The naming and rebranding of the combined Paonia/Hotchkiss High School continues to make progress. The committee made up primarily of students from the two schools met last week for the final time.

Caryn Gibson, school district superintendent, said starting this week information will be posted on the school district website ( along with Paonia and Hotchkiss High Schools’ websites for committee members to vote. North Fork fifth-grade students through the current junior class will have an opportunity to vote through their school email on their suggested name, mascot and school colors.

Voting will take place on three name suggestions: North Fork High School, West Elk High School or Fire Mountain High School. School mascot choices are: Miners, Outlaws and Wolves. School color choices are: Black and Red, Red and Grey, Navy and Red, or Black and Teal. The school board plans to make the final decision via vote at its April 15 meeting.

Little Blue -In a bit of a delay, the Little Blue Creek Canyon project will now start on April 12. The two-year road project for Highway 50 between Montrose and Gunnison was expected to begin April 1. The North Fork Valley can expect increased traffic on Highway 92 for the next two years with the bulk of travelers making their way through Crawford and Hotchkiss.

Crawford -The North Fork Montessori at Crawford Preschool and Public kindergarten through sixth recently received a high-quality Colorado Shines child care rating from the state. The public school received a Level 4 rating, while maintaining an authentic Montessori Program, according a press release from the school.

Colorado Shines is a free service offered through the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Early Childhood. It rates Colorado’s early care and learning programs, connects families with quality programs, and helps early care and learning programs improve their quality.

Registration for pre-k and kindergarten at North Fork Montessori at Crawford begins on April 6.

Hotchkiss -Due to the change in Delta County’s COVID-19 status, the Town of Hotchkiss has returned to in-person meetings. The next town council meeting will be Thursday, April 8, at town hall beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Merchant meetings are back on track according to Kim Shay, Hotchkiss Area Chamber of Commerce. Meetings will be held Wednesday mornings around 8 a.m. at the Coal Train Coffee shop on Bridge Street. Attendees are encouraged to use their own discretion on masks and social distance during the meeting.

After months of working on grants and logistics, the E-station has been installed on the north wall of the Hotchkiss/Crawford Museum. Shay said a ribbon cutting ceremony is in the works and will be announced soon.

Back this spring is the popular Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials planned for May 7, 8, 9 over Mother’s Day weekend. The 18th annual trial will take place at the Delta County Fairgrounds. The event will implement all safety precautions and COVID-19 restrictions during the three-day event.

Paonia- The Town of Paonia recently posted its short term rental survey on the town’s website (

According to information on the survey’s summary page, short-term rentals (STRs) are defined as the rental of a non-commercial dwelling, dwelling unit, accessory dwelling unit, or any portion of a dwelling unit to any persons for less than 30 days. Responses to the survey are anonymous and will be reviewed by the Governmental Affairs and Public Safety (GAPS) committee before being presented to the Paonia town council.

Also up on the town’s website is the Town of Paonia Street/Tree Inventory report conducted by Colorado State Forest Service. The 43-page document covers a number of topics including tree species and value; current tree situation in the town as well as management action and recommendations.

Looking forward, the town of Paonia recently announced its annual clean-up days for May 24 -28. The town will pick up extra stuff for free, however, some restrictions apply.

Discarded items can be placed near normal trash dumpsters or folks can take advantage of dumpsters at the Town Park (May 22-31). Flammable liquids are on the prohibited list and town employees will not enter private property to retrieve items.

Paonia residents can discard yard waste, paint or oil cans filled with sand or cat litter, lumber and tree branches bundled in 5 foot lengths, refrigerators and freezers, scrape metal, tires, household appliances, electronics, furniture and miscellaneous items.

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