Valley Voice July 2021

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July 2021 . Issue 10.7


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Steamboat Springs Hayden Oak Creek Yampa

Urban Farm Girlz/ Photo by Amy Rappleye


July 2021

Valley Voice

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Celebrate the 4th with Summer toys, wind chimes, flags and lots more!

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Valley Voice

July 2021


Contents Colorado's 5th Season - Wildfire Season Page 4 By Chuck Cerasoli/ Fire Chief

What We Got Done in the 2021 Session

Page 5

Receiving Social Security Benefits

Page 6

The Anger Games

Page 7

Pat Holderness: First Commissioner

Page 8

Insurrection, Revolution, Solution

Page 9

Climate Changing Threatens Us All

Page 11

Small But Mighty!

Page 12

By Dylan Roberts By Scott L. Ford

By Sean Derning

By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield By Fran Conlon

By Brodie Farquhar By Karen Vail

Publisher/Art Director: Matt Scharf Sales:

VV Assistant:

Eric Kemper

Awe-Inspiring Page 14 By Fran Conlon

Door Closes in Publishing, Another Opens Page 14 By Edith Lynn Beer

Smokey Bear Page 15 By Matt Scharf

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.

Ode to Smokey Bear

Page 15

Overnight Camping

Page 16

Explaining the Availability Heuristic

Page 17

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Once Upon a Time

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Your Monthly Message

Page 18

By Ann Ross

By Aimee Kimmey By Wolf Bennett By Joan Remy

By Chelsea Yepello

Comics Page 19

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Cover photo by Amy Rappleye. Everything America, justmissing the apple pie.

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:

The Muddy Slide Fire… Watching people treat this town like its one gigantic playground without any regard to the people who work so hard to be here… Burning through expensive moto tires… That damn “when-ever-I-want-to-start” weed eater. I need to find a cliff nearby… So you felt sorry for the bears and put sunflower seeds in the road? I don’t think you read – at all… Seems to be too many workers at the James Brown Bridge construction site to just dig a ditch… Inexperienced campers that stress the norm… Witnessing the strugglers struggle...

Raves... Rain! Glorious rain! It looks good, it smells good and it feels good. I know our terra firma loves it too… With the mask mandate gone for now, it sure is good to see smiling faces again… Riding almost 1000 miles on the dirt in five days with my old friend from high school - epic… Seeing an old friend in town that you thought moved away… Having a five year stress bubble instantly pop right in front of you…

Say What?... “You ate at Shooters? Isn’t that like donating to the Trump campaign?” “How fast is this bike? It is so fast it will pass everything except a gas station!” “Steamboat Springs is starting to feel like somewhere I have never been.”

We go to press July 30th for the August 2021 Edition! Send in your submissions by June 19th!

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July 2021

Valley Voice

City of Steamboat Springs

Colorado's 5th Season - Wildfire Season Chuck Cerasoli, Fire Chief/ Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue

The changing of the season is something that many of us love about the state, but the one season we never enjoy entering is Wildfire Season.

Muddy Slide Fire no access to your house or fuel source that has direct contact with your home.

I think I am like many of us who can still see and smell the smoke and flames from last year’s wildfire season across Colorado, let alone right in our backyard. It was one of the most active years on record for our state.

Go Bag & Escape Routes: Develop an action plan with your family that includes Where to Go; How to Get There & What to Take. Put together your Go Bag long before a wildfire or other disaster occurs and keep it easily accessible for when you must evacuate. Plan on being away for an extended period and always have two possible escape routes.

Above average temperatures and below average precipitation resulted in continued drought conditions for many, including Steamboat Springs and the surrounding areas. These ongoing conditions have ushered in wildfire season almost a month earlier than normal. In fact, there have already been more than a dozen wildfires across local fire districts and adjacent counties.

Plan for the Six P’s: Keep these six "p’s" ready in case of immediate evacuation: People, pets & livestock; Papers, phone numbers & important documents; Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses; Pictures and irreplaceable items; Personal computer hard drives and disks; and Plastic (credit & bank cards) and cash.

The City of Steamboat Springs, Routt County, National Forest and BLM lands are under fire restrictions which will be with us throughout the summer and unfortunately likely get more severe. The city has canceled fireworks for July 4th and I am strongly urging everyone to refrain from using any type of personal fireworks as well! While professional firefighters will always be on the frontlines and ready to defend our community, I call upon every resident to don their fire prevention helmet and join the cause. Be Proactive & Prepare! Below are a few quick tips to keep in mind as we ready ourselves for the possibility of wildfires and having to evacuate. Sign up for Emergency Alerts: Go to Routtcountyalerts. com to sign up to receive information and alerts regarding emergencies in your area, include evacuation and preevacuation alerts.

Help Each Other: Share information, resources and be ready to lend a hand if required. As this past pandemic year taught us, it is imperative to check in on friends, family, and neighbors. Protect your Property – Defensible Space: Creating and maintaining defensible space is essential for increasing your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. The space is needed to slow the spread of wildfire and improves the safety of firefighters defending your home. Visit for additional information on defensible space.

Fire does not know property, neighborhood, or municipal boundaries. So, we must all work together to be ready because it is not a matter of IF anymore, it is a matter of WHEN. is a great resource with additional information and please sign up for emergency alerts at so you can be quickly notified when minutes matter most.

Hardening Your Home: Flying embers can destroy homes up to a mile ahead of a wildfire. Homeowners should pay particular focus on their roof, vents, eaves and soffits, windows, decks, patio covers and fences. Ensure fire has

While I hope for the best this wildfire season, I know one thing is certain - we must prepare individually and as a community to be ready for Wildfire Season.

For those who live here and for those who wish they did.

Valley Voice

July 2021

State Representative/ Eagle and Routt Counties

What We Got Done in the 2021 Session By Dylan Roberts

In early June, the 2021 legislative session came to a close at the Capitol in Denver—it was unique, challenging, rewarding, and most importantly, productive. After a busy four and a half months, there is a lot to recap and a lot of exciting developments for Routt County and Colorado to report. This year, my colleagues and I set out to help Colorado build back stronger, and with the passage of many bipartisan bills, we did just that. For businesses, education, environment, employment, agriculture, and much, much more we allocated $800 million in economic stimulus to jump-start our economy and ensure the recovery was equitable. The state stimulus efforts ensured that the most vulnerable avoided eviction, that new workforces could be trained, that unemployment was mitigated, that our infrastructure was updated, that our schools saw improved funding, that our businesses retained employees, and that Colorado stayed strong. My own bills, SB21-291 and HB21-1263, which will support small businesses and the event and tourism industry, respectively, were a part of the economic stimulus. SB21-291 allocates $50 million in grants for businesses and $10 million to businesses that open in rural Colorado and will provide additional state dollars for every new employee hired by those rural businesses. HB21-1263 will help reinvigorate our tourism economy by providing rebates to events and venues that generate at least 25 paid overnight stays for festivals, conferences, weddings, and more. Both bills will help businesses in our community bounce back fast as Colorado recovers from the broad economic effects of the pandemic. Restaurants were one of the hardest hit industry sectors during the pandemic, and one COVID-era rule change worked incredibly well to help restaurants generate addi-

tional revenue to keep employees hired and for some, keep their doors open. That’s why I’m proud to report that my bill, HB21-1027, was passed. It will allow restaurants to continue selling to-go and delivery alcohol as an extra and crucial source of revenue for at least four more years. I also was proud to support a bill that will allow restaurants and retail stores to retain sales tax collections as a means of helping them recover from the downturn.


