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The City of Leadville has its hands full these days with ongoing housing projects and the uncertainty surrounding Chief of Police Hal Edwards, but City Council will soon add another item to its agenda regarding Leadville’s next mayor and that individual’s salary, according to City Administra…

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The City of Leadville has its hands full these days with ongoing housing projects and the uncertainty surrounding Chief of Police Hal Edwards, but City Council will soon add another item to its agenda regarding Leadville’s next mayor and that individual’s salary, according to City Administra…

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Two main stories were the focus of this week’s edition of the Herald Democrat: the appointment of Ken Chavez as interim chief of police and the swearing in of Lake County’s newly elected public officials. 

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As Leadville and Lake County step into a new year, community members and the Herald Democrat will be watching the hospital closely in hopeful anticipation of yet another financial turnaround in 2023. 

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In this final edition of the Herald Democrat for the year, the newspaper is taking a look back at 2022, a year filled to the brim with breaking news and lively community events. Here are a few things that stuck out as we compiled the 2022 Year in Review, found throughout this week’s paper:

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Last week the Herald ran a story about a handful of high school students who are researching recreation gaps for youth in Lake County as part of a semester-long class. 

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St. Vincent Health (SVH) opened its new hospital just over a year ago, and since then the Herald has noticed a lot of talk from hospital leaders about the SVH “family,” meaning the network of employees that staff Lake County’s hospital. 

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Last week the Herald reported on the local impact of a national news story involving Bright HealthCare, an insurance provider that recently canceled coverage in markets throughout the country, including Colorado. 

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Winter has officially set in in Lake County (not that we really needed to tell you that after the snowfall that hit this week, but it’s worth noting for the record).

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Historic accounts of Leadville and Twin Lakes often start in the mid-19th century when miners began working their way into the mountains of Colorado in search of valuable ore, bringing with them tools of industry, infrastructure and the heavy hope for a better life. 

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Earlier last month the City of Leadville hired a third party to investigate a letter outlining concerns about Police Chief Hal Edwards which was signed by multiple personnel at the Leadville Police Department (LPD).

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This year’s Colorado Blue Book features several state ballot issues that Lake County citizens will vote on this November, including initiatives for healthy school meals, access to psychedelic substances and statewide affordable housing development. 

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An article published by NBC News on Oct. 10 stated that Lake County uses the most glyphosate of any other county in the United States, with nearly 2,000 pounds of the pesticide sprayed per square mile. 

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A group of residents in Twin Lakes convened at the village schoolhouse on Sept. 29 for a town hall hosted by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). The tiny building was packed and the main topic of discussion was AngelView, a 17-lot subdivision just east of the village that’s intended fo…

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As part of the national movement known as Banned Books Week, Lake County Public Library invited New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone to a public event and discussion held at FREIGHT last week. 

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Since announcing Battle for the Ballot a few weeks ago, the Herald has been fielding questions from the public for this year’s candidates. But a handful of community members were also wondering how the event itself would operate. 

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Weekly readers of the Herald may have noticed a few changes to the newspaper’s pages over the last few months, including new columns from local organizations, a recurring school district feature and archived photos from our ancient basement.

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As the busy summer season in Lake County comes to a close, the Herald is shifting its focus from race and event coverage to the all-important local election this November, which is highlighted by the race for Lake County sheriff.

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The vast majority of Colorado residents should receive a check in the mail this month as part of a state rebate for taxes collected in 2021. Individual tax filers should receive $750 and joint filers should receive $1,500. 

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Visitors and locals alike flocked to Harrison Avenue in droves last weekend to celebrate the long-awaited return of Boom Days. 

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After a long break in the action, the Herald will once again have the privilege of covering Boom Days this weekend, marking a triumphant return of an iconic Leadville event – one that I’m particularly excited to watch unfold. 

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Despite numerous periods of economic turmoil and change over the last century, the Herald Democrat has persisted, never once missing a daily or weekly print deadline in the constant effort to inform the people of Lake County. 

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A crowd of locals gathered at FREIGHT Monday night for a screening of “A Decent Home,” a documentary film by Sara Terry that follows the lives of manufactured home residents throughout the country.

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In this week’s Herald, the newspaper reports that Climax Molybdenum recently purchased the American National Bank Building on Harrison Avenue and will use the historic apartment complex for temporary workforce housing of entry-level employees.

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The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last week sent a ripple throughout the country, prompting groups and individuals of many political identities to take action.

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During last week’s regular Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting, a concerned Lake County citizen made several comments about barriers to public participation in public meetings hosted by BOCC.

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Last month, the City of Leadville announced that it intends to purchase a five-bedroom Victorian on Spruce Street to be used for workforce housing as early as this summer.

