Judge switches out water board rep to add Rec element

Fonken chosen over Curry

By Mark Reaman

A representative with a “recreational” background will replace the former manager of the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District (UGRWCD), who had been a board member for the last five years. Joellen Fonken will take the seat of Kathleen Curry as the Tomichi Drainage District representative.

Board members are appointed by the Gunnison District Court and judge Steven Patrick made four appointments to the board on June 20. In his order of appointment Patrick said all the applicants to the board were well qualified.

Patrick, along with 12th Judicial District judge Patti Swift, conferred and agreed on the appointments. The incumbents with no competing applicants were all reappointed and included Michelle Pierce, Rebie Hazard and Rosemary Carroll.

Curry is a rancher and was the incumbent in the Tomichi Drainage District, and was a previous manager of the UGRWCD, a former Colorado state representative and a local businesswoman.

Fonken is also a local businesswoman, as well as the director of the Gunnison River Festival and has served on several recreational boards including the Gunnison County Trails Commission.

“Presently there are four directors with ranching interests on the board,” the decision states. “There is no ‘recreational’ representative on the board… The court has explored in the past trying to maximize diversity of interests in the beneficial use of water within the district.”

The appointment order thanked Curry for her years of service on the board, “however concludes that returning a recreation perspective to the board warrants selection of Ms. Fonken to serve as the director for the Tomichi District.”

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