Youngsters display their knowledge Page 9
Ugly sweaters on display Page 21
McCalisters restore forest Page 22
Leadville police now equipped with body cameras by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Leadville police officers are now carrying new equipment on patrol, as the Leadville Police Department has started using body cameras this month.
Sergeant Calvin Dawe said the eight-officer department currently has six cameras. Dawe said the cameras will be worn by any officer who “works the streets,” leaving officers with other duties, such as the code-enforcement officer, with-
out cameras until next year because of budget restraints. Dawe said the cameras must be turned on during all traffic stops and incidents with a high potential of violence. Cameras will not be turned on during domestic calls un-
Comparing gifts Photo by Ryan Fitzmaurice
This photo shows the body cameras worn by the Leadville Police Department. They are required for any officer patrolling the streets.
Photo by Ryan Fitzmaurice
Nevaeh Valenzuela and Leo Archuleta, wearing reindeer hats, compare one another’s presents. They were among the youngsters at The Center receiving gifts from the Leadville Legacy Foundation. See more photos on page 9.
less a violent incident occurs. All other uses of the camera will be up to an officer’s judgement, Dawe said. Dawe said the use of body cameras will protect both the police department and the public. “If we get accused of something, it’s on camera,” Dawe said. “It works both ways.” According to Dawe, often when a police department doesn’t produce its own footage, its knowledge of what occurred during an incident is often limited. “If you look on the news, it hasn’t been the police officers’ recordings that are released first, it’s been the cell-phone recordings that are released first,” Dawe said. “It seems to me that on the news they don’t always show the whole video, they just
show the parts that are bad.” The body cameras should not in any way affect how officers patrol, Dawe said, but they will help the department keep its officers accountable. “I think the officers might think before they say or do something,” Dawe said. “Being recorded shouldn’t impact what they’re going to do, I mean if you’re doing it right to start with, then you’re not going to have to worry about being recorded when you do it.” The footage will also be used to help train officers. “If an officer makes a traffic stop, we can point something out and say ‘you might want to change that there,’” Dawe said. All footage taken will be considered public record and can be requested through the Leadville police department.
Police Chief Mike Leake resigns by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Leadville Police Chief Mike Leake has resigned from his position as of Tuesday morning, according to Leadville Mayor Jamie Stuever. The resignation may or may not be related to Leake being arrested twice for driving under the influence in 2015. Stuever said Leake resigned due to recent events,
but would not specify what those events were. According to Stuever the events that led to the resignation were not criminal. “At this time, being a personnel matter, this is not something I can really touch on at this time,” Stuever said. Stuever said he did not ask for a resignation. “Pretty much got in that direction without really having to ask. (He didn’t) have much choice in the matter,” Stuever said. According to the Colorado
Bureau of Investigation online criminal background check, Leake was charged with driving under the influence twice in 2015. On Oct. 23, Leake was arrested in Arapahoe County. The misdemeanor charges from that arrest are still pending. Leake was previously arrested on charges of driving under the influence on April 18, in Aurora. He was arrested after being seen driving on the Photo by Ryan Fitzmaurice
Continued on page 2
Sergeant Calvin Dawe reviews footage recorded by his own body camera.
Page 2 — Herald Democrat — DECEMBER 24, 2015
CMC, BOCC partner in seeking scholarships by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Potential Lake County college students may see the vast majority of their tuition costs disappear after the Lake County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to partner with Colorado Mountain College in applying for the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship. The Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI), created in 2014, seeks to establish a statewide network of student support and scholarship programs by matching scholarships provided by local programs. In Leadville that local program is the Leadville Legacy foundation, which will
hours to complete their degrees will likely have to seek funding from other sources. Every Lake County high school graduate will qualify for the scholarship, Taylor said. “The goal here was not to guarantee a free tuition, but to reduce the financial barrier,” Taylor said. The scholarship can also be used in other colleges and universities but will likely not cover the tuition for those schools. Superintendent of Lake County Schools Wendy Wyman granted her support to the scholarship and CMC. “We are so supportive of this. So many of our students are the first generation students to go to college, and it’s
be matching COSI in giving $11,108 towards each scholarship. The grand total, which amounts to a $22,216, is designed to match the entire tuition cost of attending Colorado Mountain College. “The purpose of this resolution is to basically eliminate the cost of attendance of college for Lake County graduates for a two-year (or) four- year technical education past high school,” CMC Leadville Vice President James Taylor said. The amount is based on a price of $57 per credit hour, and 60 hours to earn an associate’s degree. The scholarship will not cover additional expenses such as fees, textbooks or housing, and students who take longer than 60 credit
Conservation tax credits made permanent the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas (LTUA). “When combined with the Colorado State Conservation Easement Tax Credit for landowners, it is a perfect time to talk to LTUA about conservation options for your property.” Agricultural producers who donate a conservation easement can claim a federal tax deduction of up to 100 percent of the donor’s adjusted gross income in any year. Other landowners who donate a conservation easement can claim a federal tax deduction of up to 50 percent of other landowner’s adjusted gross income in any year. Donors may carry forward any unused
Congress passed legislation last week that makes permanent the federal tax incentives for land conservation, after years of effort by the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas and other members of the national Land Trust Alliance, to make this happen. The legislation makes several tax incentives permanent, including the Conservation Easement Incentive. “Having this tax deduction permanent makes conservation easements more rewarding for landowners, especially ranchers and farmers,” said Andrew Mackie, executive director of
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deduction for up to 15 years after the year of the donation until the deduction is fully used. LTUA’s expert staff has a combined 25 years of experience helping landowners with conservation easements. “We are here to help ranchers and other landowners figure out if a conservation easement is right for them. We are available to sit down with landowners and go over all the details of how conservation easements work and what benefits are available,” Mackie said. LTUA works in Chaffee, Lake, Fremont, Saguache, and western Park counties.
incredibly important for them to have this opportunity,” Wyman said. County Commissioner Mike Bordogna said he thought the scholarship may be crucial in changing the educational environment in Lake County. “Back when I was a fifthgrade teacher in the district, it was so sad and disheartening to see so many kids who
had already been sent that message by their families, that college just isn’t in the cards for you,” Bordogna said. “Whether it was an associate’s degree or a technical program, it was those financial barriers that got in the way; by taking away the major hurdles, I think we’re going to see a lot more optimism for the youth in this community.”
Search to begin for new chief Continued from page 1 wrong side of the road. He is reported with having blood alcohol content of .203. Leake was A part ofwith a misdemeanor charged and found guilty. Despite this, his by the l e case a d vwas i l dismissed le district attorney. Stuever would not confirm if these incidents were related to Leake’s resignation. Sergeant Saige Bertolas will be appointed interim po-
lice chief until a new police chief is appointed, according to Stuever. Advertisements for the position will be posted by Jan. 1. Leake was offered the position of police chief by the Leadville hCity i s t Council o r y on Sept. 16, 2009. Leake previously served in the Avon Police Department for ten years, where he held positions from patrolman to sergeant and interim chief.
A part of
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n the rush of everyday affairs, we seldom take the time to express appreciation for good friends. At this festive time of the year, it is with pleasure and gratitude that we remember the people we have had the opportunity to serve. Our office will be closed Dec. 24-27 and Jan. 1-3, so that our staff can spend time with their families.
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Decorating contest winners announced Page 2
Grades 3-6 create music Page 12
What happened during 2015? Pages 13-23
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Collage by Michell Thonoff
Pictured above are some of the people whose photos appeared in the Herald Democrat during 2015, accompanying a variety of stories. Top, from left, are AJ Deschneau, Jeff and Greg Dahl, Sam Radke, Brandon Gonzales, and Bill Skala; second row, from left, Alban Lakata, Patrick Irwin, Fr. Jesse Perez, Greg Labbe and Laurel McHargue (and friend); third row, from left, Ryan Arguello, Don Quinn, William Berry, Mike Conlin, Gary Snider, Guy Patterson and Betsy Kalmeyer; fourth row, from left, Trevor Kerrigan and Alee Chavez, Elli Torsell and Chris Corona, Dave Weins, Maria Day, Jessica Coffin, Linda Jones and Jennifer Schubert-Akin; fifth row from left, Brandon Drury, Ian Sharman, Joe Swyers, Dr. Lisa Zwerdlinger, Ted Mullings; sixth row, from left, George Zack, Steve Whittington, Guy Masterson and Marc Lizardo.
Records indicate just one DUI incident for former chief by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Former Leadville Police Chief Mike Leake was only charged with driving under the influence in one incident in 2015, according to Julie Brooks, public information of-
ficer for the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. Leake was pulled over for driving under the influence on Feb. 21, 2015, by the Aurora police after he was seen driving on the wrong side of the road. He is reported with having a blood alcohol content of .203. He was later arrested for the offense on April 18. Brooks said Leake turned
himself in to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 23 for the same DUI, which is where the second arrest was recorded. He is recorded as having served seven days in the Arapahoe detention facility, leaving on Oct. 30. Brooks said Leake was facing several charges, only some of which were dismissed by the district attorney.
According to Michelle Yi, communications director for the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office, Leake pleaded guilty on Oct. 18. On Tuesday, Dec. 22, the Herald learned from Mayor Jaime Stuever that Leake had resigned. Stuever said last week that he would not discuss the reasons for the resignation, but told the Herald
that the events leading to the resignation were not criminal. Leake has served as Leadville police chief since September 2009. Sgt. Saige Bertolas has been named acting chief as the search for a new chief is underway. More information to come as the story develops.
