Valley Voice July 2022

Page 1

July 2022 . Issue 11.7


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Steamboat Springs Hayden Oak Creek Yampa

Yampa, Colorado


July 2022

Valley Voice

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Valley Voice

July 2022


Contents Wildland Fire Preparation

Page 4

2022 Legislative Session Concludes

Page 5

Radical Women who Fought for Justice

Page 6

Writers Group Conference

Page 7

Patriotic Flower Shows

Page 8

The Weight of a Smile

Page 9

2022 Hayden Cog Ride

Page 10

Hayden's Proposed Developments

Page 10

A Safety Bicycle Ride

Page 12

All the Comforts of Siberia

Page 13

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.

Remarkable People

Page 14

The Theatre of Title IX

Page 15

The Pike Syndrome

Page 16

Website Subscription rate is $40 per year (12 issues). All content © 2021 Valley Voice, L.L.C. No portion of the contents of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission from the Valley Voice.

The Nest Page 17

By Chuck Cerasoli/ Fire Chief By Dylan Roberts

By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield By Barbara Sparks, Ph.D. By Karen Vail

By Fran Conlon

By Tammie Delaney

Publisher/Art Director: Matt Scharf Sales:

By Brodie Farquhar By Ken Proper By Phil Giffin

By Johnny Walker

By Stuart Handloff By Wolf Bennett

By Aimee Kimmey

Firefly Page 17 By Joan Remy

Your Monthly Message By Chelsea Yepello

Official Fine Print Advertisers assume full responsibility for the entire content and subject matter of their ads. In the event of error or omission in the advertisement, the publisher’s sole responsibility shall be to publish the advertisement at a later date. Advertisements and articles are accepted and published upon the representation that the author, agency and/or advertiser is authorized to publish the entire contents and subject matter thereof. The author, agency, and/ or advertiser will indemnify and save Valley Voice, LLC harmless from all claims and legal action resulting from the contents of the articles or advertisements including claims or suits resulting from libel, defamation, plagiarism, rights to privacy and copyright infringements.


Page 18

Comics Page 19

Please send us your RANTS, RAVES and SAY WHATs! The Valley Voice wants to hear your thoughts as we struggle to find our center. Send to:

Too many people trampling a delicate area without regard… The Forest Service burning massive acreage in New Mexico and admitting to it… Watching Routt County change overnight with a massive influx of people and new home buyers… Living in a “YES” county… The construction of it all…

Raves... Forest Service closing California Park… Oak Creek putting on their own farmer’s market… Hot dogs and hamburgers on the 4th of July… Getting the friendly back road wave due to your local plates… The home office turning out better than you imagined… Pulling the longest wheelie ever without breaking a fender...

Say What?... “If you’re afraid of everything you have nothing to be afraid of.” “Live where you want to vacation, then you never have to go on vacation.” “The only way to be honest with those around you is to be honest with yourself, so look in the mirror.” “What? I said I have a heart fib, not that I say a fib. “ “Is it even possible for a man to cry in front of grown men?”

We go to press July 29th for the August 2022 Edition! Send in your submissions by July 20th!

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The views and opinions expressed reflect the views and opinions of the authors and may not necessarily reflect the views and opinion of the editor, staff or advertisers in Steamboat Springs’s Valley Voice. Direct all correspondence, articles, editorials or advertisements to the address below. The author’s signature and phone number must accompany letters to the editor. Names will be withheld upon request (at the discretion of the publisher). Submission is no guarantee of publication. Subscription rate is a donation of 40 measly dollars per year. However, if you wish to send more because you know we desperately need your money, don’t be shy, send us all you can! Advertisers rates vary by size, call 970-846-3801 and we’ll come visit you. Please make checks payable to: Valley Voice, LLC P.O. Box 770743 • Steamboat Springs, CO 80477 Thank you for your support!


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My life, I realize suddenly, is July. Childhood is June, and old age is August, but here it is, July, and my life, this year, is July inside of July. — Rick Bass


July 2022

Valley Voice

City of Steamboat Springs


T Wildland Fire Preparation Starts With You B Chuck Cerasoli, Fire Chief/ Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue

It’s hard to believe that the summer solstice has just slid by, as summer seems to just be getting into full swing here in Steamboat Springs and Northwest Colorado. While we’ve enjoyed more precipitation and the return of some monsoonal moisture this spring and early summer, wildfire danger remains high across the region. Wildfires are a natural part of Colorado’s forests. If you live in the Rocky Mountains, you are at risk of being affected by wildfire. When talking about wildland fires, ‘the best offense is a good defense,’ because when a wildfire erupts, we’ll rely heavily on all the defensive work everyone’s done in preparation for an incident such as this. Firefighters always do their best to reduce fire damage, but ultimately, it is your responsibility to protect your property from wildfire. Taking practical steps to prepare your home does not guarantee it will survive, but it does improve the odds. Recently, two seasonal wildland firefighters with Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue completed their training and are performing wildfire fuels mitigation, wildland fire property assessments, and providing public education around the community and responding to local and national wildfire emergencies. Part of the newly hired wildland firefighters’ job is to help home and property owners make assessments, so properties have a fighting chance of surviving or allowing firefighters to defend your space during a wildland fire. As our wildland firefighting team grows, the plan would be that we can continue to build our response team seasonally so that we have enough qualified people to have a couple wildland crews on the frontlines.

While professional firefighters will always be ready to defend our community, I ask every resident to join our prevention effort. 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. • 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. • 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 no access to your house or fuel source that has direct contact with your home. • 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. • Plan for the Six P’s: Keep these six ‘p’ 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.

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

• 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. In addition, is a great local resource with lots of information and please sign up for emergency alerts at, so you can be notified quickly when minutes matter most. The City of Steamboat Springs, Routt County, National Forest, and BLM lands in Northwest Colorado remain under a HIGH fire danger rating. The city will not have fireworks for July 4th this year and I strongly urge everyone to refrain from using any type of personal fireworks as well! While I hope we never have to be on the fire line in our hometown, the reality is that we must be on guard, prepare now and always remain diligent. Fire does not know property, neighborhood, or municipal boundaries. So, we must all work together to be ready because it is not a matter anymore of IF, it is unfortunately a reality of WHEN now. Thank you for working with us to ensure our community is as prepared as it can be.

Valley Voice

July 2022


State Representative/ Eagle and Routt Counties

The 2022 Legislative Session Concludes By Dylan Roberts

ing Task Force - a bipartisan panel of legislators, housing experts, and local officials tasked with making policy recommendations on housing - and every single one of our recommendations passed with bipartisan sponsorship. In total, we allocated $428 million for housing projects in local communities, with dedicated funds for our rural and rural-resort communities who are grappling with the housing crisis most acutely. Additionally, one of my priority bills to allow counties, with voter approval, to use lodging tax revenue for housing and other workforce needs was signed into law in April.

We just concluded one of the most impactful and bipartisan legislative sessions in recent memory. We responded to Colorado’s most pressing needs and passed legislation that will move our state forward. This session focused on saving Coloradans money, improving public safety, building a healthier Colorado, and investing in our students. As always, the bills I introduced and led to passage were based on the ideas directly from Eagle and Routt Counties residents. Here is some of what got done: Historic Investments in Housing Ensuring that all Coloradans have an affordable place to call home was my top priority this year. I am thrilled to say that this legislative session represents Colorado’s largest single-year investment in affordable housing. Over the past year, I was honored to Chair the Affordable Hous-

