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Frances Hohl

Stories by Frances

Airlines to get hit with tougher security costs

Airline carriers that use Yampa Valley Regional Airport can expect to pay for heightened security, according to county officials.

Historic ranch for sale

5,911-acre spread south of Hayden listed for $16 million

Lou Wyman doesn't sound like a man who's going to miss the ranch that's been in his family for 83 years.

Hayden couple tries dome life

Driving down one of Routt County's country roads near Hayden, what looks like a gray bomb shelter rises out of the earth.

Building closing, but quest goes on

Lately, folks stopping into the Art Quest shop on Lincoln Avenue sound as if they're going to a funeral, instead of a sale.

Making life easier for moms

Rock, Rattle and Stroll finds niche with infant, baby and maternity items

Single mother Bethany DeBlasis wasn't satisfied with the options she found in Steamboat Springs for baby and toddler items.

County master plan under review

Series of meeting to focus on rural issues

Keeping growth out of rural Routt County will be one of the big issues addressed next week as county officials meet with the public on updating the county's master plan and zoning regulations. County commissioners and planning staff may only be talking to each other instead of the public, though. Only one resident showed up at the last master plan meeting in Steamboat Springs. Five residents showed up at a Hayden meeting.

ISP purchase confuses users

Earthlink acquires former Colorado Mountain Network

Mergers, buyouts and bankruptcy have several thousand Internet customers in the Steamboat Springs area frustrated with their service.

Oak Creek child-care facility to reopen

Oak Creek's Little Friends Day Care and Preschool, which was forced to abruptly close July 27 because of financial problems, will be back in operation Sep. 10, the first day of public school.

Child-care taxes debated

City, council officials clash over whether initiatives should be linked

City and county officials continue to debate early childhood education tax initiatives that will appear on the November ballot. The city has agreed to put a sales-tax question on the ballot that could raise about $1.5 million if approved by voters. The county agreed to put a property-tax increase on the ballot that would raise $600,000.

Day-care board to mull options

Little Friends center may reopen on half-day basis

The board of directors for Little Friends Day Care and Preschool in Oak Creek will meet tonight to discuss reopening the financially strapped child-care center on a half-day basis.

Jail expansion may start soon

A year ago, Routt County put its jail expansion out to bid, but nobody wanted the job. Although County Property Manager Tim Winter sent out eight to 10 plans, not one bid came in. He blamed it on the "construction climate" where builders had their pick of lucrative construction projects in a busy resort town.

Cable reception problems continue

Technicians for AT&T Broadband's cable service in Steamboat Springs have been bedeviled by a problem that is causing poor reception for some local customers.

Commercial flights suspended

Travelers, agents hail taxis, curse construction

The loss of commercial flights at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden for 10 days is turning out to be a small boon for Alpine Taxi. Flights on Great Lakes Aviation, the only commercial carrier at the airport during the summer season, ended Tuesday morning.

Attorney mum on fire opinion

Routt County's attorney refused to comment publicly on the opinion recently released by the state Attorney General's office regarding the responsibility of fire districts. During a meeting with major players in the county's emergency circle, County Attorney John Merrill said he'd prefer to discuss the AG's opinion during a private, executive session with the county commissioners.

Little Friends Day Care closes

Parents in South Routt scramble to find replacements

Little Friends Day Care, a 24-year-old child-care center in Oak Creek, has been forced to close on short notice, sending parents scrambling for child care and baby sitters.

4-Hers not faring well in sale of raffle tickets

The odds of winning Colorado's new Powerball Lottery Jackpot is 1 in 80.1 million. By comparison, the chances of winning the Routt County 4-H Club's drawing for a new pickup look pretty good.

Where the green grass grows

Some residents in rural Routt miffed about cattle grazing in their yards

When Richard and Pam Wilson built their log home on 35 acres just outside of town, they didn't expect to be serenaded by a herd of Angus and mixed cows in the morning. "Any given day I'll have 70 cows in my yard during the summer," Richard Wilson said.

