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Articles related to Paonia


Paonia Holdings asks for land use change

Public comments on a proposed development northeast of Paonia were extended to May 5 after citizens complained that they were not given enough time to research the proposal.

Paonia Holdings, LLC, has applied to Delta County for approval of a land use change on commercial and light industrial property located at 41322 and 41402 Hwy. 133, and ancillary property at 16180 Stevens Gulch Road.

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Third Street waterline project begins May 1 in Paonia

Work on the Town of Paonia Third Street waterline project is scheduled to begin Monday, May 1. The three-phase project involves replacing approximately 5,800 feet of potable waterline along Third Street between Grand Avenue and the railroad crossing between Oak and Delta avenues; from the tracks east to Lamborn Avenue and south to Second Street; and on Box Elder between Second and Fourth streets.

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Services for Bill Hart are Saturday

Following a short but fierce battle with Stage 4 small-cell lung cancer, former Paonia police officer Bill Hart passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 23.

Hart was a veteran of the U.S. Army and participated in Desert Storm.

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Honoring Emery Townsend's 60 years of mail delivery
Honoring Emery Townsend's 60 years of mail delivery

Emery Townsend has delivered a lot of mail in his 60 years as a U.S. Postal Service contract route carrier. In 1957 Townsend and bride Bebe signed their first four-year contract for the Ragged Mountain and Muddy Creek areas.

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Funding needed to keep aquatic inspections going
Funding needed to keep aquatic inspections going

A program to inspect watercraft for non-native invasive species at Colorado Parks & Wildlife-managed waterways is in danger of ending after the program lost its funding source in 2016.

Program funding has been secured through 2018, according to Ed Keleher, CSP park manager for Paonia, Sweitzer and Crawford reservoirs.

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Final Friday is back in Paonia
Final Friday is back in Paonia

The first Final Friday of the season happens this Friday in downtown Paonia. Downtown galleries and studies including the new 2nd Story Studios at 228-1/2 Grand Avenue, and Cirque Cyclery will remain open from 5-7 p.m., offering wine samples, local cuisine and more. Meander between the galleries, taste a selection of wines and samples of local cuisine, and enjoy.

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Expect crossing closures in Paonia

According to the Town of Paonia website, through the end of this week Paonia residents can expect street closures to allow for scheduled repairs to in-town railroad crossings.

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County requirements could increase Paonia project costs

Requirements by Delta County related to the final phase of the four-phase out-of-town water line replacement project on Lamborn Mesa could increase the cost of the project by about $100,000.

At the April 11 board meeting trustees voted to adopt a revised bid for project Schedule C, and to direct town staff to continue negotiations with the county on the requirements, which the town's engineer has deemed unnecessary.

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A Little Help organizing Service Saturday in May

A Little Help in the North Fork Valley is having a Service Saturday! on Saturday, May 13. If you are a member of A Little Help or even think you might want to try it out, call the office, 527-3482, to sign up.

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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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Paonia senior center events

The Paonia Senior Citizens Center has several events planned in the coming weeks.

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New owners at the Bross
New owners at the Bross

Years of wondering who will buy Paonia's beautiful Bross Hotel are over.

On Monday Kevin and Karen Kropp became the eighth owners of the 111-year-old Victorian-style hotel on Onarga Avenue.

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Paonia VFD responds to two fires in two days
Paonia VFD responds to two fires in two days

The Paonia Volunteer Fire Department responded to two fires late last week. On Thursday, April 13, they responded to a structure fire on Cresthaven Road.

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Eurythmy dance workshops offered

The North Fork School of Integrated Studies and The Learning Council are sponsoring the Eurythmy Dance Workshop at Paonia Elementary School. Workshops will be held Mondays, April 24, May 1 and 8.

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Paonia senior center events

The Paonia Senior Citizens Center has several events planned in the coming weeks.

On Wednesday, April 26, the center will host a "90's Celebration" for all people who are 90 or older as of that date.

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Crossing repairs in Paonia will close streets

According to the Town of Paonia website, for the next two weeks Paonia residents can expect street closures to allow for scheduled repairs to in-town railroad crossings.

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Paonia trustees adopt 25-mph speed limit

Paonia drivers will soon have a set speed limit of 25 miles per hour, except in areas where posted otherwise.

At the March 28 meeting trustees approved the setting of a 25-mph speed limit on all streets, with a lower, 15-mph limit in school zones and any other areas later deemed necessary for safety purposes.

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Grower tests another way to protect crops from frost
Grower tests another way to protect crops from frost

With the early arrival of warm weather comes earlier blossoming of the area's fruit trees, and increased risk of losing crops to a freeze. One local family is trying a different method of protecting their crops from freezing temperatures and killing frost this spring: The "cold air drain."

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AmeriCorp volunteers do valuable local service
AmeriCorp volunteers do valuable local service

Paonia Mayor Charles Stewart attended a volunteer cleanup of the Paonia River Park Tuesday, April 4, to recognize the value of community service to the nation during an event organized by local AmeriCorps VISTAs (Volunteers in Service to America).

During the event, the mayor thanked local volunteers for their contribution to the town and signed a proclamation which outlined the importance of service to the community.

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School of Integrated Studies draws families to the valley
School of Integrated Studies draws families to the valley

The North Fork School of Integrated Studies (NFSIS) is drawing families to the North Fork Valley with Waldorf-inspired education methods, which emphasize the arts and limit technology.

The school opened within Paonia Elementary as "a school within a school" in 2015 with 24 children in grades K-4.

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Paonia OHV ordinance goes into effect May 6

Paonia trustees approved an ordinance last week allowing the operation of off-highway vehicles, or OHVs, within town limits.

Before jumping on your four-wheeler and going for a spin, OHV owners should know a few things, including the fact that the ordinance will not take effect until May 6. Until then, it is not legal to operate an OHV or ATV within town limits, according to Police Chief Neil Ferguson.

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Neal Ferguson named Paonia police chief
Neal Ferguson named Paonia police chief

Paonia Police Department Sergeant Neal Ferguson will be sworn in as the chief of police at the April 11 board meeting following an appointment by the town board. The ceremony will include the swearing in of a new police officer, Stewart Byrge.

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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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Valley Voices: Water security and storage in the North Fork Valley

After a relatively warm and dry winter, the local streams are already flowing and snow is melting from the mountains. Whether you're in town and part of the local water supply, a farmer that depends on reservoir water or simply concerned about the growing uncertainty of water supply, recent record-breaking temperatures may have you wondering about the future.

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Bunco night at Blue Sage

The Blue Sage Center for the Arts, 226 Grand Avenue, Paonia, will start offering a monthly Bunco night on Thursday, April 13.

Bunco is a fast-paced game where 12 players jockey for position at the "head table" by rolling dice while competing for prizes.

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Paonia trustees approve purchase of new leaf vac

The streets and gutters of Paonia will get some much-needed attention after trustees approved the purchase of a new Kubota SCL800TM leaf vac from Rocky Mountain Supply Co. in Palisade.

Cost of the fully self-contained unit is $42,444, which is below the $45,000 allocated in the 2017 budget for a new leaf vac.

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Paonia town attorney resigns
Paonia town attorney resigns

In a letter to the town, dated March 20, Paonia town attorney David Marek announced that he is stepping down. Marek gave 30 days' notice per his contract. His last day on the job will be April 28.

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Paonia re-structures town committees

The Paonia Town Board of Trustees is considering a change in the structure of its standing committees. If approved, the six committees, Finance and Personnel, Public Works, Public Safety, Governmental Affairs, Services and Recreation, and Facilities and Development would be restructured into three committees: Finance and Personnel, Public Works/Utilities/Facilities, and Governmental Affairs/Public Safety.

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Off-road vehicles may be legal on Paonia streets

It may soon be legal to drive off-road vehicles in the town of Paonia.

At the March 14 town board meeting, trustees considered a draft ordinance that would amend current town code to allow off-highway vehicles (OHVs) to be operated within town limits.

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Local businesses urge support for methane rule

More than 60 business owners from across the Western Slope have submitted a letter to senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner urging support for keeping the Bureau of Land Management's Methane and Waste Prevention Rule in place.

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Paonia approves Space to Create application without town match

At the Feb. 28 board meeting, Paonia trustees passed a resolution endorsing the submittal of a full application for participation in the statewide Space to Create program. Space to Create is a state-led initiative aimed at creating work spaces and affordable housing for a broad range of artists and related businesses.

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Taking a closer look at Paonia's water plant
Taking a closer look at Paonia's water plant

At the base of Mount Lamborn, water from a series of mountain springs feeds the Upper Lamborn Mesa Water Treatment Plant through a pipeline. Once treated, the water is stored in a two-million gallon tank and fed into a distribution system to residences and businesses.

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Twenty years of upscale design
Twenty years of upscale design

For 20 years Elisabeth Delehaunty has designed upscaled clothing for her company, Elisabethan. Each piece of Elisabethan apparel is made of post-consumer materials.

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Rep. Tipton a surprise participant at citizen's town hall meeting
Rep. Tipton a surprise participant at citizen's town hall meeting

[Editor's note: The Delta County Independent was unable to schedule a reporter to cover this meeting due to prior commitments. Rita Clagett submitted a 2,600-word report of the meeting organized by Grand Mesa Indivisible, We the People of the North Fork Valley and Indivisible Delta County, which has been edited due to space considerations. Her full story can be found online at by clicking here.]

Nearly 200 constituents of Senator Cory Gardner and Representative Scott Tipton, both Republicans, packed the Paradise Theater in Paonia on Saturday, Feb. 25...

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NFV Constituent Meeting

[Editor's note: The Delta County Independent was unable to schedule a reporter to cover this meeting due to prior commitments. Rita Clagett, who is not an employee of the DCI and was among those who spoke during the meeting, submitted a 2,600-word report of the meeting organized by Grand Mesa Indivisible, We the People of the North Fork Valley and Indivisible Delta County, which has been edited due to space considerations. Her full write-up follows as submitted.]

NFV Constituent Town Hall, Saturday February 25

by Rita Clagett

Nearly 200 constituents of Republicans Senator Cory Gardner and Representative Scott Tipton packed the Paradise Theater in Paonia...

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Paonia board nixes deer fences

Paonia residents wanting to build a deer fence to keep deer from eating their tulips and vegetables will have to find another option after the board of trustees voted, 4-3, to remove a section on deer fencing from a proposed fencing ordinance. Mayor Charles Stewart cast the tiebreaking vote.

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Space to Create initiative creates friction in Paonia

Paonia town trustees voted at the Feb. 14 board meeting to table a resolution to participate in the statewide Space to Create. The issue will be included in the Feb. 28 agenda.

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Vacant Paonia storefront houses 'phantom gallery'
Vacant Paonia storefront houses 'phantom gallery'

Paonia artist Cedar Keshet is a prolific painter. Her works, mostly oils on canvas, take the viewer on a tour of western landscapes, from the first snowfall on Mt. Lamborn and summer on West Beckwith Pass, to the desert cacti of the Southwest and the formations of the Great Basin of Nevada. Her works have shown from Chicago to San Francisco and are held by collectors across the country.

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New town manager  on the job in Paonia
New town manager on the job in Paonia

A week after beginning his new job as administrator for the Town of Paonia, Kenneth "Ken" Knight had already rearranged his office and faced his desk away from the wall and toward the large picture window looking out onto Grand Avenue. So far he likes what he sees.

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Nathan Yager to be retried this summer
Nathan Yager to be retried this summer

Six years have passed since the brutal slaying of Melinda Tackett Yager, yet her family is still looking for closure. Nathan Yager, convicted of murdering his estranged wife in January 2011, won an appeal and another shot at convincing a jury he should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

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Hospital to open walk-in clinic in Paonia

The Delta County Memorial Hospital District has announced plans to open a walk-in clinic in Paonia. The district selected the former Bank of Colorado location at 218 Grand Avenue for the clinic and purchased the 6,000-square-foot building in late January. They plan to open the clinic as early as this May.

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Cherry Days seeks volunteers, slogan
Cherry Days seeks volunteers, slogan

The Cherry Days Forever committee is gearing up for the 71st annual hometown celebration and is looking for input and volunteers.

Cherry Day itself always falls on July 4, which this year is on Tuesday.

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PPD calls, citations increase in 2016

Sergeant Neil Ferguson with the Paonia Police Department recently released crime and enforcement statistics for 2016 and offered comparisons from 2015 statistics.

In 2016 the department answered a total of 1,056 calls, up from 974 calls in 2015. In 2016, officers issued just over 170 citations totaling almost $18,000 in fees and fines; in 2015, 89 citations resulted in $8,701.50 in fees and fines.

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Rio Bravo slated to open in Paonia in February
Rio Bravo slated to open in Paonia in February

A new Mexican restaurant is coming to Paonia. The Rio Bravo will open this month at the site of the former Sol Margaritas location at 240 Grand Avenue .

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Fence permit fee tabled

The Paonia Board of Trustees will consider an ordinance and resolution related to fences after tabling the items at the Jan. 24 board meeting.

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Paonia ponders 'Rural Jump Start' resolution

A program designed to attract new businesses and stimulate economic development is being considered by the Paonia Board of Trustees. Under the resolution the town would provide tax relief programs for new businesses and new hires that locate into approved "Jump-Start" zones.

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Speech meet is all about introducing, debating bills
Speech meet is all about introducing, debating bills

The speech and debate All-Congress meet was held Saturday at Paonia High School. Just as the 115th U.S. Congress is doing, about 35 students from North Fork, Grand Junction and Montrose area high schools wrote, introduced and debated bills on two House floors throughout the daylong event.

