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Big shipment of COVID-19 vaccine headed to Eagle County this week

Eagle County is expecting delivery of 4,500 vaccine doses this week and as of Tuesday, there were only 2,600 names on the vaccination waiting list. County officials urge anyone who meets the current eligibility guidelines to preregister for a clinic.
Helen H. Richardson/Denver Post

If you are eligible and willing, there’s some encouraging COVID-19 vaccination news this week.

Eagle County expects to receive 4,500 doses of the single dose Janssen vaccine, also known as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, in time for Friday and Saturday clinics this week. Here is the extra encouraging part — as of early this week, there were only 2,600 eligible people preregistered to receive vaccinations this week.

“We are strongly encouraging everyone eligible to request an appointment at eaglecountycovid.org as soon as possible,” said Eagle County Communications Director Kris Widlak.

State guidelines issued late last week have expanded eligibility to include:

  • Grocery workers
  • Agriculture workers
  • People age 60 and older
  • People age 16 to 59 who have two or more high risk conditions which include cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes mellitus (types 1 and 2), Down syndrome, specific heart conditions (heart failure, cardiomyopathies or coronary heart disease, and severe valular/congenital heart disease), obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, solid organ transplant, individuals with disabilities who require direct care in their home and people with disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks.

The newly eligible populations can receive vaccinations beginning Friday, March 5.

Once someone is registered for vaccination, no further action is required. Vaccine supply is still limited, so if the number of sign-ups exceeds the available amount of vaccine doses, appointments will be issued based on a random drawing among those who are eligible. Those who are selected to receive a vaccination will be contacted using text messaging or the email address they provided to schedule an appointment.

Appointments are required; anyone who shows up at a clinic without an appointment will not receive a vaccine.

During his weekly presentation to the Eagle County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Birch Barron, the county’s emergency management director, said current data indicates that vaccine could be available to the general public as early as April.

“We were thinking it was a big question mark if we could get to all the (currently eligible) groups by summer,” he said. “This just makes me so incredibly happy.”

He noted the large shipment headed to Eagle County this week means that vaccination can take a big step forward over the next seven days. Currently, the county has administered more than 18,600 doses of vaccine. With the new shipment, that number will top 23,000 doses.

“We are looking at somewhere around a fifth of our population, maybe more, being vaccinated,” Barron said.

Hovering in yellow

While the vaccination report for this week is encouraging, Eagle County’s COVID-19 risk level is a bit more precarious. The county remains at Level Yellow on the state’s risk meter, but just barely. To remain in the yellow zone, the county has to have a COVID-19 incidence rate of no more than 300 cases per 100,000 people. The county’s current incidence rate is 296 cases.

“That (being in the yellow phase) has meant so much for many businesses in our community,” Barron said. Remaining in the yellow is a community responsibility, he said.

“It is really important that we focus on being intelligent about our social interactions,” he noted. “But the goal of our COVID precautions are not just to keep to some number down on a graph. It it is to prevent severe disease in our community.”

There were 159 new COVID-19 cases reported in Eagle County over the past week.

Next up

Eagle County is preparing for the next round of vaccination eligibility, announced last week by Gov. Jared Polis. Eligibility for the next phase includes people aged 50 years and older, people aged 16 to 49 with one high risk condition, restaurant, manufacturing, mail delivery, public transit, faith leaders, and front-line human service workers, and people employed for the continuity of local government. Pre-registration for this phase will begin in approximately two weeks with vaccinations expected to start in late March.

Those who receive their vaccine are reminded of the importance of continuing to follow the Five commitments of containment for the health and safety of the entire community.

Local information on COVID-19, including the vaccine rollout, is regularly updated at eaglecountycovid.org.

New Vail Health program aims to create a stronger workforce, literally

Alexis Dozal performs a plank exercise in the Edwards Field House with other participants in a Community SafeHealth-like program. Chris Knerl with Howard Head Sports Medicine said human performance analysts have been working with local kids two days per week and the program has been a success.

