Colorado’s longest aerial tramway was at Leavick

Letter from Harvey N. Gardiner

Mining History – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed Quillen:

In the November 2001 issue you reviewed Riding the High Wire: Aerial Mine Tramways in the West, and you noted theabsence of mention of any aerial tramways in Central Colorado. One aerial tramway of interest was located west of Fairplay at what was the location of Leavick, Colo. (11,294 feet). Leavick is long a ghost town, but readers will understand where this is because this area is the access to Mount Sherman, the easiest Colorado Fourteener to climb.

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An old aerial tramway near Leadville

Letter from Charlotte Hamity

Mining History – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine


Even though Leadville had a lot of railroads, there was also a tramway nearby [in reference to the review of Riding the High Wire: Aerial Mine Tramways in the West, in the November 2001 edition]. It was up and beyond Halfmoon Creek Road and ran between the Champion Mill and the Champion Mine which was farther up on the top of the mountain.

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Perhaps the airliner should be “Adventure Travel,” too

Letter from Dave Skinner

Transportation – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine


George Sibley’s column on airlines and subsidies (December, 2001) took me straight back to Steamboat Springs. About eight years ago, “we” got all this groovy Federal loot for a new airport terminal, $5.2 million.

Yes, I scammed my share of the Davis-Bacon money. It’s a heck of a nice terminal, and I’m kind of proud I helped build it.

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A Letter to Sibley from this Place

Essay by Aaron Abeyta

Sense of Place – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear George,

Here is this struggle, my struggle to write about a place when all I do is write about this place. Some part of me feels like all you have to do is press play and I will begin again in some innate migration to the llanos, mountains, churches, and rivers that form my home. I suppose it is no accident that I chose the word migration. My people came to my valley home and lands of New Mexico over 400 years ago and have been stealing or stolen from ever since.

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Marching and Dancing

Column by George Sibley

Society – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

THERE WAS A PEACE RALLY in Gunnison in mid-November, and I didn’t really rally. I went to hear the speeches because some friends were speaking, and I saw a lot of people there that I like a lot. But I couldn’t bring myself to join in the two-block march up and down Main Street, led by a police car.

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Transforming the Salida Steam Plant

Article by Lillian Ross

Historic Preservation – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

A HUNDRED YEARS AGO, you were a hard-working utility plant, huffing and puffing steam to generate electrical power for the town of Salida. You wore your mantle — “Salida Steam Plant” — proudly for more than 50 years.

Then you fell on hard times. For 30 years, you stood idle. The only Salida residents who paid you any attention were the town’s pigeons, taking up residence in the west wing of your Sackett Avenue address. Oh, how they had their way with you.

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Restoring Leadville’s Jewish heritage

Article by Lynda La Rocca

Historic preservation – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE NAMES OF MEMBERS of 19th century Leadville’s Jewish community read like a “Who’s Who” list of industry giants.

Among these frontier-era movers and shakers were the Guggenheims, founders of a mining dynasty and mourners of a loved one who went down with the Titanic, and the May family, whose patriarch David became a giant in the retail sector.

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Perhaps what happened in the 90s wasn’t a boom

Essay by Ed Quillen

Growth – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE AMERICAN WEST is notorious for its “boom and bust” economy. In the past the booms and busts were tied to commodity prices; there was a mining boom in 1877 when silver was fetching $1.20 an ounce, a bust in 1893 when it was 78¢ an ounce and dropping, an energy boom in 1980 when crude oil was $38 a barrel, a bust in 1983 when it was $12 and dropping.

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The Commodification of Nature

Essay by Scott Silver

Public Lands – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

SINCE THE BIRTH of our nation, America’s public lands have been exploited so as to maximize the commodity value that could be extracted from them. Two hundred years later, in 1979 to be exact, a new public lands predator called the “American Recreation Coalition” (ARC) came onto the scene. Unlike earlier profiteers who sought gas, coal, logs or minerals, ARC sought to turn outdoor recreation and tourism on public lands into an extractive industry and to profit handsomely in the process.

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The real reason for public-land user fees?

