New Pioneers honored |

New Pioneers honored

Community Alliance event spotlights sustainable practices

Margaret Hair

When Steve Aigner describes the people and enterprises nominated as 2008’s New Pioneers of the Yampa Valley, he lands on one word: “courageous.”

“They’re taking risks. If it’s a builder who says, ‘I’m going to figure out how to build affordable housing and make them energy efficient and affordable,’ that’s a risk,” Aigner said. “You could spend the same amount of time building large-square-foot houses and make more money.”

At the third annual New Pioneer awards, hosted by the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley, nine risk-takers will be honored, with six chosen as New Pioneer finalists and three chosen as winners. The awards ceremony and dinner is 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Olympian Hall.

Aigner, an organizer for the Community Alliance, said the event is designed to bring attention to efforts toward eco-friendly building practices, land stewardship or promoting the “essence of the Yampa Valley.”

“So many things are taking place here that need to be highlighted because they’re courageous, and they’re wise efforts on behalf of the whole community,” Aigner said. “That’s why we coined the term ‘New Pioneer,’ because people are taking momentous and courageous steps.”

Deep Roots Local Food Trust has put together a menu of beef stew, veggie chili, salad, rolls, cider, apple crisp, cheese and crackers for the event. Lisa Gamber, executive director of Deep Roots, said about 90 percent of the organic ingredients for the New Pioneers dinner came from Colorado.

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“Deep Roots really stands behind a sustainable local food system, and we wanted to provide a very simple meal of foods that are being harvested at this time of year in Colorado,” Gamber said. Deep Roots was founded in March to support a sustainable local food economy in Northwest Colorado.

“We want to bring eaters and producers together and let everybody know about each other and really make local food happen,” Gamber said.

Aigner said New Pioneers nominees stand out for their commitment to “trying to be true to what they believe, because it’s the right thing to do.” A board of past New Pioneers honorees and other community leaders selected the nominees. The Community Alliance board of directors selects the New Pioneers finalists and winners.

2008 nominees

New Pioneers of the

Yampa Valley nomiees:

– Bob Keenan, senior city planner for Steamboat Springs, for advocating sustainable practices and green building on the city’s Green Team

– Donna Hellyer, Hayden resident and Hayden Planning Commission member, for her contributions to community planning and preservation of cultural heritage in Hayden and the Yampa Valley

– Laura Lamun, owner and founder of Little Moon Essentials, for creating a natural, chemical-free line of body care products

– Les Liman, owner of Twin Landfill in Milner, for his work with Twin Enviro Services to reduce waste disposal and increase recycling

– Mike Roberts, president of Habitat Construction, for designing and building Tamarack Point, a 29-unit subdivision of efficient, entry-level single-family homes

– The Rossi family and R&R Land and Livestock, for sustainable land use practices and pioneering the use of conservation easements on agricultural land

– Kent Vertrees, member of the Steamboat Springs Water Commission, for his commitment to the restoration and protection of the Yampa River

– Yampatika, nonprofit environmental organization, for inspiring environmental stewardship through educational programs

– Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, for its grassroots leadership in economic, environmental and social sustainability in the Yampa Valley

Source: Community Alliance

of the Yampa Valley