Make the developers pay for new schools

Column by Hal Walter

Local Taxes – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

I’VE ALWAYS BEEN a bit perplexed by the notion of a property tax to pay for schools.

I drive a motor vehicle, and I’m taxed for the use of the road by way of licensing and registration. If I go to the landfill, I’m charged a fee. That seems fair.

But this school thing is different. I have no children, but as a property owner I must pay taxes for schools. In fact more than half of the property taxes I pay go to schools. It makes better sense to me that we should tax parents in order to pay for schools. Charge them a flat fee per head.

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Why would anyone want to four-lane U.S. 50?

Article by Ed Quillen

Transportation – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

A FEW YEARS AGO, a billboard just east of Salida told westbound motorists on U.S. 50 that they were only 130 miles from “Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park” near Montrose, with the implication that Montrose was a great place to get a room, buy a meal, and otherwise participate in the tourist economy.

Whoever put up that billboard was jumping the gun — Black Canyon of the Gunnison was then a “National Monument,” rather than a “National Park.”

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The Thanksgiving Suggestion List

Brief by Martha Quillen

Humor – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Here are some things to be thankful for this November 25th that you might not have thought of.

As always we can be thankful that we live in the Colorado Rockies, in a beautiful state, in a democratic nation. But this year we can be even more grateful that we don’t live in New York State where the choice seems to be narrowing down to Hillary Clinton versus Rudolph Giuliani.

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Thanksgiving: the most American of holidays

Essay by Martha Quillen

Holidays – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, there’s something very odd about Thanksgiving. Even though Americans celebrate several holidays brought over from Europe, like Christmas and New Years, Thanksgiving is the oldest public holiday declared in the United States. Yet Thanksgiving has changed very little over the years.

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Here’s the latest from the Valley Rumor Mill

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Local Gossip – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine


Summer reports of a bear incident at Valley View Hot Springs were about four miles misplaced. Informed sources hinted that the human contestant was a known bow hunter and speculated that he might have been goading the critter to stand on its hind legs and reveal some tender belly.

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Procrastination leads to noble result

Letter from Paul Birholz

Colorado Central – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed and Martha,

I was forced to sit down this beautiful Sunday afternoon and clean up the place a little. During this process I did what every good procrastinator does and read every piece of mail and magazine I picked up from various piles. The best pile I found was the stack of Colorado Central issues that I hadn’t read yet — about 3 or 4!

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A train you shouldn’t examine in Cañon City

Letter from Roger A.c. Williams

Law enforcement – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine


I wish to complain about an annoying incident involving the Colorado Department of Corrections in Cañon City.

Having enjoyed a ride on the new Royal Gorge train on Sept. 24, followed by lunch in the depot, I walked up to the nearby state penitentiary to stretch my legs before the ordeal of the drive through Colorado Springs and Douglas County on I-25 and C-470 back to Boulder, and for a look at the place.

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Why steal the Bonanza sign when you have to hide it?

Letter from Gail Holbrook

Rural Life – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

To those who stole the Bonanza sign:

It’s a shame the Bonanza sign with its coyote and raven has been cut down and stolen. It is a hand-made bit of artwork that was given not just to the town but to everyone who enjoyed seeing it when they drove up this way. Stupid to take what already belonged to you and to all of us.

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The Gunnison Knot

Article by George Sibley

Water – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

FOR THOSE WHO DREAM OF EMPIRE, there is the story of the Gordian knot. Gordias was a peasant in Phrygia, one of those little Asia Minor kingdoms back about Minus-Y1K. His people chose him to be king. His only notable feat was to dedicate his wagon to Zeus, which wagon he tied to a pole with an intricate knot — a knot so intricate that someone (Zeus, I hope) said that whoever was able to unravel the knot would go on to reign over an Asian empire. Alexander of Macedonia — on his way to becoming Alexander the Great — came along and undid the knot with a stroke of his sword. Alexander went on to create an empire that stretched all the way from Greece to somewhere around India, where he died of alcoholism.

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Is there any way to avoid having a mayor?

