New Pioneers of the Yampa Valley to be honored |

New Pioneers of the Yampa Valley to be honored

Awards ceremony recognizes locals for sustainability efforts

Margaret Hair

Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original version. Noreen Moore identified a grant to mitigate beetle kill, and others helped secure the funding.

At the fourth annual New Pioneers of the Yampa Valley dinner and awards ceremony today, four people or businesses will be recognized for what they do every day.

"The idea is to recognize and publicize the efforts at sustainability that are going on through our valley," said Rich Levy, vice president of the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley, an organization focused on sustainable practices that presents the New Pioneer honors each year.

The dinner is from 6 to 9 p.m. today at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. Each of four finalists and the person who nominated them will give a presentation. A nominating committee will choose a top finalist to recognize as the 2009 New Pioneer. Audience members will be able to vote on a people's choice winner, Levy said.

Along with the presentation, the Community Alliance has put together a green-minded dinner of local and regional foods. The menu includes cheese, beef stew, cabbage and squash soup, vegetables and apple crisp from organic providers from Northwest Colorado and the Front Range. A cash bar will serve beer from Mahogany Ridge and some wines from Colorado, Levy said.

In the first year of the New Pioneers award, the Community Alliance divided those efforts into business, green building, community stewardship and other categories. All nominees this year are recognized in a single category, Levy said.

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Rockin J Cattle and founding owner John Weibel are among the subjects of those stories. Weibel started his sustainable beef production operation seven or eight years ago and devotes up to 16 hours a day to selling the beef produced on a farm in Moffat County, he said.

"I started doing this and realized that I could make a difference in the environment, and then I'm working with two families that couldn't farm on their own, so I'm making a difference in their lives," Weibel said. By using grazing practices that are closer to a cow's natural habits — eating grass and moving frequently on less land — Rockin J also is bringing beef back to a healthy state, he said.

Angela Ashby of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is recognized for her efforts with the Zero Waste Initiative, bringing grants into the community for sustainable practices and an annual Sustainability Summit.

Noreen Moore is nominated for her work with the Routt County Economic Development Cooperative. Her efforts include helping identify a $1 million grant for mitigating beetle kill in the area, helping Routt County micro-businesses and pursuing economic sustainability, Levy said.

Yampatika is nominated for its educational efforts through the Environmental Learning Center at Legacy Ranch and its efforts to protect the environment.

If you go

What: Fourth annual New Pioneers of the Yampa Valley dinner and awards, presented by the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley

When: 6 to 9 p.m. today

Where: Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: $15 for Community Alliance members, and $20 for nonmembers

Call: Morgan at 879-3894

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