Vail Daily 30th anniversary timeline: 2007
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado – In town for the double-secret American Enterprise Institute World Forum at Beaver Creek, Vice President Dick Cheney helped re-name Village Hall for Gerald Ford. There was some deserved grumbling that what should have been a public celebration was, instead, private, but Cheney cut the ribbon, then zipped off to his next undisclosed location.
Speaking of things tough to spot, Denver artist Patrick Marold sold Vail’s Town Council on the wisdom of putting up 2,700 “windmills” on the Vail Golf Course. Each of the windmills, which at one point were supposed to be visible from I-70 but never were, had its own tiny wind generator and LED light, ostensibly to create a delightful effect at night.
Since many people never could figure out where the windmills were, there were lots of questions about the wisdom of Vail spending $100,000 on the project. Public art supporters claim the windmills, wherever the heck they were, created a buzz in the art world.
No really did mean no when it came to the “home rule” proposal to reform county government. The proposal lost in a general election, then about 7,000 people mailed back ballots in the second-chance election (which is allowed by state law). It lost again.
Voters also shot down the so-called “Nanny Tax, ” a $3 million tax increase the commissioners said was to pay for early childhood programs. They finally found $800,000, and the chorus of “But we told you no!” continued.
July 2007: Bill Hammer, one of the founders of the Stone Creek Elementary charter school, was arrested in the Denver area, accused of stealing about $68,000 in school funds. Some school parents were disappointed, but not particularly surprised by the news.
August 2007: After more than 20 years, the Berry Creek Equestrian Center in Edwards said goodbye to both equines and their humans to make way for a new Battle Mountain High School.
April 2007: Crossroads, Vail’s dumpy old shopping center, was finally falling to the wrecking ball to make way for a new, improved project called Solaris. Crossroads’ demise left commercial tenants with mixed emotions. Some moved their shops. Others, including Ruth Moran of The Stitchery, retired.
In a story about Crossroads’ last days, Moran recalled movie star Gregory Peck among her early alteration clients. Another time, composer Henry Mancini needed some emergency tuxedo repairs before a concert in Aspen.
At the old Crossroads Theater, the last show was something special: A showing of “The Last Picture Show,” a movie about closing the last movie theater in a small Western town.
June 2007: State Bridge Lodge, a county landmark north of Wolcott, was destroyed by an early-morning fire June 2. John Ryder, who was living at the lodge, was awakened by his dog, Tatiana, as the fire grew. It’s the only reason he escaped the blaze.
The lodge, made of old wood, burned quickly, and was in ashes little more than an hour after the first 911 call came in.
The fire was later determined to be arson, but no suspects have been named.
• The county lost a couple of its kids within days of each other, both in car crashes.
Battle Mountain High School graduate Andy Given, 20, was killed in a crash in downtown Denver.
Eagle Valley High School graduate Jake Brock, 19, and his girlfriend, Jennifer Kois, also 19, were killed in Grand Junction when a car driven by Patrick Strawmatt slammed into their vehicle.
Strawmatt, who was drunk at the time of the crash, was ultimately sentenced to 72 years in prison.
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