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Paonia trustees move forward on Space to Create
Paonia trustees move forward on Space to Create

The Paonia Board of Trustees has agreed to move forward in supporting efforts to participate in the Colorado Space to Create initiative. STC is a state-driven collaborative designed to develop affordable housing and work spaces for a broad range of artists.

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SEI, HCN, Cirque among chamber honorees
SEI, HCN, Cirque among chamber honorees

An international solar energy company, a regional newspaper with more than 30,000 subscribers and two companies operating under a synergistic business model were among those honored at the annual meeting of the Paonia Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 25.

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Students serve with Mexico Outreach

Azusa Pacific University students Jayson Park and Tiffany Clock, both of Paonia, served with Mexico Outreach during the fall semester.

Mexico Outreach was founded on the principle that young people of all ages can be effective in sharing the gospel.

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Paonia interim manager says goodbye this week
Paonia interim manager says goodbye this week

Dan Dean will finish his brief stint with the Town of Paonia this Friday. Dean was hired as interim town manager in September following the abrupt resignation of Jane Berry last July.

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Town donates to Paonia Senior Center

At the Jan. 10 board meeting, Paonia trustees unanimously approved a request from the Paonia Senior Center for a $3,000 donation. Representative Lynne Bear made the request to the board.

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Paonia Literary Committee hosts 'Paonia Reads'

If you're looking for a cure for your cabin fever, the Paonia Literary Committee has some ideas.

The committee that brought you Valley Voices, the Harvest of Voices and the Write-On Anthology will present its inaugural "Paonia Reads," a program encouraging adults and students to engage themselves in reading Sherman Alexie's National Book Award winner, "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven."

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Paonia moves ahead with water ordinance, rate hike

Paonia water customers can expect to see an increase in their utility bill beginning in March. At the Jan. 10 board meeting, trustees approved a 2-percent increase in water user fees and base rates.

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Former Paonia town manager topic of executive session

At the Jan. 10 meeting of the Town of Paonia Town Board of Trustees, the board held an hour-long executive session to receive advice from town attorney David Marek specific to former town manager Jane Berry.

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Paonia names new town administrator

Following an executive session at the Jan. 10 board meeting, trustees for the Town of Paonia voted unanimously to offer the job of town administrator to Kenneth Knight. Knight, who accepted the job, was one of 36 to apply for the position and was one of two finalists after interim town manager Dan Dean accepted a job in Kimball, Neb.

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Paonia welcomes high-speed connections
Paonia welcomes high-speed connections

When Mike and Gretchen King moved to Paonia to start Revolution Brewing, they brought with them an unconventional business model based not so much on profit as on progressive ideas that support the community. It's worked well, said Mike King. The Rev will celebrate its ninth anniversary this May.

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Hart fundraiser set for Saturday

Whether you're a master at the game of pool, or you just want to do something to support a good cause, hustle down to Thomas Waldo's this Saturday and support the fundraiser for Clarence "Bill" Hart.

Hart, a 15-year veteran officer on the Paonia Police Department, military veteran, husband and father of three, was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 small-cell lung cancer.

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Christian discipleship series begins

North Fork Baptist Church is hosting a great Christian discipleship series as part of its ongoing adult Sunday school class. It is taught by Reverend Steve Hoekstra, Colorado Baptists, director, western Colorado office.

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People in the News Shaw

Carolyn Shaw of Paonia earned a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of Northern Colorado during fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 9-10.

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Blood draw, health fair registration is now open

Delta County residents can mark their 2017 calendars for early blood draws and health fairs in Paonia, Cedaredge and Delta, according to Patti Kalahar, manager of education/marketing for Delta County Memorial Hospital. Lions Club members in Delta, Cedaredge and Paonia and DCMH volunteers will be partnering in the annual community health fair events again this year.

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Unexpected turns...
Unexpected turns...

Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn that can change one's course forever. For Mark and Joei Malone, that unexpected turn happened two years ago on a road trip to explore the possibility of relocating from Summit County to Montrose.

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Percussionist leads 'A Musical Caravan'
Percussionist leads 'A Musical Caravan'

The Blue Sage Concert Series is pleased to announce "A Musical Caravan" on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 7:30 p.m. featuring the Blue Sage's artistic director of world music and local percussionist David Alderdice, along with a host of other amazing musicians from Colorado, in the second world music concert of the Blue Sage's 2016-17 season.

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Ute Indians are topic of Paonia library talk
Ute Indians are topic of Paonia library talk

Palisade archaeologist Curtis Martin will present "The Archaeology of the Ute Indians and Their Final Years in Western Colorado," at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, at the Paonia Public Library.

Martin is principal investigator for the Colorado Wickiup Project, a program of the Dominguez Archaeological Research Group (DARG).

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Jenny Eyler recognized for influence on Boettcher Scholar
Jenny Eyler recognized for influence on Boettcher Scholar

Mari McCarville, a former student of the North Fork Montessori School, was one of 42 young leaders recognized with a Boettcher Foundation Scholarship in May 2016. A graduate of Grand Junction High School, she is majoring in music and biology, with a concentration in neuroscience, at the University of Denver.

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Dean accepts job in Nebraska
Dean accepts job in Nebraska

The choice for administrator for the Town of Paonia was whittled down again after interim town administrator Dan Dean accepted the position of administrator for the City of Kimball, Neb., last week. Dean was appointed interim town manager in September following the resignation of Jane Berry. Dean could not be reached for comment.

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Fundraising underway for Paonia officer Bill Hart
Fundraising underway for Paonia officer Bill Hart

Paonia Police Officer Bill Hart was diagnosed with Stage 4 small-cell lung cancer and is currently undergoing radiation treatments at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction. Soon he will begin chemo treatments soon, which are expected to last about four months.

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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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'Paonia Reads' encourages winter reading

"Paonia Reads" wants to encourage everyone to read during the winter months.

Paonia Reads is a collaboration between the Blue Sage Center for the Arts, Delta County Libraries and the Paradise Theatre.

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Paonia awards parks maintenance contract
Paonia awards parks maintenance contract

At the Dec. 13 board meeting, Paonia town trustees unanimously approved a three-year contract for Mikel "Mike" Altenhofen to maintain the town's public parks.

The contract is for $41,928 per year, beginning Jan. 1 and ending Dec. 31, 2019.

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New year is the time to register dogs

The Town of Paonia reminds dog owners living within the town to register their dogs for 2017. Tags are available now.

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Paonia fails to appoint administrator

At the Dec. 21 special meeting the Town of Paonia Board of Trustees did not name a new town administrator. Following a two-hour executive session, Mayor Charles Stewart announced that there will be no formal action on the matter of naming a new administrator.

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Paonia holiday lights winners announced

In the Town of Paonia's annual judging of Christmas lights displays, a cute little sports car caught the eyes of judges Katya Schwieterman and Liane Mattson. Schwieterman and Mattson are daughter and mother and have been judging the lights for the town for 10 years. The first year they judged the contest, Katya was 4.

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Food drive benefits Paonia food pantry
Food drive benefits Paonia food pantry

The holidays are a time of giving, and for the last four years the students at Paonia Elementary School and the North Fork School of Integrated Studies have given a lot of food to the Paonia food pantry.

The food pantry is operated by the North Fork Ministerial Association, which includes the Paonia Church of Christ, Friends Church, the Church of the Nazarene, and Paonia Christian Fellowship.

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Paonia to select administrator at special meeting

Because a second public meeting was not set for the month of December, the Paonia Town Board of Trustees is expected to name a new town administrator at a special meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Dec. 21, at Paonia Town Hall.

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Living nativity in Paonia celebrates birth of Christ
Living nativity in Paonia celebrates birth of Christ

Despite sub-freezing temperatures, an outdoor live nativity event drew a large crowd Saturday afternoon at Paonia Christian Fellowship. Observers were warmed by fires burning in fire pits, and by hot drinks, including coffee, tea, hot chocolate and espresso.

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Paonia tables talk on water/sewer ordinances

Paonia town trustees were unable to adopt new water and sewer rates at the Dec. 13 meeting after tabling discussion of the ordinances needed to pass them by resolution.

The ordinances would replace the town's existing water and wastewater ordinances and would allow the town to adopt changes in base rates and user charges, with the exception of water and wastewater tap fees, by resolution.

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Paonia properties under contract

Three parcels of land owned by the Town of Paonia and listed through Western Colorado Realty.com are under contract just weeks after going on the market. All parcels are located in unincorporated Delta County.

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Drug take back day a success

Paonia Police Department Sergeant Neil Ferguson reported to the town board of trustees that the Oct. 22 "Drug Take-Back Day" was a big success. The event allows citizens to bring in unused and unwanted prescription medications for disposal with no questions asked.

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Paonia water, sewer services will be on Dec. 13 agenda

The Town of Paonia's proposed new water and sewer ordinances, along with resolutions for water and sewer rate increases, will be on the Dec. 13 agenda. After discovering inconsistencies in language and definitions between the current and proposed ordinances at the Nov. 22 meeting, as well as confusion as to which version of the water ordinance was the most recent, trustees voted to table all four agenda items.

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Paonia hosts three days of merry making
Paonia hosts three days of merry making

It will take three days to encompass all the holiday activities being planned by the Paonia Chamber of Commerce, Alpine Bank, Bross Hotel and more than a dozen participating businesses and organizations.

The festivities begin Friday, Dec. 2, and continue through the weekend with holiday open houses, sales, samples and celebrations.

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Paonia grapples with illicit pig

Did anyone lose a pig?

Seems a pig, about the size of a medium-sized dog, has been reported as wandering the streets of Paonia recently.

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Paonia trustees establish limits on insurance coverage

The Town of Paonia is once again eligible for additional insurance coverage for losses due to crime almost five years after an embezzlement scheme was revealed.

At the Nov. 8 town board meeting, trustees considered optional insurance coverage options offered by the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA).

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Cameron Van Vleet begins mission in Peru
Cameron Van Vleet begins mission in Peru

Cameron Van Vleet of Paonia has been called to serve two years in Peru as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Cameron arrived in the country on Nov. 16.

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Paonia Standing Rock protest draws 90
Paonia Standing Rock protest draws 90

About 50 people gathered in Paonia last week to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's ongoing protests of the Dakota Access Pipe Line in North Dakota. Marchers, many of whom are involved in efforts to keep hydraulic fracturing out of the North Fork area and away from local water sources, carried signs, burned sweet grass and shouted the "Water is life" mantra of the Standing Rock protestors.

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Paonia budget hearing

The Paonia board of trustees will hold a public hearing on the draft fiscal year 2017 budget at the Nov. 22 board meeting.

The draft budget projects general fund revenues of $605,013 and expenses of $603,190.

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Paonia puts parks contract out to bid

At the Nov. 8 board meeting, Paonia town trustees approved a request for a proposal for a three-year park maintenance contract, to run Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2019.

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Paonia tables rate hike discussion to Nov. 22 meeting

Paonia citizens will have another chance to comment on proposed water rate increases after trustees tabled two related agenda items at the Nov. 8 board meeting.

The first item tabled called for consideration of an ordinance "amending, adding to and deleting portions of town municipal code dealing with water service."

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Treasure  trove  of history
Treasure trove of history

There's an old adage that says if you don't learn from history you're bound to repeat it.

In the North Fork Valley, a small group of locals have a slightly different perspective on that: if you don't teach people about their history, that history will cease to exist.

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Celebrating 90 years in 'Paradise'
Celebrating 90 years in 'Paradise'

On Sunday, dozens of community members gathered to celebrate the history of the Paradise Theater. Called "Another Day in Paradise," the celebration included a recap of 90 years of movies, plays, musicals, fashion shows and live radio broadcasts as people shared their memories of and gratitude for what many called the heart of the community.

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Paonia River Park trails grow by a mile
Paonia River Park trails grow by a mile

If you're yearning for a walk along the river, consider Paonia River Park.

A mile-long segment of walking trail was recently completed at the park, located just beyond the North Fork Historical Society Museum on Grand Avenue.

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Pink Night raises $2,500 for HopeWest

Nancy Hovde wasn't able to make this year's Pink Night volleyball fundraiser for HopeWest at Paonia High School, but she promises she won't miss it next year. Hovde is the new development director for HopeWest.

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John Sisson hangs up his apron after 52-year career
John Sisson hangs up his apron after 52-year career

John Sisson always knew he wanted to be a cook. He got his start as a teenager working at the Rainbow Hotel and Cafe in Hotchkiss, now marked by a faded sign on the side of the two-story historic brick building.

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Blue Sage presents solo piano concerts
Blue Sage presents solo piano concerts

The Blue Sage Concert Series will present two solo piano concerts on Nov. 18 and 19 featuring concert series artistic director Susan Ellinger. The concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Blue Sage Center for the Arts in Paonia.

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Fundraiser honors 90 years of theater history
Fundraiser honors 90 years of theater history

Jeneve Rose Mitchell, the multi-talented, multi-instrumental Crawford resident and finalist on the 15th season of American Idol, will headline an afternoon of music and entertainment this Sunday at the Paradise Theatre in Paonia.

The variety show format will be emceed by Bob Pennetta and honors nearly 90 years of our historic community theater.

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Arts community seeks Space to Create funds
Arts community seeks Space to Create funds

Visitors to Paonia might see a quaint and quiet little town with not much going on at first glance, but look a little closer and creativity is everywhere.

