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Tom Ross

Stories by Tom

April snow raises hopes for traditional Mother's Day ski outing

Normal families associate Mother’s Day with a large Sunday brunch, but our tradition is to throw several pairs of older Nordic skis in the car-top box and head up to the pass to bid the ski season farewell.

New master plan at regional airport serving Steamboat describes tight finances for next five years

The ski season flight operation is subsidized by the resort industry, lodging taxes and a quarter point of sales tax in Steamboat. But the airport’s revenues are linked to passenger numbers.

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Colorado weighs the best means of sharing the water

Colorado seeks to close water gap

From the Wasatch Front in Utah, to the ponderosa pine forests of Northern Arizona to the irrigated hay meadows of Northwest Colorado, peoples’ lives are linked by the scarcity of water.

Old farm to market road in South Valley due for a fresh coat of blacktop

Yellowjacket Pass could lose a little elevation during Routt County Road 14 paving project this summer.

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Growing new willows and cottonwoods for the riparian zone in the Yampa Valley

The shrubs and trees along rivers and streams play a vital role in the web of life in wetlands, which provide habitat during the year to 75 percent of plant and animal species in the state, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Cooling trend dropping streamflows in Yampa River after mild month of March

Snowpack in the Yampa Basin above Craig and Steamboat Springs is low and temperatures have been atypically high since March, but the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center still gives the Yampa River a 90 percent chance of peaking at 2,000 cubic feet per second.

Routt County commissioners decry Colorado Senate's 'raid' on severance tax fund

The mayors of Grand Junction and Rifle have joined all three Routt County commissioners in protesting that a portion of the severance taxes were always meant to go back to local governments to offset the impacts created by energy and mining industries.

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Dr. Larry Bookman retires as chief medical officer at Yampa Valley Medical Center

Dr. Larry Bookman said that the roles of chief medical officers both nationally and at Yampa Valley Medical Center, are evolving and requiring that they take on more and more administrative responsibilities.

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Crossans' Market lands $400,000 grant

The building that became Crossans' Market was built in 1903 by two brothers with a checkered past. Sam and Ed Bell, who had a reputation for strong-arming union leaders on behalf of mine owners in Cripple Creek, built the general merchandise store.

March saw nine days with high temperatures in the 60s in Steamboat Springs

April is promising at least a brief return to some semblance of normalcy in Steamboat Springs’ weather, with a chance of fresh snow on the ski mountain Thursday morning.

Resized rehab center in rural Routt County deemed a 'use by right,' gets the go-ahead

Developer Scott Borden knew last week when his permit was denied that he could still gain approval for The Foundry rehab center by limiting the number of residents staying there for treatment to a dozen residents.

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Rural mail carrier has been making her rounds for 47 years

Driving mostly dirt roads through one of the least-visited corners of Routt County, JoAnn Lombardi of Oak Creek has faithfully delivered the mail to a handful of longtime rural households for 47 years.

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Lower fuel costs mitigating expense of ski season flight program at Yampa Valley Regional Airport

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Airline Program Director Janet Fischer is confident that reduced fuel prices paid by the airlines along with an increase in the average ski season fares into Yampa Valley Regional Airport will result in a lower airline bill later this spring.

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Please, no cows in the cemetery

Sam Haslem told a story about the days when cowboys in far western Moffat County drove their cattle at a leisurely pace all of the way to the railroad yards in Phippsburg, south of Steamboat Springs.

The Foundry, voted down by Routt County commissioners, would have treated addiction

The Foundry rehab center developer Scott Borden told the Routt County Commissioners that his plans to operate on a rural property are central to his holistic approach to treating addiction.

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21st Century homesteaders 'love the land' as much as old-timers

Rita Herold described the early 1920s when lettuce and spinach were big cash crops in South Routt, and local lettuce was served in Manhattan's Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Snowmelt is underway above 9,000 feet on Rabbit Ears Pass east of Steamboat

Snow has been disappearing from the valley floor at a rapid rate this month, but travelers headed over Rabbit Ears can also see plain signs of an early runoff above 9,000 feet.