Herald Democrat — JANUARY 28, 2016 — Page 7
More details revealed about Leake’s DUI arrest by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer New details of Michael Leake’s Feb. 21, 2015, arrest for driving under the influence have emerged, revealing a hitand-run incident with a snow plow, for which Leake was not charged. According to Officer Jeffrey Dana Prince in a report filed to the Aurora Police Department, Prince was dispatched to the area of East Mississippi Avenue and South Chambers Road on a report of a hit-andrun crash. It had been reported that Leake’s Nissan Xterra had struck a snow plow and then continued southbound along South Chambers Road. According to the report, Mitch Blessinger, the operator of the snow plow, had turned onto South Chambers Road to travel northbound when he observed “a dark colored SUV” coming toward him at a high rate of speed, traveling in the wrong lane. Blessinger said he heard a “bang” sound and felt the plow move slightly. No visible damage to the plow nor Leake’s SUV was found. A Colorado crash report was not completed because of this. After this, according to a report filed by Officer Adam Price, he observed Leake traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of South Chambers Road. Upon stopping Leake, Leake told Price that he “knew he (messed) up big time.” Leake then identified himself as the Leadville Chief of Police. Price stated in the report that Leake was slurring his speech and had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. According to a report filed
BOCC approves purchase Continued from page 6 minion was actually the second least expensive of the four. “If you look at the costs over a 10-year period, Dominion was cheaper than Hart,” Bartels said. County purchases voting system Last week, Berger recommended the county lease the equipment for $15,000 a month for the next eight years, a revised price quote has the county going in another direction. Berger said the price to lease the equipment jumped to $29,000 a year, while the price for buying the system outright decreased to $67,000. Previously the system cost $82,333. The Lake County Board of County Commissioners approved the purchase of the Dominion voting equipment in a special meeting Monday.
by Officer William Hummel, Leake told police he had drank three beers within a few hours. Hummel asked Leake if he would be willing to submit to roadside maneuvers to test his level of intoxication. Leake reportedly told Hummel that he’d “prefer not to do them.” Leake later measured a .203 breath alcohol content. Leake was charged with driving on the wrong side of the road, driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol or both, and driving vehicle with excessive alcohol content. Hummel then issued Leake a notice of revocation and retained his driver’s license. A fourth charge was listed in the Aurora Police Department report on the in-
cident, but the details were redacted from the report. Leake is recorded as having served seven days in the Arapahoe detention facility, leaving on Oct. 30. On Tuesday, Dec. 22, the Herald learned from then Mayor Jaime Stuever that Leake had resigned. Stuever said last week that he would not discuss the reasons for the resignation, but told the Herald that the events leading to the resignation were not criminal. Leake has served as Leadville police chief since September 2009. Sgt. Saige Bertolas has been named acting chief as the search for a new chief is ongoing.
Herald file photo
Former Leadville Police Chief Mike Leake is shown here at a community event last spring.
BRAD LITTLEPAGE FOR COMMISSIONER
…EXPERIENCE AND CHANGE MATTERS
... Public trust is driven by government transparency and public officials being held accountable to the taxpayer I NEED YOU TO SHOW UP AND SUPPORT ME ON THESE DATES: CAUCUS: TUESDAY 3/1 6:00 to 7:00 PM REGISTRATION / 7:00 PM CAUCUS BEGINS ELKS LODGE
Contact Information • Home: 719-486-3488 • Cell: 719-293-3111 • Email: email@example.com
ASSEMBLY: SATURDAY 3/19 9:15 TO 10:00AM REGISTRATION / 10:00 AM ASSEMBLY BEGINS / CMC CLIMAX BUILDING
Western State Colorado University, B.A. Biology, Minors in Chemistry and Business, Graduate work Mine Reclamation.
PRIMARY: JUNE 28th (PARTICIPANTS MUST BE ON TIME TO MEETINGS IN ORDER TO VOTE!)
Project Management Professional Certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI).
Here are some goals to consider for Lake County
• The economic health of our community should be the primary goal. • We all must work diligently to assure that public roads remain open. • Citizens and the BOCC must work closely with EDC to assure its success. • The housing shortage crisis could be an economic boom for our county. The BOCC needs to campaign for the building of housing in Lake by working with Eagle and Summit County and the businesses that are impacted by this crisis. • We should form a tri county coalition to address the housing crisis and issues of economic development. • In order to encourage a building boom the building permit process, land use issues and support utilities must work in favor of the developer and builder. • Improved public transportation between the counties is key to growing our economy. We need to make this happen. • Economic growth happens only if our schools are performing at a high level. We need to work with the state legislators and the school system to do whatever we can to improve our schools. • 33 years of being a Superfund Site is hardly an economic driver. We need to work with EPA and move forward at an accelerated pace towards Superfund deletion. • High-speed Broadband is imperative to economic growth. • At both ends of town we should consider building gateway parks with amenities. Let’s make our town a show stopper. • Our recreational assets and the environment we live in drives our economy. Lets promote our assets better. • Reconstitute a paving program between the city and county. Experience 1991 to 2015 U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) (2008 to 2015) Logistic Management Specialist / Project Manager, Mt. Elbert Powerplant Twin Lakes Colorado. (1991 to 2008) Supervisor Industrial Water Treatment (Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel) 1997 to 2001 Lake County Planning Commission Member 1985 to 1991 Copper Mtn Water and Sanitation and Snake River Waste Water Treatment Plants Operation and Maintenance of industrial, domestic, biological, water and waste water treatment systems. 1980 to 1985 Climax Molybdenum Company Supervisor of crushers, mills, regrind, byproducts, drying plant, packing, industrial and domestic water treatment. Worked underground in the stopes as a miner. 1979, Mount Emmons core driller.
Skills • Managed multimillion dollar facilities which included budget formation to overseeing operations. • Have managed up to 40 employees and was well liked because I am fair. Always had low employee turnover. . • Know how to integrate “Planning and Scheduling” and “Project Management Principles” to drive cost effective operations. • My greatest skill is the management of projects from initiation to closing. • Have written multiple contracts and have managed their outcome. • Excellent trouble shooting by working together to solve problems. • Can implement “Maintenance Management Programs” that will save the taxpayer money. • Excellent at controlling operational and maintenance costs. • Expert in industrial, domestic, and biological treatment systems. • Have a strong understanding of government regulatory law as it pertains to environmental, EPA (Superfund) and OSHA. • Understand the inner workings of government and can protect the citizenry from being bamboozled.
Achievements • Stopped the EPA from burdening our community from overbearing institutional controls. • Saved the ASARCO trust fund (KIDS FIRST) from being consumed by an unnecessary landscaping program. • Instrumental in the Superfund deletion of Operable Unit 9 that addressed the issue of lead contamination in residential areas of Leadville. • Forced Reclamation to address the possible blowout of the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel. • Forced Reclamation to institute an Emergency Action Plan that included a siren alarm system to protect people living next to the LMDT in event of facility asset failure. • Stopped Reclamation from pawning off the LMDT liability on the taxpayers of Colorado. • Worked with the past BOCC and helped in stopping road closures.
Personal • I am a Colorado native. My wife and I have lived in Lake County since 1994 and in the Arkansas Valley since 1980. We have 4 grandsons and we are fortunate that the families all reside in Lake County. Hiking, skiing, snowmobiling and 4 wheel driving is our fun. My all time hunting interest is in search of the elusive wild wapiti. I love calling them in! PAID FOR BY BRAD LITTLEPAGE
Wine tasting proves popular Page 14
Snow Drags at Mt. Massive Page 15
Eleven to compete at state Page 22
Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Vol. 137, No. 7 • 75 cents
Olsen steps down, Bertolas and Rimbert step up by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Brad Littlepage rescinded his resignation as the chair of the Lake County Democratic Central Committee on Feb. 9, and called for the removal of county commissioner candidate Bud Elliott and his registered agent Harry Camp as officers of the Democratic Cen-
tral Committee over a controversial agenda item to discuss the ethics of Ken Olsen’s candidacy. The move by Littlepage eclipsed a shuffling of the democratic candidates running for county commissioner, with Olsen stepping down as a candidate and Tyrone Rimbert and Ron Bertolas announcing their
candidacies for District 3 and 2 respectively. Because of Olsen’s withdrawal of his candidacy, an ethics conversation was never had and the call for Elliott and Camp’s resignation was never addressed. An email sent to the Democratic Central Committee on the afternoon of Feb. 9 an-
Tuesday morning accident
nounced Littlepage’s decision to remain the democratic chairman. Littlepage cited the Colorado Democratic Party Plan of Organization and Rules. “If a chair of any central committee resigns before the end of the regular term, the resignation must be presented in writing to the state chair. A vacancy shall be declared when these written notifications of resignation are accepted,” the rules state. Littlepage sent a notice of resignation as chairman, along with his decision to drop out of the race for county commissioner, on Feb. 1 to 30 individuals involved in the Democratic Central Committee, as well as the Herald Democratic and Leadville Today. Littlepage said despite this, he never sent the notice to the state
chair. “I didn’t even think of it,” Littlepage said when asked by current county Commissioner Mike Bordogna if he intentionally omitted sending his resignation to the state chair. The Democratic Central Committee, which planned to accept Littlepage’s resignation on Tuesday, was unable to do so before Littlepage’s rescission of his resignation. “They can go to the state and fight it, because I’m not resigning,” Littlepage said during the meeting. Littlepage said he rescinded his resignation because of concerns he had when he saw an ethics conversation on the agenda regarding Olsen’s candidacy. Continued on page 2
Special districts are holding elections Photo by Ryan Fitzmaurice
A Chevy S-10 tumbled down the embankment at approximately 8:20 a.m. Tuesday at the eight-mile marker on Colo. 91. No injuries were reported.
Police department under investigation by Marcia Martinek Herald Editor The Leadville Police Department is currently under investigation by the office of the Fifth Judicial District Attorney, which is being assisted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The investigation is into “irregular practices regarding the handling and storage of items of evidence, and possible financial improprieties” occurring at the police department,
according to a news release from District Attorney Bruce Brown. Brown said his office initiated the investigation on Jan. 14 at the request of Leadville Mayor Greg Labbe. The release goes on to say that no timetable exists for a conclusion of the investigation, no arrests have been made and no criminal charges are currently pending. Information will be released as it becomes available. The City of Leadville is currently recruiting for a new police chief. Former Chief Mike Leake
resigned his position on Dec. 22, 2015. At the time, thenLeadville Mayor Jaime Stuever would not comment on the resignation, saying it was a personnel matter. He said he did not ask the chief for the resignation but also indicated that Leake didn’t have much choice in the matter. The Herald subsequently learned that Leake had been arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Aurora on Feb. 21, 2015, leading to his spending seven days in the Arapahoe County detention facility this past October.
by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Many Lake County special districts are holding elections in 2016. The deadline to apply to run for a board of a special district is Friday, Feb. 26. Those interested should obtain, fill out and turn in a self-nomination and acceptance form to the designated election official of the district. The elections will be held May 3. St. Vincent General Hospital District There are two open seats for the St. Vincent General Hospital District Board of Directors. Dennis Johnson and Byron Copley, the incumbents, are expected to run for the seats, according to Karen Onderdonk, St. Vincent director of community relations. Self-nomination forms should be obtained from and turned in to Jennifer Robbins, the designated election official for the district. Election information and contact information for Robbins can be found in the Herald’s Feb. 4 public notices.