A group of about 20 people, including representatives from state and local governments and entities, nonprofits and the arts toured downtown Paonia last Thursday. They all share an interest in "Space to Create."

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Delegation shares thoughts on roadless rule in D.C.
Delegation shares thoughts on roadless rule in D.C.

With decisions on rules that will affect coal mining in the North Fork Valley on the horizon, the White House Office of Management and Budget met last week with mine officials, representatives of local government and others from the Western Slope to hear how the rules are affecting coal mining in the North Fork Valley.

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Paonia considers water rate hike

Paonia water users could see an increase in their water bill as early as Jan. 1.

At the Oct. 25 board meeting, the town board voted to direct town attorney David Marek to draft a resolution for a 2-percent across the board increase in water rates.

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Local Rotary Club fights to end polio worldwide

In honor of World Polio Day, which is widely recognized on Oct. 24, the Rotary Club of the North Fork Valley will give an update on Rotary's 27-year mission to eradicate the crippling childhood disease at the weekly lunch meeting at noon Thursday, Oct. 27, at Paonia Town Hall.

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Paonia budget workshop tonight

The Town of Paonia will address the fiscal year 2017 draft budget at a special budget workshop session beginning at 6 p.m. today at Town Hall. Trustees voted unanimously to accept the draft budget at the Oct. 11 board meeting.

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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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Rev celebrates 1-gig connection with beer, brats
Rev celebrates 1-gig connection with beer, brats

Revolution Brewing in Paonia is the first business in the North Fork Valley to connect to Elevate Fiber's 1-gigabite internet service powered by Delta-Montrose Electric Association. The brew pub welcomed the connection at its annual Oktoberfest celebration last Friday with a specially-brewed beer, brats and live music by Mike Gwinn and the North Fork Flyers.

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Black Canyon Audubon hosts state council
Black Canyon Audubon hosts state council

On Oct. 1, Black Canyon Audubon Society members hosted the fall quarterly meeting of the Audubon Colorado Council. The ACC coordinates efforts of the state's 11 Colorado Audubon chapters to meet the National Audubon Society mission of conserving and restoring natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity.

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Paonia food co-op fills a growing need
Paonia food co-op fills a growing need

The summer of 2016 was a banner year for North Fork fruit growers. And while that's a good thing, finding buyers for tons and tons of fresh food before it goes bad can be a challenge.

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Celebrate the ride at Saturday's Gears & Beers
Celebrate the ride at Saturday's Gears & Beers

Whether you prefer to ride on the road or a single track, it's time to gear up for Gears & Beers. The grassroots community event was first held seven years ago.

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Small-town festival receives big award
Small-town festival receives big award

An event that began as a small street festival in celebration of music and agriculture in the North Fork Valley is now an award-winning annual event recognized by Downtown Colorado Inc. and the governor of Colorado.

On Sept. 22, Mountain Harvest Creative board member Bill Bishop drove to Pueblo to accept the Governor's Award for "Best Events, Festivals or Recurring Activity in a Small Community" on behalf of the Mountain Harvest Creative.

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Paonia advocacy firm opens Washington office

Incorporated in 2007 and engaged in some of Colorado's largest conservation, public lands, and community campaigns of the last decade, Mountain West Strategies, Ltd. has now opened an office in Washington, D.C.

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Town of Paonia busy with project bids

With several projects in the works, Paonia town trustees awarded three bids at the Sept. 27 meeting.

Copeland Supply in Grand Junction was awarded a bid of $2,380 for construction of a splitter box. Construction of the concrete portion of the box is complete.

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A little help needed for Service Saturday

A Little Help of the North Fork Valley is holding its first Service Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 15.

A Little Help is a Denver-based nonprofit that connects elderly citizens with services and resources that can allow them to remain at home for a longer period of time.

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Town, bank partner in sidewalk project

At the Sept. 27 board meeting Paonia town trustees voted to enter into an agreement with First Colorado National Bank to replace a section of sidewalk and access ramp located at the southeast corner of Second Street and Grand Avenue. The sidewalk will be replaced from the intersection east and south to the alleyways, said Dean.

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Citizens share concerns as Paonia drafts letter to BLM

The Town of Paonia Board of Trustees will make changes to the town's draft comments on the BLM Resource Management Plan after hearing numerous concerns and comments from citizens at a special meeting on Oct. 5.

The public comment period on the draft plan, which will guide the federal agency in land management for 20 to 30 years, ends Nov. 1.

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Paonia trustees meet tonight to discuss RMP letter

The Town of Paonia Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. today (Wednesday, Oct. 5) to discuss proposed comments by the town regarding the Bureau of Land Management Uncompahgre Field Office draft Resource Management Plan.

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Pink Night Friday at Paonia High

Get out your pink shoes and best pink attire, because this Friday is Pink Night!

Pink Night was started at PHS in 2007 by English teacher and volleyball assistant coach, Krissey Allen.

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Candidate reports stolen, damaged signs
Candidate reports stolen, damaged signs

Delta County commissioner candidate Jere Lowe is getting a little tired of having to replace his campaign signs. Lowe, a Democrat, is a first-time candidate for the District 3 seat on the Delta County Board of County Commissioners. He is running against incumbent Republican candidate Mark Roeber.

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Space to Create initiative eyed in North Fork

Question: What do a Hotchkiss High School teacher, a social worker, a retired architect, a drummer, an entrepreneur, a Paonia High School student, a farmer and a Delta County planning commissioner all have in common?

The question, posed by Paonia resident Elaine Brett at the Sept. 27 Paonia Town Board meeting, stumped the audience and trustees.

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PES teacher named finalist for Colorado Teacher of the Year
PES teacher named finalist for Colorado Teacher of the Year

Paonia Elementary School second grade teacher Jodi Simpson is passionate about pedagogy. She understands that the important things kids learn in school isn't accomplished through testing, but by experiencing life and all its wonders.

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Howard Berkman Stage honors 'beloved troubadour'
Howard Berkman Stage honors 'beloved troubadour'

From its beginnings as a small music festival and farmers' market, Paonia blues musician Howard Berkman was a big supporter of the Mountain Harvest Festival. A consummate musician, he was a perennial favorite at the first 10 festivals, until his untimely death in 2011.

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Dan Dean dives into Paonia town business
Dan Dean dives into Paonia town business

Paonia interim town manager Dan Dean has only been on the job about three weeks, but he's quickly learning the ropes. He's toured some of the town's facilities, met with several citizens, and last week attended his first meeting of the board of trustees, where he heard an update on the Elevate Fiber broadband project and a presentation on a new after-school program coming to Paonia Elementary School.

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Branching out
Branching out

If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, then you might say that Ryan Strand's artistic journey begins with picking up a single stick.

Strand is the artist behind the many stick art sculptures found in the North Fork area, including in yards, businesses and inside The Paradise Theatre.

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Rotary Ducky Derby a splashing success
Rotary Ducky Derby a splashing success

The North Fork of the Gunnison River was crawling at 19 cfs Saturday for the first ever North Fork Rotary Club Ducky Derby fundraiser. The first, second- and third-place ducks, which floated downstream on their sides, took about 10 minutes to cross the finish line roughly 100 feet downstream of the Paonia River Park.

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Court dismisses Barb Peterson civil suit

A civil suit filed against the Town of Paonia by former town clerk Barbara Peterson has been dismissed.

"We're very happy with the decision," said Paonia Mayor Charles Stewart.

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Mountain Harvest Festival honored with Governor's Award

In its recent announcement of the 2016 Governor's Award for Downtown Excellence, Downtown Colorado, Inc., recognized the annual Mountain Harvest Festival in Paonia as a "Best Events, Festivals or Recurring Activity in a Small Community."

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Plan ahead for these Harvest Festival events
Plan ahead for these Harvest Festival events

The 16th annual Mountain Harvest Festival, winner of the 2016 Governor's Award for Downtown Excellence, officially begins Sept. 22, but those planning to participate in some of the myriad events that coincide with the celebration may need to plan ahead.

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Geisler is a Realtor Institute graduate
Geisler is a Realtor Institute graduate

Tammy Geisler recently completed extensive continuing education coursework to become a graduate of the Realtor Institute. The GRI is the mark of real estate professionals who have made a commitment to provide a high level of professional service to their community.

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Berry gives parting words on budget, parks and trash

Before her resignation took effect, Paonia Town Manager Jane Berry made a few recommendations to the town board at the Aug. 23 board meeting as the town welcomes an interim town manager and begins a search for a permanent administrator. Berry submitted her resignation in late July.

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DMEA toasts success with Elevate IPA from Revolution Brewing in Paonia

Raise your glass in a toast to Elevate Fiber, powered by DMEA, at the annual Montrose Oktoberfest. Elevate, in partnership with Revolution Brewing of Paonia, will tap its Elevate IPA -- a special batch black IPA -- at the event on Oct. 1. Elevate Fiber representatives will be on hand to help pour samples of the new beer and answer questions.

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Dan Dean is Paonia's interim town manager
Dan Dean is Paonia's interim town manager

The Town of Paonia selected Dan Dean as the interim town manager following Jane Berry's resignation. Friday was Berry's last day at Town Hall, although she officially remains employed by the town through Sept. 24 while she uses up her accrued vacation time.

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Paonia trustees approve dwelling units for businesses

Businesses located in C-1 and C-2 commercially-zoned districts within the Town of Paonia can now, by right, have dwelling units, secondary to their business, following approval by the board of trustees to amend the town's zoning regulations.

The amendment to Section 16-3-70, "Schedule of uses, commercial and industrial districts," was one of three zoning-related ordinances that required a public hearing and that were passed by trustees at the Aug. 23 public meeting.

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Paonia considers OHV ordinance, pot smells

An ordinance to allow citizens to drive off-highway vehicles, or OHVs, in Paonia is being proposed, according to Paonia Police Department Sergeant Neil Ferguson. He reported to the town board at the Aug. 23 meeting that town attorney David Marek is working to have a draft ordinance drawn up soon.

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Visionary Summit a festival of consciousness

"You can stand back and look at this planet and see that we have the money, the power, the medical understanding, the scientific know-how, the love and the community to produce a kind of human paradise."

That is one of the many quotes from visionary Terence McKenna.

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Paint Paonia Sept. 17

Celebrating the significance of the North Fork Valley, Blue Sage Center for the Arts presents Paint Paonia 2016. Paint Paonia is an annual plein air competition welcoming painters from across the Western Slope of Colorado.

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Mike Jackson awarded listing of Paonia properties

Paonia town trustees voted unanimously to award two real estate listings for town-owned property to Western Colorado Realty.com broker/owner Mike Jackson.

Jackson was awarded the contract to list two parcels located outside of the town boundary that the town purchased in anticipation of using them to build the new wastewater treatment plant.

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Paonia taps test within federal limits for lead, copper

With the completion of the Town of Paonia's new water treatment system, the town is required by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to increase the number of tap water sample tests for lead and copper.

The tests are just a precaution, said Public Works Director Travis Loberg.

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Chili cook-off set for Sept. 23

The Blue Sage Center for the Arts is now receiving registration for cooks interested in competing in the 2016 Chili Cook-Off which will take place on Friday, Sept. 23, from 5-7 p.m. during the Mountain Harvest Festival, in Paonia Town Park.

The cost to enter is $10 and the deadline is Friday, Sept. 16.

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Police solve Paonia burglaries

A recent string of burglaries and acts of vandalism in Paonia's downtown business core has been solved.

According to Paonia Police Department Sergeant Neil Ferguson, the suspects are facing criminal charges for the incidences. Because they are all juveniles, their names are being withheld.

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Paonia Community Garden is an oasis for education
Paonia Community Garden is an oasis for education

Interest in small-scale gardening is booming. According to the National Gardening Association, more than one third of American households now grow at least some of their own food.

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Paint Paonia Sept. 17

Celebrating the significance of the North Fork Valley, Blue Sage Center for the Arts presents Paint Paonia 2016. Paint Paonia is an annual plein air competition welcoming painters from across the Western Slope of Colorado.

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Thliveris annexation gains approval

Paonia grew by 2.54 acres last week when the Board of Trustees voted 4-2 to adopt an annexation application for two parcels of land submitted by Andrew Thliveris. The parcels are located adjacent to the Paonia Public Library.

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Paonia trustees approve new liquor license
Paonia trustees approve new liquor license

The Paonia Town Board of Trustees unanimously approved a new hotel and restaurant liquor license application for Cirque Cyclery, LLC, located at 232 Grand Avenue and doing business as Remedy.

The Cirque opened about six months ago and includes a bicycle repair shop, retail and bike sales, and bicycle rentals.

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Paonia trustees interview three for interim role
Paonia trustees interview three for interim role

After calling and holding two special meetings over the course of three days, the Paonia Board of Trustees approved the plan to hire an interim town manager and moved quickly to fill the void created by town manager Jane Berry's abrupt resignation.

Berry tendered her resignation in late July.

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For the moral good of the people. . .
For the moral good of the people. . .

Paonia United Methodist Church Pastor Steve Dunkel is a third-generation coal miner, but he's not from the North Fork area. He grew up in Creede. At age 26 he was called to serve the United Methodist Church, and a year ago he was assigned to Paonia.

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Paonia moves quickly to find interim manager

The Paonia Town Council acted quickly after receiving town manager Jane Barry's resignation.

In a special meeting last Thursday, trustees voted unanimously to instruct the Personnel Committee (trustees Dave Bear and Karen Budinger) to compile a list of candidates to hire as interim town manager.

