From the Editor

Honoring our Veterans

I was never a member of the armed services. My father was. He served during World War II as a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, flying paratrooper missions over Germany. I graduated from high school two months after the fall of Saigon, which officially ended the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

For some reason I still have my selective service card – maybe for historical purposes, but I also recall that my lottery number was pretty high, something like 320, so I wasn’t too concerned about being drafted to fight in that ill-conceived conflict.

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Surviving the Death March

By Laurel McHargue

Mainly because Nick, my eldest son and ROTC cadet, encouraged me to do it, I signed up – and actually did some training – for my first full marathon. In the summer of 2010 I completed two half marathons with no training, and that didn’t kill me. The idea of doing two in a row, however, made me think twice about the physical impact on my 52-year-old bones and so … grudgingly … I started “doing time” late December on a treadmill at our local gym. The race: The Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon in White Sands, New Mexico, March 27th, 2011.

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The 37th Annual 10th Mountain Division Ski Week

By Bill Hoffland

Every year for the past 37 years the veterans and families of the 10th Mountain Division from World War II have been gathering for a week of skiing in the high peaks of Colorado for an event dubbed “Ski Week.” The 10th Mountain Division, along with the 99th Infantry Battalion Separate were the only ski troops of the U.S. Army, and played an important role in the liberation of northern Italy during WWII. Many ski resorts in Colorado were formed by former 10th Mountain vets, including Aspen, Vail and Breckenridge, and a large number of 10th Mountain vets worked in the ski industry after the war – managing and founding ski areas, developing ski equipment, and working for the Olympics.

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Divided and Conquered

By Martha Quillen

“So who do you think should make a woman’s reproductive decisions? Her husband and priest? Her state government? The U.S. Congress? Or Rick Santorum?” my husband quipped after we watched the Florida debate. At that point, the contest appeared to be between Gingrich and Romney, but Rick Santorum was on the news because he’d been declared the winner in Iowa a week earlier.

It didn’t seem as if Santorum’s candidacy could amount to much, though, since Santorum is against contraception for married and unmarried couples, which is a rather disconcerting position. And one would expect it to be an unpopular one, too. In fact, the U.S. birth rate hit an all time low in 2010 and has continued to decline, which suggests that citizens of child-bearing age (be they Democrats or Republicans) use contraception.

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From the Battlefield to Salvation

By Ann Marie Swan

Alamosa may be a little bit of heaven on earth for Afghanistan Army veteran Spc. Mary Harmon. It’s where she found healing, peace, grace and redemption.

Harmon’s journey home from Afghanistan has been a bumpy one as she’s transitioned to life after the military. She’s tried to soothe her post-traumatic stress disorder, sometimes drinking and drugging. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can occur following a traumatic event, according to the National Center for PTSD. PTSD is a normal reaction to a horrific experience and it’s as old as combat.

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Eagles Summit Ranch – Winning with Integrity in the Sangre de Christos

By Jennifer Dempsey

When wounded war veterans arrive at Eagles Summit Ranch in Westcliffe, Dave Roever understands their skepticism.

“These men and women are beat up pretty badly and aren’t buying into anything until I walk in,” said the 65-year-old Vietnam veteran. “Then they see all the disfigurement, all the damage I’ve been through and there is an instantaneous bond. They see I’ve been down the road before them and they trust me. My biggest advantage is my scars, they scream authenticity.”

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An Interview with Iraqi Veteran Nick Morgan

Editor’s note: I first met Nick Morgan last summer in the San Luis Valley while he was living in Salida. I was curious to learn about his experiences as a returning Iraqi war veteran and was somewhat taken aback, but not entirely surprised by some of his stories. Since we first met he is now a student at CU Boulder. Initially I had planned to write an article based on his responses to the interview questions, but found his own words so compelling I decided to let him speak for himself. – M.R.

When did you enlist and which branch?

I enlisted in April of 2002 in the Army Reserves.

How old where you?

I was eighteen. It was right before I graduated high school.

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Dispatch from the Edge

By Peter Anderson

Apocalypse When?

Everybody needs a story (or stories) to live by. Lately doom and gloom narratives have been hot – you know, government conspiracy, Mayan prophecy, endtime and rapture, zombies on the doorstep. Wonder why.

To find out, I thought maybe I should get a little more apocalyptic. I didn’t have to look too far. Here along the edge of the great Rio Grande Rift, a geological feature which extends from Leadville to Mexico, our planet’s outer crust may look and feel solid, but in fact, it’s thin and taut, fractured and fracturing. Some day, our local fault will slip and slide and the ground as we know it will rearrange itself.