Leadville Sanitation District The Leadville Sanitation District will have three director seats open for the upcoming election. Howard Van Voorst, Robert Vigil, and Sherrie Popovich, the incumbents of those seats, will all be running in the election. Lake County resident Jane Gowing will also be running for a seat on the sanitation district. Self-nomination forms should be obtained from turned in to Angelina Salazar. Election information and contact information for Salazar can be found in the Feb. 11 public notices. Parkville Water District The Parkville Water District will have three director seats open. Currently only two incumbents are running in the race. Chairman Mark Glenn and Vice Chairman Gary Slifka will both be on the ballot. No additional self-nomination and acceptance forms have been turned in yet, according Continued on page 2
Police chief candidates here Page 3
LCCCA holds annual meeting Page 11
Mining museum holds happy hour Page 14
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Vol. 137, No. 14 • 75 cents
Former police chief charged with 14 felonies by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Michael Leake, former Leadville chief of police, was arrested April 1 on 14 felony counts, including theft, embezzlement, forgery and several acts of pawning firearms belonging to the Leadville Police Department at Englewood and Aurora pawn shops between 2013 and 2015. Leake was charged with two counts of theft, one count of embezzlement of public
Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office photo
Michael Robert Leake, former Leadville police chief, is shown in a mug shot .
property, one count of forgery and 10 counts of Pawnbrokers Act violation. Ten total allegations of Leake selling stolen guns are reported in the charge sheet. Leake is alleged to have sold stolen guns to pawn shops three times March 2013 to May 2013. Four more instances were recorded in 2014 be-
tween the months of May and October. A final three instances were discovered in 2015, the first occurring in April and the last in September. The guns stolen include a Remington 870 pump shotgun, a Remington 700 bolt-action 308 rifle, a Sig Sauer model P220 pistol, a Taurus .45 caliber pistol, and six Glock model 22 pistols. Each was sold to one of three pawn shops: Fast Cash Pawn, located in Englewood, Cash in a Flash, located in Aurora, and U.S. Pawn, located in Aurora. Leake, who currently resides in Aurora, surrendered on a felony warrant issued March 31 based on a criminal complaint filed March 29 in the Lake County District Court. Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown said his office initiated an investigation of the Leadville Police Department on Jan. 14 at the request of Leadville Mayor Greg Labbe. “The city of Leadville has found the investigation into its police department and the subsequent arrest of former Chief Mike Leake disheartening,” Labbe said. “We are pleased, however, that the investigation has exonerated all other members of our proud police department from any wrongdoing. As we prepare to hire a new police chief by April 12, we are excited to enter a new era of unwavering service
to our community.” Brown stated in a press release that the “members of the current Leadville Police Department and city government
have been extremely cooperative.” Leake served as police chief here starting in 2008. He resigned his position on Dec. 22,
2015. At the time, then-Leadville Mayor Jaime Stuever Continued on page 2
Mountaineering on skis
Photo by Alex Lee
A racer descends East Ball Mountain during Saturday’s Father Dyer Postal Route ski mountaineering race. The event was a fundraiser for the Lake County High Riders Snow Trails Association. See story, results and more photos on page 23.
Ben Cairns to be principal of Lake County High School by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Ben Cairns has been hired as the new principal of Lake County High School. Cairns currently serves as the principal of Denver School of Science and Technology Cole High School in Denver, where he has led the school since its founding in 2013. Prior to this position, Cairns served as the assis-
tant principal at Cole Arts and Science Academy for two years and at North High School as the restorative justice coordinator and dean of culture for five years. Cairns’ current school, DSST Cole High School, has a demographic profile similar to Lake County, with 72 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch and 25 percent English language learners, according to a news release from Lake County School District. DSST has received accolades for closing the achievement gap, meaning
that its lower-income students have begun to perform as well as their high-income peers on some standardized assessments. Cairns said what really attracted him to Lake County schools was the school district’s unique approach to education. The district blends experiential learning with a rigourous academic approach, while most school districts, Cairns said, just try for one or the other. “Some school districts pursue the super academic ap-
proach where kids sit in a chair and do work, or other schools do a lot of field trips, and I love how Lake County schools is trying to marry those two approaches, with Expeditionary Learning and the achievement calendar.” Cairns said his first step is just to experience Lake County’s educational environment first hand. “The first thing you have to do is learn the context. I don’t think there is a cookie cutter of approaching a district,” Cairns said. “It’s about understanding where people want to go
and how to get there. When it comes down to it, everyone wants the same thing: a successful kid.” But Cairns said one can’t just focus on the academics; creating a positive environment is crucial. “My two principles are always coaching teachers to give truly engaging lesson plans and creating a positive culture,” Cairns said. “I do believe in the concept of a community. If you create a place where Continued on page 2
Page 2 — Herald Democrat — APRIL 7, 2016
Wyman says Cairns will take LCHS to a new level Continued from page 1 kids feel good about being, they will do well academically.” Superintendent Wendy Wyman said Cairns’ work at DSST shares many similarities with the previous work put into LCHS. Both schools have participated in both the Colorado Department of Education’s Turnaround Network, and also a training course by the Relay Graduate School of Education. What was most exciting about Cairns, Wyman said, was his ability to establish high expectations at every level. “Ben is excited about the Expeditionary Learning approach and making sure that is implemented in a way which encourages academic success,” Wyman said. “Those two things together are going to be so amazing for our kids. They will be able to explore their curiosity, while at the
same time having those high expectations for rigor.” Wyman said Cairns is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish, and will be dedicated and accessible to the entire academic community. “Looking at Ben’s broad experience, he’s worked with a lot of broad communities,” Wyman said. “He’s committed to this community, both the larger community, and the smaller communities it is made up of.” Wyman said she believes Cairns will be able to take the high school to a new level of success. “I am really excited. I think Ben is exactly the right leader to continue the good work at the high school already done, while creating a real rich learning environment, which will allow us to reach for higher standards.” Current Lake County High School Principal Christina Gosselin will be leaving the district on June 28.
Leake’s DUI incident revealed Continued from page 1
Leadville Weather Date
Ben Cairns is set to fill the principal position at Lake County High School next fall. He currently works as the principal at DSST Cole High School in Denver.
Weather data courtesy of Leadville's Charles Kuster
would not comment on the resignation, saying it was a personnel matter. He said he did not ask the chief for the resignation, but also indicated that Leake didn’t have much choice in the matter. The Herald subsequently learned that Leake had been arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Aurora on Feb. 21, 2015, leading to his spending seven days
Mt. Massive Manor
Accepting applications for (2) 1-bedroom units
in the Arapahoe County detention facility this past October. The city is currently evaluating two candidates for Leake’s replacement. They include Bryan Watts, of West Fork, Ark., and Robert Glenny, of State College, Penn.
A community meet and greet with the two finalists was held at city hall on April 5. Leadville City Council will determine who will fill the position in a special meeting on April 12, held at 6 p.m.
223 Harrison Avenue | Leadville | (719) 486-3801
See you at the
Mt. Massive Manor senior and disabled apartment living: affordable and subsidized; rent based on income (utilities included). MT. MASSIVE MANOR IS A SECURE BUILDING.
131 W. 12th St., Leadville, CO
Saturday, April 9
(7 19) 486-2431
Lake County Intermediate School
TTD-Relay Colorado 711
COFFEE CLUB KEY CHAINS ARE ON SALE NOW! Coffee Club Promotion 2016 and how it works:
1. The terms of the promotion last from Jan. 11 – Dec. 31, 2016. 2. Buy a City on a Hill promotional key chain for a one-time fee of $20. Show the key chain and receive the following benets at each local business listed below. 3. Each promotion is subject to change monthly with exception to the City on a Hill drink promotion.
City on a Hill 10% off any coffee drink, apple cider, chai, hot chocolate and teas for 2016. Coffee Club members are the only eligible patrons to receive a 20 oz. cup (also included in the discount program)
Buy 1 baked good and receive the second at our day-old price. ($1.50)
Mule Kick Alpine Furniture B&B Shipping 721 Harrison Ave. 141 E. 9th St. & More 10% off 15% off select 518 Harrison Ave. all merchandise merchandise 10% off (excluding custom greeting cards orders, mattresses Tennessee Pass Nordic Center E. Tennessee Rd. $10 trail pass
Pumphouse Tire & Lube 2504 N. Poplar
Purchase a full-service oil change and get a “Works” carwash for $5 or purchase a basic oil change and get a “Basic” carwash for $4
Leadville Outdoors 225 Harrison Ave. Save an additional 10% off all sale items in April
and sale items)
Cycles of Life 309 Harrison Ave. $10 off fat bike rental
Blue Earth 201 W. 6th St. 10% off hair cuts winter and fall quarter DESIGN
508 Harrison Ave., #3 • Open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Periodic Brewing 115 E. 7th St. 10% off all Periodic Brewing beer purchases
RE+ 719 Harrison Ave. 10% off any item with color red or pink or 10% off personal care products
Snowboarding builds confidence Pages 12-13
Many turn out for 9Health Fair Page 16
Track team competes at Salida Page 27
Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Vol. 137, No. 15 • 75 cents
Complex scheme revealed in arrest affidavit by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer The arrest affidavit for former Police Chief Michael Leake identifies what appears to be a complex embezzlement scheme that included several efforts to keep city officials
off his trail as he continued to sell firearms belonging to the Leadville Police Department. The affidavit states that between the years of 2013 and 2015, Leake committed several acts of theft and forgery in the form of falsified letters and
Cooper season ends
Photo by Ryan Fitzmaurice
The last day of skiing at Ski Cooper usually brings out a host of costumes. Brian Hirchert makes sure not to disappoint, garbed in a full cow costume.
