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Edwards Spur Road to see overnight closures this week

EDWARDS — Edwards Spur Road project crews will install a water main across the roadway requiring overnight closures of the road between the U.S. Highway 6 intersection and the south side of the Edwards Riverwalk entrance.

The work began Sunday night and the overnight closures will occur through Thursday and are scheduled from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night. During this time, businesses and residences will remain accessible, but motorists may need to use the detour route to reach their destinations. Motorists are encouraged to utilize Miller Ranch Road and Highway 6 as an alternate route.
This closure will allow for safety-critical work installing the new water main across the Spur Road ahead of full roundabout construction this summer.

There will be another round of overnight closures along the road the following week as crews move north of the Eagle River Bridge to install another water main. This second round of overnight closures will occur from Sunday, April 14, through Thursday, April 18, also scheduled from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night. Motorists will again utilize Miller Ranch Road and Highway 6 as an alternate route to reach businesses and residences.

For more information about this project, call the project information line at 970-446-1001, email the team at edwards@cig-pr.com, or visit the project website and sign up for updates at codot.gov/projects/edwards-spur-road

Carnes: D-Day for Avon’s B.A.R.N.

It is here.

The moment we’ve all been waiting for.

The ultimate, life-changing decision most of us never knew even existed until a few months ago when we discovered it was a completely unexpected major issue.

While I wish I was referring to the Game of DC Thrones finale last week, this has nothing to do with Bill Barr’s Cliff Notes and everything to do with the Town of Avon Survey Test (TOAST) over the Hahnewald Barn.

Deadline for returning surveys is Tuesday at 5 p.m. over at town hall, and hopefully the full results will be announced at Tuesday’s meeting.

Someone asked me the other day (in a barn without the “n” — OK, it was in a bar…) if I was “tired of writing about the damn barn all the time.”

In a word: no.

In a bunch of other words, nowhere near as tired as I am of writing about Dear Leader and his mindless little sycophant followers, and besides, it’s fun to write about local issues that pop up to rile the local masses every few months.

Part of me wishes it would happen more often, but that’s kind of selfish, and I try not to be that way most of the time.

Anyway, I applaud the civility across the board from those on both sides of the fence (barn, whatever…), and especially whoever was responsible for printing and placing the “Fund Avon’s Future — Not a barn” signs along with a few variations all over town.

Same for Councilwoman Amy Phillips. Although I’m sure other councilmembers have been doing their part, Amy is the only member of the council that I saw repeatedly and publicly standing her ground in support of the barn. And she did so, at least on social media, without once resorting to name-calling or other pointless attacks against those she disagrees with.

So what will the results be Tuesday night?

Don’t ask me, but if I were a betting man I’d put a good chunk down on the “NO” vote count being quite a bit higher than the “YES” numbers.

If it’s close, like say a 51 percent “NO” and 49 percent “YES,” it will certainly be entertaining to see how our elected officials handle that one.

I see the vote as having two distinct B.A.R.N outcomes: “Behold Avon’s Respect Now!” or “Because Avon Respects Nobody!”

Failing by a slim margin could result in a Dear Leader-styled approach: “If at first you don’t succeed, immediately come up with a few really good excuses and then do what you wanted to do in the first place regardless of the consequences.”

If this happens one can only imagine the exonerated shouts of, “We’re councilmembers and you’re not!”

However, if it passes by a slim margin, I absolutely guarantee there will be some demanding full disclosure (without redactions!) and a recount, others demanding a recall, and the rest saying, “Crap, the season’s almost over.”

By that point I will happily be in the crappers camp.

Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.

End of tour for Lt. Eric Hill

At approximately 11:55 a.m. Saturday, the Vail Public Safety Communications Center aired calls for ARFF 10-15; Eagle Fire 907; Gypsum Fire 1448; and CDOT 2-Mary-18-1.

