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Pages of the Past: ‘Old Joe’ dies, senior housing moves forward

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From the archives of the Roaring Fork Valley Journal, compiled by Lynn Burton

Feb. 3, 1977
Old Joe, who apparently amused more folks with his antics than he offended, died of pneumonia the previous Friday at an undetermined age. “He’d been sick for a several days and people urged him to go to the doctor,” but he wouldn’t go,” said the lead story in that week’s newspaper. “He confided to one friend that he was afraid they’d put him away and wouldn’t let him come back to Carbondale.” Some people thought Joe suffered a severe head injury as a child that left him somewhat retarded. Others contended he just decided to remain a six-year-old for the rest of his life. “At any rate, he was odd. In fact, he was crazy,” the article continued. The writer (presumably VJ Editor Pat Noel) started his article with, “It was the face more than anything else you noticed right off. Stuck up there on top of a chicken neck, it was honeycombed with wrinkles, relieved by squinting eyes, a beak nose and the largest toothless grin anyone could imagine.” Town folks gave him clothes to wear. “A typical outfit would have been something like white cowboy boots, green trousers, purple shirt and a blue sport coat, topped off by a hat from a huge collection.” The funeral was “nice and well attended” and the minister gave a “tremendous eulogy,” the article concluded. “ … but it was a bit solemn for his taste … it was the end of an era.”

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Feb. 6, 1987
The Carbondale Senior Housing Corporation’s (CSHC) proposed 16-unit senior housing project in the southwest part of town was “very close” to getting its FHA loan “after five years of planning.” The project received a boost when CSHC received a $100,000 grant from the Tri-County Medical Center. The money was freed up when the nonprofit Tri-County sold its clinic on Highway 133 to the doctors who practiced there.

Jan. 30, 1997
A group of nonprofits reported they were close to raising the $25,000 needed for a down payment on the old Carbondale Town Hall building on 2nd Street to use as a nonprofit center. The nonprofits were: the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities, community access radio station KDNK, Solar Energy International, the Science Outreach Center, and the Roaring Fork Energy Center. Of the five nonprofits, CCAH said it wouldn’t move into the building but was spearheading the project.

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Feb. 1, 2007
Radio station KDNK hired its first fulltime news director. He was Steve Zalaznik, a 22-year-old college graduate (math and economics) from Wisconsin. “This is the culmination of a life-long dream for KDNK,” station manager Steve Skinner told the Valley Journal. Among the issues Zalaznik planned to cover: the Crystal River Marketplace proposal on Highway 133, and affordable housing.

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