With 18 percent of Eagle County residents uninsured, more than triple the state average of 6.5 percent, filling the gap in health care services for the uninsured is essential.

Those are the words of Vail Health professionals who are rolling out a new program called Community SafeHealth, which will “guide and encourage uninsured and underinsured Eagle County residents to develop healthier habits,” said Sally Welsh with Vail Health.

Community SafeHealth will use Vail Health system resources from Howard Head Sports Medicine, Colorado Mountain Medical, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, and community partners MIRA (Mobile Intercultural Resource Alliance), Neighborhood Navigators, My Future Pathways, and others.

Vail local Ellie Rubenstein (who, along with her siblings, contributed $1 million to launch the Community SafeHealth program at Howard Head Sports Medicine) said she wants to show, through the program, that prevention works, and can provide a solution communities aren’t seeing from government or health care industry programs.

“I stand on a bottom’s up, community driven approach,” she said. “I think community health is far more important than adding regulation.”

Ellie Rubenstein, CEO of Vail-based investment firm Manna Tree Partners, says her family has benefited from Vail Health’s care for 20 years, and is proud to partner with Vail Health in an effort to create a new community health program.
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In starting Community SafeHealth, “if it would have been government, or for-profit, I don’t think that the collaboration element would have been there,” Rubenstein said.

The pilot program started in January 2021 and provides local individuals and families with culturally-sensitive programming, including mobile and virtual options to enhance access to preventative health care; evaluation of physical, nutritional, and psychological measures to track participant and program success and provide population health metrics; and fitness sessions, nutritional classes, behavioral health offerings, health screenings, supplemented medical services and ongoing virtual support networks.

Stronger workforce

Rubenstein said her family’s own health challenges inspired her to get involved with Community SafeHealth.

“Vail Health has been able to solve most of the physical issues, and that’s why I believe in the team and the organization,” she said. “I had a brain injury, they had to teach me how to relearn to walk and talk.”

The lesson she learned through the experience was simple: “Without my health, I can’t work,” she said. “That is the No. 1 issue to address here — the most important thing anybody has in life is their health, and we if can’t have people healthy, they can’t work, and then we start to have the community downfall.“

Vail Resorts uses a similar program, which the company calls SafeFit. Doug Schofield, Senior Manager of Health and Safety at Vail Mountain, said the SafeFit program has been a successful benefit for Vail Mountain workers.

“It has helped our employees work through a very physical and athletic work environment,” Schofield said.

Vail Resorts’ SafeFit program is used for management of musculoskeletal injuries, providing “quick, no-cost, access to health care providers in order to improve employee health, reduce health care costs, and reduce lost work time,” said John Plack with Vail and Beaver Creek mountains.

SafeFit sessions are 20 minute appointments with a Howard Head Therapist to discuss and provide treatment for injuries.

“The purpose of the program is to provide evaluation, treatment and advice for musculoskeletal conditions in order to keep our employees strong, healthy and working,” Plack said.

‘Prevent issues from compounding’

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically increased the number of individuals who no longer have access to health care.

Students exercise at the Edwards field house as part of a Vail Health community health program. A similar program, designed to help people who don’t have access to wellness services, hopes to attract other members of their families.
Special to the Daily

This resulted in a much larger concern for the community than previously reported, making Community SafeHealth even more important, say officials with Vail Health.

Community SafeHealth proponents hope to provide wellness training, coaching, and support for uninsured and underinsured individuals in Eagle County; reduce household expenditures on preventable health care needs; and document an overall health improvement in the community.

“By addressing underlying health issues, individuals and families can prevent complications caused by COVID-19,” said Chris Lindley, the executive director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health. “Community SafeHealth will play an important role in encouraging the most vulnerable people in our community to be healthier and improve their overall wellness and prevent issues from compounding.”

10 schools plan remote learning days this week

Eagle County School District announced Tuesday that 10 of its schools have communicated with their respective parent community their plan to have two days of remote learning this Thursday and Friday.

