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Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com

Leadville, Colorado

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Baskets ready

Photo by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

(From left) Ripley Colley, Madyson Blamey and Jazmyn Hall excitedly wait to be let loose in the field of eggs at Ski Cooper Saturday morning. See more photos on page 24.

Vol. 132, No. 14 • 50 cents

County 46 of 57 in health ranking by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Lake County is ranked 46 of 57 counties measured in Colorado for health. Denver County is considered healthier, ranked at 45 of 57 counties. This is about the same as Lake County ranked last year, said Lake County Public Health Agency Director Judy Tyson. The healthiest county in Colorado, according to the County Health Rankings website, www. countyhealthrankings.org, is Douglas County. Next is Eagle County, followed by Pitkin County. Boulder County beat Summit County, which came in at 4 and 5 respectively. Chaffee County was rated 25, and Park County was 31. Lake County’s best rank was in the mortality rate,

Oberg takes over as St. Vincent CEO by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Roger Oberg comes to St. Vincent Hospital with a long resume of hospitals he has administered over 30 years. Most recently, he worked at a hospital in South Dakota. He started his career in Duluth, Minn. Now he has moved to the mountains, closer to his youngest son, who lives in Denver. The proximity to his son was one reason he applied for the Chief Executive Officer position at the hospital here. He is also a fan of history and wanted to move to the old west. Leadville is not the old west, he said, but it is a scene of it. He found the job listed on the American College of Health Care Executives website. Oberg then found the position on the Quorum Health Resources website. He had to apply for the position

through QHR, and is now its employee. In October, the St. Vincent General Hospital District board of directors signed a contract with QHR for management services. QHR in return offers executive services to the hospital. It will hire a chief financial officer for SVH in the same way. He arrived in Leadville on March 21 and was scheduled to start work that Wednesday. Instead of taking his office upstairs, he found himself in need of the emergency department services. Having taken his office as of March 28, Oberg is now in the process of reviewing the status of the hospital. Interim CEO Ken Huey has remained at the hospital during Oberg’s first week to help with the transition. Strategic planning is among his strongest skills, said Oberg. As QHR continues the process of developing a strategic plan for SVH, he will look toward a two- to threeyear rolling plan. This means as things are accomplished

during one year, more will be added to the plan for the future. As the strategic plan is written, he is looking forward to challenging himself and the hospital with options for the future. This could include recruiting physicians beyond

Dr. Theresa Loftin, who is scheduled to begin practicing in Lake County in June. He previously was the administrator for a criticalaccess hospital in Long Prairie, Minn, which has a population of 3,000. The hospital employed six physicians, he said.

which was 15 of the 57 counties. This rate is the number per 100,000 people who die under the age of 75 and by how many years. This means those living in Lake County are not as likely to die before the age of 75. However, the morbidity rank for Lake County was 57. Within this category was the rate of low birth weight. Lake County’s rate was 13.8 percent compared to 8.9 percent in Colorado. Tyson said that these numbers have a great error margin because Lake County is such a small community with less data to consider than other, larger communities. Under the health-behaviors category, Lake County also showed a high teen birth rate of 73 compared to 45 for the state average. There were about five counties with a Continued on page 2

Principals resign by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Deb Forkner and Linda Adams, principals of Lake County Middle School and West Park Elementary School respectively, resigned their positions as of the end of the 2010-2011 school year. Forkner would not comment about her resignation. Two weeks ago Superintendent Bette Kokenes announced Adams would replace Forkner as principal of the middle school. However, Adams then submitted her resignation on March 25 and announced it to the staff at West Park on April 4 after spring break. Adams said that she and her husband had been

Photo by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Roger Oberg has taken over the office of chief executive officer of St. Vincent Hospital.

Continued on page 2


Page 2 — Herald Democrat — APRIL 7, 2011

Heading to Climax

Leadville Weather Date Mon 3/28

High 28

Low 18

Precipitation 7.8" snow

Tues

3/29

29

-5

trace snow

Wed

3/30

31

13

1.5" snow

Thurs

3/31

44

27

2-day total

Fri

4/1

48

23

Sat

4/2

55

21

Sun

4/3

36

10

3.8" snow

Weather data courtesy of Leadville's Charles Kuster

Photo by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

A large piece of equipment, part of a dump truck, on an even larger piece of transportation equipment makes the turn on U. S. 24 in downtown Leadville on its way to the Climax Mine on Thursday, March 31.

Adams finishing 36 years in education from Dr. Bette Kokenes, the superintendent. She has been in Lake County for 19 years, having started as a sixthgrade teacher. She has been the principal of West Park Elementary School since 2005. Her sister lost her husband, she said, and then lost her job. Adams lost her first husband,

she said, and realized just how short life can be. She plans to travel more, and see her kids and grandkids, whose birthdays she has missed every year. Forkner has been the middle-school principal since 2004.

Foundation that did the survey. Continued from page 1 Colorado Department higher rate. This rate is the o f Public Health and number of births to females E n v ironment was also age 15 to 19 per 1,000 scheduled for a site visit on population.

April 6, and should have some more answers about the ranking, said Tyson. Lake County does have room for improvement, she agreed.

Continued from page 1 thinking about retiring for some time. She has been working in education for 36 years, she said. The decision to resign was not easy, she said because she loves the Lake County schools and has learned so much

Providers only one per 2,000 residents

Lake County also had a low primary-care provider ratio. There was one provider per 2,000 residents in Lake County. This compared to the state, which averaged 816 people per one provider. The national benchmark is to have 631 people per one provider. Along with the 34 percent uninsured rate, Lake County ended up at 56 of 57 for clinical care. In the physicalenvironment category, Lake County ranked 34. There were no air pollution days and access to healthy foods was at 50 percent, compared to the state’s 59 percent. However, in access to recreational facilities, Lake County was listed as having none. This statistic came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s businesspattern data from 2008 and is listed per 100,000 population. The state is said to have 12 facilities per 100,000 people, and the national benchmark is set at 17 facilities per 100,000 people. Tyson said that she would be speaking later this month with the Robert Wood

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Man dies in snowmobile accident Timothy Cunniff, 41, Denver, died in a snowmobile accident on CR 19a on April 3. His friend, who had been snowmobiling with Cunniff, reported that they were west of Websters Sand and Gravel pit and hit a tree. He tried to help his friend for one-and-

a-half hours before realizing he could not revive him, according to the report. He called for help at 1 a.m. from Silver King Inn Suites. Lake County Search and Rescue conducted the bodyrecovery mission.

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LCHS students to present play Page 10

Teachers get a free lunch Page 11

Soccer girls beat Pinnacle Page 22

Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com

Leadville, Colorado

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tired of winter?

Photo by Rob Lelewski

This fellow, spotted out at Turquoise Lake on Sunday, finds the white stuff that keeps falling a big yawn.

Crisis-center hearing emotional by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer The Lake County Advocates received a conditional-use permit for a family-crisis center from Leadville City Council, despite an emotional public hearing with the city’s planning and zoning commission. During the hearing, Karen Ellingson, a neighbor of the proposed property, said that she bought her home in that

neighborhood to start a family with her husband, Shawn Cornella, and son Oliver. With a shelter in that area, she said, victims of sexual assault will be there, and fathers who molest their sons may come looking for the family. That same molester could see her son in her backyard, she said. “I can’t even imagine what could happen,” she said

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Lake County Treasurer Tina Tekansik announced her resignation from the treasurer position on April 11, to be effective April 29. She has worked in the county treasurer’s office since 1997 and has been the county treasurer since 2000, when taking the position from a previous treasurer who resigned for health reasons. Health issues are also Tekansik’s reason for

resigning the position. She started dealing with her health problems in February last year and last week ended up in a Denver hospital. “It was time to figure out what’s more important, my health or my job,” she said. The county commissioners are seeking applicants to interview for the position. The interviews will be open to the public as it is an elected position. Tekansik was reelected to the position in November, but the appointed treasurer will have to run for a two-year term in November 2012.

through tears.

Continued on page 2

Vol. 132, No. 15 • 50 cents

School test scores are thrown out by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer A broken chain of custody on the third-grade Colorado School Assessment Program reading tests means the tests will not be scored. A specific room in each school is designated as a secure space to keep the tests locked before and after the test is taken. This security procedure was not followed, said Dr. Bette Kokenes, superintendent of schools. “Incidents can happen that you hope don’t happen, and it did happen,” she said. “It’s really unfortunate. I feel bad for the students, parents and teachers who did all this work for the testing,” she added. Board President Keith Moffett called the situation disappointing. “The state has to do what the state has to do,” he said. The district will have to move forward from here, he added. Someone reported the

alleged misadministration of the tests to the Colorado Department of Education, which began the investigation process according to its procedures, said Kokenes. The procedure is to contact the district CSAP coordinator. For Lake County School District, that is Deb Forkner. She was given questions to ask specific individuals. The responses were gathered and sent back to the investigation unit of CDE. CDE made the decision based on the information gathered by Forkner, and then contacted Kokenes with the decision. In most school districts, the district coordinator is not the superintendent. For this reason, Kokenes requested that CDE review its protocols to at least copy the superintendent when an investigation is in process. She did not find out about Continued on page 3

Justice prevails

County treasurer resigns

Photo by Marcia Martinek

Bryan Kinnel (standing), the prosecutor, questions Jimmy Hall, played by George Benson, about the happenings on the day Louis Lamb was shot and killed by Martin Duggan. Judge McDowell, played by Don Lindley, watches the proceedings from the bench while at the right sit (from left) Karen Kinnel as Edith Larsh, Mary Carey as the widow Mindy Lamb and Gail Lindley as Mollie May. The trial was presented Saturday by the Leadville Assembly. See more photos on page 13.


