The Watch Report
10:52 am
Fri October 5, 2012

The Watch Report: 10/5/12

In this week's report from the Watch Newspaper: Miner in stable condition after accident, Montrose Memorial Hospital acquires new buildings, Hydropower on the Horizon from Ridgway Dam.

KVNF has teamed up with the Watch newspapers to bring you stories from Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel Counties. Managing editor Gus Jarvis has with this week’s report.

A miner at the Revenue-Virginius is reportedly in stable condition after an accident on Monday.

According to Ouray County Sheriff Dominic “Junior” Mattivi, the victim was working underground with a jackleg drill, finishing up some rock bolting. The drill “got away,” pinned him against the wall and hit him against the side of face. He sustained damage to his ear and neck.

County law enforcement and medical professionals responded to the scene. Mattivi reported that the accident victim was “conscious and talking,” and was transported from the mine to a hospital in a flight-for-life helicopter from Montrose.

The historic Revenue-Virginius mine is located near Yankee Boy Basin, nearly 7 miles south of Ouray. The mine is currently undergoing intensive rehabilitation designed to bring it back into production in the near future.

According to mine spokesman Rory Williams, Mine Safety and Health Administration officials investigated the accident Monday and determined that it was "a genuine accident" and that "there was no negligence involved."

The employee is expected to make a full recovery.

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Montrose Memorial Hospital is preparing for the future with six recent property acquisitions.

The hospital has spent about $1.3 million on the six properties since the beginning of the year, all of which are contiguous to the hospital’s current location. The properties include three buildings which will or currently do house health-care services. The other three acquisitions are former homes which could be rented, but will more likely be demolished to create more campus parking and/or hospital buildings. The buildings were paid for in whole from the hospital's capital budget.

Hospital Board member James Whitticom says the new properties, which are all now on the hospital's list of fixed assets, will allow the hospital to stay at its current location with room to grow.

Last week, the hospital board hired Tennessee-based American Health Facilities Development to create a long-range facilities plan, which should be developed early next year. The plan will set out the most sensible and efficient way to expand buildings, parking and utilities, with an eye to patient flow and access. This year alone, the hospital expects to welcome a total of 10 new physicians to its medical staff.

The Montrose Memorial Hospital, Inc Board of Directors currently leases the hospital from the Montrose Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, appointed by the County Commissioners. The hospital currently receives no money or funding from taxpayers.

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Hydropower will soon be coming from the Ridgway Dam.

In about a month, Tri-County Water Conservancy District officials are hopeful they it will be able to break ground on the project. When finished, the 8-megawatt project will create about $1 million annually in revenues.

Two turbines and two generators, with winter and summer flow systems, will produce enough electricity for 3,000 houses each year. Tri-County Water General Manager Mike Berry says the two different systems, both of which can operate during peak flows, is the most efficient method of capturing energy from the dam.

Tri-County Water is now waiting for the Bureau of Reclamation to approve the final design plans. They also need to reach an interconnection agreement — which allows the power to get onto the grid — with Tri-State Generation and Transmission before construction begins.

Tri-State is the wholesale power provider for area electrical providers, including Delta-Montrose Electric Cooperative and San Miguel Power Association. Tri-County Water General Manager Mike Berry says brokering an agreement with Tri-State has been a lengthy and expensive process.

The City of Aspen will purchase power produced in the winter – about 40 percent of the total hydropower produced – while Tri-State will purchase the other 60 percent that is produced during the rest of the year.

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