The crowd numbering more than 500 assembled at the Eagle River Center knew Eric Dean Hill couldn’t answer any of those pages from any of the agencies where he had proudly served.

“This is last call for Lt. Eric Hill. His tour has ended. Thank you for being a warrior, a firefighter, a father, a grandfather, a husband, a son, a co-worker and an un-wavering friend,” came the announcement from the Vail dispatch center.

A lone trumpet had already played taps and representatives from the Gypsum Fire Department and the Colorado Department of Transportation had presented flags to Hill’s wife Cissy and his parents Rick and Cathy Hill. Mourners — many attired in military and emergency service uniforms — were still brushing away tears and sharing smiles, reflecting on a ceremony that honored Hill’s service to his community and his country. At times the gathering was painfully poignant. At others, it was delightfully irreverent. Throughout, it was heartfelt.

Gypsum Fire Chief Justin Kirkland presents an American flag to Cathy and Rick Hill, parents of Eric Hill.
Photo courtesy Tracy Trulove, Colorado Department of Transportation


Rev. Sid Spain, of Eagle, called Hill “a child of the valley.” Hill spent the majority of his 51 years in the Eagle Valley — attending local schools, graduating as an Eagle Valley Devil and returning to make it his home after six years in the U.S. Air Force. He served the community as a firefighter, EMT and mentor. He served his family as a loving husband, father, grandfather, son and brother. He left his many friends with wonderful memories of his fun-loving, mischievious persona.

“He played on the edge and loved the edge. He played big and lived big,” Spain said. “People who live intensely touch us all.”

Friends, Colleagues, Family

Mike Clarke, a friend and fellow CDOT worker, said he had tried several times to write down what he wanted to say about his friend and co-worker. He shredded each of those attempts.

“We will just try to fly by the seat of our pants, like Eric would,” Clarke said.

Clarke talked about the many conversations he shared with Hill, dealing with everything from politics to parenting challenges.

“We talked about raising daughter, which is why you see Eric with no hair,” Clarke said.

Colorado State Patrol Trooper Jake Best talked about how he and Hill grew up together and how the Spring Creek Valley was their playground as youngsters.

Best noted that he and Hill began as volunteers at the Gypsum Fire Department at the same time. Eventually, Hill became a senior member of the Gypsum firefighting crew and he became renown for his training expertise.

“Eric had a wealth of knowledge. He was always willing to help you learn, even if it was learning the hard way,” Best said.

Best recalled how Hill always seemed to have a special tool or a unique insight when it came to dealing with a problem in the field or an equipment issue at the fire station.

“I have always been told heaven is perfect, so I don’t know what Eric will be working on, but he will find something,” Best said.

Childhood friend Randy Ward shared colorful story about Hill. Ward related how when the two of them were 11 years old, he and Hill toted their BB guns to the Trail Gulch area when an irresistible opportunity presented itself. Hill filed a shot at the backside of a woman who was crouching in the brush, experiencing a restroom emergency.

As the room erupted in laughter, Ward told how the lady jumped up, figuring that something had bit her. He recalled how his friend’s face turned bright red with the effort it took not to laugh and get caught.

“If this story sounds familiar to you, we apologize now,” Ward said.

Brad Jones was a friend and collegue to Hill for nearly 20 years.

“Everyone who knew him knew Eric was a passionate person, ornery and even obnoxious sometimes,” Jones said. “If something was going on, he was all in.”

A display of uniforms and memorabilia at his memorial service demonstrated the impact of Eric Hill’s life in the Eagle Valley.
Photo courtesy Tracy LeClair Public Information Officer Eagle River Fire


‘Dad was a rocker’

To Tyler Dohman, Hill was simply “Dad.”

Dohman talked about how Hill shared his love of the outdoors, hard work and even ACDC music with his kids — himself, his sister Kasie and his brother Brodie. He noted that his father taught them the importance of self-reliance and making sure that things were done correctly.

