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COMMUNITY 2014 SATURDAY, February 22, 2014


An Upcoming Splash

River Water Park set to be completed by summer 2015 By Nathan Meacham • Daily Press Staff Writer


he last major hurdle for a white water park in Montrose is out of the way. The permit to start work on the Uncompahgre River along the Clifford E. Baldridge Regional Park was approved Feb. 5, and construction started five days later. “It’s a huge hurdle because those things can go on for years,” City Engineer Scott Murphy said. “We had a lot of local support, which helped.” The first part of the project includes work on fish habitats upstream of the future white water park. The city received a “Fishing is Fun” grant to improve the fish habitat in the river along the park, but the white water park will take over that location. This means the new fish habitat area will run from the existing fishing pier south to the property line, which is about 1,500 feet. Murphy said the work will be an upgrade to the river in that area.

Photo by Nathan Meacham/Daily Press The Uncompahgre River along Baldridge Park in Montrose will be the future site of a white water park by the summer of 2015.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS River Water Park .................... 1 Drug-Free Coalition .............10 Construction beginning on Uncompahgre river Group has more than a new name

More Service, Literary Innovation ..............12 Montrose Library rides tough through funding cuts More Passengers ................... 3 All Points looks to expand throughout town Athletes ....................13 High Tech Crime Tactics ....... 5 Future Lacrosse team looks to pick up more youth Area law enforcement use technology to predict, pinpoint crime

More Tournaments ..............14 Community Made ................... 6 City creates position to attract tourneys to area Warrior Resource Center continues to grow services Youth ............15 Tourism Enhancement .......... 7 Strengthening Rec district youth programs outgrowing facilities City of Montrose adjusting focus on tourism market

One Congregation, Black Canyon Golf Course ..16 Montrose excited to take over all 18 holes One Community ..................... 9 New initiative aims to assist families through ministry

Continued from page 1 “It’s pretty blasted right now,” he said. “This will be a big improvement for that portion of the river.” Some of the habitat improvement includes adding pools with the hope of creating a better breeding habitat, which could increase the number of people fishing in the area. The city has to finish the work on that part of the river before the river flow increases from 75 cubic feet per second to 400-500 cubic feet per second. “It’s pretty darn quick, so you can’t do any work in the river after that,” Murphy said. The city will then bid out the work on the white water park and start it after Halloween this year. The plan is to have it completed and open by the summer of 2015. The stretch of the river will have easy Americans with Disabilities Act approved entrance and exit points, and will have spots for all skill levels with six different drop structures along its route. “It’s got easy beginner stuff that kids can play in and then more challenging stuff,” Murphy

said. “You cater to the whole spectrum.” Work on the river will also improve its surroundings. A paved trail will be extended along the east side of the river, the banks will be re-vegetated, and spectator areas will be created. Some concrete work might take longer to complete depending on the weather, Murphy said. The total cost of the project is $825,000, and the city received a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado to help cover some of it. Murphy said he has heard one complaint that a water park is just a luxury, but the other side is the economic benefit. “Invest in this, you’ll get the tourism dollars and quality of life,” he said. The organizing process for the park has lasted more than a year through community planning a focus groups. Murphy, who has been in Montrose since May, said he has been impressed with the work put into parks in the area. “The absolute best part is it’s free,” he said. “The river is a good asset of ours, and they’re capitalizing on that.”



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All Points Plans More Service For More Passengers

New routes, plans for construction ahead for city bus By Drew Setterholm • Daily Press Staff Writer

Photo by Drew Setterholm/Daily Press An All Points Transit bus waits at the downtown transfer station for passenger pickup.


Photo by Drew Setterholm/Daily Press Susan Inclan, at front, and Elaine Hudson greet customers at All Points Transit’s front desk.

here is a demand for public transportation services in the Montrose area, and All Points Transit has plans to meet more of that demand than ever before. Beginning March 1, All Points will expand its Montrose City Bus flex routes with a pilot program. The flex areas are deviations from the normal route, but passengers can call ahead to have a bus pick up and drop off in the area. Mobility Manager Sarah Curtis said the River Meadows mobile home community will be served by the Olathe shuttle green route; Deer Trail, Cimmaron and Homestead neighborhoods off of 6530 Road will be served by the red route. There is normally an additional fee for flex pickups, but that fee will be waived during the trial period, Curtis said. “It will provide access to people who do not currently have service, and those are areas that we get a lot of calls from, so we’re really looking forward to providing transit in those neighborhoods,” Curtis said. Improving city bus pick up areas is

another area All Points has identified for Improvement. According to Curtis, improved shelters and benches will be installed at popular stops to accommodate riders in poor weather and those will physical limitations. All Points Transit also provides an indemand service catered to seniors in the community with its Dial-A-Ride program. Since the program’s start, there has been more interest in rides than the system can meet, but in the next year, All Points will work to eliminate the gap in service. “Our Dial-A-Ride program is always in high demand, and we’ve had a waiting list for the last couple of years,” Curtis said. “We’re working really hard this year to try and reduce that waiting list or eliminate the waiting list.” All Points received a technical assistance grant that will help the provider find efficiencies and ways to provide more service to more customers. “It’s a high priority for us right now,” Curtis said. Another big project is on the horizon for All Points in Montrose — first, an office move Continued on next page


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Photo by Drew Setterholm/Daily Press Jenny Guseman, left, and Annette Quintana handle route manifests and head the dispatch office at All Points Transit.

Continued from page 3 for support staff, and second, the construction of a transit center downtown. The new office will be located on South Second Street, and the planned transit center would be adjacent. “We’re working with the city and the Downtown Development Authority and CDOT to construct a transfer station right outside of that new office,” Curtis said. The office move is schedule for late this summer, with the transit center construction to follow either in fall or early spring next year. A transit center would help centralize services and continue All Points on the path to serving more of the area’s potential riders, Curtis said. As a nonprofit entity, All Points works hard to ensure it has the funding to continue providing service to the community, Curtis said, while also growing and adapting to demand. “We know some things that are working well, and of course we’re still learning and strategizing for the next step,” Curtis said. “We work hard to have a lot of different sources of funding to make sure the program is stable.”

