Roadkill: We joke about it, but it’s no joke

Essay by Mark Matthews

Wildlife – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE BIG BUCK suddenly appears in my headlights like a statue standing in the middle of the two-lane highway. I brake, swerve to the right trying not to go off the road. I think I’m past the deer, then it lowers its head and seems to ram into my right fender on purpose, as if it were fending off a competing stag.

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Blood on my Hands

Column by Hal Walter

Wildlife – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

IT HAD BEEN SEVERAL YEARS since I’d killed a deer. Now the little buck lay dead at my feet, his eyes glassing over and blood running from his neck.

It was a golden autumn evening and I’d been hunting deer and elk in the muzzleloading rifle season. Earlier I’d found a wallow in an aspen glade. The small pond, a depression in the earth where a spring oozed to the surface, was stirred and muddy water was mixing with the clear. A few feet away I found milky droplets from the waterhole splattered on plants.

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Creede’s Under Ground Mining Musem

Sidebar by Marcia Darnell

Mining – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Mining a New Life

Chuck Fairchild is a fourth-generation Creede miner. His greatgrandfather, Charles Fairchild, came to Creede when the boom began, in 1892 and stayed eight years.

The next three generations of Fairchild men lived and mined in Creede until Chuck’s last job in the 1980s. Chuck’s own children are 15, 13 and 11.

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Creede’s Underground Mining Museum

Article by Marcia Darnell

Mining – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

IT’S FINE TO DO SOMETHING that requires bringing a coat, unless, of course, you forget one. The Creede Underground Mining Museum thoughtfully provides a rack of cold-weather gear for its visitors who didn’t think they’d need a parka.

Open year-round, the museum really is underground, and is a brisk 51°, meaning it’s toasty warm in January and wonderfully frigid in June. About 13,000 people a year take the plunge into its dark, rocky, and utterly authentic atmosphere.

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It was enough to drive a man to drink

Letter from Clay Warren

October edition – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

October edition was enough to drive a man to drink


Man! If ever there was an issue to drive a man to drink! O’course we’re talking ’bout a real lo-cal liquid that is best used for pouring over flag burners and bathing on Saturday nights whether ah need to or not. But ah will say thet the one advantage Tennessee has over Colorado, is a surplus o’aqua. Course hit has a surplus o’ rattlesnakes too, but ah wont bring thet up ’cause ah wouldn’t want to discourage any front rangers from moving there where good land is cheap and real green too.

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Time for Ben Campbell to switch parties again?

Letter by Ken Wright

Politics – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Time for Sen. Campbell to switch parties again?

To the editor:

It seems Sen. Ben “Nighthorse” Campbell is offering the American people a Trojan horse. Last month a Senate committee approved a bill to authorize a water project in Montana — a bill onto which our Senator has attached a rider that would approve the Animas-La Plata Project without public involvement.

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Use it, don’t lose it

Letter by Jim Ludwig

water – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Water: Use it, don’t lose it, but use it thoughtfully

To the Editors:

I find your October Colorado Central, devoted to Colorado water, most interesting. Particularly the letter from the Editors, which is an open attempt to really discuss the issues, not a blind partisanship of a single viewpoint. I believe Gunnison would be much better off if they used their money to consider the best way to use the Union Park venture to the best local advantage possible, rather than blind opposition. The same is true of the Closed Basin water proposal. We of the high mountains will suffer forever for the out-of-state power, avidly sought by some, which killed the Two Forks project, an attempt to more efficiently use incompletely developed water rights.

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Old Grouches can follow in moving to Nowhere

Letter by Slim Wolfe

Local changes – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Old Grouches can follow him in moving to nowhere

Editors of Colorado Central:

Now, Martha Quillen, ain’t no need to be chastened by the State of Rural Missouri. That cranky woman was probably just jealous ’cause here in 20th century Salida we’ve invented color. Just happens I was in rural Missouri in September. They had two colors for houses, white and brick. They’re a hardworking lot of farmers and I hardly blame them if they brook no graffiti (nor any other nonsense from the 20th century, such as off-white or pastel). My impression was I sure wouldn’t want to be a teenager there, ’cause the tighter those repressed grownups try to screw the lid on the jar of adolescent energy, the farther those shards of glass are gonna fly.

