Valley Voice June 2022

Page 1

June 2022 . Issue 11.6


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Steamboat Springs Hayden Oak Creek Yampa

Walton Pond nest cam capturing Ospreys in town. This camera is publicly available at: Photo courtesy of Peter Parsons


June 2022

Valley Voice


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Valley Voice

June 2022


Contents Free Books for Routt County Children

Page 4

Bringing it Home

Page 5

She Had Guts: Josephine Roche

Page 6

Annual Rings: Wooden Ships

Page 7

Reality of Mining's Employment

Page 8

Twenty Years of "Opera Plus"

Page 9

River Wise on the Yampa River

Page 10

The Business Next Door

Page 12

Bathtub of the Gods: The Sea of Japan

Page 13

By Barbara Hughes By Kim Keith

By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield By Fran Conlon

By Scott L. Ford

By Sarah Hopfenbeck, MD

By Craig Johnson & Jenny Carey

Publisher/Art Director: Matt Scharf Sales:

VV Assistant:

Eric Kemper

By Ken Proper By Phil Giffin

Cuckoo Page 14 By Joan Remy

Heavy Hangs Over Thy Head! By Karen Vail

Page 15

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.

Fairy Tales 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.

Comics Page 19

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.

By Wolf Bennett

The Pool Towel Page 17 By Aimee Kimmey

Your Monthly Message By Chelsea Yepello


Page 18

If you are interested in advertising your business in the Valley Voice, please contact Matt Scharf at or 970-846-3801 (We are the most affordable in town!)

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:

Yet another tragedy that no one can seem to come together with reform. Tragically stupid… The brutal marketing that falls on tender ears, hearts and souls… Gas prices that will keep you home and from not mowing the yard… Being forced out of your office of ten years – to make room for another brewery… Witnessing “Newbies” say they’ve hung out with Carl Howelsen last night…

Raves... Living in such a beautiful area… Getting some free muscle (Eric & Rick) to help move the office… When the “zipper merge” actually works if you’re paying attention… Having the hope things will get better someday… When the weed-wacker starts on the 50th pull…

Say What?... “You can tell these people don’t travel much. They ask what the teepees on top of DIA are for.” “When I first moved here, I didn’t know what a “Fourteener” was. Now when a friend asks me what I’ve done lately, I reply; “Last week I did a fourteener.”” Wow! …at your age?” “Yes, a sixteen inch pizza is way too much for me!” “Hummingbirds almost taste like a candy bars, if you can catch them.” "Kindness floats the boat?"

We go to press June 24th for the July 2022 Edition! Send in your submissions by June 15th!

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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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There's a lot of us out here that are birds, man. We all need to just fly. — Travis Scott


June 2022

Valley Voice

For the Love of Reading

Free Books for all Routt County Children from Birth to 5 Years Old By Barbara Hughes/ Women United of Routt County United Way

Today the program is available throughout the U.S. and has expanded to Canada, the U.K., Australia, and the Republic of Ireland. Colorado’s state legislators and Governor Polis have pledged their support of the program by providing a 50% funding match for all affiliates in Colorado.

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How many parents in Routt County would like free books for their young children? We hope all of them. That is why Women United of Routt County United Way has become an affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL). Dolly says, “You can never get enough books into the hands of enough children”, and we couldn’t agree more. That is why Women United sponsors the Dolly Parton Imagination Library here in Routt County. What is it and where is it you might ask? Well, it is an early literacy book giving program committed to sharing a love of reading. Every month the Imagination Library mails free high-quality, age-appropriate books to registered children, in their own name, from birth until their fifth birthday. That means by the time a child is ready for kindergarten, they will have their own library of 60 books, all free of charge. The books are selected each year by a panel of early literacy professionals recruited by The Dollywood Foundation and include two bilingual titles per year. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was launched in Sevier County, Tennessee in 1995 and became such a success that in 2000 a national replication effort was underway.

970-879-5273 For those who live here and for those who wish they did.

Research has indicated that it is never too early to start reading to a child because a reading voice is comforting to a baby and 85% of brain development occurs by age 3. It has been found that reading builds neural pathways. In other words, reading builds brains! Studies have shown that children who have been read to possess the foundation for understanding grammar and spelling skills. They gain background knowledge that helps them understand what they read, intuitively know how to write, and the comprehension and concentration skills they develop transfer to all subjects. Children who have been read to for 20 minutes a day and who then read on their own consistently score in the 90th percentile on standardized tests. A child read to for 5 minutes/ day usually scores in the 50th percentile and a child read to for only 1 minute/day will score in the 10th percentile. Women United wants to see every child be successful in school. That is why we invite you to register your child for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library today, whether you have a newborn or a 4 year old, or any age in between. It’s never too early or too late to develop a love of reading. Each child under 5 years of age in the family should be registered individually so that they will receive their own special age-appropriate books. Please note that it normally takes approximately 8 weeks after registration for the first book to arrive.