Unlike most shifts to remote learning due to COVID-19 quarantines, this brief shift is due to a reason to celebrate, the district said.

A large number of Eagle County School District staff members are scheduled to receive their second vaccine dose on Wednesday, meaning hundreds of staff members will become fully vaccinated.

While this is great news, the district said, it also has the potential to cause some last minute operational challenges for the district that could leave parents in a lurch Thursday morning. There have been wide-ranging reports that side effects, though still relatively mild, may be worse with the second dose. With this many staff being vaccinated at once, the potential for a high rate of absenteeism the next morning makes it prudent to proactively plan to work and learn remotely.

“This is an operational decision,” said Superintendent Philip Qualman. “We expect that most staff will feel fine the day after their second inoculation, but with so many being vaccinated at once, if even a small percentage of them have to take the day off, we would likely not be able to cover the absences with guest teachers.”

By electing to operate remotely, the district anticipates that most teachers will be able to effectively teach. If some take the day off to recover, it’s easier for other teachers to help cover classes remotely to keep students engaged in learning.

“We want to be really clear that this is a practical issue,” Qualman continued. “Many have reported that side effects have been worse with the second dose, but still mild. Most have been able to continue on with a regular schedule. So, this is not about the vaccine. It’s just that some of our schools have 60% of their staff impacted one way or another.”

Vaccination schedules have generally been on Wednesdays and Saturdays to not interfere with in-person instruction. This first Thursday will be informative about what to expect in the future.

Schools going remote on Thursday and Friday currently are: Avon Elementary, Brush Creek Elementary, Eagle Valley Elementary, Edwards Elementary, Gypsum Elementary, and Red Hill Elementary. In addition, Gypsum Creek Middle, Homestake Peak (6th-8th grade), Battle Mountain High, and Red Canyon High School (Edwards campus/Thursday only) will be remote.

Schools and teachers have reached out to parents directly with instructions on how to login and engage in the days of remote learning.

Eagle County opens vaccine pre-registration to new groups

In alignment with new statewide guidance issued on Friday, Eagle County Public Health & Environment is offering pre-registration for COVID-19 vaccine for additional employees and residents who will be eligible to receive a first dose beginning March 5.

The upcoming eligible group, phase 1B.3, will include people aged 60 and older, people aged 16 to 59 with two or more high risk conditions, grocery workers and agricultural workers. Those who wish to pre-register should verify their eligibility and then sign up at eaglecountycovid.org.

Once registered, no further action is required. Vaccine supply is still limited, so if the number of sign-ups exceeds the available amount of vaccine doses, appointments will be issued based on a random drawing among those who are eligible. Those who are selected to receive a vaccination will be contacted using text messaging or the email address they provided to schedule an appointment.

In addition, those receiving the vaccine will be asked to attest they are eligible and will be available for both doses. Appointments are required; anyone who shows up at a clinic without an appointment will not receive a vaccine.

Eagle County is also preparing for the new phase 1B.4 that was announced by Gov. Polis. Eligibility for this new phase includes people aged 50 years and older; people aged 16 to 49 with one high risk condition; restaurant, manufacturing, mail delivery, public transit, faith leaders, and front-line human service workers; and continuity of local government. Pre-registration for this phase will begin in approximately two weeks with vaccinations expected to start in late March.

Those who receive their vaccine are reminded of the importance of continuing to follow the five commitments of containment for the health and safety of the entire community.

Local information on COVID-19, including the vaccine rollout, is regularly updated at eaglecountycovid.org.

Trials resume in 5th Judicial District courts

EAGLE — After a roughly three-month hiatus, courts within Colorado’s 5th Judicial District saw jury trials resume on Monday, with a full day of jury selection for a pending criminal case against Enrique Echevarria-Castro.

The 5th Judicial District spans Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties, where trials have been on hold since mid-November because of public safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Small groups of potential jurors wore face coverings and kept 6 feet apart as they were ushered into and out of Eagle County District Court Judge Paul R. Dunkelman’s courtroom in several phases on Monday, as attorneys worked to select 12 jurors and one alternate for Echevarria-Castro’s trial, which is expected to run through Friday.

