January 2018

• The new year blew in with frigid temperatures as the high was 8 degrees on the last day of 2017, a high of 26 with much colder wind chill, and an overnight low of around zero with wind chills well below zero.

• A group of protestors showed up at U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s Yuma home right before midnight on New Year’s Eve. They wanted to talk to the senator about legislation addressing long-term services for people with disabilities.

• It is announced that Yuma County has been recertified as “Storm Ready” by the National Weather Service. The county was the first to receive the designation several years ago, and is recertified every three years.

• Yuma County Assessor Cindy Taylor, Clerk and Recorder Beverly Wenger, and Treasurer Dee Ann Stults, announce they will run for re-election in November.

• The Yuma County Department of Human Services confirms it is conducting an investigation of Yuma Children’s Academy concerning allegations against one employee, stressing it was not egregious.”

• Yuma native Tyler Miller, YHS Class of 2011, is taking his guitar to Nashville, Tennessee, as a member of Johnny Day’s band to record music with several high-profile studio musicians.

• State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling came to Yuma to meet with the young women’s leadership group ESTRELLAS.

• Yuma schools deal with boiler issues while extremely cold weather visits the area, including having to set up a temporary heating system in the old wing at Yuma Middle School.

This young lady was bundled up for the frigid weather while walking to school in Yuma, last January. (Pioneer Photo)

• The Pioneer has an article with former Yuma resident Brenton Metzler, who was in Hawaii working on a television show when the Hawaii Emergency Management System mistakenly sends out a “missile alert.”

• The Yuma-1 Board of Education holds a lengthy work session to begin discussions on putting a bond issue before voters again in November.

• A fire at a mobile home in Eckley injures one of the home’s residents, Kelly Korf, who suffered smoke inhalation and burns to his lungs.

• Area landowners begin forming a group to represent all of their interests as ONEOK plans on running a multi-state Elk Creek Pipeline through northeast Colorado, including a long stretch of Yuma County.

• Yuma County Commissioner Trent Bushner of rural Yuma announces he will run for another term in the November election.

• The area finally gets a winter storm on January 21 with several inches of snow falling after months of dry conditions.

• Abbie Reed is introduced as the new executive director of the West Yuma County Chamber of Commerce.

• Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day is unanimously elected as president of the County Sheriff’s of Colorado during its annual winter conference.

• Speaking of Day, he announces he will seek a third term as Yuma County Sheriff.

• Yuma Children’s Academy terminates one employee after the YC Department of Human Services’ investigation determined the employee was “negligent.”

• The Yuma Volunteer Fire Department hosted firefighters from 12 departments for a Saturday of training, led by instructors from the Estes Park department.

February 2018

• The Pioneer runs an article about plans by Sheldon Kye Energy and Harvest Operating LLC to develop an anaerobic digester at a location off Yuma County Road 34, one mile east of Highway 59. While the project itself is exciting, neighbors of the proposed site raise objections to it being so close to their rural homes.

• The Yuma City Council votes to approve a ballot question, again asking voters to approve a city sales tax on marijuana, in the event that a dispensary ever does locate in Yuma. The same question had been narrowly defeated in November 2016.

• Morris Elementary School students competed in the Sunrise Optimist Club’s 12th annual Brain Bowl Challenge in Fort Morgan. It was the first time MES students competed in the major academic competition.

• State Representative Jon Becker of Fort Morgan changes course and decides not to run for another term in November, citing wanting to spend more time with family as his sons are in high school. He says he will run for Morgan County Commissioner instead.

• Three long-time members of the local office of the Colorado State Patrol, Larry Gilliland, Todd Combs and Matt Allacher, retire at the same time, holding a joint retirement party at the Yuma Community Center.

• Speaking of Combs, he also announces after his retirement, that he will run for Yuma County Sheriff, setting up a Republican primary with incumbent Chad Day.

• Mike Chambers of southern Yuma County, catches three bobcats in three days. The bobcat season is December 1 to February 28, and trapping for the fur is an active industry in the county.

• The Yuma City Council finalizes rate hikes for water and sewer, which will go into effect on April 1. The new revenue will be used to replace two blocks of water and sewer lines per year. The council also begins work on a sanitation rate increase.

• The YHS FBLA has a great run at the district competition in Sterling with more than 40 members qualifying for the State FBLA Competition in Vail in April.