“Dad was one of the most optimistic people I have ever known,” Dohman told a crowd of people who were weighted down by the day’s sadness. Dohman noted he wasn’t much of a poetry fan, and neither was his dad, but he then shared a piece called “The Dash”saying Hill lived a life full of love in the dash between 1968 and 2019.

At the conclusion for the service, Hill’s brother-in-law Perry Weston instructed the assembled crowd to stand, place a hand on a neighbor’s shoulder, and think of a happy memory of Hill. Weston asked the mourners let that spirit of happiness take over the room to sustain his loved ones in a celebration of the life Hill lived.

Mourners share a moment of remembrance for Eric Hill.
Photo courtesy Tracy Trulove, Colorado Department of Transportation.


Then the trumpet played and the tour of duty ended for ARFF 10-15; Eagle Fire 907; Gypsum Fire 1448; and CDOT 2-Mary-18-1.

“May he rest in peace. Godspeed, sir. We have the watch from here,” were the final words from dispatch.

Avon stabber sentenced to 20 years in prison

EAGLE — A local woman is not dead because she acted quickly.

According to police, Andrew Young tried desperately to kill her on the morning of May 31, 2018, on a recreation path in Avon. He hit her on top of her head with a Pinnacle Cutlery kitchen knife, then stabbed her five times so hard the blade broke. When she ran for her life, sprinting while gushing blood and praying to see her children one more time, he chased her.

Police know the facts of what happened, but why has been much harder to pin down. Avon police determined it was a random attack.

Young will spend the next 20 years in prison, sentenced Tuesday afternoon by District Court Judge Russell Granger. Young was 18 when he carried out the attack in May. He turned 19 in the Eagle County jail.

The victim bravely speaks

The victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, spoke bravely through tears in the courtroom on Tuesday, recounting in more than 20 minutes of testimony what Young’s attack put her and her children through — so far. She says she doubts she’ll ever fully recover.

She was on her early-morning jog along a recreation path in Avon when she sensed that things weren’t right.

She continued running. Maybe everything would be OK.

“It was very, very far from OK,” Deputy District Attorney Stephen Potts said.

She jogged past Young, skulking beside the path. She could hear above her earphones his heavy running behind her.

He passed her and she stopped for a moment, but soon she started her run again.

As she began to move, he plunged the knife all the way through her shoulder and out the back. Then he kept stabbing her.

“He had a dark and frightful determination, on his face,” the victim said through her tears. “The only reason he stopped is that he broke the knife while he was penetrating my chest.

“Each stab was as powerful as the first,” she said.

When he stabbed her in the arm, Young broke off a chunk of her humerus bone. The surgical repair was one of five surgeries in six months, two within hours of the attack to stop internal bleeding caused by bone fragments the man had chopped loose.

Even stabbed, shocked, gushing blood, she managed to break free and run.

“I ran for my life and he chased me down. He was showing no mercy,” she said.

While she was being stabbed, the woman said she thought of her children, hoping that she would like to see them one more time, she said.

She sprinted for 75 to 100 yards. Young ran after her, she said.

“I ran with all of my might. He was right behind me. He was not lethargic and the only reason he stopped was because we reached the Westin hotel,” she said.

Two “nice men” at the Westin helped her. Avon Police Chief Greg Daly says their quick actions helped save her life.

“I called 911 to make sure someone knew what had happened to me,” she said.

‘I lost all quiet moments’

Young claims he has faced some adversity in his 19-year life, but nothing that would lead to this kind of violence, Potts said.

“This is not a case where he was abused and locked in a cage by his parents,” Potts said.

Before the brutal murder attempt, the victim said she was living like everyone else: juggling school, her children and a career. Her physical and emotional damage is with her constantly, she said.

“The joy was crushed in my grieving tears. I lost all quiet moments, the quiet and peace. I’ve lost my life,” she said.

Her children are profoundly impacted

“My heart breaks at the sadness in their eyes,” she said.

