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Special Supplement

Agriculture & Industry TUESDAY June 26, 2012

MONTROSE, CO 81401

www.montrosepress.com

A taste of Straw Hat Farms

Chet Byler, left, and his brother JR Byler pull weeds from a garden bed in one of the hoop houses on Straw Hat Farms.

,Nate Wick/Daily Press

Bylers’ produce well represented on menus of local restaurants By Tera Couchman Wick Special to the Daily Press

If you’ve ever enjoyed a meal at Pahgre’s or Simmer, your taste buds may already be well acquainted with the tasty kick of garlic and other vegetables grown on Straw Hat Farms by Chet and Karen Byler. Perhaps you have lingered over an aromatic morsel of cinnamon roll on Saturday

morning at their Montrose Farmers Market booth; that is, if you got there before they all got snapped up. Then again, maybe your canine best friend sat pretty for one of the Byler kids’ hand-made dog treats that were among last year’s market offerings. Even if you have yet to sample the wares of this certified organic farm and state-certified kitchen, the Byler family’s

Straw Hat Farms in Montrose has something for everyone. Its specialties include garlic, vegetables, eggs and baked goods. Garlic has been a mainstay of Straw Hat Farms since its inception in 1997. The couple peddles their pungent bulbs through their website (www. strawhatfarms.com), as well as at the Montrose Farmers Mar-

see garlic, page A3

Organic ag: A growing opportunity

As organic vegetable producers, Chet and Karen Byler are in good company in Colorado. According to a report published by Timothy Larsen at the state Department of Agriculture, “Colorado ranks third, behind California and Washington for organic vegetable production and is seventh in organic fruit production.” In 2008, Colorado’s 220 organic farms had farm-gate sales of more than $70 million, according to the USDA’s first census of organic production published in February 2010. This statistic was cited in GreenMoney Journal’s 2010 edition, which touted Colorado as an “emerging powerhouse in the organic products market.” According to the report, the state “accounts for $2.5 billion in organic sales, or approximately 10 percent of overall U.S. sales of organic products.” Western Slope farms such as the fourthgeneration Ela Family Farms, a 110-acre fruitgrowing operation in Hodgekiss, are among

the state’s leading organic producers. Nationally, the demand for organic products far outpaces supply. Consumer organic sales have quadrupled since 1997, while organic acreage has only doubled in that time, according to a 2009 report from the USDA’s Economic Research Service. In part to address this supply-side squeeze, Congress included provisions in the 2008 Farm Act that, for the first time, provide financial support (a total of $50 million annually) for farmers to convert to organic production. The funds are being distributed through the Organic Initiative, a program administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and are available in all states and counties. For information on applying to the program, contact your local field office: Montrose Service Center, 102 Par Place, 249-5718; Delta Service Center, 690 Industrial Blvd., 874-7768. — Tera Couchman Wick

Nate Wick/Daily Press

Chet Byler holds a Shantung garlic bulb that had been growing in one of his hoop houses on Straw Hat Farms.

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Nate Wick/Daily Press

Dee Coram, left, Phuong Nguyen and Marty McHugh sit in front of the Coffee Trader location on East Main Street.

Java kings Coram’s childhood inspires successful coffeehouse in Montrose By Matt Lindberg Daily Press News Editor

On a morning in 1970, then-3-year-old Dee Coram walked into Chipeta Diner on Main Street with his great-uncle and ordered a cup of coffee. Sure, the waitresses gave the tyke a strange look when he made his request, but they ultimately followed through with his order when the boy’s great-uncle assured them it was OK. Little did Coram know that he and his great-uncle’s regular trips to the diner, which is now Guru’s Restaurant, would play a pivotal role in his life. “He used to pick me up and take me for coffee,” Coram said. “He inspired

Snyder

me. He got me drinking it.” Fast forward to 2012, and Coram, 45, is co-owner of his own java shop, The Coffee Trader. The establishment, 845 E. Main St., has been operating successfully in Montrose for a little more than 13 years. There have been ups and downs along the way, Coram said, but the passion has always been there. Although Coram grew up in Montrose, he spent several years traveling, spending time in Denver, San Antonio and Las Vegas, Nev. A summer job working at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas as an entertainment manager

see kings, page A3

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Montrose Daily Press

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

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garlic: Cinnamon rolls are often one of the first things that are gobbled up at the farmers market

from page 1

ket and, with the help of Chet Byler’s brother, at Phoenix farmers markets. While Chet describes the farm’s main customer as “the consumer eating the garlic,” their target market also includes other garlic growers for whom they provide several varieties of seed garlic. With garlic’s long shelf life, resistance to disease and lack of refrigeration required for storage, the one acre of garlic has been a practical investment for the family. They have even developed a line of granular and powdered garlic. Straw Hat Farms also produces two acres of assorted vegetables. Its eggs are available at the Highland Health Food Store in Montrose and at Mountain Market in Ridgway. A priority for future infrastructure on the farm would likely be season extenders, according to Chet. And for those who love their carbs, in 2005, Karen Byler spearheaded the addition of a state-certified kitchen which expanded the farm’s offerings to include breads, muffins, pies, granola and, of course, cinnamon rolls. Those products are available exclusively at the Montrose Farmers Market. Chet estimates that two-thirds of the farm’s sales are local and reports that much of those sales are baked goods. “Karen’s area has increased sales substantially,” Chet said. This year, the Bylers’ daughter Bethany, 15, is working on new cake and cookie recipes for the bakery. Early on, the couple decided to grow their crops organically. The decision to become certified organic through the state Department of Agriculture has turned out to be a good one on a number of counts, according to Chet. “At first, when our kids were little,

Nate Wick/Daily Press

Karen Byler pulls fresh-baked bread out of her oven that will be sold at the Montrose Farmers Market. they were out in the field with us, and we wanted them to be able to pick and eat something and not have to worry about them getting sick from the

chemicals,” Chet said. Organic certification also provides important information to customers who cannot visit the farm in person,

such as those in Phoenix and online. “It lets them know that there are quality-control measures in place,” Chet said.

Kings: The Coffee Trader has been open since April 1999

from page 2

turned into an 11 and a half year career for Coram. “I got exposed to good, quality product,” he said. But by 1997, Coram said he had grown tired of how “corporate” Las Vegas had become. His friend Phuong Nguyen, who was working at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino at the time, was feeling the same way. After many conversations, the two agreed they wanted to open a coffee shop in

Petaluma, Calif. “I knew I wanted to open a coffeehouse,” Coram recalled. “I’ve always been intrigued by coffee houses and their culture prior to their massive popularity.” But the plan changed in 1998 when Coram returned to Montrose to help his family out and came across an old house on East Main Street that his father was leasing for his business. “I told him it was the perfect coffee house,” Coram said.

Nate Wick/Daily Press

A perfect double shot being drawn from an espresso machine for a cappuccino at the Coffee Trader in Montrose.

Nguyen, who visited Montrose before with Coram, liked the idea of setting up shop in town.  Coram said a lot of work was put in to fixing up the house before The Coffee Trader opened, but he added it was important it didn’t lose its rustic look. That’s why after his grandfather helped him construct a fence outside the house, Coram pushed on it and made sure it wasn’t straight. He wanted the fence, and the business, to blend right in with the community. On April 10, 1999, The Coffee Trader officially opened for business. Its success in Montrose resulted in Coram and Nguyen bringing in Marty McHugh as another owner to help open a Grand Junctionbased shop. The Coffee Trader’s first Grand Junction store opened at 666 Paterson Road Unit J in 2004 to a great success. They then attempted to open a second store in Grand Junction on Riverside Parkway in 2007. That store started well, but was ultimately closed due to construction in the area that made attracting business difficult. “It was a learning experience,” Coram said. “It stunted our growth, but it was something we were able to recover from.” Indeed, the trio has seen its two stores thrive in the past several years. Both shops serve several hundred kinds of drinks, Coram said, including 42 varieties of teas and 14 roasts of coffee. The

trio has 22 employees between its two stores, and Coram estimates each shop sees 300 to 400 customers each day. “We pride ourselves on quality,” McHugh said. “Quality drinks, quality people and a quality atmosphere.” The Coffee Trader shops had its most profitable year to date in 2011, which could be due in part to the brand’s expansion. The company’s coffee is now served in many restaurants and hotels across the country, including

the Creekside Grill at Cobble Creek, the Red Barn Restaurant and Lounge, Remington’s at The Bridges and The Blue Table in Montrose; 626 on Rood in Grand Junction; the Hotel Madeline in Telluride; the Days Inn in Durango; and Luke San Antonio in San Antonio and New Orleans. Coram said there also are plans to move The Coffee Trader’s current roasting plant in Phoenix to Montrose next year. All three owners said while they hope

their business continues to do well, The Coffee Trader is about much more than serving beverages and baked goods. “We feel that it’s not just a business, but a part of the community itself,” Nguyen said. Said Coram: “It’s kind of a cool experience to move back to the community I grew up in and realize we’re a part of some of the changes in the community. Over the course of time, I think The Coffee Trader has become a landmark (in Montrose.)”

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

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Montrose Daily Press

Precision craftsmanship s

Scott Fly Rod Company produces world-class products right here in Montrose By Will Hearst Daily Press Staff Writer

Since 1996, Montrose has been a worldwide industry leader in a niche market for the production of fly fishing rods, thanks to the Scott Fly Rod Company. Scott employees 32 skilled and dedicated employees who produce high-quality, handmade products for anglers around the world. The company traces its roots back to 1974 when it was founded by Harry Wilson in San Francisco. Wilson named the rod company after his son Scott, and it eventually moved to the mountain community of Telluride in 1993. Finally, seeking a more consistent workforce, Scott Rods found a home in Montrose. The city’s location in the heart of the southern Rockies offers the advantage of being a centralized geographic site that boasts the highest number of fly anglers per capita in the world, according to Ian Crabtree of the company’s sales and service department. Scott Rods has broadened its market significantly as the sport of fly fishing has expanded to rivers and coastlines all over the world. Today, Scott is the No. 1 name for fly rods in Japan, and the brand is growing in in Europe, New Zealand, Australia and Brazil, according to Crabtree. Approximately 40 percent of the fly rods produced in Montrose are sent outside of the United States. So what is the secret to building some of the highest-quality rods on today’s market? According to Crabtree, it is

because Scott rods are produced with the best materials by a knowledgeable, passionate staff. “Our employees set the Scott quality standard,” Crabtree said. “The staff knows the overall purpose of the rods they build, and the quality shows in the overall product.” The Scott Rods factory is not what most would imagine such a facility to be. It is a place where people outnumber machines, and most of those people say they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else — except maybe on the river with a Scott rod in their hand. “It’s a cool thing to be a part of a high-quality rod factory right here in Montrose,” said Tom McCall a former fly fishing guide who seemed to be just as much in his element in the company’s repair shop as he might be maneuvering a raft down a river. According to Crabtree, most of the rod builders at Scott do their own field research. A quick poll showed that even on a Friday, most of the rod builders had been casting to fish sometime over the previous couple of days. “If I can’t be paid to fish, I might as well get paid to build rods,” said Jeff Knight of the quality control department. The fly rod industry itself is evolving quickly. The Scott company stays on top of those changes by using the latest materials, such as the nano resin from 3M to standard graphite rods and traditional fiberglass rods. Scott even produces rods from bamboo cane, a material that has been revered

Will Hearst/Daily Press

Jeff Knight checks for blemishes on fly rod blanks before they are sent to be finished at the Scott Rod Factory. by anglers throughout history for its refined feel and elegant characteristics. Today’s fishing rod industry is actually the beneficiary of the aerospace industry, according to Crabtree. While small rod companies like Scott can’t always afford to develop the latest in composite material, they simply wait until the deeper pockets of aviation companies can produce lighter, stronger material. “When something new comes along that has a great performance potential, we will be quick to look at it,” Crabtree said. In the meantime, the company does not make see rod page A5

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Montrose Daily Press

Outlook Agriculture & Industry

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Fred Valencia has been ensuring that Montrose’s Scott fly rods are perfect for five years.

Will Hearst/Daily Press

rod: If it’s not perfect, it goes to the from page 4 many adjustments to its marketing and sales plan. “The destiny of the company rests in the success of small specialty fly shops,” Crabtree said. “These shops can provide the knowledge and support that big-box sporting good stores can’t. “We are committed to being open with our customers, so we tell them exactly how we build our rods,” Crabtree said. “It’s easy to market a rod

Will Hearst/Daily Press

Ian Crabtreee of the Scott Rod Company explains the early stages of the rod building process at the Scott facility in Montrose

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based on technology. We market our rods based on truth.” In following that approach, Scott officials hope to demonstrate that fancy marketing lingo, Internet sales campaigns and big-box displays are not the essential new business plan. Scott has been growing steadily for two years. Company officials have plans to increase the number of their employees and invest in a few tools that will make their work more efficient.


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What’s the buzz?

Beekeeper Don Arnold, owner of the All Around Bee Company, talks about the ups and downs of beekeeping at one of his bee yards in Olathe.

Nate Wick/Daily Press

Honey harvesting, better crop yields two benefits of beekeeping Bzzzzzzz. That’s a familiar sound in the Uncompahgre Valley, now that wildflowers, weeds and gardens are in bloom. For some, it’s just part of nature’s background music, but for local beekeepers, it’s the sound of industry, their little workers busily collecting pollen that will become rich, sweet honey ready for harvest. And it’s the sound of better garden and crop yields nearby. Many small farmers and gardeners are learning the joys and benefits of setting up a few beehives and harvesting honey for personal use or for sale. What are some benefits of keeping honey bees? The tastiest benefit is, of course, harvesting honey. Just two hives can produce 50 to 100 pounds of honey a year, more than enough for the average family’s use. According to www.backyardhive.com, other benefits include harvesting “bee products” like propolis, honeycomb and royal jelly, some of which are reputed to have health benefits. In the Uncompahgre Valley, where there are many small

farmers and gardeners, bee hives are welcomed because people recognize the connection between greater pollination and greater crop yields. “I actually consider myself a ‘bee haver’ rather than a real beekeeper,” said Scott Stryker, owner of Ridgway Valley Enterprises and a hobbyist beekeeper. “I like teaching my kids that keeping bees is an important link in the chain of survivability.” Stryker keeps just three to four hives, along with a friend who introduced him to the hobby of beekeeping. In addition to “back yard” beekeepers like Stryker, there are commercial bee companies in the area, like the All Around Bee Company owned by Don Arnold of Montrose. Bee companies transport hundreds of hives across several states, assisting pollination of almond groves in California and melon crops in Green River, Utah. Without the help of those industrious pollinators, there would be a significant reduction of crop production in many sectors. In the last 50 years, the domesticated honeybee population has declined by about 50 percent. And

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Don Arnold holds a tray filled with honey and bees, ready to be harvested. the impact on the U.S. food supply has been great — according to Natural News, production has declined by 30 percent. “If we continue to lose honeybees at this rate, we may find ourselves in a dire food supply emergency … “ said Mike Adams, executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center nonprofit group (www.ConsumerWellness.org.) How would someone get started in beekeeping? First, they check the zoning laws in the community to ensure beekeeping is allowed in that location. Then they would talk to their closest neighbors to be sure their bees will not be considered a nuisance. Consulting an established beekeeper for advice on location, types of hives to use and resources they rely on is a good way to learn. An excellent book for beginners is “Beekeeping for Dummies” by Howland Blackiston, which provides a list of basic equipment needed, terminology and a step-by-step guide to getting and managing new hives. Two associations, the Western Colorado Beekeepers Association in Grand Junction and the North Fork Bee Association in the North Fork Valley, have started up in the past year to provide information, support and resources to beekeepers from novice to expert. And there appears to be interest in form-

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For a taste of local honey, visit area stores like Ray’s Good Stuff, Highland Health Foods and at the Montrose Farmers Market held each Saturday through the summer. ing a beekeepers association in the Montrose area. Swarming bees are commonly seen in the spring as hives rapidly increase their population. Bees know they need to expand to another hive and so up to 30,000 bees (drones, workers, a queen) may leave the hive in search of a new location. That location could be a tree branch, or a nice overhang on a front porch. The swarm is typically docile – honeybees tend to be aggressive only when they are protecting their food and their young. Beekeepers are glad to come collect a swarm — they know how to do it, and they can introduce the new bees to their hives. If you see a swarm, don’t call an exterminator – call a beekeeper. The Tri-River CSU Extension office will provide a list of beekeepers able to collect your swarm safely. Call the office at 249-3935.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

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Making changes

Courtesy Photo

Atlasta Solar completed the installation of the new solar array at the Delta Montrose Electric Association’s Montrose headquarters in 2011.

DMEA deriving energy from a number of renewable sources By Shirley Bradbury Special to the Daily Press

In 2004, a successful ballot initiative required the Delta-Montrose Electric Association and all other energy co-ops in Colorado to acquire a minimum of 10 percent of their electricity from alternative sources like wind, solar and other nontraditional methods by the year 2020. The initiative meant that DMEA had a responsibility to its members to research, build and acquire new technologies to produce electricity. Clean energy was taking center stage. So what is DMEA doing to meet the terms of the mandate? There are several projects in the works, as well as in production now, according to coop officials. In 2011, the innovative Community Solar Array project was implemented, enabling even apartment dwellers to participate in using solar energy to provide their electricity. How does it work? There are two DMEA solar array locations — one in Montrose, one in Delta County. Members lease as little or as much of the community array as they want. They receive a credit on their electric bills for the power produced by their portion of DMEA’s community solar arrays. Twentythousand watts of power are available between the two arrays, which can be leased for as little as a $10 one-time payment. People are able to make use

of solar power without the large investment in equipment typical of solar installations. Groundbreaking began this month for the latest DMEA project, the South Canal hydroelectric plant. It only took 100 or so years to begin work harnessing the electric power potential of the water coming from the Gunnison Tunnel. President William Taft, on his visit to the newly constructed Gunnison Tunnel in 1909, recognized that potential, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the joint project between DMEA and the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association was begun. The South Canal project makes use of two existing structures — the Gunnison Tunnel and the South Canal — to power a hydroelectric plant capable of providing up to 6 megawatts of electricity (approximately 5 percent of DMEA’s demand.) The benefits of hydro power include the nonconsumptive use of water; it is environmentally sound, clean and renewable energy; and local ownership and operation. What is the community doing to support the increase of clean energy availability in the Uncompahgre Valley? One example is Performance Auto Body teaming up with One Source Lighting to do a full lighting retrofit, replacing its old metal halide lighting with energy-efficient fluorescent lights. Key benefits include the improved quality of lights, a 25 percent rebate

Daily Press File Photo

Jim Henegan, Delta-Montrose Electric Association renewable energy engineer, stands in front of the community solar array and talks to area residents about the new program during an educational kick-off at DMEA’s headquarters in Montrose in 2011. from DMEA and an $80 to $100 reduction on the company’s monthly DMEA bill. DMEA employs energy-saving habits itself. Its lobby is outfitted with solar tubes interspersed with energy-

efficient lights, making use of natural sunlight and reducing power usage. The coop offers a free guide to help residential customers improve the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses.

