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Mark Louden

Stories by Mark

Tough Decisions

Public policy is a difficult business. One of the toughest, we would argue. In fact, we can think of only one other occupation that draws more criticism than deciding how other people should live, and that's telling them about it. Public leaders often find themselves in difficult spots. But that's the trade-off: The power to make decisions paid for by the criticism for making them.

Trade school a worthy idea

In this digital age, when the success of so many depends on the speed of their connections and to whom they're connected it is encouraging to see an effort linked to the heart and soul of this county. In the little ranching town of Hayden west of Steamboat Springs, an idea is taking shape that deserves attention. Community leaders have proposed building a vocational school there. The plan is to provide training in those skills that really keep a community moving things like welding, auto repair and plumbing.

OUR VIEW: Good luck, good programming

We wish those who are fighting for KUNC well. We'd like to see the interesting programming style the station has woven together stay on the air.

OUR VIEW: On watch

Were it not for the tragedy of a cellblock hanging in late October, the report last week of an inmate leaving the Routt County Jail to buy alcohol would have been rather humorous.

OUR VIEW: Shine more light on government

The executive session bill deserves the support of the Legislature and the support of the public. It will bring additional light to shine on government and by doing so, will allow new seeds of trust to grow.

Good choice

We are pleased that a Coloradan with a good head on her shoulders and a passion for defending the rights of local residents will be the next leader of the Interior Department. Gale Norton will bring common sense and reason to a department that has been running too hot lately.

See you Sunday

This is it the last mid-week Steamboat Pilot. The next time you read this newspaper, it will have a new name and a new publication day.

Food for thought

Here's some food for thought: Each one of us can promote thought by buying food. For eight years now, a largely unnoticed program has provided some $75,000 to local schools. The money comes from grocery stores that pass along a portion of what some customers pay them.

Waiting for justice

A Routt County jury last week found a Hayden man guilty of sexually assaulting a young girl who knew him as grandpa. The girl is actually the 55-year-old man's step-granddaughter. She shares horrible secrets with him. At least she doesn't share his blood.

No vacancy

A recent study by the Colorado Division of Housing points to a problem that has largely been overlooked in Steamboat Springs and other areas struggling with affordable housing. The problem is a lack of affordable rental properties. City Councilwoman Kathy Connell, who is in the property rental business, has been one of few local voices we've heard speak about the problem.

Killer curves still

Colorado Department of Transportation officials need to listen closer to the cries of anguish and the cries for help coming from Routt County.

The right sentence

The jury in Vail was right to convict former lift operator Nathan Hall of criminally negligent homicide Nov. 16. The expert skier was a lethal weapon hurtling down Rivas Ridge that last day

Damaged pride

The criminal actions of a handful of Colorado Mountain College students in recent months have seriously disturbed this newspaper. And we know we're not alone.

There is hope in defeat

Steamboat Springs voters left little doubt Tuesday as to their opinion of a plan to tax new construction and subsidize affordable housing. The idea was trounced by a 3-to-1 margin.

The time to act is now

If we are to seriously discuss affordable housing solutions, it is appropriate to talk about a tax on growth. Growth in the number of large houses and luxury townhomes is what has pushed the local housing market to the dizzying heights it is at now. It is the major reason many working people in Steamboat Springs have little chance of ever owning a home in the city.

Inmate hangs self in county jail

A 20-year-old inmate serving time for stealing an ambulance and assaulting a medic hanged himself in the Routt County Jail Sunday evening. And one of the people who worked to save Jared Wayne Maynard's life after the hanging was the medic he had assaulted in August.

Growth control is a bad reaction

You'd think it would take the light of day to really see the impacts of poorly managed growth and residential sprawl along Colorado's Front Range. And, certainly, when the sun is shining on all those new homes, you get an idea of what is happening to the Centennial State. But it is at night, really, when all the porch lights are on, that you can see the effects of growth so much more clearly.

Safety season

The hills of Colorado soon will be alive with the sound of magnum. Big game rifle seasons kick off Saturday and that means now is the perfect time to talk about safety and courtesy in the backcountry.

Western will

The biggest American hero of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney will be forgotten by most people by the time this newspaper is tossed away.

Fear itself

For two summers in a row now, an airplane has tumbled from the sky onto the floor of the Yampa Valley. The two accidents took the lives of four fliers.

A first step

The Oak Creek Town Board deserves praise for admitting it needs help. The town has gone too long without a full-time administrator and has suffered because of it. Grants have not been pursued; time has been wasted at Town Board meetings; long-range planning has not been done; financial documents have fallen into disarray.

Tennis team scores daily double

Steamboat Springs tennis player Joe Cutler doesn't have a lot of experience playing singles at the high school level, but he has already proven that he can win.

Rope them into Labor Day

Before the cutting horse enthusiasts find a corral other than Steamboat Springs for next summer's season, city and chamber officials would be wise to see if something can be done to keep Romick Arena on the schedule.

In the aggregate

We were surprised to see the county commissioners acquiesce to outside pressures and agree on Aug. 10 to consider gravel pit proposals in the aggregate. From our observation, the current group of commissioners Nancy Stahoviak, Dan Ellison and Ben Beall are well-versed in county regulations and local planning documents, have strong opinions about land-use issues and normally vote with their heads. Except with gravel.

Un-golden silence

Our View

How quickly the RE-2 School Board forgets. It wasn't too long ago that the board, stung by the crushing defeat of a construction bond issue, came back to the people it works for and asked for guidance.

Digging in

Our View

Raise the bar, RALF

The Regional Affordable Living Foundation has set its excise tax threshold dangerously low, in our opinion. As a way to raise money to buy land upon which affordable homes could be built, RALF is proposing to ask voters to approve an excise tax that would be attached to the square footage of new construction. To protect smaller (read: more affordable) homes, RALF leaders have decided to omit homes below a certain size: 1,300 square feet. We believe that level is too low.

Tossed Out

Hilltop victory gives RALF credibility

A small, but wonderful slice of the pie that makes up the Steamboat Springs community is well on its way to being saved. Last week, 17 homeowners who live in Hilltop trailer park, led by representatives of the Regional Affordable Living Foundation, made a successful bid to purchase the land beneath their dwellings from its owner, Leland Harmes.

Arrest made in murder

Suspect knew victim, Lori Bases

A man identified as a potential suspect in the vandalism of a Steamboat Springs woman's vehicle earlier this year was arrested for her murder Friday.

Divide and conquer

Affordable housing was the big topic at Economic Summit 2000. A roster of those in the room discussing the issue Friday morning at the Steamboat Sheraton would have read like a Who's Who of Steamboat. There were bankers and Realtors, City Council members and school teachers, natives and newcomers, developers and former developers.

Sign up or shut up

We hear it often around election time: If you don't vote, don't complain.

Pamela Lane needs a break, City Council

We were encouraged to learn that the Steamboat Springs City Council is going to revisit its decision about Pamela Lane. It's imperative that our city leaders have the guts to make tough decisions. But it is equally important that they be tough enough to admit when a decision was the wrong one or at least didn't produce the desired outcome. Such is the case on Pamela Lane.

A tragic lesson

It sounds more like the title of a book than the reality we have been forced to face in recent days.

Even in death, reckless skiing should be criminal

The Colorado Supreme Court began hearing arguments Monday about where in the snow the criminal line should be drawn when it comes to reckless skiing. In our opinion, the justices have but one reasonable answer to give to the question of whether an out-of-control skier or snowboarder should face criminal charges for killing another person on a ski slope. That answer is an unequivocal "Yes."