February 2021 . Issue 10.2
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Simplifying Things for the Rest of Us Most lies are dramatic and juicy. Most truth is boring and pedestrian. Math, Science, and technology as taught are bristling with difficulties. Here we simplify things for the rest of us.
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Contents RISE Grant for Routt County
Hopeful for the New Year
Nurturing Our Natural Lands
Components of Population Growth
Make Him an Offer He Can't Refuse
Colorado Race Relations
The Laundry Song
By Brodie Farquhar
By Dylan Roberts/ State Representative By Sonja Macys/ City Council By Scott L. Ford
By Stuart Handloff
By Ellen & Paul Bonnifield By Fran Conlonl
Quill Pigs Page 10 Publisher/Art Director: Matt Scharf email@example.com
By Karen Vail
Good-time, Ski Bummin' Mama
Looking at Renewable Energy Again
Valley Voice is published monthly and distributed on the last Wednesday of each month. Please address letters, questions, comments or concerns to: Valley Voice, LLC, P.O. Box 770743 or come by and see us at 1125 Lincoln Ave, Unit 2C, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477. Or contact Matt Scharf: 970-846-3801.
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Survival Page 17 By Ellen Bonnifield
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Comics Page 19
Please send us your RANTS, RAVES and SAY WHATs! The Valley Voice wants to hear your thoughts as we struggle to find our center. Send to: email@example.com
Soldering box spring on Stagecoach community wood ash pile… High lift ticket prices to keep our slopes safe from who?... COVID Ken. The best friend a deadly virus ever had… Pulling the “financial help” rug out from public transportation… When Old-Man Winter is beyond fashionably late… Driving past the gate and winter maintenance on RCR 45 in the winter… People who think they’re patriots and then go storm our Capitol Building…
Raves... Not living in the 3rd CD. Thanks Rep. Neguse, for not being an ill-informed seditionist… Katie at the DMV for making a transfer of title so easy… RIP Hank Aaron. Still the real home run king!... Saddleback Ranch for sending good vibes out on their snowmobile tours… Getting out early before all the riff-raff awakens… To Howelsen Hill for making it feel old-school fun… Putting on new stickers on a new old car…
Say What?... “Q has been revealed! Turns out it was John Birch the whole time.” “I slept through another alpenglow.” “It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.” – Agatha Christie “No, I’m not a veteran. But I did fight hard in the year 2020.” “If you can't make it look good, then make it shiny.”
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Read a lot - poems, stories, newspapers, anything. Read books and poems that you think you will like and some that you don't. You might be surprised. — Michael Morpurgo
RISE Grant for Routt County
State Representative/ Eagle and Routt Counties
Hopeful for the New Year By Dylan Roberts Colorado cannot do this alone and I am confident the federal government will begin to invest in America’s infrastructure, take steps to combat climate change, continue to provide much-needed unemployment benefits, and help us reform our health care system so that more Americans can afford quality health insurance coverage.
By Brodie Farquhar
In late January, Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Hayden School Superintendent Dr. Christy Sinner announced that the school districts of Hayden and South Routt have been awarded a $1,050,500 Response, Innovation, and Student Equity (RISE) grant from Governor Polis’ Emergency Education Relief Fund.
Whether Washington does or not, I will work to address those issues at the state level. As your state representative, I am determined to put the magnifying glass on my constituents’ needs. That’s why I am reinvigorating my efforts to pass a Colorado health insurance option so that every Coloradan can have a new and more affordable health insurance choice if they want it.
The governor said $40 million in RISE grants have now been awarded around the state. Colorado Mountain College is also received a RISE grant of $2.9 million, and will partner with Colorado Northwestern Community College, 17 school districts and 54 rural high schools. Sinner confided in an email distributing the announcement, that “The Governor’s Office said our application exceeded expectations – it was the most well-written and the strongest argument and strategy they read – out of hundreds of applications. We all should feel very proud.” The Hayden and South Routt districts are addressing their economic and educational equity gaps through an innovative regional approach. The regional collaboration will share existing strong programs, staffing, and resources as they co-create and implement an aligned PK-12 curriculum and pathways model for all students, including: • Honor the historical vitality of the Yampa Valley (agriculture, tourism), • Leverage present in-demand jobs (skilled trades) • Build sustainable pathways of the future (energy, technology, entrepreneurship) – all linked to student and economic need. There will be real-world hands-on experiences for students such as a food production and processing kitchen, greenhouses for sustainable practices, shops for auto mechanics, welding, and construction; technology for shared/ distance learning and mobile labs with storefronts for the sale of student-made and -grown products. The impact of the COVID-19 crisis has only further compounded the existing, ever-present barriers rural communities like those in Routt County face daily, such as transportation and travel times, economic opportunity, housing and cost of living, broadband access, declining enrollment, and teacher shortages. Further, the pandemic revealed a harsh reality that the food system is broken – a new realization for many in Routt County accustomed to its local ranching roots. This, coupled with the imminent closures of local coal mines, presents an opportunity and urgency to revitalize their schools and economy. “Support from the RISE Education Fund allows us to revitalize the region’s agricultural roots and build sustainable pathways of the future through regional collaboration and an investment in the next generation of students who will take the Yampa Valley to and through the unknown future that lies ahead,” said Dr. Sinner. “Hayden and South Routt School Districts, its students, families, and local partners deeply appreciate this support through which we can real-
As we move in to 2021, we face uncertain and uneasy times. Our country and state are facing the worst public health and economic crises in modern history. Our democracy is recovering from an attempted coup by the former President and sitting lawmakers. Yet, I am hopeful. I know we can and will do better.
Mountain regions have the highest rate and concentration of uninsured people. In our mountain communities, including both Eagle and Routt Counties, 14.3 percent of the population was uninsured in 2020 and that number is likely to rise due to the pandemic. Further, Eagle and Routt County residents only have one choice of provider on the individual insurance market—no competition and rising prices. That is unacceptable.
On January 20th, 2021, the United States conducted a peaceful transfer of power – a fundamental tenet of our democracy. The will of the people was upheld, the electoral votes were counted, and now our country can move on and focus on the problems that we face as Coloradans and Americans.
I championed the Colorado Health Insurance Option before the pandemic, and now the situation is worse. Now many Coloradans have lost their jobs and their employer-based health insurance—it was an important issue before 2020 and it is even more important now. So, I am redoubling my efforts and resolve and hope to get this bill passed this year.
The country’s recovery starts by addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has already taken great strides, signing executive orders and presidential directives that will rapidly increase testing and the pace of vaccine manufacturing, establish a health equity task force, provide resources for schools and workers, and make it easier for us to reopen our economy safely and quickly.