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Good fences make one a good neighbor

Letter by Stanley J. Schmidt

Wildlife – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Good fences make one a good neighor to wildlife


The column by Hal Walter in the August issue on Deadly Fences was very informative. I intend to install the Wildlife Friendly Fence that Hal describes when it comes time to install new fence or to re-fence parts of my property north of Cotopaxi.

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More geographic confusion

Letter by Roger Williams

Geography – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

More geographic confusion


Regarding geography in your September edition, Flora Satt (p. 6) seems to be a little confused as Henry Thomas “left the Central City gold camp in 1867, and crossed the Divide to investigate the Upper Arkansas Valley…”. Since both these places are on the Eastern Slope, I wonder which divide she is referring to.

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Do we really need moral instruction from politicians?

Essay by Martha Quillen

Politics – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

I SPENT THE LAST TWO WEEKS of September rescuing spiders. As soon as it got cold, they started moving in, and I diligently started fishing them out of the kitchen sink and the bathtub.

But at the same time, Ed and I were painting the exterior of a little rental house we own, and there the situation seemed hopeless. Suddenly, spiders were lodging in every crack, and they wholly ignored the wet paint. Though I did my best to flick them away, it was a veritable spider Armageddon.

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Leadville’s Last Whorehouse will re-open as a restaurant

Article by Lynda La Rocca

Local History – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

“. . . no one who has ever entered the Pioneer … has ever forgotten its bewildering interior…. It is in fact a cosmopolitan establishment in the heart of an infant metropolis, and in point of equipment has no superior.”

Leadville Herald-Democrat, May 1886

FOR MOST OF LEADVILLE’S FIRST 100 YEARS, a man in need of refreshment looked no further than the Pioneer Club.

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Goliath vs. Goliath

Essay by Tom Wolf

San Luis Valley Water – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,

Then reached the caverns measureless to man,

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:

And ‘mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

Ancestral voices prophesying war!

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San Luis Valley water war goes statewide

Article by Ed Quillen

Water – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE SAN LUIS VALLEY’S continuing water war will appear on the state ballot this year as two ballot issues, and you can expect a propaganda barrage from both sides. Stockman’s Water, according to Gary Boyce, will spend up to $1 million, and its varied opponents, coördinated by Citizens for Colorado Water in Alamosa, hope to have their own million raised by the time you read this.

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Our bats go south for the winter, eat bugs in the summer

Article by Charlie Green

Wildlife – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

FOR A CHANGE from the issues which readers of this magazine can disagree over, I’d like to introduce one which we might all unite to support: bats.

Yeah, bats. Bats aren’t just Halloween cutouts; actually, around here, it’s rare to see bats that late in the year. They’ve usually migrated south before then. These are our invisible companions each summer evening. I’ve sat and watched them (on moonlit nights) both in the city and in rural Frémont county.

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Gunnison Country appears to maintain its balance

Article by Allen Best

Community identity – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Gunnison Country appears to maintain its balance

The Gunnison Country remains an anomaly among beautiful places of the West. Defined by geography, the broad basin has sky-piercing peaks, wide open spaces, and even a destination ski resort, attributes that usually cause a place to become bombarded by changes and lifestyle clashes. Yet the old order seems to operate in a vaguely comfortable balance with the new order. There is, by most accounts, a strong sense of community.

