake County Government is moving forward with the establishment of a new justice center following a decision to invoke eminent domain, granting county workers access to a vacant site owned by Union Pacific Railroad at the corner of Harrison Avenue and Monroe Street.

On April 23, the Board of County Commissioners met in an executive session to receive legal advice regarding how to best move forward with assessment of the site. Immediately following, the board met in a public meeting and voted to move forward with the site assessment process by invoking eminent domain.

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Essential workers have been crucial to Leadville’s progress through the closures, cancellations and preventative measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Recognizing the vital role they play, the Herald is highlighting different essential workers each week who continue to work …

AP
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The sun rises over the Mosquito Range in Lake County last week. Sunlight is now sticking around until around 8 p.m.

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The Lake County Community Fund Board of Directors met on April 7 to determine recipients of two 2020 grant awards, the Lake County Community Grant and the new Copper Mountain Resort Award.

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As restaurants remain closed to the public, takeout and delivery food orders are an important source of revenue for Lake County’s restaurant owners, chefs and servers. Leadville Main Street’s “Takeout Takeover Fridays” campaign encourages locals to buy takeout to support such establishments,…

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Roots Rx Recreational dispensaries are currently donating 5% of all edible sales to the local food banks serving the Colorado mountain communities of Aspen, Basalt, Eagle-­Vail, Edwards, Gunnison and Leadville. Additionally, five edible brands sold at the dispensaries, including Cheeba Chews…

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The Leadville Race Series (LRS) announced the cancellation of all June 2020 events last week. These include the Leadville Trail Marathon and Heavy Half, the LT100 Training Camp and the LT100 MTB Training Camp. The race series attributed the cancellations to concerns over the health and safet…

AP
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Ellingwood Ridge and La Plata Peak bask in the sun. Lake County has experienced warm temperatures in recent weeks.

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On May 4, Sheriff Amy Reyes ended the stage two burn ban implemented last month.

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A four-person commission of Leadville city officials appointed Chris Floyd to fill the vacant role of municipal judge on April 23. The commission included Mayor Greg Labbe, Deputy City Clerk Kim Jackson, Administrative Services Manager Sarah Dallas and Linda Michow, the city’s attorney.

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Last week, Lake County healthcare providers began administering new forms of testing for COVID-19, a promising sign for the possibility of widespread testing and increased data collection in Lake County.

According to Lisa Zwerdlinger, medical director of Rocky Mountain Family Practice (RMFP), the combination of a new style of test and a new way to get results from existing testing methods has allowed for a loosening of testing criteria, making it easier for anyone who wants to be tested to do so.

The preexisting test method detects the virus itself through the collection of a mucus sample that is sent to a lab. This method is used to test people who have been sick and must be completed within two weeks of a person showing symptoms.

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Starting May 1, Leadville and Lake County will begin relaxing the stay-at-home order and closures of non-essential businesses mandated by Governor Jared Polis’ executive order. Polis first announced the state’s plan to begin transitioning to a “safer-at-home” model on April 20.

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St. Vincent Hospital’s board election is right around the corner. Though the deadline to apply to vote absentee has passed, Lake County residents can vote at the hospital in-person from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 5. Voters should follow signage and enter on the west side of the hospital at the …

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The Leadville Lake County Economic Development Corporation (LLCEDC) Relief Grant Program is a $30,000 program to assist 20 Lake County businesses with $1,500 to be used for rent/utilities or other approved business expenses. The grant program is open to all Lake County businesses that meet e…

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Freeport-McMoRan, operator of the Climax Mine, announced Friday that it will reduce operations to 50% of regular output at the Lake County molybdenum mine to reduce expenses in the wake of a global downturn in demand.

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As a continued precaution to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Lake County schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. This is an extension of the initial order that closed schools to students and in-person learning.

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The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and their prime contractor, United Companies, plan to begin working on U.S. 24 in early May. The project includes two miles of resurfacing in downtown Leadville, from Mountain View Drive to Elm Street, as well as improvements to most intersections.

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St. Vincent Hospital’s new facility is under construction on W. Fourth Street. The new hospital is on schedule to open to the public in winter 2021. The hospital’s board election is on Tuesday, May 5. See pages 12-15 for a Q&A with candidates.

