Roller Skating in Colombia

By Lillian Wood

Chaffee County’s roller derby team, the Ark Valley High Rollers, first formed in January 2010. Since then, they’ve recruited many new players (playfully referred to as “fresh meat”), and are now 18 strong and ranked 188 out of 284 by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). When they became a sanctioned WFTDA team, one of the team’s jobs was to mentor new teams. Last fall, they were invited to visit their mentees, the Bogotá Bone Breakers in Bogotá, Colombia, to play a mock sanctioned bout, the last step in the Bogota team’s journey to becoming a sanctioned WFTDA team. For ten days in June, nine girls from the High Rollers travelled to Colombia to play the Bone Breakers. The South American team’s newfound status as a sanctioned team now allows them to play internationally and they are eligible for ranking by the WFTDA.

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Down on the Ground with the Garden

By George Sibley

May and June are dominated here by the garden. Gardens, I should say; when we moved into our Gunnison home 20-some years ago, we were unimpressed with the expanse of bad lawn that came with it, and we resolved to annually convert 50 square feet of bad lawn to garden space. I lack my partner Maryo’s experience with plants, and undoubtedly some of her dedication – I mean, she grew tomatoes in a community garden in Chicago right by a bus stop, which involved defensive measures like painting the tomatoes with a flour mixture to make them look diseased to random hunter-gatherers. But I signed on as the project heavy-lifter, being no lover of monocultures, and now we have little gardens – some kind of growing together – all over the yard.

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Quillen’s Corner: Is There Such A Thing As A Good Politician?

In a column posted on, Issie Lapowsky called Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg “one of the most skilled politicians of our times.” That observation came after conservatives accused Facebook staffers of suppressing conservative content in its Trending Topics feature. In response, Zuckerberg invited more than a dozen prominent conservatives to a meeting in the Silicon Valley, and the attendees (who included Glenn Beck of talk radio fame and Jenny Beth Martin, a co-founder of the Tea Party) came away satisfied and appreciative.

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John Mattingly: Inner Old Man Update

Just as science fiction is having a hard time competing with science fact, Inner Old Man is having a hard time competing – or perhaps the word is coping – with the voices of complaint, despair and outrage. Terrorism is horrible, but so are car accidents and train wrecks and the fact that more teenagers have been killed in Chicago gun violence than have been killed in action in Iraq, yet we are not spending trillions to reduce these horrors. U.S. citizens are truly incapable of accurately and appropriately assessing risk, and Donald Trump knows it.
One might say the only thing we cannot ignore is ignorance itself.

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The Real Deal Music Review: The Long Ride Home – Tyller Gummersall

tyyler_webBy Brian Rill

The Long Ride Home is a CD that saunters along with a rural twang. Eleven songs compile the noise of steel strings and fanciful voices within car windows, rambling down old highways filled with lonesome sounds of lullabies and sandy ballads, while idly running into some seriously talented hitchhikers along the way. Obviously a bighearted guy, Tyller Gummersall was born to flatpick and raised singing country tunes in a pickup truck. At age eight, he crooned beneath Colorado skies on rural stages beside legendary guitar wrangler, Gary Cook. While ambling between Nashville and Colorado, he was perfecting an empirically tender style to define his unique approach to songwriting.

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Book Review: Mountain Rampage

mountain-rampage_webMountain Rampage
By Scott Graham
ISBN: 978-1-937226-45-9
Torrey House Press: 2015
$14.95, 269pp.

Reviewed by Eduardo Rey Brummel

In Rocky Mountain National Park someone is poaching Rocky Mountain sheep, taking just the heads and leaving the bodies. Meanwhile, Chuck Bender, hired by a professor at Durango’s Fort Lewis College, is leading an eight-week college field class in historical archeology, also in Rocky Mountain National Park. During their final week, a huge pool of blood is found outside their Estes Park dormitories, which turns out to be the first of several horrors about to take place.

