Is this an April Fool’s joke?

Column by Hal Walter

Mining – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine –

I HAVE TO ADMIT, when Bob Gomez called and left a message in mid-March about a proposed open-pit mica mine on a 40-acre parcel in the middle of his three-square-mile residential area, I thought that someone was playing an early April Fool’s joke on me. And a bad one at that.

The entire story sounded ludicrous, almost suspiciously elaborate.

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If not in our backyard, then whose?

Essay by Ed Quillen

Mining – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

WHEN I FIRST HEARD about the mica quarry proposed near the summit of Poncha Pass this spring, it sounded like a story with all the great ingredients: New West, as in homeowners on 20- or 40-acre lots that sat at least 20 miles out of town, and they were less than thrilled about living near a mine. Old West, as in mining and perhaps a few local jobs that paid a decent wage without requiring a graduate degree. Really Old West, as in Tonto Apache, because that tribal government planned to develop and operate the mine.

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Pick-up Pin-Ups

Essay by Matt Hudson

Rural Life – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

I WAS RAISED IN WESTERN Colorado and I have always loved the ranches in this part of the state. You know the type — somewhat run down, with a modest home and a tired barn plus a scattering of outbuildings. Sometimes there’s an original log homestead near a newer, (though still old) larger house. Broken or obsolete farm equipment usually completes the scene. Most of these ranches have been in the same family for generations.

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Betting against Dagget

Letter from Larry D. Bullock

Grazing – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

[Editor’s Note: Dan Dagget advocates improved grazing techniques; he bet if you took two identical pieces of western rangeland and he grazed his cows on one and the other was left alone, his pasture would fare better. In our April edition, George Sibley also wrote about improved grazing practices.]

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to Dan Dagget’s challenge [February edtion]. First, the Sierra Club newsletter is a bad place to make the challenge because Sierra Club members rejected a ban on livestock grazing on public lands (Sierra, July/August 2001). I’m still trying to figure out why.

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Keep the land bumpy

Letter from Slim Wolfe

American life – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors:

First, thanks to Colorado Central for sparking a dialogue about war. I have enjoyed all the letters which have been printed. Though I am not the religious sort I trust you will all join me in this fervent hope (prayer, if you wish):

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A tough winter all over

Letter from Marianne Katte

Climate – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors:

I read Hal Walter’s latest piece on the winter of his discontent and was just about blown away. Even worse then my winter, huh? Wish I could do something. Even though I now live in a temperate climate, this winter was exceptionally cold. Now we have a few wonderful Colorado days but the nights are nippy, so the azaleas got nipped and no toads, frogs, and salamanders. They just don’t move unless it is at least 5º C. Period.

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An unkind exaggeration

Letter from Monika Griesenbeck

Salida politics – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed,

Sorry about hanging up on you this morning [Feb. 21]. It wasn’t out of anger but because I was getting choked up over your reference to my ineffectiveness as a Salida council member.

Looking back to those days, I will be the first to admit I lacked political astuteness and hadn’t learned to pick my fights. But to say that I “made damn near everything into a confrontation,” was an unkind exaggeration.

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Just smile and stay quiet

Letter from Jim Ludwig

War – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors:

Martha, don’t hold your breath until you find someone to talk about this war.

Even you in your wisdom could not bring yourself to call the war what it is: It is a religious war, and it is not politically correct to talk about religion at this or any other time.

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Those old phone PRefixes

Letter from Roger Williams

Communications – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors:

Expressions for cold? How about Cold enough…to freeze the balls off a brass monkey; colder than a witch’s teat. (A few summer days here would be hot enough to melt the balls off the brass monkey).

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Rod Porco of Salida: Beauty with Thorns

Article by Sue Snively

Artist – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE UNIQUENESS OF HIS ART speaks for itself. A Salida craftsman, Rod Porco uses mostly salvaged items to create his unusual vessels. Although there are elements of basketry in his work, the pieces are entities unto themselves, fashioned from discarded objects, broken scraps, plants, and other non-traditional materials. In one exquisite piece, Porco may combine thorns, gourds, pieces of copper, Venetian glass, and barbed wire.

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Chaffee County Bibliography

Sidebar by Dick Dixon

Local History – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Bibliography

Bauer, William H.; Ozment, James L. and Willard, John H. Colorado Postal History — The Post Offices. J.B. Publishing Co. , 1970.

Cañon City Daily Record. Aug. 12, 1897; Aug. 7, 1902.

