Quillen’s Corner: Establishing an America for Liberty, Justice and The People

By Martha Quillen

For years now, the media and Pew Research reports have indicated Americans are growing increasingly partisan, which is generally characterized as a bad thing, and has been credited with spurring extremism, gridlock, Congressional ineffectiveness and politically motivated violence. But what shocks me in recent years is not the national news; it’s how much vitriol is making its way into our local newspaper.

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Down on the Ground with Springtime in the Rockies

By George Sibley

It’s only the ides of March as I write this, but it’s already springtime in this part of the Rockies. I know that because right now it feels like January outside, with snow pellets – nasty little dry lumps, no art to them at all – moving through, too horizontally to imagine they might stay and leave us a little moisture. But beyond the blur of winddriven flakes I can see blue sky, so I know that in a few minutes it will probably be June out in the yard, calm and sunny and warm. That’s how we know it’s springtime in the Rockies; we know only that whatever extreme we’re in at the moment, it’ll be some other extreme within the hour at worst. Or best.

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A Farmer Far Afield: A Duck’s Life

By John Mattingly

Ducks are smart, capable of deductive reasoning, with an intelligence quotient equal to donkeys. Many are surprised by this, but it is worth remembering that mammals with four legs require a lot of brain space to regulate locomotion, whereas ducks have no complicated considerations when it comes to gliding effortlessly across water. So even though the duck brain is small, most of it is dedicated to the pursuit of life’s most persistent needs and pleasures.

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Places: Bishop Castle

By Elliott Jackson

I’ve only visited Bishop Castle a couple times in waking life, but in my dreams I have found myself wandering round it more than once, like an addled ghost looking for the Mortal Coil’s exit sign. One time, the dragon’s head which adorns the Castle’s topmost battlements came to life as an actual dragon that I had to escape. Another time, spies had chased me there for some unfathomable reason, and I had to try to ditch them by running up and down the spindly iron staircases within the turrets, and climbing higher and higher on the frail-looking iron walkways round the outside, till at length I was hanging from a spire like a brachiating gibbon. (Even in my dreams, I find myself thinking, “this is a hell of a place to discover you have vertigo.”)

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The Real Deal Music Review: Jill Cohn – Heartstrings Touching The Ground

By Brian Rill

Jill Cohn’s eleventh album, Heartstrings Touching The Ground, is only three years old, and is already out of print. However, there are some hard copies on line and it is also available digitally via www.jillcohn.com, along with her other ten albums, more info and downloads. The album was recorded in New York by Grammy Award winning producer Malcolm Burn, who has worked with some huge names. He also is credited with backing vocals, guitars, piano and bass. His resume includes credits with Iggy Pop, John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris just to name a few. Burn captured Jill’s sound respectfully keeping the organic style that most fans of Cohn’s have come to love. Jill has a very soft succulent voice that drips into the microphone with aplomb. Her breathy vocals are layered over a minimalist arrangement of acoustic instruments and sparsely played snare drums that lend the prefect balance for her delicate style.

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Museums of Central Colorado: The San Luis Valley Museum

The Pioneer Schoolroom at the San Luis Valley Museum.

By Joyce Gunn

The San Luis Valley Museum is located in Alamosa, across the street from the fire department, at 401 Hunt Avenue. On the north side of the building is a mural depicting 96 or so images of various sites in the Valley as well as many of the people who had an impact on the Valley’s history. Stop by and we’ll be happy to give you an informational guide to the mural.

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Book Review: Frontier Colorado Gunfights

Frontier Colorado Gunfights
True Stories of Outlaws and Lawmen in the American West
by Kenneth Jessen
J V Publications, 260 pages
ISBN 978-1-928656-12-8

Reviewed by Forrest Whitman

Readers of this publication have come to expect careful and detailed historical writing from Kenneth Jessen. His new book lives up to that standard. Jessen describes gunfights and shootings in thirty one cases and clears up mysteries about some of them. My only criticism is that the book lacks context about the situations that led to the shootings.

When it comes to Jessen’s clearing up mysteries, a good example is Charley Harrison. He was a partner in a famous Colorado saloon, the Criterion. Myths abound about this gambler and killer. Jessen’s story clears up Harrison’s killing of “professor” Charles Stark. The Rocky Mountain News accused Harrison of wantonly killing “Professor” Stark. Was that true?

Jessen shows that Stark (a black man from Missouri) threatened Charley first, with a knife in hand. But did Charley have to shoot Stark six times? What was the context here?

