Jammin’ with the High Rollers

By Nathan Ward

Whistle shrieked, rubber squeaked, eyes flared, arms pistoned and two “jammers” sprinted each other toward an imposing wall of women decked out in pads, helmets and grim looks. A shuck, a jive, a dip to the left, and a fast woman jammer named “Pain in the Bass” burst through the wall, skates smoking as she circled the track. She burned through the group of women again, narrowly avoiding loose elbows, blinding lipstick and debilitating hip checks. She was off again, scoring points at will. It was a run-away.

The Ark Valley High Rollers (AVHR) is the Upper Arkansas Valley flat-track women’s roller derby team, and they are a force to be reckoned with. Drawing on a derby tradition in America that dates back to the late 1800s, women’s derby has been born, died and reborn through the decades in one form or another – six-day endurance races, 24-hour skate-offs, glam rock and big hair, and finally to its punk-tinged, pseudonym-strewn version today.

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Down on the Ground with the Disappearing Middle Class

By George Sibley

So America, how’s that tightey- whitey Tea Party workin’ out for ya?

I have to ask – but I’m kind of embarrassed by the question. It just shows I’m infected by the same semi-focused anger and frustration as the rest of the dying American middle class. I’m just coming at it from another angle than the angry, frustrated people whose inept response was the misbegotten Tea Party.

I’m actually as horrified as I’m angered, horrified at how totally aggressive and vicious the assault on the middle class has become – the fact that we are now quite openly taking away from the poor in order to protect the ultra-rich. Never before has the grasping insatiability of those for whom there is never enough been so naked. But even more horrifying is the avid and aggressive participation of so many middle-class people in the undermining of themselves and their future. To see anything comparable, I think we have to go all the way back to the 1930s in Germany, when Hitler was seducing the German bourgeoisie into surrendering their minds to “Make Germany Great Again.” My anger gets evenly split between the exploiters and the exploited, the suckers seduced into doing the dirty work against their fellows – and it is a smoggy unclean anger because I don’t have any idea what to do about it. It is truly as Yeats said: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” I’m as angry at myself as at “them” for my lack of knowing what to do.

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– by Magda Sokolowski

Like a jackrabbit the desert reared up

against the high-cold in green-grey clots.

The cheat of grass, the sheen of ice-ground,

dense & the dull straightaway of road,

the welcome turn – sudden & slow

to find them there.

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The White Pine Cone Newsletter

One of our former subscribers who was also an area publisher passed away in August, 2010. Gerald Lee Hitt was a 22-year U.S. Air Force veteran and resident of Albuquerque who also owned at cabin in White Pine. He his wife Lois produced a monthly publication, the White Pine Cone Newsletter for over fifteen years, named after the original White Pine Cone newspaper.

Hitt and his wife discovered the ex-mining town while he was working as the chief investigator for nuclear accidents for the U.S.A.F..

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regional restaurant review

Little Cambodia
135 N. F Street
Salida, CO

by Elliot Jackson

It was a couple of years ago, on a trip to San Francisco, that I became acquainted with Phò. I remember the meeting vividly – I was sitting at a large table in a Vietnamese restaurant, surrounded by the family and friends of my travelling companion. “Order the Phò,” was the command of the cognoscenti in the crowd and, obediently, I did. A large steaming bowl of noodle soup jammed with meat, fish and bean sprouts, all flavored by basil and hot spices came to the table, and I was in love.

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What does it mean to buy local?

Hal Walter
Let’s just start by saying I rarely join anything. I tend to march to the beat of my own drum, color outside the lines, work independently, etc.

And that’s why it’s odd to suddenly find myself on the board of the local farmer’s market.

Over the winter I was approached about being on the Westcliffe Farmer’s Market board. Board member Kristie Nackord noticed I have supported the market over the years, have an interest in local and organic foods, and that the market had inadvertently become my surrogate social life every Thursday last summer.

Would I consider being on the board?

Well, why not?

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From the Editor: Road Trip

I took a rare week off in early April for a Colorado road trip. In less than seven days I traversed six mountain passes, twice crossing the Continental Divide.

My first stop was the Colorado National Monument near Fruita for a rendezvous with a friend. In my 30-plus years in the state I’ve never visited this expanse of red rock and canyon country. As it was early in the season, the campground was pretty empty as were the hiking trails. There were some bicyclists on the rim drive through the park, enjoying what has to be one of the more spectacular rides in the state.

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Quillen’s Corner

By Ed Quillen

Perhaps no document except the Bible gets parsed and analyzed as much as the U.S. Constitution. There are those who take the Bible literally and those who see it as mostly metaphor, and there are those who want to apply “strict construction” to the federal constitution, and those who are comfortable with a looser interpretation.

