If there was good cause, someone should have said so

Who's to blame next?
No telling.
In fact, we don't know who's to blame now, though there are plenty of folks in Ouray looking for answers after the city council unanimously voted to fire City Administrator Katie Sickles Monday night.
Sickles, who was hired a year ago almost to the day after a three-month trial run as interim administrator, may never know why she was released. Council voted to fire her without cause, which means they get to keep their reasons to themselves, and Sickles gets to keep a severance package.
Sickles certainly has the right, you would think, to refuse the severance and sue the city for wrongful termination. But since she's on a two-week vacation, we can't ask her intent at the moment.
I'm not going to speculate why the council fired her, though I've heard plenty of theories already.
All the theories I've heard so far put the blame squarely on Sickles and Sickles alone.


Death is hard enough as it is

Nothing like a funeral to tear a family apart.
My family may be the outlier. I'm doubting it, though. This sort of thing probably goes on in a good number of families.
Before my mom passed, the seven of us siblings revealed ourselves in actions and inactions regarding our care for her. The players in this sibling dramedy became defined:
The Giver: the sibling who sacrificed everything personal including job, lifestyle and personal time to care for my mom.
The Taker: the one who decided that since my mom was incapacitated, she wouldn't need this or that, so he took things from her house.
The Doer: the one who was always on call, took care of emergencies and details such as financial decisions.
The Avoider: the one who was in position to be on call and help, but avoided anything that would remotely cause him to be involved.


Dusting off the political jokes

Ah, election week. Where the hanging chad meets the Russian saboteur.
Or something like that.
Lots of things to vote on. To raise or not to raise taxes, taxes, taxes. That is the question.
There are incumbents trying to explain themselves, challengers trying to explain the incumbents and the dreaded unopposed who don't have to explain anything at all.
There are groups that have driven you nuts, groups that will drive you to the polls and groups that will just steer clear of any polls whatsoever.
No matter what the issue or the race, you can bet that about half the people who vote will be disappointed, and about half the people who vote will be smug.
Smugness and disappointment come with a price.
This year's Colorado election season, according to National Public Radio, has totaled $186 million for ads, campaign staff and consultants so far, surpassing the last record-setting election in 2014 by $35 million.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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."


Row and spiral eaters

There I was, sitting with Beecher and my sister, Annie, at the dinner table. Terrific entrée accented by some Olathe sweet corn.
Nothing says diversity at the dinner table like observing how everyone eats an ear of corn. Annie goes round and round, from end to end, like a blade on a piece of wood turned on a lathe. Beecher goes round the big end just a bit, then switches to the across method, like a typewriter. I start on the left, go across to the right and repeat, 100 percent typewriter method.
There's no telling why people would go round and round and round. Or partially around and then across. The corn-shaped little dish that holds the butter is flat. And when you put the cob down, if it is uneven in any way - one side with kernels, one without - then it can tip and and part of the cob without kernels will soak in the butter.
As long as you have complete rows, you can always soak the remaining corn in butter without soaking the bare cob.


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