To register please visit https://RouttCountyUnitedWay. org/Imagination-Library or scan the QR code available here and on posters at the UC Health Birth Center at Yampa Valley Medical Center and local daycares and preschools.

Valley Voice

June 2022


Steamboat Cabaret 2022

Bringing it Home By Kim Keith

Katy Goodman has been involved with Cabaret in many capacities and this year is her 4th year of directing. “It has been an honor to work with (Steamboat Creates) through all the years and watch the changes while they still keep their core values and commitment to the community alive. The creativity of the people in this town never ceases to amaze me. It is so diverse with new talent comes out every single year.” Katy said excitedly.

Shows on June 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th. One show per night. Doors open at 6:00pm, show at 7:00p at the Depot Art Center. Limited tickets available.

Need Catering for a Party or Event?

Steamboats’ beloved Cabaret is Bringing it Home to the Depot Art Center June 8, 9, 10 & 11th! The venerable show is celebrating their 40 year. The exact time is a little fuzzy because, well, Cabaret! Sponsors and VIP ticket holders get to choose their seats first at 6pm and the shows start at 7pm each night. We do know that the very first performances occurred at the historic Steamboat Springs Depot to raise money in benefit for Steamboat Springs Arts Council. Bliss Hall, historically known as the Baggage Room, will be once again be transported back in time when the Depot was the center of local performing arts. Co-directed by Paula Salky and Katie Goodman the show promises to add a healthy dose of fun.

Tongue firmly in cheek it is a time to laugh with each other and laugh at ourselves. “It is time to celebrate the wonderful community we are. It is time for Cabaret to Bring it Home to the Depot Art Center for Steamboat Creates’ 50th anniversary with 40 years of Cabaret performances.”

All Parties are individually designed around your budget. Monday thru Friday 7am - 2pm

Call Sharon at 970-846-7882

Paula Salky agrees, "Who doesn't need some fun right now? We've been inundated with some of the funniest skits and songs and it has been bellyaching hilarious reading through the material to choose and cast the show! We have some of our favorite veterans' returning and a great group of new talent, who we are calling our Super Nova's (our bright new stars!) to perform in this year's show.” Through the years, Cabaret has morphed from a variety show featuring local talent into something that is quite unique. Mixing music with satire and skits that poke fun at the foibles of the rich, famous and powerful in our town. Dogs, e-bikes, wildlife encounters, housing, and the lack of, are all fair game for the Cabaraiders. In the past, Cabaret has been directed by many talented people. However, one of the co-directors this year has become an institution to the, eh, institution.

Come join us for Fish & Chips Thursdays and Fridays!

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There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island. — Walt Disney


June 2022

Valley Voice

Bonnifield Files

She Had Guts: Josephine Roche By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield

She also was on the track team. (This was 1904. Women were not supposed to study economics nor run foot races. She would go on to prove her business savvy was above average.) Vassar was followed by graduate work at Columbia University where she studied sociology and economics. In 1910, she worked at a Settlement House in Greenwich Village helping poor immigrant communities escape exploitation. Her thesis examined the relation between poverty, employment opportunity, and prostitution. Although she was not directly involved, she was nearby when in 1911 the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory burned. It was company policy to lock all the doors including bathrooms. One hundred and forty-six young women, (some as young as twelve) burned to death.

Josephine Aspinwall Roche (December 2, 1886 – July 1976) She was a Colorado humanitarian, industrialist, Progressive Era activist, and politician. As a New Deal official she helped shape the modern American welfare state. She was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame in 1986. Josephine Aspinwall Roche in 1929 purchased controlling interest in Colorado’s third largest coal mining company, Rocky Mountain Fuel. Two years earlier at the Columbine Mine near Lafayette, company gunmen killed six striking miners and wounded several more including women and children – the Columbine Massacre. Following the violence, Josephine purchased control of the mining company and introduced several revolutionary changes. At a meeting in Governor Billy Adams office with mine owners and businessmen, a man passed her a note saying, “What this meeting needs is more beauty.” Her response was “What this meeting needs is not beauty, but guts.” She was a lady with ability and guts. John D. Rockefeller Jr. labeled her “a dangerous industrial radical.” He and his Colorado Fuel & Iron (CF&I) feared her.

