Freezing in the Age of Global Warming

Column by Hal Walter

Climate – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

AFTER AN EXTENDED, warmer-than-usual fall, cold weather struck the Wet Mountains with a vengeance in mid-December. By the time the holidays rolled around, Heaven had indeed frozen over with nighttime temperatures regularly dropping below zero and hovering in the low single digits on the warmer nights.

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Water Update

Column by John Orr

Water – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

San Luis Valley groundwater

Water watchers in the San Luis Valley have had a lot to keep them busy lately. The State Supreme Court heard arguments about the state engineer’s confined aquifer rules and now everyone is waiting for a ruling. The rules mandate that those pumping from the confined aquifer are required to replace withdrawals with an equal amount of water.

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New Year’s Disillusions

Column by John Mattingly

Modern Life – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Resolutions gave way this year to a list of things that crossed my path in 2007 that fall into the category of, “I just don’t get it.” I admit my incomprehension of the items on this list is irrational, indefensible, and in some cases outrageous, and my only rebuttal is that I’m a farmer, notwithstanding his field.

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Jo Annette Sieve: Landscaps and Portraits

Article by Sue Snively

Local Artists – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

The Card Game

They sit, five distinguished men on a hill, under the sprawling branches of a tree, concentrating intently on the card game they are playing. One of the individuals has thick white hair, and sits with his back against the tree, looking to be in deep thought. Perhaps his next move in the card game is the subject of his thinking, but I think not. My imagination tells me he is thinking about how to take cover from the ferocious wind. Another subject is looking off into the distance, as if the card game is trivial and he has better things to do; perhaps he is planning a polite escape. They all stand out in the picture, not because of who they are, but because of the way the artist has fit them into the unusual background.

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When the back yard is full

Column by George Sibley

Development – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

CRESTED BUTTE has been getting media attention lately that ranges from the haughtily skeptical to the outright critical. A full-fledged resort community today — skiing in the winter and a diversity of mountain recreations in the summer — Crested Butte is now faced with a proposal from a mining company to put a major molybdenum mine near the town. Molybdenum is a mineral that could be considered foundational to the modern resort economy. A super lubricant and an alloy that makes steel lighter and harder, it is used in everything from the airplanes and autos the resort habitués arrive in to the skis and bikes they use while here.

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A military appraisal of Anza’s 1779 campaign

Article by Christopher Rein

History – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

IN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER OF 1779, the Spanish Governor of New Mexico, Don Juan Bautista de Anza, led a remarkable military campaign into an uncharted realm of the Spanish Empire, fought two battles against the Comanche, and returned safely with his command after almost four weeks in hostile territory. As a direct result of this campaign, Anza eliminated the Comanche leader whose personal hatred had rallied his tribesmen against the Spanish. In subsequent years, Anza continued to deal such damaging blows to the Comanche that by 1786 they formally ended hostilities against both the Spanish and their Ute allies, ushering a thirty-year period of relative peace and prosperity in the New Mexico.

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Geoexchange

Sidebar by Allen Best

Energy – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

While hot water underground can produce electricity, another type of ground-source heat is warming — and, counterintuitively, cooling — homes.

The technology, often called geo-exchange, is decades old, but because natural gas and other fossil fuel energies in the West have cost so little to consumers, it has not been broadly deployed.

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Looking for ways to tap our geothermal sources

Article by Allen Best

Energy – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

SOUTHWEST OF ASPEN, at the head of the Conundrum Creek Valley, are hot springs. At 11,200 feet, just below timberline, they are among the highest hot springs in the nation.

But the Conundrum Hot Springs are also distinguished by what is in the water, helium isotopes consistent with rocks found in the Earth’s mantle, instead of its crust, according to research by Karl Karlstrom of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

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Maybe we do get what we want

Essay by Martha Quillen

Politics – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

CHANGE IS THE BUZZWORD for the 2008 Presidential campaigns — at least for the moment. But initiating desirable change is harder than the campaigners contend. It’s even harder than Hillary Clinton professes when she insists that is takes hard work and experience (while simultaneously implying that her opponents would contribute neither).

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Inspiring reading

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Politics – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors:

Moment of truth: It was the night of the New Hampshire primary and BBC news anchor Dan Damon was on the line to his stringer in Concord: “So Jamey, what were the substantive issues in play?” With all the smoothness of the politicians surrounding him, poor Jamey had to sidestep the question. Americans have learned that we aren’t entitled to debate substantive issues, we just get to place bets on the horse-race called a campaign.

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Don’t forget the Civil War

Letter from Virginia McConnell Simmons

History – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed:

Your review of my book, Drifting West: The Calamities of James White and Charles Baker, in the January issue was greatly appreciated. One statement made prompts me to offer a correction, since it involves the effect of the outbreak of the Civil War on prospecting in Colorado in general and in the San Juan Mountains in particular.

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Looking for a Book

Letter from Mike Hartmann

Literature – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors:

My father is looking for a book. He can’t remember the title or author, but it’s a mystery novel written sometime in the 1970s about cloud-seeding in the San Luis Valley. It involves a rancher from Colorado Springs who moves to Monte Vista, and does part-time work as a private investigator. The plot revolves around his investigation of cloud-seeding.

