NORTH FORK TIMES OF THE CLASS PRESENTING SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT TRUE HEROES OOL H SCH DGE HIG • CEDARE OOL HIGH SCH L • DELTA H SCHOO ISS HIG OOL • HOTCHK HIGH SCH OOL • OLATHE HIGH SCH OOL • PAONIA UNITY SCH OPPORT • DELTA HCP ION VIS • DELTA ION HCP FORK VIS HCP • NORTH VISION E CREEK • SURFAC Hotchkiss deputies recognized for valor, B1 SPORTS GOOD LUCK, GRADS! GOING FOR THE GOLD The moment has arrived for the Class of 2012, Inside Sierra Williams sets the pace for the Cedaredge Bruins at state, B5 IAL A SPEC THE TION OF PUBLICA COUNTY DELTA ENT INDEPEND DELTA COUNTY MAY 23, 2012 VOL. 129, NO. 21 75¢ INDEPENDENT www.deltacountyindependent.com School board faces emotional crowd BY TAMIE MECK Staff Writer Despite assurances to staff in a letter from Delta County School District superintendent Jerre Doss, criticism was pointed and emotions ran deep at the May 15 school board meeting, which was held at Crawford. During public comment, citizens and district staff members expressed dismay as they voiced questions about numerous changes implemented since former superintendent Mike McMillan resigned in January. Doss and district board members were sharply criticized for, among other things: the handling of the search for a new superintendent; the low salary offered to candidates; budget cuts and their negative effects on staff; changes in curriculum; and the recent dismissal of district employees, including curriculum director Connie Vincent and Delta-Montrose Technical Col- Doss won’t be offered contract BY PAT SUNDERLAND Managing Editor Two weeks after announcing Dr. Jerre Doss would be asked to stay on as superintendent for the 2012-13 school year, school board members changed their minds. They came out of a two-hour executive session with school attorney Aaron Clay Monday morning to announce that Doss would not be offered a contract extension. “A lot has changed in the last couple of weeks,” school board member Tammy Smith said. “We feel we need to get back to what’s important, which is the kids. “As a board we’re in agreement,” she continued. “I think we’re on the same page with this, and that’s the first step in reuniting the school district and moving forward in a positive manner.” Doss was appointed interim superintendent in late January and was contracted to stay on the job until June 30, when it was hoped a new superintendent would come on board. “As far as I know that’s still in place,” Smith said, although the search for the superintendent came up empty. That’s why Doss had agreed to stay on the job. It’s been speculated that former superintendent Mike McMillan would be willing to step back into his leadership role for the coming year. “Mike McMillan might be willing to come back, but that’s not the direction we’re looking at.” Instead, Smith said, the school board has approached an employee who is currently working for the school district. A special school board meeting has been set for Friday, May 25. After a 7 a.m. executive session, Smith said an announcement may be made concerning the appointment of an interim superintendent. In the meantime, the search for an assistant superintendent, human resources director and business manager continues. Hwy. 50 resurfacing projects cause delays The Colorado Department of Transportation has begun improving several sections of U.S. Highway 50 in Mesa and Delta counties. Highway resurfacing will take place in two sections: Section 1: A 6.2-mile stretch between mile posts 36 and 42.2 (29 Road in Grand Junction southeast to Whitewater) will receive a “mill and fill,” in which crews will mill off the top two inches of asphalt to remove the damaged/cracked surface, resurface the milled pavement with two inches of new asphalt, then overlay the entire stretch with another two inches of new asphalt to add strength and durability to the highway surface and extend its life by about 11 years. Section 2: Improvements to an 18-mile stretch between milepoints (MP) 50 and 68 (Mesa-Delta county line south to Delta) will consist of leveling the pave- ment (milling the pavement surface) in various locations where the highway is somewhat “waved” from shrinkswell characteristics of the soil. (These uneven sections of the highway can cause safety problems for motorists, particularly those driving semi-trucks or pulling trailers and large loads.) The leveled sections will then get an overlay of new asphalt. Other work along the two sections will included guardrail upgrades, curb and gutter repairs, embankment work, rumble strips (cut into the highway shoulders to alert errant vehicles) and new striping. APC Southern Construction Company of Golden was contracted for $6.2 million to complete this project. Through the project’s scheduled completion on July 1, motorists will encounter single-lane reductions in HWY. 50 RESURFACING TO A3 lege director John Jones, a 19year employee whose contract will not be renewed. Speakers questioned the board about its rationale for restructuring of the district, and two accused those at the top of intimidation. The ongoing restructuring at the district level took an unexpected turn when district business manager Terry Kimber announced he will resign at the end of his contract on June 30. Kimber was one of five speakers to address the school board during the time reserved for public comments. “I have loved my job here at the district and would never have thought about resigning, but I can no longer work for a place that values politics over our students,” Kimber said. “Fear and intimidation are not the way to run any business, but most of all, a business where we are involved in teaching the community’s children.” Kimber said that when he took over as finance director, it was in the red by $755. At the end of 2011, the district had $1 million in reserves “to help smooth out the cuts from