The process involved two courtrooms at the Eagle County Combined Courts building, with health assessments and temperature checks as potential jurors checked in. Plexiglas dividers were set up inside the courtroom, with hand sanitizer set out for people to use.

“I want to thank you all for being here today, for honoring your civic duty to come help us do jury trials under very challenging circumstances,” Judge Dunkelman told the first round of potential jurors. “We’ve taken every step we can to make sure we do this in a manner that is safe to you guys and to everybody. We’ve been planning these trials for a long time.”

A backlog of trials has built up within the district, with trials on hold for the last few months and for much of last year.

Echevarria-Castro’s criminal case dates back to October 2018.

According to police, Echevarria-Castro was a passenger in a car that Eagle County Sheriff’s Office deputies investigated in late September of that year, after seeing it stopped in a turn lane in Edwards.

The occupants of the car reportedly told deputies they were traveling from Utah back to Kentucky. During a search of the vehicle, deputies found a backpack on the rear floorboard of the car where Echevarria-Castro was sitting with about 5 pounds of methamphetamine inside it, according to an affidavit.

Echevarria-Castro, 38, faces felony drug and bail bond violation charges, as well as a charge of false reporting to authorities, a misdemeanor. He is being represented by attorney John Scott.

Echevarria-Castro reportedly failed to show up for a three-day trial in Eagle County District Court back in May 2019 while free on $50,000 bond. The driver of the car, Jorge Alcolea-Arcote, 35, reportedly pleaded guilty to two drug felonies in his case and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Jury selection for Echevarria-Castro’s trial was still ongoing as of 5:30 p.m. Monday, with opening arguments scheduled for Tuesday morning.

School district wants feedback on next year’s schedule

Eagle County Schools is sending a survey to parents, staff and students in grades 4-12 to get feedback on this year’s use of Wednesdays as a day of remote learning so that teachers have a full day for planning, and to gauge interest in keeping that practice in place for next school year.

The survey is going to 12,459 people in total, the school district said Monday. Results are expected to be released the week of March 15 and shared at the district’s board of education meeting March 24.

Use of Wednesdays for teacher planning and collaboration was a key part in allowing the district to provide modified in-person instruction this school year, Eagle County Schools said.

Classes and schedules were changed this school year to maximize student and teacher interaction in smaller, physically distanced settings. The approach saw all licensed teachers mobilized to provide core instruction wherever possible, with subjects like art, music and physical education embedded within class cohorts to reduce class changes.

As a result, lesson planning, including for in-class and remote instruction, as well as staff meetings, have been done on Wednesdays, providing students with four days of in-person instruction and one day of remote learning, and providing teachers with one full day for planning.

A hybrid schedule was also needed at the district’s two large high schools. Student body populations were divided in half, with each receiving two days of in-person instruction and three days of remote learning — including Wednesdays.

Summer training on the “flipped classroom” model allowed teachers to work with students so the preparation for strong in-class participation was done by students during remote learning. When in-person, the application and discussion of content occurred to help solidify learning and deepen understanding of concepts, the district said.

According to the district, staff members see a benefit in having a full day of remote instruction for their planning on Wednesdays.

“Teachers feel they are preparing better and more consistent lessons by having the time consolidated into one large chunk instead of spread piece-meal through the days of the year,” Eagle County Schools spokesman Dan Dougherty said.

Some parents have expressed opposition to keeping Wednesdays dedicated to teacher planning next school year, pointing to challenges associated with having the day of remote student learning and saying they would prefer to see the district return to five days of in-person instruction. Other parents, however, have said they prefer keeping Wednesdays as a day of remote learning for students and planning for teachers, saying it helped their children catch up, study ahead, or be fresher for school on Thursdays and Fridays.

“We just need to ask and get a clear and concise picture” of people’s preferences, Dougherty said of the survey.