• YMS secretary Dianna Bencomo is honored with a surprise assembly for her 45 years of service to the Yuma schools. She has put in for retirement, but asked for a transition year, leaving her at YMS through the end of the 2018-19 school year.

• It is announced that the Jim Hutton Educational Foundation’s attempt to amend its Tip Jack Ditch water right in southeastern Yuma County has been denied by Water Court Division One. It is part of the Foundation’s bigger effort to de-designate the groundwater basin, claiming groundwater pumping from the Ogallala Aquifer has damaged its senior surface water rights.

March 2018

• Yuma’s Bethleen McCall announces she will run as a Democrat for the House District 65 seat in the Colorado Legislature, in the November election. She is a member of the Yuma City Council, a long-time director of the Yuma Conservation District and is active several different causes and organizations.

• State leaders from Colorado and Nebraska announce a settlement in which Colorado has agreed to pay $4 million to settle claims the Colorado violated its requirements in the Republican River Compact.

• The Yuma Hospital District cancels its board election in May as there are two candidates for two board openings, Monica King and Roy Mekelburg. They will join current board members Chris Blecha, Cindy Stulp and Andrea Olsen Anzlovar.

• Local students have a great showing at the Northeast Regional Science Fair at NJC in Sterling, with YHS’s Austin Blomstrom, Logan Klein, Cody Robinson and Courtney Ross were high school finalists, along with Casey Shaw, Sydnee Roth, Tyson Lichty and Jaret Lichty of Liberty. Junior Division finalists included Clay Robinson and Kennedy Frank of Liberty, with Yuma’s Bridger Lynch winning the Director’s Choice Award.

• Rod Pelton of Cheyenne Wells announces he will seek the Republican nomination to run for the House District 65 seat in the Colorado Legislature, setting up a November election showdown with Yuma Democrat Bethleen McCall.

• Yuma County Emergency Manager Roger Brown is honored as the Emergency Manager of the Year for the Northeast Region by the Colorado Emergency Managers Association.

Delaina Klein shares a moment with husband Gerland after being named Citizen of the Year at the Chamber Banquet last March. (Courtesy Photo)

• Yuma City Council candidates Luke Goeglein, Ryan Saffer, Ron Swehle and Steve Hoch are featured in the Pioneer as the ballots are mailed out for the April 3 municipal election, which also includes the sales tax question for marijuana sales in Yuma. In the council race, the fourth-place finisher will get a two-year term, while the other three will get four-year terms.

• More than $30,000 worth of tools and other equipment are found missing at ALD Automotive after Yuma police respond to a report of a break-in at the business located on W. Beatty Ave.

• The Yuma-1 Board of Education meeting is a bit contentious as the board approves a 2018-19 school calendar in opposition to the one recommended by the teachers on the Calendar Committee.

• The West Yuma County Chamber of Commerce holds its annual Awards Banquet at Red Willow on Main. Delaina Klein is honored as Citizen of the Year, Meghann Blach of Farm House Market as Business Person of the Year, and Bank of Colorado as Business of the Year.

April 2018

• Yuma voters approve the marijuana sales tax question, 288-283. It paves the way for the city to apply a 5-percent sales tax, with the ability to raise it as high as 10 percent, on marijuana products sold within the city limits, in the event a dispensary is ever located here. The maximum sales tax collection amount is set at $1 million.

• In the council election, Luke Goeglein, Ron Swehla and Saffer earn four-terms, while Steve Hoch comes in fourth and gets the two-year term. Saffer is the only new member to the council.

• Yuma resident Dan Baucke helps attack the goose problem at Lake Yuma by building his own motorized “predator” that scares away the geese.

• In the Eckley Town Board of Trustees election, Mike Leerar is elected mayor, and Holden Ferguson and Troy Vance elected to the town board seats that were up for election, beating out four other candidates, Joe Hagemeier, Christi Furnish, Anna Castor and Mike Gillett.

• Local students do great at the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair at CSU, led by Casey Shaw of Liberty and Cody Robinson of Yuma each earning trips to the International Science and Engineering Fair later in the year. Yuma’s Logan Klein, and Liberty’s Jaret Lichty, Sydnee Roth and Tyson Lichty also win awards.

