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Articles related to Hotchkiss


Hotchkiss explores growth, economic diversity
Hotchkiss explores growth, economic diversity

On Nov. 1, over 40 people filled Memorial Hall to hold a kickoff meeting for the Hotchkiss Prosperity Plan. The purpose of this plan is to assess the economy to identify opportunities for local business development and economic growth.

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Friends recall Chuck Farmer's passion for history
Friends recall Chuck Farmer's passion for history

The North Fork Valley has lost one of its richest sources of local history. Lee McMurtry "Chuck" Farmer passed away Nov. 3. Farmer shared his passion for local history through presentations, field trips, and for the past few years, as president of the Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society.

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Creamery Arts Center celebrates CCI grant

The Creamery Arts Center is pleased to announce it was awarded a $4,000 grant by the Creative Industries Division of the Office of Economic Development for 2019. The funding is designated as general operating support.

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Veterans Day closures announced

Paonia Town Hall will be closed on Monday, Nov. 12, in observance of Veterans Day, which officially falls on Sunday.

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Silent auction to benefit Peace Circle

The Hotchkiss Community United Methodist Peace Circle women's group will host a benefit silent auction on Saturday, Nov. 17, at Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss.

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Farm Runners awarded Purveyor of the Year
Farm Runners awarded Purveyor of the Year

Last week, Good Food 100 honored Clint and MaryKay Buckner of the Buckner Family Farm and Emma Stopher-Griffin and Matthew Kottenstette of the Farm Runners distribution company as the 2018 Producer and Purveyor of the Year at the inaugural Eat. Drink. Think. Colorado Industry Celebration.

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Mobile juicer gives new purpose to local fruit
Mobile juicer gives new purpose to local fruit

On Oct. 22, Conner Orchards in Hotchkiss processed six and half bins of apples into 370 bag-in-a-box five liter containers. Usually, not much can be done with these number two apples, leftovers or ugly fruit.

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Hotchkiss trustees review 2019 budget, mobile home regs

Last Thursday, Hotchkiss trustees dug into the 2019 budget and opened discussions on revisions to the town's mobile home regulations.

The town anticipates modest increases in revenues from property tax and specific ownership tax, but mineral leasing and severance taxes continue to drop off.

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Halloween hauntings
Halloween hauntings

Shrieks and screams fill the air as Amanda Meredith leads youngsters through the haunted house she creates in the driveway of her home every year. The startled cries never fail to bring a smile to her face -- not because she's got a twisted sense of humor, but because her hard work has paid off. Her haunted house is again the most popular stop in Hotchkiss.

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Hotchkiss FFA members headed to Indianapolis for nationals

The Hotchkiss FFA Chapter was recently selected to compete for national recognition in a career development event at the 91st National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Oct. 24-27.

Members will vie for national honors in agricultural technology and mechanical systems area. Caterpillar Inc. and Firestone Agricultural Solutions sponsor the event.

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Hotchkiss ordinance targets marijuana, minors in possession

A draft of the 2019 budget is in the hands of Hotchkiss trustees, who will review the numbers individually, then meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, for a work session.

They will also review revisions to the mobile home regulations at that work session.

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Hotchkiss chamber invites nominations

The Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce invites nominations for Business of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Nonprofit of the Year.

"It is again time to recognize those businesses, individuals and nonprofits in our community that really shine," said chamber president Nathan Sponseller.

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Drought resilience requires investment
Drought resilience requires investment

If it hadn't been for the salts in the soils beneath his farm near Hotchkiss, Tom Kay (TK) likely would not have been able to fully irrigate his corn field this past summer. Because he has salty soils, TK was able to get government assistance to replace an old flood irrigation system with a center-pivot sprinkler system several years ago.

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Hotchkiss seeks voter approval for sale of shop
Hotchkiss seeks voter approval for sale of shop

Registered electors in the Town of Hotchkiss are looking at a couple of ballot questions that could impact their property taxes and a third that won't hit them in the pocketbook -- at least initially.

The Town of Hotchkiss is seeking voter approval to sell the public works building at 222 W. Bridge Street for an amount not less than $168,500.

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Homecoming week at HHS is full of fun

It's Homecoming week at Hotchkiss High School -- a time for students to show their school spirit through dress-up days, class games, and athletic competitions.

Monday was Tourist Day, and Tuesday was Athlete Day.

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Hotchkiss chamber invites nominations

The Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce invites nominations for Business of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Nonprofit of the Year.

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Hotchkiss town council meeting was busy, uneventful

The Hotchkiss Town Council had a busy agenda for its Sept. 13 meeting, although it was not particularly eventful. Most of what was done was housekeeping.

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Hotchkiss welcomes Colorado Grand

The Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce and residents of the community welcomed the return of the Colorado Grand to the community last week.

The Colorado Grand® is an annual charity tour for 1960 and earlier sports and race cars of distinction.

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Colorado Grand tours Delta County Friday

Every fall for more than 30 years, classic car enthusiasts from around the world have taken to the highways and byways of Colorado to enjoy the beautiful fall colors for the Colorado Grand. The charity event pairs drivers with classic cars for a multi-day, 1,000 mile route that includes Delta County.

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Debate turns into town meeting for Mitsch Bush
Debate turns into town meeting for Mitsch Bush

After facing off Rep. Scott Tipton the night before at the Club 20 debates in Grand Junction, Democrat congressional candidate Diane Mitsch Bush was in Hotchkiss Sunday, Sept. 9, for another debate. This one, organized by Crawford Area Indivisible, turned into a town meeting.

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You say tomato, I say Tomato Fest!
You say tomato, I say Tomato Fest!

Despite being a drought year, tomatoes are ripening in gardens across the county. Staff at Delta County Libraries are once again aiming to harness some of the excitement about homegrown tomatoes with the fifth annual Tomato Fest in Hotchkiss.

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FFA members make memories at D.C. leadership conference

The week of July 17-22, four of us from our chapter had the incredible opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., for a national leadership conference. There were 340 of us from all over the country, even Alaska! Some states had a few dozen students and others had very few.

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Forty-two parks and done
Forty-two parks and done

"As far as I can remember, it all started in 2016," said Marilyn Tate as she sat in her cozy sunny kitchen surrounded by Colorado state park memorabilia. In June 2016 the Hotchkiss resident was planning to visit her daughter Carol in Buena Vista.

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Firor attends summer engineering program

Kaiya Firor of Hotchkiss recently attended the prestigious Women in Engineering (WIE) program at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Mich. More than 120 young women from 12 states were accepted into this highly competitive scholarship program.

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Delta County teams headed to ranch rodeo finals

A team from Iron Horse and Cattle in Hotchkiss is among 16 teams that have qualified to compete for both team and individual honors at the Mountain States Ranch Rodeo Finals. The finals will be held Sept. 7-8 at the Montrose County Event Center in Montrose.

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Eventful night for first responders in Hotchkiss

Thursday, Aug. 23, proved an eventful night in the small town of Hotchkiss. Around 9:30 p.m. local emergency services received a call reporting the "strong odor of [natural] gas" at the Hotchkiss Inn.

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Housing rehab helps Hotchkiss couple recover after water damage

Driving from Denver International Airport to their home in Hotchkiss, Lynn and John Brgoch were listening to a sermon about tribulations on their favorite Christian radio station. They had no inkling how close that message would hit home.

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Hotchkiss tables marijuana resolution
Hotchkiss tables marijuana resolution

The Aug. 16 meeting of the Hotchkiss Town Council opened on a rather somber note, mourning the passing of trustee Jim Roberts. Roberts was an active member of the community serving not only as trustee since 2012, but volunteering his time with the local fire department and the North Fork Ambulance.

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Drought won't stunt tomato haiku contest

It has been a hot, dry summer here in Delta County. Water restrictions, empty reservoirs, wildfires, smoky air, and difficult growing conditions have marked this season for everyone.

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Elk Foundation banquet sells out

It's become one of the most popular events in the North Fork Valley. Tickets for last Saturday night's Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation North Fork Chapter annual banquet were sold out about five weeks before the event, said chapter president Dan Gray.

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County fair results: Open class flowers

FLOWERS

ANNUALS, BIENNIALS,

BULBS AND PERENNIALS

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Friday service set for Hotchkiss trustee James Roberts
Friday service set for Hotchkiss trustee James Roberts

The North Fork Valley lost one of its best-loved citizens. James Roberts passed away Saturday, Aug. 11, at his home. He was 75.

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Grant brings Crossroads ballfields closer to reality
Grant brings Crossroads ballfields closer to reality

This week, the North Fork Pool, Park and Recreation District is excited to announce that it has received an energy and mineral impact assistance grant of $426,677 from the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to complete the Crossroads Ballfield Complex.

Fourteen years ago, the community came together to honor the memory of the "Hotchkiss Ambassador," Tom Roberts.

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Bryan Hollembeak returns to Hotchkiss as HK-8 principal
Bryan Hollembeak returns to Hotchkiss as HK-8 principal

Bryan Hollembeak was raised in a family that highly valued education. His mother was a third grade teacher; his dad served as teacher and principal in both Hotchkiss and Delta.

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Junior Market Livestock Sale rings in at $274,300

A total of 185 market animals and pens and three cheese baskets were offered for sale by 4-H and FFA members at the 2018 Junior Market Livestock Sale, held Aug. 11 in Hotchkiss, during the Delta County Fair.

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County fair results: Art, photos, crafts

ART

ABSTRACT

Student - ages 10 and under

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County fair results: Needlework, ceramics

NEEDLEWORK

AFGHANS

Knitted, Other

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County fair results: Agriculture, pantry

AGRICULTURE

HERBS

Basil

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County fair results: Shooting, general 4-H

.22 CALIBER PISTOL

Intermediate

1st Keaton Sanders Best of the West Grand champion

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County fair results: 4-H/FFA Horse Show

HORSE

Written Evaluation, Senior

1st Irene Shenk Rocky Mountain 4-H Club

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Delta County Fair Parade

Judges Awards

CARS, MOTORCYCLES

1) New Pride of the Valley 4-H Club

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County fair results: Rabbits, poultry

BANTAMS

Any Other Feather Legged, Cockerel

1st Cecelia Houseweart Rocky Mountain 4-H Club

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County fair results: Goats, swine, beef

GOAT

Goat Breeding

Dairy Type, Yearling

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Demolition Derby, ATV races draw a crowd

In Delta County how do you get thousands of people to wait in line to park, linger in another line to buy tickets, and sit on hard bleachers or stand in the dirt for hours? Easy, just fill an arena with mud and throw in lots of clunker cars, whizzing ATVs and fearless drivers.

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Junior Market Livestock Sale is Saturday

The Delta County Fair continues this week with Heritage Hall exhibits, livestock shows and special events including a wild game chili cookoff Wednesday, Aug. 8, at 6 p.m.; Mountain States Ranch Rodeo at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9; JC Propane Team Roping Saddle Shoot-out Finals and royalty coronation at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10; and the Demolition Derby and ATV Barrel Race at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11.

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Building on HHS' outstanding tradition
Building on HHS' outstanding tradition

A teacher, coach and administrator who has been with the school district for eight years is taking the leadership role at Hotchkiss High School. HHS principal Paul Rodriguez resigned the position for medical reasons, but remains supportive of the Bulldog community and Marty Rover, the new principal.

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Bulldog boosters sell sweet corn at the fair

The Bulldog Booster Club will sell Mountain Fresh Sweet Corn this Friday and Saturday, Aug. 10-11, in Hotchkiss.

Mountain Fresh owner Mike Ahlberg is donating the corn, which he and sons Seth and Zach have grown since 2000.

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Farm to Fiddle Festival showcases ag, art and music

It's a big week in Hotchkiss, with the Delta County Fair and Rodeo underway, soon to be augmented by the Farm to Fiddle Festival Aug. 10 and 11.

This weekend event celebrates the local community with arts and crafts, live music, kids' activities, food vendors and great beverages from Mesa Winds Winery, Leroux Creek Winery and Big B's Cider.

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Hotchkiss alumni support students

The Hotchkiss High School Alumni Fund is a supporter of all Hotchkiss schools. At the end of this school year, the following awards were given:

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Experience the library at fair booth

How has your country library touched you? Visit Delta County Libraries' booth at Heritage Hall to share your library experience in a creative, hands-on way.

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Take self-guided tour of grass pasture demo plot

Tri-River Area small acreage landowners are invited to a "Management of Small Acreage Pastures Self-Guided Tour," at the Delta County Fairgrounds at 403 S. 4th Street in Hotchkiss. The two-acre plot is located on the southeast corner of the fairgrounds, near the river.

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Demolition Derby returns to the fair
Demolition Derby returns to the fair

Are you ready for a night of pure car-nage? The Demolition Derby & ATV Barrel Race returns to the Delta County Fairgrounds and will close out the 113th annual Delta County Fair on Saturday, Aug. 11.

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Delta County fair honors the Cobb family
Delta County fair honors the Cobb family

The Jerry Cobb family will serve as grand marshals for the 2018 Delta County Fair. It's an honor that the elder Cobb's two surviving daughters wish their dad was alive to celebrate. Jerry Cobb died in the spring of 2016 at age 73.

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Rodeo events draw competitors of all ages

When it comes to barrel racing, team roping, pole bending and more, you'll find all the action you could want at the Delta County Fair & Rodeo.

The action begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, with the Junior Rodeo.

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Hotchkiss siblings sign to play ball
Hotchkiss siblings sign to play ball

Josie and Chase Hiatt have signed letters of intent to play softball and baseball at Colorado Northwestern Community College this fall. The college-bound athletes are the daughter and son of Ty and Dana Hiatt of Hotchkiss.

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Arts 4 All expanding to Hotchkiss
Arts 4 All expanding to Hotchkiss

A program providing arts education and opportunities to elementary-aged children in the North Fork Valley is growing.

Arts for All will expand into the Hotchkiss K-8 School beginning this fall thanks to a $500 grant awarded to the Blue Sage Center for the Arts by the Sheila Fortune Foundation.

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Tour the West Elks Wine Country this weekend
Tour the West Elks Wine Country this weekend

The wineries of the West Elks Wine Country invite you to a special weekend of touring, premium wine tasting and winemakers' dinners during the 10th annual West Elks Wine Trail. Set your own route for a fun and relaxing day or weekend and come home with delicious wine and memories. Visit westelksava.com for details.

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Livestock association protects ag heritage

Livestock theft, or "rustling," is what originally brought together the livestock producers of Delta County in the 1920s. Today protecting the interests of producers both large and small and ensuring agriculture remains a vital part of the area's heritage is what unites the Delta County Livestock Association.

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Tess Gore is proud to represent Delta County as fair queen

Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist. Pretend you're blowing the air away from your face. Sit tall in the saddle and keep a smile on your face. That's the secret to "the wave" -- a graceful motion that royalty hopefuls have been perfecting in front of a mirror.

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Showing livestock provides life lessons

Like other families in Delta County, the Braslins enjoy living here for the ability to spread out, own land, and raise livestock. Their four children have found joy and passion in showing and participating in the Delta County Fair over the years.

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August brings a shortage of lifeguards to NF pool

With temperatures soaring into the 90s, the North Fork Pool is a great place to cool off for a couple of hours. There's no shortage of folks looking for swim lessons, lap swimming, physical therapy, water aerobics or just the chance to splash around in the cool water.

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Drugs tied to nudity, criminal mischief

An incident in Hotchkiss described as a "rampage" is eerily similar to an arrest made two days earlier by the Delta County Sheriff's Office in Eckert.

At about midnight on Thursday, July 19, deputies observed a female pedestrian on Highway 65 near Ersley Road in Eckert.

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Grants, community support will make ball fields a reality
Grants, community support will make ball fields a reality

Richard Flores, a teacher and coach of 15 years in Hotchkiss, was the main speaker July 16 at the Kids Pasta Project fundraising dinner. The dinner was held at the North Fork Swimming Pool and brought in $300 to go toward the construction of new baseball fields near Hotchkiss High School.

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Hotchkiss trustees consider development, opportunity zones

Hotchkiss trustees got a preview of potential development on the south side of Highway 92, across from Todd Enterprises. Thirty acres of irrigated agricultural land is under contract to Fairfield Specialty Eggs.

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Hotchkiss town shop will be on November ballot

In November, the Town of Hotchkiss will ask voters for permission to sell the town shop at 222 W. Bridge Street.

The town's public works department has not only outgrown the 6,236-square-foot facility, but it can be tricky moving trucks and heavy equipment in and out of the garage and onto the town's busiest thoroughfare.

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Hotchkiss Booster Club hosts golf play

Nineteen teams represented the largest number of teams in the history of Hotchkiss' Booster Club 18 Hole Golf Scramble at Devil's Thumb on Saturday, July 14. There was plenty of sunshine and a few low scores as 76 players played for bragging rights and prizes.

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A farmer's life: From fire to flood
A farmer's life: From fire to flood

Daniel Bolton was hauling a load of hay to his ranch on Powell Mesa Road outside of Hotchkiss when he looked in the mirror and saw 30-foot flames rolling off the back of his flatbed trailer. Glancing around, he saw nothing but cheat grass so he decided to continue up the road about a mile to his ranch.

