Lots of nice comments about our Dec. 27 issue of the Plaindealer, which was a compilation of select articles — at least one from every decade — spanning the past 140 years.
Best story came from a Ouray city councilor who said a local resident told her that he knew there was a crazy miner living in the hills, and the article in the paper only confirmed his fears.
"Did you see the date on that article?” he was asked.
The history issue was somewhat self-serving, as we mentioned. We sent it to press early so we could have a week or so off from the office during the holidays. So much for the best laid plans.
My sister flew in before Christmas, and she and I got sick as can be with some sort of upper respiratory thing. I don't know if she caught and brought the crud with her from her airport hopping, or if we caught it here. But it pretty much wiped out the time off.
Glass half empty: I didn't get my time off.
Glass half full: thank goodness I got sick when I didn't have to be at the office.
On a side note, are there any worse germ carriers in the world than those TSA tubs everyone from all over the world handles at airports? Has anyone ever seen them being cleaned?
There's a local theater company in Lake City, but it can't hold a candle to the town trustee/county commissioners joint meeting that occurred in early December.
Monte Hannah is the Hinsdale County road and bridge supervisor, and he's fairly new to his post, maybe a couple of years. New, comparatively speaking, to his predecessor, Robert Hurd, who had held the position for over three decades.
The transition has been a bumpy road, to toss out an easy pun, as is evident by repeated executive sessions between Hannah and the county board since last summer to discuss undisclosed "employee matters," as reported in the Lake City Silver World.
Hannah was delivered a written reprimand by the county board in October, and he opted to have his employee review open to the public, prompting a standing room only crowd to witness the spectacle.
Hannah provided much of the theatrics.
Hannah, who was notified he was being given three days off without pay due to a litany of stated misconducts, entered the meeting dressed in medal-laden U.S. Navy dress blues and joined the commissioners at the table. In his opening remarks he said he felt "things were going pretty good."
Commissioner Stan Whinnery disagreed and was mad as a hornet's nest that Hannah had shared copies of his official reprimand, which was given during an executive session, with the public and other road and bridge employees. Whinnery called this a breach of confidentiality.
Hannah stood at the table, holding copies of the reprimand, and said Whinnery just "opened Pandora's Box" and offered copies to the frenzied crowd.
Hurd, waving the copy of the reprimand he had already received to the crowd, said Hannah had every right to divulge the reprimand. "An executive session is supposed to protect (Hannah's) rights, not his employers’.”
Hannah was also reprimanded for his handling of an emergency radio repeater that went down. Hannah called a local expert to fix it. Problem was, that expert had previously been dismissed by the commissioners.
Hannah was asked why, in over a year, he had not found a new expert via a request for proposal. Commissioner Kristie Borchers asked if the road and bridge supervisor was supposed to put out RFPs, or if that was the job of the county administrator.
"How many RFPs has road and bridge put out, in say, the last 10 years," she asked?
"None!” Hurd blurted out from the crowd.
Then, Justin Mangum, an employee of CDOT, and whose father was a former county commissioner, reprimanded the commissioners for not supporting Hannah. "My father would be disappointed in you," he said.
To this, the SRO crowd broke into spontaneous applause and yelled "Here, Here!"
The board pulled the curtain on the theater without voting on Hannah's reprimand.
Alan Todd is co-publisher of the Ouray County Plaindealer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.