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Pages of the Past: Coal mining, gardening and stolen boas

Sections: News Published

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

March 17, 1977

More than 70 people turned out at the Redstone Inn for a public meeting about Mid-Continent coal mining operations west of town. Unlike more rancorous such meetings in the past, this time both sides expressed their opinions and observations in a fairly civilized manner. One main issue: whether off-and-on pollution of the Crystal River via Coal Creek was due to coal mining, or the “erodibility” of Coal Basin. Some area residents were also concerned about possible air pollution from the company’s $1 million coal-drying facility. Mid-Continent people said the company had received the necessary state and federal permits.

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In an advertisement, the Sunlight Coal Mine, located four miles south of Glenwood Springs, was selling coal to the public from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

The Stagecoach Inn at the Ranch at Roaring Fork was advertising its “1, 2, 3 Breakfast” for $1.39, which consisted of one egg, two slices of bacon and three hot cakes. Coffee was 25 cents extra.

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March 19, 1987

“Todo L. Mundo,” in a letter to the editor headlined “Unregulated gardens,” noted that gardening is “lawless” and one of the few pursuits that is “absolutely unregulated under our numerous levels of government.” Gardeners are allowed to work their little plot of land “drunk or sober” and “you are not obligated to wear a seatbelt, a helmet or a condom.”

In another letter to the editor, a local man blasted Aspen Highlands and the Valley Journal for a St. Patrick’s Day advertisement headlined “Irish Idiocy.” The ad implied there was something “idiotic” about “a jig, a joke… .” The writer concluded with a question for the VJ editor “ … would your newspaper print advertisements implying Jewish Idiocy or Black Idiocy?”

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Meanwhile, the Mount Sopris Nordic Council reported its inaugural season at Spring Gulch was a “fantastic” success despite a less than stellar snow year. “Not only did we put it (the ski area) together in fairly short order, we had a season of extremely heavy use,” said Chris Landry. Clark Cretti added that ski conditions “were not all that good.”

March 20, 1997

In a story that lead with “two-legged snake made off with a no-legged snake,” the Valley Journal reported that someone stole a boa constructor from the front window at R.J. Paddywacks pet store in El Jebel. A witness told police he saw a man “dodging between cars” in the parking lot with the 3-4 foot snake on his arm. Tina the snake was described as having a waistline about the size of a baseball bat. The store owner was offering a $300 reward for Tina’s return.

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March 15, 2007

Under the headline “RFHS enrollment a community concern,” a Valley Journal article noted that enrollment in Carbondale’s high school as 350 seven years ago and had dropped to 300 in 2007. Possible reasons for the drop in enrollment varied, including “white flight” as Hispanic enrollment increased from 26 percent in 2002 to 54 percent in 2007. Some parents said the school wasn’t challenging enough for college-bound students. A teacher said the school was going through “growing pains” associated with the new standards-based education. A drop in enrollment also meant a drop in state funding for the school, which in turn meant a drop in programs and classes offered to students.

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