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Paonia considers letters to BLM on coal, oil and gas

With time running out for North Fork citizens and municipalities to submit formal written comments on the Bureau of Land Management's draft Resource Management Plan for managing BLM-administered surface land and mineral estate in southwestern Colorado, Alex Johnson requested to speak at the July 26 Paonia town board meeting.

Johnson, executive director for the Western Slope Conservation Center, said he represents the organization's roughly 450 members, most of whom live in the North Fork area and Paonia.

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Paonia town manager resigns
Paonia town manager resigns

Three days after town auditors gave high marks for the 2015 audit, Paonia town manager Jane Berry announced that she will resign from her position effective Aug. 24.

The town board of trustees voted unanimously to appoint Berry as town manager in October 2014.

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Action meeting on RMP is Aug. 8

Local community organizations are hosting an informational and action meeting for North Fork residents to learn about BLM's proposed resource management plan (RMP), which will determine how public lands on the Western Slope are managed for the next 20-30 years. The meeting will take place at Paonia High School at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8.

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Paonia continues annexation hearing

While awaiting annexation into the town, Berg Harvest Mercantile, located adjacent to the Paonia Library is open and doing well, said Lauren Thliveris. Thliveris represented Andrew Thliveris at the July 26 Paonia hearing for annexation of two lots into the town.

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Paonia receives high marks in 2015 audit
Paonia receives high marks in 2015 audit

Representatives with the Town of Paonia's accounting firm, RubinBrown LLP, said the town is "Trending in the right direction" during their public presentation of the town's 2015 audit.

In addition to high marks by auditors, RubinBrown engagement partner Russell White reported that they encountered "no difficulties in performing the audit that would obstruct its timely completion."

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People in the News Justman

Benjamin Justman, a graduate of Paonia High School, graduated from Colorado College with a bachelor's degree in geology.

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Check it out! Art from Delta County Libraries
Check it out! Art from Delta County Libraries

When thinking about the resources available at our public libraries, most people think about books. Many people associate libraries with having easy access to computers and the internet.

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Paonia-style pickleball on display at Apple Valley Park
Paonia-style pickleball on display at Apple Valley Park

One of the fastest growing recreational sports in America is on display at Apple Valley Park.

About 10 to 12 Paonia residents play weekly pickleball games on the tennis courts at the park.

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Paonia seeks applicants for airport advisory board

The Paonia Board of Trustees is accepting applications from individuals interested in serving on the Delta County Airport Advisory Board. The town appointment is for a three-year term for an ex-officio, non-voting member.

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Paonia grads patrolling Paonia State Park
Paonia grads patrolling Paonia State Park

Colorado Parks and Wildlife must believe in hiring locally. For the past few years, staff members at Paonia State Park have been graduates of Paonia High School.

Ben Linnell and Michael Hansen Lum make up this summer's park staff.

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North Fork clinic to close
North Fork clinic to close

Dr. Timothy Meilner has announced that North Fork Medical Clinic, 225 Minnesota Avenue, in Paonia, will close its doors effective Aug. 26.

Dr. Meilner, who joined the clinic in 1996, will join Dr. Kevin Pulsipher and Surface Creek Family Practice, effective Sept. 6. Surface Creek Family Practice has offices in Delta and Cedaredge.

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BMW Rally celebrates 27 years in Paonia
BMW Rally celebrates 27 years in Paonia

The roughly 550 riders in Paonia last week for the BMW rally have been to many rallies, but the general consensus it that the BMW Motor Cycle Club of Colorado's Top O' the Rockies Rally in Paonia is second to none.

"This relationship that we have with the town is very different," said club president Michael Kilgore.

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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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BMW rally returns to Paonia for 27th year

Upwards of 600-800 motorcycles will descend upon North Fork area and Paonia Town Park this week for the BMW Motorcycle Club's annual Top O' the Rockies Rally.

This is the 27th year that Paonia has hosted the rally.

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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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Public welcome to hear audit report

The public is invited to attend a presentation by Town of Paonia auditors RubinBrown of the 2015 town audit, beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, at Paonia Town Hall.

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Thliveris annexation hearing is July 26
Thliveris annexation hearing is July 26

The Paonia Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, July 26, to consider approval of a petition for annexation of two parcels of unincorporated land in Delta County.

Applicant Andrew Thliveris has requested annexation of Thliveris Parcels 1 and 2, which total about 2.54 acres of land currently zoned agricultural by Delta County and located directly across Third Street from the Paonia Public Library.

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4K for Cancer riders make annual stop in Paonia
4K for Cancer riders make annual stop in Paonia

For more than a dozen years, a group of college-age bicyclists riding coast to coast for cancer has selected Paonia as one of its stopovers. Last Thursday, the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults' 4K for Cancer bicycle tour arrived in Paonia just before dusk, where they were greeted by Pastor Steve Dunkel and several of his parishioners.

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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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Paonia entrepreneur awarded CCI grant
Paonia entrepreneur awarded CCI grant

There was a time when an entrepreneur wanting to start a cottage industry business sought a small business loan, set up shop in their home or garage, and advertised their business through signs, in local papers and on radio.

Teresa Shishim is a good example of today's entrepreneur.

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Geisler posts winning kid's saddle bid

Tammy Geisler, of Paonia, placed the winning silent auction bid of $50 for a youth saddle, which will benefit the Delta County Partners program.

The 14-inch youth saddle and youth halter were donated by Don and Nancy Foster of Hotchkiss and auctioned off during Cherry Days Downtown Day and at the North Fork Bull Ride.

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BLM releases Bull Mountain EIS

On July 7, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Uncompahgre Field Office released its preferred plan for environmentally responsible oil and gas development in the Bull Mountain Unit, located in the upper North Fork Valley near Paonia, while addressing potential resource impacts and the public's concerns.

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Trees had to go, say Paonia town officials
Trees had to go, say Paonia town officials

About a dozen evergreen trees planted between Third Street and the decommissioned Paonia Water Treatment Plant several years ago were cut down last week to make way for a new water main installation approved in June by the town board of trustees.

The trees, explained town manager Jane Berry, are being removed as a consequence of that water line project.

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New owner for Paonia Care

Grace Healthcare has sold its three remaining skilled nursing facilities in Colorado, removing its presence completely from the western United States.

The three properties, Paonia Care and Rehab Center, Grace Healthcare & Rehab of Glenwood Springs and Pioneer Health Care Center in central Colorado, sold to a California-based investor for $15,300,000 or $67,000 per bed, and will be leased to an operator with a Colorado presence.

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Cherry Days celebrates coal mining heritage
Cherry Days celebrates coal mining heritage

Following the July 4 Cherry Days parade, a tribute was made to coal mining, the coal miners who worked and died in the mines, and the prosperity the mines brought to the people of the North Fork Valley. Cherry Days committee member Ulli Lange spoke of the earliest days of mining; Paonia native Claudia King spoke of her 76 years growing up in a coal mining community; and Paonia Poet Laureate Marian Stewart read "Ambiguity," about her positive and negative views of living in a coal mining town.

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Sidewalk projects will not include Paonia park

At the June 28 town meeting, Paonia trustees voted to award three sidewalk construction proposals, totaling $46,285.26, to C&N Construction, Inc., of Delta.

Projects include:

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Paonia trustees consider airport board appointment

An appointment to the Delta County Airport Advisory Board by Paonia trustees was tabled at the June 28 meeting after trustees ended up with three names for consideration. A special meeting to discuss the appointment will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, prior to the regular town board meeting at 7 p.m.

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Get growing your giant pumpkin
Get growing your giant pumpkin

The Mountain Harvest Festival is pleased to announce a giant pumpkin contest, sponsored by Paonia Farm and Home Supply, to be held in conjunction with the festival Sept. 23-25 in Paonia. Prizes will be awarded to the home gardeners who grow the largest pumpkins (by weight) in youth and adult categories.

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Paonia celebrates '70 Cherry Years'
Paonia celebrates '70 Cherry Years'

In 1947, the newly-formed Paonia Lions Club was looking for a way to raise money to light Dan Lawrence Field so the Paonia Eagles football team could host night games. Paonia was known for growing prize-winning fruit, so they decided to honor the cherry in a day-long celebration on Independence Day, and Cherry Days was born.

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Linda Lario earns RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award
Linda Lario earns RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award

Linda Lario with RE/MAX Mountain West has been presented with the prestigious RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors highly successful agents who have earned more than $3 million in commissions and have completed seven years of service with the company. Less than six percent of all active agents in the RE/MAX network have achieved this prestigious award since its inception.

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Pre-annexation agreement passes on split vote

A pre-annexation agreement between the Town of Paonia and Andrew Thliveris was approved by a 3-2 vote, with trustees Bill Brunner and Chelsea Bookout casting dissenting votes. Trustee Suzanne Watson did not attend the meeting.

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Local music is in harmony with Paonia Library
Local music is in harmony with Paonia Library

There are so many talented musicians in Paonia that the likelihood of brushing shoulders with one, or several, during the course of a day is pretty high. They can be found in coffee shops, at job interviews, on playgrounds, and, luckily, in the library.

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Cherry Days grand marshals love small-town life
Cherry Days grand marshals love small-town life

Trying to have a chat with Jim and Linda Link isn't easy. Even on a quiet weekday afternoon their business, Paonia Farm and Home, is bustling with activity.

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Outstanding crop of royalty candidates

Six Paonia High School graduates were selected by the Cherry Days Forever Committee to represent Paonia as this year's Cherry Days royalty.

After riding in the July 4 parade, the king and queen will be crowned promptly at 12:15 p.m., at the Paonia Town Park gazebo, immediately following the flag ceremony.

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Bumper crop ready just in time for Cherry Days
Bumper crop ready just in time for Cherry Days

A wet winter and a warm spring in the North Fork Valley produced one of the best cherry crops in years, and plenty of the luscious red fruits will be available during the annual Cherry Days celebration in Paonia.

Kris Kropp maintains several different cherry orchards with his family farm, First Fruits Organic Farms.

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Logo is an Elena Neirmann design
Logo is an Elena Neirmann design

This year's Cherry Days art work was created by Paonia High School art student Elena Neirmann. She was among several students of art teacher Dave Kuta who submitted designs for the fourth annual Cherry Days art contest, sponsored by the Cherry Days Forever committee.

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A link to the North Fork's past
A link to the North Fork's past

Want to know where all of the rural schoolhouses were once located in the North Fork area? Maybe you'd like to learn more about the history of the area's world-famous fruit, or its rich coal mining heritage. Perhaps you just want to know how the town came to be.

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Paonia working to repeal 2006 liquor ordinance
Paonia working to repeal 2006 liquor ordinance

The Paradise Theatre in Paonia will not be required to adhere to a 2006 town ordinance that would severely restrict sales of alcohol during movies and some special events, while town trustees consider repealing or re-wording the ordinance.

The theatre became licensed by the state to sell alcohol in 2006 and has met its obligations to the town and the state in keeping the license current.

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Three special event permits approved

Applications for three of the town's biggest annual events, all centered at Paonia Town Park, received approval at the June 14 town board meeting, beginning with the 2016 Paonia Cherry Days "Special Events Liquor License" and "Large Group Park/Event" applications. Alcohol sales will be confined to a specific serving area and will only be sold from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday and Monday, July 3 and 4.

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Soccer players can get their kicks with new rebounder walls in Paonia
Soccer players can get their kicks with new rebounder walls in Paonia

Thanks to efforts of volunteers, the generosity of Delta County businesses, and support from a Denver-based nonprofit, North Fork area soccer enthusiasts of all ages now have two soccer rebounder walls.

Josh Swanson of Windsor established the nonprofit Goals for Glory in 2014 with a goal of building rebounder walls in communities throughout the country.

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Float, festival get folks on river
Float, festival get folks on river

In Hawaiian shirts and leis, nearly 130 people floated down the North Fork of the Gunnison River during the Western Slope Conservation Center's 16th annual River Float and Festival on Saturday, June 4. Floaters travelled from the Paonia River Park to the Delta County Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss.

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Register early for Cherry Days activities

The 70th annual Cherry Days celebration is almost upon us, and early registration is either required or encouraged for some of the events.

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Town ordinance affects Paradise liquor sales
Town ordinance affects Paradise liquor sales

After learning recently of a 2006 town liquor ordinance, the Paradise Theatre's board of directors made a quick decision to temporarily cease sales of alcohol during movies, and is asking town trustees to repeal the ordinance. If the ordinance remains part of town code, theatre representatives say they will be hard pressed to keep the historic theatre in operation.

The issue arose after town manager Jane Berry and clerk Corinne Ferguson attended a liquor licensing workshop in Ouray last month. Colorado's liquor licenses are overseen by the Liquor and Tobacco Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue.

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Paonia facing loss of severance dollars

During her regular town manager's report at the May 24 board meeting, Jane Berry informed trustees that the town is facing potentially big cuts in its annual payment of severance tax and mineral leasing dollars.

The issue was one of many addressed at a recent meeting of the Colorado Municipal League.

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Paonia approves water project

At the May 24 town board meeting, Paonia trustees passed a resolution to accept a petition for annexation of two parcels on Samuel Wade Road.

The petition was submitted by Andrew Thliveris. The two parcels, located across from the Paonia Library, total about 2.54 acres and are currently zoned agricultural.

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Caution needed at dangerous intersection
Caution needed at dangerous intersection

There is hardly a person in the North Fork area who hasn't been affected by a wreck at the intersection of Crawford and Stewart Mesa roads.