In 1912, Miss Roche moved to Denver where she lived with her parents. She was soon involved in the Progressive Party working for Theodore Roosevelt’s bid for president and general reform. Colorado clearly needed to improve. Labor wars and strikes were common. That year, the miners in the Northern Coalfield (Boulder and Weld counties) went on strike. The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) agreed to assist the miners by expanding the strike across the state. Thus, it became one of the basic causes of the terrible labor war culminating in the Ludlow Massacre. Josephine’s father John was one of the mine owners who brought on the war. On the question of labor relations, he was as narrow as Josephine was broad minded. Unlimited opportunities opened for a young reformer. In 1903-04, Colorado fought a bloody labor war. People were shot and killed at voting sites. The graveyards voted, that is, a dead person who was registered, voted. Men would study the voter register and select a dead person, then cast their ballot. Often the dead voted twice – once for a Democrat and once for a Republican. The Democratic governor candidate, Alva Adams, received the most votes. The Republican Governor Peabody had appointed state Supreme Court Justices who declared him winner. Finally, to settle the issue, Adams was declared winner. After taking the oath, he resigned, and Peabody took the oath. Peabody immediately resigned and Henry Buchtel became governor. Thus, Colorado had three governors in one day.

Josephine, the only child of Ella and John Roche, was born December 2, 1886, in Neligh, Nebraska. John was a successful banker and investor. One of his investments was in Rocky Mountain Fuel Company. He sold his interests in the bank and moved to Denver where he was vice president of the coal company.

After taking office, Robert Speer appointed Michael Delaney chief of police. He was well known for beating suspects until they confessed (Third Degree Delaney). Street cops were well known for their quick and brutal use of night sticks. Children (12-15) living in the poorer districts were often beaten and arrested for being disrespectful. Younger girls, who were showing signs of developing womanhood, were recruited into prostitution for men willing to pay big money for young virgins. Historian Phil Goodstein described Denver as a tourist city dedicated to assuring that visitors had a good time. Estimates range from 500 to 1000 prostitutes working on Market Street at any given time. Venereal disease estimates range at 75 percent. Gambling games were totally dishonest.

Josephine attended school at the exclusive Brownell Hall in Omaha before entering Vassar College where she graduated with a double major in economics and classic studies.

Recognizing the depth of Denver and Colorado’s corruption, Josephine joined the Progressive Party where she quickly became a leader intending to clean up Denver.

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

When Henry Arnold was elected mayor, he appointed George Creel police commissioner with instructions to clean up Market Street. He appointed Josephine as Inspector of Amusements; thus, she was Denver’s first woman police officer. She set out to get young girls off the street and out of the brothels. Boys were also protected from police officers. Creel took the night sticks from the officers. The reform effort only lasted a few months. The reality was there was no good way to help the girls. Prostitution was the only way they could make a living. Society and economy provided two choices: get married or work the street. During her brief period as officer, Josephine received enough respect from the residents of Market Street that she could walk the street alone day or night without harm. Creel fell out with the mayor and was fired, but when Arnold attempted to fire Roche, he found a beautiful woman who fought back. She passed the civil service test with a 94 percent. She took her case to the state court and won, but Arnold found other ways to freeze her out. The Roche family was extremely private, so we don’t have a record of Josephine and her father John’s personal lives; however, she was living at home during the “Great Colorado Coal War of 1913-1914.” There must have been some family tension because her dad was one of the mine owner/operators who bitterly fought the United Mine Workers. During the strike Josephine assisted striking families living in tent camps including Ludlow. She had an up close and personal understanding of the basic cause of the strike and why families endured the hardship and danger of living and working in and around coal mines. According to Colorado historian Caroline Bancroft, following the Ludlow Massacre, Josephine “Vow[ed] if she could alter the oppression and injustice of coal-mining conditions in Colorado, it would be her life work.”