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As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, dedicated journalists from throughout the world are playing important roles.

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This week marks my last editorial at the Herald Democrat, a bittersweet reality.

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In a recent meeting, an individual asked why the Herald Democrat can’t put a more positive “spin” on stories. The person felt that the newspaper’s coverage sometimes seeks to divide the community, not bring it together. Nothing a little spin can’t fix, right?

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Congratulations are in order for the winners of the Herald’s Best Of competition, all of whom will be formally recognized when the 2021 Best Of Leadville & Twin Lakes publication hits stands on March 3 — just in time for skijoring weekend!

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Colorado’s red flag law has served as a sturdy intervention against gun violence for two years now, creating a safer place for the state’s 5.8 million-some residents.

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Earlier this month, the Herald asked readers what topics they would like to see covered more often in 2022 in the newspaper’s online poll. We weren’t sure what to expect.

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On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Colorado Mountain College hosted a community conversation focused on the tribal histories of the mountainous lands the college’s 11 campuses now sit upon. The event featured wise words from keynote speaker Ernest House Jr., rich dialogue and interesting questions.

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When the Marshall Fire sparked in Boulder County on the morning of Dec. 30, it was cold and overcast in Leadville. Snow covered the sidewalks of Harrison Avenue and another storm was on its way.

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On Jan. 6, 2021, a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. They sought to overturn the 2020 presidential election results by interrupting the Congressional count of electoral votes.

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It’s common these days to recapitulate the bygone year with a data-driven lens. Spotify tells us our top played songs, Strava reports how many miles we ran and the Herald editorializes on our most frequently reported topic (think my Dec. 16 editorial).

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Looking back on the Herald’s 2021 coverage, one topic undeniably dominated our news cycle — affordable housing. And while this comes as no surprise, we’ve got the quantitative and qualitative data to back it up.

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Scaffolding is up and masonry work is underway at the Herald Democrat’s building, 715-717 Harrison Ave. And though we will miss decorating our storefront this holiday season, the newspaper’s staff is excited about what is to come.

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Arkansas Valley Publishing Company, the owner of the Herald Democrat, has recently reckoned with the use of gender neutral pronouns in its newspapers and special editions.

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After a variety of delays at the federal level due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colorado State Demography Office recently released the state’s in-depth 2020 Census results to the public.

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Last week, the Herald concluded the “Our Forests” series, a four-month look at forest health and wildfire risk in Lake County. One reoccurring theme throughout the series was the importance of regional planning — a response to the fact that wildfire does not hold county lines.

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On Halloween, I took a break from handing out candy at Trick or Treat on Main Street to stroll down Harrison Avenue. I was struck not only by the creative costumes and decorations, but by our beautiful downtown buildings — many of which have recently been restored.

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Another election day is right around the corner. Lake County ballots can be mailed to or dropped off at the Lake County Courthouse; masks are required for in-person voting and ballot drop-offs.

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The Herald is proud to say “yes” to ballot measure 2A this week — an important step along the path to improving access to affordable housing for all in Leadville.

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This November, Lake County residents will vote on just three statewide ballot measures — a smaller number than in last year’s election. This year’s initiatives pertain to state government’s use of custodial money, the sales tax rate on retail marijuana and the property tax assessment rate fo…

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This week, the Herald is proud to provide coverage of the reinstatement of veteran health care services in Lake County.

Columnists

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If you live in or travel to Colorado’s high country, it’s likely that you routinely pass a Colorado Mountain College (CMC) campus. CMC plays an important role in educating and training students of all backgrounds for jobs and careers in the central mountain region. It is also helping lead a …

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Housing in Lake County has become tremendously challenging for many residents, businesses and organizations. We have all seen neighbors, friends and coworkers struggle to find a place to live that fits their budget. Some have had to leave town, and we have an increasing number of residents e…

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At every Thanksgiving dinner, my family asks everyone around the table to say what they’re grateful for. It puts new guests on the spot, so sometimes they just thank the hosts — an easy out that makes it harder for anyone else struggling for a good answer. I’ve been in that position, but thi…

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The Colorado River Compact turns 100 this year, but any celebration is damped down by the drying up of the big reservoirs it enabled. The Bureau of Reclamation’s “first-ever” shortage declaration on the river acknowledges officially what we’ve known for years: the compact and all the measure…

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Journalism has always been a tough way to make a living. It’s generally offered low wages, the constant threat of layoffs and consolidations, and the opportunity on any given day to enrage just about everyone who might disagree with the facts and observations you share.

