While touring the now-defunct Conquistador Ski Area near Westcliffe in early November, I was struck by a large oil painting hanging in what was once the main lodge of the resort (now a church camp).
By Christopher Kolomitz
Skiers seem to always go big.
Big air, big adventures and big falls.
And they dream big, too. This year, many are dreaming of massive amounts of snow following a lackluster season last year. More than 30 years ago, developers of two ski areas in Central Colorado were dreaming as well.
Separated by about 80 miles, the Conquistador and Cuchara ski areas share a remarkably similar and sad fate. They were both within a day’s drive of Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma, and no major mountain passes had to be navigated, which was good for marketing. Both were affordable, low key and offered beginners the chance to learn. They were nestled in idyllic valleys, home to historic ranches and scenic vistas.
By Duane Vandenbusche
The Pioneer Ski Area began during the winter of 1939-40 and was located three miles up Cement Creek and eight miles south of Crested Butte on the side of spectacular Cement Mountain. Pioneer would become famous as the first ski area in Colorado to employ a chairlift.
The ski area was hatched in the minds of Gunnison skiers Rial Lake, Art Fordham, Chuck Sweitzer and Wes McDermott. All of these men had skied off Monarch and Marshall Passes in the 1930s, but they yearned for a ski area that could eliminate the long treks to the tops of mountains. The four men knew the region around Crested Butte to the north had everything needed for a great ski area – tremendous snow, high mountains, and a great ski tradition dating back to the early 1880s.
Voters Kind to Kids
Several area school districts hit the jackpot this November when voters passed ballot measures supporting school replacements and improvements.
In Salida, the 3A bond passed, allowing the school district to qualify for a B.E.S.T. (Building Excellent Schools Today) grant to replace the Longfellow Elementary School.
Voters in Buena Vista passed ballot measure 3C which will replace a wing of the Avery Parsons Elementary School by the summer of 2014. They also passed a mill levy to help with book purchases and technology upgrades.
By Hal Walter
Of all the holidays, Halloween is the one festivity that seems to turn out the entire Westcliffe community.
If it’s a school day the kids strike out as soon as the bell rings at 4 p.m., swarming in costume, many with parents in tow, to the downtown business district. Some of the adults wear costumes as well.
It amounts to a street party as the kids trick-or-treat the various shops and restaurants in the golden sunlight. For the grown-ups it’s a chance to socialize, and take time to actually talk with people you often only share waves with on the highway.
By John Orr
First Congreso de Acequias
The oldest water right appropriation date in Colorado (April 10, 1852) belongs to the San Luis People’s Ditch on Culebra Creek on the western slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the San Luis Valley. The ditch is a historical artifact from the colonial days of the Spanish Empire.
Gravity-fed irrigation systems were introduced to Spain by the Moors during their occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. Spain’s colonialists brought the technology and concepts of Acequia culture with them as they set up shop in the western hemisphere. Acequias were established in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado as the Spanish, and then Mexicans, settled the Rio Grande Valley.
By George Sibley
Three score and ten. I’m there, so a couple months ago I put on the bracelet. For all the followers of the great billygod of the burning bush, his shepherd king and poet put it right there in the Bible – Psalm 90:
The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
By Tyler Grimes
The weekend forecast called for cold temperatures and a chance of snow – ideal conditions for sled dog racing, one would think. But for the participants of Colorado Mountain Musher’s Dryland Mush, snow could mean race cancellation.
But the snow held off and the 7th annual Dryland Mush was held at Adventure Unlimited (AU) outside Buena Vista on Nov. 10-11. All four events were held despite the cold.
The races are: Canicross; – contestants run with their leashed dogs; 1-2 dog Scooter-jor; – dog(s) pulls contestants on scooters; Bike-jor; – bikes are outfitted to connect to the pulling dogs; and the Small Team Cart; – a max of four dogs pulling contestants by cart. Each race took place on both days and the combined times determined the winners.
The Crowded Acre
by Jennifer Welch
Late fall is easily my favorite time of year. The fading colors, the crisp air, the slow descent toward winter’s edge that consumes each sleepy day. It fills me with such gratitude that I often find myself sitting in the lowering sun, soaking up the last of the warmth, thinking back upon the previous growing season and the bounty it has provided us with. It’s quite appropriate given that it’s smack in the middle of the holiday season, which always wraps up our harvest season for the year and makes me feel, well, thankful. I am always thankful for my family and friends, my home and the wonderful town we live in, among other things. But as far as farming goes, it brings me to a whole new level of respect and appreciation for new life, old life, life given, and life spared.