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A livestock guardian dog stays close to his flock as they’re gathered in a corral and loaded on to trucks for transport to summer pasture.

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Sheep industry making positive strides in Montrose, U.S.

Changes to management programs improve outlook for livestock industries By Katrina Kinsley Daily Press Writer

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

A border collie lies low, awaiting a command to push the sheep up the chute and into transport trucks.

Like many agriculture industries around the country, sheep ranching is a bit down — but certainly not out. For years, overproduction both domestically and overseas in Australia and New Zealand resulted in greater supply than demand, and that hurt prices for both lambs and wool. With current numbers down to a more reasonable level, and improving public relations, the sheep industry is seeing positive changes. Ernie Etchart is a second-generation sheep rancher who is well known in the community. Along with his brother George, Etchart runs the business his father established in the 1950s after emigrating from the French Basque region in 1947 to herd for other ranchers. The Etcharts currently run approximately 4,500 head of rambouillet/merino cross sheep, bred for both large lamb size and quality of wool. Etchart has seen the industry go through a decline over the last couple of decades and cites one reason as the selling of agriculture land to developers during the real estate boom years. But he notes that last year was very good for both wool and lamb sales. “The demand for meat is strong right now, and lamb prices are strong,” Etchart said. “It’s a promising outlook.” The obstacles that the sheep industry continues to face are, in general, the same it’s been facing for decades: public/federal land grazing issues and predators. Environmental

Rambouillet/merino cross sheep crowd together in a chute, awaiting a ride to their summer pasture location.

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

weather issues, such as drought, can also hit livestock businesses hard in bad years. Working under the shadow of overgrazing and battles with cattle ranchers over land use during the 1920s and ‘30s, the sheep industry has worked hard to make adjustments to its practices. Livestock ranchers, wildlife groups and land management agencies have all made an effort in the last two decades to find a balance for using public lands. In 1995, following an environmental impact statement and public input, the Bureau of Land Management developed improved livestock grazing regulations. These grazing management practices standardize the type and number of livestock allowed on lands, as well as the season and duration livestock are allowed to graze. They also call for monitoring of the livestock health, in addition to wildlife and native flora species conditions. Sheep ranchers have also made changes in the way they protect their flocks. Where there was once an aggressive lethal policy in dealing with possible predators, attempts are being made to use preventative, nonlethal measures such as improved fencing, security lighting and the increased use of livestock guardian dogs. Those changes, as well as efforts to market lamb as an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc and iron, have helped the sheep industry level off from its previous decline. Other indicators of an encouraging future include the introduction of niche sheep products such as specialty wools for spinning and knitting, and sheep milk items like cheese and soap. The results of those changes can be seen in Colorado, which is one of the top five sheep-producing states in the country, housing nearly 300,000 breeding sheep. Approximately 15,000 of those breeding ewes are in this valley, according to Etchart. A Montrose Economic Development Corporation report also notes that the sheep industry has a positive impact on local jobs, with every 1,000 sheep generating 18 jobs. Etchart and others are working hard to continue changing the sheep industry for the better, and seek to show those positive changes to the general public. The Western Slope Woolgrowers Association, established in 1899, presents a fundraising banquet each January. The group also sponsors a Sheep Day the first Tuesday in August. On that day, sheep ranchers and land management agents join together in a sheepherder tent on Engineer Pass — located in the area where most local sheep are summered — to educate the public, in particular, recreationalists using the area. While it’s unlikely that Montrose will regain its long-ago title of “lamb shipping capital of the world,” it’s important to many to keep the atmosphere of an agriculture-based area, and the local sheep industry is an important element in that.


10

Outlook Agriculture & Industry

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Montrose Daily Press

A heady time for local beer makers s

Nate Wick/Daily Press

A frankin kettle maxed out with mash is pictured while owner Nigel Askew cleans up his mess at Horsefly Brewing Company.

Despite economic slowdown, Montrose will soon be home to two breweries By Mike Easterling Daily Press Managing Editor

Anybody who doubts Montrose’s ability to support not just one but two breweries should talk to Nigel Askew, the co-owner and brewer at the Horsefly Brewing Company, and Dan Leonardi, the co-owner and brewer at the planned 2 Rascals Brewing Company. Both are as bullish as they can be about the future of the craft brewing industry in this town — and elsewhere. “The craft brewing industry is growing at a rate of approximately 15 to 20 percent a year,” Askew said. “Breweries are popping up everywhere. The big breweries are shrinking at the rate of about 4 percent a year ... there was close to $500 million generated last year by the craft brewing industry in Colorado alone.” The Horsefly’s sales reflect the popularity of craft beer elsewhere in the state. Askew said his brewpub’s sales nearly doubled in the last year, and the business now employs 30 people. Leonardi doesn’t have any such

figures to rely on because his business hasn’t opened yet, but he feels the same way Askew does. “This town’s population certainly is big enough to support three breweries, I would say, but I don’t know how much of the population is beer drinkers,” Leonardi said. “But if you look at Ridgway, it has a population of 800 and has a very successful brewery, and Ouray is 800 to 1,000 people, and it has two successful breweries. So I definitely think there’s enough of a market here to support another brewery.” The 2 Rascals brewery, located at 147 N. First St., will cover 6,700 square feet on three floors, though only two of them will be used in the initial phase. Leonardi is launching the venture with his partner Brandon Frey. “At some point, we’ll turn the top floor into a private party room,” Leonardi said. The Ouray High School graduate has no reservations about opening a brewery even in an economy that hasn’t worked its way out of the recession.

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Nate Wick/Daily Press

A detail of the new outdoor bar and cold room that will store the cold beer at Horsefly Brewing Company. “I personally feel like I’d be risking more by not trying it,” he said. “I’m scared and nervous, but ...” There’s plenty of beer business to go around, Leonardi believes. “I actually hope we wind up collaborating with them on different things,” he said of the Horsefly, noting the support that business provides to various community organizations through its weekly Community Tap Night, in which a percentage of each pint sold goes to a local nonprofit group. Askew doesn’t seem concerned about another local brewery opening. “What they’re going to be doing is quite different from us,” he said, noting that, initially at least, 2 Rascals will be a production brewery with a tasting room and won’t be serving food. He also knows that, when it comes to fans of craft brewing, more is usually better. “They come from around the area,” he said, explaining the destination nature of craft breweries and how they serve as tourist attractions. “People drive a long way to drink good beer.” A Horsefly with more bite That’s not to say Askew is content to rest on his laurels. The Horsefly already has grown exponentially since it opened in the front office of a storage unit business at 2320 E. Main St. on Sept. 9, 2009. It was a modest beginning, as Askew recalls. “We started with 14 seats, brewing 50 gallons at a time,” he said, explaining that the Horsefly now brews 320 gallons at a time. Askew, a British citizen who was born in Zambia, Africa, had been living in Montrose since 2004, operating a motel. A longtime home brewer, he became intrigued with the idea of opening a small brewery and paid a visit to Revolution Brewing in Paonia in the fall of 2008. “They were located in an old church that had about 800 square feet total,” he said. “It was a tiny space. They had two old couches sitting on the porch ... we thought it was this big, complicated

deal to open a brewery, but they told we just needed a manufacturer’s license and a wholesale license, and we could open.” Askew intended to keep the operation small, something that would be open only Thursday through Saturday nights, and that’s what the original Horsefly was, employing the 2.5 barrel system Askew had set up at home. But the reaction the brewery drew quickly made it clear to him he had tapped into something larger. “Oh, boy,” he said. “People just sought us out. We didn’t advertise, we didn’t do anything, really. The first day we opened for business, the brewers association in Denver called and asked us to join. I said, ‘How the hell do you know we’re here?’ Craft brew fanatics will just go out of their way to find a brewery.” It wasn’t long before the Horsefly outgrew the storefront operation where it initially set up camp. On Labor Day weekend 2010, it moved into its current quarters — a remodeled Kentucky Fried Chicken location at 846 E. Main St. Those quarters were much larger, and the addition of a patio on the west side of the building in 2011 added even more space. Now that shady area is one of the more popular places to socialize in all of Montrose, particularly in the summer when it is covered with sail shades and there’s a band performing. But it was the addition of food to the equation that really allowed the Horsefly to grow, Askew believes. “It’s a huge spectrum we have here,” he said. “It’s not a bar, it’s a pub, and the food is very, very good. We’re not pretending to be anything fancy. You see everything from babies and toddlers here to school-age children, old-age pensioners, beer geeks, married couples, doctors and lawyers, and mechanics. It’s a wide spectrum of ages and professions. We’re very family friendly.” Now Askew has plans to grow the Horsefly again. He’s constructed an outdoor bar, is adding four new tanks see beer, page A11

Where to find a cold one Colorado is one of the leading craft-brewing states in the country, and the Western Slope is home to numerous breweries. Here are some within close driving distance:

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Horsefly Brewing Company, 846 Main St., 249-6889, www.horseflybrewing.com. 2 Rascals Brewing Company — 147 N. First St., 579-0297, tworascalsbrewing@ yahoo.com.

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Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery — 602 Clinton St., (970) 626-5333, www. coloradoboy.com. Ouray Ouray Brewery, 607 Main St., (970) 325-7388, http://ouraybrewery. com. Ourayle House Brewery — 215 Seventh Ave., (970), 903-1824, www. ouraylehouse.com. Paonia Revolution Brewing — 325 Grand Ave., (970) 260-4869, www.revolution-brewing.com.

Gunnison

Gunnison Brewery — 138 N. Main St., (970) 641-2739, www.gunnisonbrewery.com. Crested Butte Eldo Brewery and Taproom — 215 Elk Ave., (970) 349-6125, http:// eldobrewpub.com Telluride Smuggler Joe’s, 225 S. Pine St., (970) 728-0919, www.smugglerjoestelluride.com. Telluride Brewing Company, 156 Society Drive, (970) 728-5094. www. telluridebrewingco.com


Outlook Agriculture & Industry

Montrose Daily Press

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

11

s

Nate Wick/Daily Press

The old awning of The Work Horse remains but will soon be the home to 2v Rascals Brewing Company.

beer: There is plenty of business for Horsefly, 2 Rascals in town, owners believe from page 10

and built an extra cold room. The Horsefly now seats 40 customers inside and 70 outside, and features full service both indoors and outdoors. “Then I’ll probably have to build a bigger brewhouse,” Askew said, noting that he’s barely able to keep up with demand now. Technically speaking, the Horsefly is not a brewpub but a brewery, although that’s about to change, he said. Obtaining a brewpub license will allow the Horsefly to serve “guest” beers — brews created by other breweries — as well as wine and perhaps even margaritas. Those changes are designed to give customers more options. Despite the success of its food operation, the Horsefly was never intended to be a restaurant — it’s a brewery that sells food, Askew said. “It’s all about the beer,” Askew said. “They wouldn’t come here to eat if we didn’t have the beer. Beer is the meaning of life.” Joining the craft beer community Dan Leonardi readily acknowledges he doesn’t know everything there is to know about brewing. He’s only been doing it as a home brewer for four years and became intrigued with the idea of starting his own operation in 2007 when his girlfriend’s brother decided to open a brewery in Texas. That led to him taking an immersion course in brewing from the Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery in Ridgway. Still, the craft brewing community in America is remarkably supportive and accepting of new ventures, he said. “Having to ask questions of people who have been doing it for 15 or 20 years can be intimidating, but they’re always so gracious with their knowledge it makes you feel better about it,” he said. Located in an old three-story brick building widely known in local circles the Travelin’ Tots/Workhorse building, 2 Racals will feature an atmosphere much more like an urban brewery one might find in Denver or Dallas. The rustic interior features plenty of

exposed brick and wood beams, and a new brick bar quickly draws the attention of visitors. In addition, it will have a spacious deck on the west side that overlooks the railroad tracks, and Leonardi and Frey have plans to refurbish the faded advertisements painted on the side of the building. Officials at the nearby Montrose County Historical Museum have photos of the ads they have offered to share so that they can be authentically reproduced. Leonardi brushes off comparisons to the Horsefly, pointing out 2 Rascals will have only a manufacturer’s license and won’t be serving food. 2 Rascals will be a brewery making beer for consumption on the premises, and to be sold to local liquor stores and restaurants, though Leonardi said he plans to get a license to serve food in the future. Eventually, he’d like to open a second facility with a 30-barrel system that is a true production brewery. Initially, 2 Rascals will have a 7-barrel system with three fermenters, which will allow Leonardi and Frey to produce 645 gallons a week at maximum production. “We’ve got plenty of space to brew four times a day without changing locations,” he said. Leonardi hopes to see 2 Rascals become a center of social activity in Montrose much as the Horsefly has. It will be able to seat 65 customers inside and another 20 outside. Leonardi intends to be open by July. “All of our equipment should be here by the middle of June,” he said. “We already have our state license, and we’re waiting on our federal license.” The brewery will feature live music on a regular basis, as well as offering a darts league or a trivia league. Leonardi envisions it becoming a place where friends can gather — particularly those who appreciate full-bodied, hand-crafted beer. “It’ll be a great place to meet other like-minded people,” he said. For more information about 2 Rascals, email www.tworascalsbrewing@ yahoo.com. For more information about the Horsefly, call 249-6889 or visit www.horseflybrewing.com.

Nate Wick/Daily Press

At rest on the new bar is an old tap where the beer will soon flow at 2 Rascals Brewing Company.

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12

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Outlook Agriculture & Industry

Montrose Daily Press

s

‘King Corn’ Olathe farmer John Harold is the face of the local sweet corn industry By Mike Easterling Daily Press Managing Editor

Nate Wick/Daily Press

John Harold poses for a photo as he talks about the challenges of growing corn during a drought season.

John Harold is no stranger to physical labor — it’s the nature of what he does, and has done, for the past 30 years or so, ever since he finished a stint as mayor of Olathe and decided farming might not be such a bad way to make a living. It’s a decision he’s never regretted, even though he knows the already brisk pace of his life will be ramped up further in the next few weeks as the much-anticipated sweet corn harvest begins in the Uncompahgre Valley. “Some days, we’ll pick a million and a quarter ears by hand,” he said. “One of our claims to fame is that our product is hand picked — and one of the reasons we do that is that it’s so tender.” As he sat in his office at his Tuxedo Corn Co. one afternoon in early June, Harold discussed the circuitous route that led to his farming career and the ins and outs of the product with which he has become synonymous — Olathe Sweet Sweet Corn. Years ago, he had the foresight to get a trademark on that name. He advised others in the area to join him, he said, but they opted not to because of the cost. Now, it’s a trademark that is known by consumers from coast to coast. “It’s been successful,” he said in his typical understated fashion. Harold farms approximately 1,000 acres, producing onions as well as corn, and running 350 head of cattle. It’s quite a different life than he envisioned for himself when he got back from Vietnam in 1966 and found himself knocking around Chicago. By the next year, Harold had made his way to his mother’s home state of Colorado and wound up staying. Harold rushes through his personal history — “I was born in Michigan, raised in various places, got drafted, served kicking and screaming, and came out here in 1967,” he said — before pausing to consider his life in Olathe. “I’ve been here, what, 45 years? Whooo — that’s a long time,” he said. He’s been married for 38 years to Donna Sue, who also serves as his business partner. Together, they have raised three boys. “I always tell people we’ve been married for 76 years — her 38 and me 38,” Harold said, joking. Then he turned serious. “One of the things I’ve come to realize in farming country is it takes a special woman for a partnership to be successful — and I’m not saying I’m successful,” he said, explaining that one of the smartest decisions he ever made was marrying his wife. Regardless of whether he likes to acknowledge it, Harold is a success. In his first year of farming, he harvested 12,500 boxes of sweet corn. Last year, he said, that number reached 620,000. Apparently, others have noticed, as Harold is regularly approached with business propositions. see sweet, page A13

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Montrose Daily Press

Outlook Agriculture & Industry

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

13

s

Nate Wick/Daily Press

A crop of field corn planted April 20 soaks up the summer sun on Randy Friend’s farm in Olathe.

sweet: The variety of corn is so tender that it must be picked by hand to maintain such a high quality from page 12 “One of the things about being perceived as having a shekel or two to rub together is, a lot of people say, ‘You should come in partners with me on this,’ “ he said. “I always tell them, ‘I have two partners already — I sleep with one and pray to the other. So I don’t need anymore.’ “ Harold said that growing corn is as close as you can come to a sure thing in farming. “It’s the only crop I know of as a farmer where I know what my return is before I plant it,” he said. Part of the reason for that is the distribution deal Harold has with the Kroger Company, one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers. It’s a relationship that has benefited both parties for years. “City Market was kind of our first customer,” he said. “The story I’ve heard a couple of times from them is somebody put a couple of cases of our corn on a plane” bound for the Cincinnati headquarters of the Kroger Co., City Market’s parent company, Harold explained. The delivery apparently made quite an impression. “Somebody from their McAllen, Texas, office came out to see where that sweet corn came from.” For nine years now, Harold said, Olathe Sweet Sweet Corn has been featured in the produce section of Kroger-owned markets. “It’s available from Anchorage, Alaska, to Roanoke, Va.,” he said. That kind of exposure has helped put his adopted hometown on the map, Harold said. “I think it’s been a good staple crop for the valley,” he said. “You go somewhere on an airplane and talk to somebody, and they all seem to know where [Olathe] is or it rings a bell.” As good as sweet corn has been to him, Harold isn’t above acknowledging he sometimes gets tired of eating it. “In the summertime, probably,” he said. “I like to think one of my strengths is I know when corn’s ready to harvest. I know good corn from bad corn. So I spend a lot of time in the fields taking a bite.” That’s not to say Harold has lost his taste for his primary crop. He describes

with obvious fondness how he and his crew often begin the day by gathering around a fire, where someone has tossed a couple of dozen ears on the grill. “That’s the best way to eat corn,” he said, adding that it isn’t unusual for him to consume four or five ears for breakfast under those circumstances. It wasn’t so long ago that Harold found himself on the proverbial grill for comments he made to the Daily Press that placed him squarely in the middle of the national debate on immigration. Harold had tried to hire as many local workers — rather than foreign workers with visas — as he could to pick his corn crop last summer and wound up disappointed in the results. He received 39 new applications from American workers last year, hiring all of them to augment the regular crew of locals he uses. Many of those new domestic workers quit within a few hours. Most others left within two days, despite wages of $10.48 an hour and a high local unemployment rate. Only one made it to the end of the season, he said. Harold told the Daily Press that local workers simply don’t have the same work ethic as the migrant workers he hires under a federal program called H-2A. The New York Times picked up the story, sending a reporter to Olathe to interview Harold, and from there other national media attention followed. Eventually, he would be interviewed by radio stations in New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia, while a staff member from Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” approached him about appearing on that program. That appearance didn’t pan out, but the exposure those interviews generated was enormous. If Harold felt overwhelmed by the experience or regretted anything he said, he doesn’t let on. “Oh, no,” he said. “I feel comfortable with what I do. I’ve always told my children, if you can’t rationalize what you do, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.” Harold doesn’t mince words when he talks about how important those foreign workers are to his enterprise. “Without the labor I bring out of Mexico, I wouldn’t be in business,” he said. Still, he believes hard liners on both

sides of immigration issue have got it wrong. “I don’t have an answer to the immigration problem other than we’re going to have to give to get,” he said. “We’re going to have to swallow our pride. Both sides are going to have to give.” Nothing about the farm labor situation seems to have changed since last summer. By early June this year, Harold said, he had received only seven new applications from American workers for the upcoming harvest. He wound up hiring two after the other five applicants found other jobs. “The harder they work, the more they make,” he said, describing the nature of field work. “The average wage this summer will probably be $12 to $13 an hour

in the field. Dock workers will be higher than that.” Only six employees work year round at Tuxedo, but Harold will have approximately 150 hands working at the height of the corn harvest in July and August, most of them migrant workers here on a visa. That number will drop to 25 or 30 during the onion harvest that follows. That supplemental labor force has worked very well for Harold over the years — and for the workers themselves, he said. “I’m always proud of the fact that we have a good relationship with a lot of people in Mexico based on their ability to find work and improve their lives here,” he said.