• The northeast corner of Yuma County is scorched by a grassfire on April 4. It was contained to two square miles despite windy and dry conditions.

• A major snowstorm finally hits the area as the Friday the 13th Blizzard causes all sorts of problems. There were power outages in town, and in the countryside, where some were without power for the whole weekend. Motorists were stranded, and livestock strayed all over the countryside, and closing schools. Local resident Randy Mekelburg ended up spending the evening in his pickup as he got stranded while on his way to his home located southeast of Yuma.

The Friday the 13th Blizzard caused its problems for a couple of days in April. (Pioneer Photo)

• Sheriff Chad Day gets unwanted attention when Bloomberg News releases an article that grants received by Day’s office from a foundation backed by billionaire Robert Mercer involved a quid pro quo. Day acknowledged receiving the grants, but said there were no improprieties.

• There are stop lights at the S. Main-Second Ave. intersection as the new ones are activated on April 17. It is the first time the intersection has stop lights since they were taken down in June 2016 for the Main Street Project.

• Long-time Yuma teacher, coach and administrator Brady Nighswonger is approved as the new principal at Yuma High School, as Jodene Boerner will be retiring at the end of the school year.

• It is learned Yuma County is temporarily losing its driver’s license services on April 30 as the driver’s license technician is leaving, and it will take several months to get someone else trained.

• The Lone Star school community comes together to support one of its families after the Fabians lose everything in a fire at their home located at Washington County Road YY and Road 57. The family includes girls ages 5 and 7 that attend Lone Star. Donations of items immediately poured in, along with financial donations.

• Yuma County resident Soren Christian Olsen was sentenced in Yuma County District Court on April 26 in relation to the 2017 death of a child under his care. He was sentenced to 26 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections, with 391 days of credit for time served. He will be on parole for five years after his release.

• The YHS FBLA had a great run at the Colorado State Conference in Vail, including Emma Walter, Jenni Carillo and Caleigh Daugherty earning a trip to the national conference in June.

May 2018

• In an interview with the Pioneer, Yuma-1 Superintendant Dianna Chrisman says the district is considering pursuing a BEST Grant to help cover the costs of the proposed expansion/renovation project at YHS. If the district pursues a BEST Grant, it will delay presenting a bond issue question to the voters by one year, as the deadline for the next round o BEST grants is February 2019.

• Clifton Burgess, 55, and Connie Sizemore, 48, were convicted in Yuma County District Court for their involvement in the 2017 case where the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office dismantled an illegal marijuana grow operation at their residence south of Yuma. The operation included more than 1,700 plants and two pounds of finished marijuana product. Law enforcement discovered it after faulty wiring at the rural home led to a structure fire.

• The YHS 2018 Prom is held at Red Willow on Main with Addison Weathers and Sarah Leifheit crowned Prom King and Queen.

• Speaking Red Willow on Main, it and fellow business Tumbleweed Brewing and Wine Company are featured in the Pioneer as they open in the renovated former Mustain’s grocery building in downtown Yuma, which had been closed for years after Mustain’s closed down earlier this decade.

• A retirement reception is held for Yuma Police Officer Rich Henry, who retired after 10-/2 years with the YPD, including eight years partnered with the K9 dog Ivan, who passed away the previous year.

• The Liberty FFA chapter won the state title in Agronomy/Field Crop Judging, beating 19 other teams for the state title in Fort Collins.

• Yuma High School science teacher Amy Melby is named the 2018 Bank of Colorado Teacher of the Year. She was nominate by Principal Jodene Boerner. She received a plaque and cash reward from the Bank of Colorado.

• Graduations are held at area high schools in May, including the YHS Class of 2018 holding its graduation in The Pit.

• John Barker of the Yuma VFW is honored with the State VFW Salute to Service Award for his many years of dedicated service.

• YHS alum and current YMS P.E. teacher Michael Dischner is approved at the new district athletic director and dean of students at Yuma High School, replacing Brady Nighswonger, who is moving up to principal.

• May was certainly wet as nearly four inches of rain fell in Yuma during the month.

• Yuma High School’s Cody Robinson, and Liberty’s Casey Shaw, Sydnee Roth and Tyson Lichty participated in the International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in May.

