Sometimes, the words of the Grateful Dead come to mind when it’s time to write the annual year-in-review story.
“What a long, strange trip it’s been.”
JanuaryMore than 200 rural residents jammed into the Oxford Grange Hall to voice their opposition to the proposed Land Use Code for La Plata County. After several more meetings throughout the spring, the draft code was scrapped and the consultants who wrote it were fired by the county commission. Work continues by county staff to rework the codes.
The town of Bayfield held a forum to gauge opinion on potential retail marijuana sales in town limits. About 100 people attended, a huge turnout for a municipal issue in Bayfield, and most cited their opposition to legalizing sales. Bayfield voters turned down the proposals in the November elections.
FebruaryBayfield canceled its municipal election, scheduled for April, as four members filed to fill four open seats on the Bayfield Town Board.
The same thing happened in Ignacio, but a town sales tax question meant an election still had to be held. Town voters approved the 1-cent increase during the April 3 municipal election.
At state 3A wrestling, Daniel Westbrook took fifth at 220 pounds for Bayfield High School, joining Garrett Beebe, who took sixth in 138-pound competition. For Ignacio, Dustin Sanchez placed sixth in 152 pounds in the 2A state meet.
MarchThe Ignacio Bobcat girls lost their first two games at the 2A state tourney, moving them into consolation action in Loveland. The Ignacio boys took sixth in the 2A tourney.
In Arboles, Branden Patten, 9, was shot by his brother in the neck and died on March 2. The boys and another brother apparently broke into an unoccupied house in the area, then took a shotgun out of a locked gun cabinet.
On March 10, the Bayfield Wolverines unexpectedly captured the 3A boys basketball championship, winning upsets over Arvada Faith Christian in semifinal action, and defeating Parker Lutheran 68-57 for the state title.
Interim Bayfield Superintendent Amy Lyons resigned on March 13, citing an unprofessional and unsupportive school board. She was replaced by another interim superintendent, then Kevin Aten of Estes Park was hired for the position in March and arrived in July.
On March 17, Jason Dupuis of Durango was killed while riding his motorcycle on U.S. Highway 160. His wife, Dawn, was injured but survived. Katherine Phelps of Bayfield was cited with one count of careless driving causing death. After residents complained to the Colorado Department of Transportation about the flashing yellow signals on the highway, CDOT removed the signals. Drivers now have to wait for protected turn signals for daytime east-west traffic on the highway.
AprilOn April 7, the Colorado State University Rams wowed an enthusiastic college volleyball crowd during a scrimmage against Northern Arizona University at BHS. Fans were thrilled to see BHS alumnae Kirstie Hillyer and Maddi Foutz playing back on their home court.
Dylan Burress, a senior at BHS, won the state cabinet-making title at the Colorado Skills USA Championship in Colorado Springs. Attending the national competition in Louisville, Kentucky, in July, he placed 20th.
Taking 57th overall out of 96 teams, and 28th in the “Very Small School” category, the BHS Knowledge Bowl team members were pleased with their performance at the 2018 Small School National Championship Tournament in Chicago.
Three BHS seniors, Collin Jackson, Zenn Roberts and Jack Ferguson, and one junior, Reed Merchant, performed with the Colorado All State Band, Choir and Orchestra.
Joel Priest was given the 2018 Media Representative of the Year award by the Colorado Athletic Directors Association. Priest received the honor at the CADA convention and trade show’s honor awards luncheon on April 30 in Breckenridge. Priest is a longtime freelance sports reporter and photographer for the Pine River Times and the Southern Ute Drum.
MayEdin Ramos, a Bayfield business owner who has been held in an Immigration and Custom Enforcement detention center in Aurora since February, was deported to his home country, Honduras. He and his wife operated Sun Linen Services, which employed 13 workers in Bayfield.
The BHS boys captured their third state championship for 2017-2018, taking the 3A boys track and field title in Denver.
Eighty-four students graduated from BHS on May 20, and 47 from Ignacio High School on Memorial Day weekend.
Sales of retail marijuana in Bayfield could bring in between $100,000 and $200,000 in extra tax revenues, with about $24,000 to $100,000 in increased costs for the town. Students from Fort Lewis College presented these figures on May 24 as part of a financial impact study they conducted for the town of Bayfield.
