Publisher/Art Director: Matt Scharf firstname.lastname@example.org
Bag Free in 2023
Publisher/Art Director: Matt Scharf email@example.com
Bag Free in 2023
By City of Steamboat Springs
Back to Work at the Capitol Page 5 By Dylan Roberts
Commuting Patterns in Moffat County Page 6
By Scott L. Ford
New Mayor Excited by Opportunities Page 7
By Brodie Farquhar
Keeper of Real Life Drama Page 8
By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield
Thorn Needs Admiration Too Page 9 By Fran Conlon
Steve Callas's Death Page 10 By Elaine Callas Williams
Tall, Dark and Fabuloso Page 11
By Sean Derning
An Existential Reality Page 12
By Ken Proper
A Great Reckoning in a Little Chip Page 13
By Stuart Handloff
The Red, White and Colored Page 14 By Johnny Walker
Snug as a... Ant? Page 15 By Karen Vail
Direct Experience: The Most Real of All Page 16 By Wolf Bennett
Your Monthly Message Page 18 By Chelsea Yepello
CONUNDRUM Page 18 By Joan Remy Comics Page 19
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What part of “NO LEFT TURN” out of the Post Office do you not understand?...
How am I supposed to get out of the center of the triple row parking at Central Park Plaza?…
Setting the alarm to go grocery shopping only to witness a decimated produce aisle…
All of a sudden you have a craving for a lot of eggs when there is a limit to your purchase…
OK, Southwest Airlines screwed up – While you shouldn’t take flying for granted in the winter… Forgetting your brand new gloves on the hood and plowing them over and into a 6' bank...
Santa on a fire truck…
It might be time to get those orange flags on your vehicle’s antenna again…
Getting the “hunkering-down” and “laying low” down to an art form…
Finding out the pain in your foot was just a pistachio nut stuck in your shoe…
Skiing Bruce’s Trail solo for that brief moment… Identifying the meanings of the backroad wave…
We have finally achieved what everyone has said for over 30 years we didn’t want. Welcome to Vailboat Springs!
“All this snow reminds me of the old days.”
“This town’s biggest problem is sharing.”
“My three year old can now say that the snow in Steamboat was above his head.”
“If you drive into the ditch twice in less than a mile you need to get home, chain yourself to the banister and don’t go out until spring and maybe not even then.”
Stores must begin charging the bag fee on January 1, 2023. Until June 1, 2024, a store may provide a plastic carryout bag for the 20-cent fee. After that date, stores will be prohibited from providing single-use plastic carryout bags to customers.
A carryout bag is a bag that is furnished to a customer at a store or retail food establishment at the point of sale for use by the customer to transport or carry purchased items.
The bag fee does not apply to some bags such as those used to package loose or bulk items such as small hardware items, greeting cards, small living species like insects or fish, bulk pet food, produce, meat, or fish. In addition, a bag that a pharmacy provides to a customer purchasing prescription medication is not included.
The store may not pay the fee or refund to the customer any portion of the carryout bag fee, either directly or indirectly, or advertise or otherwise convey to customers that any portion of the carryout bag fee will be refunded.
This fee is required by law. It applies to all customers who take a carryout bag, with the exception of customers that provide evidence to the store that the customer is a participant in a federal or state food assistance program.
After that date, stores will be prohibited from providing single-use plastic carryout bags to customers – however recycled paper bags will be permitted for the 20-cent fee.
The city fee is 20 cents vs. the State fee of 10 cents. This was enacted to be consistent with the existing regulations in Steamboat prohibiting carry out plastics bags in large retail stores and requiring a 20 cents fee on paper bags. In addition, the city fee includes all stores, including small stores.
Last year, the Colorado General Assembly enacted House Bill 21-1162, the “Plastic Pollution Reduction Act” to mitigate the harmful effects of single-use plastic carryout bags and expanded polystyrene products on our state’s natural resources and our environment. The city had an existing bag fee and passed an ordinance that reconciled both the city and State laws.
“Steamboat Springs gave plastic the sack and now Colorado as a whole is doing the same through Plastic Pollution Reduction Act,” said Winnie DelliQuadri, Special Project and Intergovernmental Services Manager. “The state law allows the city to be more restrictive enabling our local municipality to maintain the bag fee at its current 20 cent level.”
Stores, with the exception of large markets that fall into the City’s current plastic bag ban, may provide plastic carryout bags for the 20-cent fee through December 30, 2023.
On a quarterly basis, starting April 20, 2023, stores must remit the total amount of carryout bag fees collected in the previous quarter to the city. Large markets that have been collecting a bag fee will continue to collect and remit as they have been through the end of 2022 before switching to the new system.
Starting in 2024, plastic carryout bags will be phased out except for certain retail food establishments that prepare or serve food in individual portions for immediate on- or off-premises consumption (restaurants). However, a store may provide a plastic carryout bag for the 20-cent fee only from its remaining inventory through June 1, 2024.
The store keeps 4 cents of the 20-cent fee to cover the cost of implementing the program. 16-cents will go to the City of Steamboat Springs for recycling, composting and other waste diversion programs, including outreach and education activities. The fee supports recycling, composting and other waste diversion programs, including outreach and education activities.
Shoppers can avoid the bag fee by bringing their own reusable bags.16-cents of the 20-cent fee will go to the city for recycling, composting and other waste diversion programs: including outreach and education activities.
Additional information including Frequently Asked Questions, the adopted Ordinance and links to the state program can be found at steamboatsprings.net/BYOB.
So, make a New Year’s resolution to spur change and go bag free in the boat and be more sustainable. Bring your own reusable bags when you go shopping in 2023 and Go Bag Free in the Boat!
For those who live here and for those who wish they did.
It is time to get back to work at the State Capitol in Denver. On January 9th, the first regular session of Colorado’s 74th General Assembly will commence. This begins our constitutionally-mandated 120 day legislative session where my colleagues and I will introduce bills, debate the details, pass some of those bills and send them to the Governor and vote others down. In short, in those 120 days, we do the work required to keep the State of Colorado running for the upcoming year.
The start of the legislative year also provides a spirit of optimism and promise as we seek to bring solutions and ideas for the challenges and opportunities that our individual communities face - and that is definitely the case for me as I begin my time representing Routt County and the other 9 counties of Senate District 8 in the Colorado State Senate.
Starting a legislative session right on the heels of an election where I and my fellow legislators were on the campaign trail talking to voters at their doors, at events, and everywhere in between also allows us to take the feedback we were hearing directly into our legislative work. With that in mind, I am excited to be bringing forward several pieces of legislation that are directly inspired by what I heard from all of you this past year.
Several of the bills I will introduce this coming year will focus on building on our momentum from last year supporting the development and stabilization of affordable housing in our mountain communities. One of those will be a bill to provide funding and community incentives for the development of workforce housing on unused state-owned land. This could spur more partnerships like the CDOT and Routt County partnership to build a child care facility and employee housing for CDOT in West Steamboat that was announced in November 2022.
Additionally, I am working with Republican and Democratic colleagues on a bill that will expand and streamline the property tax exemption for non-profit homebuilders (like Habitat for Humanity). This tax reduction will help spur more affordable housing projects across the state, particularly in our higher-cost regions like NW Colorado.
The first bill I will introduce this year is to formally create the Rural Opportunity Office within our state government. This office will serve as a centralized place for rural com munities to access resources that will assist them in their economic development, energy transition, and community support efforts by connecting them to relevant programs within the Office of Economic Development (OEDIT) and aligned state, federal, nonprofit, and private partner agencies and organizations and facilitates cross-division collaboration within OEDIT around rural issues. This is an idea I have been working on with county commissioners, local government officials, and nonprofit leaders and am excited to have secured bipartisan sponsorship for this proposal.
