The Paonia board of trustees will consider approval of a town snow removal policies and procedures brochure at the Aug. 22 public meeting. The brochure addresses snow removal priorities, time of plowing, sanding, parked vehicles, safety and the public's responsibilities.
After a 14-year break, the streets of Paonia will once again be patrolled by bicycle. Police officer Stewart Byrge recently completed training as a bicycle police officer, and took to the streets Saturday afternoon.
Marla Bear Bishop wants her missing uncle to be found. Until he is, she doesn't want people to forget him.
Gary Goldman, 77, is a bit of a curmudgeon, she said. And he loves to walk. "My whole life I saw my uncle walking," said Bishop.
The Blue Sage Center for the Arts is seeking photographers to capture the essence of Paonia in the biennial "Picture Paonia" photography event.
On Saturday, Sept. 9, photographers will have 12 hours to take a photo, indoors or outdoors, within a one-mile radius of the Blue Sage, that captures the essence of Paonia.
A teacher and counselor for 25-plus years, Merrily Talbott often found herself in the position of listening and empowering teenagers and young adults.
"When texting first came on the scene, I found myself doing it over text," she explains.
The Paonia board of trustees voted last week to approve a special use permit for AllHemp Trading Limited (AHT) to operate a hemp nursery and testing facility at 719 Second Street.
During a more than two hour public hearing held Aug. 8, AHT CEO Elliott Brown fielded numerous questions from trustees and the public on issues including chemical use and storage, public safety, noxious fumes and odors, noise, traffic, lighting and hours of operation.
"Quilts and Felt and All Things Fiber," an exhibit of textiles by North Fork area artists, is open through Aug. 27 at the Blue Sage Center for the Arts. The center is located at 228 Grand Avenue, Paonia.
Edesia Community Kitchen, 395 Clark Avenue, Paonia, is hosting a weekly locals market from noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays. Edesia's wood-fired pizza and a variety of products from local vendors are available.
Paonia trustees unanimously approved to send a victim impact statement to the Colorado Department of Corrections Parole Board requesting that former town finance officer Kristin Chesnik remain under supervised parole.
The town was recently notified by the state that Chesnik is being considered for early parole.
In an email to its members on July 30, the Paonia Chamber of Commerce announced that effective Aug. 1 it would no longer staff a visitor center.
President Annette Pretorius wrote:
Paonia artist Mark Malone is among the artists featured in the exhibition Enigmatic Visions at the Agora Gallery in Chelsea, a neighborhood on the west side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. Opening reception for the exhibit is Thursday, Aug. 3.
Barry Pennell will be sworn in as a trustee for the Town of Paonia at the Aug. 8 board meeting. Pennell will serve until a new board is seated following next April's election, when four seats are set to expire.
On Aug. 8 the Town of Paonia Board of Trustees will consider a request for a special review/variance application to operate a commercial hemp business within town limits.
At a July 20 meeting of the town Planning Commission, members Charles Stewart, Bill Bear, Mary Bachran and Barb Heck voted to recommend approval of the application by the town board of trustees, subject to testing and reasonable inspections.
Pickin' in the Park, the 10th annual free summer concert series, returns to Paonia Town Park every Thursday in August at 6 p.m.
The concert series feature free family-friendly live music, children's activities, and local food, beer and wine.
Last April, Paonia resident David Lorig traveled to Syria with a group of journalists, activists and observers. Lorig gave a presentation on his experience on July 27 for the Paonia Public Library Armchair Travel lecture series.
The Paonia Town Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 27, at Town Hall to consider a request for a special review/variance application to operate a commercial hemp business.
Applicant Elliot Brown submitted plans for the facility, which includes installation of climate and odor control infrastructure and other changes to property located at 719 Second Street.
Most people who attend the Colorado BMW Club of Colorado's Top O' the Rockies have a great time, then turn around and go home or head to another rally when it's over. Many return to the rally year after year, and a few return just to visit.
The Paonia Police Department is looking for the owner of a dog that attacked and injured another dog within town limits.
The afternoon of July 19 a man, described as a "young hippie type" with a Staffordshire terrier weighing about 50 pounds and wearing a black collar and on a leash, were walking through town when Dexter, a Doberman pincer owned by Paonia resident Mario Mara went out to greet them as they passed their home near the corner of Third Street and Grand Avenue.
With recent declines in mineral fund and severance tax revenues due to declines in coal mining in the North Fork Valley, the Town of Paonia is considering ways to bring more income to its coffers.
In June 2016, the town estimated that declines in mineral leasing and severance tax revenues, which in their highest years brought some $125,000 annually to the general fund, had cost about $100,000 over the past five years.
