Highlights from the

Herald Democrat

15 Years Ago

A tourist for our times

September 16, 2005

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Have you noticed that the current discussion is not whether Leadville should be a tourist town, but the type of tourist we want to attract?

We’ve designed our own tourist, one whom we’d like to see visiting Leadville.

First of all he (that’s not arbitrary—it also could be a she) should be open to all the wonders that are Leadville. He should have an abiding interest in our history, mining in general, and the Wild West.

He should be in awe of those of us who live here. He should find us all—every one of us—charming, attractive, amusing and wise, even those very few of us who are not.

He should be reasonably fit; fit enough to take advantage of what the town has to offer. Fit enough, perhaps, to bike or hike around the Mineral Belt Trail. At the very least, fit enough to walk up and down Capitol Hill and still be breathing.

He must avoid littering, recycle whenever possible, stop when someone is in the crosswalk, never park on Harrison for more than two hours (and never ever park in front of my house or yours), and leave when we, the locals, decide we’ve had enough of him.

Finally, he should have money. The more the better. And while he is here, he should spend that money freely.

Now on a more realistic note, we’d like to comment on the Sept. 7 meeting of the Leadville City Council, when figures were presented regarding what the city had to spend to provide cleanup and police during the big events in August, Boom Days and the two big Trail 100 races.

In the interest of disclosure, we should point out that this editor is a member of the Boom Days Committee. However, we do understand where the city is coming from, and if it finds it necessary to recoup money from organizations holding events in town, we hope it can come up with a fair way to do this.

We’d rather see an amount charged based on what the city actually spends than having the city get involved in the running of these events and start setting arbitrary charges, such as the $25 per vendor that was discussed for Boom Days, or the $2 or $3 per head discussed for the races. Let the people who have run these events over the years determine the best way to raise any money that is required.

It’s one thing to recoup expenses, and quite another to use these events to fill the city coffers.

We also hope the city will understand that some events, such as Boom Days, are totally non-profit. Funds raised each year go into the following year’s event, and if there is extra, it is donated to worthy causes within the community.

Yet events such as Boom Days and Skijoring do attract tourists to Leadville, which means people filling hotels, eating at restaurants, drinking at bars, etc. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? We don’t want to see these events penalized.

There will be further discussion at the Sept. 21 city council meeting if you want to add your two cents.

Marcia Martinek

Herald Editor 

City looks at costs of August special events

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Herald Staff Writer

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Athletic events have become part of Leadville heritage according to some city residents that spoke during the city council’s review of August events on Sept. 7.

Barb Arnett requested city council limit the number of events to two per month and to focus on heritage events.

Maureen Scanlon, local historian, agreed that it is important to preserve Leadville’s heritage, and added that the Leadville Trail 100, now owned by Life Time Fitness, is a heritage item.

When she owned a bed and breakfast, she said, she “was happy to have heads on pillows” for the race weekends as well as Boom Days weekend.

She was able to put money aside for the coming months, she said, and looked forward to Skijoring in the middle of March, one of three slow months.

“I have no desire to kill the goose that lays the golden egg,” said Mayor Bud Elliott.

Paul Diedrich, street department director, and Chief Mike Leake, Leadville Police Department, reported the cost of the three events for their departments.

Boom Days cost the street department $3,557 for setting up detours, closing streets and cleaning the streets after the end of events.

This same event cost $1,722 for the police department in dealing with a higher volume of calls related to the event. Many officers were on bicycles and in golf carts for the weekend, according to Leake’s report.

The next highest cost event for the street department was the 100-mile bike race. These costs included closing Harrison Avenue and dealing with trash.

There was $168 in landfill fees for the city after cleaning up the trash on the streets. This was reimbursed by the Leadville Trail 100 organization by that Thursday, said Elliott.

The run was much cleaner, according to Diedrich’s report, and cost the department $145 in setting up detour routes.

These two events cost the police department $444 and $197 respectively.

Parking issues, such as visitors parking in citizens’ driveways, made up the most work for the bike event. Added to that was the contracted security for the bike festival.

The run was handled with minimal staffing, he said.

After all events, though, police department staff was fatigued, Leake reported.