Herald Democrat — APRIL 14, 2011 — Page 3

Third-grade reading tests only ones affected Continued from page 1 the investigation until it was complete. She also requested that the test at least be scored even if those scores were considered invalid. She was told no. The district had to prove that the tests were secure at all times, which it was unable to do, said Kokenes. In the future, she said, she may require two signatures to move the tests in and out of the secure room as an added measure to prove the tests are secure in the future. The misadministration only affects the third-grade reading tests, which are administered before all other CSAP tests.

Board Member John Wells said that the district is confident that all other tests are good and the schools will get scores for those tests. “There is no concern about the tests being changed,” he said. Questions have been raised with the Herald about past CSAP scores resulting from tampering with the tests. In the past three years, the third-grade CSAP reading scores have been among the highest in the district, gaining recognition from the state. The trend has also been, in the last three years, that kids moving from fourth to fifth grade display a significant drop in scores. For example there

were three unsatisfactory reading scores for fourth grade in 2009 increasing to 28 unsatisfactory scores in 2010 for those same students in fifth grade. Kokenes said she has no suspicion about past West Park CSAP scores. Other testing done throughout the year with the Northwest Evaluation Association and DIBELS, a literacy skills assessment, show similar results she said. A visit from an outside observer for the Comprehensive Assessment for District Improvement done last year also confirmed the hard work of the West Park teachers, said Kokenes. The

Snowpack levels still looking good The latest measurements of mountain snowpack, conducted by the USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicate that Colorado’s statewide totals continue to track above average. The April 1 surveys show statewide snowpack is 113 percent of average, and is 28 percent above the state’s readings of one year ago. Although these statistics show a slight decline from last month, they continue the trend of aboveaverage totals measured throughout the winter of 2011. This is good news for the state’s major water users who rely on melting snowpack for a majority of their annual surface water supplies. March weather brought a continuation of the La Niña pattern where most of the storms crossing the state favored the northern mountains, while only dusting the southern mountains, according to Allen Green, state conservationist with the NRCS. As a result, snowpack readings across the northern and

central mountains saw significant increases in snowpack percentages, while percentages declined sharply across the southern mountains. “It was a month where the rich got richer and the poor just got poorer,” said Green. For those river basins with their source in the northern mountains, including the Colorado, Yampa, White and South Platte Rivers, this year’s April 1 snowpack is the highest since back in 1996. At 135 percent of average, the North Platte River Basin had the highest basinwide total in the state. These totals are the highest for April 1 since the computation of basinwide totals began in 1968. Meanwhile, the latest readings show snowpack conditions across the southern mountains continued to decline for the third consecutive month. Percentages have now declined to the lowest readings of the year and are consistently below average in the Rio Grande and combined San Juan, Animas, Dolores and San Miguel basins. In

striking contrast to the snowpack readings across northern Colorado, some smaller tributary basins in the Rio Grande Basin have dropped to nearly 50 percent of average. As one might expect, the outlook for spring and summer water supplies across southern Colorado is for below-average runoff throughout the Rio Grande, San Juan, Animas, Dolores, San Miguel and the southern tributaries of the Arkansas basin this year. Although it’s still possible for spring snowstorms to improve conditions in these basins, the chances are extremely remote, given that the normal maximum snowpack is reached in early April in these basins.

Correction The website for Roots Yoga and Fitness has changed from what was listed in the “Albers new owner of Roots Yoga and Fitness” in the April 7 issue of the Herald. The actual website is www.rootsyoga.net.

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representatives working on the assessment raved about the classroom work being done. “We have high-performing teachers at West Park, and the students are responding,” she said. All the testing together with the CADI report, she said, provides a body of evidence for student achievement. This will be used to gauge Adequate Yearly Progress, an annual report that usually looks at CSAP scores to measure student growth. Moving from fourth to fifth grade she said, means taking more comprehensive and complex tests. Turnover in teachers also means

different levels of professional development among the teachers, who may be in their first year of teaching. The district is looking at ways to support this grade more than has been done in the past, she added. West Park parents were alerted to the situation with a letter from Kokenes. She explained that they will get a report on student reading growth using the alternative data from the DIBELS and Galileo testing. Kokenes did say that the incident will not affect the district’s grants, both current and potential.

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Is street in Kokomo? Page 13

Soccer girls lose two Page 23

Dancers perform

Page 24

Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com

Leadville, Colorado

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Start of Holy Week

Photo by Marcia Martinek

John Byrne, followed by the Rev. Jesse Perez, heads the Palm Sunday processional at St. Joseph Catholic Church at the Saturday-evening Mass.

Adams leaves suddenly by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Linda Adams left her position as principal of West Park Elementary School on April 14, giving no explanation. The school board met in executive session the Tuesday before, but no decisions were made then. Tanya Lenhard, fourthgrade teacher, was appointed as the interim school director to “administer the school,”

said Dr. Bette Kokenes in a letter home to parents of West Park students. Skip Beck, who had been the dean of instruction and in charge of discipline at West Park, will be taking Lenhard’s class for the rest of the year. Mike Vagher, physicaleducation teacher, “will assist in the office, help with discipline issues and perform much of the supervision throughout the school day,” said Kokenes in her letter.

by Marcia Martinek Herald Editor Will the record for snowfall be broken up at Climax this winter? Although no one will know until the end of May, snowfall up at the mine is 313 inches as of the end of March, Howard Tritz said. The most snowfall so far was received in the winter of

1961-62 (the first year these records were kept) with a total amount of 380.1 inches. So if more than 67.1 inches fall in April and May this year, the record will be broken. What are the chances of this? In April 1997, there were 69.8 inches of snow, and in May 1994, 55.5 inches were recorded at Climax. So it’s possible that the record will be broken.

Vol. 132, No. 16 • 50 cents

More skiing weeks helps drive business

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Local business and a few extra weeks open at Ski Cooper had the greatest effect on Lake County businesses this winter. With the early opening, Ski Cooper saw at least a threepercent increase over last year. As of March 3, the ski area was looking at 62,000 skiers this year. Paul Copper, owner of Bill’s Ski Rentals, said he could count on those first three weeks of Cooper’s season, starting in November, for business. This allowed business to beat what he did last year and match the year before that. Good snow and good weather in between was inviting for people to come skiing, he said. “I like years like that; makes me want to stay in the ski business.” Tim Hill, Alpine Ski and Sport, also said that his

rental numbers were up for the season. This includes both Alpine and Nordic equipment. He has also started to see repeat customers. It is the repeat customers who made the season good for Sherrie Randall, Cookies with Altitude. She served more locals this winter than she had in the past, and the locals are who she wants to spoil, she said. “The tourists are the gravy,” she added. During skijoring weekend, she sold over 700 cookies. She had expanded her menu to include breakfast burritos, bagels and fresh baked bread. None of these sold as well as she thought. Everyone wanted cookies. “This was my busiest winter season ever,” said JoAnn Stuever, Governor’s Mansion Guest Suites owner. Every weekend was booked Continued on page 2

Opening the road

Will it be a record year?

Photo by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Brad Palmer, county public works director, drives the county’s V-blade through a canyon of snow on Turquoise Lake Road Tuesday morning, which was the second day of plowing on the road.


Herald Democrat — APRIL 28, 2011 — Page 7

First Water Aware session to take place May 4 The Lake County Watershed Advisory Council will host the first in a threepart series of water-education seminars, starting at 6 p.m. on the evening of May 4, in the Longyear Auditorium at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum. Doors will open for registration and informal discussion at 5:30 p.m. The first session will focus on Colorado Water Law and its impacts on Lake County’s ability to provide a dependable source of water to support sustainable growth. According to Mike Bordogna, Lake County commissioner, many people in Lake County aren’t aware that we don’t own the water passing through our community and are therefore of the false impression that we have all the water we will ever need to support our current and future needs. As it turns out, all ground and surface water in Lake County is the property of the state. Under Colorado law, the ability to use the waters of the state is authorized through court issuance of a water right. A water right establish-

es a specific amount of water that can be diverted from a stream, where it can be put to beneficial use, the allowable time frame for its use and the specific end use for the water. Water rights are prioritized by the date that the Colorado Water Court confirmed the water right. The earlier the confirmation date, the more

Lake County government is hosting a public meeting to gather input on the county’s economic-development future: economic development, jobs and the Lake County economy. It will be Thursday, May 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the county commissioner’s room in the Lake County Courthouse. Every five years Lake County undergoes an assessment to help determine economic-development projects and priorities. The Southern Colorado Economic Development District, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is required to formulate a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for each of the 12 counties within the district. The meeting will include an overview of Lake County’s

economy, discuss the challenges and opportunities, and identify projects to promote economic growth and diversification. Attendees will be provided a keypad polling device for maximum feedback. The meeting in Leadville will be one of the last in the SCEDD. The polling devices are to encourage people to voice an opinion when they

senior the right. Water rights are a property interest that can be severed from the land and sold separately, said Bordogna. Although other communities have purchased water rights in Lake County, Lake County does not currently own any water rights that can be put to beneficial use for domestic, commercial, industrial, recreational or wildlife use to support its own current or future needs. To compound the situation, the Arkansas River is an overappropriated river sys-

tem, meaning that the state has issued more water rights than the river can physically supply. Since senior water rights must be fully satisfied before newer, or junior, water rights can get any water (the “first in time, first in right” doctrine), there is not enough water to go around on all but the wettest of years, and in dry years, junior waterrights owners may get no water at all. According to a study done by the Arkansas River Roundtable, there is no “new” water available in the Arkansas River to meet Lake County’s need for a dependable water supply. If the county doesn’t own any water rights that can be used for domestic, commercial, recreational or industrial use, and there is no “new” water available to meet our current and future needs outside of the boundaries of the Parkville Water District, where will needed water come from? The Lake County Watershed Advisory Council invites residents to take part in a discussion to explore how to secure water to meet current needs and support future growth.