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Traveler finds a home in Hotchkiss
Traveler finds a home in Hotchkiss

A decade ago somebody dumped a young dog in Hotchkiss. The abandoned animal quickly became a local celebrity as she swiftly eluded local citizens who tried to corral her. For three years the dog avoided capture.

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Admitted murderer held on $10M bond
Admitted murderer held on $10M bond

Edgar Macias-Moreno, 24, is being held on $10 million bond after being charged with first degree murder in connection with the death of Madelaine Loh, 27, of Hotchkiss.

According to an arrest affidavit filed in Delta District Court, Loh was living with Macias-Moreno, her boyfriend, on a farm on L Road in Hotchkiss.

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Candlelight vigil planned for Loh

Hilltop's Domestic Violence Services will hold a candlelight vigil for Madelaine Loh on Thursday, July 5, at 6 p.m. The service will be held at Hotchkiss K-8 School gymnasium, 465 Lorah Lane.

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Lavender tour draws visitors to local farms

After spending Saturday, June 30, in Palisade telling folks about her products at the eighth annual Colorado Lavender Festival, Laurie Conner welcomed visitors to her operation at Conner Orchard near Hotchkiss on Sunday, July 1, during self-guided tours of area lavender farms.

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Farm Runners celebrates opening of The Station in Hotchkiss
Farm Runners celebrates opening of The Station in Hotchkiss

The Station, located at 235 Highway 133, Hotchkiss, celebrated its opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, June 22.

The venture is an extension of Farm Runners, which was established by Emma Stopher-Griffin and Matthew Kottenstette.

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Hwy. 92 closed for barricaded suspect
Hwy. 92 closed for barricaded suspect

On June 21, the Hotchkiss Marshal's Office responded to an address in Hotchkiss for a report of a domestic disturbance. When officers arrived they learned the male suspect, identified as Jimmy Jones, age 33, had left the scene.

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Philanthropy grows in Delta County

The West Elk Community Fund (WECF) announces the formation of a local philanthropic fund to serve the areas in and around Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford. The WECF is partnering with the Western Colorado Community Foundation (WCCF) to help donors establish endowed funds to benefit these communities.

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People in the News Batt and Hill

Daryl Batt of Hotchkiss was named to the 2018 spring semester Dean's List at Simpson College. Daryl is the daughter of Greg and Julie Batt.

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Hotchkiss board considers variances, HopeWest donation

Members of the Hotchkiss Town Council granted one variance request and denied another at their monthly meeting June 14. Both decisions fell in line with recommendations from the Hotchkiss Planning Commission.

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Hotchkiss implements water restrictions

The Town of Hotchkiss is exercising caution by instituting odd-even outdoor watering restrictions for the town's residents.

Public works director Mike Owens said he's been assured Leroux Creek water supplies are sufficient, even at 55 percent, but noted usage in early June jumped substantially.

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North Fork towns consider water conservation measures

In May, the US Department of Agriculture designated Delta and Montrose counties as primary disaster areas due to recent losses and damage caused by the ongoing drought.

In light of the ongoing dry conditions and the end of spring runoff, North Fork area municipalities are considering how best to address possible shortages.

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Joy, gratitude mark HHS graduation

The family and community support that's enfolded Hotchkiss High School graduates throughout their young lives has not gone unnoticed. Gratitude for the love and dedication of family, friends, school faculty and community members was expressed repeatedly during graduation ceremonies at HHS May 23.

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Memorial Day events in the North Fork

There will be Memorial Day observances in Hotchkiss, Paonia and Crawford this weekend.

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Hotchkiss trustees support Creamery, Farm to Fiddle

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.

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Camera club show planned

Black Canyon Camera Club is hosting its fourth annual show and sale June 8-30 at The Creamery Arts Center, 165 Bridge Street in Hotchkiss. The awards ceremony is June 8 from to 7 p.m.

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Stock dog competition was 'exceptional'
Stock dog competition was 'exceptional'

Handlers traveled from California, Utah, Montana, Arizona, Texas, Wyoming, North Dakota and other parts of the state to take part in the 15th annual Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials.

Over three days of competition, the handlers worked with the dogs to herd small groups of sheep through a course laid out in a pasture owned by the Hotchkiss family.

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All roads lead to Hotchkiss this weekend
All roads lead to Hotchkiss this weekend

All roads lead to Hotchkiss May 11-13.

The Mother's Day weekend brings the 15th annual Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials to Hotchkiss.

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FFA ag team wins state, qualifies for nationals
FFA ag team wins state, qualifies for nationals

Hotchkiss High School will soon add another state championship banner to its wall of fame.

Nathan Mattler, Teagan Sommer, Will Ela and Karsen Sommer won the state championship in Agricultural Technology Mechanical Systems at the annual Colorado FFA Career Development Events (CDE) held April 29-30, at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

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Fallen Hotchkiss officer honored at state memorial

More than a hundred years after his death, Hotchkiss Constable Robert G. Lewis has been honored as a fallen peace officer.

In 2017 Hotchkiss Marshal Dan Miller was contacted by Keith Cameron, historian for the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial to verify the circumstances of Constable Lewis' death in the line of duty.

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Cornerstone dedicated  at Hotchkiss Town Hall
Cornerstone dedicated at Hotchkiss Town Hall

After attending the cornerstone dedication at the West Elk Clinic in Hotchkiss last fall, Wendell Koontz, then mayor of Hotchkiss, wondered why there was no cornerstone at the Hotchkiss Town Hall. The building, which was completed in 1984, also houses the community's senior center.

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Masons to lay cornerstone May 3
Masons to lay cornerstone May 3

Greg Allen, Art Wolverton and Roy Garner, officers of Mount Lamborn Masonic Lodge in Hotchkiss, announce that on Thursday, May 3, at 5 p.m, with the assistance of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Colorado, they will dedicate a cornerstone at the Hotchkiss Town Hall and Senior Citizens Center in Hotchkiss.

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Hotchkiss gears up for sheep camp stock dog trials
Hotchkiss gears up for sheep camp stock dog trials

The 15th annual Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials are being dedicated to the memory of Mike Furcolow, a beloved friend and experienced dog handler who recently lost his long battle with cancer.

Furcolow took great pleasure in working with his dogs and watching them progress through their training with his guidance.

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Delta Dems exalt the First Amendment
Delta Dems exalt the First Amendment

Democrats gathered at Heritage Hall in Hotchkiss for their annual First Amendment dinner on Saturday, April 21. There was great food to enjoy provided by Pine Cone Catering of Montrose and guest speakers provided great food for thought and consideration.

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Almost 9 tons of e-waste collected in Hotchkiss
Almost 9 tons of e-waste collected in Hotchkiss

On Saturday morning, April 21, 196 residents participated in this year's Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce E-Waste recycling event. From cell phones with shattered screens to big-screen televisions, 196 residents packed 17,274 pounds of electronic waste and hauled it to the Delta County Fairgrounds for disposal Saturday morning, paying between 25-40 cents per pound to have it recycled.

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Four new trustees, mayor seated in Hotchkiss

The bids for replacement of the Barrow Mesa water tank were awarded to two firms at the April 12 meeting of the Hotchkiss Town Council.

Earlier this spring, the council rejected the only bid submitted for the project.

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Wilkening elected Hotchkiss mayor

In the race for Hotchkiss mayor, Larry Wilkening soundly defeated Thomas Wills with 75 percent of the vote. The tally was 191 for Wilkening and 61 for Wills. Wilkening will replace Wendell Koontz, who is term-limited.

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County hosts master plan open house in Hotchkiss

Community members began arriving early for the first open house to review the Delta County Master Plan on Monday, April 9, at Heritage Hall in Hotchkiss.

Stations were set up around the room with posters providing information on different elements of the Master Plan, along with enlarged maps from the plan.

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Volunteers needed for sheep camp dog trials

Gordon Hebenstreit loves watching good stock dogs work. He also enjoys working with his own border collies, but he's happy leaving them at home and just being a spectator at the annual Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials.

Actually he's grown into much more than a spectator -- he and his wife Cheryl now assist founder Richard Bailey with the competition.

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Municipal election results

On Tuesday, April 3, most municipalities in Delta County conducted elections. Delta, Orchard City, Hotchkiss, Paonia and Crawford voters selected new members of their town councils, as well as the fate of tax questions. Cedaredge cancels its town election because there were only enough candidates to fill its open board seats.

The following are unofficial results, as of 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 3:

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Hotchkiss producer joins Angus association

Blue Spoon Ranch, Hotchkiss, is a new member of the American Angus Association®, reports Allen Moczygemba, CEO of the national breed organization headquartered in Saint Joseph, Mo.

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People in the News Graham

Tamara Graham of Hotchkiss recently earned a master of social work from Simmons College in Boston.

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Kathy Welt earns Club 20 award for collaborative problem solving
Kathy Welt earns Club 20 award for collaborative problem solving

At Club 20's annual awards banquet on March 30, Kathy Welt of Hotchkiss was presented with the Johnson-Theos Bridge Builder Award. Also receiving the award were Terri Binder of Arvada, Major General Irv Halter, executive director of the Department of Local Affairs, and Lt. Governor Donna Lynne in honor of their commitment to collaborative problem solving.

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Webb, Vietnam vets to be recognized
Webb, Vietnam vets to be recognized

Everett Webb and his wife Darlynn of Hotchkiss attended the Delta County veterans' coffee last week where Everett received an eagle head cane recognizing his military service. The presentation of canes to honor returning veterans is an American tradition dating back to the Civil War.

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Quilters guild hosts noted fabric designer

It's the purpose of S&B Quilters Guild to promote quilting and to expand and enhance our knowledge and enjoyment of quilting and quilting techniques in an atmosphere of sharing fellowship. It is also to provide a source of information and inspiration for fellow quilters and to preserve the heritage of quilting.

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Learn the tale of two historic .45-90 rifles

Chuck Farmer will present a special program to the Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society on Saturday, April 14, at 1:30 p.m. at the museum at 180 2nd Street, Hotchkiss. He will relate the history of two .45-90 rifles in the museum's collection.

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Hotchkiss chamber looks to the future

Nathan Sponseller, president of the Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce, announces a special work session to discuss the chamber's future.

"With two board members stepping back from their current chamber duties at the end of 2018 we feel now is a good time to discuss re-imagining HCCC functions in the future," Sponseller said.

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Students sit in on Hotchkiss Town Council meeting
Students sit in on Hotchkiss Town Council meeting

The March meeting of the Hotchkiss Town Council, which was held at Hotchkiss High School, provided an opportunity for Hotchkiss Officer Chris McDonald and Bo Nerlin, town attorney, to give an update on the town's marijuana regulations. With an emphasis on youth, Nerlin reminded those in the audience that the use of marijuana is illegal by anyone under the age of 21 without a medical marijuana card.

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Master plan is Hotchkiss' road map to the future

The Hotchkiss Planning Commission is expected to formally adopt the town's master plan tonight, then forward it to the Hotchkiss Town Council for ratification in April.

A master plan for the town was first adopted in 2006 and has been updated periodically since.

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GOCO grant makes dream of fields a reality
GOCO grant makes dream of fields a reality

Thanks to a generous grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, kids will be playing at a new youth baseball and softball complex in the North Fork.

The North Fork Pool, Parks & Recreation District was notified by GOCO last week that it will receive a $350,000 Local Park and Outdoor Recreation (LPOR) grant to build ballfields and amenities at Crossroads Park on Bulldog Street in Hotchkiss.

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Young students learn about law enforcement, fire, search and rescue
Young students learn about law enforcement, fire, search and rescue

Friday the pre-kindergarten students of the Backpack Early Learning Academy at Hotchkiss K8 School had some very special visitors. At the invitation of their teacher, Lynette Clock, representatives from West Elk Mountain Rescue, Delta County Sheriff's Office, North Fork Ambulance, Colorado State Patrol and Paonia Volunteer Fire Department brought their vehicles and equipment to the school and gave a presentation on what they do for the community.

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HHS scholarships recognize community spirit, volunteerism
HHS scholarships recognize community spirit, volunteerism

For four years, the Town of Hotchkiss has awarded $500 scholarships to one male and one female graduating from Hotchkiss High School. The award recognizes students who demonstrate community spirit and volunteerism within the community.

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National Ag Day is celebrated in Hotchkiss

The Black Mesa CattleWomen and the Hotchkiss FFA Chapter celebrated National Ag Day on Tuesday, March 20, at the Delta County Fairgrounds with the North Fork Ag Day program for elementary students. They provided 11 different presentations for approximately 550 students.

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Four Hotchkiss candidates will fill four seats

Four candidates -- all female -- are poised to fill the four vacant seats on the Hotchkiss Town Council. The top three vote-getters will serve four-year terms; the fourth position is a two-year term.

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Two candidates step up to provide leadership in Hotchkiss

Thomas Wills and Larry Wilkening are running for mayor of Hotchkiss, seeking to fill the seat that's being vacated by Wendell Koontz, who is term limited.

Since moving to Hotchkiss in 1990, Wills has been an active member of the community.

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Hotchkiss rejects lone water tank bid

In her 35-year career with the Town of Hotchkiss, town clerk Marlene Searle said she's never seen the town accept a single bid for a project. Such was the case last week, when trustees rejected the only bid received for the Barrow Mesa water tank replacement project.

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First responders train to improve traffic safety
First responders train to improve traffic safety

Responders -- it's an all-inclusive term that covers law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical services (EMS), tow truck operators, and department of transportation workers. And last week sixty of these public servants assembled in the Hotchkiss Fire Station to talk about the vital topic of traffic incident management.

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Bridge repairs to begin March 5
Bridge repairs to begin March 5

On Monday, March 5, the Colorado Department of Transportation will begin a bridge maintenance project on Colorado Highway 92 over the North Fork of the Gunnison River near Hotchkiss. Work is scheduled through late May, weather permitting.

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Hotchkiss FFA Alumni supports HHS chapter and its advisor

The purpose of the Hotchkiss FFA Alumni affiliate is to support and promote FFA, FFA activities and agricultural education on local, state and national levels; to provide engagement opportunities to former FFA members and supporters of FFA and agricultural education; to promote greater knowledge of agriculture and support education in agriculture; to cooperate with the local FFA chapter, and FFA at the state and national level; to promote and maintain an appreciation of the American free enterprise system; and to promote the personal development aspect of FFA.

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HHS lines up fun events for National FFA Week

As the 2016-2017 school year wrapped up, the Hotchkiss FFA members spent their summer wisely by attending the Colorado State FFA Convention.

The 89th Colorado State FFA Convention was held in Pueblo in June 2017.

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Hotchkiss FFA Chapter is growing strong
Hotchkiss FFA Chapter is growing strong

National FFA Week happens Feb. 17-24. To celebrate the organization's past, present and future accomplishments, chapters across the nation are gearing up for a week of activities. Because it falls during the week of winter break, Olathe, Delta, Cedaredge and Hotchkiss high school chapters will celebrate FFA Week Feb. 24-March 3.

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North Fork rec district seeks board nominations

The North Fork Pool, Park and Recreation District has two- and four-year board seats open for the upcoming election on May 8. The three directors will be elected to serve four-year terms, and a director will be elected to serve a two-year term.

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Fresh start for Rogers Mesa research center
Fresh start for Rogers Mesa research center

Since its closing in 2011, several ideas for re-opening the Colorado State University Western Colorado Research Center at Rogers Mesa have been tossed about. Thanks to state funding and efforts by District 61 State Rep. Miller Hamner, a re-vamped center will open this spring, focusing on collaborations and community partnerships, business incubation programs, and on research and education.

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Birders explore back roads for raptors
Birders explore back roads for raptors

The Black Canyon Audubon Society sponsored two raptor field trips last weekend. On Saturday, Feb. 10 and again on Sunday, Feb. 11, nearly two dozen enthusiasts explored Delta County back roads between Hotchkiss, Crawford, and Paonia searching for a variety of raptors.

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Hotchkiss orchard taps C-PACE for renewable energy system

Colorado Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE), which helps building owners and developers finance energy efficiency measures, recently announced the state's first agricultural project funded through the program. Ela Family Farms, a Hotchkiss-based certified organic orchard, will use C-PACE financing to install a new solar photovoltaic (PV) system at its warehouse.

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Western Slope Conservation Center seeks 'lasting change'
Western Slope Conservation Center seeks 'lasting change'

The Western Slope Conservation Center (WSCC) held its annual meeting in Hotchkiss on Sunday, Feb. 11. According to its 2017 annual report, the WSCC's mission is to build "an active and aware community to protect and enhance the lands, air, water and wildlife of the Lower Gunnison watershed."

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People In The News Hill

Logan Hill of Hotchkiss has been named to the Deans' List/Explore Center List of Distinguished Students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the fall semester of the 2017-18 academic year.

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Hotchkiss FFA chapter is growing strong
Hotchkiss FFA chapter is growing strong

National FFA Week happens Feb. 17-24. To celebrate the organization's past, present and future accomplishments, chapters across the nation are gearing up for a week of activities. Because it falls during the week of winter break, Olathe, Delta, Cedaredge and Hotchkiss high school chapters will celebrate FFA Week Feb. 24-March 3.

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Bindi Pennetta embraces small town law practice
Bindi Pennetta embraces small town law practice

When Bindi Pennetta graduated from Hotchkiss High School in 1997, she had thoughts of becoming a teacher but kept signing up for psychology classes because they were so interesting.

