A Mud Country Almanac

Column by Hal Walter

Cabin Fever – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

“The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful.”

–Jimmy Buffett

THE BIG HERD OF ELK spread out across the snowless hillside, grazing westward one chilly January evening. I braked my truck, turned the key one click to stop the engine, rolled down the window, and grabbed the binoculars from the glove box.

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South Park Potter Pat Pocius

Article by Nancy Ward

Local artists – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

South Park Potter Pat Pocius is always on the go

“On the move” is the way Pat Pocius is pictured by those who know her. Seeing her seated behind a desk in the city producing commercial art to make big bucks for her employer is an impossible image for her acquaintances to envision.

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Summer ’99 will be wild, wolly, and Irish

Brief by Marcia Darnell

Creede Repertory Theatre – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE CREEDE REPERTORY THEATRE’S 34th season includes a Western musical, a bilingual children’s play, and Irish tale, a bit of history, some pure comedy, and a large invisible rabbit.

The professional company has been part of Creede since 1966, although the theater had been the site of amateur melodramas since the heyday of mining and hard living in the 1890s. The productions are excellent and the 243-seat venue makes every show a warm, intimate experience.

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The depressing geography of Anyplace

Essay by Ed Quillen

Columbine High School shootings – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

BLAME IT ON THE MEDIA, perhaps, but lately I’ve had a hard time thinking about much beyond the April 20 rampage at a high school in suburban Denver.

Sometimes it makes me think back on my own high-school years, and to what my daughters have told me of their high-school days. And then I am somewhat astonished that these things don’t happen more often.

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Green and Growing after 2 years in the San Luis Valley

Article by Marcia Darnell

The Nature Conservancy – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

TO SAY THE San Luis Valley chapter of The Nature Conservancy has made progress in the past two years is like saying the San Luis Valley is a little chilly in the winter. What Nancy and Chuck Warner have accomplished since late ’96 is astounding. The couple, who staff the Conservancy’s offices, give credit to Valley residents for their success.

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Savoring every word

Letter by Ray Dangel

Colorado Central – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Savoring every word

Ed and Martha,

I’m looking at the finest subscription pitch I’ve ever encountered, on the back of the January Colorado Central (Fake vs. Real Santa).

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The word from Nathrop

Letter by Stephen Glover

Place names – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

The word from Nathrop

Dear Ed:

I enjoyed your May issue, especially the article about local appelations. Having now lived in Nathrop for a while, I thought I would pass on some local “vocabulary” my nephews and I came up with.

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Articulating needless annoyances

Letter by Andy Burns

Colorado Central – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Needless annoyances


I’ve been reading your essays. They get better. Tighter. More coherent. This last one was the best.

I feel cranky and eccentric because of the unending annoyances in this life that seem unnecessary. You really articulated them well this last time.

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How much meddling is enough?

Letter by Slim Wolfe

Wildlife – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

How much meddling is enough?


I can’t decide between the lynx and the rancher. Both are ornery, predatory critters with a certain wild wisdom and grace. Legend has it that cattle people are on the cutting edge of ingenuity and perseverance, without which the rest of the white folks could never have overrun the west like some kind of kudzu, so why should they yelp about losing a few head of stock to the big cats?

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Paradoxes of publishing

Letter by Jerry Orten

Colorado Central – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Paradoxes of publishing

Dear Martha and Ed:

I very much enjoy your magazine and look forward to receiving each and every issue. It has been interesting to see how your magazine has grown through the years, including the types of articles included, and the advertisers. Certainly, you have a successful magazine on your hands, and the topics and content continue to be of interest to me and many others.

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Charge the state for pumping its water

Letter by Laurence Budd

Water – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Charge ’em for your services

To the Quillens and Colorado Central Magazine, “The magazine for people that drive slow but think fast”:

First off, a big thanks for the dark sky issue [Hal Walter’s column in the April, 1999, edition]. You published my long letter last year about how I managed to get the blue yard lights removed from a sizable area in Central New Mexico. We have recently moved to Fort Collins, and while the town is beautiful and a mecca for cars, I am sad to say it is already too late sky-wise here. Lots of very bright yard lights, very few stars. We have decided that bright yard lights here are a vestige of the locals’ Scandinavian heritage, “It’s something we’ve always done.”

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The County Seat History that isn’t found in a saloon

Sidebar by Ed Quillen

Local history – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

WHEN I MOVED HERE IN 1978, there were still Buena Vistans who professed anger at Salida for “stealing our courthouse” 50 years earlier. As I would sometimes point out, the courthouse was still there in Buena Vista. Salida hadn’t taken it.