Beer, Wine and Spirits! Huge Selection!

Thursday - Saturday: 10am - 11pm Sunday - Wednesday: 10am - 10pm


Yummy Beer!

Along with economic recovery, I focused my efforts this year on the health of Coloradans, and am excited that two bills of mine to that effect passed. Most notable was the Colorado Option, which I’ve been working on with Sen. Kerry Donovan for several years. The passage of the Colorado Option means that finally, every county in the state will have more than one choice for health insurance on the individual and small group markets at an affordable price. The bill creates a standardized plan offered by existing insurance carriers in every county that will be 15% less expensive than current prices by 2025. Routt County consistently experiences some of the highest insurance rates in the state, largely because there is only one carrier on the individual market and a monopoly on prices—the Colorado Option will change that. Prescription drug costs also continue to be a huge burden for Coloradans. I introduced an insulin affordability bill to assist those without insurance or who are underinsured. Insulin costs are out of control in this country and for those who have diabetes, insulin is like oxygen, you cannot live without it. A drug so life-saving and one that has been around for over 100 years should not be unaffordable, but for too many it is. HB21-1307, creates the insulin affordability program in the division of insurance to supply individuals who are uninsured or underinsured with their insulin for no more than $50 a month for 12 months. I also supported a bill that will establish the Colorado Prescription Drug Affordability Board - a body that will work to reduce the prices of the most-used and most-expensive prescription drugs. Things are looking good for Colorado. We passed a balanced budget this year that completely restored and expanded investment to vital state resources like public education, affordable housing, behavioral health, water, agriculture, and much more. As we end this historic chapter at the Colorado state legislature, I am proud to report that we accomplished many of the goals we set out to achieve, but also that there is more work to do. In the interim, I look forward to speaking with you, my constituents, and turning our sights to the future needs of our communities.

Everyone loves the Colorado sunshine, even our dogs! A few Summer reminders from the Pet Kare team: NEVER leave your dog in a parked car, even in the shade with the window open. Walk your dog in the morning and evening to avoid hours of peak temperatures. Touch the pavement with the palm of your hand. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for paws!

Stay safe, and enjoy the Colorado Summer!

As always, I invite you to contact me anytime on my cell: (970) 846-3054 or email: Dylan.Roberts.House@state.

Rep. Dylan Roberts represents Routt County and Eagle County in the Colorado House of Representatives 102 Anglers Drive


When I'm ready to fight, my opponent has a better chance of surviving a forest fire wearing gasoline drawers. — Mr. T


July 2021

Valley Voice

Your Money - Your Life

Receiving Social Security Retirement Benefits and Working By Scott L. Ford

In last month’s column I discussed the pros and cons ofmaking the decision to take one’s Social Security retirement benefit before Full Retirement Age (FRA). Determining your FRA is pretty simple if you were born in 1960 or later; it is age 67. If you were born before 1955 FRA is age 66. If you were born in the five years between 1955 and 1959 there is a sliding scale used to determine your FRA. For example, currently, the FRA is 66 and 10 months for workers who become eligible for retirement benefits in 2021 (i.e., workers born in 1959).

(Note: The percentages shown do not add up to 100%. This is because about 18% of folks between age 62 and FRA are receiving Social Security disability benefits. At FRA disability payments convert to retirement benefits.)

One can begin collecting their Social Security retirement benefit as early as the month they turn age 62, although at a reduced amount. According to the Social Security Administration, as of 2020 56% of individuals eligible for a Social Security retirement benefit claimed that benefit prior to their FRA.

Just because one is collecting Social Security retirement benefits before FRA does not mean that they should not consider continuing to work for pay. There is, however, only so much pay one can receive before Social Security benefits being received are reduced.

The decision to take one’s Social Security retirement benefit prior to FRA has a lot more to do with one’s cash flow situation vs. any type of breakeven analysis. Simply put, “I need the money now!” This is the reality for many that make the decision to take their benefit before FRA.

Age at Which Social Security Retirement Benefits are Claimed Age 70


Age 67, 69

4% 18%

Age 66 (FRA)


Age 65 Age 64


Age 63

6% 34%

Age 62 0%







Working While Collecting Social Security Retirement Benefits

Age 62

Age 66

Early Retirement Age

Full Retirement Age (FRA)

Possible reduction in benefits from working

No reduction in benefits from working

For those who live here and for those who wish they did.


In 2021 if one recives over $18,960 the current threshold in pay prior to their FRA their Social Security retirement benefit is reduced by $1 for every two dollars above that amount. As an example let’s assume that Billy Bob made the decision to collect his Social Security retirment prior to FRA. Let’s also assume that the amount of benefit he received was $1,000 per month ($12,000 per year). He also decided to continue to work and he recived $28,960 in pay. At this amount of pay he would be $10,000 over the earnings threshold ($28,960 - $18,960 = $10,000). His annual Social Security benefit would be reduced by $5,000 ($10,000 /2 - $5,000). So instead of receiving $12,000 in benefit he would receive $7,000 ($12,000 - $5,000). If he was paid in 2021 $42,960 or more, he would receive none of his $12,000 in annual Social Security benefit ($42,960 - $18,960 = $24,000 /2 = $12,000). The amount of reduced benefits are restored after reaching FRA based on a Social Security Administration formula that takes a big white board to illustrate. However, rest assured that the amount of benefit reduction does not simply disapear into the Social Security Administration “Black Hole.” You get the dollars back, although over a long period of time provided you live long enough. It is important to keep in mind that this is not an all or nothing proposition. In the case of Billy Bob, he could work during the winter season and earn upto $18,960 dollars and also continue to receive his full Social Security retirement benefit of $1,000 per month. Assuming he worked full time from November – April (22 weeks) and worked 40 hours per week at $18 per hour he will earn $15,840 (40hrs x 22 weeks = 880hrs X $18 = $15,840). This amount is below the earnings threshold of $18,960 so there would be no reduction in monthly social security benefits. So between what he is getting paid during this 22 week period for work plus his Social Security benefit he would have received $20,840 ($15,840 + 5 months at $1,000 per month). Not a bad deal. After reaching FRA the earnings threshold from working no longer applies.

(Note: Keep in mind that everybody’s situation is different, which makes the calculations different. The benefit amounts and math shown in the example above is illustrative only.) There is a potential landmine associated with working and receiving Social Security retirement benefits. Let’s say you started receiving retirement benefits at age 62 and continued to work and earned enough that your benefit was reduced or perhaps eliminated. It often takes the Social Security Administration a year or two to discover you were working at the same time as receiving the full Social Security retirement benefits you are eligible for. Once discovered, however, they will ask for the overpayment back and give you 30 days to pay it. It is easy for the overpayment to be several thousand dollars. Ouch!! This is often an unpleasant surprise

Next Month – Social Security’s Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) or what happens when you worked for a public employer who does not participate in the Social Security system and yet you paid into Social Security.