Additionally, another bill I am sponsoring will help our county governments gain access to state funding to improve the infrastructure around state parks. With the massive increase in the use of our amazing state parks in Routt County and across the state, the wear and tear on the roads and other infrastructure around those parks has been significant. My bipartisan bill will allow counties to make needed improvements and repairs with state sup port to this critical infrastructure.
I’m also working on a package of bills that will help protect our state’s most precious resource: our water. In light of unprecedented drought, increased in-state demand, and pressure from downstream states to our west, Colorado finds itself in a precarious place with regards to our water future. While I believe that a large part of the solution to the Colorado River’s future lies with other states, there is more that Colorado should do to prepare ourselves for the future and show other states that we are serious about conservation and protecting our agricultural and municipal water users. Legislation to this effect is still being crafted and I am excited to share the details in a future column but know that as a western slope legislator and as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee, protecting our water has been and will always be one of my main priorities.
And so much more
Overall, the legislature has a lot of work ahead. In addition to my personal early priorities, you can expect the body as a whole to be focused on some other major priorities: passing a balanced state budget, increasing funding for K-12 education and putting us on-track to eliminating the education funding deficit, investing in more resources for affordable child care, combating climate change, responding to gun violence, sustaining our strong small business economy, and continuing towards our shared goal of a Colorado that is an affordable and beautiful place to live.
Throughout the session, I will be holding town hall meetings in-person and virtually where you can share your thoughts and I always invite you to contact me directly at SenatorDylanRoberts@gmail.com or on my cell: 970-8463054.
SenatorDylanRobertsistheStateSenatorforRoutt Countyandtheother9countiesofSenateDistrict8: ClearCreek,Eagle,Garfield,Gilpin,Grand,Jackson,Moffat, RioBlanco,andSummit.
Start with the idea that you can't repeal the laws of economics. Even if they are inconvenient. —
This is the third column in a series that is attempting to provide some much-needed data analysis of the commuting patterns of folks that live in the communities surrounding Steamboat Springs. Collective we seem to spend an inordinate amount of time guessing about the area commuting patterns. Without question guessing or speculating is often a lot more fun than embracing facts. Guessing allows one to create the world they think exist vs. the one that does.
To quickly recap the prior two columns first we learned that about 800 vehicles leave Hayden every workday morning and drive into Steamboat. Only about 50 of these vehicles are carrying more than one person. Next, we learned about 850 live in the Oak Creek area and commute to their place of employment in Steamboat. Of these commuters about 75% were the solo occupant in that vehicle. This simply means that on average about 700 vehicles are on the road during a 2.5-hour period in the morning bound for Steamboat. For the South Routt area, a large share of these individuals likely resides in the Stagecoach area. Although technically Stagecoach is within the boundaries of the South Routt R-3 School District, this area is often viewed as a subdivision of Steamboat.
This month I turn my attention to the folks that live in Moffat County, living mainly in the City of Craig, and commute into Steamboat for work. In Moffat County there are about 10,200 individuals aged 16 and over. Of this group about 6,500 are employed. This results in a workforce participation rate of 64%. This same participation percentage
Car, truck, or van 76%
Public transportation (excluding taxicab) 3% Walked 2% Bicycle 0%
Taxicab, motorcycle, or other means 2% Worked from home 18%
The next question is when did they leave for work? Again, we do not need to guess. Based on the data in the table below we see that about 60% of the employed population left for work in the three-hour period beginning at 6:00 AM and ending at 9:00 AM.
12:00 a.m. to 4:59 a.m. 6%
5:00 a.m. to 5:29 a.m. 4%
5:30 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. 5%
6:00 a.m. to 6:29 a.m. 9%
6:30 a.m. to 6:59 a.m. 9%
7:00 a.m. to 7:29 a.m. 14%
7:30 a.m. to 7:59 a.m. 12%
8:00 a.m. to 8:29 a.m. 11%
8:30 a.m. to 8:59 a.m. 5%
9:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. 25%
Once they left for work how long did it take them to get to work? About 60% of the employed population took 20 minutes or longer to get to work. On average Moffat County commuters spent about 26 minutes traveling to work.
Less than 10 minutes 13%
10 to 14 minutes 14%
15 to 19 minutes 16%
20 to 24 minutes 15%
25 to 29 minutes 7%
30 to 34 minutes 14%
35 to 44 minutes 7%
45 to 59 minutes 8%
60 or more minutes 8%
We now know the means of how they get to work, when they leave and how long it takes them. The remaining question is exactly where they are going. To do this we need to use an obscure data base called the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics. This is one of the few data sets available that combines information from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One needs to be an economic data geek to fully appreciate what this database has to say.
About 48% of those employed live and work within the boundaries of Moffat County. The other 52% live in Moffat County, however, work outside of the county. What is the commuting direction of those that live in Moffat County but do not work there? Based on the data, it is safe to assume that about 55% of the workforce that is commuting are driving East/Southeast which is toward Steamboat.
HAYDEN -- The new mayor of Hayden, former councilmem ber Ryan Banks, finds the role of mayor both similar and different to that of councilman.
"The big difference is that I'm in charge of our council meetings, so there's an amplified involvement," he said, with keeping meetings on track. What's similar is attending all the meetings and workshops, reading up on and discussing issues with council members, staff and towns people.
"I am impressed by the fact that once the council and the public get behind an idea, like the Hayden Community Center, the town manager (Matt Mendisco) and staff will go all out to make it happen," Banks added. He's excited to see all the progress on the center so far, knowing that the remainder of work is scheduled to conclude in 2023 -- a new commercial kitchen and extensive work on the auditorium and stage, such as computer controlled lighting and sound systems. Locker rooms will be converted to public rest rooms.
Banks said that in mid-December, the council filled two vacancies, after interviewing five applicants. New on the council is Erin Wallace -- a former probation officer and member of Health Partners; and Elaine Hicks, executive director of the Routt County Humane Society.
"We're getting some real diverse voices on the council," he said.
In recent weeks, there have been new developments with affordable housing and attracting new businesses to town. On the west edge of town, Prairie Run is proposed as a 180-unit development for low and middle-income families. And across the street from the airport, a new business park has attracted the interest of four businesses that would like to set up there. One of those businesses, as yet unidentified could bring as many 55 new jobs to the area.
Banks emphasized that a great deal of work still needs to be done on those two projects: more planning, grant applications and work installing infrastructure like water, sanitation, electric, etc. Both projects could be real game changers for Hayden, which is facing the planned closure of the Hayden power plants and resulting in the loss of tax revenue and employment.
Also planned for 2023 is an enlarged Poplar Street bridge near the school complex, as well as new sidewalks through town along Hwy. 41, on the north side.
It must be awfully frustrating to get a small raise at work and then have it all eaten by a higher cost of
The big bucket, coal cutting machine, mine rail, 1937 fire truck, Pee Wee's Diary of a Madam, and hundreds of photos, and artifacts found in Oak Creek's Tracks and Trails Museum or at Phippsburg Park tell the story of the area. The Museum is the keeper of a rich and inspiring legacy of drama, courage, and heroic acts plus deceit, deception, and downright meanness.
Mine rail recalls David Moffat’s intention to build a standard gage railroad from Denver to Salt Lake City in 1902. It was a heroic plan that triggered sharp resistance from powerful eastern bankers and railroad magnates. Moffat failed to raise money for a tunnel through the Front Range, and the cost of operating the line over Corona Pass coupled with the legal battle for right-of-way through Gore Canyon bankrupt him. D. C. Dodge and a group of Denver investors came to the railroad's rescue and completed the road from Yarmony (Rancho Del Rio) to the Yampa Coalfield and Steamboat Springs.
Looking ahead, in 1908 Sam Perry, a trustee in the Moffat Road, big investor in the Oak Hill Mine (Moffat/Perry
Mine) along with his son Robert "Bob" began developing the Moffat/Perry Mine. Their goal was to construct the most modern coalmine in Colorado before the railroad arrived – a super human challenge.