Road work to resume in May ACA Products is planning to resume construction on Monday, May 2, on the retaining wall along the south side of Mountain View Drive from Mt. Lincoln Drive (east) to Harrison Avenue. This work is expected to continue through the month
of May and most of June, with alternating one-way only traffic on Mountain View Drive during that time. Work is expected to resume on Mt. Massive Drive on May 31; Mt. Massive Drive will be closed for through traffic for the duration of this year’s construction work. Paving and all other remaining work is expected to be completed by July 25.
receipts. Leake resigned last year following an arrest for driving under the influence. Leake was arrested April 1 on 14 felony counts, including two counts of theft, one count of embezzlement of public property, one count of forgery and 10 counts of Pawnbrokers Act violation stemming from several acts of pawning firearms belonging to the Leadville Police Department at Englewood and Aurora pawn shops. Although Leake is being charged in the pawning of 10 guns, the affidavit shows a total of 19 guns missing from Leadville’s evidence locker. According to the affidavit, soon after Leake’s resignation, Interim Police Chief Saige Bertolas reported numerous items of evidence were missing and described the evidence room as a “disaster” in the report. In 2014, Leake took out a $10,000 loan to finance the purchase of specialized equipment for the department’s Special Operations Group. At a later date, City Treasurer Roy McGinnis was contacted by a loan holder for lack of payment on that loan. In the affidavit, McGinnis said Leake never informed him of the loan, although thenMayor Jaime Stuever had given Leake permission to take out the loan. Upon the lack of payment notice, both McGinnis and Stuever reportedly agreed that more oversight was necessary. An internal audit was conducted by Stuever and McGinnis in June of 2014. McGinnis said in the affidavit that Leake
seemed to put off the audit and never followed through with the creation and signing of a formal oversight agreement regarding the loan purchases. Bertolas discovered, after Leake’s resignation, that several of the receipts Leake produced for the purposes of the 2014 audit appeared to be retroactively produced and did not appear to be legitimate. The affidavit states some of the money from the loan is still outstanding. According to the affidavit, McGinnis said that on Dec. 16, 2015, Leake told him new police department ammunition had arrived and a check was needed for $2,262. McGinnis later discovered the check was deposited the following day into Leake’s personal banking account, he told investigators. Following Leake’s resignation, Bertolas conducted a search and was unable to find the ammunition for which the check was allegedly written. Further investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation uncovered that the business reportedly supplying the ammunition did not actually exist. The CBI discovered an additional invoice from the fictitious business. The CBI concludes in the affidavit Leake willingly provided a fictitious invoice to city officials to convince them to issue the check for $2,262. Additional forged items were also unearthed by CBI. A alleged forged letter, dated April 10, 2013, seemed to be an attempt to justify the removal of Smith & Wesson fire-
arms from the department’s evidence room. According to the affidavit, the business that allegedly sent the letter had closed in 2014, and the individual who supposedly sent the letter was never employed by that business. The affidavit reported Leake has a documented history of financial problems. The affidavit also states that upon Stuever’s asking for Leake’s resignation on Dec. 21, 2015, Leake asked for 24 for more hours to put things in order at the police department. Leadville Administrative Services Manager Sarah Dallas noticed an “unusually large” amount of shredded paper in the city shredding bins the day after Leake resigned, according to the affidavit. City officials were unable to comment due to the ongoing investigation into Leake’s case. Stuever, whom Leake reported to directly, admits in the affidavit that, “Some of Leake’s behavior should have raised concerns with him,” but, “he initially thought Leake was a trustworthy person.” Stuever is quoted as being adamant that he never gave Leake permission to sell any of the firearms and expressing concern over Leake’s character and honesty. Attempts to reach Stuever by the Herald Democrat were unsuccessful. Leake, who surrendered to Gilpin County Sheriff`s Office has bonded out at $15,000. He is scheduled for an advisement on May 17 in Lake County Court.
Robert Glenny likely to be new chief by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Robert Glenny will likely be chosen as Leadville’s new police chief, Leadville Mayor Greg Labbe told the Herald Democrat. The decision to hire Glenny was expected to be ratified by Leadville City Council during a special meeting on April 12. Labbe said the hiring committee for the police chief position chose Glenny for his depth of experience and based on feedback from law enforcement officials in Lake County. Glenny is currently the second-in-command at the police department in State Col-
lege, Penn., where he has been for 25 years. The town houses Big 10 school Penn State University. Labbe said Glenny was the head trainer at the State College department, a head official for the department’s special operations and the lead detective, with three detectives serving under him. “The deeper we got into it, the clearer it became,” Labbe said. Labbe said several police officers and members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department spoke in favor of Glenny after meeting him.
Page 4 — Herald Democrat — APRIL 14, 2016
It is what it is If a former police chief in a small city gets charged with 14 felonies, and no news media reports it, does that mean it never happened? We ask that question because we’ve heard there are the usual subjects bemoaning the fact that “bad” news about Leadville has been widely disseminated by the press. We imagine it must have been particularly galling that news of former Police Chief Mike Leake’s arrest appeared on the front page of the Denver Post as well as the Herald. Then there are the television stations that picked it up. Not to mention the many thousands of individuals who accessed the Herald’s website along with the websites of the above mentioned news outlets to get at the information. But let’s face it. This problem with our former police chief is no small thing. The affidavit in support of the arrest warrant has been posted on our website at www. leadvilleherald.com. To us it raises significant questions about the lack of oversight and follow-through regarding Leake. The members of the media are charged to seek the truth and report it. We aren’t public relations agencies charged with “making Leadville look good.” We aren’t supposed to pick and choose from the information we receive and decide what the people “ought” to hear. That would be both unethical and insulting to our readers. We have seen too many instances in this community where people suspected of wrongdoing have been allowed to resign and disappear into the night without any accountability. We’re glad this case is not one of them. Here’s what else we’re glad about. We’re glad that Leadville Sgt. Saige Bertolas, as acting police chief, audited the weapons and evidence room, discovered a number of problems and reported this to Leadville Mayor Greg Labbe. We’re glad Labbe wasted no time in contacting the district attorney and asking for a full investigation. We’re also glad that he told us at the Herald about the fact that the investigation was taking place. We’re especially glad that none of this involved secret, closed-door meetings where elected officials tried to find a way to both solve the problems and hide them from the public. We hate it when that happens, but you already know that. In fact we don’t think we’re going out on a limb here to say that the actions of Bertolas and Labbe might even constitute good news. That’s what some of you are seeking, right? And with both “good” and “bad” news, you have to take it as it comes. Marcia Martinek Herald Editor
The Herald Democrat (USPS 241-100, ISSN 0891-
01197) is published every Thursday and is the official
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Letters to the editor
by Paul Irwin, Leadville
Needs have increased for courthouse
The Lake County District Court handles approximately 300 cases per year including divorces and child support, business and other civil disputes, probate, juvenile delinquency, child welfare The current Lake County and felony criminal matters. Courthouse opened in 1955. F e l o n y c r i m i n a l m a t t e r s Located in the center of represent 25 percent of the Leadville, the building houses district court’s case load. The our local courts, probation Lake County Court addresses offices, sheriff’s department, as many as 1,200 cases in including the Lake County a year, including traffic Jail, the board of county and misdemeanor offenses, commissioners’ hearing room, protection orders and small and a variety of county offices. claims. The courts are staffed by Much has changed in the District Judge Wayne Patton 61 years since the building and County Judge Jonathan was new. Consideration of Shamis, along with a staff a new justice center for the of three. The courthouse has Lake County community one courtroom, a smaller can only begin with an understanding of how the multipurpose hearing room, current facility is being used. one judge’s office, and an Lake County is part of the office for the clerk of court and Fifth Judicial District, which her staff. The Lake County also includes Clear Creek, Probation Department has Eagle and Summit counties. a staff of six and shares The local courts include the Lake County and District t h r e e o f f i c e s . P r o b a t i o n courts, which provide the supervises approximately community with a forum for 200 people at any given time. resolution of a wide variety of Probation provides the court and community with an legal disputes.
alternative to incarceration for adults and juveniles who commit crimes. Probation completes DUI/DWAI evaluations and prepares presentence reports for the court, provides victim services and facilitates the community service program. Probation is a cost-effective utilization of taxpayer dollars; the cost of a year on probation averages $1,686 compared with a year in prison at $36,892, and a year’s placement for a juvenile in the Division of Youth Corrections at $85,304. Turning to the sheriff’s department, the duties of the sheriff have grown considerably over the past s i x d e c a d e s . T he s he r i f f responded to 5,200 calls in 2015. In addition to this significant patrol responsibility, the sheriff is now expected to house as many as 30 inmates in the jail, provide security for the courthouse, and emergency communications/911 dispatch. The sheriff’s department Continued on page 5
in our weekly web site poll
April 6-19, 2016 What is the most important characteristic of a police chief? See results in the April 21 paper.
Integrity Involvement in local community High standards for police force Fair and impartial Experience in similar community Have your say at
Able to cooperate with other agencies Effectiveness Other
w w w. l e a d v i l l e h e r a l d . c o m
* please note survey results are not scientific and are used for entertainment purposes only
Where’s the safest food? Page 12
Talent abounds at Greater Heights Page 13
Eurasians here to study tourism Page 15
Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Vol. 137, No. 16 • 75 cents
Three local groups awarded Climax grants A total of $200,000 was awarded to five nonprofit organizations Tuesday through the 2016 Climax Area Community Investment Fund. Of the five, three are from Lake County. Tara Hosick, of Climax, noted that due to the decline in commodity prices, the amount available for grants has also declined from $600,000 last year. The grants to Lake County organizations totalled $163,000 this year. The organizations receiving funding are: • Advocates of Lake County – $60,000 Funds will allow the Lake County safehouse to acquire property and make enhancements to better accommodate sheltereligible clients, including secure parking. The project will address common deterrents that prevent victims from leaving an abusive situation. The improvements will create an environment that will help victims cultivate the
skills necessary to become self-sufficient community members while contributing to a peaceful and stable community. • Cloud City Conservation Center – $68,000
Grant funds will support the creation of the Cloud City Farm. The farm will serve the community by offering fresh produce shares at affordable prices a nd sp ecia l p rogra ms t o
Photo by Marcia Martinek
The Advocates board members greet Executive Director Jenny Abbott, who arrives just in time to help accept $60,000 from the Climax Area Community Investment Fund Tuesday. From left are Abbott, County Commissioner Mike Bordogna, Sarah Savage, Donna Axel and Mary Ann Graham Best.
