San Miguel Basin Fair and Rodeo

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It’s the final countdown for the annual San Miguel Basin Fair and Rodeo. With just days left before the blast off happens, all of those working behind the scenes are focusing on making the fair a great experience for Norwood and surrounding communities who participate or visit. The Norwood Chamber of Commerce invites you to join in on the fun July 14-28 at the fairgrounds in Norwood.
The festivities open with the dessert contest on Saturday, July 14. Folks are invited to submit entries or come and enjoy the tasting that follows. Youth are eligible to win awards too, and the Fair Board has said they really want kids to be a part of it. (Contestants must live in San Miguel or West Montrose counties, but anyone can come and get samples!)
Horse show happens on Sunday, the following day, and the audience will be amazed at what local kids from Telluride to Redvale can do with their equines.
That same weekend, community events like the pet rock contest, the greased pig contest, the best dressed pet show and the community dance take place. All are invited.
Open Fair is set to be bigger than ever this year, and superintendent Becky Hannigan wants all to know they can bring anything from artwork to photography and eggs and canned pickles to be judged. Contact one of the fair board members for a complete list of items that are eligible to entered. (Again, participants must live locally; all visitors are welcome.) This special part of fair means a lot to local crafters, artists and gardeners – and it’s one the Fair Board takes seriously. It’s also one they’d like to see increased participation in.
Livestock shows happen through the week, and what’s cuter than seeing local kids show their prized lamb, goat, pig, steer and more at the Event Center? Shows happen daily, and the Fair Board invites all to come and see the stock, visit with the kids, and also take part in the junior livestock auction that happens July 21. A free barbecue is planned for those who’d like to attend the sale. The purchase of animals is open to all.
Rodeo happens the following weekend, and the chamber hopes you’ll come out for the show, also held at the fairgrounds. Barrel racing, roping, bull riding and more will take place. Food vendors, beer booths and kids activities (including junior rodeo and the mutton’ busting) help make the rodeo even better.
For those that need a place to stay overnight in Norwood for the 2018 fair or rodeo, check out local hotels like Backcountry Inn, the Back Narrows Inn and Norwood Inn. Some VRBO options exist too, like the JAM Ranch and others. Options for coffee, spirits, groceries and restaurants are within walking distance to the fairgrounds too.
For Norwood, the fair and rodeo are part of a decades-old tradition, one that celebrates the western way of life, and brings people to town to celebrate that. There will be something for everyone, and the chamber invites you to come out and enjoy yourself.


Summer Reading in full swing

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Summer Reading started at the Lone Cone Library in early June. Now, the programs are in full swing. Library director Carrie Andrew said that the library has some great things to offer the community for summer reading, and many people are participating.

“We had a terrific turnout during our first few weeks of programs,” she said. “This year we have something for everyone.”

Each year, the summer reading programs function under a specific theme. This year, that theme is “Libraries Rock.” It’s based on music, said library administrative assistant Brandi Platt. She said people can still enroll at this time. It’s not too late to sign up.

For ease and efficiency, the library has implemented an online registration system this year. Platt said those interested can visit the website to get started:  loneconelibrary. readingrecord.net/register. php?progId=1.

“So far, parents have really liked the self-registration online,” she said. “It has made things a lot easier. There is less paperwork to fill out and sign.”

Still, library patrons can still pick up packets from the library in the traditional manner, like they have in the past.

The program officially started on June 6, and it will end on July 27. There will be no programming, though, the week of July 4.

As usual, library staff have created age group divisions for participants. The early literacy group (birth through first grade) is held on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

The tween group (kids in grades second through sixth) is held on Fridays from 10 am. to noon.

The teen group (those in grades seventh through 12th) is on Wednesdays from noon to 2 p.m. The weekly meetings are a great way for youth of the same age group to gather. Still, Platt said kids don’t have to attend all of the weekly meetings to participate in summer reading.

“We understand summer is a busy time for families,” she said. “We do encourage kids to turn in reading logs weekly if possible. For the older kids, we have a goal to meet over the summer. Their names will all be entered in for a drawing for a prize, and they can each win a book of their choice for turning in their logs.”