Several months before the railroad arrived, Perry employed miners to drive the necessary tunnels into the coal for airways and haulage, lay the mine track, and build the tipple (tipple: top, where the mine cars from underground were unloaded and the coal sorted, stored, and readied for loading into railroad cars).
Perry installed the largest hoist in the state to pull cars from the mine; it weighed 280 tons. The crankshaft alone weighed 40 tons. The hoist was placed on a concrete foundation. Lacking sand and gravel deposits nearby, crews built an elaborate rock crusher to pulverize sandstone. The poorly poured concrete structure north of Oak Creek near Highway 131 is the remains of the old hoist foundation.
Owners also constructed a large, state of the art in 1906, corrugated steel warehouse. They dug and concreted solid underground powder houses to store black powder and carbide for lamps. Four big boilers furnished electricity. Simply raising the smoke stacks with available tools became an engineering feat. The Perrys designed their mine to achieve the highest daily production in the state.
Two factors influenced the Perrys to build their own boarding houses. First, these new frontier towns contained only basic infrastructure and second, mine owners maintained absolute control over their miners. The Moffat Mine boarding house held 95 men, while the one at Phippsburg was designed for 250 men in addition to homes for married men. The buildings on the first two streets in Phippsburg west of 131 were for railroaders. The next two streets west housed miners. Later, the Perrys built two additional boarding houses and a company store at the Moffat Mine.
Slightly behind Perry's work at the Moffat Mine, E. S. McKinley and his son E. S. Jr. actively developed Routt County Fuel mines at the James and Larkin property (Pinnacle/Victor Mine west of Oak Creek).
For those who live here and for those who wish they did.
Their coal load-out was located adjacent to town of Oak Creek. Connecting the mine to the load-out, a dinky engine pulled mine cars to the head of a long gravity tram, which had more than two miles of cable installed by manual labor. This mine also installed electric generators and boarding houses. A mile north of the Moffat Mine, the Juniper Mine opened another modern mine. The old concrete water tank, rock foundations, mine tailings are visible from 131.
With no roads, sawmills, or logging operations available and needing lumber to build homes, businesses, and mine structures, a long road was constructed west of Oak Creek to timber. Thousands of teams and men labored to fell trees and saw them into boards. South Routt resembled an anthill.
The Denver Northwestern & Pacific reached the Moffat Mine in September 1908 and a carload of coal was shipped to Denver, loaded onto wagons, and paraded to the Shirley Hotel for testing. I. B Allen, secretary of Shirley Investment commented, "It cost over $10,000,000 to make possible bringing that car to this city." On the shoulders of four mines, Perry/Moffat, Pinnacle, Juniper, and McKinley, rested the future of the undeveloped empire – northwestern Colorado. The mines had strong shoulders. In 1908, the Yampa Coalfield marketed 3,000 tons of coal; in 1909, 92,154 tons; and in 1910, 254,467 tons. The Moffat Mine actually opened three mines – Moffat #1, #2, and #3.
It is difficult for us to grasp fully the challenging world of 1903-08. The Model T remained in the future, Wright Brothers flight was one year away, and indoor plumbing was new. Yet, on 21 November 1906, Sam Bell, D. C. Williams, John Sharpe, L. B. Wiley, Lou Parsons, A. Rollestone, and Ed Icholtz organized the Oak Creek Town, Land, and Mining Company. The town site was more than 50 miles from the railroad at Wolcott and more than 100 miles to any large supply town. Yet, with winter approaching, in November 1907 a small colony pitched their tents and went to work. By spring, they had constructed Miss E. G. Pepple's Mercantile and Bell Merchandise stores. Miss Pepple's store was the unofficial post office. In April 1908, twenty-one people voted for incorporation. Before winter, the town had a newspaper, two general stores, a hotel, lumberyard, short order restaurant, two barbershops, billiard hall, livery barn, and dairy. In the summer of 1909 more than a hundred new buildings were either built or under construction. Phippsburg had railroad switchyards, roundhouse, workers’ housing, hotel, and stores also under construction. New construction was a school and Episcopal Church. Under construction were a bank, community water works, and electric lights. It was truly boom times. To clean water before it was delivered, a sediment pond was placed across the creek. The pond remains in the stream.
As the Denver Northwestern & Pacific approached, all the towns in Routt County experienced a boom. It was short lived once it was known just how near the railroad was near to total failure.
KilledinColoradocoalminesin1911were:oneBulgarian,elevenItalians, eightMexicans,sixPoles,eightSlavs,oneHungarian,twoEnglishmen, twelveAmericans,elevenAustrians,oneGerman,twoMontenegrins, oneTyrolian,oneGreek,oneSwede,oneJapanese,oneTurk, andoneRussian.
Property value in every town except Oak Creek fell. Oak Creek's went up 27 percent. The Steamboat newspapers, Steamboat Pilot and Routt County Sentinel, when covering Oak Creek enjoyed demeaning stories and labeled it "that mining camp." The banner on the Oak Creek Times proclaimed Oak Creek, "The Town of Prosperity, the Town at the Mines, the Town with a Payroll." Oak Creek was a place of its own.
Whoever controlled the liquor licenses controlled the gambling, prostitution, and liquor business. The town fathers were deeply involved in that line of business.
W. H. Stonehouse, G. F. Watt, and Tom Pierson were granted liquor licenses. Pierson built a two story, block long building. The lower floor was a bar, pool hall, and card room. The second floor was used for taxi dancing and business rooms for the girls. Pierson's building sat where the grocery store is now located. The police magistrate D. J. Reidy was denied a license. It didn't make any difference. His two-story building was on the north side of Bell Avenue which was not within the city limits at the time. It’s the building on 131 north of the post office.
E.S. McKinley Sr. and Jr. held controlling interest in Routt County Fuel that operated two mines and the American Sawmill near Phippsburg along with many other investments in the county. In 1910, E. S. Jr organized the Tax Payers Party vowing to cleanup Oak Creek and run the gamblers, drunks, prostitutes, and rift-raff out of the county. He nearly won the 1910 city election. Young McKinley vowed to continue the fight. In 1911, he was down in one of the mines inspecting for further development when a string of mine cars mysteriously got away and raced down the mine. McKinley became just another miner accidently killed and Oak Creek continued being Oak Creek.
Oak Creek saw its share of blood and gore during the Labor War of 1913-14. Early in 1914, Captain Dorn and a company of Colorado militia occupied Oak Creek. It was an organization of "tuffs" off Denver streets, not a military force. They camped where the school is now located. After the Ludlow Massacre, President Wilson replaced the state militia with units from the regular army. A unit from the Tenth Calvary was sent to Oak Creek. They camped in the Decker Park area. The Tenth Calvary was the combat tested and highly regarded African-American Buffalo Soldiers.
Near the end of the strike in Oak Creek, Raymond Burt, a Baldwin-Phelps Detective, who was hired by the mine owners to break the strike, entered Walker Mercantile, drew a gun, shot Dave Reedy, and walked out. Jack Gill and Don Motto witnessed the shooting and were willing to testify against Burt. One night both men were gunned down. A. H. House and A. D. Perkins were arrested by Sheriff Chivington and taken to Steamboat. Perkins received a "backdoor pardon."
Somehow he broke out of jail and disappeared. House was released on bail and was working as a rope rider in the Moffat Mine when a string of cars mysteriously broke lose behind him. He became another fatal mine accident. Just another day mining coal.