Valley Voice

July 2021


Don't Get Me Started

The Anger Games By Sean Derning

in line covering the ears of their children. How many of those little tykes will be asking what those words mean on the drive home?” “Who needs a rodeo when you’ve got animals like this in town?” said Winky. “And look! Ms. Sequin Top is walking away but not before throwing up the middle finger!” “Look at the diamonds on that hand,” said Torgmor. “Surprised she doesn’t have carpal tunnel syndrome from lifting that.” “No, but there’s been lots of other cutting and pasting done on that body,” said Winky. “Folks, we’ve got a live breaking story from Howelsen Hill!” said Hammer. “We’ve got two alpha males standing in line at the free concert beer tent,” said Hammer. “One is in shorts and a Houston Astros t-shirt and the other is sporting a Bass Pro Shops t-shirt and jeans. Not sure what caused the altercation but it appears someone cut in line.” “They are right in each other’s faces!” said Winky. “I’m wondering if we can get a slow-motion of the Houston Astro? There! Watch how his beer belly seems to magically rise to his chest as he puffs it out.”

Later this month the world will be watching all the pomp, drama, elation and agony the Summer Olympics has to offer. As Steamboat has a rich history in producing Winter Olympic athletes, this year’s Summer Olympics should keep many locals tuned in and inspired by the efforts put forward by the world’s best. But before we get to the Olympics, our town must clear its own hurdle. The Fourth of July Weekend tests the mettle of every local, when the town is invaded by pleasure seekers looking to sample a Rocky Mountain weekend that sets itself apart from so many other communities; the parade, the fireworks, the music, the food. And with this influx of visitors come challenges that run the gamut from battling for parking, aggressive behavior at local businesses and outdoor assertiveness. As the Olympics focus on physical competition, we should look at in-town sparring that focuses on verbal competition, more notably, verbal abuse. We will call this The Anger Games. Unassuming contestants will be judged on their performances and will include points for volume of profanity, creativity (using hand gestures, body language, etc) and level of event escalation. However, anyone initiating physical violence will be immediately disqualified from the competition. Winners will be announced as Meat Heads, with award packages that include a $5 gift certificate to Steamboat Meat and Seafood, a free consultation at the Buddhist Center of Steamboat and a one way Greyhound bus ticket out of town. The Anger Games will be shown on local TV and for the first time ever will utilize drone technology, covering the aggressive behavior and language live as it unfolds. There will be several commentators working the booth and analysis will be shared in real time. One question that stands is who should lead the commentary? Local legendary hall of fame sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist was approached but he called the idea, “sophomoric. A poor reflection of our society.” So in the

quest to find talent, we found three willing participants to take the plunge. Bill “The Hammer” Hayden threw the hammer at the Seoul Olympics track and field competition. His partner in crime is Uli Torgmor, a former luge Olympian who cashed in on his Olympic fame with a major endorsement from a gourmet donut company and has now traded his chiseled physique for a chunky one. And completing the lineup is Phyllis “Winky” Winkowski, a synchronized yoga practitioner who is confident she would have made the Olympic team had the sport actually been an Olympic event. The broadcast will unfold like this;

“Looks like a mating sage grouse,” said Hammer. “Crew, this is great stuff so far. Two grown men about to be charged with assault after standing in line for a $7 Bud Light? I haven’t seen this much illogical reasoning since the last Tweet from the Trump administration.” “And we’ve got another fuse being lit!” said Torgmor. “This one is taking place on Yampa Street and we have audio with this one. We’ve got an out of state plated Chevy Malibu owner having words with a Honda minivan that has the windows decorated for the baseball tournament. It appears the minivan just poached the Malibu’s parking spot by pulling a daring 180 degree turn from the oncoming lane. Let’s join the action!”

“Good afternoon everyone!” said Hammer, “I’m Bill “The Hammer” Hayden and I’m being joined by my cohosts Uli Torgmor and Winky Winkowski. Folks, we’ve got a lot of ingredients stewing in the pot so far to make these Anger Games one for the record books.”

“Is that your kid’s jersey number or his I.Q.?” said Malibu. “Your kid couldn’t hit his way out of a paper bag!”

“We sure do, Hammer,” said Torgmor. “Contributing factors towards an upcoming debacle include such factors as a fading full moon, midday temperatures have been high and folks still want to quench their thirsts after three or four consecutive happy hours.”

“Oh! Smack!” said Winky. “Now Malibu has reached into the minivan and has tried to throttle the driver! That’s a clear disqualification as I see it, wouldn’t you guys?”

“Yes the temps have been high, Uli,” said Hammer. “But these participants will eventually be going to Hell anyway. Proper hydration has been thrown to the wind and acclimation has been completely ignored. It’s shaping up to be a doozy.”

“Well, judges, time for a drumroll to announce this year’s winner,” said Hammer. “Any nominees, crew?”

“For our first event, we’ve got a scenario unfolding at a local grocery store,” said Winky. “It appears that one woman has gotten in the face of another for having 12 items in the 10 item checkout lane. One is wearing a red, white and blue sequin top and the other is wearing a cowboy hat, denim shirt with pearl buttons and an embroidered horse on the back.”

“I’m going for the grocery cat fight,” said Winky. “There has to be extra points for the hand gesture.”

“Saucer of milk for two, Hammer?” said Torgmor. “Oh, there we go! Situation is escalating as I can see mothers

“Like the bag that should be put over your wife’s head?” said minivan.

“Totally,” said Hammer and Torgmor in tandem.

“The chest puffer had amazing composure with his weight shifting abilities,” said Torgmor.

“I agree,” said Hammer. “So our two naughty kitties take this year’s Meat Head award. We hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s presentation on abhorrent social behavior with Uli, Winky and myself. Tune in next year when The Anger Games again expose the best in dysfunctional adult entertainment in the Yampa Valley.”

The money that goes into Social Security is not the government's money. it's your money. You paid for it. — Mitch McConnell


July 2021

Valley Voice

Bonnifield Files

Pat Holderness: Routt County's First County Commissioner By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield

firmly established in the community. Both Ward and Amy were enterprising. Their home place on the "old" Hayden-Craig road became a stopping place for travelers. Amy raised and sold home nursery plants, hade a large garden and delivered eggs, milk, and produce to Hayden residents.

Pat Holderness

Pat's dad, Jack served in the US Marine Corps during World War I and sent the bulk of his wages home for his parents to save for him. On being discharged he purchased a dryland homestead two miles southwest of Hayden. (At one time the Hayden area was dominated by dryland wheat farm, although sheep and cattle were raised. In the Hayden region the sheep and cattle wars are highly exaggerated, and after 1920 Hayden was a large sheep shipping center.)

Photo courtesy of the Tread of Pioneers Museum The Holderness family name is among the oldest in Routt County. Patricia (Pat) May Holderness was born May 1, 1929 in the Solandt Hospital in Hayden. Four of her five children were also born in the same delivery room. After the hospital closed the delivery room became her office when she was directed the Northwest Mental Health and Visiting Nurse. Many years later, with tongue in cheek, she mused, "It might be said that I labored mightily there." So did a lot of other women. Her father Jack was also born in the Solandth Hospital, March 28, 1900. Reward, (Ward) Holderness arrived in Colorado in 1880, and by 1883 was working as a cowboy for the Two Bars (Carry Ranch west of town) and the Sevens Ranch north of Hayden. Ward married Amy Collom and they homesteaded at the head of Holderness Gulch on the divide between Hayden and Breeze Basin. After proving up on the homestead and having three little girls they traded homesteads for 160 acres west of Hayden and became