Following the outbreak of World War I, she moved to Europe where she assisted Herbert Hoover in supplying aid to war ravished families. She returned to Colorado in 1918 and became director of the girls department of the I juvenile court under Judge Ben Lindsey. A a During World War I and the 1920's, powerful movements ( arose to eliminate anything considered un-American. The T nation went on a witch hunt for communists and radicals a – the Red Scare. Citizens and immigrants were rounded i up and sent to jail or prison. The Red Scare was followed o by the rise of the KKK. The Klan was exceptionally power- m ful in Colorado with the election of a Klan governor. Labor t unions and leaders were driven underground or from the v state. s

Colorado had a long and bloody history of labor wars in I the coal mines – 1893-94, 1903-04, and 1913-14. The T 1913-14 strike began in 1910 in the Northern Coalfield. R After Ludlow and the arrest and conviction of the UMWA M leader John R. Lawson, organized labor was all but dead in a Colorado. f s s O

Valley Voice


June 2022


Annual Rings: Wooden Ships

John D. Rockefeller Jr. labeled her “a dangerous industrial radical.” He and his Colorado Fuel & Iron Company feared her. Head of CF&I, Jesse Wellborn, wanted a showdown with the IWW, but he did not want another Ludlow Massacre in southern Colorado. So, the murders would be in northern Colorado. Captain Louis Scherf and a company of gunmen were dispatched to the Columbine Mine. Josephine heard rumors of Scherf’s plan and contacted Governor Billy Adams, but Adams did nothing. The Weld County sheriff who knew of Scherf’s plan stood on the running board of his car and pleaded with the miners not to go. He was ignored. At the gate of the mine, Scherf’s men opened fire – Columbine Massacre. Scherf’s men safely returned to southern Colorado, the strikers were blamed for causing the violence, and the strike was broken. But this time Wellborn and the mine owners did not win.

Josephine Roche on 31 October 1938 at conference on U.S. Health Plan in Washington, D.C.

In 1924 and 1925, Colorado’s leading mines, CF&I, Victor America, and Rocky Mountain Fuel lowered wages. Seeing an opportunity, the International Workers of the World (IWW) sent A. S. Embree to the state to organize miners. The IWW was an extreme left-wing union and Embree was a harden veteran of labor wars, culminating in jail time in Montana and Arizona. As part of a national effort, he organized a three-day strike in the Southern Coalfield in memory of Sacco and Vanzetti who were wrongly executive for murder. To Embree’s surprise, the protest was very successful and resulted in a decision to call a general strike. In the fall of 1927, 12,000 Colorado coal miners struck. The miners in Routt County were among those on strike. Rocky Mountain Fuel decided to operate the Columbine Mine at Serene. Strikers and their families regularly met and marched to the mine and picketed. Josephine Roche’s father had died leaving her a large but not controlling share in the company. Unlike her father, she gave the strikers permission to picket on Columbine Mine property. Often, she met the miners with coffee and doughnuts.

They failed to reckon with the lady with guts, Josephine Roche. By 1929, she gained control of Rocky Mountain Fuel Co., replaced the old management, and did the unthinkable. She recognized the UMWA and signed a Union contract. Next, she placed John Lawson in charge of the company’s labor relations. He remained for eleven years. As a union leader his home was blown up, he was shot while sitting in a barber chair, and he was framed for first degree murder. This was the man Josephine trusted with labor relations. Yes, Mr. Rockefeller, Josephine Roche was a dangerous woman, and she had just started.

By Fran Conlon

Tree rings speak; a story may sing, Of a shipwright's work for wind and sea, And, sailing crews with the shift-bell ring, A past time retired, as that skill does flee. The steel hull calls for the welder's skill, Stronger, faster in the windy squall, Course change into the wind, no jib or thrill, No tangled rigging with wind's masts tall. On land, strong timbers in Widow's Walk scene, A view stretching towards endless sea and sky, Awaiting ship's sighting as if from a dream, A long voyage ended, in the mind's eye. A perilous turning, the Cape Horn round, Then, northwards for the final stretch, At last, the direction of homeward bound, The steel ship can outpace the ketch. So, steel can make a broad reach, Still, the ketch has a lesson to teach. zirkel-valleyvoice-ad-3.1667x5.5-071421.pdf




In 1934, she ran for governor against the Klansman, Ed C. Johnson, and former governor Billy Adams. Adams was the governor who failed to prevent the Columbine Massacre. Josephine defeated Adams but not Johnson.





Josephine’s good friend Frances Perkins became the first woman appointed to the presidential cabinet as Secretary of Labor. Josephine became the second woman running the National Public Health Service under the Secretary of the Treasury. She played a leading role in passage of the Wagner Act (fair and safe labor relations that ended the long history of bloody labor wars). She helped establish social security. She organized and presented the first national health program. The American Medical Association defeated it, but it became the foundation for our modern state and federal health care programs.



There is no doubt, Josephine Roche was a dangerous woman with guts who made a big difference in how we all live.


