Ay, Chihuahuas!

Essay by Hal Walter

Mountain Life – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

YOU KNOW SOMETHING’S UP when your wife drives into the driveway after dark, and then knocks at the door. In this case I opened the door and found her standing beneath the porch lights with a pint- sized Chihuahua in each hand.

“I found them out on the road over by Bear Basin Ranch. I couldn’t leave them out there.”

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Railroading in the San Luis Valley

Article by Virginia McConnell Simmons

Transportation – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

LITTLE TRAINS huffing and puffing across mountain passes and powerful diesel locomotives grinding across the open spaces of the West may be the images that charm rail fans. But on ledger sheets, black and red ink is the picture that inevitably decides which lines endure.

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A roadside attraction

Essay by John Mattingly

Local Sites – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

IF YOU’RE GOING to the Sand Dunes National Park and have a spare 30 minutes, you might consider turning east off Highway 17 at Road AA (about 5 miles south of where 17 splits off from 285). Road AA is also known as Mirage Lane, pronounced Marriage Lane by locals. It’s never been clear to me whether this is a slurred mispronunciation of Mirage that became customary, or if an unusual number of weddings took place along this county road.

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Time to Decide

Poem by Stewart S. Warrren

Wildlife – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Time To Decide

You’ve been here before:

the animal runs in front of your vehicle

and no amount of dodging or dancing

changes the certainty of bumper and thud.

I went back for her,

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The lifelong journey of Stewart S. Warren

Article by Marcia Darnell

Local Artists – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

IF LIFE IS, as it’s said, a journey, some of us take the express train to the end of the line and others take the local. Then there’s poet Stewart S. Warren, who gets off at each stop and explores every new place.

Born in Tulsa in 1950, Warren was 13 the first time he ran away. Like any adventurous American boy, he ran away with the circus, becoming a makeshift carny. This was anathema to his affluent parents.

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At the movies

Column by George Sibley

Community – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

CAN YOU BE a real town if you don’t have a movie theater?

That’s a question Gunnison has been asking itself, with the consensus being that the answer is no.

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Democracy on the march

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Politics – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine


Democracy on the march: By the time you read this, George Bush II will have been elected president of Iraq, thanks to the magic of Diebold electronic voting equipment, which beat out truckloads of ballots smuggled in from Iran.

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Broader definition of security

Letter from Warren Nolan

Wilderness – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine


In the post 9- 11 era of war, rumors of war, floods, famine, rising seas, and hurricane, I wonder if the idea of wilderness (roadless areas) isn’t quaint, isn’t a luxury, isn’t superfluous, isn’t irrelevant Doesn’t the ferocious unarguable issue of homeland security trump all else?

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Salida taxes too high

Letter from Sam Halburian

Local Government – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed,

Just a short note to inform you that my wife and I stopped at the McDonald’s on Highway 50 in Salida on a December Saturday, and ordered “Big Breakfasts,” a menu item.

I usually don’t check my receipt but on this occasion I did, and I smarted when I saw that I paid a 52¢ tax for eating in.

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There’s a vacancy

Letter from Pseudonymous Writer

Taste – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

To whom it may concern:

How much we enjoyed your magazine’s recent dissertation on projectile vomiting (and the previous one on copious bleeding) among the Rocky Mountain human species. We have a current vacancy for Assistant Professor of Comparative Effluvia if anyone is interested.

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We had to be escapists

Letter from Roger Henn

Great Depression – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine


Re: January, 2006, issue:

(1) What Coloradan ever called a burro a donkey? Author Laurel McHague does this once in her fascinating tale of a Leadville burro race. Shame on your headline writers — burro, jack, jack ass but never donkey. That word is left to Easterners of Missouri.

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Some questions

Letter from Roger Williams

Colorado Central – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Some questions


A few questions: Is the dog in the snowy scene on the cover “Schnee” (German for snow), mentioned in “Chalk Creek Pass in Winter” on p.17? At first I thought it might have been Buster, another German Shepherd (not Shepard) recently in the news.

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Reading up on Pike

Sidebar by Ed Quillen

Pike – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

The best place to start, of course, is with Pike’s journals. The original 1810 version is an extremely rare book. In 1895, the journals were edited and annotated by Elliott Coues, and published in three volumes by Francis P. Harper. In 1987, Dover issued that in two paperbound volumes, complete with large maps in a pocket. Volume I covers his expedition to the source of the Mississippi; Volume II concerns the Mexican venture of most interest to us.

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Captain Pike’s visit

Essay by Ed Quillen

History – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

THIS YEAR AND NEXT are the bicentennial of the first official American visit to our part of the world: the 1806- 07 expedition led by Capt. Zebulon Montgomery Pike. Before we look at what Pike accomplished, we might look at what he did not accomplish.