Essay by Ed Quillen

Public Lands – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

IT USED TO BE SAID THAT, if you worked in the rural West, you took a goodly portion of your pay in scenery. Backwater wages may have been low in comparison to mainstream pay scales, but for many people, there was compensation in the free recreation on the public lands all around them.

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Public Land User Fees aren’t going to go away

Article by Bob Berwyn

Public Lands – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

POPULAR RESISTANCE to recreation user fees on public lands may be spreading, but elected officials and agency bureaucrats seem intent on continuing the program.

Congress voted in October to extend authorization for the fees by two years, and a top Forest Service official testified before a House subcommittee that his agency will soon present plans for a new and improved — and presumably permanent — version of the so-called recreation fee demonstration program.

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Slick magazines have a subscriber problem with cornstarch

Brief by Central Staff

Modern times – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazin

In light of recent developments, we found a reason to be glad that we’re not a slick magazine.

The non-slick paper that we print on is rather absorbent, so the ink dries quickly.

Slick stock isn’t so absorbent, so the ink takes longer to dry. They can run the printing press at a slower speed, but that means increased labor costs. The other option is to use something to absorb the excess ink — something like corn starch, which is cheap and works well.

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Schools for schools of hatchery fish

Brief by Central Staff

Wildlife – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Humans often buy or rent videos to learn new skills like yoga or computer assembly, but in the United Kingdom, the training video is becoming a matter of life and death for hatchery trout.

There, studies show that most hatchery fish die within two days after their release. To improve their life-expectancy, scientists are making educational videos.

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Americans looking for hide-outs

Brief by Central Staff

Economy – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

The national economy was already slumping before Sept. 11, and the events since that day certainly didn’t help matters.

So did it mean a decline in the sales of certain luxury items, like second homes in remote rural areas?

Apparently not, according to a story in the Oct. 19 edition of the Wall Street Journal. The demand is not declining, it said, but rising.

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Heard around the West

Brief by Betsy Marston

Western Life – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Nude Dude

Quick, cover your eyes, that statue is naked! To avoid offending the sensibilities of some 2,500 parents and their home-school children, the Convention Center of Sacramento, Calif., agreed to dress its 7-foot-tall statue of Poseidon, Greek god of the sea. The replica of an ancient work usually attracts little attention; it has stood outside the center since Greece gave it to Sacramento in 1972. But responding to parents who found the art too nude and too crude, officials at the center scurried around to find appropriate clothes — sized, we’d imagine — XXXL.

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State Land Board and the Smiths continue to play “Let’s make a deal”

Brief by Central Staff

State Lands – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Remember the proposed trade of state land in Chaffee County that was halted by the district court in 2000? The deal is probably going to happen anyway, although in a different form. Instead of making a land-for-land trade with some cash on the side to even the transaction, the Land Board buys one parcel from the landowner for cash and then sells the other to that landowner for cash.

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State official in Wetmore target of porn investigation

Brief by Central Staff

Politics – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

A former state representative in Wetmore has been dismissed from the state parole board amid allegations that he was involved with child pornography.

Larry Schwarz, a Republican, represented House District 44 (Custer, Teller, and Pueblo counties) in the legislature from 1993 to 1997. He resigned to accept an appointment to the parole board from Gov. Roy Romer, and was re-appointed by Gov. Bill Owens in June, 2000.

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Preservationists will gather Jan. 31 – Feb. 2 in Denver

Brief by Central Staff

Historic preservation – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

If you’ve ever had any kind of question about historic preservation, you can probably find an answer for it at the 2002 Saving Places Conference sponsored by Colorado Preservation Inc.

It runs from Jan. 31 through Feb. 2 at the Denver Athletic Club, and scheduled topics range from “Lessons Learned from Saving Historic Depots” to “Ghost Signs: Restoration or Preservation?” Or perhaps from “Truss Bridges: A vanishing species” to “Cruising for History: the gas stations, motels, and drive-in theaters [that are] an important part of America’s heritage.”

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Constitution defeats Salida again

Brief by Central Staff

Salida politics – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

A federal judge in Denver has ruled that Salida’s old noise ordinance was unconstitutional, and if its enforcement caused a downtown restaurant to go out of business, then the city could be liable for damages.

