Char Quinn |

Char Quinn

Last week Char Quinn traveled with local Lauri Van Campen, from Eagle to Park City, Utah to pick up 24 dogs and cats, making room for refugee pets coming in from New Orleans and other areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. On the way back, Char and Lauri spent some time naming each animal after a state – the largest kitty is Montana, a young mother cat is Michigan, and each of her kittens are named after the Great Lakes. This particular naming scheme is slightly ironic, seeing as Char herself has lived in 13 different states. Char Quinn has been the smiling face behind the Eagle Valley Humane Society for six years now, since she moved here from Iowa in 1999. Last week, on top of driving to Utah and back, she was consumed with the Harvest Festival, which took place Saturday, September 17. The food and wine gala, in its sixth year, was held at the Eagle-Vail Pavilion and Char says that somewhere around $10,000 was raised at this year’s event for the Humane Society. Caramie Schnell: Let’s start with your background, Char, where were you born, where did you grow up? Char Quinn: This is my 13th state to live in. I was born in Texas, I don’t even remember it, though – I was too little. My dad was military. I was going to go into the Air Force myself, but I got pregnant with my daughter when I was in college and I was bedridden the whole time. She’s 11 now. CS: Do you have a favorite state? CQ: Here. This is the longest state I’ve ever lived in. I moved here over six years ago. We had some friends out here and for me, moving was nothing. We came from Iowa; we lived there very briefly. I hated it. I didn’t fit into small-town Iowa, at all. People thought I was weird, they were constantly telling me to fix my hair. People in Iowa would say, “if you do this to your hair it wouldn’t look so bad.” My hair appalled everybody. I moved out here with my daughter and husband. We’ve since been divorced. But we’re still very close. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska. I’m remarried, my husband works at Castle Peak Vet Clinic, his name is Brandon. On Friday we bought a snowplow business, though. I’ve had a really busy week. CS: And you’re the director of the Humane Society? CQ: Yes, I’ve been doing that for six years. One of my friends that lived here saw the job in the paper shortly after I moved. I’d been rescuing animals in Iowa. The job was all about bookkeeping, and all this stuff I was good at. The job has expanded since then – we’ve done a lot more. CS: Where did your love of animals come from? CQ: We always had dogs, but my mom hated cats, she’s allergic to them, too. When we lived in Iowa, we had a bad mouse problem. So we said, “OK, let’s get a cat,” even though neither of us knew anything about cats. And it was just the most fascinating creature in the world. CS: How many animals do you have now? CQ: Four dogs and two cats. One of my dogs has kind of moved out though, Ralph is living at the neighbors – he likes it better there. We live in McCoy. I’ve acquired all of the animals since I took the position. My ex-husband has the Malamute that we had when we moved here; she wanted to live with him. One of the dogs that I have right now is kind of a foster dog, Jack. He’ll probably be with us for another year. The other two I got at the shelter and the last one Brandon found on the side of the road years ago. CS: You just fell in love with animals at the shelter and brought them home? CQ: No, I’m very good at keeping that separate. I raise some animals from the bottle; I’ve never kept one of those. I’m raising a puppy on the bottle right now; well he actually got weaned yesterday. They’re with me for a period and then they go on. I knew I wanted a male malamute, Ty, that’s one of (my dogs). I wanted a small dog, that’s the other one, Mountain, he is a toy fox terrier. It’s about eight pounds with these big ears. We also have two cats, Domino and Bundy. Those are both from the shelter, too. CS: How did you meet your husband? CQ: We met at the vet clinic. We’ve been married three years now. I knew him for a couple of years ago before that. He’s very shy and I’m very outgoing. He’s a vet tech, he’s been trying to get into vet school for nine years, he’d have to go back to school and do his biology degree all over. That’s why we bought that business last week, he’s ready to try something else. He doesn’t want to go back to school for eight years, four was going to be bad enough. It’s really sad; he’s great with animals. CS: How old is your little girl? CQ: She’s 11 and she’s in 6th grade. Her name is Matelyn and she goes to Eagle Valley. CS: Does she love animals, too? CQ: Oh yeah. I think she sometimes wants to be a veterinarian, and I’m not a science person, but I think she’s got those skills. She got an award at the end of elementary school that said most likely to become a veterinarian. And since she started out at 5 years old, she might be able to get into vet school. CS: What’s your favorite thing about Eagle County? Why do you stay? CQ: The people. CS: What else do you do outside of work? CQ: I ride dirt bikes; I have my daughter riding one. Years ago I used to race motor cross. I had too many wrecks, so I quit. Brandon rides and I’ve got my daughter riding. Getting back into it is certainly a learning experience for me. I don’t ski, I don’t snowboard. I snowshoe, I raft and I like to hike. VT Caramie Schnell can be reached at