Photo by Drew Setterholm/Daily Press All Points Transit driver Donn Wright awaits passengers at the transfer station.


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Keeping Up With The Criminals Policing tactics increasingly high-tech Social media expands reach; robotics increase safety By Katharhynn Heidelberg • Daily Press Senior Writer

Photo by Nate Wick/Daily Press County Sheriff Rick Dunlap points to areas of high crime on his computer using new GPS crime tracking software at his office.

Photo by Joseph Harold/Special to the Daily Press Montrose Police Department Patrol Sgt. Bernie Chism shows citizens of the academy tools that the department uses on SWAT to capture suspects.


ll was quiet — but tense — outside the remote, Crawford-area home last March as tactical teams approached. Inside, they believed, was a domestic violence suspect who had fired upon two Montrose County Sheriff ’s deputies and wounded one. Responding law enforcement agencies weren’t sure what else awaited — but they had a way to find out that was safer than simply going in. They sent in the “electronic eyeball,” a deployable camera that can be monitored remotely. The camera helped officers see part of the home and determine what they had was a deceased suspect. “We never know what we’re walking into in these situations,” said Sheriff Rick Dunlap. “I think any time you can lessen the risks to officers, the public, or even a suspect, the investment is worth the money.” Montrose Police Cmdr. Gene Lillard, a Special Weapons and Tactics team leader whose department also responded to that scene, concurred. “It’s for officer safety and officer survival. Our main concern, being SWAT officers, is to save lives. That’s what we’re here for,” he said. The Montrose Police Department boasts a Remington Eye remote camera among its high-tech equipment. In 2011, the department was able to use such a camera when an MCSO murder suspect was pinpointed to an apartment complex in the city. That camera, too, showed enough to indicate that the suspect was deceased. “It’s a portable unit that we can deploy

into a residence,” Lillard said of the Eye. “They’re able to right themselves and we’re able to remotely control the cameras. From outside, we can look around to see what’s going on inside the residence.” The MPD is trying to acquire a portable throw-phone for negotiations during barricade situations. The phone is set up to record both sides of a conversation and can be tossed to the barricaded subject for more reliable communication than a cell phone affords. “A lot of this equipment is very expensive. Something on those lines can run $15,000 to $25,000 for a particular type of unit. We’ve also looked at robots,” Lillard said. Like the cameras, the robots can be deployed into residences that are not safe to enter. “They have real good capabilities as far as being able to communicate for us to see what is going on inside the residence — instead of kicking the door in and being met with gunfire,” the commander said. Unlike the cameras, the robots can be “called” back out during incidents. Dunlap and Lillard dream of the day when a Montrose law enforcement agency is able to acquire a “Bearcat” armored vehicle. (Mesa County lent its Bearcat for the Crawford incident.) “We seem to need it more often than any time before,” Dunlap noted. “They’re worth their weight in gold,” Lillard said. For now, the $225,000 - $300,000 price tag keeps the Bearcat on the wish list.

Photo by Joseph Harold/Special to the Daily Press Montrose Police Department SWAT member Ted Valerio shows citizens how they dress if officers are out in the woods so they are not visible to their suspects.

Other technology is readily accessible and in place, however.

Pinpointing it, predicting it

Dunlap has implemented spatial data collection and analysis to pinpoint where and when crimes occur in unincorporated Montrose County. The project, introduced and developed by Montrose County Government Affairs Director Jon Waschbusch, uses MCSO data to track reportable crimes. The software arrived in 2012; initial installation required data to be input manually. “It shows us where the majority of our crimes are occurring,” Dunlap said. His agency prints out the crime maps every quarter, although reports can be done more frequently if desired. A map of 2012’s data showed a red “hotspot” in the area west off Chipeta Road and down into the Marine Road area. “The majority of crimes were occurring on a Sunday, between 9 a.m. and noon,” Dunlap said. Such information is important to the public — reminding one and all that crimes don’t just happen in the dead of night, and constant vigilance, while not failsafe, reduces risk. For Dunlap, the question became what to do about it. He responded by redirecting patrols into the hotspots, especially during the high-crime times. Patrol also informed residents and businesses about what the data

show and offered safety tips, the sheriff said. “We did see a difference in 2013,” Dunlap said. The crime spot around Chipeta began shrinking. “Not a large decrease, but about 2 percent. It’s starting to help.” As word of the mapping technology spreads, residents have begun contacting the MCSO, he added. “We did notice the day switched. It had started where Thursday is (now) the big day,” said Dunlap. “It affords us the ability to see into the future,” he said earlier during the interview. And, overall: “We’re excited about it. We can already see it’s starting to make a difference. It just pinpoints it for us and it pinpoints it for the residents,” Dunlap said. “Hopefully, we’re going to see a drastic change.” The City of Montrose hasn’t implemented that type of system, but is stepping up social media efforts to reach and communicate with those it serves. In January, the department rolled out its “most wanted” feature on its Facebook page. As necessary, the feature displays information about and photos of suspects who are on the lam. “We’re using social media in several ways,” said Lillard, mentioning that it helps spread the word about missing persons, runaways and public alerts. “It’s definitely opened up to a lot of people we haven’t reached in the past. I think it’s going to be a very valuable tool for us now and in the future,” he said. “… I think (technology) has really helped us.”