When she looks in the mirror, the “red, ugly scars” look back at her.

“Every day when I see and feel the lumpiness across my chest, it’s like the scars are taunting me; physical signs that I will never be the same again,” she said.

Her nights are haunted.

“It’s an exhausting existence,” she said.

The blood so visible during the attack returns to her mind when she sees the scars, she said.

“I resent that I will never be able to enjoy the outdoor activities that we once had, and that I will never be able to enjoy basic experiences with my kids,” she said.

Her morning workouts have been replaced with trying to generate the courage to walk to her front door, she said.

“Every sound, every sudden movement, even a stranger’s casual glance are terrifying triggers,” she said.

She left a career she enjoys because walking through the parking structure to the hospital is too terrifying. She constantly scans everyone to validate her safety, she said. Even seeing a hooded sweatshirt — like the one the man was wearing — can be a trigger.

‘I would have supported him’

Young was someone his neighbors and friends would have helped through whatever he was facing, she said.

“I would have supported him. Instead, he hunted me down and attempted to kill me,” she said.

He left his hometown of Red Bank, New Jersey, and moved to his mother’s Avon condo, just a quarter mile from the victim’s home and immediately began planning a murder, the victim said.

“His mother knew something horrific had happened but attempted to conceal it,” she said, referring to Young’s mother washing her son’s bloodstained clothes.

‘That’s what he is’

The victim was a world-class gymnast and coach. Now there is rarely a day she doesn’t cry, a friend said during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.

“This sweet woman is experiencing a nightmare that may never end,” he said.

The attack wasn’t robbery or rape, it was a premeditated murder attempt, he said.

“This coward … that’s what he is … viciously stabbed her several times, then ran away leaving her for dead,” he said.

“That morning he was a predator on the hunt for a kill,” he said.

The man turned and spoke to Young directly at the defendant’s table, where Young sat quietly with his head down, his long dark hair shorn and short.

“Andrew Young, you’re a failure. You’re a coward. There is a lot I would like to do to you, but don’t need to. I’m going to let the prison population take care of that. You’re a coward and you deserve everything you’re gonna get.”

Three members of Young’s family were in the courtroom. His father, Andrew Young Sr., spoke to Judge Granger and the victim during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.

“On behalf of my entire family how sorry we are and that we pray every day for your recovery. I hope, I pray that we can begin to heal as a community and a family. God help us,” he said.

Young’s 20-year sentence is longer than he has been alive, public defender Thea Reiff said.

Young’s sentence will end. His victim’s may not, her friends said.

Vail firefighter hit by car on I-70 ‘overwhelmed’ in wake of injury

VAIL — Scott Bridges didn’t know how many friends he had until he needed them.

Bridges, a Vail firefighter, was badly injured March 1 in an early-morning accident on Interstate 70 in Eagle-Vail. Bridges was eastbound on his way to work that morning, just past 6 a.m., and was thinking about driving past the scene of a two-vehicle crash.

But as he slowly rolled by, Bridges rolled down his passenger-side window and heard screams of pain.

“I had to stop,” Bridges said.

That’s what helpers do. Being as careful as he could, he parked in front of the crash and got out of his car to provide what help he could.

That’s about all he remembers about that morning.

What happened

According to the Colorado State Patrol, a third vehicle, then a fourth, lost control and crashed at the scene of the original accident. That fourth vehicle struck Bridges.

Also on his way to work that morning was Steve Simonsen, an operating room nurse at Vail Health hospital. Simonsen saw people gathered around Bridges’ motionless body and immediately jumped in to see what aid he could provide.

You aren’t supposed to move an accident victim before that person is evaluated, but Bridges was in the middle of the road, with cars passing just feet away. Simonsen nudged Bridges once, then twice before Bridges moaned.

Another car passed, and Simonsen made the decision to move Bridges. He was able to get Bridges up, sort of, and half-dragged him off the road.

