Carbondale's community supported, weekly newspaper


  • Locations: News Published

    Judge unseals Navarrete-Portillo warrant

    The man accused of slashing his wife to death in Carbondale earlier this year told police he “kind of went crazy” on the morning of Feb. 16 read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Caucus grabbing Bull Mountain by the horns

    The Crystal River Caucus is holding a special meeting on April 9, at 7 p.m. at the Church in Redstone, to talk about plans by the energy industry to drill up to 150 wells in a 20,000-acre area known as the Bull Mountain Unit on the western side of McClure Pass. Of that total, approximately 13,000 acres of gas leases are on federal land. The wells would be located to the north and west of Paonia Reservoir, directly west of the Raggeds Wilderness Area, according to a map published by the Western Colorado Congress (WCC), a non-profit community-organizing group that operates around the Western Slope. The Crystal River Caucus, according to its chair, Delia Malone of Redstone, is “concerned” about many aspects of the drilling plan, which has been proposed by SG Interests of Houston, Texas, but mainly about the prospect of big trucks coming over the pass and heading north to Carbondale and beyond. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Carbondale Rhythm Collective: one of a kind

    In many world cultures, it’s said that “it takes a village to raise a child.” Eric Baumheier goes a step further, suggesting that the village that makes music and dances together is the ideal environment for child-raising, community-building and coming together to celebrate life. He describes Carbondale as just that kind of place. “For one thing,” says Baumheier, “I’ve noticed that Carbondale has a population that really likes to dance. Just go to Mountain Fair one time and you can see that there a lot of people here who love to dance.” Aja, his partner in music and dance as well as in living and raising their three daughters together, agrees and expands on the idea. “The original connection between dancing and drumming is about ceremony, healing, and celebration,” she says. “A lot of people are receptive to that, and seek that expression in a safe space to experience transformation, letting go, releasing stress, or just celebrating together and bonding with other people who feel that same way.” read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Glenwood Insurance, Carbondale Insurance combine forces

    On March 1, Glenwood Insurance Agency completed the purchase of Carbondale Insurance Service, according to a press release. Rona Fischer purchased Carbondale Insurance Service with a silent partner in April 1990 from Mary Boland. Fischer grew Carbondale Insurance Service from one employee in 1991, to six full-time employees at the time of the sale. “Glenwood Insurance exceeded our hopes for an agency to combine with and continue the tradition we have for excellent customer service, deep expertise, and an environment where our clients feel comfortable,” said Fischer. Carbondale Insurance Service will continue to offer insurance coverage for businesses, as well as home, auto, health and life insurance for individuals and families. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Crystal River restoration gains town’s attention

    Public and private entities are working on a plan to restore and revitalize a stretch of the Crystal River that is publicly owned but passes through the River Valley Ranch (RVR) subdivision at the southwestern edge of Carbondale. The project is a partnership among the town of Carbondale, the managers of RVR and the Aspen Valley Land Trust (AVLT), a non-profit organization based in Carbondale, and is called the Crystal River Restoration and Enhancement Project. According to a “conceptual design” of the project on the AVLT website (, the objectives of the project are to improve aquatic habitat along the 1.4-mile (7,500 feet); provide “a diversity of fishing opportunities and access;” introduce “oxbows” in the river’s course that will enhance fishing and other recreational opportunities; reconnect a series of “historical small, off-channel streams and oxbow lakes” to the river itself; stabilize the stream bed and banks; and improve the access for all users, including the handicapped, in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, among other goals. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Arrest warrant remains sealed in murder case

    The suspect in the Feb. 16 murder, Arturo Navarrete-Portillo, is trying to keep quiet and prevent prosecutors, or anyone else, from gaining access to a variety of documents and types of information related to the slashing death of his wife, Maria Carminda Portillo-Amaya, 30. Navarrete-Portillo, 46, was formally arrested on March 4, after spending more than two weeks in a hospital in Grand Junction, recovering from injuries he sustained in a traffic accident on the morning his wife died in an apartment on the west side of Carbondale. The warrant for his arrest, and a supporting affidavit that contains the reasons police believe he is the murderer, remain sealed on orders from Ninth Judicial District Judge James Boyd, although the judge has indicated the documents may be unsealed and released for public inspection at the end of March. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Trustees send parks plan back for tweaking

