Joseph Lekarczyk and Lora Gilson
The Lyons Recorder
Although it seemed at times like the Board of Trustees (BOT) were spending all their time and energy with medical marijuana (and a lot of time WAS spent dealing [pun intended] with it), the group did manage to accomplish some other things as well.
An annexation incentive program was initiated by the Board to lower the cost and cut down the amount of red tape previously associated with the annexation process. The reasoning was, any loss in “up front” revenues, would be offset by increased sales and property tax revenues as the Town attempts to increase its sales tax base. The program worked, and two landowners have annexed into the Town as a result.
Another issue that seemed to take up an inordinate amount of the Trustees’ time, and a myriad of executive “strategy” sessions after the regular BOT meetings, was the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between Lyons and Boulder County. At stake was the length of the agreement, how much land around Lyons would be included in the Lyons Planning Area (LPA), which parcels would be included, the designation of primary and secondary parcels in the LPA, and coming to an agreement on zoning, planning, and growth issues. It was all quite complicated and convoluted. It involved a lot of back-and-forth “horse trading,” which is never particularly easy when a certain amount of “mistrust of motives” has arisen on both sides. The final draft of the agreement has yet to be hammered out and signed.
It was a banner year for the Town as far as grant money goes. The Town of Lyons was able to secure approximately 1.8 million dollars of Federal money to continue the “Main Street” project from 3rd Avenue east to the McConnell Bridge, including a much-needed stop light at the bottom of Stone Canyon Drive. A grant of a little over four hundred thousand dollars for increased bus service/routes and the continuation of the free community EcoPass was also procured, as were smaller grants for a wastewater study, more efficient street lights, an intern program for Town Hall Staff, and recycling cans on Main Street. About 2.3 million dollars in total.
The Trustees and Staff made a point of balancing the “operations” budget (where the revenues equaled or exceeded the expenditures for 2012), although some of the various fund surpluses need to be dipped into to catch up with some overdue capital improvement projects. Speaking of capital improvements, a five-year plan was created for below ground infrastructure improvements in the “Old Town” area. Unfortunately, the wastewater study showed that we will be needing either a new wastewater treatment plant, or at least an upgrade, sooner than anyone had been expecting.
With guidance, input, and suggestions (sometimes quite contentious) from the Planning and Community Development Commission (PCDC) and the Economic Development Commission (EDC) the Board made some progress on defining formula businesses (FB), creating design standards (DS), and working out what they hoped the Commercial Eastern Corridor (CEC) zone will eventually look like. So, the BOT, PCDC, and EDC hammered out the FB and DS for the CEC, which will henceforth be referred to as GC (or Gateway Corridor).
The Board instituted a paid parking program in Bohn Park, and hired two “Community Service Officers” to enforce the Bohn and Meadow Park parking regulations as well as the two-hour/one-hour parking regulations on Main Street/Railroad. This went over really well among some locals, and subsequently had to be tweaked just a little.
And now on to the medical marijuana issue. At one point, seven business licenses to sell medical marijuana had been issued by Town Hall. But, by 2011, there were basically four centers still in operation (Lucky Farms, Headquarters, The Bud Depot, and Lyons Finest Confidential Care). Many public meetings were held, lawyers were consulted, National Geographic arrived to film the proceedings, teachers, church leaders, students, parents, patients, business owners, employees, landlords, and advocates all got a chance to voice their views and concerns. After much discussion and wrangling among themselves, the BOT was able to come to a consensus: medical marijuana centers would only be allowed in the commercial zone, grow operations and infused product manufacturing in industrial and light industrial zones, no business within 1,000 feet of a school, and the desire to eventually get the number of centers down to two. The Trustees also set some guidelines and limits for caregivers and the number of plants that could be grown in residential neighborhoods. They felt good about these parameters, and thought the new regulations would placate the fears that Lyons was going to turn into a little Amsterdam.