On May 18, Paonia resident Doug Griffis was involved in one.

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Learn about Paonia's budget

The Town of Paonia will hold a special board of trustees orientation session from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9. The agenda will focus solely on the adopted 2016 budget and associated financial issues and the town's goals and priorities related to the budget.

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Search is on for best recipes with cherries

The Cherry Days committee is seeking bakers to showcase their recipe with cherries.

On the 4th of July, from noon to 12:30 p.m., bring your "cherry" item to the Cherry Days booth, located by the playground in Paonia Town Park.

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Vandals strike downtown Paonia

Sometime between midnight and about 2 o'clock on the morning of Monday, May 23, vandals broke windows at two businesses located in the 200 block of Grand Avenue in Paonia. According to the Paonia Police Department, a picture window was shattered at the Heart of the Dragon, 234 Grand Avenue, and the front entry door window was broken out at Hightower Cafe, 201 Grand Avenue.

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Knights of Columbus hit the streets of Paonia
Knights of Columbus hit the streets of Paonia

The streets of Paonia will look a little nicer this summer, thanks to the efforts of a small group of volunteers. On May 19, members of the Knights of Columbus from Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Paonia and St. Margaret Mary Church in Hotchkiss spent the evening hours clearing debris from the curbs of several of the town's streets.

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Paonia River Park ready for first party

Seats on the 16th annual Western Colorado Conservation Center's float trip down the North Fork of the Gunnison River are sold out, but there's room for all at the post-float trip party at Paonia River Park.

WSCC executive director Alex Johnson was granted approval by Paonia trustees on May 10 to hold the party.

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Funds sought for repairs to Berkman memorial stage
Funds sought for repairs to Berkman memorial stage

After 12 years of concerts, plays, dance performances, recognition speeches and western Colorado weather, the gazebo/stage at Paonia Town Park is in need of repair.

Efforts to mend and preserve the structure are currently underway.

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Corinne Ferguson appointed town clerk in Paonia

At the May 24 public meeting, Paonia town trustees voted unanimously to appoint Corinne Ferguson as town clerk. The appointment was one of four made by trustees that are required by state statute following the seating of the new board, which was done on April 26.

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'Brown Palace of Delta County' turns 110
'Brown Palace of Delta County' turns 110

A local landmark once referred to as "the only really first-class hotel in the county," the Bross Hotel in Paonia opened for business 110 years ago this May. On May 28, a celebration was held to mark the anniversary and to celebrate its recent inclusion to the National Register of Historic Places by the U. S. Department of the Interior.

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Schwieterman honored for years of service
Schwieterman honored for years of service

At the April 26 town board meeting, former Paonia town human resources advisor Dave Knutson praised outgoing mayor Neal Schwieterman for his 12 years of service to the community. Schwieterman was term-limited and officially ended his service with the swearing in of Charles Stewart as mayor.

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North Fork solar fair draws a record crowd

Since soon after the earliest settlers moved into Colorado's North Fork Valley, it has relied on two major forces to drive its economy -- energy and agriculture. This year the North Fork Solar Fair & Permaculture Expo built on that proud heritage with a fun, dynamic and hugely popular event.

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Luncheon honors Annette Choszczyk, Ann Murphy
Luncheon honors Annette Choszczyk, Ann Murphy

Annette Choszczyk, former Delta County District library director, and Ann Murphy, a past president of the Paonia Friends and retired Friends board member, were honored at a luncheon on May 5.

The Friends of the Paonia Public Library organized the appreciation luncheon at the Delta Fireside Inn.

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Work continues on Flight of the Eagles project

Plans for a multi-million-dollar outdoor recreation and education project at Paonia Junior-Senior High School is on hold for the foreseeable future, but volunteers dedicated to making the idea reality still have plenty of work to do.

The Flight of the Eagle Project (FOTEP) committee will continue to do what it can to provide outdoor opportunities and to honor donors who participated in the "Buy a Brick" campaign.

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Paonia council reviews roles of committee, work sessions

At the May 10 meeting, Paonia Mayor Charles Stewart announced the assignment of trustees on the newly-seated board to town committees:

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Paonia diner closing its doors June 1
Paonia diner closing its doors June 1

For more than a decade, The Diner has been a mainstay of downtown Paonia. Music wafts daily from the ROCK-OLA jukebox, waitresses bustle about, refilling coffee cups and delivering plates piled high with biscuits and gravy, huevos rancheros and crispy hash browns and sweet homemade desserts like the Paonia Snowball.

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Pickin' Productions announces August concerts

When the Town of Paonia built a stage at Town Park about a decade ago, Rob Miller knew it was time to start a free, family-friendly concert series. An idea came to him while touring the West with Sweet Sunny South. "We saw, as a band, that it was an opportunity to bring communities together," said Miller of the concerts.

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Physician assistant joins North Fork clinic
Physician assistant joins North Fork clinic

Physician assistant Danny Lee Mingus joined the North Fork Medical Clinic staff on April 14 and is seeing patients five days a week.

"He's a godsend," said Dr. Timothy Meilner, who has worked at the clinic for 20 years and has been its sole health care provider since last July.

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Chelsea Bookout sworn in as Paonia trustee
Chelsea Bookout sworn in as Paonia trustee

In facing a decision between an incumbent board member who was not re-elected and a candidate who narrowly missed being elected, the Paonia Board of Trustees unanimously approved the appointment of Chelsea Bookout as trustee.

Bookout was among nine candidates vying for three board seats in the April 5 election, and was four votes shy of winning a seat.

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PHS Class of 2016 is unstoppable
PHS Class of 2016 is unstoppable

The Paonia High School Class of 2016 chose philosopher Ayn Rand to provide their class quote: "The question isn't who is going to let me, it's who is going to stop me."

Not much has stopped this class from achieving lofty, if not downright mind-boggling goals.

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Volunteers needed Saturday

Volunteers are being sought to help this Saturday with cleanup efforts on a section of the 'dobies on Bureau of Land Management lands between Paonia and Crawford. Paonia resident Erin Gallob is organizing the event.

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April 29: Black Friday for coal mining industry

Friday, April 29, was a day of palpable sadness for the once world-class, community-building coal mining industry of the North Fork Valley.

That was the day the previously announced layoff of more than 100 miners at the Bowie mine took effect, said a local mining official at the Municipal Quarterly meeting in Paonia last Friday.

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New town board tackles Paonia sidewalk repairs
New town board tackles Paonia sidewalk repairs

Prior to the seating of the new board at the April 26 meeting, Paonia trustees addressed sidewalk repairs. In 2013, voters approved a $3 monthly fee for construction and repair of sidewalks. The fee started in January 2014, and sunsets December 2024. It brings in about $30,000 per year for sidewalk repair and replacement.

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PHS senior Chelsea Meilner named Boettcher scholar
PHS senior Chelsea Meilner named Boettcher scholar

Paonia senior Chelsea Meilner was recently named a 2016 recipient of the prestigious Boettcher Foundation Scholarship.

The scholarship covers full tuition and fees and provides a book allowance and stipend for living expenses for four years at any in-state college or university.

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Paonia has 60 days to appoint trustee
Paonia has 60 days to appoint trustee

With 60 days from the April 26 meeting to appoint a trustee, just what process the board will use has yet to be determined.

The vacancy was created when trustee and mayor pro tem Charles Stewart resigned after being elected mayor in the April 5 election.

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Artistry from a  blacksmith's forge
Artistry from a blacksmith's forge

Just in time for the fifth annual Conservation Days last Thursday and Friday, Ira Houseweart completed work on a new handicap accessible ramp at the Paonia River Park.

"Ira finished it last week," Julia Bowman, Paonia River Park Coordinator for the Western Slope Conservation Center, said. "We're convinced it's the nicest ramp in Colorado."

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Fourth graders flock to river park for Conservation Days
Fourth graders flock to river park for Conservation Days

The Western Slope Conservation Center held its fifth annual Conservation Days at the Paonia River Park last Thursday and Friday, and by all accounts, it was the best of the bunch.

"It started out as this really small event with just a couple of classes," Julia Bowman, Paonia River Park coordinator for the WCC, said.

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Seniors 90+ honored at April 13 luncheon
Seniors 90+ honored at April 13 luncheon

Once a year the Delta County Council on Aging sponsors luncheons at all the senior centers in Delta County, including Delta, Hotchkiss, Cedaredge and Paonia.

This year's edition at the Paonia Senior Center took place April 13. Seniors aged 90 and over were encouraged to attend.

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Delta County Libraries celebrate resident writer
Delta County Libraries celebrate resident writer

Laura Lee Yates has been working at the Paonia Library for over 10 years. In that time, she has become well known for both her popular adult programs and her ability to connect people with the right books.

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Shift by Stewart to Paonia mayor creates vacancy
Shift by Stewart to Paonia mayor creates vacancy

After newly elected trustees and mayor Charles Stewart are sworn in next Tuesday, the Paonia Board of Trustees will need to appoint a person to the board to complete the remaining two years of Stewart's four-year term. Just how that appointment will be made has yet to be determined, but several citizens and some of the sitting trustees believe the decision should be left up to the voters, and not to the board, to decide.

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Paonia project launches Solarize Delta County
Paonia project launches Solarize Delta County

That it was a blustery day with overcast skies didn't overshadow the spirits of those attending last Friday's groundbreaking of a solar array installation at Paonia High School. If anything, it made the event more memorable.

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Paonia finalizes water ordinance

At the April 12 board meeting, and after six months of consideration and revision, Paonia trustees adopted Ordinance 2016-01, which governs the provisions of the town's water service, water taps, rate and fees structures. In December, the rate portion of the ordinance was approved under emergency measures in order to meet the requirements of the 2016 budget.

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Crawford, Paonia await final election results

Two municipal elections in the North Fork area remain undecided while Delta County election officials await signature verifications on a handful of ballots.

As of Tuesday, some signature cures had been received, but final results were still in limbo, said Delta County election supervisor Rene Loy-Maas.

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Solarize Delta County to be launched April 15

Solar Energy International (SEI) is proud to announce the April 15 launch of Solarize Delta County, an effort to increase the accessibility and affordability of solar energy for all Delta County residents. With the support of the Delta County Economic Development (DCED), Solarize Delta County seeks to raise local awareness of solar, lower the cost of solar electric (PV) systems, and significantly ramp up adoption of PV throughout Delta County.

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The Cirque: A unique business model for Paonia
The Cirque: A unique business model for Paonia

When Amy DeLuca and Frederick Zimmer committed to opening a business in Paonia, they wanted it to reflect all that they love about the area -- its food, agriculture, recreation, arts, music and community.

That business quickly evolved into three businesses under one roof.

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Survey leads to survey discrepancy
Survey leads to survey discrepancy

The intersection at Fifth Street and Grand Avenue in Paonia is about to get a facelift.

Located between the elementary and high schools and between property owned by the Delta County School District and the local Subway, a lot of kids walk through the intersection on their way to and from school.

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Mike Gwinn: 'Still going 70 in a 55'
Mike Gwinn: 'Still going 70 in a 55'

For more than a decade, Mike Gwinn has been at the heart of the Western Slope music scene.

"I've played in some of the strangest, most unlikely places," said Gwinn, whose first public appearance was in 1959.

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Myrna Westerman retiring from Delta County Libraries
Myrna Westerman retiring from Delta County Libraries

After 21 years of working for Delta County Libraries, Myrna Westerman is retiring, taking with her all the lore and history that she has collected in that time. Best known for her role as the manager at Paonia Library, Westerman experienced the excitement and challenges of building a new library, the overwhelming process of moving from a card catalog to an electronic circulation system, and the pleasures of working with many, many different people.

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Students consider technical school options
Students consider technical school options

Delta-Montrose Technical College career services coordinator Jessica Carlson wants all area high school students to know about the career options the school has to offer. On a visit last week to Paonia High School, Carlson explained that a four-year degree used to be the standard option for graduating seniors.

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Consignment store to benefit animal rescue
Consignment store to benefit animal rescue

The Bridge Street space recently vacated by Grandma Jo's Attic will open as Buried Treasures, a consignment store benefiting the nonprofit RezDawg Rescue, Inc.

Paula Olsen, who grew up in Crawford, closed Paula's Boutique consignment store on Grand Avenue in Paonia last week and will shift her focus to the nonprofit. "It was kind of a tough spot," said Olsen.

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People in the News Ford

The University of Wyoming lists 44 students from Colorado on the 2015 fall semester Provost's Honor Roll, including Daniel Ford of Paonia.

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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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Stolen antlers recovered
Stolen antlers recovered

Thanks to a tip from a horn-buying business in Grand Junction, and subsequent followup by the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, investigators from the Delta County Sheriff's Office were quickly able to solve a theft from a taxidermy business in Paonia.

On March 23, at about 9 a.m., the sheriff's office was notified of a burglary at 530 Grand Avenue in Paonia.

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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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Schwieterman recalls highs, lows as mayor
Schwieterman recalls highs, lows as mayor

Neal Schwieterman believes that society works best when people give back to their community. For him, giving back to Paonia, where he moved to seek a more peaceful place for his family, has meant almost 12 years of service to the Paonia Board of Trustees.

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Paonia names gazebo to honor Howard Berkman
Paonia names gazebo to honor Howard Berkman

The gazebo and stage at Paonia Town Park now has an official name. At the March 22 town meeting the Paonia board of trustees voted unanimously to approve the re-naming of the gazebo in honor of Howard Berkman, a staple of the local music scene until his untimely death on Oct. 31, 2011.