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Business

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The Lake County Tourism Panel is inviting local retail shops to add their listings to a soon-to-be-created “shopping section” on LeadvilleTwinLakes.com. This new section is intended to support area shops during COVID-19 and beyond by providing an additional avenue to promote online sales.

  • 0

The Leadville Lake County Economic Development Corporation (LLCEDC) announced earlier this week that Marla Akridge of Clifton Forge, Virginia has accepted the position of executive director effective July 13. Akridge brings 15 years of experience in rural economic development to her position…

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The Herald Democrat’s editorial and advertising staff members received three awards earlier this month in the Colorado Press Association’s 2019 Better Newspaper Contest.

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On Monday, May 11, the Summit Stage began increasing service levels on its spring 2020 limited public transit service along three fixed travel corridors within Summit County; the bus service also initiated limited service on its Leadville and Fairplay commuter routes. Summit Stage bus fares …

featured
  • 0

As restaurants remain closed to the public, takeout and delivery food orders are an important source of revenue for Lake County’s restaurant owners, chefs and servers. Leadville Main Street’s “Takeout Takeover Fridays” campaign encourages locals to buy takeout to support such establishments,…

  • 0

Roots Rx Recreational dispensaries are currently donating 5% of all edible sales to the local food banks serving the Colorado mountain communities of Aspen, Basalt, Eagle-­Vail, Edwards, Gunnison and Leadville. Additionally, five edible brands sold at the dispensaries, including Cheeba Chews…

  • 0

The Leadville Lake County Economic Development Corporation (LLCEDC) Relief Grant Program is a $30,000 program to assist 20 Lake County businesses with $1,500 to be used for rent/utilities or other approved business expenses. The grant program is open to all Lake County businesses that meet e…

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Freeport-McMoRan, operator of the Climax Mine, announced Friday that it will reduce operations to 50% of regular output at the Lake County molybdenum mine to reduce expenses in the wake of a global downturn in demand.

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According to preliminary data compiled by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Lake County has seen a sizable increase in unemployment claims since mid-March.

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Starting May 1, Leadville and Lake County will begin relaxing the stay-at-home order and closures of non-essential businesses mandated by Governor Jared Polis’ executive order. Polis first announced the state’s plan to begin transitioning to a “safer-at-home” model on April 20.

featured
  • 0

St. Vincent Hospital’s board election is right around the corner. Though the deadline to apply to vote absentee has passed, Lake County residents can vote at the hospital in-person from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 5. Voters should follow signage and enter on the west side of the hospital at the …

  • 0

The Leadville Lake County Economic Development Corporation (LLCEDC) Relief Grant Program is a $30,000 program to assist 20 Lake County businesses with $1,500 to be used for rent/utilities or other approved business expenses. The grant program is open to all Lake County businesses that meet e…

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Freeport-McMoRan, operator of the Climax Mine, announced Friday that it will reduce operations to 50% of regular output at the Lake County molybdenum mine to reduce expenses in the wake of a global downturn in demand.

featured
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The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and their prime contractor, United Companies, plan to begin working on U.S. 24 in early May. The project includes two miles of resurfacing in downtown Leadville, from Mountain View Drive to Elm Street, as well as improvements to most intersections.

top story
  • 0

Last week, Lake County healthcare providers began administering new forms of testing for COVID-19, a promising sign for the possibility of widespread testing and increased data collection in Lake County.

According to Lisa Zwerdlinger, medical director of Rocky Mountain Family Practice (RMFP), the combination of a new style of test and a new way to get results from existing testing methods has allowed for a loosening of testing criteria, making it easier for anyone who wants to be tested to do so.

The preexisting test method detects the virus itself through the collection of a mucus sample that is sent to a lab. This method is used to test people who have been sick and must be completed within two weeks of a person showing symptoms.

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The severe epidemic of influenza of 1918 and 1919 was one of the worst human catastrophes on record. It has been estimated that more than 20 million people died around the world as a result of this epidemic, and that of the 20 million persons who suffered from the illness in the United State…

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There is much need for blood donations, as blood banks are not being replenished as much as usual due to the COVID-19 situation. Lake County High School (LCHS) conferred with public health leaders in order to facilitate a local blood drive to assist with this need.