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The Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad

By Virginia McConnell Simmons

Only a few ghostly vestiges of the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad remind us today of challenges that once played a role in the daily life of Central Colorado. This legendary narrow-gauge line, sometimes called “The Damn Slow Pulling and Pretty Rough Riding,” battled blizzards, floods, rockslides, derailments, corporate competition, and, far from least, human courage and hardship. Trains ran summer and winter on rails that crossed the Continental Divide in three places, burrowing through Alpine Tunnel (11,523 el.) to Gunnison County, and topping Boreas Pass (11,482 el.) and Fremont Pass (11,318 el.) to the Blue River and Leadville.

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Regional News Roundup

Big Changes at the USPS

On Feb. 23, after a five-month study, the U.S. Postal Service announced it would be consolidating 223 centers across the country sometime after May 15

In Colorado, post offices in Salida, Alamosa, Durango and Colorado Springs will be affected by the decision. What this means for Colorado Central subscribers is that the magazine (and all other mail sent from Salida for that matter) will first be re-routed to Denver for sorting and then delivered back to Salida (sounds more efficient to us, right?). Normally, locals get the magazine the next day but the new rules will add several more days to the delivery time. Our Front Range subscribers may see their copies sooner but we‘re not holding our breath.

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News from the San Luis Valley

by Patty LaTaille

Locals Needed for the Big Screen

Look for the open casting calls for movie extras at the end of March in the San Luis Valley for the Disney western “The Lone Ranger,” that will be shooting in Colorado and Utah this summer.

Sande Alessi Casting, the Los Angeles based casting directors of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Glee,” “The Social Network” and hundreds more projects, will be looking for men; including Asian, Native American and men of other ethnicities.

Those who miss the open call may still be considered for the film. Go to or “friend” The Lone Ranger Casting on Facebook.

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A Farmer far Afield – Climate Report

John Mattingly
In 2008, George Mason University conducted a thorough, fine-grained survey of U.S. citizens to learn how much people actually knew about climate change. One of the more curious findings was that, when asked whom they believed to be the most reliable source of information about climate change, 66% of those responding gave the name of a television weather person. Al Gore barely got more votes than those who said there was no one they trusted on the topic.

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The Easy Way to Denver (and Beyond …)

By Mike Rosso

Mass transportation in Central Colorado? Up until recently that meant piling as many folks as possible into the bed of a pickup for a trip to WalMart.

The last passenger train service around these parts stopped running in July of 1967, according to Ed Quillen. But in the last few years this has changed thanks to an effort by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to improve transportation options to rural areas of Colorado.

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Book Review

Buried by the Roan
by Mark Stevens
People’s Press, 2011
Softcover, 348 pages, $14.95
ISBN: 978-0-9817810-9-9

Reviewed by Elliot Jackson

OK, let me see if I’ve got this straight: our heroine in Buried by the Roan is plucky Allison Coil, yet another average working-girl mystery heroine – who always seems to be at least 40 pounds lighter and quite a bit blonder and petite-er than the average American working girl. Because of a personal crisis (she survives a plane crash), she is inspired to leave her yuppie existence in the big city and become a hunting guide in the Western Slope wilderness. And really, this is the sort of thing that could happen to anybody. Particularly a woman with no apparent previous wilderness or hunting experience.

So we have the obligatory death (one of her clients on a hunting trip, a rancher who is embroiled in a land dispute with – wait for it – an environmentalist). At this point in the story, I am hearing my internal Mike Myers chiming hopefully: “Is he an EVIL environmentalist?” Yes, as it turns out, he is! And he’s even on the cover of High Country News!

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Living as “Woman Alone”

Susan Tweit

Recently, I had a sobering realization: I’ve been half of a couple essentially all of my adult life, or almost two-thirds of my years.

There’s nothing wrong with spending your life as part of a healthy and nurturing couple, if you can find that gig. My time with my late husband, Richard Cabe, was certainly all of that and more.

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Why I’m Lousy at Making Money

By Hal Walter
This should not be taken as whining, but rather as philosophical exploration. The question is this: Why can’t I consistently make money?

Over my life I’ve developed skill levels at a variety of vocations and avocations. In fact I seem able to find success at most things I really apply myself to. Acquiring money is not one of these things.

I can write, and edit. I’m OK with a camera. I design print publications ranging from newsletters to books. Even when I’ve had real jobs practicing these skills it’s never led to financial abundance.

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