Over the summer much jockeying took place. The owner of Lucky Farms, concerned that a referendum to ban all medical marijuana businesses within Lyons was in the wind, asked the Trustees to give him until April of 2012 to relocate and reopen his center so as not to incur additional expenses if the ban was passed. The Board, citing the inherent risk in operating a business that is still technically against Federal law, said no. Lyons Finest Confidential Care sold their business, and asked to transfer their license. There was some confusion about what and when certain papers were filed, and a “cease and desist” order was given to the new owners. This was obeyed, paperwork was straightened out, and the transfer was granted. In the late fall, with the deadline to relocate outside of the 1,000 feet from a school looming, Headquarters approached the BOT asking permission to relocate to the Red Hill Motorcycle WERX building on the eastern edge of town, and they expressed a desire to purchase and transfer the business license of The Bud Depot.
But, just days before the meeting, the referendum to ban medical marijuana businesses became a reality when a petition to do so was turned into Town Hall. This variable jumbled the request, (to delay the relocation until after the April vote, to approve the transfer of the license now or wait until after the vote, etc.) to the point it wasn’t quite clear to anyone just what was being requested. The requests were tabled until the next meeting, when Headquarters asked that the deadline for relocation be extended by thirty days (until January 14) and that the sale and transfer of The Bud Depot’s license be approved pending the outcome of the April vote. There was a lot of discussion and disagreement among the Board, and the request was finally approved in a 4 to 3 vote (Mayor Van Domelen and Trustees Udovich and Carroll voting no).
So, now we are (theoretically) down to the desired two medical marijuana centers (Headquarters and Lyons Finest Confidential Care), neither of which will be within 1,000 feet of a school (as of January 14, 2012). And we have a referendum to ban all medical marijuana businesses within Lyons on the April ballot. Now it will be up to the voters to decide if they can live with the medical marijuana regulations that have been enacted and are now in place, or if they prefer to ban the medical marijuana businesses outright. We’ll know the answer by Wednesday, April 4, 2012. This should make for an interesting election!
The newly formed Lyons Polar Bear Club started the year off with a plunge into the frigid waters of the St. Vrain River on New Year’s Day, they did it again in February, this time as a fundraiser for Stand Up For Kids. The intrepid swimmers raised a whopping $2,500. By the way, if any of you are intrigued with the idea of a mid-winter plunge, the Polar Bears will be starting 2012 with another plunge by the pedestrian bridge at the Black Bear Hole. Stop by Pizza Bar 66, and ask Josh for details (I’m sorry I won’t be able to make it, I’ll be doing a little plunging of my own in sunny, warm Mexico).
The community-wide free EcoPass bus passes, the program that just won a Boulder County Pinnacle Award, good on all RTD routes, arrived at Town Hall in early January (a good number of them have yet to be picked up, by the way). This little perk that comes with living in Lyons, has increased the ridership on the “Y” to and from Boulder, and the program has led to talks about adding a line to and from Longmont during commuting hours.
The Lyons Chamber of Commerce awarded the ladies from the Lyons Garden Club the first annual “Spirit of Lyons” award for their volunteer work in the beautification of the town. And the “Main Street Project,” was awarded the “Project of the Year” by the Colorado Chapter of the American Public Works Association, for the best engineering/construction management in a small community. Speaking of Public Works, Lyons Public Works Director Larry Badker retired from the job in April, his place was taken by Lyons resident Kyle Miller.
Rome burned while Nero fiddled, and in Lyons, the beavers built (a huge dam next to the ponds near McConnell Bridge) while the BOT, worried about a possible flood, fiddled around trying to come up with a politically correct solution that wouldn’t alienate the voters. The ditch company finally took matters into their own hands, and hired a backhoe operator to tear out the obstruction. Too bad, because I (like most of the males in town) was kind of looking forward to the dynamite solution! Keeping with the flood and fire theme, there was a big wildfire in March up near Button Rock that was apparently started when the wind kicked up after a prescribed burn, and in July in the Blue Mountain area, a couple of wildfires were ignited by lightning strikes. Meanwhile in May, over in Stone Canyon, the floodwaters came tumbling down the hill and right through a home, when water from Carter Lake was released in anticipation of the spring melt. The Lyons Fire District volunteers were on the job quickly, and prevented a bad situation (the homeowners were away on vacation) from becoming even worse.
