Columns

Thu
17
Jan

The “River of Lost Souls” just got the EPA’s stamp of good health

I was driving home Tuesday night, and as I leveled out on Log Hill I was reminded we're about to get a celestial visitor on Dec. 16.  
As I was heading down Ponderosa Drive, ahead of me in the night sky was the constellation Orion, spread like a giant butterfly in the clear night sky.
I know it's a hunter from Greek mythology, but the three stars of the hunter's belt always looked to me like a butterfly's body, with the hunter's shoulders and legs representing the wings.
The reddish star in the constellation, Betelgeuse, is the ninth brightest star in the night sky and is one of three stars that make up the Winter Triangle. Procyon and Sirius — the brightest star in the night sky — make up the other two points of the triangle.

Thu
17
Jan

STR discussion open until closed

During the past two Ouray City Council meetings the subject of short term rental regulations has been on the agenda for discussion.
The topic has been weighed for about a year by a citizen committee appointed by council, and that committee's recommendations were given to the Ouray Planning Commission for further discussion and refinement before it presented a final recommendation to council.
It was that recommendation, addressing rental restrictions by zones, safety considerations, parking, sewer and water usage and other issues related to short term rentals that brought out a few dozen people to each of the past two council meetings to speak.
Arguably, the most contentious recommendation was the cap on STRs. There are currently 124 STRs registered with the city, and the planning commission recommended adding 15 to that total for a cap of 139.

Thu
17
Jan

Potent numbers at the five-year mark of legalized marijuana

There sure is a lot to wade through in a recently released report from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a drug-prohibition enforcement program run by the U.S. office of National Drug Control Policy. The program, which is focuses on Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana, published a 94-page report entitled "The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 5." It has published the report each year since marijuana retail sales were legalized in Colorado.
Here are some of the findings:
• Since recreational marijuana was legalized, marijuana related traffic deaths increased 151 percent while all Colorado traffic deaths increased 35 percent;
• In that same time, traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 138 people killed in 2017, which equates to one person killed every 2.5 days compared to one person killed every 6.5 days;

Thu
17
Jan

Don't shoot your house guests

For holidays, I like to take the easy way out and have someone else write my column. Usually, I turn to the historic pages of Ouray County newspapers past. Here is my choice, not because it's a heartwarming Thanksgiving story but instead because it gives a snapshot of the area 130 years ago.
If unexpected guests come to your home this holiday season, don't do what Charles Crosthwaite did in 1888, high above timberline in Ouray County.
Crosthwaite was accused of murder and sat in jail awaiting trial over the holidays. The Solid Muldoon Weekly, published this account on November 16, 1888:
A San Juan Prevaricator
Crosthwaite, who is lying in jail here in Ouray awaiting the trial for the murder of Johnson has written a letter to his former home which we take from the Colwater (Mich.) Courier. As a way-up liar he has no equal West of Eli Perkins. Hearken:

Fri
26
Oct

First man on Moon landed here

Thanks to all our readers and friends for the emails and phone calls expressing your sentiments regarding my column last week. Very much appreciated.

Need a Jeep? You're in luck. This year's winner of the annual Ouray Jeep Raffle is selling the grand prize, as was posted on social media. No price given, but you can bet she at least wants to cover the taxes.

Thu
18
Oct

Sing all you want, Mom

I can see her now, as plainly as I saw her more than 50 years ago, in the backyard of our house in Kansas. I'm watching her hang clothes on the line, battling a steady breeze that flutters her efforts.

Thu
18
Oct

A snake in the closet

Usually police blotters are pretty "Joe Friday" in their reporting: just the facts, ma'am.
But the activity blotter dated Sept. 28 from the Montrose County Sheriff's Office gave great detail of terror and bravery in a Montrose residence. It read like this:
0955 Hours: Deputy was dispatched to a report of a snake in a house in the 1000 Block 6435 Road.
"On 09/27/18, at approximately 0955 hrs., I responded to a report of a snake inside the residence. Upon arriving, I met with the reporting party.
She walked me to a back bedroom of the residence and pointed to the closet door in the room, where the bottom of the door met the floor. I observed a dark green "scaly" back protruding from underneath the closet door. After showing me the apparent serpent that had found its way inside her residence, she fled the room and returned to the front of the residence.

Thu
18
Oct

Can't argue what you can't argue

Every day for the past 23 days I've received an email from the Colorado Democrats. Well, not all Colorado Democrats, just the ones at the state party level who send out broadcast emails that somehow manage to bypass my spam folder.
It's pretty much the same email, just updated daly. It chronicles State Treasurer Walker Stapleton's parking spot at the state capitol.
Stapleton, who is the Republican candidate for governor and running against Jared Polis (D), has not shown up for work for 23 consecutive days according the opposition party. And the email shows a timeline of photos of the parking spot from each of the 23 days. I suppose it's the truth. Who knows for sure? The sun is shining brightly in each photo as, I guess, it never rains in sunny Denver?

Thu
18
Oct

Local author pens OMRT history book

We don't normally do book reviews, but I can make an exception because I'm the one buying ink by the barrel.
Karen Risch, a contributor to this paper in many ways, has penned the true story accounts of Ouray Mountain Rescue Team.
Risch, who was a part of OMRT from 1996 to 2010, has been stopping by the Plaindealer office for several years using our archives for story and photo research. In addition to Plaindealer accounts, which she said is the only written source of these rescues, she has interviewed countless people who have contributed to OMRT along the way. The final product is nearly 350 pages of terrific accounts of rescues from 1974 and on.
Chapter titles such as "Kissing the Gorge," "The Mountain Shook," and "No Place to Run," all invite the reader to experience what this team has done and is prepared to do if ever there is trouble in the mountains.

Thu
18
Oct

What's it going to be, El or La?

So, what's it going to be? An unseasonably warm winter or teeth-chattering cold with lots of snow?
It depends on whom you listen to.
The Farmer's Almanac, which has been prognosticating on weather since 1818 using "mathematical and astronomical" formulas, predicts a colder than average winter from the Continental Divide east to the Appalachians. West of the Rockies, in mid-Atlantic states and in the Southeast everything is predicted to be "near-normal."
Is that normal-normal or the new-normal, as some would have it?
And if you're in the Great Lakes, Midwest and up toward New England, brace for colder than average winter days and more precipitation than you usually shovel. The Pacific Northwest, according to the new Farmer's Almanac, will be snowy, snowy and snowy.
On their map, they predict the region of the upper Plains including Colorado as what will be "teeth-chattering cold, plentiful snow."

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