County to host economic-development meeting

may otherwise prefer not to make a public statement. Forms that may be submitted after the meeting will be provided to identify projects. For information contact Commissioner Mike Bordogna at 486-4512 or at mbordogna@ co.lake.co.us For information on SCEDD, visit www.scedd.com.

LCHS Principal Beck resigns Lake County High School Principal Cathy Beck announced her resignation as of the end of the school year to the staff and students on Tuesday. She is taking a position in Summit County. More information to follow next week.

Correction In the April 21 Herald article “Graduation requirements are getting more stringent,” it incorrectly stated Economics would be a math credit. It will be a social-studies credit.

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The discussion of Colorado Water Law will be led by Steve Kastner, assistant division engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources, who will outline the state laws and regulations that all Colorado communities and individuals must abide by in securing water for their own use. This will be followed by a presentation by David Hallford of Balcomb and Green, PC, Lake County’s water attorney, who will apply

the principles and constraints of Colorado Water Law to the specific needs of Lake County, and discuss the steps needed to determine the county’s water future. Time will be allowed for questions and answers. The session is free to the public, and refreshments will be served. For information, go to www.wateraware2011. com, or contact Lake County Commissioner Mike Bordogna at 486-4512.

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Where’s the Herald? Page 2

West Park holds family night Page 12

Solder goes to Patriots Page 22

Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com

Leadville, Colorado

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Truck jackknifes, spills fuel

Contributed photo

A semitrailer carrying a dozer from the Climax Mine jackknifes on CR 11 on April 28 causing diesel fuel to leak into a nearby wetland. The dozer had been buried in a mud slide earlier this winter. See story on page 7.

Stamps named county treasurer by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Jill Stamps was appointed as the new Lake County treasurer Tuesday morning after a short executive session of the Lake County Board of County Commissioners. The $62,200 position is the second highest paid in county government. The executive session, according to Commission Chair Carl Schaefer, was to narrow the list of ten candidates to the top five. The BOCC was the official selection committee, and each commissioner had compiled a list of his top five candidates,

but the BOCC asked former treasurer Tina Tekansik to also sit in on the executive session to present her top three candidates. Tekansik also attended the interviews of all the candidates, which were held April 27, 29 and May 2. County Clerk Patty Berger, Stamps’ mother, was also in the executive session as the secretary to the BOCC. She made no comment about the selection of the treasurer. “She has the integrity to know not to comment,” said Commission Chair Carl Schaefer. The candidates included

several who have previously worked or currently work for the city or county in other capacities. These included: Stamps; Bob Vigil, chief appraiser in the Lake County Assessor’s office; former Lake County School Board President Stephanie Olsen; current Leadville City Administrator Padraic Smith; former Lake County Commissioner Mike Hickman; and current Leadville City Treasurer Roy McGinnis. Other candidates were Barbara Walker, Don Green,

by Carol Werckman Copy Editor If you think this spring has been particularly snowy and cold, you are right. According to local weather guru Charlie Kuster, so far through April 30 of this snow year, which isn’t over until

June 30, Lake County has received 166.6 inches of snow. This is almost 150 percent of normal, he said. Normal is around 114 inches. Kuster also said that Lake County experienced a record low temperature reading on May 1. The temperature was 3 degrees, and the previous record low for that day was 5 degrees. Climax records support the

“lots of snow” theory. So far, as of April 30, the snowfall at Climax has already broken the record for the annual total, which was 380.1 inches. It now measures 382.3 inches, with one more month of measuring to go. Also, the total for April snow at Climax was just half an inch below the record of 69.8 inches. This April Climax received 69.3 inches.

Vol. 132, No. 18 • 50 cents

Search is on for principals by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer With the resignation of Cathy Beck as Lake County High School principal, the school district is looking to replace three of four principals next year. “I have so enjoyed my tenure here in Lake County. I will miss my staff, my students and all of the people that I have worked with throughout the years greatly! It is with bittersweet feelings that I accepted a position in Summit County. The move provides me with great opportunities both financially and professionally,” said Beck in an e-mail to the Herald. Pitts Elementary Principal Emily Bordogna is not resigning but will be taking time off in the fall for maternity leave. Audrey Magill will be stepping in until Bordogna’s return, according to Superintendent

Bette Kokenes. As for the other three principals, the circumstances surrounding the resignation of each are unrelated, said School Board Member John Wells. Kokenes said that she did encourage Beck to stay. She always does. “I love the team I work with,” Kokenes said of the administrative staff in the district. “I hate to see them go.” Wells said that the salary offered is not one Lake County School District can compete with. The district is in a better position to replace the leadership than it was five years ago, he said. “We can’t pay as much as they do, but we can compete in other areas,” he said. Continued on page 6

Prom royalty

Continued on page 3

You think April was kind of snowy?

Photo by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Ashlan Hren and Randy Mondragon are crowned the 2011 prom queen and king during the Grand March Saturday night.


Page 6 — Herald Democrat — MAY 5, 2011

Board gets info from Kokenes Continued from page 1 He mentioned the great environment for teaching teachers and the Leadville community as examples of what the district can offer. Some people don’t want to live in Summit County, he said. Board President Keith Moffett said that Beck is a valued employee in the district. Ultimately, she had to make the decision for herself, he said. The board does want to know why staff is leaving, he said. It is up to the administration and the superintendent to talk to teachers who have decided to leave. Kokenes said that the principals do have those conversations with the staff, and if there is something that can be done to hold onto staff, it is done. The board hears about the reasons for turnover from the superintendent, said Moffett. “It is not the job of a board member to talk to the teachers as they are leaving,” he said. If a teacher approaches a board member to talk, that door is always open, he said. Many times teachers are leaving because of personal reasons. There is nothing the

district or board can do about those decisions, he said. If the reasons for turnover are within a process the board can control, those changes are made. There are opportunities for teachers to talk to the board, he said. Twice a year, teachers on the leadership teams at each school attend a board work session. The board also holds a teacher summit for each school each year, said Wells. There are mechanisms in place to get honesty in the feedback, he said. Board Member Katie Baldassar said that she is in the process of asking question of and listening to all stakeholders within the district. She has been on the board for one month and is still learning about the district. The district is in a better position to hire good principals because of the leadership teams at the schools, said Wells. The district can replace the positions and not miss a beat. The programs are in place and just need a principal to take the lead, he said. Lake County Middle School is already in the process of interviewing for the principal, said Kokenes. Middle School

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Principal Deb Forkner was the first of the three principals to announce her resignation. Twelve teachers from the middle school were brought together as part of the selection committee, said Kokenes. The team will review resumes and interview candidates with Kokenes. It was also decided to schedule a full day for each interview to include time in the schools, getting to know the teachers, staff and students. The actual interviews will take place in the evening. Already, the school has had strong candidates apply for the job, said Kokenes. She hopes to have this position Continued on page 7

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Herald Democrat — MAY 5, 2011 — Page 7

Fire, rescue, EMS

Jackknifed truck spills gasoline by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer

A semitrailer carrying a track dozer slid off of CR 11 just before 3:29 p.m. on April 28. The track dozer was being transported from Climax to the gravel pit on CR 11 to be weighed before disposal. The approximately 70,000-pound track dozer had been caught in a mud slide last November. As the truck jackknifed and ran off the road, the flatbed carrying the dozer puncture a gas tank. The 50-gallon tank began leaking fuel into a nearby wetland close to Lake Fork Creek. Deputy Bryce Hinton called the fire department to the scene when he noticed the gas leak. The fire crew began mitigating the hazardous-material spill and reported it to the National Response Center. No gas entered the creek, according to Captain Dan Dailey. It took two tow trucks to lift the heavy equipment out of the ditch, according to the report. • A female from Lake County

High School was transported in an ambulance to SVH at 10:55 a.m. on April 13. • A 48-year-old female complained of difficulty breathing while working at Climax Mine at 12:26 p.m. on April 13. • Medical crews were called to Mount Traver Drive for a 17month-old child choking. Before arrival, the child swallowed the object. • A fire in a pit in the 100 block of Elm Street was reported at 3:17 p.m. on April 14. The fire department explained to the resident that the fire exceeded the 36-inch limit and that only untreated wood should be used. • A car accident was reported 10 miles north of Leadville on Colo. 91 at 6:47 p.m. April 14. A deputy drove into Summit County and could not locate the accident. • An unconscious woman was treated at 8:07 a.m. on April 17 in the 600 block of West 2nd Street. She was transported to the hospital in the ambulance after being brought back to consciousness. • Medical crews responded to the 400 block of West 17th Street for a woman with abdominal pain at 8:26 a.m. on April 17. Having run out of prescription pain medication, she reported that she had taken 30 aspirin the night before.

New principal by year’s end? Continued from page 6 filled before the end of the school year. West Park has a similar process in place, also with a team of teachers on the selection committee. The candidates for this position will be given a half

day at the school to meet students and staff and then an interview in the evening. Kokenes will also put a team together at the high school to decide the interview process. She hopes candidates will have at least one week to visit the school before the end of the year.