Options being considered include a return to five days of in-person student instruction with a late start on Wednesdays; keeping Wednesday as a day of remote learning for students and a planning day for teachers, with community activity options available Wednesdays; or moving to a four-day school week, which would make each school day 45 minutes longer and extend the school year by two weeks, with community activity options available for the fifth day.

In announcing the survey, the school district cautioned parents, staff and students to not get prematurely alarmed that a schedule change is imminent, and stressed that survey responses will not be the only data point used to make a decision.

“The school district understands that schedule changes are very difficult to accommodate as they affect the entire community. But with advocates on all sides of the issue, we feel obligated to ask the questions and give everyone in our school community a chance to weigh in on the possibility,” Superintendent Philip Qualman said in a press release Monday.

“Accommodating a schedule change of this magnitude is not easy as the instruction time has to be found in other ways, either more days, longer days, less breaks, and the like. The survey is intended to inform, not direct our plans. It will give us a broad set of information as we begin planning for next school year,” Qualman said.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and altered schedules, the school district had a late start for classes on Wednesdays to provide time for teacher planning, administrative meetings and embedded professional development, with in-person student instruction five days a week.

Does Vail Town Council over-use executive sessions?

The Vail Town Council is set to vote March 2 on a development agreement with Triumph Development to build workforce housing just east of the current Middle Creek Village apartments.
Special to the Daily

Virtually every Vail Town Council meeting agenda in recent memory has included notice of an executive session — a session held out of public view. Some residents say the council is over-using this common tool.

Vail Homeowners Association Executive Director Jim Lamont, a longtime Vail government watcher, said the council is “definitely” over-using executive sessions. Many other residents are making the same argument, particularly when it comes to the Booth Heights property and a pending development agreement with Triumph Development for Lot 3 of the Middle Creek subdivision.

“There’s a lot of public policy being made inappropriately that rightfully belongs in the public arena,” Lamont said.

In a recent newsletter, Lamont said a suggestion from Mayor Dave Chapin – announcing that a decision regarding condemnation of the Booth Heights property had been made in closed session — raised the alarm. At very least, the matter wasn’t noticed properly, Lamont said.

“The public had no notice that this subject would be taken up,” Lamont said. “The decision to condemn or not was not a matter of real estate negotiation. The Town was not bargaining with any third party. The Council simply made a policy decision for reasons that have yet to be publicly disclosed.”

Vail Town Councilmember Brian Stockmar said he’s often questioned the need for the town to have as many executive sessions as it does.

Stockmar said when he’s questioned by residents about the use of executive sessions, he tells them that the closed-door sessions need to be limited to the context in which they’re allowed.

The rules (in brief)

• An executive session must be published as part of a regular agenda.

• That notice must include the purpose. Those purposes are limited to legal advice, negotiations and personnel matters.

• The elected board must vote, in public, to go into an executive session.

• The elected board must vote, in public, on any action as a result of the session.

“I’d prefer our work be as public as possible,” Stockmar said.

Stockmar said the use of executive sessions “does concern me.” But, he added, each session has to be judged on its merits and how it complies with state law.

Different councils, different tactics

State law limits executive sessions to legal advice, negotiations and personnel matters.

Former councilmember Margaret Rogers served on the council from 2007-2015. Rogers, an attorney, said she believes executive sessions should only be used when needed, with all other business conducted in public.

Rogers said in her eight years on council, that group tended to want to do too much business in public. As a lawyer, Rogers said she knew there were some topics that needed to be discussed confidentially.

She credited former Councilmember Dick Cleveland in particular as being “very scrupulous” about only holding executive sessions when needed.

Eagle County Attorney Bryan Treu wouldn’t comment on anything going on in Vail. But he was able to provide some context about the use of closed-door sessions.

Treu said he’ll brief the Eagle County Commissioners for an hour or so just about every week. Most of the time the update is fairly dry: updates on negotiations, or the progress of litigation on various topics.