Over the past several months, I have met with numerous health care companies, hospitals, stakeholders, and lobbyists to make sure the Colorado option will work for everyone. We are crafting the legislation in a way that works for hospitals and insurance companies, but never losing focus on what is best for the uninsured and underinsured individuals and families who are struggling most during these trying times.
The new administration’s swift action will have a positive ripple effect throughout the country. With a team in the White House that recognizes the magnitude of the situation, the country’s approach can finally reflect the full scope of the problem.
It is the job of lawmakers, both at the state and federal level, to guide our country through these exceptional challenges. I will be introducing several bills this session that will help my constituents face these unparalleled challenges. I am thankful for a new administration in the White House that is better equipped to support our efforts as a state legislators. I am also thankful for my colleagues in the state legislature on the other side of the aisle who are willing to cooperate and work towards a better Colorado—hopefully politicians in Washington can follow their example.
A new administration also means big changes for all of us at the State Capitol. Having an administration that will help our state tackle our most pressing issues—including health care, transportation, climate change, housing, and most importantly, COVID-19—is essential. I am confident we will have a productive partnership with the new administration. ize our shared vision for the future of the Yampa Valley.” Colorado Succeeds, who supported the districts as a planning partner, will continue to work closely with Hayden and South Routt on implementation, in collaboration with Homegrown Talent Initiative partner Colorado Education Initiative. Colorado State University and its Routt County Extension Office will also support the program development.
For those who live here and for those who wish they did.
In a time when our country feels spectacularly divided, it will take a herculean effort to bring us back together. But collaboration and unity is the best way forward; it’s the only way forward. As President Biden said in his inaugural address: “With unity we can do great things. Important things. And, we can do so now.” Let’s get to work.
Representative Dylan Roberts serves Routt County and Eagle County in the Colorado House of Representatives
Steamboat Springs City Council
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Nurturing Our Natural Lands By Sonja Macys As I read preliminary results from Rout County’s Master Planning outreach, it strikes me that Routt County Residents have so much in common. It has been a while since we have focused on what we have in common. Disparate views on the global pandemic and a heated presidential election brought our differences to the forefront. But we should not let those things obscure or diminish the importance of the common ground we have and the values we share. Master Plans and community surveys are a good way to gauge those values. Outputs from these surveys help inform community sentiment. For example, participation in the survey (response rate), measures interest and engagement and the information derived from the survey (data) provides a meaningful basis for policy decisions. The Routt Master Plan received input from 922 individuals. Preliminary results indicate that there is a high level of agreement about what is important; and the high response rate indicates a highly engaged community. We like to engage, and we tend to care about the same things. Protection of open lands and planning for growth were noted as the top priorities for Routt County’s Master Plan. It is no surprise to see open space and growth management at the top. Through the pandemic, we saw unprecedented participation in outdoor recreation, purchase of outdoor gear, and use of public lands. Putting 2020 in the rear-view mirror felt good. But there was one bright spot. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), enacted by Congress in 1965 to help preserve, develop, and ensure access to outdoor recreation facilities to strengthen the health of U.S. citizens, received full and permanent funding for only the second time in its history. With bipartisan support and strong leadership from Colorado’s Senators, “The Great American Outdoors Act” passed, permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund. But there is more to be done. Much was left on the table in 2020. At the local, state, and federal levels, important projects were tabled as we grappled with the economic, public and mental health impacts of the pandemic.
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In this new year it is time to revive those important projects. One project I hope to see move quickly is U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and U.S. Congressman Joe Neguse's Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE). The Act will protect 400,000 acres of Colorado’s public land. Nearly 80,000 acres will be new recreation and conservation management areas that preserve existing outdoor uses. It also includes a first-of-its-kind National Historic Landscape at Camp Hale to honor Colorado’s military legacy and the history of Colorado’s 10th Mountain Division. Despite CORE having passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support twice, it still has not made it to the Senate floor.
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In October 2020, 111 Colorado elected officials, including the entire Steamboat Springs City Council, sent a letter to Senator Gardner urging him to support Senator Bennett in bring the CORE Act to the Senate floor, noting that…
“COVID-19 has hit our mountain communities very hard. Some are struggling with 50% unemployment. Before the pandemic, 229,000 jobs in Colorado were in our state’s outdoor recreation economy. As local elected officials who are tasked with helping our region’s economy to recover, we know protecting our state’s public lands permanently is an important part of the solution. The CORE Act will help our communities recover from the pandemic by bringing some of these people back to work.” As we continue to track legislation that protects public lands, and puts people back to work, we should also follow Senator Bennet’s Outdoor Restoration Force Act. It would fund collaborative projects that build local resilience and fuel economic growth by investing in our natural infrastructure- the forest, watersheds and rangelands that make up such an important part of our culture and our local economy. We may disagree on some things. But ultimately, time and again, Routt Residents have stood up for our public lands, our opportunities to use them, and our obligation to support them. I ask you to join me in continuing to do so in this new year.
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Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. — John Quincy Adams
The Components of Routt County’s Population Growth By Scott L. Ford 879.5929 905 Weiss Drive - across HWY 40 from the Holiday Inn
There is talk about a lot of folks moving to the Steamboat Springs area. It is true that the population of Steamboat has grown. According to the US Census In 1990 the population of Routt County was 14,216. By 2020 (30 years later) the county population had grown to 25,652. This is an 80% increase and equates to an average annual population growth rate of approximately 2.5% per year. It is highly likely that for the next few years the rate of population growth will accelerate.
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Over the past 30 years on average there have been 215 births per year and 80 deaths. On average the net migration has been about 250 annually. There have been five years in the past 30 where more folks moved out of the county than moved in. The greatest out migration period was between 2010 and 2012.
Population of Routt County
28,000 26,000 24,000 22,000
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Source: Colorado Department of Demographics
the2019 fallout of the great Components of Population GrowthThis in period Routtrepresented County some 1990ofto recession.
800 The current population in Routt County at the end 2019 by school district was estimated as follows: 600
Negative Net Migration into Routt County •400 West Routt (Hayden) = 2,809 2004 2005 2010 2011 2012 • Steamboat Springs = 18,057 -3 County -11 -43 -320 -108 •200 South Routt (Oak Creek/Yampa) =Population 4,206 of Routt
28,000US Census Bureau American Community Source: 0 Survey 26,000Table: B01003
The greatest years of positive Net Migration have been: Positive Net Migration into Routt County
Formulated in Hayden, Colorado
Next Issue: Where are all these people coming from?
Components of Population Growth in Routt County 1990 to 2019
800 600 400 200
Masks in bulk!
0 -200 -400
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1998 2000 Births
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The primary source of population growth in Routt County 14,000 has been in increase in net migration. Net migration over the past 30 years accounts for 65% of the total county’s growth.