Jack was one of those unique people who see opportunity during adversity. The 1920s were difficult years for homesteaders and especially dryland farmers. (No irrigated fields) Grain prices fell, crop yield was down, crickets invades, and homesteaders were abandoning their claims. Only the most resourceful and lucky survived. Jack was both. Years later, a close friend, Bob Barnes, noted, "Anything Jack Holderness touched turned to money." He was honest and alert, and he was also a good poker player. He sold and purchased various farm and ranches. Recognizing the shift from horse power and large equipment he opened and operated a Minneapolis-Moline tractor and farm equipment business, ran a natural gas business and sold and installed gas stoves, and at various times owned cafes and bars. He believed that instead of working for money his money should work for him. He was also deeply involved in the community life of Hayden. Jack married Thelma Toland on July 24, 1928. To the union were born three daughters, Patricia, (Pat), Jacquelyn (Jackie), and Janice. In the 1920s and 30s, although not a new frontier, Routt County remained a frontier, and few county roads were opened during the winter and spring. But being young and full of life Jack and Thelma joined in the social life of Hayden and west Routt County. The children were bundled up and placed behind the seat of a cutter Jack built. One of Pat's fondest memories was peeking out from under the driving robes and watching the night sky. Despite the limited and dangerous travel conditions each Christmas the family drove to the grandparents ranch on Divide Creek near Rifle. One year, on a slick bit of road the car spun out of control. The children were told to get down and hang on. Instead Jackie stood up and excitedly laughed, asking after they stopped if they could do it again.

For those who live here and for those who wish they did.

While on the farm, although the children were small they roamed far and wide. The children reaching school age, and parents wanted to get closer to civilization, Jack traded for land nearer Hayden and the girls attended the Edison school, later they moved into town where the girls attended high school. In high school Pat was a bit of a rebel, not a bad rebel. She, like many girls of the time found the restraints placed on them unfair and oppressive. Their were no girls sports, basketball or volleyball, and the dress code and "proper conduct for girls" was pure Victorian upper crust snob. Although she was a cheerleader, that was proper for girls, she had bigger dreams. Graduating in 1947, she did the unthinkable. With visions of being another Madam Curie, she enrolled at University of Colorado as a chemistry major. In 1947, few boys and even fewer girls went to college. In fact, it was common for boys to quit school after the eight grade and go to work in the mines, woods, or railroad. Graduating from high school was considered a major achievement. She attended CU only one year before falling in love with a World War II veteran, Wes Signs, and although not admitting it at the time, Hayden held a special place in her heart. The first years of their marriage was spent at Colorado A&M where Wes, taking advantage of the GI Bill, studied Civil Engineering and Pat gave birth to her first two children of five. Pat believed her children were her greatest achievement. After graduating Wes went to work for the Soil Conservation Service and became Division Water Engineer for the state. The couple, in 1952, purchased the Clark Dairy immediately west of Hayden. Pat and the kids raised beef cattle, chickens, and hay. No dairy cows. By 1952, regulations for safe milk was fast replacing small dairies. Besides milking cows twice a day, everyday, is a lot of work, time specific, and every day. Keeping with the times, Pat moved away from beef cattle to sheep. Never a large herd of either. Not one to set a home, she was involved with 4-H, the county fair, swimming instructor, and the American Legion Auxiliary. She was active in the Make-it-With-Wool program, becoming state secretary. When her youngest child began kindergarten, she found she had "to much" time on her hands, so she became a reporter and all round person for the Hayden Valley Press. It was a job she truly enjoyed because it put her directly in contact with people and events in Hayden and western Routt County. The newspaper was never able to get a solid foothold, and after two years Pat moved on to the Northwest Mental Health and Visiting Nurse. Where here she remained for the next twelve years. After twenty-nine years of marriage she and Wes divorced. Wes was convinced that at times his wife was a hard women to live with. The civil rights movement of the 1960s and 70s was one of the greatest social, political, and economic upheaval in modern world history.

Valley Voice

The racial injustice of segregation for Afro-Americans was only part of the tumultuous period. Here in Routt County Latinos were striving for equal rights and job opportunities. On the railroad Latinos were employed as heavy labor section men, but they could not be locomotive engineers or other "white" men's jobs. Any women who went to work at the coal mines except as secretary faced a living hell from the men. Profession were closed to them, veterinarian practice, insurance agent, school principal or superintendent. Women had enough of men's domination and b.s. They stood up on their legs and fought back. And did they. They wore miniskirt, burned their bras, took the pill, picked their men, openly cohabited, mixed race marriage, used naughty words, and told the old man to fix his own supper and change the baby's dippers. For the past sixty years factions of society have been trying to put lighting back in the bottle. No doubt their personal lives was caught in the vortex. Following the divorce, Pat once again enroled in college, this time studying urban horticulture. Returning to Hayden, she opened the Dry Creek Nursery and landscaping business. She relished more to do, she became active in perceiving the historical record. Perhaps her most lasting and important accomplishments was as Program Director for the published "History of Hayden & West Routt County 1876-1989." Although she was program director, the book was truly a huge community effort. Anyone wanting to know and experience the story of the region must look through the book. Routt County politics was closed for women. In the early 1970s, a well respected and well known women, Margaret Rossi ran for county commissioner as a democrat. Although fully qualified she faced strong opposition. Besides gender Margaret belonged in the wrong social strata. She was the wife of a starvation rancher near Crosho Lake west of Phippsburg, no shine and glitter. She lost in the primary election. In 1979, Pat decided to run for county commissioner. Despite the fact she was not an experienced politician, she had all the right fundamentals, Routt County Planning Commission, president of Hayden Chamber of Commerce, business owner, rancher, third generation county resident, knew every important person and called them by name. Despite her obvious qualifications, she faced strong bias. One former commissioner told her, "When the Romans let women in government, that was the end of government." She faced serious opposition from other women who felt she was being a radical trouble maker. It was a close race, but in January 1980 Pat Holderness became Routt County's first women commissioner. Although serving only one term, Pat was highly successful in addressing complex problems of growth, transportation, coal mining and sharp budget restrictions. Her term was during the Reagan Recession and budget cuts. Due to changes in national clean air policies, Routt County coal mining nearly closed. Pat successful election opened the door and soon afterwards Nancy Stahoviak was elected, and she stayed a long time. Today gender is no longer an issue in county politics. We simply consider all government workers, elected and non-elected evil.

July 2021



Insurrection, Revolution, Solution By Fran Conlon

Times are tense with partial notions, Words exchanged without real hearing, Allegations drawn with strange emotions, Thoughtful philosophy gets a jeering. With skepticism, I see a new claimed view, Tho many thoughts it will upset, Under the sun, is it really new? Or, with time will come unplanned regret? For sure, there is now a big up-roaring, No call is given for a pause and reflection, More's the demand; not a quiet imploring, No promise made of a wise selection. So, hesitation is my living stance, A slow response to a hasty call. I hear instead the distant quiet dance, Where beauty moves beyond the gall. A charitable view: all this is not a sin, But trying out a new paradigm. (There might, of course, be a tussle, Better to just let the papers russle.)

