From the Editor

In August I received a call from State Senator Gail Schwartz’s campaign manager asking if I’d like to meet with the senator as she was to be in Salida for a few days. As the only candidate running for office this year who’s contacted our office, I agreed.

We sat down on the sunny patio at Salida Café the same day that one of her legislative goals became a reality.

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How Christo’s critics can change your mind

by Ed Quillen

The first time I heard of “Over the River” was about the time Martha and I started this magazine, circa 1994. Christo and Jeanne Claude held a meeting in Salida, which I didn’t attend because I didn’t care.

So what if some loopy artist proposed to suspend fabric panels across the Arkansas River for a few days? It’s not as though the valley between Salida and Cañon City is a pristine wilderness or immaculate wildlife refuge.

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Creating Art En Plein Air

By Mike Rosso

“I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” – Claude Monet

They ply their craft, insects circling their heads. A sudden gust of wind upends several hours of work. Random clouds blot out the sun shortly before the dreaded rains begin to fall. Passersby freely offer unsolicited opinions.

These are only some of the hazards a landscape painter might encounter when they decide to abandon their studios for the great outdoors. Yet the desire to paint from real life, in the moment, is attracting more and more artists – drawn to the challenges and to the pure joy of en plein air, a French term for “in the open air.”

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Q & A with Gunnison author George Sibley

Colorado Central: How did you end up in Gunnison?

George: Have I ended up here? Well, I probably will. Can’t imagine where else I would go now. I came to the Upper Gunnison to be a ski bum, after flunking out of the Army, but despite my best efforts I began gravitating toward respectability. Got into the newspaper business – starting out as editor because anyone who knew anything about newspapering was too smart to try it here; went from that to freelancing and odd jobbing; tried to leave the Upper Gunnison but it didn’t take; and was lucky enough to slip into a position as academic odd jobber at Western State College. There, I finally fell into a full-time year-round job for the first time, at about age 46. Now, I am back to writing, when I am not trying to figure out the water-energy nexus. And I really can’t imagine being anywhere else: there’s something about the valley that makes me keep believing that it might be possible – not probable, but possible – to err and fumble our way into a society that at least approaches matching our scenery …

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Powerful Intentions

by Susan Tweit

Last month, my husband Richard and I drove over the mountains to Denver for what we thought would be a routine brain MRI to monitor his recovery from brain cancer. Only the images showed something distinctly abnormal: several suspicious spots deep in the lower edge of his right temporal lobe.

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Pipes, Whistles and Fiddles in the Rockies

by Elliot Jackson

When I moved to Colorado from Chicago over ten years ago, there were many things about the city that I found myself delighted to be leaving behind: traffic, crime and wild extremes of climate among them. However, the one thing I found myself indubitably missing – and craving – was its music scene: specifically, its Celtic (Scottish and Irish) music scene. Chicago was home to some of the best Celtic musicians on the planet, and it seemed like there were sessions and concerts almost every night of the week. In addition, there was always the chance to take lessons in any instrument, from harp to fiddle to accordion to bagpipes, from some of these musicians, either privately or through venerable institutions like the Old Town School of Folk Music or the Irish Heritage Center.

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Regional News

Primary Election Results

Several contested election results occurred in the region in the August 10 primaries.

In Chaffee County, current Sheriff Tim Walker beat his opponent, John Spezze by 12 votes – not enough to justify an automatic recount. Afterwards Spezze questioned the integrity of the ballot boxes but decided not to pursue a recount. Walker will face Democrat Pete Palmer in November.

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News from the San Luis Valley

By Marcia Darnell

Election News

Alamosa voters said “yes” to a new city hall/library complex at Cole Park. The special election resulted in a 942-828 decision to fund a new building. Residents have yet to hear about a grant application that could kick in $2 million for the project.

In Rio Grande County, Karla Shriver won the Republican primary for county commissioner. In Alamosa County, incumbent Sheriff Dave Stong won over challenger David Osborn.

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Tales from the Road

by Mark Kneeskern

(Editor’s note: We introduced Mark in our August issue and invited him to contribute writings from the road as he currently uses his thumb as his primary mode of transportation.)

Almost cut my hair …
I amble to the roadside and it’s the first day of school again. An exciting moment. A nervous moment. Lessons await in the classroom of the world. I’m much older now, not riding the bus, instead traveling in multiple cars with random strangers. I’ve got my best “Back To School” clothes on … a button-up shirt with wild colors and patterns from top to bottom, shorts with deep pockets for my notepads, pens, markers and digital camera. I’m vying for the attention of drivers instead of cute classmates.

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A Farmer Far Afield – The Payoff Pitch

By John Mattingly

In previous articles the past couple months, “The Elephant in the Room,” and “Debt is a Four Letter Word,” I suggested:

A. The world economy is locked-in on a growth ethic. Though I believe there are good examples of the limits to growth, and although such limits make common sense, it must be acknowledged that over the last 50 years in particular, and perhaps the whole of human history in general, all predictions of such limits to growth have been swept away by innovation, substitution, and expanding (or manipulated) capital markets.

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Just Tell It On The Mountain

by Jeff Osgood

The old man rose from his lawn chair, walked to the bank of Medano Creek, faced the buckskin rises of Great Sand Dunes National Park, and began to quote scripture. He flawlessly recited words about water coming to a dry land, life coming from a place of death, all through the divine will of The Almighty. His family, kids and adults alike looked on, rapt. Other onlookers appeared puzzled, some even mildly disturbed by the impromptu sermon. When finished, the man returned to his chair and went back to watching kids splash in the spring runoff of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. His words drifted off with the ever-pervasive winds of the San Luis Valley and the people who heard them were left to return to their own thoughts and distractions.

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Bat Masterson; Buena Vista Marshal?

by Charles F. Price

One of the standard histories of Salida, Eleanor Fry’s Salida: The Early Years, asserts that famed Western lawman and gambler W.B. (“Bat”) Masterson once acted, albeit briefly, as town marshal of Salida’s upriver neighbor, Buena Vista.

Wrote Fry, “Town fathers needed to rid the place of ruffians who ran off peace officers as fast as they could be hired. Masterson’s presence, at $30 per week for three weeks, apparently accomplished what local officers couldn’t. It didn’t hurt that Masterson had posters printed warning outlaws he would shoot them on sight.” No source is cited for this assertion and Fry, now in retirement in Pueblo, can only recall gleaning the story from old Salida newspapers.

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Down on the Ground Talking With Tea Partiers

by George Sibley

Most of the local Tea Party leadership was sitting on a bench in front of a local coffeeshop as I came out from a meeting, right by the bike rack where my trusty rusty bike waited patiently. Three of them – call them Tom, Dick and Harry, names changed to protect – whatever. I know two of them by name and vice versa, although we’ve never talked much. But as I grabbed my bike and kicked up the stand, saying something polite seemed to be in order. Rather than the weather, I decided to try flattery.

“Wow,” I said, “seeing the three of you here like this makes me think the government should fear for its future.”

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Caballo Blanco meets Burro Negro

By Hal Walter

Though I run nearly every day, I’ve often joked that I rarely write about running because, hey, how much can really be said about putting one foot in front of the other? So it’s a tad ironic the most captivating book I’ve read in the past year is Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.

When I try to tell people about this nonfiction story, which has a subtitle so long that I’ve saved it for the second paragraph – A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen – I have difficulty summing up what it’s actually about. Yeah, sure, it’s about running, but it’s also about so much more.

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