Additional charges possible by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer The investigation into former Police Chief Michael Leake is ongoing, and additional charges are not out of the question, according to District Attorney Bruce Brown. “There’s a possibility that additional charges will be filed,” Brown said. “Certainly no new charges would be imminent.” Leake was arrested April 1 on 14 felony counts, including two counts of theft, one count of embezzlement of public property, one count of forgery and 10 counts of Pawnbrokers Act violation stemming from several alleged acts of pawning firearms belonging to the Leadville Police Department at Englewood and Aurora
provide affordable locally grown produce that was not available before. Additionally, educational opportunities will be made available for youth encouraging them to become
pawn shops. Although Leake is being charged in the pawning of 10 guns, the arrest affidavit shows a total of 19 guns missing from Leadville Police Department’s evidence locker. Mayor Greg Labbe said many of the items that entered the evidence room were never properly documented, meaning if Leake did take additional items out of the evidence room, it could be hard to pin down exactly what. “It would be an investigator’s worst nightmare,” Labbe said. Labbe also said Leake’s alleged embezzlement efforts may go further than what the charges indicate. “In 2014, we spent $8,000, close to $9,000, on ammunition,” Labbe said. “I looked it up. Ammunition runs about 40 cents per round. That should have been a red flag.”
According to the affidavit, soon after Leake’s resignation, interim Police Chief Saige Bertolas reported numerous items of evidence were missing and described the evidence room as a “disaster” in the report. Leake is currently charged with allegedly stealing $2,262 paid by the city for fake ammunition orders. Former Mayor Jaime Stuever, who oversaw Leake, said it wouldn’t surprise him if Leake did more than just pawn guns. “He certainly could have done more,” Stuever said. “I just hope that everything comes to light, and if Leake is found guilty, that he spends some time behind bars.” Leake, who surrendered to Gilpin County Sheriff`s Office, has bonded out at $15,000. He is scheduled for an advisement on May 17 in Lake County Court.
scientists and environmental stewards. The community greenhouse, farm and living classroom is expected to become a community asset while increasing economic and environmental sustainability. • Lake County School District – $35,000 Lake County School District will renovate the West Park Elementary play yard. Improvements will create a safer space and make the park accessible for public use during outof-school hours. The project will increase the number of youth who have access to a high quality play space, increase engagement in physical activity during school hours and is expected to serve as a source of community and school pride. The two remaining grants went to the Summit Community Care Clinic ($25,000) to expand the clinic’s oral health facility Continued on page 2
Fire risk ratings show improvement The Leadville/ Lake County Fire Department fire risk rating has improved from 6 to 3 effective May 1 for properties within a 5 (road) mile radius of the fire station, and up to 1,000 feet from a hydrant, according to a news release from the Lake County public information officer. An analysis of the structural fire suppression delivery system in the community was conducted by ISO, a company that evaluates municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States, using the Public Protection Classification Program.
Most insurance companies use PPC information for underwriting and calculating fire insurance premiums for residential, commercial and industrial properties, generally offering lower premiums in communities with better protection. This improved fire-risk rating may result in lower fire insurance premiums for local residences and businesses. Property owners should notify their insurance companies of the revised Leadville rating, which improved from 6 to 3 on a scale of 1 to 9 (1 being Continued on page 3
Board candidates meet with voters Page 15
Winter biking races end Page 27
Suttons are now mentors Page 17 www.leadvilleherald.com
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Vol. 137, No. 17 • 75 cents
Styrofoam Stoppers win national honor by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer The Styrofoam Stoppers are heading to Washington, D.C. The four fourth-grade students, Nicole Caves, Hunter Dee, Violet Hill and Clara Kirr, will go on the trip this summer as a result of winning the President’s Environmental Youth Award. The students were given the award in an assembly held last Friday. Only 10 President’s Environmental Youth Awards are given each year by the president. “It’s pretty cool to be recognized by your community,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Shaun McGrath told Lake County Intermediate School students, “but it’s a whole other level of cool for the president to say this is a cool thing.” The students are being recognized for initiating a program to eliminate the use of Styrofoam in food service across the Lake County School District. Styrofoam, also called polystyrene, requires large amounts of energy, oil and toxic chemicals to produce
and poses significant challenges when used and disposed as waste. Polystyrene does not break down in the environ-
worked closely with the Lake County School District and a local nonprofit, the Cloud City Conservation Center, to secure
funds for environmentally friendly options to replace the harmful polystyrene, including reusable plates and cups. And while those replacements required some initial funding, they will save LCSD more than $2,000 each year. Kirr said being a part of the Styrofoam stoppers has allowed her to see her own ability to enact change. “It doesn’t matter your age, how young or old you are, you can do anything,” Kirr said. Dee said succeeding in making reforms has showed him the value of putting great effort into what he wants to accomplish. “I learned that hard work can accomplish good things,” Dee said. “It feels good to be recognized for our hard work.” County Commissioner Mike Bordogna said the project has been an inspiration to him, and he hopes to soon take the same steps within the county government. “I can’t make the decision just by myself, but I would like to invite the Styrofoam Stop-
Photo by Ryan Fitzmaurice
From left, Hunter Dee, Nicole Caves, Clara Kirr and Violet Hill are the Styrofoam Stoppers.
City processes now being scrutinized by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer The Leadville Police Department’s evidence management is one of many city processes under scrutiny following the arrest of former Police Chief Michael Leake. Interviews with city officials reveal a history of poor oversight within city government, which allowed Leake’s actions to go undetected. Leake is currently being charged with 14 felony counts in relation to pawning guns out of the Leadville Police Department. Leake’s arrest affidavit states he was the Leadville Police Department’s evidence
ment, takes up large volumes of space in landfills and can harm pets and wildlife. The Styrofoam Stoppers
custodian and the responsible party of Leadville Police Department’s owned firearms and ammunition.” Interviews conducted by the Herald Democrat with current city officials have confirmed Leake was the only police official with direct access to the evidence locker and room. Interim Police Chief Saige Bertolas said that while Sgt. Calvin Dawe had experience and training as an evidence technician, he was not used as an evidence technician during Leake’s time as chief. Mayor Greg Labbe also said Leake was the sole official in charge of the evidence room. “We should never have just one person who has the keys Continued on page 3
Continued on page 2
Photo by Aryha McNamee
From left, Isaac Dorsey, Tristan Varco, Charlie Koch, Erika Romero, Alisa Espinoza, and Maria De Lira make up the court for the 2016 prom. Dorsey and Romero are this year’s king and queen.
Herald Democrat — APRIL 28, 2016 — Page 3
New policies focus on preventing similar situation Continued from page 2 being managed properly.” Stuever said in 2014, he did direct the city’s hired auditing agency to look into the seizure fund after concerns were raised. The seizure fund is a $10,000 dollar loan taken by Leake that has not been accounted for. Stuever said the auditing company, McMahan and Associates never raised any red flags. McMahan and Associates did not comment on its auditing procedure, citing a confidentiality agreement between it and city council. Lack of oversight The problem, according to Stuever, was that there just wasn’t enough people running the city. “We had too few people to properly manage,” Stuever said. “You have a finance director, an administrative services manager and a mayor. Those are the three people who deal with the day to day. We had so much on our plate. I think it’s hard to keep a good thumb on everything.” Stuever said Leake’s multiple forged invoices, reported in the arrest affidavit, were never noticed because of that lack of personnel. “For me, it was truly a lack of oversight,” Stuever said. “As the mayor you get a stack of bills that thick. It’s not like you’re fine-combing.” Stuever said an audit was held by Leadville Finance Director Roy McGinnis and himself when the seizure fund was called into question, but the two did not have the expertise to sniff out the fake receipts and products Leake used to account for how the money was used. “I wouldn’t know one gun from the other,” Stuever said. “Were we really the right people? No. We did the best with what we had.” Stuever said that after the audit he asked Leake to come up with new policies for the police department regarding the handling of purchases. Stuev-
er said over the following year and a half, those procedures were never developed. “He kept putting it off,” Stuever said. “If you look at my emails you can see me asking him over and over where they were. But I assumed he had a lot on his plate.” City policies insufficient Labbe said policies regarding the reviewing of bills need to be revised. “I didn’t see anything that raised a red flag, but I don’t have any training,” Labbe said. “What should be red flags, and what should we train ourselves on in terms of finance and bill- payment? We do have a dual-signature process, but that’s clearly not foolproof.” It’s not the only policy that needs to be revisited, Stuever said. He noted that Leadville was easy prey for a man like Leake, due to the city’s policies being incomplete. “When I came in we didn’t even have job descriptions,” Stuever said. “Leadville doesn’t have a lot of rules. People don’t want more government. It doesn’t have what we need. And it’s a whole new world out there.” Labbe said the city’s whistle-blower policy in particular is underdeveloped, and would not have protected officers if they did come forward. “It’s very vague,” Labbe said. “There are some protections, but they don’t specify how to protect the people who come forward with issues of dishonest behavior in the city. It’s partially in place, but it’s not enough.” Labbe said the city is currently working on a new policy that would grant employees more protection by guaranteeing them anonymity unless good cause is shown to reveal their name, and will also guarantee no retribution against the employee. Solutions The solution to a problem like Leake, Labbe said, is a city manager. A position specifically created to oversee the city.
Photo by Marcia Martinek
Sheriff Rod Fenske shows where evidence is first placed when it is brought into the department. The deputy locks the box and then slips the key inside so it can only be retrieved by the evidence custodian.
Currently, the Leadville city government structure does not guarantee supervision of city departments. “The mayor is treated as a part-time job; he’s not given
enough time to support or fully manage the city,” Labbe said. “But the mayor is an elected official, based on a popularity contest. There’s no assurance that any elect-
ed official has skills whatsoever.” In the meantime, Stuever, who is currently the city treasurer, has drafted new policies for the city to pursue to prevent a similar situation from occurring. The policies include: A requirement for departments to report monthly to city council any expenditure over $1,000; a requirement to inventory any purchase made by the city of $500 or more; a requirement for a sign-off by the top three officials in the city on any expenditure over $5,000; and a required monthly financial report by every department to city council. Labbe said the policies, if approved by city council, should be in place before the end of 2016, and likely within three months. But Stuever said in the end, this is a particularly painful lesson for Leadville’s city government, and calls the whole system into question. “You think, my God, if you can’t trust law enforcement, who can you trust?”