the state.” Despite the turnaround, Kimber was not asked for input on dealing with the budget shortfall anticipated for 2012-13. “This is how things operate in our district now,” said Kimber, adding that many employees fear being fired by Doss and “personal agendas... have gotten in the way of what is good for kids.” Kimber received a standing ovation from the crowd and from board member Tammy Smith. SCHOOL BOARD TO A3 Photo by Pat Sunderland Governor John Hickenlooper and Rep. Don Coram (center) sat down with county commissioners Doug Atchley (left), Olen Lund and Bruce Hovde to discuss issues important to Delta County. In addition to squeezing in the half-hour meeting in Delta Sunday afternoon, Hickenlooper signed a number of bills and toured the Natural Soda Mine near Rifle during his visit to the Western Slope. Governor sits down with local officials BY PAT SUNDERLAND Managing Editor A last-minute get-together with Governor John Hickenlooper took place Sunday afternoon. The meeting was hosted by the county commissioners, who welcomed Hickenlooper and his staff as well as county officials and elected representatives from Orchard City, Hotchkiss and Delta. County commissioner Olen Lund opened the meeting by stressing that jobs is the number one concern of local residents. Hotchkiss Mayor Wendell Koontz, a coal mine employee, thanked the governor for his work on the roadless rule, which will help preserve jobs in the coal mines and protect the economy of Delta County. Hickenlooper observed that three governors struggled with the roadless rule — Bill Owens, Bill Ritter and himself. The final version, announced earlier this month, will allow the coal mines to build temporary roads that will allow them to vent methane gas from the mines under the roadless areas. “That’s a classic case of getting everybody to the table,” Hickenlooper said. “We ended up with a pretty good compromise.” The decision, however, has not been popular in other areas of the state. County clerk Ann Eddins urged the governor to sign House Bill 1036, which allows public inspection of voted ballots. As the bill sits on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature, opponents argue it will unnecessarily restrict the right of citizens to election information. The representatives from Delta County Health and Human Services were glad to hear that a solution is in the works for the Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS), which helps determine eligibility for the state’s medical and financial assistance programs. Snags in the computer system have been a “nightmare” since it was implemented in 2004, Commissioner Bruce Hovde said. Governor Hickenlooper also discussed ColoradoTBD, or To Be Determined, a “nonpartisan, collaborative effort designed to create informed and constructive conversations among Coloradans about some of the biggest issues facing the state.” One of those issues in the state budget, which is $1 billion less than five years ago. “Everybody in the state thinks they’re getting the short end of the stick,” Hickenlooper said. “Not Delta — we know we are,” Lund responded. Don Suppes, mayor of Orchard City, complained of the burdensome rules and regulations imposed by state agencies. Governor Hickenlooper said every agency is tasked with looking closely at every regulation on the books. “Hopefully you will see a dramatic reduction in the baloney,” the governor said. As an example, he pointed out the 28-page application for food stamps has been whittled down to six. Education and access to capital for the state’s small businesses were also addressed before the governor returned to Grand Junction for the opening of a homeless shelter. INDEX Crash on Highway 65 results in death Drop off brush, limbs Accent ........................... A4 Activities ......................A11 Agriculture .....................C6 Back Page ................... D8 Church ........................... D6 Classifieds .................. D1-2 Editorial ......................... A2 Legals ......................... D3-5 North Fork Times ........B1-4 Obituaries ....................A10 School Zone ............... A8-9 Service Directory ........ D7 Sports ..........................B5-8 Surface Creek News ...C1-5 TV Listings ..................C3-4 The Colorado State Patrol is investigating a two-vehicle crash resulting in one fatality that occurred on Highway 65 near mile post 7. On May 12 at approximately 6 p.m. a 1979 Ford pickup was northbound on Highway 65. The driver of the Ford began to pass slower traffic and crashed head on into a 1999 Cadillac. As a result of the crash the Cadillac’s driver was transported to Delta County Memorial Hospital and later taken to St. Mary’s Hospital. The Ford’s driver, 27-year-old Daniel Peterson of Cedaredge, was wearing his safety belt at the time of the crash and suffered no injuries. Peterson was the only occupant of the Ford. The Cadillac’s driver, 86-year-old J.C. Wilkens of Cedaredge, was wearing his safety belt at the time of the crash but sustained serious injuries resulting from the crash. Wilkens remained at St. Mary’s Hospital until the morning of May 19, when he succumbed to his injuries. Wilkens was the only occupant of the Cadillac. The City of Delta is hosting its annual Memorial Day brush drop-off for city residents. Brush, bagged leaves and tree limbs no larger than four inches in diameter can be dropped off at the Horse Country Arena, 201 Kellogg Street. The drop-off location will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 26, and Monday, May 28. The drop-off location will be closed Sunday. City offices will be closed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. Monday’s trash will be picked up on Tuesday, May 29. Bill Heddles Recreation Center will be closed on Memorial Day, but Devil’s Thumb Golf Club will be open on its regular hours.