Warrior Resource Center Expecting More Growth

None of it possible without community

By Justin Joiner • Daily Press Managing Editor


y some accounts, the Warrior Resource Center is still a toddler. The center, which could be considered the physical extension of Welcome Home Montrose, only opened its doors in September 2012. But with all of the services it provides and continued growth, the center doesn’t act its age. “Every time we turn around there is some new need and we just kind of take what’s already in the community and help tie that in with veterans and their families to make it stronger,” said Emily Smith, director for the center. In addition to connecting veterans to resources, the center provides assistance in job training and work placement, benefits counseling, social activities and informational seminars among other services. The center is unique. “We really just made this up,” Smith said. Coming from a military family – Smith is a military spouse – she was familiar with the various non-profit and resource organizations available to help veterans. But living in a rural community causes a problem – distance. Living in area away from a post or base, means access to the resources is difficult. So the center was born. “For me I think that veterans should be able to live wherever they feel they can thrive and if farther away from the city is where they feel the most comfortable, I don’t think they should have to pay a price for that,” she said. This year more growth seems to be in the forecast for the center. Smith said the post dramatic stress disorder group as well as the women veteran group are picking up pace. There are also several events planned for the year. Near the end of March, the Wall that Heals committee that brought the Vietnam Memorial Wall to the area last July plans to bring a halfscale Vietnam battle cross to the area. The committee ended up with extra funds, Smith said, so it wanted to make sure that cash was used in honor of Vietnam veterans. In the summer months there is a memorial rifle match scheduled as well as a mini-reunion for the USS Montrose crew. One large event scheduled for the summer is the state VFW conference. This summer will mark the first time the state conference has been held in Montrose. “That means we are probably going to have an influx of up to 500 more veterans than normal,” Smith said. The center is constantly growing, so it is tough to predict what may happen in the future. “Who knows what is going to be next,” Smith said. One thing is for certain though, the center wouldn’t’ be possible without the help of the community. Community volunteers are the people keeping the lights on, providing services and doing what they can to keep the doors open, Smith said. The Warrior Resource Center is located at 11 South Park Ave. For more information, call 970-765-2210.

Courtesy photo U.S. Army, and CWO4 Gary Gratton, USMC, present an eagle head cane to PFC Louise Collier Keene, USMC; she served during WWll.

Courtesy photo Sgt. Terri Cox, U.S. Air Force, is seen during Mission: No Barriers in 2013.


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Photo by Drew Setterholm/Daily Press A warm and welcoming visitor center was one of the OBT’s first objectives and was completed this year.

COMMUNITY Photo by Drew Setterholm/Daily Press Large prints of Montrose’s spread in the official state vacation guide hang on the walls at the Office of Business and Tourism.


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Montrose Gaining Ground In Tourism Market OBT has big plans to continue enhancement, promotion


By Drew Setterholm • Daily Press Staff Writer

n its inaugural year, the Montrose Office of Business and Tourism turned heads with bold projects and innovative redesigns. In the next year, OBT Director Rob Joseph said, the office will aim even higher with new promotions, marketing and projects. When Joseph, who is also assistant city manager, stepped in to head the OBT, he had several goals to turn the city’s retail sales enhancement and tourism promotion funds into real results. With collaboration and dedicated work, the office turned out a handful of finished or near-finished projects in its first nine months of work. Those projects included a redesign of the city’s visitor center, complete with interactive touch screens and welcoming spaces, and also a redesign of the city’s tourism-focused website, Joseph said a few of the OBT’s initial projects aimed to help Montrose catch up with the competition — those included replacing the city’s paper mailable adventure

guide with a customizable, interactive and downloadable digital adventure guide, and the creation of the city’s first ever mobile app. With eyes on the future, the OBT launched a cooperative advertising effort that resulted in a four-page spread in the Colorado State Vacation Guide. Montrose laid claim to the largest presence in the magazine of any community in the state and was first and foremost in the Southwest Colorado section. In the next year, the OBT has similar objectives in mind to elevate Montrose’s tourism capabilities while also providing valuable resources to residents. “We’re just looking to see how can we best utilize our natural resources, how can we best team up with our partners and how can we create an experience for the resident or the visitor that has minimum headache, minimum stress and maximum fun experience. I think that’s the ultimate goal,” Joseph explained. Several goals are on the horizon. Firstly, Continued on next page

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Continued from page 7 the OBT will “wrap up loose ends,” Joseph said, by completing components of the visitor center. Next on the list is the design and installation of a comprehensive signage and way-finding system. Visitors to Montrose will be directed to attractions, including parks and the visitor center. Residents can expect to see signage that will facilitate pedestrian and cyclist activity. Another avenue the OBT plans to explore is regional transit, and potentially organizing a transit system to and from Montrose and other destinations. Joseph said the OBT will “explore the efficacy” of the system, as well as a way to fund it without turning to taxes. “We want to explore that first and foremost by putting in a line that sort of

connects Montrose to Mountain Village via Ridgway and Telluride,” Joseph said. If successful, the transit system would offer many benefits. “There’s a large economic development component to it, as well as a tourism, as well as a quality of life — it’s a really important project. We really want to determine how that can work, and most importantly, how it can work without taxing the people,” Joseph said. Also on the OBT’s radar are plans to rebuild the city’s Channel 10 programming. The television- and Internet-accessible channel is used primarily to broadcast city council actions, meeting resident’s need for policy-level information. With work, though, Joseph would like to see it take on tourism and promotion components.

Perhaps most noticeable in the OBT’s upcoming work will be the physical addition of gateways at two entrances to the city. “This year we’ll be installing two electronic gateway entrance marquees,” Joseph said. The aesthetic of the gateways and the information they will display are still under wraps. The idea for the installations is clear, though — create the “wow” factor. “If you’re going to be a destination, then you need to be a cool town. When you drive into that town, you need to go, ‘Wow, this is cool,’” Joseph said. “You want people to know that this town is loved, and that the residents love it and are taking care of it.” To accomplish these and other goals, the OBT is looking to its partners and the

residents of Montrose. “Everything we’re doing can only be successful to an extent,” Joseph said. “We can provide the programs, we can provide the avenues, but we can’t guarantee a great experience. Where the great experience is guaranteed is at that endpoint.” The endpoint could be a dining experience, a hotel stay or an adventure in Montrose’s surrounding natural resources. The key component will Montrose’s own business owners, entrepreneurs and residents — its people. “I would love for Montrose to be known as not just the destination hub for the Western Slope, but also the hub of excellence,” Joseph concluded.