The Memorial Day tornadoes near Cope. (Martha Carrasco)

• The month ended with wild weather near Cope in southeastern Washington County, where Martha Carrasco caught pictures of twin tornadoes while seeking shelter with her two daughters and her boss. Luckily, no one was injured, though some structures were reportedly damaged.

• The annual Memorial Day Service was held at the Yuma Cemetery, followed by the second annual Yuma Museum Memorial Day Tour, featuring presentations at the tombstones of notable individuals buried there.

June 2018

• The Republican primary race for Yuma County Sheriff heats up as the primary ballots are about to be mailed. Incumbent Chad Day says he has not seen such a division before in a primary race, and he is being accused of things that are not accurate. Both Day and challenger Todd Combs tell the Pioneer they feel they have been unfairly characterized by the opposing camps.

• Later in the month Sheriff Day meets with the Yuma County Commissioners for about three hours in an open meeting to discuss concerns the commissioners have in regards to the office’s “no tax” accounts, which are not funded by taxpayers. Day answers all questions from the commissioners and from citizens that attend the meeting.

• A storm that seemingly whipped up out of nowhere pummeled Yuma and the surrounding countryside with rains, hail and winds in early June. Some areas reported up to four inches of rain, and there was hail damage in town and the countryside.

• The Third Avenue Project begins. It will replace two blocks of water and sewer line from S. Main east to Buffalo St., then receive a fresh new paving.

Two blocks of Third Avenue were torn up for much of the summer as new water and sewer lines were installed, followed by a new layer of asphalt. (Pioneer Photo)

• A proposed ordinance now allowing trailers and RVs to stay on city streets draws a large crowd of opposition to the Yuma City Council meeting. The council then voted to table the second reading of the ordinance.

• The second annual 5:10 to Yuma 5K/10K Run/Walk drew 239 runners to Yuma on a beautiful Saturday morning. Race founder and organizer Alice Metzler said she was encouraged by the participation and should just grow into the future. She said there might be some minor changes in future years.

• JR Unger was awarded the Bill Seward Memorial Award during the annual Yuma county Cattlemen’s Association’s Banquet and Awards Night held in Yuma.

• The primary election comes to an end on June 26, and the contentious race in the Republican primary for Yuma County Sheriff goes to challenger Todd Combs, who gets 57 percent of the vote over incumbent Chad Day. Combs will take over in January 2019 as there is a not a Democrat challenger in the November election.

• Rain and hail keeps pounding the area, inclucing wheat fields in southeast Yuma County getting wiped out by hail. Another storm brought damage to fields north of Eckley.

• The wagon wheel that is part of the Main St. welcome monument near Highway 34, goes missing.

• YHS’s Cody Gross and Brandon Mendoza, and Emma Walter, Jennie Carillo and Caleigh Daugherty attended and competed in the National FBLA Leadership Conference in Baltimore, Maryland at the end of the month.

July 2018

• The local winter wheat harvest gets off to a slow start, with early returns being encouraging — at least where there was no hail damage. Despite widespread rain leading up to the harvest, there still are fields that were fairly dry.

The Cardboard Regatta at Lake Yuma proved to be a popular addition to Yuma Days in July. (Pioneer Photo)

• Hundreds attend the City of Yuma’s Independence Eve celebration on July 3 at the Jeff Armstrong Ball Park complex. There was a home run derby, a dancing performance, a pie eating contest, face painting and plenty of fun games for family members, along with youth softball and baseball league tournament championship games. It concluded with the Yuma Volunteer Fire Department putting on the annual fireworks show at dusk.

• Heat and wheat harvest led to a fire in a wheat field west of Yuma, with harvesting equipment reportedly starting the fire. Quite a bit burned, but area firefighters were able to get it contained before it spread too far.

• An apparent lightning strike destroyed the steeple of the church on Old Main St. at the Old Threshers Grounds. It also did damage inside the church around the electrical box.

• Another fun community event is held in Yuma as the Yuma Police Department and Chamber of Commerce hosted a Yuma Night Out and Yuma Days celebration over two days. It included a Cardboard Regatta held Saturday morning at Lake Yuma that proved to be a big hit.

• The Yuma-1 Board of Education continued discussions about pursuing a BEST Grant for the proposed renovation/expansion project at YHS, holding a two-hour work session on the subject.