Colorado coalmines were truly places of international culture and real danger. The nationalities of men killed vividly illustrate the point. Killed in Colorado coalmines in 1911 were: one Bulgarian, eleven Italians, eight Mexicans, six Poles, eight Slavs, one Hungarian, two Englishmen, twelve Americans, eleven Austrians, one German, two Montenegrins, one Tyrolian, one Greek, one Swede, one Japanese, one Turk, and one Russian. The vast majority of deaths were caused by rock or coal falling from the roof. Falling rock or coal can be controlled by proper roof and pillar placement. But mine safety and regulation were opposed by mine operators. It cost too much.
With its mixture of nationalities, Oak Creek was a wonderful international city. The food, drink, dances, dress, language, social, economic, political, philosophical, and religious debates were rich and meaningful. In 1911 the town came close to electing a very conservative government. A year later a Socialist government was elected. Oak Creek had two English language newspapers, the staunchly conservative Oak Creek Times and the socialist Herald.
Not all the mines in the Oak Creek District were large. Wagon Mines were often single family owned and operated. Despite child labor laws, the poverty of many miners’ families forced them to work their children. As a boy of 8 or 9 years old, Joe Petronovich accompanied his father into the Pinnacle Mine at night to mine and load coal.
Brazilia Hastings had a wagon mine high up Seven Point Mountain. His son Early was Joe's age. Joe climbed the steep and long road to see his friend, but instead of playing or seeking adventure, they went down in the mine where they drilled, shot, loaded the coal, and set timber. Instead of steel mine rails, the mine cars ran on wood. The boys cut and hewed aspen trees into rails. The use of wooden rail wasn't limited to small, hard scrabble wagon mines. The Juniper Mine used "scrub oak" (gamble oak) for mine rails. Metal strips were placed on top of the wooden rail.
All these stories and many more are available at the Tracks and Trails Museum. The Big Bucket tells of the strip mining era at the Edna Mine. The Shaker Pan speaks of innovative ways to move coal. Superintendent Jones at the Pinnacle developed a way of moving coal by shaking it. Think of placing a coin on a piece of paper. Thump the paper forcing it to move quickly. The coin stays in place and the paper moves. A shaker pan moves the coal down and jerks back shaking the coal. The Joy Company took the idea and improved it. For a period of time shaker pans were common in underground mines. When going to the museum take the time to learn the stories. It is a fascinating drama.
Take the rose with the thorn, Together the bond I can admire, Handled carefully they can be worn, Or, in a vase, when I retire.
Sometimes I look but do not touch, A thorn I need not oppose, Beauty resides in my sight, as such, A combination nature can compose.
Bud and thorn were once newborn, For those who with a nod insist, An appealing vision amid the storm, Look, not touch—they must resist.
So, beauty and danger are meeting, Not looking for a scrape or fight, Just a smile suffices as greeting, A sensuous look, then move on right.
Meadows and flowers are without end, If my judgment I can suspend.
Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them. — Dalai Lama
Running down the small embankment, Uncle Spiro reached him only to find that he had died. Uncle Spiro pulled my grandfather out of the stream to the bank with Mr. Ladakis’ help but had to leave him there to call the coroner. The authorities came and pronounced my grandfather dead, most probably from a heart attack. My little cousin Steve was also with them. I don’t think he remembers that day.
My grandfather Steve is buried next to my grandmother Helen in Denver at Fairmont Cemetery. My grandmother died at 59 years of age from a heart attack. She was sweet, kind and, as I said before, an excellent cook. My grandfather’s tombstone reads that he was 84 years old when he died, although he was most probably 86.
In 1967, after my grandfather’s death, Uncle Spiro made major improvement to the store, including renovating the former pool hall into Spiro’s Trading Post, with a complete line of sporting goods and fishing licenses, and liquor. That store exists today in Oak Creek under the same name, Spiro’s, but under new ownership.
My grandfather Steve died in June 1966, on his grandson Steve’s birthday. Uncle Spiro had taken him to his “church,” as he had every Sunday because Colorado law prohibited liquor from being sold on Sundays. Grandfather Steve was an avid fisherman and on Sundays, when the liquor store was closed, Uncle Spiro would take him to a nearby stream to fish. Being outdoors fishing the small streams around Routt County was my grandfather’s sacred place. Before Uncle Spiro was married, he would accompany him, but with a new family it was difficult for him to leave them to indulge in his favorite hobby.
My Aunt Maria and Uncle Spiro were hosting her sister and brother-in-law at that time. Maria’s sister, Mrs. Ladakis and her husband had come to visit from Salt Lake City. My grandfather awoke, made the daily coffee and sat at the kitchen table until everyone else was up. After breakfast, he insisted that Uncle Spiro take him fishing. When Uncle Spiro told him that he would not be with him, my grandfather told him to take him where he could fish for a few hours sitting on his chair, and then Uncle Spiro could come back and pick him up. Uncle Spiro was very reluctant to do this, given the man was in his 80’s and could only walk with a cane because of his wounded right leg. But Steve, a stubborn Cretan man, would not be deterred.
Uncle Spiro took him to his rancher friend’s Hunt Creek property outside of Phippsburg and told him he would pick him up in a few hours. When Uncle Spiro arrived at the agreed upon time and location, he could not see my grandfather. Walking down to the creek bed, Uncle Spiro realized that his father had fallen into the creek.
In 1968, Uncle Spiro moved my grandparents’ house, where he and his family lived, off its initial site on Main Street to 107 East First Street. As the house was being moved off its foundation and into the street, it sunk into the middle of Main Street. It was in May, and the ground was too soft to support the entire weight of the house. The Town of Oak Creek brought a maintainer and a tractor and helped Uncle Spiro pull the house out from the middle of the street. My grandparents’ house, the old Bell house purchased by my grandfather and great uncle in the 1920’s, was moved up the hill, where it still sits today at on East First Street. That house move was a real spectacle for Oak Creek and nearby Phippsburg because a crowd drew near and Main Street had to close entirely. Paul Foster helped Uncle Spiro move the house and also assisted him in finishing his new red house on Main Street, where it remains today, next to Spiro’s Trading Post.
Uncle Spiro and Aunt Maria, then in their mid-40’s believed in Oak Creek, even though many residents had moved away and the town became economically depressed. Here in their beloved Oak Creek, they raised their sons through high school at Soroco High. There they lived, entertained their friends, tended their vegetable and flower gardens and watched Stagecoach Reservoir begin.
I miss them dearly, for I too spent time in Oak Creek, first as a child with my grandparents and with Uncle Spiro and Aunt Maria, especially in their later years. Uncle Spiro taught me how to make seed tape for the sweet peas he planted along the fence line on Main Street. I would spend time with Aunt Maria, planting her petunias. People would come by, say hello and sometimes come into the house and have a cup of Greek coffee that Uncle Spiro prepared.
I loved it.
In Oak Creek, at the top of the hill, where you can still hear the whistle of the train, my dear aunt and uncle are buried overlooking their beloved Flat Top Mountains. All the sweet memories a person could possibly have of an immigrant family, their triumphs and tragedies, and the town that adopted them, are mine now. Oak Creek has always been a strong community of caring families and individuals. I hope that never changes.
For those who live here and for those who wish they did.
I would like to end with a quote from my dad and uncle’s first cousin, George Petros Callas, written to me in a letter 21 years ago when he lost his beloved wife Mary Lou to brain cancer. George was born in Oak Creek in 1935 and attended Oak Creek High School. At 87 years old, George lives today in Palo Alto, California. He was an engineer for the first Apollo mission to the moon on January 27, 1967. George writes:
"Experienceslikethese(beingtogetherasafamily) definethemeaningoffamilyandlove.Thebondexists eventhoughdistanceandtimeprecludefrequentmeeting wherefamilythoughtsandexperienceswouldordinarilybeexchanged.Thereissomuchthatwemissinour modernsociety.Often,IthinkofmyyouthandallthatI learnedandexperiencedfromclosefamilyandfriends. Someofuswerefortunateenoughtosettlecloseto ourfamily,howevereventhosearecaughtupinthe modern-dayrushanddonothavethetimeofthelast generation."