Charly Hoehn

Your full name: Charly Hoehn Nickname: Chuck, Bev. Cart Girl Your school: Eagle Valley How many years in the valley: 18 Siblings: Toni Names of parent(s): Art and Lynn My parents named me this because: They have a twisted sense of humor I’m sick of hearing my parents say: “Well, if I were you…” What are your plans for after graduation: Attend DU, and hopefully play golf Where would like to see yourself in 10 years: Running a successful business and having a family What will you miss most about high school: Playing high school golf What will you miss least about high school: Small-town politics Favorite memory during high school: Hopefully graduating Who do you most admire and why: Sharon Geankoplis ” she is a wonderful role model Favorite teacher: My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Clark If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why: Annika Sorenstam ” she is the best female golfer of our time I’m looking forward to … leaving Muspyg! I can’t believe … Skylar isn’t graduating with us Most people don’t know I … am extremely superstitious Favorite meal: Any kind of seafood, with a side of mashed potatoes Advice for younger students: Stand up for what you believe in

Living to better lives of others

And Char, her co-workers say, improved astronomically the lives of the developmentally disabled adults she spent most of her time working with. “Char put peoples’ lives together,” Michelle Stewart, a co-worker, said Thursday. “She helped them find the path to make their lives as productive and meaningful as possible.” To her friends and co-workers, the 48-year-old Eagle woman was known only as “Char.” She was killed Wednesday afternoon when the Ford Explorer she was driving swerved off the side of Interstate 70 near Gypsum and landed on its side in a three-foot deep irrigation pond. “She was just a special person,” said her husband Terry Rounds. “She did a good job taking care of a lot of people.” Char’s passenger, 28-year-old Bill Switala – one of the “guys” in her Vail-based program –was seriously injured in the crash. He airlifted from Vail Valley Medical Center to Denver General Hospital Wednesday. Switala, a multiple gold medalist in the Special Olympics and a volunteer for the Snowboard Outreach Society, remained in critical condition in the Denver intensive care unit there Thursday night. For the last 18 years, Char worked for Mountain Valley Developmental Services, based in Glenwood Springs. When she started, there was no organized program in Vail or Eagle County – so she founded it. “I can’t tell you how indebted our organization has been to her,” said Bruce Christensen, executive director of Mountain Valley Developmental Services. “It’s a personal commitment to being a friend to the people you work with that so strongly contributes to their success.” The goal of the Mountain Valley’s Vail program is to teach mentally and physically challenged adults to live on their own and lead more independent lives. And the “guys” in the Vail program have flourished under Char’s tutelage, said Betsy Mueller, the program coordinator in Vail. “A lot of the guys, when they started, they couldn’t ride the bus alone. There was no way they could think about picking up a knife and cooking themselves dinner,” Mueller said. “Now they live in their own apartment and they can pretty much do what they want, when they want.” And according to the parents of those Char helped, she did an incredible job. “There was no way when Danny started the program that I could have ever believed he’d be doing the things he’s doing now,” said Amy Shapira, whose son Danny is in the Vail program. “If this accident had happened a few years ago, there was no way the guys could have gotten on without her. Now, because of her, they can go on.” Char had handed over management of the Vail program and was working as Mountain Valley’s director of vocational services, meaning she supervised all the people in the program who had jobs. Larry Vasquez, who is in the Vail program, said Char still spent a lot of time in Vail helping him find a job and live a better life. “She was like a mom to me,” Vasquez said. “I’m going to miss her a lot. She helped me with a lot of problems.” Ian Bauer, who is also in the Vail program, said Char was one of his best friends. “My life is a lot better because of her,” Bauer said. Stewart said the job she, her co-workers and Char did for 18 years was no ordinary job. It was at times rewarding and at other times mentally exhausting, she said. “It’s like if you were a construction worker and carried around a 100-pound beam on your shoulder all day long,” Stewart said. “It can be that exhausting.” But Char was revelling in the guys’ achievements up until a few hours before Wednesday’s tragic crash, Mueller said. “The last time I talked to her she was so happy because three of the guys had gone down to Denver to a baseball game,” Mueller said. “She was so excited they were having a good time. Two of them had never been to town without staff and she was so thrilled and so proud of the guys.” Ann Deyarmond, another co-worker, said Char had faith in the people in her program and in her co-workers. “Char believed you can live as independently and as full a life as possible, no matter what your disability,” Deyarmond said. “Char never gave up on anybody and she helped us not to get frustrated and give upon people.” Deyarmond also said Char’s presence was always calming. “I’ve seen her bring people out of a psychotic breakdown,” Deyarmond said. “She can talk to them, reach them and bring them out of it. “You knew when Char was there, everything was going to be OK,” she said. Char also taught accounting at Colorado Mountain College, coached Special Olympics teams and helped start the Glenwood Springs weaving shop where the people in the program sold rugs, scarves, shawls and other knit crafts. “She just liked being outdoors,” her husband Terry said. “She liked to play golf and we liked to go to the Rockies and Avalanche games in Denver. We’d gone to a Rockies game with some people from work Tuesday night.” Terry himself frequently volunteered with the guys in Char’s programs. “Char and Terry were such an incredible team,” Deyarmond said. “They both gave so much. They would even take clients into their homes.” The cause of Wednesday’s accident is still under investigation, said Trooper Don Brown of the Colorado State Patrol. But Char did not lose control of her Explorer right away, he said. “Initially, she just drifted off the road but she didn’t lose control. She hit a delineator post with the side mirror, just clipped it and pulled back onto roadway,” Brown said. “A lot of times, when a person drifts off the road, they over steer getting back on and that’s when they lose control.” A driver who drifts off the road should stay calm and not make any drastic driving maneuvers, he said. “Let off the accelerator, don’t slam on brakes and gradually get back on highway,” Brown said. “Don’t make any drastic steering movements.” Co-worker Stewart said Char could turn just about any problem into a success. “It doesn’t matter if it’s an alcoholic, a schizophrenic, a person with dual personality –she will find a way to make the person have absolutely the most positive life they could have,” Stewart said. Co-worker Teri Smith said Char taught the men in the program to rely on each other. “They supported each other rather than having to depend on Char,” Smith said. The community has lost an amazing person, Christensen said . “I think it’s a horrible thing, not only for our organization but more importantly, for the community,” Christensen said. “Most of the people she worked with are now pretty independent and they have become a part of the community.”

