- Montezuma County ranks 25th among the 25 most populous counties in Colorado in child well-being.
- Cause of death for two beavers found along the Animas River after the Gold King Mine toxic spill remains a mystery.
When it comes to children’s well-being, Montezuma County ranks 25th among the 25 most populous counties in Colorado. That’s according to the 2015 Kids Count! survey put together by the nonprofit Colorado Children’s Campaign. The survey looks at numerous factors including infant mortality and low birth rate, insurance coverage, single-parent families, and more. On Friday, Bill Jaeger, a vice president with the campaign, told a group of educators and child experts at a Cortez luncheon that 30 percent of children in Montezuma County and 18 percent in Dolores County live in poverty. That’s compared to a state rate of about 17 percent. The rate of teen births in Montezuma County is more than twice the state rate, and just 47 percent of Montezuma County fourth-graders read at grade level compared to 67 percent statewide. Jaeger called for more advocacy and funding for children’s and family services.
In other news, the cause of death for two beavers found along the Animas River shortly after the August 5th Gold King Mine toxic spill remains a mystery. That’s according to Matt Thorpe, area wildlife manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Thorpe says necropsies showed “no smoking gun” in the demise of the two animals, which were discovered within a couple hundred yards of each other. Tests did not find toxic levels of any chemicals in their bodies. Although the incident remains “a head-scratcher,” Thorpe says biologists have not seen any major impacts to either fish or wildlife from the spill, which sent 3 million gallons of mining wastes into the Animas River. In general, he says, “everything seems to be doing fine.”