Highlights from the 

Herald Democrat

10 years ago

New-found friend takes off when man’s truck is stuck

by Danny Ramey

Herald Staff Writer

February 14, 2013


A Littleton man spent more than 24 hours stranded outside in the Iowa Gulch area last week after his vehicle became stuck during a four-wheeling trip.

The man became stranded sometime during the afternoon of Feb. 5 and was not located by Lake County Search and Rescue crews until the following day, said Lake County Emergency Manager Mike McHargue.

The man told Search and Rescue crews that he had been staying at the Super 8 Motel in Leadville on Feb. 4 and met another man there who asked if he wanted to go four-wheeling, McHargue said.

The next day the two men ran into a frozen creek crossing at the western end of Derry and Long ridges. While the man who had invited the Littleton man on the trip was able to make the crossing, the Littleton man’s truck sank into the ice up to its tailgate. The other man then continued on without stopping to help, McHargue said.

At that point, the Littleton man had no cellphone service. He kept his truck running in order to stay warm. Sometime during the night, however, the truck ran out of gas and the man decided to move to a different location, McHargue said.

At this new location, the man was able to get cellphone service and call 911. He originally told dispatchers that he was on Mosquito Pass, which made it more difficult for the Search and Rescue team to find him.

Overall, it took about six to seven hours to locate the man, McHargue said. The man was not on, or even near, any major roads, which made finding him even more difficult, McHargue said.

The man ended up in a creek bed several miles downstream of the Black Cloud Mine site.

“If he knew where he was, he could have walked to town three times over,” McHargue noted.

The man did not have a GPS, compass or map with him and it did not appear that he had notified anyone in advance as to where he was going, McHargue said.

The man was driving a full-size Dodge pickup truck that was equipped with only street tires.

“It’s so big, it’s not practical (for four-wheeling),” McHargue said.

In all, four members of the Search and Rescue team, including McHargue, assisted with the rescue.

Marijuana: County will wait and see

by Danny Ramey

Herald Staff Writer

February 21, 2013


The Lake County Board of Commissioners will delay making a decision regarding what uses of recreational marijuana it will allow in Lake County.

The commissioners held a brief discussion concerning Amendment 64, which makes the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana legal in Colorado, at their regular work session on Feb. 12.

“Rather than guess, I would like to give it some time and see what other counties do,” said Commission Chair Mike Bordogna.

One key issue that will need to be addressed is whether the county will allow recreational marijuana retail businesses within its limits.

County Attorney Lindsey Parlin told the commissioners that some counties, such as Delta and El Paso, had already established ordinances prohibiting retail businesses within county limits.

The Colorado Department of Revenue must adopt rules and regulations for commercial marijuana businesses by July 1. Those interested in opening a business will be able to begin applying for a permit from the state by Oct. 1. Businesses that obtain a permit can then begin operating as of Jan. 1.

While the commissioners did not make a decision regarding commercial marijuana businesses, they were set to consider a resolution that would prohibit the use and possession of marijuana in county facilities at their regular meeting on Feb. 19.

At the work session, Full Circle Executive Director Alice Pugh suggested that the resolution include all county land and not just county facilities, so that use and possession also wouldn’t be allowed in places such as Community Park.

Leadville Loppet marks tenth anniversary


The Mineral Belt Trail Committee is hosting the tenth annual Leadville Loppet on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Usually the loppet races are held on the Mineral Belt Trail and the Colorado Mountain College cross-country ski trails. But due to a lack of snow this winter, most of the event may be held on the Mineral Belt Trail. A big snowfall between now and race day could change this, however.

There are three races: 44-kilometer, 22K and 10K. Each race is further divided into a freestyle division and a classic division. Awards are given for first, second and third places to men and women in various age groups.

This will also be the fourth year of the 5K fun race. The 5K race is not an official race; participants often wear outlandish costumes and compete more for pure enjoyment than for awards. This year the 5K fun race will be managed and sponsored by High Mountain Pies and the Shack Club.

An important, and tasty, aspect of the Loppet is the variety of soups provided by local residents and served to participants during the awards ceremony, which is held in the Colorado Mountain College gymnasium.

One unique offering served to racers at the start/finish area is blueberry soup, traditionally served at Norwegian loppets. Jo Ann Cirullo prepares the blueberry soup each year.