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They needed those property taxes

Sidebar by Dick Dixon and Ed Quillen

Local History – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Why was Chaffee County so eager to expand its domain in the 19th century, and why were Park and Frémont fighting back?

In a word, money. After it was carved out of Lake County in 1879, Chaffee County was in desperate financial straits, and spent years negotiating with Lake over which bills and debts applied to which county.

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Joseph W. Milsom

Sidebar by Dick Dixon

Local History – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

After 16 years in a variety of public offices — and being editorially assaulted because of his 1897 political campaign — Joseph W. Milsom sought a less volatile career in the business world.

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Where’s the Snowy Range?

Sidebar by Ed Quillen

Local History – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

The official boundary of Park County is in the Colorado Revised Statutes 30-5-153. It was written in 1861, long before there was anything like the Global Positioning System satellites used today.

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Chaffee County’s struggle to expand

Article by Dick Dixon

Local History – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

ONCE UPON A TIME, the American West was a contentious place: rough and tumble, violent and lawless and given to brawls and worse. There was the Texas War of Independence, the Mexican War, the Indian Wars, the Grange wars. And some of those early disputes were between counties.

Chaffee, Park, and Frémont counties didn’t take up arms in the 1880s and ’90s, but they did struggle to take and keep territory — employing surveyors and attorneys, rather than soldiers.

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Looking up at evil

Column by George Sibley

Morality – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

I KEEP TRYING to get my mind around this matter of “evil.” Down on the ground here in Central Colorado, a lot of people seem to consider it a waste of time to even think about it; leave “evil” and its definition to the theologians in Washington.

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Metal Art in Pueblo

Brief by Central Staff

Arts – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Metal Art in Pueblo

“Steel City: Contemporary America in Metal,” offers a display by metal artists of regional, national and international acclaim including Boris Bally, Andy Cooperman, Elliot Pujol, Wendy Ramshaw, Helen Shirk and June Schwarcz; and Salida artists, Michael Boyd, Ben Strawn, Nicole Hansen, Susan Bethany and Harold O’Conner.

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Fire destroys part of St. Elmo

Brief by Central Staff

Local News – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

The town hall building was one of five historic structures that were destroyed by an April 15 fire in St. Elmo, which sits along Chalk Creek about 20 miles west of Buena Vista and was one of the best-preserved and most-photographed ghost towns in America.

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It’s not trespassing if it’s an aquifer

Brief by Central Staff

Water Law – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

If someone stores and removes water from an aquifer under your property, is that trespassing? Not according to the Colorado Supreme Court, which issued a ruling on a Park County case on April 8.

It’s the latest twist in a long legal saga. Briefly, it started with a plan by the City of Aurora to acquire water in South Park during wet years. Rather than store it in the usual above-ground reservoir, the water would be pumped down into an aquifer that spread across 115 square miles, and water would be removed in dry years.

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A question of distance

Brief by Central Staff

Geography – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

How far is it to Salida from the junction of U.S. 285 and Colo. 291? The most prominent sign, the Shop Historic Downtown Salida billboard, says it’s 8 miles.

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AT&T Broadband will sell our cable systems to Bresnan

Brief by Central Staff

Communications – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

A couple of years ago, Qwest tried to sell off some of its rural telephone exchanges, and the buyer backed away after looking at the books. Now AT&T Broadband has announced the sale of some of its smaller cable TV systems to Bresnan Communications of White Plains, N.Y.

Among the 41 systems in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana to be sold are those in Salida, Buena Vista, Alamosa, Durango, and Montrose.

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UP finds use for Tennessee Pass line

Brief by Central Staff

Transportation – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazin

While our side of the Tennessee Pass rail line has been out of service for a couple of years,. the Union Pacific has found a use for its tracks on the west side — storage for several 100-car coal trains, like these sitting between Wolcott and Edwards.

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Son-of-a-Gun will offer its Greatest Hits

Brief by Central Staff Stage – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine This year’s Son-of-a-Gun production — an annual satiric revue in Gunnison — will be called Déj News, and as you may have guessed from the title, it’s a retrospective of some of the funniest skits from the past 14 years. Performances are scheduled …

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There’s no such thing as bad publicity

Brief by Central Staff

Tourism – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

A wise outside observer would probably conclude that in little mountain towns, our main political talent is fighting with each other.

Seldom do these squabbles go further than the local newspaper, but Georgetown was an exception during March and early April.