I arrived in Steamboat in 1992. My family of 5 became part of the 315 folks that moved to Routt County.
970 .879 .5717
2000 1993 1994 1995 1999
2004 716 647 596 535 495 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 Deaths Net Migration
There is only two ways that the population of an area 22,000 -400 increases. Either more people are born than die and/or 20,000 1990 move 1992 in than 1994 out. 1996 2000 are 2002 more people These1998 two elements 18,000 called the components of Population Growth. Births
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2012 2014 2016 Net Migration
Make Him an Offer He Can't Refuse By Stuart Handloff his tenure, read the Dr. Anthony Fauci interview in the January 24, 2021 edition of the New York Times. The comedy and tragedy of these last four years has been well documented for its Shakespearean character. Stephen Greenblatt, Pulitzer Prize winning author, wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times in 2016 before the election warning of the orange haired Richard III who was threatening an equally tyrannical power grab. “Richard III” does not depict a violent seizure of power. Instead, there is the soliciting of popular votes, complete with a fraudulent display of religious piety, the slandering of opponents and a grossly exaggerated threat to national security,” said Greenblatt. He warned voters to avoid complacency and complicity “whether from indifference or from fear or from the catastrophically mistaken belief that there is no real difference between Richard and the alternatives.”
"When the wheels came off." Ringling Circus clown Emmett Kelly. Date: March 21, 1947 What a difference a year makes. Just when we thought 2020 was the worst of all possible worlds, along comes January 6, 2021, another day that will live in infamy. A mob, incited by a sitting president, takes over the US Capital for over two hours. That they respected the velvet ropes in the Senate and took videos and selfies, all maskless to be sure the FBI would have no trouble identifying them, is comic irony. That they were intent on overturning the outcome of a fair and democratic election as determined by numerous judges and courts, is tragedy. If November 9 is the anniversary of Kristallnacht - the night in 1938 when the Nazis in Germany destroyed Jewish lives, homes, businesses and synagogues while the elected leader looked on with delight - then January 6 will live on as the anniversary of an attempted insurrection by America’s neo-Nazis while the elected leader looked on with delight: “We love you! You’re very special.” The Nazis wore brown shirts; the Trumpista wore fake fur and horns. Given that the Nazis went on to murder 6 million Jews and 5 million others, this was the 20th century price of complicity with tyranny. Our US death toll from a mismanaged COVID pandemic is predicted to reach over 500,000. For anyone who thinks the Trump administration did a fine job managing the only major challenge to
After the election, Greenblatt was so moved that he wrote a book in 2018 on the subject: Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics. Without naming him directly, he compares Donald Trump to a host of fictional tyrants Shakespeare dreamed up including Richard III, Macbeth, King Lear, Jack Cade and others. That’s when I began to take the danger that ultimately culminated on January 6, 2021 a little more seriously. If a prize-winning author and distinguished Harvard professor was this enraged about a petty dictator wannabe, maybe there was something more serious afoot. And now we have seen the tragedy unfold before us in its full dramatic glory live on television with dozens more amateur videos and the aforesaid selfies in support. There’s no denying an attempted coup when there’s hours of footage documenting every move, although I’m sure the Donald’s legal team will attempt to convince us that it was all fake news and that the thousands of demonstrators were all left-wing infiltrators who disrupted a perfectly peaceful Kumbaya moment. Right. And another buyer for the Brooklyn Bridge donates another few million toward the Trump “Stop the Steal” campaign. They’re still accepting donations if you’re so inclined. But I would suggest donating to your local United Way is far more effective in supporting your community. Jesse Greene, the new chief theatre critic for the Times, suggests that “It’s Time to Turn the Page on the TrumpShakespeare Comparisons” in his January 20, 2021 column. He may be on to something, although the comparison of the post-election Trump to Macbeth does evoke one of the most beautiful Shakespearean lines that trips off the tongue: “Now he does feel his title hang loose about him like a giant’s robe upon a dwarfish thief.” (Act 5, Sc. 2).
“A giant’s robe upon a dwarfish thief.” Say those beautiful words five times really fast. That is poetic justice! Greene admits there are millions of links on the internet between Trump and Shakespeare, but he can’t help believing that it’s giving Trump way too much literary credibility. “...This mania for comparison depends on a thin analysis of both the president and the plays. For one thing, pundits are ignoring the traits that do not match. Richard was born disabled; Hamlet was avenging a murder. Most of the others were victorious warriors; President “Bone Spurs” wasn’t. Beyond that, the plays, with all their faults, have a profound and noble goal that Trump does not: to provide insight into life. But like most real people, only more so because of his psychological and political makeup, Trump is not capturable in that way. He does not advertently open his heart in public, and our time has not required that he make himself understood through words (Twitter doesn’t count). Trump remains forever impenetrable in 280-character outbursts. These comparisons are reductive — in both directions. Shakespeare’s characters are much richer and more readable than someone as unforthcoming as Trump.” My conclusion is that the Donald yearns to be a specific Hollywood character and one that’s closer to his name: The Don, Vito Corleone. Rewatch the opening scene of The Godfather: “Bonasera, what have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? Had you come to me in friendship, then this scum that ruined your daughter would be suffering this very day. And if by chance if an honest man such as yourself should make enemies, then they would become my enemies. And then they would fear you.” No bluff, no bluster, just pure understated violence and vengeance; known as “justice” in his world. Can you imagine Trump attempting to play this character? We would laugh ourselves to tears. Yes, I think Don Trump imagines himself as Don Corleone, when he really knows he’s no better than the wimpy son Fredo, whining and groping Vegas showgirls. For those of us longing for a return of the Ringling Brothers-Barnum and Bailey extravaganzas, we know what the Clown Prince’s final words should have been as he slunk out of town. Not Shakespeare certainly, or even Mario Puzo, but those immortal words dramatically intoned at the end of every show: “May all your days be circus days!” Certainly more descriptive of his character, and suitable for Twitter at far fewer than 280 characters.
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With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost. — William L. Garrison
Colorado Race Relations By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield
Johnson had another card to play. He declared marshal law and called up the National Guard to secure Colorado's borders against the invasion of Mexicans. He maintained that the invasion of aliens and indigent enemies caused unrest and violence in Colorado. Again, the federal government stepped in and forced Johnson to open the borders. Coal mine owners deliberately fostered race, religious, and nationality tension to prevent unity among miners. Company towns in the Mt. Harris district were divided with African-Americans at the bottom. In the Oak Creek district, Japanese were at the bottom. The first construction crews on the Denver Northwestern & Pacific were Swedes because Moffat believed "Big Swedes" were superior. As construction costs mounted and his resources dwindled, other nationalities and races were added. At the bottom were Japanese. The stretch of railroad through the small canyon in the Sydney/ Deer Park area is identified as Jap Canyon by railroad employees. Japanese hands built the railroad grade and, according to legend, a serious accident took several lives. A race riot upset Steamboat Springs when Japanese were added to construction crews while building the line from Steamboat to Craig. At Keystone Mine north of Oak Creek, Mr. Hashimoto operated a boarding house and controlled the Issei (born in Japan) and Nisei (born in America) working in the mine. Mine policy deliberately created extreme tension against the Japanese.