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14

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Outlook Agriculture & Industry

Montrose Daily Press

s

Nate Wick/Daily Press

Water masters Aaron English, left, and Dennis Veo stand on top of the 100-year old West Canal gate while the canal diverts about 700CFS into the Uncompahgre River.

To the last drop:

Water users association keeps valley’s lifeblood flowing By Katharhynn Heidelberg Daily Press Senior Writer

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Pomona (apple). Now imagine the area without the extensive network of canals, laterals and ditches that make up the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association’s project and bring us water through the Gunnison Tunnel. “Without the project, this ground would look a lot like it does between Delta and Grand Junction,” said Steve Fletcher, UVWUA’s manager. Or, to put it more starkly: “It would be desert,” he said. That it’s not is thanks to the UVWUA, which oversees 580 miles of canals and laterals, plus approximately 430 miles of drain ditches. The association delivers water to more than 80,000 acres of farm ground at a price of $31.40 to $39.25 per share (plus pump contract of $225). Oh — and the water has to be dispersed evenly per acre throughout the valley. For staffers there, water management is done by the day, not the season. Aaron English, water master for the Olathe/Delta area, and his Montrose counterpart Dennis Veo arrive to work at 6 each morning. Ditch riders — who are responsible for the actual delivery of water — call in readings from the canals, and the water masters compile the readings to determine the day’s water picture, English said. Dealing with complaints also falls to the water master, and diplomacy is a must: “This is a tight water year, so we’ve got a bunch of them,” English said. Dry years see a drop in the percentage of water delivery, Fletcher said. Earlier this year, the UVWUA dropped down to 70 percent — not a good sign. English said he fears a drought along the lines of the one that hit the valley in 2002. “With the warm weather (the week of May 14), we’ve inched back up to 90 percent, but that’s going to be pretty short lived,” Fletcher said. It may sound counter-intuitive, but warm weather during spring is the UVWUA’s friend — it brings snowmelt from the mountains, which, in turn, increases the amount of water available for delivery. The UVWUA also has stored water ��� 106,230 acrefeet in the Taylor Reservoir, by water right, and an 8,900 acre-feet block of water it purchases from the Ridgway reservoir. The water users association’s policies are also forward-thinking. The water supply isn’t left to the

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Water flowing through one of the shoots into the Uncomphagre River at the West Canal gate.


Montrose Daily Press

Outlook Agriculture & Industry

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

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drop: The water from the West Canal flows through the Gunnison tunnel at abbout 1100CFS from page 14

whim of Mother Nature. “Our part is to know what kind of water we’re going to need through the growing season, to be able to disperse that out, yet look forward to the next year, too, so we don’t totally deplete everything,” Fletcher said. The UVWUA is working with the Delta-Montrose Electric Association, which is building small hydroplants on the association’s South Canal. DMEA will

be able to generate a small percentage of its power from the water, which is expected to reduce power costs to its membership. The water users get another source of revenue aside from the growers’ assessments. The association continues to do its part toward mitigating selenium in local waterways — by way of an ongoing, grant-funded project, it is piping and lining its lateral canals to help reduce the leaching of the trace element that occurs when water hits

Mancos shale. Proactive management is a must when it comes to ensuring a stable water supply in the Uncompahgre Valley. “We have to manage it so we’re looking into the future, yet not cutting the current year short. In other words, we don’t want to waste any water,” Fletcher said. “We want to utilize every drop.”

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Modern farming has brought nature’s bounty to the table year round. Problem is, some modern methods may not be sustainable, as they are thought to deplete critical soil nutrients. How to save the future of farming? Hearken to the past, partners in the Uncompahgre Valley Soil Health Project say. “Soil health is getting back to natural processes. A lot of this was used by our grandfathers and great-grandfathers when they farmed,” said Dave Dearstyne, soil health scientist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Montrose. “The idea is to get to the place where we have sustainable agriculture. There is more and more indication that farming the way it has been is not sustainable in the long term. You can’t continue to deplete the soil on a constant basis and expect it to be able to produce agricultural commodities as it currently does.” The soil health initiative looks at soil as more than just dirt — far more. The soil is an entire and complex ecosystem. Imagine everyone who has ever been on earth. Take two fistfuls of healthy topsoil, and in your hands, you will have more life forms than there have ever been humans, Dearstyne says. “The soil contains workers. You can use them to work with you, or you can basically work against them. This will become more and more obvious as fuel costs continue to increase,” he said, noting that many fertilizers are petroleum based. Current practices “kind of work against nature,” Dearstyne said, because they strip the soil of nutrients. “Inputs” that artificially boost the soil take a toll on the beneficial micro and macro organisms, he said. It can’t continue forever. “What soil health is trying to do is revitalize and enhance the biologic community to make it more favorable for growing an agricultural community,” Dearstyne said. The soil health project got under way in 2010 and brought a diverse number of stakeholders to the table — everyone from soil conservation districts to power companies, even economic development organizations. And, of course, farmers. David Harold of Olathe looks at soil health from a financial standpoint. “It might be the exact opposite; it might help me not have money, but the conservation of resources, if you don’t have to buy them, that’s always a good thing,” he said. He is employing drip-irrigation, which hits crops at root level, at regular intervals, and reduces overirrigation. It’s also a cost-effective way to irrigate compared to furrow irrigation, in which water is applied for longer periods because the water hits the top of plants and has to travel down to the roots. Using cover crops helps cycle nutrients through the soil, and leaving crop residues puts carbon back into the soil, instead of taking it out. Harold has been experimenting for two years with cover crops. He’s also calling in the mob — a mob of heifers, that is. Harold is using 87 cows to “mob graze” 50 percent of last fall’s cover crop at a rate of 3 acres every two days. The remaining biomass goes back into the soil. “I enjoy the challenge. It’s interesting,” he said. Harold is frank: employing soil health initiative steps is hard work, and other farmers can do as they like. He says he’s putting more time and energy into soil health practices than he put into conventional ways, in the hope that one day it gets easy. “The magic bullet in soils is organic matter,” Dearstyne said. “The biggest detractor in building organic matter is repetitious and constant tillage. That rapidly burns up the organic matter so it can’t be used.” Farmers can boost organic matter through manure, plant waste, composting and biochar, a charcoal produced by “cooking” wood to produce a stable form of carbon that can last thousands of years in the soil. “The soil health movement is a philosophy of rejuvenation that’s been going on for a number of years,” Dearstyne said. The idea is to reduce inputs and costs, improving the bottom line while improving the soil. “You can win, and you can win,” he said. And you can customize operations. “It’s not one shoe fits all. You don’t have to change 180 degrees and instantly go to a different mindset,” Dearstyne said. “It opens up a whole wide spectrum of things, depending on what you’d like to do with your land. “It becomes customized farming.”

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Outlook Agriculture & Industry

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Fox Cinema Center makes move to digital technology By Elaine Hale Jones Daily Press Lifestyles Editor

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A Montrose landmark recently entered a new era of providing quality entertainment to the community. The Fox Cinema Center, which includes the historic Fox Theater and the San Juan Cinema, made the transition from film to digital format earlier this month. The local theaters were alerted a year ago that all major film companies will stop producing movies on 35-millimeter film by the end of 2012. For owners, Michael and Meredine Hunter, it’s the biggest news of the decade. “We’ve spent nearly half a million dollars (on the transition),” Meredine said. This involved nearly a year of planning (with an interim film company), updating equipment and installing new screens, including three with 3-D capability. The Penthouse in the Fox Theater had previously been converted to the new technology. The digital format definitely offers “better presentation, and the product can’t be scratched or damaged like film,” daughter Misty Hunter explained. The Hunters purchased the Fox Theater from Meredine’s father, Stan Dewsnup, in November 1985. Dewsnup had done extensive remodeling (duplexing, creating two theater screens instead of one) and tiling of the interior walls in the 1970s. In 1998, the couple built the San Juan Cinema on East Main Street, which houses three theaters. Entering the digital age, however, hasn’t taken away from the historic value of the downtown venue, which will celebrate its 83rd anniversary this fall. Within two days following the Stock Market crash on Oct. 29, 1929, the Fox Theater opened to rave reviews from Montrose residents on Halloween night. Against a bright-orange background with lettering done in heaven blue and silver, the words “All Ye Who Enter Here, Leave Worldly Cares Behind” greeted moviegoers. Hoping to provide an escape from the devastating financial news ravaging the country, the Fox opened with “They Had to See Paris,” starring the famous American humorist Will Rogers, along with Irene Rich and a saucy actress named Fifi Dorsay. The upbeat movie portrayed a family coming into sudden riches and enjoying a newfound prosperity. By 1927, the motion picture industry had undergone a major transformation from silent films to “talkies,” and movie theaters across the country were being built with an elegance and splendor formerly reserved for stately palaces. New theaters featured sloping floors and tiered seats for better views of the stage and screen. (Prior to the opening of the Fox Theater, Montrose’s Dreamland Theatre showed silent films). During the 1920s, it was estimated that moviegoers purchased close to 100 million tickets a week, one for nearly every U.S. citizen. Admission to the movies ranged from 10 cents to 75 cents per person. When Consolidated Theatres Inc. of Denver proposed building a new theater in Montrose, company officials presented a blueprint based on an OrientalMiddle Eastern style of architecture popular at the time. The theme followed through to the building’s dome and minaret, a tall slender tower which rose 60 feet above the sidewalk, similar to those found on a mosque.

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MONTROSE, CO 81401

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Montrose High School students learn math and science through the process of designing, building and sailing boats they craft with their own hands. See story on page 3. Nate Wick/Daily Press

Sophmore Collin Young Kelley, front, junior Danielle Fish and junior Jamie Villalobos stand in front of a canoe built in the NROTC classroom.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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A textbook belonging to Diane Winters shows signs of the hours of study and dedication required to earn a nursing degree.

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Opportunity abounds for future Nightingales Local campus has added more than 90 nurses to staff pool since 2006 By Katrina Kinsley Daily Press Writer

For many, the dream of higher education remains just that — a dream. Family obligations, financial strains and community ties can prevent people from leaving their home in Montrose to pursue higher education, even at nearby colleges. But Colorado Mesa University’s Montrose campus has cleared the path for many traditional and nontraditional students to earn degrees in select programs. The largest of those is the nursing program, which currently accounts for 50 percent of the Montrose campus enrollment and allows students to earn an associate of applied science degree, thereby qualifying to receive licensing as a registered nurse. Joey Montoya Boese, CMU-Montrose campus director since 2005, said the campus has 350 students enrolled. Nontraditional students, generally defined as those who do not enter college immediately after high school, work full time or support dependents while attending college, make up the majority of the Montrose campus student body. The local nursing program began in 2006 with 12 graduates and now accepts 20 applicants to the program each year. Since its inception, the program has graduated more than 90 students, some coming from as far as San Miguel and Gunnison counties. “This is the first year we’ve had more applicants than available spots,” Montoya Boese said. The career ladder model employed by the Montrose campus allows students to transition through the

nursing licensure in phases. A partnership with the Delta-Montrose Technical College facilitates this model — students begin with prerequisites at CMU Montrose, then earn their licensed practical nurse certificate at DMTC. They can then work locally as LPNs while they take the next level of prerequisites and continue with their associate of applied science in nursing degree, the conclusion of which allows them to test for registered nurse licensing. Students then have the option of continuing with one final set of prerequisites at the local level and entering the bachelor of science in nursing program, which is an online course of study administered by the main CMU campus. “Most of our students get their RN license, then work after finishing the AAS program,” Montoya Boese said. “But about 25 percent go on to enter the bachelor’s program.” Completing the bachelor degree program can give RNs a competitive edge in larger cities, as well as possibly translate to higher salaries, but the demand for high-quality nurses in rural areas means that for most locations, simply having the registered nurse certification is sufficient. Local demand in the health care sector has also resulted in a new medical office assistant program being added to the Montrose campus. Started in the fall of 2011, the inaugural class of 17 students will be graduating in July. Successful graduates are eligible to participate in the certification exam and become registered medical assistants and join the work

force. Many students see this as an opportunity get their feet wet in the clinical setting and determine whether they would like to pursue training as a nurse. Diane Winters is among the many whose life has been changed by the addition of a nursing program at the local campus. Working as a ward secretary at Montrose Memorial Hospital, Winters wistfully watched each year as the young nursing students came through the hospital for clinicals. After six years of watching others become nurses, Winters decided that it was time for her to pursue her dream and began to research her options. “I couldn’t conceive of driving to Grand Junction daily or even weekly,” Winters said. “Not having a local program would have been a huge stop point for me.” Refinancing her home and applying for every scholarship and grant she was qualified for allowed Winters to take a leave of absence from her job at the hospital and earn her LPN certification in 2011 through DMTC. She then entered the AAS program at CMU-Montrose. “Chris Wilcox in student services walked me through everything; he really knows his stuff forward and backward,” Winters said. “They (the CMUMontrose campus staff) are a great resource. They want to see you succeed, and they really advocate for students.” Having a strong support system has been instrumental for her successful return to school. In addition to the CMU-Montrose campus staff acting as strong advocates for their students, MMH has been

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Outlook Health & Education

Montrose Daily Press

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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Nate Wick/Daily Press

A bird’s eye view of the NROTC classroom where students build and then learn how then how to sail boats.

Boat building offering Montrose High students new approach to math, science and engineering

Nate Wick/Daily Press

The first boat the NROTC built, The Brick as it was named, sits above the shop.

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When it comes to math and science, many think of big, thick textbooks, flash cards and lots of memorization. But Commander Scott Rizzo has applied some different ways to learning such subjects. Rizzo, who heads the Montrose High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, has opted for boat building. “Cadets had already been studying physics, math, geometry and science through programmed sections on buoyancy, navigation, ship design, small boat handling (and) safety,” he said. “In looking for ways to increase their understanding of these topics through hands-on projects, I ran across the Alexandria Seaport Foundation.” Through the building and use of wooden boats, the Alexandria Seaport Foundation helps at-risk young people turn their lives around and provides families, community groups and schools with meaningful education, social and recreational experiences, according to its website, www.alexandriaseaport.org. “It has been very successful in using boat building to teach math and science, as well as providing opportunities for at-risk youth to be successful in life,” Rizzo said. “Their methodology and approach also seemed to be a very good way to educate mainstream students at (Montrose High) by using ‘experiential’ learning … ” Montrose High has offered nautical science/Project Sail as a course open to all students as an elective credit since 2001. “The course incorporates real-world project management in a learning environment of leadership and teamwork,” Rizzo said. “The primary objective is to teach the efficiencies of strategic business planning combined with teamwork.” Since the inception of the class, Rizzo has led students in crafting more than three dozen boats, including sailing skiffs, Cajun pirogues and canoes. A Cajun pirogue is a small flat-bottomed boat associated particularly with the Cajuns of the Louisiana marsh. As part of the Project Sail course, students develop skills in critical thinking, decision making and creative problem solving. Students study various aspects of wooden boat design, including form, line, buoyancy and stability, and then devise project objectives and milestones to coincide with the course schedule to determine responsibilities within the group. With instructor approval, students start on construction and a course of study

progressing through the language of sailing, sails, wind sense, getting underway, seamanship, rules of the road, knots, navigation, weather and emergencies, Rizzo said.  “It is the hands-on experience with math and science that complements their core curriculum studies so well,” Rizzo explained. “It reinforces that which they learn in their other lecture classes. They are learning by actually doing, and more importantly, creating something lasting.” In addition, students are required to complete the Colorado Small Boat Safety Course, which is led by rangers at Ridgway State Park before their project is complete. “They do an outstanding job,” Rizzo said of the rangers who prepare students to hit the water. The class culminates with students taking their boats on the water. Class participants said the course was definitely worth taking. “It feels really good,” said Montrose High senior-to-be Danielle Fish, who took the course over the last two semesters. “Not many kids get to do this.” Said classmate Collin Young-Kelley: “You learn teamwork and how to work together effectively.” The future looks bright for the program at MHS. The Montrose County School District recently was awarded an $8,000 “Building to Teach” grant that will provide curriculum support and boat kits complete with lesson plans and training aids to support the nautical science/Project Sail course, said Rizzo, who is considered a qualified sailing instructor and sailing program director through the U.S. Navy Sailing Association. “The importance of this grant is that it is the seed money for a great program that will benefit (students) beyond their high school experience,” Rizzo said. Montrose High will also launch a SeaPerch program in the near future after recently being awarded a $1,700 grant by the Office of Naval Research to do so. SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program that equips teachers and students with the resources needed to build an underwater remotely operated vehicle. The program is also meant to give users a better understanding of robotics, engineering, science and math. Although Project Sail requires a lot of work and time, Rizzo said he enjoys it because he gets to help students succeed. He added he hopes all participants gain a few things out of the class. “Understanding, satisfaction, selfreliance and fatigue,” Rizzo said.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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Courtesy Photo

The Colorado Mesa University Montrose campus is housed within the old Morgan Elementary School and is attached to the Montrose Regional Library. The interior of the building is undergoing renovations throughout the summer.

