leans toward safer Junction Creek Road
This week, La Plata County gauged public input on widening
Junction Creek Road in order to make pedestrian and bicycle
traffic safer on the busy corridor. According to Rick Routh,
county engineer, comments varied wildly at Monday’s open
house, but most were in favor of widening the road.
Sugnet Environmental Inc. recently completed a year-long transportation
study, which was jointly funded by the county and Great Outdoors
Colorado. The study looked into the options of adding trails
along either side of Junction Creek Road as well as widening
the road. In the end, it concluded that environmental and private
property issues prevent any possibility of building trails adjacent
to the roadway and recommended widening the road a total of
3 feet to accommodate bicycle lanes.
Routh said a veritable pandora’s box was opened Monday
with discussion ranging from wildfire and emergency access to
Colorado Trail parking problems.
“We heard a lot of different issues that people brought
to the table that don’t pertain to what they were trying
to do with the study,” he said.
Routh said that the study concerned itself with safety issues
on Junction Creek Road up to the Turtle Lake/Falls Creek intersection.
With respect to widening that stretch of road, he said comments
have been predominantly positive.
“Adding up the e-mails and letters I’ve received,
definitely the preponderance are in favor of addressing the
safety issue,” said Routh.
The county will continue gauging public comment on widening
the road until the end of the year. At that point, the engineering
department will look for direction from the Board of County
“This is very, very conceptual here,” said Routh.
“The next step after the public comment period is to schedule
a commissioners meeting and then ask for direction.”
The period for public comments closes Jan. 1, 2003. Interested
parties can read a copy of the study at the La Plata County
Courthouse or online at www.co.laplata.co.us/publications.html.
Comments can also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Needham tennis court incident turned on its head
It’s not clear just who was victimized in an incident
at the Needham Elementary tennis courts late last week.
According to Durango Police reports, on Nov. 21, 19-year-old
Lonora Stollar alleged that a man had pulled a gun on her and
her 14-year-old friend and threatened their lives. The two were
standing near the tennis courts. Officers later apprehended
29-year-old Justin Holiday on suspicion of felony menacing.
However, after combing the neighborhood, officers failed to
find the missing firearm, and during repeated questioning Holiday
denied ever having the Glock 9mm. Consequently, on Monday, Nov.
25, investigators reinterviewed the victims and determined that
there was never a gun. Stollar was charged with false reporting
to authorities, a Class 3 misdemeanor.
The 14-year-old victim is not being charged because the investigators
believe she was intimidated into going along with the story.
If convicted, Stollar could be fined up to $750 and/or placed
in jail up to six months.
Charges against Holiday will remain as investigators believe
he did make a verbal statement toward the two victims that he
“could kill” them. However, because of the new development
in the case, the District Attorney’s Office will probably
reduce the current charges to a lesser offense.
Sheryl Ayers sworn in early
Following the Nov. 5 endorsement of La Plata County voters,
Sheryl Ayers got an early start in her new job as county commissioner
last Monday. Ayers has been officially appointed to fill the
shoes of Fred Klatt, who is departing early because of illness.
Klatt had stated that he waited until after the election to
step down in order to make the appointment process clear-cut.
Per legal requirement, the Vacancy Committee for La Plata County’s
Republican Central Committee had the responsibility for filling
Klatt’s seat, and on Nov. 21 it tapped commissioner-elect
Randy Hubbs, chairman of the central committee, said the decision
was easy because of Ayers’ election.
“It is unfortunate that Fred was not able to finish his
term, capping an exceptional period of public service,”
said Hubbs. “We are fortunate to be able to appoint Sheryl
following her endorsement by the La Plata County voters. What
normally would have been a very difficult process was made easy
by the events of Nov. 5.”
Ayers was officially sworn in Monday and is serving in her
capacity as county commissioner for District 1. On Dec. 6, a
reception will be held to honor Klatt’s service, which
includes tenure as a commissioner since 1990 as well as service
on the Durango City Council from 1984-1988 and a year as Durango’s
mayor in 1987.
Adventure race proposed for Purgatory next summer
Gravity Play Sports, a local sports-marketing and event-production
company, has proposed two races in the vicinity of Durango Mountain
Resort for next summer. The San Juan National Forest is currently
soliciting public comment on an Adventure Race and a 100-mile
mountain biking race.
The “Adventure Xstream” race, proposed for June
14, would incorporate trail running, mountain biking, rappelling
and paddling for a total of 60 miles. The 100-mile mountain
bike race is proposed for Aug. 23.
Will Newcomer, president of Gravity Play Sports, said he anticipates
between 150 and 200 competitors for each event. He added that
his group hosted a race in Durango two years ago and was scheduled
to hold one last year, but the fires cancelled it. Newcomer
classifies his adventure race as a sprint race over a single
day. Last year, Telluride hosted a five- to seven-day expedition
race that drew criticism for environmental impact.
“Adventure racing has kind of gotten a bad rap partly
by race directors not abiding by their permits,” said
He said that in the past three years of hosting races in Moab,
Vail and Durango, Gravity Play Sports has never gotten any negative
“We incorporate leave no trace ethics into our race rules
and do as much as we can to have low impact,” he said.
Written comments on the events can be mailed to Pauline Ellis,
District Ranger, Columbine Ranger District, P.O. Box 439, Bayfield,
CO 81122, before Thursday, Dec. 12.
Shared kitchen considered
La Plata County could break new ground if an ongoing study
is favorable. The county is currently looking at the feasibility
of creating a shared-use community kitchen as an economic development
A shared-use commercial kitchen would be a fully-licensed,
insured and equipped food preparation and packaging facility.
Food production space would be available for rent to caterers,
bakers, chefs, growers, producers and other food-related entrepreneurs.
The kitchen also could provide educational opportunities, training
and start-up help for new businesses.
“This is exactly the kind of project that we need in
La Plata County,” said County Commissioner Josh Joswick.
“It is an economic development tool, and we need to understand
how we can best use it to create new businesses, support existing
businesses and make our community more self-reliant.”
Currently, a team led by Cameron Wold, a Colorado University
Professor and author of the publication Establishing a Shared-Use
Commercial Kitchen, is conducting a study on the feasibility
of such a kitchen in La Plata County. The study is beginning
its investigation with the La Plata County Fairgrounds kitchen
as a test-piece. For more information or to take part in the
study, call Greg Vlaming at 247-4355 or by e-mail at email@example.com.