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Steamboat ponders 4 Points Lodge expansion

No decision yet to build, but Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. gains county approval for major addition to two-year-old Four Points Lodge dining room.

County considers commercial snowmobiling on conserved West Routt Ranch

Routt County Planning Commission agreed with Area Wildlife Manager Jim Haskins' recommendation to curtail the dates of commercial snowmobile operations on Elkhead Ranch to protect an “extremely important” elk migration corridor.

Yampa being considered for supplementary flows for third time in four years

Zach Smith, attorney for the Colorado Water Trust, told the board members of the Conservancy District Wednesday that while no decision has been made to supplement the Yampa’s flows again this summer, they want to have agreements in place by late May.

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Snowpack on Rabbit Ears Pass near Steamboat loses 12 points since March 4

The Yampa’s flows of 337 cubic feet per second Wednesday, where it passes beneath the Fifth Street Bridge in Steamboat, were more than double the median for the date, according to records kept by the U.S. Geological Survey.

State grants to fund RV hookups to computer networks in Steamboat, Routt County

Routt County will recognize the popularity of people staying overnight in motor homes at the county fair and at livestock shows by using its $6,589 “mini grant” from the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado to execute the planning for new RV hookups.

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Boulder developer proposes 64 market rate apartments on U.S. Highway 40 west

The entrance to Elk River Apartments would be on the north side of U.S. Highway 40 directly opposite from the highway’s intersection with Curve Court. The latter runs between Cook Chevrolet & Subaru and the Steamboat Pilot & Today building.

Routt County stepping up to category II would result in 2019 pay raises for elected officials

House Bill 1256 would result in a $14,000 annual pay increase for most elected officials in Routt County over the next two election cycles and be completed in 2019.

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Loss of historic Royal Hotel brings people of Yampa together

Residents of Yampa sign up to tackle modest chores and begin to affect positive change following the loss of historic landmark Royal Hotel.

Forecast for better than even chance of above average temperatures, moisture in Steamboat through March 26

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is rating the chance for above average precipitation through March 26 at between 50 and 60 percent, and the same is true for the probability of above average temperatures.

Intrawest, Powdr, Boyne ski resort operators unveil M.A.X. Pass

For Steamboat season pass and Steamboat-15 pass holders, the M.A.X. Pass means they could add five days at 22 resorts for a $249 up-charge (adult rate), according to Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. spokesman Mike Lane.

New Routt County camping regulations allow up to 180 days consecutive camping on private land

"I don’t think that we’re having such a problem with the definition of the word ‘temporary’ that I would have entered into this process and been willing to impinge on peoples’ rights to use their property.” –Routt County Commissioner Cari Hermacinski

Commissioners find little to like about Deer Mountain plan

County Commissioner Doug Monger said he felt that the Ridge at Deer Mountain developers were asking too much and not giving back enough public benefit with their proposal for a 12-lot rural subdivision with caretaker units.

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First dog on Routt County Sheriff's roster being trained to track people, sniff out narcotics

In addition to working with Routt County Sheriff Office's K-9, Boomer, on a daily basis, Deputy Ed Hendricks will be taking his partner home with him every night to strengthen their bond.

New Routt County private camping regs would restrict length of stay for first time

The Routt County commissioners are considering a two-tiered plan to allow camping 60 days in sum total, and a second plan, with a higher approval threshold, to permit up to 180 days of camping.

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Straightline owners plan to make the most of inconvenient situation this spring

Some retailers would be peevish over having to temporarily abandon their store for eight or nine weeks and move their merchandise and fixtures not once, but twice. But the owners of Straightline are seizing upon the disruption as an opportunity to rejuvenate their store.

Routt County commissioners suing local couple over 'illegal' A-frame

The Routt County commissioners are asking the court to either compel Mark and Lori Elliott to take down their 'illegal' A-frame or authorize the county to remove it and bill the owners.