NURSING: Excellent staff, local convenience make CMU a top choice

from page 2 encouraging. Winters had to leave her home in Med-Surg, as it uses almost entirely RNs to staff the department. “I basically educated myself out of a job,” Winters said, joking. “But the hospital found a new place for me.” Winters is still working at MMH as an LPN in the acute rehab unit, but her former supervisor is holding her locker in Med-Surg as a show of absolute faith that Winters will return to the department as an RN. Winters will complete her current course of study in December and

plans to enter the bachelor program at CMU, as well. But her goals don’t stop there, as she ultimately hopes to complete her doctorate and teach a future generation of nurses how to be good at their job when she’s “too old to be running around on the floor.” But being an older student doesn’t bother Winters — in fact, she sees it as a plus. “There’s an advantage to returning to school as an older student,” Winters said. “You can see the road ahead. The first part is tough, but you know you’re laying a foundation for the rest.” The Montrose campus

is currently undergoing renovations to upgrade the facility, which was formerly an elementary school. Among the capital improvements being made are the removal of the elementary school lockers and blackboards, and the addition of a health sciences lab for nursing students and a multi-use sciences lab. The renovations were made possible largely by local donations from Montrose County, the city of Montrose and MMH. The funds that have been raised, which now total more than $700,000, are also providing muchneeded equipment for the technical aspects of the

programs. Though the renovations will continue through mid-August, summer classes are ongoing and being held at Montrose High School in space donated by the school district.

“This campus is really a community partnership,” Montoya Boese said. “CMU Montrose serves the community by responding to community needs, and the community supports CMU

— it truly is a mutual symbiotic relationship.” For more information on the CMU-Montrose campus programs of study, visit www.coloradomesa.edu/montrose or call 249-7009.

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Diane Winters carves a few minutes out of her busy schedule to do some studying at the Montrose Regional Library, attached to Colorado Mesa University.

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Outlook Health & Education

Montrose Daily Press

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Bill Johansen lifts free weights as part of his workout routine at High Country Fitness.

Fitness for life Montrose senior weighs in on healthy lifestyle By Elaine Hale Jones Daily Press Lifestyles Editor

Bill Johansen has some words of advice for older adults, as well as people half his age — get moving and stay moving. The spry 82-year-old Montrose resident is a regular at a local health and fitness center, farms property on Spring Creek Mesa and lends a helping hand to his neighbors when needed. “I’ve always been involved in different physical activities and sports,” said the California native and retired communications specialist. “I weigh the same now as I did when I got out of the (military) service in the 1950s.” Just shy of a year ago, however, Johansen came face to face with his own mortality, suffering a sudden, major cardiac event. “I had no indication (of an impending heart attack),” he said, describing that he had felt fine on that July morning, doing his usual early-morning workout and later in the day setting concrete blocks. “I began having chest pains and thought it was indigestion.” Thankfully, his wife, Anita, was close by when he dropped to the garage floor. “Somehow, Bill managed to get himself up off the floor and into the car,” she said. With 911 on the line, she made the decision to drive him to the hospital rather than wait for an ambulance (this was before the new fire station was built on Spring Creek). “God was with me,” Anita said. “I hit all green lights. It was a miracle he was alive.” After spending three months in cardio rehab and under a doctor’s supervision, he has made a remarkable recovery. But it has come with a new

perspective and appreciation for life. “We (family and friends) had always put Bill on a ‘health pedestal,’ “ Anita said, citing her own health issues at 19 years his junior. “The heart attack was Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press a huge awakening for us.” Bill Johansen lifts the entire weight set on the machines at High Country Fitness Anita described her reactions as during his strength training routine. going from fear to trying to dictate everything about his life, including what he ate, to finally respecting his wishes to continue his lifestyle. “I had to re-assess my own priorities,” she said, adding that her life, in particular, was on the fast track with work and volunteer activities. “I’ve learned to put our time and lifestyle first. The experience has brought us closer.” After the initial shock of having a heart attack, Johansen admitted that he went through a period of depression, questioning why, if he was in such good shape physically, did he suffer a heart attack? His doctor’s answer was that he wouldn’t have survived a life-threatening heart attack if he hadn’t been in such good shape. A year later, Johansen is back to doing all the activities he did before, with one change — taking time to rest in between. He credits much of his recovery to maintaining a positive attitude and using moderation in all things. “People give up too soon (on their goal to get healthy),” he said, noting that there’s no magic pill. It basically involves making an effort every day to get up off the couch and do some type of physical activity, whether it be walking to the mail box, riding a bike, trimming the hedge or mowing the lawn. For the Johansens, it’s a matter of cherishing each day.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Outlook Health & Education

Montrose Daily Press

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Parent involvement and community outreach crucial to success of summer reading program

Will Hearst/Daily Press

Sandra Smagala, left, helps Saida Holder sign up for the children’s summer reading program with her mother, Shen Holder, in the children’s reading room at the Montrose Regional Library. By Mike Easterling Daily Press Managing Editor

Will Hearst/Daily Press

Jaxon Kelley, who enjoys reading about nature, has a look at some books on display at the Montrose Regional Library.

Janet Oslund has been running the Montrose Regional Library District’s summer reading program for children since she began work at the library in 1997. In that time, she’s learned plenty about what works and what doesn’t work in regard to the program. But she’s probably learned more about why the program is so important. Call it a “use it or lose it” argument — if you don’t practice a skill for a few months, it only stands to reason you won’t be as good at it when you resume that activity later. Oslund and others at the library aren’t trying to convince local children, and their parents, they need to keep their nose buried in a book all summer to the exclusion of outdoor activities. But she is trying to get them to buy into the idea that students who spend even a little bit of time each day with a book over the summer will be better equipped to return to the rigors of regular classwork when school resumes in the fall. That’s the purpose of the summer reading program. Oslund, who serves as head of children’s services for the library, even hopes a handful of students will come around to the idea that reading is fun. The annual children’s summer reading program is open to any child from birth through fifth grade. Along the way, Oslund has a series of activities planned to keep kids engaged and maybe even attract the attention of their parents. So far, those events have been a smashing success. “We had more people than expected at every single event,” Oslund said of a series of presentations by storyteller Joe Hayes of Santa Fe in early June. “Joe is bilingual, and he has a lot of appeal to people of a lot of different backgrounds. He went to Centennial and Olathe middle schools as our guest to inspire kids and get them excited about reading and summer learning.” Hayes attracted a crowd of several dozen people at each of his presentations, with many parents attending with their children. Oslund said the library is encouraging that dynamic to continue with its Badge Quest program, through which participants can earn 10 badge stickers by reading on a series of subjects for two hours and then engaging in an activity or attending an event related to those subjects. “Parents are encouraged to interact

with their kids on that,” Oslund said. “We’re getting some feedback from parents that this is a fun activity for the whole family.” Oslund noted the library also relies on its partnership with the Montrose County School District. “The teachers and administrators getting involved with them helps us reach more people, and kids get the message from more agencies that summer learning is important,” she said. Last year, more than 1,700 children participated in the program through the libraries in Montrose, Naturita and Paradox, as well as the library’s bookmobile, Oslund said. As of early June, 900 to 1,000 kids were taking part in this year’s program through the Montrose Regional Library alone, she said, and Oslund expected that figure to climb. A number of activities related to the program will be presented in the coming weeks. At 6 p.m. on Monday, July 9, a Picnic & Play session will be held on the lawn of the Montrose Regional Library, 320 S. Second St. Families are encouraged to bring a picnic, while drinks and dessert will be provided. Outdoor and indoor games will be featured. At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 11, a fairy and toad house workshop will be presented on the east lawn. Participants are encouraged to bring a flat cardboard box and learn how to build a fairy or toad house. At 10 a.m. on Friday, July 13, a worm science program will be presented in the library’s meeting room, with kids encouraged to get their hands dirty as they learn about worms. Space for that program is limited, so participants are asked to sign up in advance. At noon on July 18 in the meeting room, Rebekah Morris and Dance Around will present a dance performance, and kids will have the opportunity to learn about styles of dance and participate in a group dance. Space for that session also is limited. Tickets are available now. At 1 p.m. the same day, representatives of Morningstar Therapy Dogs will present a program in the meeting room. Children will have the opportunity to learn about the dogs and interact with them. Additionally, a series of storytime sessions and “Reading to Rover” programs will be held. For more information about the program, call Oslund at 249-9656, option 2.

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Outlook Health & Education

Montrose Daily Press

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

7

s

Montrose High School student James McBee takes some architecture advice from his teacher Brian Simpson.

Will Hearst/Daily Press

Project Lead the Way preparing students for highly technical careers By Will Hearst Daily Press Staff Writer

For most high school students, the first steps toward becoming a civil or mechanical engineer and using the latest computer technology are something that happen in college. But that’s not the case for the students at Montrose High School who are offered a jump-start to a career, thanks to Project Lead the Way. The project is a national program adopted by approximately 4,200 high schools and 62 colleges. It is designed to support students and staff members in math, technology and science while providing the latest technology used by top architects and engineers. Montrose High adopted the program six years ago, and Lead the Way instructor Brian Simpson already is reporting success stories of former Montrose students in the field. “We have one student, Brad Campbell, who was hired to work on the new Airbus luxury liner,” Simpson said. “He works on the structural integrity of the plane’s nose cone.” Simpson said another Montrose graduate was hired by a major power authority in the Northwest as a mechanical engineer. According to Simpson, Project Lead the Way provides his classroom with approximately $60,000 worth of the latest computer software for only $4,000. Support for the program comes from both the school district and the community, and the educational value is priceless. “The result of what my students

can do through this program is something that I am most proud of,” Simpson said. “Some of my students do some amazing things following this program.” More than 120 Montrose High students took advantage of Project Lead the Way this past academic year. But despite everything the program offers, Simpson might be the the real catalyst to the success his students enjoy. In February, Simpson was named a master teacher in introduction to engineering design. He is one of only 65 IED master teachers in the nation. Also a cross-country coach and track meet coordinator, Simpson has been serving the Montrose County School District for 21 years. Recent graduate Nick George has been involved with Project Lead the Way for four years and understands how much Simpson has contributed to the success of the program. “Mr. Simpson is a great teacher,” George said. “He teaches us to keep an open mind and laugh. I don’t think there are many other classes that can teach us how to use computers like this one.” Simpson’s status as a master teacher will allow him to offer students some of the latest teaching trends and technology. Simpson said that the result will be more handson learning and increased rigor in math. Simpson also announced an expansion class called digital electronics will be offered next year, thanks

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Outlook Health & Education

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Montrose Daily Press

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Don’t fight it alone

Diabetes Coalition offers education, support By Katharhynn Heidelberg Daily Press Senior Writer

The diagnosis didn’t take Sandy Emerson completely by surprise. The registered nurse had a feeling something was wrong more than eight years ago, when she was diagnosed with diabetes, a disease that afflicts millions of people whose bodies aren’t as able to produce or use the hormone insulin. “I knew I was diabetic before I went to the doctor,” Emerson recounted. “It’s been very, very hard. I was a person who didn’t like to eat breakfast. I would drink lots of coffee. I would go out and eat a big lunch or a big supper.” But she knew she had to take practical steps to better control her blood sugar levels. And, with a core group of volunteers, Emerson stands ready to help educate other diabetics about how to live with the disease: she began the Montrose Diabetes Coalition

in 1999, initially through Montrose County government, and a four-year grant. The coalition hosted diabetes extravaganzas and presented classes. When Emerson retired in 2008, there was talk of ending the coalition. Instead, she and others volunteered to continue educating diabetics and helping them access vital medical supplies. The coalition now presents such classes as the American Diabetes Association-approved Dining with Diabetes course, classes in nutrition and exercise, and presentations from medical professionals such as podiatrists and pharmacists. June 20 brings a discussion with a pharmacist from Hartman Brothers Pharmacy, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 300 N. Cascade Ave. He will discuss medications and options for diabetics. More classes are expected to begin in September. An interpreter is usually available for the classes, too, she said. “Unfortunately, Hispanics and (native) people are

The hand

Signs and stats

Per the American Diabetes Association, diabetes often goes undiagnosed because the warning signs don’t seem like a big deal. • In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, a hormone necessary to convert sugar and starches into energy. This is the rarer form of diabetes; only 5 percent of diabetics have Type 1. Some of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes are: Frequent urination, unusual thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, extreme fatigue and irritability. • In Type 2 diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin, or the cells ignore the insulin. Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include any of the Type 1 symptoms and frequent infections, blurred vision, cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, and recurring skin, gum or bladder infections. Often, people with Type 2 have no symptoms.

very high on diabetes (diagnoses).” Also high in the area: rates of juvenile diabetes — sometimes in children as young as 2, Emerson reported. “We’re not trying to infringe on anybody, we’re just giving the basics,” she said. “We’re just trying to get people educated at no cost. When you find out you’re diabetic, it’s hard. It’s very hard to understand.” But: “I am a Type 2 diabetic. I understand. (The coalition) is a group of us who really, really care.” More than 25 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, according to 2011 data from the National Diabetes Fact Sheet, as released by the American Diabetes Association. Of these, an estimated seven million are undiagnosed. Diabetes afflicts slightly more men than women (ages 20 and up): 13 million men and 12.6 million women have the disease. Diabetes can affect everything from sight to the heart. And it can be fatal: Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates that are two to four times higher than adults without diabetes, according to the see coalition, page A9

The prick

Myths • Obese and overweight people will eventually develop Type 2 diabetes. Fact: Weight is considered a risk factor for developing the disease, but multiple other risk factors, including genetics, ethnicity and age play a role. “Most overweight people never develop Type 2 diabetes, and many people with Type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight,” the American Diabetes Association says. • Eating too much sugar causes diabetes. Fact: Type 1 is genetic and the factors that trigger its onset are not fully understood. Type 2 is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. • Diabetics need a special diet. Fact: Healthful eating for diabetics is generally the same as a healthy diet for everyone. Starchy foods are part of a healthy meal plan. The key is portion control. Information For information about the Montrose Diabetes Coalition, contact Sandy Emerson at 2096113. Online resources include the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org.

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Outlook Health & Education

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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s

The test

The bandage

coalition: Disease does not have to control sufferers’ lives from page 8 fact sheet. With support and knowledge, the disease is easier to manage. “We try to do the basics. You can eat what you like, but the key is moderation,” Emerson said. One mistake she has seen diabetics make is assuming that they can eat a large dinner, plus dessert because they have skipped other meals during the day. But skipping meals and then dumping carbohydrates into the body later can cause blood sugar to become erratic and spikes in insulin that are dangerous. “With diabetes, you have to get a consistent schedule,” Emerson said, explaining that involves eating breakfast, reading labels to keep track of carbohydrate intake and exercise. “ … I had to learn how to change. I needed to get up and eat breakfast. I needed to exercise. I needed to eat three meals a day.” Emerson has been able to control her diabetes through

medication, better nutrition and exercise. She has not had to go on insulin. “I can’t tell people to do things if I don’t do them myself. Yes, it is hard. Once in a while, I do fall off the wagon,” she said. “It’s not easy, but you can control it. Diabetes is for life, but don’t let it control your life.” The disease is not a punishment, she said. “A lot of people feel like they have done something wrong. It’s very prevalent. It’s genetic.” For the Montrose Diabetes Coalition, living with the disease comes down to one word — make that three: Moderation, moderation, and moderation. “We try to make it so it’s not such an ugly disease and not so difficult to handle,” Emerson said. “People think when they have diabetes, that’s the end, that they can’t do anything, or eat anything. We’re trying to show them that they can.”

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Outlook Health & Education

Montrose Daily Press

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

11

Pair of local providers meeting needs of dialysis patients s

By Tera Couchman Wick Special to the Daily Press

“You just came out of retirement and found yourself a new part-time job.” That is how Kristian Jones-Chillemi lightheartedly prepares her patients for their new and difficult lifestyle in dialysis treatment. A registered nurse, Jones-Chillemi is the administrator of Dialysis Clinic Inc. in Montrose and splits her time with the company’s Grand Junction clinic. DCI and DaVita, Montrose’s two dialysis providers, conduct hemodialysis for people living with end stage renal disease, a condition in which the kidneys can no longer function to support day-to-day life. Patients must sit tethered to a large machine three days a week for three to four hours each day while the device does what their kidneys cannot. Without this lifeline or a successful kidney transplant, ESRD is fatal. In Colorado, one in five ESRD patients die annually as a result of the condition or related illnesses. The most common causes of ESRD in the U.S. are diabetes and high blood pressure that have lead to chronic kidney disease. Nashville-based DCI is the third-largest dialysis provider in the United States and the only nonprofit among the top three. With 213 clinics in 27 states and 13,000 patients, its is the smallest of the “big boys,” treating 3.4 percent of the total dialysis population. Its 10-station Montrose clinic opened in 1998 and currently treats 32 patients. DaVita, a publicly traded company headquartered in Denver, is one of two mega-corporations (the other is Fresenius) that together treat 60 percent of the total dialysis population nationwide. DaVita operates 1,556 clinics and treats approximately 110,300 people annually across the country. Their Montrose clinic opened in October, 2010, has 12 stations and currently treats 20 patients.

A sense of family In 1998, DCI opened its Montrose clinic near Montrose Memorial Hospital at the request of Tyler Ericson, the CEO of the hospital at that time, JonesChillemi said. “In the ‘90s, people had to drive to St. Mary’s (Hospital & Regional Medical Center in Grand Junction), so he asked DCI to come. Its part of the DCI mission to provide services in underserved areas of the country,” she said. Between them, Jones-Chillemi and Dorothy “Dottie” Frantz, the nurse manager at DCI Montrose, have dedicated more than 40 years to DCI. They are clearly proud of the nonprofit’s approach, which includes investing 50 percent of profits back into research. “We’ve been here 14 years, and we’re not going anywhere,” Jones-Chillemi said. In fact, DCI has a track record of hanging onto its clinics. Nearly 90 percent of its units in 2009 have been owned for five years or longer, compared to just 60 percent for DaVita. Frantz beamed as she described the sense of family that has developed at the clinic. DCI’s approach seems to work. According to a 2011 report from United States Renal Data System, “Among the large dialysis organizations, DCI continues to have the lowest ratios for both hospitalization and mortality.” DCI Montrose performs well, according to ProPublica, which reports lower-thanexpected mortality and hospitalization rates for the local clinic.