Photo by Drew Setterholm/Daily Press Interactive touch screens in the visitor center are part of the new look of tourist information offered in Montrose.


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Photo by Drew Setterholm/Daily Press The relocated and remodeled Montrose Visitor Center was one of the Office of Business and Tourism’s significant accomplishments in its first year.




Photo by Drew Setterholm/Daily Press Richard Godsil, left, shakes hands with Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia in November at a ceremony inducting Montrose into the state’s One Community, One Family homelessness initiative.



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By Drew Setterholm • Daily Press Staff Writer


t the surface, Montrose might not appear to have a homelessness problem. In reality, there are families who need help, and a new ministry is ready to step in. One Congregation, One Family is a statewide initiative that began in Denver under then-mayor Gov. John Hickenlooper. In November last year, Lt. Gov. Joseph Garcia visited Montrose to recognize the city as the first rural community to join One Congregation, One Family. The local program will operate with cooperation from Common Ground Montrose and the Montrose Homelessness Coalition. The statewide program ties into the Family Senior Homelessness Initiative under the Salvation Army. After receiving its charter in November, OCOF is ready to get off the ground this year in Montrose. Richard Godsil, executive director of Common Ground, will be the program’s liaison to the state and will coordinate local activities. Godsil has scheduled a training for participants interested in OCOF, on March 7 from 7-9 p.m. and March 8 from 9-11 a.m. Five churches in the Montrose area have already signed up to receive training, and any interested individuals are invited to attend, as well. OCOF aims to place families who have become homeless in the care of families in local congregations. In addition to shelter, the congregation mentors will provide basic information on childcare, finances and nutrition information. There are agencies, businesses and

volunteers already established in various programs throughout Montrose, but for Godsil, OCOF fit the community’s needs and added more of the faith-based community to the support network. “The governor laid out what his thought was for OCOF, and for me, it goes right through what the heart of Christianity is about,” Godsil said. Godsil explained the program seeks to provide long-term success to the families it serves. “When you become virtually homeless in this area, when you’re not able to find a rental or something like that, you feel all alone. This is where the families of the churches can come along and help them get reestablished or give them support,” he said. OCOF is not a one-time assistance, either. It is a track back to a stable life. “It’s not just a hand out, it’s a hand up,” Godsil said. “If you’re going to be a part of this program, it’s not just freebies to you. We’re going to help you as much as we can but it’s a joint venture where we work together so that you can get out on your own.” Statewide over the last several years, OCOF has placed 2,500 families with mentors. In the coming year, Godsil hopes to start small and grow the program with support. “For our area, for our community and the size that it is, if we can start helping four or five families a year or more, that’ll help meet the needs for this community and set the standards for the rest of the Western Slope, also,” Godsil said.

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More Than A New Name

Drug-free coalition leading charge for change By Katharhynn Heidelberg • Daily Press Senior Writer

Photo by Nate Wick/Daily Press A display case with facts about the effects of drugs on the human body at Colorado Mesa University’s Montrose campus.


Photos courtesy of Colorado Attorney General’s Office Heroin, said to be increasing in use due to chemical dependency on prescription pain medications that mimic some of its effects.

n 2006, methamphetamine led the pack of concerns when it came to community efforts to tackle the problems associated with illegal drugs. Meth remains a problem in Montrose County, but is far from the only substance-abuse issue plaguing the area. The former Montrose Meth Coalition recognized that a few years back with a name change and broadened focus. Now called the Coalition for a Drug-Free Montrose County, the organization has done more than rebrand. From youth involvement, to eyeing sober housing and support of alcohol court initiatives, the organization is future-focused. The focus shifted “due to a number of changes in the community, not the least of which is a reduction in meth issues,” said Juli Messenger, who sits on the organization’s executive committee and is also the executive director of Partners of Delta, Montrose and Ouray. Partners is the coalition’s fiscal agent. “One of those things was when the Underage Drinking Taskforce went away, they felt it necessary to broaden the scope of what the meth coalition had been doing. Now their focus is on drug abuse prevention and alcohol and tobacco prevention, especially in youth,” Messenger said. As are many in the law enforcement community, Messenger is concerned with how the recent legalization of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over might affect kids. “Other than being a whole lot more concerned about how much more difficult the (drug-free) message becomes to deliver, how can we be taken more seriously that there are real dangers here?” she said. Messenger cited a January incident at the Olathe Middle and High School, in which a 14-year-old student reportedly acquired potlaced brownies and shared them. Officials said the brownies sent some kids to the hospital after they became sick; they have not said how the teen obtained the infused goodies or whether the student’s access can be linked to the legalization of adult use. “We are concerned. We were concerned before what happened in Olathe,” Messenger said. Montrose Police Cmdr. Keith Caddy sits on the coalition’s awareness and prevention committee, whose projects include the Photo Voice Project. The project, spearheaded by Montrose County Health and Human Service’s health educator Jessica Dravecky, asks Montrose High School students to take photos that illustrate how young people are affected by drugs and alcohol. “We’re playing more on the younger crowd,” said Caddy. Alcohol and drug-abuse knows no age limit. Messenger said she is concerned with

rising prescription drug abuse in Montrose and the state, the latter of which is No. 2 in the nation for prescription drug abuse, per capita, according to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. “Prescription drugs are very popular,” Messenger said. A rise in heroin use seen elsewhere in the state is tied to prescription drug abuse, as people addicted to their opiate painkillers turn to the harder drug, the state AG’s Office has said. “The pivotal piece to why heroin is becoming so popular is because it’s becoming cheaper and you no longer have to shoot up. It’s more palatable to people who are trying to replace their prescription drugs,” Messenger said.