Saving Coloradans & Small Businesses Money In January, we set out to save Coloradans money. We did just that. Because of our work, Coloradans will receive a refund check of close to $500 for single filers and $1000 for joint filers in September. We lowered property taxes for residential and commercial properties by over $700 million, saving the average homeowner $274. Families will save thousands of dollars a year with free universal preschool and with more affordable child care - a product of my first bill this year which was an idea directly from my district. We also reduced fees for professional licenses and businesses and took action to save people money at the DMV and the gas pump. I also sponsored and passed a bill allowing restaurants to keep $70,000 of their sales taxes this summer. Protecting our Environment We all know that wildfire is a constant threat to our communities. That’s why we continued - and expanded - our support for wildfire mitigation and response measures while taking significant steps to combat climate change and protect our air quality. I also furthered my work protecting our Western Slope water. From investing in interstate compact compliance to a statewide program incentivizing municipal turf replacement, I am proud to continue leading the charge to protect our state’s most precious resource. Public Safety I worked very hard on several bills seeking to make our communities safer. My bills cracking-down on retail theft, protecting victims’ rights, and increasing funding for

police and EMS providers all passed. We also passed a comprehensive bill tackling the nationwide fentanyl crisis which will drastically increase penalties for those who deal fentanyl and dedicate desperately-needed resources for addiction treatment, Narcan supplies, and more. While this bill is not perfect, it is a necessary step in addressing this lethal drug’s impact on our communities. Historic Education Investments As I wrote last month, this year’s state budget represents the largest investment in our K-12 system in over a decade, resulting in increased teacher pay and more support for our students, educators, and education staff. Mental & Behavioral Health This year’s session made transformational investments to improve Colorado’s mental health system. In total, $450 million was dedicated to mental health services which includes assembling the new Behavioral Health Administration, additional mental health beds in our rural communities, recruiting behavioral health professionals, and legal updates making the system more accessible. Standing up for Rural Colorado I have always worked to make sure that our region does not get left behind in the halls of the Capitol and this year was no different. One of my passed bills invests $15 million into transitioning communities like Hayden, Oak Creek, and Craig so they can attract businesses and help workers with the energy transition and keep good jobs right here. We also passed bills supporting our agriculture producers, fought for increased funding to help ranchers mitigate the impact of the voter-imposed reintroduction of wolves, and I supported efforts to encourage more geothermal energy development right here in rural Colorado. I now look forward to being home and spending time with family, friends, and all of you. As always, I invite you to contact me with feedback, questions, or if you need assistance with your state government. Join me for an upcoming town hall meeting or reach out directly: (970) 846-3054 or

Rep. Dylan Roberts serves Routt & Eagle Counties in the Colorado House of Representatives

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Sadly, it's much easier to create a desert than a forest. — James Lovelock


July 2022

Valley Voice

Bonnifield Files

Radical Women who Fought for Justice: Lucy Parsons By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield

Following the example of General James Longstreet, in 1867, Albert started a weekly newspaper, the Spectator, advocating acceptance of the terms of peace and supporting the Constitutional amendments. He wrote how the former slaves were without land, money, food, or clothing, and they were persecuted by the KKK. He stumped, encouraging Freedmen to vote. He became an excellent stump speaker. Albert was widely known and respected among the ex-slaves and hated by whites, who beat and ostracized him. Then he met a young lady who was very attractive but not beautiful.

Albert Parson was a member of a wealthy and influential white family in south Texas when the Civil War erupted. At the age of thirteen, he was apprenticed to William Richardson at the Galveston News. Fearing the war would be over soon, Albert deserted the newspaper and enlisted in the Lone Star Grays as a powder monkey [one who fetches the black powder and delivers it to the cannon]. Following one brief battle, the Grays disbanded, and Albert returned briefly to Galveston before again leaving for military service. He served with various formations before eventually becoming a member of McIngley Scouts and fought in battles against General Curtis on the White River and General Banks on the Mississippi. By war’s end he was a seasoned combat veteran for the cause of slavery.

Lucy (we do not know her actual maiden name) told everyone she was of Mexican and Indian heritage, and she may have been since she spoke fluent Spanish; however, most likely she was born into slavery in 1857 or 58 near Waco. She and Albert both maintained they married in a civil ceremony, but no record has been found. This may partly explain why she became a strong voice for “free love” cohabitation. Her early life is lost in the smoke of time. Probably self-taught with the assistance of her husband, she became an excellent writer, public speaker, organizer, and deep thinker. Lucy and Albert unable to remain in Texas, moved to Chicago. Near the end of her life, Lucy lived in a small Chicago house with 3,000 plus books, primarily on sex and socialism. Chicago, as Carl Sandburg wrote in his poem, was a hard bustling city of railroads, grain elevators, manufacturing, and trade. It was a city of great wealth and extreme poverty, a city of many languages and cultures. It was a dirty, violent city of extremes; a city where all the ideas and customs of the world were on display and fought over. It was a city of deep suffering and misery. It was the nation’s railroad center with lines reaching from coast to coast; its stock yards and grain elevators and packing houses fed the nation. It connected the great frontier with the urban centers and the world. It was a city meant for Lucy and Albert who soon became publishers, spokespersons, and champions for the underdog.

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

Albert found work as a printer but was soon fired and blacked listed because of his involvement with labor unions. At the time neither he nor Lucy were well known nor well-grounded in the labor movement. They were simply newcomers from south Texas. Albert, being unable to find employment, Lucy became the bread winner. She quickly became involved in the labor movement and politics, writing for radical publications, and organizing labor. (In the 1870's, women, especially former slaves were not involved in politics, labor unions, and publishing.) Albert with Lucy’s help soon began publishing his own radical newspaper.

Following the Civil War, industry increased by 300 percent resulting in excessive labor unrest, and in 1873 the nation experienced a serious economic panic. Railroads that were notoriously corrupt were hit especially hard. Railroad employees were the victims of extensive exploitation – minorities, as always, suffered the most. With a long list of grievances, in 1877, the railroad workers went on strike. It was spontaneous, without organization or leadership. The battle began on the B & O Railroad and soon spread across the nation. It was wild and turbulent becoming the largest strike of the century. One contempo- H rary wrote, “it seemed as if the whole social and political k structure was on the very brink of ruin.” It was the “Great D Upheaval” and Lucy and Albert were right there. The M heavy hand of the military, police, and private gunmen w finally quelled the strike, but didn’t solve anything. t i The next year, 1878, Lucy helped found the Working fi Women’s Union (WWU) in Chicago and worked for the eight-hour day. The goal of an eight-hour day originated P in the Nevada silver mines and soon spread throughout T the nation becoming the cause of many bloody battles and b much human suffering. “A man worked his mule (ass) A eight hours with rest and water. He worked his wage slaves to death.” “Eight hours for work, eight hours of rest,S eight hours of life,” workers chanted. Women and young C h girls working in industry had absolutely no protection. f The WWU soon failed under heavy pressure from busio nessmen. t Afterward, Lucy wrote in the Principles of Anarchism, “I k came to understand how organized government used theirfi concentrated power to retard progress by their ever-ready c means of silencing the voice of discontent... Government H never leads; they follow progress. When the prison, stake c or scaffold can no longer silence the voice of protesting w v minority, progress moves on a step, but not until then.” a In 1883 she delivered a powerful speech to the hungry s and desperate titled, “To Tramps, The Unemployed, The Disinherited, The Miserable.” She advocated direct action, M “propaganda by deed.” Often violent. “Stroll you down the c avenues of the rich and look through the magnificent plate “ windows into their voluptuous homes, and here you will g discover the very identical robbers who have despoiled t you and yours. Then let your tragedy be enacted . . . Learn w c the use of explosives!”