Art was alive and well in Lyons this past year. The Clarifier Project made significant progress on their giant mosaic project just across the pedestrian bridge at the Black Bear Hole. Engaging the GAP group, they created the big sun mosaic plus put most, if not all, of the zodiac mosaics on the ring around the top of the clarifier. If you haven’t seen it, you really should walk on by and check it out. The project will resume come spring. New sculptures were added to Main Street, including a five-story doll house by Anne O’Brien, which caused a little bit of an uproar when residents read that the Town had okayed the construction of a five-story building ofthe corner of Main Street and 4th Avenue! The Lyons Farmette again hosted the Boulder County Art Alliance’s Plein Aire (also a Pinnacle Award winner) event, and ReRuns presented their first sidewalk fashion show, to benefit the Lyons Community Foundation. The EcoPass and Plein Aire weren’t the only ones to get recognized; the Lyons Community Church was voted the best little church in the intermountain region in August. Just when you thought you couldn’t pack anymore of the “arts” into the Lyons social calendar, along comes “theatre!” In August, the Three Leaches Production Company brought the play “Lonely Planet” to The Stone Cup, starring none other than Sam Tallent Jr. Inspired by the response, Georgi Pollard whipped up the Lyons Community Theatre, and put on a melodrama (The Pony Espresso – Or The Villain Comes To A Grinding Halt) in the log cabin behind Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ and Taphouse.
We can only hope there will be more to come.
One of the biggest stories in the world was the tragic tsunami disaster in Japan in March. Amazingly, one of our own residents (Nick Schneider) was in Sendai, Japan the day of the tsunami, and had left town by train only hours before the disaster struck. We were able to get an eyewitness account with photos of his experiences in the days immediately following the disaster. A month later, Debi Stevenson of the Language Shop and Taka, Yumi, and Rio Sueyoshi of Matsuri organized a benefit fundraiser here in Lyons to help the victims of this terrible disaster.
A few new businesses opened and/or reopened this year. Dave’s Diner opened for breakfast and lunch in the Lyons Village Central Plaza, and the Lyons Fork held their grand opening under new management and name (formerly Cilantro Mary). Nepal, at the old site of Andrea’s, is in full swing, while La Mariposa cut the ribbon for their grand re-opening in March, after a total face lift inside and out, including the menu. A week later Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ and Taphouse opened their doors, and James Morton, no longer dividing his time between two establishments, Cilantro Mary and the Soda Fountain, revitalized the Fountain. “The world’s smallest bike shop” (Redstone Cyclery) kept growing and moved to its third location in as many years (from the Lyons Village Central Plaza to the old Breggos building on Main Street and 4th Avenue), while Double D accounting also moved from Lyons Village Central to the old Lyons Café building on High Street. Monica McGuckin opened the Lyons Mercantile on Main Street, the Upholstery Shop opened a gift store called The Orchard in the front of the shop, and the St Vrain Market completed a beautiful new plaza on the west side of their building adding yet another nice little amenity to Main Street. Brightwood Music opened its shop in the Lyons Village Central Plaza, and in a matter of just a few days, the new Lyons Dairy Bar will be open for business, also in the Plaza. Champion Cable transferred its franchise to CAMS Cable, which has now been taken over by Lyons resident Robert Jones of Lyons Communications. Local entrepreneur Arn Hayden opened a healthy snack business called Solbites, and Ma’s Pizza changed hands, changed their name (now called Pizza Bar 66), got a total make-over from floor to ceiling and expanded their menu.
One of the reasons we live in a small town like Lyons is that we don’t have to worry too much about crime. According to Sgt. Kevin Parker, Lyons Substation Supervisor, it was a pretty quiet year in Lyons- just the way we like it. There were some incidents of vandalism, a little graffiti here and there, and several automobile break-ins that were later attributed to a resident in a neighboring mountain town. Other than that, the biggest story was the break-in at the car wash behind the St.Vrain Market back in February. Parker is still looking for someone walking around with a pocket full of quarters.