Charred trees will stand for years

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Five years ago, the Coal Seam Fire burned a total of 12,229 acres in and around Glenwood Springs. Now, a half a decade later, the charred remains of trees on the hillsides serve as a silent reminder of that day. Those charred remains also are surrounded by greener foliage, a constant reminder of the rebirth of the landscape and the fire-ravaged summer of 2002. Most of the areas where fire touched are greener today due to efforts of the Burned Area Emergency Reclamation Team. Before the fires were extinguished they began planning the long road back to replenishing the hillsides with what the fire took away. “It was a huge operation,” said Dan Sokal, natural resource specialist for the White River National Forest. “We were competing for the same resources like helicopters and airplanes that were being used at the Hayman Fire. There were a lot of things working against us that summer.” The destruction of the fire was so intense that if action wasn’t taken quickly, other disasters ” such as flooding, mud slides and dust storms ” could become real, potentially life-threatening problems. “In the past, the reclamation wasn’t thought of until months later,” he said. “But now we think of what can be done immediately to begin rehabbing the ground.” Several months following the fire, some residents did have to deal with mud and debris from the charred hillsides. Sokal worked for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management at the time, and headed up the emergency rehabilitation in the area. Several other government agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service and the city of Glenwood Springs, also were involved in re-introducing vegetation to other burned areas, but the majority of the burned area was on public lands managed by the bureau. To reduce the risk of disaster, the effort was initially focused on three areas ” the Mitchell Creek drainage watershed above the Mitchell Creek Fish Hatchery, Red Mountain south of where Glenwood Meadows is currently located and the S.O.B. watershed in the valley to the south of Red Mountain. The emergency stabilization projects were divided into three phases. “The main point is to stabilize the slopes with perennial grasses to prevent the immediate removal of topsoil and prevent erosion,” Sokal said. “It’s not focused on restoring full vegetation.” Crews worked on laying straw logs called wattles across the steep hillsides to prevent mudslides. Soil netting material was installed to prevent topsoil erosion and seeding was done using a “hydro mulch”-and-seed mixture of native grasses to establish a good base system for vegetation. The mixture was dropped by single-engine crop-dusting planes on the steep hillsides. “Having the grass growing is important because it helps prevent runoff,” Sokal said. “We had grass growing before the end of the growing season. It was definitely a good jump start for getting good perennial grasses growing strong.” But the charred tree remains will be the only kind of trees to stand on the hillsides for years to come, Sokal said. “Most of the oak brush has already returned,” he said. “But the pinon pines and the juniper will take decades to replace.”

