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Notes & Commentary for September 1994

Brief by Central Staff

Various – September 1994 – Colorado Central Magazine


AMERICAN HIGHWAY STRIPS — According to the posters in the window, Kentucky Fried Chicken now offers breasts that are 33 percent larger.

Ink for the Arts

SALIDA — The local art community was featured in a front-page story in the July/August edition of Colorado Arts, a tabloid published by the Colorado Federation of the Arts in Denver.

The article, by Theo Pinkowitz, focused on sculptor Chris Byars, who moved to Salida 23 years ago when “it was a great place for counter-culture drop-outs,” and his efforts to get more artists to move to town. There were copies all over town, so if you missed it, ask around.

When we saw Byars on the street in early August, he said that the effort has certainly succeeded. “There are artists all over here, and I just talked to a couple more who plan to move here. Now, if I could just sell some of my work. How do we get art buyers to come to town?”

Ink for the Races

FAIRPLAY — As burro-racer and frequent contributor Hal Walter has noted, burro-racing has nothing to do with politics. It’s mere coincidence that, out of the mere 20 or so competitors in Colorado, two of them are also running for the state legislature: Republican incumbent Ken Chlouber of Leadville and Democratic challenger Curtis Imrie of Buena Vista.

Their various races were featured in an article in the Aug. 8 edition of the Wall Street Journal by Marj Charlier of the paper’s Denver bureau.

In it, Chlouber observes that “All we’re trying to do is keep the mining tradition alive and bring a few people to the high country to spend a few bucks. Throwing politics into it is harmful to everyone.”

Imrie, who finished ahead of Chlouber in the Fairplay race, said that “To our mutual credit, we can both deal with jackasses. But the record shows I can do it better.”

Ink for the Smokestack

SMELTERTOWN — The 365-foot brick smokestack got two pages in the July/August edition of Historic Preservation in the “Curio” department — a brief article by Alicia Rodriguez and a full-page photo by Brian Vanden Brink.

Built in 1917 to replace a smaller stack, the $50,000 stack was supposed to lift toxic fumes so high that they wouldn’t poison neighboring crops and cows. However, the Ohio & Colorado Smelter closed two years later.

Since then, the demolition crews have come close, but were staved off by local activists, and it’s now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Ink for the Road

COLO 291, US 285 & US 24 — Remember the slick Rocky Mountain magazine of 15 years ago? Now there’s another one, published by Cowles and billing itself as “The International Guide to Outdoor Adventure” and advertising lots of groovy gear for the Gore-TexTM high-tech crowd.

Among the montane adventures presented is a skinny-tire bicycle trip from Salida to Leadville. “The road is in excellent condition, with wide shoulders two-thirds of the way,” and “keep an attentive eye for road-hogging shuttle buses.”

Crestone photographer J.D. Marston also has a regular feature on his speciality; he explains how he composes pictures, and his exposition is lucid and clear.

Ink for the West

PAONIA — We should have noted that an article in our August issue, “The Fire Next Time” by Tom Wolf, had appeared in somewhat different form in High Country News, “a Paper for People who Care about the West.”

If you’re not familiar with High Country News, you can get a free sample copy by writing to P.O. Box 1090, Paonia CO 81428, and asking.

Perhaps it’s the Altitude

TEXAS — We recently acquired a new laser printer for producing Colorado Central, a Texas Instruments microLaser Pro 65. It generally works like a champ, and we’ve got no complaints.

But the instruction manual warns that its operational range extends only to 8,200 feet above sea level. Salida’s at 7,033, so we’re safe, but a lot of central Colorado exceeds that elevation.

So we called. No, there’s nothing in the printer that will explode or collapse at higher altitudes. It’s just that they haven’t tested it above 8,200 feet, and so they won’t warrant it for operation in the real high country.

If you’re in Leadville or Fairplay, maybe you should call TI and offer to test the machine at your elevation.

Level field?

AREA CODE 719 — We haven’t been in business for long enough to be on many mailing lists, but we did get a packet from USWest recently which began with “Dear Community Leader.”

The telecommunications industry is undergoing convulsions with combinations of long-distance companies, cable TV companies, motion-picture companies, etc.

Regional telephone monopolies like USWest have been able to play outside their territories, but are restricted inside their territories. That is, US West can buy and operate a cable outfit in Virginia, but not in Colorado.

This doesn’t seem fair to USWest, which asks “community leaders” to support allowing the phone company to enter new markets.

Thousands of new Colorado jobs would be created, the company says, and “Consumers will benefit by having a competitive marketplace.”

Yet in all the material, there was no offer by USWest to give up its monopoly on long-distance calls inside the same area code.

There’s competition in calls between area codes, and that’s why it costs less to call New York than Westcliffe.

We certainly agree that “consumers will benefit by having a competitive marketplace.”

We just wonder whether USWest really wants such a market, or whether it would prefer that its rivals had a competitive market while it continues to enjoy monoply rates wherever USWest can collect them.