By John Mattingly
1. No more back talk on taxes. Taxes have been low for so long, there’s really only one direction they can go from here, like it or not.
The proposed increases are not that large, yet they make a big difference over time to the growing national debt. But to hear the anti-tax-increase folks bellow, you’d think they were being asked to sacrifice their oldest child on a stone altar. Increasing the top marginal rate from 35% to 39% and capital gains from 15% to 20%, together with elevating Social Security and Medicare ceilings to a cool million and the matched rate by .5%, will not sink the ship of state.
By Martha Quillen
On election night, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. Obama isn’t as liberal as I’d like, but Romney and Ryan scare me. Likewise, Obama apparently scares lots of Republicans.
After Obama won, white students at Ole Miss rioted, and Twitter came alive with laments. “I’m mad as hell,” one Twit proclaimed. Oh, sorry, I guess that’s Tweet.
Another said “I feel like my best friend has died. Another proclaimed, “You people are voting against the whole country.”
Donald Trump called Obama’s victory a “total sham and a travesty.” Ann Coulter said the country is no longer interested in conservative ideas: “It is interested in handouts.”
Of course, the other side was jubilant. “Wow! Wow! Wow!” one Obama fan opined. Several said “Thank you, America.” Another simply Tweeted: “Whew!!!”
Besides the ski areas mentioned in the previous articles, there are quite a few ghost ski areas around Colorado, including the area at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs which operated from 1959-91. Here is a list of others in our region whose glory days are long past.
COMO – Indian Mountain Ski Area. The area served residents of Fairplay and Colorado Springs and operated sporadically from 1972-88. The area was built by a property development company out of Denver which had hoped to develop housing in conjunction with the area. It had a vertical drop of 573 feet and included a ski school, one lift, two surface tows, a cafeteria, a lodge and a rental shop. Located south and east of the town of Como, it ultimately closed due to lack of snow.
Hard Core Prosecution
A 72-hour hold for a suicide attempt delayed an ongoing criminal case in 12th Judicial District Judge Martin Gonzales’ court. Convicted thieves Carrie Dean, 50, and her husband, Richard Basinger, 67, were scheduled to appear for an already rescheduled sentencing date for knowingly possessing thousands of dollars of stolen property, but again skipped sentencing because of Dean’s suicide attempt. Her absence was accepted by the Court, as she was in the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center (SLVRMC) in Alamosa, but Gonzalez issued Basinger a $50,000 cash bond failure to appear warrant despite pleas from his attorney, David Michael Lipka.
According to the Valley Courier, 12th Judicial District deputy attorney Crista Maestas said, “I object to the defendant not appearing. Mr. Basinger is not hospitalized at the moment.”
The Marble Room: How I lost God and Found Myself in Africa
By Bill Hatcher
$18.00; 288 pp.
Reviewed by Forrest Whitman
When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land.
They said “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.
That’s an old African joke attributed to Bishop Desmond Tutu. Many a young Peace Corps volunteer went to Africa to try and ameliorate that ugly situation. Bill Hatcher, a current resident of the San Luis Valley, was no exception.
By Nate Porter
As the seasons change and the winter solstice approaches, it’s time to turn our attention from warmer weather activities to other things. Of course, in Central Colorado we are lucky enough to enjoy a climate that allows many different activities year-round. Hiking and biking here can be great in the winter, but how about mixing it up a little with some cross-country skiing? Why cross country, also known as Nordic, skiing? Well, there are many reasons to get out and experience the environment on skinny skis.
Foremost are the physical and mental health benefits. Nordic skiing is great for the whole body. The legs and lungs get a great workout as does the upper body. Humans were designed to move over the earth in an upright, bipedal manner. Walking allows us to feel grounded and connected to the earth in the most basic way. Nordic skiing is simply the winter version of this. It’s good for working different muscles, easy on the back, and encourages breathing in a deep, rhythmic manner.