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June 2022

Valley Voice

Go Figure

The Reality of Mining's Employment & Earnings in Routt County By Scott L. Ford Since February, I have used my monthly column to do a deep dive into what is often referred to as the three-legs of Routt County’s economy. Those three legs being, agriculture, mining and tourism. The first two columns in this series focused on agriculture and we learned that adjusted for inflation agriculture revenues have been about the same size over the past 50 years. In addition, as an industry sector Agriculture contribution the current GDP of the county is 1.7%. We learned that mining has been a part of Routt County’s economic history since the 1860’s. Over time the focus of mining has shifted from gold to coal. The growth of coal mining coincided with the arrival of the railroad in 1908. Routt County currently has one operating coal mine called Twentymile located south of Hayden. Production at Twentymile has declined from a peak in 2012 of nine million tons to just under 2 million tons in 2021. Mining as an industry sector has declined from being the source of about 15% of the County’s GDP in 2012

to currently 4%. The two main factors that contribute to this drop is the decline in coal production and the fact that Routt County’s economy is increasingly more diverse. Twentymile’s primary customer is Xcel Energy’s Hayden Power plant. The power plant is scheduled to be fully closed in about eight years. With the closure of the power plant mining at Twentymile will likely cease. With the closing of the mine there will be the loss of employment as well as significant loss in property tax revenues. Last month I focused on the impact to property taxes. This month I will be focusing on the economic impact associated with the loss of employment. Employment is one of those topics that often can create a great deal of reactions. Employment is also one of those topics there is no shortage of data. The abundance of data from different sources allows for a great deal of discussion as one tries to make an accurate analysis of the impending economic impact the loss of mining jobs will have in Routt County.

Percent Mining Represents of Full-Time Employment & Earnings 7.0% 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0% 2.0% 1.0% 2010











Most importantly I keep in mind that rarely is data perfect and one must use care not to torture the data beyond what it can tell us. Both BEA and ACS data do not provide pinpoint accuracy. Rather the data is useful to identify trends and assess magnitude. When studying the economic impact of employment, where an individual lives is far more impactful than where they work. Having said all of that it is now time for us to dig into the employment data. I have limited my analysis to only full-time year-round jobs. In the ACS data this means an individual that over the course of a year is working at least 50 weeks per year and averaging at least 35 hours or more per week. Over the past ten years mining has represented on average about 3% of employment and 4% of total earnings in Routt County. It is important to keep in mind that not all mining jobs are associated with employment at the Twentymile mine. For example, in the ACS data an individual living in Routt County, however, working remotely for an Oil and Gas company would be included in the extractive industry sector. All this means is that even when local coal mining operations cease there will be some element of extractive industry employment and earnings that will continue to exist.

Routt County


There are two primary sources of employment data. One is the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the other is the Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS). Both are reliable sources that have employment data, however, the sources of the data different. BEA data is employer focused and the ACS is employee focused.



From an employment and earnings perspective when coal mining ceases to exist in Routt County, we will likely not even notice its absence. Like a lot of things in this world there is often a huge disconnect associated with the perception of loss and the reality of its magnitude.

Next Issue – The economic role of tourism locally

Source: US Census / American Community Survey Tables: S2404 & B24041

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Valley Voice

June 2022


Opera Steamboat

Twenty Years of "Opera Plus" By Sarah Hopfenbeck, MD

“Opera Plus”? You know about Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, but “Opera Plus”? 2022 marks the twentieth anniversary season for Opera Steamboat. Now, not everyone identifies as an “opera fan,” so this milestone might not initially pique your interest. And full disclosure: I am a Board Member of this organization. But hear me out: Opera Steamboat is about much more than opera, and what they have brought to the community of Steamboat (and greater Northwest Colorado) over the past twenty years is literally “Opera Plus.”

“To enrich the well-being of our community through innovative, educational, and collaborative musical arts programs.” --Mission Statement, Opera Steamboat Founded in 2002 as Emerald City Opera, the company was formed with a vision to bring world class opera to Steamboat. And that it has done; over twenty years the organization, renamed Opera Steamboat in 2017, has produced nearly 50 operas, from the classic to the contemporary. Professional singers from around the globe have traveled to Steamboat to share their artistry on stage. Since 2008, these stars have worked with and performed alongside rising young vocal artists in the company’s Opera Artist Institute, a program designed to bring young talented singers to Steamboat to learn from professionals. Artistic excellence and a large catalog of beautiful musical works has certainly enriched the well-being of our community. But read on to see the “Plus”! Innovation: In musical style and content: Opera Steamboat has offered a broad array of productions, from classic, grand opera like Don Giovanni, to fun, family-friendly works like Hansel and Gretel, to groundbreaking contemporary operas that address challenging social issues.

