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Hotchkiss trustees support Creamery, Farm to Fiddle

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As a nonprofit organization, the Creamery Arts Center relies on volunteer and community support to keep its doors open. Linda Tullis is also seeking a Colorado Creative Industries grant to help with operating costs. She attended the May 10 meeting of the Hotchkiss Town Council to request a letter of support for a $4,000 grant.

Trustees readily agreed to lend their support, but were disappointed to hear that Hotchkiss is no longer part of the North Fork Creative District, because it's not "walkable." The North Fork Creative Coalition remains open to all artists, arts organizations, creative industries businesses and nonprofits throughout the North Fork Valley and in Delta County. The creative district, however, was recently recertified and includes only Paonia.

It's hoped that momentum generated in Paonia will "trickle down" to Hotchkiss, Tullis explained.

"We are stepping out on our own and doing our best to make Hotchkiss an artists' destination," she said.

She added that if the $4,000 grant is awarded to the Creamery, "it should see us through the winter."

In 2006, Tullis remodeled a formerly vacant and run down into a world-class art gallery and education center that's become a centerpiece of the town.

At their monthly meeting, trustees also heard an update on the Farm to Fiddle Festival, an August event that, like the Creamery, is intended to draw visitors to Hotchkiss. Marsy Moore thanked the trustees for providing insurance for the event. Applications are being accepted from vendors, and the music has been lined up, but more volunteers are needed, Moore said. The festival takes place in downtown Hotchkiss in conjunction with the Delta County Fair. The fair parade also runs through downtown Hotchkiss, which requires some coordination the morning of the parade. Trustee Sheila Maki, co-chair of the fair parade, said the lineup procedure used for the parade last year worked well.

A special events liquor license was approved for a fundraising banquet for the North Fork Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Chapter representative Wendell Koontz recommended purchasing tickets early, as sales will be limited to 150. The eighth annual event is set for Aug. 13 at Heritage Hall.

As a follow-up to a May 3 work session on town water supplies, trustees extended leases for the use of water from the Overland and Fire Mountain canals for agricultural purposes. Before the next irrigation season, the town plans to solicit bids for those leases, to see if any other parties are interested.

A copy of town regulations for vendors/solicitors was given to trustees for their review. The regulations include updated licensing fees which have been in effect since last summer. There was some discussion about identification for solicitors who have properly registered with the town, which would help the marshal's office with enforcement.

Trustees were appointed to assorted boards, commissions, committees and task forces. Mayor Larry Wilkening is devoting his efforts to economic development. "I'm going to jump in and see what we can do to enhance the local economy," he said.

Trustee John Marta, who was asked to serve as a liaison with the town's senior citizens, brought up the need for volunteers to deliver Meals on Wheels, and for paid drivers for All Points Transit.

Under department reports, public works director Mike Owens said the town may want to implement odd and even watering days for those who use domestic water for lawns and gardens. He said that measure doesn't limit usage, but it does get citizens thinking about conservation.

He also reminded residents to keep backflow prevention in mind. "If you have a backflow device have it tested yearly and make sure the town receives the results," he said in his written report. "If you need a backflow device get it installed and let the town know. Last year we were in violation on our cross connection rules. We will survey the system again this year and hope to stay in compliance."

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