    The Carbondale Board of Trustees was expected to give its stamp of approval for a new, 10-year Parks, Recreation and Trails Master Plan last week, but instead decided to send the plan back to staff and the Parks & Recreation Commission for a bit of last-minute tweaking. For one thing, according to Recreation Director Jeff Jackel, the trustees wanted a better understanding about how the plan might make available a 12-acre, town-owned River Island in the middle of the Roaring Fork River, east of the Highway 133 bridge over the Roaring Fork, which has essentially been unused for years other than as a stopover point for occasional boaters. The draft Master Plan calls on the town to look for ways to use the island “as a rafting campsite and/or day-use rental space if financial benefit can be found and ecological integrity can be maintained.” The plan also suggests that the town link up with the Roaring Fork Conservancy, a Basalt-based non-profit that keeps its eye on river health in the Roaring Fork River drainage, “and other river ecology experts to determine if environmental quality can be achieved while allowing access.” read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Trustees OK controversial four-plex 7-0

    Carbondale’s trustees on Tuesday unanimously affirmed approvals for a residential redevelopment project at 191 Sopris Ave., originally approved by the planning and zoning commission, ending months of controversy over a proposal to replace an aging one-story house with a two-story four-plex of rental apartments that had generated intense opposition from some neighbors. The project was approved by the P&Z last December, but a band of neighbors, lead by Brigitte Heller, whose house at 226 S. 2nd St. sits across an alley from the project site, appealed that approval to the board of trustees. Over the course of three hearings before the trustees, and several hearings last year before the P&Z, the neighbors argued that the project was too tall and too massive to fit into the neighborhood. But the developer, River Valley Ranch resident Kim Kelley and her company, Sopris Properties LLC, countered that the plans conform to the town’s in-fill development guidelines, and that they had reduced the height and mass of the house as well as making changes to the interior and exterior designs of the building in efforts to placate their neighbors. read more →
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  • Locations: News Published

    Carbondale’s Lindsay Plant: A world-class competitor

    Despite nursing a bad chest cold during the Ski Mountaineering World Championships, Carbondale native Lindsay Plant turned in finishing times that would make her hometown proud. She ranked 14th in the vertical event, 20th in individual competition and sixth in the women’s team event, where she was partnered with her friend and training partner Jessie Young of Aspen. Recalling the February competition in Verbier, Switzerland, Plant told The Sopris Sun, “It’s extremely thrilling and pretty surreal. It was such a cool experience. It’s such a big sport over there. It was an endorphin rush, just amazing.” Ski mountaineering is a combination of ski touring, telemark and backcountry skiing, and mountaineering. “It’s a really challenging sport. It takes a lot of training and it’s hard,” Plant admits. And the road to the Mountaineering World Championships is both long and competitive; the U.S. sends only about 16 competitors. To qualify for the team, athletes must rack up points and standing in a series of races held in this country. read more →
  • Locations: News Published

    Wilderness Workshop eyes “next phase” in its evolution

    The Carbondale-based Wilderness Workshop organization, founded some 48 years ago, is heading in new directions, as indicated by Executive Director Sloan Shoemaker in a recent press release about a change in the organization’s relatively small staff and a conversation with The Sopris Sun. The press release concerned the recent hiring of Lindsey Palardy as the organization’s public information officer and lead fundraiser, replacing long-time employee Dave Reed, who left recently to become executive director at the Western Colorado Congress in Grand Junction. Palardy, who holds a master’s degree in environmental studies, a degree in environmental law and most recently was a fund-raiser for the Aspen Youth Center, will “help launch us into the next phase or our evolution, wherever that may take us,” Shoemaker predicted in the press release. But exactly what that “next phase” will entail is not entirely clear, Shoemaker and other Wilderness Workshop officials told The Sopris Sun in a recent interview. “If we track the arc of Wilderness Workshop’s evolution,” said Shoemaker, “we’ve come a long way from an all-volunteer organization that focused on local wilderness … to an organization that isn’t solely focused on wilderness anymore and has a professional staff.” read more →