Granada Relocation Center, Amache, Colorado. A general all over view of a section of the emergency center looking north and west. Currently, a common statement is "It has never been this Following passage of New Deal labor laws, a member of bad." Really! Let's look at our not so distant past and see. the National Child Labor Committee investigated conditions among field workers. He found that "Local people feel Don Juan Oñate in 1598 led his colony of Spanish settlers they are giving the Mexican all he deserves; in fact, one to the upper Rio Grande River where over time several frequently finds the opinion that they are preforming an small settlements including Santa Fe were established. act of charity in allowing Mexicans to work for them, and Long before the American Revolution, Spanish explorers, therefore any kind of housing will do for them to live in." fur traders, and settlers were active in the territory that later became Colorado. Despite their long and rich history Schooling was nearly impossible. One legal adviser wrote, in the mountains and plains, the arrival of gold miners in "children are in much better condition in open fields and 1858 soon reduced them to lowly second-class citizens if open air... This summer outing is looked upon by children citizens at all — Mexicans. as a frolic." Children often worked twelve hours per day in hot sun doing stoop labor. Due to low wages, children also In the 1920s a common sign on businesses in Greeley, had to work to help their parents. Brighton, and Denver read "White Trade Only —No Mexicans." At the time the principle economic life of Greeley Seeking approval from Colorado voters, Governor Johnson and Brighton was sugar beets and Great Western Sugar ordered the Federal Emergency Relief Administration processing plants. Beet farming depended on people with (FERA) to stop assistance to "Mexicans." The FERA Spanish surnames. School administrators considered "it administrator rejected Johnson's order, stating "Hungry was too much trouble to have Mexicans in the PTA." One people regardless of nationality need help." It was a small community leader wrote, "the peon has always lived like victory, but for hungry people with hungry children, it was a pig and he will continue to do so." It was also believed huge. that field workers and their families were immoral and full of venereal disease. A Greeley doctor and his armed Johnson responded to FERA by threatening to lock all supporters charged into an "adobe colony" and demanded alien enemies on Table Mountain near Golden. Men, to administer the Wasserman test. (Adobe colonies were women, and children were forced into compounds. Johnclusters of one- and two-room shacks where the field son sent thirty-two men to Mexico. Twelve of them were workers and their families were forced to live. Until recent American citizens. The Mexican government protested years a cluster of small shacks stood along Highway 131 to Washington and Johnson was forced to release his at Toponas where lettuce workers lived. The buildings prisoners. FERA informed Johnson they would continue were unoccupied after 1948.) to assist indigent people regardless of nationality.
For those who live here and for those who wish they did.
At Moffat Mine, Mr. Kura Guochi Yama was in charge of the Japanese. He previously operated a construction company building the railroad grade through the Moffat Mine property. At the mine he operated the boarding house for Japanese, Mexicans, Blacks, and Hungarians. He also ran a general mercantile store in Oak Creek. Despite company policy, Japanese were respected. Helen Newquist as a girl living at the Moffat Mine recalled the warm love between her family and the Yama family. The Newquists often ate Thanksgiving dinner in the boarding house with the miners. Yama owned a farm west of Phippsburg where he employed miners while mines were idle during the summer. At his store he extended credit to mine families — helping them through the slack months. During the hard days of the depression, Mr. Yama used produce from his farm to make soup for the needy in Oak Creek. Children of the Japanese attended school in Oak Creek where they were not discriminated against and excelled in sports and academics. Francis Yama, a daughter, married Donald Henry. The oldest son Frank Yama said "I was an American." Then came the attack on Pearl Harbor. Lives of the Japanese coal miners turned into a living hell. Although former Governor Ralph Carr has received many honors for his role championing the Japanese during their hour of need, he did nothing for the Nisei and Issei at Oak Creek. At the first meeting of the War Relocation Authority in Salt Lake City, all western governors resisted relocating Japanese-Americans in concentration camps except Governor Carr. He opened Colorado for relocating displaced people. Senator Ed Johnson correctly accused Carr of wanting cheap farm labor in the lower Arkansas Valley sugar beet fields.
Japanese American evacuees stand or sit with their suitcases and belongings in front of an Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway passenger car on August 30, 1942. The men and women wait for the bus ride to Camp Amache, Granada Relocation Center, southeastern Colorado. U.S. The War in the Pacific sharply cut America's supply of sugar. Following Carr's example, later western internment camps were placed in sugar beet producing regions. At Greeley, German prisoners of war worked the beet fields. What happened to Nisei and Issei living at Oak Creek? Within a week of the attack on Pearl Harbor, families gathered at the Hashimoto home to honor Frank Yama, Sam Fusbimi, Ken Shibata, and Duke Fwamura. They were on their way to Denver to join the Army and Navy. At the gathering Miss Ruby Hashimoto, leader of the local Red Cross, reported on the fund-raising effort.
Arriving at the recruiting office, the young men were treated rudely and rejected for physical reasons. Within a month the Selective Service classified all Nisei as 4C — aliens not subject to military service. A year later the Nisei were called into service, forced through two humiliating boot camps, and sent into combat in Italy where they fought and Ken Sibata died for a nation that would not allow them citizenship. Ruby Hashimoto was removed from the Red Cross because her loyalty was questioned. Mr. Yama who had done so much for the people of Oak Creek during the depression was forced out of business. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, debtors refused to pay their bill at his store - "I'll not pay that Jap Son-of-a-bitch." Suppliers refused to send supplies. The Moffat Mine removed Yama from the boarding house. Moffat and Keystone mines forced the Japanese to leave the district. The county sheriff and town marshal searched the Nisei homes and took radios, guns, fishing poles, and anything else the searchers wanted. Japanese were forbidden by law from reading newspapes or books. By 1943, all Japanese were forced out of Oak Creek. The majority moved to Price, Utah where they worked in mines and became respected citizens. As prisoners were being released from the Amache Interment Camp in 1944, powerful Colorado groups attempted to pass a constitutional amendment forbidding "Aliens ineligible for citizenship" from owning land. Resisting opposition from his own party, Governor Vivian vigorously opposed the amendment. He was supported by Wayne Hill, a combat vet, Earl Mann, a Black man, William Lewis, a blind man, and Arthur Brooks. Colorado voters soundly rejected the amendment. In Colorado, Japanese could own property — a small victory.