Get your submission ready for the annual Harvest of Voices reading at the Blue Sage Center for the Arts in Paonia. The reading will be on Sept. 21, and entries are due by Aug. 24.
Jayson Park of Paonia made the academic Dean's List at Azusa Pacific University. A biology major, Park is honored for a spring semester 2017 academic standing of a 3.5 or better grade-point average.
Edesia Community Kitchen, 395 Clark Avenue, Paonia, is hosting a weekly locals market from noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays. Edesia's wood-fired pizza and a variety of products from local vendors are available.
With participation numbers at rallies across the nation declining in recent years, organizers were very happy when almost 560 riders registered at last week's annual BMW Motorcycle Club of Colorado Top O' the Rockies Rally. That's a few more than last year, and a healthy number, say organizers.
Fall prep sports season is in the air. Summer camps are underway, and practices can officially begin in a mere 19 days. And after years of negotiating the rough and uneven surfaces of their eight-lane track, Hotchkiss High School athletes now have a smooth rubberized surface to train on and to sink their cleats into.
Pickin' in the Park, the 10th annual free summer concert series, returns to Paonia Town Park every Thursday in August at 6 p.m.
The concert series feature free family-friendly live music, children's activities, and local food, beer and wine.
On Saturday morning, the Tibetan Monks of the Deprung Loseling Monastery in India stood on the banks of the North Fork of the Gunnison River and prayed for protection of its waters. While they chanted and prayed, toddlers played in the mud, ravens called from nearby, and adults waded cautiously in the slow-moving waters.
The BMW Motorcycle Club of Colorado's 46th annual Top O' the Rockies rally officially kicks off Thursday, July 20, at Paonia Town Park. The event features live music, social events, food vendors, activities, games and special presentations.
It's a story that's all too common today: elected officials making the news over their use of email.
In an eight-page memo to the Town of Paonia, attorney Bo James Nerlin found that former town trustee Bill Brunner violated state statue, town code, and the town's "Standards of Conduct" and exceeded his authority in releasing a series of emails to the media, and in publicly lodging accusations against town staff, the mayor, and two trustees. Nerlin presented the memo to the board on July 11.
Do you own a classic 1980s automobile? Want to give that beauty its 15 seconds of fame? Here's your chance.
If you could improve the North Fork Valley for the benefit of the public, what would you improve? Looking at what is here now, would you build a recreation center with a pool?
In 1917, Woodrow Wilson was president, the U.S. had just entered World War I, and the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded when Margaret Crawford was born in Durango, Colo.
A request by residents of Creek Vista Crossing for the Paonia Board of Trustees to consider lowering the recently approved speed limit of 25 mph along Vista Drive was recently denied.
Vista Drive is a curvy section of town street that begins where Minnesota Avenue ends and dead-ends at the entrance to Hawks Haven Subdivision.
It's one of the most complex and controversial issues in America today. It's also the fastest growing sector of the economy.
During Cherry Days in Paonia, PHS Class of 1957 celebrated its 60th reunion. The agenda included a pulled pork supper July 3 at Claudia King's, enjoying the community pancake breakfast, riding in the parade and picnicking in the Paonia Park at the Fourth of July celebration.
The Paonia Soccer Club is accepting registration for the fall season. The program is open to girls and boys born between 2003 and 2013.
Edesia Community Kitchen, 395 Clark Ave., in Paonia, is hosting a weekly locals market from noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays. Edesia's wood-fired pizza and a variety of products from local vendors are available. Other vendors are being sought for the market.
For the 28th year the BMW Motorcycle Club of Colorado will hold its annual Top O' the Rockies Rally in Paonia. While the official rally runs July 20-23, cyclists will begin arriving a little early, said Paonia event coordinator Bob Bushta.
A few short years ago it was in jeopardy of going away. But a small and dedicated group of volunteers stepped forward to keep the annual Cherry Days celebration alive. Last week, the 71st annual Cherry Days celebration went off with nary a hitch.
The new owner of Paonia Cleaners is claiming that two stop work orders almost two months ago by the Town of Paonia's building official have needlessly halted her efforts to remodel the building and should never have been issued.
During the "visitors" portion of the June 20 board meeting, Gia Fanelli asked for cooperation from the town in removing the orders so that she can resume work.
A group of local trails enthusiasts is working to ensure that a popular recreation area in the North Fork Valley remains accessible to the public for hiking and biking and other uses.
Standing just east of downtown Paonia, the Jumbo Mountain area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management Uncompahgre Field Office in Montrose.