Platt agreed that the kick-off to summer reading was very successful.

“We had a great turnout,” she said.

She reminds all that there are prizes to be won. The awards vary in the youth divisions.

As part of the adult summer reading program, the library will have a drawing for a $50 gift card from Clark’s Market of Nowood. To be eligible, adult participants must have a library card that is current. They must also read at least two books, or listen to at least two audio books, that they’ve checked out from the library. The drawing for the gift card will be held on July 31 at 4:30 p.m. Participants don’t have to be present to win.

Anyone with questions should contact Platt by calling the library at 327-4833 or by emailing her at




Dark Sky Group celebrates what Norwood has to offer

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The Norwood Dark Sky Group loves Wright’s Mesa for its own unique reasons: the dark, wide sky and the opportunities that it naturally offers the town for study, tourism and more.

On a mission to preserve what Norwood Dark Sky officials say is one of the town’s greatest resources, the organization is interested in making sure the night sky remains available for future generations as a place for viewing the solar system, galaxies and more.

Made up of a collective of scholarly men in the area, the board includes people like CU professor Dr. Bob Grossman, astronomy buff Creighton Wood, CU sophomore Brady Barkemeyer and more.

The group also has the support of Colorado astronomy experts like David Elmore and Val Svwarc, who also believe Norwood is where it’s at in terms of darkness and the ability to view the outer space.

In the last few years, officials from the Norwood Dark Sky Group obtained nonprofit status under the Pinhead Institute, a Smithsonian affiliate in Telluride dedicated to science education.

Yes, the Dark Sky Group holds star-gazing parties with high-powered telescopes. They like to keep up with what constellations are visible during different parts of the year, and they have taken a very unique and quite complex photo of the Andromeda Galaxy from Norwood.

(A copy of that will be presented to the Lone Cone Library in the next few weeks.)

But they have more in the works. Wood is in the process of unveiling an observatory station at his ranch outside of Norwood, something that will no doubt further the group along.

And, officials also want the organization to be involved in the community. They want the public to care as much as they do about the dark sky and its opportunity.

The Dark Sky Group has made it a priority to educate the community through monthly columns that members write in the local newspaper, The Norwood Post. They want to educate people on the negative effects over-lighting their properties with respect to the environment, their own finances, their personal security and more.

Their columns also share history, folklore and a heavenly outlook so that people can understand what it is they are actually seeing in the heavens throughout different seasons.

Additionally, the group supports San Miguel Power Association in implementing LED lights for town to reduce light pollution. That’s something that will eventually help the group to meet the International Dark Sky Certification requirements — a status they think will be great for putting Norwood on the map and making sure the town doesn’t lose what it already has.

And, the Dark Sky Group through its nonprofit status is willing to help people make the switch to LED lights on their own residential properties.

Officials believe that there are other people who value what Wright’s Mesa has to offer — so much so that they’d be willing to visit, stay and study the stars in Norwood, creating yet another source of tourism and adding an additional piece of diversity to the town’s economy.

The international certification, they hope, will happen sooner than later.


Carrissa Reiner and U.S. Bank supporting Norwood’s chamber

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U.S. Bank in Norwood, located at 1640 Grand Avenue, was established in 2006. Then, the bank was acquired from Westar Bank. (It’s been other banks over the years too.)

Branch manager Carrissa Reiner, who has been with U.S. Bank for 11 years, and has spent the last seven and a half years at the Norwood location, said the financial institution has a lot to offer the community. Currently, U.S. Bank is the only bank in town. According to her, though, t’s also a great place for the public to put their money and receive services.

“We are offering banking services, this is a full-service financial institution,” she said. “You don’t have to go anywhere else for your banking needs.”

In addition to making checking and savings accounts available, or other types of accounts and programs, customers can get various loans through U.S. Bank.

On another note, Reiner said she’s proud the bank makes local jobs available in the community. When fully staffed, the bank employs five people in Norwood: three are full-time, and two are part-time.