Fire district question smolders

Attorney opinion does little to clarify matter

Colorado's Attorney General has sent down a much-awaited opinion that has clarified what kind of responsibility fire districts have when it comes to fighting fires in their districts both wildland fires and structure fires. Routt County Sheriff John Warner requested the opinion after Steamboat Springs pulled out of a wildland fire agreement that included the city, county and area rural fire districts.

Voters to decide tax increase

Property levy would help fund early childhood education

Routt County voters will get to decide in November whether they want to raise their property taxes to help fund early childhood education. The Routt County Board of Commissioners passed a motion Tuesday that will put the measure on the ballot.

State OKs grants to buy Yampa fire truck, Hayden school bus

Yampa Assistant Fire Chief Dan Allen danced a jig at county offices Friday after learning his beleaguered fire department was likely to receive a state grant for a new truck.

Routt County leading Colorado in coal production

Colorado's coal mines are on track to produce more coal than last year, and Routt County is leading the way.

Justice facility design in question

Sticking points include location of entrance

The Denver-based architects designing Routt County's new courthouse brought two drawings to town Wednesday to present to committee members spearheading the effort. The architects centered the two drawings on what committee members said they were looking for but those same committee members quickly shot down the two drawings, saying they were not "formal enough."

Group continues ag preservation effort

Even as the nonprofit Community Agriculture Alliance holds its annual meeting with a barbecue at Harmony Ranch today, letters are making their way to people who could help stop the loss of Routt County's agricultural lands.

Family runs afoul with 'nasty rooster'

The Kaatz family home in Steamboat Springs looks normal enough a two-story house with wood siding, a detached garage, an SUV parked out front and children playing. But closer inspection reveals more like chickens, geese and ducks pecking for bugs in the yard and lizards laying eggs inside the living room.

North Routt revisits past

School gains historic designation

Routt 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 1-acre site. Several weeks ago, a group of North Routt residents pitched in to buy the property from a Clark-area family.

County looks at YVRA funding

Commissioners may dedicate part of sales tax to airport

The Routt County Commissioners are looking at dedicating a permanent source of tax revenue for the Yampa Valley Regional Airport. The funding would come from the current sales tax collected by the county. If the tax money isn't enough to cover the airport's budget, then YVRA will be forced to increase landing fees and other fees collected in airport operations.

Reimbursement decision up to Fire Council

City wants to be paid for fighting wildfires

The Wildland Fire Council will be asked to help decide whether the city of Steamboat Springs will be reimbursed for fighting wildland fires in its district, even though the city is not a member of the Wildland Fire Council. The decision came during a contentious meeting Monday between the City Council, county commissioners and the Steamboat Rural Fire Protection District.

Logging puts squeeze on traffic

Harvesting blowdown proves to be dangerous

The U.S. Forest Service is warning that Seedhouse Road near Clark is about to get a little busier as logging of the blowdown area begins next week in the Routt National Forest.

Customers come to rescue in bookstore

Rain, lightning rock Routt County

Steamboat Springs' popular bookstore "Off the Beaten Path" was closed Wednesday as employees salvaged books damaged in the wake of Tuesday's severe thunderstorms. "It sounded like a waterfall," said Path employee Erica Fogue. "We thought it strange, being in a bookstore."

County holds off on enacting fire restrictions

Routt County's emergency manager has backed off a plan to implement fire restrictions, saying conditions are not critical enough at this time.

Group to give housing plan

New affordable-housing proposal may be the solution

Members of the latest committee to study the affordable-housing problem in Routt County may be close to hammering out a new plan that could satisfy many of the factions torn apart by the issue.

More than just cows, crops

FFA provides 'premium leadership' to South Routt grads

When Soroco High School graduates Megan Baker and Tyler Knott joined the National Future Farmers of America, it might have been expected. Both come from ranching families who settled in Moffat and Routt Counties long time ago.