After losing a landmark, town of Yampa invited to look to the future

When the Royal Hotel burned in January, the town of Yampa also lost a watering hole that offered much more than cold beer.

Yampa Valley Housing Authority close to applying for permit to build 48 affordable apartments

The tentative business arrangement with Overland Property Group to build the affordable apartments in Steamboat calls for the developers to absorb the entirety of the nearly $2 million debt on the land incurred by the authority in the real estate run-up of the last decade.

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Downtown improvement plan returns to Steamboat Springs City Council

City Council asked city staffers during its Jan. 20 meeting to return this week with additional research as they wrestled with the question of whether or not to fund public improvements in the downtown through a tax incremental financing program.

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Colorado Nordic skiing legend Sven Wiik turns 94

Steamboat's Sven Wiik, 94, who was inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame way back in 1979, was born to glide on a pair of skinny skis on Feb. 27, 1921, in Solloftea, Sweden.

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Steamboat Planning Commission favors extending worker housing at downtown motel through April 2016

“In the broader context of things, I don’t think there are too many people in the community who aren’t applauding a free market solution to a rough rental market,” – Planning Commissioner Charlie MacArthur.

Steamboat could accumulate a foot of snow in four days while Southern Rockies get buried

The mega-storm that is threatening the Southern Rockies this weekend is unlikely to bury Steamboat, according to snow forecasters, but the ski area could accumulate about a foot by the end of the day on Monday.

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City of Steamboat Springs set to review use of downtown motel as workforce housing

The Alpiner motel owners came to the city formally in October 2014 seeking to operate a portion of the property as a lodge. Approval of that use was conditioned on the rooms not being rented long term and required that fewer than 20 rooms be rented.

Lodging chairman says Steamboat resort will bustle into first week in April

January delivered mixed results among different property management companies and part of the fall-off was attributable to hesitant Front Range skiers who are very discerning about ski conditions.

County adds new full-time building inspector

The number of requests for building inspections has increased annually since 2011 when the total was 3,875 to 4,996 in 2014.

Steamboat Movement Fest promises to bring yoga tourism to Steamboat

The Steamboat Movement Fest will offer outdoor yoga classes along with vendor villages in Gondola Square and live music on the performance stage.

Proposed Ridge at Deer Mountain subdivision straddles urban growth boundary

A majority of the Planning Commission agreed that the five-acre lots called for in the Deer Mountain plan are preferable to the existing platted subdivision of 35-acre parcels.

Steamboat airline program officials making progress on switch from unreliable turbo-prop service to and from Denver

A search of United Airlines flights confirms that flights between YVRA and Denver June 18 will be on a 50-passenger Embraer RJ145 jet flown by Trans States. A search in mid-July still reflects service by Republic Airlines on the Q400.

Forest Service finalizing plans to tackle wildfire fuels reduction along Steamboat's wildland interface

In addition to wildfire fuels reduction, a major component of the U.S. Forest Service Steamboat Front plan involves cutting back mature mountain shrubs in a patchwork fashion to improve forage for deer and elk.

City of Steamboat, housing authority collaborate on water sewer project

Combining the city of Steamboat’s sewer interceptor project with water and sewer line replacement for the homes in the Fish Creek Mobile Home Park provides an economy of scale.

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A vital landmark in American skiing

“Howelsen Hill had sustainability, local energy, great athletes coming’s awesome that it has been sustained for 100 years. It’s just magical the way that thing all came together.” –Walt Evans, first executive director of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

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Butterfly Barn relocation alternatives enter city planning process

Author Queeda Mantle Walker confirms in her local history book, “Last Ranch in Hell’s Canyon,” that her late brother, the legendary horse wrangler Pat Mantle, used the barn beginning in 1968 as the base of operations for Sombrero Stables.

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Howelsen Hill's 100th: A conversation with Crosby Perry-Smith

it is with pleasure that we present this video interview with Crosby Perry-Smith and invite you to read more about Howelsen Hill’s role in ski history in the Feb. 15 Steamboat Pilot and Today.