Currently, Reiner works with Hollie Early, In the next few weeks, she’s happy to have Samantha Quinn and Devin Erie coming on board as staff. Still, Reiner said she is looking for one other employee.

She said U.S. Bank needs another part-time person to work during the bank’s peak hours, approximately 15 hours per week. That work will occur mostly at lunchtime, when the bank has more traffic.

She said the position could be great for a parent, especially a single mother, who has a child in school. She also said some experience in handling cash is ideal, but her staff can teach someone with no experience.

Anyone interested should call U.S. Bank directly at 327-4255 for more information or to apply.

According to Reiner, she and the employees do have a good time and make the most of their professional workday.

“We have a lot of fun here, and a lot of laughs,” she said.

Over the years, the bank — operating as a few different financial institutions — has employed several longtime Norwood locals. That includes Davis Watson, and also Lorna Lupton. Lupton went to work at the bank right after high school and spent 33 years there.

Now, the bank is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It does remain closed on the weekends, though the ATM is available 24 hours a day for those who need to make transactions in that way.

The bank continues to support the community in other ways too. It’s quite common for U.S. Bank to make donations to various organizations in the community, depending on the size and need of requests.

The bank has also been a longtime member of the Norwood Chamber of Commerce, working to support the local economy and boost the town’s businesses.

Reiner said she appreciates all who choose to work with U.S. Bank in Norwood.

“I say thank you to all our customers,” she said. “We appreciate your business and your faith in us.”










Nolan family enjoys running the Back Narrows Inn; Divide restaurant gets liquor license

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In the late 1800s, the old hotel on Grand Avenue in Norwood was originally called the Western Hotel. Later, it the 1900s, it became the Back Narrows Inn.

In 2014, though, Logan Tease came to town and bought the place. He spruced it up and named it the Hotel Norwood. After putting some much-needed basic work into the property, Tease had wanted to let it go to someone who could really take ownership of the hotel business aspect.

In the last year, new owners Jerry and Patty Nolan have re-established the place and given it the old name, the Back Narrows Inn.

The Back Narrows Inn features 18 rooms total, but has five apartment spaces for longer-term occupancy too. Now, Scott Romaine is offering the town a new restaurant option through the hotel.

The Nolans, who have family in the Norwood area, said they saw real historical value in the hotel property. They wanted to save and restore the place. Since September, they spent the fall season of 2017 cleaning it, updating certain parts and getting the commercial kitchen ready.

In the old days, the Back Narrows Inn had a restaurant, but it had not been used in years. With much work that included the recent retrofitting and renovation, Romaine has re-established the restaurant, what is now called the Divide. (Romaine formerly ran the Lone Cone Bar and Restaurant.)

The restaurant has been open the last few months, and now Romaine has obtained a liquor license — something he said will only help the business there at the Divide.

Nolan said he never wanted to make big structural changes to the Back Narrows Inn. Instead, he has done smaller things for improvements — like work on the fencing, paint and interior touches. He has also worked by doing some landscaping and tree-trimming around the building. Still, he said the family is continuing to improve the old hotel. At the same time, many of the old antiques, like the old stoves and the cash register, remain in the lobby and elsewhere.

“We are still doing some work on it, and we will continue to improve it,” he said. “We will keep fixing rooms better and do more work on the hotel itself and the patio for the summertime.”

The Divide restaurant will offer outdoor seating this spring and summer as weather permits.

Nolan said as the first year of work continues, he and his wife are pleased with the way things are going.

“It’s going fantastic,” Jerry Nolan said. “It’s doing really good, the rooms are doing well, the apartments are doing fine, and so is the restaurant. We are pretty happy.”

Jerry Nolan also said l he and his wife are having a great time living the Norwood life.

“We love it here,” he said. “It’s a beautiful little town. It seems like a good place to be, and we’ve enjoyed it here.”

Last month, the Back Narrows Inn also Joined the Norwood Chamber of Commerce, and chamber president John Dotson said he is pleased to have the hotel on board.




