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2 Steamboat sustainability warriors get lifetime achievement awards

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Award recipients at the Jan. 10 Yampa Valley Sustainability Council annual meeting include: back row, left to right: Tim Winter, Karen Massey, Wendy Tucciarone, Rich Tucciarone, Jeff Goodh and and Christy Abbey. Front row: Paul Draper, Mindy Mulliken and Chereen Leong Schwarz. Scott Cowman is not pictured.

Article adapted from Steamboat Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Two recently retired Routt County department heads — Tim Winter, director of the Building and Plant Department, and Karen Massey, director of CSU Extension Karen Massey — were presented lifetime achievement awards Wednesday by the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

Massey was praised for her role in  establishing the Northwest Colorado Food Coalition and efforts to provide residents with home energy audit kits. Winter was recognized for his commitment to reducing energy use and costs in county buildings, particularly at the 50,000-square-foot justice center with its solar array.

Sustainability Council Executive Director Sarah Jones said Massey helped to increase the distribution of locally produced food and credited her with working with YVSC to host one of the largest CSU Extension Energy Master programs in the state in Routt County.

“She became this amazing sustainability guru,” Jones said.

Jones said Winter was “keenly aware of how much was being spent on utilities” (more than $250,000 annually) and how much energy was being consumed by Routt County’s buildings.

When the time came to build a new county justice center on Steamboat’s west side, Jones said Winter made the case to the Board of County Commissioners for installing high efficiency boilers and installing 26.5-kilowatt solar panels on the building’s roof. Those panels produce about 9 percent of the total electrical usage of the justice center.

In the context of his lifetime achievement award, Winter urged the people gathered at the Sustainability Council’s annual meeting to think about their own lifetimes and take action when doors open to make a difference in the community.

“When you see an opportunity, come forward,” he said. “I encourage everybody to pitch in on those opportunities to make a difference in having a sustainable plant.”

Other award winners

Steamboat Springs Middle School eighth-grade math and science teacher Mindy Mulliken was presented with the educator award for her role as head of the school’s Green Team.

She led the students in weighing and auditing food waste from the school’s lunch program. The Green Team successfully lobbied the school administration to reduce styrofoam usage in the lunch room, and today, it’s not possible to find styrofoam plates and plastic silverware on the lunch line.

Anne Mudgett, YVSC communication and development director, also presented the Shining Star Award to Paul Draper, who has presided over the logistics of the Sustainability Council’s recycling drop-off events.

“Paul has (maintained) a sunny attitude in a highly-pressurized environment,” Mudgett said. “The value of his calm and problem solving is not to be underestimated.”

Rich and Wendy Tucciarone and their crew at Mountain Tap Brewery accepted the Local Business Award for its creative approach to supporting community nonprofits, among other community initiatives.

For example, the brewery uses a highly-efficient tankless water heater in the brewing process.

Mountain Tap donates all of its spent grain from approximately 50,000 pounds of malt a year to a local rancher for feed.

Routt County Director of Environmental Health Scott Cowman received the Government Representative Award both for his work  in air and water quality at the county but especially for his devotion to increasing composting options and waste diversion.