Where’s Char?

Char Quinn spends a lot of time on her cell phone. That’s what can happen when you’re the director of the Eagle Valley Humane Society. Well, Quinn’s phone has thrown a fit, so if you’ve been trying to call, she’s been unable to respond. The phone is in the shop at the moment, and won’t be fixed until at least Oct. 21. Until Char’s phone is fixed, her number is 688-0307. Use that if you need to get ‘hold of her.Speaking of things humane society, there are still three hurricane dogs left in the local shelter, two Chesapeakes and a red mutt. You know what needs to be done. ‘Walking the Talk’That’s the name of a free, seminar set for Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Battle Mountain High School library. The speaker at the session is Shelley Molz, Executive Director of the Valley Partnership for Drug & Alcohol Prevention. The session aims to help parents effectively talk to their teens about the use and effects of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.The free program is sponsored by The Youth Foundation and the Battle Mountain High School Parent Teacher Association, as well as Vail Mountain SchoolFor more information, call 904-2259. Looking for vendors and buyers for holiday fairSeems a little early to be talking about the holidays, but we are looking for vendors and buyers!It’s the 20th annual Country Holiday Fair held on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. at the Gypsum Creek Middle School. Cost to participate as a vendor will be $40. Any interested persons could get ahold of Mary Kate Ewing at 524-1379. Two other craft fairs will be going on in the area. We will also offer a concession stand serving breakfast and lunch items….. ….. .. .Vail, Colorado

Furnace fire chars home

A faulty furnace is being blamed in a structural fire that destroyed a home Monday at the Eagle River Village Mobile Home Park in Edwards. No one was hurt in the fire, which was discovered by a friend of the home’s residents shortly after 10 a.m. Firefighters from the Eagle River Fire Protection District found smoke pouring from the home’s windows when they arrived at the scene. The fire was extinguished in minutes and a search team determined that the home was unoccupied at the time the fire broke out. “The smoke was so thick that all we could do was rely on the sensation of touch to try and figure out if someone was still in there,” said search team member Lt. Erin Lamb. A joint cause investigation conducted by the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office’s Detective Mike McWilliam and Eagle River Fire Marshal Carol Mulson showed fire was caused was a malfunctioning furnace.

Vail Town Council gives initial OK to Marriott proposal in West Vail

VAIL — The Vail Town Council has given preliminary approval to a proposal for a Marriott Residence Inn in West Vail that would include apartments, hotel rooms, and underground parking. They approved the special development district ordinance by a vote of 5-2, with Kevin Foley and Jen Mason against, on first reading. Second reading is scheduled for Feb. 21. The development proposal under review for the Marriott Residence Inn includes an extended-stay hotel with 170 limited service lodge rooms, fitness facilities including swimming pool and hot tubs, a breakfast dining area and similar lodge amenities. As a public benefit, the project also includes an apartment component including 113 one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging in size from approximately 600 square feet to 1,200 square feet. Of the 113 rental apartments, 107 would be deed restricted. Also included in the proposal is a two-level underground parking structure containing 360 parking spaces. (function(d, s, id) {var js,ijs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=”//”;ijs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, ijs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘scrbbl-js’));

