Volume 12 • Edition 23
December 4, 2019
Serving rural Adams, Morgan, and Weld Counties
“Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light” George Washington “If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed” Thomas Jefferson
Northern Colorado Model Railroad Club Holds Pre Christmas-Train Show in Loveland at the Larimer County Fair Grounds
A brr kind of weekend but that did not stop the Northern Colorado Model Railroad club from holding it’s Christmas season Train Show at the Larimer County Fairgrounds in Loveland. “The Northern Colorado Model Railroad Club was started more than 30 years ago by a group of RR enthusiasts from around the area. At that time there was no club north of Denver. That actual start can be traced to a conversation between Bruce Vogel and Jim Wild at a coffee break at the regional NMRA convention at Idaho Springs in the fall of 1979. Up to that time , however, several railroad modelers had been meeting informally on a round-robin schedule on Saturday nights in Fort Collins, exchanging ideas and swapping stories. These men became the nucleus of the new club, organized in 1980, starting out with club by-laws hammered out and board of directors and officer positions decided upon. Over the next few years, the club, comprising about 30 men began meeting at locations alternati8ng between Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley. Early on it was decided that, unlike other clubs, around the country, our club would not be centered around construction and running a single elaborate layout but would be an organization dedicated to exchanging modeling information, methods and learning skills from each other. Since then, we have had at different times a couple of small layouts to exhibit, for educational purposes, but that was not our focus. Over the years we have had several modeling contests within the club, clinic put on by club members and guests, field trips to many local railroad-related places and events, and an informative presentation of some kind at each meeting. Our focus is on enjoying the hobby and sharing our skills, knowledge and enthusiasm. We meet once a month in locations which rotate between Greeley, Loveland and Fort Collins. We continue to have informative programs, model contests, and other social events. More information can be found by downloading a copy of our club brochure. Website: http://wwwncmrc.iorg or general questions at email@example.com. Interested in joining: firstname.lastname@example.org “
What is Your Scale? Scale is the proportion that a representation of an object bears to the subject itself. Gauge is the distance between the tracks. This picture represents a look at the six most popular scale models. The O scale was made most popular in its day by Lionel. HO is not exactly half an ) but is the most popular in American model railroading.
American Legion Post 180 in Keenesburg Hosts its Annual Casino Night at the Legion Hall
by Bob Grand American Legion Post 180 hosted its annual Casino Night at thelLegion hall in Keenesburg. The event included the great dinner prepared by the Sons of the Legion featuring Rocky Mountain Oysters and Fried Shrimp. It was delicious. Of course there were about a dozen “cooks” involved at one time or another with a rotating group, totaling about sixteen. One wonders how with all those chefs it comes out always as good as it does. Rachael and Krista did a great job selling raffle tickets for the two rifles shown for the drawing at the end of December. It was noted that with the passing of Harris Gruenwald the coleslaw does not have the personal touch that Harris provided. He was fondly remembered. Despite the very cold weather and bad driving conditions the turnout was good. Another great job by the American Legion. See more Pictures on Page 6
Juanita Tweedy Announces the Opening of the Keene Craft Mercantile at 65 South Main in Keenesburg
Juanita Tweedy announce the Grand Opening of her new store, The Keene Craft Mercantile on December 14th, 2019. The store will have home made items, gifts, used items in good condition and new clothes. Stop by and visit. Juanita shared that she has been moved by the amount of young people in the community who have produced some remarkable craft items but had no place to share their creations. Her goal is to provide a place for them to show their exquisite creations and talents, including a few tasty treats. Juanita will be assisted by Elsa and Becky. All the young folks are invited to sell their work at no charge at the store located at 65 South Main. Hours will be Monday through Saturday, hours 10 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Please stop at the store and speak with Juanita or call her at 303-910-0640. More experienced and older crafters are also invited, give Juanita a call for details. Again, the Grand Opening will be Saturday, December 14th, 2019. All are welcome. Light refreshments will be provided.
WHAT’S IN THIS ISSUE:
Page 2: Way of the World
Page 2: Weld Sheriff Calls 60 Minutes Reporting Lazy Page 3: What Do Trains Have to Do with Christmas See more Pictures on Page 4
In our last issue our headline noted that the proposed number of homes for the Pioneer Village Annexation was listed as 3,500. The number is large but unfortunately was incorrect. That represented the approximate acreage of the project. The total number of home dwelling units is actually 8,311 per the documents submitted by Pioneer Village. Our content was good but the headline was off. Sorry about that. Bob Grand, the Publisher.
Page 6: JBS Contributes $400,000 to United Way Page 8: Older Driver Safety Week Page 9: Study Finds 22.1 Mil. Illegal Immigrants in U.S. Page 10: Ice Castles Under Construction in Dillon Page 11: Alarmists Proprise Rebranding Climate Change
– Way of the World –
Lost Creek Guide
by Bob Grand An update on the latest of the Roadrunner and the Coyote want to bes in Washington. The esteemed Congressman from New York, Jerry Nadler is now on center stage. He continues in the supporting role of Wile E. Coyote. One has to ask how this nonsense continues? Does not anybody ask about the separation of powers. It is not the responsibility of the House of Representatives to interfere with the Office of the Presidents responsibility to conduct foreign affairs. When President Obama sent $1.7 billion in cash to the Iranians to settle a decades old arbitration settlement, no one called for impeachment. In this past week’s letter to Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, from the White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, he stated “This baseless and highly partisan inquire violates all past historical precedent, basic due process, and fundamental fairness”. In the letter he informed Nadler that the President would not be attending the Wednesday meeting. The President will instead be conducting the business of the United States by attending a NATO meeting in Europe. Rumblings are now being heard in Democratic circles in Washington, that rather than impeachment, the House should pass a censure of the President. I guess even the Democratic pollsters are saying that the impeachment efforts by the Democrats are losing the public relations war with the American people. Wonder why? Jerry Nadler is from New York and Adam Shift and Nancy Pelosi are from California. Though they think they represent the American people, they do not! A bigger concern to the American people is that as they watch what the Democrats are doing to the rights of the President what can you expect of sanctity of your rights as a humble American citizen. Many are too young to remember what the McCarthy period of the early 1950’s was, involving the communist witch hunts that trampled the rights of American citizens. Our constitution protects all citizens, regardless of whether you agree with them or not. Zealousness is not a cover for being a bully. The American people are seeing a Democratic Party that only brings a raw hatred of the President to the table. Where are their policy thoughts and ideas? What we have heard so far from the Democratic presidential hopefuls is who can go farther left. It is an embarrassment, but the Wily E . Coyote role being played by the Democrats may get them an Oscar nomination, but I am not sure how many elections will be won by it. The American people are not stupid. Meanwhile hats off to the President for going to Afghanistan for Thanksgiving. Our troops certainly appreciated it. Maybe the United States can reach some an arrangement with the Taliban that works for everybody. Like it or not war is big business and I applaud the President for continuing taking a direction that will extradite the United States from what has become the longest engagement the United States has ever had. Locally where is the leadership from our Governor on all of this impeachment business. Rather than providing a questioning to the trampling of the rights of the President he infers we will see what comes out. Leadership is not a passive game. As usual, your thought and comments are appreciated and welcomed. Thank you to those who expressed positive comments about the Road Runner analogy. Again, not my original idea but did a little research on it. email@example.com
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December 4, 2019
Weld County Sheriff Calls 60 Minutes’ Reporting on Colorado’s Red Flag Law “Lazy”