By Duane Vandenbusche
The Western State College ski team began innocently enough. Shortly after the end of World War II, veterans returned to the college. Some had been members of the famed 10th Mountain Ski Division, which trained at Pando near Tennessee Pass and had fought in the mountains of Italy. The idea for a ski team came from two veterans of the 10th Mountain: Crosby Perry-Smith from New York and Dick Wellington from Maine.
By Mike Rosso
Election day in Salida was unusually bright and sunny. Since I’d already voted by mail, I decided to spend some time sipping coffee in the sun outside Café Dawn, chatting up some of the customers and passersby.
I started asking random folks how they voted, not on the general election – around which there was much anxiety – but how they voted on Amendment 64. “Which one was that?” was a common response, and when I mentioned it was about the statewide legalization of marijuana, most relaxed and their answers came as a surprise.
By Hal Walter
We don’t often think of the conservation and local food movements as being interrelated. However, two events I recently attended spelled out just how interconnected two causes could and should be.
Central to both are undeveloped land and clean water, and healthy local economies. It’s an often overlooked fact that agriculture in the Arkansas Valley is central to keeping water flowing in the river throughout central Colorado. For instance, if it were not being used to irrigate chiles, melons and many other fine crops in the river’s lower reaches, the water might be siphoned off higher and sent to the Front Range to irrigate medians. Moreover, when irrigated land is “dried-up” then it often goes under development.
Originally from Idaho, Beth Johnston Grimes received her first DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera after graduating college, on her way to medical school. However, the camera had different plans as it took hold of her.
by Forrest Whitman
A Magic Goose Ride
A buddy and I just rode the Gallopin’ Goose #5 on the Cumbres and Toltec R.R. It was a magical ride. We started out in a rainstorm at Chama; and as we reached the summit, a full moon lit up the golden aspens. There were deer, elk and a bobcat jumping out of the way. Food at the top was good too, with prime rib and baked chicken entrees.
They’ll be pulling out the Goose again and it’s a trip worth planning for. Built in the 1930s for the long defunct Rio Grande Southern, these geese are hard to define. Are they a train? Well, they do have air brakes, ride steel wheels, and carry markers front and rear, so they’re a train. On the other hand, they are built on an old school bus body and are powered by a W.W. II surplus gasoline engine from GM. They carried mail and freight too, so they were early UPS trucks. Ride them and decide what in the world they are. They’re great fun.
By Sue Snively
The Asian Palate
328 E. Main St., Buena Vista, CO
Hours: Lunch – Mon, Wed – Sat: 11am-2pm
Dinner – Mon, Wed – Sunday: 5pm-9pm
For a small town with many eateries, it doesn’t take long in Buena Vista to find a type of food that will satisfy your tastes on any particular evening. We don’t eat out very much, so when we do so we like it to be special and different; thus we found ourselves bypassing a variety of standard American dining places and a few others with international influences, and chose to dine at the Asian Palate.
Eddie Sandoval opened the restaurant in July of 2009. He chose Buena Vista because of his familiarity with and love of the town. He surveyed a fair number of residents to learn what kind of restaurant might do well, and came up with Asian cuisine based upon the number of requests for sushi on the menu. Eddie is a first-generation Filipino who grew up eating Asian food, and decided a restaurant with a wide variety of authentic foods from many Asian countries would be a good bet. He is an expert on Asian cooking and personally trains his chefs.
By Patty LaTaille
DA Denied Weapons Permit
12th Judicial District Attorney David Mahonee was denied a concealed weapons permit based on a FBI fingerprint match between Mahonee and a David Huey that reflected an arrest record from a crime committed in Minnesota, 1971 in prohibiting the possession of firearms.
Huey (now known as David Mahonee) was charged with auto theft, a felony that was eventually reduced to misdemeanor unauthorized use of a vehicle. Mahonee, who legally changed his name from Huey in 1983, successfully requested that the 1971 record of his conviction be expunged last year.
By Tyler Grimes
Kent Weber enters a gate into the fenced-in home of three wolves. He makes his way down into the aspen grove where the wolves are dispersed, playfully calling them. They perk up from their food-induced stupor brought on by the 15 pounds of meat they gorged on the previous day. The wolves are drawn to Weber’s gentle authority and come to greet him. They jump up on their hind legs, place their front paws on Weber’s chest and sniff his teeth, the signature wolf greeting. He pets them like a dog, which they accept momentarily before running off.