Page 6 — Herald Democrat — MAY 5, 2016
Patterson hasn’t established residency yet by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Director of Administration Guy Patterson is likely house hunting in haste. The Board of County Commissioners voted last Tuesday, April 26, to grant Guy Patterson a three-month extension to a clause in his contract that requires Patterson to establish residency in Lake County by the end of six months. Patterson, who passed sixmonths of non-residency at the start of this month, will now have to establish residency before the end of August to avoid
finding himself at odds with his contract. The requested extension did not make it through the BOCC without opposition. County Commissioner Mike Bordogna said he opted to ask the department directors whether they would be comfortable with the commissioners granting the extension. Bordogna said all but two said no. “Based on their feedback, I would not grant an extension,” Bordogna said, voting against the motion. Bordogna did suggest a May 17 deadline, a small extension
due to the three weeks the commissioners took to address Patterson’s request for an extension. Commissioner Bruce Hix said he did not believe directors should have the final say. “Fact of the matter is, Guy works for the commissioners,” Hix said. “It is our decision.” Bud Elliott, county commissioner candidate in attendance, came to Patterson’s defense. ‘“We have the tightest market we’ve had in the 22 years I’ve been here,” Elliott said. Bordogna agreed the hous-
ing market is tight, but said the directors he talked to said issues should have been raised sooner. Commissioner Dolores Semsack questioned how the BOCC would operate if Patterson was not granted the extension and could not establish residence soon. “Do we divvy up the projects we’re working on again?” Semsack asked. “Do we nix everything we started?” Patterson was appointed as the director of administration on Nov. 2. He has an annual base salary of $75,000 a year.
No break given nonprofits at the landfill by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer A request by Matchless Treasures to the county for discounted landfill prices, discussed on April 11, prompted the Lake County Board of County Commissioners to not only deny discounted prices for all nonprofits, but for senior citizens as well.
The request is in response to an April 4 increase in landfill prices, which raised prices for in-county trash from $10 per cubic yard of trash to $15 and compacted trash from $20 to $30 per cubic yard. Commissioner Mike Bordogna said while he can empathize with Matchless Treasures’ situation, too many
clothes and not enough money to pitch them, he doesn’t believe it’s grounds to separate it from other customers of the landfill in Lake County. “I don’t think all nonprofits do similar things, or have a similar problem, or have a similar situation financially,” Bordogna said. I think we can find a solution for Matchless
Leake arrest complicates trial by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Santiago Martinez, scheduled for trial beginning April 18 on a first-degree physical assault charge, has not yet seen the inside of a courtroom for that trial. The trial has been delayed, according to District Attorney Bruce Brown, due to the evidence being called into question because of its relation to former Leadville Police Chief Michael Leake. “The issue in the case, causing it to be continued, the defense is seeking disclosure
regarding our prosecution of Mike Leake, as Leake served as the chief in the department which apprehended the defendant,” Brown said. “Many defendants, not just Martinez, will be affected regarding our investigation of Leake.” Leake was arrested April 1 on 14 felony counts, including two counts of theft, one count of embezzlement of public property, one count of forgery and 10 counts of Pawnbrokers Act violation stemming from several alleged acts of pawning firearms belonging to the Leadville Police Department
Have something to Sell?
at Englewood and Aurora pawn shops. Brown said the District Attorney’s Office has identified every indicted individual who had Leake as a prosecuting witness and have sent them a “correspondence that we have records that may be material to them.” Brown said complications in the legal process may be extensive due to Leake’s involvement in several cases. “It is challenging for us, because of the number of cases,” Brown said.
Advertise it in the Herald Democrat Classified Section! Call (719) 486-0641 for information.
Treasures which won’t create a non-level playing field for the entire community.” Michael Irwin, landfill manager, stressed the landfill’s current “two for one” program. The program, launched in part to help lessen the shock of increased prices, allows customers to get one free yard of trash for every yard paid. Customers can receive up to three full yards at a time.
Chamber holds Casino Night Page 14
Jazz sounds at the Tabor Page 15
Project Dream ends year Page 17
Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Vol. 137, No. 20 • 75 cents
Brown questioned on relationship with Advocates
by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer A campaign stop for Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown last week quickly turned into a pointed discussion regarding the district’s approach toward dealing with sexual assault victims. The May 11 meeting at Periodic Brewing was held to discuss justice in Lake County, according to the press release. Brown barely got through his talking points before he was questioned regarding the district’s relationship with the Advocates of Lake County. Deep divisions between the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Advocates of Lake County have flared up recently. In March, the sheriff’s office requested that the Lake County Board of County Com-
Photo by Ryan Fitzmaurice
Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown holds a discussion at Periodic Brewing on May 11 about the district’s latest efforts in Lake County.
Fenske: Runaway juvenile is proof that new jail is needed by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer A “jail breakout” on Monday, May 9, is yet another reason why Lake County’s current jail just doesn’t cut it, according to Lake County Sheriff Rod Fenske. The problem, Fenske said, is that it wasn’t really a jail breakout at all. Because the runaway prisoner was a juvenile, the sheriff’s department isn’t allowed to keep him in the jail. Because the suspect is a juvenile, the Herald Democrat will not publish the name. The department used to keep juveniles in a locked office near the jail, Fenske said, but Colorado officials wouldn’t allow that for two reasons. The first: Juveniles aren’t allowed to be in a room with a locked door. The second: Juveniles can’t be in the vicinity of or within earshot of adult prisoners. Fenske explained he can put a juvenile in his changeout cell for up to six hours
when they are suspected of a violent crime, but prisoners being released or transferred that day won’t be too happy. No prisoner is allowed in or out of the jail during that time. According to Fenske, because of the jail’s inability to hold juveniles, Colorado officials decreed juveniles should be placed on the bench right in front of Fenske’s door. “We have to put him on the bench out there,” Fenske said. “People aren’t really excited if you put leg-irons on a juvenile in a public space, so we just have someone watch over them.” Fenske said juveniles could be on that bench for several hours if waiting for a court order or transfer. They could even be out there most of the day if waiting for a court appearance. Fenske said this specific juvenile asked to use the restroom, but instead of using the restroom, he just bolted out the door. Leadville police officers and Lake County sheriff’s officers engaged in an approximately 15-minute chase before reapprehending the juvenile in the hallways of the Tabor
Grand. Fenske said that if the county is able to construct a new justice center, there will be a secure space to hold juveniles compliant with state regulations. Until that happens, Fenske said the sheriff’s office is just going to close the double doors at the entrance of the sheriff’s department – but not lock them. “That’s at least one more obstacle in their way,” Fenske said. A sales tax increase may be placed on the 2016 ballot for the construction of a new justice center. Specific details are still being developed. Running away from custody was the second act in a week of criminal mischief for the juvenile. The suspect was allegedly involved in car theft four days earlier when a vehicle belonging to a high school teacher was taken from a school parking lot. According to the police report, the juvenile posted a photo of himself in the missing car on Snapchat. The vehicle turned up in Summit County.
missioners apply for a grant to hire its own advocacy employees. The department cited an unwillingness to work with law enforcement by the Advocates of Lake County and a lack of accessibility needed to effectively try a case. Brown said the district appoints a Sexual Assault Review Team in every county, and due to disagreements between the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Advocates of Lake County, Lake County is the only county where community advocates are not on the SART. “Their aims are slightly different. Law enforcement based advocates are concerned with prosecution, which differs from community based advocates who have a more holistic approach,” Brown
said. “There’s a different balance both organizations have to keep in mind.” Brown said the SART in Lake County has representatives from the sheriff’s office, the DA’s office, social services, the Leadville Police Department and a sexual assault nurse examiner. Lake County’s SART is much smaller than what’s found in other communities, Brown said. Eagle County often has 15-20 people at every meeting; Lake County often only averages three to four. “It’s important to keep in mind these are often porous interactions,” Brown said. “Individuals might not make every meeting.” Continued on page 2
Leake in court
Photo by Ryan Fitzmaurice
Former Leadville Police Chief Michael Leake walks into the Lake County courtroom for his first appearance in court. Leake is charged with 14 felony counts in regard to pawning guns out of the Leadville Police Department evidence room. Leake’s $15,000 bond has been paid, and his next court appearance is set for July 12 at 1:30 p.m.
Lemonade stand permit approved Page 8
West Park holds field day Page 14
Palmer speaks at ceremony Page 23
Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Photo by Ryan Fitzmaurice
Debany Salazar (front) smiles as Jordan Sanchez joyously celebrates receiving her diploma, causing Superintendent Wendy Wyman (left) to laugh. See more photos on pages 12-13.
Vol. 137, No. 22 • 75 cents
Marquez found not guilty of false testimony about Leake by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer The Fifth Judicial District’s attempt to prosecute a local woman for testifying that she was sexually assaulted by former Leadville Police Chief Michael Leake was rendered unsuccessful last week. At the end of a three-day trial, which was held between May 24 and May 26, a jury of four men and two women found Jasmine Marquez not guilty on two charges of false testimony, and one charge of unlawful use of methamphetamine. The charges relate to Marquez giving testimony to both investigator Jake Scott with the District Attorney’s Office, on July 8, and Major Crimes investigator for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Tammy Lee, on July 10. Marquez testified to both that Michael Leake sexually assaulted her, and forcefully drugged her on July 4, 2015, around 9 p.m. Marquez also implicated current Leadville police officer Toby Sheers in the alleged crime. According to her recorded
testimony to Jake Scott, after being confronted by both Leake and Sheers in a patrol car after leaving the Silver Dollar intoxicated, she felt scared and rushed down an alley between Second and West Chestnut streets. Marquez said Leake started chasing her on foot, while Sheers brought the patrol car to the other end of the alley. Marquez said Sheers intercepted her at the end of the alley, after which Leake took control of her. According to Marquez’s testimony, Leake handcuffed her to a pole and proceeded to sexually assault her. Marquez reported Leake as saying he was an “upstanding member of the community” and “no one was going to believe her,” and that he had “been meaning to do this for a long time.” Leake also reportedly told Marquez that no one would hear her due to fireworks going off. Marquez also testified to Scott that Leake threatened to harm her friends and family if she reported the crime. Marquez said the assault
lasted less than five minutes. “I remember counting to 500, and I didn’t get there,” Marquez said. Marquez said after the assault Leake took out a syringe with an unknown substance and drugged her. She said she regained consciousness the next morning around 5 a.m. Marquez said Leake used a condom, lubricant, and other items in the alleged attack. Marquez said she believed all of these came from Leake’s police belt. Marquez said Leake instructed Sheers to retrieve the ball-gag she was gagged with from the patrol car. Daniel Anderson, a forensic toxicologist for the CBI, testified Marquez had large amounts of methamphetamine in her urine. But the District Attorney’s office did not buy her testimony. “It’s the most absurd story I’ve ever heard,” Deputy District Attorney Johnny Lombardi told the jury in his closing statements. Continued on page 2
Remembering the 10th
‘Conflict of interest’ is debated by BOCC by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Work on the county’s developing procurement policy continued Tuesday, May 10, with the Lake County Board of County Commissioners grappling with what would be defined as a conflict of interest. The draft procurement policy outlines the specific process the county will need to take when spending public monies.