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July 2021

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Climate Changing Threatens Us All


We’ve moved to 3150 Ingles Lane! Cannabis Dispensary

By Brodie Farquhar

Twenty-some years ago, my editor at the Casper StarTribune pulled me and a photographer aside and said he’d like us to spend the next week with the Bureau of Land Management, to earn our wildfire-fighting Red Cards. He didn’t want us out on the line in the event of a wildfire in Wyoming, but he wanted us to understand what wildfires were doing and facing. It was a challenging week. I was 49 at the time, and while the classroom work, discussions and readings were good, the physical work, training and tests left me a sweating, panting mess. We learned how to understand and anticipate fire behavior, how to read the terrain, looking at the slope of hills and mountain-sides, the aspect or orientation of the land to the sun, how to evaluate the dryness of grasses, shrubs and trees, the impact of wind and wind direction on fire. We read and discussed case studies of wildfires, studied what made them behave the way they did. We looked at disasters, where wildfire fighters made mistakes, or got the wrong information and were killed by fires that blew up and raced across a hillside. Years later, I did my own readings, notably “Fire on the Mountain,” by John Norman Maclean, about the 1994 fire near Glenwood Springs on Storm King Mountain, which killed a crew of 14. Evidence suggests the crew leader was checking on his team along a trail, to see if they were properly sheltered in their “shake ‘n bake” bags of heat reflective material. The evidence was razor blades from his plastic carpet knife along the trail, meaning he was moving in temperatures that melted his knife. We also learned how to read a neighborhood, how to evaluate how vulnerable a structure is, whether it would burn, whether it has defensible space around it, or is right next to pine trees or firewood stacks that could catch fire. On the physical side, we learned how to cut and dig a line through the woods, right down to plain dirt and rock, how to sift through char for live coal with bare hands, how to deploy and get into a shelter when seconds count. Finally, we had to pass a physical fitness test: haul a 50-pound pack for three miles, in 45 minutes.


I made it, but with only seconds to spare. I earned my Red Card, but never went out to fight a fire – only to observe and report, understand what was happening around me and hopefully not get killed. Since then, fire behavior and how fire fighters understand and fight fires, has radically changed for the worse. It is hotter and drier and fire behavior is faster. A 1990s fire that might take several days to reach 10,000 acres can now do it in hours in 2021. We’ve lost more individual firefighters and entire crews. We’ve lost entire towns and neighborhoods, breaking records for number of fires throughout the West. Fire season is now year-round. Intense fires now burn out all organic matter and life in the soil, leaving lands that take longer to recover in a sterile soil matrix.

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Here in the Yampa Valley, we are in the grip of a drought that is breaking records that old-time ranching families have never seen. Water rights and management from peaks to streams and rivers all the way down to Nevada, Arizona and California are going through major, disruptive changes. Smoke from fires is becoming a daily reality. I look at neighborhoods on Steamboat slopes and see a wide range of conditions. Some are pretty defensible from wildfire, while others clearly are not. When, not if a wildfire roars up and threatens local homes and neighborhoods, some can be saved and others cannot. Fire managers will not send crews in to save your multi-million dollar “log cabin” in the woods, if it is primed to burn due to construction materials, wood-shake roofs and beautiful landscaping.

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If all this sounds alarmist to you, you simply haven’t been paying attention to the changing world around you. Call your fire department for a “Fire Wise” assessment of your property and recommendations for how you can make it defensible against the ravages of wildfire. It may be inconvenient, even expensive and may dramatically change the appearance of your buildings and landscaping. But if you do it, you increase the odds of not losing it all when wildfire comes roaring your way. Fire is coming.

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Climate change is happening, humans are causing it, and I think this is perhaps the most serious environmental issue facing us. — Bill Nye


July 2021

Valley Voice

'Boat Almanac

Small But Mighty! By Karen Vail

Photos by Karen Vail

Globally there are around 11,000 moss species, 7,000 liverworts and 220 hornworts. In Colorado mosses are the most common bryophytes, followed by far fewer liverworts and only two listed hornworts. In Weber and Wittman’s book “Bryophytes of Colorado, they ask ,'How did these species get here'? They probably were here in the first place, having once occupied much larger territories dating back to times when the continents were joined.” Yep, these guys are old, baby, old! Most scientists support the movement to land by early liverworts around 480 million year ago, although there is a lot of banter about the evolutionary line.

Rock Moss I was sitting on a rock having a lunch break and noticed a dry fluff of grayish-green hugging the stone. Curious as to how fast this tuft of moss would revive, I dabbed a couple of drops of water on it and it was instantaneous; a flush of needle green leaves erupted out of the dry mound. Wowzer!! So, of course, it was time for some sleuthing! So many questions! A little background is in order. Mosses are clumped together with liverworts and hornworts into the division of plants called bryophytes. These are the simplest plants growing on land and in water. It is believed they are the closest relatives of early terrestrial plants, although very few fossils are available to study because of their soft tissues. We are familiar with vascular plants, those that have tissues to conduct water and nutrients, but bryophytes lack transportive tissues like roots, stems and leaves, so are considered non-vascular. Because of this and the lack of supportive lignin they tend to be very small; the tallest species found in tropical forests are around two feet tall. Since they don’t need roots, they can grow in places other plants typically can’t such as rock walls, pavement, etc. Bryophytes thrive in damp, shady environments, but are also found in deserts and alpine habitats.

Finding bryophytes is pretty easy. I love scrounging around wet areas looking for green mats of mosses or leathery looking leaves of liverworts. But don’t overlook the fuzzy mounds on rock faces or in your patio bricks. What you are seeing are water absorbing leaves. Since they do not have roots and stems water and minerals are directly absorbed through their tissues. They also have unique root-like structures called rhizoids that serve as hold fasts to a substrate and to absorb water. Unfortunately, they don’t have any way of retaining that water, so if things become dry they enter a water-stressed state called desiccation. In mosses there is a drought-tolerant moss and desiccationtolerant moss where the drought-tolerant mosses can withstand brief periods without water, but desiccationtolerant mosses can withstand total water loss. The latter can be smushed up in your hand to a dry powder. Add water and it immediately begins producing proteins to rebuild itself. That is tough!! (“Moss Helps Chart the Conquest of Land by Plants” Science Daily, February 9, 2010) (And that is the tough little moss on my lunch rock (Coscinodon calyptratus, just in case you were curious). Here is your word of the month: poikilohydric. Yes, say it out loud cuz’ it’s really fun! This is when an organism’s water content changes with the surrounding environmental moisture. Moist environment, moist organisms; dry environment, dry organisms. Most scientists believe that poikilohydry enabled the bryophytes to move to land. Bryophytes are not flowering plants but produce spores instead of seeds. Like vascular plants, their life cycle involves two distinct stages or an alternation of generations, each with a distinct form. These are the sporophytes and gametophytes generations, named after what each phase produces.

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Liverwort antheridum (male) The sporophyte phase produces spores that develop into new plants, the gametophyte phase is the adult plant that produces the gametes (or haploid) cells that fuse together to form viable spore (or diploid cells). All right, here we go. A miniscule spore germinates to produce the protonema, like a seedling in a flowering plant. This small, threadlike protonema develops into the adult gametophyte looking like our mosses and liverworts. Adult gametophytes can produce male or female organs, and sometimes both sexes, on the same plant. The female organ, called an archegonium, contains a single egg, the male organ, called an antheridium, contains many cells that develop into sperm. A mature archegonium releases fluid that attracts the sperm to the egg, and once fertilization occurs the sporophyte begins to develop. The sporophyte is totally dependent on the leafy gametophyte to develop, and most sporophytes grow into long stalks topped with a sporangium. These can be little spikes, or cute little umbrellas, etc. Most bryophytes require the sporangium for classification if you are patient enough to go through the process! The liverworts are kind of cool in that they have male and female gametophytes. If you examine their funny leaves you will notice two different looking “umbrellas” above the green; one is the female archegonial head and the other is the male antheridial head. The sperm are carried by wind or water to the egg of another plant. The egg is fertilized and an embryo is formed. This is the sporophyte and is microscopic. The mature sporophyte, called the seta, is totally dependent on the gametophyte for food and survival and lives its entire life in the archegonium until being released as haploid spores growing into gametophytes. Liverworts also reproduce asexually by producing small cups on their leaves called gemma cups. These contain clusters of cells called gemma that are dispersed when rain splashes them out of the cup where they grow into gametophytes if conditions are right. Moss is similar in producing male and female parts on the same or, more commonly, separate plants.