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To my friends and patrons: After twenty-two years of service to Leadville and the Lake County area, I have sold my business, Bailey Funeral Home, to Shannon and Staci Kent. I want to express my gratitude for the welcome friendship and patronage I enjoyed since the rst day I came to Leadville. I will always be especially grateful for the support and affection given to me by this community after the death of my rst husband, Bill. I have, in turn, always tried to give the comfort, compassion, professionalism and personal attention which grief and loved ones have every right to expect. I will always cherish the way you allowed me to become so much a part of this community, but I have decided that it is time to turn my business over to a younger family as Jay and I look forward to retirement. I will remain here for several weeks to help acquaint you with this ne young couple and to assure that the transition in ownership will be smooth and continue to provide uninterrupted service. For the time being, I will retain my position as Lake County Coroner. Now let me introduce you to Shannon and Staci. Shannon began his funeral service career in the Midwest where Missouri was their home. In 2002 they moved to Colorado, initially settling in Boulder where Shannon managed funeral homes in both Boulder and Greeley and Staci also worked in the funeral profession serving families. Most recently the Kents have been in the Colorado Springs area and Shannon has been in charge of multiple funeral home locations there. With 17 years of experience in funeral service, I feel very fortunate to have found someone who comes to Leadville with an already-established knowledge of the business and someone who knows that this is the profession he wants to stay with. Shannon & Staci have two sons, Brody and Ryan. They are excited and, very much, look forward to serving and being a part of the Leadville community. Debbie Bailey


Page 4 — Herald Democrat — MAY 5, 2011

OPINION Editorial

The case of the vanishing principals

A number of people have asked us lately just what exactly is going on at the schools. We have heard various rumors. We have heard from people who don’t want to go on the record, in some cases for legitimate reasons. Yes, we understand that you don’t want to lose your jobs. But, how sad is it that speaking up carries with it such penalties? Deb Forkner, principal at the middle school, was the first principal to resign. When people leave the district, we always contact them and ask for reasons, future plans, etc. We understand that the reasons we get aren’t necessarily the true reasons, but in any case it’s a chance for the soon-to-bedeparted to say something nice about having enjoyed her time here or missing the kids. In Forkner’s case, she simply declined to comment. Then, the week of March 21, Superintendent Bette Kokenes and Linda Adams, then principal at West Park

Elementary School, appeared at the middle school where Adams was introduced as the new principal. This was short lived. On March 25, Adams announced that she was resigning from the district as of the end of the year. Adams did talk to us, saying in general she had decided she wanted to spend more time with family. But then instead of waiting until the end of the year, she resigned her position on April 14, and was gone that same day. No reasons were given by anyone. Now we must insert the side story concerning the third-grade CSAP reading tests, given this year at West Park. The official word is that somewhere between the school and the administration office, these tests were out of the chain of custody and were ultimately declared invalid. In other words they won’t be graded. At the same time this was becoming public, we learned from certain individuals associated with the middle school

Letters to the editor Full disclosure requested of schools In the past three weeks, we have learned that three out of four Lake County school principals have turned in their resignations effective at the end of this school year. The stability of school leadership is directly responsible for student achievement, and the steady improvement in CSAP scores is proof of this. Additionally, the Herald Democrat reported that Lake County High School gradua-

tion rates increased from 59.3 percent in 2009 to 70.8 percent in 2010 bringing us closer to the state average than we’ve been in the last ten years. Considering these fantastic gains, I find the resignations of Deb Forkner, Linda Adams and Cathy Beck extremely disconcerting. This huge disruption in school leadership is a terrible blow to the continuing success of Lake County students. I think our students, parents and entire community deserve a full disclosure for this mass and sudden departure. Jo Ann Stuever Leadville

Herald Democrat

A Colorado Press Association and International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors award winner The Herald Democrat (USPS 241-100, ISSN 0891-

01197) is published every Thursday and is the official

newspaper in Lake County, Colorado. The newspaper office is located at 717 Harrison Ave., Leadville, and is

open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays except Wednesday. Telephone number: (719) 486-0641. FAX: (719) 486-0611. E-mail: allnews@leadvilleherald.com

Subscription rates are $22 per year within Lake County;

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Postmaster: Please send address changes to Herald Democrat, P.O. Box 980, Leadville, CO 80461-0980. Herald ads, copy, maps, photos, and layout are

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reproduced without prior, written permission of Arkansas Valley Publishing Company.

Editor Marcia Martinek Copy Editor Carol Werckman Advertising Manager Karen Rinehart Reporter Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Office Manager Mary Franz Production Holly Russell Distribution Sandra & Dale Halverstadt

that they have long suspected the legitimacy of some of the CSAP test scores at West Park. Why, they asked, do students do so well on tests at West Park and then come to the middle school and score so poorly? We looked at the test results. The 2007 third-grade class had two students scoring unsatisfactory in reading. When this class went to fourth grade, in 2008, three students scored unsatisfactory in reading. Then this class moved to the middle school, and the 2009 class had 28 unsatisfactory scores. Kokenes attributes the higher scores at West Park to “high-performing teachers.” She also mentioned “different levels of professional development” for the middleschool teachers. We’d like to see the school administration address this issue in some detail. What actual steps were taken to investigate this year’s incident with the tests? Was it all internal to the school dis-

Personnel issues need investigation It is extremely troubling that three out of four of Lake County School principals have resigned from their positions in the past three weeks. They are Deb Forkner, Lake County Middle School, Linda Adams, West Park Elementary School, and Cathy Beck, Lake County High School. This is especially disheartening because of the stability and student achievements these three educators have brought to our schools. Losing them is a tremendous blow to our students and community.

trict or was the state board of education involved? We know that the state board was told of the incident, but the people there who were going to ”get back to us,” haven’t. Considering the pressure associated with CSAP test scores in general, this whole issue is of concern. We’d also like more detailed information on what is being done to address the perceived problem at the fifth-grade level. At the end of February, Cathy Beck, Lake County High School principal, told our reporter that the plan was for her to stay in Lake County. On April 26, Beck announced she was leaving to become a principal in the Summit School District. She cited professional and financial opportunities. Now, over the past few years, we have heard good things about all the schooldistrict principals. We were beginning to feel that our district had achieved some stability, and it appeared

I have received credible information that a number of good teachers have resigned as well, and the transportation department has been disrupted, too. I have been told that a school-board member’s unemployed husband has taken a management position overseeing the department and does not have the qualifications this job requires. As a community, how are we ever going to continue making gains in student performance when there is a mass exodus of principals, teachers and staff alike? Whenever a major disruption in staff like this occurs, there is usually much more going on than meets the eye. I believe a thorough investigation needs to be conducted by the state

improvement was being made. What happened? What efforts were made to retain some, if not all of these principals? What about the teachers who are rumored to be leaving? Are members of the school board satisfied with their understanding of these issues? Have they had their own questions answered? (Surely, they do have questions.) Will they share these answers with all of us? If not, why not? Here’s the thing. There’s a perception that something’s wrong. We don’t know what is true or not true. So it needs to be addressed. We’d welcome some responses that we could print. Even better would be a public meeting where these issues could be discussed and questions answered. Failing that, we encourage people to attend a board meeting and ask the questions to which we’re attempting to find answers. Marcia Martinek Herald Editor

department of education to get to the bottom of our personnel problems for the good of Lake County students. Our community deserves a full, unbiased accounting for these sudden and mass resignations. I love my community and believe that stability in our schools is critical to our overall success. Jaime Stuever Leadville City Councilman Note: This letter was also sent to Rep. Millie Hamner and Tanya Klein, chief of staff at the Colorado Department of Education. Their responses follow: Hamner: I would suggest Continued on page 5

results of our weekly website poll April 28-May 3, 2011 When do you guess the Climax Mine will reopen?

Summer 2011 Some other time in 2011 Start of 2012 Spring 2012

Have your say at

9% 7% 5% 10%

Summer 2012 Late 2012 It will be put on hold Not in my lifetime

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

12% 10% 25% 23%


Students inducted into NHS Page 11

Sixth-graders attend camp Page 13

Healy House having a birthday Page 24

Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Leadville, Colorado

Vol. 132, No. 20 • 50 cents

Salary and support cited as teacher issues by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Frustrations were aired before the Lake County School

District Board of Education at recently held teacher summits at all four district schools, reiterating concerns expressed

in a teachers’ union survey compiled in February. The summits are scheduled annually as a time for the

School district salary information

Position West Park Principal Middle School Principal High School Principal

Days per year worked 210

$60,101

210

$71,028

210

$70,000

Salary

Created by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer and Holly Russell

The position titles in these charts are line items specifically listed in the 2010-2011 school-year budget and do not include benefits. Days worked per year, education level and number of years in the position of current personnel were provided by the district administration office. The teachers’ salaries are from a salary schedule available on the district website.

FOR TEACHERS Education level

Days per year worked

Years in the district

Bachelor’s Degree

179

0-2

$30,468

Bachelor’s Degree plus 30 graduate credts

179

30

$45,765

Master’s Degree

179

0-2

$33,616

Master’s Degree plus 30 extra graduate credits

179

30

$51,480

Salary

Organization forms to deal with schools by Marcia Martinek Herald Editor An organization called Parents and Children for Lake County Schools is emerging in light of current issues concerning the way the district is being governed. According to George Gipson, spokesperson for the

group, it consists of about 100 people including parents, teachers and others. One meeting has been held thus far to organize the group, and another is planned for May 23. On May 24, members from the group plan to be on the agenda to address the school board at a work session to be held that evening at 7 p.m. at the administrative office. The public is welcome. A Facebook page for the

group was expected to have been launched on Wednesday, May 18, and should have more details of what the organization plans to accomplish. Gibson said the group has been fermenting for about a year but “came to a boil” in the last few months. Those interested in being part of the group can check the Facebook page or call Gipson at (970) 471-4761.

entire board to hear directly from teachers. For the high-school teacher summit on May 11, Laurel McHargue, teacher, volunteered to gather concerns from the teachers and staff to present to the board. These concerns and more were compiled into a letter sent to the entire board and the superintendent. One comment noted “a potentially wide-spread belief that 10 years is a long time for a superintendent to be in office.” The teacher went on to say that people would like someone with “new eyes” to take the position. The first comment on the list noted the need for more information and technology support. This was also the first of two issues that stuck out for Board President Keith Moffett, he said. He heard about the IT situation at all four schools. In the letter from the highschool summit, a teacher pointed out that the lack of support has resulted in a math teacher being paid to handle tech requests at the high school. The teacher’s union survey, given in February to union

teachers and support staff in each school, also has a statement about the need for better technical support. One said that tech issues from September still remained an issue at the time of the survey. Moffett said that a ticket system is being considered to note the dates of requests and to estimate completion dates. The second issue was heard at both the middle- and highschool teacher summits, he said. “I’ve been hammering on this in the past,” Moffett said about improving the transition between the middle school and the high school for the incoming freshman. The freshman struggle with grades on the report card and eligibility, he said. In the middle school, kids are graded with one through four. In high school, those translate to a letter grade and a grade-point average. In the survey, which has 34.2 percent of the answers from high school teachers, one comment notes that when students get to high school they are “shocked that they

Continued on page 2

Tabor Grand is facing foreclosure by Marcia Martinek Herald Editor The historic Tabor Grand is facing foreclosure, according to a notice received by the city of Leadville on May 9. Not only is the use of the building for low-income housing in jeopardy, but the city does not know what will happen to a note it holds that comes due in 2012 and means more than $1 million payable to the city. In a letter dated May 5, 2011, Marcel Arsenault, Real Capital Solutions, informed Mayor Bud Elliott that he had spent the past year evaluating the current state of the Tabor Grand and what to do moving forward.