Further note that in public-opinion surveys, the most-despised and least-trusted occupations generally include lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats, and journalists.

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When will Salida return the county seat it stole?

Article by Tom Noel

Local history – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

When will Salida return the county seat it stole from Buena Vista?

SNOBS IN SALIDA, the Chaffee County seat, will tell you that Buena Vista, from whom they stole that seat, is a miserable, backwards, underpopulated town undeserving of the highest honor a small town can capture.

In fact, Buena Vista is superior in many ways. That is probably why it was originally selected as the county seat, rather than upstart Salida. Fair-minded residents of Chaffee County should pick up the courthouse and return it to the rightful owner.

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The Little Mountain that Divides 3 Basins deserves a name

Article by Central Staff

Triple Divide – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

The Little Mountain That Divides 3 Basins And Deserves a Name

Back in December of 1995, we published an article about an unnamed bump on the Continental Divide between 13,269-foot Mt. Antora and 11,885-foot Windy Peak, about four miles south of the top of Marshall Pass.

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Gary Boyce may file for water in court this year

Article by Central Staff

San Luis Valley water – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Boyce says he may file for water in court this year

Whether you call it Son of AWDI or the No Dam Water Project, it’s back in the news. It’s a proposal by Gary Boyce and his Stockman’s Water Company to drill deep wells and export water from the Confined Aquifer of the Closed Basin of the San Luis Valley to the Front Range.

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4th Annual Anza World Conference: Aug. 27-29 in Monte Vista

Article by Central Staff

Juan Bautista de Anza – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Anza World is coming to Monte Vista

We may not be arranging an Anza Day this August in Poncha Springs, since there’s going to be a lot of Anza activity then just over Poncha Pass with the Fourth Annual Anza World Conference. Juan Bautista de Anza was the Spanish provincial governor of New Mexico in 1779. On a military campaign against the Jupe Comanche, he ventured into the northern San Luis Valley, then over Poncha Pass and into South Park.

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Heard around the West

Brief by Betsy Marston

Heard around the West – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

An Apple a Day

“It will be a stunning ruby red. But chances are it’s a bit mushy,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “It” is a big, fat, shiny Red Delicious apple, the variety American orchardists have produced for decades. They were spurred by marketers who said it was better for fruit to look good than to actually taste good. One expert notes that the apple grown mainly for looks resembles other “inoffensive” products of the 1950s like Wonder bread, Cool Whip and Campbell’s condensed soups.

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New battle looms for the Royal Gorge

Article by Central Staff

Transportation – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

A new battle in the Royal Gorge War

Regional history offers the Royal Gorge War of 1877, but it may soon be known as the First Royal Gorge War, with the Second Royal Gorge War now underway.

The first one was a battle, conducted both in the courtroom and with imported gunmen, between two railroads: the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fé. Both wanted the narrow canyon as a rail route from Cañon City to Leadville, and there was barely room enough in the gorge for one set of tracks.

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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Champ Honored

Alamosa artist Bob Booth will unveil a life-sized bronze of Jack Dempsey on July 22. The sculpture of the Manassa Mauler will reside at the Jack Dempsey Museum in Manassa.

Miniatures of the statue, which will help the project, are available for $1,000 each.

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Didn’t we fight about taxation without representation?

Brief by Central Staff

Water Politics – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Didn’t we fight a war once about Taxation Without Representation?

One of our favorite Colorado troublemakers (and an occasional contributor) is Jeanne Englert of Lafayette. For years, she has been agitating for elections for the directors of water conservancy districts.

In general, these directors are appointed by district judges, even though they can levy taxes and operate public-works projects. “It’s taxation without representation,” Jeanne says, “directly opposed to everything this country is supposed to stand for.”

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Pack-Burro Racing season started in New Mexico

Article by Central Staff

Pack-Burro Racing – June 1999 – Colorado Central MagazineBurro racing resumes

Curtis Imrie of Buena Vista, the Cal Ripken of pack-burro racers, finally missed a race after competing in them all for 25 years.

The April 17 race — 14 miles at Winston, N.M. — was the first one of the season for the Western Pack Burro Association. Nancy Dolan and Sailor won the women’s division in 2:03, while Hal Walter (who writes for Colorado Central) and Spike (who doesn’t) took the men’s side in 1:47.

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Attention Developers: Here’s how to beat the system

Essay by Norm Wallen

Growth and Local Politics – June 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

ANYONE WHO LIVES in a growing western community can understand how development changes the character of the place they live. But most of us are uninformed about the development process itself. We curse the powers that be when new subdivisions and strip-malls go up, or we get stuck in traffic jams that didn’t exist last year, but we don’t really understand the rules, both hidden and apparent, that created this new reality.

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