It was a post-graduate job with Susan Hillyard, a Delta attorney, that set her on the path to becoming a lawyer.

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Seven Hotchkiss K-8 students selected for All-State Choir
Seven Hotchkiss K-8 students selected for All-State Choir

Seven Hotchkiss K-8 students have been named to the Middle School All-State Choir. Students from around the state send in audition tapes in the fall to be judged and it takes months before results are announced.

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Using fire to battle mosquitoes in the North Fork

For North Fork Mosquito Abatement District operations manager Chris Tschinkel, it's never too early to start battling mosquitoes.

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People in the News Celis

Jennifer Celis of Hotchkiss has been named to the President's Honor Roll at Oklahoma State University. Celis is a business major.

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Conservation Center annual meeting set for Feb. 11

The Western Slope Conservation Center will hold its annual meeting on Sunday, Feb. 11, at Memorial Hall, 175 1st Street in Hotchkiss.

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Plenty of races for North Fork municipal elections

According to town clerks, all three North Fork towns received a sufficient number of petitions to participate in the April 3 municipal election.

The Town of Hotchkiss received two petitions for mayor and four petitions for trustee.

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Hotchkiss improvements will take a collaborative approach

As part of a downtown improvement plan for the Town of Hotchkiss, a handful of volunteers headed by Tom Wills has strived to take on one project every year. One year they filled wooden barrels with flowers; another year, bicycle racks were installed and wooden flowers painted by Hotchkiss K-8 students were "planted" in front of local businesses.

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Trash pickup prices increase in Hotchkiss

As a result of a price increase at the county-operated landfill, trash rates are going up in Hotchkiss.

Trash service is provided by Double J Disposal, which is in its third year of its current five-year contract with the town.

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Board petitions trickle in ahead of Jan. 22 deadline

As of Tuesday morning, the number of municipal election petitions taken out by citizens is enough to cover the number of vacancies being created by term expirations, but in Crawford and Paonia, the number of petitions returned falls far short of the expiring terms.

Crawford town clerk Cally Gallegos reports that, as of Tuesday morning, eight petitions have been picked up at Town Hall.

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Flashing speed limit signs activated

Three new radar signs have been installed on Highways 92 and 133 entering Hotchkiss. Town marshal Dan Miller intentionally delayed activating the electronic signs as he gathered data.

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The Nature Connection takes the next step
The Nature Connection takes the next step

A Hotchkiss High School graduate and a U.S. Forest Service snow ranger have been selected to guide The Nature Connection through the process of implementing a $1.7 million Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Inspire grant.

Vince Galgano and Priscilla Williams were selected from a field of 27 applicants to lead The Nature Connection, also known as "the hub of outdoor education for Delta County and Olathe youth," through implementation of the three-year grant.

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Red Hatters celebrate 'reduation' of Mollie Young

On Dec. 14 the Red Hat Hotchkiss Ladybugs chapter threw a party at the Old Mad Dog Cafe in Crawford. During the party, chapter members held a "reduation" ceremony, similar to a graduation, of Mollie Young from a Pink Hatter to a bonafide Red Hatter in honor of her turning 50.

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Hotchkiss Fire District commissions new truck
Hotchkiss Fire District commissions new truck

A fire truck recently donated to the Hotchkiss Fire District is providing more safety and a greater ability to respond to emergencies than the unit it replaces.

HFD Ladder 1, a 1990 Pierce Arrow, was donated to the district by the Colorado River Fire Rescue in Garfield County.

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Hotchkiss K-8 students explore interests at Bulldog Learning Centers

"Fly Fishing Frenzy," one of four Bulldog Learning Centers offered at Hotchkiss K-8, was so popular, it's being expanded from an after-school program to a club. The learning center was offered by Leslie Kaminski, a sixth grade math and science teacher.

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North Fork voters to decide on 12 trustee seats

If wanting to serve your community is on your list of accomplishments for the new year, there are many opportunities to do so. In the North Fork area, voters will elect 12 trustees and one mayor to serve on municipal boards in the April 3 general election.

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Hotchkiss trustees OK trees, set 2018 mill levy

Uncertainty about which portions of Lorah Lane are owned by the Town of Hotchkiss and which lie in the county can only be resolved through a title search, town trustees concluded at their Dec. 14 meeting. Ultimately, the town would like to install a sidewalk from Hotchkiss K-8 to the highway, but it's not certain if there is enough right-of-way.

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Hotchkiss musicians earn recognition

Seventh and eighth grade band members Izzi Houseweart (flute), Addi Neal (clarinet) and Tia Moore (percussion) were selected to participate in the CBA Western Slope Select Band.

High schoolers Katie Powers (flute) and Tristen Allen (percussion) were also named to the CBA Western Slope Select Band.

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Award-winning cowboy poet has Hotchkiss roots
Award-winning cowboy poet has Hotchkiss roots

Floyd Beard was named the Western Music Association (WMA) 2017 Male Poet of the Year at an awards show held Nov. 11 in Albuquerque, N.M. He was also the winner of the 2017 poetry contest.

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Hotchkiss to add radar signs, fourth police officer

Public safety was at the forefront of budget discussions as the Hotchkiss Town Council agreed to fund a fourth police officer and to purchase radar readers to cut down on speeding.

At the suggestion of public works director Mike Owens and Marshal Dan Miller, the town will purchase three radar signs to be placed at the three entrances to town.

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Hotchiss home is damaged by fire

Delta County Federal Credit Union and First State Bank are accepting donations for Hotchkiss residents Sam and Teri Fritzlan after their home was severely damaged by a fire on Thanksgiving night.

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Spanish class forming in Hotchkiss

Following a strong response to an announcement on social media, Hotchkiss area resident Hannah Armstrong will begin offering Spanish classes in Hotchkiss. An organizational meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss.

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Students join Hotchkiss trustees at monthly meeting
Students join Hotchkiss trustees at monthly meeting

Student leaders from Hotchkiss High School joined the members of the Hotchkiss Town Council for the trustees' monthly meeting -- a tradition that is repeated in the spring, when the trustees meet at the high school and award two scholarships to graduating seniors.

Student body president Nolan Egging opened the meeting with a quote from John F. Kennedy, while Mayor Wendell Koontz selected a quote from Ronald Reagan appropriate to Veterans Day.

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County annex closed for holiday

The Delta County North Fork Annex in Hotchkiss,

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West Elk Clinic participates in Medical Oral Expanded Care
West Elk Clinic participates in Medical Oral Expanded Care

West Elk Clinic in Hotchkiss is making strides to improve access to oral health in the North Fork through participation in the Medical Oral Expanded (MORE) Care program.

The DCMH West Elk Clinic has been working on this health initiative since May of this year.

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North Fork Children's Christmas Party seeks volunteers, sponsors

The North Fork Children's Christmas Party is seeking volunteers and sponsors.

Volunteers are needed for present-wrapping day Saturday, Dec. 2, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss.

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Mitch Swanda promoted to branch president in Hotchkiss

Bank of Colorado is pleased to announce the promotion of Mitch Swanda to branch president.

Bank of Colorado president Shawn Osthoff states, "We're excited to have Mitch's leadership skillset on display in Hotchkiss.

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Expect detour on Highway 92

The Town of Hotchkiss will be repairing a sewage line this week which will require the closure of Highway 92 at the west end of town, at the intersection of Bridge Street and Pinyon Drive.

Work will begin Wednesday, Nov. 15, and continue through Friday, Nov. 17.

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Volunteers, sponsors needed for Christmas party

The North Fork Children's Christmas Party is seeking volunteers and sponsors.

Volunteers are needed for present wrapping day Saturday, Dec. 2, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss.

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Hotchkiss chamber honors community champions

The stability that is a hallmark of the Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce was sustained during the chamber's annual meeting Nov. 7.

Tracy Ihnot, Nathan Sponseller, Sue Whittlesey and Bill Long were re-elected to two-year terms on the board.

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Guild wraps local veterans in quilts
Guild wraps local veterans in quilts

A Veterans Day tradition continued Saturday, with a breakfast hosted by S&B Quilters Guild at Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss. Twenty-five veterans and their families attended the event, the fourth held in Hotchkiss.

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Hotchkiss bids farewell to 'superhero' UPS driver
Hotchkiss bids farewell to 'superhero' UPS driver

It would be difficult to find a person in Hotchkiss who doesn't have a story to share about Matt Branham. For 24 straight years Branham has delivered and picked up packages in the North Fork area as a driver for UPS.

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Donations welcome

Hotchkiss Library Friends are accepting gently used books, recent magazines, and DVDs for their bookstore. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the bookstore and semi-annual book sales go directly to Hotchkiss Library.

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New clinic improves access to health care

The new and the old came together in Hotchkiss in September to herald the opening of the West Elk Clinic. Not only is the clinic new, so was the ceremonial ripping off of the bandaid to reveal the sign on the front of the building.

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Get on board at the library
Get on board at the library

Behind almost every successful library district is a hard-working, dedicated, governing board. The efforts of each board member, though invaluable to the districts they represent, tend to go unrecognized and even unnoticed by the overall community.

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DMEA swaps switches for system upgrade
DMEA swaps switches for system upgrade

Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) is in the process of replacing switches on its 46 kV power lines in the Olathe, Hotchkiss and Paonia areas. Switches in these areas have reached the end of their useful life and are now in need of replacement.

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Hotchkiss constable Robert Lewis to be memorialized
Hotchkiss constable Robert Lewis to be memorialized

On Nov. 21, 1898, Hotchkiss Constable Robert G. Lewis was killed in the line of duty. The unarmed lawman stepped between two men.

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CattleWomen sponsor beef cook-off

Every six weeks a new class at Hotchkiss K-8 begins learning about different life skills. The class includes a unit about cooking.

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Hotchkiss firefighters return from third national deployment

Through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a state-to-state method of sharing resources, Hotchkiss firefighters have been deployed to Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon and California this year.

Recently, four crew members from the Hotchkiss Fire District helped with firefighting efforts in northern California.

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North Fork celebrates Halloween
North Fork celebrates Halloween

Whatever your age, whether you're looking for a haunted house, a party, a good costume contest or Zombie 5k run/walk, or you just need a safe place to take the little ghosts and goblins on Halloween night, here are a few places to celebrate Halloween in the North Fork Valley.

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Pat Medina takes seat on Hotchkiss council
Pat Medina takes seat on Hotchkiss council

The Hotchkiss Town Council, during its Oct. 12 meeting, received an update on the membership drive underway for the North Fork Ambulance Association.

Kathy Steckel, executive director of the North Fork Ambulance Association, gave an update on the association's status.

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A heart for Hotchkiss
A heart for Hotchkiss

Retirement is a major lifestyle change for anyone, but for a restaurant owner who's dedicated nearly every waking hour to his business for 28 years, retirement was a shock to the system.

After Larry Jakubiak sold the North Fork Valley Restaurant to one of his employees three years ago, he decided to take it easy.

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ShadeScapes gala spotlights entrepreneurs
ShadeScapes gala spotlights entrepreneurs

This summer, ShadeScapes Americas was named a 2017 Colorado Company to Watch. The award acknowledges the drive, excellence and influence of ShadeScapes Americas as a growing company developing valuable products and services, creating quality jobs, enabling new industries and enriching the community of Hotchkiss and Delta County as a whole.

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What do Hotchkiss residents value?

According to a community survey, Hotchkiss residents value the small-town atmosphere and climate of "The Friendliest Town Around," but would like to see more recreational opportunities and a more attractive downtown area.

The survey was made available to anyone living in the Hotchkiss area as part of the process of updating the town's five-year-old master plan.

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Hotchkiss volleyball seeking Pink Out sponsors
Hotchkiss volleyball seeking Pink Out sponsors

The Hotchkiss volleyball program is seeking sponsors and donations for its Oct. 6 Pink Out games against Paonia. Each year the Colorado High School Activities Association, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, promotes breast cancer awareness during the month of October, which is also National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

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Pat Medina named to Hotchkiss Town Council

Pat Medina has been selected to fill a vacancy on the Hotchkiss Town Council created by the resignation of Larry Jakubiak. Her appointment runs until the municipal election in April.

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Higher speed limit raises concerns for pedestrians

Actions by the Colorado Department of Transportation have raised concerns about pedestrian safety in the Town of Hotchkiss.

At the Sept. 14 town council meeting, public works director Mike Owens reported that pedestrian crossing signs at several Bridge Street intersections were removed because CDOT officials felt there was too much sign "noise" on the street.

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Masons to lay cornerstone at Hotchkiss clinic on Friday

On Friday, Sept. 22, the Masonic Grand Lodge of Colorado will dedicate a cornerstone at the new West Elk Clinic -- Hotchkiss on West Hotchkiss Avenue in Hotchkiss. The tradition of dedication begins at 3 p.m. and is open to interested community members. The event is sponsored by the Mount Lamborn Masonic Lodge of Hotchkiss.

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It's Homecoming  at Hotchkiss High
It's Homecoming at Hotchkiss High

With a theme of Decades, Hotchkiss High School is celebrating Homecoming Week 2017!

Throughout the week, each class will represent a separate decade. Seniors are '90s, juniors are '70s, sophomores are '50s, and freshmen are '20s.

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Pink Out sponsors sought

The Hotchkiss Bulldogs volleyball program is seeking sponsors and donations for its Oct. 6 game against rival Paonia. "Hotchkiss Volleyball Pink Out" will recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness Week by raising money to support the oncology department at Delta County Memorial Hospital.

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Open house set for  forage demonstration plot
Open house set for forage demonstration plot

Landowners are invited to the "Forage Establishment, Renovation & Management Demonstration Plot Open House" on Friday, Oct. 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Delta County Fairgrounds (403 S. 4th Street, Hotchkiss). The event will be located on the southeast corner of the fairgrounds, by the river.

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Drawing a bead on the Old West
Drawing a bead on the Old West

History comes to life in the hills near Hotchkiss. Step back fifty years and you come to the start of the Colorado West Gun Club. Step back another hundred and you're smack-dab in the middle of the Wild West.

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Gusty winds down power line, cause brush fire
Gusty winds down power line, cause brush fire

A wildfire caused by a downed DMEA power line charred about five acres along Back River Road on Labor Day.

Dubbed the Back River Road Fire, Hotchkiss Fire District assistant fire chief Steve Schroder said the department received a report of a fire on Back River Road near Hotchkiss at about 6:15 p.m. Monday, Sept. 4.

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West Elk Clinic features all local art
West Elk Clinic features all local art

When Delta County Memorial Hospital committed to building a new clinic in Hotchkiss, it considered every detail. It wanted the best for the North Fork Valley community, and it wanted to be an integral part of the community.

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North Fork Creative Coalition represented

The following are North Fork Creative Coalition member artists represented at the West Elk Clinic in Hotchkiss:

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Open house set for  forage demonstration plot
Open house set for forage demonstration plot

Landowners are invited to the "Forage Establishment, Renovation & Management Demonstration Plot Open House" on Friday, Oct. 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Delta County Fairgrounds (403 S. 4th Street, Hotchkiss). The event will be located on the southeast corner of the fairgrounds, by the river.

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Local elk foundation chapter hosts banquet
Local elk foundation chapter hosts banquet

On Saturday Aug. 19, the North Fork Valley Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation held its seventh annual fundraising banquet at Heritage Hall at the Delta County Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss. The banquet sold out with funds raised from these events used to support wildlife conservation.

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Farm to Fiddle at success

Larry Jakubiak reported during the Aug. 17 Hotchkiss Town Council meeting that this year's Farm to Fiddle event, held on Aug. 11-12, was a success. There were good crowds for both days, and the music was a big draw.

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Hotchkiss meeting a lesson in civics
Hotchkiss meeting a lesson in civics

The opening comments to the final action of the night, Thursday's Hotchkiss Town Council meeting was a lesson on civics.

It was the final night for Larry Jakubiak on the council. In June he announced he would be resigning his position as a trustee in August, citing health reasons.

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DCMH receives $250,000 grant for clinic furnishings
DCMH receives $250,000 grant for clinic furnishings

Delta County Memorial Hospital was recently awarded $250,000 from the Colorado Health Foundation for the West Elk Clinic in Hotchkiss serving patients and families in Hotchkiss, Paonia and Crawford areas.

This grant will be used for equipment and interior furnishings at the new West Elk Clinic which is expected to open in early September for North Fork residents.

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Correction for new complex in Hotchkiss

An item in the Sports section on page B5 of the Aug. 9 Delta County Independent should have said that the baseball complex represented in the diagram is being proposed by the North Fork Pool, Park and Recreation District, in partnership with the Home Plate Baseball Association.

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Music, food and fun on tap at Farm to Fiddle in Hotchkiss

Meanderers, music lovers and localvores are invited to Hotchkiss this weekend to experience the bounty of the North Fork Valley, which will be on display at the second annual Farm to Fiddle Summer Music Festival.

"Something for everyone" can sometimes be a promise unfulfilled -- not so at Farm to Fiddle.

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Harness club carries on a rich tradition
Harness club carries on a rich tradition

When grand marshal Richard Bailey rides through downtown Hotchkiss in the Delta County Fair parade this Aug. 12, he'll ride in a carriage pulled by a team of Brabant red roan draft horses.

They're not what some would consider a show breed, said Eunice Ward of the Brabants. They were bred for their strength.