Filling a void Before DaVita opened its south-side clinic a year and a half ago, per capita access to dialysis treatment in Montrose for people older than 65 was lagging slightly behind that of Grand Junction and way behind Denver. “We looked at the number of patients and saw that there was a need for a DaVita clinic,” said David Blank, regional operations director who has been with DaVita for about a year. From the perspective of a dialysis corporation, the demographics of Montrose may indeed be compelling. Nearly 20 percent of people in Montrose are 65 or older, compared to almost 11 percent of people in

Nate Wick/Daily Press

Patients whose kidneys are not functioning properly typically receive treatment three times a week for several hours while tethered to a dialysis machine like the one pictured here. Colorado as a whole. Rates of ESRD in people 65 or older, while dropping overall, are predictably much higher than in younger age-groups. Since DaVita opened, Montrose has surpassed both Junction and Denver in the number of dialysis clinics per elderly resident. While the DaVita reps interviewed claim that their “critical outcomes are excellent” they were unwilling to share outcome data for their Montrose clinic, saying that it has not been open long enough to provide longitudinal data. USRDS reports that nationwide, DaVita’s ratios for standardized hospitalization were higher than that of the other three large

providers. Its standardized mortality ratios were slightly lower than average, though still higher than DCI’s. ProPublica did not have stats for the DaVita Montrose clinic.

Contact information Montrose Dialysis (DCI) — 945 S. Fourth St., (970) 240-3302.

Leah Wetlaufer jokes around with a co-worker as she explains the fuction of a dialysis machine at DCI’s dialysis clinic in Montrose.

Black Canyon Dialysis (DaVita) — 3421 S. Rio Grand Ave., Suite D (970) 240-7925.

Nate Wick/Daily Press


Outlook Health & Education

An educator’s ambition

12

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Montrose Daily Press

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Gardner’s love for children, teaching sparked Bright Beginnings’ creation By Matt Lindberg Daily Press News Editor

As Amber Gardner roamed through the hallways and playgrounds at Bright Beginnings on a recent morning, she was greeted by several children with hellos and smiles. She couldn’t help but smile herself as she saw students interact with their teachers in classrooms. Bright

Beginnings is more than a school she founded that offers education programs for children ranging in age from 6 weeks to 12 years old. It represents heart, determination and passion for Gardner, a self-proclaimed educator since she herself was a child. “I do love it,” Gardner said. “I love the opportunity to collaborate with other sectors of the community in the

Nate Wick/Daily Press

Amber Gardner stirs up the crowd in anticipation of climbing into the dunk tank at the Bright Beginnings carnival earlier this year.

Nate Wick/Daily Press

Amber Gardner takes the plunge all in the name of fun and support for the children of Bright Beginnings.

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best interest of children. I also very much am enjoying working with my staff and helping them grow as educators and leaders.” Bright Beginnings, which officially opened in July 2009, currently boasts 212 students. Enrollment has steadily increased since the school’s inception, which has led to all kinds of success. But that success didn’t come easy. Gardner, along with many family members and friends, worked hard to make her vision come to light — and shine. It all began in 2008, when Gardner was put on bed rest when she was 18 weeks pregnant with her fourth child. During her extended leave from teaching in the Montrose County School District, she knew she wanted to spend more time with her children. But Gardner, who had taught fifth- and sixth-grade math and science, wasn’t ready to give up her passion for education, either. “Being a teacher is as much a part of who I am as being a mother is,” Garder said. “Therefore, I wanted to incorporate both of my passions if I could.” Initially, Gardner thought making the switch from teaching middle school to preschool wouldn’t be feasible and pushed the idea to the side. But only a few months later, she knew her heart was in early childhood development. So she resigned from the school district and opted to pursue her passion with the support of her husband. By August 2008, Gardner became a licensed in-home provider and began teaching a small preschool class in her garage. Months later, she received her license to operate out of her own facility and made arrangements to do so. On July 7, 2009, Gardner’s 29th birthday, Bright Beginnings opened its current facility at 120 N. Hillcrest Drive. She had eight students and assistant teacher Casey Baugh. It was a good, yet difficult time at first, Gardner said, “It was an incredible learning experience,” she said. “I felt confident as a teacher, however, transitioning to the world of business and administra-

tion was challenging, but extremely rewarding. “I am very grateful to various members of the community, who (have) served and continue to serve as mentors and supporters of our programs and to me personally.” Since then, Bright Beginnings has blossomed into a top-notch early childhood development school. In addition to having more than 200 children in its classrooms, its staff now boasts 31 employees. On April 23, Gardner took another step toward growing her love for children and education as the groundbreaking for the Maslow Academy of Applied Learning took place. The school, which is expected to open this fall, will be located next to Bright Beginnings. It will be open for firstthrough fifth-graders, and Gardner serves as the school’s board president. Gardner’s Bright Beginnings colleagues said she has unbelievable drive. “Amber never stops,” said Patty Rottinghaus, a Bright Beginnings teacher and Gardner’s mother-in-law. “She gets up in the morning and works hard until she goes bed at night.” Said teacher Cloriesse Myers: “Amber is a great director. She cares about kids and their education. We all want what is best for the kids.” Despite her hard work, Gardner insists the school’s success would not have happened if it weren’t for her family, friends, staff and the parents who bring their children to the school. She added the past few years have almost been unreal and that she looks forward to what is to come. “We are planning for the future, but I don’t have a crystal ball to discern what that might be,” Gardner said. “I can tell you that if someone would have told me three years ago when I was still in my garage that we would have built a new school and have more than 200 students, I would have thought they were crazy.”

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Outlook Health & Education

Montrose Daily Press

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

13

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Becoming bilingual

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Elena Arroyo, left, talks to Barbara Abbott about a new job she’s hoping to apply for. In addition to meeting with her conversation partner, Arroyo takes ESL classes and participates in a book club for English learners.

Several programs available to improve English language skills for non-native speakers By Katrina Kinsley Daily Press Writer

What started for Meg Nagel as an effort to seek basic education volunteer tutors for the Montrose Regional Library’s adult literacy program morphed into a program of a different kind. Nagel, who works with volunteers and adult programs at the library, wanted to expand her services to include help for those learning to speak English as their second language. She learned that Anne Ventrello, director of the Montrose Adult Basic Education Program, had recently implemented a conversation partners program and was seeking volunteers to aid with the project. Now in its third year, the program seeks to pick up where the MABEP English as a Second Languages classes end. Ventrello found that those English learners who had completed the four classes available through the Montrose County School District’s adult learners program found themselves in need of a place to practice their new skills, as well as a partner to converse with. That’s where Nagel jumped in to help. Nagel recruits volunteers to the program, does education and outreach, and provides the space for volunteer training workshops at the library. The library also frequently acts as a meeting place for the partners to begin their conversations, although many of the pairs become close friends and are friends outside the scope of the program. While Montrose has a large Hispanic population and many of the people who seek to learn English as their second language primarily use Spanish, both the MABEP classes and conversation partners programs are open to adults from any country, speaking any language. Because the programs are based upon the immersion model, it’s not necessary that the volunteers speak the native language of their partners — only that that they be able to communicate on a basic level. As a retiree, Barbara Abbott found herself with more free time on her hands than she liked, and sought several volunteer opportunities, including Heirlooms for Hospice and the ESL

conversation partners program. She’s been meeting with her ESL conversation partner, Elena Arroyo, for more than two years. “When I went to the training, they gave us so much information, I thought I was in over my head,” Abbott said. “They talked about creating lesson plans, and I just thought, ‘I don’t know if I can do this, I’m not a teacher.’ “ But Abbott quickly realized that, at least for her partnership, a weekly lesson plan wasn’t necessary. “Elena is so eager to tell me things,” Abbott said. “She wants to tell me about her life, school and work. Wanting to share her stories is her motivation to learn.” It’s not her only motivation. Arroyo is working on her English in hopes of getting a new job and is studying to take the U.S. citizenship exam in November. Arroyo moved to the U.S. from Mexico in 2003 with a high school education and some knowledge of English grammar, but no speaking skills. Since they began meeting, their partnership has developed into a friendship. They occasionally meet outside of their weekly two-hour meeting for dinner and have visited each other’s homes. Abbott admits that she’s learned as much from Arroyo as Arroyo has learned from her. “She comes to me and asks why people have been mean,” Abbott said. “She doesn’t understand their prejudices. And I’ve learned that I had some prejudices of my own — I didn’t think I did. This experience has made me so much more open minded.” It’s meant a lot to Arroyo, as well. “I appreciate the ESL program so much,” she said. “They have given me the opportunity to meet my friend, Barbara, and opened doors to many experiences.” There are approximately a dozen volunteer partners in the program, but at any given time, there are four to six students in need of a partner. There is no fee for the program for either partner; volunteers are trained over five sessions to better learn how to help their partner improve his or her English. The next partner training begins Aug. 29.

Responding to the need for additional ESL literacy assistance, Nagel has also started a book club for native Spanish speakers wishing to improve both their speaking and reading skills. The group began in February and meets monthly to discuss in English the novella of choice, most recently “The Great Gatsby.” With help from a Library Services and Technology Act grant received from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the book club can purchase the selections for members. Selecting books for the group has been a process of trial and error for Nagel. “I’m still learning what types of books to choose,” Nagel said. “I’m finding that short books with a straightforward plot are best for those still working on their English.”

In addition to organizing the group and selecting books, Nagel participates in the book club meetings, often leading the discussion of eight members. Although the group has so far been comprised entirely of women, Nagel stresses that everyone is welcome. Morning and evening ESL classes are available through the MABEP program for $25 per semester, which includes all books and materials; a class in Olathe is also available. Anyone interested in registering for the upcoming semester can call Ventrello at 249-2028 or llame 249-6255 por Español. To volunteer as a conversation partner or learn more about the Montrose Regional Library’s adult literacy and ESL programs, call Nagel at 964-2548.

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Outlook Health & Education

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Montrose Daily Press

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Will Hearst/Daily Press

Jacob Etchart, left, Brett Saunders, Justine Varbel and Kelsey Smith discuss fundraising ideas for the 2012-13 school year in May. Saunders has been leading the Montrose FFA since 1995, and Etchart, Varbel and Smith will serve as officers for the upcoming academic year.

FFA is not just for future farmers anymore by Will Hearst Daily Press Staff Writer

The Montrose chapter of the Future Farmers of America is not only hanging on, but thriving. When the school doors open in the fall, approximately 80 students will be involved with the organization that that has been quietly evolving right along with the agriculture industry. Brett Saunders of the agriculture education program at Montrose High School has a passion for agriculture that he conveys in his lessons and through FFA leadership. “People say there is no future in agriculture. I disagree,” Saunders said. “I think it is changing, and our program here in Montrose is trying to change

right along with it.” A recent report published by the FFA noted that of the 21 million people who work in the agriculture industry today, fewer than 2 percent work in traditional farming. Saunders’ goal is to enlighten his students on the variety of options they have in the industry. “It’s not just cows and plows anymore,” Saunders said. “The things we do with FFA and the Montrose agriculture program includes everything from agriculture business to natural resources and wildlife management.” While some of the the FFA members may not know how to drive a tractor, several of the students come directly from traditional farms and ranches in the area. Montrose FFA officer Jacob Etchart see ffa, page A13

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Kelsey Smith, 2012-13 president of the Montrose chapter of Future Farmers of America, looks forward to summer projects and continued interest in the organization.

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Montrose Daily Press

Outlook Health & Education

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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Will Hearst/Daily Press

Jacob Etchart, left, Justine Varbel and Kelsey Smith look forward to their senior year when all three will serve as Montrose FFA officers.

ffa: Natural resources and wildlife management on curriculum from page 14 is a third-generation Colorado sheep rancher and plans to continue the family tradition after high school. “I am involved with FFA because I can learn a lot about the ranching lifestyle I grew up with and the changes that are happening now and may come in the future,” Etchard said. Etchard’s grandfather came to Colorado from the Basque region between northern Spain and southeast France, where he raised sheep. Today, the family has more than 4,000 ewes, and Etchart is happy to have the opportunity to continue in the business. In contrast to Etchard, chapter officer Justine Varbel became a FFA member simply because some of her family members were involved. However, her involvement has become much more than an extracurricular activity — it has become an opportunity. “I really want to be a veterinary technician,” Varbel said. “I volunteer at area vet clinics, and I am really looking forward to animal science class next year.” Saunders has had many former students move on to further their education in the veterinary field and other areas of higher learning, but believes a student’s involvement with the FFA and agriculture studies can provide just as much for students who Nate Wick/Daily Press plan to look for a job after graduation. Trixie pauses and smiles for the camera as Sydni Saunders prepares to add sunscreen to her back at an FFA “We want to give students some employable skills when petting zoo at Producers Co-op. they leave here,” Saunders said about his programs. Some FFA goals are to teach leadership, citizenship and cooperation. Etchard, Varbel and chapter president Kelsey Smith will represent Montrose in Washington, D.C., for a weeklong leadership conference this summer. The students will have the opportunity to tour the Capitol, as well as work with other FFA members from across the country. Smith is part of the team that competes in parliamentary procedure in which the students conduct a meeting based on Roberts Rules of Order. Former FFA state officer Thomas Smits now uses these rules of order in his position as mayor for the city of Montrose. Smits said he learned about parliamentary procedure in the FFA and noted the importance of the organization to him and who he has become. “Agriculture is our nation’s largest industry,” Smits said. “The importance of FFA is a great organization for so many students — it played a large role in who I have become.” Saunders is optimistic about the future of the FFA program in Montrose. Outside of his building, construction has begun on a 20-foot-by-100-foot greenhouse that will offer several advantages to him and his students. Not only will the facility provide a hands-on classroom for FFA members and agriculture students, it also will provide the organization with new fundraising potential by giving it students the chance to sell vegetables and flowers they have grown.

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Randilyn Madison holds her goat Bo close and talks about what it is like to be in FFA at a petting zoo at Producers Co-op.

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Outlook Health & Education

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Montrose Daily Press

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The mission of the Retirement Housing Foundation, a national non-profit organization, is to provide a range of housing options and services for older adults, economically disadvantaged families, and persons with disabilities, according to their needs, in an environment enhancing the quality of life as it relates to their physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. RHF is committed to serving its residents and their local communities. Committed to Service Anciano Tower Apartments Dedicated to Excellence Diane Wink, Manager Enhancing Quality of Life 227 Ute Ave., Montrose (970) 249-8844 • diane.wink@rhf.org • ancianotower@rhf.org • www.rhf.org

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There is a perfect storm brewing, and it’s not one of the pretty ones over the San Juans, either. A persistent shortage of primary care doctors in rural Colorado has been a problem for some time. What’s more, Medicare reimbursements are so low that many physicians cannot afford to accept new Medicare patients, most of whom are seniors. Additionally, an estimated 510,000 Coloradans will become newly insured under federal health reform’s Affordable Care Act between 2014 and 2016, according to the Colorado Health Institute. The increased demand is projected by CHI to require an additional 83 to 141 primary care providers in Colorado. Leann Tobin, a spokesperson from Montrose Memorial Hospital, put it this way: “It’s good to get more people insured, but if the doctors can’t see them, well ...” That’s a problem. While MMH cannot do much about the political winds whipping through the nation’s health care system, it is not sitting idly by. The hospital is trying to recruit and retain new primary care doctors to the area in order to meet the current and projected need. MMH’s provider recruitment program is designed to provide incentives and remove barriers for primary care doctors to practice in rural areas and serve vulnerable patients like those on Medicare. “People like Montrose,” Tobin said, “so that really helps.” Along with promoting the ample outdoor recreation opportunities that lure adventure-minded physicians like Johnathan Osorio, who settled in Montrose this March, the program offers practical incentives, as well. Newly minted doctors are courted with packages that include guaranteed salaries to reduce the financial risk of taking Medicare patients, compensation for moving expenses, student loan repayment programs and continuing education opportunities. MMH recently sponsored a scholarship at the University of Colorado for medical students interested in rural medicine, Tobin said. And the Colorado Rural Health Center offers provider recruitment services like the one at MMH throughout the state. Osorio, who attended medical school in his native South Carolina and finished his residency in Grand Junction about a year ago, is Montrose’s newest doctor and a participant in the incentive program. “If not for the contract with the hospital, I couldn’t afford to accept Medicare patients,” said Osorio, whose contract requires a four-year commitment to do just that. Currently, Osorio is the only doctor in Montrose accepting new patients on Medicare, Medicaid or Rocky Mountain Health. What happens after the four years are up? “We will have to see how it goes at that point,” he said. Lifestyle was a significant draw when Osorio and his wife Jenny were deciding on a place to settle and start a practice. An avid cyclist who enjoys exploring the outdoors with his wife and three young sons, he was enchanted by the beauty of this place. “Anything to be closer to the San Juans,” said Osorio, who first visited Colorado in high school when he trained at the Olympic Training Center. “I knew then that I wanted to bring my future wife here to live one day.” Osorio speaks both English and Spanish and welcomes Spanish-speaking patients to the practice. He practices at San Juan Family Medicine and can be reached at 240-0378. In further efforts to provide care to patients with federally funded insurance, MMH’s Olathe Clinic, which provides care to patients regardless of their ability to pay, is applying to become a federally qualified health center, a reimbursement designation that will provide the clinic with significant benefits, including enhanced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, medical malpractice coverage, eligibility to purchase prescription and nonprescription medications for outpatients at reduced cost, access to the National Health Service Corps, access to the Vaccine for Children Program, and eligibility for various other federal grants and programs. And in Naturita, Tobin said MMH recently brought on a full-time doctor at the Basin Clinic and is expecting another new primary care physician to join the MMH team next year. The Basin Clinic doctor will work in partnership with Ken Jenks, a physician assistant who does house calls out of the clinic. “Now, that’s rural medicine,” Tobin said. For more information, call the MMH Physician Referral Line at 240-7374.


Montrose Daily Press

Outlook Health & Education

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spreading the health

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Montrose Medical Mission has provided care to poor and medically indigent for nine years By Katrina Kinsley Daily Press Writer

Katrina Kinsley/daily press

Dr. Louis Winkler is pictured with his wife, Dawn, Spanish medical interpreter Paula Tyler and registered nurse Marie Olson. The weekly staff at the medical mission rotates based on the number of available volunteers. love” with volunteering at the Medical Mission and has done so since 2005. While there are currently no plans to expand the clinic or its scope, there may be changes on the horizon. The U.S. Supreme Court will spend the next few months considering the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s controversial health care plan. If the court allows the plan to go into effect, the number of patients seen at the clinic would be reduced substantially, as more individuals would qualify for various subsidies

and coverage. Until that decision is made, the Montrose Medical Mission will carry on as it has done, looking forward to next year and the 10th anniversary of its opening. For more information about Mission to Ride, visit www.missiontoride.com. Individuals wishing to volunteer their time or make a donation to the Montrose Medical Mission should contact Julie Disher at 240-7394 or Winkler at 249-8997. Volunteers with nursing skills can call Marie Olson at 252-5000.

