Columns

Fri
28
Jun
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Todd: Grandstanding for the BOCC

The Board of County Commissioners is holding a special public meeting today at 4:00 p.m. to discuss a few items, one of which is their plan to rectify the grandstands situation at the Fairgrounds in time for the Labor Rodeo.
This is not an easy fix.
We were at the grandstands a few weeks ago when the BOCC held a meeting to inspect the stands. Cracks in the structure run full length. Support within the back wall is probably not adequate. And when County Commissioner Don Batchelder climbed atop the stands and wiggled portions of the wall, it was clear that the BOCC's decision to condemn the stands was a correct one. The grandstands were so dilapidated you wouldn't let your children play around them. And if you wouldn't let your children play around them, why would anyone berate the BOCC not allowing entire families to use them?

Fri
28
Jun
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Alaimo: Studying the speed of progress

Sitting on my deck in Trail Town I notice the traffic going through the light. Some are looking upset at the slow pace and others seem overwhelmed by even 30 miles per hour. From my deck I can also see a couple of dogs playing on the grass. My employee’s rat terrier type dog of dubious pedigree, Jude, can comfortably sit on one leg of my lap—conversely the Soggy Doggy lady’s dog Midnight Blue can, if we are ever over run by the Hun, double as a war pony. Watching the traffic and the dogs play is just the sort of thing to make me think about this month’s science.

Sat
22
Jun
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Todd: An ode to prospecting

With news of layoffs at Camp Bird this week, we’re reminded of how the fortunes of mining in western Colorado have ebbed and flowed for over 100 years. The hopes and dreams of early prospectors still flicker in today’s mines like oil lamps in a dark passage. As mine employees wait out these 39 days without a job—many of whom gave up steady jobs for the promise of Camp Bird—we are reminded that we’re told this is just a hiccup, and we are reminded that the Revenue-Virginius is doing well.
Our economy, albeit still slowed by the lingering recession, is diverse enough to withstand a hiccup.
Historically, mining is a business marked by interruption. To not expect a hiccup at either mine is to ignore the history of the industry on the Western Slope. As we support those who have recently been laid off for the strange sum of 39 days, we offer this tribute to our local miners, written by a Western Slope newsman, not long ago and not far from here:

Sat
22
Jun
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Magstadt: A life too big for one story, a friend too big for one life

When I was a little boy, my dad told me a true story about a remarkable doctor he knew—a man he described as a cross between Will Rogers and Carl Sagan. "Call me Stan," the doctor had said when they were introduced.  Not "Dr. So-and-so." Just plain Stan.
That was the beginning of a long and lasting friendship. About the story:   
Stan's father was the son of Swedish immigrants who homesteaded in northeastern South Dakota on marginal land a stone's throw from the North Dakota border. The nearest settlement was Kidder. No kidding. Kidder was a burg close to Brittan (zip code 57430); if you do a search for "Kidder, S.D." on Google Maps you'll see where it is (or was).

Wed
12
Jun
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Zanett: Night Songs

Thu
06
Jun
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Todd: It's all about the open process

Last week we offered our view on the group of business people in Ridgway who met, representing a minority of Ridgway businesses, to coalesce a presentation of their views on Ridgway’s Streetscape project.  At this late stage of the process, as the committee formed by the Town is on the verge of presenting a recommendation to the town council, we felt an exclusive meeting, not open to all, was unproductive.
At the Streetscape committee meeting on May 24, one member, as reported, characterized their meeting as done “in a divisive way.”
But this business group wasn’t the only group making a presentation of a select group's thoughts. The Streetscape committee’s own recent informal survey was presented at the same meeting. It, like the business group, sampled only a portion of the businesses. Two Streetscape committee members spoke one on one with some Ridgway business owners—not all—and presented some of their responses to the committee.

Thu
06
Jun
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Billings: What’s in a name?

I remember that my mother told me that she and my dad thought long and hard about what to name us kids. As you know, my name is Alice. My brother’s name is Peter. They thought that they had chosen the best names. I think all kids go through a phase of not liking their names and somewhere along the line—probably in high school as I did—when we are really defining who we are, we take on nicknames and choose to be called something else. When you look up the meaning of Peter, it tells you that it means solid as a rock, a stone……that’s pretty good….and Alice…..means truthful, a morally strong person. So that’s pretty good. I think my parents had it right. Do we take on the personality of the name?? Do we grow into our names at some point? Not to offend anyone, I always thought, how can parents name a baby Harry or Morris or Sigmund.  Every culture has their top names I suppose. So I have done some thinking about all of this.

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Thu
30
May
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Magstadt: When A Bear Bugs You …Keep the “Bug” Spray Handy

Rocky and I had a close encounter with a black bear at the cabin this morning. An hour or so before sunrise, Rocky growled in that low rumble the way he does when something is wrong but he's not sure what. Call it his pre-bark mode.

I thought it was just the humidifier gurgling, but a little voice in my foggy head told me to get up and investigate. I opened the blinds and saw the furred arch of a large back.

Cinnamon fur!  Wrapped around a bear.  It was probably the same bear that visited the premises a week ago, wasn’t afraid of gun shots or banging pots, and was only persuaded to leave when some big rocks hurled in earnest nearly bounced off his fat head.

So it's 6:00 AM on Sunday, Memorial Day weekend, there's not a soul within miles of here, and there’s a bear under my bedroom window. Interesting.

Thu
30
May
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Todd: On cops and committees

When Ouray police officers voiced their concerns to the Ouray City Council at a work session after implementation of the four days on, three days off scheduling, the recommendation to the officers from city administrator Patrick Rondinelli was give it some time.
Prior to presenting its report at a council meeting, a KRW Associates representative and Rondinelli met with segments of the city council, in pairs and with the mayor separately. Consensus of the council was never reached nor asked for in switching to the new schedule. But, then again, consensus was never needed.

Thu
23
May
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Todd: "Oink" if you love Ridgway

Ouray County surely had a different look about it six or seven decades ago. The 40s and 50s were not that long ago, though I do get to say they preceded me.
Patricia (Strickland) Betters, however, grew up on her family’s ranch just outside of Ridgway during those years.
Situated under Court House Rock some five miles east of town, the 365 acre ranch serves as the backdrop to “Oink, a love story,” a children’s book written by Betters for her grandchildren, to illustrate to them how she grew up in this beautiful part of Colorado.
And, fortunately for the rest of us—even us older children—we get a glimpse into a day in the life of a young girl in Ouray County many decades ago.

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