Reviving the Palace

New Beginnings in Salida for a 100-year-old Hotel

By Mike Rosso

With the hiss of brakes and a jolt, you’ve arrived. It’s been a long, noisy journey from Kansas City, but now you can get some rest, a cold beverage and a hot meal.

Claiming your luggage from the porter, you step into the slightly chilly evening air and walk over a bridge with the deafening sound of a river at peak runoff below. You head towards the bright lights of town and within a block, you’ve found accommodations. Entering a hotel lobby you line up with other weary travelers at the register, eager to check in. The lobby is full of chatter and men smoking stogies. Several glance up from their seats but quickly go back to reading the Salida Mail.

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My Time at the Palace Hotel

By John Mattingly

The winter of 1992 was so brutal in the San Luis Valley that I bought the Palace Hotel as a place to come where it was warm. I really liked the Hotel basement. My son and I had our private hibernaculum down there with a pair of old hospital beds, a poker table, and a black-and- white TV that got one channel. Water ran in a stone-lined trough along the north wall of the basement. We sometimes snuck out through the coal chute to get sandwiches from Danny at Mama D’s. And, my son had the only 25-cent pop machine in Salida, stationed in the Hotel’s north entry, so when we needed a ginger ale, we took a quarter from our war chest, and bought one from ourselves.

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Personal Narrative

By Jessika Vandivier

The day my grandpa died I laughed. It was getting close to my eighth birthday. I had been at the babysitter’s all day when my dad called and said he was running late. When he finally came to pick me up, he wasn’t himself. On a normal day he would stay and talk football with my sitter’s husband, but all he said was thank you and we left. He didn’t say anything in the car. I, on the other hand, couldn’t stop blabbing about how good my day was. He sat there in silence. From that moment on, all of the memories of that night remain in my head; no detail is lost.

Instead of going home, we went to my grandma’s house. I was excited because I got to see my grandpa. I ran in the house and found all of my grandparent’s friends sitting in the living room. They all looked over at me with sad expressions on their faces. I didn’t think anything of it. I ran past them and went looking for my grandpa. I was calling out his name while searching the house. My efforts failed, but instead I succeeded in making my grandmother cry. Before that moment, I had never seen her show any emotion but happiness. At this moment, for some twisted reason, I began to laugh.

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Restaurant Review

High Mountain Pies
114 West 4th Street
Leadville, Colorado

by Chris McGinnis

Tucked a bit out of the way in Leadville, High Mountain Pies pizzeria is housed in a bluebird-colored building about a half block off Harrison Avenue on West Fourth Street. It is a small yet comfortable, cute, family-friendly, homey place.

Ample servings of fresh, high-quality ingredients go into the offerings here. Most menu items are homemade. The result is consistently delicious, distinctive, flavorful pies, sandwiches and more.

The staff is engaging, friendly and happy to discuss their menu items to make a recommendation. The service is excellent.

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This Crazy Rural Life

By Hal Walter

Many of us move to the country or the mountains to carve out a rural existence with the idea we are going to simplify our lives, get away from the craziness. Somehow it doesn’t always work out this way.

At least it hasn’t for me.

This notion occurred to me on a recent Sunday morning as I was quietly grinding away with a hacksaw at welds on a driveway cattle guard. On the other end was a 1,200-pound horse named Jack with his hind leg caught in the big steel grate made of angle iron and plumbing pipe.

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The Fryingpan-Arkansas River Project at 50

Part 3: The Fry-Ark Project

 By George Sibley

In 1948, after six years of study and planning, it finally happened: the Bureau of Reclamation released plans for a big project to bring water from the Gunnison River Basin through Central Colorado to the Arkansas River Basin. A really big project – exceeding the fondest dreams of Arkansas Basin water users – the “Gunnison-Arkansas Project” proposed transferring 600,000 acre-feet of water through the Continental Divide. That was twice as big as the Colorado-Big Thompson Project up north, moving West Slope water to the South Platte Basin.

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Improving Bighorn Habitat on Limestone Ridge

By Ron Sering

Limestone Ridge is a prominent feature east of Buena Vista, just west of Chubb Park. The broad hillsides and the steep crags of Limestone Ridge, along with the alpine environment of nearby Buffalo Peaks, once served as ideal habitat for large game animals, including bighorn sheep.

In recent years, however, the state’s official animal has been in short supply in the area. “There is a lot of potential for bighorn habitat,” said Jamin Grigg, a wildlife biologist with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), “but it has gotten over-forested with not enough forage, and not enough escape cover.”