Boy Scout Memorial Day parade at the Granada War Relocation Center, Amache, Colorado, 1943.
The great ground swell that changed Colorado and the West was so large and came so quietly that it was not recognized then or even now, but it profoundly changed the world we live in. Early in the New Deal President Roosevelt stated, "We must frankly recognize the overbalance of population in our industrial centers and, by engaging on a national scale in redistribution, endeavor to provide a better use of the land for those best fitted for the land." Colorado in 1934 became actively involved in the National Resource Board that called for wise land-use planning. Basic industries were relocated from the east to the western United States. Colorado, Texas, Utah, California, Oregon, and Washington were transformed by New Deal land use plans. Kaiser Steel, Geneva Steel, Kaiser Aluminum, Ryan Convair, Douglas, Lockheed, Hughes, Boeing, and hundreds more companies were financed or largely financed by the federal government. Big Thompson Project, Rocky Flats, the Federal Center, Fort Carson, and Rocky Mountain Arsenal became Colorado’s largest employers. Money became available for small businesses, homes, schools, and water works. The Rural Electric Association (REA) placed electricity in homes and businesses. With the change men and women with new ideas and ways of conducting business, politics, and society emerged. The old guard was slowly forced to give way. A New West was born.
The Laundry Song By Fran Conlon
The laundry song doesn't go away, But I need a moment for ecstasy, The wash will wait; I must play, Just joy consumes me to be free. A venture here is so episodic, A run in rain, splashing on the trail, Might be viewed askance, as idiotic, But joyous travel naturally can prevail. A campsite lies 'round the next bend, Time for rest and to compose, A sojourner's soul can sit and mend, No, I've not forgotten about the clothes. But awesome interludes are an irregular thing, Not to be missed as they come along, And the invitation is to join and sing, Of the pattern in an ethereal song. So, ecstasy first, then the laundry, The ordered task is not a quandary. (Interludes have a spiritual zinger, Laundry always has the wringer.)
The family is one of nature's masterpieces. — George Santayana
Erethizon dorsatum/ a.k.a Porcupine
By Karen Vail
Next to the skin is soft, fluffy underfur. The front claws are curved and sharp and the soles of their feet look like pebbly pads due to scaly plates which help them climb trees. Porcupines usually weigh seven to fifteen pounds but have been recorded up to forty pounds. I see porcupines more in the winter, but they are active year-round. Maybe they are more visible in the winter as they hang out in trees to feed, whereas in summer they are feeding more on the ground. They tend to be nocturnal but can be active at any time. They are generally solitary, but if the weather is nasty in winter they can often den together in boulders, hollow trees, abandoned buildings and brush piles. A vegetarian diet of young shoots of plants, buds, and leaves during the warmer months changes to mostly the inner bark of trees in the winter. And this gets kinda weird! Porcupines feast on a high potassium, low sodium diet of foliage, causing them to excrete high levels of sodium creating a sodium-potassium imbalance and a craving for salt most of the year. There are natural mineral licks, but humans have a veritable salt fest for porcupines. Some examples include: car brake lines and other salty car parts (I know this after parking at Seedhouse for a week and having porcupine snack on my brake lines), saddles, sweaty gloves, plywood (Forest Service signs!), outhouses (yummy, yummy!), antlers, etc.
I was skiing on Emerald Mountain through a dense stand of Gambel oak enjoying the swish of skis on soft new snow and looking for nests in the oak, when a large dark round form tucked up against the main trunk caught my eye. Well, hello there pudgy quill pig! As I skied underneath for a closer look, the porcupine roused and looked down at me with those tiny eyes, looking just like a baby waking from a nap.
The porcupine’s scientific name, Erethizon dorsatum, translates loosely to “the animal with the irritating back.” The common name has a long lineage of spellings, but most attribute our modern “porcupine” from the Latin
porcus “hog” + spina “thorn or spine.” The animal with the irritating back is the most lackadaisical animal in the forest, with 15,000 to 30,000 good reasons to be unconcerned about predators. It really does take a lot to excite a porcupine. They don’t move fast, they don’t move far. Porcupines are stout rounded animals, the second largest rodent in our area (only beaver is larger), with short legs and short, thick tails used to help climb trees and as a defensive “club” when threatened. The whitish yellow, dark tipped quills are modified guard hairs up to four inches long and have microscopic imbricate (shingle-like) barbs at the very tips. Younger porcupines are darker and older animals are more yellowish due to long, stiff guard hairs.
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Who would even think of taking on a ball of nasty quills? Mountain lions are probably the biggest predator in our area, as well as coyotes and black bears. A video showed a mountain lion backing a porcupine up against a rock. It then dug a hole under the porcupine, placed its paw underneath, flipping the animal over where it had access to the unquilled belly. Pretty smart, huh?! If a predator approaches, porcupines have several tricks up their sleeve based on aposematism (basically alerting an attacker with some kind of smell, venom or other toxicity, etc. exhibiting “I am not worth messing with”). Porcupines first defense is a foul smell emitted by a small patch of skin on the lower back called the rosette where the quills are aligned to broadcast the scent. Next, they bristle their quills highlighting a whitish stripe down their back while clacking their teeth as a warning sound. If the predator is still undeterred the porcupine swings its muscular tail towards the attackers face. Yeooow! Each hollow quill, made of sturdy keratin (like your fingernails and hair), can be raised by contracting muscles near the skin and, when raised, are easily detached. The backwards facing barbs, up to 800 at the very tip, on each quill work the quill deeper in the animal. Interestingly, scientists found that the barbs reduced penetration force, leading to many new medical technologies such as mechanically interlocking adhesive patches. (More Than Sharp: The Science of Porcupine Quills Popular Mechanics, Katherine Doyle Dec 2012). Thanks porky! If your pooch decides to investigate a porcupine and ends up quilled, get the dog to the vet as soon as possible. Do not cut the tips off to try and pull them out as this will only embed the quill further. Each quill is coated in strong antibiotics. No doubt this benefits the porcupines during the many falls from trees, or when males are quilled while sparring other males. Because the animal’s reaction to a threat is to turn and expose its armament of quills, an approaching car is the biggest threat to porcupines.
