Laura Lunsford of Monte Vista

Article by Marcia Darnell

Local Artists -April 2006 -Colorado Central Magazine

PEOPLE COME to the San Luis Valley from very different places and lives. Often the move to El Valle means a shift in latitude, a morph in altitude, and a radical revision of lifestyle.

Laura Lunsford was a radio personality on WCOA in Pensacola, Florida, soaking in coastal rays and local celebrity. Now, she and her second husband, Jerry, live outside Monte Vista, on 160 desert acres with goats, sheep, llamas, chickens, and dogs. What prompted such an extreme change?

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Poetry on a platter

Article by Lynda La Rocca

Poetry – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED, 13th-century Persian poet Shaikh Muslih- uddin Sadi hit the proverbial nail on the head when he wrote:

“If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,

And from thy slender store

Two loaves alone to thee are left

Sell one, and with the dole,

Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.”

Smart guy, that Sadi. For what is life, really, without the beauty of art, music, and poetry — without hyacinths to nurture our collective spirit?

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Cowboys, Indians, and Lawyers; a documentary film

Review by Phil Doe

Water -April 2006 -Colorado Central Magazine

Cowboys, Indians, and Lawyers – A documentary film by Julia Dengel

I DROVE DOWN TO Durango in early March to see the premier of a documentary at the Durango Film Festival. The film, by Julia Dengel, is entitled Cowboys, Indians, and Lawyers. The film’s promo literature says it “follows the fortunes of two enemy camps as they struggle over the fate of the free-flowing Animas River.” This is the river that developers have struggled for over 40 years to harness, as they self-servingly term it. This harnessing is known more commonly as the Animas-La Plata project (A-LP). It will cost the beleaguered American taxpayer over $500 million by government estimates, but that doesn’t include interest or any of the inevitable cost overruns that come with enterprises of this nature.

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Trust the experts?

Essay by Martha And Ed Quillen

Water -April 2006 -Colorado Central Magazine

TALK ABOUT TAXATION without representation: Colorado’s non-elected water conservancy district boards spend your money to promote expensive dams and reservoirs so that we can keep sprawling. Conservancy districts help real-estate developers find water; and sell cheap well augmentations so that every Tom, Dick and Harry can build his own private mini-ranchette on our ridges.

Of course, water conservancy districts do some good things, too.

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Round and round

Essay by John Mattingly

Sheep – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

AS A FARMER who’s ranched enough to know better, I’m very sensitive to crop and creature mistakes in movies — things like corn tasseling in January in Iowa, or Longhorns morphing into Herefords from one scene to the next.

There’s a rural myth about the County Agent who came out to the ranch to help preg check cows. The rancher ran a fat steer into the chute, asked the Agent to check it. After a deep search, the Agent determined the steer to be 3 months pregnant.

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Sewanee: An unrecognized Collegiate Peak

Article by Merritt R. Blakeslee

Geography -April 2006 -Colorado Central Magazine

IN 1949 TWO GEOLOGISTS in the Denver office of the U.S. Geological Survey were assigned the task of updating the geological description of that portion of Gunnison and Chaffee counties covered by the USGS Garfield Colorado 15-minute quadrangle. The geology of this area had been cursorily surveyed by the Hayden Survey1 and was the subject of a detailed study in 1913;2 and the two geologists were charged with bringing this previous work up to date.

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Defining community culture

Column by George Sibley

Comunity – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE TOPIC OF THE DAY for the Gunnison City Master Plan Update Steering Committee a couple of weeks ago was “Community Culture,” and the veerings and rambles of that discussion have been lurking in the back of my mind ever since.

The discussion went pretty quickly to complaints about a really junky property on one of the approaches to town — a collection of old shacks and ramshackle sheds which seem to be used mostly for storing the same kind of junk that fills the yards around the buildings.

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The new Colorado spirit?

Brief by Central Staff

Booze – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Colorado is sometimes credited with having more microbreweries per capita than any other state (there are about 150), and in recent years, wineries (about 40) have flourished in the Centennial State, especially in the Grand Junction area.

