Briefs from Central Colorado for April 1994

Brief by Central Staff

Around Central Colorado – April 1994 – Colorado Central Magazine

A real race looms

BUENA VISTA — Curtis Imrie, resident philosopher, burro racer, and film producer, will run as a Democrat for the Colorado House of Representatives seat currently occupied by long-term incumbent Ken Chlouber.

Chlouber, the founder of the Leadville Iron Man 100, also runs in burro races.

This means we could see a real race for the House seat this year, after several uncontested elections.

“I’ll challenge Ken right now to run against me man-to-man and burro-to-burro,” Curtis said. “For a political race, he ought to run with the symbol of his party, an elephant, just as I’ll run with the symbol of mine, a donkey. But because I’m a nice guy, I’m willing to concede him the donkey.”

Chlouber hasn’t responded yet, but whoever wins the election, we should have a representative with ample stamina.

Lest we be accused of partisanship, we’ll put in a good word for Chlouber. The Republican establishment in Denver despises him. which means he must be doing something right by his constituents in the hinterlands.

Attention developers

PONCHA SPRINGS — Late last year, Poncha Springs agreed to a major residential real-estate development on the edge of town.

A couple of months later, there was a legal notice of a new Poncha ordinance that would repeal the old requirement that developers install paved streets, sidewalks, and curbs.

Perhaps it was a foolish requirement anyway, since it’s hard to find pavement and sidewalks in the old part of Poncha.

But the timing is curious, and developers looking for a coöperative municipality, one willing to revise its subdivision ordinances as necessary, might consider Poncha Springs.

Gentrifying geography

SMELTERTOWN — Some friends in Smeltertown (the old town of Kortz around the smokestack north of Salida) have suggested that property values there could be elevated with some minor changes in nomenclature.

Property along the river would be in “Smelter Shores.” The bluffs would hold “Smelter Heights,” and the remaining parcels might be “Smelter Estates.”

While this offers some interesting possibilities for Stringtown — “The Golden Ranchettes of California Gulch — we always figured Smeltertown was fairly upscale anyway. The old cars in the yards are Volvos, rather than Fords.

UFOs in the SLV

SAN LUIS VALLEY — The Valley is apparently a magnet for UFOs, and we’re talking about sightings by really respectable outfits like the North American Air Defense Command at Cheyenne Mountain, which recently advised the Rio Grande County Sheriff that NORAD satellites and radars had spotted something big near Monte Vista.

Despite much effort, the searchers found precisely nothing out of the ordinary, but its easy to understand why there are all the other sightings.

Just drive north on Colo. 17 at night. Oncoming headlights that are at least a dozen miles away will shimmer, double themselves, flit around, and generally act in the most annoying way possible for what seems like hours. Given that phenomenon, a set of four-way flashers blinking at night beside Round Hill could doubtless set off a continental red alert for little green men.

Coals to Newcastle

LEADVILLE — The Crystal Carnival on the first weekend of March was a lot of fun, but history seemed to be repeating itself.

The carnival honors the Ice Palace of 1896, which melted on account of unseasonably warm weather.

This year’s festivities included ski-joring down Harrison Avenue. The weather was so unseasonably warm that they had to haul in snow, Just as they had to haul in ice almost a century earlier.

Rural Health Care

DENVER — Assuming that the national agenda ever gets off Whitewater and back to health care reform, it appears that rural areas won’t fare well. The essence of the Clinton proposal is “managed competition,’ and Bob McPhee of Denver observes that “In rural areas with sparse populations, the health suppliers are always monopolies.”

He notes that Canada, with a successful single-payer system, “Is the most rural country in the world.”

McPhee and other Coloradans, mostly in the metro area, have formed Universal Health Care in Colorado (UHICO) to lobby for a single-payer Canadian-style system here. They want some rural input and participation; contact them at 1239 Detroit St., Denver CO 80206, or 303-355-3517.

Radio Free Leadville

LEADVILLE — Commercial stations have come and gone, and now the Leadville Community Broadcast Association figures that the Highest Incorporated City In America might keep a station if it’s owned and operated by the community.

The association has been organized as a nonprofit corporation, permit applications have been filed with the appropriate agencies, and they’re applying for a $150,000 equipment grant from the Public Telecommunications Faculties Program.

If they get the grant, they’ll need some local matching funds. They also need everything from studio space and an antenna site to a copy machine, volunteers, and music in the form of LPs and CDs.

If you want to help, call Kathy Bedell at 719-486-2407, or write to the association at P.O. Box 1256, Leadville CO 80461.