Most famously, he did not climb 14,110- foot Pike’s Peak. Nor did he name it. He called it the “Grand Peak,” and the Spanish knew it as “Sierra Amalgre” (Reddish Mountain, on account of its pink granite). The first recorded climb was led by Dr. Edwin James, a botanist with the 1820 military expedition led by Maj. Stephen H. Long. The prominent mountain was afterward called James Peak by some Americans.

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A Colorado doll collection

Sidebar by Patty Lataille

Fashion – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors’ note: The real BarbieTM was introduced by Mattel in 1959. For more than four decades now she’s been loved, cherished, criticized, politicized and analyzed. Over the years, Barbie has become the most iconic fashion figure in America — more familiar than Britney Spears and more timeless than Liz Taylor. The following so-called Barbies, on the other hand, are total counterfeits and rank amateurs and we predict that not a single one of them will still be around in a mere two decades.

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Mountain Barbies

Essay by Patty Lataille

Fashion – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE BEAUTIFUL WOMEN are back in Wal- Mart. They reappear every year at holiday time and Spring Break here in our small Central Colorado town of Salida. It’s an annual migration of the large SUV and flashy jewelry sort, accompanied by increased traffic and revenue (cha- ching!) in our tourism- based, somewhat economically depressed community.

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Regional Roundup

Brief by Martha Quillen

Local News – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Unhappy Holidays

The big topic for citizen input this December was Christmas greetings. The national media focused on the phrase “Happy Holidays,” and people from all over our region wrote to their local papers to complain about “happy holidays.”

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Region’s school scores vary in state reports

Brief by Central Staff

Education – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) recently released the 2004- 2005 school accountability reports, which now evaluate schools in two categories: Academic Performance and Academic Growth. Performance scores are: Excellent, High, Average, Low, and Unacceptable. Growth scores are: Significant Improvement, Improvement, Stable, Decline, Significant Decline.

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A tale of two winters in Colorado

Brief by Allen Best

Climate – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

As is so often the case, it’s shaping up as a tale of two winters in Colorado.

Along the I- 70 corridor and north at Steamboat Springs, the stories have been about the abundance of snow. Snow shovelers and plowers are making a good living, although some of them are running out of places to dump it.

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A benefit of aging

Brief by Allen Best

Health – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

One consolation for aging is that people over 50 are less susceptible to altitude sickness.

Why is that? The Telluride Watch explains that as people age, their brains shrink, requiring less oxygen.

But, for those who do get the severe and often fatal forms of altitude sickness, cerebral and pulmonary edema, there is a curious remedy: Viagra The drug that is prescribed for impotency can also promote oxygenation through increased blood flow.

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Three bears stroll through Aspen

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Three bears were roaming Aspen in early January, and wildlife biologists told The Aspen Times bears occasionally come out of hibernation during winter.

One roamed in Silverthorne last year, and avalanche blasting at Steamboat has occasionally flushed groggy bears from the three dens found at the ski area. Wildlife officials do not suspect warmer temperatures or that hunger aroused the bears in Aspen.

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Christo, Cristo and Sangre de Cristo

Brief by Central Staff

Nomenclature – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

In our January edition, we misspelled the artist Christo’s name in a headline on page 9; we had it as Cristo.

We knew better and we apologize, but we can point to two mitigating factors. One is that when you’re proofreading, mistakes in body type for some reason are easier to spot than mistakes in bigger headline type. (Our publisher’s most memorable error in that department came 34 years ago on a weekly newspaper in Longmont; he left the r out of Britches on a headline that was supposed to say Little Britches Rodeo starts Saturday.)

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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Art is for the Birds

Second- graders at Boyd Elementary in Alamosa are learning about cranes, geography, and other cultures through their teacher’s activism. Sue Patterson is a member of the International Crane Foundation, which works to protect the birds and the habitats. She’s involving her art students by having them create paintings of cranes to trade with kids in Cuba, Russia, China and Korea, all of which are on the crane itinerary. Both kids and birds benefit.

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An unwanted national ranking?

Brief by Central Staff

Economy – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Saguache County made the national rankings in a magazine in late December, but it’s probably not something anybody wants to brag on. It was listed in the Dec. 10 edition of The Economist, a weekly magazine based in England which focuses on “international politics and business news and opinion.”

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Death in the Backcountry

Essay by Allen Best

Outdoor Recreation – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

NEWS ACCOUNTS about fatal avalanches — and we’ve had nine deaths in the West this winter — sometimes give the impression that the difference between life and death is one easy piece of technology: an avalanche beacon.

If only the buried victim had been wearing a beacon, goes the story line, a life could have been saved. That turns a beacon into something resembling a safety belt for snowmobilers or skiers. I think the analogy is more like wearing a safety belt while going over a cliff.

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Western Water Report: February 3, 2006


A federal energy bill questioned Colorado’s ability to regulate stormwater run-off from oil and gas construction activities, but the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission voted to keep such regulations in place. Grand Junction Sentinel; Jan. 11 <http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_3390495> <http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/content/news/stories/2006/01/11/1_11_1A_stormwater_decision.html>

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