Remember, this letter was written twenty- one years ago! Think about that line—"we do not have the time of the last generation.”
We are too busy, too distracted, too detached to pay attention to the here and now of our family, let alone the past history of our families. The fact is we do have the time-but we have to make the time and make it count. Make it a priority. This is the legacy my Oak Creek family left me. These are the sacrifices my family made for me. Oak Creek and Routt County will always remain forever in my heart. ***************
I would like to acknowledge and thank my Dad George Callas, Uncle Spiro Callas and their first cousin, George Petros Callas of Palo Alto, California for the family history and lore they shared with me throughout many years.
I am deeply appreciative.
bringing with them brewing recipes from the old country. One of these immigrants was Maximillian I, a Vienneseborn member of Hapsburg-Lorraine royalty and was named Emperor of Mexico in 1861, according to altitudebrew.com. Maximillian and his cronies were fond of Vienna-style lagers, beers that are malty, copper colored and more full bodied versus the fizzy, lighter pilsner beers cut from the Corona cloth. Unfortunately, Maximillian was executed in 1867 but the Vienna-style was appealing and caught on to stay in Mexico.
The Mexican brewing industry slowly started growing at the beginning of the 1900s and in 1918, there were 36 breweries serving thirsty throats in a land famous for hot, dry climates. The first Big Three were Cervezeria Toluca (Victoria brand, 1865), Cervezeria Cuahutemoc (Bohemia/Sol brands, 1891) and Cervezeria Moctezuma (Dos Equis brand, 1897), according to seriouseats.com.
However, due to consolidation and acquisitions, today there are only two brewery groups which control 90% of Mexican beer production in that country; Grupo Modelo (owned by InBex/Anheuser-Busch) and Cervezeria Cuahutemoc Moctezuma (owned by FEMSA/Heineken). This has resulted in explosive growth for the industry starting in the 1990s, and Mexico is now the world’s third largest beer exporter in the world (recently surpassing the Netherlands), according to wiki.com and currently employs 90,000. In addition, the Mexican brewing industry has helped fuel other industries in that country, including glass making for bottles, paper for cardboard containers, tin, advertising and distribution/transportation, according to altitudebrewing.com.
Victoria has a thin malty backbone and no metallic aftertaste. Its beeradvocate.com rating of 69/100 (poor) is not accurate and the beer is far superior in style and taste to Dos Equis. A bit of a harder find, this is a nice choice for those wanting to wade into an amber, or darker beer, that is sweeter than bitter.
The final selection is Negra Modelo, the darkest of the three selections. Again, there are cereal grains in the nose and the head does not retain. There are dark grains present in the taste (sweet, not bitter) and this beer is an outstanding choice for those who are fans of Mexican mole sauce made from chilis and chocolate. Beeradvocate. com rated this beer at 77/100 (okay) and the beer is guaranteed to put out the fire of the spiciest jalepeno, serrano or poblano pepper dishes. Due to liability however, A Beer Fairy does not offer this promise on ingesting the infernally hot habanero nor using the beer as an insurrectionist eyewash for pepper spray.
Mexican amber lagers are a refreshing taste alternative to their lighter, pilsner counterparts and are a perfect pairing for cooler temperatures and spicy food dishes. Combined with a rich, pioneering brewing history dating back to the exploration of the New World, these beers offer a taste of history and refreshment while celebrating the new year, or Ano Nuevo.
When the heat of summer calls for teeth cracking cold refreshment (remember those days?) one might reach for a Corona, Pacifico or Sol pilsner-style Mexican beer to cool off. But Mexico offers some darker, richer commercially available brands here that have a bit more body and taste while helping to chase the winter chill away. These beers are the perfect compliment to a spicy bowl of chili, a smothered wet burrito or your favorite street taco.
This article will explore the history of the Mexican brewing industry and how these darker, Vienna-style beers serve as a nice seasonal alternative to standard, light Mexican pilsner-style beers and in closing, provide a review of three quality Mexican beers that offer superior taste, world-class quality and a great ability to knock down the fire of spicy dishes.
The history of brewing in Mexico predates any other in the American continents. When Hernan Cortez arrived, the Spaniards were fond of their beer, and Don Alphonso de Herero of Spain pioneered the first brewery near Mexico City in 1543/4, according to seriouseats.com. What was hardest for the brewery was getting the malted barley and hops necessary for brewing and the brewery soon foundered and perished.
In the mid-1800s, many German and western European immigrants began to settle in Texas and Mexico,
For the panel of these Mexican Vienna-style lagers, three were chosen; Dos Equis Ambar, Victoria and Negro Modelo. All are amber in color, with Negro Modelo being the darkest of the group (Modelo calls it a dunkel, or dark, style beer). There are many other Mexican Vienna-style beers available, but many have not made the hop across the border. Taste and style will be closely examined and graded.
The first is brown bottled Dos Equis Ambar, (not to be confused with its lighter lager sibling which comes in a green bottle), first brewed in 1897. It pours a lacy white head which doesn’t stick around for long and the signature copper color is there. There are cereal grains (corn) in the nose and the taste is crisp but there is an odd metallic finish to the beer. Beeradvocate.com rated the beer 72/100 (okay) but A Beer Fairy remembers this beer from the 1980s/90s when it was far superior. It was a far darker, richer beer back in the day without the metallic aftertaste and the foil covering the cap was a nice, classy touch. This is a solid example of a brewery changing their recipe and not for the better.
Next is Victoria, one of the oldest production beers from Mexico, originally produced by Cervezeria Toluca in 1865. The initial pour is a mirror image of Dos Equis Ambar, with the quickly dissipating head and copper color. But
Thursday - Saturday: 10am - 11pm Sunday - Wednesday: 10am - 10pm
January 11, 1915
I slept in this morning, reflected in my bed clothing, and did not put a stick into the cook stove until the first sunlight peeked through my window at 8:00. Still in my night cap I answered a knock on my front door. It was Flo wearing a red hobble-skirt, really a sheath, tightly wound around her figure highlighting her hips and legs. Her long blond hair braided from the neck, continued down the right shoulder and rested below her breast with a tassel. Her white silk tie hidden under the collar, knotted just above her bosom, adorned as the accessory that made the outfit. She asked, “Can I make your breakfast?”
“I haven’t addressed my morning toilet yet.”
“I want to apologize, make it right and explain the reasons for our actions. If I cook for you, it will make it easier.”
“Flo, why didn’t you tell me she was sexually assaulted?” I felt the rage again.
“I’m telling you now, and it won’t be a trite explanation.”
She loaded the stove with wood, drew overnight warm water from the tank into the pot and started the coffee while saying, “Corina is pregnant now as a result of the rape by JJ. I hit him with the baseball bat several times, but it was too late. She was so unlucky. As we ran to her house, she said over and over, ‘Please don’t tell Julius.’ It was like honor among thieves, and I agreed. Then I was required to tell Madame, and it became business.”
“Corina was and still is the vendor, if you will, for contraception products for the girls at the brothel and for maybe all of Northwest Colorado. She was the respectable woman who obtained the prescription from a physician, arranged for the items at the drug store and delivered them under the guise of makeup for the women. It was all very hush, hush, but necessary for our health and profitable for the druggist. Madame considered it the perfect setup because Corina was the undertakers assistant, her cosmetic skills were a good cover, and she had a valid excuse for a decent woman to be in Brooklyn. Therefore, no scandal.”
“I don’t think so, but if he did, he never let on. Again, it was for the women’s health, and it made the regular doctor’s tasks easier.” She placed a steaming cup of coffee with the perfect amount of cream and sugar on the table and smiled. Her teeth were not straight, which implied a nonaffluent childhood or bad genetic luck. Her figure was not slender because she has seen thirty-five, but nonetheless, she struck me as comely. Beauty radiated from this kind, confident, honest woman.