Valley Voice

Her words were used against her husband in his Haymarket trial in 1887. During the Great Upheaval, Cyrus McCormick, Jr. and the McCormick Reaper Works were forced to sign a contract with the workers. Resenting the defeat, McCormick set out to destroy all labor organizations and “restore America to it true course.” Through a series of moves he cut wages, fired agitators, built a wall around the factory, hired Pinkerton gunmen, and arranged for police protection. Then he locked out all his employees and hired scabs. A bitter conflict occurred. A rally of supporters was scheduled at Haymarket Square. The turnout was disappointing but peaceful. When Chicago’s Mayor Harrison circulated through the crowd, he found it peaceful. The meeting was breaking up when a formation of policemen arrived and began bulling. Someone tossed a small bomb. The police began shooting into the crowd and into their own officers. Six officers were killed by gunfire with sixty more wounded, all by friendly fire. One officer died because of the bomb. The number of civilians wounded or killed is unknown. Following the Haymarket Tragedy, the police began rounding up anyone considered an anarchist. Albert was arrested and charged with “speaking in such a way as to inspire the bomber to violence.” Following a farce trial, he and his fellow conspirators were sentenced to hang. After a long and contorted series of appeals, Albert and three others were hung. McCormick silenced Albert, but not Lucy. In her widely circulated “I am an Anarchist” she tells us what drove her. “Go to New York. Go through the byways and alleys of that great city. Count the myriads of starving; count the multiplied thousands who are homeless; number those who work harder than slaves and live on less and have fewer comforts than that of the meanest slaves . . . They are not

July 2022


2022 Writers Conference objects of charity, they are the victims of rank injustices that permeates the system of government and political economy that holds sway from the Atlantic to the Pacific. . .. Oh, there are plenty of reasons for the existence of anarchists.” In 1892, she founded the newspaper Freedom dedicated to addressing the wrongs facing labor, women, and the lynching of Black men in the south. She was among the first to challenge “Jim Crow Laws.” (Remember she was born into slavery.) After her husband’s execution and the tragic loss of their two children, Lucy continued to edit various radical newspapers, travel, and speak out against injustice. Continuously watched by the police and private detectives, her home and office were often broken into and searched. At a meeting in Chicago, she rose to speak when a policeman struck her on the shoulder with a club and ordered her to move on. She protested; he knocked her down and threatened to have her teeth clubbed down her throat. Still expressing her demand for freedom of speech, the officer literately threw her into a police wagon and took her to jail. She often suffered strip searches. One newspaper claimed she was a “murderess. Your parentage was injected in the Jungle along with the Hyena.” Yet, she continued to speak out. She did not join the International Workers of the World (IWW); however, at the 1905 Chicago meeting she was a powerful voice for women. “We (women) are the slaves of slaves. We are exploited more ruthlessly than men.” In fact, although the IWW publicly stated they favored gender equality, women were often victims within the union. It was common at a protest in which actual danger existed, that women were placed at the front. They became a shield for the men. They were attacked while the men behind them ran. During World War I, members of left thinking groups were ruthlessly attacked by government and private mobs. Hundreds were sent to prison. Lucy, the former Slave/Mexican/Indian, continued to fight on although her eyesight failed, her health weakened, and the Klan remained in power in many states. Yet, she lived to see social security, an eight-hour day, the five-day work week, unemployment insurance, strong workplace safety regulations, and effective child and women labor laws. Her brave and continued voice for the human lot helped improve the standard of living for everyone. To some degree, our lifestyle rests on the achievements of this radical woman.

A Day for Writers in Steamboat Springs is Back By Barbara Sparks, Ph.D. The annual Steamboat Writers Conference, interrupted by COVID as so many events and activities were, will once again meet face to face at the Steamboat Depot Arts Center July 22-23, 2022. What: Workshop presentations on the craft of thematic scaffolding, pacing and momentum in writing fiction and memoir with author, Jenny Shank, plus building landscape and imagery in various forms of nonfiction with nature writer, Mary Taylor Young. Mary will guide us through The Glint of Light on Broken Glass: Building Imagery in Your Writing, a workshop that will help conference attendees create a strong sense of landscape and place through craft techniques and writing exercises. We will explore how to build powerful images that will enliven our prose. Jenny’s fiction session will focus on Mighty Microstructure, a workshop in learning techniques to build tension, momentum and thematic scaffolding in fiction and memoir. We will discover how and when to withhold information, flashbacks and intrigants through examples and writing exercises. Where: The Depot Arts Center, Steamboat Springs To REGISTER go to WWW.STEAMBOATWRITERS.COM Sponsored by the Steamboat Writers and Steamboat Springs Council for the Arts.

Next month we will look at two radical women from Colorado.

By Aimee Kimmey

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July 2022

Valley Voice

'Boat Almanac

Patriotic Flower Shows By Karen Vail Hayden

Steamboat Springs Walden

Photos by Karen Vail


Flying C ors 5K 5K

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Start with a colorful 5k run/walk and stay for the Balloon Festival! Proceeds benefit Home Health & Hospice Services

Saturday, August 6 7:30 am

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(Balloon Rise at 6:30 am) Loudy-Simpson Park Craig, CO

The “LOCAL’S” choice for Personalized Health Care

Celebrate the 4th with close family & friends Enjoy the 4th with all the goodies! Summer toys, wind chimes, flags and lots more !!!



Scarlet Gilia

Whipples Penstemon Creme

It’s red, white, and blue month! Not just for our country’s celebration of independence, but also the plethora of color bursting forth in the high country. Reds of Indian paintbrush and scarlet gilia, whites of Nuttall’s gilia, pearly everlasting, white bog orchid, and myriad daisies, and the blues of lupine, penstemon, harebell and our lovely columbine. Hard to choose which ones to focus on, isn’t it?!

Nearing a stream, bog or other wet area deserves a good survey for a beautiful snow white, aromatic orchid, one of the biggest in our area. White bog orchids (Platanthera dilatata) often grow in cahoots with the fascinating and brilliant pink little red elephant (Pedicularis groenlandica) warning hikers of wet areas ahead! They both require wet feet and color meadows in mid-summer. The leafy stalks up to two feet tall end in a dense spike of snow-white orchid shaped flowers (look really close, they do look like orchids), and while you are nose to nose enjoy the sweet scent. Aaahhh, that is heavenly! Look at the back of the tiny flower and you will see a small spur. It is believed that virtually all orchids require a specific fungus growing with their roots to thrive. This mutually beneficial relationship comes from mycorrhizae, meaning fungus roots, growing into and around the roots of the plant. Both organisms benefit as the plant roots share nutrients for the fungus, while the fungus forms a vast network of mycelia helping the plants draw in water and nutrients. The fungi can also aid the host in increasing resistance to soil pathogens and toxins, and temperature extremes. The blunt-leaved orchid (Platanthera obtusata), a close relative of the white bog orchid, is pollinated by nectar feeding mosquitoes (really!), which are “marked” on their tiny foreheads by a yellow dot (the pollen sac). Ha, who knew?!

Let’s pick scarlet gilia, white bog orchid and penstemon. True red colors are not easy to find in the flowers of our area. There are plenty of pink and shades thereof, but true red is elusive. Several pigments contribute to red flower color, but anthocyanins are the most common and prominent. Red flowers are typically attractive to birds, although recent studies have shown that our scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregate ssp. aggregate) is visited by bees, with birds being the main visitors. Scarlet gilia is a skinny stalk topped with bright red to pale pink flowers splotched with yellow-ish spots. The foot tall stalk tends to hold flowers on one side, and the leaves at the base form a pretty rosette of finely divided silvery leaves. Flowers are long tubes with a trumpet-like flare at the end, a perfect shape for long hummingbird bills or moth and butterfly proboscis. Scarlet gilia is a monocarpic perennial (your new word for the day!), producing a simple rosette of leaves for one to eight years, then shooting up a flower stalk when the plant has stored enough energy (“Wild About Wildflowers” Katherine Darrow, C 2006, WildKat Publishing). That single stalk produces hundreds of seeds landing around the parent plant, so when you find one scarlet gilia, you will enjoy a profusion. Brushing your fingers along the flower stalk leaves you with a stinky, sticky substance the plants produce to repel ants from munching flowers and seeds. In fact, many plants in this family (the Phlox Family) have stinky secretions; Jacob’s ladder and sky pilot are especially odorous.

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

The penstemon are this botanists hell! I have an inordinately difficult time identifying them! That said, I absolutely adore their flowers, growth habits and downright toughness. The name, penstemon, defines their quirky flower. The original spelling, pentstemon, homes in on the five (penta) stamens that aren’t really five. There is a “false” infertile stamen (containing no pollen) called a staminode (your next new word for the day!), coming right down the center of the throat of the flower. Often this staminode is

Valley Voice

July 2022



The Weight of a Smile By Fran Conlon Is there a weight to a smile? I think it may weigh a gram, With distance less than a mile, To glean its meaning here at hand. Draconian looks are so severe, A friend's smile seems out of place. I prefer an aire far less austere, An ambiance of open space.




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Where light hearts beat free, A soul can drift gently away. The mind is like an open sea, With floating thoughts in a free day.

