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From theEditor – War and Circuses

Since our last issue the world has seen tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, near-meltdowns at nuclear reactors, no-fly zones, allied bombing of Libya, new protests in Bahrain, Syria, Egypt and Yemen, forest fires in Colorado and Charlie Sheen.

We’d like for our April issue to be a respite from all that but we do have to warn you – we have two pieces discussing one of the greatest tragedies in U.S. history, the Civil War.

This April marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of that conflict which pitted brother against brother and saw at least 618,000 casualties, nearly 2% of the U.S. population at the time. Disease killed more many than battlefield wounds and lingering resentments can still be found south of the Mason-Dixon line even now.

Writers Ed Quillen and Kenneth Jessen both submitted their take on the Civil War and Colorado’s role in the conflict and we were pleased to be able to run both articles for a comprehensive look back 150 years.

On the lighter side, Saturday, April 16, 2011 has been designated as World Circus Day by the Federation Mondiale du Cirque which coincides with Nathan Ward’s article on the Salida Circus and its founder Jennifer Dempsey (who also happens to be a contributor to Colorado Central). I remember meeting Jennifer when she first arrived in town and was somewhat dubious when she divulged her plans to start a circus here. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the concept with my stereotypes of elephants, tigers, clowns and big tops, but she has proven that the circus is also a state of mind and many community members have responded very positively to the laughter, vibrancy and thrills she has since introduced with her vision.

Speaking of circuses, one of the books I read in the past month is Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, a fictional but historically accurate account of a train circus traveling the rails in the U.S. during the Great Depression. It is also being released on the big screen this April 22, directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz. After reading the book I thought it would be a perfect fit for the Coen Brothers so am hoping this director can do the story justice.

One more note – this is the 26th issue we’ve released since purchasing the magazine from Ed and Martha Quillen in February 2009 and I wanted to thank all of our dedicated readers, contributors and advertisers for helping to keep independent media relevant and sustainable in this crazy time in the early part of the 21st century. Please feel free to write us and let us know how we are doing!

– Mike Rosso