The current draft forbids sales interactions with businesses involving immediate family members of county employees. The term “immediate” was taken to refer to the nuclear family of an individual. Commissioner Bruce Hix said he thought that restriction should be expanded to include more distant relatives. “I may have an uncle in business; it may not be immeContinued on page 2
Photo by Ryan Fitzmaurice Tim Tyler, a veteran of World War II, stands as former and current members of the 10th Mountain Division are asked to stand and be recognized. See story, more photos on page 22.
Page 2 — Herald Democrat — JUNE 2, 2016
Leake not present to testify at Marquez trial Continued from page 1 Lombardi said there was no possible moment where the assault could have occurred. The timeline the DA established was based on the testimony of three Leadville police officers who engaged with Marquez that night. Leake was not among those testifying. Then-Leadville sergeant Saige Bertolas said she was with Leake from the beginning of her shift, reported to be 7 p.m. at the trial, and 8 p.m. during her interview with the CBI on July 10. Bertolas said she stayed with Leake until the end of her shift. At no point had she left Leake’s side, she testified, and at no point was Sheers ever in the same patrol car as Leake. Sergeant Daniel Hanson testified the Leadville Police Department had its first encounter with Marquez that
night at 8:30 p.m. when they responded to a call about Marquez trying to get into a stranger’s car. Sheers testified he arrived on scene shortly after. Marquez, according to Leadville police testimony, attempted to run away from both of them. When they caught her, Hanson and Sheers said Marquez showed great concern about getting back to her child. Shortly after, both Bertolas and Leake arrived on the scene together. Bertolas reported identifying Marquez and trying to engage her. Bertolas said Marquez met her with several outbursts of profanity. Sheers reported attempting to get Marquez back to her home address, which Marquez initially reported to him as a decimal number. After discovering no one was home, Marquez reportedly gave Sheers a fake address for her parents’
house. Sheers said he drove Marquez to St. Vincent Hospital where they again met up with Hanson, Bertolas and Leake. On the way to the hospital, Sheers testified requesting over the dispatch radio to make a private cellphone call with Bertolas. Once at the hospital, Marquez was returned to her husband. Sheers was never asked about any involvement with the alleged sexual assault during the trial. At no point in that night, according to the testimony of the three officers, did Marquez ever report being sexually assaulted. Melissa Grass, a forensic scientist with CBI, said no DNA matches for Michael Leake were found on the clothes Marquez was purportedly wearing that night.
No final decision made on policy Continued from page 1 diate, but it’s still a conflict,” Hix said. Commissioner Mike Bordogna said expanding the definition created an apparent problem in such a small community. “I think we’re going to have trouble where we have a town where a third of the town is related to each other,” Bordogna
said. “If we take out aunts and uncles, we might have to get rid of half of our vendors.” Bordogna said he was more comfortable with sticking to restricting business to more immediate family members. County Director of Administration Guy Patterson said the county currently has a very wide definition of family under its bereavement leave with pay policy. “It includes wife, husband,
children, parents of the employee; or the employee’s spouse, brothers, sisters, grandparents; spouse’s sisters, brothers, grandparents; uncles, nephews, nieces; the dog, the cat and the fish,” Patterson said. No final decisions were made on the matter. The procurement policy will be put through another draft and presented to the BOCC in a future work session.
Defense Attorney Thea Reiff argued that the Fifth District’s investigation of the assault fell woefully short. Marquez reported leaving sunglasses and flip-flops at the area where she was reportedly sexually assaulted. Marquez also said she tried to get menstrual blood on Leake’s uniform. Both Scott and Lee testified they did not visit the scene where the incident allegedly took place, nor did they collect any physical evidence from Michael Leake. Reiff said Marquez must have been in contact with a police officer before 8:30 p.m., referring to Marquez’s testimony to Scott that she was worried after hearing on a police scanner that her exhusband had been pulled over for a DUI. Her child was in the car at the time. Reiff also said Marquez’s actions after the alleged assault do not match the behavior of someone looking to falsely testify. Tully Gibbons, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner who inspected Marquez said Marquez first requested to keep the results from her July 5 exam anonymous before agreeing to turn the results over to the CBI. Gibbons said Marquez also had 55 minor injuries from her
shoulders down to her knees. These included small bruises on her wrists. Gibbons said the injuries were consistent with Marquez’s account. Reiff also noted the state had no firm alibi for Leake before 8 p.m., stating Marquez’s timeline of events may be confused due to her being drugged. “The one person who could have given you some direct evidence of their story is Michael Leake, and Michael Leake is conspicuously absent from this trial,” Reiff said. Reiff said this all pointed to a biased investigation. “In the end, Michael Leake was worth protecting and Jasmine Marquez was not,” Reiff told the jury in her opening remarks. Lombardi said Reiff’s theory about when the assault occurred didn’t hold up. Lombardi reminded the jury Marquez said fireworks were being launched as she was assaulted. “Fireworks don’t go off until it’s after dark. Before 8 o’clock, there’s no fireworks. That’s the case right there.” Bruce Brown, district attorney for the Fifth District, told Continued on page 3
Brown: Verdict doesn’t mean Leake did assault Continued from page 2 the Herald Democrat the verdict will not cause him to reopen the investigation against Leake regarding Marquez’s testimony. “The verdict does not change our belief that the accusations that she made against Leake were false,” Brown said. “The evidence on that is more than clear. We have investigated clearly the circumstances and have no doubt.” The verdict should in no way be conceived as the jury stating Leake did sexually assault Marquez, Brown said. “The circumstances surrounding the Marquez case
Herald Democrat — JUNE 2, 2016 — Page 3
Touring the murals
were unique and not going to occur in any other circumstance. It should not be viewed in any way other than a determination that she was not guilty on the false statement charge,” Brown said. “…I think the reason that the jury used was that she was drugged up, and the statements she made were not done in a rational fashion.” Brown said the jury also finding her not guilty on the unlawful use of methamphetamine likely did not point to the possibility of Marquez’s testimony being true. “Sometimes jurors don’t neatly separate charges,” Brown said.
Leadville Weather Date
Weather data courtesy of Leadville's Charles Kuster
Photo by Katie Anderson
After planning and creating a mural that will be installed at West Park, kindergarten through second-grade students take a walking field trip on May 18 of the numerous murals in Leadville to gain a larger appreciation of art in our community. From left are Evelyn Talbot, Maiya Rivera and Jerrline Lujan.
Learn about new police chief Page 6
See mining display at airport Page 12
Bujanda, Reveles to attend HMI Page 13
Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Community market opens
Photo by Marcia Martinek
Destinee Darznieks, a visitor to Leadville, has a difficult time choosing which of Jane Dudley’s hand-painted scarves she wants at the Leadville Community Market, which opened Saturday. More photos are on page 11.
City loses $25,748 due to Leake by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Numbers released by McMahan and Associates, the accounting firm that annually audits the City of Leadville, show former Police Chief Mike Leake’s damage to the city budget extends far past the pawning of Police Department firearms. The data unveiled by the accounting firm lists $25,748 lost to the city because of the Leake’s actions. The amount does not factor in the 11 de-
partment guns Leake pawned for personal profit. The firm records an $8,043 loss due to missing ammunition, an $11,609 loss due to credit card charges for missing assets, a $2,834 loss due to the mishandling of an evidence return check, a $2,262 loss from a fictitious ammunition vendor payment, a $460 loss related to gun club dues and a $540 loss from a deposit never made to the animal shelter. Leadville Mayor Greg Labbe said the Colorado 5th Ju-
dicial District had asked for these numbers to help determine the restitution payment it will require of Leake if found guilty. “These are important numbers to us,” Labbe said. Current Leadville Police Chief Robert Glenny said an entirely new evidence system has been implemented in the Police Department to keep history from repeating itself. “It is probably overrestrictive, but I feel it’s what we need to do,” Glenny said.
Vol. 137, No. 34 • 75 cents
Maria Day’s request for bond reduction is denied by Patton by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Wayne Patton, 5th Judicial District judge, denied Maria Day’s request to lower her $250,000 bond, despite her attorney and family members arguing that Day has been unable to received needed medical services causing her body to deteriorate in custody. Day is on trial for seconddegree murder, stemming from a July 8, 2015, incident in which Day allegedly struck and killed her boyfriend, John Alexander Martinez, with a 2002 Lexus. While her original trial date was in March, the trial was delayed due to an order for Day to receive a mental evaluation at a state hospital in February. The evaluation has still not occurred, with no
time frame available for when it may occur. Patton expressed concern regarding the continued wait for the evaluation. “I too am frustrated,” Patton said. “But I can’t control the state hospital. I’m frustrated; I hate it.” Day’s attorney, Thea Reiff, said the extended time in custody due to her trial date being delayed indefinitely has caused a pressing need for medical care, which Day is not receiving in the jail. Reiff said Day suffers from a bad back, already the target of multiple surgeries, and is unable to receive medication or medical care for it. She also cited a broken tooth not being Continued on page 2
The winners are . . .
Pedestrian struck in crosswalk on Harrison by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer A hit-and-run that occurred when a vehicle hit a man walking on the crosswalk in front of the Lake County Courthouse has the Leadville Police Department still looking for its suspect.
On Friday at 3:49 p.m., a pedestrian was struck by an older model maroon Honda CR-V, according to the Leadville police. No plates were captured after the incident. The vehicle was heading south. Neither the victim’s identity nor the extent of his injuries has been released at this time. The safety of Harrison Avenue during Leadville’s bus-
tling summer has been a concern for both county and city officials recently. The issue even led Leadville Mayor Greg Labbe to put up signs in midJune telling motorists to slow down, despite the Colorado Department of Transportation instructing him not to. “Someone is going to be killed,” Labbe said at the time.
Photo by Ryan Fitzmaurice
Ian Sharman and Clare Gallagher share a laugh on the podium as their fellow racers applaud their first-place finishes in the Leadville Race Series 100-mile race. See more photos and results on pages 22-23.
Holmes receives ‘Doc’ Smith award Page 3
Fiestas Patrias is celebrated Pages 11-12
Airport marks eighth fly-in Page 15
Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Vol. 137, No. 38 • 75 cents
Welcome to fall
Photo by William Helms
The fall colors are impressive along Independence Pass road a few miles above Twin Lakes in this photo taken Sept. 19. Today, Sept. 22, is actually the first day of fall.