Valley Voice

July 2021


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Liverwort archegonium (female) Often the antheridium forms a “splash cup” with specialized leaves forming a rosette to hold water because this fertilization requires water to move the sperm to the egg by splashing water droplets. After fertilization a moss sporophyte forms looking like hair with a little capsule on top. The tip of the capsule has a set of “teeth” called the peristome that opens when conditions are dry releasing the spores. Like the liverworts, mosses can reproduce asexually when apart breaks off and grows into a new genetically identical plant. Small but mighty, as they play such an important role in the environment and for us humans. Bryophytes colonize sterile soils (e.g., after a fire) quickly because of the vast distribution of their spores (often into different countries!) laying the groundwork for new plants to grow. They can act like sponges, briefly storing water and

nutrients and providing shelter for many invertebrates. Because they often grow in hostile environments, they are important soil stabilizers. The presence and diversity of bryophytes in an ecosystem is helpful in assessing the productivity and nutrient status of a forest. Bryophytes are used to monitor sulfur dioxide in polluted air, copper in mine tailing waters and indicate acid rain and polluted water sources. Many people add peat moss to their gardens because of its water absorbing capacity, and sphagnum moss, which holds up to 30 times its weight in water, has many uses. Bryophyte-derived products are being used to soak up oil and pollution spills. In parts of the globe where woody plants are scare and bryophytes common, these tiny plants are used in the construction of houses and furnishings. Bryophytes rule!! So, take a closer look at those tiny green things. I’ll see you (on your hands and knees) on the trails!


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July 2021

Paying it Forward

Valley Voice


U.S. Book Show

Awe-Inspiring When One Door Closes in Publishing S By Fran Conlin B Another Opens By Edith Lynn Beer

Bookouture was not there but Hachette offered to send a message to them. If you were interested in a book on display you could tap on it, and voila, it would be mailed to you. You could go on Zoom to the auditorium where Elizabeth Warren was talking about her book, Pinkie Promise, and Oprah Winfrey, addressed us as “fellow book nerds” before she talked about the book, What Happened To You? which Bruce D. Perry wrote with her. There were panels galore voicing opinions on Publishing’s Shift to Digital, Data, and Discovery, Political Books: What Does the PostTrump Landscape Hold? and The Future of the Publishing Office. Some years ago, I was house sitting with Emerson and Hazen, my two young grandchildren. Emerson and I were in the backyard as a helicopter flew over, a bit low, on the way to the University of Utah Medical Center. I said the word “helicopter” for Emerson; it was a tough word for his young tongue. Aboard the helicopter, I suspected, was the small ice-chest and harvested organ, all bound for the medical transplant unit at the hospital, and the awaiting medical team. A life lost, a donation made, a chance to continue life anew in another human being—I felt awe-struck. I had finished a book, Change of Heart, wherein a young woman, a dancer by vocation, undergoes a heart-lung transplant operation. It was a complex procedure in that day, but successful. Another awe-inspiring moment for me; however, with her recovery some eccentric changes began.

Yes, it’s true, the traditional “Book Expo American” is gone. Without hesitation “Publishers Weekly” stepped in to replace BEA with “U.S. Book Show.” The exhibitions were on Zoom this past May 25, 26 and 27th. I did not see all the book companies participating such as Penguin Random House at the show. On the other hand Hachette, Macmillan, Gray Wolf, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Skyhorse Publishing, OR/M, to name a few, plus a lot of companies offering self-publishing, did take visual spots. The way these exhibitions worked was that you logged in on your computer or tablet to the show and then tapped on the name of the book company or organization you wished to visit, and a list of titular heads came up. You could then send a message. I did approach Hachette to ask them if Bookouture, a company they had bought, was there.

The times I Zoomed in to “U.S. Book Show” there were over 600 Zoom visitors. If you are a book lover you can go on You Tube and listen to all the talks. “U.S. Book Show” promises on-demand post-conference viewing: May 28 – August 31, 2021. What was it like visiting the show on Zoom? Mostly, my feet appreciated it. You could click on the word café which showed up like an abandoned stage scenery empty of people with different types of coffee on display. The auditorium let you listen to whatever guest speaker’s name you clicked on. If you did it while they were speaking you could submit a question. Still I missed sitting next to someone in an auditorium, missed the whispered opinions, missed seeing my fellow writer friends, missed lining up to have an author sign his/her book, missed asking questions to the editors eye ball to eyeball, missed handing out my business card embossed with names of my books. There’s always next year. In the meantime a big thank you to Publishers Weekly for keeping the idea of a book expo alive.

She had a taste for chicken nuggets (new, for her), she liked the sight of motorcycles (also, new for her). By a series of synchronous events, she made contact with the parents of the organ donor, whose name was “Tim.” Tim had a taste for chicken nuggets and rode a motorcycle that was involved in his fatal accident. The young lady slowly resumed her dance training and routine. In one particular vivid and lucid dream, she is dancing with Tim. The dance routine is a bit strenuous in the dream state of consciousness, and with a strong inhaling breath she breathes Tim into herself, totally.

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Now, the symbolic assimilation of “Tim” into the body of the young dancer and the exhilaration at hand is hard to avoid. Seemingly, the two become “one” in some hybrid conscious unity. It seems, too, awe-inspiring, as if two dimensions unify, and a given purpose and design will continue. Life experiences, both personal and encounters with nature, seem to be open to the awe-inspiring state of consciousness. Probably the awe-inspiring phenomenon transcends cultural boundaries. It might be universal to living beings. That, too, might be an awe-inspiring thought.

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Valley Voice

July 2021


The Real Deal

Smokey Bear By Matt Scharf

Smokey Bear, the living symbol. Photo courtesy of the New Mexico State Forestry

Judy Bell with Smokey Bear in 1950

him to Washington DC to enhance the message of fire prevention. He became the “living symbol” of fire prevention in the U.S. Smokey toured and enlightened the crowds while on furlough from the zoo. As attractive as he was, he was a very grumpy bear all the way to his last day. It could have been the burns he suffered in 1950.