Rocky Mountain Penstemon

very “hairy” earning penstemon the name beardtongue. These flowers remind me of a snapdragon (very closely related), and the coolest thing to do with a snapdragon is to make the dragon “snap” by squeezing the sides of the flower and out pops the staminode. In Northwest Colorado we have blue and purple penstemon, whereas farther south in Colorado they have brilliant red. Sixty species are found in Colorado, and many are considered rare due their very specific habitat requirements. In our area the most common are the Rocky Mountain penstemon (Penstemon strictus) and dusky or Whipples penstemon (Penstemon whippleanus). They are very different in color (Rocky Mountain penstemon is a dark violet to blue and Whipples varies from dusky purple (think grape Kool-Aid) to cream color) and habitat (Rocky Mountain likes dry, often disturbed sites at lower elevation and Whipples prefers subalpine areas or above in open areas or coniferous forests). Penstemon are also a common alpine resident often in rocky scree. I was out watering my garden when I noticed several little insect butts sticking out from the throat of my penstemon. Huh?? I was fortunate to watch as the sun warmed the flowers and out climbed pollen wasps, rubbing their sleepy eyes. They spend the night tucked away in their flower cocoons then resume visiting flowers once the sun warmed them. These wasps look like yellow jackets, but these are a nonstinging gatherers of pollen and nectar. I love the quote from US Forest Service employee Vince Tepidno, “Behold, a “pollen wasp” (Masarinae), superficially yellow jacket-like, but with an identity ,problem. Almost all wasps are flesh-eaters, but masarines are more like Ferdinand the Bull, who was more interested in smelling flowers than in goring matadors. Pollen wasps forsake stinging, eating, and feeding other insects to their offspring, for plying flowers. However, they differ from Ferdinand in harvesting pollen and nectar rather than simply inhaling sweet odors.” Another important penstemon pollinator is the tiny mason bee, a beautiful native whose numbers are being decimated by herbicide use. Happy red, white and blue month! On your next hike, give those cute little penstemon flowers a squeeze and we’ll see you on the trail!

A smile is not a heavy chore, With it comes a mild puzzle, Folks wonder: Do I know the score? The answer's like a puppy's nuzzle. Come, let's share a grin, Let them wonder where we've been.




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Yampa, Colorado

Gold is good in its place; but loving, brave, patriotic men are better than gold. — Abraham Lincoln


July 2022

Valley Voice

West Routt's Ride the Cog

The 2022 Hayden Cog Ride Experience History at the Speed of a Bicycle By Tammie Delaney

HAYDEN, COLORADO – Friday, June 24, 2022 – The Historic Hayden Granary is hosting the 2022 Hayden Cog Ride this September, the ride is impressive both in its physical presence and historical prominence. Although ‘gravel grinders’ are currently a big trend for cyclists, West Routt has been gravel grinding for over a century, thanks to early Hayden pioneers and cycling enthusiasts Ferry Carpenter and Ernest Walker. The Cog Ride takes advantage of the Cog’s impressive climb along with the network of gravel roads surrounding Hayden. Taking place on Saturday, September 10th, this year’s Cog Ride celebrates the eighth anniversary of this epic event, which has proven to be a colorful gathering of every level and age of bicycle enthusiast. From vintage models, single speeds, and tandems to fat bikes and high-end racing setups, you see it all at the Cog Ride.

then heads along remote backcountry routes including the homestead of Ferry Carpenter; the challenging 43 mile ‘Combined Ride’ which features the best of both routes and, new this year, the 85 mile ‘Ultimate’ which showcases the best West Routt has to offer in a very challenging ride. The "Ultimate" starts at 8:00am; the "Combined" at 9:00am; the "Gravel Grinder", "Mud Route" and "Breezer" rides begin at 10:00am.

The ride has four options including a 25 mile fun “breezer” south of town on gently rolling hills; or north on the Cog there’s a 31 mile scenic ‘Gravel Grinder’ that starts with a challenging ride on pavement up the Cog then circles west on gravel roads around Elkhead Reservoir; a 27 mile ‘Mud Route’, almost entirely on gravel and dirt, starts with a spectacular climb up the Middle Cog

Ride the Cog benefits the Historic Hayden Granary Inc., a 501c3 non-profit with a mission to ‘preserve the historic Hayden Granary as a community gathering place in Northwest Colorado. As one of the last remaining wooden bin elevators on the western slope of Colorado, the agricultural heritage of the facility demonstrates the importance of farming and ranching within the Yampa Valley and

“Ferry Carpenter was known to ride his bicycle to commute to his law office back in the early 1900s.” said Patrick Delaney, one of the organizers behind the Cog Ride. “The Gravel Route, for our ride, is the same bicycle route Ferry used in 1913 and his descendants, the Zars family, still continue that legacy while commuting to the homestead today.”

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

preservation efforts go towards critical needs of roofing and siding. Wes Dearborn, the originator of the Cog Ride, has seen the event grow significantly each year. “We have spectacular roads for biking in West Routt. The Cog Ride has been a great way to gather biking enthusiasts from all over the region for a good cause and have a lot of fun in the process” commented Wes. Registration is available before the ride online at www., while day of registration begins at 7am on the day of the event at the Hayden Heritage Center. Registration includes the Ride the Cog After Party at the Hayden Granary with lunch, beverages and live music. Non riders are welcome to come join the fun, food and music at the Granary for $20. More information including ride details, maps, and mileage along with event sponsorship opportunities are on the Cog Ride’s website at Please also feel free to email the Granary at, or call 970-846-1404.

Valley Voice

July 2022


Two Proposed Developments Attract Hayden's Attention By Brodie Farquhar

Residential Subdivision

Business Park

A proposed residential subdivision and a business park by the Hayden Airport were front and center for the town planning commission last month, and will be again for the town council on July 21.

The Northwest Colorado Business Park (NCBP), owned by Sandhill Investments LLC , is proposed for 117.01 acres to the north of the Yampa Valley Regional Airport. Annexation and two-parcel subdivision and zoning is the business for the planning commission last month and town council in July.

The proposed residential subdivision is called the Peace Park Subdivision and consists of 16 residential lots, broken into ten duplex lots and six single family lots, ranging in size from 5,046 square feet to 10,481 square feet. Peace Park is essentially a completion of an earlier development, called the Sonesta Park PUD. Eight townhomes were built in 1980, along the Harvest Drive frontage. Peace Park will be to the north and uphill from the current townhomes, and will feature open space for the residents of these properties. The Golden Meadows subdivision is to the west and The Meadows is downhill and to the north, between Peace Park and the Hayden school district complex. Open space for the Peace Project has a mix of soft surface trails, drainage features, storm water treatment and landscaping, including street trees. The streets for Peace Park provide a looped connection and a turn-around on the north border and two access points to Harvest Drive – one to each side of the current townhomes site. Some 25 percent of the development is open space.

The Town has been working to fund and develop the NCBP, and is under contract to purchase the east 58-acre portion of the Property to make the NCBP a reality. The landowner, Sandhill Investments LLC (Sandhill) is also considering related development and uses for the remaining 59.10 acres. The Property is currently an open field bounded by County Road 51A on the south, which separates the property from the airport. Lots are anticipated to include uses that will serve light industry, airport-related operations, offices, equipment storage, and commercial operations. Any residential units would be “live-work” units related to the light industry and commercial uses. Extensions and development of internal road connections are proposed including a through connection to US Highway 40 extending north from the Yampa Valley Regional Airport's main entrance.

Hayden, Colorado - 1942

Commercial real estate always trails residential, and as residential growth flourishes, and service the communities, and jobs come out. — Johnny Isakson


July 2022

Valley Voice

Victims of Love

A Safety Bicycle Ride By Ken Proper

Before I could reply, she pedaled down Oak Street. I sprinted to catch her. Looking up the road I saw JJ and his mates, Jack and Dim, walking toward us. They demonstrated the feral rowdiness of being up all night. JJ crowed, "Miss Engelhart you can ride in my saddle anytime." His buddies cackled and hooted. I snapped my head to glare at him as we passed. He clutched his fists, pushed them toward his waist in a humping motion and howled. Corina ignored them. Offended, I

July 8, 1914

steamed and followed her.