Wildfire in Custer County Destroys Homes
WETMORE – A forest fire in Custer County has burned nearly 2,100 acres near Wetmore and was at 65% containment as of press time. Hundreds of nearby residents were forced to flee their homes, of which 14 were destroyed in the Greenwood area.
Among those who sustained the loss of their homes was Custer County deputy Mike Halpin, who discovered his own home in flames while going door to door to alert residents, according to the Wet Mountain Tribune.
An estimated 240 firefighters and support personnel are working the fire. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
By Elliot Jackson
The city of Salida got to do one of the things it does best in September. To welcome a special group of economic developers, it threw a walkabout of its art galleries and local businesses for the 300+ participants of the Heart of the Rockies Region Rural Philanthropy Days (RPD). The walking tour introduced the RPD conference, including representatives of some of Colorado’s largest nonprofit funders, to Salida in its newly-minted status as a Colorado Creative District. The downtown business owners, in their turn, welcomed the after-hours customers.
“This was something different,” according to Brett Haydin, co-chair of the steering committee for the RPD, whose 45 members were drawn from across a five-county region. “We wanted to give the (conference) participants, many of whom were coming from Denver and the Front Range, a sense of what it was like to be in our rural community.”
By Ann Marie Swan
Like a siren’s song, economic development efforts are meant to lure new businesses to the Arkansas Valley. These efforts must also support and enhance deeply rooted local businesses. Keeping both pieces of the economic puzzle in mind, the billion-dollar question remains: how do we retain and create sustainable jobs while maintaining the area’s character and charm?
The members of the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) tackle this question daily. They’ll tell you there isn’t one answer, but a few. This corporation considers the big economic picture. Its purpose is to find solutions, manifest living-wage jobs and facilitate sustainable economic development. The CCEDC might as well shout from the mountaintops, “Chaffee County is open for business.”
As I write this we are only days away from the next “big” election. Along with this comes a high level of anxiety among the populace that, in some cases, is alleviated somewhat by the Major League Baseball playoffs and World Series.
Not having even basic cable TV service, I can only begin to imagine the frustration, confusion and feelings of helplessness that the massive barrage of political ads helps to manufacture. Thanks again to Justices Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Kennedy and Thomas for enabling so much unaccounted-for cash to dominate the election noise this year. Unfortunately the small media outlets such as this magazine are not the recipients of so much cash in the form of advertising revenue. All that money goes to the big boys at the TV and radio networks. And what a coincidence that a “close race” adds even more to their coffers. We can only hope they use some of that money to hire actual investigative reporters, rather than repeaters. More likely it will be used to fill the coffers of the CEOs, but so it goes.
Cruising. Window open
In a rush to get out
Late, as always
The pages of a Quillen screed
flapping their backseat lips
By George Sibley
By the time you are reading this, the Great Election of 2012 may be in the can, since voting has been going on in most states for weeks, along with the ubiquitous polling. But whoever wins whatever offices, we probably ought to put in some time evaluating this election – perhaps around the question: was this the election through which American capitalism finally vanquished American democracy?
The Lobato (Costilla Crossing) Bridge is the southernmost bridge over the Rio Grande River in Colorado. It sits on County Road G between Antonito and Jaroso, Colorado and was originally constructed in 1892 by Joseph F. Thomas. He was a civil engineer and the Conejos County Surveyor and lived in Manassa, Co.. The bridge was purchased from the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio for the sum of $8,400. The bridge parts were shipped to Colorado by train and assembled on location.
Dateline – Near Salida and Cañon City, Colorado. It seems counterintuitive, a misnomer. The Arkansas River heads in the high country of southern Colorado, and a portion of northern New Mexico. It’s the fourth longest river in the United States, obviously named for an encounter in its namesake state. But it seems like it ought to be called something else, like the “Rio Truchas” or “Boulder River” or “Pike’s River.” Its moniker doesn’t fit, here at least. Zebulon Pike passed through here under Jefferson’s watch in his zealous attempt at exploring the then-northern Spanish colony. Pike got arrested for his endeavor, and in the complex outcome, was paroled in Mexico. For it all, he got a peak named after him; its waters feed the Arkansas.
By John Mattingly
In this election year, it seems worth doubling down on the “back” part.
