The Net Drawings of Jude Silva

Jude Silva

by Mel Strawn

Nets, like webs, are linear systems or networks. Jude Silva’s net drawings completely, evenly and elegantly span rectangles about 13 by 10 inches, filling a 23×15.5” space like patterned gossamer floating within a larger white rectangular world. None, however, are just flat patterns; they are spatial structures tied at nodes, mostly four-way but some with three connecting lines and a few with more. In nature, cracks in drying mud or fractured rock or other elastic materials, typically finds three-way, 120-degree patterns. Our minds impose different norms – often 90-degree oppositions, which also occur in non-elastic materials under stress, like ceramic crackle patterns. These drawings result from mental constructs, not depictions of stress patterns. Each drawing is animated in a different way and dances to its own special tune. A few suggest larger geometric or architectural ambitions. Most, and for me the more interesting, find less geometric rhythms and tensions like Number 15, reproduced here (and part of this month’s cover image). Number 11, also shown here, is more austere, sans color, and offers another of the wide variety of spatial effects shown in the whole series.

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College Students Who Could Save Your Life: The Western State College Mountain Rescue Team

WSC mountain rescue

by Luke Mehall

It started with a professor lost in the mountains of the Gunnison backcountry in the 1960s and it’s grown to be the top college-based mountain rescue team in the United States.

“We don’t have an exact record of when the team started, but the story is that a professor was lost in the mountains and a group of students and teachers banded together to find him,” Chip Lamar, team leader of the Western State College (WSC) Mountain Rescue Team said. “These types of searches continued to happen and then the team got involved in more technical, rock climbing rescues.”

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No Longer a 14er Virgin

by Laurel McHargue

“Left foot. Right foot. Feet. Feet. Feet. Oh how many feet you meet.” How would Dr. Seuss have known just how I was feeling as I placed one foot before the other, oftentimes only with inches of separation, as I trudged my way to the top of my first 14er? Living with my super-human husband for the past 26 years has made me realize that it’s okay to say, “Not today, Schnookums,” to any number of adventures he might conjure, but I had promised myself that I would make it to the top of at least one 14er before summer became a memory. I didn’t have to prove anything to Superman, but I constantly find it necessary to prove things to myself, and I didn’t want to be a 14er virgin any longer.

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Water Update

by John Orr

Taylor River rafting rift comes full circle

The epic saga, termed “row vs. wade” by some opponents, ended up with a deal for this season between Wilder on the Taylor fishing reserve owners Jackson-Shaw and the owners of the two rafting operations, Three Rivers Outfitting and Scenic River Tours.

Hours of operation will be limited for the outfitters, generally during the middle of the day. A portage will be allowed around a bridge on the fishing reserve as a nod to safety during high water. The outfitters promise to police their operations strictly so as not to jeopardize their permits from the U.S. Forest Service or the agreement with Jackson-Shaw.

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The CF&I Connection

Monarch quarry

by Virginia Simmons McConnell

Part 1 of 2

Romantic as tales of gold and silver discoveries may be, the history of mining in Central Colorado has its grimier chapters. Many tell us how people of this area once earned their livelihoods, producing materials that fed a steel mill.

In these stories, Central Colorado has strong links with the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I) and its steel mill at Pueblo. Physically and symbolically, products from mines flowed downhill to Pueblo for a little more than a century. And, incidentally, with water capturing the spotlight today, let’s not forget that in 1905 CF&I acquired rights that moved water downhill to its steel mill from Sugar Loaf Reservoir — later called Turquoise Lake.

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Book review

A Dozen on Denver: Stories – edited by the Rocky Mountain News

Fulcrum Publishing, 2009
ISBN: 9781555917272

Reviewed by Elliot Jackson

The late, lamented Rocky Mountain News, shortly before its demise, commissioned a collection of tales from twelve Colorado authors, some famous and some virtually unknown, to commemorate the sesquicentennial of both the paper and the city of Denver. The idea for this collection was inspired, according to the forward by former RMN editor John Temple, by a similar collection of tales commissioned by the Times of London.

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From the Editor

Last month I needed a book to take along on a flight to the West Coast and grabbed from my bookcase a beat up old copy of Resist Much, Obey Little; Some Notes on Edward Abbey.

I read a bunch of Abbey’s works in my twenties and thirties as did many of my peers here in the West. It was the age of James Watt and the notion of monkeywrenching had a certain mischievous appeal to those of us who felt the hard-won environmental regulations of the 1970s were under assault.

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Wild things in the tack room

by Hal Walter

It pays to be “in the now” in my line of work, but often I find my mind somewhere else and running on overdrive as I go about my chores.

My most reliable employment these days is managing a small ranch where we keep horses, cattle and a fair number of barn cats. There’s a big barn at the ranch and in one corner is an enclosed tack room. When I first started this job five years ago the tack room was overrun with mice. And when trapping them became tedious, I finally opted for some mostly feral cats.

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US Soil: Family finds Fertile Ground for Mining in Wellsville

by Ron Sering
photos by Mike Rosso

When Emil Lionelle pulled the odd little rock out of a deposit of Rocky Mountain granite, he only knew it was interesting. But the Lionelles knew a thing or two about stone. The Lionelle family originally came to the area in 1868 as stonemasons for the railroad, and Emil had put two children through college during the Depression by ranching, farming, and mining.

