About the Cover Artist: Paulette Brodeur

Artist Paulette Brodeur, a longtime fixture on the Salida arts scene, has had a presence downtown longer than most. She opened her first gallery, The Art Studio, on East Second Avenue back in 1994 along with artist Marcy Csiky and later on, Steph Brady. She eventually relocated to the corner of First and Ninth Streets where she created and displayed her colorful, vibrant works until early 2012, when flooding due to broken pipes forced her to relocate.

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In Vino Veritas

Articles about winemaking in Central Colorado wouldn’t be complete without a toast (salute) to Salida’s Italian immigrant community. According to Dr. Francesco Gallo, in 2007, 11 percent of Salida’s residents were of Italian descent. Over half of those could trace their roots back to one particular town: Lago, in the province of Cosenza within the region of Calabria. These early immigrants worked as farmers, bricklayers, miners, in the lead smelters and on the railroads.

These hardworking newcomers also enjoyed their leisure time with good food, family and of course, vino.

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South Fork to Wasson at 12 Miles Per Hour

by Kenneth Jessen

At the western end of the San Luis Valley, near the town of South Fork, passengers can enjoy a most unique railroad experience. It is a 12-miles-per-hour trip in a motorcar along the historic Creede Branch of the former Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway. Trips run twice a day between South Fork and Wagon Wheel Gap, with special extended trips to Wasson.

This portion of the original Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway was constructed as a narrow gauge line in 1883 and ended at Wagon Wheel Gap, a resort designed for the wealthy. Just 10 miles away, the silver mines at Creede began to produce large quantities of ore. The railroad was asked to extend the line, but it lacked the financial resources. In 1891, financier David Moffat formed the Rio Grande Gunnison Railway and took the tracks to the mines at North Creede. The Denver & Rio Grande Western leased Moffat’s extension, and in 1908, they purchased the line.

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Quenching the Parched West

By Michele Parenti

A brisk, windy Saturday morning beckons Bill Zeedyk and a crew of “white collar muscles” to the Wolf Creek basin in Gunnison. It’s October in the high Rockies. The morning weather is turbulent with rain and snow as the shivering volunteers listen to the day’s instructions. Bill is wearing Muck boots, layers of flannel and fleece, jeans, a fishing hat and the thick of his beard to keep him warm. For a man in his sixties, he’s sturdily built, and he’s been plugging away since the wee hours of the morning. In a soft-spoken manner Bill urge us to stay hydrated and watch our footing. The author of the book Let the Water Do the Work, Bill has years of experience in the Forest Service and holds a wealth of knowledge within him; and along with training volunteers in water conservation, he is also busy in the fields of rock masonry and hydrology.

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Surveying Chaffee County’s Historic Resources

By Fay Golson for The Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board

Driving along the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway (Salida to Poncha Springs and Buena Vista to Granite), buildings and structures come into view that have many stories to tell. Some of these buildings and structures are not visible from the Byway but instead are nestled within the towns.

In 2010, on behalf of the Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board (CCHAAB), the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) received a Colorado State Historic Fund Grant (SHF) to have 65 properties in Chaffee County included in a Historic Resources Survey. GARNA selected Tom and Laurie Simmons of Front Range Research Associates (FRRA) to perform this work. After two years of work by volunteers, Colorado Mountain College students, the CCHAAB and the FRRA, the project is now complete. Documents will soon be available to the public at the Salida Regional Library and the Buena Vista Public Library.

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Fine Wines of Central Colorado

Vino Salida

By Ann Marie Swan

Heaven is a place where Salida winemaker Steve Flynn can follow his calling as an artist. He’s created Vino Salida Wine Cellars with a spiritual vibe where he can get into a focused zone, taking chances while concocting unique, tasty products. “The winery is my art studio,” Flynn said. “I get cranky when I don’t make wine.”