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Brunner, Stewart at odds as election nears

Missives mailed to voters by two political adversaries and Paonia town board candidates have left many voters wondering what information is true and what isn't, and have further divided the two candidates, who have sparred for several months.

It began when trustee candidate Bill Brunner sent a political mailing to registered voters, criticizing the board and town management on five points:

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Work ends on upper water treatment plant
Work ends on upper water treatment plant

With the exception of a little bit of cleanup work, the upper Lamborn Mesa Water Treatment Plant Improvements Project is complete and the plant is online. At a March 25 special meeting, the Paonia Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution accepting completion of the facility, and approving final payments to contractors.

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Volunteer opportunities highlight Blue Sage Community Events Fair
Volunteer opportunities highlight Blue Sage Community Events Fair

Rob Miller of Pickin' Productions was drumming up sponsors for the 2016 Pickin' in the Park concert series in Paonia and the Ridgway Concert Series. When asked for a list of this year's acts, he cheerfully replied that he'll be making a formal announcement soon.

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Memorial service Saturday for Lauren Mann

A memorial service for Lauren Mann will be held at noon Saturday, April 2, at the Paonia United Methodist Church, 307 Onarga Avenue, in Paonia. A reception will follow.

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PHS grad wins state honor

Anna Burns-Meza, a 2001 graduate of Paonia High School, has been named the 2016 Colorado Manager of the Year by the Colorado School Nutrition Association. She will be recognized at the annual summer conference of CSNA in June.

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Red Hats host care center tea

Red Hat Dolls of the Valley met on Thursday, March 24, at 2 p.m. for a tea.

The tea was hosted by the Paonia Care Center and queen bee Betty Portman.

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Living Farm offers self-guided tours

In Paonia, a small family farm is adding onto its educational programs in an exciting way. With the growing interest in agri-tourism, the Living Farm has created the Interactive Farm Tour. This self-guided tour allows for anyone to explore a working farm in a unique hands-on experience.

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Horse stable proposal headed to planning review
Horse stable proposal headed to planning review

Chelsea Frediani isn't horsing around. The Paonia teacher and riding instructor is confident that this spring she can begin construction of an indoor riding arena and horse stables on her 28-acre Bone Mesa farm.

Frediani has submitted an application for Trailhead Stables, a minor specific development proposed at the intersection of 4050 and L75 roads in unincorporated Delta County.

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Recent PHS grads share college experiences
Recent PHS grads share college experiences

On March 16, three recent graduates of Paonia High School who now attend West Point Military Academy, Harvard University, and Colorado School of Mines, addressed the student body and offered their perspectives and advice.

"Our classes teach critical thinking, above everything else," said Drewe Lee, an engineering student at Mines.

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Grant funds river park improvements
Grant funds river park improvements

The community's need for more trails will be eased this summer with the help of a grant the Western Slope Conservation Center (Conservation Center) received from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission. The $137,000 grant will fund the construction of two loop trails at Paonia River Park, a former in-stream gravel mine the Conservation Center has restored into a healthy riparian area and community park.

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Approvals flow for Paonia water projects
Approvals flow for Paonia water projects

Work should begin soon on the Third Street water line replacement and water delivery system upgrades projects on Lamborn Mesa after Paonia trustees approved related proposals at the March 8 board meeting.

Funding comes from the original $6 million water distribution improvement project and money that was shifted from water storage projects to water distribution projects, said town manager Jane Berry.

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Paonia candidates find common ground
Paonia candidates find common ground

Despite its nine trustee candidates and one mayoral candidate, the March 10 Paonia candidate forum ran smoothly and provided the public with candidates' views on a variety of topics.

Moderated by Gretchen Nicholoff with the Delta County League of Women Voters, candidates responded to questions ranging from the need for a town manager to support of the arts, budgets, and the future of the North Fork Airport.

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People in the News Clock, Park

Azusa Pacific University students served in ministry through the Center for Student Action during the fall 2015 semester.

Tiffany Clock and Jayson Park, both biology majors from Paonia, served in Mexico Outreach.

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Meet the Paonia candidates at March 10 forum
Meet the Paonia candidates at March 10 forum

The Paonia Chamber of Commerce is hosting a municipal election forum at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 10, at Paonia Town Hall, 214 Grand Avenue. The forum will consist of an hour-long, moderator-led question and answer session.

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Newest district school is looking to expand
Newest district school is looking to expand

The North Fork School of Integrated Studies is nearing the end of its first year of operation. A public school within a school at Paonia Elementary School, in its maiden year NFSIS attracted 21 students from kindergarten through fourth grade, said PES/NFSIS principal Sam Cox.

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Bowie #2 idled, 108 miners affected
Bowie #2 idled, 108 miners affected

After scaling back production at the Bowie #2 Mine near Paonia in September, Bowie Resource Partners last week announced the mine will be idled "as a result of continued market deterioration."

According to a Feb. 26 press release, the mine will remain idle while the market for Bowie #2 coal is evaluated.

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Paonia okays cohousing development
Paonia okays cohousing development

At the Feb. 23 board meeting, Paonia trustees voted 4-1 to approve the special review application and site plan for the Circle Development Corporation's Silver Leaf Senior Cohousing Project. Trustee Eric Goold was absent, and Suzanne Watson cast the dissenting vote.

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Democratic leaders visit Paonia
Democratic leaders visit Paonia

Three Democratic leaders held a meet and greet Saturday to hear what's on the minds of their Delta County constituents.

House Democratic Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, District 61 Rep. Millie Hamner and District 5 Sen. Kerry Donovan arrived in Paonia to the news that the Bowie Mine #2 will cut an estimated 68 full-time positions and one contractor.

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Van Vleet photo puts Paonia on soda label
Van Vleet photo puts Paonia on soda label

Last summer, Paonia resident Cameron Van Vleet purchased a bottle of Jones Soda from Don's Market and noticed something on the label. "Send us your photo," it reads. "If we like it we will put it on our label!"

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Lakota Chief to exhibit his art

The Hive Paonia Art Gallery will exhibit paintings by Marvin Swallow, Sundance and Ceremonial Chief in the Lakota Tradition, from Feb. 19 to April 15.

Marvin Swallow paints "images of time before and after the moment," whispering sacred stories of the beauty and mystery of creation.

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All Points Transit offers options for elderly, disabled
All Points Transit offers options for elderly, disabled

Sharon Fipps wants everyone to know about All Points Transit. APT, a Montrose-based non-profit transportation provider, offers mobility options for seniors and the disabled in San Miguel, Montrose and Delta counties. It employs 40 people and utilizes 30 vehicles.

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Travel the world at the Paonia Library
Travel the world at the Paonia Library

Delta County Libraries has proven that it is possible not only to travel the world, but also to journey through time, without leaving Delta County. Interested parties need only trek as far as the Paonia Library on a Tuesday night, where local residents present slide shows and discussions about such dynamic places as Northern India, Cuba, Scotland and prehistoric Colorado.

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Firm hired for Paonia water, sewer rate study

The Town of Paonia board of trustees has approved a contract with the Fort Collins-based management consulting firm, Cruz and Associates, Inc., to complete water and sewer rate studies.

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Grace Deck wins spelling bee, wish sweepstakes
Grace Deck wins spelling bee, wish sweepstakes

Paonia Junior High School eighth-grade student Grace Deck had a wish granted last week when she won the annual district-wide spelling bee. Her wish to win the bee didn't just happen.

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TEDxPaonia: Ideas take center stage
TEDxPaonia: Ideas take center stage

Paonia is known for many things: ranching, coal, orchards, wineries and scenery. But on Saturday, Paonia became a place of ideas when the Paradise Theatre presented TEDxPaonia.

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KVNF DJs on hiatus for municipal election cycle

Four KVNF volunteer DJs were recently put on hiatus through the end of the municipal election cycle due to a Federal Communications Rule law.

The regulation, titled "Facilities for candidates for public office," states, in part, that if a licensee permits a legally qualified candidate for public office an appearance on the station, equal opportunities shall be afforded to all other candidates for that office, provided "that such licensee shall have no power of censorship over the material broadcast..."

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Marvin Swallow to exhibit art in Paonia

The Hive Paonia Art Gallery will exhibit paintings by Marvin Swallow, Sundance and Ceremonial Chief in the Lakota Tradition, Feb. 19 through April 15.

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Snow blower decision on hold

In her report to the trustees, presented during the regular meeting of the Paonia town council on Jan. 27, town manager Jane Berry discussed a possible purchase of a snow blower attachment.

The snow blower would allow the public works department to remove snow from "very tight spots," including narrow streets and parking lots.

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Former planning commissioner critical of cohousing approval

Paonia resident Paul Douglas believes that the proposed Silver Leaf Cohousing project should go back to the planning commission.

Douglas spoke during the "visitors" portion of the Jan. 26 town board meeting after sitting in on a special joint meeting between the town board and staff and planning commission members regarding the proposal.

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Paonia trustees ponder pot issue

At the Jan. 27 meeting of the Paonia town board, a discussion regarding the issue of allowing marijuana businesses within town limits focused largely on jobs and the economy. Trustee Ross King, who requested the discussion, said the creation of jobs, in light of the struggling economy, is a "paramount concern" the board should be discussing. He noted that other area towns are eyeing cannabis sales, production and testing as an "economic generator... We should be discussing it among ourselves and among our community."

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People In The News Roeber

Anthony Roeber of Paonia earned placement on the Gonzaga University President's List for fall semester 2015. Students must earn a 3.7 to 4.0 grade-point average to be listed.

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Loving Spoonful meals on hold

Jeanne Gatto, who directs the community "Loving Spoonful" meal at the Teen Center in Paonia, has had to put all Wednesday meals on hold for the month of February. Gatto has some medical problems that need to be treated and has no one to step in and take over the service in the next month.

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Lauren Mann remembered for love of music and culture
Lauren Mann remembered for love of music and culture

Lauren Mann's Facebook page continues to receive tributes and remembrances after the 25-year-old former Paonia resident was found dead in her apartment in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

Officials in Vienna have determined Mann died of suffocation. Her death is being investigated as a homicide.

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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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Paonia trustees pass town's first pay plan

In what Paonia town manager Jane Berry described as a "very, very positive tool for managing, working with and rewarding (town) employees," the board of trustees adopted the "Town of Paonia Pay Plan."

The resolution implements a document outlining job classification and compensation pay ranges, based on salaries paid by towns of similar size and according to position title, pay grade and pay range.

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Study session held to clean up water ordinance

In a special study session held Jan. 12, the Paonia Board of Trustees began the process of cleaning up language associated with the town's emergency water ordinance, which was adopted Dec. 8.

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Ben Lehman: Empowering others through photography
Ben Lehman: Empowering others through photography

Photographer Ben Lehman doesn't want people to just look at his images. The Paonia resident wants viewers to find inspiration to venture out into the natural world and "get to know it personally" through their own camera lens.

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TEDx Paonia is 'a celebration of ideas'

Did you know that a Fishtrap Fellow and Wyss Scholar for Conservation of the Intermountain West and a pioneer in sustainable regenerative investing live in Paonia? And that the teacher and head coach of the two-time state champion Paonia Eagles earned his master's degree in leadership in 2015?

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Cohousing project clears planning review
Cohousing project clears planning review

Paonia resident Paul Millermon often wondered what would become of a vacant lot located a block from his home. Millermon, who served more than 24 years on the town planning commission, spoke at last week's public hearing for the proposed Silver Leaf Cohousing Development proposed at Third Street and Clark Avenue.

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Paonia chamber honors community businesses
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Paonia man killed in two-vehicle accident

A two-vehicle accident Jan. 10 claimed the life of Christopher Gilroy, a 43-year-old man from Paonia. It was the first fatal traffic accident in Delta County since July 2014.

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Public hearing on Paonia cohousing proposal Thursday

The Paonia Planning Commission will hold a public hearing regarding the proposed Silver Leaf cohousing project beginning at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, at Paonia Town Hall.

Cohousing is described as "an intentional community of private homes clustered around a shared space."

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Dodgeball tournament raises $1,300 for veterans
Dodgeball tournament raises $1,300 for veterans

Disabled veterans will have more local opportunities to enjoy the area's outdoor opportunities after receiving more than $1,300 from the Dec. 10 Wounded Warrior Dodgeball tournament at Paonia High School. The annual event has raised more than $5,500 since it began in 2012, according to event organizer Kriss Allen.

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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, 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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John Gavan is 'bullish' on Delta County
John Gavan is 'bullish' on Delta County

When it comes to technology, John Gavan is pretty smart.

Few people in Delta County understand more than Gavan the positive repercussions of last week's announcement that Delta-Montrose Electric Association will move forward with providing high-speed broadband Internet throughout its service area.

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Strolling with the Scones
Strolling with the Scones

Followers of the North Fork music scene likely noticed that with all of the live music offered in 2015, one of the most prolific bands was relatively quiet.

The Scones and members Rick Stockton, Helen Highwater and Harry Knipe were busy making "Light in the Forest," a CD of 11 original songs. The band celebrated the release Dec. 12 at the Paradise Theatre.

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Paonia surplus auction exceeds town's expectations

When the Town of Paonia's surplus auction was completed the morning of Dec. 18, nothing remained. Stacks of corrugated tin, snowmobiles, numerous water tanks and a long list of items from office chairs to a vintage fire truck once used by the Paonia fire department were auctioned off to the roughly 75 people who showed up.

