The unforgettable smell of lead carbonates and fish

Column by Hal Walter

Environment – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

IF THERE’S ANYTHING I learned from my stint in Leadville as editor of the weekly newspaper there in 1989, it’s the smell of lead carbonates and the smell of something fishy. Now I live in Custer County, where public officials have told us that lead concentrations ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 parts per million on public roads are no big deal. The stench is strangely familiar.

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Arson isn’t all that’s wrong on Vail Mountain

Essay by Gretchen Biggs

Vail – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Arson Isn’t All That’s Wrong On Vail Mountain

by Gretchen Biggs

FIRES SET BY ARSONISTS atop Colorado’s Vail Mountain have unleashed a storm of condemnation, a media feeding frenzy, and a no-holds-barred federal investigation.

But the powerful public outrage provoked by the arson has obscured more important events occurring on the backside of Vail Mountain. To my way of thinking, there was just as much to be outraged about before the arson.

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My friends all seem to be in denial

Essay by Ed Quillen

Vail Arson – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

IT APPEARS that I know many people who have severe attitude problems when it comes to Vail Resorts, a big company along the Interstate 70 Sacrifice Zone which employs many Central Colorado residents at low pay and minimal benefits.

Vail is also posed to expand into a relatively undeveloped area, and that show will go on despite a fire early in the morning of Oct. 19 which destroyed a ski-patrol lodge and a restaurant while damaging the top terminals of several ski lifts.

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Some Personal Favorites

Review by Lynda La Rocca

Books – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Some Personal Favorites

by Lynda La Rocca

“Those were the days, my friend,” you can almost hear Banana Rose sigh as she spoons brown rice and tofu into her mouth.

The title character of Natalie Goldberg’s first — and fabulous — novel joins a commune in Taos, New Mexico, in the mid-1970s to search for her muse as a painter and her place in the world.

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Where does the Closed Basin water go?

Letter by Paul Martz

Geology – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine –

Where does the water go?


After reading both parts of the article on water in the San Luis Valley, one significant question remains unanswered: Does the artesian aquifer (lower one) drain anywhere? The reason that knowing this is significant is because if it does — say south to the head of the Rio Grande gorge — then recharge has been occurring constantly from the already adjudicated surface waters. If the “missing” or unaccounted for million acre feet has been leaving via gravity, then obviously any pumping from that formation will withdraw additional water from the annual runoff budget.

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Reminisces of the old Pioneer Club

Letter by Jim Ludwig

Local Lore – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Bats, the old Pioneer Club, and much, much more

Ed and Martha:

I found your November issue, with the exception of one piece of correspondence, to be the best that I have seen. The choice of subjects, the book reviews and regional comments were excellent. I realize that I may not be your mainstream reader, but thanks for a great issue.

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Boomtown Blues is another good book about our changes

Letter by Clint Driscoll

Growth – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Boomtown Blues is another good book about our changes

Dear Ed,

Thanks for the review of Peter Decker’s Old Fences, New Neighbors. The book is a bit pricey, even with First Street’s discount, but worth it for the quotes which can be pulled from it. You are quite right, Decker has a sharp eye and a sympathetic view of the close-knit society which existed around Ridgway before the big land rush in the ’80s and ’90s destroyed it. The same situation exists throughout the state and his observations can apply as much to Custer or Chaffee County as to Ouray County.

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The complainers may be the ones who make the rules necessary

Letter by John Walker

Zoning – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Those who complain loudest about all the regulations are often those who make the regulations necessary


That every American has a birthright to express an opinion regardless of the facts was again evidenced in Jan Evans’s October lament over Frémont County zoning.

This system of zoning was arrived at following lengthy public review and input — an inexact process loosely termed democracy that does not number simplicity among its virtues. “Nonconforming” uses, which Ms. Evans presents as proof of poor zoning typically represent pre-existing uses “grandfathered” in at the time zoning was adopted. I think most would agree that this is a reasonable outcome and better than forcing a business to relocate.

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Gary Boyce isn’t the only greedy one

Letter by Slim Wolfe

SLV Water – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

It isn’t only Boyce’s greed that leads to Water Wars


So bully for Quillen smoking Boyce’s cigars. Haven’t I passed the hookah myself with a farmer or two? Farmers and ranchers at least earn our respect for hard work and earthiness. What irritates about selling water is the brazen ease of getting rich without sweat.

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One use for an expired driver’s license

Letter by Jeanne Englert

Identity – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

One use discovered for a long-expired driver’s license

Dear Ed and Martha:

Your readers may appreciate an update on my identity crisis (November, 1998). After hearing the story of what I went through to get my signature notarized, an old friend’s daughters got on her case. Non-drivers each one, but the girls have state ID cards, whereas their mom was still getting by using a driver’s license that had been expired for ten years. (Her bank knows her; she’s pretty much a cash-and-carry gal — the bank cashes her paycheck; she carries her groceries on the bus.)