I have bought a Sunbeam three speed bicycle. It looks much the same as Corina's except it has a straight frame or the male model. With a coordination of riding costumes, we can look like members of the same Tour de France team. British riders would be competitive in that grueling series of races. I’ve read in the newspaper about the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the Archduke of Austria in Sarajevo, a Balkan city, on the first day of this year's tour. I hope this competition would become more international and promote the goodwill of mankind. There is nothing like spirited sweat to create new comrades.

An exquisite morning, the sun peeped over the hillside then backlit the trees, flowers, and sparkling creek. The climb was short and moderate. She pulled over to the grass around the reservoir and gracefully hopped off her bike. Disappointed, I looked up the ascending road and lamented, "I wanted to try out all three gears."

My Sunbeam arrived yesterday on the train, and I assembled it in the baggage room of the Depot. Corina received a box of cosmetics, saw me with my tools and suggested, "Oh, let's take in a ride in the morning." I energetically agreed and tested my new ride by racing down Lincoln Avenue, bouncing across the 2nd Street Bridge and skidding to a stop in front of my Brooklyn home. It performed far better than any of my childhood bicycles and I cannot wait to use the gears to climb a hill. I rode to Corina's house this morning, unquestionably too early. She poked her head out the front door, still in her dressing gown and shouted "Goodness you're enthusiastic. Go get a cup of coffee and come back in a half an hour." At my return, she modeled a pair of dark gray wool knickers, a thigh-length, padded-shouldered blue dress, opened to the waist, a white blouse with a large red bow tied below the collars and topped it off with a flat straw hat. "What do you think?" she asked spinning around. "Lovely, very sporting." "The wildflowers are gorgeous along Spring Creek Road. Do you want to go there?"

Her eyes and red lips smiled, "Go ahead, I'll be right here. I'll lay out cheese, crackers and strawberries for your return. Don't be too long." I dashed up the hill and down. She laid prone with her pretty head resting in her hands, hat tilted back and closely staring at a large group of blue and white columbines. I stretched out next to her trying not to disturb her concentration. A breeze made the flowers sway from side to side. "What would it be like if humans were androgynous?" she asked. "You mean having the characteristics or nature of both male and female like the flowers?" "Yes, we wouldn't be just feminine or masculine, but a combination of both." "Hmmm." "Thinking about sex all the time and hiding thoughts about sex is distracting." "So, you think people lust daily and feel guilty about it." "That covers it, at least the young and probably the old too. What if we were like eunuchs for 26 days and sexually active for 4 or 5 days of the month? It could go either way

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

being a male or a female. Maybe you're a mother this time and a father the next. Humanity would share bearing and raising children. It would end the slavery of marriages. I told you, Margaret Sanger’s mother had 18 children in 22 years and died at age 50.” “Your Woman Rebel publisher,” I recalled. “Yes. What if two lovers were both male? Wow, what a change of pace!" "Or both females." "Exactly, have some fun and then we're done for the month. What’s the first question at birth, 'Is it a boy or girl?' Should I give a blue or pink outfit? Consequently, we then think, act, dress and are treated differently, like subspecies, by our families. Wouldn't it be better if we started out the same? You wouldn't have your penis hanging there every day." I am certain I blushed to the roots of my hair. With feigned aplomb, I replied, "You continue your delicate way of saying things." "I wonder if I would miss my breasts." "I would." She smiled devilishly. "Contraception would still be a must to control the population. Soft and assuring males together with strong females that don't cry and faint all the time. It's a great concept. Wouldn't it be better to take to your bed for a few days of excitement then have no remorse? Like other mammals, there would only be sex by mutual consent and no rape. Meaning voluntary abstinence and acceptable indulgence. It would end sexual frustration and the fear of sex. Seduction would be possible but must be well timed. Parlors are full of eunuchs; females avoid seduction and males promote it. I'd rather just talk about interesting things." "Indeed, penitence follows penis in every dictionary I've read." "True, and it is preceded by that pointy word, peninsula." I reddened again and was feeling a little pointy. She rolled to her side and gazed deeply onto my eyes, "Do you know what women really like?" Hypnotized I replied, "No." "A stolen kiss." She hesitated only a moment, pulled me close and placed her red, soft lips gently on mine. I sensed the shape of them for what seemed a blissful eternity. I was really feeling pointy when I was thunderstruck with a thought and blurted out, "Will I get Tuberculosis now?" She held my face tenderly in her hands, "No, no Julius, it is an airborne disease. I would have to have a meaningful cough and you gasp at the same time. Even then, you are young, healthy with a quality diet, and your body would get rid of the bacteria. Shush now, don't worry. It’s disease of poor and malnourished people." I looked into her beguiling eyes and saw the sorrow show. I realized her illness had banished her too.

Valley Voice

July 2022


Looking Back We laid there for a long, silent time. I looked at the cumulus clouds drifting helplessly in the blue as porcelain sky. She placed a long blade of grass in her mouth and rolled back to look at the swaying columbines. Finally, she exclaimed, "I forgot the cheese, crackers and fruit." She stood, took them from her bicycle basket and served them to me on a napkin. Sitting, she alleged, "You were mad at JJ for what he said to me." I only nodded. "Clumsy flirting is not a crime. I ignored him, which all young women are taught to do. You need to ignore him too." "He is a rude, coarse, despicable man." "He is. Now promise to me to ignore him and all wicked people." I stared at her and reluctantly replied, "I promise." "Don't forget." "I won't." As I write tonight, I wonder how I will be ever able to keep that promise. I certainly will try. Friendships between men and women are difficult to maintain because of sexual temptation. She is spot on with her conclusion. Men and women are totally different. If we were the same, would we be like steers wandering through life? That is an unsolvable mystery. Nonetheless, Corina continues to intrigue me as a truly peculiar female.

A new fictional novel about the early years in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

All the Comforts of Siberia By Phil Giffin ©

June 1970 Sometime after midnight my three vagabond friends and I were shepherded through Russian Customs in Nakhodka and on to our Trans-Siberian Express, a monster train, twice western size and more than a mile in length. Our spare compartment consisted of two padded benches with a small pull-down-table under the window, and two-folddown Murphy beds on the walls above. There was no bathroom or water tap and only a single metal closet which contained a pile of bedding but no room for backpacks, boots, etc. Briefly, none of the comforts of a Pullman. The next thing I remember I was jolted awake as we banged to a stop. I lifted a tattered window shade to see a brilliant orange sun rising above an ancient clapboard train station. A wide, dusty lane appeared from the forest, running through a town of rough-cut log cabins, broken picket fences, and clumps of weeds and bushes. Somehow, my clock was running backwards. I had gone to sleep in the 20th Century and awakened in a 19th Century wilderness. There wasn't a living thing in sight, only the Station Mistress, an immense woman in a gray wool skirt, sweater, boots, gloves, and a broad visor hat. She was greasing the pistons and axles of our giant, coal burning, steam engine with a funnel-shaped can. But what was this grit and stench in my berth? Fine, black coal cinders had filtered through every crack around windows and doors, grit covered everything. It was in my hair and bedding, and it coated my teeth. My mattress was rancid and so was I. My blankets had never been washed, and I hadn't showered since we left Osaka, three days before. For the rest of the week, we slept under jackets, avoiding the odiferous bedding. For water the entire car relied on a single spigot the size of your little finger, recessed into a hallway wall with a tiny stainless-steel bowl. "Welcome to the Soviet Union," I thought. “There will be no showers until we reach Moscow." Daily at dawn an angel of mercy from Intourist (Soviet Travel Agency) would bang open our cabin door with steaming mugs of black tea and a small brick of black bread, courtesy of the Soviet Siberian Railway. For the rest of the day, we relied on the dining car and on our meager understanding of the language for sustenance: mineral water, borscht, stroganoff, and beer.

Ken Proper’s novel Victims of Love is available at:

. Off the Beaten Path . Tread of Pioneer Museum . Ski Haus . Steamboat Creates at the Depot . Steamboat Trading Co. .