By Sherrie Peif GREELEY — Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams said reporting work by 60 Minutes producers and correspondent Scott Pelley surrounding his and other Colorado Sheriffs’ opposition to a Red Flag law taking effect Jan. 1 was lazy, and the content of the episode that aired Sunday night was not what they originally portrayed to him it would be. Reams’ remarks were first reported by 1310 KFKA radio personality Gail Fallen. In Fallen’s interview, Reams talks about the 60 Minutes episode and where he stands today on the Red Flag law moving forward. Reams told Complete Colorado it didn’t take long for him to realize that the way they initially sold the story to both he and El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder was not how it was going to “shake out.” “Initially when they came out to visit, the angle of the story was supposed to be how Colorado’s Red Flag law was different than every other state and that was truly why so much law enforcement pushback occurred,” Reams said. “They missed Sheriff Steve Reams what the real story could have and should have been.” Reams said producers came to Colorado twice. When he met with producers the first time, there was no indication the story was going in any different direction, Reams said. “Then when we sat down with Scott Pelley and started doing the actual interview, that’s when I realized, yeah, this is probably not going to go the right direction,” Reams said. Reams said during much of the beginning part of the interview Pelley kept it on point with Colorado’s laws being so different, but there was a pause for a moment, and that’s when things changed. “He was given some more direction from the producers, and those were the questions that ended up on TV,” Reams said, adding even though he was suspicious about the shift in the questions, he was still surprised by what El Paso County Sheriff made the final cut. “I know the footage they had available Bill Elder to them. They largely marginalized Sheriff Elder, who made some great points. It was just another fluff piece for how great Red Flag laws are.” Reams was frustrated that they made it look like it was more a battle between him and Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, who is supportive of the gun confiscation measure, rather than a law so many sheriffs believe has gone far beyond any others like it across the U.S. “They passed a law in Colorado that has all kinds of constitutional issues,” he said. Reams said when he decided to come out against the Red Flag law, he would never turn down an interview because he wants to keep the discussion on the law in the forefront. However, after it becomes law on Jan. 1, he is likely to change his perspective, thanks to the 60 Minutes episode. “I will probably start declining those interviews,” Reams said. “And I’ve already told 60 Minutes that based on how biased they were, I will not entertain Scott Pelley any type of follow up interview with them.”
December 4, 2019
What Do Trains Have To Do With Christmas?
Lost Creek Guide
When I was growing up in the American midwest in the fifties and sixties, the train around the tree seemed every bit as important to our Christmas celebration as, say, Santa or Christmas stockings. As an adult, I realize that trains and Christmas have “gone together” for generations in most parts of the country. But it wasn’t always so, and it some ways, it doesn’t even make sense. It’s not like Mary and Joseph rode a train from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Nor was Santa ever sighted delivering packages by Railway Express Agency. But to many families today, a toy or model train around the Christmas tree seems as “normal” as a star or angel on the top. As far as I can figure there are at least three reasons for this (in the United States and Canada, anyway - if anyone from other countries wants to contribute to this discussion, I will most gladly include your comments): o For over a century, to most Americans, “real trains” exemplified the kinds of “comings and goings,” “hustle and bustle,” and even package shipments, that increased dramatically during the holiday season. At any time of year, whether you took the “A-Train,” or the “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” or whether you drifted home on a “Sentimental Journey,” you just assumed that any long trip would involve a train. This was even more true at Christmas time. The greatest examples were in the 1940s, when the railroads helped hundreds of thousands of GI’s to “Be Home For Christmas” year after year. Let’s face it, more people and stuff move at Christmas than any other time of year, and for over a century, more people and stuff moved by trains than any other way. So for many people, Christmas seemed to involve trains. o In addition, as the importance of toy and model trains in American culture grew, so did the sense that Christmas was an ideal time both to give and to display those trains. This, in fact, will be the main topic of the following musings. o Finally, trains running around Christmas trees bring back memories of simpler times. Christmas trains are to the soul what “comfort food” is to the appetite - a kind of reassurance that there are still good things in the world, and even good experiences in your own past. More will be said on that subject presently. The Rise of Toy Trains Toy or model trains have been given at Christmas almost since there were trains. At first, these gifts were only toys by anyone’ s definition. In the late-19th century, push-toys that looked like trains joined push-toys that looked like wagons or ponies underneath many Christmas trees. Wind-up toy trains, like the one to the right, weren’t far behind. Still, there seemed to be no particular sense that it was more suitable to give a toy train for Christmas, than, say, for a birthday. In fact, the most impressive line of “push toy” trains was meant to be used during warm weather. Buddy L* trains were very large stamped-metal push-toy trains for which you could buy track. Yes, these often arrived with the rest of the toys at Christmas, but they were meant to be used outside (as long as you brought them in when you were through playing), so there wasn’t necessarily a Christmas link. The First Powered Toy Trains The first working model trains were not necessarily “Christmas” trains, or even toys. They were steam-powered models that required a certain amount of skill and patience to operate safely. Sometimes these came into the home at Christmas, but, even if you had a circle of track for it, you wouldn’t want to run a locomotive burning real fuel underneath a real cut tree. In 1901, Lionel showed New York City families that it was possible to fit an electric motor into a toy locomotive and power it by low-voltage electric current. A new industry and a new hobby were born. Really Big Trains Were the Rule at First The first electric trains were large by today’s standards. Most of them were about the size of today’s garden trains. You couldn’t use them outside, though. They were tin-plated steel that would eventually rust under the driest conditions. These “Standard Gauge” trains ran on track with the rails about 2” apart. Cars seven inches high, five inches wide, and 16” long were common, although some of the cheaper sets used smaller measurements. But not everyone had room for such a large train. Those trains were also expensive. Some of the early sets cost as much as, say, a contemporary automobile. But as manufacturing techniques improved and “economies of scale” grew, the cost of a good set eventually came down to that of, say, a refrigerator or other major appliance. Still, between 1901 and 1950, a name-brand electric train was a major purchase that needed to be budgeted. And since it was, after all, a toy, what was more natural than giving the most expensive toy you were ever going to buy as a Christmas present? THE Christmas present, in fact. Of course, once the mysterious huge box was opened, it was only logical to route the train around the now-naked-looking Christmas tree.** So between Christmas and the day the tree came down, the train would run almost constantly, with almost everyone in the family taking a turn at operating it. Next year, of course, the train would come out before the presents appeared, and run a week or two before Christmas. And any cars or accessories in the new pile of presents were added to the temporary “railroad” as well. Christmas Railroads, Train Gardens, and “Putzes” Arrive Between 1910 and 1960, it became common in some middle-class homes to build elaborate temporary railroads between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many of these started as an extension of the Christmas tree route, but some took over spare rooms, back porches, and so on. In Roman Catholic homes, these often started with the Nativity set near or under the tree, then other buildings and accessories, were added, usually with no attention to scale or time period. In the Baltimore/DC area, these seasonal railroads were called “train gardens;” they Cont. on Page 7 , See What Do Trains Have to Do With Christmas
BLM in Colorado Offering Christmas Tree permits
By Derek Draplin | The Center Square Coloradans can get their Christmas trees from select federal lands in the state this season. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which manages 8.3 million acres of land in Colorado, is offering Christmas tree cutting permits. The permits are available in the Gunnison, Monte Vista and Canon City BLM field offices in the Rocky Mountain District for $10 per tree, the agency said in a press release Monday. The offices are open during the week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and accept credit cards, cash and checks. The offices offer maps of where trees can be cut and which species are permitted. The agency is offering the permits until Dec. 24. The Uncompahgre Field Office in Montrose, part of the Southwestern District, is also offering permits for $8 per tree. “The BLM Christmas Tree permit program creates a unique opportunity for our community to bring their local public lands into their holiday traditions,” BLM Uncompahgre Field Office Manager Greg Larson said. A spokesman for the BLM’s Rocky Mountain District said revenue from the permits goes to the U.S. Treasury as general income. Christmas tree permits are also available on BLM lands in New Mexico, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah.
