Some highlights from 2013 in Silverton and San Juan County:
January 10 — Scott Fetchenhier was sworn in as one of three San Juan County commissioners Tuesday morning, Jan. 8, having won a 4-year term in the Nov. 6 election.
Also taking the oath of office administered by County Judge Lyndon Skinner was Pete McKay, who was re-elected county commissioner Nov. 6.
Terry Rhoades, who served as county commissioner for 20 years, was presented a plaque from the county commissioners in appreciation of his service to the county.
The new board of commissioners decided to keep Ernie Kuhlman as chairman.
January 17 — Kimmett Holland has been named director of the Silverton Ambulance Service.
The brother of the late San Juan County deputy Hollis Holland, who died last winter of a heart attack at Molas Lake, Kimmett Holland brings more than 30 years of experience as a firefighter and EMS services, including work as a flight paramedic and trainer.
January 24 — A workgroup assigned to drafting recommendations for protecting the upper Animas River and its tributaries appears unlikely to reach a consensus on whether a 27-mile stretch of the Animas below Silverton should be designated as a National Recreation River.
But it may agree on other protection measures for the Animas River Canyon.
January 31 — A citizens panel is being formed to advise the Silverton Town Council on whether the town should grant requests from two groups who want to operate ATVs on town streets during special events this summer.
ATVs and unlicensed off-highway vehicles are prohibited from streets and highways under state law. San Juan County allows ATVs on county roads, but they must be insured and operated by a licensed driver.
February 7 — Nearly 1,000 acres of BLM land adjacent to Molas Lake Park that has been used as a snowmobile playground for decades may soon be off limits to all motorized use.
Jeffrey Christenson, outdoor recreation planner for the BLM Tres Rios field office in Dolores, said the area in question is the West Needles Contiguous Wilderness Study Area.
New guidelines for management of such WSAs were released in July last year. Christenson said Tuesday that those rules basically prohibit snowmobile traffic and require the BLM to manage the area as if it were actually a designated wilderness.
However the BLM has allowed snowmobiling to contin
A 23-year-old Durango man was killed Saturday afternoon, Feb. 2, in an avalanche about a mile and a half north of Gladstone.
The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as Peter James Carver.
A second skier, John Duncan Rothwell, 53, suffered a possible broken femur and a third skier, Nate Klama, managed to escape serious injury.
The slide reportedly snapped off trees up to 8 inches in diameter.
After 12 days of struggling to keep water flowing to businesses and residences in town, the Town Crew on Wednesday morning declared the crisis has passed, with the Bear Creek raw water line back in service and the Boulder Gulch line also performing satisfactorily.
At one point, the town crew had to use the fire department’s water truck to ferry water to the plant to keep the town’s supply adequate.
And the town crew put in long hours under miserable conditions clawing through frozen ground in the struggle to keep the water system floating.
“What we’re pretty sure happened is that there was an avalanche up above the headgate at Bear Creek,” said Town Public Works Supervisor Gilbert Archuleta. “That stopped the water supply which in turn froze up the water line.”
February 14 — A mile-long zip line could send people flying down Arastra Gulch to the Mayflower Mill this summer, providing a significant new tourist attraction.
Cameron Winters, owner of the Full Blast Adventures Zip Line on U.S. 160 near Durango, is near a deal with the San Juan County Historical Society to use the old Mayflower Tram and its easement for the project.
Winters said the zip line will include the longest span in Colorado — 2,058 feet.
February 21 — Thousands of spectators converged on historic Blair Street in downtown Silverton on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16-17, to watch horses, riders and skiers race for some serious cash prizes in the fourth annual Silverton Skijoring Festival.
Organizers estimated up to 2,000 people on hand Saturday and another 1,000 on Sunday for the action, with teams from across the country taking part.
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