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Paonia okays town manager raise

Paonia town manager Jane Berry will receive a raise in 2016 after the town board of trustees approved a 5 percent pay increase by a 4-2 vote Tuesday morning. Dec. 29, during a special meeting. The raise, which is tied to a performance review, amounts to an increase of $3,730 for the year.

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Kerry Donovan meets with constituents
Kerry Donovan meets with constituents

Some of the bills Colorado Senator Kerry Donovan is considering for 2016 could provide benefits to Delta County and the other District 5 counties she represents.

Donovan spoke Friday night at a meet-and-greet at Paonia Town Hall and gave a rundown of bills she plans as the General Assembly prepares to open session in January.

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Paonia schedules special meeting

The Town of Paonia has scheduled a special meeting for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29, to authorize final payment of bills related to this year's water system upgrades projects.

In addition, the town will consider renewal of its contract with the U.S. Geological Survey for operations of the flow gauge monitoring of the North Fork of the Gunnison River.

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Paonia art studio awarded two grants

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a $10,000 grant through the Art Works category that supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields. Elsewhere Studios received one of 22 grants awarded in Colorado.

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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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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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Holiday lighting winners in Paonia
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A letter from Santa to the North Fork
A letter from Santa to the North Fork

Hello from the North Pole!

I want to take time before heading out on my annual sleigh ride to give a big thank you to some of the special folks of Paonia and the North Fork Valley who make our annual visits wonderful and very enjoyable.

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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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Paonia passes budget, emergency ordinances

Following almost three months of special meetings, budget hearings and public input, the Town of Paonia passed a balanced 2016 budget and ordinances for water, sewer and garbage rate increases at its Dec. 8 meeting of the board of trustees.

All ordinances, which were passed under emergency measures, were required to pass by a three-fourths majority, and fee increases will be retroactive to Dec. 1.

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GOCO grant funds upgrades to river park

The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board announced today a $12,600 Youth Corps grant to the Town of Paonia for improvements to the popular Paonia River Park.

The grant will fund two weeks of work by Western Conservation Corps crews.

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Paonia surplus auction is Friday
Paonia surplus auction is Friday

The Town of Paonia is holding a surplus property sale at 38784 Highway 133 (approximately one half mile west of Delicious Orchards), this Friday, Dec. 18. Auction preview begins at 9 a.m., with auctioneer John Cunningham starting the bidding process at 10 a.m.

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Bross Hotel receives historic designation
Bross Hotel receives historic designation

On Nov. 16, the historic Bross Hotel was named to the National Register of Historic Places. The Bross, located at 312 Onarga Avenue in Paonia, was recognized for its architectural and social significance to the community.

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Variance request tests board of adjustments
Variance request tests board of adjustments

Last September, Randy and Mara Derryberry were planning to build a gabled cover over a section of their sidewalk on Poplar Street. For five years they traveled from their home in Grand Junction to spend weekends remodeling the interior of Mara's family home, once owned by her parents and grandparents.

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Solarize project installs 22 systems in the North Fork
Solarize project installs 22 systems in the North Fork

Solar Energy International (SEI) is proud to announce that the round of Solarize North Fork Valley resulted in over $400,000 in local investment through the installation of 120 kilowatts of solar in 22 new systems. For our tiny community of Hotchkiss, Crawford and Paonia, this is significant and only the beginning.

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Investing in paradise
Investing in paradise

Since the early part of the 20th century, seeing movies on the big screen has been an American tradition. The big screen came to Paonia in October 1928, when an enterprising citizen named Tom Poulos opened the Paonia Theatre on Grand Avenue.

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Coordinated holiday festivities a big success
Coordinated holiday festivities a big success

In the days leading up to last weekend's Paonia holiday festivities, Mike Drake was feeling pretty good. "I just had a feeling this was going to be really great," said Drake, president of the Paonia Chamber of Commerce.

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Holiday art fair celebrates 23rd year in Paonia
Holiday art fair celebrates 23rd year in Paonia

When Susie Lowe needed a name for her handmade beaded jewelry business, she turned to her grandmother. Lowe is the talent behind Theoni Designs. "Theoni," says Lowe, is her grandmother's name and the Greek word for "divinely gorgeous," which she used for her tagline: "Divinely Gorgeous Jewelry."

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Town of Paonia considers 2016 projects
Town of Paonia considers 2016 projects

As the Town of Paonia prepares to pass the 2016 budget, discussion at the Nov. 24 public budget hearing turned toward anticipated construction and upgrades projects.

The town has set aside $95,000 in capital outlay funding for replacement of sewer line crossings on Third Street.

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Paonia renews parks contract with Altenhofen
Paonia renews parks contract with Altenhofen

He's up before dawn, and out after dark. He's pulled picnic benches out of the creek, cleaned up after vandals, picked up more than his share of dog poo, and manicured Dan Lawrence Field ahead of two state championship football games.

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Former Paonia clerk takes town, manager to court

Former Paonia town clerk Barbara Peterson has filed a civil rights lawsuit in Colorado District Court against the Town of Paonia and town manager Jane Berry. The suit was in U.S. District Court for the Colorado District.

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Paonia continues to refine water, sewer ordinances

Paonia trustees are leaning toward continuing a moratorium on sales of out-of-town water taps until a proposed rate study is completed sometime in 2016 and in light of problems associated with the town's aging water delivery and distribution systems. The town had anticipated lifting the moratorium, established in 2007, once storage could be increased as part of the recent water systems upgrades project.

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Water rate debate continues in Paonia

In order to address citizen concerns over an initial proposed increase in water rates that would have doubled commercial user base rates, Paonia trustees changed course during the Nov. 17 special budget work session, proposing an across the board base rate increase of $6, along with increases in volume usage.

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New GM brings depth of experience to KVNF
New GM brings depth of experience to KVNF

After a months-long search, KVNF Public Radio has a new general manager.

"This is either my fifth or sixth station," said Jon Howard as he headed into his fourth day on the job.

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Paonia changes course on water rate increases

After considering public comments regarding proposed hefty increases in water rates at a Nov. 5 special meeting on water, sewer and trash ordinances, the Town of Paonia announced at a Nov. 10 special meeting that the proposed change to the water ordinance will now reflect a $6 across-the-board rate increase.

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It is never dull when municipal court is in session
It is never dull when municipal court is in session

Of the five cases that came before Paonia Municipal Court Judge Bradley Kolman on Nov. 12, two of the defendants were no-shows. One had a good excuse: he was in jail on a town warrant after an earlier failure to appear on shoplifting charges.

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Veterans Day observed in Paonia
Veterans Day observed in Paonia

The six Paonia High School students who shared lunch with Vietnam veteran Joe Kaputa on Veterans Day paid close attention as the former Marine told of how he enlisted, his tours, and about spending time on the island of Okinawa. Much like the USO, said Kaputa, Okinawa was a place where members of the military could go and relax.

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Three named to zoning board

At the Nov. 10 regular meeting, trustees appointed Alexis Halbert, Dave Knutson and James C. Normandin to Paonia's zoning board of adjustment, leaving one seat vacant. The appointments mean that the board will now have a quorum and the ability to address variance requests.

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Paonia will sell surplus equipment

The Town of Paonia is planning to sell off surplus property in December. Items include cars, trucks, SUVs, equipment, bicycles, two-way radios, various computers, electronics equipment, and other miscellaneous items.

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PHS grad competes on college meat judging team
PHS grad competes on college meat judging team

Abby Campbell, a junior agriculture business and economics major at West Texas A&M University, recently participated in the Cargill High Plains Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest held Nov. 10 in Friona, Texas. Campbell is a 2012 graduate of Paonia High School.

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Citizens oppose water rate hikes
Citizens oppose water rate hikes

Of the more than 60 water users who packed Paonia Town Hall Nov. 5, only about 10 percent were in-town residents. They all came to let the town know they are not happy with recently-proposed water rate increases.

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Paonia trustees seem to have learned nothing

I would like to add some details to the story of the Paonia trustees' payments to their auditor. While quick to denigrate "past councils" for poor management decisions, the majority of the current trustees seem to have learned nothing.

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New stipulation approved in Chesnik case

At the Oct. 27 public meeting, the Paonia board of trustees voted unanimously to approve a stipulation for entry of judgment related to the civil suit filed in October 2014 against former town finance officer Kristin Chesnik, who has admitted to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the town treasury between 2007 and 2011.

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Special meeting called to look at town services
Special meeting called to look at town services

With the 2016 budget deadline fast approaching, the Town of Paonia has scheduled a special meeting to discuss proposed revisions to its water, sewer and trash ordinances, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5 at Paonia Town Hall.

While the meeting will focus on the specifics of the ordinances, current rates will be part of the discussion.

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Heck steps up to fill vacancy

Paonia resident Barb Heck was selected Oct. 27 to fill a vacancy on the Town of Paonia's planning commission. The board of trustees unanimously selected Heck, who also serves on the board of the Rotary Club of the North Fork and previously held an advisory seat on the Delta County Tourism Board.

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Outdoors, art, education all at River Park
Outdoors, art, education all at River Park

Visiting Paonia River Park it's difficult to imagine it was once an industrious in-stream gravel mine. From the arch entryway and river overlook to a recently improved section of walking path, the park is trail system, outdoor classroom, sanctuary and art gallery all rolled into one.

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Paonia water users urged to prepare for water main breaks
Paonia water users urged to prepare for water main breaks

The Town of Paonia is urging town water users to collect potable water after several water main breaks occurred over the weekend, resulting in brief disruptions in service.

The town's infrastructure has experienced at least 80 breaks this year, according to town manager Jane Berry.

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Enjoy the great outdoors with Delta County Libraries
Enjoy the great outdoors with Delta County Libraries

What do Colorado State Parks and Delta County Libraries have in common? Until this month, it was hard to imagine that they shared much more than some of the same visitors and a few guide books.

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Former trustee offers own audit viewpoints

A former Paonia trustee is at odds with the town and board of trustees over issues related to the 2014 audit, and more specifically, a document of viewpoints authored by the town's auditors, RubinBrown LLP. Viewpoints documents are typically not released to the public, but trustees elected to do so with the 2014 audit viewpoints in order to be more transparent.

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Future Eagle Scout undaunted by bureaucratic process
Future Eagle Scout undaunted by bureaucratic process

When local Boy Scout Derek Holt came before the Town of Paonia Board of Trustees on Sept. 22, seeking approval and help with funding to place bleachers at the Apple Valley tennis courts for his Eagle Scout project, he didn't quite get the response he expected.

"I thought they would say OK," and that would be it, said Holt.

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Pickleball has arrived in Paonia
Pickleball has arrived in Paonia

One of the fastest growing sports in America, and the one with arguably the silliest name, has finally arrived in the North Fork area.

Early last week, the North Fork Pool, Parks & Recreation District applied pickleball lines to the surface of Apple Valley tennis courts.

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Schedule for budget meetings

At the Oct. 13 meeting of the board of trustees for the Town of Paonia, town manager Jane Berry introduced the first draft of the 2016 budget two days ahead of the state deadline. "I am pleased to introduce to you tonight a balanced, no-deficit-spending proposed budget..." said Berry.

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'Aging in Place' is focusing on future now

Before the start of the Oct. 6 program at the Paonia Library, librarian Laura Lee Yates removed the clock from the wall because it was ticking too loudly. It was a suitable metaphor for the evening's topic, "Aging in Place," also the name of the group giving the presentation.

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Repair station helps keep students riding
Repair station helps keep students riding

Paonia students who ride bikes to school now have access to a repair station at both Paonia Elementary and Junior-Senior high schools, thanks to a grant from Action for Healthy Kids.

As part of National Walk To School Day, elementary school students who walked or biked to school Oct. 7, which was also National Walk to School Day, were treated to prizes and other incentives, also courtesy of the grant.

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Paonia faces 'cash crunch'

The Town of Paonia may not be headed for bankruptcy, but it is experiencing dwindling cash reserves and a "cash crunch" that needs to be addressed.

That's according to town manager Jane Berry, mayor pro tem Charles Stewart and trustee Ross King. King and Stewart serve on the town's finance committee and have been following the town's financial situation closely.

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Airport lands in middle of Paonia budget talks
Airport lands in middle of Paonia budget talks

As the Town of Paonia grapples with cash shortages caused by years of overspending and theft of more than a half million dollars in cash, the board of trustees is considering ways to raise capital. Under consideration is liquidation of assets, including the town's 75 percent ownership in the North Fork Valley Airport.

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Democrats look at rural initiative
Democrats look at rural initiative

The Delta County Democratic Party announced recently that it is considering forming a chapter of the Colorado Rural Initiative (CRI). The chapter would be one of the first for the newly-formed initiative, said chairman Dick Barkey, of Fort Lupton, who was one of eight speakers at the DCDP's annual barbecue, held Sept. 19 at Paonia.

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Paonia adopts fee schedule

Paonia trustees adopted a resolution at the Sept. 22 board meeting that establishes a schedule of fees and fines.

Trustee Ross King prefaced the discussion by clarifying that the schedule was created at the direction of the board of trustees and was not ordered by town manager Jane Berry.

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Field trip offers kids a wilderness experience
Field trip offers kids a wilderness experience

"It couldn't have happened on a nicer day," said Paul Kimpling, the U.S. Forest Service Youth Conservation Corps leader with the Paonia Ranger District, while dozens of North Fork area fourth-grade students explored the Lost Lake area of Kebler Pass. The weather was perfect, and the trees were at their peak of color.