Nidia Villalobos, another operating room nurse, was also at the scene that morning, also on her way to work. Villalobos had bandages in her car and helped control Bridges’ bleeding. Both waited at the scene while an ambulance crew arrived and took Bridges to the hospital.

All the while, Simonsen told Bridges, “I’m not going to leave you; I’m here for you.”

Simonsen didn’t know what had happened at the accident scene — he presumed the person in the road had been ejected from a vehicle.

It wasn’t until everyone was in the emergency room that Simonsen learned Bridges was a fellow helper.

Simonsen was going to help anyway — that’s how helpers are wired — but he was surprised when he learned who he’d helped on the interstate that morning.

“You don’t even think about what you’re doing — you just do it,” Simonsen said.

A long trip from Fiji

Scott and Fiona Bridges have been married for 15 years. For the past eight, Fiona has been teaching art in her native Australia. That means she’s gone for 10 weeks and back in Colorado for four. Using FaceTime helps bridge the distance between them while Fiona’s gone.

This year, Fiona had a chance to teach in Fiji. That’s where she was when her phone started pinging with text messages from Vail Fire Lt. Jim Rabidue, a friend of Scott’s. She knew this was serious.

On a voice call, Rabidue explained what had happened and what he knew so far: Scott had been injured, badly. He’d suffered a concussion, at least, and had facial and lower-body injuries.

Fiona next started calling for flights — this was early in the morning, Fiji time. By midafternoon, and after a five-hour bus ride, she was at the airport, waiting for an evening flight.

Fiona stayed active and tried to remain calm both before and during the 5,500-mile flight to Los Angeles. There, weather in Colorado — this was the weekend of the state’s worst avalanches in decades — caused a flight delay. Fiona was able to catch a different flight to Denver.

In Denver, she was met by a Vail firefighter, who drove her to Vail. By the time she got to Scott’s hospital room, it was the night of Sunday, March 3.

Time to heal

Bridges was in the hospital for about a week. Before Fiona arrived, a small group of firefighters — among them Rabidue and Vail Fire Chief Mark Novak — never left their comrade’s side.

Almost immediately, firefighters set up a GoFundMe page for Bridges. The town of Vail has excellent benefits and insurance, but even that won’t cover all the expenses. Others did whatever they could.

By the time Bridges was released, he walked out of the hospital — with a limp. Now he’s in healing mode. There’s more surgery on tap — a cracked femur has to heal before he can have ACL surgery, and there will be dental surgery to replace some broken teeth. Then there’s the concussion and its aftermath.

Through it all, the Bridges have been stunned by the response from both colleagues and the community. Scott joined Vail’s fire department in 1998, and a lot of people know him.

“People were so emotional,” Fiona said. “People have been coming out from behind cash registers, people out in front of the dental office… a lot of people have been impacted.”

There’s a broad sense of relief that Scott’s OK, Fiona said.

“Because of his time in the valley, people may have connected in ways he doesn’t know.”

It’s all been a bit overwhelming.

Scott describes himself as a “very private” person, and the accident and its aftermath have affected both Scott and Fiona in profound ways.

“Moving forward, we’re paying this forward,” Fiona said. “We’ve donated to other GoFundMe pages. … We’ve realized how therapeutic it is — it’s healthy for both parties.”

Scott is healing well so far, but his doctors estimate his recovery time at six to nine months. In that time, Scott will work hard at his physical therapy, and Fiona will tell him to back off when it’s needed — downtime is an odd concept for someone that active.

They’ll enjoy time with old friends and new, with an appreciation that helpers have when they’ve been helped themselves.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com and 970-748-2930.

70K in one day: How this snowboarder hit 70,000 vertical feet at Beaver Creek

What: 70,848 vertical feet snowboarded in one day

When: Friday, March 15

Where: Beaver Creek Mountain


Day 102 on the season was a big one for the Vail Daily’s Ross Leonhart, hitting 70,000 vertical feet on the EpicMix app.

