By Roger Baker
Gilpin County was spared the most destructive impacts of last week’s rain, but the storms still caused hardship for some, inconvenience (continuing) for many and a certain amount of confusion.
Thursday night and Friday morning, especially, it was pretty hard to get in and out of the County, with roads closing in all directions because of rockfall, washout, or just plain flooding.
The situation was changing rapidly, both due to changing conditions and the timeliness of the response. And getting that information out accurately and rapidly was tricky.
By happy coincidence, the Sheriff’s Office had just launched a new webpage, http://www.gilpincountysheriff.com, if you had internet service. Since the SO will usually have the most up-to-date information, this is the place to start. Once on the page, individuals wanting the latest information can check on the SO Twitter feed (under News and Media). And folks down in town, wanting to know what the latest Gilpin news was, could follow the Twitter feed directly on their smartphones or other devices.
It also would be great if locals who have the capability would follow the County’s own Twitter feed (@GilpinCounty) or Facebook page (GilpinCountyColorado). Not only do we post a lot of material from the Sheriff’s Office and elsewhere on road closures and other emergency information, but it’s a great source for updates on more common County operations, from the new movie in the Library’s film series to the next area scheduled for road maintenance (when it’s not raining). We had over 700 people read the Facebook post about road closures Friday afternoon (when I-70 was the only way into the County), and I don’t know how many more saw it on Twitter.
Though I’ve often been critical of the communications efforts of the Colorado Department of Transportation, their new phone app, CDOT Mobile, is great. You can check it directly, or use it to sign up for email blasts directly to your computer or phone. There’s a separate site, www.GOI70.com, for the unlucky folks who regularly use that benighted road.
These sites would also be more useful (and used) if we had better cell phone coverage up here, and that is also improving, though not without difficulties. At the September 10th meeting of the Gilpin County Planning Commission, two cell phone tower proposals were on the agenda, though one was withdrawn because of local opposition. These will eventually be coming before the Board of County Commissioners for approval, and folks interested in them can find the time and date of the agenda on (are you seeing a pattern here?) the County website, www.co.gilpin.co.us . The County website also has links to information for those concerned about high water impacts on well water and sanitation systems.
It also would be great if local residents could get better and faster broadband service to their homes and businesses, and we’re working toward that end as well. Once again, if you go to the County website, there’s an online survey you can take to help us determine how much current and potential need there is for broadband, so that we can approach providers with some real numbers. If you’d like to have better service where you live, take the survey; it’s quick and easy.
Of course, not everybody has (or wants) any sort of internet service; for those people, we have an emergency phone line with updates from the Sheriff’s Office: 303-582-6001.
And it goes without saying that everybody should subscribe to one (or both!) of our local newspapers, to really stay in the know…