City clerk turns out to not be city resident by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer It has been revealed that Leadville’s current city clerk, Bethany Maher, is not a resident of Leadville. The revelation comes at the same time Leadville is in the process of creating a deputy clerk position, which would eliminate the need for residency. Maher, who was hired after the resignation of Pam Andrews in late March, has been on the job for over five months. It has only been recently, Leadville Mayor Greg Labbe said, that the city real-
ized they had a problem. “We made a bad mistake,” Labbe said. “We weren’t paying attention.” Labbe confirmed Maher lives at 2486 Colo. 300, near the Leadville National Fish Hatchery. Labbe said the issue is complex due to state ordinance not being clear on city officials who are appointed. While Colorado law specifically states that an elected official must be a resident, no similar statement is made in regard to appointed officials. It is also unclear what possible enforcement might come
from the state. Labbe said despite the lack of clarity the city will be asking Maher to resign. “We decided keeping her as city clerk would fly in the face of the will of the people,” Labbe said. “I would have been uncomfortable with that.” Despite calling for her resignation, Labbe said he fully expects Maher to reapply for the deputy clerk position when it has been established. “We feel like Bethany has invested time and effort into her training,” Labbe said. “This is unfair to her.” According to Labbe, the
discovery of Maher’s nonresidency and the creation of a city clerk position that will not require residency are purely coincidental. “We’ve been working on this for months,” Labbe said. Maher declined to comment on the issue. The City Council was scheduled for the first reading of the ordinance establishing the deputy clerk position during its regular meeting Tuesday. If the deputy clerk position is created, the deputy clerk would perform many of the duties that traditionally belong to the city clerk, and
would also be able to gain an education and institutional knowledge. The city clerk would still be a maintained elected position, but would transition to serve mostly an oversight function. The city had previously created a deputy treasurer position in the same fashion, which it says it received little backlash for. The deputy clerk will work a maximum of 24 hours a week and receive a salary of $18,000. The city clerk will be lowered to a yearly salary of $2,400.
by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Former Leadville Police Chief Michael Leake will be represented by a public defend-
er for the remainder of his case. In a status conference Thursday, Sept. 15, attorney Henry Baskerville announced to the judge he would no longer be representing Leake. He did not give any reason for the decision to step away from the
case. Baskerville is a private attorney out of Denver. His website says he focuses on whitecollar criminal cases, including public corruption charges. Leake is currently on trial for 14 felony counts which in-
clude theft, embezzlement, forgery and several acts of pawning firearms belonging to the Leadville Police Department at Englewood and Aurora pawnshops between 2013 and 2015. A recent audit revealed the
city had lost $25,748 due to Leake’s actions within the department. That figure does not include financial damages due to the pawning of firearms. Leake will return to court on Sept. 29 for a second status conference.
Leake’s lawyer steps away; public defender to represent him
Baier Stein book praised Page 10
Youngsters explore big trucks Page 11
Team strong against Buena Vista Page 23
Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com
Thursday, October 6, 2016
A day for the Irish
Photo by Marcia Martinek
Kevin Linebarger and his dog Merle take part in the St. Patrick’s Day Practice Parade Saturday, the opening event in a day honoring Leadville’s Irish. See pages 12, 13 and 14 for more.
Vol. 137, No. 40 • 75 cents
With revenue down,
groups exhibit funding concerns by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer With the county down 20 percent in revenue for 2017, several organizations are starting to make their pitches to the Lake County Board of County Commissioners, competing for what is likely to be a dwindling pool of funds. According to County Commissioner Mike Bordogna, the county is down over $1 million in property tax and down $200,000 in sales tax. The property tax is affected by the decrease in the price and amount of molybdenum being mined at the Climax Mine. Much of the hit is being absorbed in capital project spending, but some of those cuts are also leaching out to community organizations. In a Sept. 20 budget meeting, the BOCC planned to cut its contribution to both the Economic Development Corporation and Cloud City Conservation Center by 30 percent. In their pitch during the BOCC’s meeting on Monday, members of the EDC and local business leaders spoke out strongly against the cut, vying for a full contribution of $106,000. “If you don’t fund this fully, it’s going to send a strong signal to this entire community,” Keith Moffett of Peoples Bank told the BOCC. “We’ll continue this dance of taking one
step forward and two steps back. We’re going to lose the momentum.” Craig Stuller, of Mount Massive Golf Course, also expressed the need for full funding for the EDC. “If it becomes a funding challenge, the work we’ve done would not be reduced for naught,” Stuller said. “But it would delay several of the key improvements that are being made.” Sarah Dallas, Leadville Administrative Services Department manager, said one shouldn’t underestimate the EDC’s efforts just because it isn’t all visible. Efforts to touch up downtown cannot be discounted, Dallas said. “It helps build community,” Dallas said. “That connectivity becomes the catalyst through which development happens.” Steve Smith, currently in the process of determining the feasibility of building a resort in Lake County, said not giving full support to the EDC would send a strong message to those looking to establish businesses in Lake County. “It would send a bad signal to the marketplace,” Smith said. Bordogna said the BOCC must balance showing its full support for the EDC with
“Well, I don’t believe I can do that for direct contempt,” Greenacre said. Leake said the delay was due to him continuing to search for private attorneys to take his case. He said he approached two attorneys, one who denied him and one who only told Leake that he would think about it. Leake said he did fax four pay
stubs to the public defender’s office on Sept. 27, but was not sure the fax made it to the office. “I will iron this out,” Leake told the judge. Greenacre ordered Leake to file all paperwork needed to the public defender’s office by the end of Sept. 29. Another status conference will be held on Oct. 13 at 1:30 p.m.
Continued on page 2
Leake manages to avoid being held in contempt by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer A call for former police chief Michael Leake to be held in contempt was denied after Leake failed to file a number of documents to the public defender’s office in time, despite being under court order to do so.
Deputy District Attorney Johnny Lombardi said in the Sept. 29 status conference that after Leake was ordered to file all necessary paperwork by the end of the day on Sept. 15, Leake instead waited almost two weeks to file incomplete paperwork to the public defender’s office, which did not contain the financial information needed in order to deter-
mine if Leake qualifies for a public attorney. “It’s just another delay caused by the defendant in this case,” Lombardi said. Lombardi called for Leake to be held in contempt and held in custody “until he decided to file the necessary paperwork.” Judge Charles Greenacre said he was unable to order Leake be in custody.
Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Vol. 137, No. 42 • 75 cents
Poverty Flats sold to Aspen developer by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer After months of speculation, John Lichtenegger, a developer out of Aspen, has purchased Poverty Flats. Lichtenegger said he is
looking at beginning development on the property, locally known for the “We Love Leadville” sign, as early as 2018. He has a variety of different projects planned, including several commercial enterprises as well
as workforce housing, high-income housing and apartment complexes. Leadville Mayor Greg Labbe said development on the 30-acre plot could include up to 165 housing units altogether. Labbe said in June that a grocery store is also a likely development for the property. The purchase price has not been made public because the deed of sale is not yet finalized. Lichtenegger said he has had his eyes on the property since 2008, but with the Leadville Sanitation District extending its services to only 500 feet from Poverty Flats and upgrades to Mountain View Drive and U.S. 24 continuing to happen, he said this was the opportune time to make the purchase.
“Several things have come together that make it a viable development property,” Lichtenegger said. “This is something that can be improved dramatically.” Lichtenegger said he will be working closely with the Leadville city government to annex the property from the county into the city. Granting that annexation is not the only move the city will make in regard to that property, Labbe said. City government will also work on a planned unit development for the property, which will help the city guide its development. Labbe said the city’s primary focus will be the creation of workforce housing in the property, but that the city will also encourage high-
income housing development to attract second-home buyers. The hope, Labbe says, is that second-home buyers will be attracted to Poverty Flats, leaving housing in town open to local purchase. “The developer agrees with us. A very wide spread of housing needs could be covered in this development,” Labbe said. “I think it’s a good fit. If he does all those things, it could work out very well for us.” The purchase will also allow the city to create an Urban Renewal Authority, which will give it the ability to implement tax increment financing. TIF is a public financing method that provides subsidies for Continued on page 2
Photo by Stephanie Wagner
Although his award is almost bigger than he is, Moco manages to wear it proudly. Owned by Jessica Needham and her family, Moco was top “like” getter in the Herald’s dog photo contest on Facebook.
Herald file photo
Poverty Flats,, the property across from Safeway, will be developed with residential and commercial uses.
Leake late, but manages to avoid jail time by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer After delaying the case for a month in a bid for a public defender, former Leadville police chief Michael Leake will instead go back to being represented by a private attorney going forward. The announcement came last week in an Oct. 13 status conference, where Leake was once again almost put into custody after showing up
nearly 10 minutes late to the courtroom. Deputy District Attorney Johnny Lombardi said in the conference that Leake’s application for a public defender was rejected by the public defender’s office after the office reviewed his financial status. Judge Charles Greenacre initially revoked Leake’s bond upon considering his absence and called for Leake to be placed in custody. Greenacre restored Leake’s bond after Leake arrived at 1:38 p.m. to the courtroom, instead issuing a warning. Ac-
cording to Leake, he left a voice message to Lombardi letting Lombardi know he was going to be late to the 1:30 p.m. appointment. The voicemail was left at 1:34. “I got caught up on I-70 traffic,” Leake told the judge. “It was brutal.” Leake said he would make sure he was at least 20 minutes early for each court date in the future. Leake told the judge he was “very confident” a private attorney in Denver would take his case early this week. Leake is currently on trial
for 14 felony counts which include theft, embezzlement, forgery and several acts of pawning firearms belonging to the Leadville Police Department at Englewood and Aurora pawnshops between 2013 and 2015. A recent audit revealed the city had lost $25,748 due to Leake’s actions within the department. That figure does not include financial damages due to the pawning of firearms. Leake will return to court for a hearing on Oct. 27 at 1:15 p.m.
Ballot error is divulged The party affiliation for commissioner candidate Sarah Mudge, District 2, was incorrectly listed on the ballots mailed to voters this week. Mudge is the Democratic candidate for Lake County commissioner District 2. She was mistakenly listed as a Republican. Because this is an uncontested race, this error does not threaten the integrity of the election, County Clerk Patty Berger said in apologizing for the error.