I have always wanted to see how much vertical feet I could put up in a day at Beaver Creek. After snowboarding 101 days this season, I was looking for a way to keep things interesting heading into spring skiing. Previously, my most vert was around 30,000 — never full days. To be honest, why not go for it?

I had the day off, no one to ride with and was on my own time.


I started right at 8:30 a.m. For the first hour or so, I hit the Centennial Express chairlift five times (2,102), lapping a groomed Willy’s Face that is my favorite run on the mountain — also one of Mikaela Shiffrin’s favorites.

The Birds of Prey chairlift nets you the most vertical feet on the mountain (2,159), so my plan was to spend the rest of the day over there.

With 10,500 vert and the sun still coming up, I dropped over Red Tail trail heading for Birds of Prey. Outside of a 40-minute break for lunch at Talon’s, I proceeded to hit Birds of Prey … 26 times in a row.

Lapping the area became kind of a blur, but with spring breakers in town, I enjoyed riding the chairlift and making small talk with strangers. And when I scored the occasional solo chair, I embraced my time alone.

Red Tail was really the only thing groomed top-to-bottom off Birds of Prey, so I decided to alternate between cruising underneath Cinch to Red Tail, hitting a fun tree run under Birds of Prey or cleaning up some leftover snow on Peregrine and Goshawk.

When Birds of Prey closed at 3:30 p.m., I went back to Centennial for two more laps, catching my last lift at 3:52 p.m.

I’ve been telling people that while I think I’m a good snowboarder, I’m not anything special — I just like to go fast. I think a lot of people could put up 70,000 in a day or more if they wanted to. I just happened to have the patience to do it, and seven and a half hours to kill by myself.

By the numbers

33: Total chairlifts (26 Birds of Prey; 7 Centennial Express)

8:30 a.m.: First ride up

70,848: Total vertical feet

2,159: Vertical feet from Birds of Prey chairlift

To get to 70,000 vert, the Vail Daily’s Ross Leonhart hit the Birds of Prey chairlift 26 times in a row, as well as seven rides on Centennial Express.

EpicMix Pins

Livin’ on a Prayer: Earned for riding Birds of Prey 4 times in a row

Creature of Habit: Earned for hitting the same lift 10 times in a row on the same day

Millionaire: Earned for covering 1,000,000 feet this season.

Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

Eagle County Schools names three superintendent finalists

EAGLE — Three finalists are vying to lead Eagle County Schools, one a known quantity and two from outside the district.

The superintendent search narrowed their finalists to Phil Qualman, Karen Quanbeck and Shawn Woodward.

Phil Qualman

Qualman is currently running the district as Eagle County Schools’ interim superintendent.

Qualman has been with the district for 15 years. He started as a social studies teacher and eventually became the principal at Battle Mountain High School. He moved to the district’s central office staff as an assistant superintendent prior to the 2015-16 school year.

Qualman has an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in history and a graduate degree from the University of Colorado-Denver in administrative leadership and policy studies.

Karen Quanbeck

Karen Quanbeck is chief of schools for elementary in Jefferson County Public Schools, where she supervises more than 90 elementary schools. Quanbeck has served as a principal in a mountain elementary school and a suburban middle school and has taught at the middle and high school levels.

Quanbeck has her undergraduate degree in economics from Carleton College and her graduate degree in learning technology and curriculum development from the University of St. Thomas, both in Minnesota.

Quanbeck says she believes the most important place in any educational organization is in the classroom and that the core work of a district is the learning experience that each student has every day.

Shawn Woodward

Shawn Woodward is currently the superintendent of Lake Pend Oreille School District in Ponderay, Idaho. He began his career in Port Orchard, Washington, where he taught elementary and junior high, before becoming a principal in the Burlington-Edison School District in Washington. After that, Woodward served as the assistant superintendent of the North Kitsap School District in Poulsbo, Washington.