U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch — perhaps best known as the judge who pre

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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Gator Grabbers

Someone stole four baby alligators from the SLV Alligator Farm. The Alamosa County Sheriffs’s office is actively seeking the culprits, and residents are speculating as to the motive. Baby gators would make one hell of a stocking stuffer.

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14,134-foot South Elbert will remain officially nameless

Brief by Central Staff

Geography – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

The 14,134-foot mountain informally known as South Elbert won’t get a formal name from the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

The board made that decision at its Sept. 5 meeting when it declined to approve either of two proposals for a new name.

One was to call it Mount Duke — presumably for the university in North Carolina, although we don’t know for sure, since this was the first we’d heard of this.

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Leadville murderer gets life without parole

Brief by Central Staff

Crime – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Jerry Garmany of Leadville was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole on Nov. 19 by District Judge David Lass.

In August, a jury found him guilty of stabbing his girlfriend Noreen Byrne to death and seriously wounding her mother, Cora Byrne, on March 26, 1999. The charges included first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and first-degree assault.

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Just another whiner in the wilderness

Essay by Rebecca Clarren

Outdoor Recreation – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

I PROBABLY WATCHED The Sound of Music nearly 50 times before I was 10. I liked everything about it — all those brothers and sisters, the outfits made from old curtains and especially the escape scene where the von Trapp family flees the Nazis by hiking across the border.

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An assignment for a real professor

Column by Hal Walter

Education – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

LET’S FACE IT. It was only for lack of a real professor that students taking “Feature Writing” this fall at the University of Southern Colorado found me scribbling at the blackboard.

OK, so I’m not a real professor. But I did teach USC’s news-editorial sequence in 1990-’91 when blackboards really were black. And I do have more than 20 years of what academics call “real-world” experience in the newspaper, magazine, book, and online publishing field. So it’s not like I’m completely unqualified.

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Dim November days are a good time to tour the mountains

Review by Andy Burns

Mountain Life – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Colorado Central:

I wrote the enclosed note in response to Sibley’s piece on mainstreet moves to the suburbs and sometimes back:

In Salida, I walked to the Post Office, the library, the bookstore, bakery, coffee shop, cafe, Gambles, Safeway, the bank, the office supply store, drugstore, liquor store, and never drove drunk because there were three bars downtown. The gas station and auto parts store were right there. Sometimes I drove to the swimming pool.

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If you have a sense of place, you don’t need to look for one

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Sense of Place – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Ed and Martha:

I enjoyed your accounts of the oldest towns (December issue). I had recently taken a day-tour of some of these fragile settlements down around the state line. One could wish the whole region might be frozen as a monument, but the third law of real estate in a low-pressure area is about to kick in, so those wanting to wallow as I did in some historic sense of place might better do it soon. That strangely white and grandiose hilltop monastery-thing in San Luis may be a sign of more grandiose things to follow.

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Those pesky numbers: 2

Letter from Dick Bulinski

Statistics – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Martha,

Neil Seitz’s point is well taken. (“The Laws of Averages,” Colorado Central, December 2001). There are always several ways to calculate an average for a given set of data. Although he didn’t say so, his analysis is formally called a “Weighted Average.” Neither method is more accurate than the other, the simple mean or Neil’s.

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Those Pesky Numbers: 1

Letter from Bob Cross

Statistics – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine


I enjoyed your response to Neil Seitz!

Let me recommend a book about understanding numbers: Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos, published by Hill & Wang.

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Western Water Report: 7 January 2002


Even after uranium tailings have been removed from several closed uranium mills throughout the West, groundwater contamination continues as the plume below these sites expands. One such site is just south of Gunnison, Colorado. The Department of Energy moved the tailings to a lined burial site several miles from town and the State paid the county to replace all groundwater wells in the area with a surface water supply. This was Phase I of the cleanup. Phase II of the cleanup involves remediation of the groundwater contamination. Department of Energy is proposing “natural attenuation.” Besides uranium contamination, sulfates and nitrates from the refining process are a contaminant concern. An EIS on alternatives is due out soon.

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