The Sopris Sun

Pages of the past: ‘Can’t we just clone Fred?’

From the archives of the Roaring Fork Valley Journal, compiled by John Colson

Feb. 17, 1977
Tests conducted by a laboratory in Denver revealed why new high schools in Carbondale and Basalt were having problems with cracking floors, walls and foundation elements — the schools were not built on solid ground. According to the Commercial Testing Laboratories of Denver, the contractors who built the schools failed to adequately compact the soils beneath the foundations — either because the contractors did no compaction at all, or could not achieve compaction due to high moisture content in the ground. The company reported “voids” in the soil, which were interpreted as making the high-moisture theory more likely than no compaction at all. Plus, the thickness of the concrete foundation was found lacking.

Feb. 19, 1987
The Roaring Fork High School band started making plans to take a trip “down under” — meaning to Australia for the 1988 World Exposition band competition — at an estimated cost of $150,000 for the 60 band students and 10 chaperones, according to band director Dave Funk. Funk and a dedicated bunch of parents were looking for grants from foundations outside the valley to pay the costs, though the school board had yet to give its blessing to the trip. This was Funk’s third year as the band’s director, during which he increased the size of the school band from 16 to 60, pleasing students and parents alike.

 Feb. 13, 1997
The Town of Carbondale was searching for a new police chief after long-time and highly popular chief Fred Williams retired, and the town board of trustees asked the citizens what kind of chief they’d like to see. “Can’t we just clone Fred?” was one citizen’s response, though most took the question more seriously and advocated for someone a lot like Fred — compassionate, able to listen to constituents, possessing a solid understanding of the community, and who’s more interested in  Carbondale than building a career as a cop by moving to ever-larger jurisdictions.

Feb. 15, 2007
The Roaring Fork Valley’s long-discussed shortage of affordable housing had reached “crisis” proportions, reporter Gina Gurascio noted in the first of a two-part series on the topic. A local real estate broker, in a sidebar to Gurascio’s story, noted that the average sales price of a single-family home in Carbondale and the “surrounding area” had reached $767,211 the year before, in 2006. In subdivisions outside town, reported broker Jerome “Sarge” Whalen, the prices of single-family homes had reached a top tier of $15 million. Although planning efforts had been underway for some time, no viable, extensive solutions had been found.