Lake Pend Oreille has been recognized at the state and national level for student growth and achievement, as well as increasing equity and access to advanced placement courses for traditionally underrepresented students. Woodward holds an undergraduate degree from Washington State University and a graduate degree in education from City University.

The process

The school district is hosting a community meet-and-greet with the candidates at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, April 4, at Battle Mountain High School.

The following day, candidates will rotate between two interview committees and the school board for interviews. After the committees debrief the school board, it will begin deliberations.

The school board will announce the decision by Monday, April 8, after a candidate is chosen and all other finalists are notified.

Under Colorado state law, the board is required to make public the list of finalists it is considering for the superintendent’s position no later than 14 days prior to appointing or hiring one of the finalists. That state law, C.R.S. § 24-6-402(3.5), also mandates that a school board cannot make a final offer to a candidate after that 14-day waiting period has passed.

Crews clear rock slide blocking both lanes on I-70 near Dowd Junction

A rock slide blocking both lanes on I-70 westbound at mile marker 171 near Dowd Junction has been cleared. Traffic is backed up to the main Vail exit.

There appear to be no vehicles struck by the rocks and Vail dispatchers say the slide only caused some flat tires. No injuries or vehicles were struck directly.

Whistle Pig Vail announces Nathaniel Rateliff as part of 2019 lineup

Whistle Pig Vail, a summer-long music series presented by the Vail Valley Foundation in partnership with AEG Entertainment, will present Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater on Monday, Aug. 19.

Tickets are $55 to $89.50 and go on sale Friday, March 22, at 10 a.m. The show is at 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.whistlepigvail.com.

Steve Martin and Martin Short come to Whistle Pig Vail on July 14; and Gary Clark Jr. performs Sept. 5.


About the artist

Born in Missouri and based in Denver, Rateliff fronts The Night Sweats.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats released their second studio album, “Tearing At The Seams,” in March of 2018.

Native son, local firefighter Eric Hill dies in CDOT accident

Eric Hill — a native son, graduate of Eagle Valley High School and well-known Gypsum and Eagle firefighter — died in a work accident near Dotsero on Saturday.

Hill was on the job with Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance when he was killed.

“We are devastated by the loss of one of our own. Eric Hill was dedicated to keeping his community safe, both as part of the CDOT team and during his long career with the Gypsum fire protection district,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “All of CDOT joins together in supporting his family, friends and neighbors and colleagues during this tragic time.”

According to the CDOT statement, Hill was struck by a front end loader during a maintenance operation near Dotsero Saturday evening. The Colorado State Patrol and CDOT are conducting an investigation regarding the accident and the statement said further details will be provided in the coming days.

Hill was a member of the  Gypsum Fire Department for 19 years as both a volunteer and paid lieutenant and EMT-B. He also served as a lieutenant with the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District. A lifelong resident of Gypsum, Hill graduated from EVHS in 1986 and he served in the United States Air Force for four years.

Hill is survived by his wife, Cissy, two grown children, Kasie Reynolds-Vasquez and Tyler Dohman, and a 9-year-old son, Brodie Hill, and two granddaughters.

“Each CDOT  employee is part of a work family that supports and cares for one another, and we all mourn the loss of Eric Hill,” Kyle Lester, CDOT’s director of the division of highway maintenance, said in a statement. “Our strength and hope will be there to support Eric Hill’s family, as we have also lost a family member.”

Colleagues on the scene

Members of the Gypsum Fire Department responded to the scene of the accident Saturday. Hill’s fellow firefighters shared news of his passing late Saturday evening with a Facebook post.

“We are heartbroken to report that we lost one of our own tonight in an off-duty accident,” read the Gypsum Fire Protection District Facebook post. “Eric was an amazing firefighter, a mentor to many of our members and a beloved community member. His loss will be deeply felt throughout Gypsum, Eagle and all who knew him.”