Bike events declared success, GVH gets accolades for quality

Town News
Crested Butte pleased with Ride the Rockies event
By all accounts, the Ride the Rockies event and Fat Tire Bike Week were great successes. According to Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce director Christi Matthews, the riders were appreciative of Crested Butte. “We heard great feedback about the town and the preparation we had,” she said. “The town staff, the marshals, the school were all great. There were a lot of riders who had never been to Crested Butte, and hopefully they’ll be back with their families when they have more time.

 

“Our town went from dark to bright with Ride the Rockies,” chimed in mayor Alan Bernholtz. “I thought it was a great time and good way to start off the summer. The weather was great, there were lots of people and a lot of fun, even though some people said they had to wait a while to get a cup of coffee. It was a great event.”
“Having to wait for a cup of coffee is not a bad problem,” added Matthews. “Erin at the Chamber worked extremely hard and it really paid off.”

Spraying for weeds this Friday
The town of Crested Butte will be spraying for weeds this Friday starting at 6 a.m. They are trying a new organic spray to rid the public areas of pesky plants. Organic weed abatement will begin on the daisies and other weeds at Sixth Street, Eighth Street by the pedestrian path near Teocalli Avenue, followed by the cemetery and the area around the Town Hall. The organic spraying is the latest attempt at weed control by the town.

Wildflower Fest to have no trash
Susan Wallace of the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival reported to the Crested Butte Town Council during its June 23 meeting that the July event will be a “Zero Waste Festival.” Thanks to a local grant, the Wildflower Fest organizers plan to recycle or compost absolutely everything having to do with the festival. While at the council meeting to obtain a special event liquor license for a wildflower fundraising event, Wallace applauded the towns for working with Waste Management to make curbside recycling easier. “We are very appreciative of the town’s expanded recycling plan. It will come in handy for us,” she said. “Hopefully the Wildflower Festival can be a model for other events in this manner.”

Vandervoort gets back on BOZAR
Town resident and longtime local builder Bob Vandervoort was appointed to serve on the Board of Zoning and Architectural Review (BOZAR). He has previously served almost a decade on the board.

Rankin to head energy efficient subcommittee

Councilmember Billy Rankin, who was not at the Monday evening Town Council meeting, will find himself the chairman of the council’s newest subcommittee when he returns. The town is creating a new group that will study ways to make any subdivision annexation to town “energy efficient.” Rankin had suggested forming the committee to town planner John Hess, who brought up the idea to the council. Councilmember Dan Escalante, who was at the meeting, said he would “be psyched to be part of the committee.” Interested members of the public who might want to participate in such a subcommittee should touch base with Hess.

Who will pick up the poop this Fourth of July?
The Crested Butte Town Council is not psyched about jumping in the Fourth of July parade as poop picker-uppers. Traditionally, members of the Town Council have pulled up the rear of the parade with shovels and a backhoe to scoop up the inevitable by-product of horses in the parade. Not this year. While councilmember Dan Escalante suggested the town be a little more “green” while cleaning the streets of horse poop and use a wheelbarrow instead of a backhoe, the council was lukewarm on the whole idea of being poop patrol this year. While they may come together as a group with a float in the parade, it likely won’t involve poop. Chamber director and parade organizer Christi Matthews was not thrilled with the decision. “I’ve got a lot going on during and after the parade so if you don’t do it, I won’t be able to get to it for a while. And no one else has stepped up to volunteer for that duty.”

County News
GVH Healthcare System Report
The Gunnison Valley Hospital has received a sought-after accreditation from the Joint Commission on Healthcare, which went into effect on May 22. Gunnison Valley Hospital administrator Randy Phelps made the announcement as part of the Healthcare System Report at the Board of County Commissioners work session Tuesday, June 24.
The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies healthcare facilities around the country. The accreditation means GVH has met the organization’s standard for quality. The hospital has to file an internal audit with the commission every year and the facility is visited every three years for an on-site review.
“We have a much better hospital as a result. Their job is making sure that everybody’s license is current, that all of the hospital’s employees have had a background check and things like that,” says Phelps.
Phelps expressed some concern that the hospital’s turnover rate for certified nursing assistants is near 100 percent.
“As long as we have such a high turnover rate among nursing assistants it’s hard to have a long-term culture of great customer service,” said Phelps, adding that some of the trouble in keeping CNAs on staff is that they are usually on their way into college nursing programs or using the position to decide if nursing is a path they will want to follow.
Also addressed at the meeting was an audit conducted by the hospital that showed the hospital’s financial situation is not improving.
“Part of the problem is with folks not having insurance, and they can’t afford the coverage. More and more businesses aren’t providing that for economic reasons and I don’t see that problem resolving,” says Phelps.