“As you know, I purchased the property in 1990 and spent over $4 million restoring the building to a standard reflecting the rich history of the town,” Arsenault wrote. He said that over the years he has continued to fund shortfalls in operating profits of the building to the tune of more than $400,000, and forsees the building continuing to operate at a deficit under the status quo. Citing both heavy debt and the restriction of rents under the LIHTC program, Arsenault predicted that the property will continue to fail Continued on page 3


Page 2 — Herald Democrat — MAY 19, 2011

Board plans to discuss issues at May 24 meeting Continued from page 1 can actually fail and fall behind on credits and are lost as to the implications of grades.” Another comment says that students seem to have the impression that they can’t fail or be retained, “so they feel they don’t need to try.” Moffett said that one idea may be to implement the highschool eligibility policy at the middle school. The rest of the issues brought forward at the summits are being put into a matrix by Board Member Katie Baldassar to be discussed at the May 24 board work session. The discussion may take more than one meeting to fully work through the topics, as the budget will also be on the May 24 work session. This meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the district-

administration building at Spruce and W. 2nd streets. Another major issue identified in the February survey was the workload for teachers. “The amount of paperwork

the end?” said one teacher. Another teacher said he is working 55 to 60 hours per week, and the work is still not done to the level he would like. Another said he works 60 plus hours per week.

“That some, with no college diploma, make more than a teacher with a master’s degree will ever earn is a slap in the face and a continual morale killer.” --2011 teachers’ union survey forced upon the teachers (and added to every year) is also ridiculous. You keep adding assessments and paperwork, but never take anything away. Where are we supposed to get the time to do these things? Should we start filling out time sheets for the hours we spend outside our contracted time and away from our families doing busy work that doesn’t make a difference in

“There are not enough hours in the day to complete everything that I am being asked to do,” was another comment. The purpose of the survey was to identify areas needing improvement, offer a safe way for teachers to express opinions and identify areas that can be negotiated for the teacher’s contract, according to Kathleen Fitzsimmons,

County-facility policy established by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer The Lake County Public Works Department has put together a comprehensive policy for using the different county-owned assets, such as Ice Palace Park, the Mineral

Please recycle this newspaper

Belt Trail and the swimming pool. The policies specify whether each asset is able to be rented for private functions. They then categorize the fee schedule under which the specific asset falls. There are six different categories. The fees are also broken down according to the group renting the facility, such as a nonprofit versus a for-profit entity, and whether the event is exclusive or inclusive.

Definitions for each of these are listed at the front of the new policy packet. The prices for rental range from $20 per hour to $1,000 per day with a damage deposit required for most facilities. These draft policies were presented in draft form to the Lake County commissioners at a work session on April 26. The commissioners gave suggestions for the policies to be updated and adopted at a later date.

PUMPHOUSE

union president. There is no language in the contract dealing with workload, she said. Therefore, the contract does not need to be changed for the administration to deal with the workload issue. The letter from the highschool summit and the survey also had many comments about the level of salary not showing a value for the amount of an employee’s education. “For a business that claims to support higher learning and continuing education, it is odd that the workers with the least amount of education get the most in terms of salary,” was one comment in the survey. Another said, “That some, with no college diploma, make more than a teacher with a

master’s degree will ever earn is a slap in the face and a continual morale killer.” A list of the salaries and education levels of district employees is listed on page 1. Dr. Bette Kokenes, superintendent, said that the days worked per year means a different hourly wage for these different employees. Another comment on the letter from the highschool teachers was that an evaluation of the superintendent should include information from the teachers, whom the comment termed as the “superintendent’s customers,” and the community. Fitzsimmons indicated that the union survey could become annual.

Leadville Weather

Date

High

Low

Precipitation

Mon

5/9

56

26

Tues

5/10

52

19

Wed

5/11

31

26

10.9" snow

Thurs

5/12

40

25

.3" snow

Fri

5/13

54

19

Sat

5/14

55

24

5/15

56

29

Sun

.06" precipitation

Weather data courtesy of Leadville's Charles Kuster

Early Deadline Notice For the June 2, 2011

HERALD DEMOCRAT

• Legals Thursday, 5/26, by noon

• News & Letters

Friday, 5/27, by 4pm

CARWASH & LUBE Get ready for spring!

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the Herald Democrat office will be closed Monday, May 30

Happy Memorial Day from the Herald Democrat staff!

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Invalid CSAP test scores revealed at board meeting

Page 12 — Herald Democrat — MAY 19, 2011

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Education News Colorado, which focuses on education policy and legislation in Colorado, reported West Park Elementary School thirdgrade reading scores from the Colorado Student Assessment Program. These are the scores that recently were declared invalid This report shows that 87 percent of West Park third-graders scored either proficient or advanced on the reading test. This is up from 80 percent in 2010 and 81 percent in 2009. Of the 87 percent, 75 percent were proficient and 13 percent were advanced. Eleven percent scored

partially proficient. The number of unsatisfactory scores also increased from 0 percent in 2009 and 2010 to 2 percent in 2011. These scores are preliminary, according to the Colorado Department of Education, and all school scores will have to be cleaned up for the official report to be published in August. At that time the West Park scores will be coded as invalid. This is the result of an investigation of the test security in March. The state determined that there was a breach in the chain of custody and reported that the scores would not count. These reported scores

were announced at the May 10 school-board meeting by Dr. Bette Kokenes, superintendent. At the meeting, Board Member Debbie McCall said that knowing these scores, she would like to see the breakdown for each individual student. This would be good information for the parents, she said.

we recycle

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Senior Meal Please call for reservations before 9:30 a.m. on the day of the meal. Lunch rides to the Senior Center are available for in-town residents.

Meal Menu (All meals include milk, most served with bread and margarine)

May 20

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Nutrition counseling is available for seniors participating in center meals and home-delivered meals.


Tabor House under new management Pages 3,4

Meet the class of 2011 Pages 17-20

Students receive academic awards Page 22

Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com

Leadville, Colorado

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Competing at state

Vol. 132, No. 21 • 50 cents

Property values go up by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Property values for Lake County went up 3.789 percent from 2009. The assessed value of Lake County was $108,216,273 in 2009 and has been valued at $112,209,795 this year, according to the assessor’s office. After the time passes when property owners can protest their assessments, which ends on June 2, the values will be adjusted and certified in August. These values are based on vacant- and improvedland sales from Jan. 1, 2009,

Size of home One story One-and-half story Two story Two-and-half story Bi-level Tri-level

vacant-land sales and three commercial sales, he said. Of the improved sales, 87 were confirmed and 49 disqualified. A sale is disqualified for reasons such as involving a government agency, transferring between related parties or involving doubtful titles, such as a quitclaim deed. For vacant-land sales, 34 were confirmed and 66 disqualified. Foreclosures are not used, said Tritz, because it is a stress sale. Stress sales are not used. When the bank resells the property, he will

together to find a median. For instance, there were 50 one-story home sales that qualified. The two numbers that land in the middle were $104.61 per square foot and $105.33 per square foot. These were added together and divided by two to equal $104.97. This was the only value that was below the 2009 value. All other homes either stayed at the same value or increased in value. For other median prices for different-sized homes, see the chart below. Most vacant land remained

2005 value per square foot

2007 value per square foot

percent change

2009 value per square foot

percent change

2011 value per square foot

percent change

$83.50 $77.05

$96.79 $84.75

+15.92 + 9.99

$107.61 $105.47

+10.05 +19.6

$104.97 $111.22

-2.52 +5.45

$83.20 $72.75

$90.56 $82.30

+ 8.85 +13.13

$103.46 $82.30

+12.47 0

$116.30 $82.30

+12.4 0

$65.45 $70.05

$84.68 $78.96

+29.38 +12.72

$84.68 $78.96

0 0

$93.45 $78.96

+10.36 0

Graph by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer and Holly Russell

This graph shows the historical values of different-size homes per square foot as they have been assessed during the last few bi-annual valuations.

Photo by John King

Nick Federico gives it his all during the 4x800-meter relay at the state meet. The Panthers finished the event in 9th place. See story, photos on pages 35-36.

through June 30, 2010. In this time, there were 239 sales, said Assessor Howard Tritz. Of these, 136 are considered improved sales. This means there is a significant building on the land, such as a home. Garages or other minor structures are not considered significant structures. There were then 100

use that sale, he said. The sales are broken down into sizes of homes and geographic areas to compare to unsold property. The median sales price is used for each category. This is the number in the middle of the list. With an even number of sales, two numbers land in the middle. These are averaged

the same. For those that changed, Whispering Pines saw the greatest increase at 74.53 percent. In 2009, this land was $3,487 per acre and in 2011 is valued at $6,086 per acre. The West Park subdivision has no vacant land, said Tritz.

