Carbondale's community supported, weekly newspaper


  • Locations: News Published

    Bumper hay crop year drives down prices

    Roaring Fork Valley ranchers were able to “make hay while the sun shines,” as the saying goes, growing a bumper crop of hay this year. But ranchers who depend on income from all that hay may not be enjoying the kind of sales that would make this a year for significant profits as well as massive production. That, according to one area expert, is because there currently is a lot of hay available for sale but not a lot of buyers, because most of the growers on the Western Slope experienced the same great hay-growing weather and hay does not travel well over long distances. Pat McCarty, who retired in July as the Colorado State University Extension agent for Garfield County, confirmed for The Sopris Sun on Monday that 2015 was a good summer for growing hay. “There is a gigantic crop,” said McCarty, who lives on Morissania Mesa near Parachute. “But, along with it, the demand is down in the entire area,” he added. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Voters OK school bond, C’dale fire district tax hike

    Voters overwhelmingly approved a $122 million bond issue for the Roaring Fork School District, and a 1.75-mill property tax for the Carbondale Fire District on Tuesday. The school district and fire district drew strong support from citizen committees who worked to get the ballot questions approved. “I want to thank Tom Adgate and the citizens committee for all their hard work,” said Carbondale Fire District board member Gene Schilling. “We still have a lot of hard work to do over the next two years to develop a plan to bring back to the voters that will sustain the fire district over a longer term. I would also like to thank voters for their vote of confidence and anyone else who helped pass the mill levy.” Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Diana Sirko told The Sopris Sun in an e-mail, “We sincerely thank our three communities for their incredible support of the bond election. We take our responsibilities to our taxpayers very seriously, and will work hard to use the dollars conscientiously to support high quality educational facilities for all of our students, now and into the future. We are also extremely excited to begin addressing the housing needs of our staff to attract and retain the best teachers to work with our students.” read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Local author rescues artist from obscurity

    Before his death in 2000 at the age of 79, Redstone artist Jack Roberts lived to see his western-themed paintings hang in museums, galleries and in private collections across the country – including the colection of Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz. At the time of his death, however, Roberts had not seriously painted for years and his legacy seemed in doubt. For one thing, nobody had ever devoted an entire book to the artist, whose grandfather was a Methodist minister and circuit rider for the Indian Mission Conference in Oklahoma Territory (pre-1907). Roberts at one point was one of Colorado’s best-known artists, after stints as a cowboy and a railroad hand. But then, along came Carbondale author Darrell Munsell. Munsell did not start working on his book about Roberts until three years after Roberts’ death. Through dozens of interviews and extensive research, however, Munsell recently published “Jack Roberts: Painting the West” (Arcadia Publishing/The History Press). At 170 pages, the book contains 14 chapters that chronicle Roberts’ life, plus almost 70 color paintings and more than a dozen other images. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Bright lights, small city concern some trustees

    As Carbondale officials work on revisions to the town’s lighting code in response to concerns about LED lighting on signs, a couple of local establishments in particular have been cited as examples of why the changes are needed — the sign for the Faith Lutheran Church at 1340 Highway 133, and the lights at the Planted Earth nursery business on Highway 82. Two members of the Carbondale Board of Trustees — Frosty Merriott and Katrina Byars — have specifically pointed to the church sign as an example of the reason for their concerns, and have mentioned that they are worried that further use of LED lights might add to the town’s growing worries about light pollution. And Merriott confirmed that the lighting at Planted Earth, located outside the city limits along Highway 82, also has caused him concern. “I know they’re outside the town limits and all,” Merriott said, noting that the business would not be affected by the town’s lighting code in any way. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Town putting final touches on cat ordinance

    Carbondale’s elected leaders once again spent a lot of time talking about cats on Tuesday night, though the talk focused on municipal fiscal issues as much as it did on whether cats are guilty of killing too many songbirds in this region. In the end, the Board of Trustees decided to direct town staff to draw up a proposed ordinance governing the lives and activities of cats and cat owners, but with options built in to the draft ordinance regarding such issues as whether to require that cats be spayed or neutered, whether they be vaccinated against rabies and feline leukemia, and whether the new law should include mandatory licensing and installation of electronic identification chips under the skin of all owned cats in town. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    New lighting technology prompts ordinance review

    Town staffers are hard at work revising and updating Carbondale’s exterior lighting ordinance, with plans to unveil the draft of a proposed new law at a meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission at on Nov. 12. The changes come at the direction of the town’s Board of Trustees, who have expressed concern that the current lighting ordinance is out of date and difficult to enforce, at least partly because new lighting technology has changed the way lights on one building or facility can affect the neighbors of that facility or infringe on enjoyment of the star-filled night skies above town. In particular, said Trustee Katrina Byars, town officials have concerns about a sign along Highway 133, in front of the former Roaring Fork Physicians building that now houses a church and preschool, which some believe is overly bright at night. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    RFCC presents noted opera singer Nov. 6

    The Roaring Fork Cultural Council presents noted opera singer Sue Patchell at Thunder River Theatre on Nov. 6. She will be accompanied by pianist Franz Vote. The performance starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 at (click on RFCC). Patchell will begin the evening by speaking about the state of opera in the United States. The program will include several arias, which she will introduce with information about the composers and specific operas. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Critics question need for fire district vote this year

    As voters in the Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District cast their mail-in ballots regarding a two-year tax hike sought by the fire district, there remain some questions about why the district chose to seek a tax hike this year instead of some time in the future. In commentaries sent to local newspapers and in discussion groups on the Internet, some have argued that the district is moving too quickly with the tax increase question on the Nov. 3 ballot. The district’s board of directors, the fire department management and the voters, according to critics, have not spent enough time analyzing a recently released 10-year fire district master plan to adequately explain to voters why the tax hike should be approved. Fire district officials, however, have consistently maintained that the tax hike is a necessary “stop-gap measure” to provide needed funding for equipment, training and personnel, and to allow the district to provide services without further dipping into the district’s diminishing cash reserves. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    RFSD explains security plans

    Here’s something that WILL NOT happen regardless of the outcome of the $122 million Roaring Fork School District bond issue election on Nov. 3. The school district will not be installing airport-type security, or other electronic security devices, at school entrances. That’s what Roaring Fork School District Chief Operating Officer Jeff Gatlin tells The Sopris Sun. Several “safety and security” improvements are listed on the school district’s fact sheets (, as well as the categories “learning environments,” “facility condition improvements” and “energy efficiency upgrades.” Big-ticket items in the proposed bond issue are: $34.4 million for a new pre-kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale at Eastbank; $31.6 million to modernize and upgrade middle schools in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Basalt; $20 million for a Glenwood Springs Elementary School remodel to create a single, interconnected school (the district received a $9.1 BEST grant that it must use it or lose it); and $15 million for RFSD employee rental housing. read more →
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    Carbondale trustees OK staying with TRIDENT in 2016

    Carbondale police will continue to be part of the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT) for at least the next year, following a presentation by Police Chief Gene Schilling at a work session on Tuesday evening that convinced a skeptical trustee that it was a worthwhile program for the local cops. Trustee Allyn Harvey, in preparing for Tuesday’s discussion of the police department’s proposed 2016 budget, had pointedly asked Schilling to prepare documents showing Carbondale’s involvement in TRIDENT, and what the results of that involvement have been. Schilling’s statistics showed that TRIDENT, from January through September of this year, made 81 arrests, mostly in Rifle and Glenwood Springs, with one arrest in Carbondale. During the same period, according to the data, TRIDENT went to bat on 34 cases, again mostly in Rifle and Glenwood Springs, with only one originating in Carbondale. read more →