The Paonia Board of Trustees is considering changes to its meeting format.
The current board rules and procedures, printed on the back of every agenda, were adopted by the prior board early in 2015.
The Town of Paonia is struggling to fill several vacancies on some boards that support and enhance the work of the town council and town staff. The planning commission, tree board and zoning board of adjustments each have vacancies, and have had vacancies for quite some time.
Bishop Karen Oliveto of the Rocky Mountain Methodist Conference appointed Rev. Don Schlichting and wife Kay to the Paonia United Methodist Church effective July 1. Rev. Schlichting preached his first sermon at Paonia on July 2.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff is starting work to update big game management plans in the Gunnison Basin and in the Paonia/North Fork areas. The public is invited to meetings where the planning efforts will be discussed.
The Town of Paonia is moving ahead with a road realignment engineering project, despite not having funds available right this moment, in the hopes that funding soon becomes available through the federal government.
Town administrator Ken Knight explained that funding infrastructure projects was a key message in President Donald Trump's campaign speeches, and in recent weeks there has been talk that the federal government may earmark some money for infrastructure.
Two Paonia High School juniors were recently selected to participate in elite summer military programs and experience what life is like in the armed forces. The programs they attended are designed to help applicants in their post-secondary education decisions.
The Town of Paonia will accept letters of interest from members of the public interested in serving on the board through next April after Trustee Bill Brunner resigned. Letters should be submitted by July 20. Per town ordinance, applicants must be registered voters and have been a resident living within town limits for the past 12 consecutive months. The board has until Aug. 13 to make an appointment or call for an election.
A card shower and festive cake at Paonia United Methodist Church on Sunday, June 25, honored Pastor Steve Dunkel. Dunkel is returning to his hometown of Creede to start a new career as a online marketing consultant. His goal is to pay off student loans and then complete more classes online to continue as a Christian minister.
A grassroots program designed to showcase local artists is changing, but it's not going away.
The Paonia Public Library's Art Lending Library has undergone a transition and will move forward as The Gallery at Paonia Library, according to Delta County Libraries communications and outreach administrator Tracy Ihnot.
Tibetan Monks Mystical Arts Tour will visit Paonia and Hotchkiss July 13-18. The monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery in India will perform healing and blessing ceremonies and share the Tibetan culture during their visit.
This weekend is jam-packed with lots of great family-friendly activities to celebrate "Family, Friends & Freedom" during this year's annual Cherry Days in Paonia. One event you definitely don't want to miss is a showing of the melodrama "Pillow Talk in Mattress Springs, or, No Rest for the Wicked," on Sunday, July 2, at the teen center in town park.
The Paonia Chamber of Commerce and its business members are ready to roll out the welcome mat for locals and visitors alike during the annual Downtown Day of Cherry Days. On Monday, July 3 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., the downtown blocks of Paonia will be filled to overflowing with specials, sales, treats and live entertainment available at many businesses.
While enjoying the 71st Cherry Days celebration take a break from all the festivities and take in Paonia's rich history at the North Fork Historical Society Paonia Museum. From 1-4 p.m. Tuesday, July 4, after the parade is over and the Cherry Days royalty has been crowned, the museum will host its annual ice cream social.
The annual Cherry Days 5k Run happens Saturday, July 1. The run/walk begins and ends at Apple Valley Park.
For the fourth consecutive year, Skip Naft has lined up an eclectic mix of musical talent for Cherry Days. From classical to funk and jazz, rock 'n' roll and folk, more than a dozen local and regional acts will be presented.
The headline musical act of the 2016 Cherry Days festival returns to Paonia Saturday night when The Blue Sage presents "An Evening With Lipbone Redding" this Saturday evening.
This is a rare opportunity to catch Redding on the stage, says Cherry Days committee member and music coordinator Skip Naft.
A beloved teacher of 50 years will be honored as grand marshal of the 71st Cherry Day Parade.
A nonagenarian, Vivian Cheney taught music in public schools from 1947-1997, the last 21 years of which was at Paonia Middle School, where she also taught social studies, reading and English.
One of the oldest continuously-running annual outdoor festivals in the state, the 71st annual Cherry Days has something for everyone. The celebration officially happens July 3 and 4, starting with Downtown Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday. Enjoy food, live music and share your community spirit with friends and neighbors.
If one could point to tradition as this year's Cherry Days Parade passes through town on its way to Town Park, one would point directly to the musical clowns of the Paonia Clown Band. The band has been a part of Cherry Days since the beginning and has marched in virtually every Cherry Days Parade.
