The Wind Trap

By Joyce Gregor, Westcliffe, CO The cabin door blew open. I entered, invited by the wind who had forced its way in, through cracks and broken windows. We stood there, the wind and I, engaged in airy chatter. The wind had reveled here before, now it was my turn to view the decor. Breezed through …

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The Legend of Treasure Mountain

By Mary Cornum

There are many rumors and legends surrounding a vast discovery of gold by French explorers near Summitville, Colorado, in the late 1700s.
With approximately 300 men and 450 horses plus supplies, an expedition of Frenchmen, based in New Orleans, reportedly left an outpost near present-day Leavenworth, Kansas, bound for the Rocky Mountains in search of precious metals.

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The Crowded Acre: Butter and Waffles

I think I’m gaining ground. In the early days, my request for a house pig would have simply been ignored. Along with my ideas of owning goats and cows and chickens and ponies, it might have even been scoffed at. I think the initial resistance was due to the fact that my husband didn’t really want any animals, likely due to the fact that he had never really had any animals. I, on the other hand, can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have any animals. In just over a decade together, we have grown a family, built a farm, lived in a yurt, turned a school bus into a food truck, and loved every minute of it. It just seems logical that the next phase of our relationship will be “house pig” … at least to one of us, that is.

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The Real Deal Music Review: SHEL Just Crazy Enough

By Brian Rill

SHEL – Just Crazy Enough

The 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche prefaced his book The Will To Power with this line, “Of what is great one must either be silent or speak with greatness, that means cynically and with innocence.” I will attempt to relate honestly the virtue of music amidst my own opinions in order to set free for the listener the product’s appeal and cultural relevance. Discovering pathos within modernity can be a difficult task, but within the right hymns sometimes there are steps that lead us to hope. Not outside the advent of SHEL’s present work lives this new faith.

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Water Update

By John Orr

November Election Recap

Normally this column deals with water issues and water folks in Central Colorado, but in the aftermath of the weirdest election season in my lifetime this iteration will take on a statewide and national flavor.

Del Norte rancher Travis Smith, currently serving on the Colorado Water Conservation Board, likes to remind folks in the water business, that “We are more connected than we’d like to admit.”

With all the uncertainty before us, is it possible to glean some idea of the effects the voters have wrought upon themselves?

President-elect Trump is rumored to be about to install a non-scientist, Myron Ebell, as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Ebell has spoken out against the “hoax” of global warming, and many hail his ascension as necessary to clip the wings of a federal government run wild under President Obama.

Martha Henriques writes in The International Business Times, “Climate deniers have been on the sidelines for years. What will happen now they’re in charge?”

A lot will happen no matter who is in power. Chris Mooney writes in The Washington Post:

“It’s polar night there now – the sun isn’t rising in much of the Arctic. That’s when the Arctic is supposed to get super-cold, when the sea ice that covers the vast Arctic Ocean is supposed to grow and thicken.

“But in fall of 2016 – which has been a zany year for the region, with multiple records set for low levels of monthly sea ice – something is totally off. The Arctic is super-hot, even as a vast area of cold polar air has been displaced over Siberia.”

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Private Property: Mt. Shavano Summit Riddled with Mining Claims

By Maisie Ramsay

The entire summit of Mount Shavano, in the Sawatch Range, is located on private property, but not of the “trespassers will be shot” variety.

There are no fences. There are no signs. Save for a cairn and a couple of weather-beaten survey posts, there’s nothing to indicate that the entire summit block is composed of private mining claims – except, perhaps, the poor condition of the trail.

Private, high-elevation mining claims have precluded the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) from restoring the path to Shavano’s summit, leaving the route to degrade steadily with each passing year.

The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) has come up with a novel solution to this problem: buy the mining claims and give them to the Forest Service.

“Shavano was a high priority for the agency, but was stuck behind the private land inholdings,” said Lloyd Athearn, executive director for the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative. “I put together a proposal on Shavano to investigate who owns the lands and acquire them, whatever was necessary to build the trail.”

