LOCAL BRIEFING

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STEAMBOAT LEGEND GLADYS 'SKEETER' WERNER WALKER DIES

STEAMBOAT SPRINGSSteamboat lost a skiing legend Friday when Gladys "Skeeter" Werner Walker died at the Doak Walker Care Center after a long illness. She was 67.

Skeeter was the oldest of three siblings who were born in Steamboat Springs and grew up to become Olympians. Like brothers Buddy and Loris, Skeeter trained on Howelsen Hill and took her talent to the Alps.

Longtime family friend and former spokesman for the Steamboat Ski Area, Rod Hanna, called Werner Walker's death a milestone in Steamboat history.

"It's almost like the end of an era isn't it?" Hanna asked. "Loris is the lone survivor of the Werner clan. Really, because of the romance, almost, of Doak and Skeeter as a couple, it seems like a passage of time."

BEETLE INFESTATION SPREADING FASTER THAN AGENCY PREDICTED

STEAMBOAT SPRINGSThe spruce bark beetle epidemic in the Routt National Forest is spreading a year or two faster than expected, but trees near urban areas have not been affected, at least not yet.

The Forest Service has identified four spots in the Routt National Forest where mature spruce trees are hosting the beetles, said Andy Cadenhead, team leader for the U.S. Forest Service.

Areas around Gold Creek and Gilpin Lake, Three Island Lake, east of Floyd Peak and east of Pearl Lake are showing heavy beetle infestation.

About 1,000 spruce trees are infected in each spot, Cadenhead said.

"This is happening a little bit quicker than we expected," he said. "It might be a year or two ahead."

There are smaller outbreaks in the northwest part of the county and around the Steamboat Springs area, but they are minimized to about

20 trees.

COUNTY COMMISSION GRANTS SCHOOL HISTORIC DESIGNATION

STEAMBOAT SPRINGSRoutt County commissioners granted historic status to the Old Clark School, paving the way for a newly formed charter school to apply for grants to buy the one acre site.

Several weeks ago, a group of North Routt citizens pitched in to buy the property from a Clark-area family.

"We took it off the market so the charter school could eventually buy it," said Dave Moss, one of the people guaranteeing part of the loan through their corporation "Elk River Eagles."

Residents in North Routt County, concerned that their children were having to spend two hours riding buses to and from Steamboat schools, have worked to launch a charter school that is expected to open in the fall.

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