This summer’s festival will include musical theater for the first time (Stephen Sondheim’s Company). Next year, a world premiere featuring local legends: Opera Steamboat has commissioned a new opera based on the lives of Charlotte Perry and Portia Mansfield (of Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp fame). In venues: Opera Steamboat has embraced the wealth of intriguing spaces in the valley for their productions: from Strings Pavilion to the Yampa Valley Botanic Park; from Steamboat Christian Center to Strawberry Park Hot Springs; from Steamboat Springs High School to the Art Depot. Young artists have performed as a “flash mob” at the Farmer’s Market and have joined local singers for caroling downtown during the holidays.

In diversity: The company has been a leader in promoting diversity in the arts, with 30% of the singers and orchestra musicians in 2021 being artists of color. That number will be 40% for the upcoming Summer Festival. And all four of the conductors for the 2021 season were women, a first for any opera company in the U.S.

Education: Of aspiring professionals: As noted above, every year young artists from around the world audition for the Opera Artist Institute (OAI). Those selected spend four weeks of the summer in Steamboat, participating in vocal coaching and master classes with professional singers and performing in the Summer Festival productions. In 2022, 36 young artists will travel to Steamboat to participate in this exciting program. Many OAI alumni have gone to achieve success on national and international stages. Of local youth: Opera Steamboat has developed Opera in the Schools, a program to teach students in grades K-12 about opera. For one week each year they travel to schools throughout Routt and Moffat counties to present short, entertaining versions of operas in English. Teachers are provided with study guides in advance, and performances are followed by ample question and answer time. Opera in the Schools has been met with overwhelming approval from students and faculty alike, this year serving over 2,000 students in 10 different schools. Of those with special needs: since 2015, Opera Steamboat has provided vocal workshops for people with special needs, through Horizons and the Yampa Valley Autism Program, as well as for adults with Parkinson’s Disease. Led by Dr. Dan Comstock, director of the Center for Attitudinal

Healing, these workshops allow participants to actively engage in learning fundamentals of speech, singing, rhythm, and movement. Collaboration: On top of the vocal workshops, many additional unique and special events have been made possible through the company’s collaboration with other local organizations. To name just a few: • “Our Voices Will be Heard”: two short operas produced in conjunction with Advocates of Routt County (now part of umbrella organization Better Tomorrow), spotlighting domestic abuse and gender inequality, followed by a panel discussion of the issues. • “Frida Kahlo’s Garden,” a traveling art and garden exhibition from the National Endowment for the Humanities, hosted and presented in collaboration with Steamboat Creates, the Yampa River Botanic Park, Bud Werner Memorial Library, and Integrated Community. • “Voices of Steamboat”: local singers participating in a vocal competition and raising money for the local nonprofits of their choice. • Celebration of Integrated Community’s World Fiesta event by producing videos of two Latina opera stars performing works by composers from Spain, Mexico, and other Latin American countries. So, “Opera Plus”? Yes, for twenty years, that is what Opera Steamboat has brought to Northwest Colorado. Excellence in the musical arts, innovative programming, a commitment to music education, and collaboration with local partners. So much more than just opera, a real “Plus” to our community.

Opera is the ultimate art form. It has singing and music and drama and dance and emotion and story. — Diane Paulus


June 2022

Valley Voice

City of Steamboat Springs

River Wise on the Yampa River

By Craig Robinson & Jenny Carey/ Parks, Trails & Open Space

• Protect River Health –Disposable items are prohibited on the river. These items often get left behind as trash. Also, try to wear biodegradable sunscreen and refrain from recreating in the river when water and oxygen levels are low and water temperatures are high. • Go With A Pro – If you are unfamiliar with the river, seek out a licensed operator for tubing, fishing, paddleboarding, kayaking and rafting. They will provide you with all the right equipment, information, and transportation for an enjoyable and stress fee day on the water. Last summer, the city implemented a ban on disposable containers on the river. This includes items such as cans, plastic bottles, glass, bags, and Styrofoam coolers, which constantly wash up on banks and can impact wildlife dramatically. Please leave these items as home or plan to enjoy them after your water excursion.

