About the Cover Artist: Alan Cammack

When I was about eight years old, my mother put an old Pentax K1000 fully manual camera in my hand. We were on a trip to New York City for a opening of her artwork at a gallery there, and to this day the thing I remember the most about the trip was taking those first photos out the back window of a speeding cab. I remember how that simple act of encouragement changed my life. I realized that there is something new and interesting to see everywhere.

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Pride of the Pioneers

By Polly Oberosler
The Gunnison County Pioneer and Historical Society was formed in 1905. By 1906 they had decided that they would work toward the establishment of a local museum to conserve the rich heritage they were a part of. Although the Pioneer Society was active, the idea of a museum did not officially come to be until 1963, when the Adams and Wilson families donated five acres of land to start the project. The museum itself opened its doors in the summer of 1964.

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Down on the Ground with Beer and Whatever

By George Sibley

It is hard to find things to write about in a positive and optimistic way these days without feeling like Pollyanna – looking on the bright side of life, like those guys hanging on crosses put it in “The Life of Brian.” But, in an era when nearly everything seems to be going to hell, there is one thing that is getting better and better, and that is beer. All those ales, lagers, pilsners, stouts and other things along a spectrum from hoppy to malty that get lumped together as “beer.”

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Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area

 By Mike Rosso

The Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area (BCWSA), near Penrose, is a hidden gem encompassing nearly 27,020 acres. Administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a portion – 13,734 acres – is within an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. As part of the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the BLM was directed to inventory areas for their wilderness characteristics. These areas are known as Wilderness Study Areas (WSA). Until Congress makes a final decision either to designate these areas as wilderness or release them for other multiple uses, the BLM manages WSAs to preserve their suitability for designation as wilderness.

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Water Update

Snowpack and Drought

“Spring is an incredibly important time of year for Colorado’s water supplies,” observed State Climatologist Nolan Doesken in a March 18 press release from Colorado State University. He was commenting on the dryness of the soil and forests across Colorado while watching the smoke from a rare wintertime forest fire west of Fort Collins. He also expressed hope that early March moisture was the harbinger of a wet spring.

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Prohibition in the San Luis Valley

By Virginia McConnell Simmons

The Roaring Twenties, the Charleston, and the speakeasies never happened as far as folks in the San Luis Valley could tell, but on the whole, this high valley was not dry.

In the 1920s, the agricultural economy was limping everywhere and mining was severely crippled at places like Creede; and that was before the market crashed and the mines shut down completely in 1929. As if that were not bad enough, this was the era of Prohibition. In fact, it had already begun in 1916 in some of Colorado’s cities and towns, where reformers outnumbered rugged individualists.

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Restaurant Review

Jade Café, 129 Church Avenue, Florence, CO 81226 (719) 784-3888 . Hours: 11 am – 9 pm every day

If you live in a town of over 3,500 in Colorado, chances are you’ve got a Chinese restaurant somewhere nearby. Salida’s got one, Buena Vista has two, as do Gunnison and Alamosa. Leadville may well lay claim to being the highest city in the U.S. where one can order moo goo gai pan. Florence, Colorado, population 3,881, is no exception. The Jade Cafe, just west of downtown, has been in business for fourteen years and is operated by the Youhuan Xiang family.

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A Teenage Perspective on Cell Phones and Texting

By Ashlyn Stewart

Pew Research’s Internet and American Life project’s most recent findings come as little surprise to us teenagers – the generation notorious for staying glued to its cell phones. The study, released on March 13, concluded 78 percent of teens have a cell phone, and 47 percent of them own smart phones.

Because so many teens own these devices, countless questions about where and how they should be used by such impressionable minds have surfaced. Pair this with how quickly the technology changes and it’s a wonder any users know what cell phone etiquette should be.

Fortunately, teens do.

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Regional News

 By Christopher Kolomitz

600 Jurors Called for Gunnison Murder Trial

First degree murder charges have been dropped against Frederic Mueller, the Texas man who was accused of killing his wife in Lake City back in 2008. A Gunnison trial earlier this winter resulted in a hung jury. However, Mueller still faces another trial on second degree murder charges in Gunnison starting May 20. More than 600 potential jurors have been summoned, reports the Gunnison Country Times.

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Real Estate Spanish

By Forrest Whitman

The business pages of many newspapers are bullish on real estate in Colorado Central country. Sales are up, but there’s an interesting anomaly. Turn to the real estate pages and you’d think you were in Mexico. Names like Spanish Hills, Piñon Hills, Mesa Encantada and Lomas Alt, abound; not to begin to catalog all the streets with Spanish-sounding names.

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Profession of Hope

 By Jennifer Welch

Farming is often referred to as a “profession of hope.” I have spent the past year of my life learning exactly what this means. Most business owners wouldn’t enter into a field with as many uncontrollable variables as farming has. Most businesses are not even designed to rely on sheer optimism as the main driving force. And as such, Farmers live a life of optimism, and the only constant in our business is this: Some days are good, some days are bad.

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Dispatch from the Edge

By Peter Anderson

I used to live in a Wyoming town known for its consistently high winds. On the rare occasion when the wind quit blowing, everyone fell down. Spring is our high wind season here in the valley–maybe not quite as constant and harsh as in Laramie where my neighbors used to measure wind velocity with an anvil on a length of chain – but significant nonetheless. I’ve witnessed brown clouds of dust bowl proportions carrying newly plowed soils from Hooper and points west to the foot of the Sangres.

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Book Review

Benediction By Kent Haruf

Alfred A Knopf, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-307-95988-1
$25.95, 258pp.

Reviewed by Eduardo Rey Brummel

With the 1984 publication of his first novel, The Ties That Bind, Kent Haruf introduced Holt, Colorado to the rest of the world. Haruf’s fifth novel, Benediction, arrived this past February – its initial paragraphs placing the main character into the trouble that will be the story:

Go on ahead, Dad Lewis said, say it.

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In Regard to Tourism: Be Careful What You Ask For

By Martha Quillen

In the early seventies my husband and I moved to Kremmling, which was the sort of small Colorado mountain town you passed through on your way to somewhere else. We bought, and then later sold, the weekly newspaper in Kremmling, then headed south to Salida in the spring of 1978.

Although lower in elevation, Salida was presumably a step up. It was four times bigger than Kremmling, and a lot of its homes and buildings were picturesque, historical and made of brick. Plus they faced paved streets with curbs and sidewalks.

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News from the San Luis Valley

SLV Solar Spotlights

Saguache County Commissioners recently approved a sprawling 6,200-acre solar complex proposed by Santa Monica, California-based SolarReserve. It is to be located 30 miles north of Alamosa and 10 miles west of Great Sand Dunes National Park.

“We got a traffic-stopper,” said board Chairman Mike Spearman, according to The Denver Post. He said he hopes the site will become a tourist attraction, complete with a visitor center and shuttle tours.

In addition, the solar plant being built near Alamosa by North Carolina-based Cogentrix LLC – a Goldman Sachs-owned power company – is almost complete.

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The magic and spirit of DonCon

By Hal Walter

It’s Monday evening at the Taos Inn, and DonCon is scurrying about like an Ebert’s squirrel hyped on the gathering March sunlight. Fresh from the challenging Taos ski slopes, he bounces around the stage area with speakers, amps and wiring, setting up the sound system for the open-mic show he hosts weekly, which attracts some of the region’s best musical entertainment.

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