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Up and coming singer to perform at the fair

One of the country's most up and coming singers will perform at the Delta County Fair Friday, Aug. 11, at 8 p.m.

Concertgoers will recognize his number one hit, "I Met a Girl," and other grew new music off his album "Vinyl."

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Fair board member, 4-H leader named parade grand marshal
Fair board member, 4-H leader named parade grand marshal

A longtime Delta County Fair Board member and 4-H leader was chosen as the grand marshal of the 112th annual Delta County Fair parade.

For 20 years, Richard Bailey and wife Marilyn were active with the fair. They were on the Delta County Fair Board, were 4-H leaders, and served as sheep superintendents.

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Demolition Derby returns this Saturday
Demolition Derby returns this Saturday

One of the most popular big events of the Delta County Fair is back.

After a three-year hiatus, the fairgrounds arena will once again fill with the thrill of cars smashing into one another when the Demolition Derby kicks off the 112th annual Delta County Fair this Saturday night at the fairgrounds in Hotchkiss.

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Volunteer, community support are key to the fair's success
Volunteer, community support are key to the fair's success

The Delta County Fair Board is a hardworking bunch, but without the support of additional volunteers, event sponsors and livestock buyers, it would be impossible to pull off this annual event.

"Every person on the fair board is on a committee, or is a chairman of a committee," said Gary Peebles, fair board president. "You're not on there for the prestige, that's for sure."

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Creamery offering kids cartooning classes

The Creamery Arts Center is calling for artists to submit works for its annual fall show, which runs Sept. 1-30. Works should be submitted at the Creamery, 165 Bridge Street, on or before Aug. 19.

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Hotchkiss grants setback variance for church expansion

The Hotchkiss council dealt with a lengthy agenda at its July meeting. Pastor Jake DeField from the First Baptist Church at 203 W. Main Street was granted a setback variance.

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People in the News Kesler

Nicholas Kesler, of Hotchkiss graduated from Fort Lewis College on Saturday, April 29.

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Street lights are 'way too bright' for Hotchkiss man

The Hotchkiss Town Council, at its July meeting, again discussed town streetlights at the request of resident Matthew Kottenstette.

Several months ago he lobbied a complaint with the town about the two streetlights adjacent to his home on Orchard Street, which he said are too bright.

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NFPPR survey to help guide GOCO grant app.

The North Fork Pool, Parks & Recreation District has partnered with Hotchkiss Home Plate Baseball Association to build a baseball and softball complex to the North Fork Pool on Bulldog Street. They are currently working on a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant application to fund the project.

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Self-guided small acreage pasture tour at fairgrounds
Self-guided small acreage pasture tour at fairgrounds

Tri-River Area small acreage landowners are invited to a "Management of Small Acreage Pastures Self-Guided Tour," during the 2017 Delta County Fair, scheduled for August 6-12 at the Delta County Fairgrounds, 403 S. 4th Street, Hotchkiss. The 2-acre plot is located on the southeast corner of the fairgrounds, by the river.

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Register now for demolition derby

After a three-year hiatus the popular Demolition Derby is returning to the Delta County Fair.

Scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 5, at the Delta County Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss, the derby promises a great night of mayhem and destruction. The event includes a car division and a truck division, plus an ATV Barrel Challenge.

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Lady Bugs welcome three new members

Red Hat Hotchkiss Lady Bugs met Thursday, July 13. for a fantastic potluck at the home of Queen Carole McDaniel. They celebrated the 4th of July in her gazebo with red, white, and blue decorations.

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Team Bike Beyond pitstops in Hotchkiss
Team Bike Beyond pitstops in Hotchkiss

After a full day of working the Telluride Yoga Festival, Nancy Stechert, the owner of the Yoga Tree in Hotchkiss, loaded up her stuff and headed back home, where a group of about 20 bicyclists from all over the world were waiting for her, road-weary and hungry, having just pulled into town on their 50th day of a cross-country bike ride to bring awareness to the issue of Type 1 Diabetes. Stechert and the Yoga Tree hosted the riders last Saturday, providing a place to stay and a hot meal.

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Schools benefit from sport facilities upgrades
Schools benefit from sport facilities upgrades

Fall prep sports season is in the air. Summer camps are underway, and practices can officially begin in a mere 19 days. And after years of negotiating the rough and uneven surfaces of their eight-lane track, Hotchkiss High School athletes now have a smooth rubberized surface to train on and to sink their cleats into.

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County worker resuscitates child

A county Human Services Department employee's professional knowledge and quick action at work helped to resuscitate a young child who had stopped breathing, the county commissioners learned on Monday.

Rita Fowler, a caseworker for the county's Adult Protective Services unit at the North Fork Annex, was working at her desk recently.

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Hotchkiss isn't interested in de-annexation
Hotchkiss isn't interested in de-annexation

An Arkansas family received a painful lesson on Delta County development regs last week when they petitioned the Town of Hotchkiss to de-annex their property, allowing them to build three homes without having to abide by the town's subdivision specifications. Trustees replied emphatically "no can do."

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Time running out to direct future growth in Hotchkiss

If you call Hotchkiss home, you have just days left to make your voice heard and help guide future growth and development for your community for the next 10 years. Members of the Hotchkiss Planning Commission and Hotchkiss Town Council are asking residents one last time to be active participants in the community by filling out a short survey, the information from which will be used to draft the town's master plan update.

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Hotchkiss farm is awash in purple-hued splendor
Hotchkiss farm is awash in purple-hued splendor

It's hard to say what catches the attention of a visitor first: the collective hum of hundreds of buzzing bees nestled in the stalks of 600 blooming lavender plants; or, the deep, vivid purple-hued plants themselves, gorgeously stretched out the length of an orchard, with cherry and peach trees along either side of the neat rows, and the West Elk Mountains as a backdrop. Equally as tantalizing to the senses is the earthy fragrance: the sunshine and soil and fresh, clean air, all of which enhances the warm, rich scent of fresh lavender.

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Hotchkiss Fine Arts show opens at Creamery
Hotchkiss Fine Arts show opens at Creamery

Dorothy Garber would have so enjoyed Friday night's opening at the Creamery Arts Center.

"Changing Direction: New Work by the Hotchkiss Fine Art Association" showcases a variety of mediums by HFAA artist-members Dana Bradley, Rosalie Clock, Jeanine Cowan, Dona Doye, Cedar Keshet Fowler, Gary Hall, Peter Halladay Bobby Hass, Peggy Judy, Mary Jursinovic, Emily Matteson, Gini McNair, Mary Smith, Jean M. Storz, Jaquita Watters, and Lynne Norton Anderson (with Robert Lueallen as firemeister for her raku pottery).

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ShadeScapes is Colorado Company to Watch
ShadeScapes is Colorado Company to Watch

ShadeScapes Americas has been named a 2017 Colorado Company to Watch. The award acknowledges the drive, excellence and influence of ShadeScapes Americas as a growing company developing valuable products and services, creating quality jobs, enabling new industries and enriching the community.

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Hotchkiss grad joins Marine Corps
Hotchkiss grad joins Marine Corps

Kaila Harward of Lazear became a United States Marine on May 5.

She graduated in the top 10 percent of her series and was meritoriously promoted to private first class the same day.

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Hotchkiss receives water quality reporting violation
Hotchkiss receives water quality reporting violation

The Town of Hotchkiss received a violation notice this month from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment because not all town water users submitted results of their backflow prevention devices. The health department requires municipalities, and by extension individual water users, to annually test the devices.

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Tibetan monks to visit the North Fork

Tibetan Monks Mystical Arts Tour will visit Paonia and Hotchkiss July 13-18. The monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery in India will perform healing and blessing ceremonies and share the Tibetan culture during their visit.

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Good Sams share good time at fairgrounds
Good Sams share good time at fairgrounds

For the last 17 years a group of Western Slope Good Sams have gathered during the fourth weekend in June at the Delta County Fairgrounds for three days of food, games, entertainment and camaraderie.

The "Western Slope Camp-A-Rama is a "mini Sam-boree" says Montrose Good Sam member Mike Carver, who with wife Susan joined the organization in 1993. They have been southwest area assistant state directors since 1998.

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River awareness float filled with superheroes
River awareness float filled with superheroes

Many a superhero were spotted at the Western Slope Conservation Center's Float Fest on the morning of June 3. The festival's superhero theme celebrated the organization's 40 years of dedication to watershed stewardship, public lands advocacy, and environmental education in Delta County and beyond, as well as the vast community support making these efforts possible.

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Hotchkiss plans to build $1 million water tank
Hotchkiss plans to build $1 million water tank

Staff and trustees for the Town of Hotchkiss are working toward replacing one of the town's three water storage tanks within the next year, a project that will cost an estimated $1 million.

Town engineer Joanne Fagan presented the proposal at a June 8 public meeting.

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People in the News Katzdorn

Kurt Katzdorn of Hotchkiss has been named to the spring honor roll at McPherson College, a four-year private liberal arts college located in central Kansas.

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Jakubiak resigns from Hotchkiss council
Jakubiak resigns from Hotchkiss council

With a hearty "Let's rock and roll!" Hotchkiss mayor pro-tem Larry Jakubiak called to order the town council meeting on June 8 promptly at 6:30 p.m. Seated next to him was Marlene Searle, town clerk extraordinaire (seriously -- it's on her name plate).

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Farm to Fiddle is beneficiary of pasta dinner June 19

A Kids Pasta Project dinner on Monday, June 19, will benefit both the Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival and the Revitalize Hotchkiss/Colorado Main Street program. The dinner will be hosted at ShadeScapes Americas, 122 E. Bridge Street in Hotchkiss and begins at 6 p.m.

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Booze, marijuana and money: all in a night's work in Hotchkiss

The Hotchkiss Town Council made quick work of a lengthy agenda on June 8. The council approved the first reading of two ordinances that will be officially adopted within the coming months.

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Reception planned for Mary Woodruff, former HHS teacher
Reception planned for Mary Woodruff, former HHS teacher

Friends and former students are invited to a party for former Hotchkiss teacher, Mary Woodruff. It will be held at the Hotchkiss Senior Citizen Center at 276 W. Main Street Saturday, June 17, from 2-4 p.m. Refreshments will be served and memories shared.

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People in the News Fisher

Isaac Fisher of Hotchkiss, a veterinary medicine major, was recognized for outstanding academic achievement by being named to the spring semester Dean's List at Iowa State University.

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Safety, property rights challenges Hotchkiss council

An issue of public safety versus private property rights was briefly discussed at the last town council meeting in Hotchkiss, after a resident complained that the street light located on the north end of 2nd Street near the railroad tracks is too bright and is a disturbance.

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Longtime teacher to be honored

An open house will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 17, at the Hotchkiss Senior Center at 276 W. Main. The open house will be hosted by Mary Woodruff's home economics "girls" and single survivor "boys."

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Hotchkiss residents may soon see an increase in town fees

The Town of Hotchkiss will soon implement new fees and increase others. "These fees are designed to be sustaining, but not make money," explained Mayor Wendell Koontz.

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Longtime teacher to be honored

An open house will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 17, at the Hotchkiss Senior Center at 276 W. Main. The open house will be hosted by Mary Woodruff's home economics "girls" and single survivor "boys."

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A day set aside to remember

Monday, May 29, was a day set aside for remembering the fallen men and women who fought for the freedom of every American. Each person celebrates and remembers in their own fashion.

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Hotchkiss Library celebrates re-opening
Hotchkiss Library celebrates re-opening

There is not an idle hand on deck at the Hotchkiss Library these days. Eight weeks of summer reading programs are fast approaching, library staff has been busy with visits to local schools, and the recent Hotchkiss Library Friends book sale wrapped up with over $900 in used book sales.

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Peace Circle awards scholarships
Peace Circle awards scholarships

Peace Circle has awarded $1,000 scholarships to six Hotchkiss-area graduating seniors.

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Stock dog trial results listed

Results from 14th annual Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials, May 12-14:

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HHS graduates are ready for the future

Though small in number, the graduates of Hotchkiss High School garnered $533,404 in scholarships. As the graduates crossed the stage to receive their diplomas, those scholarships and each student's career plans were read aloud.

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Volunteers offer 'a little help' to seniors
Volunteers offer 'a little help' to seniors

Last Saturday some 40 volunteers with A Little Help North Fork Valley descended on the homes of senior residents to provide a little help.

ALH is a Denver-based nonprofit that connects neighbors and helps seniors thrive. Held each spring and fall, Service Saturdays provide an opportunity for members to receive assistance with various chores in and around the house.

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Crowds flock to Hotchkiss stock dog trials
Crowds flock to Hotchkiss stock dog trials

With the exception of a little wind, the weather couldn't have been more cooperative for the 14th annual Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials. The three-day event drew some 75 dog/handler teams, and some of the biggest crowds in recent history.

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Hotchkiss stock dog trials a 3-day event
Hotchkiss stock dog trials a 3-day event

What started 14 years ago as the Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials has grown into a community-wide event. Over the years numerous activities have grown up around the trials, held annually over the Mother's Day weekend.

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Hotchkiss ewaste event benefits more than the chamber
Hotchkiss ewaste event benefits more than the chamber

Who knew that an Amana Radarange microwave oven weighs almost 70 pounds?

One such item was among the approximately 13,868 pounds of electronic waste dropped off by about 165 people that participated in the annual Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce E-Waste recycling event held on Earth Day.

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A hard life lesson from victim of drunk driving

It's springtime, and for a high school junior or senior, thoughts of prom and upcoming graduations take center stage. The dress, the tux, the scholarship deadlines, and the countdown to that last day of school ... it's all so exciting, so full of promise.

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Simulation puts disaster response team to test
Simulation puts disaster response team to test

A two-day training that took place last Thursday and Friday at the Maloney House in Hotchkiss simulated a 17-member incident management team and its response to a large tornado in Chelsea County, a fictitious county based on a real Colorado county.

Put on by the Southwest Incident Management Team, the tornado badly damaged facilities from hospitals to animal rescue shelters and there were numerous deaths, trainer Paul Hollar, a member of the Southwest Incident Management Team.

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'Best places to retire' lists Hotchkiss, Paonia

Two North Fork area communities recently made a list of the top 500 towns and cities in the U.S. for retirement.

LendEDU, an organization offering a marketplace for student loans and student loan refinance, states in the introduction to the study related to the list that "retirement is as topical an issue as ever."

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Hospital chief talks about local, national healthcare concerns
Hospital chief talks about local, national healthcare concerns

A capacity crowd showed up for a town hall meeting last week in Hotchkiss where Jason Cleckler, CEO of Delta County Memorial Hospital, spoke about both local and national health care issues. Over 60 people gathered for the nearly two hour presentation and Q&A session that Crawford resident Cynthia Hines organized in an effort to spur the community into action to help address health care concerns on both the local and national level.

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'Dust Bowl' gets facelift for spring season
'Dust Bowl' gets facelift for spring season

The ball fields at the Delta County Fairgrounds received a facelift just in time for Hotchkiss Home Plate's spring practice season. Home Plate provides the North Fork area's youth opportunities to play more baseball and softball.

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Town council brings local government to HHS students
Town council brings local government to HHS students

The issues facing the Hotchkiss Town Council may seem mundane, but Hotchkiss Mayor Wendell Koontz stressed the importance of hard work and common sense in keeping the Town of Hotchkiss running smoothly. His comments were addressed to the Hotchkiss High School students who were invited to participate in the council's regular meeting.

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Hotchkiss launches master plan update

The planning commission and the town council for Hotchkiss have launched a master plan update process, and the community is invited to weigh in on the future development of the town.

Everyone in the greater Hotchkiss community -- not just town proper -- are invited to fill out one of the eight-page surveys.

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Local handlers preparing for stock dog trials
Local handlers preparing for stock dog trials

The 14th annual Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trial is less than six weeks away. And while the event attracts teams from across the western U.S., several locals are busy preparing for this year's trials.

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Hotchkiss lends a hand to Elevate Fiber

The crews at Elevate Fiber have hit a snag that could delay Hotchkiss residents from getting high speed internet. Mark Kurtz with Elevate/DMEA was at the Hotchkiss Town Council meeting last week, "hat in hand," he said, to seek a piece of property where crews can build a communications building to serve the local access of Elevate's fiber project.

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Pocket parks renamed to honor community members
Pocket parks renamed to honor community members

The community of Hotchkiss seems to be in a single frame of mind: improvement, improvement, improvement. From applying for the Colorado Main Street Program to help with economic development, to hosting a variety of events to bring people to town, it seems as if every entity -- the chamber, the town government, the downtown merchants group -- are all working cohesively toward the future, and the future is bright.

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Donations down for grad night, Hotchkiss Boosters

The Town of Hotchkiss is pinching pennies, which means fewer donations are going out the door, as the Hotchkiss Booster Club and Hotchkiss Grad Night committee learned last week.

Each year, the Booster Club asks the town for a contribution for ongoing booster activities and for a second donation specifically for grad night.

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Hotchkiss car seat tech committed to child safety

In the U.S., motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among children ages 12 and under, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hotchkiss EMT and volunteer firefighter Bev Shelten wants parents and guardians of young children to know that many of those deaths can be prevented.

