La Plata County voters weigh in

Last Tuesday’s election had a definite Republican flavor nationally, statewide and in La Plata County. Local voters elected Republican Bobby Lieb to the La Plata County Board of Commissioners and helped propel Ellen Roberts and J. Paul Brown into to seats in the Colorado Senate and House of Representatives. Democrat John Salazar also lost his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives to Republican Scott Tipton, of Cortez. Tipton’s victory helped swing the Republican Party to a strong majority in the House. The Democrats lost six seats in the U.S. Senate but retained a slight majority.  

After returns came in Tuesday, Tipton commented, “It’s been a long hard fight and I’m very gratified to have been successful in this campaign. Tonight you have awarded me a position of great honor. I pledge that I’ll work every day to earn what you’ve given me.”

In one of the most significant local races, Republican Bobby Lieb beat out Democrat Bruce Baizel and Independent Kenneth Root for a seat on the La Plata County commission. Lieb attracted votes from more than 47 percent of local voters, edging out Baizel, who accounted for 44 percent of the vote.

Ballot Issue 3A, School District 9-R’s mill levy override, passed by a wide margin, earning 56 percent of the local vote. The measure will increase local property taxes by an average of $60/year in order to raise an additional $3.2 million per year to fund teachers, staff and technological upgrades in local schools.

In the race for the Colorado House and Senate, voters sounded a conservative call throughout the district. Republican Ellen Roberts handily beat out incumbent Bruce Whitehead in the race for state senate, taking 60 percent of the vote. And J. Paul Brown took the District 59 House seat with 16,341 votes to Democrat Brian O’Donnell’s 13,261.

In other Colorado election news, voters rejected the so-called “Ugly Three” – Amendments 60, 61 and 101 – by wide margins. The three amendments would have cut back government size and reduced its ability to tax and spend. Amendment 62, the “Personhood Amendment,” also failed with 70 percent of Colorado voters in opposition.

In a bright spot for Dems, John Hickenlooper, former Denver mayor, earned an easy victory in his bid for Colorado governor.

Horse Gulch dedication set for Friday

Durango is capping a stellar season of open space preservation in Horse Gulch. Last week, the City finalized the purchase of an additional 367-acre parcel in the popular recreation area, effectively preserving nearly the entire trails system. The efforts have not gone unnoticed. The Colorado Lottery has awarded a 2010 Starburst Award to the City of Durango for its Horse Gulch Preservation Initiative and will be on hand for a dedication ceremony this Fri., Nov. 5.

The City has preserved more than 705 acres of open space and trails in Horse Gulch in 2010, thanks largely to more than $1.6 million in GOCO grants. In total, more than 1,300 acres and almost the entire trail system have now been preserved in what was once a patchwork of various private and public properties.

The City’s most recent Horse Gulch acquisition was completed on Oct. 25 and includes 367 acres previously owned by Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees. “Thanks to the leadership of City Council and generous support from Great Outdoors Colorado, we were able to heavily leverage our dedicated open space dollars, with lottery funds covering nearly 72 percent of the cost of this key piece of Horse Gulch,” said Paul Wilbert, Chair of the Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board.

A ceremony marking the completion of this phase of Horse Gulch Preservation will be held Friday at 12:15 p.m. in the Horse Gulch Meadow.  Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of GOCO, as well as other partners in the preservation effort, will be in attendance. The community is encouraged to hike or bike to the ceremony.

Quiznos pedals past SW Colorado

The Quiznos Pro Challenge has opted to give Durango and Southwest Colorado a pass. Cycling advocates learned this week that race organizers have rejected the local bid to host a stage of

the professional road race.

The seven-day race, set for Aug. 22-29, 2011, is expected to bring top international talent to Colorado and promises to be a marketing boon for each of the race’s host cities. Though the final route won’t be announced until a ceremony in Denver on Nov. 4, Durango got early word that it missed the cut.

Race organizers did commend Durango for its “model application,” but there were issues with connectivity between the Western Slope and Front Range. In particular, the unwillingness of Grand Junction and Montrose to climb on board as host cities left an insurmountable gap in any race that would have started in Durango.

“Durango is disappointed, but not discouraged,” said Durango City Manager Ron LeBlanc. “We appreciate the difficult decision the organizers faced. We plan to learn from those communities who were selected for 2011, so we can be better prepared to bid for a host city in 2012.”

Telluride and Loveland also got nixed from Quiznos honors, and Scott McQuade, of the Telluride Tourism Board, noted that the organizers wanted to stay close to large population centers for year one of the race.

“I think what they decided to do is go for the easiest stages from a logistical standpoint,” he told theTelluride Daily Planet.

Purgatory closing in on opening day

In spite of warm temperatures and sunny skies, the winter of 2010-11 appears to be shaping up at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort. The local ski area is on track to making its projected opening day Nov. 25, thanks to four inches of recent snow.

“The recent storm systems dropped a bunch of moisture,” said Mike McCormack, senior VP of mountain operations. “It’s still early, but we are in good position for a solid start to the season.”

Local skiers can expect several improvements at Purg this season. Following up on last season’s Legends terrain expansion, which added 30 percent more expert terrain to the hill, DMR has gladed a new area on the front side of the mountain. The new tree-skiing area will be known as “The Ambassadors Glade” and bump up advanced/expert terrain to 35 percent of the resort’s skiable acreage. DMR is also giving the terrain park an overhaul and building hits and carving pipes from earth instead of snow. This will enable the parks to open earlier in the season and be maintained consistently throughout the season. Upgraded mountain signage, expanded grooming and enhanced snowmaking are also on the menu for the 2010-11 season.  

Meanwhile, Wolf Creek Ski Area defied the odds and fired up the lifts for the season on Sat., Oct. 30. The Treasure, Bonanza and Nova lifts are now operating daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., ticket prices are discounted and Durango Telegraph headquarters received firsthand information that the hill is sporting “surprisingly good skiing” for its 8-inch midway base.

– Will Sands



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January 26, 2024
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January 11, 2024
High and dry

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