TELLURIDE – After a years-long legal tug-of-war with the San Miguel Valley Corporation, in January the Town of Telluride presented on appeal its case to condemn the Valley Floor before the Colorado Supreme Court. In June the court announced a ruling in favor of the town, which weeks later took possession of the 572-acre parcel located just outside its boundary.
Councilmember Jonathan Sweet resigned from the Mountain Village Town Council after serving there nearly eight years. During the same January meeting, council unanimously voted to appoint Catherine Jett to a seat left vacant by Bob Trenary.
The Town of Telluride Council appointed three new members to its Open Space Commission including former councilmember Roberta Peterson, Lary Simpson and Peter Mueller.
Mountain Village Town Council approved the Silverline II project that would include 44 condo units, 37 lodge units, 22 lodge efficiency units, and five employee units by-right, after the council-approved Silverline I project, a Planned Unit Development that included a community recreation center, failed after sparking a controversy about its proposed mass and scale.
Plans to transform The Hotel Columbia into a luxury condominium hotel began as Columbia Telluride LLC, managed by local realtor Dirk de Pagter, purchased the property from Gondola Creek LLC.
The Telluride region lost two beloved friend when Thomas “Mas” Best, 43, died on Feb. 10 after being discovered in a diabetic coma at his home in Mountain Village and then, on the following day, Feb. 11, San Miguel County County Finance Director Gordon Glockson, 59, died unexpectedly of natural causes at his home in Norwood.
On a happier note, while on a Ski Patrol exchange in Tignes, France, Telluride Watch contributor Martinique Davis and husband Craig Prohaska welcomed daughter Elisabeth Elodie into the world on Feb. 22.
In March the Telluride Ski and Golf Co. opened Gold Hill Chutes 6-10 for the first time in ski area history, and Lindy and Galen Burke added daughter Aurora Sky to their family.
Telluride, indeed, the Western Slope, lost a local legend when Charles P. “Charlie” Hughes died on March 20 at the age of 78. A sheep rancher turned realtor, his love of the land and the desire to develop it properly eventually resulted in the 2,000-acre Wilson Mesa Ranches development, progressive at the time for its inclusion of open space, view corridors and wildlife habitats prior to the advent of planning and zoning regulations in San Miguel County.
Also in March, the Institute for High Altitude Medicine opened a second office in the Blue Mesa building in Mountain Village.
Telluride’s beloved Ruby, the world’s oldest mountain lion, died peacefully on her birthday, April 2, in the arms of her lifelong caretaker, Melissa Margetts. Twenty-three years earlier Margetts had rescued Ruby from a farm that sold animals for medical experimentation as a 10-day old kitten.
Donald “Donny” O’Rourke, whose grandfather came to Telluride in the 1880s to work in the Tomboy Mine, died of lung failure on April 3 at the age of 77. O’Rourke’s varied resume included work at the Bridal Veil Falls power plant, a stint as the Town Marshal, volunteer fireman, Elks Club Exalted Ruler, and head of Telluride’s Civil Defense, responsible to stock the town’s fall-out shelter during the Cold War.
The Telluride community tragically lost to suicide both 21-year-old Blair Richardson on April 14, and Watch contributor Andrew “Andy” Sawyer, an essayist, mountaineer, freestyle ski pioneer, and “best coach in the world,” on May 26. In yet another suicide, plumber Dennis Dugan was found dead at his Ski Ranches home in November.
Telluride native Martha Lee Peterson, who built and managed the town’s first hotel and owned and operated the Skyline Guest Ranch with husband Arthur Peterson, died on June 8 at the age of 94.
One day later the county said goodbye to 76-year-old Doris Ruffe, who died of natural causes at her Placerville home on June 9. Prior to retiring in 2007, Ruffe had been the San Miguel County Clerk and Recorder for six years and its Deputy Clerk since 1982.
San Miguel Power Association District 4 voters, in a 187-85 vote, overwhelmingly chose Michael Saftler over incumbent John Arnold for a seat on the SMPA Board of Directors during its June election.
Also during June, Aaron Honigman, the developer of the planned Rosewood Telluride Resort and Hotel in Mountain Village, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy – one day before the two lots he planned to develop were to be sold as a foreclosure. The planned 450,000-square-foot mixed-use development was to include 75 hotel rooms, 67 condos, 17 employee dorms, five employee apartments, and areas for commercial/retail development.
The Town of Mountain Village announced Jean Schneider, Sally Vecchio and Nichole Zangarra as its new Director of Conference Sales and Services, Director of Community Development and Community Relations Manager, respectively.
Telluride’s Christ Presbyterian Church selected Atlanta, Ga.-native Patrick Bailey as its new pastor in July after a two-year search to replace Chuck Robison, who stepped down in the fall of 2005.
Ridgway resident, community activist and local government watchdog Brian Peters, 54, lost his life on July 29 in a single car accident on the Dallas Divide.
University Centers of the San Miguel named Robyn Wilson its new executive director following the retirement of founder Sarah Silver.