Treu said he works to brief the commissioners in private. Public briefings can provide too much information to those who might sue the county, he said.

Treu said he views much of his job as being a “fire preventer,” keeping the county out of potential legal jeopardy.

But, he added, he’s very clear on advice about land-use discussions, telling commissioners not to review the merits of a specific file, instead telling them what they might expect during a file review.

Don’t pre-judge

The line to walk is not to pre-judge a matter coming up for public review.

“I have seen towns come out of executive session and move to approve,” he said

Treu said he also works to keep the commissioners focused on the topic at hand, not letting the conversation wander.

Vail Town Manager Scott Robson said that also happens during council briefings by Vail Town Attorney Matt Mire.

Robson said Vail, even before he took the manager’s job in 2019, was involved a “lot of complex negotiations” on various topics. Those are “incredibly difficult types of discussions to have in a public venue,” Robson said.

Executive session discussions are intended to protect the town as much as possible, Robson noted.

Vail Town Councilmember Jenn Bruno agreed. Confidential discussions are intended to “guarantee the best negotiation for the town,” Bruno said, adding that councilmembers are able to “speak freely” during those sessions.

And, Bruno added, anything decided in executive session must be voted on in a public forum.

Lamont and others aren’t convinced. Between executive sessions and releasing council agenda materials just a few days before a meeting, “serious-minded people” have “very little time” to give informed opinions on how matters should be handled.

But, Robson said, “We’ll continue to do as much work as possible in front of the public.”

On the agenda

The agenda item for the March 2 Vail Town Council meeting includes this executive session notice:

Executive Session, pursuant to 1) C.R.S. §24-6-402(4)(b)(e) – to have a conference with the Town Attorney to receive legal advice on specific legal questions; and to determine positions, develop a negotiating strategy and instruct negotiators regarding negotiations with Triumph Development regarding a certain development agreement between the Town and Triumph Development for the redevelopment of Lot 3, Middle Creek; and 2) pursuant to C.R.S. §24-6-402(4)(b) – to have a conference with the Town Attorney to receive legal advice on specific legal questions regarding Colorado Open Meeting Act procedures, stream tract protection regulations, and appointments and removal of individuals to Town boards, committees and authorities.

COVID-19 tracker: Eagle County updates

The Vail Daily custom tracker is currently under maintenance.

More information on coronavirus

Time Machine: 50 years ago, NBC program examines impact of ski industry on Eagle County

Reader Dave Naber contributed this photo from the early days of Vail.
Special to the Daily

5 years ago

Week of March 3, 2016

The expansion and remodel of the Eagle City Market was slated to begin May 1.

A skijoring event was held in downtown Minturn.

Nick and Cashus Lunn of Gypsum were the first players off the tee to launch the 2016 season at Gypsum Creek Golf Club.

10 years ago

Week of March 3, 2011

Eagle County School District hired two new principals. Greg Doan was chosen to lead Eagle Valley High School and Amy Vanwel was named principal at Berry Creek Middle School.

The renovation at Riverview Apartments in EagleVail was completed. The units had new carpet, kitchen cabinets and mold problems at the complex had been resolved.

The Gypsum Recreation Center announced its plan to host a daylong Spin-A-Thon to benefit the American Heart Association.

20 years ago

Week March 1, 2001

John Bourassa of the Diamond Star Ranch neighborhood voiced his concerns about the proposed Red Mountain Ranch commercial project located east of Eagle.

Gypsum officials pondered a new affordable housing development, located near the new elementary and middle schools under construction along Valley Road.

Despite strong play by Nate Rioux and Micah Berhardt, the EVHS Devils lost the district title to Gunnison.

30 years ago

Week of March 7, 1991

After collecting $10,000 in donations, the Eagle Valley Television Association announced it could keep its over-the-air signal operating for a few more months. Association president Mike Metcalf said the group needed to generate another $2,000 to $3,000 to address issues with is translator system, but for the present Denver channels 2, 4, 6, 7 and 9 were available for downvalley viewers.