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Class of 2022, the day has come. After six years of elementary school, two years of junior high and four years of high school, we will finally walk the stage to see our efforts realized. This is the moment we have been working towards for twelve long years. Every all-nighter you pulled to fi…

Letters to the Editor

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Voters, please vote for Erik Aadland to be our U.S. congressman. We need a voice against big government spending, ginormous federal debt, high inflation, high gas prices and heating costs, higher grocery bills and increasing interest rates.  The federal government has run amok.

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I want to write to show my support for Hal Edwards for sheriff.  I’ve known Hal for over a year now. We met at Community Coffee at Colorado Mountain College. He came over and introduced himself to my husband and I after Community Coffee and we quickly connected with him. Hal has extensive ex…

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My name is Caleb Cramer. I am writing this to inform the residents of Lake County, Leadville and Twin Lakes that candidate Heath Speckman has my full support for the office of sheriff. I withdrew from the race before the primary election. I decided that it was not the right time for me to ru…

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My name is Daniel Conley and I own Leadville ATV Tours. I am writing to express my support for Hal Edwards. He cares about this community. He helped me get over my avoidance of calling the police when I had issues with our neighbors who made threats and bullied us. He took the time to come b…

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After suffering through a parade of mismanagement, inexperience and incompetence in the sheriff’s department, Lake County deserves better. No, wait, it actually deserves the best, and we could have it in Hal Edwards. With 20 years of professional service in law enforcement, Hal would bring t…

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I want to impress the importance in casting your vote for Democratic candidate Tracey Lauritzen in the election for county clerk and recorder. Tracey has integrity, attention to detail and a commitment that has been part of bringing to light and making positive changes and conversations happ…

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With the upcoming elections fast approaching, in my opinion, it seems like the attention and primary focus has been on the two major party affiliations, Democrat and Republican, with little to no mention of the third party independents, who seem to go unnoticed.

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I’m voting for Hal in November. I’ve got my ballot and I’m checking that box. Not only am I voting for Hal as a person, but I’m voting for him and his affiliations. Who someone networks with and who they seek input from speaks volumes about how they will show up in the workplace.

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I endorse Hal Edwards for Lake County sheriff. I plan to vote for Hal because I believe he has the experience to run a complex department and the vision to move policing in our community in a positive direction. 

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Given the choice of candidates for Lake County sheriff, local voters should not miss the opportunity to elect Heath Speckman. Heath comes to the job with all the credentials required: he’s been trained by the Colorado State Patrol, where he served six years; he served our country for 10 year…

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Soon ballots will be mailed and all registered voters will have the opportunity to vote. This is an important election in Leadville/Lake County. Take this opportunity to get to know the candidates and evaluate their skills and abilities to ensure you are selecting the best qualified candidat…

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Lake County residents are especially fortunate this year due to at least one outstanding candidate for virtually every contested office. For the critical office of county clerk, Tracey Lauritzen brings a graduate degree and leadership experience in multiple local governmental board, council …

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I endorse the following three candidates not based on their Republican Party affiliation, but because they are decent, honest and hard-working people. They are invested in our community, wanting to do what is best and right for the community.

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The Colorado League race series held races on the weekends of Aug. 27-28 and Sept. 9-10 in Leadville. We are very grateful for the support provided by Colorado Mountain College. Local businesses welcomed our community with open arms. A total of 1,422 student-athletes tested their limits on t…

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Dear Leadville, whether you know it or not, the Leadville Race Series bunch from out of state is wrecking Leadville. The town has been in gridlock all summer. We do not need any more events or races. We have enough. They get our city and county cheap. They are using forest lands without cons…

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In response to the letter from Josh Homer (Aug. 25), I submit the following: Mr. Homer’s main topic addresses the concern that some folks are offending others while using a variety of noise-polluting vehicles. And although this is a noteworthy complaint, it is not the overriding issue here. …

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Leadville Sanitation: Those words generally evoke grumbling about how much it costs for sewer services here in Cloud City. However, when you have an issue with wastewater, and on a Sunday evening no less, they are not only your only option, but a godsend.

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We’re in the midst of another campaign season, and the signs of it (literally) are all around us. That’s a good thing. Perhaps the easiest (and lowest level) way of getting involved during this season and making your voice heard is by placing in your yard campaign signs advertising your favo…

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As a Colorado native but somewhat new resident of Lake County, I feel Ordinance No. 12-02 that details OHV use in Lake County is still perfectly applicable and reasonable.  This ordinance and the fact that I can easily access many trails right from my house without the added effort of loadin…

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They’re back! The speed bumps on Mount Massive Drive are back. To be honest, I hate ‘em. I feel that I am a safe driver and go the speed limit. I know not everyone does. But since the speed bumps were taken out a couple of years ago for construction, it seems that people have been driving cl…