Treat the addict, reduce societal toll

The drug-free coalition has five basic committees — awareness and prevention, public safety, treatment, drug-endangered children and data collection — but only the treatment committee has a budget, said its chair Doug Hanshaw, who also chairs the executive committee. A decision by the sheriff a few years back to provide money from jail booking fees, as allowed by statute, gave the treatment committee a “big boost,” Hanshaw said. This funding can be used to help people who have not been adjudicated and ordered into treatment by the courts. For example, a person who has been arrested on suspicion of a drug offense, but not found guilty, is released on bond. His or her bail conditions may require treatment, but funding to help out is not available through parole or probation because the defendant hasn’t been convicted and isn’t under the supervision of either entity. The treatment committee will check with the jail to see if other resources are available. If there aren’t, the committee can provide the defendant with a bus pass that helps him or her access treatment. Sometimes, it is possible to help the person with paying for treatment, albeit on a short-term basis. An addict faces both external and internal barriers to treatment, Hanshaw explained. “Some people aren’t real eager to change their life in such a way that can be addressed through such things as motivational interviewing (in a court setting),” he said. The goal is to meet people “where they’re at” instead of insisting on overnight changes that might not be possible, said Hanshaw, who was himself a private sector treatment provider before




Photo by Katharhynn Heidelberg/Daily Press Hilltop employees Trisha Schaefer, left, Anita Madrid and Charmayne Heiden examine drug paraphernalia and “synthetic” drugs during “Trending Drugs and the Teen Brain,” an informational session led by Mesa County Sheriff ’s Deputy Chad Williams in 2013.

The Coalition for a Drug-Free Montrose County Boasts more than 80 community stakeholders, from members of law enforcement, to schools and private citizens. Its mission is a countywide approach to awareness, prevention, enforcement and treatment of drugs, alcohol and tobacco use. The coalition is under the umbrella of Partners of Delta, Montrose and Ouray, the organization’s fiscal agent.

The contact number is 240-8784 and the hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. to noon.

beer is going to have trouble staying clean. Sober housing programs exist on the Front Range and those under the auspices of Oxford House have become evidence-based, Hanshaw said. House members pay their own rent and follow house rules, including a zero-tolerance policy. “Right now, it’s an area we’re studying. They’re less likely to commit criminal activity, more likely to be employed, less likely to use alcohol or drugs,” said Hanshaw. “There are a number of good outcomes.” The Coalition for a Drug-Free Montrose County’s work complements that of the 7th Judicial District Drug Task Force, the role of which is criminal enforcement. “I think it has a positive effect,” said Montrose Police Sgt. Tyler Wallace, the task force leader. “Our job is to combat drug use thorugh enforcement. They’re trying to combat it from an educational standpoint. Our goals are the same, but our routes to accomplish them are different. “Anything we can through at the problem, I’m willing to try all things.” Partnership has proved critical to success, said Hanshaw. “The coalition’s success lies in the network of relationships that we’ve developed. There’s been good buy-in from around Montrose County,” he said. “I think most people recognize that alcohol and other drugs are one of the major public health issues.”

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becoming employed with the local court system. “The external barriers are often financial geographic or transportation,” he added. Even people with vehicles might not be able to handily access the treatment they need. Nucla residents, for instance, are faced with a 90-minute journey, one-way. “We haven’t solved that problem. But we do interface with the Telluride Foundation, which does support some medical shuttle service. That is a resource we have identified,” Hanshaw said. His committee works to address gaps in treatment. It can offer some degree of financial support for those for whom medication assisted therapy works, alongside traditional treatment methods. The treatment committee has also set aside money to support the creation of an alcohol court. The court is geared toward those branded persistent alcohol offenders, such as repeat drunken drivers and those who violate the no-alcohol provisions of protection orders. The court would be part of the judiciary, but the treatment committee could possibly help subsidize treatment when a defendant cannot pay, Hanshaw said. Sober housing is another option to consider. Sometimes, the only thing that keeps someone from succeeding at treatment is the person’s living environment, he said. A druguser surrounded by drugs, or an alcoholic with easy access to a fridge full of a family member’s

The coalition sponsors free support for those whose loved ones are battling addiction, and coalition members would like to see more participation, said Doug Hanshaw, chair of the executive committee. The provider has taken on more of an individualized approach, Hanshaw said, recommending that people in need of support because of a loved one’s substance abuse call Tom Nelson at 765-1447 to set up a meeting for participation in the “Share and Care” support group. The coalition is also hosting Mesa County Deputy Chad Williams, who will be presenting information about heroin at 7 p.m March 6, at the city’s Centennial Room (adjacent to Centennial Plaza).




Photo by Nate Wick/Daily Press Raven Corbridge, left, checks books out from the Montrose Regional Library while sister Tiegan watches.

Books and Mortar

Library hangs tough during funding lull Innovation, volunteers and staff carry the day By Katharhynn Heidelberg • Daily Press Senior Writer helped us to make our budget last year and they’ll keep us on budget this year,” said Paladino. The library continues to make adjustments. Even minor ones — this year, there will be two newsletters instead of three — are expected to save money. The library will be buying fewer books, but take heart, bibliophiles. “We will still buy. We still put a lot of time and effort into selection and we pay attention to what people ask for,” Paladino said. That’s good news for library patrons who in 2012 circulated 350,000 items. The library’s collection itself is 132,000; the numbers reflect items being checked out more than once. “Each item doesn’t quite go out three times. We’d like to bump that up a little bit,” said Paladino. Circulation numbers for 2013 were down about 4 percent, which could actually point


Office of Business and Tourism (OBT) is excited to announce the development of the NEW Montrose Mobile App. All businesses that contribute to the City of Montrose Retail Sales Enhancement and Tourism Promotion Funds are invited to take advantage of a free listing on the app.