The first five hundred miles of the Siberian Railway runs north along the Ussury River, from Nakhodka to Khabarovsk. The river separates two ancient enemies, Russia, and China. There had been fighting there and we were prohibited from taking photographs, lest we capture some secret military maneuver. As it was, we lumbered past endless miles of scraggly pine and birch, marshy meadows, and meandering streams. We never saw a soldier. It seems the border was mostly defended by mosquitos that summer. Late in the afternoon of our second day we paused briefly in Khabarovsk, the Capital of Soviet Far East. Here we were to transfer to a modern electrified rail line. For the last 4,000 miles we would travel in gleaming, stainless steel sleeping cars, each stamped “Made in the DDR" (East German People’s Republic).

Before boarding, however, a bitter argument erupted between our Intourist Guide and two fellow foreign travelers, both attractive, young "fraulein" from West Germany. Frieda and Hilda refused to continue their journey sharing their gleaming new compartment with their previous mates, an elderly Japanese gentleman, and his mother. Instead, they had decided that they would now move in with the two tall Americans, my buddies Jim and Dave. Our hostess was scandalized; such disgraceful behavior would not be allowed on the Siberian Express. The girls refused to relent; fortunately, the two of them together equaled our hostess in determination, if not in bulk. And, since there was nothing else to do, we all jumped into the fray. Jim and Dave were quick to support their newly found friends. The battle raged for a quarter of an hour, and in the end German intransigence and American curiosity were victorious over Soviet propriety. The elderly Japanese moved in with my teenage brother Tooru and me. Tooru was the son of the family who had earlier hosted me so generously during my studies in Japan. He was the subject of considerable curiosity throughout the trip. At different times crowds would gather around him and speculate, “Is he Uzbek, Kirghiz, or Chinese?” Everyone knew we were foreign, because of our jeans, backpacks, and grins. They usually stayed away from the three Americans, frowning from a distance. Were they shy? Or trained to be suspicious of westerners? Eventually, we met a friendly Siberian lumberjack. Oleg had a college degree paid for by the government. Fortunately, he spoke a little English. After graduation he had been assigned to a boring job by the Party. Released after four years, he came to Siberia to make his fortune. With obvious disgust, he told us the train was full of "apparatchik" (Communist Party functionaries) who disapproved of any contact with foreigners. Our conversation suddenly ended when an obnoxious character in a red sweatsuit labeled in yellow "CCCP” came into the dining car and barked a few orders. Everyone left, including our new friend Oleg who rose and shuffled silently out of the car. The days passed slowly. Periodically our train would come to a squealing, bumping halt, shunted off on a sidetrack in a grove of birch or pine, or sometimes in a small village. Intourist had failed to mention that cargo carries a higher priority than passengers on Siberian railroads. Passenger trains are required to pull over and wait for cargo trains to roar past. We calculated that our rail journey of some 4,000 miles, scheduled to take us eight days and nights, would be moving at an average speed of something like 26 mph. Our Intourist Guide suggested that we get off the train in the next big town, Irkutsk, spend a few days touring the Capital of Siberia, and taking in the sights at Lake Baikal, "the deepest lake in the world." We could then apply for an airline flight to Moscow and skip 4 days of riding the rails. The thought of a swim, and a clean hotel was too much to resist. We would worry about the rest of our journey after we had rested.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. — Albert Einstein


July 2022

Valley Voice

Adventure... A Guide to Life's Challenges

Remarkable People By Johnny Walker

When asked of his route, Steve shared that it was not an east or westward trip but southbound though north and south America and then east on a freighter to South Africa and then he peddled north, the length of the African continent to the middle east and through Asia to get back home to Colorado I’m still not sure that anybody has ever done this. Our friends, who overheard the conversation were speechless. I was fortunate to hear the whole story while on a long hut trip with Steve many years ago. The would be Steve Williams, you’ve seen him around.

Remarkable people seem to come and go from this amazing place called Routt County. Lately we have lost a few and, and as old as we are, we will likely lose a few more. I’m sorry for that, but my daughter keeps telling me, “Pop, it is what it is.” I was dead once. I realized at that moment that I was not particularly remarkable. I got lucky and came back from that death (after a few minutes of CPR) from a qualified fireman. I made a decision in those precious moments “Greatness” does not come easy, not without pain, and not without doubt. With the loss of each friend, I appreciate all the more, those who are still with us who are truly great. Not just normal greatness but the kind of greatness that is almost impossible to believe. You may know some of these and likely you could add more to my list. But you’d have to have known them for many years to fully learn their greatness. Lately we had dinner with a group of good friends and began to share memories of old photos stuffed away in boxes. We all thought we knew each other pretty well but as I shared a memory of one my favorites “images” of Steve (now sitting next to me) riding a homemade outrigger bike built to straddle the railroad tracks for travel across a desert. Prompted by this memory, Steve shared a brief story (which could have been a full length book) of how he had modified the bike in order to cross the Sahara Desert in central Africa in order to continue his 7 year bicycle journey around the world.

One winter day I came home from work to our little home in Dream Island and leaning against the fence was an old beat up 10-speed bike. It had a pack frame strapped to the rear rack and a stuff sack wired between the handlebars. I took it for the sole belongings of a homeless person. I entered the trailer (we never locked the front door) and there was my high school best friend, Tom. Having known Tom for much of my life, I was not surprised. Tom was an adventurer that I followed up and down many rarely climbed mountains, floated wild rivers in a raft made of inner tubes, and dove off cliffs into the white water 100 feet below. He and I came to Colorado together. I fell in love with Routt County and stayed in Steamboat and Tom headed north to Jackson Hole where he became known as “Ranger.” A couple years later the now infamous Ranger was injured badly from a Grand Teton descent and rescued days later, after he was assumed dead, but the blood trail on the snow was spotted by air. He was alive. To save his leg Tom lost 2 inches of bone from his right femur and pulverized his left foot from the fall. That 2 inches of leg and now crippled foot impaired his ability to continue his adventures so Tom did what was needed. He hitchhiked to Washington D.C. and employed a bone surgeon to shorten his left leg to match the right and fuse the shattered bones of his left foot. With no money left over to fly back to Jackson, Tom hobbled down the street to the nearest pawn shop and bought the old ten speed. Tom found enough bail wire to secure his gear for the trans-continental ride back to Jackson, with a short stop in Steamboat Springs. That was the weekend of the ski marathon from Rabbit Ears to Buffalo Pass back down to Steamboat. Tom felt in good shape, after his three-week ride and thought he’d rent a pair of “skinny skis” and ski the 26 mile race. On rented step skis, 3-pin bindings and climbing boots (the same pair he just wore for 2000 miles of pedaling). Tom was a well-built guy who usually finished first on any triathlon entered. He never trained and rarely spoke. On this race Tom finished last. When interviewed after the race he didn’t mention his accident, his recent 2000 mile trip or the fact that he was now 2 inches shorter than his previous 5’ 7”. He said just three words to that reporter when asked about the race, “I was humbled.” The next day Tom rode that old bike to Jackson Hole. A year later we were in the Bahamas when someone saw our Colorado flag and asked if I knew of the well-known skier, named Ranger. “Yes, of course, he is my oldest friend.” I then learned he was killed the week before in an avalanche at Jackson Hole. We still gather to tell stories about Ranger.

