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    Carbondale fire district splits master plan contract

    The elected leaders of the Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District on Feb. 5 decided unanimously to split a contract for a new district master plan between two companies, one of which is out of Florida and the other of which is based in Carbondale. According to a statement released by the district, the contract is being divided between Mark Chain Consulting, based in Carbondale and headed by a former member of the fire board, and Almont Associates of Port Orange, Florida, a firm that originated in the small town of Almont, Colorado, near Gunnison. The board had budgeted $90,000 for the master plan contract, and the statement from the district noted “the combined proposal figure is $86,985, within the district’s budgeted amount.” Chain, who was on the fire board until he was defeated in the last board election and initially submitted a bid of $98,500 for the entire master plan job, is to be paid roughly $53,000 for his part of the plan process. Chain’s portion of the planning process is to be largely a matter of “leading the public involvement process, which entails community surveys, community outreach, and website and communication services, along with the financial feasibility process portion of the Master Plan,” according to the district’s statement. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Commission expands historic downtown survey work

    Carbondale officials have begun the process of adding to a five-year-old survey of the historic homes still existing in the downtown area, as part of the Carbondale Historic Preservation Commission’s (CHCP) ongoing work to preserve as much as possible of the town’s architectural legacy. The CHPC this week issued a “request for proposals” from firms interested in updating the 2010 Historic Resource survey, which was conducted by Aspen-based Suzannah Reid, of Reid Architects, Inc. The 2010 survey, which Reid said cost approximately $11,000, identified and catalogued 20 historic homes in town and contains a lively summary of the early history of the Roaring Fork River Valley and Carbondale in particular. Reid also conducted a 2006 survey that identified 29 historic commercial structures. But as of this week, she told The Sopris Sun on Monday, Reid had not applied to take on the proposed survey update. According to CHCP member Ashley Allis, who works for Design Workshop in Aspen, the commission hopes the survey will be at least partly funded by grants from the Colorado Historical Society, which also contributed to the costs of the previous two surveys. Allis confirmed that the proposed survey is “building” on the earlier survey work, and that the commission hopes to add at least 20 historic homes to the 20 that were identified in the 2010 survey. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Library district board formalizes firearms policy

    Anyone feeling insecure about his or her safety while visiting a Garfield County public library can now carry a concealed firearm as they browse the stacks — at least, they can if they have the proper permit. But they cannot carry a gun openly, following a decision on Feb. 5 by the Garfield County Library District board of directors, which amends the district’s previous policy of banning the possession of weapons in any way while in the library. While the board might have adopted a policy to ban all firearms within the facilities, that concept was rejected because of the prospective costs associated with having metal detectors and guards on the premises, as required by state law where such bans are in effect. The issue came up in Garfield County after it created a stir in several communities in eastern Colorado over the past couple of years, including the Clearview Library District in the town of Windsor, where a woman had to leave a library building in 2012 after the concealed pistol she was carrying shifted and became visible to another patron. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Free home-energy upgrades are offered

    Garfield Clean Energy, the town of Carbondale and CLEER will provide home-energy visits and free energy-efficiency upgrades to 57 income-qualified households in Garfield County through the 2015 Home Energy Program, according to a press release. “This program is for households with incomes that are just a bit too high to qualify for the region’s other free weatherization program,” said Erica Sparhawk, program director for CLEER, which manages Garfield Clean Energy. Depending on the needs of the home, energy upgrades could include a furnace or boiler tune-up and safety check, insulation and air sealing, high-efficiency refrigerator, high-efficiency water heater, CFL light bulbs, storm windows, programmable thermostat and low-flow shower heads. “Households won’t have to pay for any of these improvements,” Sparhawk said. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Carbondale fire board issues partial gag order

    The elected leaders of Carbondale’s fire district have concluded that fire board members, individually, should not be talking with news reporters about fire district policy, and should leave media contacts up to the president and vice-president of the board. That decision was made “six months ago” at a meeting of the board of directors of the Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District, according to fire board president Gene Schilling. It is a policy that he recently cited when criticizing another fire board member, Carl Smith, who was elected last year after a campaign in which he was critical of the way the district is being run. Smith last month had spoken with reporters about the district’s ongoing search for a consulting firm to write up a new district master plan. Specifically, Smith had confirmed that he asked that the price tags associated with four proposals, from four different firms, be made public, and about his reasons for that position. read more →
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    Model UN Club gears up at Roaring Fork High School