Oak Smith won the Democratic primary against Bill Blake by a 245-vote margin during the August election.
Albert John Aldasoro, a well-known character in the San Juans who inherited the eponymous sheep ranch purchased by his father, Joaquin, in the 1920s, which was largely developed into the Aldasoro Ranch Subdivision in the 1990s, died on Aug. 26 at the age of 75.
Telski named Fred Rumford, former general manager at Beaver Creek ski school, executive director of the Telluride Ski and Snowboard School. Veteran luxury hotelier John Volponi became general manger of Telluride’s first five-star hotel, Capella Telluride, which had its soft opening December.
In September the Telluride Foundation honored longtime Telluride resident Kathy Green as its 2008 Citizen of the Year for her nearly 30 years as a staunch champion of local issues such as community planning, sustainability and the arts.
A hunter discovered the body of John McLaughlin, 52, who disappeared while on a cross-country skiing expedition in Norway that he began in January.
Gary Yamnitz, a 23-year veteran of the SMPA board, the last 19 of those as its president, retired.
Lingerie and women’s clothing boutique La Femme Fatale changed hands when Susan Kerr sold the business to longtime locals Jacquie and Michael Brown.
Lynn Roberts replaced Jill Burchmore as president of the Telluride Education Foundation. Also, Harriet Swenson and Diana Mulligan stepped down, with Beth Barr and Rick Silverman replacing them.
Telluride won its competition with Aspen to see which community could use fewer plastic bags.
Simon Randall Jordan was born to parents Laura and Shane on Sept. 7.
Telluride Association of Realtors named Matt Hintermeister Realtor of the Year.
Telluride Mayor Stu Fraser resigned from the Lift 7 Steering Committee, followed one week later by Telski Chief Executive Officer Dave Riley.
The Ah Haa School sold its Stone Building on N. Willow Street to the Ferenbach family to help pay for the school’s new home in the historic Depot building.
Lodging agencies Telluride Mountain Lodging and Alpine Lodging merged to become Telluride Alpine Lodging.
Mountain Village’s Wells Fargo branch President Dick Rodgers retired from his post, replaced by Chris Cox.
Eric Saunders replaced Matt Hintermeister as TAR president.
Charles L. “Charlie” Ferguson, founder of the First National Bank of Telluride in 1992 and the father of Telluride Bluegrass Festival impresario Craig Ferguson, succumbed to cancer on Sept. 24 at the age of 74.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certified the completion of a 20-year, $120 million cleanup of the 680-acre Uravan Mill Superfund Site on the banks of the San Miguel River.
The Town of Telluride in late September closed a deal to purchase the 114-acre Kentucky Placer from the Trust for Public Land to preserve as open space. A 1.74-acre parcel was set aside for free market development and sale by the TPL to reduce its $2.9 million asking price to $1.4 million.
Telluride received the first ever Governor’s Arts Award Honorable Mention in recognition of its dedication to the arts.
The demise of Wall Street came to Telluride when, in October, work on the Capella Telluride virtually stopped out of concern about the developer’s liquidity. Lehman Brothers, which one month earlier filed for the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, had funded the project; work was resumed within a few days.
Robert Dunbar Callard, otherwise known as “Skipper,” died on Oct. 15 at the age of 83.
Mountainfilm hired Ellen Shelton as its new Education Director.
San Miguel County began digitizing every document in the SMC Courthouse vault.
The county also helped elect Barack Obama as the next U.S. President by a margin of 77 percent on Nov. 4. Meanwhile Art Goodtimes won his fourth term as District Three San Miguel County Commissioner against Democratic candidate Oak Smith and Republican candidate Bill Wenger.
Telski felt the sting of a struggling economy when Jeep announced the cancellation of its 48 Straight/Jeep King of the Mountain race, which supplied an estimated 800 room nights last year.
Homegrown Tomboy Soap Co. founder Jessica Newens announced the sale of her company to John and Denise Weaver.
Longtime Telluride resident James D. “Jim” Pancoast, 41, was found dead at his Shandoka apartment on Dec. 2 after lapsing into a diabetic coma.
The Bridal Veil Falls ice flow, which was technically closed to climbers until the Idarado Mining Company granted a public recreational access license to San Miguel County and the Trust for Public Land as part of September’s Kentucky Placer acquisition, opened to expert climbers in early December.
Telski opened Revelation Bowl for the first time.
The Telluride town council approved controversial amendments to the Land Use Code that would waive some affordable housing mitigation requirements for developers who provided additional commercial and office space in Planned Unit Developments located in the downtown commercial core.
A 95 percent Real Estate Transfer Tax shortfall in November prompted the Telluride council to implement the third and elements of the fourth stages of its five-phase recession plan in December.
Telski announced it had hired Daniel Zemke as general counsel for the company and George Bigley as Executive Director of food and beverage.
Ridgway’s Joe Discoe landed a spot on the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team’s C team, joining brother Jimmy as the most recent Telluride Ski and Snowboard club member to have made the U.S. Ski Team.