Author: Marissa Lorenz

BOCC Honors Shipman

Taunia Shipman, Supervisor of Adult and Child Protection Services and long-time Grand County resident, was recently honored by the Board of County Commissioners for 25 years of employment and dedicated service to the County’s children and families. Before an audience of her friends, family and coworkers, County Manager Lee Staab recognized Shipman and read a letter of support from Melinda Cox at the State Department of Human Services. “Taunia is extremely dependable, incredibly hardworking, and an impressive leader,”  Cox praised. “She has impressive management skills and is incredibly easy to work with. Taunia is a true team player and always fosters favorable discussion in an effort to impact the youth, children and families of Grand County.” Staab continued, “On behalf of all the people of Grand County, Taunia deserves a round of applause.” But those present did not need convincing. Director of Human Services, Deb Ruttenberg, presented Shipman with an award of gratitude and thanked her “for being a mentor and role-model to all the staff.” Shipman, received the award with emotion, saying, “I would rather just do our work in a quiet and simple manner, back in our little cottage, but I am so thankful for the support here. I work with an amazing staff. We don’t just come in and do our job. We come in because of ethical and moral values that we have to reach...

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Around Grand County

Traffic and crowding at Rocky Mountain National Park has officials considering a number of measures to mitigate related issues. Photos Courtesy NPS, Rocky Mountain National Park Recent discussion at the Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meetings has included seasonal updates from around the county about the state of our natural resources and related infrastructure. Local organizations, such as Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand County Water Information Network, have presented on current happenings. And as occurs frequently in Grand County, conversation often turns to water issues. Grand Ditch Blows Out & Traffic Blows Up In RMNP Rocky Mountain...

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Around The County

On Tuesday, the Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) enthusiastically approved the adoption of bylaws for the newly-created Open Lands, Rivers and Trails Advisory Committee. The committee will review and make recommendations to the BOCC concerning the use of the Open Lands, Rivers and Trails Fund (OLRT), established by ballot measure last November. The voter-approved ballot initiative established a 10-year limited sales tax increase of 0.3 percent to be used for keeping water in local rivers; conserving open lands, wildlife habitat, wetlands and river access through acquisition; and maintaining hiking and biking trails. Based on previous sales tax revenue, it is anticipated to bring in $750,000 a year for natural resource use issues. The decision comes after a delayed vote last week, following a discussion in which Commissioner Rich Cimino expressed concern that some of the language in different documents varied. Specifically, the resolution binding the Committee bylaws describes a 15 percent cap on collected monies that can be used for trail maintenance. Whereas, the ballot didn’t mention any spending caps.   Cimino was concerned about the discrepancy, saying, “I think that the voters were duped.” He quoted ballot language that reads, “without limitation or condition.” And said, “It’s my perception that voters in District 1 were excited about trail maintenance.” Cray Healy, of the Colorado Headwaters Land Trust, ensured that the language was drafted with attorneys from...

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2017 Ballot Issues

The Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has been engaged in discussing several proposed ballot initiatives, put forth for the November 2017 general election. BOCC APPROVES BALLOT MEASURE ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS AUTONOMY On Tuesday, they voted unanimously to initiate a ballot measure put forth by Commissioner Rich Cimino that would exempt Grand County from Colorado Senate Bill 152, a state law preventing counties and municipalities from investing public funds in internet infrastructure and services. Since the bill passed in 2005, local governments are even restricted in the ways in which they can work with private parties to support and provide such services as telecommunication services, cable television services and broadband internet service. Practical examples of what that means for Grand County is that local governments can do nothing to help improve connectivity for businesses or residents. Nor can they add these services to public venues that are not already grandfathered under the law. So while visitors to the Grand County Court House and Administrative Building in Hot Sulphur Springs may log onto the provided internet services, groups wishing to book an event at the county fairgrounds could not be offered broadband WiFi as an incentive. According to County Economic Development Coordinator DiAnn Butler, this is an increasing concern as we look to boosting our economy as a venue provider. “We need to look at, what do our facilities supply?...

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Avalanche System Expansion

Expansion of Avalanche System in the Works Two air units proposed for 80s Slide on this side of Berthoud Pass The Town of Winter Park and the Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) have recently signed statements of support for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) in regards to an expansion of the Berthoud Avalanche Control Program. The proposed expansion would see the installation of two O’BellX semi-permanent avalanche release systems on an avalanche path called the 80s Slide, located on the west side of Berthoud Pass between mile markers 241 and 242 on US Highway 40. If...

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Kremmling Cretaceous Ammonite Locality

Over two dozen explorers joined Heidi McNinch of the Grand County Library District and guides from the Bureau of Land Management for a hike to Kremmling’s 72.5 million year old fossil ridge, the Kremmling Cretaceous Ammonite Locality. Photos by Marissa Lorenz   When hiking above West Grand’s Town of Kremmling, gazing across the sagebrush covered landscape and arid steppe-like topography, it can be hard to believe that the area was once submerged by a great inland sea, the Western Interior Seaway, which stretched from the Arctic Circle to the Gulf of Mexico some 100 million years ago. And yet, it’s...

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Working To Keep Costs Down

Grand County Inks Deal for Short-Term Rental Software The Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) recently contracted with Bear Cloud Software, LLC for the provision of short-term rental compliance monitoring and administration services. Bear Cloud Software was one of three companies that submitted service proposals to the county and was recommended by County Manager Lee Staab and Community Development Director Bill Gray. Bear Cloud offers a customized software package, to be administered by a yet-to-be-identified County employee(s). This is a change from the initial vision of contracting out all but some administrative oversight and customer service to a third-party provider. But after interviewing each applicant and completing an online demonstration of each service, it was determined that the Bear Cloud Software will “provide the County, along with identified staff members, a means to administer the STR program in an effective manner,” according to Gray. “It was pretty impressive, meeting all of our requirements with a significant cost savings.” The Bear Cloud bid came in at less than half of the other two proposals at $27,850 for the first year and $21,500 for subsequent years. This, compared to $70,780 and $69,000 from Harmari by LTAS and Host Compliance, whose presentation to the Board earlier this year convinced both BOCC and staff of the value of outsourcing the monitoring and enforcement under recently adopted Short-Term Rental (STR) regulations. The low...

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Around Grand County

The town of Fraser and Byers Peak Properties have reached an agreement regarding water and wastewater provisions for development of Byers Peak Ranch. Photos by Marissa Lorenz   A few highlights from developments around Grand County: Fraser, Byers Peak Reach Agreement The question of the historic Byers Peak Ranch property in the future of the Fraser Valley has been a decades-long discussion that has seen ownerships, visions, and efforts change without a definitive resolution. The property has been proposed for development and passionately defended by those who wished to preserve its agricultural heritage. It has been annexed by the Town and...

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