Music continues to be the lifeblood of this small community. Whether it is the award winning local talent that you can find at various venues all around town, or the headliners at our world renowned festivals, it is truly an amazing treat to be able to hear such a wide variety of talented musicians, without even having to leave Lyons. You can stop in at Oskars on any given night and listen to great blues and rock, or join in the Tuesday night jam, or stroll down to Sandstone Park on a lazy Thursday evening during the summer.
There is the High Street Concert Series at Rogers Hall, music and open mics at The Stone Cup. Music (and art) at The Fork, Mariachis at La Mariposa, singer/songwriters at Smokin’ Dave’s, bands at Pizza Bar 66, more bands on the Outlaw patio, the Wildflower Pavilion Spring & Fall Concert Series, and even karaoke at Matsuri and the Outlaw. Literally, a little something for everyone.
The Sounds of Lyons Music Festival enjoyed another successful year. Local world-class violinist Mintze Wu, between having babies, continues to bring extraordinary classical musicians from all over the world to our little hamlet to expand, stretch, and broaden our musical perspectives. This pastyear she added a couple of free concerts for the local children along the river in Bohn Park. And those who attended the final concert in the Wildflower Pavilion were treated to a program that may very well have taken them just a bit outside their musical “comfort zone;” a piano/violin/flute/flowerpot and brake drum quartet, sort of a “Phillip Glass meets Frank Zappa” program, with a little Joaquin Phoenix thrown in for good measure.
In 2011 a new festival was added to the line-up: a three-day Old Time Americana music extravaganza was presented at the Oskar Blues Barn by KC Groves and friends. And out of the blue, and somewhat on the sly, in April the Foo Fighters came to town to perform a private “garage concert” for Lyons residents Gail Gordon and Ken Feldman. Gordon entered an online contest that asked why her garage would be a great place for Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters to kick off their summer tour. The weather precluded the event actually being held in their garage, so at the very last minute, the Oskar Blues Barn was chosen as the site. Good thing too, because the “fifty” invited guests, quickly turned into a couple of hundred as word spread that the group was in town!
As always, the crown jewels of the Lyons music scene were the RockyGrass and Folks Festivals in July and August. Both concerts sold out earlier than usual, and the academies the week before each were full of students of all levels eager to learn at the feet of the masters. Classes such as songwriting, instrument making, guitar, dobro, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and bass were taught in an intimate, relaxing atmosphere along side the St. Vrain River. As we have all come to expect, the musical line-ups were solid. Acts like Peter Rowan, Del McCoury, Psychograss, Hot Rize, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, O’Brien Party of 7, and Sam Bush graced the Main Stage at RockyGrass. Then a few weeks later the Folks Festival celebrated its 21st birthday with the likes of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Sweet Honey In The Rock, Brandi Carlile, Livingston Taylor, the Bob Weir, Chris Robinson, Jackie Greene Trio and, of course Jackson Browne. The music and weather were perfect as thousands of Festavarians made Lyons the coolest place to be in Colorado.
2011 again saw the increasingly popular Easter and Christmas services held at the Wildflower Pavilion, with special children’s programs and a plethora of talented local musicians providing the musical accompaniment. In August, also over at the Wildflower, for the third year in a row, was the Cane Conclave sponsored by South Creek Ltd., a gathering of scores of bamboo fishing rod aficionados. The anglers come each year to peruse vintage rods and reels, talk to famous local authors, talk fishing, dine on fine food from award winning caterer Spice of Life Catering, and maybe even “wet a line.” It’s a great event, even for those whose lives don’t revolve around fly-fishing.
This year, the Lyons Outdoor Games enjoyed good water levels on the St. Vrain, warm temperatures, and even managed to avoid the rain. This made for some excellent kayak events, spectacular bike jumping, good food and music, and some comical K-9 events. The other big town event, Good Old Days, was again held on High Street. With plenty of rides, games, music, food and fun, this is an event that the youth (and the young at heart) of Lyons look forward to each summer. The 5K River Run brought in hundreds of runners from all over Colorado and the country, and this year a little international flavor was added when Japheth Ng’Ojoy of Kenya, and Nuta Olaru of eastern Europe won the men’s and women’s races respectively. There were also dozens of Lyons runners from the under 13, to the over 65 category who made strong showing in their divisions.