 

Mt. Crested Butte News
Eradicating noxious weeds in Mt. Crested Butte
Since the fall of 2006 the town of Mt. Crested Butte has been busy developing a plan to eradicate noxious and invasive weed species from the town’s property, and more recently, to encourage private property owners to do the same. Last fall the town created a Weed Advisory Committee to develop new strategies to fight the growing weed problem.
On June 3 members of the Weed Advisory Committee briefed the Town Council on the committee’s mission and progress during a work session. Town manager Joe Fitzpatrick said weeds were quickly taking over the community’s open spaces. He said the advisory board should “come up with a plan we can all agree on and an ordinance that will give the plan teeth.”
 On June 17 committee members returned to allow the council to consider some proposed language for a noxious weed ordinance that would allow the town to eliminate weeds considered a nuisance on private property, and recoup expenses from the property owner.
Town attorney Rod Landwehr said the ordinance would take advantage of state statutes that give town the ability to enforce nuisance provisions, but there would not be a criminal penalty involved.
Weed Advisory Committee member Tom Walker said the town would need to remove weeds from its own property before the ordinance would be effective. To step up the battle against invasive weeds, Walker suggested purchasing a truck-mounted chemical sprayer, which can cost around $3,000. He said he believed the town would not need additional staff, as the weeds would only need to be sprayed two or three times a year. “It’s not a big load on existing payroll,” he said. The town has $10,000 set aside in its 2008 budget for use in eradicating noxious weeds.
Town manager Joe Fitzpatrick says the Town Council will consider approving a finalized weed ordinance sometime in July. A comprehensive noxious weed removal plan will follow soon after.

Mt. Crested Butte youth program is expanding
Mt. Crested Butte’s Mountain Adventures youth summer activity program is getting bigger. On June 3 Mountain Adventures director Mark Robbins gave the Town Council an overview of the program and the recent changes.
“There has been a lot of growth,” Robbins said. “The biggest change has been our overall capacity (for participants). In 2005 it was 12 or 13 kids packed into a single van. Now we’re up to 35 a day and we’re using four vans.”
Robbins said the program was almost full for the summer. “The demand is out there in the valley,” he said. “About a third are tourists, and two thirds are locals. It’s definitely an asset to the community.”
Robbins said the program is first-come, first-serve, and locals usually know to call in advance. He said it might be interesting to explore a tiered pricing system.
Council member Gary Keiser asked if the program was breaking even or making a profit. Town manager Joe Fitzpatrick said the town has always subsidized the program. “It keeps the cost down per child,” he said.
More information about Mountain Adventures can be found at the town’s website, www.mtcrestedbuttecolorado.us

Mt. Crested Butte Water and Sanitation may pursue watershed ordinance
In May, the same month the town of Crested Butte passed its revised watershed ordinance, the board of directors for the Mt. Crested Butte Water and Sanitation District began a discussion to create a similar watershed ordinance of its own.
Board president Bill Racek says the ordinance is basically just an idea at this point and the board has not decided which direction to proceed. He says the ordinance would create an additional layer of requirements for development in the district’s watershed, which includes the East River and Washington Gulch. “We want to protect the watershed however it’s best to go about doing that,” Racek says, noting proposed developments near Snodgrass Mountain, as well as a proposed ski area expansion, that could have an impact on water quality.
Racek says the district’s attorney, Jill Norris, has been asked to investigate the legal provisions behind such an ordinance, as some board members believed that only municipalities can enforce watershed ordinances. “If that’s the case we could create an ordinance and take it to the town,” Racek says. He says the board will continue discussions about the ordinance this summer.
 

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