mulls early opening
In light of recent snows, Durango Mountain Resort is giving
serious consideration to opening early this season. The resort
currently boasts a 36-inch base at mid-mountain--ample snow
to open the resort.
Rumors this week swirled around DMR firing up the lifts and
opening a substantial portion of the mountain this weekend.
However, on Wednesday, resort officials were still uncertain.
“We are seriously considering opening early,” said
Matt Skinner, communications manager. “It’s up to
logistics, weather, safety and, at the very base of it all,
Skinner said that the resort is looking at whether the existing
base and snowmaking can hold up if it stops snowing. However,
he said there are “excellent” conditions on the
mountain. “We’re way ahead, maybe a month ahead,
of last year,” he said.
The resort had planned to open Nov. 28., Thanksgiving Day.
Klatt officially resigns from post
After 12 years of service, La Plata County Commissioner Fred
Klatt officially resigned his post last Friday for health reasons.
More than 20 people gathered at a news conference and praised
Klatt, who suffers from post-polio syndrome, noted that his
resignation was timed around the recent election of Sheryl Ayers
as his replacement. “I would not want to leave office
in a manner that would reflect adversely on any small positive
legacy I might hope to leave behind. I have also felt a compelling
need to recognize that voters elected me to three terms, 12
years in office, not 11 years, and I have not taken that responsibility
lightly,” he read from a prepared statement.
He concluded by reading, “I will close by simply thanking
the citizens of La Plata County for their friendship, for their
trust and for their confidence, and by apologizing to those
same people for not having the energy to take this ‘all
Klatt’s replacement must be selected by the Republican
party by Nov. 30. Klatt heartily endorsed Ayers and said he
hoped the party would appoint her to fill out the remainder
of his term before officially taking over his post in January.
A tearful Ayers remarked, “Even a part of Fred Klatt is
better than a whole of other people. The reason I’m full
of a little trepidation is that I hope I can serve the people
nearly as well as Fred Klatt.”
Fellow Commissioner Bob Lieb also praised Klatt. “You’ve
mentored me here, and I will always be thankful,” he said.
“This county owes you an immense amount of thanks for
the hard work you’ve put in.”
At the close of the conference, Klatt said that he hopes for
more active public participation in future county politics.
“I would love to see more participation,” he said.
“In our budget hearing, we looked at a $60 million budget,
and not one member of the public was here.”
Task force nets more meth busts
An anonymous tip led to the arrest of six adults on methamphetime-related
charges Nov. 7. Members of the Southwest Drug Task Force received
a tip that meth sales were taking place from a room at the Spanish
Trails Motel. Task force officers further investigated the situation
and obtained a search warrant for the room.
Upon execution of the warrant, investigators found approximately
one ounce of “glass,” a potent form of methamphetamine.
The street value of that one ounce is approximately $4,000.
Three people were arrested upon returning to the room for possession
with intent to distribute methamphetamine. They were Patrick
and Brandy Palmer, former Durango residents now living in Phoenix,
and Lisa Gann, of Phoenix.
Investigators then arrested three additional people after they
arrived at the motel room on charges of criminal attempt to
possess methamphetamine. They were George Sauer and Dale Wonderling,
of Durango, and Jill Hawkey, of Cortez.
Local hunters experience success
With the third big-game season coming to an end, harvest rates
for deer and elk across the state have been good, but not quite
as high as Division of Wildlife biologists would have liked.
The DOW said a good harvest would be critical this year because
of the drought and a below-average season last year.
John Ellenberger, state big-game manager, believes that overall
the harvest has been substantially better than last year, but
even with the additional licenses issued, there still will not
be the high numbers of elk harvested needed to cull the state’s
elk herd back down to optimal management levels.
“My assessment is that I don’t think that even as
good as the harvest has been, it probably won’t be as
good as we had hoped,” Ellenberger said. “The elk
harvest looks like it will be substantially better than last
year, probably more than 50,000 animals, but it would take exceptional
harvest rates during the fourth and late-season hunts to reach
the 60,000 that we had in 2000, which we wanted to reach this
While both the first and third seasons have had excellent harvest
rates for elk and deer, the second season saw warm, dry weather
that lowered harvest rates similar to the 2001 level. The Durango,
San Juan Basin and Dolores areas have providing good hunting.
Weather conditions and high numbers of elk are allowing hunters
to consistently fill their tags, according to Ellenberger. Rifle
season concluded this week on Nov. 13.
-compiled by Will Sands