Overcommunicated, Overstimulated, and Underinformed

Column by Hal Walter

Mountan Life – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

“Our priorities is our faith.”

— G.W. Bush, Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 10, 2000

ON THE MORNING AFTER the alleged election, I nearly set my house ablaze.

It wasn’t because a minority of Americans had apparently elected a new president who does not always display a grasp of subject-verb agreement. It was simply because I had become too distracted by CNN, the Internet, morning dishes, e-mail, braying jackasses, and the never-ceasing ring of the telephone to pay attention to the smoke signals that were coming out of my chimney, as though the college of cardinals had convened inside to elect a pope.

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Marty Mitchell of Saguache: Colors in Squares

Article by Ed Quillen

Local artist – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

MARTY MITCHELL lives, paints, and draws in Saguache. But she grew up in Iowa, and she says that explains the unusual shape of her paintings: in a world of rectangular art, her works are square, just like the grid of section-line roads that defines the agricultural Midwest.

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Ich bin ein ‘Neonative’

Essay by John Clayton

Western Life – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

“Stop waving at everyone,” said my friend visiting from California. He felt like he was in a caricature of small-town life. He figured I couldn’t really know all these people, and was just greeting them for the effect it had on him.

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Our election technology is better than Florida’s

Sidebar by Ed Quillen

Politics – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Given all the wrangling over how to count ballots in Florida, a matter still in litigation as this edition went to press, it’s easy to wonder whether that could happen here.

But none of the counties I asked uses punch cards, so dimpled ballots and hanging chad shouldn’t be an issue in Central Colorado.

In our region, two systems are in use, and they’re pretty similar.

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At least our elections run on time

Essay by Martha Quillen

Politics – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

AS OF THIS MINUTE — 11:59 a.m. Tuesday, November 14 — I may not know who will be our next president, and I’m not at all sure when I will know, but as I see it, there’s some good news, too.

Back in the old days, I rarely thought about where my ballot went after I finished with it, and I never reflected very much on the technology of voting, either. And I suspect that I wasn’t all that unusual. What’s more, I suspect that we all should have thought about such things more often than we did.

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Carbon made me do it

Column by George Sibley

Climate – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

IT’S SNOWING THIS MORNING — not real hard here in Gunnison, but I can guess what it’s doing upvalley, in Crested Butte or up on Monarch Pass.

It snowed all day in Crested Butte yesterday, and having lived there once, I can remember what that was like — going to bed with visions of powder plumes dancing in my wee spinning head. Spinning because when it really snows in a mountain town, you usually find yourself hanging out in a bar with everyone else that’s snowstruck, just watching it come down.

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How to earn those epithets

Essay by Kent Maxwell

Local Politics – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

GOVERNMENT IN CHAFFEE COUNTY has grown more slowly, thanks to me. Next year alone, some $700,000 worth of property taxes won’t be leaving taxpayer wallets to fill the coffers of the Salida School District and Chaffee County Fire Protection District.

Yet, I’d be the first to admit that Salida teachers deserve higher salaries and that more equipment is needed for adequate fire protection in outlying areas of the county.

It comes down to a difference of opinion as to the means to achieve those ends.

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Good Neighbor Guidebook, edited by N.S. Grief and E.J. Johnson

Review by Ed Quillen

Rural West – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

The Good Neighbor Guidebook for Colorado Necessary Information and Good Advice For Living in and Enjoying Today’s Colorado
Edited by Nancy S. Greif and Erin J. Johnson
Published in 2000 by Johnson Books
ISBN 1-55566-262-5

Code of the West – Chaffee County, Colorado
Published in 2000 by Chaffee County
Free at county offices

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From the Gut of Denver

Letter from Robert Ton

Growth – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed and Martha:

I’m a new subscriber to Colorado Central, and wanted you to know that it reads like a breath of fresh air to at least one native of the Front Range ‘burbs.

For the last four years, I’ve taken a week or two out of my artificially busy life to just travel around the state as a curmudgeon on the lam, I suppose. It’s pretty odd to consider that someone could spend 40 years in the Gut of Denver (or, more affectionately, the Gut’D) and never fully realize that rich lives are lived in the hinterlands.

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Can she return to where she belongs?

Letter from Sharon Mayer

Colorado citizenship – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine


Just had time to read the last great issue of Colorado Central and have some questions that were brought up by letters in the Correspondence Section. Since I am at present resigned to living in the State of Florida, I ask this please not be put to a vote.

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Railroad Books

Sidebar by Jim Stitzel

Transportation – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine


Alamosa/Salida and the Valley Line. Richard L. Dorman; R.D. Publications, 1991

Marshall Pass: Gateway to the Gunnison Country. Walter R. Borneman. Century One Press, 1980

Tracking Ghost Railroads In Colorado. Robert Ormes. Century One Press, 1975. This is a classic for locating the remnants of Colorado’s vanished railroads.