Coronation of royalty for the 71st Cherry Days festival will be held July 4 at 12:15 p.m., at the Howard Berkman Stage in Paonia Town Park.
The king and queen will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Cherry Days Committee. Other royalty nominees will each receive a check for $100.
After 45 minutes of arguing motions, amendments, he-said-she-said and a couple of temper tantrums (at one point Mayor Charles Stewart had to give the board an impromptu etiquette lesson on how to decorously address one another), the Paonia board of trustees came to a decision regarding Trustee Bill Brunner, and whether or not he violated Colorado's open meeting laws, town ordinances or the board's Standards of Conduct.
With July 4 rapidly approaching, the 71st annual Paonia Cherry Days celebration is almost upon us. Here are a few things to know ahead of the celebration.
It's hard to miss: a multi-paneled blackboard at the entrance to Paonia with the words "Before I die..." written across it. The board invites passers-by to write their thoughts in chalk.
Bill and Sarah Bishop are being honored this week for their contributions to the Mountain Harvest Festival, and for their "undying love of this valley." While they are humbled by the honor, much of the annual festival's success is owed to the Bishops.
If you're looking for some competitive fun over the July 4 weekend and want to support some good causes, consider these three fundraising events planned in conjunction with the 71st annual Paonia Cherry Days festival.
On most Tuesday evenings in June and July the Paonia Library amphitheater is the venue for performances by Delta County musicians. Musical Tuesdays are organized by Laura Lee Yates, librarian and author, and supported by the Friends of the Paonia Library.
The Town of Paonia is considering a request for proposals for trash collection and disposal services. But whether the town will get out of the business of collecting trash is only in the discussion stage.
David Starr. Shelly Rae. Beth Quist. These are just a few of the names that will take the stage this summer at Paonia Library's outdoor amphitheater.
"Are YOU ready to Train Like a Champion this summer!? Our volleyball camp is coming to Paonia High School."
The Town of Paonia will hold its annual spring clean-up week June 19-23. Throughout the week, all in-town residents can have permitted items picked up free of charge on their regularly-scheduled trash pick-up day.
The Blue Sage Center for the Arts will host a fun cheese tasting event on Friday, June 9. Cheesemakers will be on hand to discuss their products and offer samples. Avalanche Cheese, Gray Acres and Western Culture Farmstead will all be at the event.
At 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, Indivisible groups, including the North Fork Valley, Crawford and Montrose, and the Delta Democrats will host a free event addressing the current health care crisis. This event will take place at the Paradise Theatre.
At the June 13 meeting the Paonia board of trustees will consider an ordinance adopting new in-town speed limits. The changes are scheduled to take effect Aug. 1.
The Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery Kids Fishing Derby is back! The event was cancelled in 2016 due to removal of the fish from the facility, but the fish hatchery staff is eager to get the annual event back on track.
The event is set for Saturday, June 10, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Volunteer Park, one mile west of Paonia on Mathews Lane.
At the May 23 board meeting Paonia trustees voted to consider sanctions against trustee Bill Brunner after he released a series of e-mails to the media and the town clerk on April 25. "The release was not an agenda item," and was not previously noticed to the board, town administrator or town attorney, said Mayor Charles Stewart.
In a letter to members of Blue Sage, Glenn Dahlgren, president of the Blue Sage board directors, announced staff layoffs.
Because expected revenues have fallen far short, the board of directors has been forced to reduce operating expenses.
The Delta County Planning Department announced that the joint meeting of the Upper North Fork Area Planning Advisory Committee and the Delta County Planning Commission to hear comments on a land use change application by Paonia Holdings, LLC, and representative Mark Levin has been rescheduled to June 21, at Paonia Town Hall.
Monday, May 29, was a day set aside for remembering the fallen men and women who fought for the freedom of every American. Each person celebrates and remembers in their own fashion.
In light of the two-day weather delay of the 2017 state track meet, the Colorado High School Activities Association held a special graduation ceremony Sunday morning for all athletes who missed their graduation ceremonies at home.
Following the first session of the 71st General Assembly, House District 61 Rep. Millie Hamner and District 5 Senator Kerry Donovan headed to the North Fork Valley for a town meeting at Wisehart Springs in Paonia.
Rep. Hamner, vice chair of the joint Budget Committee, said the session resulted in "a lot of huge successes."
Do goat head stickers have you fixing yet another flat on your bicycle? Perhaps your derailleur chain's derailed, or you just need a simple tune-up or brake adjustment.