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Mending Hearts meets on Thursdays

Mending Hearts grief support group will be meeting on Thursdays, March 16 - May 18, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Coal Train Coffee House at 328 W. Bridge Street in Hotchkiss.

Mending Hearts is free of charge and open to anyone coping with the death of a loved one.

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Artistry, fine craftmanship on display
Artistry, fine craftmanship on display

For over 20 years, the artisans of S&B Quilters' Guild have presented the annual Cabin Fever Quilt Show. The biennial show began in 1994, and it's time once again to experience the beauty, craftsmanship, talent and creativity that is poured into every stitch and block.

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Hotchkiss library closes this week for renovation

The Hotchkiss Library will soon get a facelift, prompting a three-week closure of the branch. Before the library closes, patrons are able to check out entire boxes of materials at once, and keep the items throughout the renovation period.

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Farm to Fiddle fundraiser is March 24 in Hotchkiss
Farm to Fiddle fundraiser is March 24 in Hotchkiss

There's something so satisfying about sinking your teeth into a Navajo taco. Warm, crispy fry bread topped with chili and piled high with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and onions, the flavor of the chili soaking into the fry bread, each bite a new sensation.

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ShadeScapes open house showcases historic renovation

When is a building more than a simple building, more than drywall and 2x4s, more than paint and fixtures, more than a place where spreadsheets are created and invoices billed out? The staff of ShadeScapes Americas in Hotchkiss are eager to answer those questions as they showcase their newly-renovated building this weekend.

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ShadeScapes nominated as company to watch

ShadeScapes Americas, a Hotchkiss-based company which designs architectural grade residential and commercial shade umbrellas, has been nominated as a Colorado Company to Watch for 2017.

The program honors 50 second stage companies that develop products or services which help create quality jobs, enrich communities and create new industries.

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Hotchkiss Angus breeder recognized

T N T Angus, Hotchkiss, recently enrolled in the American Angus Association®'s MaternalPlus® program as a commitment to making genetic improvements in lifetime cow herd productivity. Breeders participating in MaternalPlus are keenly focused to better evaluate herd reproductive performance, the number one profit driver in the cow-calf industry.

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People in the News Wellman

Edna Wellman of Hotchkiss received a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Western Governors University (WGU).

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Lady Bugs celebrate first anniversary
Lady Bugs celebrate first anniversary

Red Hat Hotchkiss Lady Bugs met at Zach's in Hotchkiss to celebrate its first anniversary on Thursday Feb. 16. The hostesses for the event were Sue Sidebottom and Mollie Young.

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Hotchkiss man convicted of sexual assault on a child

A Hotchkiss man was found guilty last week on felony charges of sex assault on a child and enticement of a child. Both are Class 4 felonies.

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Historic rifles donated to Hotchkiss museum
Historic rifles donated to Hotchkiss museum

The Hotchkiss Crawford Historical Museum was recently gifted with three antique rifles that once belonged to Hotchkiss town founder, Enos T. Hotchkiss. The rifles were a gift to the collection by Enos's great-grandson, John Hotchkiss.

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Carr honored for years of promoting beef
Carr honored for years of promoting beef

A new calf was born last week at the ranch of Marvin and Pauline Carr in Hotchkiss. In between caring for the animal and neighbors dropping by to check on the new addition to the herd, Pauline also found time to chat about another passion of hers: the promotion of local agriculture, local beef and beef nutrition.

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One library patron's perspective on programs
One library patron's perspective on programs

The value of our local public libraries can be seen countywide with satisfied users young and old. From the toddler attending weekly storytimes to the residents of a senior care center having books delivered to their doors, Delta County Libraries reaches so many people in so many different ways. In 2016 alone, there were 250,597 visits to the five libraries in Delta County.

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Hotchkiss celebrates agriculture's promising future

As the end of the year draws closer every day, the Hotchkiss FFA Chapter is looking forward to celebrating our organization during National FFA Week. This special week is an opportunity for FFA members, alumni and sponsors to advocate for agricultural education and FFA.

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What's happening at the Hotchkiss-Crawford Museum

The Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society will hold its annual meeting on Sunday, Feb. 26, at Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss. To help folks understand the work of the society at the museum, Chuck Farmer submitted a Curator Report for 2016:

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Hotchkiss takes first step toward Main St. program

The Town of Hotchkiss has lent its support to the Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce as that organization seeks to become an affiliate with the DOLA-managed Colorado Main Street Program. The town sent a letter officially requesting affiliate status to DOLA last week.

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Appeals court upholds ruling on pesticide drift

The Colorado Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Hotchkiss area rancher who drew objections from his neighbors when his pesticides drifted onto their property.

James Hopper was found in violation of a contempt order, sentenced to two days in jail and ordered to pay a fine of $7,500. The appeals court affirmed that ruling.

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Hotchkiss crime numbers 'about average' in 2016

The Hotchkiss Marshal's Office filed reports on 1,421 incidents in 2016. That number is about average for the past five years, said Marshal Dan Miller. In 2015, 1,395 incidents were reported.

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Archaelogist to speak at annual meeting

The annual meeting of the Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. in the Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss. The speaker will be Glade Hadden, archaeologist with the Montrose office of the BLM, on the Eagle Rock archaeological site west of Hotchkiss.

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North Fork raptor field trips scheduled

The Black Canyon Chapter of the Audubon Society is offering four field trips to look for raptors (eagles, hawks, owls and falcons) in the Montrose and North Fork areas. The trips will be limited to 12 people per day on a first come, first serve basis.

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Hotchkiss bird count yields interesting results
Hotchkiss bird count yields interesting results

About 25 participated in this year's Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count in Hotchkiss. The count was organized by the Black Canyon Audubon Society (BCAS).

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People in the News Fisher

Isaac Fisher of Hotchkiss, a veterinary medicine major, has been named to the 2016 Dean's List at Iowa State University.

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Archaelogist to speak at annual meeting

The annual meeting of the Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. in the Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss. The speaker will be Glade Hadden, archaeologist with the Montrose office of the BLM, on the Eagle Rock archaeological site west of Hotchkiss.

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Tragedy turns into learning opportunity
Tragedy turns into learning opportunity

Hotchkiss K-8 students were given a rare opportunity to study one of the biggest cats in the world. Early in the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 11, a female mountain lion was killed by a vehicle on Highway 133 near Hotchkiss.

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Call for entries

S&B Quilters Guild is seeking entries for the 2017 Cabin Fever Quilt Show to be held March 17-19 at the Delta County Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss. Cash prizes will be awarded to winning entries. The show will feature lots of talent, fun, vendors, food and a raffle quilt.

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Hotchkiss FFA alumni plan kickoff meeting

The Hotchkiss FFA Alumni is supported by the Colorado FFA Alumni and the National FFA Alumni in their vision of students whose lives are impacted by FFA and agricultural education will achieve academic and personal growth, strengthen American agriculture and provide leadership to build healthy local communities, a strong nation and a sustainable world.

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Hotchkiss council okays donation to stock dog trials
Hotchkiss council okays donation to stock dog trials

Despite a tight budget the Hotchkiss council voted to support the annual Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trial event with a $500 donation. The 14th annual trials will be held May 12-14, which is also Mother's Day weekend.

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Hotchkiss officer now sheriff's deputy
Hotchkiss officer now sheriff's deputy

After almost five years with the Hotchkiss Marshal's Office, Gates Shaklee has accepted a position with the Delta County Sheriff's Office. Officer Shaklee joined the department in April, 2012.

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Hotchkiss to update master plan in 2017

The Town of Hotchkiss is preparing for a periodic review of its community master plan in 2017 and is hoping for public input and participation.

The Hotchkiss Community Master Plan, in part, provides a statement of community goals and objectives and an assessment of the town's needs, said Tom Wills, a trustee and lead planner on the Hotchkiss Planning Commission.

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Casino Night raises funds for scholarships

The North Fork Valley Rotary Club will host its annual Casino Night from 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Shade-Scapes, 122 E. Bridge Street in Hotchkiss. The event will include poker, blackjack, prizes, a silent auction and lots of fun.

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'Dogs lose games to PV
'Dogs lose games to PV

Hotchkiss' Bulldogs played a pair of basketball games this past week, beginning with Caprock Academy on Jan. 6.

Hotchkiss' girls left little doubt as to who the winner was going to be with a 27-0 sprint through the first quarter of play.

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North Fork real estate active in 2016
North Fork real estate active in 2016

Three properties owned by the Town of Paonia that went on the market this fall didn't take long to go under contract. Each of the three parcels have what many buyers are looking for in the North Fork area -- small parcels with a house, and small acreages, preferably with good water rights.

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Hotchkiss water tank needs repair
Hotchkiss water tank needs repair

Hotchkiss Town Council learned at the Dec. 8 meeting that the Department of Local Affairs will amend its grant funding agreement for sewer projects, extending funding to January 31, 2018. Last year the town completed an in-town, $1.8 million sanitation line upgrade.

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Hotchkiss Christmas Bird Count is Jan. 1
Hotchkiss Christmas Bird Count is Jan. 1

The 117th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count is underway across the nation. In Delta County, the Black Canyon Audubon Society will host its annual Christmas Bird Count in Hotchkiss on Saturday, Jan. 1.

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Hotchkiss facing budget shortfall in 2017
Hotchkiss facing budget shortfall in 2017

At the Dec. 8 meeting, Hotchkiss Town Council unanimously approved the three ordinances needed to pass the 2017 budget.

For the first time since she became town clerk, Marlene Searle said expenses exceed revenues.

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Santa to visit Hotchkiss fire station

Santa will be making his annual visit to the Hotchkiss Fire Station on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Come talk with Santa and give him your list in a peaceful, noncommercial environment.

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Hotchkiss zeroes in on mobile home regs

Hotchkiss council held a public discussion and a first reading of the latest draft of the Mobile Home and Travel Homes Regulations at the Nov. 10 public meeting. After almost two years of dialogue and revisions, one issue, a 25-year age limit on trailers imported into town limits, is the final objection held by mobile home and mobile home park owners and some members of council.

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Santa to visit Hotchkiss fire station

Santa will be making his annual visit to the Hotchkiss Fire Station on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Come talk with Santa and give him your list in a peaceful, noncommercial environment.

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Students witness how government works
Students witness how government works

As it has for the past five years, the Hotchkiss Town Council welcomed the Hotchkiss High School student council to the November monthly council meeting. Involving students in the democratic process allows for better interaction between the town and the school and provides students valuable experience, said Mayor Wendell Koontz in welcoming the students to the head table.

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Guild wraps local veterans in quilts
Guild wraps local veterans in quilts

Veterans were honored last Saturday with quilts made by members of S&B Quilters' Guild. The event was held at Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss.

At least a dozen quilts went home with veterans.

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Forum gathers thoughts about schools
Forum gathers thoughts about schools

What opportunities can the Delta County School District offer its students in the next one to three years? What are the district's greatest assets in terms of opportunity? How can the communities be engaged in student education?

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Lease solves easement issue for Hotchkiss firm
Lease solves easement issue for Hotchkiss firm

Big B's juice and cider manufacturing facility on Fourth Street was granted a six-month lease after a temporary structure was found to be encroaching on a utility easement within the town right of way.

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Chamber honors Hotchkiss' best

During its annual meeting on Nov. 9, the Hotchkiss Area Chamber of Commerce honored the organizers of a successful first-year community event, a new non-profit that rallied the North Fork community to build a permanent home for a local family, and a local business for its continuing service and support for the community and its youth.

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DCMH breaks ground on Hotchkiss facility
DCMH breaks ground on Hotchkiss facility

Delta County Memorial Hospital plans to open its new DCMH Hotchkiss Family Medicine facility by next summer.

"I think this is a great project for the hospital," said DCMH CEO Jason Cleckler at a Nov. 4 groundbreaking ceremony. "It certainly shows our ongoing dedication to health care across the entire county."

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HHS students to take part in town meeting

In a tradition that began about five years ago, members of the Hotchkiss High School student government will participate in the Nov. 10 Hotchkiss Town Council meeting. By being a part of the process, students witness how decisions are made at the town level.

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Shortfall has Hotchkiss looking for budget cuts

The Town of Hotchkiss is looking to trim almost $160,000 in order to balance its draft budget for fiscal year 2017. The draft budget projects 2017 revenues of $741,269 and expenses of $901,209.

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Eradication efforts take aim at Russian olives, tamarisk
Eradication efforts take aim at Russian olives, tamarisk

Eradicating invasive plant species can be a Sisyphean feat, but that's not stopping conservation groups from trying.

Ralph D'Alessandro is vice president of the board of supervisors for the Delta Conservation District.

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Hotchkiss-based firm hiring laid-off miners

As Delta County's mining industry lays off workers, a small fiber installation business based in Hotchkiss is grabbing those workers up and giving them jobs.

Eric and Teresa Neal and son Dakota Coats own Lightworks Fiber & Consulting LLC.

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Hotchkiss continues to fine tune mobile home regs

The Hotchkiss Town Council will again consider draft changes to the town's "Mobile Home, Mobile Home Park and RV Park Regulations" following an Oct. 13 public hearing. Trustees heard from a handful of citizens about how proposed changes unfairly target affordable housing and may impact the availability of affordable housing in the town.

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Busy week of activities at Hillman House
Busy week of activities at Hillman House

An open house will be held 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Hillman House, 551 Juniper Street in Hotchkiss.

The house was built for Mike Hillman, who was injured in a fall last May and is now a quadriplegic.

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Hatchery recovering from bacterial infection
Hatchery recovering from bacterial infection

The Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery's Quonset hut is finally getting a new roof. Hatchery manager Adam Mendoza said the new cover, which is anticipated to be installed sometime this fall, should be able to withstand the strong spring winds that blow through the canyon and that damaged the 90,000 square foot structure in March 2014.

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Paonia awards project to Hotchkiss company

Trustees for the Town of Paonia voted unanimously to approve contracts for the Out of Town Waterline Replacements Project to Pitt Construction Company, LLC, in Hotchkiss. Pitt, one of 10 companies to bid on the project, submitted the winning bid of $701,507.38.

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New owner has ideas for lot

Roya Beklik attended the Hotchkiss council meeting on Oct. 13 to introduce herself. She recently purchased the lot at 191 E. Bridge Street, directly east of the former Coyote Drive-In.

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Council updated on Farm to Fiddle, broadband

Organizers of the first Farm to Fiddle celebration say they plan to bring the festival back for a second year. The event was held during the weekend of the Delta County Fair.

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Test plot open house a growing success
Test plot open house a growing success

Farmers, ranchers, orchardists and growers of all levels share one common, perennial problem: Weeds. "Even people with small lots have problems with weeds," said Sarah Wilson, a seasonal employee with Mesa County Noxious Weed and Pest Management.

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Seed library continues to grow
Seed library continues to grow

With the first frost of the season, many gardeners throughout Delta County begin the process of putting garden beds to rest for the winter. The cycle of preparing soil, planting seeds, nurturing plants and reaping the harvest is a process that many Delta County residents relish, just as they relish the flavor of homegrown, quality food.

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Angus breeder noted for cow productivity

Cotten Angus of Hotchkiss recently re-enrolled in the American Angus Association®'s MaternalPlus® program as a commitment to making genetic improvements in lifetime cow herd productivity. Breeders participating in MaternalPlus are keenly focused to better evaluate herd reproductive performance, the number one profit driver in the cow-calf industry.

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Runway fashion show to benefit Hillman House
Runway fashion show to benefit Hillman House

Fashion and art will be the highlight of the Nov. 5 Gallery and Runway Benefit for the Hillman House.

The event is the idea of Chelsy Reed.

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Fairgrounds disc golf course officially opens
Fairgrounds disc golf course officially opens

The North Fork Valley now has its own 18-hole disc golf course.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, the Delta County Fairgrounds Disc Golf Course was officially opened to the public.

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Gallob to sign her newest mystery at Creamery opening
Gallob to sign her newest mystery at Creamery opening

Karen Gallob's newest book is out, just in time to poke fun at the political turmoil of an election year.

The Crawford resident will be signing "The Climbing Dog Affair" Friday, Oct. 7, during the monthly opening reception at the Creamery Arts Center in Hotchkiss.

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Mobile home regs hearing tonight

A public hearing on possible revisions to the Hotchkiss Mobile Home, Mobile Home Park and Recreational Vehicle Park Regulations will be held tonight at the Hotchkiss Planning Commission meeting.

The hearing will begin at 6 p.m., which is a half-hour earlier than the regular meeting time.

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Fairgrounds disc golf dedication Saturday

Delta County and the Town of Hotchkiss will dedicate the new disc golf course at the Delta County Fairgrounds at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1.

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Field tour visits small hydro power project
Field tour visits small hydro power project

On the morning of Aug. 30 a field tour sponsored by the Delta Conservation District left the Delta County Fairgrounds in route to Powell Mesa. Its destination: A newly installed small-hydro power generation facility just north of Hotchkiss that has benefitted by years of work to enable inspection and approval of small hydropower facilities in Colorado.

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Celebrating tomatoes

The third annual Tomato Fest took place in Hotchkiss on Saturday, Sept. 17. This year's festival featured a tomato-themed fashion show organized by library staff in partnership with Robbie Winne of The Rose in Hotchkiss.

