Highlights from the 

Herald Democrat

10 years ago

School bond issues passes in landslide

Bordogna, Hix and Smith elected to county offices

by Danny Ramey

Herald Staff Writer

November 8, 2012

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Shouts of joy echoed across the Lake County Courthouse lawn Tuesday night as supporters celebrated the passage of ballot issue 3A.

The bond issue will enable the Lake County School District to raise the $11.4 million necessary to match a $15.1 million BEST grant for the renovation of Lake County High School.

The celebration continued at the Elks Lodge where supporters hugged, congratulated each other and talked about the high school’s future.

“It makes me so proud to know that the community is pulling together for these kids,” said School Board President Keith Moffett.

Lake County High School Principal Jamie Jeffery echoed a similar sentiment.

“One of the things I love about Leadville is the community pulls together when it matters most,” she said.

Sixty-seven percent of voters approved the ballot issue while 33 percent voted against it.

“I was very, very hopeful but you’re always cautiously optimistic,” Superintendent Wendy Wyman said.

Moffett noted that victory was due in large part to a dedicated group of volunteers who spent countless hours promoting the issue.

Meanwhile, Bruce Hix defeated Jack Saunders to win the county commissioner seat for district three, while incumbent Mike Bordogna defeated Alan Ainsworth to retain the commissioner’s seat in district two.

“As Carl Miller said on candidates’ night, there are two ways to run an election: unopposed or scared,” Bordogna said, noting that he was glad the election was over.

Bordogna thanked Lake County voters for showing faith in him and giving him a second term.

Hix was also grateful for the faith Lake County voters showed in him.

“I’m happy to have this opportunity,” he said, noting that he was looking forward to serving the residents of Lake County.

Saunders said that the race was close and that Hix was a strong opponent. He also noted that he would continue to be involved in the community.

“I’m disappointed, but I’ve got a lot of other irons in the fire,” he said.

In the race for Lake County Treasurer, Padraic Smith defeated Roy McGinnis.

Smith said he was glad that the race was over and happy to have won.

“I just think I am the better candidate,” he said.

Smith added that he hoped to be able to serve the community as treasurer for a long time.

The one uncontested race in the county was for coroner. Shannon Kent was the sole candidate for that office.

Amendment 64, which would legalize marijuana, also had a strong showing in Lake County with nearly 60 percent of county voters approving it.

Ryan’s Performance Motors reopens almost three years after fire

by Danny Ramey

Herald Staff Writer

November 15, 2012

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Nearly three years after losing his business to a fire, Ryan McNamee has reopened Ryan’s Performance Motors.

McNamee’s previous business location was destroyed in January 2010 when a fire roared through the Aspen Gold business park.

McNamee’s business, which reopened about a week ago, is now located at 303 U.S. Hwy. 24. One of the biggest challenges to reopening was finding a new location for the business, McNamee said.

The new building was built from the ground up and suits the needs of the business, he said.

For example, the garage is a little bigger, so it can fit more vehicles inside. The layout of the new building also works better in terms of the way the shop operates, he added.

The auto shop will be offering the same services as it did before the fire.

McNamee thanked the Leadville community for its patience and support while he got his business back up and running again.

“I’m looking forward to serving this community for many years to come,” he said.

McNamee is hosting an open house for the new building starting at 3 p.m. on Nov. 16.

Forest service looks at treating 12,000 acres of forest

by Danny Ramey

Herald Staff Writer

November 22, 2012

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The Leadville Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service is looking at implementing a series of fire treatments on thousands of acres of forest in Lake County.

The project, called the Tennessee Creek Project, would treat more than 12,000 acres of forest ranging from Tennessee Pass down to Halfmoon Creek, Jon Morrissey, district ranger, said at a presentation to the Lake County Board of County Commissioners.

The project would mainly focus on lodgepole pine, Morrissey said.

Back in the 1800s, Lake County had acres of lodgepole pine that varied greatly in age. However, the mining boom of the late 1800s and early 1900s essentially “rebooted” the lodgepole in the county, Morrissey said. This destroyed the mosaic of different ages that was present in the forest prior to the mining boom.

It’s important to have trees of different ages, Morrissey said, because older trees are more susceptible to things such as beetle infestation and forest fire. One of the goals of the Tennessee Creek Project would be to bring that mosaic of ages back to the forest, Morrissey said.