District Ranger Office supports chamber and in several different ways, Ranger says

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The U.S. Forest Service’s Norwood District Ranger Office is a member of the Norwood Chamber of Commerce, and according to District Ranger Matt Zumstein, the office is supporting the local economy in several ways.

The U.S. Forest Service, of course, is in charge of managing the local forests, keeping them healthy for the public and the environment. Zumstein’s office manages local trails, like the Thunder Road Trails project in Norwood — a trails system that was established three years ago and that has brought tourism to the area.

Zumstein, who has been ranger for the last two years and previously specialized in recreation, said he’s committed to improving the area’s trails. Already, his crews have established new foot bridges in Thunder Road Trails in the last year to go over ditch crossings there.

“And we are always evaluating minor re-routes and the tread surface,” he said. “We are proud, and that’s the type of thing we want to expand upon in Norwood and the West End.”

He said he’s working with various user groups and local governments to focus on regional trails and to add more single-track to the existing system.

(He said he is also anticipating the finishing of the Burn Canyon Trails project, which is managed by the BLM. He said he’d love to see those trails connected to other regional trails, too.)

Zumstein said his office joined the chamber in order to stay more informed of what is happening in the local area. Additionally, though, he said his office supports local business.

It has a partnership with the San Juan Mountain Association, an organization that sells gift items and other things that are forest-related, and the they’ve established a retail space in the Forest Service building.

Zumstein said the U.S. Forest Service building has become a sort of visitor center for the town, one where people naturally tend to stop by for information. He said his office can help promote or sell items, like guidebooks and souvenirs, if they are related to forestry. He said the Mountain Association folks provide the inventory, and they give a percentage back to the District Ranger’s Office.

He said he has no problem with others leaving business cards or those who may want to sell their things, too, provided the items also relate to the U.S. Forest Service in some way.

Other ways of supporting local commerce in the area includes the permitting process: Zumstein said he regularly permits the filming of movies and commercials on U.S. Forest Service land. That includes the permit he recently gave the Cohen Brothers so that they could shoot a Netflix series locally.

Zumstein also grants other permits that help support businesses in the area; for example, grazing permits and fuels (wood-cutting) permits. Anyone who cuts wood on U.S. Forest land to personally use or sell must have a permit on file, and Zumstein said the Forest Service is supporting local economies with timber.

He said overall his office is working with the chamber to stay involved.

“So we are on the chamber to have knowledge of what’s going on, and it’s another avenue for us to get in the loop. This is an opportunity for us to share too,” he said.





Local real estate agent loves her life and work on Wright’s Mesa

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Linda Avery is a real estate broker in the Norwood area who is working to support those in this region, which she says has much to offer in terms of resorts and recreation. She’s been listing and selling properties here on Wright’s Mesa for the last 17 years — since she and her husband Doug moved to town from the Washington, DC area.

She prides herself in helping people to locate or sell the right piece of property, whether that be a ranch, mountain land, a lakefront property, a house or condo.

Linda is an active participant in the Telluride Association of Realtors and the Montrose Association of Realtors, and she is an Accredited Land Consultant through the Realtors Land Institute. She said with her affiliation in these groups, she is able to continue her work in promoting Wright’s Mesa overall, and specific listings too.

Her marketing outreach includes in-person broker-to-broker promotion, extensive internet promotion and selected print advertising.

She enjoys her career.

“What I love in real estate here is the diversity of property I can offer to buyers, from smaller land parcels and homes to very large tracts of land and larger ranches. There is something for everyone to come enjoy the lovely area,” she said. “In working with my sellers, I am so passionate about marketing what their unique property (and everyone here does have a unique piece!) can offer in the beauty of both their specific location and concept, as well as the general area.”

With more than 30 years of consultative sales and international experience, she has lived and worked in the U.S., Western Europe and Asia. She speaks English, French and German, and has an MBA in International Management.

In addition to her real estate work, Linda is a class agent for The American School in Switzerland, on the board for the Uncompahgre Medical Center in Norwood, active in the Telluride Rotary Club and is a member of the Norwood Chamber of Commerce.