Water from the Yampa River is vital to so many of us. Farmers and ranchers depend on it for their livestock and to irrigate their crops, the river provides amazing recreational opportunities for locals and visitors, and it plays an important role in maintaining a healthy and balanced ecosystem in the Yampa Valley. Imagine a river without animals – no fish, no birds, no otters, no bugs, no snakes, no beavers, or any of the other animals that come to the river edge for life sustaining hydration. That’s something we never want to see. Because the Yampa River is important for so many different reasons, it is imperative that we do everything we can to keep it healthy and thriving. That is why the City of Steamboat Springs is working to protect and preserve the river now and for future generations. With that in mind, it’s never been more important that we all recreate responsibly on the river and minimize the impacts to the health of the river. The Yampa River is one of Steamboat Springs’ popular recreation locations and one that we all must work daily to protect. Watch for Ollie the Otter and some of his river friends again this summer. They will be popping up frequently to help everyone “get river wise” and encourage several key practices this summer that protect the river:

Did you know, a $5 Recreational Tube Fee is applied to the sale of tubes within city limits. While this may not seem like something that would help the river, the money raised funds a variety of public education programs that highlight river rules, etiquette, and ways to keep our river healthy. It also helps fund other river related events and initiatives like community river clean-ups over the summer. So much can affect the health of the river these days including the continued drought with rising temperatures on many fronts. By changing how we enjoy the river like eliminating disposable containers, saving a little money for education and most important, your continued support, we can make a huge different As you hit the water, keep an eye out for Ollie and his friends as you enjoy the liquid lifeblood of the community for all species. And please Get River Wise before hitting the river this summer. Have family or friends visiting the Yampa Valley to enjoy our beautiful environment? Share with them what we all must do to keep the Yampa River healthy and happy. So, the next time you dip a toe into the Yampa River, remember the impacts you have, be safe and always be responsible. Thanks, and we appreciate your support in standing together to protect this vital resource. Respect the Yampa!

• Know Before You Go – Reminding locals and visitors to wear appropriate gear such as life vests, river shoes, helmets, and proper river shoes. Rig to flip so that your personal items do not become river trash if you flip your tube, raft, sup, or kayak. And exercise proper river etiquette. If you lose your kayak/SUP/raft, call the non-emergency dispatch number 970.879.1144 with the location and description of your vessel so we know you’re okay!

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

All photos courtesy of the City of Steamboat Springs

Valley A Voice










June 2022J

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Map under construction Map Disclaimer © 2021 Valley Voice, LLC. All rights reserved. NOT TO SCALE! No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the artist. The publisher does not guarantee the accuracy of this map.

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June 2022

Valley Voice

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

Victims of Love

The Business Next Door By Ken Proper

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. .

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June 10, 1914 After two days, I know the layout. The café is for the walkin traffic, cowboys, and the railroad crew. The upstairs entertains more established and respectable patrons. Gentlemen are rarely seen on the back stairway in the daylight. Nellie, my first waitress runs the café with young Fran. Their job is to keep the clientele happy and drinking. The Spaniard, Jose primarily cooks. Freddie helps, but his main task is keeping the place orderly. As an example, last night a fellow blew cigar smoke into Fran’s mouth as she attempted to kiss him. A total surprise for her, she coughed and coughed. Tears ran from her eyes filled with hate. That rotter’s abusive joy rankled me, and I stood to defend her, “She’s just a girl you cad!” He whipped his pistol out and pointed it at my nose, “Is it worth dying for blondie?” Freddie leapt up, holding a wooden bat, and shouted, “Put it away, this is a classy joint.” “Dry up.” “Put it away, JJ,” He shouted again and pushed the Colt 45 down slowly from my face. Madame appeared and snarled, “If you do it again in my place, you’ll wake up with a serving fork twisted several times in your throat.” Peace was restored. I digressed, there is an inside stairway to a room on the second floor for men with lust and more money to spend. That room has another door, which is usually locked, but opens to the lavishly decorated parlor, bar and sitting area of the second story.

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

More rooms are discretely located around the parlor. The furniture and tall green plants are arranged in such a way to prevent those sitting from seeing who is going in and out of the rooms. It can be seen but apparently bad form to look. Madame Ollie rules the upstairs, charms clients and is all business. She always wears a hat, indoors and out. They usually have assorted colored feathers, though predominately black. Occasionally, she sports a modern, smart one. The identical twins, Syl and Phyl are difficult to distinguish. I believe they continually switch their names as a lark. Edith is a singer, older and refined. Flo acts crazy most of the time. Ollie’s girls have class. The others working from shanties are like cooks dressed for a carnival. The Madame considers her business much like a milliner or dress maker. She believes there is less prejudice of prostitution in a small town compared to contending with the zeal of the righteous in larger municipalities. She keeps a harem of fast women and treats them much like schoolgirls. Weekly, she takes them in a brake carriage to a park to run races, play field hockey and enjoy childish games. They kiss her with thanks in return and she keeps the jealous rivalry at a slow simmer. The trips down Lincoln Avenue are a form of advertising because the men folk see the gaily dressed women and it is a reminder of the fun available in Brooklyn. Gentleman wink and say, “I’ll meet you after dinner at Ollie’s.” They smoke cigars, drink liquor, and discuss politics. Madame nightly collects information, gossip, and local opinion. She is a powerful lobbyist and influences government simply by working in the shadows. The elite regulars arrive around 9:30 and depart for home and family at 11:00.