“Eggs over easy with some ham and toast?”
“Splendid, yes.” I replied and watched her place my breakfast in the skillet. Then reflected out loud, “And I’m the odd man out, damnit.”
“It’s a marriage of convenience, and she has another excuse to be in Brooklyn dragging her drunken husband out of the saloons. I don’t think she is done with you yet. I think the divorce is guaranteed and she could put the child up for
I asked myself more than her, “Why didn’t I realize the situation? There were enough clues.”
“You’re an honest, considerate, optimistic and naïve young man, Julius. Unfortunately, you were easy to deceive. You wanted to believe the best intentions of others and of course, were blinded by love.”
She placed my breakfast on the table, slid her hands behind her knees, adjusted the tight shirt and sat down. “Madame Ollie suggested the marriage to Corina, who was appalled
For those who live here and for those who wish they did.
with the idea. Madame played up the scandalous, community humiliation which fueled the fear of being an unwed mother and offered revenge served cold. Corina’s mind changed. Madame threatened JJ with prosecution for the assault. I was to be the witness. So, his choice was prison or marriage. Corina swore she would never have sex with the man. She hates him, Julius. She could have told you and asked you to marry her, but she didn’t. Why not? Vengeance and money, I guess,” her voice trailed off to a pause.
“He’s a worthless scoundrel and should be in jail! And Corina with an unloving marriage from the start, for money and revenge. Incredibly depressing. It creates a horrible existential situation for her. Apparently, nothing can change until the baby is born.”
“Yes, and for you, perhaps a period of life without purpose,” her eyes glistened with tears, “There is pretty much nothing we can do for a while. She has her life, and you yours, and they need to be separate. Don’t lose faith, use good judgement and keep your nose out of JJ’s affairs.”
“Bloody hell, that’s going to be difficult.”
“Don’t cross Madame’s dangerous desires of wealth and revenge. It’s too late now. Stay away from JJ.”
“Bullocks, Corina’s caught in the dodgy web.”
“It isn't fair coming into this world and it’s a strange pool a woman is born into. We appear in an anonymous blank space, in time are taught the acceptance of roles, then we form a personality and finally see a hint of the future. Then it all changes with the slings and arrows of life.”
“Oddly, du Bois implied the same thing for men. We have choices, but we are the clay of our ancestors. Will the baby be more like Corina or JJ?”
“I don’t know Julius, perhaps we’ll find out.” She paused, stood, ran her fingers down the blond hair braid abstractly and indicated, “I have to go.”
I walked with her to the door, gave her a hug, “Thanks for finally telling me the truth and being my friend.”
She squeezed me tighter and replied, “Always Julius, forever. Come and talk to me anytime. Behave yourself.”
“Me in jail wouldn’t solve anything.” I stood on the porch and inadvertently watched her hips and legs sway until she disappeared into the café. Then mumbled, “Dreadful, what’s going to happen now?”
(Yes, Madame played on my fears, specifically coming from the bowels of Christchurch, UK. I wished not to return to the gutters. My current status, acquired with rigorous training, refined with gentlewoman manners, had finally immersed me in the aura of an elite reputation. I did not want to fall from the peak I worked so hard climb. It was the plateaus, before the next peak, where I looked back and saw my pride, greed, envy, lust, and spiritual sloth littered among the bleached bones of my past. Losing that prominent position scared the hell out of me. I looked forward and kept climbing. Corina Engelhart)
One of my greatest memories of grad school is listening to our Toi Whakaari (New Zealand Drama School) directing tutor describe the power of live theatre in a single sentence: “Theatre exists in the coming together to share air, the ritual of real life, ephemeral and transitory, with the very real possibility that something totally transforming will reveal itself.” This ritual, of sharing air, is what makes an actor performing in movement and/or text so exciting. Even when the production is a Shakespeare comedy that’s been seen thousands of times over hundreds of years, there’s always a moment of revelation and surprise when a great performer learns something new and reveals it to the audience in the moment: RIGHT NOW!!!
That’s what’s made the impact of COVID so devastating to live performance. For years we couldn’t perform safely at all; and even now it hangs over the heads of the elderly and infirm, who comprise much of the theatre audience. Zoom and taped performances of live productions leave us staring at screens and the ritual of sharing air is transformed into a solitary activity over Chinese food. I continue to avoid large group activities indoors, even when wearing a mask. I can usually find a director willing to let me sit through a dress rehearsal so I can avoid the crush of an opening night crowd. I can imagine the “in the moment” experiences so critical to live performance more easily but never like before. The days of bodies packed into a room, sharing air and - by this proximity - the transformational moments are only available in Antarctica or the international space station.
For the past few years, visual artists have had the playing field to themselves. They can work in isolation and exhibit their work in galleries and controlled access environments without losing the depth and breadth of their work. Writers could do the same, scribbling away, publishing the masterpiece manuscript, and collect the royalties all while socially distancing. Actors and producers of live work were frustrated and envious. Until now…
I met my nephew in San Francisco and over lunch he started talking about a threat to commercial artists in the disguising cloak of artificial intelligence. Exploring cover art for your latest masterpiece, Mr. Pulitzer Prize winner? Why pay an expensive, and probably egotistical live artist,
when you can hire an AI program to do it for you. The same goes for corporate logos and advertisements on the city bus. No missed deadlines, no attitude, no swearing.
He described the history of AI art as stupidly crude just months ago but now is causing copyright hell for artists and attorneys. Computer geeks can access billions of images and harvest them selectively to create new work. And all of the artists who created the original images are left out in the cold, financially speaking. AI didn’t copy their work; it created new images using selective mimicry from existing sources. It’s been said that the wheels of justice grind slow but exceedingly fine. Considering the speed at which AI is developing, they might as well not grind at all. Before a royalty deal will be hammered out between AI “artists” and the real thing, the next generation of visual ChatGPT will be taking visual arts to a whole new level. And the quality is getting better and more believable every day.
Since this is a cleverly written column, I chose to pursue a date with ChatGPT and see if it could measure up:
Live theatre is powerful because it creates a direct and immediate connection between the performers and the audience. It is a live, in-person experience that is immersive and engaging in a way film or television cannot touch. The immediacy of live theatre, a sense of presence and authenticity, is compelling and emotionally affecting. The performers are present in the same space as the audience, evoking a sense of shared experience and connection. Live theatre also encourages creativity and flexibility as actors can improvise and respond to the energy of the audience in real-time, creating a unique and unpredictable experience for the audience. The combination of live performance, immediacy, and creativity makes live theatre a powerful and unique medium for storytelling and communication.
I did a bit of editing, as ChatGPT does poorly with active tenses but clearly, we’re on the same page. Poetry, on the other hand, is still a work in progress. Here’s Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 followed by the AI effort.
What is this Yampa Valley High School all about? Haven’t you wondered what goes on inside that “special” high school? You should know that YVHS is not a private school. It is a fully accredited public school. YVHS was created sixteen years ago for high school age students that do not fit into the mainstream public school system. You probably know a kid that doesn’t “fit.” You may have been one of those kids. Did you ever lose a parent due to an accident, suicide, or alcoholism? Were you “bullied” through most of your school years? Or maybe you're just different. You’re told to just “buck up,” it’s just a trend, you’ll get over it. These are tough realities of being a teenager and some don’t get over it!
To clarify, I am a carpenter/adventurer, not a psychoanalysis. Most of my education was on the job site, on the ocean, and just living outdoors. I eventually brought these skills and lessons to the classroom, teaching Industrial Arts, and sharing what I learned with my students. My shop was a “catch-all” for students that didn’t fit, but also challenged many students who did. I redefined the phrase, “Attention Deficit, Disorder, and Hyper-Activity” as Attention Dynamic in High Direction. It is not a deficit (that’s impossible) and not a disorder (there’s nothing wrong). I view ADD like any other quality - you will learn to live with it.
