CITY OF OURAY Pipe repairs in holding pattern

The trajectory of the pipe burst during IceFest is visible through coloration of the snow and ice directly below the penstock. Because the pipe had small leaks, some spots of brown ice could have been detected before the incident as well.
Plaindealer photo by Tori Sheets

by Dalton Carver


Knowledge Bowl team moving on to regionals

By Tori Sheets

The Ouray high school Knowledge Bowl A team is headed to regionals with their eyes on defending Ouray's 1A state champion title.
The Knowledge Bowl teams competed in Telluride on Monday and all the middle school and high school teams placed high in the rankings. The high school A team placed first out of 15 teams from the San Juan Basin, and the B team came in fifth. The middle school A team placed third, and the B team 6th.
According to Eric Fagrelius, team sponsor, Ouray has attended the state competition eight years in a row, and won first place in 2013 and 2015.
The regional competition is in Bayfield on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Non-profit may form to solve childcare

By Tori Sheets

Childcare facilities are still lacking for Ouray parents, but during the second City Development Committee (CDC) sponsored roundtable meeting on Thursday a few new solutions came to light.
After the group of CDC board members and interested citizens discussed the limitations of transportation for children from Ouray to Ridgway, Lisa Thomason, executive director of Voyager Youth Program, suggested parents work together to take kids back and forth.
"If all of you people who have children who would go to Voyager if you had transportation, what if you got together and you decide someone has an SUV big enough to take 18 kids, and you change who can drive Monday, Tuesday and so on," Thomason said. "It would be like making a collaboration of parents to solve your own transportation issue."


Good Samaritan update

Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet and Representative Scott Tipton released a draft of the Good Samaritan Cleanup of Orphan Mines Act on Jan. 19. The legislation is designed to allow third parties, such as local governments, nonprofits and state agencies, to clean up abandoned mines and their surrounding environments without fear of liability.
At the moment, no laws are in place to protect Good Samaritans from incurring responsibility for any environmental damage caused during their clean up.


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.


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