Lost Creek Guide
December 4, 2019
Northern Colorado Model Railroad Club Holds Pre Christmas-Train Show in Loveland at the Larimer County Fair Grounds
Matt M., Journeyman Lineman
1/8/2019 9:34:18 AM
December 4, 2019
Lost Creek Guide
United Power Files with PUC for Tri-State Exit Price Cooperative Seeks Solution to Provide More Renewable, Cost Effective Power to Members
Brighton, CO – United Power, a member-owned electric cooperative serving Colorado’s northern front range, has been investigating its power supply options with Tri-State Generation & Transmission over the last several years, as is the fiduciary responsibility to its member-owners. As part of its investigation, United Power filed a request for the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to exercise its authority to establish a just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory exit charge from Tri-State Generation & Transmission. Tri-State is a cooperative generation and transmission association headquartered in Westminster, Colorado which provides wholesale power to 40 utilities across four states, including United Power. “United Power members deserve clean, affordable energy and we have an obligation as a cooperative to look out for the financial interests of our member-owners. We have been working for the last few years on solutions with Tri-State that would allow the co-op the flexibility to add local resources, or purchase lower cost power from other sources,” said John Parker, Chief Executive Officer for United Power. “Conversations regarding our power agreement with Tri-State have stalled and the cooperative is seeking out all possible alternatives to build in rate reductions and offer more renewable options to our energy mix.” Power purchase agreements with Tri-State limit the purchase of additional power by United Power to just five percent of total power requirements. United Power, along with several other cooperatives, championed a bylaw change that would allow Tri-State member cooperatives to enter into partial requirement contracts. These new partial requirement contracts are an essential component of any successful plan to de-carbonize Colorado electricity generation consistent with Colorado state policy objectives by reducing United Power’s reliance on Tri-State’s high-priced, carbonintensive power mix. Not only that, they would allow the cooperative to better meet demands for local renewable energy projects, and ultimately reduce costs for United Power members. Since the resolution was passed earlier this year, the two parties have been unable to come to agreements on proposed solutions, and recently TriState placed a moratorium on all partial power and buy-out conversations until mid2020. “By not allowing United Power to move forward in a timely manner to seek additional energy sources, Tri-State is effectively holding this cooperative and our members hostage,” said Parker. “We are seeking partial requirements and/or buy-out solutions that are in the financial interests of the Tri-State cooperative family, and mutually beneficial to the ratepayers we serve. A full disclosure of a fair and just exit package is the information United Power needs to evaluate and ultimately make effective choices for our members.” Colorado’s Public Utilities Law gives the Commission broad jurisdiction over public utilities like Tri-State, thus United Power has asked for their intervention to obtain a fair exit price and pricing methodology from Tri-State. United Power is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative delivering electricity to more than 92,000 meters at homes, business, and farms in Colorado’s north central front range. For more information about the cooperative, visit www. unitedpower.com or follow them on social media at facebook.com/unitedpower or twitter.com/unitedpowercoop.
BINGO Third Saturday of the Month 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm There is also “pickle/pull tabs” available everyday! Please come join us for some fun and socializing!
Cardinal Community Academy Looking for Volunteers
Are you looking for a new way to give back to your community? The Cardinal Community Academy (CCA) is actively recruiting candidates for a Community Member on its Board of Directors. CCA is a public charter school serving students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. Board Members play an vital leadership role in governing the school toward a successful future. Board Members can expect to contribute up to 6 volunteer hours per month toward Board business. This opportunity is a great way to support one of our local schools, the children it serves and play an important role in your community! If you are a member of the CCA Community and are looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity, please look on the CCA website on the Board of Directors page for more details or e-mail Carey Thoene with question at email@example.com. We are looking forward to hearing from you!
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Lost Creek Guide
December 4, 2019
American Legion Post 180 in Keenesburg Hosts its Annual Casino Night at the Legion Hall
JBS USA Contributes More Than $400,000 to United Way of Weld County
JBS USA raised $406,555 for United Way of Weld County (UWWC) in 2019 in support of the company’s ongoing commitment to residents in the community. The money will assist Weld County residents in Early Childhood Development, Youth Success, Household Stability, Older Adults and Healthy Aging, and Access to Services such as 2-1-1 Colorado, a confidential and multilingual service connecting people to vital resources across the state. “JBS USA is proud to support the community where we’re headquartered in a tangible way through this partnership,” said Andre Nogueira, JBS USA CEO. “The United Way of Weld County provides essential services to people who need them and improves the lives of numerous individuals and families in our area.” JBS USA corporate headquarters in Greeley, Colo., raised $276,374 for UWWC, which included $58,361.68 at the annual golf tournament and $40,000 toward being a Cornerstone Partner, which includes a portion of their corporate donation covering 100 percent of administrative and fundraising costs for the resources under UWWC’s management. It was the most money raised by JBS USA since 2015. “It’s exciting to live in a community where the corporate partners recognize the importance of supporting things like early childhood education,” UWWC board member Angel Flores said. “This is a huge win for the community.” JBS employees donated $100,000 for 10 full-time Colorado Reading Corps tutors for the 2019-20 school year in Greeley-Evans School District 6. The funds from the JBS employee campaign enabled UWWC to partner with Youth for a Change, AmeriCorps and Greeley-Evans School District 6 to implement the program that helps build literacy skills and increase reading proficiency. “This partnership with District 6, United Way and JBS has been remarkable and we are very grateful,” said Deirdre Pilch, superintendent of Greeley-Evans School District 6 and a board member for UWWC. “This is a tremendous asset to all of the projects we do with United Way, but District 6 has been a significant beneficiary of this with our Reading Corps program.” First-year results of the program indicated that 62 percent of the children in kindergarten through third grade were performing above target reading growth. Pilgrim’s, another division of JBS, completed 13 quiet books and 144 bookmarks for Colorado Reading Corps. Other events and activities included barbecues, ice cream socials, a chicken wing eating contest, plant sales and participation in the campaign kickoff bowling event, sponsored by JBS Greeley Beef. About United Way of Weld County The mission of the United Way of Weld County (UWWC) is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community. UWWC assists residents in the areas of Early Childhood Development, Youth Success, Household Stability, Older Adults/Healthy Aging and Access to Services. Through our community’s willingness to give, advocate and volunteer, UWWC is able to have a positive impact on tens of thousands of lives every year. Thanks to the generosity of the 42 UWWC Cornerstone Partners, they donate all or a portion of their corporate donation to help cover 100 percent of administrative and fundraising costs for the resources under UWWC’s management. For more information, visit the UWWC website at www.unitedway-weld.org or call (970) 353-4300.
December 4, 2019
Lost Creek Guide
What Do Trains Have To Do With Christmas?