That brings me back to Yampa Valley High. YVHS is a little bit of everything, but with a slightly different set of rules.
It offers structure and personal attention. Teachers are addressed by their first names. Attendance is mandatory. Language is casual and respect is not demanded, it is earned. The campus is located downtown on 7th street inside the 100+ year old, former Steamboat High. You may have noticed an eclectic group of teens walking downtown during their lunch period. During my visits on campus the 4 teachers and 36 students seem ready to share what this school is doing for them and why they have chosen this direction. I recently sat down with eight students over a couple of lunch breaks to learn a bit more about YVHS. Our conversations took me to an adventure in education that was pleasantly surprising. I expected a high degree of “angst” but was enlightened to learn what goes on within these walls. These eight students shared some of the many reasons why they enrolled into YVHS.
Most students were not there for disciplinary reasons. These are not BAD kids, in fact, I felt like I was interviewing eight college graduates who were experts on teenage education. I have a degree in education but was not taught such theories in any of my college classes. Eventually, I was unknowingly practicing them in my own classroom over my 15 years of teaching. Most administrators and fellow teachers didn’t notice this teaching style. Had the administration known, I’d likely been fired! Our principal, Tim Bishop, once commented after a required evaluation of my teaching skills. He said, “I don’t know what to write -
For those who live here and for those who wish they did.
24 students all working on different projects, lots of noise, but only a few voices speaking out loud. I can’t tell what’s going on but everybody is so busy. Your lecture at the beginning seemed quite short.” I said, “They already know what to do. I don’t lecture for long.” He asked,”Do you have a “closure” talk?” I tell him that 10 minutes before the bell rings I simply turn the power off. Watch this. I turned the master power switch off, and after a few student groans, they each picked up their projects, put tools away and swept the workbenches. The next class was already standing at the door. Tim said, “How do you grade them.” I said, “I don’t grade the success of the project. I observe and grade process and attitude. Mostly A’s and B’s. To fail in my class is almost impossible. A project disaster could still receive an “A.” I asked, “How would you grade these kids?” No comment. I respected Tim, but he was not shop guy.
Fifteen years later I am now learning from these “experts” on their ideas on teen education and wondering why these aren’t more widely taught. They shared with me a small piece of the “inter” world of Yampa Valley High. They did not seem critical of any of their classmates, but recognized their pronounced differences, social ideologies, and some gender identifications (any one of the 50+ varieties). I occasionally drive their Friday outdoor hikes and over the years I have sensed inter-connectedness between the students. I’m not sure just what dynamic creates this. Is it the setting with 36 teenagers in a 100 year-old building in downtown Steamboat? Is it the teachers? I have observed a high degree of shared respect within the student body and teachers.
Like many of their classmates the students I interviewed seem to enjoy learning. They have a sense of belonging. I walked away from these meetings like I have been talking to the brothers and sisters of a large family. Each of these kids surely have issues between them, but there is a prevailing mutual respect for each other’s individual identity. Maybe within this old building lies a secret. I suggest we crack the door open and give these students plenty of fresh air and the freedom to define what their own educational goals should look like.
I have learned that Yampa Valley High is a school that endorses positive attitudes where mutual student/teacher relationships are a teaching goal - shared respect, the freedom for a student to build on their own learning style, and where failure is all part of the education process. I quote an interesting student, Soup, who wrote a 16-page essay on this very subject, “Yampa Valley High is a place where students can unapologetically be themselves.”
Here you are, a cute little ant in your big colony in the fall. The sun is warm even though the nights are a bit chilly. Then the temperatures drop and there is really cold, wet stuff falling from the sky. Aaaagh, this is not good! OK, think fast, what are you and your buddies going to do??
Ants are cold-blooded (exothermic – your big word for the month) and, unlike warm-blooded beings, they cannot regulate their body temperature like we mammals can. Whatever the air temperature is, their body temperature will be similar. As winter temperatures creep in, tiny ants need to make some changes to survive winter. According to antwiki.org (EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about ants), there are 158 species of ants in Colorado. Wowza! Let’s just bite off a couple to chew on here. All ant species are colonial, using unique materials and habitats for their homes. According to the “GuidetoColorado Insects” (Cranshaw, Whitney; Kondratieff, Boris, c 2006, Westcliffe Publishers) there are four main types of ants in Colorado: Carpenter ants (Camponotusspp.), harvester ants (Pogonomyrmexspp.), field ants (Formicaspp.) and pavement ants (Tetramorium.Caespitum). Black carpenter ants are one of the easiest ants to identify because they are BIG and mostly BLACK! They, as their name suggests, use wood to nest in, mostly rotting logs and even buildings. Harvester ants make large mounds in grassland areas with the crater-like entrance always facing southeast. They are seed eaters, often leaving the inedible parts around their mounds, and clear the plants away from around their mounds leaving a bare ring. Filed ants make those huge piles of needles and twigs and other debris and have extensive underground burrows like the harvester ant. Pavement ants are newcomers to the state and are now the most common ant in urban areas. They nest under stone, asphalt, sidewalks and push out little piles of soil.
Ants going into the winter season respond to both external and internal factors. Shortening days, colder temperatures can spur changes in both their physiology
and their actions. In our temperate climates, with more or less defined seasonal changes, the ants found here are considered true endogenous-heterodynamic species. Whoa, whoa! Endogenous simply means the ants are reacting to internal cues (like Circadian rhythms), not only external cues (which are exogenous). Heterodynamic is a life cycle where sometimes the organism is active and sometimes dormant. Now go out and impress everyone at your next party! So, here we are heading into winter and these tiny critters need to survive our long, cold winter. Their Circadian clock is telling them it’s time to get busy, as are the shortening days and cold temperatures. One of the first things ants do is feast like the devil in fall to add fat. Especially the larger-bodied carpenter ants; they are rather plump heading into winter. Underground colonial ants put in large stores of food in specialized tunnels. This is imperative so they do not have to leave their nests in the winter searching for food and to ensure they do not starve in a longer than normal winter. Harvester and field ants with large aboveground mounds have a natural layer of organic insulation covering their nests. That said, the ground can still freeze in the top few inches (depending on snow cover), so these ants move deeper in the soil, often excavating even more tunnels deeper in the soil layers (up to seven feet) where the soil stays a near constant temperature 50F. They seal off entrances to their tunnels to keep the cold air out and their tunnels are designed in such a way to preserve, and make the best use of, their body heat. Huddling together also helps reduce heat loss, and they have the queen and any overwintering larvae at the center of that mob to protect them. Some species fill their tunnels with rotting leaves that produce heat as they decompose. (these guys are smart, aren’t they?!) Researchers found some ants line their tunnels with glycol. This antifreeze could help modulate the temperatures in the tunnels, but researchers are not sure what its role is. If conditions get too cold, even with all these actions, ants will enter diapause, a lower metabolic state kind of hibernation. Most ants will enter diapause at some point during the winter.
Fore those ants in shallower nests or, like carpenter ants, that nest in wood or under bark, winter is a little tougher. These ants do not have the benefit of insulating soil and organic debris. Also, adding body fat going into winter is a do-or-die for these ants. It is not necessarily cold that will kill these ants in winter, it is more likely the length of time of the cold where they run out of stored body fat and starve to death. There is a lot of activity in the fall, feeding and getting nice and fat. Carpenter ants create tunnels in wood, mostly decayed and rotting. Although wood is a fairly good insulator, it can still freeze inside during the winter. As temperatures drop carpenter ants congregate in these tunnels along with the larvae. They also produce glycol (mentioned above) in their hemolymph (a fancy word for insect blood). Glycerol is an alcohol that helps prevent the formation of ice crystals in their bodies. (ooh, what a hangover they must have in the spring!) Many insects produce glycol in the winter to help them reduce freeze damage. Then the ants enter diapause, slowing their metabolism to almost nothing and depending on those stored fats to get them through the long cold period. Diapause typically lasts the entire cold season, usually three to four months.
