A Farmer Far Afield – Apocalypse When

by John Mattingly Homo sapiens has a long history of durable histrionics when it comes to the End of Times. Before science de-mystified many of the most frightening cosmic events in our world and universe, ancient humans understandably saw apocalyptic potential in earthquakes, volcanoes, comets, eclipses and so forth. Today, even though humans understand much …

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Quillen’s Corner – Do You Know the Way to a Better Day?

by Martha Quillen Getting citizens, parties and government officials to communicate, cooperate and work together is nigh impossible these days. But despite several decades of growing dysfunction, I thought we would eventually work things out, until I read Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hateful Acts …

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On the Ground– Down on the Ground with Poverty in Paradise

by George Sibley A couple months ago I wrote about the “One Valley Prosperity Project” (OVPP) in the Upper Gunnison Basin – the western part of Central Colorado. This is our valley’s latest assault on the challenge of economic development for high remote mountain valleys. Most recently, to better inform the discussion, the county-led OVPP …

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The Real Deal Music Review – Pint & A Half – Blue Sky Earth

by Brian Rill The blue sky stretches out long over the Colorado Rocky Mountains, sweeping clear onto the eastern seaboard. Then, threading back through the majestic St. Louis Arch and finally, in between towering cliffs that hang silently and over a saintly green valley. High above an obfuscated pass, followed down slowly by devout hermits, …

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Places Column – Zapata Falls

by Ericka Kastner Stunning sand dunes views, classic Colorado wildflowers, creek wading, slot canyon exploration and an awe-inspiring waterfall. Surprisingly, the short hike to Zapata Falls has it all, and then some. The wide, quarter-mile long trail ascends gradually from 9,000 to 9,400 feet in elevation and takes only about 15 minutes to complete. There …

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Salida StudioTour – GILMORE VAN STONE, JR.

by Mike Rosso Since 2009, art fans have had an opportunity to meet Salida artists and craftspersons in their working studios, thanks to the Salida Studio Tour. Every other year, artists open their doors to the public for a chance to watch the artists at work, discuss techniques and view private displays of art. Among …

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Book Review – Under a Triumphant Sky: A Bike Across America Story

Under a Triumphant Sky: A Bike Across America Story By Steve Garufi Mount Princeton Press: 2014 332 pp, $21.95 ISBN: 978-0692302897 Reviewed by Eduardo Rey Brummel Is there any of us who hasn’t dreamed of running away, of heading on out to the highway, never looking back, getting away from it all? Steve Garufi had …

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Book Review – Red Lightening

Red Lightning: A Novel By Laura Pritchett Counterpoint, hardback, 208 pp, $24 ISBN: 9781619025332 1619025337 Reviewed by Annie Dawid What would be the relief in redemption if it were a simple sorry, forgive me? Grace is not achieved so easily. Redemption is to purchase back something previously sold, the recovery of something pawned or mortgaged, …

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Water Update

by John Orr Hobbs to Say Adiós to the Colorado Supreme Court Greg Hobbs is calling it quits after 19 years as the Colorado Supreme Court’s “water expert.” Early in his career he clerked for the 10th Circuit, worked with David Robbins at the EPA, and worked at the Colorado Attorney General’s office. AG duties …

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The Caboose

by Forrest Whitman I recently took a lovely walk up the old Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad grade to the Orient mine in the northern San Luis Valley. It’s a spot anyone can visit on their own. Just stop at the Valley View Hot Springs office and sign in. Graded in 1881, this narrow …

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Flags Abound

By Mike Rosso

Several months back I decided to make a slight change in the design of the Colorado Central website, coloradocentralmagazine.com. On the top banner, I incorporated the theme of the Colorado flag to reflect our connection to, and pride in, this great state.

Since then, I’ve begun to see the flag – in various incarnations – just about everywhere; on hats, T-shirts, bumper stickers, product labeling and more. I don’t think this is just coincidence. There seems to be a lot of overall pride in this state lately. Folks are glad to live here and are not shy about advertising that fact. Having lived in Colorado for  nearly 35 years, I’ve never seen this level of interest in the simple yet elegant design that is our state flag.

Designed by Andrew Carlisle Johnson, the official Colorado state flag was adopted on June 5, 1911. 

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Bad Times for the Boreal Toad

By Daniel Smith

It’s the amphibian of your youth.

Brown, squat, lumpy with “warts” – the kind your mother warned you about. The Boreal Toad (Anaxyrus Boreas) is the quintessential toad in appearance.

The little four-inch toad is the focus of an important preservation campaign in Chaffee County, which has one of the few isolated areas in the world where it may have a chance to hold its own. But now the extinction threat is real, even here.