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George Sibley: Down on the Ground Trumped and Stumped

Things may be settling out a bit by the time you read this. All the cheers and jeers over the election, the anger in “Not My President” and “Build The Wall” rallies here and there, the stock market rollercoaster, the warnings and pleas from leaders around the world, and so on. All of that now settles into a hiatus like the runup to some kind of cross between chess and poker, as Trump begins lining up his pieces for the transition and his opponents start lining up the countering pieces. We’ll see who is bluffing as we move into the first hundred days of the future.
Was Trump’s victory truly a surprise? I will say that I didn’t really believe it would happen, but I also had a creeping feeling about the election from the moment that our English cousins voted to leave the European Union – no more illusions there about “Great Britain,” I guess. It felt like a preview for the morning-after headline in the New York Times: “Donald Trump is Elected President in Stunning Repudiation of the Establishment.” I guess when confronted with really hard realities, “stunning repudiations” are the equivalent of the “denial” stage in the grieving process.
Last month I wrote here about the nature – no, the culture – of democracy in a complex, technologically advanced mass society. Such societies are run, of necessity, by elites who know how to build, operate, manage and maintain the vast systems that provide the food, water, power, fuels and everything else we need to support “civilization as we know it.” It’s a system that works in part because no single elite can do it all; the private and public management teams, the scientists, the technicians, the creatives and innovators, the financiers, the lawmakers and lawyers, the media disseminators – all depend on other elites themselves, both in their work and in their daily lives.

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Quillen’s Corner: Are Our Political Leaders Leading Us Astray?

By Martha Quillen

Surprise! The November 8 election delivered a shocker, not just to Democrats, but probably even to Donald Trump himself. From the beginning of the 2016 season, Trump was the candidate whom reporters noticed. Even when Hillary Clinton was deemed the presumptive winner, Trump was the media star. Pundits and pollsters kept saying Trump’s chances were almost nil, but Trump won.
Afterward protesters marched in the streets. Then some citizens urged Electoral College participants to overturn his victory, and I was astounded. What would happen if they actually succeeded? Riots? Shootings? Pandemonium?
The answer is obvious, because subverting and repressing other people’s rights, opinions and votes is nothing new. Districts are gerrymandered. Polling places get shut down. Complainants are shunned, booed and heckled at public meetings. Drifters, minorities and street people are harassed because they look different. And America’s poor, homeless and unemployed frequently get disparaged by national and local governments and citizens alike.
Violence is common in our society. So I suspect our first priority today should not be to attack our opponents or ignore their concerns. We’ve been doing that for decades, and it has clearly made things worse.
Our current level of distrust is alarming. This season, I’ve heard perfectly sane citizens say there’s undeniable proof that the Clintons killed Vince Foster and that Foster wasn’t their only victim. I’ve heard all about how Hillary Clinton planned to put gun owners in concentration camps, and how Trump was going to round up and torture immigrants and Muslims. And I’ve heard about how both Clinton and Trump planned to plunder the public monies.
And since the election? I’ve heard tales about Chicano kids who have been so traumatized by Trump’s victory that schools have sent them home to assure them that their parents hadn’t already been deported. I’ve likewise heard stories about Islamic children who can’t be lured out of their homes.

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John Mattingly: The Tale of Dingdoggy

