ACT to be administered for one additional year

Colorado high school juniors will take the ACT for just one more year.
This will allow students to take a test they’ve been preparing for, instead of immediately switching to the SAT, a switch that will occur next year.
As announced over the holidays, a Colorado Department of Education selection committee unanimously awarded College Board a five-year contract to administer the PSAT and SAT to 10th and 11th grade students, respectively, according to a CDE press release.
As a result of state legislation passed last May, the new 10th grade exam was required to align with both Colorado Academic Standards and the college entrance exam, and that was part of the decision to switch to the new test.


TOWN OF RIDGWAY: All roads lead to Leadville in skijoring

Six years ago, Richard Weber III stepped onto the Silverton skijoring course to make his first run as a horse rider. Ever since, he has had a goal of competing in Leadville, the final stop of the skijoring circuit.
Skijoring is the unique sport of a skier being pulled by horse through a course of jumps and gates as fast as possible, while the skier also attempts to capture dangling rings around outstretched arms.
The ski jumps vary from town to town, with Silverton topping out at five to six feet tall and Leadville jumps towering almost nine feet tall.
Normally, Weber finds himself working with cows out on the family ranch, just south of town by Orvis Hot Springs.
“The ranch is run together by me and my dad,” he said. “We run cows and in the winter, when we’re slow, I start skijoring.”


Snow removal causes concern for council

The Ouray City Council meeting began earlier than usual on Tuesday, and citizen turnout was higher this week compared to the last several meetings. About 10-15 citizens and representatives attended the meeting.
Business owner Bruce Gulde expressed his concerns about the snow piles in front of his business, Bear Creek Gift Shop. He said after one snow storm last week he had to help get a car unstuck from in front of his business because the snow pile pushed off the street was so large. Gulde said another difficulty is keeping the sidewalk in front of his shop cleared.
"You expect us to keep our sidewalks shoveled, but then the snow plow comes through and pushes it right back up on there," Gulde said.
Patrick Rondinelli, city administrator, stressed that Ouray is a "mountain town" and certain obstacles like snow piles are to be expected.
"All you have to do is call me," Dennis Erickson, public works director, said.


Colona resident confirmed to be part of history

Edgar Hotchkiss, a Colona resident who passed away Jan. 12 of this year, belonged to a family whose members contributed significantly to local history.
Edgar, as confirmed by Doris Gregory’s book “The History of Colona and Pioneer Families,” was great-grandson to an historical area pioneer, Preston Hotchkiss.
Preston, one of three Hotchkiss brothers who left their mark on the state of Colorado in the early 1880s, first entered the state on an endeavor to find gold on Pike’s Peak in 1859.
Eventually, he settled in Saguache and was listed as a merchant, as well as being involved in the milling and lumbering trade.
The town of Hotchkiss was named after brothers Enos, Roswell and Preston, who traveled to Colorado from Nebraska in nine covered wagons.


No laws protect Good Samaritans just yet

Abandoned mines will not clean themselves, but neither will third party groups when they can be held responsible for the environmental damage given off by the mines as soon as they start cleaning them.
No laws protect these groups known as Good Samaritans, who are non-profit organizations, state agencies or watershed groups in Colorado. This lack of protection leaves Good Samaritan groups open to lawsuits and responsibility for the repercussions of pollutants given off by the mines they are attempting to clean.
The federal Clean Water Act says the owners of a property containing a mine, the "potentially responsible party," are liable for managing any water pollution caused by the mine. Many times, however, the responsible party is nonexistent after mining companies go out of business and abandon their mines.  


CITY OF OURAY: Acidic water to blame for bursting pipe

Ice Park patrons gawk at the gushing pipe at the Ice Festival last weekend. The burst was attributed to acidic water running through it that comes down from Red Mountain Creek.

Screenshot of Outside Adventure Media video. View the whole video at

By Dalton Carver

Acidic mine drainage is the cause of the “penstock” pipe bursting over the Uncompahgre Gorge last weekend during the Ice Festival at Ouray Ice Park.


 Land Use code section amended

Robert Olivier, Yankee Boy Conservation Association president, suggests that the county commissioners consider a resolution dealing with public lands along river and road corridors Tuesday morning. Olivier said access to public lands and rivers is of vital importance to Ouray County.

Plaindealer photo by Dalton Carver

By Dalton Carver

The Board of County Commissioners Tuesday morning approved a citizen-initiated request to amend the Land Use code addressing lot line and boundary adjustment agreements.


 Final marijuana cultivation license for 2015 approved

Lynn Padgett, BOCC chair, holds an opaque, polycarbonate panel that will be used to complete construction of High Mesa Farm’s 30’ by 60’ greenhouse. Although the greenhouse construction will not be finished until spring, all structures are currently under construction with valid permits.
Plaindealer photo by Dalton Carver

By Dalton Carver

The Board of County Commissioners, convening as the Local Licensing Authority, recognized High Mesa Farms, LLC with the last 2015 marijuana cultivation license Tuesday morning.

The application for High Mesa Farms, submitted by Paul and Crystal Brackman, was accepted Nov. 15, prior to the BOCC’s adoption of ordinance 2015-004.
Therefore, the application was reviewed and processed under the previous ordinance, 2014-003, which made five cultivation licenses available in 2015.
The 39-acre parcel will house a 30’ by 50’ shop building, 30’ by 60’ greenhouse and a 10’ by 20’ breezeway. Per visual impact considerations, the structures will be painted a medium-gray color. They are under construction with valid permits, according to Mark Castrodale, county planner.
The cultivation facility is on leased property located at...


Wintery conditions create challenges for road committee

By Tori Sheets

The county Road Committee met Monday to discuss ongoing issues the roads in Ouray County face and to review a few options for making driving more safe and comfortable.  
Chris Miller, road and bridge superintendent, kicked off the meeting with a good report on the status of maintenance on the wintery roads.
"As far as winter goes, Mother Nature has been fairly nice to us," Miller said. "She snows on a regular basis, the ground has been frozen and we've had pretty good luck. We haven't had a lot of equipment failure and we have a pretty decent crew, so far so good."
Miller went on to give a run-down of the next 305 planned man-hour days for his crew. Just a few of the projects in Miller's extensive list include moving the bank on County Road 1 to fix drainage, conducting repairs to CR 24 and 17, and replacing seven culverts throughout the county.


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