Columns

Sat
22
Sep

Early season bear scare

This may be the worst bear story of the season, and the season has barely begun.
It's a near-tragic story. And a bit curious one from my view. Though my co-publishing bride thinks not.
Early Sunday morning in Orchard Mesa, on the southeast end of Grand Junction, a mother was awakened at 2:30 a.m. by screams. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the woman went outside to investigate and witnessed a large black bear dragging her 5-year-old daughter.
The mother screamed. The bear dropped the girl.
The girl received more than 80 stitches at St. Mary's Hospital with what were described as serious injuries.
Next is the curious part. The report said the girl had gone outside to investigate noises in the yard that she may have thought were coming from her dog.
I told Beecher that when I was five, if it was 2:30 in the morning and I heard noises outside, the last place I would have gone was outside. My bride says she would have.

Sat
22
Sep

A doctor, a church, a dark night and a drug deal

“You can buy it on the street, Tom,” he said. “When you get home, just go out and get some so Maggy can try it, okay?”
It was circa 1980. The “it” was marijuana, a “controlled substance” I had never bought and MJ had never even tried. The thin, gray-haired man in the pinstriped suit prescribing pot was a distinguished MD—a hematologist, to be precise. (“Maggy” was a term of affection he adopted early on in MJ’s treatment.)
Hematology is a specialized field of medicine dealing with diseases of the blood and related organs. More precisely, it is “The diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases of the blood and bone marrow as well as of the immunologic, hemostatic (blood clotting) and vascular systems.”
I had learned a lot about hematology by this time. It was the reason we were at the world-famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The reason I was thinking about marijuana and how to get my hands on some.

Sat
22
Sep

On 20-20 hindsight: Suffer the children to find their way

It's not so much about what I do for a living as it is where. I came by that philosophy as a youngster in large part due to my vagabond father’s example. He left friends, relatives and job security in the rearview mirror—followed his heart and Route 66 west from Ohio to Arizona—scant possessions and a family of five squeezed into a ’49 Ford.
If whimsical gods favor your continued existence, there will come a time when the bulk of your life lies in the unalterable past. Compensation for this injustice is said to be “wisdom.” No one said it’s a fair trade, wisdom for youth, but it beats the cold-coffin alternative.
Wisdom, more-or-less, is simple 20-20 hindsight, the ability to see past mistakes and wrong turns in focus. As Geezers we use hindsight to navigate whatever grains of sand remain in our “hourglass,” some from the safety of a rocking chair, others from the uncertainty of mountain peaks and mountain bike seats.

Sat
22
Sep

Somewhere near Disappointment Valley

"In the spring of 1880 two hundred and twenty-five exhausted persons reached the San Juan. First they build a little fort, and then their homes: one-room cabins of crooked cottonwood logs. There were no doors in the doorways, no glass in the windows. The sun seared the flats, lanced off the cliffs. Sandstorms whipped the town…Time has made a cruel mockery of the town's heroic founding."
"One Man's West"
David Lavender

Sat
22
Sep

Misleading headline? Really?

We don't mind being corrected. It's not a big deal. In fact, it's part of what we signed on to do.
So when a county commissioner just blurts out during an open meeting in front of the public that we misrepresented a conversation, he should be able tell us at least one thing we got wrong. Right?
Wrong.
Tuesday, County Commissioner Ben Tisdel told the other commissioners, a sizable crowd and anyone else who cared for an opinion devoid of facts, that our article entitled "Road committee steers commissioners in direction of tax increase" (April 5, 2018), lacked accuracy.
Problem is, when asked during a break in the meeting what it was we got wrong, he couldn't say. He said unspecified town and city council members were erroneously led to believe the county was planning a new round of sales tax, and even though that very prospect was raised during that meeting, as we reported, Tisdel said that was misleading.

Sat
22
Sep

Going broke in Holyoke

We can't win 'em all, and never has that been more true than in recent months in this newspaper business of ours.
For starters, at the annual Colorado Press Association convention this week, we won our share of awards - perhaps more.
But we didn't win the big one.
We were shooting for our third straight year of being named best in our class, which judges us against newspapers our size in Colorado. We walked away with the Editorial Excellence award, but got bested by the Holyoke Enterprise for best in class.
Admittedly, I don't know nuthin' about that paper. And, even though I was born in the Centennial State and have traveled around most of it, I had to do the Google on the intraweb to find Holyoke on the map.
It would be one thing to be beat out by the Post or Gazette, or even the Daily Sentinel for that matter. At least I'd know what we were up against.
But Holyoke? That's like going into the ring blindfolded.

Sat
22
Sep

Breaking the chains of routine, “flying exultantly under the stars”

“We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us." John Steinbeck: “Travels With Charley.”

Sat
22
Sep

One toke over the state line

In its "Perspective" section Sunday, journalists at the Denver Post came out swinging at their owner, Digital First Media. Headlines blazed with revolt against the venture capitalist firm that will lay off another two dozen newsroom employees this week, piling up over seven dozen layoffs in that department in the past three years.
"Colo. should demand the newspaper it deserves," read one headline. "Who will step up and save The Denver Post?" read another. "Journalists don't protest. But this time is different," read yet another.
The pride of the Post, a 125-year Colorado tradition, has had its victories in recent years. It won the Denver and, yes, state war for newspaper dominance when the Rocky Mountain News, established in 1859, published its last edition on Feb. 27, 2009. Since 2000, the Post has won five of its nine Pulitzer Prizes, pulling down four in a row from 2010-2013.
But will its journalists win a battle with the people who hold the purse strings?

Tue
17
Apr

On the move again

Here we go again, although it's been three years since we last said that.
The lease for our 8th Avenue office is up at the end of May. We could have renewed for another three years, but it's a lot of space, and usually I'm the only one there. Literally, there are weeks where I can count on one finger the number of visitors we get. So much is done by mail, email, phone and the interweb.
The building's ownership will, from what we're told, change hands at the beginning of May, and that was the final kick to send us scurrying for office space. If you think it's difficult to find affordable housing, try affordable or available commercial space!
We found a spot, a bit tucked away, in the Old School House in Ridgway. There's a lot going on in the new building. RIGS Fly Shop is front and center. Behind it is Middleton Accounting, Kaadi Massage, Weehawken's dance classes and probably something else I haven't seen.

Tue
17
Apr

The medium is the message

I read a few things that got me thinking about the Denver Post, bloodletting, local journalism, craft beer and social media.
One was in the Colorado Springs Gazette this week, penned by its editor, Vince Bzdek. He noted how thankful he is that the Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper he works for is owned by a Coloradan who has a stake in the state and ultimately skin in the game when it comes to the Gazette and its community.
Surrounding this, Bzdek spends much of his piece hammering the ownership of the Denver Post, which recently cut 30 more newsroom positions, for a total of 75 newsroom cuts in the past three years, by what Bzdek terms a "vulture capitalist" firm, one that has also been playing Whack-A-Mole on journalists at the Oakland Tribune, the San Jose Mercury News, the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Orange County Register.

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