By John Mattingly

An old yellow dog named Dingdoggy came from fortunate breeding and circumstance. His daddy, Dongdaddy, had been a well-cut dog with excellent cunning who ate well, accumulated an enormous number of bones, lived large with attractive bitches, and worried little about necessities. In short, Dongdaddy mastered his masters, for the most part. They occasionally spanked him with a newspaper, but that did not stop him from teaching his son, Dingdoggy, the ways of big-league dogliness, which went back to grandfather doggy, Drumpfdog. The Drumpfdog line were purebreds who, to be honest, dominated at dog shows where young Dingdoggy learned that he could chin, snag and even mount female dogs at dog shows, without them being in heat, an opportunity and privilege afforded by his heritage, and his huge and growing status among show hounds and assorted bitches.
Dingdoggy dug up a few of his daddy’s bones, though he was never forthright as to how many bones he secured from his own hunting prowess, and how many bones he exhumed from Dongdaddy’s many bone banks. Dongdaddy had buried so many bones that he honestly did not know how many bones he had, and Dingdoggy also gathered many bones beyond his actual bone needs, taking bones from many other dogs, and after a short time, bragging that he had, himself, earned all of the bones. Given the nature of canine purity, many dogs admired Dingdoggy’s ability to claim the success of other dogs for himself, while other dogs only growled when he came around.
Dingdoggy was a particularly barkative dog as a pup, which confirmed his philosophy that if he barked long enough, and loud enough, and lifted his leg to water various territorial structures frequently enough, food and good fortune would fall from above. Dingdoggy learned that he could even excrete a big brown pile on a lawn or street or even in a vehicle and only good things happened to him. As he matured, Dingdoggy began to think there was something special about his exudates.
Dingdoggy let other dogs know that his exudates not only did not stink, they were sweet to the eye and nose, a claim that many dogs recognized as the workings of a dog deluded by his failure to deal with his exudates when he was pup. Yet other dogs fell into a uniformed stupor, and even though they knew Dingdoggy’s exudates were foul to both nose and eye, they did not seek to offend or correct. They simply fell in with the pack and followed the stink.
This coaxed Dingdoggy to an even more unusual assertion as to his abilities: he began to walk on his hind two legs. This caused a huge disturbance among all purebred dogs, who were appalled at the mere notion of walking on fewer than four legs. They asserted that, yes, sometimes a dog lost a leg in a fight or a trap and had to get around on three legs, and these dogs were more pitied than admired for their adaptation. But Dingdoggy declared that three-legged dogs were beyond pity and worthy only of jokes and mockery for their lack of leg. Dingdoggy claimed that walking on two legs while keeping two legs in reserve was smart, even though several alert dogs pointed out that if Dingdoggy’s hind legs failed, there was no way to transplant his front legs. Instead, he would be walking with his muzzle in the dirt.

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Keeping the Darkness at Bay

By Hal Walter

In the wake of the recent election, I found myself pondering the future and reading a book called Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.

We’ve all heard of the Holocaust in which six million Jews were killed by the Nazis. One piece of history I was not aware of is that the Nazis also exterminated more than 70,000 disabled people, as many as 3,500 of them believed to be autistic.

Through a program called Aktion T4, the Nazis carried out their ideology of “eugenics.” Part of this was the notion that those who could not work were a burden – “useless eaters” and unworthy of life. This involuntary euthanasia program targeted mostly disabled or mentally ill people, primarily children, who were put to death by lethal injection, gassing, starvation and shooting. In many cases, parents were urged to send their disabled children to an institution and were later sent a letter saying their child had died of natural causes.

Also killed under this program were some political dissidents, including artists.

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Places: Simmons Peak

Story and photo by Ericka Kastner

As of the writing of this column, snow had not yet fallen in Central Colorado’s banana belt, making it pertinent to write about hiking places rather than snowy adventures for December. Should a descent of the white stuff begin to grace the San Luis Valley and accumulate by the time this piece is published, the road approaching the route would be a fabulous cross country ski, and the trail at higher elevations would provide beautiful and challenging terrain for snowshoeing.

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Colorado Muralist: Lightning Heart

This mural by Lightning Heart in Antonito featuring the Lady of Guadalupe was painted over this past year. A new version was created in 2016 at the nearby Atencio Tire Shop. Next page: Silos in Antonito depict native Americans and early settlers. All photos courtesy of the artist.

By Anthony Guerrero

It is impossible to explore the San Luis Valley without seeing many beautiful murals and amazing pieces of art. Some of the most prominent works are the vision of Colorado artist Fred “Lightning Heart” Haberlein.
The artist painted his first mural in 1977 and since then has created 138 murals that can be seen throughout Colorado and the United States.
Lightning Heart has never lived in a town. In 1971 he lived in Arizona where a Yaqui tribe took him in. This experience is what led to his unique professional name. His murals bear a heart with a bolt of lightning. Tribal members gave him his signature title. He has attended spring ceremonies with the tribe in the Sonoran desert every year for the last 46 years.

