Jim Wetzel has been an outstanding museum director/curator and will be deeply missed. I remember when Jim came on board. His love of history, combined with his eccentric and academic nature, has been tremendous assets. During his 20-year tenure, the Delta Museum held over 10 "Meet the Spirit" events at the Delta Cemetery where local legends were highlighted in a chautauqua. Additionally, the museum has played host to musical concerts, World War II programs, wedding dress histories, ice cream socials, Civil War encampments and annual history lectures, along with leading the ringing of the bells on New Year's Eve (a tradition since Y2K).
The Delta community may not realize what a valuable resource the Delta County Historical Society Museum is, but Jim Wetzel has done an outstanding job of preserving our history for future generations. He has written three books -- one on the history of Delta, another on the history of Grand Mesa, and a third on the history of the famous Delta bank robbery that ended the McCarty gang and made Ray Simpson a national hero. Lately Jim and his wife, Nancy Wood, have been working on a remake of "Delta - The Movie" and a history of the Egyptian Theatre.
Twenty years have gone by very quickly and everyone deserves an opportunity to retire from public life. (Though if you'd like to make it an even 25, there is still time to change your mind, Jim...) As a former trustee and local historian, I would like to publically thank Mr. Wetzel for dedicating so much to the advancement and preservation of our county's annuals, artifacts and archives in a way that keeps Delta County's history alive and relevant for future generations.
Two fatal accidents occurred in Delta County within a two-day span last week.
Casey Gillenwater, 25, of Delta was killed the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 133 outside of Hotchkiss.