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Paonia Reads! helps students enjoy books
Paonia Reads! helps students enjoy books

It's Tuesday and Betsy Frank collects book bags from Emily Horn's students. A week earlier the 20 first graders received the bags filled with books and took them home. On Wednesday they will all take home their bags filled with a new set of books.

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Paonia updates its fines and fees

As part of the Town of Paonia's efforts to maintain existing services and bring outdated fines and fees closer in line with actual costs, a draft fee schedule was recently released to the public.

The draft, available at Town Hall or online at townofpaonia.com, splits fees and fines into three categories:

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Mountain Harvest Festival growing strong

To look at the long list of events planned for this weekend's Mountain Harvest Festival, it's hard to believe that it all began 15 years ago when Rick Stockton and Helen Highwater decided to throw a party. The husband-and-wife duo made a sampler of more than a dozen western Colorado artists at their recording studio and wanted to throw a release party.

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Grape Stomp is a must-see event
Grape Stomp is a must-see event

The popular Grape Stomp Competition is a must-see event at Paonia's Mountain Harvest Festival. The "stompin'" begins at noon Saturday, Sept. 26, in Paonia's Town Park.

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Friday's menu features tasty chili, homemade pies

This year's Mountain Harvest Festival will mark the 14th annual Chili Cook-Off in the park. The cook-off, which has been run by the Blue Sage Center for the Arts for the past eight years, is a signature part of Mountain Harvest Festival that is anticipated by many members of the community.

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Drink locally, drink responsibly

Enjoy a glass of beer or wine at the festival this year, when you stop by the Drink Locally Pavilion in Paonia Town Park.

The Drink Locally Pavilion features beers provided by Paonia's Revolution Brewing, founded and owned by Gretchen and Mike King.

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Don't miss pub crawl Friday night

Enjoy some great entertainment, food and drink at several venues on or near Grand Avenue Friday night. Participants include Revolution Brewing, No Fo Foods, Back Country Bistro, Thomas Waldo's, Paradise Theatre, and Louie's Pizza and Loft.

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Run/walk benefits two great causes

The Mountain Harvest Festival 5k Run, Walk, Stroll not only follows a great course this year, it benefits two good causes.

Organizer Dave Knutson said the course follows the route of the early MHF races.

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Local, regional bands have been handpicked for this year's festival
Local, regional bands have been handpicked for this year's festival

Since 2001, the annual Mountain Harvest Festival has brought to the stage an eclectic assortment of handpicked local and regional musicians. This year, you'll have an opportunity to meet the musicians at a meet-and-greet reception to be held at Eccentric Artist, 217 Grand Avenue.

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Local writers featured at Harvest of Voices

"One of the things I like best about local authors is they usually deliver their books by hand, so you get to meet them," says regional manager Lea Hart. This is more than an occasional occurrence at the Delta County Libraries, as western Colorado has a wonderful abundance of local authors, and the libraries work hard to collect and exhibit their books.

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Celebrate the harvest with self-guided farm, wine tours

On Saturday, Sept. 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mountain Harvest welcomes back the much-celebrated free farm tours. Each farm will have fresh goods for purchase, including gourmet cheese, gorgeous produce, wines, wool and more.

Included on the self-guided tours are:

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New events to savor
New events to savor

Mountain Harvest Festival organizers are pleased to present two new events in 2015:

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Paonia volleyball 5-0 in middle of schedule
Paonia volleyball 5-0 in middle of schedule

The Paonia High School volleyball team is putting all the pieces together.

After beating Plateau Valley and Gunnison last week, the Eagles are up to 5-0 and are rolling into the middle portion of their schedule with some tough challenges ahead.

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Paonia woman needs a hero with a kidney
Paonia woman needs a hero with a kidney

Masa Holle, a resident of Paonia, is badly in need of a kidney. Holle, 62, is a Naropa grad with a successful counseling practice.

According to Liz Payton, a friend of Holle's from Boulder, Masa has kidney failure of unknown origin.

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Cohousing development moving forward
Cohousing development moving forward

Partners for the Silver Leaf project closed last week on the 1.5-acre vacant parcel, located on the north side of Third Street between Clark and Minnesota avenues. The land is zoned R-2 and platted for 19 lots and was listed for $179,900 by Re/Max Mountain West.

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Audit shines light on Paonia's financial woes

The Town of Paonia is working toward a sound financial future as it deals with past years of fiscal neglect, mismanagement and thievery dating back to 2007.

At the Sept. 8 board meeting, trustees considered the 2014 budget audit report by the accounting firm of RubinBrown as a measurement of just how deep the troubles go, and how much needs to be done to balance the budget and meet legal requirements while continuing to provide operational services.

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Shish KaBikes is more than just a bike shop
Shish KaBikes is more than just a bike shop

"Shish KaBikes" may seem like an unusual name for a bike shop, but once you meet Scott Shishim, it makes perfect sense.

Shishim opened Shish KaBikes in Paonia this summer.

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Recreation area to be built this fall
Recreation area to be built this fall

The Flight of the Eagle Project committee is a long way from realizing its years-long dream of a sports facility at Paonia Junior/Senior High School, but members are continuing fundraising and public awareness campaigns, and working to make the best of their situation.

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Mosquito season continues despite cooler weather
Mosquito season continues despite cooler weather

September may have brought cooler weather, but mosquitoes can still be a problem, and the North Fork Mosquito Abatement District reminds residents to remain vigilant.

"It's still mosquito season," said NFMAD operations manager Chris Tschinkel. "We are still dealing with the adult population that, given the opportunity, will hide out" and breed.

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Paonia welcomes new police officer
Paonia welcomes new police officer

Officer Taffine Patterson reported to work at Paonia on Aug. 6 and is currently undergoing a 12-week training program. She is the first female member of the department in roughly 10 years, said investigator Neil Ferguson.

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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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Thrift Shop has new items for fall

The Thrift Shop sponsored by Paonia United Methodist Women announces that it is open and reorganized with new items for fall. Founded in 1956, the Thrift Shop located in the alley at Third and Onarga in Paonia and provides clothing, shoes, purses, knickknacks and household items to the people in the North Fork for a nominal fee.

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Blasting requires full closure of SH 133

On Thursday, Sept. 10, State Highway 133 between MM 24 and 25.5, will be closed for five hours for rockfall work, weather permitting. The full closures will be in effect from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Traffic must be held during this safety-critical rockfall work.

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Fire closes Snow Dogs restaurant in Paonia
Fire closes Snow Dogs restaurant in Paonia

Snow Dogs Restaurant, located at 81 Highway 133, just south of Paonia, will be closed until further notice following an electrical fire that started in the early hours of Aug. 26.

The closure is very disappointing, said Anna Raith, who along with husband Kurt opened the restaurant in 2013.

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Paonia approves ballot language

Paonia voters will be asked to consider whether to opt out of Senate Bill 05-152 -- which restricts municipalities from providing Internet services -- in the Nov. 3 general election.

At the Aug. 25 town board meeting, trustees voted unanimously to adopt a resolution calling for the referendum to be placed on the ballot, and approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Delta County Clerk for coordinated election services.

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Water tank repair is on fast track
Water tank repair is on fast track

The Town of Paonia has struggled since May to fix a seemingly endless stream of problems associated with rehabilitation work on the one million-gallon Lower Lamborn

Mesa water treatment and storage facility.

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Paonia police report

Investigator Neil Ferguson with the Paonia Police Department reported to trustees that an unnamed person received a summons on a non-custodial arrest following an attempt to steal electronics items at about 10 p.m. following the Aug. 19 Pickin' in the Park concert at Paonia Town Park. The items were recovered.

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Travis Mann plays rare home gig
Travis Mann plays rare home gig

Travis Mann came home last week, making a rare appearance as part of the North Fork Creative Coalition's Celebrate the Fork event at the Delta County Fairgrounds.

A 2010 graduate of Paonia High School, Mann moved to Nashville in 2012 and defied the odds by making both a living and a name for himself as a country singer, guitarist and most recently, songwriter.

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Rockfall mitigation work continues on Highway 133

Rockfall mitigation work resumed this week along Highway 133 adjacent to Paonia Reservoir, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The project will require up to 20-minute traffic holds with single-lane alternating traffic on SH 133. Traffic control will be in place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until the project is complete.

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Pickin' in the Park wraps up 'best season'
Pickin' in the Park wraps up 'best season'

Pickin' Productions wrapped up its free concert series at Paonia Town Park last Thursday with bluegrass music by The Railsplitters, followed by more bluegrass by 2015 Grammy nominee and 2014 IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen.

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Residents urged to register for Code Red

Paonia trustees voted last week to approve an intergovernmental agreement between the town and Delta County to participate in the Code Red Emergency Notification System (ENS). Trustees also approved the town's annual cost share of $1,400.

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Meals made with love bring the community together
Meals made with love bring the community together

When Jeanne Gatto started serving weekly community dinners two summers ago her goal was to put otherwise wasted food to good use.

"I thought it would be awesome if we could use it to get community meals going," said Gatto.

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Town of Paonia seeks board members

The Town of Paonia is currently seeking citizens interested in serving on town committees.

The Town Planning Commission currently has one vacancy.

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Blue Sage kicks off concert series

All-around bad boy of boogie-woogie and the blues, pianist David Vest returns to Paonia to open the Blue Sage's 2015-16 concert series with a master class and performance.

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Painted Street mural completed
Painted Street mural completed

The first Painted Street Project is complete.

The mural was painted over a period of three days, and the last touches of paint were applied Sunday afternoon.

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Paonia steps up to code enforcement
Paonia steps up to code enforcement

Paonia resident Kathy Greer came before Paonia trustees on Aug. 11 to complain about a neighbor's "junkyard." Greer, who lives on Box Elder Avenue in the Lee's Park Subdivision, said six vehicles, some of which are leaking oil, and three of which aren't running, along with other unsightly objects are making the property an eyesore.

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Dr. Meilner considering all options for NF medical clinic
Dr. Meilner considering all options for NF medical clinic

The Paonia office of the North Fork Medical Clinic is open.

After the clinic wasn't listed among health care options for North Fork residents in a Delta County Memorial Hospital press release in the Aug. 12 edition of the Delta County Independent, Dr. Timothy Meilner said he received several inquiries about the clinic's status.

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North Fork Rotary, Paonia Library dedicate gazebo
North Fork Rotary, Paonia Library dedicate gazebo

Representatives from the Paonia Library and Rotary Club of the North Fork dedicated the log gazebo located on the north side of the library grounds last Thursday. The structure, designed by former Rotary president and architect Norm Luark, and was constructed of almost all local products and age-old, time-tested methods.

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Paonia grad joins Teach for America anniversary corps

Teach For America announced last week that a Paonia local has been accepted into the organization's 2015 teaching corps. Teach For America is a national non-profit working to expand educational opportunity for students in low-income communities.

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Paonia considers changes in fees

The Town of Paonia is in the process of restructuring its fee schedule, which means some fees may go up substantially, while others will remain the same or jump slightly.

Speaking at the July 28 meeting of the board of trustees, town manager Jane Berry said that many of the town's current fees are in the $10-$25 range.

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Students to benefit from Safe Route to School grant
Students to benefit from Safe Route to School grant

Drivers beware: Delta County kids will head back to school on Wednesday, Aug. 19. For students opting to walk or bike to campus, a coalition of Paonia residents and leaders is working to ensure that safe routes to school exist.

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Paonia sets rules on commercial park use

At its July 28 meeting the Paonia Board of Trustees adopted a resolution establishing policy for commercial uses of the town's four parks, with trustee Susanne Watson casting the sole nay vote.

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Paonia voters may see broadband ballot question

The Town of Paonia is considering placing a broadband initiative on this November's general election ballot.

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Paonia trustees pass street painting policy

The controversial "Painted Streets in Paonia Policy and Process," and a related proposal for a mural to be painted on a residential street surface, were passed by a 5-1 vote, with trustee Susanne Watson casting the dissenting vote. Throughout policy discussion, the lines were often blurred between the two items, since the street painting proposal hinged on passage of the policy.

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Keeping it local at Lizzy's
Keeping it local at Lizzy's

When Elizabeth Plummer purchased Homestead Market in Paonia last January, she envisioned increasing the number of locally-produced products.

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Blue Sage announces changes
Blue Sage announces changes

The Blue Sage Center for the Arts in Paonia has welcomed four new faces on board in recent months.

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Paonia River Park is busy this summer
Paonia River Park is busy this summer

As one of the few public access points to the North Fork of the Gunnison River, the Paonia River Park is a popular place for North Fork Valley residents to escape the summer heat in the cool water and relax with friends and family.

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Paonia trustees tackle full agenda

Paonia trustees had a full agenda at the regularly scheduled July 14 public meeting.

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Yard sale brings Christmas (cash) in July
Yard sale brings Christmas (cash) in July

Upward of 200 needy children will again celebrate Christmas this year, thanks to the success of the annual RE/MAX Yard Sale for Charity.

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Town of Paonia ponders painted street project
Town of Paonia ponders painted street project

A proposal for a public art project in Paonia, and a draft of the policy that would allow it, has raised both praise and complaints from citizens and members of the town board of trustees.

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BLM extends comment period

The Bureau of Land Management Uncompahgre Field Office, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, has extended the deadline for the public to submit comments on the 5 Pad/25 Well preliminary Environmental Assessment until Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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BMW rally a boon for area
BMW rally a boon for area

They are drawn together by the love of the open road, but the 550-plus riders who attended last week's annual BMW Top O' the Rockies Rally also came to Paonia mostly to enjoy friendship, food and fun, and to share stories.

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