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To the uninsured working poor or medically indigent, the Montrose Medical Mission has literally been a lifesaver. The nonprofit clinic has been open since 2003, providing acute care to individuals, as well as acting as an entry point into the medical system for those with chronic conditions. Planning for the clinic began in 2002 by a board, which included doctors Blake Walker MD, Lars Stangebye MD, Mary Vader DO, and Michael Brezinsky MD, along with Montrose Memorial Hospital staff secretary Julie Disher, former administrator Ken Platou and Montrose County Health and Human Services director Peg Mewes — all of whom saw a need within the community for increased access to care for those who had no medical coverage and very low incomes. Dr. Louis Winkler joined the process at the opening of the clinic and continues to help most weeks, assisting with intake and client screening. The clinic only provides services to those who have zero medical coverage and live within Montrose County, with a household income below 175 percent of the national poverty guidelines. Families and individuals that do not meet those requirements are not simply turned away, but rather directed to appropriate services, such as Medicare, Medicaid, the school-based clinic in Olathe, or Colorado’s vocational rehabilitation program though social services. The Olathe Community Clinic also acts as a referral point for patients requiring long-term care for chronic conditions and continual medications that are beyond the scope of services available at the Medical Mission. A limited number of specialists and physicians also accept referrals from the clinic and are able to give discounted or free services, depending on the extremity of the patient’s condition and income situation. The original doctors who assisted in founding the clinic also participate in seeing patients on a rotating schedule, and have been joined by additional doctors including internists, emergency physicians, pulmonologists and pediatricians. On the first Monday of each month, the usual staff is joined by one of six eye doctors for a limited eye clinic. A rotating volunteer support staff of approximately eight to 10 nurses, five front-desk staff members and five language interpreters assist the doctors in providing services to patients each week. Though Winkler retired from private practice in 2007, he assists on orthopedic cases that come through the clinic, and his wife, Dawn, a retired school teacher, volunteers at the front desk, as well. While the number of patients is limited to 24 each Monday, with an additional four eye care patients the first Monday of the month, Winkler believes the clinic is meeting the community need. Patients are asked to take a number on a first-come, first-served basis, and relatively few people are forced to wait and come back the next week. Community generosity and a willingness to work together are the key components of the clinic’s continued success. The largest annual fundraiser is the Mission to Ride cycling event, now in its ninth year. Sponsored by local businesses, the event includes multiple ride routes so bicyclists of all levels can participate. Montrose Memorial Hospital assists the Medical Mission to provided diagnostic services to patients referred through the Monday night clinics, recouping some cost through the Colorado Indigent Care Program and writing off the remainder. A partnership with City Market pharmacies allows the clinic to provide one month of medication to a patient at no charge; the clinic covers the cost, which City Market discounts to its cost, plus $2 per prescription. Additional funding comes from grants through El Pomar Foundation, private donations and a generous program through which Walmart donates $250 for every 25 hours volunteered at the clinic by employees. Patients are also asked to donate $2 per visit as a voluntary copayment for services. The clinic is held in the offices of Montrose County Health & Human Services, which donates the office space and exam rooms. Very little active solicitation for additional donations is required, as “the community is very generous,” Winkler said. “The money comes in as it’s needed.” Indeed, the biggest obstacle the Medical Mission faces in providing care is keeping the volunteer roster full. “People get burned out, they retire, they move away,” Winkler noted. “We’re recruiting nurses right now.” But for most of the volunteers, the desire to spend Monday evening giving their time to those in need comes from a life-long urge to help. Most work full-time jobs before they come in, making for a very long day with the clinic sometimes seeing patients until 9 p.m. “I’ve always spent time volunteering,” said Olivia Gonzales, who helps interpret for Spanish-speaking patients. Another interpreter, Paula Tyler, says she “fell in

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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Starting from scratch Montrose Recreation District, volunteers working together to promote lacrosse in Montrose By Matt Lindberg Daily Press News Editor

There were only smiles and cheers at Baldridge Park when the Montrose lacrosse club team gathered there on May 23 to celebrate its recent tournament championship. The Montrose squad defeated Aspen 3-2 to win the Aspen Shootout the previous weekend, and for all the high school athletes on the team, it was a big moment. “We did what a lot of people didn’t think we could do,” said the squad’s coach, Jim Plumhoff, as he held the tournament trophy. “They put in a lot of hard work. I am proud of them.” In a lot of ways, that trophy symbolizes more than a tournament win. It’s a significant reminder of the growth of lacrosse in Montrose.  Lacrosse is a team sport of Native American origin. It is played with a small rubber ball and a longhanded stick. Offensively, the objective of the game is to score by shooting the ball into an opponent’s goal. Defensively, players try to prevent opponents from scoring using stick checking and body contact.  Lacrosse is not a Colorado High School Activities Association-sanctioned sport. As a result, the Montrose Recreation District, with the help of three volunteers, has led the charge in making a name for the sport in town over the past five years with hopes of making it a staple within the community. “The ultimate goal for us is to make it a varsity CHSAA-sanctioned sport in Montrose and to have it (available) for elementary and middle school kids all

across Montrose,” said Keith Obsheatz, who is the coach of the middle school squad in town. The district first offered lacrosse in the spring of 2007 with weekend clinics after being awarded a 21st Century grant in August 2008 in conjunction with Montrose County School District that funded the purchase 24 sets of equipment. That consisted of helmets, shoulder pads, sticks and gloves, said Justin Mashburn, the district’s youth recreation coordinator.  Then-coach Ken Watson’s weekend clinics had just seven middle school boys initially, but the number of participants and demand for more frequent classes increased within two months, Mashburn said. Clinics began taking place multiple times per week for the rest of the spring, though the sport didn’t truly start to blossom in town until spring 2008, when Obsheatz took over coaching duties. Obsheatz, a former lacrosse player who was offered a scholarship to play for Saint Vincent College in Pennsylvania before suffering a leg injury during his senior year of high school, worked with the district on scheduling six games for the Montrose middle school team. In 2010, Obsheatz began dedicating his time, and even some of his own money, to coach a team for high school boys on top of his obligations to the middle school squad. This year, the district’s lacrosse program took another step in the right direction with the addition of Plumhoff. Plumhoff, who moved to Montrose from Texas in October, has a long history with the sport. He began playing at just 10 years old and has since built 35 years of experience playing and coaching Nate Wick/Daily Press

Montrose High School Lacrosse player Zack Siegel moves the ball upfield in a game against Fruita.

MMH_gen_2012_Outlook2012 6/19/12 4:00 PM Page 1

The Montrose lacrosse team celebrates its victory against Aspen in a tournament.

Courtesy Photo

lacrosse. With Plumhoff in the fold, he and Obsheatz opted to split coaching duties for the two respective teams but work together to promote the sport in town. “Having Jim has been awesome,” Obsheatz said. The duo, along with assistant coach Mike Carrillo, holds practice for two hours four days a week in addition to traveling for games, which has taken them to Grand Junction, Vail and Aspen. It’s all volunteer work. Mashburn said he and the district are grateful to all of them for their efforts. “Montrose is obviously not a lacrosse town,” Mashburn said. “We wouldn’t have a program if it weren’t for their expertise, as well as their time they spend with the kids. They’ve donated a lot of their personal money to the program. We’re fortunate to have them.” This year, the high school squad, which had 26 players on the roster, went 5-2-2. The middle school team had 19 kids on the roster and went 2-4-1. The number of participants has gone up each year, according to Mashburn, which has resulted in a waiting list for players to join, as the district doesn’t always have enough gear. Mashburn added he’s excited for the future of the sport in town.

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Strumming to its own beat

Nate Wick/Daily Press

Pictured is a collection of ukuleles owned by Chris Tarman and founder or the Uncompahgre Valley Ukulele Society. Read the story on page 3.

E X C E L L E N C E ! G U A R A N T E E D. “Be a yardstick of quality.” “Some people aren’t used to an environment where Excellence is expected” - Steve Jobs Our commitment to Excellence at the “Hometown” Hampton Inn is to serve our guests, employees and community by being an expression of quality that exceeds expectations. “Hometown” expresses our core business value of our commitment to the economic, environmental and physical well-being of our communities. Locally owned and operated, we are truly invested in the long-term sustainability of Montrose and the region. “Homtown” is also a unique Hilton-designated hotel design that conserves energy and resources by reducing the hotel ‘footprint ‘ from other Hampton Inns. Many “green” initiatives in place, or are underway, concurrent with our 2012 renovation,. These result in a healthier environment for employees and guests. Think Globally - Act Locally embodies our commitment to promote conservation in our community. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you!                                          TEAM HAMPTON

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Outlook community

Montrose Daily Press

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Courtesy Photo

Montrose’s Main Street, circa 1883.

A milestone for Montrose — and us!

City, Montrose Daily Press both 130 years old this year by Elaine Hale Jones Daily Press Lifestyles Editor

If you’re approaching one of those “milestone” birthdays — one you hope family and friends will forget — join, instead, in celebrating with the city of Montrose and the Montrose Daily Press, both of which are 130 years old this year. The community, founded in 1882, was first called Pomona after the Roman Goddess of Fruit, but early settlers would have been hard pressed to find a piece of vine-ripened fruit in this dusty outpost located on Colorado’s Western Slope (that would come a bit later). Town founder Joseph Selig felt the community deserved another name and turned to his favorite novelist, Sir Walter Scott. In particular, Selig was fond of a high-spirited character, the Duchess of Montrose, portrayed in Scott’s historical novel, “A Legend of Montrose,” written in 1819. Now, early-day Montrose certainly wasn’t a Dodge City (the wild-andwoolly Kansas cow town that witnessed nine homicides during its first year of existence), but it had its share of fights, quarrels and disturbances among the citizenry and, sometimes,

even outlaws. Cowboys frequently rode into town, shooting out lights and chasing townspeople in their way. Gambling went on day and night in the nearly 20 saloons lining Main Street. In late spring and early fall, large cattle companies drove their herds right through the heart of downtown; Main Street became a thoroughfare for hundreds of head of livestock. In addition to the railroad, stagecoaches whirled into town amid clouds of throat-choking dust, bringing a variety of people to the newly opened frontier, including land and mine speculators. Following the removal of the Utes from the Uncompahgre Valley in 1881, the U.S. government sold some parcels of land for $1.25 per acre! During the time that Montrose was establishing itself, a newspaper publisher by the name of Abe Roberts set up shop next to the first post office near the present corner of Main Street and Uncompahgre Avenue. The first issue of the weekly Montrose Messenger rolled off the presses on May 23, 1882. Roberts, eager to promote the new town, wrote in 1883, “Montrose is up and coming.” He was right. Gradually, sod shanties and log cabins were replaced by

The front of the Montrose Press, circa 1914. permanent brick structures. Highly successful freighters like Dave Wood used Montrose as a base of operations, hauling supplies to the mining camps of the nearby San Juan Mountains. Buddecke and Diehl’s Outfitting Company, also based in Montrose, hauled freight and supplies over the entire Western Slope with their bull and mule teams. The Montrose (County) Chamber of Commerce was organized in 1887, five years after the founding of Montrose. Its literature expounded on the virtues of the area: “pure air and sunshine, no earthquakes, floods, violent storms or malaria.” One of the most grandiose celebrations held in downtown Montrose coincided with the dedication of the Gunnison Tunnel Irrigation Project by President William Howard Taft in 1909. A huge “Welcome Arch” was constructed over Main Street with pictures of President Taft and a listing of agricultural products of the area, how much had been grown during the past year and what the completion of the tunnel meant for agriculture in 1910. The day of the celebration, Friday, Sept. 23, 1909, finally arrived, along with thousands of sightseers from all over the Western Slope. Many visitors came by train from outlying areas. The neighboring town of Ouray brought a pack train showing the means of transportation to and from the mines of the San Juan Mountains. A motorcade from Delta featured occupants carrying red-and-white umbrellas. At approximately 2:30 p.m., President Taft arrived by train aboard a special fivecoach train, escorted by the sheriffs of western Colorado wearing their traditional ten-gallon hats, bandannas, and blue flannel shirts and corduroy pants,

Courtesy Photo

each carrying a Colt .45 in a holster. Nearly 10,000 people gathered to greet the president. Virtually every detail of the historic event was reported in the pages of the Montrose Daily Press, which had evolved from a one-page, hand-set weekly leaflet to a multi-page daily in 1908. Following the dedication of the Gunnison Tunnel, anyone who was anyone in Montrose at the time was invited to the Catlin home on Spring Creek Mesa, where guest of honor President Taft dined on fresh trout. Perhaps one of the best examples of the symbiotic relationship between the community of Montrose and its daily newspaper over the past 130 years occurred during World War II. Not only were the pages of the Press filled with articles on local service men and women, stories of war rationing and the latest news bulletins from the battle front were craved by readers. On Friday, Aug. 10, 1945, the Press reported, “Today promises to be one of historic impact. And, alive to news in the making, which promises the unconditional surrender of Japan, the Montrose Daily Press offers this extra edition to announce this important break to residents of Montrose County. Work in publication of this extra was started about 7 a.m. today following a communication by the United Press Bureau of Denver, warning the staff of this newspaper to be on alert for the historic action now in progress at capitals of the Allied Nations and of the enemy. Approximately 2,000 extras were published and distributed throughout the city by the Press carrier boy staff. Because of the historic impact of this edition, The Press advises readers to save them.”

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Outlook community

Montrose Daily Press

Thursday, June 28, 2012

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Nate Wick/Daily Press

Chris Tarman strums a happy tune on his vintage 1930s Martin style 3 ukulele on a recent afternoon.

Uncompahgre Valley Ukulele Society attracts players of varying experience By Cassie Stewart Daily Press Intern

As the class gathers in the meeting room at the Montrose Regional Library, those in attendance begin their jam session with some easy conversations. They share a few greetings and hellos while tuning their instruments. After a few minutes go by, they finally progress into a discussion about technique and which songs they’d like to play that night. Eventually, they launch into The Beatles’ classic “Hey Jude,” with some members humming the notes while others strum along. Such is the easygoing atmosphere at a meeting of the Uncompahgre Valley Ukulele Society, which welcomes both newcomers and veteran players. The group has only met once so far, but founder Chris Tarman has bigger things in mind for the club. Tarman said he created the club because he was tired of being the only ukulele player he knew of in Montrose. So he decided to form a group of like-minded musicians. “I set up fliers and created a Facebook page for people to join the Uncompahgre Valley Ukulele Society club,” he said. “We ended up with about 11 people, and I was still surprised by the turnout. I spent more time trying to find people instead of what I would do with such a big group.” Tarman said musicians of various backgrounds showed up for the meeting. Some had played ukulele before, some had played only guitar and others had never played an instrument. Tarman thought those various experi-

ence levels might prove to be a setback, but they only created more interaction among group members, he said. “We picked one song that everyone would know and began to learn the chords,” Tarman said. “Experienced people then began to help out the inexperienced people.” Tarman said he has played the bass for 32 years and has little experience with the guitar. After he was introduced to the ukulele, he realized how hard it was to play bass by himself rather than when he was performing with a band. To him, the ukulele was more convenient, since it is affordable and easy to learn. Tarman has been playing ukulele for three years now and has collected 23 of them, which he loans out during club meetings. “Ukulele is easy to learn because it only has four strings,” he said. “Anything you can play on guitar, you can play on a ukulele.” Roy Maret, a participant of the Uncompahgre Valley Ukulele Society, said he enjoyed the atmosphere of the club. “It wasn’t structured as a class but more of a social gathering,” Maret said. “It’s an interaction with people with the same interests.” Maret has played the guitar for 30 years, but much like Tarman, he said he has enjoyed playing the ukulele for the past four months. As for the fate of the club, Tarman plans to become more ambitious, eventually leading meetings twice a week. He hopes the group can learn a core of 10 to 15 songs and eventually select a few members from the bunch to perform live in front of an audience. As for himself, he enjoys playing Beatles tunes, songs from the 1920s and

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playing,” he said. Tarman hopes to schedule meetings Wednesday and Sunday nights for a couple of hours every week. For more information, call him at 596-4159 or visit the Uncompahgre Valley Ukulele Society on Facebook.

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1930s, and some jazz, but he said it is up to members of the group to decide what they want to play. Tarman said he is anxious to see the progress of the group and show people how interesting the ukulele can be. “I wanted to help discover the fun in


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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Outlook community

Montrose Daily Press

The power couple s

Judge, advocacy center director proud to call Montrose home By Katharhynn Heidelberg Daily Press Senior Writer

There’s work, and then there’s a calling. In the Montgomery household, not one, but two members have been lucky enough to find their calling here. Jerry Montgomery is a former prosecutor and now the Montrose County Court judge. His wife Sue Montgomery heads the Dolphin House Child Advocacy Center, which serves child abuse victims and their nonoffending family members in six counties. It’s hard work, and high stakes, but the couple remains grounded by remembering why they do it. For Jerry, his position affords the opportunity to work with people, and figure out their issues and what can be done to help them. “Unfortunately, not many of them listen, but there’s that nugget every now and then, and when that happens, it makes it worthwhile,” he said at his sunny home in a Montrose subdivision as Sue sat at his side. Sue’s reward comes from helping child victims and their families overcome terrible crimes, including physical and sexual abuse. “Everything I’ve ever done is for kids, but I never really was hands on daily with children. It has made a huge difference in my life to see good can come out of something really horrible,” she said. Their careers are second starts for both Montgomerys. Jerry was in restaurant work for several years before health reasons forced him to give it up. But he didn’t give up on giving back. Instead, he parlayed his interest in law into a career as a defense attorney and, later, a prosecutor. “Criminal law is what I’ve always been involved in, as far as my legal career,” he said. The Montgomerys first came to Colorado during Jerry’s illness, when Sue got a job on the Front Range. After Jerry obtained his law degree and got experience under his belt, a position in the 7th Judicial District Attorney’s Office opened, and he was

Nate Wick/Daily Press

Sue and Jerry Montgomery talk about the joys of their life together and the challenges of their work. hired in 2007. Montgomery served as assistant district attorney before being tapped in 2010 as county judge after Judge John Mitchel retired.

The Montgomerys moved to Montrose (this time from Missouri) for Jerry’s job — and that’s when Sue also made a career move.