Brief by Martha & Ed Quillen

Salida Politics – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

JUDGING BY OUR INFORMAL yard-sign survey, Dick Heitman leads the other two candidates for mayor of Salida to replace Ralph Taylor, who’s stepping down after only one term.

The major issue appears to be a performance audit of the police department, which the city council approved on a 4-2 vote.

Heitman opposed it, which got him an endorsement from Mike Sanchez, assistant police chief, who wrote a letter to Salida’s Mountain Mail newspaper:

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It’s down at the end of Harrison Street: Hearbreak Hotel?

Brief by Central Staff

Tourism – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

On account of its altitude and climate, Leadville celebrates St. Patrick’s Day about six months earlier (or later) than the rest of the world does.

That is, the Irish are honored on March 17 everywhere else, but Leadville holds St. Patrick’s Practice Day on the weekend closest to Sept. 17 — six months away, and generally a better day for a parade in the Cloud City than March 17 (although Leadville also celebrates the original holiday).

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Big Brother is watching, not buying

Brief by Central Staff

Prohibition – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Within living memory, Big Brother might have picked up a six-pack for Little Brother if Little Brother wasn’t of age. Now Big Brother is watching in Leadville.

It’s called “Operation Stop.”

Thirteen shops that sell take-out alcohol were able to install or upgrade their surveillance cameras, thanks to a grant from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice.

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No pyramid, but the Valley gets a UFO tower

Brief by Central Staff

UFOs – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Nevada has been promoting one of its highways as a good place to watch for UFOs.

And the Comfort Inn in Falkirk, Scotland — where 350 sightings have been reported since 1992 — held an “extraterrestrial weekend” last spring; it was so successful that the hotel now promotes it as a regular event.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the San Luis Valley, featured in at least two books and some magazine articles as a site of mysterious and perhaps extra-terrestrial activity, will start catering to this form of tourism.

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Snow isn’t the only thing that’s falling at ski areas

Brief by Central Staff

Recreation – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

It’s time to start thinking about snow — especially if you’re in charge of marketing for a Colorado ski resort.

The lack of early-season snow was one reason cited for the 5.29% decline in Colorado skier numbers in 1998-99 from the 1997-98 season. Skier-day totals at Colorado resorts fell from 11,979,719 to 11,346,264 — a drop of 633,455.

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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

Regional News – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Choo Choo Contractor Bye-Bye

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Commission voted to fire its operating contractor.

George Bartholomew, head of the company that runs the 64-mile narrow gauge railroad, was given 30 days to take care of delayed financial statements, track and engine repairs, and other problems with the railroad. Bartholomew blames the problems on bad weather and publicity, and is working his crews hard to meet the deadline. No replacement operator has been chosen.

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Growing by the Numbers

Brief by Central Staff

Communication – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

For years, Salidans used four digits when exchanging phone numbers: the 539 prefix was just assumed, as in “we’re at 5345.” That has changed with growth — now there’s 530, as well as 221 for cellular telephones.

Now the Crestone-Moffat area in Saguache County, served by the Columbine Telephone Co., is undergoing a similar change.

There the custom was three digits, with the 256-4 assumed. Henceforth they’ll need four, because most new numbers will be assigned from the 256-5 block.

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Cornwall loses its last mine, too

Brief by Central Staff

Mining – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

When the Black Cloud Mine closed this year, it meant the end of about 140 years of mining in and around Leadville — a long tradition that goes back to before there was a Leadville, or indeed a Colorado.

However, there’s tradition, and then there’s tradition — perhaps as many as 2,500 years of mining, and at least 407 years.

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More tales from the Stupid Zone

Essay by Lynda La Rocca

Tourism – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE CURMUDGEON IS BACK! And after enduring another tourist season in the “Stupid Zone,” I’m crankier than ever.

Regular Colorado Central readers already know that a Stupid Zone, a phrase coined by none other than this magazine’s publisher, is a place where the misguided and denial-prone insist on putting down roots (i.e., in avalanche chutes, on crumbling hillsides, within toe-dipping distance of the ocean, next to international airports), only to spend the rest of their lives whining about the adverse conditions that define these sites (i.e., snowslides, mud slides, floods, noise).

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