In light of the two-day weather delay of the 2017 state track meet, the Colorado High School Activities Association held a special graduation ceremony Sunday morning, May 21, for all athletes who missed their graduation ceremonies at home.
The graduates of Paonia High School's Class of 2017 finish what they start, excel in all they do and they stand out like no other class -- so it's only fitting they should have an entirely distinctive graduation ceremony. With those words -- and the announcement that the Paonia girls had just won their fifth consecutive state track title -- assistant principal Karla Head welcomed friends and family members to the graduation celebration Sunday afternoon.
Elsewhere Studios in Paonia has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Arts in Society Program, a collaboration between Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, and Hemera Foundation in partnership with RedLine Contemporary Art Center. Elsewhere was chosen as one of 21 recipients from a field of over 265 applicants.
As hiking and biking season begins, residents of Pan American Subdivision are requesting that the Town of Paonia place parking signs at the Jumbo Mountain trailhead.
Ali Lightfoot lives at the top of Pan American Avenue, which is also the main access to Jumbo Mountain.
The Paonia Town Board of Trustees is considering sanctions against a trustee after he released a series of board-related emails during a recent public meeting.
At the May 9 board meeting, trustee Bill Brunner provided copies of emails, sent during 2016 and 2017, to the media and the town clerk.
A joint meeting of the Delta County Planning and Zoning Commission and Upper North Fork Area Planning Committee to hear comments regarding a land use change application at a former coal load-out near Paonia was rescheduled to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, at Paonia Town Hall.
An on-site meeting for "ancillary property" located on Stevens Gulch Road was also rescheduled for 3 p.m. this Friday, May 19, at 16180 Stevens Gulch Road.
The Western Slope is pulling out its paddles and PFDs for Western Slope Conservation Center's 17th annual Float Fest Saturday, June 3. This year, the Conservation Center is celebrating its 40th anniversary and the completion of the new one-mile loop at the Paonia River Park.
The Town of Paonia has new legal representation. At the April 25 board meeting trustees approved a three-year contract with Montrose-based J. David Reed, P.C. The law firm replaces attorney David Marek, who resigned effective April 28.
Are elected officials forbidden by state law from discussing the details of a executive session?
That and other weighty questions regarding the conduct of elected officials arose during the April 25 meeting of the Paonia Town Board of Trustees.
Paonia sewer customers will see an increase in their monthly bills after trustees unanimously approved a $3 monthly increase in both in-town and out-of-town rates. The in-town base rate will increase from $31 to $34 per month, and out-of-town sewer accounts will increase from $50 to $53 per month.
April 23 marked the "End of Watch" for Bill Hart.
Friends, family members and comrades filled Paonia Friends Church Saturday to pay their respects to Hart, a husband, father, Army veteran, Paonia police officer and Volunteer Fire Department member. Hart lost his battle with lung cancer on April 23 at the age of 45.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For 20 years Elisabeth Delehaunty has designed upscaled clothing for her company, Elisabethan. Each piece of Elisabethan apparel is made of post-consumer materials.
[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...
[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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
The Paonia Board of Trustees will consider an ordinance and resolution related to fences after tabling the items at the Jan. 24 board meeting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
The Town of Paonia reminds dog owners living within the town to register their dogs for 2017. Tags are available now.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Benjamin Justman, a graduate of Paonia High School, graduated from Colorado College with a bachelor's degree in geology.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 70th annual Cherry Days celebration is almost upon us, and early registration is either required or encouraged for some of the events.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At the May 10 meeting, Paonia Mayor Charles Stewart announced the assignment of trustees on the newly-seated board to town committees:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The University of Wyoming lists 44 students from Colorado on the 2015 fall semester Provost's Honor Roll, including Daniel Ford of Paonia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..."
The Hive Paonia Art Gallery will exhibit paintings by Marvin Swallow, Sundance and Ceremonial Chief in the Lakota Tradition, Feb. 19 through April 15.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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:
Mountain Harvest Festival organizers are pleased to present two new events in 2015:
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Town of Paonia is currently seeking citizens interested in serving on town committees.
The Town Planning Commission currently has one vacancy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Town of Paonia is considering placing a broadband initiative on this November's general election ballot.
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.
When Elizabeth Plummer purchased Homestead Market in Paonia last January, she envisioned increasing the number of locally-produced products.
The Blue Sage Center for the Arts in Paonia has welcomed four new faces on board in recent months.
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.
Paonia trustees had a full agenda at the regularly scheduled July 14 public meeting.
Upward of 200 needy children will again celebrate Christmas this year, thanks to the success of the annual RE/MAX Yard Sale for Charity.
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.
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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