Cont. from Page 3 had buildings, figures, many accessories, and maybe even multiple trains running at the same time. The train garden tradition became so strong that Baltimore/DC-area fire stations would leave their engines outside until after Christmas and set up large community train gardens in their parking bays. (Note: Several collectors/historians and I have been trying to collect photos of home and fire-house train gardens to post for our readers, with few results. If you have any, please contact us and we’ll figure out how to reimburse you for the cost of copying and sending them or whatever - this is an important American Christmas tradition that is on the verge of being forgotten.) In other parts of the East, the seasonal household railroads and their associated “communities” were called “putzes,” from the German word for “put,” “set up,” or “putter.” Starting about 1928, putzes all over the country included a new Japanese import - pasteboard houses with celophane windows and a hole in the back for “C6” Christmas lights. These came to be called “putz houses,” and soon, no putz was complete without them. All of these Christmas railroads and villages were important precursors of the Holiday Villages that were made popular by Dept. 56 many years later, as well as the display railroads operating in many botanical gardens as I write this article. (Even today, certain Maryland fire departments strive to keep the Train Garden tradition alive.***) Trains Became Smaller And More Realistic Unfortunately, Standard Gauge trains were too big to leave sitting out indefinitely. Smaller track gauges were tried; the most successful for about 50 years was “O” gauge, which has rails that are about 1.25” apart. Over the same period, the trains began to look more and more like the real trains they were imitating. Soon the hobby of “model railroading” was born. Train fans began building permanent railroads that looked and operated as much like the real thing as possible, often in a basement or attic. After a while, it wasn’t enough to have a single huge train running around the Christmas tree once a year. Rather, hobbyists might own several trains and have a permanent railroad set up on a custom-built table somewhere year-round. For decades Lionel owned the “lion’s share” of such railroads, with American Flyer coming in a distant second. But both brands were still large enough to look good around the tree. Even at half the size of the Standard Gauge trains, O-scale trains were too large to fit into most homes without some compromises. So Lionel and other companies typically made their equipment about 3/4 the size it ought to be. Eventually, American Flyer adopted narrower track and S-scale was born. But a few companies “leapfrogged” S gauge and went right to a size that was about half the size of O scale - HO, for short. Christmas Railroads Take a Back Seat to Model Railroads HO allowed serious hobbyists to fit more railroading into a small, but permanent space. For a while, many families that had HO railroads in the basement still ran Lionel or American Flyer trains around the tree during the holidays. But HO trains (and smaller scales) weren’t big enough to make much of an impression around a full-sized Christmas tree. So the generation who grew up with “just” HO stopped bothering to set up temporary livingroom railroads at Christmas. In the 1960s, both Lionel and American Flyer fell on hard times. Model railroaders were buying HO trains, and fewer and fewer Christmas trees were surrounded by working trains of any scale. Other forms of so-called “family” entertainment also began taking huge chunks out of people’s schedules, the biggest single example being television. Later, video games, youth sports, and home computers drew even more energy and interest away from any kind of toy or model trains. Eventually, model railroading of all kinds was beginning to “level off” as a hobby, and many wondered how to keep the next generation interested in the hobby. Christmas Trains Re-Emerge Yet several things were already happening, on two different continents, that would bring Christmas trains back from near-extinction. o Really Big Trains Reappear - In 1968, a European toy company introduced a new kind of electric train - one made to be used outside. LGB trains were big, and they looked dangerously “cute” around the Christmas tree. Other companies followed suit; as an example, Bachmann’s a model railroad manufacturer, “Big Hauler” made these “Large Scale” trains affordable for more families. So there were more trains around the Christmas tree, but these trains were too use with putzes or train gardens in most homes. o Ceramic Christmas Villages Arrive - In 1976, an American company called Department 56 began making collectible ceramic houses and accessories the right size to fit a “Christmas Village” on a table or spinet. Department 56 pieces average around O scale, the scale that suits most of the Lionel trains made after WWI. The nostalgic value of some of the products, coupled with the appeal of creating one’s own little community was powerful. A host of other manufacturers brought out their own lines, and a new hobby was born. For over a decade, most Christmas Villages got along quite well without a train at all or maybe with an old-fashioned Lionel or American Flyer train. Some were served by inexpensive, battery-powered sets with a lifespan of one Christmas season or so. But eventually Dept. 56 contracted with Bachmann to make trains that would look good with the Department 56 buildings. Bachmann’s “Village Express Electric Train Set,” was so successful that Bachmann went on to build many other trains in the same scale.
Bachmann’s On30 trains are only slightly smaller than most of Lionel’s O-gauge trains, but they run on track made for HO trains, which means they can be easier to fit in some places. For a couple decades, Hawthorne Village used the mechanism from Bachmann’s On30 trains to produce limited-edition collectible trains. Many other people began running Christmas trains. The 2008 recession forced Hawthorne’s owners - Bradford Exchange to reorganize radically, and to stop ordering trains from Bachmann, so if you want a nice On30 train, you’ll have to look at Bachmann On30 products now. Still, half a century after the decline of the “train garden,” many families are using On30 trains and collectible village houses and accessories to set up Christmas villages in their own home. o Popular Children’s Books and Movies Feature Trains - Trains also reappeared in books and movies that were intended for children but also enjoyed by adults. When a British children’s book series was cleverly animated using sets that looked for all the world like a large model railroad, Thomas the Tank captured the hearts of young and old alike. In more recent years, young Harry Potter rode the “Hogwarts Express” to his beloved school, and the “Polar Express” added a distinctly North American Christmas train to our cultural imagination. o More new model trains appeared. Bachmann, Lionel, AristoCraft, and LGB all added trains in Christmas colors to their lineup. Bachmann also added a reversing streetcar set that could bring action to the smallest Christmas village, even on a shelf or the back of the spinet. Lionel, under new management, improved its track and brought out several new trains, including a very nice model of the Polar Express and other Christmas-themed trains in O gauge and Large Scale. o Large Scale public garden railroads began attracting millions of people a year to places like the New York Botanical Garden, the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburg, the Chicago Botanic Gardens, and many more. This gave a boost, not only to the Garden Railroading hobby, but also to model railroading in general, and especially to Christmas trains, since many of the public displays have holiday themes. In other words, whether it’s around the tree, around a miniature town, or around a public display railroad, the Christmas train looks like it’s back to stay. Still, there may be one other reason, we are welcoming Christmas trains back into our homes. Today’s Christmas Trains Take You On a Sentimental Journey When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, we enjoyed our model trains in part because they were powerful models of incredibly powerful behemoths that could still be seen operating once in a while. Today, many people seem rather to like seeing trains running around a Christmas tree because it brings back memories of a simpler time, or at least of one time of year when good things happened to you just because somebody loved you, and not because of anything you’d accomplished recently. Many model railroaders model the most modern trains they can get their hands on. But the most popular Christmas trains are old-fashioned. I suspect that that nostalgia for “simpler times” is part of the cause. Even the collectible villages that those trains serve are old-fashioned and quaint; in recent years some have reproduced scenes from Norman Rockwell paintings. Others have modeled Dickens’ London, Andy Griffith’s Mayberry, and It’s a Wonderful Life’s Bedford Falls. Were those times really simpler? Not for most people, if you think about it. But they seem simpler than our lives today, because for most of us, our parents were paying the bills, fixing the cars and appliances, doing all the housework and cooking, and making all of the hard decisions. And for most of us, the best time of all of those deceptively simple times was Christmas. Is it any wonder we feel our spirits lift when we hang our favorite ornament, sing strange old songs, or rewatch that old Christmas special that seemed too cheezy for words when we were young? And when the scent of vanilla extract from the kitchen mixes with the scent of fir or pine in the living room, all bets are off. As odd as it seems, those of us who grew up with big trains around the tree are affected just as much by the scent of a Lionel or American Flyer transformer that has been left on a little too long, the repetitive thunks and clicks of an endlessly circling train, and the erratic beam that our train’s headlight casts around the room when all the room lights are off and only the train and the tree are powered. You can have your “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.” Give me the cheery thunder and repetitive motion of a big Christmas train with a circle of track sitting right on a hardwood floor. How do you connect with the best days of the best years of your childhood? For my part, I reconnect with some of my best and earliest memories of my mother by making cut-out sugar cookies with my own children. I reconnect with some of my best and earliest memories of my father by running trains. And I wouldn’t be surprised if, thirty years from now, my children do the same thing. Finally . . . . Most of all, enjoy the time you have with your family in the coming weeks. If big Christmas trains are part of the memories you are forming for the next generation, then our hearts are with you in that as well. Have the most blessed holiday season possible, Paul Race FamilyChristmasOnline.com™ FamilyGardenTrains.com™