Approximately 50 local residents, businesses and town officials gathered for an open house meeting with representatives from Eagle Ranch to discuss future plans for the land. Owner Jessica Catto said the preliminary concept for her property was to develop 600 acres of prime land into one-acre home sites.

The Eagle County commissioners approved a gravel pit and asphalt batch plant operation 1.5 miles east of Eagle. The operation was proposed by a group called Red Mountain Partners and was headed by Vail businessman Merv Lapin.

40 years ago

Week of March 4, 1981

Ernie Chavez, president of the Eagle County School Board, announced he would not seek reelection. Chavez was the postmaster in Vail and he had served on the school board for 10 years.

School board members Helen Fritch and David Mott submitted a letter to the editor rescinding the announcement they had both made the previous week. Fritch and Mott had both announced they would not seek reelection, but after learning that Chavez would not be running again, they wrote, “We are very concerned about the lack of experience that a large majority of the new board may have as the district selects a new superintendent and seeks a solution to the concerns of the teaching staff. Therefore, we have decided that we will run.”

Planning began for a new Eagle County criminal justice center. The building was planned to include both district and county courts and the county jail, and the consulting group said they wanted the center to be more of a “detention facility” rather and a “punitive center.”

EVHS players Jason Vaughn and Brad Stiles were named to the all conference basketball team. Scott Shearwood and Glenn Ehlert received honorable mention awards.

The Eagle Town Board hired Susan Sanfilippo as the new town manager.

50 years ago

Week of March 3, 1971

“Probably never before in the time that NBC has aired its ‘First Tuesday’ TV program was this show watched by so many valley people as it was last week,” the Enterprise reported. The show included a feature that detailed the impact of ski development on Eagle County. Some locals thought the segment showed a negative bias, but the Enterprise disagreed. “We feel that the young men doing the story and the show did a right good bit of factual reporting in telling it like it is.”

The New Jersey Zinc Co at Gilman laid off 15 workers. “This follows the cutback from three shifts to a two-shift operation,” declared a company spokesman. Among the 15 workers who were laid off, several had been with the company for close to 20 years. “Other workers are nervous, not knowing for sure what the future holds,” the Enterprise reported.

After the Eagle Lions and Dandylions joined forces to successfully host an old-fashioned box social and square dance, the clubs announced their plans to launch local square dance club.

60 years ago

Week of March 2, 1961

The Eagle Chamber of Commerce reported a successful membership dues drive. Annual dues were $10 and 50 people attended the chamber’s membership dinner.

The Eagle Valley Junior High School boys basketball team ended its regular season with an undefeated record.

The U.S. Forest Service announced that beginning in 1962, it would take local snow depth readings at McKenzie Gulch.

Eagle Valley Furniture announced some “real bargains” in used furniture including a red kitchen set for $45 and a sectional couch that included two fold out twin beds for $45.

70 years ago

Week of March 1, 1951

A depiction of Eagle County’s famed Mount of the Holy Cross was one of four Colorado scenes chosen for the official statehood stamps planned by the U.S. Postal Service.

A quartet of Minturn girls won first place in a series of amateur talent contests sponsored by the Minturn PTA. The girls — Fay and Edith Chadwick, Carol Ginther and Donna Mae Guy — sang folk songs, in costume, and were accompanied by Marguerite Knott.

The Crater Rebekah Lodge of Gypsum celebrated its 30th anniversary during a special evening program at the IOOF Hall in Gypsum. A crowd of 50 people attended the event.

The Diamond J Cafe and Lounge advertised “Lenten foods on our smorgasbord.”

80 years ago

Week of Mach 7, 1941

The Eagle County commissioners made special appointments for 1941. Hume S. White was appointed as county attorney and Alvin Rule was appointed road supervisor for Brush Creek.

The Eagle County grade school and high school basketball tournament was held in Eagle and the newspaper said “it was one of the most successful and satisfying affairs of any kind held in the history of local basketball.” Eagle County High School took the senior trophy by beating Minturn 34-19 in the championship game. Minturn won the junior title by a score of 21-14 over Eagle.