I remember a time, not so far back, when politicians resembled statesmen. Today – even if one sets aside the petty barbs of campaign advertising and debates – the process has become dominated by polls, super PACS, focus groups, and an endless procession of mediocre minds.
I’d like to be specific about a few things in this regard, knowing readers will have their own examples, which I would enjoy hearing about.
By Susan Tweit
“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs, 2005 commencement speech
I’m just beginning my contemplative season (interrupted though it will be, for reasons I won’t bore you with). In the snatches of time I’ve found to listen within, I already hear one very clear and somewhat scary message: It’s time to focus on writing the books I’ve had in my head for a couple of years.
What’s scary about that? Writing a book requires long, uninterrupted stretches of time – months, preferably – to work on a single project. (I don’t multi-task in writing; focusing on one thing at a time is the only way I can hear the voice of my creativity.) To carve out that time, I’m shifting the balance of my freelance work and letting go of some of my regular deadlines.
by Forrest Whitman
Ed Quillen Catches the Westbound
Back in my brakeman days we’d say: “He caught the westbound.” That feels right for Ed, because he was a rail guy. Of course he was many other things which will be written about in this issue of Colorado Central. We’ll remember him especially as a loving, humorous and involved husband and father. He will be remembered as the crucial publicist for The Colorado Trail, as a great Colorado historian, a progressive columnist, founder of this very magazine, curmudgeon (never really true), definer of Colorado’s red zones as “stupid zones,” and above all really funny writer. But, I’ll remember him as a rail guy.
By Abby Quillen
My father named me Abigail, which means, “My father is joyful.”
“You were supposed to arrive for your mom’s birthday,” he’d often tell me. “Instead you waited for mine.” I was born ten days before my dad turned 27.
Growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, many of my friends had divorced parents. Some of my friends rarely saw their dads, who worked long hours or lived across town. My best friend didn’t know his father at all.
by Martha Quillen
I turned 62 in early October, and was promptly assaulted by symptoms of old age. A few days after my birthday, I woke up feeling so stiff I could barely make it down the stairs; my back ached, my muscles cramped, and my joints rebelled. I suspect it was merely the onset of a cold or allergy, not spontaneous degeneration. But such moments tend to worry me now that Ed is gone.
It’s not that I’m worried about dropping dead; I’m not. It has more to do with my new responsibilities, which sometimes seem beyond comprehension or measure. The dog, cats, appliances, bills, house, electronics, lawn, trees, gardens, laundry, furniture, plumbing, heating, banking, money-making, meals, trash, and snow removal are my bailiwick now.
In Smeltertown, the historical epicenter of partying, dancing, eating and socializing is one particular building. Located at 7595 CR 150, it’s currently serving as a tango dance studio and private residence. Before that it went through more than 80 years as a buzzing hub for the town and the region serving as a restaurant, nightclub, 3.2 bar and fraternal hall.
Its owners have been long-time Salida locals, some of whom still remain here. Countless patrons, once barely old enough to be served, and now grandparents, remember the good times in the building and sometimes stop to tell the current owners how much fun they had.
During the heyday, hefty paychecks from mining, railroading, trucking and Western commerce created an atmosphere of good times and prosperity.
Back in 2007, Salidans Merry Cox and her husband Erik Hvoslef were seeking rural property close to town. Merry was hoping to find several things: a new home, land that had studio space where she could create artwork, and vacant property where she could grow “a perennial food forest.” What they found was 1.5 acres of industrially-zoned land for sale just off the main road, CR 150, through Smeltertown. The land belonged to Ann Shine, whose family dates back to the earliest days of Smeltertown. The property included several old houses in various stages of disrepair and the couple decided to enlist local builder Greg Walter to construct an energy-efficient strawbale home on the property for their residence.
Merry considers herself an “object maker” sculpting art from found-objects and is one of the many recent newcomers who is breathing new life into the funky old worker’s town on the north bank of the Arkansas River.
Rich Shine was born and raised in Smeltertown. His father, John Shine Sr., and his wife Doris were deeded 25 acres of farmland in Smeltertown, near CR150 and Colo. 291 in 1936 by his father, Frank Shine Sr. and his wife Frances, both immigrants from Austria. Frank Sr. worked the mines in the region and bought the land in 1909, several years after the opening of the smelting plant. The name Shine is actually derived from the Austrian name Sajn and was changed at Ellis Island upon entry to the U.S.
