NORTH FORK TIMES
SURFACE CREEK NEWS
DCMH announces plans to open walk-in clinic in Paonia, B1
ACTION STARTS THURSDAY
PACE program keeps seniors engaged with art, activities, C1
The stage is set for state wrestling tournament in Denver, B5-8
FEBRUARY 15, 2017 VOL. 134, NO. 7
Bond set at $750,000
Nathan Yager to be retried this summer BY PAT SUNDERLAND Managing Editor
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. Yager will be retried in a jury trial to begin in late July. In the meantime, he is eligible for bond. A hearing on that matter was held in Delta District Court Feb. 8. Melinda’s twin brother Matt told Judge Steven Schultz that it was “surreal” to be back in court, forced to again listen to the horrific details of his sister’s death
and be faced with the man he said is responsible for stalking, threatening and finally murdering her. He, Melinda’s sister and her father traveled from California to address the court on the amount of bond. Matt and his wife are raising Melinda’s daughter, who was 1 year old at the time of her death. “He chased down and butchered my sister, left her dead in the snow and then
ran away,” he told the judge. Dr. Michael Benziger, the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Melinda, described the blunt force trauma to her head and the deep incisions across her throat that caused her to bleed to death. District attorney Dan Hotsenpiller also elicited testimony from Collin Reese, a Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent who served as lead investigator in the case, and Duane Morton, who was
a detective with the Delta County Sheriff ’s Office. Morton is now an investigator for Hotsenpiller’s office. Yager is represented by deputy state public defenders Kori Zapletal and Patrick Crane. The Colorado Court of Appeals decision to overturn Yager’s conviction essentially wiped the slate clean, Zapletal said, and her client should be presumed innocent. Because YAGER TO A3
County landfill fees are under review BY HANK LOHMEYER Staff Writer
Photo by Pat Sunderland
In advance of the annual Delta County Health Fairs, Delta County Memorial Hospital offered early blood draws in Delta, Cedaredge and Paonia. The Lions clubs in Delta, Cedaredge and Paonia and DCMH Volunteers partner with the hospital to provide this community service. Area residents who missed the early blood draws can still avoid long lines by registering for blood draws at the 2017 Health Fairs. Visit www.deltahospital.org for details. The dates for the Health Fairs are Tuesday, March 15, 6:30 to 10 a.m. at the tech college campus in Paonia; Wednesday, March 16, 6:30 to 11 a.m. at Bill Heddles Recreation Center in Delta; and Thursday, March 17, 6:30 to 10 a.m. at the Cedaredge Civic Center. At the Delta location, health care providers will have displays and information on their products and services.
Fees for the county landfill are under review for a possible increase. The last time fees were raised to the current $28 per ton and $10 minimum was in January of last year. The Board of County Commissioners reviewed cost figures for the landfill operation during a work session on Monday. They are anticipating large expense items coming in the future. The $800,000 expenditure from reserves for completion of a new cell liner is money that will need to be replaced in coming years to accommodate the next new cell and liner. That will probably be needed in eight years at current intake volumes, commissioners were told by landfill manager Kevin Hunt. Comparisons with other West Slope landfills showed Delta County’s charge is below the lowest of a range between $30 per ton at Mesa County
(expected to increase soon) to $66 per ton at Pitkin County. An analysis of the county’s costs pegged them currently at $40.78 per ton. Adobe Buttes took in approximately 30,000 tons of trash in 2016. If the county’s per ton charge were raised to $41 per ton, the additional charge in one year would raise $390,000 in additional income, or $3.21 million over eight years. The $41 figure “is projected to be adequate to provide the necessary revenues to cover any cost increase due to increased landfill use for the foreseeable future,” states the cost analysis report. The landfill projects major yearly expenses of $786,573 for operations; $256,000 for a new cell and expansion; and $200,000 for equipment replacement. No decision has been made on the landfill fee issue. Other business dealt with on Monday, Feb. 13, included COMMISSIONERS TO A5
City manager says Delta is a good fit BY PAT SUNDERLAND Managing Editor
