Columns

Wed
30
Oct
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Todd: Tictacs, demons and deviants

Halloween in the early part of the century — the one before this one — had its moments in and around Ouray County. In 1906, the order of law was anything but the order for All Saints Day. There was vandalism, tictacs (a prank involving cutting notches in the ends of a wooden spool and spinning it by string against a window, making a “tick-tack” noise) and even a dead horse.

From the Nov. 2, 1906 Ouray Herald:

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Fri
18
Oct
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Johnson: Beauty and the Beast: An Idiot’s Guide to surviving Old Man Winter in Las Crevice

By the time you get your grubby hands on this edition of the finest little newspaper in Colorado, the Lovely Woman and I will be rolling our antique but adequate RV, Goldie, into a remote, red rocked boondock near Moab, Utah: MounTain BiKing MeCCa of the world. Truth be known, Moab’s proximity is one of the best reasons to live in Lovely Ouray County, a mere two and a half hours is all that stands between us and what is essentially another world of topography, climate and recreational opportunity. So that’s the plan, to begin our annual winter migration in fall, roll west through the lonesome sage of Paradox Valley — with its nuclear red canyon walls — then brush up to the forested skirt of the LaSalle triplets and finally, coast into western Utah’s crimson labyrinths like escaped lab rats, out for kicks and in for trouble. The problem, if one dare call a choice between two wonderful things a “problem,” is Ms Autumn’s lingering mood this year.

Fri
18
Oct
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Magstadt: A story about art, friendship and the art of friendship

Art. What is it? Why do some people love opera or ballet and others prefer a visit to the dentist? That was the question at the heart of a play performed at Wright Opera House in Ouray last week.
Theatergoers got a full plate of food-for-thought on a weekend when severe weather threatened to trump transcendent art; what they did not know, however, is that there was a story within the story. As it happens, the cast and director are all from Kansas City and, as members of the vibrant local artistic community, they are friends off-stage — friends portraying the often fickle and fragile nature of friendship in the face of a dispute over a work of art. But it could just as well be a difference of opinion over visual impact regulations in Ouray County.     

Mon
30
Sep
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RISCH & KERSEN: Shedding light on savings

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that switching to LED lighting over the next two decades could save the country $250 billion in energy costs and avoid 1,800 million metric tons of carbon emission over that time. The nation's electricity consumption for lighting would be reduced by nearly one half.
So what does that mean for Ouray? As it turns out, virtually all of the lighting in the city's public buildings is from old-style fluorescent fixtures whose technology dates back some 70 years or more. In 2007 Congress mandated their obsolescence and as of last year the various component lamps, ballasts, etc., are no longer being manufactured. It is only a matter of time before they will have to be replaced and that raises the questions of just when and with what?

Mon
30
Sep
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Alaimo: The clear and murky allure of our finny friends

Fall is here. Interestingly, the large amount of rain this year has kept the rivers running more than they usually do, giving us a number of good runoffs on the Uncompahgre, and prompting the question of how fish can eat (or even breathe) in muddy water. Usually we don’t think about fish at all except maybe to decide whether to use dill or lemon pepper, so this month’s Science will be on trout and what amazing little critters they are.

Sat
21
Sep
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Johnson: The Less is More gospel of Simple Glenn

Boonie Boondocker, my roving curmudgeon (but evolving) RV pal, thought I should meet a fellow wanderer friend—a “minimalist” type who lives in a van. Okay. I’m fascinated by out of the box people, especially those who live fulltime on the road. So Boonie nudged a destination-less wanderer’s path toward Lovely Ouray.

Sat
21
Sep
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Todd: Soaked in thankfulness

My apologies to any of my neighbors who were wondering the other night what that misshapen object was on my deck reflecting the setting sun.
Yes, it was me. Taking a shower with a camping shower.
Thank you for noticing that I was partially clothed, and for not calling the Sheriff. I'm sure he appreciates not having to make that house call.
With all the rain and swollen rivers we've had lately, being short on water is the furthest thought for most in Ouray County, and all of Colorado for that matter.
A water shortage was the furthest thing from my mind Saturday morning. Fourteen golf teams, including mine, were slogging through the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce golf tournament in a relentless rain at Divide Ranch and Club. We all couldn't have been any more soaked. When one of our team members, Richard Kersen, had his driver fly out of his wet grip off the tee box, we knew it was going to be a sloppy, wet day.

Wed
11
Sep
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Magstadt: Attention all newcomers: Welcome to the Animal Farm!

The front-page headline in the Plaindealer (08/15/2013) proclaimed, “Visual impact hearing reveals rift.” The article reported a meeting at which the Board of County Commissioners heard public comments on proposed changes to Section 9 of the county land use code, the so-called Visual Impact Regulations or VIR.
These changes would add roads to the existing list and tighten regulations affecting structures and land uses in the future. There are some burning (pardon the pun) questions reasonable people can disagree over. If your old nonconforming house burns down why can’t you rebuild it on the old foundation? What if the fire destroys a little over half the house?

Wed
11
Sep
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Don't blame the businesses

It would be easy to be mad at the business owners who successfully derailed the Streetscape ballot initiative last week, if bringing the $2.7 million question to the voters is what you feel you have been deprived of.
On the other hand, if you are one of the scores of Ridgway businesses who have opposed this effort from the beginning, or even just recently, you're satisfied with the outcome of last week's council vote to shelve the project.
But if you're upset at the businesses for doing what they thought was necessary at the eleventh hour, you shouldn't be. If they were wrong, their efforts wouldn't have worked. If their methods seemed overt and heavy-handed, perhaps that's what the situation as they saw it called for.
Instead, if you're upset at the last-minute process that seemingly didn't involve you, don't blame the business people for not inviting you to the party. Quite frankly, that's not their responsibility.

Thu
22
Aug
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Alaimo: What changes and works better stays more

My lady and I were arguing about genetically modified food this week. She is against them and I am (mostly) in favor of their continued development. I wrote about this in June and if you think this is an odd topic to continue to argue, let me tell you, arguing about genetically modified food beats arguing about visual impact regulations or (worse yet) who was supposed to put the garbage out and didn’t. But the funny thing about discussing genetically modified foods (GMFs) is that even though 34 percent of Americans polled (in 2010) were concerned about the development of GMFs, most of those polled as concerned did not have a clear understanding about what genetically modified organisms actually are or what their use as food is. So this week (just so we can all argue better) I will take some time to write about the basics of natural genetics. Then next week, I will visit some more about the pros and cons of GMFs.

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