McCall wondered if there was more that could be done with an investigation. “If someone did something bad, that person should be punished . . . I want it to be a career-ender,” she said. “The teachers in third grade would not do one thing wrong,” she added. She asked whether the school had the ability to prove

any wrongdoing. Board Member Katie Baldassar reported that she had a conversation with the Colorado Department of Education about the tests. It was reported to her that there were more eraser marks than one might expect on ten tests pulled from the Lake County group of tests. She asked CDE what

this meant and was told that someone looking at the tests would notice the eraser marks. “It worries me that teachers are accused of cheating,” she said. Board Member John Wells said that he spoke with Tim

Continued on page 3

School board defines four issues needing work by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Four main issues to further explore were identified by the school board during the work session Tuesday night. A more complete explanation of what happened

with the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests was one. Board President Keith Moffett said that he has spoken to staff members and others in an internal investigation. He had no ind icat ion t ha t st ud ent s or staff at West Park did anything wrong, he said. Board Member Debbie

Continued on page 2


Page 2 — Herald Democrat — MAY 26, 2011

Technology issues common

Continued from page 1 Berry, attorney for the district. Berry advised that the district could spend a lot of money and get nothing, said Wells. Unless the district had something concrete, he said, he preferred the district spend the money on instruction and paying teachers instead of a hunt. Dr. Bette Kokenes, superintendent, handed a chart to the board showing the NWEA scores, which are given throughout the year to test student growth. According to the company that created the NWEA tests, certain NWEA test scores are expected to predict CSAP proficiency at a certain level, she said. The school district recently switched from using NWEA to another indicator test called Galileo. This also come with a predictor score, but it isn’t known how reliable it is yet, since it is new, said Kokenes. She was able to create a table comparing the thirdgrade CSAP reading scores to the NWEA predictors and intends to add all CSAP scores and the Galileo predictors to the table. This is the body of evidence that shows student growth, she said.

Technology issues were also highlighted. The superintendent and school board agreed that a new reporting system needed to be implemented by the beginning of the next school year. This system will track problem tickets and indicate how long a request took to resolve and who resolved it. The system will also track which equipment is prone to issues. The teachers, said Wells, can tell the board how user friendly the system is. Helping students transition from West Park to the middle school and from the middle school to the high school was third. Kokenes said teachers and newly hired principals will form a team to come up with ways to help schools transition between schools better. McCall asked that parents also be involved in this process. Professional development was the fourth need identified in the discussion at the work session. Kokenes said that she has applied for a three-year grant that would allow the district to implement a professionaldevelopment plan developed based on teachers’ input.

McCall said that she believes the district will get this grant. Updates on all these topics will be given at each board meeting during the summer. Six of the 27 community members who attended the meeting made short comments to the board. Laurel McHargue, teacher, was unable to finish her comments in the three minutes allotted her.

Independence Pass opening still in doubt CDOT crews, working to open SH 82 over Independence Pass, hope to get the roadway ready for the annual opening goal of 2 p.m. on the Thursday before Memorial Day. Will this be possible? According to CDOT Maintenance Patrol Supervisor Marc Quintana speaking last week, “It’s really just too soon to tell—but we’re moving in the right direction.” By press time, nothing had been announced yet regarding the opening.

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Early Deadline Notice For the June 2, 2011

HERALD DEMOCRAT

• Legals Thursday, 5/26, by noon

• News & Letters

Friday, 5/27, by 4pm

• Display ads

Friday, 5/27, by 4pm

the Herald Democrat office will be closed Monday, May 30

Happy Memorial Day from the Herald Democrat staff!

Fast Fact MENTAL HEALTH IS HEALTH

THIRD MEETING!

People who have major depression and anxiety disorders are significantly (60%) less likely to relapse if they exercise regularly – and continue exercising over time – than if they take medication alone.

The Lake County Watershed Advisory Council presents the second in a three-part series of

Water-Education Seminars “Water Management Strategies”

Mayo Clinic 2003

June 1, 6:00 p.m.

Community Barbeque 5:00pm before the meeting. Longyear Auditorium at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum. Registration and informal discussion at 5:30 p.m.

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Piano students are honored Page 10

Students receive scholarships Page 14-15

Memorial Day celebrated Page 24

Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com

Leadville, Colorado

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A new LCHS alum

Vol. 132, No. 22 • 50 cents

Evening clinic’s role is debated by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer The St. Vincent Hospital Board of Directors wants to more clearly outline the services offered to the community during evening hours. This was discussed by the board during the May 26 meeting. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act requires a full screening of a patient who is seen in an emergency room, said Cindy Crusoe, director of nursing. Board Member Clay Stewart said that he has had questions about the evening clinic since the opening of two separate urgent-care clinics in the community. He said he has been directing people to

sandrahalverstadt.ifp3.com photo

Randy Mondragon descends from the stage, diploma in hand, and becomes a Lake County High School alum during graduation ceremonies Saturday. See more photos on page 13.

the hospital’s evening clinic, thinking it is the same as an urgent-care clinic. He also had one complaint that a patient came during the evening-clinic hours and was charged for a full emergencyroom visit. An after-hours clinic is allowed in the hospital, said Sharon Caulfield, attorney for the hospital, but the clinic has to have an entrance and space different from the emergency room. The hospital should also have good policies about the difference. These policies exist, said Crusoe. This difference also should be made clear to the public, Continued on page 2

New ark at synagogue

Group targets June 14 board meeting by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Three citizens joined George Gipson at a Friends and Citizens for Lake County Schools meeting on May 26. He told those present not to be discouraged by the number in attendance, as he had been on the phone all day. Those he spoke to were also in favor of the group, he said. The group’s Facebook page also has 27 likes, he said. Some have “not liked” the page because the person, such as a teacher, is known. He began the meeting by admitting he had called the Colorado Department of Education about the chainof-custody issues with the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests. There was a problem, he said, and no one felt anything could be done about it.

He compared the situation at the district to an abusive home, where the problems are occurring in the house and no one can see it. If mom says something, he said, that is still within the house. He said that doors and windows should be opened so that everyone can see what is going on in the home. The group was to attend the May 24 school-board meeting, but decided to hold off until the June 14 meeting, he said adding that there will be plenty of people at this meeting ready to talk. He plans to petition the board to allow more than three minutes per speaker, he said. “If we are not allowed to speak, then we will hold a summit outside,” he said. At the meeting, a petition will be submitted for a new superintendent. If this doesn’t happen, the voters have a right to recall the board, he said. With all that is going on,

the community is talking to the district for the first time in years, said Mary Laing, who attended the meeting. She said that she remembered principals being in charge of the schools, and students and parents not knowing the superintendent. Everyone wants to feel valued, she said, and the parents, students and teachers are not feeling valued. This was one reason she came to the meeting.

Parking being enforced here The city of Leadville has begun enforcing the two-hour parking limits on Harrison Avenue, according to Sgt. Calvin Dawe. The parking limits extend down the side streets off Harrison to the alleys.

Photo by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Byron Copely installs the new ark at the Temple Israel synagogue, made to resemble one that historically resided in the building to hold the Torah. A celebration of the addition of the ark will take place June 25 around 10 a.m.


Page 4 — Herald Democrat — JUNE 2, 2011

OPINION

Editorial

Manners matter There was at least one heartwarming moment at last week’s school-board work session. Teacher Laurel McHargue had signed up to speak and was told she only had three minutes to address the board, although she had thought originally that she had three to five minutes. Board Member John Wells timed her with his watch, reminding her when she had ten seconds left. She clearly did not have the time to finish what she wanted to say. Among the six people who had signed up to speak at the meeting was Ezekiah Lujan, a high-school student. When Ezekiah’s turn came, he offered to give McHargue his three minutes so that she could continue her comments. Although McHargue did not accept his offer, it was good to see this young man display such courtesy to a teacher. Well, we’ve sat through enough filibusters at a variety of public meetings that we understand it is often necessary to set time limits on speakers. We do have some advice for those who in the future might attend a school-board meeting with the intent of speaking to the board. This will also work for any board meeting. • Ascertain how much time you will have and adjust your words accordingly. You probably won’t be given any extra time. If you have a number of points to make, enlist some friends and divvy the points up so that among you, everything gets said. • Get there on time. Last week those who arrived late were not offered the speakers’ sign-up sheet. Also no one asked if anyone else wanted to speak at the end of the public comment period. • Don’t expect that your appearance will be met with enthusiasm, especially if you are saying something the board doesn’t particularly want to hear. There’s no law that they have to like what you say. Just remember that the board members work for you, and you have a right to say what you think . . . within the prescribed time limit, of course. • If you want a response to your comments, ask for it while you have the floor and find out when it will be forthcoming. Now as to the four issues selected by the board for further study, we’d like to add one more. Deal with the lowmorale issues that seem evident in the district. Teachers and staff should be valued for what they do, and many do not feel that they are. Yes, a big, fat bonus would be nice, but that isn’t going to happen. There are other ways to show appreciation. The only essential is that it be sincere. Finally we’re not sure how we feel about the issue with the West Park CSAP scores. We do applaud Board Member Debbie McCall for her righteous indignation and desire to get to the bottom of the matter. On the other hand Wells feels that it would be too expensive to proceed with any investigation. Should we just move on or are there are wounds in the district that can only be healed by the truth? And, is the truth out there?