Lost Creek Guide
Older Driver Safety Awareness Week Aims to Keep Seniors Safe on the Road 129 older drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2018
DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation is joining with local programs to observe Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, December 2-6, 2019. The goal of the program is to promote understanding of the importance of mobility and transportation for older adults and to ensure they can remain active in their communities without transportation becoming a barrier to their mobility. In 2018 there were 129 drivers over 65 years old involved in fatal crashes. In that same year 74 older drivers died in car crashes. Older drivers are more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash due to the greater fragility of their aging bodies. Research suggests that older adults can expect to outlive their ability to drive safely by seven to ten years. “Older adults want to maintain their independence as they age and their independence is linked to their cars,” said Maile Gray, executive director of Drive Smart Colorado. “Drivers who use self-management to review their driving skills can retain their independence longer, while limiting risks to themselves and others.” A proactive way for older adults to enhance their safety behind the wheel is to be sure their car is properly adjusted. In 2019 CDOT sponsored 57 CarFit events around the state. At these events volunteers check for: • A seat belt that holds the driver in the proper position and remains comfortable while driving. • The tilt of the steering wheel and position of the airbag. • Plenty of room (at least 10 inches) between the chest and the airbag • A properly adjusted head restraint. • A clear line of sight above the steering wheel and dash. • Easy access to gas and brake pedals. • Properly adjusted mirrors. • Ability to see around the vehicle by reducing the driver’s blind spots. • The ability to turn the vehicle’s ignition key with ease or operate an ignition system. • Easy operation of vehicle controls including turn signals, headlights, emergency flashers, windshield wipers, and the parking brake, among others. Drivers can find a Car-Fit event in at www.car-fit.org As part of the aging process, some people experience physical, cognitive, and sensory changes that can affect driving. Taking notice of changes such as having trouble seeing at night can be remedied by choosing to restrict driving to daylight hours. Those experiencing anxiety about driving in heavy traffic may find errands to be more pleasant if they plan to drive at times other than rush hour. “With increasing age come changes in physical, mental and sensory abilities that can challenge a person›s continued ability to drive safely,” said Sylvia Cordy, a traffic safety advocate with the Denver-based Reaching Older Adult Drivers program. “But there are a variety of safe travel options and focusing on these solutions is key.” There are a variety of ways older adults can get around in their communities without driving. These include: • Asking for rides from friends, family members, and neighbors • Using public transit or ride share programs • Taking advantage of transportation services offered by grocery stores, places of worship, malls, and others In Western Colorado seniors can take advantage of public transit discounts on All Points Transit, Grand Valley Transit and Bustang Outrider. Dial a Ride Door to Door Service is available in most areas. A list of Public Transit Services in Colorado is available at olderwiser.org Additionally, Colorado’s Guide for Aging Drivers and Their Families is available for free and can serve as an excellent resource to answer most questions including license reexamination and laws, resources for Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists, Area Agency on Aging centers, and more. The guide can be downloaded at www.drivesmartcolorado. com or hard copies can be requested by sending an email to info@drivesmartcolorado. com
By GLAD Club
December 4, 2019
Weldon Valley News December Oh! Holly branch and mistletoe, And Christmas chimes where’er we go, And stockings pinned up in a row— These are thy gifts, December! And if the year has make thee old And silvered all thy locks of told, They heart has never been acold Or known a fading ember. The whole world is a Christmas tree, And stars its many candles be. Oh! Sing a carol joyfully, The year’s great feast in keeping! For once, on a December night, An ang held a candle bright And led there wise men by its light To where a child was sleeping. Harriet F. Blodgett
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December 4, 2019
MIT-Yale Study of Govt. Data Finds 22.1 Mil Illegal Immigrants in U.S.
Lost Creek Guide
JUDICIAL WATCH The number of illegal immigrants in the United States is nearly double the current and widely reported estimate of 11.3 million, according to a new academic study that uses a more precise method. The research was conducted by professors from two of the nation’s most prestigious universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Yale, and determined that 22.1 million illegal aliens live in the U.S. Even when implementing extremely conservative parameters, the study measures a population of 16.7 million, which is still substantially higher than the figure that is universally accepted by the government and media. The MIT and Yale researchers say the currently used inaccurate number is based on data from population surveys, which is not very reliable for measuring hidden populations. “In this method, the size of the unauthorized immigrant population residing in the United States is set equal to the estimate of the total foreign-born population minus the legally resident foreign-born population,” researchers write in their report. “The total foreign-born population estimate is derived from surveys that ask respondents whether they were born outside of the United States (and whether they are American citizens), specifically either the American Community Survey or the Current Population Survey.” One of the study’s key researchers, MIT Professor Mohammad Fazel-Zarandi, says surveys aren’t the best method to count illegal immigrants because they probably want to stay undetected. “It’s likely that undocumented immigrants are more difficult to locate and survey than other foreign-born residents and if contacted, they may be inclined to misreport their country of origin, citizenship, and number of household residents, fearing the legal consequences of revealing their status,” Fazel-Zarandi said in a university publication. That is why the MIT-Yale team used comprehensive government data on border apprehensions, foreigners who overstay visas and deportations as well as immigration and death rates to conduct their broad study. The information used for the research was based on statistics from 1990 to 2016. The team of academics used a sophisticated mathematical model that tracks population inflows and outflows to combine the data and reach the illegal alien population estimate of more than 22 million. It was a very complicated task that involved subcomponents that had to be evaluated for specific level of certainty and incorporated into the mathematical model. The bottom line is that, based on this seemingly reliable method and precise numerical formula, the U.S. has double the illegal immigrants than previously thought. The biggest growth in the illegal immigrant population occurred between 1990 and the early 2000s, the inquiry determined, with the peak in 2007 and 2008. “The results of our analysis are clear: The number of undocumented immigrants for each year is estimated to be substantially larger than has been appreciated at least in widely accepted previous estimates,” the report states. Regardless of what figure is most accurate, there is no disputing that illegal immigration takes a huge toll on American taxpayers. Those numbers do not lie. A detailed analysis of federal, state and local programs that include education, medical, law enforcement and welfare determined that American taxpayers spend a mind-boggling $134.9 billion annually on illegal aliens. The in-depth probe, conducted by a Washington D.C. nonprofit dedicated to studying immigration issues, reveals that state and local taxpayers get stuck with an overwhelming chunk—$116 billion—of the burden. State and local expenditures for services provided to illegal aliens total $88.9 billion and federal expenditures $45.8 billion, the analysis found. For those who claim illegal immigrants contribute by paying taxes, government figures show that only $19 billion was recouped by Uncle Sam.