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Asparagus Walks

By Mary Pope-Cornum

My husband came in, smiling from ear to ear with his hand behind his back, looking like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. I wondered if he was going to pull a water snake out and try to scare me, or something equally teasing as he is so fond of doing.
“Are you busy?” He asked.
“I am.”

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Take a Book, Leave a Book: Community Book Exchanges

By Tom Senkus Perhaps you’ve seen them on a stroll through your neighborhood. Housed in what appears to be a posh birdfeeder that could douable as a listing on Airbnb are miniature libraries, often with the tagline, “take a book, leave a book.” Inside are often a large number of books: used paperbacks, children’s magazines …

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Counting Our Neighbors

We asked Mike Porras with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), Northwest Region if he could share with us a current estimate of some wildlife species in Colorado. With assistance from a wildlife biologist with CPW, they provided the following numbers. He explained that herd animals are easier to estimate as they can be spotted more …

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The Lariat Loop: An Engineering Marvel at Texas Creek

A view of the Texas Creek bridge and a D&R.G.R.R. passenger train climbing up towards Inspiration Point for the trip to Westcliffe, circa 1890s. Courtesy of  the Denver Public Library.
A view of the Texas Creek bridge and a D&R.G.R.R. passenger train climbing up towards Inspiration Point for the trip to Westcliffe, circa 1890s. Courtesy of the Denver Public Library.

By Forrest Whitman

Readers of Colorado Central have probably driven right next to the roadbed of a spectacular railroad loop without noticing it. Even today, the Rio Grande’s Texas Creek extension gives us spectacular views of a line built around the mountainside and up to the sky. Getting a view and photo of its high reaches above the Arkansas Valley led us on a trip there recently.

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The Strange Tale of Samuel Derry

Samuel Derry’s ranch house is quite complex with multiple additions. The tower was said to be used by Derry to look for vigilantes coming from Leadville after his acquittal for the murder of Major General Bearce in June, 1884.
Samuel Derry’s ranch house is quite complex with multiple additions. The tower was said to be used by Derry to look for vigilantes coming from Leadville after his acquittal for the murder of Major General Bearce in June, 1884.

By Kenneth Jessen

In modern society, those responsible for mass shootings of innocent people are sometimes sent to a mental hospital instead of death row. Some are sentenced to life in prison. This often infuriates much of the public who wish to see a more severe form of justice served. But the insanity defense goes back a long way in Colorado.

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From the Editor: Railroading

By Mike Rosso

Confession: I enjoy trains – a lot.
I’ve been aboard most of the tourist trains in Colorado, and was lucky enough to hear John McCutcheon sing City of New Orleans in the original Illinois Central club car, chugging down the west side of La Veta Pass one rainy summer afternoon. Sometimes I’ll even get nostalgic about the acrid coal smoke of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge R.R. I was forced to inhale when I owned a downtown business there. I’ve also awoken to coal cars rumbling through downtown Paonia in the middle of the night.

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About the Cover Photograph

The cover photograph of a Denver and Rio Grande Railroad passenger train was taken between 1890 and 1910 for the railroad. The location is the Texas Creek Bridge, over the Arkansas River in Fremont County. The passenger train is climbing the steep grade on its way up Texas Creek to Westcliffe. Although the route was abandoned in 1937, remains of the stone embankment on the distant mountainside can still be seen today.

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Of Pools and Dunes and Bullfrogs

By Hal Walter

To borrow just slightly from the writer Thomas McGuane, camping in your own backyard becomes with time, if you love camping, less and less expeditionary. When summer vacation hit, the camp stove seemed more like a campfire than it ever had before, and the Suzuki hatchback more like a pack-burro.

In this case the back yard was the San Luis Valley. I’d promised my son Harrison a trip to the Hooper Pool (as it’s known by locals) and the nearby Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve as a reward for his outstanding finish at the Hardscrabble Mountain Trail Run, which I help organize. He placed third in his age group, and as far as I know was the only kid with autism in the race.

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