Flynn’s patron saints, high on the walls, watch over him as he works. San Vicente, the patron saint of winegrowers, is in the house, along with Saint Bernard, the saint for skiers and, hopefully, apres ski activities, which could include wine. Because wine is paired with food, Saint Lawrence, the saint for chefs, stands guard. Perched above are statues of Buddha and Jesus, who did, after all, turn water into wine.

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Inner Old Man, 2

By John Mattingly

Getting old is supposed to be “no fun.” My Inner Old Man (IOM) hears this all the time from various uninformed folks who have failed to grasp that life is a terminal disease.

Meaning: the Right to Life advocates have it backwards. Death begins at conception, not birth. The only guarantee that comes with birth is death. There are those who hope for eternal life, but as far as IOM can tell, this expectation is based solely on belief, and, as should be obvious, only fictions require belief. Reality does not.

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The Natural World

By Tina Mitchell

A soft, descending “phew, phew” alerts me to a Mountain Bluebird in the vicinity; a few seconds later, a female zooms to a tree beyond one of the nestboxes I am monitoring. Inside the box, thin strips of juniper bark woven into a sculptural swirl confirm that this is indeed a Mountain Bluebird nest. Using my telescoping mechanic’s mirror to check, I see one lovely, light blue egg. The female eying me probably started laying her clutch earlier today. I quickly close up the box, move away, make a note on my clipboard and head to the next box.

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The curtain has risen on yet another tourist season here in Central Colorado, and it’s looking to be a busy one. There also seem to be a lot of new faces in town and an uptick in housing sales that presumably has area realtors licking their chops.

One curious theory about the popularity now gaining traction is the idea of a post-Amendment 64 Colorado. Folks could very well be saying goodbye to more conservative states such as Wyoming and Texas with the perception of a more lenient attitude toward marijuana, demonstrated by voters in 2012. I’ve heard it referred to as 420 Tourism.

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Wolf at the Door

By Slim Wolfe

The article about teen texting etiquette in the May issue is a good reminder that socialization is largely a factor of limits and boundaries. One Santa Fe teenager recently told a story of going cold turkey (a drug addict’s expression for quitting a habit) for five days. People of my age never had that kind of habit as teenagers – but didn’t feel particularly limited if they couldn’t use their mobile devices to preen their egos and store their information. Life went on.

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Down on the Ground with Us Endangered Species

By George Sibley

You may not have noticed, but May 18 was “Endangered Species Day.” So it seemed a good time to reflect on an “endangered species” situation under evaluation in Central Colorado, mostly over here in the Upper Gunnison River valleys but also across the divide near Poncha Pass.

The species allegedly endangered is the Gunnison Sage Grouse, which has the distinction of, first, not having been officially recognized as a unique species until 2000, and then, that same year, being immediately put on the federal candidate list for “endangered or threatened” status. Eighteen years of hard work by a Gunnison Grouse Working Group – ranchers as well as environmentalists – here in the Upper Gunnison may have stabilized the local population, but its low numbers in other areas (plus some outside political pressure) have led the Procrustean U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to declare that it will probably be officially listed as “endangered” in all areas this fall. For those who don’t know, this a fate much to be dreaded; it requires a federal “consultation” for almost any action involving land use in “critical habitat” – most of the ranchland in the Upper Gunnison.

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Good Grass Makes Great Beef

By Hal Walter

If you’re in the livestock business in the Wet Mountain Valley, what that really means is that you’re in the grass business. Few people know that better than Elin Parker Ganschow, owner of Music Meadows Ranch and Sangres Best Beef.

Elin’s been in the grassfed beef business for nearly two decades, continuing a tradition started by her grandfather, William Parker, and passed on to her father, Bill, who put together the original family ranch near Arriba in Eastern Colorado, building up to 14,000 acres out of the Soil Bank Program of the 1940s. Along the way her father also acquired ranch land in California, Hawaii and the family ranch at the south end of the Wet Mountain Valley.