Hemp Online Portal Available to Applicants Interested in Growing Industrial Hemp
Broomfield, Colo. - The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is pleased to announce the launch of its new Hemp Online Portal, or HOP. Applicants seeking to grow industrial hemp in Colorado can now apply for, pay for, and submit an application online for review through the application section of the CDA Industrial Hemp Website. “Colorado leads the nation in registered land area for industrial hemp cultivation,” said Brian Koontz, Hemp Program Manager at CDA, “Our plants team has worked tirelessly for many months to keep pace with unprecedented demand and serve stakeholders across the state. This new registration process will help us continue to stand as a leader in the industry.” To date, CDA has processed 2,634 industrial hemp registrations across the state. A total of 89,743 acres and 15.4 million square feet of indoor grow areas have been registered in 2019 and so far this year, 51,227 acres of hemp have been harvested. Thirteen varieties of certified hemp seed are approved for cultivation in Colorado and eight varieties are currently being tested in field trials by CDA. For more information, please visit CDA’s industrial hemp website or contact Jessica Quinn at 303-869-9055.
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Lost Creek Guide
December 4, 2019
Ice Castles Under Construction in Dillon
(DILLON, COLORADO, November 27, 2019) Construction is officially underway at a popular icy wonderland in Dillon, Colorado. Build crews at Ice Castles started growing and harvesting icicles Monday to create the acre-sized attraction at Dillon Town Park. Over the next 3-4 weeks, ice artisans will grow and harvest up to 10,000 icicles each day to build the winter experience. Each of those icicles is then hand-placed and sprayed with water. The process is repeated until the castles reach heights of around 30 feet. The Utah-based company behind the attraction anticipates the Dillon location will open around Christmas, although exact opening dates are weather dependent. “Mother Nature is our primary architect, and we are always amazed by what she allows us to create each season.” said Ice Castles CEO Ryan Davis, “Our crew in Colorado has been working hard over the last few weeks laying out the castle’s design so we can build a unique, winter experience that is fun for people of all ages.” The team of ice artisans in Dillon will spend a combined 4,000 hours this season dripping, shaping, and hand-placing the icicles, while embedding the structures with colorchanging LED lights to create a life-size fairytale playground. This is the third season for Ice Castles in Dillon. The attraction features ice-carved slides, tunnels, fountains, crawl spaces, and towers of cascading waterfalls. For those interested in reserving their tickets early, presale vouchers are currently available at https://icecastles.com/colorado/ until Monday, December 2. Dillon, Colorado is one of six Ice Castles locations in North America. Other locations include Midway, Utah; New Brighton, Minnesota; North Woodstock, New Hampshire; Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; and Edmonton, Alberta. Construction video and images Additional information and promotional images can be found at www.icecastles.com/ media ### About Ice Castles: Ice Castles was founded by Brent Christensen, a Utah father of six who was looking for ways for his family to enjoy the outdoors together, even in winter. He created an ice cave in the front yard of their home, which ultimately brought out more than just his own children. Ice Castles is now an internationally renowned experience with six locations in cities across the United States and Canada and growing.
USCIS Releases Report on Arrest Histories of Illegal Aliens who Request DACA
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Lost Creek Guide
Alarmists Propose Rebranding ‘Climate Change’ for Greater Shock Value
THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D. Climate change alarmists are pushing for a change in vocabulary to scare people into taking global warming more seriously, starting with terms like “global meltdown” and “climate collapse.” Writing for AdAge this week, Aaron Hall argues that in order to get people to “take action” against climate change, “rebranding” is crucial, since people have gotten too used to the idea that climate is changing and need to be shocked into the notion that the world as we know it is ending. “Is there a better way to convey the urgency of the situation, while also encouraging folks to take action? Could the tools of branding and brand naming create a more resonant, powerful name?” Mr. Hall asks. What he and his marketing team came up with was a series of much more frightening labels to stick on climate change in the hope of jolting people into meaningful engagement. The terms “Global Meltdown” or “Global Melting,” for instance, deliver a more negative image than mere “Global Warming,” he contends. “The names signal that ice caps are melting, but also create a more visceral image in the mind — that real feeling of ‘melting’ when it’s too hot outside. A meltdown is a disastrous event that draws from the ultimate terror of a nuclear meltdown, an apt metaphor for global destruction.” “Climate Collapse” and “Climate Chaos,” on the other hand, “instill a clear message or even a direct call to action,” Hall notes, adding that “there’s nothing neutral about collapse or chaos.” To up the rhetoric even more, Hall proposes the weaponized term “Scorched Earth.” “Sometimes a brand name needs to be hyperbolic to truly capture hearts and minds. If we don’t take massive action now, Earth will be uninhabitable — an irreversible barren wasteland,” he insists. “‘Scorched Earth’ paints the direst picture of what’s to come and what we must avoid and is likely the edgiest brand name from our exploration.” “Whatever we call it, impending climate doom is upon us if we don’t act quickly,” Hall concludes. “Perhaps a new name will shift the needle, even if just a little.” Mr. Hall’s contention that it does not matter if what is said is true as long as it elicits the necessary response is reminiscent of similar assertions by leaders of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement. Spokespersons of the movement have acknowledged that their claims that billions of people are going to die from climate change have no basis whatsoever in scientific fact but are necessary to provoke the kind of response that is needed to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. Pressed last month on what the basis was for predictions of mass deaths, XR spokesperson Zion Lights acknowledged there is no real ground for these predictions, but contended that such incendiary language is necessary to motivate people, confessing that “alarmist language works.” While it is clearly true that “alarmist language works” in some cases, it is also true that people tend to resent being lied to and manipulated. Like Aesop’s fable of the Boy Who Cried Wolf, climate alarmists may wake up one fine day to find that nobody believes them anymore. Such is the price of lying.
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Lost Creek Guide
December 4, 2019
Water Crisis Looms if Colorado Fails to Meet its Legal Obligations to Other States, Study Warns If water consumption increases by as little as 12%, the risk of Front Range spigots and farmland going dry doubles. But some call the findings scare tactics.