• An abandoned vehicle found in a field near Highway 36 in south-central Yuma County led to the seizure of methamphetamie, cocaine, heroin, prescription pills ad paraphenalia. Arrested were Niussa Waaben, 26, of Commerce City, and Michael Casias, 35, of Denver, by the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office.

• In some agriculture business news, it is reported West Plains LLC is taking over the operation of the elevator and storage facilities at the former Bartlett Co. location at the west end of town, while Nutrien Ag Services, which was Crop Production Services, will keep the fertilizer facilities and railroad access. It also is announced that as July 1 that Crop Production Services is being rebranded as Nutrien Ag Solutions.

• When it finally got rolling, it went quickly, as the local winter wheat harvest was done in a couple of weeks. Final yields and quality were strong all over Yuma and Washington counties.

• The Yuma City Council received plenty of feedback from local contractors as it moved forward in updating to the 2015 International Building Code.

• The proposed Ag Innovation Center to be located at the Yuma County Fairgrounds is in the news again as the committee plans a big fund-raiser during the Yuma County Fair in August.

August 2018

• The new asphalt surface is put down on W. Third Ave. from S. Main to Buffalo St. bringing to an end the Third Avenue Project, which began in late May and included the installation of new water and sewer lines along the two-block stretch. The project is completed just in time for the Yuma County Fair.

• The first edition in August includes a feature on on 8-year-old Sophia Cassanova Pagel, and her friend Kaylee Remmich, 9. Remmich has been battling cancer since she was 2 years old, and her friend Sophia had her hair shaved to show support and help raise money for the Remmichs. However, it mainly is a story of a wonderful friendship.

Kaylee Remmich has fun rubbing the shaved head of her friend Sophia Cassanova Pagel, last summer. (Kelly Rayl)

• Dorothy Eastin is featured in the Pioneer as she will be the Grand Marhsal for the Yuma County Fair Parade, after decades of involvement in Yuma County 4-H. Fair Queen Grace Merritt also is featured leading up to the fair.

• A vicious storm that blew through the Brush area at the end of July, also caught some Yuma-area residents in its crosshairs, including Jud and Kathy Hall sitting in their car on the side of Highway 34 near the Brush Airport while getting pounded by hail. The storm caused major damage over a wide area.

• Everyone enjoys another great run at the Yuma County Fair & Rodeos in early August. Riley Richardson shows the Grand Champion Market Beef, while Ema Richardson has the Grand Champion Market Hog, Kenzie Morris repeated with the Grand Champion Market Sheep, and Lyndsey Mekelburg repeated with the Grand Champion Market Goat.

• The Junior Livestock Sale at the Fair set a record of $328,700, topping the previous record set in 2016 by nearly $18,000.

• The traditional “fair rain” came Tuesday evening during the busiest day of the fair, sending everyone scurrying for cover. It did not stop the Lonestar concert from going on as planned later in the evening.

• The Orphanage, a new business/events venue located in downtown Yuma on the corner of S. Main and Third Ave. is featured in the paper, as owners Rich Birnie and Ron Wenger open the attractive facility to rave reviews.

• All-Seeing Hemp in Yuma is featured as U.S. Senator Cory Gardner and Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown are given a tour of the facility by staff and owners. Colorado is the nation’s leading hemp producer, and Yuma County is at the forefront with 600 acres of industrial hemp.

• The Yuma Museum holds its annual Ice Cream Social fundraiser, including auctioning off seven historic canvas prints of Yuma.

• The new school year begins in Yuma on August 22. Brady Nighswonger and Michael Dischner are featured as the new principal and AD/dean of students at YHS, respectively.

• A plea agreement in a major drug case in Yuma County is accepted in Yuma County District Court. Joshua Hansen of Yuma pled guilty to one count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance with intent to distribute more than 225 grams. Sentencing was set for early November. Hansen initially was arrested in October 2016 when a search warrant executed at his Yuma residence revealed large amounts of various drugs, firearms and stolen antiques.

• The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office has four K9 units sworn in for duty during a ceremony in a courtroom in the Yuma County Courthouse in Wray.

• The Grassroots Foundation in Joes held a 25-year anniversary with a music festival in late August.

• Dr. Jeff Young of the Animal Planet’s “Rocky Mountain Vet” visited Eckley to headline a spay/neuter clinc as the community attempts to mitigate its feral cat population. The event might end up on Dr. Young’s television show at a later date.

