The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.
Noah and Colleen Knox received approval for West Elk Layers, a confined poultry operation for 20,000 laying hens, cage free, from the county commissioners at their Nov. 5 meeting, under requirements set forth in the county's specific development regulations.
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.
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.
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.
The Blue Sage Center for the Arts is now accepting submissions of writings and photographs for the annual Convergence: Words and Images from the West Elks contest.
Formerly titled "Write On!" Convergence is an annual writing and photography contest providing opportunities for all genres and amateur and professional photographers to showcase their work.
The Crawford Pioneer Christmas Festival is a week of holiday fun, beginning with the Parade of Lights on Nov. 23, and concluding with a community potluck and auction on Nov. 30.
Everyone is welcome to participate in the Parade of Lights, set for Friday, Nov. 23.
Calling 2-D and 3-D artists and all other creative people to participate in the Crawford "Pioneer Christmas Festival."
Pioneer Christmas Festival Auction items may be done in any medium you choose and present your artwork to be enjoyed and sold at auction on Nov. 30.
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.
Industry, by Gabrielle Louise, an award-winning Colorado singer/songwriter, tells the ongoing and true story of a small town in Colorado fighting the threat of oil and gas development. In process for almost a year, the public release of the song and accompanying music video coincides with a push by the Trump administration to expand fracking and oil and gas development across America's public lands, including around Paonia, Louise's hometown.
The Bureau of Land Management announced last week the deferral of 58 parcels, including 74,516 acres in the North Fork, from the Dec. 13 oil and gas sale.
A statement issued by BLM Colorado Nov. 2 explains, "BLM Colorado is deferring parcels that contain big game habitat in cooperation with a request from the State of Colorado to delay leasing to allow consideration of further habitat protections.
Sediment from the Muddy River has piled up in the Paonia Reservoir, reducing active storage capacity and the amount of irrigation water available for agricultural producers in the North Fork Valley.
At the same time, industry leaders and environmentalists are looking for ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal mines through the recovery and use of methane.
The City of Delta has issued 16 building permits for new single family homes this year, outpacing the combined total of permits issued in 2017 (six) and 2016 (seven).
Delta County is seeing a similar increase, although new homes in unincorporated Delta County are measured not by building permits, but by septic permits.
Natasha Léger was one of four community advocates recently honored with the 2018 Community Sentinel Award for Environmental Stewardship. Léger joins Ellen Gerhart and Rebecca Roter of Pennsylvania and Nalleli Cobo of California in receiving the national award.
Paonia Town Hall will be closed on Monday, Nov. 12, in observance of Veterans Day, which officially falls on Sunday.
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.
While Nov. 11 is officially recognized as Veterans Day, two Delta residents have a plan to honor veterans every day of the year through beautification of the Garnet Mesa Trail.
Jim Ball, a veteran of World War II, lives just above the trail that he's walked "hundreds" of times.
Delta County Libraries, The Nature Connection (TNC), and Colorado Parks and Wildlife proudly present the StoryWalk® at Sweitzer Lake State Park in Delta. The installation of the StoryWalk® was made possible by funding provided by a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Inspire Initiative grant, awarded to TNC in December 2017.
Jeffrey Wright will be leaving his post as head of the Delta County Office of Emergency Management, effective Dec. 1.
Wright moved to Delta County with his wife and their four children in 2013.
Delta's Kickoff to Christmas, scheduled Saturday, Nov. 24, includes Small Business Saturday and the Parade of Lights. Contact the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce, 874-8616, for a parade application.
Fire management officials from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests have announced plans to conduct prescribed pile burns between mid-October through December, pending favorable weather, ground and vegetation conditions.
The objectives of prescribed pile burns is to reduce the risk of larger wildfires and improve ecosystem health by removing debris and vegetation, or fuels, through the planned ignition of slash piles.
On Oct. 17, there was a joint meeting of the Crawford Area Planning Committee (CAPC) and the Delta County Planning Commission (DCPC) to discuss an application for a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) -- in this case a 20,000 hen egg laying facility on Fruitland Mesa. There were about equal numbers of public comments for and against this application.
Planning commissioners, last week, voted 7 to 1 to recommend approval of a new chicken barn on Fruitland Mesa. Some 60 residents attended the open meeting; nine spoke in favor and nine against.
In 1916 a new mining company was organized with many of the investors from this area. The mine was located in Pitkin County close to Aspen.
Strategies for addressing the nationwide opioid epidemic often include discussions of reducing or restricting access to opioids. It's important that conversation however address community members who have a genuine need for prescription pain medications.
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