Once a tree

Column by Hal Walter

Mounain Life – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

IT WAS A VICTIM of the drought. That much must be understood.

The smallish ponderosa pine, maybe 20 feet tall, had turned brown over the last two years, then dropped nearly all of its needles. Its upper branches showed telltale signs of porcupine gnawing. And I had begun to eye it as firewood.

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TSE, CWD, BSE: What do we know?

Sidebar by Martha Quillen

Agriculture – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

We’d be remiss not to notice that Clint’s article once again brings up some controversies originally inspired by Hal Walter’s February column, A Regional Answer to the Food Supply Questions.

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Healthy land makes healthy critters

Article by Clint Driscoll

Agriculture – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

DECEMBER 23, 2003 was not a day U.S. cattle producers will remember fondly. On that date the USDA announced a dairy cow in Washington state had been found to have Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease. BSE is a fatal wasting disease affecting the brain and central nervous system in cattle. It destroyed the British cattle herd beginning in the mid-eighties and peaked in 1993 when 1000 cases a week were reported. There is no cure.

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No end in sight

Essay by Martha Quillen

Politics – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

I’M GENERALLY a pretty confident armchair politician, but at this point I’m really glad I don’t run this country — and I’m not in the least bit sure why John Kerry (or Howard Dean, John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, Dennis Kucinich or Wesley Clark, all lucky winners in my view) would want to.

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Musical variety along the Arkansas

Article by Sue Snively

Local Arts – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

THOSE WHO TRAVEL north from Buena Vista toward the Colorado Midland tunnels and Elephant Rock may experience an unexpected treat. There could be some musical accompaniment to the scenery.

Just before crossing the Arkansas River, as you go past a driveway with a BoatArk painted on a large rock, roll down your windows and go slowly. If you’re fortunate, you might hear the sound of a Steinway grand, coming out of a house of wood, glass and stone.

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All ill wind that blows our way

Column by George Sibley

Power – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE CITY OF GUNNISON is about to climb onto the “wind power” wagon, and I’m opposing it.

Huh? How can I be so retro as to be against renewable energy?

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The off switch helps

Letter from Kim Washmon

Modern Life – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed:

I only turn my cell phone on when I want to make a call. I don’t feel I can be disturbed with the phone off. My brother and my stepson are the only people with my cell number, also. So I’m able to relax even more knowing, if I feel like it, I can call a friend when a thought of them pops up, but no one can reach me with the phone off.

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Planned obscolescence may apply to more than goods

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Modern Life – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine


Maybe our American overseas interventions have a certain planned obsolescence to them, just like your technology: every so many years (or months) we need a new toy in the office and a new chance to free the world from an oppressive regime (with a new dictator who’ll grow unacceptable in short order).

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What some folks did during Prohibition

Letter from Adelina Taylor

History – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Editors,

Mrs. Quillen asked what people did during prohibition. I wonder if most people did as the old timers did in Pitkin. There were stills all over the mountains and races to determine who could produce the best flavor, the biggest kick, and the best water-like appearance. Even Wallace Stegner’s Dad transported liquor from Canada and there are rumors that part of Joe Kennedy’s fortune came from rum-running!

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Creede Magazine, by Marcia Darnell

Review by Marcia Darnell

Media – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE UNIQUE TOWN of Creede has a mere 377 year-round residents, but its rich mixture of colorful history, creative arts, and beautiful scenery makes it vital enough to inspire a new periodical.

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New census estimates suggest a way to reduce growth

Essay by Ed Quillen

Politics – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

EARLY IN APRIL, the U.S. Census Bureau released its most current population estimates, with what its statisticians believe is the population of each county in the United States as of July 1, 2003 — almost a year ago, but certainly more current than the last census of April 1, 2000.

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Soap to savor from Wetmore

Article by Jeanne Englert

Rural Life – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

RUTH BOWMAN’S kitchen soap and milk baths are made in Wetmore, and should be savored by us arid Coloradans.

I received one of Ruth’s milk baths as a Christmas gift, and luxuriated in it before I knew that I was bathing in coffee creamer. That milk bath was scented with patoulie oil, so my husband said I smelled like a 60s Boulder hippie after I emerged from a long, relaxing soak. But it definitely relieved the pain of my arthritic joints and carried my mind away from the evils of this world.

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Hero’s body recovered after reservoir thaws

Brief by Central Staff

Outdoor Recreation – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

We often read about heroes these days in various contexts — and here’s one close to home at Spinney Mountain Reservoir in South Park.

