Vintage Camping Colorado Style

By Mike Rosso

We all need a vacation from time to time. But what about a vacation back in time? A time of ducktail hair, poodle skirts, sputnik and Elvis? It’s easy to do if you live within driving distance of the Royal Gorge. Five miles west of Cañon City and just south of U.S. 50, on the road to that famous suspension bridge, is the Starlite Classic Campground, the only vintage camper park in Colorado.

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The Fremont Connection

Residents of Fremont County can now log on to a new community website for news, issues, opinions as well as cultural content and other items of interest.

Fremont Connection is the brainchild of Kristina Lins, Bob and Kay Parker, Dan Grenard and Gloria Stultz, who felt the county was not well enough served by the local media and decided to take matters into their own keyboards. The team has been working on the concept since last fall and launched the site in early April. The website is quickly gaining readership as well as contributors and offers a variety of content aimed at, but not exclusively for, Fremont County residents.

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State Sport?

By Hal Walter

There’s movement ahoof to make pack-burro racing Colorado’s official summer sport. Many readers might be surprised to learn I’m not racing my ass to the capitol to support this effort, though I’m not entirely against it either. I just have mixed feelings.

Why? Well, let’s start with some basics as many people may not even know what pack-burro racing is, something that’s problematic for an activity that seeks official state-sanctioning.

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Regional News Roundup

Trio Caught after Camping Out

WESTCLIFFE – Three siblings from Florida who were subjects of a national manhunt were apprehended after a high-speed chase on I-25 near Colorado City but not before spending a final night of freedom camping at the St. Charles trailhead in the San Isabel National Forest.

Ryan, Dylan and Lee Grace Dougherty had been on the lam since Aug. 2 after being accused of an armed bank robbery in Georgia and the attempted murder of a Florida police officer.

The trio had been spotted purchasing camping gear in Colorado Springs and attempting to buy ammunition at the Cañon City Walmart. A tip led authorities to the campground but they had already decamped. Soon after they were spotted on the interstate where a high-speed chase ensued and the fugitives crashed their car and were apprehended. There are currently 76 charges against the trio pending in Colorado.

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Fill ‘er Up! A History of the Gas Pump

By Jackie Powell

Filling stations. Service stations. Gas stations. Aren’t they all the same thing? Maybe and maybe not. But they have certainly changed since I was a child in the 1950s.

My father would drive into a gas station and the attendant would come out wiping his hands on a greasy red cloth. Full-time attendants wore a complete uniform – jacket and shirt with embroidered name and logo, slacks and cap. High school boys working part-time often only had a shirt with their name on it.

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Dreams of Fields

By John Mattingly
I look out the window to see my new center pivot on the loose, crossing a road in front of heavy traffic. Cars and trucks are jammed and honking as the machine spreads out like a praying mantis on the warpath, pulling its electric line out of the ground like a giant umbilical cord. It takes out a fence and three power poles, causing flares of flame as the wires arc to ground. The pivot collides with a house and the end tower starts to ascend to the roof.

I wake up in a cold sweat.

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Patch Adams: Subversive Healer

By  Jennifer Dempsey

Forty-eight years ago, Hunter Doherty Adams vowed never to have another bad day in his life.

He was 18 and had been hospitalized for his third suicide attempt. During his stay in the psychiatric ward, Adams had the revelation that there must be a better way to respond to a world that seemed cold and uncaring than to try to leave it.

So he started clowning and the legend of Patch Adams, Clown-Doctor, was born, immortalized by Robin Williams in the 1998 film “Patch Adams.”

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Quillen’s Corner

By Ed Quillen

The exact date cannot be determined now, but it was about twenty years ago, in the late 1980s or early 1990s, that the Salida Improvement Commission began its important work of getting a better class of people in town.

“We have entirely too many poor people in town,” one member stated at the star of the meeting. “As long as they’re around, they’ll depress property values and otherwise delay our progress into become a world-class four-season destination center.”

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A Church without Pews

By Julia Michel

On a hill of dry ground, quietly keeping its secrets, stands a white, one-room church with a hand-painted sign in front: Howard’s First Church, 1889. Around the side of the building is a small patch of iris with one in bloom: a splash of lavender on a cold, windy, spring morning. (Iris seems to be that plant that all pioneer women must have kept – one that speaks of survival and the need for something beautiful, if only for a brief bloom of one day, maybe two.) Inside, the church is as simple and understated as the outside. No frills, not even pews, just a basic room with windows and a tall ceiling. A place with stories.