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Essential workers have been crucial to Leadville’s progress throughout the closures, cancellations and preventative measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Recognizing the vital role they play, the Herald is highlighting a different essential worker each week who continues to …

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The Leadville Boom Days International Pack Burro Race will not take place as usual this year, due to community health concerns and the scaling back of Boom Days festivities. The Western Pack Burro Association (WPBA) is organizing a “virtual” race in its place.

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Continental Divide encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Lake County a better place for children and families.

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Since 2003, the Lake County Home Builders Association (LCHBA) has been intermittently active in Leadville and Lake County, and a recent rise in new development has prompted members to revitalize its efforts.

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During a special meeting on April 14, Leadville City Council passed a motion to provide $220,000 dollars in emergency relief funding to local businesses to help alleviate the financial loss felt by many because of the closure of non-essential businesses.

The discussion began at a March 17 City Council meeting, when Mayor Greg Labbe first brought up the idea shortly after the closures were implemented.

“It may be a conversation we’re going to have to have as a City Council, where do we fit into this crisis,” Labbe said at the meeting while addressing council about the need to consider financial relief programs funded by the city.

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According to preliminary data compiled by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Lake County has seen a sizable increase in unemployment claims since mid-March.

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Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic impact checks, colloquially known as stimulus checks, are beginning to appear in millions of American’s bank accounts. Under the act, most taxpayers will receive a $1,200 one-time payment from the federal government. Some Ame…

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Two more people have died from COVID-19 in the last few days, bringing Chaffee County’s total to six deaths as of Friday. Five of the deaths are connected to Columbine Manor Care Center.

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The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has launched a short survey designed to track symptoms of COVID-19, even if the person experiencing symptoms is unable or does not need to be tested.

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While Coloradans are already encouraged to wear cloth face coverings when going on grocery runs, they can take additional sanitary steps to ensure their purchases remain contaminant-free.

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Gretchen Werckman spoke to the Herald last week from the house where she grew up on East Eighth Street in Leadville. But when she spoke of home, it wasn’t Leadville she referenced but a small village in Sierra Leone where she served briefly in the Peace Corps before being evacuated last mont…

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The fate of Leadville Race Series’ (LRS) summer events remains uncertain. The first event of the nation-wide series, the Austin Rattler in Texas, originally scheduled for March 28, was postponed until November due to mandated restrictions on large gatherings.

Education

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The Lake County High School graduating class was awarded a variety of scholarships this year. In lieu of Class Day, the following seniors’ accomplishments will broadcast during a slideshow in the high school’s virtual graduation ceremony next weekend.

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Dominika Piech, a graduating senior at Lake County High School (LCHS), is the valedictorian of the class of 2020. In anticipation of students graduating over Memorial Day weekend, the Herald reached out to Piech to ask a few questions about her time at LCHS, what graduating amidst a pandemic…

featured
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Colorado Mountain College hosted a remote commencement ceremony for each of its campuses last weekend. The celebrations included a combination of pre-recorded addresses, student profiles and materials sent to graduating students before the ceremonies took place.

featured
  • 0

The Collegiate Peaks Forum Series (CPFS) is bringing back Dr. Scott Tinker with his new documentary, “Switch On.” In January 2013, Dr. Tinker screened and discussed his first documentary, “Switch.” While “Switch” looked at energy in the developed world, “Switch On” takes viewers on a new adv…

featured
  • 0

Jen McLaren is the current president and general manager of Smartwool, located in Steamboat Springs. She is the first female to lead the world-renowned brand. McLaren is responsible for the oversight and strategic direction of the Smartwool global brand. She has been with Smartwool for more …

featured
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As a continued precaution to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Lake County schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. This is an extension of the initial order that closed schools to students and in-person learning.

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Essential workers have been crucial to Leadville’s progress throughout the closures, cancellations and preventative measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Recognizing the vital role they play, the Herald is highlighting a different essential worker each week who continues to …

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Dr. Bruce Epperly, pastor and teacher at the South Congregational Church of Christ in Centerville, Massachusetts, will present a talk on “Spirituality in a Time of Pandemic” on April 17 via Zoom video conferencing. This is a presentation of the Collegiate Peaks Forum Series.

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After ski areas were shut down by Governor Jared Polis’ executive order in March, a series of limitations on public land use have come about, both as preventative measures against the spread of COVID-19 and to limit strain on emergency services.