“I was going to retire. That lasted about three months,” she said. Sue had years of experience helping nonprofits set up and develop. She worked primarily with organizations that helped children overseas. When she came to Montrose, she stepped up to meet the needs of local children, first working with the elementary schools’ after-school programs. In 2009, she was named executive director of the Dolphin House, replacing Kay Alexander. The Montgomerys have an unusual challenge — not only are their jobs demanding, but unlike many other people, Jerry and Sue cannot talk to their significant other about the daily grind. Their positions preclude it. Dolphin House clients often end up in court as victims, with Montgomery presiding over the cases until they proceed to District Court. “He was my sounding board, and now I can’t do that,” Sue said. So far, their marriage has not created a conflict on the bench. Jerry says he has not been asked by any attorney to recuse himself, though he mentions his link to the Dolphin House when it is relevant. Because Sue does not conduct the interviews of child victims at the Dolphin House, she is not called as witness in any of the cases. “That does not present a problem,” Jerry said. Added Sue: “We don’t talk about the cases at all.” They have other outlets for stress relief — Jerry is a music aficionado. He and Sue both play the piano; Jerry, who also plays the bassoon and clarinet, has decided to learn guitar. And Sue does not confine herself to business writing by day: “I love to write,” she said, telling of four novels she has planned. The Montgomerys also take joy in their surroundings, from mountain drives to snowshoeing. Montrose is a great place for their interests, and they are here to stay, they said. “My son says this is what Colorado is — the Western Slope,” Jerry said. “When people are thinking about Colorado, they are thinking about here.” And other locals have the right attitude, he added. “People here have a tendency to put life first and work second. I think that’s an excellent philosophy.”

Montrose Recreation District offers something for everyone Activities for all ages are offered By Will Hearst Daily Press Staff Writer

With 64 years of experience and expertise, we are positioned to help you meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Serving an average of 380 people each day through 288 programs last year, the Montrose Recreation District has a significant impact on the leisuretime interests of many local residents. MRD executive director Ken Sherbenou expects the 2012 numbers to be just as good if not better. He said the district plans to continue expanding its programming as a way to get more community members involved without necessarily requiring additional facilities. For those unfamiliar with its offerings, there is perhaps no better time than the summer and fall to take advantage of MRD’s outdoor programming. Soccer, baseball and softball are perpetual favorites among local adults looking for some friendly competition, and it is not too late to put a team to-

gether for the district’s new fall softball league. An organizational meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10 at the McNeil office, 2104 Rio Grande Ave. Team managers who attend this meeting will receive a voucher waving the individual fees for one player on their team. The fall season will feature three divisions, men, women and co-ed. Sign-up ends July 23, and play begins Aug. 13. Early fall also brings adult flag football and volleyball leagues. See the MRD’s summer programming catalog for more information. Late-summer activities still are available for youngsters, including the second session of Summer Adventures for Children ages 6 to 10 and Club 1114 for 11- to 14-year-olds. Both activities are four-week programs designed to entertain and educate children from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each Monday through Thursday. The Summer Adventures program includes everything from science activities to outdoor recreation, while Club 1114 offers sports, leisure see recreation, page A7

Reflecting on 130 years of partnership with our community. Inviting your participation in building for its future.

Provide your input. Stay informed.

• Visit www.cityofmontrose.org • Stop by 433 South First Street • Email info@ci.montrose.co.us XNLV35573

• Call 240-1400 • Watch Channel 10 • Attend public meetings


Montrose Daily Press

Outlook community

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Montrose’s secret garden

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Devotees come back year after year to hoe their rows By Katrina Kinsley Daily Press Writer

Behind the Hillcrest Congregational United Church of Christ, tucked behind children’s playground equipment and surrounded by gravel, lies a little oasis — a community garden. Set up by church member Walt Hill about a decade ago, the nearly half-acre patch includes 12 community plots, two children’s plots, an area of fruit trees and volunteer plants, and a compost area. A green barrier of hops provides an annual harvest, plus the benefits of a windbreak and prairie dog deterrent. This year, the garden also includes an area utilized by Colorado State University to study the alkalinity and clay nature of the local soil. University members are currently planting cover crops and continually testing the soil to determine the best vegetation to plant for soil amendment and improvement. The children’s plots are also a new addition this year after continual interest from participants in the Black Canyon Boys and Girls Club, which meets at the church. A fascination with growing plants and resident wildlife, such as birds and snakes, led the group to set up a pair of square-foot gardening boxes for the children to grow their own crops without accidentally treading on young plants. The boxes also eliminate the need for constant weeding, making it more kid friendly for the club members, mostly ages 6 to 9 years old. An expert from CSU presented a workshop to the organizing adults on square-foot gardening, which allowed them the education to get it started for the interested children. Past coordinator and longtime garden member Andrea Gray-Hoover believes the garden is a

great collaboration between the church, which owns the land and donates it for the garden’s use, and the members. The coordinator is responsible for collecting member dues each year, making sure members keep their plots clean and weed free, and facilitating between the garden members and the church’s land use board. Current coordinator Sandy Anderson is also a longtime member of the garden and served previously as the coordinator, as well. “About half of the members return each year, the other half are revolving,” said GrayHoover, who has worked a plot for eight years. “There’s always a lot of interest in April for open plots.” Plots are available to any gardener in Montrose. The garden opens for use in May, when the irrigation water becomes available, and runs until it’s shut off, generally in October or November, depending on the weather. Members largely grow vegetables in their plots, although a few marigolds pepper the landscape to deter pest insects. Gardeners are free to plant whatever they choose in their area, but are responsible for killing noxious weeds immediately to prevent spreading and for maintaining common areas such as walkways. The $25 annual fee includes individual plots approximately 100 to 300 square feet and irrigation water. “That’s cheaper than it would be for the city water alone in a backyard garden,” Gray-Hoover noted. While the existence of the garden may not be well known in the adult community, local children have had the opportunity to visit it each year. Lesley Hallenborg includes the garden in her annual recycling field trip for third-graders, which

New leaves unfurl from the center of a lettuce plant at the Hillcrest Community Garden. also includes visits to the recycling center, landfill and Recla Metals. While at the garden, the students learn about composting — from the “red wiggler” worms that aid in the process to the types of food scraps that can safely be added. In April, the community garden also played host to the Partners mentoring group’s Earth Day celebration. The Hillcrest garden currently has no plans for expansion beyond the 12 currently available plots, but Gray-Hoover encourages other groups to commit land to similar projects as interest in both gardening and community-building projects grows. For more information on the Hillcrest Community Garden, like them on Facebook or visit www.montroseucc.org/ garden. The garden is located at 611 Hillcrest Drive and is in need of the donation of a shed for tool storage. Interested parties can contact Anderson at 249-4969.

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Santos Herrera, a new member of the community garden this year, works his plot. He’s using his allotment to grow tomatoes, tomatillos, yellow chile peppers, cabbage, onion and cucumbers.

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

A square foot gardening box at the Hillcrest Community Garden is tended by members of the Black Canyon Boys & Girls Club.

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Outlook community

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Montrose Daily Press

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Safe haven

Olathe homeless facility pushing forward By Katharhynn Heidelberg Daily Press Senior Writer

credited with saving the life of another participant. Others help provide security, inventory management and distribution of donations. Some of the residents have moved on to their own permanent residences, including Jennifer Andrade, previously featured in the Daily Press. Seeing participants “graduate” is bittersweet, Fredericksen said. “You become attached to the people you’re helping, and while you’re happy for their successes, it’s sad to see them go,” he said. Haven House isn’t resting on its laurels, though. It is refining and enhancing its support programs, and hopes to hire a full-time administrator. “We’re tweaking the process,” Fredericksen said. “We were able to implement all of the programs we had contemplated. We want to improve on all the things that we’re doing. We hope to find sufficient funding.” The program utilizes case managers who meet with each family each week; a family advocate for each family, who functions as an extension of the case manager; a clinical pastoral counselor who provides up to four counseling sessions to the families, and office staff volunteers who help families with whatever daily issues might arise. Haven House is further developing programs to help the children who live there adapt to school and has seen success with its Whiz Kids tutoring program. With enough money, Haven House could employ a full-time administrator to run the facility, instead of relying on volunteers. “That would be a big help in terms of moving everything along more quickly. That would plug a major hole,” Fredericksen said. When homeless families are armed with the tools they need to break the cy-

Here’s a theory: To end homelessness, take a family, meet its immediate needs and then provide ongoing support that helps its members resolve the issues and decisions that left them homeless to begin with. You might call the concept “teach a man to fish and he will feed himself,” and the working components of the concept might be called a tall order. Larry Fredericksen calls it Haven House. The transitional living center is unique on the Western Slope, offering two-parent families, single moms and single women up to two years of shelter and support in Montrose County Housing Authority-owned facilities in Olathe. “We were able to start from scratch with very little seed money and get the operation like this going in such a short time,” Fredericksen said of the facility’s first year. Haven House has provided 8,500 nights of shelter to 29 families and three single adults — 91 people in all, according to the organization’s annual report that was released in April. The clients, who undergo a screening and acceptance process, benefit from classes, counseling and good old-fashioned fellowship with one another. Haven House’s families are “giving back.” Individual families have taken responsibility for common areas in the center, helped build partitions for the dining room and welcome new participants. Resident Chantelle Bailey was

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

The Haven House Transitional Living Center, housed in a former farm workers dormitory in Olathe, provides support services in addition to putting a roof over the heads of homeless families.

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The common area at the Haven House provides residents with a place to relax and welcome visitors. cle, everyone wins, he said. The families rely less on publicly funded programs and contribute more to society than perhaps they did in the past. “It should be healthy for the community,” Fredericksen said. “Our goal is to take homeless people who have virtually no hope of ever advancing beyond where they’re at, and give them the basic resources to become productive members of the community.” Haven House is a member of the Montrose Coalition on Homelessness, which is composed of several agencies, churches and individuals who strive to aid the homeless through a variety of methods. The coalition recently was tapped by Gov. John Hickenlooper to participate in his One Congregation — One Family initiative. There is collaboration, not competition, among the coalition members and other agencies that aid the needy, said Gary Martinez, founder of Shepherd’s

Hand. Shepherd’s Hand provides meals, showers, computer access, day-storage and phone access to homeless individuals. “Shepherd’s Hand is like a first responder, taking care of their immediate needs, whether it’s housing, shelter or food,” he said. “It’s not something where we’re sitting in judgment of anybody. It’s not a long-term solution. Haven House is a long-term solution to individual families’ needs. We’re not in competition. We complement each other. I think they’re doing a wonderful job.” Supporting Haven House and other programs for the homeless is just the right thing to do, Fredericksen said. “If somebody feels a sense of need to give back to the community, to help our country, to help our people, I can’t think of anything that’s more important than helping homeless families get back on their feet.”

Haven House’s helping hands Below are several organizations that Haven House Transitional Living Center officials cited for their support. (The list may not reflect everyone who has helped Haven House.) • Churches: All Saints Anglican, Montrose Christian, St. Daniel’s, Sunny View Mennonite, Grace Baptist, First Church of Christ, First United Methodist and the Association of Montrose Churches. • The Jungle Gym in Olathe, which opened its health club to Haven House families. • Sharing Ministries through Sheila’s Emporium supplies food. • Busy Corner grocery in Olathe donates its surplus items. • The Montrose Community Foundation. • Altrusa clubs of Montrose and Delta. • Montrose Rotary. • Christ’s Kitchen. • Home Depot, which is installing a fenced playground and garden. Your turn: Haven House needs help paying monthly utilities, after county funding for that purpose expired. It also needs a small car to help clients get to and from jobs. And it needs volunteers, especially a volunteer coordinator to recruit and organize the volunteer staff. Tax-deductible donations may be made to Haven House, P.O. Box 3122, Montrose, CO 81402. For more information, contact 323-5280, or visit havenhousehomeless.org.

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Outlook community

Montrose Daily Press

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fun and games

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Pickleball offering Montrose residents new way to stay active, competitive By Matt Lindberg Daily Press News Editor

While most Montrose residents were just waking up or sipping their first cup of coffee on the morning of June 4, there were 14 individuals already primed for competition. The group gathered at Baldridge Park’s field hockey rink for nearly three hours for pickleball. Although the name is goofy, the sport is anything but. The 14 players were rowdy and proud during every moment of action that morning, which served as the Montrose Recreation District’s first day of the summer season for the sport. “Everyone who plays has so much fun,” said player Barbara Gallagher, who travels from Ridgway to participate. “It’s not serious, but it is very social.” Said husband Larry Gallagher: “It gets you a lot of good exercise in a short amount of time, and there’s a short learning curve.” Pickleball is a racquet sport which combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. The sport uses a Wiffle Ball and is played on a court using a net two inches lower than one used in tennis. Cindy Marino, the district’s 50-plus activities coordinator, staffs pickleball sessions on Mondays from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the park’s field hockey rink. The district also has a permit for pickleball enthusiasts to play from 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Tom Kearney, left, returns a volley during a pickleball match while his partner, Jim Doody, looks on.

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Larry Gallagher, left, and his wife Barbara play pickleball at Baldridge Park on a recent morning. Although the district began its summer season just earlier this month, pickleball has been in its plan since last winter when Marino toured Fruita’s recreation center. “I took a tour of the new Fruita (recreation) center last year and saw they had lined their indoor courts for pickleball in addition to other sports,” Marino said. “They said it was popular in Fruita. I went online and found videos of the game being played. I was hooked! It looked like fun.” So Marino added it to the district’s winter activity guide and began offering indoor sessions in January. The sessions, which ran from January to April several days per week, were held in rooms at the Montrose Aquatic Center and in Cottonwood Elementary’s gymnasium. More than a dozen people participated, which made the sessions a lot of fun, Marino said. “It was great,” she said. “Everyone enjoyed having a sport they could play indoors when it was cold outside. The space at the (Aquatic Center) was alright, but the ceiling was too low for lob shots. We made the space work.” Marino knew there was an opportunity to play the sport outdoors, so she and the district worked with the city of Montrose to make it happen. She said after the city said it was OK to use the field hockey rink at Baldrige Park for pickleball, she and several district staff members took a day to measure, tape and paint lines on the rink to create three courts. “I appreciate the creativeness by the district to come up with outdoor courts for us,” player Doris Chamberlain said. “It’s just wonderful.” Marino said the district has plans to create two more courts on the field hockey rink with hopes of getting more participants. She added the district will continue to offer pickleball and that she hopes it will gain popularity in Montrose. “This sport is great fun and a perfect type of recreation for all ages,” Marino said. “It is a great way to keep active while having fun ... I hope it grows to the level in which we can build a dedicated court space and host tournaments.” Players said pickleball is a sport anyone can learn. “It’s a good game,” Tom Chamberlain said. “Pickleball is played on a small court and is a quick game,

RECREATION: MRD activities include soccer, softball and water aerobics from page 4

and educational pursuits. For the younger kids, the Sporties for Shorties program introduces 4- to 6-year-olds to a new sport each week. The program is offered in three sessions, each of which provides three afternoons of entertainment and learning. More information is available in the MRD summer guide. One of the more popular programs for kids, fall soccer, kicks off in early September and provides several age- and gender-specific divisions. Registration ends Aug. 21. For the 50-and-older crowd looking to take advantage of MRD offerings, there are still a few slots available for a trip to historic Crested Butte

on July 12 for the annual Wildflower Festival. This all-day trip includes transportation and a tour. And for those feeling feeling lucky, MRD also offers 50-and-older adventurers a trip to a casino in Towaoc. This trip is scheduled for Aug. 16. Of course, there is plenty of action on tap at the Montrose Aquatic Center to keep everyone cool until fall. A few spots remain open for youth swim classes during July and August. Contact the aquatic center at 249-7705 for more information. The center hosts several types of drop-in water aerobics classes for older swimmers throughout the week for only $4.25 each. A sched-

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Kathleen Kearney, left, and Lynae Doody pair up against their spouses at Baldridge Park.

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ule for those classes is available in the summer recreation guide. Family Fun Night continues at the aquatic center from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every Friday. The cost is $2.75 per person. Finally, the annual Youth Appreciation Day on Saturday, Aug. 18 means kids swim free and adults receive reduced rates at the aquatic center. The pool will be closed after 4 p.m. on July 4 and on Labor Day, Sept. 3. The annual fall maintenance and cleaning will lead to the closure of the facility Sept. 4-16. For more information on MRD programming for the remainder of the summer, call 249-7705 or look for the MRD summer guide.

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but it is easy on the body. It’s a game you can play at any age, and it’s easy to learn.” Said wife Doris: “It’s good mentally, good physically and good socially.” Marino said she encourages everyone to try pickleball. There is a $2 entry fee to play on Monday mornings. People can rent equipment, including nets, paddles and balls, from the district at the aquatic center’s customer service desk. For more information, call Marino at 252-4884.

©Kubota Tractor Corporation, 2012

*$0 down, 0% A.P.R. financing for terms up to 60 months on purchases of select new Kubota equipment from available inventory at participating dealers through 6/30/2012. Example: A 60-month monthly instalment repayment term at 0% A.P.R. requires 60 payments of $16.67 per $1,000 borrowed. 0% A.P.R. interest is available to customers if no dealer documentation preparation fee is charged. Dealer charge for document preparation fee shall be in accordance with state laws. Only Kubota and select Kubota performance-matched Land Pride equipment is eligible. Inclusion of ineligible equipment may result in a higher blended A.P.R. Not available for Rental, National Accounts or Governmental customers. 0% A.P.R. and low-rate financing may not be available with customer instant rebate (C.I.R.) offers. Financing is available through Kubota Credit Corporation, U.S.A., 3401 Del Amo Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503; subject to credit approval. Some exceptions apply. Offer expires 6/30/2012. See us for details on these and other low-rate options or go to www.kubota.com for more information. Optional equipment may be shown. **Customer instant rebates (C.I.R.) of $300 to $2,500 are available on cash or finance purchases of eligible Kubota equipment through Kubota Tractor Corporation. Dealer subtracts rebate from dealer’s pre-rebate selling price on qualifying purchases. Subject to dealership inventory. Sales to governmental agencies, independent rental centers, and dealer owned rental fleets do not qualify. Some exceptions apply. Customer instant rebates are not XNLV34816 available after completed sale. C.I.R. availability ends 6/30/2012.


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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Montrose Daily Press

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Montrose Daily Press

Thursday, June 28, 2012

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Adult softball most popular sport Montrose Recreation District offers By Matt Lindberg Daily Press News Editor

The Montrose Recreation District offers a variety of sports for residents to play during the summer, but adult softball is by far the most popular. This summer, the district has 50 teams competing among seven divisions. The district offers three men’s divisions, one women’s division and three co-ed divisions. Teams are divided by skill. “It has more participation than any other sport (we offer),” said Tom Thomas, the district’s adult program coordinator. “It’s one of our most popular adult programs for sure ... It’s been going good.” It’s so good, in fact, that the district will offer the sport again this fall for the first time in several years, Thomas said.