• Creighton Eyring of Boy Scouts Troop 44 presents his Eagle Scout Project to the Yuma Public Library. It is a handmade “sensory table” that will prove to be useful for a variety of youth activities at the library.

• It was a historic run at the Colorado State Fair for the Richardson siblings, as Nash Richardson showed the Grand Champion Market Steer, and older sister Ema had the Grand Champion Hog. Oldest brother Riley won the Champion Senior Showmanship, and Nash also won showman in his division.

• The City of Yuma reaches a settlement with McAtee Construction in regards to the 2016 Main Street Project. The city still retained $372,570 for the project, and agreed to make a final payment to McAtee in the amount of $245,314. The difference of $127,256 is being kept by the city to pay for repairs and other issues related to the project. The city has contracted with another firm to do concrete remediation work up and down S. Main for $80,355, leaving a balance of $46,901 for other Main Street Project-related issues.

• Former Yuma area resident Justin Tuell, who wrestled for Yuma High School and attended Lone Star, is featured as he was on the reality television show “Naked and Afraid” earlier in the year. Tuell is a nurse at North Colorado Medical Center.

• Y-W Electric Association holds a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of its new headquarters, the former site of the John Deere Dealership located along Highway 34 just east of Akron. The project is expected to be completed in one year.

• The month comes to an end with a signing of the 2018 Revised CREP Agreement signed by U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources at the Three Corners Monument east of Wray. Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown was instrumental in negotiations between the two agencies. The Republican River Water Conservation District sponsored the signing event. The CREP helps with Colorado’s efforts to be in compliance with the Republican River Compact.

• Early enrollment figures show Yuma-1’s student count is slightly up at the start of the school year with 786 students in grades K-12, compared to 780 in 2017 and 775 in 2016.

September 2018

• Old Settlers is held in Eckley on Labor Day weekend. The Community Service Award went to Dena Owens, and Stuart Turvey and the Harold Blach Family each receiving appreciation awards from the Eckley Volunteer Fire Department.

• The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office announces that jail operations will have to be scaled back significantly because of a manpower shortage. The YCSO states that with the coming change of administration in 2019, many current staffers are pursuing other employment, leaving the jail shorthanded. The majority of inmates have been contracted to the Washington County Jail in Akron. Sheriff Day says it would not be appropriate for him to make hires on behalf of incoming sheriff Todd Combs.

• The Yuma-1 Board of Education approved the hiring of Neenan Archistruction to prepare a Master Plan for the district, and help it prepare its BEST Grant application, during a special meeting following a work session in September. Neenan’s contract is for $43,500.

• The 150th anniversary of the Beecher Island Battle is recognized during the annual Beecher Island Reunion south of Wray. Large crowds attend the Beecher Island location during the weekend event. The event included honoring the Buffalo Soldiers, and a Buffalo Soldiers Show with members of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club Mile High Chapter.

• Courtney Giles, 21, of Otis is tragically killed in a one-vehicle rollover accident on Road 39 near Hyde in eastern Washington County. She had lived in the area for the past several years, working at the Shop-All Pharmacy, and most recently at Yuma County Dairy.

YHS 2018 Homecoming Royalty Jeremias Pinela-Rascon and Kenzie Morris. (Jake Rayl)

• Local veterans John Schroetlin and and Greg Cranston were featured after taking part in a recent Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C.

• The summer comes to a hot end with eight of nine days with highs above 90 degrees leading up to the official start of autumn on September 22.

• It is reported that opiod overdose deaths are way up in eastern Colorado highlighting that the region is not immune to the country-wide opiod epidemic. A couple of different opiod programs are set, by the High Plains Research Network and by CSU Extension.

• The Yuma City Council passes a cat ordinance. City Manager Scott Moore acknowledges that enforcement of much of the ordinance will be difficult, but the city needs to have it on the books in order to apply for grants that will help pay for a feral cat spay-and-neuter program.

• The community is rocked on September 25 when Don Rutledge dies from injuries suffered in a two-vehicle accident in rural Weld County near Grover. His good friend Ron Higgins suffers serious injuries but survives.

• Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day denies he is encouraging staff members to quit prior to Todd Combs taking over in January. He said he will support them in any decision they make that is best for them and their families. Combs said only the active sheriff can hire personnel, and he believes Day should continue to fulfill his duties until the last day of his term.