Bringing us to that all important question, how on earth do they mate?? And have babies?? Porcupines are usually solitary except when they gather to breed in November or December. Guess what a group of porcupines is called? A prickle!! Really! A female will advertise her amorous desires through “vaginal secretions, urine marking and high pitched vocalizations” inviting several males to duke it out. The winning male will stay with that female for one to four days, dousing the female in urine until she is receptive, an interesting courtship ritual! Finally, she is ready and will lift her tail to clear the way for him to mount her. Both animals tighten their skin and hold their quills flat to lessen any chance of injury. After around seven months, very long for a rodent, the female gives birth to typically one young called a porcupette (really!!). They are born with soft quills that harden as the quills are exposed to air. See, these porcupines have a workaround for everything! The mother leaves her baby hidden on the ground while she forages, returning each night. By October the porcupette is on its own. What incredible animals, and so interesting to observe while out on the trails, which is where I will see you!
Good-time, Ski Bummin’ Mama By Patrick Curran Selling Scout cookies Field trips to the farm 4H, FFA…ain’t doin’ no harm! Just Buddy, my boyfriend, and me Innocent rambles thru fields and barns High country life, simple and sane A steady Cowtown, Dick and Jane Yet, lives with high callings So it seemed? Amid outlaw dreams Then came the day, We were both swept away, Never the same, dreams rearranged Storm Peak was veiled in deep powder! Temptation? Tragic? Maybe magic! Sure, we were frozen But it seemed we were chosen! Snow up to our sleeves As we cruised thru the trees Were we finally set free? Swinging and swaying Slow-motion playing, Sun gleaming thru snowflakes Crystals and stellates, Eyes beaming like zealots! Surely, we’d seen the light, thou It was clear to our parents and peers We’d flown too far from the nest Really? We felt we were blessed In our deep power quest Sure, we graduated from high school Where academic honors were laden upon us That’s Buddy and me, the kids with high promise! Yet when powder is falling Snowbirds come calling, It was later for college and knowledge Off and away we did sail Off on the deep powder trail First Jackson, then Aspen and Vail They say, we got married on the way?
Some money $$ from home If we were good on the phone Lift tickets and meals All part of the deal! Snowfall at night once the kitchen was right, Moguls by day Hey! Who can say? What’s work and what’s play? Skiing, boarding: rec-re-ating An industry in the making Rope tows jarring, T-Bars jerking Wooden skis and bear-trap bindings Broken bones and cracked noggins… A fast ride in a toboggan! Stiff boots and “Mole” Toes Neon tights and knitted clothes A blazing fire, a yodel, and a cheer Let’s not forget the German Beer! Sure mud-season came along, Life with its ups and downs, Yet we found the sweet-spot Between work and play Lived with the decisions we’d made That’s Papa Buddy, on Patrol And Mountain Mama, the ski instructor, Then, hello family and Little Toots! Who soon won big on Howelsen Hill Amidst spills and thrills! Sure, we had our share of blizzards But became laptop wizards No corporate dream, no college, The internet our font of knowledge, A ski-in cabin with a view, and cable connections Virtual dreams, consulting schemes Yeserie! In North Routt, it all worked out Ya see, Buddy and me still agree, looking back some We’re plum-glad we were ski bums, and far and away Our family still loves blue-bird days and deep power play!
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If you start throwing hedgehogs under me, I shall throw a couple of porcupines under you. — Nikita Khrushchev
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Lifeboat Mentality By Wolf Bennett
Many years ago, in the early part of World War II an interesting statistic took shape. Many merchant marine ships were being sunk by German submarines. Many men were drafted for the armies but less known were the men who were older or unfit for front line duties but were great for sailors for the war effort. Wars are won and lost by the supply chain. Troops cannot fight without food and fuel and equipment so off they went, to sea, manning supply ships. The ships would get torpedoed and sunk. The crews would leap into life boats with whatever injuries, food, equipment or water that was available in the moments before abandoning ship. They had no idea if they would be afloat for 20 minutes, or 20 days, in their little lifeboats. The statistic that emerged was that the young, fit sailors were dying and the older men were living. Their training, education or rank didn’t matter. The young died and the older lived, but why? One of the shipping company owners knew a man who had been an educational innovator and highly successful school system leader. He was essentially asked, WTF? Hahn replied that it was actually relatively simple. You see, the older men had learned to communicate, to work together, to listen, to find common ground, to share, to care and to build a solution that would help them all. A training program was put together that taught life skills like: compassion, service, communication, fortitude, courage and thinking. These classes were taught outdoors in unfamiliar circumstances with unknown participants and under a bit of duress. The survival success rate skyrocketed among everyone who participated. This got the attention of other shipping companies and beyond that, the military. The program was renamed after the war and continued in many forms in schools, adventure programs, life skills classes and so much more.
it is about doing as well as possible no matter what the circumstances. It means going into situations with the best possible knowledge, skills, attitude and plans ready for things as they pop up. Using luck and hope as strategies is a poor approach to anything and yet we read of hunters, hikers, climbers all the time relying on such magic to save them. We rarely hear about the person who was perfectly fine, even with injuries, who did just fine, thank you. Drama unfortunately sells really well. Looking around at the political landscape of today it is easy see those who have no idea what it means to survive and thrive as a country or a culture. The games being played are not deserving of attention and yet they fill our worlds. If half the people in the lifeboat refuse to admit that there is a problem, then you have a much greater problem. So here is my challenge. Try to live each day with curiosity, awareness, real effort, humbleness and compassion for others and yourself. Practice positive skills. Look deeper at what you are really practicing and the results you are getting. There is a problem with your skiing and the bumps simply prove it. Thrive; don’t just get by doing what you have always done, for you’ll just get what you’ve always gotten. Lifeboat mentality helps everyone to live.
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The idea that living skills could be taught was not new, but it had a profound impact. There is no exact one way to do things because we are all different and the environment is never the same but the common themes of “enterprising curiosity, tenacity in pursuit, an undefeatable spirit, sensible self-denial and above all compassion” fit everywhere. Lifeboat mentality is a tool we all can use. One doesn’t need to know every plant or have a special kit with the survival knife that has the fishing line and cable saw in the handle. One simply needs to know “how” to think and do so from the beginning. Survival is all about awareness, openness, self-knowledge and honesty. The concept of survival fits into our daily lives if we focus on how to live. What we practice, we become. Practice the previous themes and you will see amazing results in every aspect of your life and not just in the great outdoors. If you practice poor skills, like not planning, poor communication, emotional imbalance, lousy friends, denial, deceit and you will see many negative consequences. Outward Bound was born in those days of training people how to survive and yet it wasn’t survival as most people define it. You see, to survive is actually to live. Survival isn’t about barely getting through something,
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There is only room in the lifeboat of your life for one, and you always choose yourself, and turn your parents into whatever it takes to keep you afloat. — Anna Quindlen
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Looking at Renewable Energy Again By Ted Crook
Ah science! Just when you think it’s darkest, comes the dawn--someone who actually knows how to do something, actually doing it.