The third annual Naked In Lyons art opening was held at the Ohm Salon + Gallery, one of the last events held there, just before Jul moved her business to her home. Also at the gallery was a new event: Talk Cinema, a short film festival featuring four films by local filmmaker Ken Wadja. Attendees got a chance to watch the films, mingle with the actors, and have a little Q & A with the director. Because of extremely high water in Cold Creek Canyon, the Junior Olympic Kayak Competition was moved to Lyons on a few days notice.
Everyone at Town Hall pitched in, and the event went off without a hitch. Young kayakers from around the west participated, with a number of local youths doing quite well. All in all, the event organizers, the competitors and their parents were all very pleased with Lyons’ hospitality and facilities, and said that they would like to hold the event here on a regular basis. Another new event to Lyons this year was the Devil Dash. Hundreds of athletes and a number of non-athletes donned costumes and braved the chilly October temperatures (it rain, sleeted, and snowed) to race a 5K course that included a spider web obstacle, a blood bath, a mud pit, and a ring of fire! It was all in good fun, and the proceeds went to a worthy cause: to help children stricken with cancer enjoy and experience challenging outdoor activities. The event, which included food, live music, vendors, and an award ceremony, took over Bohn Park for the afternoon, and was a terrific spectator sport for those of us with enough sense to stay warm and dry.
The 9Health Fair at the high school and the Aging Well In Lyons Summit did their part to make sure everyone in Lyons, young and old, stays healthy. The chili contest, just before the Halloween Parade at The Stone Cup, a fundraiser for the Lyons Garden Club was a huge success, as was the first annual pumpkin carving contest at the St. Vrain Market. The Halloween Parade was bigger and better than ever with hundreds of spooky goblins, witches, and vampires roaming High and Main Streets. We all learned who the best pie-makers in Lyons are at The Stone Cup’s annual pie baking fundraiser (9-year old Maya Lekarczyk took top honors with the judges in the pecan pie division). The Christmas Light Parade, “Silver Bells – Electric Lights” was magnificent, ditto the light show in Sandstone Park and the post-parade fireworks! These events, coupled with the Holiday Bazaars got everyone in the Christmas spirit.
Of course the most incredible new event this year was the “Sketch-A-Palooza.” Event organizers, and sketch-a-paloonatics, Jeff Gagliardi and Clark Hodge, came up with the idea of setting a Guinness World Record for having the most Etch-A-Sketch artists simultaneously draw a rendering of Lyons’ iconic landmark, Steamboat Mountain. They were hoping for 250 artists; they got 374! It was quite a festive morning, and now the Town of Lyons holds a spot in the Guinness World Book of Records.
One of the final events of the year, in November, was the Lyons Community Foundation’s Gala fundraiser and grant giving. This gala, which has become the social event of the season, was attended by over two hundred people, and touches the lives of hundreds more who live in the greater Lyons area. The LCF gave out over twenty grants to non-profit groups and organizations that covered just about all aspects of the Lyons community: 9Health Fair, Food Pantry, Arts & Humanities Council, Garden Club, Golden Gang, Student Activists, After Prom, Historical Society, Peace Pal Program, Sounds of Lyons, Steve Ralston Scholarship to name just a few. These groups then turn around and make Lyons the special community that it is. We thank everyone involved for their time, effort, and kindness.
High School – The student’s continued to make the entire community proud with their scholastic and athletic accomplishments. In February, a small but dedicated group of wrestlers traveled to Sterling for the 2A Regional wrestling tournament. Seniors Roland Valadez (160 pounds) and Brysen Daughton (171) placed fourth, earning themselves a spot at the State championship meet at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Three other Lyons wrestlers, Thomas Nichols (152), Marcos Rodriguez (189), and David Plute (Heavyweight) all placed a respectable 6th place in their weight classes.
In basketball, both the boys’ and girls’ teams enjoyed successful seasons and qualified for the post season. Both teams were able to garner District titles before getting knocked out in the State tournament.