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Andrew Reed bats for Gordon Composites’ co-ed leisure 2 league team.

Jeff Rivera pitches for the Amelia’s Restaurant team in a co-ed leisure 1 league game.

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Umpire Gary Lang, left, and Deseree Scott of Gordon Composites’ co-ed leisure 2 league team, await a pitch.

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Laurie Jones makes a play in the outfield for the Lions Club co-ed leisure 2 softball team as Calvin London moves in to assist.

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Three year-old Gabi Anderson enjoys a cold treat while waiting for her mom’s game to start. The Montrose Recreation District runs a concession stand at the softball field in Baldridge Park while games are in session.

Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press

Co-ed leisure 2 league Gordon Composites team member Briana Fresquez leaves first base following a hit by a teammate.


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Dylan Williams, 2, of Montrose plays a game of chase with basset hounds Martha and Oliver in the dog park at Baldridge Park.

Nate Wick/Daily Press

Opportunity unleashed Dogs’ best friends continue developing park

By Katharhynn Heidelberg Daily Press Senior Writer

What began as an idea more than five years ago is now a reality — and the people behind Montrose’s first dog park are saying the more, the merrier. The dog area, tucked away on a 2-acre site past the duck pond in Baldridge Park, opened late last year after Friends In Dog Ownership paid for fencing on the city-owned property. In its first six months

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of operation, it’s been seeing use — and that benefits both two- and four-footed folks. “It gives dogs exercise,” said Amy Ondos, chairwoman of FIDO. “When dogs have exercise and get rid of energy, they tend to be more neighbor friendly. They bark less and tend to be less aggressive.” The dog park allows a place for canines to run off leash while keeping them from bothering others who are enjoying Baldridge Park as

a whole. The area also gives humans a chance to interact with others who have similar interests. “We’re glad to see something for the community to use,” said Dennis Erickson, the city of Montrose parks planner and projects manager. “It’s a social place, not only for the dogs, but for the people.” The idea of a dog park was broached in 2007, with the support of thenMayor Noelle Hagan. The city Parks Advisory Board looked into see dogs, page A3

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Montrose Daily Press

Thursday, June 28, 2012

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dogs: Off-leash area a boon to canines, companions from page 1 whether a dog park would be feasible and sought input from citizens, as well as representatives from other cities’ dog parks. “That kind of started the project. Out of that evolved FIDO,” Erickson said. “They were instrumental in having an off-leash dog park in Montrose.” FIDO didn’t stop once it had raised thousands of dollars to pay for fencing the site chosen by the city. The group continues to plan improvements and execute them as funding allows. “We’re still working on it,” FIDO treasurer Julie Williams said. “The biggest chunk is finished, but there is still some work to do.” As money becomes available, FIDO plans to install a concrete pad at the

dog-area’s entry. Right now, the area can become heavy with mud when it is wet or snowy. FIDO hopes to install more benches and other amenities. “When our funding allows for it, we would like to get more stuff in there, not only for the people, but for the dogs,” Ondos said. One thing people are unlikely to see is grass — the dog park is not in a part of Baldridge that is watered, and prolonged use by dogs would tear up landscaping anyway, she said. “That’s the nature of a dog park. Ideally, we would love a park with grass, but with dogs, it’s too much traffic.” Said Williams: “We just need the last little push of funds to get the park polished. Once that push is finished, it will pretty much maintain itself.”

The city provides waste receptacles and maintains the grounds. “We’re going to keep fundraising. From here forward, it’s pretty much just fun stuff for FIDO. We’ve gotten most of the hard stuff,” Williams said. If the dog park is a diamond in the rough, it also seems to be something of a hidden gem. “We realize a lot of people aren’t aware that we have a dog park. But as

more people use it, not only do dogs get socialized, people do, too,” Ondos said. “The dog park is something our community has needed for a long time,” said Montrose Police Officer Mike Duncan, director of the Montrose Animal Shelter. “It’s really encouraging to see that our community finally has one.”

For FIDO

FIDO is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon July 18 at the dog park. All are welcome. To help FIDO pay for further improvements at the dog park, call Amy Ondos at 249-2326. FIDO’s annual fun run is coming up in October. The dogfriendly event raises money and helps build camaraderie.

Nate Wick/Daily Press

Ginger waits patiently for her owner Amy Ondos to share a drink of water with her.

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Amy Ondos, chairwoman of FIDO, is a regular at the dog area where she can let her two dogs Ginger and Sage run free.

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Montrose Daily Press

Rocks of ages s

Local archaeology chapter peels back layers of history

McKelvey. The Folsom culture is defined on the high plains where the association of Folsom man and extinct bison is well documented. Most material from this complex is dated between 9000 B.C. and 7000 B.C. One of the earliest discoveries made by the teenagers from Olathe was a unique rock shelter on the plateau, which yielded arrowheads of various colors and sizes. Notable finds from this site, which included projectile points, were reported to the Denver Museum of Natural History. The brother-and-sister team enlisted the help of Roubideau Canyon homesteader Harold Huscher (who eventually became a professional archaeologist himself) and Al Look, a noted researcher of archaeological sites from Grand Junction. The two men helped the Moores contact University of Colorado archaeologist Marie Wormington. Wormington, a member of the museum staff at that time, was intrigued by the Moores’ discoveries and in 1935 set up one of the first professional

By Elaine Hale Jones Daily Press Lifestyles Editor

For more than 70 years, the Chipeta Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society of Montrose has spearheaded efforts to record and understand the archaeological record of western Colorado. The chapter, founded in 1935, is the oldest continuously existing organization of its kind in the state and one that holds prominence among professional archaeologists. Founding member Carlyle “Squint” Moore and his sister, Ruth Moore McKelvey, made significant archaeological discoveries in the early 1930s that drew immediate attention to the Uncompahgre Plateau. What they discovered, and eventually helped catalogue over the years, were sites of habitation not only by the Ute Indians but the archaic people who preceded the Utes. The discovery of the first Folsom-type flints ever found west of the Continental Divide is credited to

Family Resources Directory

excavations in the area. It was also in December 1935 that Squint and Ruth, both recent graduates of Olathe High School, joined with local residents in founding the Chipeta Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society in Montrose. Over the next several excavation seasons, Wormington lived with the Moore family and was led to all the sites, which the young people had mapped through the years. The “Moore Shelter” (named for the brother/sister team) revealed a pattern of continued human occupation from 8,000 years ago to approximately 1,000 years ago. Cryptic straight-line petroglyphs were also discovered in exposed bedrock at the shelter. The major result of work done by Wormington established an “Uncompahgre Complex,” a local variant of the Desert Archaic people. These prehistoric people were primarily dependent on hunting and gathering, and their lifestyle revolved around and adapted to the availability or lack of vegetation and wildlife in the region. Twelve phases have been identified within this complex. After the initial excavation project by Wormington, no further work was done on the plateau until doctoral candidate Bill Buckles came to Montrose in the late 1950s and again enlisted the help of Squint Moore. Together, the two men surveyed 22 Uncompahgre Plateau sites found by the brother/ sister team. Eighteen of those sites were excavated and dated. While working on the plateau, Buckles outlined a cultural sequence beginning about 8000 B.C. and continuing through historic time. In the early 1960s, the Carlyle Shelter, Juanita’s Shelter and the Squint Site were recorded and named in honor of Squint Moore and his wife Juanita. In 1993, Squint was presented with the prestigious C.T. Hurst award for lifetime service to Colorado archaeology. Over his career, the avocational archaeologist discovered at least 150 sites from the Mesa County line to the Colona area.

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Chipeta chapter future plans

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Chuck Romaniello, current president of the Chipeta Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society, noted that the organization remains very active in supporting local archaeology efforts. In June, the chapter implemented a new automated trip system, which tracks members and guests interested in leading or attending chapter trips. Over the summer, a number of members will also be doing field work assisting in regional archaeological activities. When regular monthly meetings resume in September, the chapter will host the following speakers and programs: • September — David Primus, “Beneath Blue Mesa.” • October — John Greer, “Easter Island.” • November — Dudley Gardner, “Building of the Railroad.” The public is welcome to attend the meetings/ programs. In the long term, the Chipeta chapter plans to increase its membership base. “We hope to interest local high schools in our speakers and programs,” Romaniello said. Other long-term goals include providing membership with speakers and site visits that are interrelated, and the speaker providing informational context for the site visit when possible. The chapter will continue contributing to site protection and preservation activities as per a newly implemented memorandum of understanding with the Bureau of Land Management, Romaniello said. The Program for Avocational Archaeological Certification will present a number of classes throughout Colorado, one of which will be in Montrose. “Prehistoric Lithics Description & Analysis” will be held Sept. 21-24 in Montrose. For more information on the Chipeta chapter, call 249-6250.

Cat people

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Volunteers, vets work to help feral cat populations

HONORING ALL VETERANS

By Katharhynn Heidelberg

Meetings: Every Monday at 6 pm at Friendship Hall 1001 N. 2nd St, Montrose, CO

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Mankind is best measured by how it treats lesser animals, it’s been said. But no one has to lecture animal advocate Beth Jones, other volunteers, or veterinarians Renee Rumrill and Diane Henney-Clark about that. They are already working together to humanely reduce the local feral cat population. The process is called “trap, neuter and release,” or TNR for short. TNR reduces the number of breeding cats in a feral colony. The process, which includes rabies vaccinations, helps tamp down diseases within the feral cat population and, in turn, helps cut the risk to pet cats that could become infected. And of course, TNR leads to fewer cats. Fewer ferals leads to less nuisance for property owners — and best of all, the cats do not have to die. “It’s coming along pretty well,” said Jones, who arranges the TNRs and coordinates surgeries, for which she obtained money from the Telluride Animal Foundation and Colorado Animal Rescue Express. “We’ve been happy with the results. We do TNR with people who want the cats back; people who have been feeding the cats and can’t afford to get them all spayed and neutered.” Jones says she works through anonymous referrals and requests. She works with feral colonies in unincorporated Montrose County. She is a volunteer at the Montrose Animal Shelter, but the shelter is not involved in TNR. “We provide the surgery end of the service,” said Rumrill, who operates Alta Vista Animal Hospital. “Beth coordinates all of the volunteers and identifies the colonies that need help. She coordinates all the trapping and gets them into the clinic on the scheduled day. We take over from there.” The cats are sterilized, and the tip of their left ears are notched to indicate they have been altered. see volunteers, page 13


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Montrose Daily Press

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volunteers: Trap, neuter, release reducing colony numbers from page 12

“If they’re left to breed, cats are very prolific,” Rumrill said. “They tend to have large litters. A female can have two to three litters in a year. These animals are oftentimes stressed and more susceptible to diseases at the same time.” Some have doubts about TNR — it is effective if it can be applied to an entire colony, said Bill Cunningham, president of Montrose Animal Protection Agency. The nonprofit helps provide low-cost spay and neuters for pet animals, and is not involved with TNR. “Montrose County has a real issue. There are a lot of feral cats out there. They live pretty much a life of misery,” he said. Altered cats who are returned to a feral colony can be driven out by new arrivals of intact felines and have less chance at survival, Cunningham said. Altering a few cats in a colony isn’t the best idea, he said — but he believes Jones, who returns the cats to people who are provid-

ing for them, is going about TNR the right way. “Beth works really hard,” he said. “She does a lot of good. What she is doing, I believe, is cleaning up a colony so that the cats are not driven off.” TNR is not fail-safe. “You can’t get all of them. Other cats over time will tend to move in,” Rumrill said. “Some people would argue it would be better if these cats were destroyed. We come at it from a different perspective,” she said. “These animals are here. We would rather work to control populations through spay and neuter. We don’t want to see these animals destroyed.” TNR does cut feral cat reproduction rates dramatically. “We’ve undoubtedly prevented many kittens from being born this spring. Maybe 80 to 100 kittens were not born this spring because of our efforts,” she said. Although the animal shelter isn’t involved with TNR, the strategy is beneficial, director Mike Duncan said.

“It reduces the rate of euthanasia. The cats are able to be released,” Duncan said. “The really neat part is, when you target areas out in the county, specifically farms that have large numbers of cats, then you can control the number of cats you have on your property, and therefore

reduce the possibility of disease, as well as uncontrolled breeding.” Rumrill hopes to resume TNR in the fall. “Our hope is that with time, it will make a difference,” she said. “We’re interested in doing something to give back to our community.”

Friends of cats

Beth Jones Renee Rumrill Diane Henney-Clark Kathy Denton Fran Goetz Telluride Animal Foundation Colorado Animal Rescue Express

Local Church Directory Serious about making disciples who honor God. See you this coming Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Victory Baptist Church 2890 N. Townsend Ave., Montrose, Co • 249-6874

Jim Welch, pastor XNLV35620

Sundays: Small Groups (for all ages) 9:30am

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Since its opening in 1990, the Montrose Pavilion has been the site of Saturday night dances twice a month throughout the year. Whether you enjoy the elegance of the waltz, rhythmic ballroom dances like the chacha or country line dancing inspired by the music of Randy Travis, Clint Black or Reba McEntire, the Pavilion has something for everyone when it comes to the dance floor. “We average around 100 people per dance, depending on the band,” said Winifred Tappan, dance club committee president. “We had a dance last year that drew over 200 people.” As a rural community throughout much of its 130-year history, social interaction in Montrose was limited to church, close friends and relatives, or membership in civic and cultural organizations. Senior citizens, in particular, were often limited to activities inside the home. All that changed in August 1990 when the City Council, in conjunction with the city’s new multi-purpose facility, the Montrose Pavilion, opened the doors of the new 9,000-square-foot Montrose Civic and Senior Center to nearly 3,600 seniors living in Montrose. While the list of activities for seniors has grown steadily over the years, the Saturday night dances hold a special place in the heart of many local residents, including Tappan, who met her husband, Richard, on the dance floor. “The man who was really instrumental in getting the dances off the ground in Montrose is Keith Dearth,” she said. Early on, Dearth and his wife, Mary Ellen, taught afternoon ballroom dancing at the Pavilion. The Dearths even offered dance lessons, but it was soon apparent that afternoons were not the best time to hold those types of dances. The dance time was changed to 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays. On Jan. 29, 2000, a record 200 people twirled across the dance floor at the Pavilion. Last year, an eight-piece band from Durango drew a crowd of more than 200 people, Tappan noted. Music is typically provided by well-known regional entertainers, such as the ever-popular Ric Blake and Karen, and the Ghost River Band. Former regulars included the recently disbanded Country Plus and the Western Kinsmen. “We’ve had a few teens in attendance, but we get a lot of couples in their 40s and up ... and I’m in the upper category,” the 86-year-old Tappan said with a laugh. “We have a group of 15 to 20 people who love country music. Another group prefers ballroom dancing. They end up being patient with each other, and the bands accommodate all types of dance music.” The dance club committee also schedules regular “mixers” for singles. Admission is $4 at the door. A break for refreshments is held between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and attendees are invited to bring snacks to share. Although the committee typically breaks even with the dances after paying the band, attendees look forward to food, fun and fellowship — as well as a great cardio workout. For more information on pavilion dances, contact Tappan at 249-5644.

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Pavilion dances have been swinging for more than two decades

1598 Niagara Rd • Phone: 249-4887 • Facebook.com/rosemontbaptist

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Rosemont Baptist Church


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‘Human rights, not immigrant rights’ By Katrina Kinsley Daily Press Writer

Karen Sherman Perez knows that she’s doing important work — she has spent the last 14 years working to improve conditions and fighting for the rights of people from Central America to Western Colorado. Sherman Perez, a 1993 Montrose High graduate, earned a degree in environmental biology at Fort Lewis College in Durango and spent a semester in Chihuahua, Mexico, before being accepted into the Peace Corps. Assigned to El Salvador, she used her knowledge to provide environmental education to farmers in the region, teaching them about agro-forestry, the importance of re-foresting, the use of natural fertilizers and new practices for sustainability. When she arrived in 1998, the country was still in the process of rebuilding following a 12-year civil war. A community organizer named Ricardo Perez was a vital part of that effort, working to bring community leaders together. He was eager to help her network with leaders of the region to aid in carving a place for Sherman Perez within the culture. When her Peace Corps commitment was finished, she accepted an opportunity to extend her stay in El Salvador by another year to work as a volunteer coordinator and pursue a relationship

with Perez, whom she’d grown close to. She taught English in a language academy in the capital city of San Salvador for two years, and in 2003, the couple returned to Montrose and married. The newlyweds were originally unsure about where they’d settle and sought job opportunities in the Denver area. But ultimately, family brought Sherman Perez back to Montrose. “My parents are here,” Sherman Perez said. “And my sister and her family moved back, too.” Sherman Perez and her husband worked several jobs before settling into their current employment — her as the development director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and him as the executive director of the Hispanic Affairs Project, a CIRC member organization. In those roles, they again work together to improve the lives of those around them, something that she says is vital for her. “I need to feel good about making a contribution,” added Sherman Perez. It’s a good time for CIRC to take a more public role in the community, as this is the 10-year anniversary of the program’s development. CIRC is currently experiencing rapid growth. Starting as a simple electronic mailing list in 2004, it now employs eight staff members, soon to be expanded to 10. The

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Katrina Kinsley / Daily Press Karen Sherman Perez works to improve conditions for immigrants from a downtown office that she shares with her husband, Ricardo. achievements of the group have brought national recognition and much-needed funding, which comes solely from foundation grants and donors, with no government support. Consisting of 60 organizations, the coalition assists its members in immigration policy and advocacy work. It has defended against anti-immigration bills and helped kill all proposed antiimmigration legislation over the last five years. CIRC is also proactive in working on positive policies for immigrant rights and education, seeking greater voter engagement to support its issues, including nonvoter participation projects for undocumented community members. Sherman Perez has worked for CIRC for two years and recently took the position of development director. Her new responsibilities include fundraising and

grant writing to ensure the financial sustainability of the coalition. She also serves on additional committees and has been a strong proponent for Welcoming Colorado, a group that seeks to “build connections and relationships” between the native-born community members and immigrants. For Sherman Perez, it’s about building a bridge between the two groups and forming a single, solid community — the issue is not about immigrant rights so much as human rights. “I enjoy public education,” Sherman Perez said. “Humanizing the issue (of immigration) is my passion. I want to put a human face on it so people realize that these are their neighbors. It’s easy to fear who you don’t know.” To learn more about CIRC or any of its participation organizations, visit coloradoimmigrant.org.

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