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Now Mother Nature gets us in hot water

Article by Paul Martz

Geology – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

HOT SPRINGS, as simple as they may seem on the surface, have a wide variety of mechanisms that drive them from the crust of the earth.

The most common type of hot spring in Central Colorado, or for that matter worldwide, is caused by hot rock, sometimes even melted rock, at a depth where it heats ground water and drives it back to the surface. The greater the amount of heating, the more rapidly the water rises to the surface.

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Mineral Hot Springs: Warm Water, Cool Spa

Article by Marcia Darnell

Local Attractions – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

GLEAMING WHITE TILE, hot mineral water and a sweeping view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. These are the hallmarks of Mineral Hot Springs Spa, where visitors can soak, sweat, sun, and relax in an atmosphere reminiscent of a Roman bath.

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Just another Christmas Eve

Poem by Martha Quillen

Holiday – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the towns

Parents had adopted grim holiday frowns

For their half-finished projects did in no way resemble

The various items they were trying to assemble.

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Larger than Life: the Sculpture of Sean Guerrero

Article by Nancy Ward

Local Artist – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

SEAN GUERRERO’S artistic creations are larger than life.

It might be said they “litter” the countryside from coast to coast, since they’re made from articles discarded by civilization as it embraces newer things. But Guerrero’s art definitely is not “garbage.” Guerrero recycles chrome bumpers and other unwanted metals from vintage cars parked and long-forgotten in pastures, back alleys and junkyards in the Southwest and Midwest, and turns them into sculptures too large to be hidden away in exquisite homes or exclusive galleries.

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Santa Claus and the Reindeer Connection

Article by George Sibley

Shamanism – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Santa Claus and the Reindeer Connection

Even for a child, Santa Claus requires a pretty major suspension of disbelief. A fat little man dressed in red and white is okay. Hitting every house in the world in a single night is okay. But flying through the skies in a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer? And then landing on the roof and coming down the chimney? Why not just use the door?

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Reindeer, Yaks, and a Ranching Revolution

Article by George Sibley

Livestock – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

THIS STARTED OUT to be a story about reindeer, for the satisfaction of my own curiosity. As often happens, it turned into something else, and something more.

For the last couple of years, driving east from Gunnison on Highway 50, I’ve been noticing exotic-looking animals off to the south, just east of Doyleville. Not deer, which are common along that whole stretch of road, but what looked like … eight tiny reindeer, or maybe a dozen or so?

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Fairplay poet Laurie Buyer receives national recognition

Brief by Central Staff

Local Literature – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Fairplay poet Laurie Wagner Buyer receives national recognition

Laurie Wagner Buyer of Fairplay, whose prose has graced our pages on several occasions, is also a poet — and one of the best in the United States as determined by Writer’s Digest magazine.

Her poem, “Until I Run Out of Thread,” took first place in the Non-Rhyming Poem category of the 1998 Writer’s Digest competition.

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Our spin on the 1998 election

Brief by Central Staff

Local Politics – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Our turn to spin about the ’98 election

The only candidate we meant to endorse in the last edition, but didn’t get around to writing up, was Carl Miller. He’s a conservative Democrat and state representative for District 61, which had new boundaries this time that comprised part of the San Luis Valley.

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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Water Safety

Proposed amendments 15 and 16, aimed at siphoning off Valley water for sale to thirsty cities, went down in flames on election day. The initiatives were voted down 76 percent to 24 percent.

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Barbara Dolan wins triple crown

Brief by Central Staff

Pack-Burro Racing – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Barbara Dolan wins the Triple Crown of Pack-Burro Racing

Barbara Dolan of Buena Vista won the Triple Crown award from the Colorado Pack-Burro Racing Association at the group’s annual Burro Banquet on October 10 at the Fairplay Hotel.

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Royal Gorge RR plans to run next spring

Brief by Kenneth Jessen

Transportation – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Rolling Next Spring

Passenger trains will once again run through the Royal Gorge from Cañon City to Parkdale and back beginning in May of next year. Plans call for three trips a day, each lasting about two hours. The new Cañon City & Royal Gorge Railroad, carried guests during the weekends of October 17-18 and again October 24-25 to test schedules and public reaction.

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Too much natural literature

Essay by Stephen Lyons

Nature Writing – December 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

IN A RECENT COLUMN in the online magazine Salon, Anne Lamont made the following proposal: “Rather than make perfectly good writers crank out new books every few years because they need income and are otherwise unemployable, what if we gave them subsidies NOT to write any more books, like they give to tobacco growers?”

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