The reservoir opened for fishing on April 3, a few days after authorities recovered the body of a drowning victim who gave up his life jacket so that his companions could live.

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Investors get nervous, so gold price rises

Brief by Central Staff

Mining – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Some investors are apparently pessimistic about the American economy, because they’ve been putting their money into gold — either by buying the metal itself, or by investing in companies that mine gold.

Such demand, according to the Reuters news service, explains why gold prices were near a 15-year high as we went to press — about $425 an ounce.

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Now we know why New Mexico was missing

Brief by Central Staff

Media – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

New Mexico Magazine has a regular feature called “One of our 50 is missing,” and has anecdotes about how many Americans forget that New Mexico is in the United States.

Indeed, we had a friend who, while staying in Boston, wanted to mail a package to a friend in Albuquerque — and the postal clerk wanted her to fill out a customs form.

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Mountain Death Camas or Ballhead Sandwort?

Brief by Central Staff

Outdoors – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Got a favorite alpine wildflower? If you do, the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative wants your opinion.

The group co-ordinates volunteers with public and private entities to reduce the wear-and-tear on Colorado’s highest peaks, and it’s looking for “one of the 250 species of Fourteener wildflowers that best symbolizes the beauty and fragile nature of the alpine” environment.

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Regional Roundup

Brief by Ed Quillen

Regional News – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Early Fire Season

March in Central Colorado is usually a miserable time of year with soggy snowstorms and cold winds. This year was different, with generally pleasant weather.

However, those warm, dry days didn’t do the snowpack any good, and they allowed for an early start to the wildfire season. A fire west of Fort Collins got the attention from the Denver statewide media, but there were several fires closer to home.

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“Nation’s Yard Sale” on U.S. 50 planned May 21-23

Brief by Central Staff

Transportation – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Central Colorado has yet to participate much in a national event: the “Great U.S. 50 Yard Sale,” also promoted as “the nation’s yard sale.”

It started in Indiana four years ago, and the organizers hope it will continue to spread. It’s on the weekend before Memorial Day Weekend, which is May 21-23 this year.

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Volunteers will rebuild Mt. Massive trail this summer

Brief by Central Staff

Mountains – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

One trail up Mount Massive will get some restoration work this summer, providing that there are enough volunteers.

The project, sponsored by the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, continues work that began last year on the North Halfmoon Lakes route to the 14,421-foot summit.

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Northern Lights folds, but Camas emerges

Brief by Central Staff

Media – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

In the publishing world of the Interior West, the Northern Lights no longer shine, but a Camas may take root in the same locale.

The story starts about 20 years ago in Lander, Wyo., where the staff of High Country News was burned out and eager to get someone else to take over the operation.

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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine


The Rio Grande basin will owe New Mexico 15% of its river flow this year, says Steve Vandiver. The division engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources says recent rains changed the forecast from 27% just a short time ago. The Rio Grande is expected to carry 550,000 acre feet this year. Diversions have already begun.

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April showers were welcome, but drought remains

Brief by Central Staff

Water – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

The wet Easter storm that blanketed Colorado certainly didn’t hurt our summer water supply, but it didn’t help all that much, either. Snowpacks in general are still well below average on account of a warm March that set a record for dryness while depleting the snowpack, and much of this April snow hit the lower elevations, where it can’t be captured by high reservoirs.

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Mars: The next best last place

Essay by David Frey

Recreation – May 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

DESERT RATS must be feeling the tug of Opportunity on their own Spirit these days, as they watch images beamed back from Martian rovers crawling over the Red Planet.

Panoramic photos of red sand and rock stretching to an unexplored horizon can mean only one thing for adventurers on this been-there-done-that planet. Road trip!

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Western Water Report: May 3, 2004


A US District Court has refused to dismiss an environmentalists’ lawsuit challenging a settlement between the Dept. of Interior and Colorado over federal reserved water rights for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Judge Brimmer said, federal agencies had a legal duty to preserve the park, in part by setting water flows high enough to preserve the canyon’s ecology. He said the federal government abdicated its responsibility by letting Colorado set the minimum flows. “The Secretary (of Interior), who is specifically charged with administering these lands and rivers, cannot wholly delegate responsibility to a local entity which is not bound by the statutory obligations,” wrote Brimmer. The environmental groups said the settlement’s minimum flows are too low and were set by politics, not the 20 years of scientific research that recommended higher peak flows in the spring. <http://rockymountainnews.com/drmn/state/article/0,1299,DRMN_21_2824343,00.html>

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