• Jeremias Pinela-Rascon and Kenzie Morris were crowned the 2018 YHS Homecoming King and Queen, during halftime of the Yuma-Holyoke football game on the last Friday of the month.

• A Colorado State Patrol vehicle is involved in a wreck on Higway 34 just north of the overpass west of Yuma. The trooper was treated for minor injuries. No one else was injured.

October 2018

• A surprisingly-heavy snowstorm drops a few inches on Yuma on October 9. The heavy snow resulted in a series of power outages that left much of Yuma without power for various amounts of time. City crews were out dealing with the issues until approximately 2 a.m. the next morning. Another snow storm hit area less than a week later, but there has not been any measurable snowfall since.

• Bethleen McCall and Rod Pelton are featured in the Pioneer as the Democrat and Republican are vying for the House District 65 seat in the Colorado Legislature.

• The Yuma Art Association holds its annual Yuma Art Show, attracting hundreds of entries to the popular show.

• The Yuma Planning Commission is disbanded due to a lack of interest. Earlier in the year, the city council voted to reduce its size from seven to five members, but still had trouble attracting willing volunteers. The decision finally was made to approve an ordinance to repeal the chapter in the Yuma Municipal Code that calls for a planning commission. The ordinance also dissolved the commission.

• An active shooter exercise is held at Yuma District Hospital & Clinics, with several local agencies participating in the event.

• A Yuma couple escaped without injury, but lost their home and some pets in a house fire, in the chilly early-morning hours of Monday, October 15. Reuben and Shannon Evig escaped from their home on 1000 block of S. Birch, but some of their pets perished. It appeared the fire originated in a wood burning stove in the living room. Overnight temperatures had plunged into the teens.

• Anthony Brooks-Alvarez is featured as he prepares for his first professional fight in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in North Platte, Nebraska Alvarez, 27, ends up losing to Jose Hernandez of Kearney, Nebraska, in the October 27 fight.

• The Yuma City Council hears from irate citizens on yet another topic, during its second meeting in October. The citizens were voicing their concerns about the city wanting property owners to put their leaves into extra containers put out by the city, rather than pile them in the gutter for removal as they have done for decades. Residents also voiced concerns about getting door hangars for tree limb violations.

• The YHS STEM class wins the Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology Robotics Challenge at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, earning a trip to the multi-state Robotics regional to be held in Denver in early December.

November 2018

• Archie, the newest member of the Yuma Police Department, is featured as the K9 unit and his partner, Officer Jerry Thompson are close to being certified and able to go on duty.

• The YHS FFA Chapter attends the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, including Mariya Mekelburg, a YHS graduate, receiving her American FFA Degree, it is reported the first of November.

• Josh Hansen is arrested on new narcotics charges just days before he is to be sentenced in Yuma County District Court in another drug case stemming from an October 2016 arrest.

• It is reported in early November that Laura Saxton was presented with the Citizen Appreciation Award from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for her dedication and efforts to raise awareness and support for families in search of loved ones who are missing in Colorado, CBU Agent Kevin Torres, who has worked with Saxton in the missing person case of her daughter Kelsie Schelling, was named Investigator of the Year fo his work in keeping alive the search for Schelling.

• Voters in the 13th Judicial District vote down a ballot question extending the term limits for the office of District Attorney from two to three four-year terms, in the November 6 election. Yuma’s Bethleen McCall loses her bid for the House District 65 seat to Republican Rod Pelton of Cheyenne Wells. Voters in Wray approve the school district’s bond issue question to fund the balance of a new Buchanan Middle School, with a BEST Grant covering the other half.

• Veteran John Schroetlin of Yuma shares his experiences of serving on a submarine during the Vietnam War in a feature in the Pioneer leading up to Veterans Day.

• Yuma Middle School hosts a Veterans Day event in the gymnasium, honoring area military veterans.

• It is reported that the iconic Eckley bar and grill is reopened under the new ownership of Mike Leerar, Jeannie Leerar and Terry Oestman.

• The Yuma Lions Club hosts an open house celebration on November 17 in honor of the club’s 70th anniversary.