Batteries with solid metal electrodes have limited life because the solid metal changes character over time. Most die at around 1000 charge cycles, which is three to five years in the power grid (1000 nighttime discharges).
Euler’s study of refraction leads to Zoom.
The liquid metal battery changes all the time, so non-conductive deposits don’t form. The battery is still the same after thousands of cycles.
Rosalind Franklin gives her life to the X-Ray diffraction study of DNA and we get the medicine-changing new technology of the new vaccines and monoclonal antibodies .
There are no worries about what happens when the electrode gets too hot, because it is already molten!
Donald Sadoway reverses magnesium smelting to produce the new liquid metal battery.
“All that power at your fingertips!”
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The technology solves so many problems at once: power storage, long life, expense (literally dirt cheap), safety, portability, low environmental impact, indestructable charging and discharge (may you never find out what happens when a Li-ion cell goes below 2.8 volts or your frozen car battery is charged too fast).
Ah the new liquid metal battery! This is likely the technology which makes renewable energy possible. The wind doesn’t blow all the time and the sun doesn’t shine at night. A cheap, safe, sustainably produced and long lasting battery is the most important piece of the puzzle. Lithium ion batteries will never get very big because they easily become explosive. That’s why they appear only in flashlight battery size or smaller (I understand the Tesla has about 8000 batteries in there somewhere--a car riding on 8000 little bombs).
Dr. Sadoway has taught the most popular class at MIT, has developed a ton of world changing technology, has started companies (Ambri--I want some stock myself), and is funny as hell (check his stuff on YouTube). I never thought people from Toronto were so entertaining.
"If you want to make a battery that’s dirt cheap, make it out of dirt," opines Dr. Sadoway (John F. Elliott professor of Materials Science at MIT).
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The Yampa Valley has a strong pioneer heritage. Pioneer life required these families to be self-reliant and to prepare for unexpected events. As we’ve watched our grocery store shelves empty, cooked more at home while restaurants were closed, and braced for wildfire evacuations in our drought stricken area, you might be feeling apprehensive about facing yet another season of uncertainty. Many of us were not prepared for the events of 2020, and that added to the stress of isolation. Those of us who normally shop frequently found that the stores were out of many items. Business closures meant many in our community didn’t have the funds to buy needed items even if they had been available for purchase. We can view this past year as a calamity, or we see it as a trial run and a wake- up call. Perhaps we should prepare for a new normal. If you are worried and uncertain, take heart from these words “He is who is prepared shall not fear.” There are a lot of resources to help us be better prepared for economic and environmental adversity. So where do I start? A great place to start is a family meeting to help you identify your family’s emergency needs and how to meet them. There is a wealth of information on Family Preparedness at providentliving.org and ready.gov. Then take a deep breath and start small! Begin with a one-week-at-a-time approach and don’t break the bank.
Assess your home supplies. Get out a clipboard and take an inventory of your pantry. Then consider what you need to survive, even thrive, if you have to live off those supplies in the future. Think grains and beans, and freezedried vegetables and meats that you can add to soups & stews, and don’t forget oil and spices! And then search for recipes with pantry foods, simple healthy meals, and try them ahead of time to make sure you’ll like them.
Where can you store food and supplies? Consider storage space - sometimes shelves can be built under stairs, or high up on a wall near the ceiling, or other unused spaces. Be creative. Try to find space that is relatively cool for storing pantry foods. Asses your financial situation: your long term and short term debt, your fixed costs, investments, and easily accessible financial reserves in case of an emergency. This is a good time to start paring down unnecessary monthly expenses. Consider an evacuation plan that includes your pets, or livestock. Make a plan to put together 72 hours kits for every member of your family, including treasured pets. With our forests drying out, wildfires will become an ever more frequent danger. How much does emergency planning cost? Costs will vary depending on where and how you purchase your food storage. It is important to remember that you should not go to extremes; for instance, it is not prudent to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once! Make an emergency preparedness plan that develops over the coming year, one week of emergency supplies at a time. The world is changing. In Asia epidemics have steadily increased over the past 40 years - it’s why those countries adapted to mask wearing so readily. Many health officials believe it is only a matter of time before more viruses plague us. Wildfires in our area are increasing. Now is the time to seriously consider emergency planning for ourselves, and our families. And planning is the preeminent word - it won’t happen by itself. But with the right attitude it can be an empowering, family strengthening activity.
JUST ME By Joan Remy
Who is God and Satan Makes me go Hmmm . . . The dark and the light All colors in between Angels do hang out Heroes shine Defending Religion and astrology Try to explain It’s not complicated I’m learning to love A warrior within the Divine
What is needed by him who would succeed in the highest degree possible is careful planning. He is to accumulate reserved power, that he may be equal to all emergencies. — Orison S. Marden
Tales from the Front Desk
Fireworks By Aimee Kimmey
The story you are about to read is true... More or less.
After a bit, there was a knock at the door and another human came into the room. She brought a bowl, which they filled with water and set down for him. He hadn't realized how thirsty he was until he swallowed half the bowl. He looked up at the new person gratefully, she smiled and kneeled down, holding out a treat. It wasn't quite dinner, but it was something.
Saturday. Suite 216. 7:37 pm. Ordinarily the little black dog was a happy-go-lucky creature. He had food in his bowl, belly rubs by the handful, and balls to chase. He loved his family more than anything, and he rarely had cause to be afraid. But when the sky exploded, and sound shook him from the inside out, he lost his mind a bit. The flashes of light that came next, disoriented him so much that escaping was all he could think about. In the summertime, he would burrow under the house until it all stopped and his people came to rescue him. But in the winter, his hidey-hole was buried under snow. When the first explosion shook the air, his senses short circuited instantly. By the second explosion, he was scrambling over the fence. The piles of snow made it easy. As the air thundered around him, the little black dog ran for his life. It didn't matter where he was going, he couldn't see or smell anything beyond his own fear. He just ran. He ran until the lights and sounds faded into the darkness.
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The humans beckoned him inside, cooing kind words at him, he stepped cautiously into the room. The small human sat down with him, petting him gently. He was beginning to like this one. The bigger people fiddled with his collar. But by this point the little girl was rubbing his belly, so he ignored them.