Frank Sr. and Frances had a daughter Frances and three sons, Frank Jr., Ralph and John Sr. who worked for the Denver and Rio Grande RR and later for the Chaffee County road and bridge department. He was also a horse trainer and farmer.
Just north of Salida, above the banks of the Arkansas River sits a small community with one foot steeped in the past and another stepping firmly into the future.
The town of Kortz, named for J.C. Kortz, then president of the Ohio and Colorado Mining and Smelting Company, was established around 1902 to house the workers at the smelter operation. The smelting plant sat on about 80 acres obtained by the Salida Board of Trade, an organization similar to todays Chamber of Commerce. Construction of the facility required about 300 men as did the regular operation of the plant. The original residents of the community came from Europe; primarily Greece, Italy and Austria. Of the early families who settled in the town; names like Struna, Floransic, Pahole, Argys and Shine, some of the ancestors still reside in the Salida area. Workers at the plant were paid an average of $2.50 to $4.00 a day. In the twenty years of operation the plant yielded silver, gold, copper and lead, processing on average 1,000 tons of ore daily. A school, which still stands today, was built by the smelting company for the children of the workers.
By Ed Quillen
Editor’s note: Back in April we asked Ed Q. if he’d like to write about the smokestacks, knowing his particular interest in Salida history, especially its sooty, grimy, industrial history. We regret his passing before it finally went to print.
As the saying goes, “The solution to pollution is dilution,” and that’s the reason for a Salida landmark, the big smokestack that sits west of town.
The 365-foot-tall chimney was built in 1917 to carry toxic fumes far away from the smelter, so that the Ohio & Colorado Co. facility wouldn’t have to keep paying off local farmers for damaging their crops and livestock. You could call it an early monument to environmental protection.
The surviving tall stack replaced two shorter flues at the smelter, and to understand why the company decided to erect it, we need to consider the process of smelting, which originated in remote antiquity, perhaps 8,000 years ago when humans began to use copper and tin.
by Martha Quillen
A friend and I spent a Wednesday in mid-September hiking near Tincup. It was an Edgar Allen Poe sort of day – gloomy, gray and melancholy: “Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December.” Except, of course, it was September. On that rainy, cold September day, the brush was wet and the trails muddy. Clouds obscured the ridges, and mist shrouded the evergreens, but golden aspen brightened the slopes.
Although we walked for hours, we didn’t pass a single other person afoot, which was understandable. It was perfect weather for settling into a cozy armchair in front of a crackling fire to read a gothic novel. But it was far too beautiful to stay indoors.
Last month Colorado Central ran a reader’s survey and I wanted to thank everyone who responded. We’ll be compiling the data and selecting the winners of our prizes right after the end of September. It did occur to me that we left off an important question, one that speaks to our coverage of the region, not just Salida. By nature of where the magazine was founded and where we are based, Salida naturally has greater representation, both in advertising sales and in editorial content. This issue, with an emphasis on Smeltertown, might easily come across as very Salida-centric.
The fact is, the largest majority of our subscribers are in Salida, followed by Buena Vista and other parts within Chaffee County, but, we also have many subscribers in other parts of Central Colorado including: Gunnison, Hillside, Moffatt, Leadville, Parlin, Howard, Fairplay, Westcliffe, Alamosa, Coaldale, just to name a few. Within Colorado we send of bunch of magazines to, not only the Front Range, but towns and cities as remote and diverse as Black Hawk, Idledale, Estes Park, Montrose, Dolores, Paonia, Silverton, Grand Junction … the list goes on.
By John Mattingly
I heard recently on the radio that U.S. consumers waste about 40% of the food they purchase from restaurants, supermarkets, and box stores. At first I wondered how this statistic was gathered. There must be a lot of dedicated “garbologists” out there, running various waste proxies and decomposition algorithms on their laptops.
Coming from a family of clean plates, leftovers, bulk-buying, and a general respect for the food placed on the table, I doubted the 40% figure, but not the observation that people in this country waste quite a bit of food. Part of this stems from the fact that, despite sensations to the contrary, food is actually cheap in the U.S. when expressed as a percentage of citizen income, and especially if we look at the cost of food, not processing, packaging, and preparation.