by Joseph Bahr

Mail Staff Writer

July 13 – The first Chaffee County resident tested positive for the Delta variant of the coronavirus. The Delta variant is more severe for those unvaccinated and 50 percent more transmissible than earlier strains.

July 20 – The Salida Arts Festival saw its attendance grow in 2021 despite the pandemic. The festival was held at Riverside Park for the first time and had 66 booths.

July 23 – The City of Salida unanimously adopted a climate action plan. Some of the steps in the plan included discouraging single-use plastic bags, promoting zero-emission technologies and taxing gasoline sales locally.

July 30 – Salida saw higher than usual rainfall in July, which brought a risk of flash floods. Precipitation in July was 2.19 inches, more than half an inch higher than the historical average.

Aug. 3 – Buyers paid a total of $302,775 for 93 animals at the 4-H Junior Market Livestock Sale at the Chaffee County Fair. Beef, sheep, swine, goats, chickens and rabbits were all sold at the auction. Maci Pridemore’s 1,270-pound grand champion steer sold for $13,500.

Aug. 20 – Salida opened a 14,000-square-foot skate park at Centennial Park. The park is open year-round and allows skateboards, roller skates, in-line skates, scooters and BMX bikes. The layout features a 10-foot bowl, quarter pipes and a volcano in the shape of a heart.

Aug. 27 – Many Salida restaurants and bars struggled due to staffing shortages. Many businesses were forced to reduce hours or close extra days during their peak season. Nationwide, 49 percent of small businesses could not fill job openings.

Sept. 3 – Sen. John Hickenlooper came to Salida to tour the Solvista construction site. The Solvista Health building, scheduled to be completed in 2022, will provide comprehensive mental health care to the area.

Sept. 3 – Salida resident Sophia Herzog won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. She set a personal best and American record in the 100 breaststroke.

Sept. 10 – The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association celebrated its 25-year anniversary with a “birthday bash.” GARNA focuses on educating youth and getting them outdoors. The organization has undertaken many projects such as establishing Chaffee County as a Heritage Area and the Salida Community Garden.

Sept. 17 – American Legion Ray Lines Post No. 64 celebrated its centennial. The post has sponsored local baseball programs and performs at military funerals. It played an influential role in fundraisers to build the Chaffee County Courthouse in 1928.

Sept. 21 – Salida held its annual bike festival, which included bike-decorating events for children, hill-climbing endurance rides and several races. More than 100 people participated in the annual 28-mile Banana Belt Mountain Bike Race.

Oct. 1 – Salida High School Principal Talmage Trujillo was arrested due to an incident at the school Sept. 23 involving a student who had threatened to harm himself. Trujillo was charged with four misdemeanors for obstruction, harboring a minor and official misconduct. He was released on bond. The school temporarily placed him on administrative leave before reinstating him.

Oct. 12 – Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center was put on lockdown due to a shooting in western Fremont County. A Howard man shot his brother in the head with a shotgun and evaded police for approximately two hours before being taken into custody. The hospital was put on lockdown until the shooter’s whereabouts were known.

Oct. 19 – Players from the 1971 Salida High School football team returned to Salida to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of their state championship win. The team went undefeated and shut out Monte Vista in the final game to win state.

Nov. 2 – The Salida School District saw an increase of 83 students this year. The district expects to see continued growth moving forward now that it has overcome a setback from the pandemic.

Nov. 12 – The total number of COVID-19 cases in Chaffee County surpassed 2,000. November saw a record number of coronavirus cases in one day and forced Salida schools to go remote for the first time this academic year.

Nov. 30 – Polar Express was the Parade of Light’s theme this year. Thousands of people showed up to see the parade and watch Santa flip the switch to light Christmas Mountain. The parade had 18 entries.

Dec. 7 – The Holiday Sampler Arts and Crafts Bazaar celebrated its 40-year anniversary after missing a year due to the pandemic. Linda Cook, event organizer, described the turnout as “fantastic” and said almost all the booths were rented.

Dec. 10 – The death toll in Chaffee County has risen by 25-30 deaths over the past two years, partially caused by the pandemic. The increased number of deaths has taken a toll on the death care industry, with problems such as staff and supply shortages and limitations on funeral services.

Dec. 14 – After receiving 7 inches of snow, Monarch Mountain finally opened Dec. 11, one of the latest opening dates in its history. The opening was delayed due to continuing drought in the area.

Dec. 28 – Between the Thanksgiving and Christmas community dinners, the Salida Community Center provided more than 1,100 meals to people this holiday season. Meals for both dinners were only available for delivery or pickup due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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