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Hotchkiss FFA recaps summer, looks forward to a new year
Hotchkiss FFA recaps summer, looks forward to a new year

This summer was a very eventful time for the Hotchkiss FFA Chapter under Coley Wondra, with State FFA Convention in June, Washington Leadership Conference in July, and the Delta County Fair in August.

The Colorado state convention this year was held in Sterling and the chapter had over 20 members in attendance.

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Hotchkiss council grants variances for hospital clinic
Hotchkiss council grants variances for hospital clinic

After making a recent trip to Monticello, the historic home of Thomas Jefferson, Hotchkiss Mayor Wendell Koontz opened the Sept. 8 meeting with two quotes attributed to the third U.S. president, founding father and principal author of the Declaration of Independence.

"When angry, count to 10 before you speak. If very angry, count to 100."

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Hotchkiss author pens first novel
Hotchkiss author pens first novel

Author Flannery O'Conner once suggested that anyone who survives childhood has enough material in them to write for the rest of their life.

For Hotchkiss resident Sunshine Knight, that material began to flow eight years ago while on a solo trip through New England seeking inspiration for her first novel.

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Celebrate the Fork dinner set for Oct. 1

The second Celebrate the Fork Farm to Table dinner, a fundraiser for the North Fork Valley Creative District, will be held Saturday, Oct. 1, at Heritage Hall in Hotchkiss. This year's menu options, all made from locally sourced products, include pheasant or beef Bourguignon.

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'What do you want to ask your neighbors?'

The Hotchkiss Planning Commission is currently preparing a planning survey that will be sent out as part of the upcoming 2017 Hotchkiss Community Master Plan periodic update process.

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Hotchkiss to finance Hillman Trust tap fee

Trustees for the Town of Hotchkiss voted unanimously last week to make a rare exception to finance almost $10,000 in tap fees in what they all agree is a very unique situation.

The Hillman House Trust agreed to make monthly payments of $466 for two years to pay for water and sewer tap fees associated with the home they are building for Mike Hillman.

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Elk Foundation hosts banquet
Elk Foundation hosts banquet

On Saturday Aug. 20, the North Fork Valley Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation held its sixth annual fundraising banquet at Heritage Hall at the Delta County Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss. The banquet was a huge success.

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Hotchkiss planners ask what questions should be on survey

The Town of Hotchkiss is working on its periodic update of the Community Master Plan, scheduled to occur in 2017. As part of that process, the Hotchkiss Planning Commission is seeking input on questions for an upcoming survey that will be used in determining what is included in that update.

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Party headquarters

The Delta County Democratic Party has opened an office in Hotchkiss for the North Fork Valley. The office is located at 215 East Bridge Street and is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

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Eagle Rock Shelter offers new insights into Paleo-Indian culture
Eagle Rock Shelter offers new insights into Paleo-Indian culture

Thousands of years ago, some of the earliest humans known to inhabit North America found shelter on a ledge by what is now known as the Gunnison River. The southeastern exposure of the rock overhang offered not only shelter from rain, snow and wind, but cool shade in summer, warm sunshine in winter, and unlimited plant food, fish and game.

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Check it out! Libraries have new collections administrator
Check it out! Libraries have new collections administrator

When you check out a book from the library, have you ever wondered how that particular book made it on the shelves? With millions of books to compete with, how does one book make the cut while another does not?

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Hotchkiss council hears Hillman House request

The regular meeting of the Hotchkiss Town Council last Thursday evening, Aug. 18, was gaveled to order by Larry Jakubiak, mayor pro tem.

The other five trustees and deputy clerk Ginger Redden navigated a 29-item agenda with aplomb and all votes were unanimous.

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County fair results: Junior animals

JUNIOR GOAT SHOW
Goat Showmanship
Showmanship - Senior

1st Katie Hyke Austin

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County fair results: 4-H Horse Show

Written Test - Senior

1st Evelyn Shenk Hotchkiss

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County fair results: Shooting sports

.22 CALIBER RIFLE
50-Foot Hunt, Junior Individual

1st Wylee Lorimor Eckert

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Fair results: 4-H clothing, food, general

CLOTHING CONSTRUCTION
STEAM 1 - Simple Top, Junior

1st Aspen Hilterbrand Austin

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Fair results: Open pantry, agriculture

open class horticulture
Apples, Fall Variety
Transparent

1st Mavis Scherrer Crawford

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Fair results: Open class flowers, art

OPEN CLASS FLOWERS
Arrangements
Lasting Beauty

1st Frances Hunt Hotchkiss

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Fair results: Needlework, crafts, ceramics

open class needlework
SEWING
Women's Dress

1st Sarah Pope Hotchkiss

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Scenes from the fair
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Farm to Fiddle announces art show winners

The North Fork Valley Creative Coalition Board has announced the winners of the inaugural Farm to Fiddle Festival Art Show:

Best in Show ($200) -- Michael Cleverly for his stunning acrylic painting, "Barn on Bone Mesa"

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Crews begin clearing invasive Russian olives
Crews begin clearing invasive Russian olives

About 20 AmeriCorps VISTA members are working with the Grand Junction-based Western Colorado Conservation Center over the next two weeks on a collaborative effort to clear Russian olive from the banks of the North Fork and Gunnison rivers in the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area.

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A royal year for Rachel Huerkamp
A royal year for Rachel Huerkamp

Looking back on the year, 2015-2016 Delta County Fair & Rodeo Queen Rachel Huerkamp said that while being ambassador for Delta County and the fair was challenging, she is grateful for the opportunity.

Huerkamp is the daughter of Peggy and Dave Huerkamp of Delta.

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Self-guided pasture management tour available
Self-guided pasture management tour available

Landowners are invited to the "Pasture Management Self-Guided Tour" during the 2016 Delta County Fair, scheduled Aug. 6-13 at the Delta County Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss. The plot is located on the southeast corner of the fairgrounds by the river.

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Hard work of 4-H, FFA members pays off at sale

The 2016 Junior Market Livestock Sale is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at the fairgrounds in Hotchkiss. Plan to attend and support the efforts of area 4-H and FFA youth by purchasing quality market livestock animals over the auction block.

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Braslin has long ride with 4-H
Braslin has long ride with 4-H

After completing his showmanship pattern Saturday at the Delta County Fair Horse Show, Jayden Braslin led his horse, Malibu, out of the arena. He was carrying a red ribbon, but that's not what he was hoping for.

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X Games athletes open fair
X Games athletes open fair

The Delta County Fair opened last Saturday with some thrilling endurocross action at the Delta County Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss.

Montrose Motomayhem put on the second annual event, which featured motos for kids in the afternoon and for pros and adults in the evening.

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Live music will fill the grandstands Friday night

The Delta County Fair has something for everybody. Just take a look at the evening events -- a nonstop lineup of endurocross, team roping, barrel racing, mutton bustin' and on Friday, live music.

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Parade grand marshals are committed to ag, the fair

Parade grand marshals are Les and Dorothy Mergelman. Both are multi-generational residents of western Colorado.

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Fair: 'Where the Road Ends and the Fun Begins!'

Where can you go to watch dirt bikers maneuver their bikes around obstacles, catch two nights of mutton bustin', cowboy up for Rodeo Night, ooh and ahh at a fashion show, pick your favorite at an antique tractor pull, scoot your boots to some live music, watch a tail waggin' good dog show, get your hands on some great food, grab the perfect spot to watch a parade, and maybe meet the queen? Why the Delta County Fair, that's where!

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Farm tour showcases center pivot irrigation
Farm tour showcases center pivot irrigation

When Brett Barker and Heidi Berger first purchased their place on Rogers Mesa (near Hotchkiss) in the fall of 2013 it was in serious need of some TLC. There was a gated pipe system for irrigation, but much of it was broken or plugged.

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Local chapter of Elk Foundation helps with trail work day
Local chapter of Elk Foundation helps with trail work day

On June 18 the North Fork Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) hosted a work day along with Youth Conservation Corp (YCC) and employees of West Elk Mine.

A dozen volunteers were involved in a long strenuous day of trail clearing on the Gunnison National Forest.

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Farm to Fiddle Festival debuts this weekend in Hotchkiss
Farm to Fiddle Festival debuts this weekend in Hotchkiss

The first annual Farm to Fiddle Festival adds to the festive atmosphere in Hotchkiss during fair week. With activities and live music on Friday and Saturday, the festival celebrates the people, agriculture and the arts.

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Hotchkiss council meeting is Aug. 18

Due to the Delta County Fair being held the week of Aug. 12-21, the August meeting of the Hotchkiss Town Council will be moved to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18,

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Ag to be showcased at Farm to Fiddle Festival

Colorado's agricultural industry consistently earns its ranking as one of the state's top three industries, advancing the state's economy and preserving the environment. With more than 36,000 farms encompassing 31 million acres, agriculture is a vital part of Colorado -- providing more than 173,000 jobs; contributing more than $41 billion to the state's economy annually; and feeding the world with nearly $2 billion in exported products.

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Suspect jailed in countywide crime spree

A recent crime spree that spread from Paonia to Delta and involved four law enforcement agencies resulted in the arrest of Curtis Allen Gomez, 36, of Grand Junction. As of Tuesday morning, Gomez remained in custody in Delta on multiple cash bonds and faces multiple charges from all four agencies.

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North Fork towns will comment to BLM on coal

North Fork towns are working to meet the approaching deadline for commenting to the Bureau of Land Management regarding implementation of a moratorium on new coal leasing. The moratorium remains in place while a full comprehensive review of possible reforms to the industry is carried out by the Department of the Interior, which oversees coal leasing programs.

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Big B's co-owner injured in crash

The co-owner of a North Fork area business and his three family members are recovering from injuries sustained July 6 in a three-car collision in Jefferson County near Denver. Seth Schwartz, of West Palm Beach, Fla., and his family are doing well and on their way to recovering, said Seth's brother, Jeff Schwartz. The brothers are co-owners of Big B's Juices in Hotchkiss.

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Unexpected reunion for Hotchkiss pioneer descendants
Unexpected reunion for Hotchkiss pioneer descendants

In 1881, Enos T. Hotchkiss, accompanied by brothers George and William Duke, became one of the earliest settlers in the North Fork Valley. They would stake claims for land and prepare to live in this new frontier. The younger brother, Edward Miles Duke, would arrive the following spring.

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Hotchkiss council weighs variances for DCMH clinic
Hotchkiss council weighs variances for DCMH clinic

The Hotchkiss Town Council got a look at the medical clinic coming to town at its monthly meeting last Thursday night at Hotchkiss Town Hall.

Montrose architect Tom Chamberlain represented his client, Delta County Memorial Hospital, which had three requests for the council to consider as the process to build a new medical clinic in town continued.

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Farm to Fiddle fast becoming a reality

Hotchkiss will host the first ever Farm to Fiddle Festival Aug. 12-13 and organizers are putting the finishing touches on the gala community event.

Co-directors Lynda Cannon and Marcy Moore, fellow graduates of Hotchkiss High School, came up with the idea of the festival to help promote the town.

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Living history: Paonia seniors open doors to the past
Living history: Paonia seniors open doors to the past

In 1919, the mayor of Paonia was C.T. Vincent. J.E. Deatherage and Fred Hofer were elected to the town council and Bert Bross was the new town marshal.

In 1919, there were 19 graduates of Paonia High School.

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Hotchkiss joins North Fork Creative Coalition

The Town of Hotchkiss recently became the first North Fork municipality to join the North Fork Creative Coalition.

"I am very grateful Hotchkiss would see the value in this and vote their support," said newly-elected trustee Mary Hockenbery.

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Hotchkiss Second Street project nears completion
Hotchkiss Second Street project nears completion

The project by Williams Construction to re-surface the north section of Second Street is nearing completion, which will mark the end of the town's Sanitation Line Upgrade project.

Contractor Williams Construction estimates that the project to resurface 950 lineal feet of Second Street is anticipated to be complete the week of July 18, according to Hotchkiss Mayor Wendell Koontz.

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Firefighters benefit from mobile training unit
Firefighters benefit from mobile training unit

When firefighters arrive at the scene of a burning house, they've already had numerous hours of training. Just knowing how to put on all the personal protective equipment needed for the job, from turnout coats and pants to hot shield face protection and the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), takes hours of training and repetition.

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Red Hat Dolls of the Valley host picnic

Red Hat Dolls of the Valley entertained Hotchkiss Red Hat Lady Bugs at the Paonia Park with a picnic Saturday, June 11. Also attending were four ladies from the Paonia Care Center and their two sponsors.

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Creamery grand reopening is Friday

The recently reorganized Creamery Arts Center, 165 W. Bridge Street, in Hotchkiss, will celebrate its grand reopening from 6:30-9 p.m. Friday, with the opening of the center's first art show since closing its doors last summer. The show includes pottery and photography.

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Hotchkiss sewer line upgrade nears completion
Hotchkiss sewer line upgrade nears completion

The Town of Hotchkiss announced that it is in the final days of its $1.8 million sanitation line upgrade project.

The project was originally scheduled to begin at the end of July 2015, and after some delays, contractor Williams Construction broke ground in late September.

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County's HHS staff honored
County's HHS staff honored

The staff of Delta County Health and Human Services Department has been honored with state awards for distinguished performance during 2015.

The awards came as recognition from the Colorado Department of Human Services during state conventions held June 6-8.

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Cash prizes offered for Farm to Fiddle fine arts show

In conjunction with the Farm to Fiddle Festival in Hotchkiss on Aug. 12-13, the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition is orchestrating a Fine Arts Show, with cash prizes, from Aug. 5-26 at the Creamery Arts Center. All media will be accepted in three categories, Professional, Advanced and Amateur.

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Red Hats are meeting monthly

The Hotchkiss Lady Bugs Chapter of the Red Hat Society has met regularly since being established in February. On April 21 they traveled to Delta to dine at the House of Chin.

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People in the News Oxford; Weber

Mason Oxford of Hotchkiss was named to the Dean's Honor Roll at Montana State University for spring semester 2016.

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Hotchkiss baseball complex moving forward
Hotchkiss baseball complex moving forward

A long-term plan to create a baseball/softball facility at Crossroads Park is starting to gain momentum.

The board of directors for Hotchkiss Home Plate, a program providing baseball and softball opportunities for North Fork area youth, is focusing on making the facility a reality, said board president Terry Pagone. "We're a new board and we're learning a lot of new things, and we're starting to move in the right direction."

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McPherson honored by Hotchkiss Fire
McPherson honored by Hotchkiss Fire

Members of the Hotchkiss Fire Department honored outgoing board president Frank McPherson last week, presenting him with a plaque and thanking him for his service.

McPherson, who is term-limited, was appointed to the board and served two years, and was elected to two terms as board president.

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Legion honors veterans, members

Before the annual Memorial Day ceremonies began Sunday at Crawford Cemetery, American Legion District 11 Commander Jimmy Davidson recognized four long-time local Legion members. "They have been faithful members of Lynch-Cotten Post," Davis told the crowd of about 200 who had gathered for the occasion.

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Bulldogs falter in 2A state baseball playoff

In what has to be a disappointing finish to a marvelous baseball season, the Hotchkiss Bulldogs enjoyed a 7-2 win in first-round play in Pueblo at the 2016 State 2A Baseball Championships. A shocking 5-3 loss (in eight innings) to Limon's Badgers in a second game on Friday eliminated the Bulldogs from this year's state 2A playoffs.

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HHS academic award recipients

Hotchkiss High School students were recognized for academic achievements at an assembly held May 4. Recipients included:

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Fish hatchery impacted by disease
Fish hatchery impacted by disease

For the first time in its nearly 50 years of operation, the Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery's 40 raceways and 24 nursery tanks will be dry while the facility is disinfected after testing positive for bacterial kidney disease.

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Hotchkiss council handles long agenda

A full council of six trustees was seated last Thursday night, May 12, and the Hotchkiss Town Council administrated its way through some 20 line items on the agenda.

Every seat in town hall was full when the meeting began at 6:30 but all had emptied by the time the meeting concluded nearly two-and-a-half hours later.

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HHS grads given good advice -- laugh, travel and make close friends
HHS grads given good advice -- laugh, travel and make close friends

Gratia Fisher sang her last national anthem with aplomb, her family and friends cheering as she trilled the immortal lyrics, "O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave." Fisher, president of the Hotchkiss High School Class of 2016, then joined classmates Brandi Goddard and Megan Lange in a harmonious rendition of Bill Withers' "Lean on Me," accompanied on bongos by Andrew Zerr, and commencement ceremonies were underway.

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Will James Society gives books to schools

The Will James Society donates sets of Will James books through local groups. Black Mesa CattleWomen sponsored one of these donations.

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HHS livestock team wraps up competition
HHS livestock team wraps up competition

For the past several months, the Hotchkiss FFA chapter has been practicing the career development experience (CDE) of livestock judging or livestock evaluation. Team members Trenton Carr, Colton Peebles, Hailey Lofley, Morgan Miller, Ruby Shiflet, Bruce Turnbull and Dalton Raley met once a week in the Hotchkiss ag room to practice.

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Stock dogs part of daily life for Crawford rancher
Stock dogs part of daily life for Crawford rancher

Steve Allen doesn't have a lot of spare time on his hands. He's busy running his 1,600-acre ranch located along the majestic Gunnison Gorge at the west end of Fruitland Mesa. In addition to growing hay and doing all the things required to run the ranch, he and wife Rachel keep sheep and goats, and also occasionally tend other people's cattle.