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SLV News

By Patty LaTaille

Grief and Loss in the Valley

Alamosa High School senior class president Anisa Montoya, 18, would have graduated this month. Serina Sena,14, was an eighth grader at Sangre de Cristo, and Selena Mascarenas, 14, was an eighth grader at Ortega Middle School. All three would be alive today if Gilbert Onesimo Sanchez hadn’t driven drunk and run a red light resulting in the April 28 fatal crash in Pueblo, where the youths and their families had attended a church service that evening.

The three Alamosa teens were killed after Sanchez’s vehicle crashed into theirs at the corner of Northern Avenue and Pueblo Boulevard in Pueblo. The loss of these young people has devastated the Alamosa community.

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Regional News

By Christopher Kolomitz

Molly on the Move

LEADVILLE – Climax Mine shipped its first bag of molybdenum concentrate on May 10 following a restart of the legendary mine atop Fremont Pass in Lake County. It was the first “moly” to be shipped from the mine in 17 years, the Leadville Herald Democrat reported. The mine first opened in 1916 and was a major economic stimulus to the region for decades before finally shutting completely down in 1995. Restart of the mine began in 2010 and has totaled about $700 million with projections that 20 million pounds of moly will be produced by 2013. About 300 people work at the mine which is owned by Freeport-McMoRan. In early May the company foundation awarded more than $550,000 to non profit organizations in Lake, Chaffee and Summit counties.

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By John Mattingly

With all the tough issues facing the U.S., such as a lingering war on terrorism, poverty, unemployment, a monstrous national debt weighing in on weak real estate values, not to mention the pointless bickering at most levels of government, it’s easy to understand why a politician would want to make a big deal out of same-sex marriage.

What could be more vital to our national interests than whether or not humans of the same sex can get married? As a farmer, it’s hard for me to imagine an issue that bears more directly on the price of fertilizer.

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Who’s in Charge of Immigration?

By Ed Quillen

Sometimes I feel derelict in my duties as a citizen. For instance, I avoided paying much attention to the recent arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court about the Affordable Care Act. Like everyone else, I have only so much attention, and I’d rather focus it on things I might be able to do something about. It’s not as though you can write to a Supreme Court justice the way you can write to your congressman (although our congressman has never paid any attention to anything I’ve written).

Further, often it’s easy to predict how the U.S. Supreme Court will rule: 5-4 in favor of Money. This goes back some years. Colorado used to have a law that banned paid petition circulators. It made sense to me; if the state has the power to forbid the buying and selling of votes, why not the power to forbid the buying and selling of petition signatures?

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The Last American Hitch-Hiker “Light-Headed and Loving It”

By Mark Kneeskern

The first thing I notice is the fresh mountain air. On my way to Salida again, I’ve just been dropped off at Copper Mountain by three high school friends from Iowa who are on their way to an elk hunt near Grand Junction. I’m from Iowa too, and not at all embarrassed about it … however, the air in Iowa is not as crisp and refreshing as the air here in Colorado, so I’m taking big lung-fulls of it. Mountains literally have an uplifting effect on one’s soul and it’s making me feel high. Did you know that John Denver’s most famous tune was banned in 1972 because the FCC had legal precedence at the time to censor any song that seemed to promote drug use? Now, of course, it’s one of Colorado’s two state songs, and ironically, has been used in Coors commercials, not to mention the chain of medical marijuana dispensaries called “Rocky Mountain High.”

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Alien Diary

 By Breanna Workman

 From the Buena Vista High School literature magazine, Persona, Jan. 2012.

June 16, 1947

Well, that’s it. I’ve really messed up now. There’s no way around this one. I might as well commit social suicide. You see, I was minding my own business on the main deck of our grand Mother Ship 889. (I know that technically we’re not allowed up there, but I needed to give my second cousin two times removed his birthday present because it’s bad luck if you miss gifting someone their present on the exact minute of their birth. So there, Captain Yillofilanthropaster, there’s a perfectly good explanation and excuse). Anyway, there I was and then, out of nowhere, came this blip on the screen. I took a quick look around, and saw that no one was there. So, naturally I took it upon myself to check the monitor. The green blip was getting closer and closer to the red blip!

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Book Review

Kings of Colorado by David E. Hilton Simon & Schuster, 2011 ISBN: 978-1-4393-8383-0 $14.00, 276pp. Reviewed by Eduardo Rey Brummel One Chicago evening, William Sheppard’s father, drunk and two hours late to dinner, goes into another rage, this time, over the cold food. In defending his mother, thirteen-year-old Will stabs his father twice with a …

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Star-trekking – from Outer Space to the Rockies

by Ann Marie Swan
For retired astronaut Dominic Gorie, the final frontier is some land outside of Salida under an inky silhouette of Mount Shavano.

After a career as a naval aviator, test pilot and veteran of four space shuttle missions, Gorie is building an adobe-style home with his hands alongside his wife, Wendy. It’s a grounding task that Gorie said he finds “physically and mentally challenging.”

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