And now, distilled spirits are coming from Colorado with four licensed commercial distilleries that produce whiskey, brandy, and vodka.

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White flight from public schools

Brief by Allen Best

Education – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Rivaled only by Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, Vail and the Eagle Valley have a school district with a steadily rising number of students for whom English is a second language.

From the founding of Vail in 1962, many of the resort’s residents didn’t want their kids in the public schools, which were at least 50 percent Hispanic then. From the 1920s through the 1950s, a mine in the area had drawn large numbers of Hispanics from New Mexico and Colorado’s San Luis Valley.

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Regional Roundup

Brief by Ed Quillen

Regional News – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Leadville Heritage?

There’s nothing like a saloon brawl to evoke images of the Old West. Leadville had one on Feb. 25- 26, which started before midnight, continued into the wee hours, and injured four cops.

It started as a birthday party at the Elks’ Lodge. Brad Palmer, who was serving as a bouncer, saw two people turning a vocal argument into a physical one. He figured that if half the fight was removed, that would end the dispute. So he tried to escort one party out the door, and got knocked down in the process.

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Another mountain town doesn’t want to be Aspen or Vail

Brief by Allen Best

Community – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Yet another town doesn’t want to be like Aspen or Vail.

The comparisons were provoked by the property acquisitions of David J. Brown in Pagosa Springs and surrounding Archuletta County. The Durango Herald, which is headquartered 51 miles to the west, reports that Brown has spent $12.5 million buying 14 parcels in downtown Pagosa during the last two years, plus 12 other parcels outside the town, including some ranches with distinctly larger price tags.

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Southwest snow low, like in 2002

Brief by Allen Best

Climate – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

As winter concludes, Colorado is a study in contrast. While people in small mountain towns like Red Cliff, which is located in the Vail neighborhood, are scrambling to get flood insurance, dust fills the skies 150 miles to the south in the San Luis Valley, where the Great Sand Dunes National Park is located.

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Owner of highest-end real estate gets a break

Brief by Allen Best

Mountains – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Mauri Reiberg owns the highest of the high- end real estate in Colorado, the summit of Mt. Lincoln. At 14,286 feet, it’s the highest privately owned land in Colorado.

But increasingly in recent years, he and other owners of old mines that swaddle Lincoln and two other heavily mined 14,000- foot peaks in the vicinity made it clear that they didn’t want hikers on their property. They are partly disturbed by vandalism, but more broadly about the liability of somebody falling in a mining shaft or in some other way getting hurt while on their property.

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Colorado’s oldest ski club was in Summitville

Brief by Central Staff

Ski History – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Until recently, it was presumed that recreational skiing began in the 1880s in Irwin, a mining camp in Gunnison County.

But the Rio Grand County Museum in Del Norte has discovered an earlier club. The March 3, 1877, edition of the San Juan Prospector, a newspaper published in Del Norte, had an article headlined “Summit’s Snow Shoe Club.”

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Aspen loses suit about potency of natural gas

Brief by Allen Best

Energy – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Aspen has lost another round in its argument that city residents are being over- charged for the natural gas they burn, because of the higher elevation. The town is located at 7,900 feet.

Natural gas delivers a certain number of BTUs of energy per volume, but in the lower atmospheric pressure of higher elevations, the volume increases, explains the Aspen Times. However, the heating capacity does not increase. Ergo, there is less heat per set volume of natural gas

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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Tuning In

Alamosa wants to become more user- friendly. The city council and staff are researching ways to improve communication with the public. Mayor Farris Bervig has proposed borrowing Buena Vista’s “Coffee with the Council.” In Byuni, council members meet with the public once or twice a month, staggering days and times so everyone has a chance to meet the politicos on a regular (or de- caf) basis. Improving the city’s website is another priority, as is publishing the council’s agenda before each meeting.