The old silver mining camp, which sits on Interstate 70 about 50 miles west of Denver, got some national attention — as in Newsweek and Jay Leno — on account of a recall election directed at Koleen Brooks, the mayor.

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Another Californian moves to Colorado

Brief by Central Staff

Wildlife – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

We sometimes worry about the cultural and economic effects of California humans moving into Central Colorado, and now the ecologists may need to wonder about a bird.

Marty Mitchell spotted an unusual bird in her Saguache yard during early April — apparently a rare one, since she had to consult three different guidebooks before one had it.

It was a ringed turtle dove, “with a very pleasant coo,” she said. According to the book, this kind of dove lives only in Southern California and its preferred habitat there is public parks, presumably because of the food supply of scraps and leavings.

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Veteran publisher dies at 87

Brief by Central Staff

Media – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Marie Coombs, who spent most of her long life at the Saguache Crescent, died March 25 in Salida.

She was 87, and started at the newspaper when she was a teenager after her family bought the business. When her father died in 1935, she became its editor and worked at the paper until a few years ago.

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Libertarians will convene in Leadville

Brief by Central Staff

Politics – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Colorado’s Libertarians will gather May 17-19 in Leadville for their state party convention, where they will nominate their 2002 candidates for state office, discuss political strategy, and hear from a variety of speakers.

The keynote speaker, scheduled for 7 p.m. May 18, is Bill Masters of San Miguel County (Telluride), the only Libertarian sheriff in the United States. He is the author of Drug War Addiction: Notes from the Front Lines of America’s No. 1 Policy Disaster, and that will be the topic of his speech.

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No chads got pregnant, anyway

Brief by Central Staff

Local Politics – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

There’s the saying that “every vote matters,” and it was certainly true in the Westcliffe municipal election on April 2.

Jess Price beat Dave Purnell for the mayor’s seat by a one-vote margin: 64-63.

Price has served on the town board of trustees for a dozen years, and this isn’t his first close election. When he first ran for the board, in 1990, he and Tom King tied with 56 votes apiece.

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Fast baked potatoes from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Central Staff

Agriculture – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Baked potatoes are a fine and versatile food, but in modern America, finding some oven time is often a challenge.

To provide a faster baked potato, a Monte Vista consortium of 38 potato growers called Farm Fresh Direct has introduced “Express Bake PotatOH!”

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They want a home where the bison don’t roam

Brief by Central Staff

Livestock – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

The song says “Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam,” but that isn’t how people feel at the Hartsel Springs Ranch subdivision in South Park. They’d prefer that a neighbor’s bison herd stayed on his property, rather than breaking through fences.

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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Wreck Center

Alamosa has green-lighted a plan for a $3.85 million community recreation center, and kicked off controversy among residents. Voters have repeatedly said “no” to funding such a project and feel city officials have pulled an end run.

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Medano Pass opens for season

Brief by Central Staff

Local News – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

April 15 wasn’t just Income Tax Day, even for the federal government. It’s when Great Sand Dunes Naitonal Monument opened Medano Pass “for the summer” — an early summer, on account of this year’s drought. On opening day, the road was mostly dry, and the creek fords were passable. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are required from the Point of No Return to the top of the pass.

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Sloppy yardkeeping might be a crime

Brief by Central Staff

Wildlife – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

It’s illegal to intentionally feed big game, and now there’s a fine for people who negligently feed bears.

The Colorado Wildlife Commission has adopted a regulation that requires businesses and residents to remove trash and other bear attractants, but the measure is intended only for worst case scenarios where there’s already a bear problem.

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It’s the end of the brutal season for deer

Essay by Paul Larmer

Wildlife – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

CRIMSON SPLOTCHES, like drips from a painter’s brush, pock the snow and lichen-covered rocks. A few steps farther, they intermingle with patches of gray-brown hair, some of which cling to the stiff branches of sagebrush. Then more blood, more hair, more blood, on down the hill.

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Western Water Report: 4 May 2002

WATER IS ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE OF EARTH DAY 2002

Water quantity and quality, from community sewer projects to Superfund projects, top the nation’s list of environmental priorities. Christian Science Monitor; April 22 <http://www.headwatersnews.org/stories/redirect.php?id=1893>

COLORADO TASK FORCE WARNS OF BROAD DROUGHT IMPACTS

Colorado officials were warned to start planning for sanitation problems, emergency water transfers and less tourist spending if the current drought worsens. Boulder Daily Camera; April 25 <http://www.headwatersnews.org/stories/redirect.php?id=1966>

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