Fish fill Lake Dillon to remember angler

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado ” After 25-year-old Matthew Scott Daniels died unexpectedly in 2005, his father, Ron, decided that the best way to honor his son’s memory would be with a living legacy. “He was a fish-a-holic. He lived and worked to go fishing,” Daniels said Tuesday after state biologists dropped about 20,000 Arctic char fingerlings into Dillon Reservoir near the Frisco Marina. “It felt like the right place to do it, to put fish back in where he took them out,” Daniels said. “He was a true fisherman.” After Matthew Daniels died, his family set up a memorial fund in his name, with the money earmarked for a fisheries project. The Colorado Division of Wildlife matched a $4,000 contribution from the fund to purchase Arctic char eggs from a private hatchery in Manitoba. Char are native to Arctic and sub-Arctic lakes and coastal waters, and the state wildlife agency decided that they might do well in the cold and relatively sterile waters of Dillon Reservoir. The eggs were hatched and raised at the Mt. Shavano hatchery during the past year. Aquatic biologist Jon Ewert said he hopes to continue the stocking program for at least three years to establish a variety of age classes in the reservoir. The last time char were stocked in Dillon Reservoir was in 1998, and since the fish don’t reproduce, those fish are probably mostly gone by now. Char don’t eat a lot and won’t compete with trout species in the reservoir, Ewert explained. The char fishery in Dillon will be unique to the state, Ewert said. Based on observations from previous stocking, the cold-water fish should thrive, even with a short growing season. As open-water fish, char don’t need much in the way of organic debris in the water. That matches the profile of Dillon Reservoir, where the ground was scraped bare before Denver Water started filling the impoundment back in the 1960s. The char in Dillon won’t reproduce naturally, Ewert said, explaining that the eggs purchased from Canada come from a strain that has been genetically altered to be sterile. The advantage to the strain is that they grow much faster than non-sterile fish, he said. Still, it will be a couple of years before they appear in angler’s creels in any significant size, Ewert said. Char are found farther north than any other freshwater fish species — for example, living in Lake Hazen on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic. They are also found in deep glacial lakes in Scotland, Scandinavia and Siberia. Char look a bit like salmon but are closer to trout in their genetic makeup. In their natural lifecycle, some char migrate to the ocean in the summer to feed, returning to freshwater lakes and streams in the fall weighing 30 to 50 percent more than when they left. Other char populations spend their entire life in freshwater.

Lutheran fundraiser

First Lutheran Youth of Gypsum has found a tasty way to raise money for a summer mission trip.Through Oct. 19, the young Lutherans are selling items from Schwan’s Foods, including cookie doughs, apple and cherry pies, brownies, cheesecake and a variety of pizzas. The frozen goodies will delivered to your doorstep by Schwans, wherever you are, during Christmas week.The Lutheran kids are using the food sale to help pay for a summer mission trip to help disadvantaged children and the homeless in a major American city. To order on-line, go to and enter group number 55516 to see the items. A total of 25 percent of all sales ordered on line will go to the youth group for their mission trip.Where’s Char? Char Quinn spends a lot of time on her cell phone. That’s what can happen when you’re the director of the Eagle Valley Humane Society.Well, Quinn’s phone has thrown a fit, so if you’ve been trying to call, she’s been unable to respond. The phone is in the shop at the moment, and won’t be fixed until at least Oct. 21. Until Char’s phone is fixed, her number is 688-0307. Use that if you need to get ‘hold of her. Speaking of things humane society, there are still three hurricane dogs left in the local shelter, two Chesapeakes and a red mutt. You know what needs to be done…. … … . .Vail, Colorado

Housing developer to host open house Monday in Vail

VAIL — The Harp Group, the developers of the proposed Marriott Residence Inn and an affordable housing project in West Vail will host an informational open house Monday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail.  The proposed project includes a 170-room Marriott Residence Inn and 113 deed-restricted apartments, as well as 328 below-grade parking spaces located on the former Roost Lodge property in West Vail. It was first submitted to the town of Vail on Aug. 15 and is currently under review by the town's Planning and Environmental Commission.  "We want to give community members and our neighbors in West Vail an opportunity to meet the development and design teams and ask questions about the project outside of the more formal town meetings," said Peter Dumon, founder and president of The Harp Group, a real estate and hospitality investment corporation headquartered in suburban Chicago. "It's an important project for Vail and all of Eagle County and we want to make sure people fully understand it. We've personally invited our immediate neighbors to the open house via email, but anyone with an interest in the project is welcome to stop by." The town of Vail has adopted a housing plan to purchase 1,000 deed restrictions on homes and apartments in the next decade. "With our proposed 113 apartments, Vail will be more than 10 percent on its way to its goal of 1,000 deed-restricted units within town limits by 2027," Dumon said.