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People’s Choice Ballot Page 25 Park County, Colorado


INSIDE Hearts for Sandy Hook – Page 2

T h e

P a r k

C o u n t y

R e p u b l i c a n

F a i r p l a y

Friday, February 1, 2013

F l u m e

Vol. 134, No. 5 • 28 Pages • 75¢

School enrollment up at Re-2, down at Platte Canyon Majority of Re-2 increase due to more students at Lake George Charter School By Debra Orecchio

Student population at Park County school districts

1600 1400

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012



Accident on Miners Way in Bailey destroys mailboxes – Page 3


Recently released data shows that Park County’s two school districts saw opposite trends in enrollment over the past year as the Fairplay-based Re-2 School District saw enrollment increase, partly because of a surge in students at Lake George Charter School, and Bailey-based Platte Canyon School District saw enrollment slightly decrease, as the drop at the elementary school level exceeded the increases at the middle school and high school levels. Platte Canyon In the Platte Canyon School District, the number of students dropped slightly, by three students, to 1,089 this school year as of October 2012, down from 1,092 last school year as of October 2011, according to the Colorado Department of Education. But that number is so slight that it might be seen more as a leveling off than as a decline, particularly in light of the drop of See ENROLLMENT, Page 6

1000 800 600 400 200 0 Platte Canyon


ENROLLMENT CHANGES The number of students enrolled in the Platte Canyon School District dropped by three this 2012-2013 school year, represented by “2012” in the graph, when compared with last school year, represented by “2011” in the graph. At Re-2, the student population increased by 10 students this school year. (Data from the Colorado Department of Education. Graph by Debra Orecchio/The Flume)

Hartsel post office reduces hours to six on weekdays Looking for village post office applicant, person to run existing post office By Laura Van Dusen Correspondent

Alma hosts 50 for Paris Mill meeting – Page 3

In a Hartsel community meeting on Jan. 23, postal patrons were told of changes to mail service for zip code 80449. The plan is for the post office in Hartsel to be open six hours a day Monday through Friday instead of the current eight hours a day. The specific hours are still under consideration, but it is expected they will be 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with a half-hour lunch break mid-day. No changes will be made to the current Saturday hours of 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., route mail delivery will not change, and

patrons will still have access to boxes in the post office lobby 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, Murray Johnson, who ran the meeting and is manager of post office operations for Grand Junctionbased Colorado Region 4, said postal authorities are also looking for a Hartsel business to run a village post office to supplement the regular post office. A village post office would sell stamps, mail packages, collect mail for posting and have available flat rate boxes and envelopes. Village post offices are generally open longer hours than a regular post office, and having one in town is a way for Hartsel customers to have access to those services when the regular post office is closed. The benefit to

There is also a need in Hartsel for an employee to run the post office for the 34.5 hours per week it will be open when the change takes See POST OFFICE, Page 27

TAKE NOTE Hartsel-area residents take note of changes discussed for the Hartsel post office at a community meeting Jan. 23 at the community center in Hartsel. Proposed is a reduction to six weekday hours of window service from the current eight, with no changes in Saturday window service or route delivery. (Photo by Laura Van Dusen/The Flume)

Vern Wagner trial continues in Fairplay


Trial, on misdemeanor criminal charges of animal cruelty, expected to wrap up this week

“They were playing very disciplined and executing perfectly.” South Park boys basketball coach Jud Weece on his team’s performance against Cripple Creek-Victor. See story, Page 12.

By Mike Potter and Lynda James Staff Writer and Correspondent

INDEX Letters to the Editor – 4 Weather – 5 Community Corner – 8 Sports – 12 Classifieds – 19 Legals – 22 Crossword Puzzle – 26 Mark Your Calendar – 26

the business is increased foot traffic bringing an opportunity for increased sales. Anyone interested can contact Nicole Noll at or 303-853-6722.

WAGNER AND ATTORNEY Hartsel-area rancher Vern Wagner speaks to one of his attorneys, public defender, Amanda Hunter, on Jan. 28. Wagner is standing trial on four counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Jan. 31 or Feb. 1. (Photo by Mike Potter/The Flume)

The trial for Hartsel-area rancher Vern Wagner is expected to wrap up on Jan. 31 or Feb. 1, when the case is handed off to the jury for deliberations. As of Jan. 29 jurors had sat through five days of testimony from expert witnesses expressing opinions on the best ranching practices and the condition of Wagner’s cattle in 2010, when they were seized by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and sold at auction. Assistant District Attorney Kathy Eberling wrapped up her case against Wagner on Jan. 28. As of Jan. 29, defense attorneys Daniel Zettler and Amanda Hunter planned to have their case completed by Jan. 31 or early on Feb. 1. Wagner is facing four counts of animal cruelty, all class 1 misdemeanors.

The charges stem from an investigation that began in 2010 after the Park County Sheriff ’s Office started looking into reports of dozens of dead animals on Wagner’s ranch. In all, investigators said they discovered 143 dead animals across Wagner’s ranch, much of which was leased land. Day one Pre-trial motions Eberling said during an afternoon pretrial motions hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 22, that the case was about whether or not Wagner utilized acceptable animal husbandry practices when caring for his herd. It was revealed during the pre-trial motions hearing that of 11 bovine femur bones submitted for testing, four were from cattle found to have been suffering from malnutrition. Hunter said the tests showed that the animals didn’t die from starvation or disease. “Tests conclusively show that the cows didn’t die from starvation; they died from See Trial, Page 7

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