Now go snuggle up with a nice warm blanket, enter your diapause over a good book and dream of ants huddling together. Or maybe I’ll see you on the trails!
Have you ever felt like you were on life’s treadmill where everything is the same and the rat race never ends? Those moments where you wonder how the hell did I get here or where am I going? How do I find my way through this maze of stuff, culture and people? Finding that freshness, that breath of fresh air, the moving towards something instead of treading water can be a challenge. When we vaguely know what we’re looking for but don’t really know how to find it some guidance becomes invaluable. There are methods that tune us in and focus our lives. I learned these methods from a master, Viola Spolin, and they help clear out the mental cobwebs and give a better path toward broader experiences.
Here are five things you can do to break down those barriers and find a full, direct experience and live more fully. Wake up calls if you will. All of these involve developing deeper awareness which means observing inside and outside ourselves. They are a great starting point to feeling and knowing who you and those around you really are.
The obstacles to overcome that hold you back:
If you have survived by trying to figure out and do what other people want you to say and how to act and then
doing such things with as much skill and originality as possible then your approval/disapproval syndrome is highly active. It has, no doubt, become your own and without conscious realization it is totally dictating and creating robot like behavior with almost total loss of insight. You are not only prevented from having a direct experience but become blind to what direct experience really is.
The syndrome will limit your behavior if allowed to do so. It’s interesting to watch it working on you when you are having guests for dinner, meeting people or in a new situation. Observe the roles and cover ups in you and those around you shown by attitudes and what comes out of every mouth: hostility, envy, competitiveness, put downs, resentment, sarcasm, or whatever. Look at the things that lift and the things that limit. What we verbalize as our own are the controls that tie and bind, keeping us earthbound and playing the victim.
An important ally toe the approval/ disapproval syndrome is self-pity which dogs our steps from childhood onward, hiding itself often disguised by pious statements such as "I won’t compromise," "the time was wrong," "I’ll never be able to do that," "it’s too much," "I could never afford that," "my responsibilities won’t let me."
Self-pity must be addressed as a separate state of being. Expose it for the debilitating emotion it is.
This is one of the products of the approval/ disapproval syndrome which attacks and inundates us hour after hour, day after day. Rushing to succeed and giving in to and accepting failure drain precious revitalizing energy, weakening our very life force.
If success/ failure were not tied to the approval/ disapproval syndrome, failing or succeeding could stand apart, distant from your private heaven or hell and could become a problem to be viewed and handled. You could transcend the severe crippling stigma attached to success. But since we are culturally obsessed with success, inner ghostly voices from the past, “can’t”, “loser”, “not good enough” come close.
When you find yourself in the grip of success or failure, STOP. Forget that negative is the opposite of positive, that success is the opposite of failure, transcend opposites! Look, listen, review. Observe what is at hand: a problem –which can be solved, or must be lived with or discarded. Being focused on the problem, you will be in a position to accept any outcome. True, you might not get what you want but if you have a focus you will not be engulfed in fear or lose your access to your intuition which is the energy source needed to solve the problem.
We live in a culture preoccupied with appearances and status. Attitudes totally “clog the machine” of your mind and play a heavy role in our day to day living that keeps us from directly handling an issue. It is OK to be any role you want. You do not need to play a role for the benefit of others. You have no need to be anything other than who you really are. No faces, masks, personalities, “right” things to say or do, just you. Let the “Should’s” go away. When you have an obstacle put in your way, then put the attitude aside and deal with what is facing you.
When you find yourself limited in function, feel scrutinized, drained, empty, in a void, weak, helpless, heart and hands aflutter, very uncomfortable then you are entangled in fear and it has mostly immobilized you. Know it NOW as fear which you need to overcome through a “right now” experience of connection to the moment.
When you recognize the signs of any of the obstacles to direct experience it is time to pause. Choose a focus and watch the room, its contents, the people and most importantly – you. When you are connected, giving full head to toe attention to what is going on around you – Right Now! Then you will find you are no longer fragmented and disconnected. Fear dissolves, clearing your head and silencing the interfering approval/ disapproval clutter of do’s and don’ts. “No matter where you are and no matter how you got there …. there you are. Thank you to Viola Spolin for the inspiration.
For those who live here and for those who wish they did.
Aries March 21 - April 19
You spent hours building a perfect snowman who looks like a spitting image of the 1960’s Frosty the Snowman classic cartoon. After you go inside to warm up, you realize that you built Mr. Snowman right in front of your bedroom window…you don’t remember assembling him there…do you? As you go about your day, you swear that his beady coal eyes are watching you and calculating when to make his move. All you wanted to do was play in the snow but now you are armed with a blow-dryer while you sleep.
Taurus April 20 - May 20
You will discover a new talent immortalizing significant moments in your life while immersing yourself in the art of scrapbooking. This all began during an attempt to preserve an article you found in a medical journal titled “Goats and Meth-labs; What’s the Connection?” after you see your name is mentioned more than once.
Gemini May 20 - June 20
Even though you feel selfless and enlightened when you decide to quit your job and become a fulltime Instagram influencer, it is still unclear how this new “career” is going to accomplish a socio-economic balance in the country, stop the worldwide hunger epidemic and give a teddy bear to all the children of the world like you claim. However, you have been taking great pictures of your lattes lately.
Cancer June 21 - July 22
After many years of therapy, you will finally have a life-changing breakthrough that many of your deep-seated anger issues are connected to the weird little clown doll you had as a child who sat of your bookshelf and had a faint smell of burnt hair.
Leo July 23 - August 23
Even though you have remorse for your past indiscretions and still don’t know how you will afford the lofty imminent legal fees, you will never regret spending time with Wedge; your cellmate…nay… your three-hundred-pounds of friendship who just understands you.
Virgo August 23 - September 22
Although everyone understands and appreciates your love of science, there will be a lot of uncomfortable silences and dry heaving when you reveal the body farm you installed in your backyard.
Libra September 23 - October 23
While lost in the city sewer system for several hours, you begin to question the quality of the sewer maps you appropriated from the city’s sanitation records. Subsequently, despite your greatest efforts, you still can’t find the Ninja Turtles’ secret lair.
Scorpio October 24 - November 21
You have been avoiding your life for a long time, hiding from the responsibilities and evading
life’s obligations. Now, after some self-reflection, you are ready to face life but are shocked to hear that your life has moved on and has been spending a lot of time with that guy from your algebra class.
Sagittarius November 22 - December 21
Unfortunately, you will not be known as the next David Copperfield after you attempt to demonstrate your ability to defy gravity in front of a huge group on onlookers. However, you will confirm the sheer power of gravity and what a body sounds like when it hits the ground from six stories up.
Capricorn December 22 - January 19
You will go on a very satisfying old-fashioned date to the movies with the person you love, you will whisper and giggle into each other’s ears, your fingers will graze against one another’s as you share a bag of popcorn, you will gaze into each other’s eyes in the reflection of the big screen. After the movie ends, you walk arm in arm down the sidewalk, will look over at your date and exclaim; “Thanks for the movie mom.”
Aquarius January 20 - February 18
Your mood will take a downturn when it occurs to you that the debt collector calls you so often, they know you by your nick name and always remember to ask how your mom has been doing.
Pisces February 19 - March 20
Recently you have really enjoyed your new fur throw-pillows and have discovered that you can reduce the gamey taste in meat when it is slow cooked in a crockpot with a little stock and root vegetables. And they said you’re not a cat person.Joan Remy
For those who live here and for those who wish they did.