The basic argument on “strict construction” is that the federal government is a government of limited powers, and unless those powers are specified in the federal constitution, then the Tenth Amendment applies: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

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REGIONAL NEWS ROUNDUP (and other items of interest)

Over the River EIS Scheduled for May

CANON CITY – The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has indicated that the environmental impact statement for the proposed Christo and Jeanne-Claude art project, “Over the River,” will most likely be released in May. The EIS is required for any project that “significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” by the National Environmental Policy Act.

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News from the San Luis Valley

by Patty LaTaille

Hot and Dry – Beware – It’s Fire Season

Due to the lack of snow on the peaks and no precipitation this winter, the SLV is scary dry. The “Green Fire” north of Alamosa in mid-April was one of the San Luis Valley’s biggest brush fires this season. 50-60 firefighters were at the scene.

In addition to the Alamosa Volunteer Fire Department, firefighters were called in from the Mosca-Hooper, Monte Vista and Costilla County departments. Crews from the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado State Forest Service also assisted with firefighting efforts, and a team from Woodland Park arrived to help fight the fire.

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Tales from the Road – Cloudy Decisions

By Mark Kneeskern

Sometimes, when I am torn to select between two paths, I allow external conditions to choose for me. After waiting for a while on an entrance ramp in the blazing heat for a ride, I feel like it’s about time to try the smaller highway … yet I might hook a long distance lift if I keep to the interstate. I’m stuck between wanting to quickly escape Eastern Colorado’s smelly cattle trucks and prisons, and wanting to get back to the peaceful little highways. I decide that if the sun goes behind a big cloud, I’ll try hitching towards Ft. Morgan on Highway 34.

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A Farmer Far Afield – Unexpected Consequences

By John Mattingly
Throughout our history, conditions and perceptions have affected several events with unexpected consequences, including:

1. Incorruptible Peasants, aka Land Barons. When the U.S. opened up the Western United States to homesteading, the intent was to stimulate the Jeffersonian “incorruptible peasants” by granting them 160 acres – or 320 acres to a peasant and his wife, thus creating a landed peasant class, unique to the U.S. Going west from Washington D.C. out to the 100th meridian, which is approximately the Colorado-Kansas border, 320 acres was, for the most part, an economic unit for a peasant. The ground was fertile enough, and received enough natural moisture to sustain an incorruptible operation.

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The First Baptist Church of Moffat, built in 1911, is an excellent example of the use of on-site formed, panel-faced ornamental concrete blocks in a small but elegant church building. The irregular plan and cross-gabled roof building is also noteworthy for its primary and secondary steeples and its use of pressed metal roof shingles and siding. Original stained glass windows are present throughout the building as is the interior pressed metal ceiling. Though structural deterioration is a current problem, the church retains a high degree of physical integrity in relation to its original construction.

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What we hope for: time to bloom

By Susan Tweit

Living in the land of brain cancer is like riding a roller-coaster. One moment you’re on top of the world, and then whoosh, the track drops and you are hurtling down, down, down …

One recent week, Richard emerged from his fourth brain surgery seeming like his old self, responsive, engaged, and ready to emerge from the shadow of cancer at last.

The next morning, we met with his oncologist to review his quarterly MRI to check for new tumors. And down went the roller-coaster.

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Book Review

Deadly Currents
By Beth Groundwater
Midnight Ink/Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7387-2162-0. $14.95, 300pp.

Reviewed by Eduardo Rey Brummel

This is the first in a series of mysteries by Groundwater, telling the adventures of Arkansas Headwaters river ranger, Mandy Tanner. Groundwater’s previous novel, A Real Basket Case, was a finalist for the 2007 Agatha Award for Best First Novel.

This story begins with Mandy along the Arkansas River, only halfway through her lunch break, when a raft flips going through a rapid. Mandy and her supervisor spring into action: he, jumping from a boulder onto the unmanned raft; she, paddling out to rescue two “swimmers,” before they’re left to their own devices in the quickly upcoming next rapid. The rescue is a success, with one exception. The male passenger Mandy rescues dies shortly after being brought to shore.

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The Rise and Fall of White Pine, Colorado

by Duane Vandenbusche

The year was 1878 and prospectors R.E. McBride and the Boon brothers, unable to get good mining claims at Monarch, east of the Continental Divide, headed west. The three men went up a gulch past Waterdog Lakes, crossed the Divide and descended into the upper Tomichi drainage on the Western Slope. There, the men found good silver ore and filed claims. The following May, over 200 men swarmed into the area and uncovered the rich North Star, Eureka, Carbonate King and May-Mazeppa silver mines.

During 1879, all supplies had to come in via jack train from Monarch over Old, Old Monarch Pass. By May 1, 1880, the Monarch Toll Road was completed and a fledgling mining camp called White Pine was laid out along Tomichi Creek. The new camp was named for the dense growth of pines which covered the surrounding mountains. The two major routes into the camp were from Monarch on the Eastern Slope and Sargents on the Western Slope.

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