About the Cover Artist: Randy Pijoan

Artist Randy Pijoan of Amalia, New Mexico is the founder of Ventero Open Press, an arts-based nonprofit located in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. Ventero is dedicated to the social and artistic development of the next generation of artists, with a focus on providing for youth who have little or no access to art materials, training or resources. Over the past six and a half years, Ventero Open Press has provided local students (grades K-12) with art supplies, artistic instruction and personal mentorship, filling a gap where traditional schooling is increasingly failing. 

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Native Peaks

By Mike Rosso

The Ute Indian tribes are the oldest continuous residents of Colorado. The earliest Utes are said to have populated the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains and were hunters and gatherers.

Before the Europeans arrived, the Ute (which means “land of the sun”) were composed of seven bands; the Mouache, Weeminuche, Uintah, Yampa, Parianuc, Tabeguache and Capote. The latter were dwellers of the San Luis Valley and Northern New Mexico. The Tabeguache lived in the Gunnison and Uncompahgre River Valleys. These diverse bands now make up the present day Southern Ute, Ute Mountain Ute and Northern Ute Tribes.

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Alpine Station

By Christopher Kolomitz

At more than 11,500 feet in elevation and reached via a modest four-wheel-drive road, a driving adventure to Alpine Station and the west portal of Alpine Tunnel makes a superb trip into Central Colorado’s high country.

The journey provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of one of the state’s most ambitious and short -lived railroads – the Denver South Park and Pacific. Construction on the line started in 1878, and in 1889 the original owners defaulted. Shortly after, history’s cruel ways intervened and the line never made it to the Pacific, only reaching the Gunnison area and Leadville via Boreas and Fremont passes.

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Alive in the Hive

By Ericka Kastner

I felt alive (dare I say buzzed?) as I pulled away from Jamie Johnston’s beeyard of nearly 2,400,000 honeybees off County Road 160 near Salida. The murmur of the bees’ song echoed in my ears, and I smiled as I drove, pondering the possibility of establishing my own small-scale hobby hive to pollinate my backyard garden.

Draped in beekeepers’ veils and coveralls, Jamie and I chatted about bee biology, the science of honey making and her family’s rich history in beekeeping as she checked the hives for the timing of the honey harvest.

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On the Trail of a Triple Crown

By Hal Walter
After 34 years of pack-burro racing, it’s perhaps not so remarkable that this season I finally attained the sport’s Triple Crown title, a feat that involves being the first place man or woman in each of the sport’s big races in the Colorado mountain towns of Fairplay, Leadville and Buena Vista.

What is remarkable is how many firsts marked this season of passage in Colorado’s indigenous sport, and the way we view the genders of both the animals and their runners.

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Down on the Ground with Water Planning

By George Sibley

How do you conduct resource planning for a resource when you know the demand will increase, but the supply won’t, and might even decrease? And how does a generation which has a heritage of generally avoiding questions like that through technological fixes, prepare a plan for coming generations to actually address such questions with better political and economic infrastructure?

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Lawyers in the Midst, Another Fluid Curiosity

By John Mattingly
The effort by San Luis Valley water users to self-regulate – and sustainably manage – the surface and groundwater systems of the Valley with sub-districts is now approaching a decade in process.

In 2004, Senate Bill 04-222 and HB-1198 basically offered Valley water users a carrot and stick: either come up with a system of sub-districts that restored the Valley’s aquifers to levels seen in the base period – 1978 through 2000 – and then manage the Valley’s aquifers sustainably thereafter, or submit to command-and-control rules and regulations from the state.

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Regional News

Walter, Thorpe Win Triple Crown

The triple crown in burro racing was won by both Hal Walter of Westcliffe and Karen Thorpe of Salida in a first-ever sharing of the elusive crown.

Walter won his seventh World Championship and, at age 53, is the oldest person to have won the event in its 65-year history. Walter won his races with the help of the burro Full Tilt Boogie, and Thorpe gained her crown with the assistance of her burro, Kokomo. Please see Hal’s column this month.

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The Buzz

By Ericka Kastner

• Bee brokers pay between $140 and $180 per hive to rent it for pollinating. The stronger the hive (more bees, more pollen, more honey), the more a broker will pay. Weak hives may get put back on the truck and returned to their beekeeper.