The chytrid fungus, a disease thought to have originated in Africa, is an extinction threat. Globally, amphibian numbers have declined alarmingly, accelerating since the end of the last century.

The Boreal Toad was very common in high, wet areas of the Colorado mountains, but by 1989, surveys found an 83 percent population loss from breeding areas.

Beginning in 1994, population surveys were done in some of the habitat where they were quickly disappearing, and a multi-agency rescue effort started not long after. The Boreal Toad is now listed as endangered in Colorado and New Mexico and as a protected species in Wyoming. A decision on its listing as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pending in 2017.

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PJ Bergin Felt Artist

by Ericka Kastner Felting has been around for a long time. But the large-scale wall installations and glow boxes created by PJ Bergin in her Salida Felt in Hand Studio are exceptionally unusual. It’s been seven years since PJ launched her business and website, and the majority of her work is primarily commissioned pieces for …

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The Natural World

by Tina Mitchell Let’s say you’re a bird. Your breeding area this spring and summer abound with budding plants, fresh fruits, nutritious insects – plenty for you and the kids you raised. But what about the coming fall and winter? To paraphrase The Clash, should you stay or should you go? In Central Colorado, most …

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News from the San Luis Valley

New Courthouse in the Works? County commissioners in Alamosa are expected to send a proposal to voters for a one-cent sales tax increase to fund a new courthouse and jail renovations, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. The proposed three-story courthouse, expansion of the existing jail and overhaul of the existing courthouse, built in the 1930s, …

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Regional News Roundup

Justice Sentenced Gunnison resident and talk show host David Justice has been convicted of destroying a barricade on public land administered by the BLM. He will spend a month in jail and pay $4,000 restitution. He has also been banned from all federal lands for two years. In July 2013, Justice, whose real name is …

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A Singletrack Mind

by Hayden Mellsop It is 4:30 a.m., July 4. Like moths to a flame, mountain bikers converge in the predawn darkness in a home on a quiet backstreet of downtown Salida. Ahead lies a journey that will take them from Salida to the top of Monarch Pass, south across the Continental Divide to Silver Creek, …

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About the Cover Artist – Hal Walter

Colorado Central readers best know Hal Walter as an essayist and columnist, but he actually began his career in journalism as a photographer. Over the years his photos have appeared in several national and regional publications, including a recent cover for the inaugural issue of Local Food Shift, and of course, Colorado Central Magazine. On …

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Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs Retires

By John Orr

Greg Hobbs is calling it quits after 19 years as the Colorado Supreme Court’s “water expert.”

Early in his career he clerked for the 10th Circuit, worked with David Robbins at the EPA, and worked at the Colorado Attorney General’s office. AG duties included the natural resources area – water quality, water rights and air quality issues. He represented the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy district before forming his own firm, his last stop on the way to the Court.

He told the Colorado Statesman that he always had his eye on the Supreme Court. While serving at the 10th circuit, Judge William Doyle told encouraged him to set his sites on the Supreme Court, saying “They do everything over there.”

When he appointed Hobbs to the court, Governor Roy Romer told him to “get a real tie,” according to the Statesman. A bolo tie, as Hobbs usually wears, didn’t seem to qualify.

The justice is hardworking outside his court duties. He is often asked to speak at conventions and meetings around the state. He is deeply driven to learn about others and to share his knowledge of law and history.

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It’s Like Riding a Bicycle

By Hal Walter

I remember quite well that I was slow to learn to ride a bicycle. This may have been partially because I had not been introduced to bikes early in childhood, but for whatever reason, when I was about seven I realized other kids my age were riding and that I could not.

My mom, who was doing her best to keep the family afloat with two jobs, had acquired what was known as an “English” three-speed racing bike. It was a girls model, which meant the top rails were curved downward at an angle rather than parallel to the ground – a good thing since the bike was way too big for me.

I remember one day taking this hulking steel steed out to the sloped driveway behind the duplex where we lived, determined to learn to ride it. I started at the top with my feet to either side and shuffled along astride the bike while coasting down the short drive. Then I pushed it back up and tried again. Over and over.

Each time I was able to coast a little farther between steps. It seemed like hours went by, and then suddenly I coasted the entire driveway.

This all remained tucked away in my memory for decades but resurfaced in recent years when I began to question whether my own son would ever learn to ride a bike. It’s well known that many autistic kids have difficulty learning to balance a two-wheeler. For many there is a difficulty processing spatial relationships, motor balancing and multi-tasking skills, all of which play simultaneous roles in riding a bike.

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