Telling Tales in the Valley

by Susan Bavaria

Ranging in age from 81 on down, several regional women authors have written books as varied as river stones. Tackling subjects ranging from geology to self-publishing, these six writers exemplify the moxie needed to endure the publishing process and a love for language that creates worthy content. Some have taught students. Some have experienced far-flung adventures in the quest to find a good story. Some are members of the Colorado Authors League. All share a passion for good literature and an innate curiosity about the world we share.

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From the Compost Bin – September 2009

(Tips for high-altitude gardeners)

by Suzanne Ward

By this time of year you will have been harvesting your garden produce throughout the summer and hopefully, not too soon nor too late. Harvest timing is learned by experience. It is determined by what tastes best to you. Sample your vegetable produce at various stages of ripeness and you will learn the right harvest time for each vegetable to suit your tastes. Here are some general harvest rules.

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Homeland Security – Eight Years Later

by John Mattingly

Prior to September, 2001, I thought of home, land. and security as three separate words.  But as patriotic fever has spread through the country, possibly a fourth has presented itself as home and land as one, and from that, a few points of thought.

1. Look both ways.  Soon after we attacked Iraq, we often heard the mantra, “The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad.” Then it moved to include the streets of Kabul, and now Karachi.

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Climbing Memories from Mt. Elbert

by Sarah E. Moffett

“Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall-it’s great when you stop.” – Chris Darwin

There are things we can’t let go of in life, and then there are things that won’t let go of us. Mount Elbert and I fell into both categories thanks to childhood experiences. Growing up, Leadville was a magical place set in the clouds. Sitting at 10,152 feet and shadowed by the towering Sawatch Range, the temperamental weather, stunning scenery and crisp scents made it a backdrop for dreams, imaginations and uncertainties. It was where anything could happen. So naturally it did.

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Rhythm, Soul and Education

by Mike Rosso

Salida-based musician Bones has put quite a few achievements under his belt over the past 25 years. He has performed in a variety of rock bands from England to Los Angeles and was a member of the popular Afro-beat band Jaka as well as the Grateful Dead tribute band, Shakedown Street.

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Sand, Wind, and Light: Great Sand Dunes National Park: An essay in words and images

By Ed Berg
Blurb, Inc: May 2009. $14.95

Reviewed by Eduardo Rey Brummel

The San Luis Valley is a distinctly different world. Perhaps the clearest demonstration of the Valley’s unique nature is the thirty-some square miles of sand dunes serving as foyer for the Sangre de Cristos’ western flank. In the same view, you have Lawrence of Arabia sands foregrounding snow-stippled mountains, with Medano Creek pulsing at your ankles. In his book, Sand, Wind, and Light, author Ed Berg begins where we all do – attempting to reconcile the existence of the Great Sand Dunes:

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San Juan Legacy – Life in the Mining Camps

by Duane A. Smith
photographs by John L. Ninnemann
Published in 2009 by University of New Mexico Press
ISBN 978-0-8263-4650-6

Reviewed by Ed Quillen

The Sawatch Range is the highest in the Rockies, the Sangre de Cristo Range is the longest, and the Mosquito Range is the richest in overall Colorado mineral production. But it is the San Juan Mountains that provide the quintessential Colorado mining-camp imagery and lore: soaring jagged peaks, frothing streams in narrow gorges, steam-powered narrow-gauge trains, immense old mines in sites apparently accessible only by jaybirds, and Victorian towns in various states of preservation.

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Project Education Sudan comes to Salida, Sept 10-13

Daniel Majok Gai and Isaac Khor Behr were only six years old when civil war broke out in their village in Southern Sudan. Fleeing their home and becoming separated from their families, Daniel and Isaac joined 30,000 other war orphans for a 1,000 mile journey to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Walking barefoot, fighting enemy soldiers, starvation and disease, Daniel, Isaac and the other Sudanese children became known as the “Lost Boys of Sudan.”

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Making sense of a Nonsensical Death

by Susan Tweit

The call came on one of those afternoons when life moves so quickly that even though you’re going as fast as you possibly can, you feel like the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass, as if you’re barely keeping up.

“Susan, it’s Jim,” my friend said, and then paused. “I’ve got sad news: Carol Jacobson died yesterday in a rafting accident on the Green River.”

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News from the San Luis Valley – September 2009

Natural Gas Exploration in Baca on Hold Until Ruling

CRESTONE – Toronto-based Lexam Explorations has agreed not to drill for gas on the Baca National Wildlife Refuge until a federal judge rules on an environmental groups’ request for a preliminary injunction on drilling.

The groups are seeking an injunction to block any ground-disturbing activity on the 92,500-acre refuge until the lawsuit is resolved.

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Regional News Roundup – September 2009

(and other items of interest)

Nestlé Permit Granted

SALIDA – Despite overwhelming public opposition, the Nestlé Corporation of Vevey, Switzerland was given unanimous consent on August 26 by the Chaffee County Commissioners for its application to remove water from a private spring adjacent to the Arkansas River and truck it to Denver to be bottled and sold.

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A 21st Century Look at Ranching in the San Luis Valley

by Bill Hatcher

photos by Mike Rosso

It happens without fail every September. Driving down a county road where I live in the northern San Luis Valley, I am given yet another opportunity to ruminate on why I love living here so much. No, not it’s magnificent scenery. Instead, the little reminder of pastoral patience I’m referring to lumbers along over cloven hooves, tended by that durable American icon, the rancher-cowboy, reins or twist-throttle held loosely in gloved hands.

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Seeds of Change – Transition Towns by Patty LaTaille

Is the Greater Arkansas Valley ready to join forces with a multitude of towns, cities, and counties who have signed on to become leaders in the growing global task force to address peak oil, climate change and economic stability?

Considering the number of concerned citizens who are connecting in Salida, Buena Vista and surrounding areas to adopt the “Transition Model” ( – all with the intention of engaging a significant proportion of the people in their community to kick off a “Transition Initiative” – it appears that the local community is ready to commit to change.

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Valley Intrusions

To the Editor;

San Luis Valley residents continue to stand up against development and intrusion. Current battles against Wolf Creek ski area growth and Crestone gas drilling follow previous campaigns against military training overflights and groundwater exportation/exploitation. More recently, Villa Grove residents blocked a local contractor’s bid to operate a gravel pit near the town.

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Readers Dispute Figures

To the Editor,

Regarding John Mattingly’s “Agriculture and War,” Paragraph 3: Naw, John, the bodies just couldn’t have been that deep. Considering that there are 27,878,400 square feet on every mile of the Earth’s surface, and that the average human body contains no more than 2.78 cubic feet of flesh, bones and blood, then you could fit ten million bodies into each square mile.

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Clarification on Rainwater Collection

To the Editor:

I saw the rainwater collecting note (August 2009, p. 19); it’s a bit unclear, so I’m offering clarification. I’ve even heard realtors express shock that it’s been illegal all along (damn, sigh…), but you’re right—this is the first time it’s legal, if the process is followed.

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