Fish’s Heads

In Memory of Ted Fish

On March 10 of this year, Salida artist Ted Fish died due to complications from heart surgery at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver. Ted was born in New York City in 1946 and grew up in East Stroudsburg, Pa.

In 1971 he received his BA in political science at East Stroudsburg University and four years later married his wife Louise. In 1982, the couple moved to Denver where Ted earned a BFA with an emphasis in ceramics in 2001 at Metropolitan State College. He exhibited his trademark clay heads throughout the state and in Texas, New Mexico, Alabama, North Carolina, New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts and New York. He was the author of a book, 500 Figures In Clay, published in 2004, and won the Laguna Clay Award at the Colorado Clay Exhibition in 2003. In 2005, the couple moved to Salida.

Ted’s work was hand-built with a modified slab coil technique generally using paper clay. Pottery shards or other items were often embedded prior to bisque firing. Low fired glazes or slips were applied and the work was fired at 1,950 degrees F. For many pieces, a third firing in a raku kiln followed and the work was then removed from the kiln and sprayed with ferric chloride. He named this process Ferriku. Other pieces were finished with acrylic paint and some were placed on a found object metal base, marble, wood, or other materials. Ted also enjoyed painting with acrylics.

From his artist statement: “All of the work results from my interest in the power of primitive and ancient sculptures and how such sculpture connects the meditative, contemplative mind with emotions ranging from restful loving to excited anger.”

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The Way We Really Were

By Virginia McConnell Simmons During the elections in 1892 and in 2016, the respective populism bore no resemblance one to the other. In Colorado in 1892, union organization – especially the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) – was growing rapidly, while mine owners were trying to increase the three-dollar-a-day, eight-hour work day to nine without …

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From the Editor: Springtime in the Rockies

By Mike Rosso

Outside my window the sun is shining. The lawn is revealing signs of green and the lilac bushes are cautiously budding. This past winter came and went, not like a lion, but a lamb. Sure, there were a few snowy days here in Salida, but they were the exception. The snow shovel barely saw any action, nor my snow boots (this may still change – after all, this is Colorado).

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The Synchronicity of Spring Break

By Hal Walter

Spring break is always an odd time around here and always seems to catch me by surprise.

While Harrison gets a week off from school, and Mary has a real job with paid vacation, my professional life – such as it is – makes it virtually impossible to take off 10 straight days between writing and editing assignments, my daily chores at the small ranch I caretake, and care of my own animals.

Nevertheless, I’m typically able to work around my schedule and fit some fun into the mix. We don’t really have the wherewithal for a trip to Hawaii or Mexico, but it’s not like we live somewhere we really need a vacation to escape, and the “Staycation” is now in vogue.

Regardless, 10 days straight managing an almost-teenage autistic boy is not exactly a “break” and certainly is no picnic.

The first day I had made plans for dinner in Salida with my friend Peter from Crestone. On the way there I decided upon a side trip up the Hayden Pass Road. I was curious about different visual angles on the Hayden Pass Fire burn area, and also about the snow line up the road. We found the road impassable just below the Hayden Creek Campground and got out to walk around. I immediately noticed the green of snake weed along the creek. I also noted the Rainbow Trail at this altitude was dry. Then I saw the aspens.

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Down on the Ground With George Sibley: Keeping America Great, One Ecosystem at a Time

By George Sibley

Over here on the west slope of Central Colorado, we continue to be concerned about the evidence indicating the probability of a changing climate, despite official assurances from above that there is no such thing, or if there is, it is nothing to be concerned about.

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Quillen’s Corner: The Truth Shall Set You Free

By Martha Quillen

I’m in the midst of an enormous overhaul, emptying closets, file cabinets, book cases and drawers, combing through years of detritus, and getting ready to revamp my life. Where am I going? What am I going to do? I don’t have time to contemplate that. I have forty years of mementos to sort and a shed to clean. And I need to get it done ASAP.

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Mountain Biking on Salida’s Trails

By Ericka Kastner

Sometimes in life the places we travel to are geographic, an actual destination we can pinpoint on the globe. At other times though, the places we go exist only in our minds; they are mental attachments, places we wander to in times of great joy, or senseless fear.

My relationship with mountain biking over the last 20 years has been one such place. I first discovered the joys of riding singletrack while living in Lawrence, Kansas, tooling around unaccompanied along the levy on the banks of the Kaw River. It was my only sanctuary in the woods those days, as forests are hard to come by in Kansas.

But somewhere along the way, I began to ride my bike for others; most often for someone I was dating. First adding toe clips and straps to my pedals to look like I had “the gear,” (yes, I’m referring to the early 1990s) and eventually, frantically struggling to keep up on technical downhill sections so as not to appear too lame; all the while wishing I could unclip and just ride at my own pace. The frenetic headspace that I’d enter on these rides very quickly began to erode away at the singletrack joy I’d once had, turning it into fear.