An awards ceremony will be held in the Climax Molybdenum Leadership Center starting at around 1 p.m. Awards will be given to the top three finishers in each category. Final results will have age categories listed.

Loppet races have long history

Today’s loppet races can be traced back to events in both Norway and Sweden.

In 1206, King Haakon III of Norway was killed in a civil war. It was Christmas Eve in Lillehammer and a big storm had hit, yet two of Haakon III’s soldiers managed to escape with his infant son over two mountain ranges to Trondheim. His soldiers wore animal skins on their legs wrapped with birch roots (birkebeiner). The baby grew up to become Haakon IV.

The Norwegian Birkebeiner was established in 1932. It was 54K (33.5-mile) race and involved classic skiing only.

Participants had to carry a 3.5-kilo (7.7 lbs.) backpack.

In 1973, a man of Norwegian descent started the now-famous Birkebeiner in Hayward, Wis. Thirty-four men and one woman participated. It is now one of the largest ski race in the United States.

In 1520, Swede Gustav Vasa toured the country, recruiting countrymen to free Sweden from the rule of the Danish. He had to flee to Norway on his skies, hence the Vasaloppet, long ski run.

In 1922, the first Vasaloppet was held in Sweden. It was a 90K race (56 miles) and was won in seven hours, 32 minutes.

The first Leadville Loppet was held in 2003.

Judge says lawyers should get $234,147

by Robert Boczkiewicz

Special to the Herald Democrat

February 28, 2013


DENVER – Lake County government may face a big payout in the wake of a trial in which nine sheriff’s deputies won a pay dispute with the county.

A judge in Denver ruled last week that the deputies’ attorneys are entitled to be paid $234,147 for their work on the case.

Chairman of the Lake County Board of Commissioners Mike Bordogna said Monday that he anticipates finding out soon how much of the $234,147 will be paid by the county and how much will be paid by the county’s insurer.

U.S. District Court jurors in a Sept. 11 verdict concluded that the county commissioners didn’t pay nine deputies the full amount they were owed from October 2007 to November 2010.

Jurors awarded varying amounts to each of the nine ranging from $750 to $6,159. Judge William Martinez, citing the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, doubled the amounts because jurors concluded that the commissioners willfully violated the act.

The act states that judges shall allow attorneys who prevail in lawsuits such as the deputies’ case to be paid by the defendants.

The defendants were the board of commissioners and the sheriff’s office.

The deputies’ Denver attorneys originally asked Martinez, who presided over the trial, to order the county or its insurer to pay them $289,229 for work on the case over a period of at least two years.

The county’s insurer didn’t dispute that the deputies’ attorneys were owed a reasonable amount, because they prevailed in the outcome of the trial. The insurer contended, however, that $289,229 was “clearly unreasonable” and asked Martinez to reduce it by a “significant,” but unspecified, amount.

Martinez last week reduced the request to $234,147.

Bordogna said the county is insured by County Technical Services Inc., an insurance pool for Colorado counties which pay premiums to the pool for insurance coverage.

“We expect in the near future to find out from CTSI how much (of the $234,147) they will cover and how much will come out the general fund,” said Bordogna, speaking from Lake County.

Cathy Greer of Denver, the attorney for the county’s insurer, would not answer questions about paying the $234,147. She represented the defendants.

The deputies contended they were hourly employees, entitling them to be paid straight time for all the hours they worked.

They were paid for 80 hours of work despite normally working 84 hours or more in two-week pay periods. They worked seven 12-hour shifts in a pay period.

They sued in 2010 under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which establishes wage standards for covered employees in the private sector and in government.

The county contended that the deputies were salaried employees – not hourly employees – and that their pay covered all the hours they worked.

Taylor resigns from county

by Danny Ramey

Herald Staff Writer


Tom Taylor, Lake County director of Building & Land Use, resigned on Feb. 20.

Taylor resigned due to personal reasons, according to Lake County Commissioner Mike Bordogna.

The county is currently deciding what it wants to do in terms of hiring a new building inspector, Bordogna said.

At a work session on Monday, the Lake County Board of Commissioners approved a contract with SAFEBuilt to provide inspection and plan review services while the county decides what it wants to do about a new building inspector. The approval of the contract is contingent upon county attorney Lindsey Parlin reviewing and approving it.

The county already had a contract in place for SAFEBuilt to provide certain services, Bordogna said. This new agreement just broadens the services the company will provide to the county.


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