In searching for a city manager in late 2015, Delta City Council clearly stated a desire for “longevity” in the top job. A brochure describing the job opening suggested candidates looking for potential “stepping stone” opportunities look elsewhere. After narrowing down the applicants to four finalists, the city named David Torgler to the top position. He had most recently been town manager in Hayden, in northwest Colorado, but had also worked in communities in Washington, Wisconsin and Illinois. His undergraduate degree is from Western Michigan University; his master’s is from Northern Illinois University. Although he’s well traveled, Torgler is feeling right at home in Delta. On the one-year anniversary of his appointment, he explained why Delta has been a good
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fit for him and his wife, Carmen. “Delta is a community that my wife and I looked at because we wanted to make a longterm move to a community we wanted to be a part of,” Torgler said. They embrace life on the Western Slope, where they are close to outdoor activities they both enjoy. “The opportunities here in Delta are very appealing,” he said. They also enjoy the size of the community, which is similar to their hometowns, as well as the weather, the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, and the proximity to airports in Montrose and Grand Junction when they can get away to visit their two daughters. The orchards, the vineyards, the festivals ... “these are things that very much appeal to our lifestyle,” Torgler said. “Carmen and I are enjoying becoming part of the community.”
They have purchased a home, which is being remodeled, they’ve made new friends and they’ve found a church family. David is a member of the Delta Rotary Club and an occasional guest at the Kiwanis luncheon meetings. While he says they felt Delta would be a good fit, they also believed they could be of benefit to the community, as well. His first goal, Torgler said, was getting to know the community and understanding city council’s priorities. With the five council members, three of whom were elected to office in April, he toured all of the city facilities, from the wastewater treatment plant to the golf course. “I got to know our facilities at the same time that our city council was learning about them from our department heads,” Torgler said. Because of their length of service and their knowledge of the com-
munity and the infrastructure, he said city staff is an invaluable source of information. “That for me was a big accomplishment this first year,” Torgler said. “In getting to know the city and its plans for the future, I discovered things that needed updating.” He specifically mentioned a streets master plan and a parks, trails and open space master plan, both of which will hopefully be completed prior to preparation of the 2018 budget. The city has applied for a GOCO grant to help fund the parks, trails and open space master plan. As that plan unfolds, there will be an opportunity for public input. “I encourage anybody who has an interest in parks, recreation, the use of our trails and open space to attend those meetings,” he said. Public input will weigh heavily as the city prioritizes future projects.
During his first year, Torgler also worked with the city council, department heads and community members to develop a strategic plan for the city. The focus, Torgler said, was to create a plan “that focused primarily on what was achievable and recognizable. It gave us the ability to then craft a budget that hit on the things that we’re aiming at.” It was clear to all the participants, he said, that quality of life is of utmost importance to the city’s residents. Everyone was also on the same page about providing and maintaining affordable and reliable city services, from water and electricity to streets and stormwater. Economic development is another top priority. In Torgler’s first year, the Delta Urban Renewal Authority was revitalized to enhance the city’s ability to serve as a catalyst for the gateway and TORGLER TO A3
City will share cost of concrete
Two motorists seriously hurt
By Delta’s city code, residents are responsible for the repair of damaged sidewalks, curbs and gutters, and driveway approaches. As this type of maintenance can be costly, a 50/50 concrete replacement cost share program has been established to help offset citizen expenses. Through the program, the city and the property owner equally share the cost of replacing damaged concrete areas within the right-of-way. Applications can be picked up at Delta City Hall or downloaded from the city web page at http://cityofdelta.net/rfp.html. Completed applications should be turned in to city hall by close of business on March 1. The program is conducted on a first come-first served basis. The city will bid the project competitively and select the most qualified bidder. For additional information, contact Ellen Michelson, city engineer, at 874-7566 ext 216.