The Lyons Robotics team traveled to Casper, WY in March for the First Tech Challenge competition. The team placed third overall, but during the awards ceremony, they were given the “Inspire Award” for the team that best embodied the ideals of the competition (graciousness, professionalism, and good communication/teamwork skills), which entitled the team to travel to St. Louis for the World Championships. And speaking of travel, one group of students traveled to Spain for their spring break vacation, while another group headed west for a high seas adventure on a square-rigged schooner off the coast of California.
In Track & Field, the Lions’ blew away the field, and captured both the boys and girls State Championships! The girls were led by a stellar performance from Rachel Hinker. She set meet records in the 100 and 200-meter dashes for two first place finishes, and added another first place in the long jump. Melissa Roberts finished second in the 3200-meter run, as did Corbette Tschanz in the pole vault, and Nola Basey in the high jump and triple jump. In the relay races, the girls added a first in the 4X800-meter, and a second in the 4X200-meter events. On the boys’ side of the competition, it was a solid team effort. They took first place in the 4X100 and 4X800-meter relays, and second in the 4X200 and 4X400-meter relays. Forrest Donnell, in addition to participating in the relays, took an individual first place in the long jump, and added two seconds in the 100 and 200-meter dashes. Ryan Boucher chipped in with a second place in the 400-meter dash.
The baseball team enjoyed a strong season, winning their District before being knock out of the post season by Byers in the Regionals. And the Lady Lions’ softball team, despite being very young (they only had two seniors) did well for themselves pulling off an upset or two before their season ended. Lyons High was again recognized as one of the top academic high schools in Colorado, so all in all, yes, the graduating class of 2011 had a lot to be proud of.
The chorus, and band concerts were terrific, as always, and the drama club entertained with a production of “Dorothy Meets Alice.”
The 2011/12-school year picked up right where the previous year ended. The Lyons football team lost their opening game of the season, righted the ship with a rout of Estes Park, and rode that momentum all the way to the State championship semi-final game against a very big and physical Burlington team. The volleyball team showed a lot of promise getting into the post season before getting vanquished at the District Championship, and the boys and girls cross-country teams both had stellar years, cruising through their regular seasons with a goal toward placing high at the State Championships. The strategy paid off, as Coach Roberts’ runners peaked at the right time, with the boys taking second place in the State, and the girls notching a fourth place finish
Middle School – Eighth grader Matt Dillon did himself proud going to the “MathCounts” Championship at the University of Denver, hosted by the Seagate Corporation in Longmont.
The Sudent Activists – Kids Who Care were once again active in the community: staging fundraisers, making hats and blankets for children with cancer, holding winter coat drives, and hosting dinners for The Golden Gang and others. The students were honored for their contributions to the community, and were once again the recipients of a grant from the Lyons Community Foundation to continue their good work. And as always, the middle school students all had a ball portraying characters from the Titanic, while they learned about history.
Elementary – The Lyons Elementary PTO held a very successful fundraiser at the Oskar Blues Barn in April. Thousands of dollars that go toward special events, field trips, school supplies, etc., were raised via a silent auction, special games, and a very lively “live” auction. The kids stayed busy with their school work and special projects like the Discovery Fair, Book Fair, creative writing assignments (which were published in the Lyons Recorder), an IBM Camp, the annual Talent Show, and of course ,Ms. Simm’s Shakespeare play. Speaking of Ms. Simms, she was honored by the St. Vrain Valley School District for her many years of service in the District, as was the school’s Peace Pal Program, which teaches 5th graders how to act as mediators for playground disputes.
One of the special programs that came to LES was the Avid 4 Adventure program, which gave the students hands on experience in rock climbing, kayaking, and mountain biking. Alex Wright, Jaiden Batts, Kylee Udovich, and Yossi Peyser were all awarded $100 scholarships through the Valley Bank’s Grade Thirteen and Beyond Program, and Marcie Parker was crowned “Queen Bee” for winning the LES spelling bee. Through all this activity, the kids found time to do a little fundraising of their own with the annual Jog-A-Thon, and they managed to collect over 1,000 canned food items for the Higher Ground Ministries Christmas Food Basket program. Well done, kids! But, judging by the reactions of the entire school at a special assembly, watching Principal Christina Keppler, after a Book Fair challenge, actually eat a fried worm was something the students will remember for the whole year.