Photo courtesy of the New Mexico State Forestry

It’s really hard to think of fire season when the weather in Steamboat Springs has been wetter than normal this year. Regardless, we still cannot forget to be careful when enjoying the outdoors. Campgrounds are at capacity all over the state, so please watch your campfires and other hot things. The first fire prevention campaign started in earnest in 1943. This campaign started off depicting our enemies, Germany and Japan, as causing fires in America. The belief was that wildfires took our soldiers off the battlefield and into the forests to help put out fires here in the United States. In 1944, Smokey Bear made his first illustrated poster appearance advising the public about the importance of careless campfires and its dangers. This message has continued ever since. You still see Smokey Bear imagery everywhere. Have you see the Smokey hot air balloon floating over Steamboat Springs? Ann Ross has. In 1950, there was a large fire in the Capitan Mountains, just north of Capitan, New Mexico that injured a bear cub along with a lot of other wildlife in the area. This little cub was found and nursed back to health in Capitan. They named him appropriately, “Smokey.” The idea was to send

Smokey lived for 26 years in the Washington DC Zoo. When he died, the zoo officials in DC called to see if the Smokey Bear Historical Park wanted him back. A resounding vote of yes put Smokey on a plane to Albuquerque, N.M. They picked him up, put him in the back of a station wagon, and drove directly to Capitan. It’s a long, hot three-hour drive south of Albuquerque. They drove at high speeds to get there because Smokey had the “stink.” He was buried quickly in the park’s outdoor plaza at midnight without any fanfare in 1976. At that time, the Smokey Bear Historical Park was just a small outdoor plaza where Smokey was buried and a small cabin where they sold all the trinkets you would expect. On the other side of the plaza was the main building. It was an empty space with a fake fire pit in the middle of the floor where the Park Rangers would sit around telling visitors the story of Smokey Bear. In 1998 the Park received a large grant to upgrade the museum and its message. I felt honored getting hired to design this iconic story. It was three years of fact-finding, space-planning, exhibit design and a whole lot of graphic design to layout the panels. It included a small theater with a movie on the history of Smokey Bear, interactive displays, sound domes and a large diorama. It was a huge project! Twenty-one years later, Bennie Long, the current curator of the Park, contacted me to upgrade some panels, which also included redesigning the front entrance. I had to complete the project in less than a month and had to squeeze it in between the production deadlines of the Valley Voice!

One of the many exhibits within the museum.

If you ever get that far south in New Mexico, please visit the museum in Capitan and know that there is a small connection to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It’s worth the visit.


Ode to Smokey Bear By Ann Ross

Why do I love Smokey Bear? Tree huggers will know and care! Love pine sweet aroma after rain Green branches reach for blue Forests talk to tree listeners Hot temps earth water drain FIRE ALERT! MOUNTAINS 35 fighters and cub bear Live to tell deadly red danger, Firefighters stomach down hug earth Baby bear clings on ravaged tree Paws, legs bad burns, crying. Trip burn center in Santa Fe Regrowth of tissue “ Ole” Washington DC national zoo to live Death 1976 New Mexico return Smokey Bear historical park. Ranger hat, blue jeans and shovel View bear symbol to remember , “Only you can prevent careless fires” National Park Service needs help ! Save the trees, breathe clean air!

Previously printed August 2019

Zoo animals are ambassadors for their cousins in the wild. — Jack Hanna


July 2021

Valley Voice

Tales from the Front Desk

Overnight Camping By Aimee Kimmey

They re-adjusted their finances and bought themselves a brand new RV. The kids were elated; they'd barely left it since school let out. Jack decided the annual family reunion was the ideal maiden voyage. His brothers would gasp jealously, his parents would commend them on the smart buy, the cousins would titter about how cool it was... The rest of the Millers had booked rooms in the same old place, but Suzy and Jack hadn't bothered with reservations. They would simply make themselves at home where ever they parked. The drive was harder than they'd expected. It seemed that they weren't the only ones with the RV dream. They battled city traffic all the way to the resort where the Miller family stayed. The parking lot was so packed, Suzy barely got the RV turned around. She had to block a row of cars just so they could run in and say "Hi."

The story you are about to read is true. More or less... Without a doubt, last year was tough. Like the rest of the world, Suzy and Jack realized they had been missing precious opportunities to seize life. Thus their RV dream was born. Imagine all the places they could go with the comforts of home wherever they stopped?

The family came out to ogle the new RV, but one of the other guests screamed at them for blocking his car. Jack's older brother suggested a camp ground across town, so they loaded up the kids and set out. The man at the KOA burst into laughter when they asked for a site. Like every other camp ground in the state, he had been sold out since February.

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M No problem, they thought, we're self contained, all we need is a place to park. Easy enough. They nudged back into bumper to bumper traffic and creeped uncomfortably through the mess of humanity and cars to search for a parking spot, any spot. They were beginning to loose hope when they noticed a wide open stretch of pavement on the edge of town. It was the ice rink lot, perfect! Who ice skated in July anyway? Jack pulled across two spots in the back, near some huge oak trees. There was plenty of shade and good mountain views... it was hard to believe no one else had thought to camp here! As they were settling in, a police car pulled up next to them. An officer got out and greeted them with a smile, "You, uh, know there's no overnight parking within the city limits, right?" No, actually, they hadn't known. The officer kindly explained that overnight parking was illegal in most public parking lots. Their RV dream began to crumble. If they couldn't find place to park, vacation would be ruined. They would have to go home, they'd miss the family reunion. The kids would be crushed! Suzy and Jack frantically grabbed their phones. They called every business in the area, begging for a parking space. Every one was the same story: no way, no how! Dialing the last hotel on their list, Suzy was near tears, "Is there any way we can pay to park our RV in your lot for this week?" She pleaded. The clerk thought a bit, "Well if you paid for a room, I can't see why not." "Praise Jesus!" Suzy gasped. "Is one available?" "Sure," The clerk answered, "We keep one open for emergencies." At the hotel, they found a spot near a small patch of lawn reserved for hotel guests. Relief washed over them as they checked in. Their room was unimpressive, but they could care less. At last they'd found a place to legally park the RV overnight, vacation was saved! By the end of the week, the whole Miller family was gathering at the RV, sipping cocktails under the awning and enjoying the cool mountain nights while grilling up dinner. Suzy, Jack, and the kids slept in the RV, and lounged the hotel's pool. They used their room to shower. It turned out to be the most relaxing family reunion ever. They all decided that next year's reunion the whole family should have RVs. Jack promised to make reservations early!

109 East Main St Oak Creek, Colorado 80467 970-736-1104 For those who live here and for those who wish they did.

By the end of the week, Suzy and Jack felt such a sense of gratitude to the hotel staff for accommodating them, they made a special trip to the florists. They picked out the brightest bouquet of flowers they could find. As they checked out of the hotel, they presented the flowers to the clerks who had singlehandedly saved their vacation. Not only had they enjoyed a great time, they'd also learned a valuable lesson about overnight parking. They left the hotel ready to make the next RV adventure even better!



Valley Voice

July 2021

Mensan Musings

Convenient Pharmacy & Same Day Care

The Availability Heuristic Explains Many Things


Drive-Thru, Pick-Up & Delivery 970-826-8490

By Wolf Bennett

Why would winning an award make it more likely to win another award? Why will you avoid one thing out of fear and then do something even riskier? Why do the five closest people to you have such a large impact on your worldview? Why don't mountains of evidence indicating that something is harmful convince people to avoid it? Why is bad publicity better than no publicity at all? The availability heuristic is basically this: the easier and more available any information is to get, the more likely we are to give it higher levels of importance. A heuristic is a thought pattern that you use to make decisions. We all have them, we just call them mental habits. Most of the time they work out somewhat reasonably.

We are what we remember and our memories (most often based on emotions) have huge impact on our perception of the world. What we end up remembering is influenced by factors such as: our foundational beliefs about the world, expectations, emotions, how many times we’re exposed to something, the source of information good or bad. Beware of the social media high of “incredible” experiences leading us to believe our results will be the same.

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Here are 6 rules that will help you avoid the negative effects of the availability heuristic.



1) Simply being aware of this tendency will help you to step back when faced with exciting information or novel events. Be aware that emotion, repeated information, friends, current events, personal experience or unusual things will tend to distort your reality.

