Gutting the Hantavirus Hotel

Column by Hal Walter

Rural Life – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

The Hantavirus Hotel, which is what I not-so-lovingly call my garage, has now been gutted and converted to something that resembles a giant, wood-sided beer cooler.

Allow me to explain. When we bought this place more than 16 years ago, one of the amenities was a roomy detached two-car garage. It initially seemed like a big, open, clean space to park vehicles, store stuff and work on things. In fact, as we were moving up the hill from Wetmore, we first put a lot of our belongings in the garage while we did some minor remodeling in the house.

Read more

The spreading epidemic of pine bark beetles

Article by Allen Best

Forests – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE BARK BEETLE EPIDEMIC along Interstate 70 and regions northward has received broad attention, and rightly so, with concerns that the outbreak might move south into Central Colorado.

While epidemics have come and gone in decades past, this is unlike anything in recorded history. You get glimpses of it while driving on I-70, but only glimpses. For a truly profound moment, you must leave behind the interstate, drive northward from Silverthorne, then cross Ute Pass into the Williams Fork Valley. As best I can tell, that is ground-zero for the current epidemic.

Read more

Working Landscapes

Column by George Sibley

Environment – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

THIS COLUMN STARTS with a strange moment on Kenosha Pass. I’ve always loved that moment when you come around the curve at the top of Kenosha, and suddenly there’s South Park and the mountains that are the spine of Central Colorado, all the way south and west to wherever. To just say it’s “beautiful” avoids the challenge of really describing it, but it seems to have all of the attributes of the essential American West: it’s vast, it’s empty in the way of a promised land, it’s desolate in a way that both challenges and affirms the proud and lonely part of the human soul; it makes me think there is more and better than just beauty to seek on earth.

Read more

A long strange trip

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Democracy – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine


When was the last time you heard mention of the National Endowment for the Arts? For that matter, when was the last time you heard a serious discussion of the proper function of government? While other nations past and present, rich and poor, establish and fund musical groups, dance troupes, theater, and other creative activities, here in the USA we seem to leave it all to beer companies or other private financiers. Creativity is wonderful so long as it has to do with monetary gain. Those who want to be ambassadors of the American way can forget about the cello and go out for business management or counter-insurgency. Where is it written that the function of government is to lubricate the free enterprise machine?

Read more

Leadville’s annual Victorian Days weekend

Article by Lynda La Rocca

Event – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK a lot like Christmas. And in Leadville, that means it’s time to deck the halls– and the doors, windows, mantelpieces, and sideboards– and celebrate the season at the 24th annual Victorian Days Weekend.

Read more

America, America: Who are we?

Essay by Martha Quillen

Modern Life – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

IT SEEMS LIKE only a short time ago President Clinton was talking about that metaphorical bridge into the 21st century. Yet 2008 is right around the bend, and it’s been more than a decade since Clinton said, “At this last presidential inauguration of the 20th century, let us lift our eyes toward the challenges that await us in the next century….”

Read more

Upstream with a shovel

Column by John Mattingly

Water – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

When the subject of Colorado water rights comes up, one of the first things that comes to mind is, “First in use, first in right,” or the legal principle of Vested Rights. While this principle articulates the First Commandment of the Doctrine of Prior Appropriation, the Second Commandment is, “Better upstream with a shovel than downstream with a water right,” or the case-law principle of Optimum/Maximum Utilization.

Read more

Central Colorado Water Roundup

Article by John Orr

Water – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Rising Water in the Leadville Mining District

Water levels are rising in the Leadville Mining District and officials are hoping to get a handle on the cause and find a solution. At this point, a collapse of the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel appears to be the probable cause. But finding a solution is complicated by the mix of local, state and federal agencies involved with the Superfund cleanup site.

Read more

Synergy meets Chaos: The Art Thing

Article by Marcia Darnell

Artists – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

“If I come in here and say, ‘I’ve discovered something that will change the face of art forever!’ and you don’t give a flying monkey’s crap about it, you don’t have to be part of it!”

That was Denny Wallace, aka The DenMan, joyfully declaiming his view of The Art Thing, a highly organized, chaotic, functional, casual, and highly fluid art coalition based in Monte Vista.

Read more

Regional roundup

Brief by Ed Quillen

Local News – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Charges reduced

An 18-year-old student at Western State College, Addie Kubisiak of Parker, faced serious charges last winter after the body of her newborn son was found in her dorm room: first-degree murder, child-abuse resulting in death, and concealing a death. That could have meant life in prison.

Read more

What works best to encourage people to save water?

Brief by Central Staff

Water – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Central Colorado’s favorite water bogeyman, the City of Aurora just east of Denver, commissioned a study by the University of Colorado, which examined water-use data from 10,000 households in that growing city of 300,000 residents.

Read more

Rural areas suffer more military fatalities

Brief by Central Staff

Rural Population – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Rural areas are bearing a disproportionate share of the American military fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a study by the Carsey Institute of the University of New Hampshire.

Based on casualty reports through 2006, the study showed that 825 military personnel from rural areas died in combat, as compared to 2,270 from metropolitan areas. But most Americans live in metro areas, so the death rate — the number killed per million of population — was 24 for rural areas, and 15 for metro.

Read more

Not the greatest slogan: Colorado as it used to be

Brief by Central Staff

Marketing – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

As developers run out of land along the Interstate 70 corridor in the Colorado mountains, they have looked to the north, and Granby in Middle Park has caught their eyes in recent years.

More than 5,000 nearby acres have been divvied up for weekend homes for buyers wanting “Colorado as it used to be.”

Read more

Activists defend feeding of bears

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

It’s been a bad, bad year for bears in the Lake Tahoe Basin. A record 75 bears have been struck and killed by vehicles, bears have snuck into homes, and in one case a police officer shot a bear as he was being charged.

Read more

Expert disputs swim-to-live theory of avalanche survival

Brief by Allen Best

Recreation – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Few people would expect to ever need to know what to do if caught in an avalanche. But in Jackson Hole, where avalanche deaths among backcountry skiers and sledders are a staple of winter news in the Jackson Hole News & Guide, it’s no academic subject.

Read more

Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Thumbs Down

Valley voters shouted “NO” to tax increases. Alamosa County’s proposed 1-cent sales tax died hard, as did a large levy increase in South Fork. Mineral County also denied a tax increase. Conejos County voters said ix-nay to attempts to get a prison in Antonito. Centennial School District voters in San Luis were the exception, approving a mill levy increase for a new school.

Read more

No trends in local elections this year

Brief by Central Staff

Local Politics – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

In this fall’s elections, Central Colorado voters did not follow any discernible trend. Citizens retained incumbents and tossed them out, and likewise some tax increases were approved while others were rejected. This was an “off-year” election which involved school boards, city councils, mayors, and tax measures.

Read more

La Niña winter predicted

Brief by Allen Best

Climate – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Contemplating the winter ahead, National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Ramey tells the Steamboat Pilot & Today that it’s another La Niña winter, which could result in a winter similar to the one two years ago.

“Our studies indicate that the area should get hit with lots of snow in December and early January, like it did two years ago,” he said.

Read more

A former Hot Shot looks at the West’s Wildfires

Essay by Lincoln Bramwell

Wildfire – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE RECENT WILDFIRES that burned 600 square miles, razed some 3,000 homes, killed 14 people and forced the evacuations of over a half-million Southern Californians shared one characteristic: All the homes burned were so close to public land that fire moved easily from hillsides covered with chaparral into subdivisions packed with natural vegetation.

Read more