• Honey is made from flower nectar. Bees collect nectar by drinking it; they carry it in their stomachs and regurgitate it when they arrive at the hive. The bees then flap their wings to evaporate the water from the nectar; this in turn creates heat, and honey is produced.

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The Love Ranch, Part 2

Chaffee County Historic Resources Survey Series

By Fay Golson for The Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board

To conclude the account of the Love Ranch, the third property in the Chaffee County Historic Resource Survey and featured in last month’s Colorado Central, Jo Love’s importance to the ranch will be disclosed. Although their marriage was brief, her dedication to her husband, Mark Love, was a significant influence on her life.

Being registered as a Colorado State Guide, Mark guided hunters and fishermen through the mountains. Theodore Roosevelt and Zane Grey were reportedly just a few of his notable clients. In a photograph supplied by Antony Mayo, Mark is shown seated with Buffalo Bill Cody and an unidentified man. The 1910 census reveals Mark’s place of residency as Glenwood Springs and his occupation as a tourist guide. A year after their marriage the Loves acquired the ranch and converted it into a cabin camp for summer vacationers. The camp consisted of three guest cabins and the main house.

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Along Ancient Trails

By Ron Sering

Ken Frye, retired archaeologist with the National Forest Service, gestured to the vast expanse of the San Luis Valley. “We think the Old Spanish Trail went through not far from here,” he said. We were in the La Garita Store, fortifying ourselves with green chili burgers for a tour of rock art sites in the area.

“It’s an ancient trail,” he explained. The Old Spanish Trail was named for the Spanish traders and missionaries who journeyed it between Santa Fe and Los Angeles, but its origins lie centuries beyond that, possibly longer, as a network of foot trails used by Native Americans. “We think people went through here, maybe a thousand years ago.”

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Climate Change in Central Colorado

By Tyler Grimes

With any article on climate change, it’s tempting to try to grab the reader’s attention with horrifying statistics or stories of natural disasters or the severity of drought, but this is an issue where facts speak loudest:

• The global temperature has increased by 1.4 degrees Celsius over the last century. (EPA)

• 2000 to 2010 was the warmest decade on record. (EPA)

• August was the 342nd consecutive month with above average global temperatures. (climate.gov)

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News from the San Luis Valley

Stun Gun Scenario

An Alamosa city councilor who was attempting to evict his son from a rental property was living up to the traditional Wild West ways of resolving disputes – new school style. Leland Romero had waved a stun gun at his son Lucas during a lawn-watering incident and then pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment.

He has been sentenced to nine months of unsupervised probation and ordered to donate $200 to a local charitable group of his choice.

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One Person’s Rights Are Another’s Wrongs

By Martha Quillen

I always check out the maxims posted in front of Salida’s Episcopal church. They’re often clever or funny, and occasionally downright thought-provoking. But in July one of them struck me as way too optimistic. “If it is good and right,” the sign declared, “then it will be.”

After I walked by, I started formulating sayings that I felt were more credible:

If it is good and right … then it won’t get through Congress.

If it is good and right … my ex (or kids) won’t have anything to do with it.

If it is good and right – and harmless, too – it’s probably boring.

If it is good and right … then prove it in court.

If it is good and right … the NRA will claim it violates our Second Amendment rights.

If it is good and (made) right … it probably has too many calories.

If it is good and right … my mother (or mother-in-law, husband, boss, kids – pick your critic) will make sure I hear about it.

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Book Reviews

 Season of Terror: The Espinosas in Central Colorado, March-October 1863

By Charles F. Price
University Press of Colorado, 2013
ISBN 978-1-61732-236-8
$34.95, cloth, 352 pages

Reviewed by Forrest Whitman

A new book about an old terrorist threat is getting a lot of press in Central Colorado lately. Felipe and Vivian Espinosa, and later their nephew Jose Vicente, terrorized Colorado in 1863 (some would extend that threat into 1864). By some accounts they hoped to lead a revolt against the U.S. Government at a time when the U.S. was gradually taking control of New Mexico and Southern Colorado. By some accounts they killed upwards of forty people, all innocent Anglos. They themselves boasted that the kill was 42 Anglos, but other authorities point to 32. At least one of the murdered was of Salida interest. The victim, Henry Harkins, has descendents who knew Harkins well.

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