Group close to choosing site for facility

Committee likely to recommend west site option as spot for new courthouse

The committee helping the county determine where a new courthouse will be located is expected to make a recommendation tonight, likely in favor of the site on Sixth Street across from the current courthouse annex building.

Weather radio considered

County looks into forecast service

Routt County's emergency manager wants to know if the public is interested in getting a weather radio transmitter that would provide local weather reports 24 hours a day. The radio tower could be placed atop Walton Peak and would broadcast National Weather Service reports and alerts for Steamboat Springs, Craig, the Park and Gore ranges, the Flat Tops and other areas in and around the county.

Officials ponder fire restrictions

Caution stressed for July 4 holiday

Routt County fire officials and the U.S. Forest Service are not asking for fire restrictions yet, but the upcoming Fourth of July holiday has them nervous. County Emergency Manager Chuck Vale appeared to be ready to ask for fire restrictions during a meeting with county commissioners Monday.

Fire crews get a helping hand

Grant will help fund hand tools, protective clothing

Those troops manning the front line of wildfires now have reinforcements courtesy of the federal government.

Group hosting tour to target problematic weeds

The Cooperative Extension Office in Steamboat Springs is guaranteeing lots of "fun" for anyone wanting to take a closer look at weeds.

Committee chooses company to run Web site

Help may be on the way for Routt County's Web site, which has been plagued by dead-end and outdated links.

With Honor

Resident and retired fighter pilot gains induction into National Aviation Hall of Fame

Vietnam during his one-year tenure as wing commander. He remembers the pilots being skeptical of the old WWII ace, who hadn't fought in 22 years. Olds turned the pilots' cynicism around, saying he would fly "tail-end charlie," the spot usually reserved for the lowest lieutenant.

Emerald issue put on hold

Proposal to buy potential mountain preserve buried

It looks like another potential ballot issue dealing with new taxes has fallen by the wayside at least for now.

VA facility may be on the way

But no plans are in the works yet for Northwest Colorado

One can't sit down with a group of Routt County veterans and not hear complaints about the lack of veteran medical care in Northwest Colorado.

Study may focus on Routt Co.

Group may choose local child-care sites for testing

A Colorado nonprofit group dedicated to early childhood development is looking at Routt County as a possible site to conduct a study on improving quality in child-care settings.

A picture of protection

Area children will be asked to smile for the camera this Saturday but not simply to say "Cheese." The program, sponsored locally by Steamboat Motors, is part of a national campaign called "Commitment to Kids Safety ID Day," which attempts to maintain a record of a child's picture, fingerprints and description so law enforcement agencies can keep better track of the youngsters.

Local ride honors horse tradition

Fund-raiser benefits 4-H scholarship fund

The Quentin Semotan Memorial 4-H Benefit ride is more than just a fund-raiser it's an effort to bring out local folks who work and breed horses. "I think it's important in sustaining our quarter horse history," said Trenia Sanford whose grandfather, Quentin, helped found the Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Association.

Yampa Valley Beef begins jerking market

Portable snack preserves profits

The homegrown Yampa Valley Beef company is branching out with a new product this week beef jerky.

A day for Ol' Glory

Celebrating flag steeped in history

Today is a day that often passes without any special notice. But for traditionalists, it's Flag Day, a day to show patriotism.

Group extends survey deadline

The group trying to save Emerald Mountain from development did not get much response from a survey they sent out in late May, so they're extending the deadline for accepting the surveys.

Roads closing for Cog Rally

The Routt County Commissioners have authorized the temporary closure of certain rural county roads, making a road rally race more feasible this September.

Turnaround may ease traffic

City discusses congestion in Ski Time Square

Business and condo owners affected by the congested and sometimes confusing traffic in Ski Time Square got a look at possible changes that might affect them.


Family constantly reminded of the true meaning of Memorial Day

Eighty-year-old Chester Backes remembers when Memorial Day wasn't just another day off from work. "We were always in full uniform and I carried my rifle," Backes, a World War II veteran, said from his Milner home. "We'd walk out of the VFW and march, and fire off a bunch of rounds to honor the dead veterans."