REGIONAL NEWS ROUNDUP (and other items of interest)

Justice for Justice?
A Western Slope activist and frequent critic of the federal government has filed a motion to dismiss a case against him for allegations he destroyed federal property.
David Justice of Gunnison, was indicted Aug. 13 for an incident that occurred in July 2013 when a group of 23 activists used various tools to remove metal barricades that had been installed by the Bureau of Land Management at the Cushman Creek trail near Olathe. Justice accused the federal government of “over-reach” and was attempting to “educate” about America “moving toward a true dictatorship,” according to the Gunnison Country Times.

Cannabis Interesting, But not the Top Issue
For two Sundays earlier this month, the New York Times devoted great space to explaining why the legalization of cannabis that has started in Colorado and Washington should be expanded to other states.
One editorial, accompanied by an essay written by Lawrence Downes, was a reporting gem. He examined Crested Butte, the one-time mining town now reborn as a mountain resort, and Gunnison, 27 miles downvalley that is a ranching center, home to a small college, and a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
Gunnison, observes Downes, is the sort of place where a $6,000 mountain bike sits atop a $700 Subaru.
Crested Butte has three retail stores for the sale of recreational marijuana use, but Gunnison, so far, has resisted. Chris Dickey, editor of the Gunnison Country Times, said it’s not the top issue in town.
“This is how it feels in Colorado, in Denver and beyond,” Downes wrote. “Even people and places not overeager to embrace marijuana are not cowed by legalization. Seven months after plunging into the what-if world of legal marijuana, Colorado feels years ahead of the rest of the country in cannabis understanding.”
He went on to say that Cheech and Chong jokes will not amuse 20-something cannabis entrepreneurs, nor, for that matter, most other Coloradans, “who are going on with their lives, living apart from the world of weed.”
The report also included this observation from Gunnison-based writer George Sibley: “Above 8,000 feet, it’s almost always Democrat, and downvalley it’s almost always Republican,” he said. “Downvalley it’s more agricultural, self-reliant, Jeffersonian-type republicanism. But upvalley, it was miners, originally, and union people, and then it became post-urban liberals with urban backgrounds.”
And so post-urban Crested Butte readily accepted pot sales, but Gunnison, not so much. – By Allen Best

Pack Burro Race Results
George Zack of Broomfield was the winner of both the Fairplay and Leadville Pack Burro races this year along with his burro, Jack. Hal Walter placed second in both races with his burro, Boogie.
Justin Mock of Conifer won the Buena Vista race with his burro, Yukon Jack. Walter placed third in that race. eighteen-year-old Louise Kuehster of Castle Rock won the womens’ course in Leadville.

Feline Music Critic
A 40-year-old hiker near Down Valley Park in Placerville, Colorado fended off a mountain lion by loudly singing opera after other attempts to shoo away the cougar did not work.
Kyra Kopenstonsky claimed the animal stalked her for twenty minutes in early August and was not at all phased by her attempts to make herself look larger, so she began to belt out songs, unsettling the cat long enough for her to get to safety, according to The Denver Post.

Gang Members Sought
Warrants have been issued for four suspects, three males and one female from the Denver area, in connection with the assault on a Denver family July 5 on Hwy. 96 west of Wetmore. The victims were attacked and forced off the road by members of a motorcycle gang known as “Valiant.”
Custer County Undersheriff Tony Supan wasn’t sure when the arrest of the four would be made, but was quoted in the Wet Mountain Tribune as saying, “Either way, it has been made clear that what they did was very, very wrong. They won’t get away with it.”

Shorts …
• Rob Krar of Flagstaff, Arizona, won the Leadville Trail 100 race, Aug. 16 with the second-fastest time in race history.
• Allison Stewart has been named the new Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado volunteer and partnership coordinator for the U.S. Forest Service Salida and Leadville Ranger Districts.
• A commercial-scale geothermal heating system is in the works for the Gunnison County Courthouse. It will be the first of its kind in the Gunnison Valley.
• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has withdrawn a proposed rule to list the wolverine as threatened in the contiguous U.S. under the Endangered Species Act, citing effective conservation programs evidenced by an expansion of the species’ distribution within the lower 48.
• Conservation Colorado released their scores on Colorado legislators during their 2014 session. Sen. Gail Schwartz was given a score of 100, and Rep. Jim Wilson received a 27.
• The skeletal remains of what was believed to be a human hand found on Trout Creek Pass turned out to be “some type of waterfowl,” according to Chaffee County Sheriff Pete Palmer.

“Notable Quotes”
“If people want these small businesses to stay here, they need to shop at retail prices. If they’re not supported by the locals, they’re just plain not going to survive.” – Gary Ludwig, owner of the Pleasant Avenue Nursery in Buena Vista, who plans to close his business after more than 30 years. – The Chaffee County Times, Aug. 14, 2014.

“When they finally look up, they haven’t got a clue where they are or how they got there.” – Custer County Search and Rescue administrator John Leavitt, referring to mushroom hunters getting lost in the Wet Mountains.
– Wet Mountain Tribune, Aug. 14, 2014.

“If you go back in history and look at how the Indians traveled, they traveled to the burning waters and that was methane in the water and that was warmth in the wintertime …. So a lot of people, if they will just trace back the history, they will know how this is all – a lot of it – is propaganda.” – Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Cowdrey, insinuating that water can naturally catch fire and that therefore hydraulic fracturing is safe.
–, Aug. 12, 2014.