Shark attacks make us question all beaches and forget the jellyfish (far more likely) where we are swimming, a big fish caught makes us more likely to stay longer, lousy or great first dates based on a single glance or kiss, road rage based on a single bad move that makes us think everyone on the road is a terrible driver that day, insurance based on a natural disaster bought after it has happened all are examples.

3) Take your time and use methods that calm you down before choosing. There is no shortcut for that important step. Just take a moment, calm down, take a chill pill, smell the flowers and look around. Practice humility and humor to balance your mind.

Dog bites, car accidents, seeing a yellow car, or a myriad of other experiences will make it seem to be far more likely than the actual base rates.

Primary Care, all ages

There is no link between how memorable something is and how likely it is to happen. In fact the opposite is often true.

The problem is that we give greater weight to information that is shocking or unusual and so give it higher odds of happening than are actually possible. If we are presented with a set of similar things, we will remember the unusual detail before recognizing the rest of the field. “FTPTRL3MNEJQP” shows that you probably remember the “3” because is is different from the letters. Anything that makes something easier to remember increases its impact in our minds.

Personal experience heightens things in your mind. Say you stubbed your toe on a rock, you would be more likely to warn others and assume that toe stubbing happened more often than it does.








2) Always consider base rates when thinking about probability issues. One in a million events will happen, but only one in a million.

4) Never rely on memory alone. Keep track of information you might need later, even much later. Use long term information as opposed to “one off” or anomalies as that one odd bit will influence you more than would be accurate. 5) Revisit old information, reread that book that influenced you long ago, refresh your memory of relevant facts and toss out the anomalies. Facts count more than beliefs or emotions.

This is another reason why eyewitness accounts are so easily distorted.

6) Focus on trends and patterns as things will regress to the mean. Outlier events are most often the result of luck and randomness. Moderation will follow extremes.

The availability heuristic misleads us because we choose things based on that incorrect belief. We believe bad information or lies because we have heard them more recently and loudly, emotion at an incident takes precedence over reality and we run into the fire to save something (often to bad results), we take jobs or relationships based on one or two positive details ignoring all the other red flags.

What we practice, we become, so if you’re stressed and anxious all the time, you will most likely miss the signals when they do matter. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare or that unlikely things never happen but we should be careful of preparing for the extremes simply because they are more memorable. So have fun out there, you’re not alone and laugh as much as you can.





A sweet child was laughing Golden hair gleaming in the sun Upon Angel’s wings To experience Earth So many roads Running down each one Falling and bruised Pretending to be happy Within fears and tears Always searching For the Indigold Light My soul is sparkling Free from the programming

Camping is nature's way of promoting the motel business. – Dave Barry


July 2021

Valley Voice


Your Monthly Message By Chelsea Yepello Aries

March 21 - April 19

What we do have is a very particular set of skills, skills we have acquired over a very long career, skills that make us a nightmare for people like you. If you let our queen go now, that'll be the end of it. We will not look for you. We will not pursue you. But if you don't, we will look for you, we will find you, and we will kill you. - The Murder Hornets



April 20 - May 20

You will be delighted when you find a message in a bottle buried in the sand on the beach. Unfortunately, you will feel slightly let down when you read the message in that bottle and it's just the lyrics to The Police's “Message In A Bottle.”

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June 21 - July 22


July 23 - August 23

Get the Valley Voice magazine delivered to your door! It’s something you can hold in your hand! And it’s real paper!

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for a yearly Include your address and we subscription will send you a copy every month. Send payment to: Valley Voice, llc P.O. Box 770743 Steamboat Springs, Colorado 80477

For those who live here and for those who wish they did.

October 24 - November 21


Go Old School!

Recreational & Medical


May 20 - June 20



September 23 - October 23

You might be crossing a moral grey area when you deliberately continue dating someone through the summer because their apartment has great air conditioning and their dog is a good river buddy.

Your pet will run away when you go on vacation. Luckily it’s a turtle and didn't get very far, but it did pawn most of your valuables for seed money before it escaped.

'Twas the night before Independence Day and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; patriotic flags were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Kid Rock would soon be there! He'll stock your fridge with the cheapest of beers, leave a gun for concealing and random hillbilly gear. Then he'll exclaim as he drives a Hummer out of sight—Happy 'Merika Day ya'all, and ya'all a gud nye”






August 23 - September 22

Despite your extraordinary effort to be the hottest person on the patio at the single’s happy hour, everyone is awkwardly equal when unsticking their sweaty thighs from a hot plastic chair.

At this very moment, in an undisclosed location, some of the world’s greatest intellects are collaborating in an attempt to change the way the world thinks about the strange and misunderstood geoduck. The plan is to market the phallic shaped creature as the sassy and loyal sidekick to the spirited and virtuous hero in newest family friendly Disney masterpiece.

Just like every year, you send a long, heartfelt letter to Will Smith, thanking him for saving us from the aliens destroying the Earth on Independence Day in 1996. And just like every year, you get another letter from the courts, reminding you about your restraining order.




November 22 - December 21

Your underlying paranoia about no one caring about you is simply delusional. For the last month, you've been getting over a dozen daily phone calls about your car's extended warranty expiring, so obviously, someone is looking out for you and the financial well-being of your car getting repaired.


December 22 - January 19

You will feel slightly ashamed but mostly confused when they explain to you that you are politically incorrect and insensitive to individuals of the hearing impaired community when you use the phrase: Sometimes, the truth is hard to hear.


January 20 - February 18

Gullibly, you tried the "sleeping beauty" diet fad, which encouraged you to use heavy sedatives to sleep for days on end to avoid eating. Unfortunately when you tried this diet, you didn’t factor in that while you were chemically sedated, you also didn’t go to work, pay your bills, walk your dog, feed your fish or simply let anyone know that you still exist. The good news is, now you can try the "poverty and starving " diet.


February 19 - March 20

Although you are happy that the pandemic is under control for the moment, you secretly miss pretending to be inconvenienced by social distancing. Now, you have to default back to finding unique yet believable excuses to never go out or do anything with anyone.

Valley Voice

July 2021

Routt County PSA: Respect the Yampa River

Don’t be “That Guy”

By Matt Scharf

Desperate to Get Out of Town



July 2021

Valley Voice

Storm Peak Collaboration Release Party!

at the Steamboat Whiskey Distillery, with a Raffle, Drink specials, and Bottle giveaways.

2 0 21


G OL DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL, Tiki Rum, D DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL, Warrior Whiskey, DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL, Orange Whiskeycello,






Summer Hours: Tuesday-Friday 3-9| Saturday 12-9|Happy Hour Daily 4-6





Steamboat Whiskey Wins Big!


GOLD MEDAL, Sleeping Giant Gin SILVER MEDAL, Warrior Hrenovuha Horseradish Vodka SILVER MEDAL, Lemon Whiskeycello

Check it Out! We are releasing our Storm Peak collaboration! Single Malt Colorado Whiskey!

Colorado Vodka Distillery of the Year! New York International Spirits Competition

Warrior Spirits – GOLD Winner (Warrior Hrenovuha) Warrior Spirits – SILVER Winner (Warrior Whiskey) Steamboat Whiskey Co. – SILVER Winner (Sleeping Giant Gin) Steamboat Whiskey Co – BRONZE Winner (Ski Town Tiki Rum) Steamboat Whiskey Co – BRONZE Winner (Orange Whiskey Cello)

DRINK FOR A CAUSE - A portion of the proceeds from the sale of our award-winning WARRIOR WHISKEY are donated to Veteran organizations in order to support our Vets.

For those who live here and for those who wish they did.