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Down on the Ground with Sibley’s Economics

By George Sibley

I got raked over the coals by a reader in last month’s Colorado Central (August 2011, p. 20), on my June column complaining about “private-sector capitalism.” It was a thoughtful enough critique to warrant some response this month. (Actually, my first thought was – great! It’s not a black hole; someone is actually reading and thinking about this stuff!)

I’ll start by saying that the main thing I wanted to convey in that column was my confusion and frustration about American economics – a confusion involving corporate cash, job creation, local business destruction, tax policy, tax evasion, investment return, retirement plans, and all the other tangled elements of what passes these days for an economy that we call “free market capitalism.” The reader’s basic challenge: if I don’t like “private-sector capitalism” as practiced by Amazon, the company I was ragging on – what do I suggest instead?

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Book review

Crestone – Gateway to the Higher Realms
By James McCalpin

Crestone Science Center
ISBN 978-0-9835382-0-2
$21.95; 256pp, including appendices and index.

Reviewed by Eduardo Rey Brummel

Remember your grade school teacher’s admonition to never title a paper, “All About —”? That’s the intrinsic trouble with any guidebook: So much information; so few pages. The cover of this one proclaims it to be: “A Comprehensive Guide to Crestone, Colorado, and Area Attractions,” which it truly seems to be.

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The Visual Arts in Central Colorado; a Regional Dialog

By Mel Strawn

There are a lot of artists in our mountain region. Salida is recognized as one of the “best art towns” in the U.S.. It has galleries, art walks and studio tours. It has visual artists, poets, novelists, dancers and musicians as well. Yet, with all this it seems to me there are some missing elements. One of these is a recognized, ongoing venue for critical/appreciative commentary and dialogue – at least in the visual arts. One of the functions of informed criticism is to enhance awareness and appreciation as well as to challenge. Without it, ambitions, rewards and creative life in general are diminished. There are here, in fact, some venues and informed commentary on occasion: Jeff Donlan’s sensitive and supportive column in The Mountain Mail. Salida Citizen offers a reader’s comment function on line. Arkansas Valley Arts Center has a newsletter and a small gallery. ArtWorks sponsors events. Yet there is little predictable discussion of the ideas, achievements and wider context/import of the visual arts here.

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News from the San Luis Valley

by Patty LaTaille

Census Shows Significant Migration

According to The Denver Post; “Walsenburg and other small traditionally Latino towns in southern Colorado are losing their historic cultural identity. As the older generation dies off and the younger generation moves to cities or resort towns where the jobs are, separations are tearing at close-knit Latino families that can trace their lineage back to Spanish conquistadors.”

Walsenburg has begun to attract retirees drawn by the small-town environment, slow pace, the desert climate and houses that sell for as little as $30,000.

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Dispatch from the Edge

By Peter Anderson
They are both solitary creatures who want to be left alone.

The ranger has been swinging a Pulaski all day, clearing deadfall off of highline trails – fifteen miles and twenty lodgepole taken out at 10,000 feet. Back at the wall tent he eats mac and cheese, burrows into his bag, and reads Abbey by kerosene until his lantern flares out like an old star.

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The caboose

By Forrest Whitman

One of the railroad gems of Colorado Central Country is The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. I had a ghost at my side when I spent two days exploring that fantastic railroad this summer. The ghost was that of the greatest railroad writer ever, E.M. Frimbo. It has been rumored that some of Frimbo’s ashes were scattered atop Cumbres Pass. It’s no rumor that a metal memorial to him was attached to a tie near the summit in 1981. Frimbo thought the Cumbres & Toltec was one of the top railroad rides he’d ever had. That’s saying something since he rode every train in America and much of the rest of the world. He logged close to three million rail miles and wrote up many for the New Yorker.

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By Susan Tweit

It rained the other night, wetting the Adirondack chair I had perched on the two flagstones that make up the patio Richard and I have started to lay, stone by stone, in the courtyard just off our bedroom.

Fat drops plopped on the red sandstone flags, kicking up puffs of fragrant dust until the steady patter darkened the surface of the stone, until the stone glimmered with water and the air smelled wet and alive.

It rained until the trellis around the kitchen garden was hung with diamond drops of water, until the tires of passing cars splashed in the sheet-flow on the streets, until the rush and gurgle of rain had the gutters singing again.

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