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Leadville Boom Days organizers have decided to scale back this year’s annual celebration to focus on local participation, postponing the full event until 2021 as a result of restrictions on events and gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Business closures across Lake County will extend through April 26, if not longer, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following are federal, state and local resources for small businesses last updated on April 14.

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The Park County Coroners Office can confirm that a 39 year old male resident of Florida died from COVID-19 at a residence in the county on April 11, 2020. Park County Public Health conducted a disease tracing investigation and have determined that the risk to Park County Citizens is low.

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Community health updates are changing daily in Lake County due to COVID-19. As of April 7, 5,429 COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Colorado. Three cases have been confirmed in Lake County. Following is the latest, updated as of April 7.

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The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA), along with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife wildlife volunteer program, will once again monitor nest boxes for mountain bluebirds, tree swallows and violet-green swallows around the county beginning this spring.

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El Pomar Trustees approved $22,500 to be allocated among four nonprofit organizations in the High County region in February and March. Through the foundation’s grant-making processes, the following organizations were awarded funding:

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Solvista Health has teamed up with Lake County Public Health Agency (LCPHA), Lake County Office of Emergency Management and Lake County Wraparound to create a way to “check-in” with community members and see how they are doing during the stay-at-home order issued by the Governor and LCPHA. V…

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According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in 2018 over 30 million small businesses accounted for 99.9 percent of the total businesses in the United States. Over 59 million small business employees accounted for 48% of the total employees across the country.

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First responders and necessary employees have maintained their work throughout the closures mandated to limit the spread of COVID-19, though they have had to adapt in order to help protect themselves and the public.

Deputies at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office have had to adjust to the changes, though their day-to-day duties have remained largely the same, Sheriff Amy Reyes said.

Deputies are still responding to calls, but the sheriff’s office reduced in-office staff by 50% prior to the March 22 order to do so, even though the order exempts essential businesses – a classification that includes law enforcement, Reyes said.

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As of Friday, the recycling center at the Lake County Landfill will be shut down to limit the contact workers have with potentially-contaminated materials in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, both among employees and the community at large.

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Colorado officials have begun urging residents to wear masks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. At the same time, a shortage of manufactured face masks affecting healthcare workers, first responders and individuals has created a need for alternative ways to produce masks.

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The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment has compiled a list of COVID-19 symptoms, from mild to severe, to help people determine what steps they should take.

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Chaffee County Public Health director and Incident Command for COVID-19 Andrea Carlstrom announced Friday the state and federal guidelines for COVID 19 precautions now include recommendations for the general public to wear a non-medical cloth face coverings when leaving the home for essentia…

Crime and Courts

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Lake County public officials, law enforcement and local organizations are grappling with the need to enforce shifting public health orders issued by the state and adhered to by the county, though they are unsure how enforcement can be carried out effectively.

Local Government

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The Justice Center Task Force, a coalition of county officials, Lake County and Leadville law enforcement and judicial entities, is moving forward with plans to build a new justice center for the county.

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Information technology (IT) troubles persist at the Lake County Courthouse, nearly five months after Sheriff Amy Reyes first accused the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) of improperly accessing her office’s emails.

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Senator Michael Bennet visited Leadville Saturday for a town hall meeting, the fourth in a series of similar stops across the state marking his return to Colorado after his run for president. He had previously attended town hall meetings in Grand Junction, Rangely, Meeker, and Craig.

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Census takers will soon be in Lake County. It is a constitutional and legislative requirement to count the U.S. population every 10 years. Census efforts began Jan. 16 and will continue through March 30.

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Keeping up with replacement and maintenance of aging infrastructure continues to be the largest expense item for most water and wastewater utilities across the country. As the oldest municipal water system in Colorado, the Parkville Water District system is the poster child of aging infrastr…

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After several hours of testimony and discussion on the latest iteration of the AngelView Subdivision, the Lake County Planning Commission came to no decision and decided to reconvene the public hearing on Feb. 24.

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The Board of County Commissioners adopted Lake County’s 2020 budget last week with a 38.192 mill levy, the same as 2019. The budget document is the result of a year of strategic planning work, including training sessions and meetings with department heads and elected officials.