JuneThe 416 Fire erupted north of Durango on June 1, quickly growing to encompass 54,000 acres. No lives or structures were lost in the fire, which burned through July.
As fires and drought continued through the summer, La Plata County and federal agencies enacted fire restrictions throughout the area. The town of Bayfield postponed its July 4 fireworks to Bayfield Heritage Days.
An Ignacio man charged with careless driving causing death was sentenced June 19 to three years of probation and 100 hours of community service. David Lemon was driving east toward Ignacio on Colorado Highway 172 near mile marker 19 on Sept. 23, 2016, when he lost control of his 2003 Dodge pickup, crossed the center line and ran head-on into a white 2008 Toyota Rav4 driven by John Vandegrift, who died at the scene of the crash.
On June 23, OzFest raised $7,000 for local families fighting pediatric cancer. The second annual music festival was held in Joe Stephenson Park in Bayfield.
JulyEven without fireworks, Bayfield hosted a big Fourth of July celebration. Area firefighters were loudly cheered and applauded as they rode in the annual parade on Mill Street.
A Cortez man, Kevin Wade Folsom, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of an Ignacio man. James Box Jr. of Ignacio was killed Jan. 2 near Dolores.
San Ignacio’s 118th annual Fiesta featured a parade, dance and Fiesta royalty in downtown Ignacio.
AugustWith a cadre of neighbors saying “four wells is enough,” Archuleta County commissioners unanimously voted against a request by BP to drill a fifth well in a 640-acre section of land near Arboles.
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe announced it was cutting all financial ties with Southern Ute Community Action Program as of Dec. 31. SUCAP is now an independent agency, Southern Colorado Community Action Agency, and is working to reopen a preschool in Ignacio in January.
Bayfield School District hosted open houses and ribbon-cuttings for the new Bayfield Intermediate School and the renovated Bayfield Primary School.
SeptemberFormer Bayfield Superintendent Troy Zabel died on Sept. 16. The 52-year-old had resigned from the school district in 2017 to battle brain cancer.
Bayfield Heritage Days welcomed sunny skies, 2,000 sheep and the Bayfield fireworks to celebrate the event’s 19th anniversary.
BHS celebrated a 30-6 Homecoming win against Alamosa as Peri Milner and Reed Merchant were crowned Homecoming queen and king.
OctoberIgnacio ELHI celebrated its fall festival with the opening of Inspiration Square, an outdoor space for gatherings and art.
The family of Jolean Scott of Bayfield announced their 9-year-old daughter had diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a rare, aggressive cancer that hit this summer. She has traveled and adopted pets while spending time with her family.
Ignacio seniors Heile Pearson and Mike Archuleta were named Homecoming queen and king during halftime of the Bobcats’ football game on Oct. 19 versus Dolores.
The BHS Marching Wolverines took third at state on Oct. 29 after capturing the 1A regional title earlier in the month.
In cross country, Jonas Nanaeto and Elco Garcia competed for Bayfield in state 3A boys competition on Oct. 27 in Colorado Springs, while the Pine River Valley’s sole girls’ qualifier, IHS freshman Avaleena Nanaeto – Jonas’ sister – ran in the Class 2A girls’ competition.
NovemberOn election day, voters in the Pine River Library District turned down a mill levy increase for library operations. In December, the library announced decreased hours and reduced services. Voters in the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District said yes to allowing the district to opt out of funding restriction in the Gallagher Amendment. Voters in the Ignacio Cemetery District said no to a request for a mill levy increase. Of 1,173 votes cast, a huge turnout for a municipal issue in Bayfield, 615 voters, or 52 percent, said no to the question of allowing retail and medical marijuana sales in town limits.
After barreling to another Inter Mountain League championship, the BHS Wolverine football team lost to Faith Christian 21-13 in the 2A state quarterfinals in Arvada.
Members of the Los Pinos Fire Protection District are calling for the recall of its five board members after the deputy chief was fired in November. Chief Tom Aurnhammer will retire at the end of the year, and former Los Pinos Chief Larry Behrens is stepping in as a volunteer interim fire chief until a new chief and deputy chief can be hired.
DecemberBHS cheerleaders captured third in the 3A coed cheer category at the Colorado State Spirit Championships in Denver.
Bayfield town trustees voted to raise water and sewer rates Dec. 18.
Hundreds show up on Dec. 24 to sing Christmas carols for Jolean Scott and family.