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

I once again met greatness in a 12 year old boy named Mark. I was a part-time Middle School shop teacher and drove a school bus before and after school. In order to make my job more full-time I pursued the thought of a smaller class that would design and build one challenging project. Students would learn the many building and social skills needed to complete the project. I found 10 students interested in the class, most from special education and a few from the gifted program. Each student were selected by interview. Each of them would have something to contribute. A six grader was sent to me from the principal, Bob Harris. I think Bob was tired of Mark spending most the school day in his office, but Bob knew Mark had better things to do. Mark wasn’t a great student but he could hack into any computer, walk through a locked door, or fix anything broken that Bob would bring in. Mark was a compulsive fixer and Bob knew that Mark was remarkable. So Mark joined my eclectic team of students, each with special skills to build the project. That first week of school would prove interesting. I had the preconceived idea that the selected project would be a small sailboat. I had built many in the past and so the my role of instructor might come natural. The selected team of ten, including one brave young lady, Jessica Gray, had many other ideas, but not one was a boat. One student, Loren Eakins, didn’t say too much but he could draw futuristic race cars that would kindle any imagination. The decision was made. We’d build the race car that Loren had previously drawn in English class. Race cars were not actually my thing but when I mentioned the idea of an electric race car all hands were “on deck.” Research began and Loren continued to sketch as the design crew worked from the drawings. We decided to build the car to compete in a particular racing J class developed for college level engineering classes. We called the project the “X-Special.” Mark came alive in the I early stages of construction. He came in during lunch, and n any class he could get out of. He was there every Saturday o and after school. He taught himself to weld the frame, R design the suspension, wire the electrics, and just seemed t to instinctively know how to build an electric car. The 300 p pound ten foot long, solar-charged car, was built that year e and this Middle School team, went on to compete in the o Rocky Mountain Region race circuit. We never won a race, p but we always finished and always learned a lot. When t asked what you learned in middle school, each member of i the X-Special team, might reply, “I help build the car of the t future.” That was 25 years ago! Thank you, Mark Burin. fi

And then, of course, that brings us to Kokos. This small W rescue mutt from Thailand, not human, of course, but re- y markable in every other way. Kokos went missing late this h last winter up in our neck of the woods, but her persistent O owner wouldn’t give up the search and in company of U Steamboat’s canine Search and Rescue’s Jennifer Good, a (and the help of several circling magpies), Kokos was spot- p ted on the ridge above Butcher Knife Canyon. Kokos was s hiding, and now, after 7 weeks, was too wild to be called in t by mere humans. A trap was set and she was caught that o next day. Seven weeks Kokos lived in the wild with coyotes,t foxes, and at least one badger looking for an easy meal, a but Kokos had a wild heart and mainly survived on worms m (loosing 12 or so pounds). She’s now back, and gaining J weight at her home in Steamboat. He is just a dog, but remarkable none the less! N E Greatness seems to come natural to some humans, and p who knows how many animals. I now ask my readers not g to ignore remarkable behavior when you see it, but em- S brace it and celebrate it whenever you can and you may w also be inspired, to seek adventure in all that you do. f T I’ll look for you.

Valley Voice

July 2022


Piknik Theatre

The Theatre of Title IX By Stuart Handloff

But as we have seen, progress is not linear. Mostly white men are still fascinated by a woman’s uterus, and what goes in and comes out; and they’re determined to control both. Women continue to face discrimination in the workplace. Even the vaunted US women’s soccer team, which has a record of 552 wins against 68 losses has only recently been able to achieve equal pay for equal work (and with far greater success than their male counterparts).

Steamboat Dance Theatre, the Yampa Valley Choral Society, and Piknik Theatre. Our City Council and school board are overwhelmingly female and extraordinarily capable. We’re on to something in our small corner of the world. It’s a good beginning, at least, and one that can serve as a beacon for other communities to show the way toward what is possible. Diversity is what allows adaptation to change in the animal kingdom. In our rapidly changing performing arts world, from COVID to virtual reality, it’s going to save us, too.

One would think that the American theatre, which I reckon is home to more liberals per capita than anywhere outside of Berkely, CA, would be a shining beacon of equality and respect for gender rights. But no, that’s not at all the case. Notwithstanding the number of Harvey Weinstein-style sordid stories of men behaving badly and illegally in film, television, and all the performing arts, the number of women playwrights, directors, and executives is woefully under representative of the general population.

J. Howard Miller's "We Can Do It!" poster from 1943 I’ve been reading in the Denver Post about the 50th anniversary of the passage of legislation included in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a bill signed by a Republican, Richard Nixon (!!!, yes THAT Richard Nixon), that guaranteed equality of education for all genders: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” These now classic 37 words transformed sports in America, because it applied not only to education but to any educational activity that was supported by federal financial assistance. Women’s sports programs have exploded in the past 50 years and USA women’s teams, in a variety of sports, have dominated in world competitions. “The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing came to a close on Sunday. The U.S. brought home 25 medals, mostly driven by female athletes.” “American women have accounted for nearly 60 percent of U.S. medals at the Tokyo Olympics, their most successful Games in history.” All this despite the protestations from male coaches of the era who predicted the end of the athletic world, as we know it, as well as a very real threat to the continuation of the human species as it was a well-known fact that a woman who competed in sports might very well have her uterus fall out (Denver Post, June 19, 2022). Now if progress were linear, there would have been an Equal Rights amendment to the Constitution (which had popular support and was passed by both Houses of Congress) ratified shortly after in 1972. And the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, approved in 1973 by a 7-2 vote, would have been another steppingstone for women moving forward toward equality in the Greatest Democracy Of All Time, that would never again be questioned.

A Wellesley College Report,”Women's Leadership in Resident Theaters,” found that as recently as 2016, men outnumbered women 2 to 1 in virtually every area of theatre production except costumes, props, stage management, and dramaturgy (and we all have a favorite dramaturg). For artistic leadership positions (artistic directors, executive directors, board chairs) the numbers are significantly lower, well below 30 percent. For women of color, the statistics are even worse. “If we had to define our findings in just one sentence,” the authors of the report summarize, “we would surmise that trust in women’s capabilities to lead a theater is lacking, and this lack of trust is at the root for women’s stark underrepresentation in leadership positions.” I’ve said to actors in my Piknik Theatre company, and the high schoolers I taught before them, not to work with anyone they didn’t trust. But building trust should be based on the ability to perform responsibly and the content of the character, not the color of skin, nor the presence of a uterus (to paraphrase the quote from Dr. Martin Luther King). Trust is not only earned, it must be nurtured and mentored. Trust is built mutually. It must be supported continually. “We conclude that the low numbers of women in almost all aspects of theater not only deprives society of the artistic vision and representation of half of humankind, it creates a chilly climate for current and future generations of women who want to work in theater,” so ends the Wellesley College report. I attended a workshop years ago and one of the speakers spoke confidently that despite the challenges to American leadership in so many areas, we would ultimately prevail because of our willingness to support women in leadership positions. This willingness has seriously eroded in recent years among our political leadership. No sane person would call Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert leadership material. And who would trust them, least of all with firearms? Predominantly white males continue to exert influence over a woman’s uterus and co-opt elected offices by supporting loonies like Greene and Boebert. Our little performing arts community in Steamboat Springs has female role models in leadership positions at the Strings Music Festival, the Steamboat Opera, Steamboat Creates,

My mother and father were both much more remarkable than any story of mine can make them. They seem to me just mythically wonderful. — Orson Welles


July 2022

Valley Voice

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The Pike Syndrome By Wolf Bennett

Things are not what they seem and you most definitely do not see all possibilities. We need friends who will call us on our junk, board members who question the chairman, secretaries who point out the flaws in a plan, generals who can admit that they don’t know the enemy. We want teachers who make us think, and maybe politicians who can admit that they just might be wrong.

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Northern Pike (Esox lucius) The Pike is a voracious predator. It preys mostly on smaller fish and is known for being tough, fast, tenacious and aggressive. It is a game fish, fun to catch and apparently quite tasty. It is those very predatory habits that led to the discovery of the Pike Syndrome.


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Ordinarily a pike will devour any minnow it finds swimming in its neighborhood. Interestingly if you put a pike in an aquarium and then lower a jar full of minnows into the tank the pike will attack the jar trying to get at the minnows many times smacking rather painfully into the glass barrier. After many tries it gives up and ignores them. If you now remove the jar so the minnows can swim freely the pike will continue to ignore them, it will not attack. It has become fully fixated in its behavior, unable to adapt to a new reality. It may even eventually starve surrounded by an abundant food supply. This is a very real metaphor for rigid, conditioned, indoctrinated thinking. The fixated pike cannot realize that what was learned no longer makes sense as conditions change. Destructive at worst, self-limiting at best. The condition is a form of what is called “psych sclerosis,” a hardening of the mental “arteries” that inhibit the flow of ideas to our minds and narrow all possibilities. The term can be applied to any self-defeating mental fixation. Like the pike, we often miss out on opportunities because we have locked ourselves into a rigid thought process. Perhaps knowing the term will help you spot it more easily in yourselves and help others break that pattern. We see it all the time in political ideology, tribalism, religious dogma, addictions, egotism, self-righteousness, and depression. Victims of the pike syndrome are fixated. Despite an abundance of new evidence and voluminous information they haven’t learned that circumstances change and new possibilities are all around us.