Marcia Martinek Herald Editor

Herald Democrat

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open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays except Wednesday. Telephone number: (719) 486-0641. FAX: (719) 486-0611. E-mail: allnews@leadvilleherald.com

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Editor Marcia Martinek Copy Editor Carol Werckman Advertising Manager Karen Rinehart Reporter Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Office Manager Mary Franz Production Holly Russell Distribution Sandra & Dale Halverstadt

Letters to the editor

Runoff season is memorable

Note: This letter is dated May 26. It’s that time of year we all start looking for snow to melt, rivers to run and reservoirs to fill. While every year here in Colorado presents an interesting runoff season, this one is shaping up to possibly be more memorable than others. To date, we’ve been moving water from our upper reservoirs on the Fry-Ark project, Twin Lakes and Turquoise, on down to Pueblo Reservoir. The Fry-Ark release to the Arkansas River above Buena Vista has been around 300 cubic feet per second for a few weeks now and looks to stay around that rate through Memorial Day weekend and possibly longer. We are bypassing, sending on through, any snow melt that comes down Lake Creek and Lake Fork Creek into the reservoirs. But, with the continuing cool weather, rain and upper-elevation snow, that just hasn’t been much, so far. Meanwhile, snow pack continues to hang on. Typically, snow pack is measured in daily averages. So, as long as that snow doesn’t melt, the daily averages climb. Right now, we’re looking at snow pack in the Arkansas Basin of around 167 percent of average. With the snow pack up like it is, and not melting, we’re not doing much importing of Fry-Ark Project water through the Boustead Tunnel into Turquoise Reservoir. But there is a lot of snow up the Fryingpan River Basin. Today, snow pack in that basin is looking to be around 388 percent of average. With that snow in mind, we’ve pulled Ruedi Reservoir down in anticipation of the runoff. We’re maintaining a release to the lower Fryingpan River of around 340 cfs (the Rocky Fork is kicking in

another 20 or so cfs). We’re hoping to maintain that release into the runoff season. As we move into the weekend, the water levels at the Fry-Ark Reservoirs, with the exception of Pueblo, are just slightly below average for this time of year, awaiting that melting snow. Pueblo Reservoir, however, has a storage that is above average for late May. Currently, it’s showing an elevation of about 4,874 feet. Kara Lamb Public Information Bureau of Reclamation Eastern Colorado Area Office

School board explains various issues At a board retreat several weeks ago, the Lake County School Board discussed ways to better communicate the information we have and the work we are doing to our community. In the coming year, among other strategies, expect to see regular letters to the Herald Democrat. In this letter, we first would like to provide an update about the third-grade reading CSAP tests that were declared a misadministration several weeks ago because of a chainof-custody issue. We recently learned that CDE pulled a small number of this year’s third-grade reading tests (fewer than 10) from its storage facility in Indiana. A purely visual inspection showed “more erasures than one would expect.” CDE believes its only responsibility is to determine whether or not the test scores are valid, and it has determined that they are not. To be clear, there is absolutely no evidence that any West Park teacher, support staff or student has ever behaved unethically on any CSAP test this

year or any year. We would also like to update the community on our staff and student summits. Right now the board is discussing the feedback we recently solicited. At our last work session on May 24, we began to identify our initial priorities and developed a process to identify additional priorities and ensure accountability. Finally, in this letter, we would like to remind our community about all the good work our superintendent has done. Much criticism has been written in the last several weeks. Here is another side of the story: When Bette Kokenes arrived in Lake County 11 years ago, the district was borrowing from the state every month to make payroll. Our fund balance was close to zero. As of our last audit, in December, 2010, the district’s unrestricted fund balance was $2.3 million. In the years she has been here, Bette Kokenes has personally written over $6.8 million in grants to improve instruction and facilities. For every dollar she has been paid, she has brought in more than $6 in grant funding. Instructionally, she has developed a district-wide professional learning community in which teacher leaders work to spread best-teaching practices through the district. She assisted in implementing Friday late starts so teachers have time for collaboration, data analysis and professional development. She has ensured that each school has unified and focused accountability plans. She has added giftedand-talented programs and an English-immersion program for ESL students. She has reorganized the district for instructional sustainability and stability. We would like to make very clear that we support our Continued on page 5

results of our weekly website poll May 26-31, 2011 Which of these four school-board-defined initiatives should take precedence? Transitioning between West Park and the middle school and between the middle school and high school 34%

Have your say at

The CSAP issue at West Park Technology issues Professional development 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

13% 13% 21% 19%


Molly Brown ballet coming Page 15

Bowmen hold two-day event Page 27

Architect King center of attention Page 28

Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com

Leadville, Colorado

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vol. 132, No. 25 • 50 cents

Blown tire reverberates through downtown

Photo by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Traffic is blocked by a semi truck Monday morning after its rear axel broke and punctured a tire. The truck was eventually towed from the scene after two hours of effort.

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer A semi truck, carrying about 26 tons of sand, broke an axel while maneuvering to turn the corner from Harrison Avenue to East 9th Street at 8:15 a.m. Monday. As the axel bent sideways the back tire was punctured and blew out, the sound of which was heard blocks away, according to Jeff Huff, Leadville Police Department, who said he heard the explosion from City Hall. Millennium Towing was

called to tow the truck that was now stuck on East 9th Street, blocking traffic. The Leadville Street Department set up a detour at East 8th Street to direct traffic around the truck, which was in place for about two hours. The Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue crew also heard the exploding tire just outside the station and responded to help, according to the fire report. The tire was jammed where it had been impaled, blocking the rear axel from being

hooked up to the tow truck. The fire crew used the jaws of life to cut the tire from the wheel so that the tow truck could straighten the axel for towing. In the meantime, a delivery for Climax Mine was delayed at Stringtown for about 15 minutes waiting for the road to clear. The truck was too long to use the detour. The broken truck was cleared by 10:15 a.m., and the Climax delivery made its way through town by 10:30 a.m. The scene was cleared by 11 a.m.

by Marcia Martinek Herald Editor Lake County commissioners voted unanimously in favor of water option #4 at Monday’s meeting. This option consists of an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Aurora that calls for the county to release its option on water from the Hayden Ranch. In return Aurora would provide $200,000 to help complete the county’s augmentation plan in water court as well as 40 acrefeet of water from Twin Lakes and various options for water storage. The IGA is contingent on agreement by the Aurora City Council, which should make

a decision by the end of July, Gerry Knapp told the BOCC Monday. Commissioner Mike Bordogna said that option #4 received the most support from the public; however, option #3 also had its proponents. With option #3, the county would exercise its option for about 76 acre-feet of Hayden Ranch water. It would require the county to pursue the augmentation plan on its own and also obtain water storage. Bordogna estimated it would take $1 to $2 million to make #3 happen, and Lake County is not in a financial position to do that. “I firmly believe in #4. It’s a win-win,” Bordogna said. That doesn’t prevent Lake County from floating a mill levy in the

future, he said. Commissioner Dolores Semsack also noted that the county doesn’t have the funds for #3, and she doesn’t want to see county services cut. The overwhelming response from the community for option #4 was cited by Commission Chair Carl Schaefer. “I believe they’re right,” he said, adding that this is only a baby step, but it’s something that’s needed to be done for a long time. At the public hearing on the four water options held Wednesday, June 15, those attending were able to question the commissioners and others, and at the end, most favored option #4.

BOCC to pursue IGA with Aurora

Continued on page 3

Photo by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

A tire is wedged near the broken rear axel of a semi truck Monday morning near the corner of Harrison Avenue and East 9th Street.

Aren’t teachers asked why they’re leaving? by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Judy Cole, former specialeducation teacher with the Lake County School District, told Dr. Bette Kokenes, superintendent, and the school board that the she was not given an exit interview when she resigned her position at the end of the 2010-11 school year. The topic of an exit interview was brought up by George Gipson, a parent of Lake County students, who spoke at the school-board meeting on June 14. He was told by Kokenes that since the principals have a closer relationship with teachers, she has the principals ask teachers about why they are leaving. Board Member Debbie McCall said that a past principal had set up a good process for questioning teachers leaving the district. She suggested a similar process be adopted again. During his comments, Gipson suggested that the information gathered at exit

interviews be reviewed by the board. If a teacher is leaving because he is unhappy, then that is a failure on the part of the district, and the district can learn from its failures only when it knows about them, he said. His example was what he termed the revolving-teacher house across the street from his home. For many years new teachers would move into the house and leave the next year to be replaced by more new teachers. The predominant reason he heard from teachers leaving is because they can’t take it anymore, he said. At the end of her comments, Cole, with tears in her eyes, said, “I have loved my nine years of teaching here and am sad to say good-bye to it, but I had to.” She pointed out that the school work environment should be transparent, management of the buildings Continued on page 2


Page 2 — Herald Democrat — JUNE 23, 2011

Missing element: ‘human touch’ Continued from page 1 should be done by consensus and the district should stick with a program for more than one year. Kokenes has shown the skills for building the financial health of the district, which seemed a daunting task, said Cole. Kokenes also has these other skills, and just needs to pull them out and use them. Board President Keith Moffett agreed that exit interviews should be done so that the board can use the information to improve the district. He also admitted that although the district has chosen the correct instructional vehicle for improvement, he heard loud and clear from the two public comments that the missing element is the human touch. The district has been setting instructional goals based on feedback from a comprehensive instructional assessment done a few years ago. Board Member John Wells agreed that instructional leadership was a strength in Kokenes. Instruction is her passion and strength more than the financial skills she has been recognized for, Kokenes said. She said she was unaware that exit interviews were not

being done and said it was not too late for calls to be made. Reba Neufeld said that in 31 years with the district she has worked under six superintendents. Kokenes is the most caring she has had, and she has seen Kokenes support teachers in amazing ways. At the end of the meeting, the school board discussed the development of a policy defining how to handle public comments to the school-board. Moffett had opened the meeting with an apology for how public comments were handled at the May 24 schoolboard work session. The board had given speakers three minutes, causing one comment to be cut short. He should have given more time, he admitted. He then told people at the June 14 meeting that people from the May 24 meeting were invited return to the board and speak. He also said that the public is welcome to call him and have a more indepth conversation outside a meeting. Board Member Katie Baldassar collected information from surrounding districts on time allotted for the public to speak and when board documents are made available to the public. Most districts allow five minutes per speaker,

according to the information presented. Gipson, who stayed through the entire meeting, compared the board’s treatment of public comment to customer service. If the comments are on a track, then the board should ha v e la t it ud e a nd a llow the speaker to go for seven minutes. Wells responded that this was done for Gipson earlier in the meeting. Board Member Megan Coffin said that previously the board had only given Laurel McHargue, a resigning teacher, three minutes at the May 24 meeting. Moffett said he was going to personally apologize to McHargue and invite her back to address the board. The board agreed that issues brought forth by the public should be assigned to Kokenes, a principal or a board member to follow up. This allows the person making the comment to know that he was heard, said Moffett. Most districts also made board-meeting information available before the meeting. Kokenes liked the idea of sending the information and retaining contact information to follow up if necessary. Board members McCall and Baldassar volunteered to draft a policy to bring to the June 28 work session.

