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Pages of the Past: Tax hikes, smoking ban, battling teens and Marketplace

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

March 10, 1977

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Garfield County tried to persuade the state government to give the county a pass on paying about a $4 million increase in property taxes due to a rise in the county’s assessed valuation of commercial, residential and industrial property, which was estimated at a rise in individual tax payments of 29 percent over the year before. The assessor at the time, Jim Drinkhouse, argued that the increased assessments were a “political” move by then-Gov. Richard Lamm. Drinkhouse maintained that Garfield County was being targeted for its conservative politics and politicians, while other, more liberal counties were not seeing the same level of tax increase. The reason for the higher valuations was a shift in responsibility for school funding, and Drinkhouse accused Lamm of trying to unload financial liability onto local taxpayers that should belong with the state.

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March 12, 1987

In what a reporter termed the “fuliginous” (meaning smokey) debate over a proposal to ban cigarette smoking in public places, several local business owners (including Skip Bell, former owner of the Pour House; Colleen Rominger, former co-owner of the long-gone Carbondale Drug store; Jack Arbaney former owner of the equally long-gone TJ’s Cowboy Shop; and others) asked the board of trustees to “be fair” and consider the rights and desires of smokers, and those running businesses here, as having equal weight as those of non-smokers. A full debate of the issue was still two weeks off.

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March 13, 1997

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Carbondale police were waiting on DA Mac Myers to figure out whom to charge, if anyone, resulting from a fight among some 30, mostly teenaged combatants, that left one teenage boy seriously injured. A news story indicated that such fights were becoming more and more common since a pair of fights the previous summer in which guns were pulled. Although then-acting Police Chief Gene Schilling hesitated to term the battles as gang-related, he told The Valley Journal at the time, “there are definitely gang-like actions” taking place.

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March 8, 2007

Local citizens and officials were deep into a “consensus-building” exercise meant to provide a new look at the troubled Crystal River Market Marketplace site (today the location of a planned new City Market grocery store). The site, 24 acres of vacant ground next to (and formerly belonging to) Colorado Rocky Mountain School, remained undeveloped in the wake of the shopping mall’s electoral defeat in 2003. Hoping to cool local emotions and defuse tensions about the plans, local small-town-atmosphere activists were proposing such uses as an “eco-village” or local agriculture production, while others preferred to stick with the shopping mall idea with a big-box anchor.

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