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Kanieski, Ashwander post top 5k times

The seventh annual Sheep Dog Trials 5k was held in Hotchkiss on Saturday, May 7. Proceeds from the run support the Women Advancing Math and Science Scholarship.

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Sheep dog trials open Friday in Hotchkiss
Sheep dog trials open Friday in Hotchkiss

The 13th annual Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials begin Friday. The trials offer a rare glimpse into the lives of herding dogs and their skilled handlers.

Unlike many sheepdog trials, "the whole community gets involved," said event founder Richard Bailey. "It's not just a dog trial."

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Hotchkiss to offer citizens' police academy in June

The Hotchkiss Marshal's department will offer a Citizens' Police Academy beginning in early June. Taught by Marshal Dan Miller and Deputy Gates Shaklee, the free eight- to 10-week course is open to all county residents over 18.

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HHS students bring art, the blues to The Creamery

The Hotchkiss High School art students will host their annual art gallery opening Friday beginning at 6 p.m. at the Hotchkiss Creamery Arts Center, 165 Bridge Street. Students take their "final exam" by creating the opening, said art teacher Jamie Roeber.

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Grant awarded to local producer

Recent grant funding may keep pie bakers and fruit lovers in Colorado happy. Two grants totaling $21,300 were newly awarded to fight peach Cytospora canker and increase sweet cherry production in Colorado.

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Hotchkiss 'H' to get a facelift
Hotchkiss 'H' to get a facelift

Carl Clay, a 1961 graduate of Hotchkiss High School and member of the HHS Alumni Association, is spearheading a project to improve the "H" located near the school. The hillside letter dates back to 1951 when three freshmen lettered in sports. Their initiation involved digging a trench in the shape of an H.

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Pocket park proposed on Bridge Street lot

A long-vacant piece of Bridge Street property could soon be transformed into a beautiful pocket park.

Hotchkiss resident Linda Cannon came before the Hotchkiss council last Thursday to garner support for a park at Second and Bridge streets just north of the Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Museum.

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Funding awarded for small hydropower project near Hotchkiss

A small hydropower project has been awarded a grant through the "Advancing Colorado's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency" (ACRE3) program. The project will generate electricity as water flows to the field through irrigation pipelines.

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Students given taste of local government
Students given taste of local government

As happens twice a year, the Hotchkiss town council welcomed members of the Hotchkiss High School Student Council at the April 14 town meeting. Students partook in the proceedings and witnessed the swearing in of trustees James Roberts and Larry Jakubiak and John Marta.

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Spring is busy season for firefighters
Spring is busy season for firefighters

It's been a busy spring for the Hotchkiss Fire District. On April 5, volunteer firefighters responded to two fires on North Road on Redlands Mesa within about six hours of each other.

At 1:30 p.m. a 911 call came in from a woman whose manufactured home had filled with smoke.

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Burns Drake memorialized at ball field
Burns Drake memorialized at ball field

His name may not be familiar to many, but Burns O. Drake influenced many lives. He was a teacher, World War II Naval officer, and beloved community leader.

The baseball field at Hotchkiss K-8 School is also named after him.

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Eagle project takes shape at ball field
Eagle project takes shape at ball field

The same day the plaques honoring Burns O. Drake were placed at the entrance to the Hotchkiss baseball park, another project was well underway.

Colton Hall, a Boy Scout with Troop 477, chose for his Eagle Scout project to build a ramp from the park entrance down to the ball field.

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Fairgrounds upgrades to benefit Hotchkiss
Fairgrounds upgrades to benefit Hotchkiss

With the current downturn in the economy, one way to bring more people and dollars to the North Fork is through the Delta County Fairgrounds.

Plans for improvements at the county-owned facility, located in Hotchkiss, could bring both recreational and financial benefits to the North Fork area, and to the county.

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Local snowmobilers are 'Ultimate' racers
Local snowmobilers are 'Ultimate' racers

After graduating from Hotchkiss High School in 2010, Jesse Hotchkiss didn't plan to race snowmobiles. But in 2012 he traveled to the Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Hillclimb Association (RMSHA) national championships in Jackson Hole as part of the Weekender Sports crew.

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New Red Hat chapter forms
New Red Hat chapter forms

On Feb. 9, a new Red Hat Society chapter was founded by Margie Brungardt. Seven ladies met at the home of Carole McDaniel, who hosted a get-acquainted tea. Margie Brungardt was co-hostess.

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Unofficial municipal election results

The ballots have been tallied, and the following are the results of the voting in each of the county's municipalities, according to the Delta County Clerks Office:

Hotchkiss voters turned down ballot measures that would have authorized retail or medical marijuana facilities in the community. The medical marijuana measure was rejected with 156 against and 133 in favor; the retail marijuana measure was defeated with 161 against and 129 in favor. A third measure, adding a 2 percent sales tax to marijuana sales, was a moot issue since neither measure authorizing sales was passed.

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Hotchkiss voters urged to say no

The board of education of Delta County Joint School District #50 is urging Hotchkiss voters to say no to the three marijuana questions on the municipal ballot.

"The board of education desires to make its position on the matter clear," states a resolution adopted unanimously March 17.

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Last minute voters can drop off ballots

If you waited until the last minute to mail your election ballot, there's still hope. In the North Fork area there are two locations where ballots may be dropped off by no later than 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 5.

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ShadeScapes opens corporate office
ShadeScapes opens corporate office

A commercial building that originally served as a furniture store in downtown Hotchkiss has been repurposed and will now serve as headquarters for ShadeScapes Americas.

ShadeScapes, which designs innovative outdoor shade solutions for a global market, was co-founded in 2002 by Jo Edmondson of Paonia.

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Generating revenue tops issues in Hotchkiss
Generating revenue tops issues in Hotchkiss

At the March 11 Hotchkiss forum, council candidates fielded questions ranging from how to attract business in a time of declining revenues to whether they support creating infrastructure for bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Marijuana, streets and sidewalks, affordable housing and how to bring new revenues to town were among the top issues.

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Gary Hubbell graduates from Texas Auction Academy
Gary Hubbell graduates from Texas Auction Academy

Gary Hubbell, real estate broker with United Country Colorado Brokers in Hotchkiss, is proud to announce that he is a recent graduate of the Texas Auction Academy, one of the world's foremost auction schools.

The nine-day intensive auctioneering course teaches not only the basics of building the auctioneer's bid-calling "chant," but covers many different aspects of the auctioneering business, including marketing, clerking, business practices, and auction law.

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Vendors, entertainers sought for summer festival

The Farm to Fiddle summer festival, presented by Outdoors Alive Inc., in Hotchkiss is looking for vendors.

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Six vie for four seats in Hotchkiss

Six Hotchkiss residents, including two incumbents, are vying for four seats, three for four-year terms and a fourth for a two-year term, on Hotchkiss Town Council. In the order they will appear on the ballot, candidates are Ralph Sandmann II, Mary Hockenbery, Patrick Webb, Larry Jakubiak, John Marta and James Roberts.

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Hotchkiss FFA chapter recaps an eventful year
Hotchkiss FFA chapter recaps an eventful year

This has been a great year for the Hotchkiss FFA chapter. We started off the year Sept. 14 with a family barbecue meeting which was a great opportunity for all members and parents to get together and spend quality time with each other and prepare for the upcoming events while enjoying well-prepared food.

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Wingfield steps down as Hotchkiss mayor pro tem
Wingfield steps down as Hotchkiss mayor pro tem

Hotchkiss council member Larry Jakubiak will act as mayor pro tem following the resignation of Carrie Wingfield, who is stepping down for personal reasons. Jakubiak was appointed to the position by Mayor Wendell Koontz at the Feb. 11 council meeting.

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Man fined for drifting pesticides

Delta District Court has imposed a $7,500 fine and two days in jail on a Hotchkiss man accused of fogging mosquitoes within 150 feet of neighboring property.

"We have been fighting to protect our health from renegade pesticide spraying for over two years," said Rosemary Bilchak, one of two co-defendants in the case.

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Historical society speaker will talk about Santa Fe Trail
Historical society speaker will talk about Santa Fe Trail

The Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society annual meeting will be held on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m. in the newly remodeled Crawford Town Hall.

The program will be a presentation by the co-author of a recently published book about the Santa Fe Trail.

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Paying respect to two remarkable citizens

The North Fork area lost two remarkable citizens last week, Dale "Gabby" George and Ted "Doc" Panish -- both of whom were dedicated family men, community members, and devout Hotchkiss Bulldogs fans.

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Hotchkiss Red Hat chapter forming

A new Red Hat Society chapter is forming in Hotchkiss. The Red Hat Society is an international women's organization dedicated to giving its all to family, career and community and was created to connect like-minded women and make new friends through the power of fun and friendship.

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Services Thursday for 'Gabby' George

A memorial service honoring lifetime North Fork area resident Dale "Gabby George will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, at the Hotchkiss Elks Lodge #1807. George passed away Monday, Feb. 1, at Horizons Care and Rehabilitation Center in Eckert.

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Hotchkiss residents say reg changes unclear, unfair
Hotchkiss residents say reg changes unclear, unfair

The Hotchkiss Planning Commission will schedule at least one more public comment session after hearing numerous complaints regarding proposed changes to the town's "Mobile Home and Travel Home Regulations" ordinance during a hearing at the Jan. 26 planning meeting.

The main concern expressed by the 14 who spoke is the perceived unfairness of the regulations, which were viewed as potentially cost prohibitive to mobile home owners and renters.

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Coalition seeks partners for Rogers Mesa ag site
Coalition seeks partners for Rogers Mesa ag site

Since it closed in 2011, a lot of ideas have been tossed about on how best to use the former Colorado State University Extension Research Center on Rogers Mesa. After all, the 83-acre chunk of agricultural land has water rights, hay fields, fruit trees and grape vines, a three-bedroom house, and more than 4,000 square feet of laboratory and office space.

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Three North Fork towns to hold trustee elections

All three North Fork municipalities received enough petitions for councils and board of trustees to hold elections in April.

In Hotchkiss, council seats currently held by Larry Jakubiak, Dustyn Foster, James Roberts and mayor pro tem Carrie Wingfield are up for election.

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Hotchkiss council approves marijuana ballot language

The Hotchkiss Town Council doesn't have to address all the issues related to the upcoming vote on cannabis unless voters approve in-town operations in the April election. But trustees do want to ensure that ballot language gives the town the ability to impose taxes and pass additional regulations, such as setback and zoning laws, which they will need to address if it passes.

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Hotchkiss to hold 'Farm to Fiddle' celebration
Hotchkiss to hold 'Farm to Fiddle' celebration

Hotchkiss will welcome a new community celebration this summer.

"Farm to Fiddle" is scheduled for Aug. 12 and 13. The group formed as "Destination Hotchkiss" is behind the celebration.

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Hotchkiss approves liquor license renewals

Hotchkiss trustees voted at the Jan. 14 council meeting to approve two liquor license renewal applications.

The license for Pat's Bar & Grill, 140 N. Bridge Street, was recently suspended by the state liquor licensing board for two incidences of serving after hours.

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Raymond Rowland turns 100

Raymond Rowland, former resident of Rogers Mesa in Hotchkiss, will turn 100 years old Feb. 6.

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Hotchkiss considers changes in mobile home regulations

The Hotchkiss Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to mobile home regulations within the town of Hotchkiss, on Wednesday, Jan. 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The commission will hear public comments on a draft ordinance amending the town's "Mobile Home and Travel Home Regulations."

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Hoop Shoot winners
Hoop Shoot winners

Hotchkiss Elks Lodge #1807 held its annual "Hoop Shoot" free throw contest on Jan. 17, at Hotchkiss High School. The Hoop Shoot program is the largest and most visible of the many youth activities sponsored by Elks lodges.

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Sewer line project creates mess for local businesses

Recent cold temperatures are hindering progress on the Town of Hotchkiss' main sewer line rehabilitation project. "The alleys are really frozen," said town engineer Joanne Fagan.

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Pot questions on Hotchkiss ballot

Hotchkiss voters will have the opportunity to decide whether to allow cannabis and cannabis-related businesses after the town council vote to put the issue on the April 5 ballot. Trustee James Roberts did not cast a vote.

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The Creamery reorganizes; classes continue
The Creamery reorganizes; classes continue

A new ceramics class starting this week at the Creamery Center for the Arts in Hotchkiss promises to give potters of all abilities an opportunity for freedom of expression and creativity and one-on-one instruction.

Last Saturday, instructor Lucas Hoyt gave a presentation on the class "Intro to Ceramics: Wheel throwing, Handbuilding & Sculpture," and a visual presentation of his work to more than a dozen interested participants.

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Clay Norell to compete at National Western
Clay Norell to compete at National Western

Clay Norell is a busy guy. When the DCI finally caught up with the Hotchkiss rancher, he was hauling cattle.

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Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society is busy this winter
Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society is busy this winter

The Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society is now in its 41st year of existence and has a lot of plans for 2016. The board of directors held its monthly meeting Monday and talked about some of those plans.

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Todd Sheets wants to promote Delta County
Todd Sheets wants to promote Delta County

Todd Sheets is a videographer and owner of Hutman Media in Hotchkiss. His films have been used in promoting the area for almost a decade. A former chair for the Delta County Tourism Council, he's helped promote the area "where the deserts greet the mountains and the mesas."

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Story times last through time at the Delta County Libraries

Between 1992 and 2014, the number of programs offered to patrons by Delta County Libraries increased almost 10 times. Libraries have added numerous opportunities for patrons of different ages over the years, but one program has been around the entire time, scheduled almost without fail every week in every library, catering to the youngest of library patrons.

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Hotchkiss Marshal's Office to begin using body cameras
Hotchkiss Marshal's Office to begin using body cameras

The Hotchkiss Marshal's Office is joining the growing number of the country's law enforcement departments currently employing the use of body cameras. The cameras arrived the week before Christmas and are expected to be in full use by February.

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Hotchkiss, Paonia may see cannabis on ballot in 2016

Citizens in Hotchkiss and Paonia could see cannabis back on the ballot in 2016.

In Hotchkiss, Mary Hockenbery is spearheading a petition to place a question on the ballot that would allow "limited retail recreational/medical marijuana" sales and manufacturing within town limits.

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Birders brave the cold for Christmas count
Birders brave the cold for Christmas count

Last Saturday about 20 bird watchers and birding enthusiasts endured freezing temperatures around Hotchkiss during the 116th annual National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count.

Jason Beason, special monitoring projects coordinator with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (formerly the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory), said this year's Hotchkiss bird count, sponsored by the Black Canyon Audubon Society, revealed more than 70 individual species.

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Free legal services

The Delta County Bar Association conducts pro bono (free) clinics for low income individuals who wish to discuss legal issues (other than criminal). The clinics are held in Delta every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room 118 of the Delta County Courthouse (in the basement).

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Fulfilling a promise to ring the bell
Fulfilling a promise to ring the bell

Over the holiday I was a bell ringer for The Salvation Army.

Ringing the bell for one of the most charitable organizations in existence is one of those things I'd promised for years that I would do.

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Sewer project goes on despite cold weather
Sewer project goes on despite cold weather

It's not a pretty job anyway, but when it's wet and cold outside, the sewer line replacement project underway in Hotchkiss can get downright mucky. Workers are replacing pipe, some of it originally installed 100 years ago, with the aid of a "trench box," which prevents trenches from dangerous collapses.

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Santa spreads Christmas cheer in Hotchkiss
Santa spreads Christmas cheer in Hotchkiss

'Tis the season to give, and for the last eight holiday seasons the Town of Hotchkiss and the Hotchkiss Marshal's Office have demonstrated the spirit of giving by providing the gifts to the area's children and their families through the Secret Santa Program.

Last week, local families in need received a bag packed full of gifts including food, clothing, outerwear, blankets, toys and gift cards.

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Hotchkiss approves first donation of 2016

Partners of Delta, Montrose and Ouray will be the first recipient of a donation from the Town of Hotchkiss after council voted unanimously to give the organization a $250 donation for 2016 at the Dec. 10 council meeting. The town has donated to Partners in the past, with the last donation being made in 2012.

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Holiday schedules

North Fork municipalities have announced this week's holiday schedules.

Hotchkiss Town Hall will close its doors at noon Thursday, and remain closed for Christmas day.

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Hotchkiss OKs 2016 budget

The Town of Hotchkiss passed a balanced budget for 2016 and related ordinances at the Dec. 10 public meeting.

Last-minute changes to the budget included an inter-fund transfer of $459,516 from Water Fund Expenses to the Sanitation Fund to cover debt services.

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Tourism cabinet reviews activities, future plans

The following is a report by Patricia Luna, a Surface Creek Area representative on the Delta County Tourism Cabinet, on the cabinet's annual meeting.

The Delta County Tourism Cabinet (DCTC) held its annual retreat on Nov. 11 at Wisehart Springs Inn in Paonia.

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Light displays to take note of in Hotchkiss
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Municipal election petitions due early

Citizens interested in running for election in 2016 take note: Changes have been made in the timeline for submitting petitions.

Petitions for individuals seeking a seat on the Paonia board of trustees or Hotchkiss and Crawford councils can be picked up at respective town offices on Jan. 5, and must be completed and submitted to the respective town hall no later than Jan. 25.

