Highlights from the

Herald Democrat

10 Years Ago

This is the month we take back our town.

September 15, 2011

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Most of us who have lived here for a while know what that means. It’s not that we’re saying goodbye to the tourists who visit Leadville. As far as we’re concerned they’re welcome here whenever they want to visit.

But Saturday when we’re watching the St. Patrick’s Day Practice Parade or shopping for used books at the Sixth Street Gym, we’re going to be able to look around and see people we know. In fact, a majority of the people we see will be people we know.

In August, the weekend events starting with Boom Days and extending to the two 100-mile races have become so popular that, at times, when standing in a crowd, you can look around and see no familiar faces. This is not a bad thing. All those strangers probably have money in their pockets that they’ll be spending right here in Leadville, keeping our economy going. But we admit to moments when we’ve said to ourselves, “Just who are these people?”

We’ll see a few tourists at the parade Saturday. They’re the ones who’ll ask, “Why are you having a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in September?”

Then they’ll ask, “Is it because it’s too snowy on March 17th here?”

And we’ll explain that it is definitely snowy here in March, but that never stops us from having a St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17, too. After all, it only takes five minutes to walk from Capitol Hill to the Silver Dollar Saloon.

When they still look puzzled, we can simply say, “It’s a Leadville thing.”

So have a great weekend, and enjoy being able to turn left on Harrison Avenue once again and the demise of the two-hour parking.

Marcia Martinek

Herald Editor

CUP approved for

Leadville Mill

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Herald Staff Writer

September 22, 2011

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The Lake County Commissioners gave final approval to a conditional use permit for the Union Milling Company to reopen the Leadville Mill off U.S. 24 southwest of Leadville.

The commissioners’ approval came with two additional conditions to the 11 presented by the planning and zoning commission.

The first added condition was for the milling company to schedule deliveries in such a way that, as of Sept. 1, 2012, there will be no deliveries between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

One condition passed by the planning commission allowed operations 24 hours per day, which was not originally allowed in the land development code.

The second added condition was that the milling company would work to mitigate the noise level if neighbors complain.

Commission Chair Carl Schaefer was hesitant to accept this condition as he did not want to place extra burdens on the project that would inhibit the mill opening.

Commissioner Mike Bordogna, who suggested the condition, said that he did not think it unreasonable to respond to neighbors.

The applicant, Nick Michael, said that the plan was to meet the 70-decibel requirement at the mill wall, which is 90 feet from the property boundary.

Bordogna said that he was also in favor of the mill opening, but a previous board of commissioners placed residential and agriculture forestry zones next to the industrial mining zones.

The commissioners had to consider the enjoyment of use for all land users, he said.

Conditions made by the planning commission included brake mufflers on trucks contracted by the milling company, fencing that would not hinder the movement of wildlife and training for first responders on the property within 90 days of beginning operations.

The permit will have an annual review.

Playground closed at Community Park;

High lead levels cited

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Herald Staff Writer

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The playground at the Lake County Community Park, which opened in 2009, has been closed since Thursday due to high levels of lead in the soil, according to Commissioner Carl Schaefer.

The soils were those brought in to the site for landscaping from the Diamond Lake Reservoir area and from near C.R. 10, areas that were deemed safe, said Schaefer.

Despite word given that these were safe soils, the levels ranged from 1,000 parts per million (ppm) to 5,000 ppm of lead in the 20 sample areas, according to Judy Tyson, director of Lake County Public Health. This comprehensive test was done after an initial single test was high.

The safe level for children’s play areas is 400 ppm, according to Cornelia Patti, with the blood-lead public health program.

The exact source of the soil is still being investigated, she said, and more answers should be ready by a workgroup meeting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The contractor, Gobble Hays, did the original testing, said Schaefer, and this company also trained public health on the testing equipment now owned by the county.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Schaefer.

The landscaping was done by a grassroots volunteer effort over the last two summers.

The area with playground equipment has wood chips and does not have elevated lead levels, said Schaefer. The equipment, however, is next to the contaminated soils. The field, parking lot and restroom areas are not contaminated or closed.

Tyson said that she hopes the removal of the soils will be simple, and that the playground will open again in two to three weeks.

The point, she said, is that the community is safe, especially the small children, even if people are frustrated with the closed playground.

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