    A total of eighteen Roaring Fork High School students will be heading to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City this March. Their mission: to work toward solutions to global issues such as the Ebola outbreak, the rights of indigenous people and the globalization of labor, as they join over 2,000 other students from around the country and the world to engage in a four-day simulation of the United Nations. The RFHS Model UN Club has been assigned the country of Cambodia. Each student will represent Cambodia on one of the Model UN committees, such as The World Bank, Disarmament, and International Security Committee, or the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In preparation for the conference, the students have been conducting extensive research on Cambodia and international issues, reviewing UN resolutions, learning about the history of the UN and international diplomacy, writing Cambodian position papers and honing their public speaking skills. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Carbondaler explains town’s attraction, plans to stay

    There are some forces of attraction that can’t be resisted. Just ask Conor Johnson. Johnson grew up in Palisade and Grand Junction, and was 10 in the early 1990s when he first visited the Carbondale area with his family. He remembers attending a cousin’s wedding in Redstone and having breakfast at the Village Smithy. At the time, it seemed like a pretty cool place. When he was 15, Johnson’s family moved to Glenwood Springs, where he finished high school while being increasingly drawn to spend time in Carbondale. He had connected with the growing music scene here, playing music and attending shows with friends. Also during those years, Johnson became aware of an “explosion of culture” as Carbondale became, in his view, “a collective of people helping each other out, becoming a hub for community and culture.” Finally realizing that its pull on him had become too strong to ignore, Johnson fixed on a plan to make the leap. “It just kept pulling me that way until I thought, ‘well, I spend so much time there anyway, I might as well just manifest a place.’” A few weeks later something opened up. “I just knew that it was my kind of place,” he told The Sopris Sun. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Local hemp proponents keep eyes on the prize

    Local advocates for creating a hemp industry in Colorado are actively pursuing their goal, including the creation of a year-long schedule of activities for local supporters throughout 2015, and plans to support a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on Jan. 8 that would legalize the cultivation of hemp for farmers across the country. Hemp, the non-intoxicating cousin to the marijuana plant, was legalized by Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution, which was passed by voters statewide in 2012, and state bureaucrats have been working on a framework to enable cultivation and use of the plant ever since. A total of 14 states around the U.S. have passed similar legislation, aimed at creating a legal outlook that hemp is distinct from marijuana and that its cultivation should be again permitted as part of the nation’s industrial output. News organizations around the state have carried stories about the difficulties inherent in putting together a hemp industry, starting with a definitional division in the state’s regulations between hemp fields for research and development (R&D), and fields intended for commercial applications. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Police put down injured mountain lion

    Carbondale police shot and killed a diseased mountain lion on Jan. 24, after the animal had been spotted lying by the Crystal River under the north bridge along North Bridge Drive in the River Valley Ranch subdivision. No one other than the lion was hurt in the incident, which occurred at 2:40 p.m. According to a statement from Carbondale Police Chief Gene Schilling, the lion was “a very sick cat” and was not able to move under its own power. “It was a tom cat about 1-2 years old,” said the statement from the chief. “It had mange and was very malnourished. The cat had sores all over its body.” The statement reported that the cat did not move even though police officers were standing on the bridge “only 15 feet away” from the lion’s location. “There was a possibility that the cat had been hit by a vehicle,” the police statement continued, “however, that was not the contributing factor of its condition.” Police contacted the Colorado Parks & Wildlife division, and were instructed to shoot the animal and put it out of its misery. read more →
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    Fire district tight-lipped on master plan proposals

    The leaders of the Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District will meet on Jan. 28, in a public session, to decide which of four firms should be hired to write up the district’s 2015 master plan, which is intended to guide the district’s operations for the coming decade. The meeting will feature on-site interviews with three of the four firms that submitted proposals in response to the district’s Nov. 26, 2014 request for proposals and bids. A fourth firm will be interviewed by telephone. In interviews with The Sopris Sun leading up to the Jan. 28 meeting, however, district officials have declined to reveal how much the four firms are estimating their work will cost. Officials have stated that the district has an obligation to protect any “proprietary information” contained in the bids, including the bottom-line, estimated overall price tag for the work. read more →