She’s been a chamber member since 2002 and was the past chamber president from 2002-2006.

She and her husband love what Wright’s Mesa has to offer.

“It’s such a beautiful and tranquil place to be,” she said. “Every day the beautiful mountain, lake, valley and plateau vistas are just incredible, and change with the season. I have never been in another location that offers up such (almost daily) vibrant sunrises and sunsets.”

Linda said the abundant wildlife also make the Norwood area special. Outdoor activities are also something they cherish.

“Virtually every day of the year offers some great outdoor activity: from the winter cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, to the hiking, biking, boating and horseback riding most of the year,” she said. “The town of Norwood, right in the center of Wright’s Mesa, offers so much.”

She said Norwood offers beauty and serenity with access to important amenities, and while other important attractions and services are close by in larger, surrounding towns.

Linda also said she’s proud of what the Norwood Chamber of Commerce is now accomplishing. That includes participating in town beautification efforts and increasing Norwood’s exposure to the world.




Star Spangled Saturday is June 30

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Norwood’s 8th annual Star Spangled Saturday, a town-wide community event sponsored by the Norwood Fire Department, happens on June 30. Traditionally, it’s a Fourth of July-themed celebration that also honors the local fire protection district, invites citizens to consider joining the team as a volunteer firefighter and welcomes donations. But, for the public, it’s also a free event that gets people out to socialize and enjoy a meal.

For Norwood Fire Chief Joe Conway, it’s a first. He said he looks forward to seeing the event and getting a feel for it.

“I want to see how active it is, how much community participation, and I’ve got a lot of ideas,” he said. “There’s not going to be any changes this year, just the typical format — the parade, followed up by a barbecue. But, it’s on my list of things to tackle. I just don’t know a lot about it.”

Conway agreed that Carrissa Reiner, volunteer firefighter who helps produce Star Spangled Saturday, is the resident expert on the event. Reiner said it’s one she dearly loves.

“I can’t wait to see everybody out, and have the water play with the kids versus the firefighters. I’m looking forward to it!” Reiner said.

Conway has said he’s gotten some feedback from folks who say there is a similar event in Nucla and Naturita. The Water Days celebration there often does happen at the same time. Conway said he wants to support the Water Days event too, and doesn’t want to take away from the surrounding communities’ festivities.

“I’ve heard they have a lot of success, which I am happy for and want to make sure both events complement each other,” he said.

As Conway looks at Start Spangled Saturday for the first time, he said he’s considering ideas for the future that include a possible 5K race. He has helped produce events like that in the past and said he has had success in getting people out and involved.

“I would like to look and evaluate things and possibly grow this into a bigger community event,” he said. “Something people can really look forward to.”

Four years ago, Norwood’s Star Spangled Saturday did kick off with the Wright Stuff Challenge, a 5k/10k walk-run event for Norwood, and then people did respond positively.

This year, the community can plan for the 11 a.m. parade and the barbecue at Pig Palace at the San Miguel Basin Fairgrounds that follows. Volunteer firefighters will serve hamburgers and hot dogs, with potato salad or potato chips and drinks.

As always, water play will also happen afterward, and those who’d like to cool off by getting wet will certainly have a chance to do so.




Watson Appraisal in Norwood

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Davis Watson has been appraising property in the local area for the last 40 years. He first came to Norwood in 1974. Then, he was a recent graduate of the University of Colorado and working for a computer company in Grand Junction.

He had a business degree and sold computers in a territory that stretched from Grand Junction to Norwood and Telluride. He sold one computer to the San Miguel Basin State Bank in Norwood (a family- and employee-owned bank of that era that many longtime families will remember).

Bank officials liked Watson, and they asked him to come on board. Working for the bank in 1976, he heard an advertisement on the radio that announced a real estate appraisal class taking place in Grand Junction. When Watson asked his boss if he could attend, his boss agreed and wanted to take the class too. They both completed the three-day class, and Watson quickly began doing appraisals for the bank.