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Heard Around the West

Brief by Betsy Marston

Western Life – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Happy Birthday

A construction worker on his way to work in Roseburg, Ore., spotted a dead deer by the side of the road and then spotted something else a leg kicking out of the pregnant doe. So Melvin Spencer pulled over and went to work, delicately pulling the animal from its mother’s broken body, reports AP. The fawn was alive, “its little legs only about as big as an ink pen.” Spencer tore the umbilical cord with his fingers, wiped out the baby’s nose and found an old shirt to keep the faun warm. The fawn, now named Chiquita, is an endangered Columbian white-tailed deer, a species that lives a little less than five years. Chiquita was fed around the clock for the first few days by Peggy Cheatam, who works with the nonprofit Umpqua Wildlife Rescue. Cheatam says Chiquita was “the youngest (orphan) I’ve ever had,” coming into her care at three hours old. The deer will eventually be released to the wild.

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If farmers priced cows like cars

Brief by Anonymous

Rural Life – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine


A farmer had been taken several times by the local car dealer. One day, the car dealer informed the farmer that he was coming over to purchase a cow. The farmer priced his unit as follows:

Basic cow $499.95

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Reader’s Digest encourages you to visit Nathrop

Brief by Central Staff

Tourism – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Reader’s Digest encourages you to visit Nathrop

We just learned that we’re on one of The Most Scenic Drives in America, as proclaimed in a book of that name issued by Reader’s Digest Association last year.

Salida and Nathrop (Buena Vista just misses) are on the “Colorado Springs Loop” which starts in the Springs, of course, goes to Cripple Creek from Divide, back up past the Fossil Beds to Florissant, and across South Park to traverse Trout Creek Pass.

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Salida ranks well as art town, but is it really affordable?

Brief by Central Staff

Local Art Scene – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Creative, sure. Fresh air, indeed. But affordable?

The third edition of The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America has just come out, and Salida has moved up in the ratings. It wasn’t listed at all in the first edition, ranked 41st in the second, and now holds 30th place.

Another town in our area, the old silver camp of Creede near the headwaters of the Rio Grande, made its first appearance, coming in 82nd.

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Salida discovered by Orange County

Brief by Central Staff

Growth – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

A couple of years ago, we ran an article by Joel Kotkin which discussed “The Valhalla Syndrome” — the tendency of politically conservative white suburbanites to flee their current enclaves and look for new homes in the Interior West.

One of the major sources of such emigrants is Orange County, Calif., and its major newspaper, the Orange County Register, featured Salida in a travel feature on Sept. 13.

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Entire town of Hillside is for sale

Brief by Jan Evans

Real Estate – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Why settle for a trophy home when you can buy a whole town?

The entire town of Hillside is a recent addition to the real estate market. Nestled along State Highway 69 between Texas Creek and Westcliffe, it lies over nine acres of municipality ready for further development.

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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

No Heat in the Valley

It’s the end of an era at Great Sand Dunes National Monument. This is the last year for the Tabasco Extreme Heat SK, in which participants (really!) race up the dunes in snowshoes. The event is being canceled because there’s a new superintendent in town and his interpretation of wilderness policy is, in a word, “No.” Andrew Bielecki, the race director, argues that the nature of the dunes (wind, sand and water) leaves no evidence of the race, and therefore is not harmful to the wilderness. However, his words were like dust in the wind. Tom Sobal from Leadville has won the race the last three years.

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Finally, a smaller new jail proposed for Chaffee County

Brief by Central Staff

Local Politics – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Finally, a smaller new jail proposed for Chaffee County

Last year, Chaffee County voters turned down a chance to add a use tax on building materials and car sales, with the proceeds going to a new 100-bed jail. Now, there’s a plan for a 50-bed jail.

Earlier this year, the county commissioners sponsored a survey, complete with some dubious projections, to find out how voters might be persuaded to support a 100-bed jail. Last summer, they were floating the concept of “sales tax equalization” — raise the county sales tax to 4%, to match the 2% for municipalities plus the 2% for the county that is charged in towns, and use the extra revenue to build a bigger jail.

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If you don’t drive, you don’t exist

Essay by Jeanne Englert

Identity – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine


It was a minor matter, just a correction deed for three patented mining claims above Ashcroft in Pitkin County, but my signature needed to be notarized. In presenting the document to the notary public, I learned that I no longer existed. She refused to witness my signature because my driver’s license had expired in 1991.

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