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Blast from the Past: Cooking on a Woodstove

Article by Lynda La Rocca

Winter – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

BABY, IT’S COLD — and snowy — outside. And the snow just keeps coming. Thanks to my husband Steve, a.k.a. Mister Weather-Statistics Answer-Man, I can accurately report that here in the village of Twin Lakes, we’ve received a whopping five feet of the white stuff from December 1 through January 11. We’ve been snowed in several times, and we’d probably still be housebound if not for some very kind neighbors with advanced snow-plowing skills.

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Regional Roundup

Brief by Ed Quillen

Local News – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Cold and snowy

The climatologists predicted a “La Niña Winter” — that is, an easy one that would be relatively dry and warm. That held up until mid-December, and since then it’s been a season of ample snow and bitter cold.

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Plumber encounters mountain lion

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Crawling under a rural cabin to look at some frozen pipes, plumber Josh Pierce decided he wasn’t getting paid nearly enough. After crawling about 20 feet into a two-foot high space, with not even a wrench in his hand, he encountered what he quickly realized was a young mountain lion.

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Manufacturers explore greener side to ski gear

Brief by Allen Best

Recreation – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Ski and other manufacturers and retailers are exploring how they can make their products and operations more “green,” reports the Summit Daily News.

In a program that in some ways mirrors Sustainable Slopes, the program sponsored by the National Ski Areas Association, the retailers and manufacturers are working on such things as recycling old skis and snowboards. David Ingemie, president of the Snowsports Industries of America, told the newspaper it’s not as easy as recycling newspapers.

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Mountain bikers dislike recommended wilderness

Brief by Allen Best

Recreation – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Mountain bikers are disturbed by a recommendation from the U.S. Forest Service to create a new wilderness area between Durango and Silverton that would close 20 miles of the Colorado Trail to wheels.

The recommendation, if adopted by Congress, would also make at least six other trails off-limits to biking, reports the Durango Telegraph.

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Helmets cut injuries, but not fatal ski accidents

Brief by Allen Best

Recreation – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Helmets were supposed to make skiing and snowboarding safer. In fact there has been no significant reduction in ski area fatalities in the last nine seasons, even though the use of helmets has increased to more than 33 percent.

However, helmets have reduced the number of head injuries, according to a study cited by the National Ski Areas Association.

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Anza Socoeity will gather in Santa Barbara

Brief by Central Staff

History – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

The 2008 conference of the Anza Society will be held March 6-9 at the Presidio Chapel in Santa Barbara, Calif. It starts with a reception on March 6, followed by speakers on March 7, and a field trip on March 8.

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Leadville will get a (small) big box

Brief by Allen Best

Commerce – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

For some towns, having a big box store is a sign of homogenization, a repulsive emblem of Anywhere USA (or Canada).

Not so Leadville. After years of seeing everybody spending their money at Wal-Mart and Target stories in Frisco, Silverthorne, Avon, and Salida, the town will soon have it’s own bigger box variety store, an Alco.

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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Citizens Rise from Dead

Citizens for San Luis Valley Water lives! The non-profit formed to combat AWDI’s proposed water exports is back, this time battling the seekers of oil and natural gas. The group will sponsor the Water Preservation Coalition.

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Sparrows won’t roost in Salida this year

Brief by Central Staff

Poetry – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

There will be no SPARROWS poetry festival in Salida this year, for reasons that remain unclear.

SPARROWS stood for something like “Songs, Poetry, And Rhymes Raise Our Winter Spirits,” and it was a bright spot during the dark times of late winter, for it was held in February or early March every year since the first one in 2001.

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It’s raining and snowing mercury in the San Juans

Brief by Allen Best

Environment – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Various lakes and reservoirs in the San Juan Mountains have elevated levels of mercury. People are advised to limit how many fish they eat from Vallecito, McPhee and other lakes and reservoirs because of the high mercury levels.

The question is where the mercury is coming from. Sometimes mercury is found naturally in the environment.

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The Blues of Winter

Essay by Matt Hutson

Winter – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

I HATE WINTER. I realize that sounds pretty funny coming from a guy who lives in Gunnison County, the part of the state best known for its brutal winter conditions. But it’s true.

I think it all dates back to my teenage years. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, through a variety of mishaps and stupidity, I ended up having multiple knee operations. Somehow I spent part of five or six winters limping around Carbondale in a full leg cast. Mucking around in the slush in a cast is not a good time; the toes of the affected leg never quite seem to warm up. To top it all off, one is deathly afraid of slipping, falling, and enduring yet more considerable pain. I haven’t been on a pair of downhill skis in over 25 years.

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Aspen edits lyrics on John Denver memorial

Brief by Allen Best

Memorials – January 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

If you want an authoritative guide to the lyrics and life of the late singer John Denver, who died 10 years ago in a plane crash, don’t go to the park that bears his name in his adopted hometown of Aspen.

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