He married Mary Watson in 1978, and stayed on with San Miguel Basin State Bank until 1981. (He remained a board member until the bank sold in 1990-91). That same year, the family had their first child, and Watson started his own appraisal business.

At the time, he also sold some real estate, but he said he soon figured out that appraisal work was a better fit for his personality. To make ends meet, he did other jobs too — in construction and as an auctioneer.

(Watson said he was rather shy as a teenager, and his father sent him to auctioneering school right after graduation. He spent two weeks in Mason City, Iowa to get the training. Both his father and grandfather were also auctioneers.)

The last 15 years or so, though, Watson has been quite busy with mostly appraisals. He’s a state-certified appraiser, and typically works in San Miguel, Montrose and Ouray counties.

“I’ve done it so long, I enjoy it,” he said.

It’s quite common for him to go from looking at a manufactured home to then checking out a multi-million-dollar project. He also looks at homes destroyed by fire, and in the last year has been tasked with appraising three of those.

According to Watson, fewer young people are moving into his line of work. These days, individuals must apprentice under an experienced appraiser for approximately five years. They must also take specific courses, have some college coursework in the field, be licensed and meet other requirements. Watson said today the wages for a beginning appraiser just don’t add up.

“It’s not an occupation that many young people are coming into,” he said.

Nevertheless, it seems Watson got in at the right time. The work has supported his family over the years. He and his wife have raised two daughters in Norwood. (They’re now grown and leading successful lives in the San Francisco area.)

For mortgages, it’s typically the lending company that calls Watson Appraisal Services directly. For divorce matters or construction issues, often an attorney or an individual will reach out.

To reach Watson, call 327-4221 or email davisw@centurytel.net.






Norwood Fire joins chamber

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Since 1932, the Norwood Fire Department Norwood has been serving the community. Now, the organization has joined the Norwood Chamber of Commerce.

Just months ago, EMS and Assistant Fire Chief John Bockrath already agreed to help serve as a chamber board member. He’s been attending chamber meetings and helping in the board with its decision making processes.

He said Norwood Fire and EMS wants to be more involved in what is happening in the town.

“We wanted to see if there is anything we can do for the people of town, the businesses of town and to share ideas, share resources,” Bockrath said. “We have been the building at end of the street with the doors closed, and we want to change that. Our doors are open. We want people to know we are here.”

There are approximately 40 volunteers of Norwood Fire and EMS. That doesn’t include Bockrath or Chief Joe Conway.

Besides fighting fires and responding to emergencies, the department does other things too: community service, public education, education in the schools, fire inspections and more. Bockrath said the Norwood Fire Station’s doors are open for assemblies, meetings and other events. Already, the fire station is helping the Lone Cone Library meet its growing need for space by hosting some youth programming through the week.

“Basically we just wanted to be more involved in the community, just more involved here with the town itlself,” Bockrath said. “We’re not just the people you call when you dial 911.”

Recently to support citizens as well as businesses, Bockrath applied for a grant from the Telluride Foundation. That grant, in the amount of $15,000 would support 12 AED devices being implemented throughout the Norwood area. Recently, Bockrath completed an in-person interview, and he’ll will know about the grant at the end of December.

He said the AEDs will support not only Norwood, but the surrounding areas, like Redvale. That includes the locals that live and work in Norwood, but visitors too.

Also for the public, Bockrath has an EMT training class planned for Jan. 8. More details will soon be announced through local media outlets. The EMS chief said Norwood is the only education center between Delta and Durango, and he’s proud of that.

Already, Norwood Fire has worked to be present at town events, like parades or town celebrations. Bockrath recently begun attending the newly established community leadership meetings. He and Conway also make it a point to attend other meetings, such as Norwood Town Board, school board meetings and others.

“One of us tries to make an appearance,” he said. “We are trying to be more progressive in the town.”

Now, joining the chamber is just another way that Norwood Fire is showing up for the town.

Community is something that Bockrath has stated he deeply values.

“Coming from a large community, that was more individualized and people minded their own business. Here, there’s a sense of family, of being, and everyone knows and cares about each other. That’s what we love about this town.”