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Book Review – Early Days in South Park: Parked in the Past

By Laura Van Dusen
Vandusenville Publications, 189 pages
ISBN 978-692-72310-4

Reviewed by Forrest Whitman

Sooner or later, if you live in Colorado, you’ll drive through South Park. It’s a lovely ride in its own right, but this book will keep the motorist seeing it all in a fresh way. Van Dusen, long-time writer for many publications (including this one), opens up the surprising history of the park.
Her vignettes about early notables in the park are well done and give us a new look at them. Some of them, like Willia Hamilton Johnson of Alma, or Marshall Lewis Link, are especially crisp. She reveals them in “the bad and the good.” They emerge as real people.
She draws on the letters of Wilbur Fisk Stone to show us just how dastardly some of our early heroes and villains were. Her historical accounts of the outlaws are gripping. Some of the bad guys, like the Espinoza brothers, were terrorists of the most incredible kind.

Wilbur Stone spared neither Governor John Evans nor Reverend Chivington (the fighting Methodist minister who led the massacre at Sand Creek). Both were crooked and amazing liars, as were many others who dealt with the Indians.
A weakness in Van Dusen’s coverage concerns the Utes. They were very much a part of South Park history, but other than a brief appearance by Chief Saguache, they don’t come through. On the other hand, Van Dusen can write only about the accounts of the first settlers, and the Indians were only backdrops for them.
Especially interesting is her coverage of how hard life was in South Park. For instance, Benjamin Berg, second owner of the Fairplay Hotel, lost three of his children to typhoid. During World War I, The Fairplay  Flume reported death after death to the Spanish influenza. Some 675,000 died in the U.S. in that outbreak.
There were interesting cures to various diseases, which she covers in detail, including Bayer Heroine, Lydia Pinkham’s Herbal Remedy (popular with women partly because of its alcohol content) and Magic oil (87 percent alcohol).
Driving on U.S. Hwy. 285, the motorist will have a new understanding of how hard travel was by stage coach. You’ll also learn more about Como. This was a big rambling coal mining town with its own “war” to remember. Her chapters on Como and the Antero Reservoir fights are especially good. The motorist may even pause to think of the King Coal disaster where so many miners died. The book makes a routine trip through South Park fascinating.
There’s more to the book than the 19th century too. Her accounts of pre-history and the Porcupine Cave are compelling. So are her accounts of modern history. She covers the death of JFK and the beginning of the Ed Snell race.
I’m always looking for books to add to my holiday giving list. Early Days in South Park is on mine this year. Laura Van Dusen has done an outstanding job here.

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The Poncha Springs Italian Connection

Lithograph of Poncha Springs, Colorado in 1892: A – Schoolhouse, B – Library, C – Presbyterian Church, D – Poncha Hot Springs Hotel, E – Restaurant, 2- Herald News, 3 – Meat Market . (Courtesy of the Salida Library)

Early Settlers from Lago, Italy to Poncha Springs, U.S.A.

By Dr. Francesco Gallo

On April 5, 2016, Ralph Benjamin “Ben” Scanga was elected mayor of Poncha Springs, a statutory town in Chaffee County where, one-hundred thirty years ago, his great grandfather Giuseppe Scanga had emigrated from Lago (Cosenza), Italy. It’s a dream that has come true; it’s a good seed planted in fertile soil that gave origin to a solid plant.

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About the Cover Artist: Fred “Lightning Heart” Haberlein

Colorado muralist Fred “Lightning Heart” Haberlein completed this depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the side of the Atencio Tire Shop in Antonito, Colorado, on October 20, 2016. Our Lady of Guadalupe, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe, is a Roman Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with a venerated image enshrined within the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. She stands atop a darkened crescent moon, carried by a cherubic angel.

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