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Because residents can better understand what’s available in the city and take advantage of special offers. The app will also help visitors easily access the many options available to stay, eat, shop and play. Visit to add complete and up-to-date information for your business. For more information, or if you have questions call the visitor center at 970-4978558 or email Facebook and Twitter (VisitMontrose).

said. “The Naturita Library is doing great. Their programs are very well attended. The residents of that town seem to be using the heck out of that library.” Naturita Community Library was named Best Small Library in America by The Library Journal in 2011, because of its programming, community involvement and innovative straw-bale, energy-friendly facility. Continual technology upgrades are also a priority, including new machines and a network boost. “We continually upgrade in that area. That’s pretty important. A lot of people in the area don’t have access to faster speed Internet,” the library director said. “A lot of people don’t know we have DVDs and music. Some people don’t know that we do offer Internet. We periodically offer computer instruction classes that started through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We have a mobile laptop lab where we can teach classes both here and in Naturita,” Paladino said. “There’s always stuff going on.” There’s even a “book a librarian” option where patrons can schedule time with a reference librarian to help them with research and certain computer use. The public library’s core mission remains what it was in Ben Franklin’s day: citizen access to books, for free. The Friends of the Library are a “great resource” in that regard; their efforts and book sales generate about $15,000 per year, Paladino said. “That really helps with any holes in the collection or programming needs. The children’s department depends on them quite a bit for special programs,” he explained. The Library Foundation also accepts donations and there is a program by which to establish permanent book funds. Money from these funds goes directly into the foundation’s account, explained Paladino, and works as a long-term funding mechanism. Each permanent book fund is $2,500, and can be funded by individuals or groups who pledge the amount over five years. “We’ve had them established by families, by individuals, broups of people, in honor of someone. There’s one group of 30 to 40 who established one in honor of a local priest,” Paladino said. “You can designate where and how you want those funds used for materials.” A yearly “unveiling party” reveals the books that were purchased through permanent book fund money. The upshot: Montrose’s library is well loved, well used. “We continue to see numbers of people coming through our doors, very busy. Our meeting rooms, our small study rooms are not quite constantly booked, but pretty closed,” said Paladino. “People are really using that facility.”


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ropping revenue, slim pickings for the grants whose funders like to see sustainability, uncertainty — Montrose Regional Library is forced to make due with less, but it’s also making much of what it has. “We’re still providing the same quality of service, just not quite as much of it as we were before,” said director Paul Paladino. The library was faced with shaving 2014’s budget by $245,000 to compensate for less property tax revenue. The district’s assessed valuation dropped in 2012 by 9.2 percent; Paladino said the district lost another 13 percent for this year. The library’s 2014 budget is approximately $1.9 million. Last July, the district closed the library on Saturdays, after a finding that Saturdays drew the fewest patrons. The library also closed an hour earlier during the week. “What we’ve saved is staff salaries. They

to an improving economy. “Libraries tend to be counter-cyclical with the economy. The economy is not better yet, but it seems to be getting a little bit better. That could be affecting the number,” said Paladino. People are more likely to afford their own books or Internet access when the economy is stronger and turn less to the library during such times. The library has cut its buying by 30 percent, meaning there are fewer new items to offer patrons, Paladino cautioned. And the Paradox branch was closed over the summer for a remodel; although its circulation is not huge, the closure did affect the numbers somewhat, he said. Innovation, volunteers and staffers are helping the library through its rougher funding patch. The library continues to offer children’s programming, adult programming, meeting rooms, Internet access, research and technical support, plus the summer reading program, which this year kicks off in conjunction with Main in Motion. The program aims to build literacy in ways that are entertaining for young children. “We have a big focus on early literacy. We do a fair bit of work with parents, expecting parents, and what kinds of things they can look forward to, or should be thinking about with their kids,” Paladino said. The library also this year added “Sunday Serenades” — live music on Sundays prior to library hours. Last year, Montrose Regional Library won the Colorado Library Association of Libraries Library Project of the Year award for its summertime Badge Quest program. Janet Oslund, head of children’s services, modeled the program after one in Michigan, with the intent of increasing family involvement and reducing student “learning loss” that can occur between summer vacation and the next school year. The badge program provided a handbook that explained 10 badges children could earn by reading at least three nonfiction books on the badge subject. The first year of the program, 2012, saw 574 badges earned, while check out rates in nonfiction areas such as science, technology and arts shot up. “We’re still being innovative. We’re still being creative,” said Paladino. “Sometimes, less money makes you more creative in finding ways to do things.” The badge program was so successful that it’s being mimicked. “Now other people around the state are going to get a chance to hopefully try that out,” he said. And there is also the Paradox remodel, completed as the community added on to the school there. “The programming continues to be well attended, with lots of kids,” Paladino

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Lacrosse Building Youth Ranks Rec District hopes to expand sport with youth teams By Drew Setterholm • Daily Press Staff Writer


t’s a sport that combines elements of just about every other activity kids already participate in, and the Montrose Recreation District is hoping more of the area’s youth pick up a stick and give it a shot. This year, the district will expand its youth lacrosse teams to third, fourth and fifth graders. Many kids will have never played lacrosse before, and that’s alright. The Recreation District is hoping to get kids involved at a younger age, build their skills and prepare them to play at the high school level. “This year we’re offering third, fourth and fifth grade lacrosse for the first time,” Justin Mashburn, district youth activities coordinator, said. “There’s definitely a learning curve, but as long as the kids can get the stick stills — throwing and catching — once you get those down you’re well on you’re way,” Mashburn added. The recreation district has fielded a middle school team for grades six through eight, but decided to add a program for younger athletes