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Brief history of Marshall Pass

Sidebar by Ed Quillen

Transportation – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Marshall Pass connects Arkansas River drainage to the Gunnison watershed by crossing the Continental Divide at 10,846 feet just south of the summit of Mt. Ouray.

It was doubtless used by the Utes, although their regular routes were more circuitous. To get from the Salida area to the Gunnison Country, they usually crossed Poncha Pass to Saguache and then headed west over Cochetopa Pass. That course was also followed by early-day prospectors headed for the Tin Cup area, then part of the Ute reservation, in the 1860s.

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Riding the narrow-gauge over Marshall Pass

Article by Jim Stitzel

Transportation – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

WORLD WAR II may seem an odd source of reminiscences about railroads in Central Colorado. Yet, my last-hurrah, pre-induction trip in 1942 included a spectacular “Grand Circle” tour of the state — a loop of rail travel that went from Denver to Grand Junction to Durango to Alamosa and back to Denver. It made me want to see more of Colorado’s

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About Ride the Rockies

Sidebar by Margaret Rush

Ride the Rockies – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

“Ride the Rockes” is an annual Colorado bicycle tour which started in 1986. Sponsored by the Denver Post and presented by News 4-KCNC, participants come from all over the United States and foreign countries as well. This year 2,000 cyclists were chosen to participate by a lottery system from over 4,000 applicants.

The six- to seven-day cross-state tour incorporates different routes each year. Riders range in age from 8 to 80. Sleeping arrangements include tents, RV’s, gymnasiums, and motels. Host communities offer food and entertainment.

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The Ride of My Life

Article by Margaret Rush

Ride the Rockies – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE RIDERS’ brightly colored clothing caught my eye as thousands of bicycles whizzed into Salida. Even their wheels spun out pinks, blues, and yellows; the summer sun danced off their speeding rims.

“I want to do that!” I thought to myself. “I want to be part of the fun!” I imagined myself dressed in fluorescent-colored spandex; shaped like one of the strong-bodied athletes that was rushing by me. (I’m good at imagining.)

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Barb Dolan and Chugs win another triple crown

Brief by Central Staff

Pack-burro racing – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

For the second straight year, Barbara Dolan of Buena Vista won the women’s triple crown from the Western Pack-Burro Racing Association.

That means that she and her burro, Chugs, came in first at the three major races: from Fairplay to the top of 13,188-foot Mosquito Pass and back, from Leadville to the same spot and back, and a lower but exhausting 12-mile course above Buena Vista.

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More Goodtimes in San Miguel County

Brief by Central Staff

Politics – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

We congratulate our friend, traveling bard, and occasional contributor Art Goodtimes of Norwood for his re-election to another term as a commissioner in San Miguel County.

He was elected in 1996 as a Democrat, and changed his registration to Green in 1998. This time around, he had no Republican opposition, and defeated Democrat Leslie Sherblock by 2,169 to 975.

When we saw Art at the Headwaters Conference in Gunnison the weekend before the election, he said one of his major accomplishments was the elimination of most building codes in his district — the west part of the county that stretches to the Utah line.

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It ain’t over yet

Brief by Marcia Darnell

Sand Dunes Park – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine –

The Great Sand Dunes National Monument is now a park, but this strategic move to protect the San Luis Valley’s water is far from total security.

The park was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 25, in record time for such an act. The conversion of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison took 13 years, the Dunes less than one year.

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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Walrus Update

Those readers who knew Ray James will be amazed to hear that he is now a certified fitness instructor. Yes, prison does strange things to people. Ray hopes to be back in Colorado in the spring of 2002.

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Ken Chlouber says he can adapt to minority status

Brief by Central Staff

Politics – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

State Sen. Ken Chlouber, a Leadville Republican who represents most of Central Colorado, handily won reëlection on Nov. 7, but voters elsewhere in the state thwarted one of his campaign themes.

Chlouber, who has served in the Colorado General Assembly since 1987, said he was in line for a leadership post in the majority party, and thus would be in a position to do plenty for his district if reëlected.

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Living in a 3/4 society

Essay by Allen Best

Modern Life – December 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

WHEN I WAS A KID, summer vacation wasn’t in spring, ski season didn’t start until it snowed, and presidents weren’t anointed until the votes were actually counted. Now, our society has fully caught the hurry-up bug, always jumpy to push the calendar.

Educators in Denver, Colorado, are sweating over whether to begin classes in mid-August. Starting school weeks before Labor Day would allow city students to compete against suburban kids for jobs in May. The suburbs, and nearly all other school districts in Colorado, are already on the hurry-up schedule.

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Western Water Report: 12 December 2000


Neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions seem to be an influence on weather patterns this year. As of Dec. 8, snowpack statewide is 79% of average. The Upper Colorado Basin is 75%: Gunnison is at 69%; San Miguel/Dolores/Animas/San Juan is 105%; Upper Rio Grande 101%; Arkansas 83%; South Platte 66%; North Platte 70%; and Yampa/White is 70% of average. Storage in Colorado reservoirs is 100% of average but only at 74% of last year’s storage at this time.

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