by Jerd Smith@jerd_smith Fresh Water News Water sufficient for more than 1 million homes on the Front Range could be lost and thousands of acres of farmland on the Western Slope and Eastern Plains could go dry if the state can’t supply enough water from the drought-stricken Colorado River to downstream states as it is legally required to do, according to a new study. Among the Colorado River Risk Study’s key findings: In the next 25 years, if the state does nothing to set more water aside in Lake Powell, the Front Range could lose up to 97% of its Colorado River water. All but two of the state’s eight major river basins, under that same “do-nothing” scenario, also face dramatic water cutbacks. If Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico increase their water use by as little as 11.5%, as predictions indicate they will by 2037, the risk of a legal crisis spurring such cutbacks on the river doubles, rising to 78% from 39% under one scenario, and to 92% from 46% under another. “Every water user in every river basin [in Colorado] faces some risk,” said Andy Mueller, general manager of the Glenwood Springs-based Colorado River Water Conservation District, one of the sponsors of the study. The Durango-based Southwestern Water Conservation District also sponsored the work. “That’s an important takeaway because when you begin to realize the extent of potential damage, whether it is on the West Slope or the Front Range, then we all come to the realization that we have a shared risk,” Mueller said. Under the 1922 Colorado River Compact, the river’s supplies are divided between the four Upper Basin states (Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico) and three Lower Basin states (California, Nevada and Arizona). The compact dictates that cities and farmers in the Upper Basin whose water rights were obtained after the compact was signed would have to give up some or all of their water to the Lower Basin if there isn’t enough water in Lake Powell to meet the terms of the compact. Colorado uses the most water of all the Upper Basin states and therefore faces the most risk. The study was conducted by Boulder-based Hydros Consulting and released in June. It looked at different scenarios for the way river conditions and reductions to diversions could play out, as well as ways to reduce the risk cities and farms face, including spreading the cutbacks proportionately among all the river basins, something that isn’t typically done. Front Range water utilities are wary of the study and have begun a new round of analysis to determine if they agree with the results. At a recent forum on the risk study, Alex Davis, a water attorney for the City of Aurora, said the chances of a Colorado River crisis were being exaggerated. And the study acknowledges that under some scenarios the risk of such a legal crisis is low. “All of this talk is helpful to get people to think about the issue, but it also seems like a bit
of scare tactics. If the Lower Basin states did try to do something, there would be a whole number of reasons (they would not get far),” she said. This includes the fact that the Lower Basin states continue to overuse their share of the river by about 1.2 million acre-feet a year. Before Colorado and its northern neighbors were asked to cut back, the Lower Basin would have to impose additional cutbacks as well, she said. Though the Colorado River flows west, and originates in Colorado’s Never Summer Mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park, a large chunk of its flows — more than 530,000 acre-feet — are pumped east, across the Continental Divide to Front Range cities, including Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Boulder, Fort Collins and Broomfield. That’s enough water to supply 1.06 million homes or to irrigate more than a half-million acres of crops. Because these water users built their tunnels and reservoirs decades after the 1922 Compact was signed, they could be among the first to be cut off. Denver’s largest storage pool, Dillon Reservoir, was completed in the 1960s. Front Range cities and farmers would lose 97% of their Colorado River water if those diversions were completely shut down, according to the study. “You have to start with the The Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell in Page, Ariz. fact that 50% of the water on (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun) the Front Range comes from the West Slope. Should the Upper Basin fail to meet its delivery obligation, half of water use on the Front Range would be curtailed. That’s an enormous problem,” said Brad Udall, a senior climate and water scientist at Colorado State University’s Colorado Water Center. Other parts of the state also face risk, some more than others. The Yampa River Basin, home to Steamboat Springs, would lose slightly more than 70,000 acre-feet of water, or 30% of its Colorado River supplies. The Gunnison Basin, where agriculture controls historic water rights that predate the compact, is relatively well protected, with the potential to lose just over 57,000 acre-feet of water, or 10% of its share of the river. But a large swath of the southwestern part of the state would also be hard hit. Despite the historic farm water rights in this region, several small communities and irrigation districts built reservoirs after the compact was signed, just as cities did on the Front Range, meaning that those stored water supplies are also at high risk. In this basin, 178,000 acrefeet of water, roughly 36% of its Colorado River supplies, could be lost, according to the study. The likelihood of ongoing drought and hotter summers only deepens the uneasiness over the river’s ability to produce the amount of water the state once relied on. “We don’t expect to see cooler temperatures in the future, we expect to see warmer temps,” Mueller said. “If that is true, then we have to plan on reduced water supplies within our state.” Saving more water? The study comes as the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), the lead water policy agency in the state, is examining whether to launch a massive, voluntary conservation program that would allow the state and its neighbors to save some 500,000 acre-feet Cont. on Page 13, See Water Crisis
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December 4, 2019
Lost Creek Guide
Water Crisis Looms if Colorado Fails to Meet its Legal Obligations to Other States, Study Warns
Cont. from Page 12 of water and store it in a newly authorized drought pool in Lake Powell. The pool, to be used only by the Upper Basin states, could help protect Colorado and its neighbors if drought and climate change continue to sap the river’s flows. Michelle Garrison is a modeler with the CWCB who has analyzed the study’s results. She said the scenarios it considered are important for comparative purposes and may help the Western Slope and Front Range collaborate on any water cutbacks, something that hasn’t always occurred in the past. “It’s a tough one,” she said. “The hydrology in the Colorado River has always been extremely variable and it’s predicted to become even more variable. But I’m really pleased to see them sharing their results.” A worker cultivates the soil in a Herman Produce peach orchard near Palisade on Nov. 18, 2019. Depending on growers’ water rights, Western Slope agriculture could be pinched as demands on the Colorado River increase. (Ed Kosmicki, Special to The Colorado Sun) In places like the Yampa Basin, if the state cut back water use based strictly on prior appropriation, where water-right dates determine who gets water first in times of shortage, Stagecoach Reservoir, the most significant Susan Stanley, of Boulder, and her dog, Wile E. Stanley, storage pool in the valley, paddle board on Gross Reservoir outside above Boulder. could be shut off because Denver Water is planning a major expansion of the reservoir its storage rights date only that will increase storage of Western Slope water by 77,000 to the 1980s. And residents acre-feet. (Chris Schneider, Special to The Colorado Sun) would be hard pressed to cope if another long-term drought drained the river and their only source of stored water was no longer able to refill. Kevin McBride is manager of the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District, which owns Stagecoach. He, like dozens of other water managers across the state, is still contemplating the options. (McBride serves on the board of Water Education Colorado, which houses Fresh Water News.) “Generally being safe from drought is what it’s all about,” McBride said. “But how do you get there? “It’s complicated and it comes down to how it’s done.” McBride and others on the Western Slope are asking for another round of modeling that would examine more equitable ways to cut water use, so that no one takes the brunt of the reductions. With insurance, or without? Others have suggested that the state should let the rules embedded in the 1922 Compact play out, rather than create an expensive, legally complex water conservation program. Anne Castle is a senior fellow at the University of Colorado’s Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources who specializes in Colorado River issues. Going without the insurance that would come with a major conservation program carries its own set of very high risks, such as decades of expensive lawsuits or unplanned water shortages. Over the next several months, the state will continue to examine how best to protect its Colorado River water as part of drought planning work it is engaged in with the other Upper Basin states. Late next year, all Colorado River Basin states will begin negotiating a new set of operating guidelines for the entire river system, designed to bring it back into balance and slash the risk of major cutbacks. “Truly one of the points of this risk study is to make sure that anyone who is at risk understands the risk,” Mueller said. “If you’re a water planner, it may set off some alarm bells. But we don’t want people to panic. The hope is people will look at this and say, ‘Our community is at risk … what are we going to do about it?’” Fresh Water News is an independent, non-partisan news initiative of Water Education Colorado. WEco is funded by multiple donors. Its editorial policy and donor list can be viewed at wateredco.org.