this year to accommodate growing interest. The middle school team typically plays home-and-home series with Durango and Grand Junction each season and also travels to weekend tournaments in Grand Junction, Aspen and Eagle. The third through fifth grade team plans to play the same home-and-home series, as well as one weekend tournament. Lacrosse is a fast-paced and quickly growing sport for youth, and it has a draw for a variety of players, Mashburn said. “I think it’s a great option, because no matter your build, whether you’re short or tall or fast or not as fast, there’s a position for you in lacrosse,” Mashburn said. The nature of the game works for younger players, too. “The fast paced nature of the game — there’s not a lot of down time — that tends to appeal to this generation where it’s always go, go, go,” Mashburn said. Getting into the sport couldn’t be easier for interested young people, thanks to a

partnership with the school district’s 21st Century After School Program. “That’s one of the great things about the Rec. District lacrosse program. ... We provide nearly every piece of equipment except for a stick,” Mashburn said. Jim Plunehoff, who works with Montrose’s high school aged players, is excited to see the youth program grow. Montrose’s high school players travel to combine with Telluride’s high school program for competition. A growing interest in Montrose could lead to the high school rejoining the Colorado High School Activities Association league. “Telluride’s youth league has 120 to 150 kids enrolled. That tells me if we can get this thing rolling like they did, there’s probably a lot of kids out there that would enjoy it,” Plunehoff said. Plunehoff is encouraging interest in the sport by planning a few demonstrations of the game in local schools with his high school players. If more kids get involved, the

high school team could draw athletes with more developed skills. “If we can get these kids with a stick in their hands before high school, it would definitely help cultivate some athletes,” he said. The Recreation District is still looking for a third through fifth grade coach, as well as assistant coaches at all levels, preferably with lacrosse backgrounds. The district would assist with coach’s training, Mashburn said. For interested athletes, no one should feel discouraged from signing up due to lack of experience with the sport, Mashburn said. “In some ways that’s a good thing. They come in totally fresh, so they’re pretty eager to learn, which is nice from a coaching standpoint,” he said. The registration deadline for this spring’s teams is March 17. More information is available on the district’s website, by phone or by stopping by the Aquatic Center.


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Photos by Nathan Meacham/Daily Press Andrew Jutten, 8, shakes hands with his opponent at the Delta Panther Invitational on Feb. 8.

Photo by Nathan Meacham/Daily Press Jace Jutten cheers on his son Andrew Jutten, 8, while he competes for the Little Indians at the Delta Panther

City Establishes Coordinator For Youth Tournaments Estimated economic impact good for business through Montrose

Nathan Meacham/Daily Press Little Indian wrestlers Logan Righter, 11, competes at the Delta Panther Invitational on Feb. 8.

By Nathan Meacham • Daily Press Staff Writer


he city of Montrose is bringing in a youth sports coordinator to help organize and schedule tournaments in Montrose. Each tournament brings in visitors with money to spend at hotels, restaurants and stores, and helping those visitors during their stay can encourage them to come back. “We can help them come back because they would have a better experience,” City Manager Bill Bell said. The coordinator can work with local business to offer discounts to those attending the tournaments. “It’s a benefit for the entire community,” Mayor Judy Ann Files said. “That’s why, at Mr. Bell’s suggestion, we’re pursing this idea of having a youth sports coordinator.” Montrose already plays host to several youth tournaments a year, but the city may not know people are coming. An organizer can make sure the city is ready to offer the best experience possible. Files said the city lost out on a large wrestling tournament last year that

would have brought in 600 kids. “It was a big economic impact,” she said. Bell said with youth baseball, counting one age group, a weekend tournament would bring 300 people to Montrose for two days and two nights. “That’s a lot of money to the community,” he said. The first focus will be on baseball, wrestling and soccer, and the city will also work with softball, basketball, lacrosse and BMX. Montrose is already scheduled to host the youth soccer state championships this year. One struggle does remain with facilities. Only Montrose High School and Centennial Middle School have regulation size basketball courts among Montrose schools. A sales tax for a recreation center in Montrose is on the city ballot, but its completion would still be a few years away. Scheduling would still be a concern until the extra space is available. “We think if we have a city coordinator, they can work it out a year in advance with the schools, and we

might have a little more leverage than just a club president,” Bell said. “We’re kind of the perfect location for all that stuff, we just need facilities for people when they get here.” Justin Mashburn, the youth recreation coordinator with the Montrose Recreation District, said he hopes to form a relationship with the city’s incoming youth sports coordinator. “We’re hoping to collaborate more on bringing teams into town,” he said. “If the rec center gets built, that’s a huge facility where we could bring in a lot of people on weekends and it would really benefit the community as a whole.” Files said she recently attended the Indian Invitational for wrestling and talked to a parent in the stands. That parent purchased $100 worth of snacks at City Market for her kids to eat in the stands during the invitation. “It’s an impact on our entire community,” Files said.

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Photo by Nathan Meacham/Daily Press Little Indian wrestlers Logan Righter, 11, competes at the Delta Panther Invitational on Feb. 8.




Courtesy photo Madison Satterly shooting (Lucky Clovers), Kaydee Lucero (Tigers) defending (fifth and sixth grade girls).

Photo by Justin Joiner/Daily Press Marcus Rice, right, looks for some space down low in a high school intramural game.

Active Kids A Montrose Strength Youth programs continue to grow, struggle with facilities By Nathan Meacham • Daily Press Staff Writer


Photo by Justin Joiner/Daily Press Tyler Wallace goes down low during a high school intramural game.

he No. 1 goal of the Montrose Recreation District’s youth programs is to bring in more participants. “Kids are better when they’re doing something, especially when they’re doing something that’s active and healthy,” Youth Recreation Coordinator Justin Mashburn said. The major difficulty is finding a place for all of the young athletes to play, especially during the winter. There are 32 basketball teams ranging from fifth to 12th grade currently participating in youth leagues, but the rec district is always working around schedules to fit in games. Mashburn said one youth game had to start at 9:15 p.m. and didn’t finish until 10:30. “For younger kids it’s tough,” he said. The teams now play at either Centennial or Columbine middle school, Pope John Paul II Academy, or at Friendship Hall. Mashburn said the high school is often too busy to fit in youth rec league games. “There are so many things going on in Montrose that there’s always changes and switches,” he said. A new recreation center, which is on the city ballot this year, would solve many of those scheduling problems.