Celebration of life concert, speeches honor Adam Palmer, Andy Jessen and Seth Bossung

Local musicians play songs in honor of Seth Bossung, Andy Jessen and Adam Palmer at a celebration of life in Beaver Creek on Sunday. The event celebrated the lives of the Eagle residents, who were killed in an avalanche near Silverton on Feb. 1.
JohnRyan Lockman photo.

Hundreds tuned in for a concert to celebrate the lives of Adam Palmer, Andy Jessen and Seth Bossung on Sunday.

And for those who didn’t know the men who were killed in an avalanche near Silverton on Feb. 1, a group of speakers told viewers who they were through tribute speeches and stories.

The concert held special significance for those who knew Adam Palmer the musician, as several original songs by Palmer were enjoyed. Palmer’s former bandmates in Hustle, Hardscrabble and the Olora Bros chose songs they used to play with him, as well.

Before the show, Sean Healey from Hustle described Palmer as a rare talent, musically.

“He was better than everybody at everything,” Healey said. “He could pick up any of the instruments on the stage and play them better than everybody else who was playing. But he was the most humble dude on the planet.”

Healey said one of his fondest memories of playing with Palmer was in Edwards in 2013 at the very first WinterWonderGrass show. Drummer Jake Wolf played in the set, as well.

“He was never showboating, but he could, he had that ability,” Wolf said. “He respectfully filled in gaps, because he was very knowledgeable about how the song went. He played gentle, but it was tasty, what he did. He listened to what everybody was doing.”

Listening live from the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Sunday, John Gitchell said Palmer’s original songs, played by Jena Skinner, Rob Eaton Jr. and Elli Varas, was “the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.”

Jena Skinner, Rob Eaton Jr. and Elli Varas play songs written by Adam Palmer at a celebration of life for Eagle residents Seth Bossung, Andy Jessen and Adam Palmer on Sunday.
JohnRyan Lockman photo.

Gitchell spoke about Bossung, who he said was a kind, caring and giving person who loved his wife and children above all else.

“The last time I spoke with Seth was on the Friday before he took the hut trip … his biggest concern was that he was going to be away from his family for just three days,” Gitchell said.

Kim Langmaid said she used to ski the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park with Bossung, when he would make the 11-hour journey from Telluride to visit his wife Cindy, with whom Langmaid attended graduate school at Teton Science School.

“He was one of the most graceful, energetic and inspiring tele skiers I’ve ever known,” Langmaid said.

Andy Jessen’s father, Phil Jessen, said Palmer, Jessen and Bossung were cut from the same tapestry of life.

“A tapestry interwoven with elements of exuberance, excitement, love for family and friends, anticipation, adventure, but most of all, service,” he said. “That was the broadest swath of material in the tapestry of their three lives.”

Andy Jessen’s father Phil Jessen speaks at a celebration of life for Andy, Seth Bossung and Adam Palmer on Sunday at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek. John-Ryan Lockman photo.

The closing speech helped in achieving some closure, as Andy’s wife Amanda Jessen took on the difficult task of relaying some of the details from that day.

Event emcee Ken Hoeve was in Silverton with Amanda when the team began looking for the men and stopped one of the search and rescue trucks en route.

“I had no words at the time and he said, ‘This is Amanda and today you’re heading out looking for her husband and his friends,'” Amanda said. “Our eyes met and I saw deeply that they knew exactly what job they were about to do … there were no words that could be said in that moment.”

Hoeve concluded Sunday’s event by paying respect to the men and women of mountain search and rescue operations.

“We are so appreciative to the heroic efforts of the San Juan Search and Rescue Team in risking their lives to recover Adam, Seth and Andy,” he said. “Locally, we have a team of equally selfless and passionate mountain men and women that perform these same heroic acts here. Our community is so fortunate to have the care and resources of Vail Mountain Rescue, who for years now have come to the aid of so many in our surrounding mountains.”