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The Crowded Acre: Cats and Taxes

By Jen Welch

When I was about five years old, I remember nervously asking my mom about taxes. I was concerned that I wouldn’t know when to pay or how much I owed. Add to that the fact that there were multiple types of taxes, varying tax rates and several tax collection entities to make sense of. At this point in my life, I only knew two things with any certainty: I would never get married in the state of Georgia (which required a blood draw to do so – presumably to make sure you weren’t too closely related to your betrothed), and that I loathed the idea of paying taxes. Fast forward thirty years and not much has changed. I moved to a state that doesn’t require blood draws in order to become legally married and I still abhor tax season. Let’s just say that I’m part dutiful-citizen, part taxation-is-theft. Truthfully, I should be preparing my taxes now but, I’m hoping that if I put it off long enough, maybe the zombie apocalypse will finally start and we can all do something more useful with our time

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Eye on the 5th

By Daniel Smith

Despite reportedly strong caucus turnouts in the district, nothing is very clear yet on the strength of the various candidates running for the Fifth Congressional District seat.

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Top 10 Worst Ghost Towns in Colorado: Part Two

By Jan MacKell Collins

Elkton – Boom and Bust

Named for the nearby Elkton Mine in 1894, this town in the world-famous Cripple Creek District once had a population of 2,500 people. All three railroads of the District once served Elkton, and a special siding was constructed for the sole purpose of transporting gold ore from the Elkton, the Cresson, and other big mines. In Elkton proper, streets of the community were laid out in tidy rows on the hillside, with miner’s cabins and small houses lining up next to one another. There was a school, plus several restaurants and shops, and a post office which opened in 1895. Being a family town, Elkton had only one saloon.

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Pipe Dream: One Couple’s Ideal Job of Moving Water Under Mountains

The Schryver’s car emerges from the four-mile-long Twin Lakes Tunnel, which for many months of the year is the couple’s only link to civilization. Photo by Jamie Sudler, H2O Media, Ltd.

By Frani Halperin, H2O Radio

Glenn and Kim Schryver are the nicest people you could ever meet. The kind of people you’d love to have as neighbors – considerate, handy, friendly, and funny. Only, if you lived next-door to them, your driveway would be four miles long through a narrow tunnel barely wide enough to fit a car – and one that actively carries water. Glenn and Kim are the caretakers of Grizzly Reservoir, just east of Aspen, and the tunnel is, for many months of the year, their only link to civilization.

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From the Editor: Tales of the Cult

By Mike Rosso

Last night I began watching the Netflix series Wild Wild Country, a six-part documentary on the Rajneesh commune in rural Oregon in the early 1980s.

This story has fascinated me since those early days as I had a friend in Durango who fell in love with a member of that cult, began dressing in various shades of red and orange, sold all of his belongings, and moved to Oregon.

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About the Cover Photographer: David Sorensen

By David Sorensen

David Sorensen migrated with his family from the Netherlands to the San Luis Valley, Colorado in 2016. They have a dream of living in the beauty of God’s creation. As a nature photographer, David has found that the beauty of nature has a healing effect on people. Nature’s beauty gives us a feeling of well being, relaxation and positive thoughts. It lowers stress levels and gives a sense of abundant life. That’s why David created a brand new interior collection with his very best nature photography, called Paradise Canvas Prints. This collection literally “brings paradise into your home.” You can order his Colorado wall art at David’s website: www.ParadiseCanvasPrints.com.

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Dispatch from the Edge

By Peter Anderson All winter long, this lingering dissonance: I say “beautiful day,” and the blue sky mildness is real and pleasant enough, but so is the uneasy notion that our good fortune now will cost us come summer. The weather “pleasantries” we exchange carry only half of the truth. The other half, too unsettling …

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Absolute Bikes: A Two-Wheeler’s Dream Shop

By Mike Rosso In recent years, Salida has become known as a bicycling mecca, especially mountain biking. There are 23 miles of trails just within the Salida Mountain Trails system, and that’s not counting such trails as the Colorado and Monarch Crest. Shawn Gillis, owner of Absolute Bikes, had a sense of the potential for …

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How to Age Well in Central Colorado

By Jan Wondra

Residents of Central Colorado who love where they live likely share a common goal; to grow old in a place they love. Central to that goal are support services to retain quality of life. Agencies such as Upper Arkansas Area Agency on Aging (UAAAA), senior programs created by Chaffee County Public Health and other non-profit organizations such as A Little Help and Sage Generation, are in place to support efforts to remain active and living where we want, as long as possible.

The influx of active seniors into the central Rocky Mountain counties, called a “silver tsunami,” has become a major economic driver. After a 2016 Community Health Assessment, Chaffee County created a five year (2017-2021) health plan with an entire segment focused on seniors.

“One in five Chaffee County residents is 65 or older, and by 2020 it will be one in four residents,” said Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom. “We’re trying to position the county – the lead county in a four-county health coalition – for the future. We have Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center here, but we have an expanding need for senior support.”

In 2017, Chaffee County Public Health created Sassy Seniors, a free service led by public health nurse Sandra Morgan. Appointments can be made by calling 719-530-2563.

“It’s a free assessment program; we assess their home’s safety features, assess their health, offer immunizations, recommend home helpers for things they can no longer do, give them a tool kit for thriving at home,” said Carlstrom.

Carlstrom says plugging seniors into a senior network is important. 

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