First man on Moon landed here

Thanks to all our readers and friends for the emails and phone calls expressing your sentiments regarding my column last week. Very much appreciated.

Need a Jeep? You're in luck. This year's winner of the annual Ouray Jeep Raffle is selling the grand prize, as was posted on social media. No price given, but you can bet she at least wants to cover the taxes.

An interesting surge may soon occur in Ouray, after home owners heard the initial presentation to the city council of proposed new short-term rental regulations. As of now there are 124 STRs registered with the city to pay the required Lodging and Occupancy Tax. The proposal, presented by the Ouray Planning Commission, adds 15 to that number to come up with a cap of 139 to be allowed.
But here's the deal. That number is far from being set. And if you intend to, or even think you intend to use your property for a STR in the future, and you're not registered under LOT, Councilor Bette Maurer suggested you go ahead and register now and just put a zero in your quarterly filing to the city for taxes due until you do start renting. That way, you can hold your property, kind of as a placeholder, until you're ready to rent or sell the property.
At least one Realtor at the city council meeting Oct. 15 argued that property values will be worth more if the property is at least allowed to be a STR.
So, from what we hear, the rush to City Hall to file that paperwork is on!
We're kind of thinking that 124 number may go up a bit.

I received a request the other day from an advertiser and faithful reader to do some research on her business. Deborah, who along with her husband Dave owns the Ouray KOA, wanted to find some history about the construction of the campground, circa 1969-1971.
Where else do you turn for such matters other than the pages of the Ouray County Plaindealer and Ouray Herald, or in the case of pre-May 8, 1969, the pages of the Ouray Herald, as we were simply known.
I didn't plan on spending the afternoon looking through all the pages in the entire volume of 1969, but for a newspaper/history geek like me, turning one page leads to another.
Hours later I came up empty on any news of the KOA, and I let Deborah know that I'd go through 1970 next, when I have a few hours.
Honestly, it shouldn't have taken so long to scan the pages, but familiar names, places and issues in the pages just kept popping up. There were Fedels, Ficcos and Fellins; water issues and reports of historic low snow pack; picnics in Ridgway and Fourth of July shenanigans in Ouray.
Some of the things I found out about 1969 include:
• A headline entitled, "First Man On Moon Finds Tranquility In Ouray County." After Neil Armstrong had his orbital escapades and landed on the Moon July 20, 1969, he then spent a week in late August at the ranch of Harry Combs in Ouray County, along with his wife and two sons. The governor popped in to say hello, and the Armstrongs "made visits to Ouay and Telluride, unrecognized," the account in the August 28, 1969 Plaindealer reported. Armstrong autographed a photo he took of Buzz Aldrin, showing the spacecraft and the flag, reading "Thank you, Harry and Ginny Combs, for a little tranquillity on the planet Earth." (Yes, if you've heard the controversy regarding the current movie "First Man" and its conscious omission of the flag-planting on the Moon, it was an important part of the event to Americans at the time.)
• There was much discussion, pro and con, about plans for cloud seeding by the Bureau of Reclamation, aimed at creating more snowfall. The Bureau postponed seeding until the following year because it couldn't get instruments installed and said it would monitor snowfall in 1969-70 to compare to the next year with cloud seeding.
Imagine, comparing one year of snowfall to the next around here and declaring a pattern!
After six months of back and forth in the pages, Plaindealer Editor Joyce Jorgensen penned an editorial wondering just how good an idea this all was.
"(This) is a drop-in-the-bucket attempt to solve Colorado's water problems with what might quite possibly be considerable damage to an entire region," she wrote. "The Bureau is telling us we 'won't feel a thing.' Reminds us of the first time daddy said it wouldn't hurt a bit - and then the doctor socked it to us with a big long needle that hurt like sin."
• Heated talk at the Ouray County Chamber of Commerce noon meeting was a "castigation” of the telephone service in Ouray County, or lack of it. Seems the main complaint was the inability to get the long distance operator. (If you have never made a call on a rotary phone, you should ask an elder about this "long distance operator" business.)
• In another erosion of freedom and individual rights, motorcyclists were notified that any rider and passenger had to wear an approved helmet, including a face shield or goggles,
• Jorgensen saw True Grit at the Star Drive In when it was released but opted to print the review given by the Montrose Daily Press. In it, the MDP said "John Wayne has done it again. Without Wayne, 'True Grit' would be something considerably less." Opening at the drive in didn't go smoothly. "The start of the show was delayed until 9:55 by a broken fuse on a power pole at the back of the lot, caused apparently by two birds which were found dead at the bottom of the pole." Other complaints included not being able to spot any of the area's 100-plus extras, dark lighting in the movie and not enough local scenes.
• Some couple named Robert and Pamela Larson were married.
• The granddaughters of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Fedel, Ouray, twins Sandra and Susan Fedel, 18, enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.
• An Ohio man won the annual Color Week Jeep Raffle. Sales were lagging, but $3,909 was eventually raised to cover the $2,400.40 cost of the Jeep.
• A couple from New Mexico were killed instantly when their vehicle went over the edge on US 550 south of Ouray.
• And in possibly the best idea of the century, state Rep. T. John Baer, D-Loma, drafted a resolution for the Western Slope to secede from the Front Range. The Loma legislature said he wanted to call the new state "Colorado," and make what remains into "Denver-Boulder." But, if the metropolitan area insisted on retaining the name "Colorado," he said he’d settle for the new state being "Western Colorado-Ute." Such as ideas go, we're still stuck with Denver and Boulder.
Those are just a few of the tidbits from 1969. Now do you see why researching our bound editions takes so long? You're more likely to find what you're not looking for!

Alan Todd is co-publisher of the Ouray County Plaindealer. He can be reached at