Leadville Weather

Date

High

Low

Mon

6/13

67

26

Tues

6/14

65

28

Wed

6/15

72

26

Thurs

6/16

76

36

Fri

6/17

56

37

Sat

6/18

66

36

6/19

65

35

Sun

Precipitation

trace rain

.02" rain

Weather data courtesy of Leadville's Charles Kuster

Early Deadline Notice For the July 7th Herald Democrat

Legals Thursday, 6/30 by noon News & Letters Friday, 7/1 by 4pm Display Ads Friday, 7/1 by 4pm Classifieds (usual deadline) Tuesday 7/5 by noon

The Herald Democrat office will be closed on Monday, July 4th.

Happy Independence Day!


Loftin begins practice here Page 13

House with Eye Museum opens Page 15

Thorpe wins Triple Crown Page 29

Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com

Leadville, Colorado

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vol. 132, No. 33 • 50 cents

Elementary-school CSAP scores decline Reading scores

Chart by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

This chart compares the percentage of students scoring proficient or above in the most-recent school year CSAP (in red) with the scores from the same cohort the previous year (in blue). Students from the same cohort were in the previous grade in 2010.

Fire said to be arson

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Shannon Gipson, parent of three Lake County School District students, told the board on Aug. 9 that she feels her students did not get the education she was told they got. She based this statement on the decreases in Colorado Student Assessment Program scores released earlier this month. The decline in the scores, she said, makes her sad, and she knows that it is not a reflection on the teachers. The scores, she said, were “inflated” and not reflecting what was really going on. With those false standards, she said, it is hard to improve. As a parent, when the scores drop off in the middle school, she asks herself what is missing, she said. The scores should not fall, but move ahead. Superintendent Bette Kokenes said that when looking at the CSAP scores for 2011, she was most surprised

by the fall in the fourth-grade math scores. Galileo scores, which are tests taken throughout the school year leading up to CSAP, indicated that the scores would be lower this year, she said, but not that much lower. The decline in all scores for third- and fourth-graders in West Park Elementary school, was noticeable. In 2009 and 2010, scores for reading and math indicated that 80 percent of students were either proficient or advanced in third grade and close to the same in fourth grade. Third-grade reading scores were not counted in 2011 due to what was called a misadministration of the tests, as the Herald reported in April. The district was informed at that time that scores would not be recorded. In math, the third-grade percentage of proficient and advanced scores dropped to 64 percent from 88 percent in 2010.

In fourth grade, the reading scores went from 63 percent proficient and advanced in 2010 to 44 percent proficient and advanced. The math percentage dropped from 88 percent in 2010 to 54 percent in 2011. Kokenes told the school board during the meeting that the new principals and the teachers will have to look at a line-item analysis of the scores and programs in place at the schools. She noted that Reading First was implemented in 2006, which included intensive training for teachers and allowed the district to hire an instructional coach to support the teachers. This is when the scores at West Park started to climb. In 2010, there was no more grant money for Reading First, but there was a Read to Achieve grant in place. This was dropped in 2011 as well. Continued on page 2

100 mile-challenge met by many

Photo by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Firefighters Adam Olson and Griff Ossman exit a trailer in Stringtown after extinguishing a fire set to it on Aug. 11.

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer Arson with the intent to cause harm or death to a firefighter is the suspected cause of a fire in Stringtown on Aug. 11, which comes with a felony charge for the person responsible. Fire Chief Harvey was unable to release specific information about the

investigation, but did say that circumstances found within the room of fire ignition led to the conclusion. “There were two purposes for the fire,” he said, “to get rid of the property and to harm a firefighter.” Fire Chief Don Taylor, with the Salida Fire Department, was also called in to the investigation and corroborated the conclusion. Continued on page 3

Photo: sandrahalverstadt.ifp3.com

From right, Andrew Miller and Dave Bott of Buena Vista and Roxanne Hall and Ty Hall of Leadville participate in the 100-mile Life Time Fitness Race on Saturday. Bott and the Halls earned their 10-year buckles together. For results and photos of the race. see pages 20-32.


Page 2 — Herald Democrat — AUGUST 18, 2011

Kokenes: No evidence of tampering

Math scores

Charts by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

These charts compare the percentage of students scoring proficient or above in the most-recent school year CSAP (in red) with the scores from the same cohort the previous year (in blue). Students from the same cohort were in the previous grade in 2010.

Writing scores

Continued from page 1 These scores, said Kokenes, reflect that where support for teachers is in place, scores improve. She said that she intends to ask other schools using Reading First if the data had the same effect on scores. Kokenes told the Herald that the scores will be considered valid. The same process for handling the CSAP tests was in place for all the tests at West Park. This included the tests that scored low this year. There is no evidence that tests were tampered with, she said. All testing was completed before the investigation of the third-grade reading tests began. At the Aug. 9 meeting, School Board Member Katie Baldassar said that the district should not ignore any data when looking at the whole, complicated picture. This could include teachers moving in and out of grades, the fact that the state saw more-than-usual eraser marks on the tests not scored and the significant drops in scores. “Really do use the data to find what is working,” she said. School Board Member Deb McCall said that some of the spikes in scores can be linked

to excellent teachers. High scores can be teacher driven, she added. Starting in 2009, ninthgraders had two or three language-arts classes instead of just one, said Kokenes. The biggest improvement in scores for 2011 was in high-school reading. The percentage of proficient and advanced students was 55 percent in 2010 and 54 percent in 2011. This was up from 37 to 47 percent between 2006 and 2009. In 10th grade, the 2011 scores were the highest since

2006 at 61 percent proficient or advanced. Also for 2010-2011, interventions were started at the high school, said Kokenes. For this next school year, the district has a new grant, Targeted District Improvement Partnership, which allows the teachers to identify needed professional development and implement a plan according to these needs. This will bring in the support, such as instructional coaches, district-wide, not just at one school, said Kokenes.

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Billboard in the works

Readers are rewarded Page 17

Page 4

Youngsters hook big ones Page 18

Herald Democrat www.leadvilleherald.com

Leadville, Colorado

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vol. 132, No. 34 • 50 cents

Most favor CUP for mill by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer A large audience and a full planning-and-zoning board attended the second-round hearing for the Leadville Mill conditional-use permit. Those attending the Aug. 22 meeting were mostly in favor of the mill obtaining the permit. “This is a unique opportunity in reinventing (the small mining) industry in this town,” said Ken Olsen, former county commissioner. He said that the milling industry in Lake County ended around the 1950s. To open mines now, there

needs to be mills. For mills to be open, there needs to be mines, he said. Brad Lawrence said that he grew up in Leadville and now owns a gold-and-silver mine in Fairplay. He hopes to someday use the mill seeking this permit. Nick Michael is part owner of Union Milling Company, which owns the Leadville Mill, and he said that a goal for the company is to serve local small mines with the milling operation. The economy, he said, has changed the market to allow a resurgence of small mining operations.

With a ready source to treat ore, small mines might be “incentivized” to open. The mill has had a permit since 1986 that limited the hours of operation from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. according to the Lake County Land Development Code. The code still dictates these hours, but the milling company asked for an exception. Mike Mellott, a residential neighbor to the west, said that he bought his property with the understanding of the Continued on page 2

School bond election is set

Photo by Mike McHargue

Kyle Miller of Lake County Search and Rescue and a woman being rescued are hooked to two ropes to get back to safety. The rescue took place on Wednesday, Aug. 16 on Mount Sherman.

Woman is rescued from Mt. Sherman by Marcia Martinek Herald Editor A young woman was rescued from Mount Sherman by Lake County Search and Rescue after straying from the trail down from the summit and finding herself in a precarious position. According to Mike McHargue of SAR, two young women were making the descent on Wednesday, Aug. 17. One woman, an outdoor-

recreation major, was farther down the trail in a safer location, but her friend ended up on a ledge in an area of crumbling rock. They used cell phones to get help, having to text because of the signal strength at that location. The sheriff’s department ran the command for the rescue. McHargue said a crew of six was involved in the technical rescue including his brother, Mark, who had arrived on Continued on page 3

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer Herald Staff Writer The Lake County School District board approved a bond question for the November ballot at the Aug. 23 special meeting. As a first alternate for the BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grant, the district will need the bond funds in order to match the grant if it is offered. Board Member John Wells said that everyone he asked said that doing nothing was not an option. Board Member Katie Baldassar said she got similar responses. Her calls were to people who had expressed concern specifically. “Doing nothing would be an absolutely foolish thing to do right now,” said Board President Keith Moffett.

The question will allow raising up to $15.5 million if the grant is awarded for this year or next year. The project total with the grant would be

about $30.8 million. It also allows for a smaller, $12.6 million bond, for specific renovations if the grant is not awarded.

Ups and downs

Supt. Kokenes to leave at year’s end Dr. Bette Kokenes, Lake County School District superintendent, said during a high-school staff meeting on Aug. 23 that this will be her last year with the district. The Herald was unsuccessful at getting a comment from her as of press time.

Photo by Leaf Treinen

Jessie Miller ascends ahead of Mike Lamond at the Trail 100 run this past week. Miller was pacing Lamond, who became a Leadman for the first time after completing the race. See more on pages 26-28.


School district in turmoil