Photo by Justin Joiner/Daily Press James Huskey tries to make a move on the basket during an intramural game recently.

Mashburn said it would be the “crown jewel” of the rec district. “We could offer a lot more programs and the programs that we already have would be enhanced greatly,” he said. While approving a sales tax increase for a recreation center is up to the voters, Mashburn and Recreation/Marketing Leader Wade Ploussard are working toward improving youth sports across the board. Next on the schedule is volleyball, one of the up and coming sports for the rec district. Ploussard said the hope is to get even more girls involved in the spring. “Hopefully the high school teams are seeing an improvement, even the middle schools with the number of girls knowing what do to at the more competitive level,” he said. The spring also brings soccer and lacrosse for young athletes. Soccer is one of the bigger sports for the rec district, and lacrosse is growing. Lacrosse is offered for third through eighth-grade students, while the high school players compete for Telluride. Mashburn said he is hoping the sport can grown enough to hold games in town. “We’re always traveling to go play games, and the closest is Grand Junction,” he said.

Ploussard said the majority of the youth sports have seen an increase in participation, but there is always room for more. The rec district offers a scholarship, with the help of generous businesses and community members, to give young athletes who might not be able to afford the entire cost. Any kid who is receiving financial assistance, like free or reduced lunches at school, can sign up for the scholarship. The rec district will cover half of the cost if they are accepted. “If they can dedicate the time, we’ll find a way to get them on the court,” Mashburn said. The rec district offers 14 different sports for youth in Montrose, not including activities for special needs children. Baseball, which runs from Memorial Day to the end of July, averages between 500 and 600 participants. Some of the more obscure sports include disc golf and ultimate frisbee. Skate park clinics and a bowling program are also offered. Ploussard said they want to help kids learn about sports they can be involved in for the rest of their lives. “That’s our No. 1 goal,” he said. “Get kids involved and learn how to love a sport.” More information about youth programs in the rec district can be found at






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City excited for ownership of Black Canyon golf course By Nathan Meacham Daily Press Staff Writer


ontrose Mayor Judy Ann Files and City Manger Bill Bell are excited about the advantages of owning and running the Black Canyon Golf Course. Shareholders of the Montrose Land Company voted to approve the city’s ownership of the course on Feb. 7, and discounted annual passes are already being sold. Bell said the first work to be done is taking care of deferred maintenance on the property. “We first want to change the look and feel of the place,” he said. “They’ve had quite a bit of deferred maintenance on the place because of the lack of resources.” The city can take advantage of its resources to improve parts of the course. “We can utilize all of our departmental resources if we need to on a project basis,” Bell said. One fix includes a drainage problem with one of the ponds on the course. Bell said the city has some extra pipes laying around that can be utilized to fix the problem, with no cost to the city compared to hiring a contractor. There is also a spot for golf carts to come in after nine holes that has remained a dirt plot. Bell said he wants to take advantage of an asphalt batch plant opening up in Montrose in April to solve the problem. Tests are required in the new asphalt production, which can be done by putting it down for the golf carts. “It’s something we have to do anyway, it doesn’t cost us any money, but it is an improvement at the course,” Bell said. “Those types of things we’re looking forward to doing right away.” Other improvements include making the course more attractive from the parking lot to the clubhouse. “It just needs a little sprucing up,” Files said. That process includes fixing the concrete on the walkway, making it an approved access way with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and adding smaller touches like new paint and flower baskets.

Woody Beardsley blasts a ball from a remodeled sand trap at Montrose’s Black Canyon Golf Club last year.

Bill called the improvements the “low hanging fruit” that could be taken care of before April. “There are a lot of those little things,” he said. “We’re excited about taking something that has gotten a little run down over time and making some of these minor improvements that we think will be good for the customers there.” Another area in need of improvement is the clubhouse restaurant. Bell said the city has two options to explore. The first is sending out an request for proposal for existing or potential restaurants to take over the space as a contractor for the city, and the second is the city itself hiring a staff and running the location. The same process has to take place with the pro shop. Bell said the goal is to be in the black financially after the first year, which rules out the possibility of hiring a full-time golf professional. He has talked with the other two golf clubs in town about helping stock the shop while the city hires someone to take tee times and sell goods. The city didn’t have the opportunity to solve these issues when it owned the back nine holes of the course. “To have this be a real functioning 18 hole golf course, it needed to be under the ownership of one or the other,” Files said. The city can now market the course as a

package with the other courses in town. Files said each place fills a certain niche, and the courses can work together to bring people to town and have them stay longer. The Black Canyon course will remain focused on families in town. “Having it be a family course is very important to us,” Files said. The course will offer free golf to children under 10 years old as long as they are with an adult. “That way it gets kids excited about it and gets them into the sport of golf,” Bell said. Five upcoming tournaments have already been scheduled on the course. Both the girls and boys golf teams will compete there this year, as well as the Senior Championship for Western Colorado and the Colorado Beverage Classic. The upcoming VFW state convention in June will also hold a tournament at the golf course. Files also had the idea of holding a special projects tournament for the course each year, which would raise money for work to be done on the course or facilities. Bell said he heard plenty of criticism about the city putting money toward the course when it only owned the back nine holes, but those have since disappeared since the city took over all 18 holes. “I honestly haven’t heard anything negative about the idea,” Bell said.

Montrose’s Justine Johnson watches her putt close in on the hole during a tournament at the Black Canyon Golf Club.




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