• Discussion by the Yuma City Council about possibly allowing marijuana dispensaries to locate here results in the abrupt resignation of Mayor Joe Harper, as the other members of the council express an interest in looking further into the matter. Mayor Pro-Tem Ron Swehla takes over as mayor.

• It is a great start to the Pheasant Season as numerous hunters come to the Yuma area for the season’s opening weekend, and many find success in bagging their limit of birds.

• Yuma-1 continues to work on its Master Plan, leading up to a possible BEST Grant application.

• The Yuma Drama Club presents three performances of “Rock of Ages: High School Edition” in the Yuma High School Auditorium.

• Patti Tribbett is featured as she retires after being with the Yuma Pizza Hut since it opened in November 1988.

• Gary Baucke of the Yuma Ambulance Service is recognized by the Emergency Medical Services Association of Colorado by being presented the EMS Executive of the Year during the 2018 Colorado State EMS Conference in Keystone.

• The previous meeting’s discussion about marijuana dispensaries led to several citizens attending the next Yuma City Council meeting to voice their opinions. Most speak against the idea, but one person does speak in favor. Also, Luke Goeglein is appointed as the mayor pro-tem as Ron Swehla moved up to mayor following the abrupt resignation by Joe Harper.

December 2018

• The month begins with a fun Miracle On Main Street/Winterfest celebration in Yuma. Despite rough weather conditions, participation is strong, including for the first-ever Parade of Lights that winds its way down S. Main St.

There were several great entries in Yuma’s inaugural Parade of Lights on December 1, 2018. (Courtesy Photo)

• Representatives of Neenan Archistruction spends a full day in Yuma visiting with school staff, then meets with the Yuma-1 Board of Education to present options within the master plan that could be used in a BEST Grant application. One of the options included moving grades 7-8 to the YHS campus to better take advantage of Career Technical Education and AP classes.

• Yuma County Landfill Supervisor Cliff Henry visits with the Pioneer about issues facing the landfill that is prompting the Landfill Board of Directors to consider higher rates, which will impact all users.

• CSU Extension announces it is launching its opiod abuse prevention program in eastern Colorado.

• Ron and Deb Higgins are featured in the Pioneer as Ron has returned home after a long recovery in the Greeley area after suffering multiple serious injuries in a September 25 wreck that took the life of his friend, and Deb’s uncle, Don Rutledge, in rural Weld County near Grover. They express appreciation and amazement at all the outpouring of support they have received since the accident, noting how great it is being from a small town.

• YHS’s STEM class has a great showing at the multi-state Robotics regional in Denver. The students are the only first-year team to reach the semifinals, finishing fifth out of 30 teams.The team consisted of Conner McCoy, Emmanuel Fierro, Paul Brophy, Dillon White, Steven Wells, Fabian Salcido, Christian Hawley, Jacob Long, Cody Robinson, Denae Beaprez and Logan Klein, along with teacher Amy Melby.

• Though again not an agenda item, the marijuana dispensary issue is again a hot topic at the Yuma City Council meeting, with citizens voicing opinions against and in favor of the idea. Former mayor Joe Harper tells the council a recall effort has begun, and he has put his name in for mayor as he says he is going to get his job back.

• Crews are installing ONEOK’s Elk Creek Pipeline across Yuma County, with work taking place along Highway 59 about seven miles north of Yuma at the moment.

• Bryson Chrismer is sworn in as the newest member of the Yuma City Council during the first meeting in December, bringing the council back to a full seven members.

• Two bodies are found inside after a residential structure fire in the Armel area near the Kansas border in southeast Yuma County. The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office has called in other agencies to help investigate and are treating it as a possible homicide, suicide, arson, though lab results need to be returned before a final determination can be made.

• Threats issued via email to school and other government buildings throughout the United States included one being sent to the Yuma County Courthouse. Nothing suspicious is found in the building.

• Rising costs prompts representatives of Neenan Archistruction to return to Yuma to visit with the Board of Education about prioritizing what is most important to be included in Phase 1 of the master plan and possible BEST Grant application. Board members seemed to be in consensus that expansion and renovation of the YHS building is top priority.

• Liberty School District J-4 announces it has attainted the rating of “Accredited with Distinction” for the third consecutive year as computed by the Colorado Department to Education.

• The year comes to an end with Christmas in Yuma not including any snow. However, forecasts called for a good chance for several inches to fall in the days following the holiday.