Admittedly, no one took me to this panicky place; it was something I did to myself slowly, over time. Worrying what others thought about my riding skills eventually kept me from experiencing actual places on my bike as I began to trade in biking for hiking, a realm where I felt confident and sure of myself. Ultimately, I stopped riding altogether.

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Book Reviews – A Short History of Denver

Stephen J. Leonard, Thomas J. Noel University of Nevada Press, paper, 212 pp, $21.95 Reviewed by Annie Dawid History and “short” don’t usually go well together, but in this case, the celebrated Denver Post columnist Thomas J. Noel and his co-writer, Stephen J. Leonard, history professor at the University of Colorado-Denver, make the combination fascinating, …

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The Caboose: Spring Optimism for us Rail Passengers

By Forrest Whitman

There was a lot of hopeful passenger train talk on my recent trip from Denver to Seattle on AMTRAK. On the first leg of that trip, the California Zephyr carried over 800 passengers. The train up the coast from Sacramento to Seattle looked full too. No one in either train’s lounge car doubted the popularity of passenger rail.

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The Natural World: Mountain Goats

By Tina Mitchell

One mid-winter afternoon a while ago, we were driving from Coaldale to Cotopaxi. Above the Arkansas River, a patch of snow gleamed on a dry, south-facing cliff. Odd, since snow doesn’t usually linger long there. Then, the “patch” moved – a mountain goat! A first for us in the canyon. We dubbed it “Goatapaxi.” Later, DOW officials suggested that it was probably an old male, unable to survive higher up. We never saw “Goatapaxi” again, but the memory remains vivid.

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Going Ultraviolet – Water Plant Upgrade for Salida

Salida Water Treatment Plant manager Lonnie Oversole looks over the four water plant filter cells in the plant’s interior. Photo by Daniel Smith.

By Daniel Smith

You’ve probably read about the need for infrastructure improvement nationwide – the fact is, a lot of deferred maintenance has made those improvements imperative.

In Salida, as in many communities in Colorado and nationwide, there are infrastructure components that date back to the 1950s.

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Alma: North America’s Highest Incorporated Town

Main Street, Alma, Feb. 2017. Photo by Laura Van Dusen.

By Laura Van Dusen

County: Park
Founded: 1873
Elevation: 10,578 ft.
Population: 270 (2010)

At just over two miles high, Alma is the highest incorporated town in North America. It was a gold mecca in 1859, later silver boomed, and, more recently, prospecting around Alma has focused on spectacular rhodochrosite crystals found at the Sweet Home Mine.

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CD Review: Xanthe – Time of War

By Brian Rill

Xanthe’s tools consist of a guitar and voice, however to say she only has a voice without indulging wholly in the expansiveness of it’s character and the contour of her descant would be a mistake. The commodity value of repetition lacks weight when compared with the absolutely brilliant simplicity of Xanthe’s representation of the Muse. A supremely stripped down version of folk, Time Of War as an album represents a single prayer lifting on the rising vapors beneath the Omphalos, a sacred stone at the Delphic Oracle where a Priestess receives her vision.

Learning to sing along with classics spinning on vinyl, Xanthe experienced a secular upbringing amongst the radical vocal harmony of the seventies. Linda Ronstadt, Simon and Garfunkel; each influence subtlety creates a mutation that exemplifies her own unique style. Laying most of the harmony tracks over her self in the studio conceives an interesting chorus adding a polished patina to an altogether perfect folk CD. In her tune, Poets she teams up with fellow vocalist Harriett Landrum who adds her calm singing into the mix. 

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Eye on the 5th

By Daniel Smith

When offered the chance to write this column, I thought about the complexity of tracking Congress in general and a single representative in particular – aren’t they whirlwinds of activity, needing staff to keep tabs on their daily appointments?

I also thought about those millstones around many political reporters’ necks – legalese, political nomenclature, translating endless document babble, political hack spokespeople, form letters, “spin” and, well, bullroar.

I was not needlessly worried, I must say.

My assignment is to focus on Republican Doug Lamborn, representing our own Fifth Congressional District.

Yes, he of the rigid party loyalty, patriotism-drenched press releases, and who distinguished himself in 2011 with the “It’s like touching a tar baby” remark about working with President Obama – and later apologized.

Undaunted, we’ll begin to track the activities and accomplishments of Rep. Lamborn month to month – perhaps compared to other Colorado representatives.

Have no illusions – people in congress are busy, and have lots of activities and measures to juggle; but the voluminous writing, research, interaction with constituents and office work is shouldered by harried staff and party lawyers. Keeping in touch with your people is an imperative.

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