The mysterious stone eventually found its way into a tomato pot. And that’s when the apparent magic happened. The plant flourished, and soon the Lionelles were out gathering as much of the mineral as they could find. Eventually, they found an entire deposit. And US Soil was born.

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Springtime is whine-time – Writers on the Range

By Dennis Hinkamp

Spring is the cruelest month in the mountain West. Yes, I know that spring technically occupies three months as one-quarter of the four annual seasons. But here in northeastern Utah, it really only lasts a month. And it doesn’t even last a distinct month; what I’m saying is that you get about 31 days of spring out of the calendar-correct 92-day season.

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Don’t Get It, Part 2

by John Mattingly

Though loathe to admit it, I’m officially the ornery, cranky old farmer I said I’d never become. Of course, the fact that I, or anyone, is here on earth to complain about it is, in itself, a miracle. The likelihood of any person being alive in the universe is on the order of 10,212 to one.* With this firmly in mind, there is no such thing as a bad meal, cold coffee, an insufficient trade, an unsatisfying lover, a wayward policy, a bad day, or even a tragedy.

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News from the San Luis Valley

Unfair Hunting Practices

Someone poached five deer on the Adams State College campus April 22. The three mule deer and two fawns were shot and stabbed at the south end of campus. The college has offered $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the poacher(s), matching the reward offered by the Humane Society.

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The Real Price of Fossil Fuels

by  Aaron Mandelkorn

The time has come for a change in the way we think about energy.

This is a statement many of us have heard. For me, this is a statement that is thrown around quite carelessly, especially from the people and industries that do the most environmental damage. With the recent BP oilrig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and mine collapse in West Virginia, more people are uttering those words. In both instances these disasters occurred and will continue to occur because we as a society have not yet assumed the true cost of energy.

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REGIONAL NEWS ROUNDUP (and other items of interest)

Lawsuits Galore in Chaffee County

BUENA VISTA – Former Buena Vista mayor and current candidate for Chaffee County Clerk Cara Russell has filed a lawsuit against the B.V. town government and its board of trustees over an attempt to remove her from office in November 2008.

A notice of removal was prepared against Russell by the trustees after a column appeared in the Chaffee County Times in which she allegedly wrote unfavorably about them and about an upcoming vote on the annexation of the Villages at Cottonwood Meadows subdivision.

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The caboose

by Forrest Whitman

The California Zephyr Report

Train #5, The California Zephyr (CZ), pulled out of Union Station Denver at exactly 8:05 a.m., as advertised, on May 2. The conductor welcomed us over the PA and reminded us that National Train Day, May 8, would feature special displays and even goodies in the old Union Station waiting room. That waiting room still seems rather grand. It’s many feet high and has those vaulting windows at either end. Some of the echoes in there have been reverberating for over a century it seems. Getting there from the Ark Valley could be a bit of a challenge. The bus does stop at Union Station, but the schedules don’t line up well. One would have to spend the night in LODO to catch the Zephyr out in the morning.

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Viewing the Future from a Downtown Homestead

by Martha Quillen

Too many environmentalists air their views about melting ice caps, peak oil, and gas-guzzling ignoramuses while talking about their long-distance road trips. Or photo safaris. Or whirlwind tours of foreign nations.

That’s irritating. So I always thought it best not to mix observations about my vacations with reflections about environmental matters. But some subjects are hard to resist.

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Down on the Ground with Cultural Tectonics

by George Sibley

I continue to be thoroughly fascinated with the theory of plate tectonics, based as it is on what St. Paul (in an entirely different context) called “the evidence of things unseen.” Why are there volcanoes? Earthquakes? – both of which we have become reacquainted with in a big way recently. What unseen phenomenon of nature is this violence the evidence of? God’s displeasure was the old answer – still acceptable to many people, although that’s a pretty mean-spirited god to travel with.

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Guidestone – New Ways of Thinking About Agriculture in Colorado – Part One

by Mike Rosso

The Upper Arkansas Valley is entering the 21st century with innovative farming and sustainable land use groups dedicated to the local foods movement and to maintaining and enhancing the agricultural heritage of the area.

One of the major players in the new agricultural movement is Guidestone and its Central Colorado land-link initiative. Formed three years ago with the primary purpose of fostering a local food system by assisting new farmers to find access to farmland, the group is the brainchild of David Lynch, who ran a similar program on the Front Range. It was then known as Guidestone Farms, which was a fully diversified community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm that served over 350 families in northern Colorado.

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White-faced Ibises Journey Through

by Susan Tweit

Last week, as Richard and I drove to Denver, I spotted a flock of dark birds with slender necks and skinny, red legs, probing energetically at the soil along a meandering creek.

“White-faced ibises!” I cried, pointing at the birds. Richard spotted them and grinned.

If you’ve never seen a white-faced ibis, imagine a dark, crow-sized shorebird with the iridescent sheen of a starling, standing on long legs and sporting a scimitar-like bill. Look for them in marshes, wet meadows, or flooded hayfields.

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