Two Delta residents were seriously injured in a twocar accident south of Delta Tuesday, Feb. 7, at about 5:30 p.m. A 17-year-old Delta resident was stopped at the intersection of D Road and Highway 50. A 2014 Kia Sorento driven by Patricia Nickel Campbell, 58, was traveling westbound on Highway 50 in the left lane. The 2004 Chevy Aveo driven by the 17-year-old proceeded from the stop sign, failing to yield to the Sorento. The Sorento impacted the driver’s door of the Aveo. After impact, the Aveo continued 151 feet before coming to rest against the guardrail on the eastbound Highway 92 shoulder. The Kia Sorento rotated counterclockwise and came to rest in the intersection.
A2 Wednesday, February 15, 2017
LETTERS How to destroy a republic Dear Editor: How to destroy a republic: Method A — Take command of the armed forces and stage a military coup. It works if the citizens are already accustomed to dictatorship. It helps if the people are terrorized by what those in power do to dissidents. If the new dictator is protected and supported by an outside country, it becomes even more difficult to move from an autocracy to government by the people. This rarely works in a country with a long successful history of democratic elections and a literate, informed populace willing to accept the responsibilities of citizenship. Method B — 1. Gain power through legitimate electoral process. This can be achieved by appealing to two groups of “outliers.” First legitimize feelings of being left out by the current governing process. Second appeal to “fear” be it fear of “the other” or fear of the government or any or all excuses people use to feed their paranoia.
2. Develop the financial and “power base” backing of those who feel entitled to run a government by evidence of their success in business or politics 3. Involve military leaders who may fit categories described for individuals in steps 1 and 2 above. 4. Distract the public with meaningless verbiage, announcements, pronouncements and proclamations that are sure to capture the attention of the concerned public. 5. Co-opt and under-
Trump limits our right to know Dear Editor: We take our freedom for granted and believe that it will continue to exist. President Trump has just taken the first of many actions to limit free ability for us to know what he has decided what our national government agencies can do. Actually he is doing multiple actions by decree. The cabinet members are nominated only to implement his decisions. The cabinet members will therefore limit federal agencies. This is all to be expected, as President Trump
often explains, “It is legal.” Now he put a gag order on the Environmental Protection Agency among others. That means that we ordinary citizens will not have enough information to respond to those agency decisions. This is just a start. How many gag orders will President Trump put on the rest of the federal government? Will this not eliminate freedom of speech and freedom of the press? He will ensure his dictatorship and state, “It is legal.” Melanie Son Cedaredge
Dear Editor: I would like to thank all the citizens of Crawford for their recent participation in our local government process. Statistics from the recall election mirror more or less, the divisiveness seen at the national level. The difference is that instead of millions of voters spread between thousands of miles, different religious, ethnic, economic, and political backgrounds, we are a small community with more in common than not. I hope the 56 percent of those that voted no will recognize the 44 percent who voted yes not as, “a few malcontents,” “that
bunch” and the “problem child,” but as their neighbors who have the same constitutional right to participate in their local government as they do. Transparency in government is the foundation upon which democracy is built. Should that transparency be clouded by alternative facts, we as voters should always be ready to hold those responsible accountable. Let us “bind up our wounds,” forget the rhetoric and maliciousness of this event, and move on as a true community with respect for each other and our democracy. Carl Page Crawford
It’s not the losing; it’s the person who won True community Dear Editor: After reading and hearing so many comments about how all the protesters are just whiny, childish sore losers and need to get over it, I feel I must say this: Of all the people who are unhappy with the election and its aftermath that I have talked to, they are not so much concerned because their party lost, but because Donald Trump won, and because of many of the things he’s done since. It’s not the losing itself, but the person who won. There’s a huge difference. Diane Grudt Cedaredge
mine any potential controls of your behavior on the part of the elected representatives of the people. This may be easily accomplished by monetary or political rewards. 6. Co-opt the means by which the public receives information. This activity is encouraged by the public relying only on the one source approved by the potential autocrat and so, become, wittingly or not, supporters of the regime. It works. Do a little research on the rise of the Third Reich. Loretta Molitor Cedaredge