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One of those years

Brief by Central Staff

Politics – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

In national politics, this is known as a “mid- term election year” because it comes in the middle of the four- year presidential term. In Colorado, it means that statewide offices, like governor and attorney general, will be on the ballot. It also means that most county offices — such as clerk, assessor, sheriff, and treasurer — will be up for election. Generally, one county commissioner seat comes up at mid- term, and the other two commissioners are elected in presidential- election years.

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How to build a ghost town with great views

Essay by Auden Schendler

Community – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

A TEACHER FRIEND of mine just shook the change out of his trousers to buy and then fully remodel a dump in Telluride, Colo. The house cost $1 million, and it was the cheapest thing going. I didn’t ask about the cost of the remodel.

At the same time that my friend was assembling his financial house of cards, citizens voted to condemn a huge chunk of open space at the entrance to the town. The vote was widely understood as support for preservation over development, a triumph of environmentalism over greed. But it wasn’t, exactly.

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We don’t need no stinkin’ fence

Column by Hal Walter

Immigration -April 2006 -Colorado Central Magazine

ONE OF THE MOST TROUBLING THINGS about pending U.S. immigration reform legislation is the provision to build a fence along the border with Mexico.

The prospect of such a fence speaks volumes about the social changes in our country. Just two decades ago President Reagan called on Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” Now in an age when a seemingly no-brainer personal freedom issue like gay marriage can make or break an election, we have the recent political storm over immigration in a nation made up of immigrants and descendants of immigrants.

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Listen to the inspector

Letter from Andy Burns

Iraq – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine


I’m sure some of you have heard on KHEN at least one of the three speeches by former weapons inspector to Iraq, Scott Ritter.

He spoke here in Santa Fé during the second half of the Super Bowl, after Mick Jagger’s cheerleading and prancing to atrophied rock. (You’d think he could learn some new moves in 40 years.)

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Just toss ’em

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Colorado Central – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Ed and Martha:

Talk about gratuitous rudeness!

Why do readers grouse about alleged errors in Colorado Central? Were I the editor I’d just toss these complaints without apology. One might as well get angry at Count Basie and Jerry Garcia for failing to follow the rules of four- part harmony. We cut ourselves a bit of slack because it makes life more interesting, and I’m willing to overlook missed apostrophes and dropped prepositions so long as there’s good content. Bode- a- ejucation speakin, up- with- which- I- will- not- put, and go read the Monte Vista Valley Courier if you want to look for nits to pick!

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Of grammar and more

Letter from Frank Sniveley

Syntax -April 2006 -Colorado Central Magazine


The recent minor problems with spelling and grammar in Colorado Central have caused me to think a bit about the subject. The thoughts have jelled enough for me to put them into words, which I now share with the world (or at least that enlightened and superior subset of the world which consists of Colorado Central readers).

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Veta v. La Veta

Letter from Virginia McConnell Simmons

Geography – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine


Here is a small stick to throw onto the flickering flames about whether the original, narrow- gauge D&RG route crossed La Veta Pass or Veta Pass, and whether the later standard- gauge route crossed Veta Pass or La Veta Pass. Today I think we should defer to USGS maps and accept the northern (narrow- gauge) pass as La Veta and the southern pass as Veta.

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Unroofed fitness centers

Letter from Stephen Glover

Recreation – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed:

There have been many references made over the years in Colorado Central regarding the differences between rural/mountain living and urban living. Having spent some time living both in the Phoenix area and in Nathrop, I can tell you the differences run deep. Apologies to the urban Southwest; the Arkansas Valley is a far saner place to be.

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Western Water Report: April 3, 2006


Legislation drafted to expand Colorado water judges’ jurisdiction to address the effects of water decisions on water quality may be impractical, according to Montrose Republican Rep. Ray Rose, who said the breadth of studies required under the new law would be incomprehensible. Grand Junction Sentinel; March 8 <> <,1413,120~7826~3262327,00.html>

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Chi Haus Haus?

Letter from Suzanne Macdonald

English Usage – March 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine


When I saw the cover I thought you might have an article about a

Chinese whorehouse with a German madam. Didn’t think we had anything like

that in Central Colorado, but anything is possible.

Suzanne MacDonald

Buena Vista

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