Columns

Wed
10
Jun
atodd's picture

Pizza delivery, government style

Some of our Montrose subscribers have called recently to ask us why their newspapers have been arriving a few days later in the mail than usual. We just found out why. Instead of our out-of- county papers being shipped to Grand Junction for postal sorting, they are now being shipped to Denver!
This decision is not a local one, but a decision of your United States Postal Service.
We turn them into the Ouray post office, in turn they travel past Montrose to Denver, get sorted, then are sent back to Montrose. What do you bet they go through Montrose and Grand Junction on the way to Denver?
The efficiency of your big government at work.
There is a remedy, and we are working on it and should have it fixed in a few weeks. Thanks to our readers for alerting us.
For some reason, this kind of bureau- cracy reminds us of an exchange on the television show M*A*S*H, when Henry Blake was trying to get a special order delivered to the front line:

Fri
05
Jun
atodd's picture

Jumping up and down on the Hangman’s trap door

Suffering from a bout of cabin fever, Bobbie and I recently hiked the vertiginous Bear Creek Trail where we happened upon three runners. Two were hard bodied outdoor gals training for the Hardrock 100—an arduous hundred-mile foot race that ascends 13,000 foot passes and weaves the rugged mountains between Silverton, Ouray and Telluride. “Hardrock” says it all; it takes elite runners nearly 24 hours—all day and all night—to finish. The rest drop out or straggle in, trying to beat the 48-hour cut-off. A cumulative 34,000 feet of ups and downs at an average elevation of over 11,000 feet—abysmal weather, darkness of night and precipitous trails like Bear Creek not withstanding.

Fri
05
Jun
atodd's picture

Riddle: It's a race all who enter can win. What is it?

I was sitting on a bench near the iconic lift bridge in Duluth, Minnesota. It was early evening and I had completed Grandma's Marathon that morning. Anyone who's ever run 26.2 miles in one stretch without stopping knows the feeling: a strange mix of two extremes — exhaustion and exhilaration. It's not the runner's high that sometimes happens during a long-distance run, it's what happens when you cross the finish line of a marathon.

"Hey, Tom." The voice was familiar. So was the face.

John.  The tall young man standing in front of me, looking down and smiling, was somebody I'd admired from a distance long before we became friends.  I'd first seen John T. on a basketball floor when he led his high school team to two state basketball championships. As a college player he led South Dakota State University to two North Central Conference titles.  He had a tryout with the Boston Celtics but was cut when they activated Jo-Jo White.

Fri
05
Jun
atodd's picture

As long as it continues to fit, it fits

Here in Ouray County, I count six new restaurants opening over the next month or two. I am sure this paper will cover them as they appear on the scene so I won’t provide any spoilers at this time. And even as I write these words, I just heard that one of the proto-restaurants has failed because the money backer backed out. This reminds me that restaurants are like species and are subject to natural selection too. What works, works. That sentence may seem like a tautology but it is very powerful idea indeed.

Fri
05
Jun
atodd's picture

It’s a fair time for children and livestock alike

With the end of the school year come graduation, continuation and advancement ceremonies. In Ouray County that means community gatherings and parties. Not only do the families arrive with smiles and accolades; town folks, neighbors, community members and anyone interested in being a part of the festivities come out in droves. The end of the school year also ushers in the height of fair preparation time. The 4H kids are now busier than ever.
Cattle chores often begin at sunrise with feeding, watering, cleaning stalls and corrals. The kids must practice walking their cattle, so as to prepare for the showmanship section. The cattle have to be repeatedly groomed and washed to ensure proper behavior during the necessary bathing at the fair. These activities are the daily regime for the child entered in the Beef Division of the fair.

Thu
16
Apr
atodd's picture

The Rule of Law? Don't make me laugh…

The notice read: "You are herby summoned to APPEAR at the JOHNSON COUNTY COURTHOUSE…".  Who or what is a "herby"? I wondered. Typos happen; apparently proofreading at a certain county courthouse in Kansas doesn't.

A summons for jury duty, of course, doesn't mean you're going to be selected. It just means you're going to have at least one very slow morning waiting for something – anything – to happen. Then when it does it invariably involves listening to lawyers asking simple questions and explaining things to adults while pretending that they're talking to three-year-olds.

I'm not complaining. The experience turned out to be a civic exercise laced with laughter and comic relief. That's saying something considering that this was a criminal court and the case involved a charge of domestic violence – certainly, no laughing matter.

Wed
11
Mar
atodd's picture

Your business is our business

Next week is "Sunshine Week," celebrating transparency in government. In Colorado, the Colorado Open Records Act, or CORA, and the Colorado Open Meetings Law, or COML.
Before CORA was formalized in 1969, a citizen's ability to access public records was at the discretion of the custodian of the records.
A few years back, we had issue with a local school board on behalf of the public and were met with objection to obtaining emails between members because one member used a private email account.
Remind you of anyone in the news recently?
Fortunately, we were able to obtain all we needed to shine some light on the actions of the board.
Simply put, with some qualifications, any entity required or authorized by law to be involved in the receipt or expenditure of public funds is subject to CORA.

Sat
28
Feb
atodd's picture

Let the healing continue

It's been five years since we moved to Ouray County, after being behind the Pine Curtain in East Texas for over a decade. We stay in touch with folks and root around for news from time to time. Sometimes, news from there finds us, and hits us hard.
A couple of tragedies involving best friends of each of our boys have reminded us that healing is a process that never ends.
A few years ago we got a terrible phone call. Joey, one of a group of four which included our Michael, died in a car accident on Interstate 35 north of Waco, Texas. Joey was supposed to have joined two of the four “J’s” - Joey, Jared, Jim and J'Michael (as he was named to fit the alliteration) - from high school in going to college together. The fourth had already enlisted in the service.
They were inseparable. We always expected them to travel life together, and the fact that three of them were going to college together seemed a natural progression.

Wed
25
Feb
atodd's picture

Giving space to ideas and ingenuity

Back in the day, before the norm was a Man Cave with full wet bar and a 48 inch wide screen HD TV, men hung out in the shed. The shed had beer in bottles or cans in a beat up fridge, a license plate or two covering the holes in the wall, an old AM radio in the corner and pin up girls on every vertical surface not covered in tools. In the Shed men stood around and smoked cigars with their buddies while tinkering with the family car or (if they were luckier) a project car. Back then, fixing a car relied on the expertise of a number of friends from around the neighborhood. The friends might be electricians, welders, plumbers or even insurance salesmen — and they all brought their own expertise and perspective to the project.  

Sun
11
Jan
atodd's picture

Post-holiday hangover of an andropausal male

Warning: At the risk of being labeled “Mr. Grinch,” I'm about to take a leak on the annual guilt-induced, corporate-shakedown madness known as "The Holidays." I held off ’til after Christ's big birthday bash in hopes of escaping eternal damnation, hell’s fire, and/or a lightning bolt.
My inner Grinch appears suddenly, right out of the Walmart blue, while standing in a stalled checkout lane of glazed-faced shoppers. The line stalled due to an elderly penny-pinching coupon-clipper who decided that the busiest shopping day of the year would be a good time to save a buck forty. This is the kind of stuff that happens when a cynic is suckered into the shortest line, and it corroborates Murphy’s Law that even the best-laid battle plan cannot survive contact with the enemy.

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