The project would involve a wide series of treatment types including clear-cutting, thinning and prescribed burns, Lisa Corbin, natural resources staff officer for the district, said.

The prescribed burns will include both broadcast burns and pile burns, Corbin added. Broadcast burns are when the forest service identifies an area for burning and then sets fire, in a pattern, to that entire landscape, while pile burns involve stacking the burn components and then setting them on fire, she said.

Broadcast burns are usually performed in the spring or fall, and pile burns take place in the winter, Corbin said.

The prescribed burns and clear-cutting will be good for the lodgepole pine because it will allow the trees to reproduce naturally, Corbin said.

“We’re trying to create healthy new stands,” Morrissey said.

Commissioner Mike Bordogna expressed some concern that a prescribed burn could jump into one of the surrounding wilderness areas.

Corbin told him that there was a whole planning process that usually takes around six months for each prescribed burn to ensure that the burns stay in control.

“It’s the planning process that translates into success,” she said.

Clear-cutting will be done in areas to facilitate forest regeneration, Corbin said. Thinning will be done to maintain stands of healthy trees and eliminate competition from older trees, Morrissey added.

Right now the plan is in preliminary stages, but it currently calls for treatment on Tennessee Pass, around Turquoise Lake and in the Halfmoon Creek area, according to information provided by the forest service.

Funding for the project has not been fully decided yet, but Morrissey hopes to avoid using a lot of forest service dollars for it. So far, he said, several water municipalities such as Aurora, Pueblo and Colorado Springs have expressed interest in contracting on the project. Morrissey also hopes to get some of the funds by bringing in commercial logging companies and the forest service’s long-term stewardship program.

Bordogna also expressed concern about the impact that large log-hauling trucks would have on county roads. He noted that having large trucks go on county roads during a Colorado Department of Transportation detour had resulted in damage to some county roads.

Corbin said that she had been in contact with the Lake County Road and Bridge Department and it appeared that the trucks would not harm the roads.

The forest service is scheduled to make a decision on the project by next August. Full implementation would probably start in the summer of 2014, Morrissey said.

We’re thankful for the ‘good’ news

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People sometimes complain that we don’t print the “good” news; the “happy” news. (This is despite the fact that our Internet statistics clearly indicate that what people turn to first is the police blotter and similar items.)

In the past we have even measured the inches of what one might consider good news versus the bad and indifferent news. The so-called bad news always comes out last, although this does inevitably lead us to a consideration of the fact that what might be bad news to one person is good news to another.

The date on the front of this newspaper is Nov. 22, 2012, Thanksgiving Day. Counting blessings is an appropriate activity. And not surprisingly, a number of things for which we, as a community, should be thankful have appeared in the Herald over the past year.

It’s clear that we are thankful that the school bond issue passed – at least two thirds of us are – and because that happened just earlier this month, it comes to mind right away.

But what else? For one thing, the Climax Mine has reopened and is shipping moly. We’ve been waiting many years for this to happen, and now we’re anticipating increased tax benefits for Lake County in the coming year, not to mention the donations to various nonprofits from Climax that have been taking place for the past few years.

Although there are fewer jobs than in the past, there are plenty of reasons to be grateful for the mine.

Many of our blessings admittedly are mixed. This past year saw the passage of Vonnie’s Law, making the state safer for those who are being stalked. It is a prime example of how something horrendous such as the murder of Vonnie Flores can evolve into something positive through the efforts of many who cared.

The dry conditions over the past year and the Treasure Fire in Lake County are not something for which we can give thanks. On the other hand, if we had to have a forest fire, we had one in the best possible place, where homes and people were not threatened. We are grateful for that.

Remember the sinkhole that turned out to be a collapsed railroad tunnel? Certainly it was an inconvenience for many, but no one was injured. It did give us an opportunity to revisit the days when the trains ran and even to explore once again the legends of mysterious underground caverns around Tennessee Pass.

And, regarding our schools, this past year we graduated a larger percentage of students than the state average, another reason to rejoice.

Once again, as people in the community were in need this past year, other individuals stepped up to lend a hand, generally without expecting thanks or acclaim. This is what this community is all about, and the Herald is grateful to be a part of it.

Now if we could only get a little snow to fall, our gratitude would overflow.

Marcia Martinek

Herald Editor

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