3162 Elk River Road, P.O. Box 772498 Steamboat Springs, CO 80487 For those who live here and for those who wish they did.

Climate change is real folks. It is coming up on us at a run. “Train wreck” does not do it justice. We are causing it and its effects are devastating to future generations and even to us. There is massive evidence from all quarters that demonstrate that we have to change how we do things now and yet CO2 increased by 6% last year to 421 PPM, the highest in millions of years. Carbon dioxide and physical laws don’t care what you or I think and it will continue to have increasing and devastating effects. Yep, pike syndrome in action there. Rigid ideology (dogmatism) could be another way to state this effect. Racism, sexism, conservatism, suicides and mass shooters share in this negative practice though we all can get dragged into the pattern. We can break this syndrome as powerful as it is and its far reaching effects. It is wise to learn to accept change when it happens. Learn to change things just for the practice. Watch your kids grow up and celebrate every new difference that you see. Laugh at the problems that arise for the challenge they bring you and not the difficulties. Learn to be more creative and employ those creativity skills wherever you can. Read more, listen to opposing points of view, and different news sources. Try new music, different food and ideas that may not be your favorites. Please acknowledge that the bump in the road is the road. This is not a solve it and be done with it sort of thing, it is a way of living that leaves you and those around you more free. Being a pike and starving because you are set in your ways helps no one. The pike syndrome is difficult to shake. The afflicted have bumped their heads so many times that they cannot see the possibilities around them. If some past experience has closed your mind to life’s possibilities, hope that someone baits you with something to shake your reverie. Thanks for reading.

Valley Voice

July 2022


Tales from the Front Desk

The Nest By Aimee Kimmey

Moments later, she knocked on 318’s door. She vaguely remembered the woman checking in, evidently she and her son were in town for a tennis tournament. She had practically been gushing about her little tennis progeny.

It hung over the balcony like a miniature paper-mache pinata. There was an ominous dark hole at the bottom of the cone shaped object, presumably ready to spew angry, stinging, wasps at any second.

Sure enough, when she opened the door, the woman was wearing a crisp white tennis skirt and matching sleeveless shirt. “Oh! Thank you for coming up so quickly.”

Swoosh! The boy’s racket nearly smacked it that time.

The clerk glanced toward the balcony, seeking out her target. “No problem. Let’s take a look at that nest.” “Of course,” The woman threw open the door, “My son’s allergic to bee stings, he swells up terribly. I’m not sure about wasps, but with the tournament starting tomorrow, I didn’t want to take any chances!” While the woman talked, the clerk peered past her. A well fed boy around ten years old stood out on the balcony with a tennis racket in his hands. “He got stung by a bee one time and his entire face puffed up like a grape. He could barely open his eyes for a week.” As the woman talked, the clerk watched the boy on the balcony. He swung the racket over his head in a perfect arc. The clerk had to admit, it seemed like he had good form. He swung again, back and forth.

The days had become scorchers: Daylight stretched late into the evenings. Blue sky was endless with only the occasional fluffy white cloud to break it up. Bushy green trees swayed in the cool mountain breeze while birds and bees chittered among their leaves. The town was bursting at the seams; every ball field, tennis court, and volleyball net was teaming with screaming humanity. Each one hosting a variety of rotating tournaments. The streets were packed with constant construction, travelers escaping the concrete jungle, and locals just trying to get across town. It was activity to rival the insects. The front desk had been a steady stream of guests for what seemed like days; business as normal for summer time. Between the guests checking in or out and the where’s this, where’s that questions, the front desk clerk picked up the phone, “Hello front desk?” “There’s a hornet’s nest on our balcony! Can somebody do something about it?” The woman the other end of the line wasn’t exactly panicked, but the clerk got the feeling she’d probably ought to get on this one soon. “Sure, we’ve got some wasp spray, I’ll bring it right up. What room are you in?” “Three eighteen.” Leaving the front desk in the hands of her co-worker, the clerk grabbed her wasp spray.

Watching the kid start to jump for the nest, the clerk decided this had gone on for long enough. She cut across the woman’s long diatribe of amazing little snook-ums, “Right! Well, let’s get to that nest shall we?” “Oh my, yes.” As the woman turned, the youngster caught sight of her. His racket immediately dropped behind his back. The woman ushered her little precious off the balcony while the clerk attacked the nest with her spray. It appeared to be long since deserted, but the clerk still giggled to herself a little when she thought about the kid whacking a live wasp nest with his tennis racket. Would he have learned a lesson? Would he have blown up like a balloon? Sadly, she’d never know.

“His tennis arm has really come along this year, I think we really stand a chance...” As the woman chattered, the clerk noticed the tiny grey ball just out of the boy’s reach. The story you are about to read is true... More or less. Friday. 10:42 am. Room 318.

Picturing a swarm of wasps descending down on the kid made the clerk a little queasy. It also made her want to giggle just a bit. Here this lady was so deeply concerned about her son’s safety, but she hadn’t even noticed him poking Fate square in the eye?


FIREFLY By Joan Remy Music takes us far To soar Remembering Looking into each other’s eyes Colors explode As we laugh and cry Exquisite love With every moment On Earth transitioning In and out of time Frequencies blending If you fly away Just come back I would miss Your sparkling gold light

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Last year I went fishing with Salvador Dali. He was using a dotted line. He caught every other fish. — Steven Wright


July 2022

Valley Voice


Your Monthly Message By Chelsea Yepello Aries

March 21 - April 19

Your cute neighbor has misconstrued you borrowing countless cups of sugar as a weak attempt at flirting. Unbeknownst to them, this is all part of a drawn-out plan to hoard a surplus of sugar and slowly gain control of the neighborhood children to become your army of crazed, sugar fueled robots.


April 20 - May 20


May 20 - June 20

You will feel deceived and cheated when you realize that after your $6.00 bottle of fancy sparkling water goes flat, it is in fact, just bad tasting water.

confusing conversation in the morning, considering that you were alone last night.


July 23 - August 23

Erecting elaborate obstacles on the local jogging trail as a make shift Tough Muddler, might have been a misguided attempt to meet people and will not go over well with most of the jogging community. However, there with be that one outlier with crazy eyes and a masochistic nature that will take an unnerving amount of pleasure from climbing up a 30' vertical wall and right into your arms.


While dipping a limp waffle into the bottle of mayonnaise you found in the back of your defrosted refrigerator, you consider that it might have been a good idea to start using the thawed food moments after your refrigerator broke, instead of a week later.



June 21 - July 22

October 24 - November 21

Traditional fortune tellers vary in prediction methods, generally using techniques established in ancient cultures and having the ability to look past the thin veil separating the conscious world from the spiritual world. Your fortune teller doesn’t do that. They just know how to use Google way better than you do.


November 22 - December 21

When your significant other tells you there is nothing else to say during a big fight, you will counter with a very passionate and lively game of charades.

August 23 - September 22

As the apocalypse begins, you try an unusual tactic to protect yourself from the zombies by covering yourself in fryer oil and laying in the sun for hours until your skin is covered in burns. Somewhere along the way, you heard zombies like eating raw flesh, so obviously cooking yourself will deter their appetites.

You will wake your neighbors with the sounds of your passionate, intense midnight lovemaking. This will lead to a really awkward and


September 23 - October 23

You may have taken the expression; “curiosity kills the cat,” too literally when you legally change your name to Curiosity and all of the stray cats start to mysteriously disappear.

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December 22 - January 19

Your rebellious nature will peak when you are found having a fight with a stop sign, screaming that it can’t tell you what to do.


January 20 - February 18

Your confidence will boost when a large group of people give you their undivided attention and hang on your every word. You believe it’s due to your quick wit and ability to story-tell, other people call it an AA meeting.


February 19 - March 20

You recognize that you’re still not ready for parenthood after you hear a baby cry and instead of instinctually wanting to nurture it, you just stare at it blankly and wonder if you should report an alien sighting to the CIA.

7th and Lincoln-ish with Howelsen Hill in the background. Photo by Gwen Skinner

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

Valley Voice

By Matt Scharf

A Gathering at the Bus Stop

July 2022



July 2022

Valley Voice

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July 16:

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