When his head finally cleared, he found himself on a strange balcony outside of a row of strange doors. Odd smells assaulted his nose. There were so many different humans here. But none of them familiar. Surely his family must be missing him by now, but how could they ever find him? He didn't even know where he was. He was a stray. He was tired, and cold, and his belly rumbled with hunger. He didn't know what to do. He padded to the door furthest away from the rest and curled up in the corner of the balcony, pressing up tight against the railing. The bitter winter wind cutting through the icy metal bars was no comfort. Soon his whole body was shivering uncontrollably, no matter how tight he curled himself together. Then the door opened, and a small human girl stepped out. The black dog looked up whimpering with cold. She caught her breath, for a moment he was sure she was going to shriek at him. But instead, she kneeled down, murmuring kind words. She reached out so he could sniff her; she seemed okay. Two older humans appeared in the doorway behind her. The little black dog looked up at them pitifully. They exchanged words for a moment, then invited him inside. The dog hesitated, strange smells wafted out of this room. He was pretty sure he wasn't supposed to be in there. But he was so cold...
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Then the humans went to the door, everyone filed out inviting him to come along. The little black dog followed them outside and down the stairs. They took him to a large, open room with too many smells to keep track of. They let him roam from corner to corner, smelling all that had come before him. People came and went from this big room, but the little black dog barely noticed them. He was far more interested in sniffing out the story of this place. So many people had passed through here. For a moment, he forgot his rumbling belly. He figured that if this was his new life, at least it had plenty of interesting smells. He had come to accept it until a voice squealed his name; his heart burst with joy. It wasn't just any voice, it was his little people! Somehow they had found him! He raced into their arms. They hugged him and ruffled his ears exactly the way he loved. He licked them up and down; there weren't enough kisses in all the world to express his happiness. His new friends talked to his family for a moment, while his own little people hugged him close. Then his dad uttered those magic words, "Wanna' go home boy?" The little black dog barked! He had never wanted any thing so much in all his life. Before following his family out the door, he trotted over to the little human who had rescued him from the cold. He gave her a couple of happy licks, deeply thankful for all the belly runs. Then, wagging his tail so hard his whole body wobbled, he followed his family into the car.
The Power of Pets
Bowled Over By Sean Derning
I contacted legendary local puppy whisperer and dog life coach Glenn ‘Pup’ Warner of Milner who trains dogs for athletic events, such as the Iditarod sled race in Alaska. Some of his techniques seem a bit severe, but he gets results. “I utilize the late NFL coach Vince Lombardi’s mantra when I train my dogs,” he said in a gruff voice during a phone conversation. “Your family, your team, and your dog dish should be the only things in your universe. What were your dog’s ACT or SAT scores?” “Huh? He’s only two months old.”
Seeking solace from loneliness in the pandemic, many people have turned to purchasing or adopting pets to help them deal with the lack of personal contact with others. Our family joined this trend a few months ago as we were ready for the responsibilities of dog ownership. After the dog became familiar with our family, I came up with a brilliant idea. What if the puppy trained for and tried out for this year’s national TV broadcast of the Puppy Bowl on the Animal Planet channel, allowing me to live out the failed dream of becoming a professional athlete by living vicariously through my dog? Now in its 17th year, the Puppy Bowl is broadcast on Super Bowl Sunday, providing an alternative to the inane pregame analysis that precedes the Super Bowl four to six hours before game time. The Puppy Bowl has exploded in popularity, with 3.05 million viewers watching in 2018, according to Wiki. Traditionally, the Puppy Bowl uses dogs from animal shelters. But due to Covid, thankfully thousands of these dogs have been adopted, depleting the pool of orphans and opening the door for furry free agents. Taping of the event happens in the previous October, so we had to get moving to get the dog in shape.
“Doesn’t matter. Dog’s personality, intelligence and ethics are formed when they leave their mom’s tummy. Get him tested soon,” he said. “Um, OK. What kind of training techniques and drills do you use?” I asked. “These are not conventional training programs as dogs are obviously different than humans,” he said. “We focus on three basic areas of conditioning; stamina, leg strength and jaw strength.” “For stamina, I get one of the sleds from The Howler alpine slide, put a harness on the dog and have them haul me up the length of Rabbit Ears Pass. Three thousand feet uphill at elevation separates the chumps from the champs.” What about leg strength? “It’s simple. We send the dog out with one of the area towing companies. They pull out of state SUVs from ditches after driver error on mountain roads. They put a tow rope on the dog and the bumper and the dog pulls the vehicle to safety. Dog gets the exercise and the drivers get to pocket the money from the tow. Crazy what some pups will do for a few dog biscuits.”
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And the jaw strength? “That’s a three-fold process,” Warner said. “First, puppies are teething and will chew on just about anything. So we give them hubcaps and manhole covers to gnaw on. Then when those jaw muscles get firmed up, we take their favorite chew toy, tie it to a rope, hop in one of the valley hot air balloons and dangle the dog above ground a few dozen feet. The final test is we hang the rope and toy from a Piper Cub at Bob Adams airfield. Plane takes off and does a lap around the airport with the dog hanging on in midair. After a week of training, that mouth can snap a steel cable or the owner’s femur. Never had one of my dogs fumble in a Puppy Bowl. Ever.” “I’m not sure if my dog is ready for these drastic measures,” I said doubtfully. “Puppies are supposed to be cuddly and loving, not furry, ferocious gladiators.” “A lot has changed since the first Puppy Bowl,” said Warner. “There’s corporate involvement, recruiters and agents, performance boosting biscuits. Heck, you can easily place a bet in Vegas on the outcome. The Most Valuable Puppy pulls in more sponsorship money than you and I combined. It’s big business now.” Dejected, I declined the opportunity to train our dog for canine gridiron greatness. I felt a tug on my pant leg. During the conversation with Warner, the pup had chewed a hole in the cuff of my pants. No problem. The pants were old and worn, unlike the needle sharp puppy teeth that shredded them. Maybe this dog will have to do great things we share together, instead of proving it to strangers on a national stage. I gave him a treat and watched him munch it down on the kitchen floor. It was our private memory, hopefully with many more to come.
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Pandemic. Panic. Two words or one? Shut down. Shut in. Is there a difference? Silence. Scream. Or is it a silent scream? Love. Hate. Are my love and I the only ones alive? Then. Now. Ancestors survived. Will we?
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t’s romantic when that special someone gives you a box of sweet treats on February 14th. But be honest with yourself, what you really want is the person that waits until February 15th, when all the stores have discounted the holiday candy and they can shower you with chocolate in bulk. They understand your dream of rolling around in a pile of candy like a strung-out jackpot winner swimming in a heap of cash. That person is one hell of a savvy shopper and really gets your needs.
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Growing up, you always had a soft spot in your heart for the MyPillow guy. His clean blue shirt, his well-groomed mustache, the way he tenderly held his pillow like it’s the most precious item on earth. That all changed when you woke up to him sobbing uncontrollably over your bed, slowly smothering you with a MyPillow and babbling about saving the economy.
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If love is in the air, that might explain why fish are so weird, emotionless and creepy…
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