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Lost Creek Guide
December 4, 2019
Drunk Driving Fatalities Have Been REduced, but Driving Impaired Remains Serious Problem
by Trent Wilson Although drunk driving fatalities in the United States have been reduced by nearly 50% since the early 1980s, thanks to harsher penalties for DUI’s and the work of awareness groups like MADD, alcohol-impaired driving remains a serious problem on America’s roadways. In 2018, 29% of total motor vehicle fatalities were a result of alcohol impairment, wherein an operator of a vehicle involved in the crash had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater. The good news is that this is the lowest percentage of alcohol-related fatalities since the NHTSA began reporting alcohol data in 1982. However, the rate is much higher in some states compared to others. To give you a full picture of the current drunk driving situation in the U.S., we used the latest FBI arrest figures, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics on fatal motor vehicle crashes, and U.S. Census data to rank all 50 states based on the severity of their DUI problem. We calculated our DUI severity score using each state’s DUI arrest rate per 100,000 population and the DUI fatality rate per 100,000 population. View the results in the heat map, below Drunk Driving Statistics: Analysis • The north-central region comprising Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas is by far the worst area for drunk driving in the United States, with the four states taking the top 4 positions in our ranking. Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota have the top three DUI arrest rates, while Montana and Wyoming have the two highest DUI death rates. • The south is the deadliest region for drunk driving: 7 of the 12 states with the highest DUI death rates belong to the region (South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina). • States in the northeast and midwest have the least severe problem with drunk driving: of the 15 states with the lowest DUI severity scores, 11 (if you count Maryland as a northeastern state) belong to one of the two regions. • Massachusetts is the state with the drunk driving problem of overall least concern, boasting both the 3rd lowest DUI arrest rate and the 3rd lowest DUI death rate. • Montana has the highest share of alcohol-related traffic deaths, at 43%. Followed by Texas at 40%. • West Virginia and Kentucky have the lowest share of alcohol-related traffic deaths, with 19%. Yet, Kentucky’s DUI arrest rate of 423.13 per 100K is significantly higher than West Virginia’s. • 17 states witnessed a net increase in DUI fatalities, while 33 witnessed net decreases. • The state with the greatest percentage increase in DUI fatalities was New Hampshire, posting a considerable 77.80% increase in DUI fatalities over the previous year. • Rhode Island saw the most significant decrease in DUI fatalities, with a 41.2% drop. Summary Overall, when looking at the decrease in drunk driving fatalities and arrests in the United States over time, the situation is promising. As we mentioned in the intro, 2018 witnessed the lowest percentage of alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities since data began to be compiled on the subject, and 2018 saw a 3.6% drop over the prior year. Promisingly, two of the worst states for drunk driving, North Dakota and Wyoming, had two of the most significant decreases in alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities (ND = -38.30%, Wyoming = 26.10%). We still have a long way to go: thousands lose their lives each year in alcohol-related fatalities, which in turn profoundly affects the lives of families across the country, but when it comes to drinking and driving in the U.S., the outlook is a positive one. Methodology In order to rank the states by the severity of their DUI problem, the DUI severity score was calculated using DUI arrest rates per 100K and DUI fatalities per 100K. Rates per 100K were calculated using the latest 2018 FBI Arrest statistics for DUI arrests, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics for DUI fatalities. Due to the
fact that the FBI arrest data was incomplete and not covering a state’s entire population in some cases, the population figure posted by the FBI was used to calculate the DUI arrest rate per 100 for all 50 states. To calculate the DUI fatality rate per 100K, the latest census population data was used. Note: 2018 Iowa arrest data was not available so data from the 2017 FBI report was used in its place. Trent Wilson is the open data analyst for BackgroundChecks.org. He loves crunching numbers and finding public data sets that shine light on thorny issues and public policy across the world. When he’s not looking for new data or issuing Freedom of Information Requests, Trent enjoys Stand Up Paddling and wind surfing near his home on the west coast.
December 4, 2019
Lost Creek Guide
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Lost Creek Guide
Tri-State Generation And Transmission Association Inc. Ratings Lowered To ‘A-’ From ‘A’ On Members’ Move To Exit Utility
David N Bodek, New York (1) 212-438-7969; NEW YORK (S&P Global Ratings) Nov. 14, 2019--S&P Global Ratings lowered the following ratings on Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc. and Moffat County, Colo. to ‘A-’ from ‘A’: Its issuer credit rating and senior secured debt rating on Tri-State; Its rating on the cooperative’s $371 million 2003 series B pass-through trust certificates that financed the construction of the Springerville Unit 3 power plant through a lease structure; Its rating on Tri-State’s $250 million series 2016A bonds, $250 million series 2014E-1 bonds, $250 million series 2014E-2 bonds, and $500 million series 2010A bonds; and Its rating on the multimodal Moffat County’s $46.8 million pollution control revenue bonds (Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc. project), series 2009, that are in a five-year term rate mode that began in October 2017. The outlook is negative. At the same time S&P Global Ratings lowered to ‘A-2’ from ‘A-1’ its rating on the utility’s up to $500 million commercial paper program, of which $228 million was outstanding as of Sept. 30, 2019. “The downgrade and negative outlook reflect regulatory filings to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission made by two of Tri-State’s member distribution cooperatives. The two cooperatives are requesting that the regulator establish just and reasonable exit fees for the applicants,” said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst David Bodek. Additional factors underlying the rating actions include: Over more than a decade, three general managers have struggled to placate members. To forestall rate increases and appease members, Tri-State reamortized debt in 2014 to reduce near-term debt service requirements and amended its rate structure. Yet, member friction remains. Based on EIA data, we believe members’ weighted average retail rates are among the catalysts for seeking access to alternative and more economic generation. Members’ weighted average retail rates are more than 20% above state averages and smaller members exhibit even greater rate disparities. In October, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected Tri-State’s July application for rate oversight. Tri-State made the filing to consolidate ratemaking in a single venue and preempt regulatory challenges in the four states in which it operates. Tri-State believes that it can overcome the technical grounds FERC cited in rejecting the application and achieve a single venue for rate setting. The negative outlook reflects our view that the cooperative’s debt reamortization, modest rate increases, and rate restructuring are not achieving customer harmony, thereby exposing the utility to constraints on ratemaking and strategic planning. In addition, the utility faces the possibility of having to recoup costs over a smaller base. We believe the imminent departure of one member and applications by two other members to the Colorado commission to establish an exit fee, expose the utility to the potential loss of 25% of its members’ energy sales, which could erode the revenue stream. Acrimony might frustrate ratemaking flexibility and strategic planning, even if TriState prevails before the commission. We could lower the ratings if Tri-State does not achieve sound coverage whether due to member discord, a lack of ratemaking flexibility, higher-than-expected costs attributable to the capital plan, or complying with environmental regulations, or if recouping costs over a smaller base creates financial burdens. We do not expect to raise the ratings within our two-year outlook horizon because the utility’s debt reamortization shifts principal payments to later years. Also, we view TriState’s revenue stream as exposed to ongoing member discord, and the volatile oil and gas sectors. Furthermore, the cooperative, like many other utilities that own or contract for meaningful coal generation, needs to address its generation assets’ relative competitiveness and the specter of more stringent emissions regulations. Certain terms used in this report, particularly certain adjectives used to express our view on rating relevant factors, have specific meanings ascribed to them in our criteria, and should therefore be read in conjunction with such criteria. Please see Ratings Criteria at www.standardandpoors.com for further information. Complete ratings information is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect at www.capitaliq.com. All ratings affected by this rating action can be found on S&P Global Ratings’ public website at www.standardandpoors.com.
December 4, 2019
The Lost Creek Guide News. December 04, 2019