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Festive weekend of holiday fun in Hotchkiss
Festive weekend of holiday fun in Hotchkiss

Several holiday events were held during the December Second Saturday Shop in Hotchkiss Day. The Creamery Arts Center offered workshops. Live music was provided by The Three Tinkers.

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Red Hat Dolls of the Valley celebrate Christmas
Red Hat Dolls of the Valley celebrate Christmas

Queen Bee Betty Portman hosted a Christmas party for the Red Hat Dolls of the Valley on Thursday, Dec. 10, at the Hotchkiss Hightower Café. Festive ladies, dressed in red and purple finery, enjoyed a meal catered by Cary Hightower.

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Hotchkiss listed No. 2 among state's small cities
Hotchkiss listed No. 2 among state's small cities

"The Friendliest Town Around" stands out among its peers on a website dedicated to recognizing the best of the best in America. Hotchkiss recently took the No. 2 spot among a list of "Top 12 Small Cities in Colorado" by the national website 101usa.com.

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Hotchkiss council to approve 2016 budget

The Hotchkiss Town Council is set to approve the 2016 budget during this week's monthly public meeting.

The draft budget estimates total available revenue of $1,970,246, based on estimates prior to certification of the fiscal year 2015 mill levy by Delta County.

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Hotchkiss fire, theft remain unsolved

Two incidents that occurred in Hotchkiss early in the year remain unsolved.

According to Marshal Dan Miller, cause of a March 8 fire at Tucker's Pizza, Pub and Arcade, 221 W. Bridge Street, suspected to be arson, remains under delayed but active investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

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Hwy. 92 overpass nears completion
Hwy. 92 overpass nears completion

A major road construction project on Highway 133 between Delta and Hotchkiss is nearing completion.

The $13.1 million railroad overpass at Stengel's Hill was funded from a variety of sources -- $3.6 million in FASTER safety funds, $4.1 million in railroad crossing funds, $4.3 million in Regional Priority Project (RPP) funds and $1.1 million in surface treatment funds.

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Feeding the community an honor for Jakubiak
Feeding the community an honor for Jakubiak

Since 2007, the annual Thanksgiving and Christmas day meals served at the Hotchkiss Senior Center have provided a holiday meal to more than 1,000 citizens. How many meals were served during the 17 years before records were kept is anyone's guess.

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Trustees, students share seat at the table
Trustees, students share seat at the table

Walter Elias Disney said that "Our greatest natural resource is in the minds of our children."

Maybe that was the thinking a few years back when members of the Hotchkiss town council and Hotchkiss High School student government began holding joint meetings on a semi-annual basis.

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Quilts donated to local vets
Quilts donated to local vets

Members of the S&B Quilters' Guild continued their tradition of presenting quilts to veterans by giving out more than 25 quilts to local veterans during their Nov. 14 meeting. A short program honoring veterans included a singing of "God Bless America."

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Raise okayed for Hotchkiss judge

Judge Lynn French, who presides over Hotchkiss Municipal Court the second Thursday of each month, received a raise in pay from $250 per month to $400. French has presided over the court for more than 35 years.

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Chamber applauds community leaders
Chamber applauds community leaders

It was fitting that the Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce held its Nov. 11 annual meeting at Memorial Hall. The nonprofit was named the chamber's Nonprofit of the Year.

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Rec district upgrades pool, tennis courts
Rec district upgrades pool, tennis courts

It may be fall, but the North Fork Pool, Park and Recreation District board is already planning for next spring and has made recent improvements at the pool and at the Apple Valley tennis courts.

The pool and spa received a brand new coat of white paint along with some necessary surface repairs.

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Hotchkiss discusses broadband on eve of election

The conversation regarding bringing high-speed broadband Internet services to rural Delta County has been ongoing ever since Region 10 received grant money from the Department of Local Affairs for creation of a regional broadband network within the region. For the Town of Hotchkiss, much of the focus is now on fiduciary responsibility.

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Zombie run attracts 50
Zombie run attracts 50

The third annual Zombie Run 5k run/walk, sponsored by the Hotchkiss K-8 School for the benefit of the Helping Hands program, attracted 50 participants on Halloween morning, including Spider Man pushing a stroller, Waldo, the Mummy, a ballerina, Wonder Woman, the Grim Reaper, Rapunzel, Gray Beard the Pirate and his parrot and wolf, skeletons, and, of course, zombies.

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Hotchkiss Emblem Club honors past presidents

Hotchkiss Emblem Club #306 meets the first Monday of each month unless the meeting date falls on a holiday. The most recent meeting was held Oct. 5 at Hightower Café in Hotchkiss.

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DCMH opens Hotchkiss clinic

Delta County Memorial Hospital is meeting the demand for primary care by opening its DCMH Family Medicine - Hotchkiss clinic on Nov. 2. The clinic is located at 365 Bridge Street in Hotchkiss.

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Hotchkiss volleyball team digs deep to support cancer center
Hotchkiss volleyball team digs deep to support cancer center

For Hotchkiss senior Gratia Fisher, singing The Star-Spangled Banner ahead of Saturday's varsity volleyball game against Meeker was a little more challenging than most of her past performances. Not only was it the final game of the regular volleyball season, and possibly her final home game as a volleyball player, Fisher and her teammates had just distributed 50 light pink long-stemmed roses to people in the stands whose lives have been affected by cancer as part of the team's Dig Deep, Dig Pink volleyball breast cancer benefit.

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Hotchkiss trustees offer insight on broadband Internet
Hotchkiss trustees offer insight on broadband Internet

The board of trustees for the Town of Hotchkiss wants to make it perfectly clear that the town has no intention of entering into the business of providing broadband Internet services to the public.

Trustees voted at the October public meeting to publish an FYI bulletin regarding Ballot Question 2-C. Ballots were mailed out last week.

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Flag pole dedicated to memory of Harold Martin
Flag pole dedicated to memory of Harold Martin

A bell that once rang at the original Hotchkiss High School and was originally ordered from a Sears & Roebuck catalog finally has a permanent home, next to a bright, shiny flag pole in front of Memorial Hall.

This year the decision was made to remove the roughly 116-year-old bell from the roof of Hotchkiss Memorial Hall, where it has been since February, 1979, and give it a place of honor in front of the hall.

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Trash collection fees to rise in Hotchkiss

At a Sept. 29 special meeting, Hotchkiss trustees voted unanimously to award Double J Disposal, Inc. a five-year contract for trash collection. Double J submitted one of two bids for the service.

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Council proclaims 'Shop Hotchkiss'

Hotchkiss mayor Wendell Koontz officially declared the second Saturday of each month, beginning on Oct. 10, as "Shop Hotchkiss Day." The proclamation reads, in part, that small, local businesses are the backbone of the economy and are essential to communities.

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Effort underway to renovate the 'H'
Effort underway to renovate the 'H'

Today is the day Hotchkiss freshmen will whitewash "H" as part of traditional Homecoming festivities. At 9 a.m., prior to painting, a group of volunteers and Hotchkiss alumni will begin efforts to reconstruct the hillside letter, which measures roughly 25 feet in width and 100 feet in length.

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Hotchkiss trustee recalls mine layoff for the 1980s

The North Fork area has a rich history of coal mining. Unfortunately, mining is a boom-and-bust industry that includes a long history of layoffs.

James Roberts knows what it's like to lose a good-paying mining job.

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Hotchkiss asked for money for broadband

At a work session on Sept. 29 Hotchkiss trustees were informed that the town is being asked to commit money toward building middle-mile broadband infrastructure. The Delta-Montrose Electric Association, which is partnering with Region 10 on a grant to build that infrastructure, originally asked the town for a letter of support.

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Creamery holding after-school classes

After announcing last July that the iconic Creamer Arts Center in Hotchkiss would close its doors in August and end classes due to a lack of funding, a lot of calls came in regarding after-school classes, said program administrator Gail Smith. "So many parents were really upset.

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Sewer line work begins in Hotchkiss

Construction on the Town of Hotchkiss main sewer line rehabilitation project was slightly delayed, but is expected to begin today, according to Public Works manager Mike Owens.

Most of the line is located within the town's alleyways, although some work will affect the streets where they intersect with alleyways.

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Blue ribbons show support for law enforcement
Blue ribbons show support for law enforcement

A small group of people took to the streets of Hotchkiss Saturday morning to put blue ribbons up as part of the national Blue Ribbon Campaign. Michelle Sparks, who has friends and family members working in law enforcement, said she learned about the ribbon campaign through a Facebook group dedicated to support of law enforcement and begun by a group of police wives who want to show their support for law enforcement in light of national negative attention.

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Hotchkiss students have special visitor
Hotchkiss students have special visitor

The students of Susan Hamrick's class at Hotchkiss K-8 School received a special treat when they were visited on Sept. 14 by U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Steve (Randy) Allyn. The class had written cards and letters and sent a Christmas package to the former Hotchkiss High School student last year.

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Sewer line work begins

Work on the Town of Hotchkiss' long-anticipated sewer line rehabilitation project is scheduled to begin Sept. 28. Most of the work will be done within the town's alleys, beginning at the alley between Pinon and Cedar streets, and Highway 92 and Hotchkiss Avenue.

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Littlest fruit steals show at Tomato Fest
Littlest fruit steals show at Tomato Fest

If there was a Best in Show at this year's Tomato Fest, it would likely have gone to the diminutive Mexican Midget. The marble-sized heirloom variety won in two categories, with grower Randy Slater claiming the "tastiest" category and Matt Kottenstette claiming this year's "smallest" tomato honors.

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Learn what it takes to become a firefighter

Hotchkiss Fire District is recruiting volunteer firefighters.

Anyone interested in volunteering or learning about what is required to be a volunteer firefighter is welcome to attend the district's "Make Me a Firefighter" events.

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Colorado Grand road racers return to Hotchkiss Friday

The Colorado Grand celebrates its 27th annual tour with a lunch stop in Hotchkiss on Friday, Sept. 18. The Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce has hosted a lunch for the Colorado Grand road racers on their multi-day jaunt around Colorado for 19 of the past 27 years.

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Hotchkiss approves $1,500 for NFMAD

North Fork Mosquito Abatement District board president Rain Klepper came before the Hotchkiss council on Sept. 10 to request money to continue mitigation work after the organization ran out of payroll money the first week of August. While the organization made it through the entire 2014 season without having to ask for money, the wet, warm spring made for a long and especially challenging season.

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Koontz stepping down from Gunnison Basin Roundtable
Koontz stepping down from Gunnison Basin Roundtable

Delta County has put out a call for citizens interested in joining the Gunnison Basin Roundtable as a municipal representative after Wendell Koontz recently announced he is stepping down.

Koontz, who also serves as mayor of Hotchkiss, was first appointed to the roundtable in 2009

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Nicole Walters named branch president
Nicole Walters named branch president

Bank of Colorado announces the promotion of Nicole Walters to branch president of the Hotchkiss and Paonia branches.

Walters joined Bank of Colorado in March 2015 as branch manager and brings over 17 years of bank management skills and leadership experience to the team.

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Make me a firefighter

Hotchkiss Fire District is recruiting volunteer firefighters.

Anyone interested in volunteering or learning about what is required to be a volunteer firefighter is welcome to attend the district's "Make Me a Firefighter" events.

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First Celebrate the Fork a success
First Celebrate the Fork a success

Visitors to the Celebrate the Fork artists' displays at Heritage Hall Saturday were treated to some of the finest examples of artistic creation in the North Fork area, from custom pieces by North Rim Glass Studio to a bowl carved from an aspen burl at Smith Fork Ranch.

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Hotchkiss Elks have impact in the community

The Hotchkiss Elks Lodge has put two international grants to good use in the community.

Beverly Clemmer reports that the $2,000 Gratitude Grant was distributed between three local organizations: S & B Quilting received $400 for its veterans quilt project; $300 to North Fork Soccer; and $1,300 to the North Fork Ambulance Association.

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DCMH continues support of health care
DCMH continues support of health care

At the invitation of John Gavan, Delta County Memorial Hospital CEO Jason Cleckler spoke to an audience of about 25 members of the Aging in Place working group, Rotarians and health care providers last Thursday at the Paonia Library.

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Celebrate the Fork this weekend in Hotchkiss
Celebrate the Fork this weekend in Hotchkiss

The North Fork Valley Creative Coalition is throwing the party of the year at the Delta County Fairgrounds Aug. 28 and 29 to honor the work of the creative people who live in the North Fork.

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Hotchkiss council weighs DMEA broadband resolution
Hotchkiss council weighs DMEA broadband resolution

Trish Thibodo, director of Delta County Economic Development, came before the Hotchkiss Town Council on Aug. 13 to give a presentation on efforts to bring broadband Internet access to Delta County. DCED is working with Region 10, which was recently awarded a $5.2 million grant to build middle-mile infrastructure to provide that access to the county.

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Benefit for Ray Penland to be held Saturday
Benefit for Ray Penland to be held Saturday

A benefit dinner and dance for firefighter and longtime Hotchkiss resident Ray Penland will be held Saturday, Aug. 22, at the Hotchkiss Fire District headquarters, 193 Hotchkiss Avenue.

Penland, a family man and the longtime assistant fire chief in charge of the Redlands Mesa Substation, was injured in a fall last spring while farming and is currently unable to perform his duties.

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School, mother at odds over daughter's enrollment
School, mother at odds over daughter's enrollment

Angie Watson wants her daughter to have a chance at a normal life.

Alexis Watson, 13, was born with a rare chromosome irregularity, 4p-11p maternity Trisomy, and communicates through simple words, gestures, and American Sign Language.

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North Fork Pool celebrates successful season
North Fork Pool celebrates successful season

The staff of the North Fork Pool in Hotchkiss gathered Friday to celebrate a successful season, to honor their lifeguards and swim instructors, and to thank three long-time staff members who are retiring.

Swim classes were completely filled this year, according to Lenore Cambria, who replaces Esther Koontz as district administrator of the North Fork Pool, Parks & Recreation District. Koontz retired in June with 14 years of service.

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Emblem conference deemed a success

Hotchkiss Emblem Club met Monday, July 6. Monthly reports were given. Under old business, a discussion was held regarding the convention held in Hotchkiss in June.

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Monks share culture during visit
Monks share culture during visit

Six Tibetan monks, scholars from the Gaden Shartse Monastery, spent last week in the North Fork Valley, raising awareness of their culture while experiencing the local culture. Tibetan monks have been visiting the North Fork area since 1977.

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First responders honored for life-saving acts
First responders honored for life-saving acts

If you ask his family members, friends, and co-workers at Zack's Bar-B-Q, they'll probably say that Larry Hicks is a one-in-a-million guy. Statistically speaking, he is one in nine.

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Junior Market Livestock Sale brings in $228,324

A total of 172 market animals and pens were offered for sale by 4-H and FFA members at the 2015 Junior Market Livestock Sale, held Saturday, Aug. 8, at the county fair.

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Chermak to model project at state fair
Chermak to model project at state fair

Mandi Chermak will represent Delta County when she models her grand champion 4-H clothing project later this month at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.

Chermak, an 18-year-old sophomore at the University of Northern Colorado and daughter of Cristen and Rick Chermak of Hotchkiss,

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Hatchery sends trout throughout the state
Hatchery sends trout throughout the state

Here are the stocking numbers for the Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery as of July.

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Hotchkiss Class of '65 celebrates
Hotchkiss Class of '65 celebrates

Fifty years ago Hotchkiss High School graduated 42 students from the class of 1965. Last weekend's 50th class reunion was attended by 24 classmates who ranged in distance from Milan, N.M., and Coweta, Okla., to Hotchkiss.

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Support the next generation of agriculture producers at the sale

The 2015 Junior Market Livestock Sale is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, at the fairgrounds in Hotchkiss. Plan to attend and support the efforts of area 4-H and FFA youth by purchasing quality market livestock animals over the auction block.

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Head, heart, hands, health guide Clock triplets for 11 years
Head, heart, hands, health guide Clock triplets for 11 years

Tyrell, Tiffany and Tia Clock don't know what they're going to do with all their free time after the Delta County Fair ends. The 4-H members have entered hundreds of projects over the years, including 64 pigs, roughly 300 turkeys, a few lambs, and more chickens than they care to remember.

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Fair grand marshals 'Bliss-fully' serve Delta County and beyond
Fair grand marshals 'Bliss-fully' serve Delta County and beyond

Ed and Pam Bliss of Crawford will serve as grand marshals of the 2015 Delta County Fair.

The Blisses are retired, but continue to support the community through volunteerism -- a commitment they made almost 40 years ago.

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Two Brothers Organics awarded marketing grant
Two Brothers Organics awarded marketing grant

Two Brothers Organics, the Hotchkiss-based company that operates Big B's Juices and Hard Ciders, was recently awarded a Colorado Department of Agriculture marketing and sales grant through the Enrich Colorado Ag Grant program.

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Museum celebrates 10 years with open house
Museum celebrates 10 years with open house

It has been 10 years since the Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society moved into its present building. The museum will celebrate this event with an open house on Saturday, Aug. 8, from 1 - 4 p.m.

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Test plot gives firsthand look at 34 types of grass
Test plot gives firsthand look at 34 types of grass

Trying to decide between blue gamma or basin wildrye? Potomac or Piaute orchardgrass? Dryland crops or irrigated?

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