New Fort Lewis president tapped

The long search for Fort Lewis College leadership has ended. On Tuesday, the Board of Trustees announced that Brad Bartel, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Florida Gulf Coast University, will become the college's seventh president. Bartel was chosen from a field of more than 50 applicants, and his selection ends a search process than began nearly 18 months ago. He will begin his official FLC duties in May of 2004.

"The board and members of the search committee have spent a great deal of time in the search process, and it was well worth the effort in the selection of Dr. Bartel," said Board of Trustees Chairman Peter Decker. "He will provide outstanding leadership for Fort Lewis College as it moves into the future as Colorado's premier liberal arts and sciences college."

Bartel has 29 years of experience as an academic administrator and faculty member at three major universities - San Diego State University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Florida Gulf Coast University.

"I am excited about working with my new colleagues at Fort Lewis College to developthe institutioninto the premier public liberal arts college in the West," said Bartel. "Fort Lewis College is almost there now.With some additional innovation in learning environments and programmatic diversity, we will create a true 21st century liberal arts college for Colorado."

Bartel said he was attracted to Fort Lewis College for many reasons.

"A number of variables were important in my consideration to apply for the presidency of Fort Lewis College," he said. "I knew of Fort Lewis College as a member of COPLAC (Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges). This group of 20 institutions represents the finest in undergraduate learning in the nation.Being an anthropologist, I was impressed byFort Lewis College's dedication to Native American students.Essentially, the great combination of focused mission, size and locationattracted me to apply."

Since 2000, Bartel has served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Florida Gulf Coast University, one of the newest universities in the nation. Florida Gulf Coast University opened its doors in 1997 and now boasts an enrollment of more than 6,000 students in the College of Arts and Sciences and four professional colleges of Health, Business, Education and Professional Studies.

Bartel will succeed Robert Dolphin, Jr., who has served as president since July 1, 2002, when Kendall Blanchard resigned as president to return to the classroom as professor of anthropology. Dolphin will retire at the end of the current academic year.

Mercy gets excavation go-ahead

Mercy Medical Center got the go-ahead to begin excavation at its proposed expansion site in Grandview on Tuesday. The Durango City Council agreed to adopt an intergovernmental agreement with La Plata County, which will allow the hospital to start moving earth for its $76 million expansion.

The hospital is a central component of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe's planned Grandview development. The tribe has requested annexation of 682 acres east of Durango for its proposed 2,211-unit development. The hospital faces a looming construction deadline in order to receive funding and has requested an accelerated timeline.

"The hospital is such a big important part of this community that the city did not want to stand in the way of its expansion," Mayor Virginia Castro said of the council's decision.

In addition to adopting the agreement, the council also accepted that annexation petition from the tribe. A meeting on the annexation and zoning will be held Jan. 20. Castro added that the development is not being fast-tracked and will endure heavy scrutiny beginning at that time.

"Basically it'll be the same process as we always have," she said. "All this is doing is allowing them to let the dirt to sit there for a few months."

USFS reopens Little Molas process

The Forest Service has started trying to gauge public input on its proposed upgrades to the Little Molas Lake campground. In September, the agency announced it would withdraw a recent decision to make $700,000 in improvements to facilities at Little Molas Lake. The San Juan National Forest had proposed rehabilitation of areas damaged by unregulated camping at Little Molas and construction of a Forest Service fee campground and picnic area. A year-round parking lot was to be built adjacent to U.S. Highway 550 offering access to the Colorado Trail.

However, the Forest Service proposal drew opposition and eventually an appeal charging that a fee-free, scaled-back proposal should have been selected. The 12 appellants called instead for Alternative 3, a more moderate plan that would improve Little Molas and result in no fees for the public.

By withdrawing its decision, the Forest Service said it acknowledges that more public input was needed.

"We will revisit the (National Environmental Policy Act) process to make sure we hear from everyone," said Pauline Ellis, Columbine District Ranger. "But our goal is still to protect and manage the natural resources that are threatened at Little Molas, replace the camping opportunities we lost when Purgatory Campground was traded out of public ownership and improve public safety through adequate parking."

As it begins its analysis anew, the Forest Service has scheduled two public meetings to hear comments. The first will be held Thursday, Dec. 4, from 6-8 p.m. in the Miner's Union Theatre in Silverton. The second will be held Dec. 15 from 6-8 p.m. in the Eolus Room of the Durango Community Recreation Center. Comments can also be submitted to: Cam Hooley, Columbine Ranger District, P.O. Box 439, 367 Pearl St., Bayfield, CO 81122.

Ellis asked that the new comments be fresh. "Remarks should be substantive, meaning they should be within the scope of the project, be specific and have a direct relationship to the project and include supporting reasons," she said.

Loronix lands Home Depot contract

Durango-based security company Loronix will be providing surveillance software for the world's largest home improvement retailer. A contract has been signed between Home Depot and Loronix's New York-based mother company, Verint Systems Inc., to deploy the software in the retailer's 1,600 North-American stores. The software will be used in a variety of areas, including security, safety and monitoring of self checkout stations.

"With more than 1,600 stores, Home Depot is committed to deploying technology to efficiently manage our operations and ensure a safe and secure environment for our employees and customers," said Marvin Ellison, Home Depot's VP of Loss Prevention. "We view Verint's Loronix Video Solution as a multi-dimensional retail tool. Therefore, we are deploying their technology to meet a number of important objectives, including reducing shrinkage and generating business intelligence that can be used to improve merchandising."

"We are delighted to be working with Home Depot to help them improve their operations," said Dan Bodner, President and CEO of Verint Systems Inc. "We continue to develop new video solutions for our retail customers and are committed to the retail market."

Verint Systems Inc. is a leading provider of analytic software for communications interception, digital video security and surveillance, and enterprise business intelligence.

City revamping design guidelines

The rigorous design standards imposed on Durango's downtown are spreading to other areas of the business community. The city of Durango will be developing new urban design standards for major commercial corridors and revising existing standards for the central business district.

Senior Planner Keith Walzak said the move is an effort to get ahead of the ball and ensure that new business development is done in a quality manner. "We're interested in expanding the design guidelines into some of the major corridors as the city starts to expand," he said.

These corridors include: North Main Avenue; Highway 160 West; Highway 160/550 East; Grandview; Highway 3; College Avenue; and East Eighth Avenue. A final set of project meetings will be held Dec. 8 & 9 from 6-8 p.m. at the Durango Arts Center, 802 E. Second Ave. At the meetings, the public will be encouraged to comment on draft design guidelines. For more information, call Walzak at 385-2890.

- compiled by Will Sands





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