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Frontier Justice

By Jane Koerner

The lonesome straightaway on Highway 24 lured me into complacency. For miles I had been defending my lightweight Honda Civic against the crush of bumper-to-bumper traffic and the shock of worn pavement. There is no vision like tunnel vision. I looked away from the gun sight of my windshield for some psychic relief, toward the white halo of clouds adorning Pikes Peak. Dead ahead at the next curve, a long line of red brake lights was blinking. I was oblivious, so it’s a good thing I’ve got the quickest foot in the Rocky Mountain West. In the bloody aftermath of a chain-reaction accident, I’d be outgunned and defenseless when the mob of disgruntled drivers hunted me down.

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News from the San Luis Valley

Fracking in the SLV

Rio Grande County (RGC) commissioned a hydrological study of First Liberty Energy (FLE) to address widespread concern about negative effects of oil and gas exploration and development on Valley aquifers and water supply systems. This resulted in FLE’s acceptance of more stringent conditions than those required by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), which had issued a permit for the well in October 2012.

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Regional News

Neither Rain Nor Snow …

Salida’s mail processing center will close on June 1. The U.S. Postal Service announced the closure on May 17 as part of a two-phase plan to consolidate 461 mail processing centers nationwide.

Most out-of-town subscribers to Colorado Central Magazine will not see a difference in delivery times, but residents of Salida and Buena Vista may see a one- day delay as mail will now be shipped to Denver and back for sorting before delivery.

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Murder They Wrote, Again and Again and Again

By Martha Quillen

A few weeks ago, a customer at work started to leave, then came back. “Can I ask you a question?” she said, and suddenly she looked so upset, it made me nervous. I couldn’t imagine what sort of question would inspire her expression.

“I guess so,” I murmured, after an awkward pause.

“My husband is going to die soon and I was just wondering,” she hesitated as tears came to her eyes. “Do you ever feel joy again?”

The woman started to cry and I jumped up and hugged her. Joy? I thought. Have I ever felt joy? What is it exactly?

“I can’t stop crying,” she said.

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An Artwalk History

By Steph Brady
The idea behind Salida’s annual ArtWalk began with three guys, Chris Byars, Michael Boyd and Michael Parry, whose intention was to create an inclusive social event for Salida artists. The existing galleries combined their efforts and mailing lists, advertised locally and made flags to identify participating galleries; the first annual Salida ArtWalk was held on June 23, 1993, with 16 venues.
The next few years saw a small increase in artists. I participated with Paulette Brodeur and Marcy Misata Csiky in a building across the street from what is now Amicas. Many of the beautiful old historical downtown properties in Salida were boarded up and rent was cheap, so it became somewhat of a haven for artists. They breathed new life into these run-down buildings and spaces, getting their creative juices flowing by sprucing them up. Without that cheap rent to start, I don’t think I would be here today as a gallery owner. Now rents have doubled and tripled in downtown Salida!

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Book review

Came Men on Horses: The Conquistador Expeditions of Francisco Vázques de Coronado and Don Juan de Oñate

By Stan Hoig

University Press of Colorado
ISBN: 987-1-60732-194-1
$34.95; 352 pages

Reviewed by Virginia McConnell Simmons


Whether you prefer scholarly history or blood-and-thunder stories, Came Men on Horses by Stan Hoig is mesmerizing. If you are looking for a sanitized or romantic account of the conquest of the Southwest, though, this book may not be your choice for bedtime reading. The unvarnished facts about the entradas of Coronado and Oñate, like those of other conquistadors, force readers to some uncomfortable conclusions about human behavior, its cruelty and rapaciousness, but there is evidence of human courage, tenacity and the desire for personal enrichment.

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Let the Good Times Roll, But Don’t Expect Us To Recognize Them

By Martha Quillen

How can you tell when things are going fairly well in America? I’m not sure you can.

In the U.S., unemployment is down and our economy has improved. At this point, our banks have made it halfway through 2013 without crashing, and the stock market has reached unprecedented highs.

But is everybody celebrating? Hardly.

Nope, we’re waiting with baited breath for the new disaster, which popular sentiment predicts is bound to come – given what a mess we’ve made of things.

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