Elliott gave some ideas of how event organizers could help pay these costs through permit fees, such as a $25 business license for vendors to operate up to five days in Leadville or a per head charge to the organizer for the number of racers.

Gretchen Scanlon, local resident, said that outside event organizers, such as Ride the Rockies, won’t pay that fee, and will take their event elsewhere.

A letter from Cooper Mallozzi, city resident, suggested permit conditions instead of fees. One possible condition could require trash and recycling be taken care of by the organizer. 

Long-awaited cleanup begins at fire scene

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Herald Staff Writer

September 23, 2005

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Seven months after the January 28 Aspen Gold fire, cleanup of the debris has begun.

The owner and property manager were still in the process of working out details for asbestos remediation when the Lake County Commissioners called a board of health meeting to discuss the hazard on Sept. 15.

The site was labeled a major asbestos spill as it is over 32 square feet and has materials that tested over one percent positive for asbestos.

This was known in March, said Commission Chair Ken Olsen.

“It is incomprehensible the people who represent this property waited this long to take steps to make this happen,” said Commissioner Carl Schaefer.

Curtis Burns, air pollution control division of the state health department, said at the meeting that he was contacted on Aug. 20 by Koch Environmental with a work plan for the property cleanup.

Burns then did a site visit on Aug. 25 and found insufficiencies in the plan that have since been corrected.

These changes, however, added to the cost of remediation, said Greg Labbe, property manager for the Aspen Gold building.

The cost difference between the original work plan submitted to the state and the amended work plan to comply with the state’s requests was between $21,000 and $200,000.

A permit had not been issued the day of the meeting as the state was still waiting for a schedule of work from Koch Environmental. This was waiting for a communication from the county.

According to Labbe, the county was being offered a one-time exception to take the friable asbestos into the Lake County landfill.

At the board of health meeting, the commissioners said no. None of them were willing to take on that liability in perpetuity.

This was an effort to cut costs on the cleanup, said Labbe.

Being able to use the local landfill would cut down on the cost to truck the materials to a Denver landfill permitted to handle asbestos.

Asbestos remediation starts with testing for amounts and locations of the asbestos. This was done on the Aspen Gold building in June, said Labbe. The asbestos was found mostly in ceiling tar that was put on the building while it was still at Climax. A small amount in a joint compound and white paint was also found.

Koch Environmental was hired for the testing and then as the project manager in charge of contracting out the work, said Labbe.

The bidding process took over a week, and Earth Services and Abatement was hired. This company was also to put together the work plan for cleaning up the site.

It is after the work plan is complete that the asbestos-abatement permit is applied for, said Labbe.

Burns said that the permit was ready to be issued, and the work was to take 11 days to complete, although the work days may not be contiguous.

Koch Environmental will remain the project manager to monitor the work that is being done.

The intention of the owner, once the remediation is complete, is still to rebuild, said Labbe, although the cost of the asbestos cleanup has to be carried by the owner, Bob Christensen. 

Wildfire at Forebay

extinguished quickly

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Herald Staff Writer

September 30, 2005

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Bob and Robin Deister were on a drive on Sept. 21 at 4:30 p.m. to see the fall colors near the Forebay reservoir and saw smoke coming from the trees as well.

The local couple pulled into the South Elbert trailhead parking lot and met with a man from Florida and a Salida couple who were also noticing the smoke.

Bob Deister and the man from Florida headed out on the trail to find the source of the smoke, considering the possibility of a campsite nearby.

The two men did find a fire that was outside a campfire ring that had since grown cold, said Deister.

He said the south end of the fire looked to be 100 square feet in size and was on an area of grass that was two inches high.

On the north end of the fire, burning trees had flames that were shoulder-high on Deister, he said.

He and the man from Salida called the fire in around 4:41 p.m.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office was the first to arrive on scene and blocked CR 24 from traffic.

Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue also arrived on scene with the brush truck and waited for clearance from the U.S. Forest Service to engage the fire, as it was on federal land.

About half an acre was involved in the fire by this point, according to Captain John Ortiz’s report.

His crew established a containment line on the west side of the fire and held the fire at the road on the north side of the fire.

The USFS crew arrived and extinguished the fire. It appeared to have been started by an escaped campfire, according to the report.

The fire was out by 7:43 p.m.

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