Valley Voice

This morning I arranged my walking attire in the glass and stepped out for a stroll in Brooklyn. I had not reached twenty steps when svelte Nellie rushed out the café door and walked directly to me saying, “He promenades the coterie in his bowler hat, silver tip cane and camera.” “I am a tenant,” I retorted. “But are you a member of this select circle of society?” “I chose to be here.” “You wished to be an inmate of Brooklyn?” “It just turned out that way.” “I sat on your lap and you waved me away,” she snapped, arms akimbo and placed firmly on her hips. “With a smile,” I answered with another one and a wink. She just looked at me and then gazed at the river in mock fury. “I think you are being a bit hard on me. I truly enjoy your company.” Then I added, “I have my reasons.” “The loser of the debate resorts to slander.” “Socrates,” I mentioned. She looked at me seriously and pleaded, “Don’t tell anyone I said that. The money improves when I act illiterate.” She turned and started walking down the street with me. I admired her caramel highlighted skin in the morning sun. I mentioned, “You are a woman with hidden knowledge and confidence.” “Soit silencieux.” In front of the café she asked, “When are you going to take naked pictures of me?” “Whenever you wish.” Her coquettish smile flowed over me. “We’ll have to talk about that.” Then Nellie stepped through the door and disappeared. It seemed like a good, unique thing. I was tired of photographing quaking aspens, wildflowers, and the river.

June 2022


Looking Back

Bathtub of the Gods: The Sea of Japan By Phil Giffin©

Soviet cargo ship, the Grigory Ordzhonikidze. We sailed from Osaka on a bright June morning in a rusty Soviet cargo ship, the Grigory Ordzhonikidze. It was 1970 and three friends and I had completed a year of language training in Japan. We decided to take a more adventuresome route home. Fortunately, the Soviet Intourist Travel Agency offered an interesting alternative. We would have tickets for a Russian cargo ship from Osaka to Nakhodka. The Trans-Siberian railroad to Moscow with side trips to Sochi on the Black Sea and Leningrad. From there we would board a ferry for Helsinki, another to Stockholm, a train to Gothenburg, and another ferry to London. In London we would have tickets waiting for us for an Aeroflot flight to New York. All this transportation for the same price as a direct flight from Tokyo - New York. It was too good to miss. The old Gregory offered us crew quarters, a musty closet ten feet below the waterline with no portholes. Our bunks were bolted to walls sloping inward with the bow of the ship. When prone we could feel the slap of every wave and hear the rush of the sea down both starboard and port hulls. The noise and vibrations, however, weren't going to bother us; we intended to spend our time in the bright sunshine on deck. The bar was open on the fantail for the entire voyage, we were told. That afternoon the old Grigory slipped quietly through the Inland Sea, a shimmering turquoise pool lined with volcanic headlands, wide bays, and a thousand small pinecovered islands all baking in the summer sun. Many of the tiny islets were the jumbled tips of volcanic craters. Some were ringed with black sand beaches, many had narrow pathways winding up thorough tumbled piles of magma trails, past stone lanterns, and under rows of vermilion "Torii" gates (Shinto shrines) strung with hemp ropes and faded pennants fluttering in the breeze. Afternoon on the Grigory was a pleasant blur of scorching sun, cool sea air, anise flavored vodka, desultory conversation, and long drowsy naps on deck lounges. Late in the afternoon we passed seaward of Hiroshima Bay, a wide archipelago of industry. Here the islands had been blasted, chiseled, and shaped by Japanese "Keiretsu," corporate conglomerates, into massive rock quarries, shipyards, and dry docks. The shallow coastal waters were crowded with floating booms and buoys, supporting underwater gardens of seaweed, clams, and oysters, or sea

pens of fish and eel. Vast stretches of the inland sea have been harnessed to the national economy. At sunset we passed westward through the Shimonoseki Straits into the open Sea of Japan. We could smell salmon grilling in the galley as we followed our sturdy Intourist hostess to dinner. Then, just as we sat down at a bright pink tablecloth, a huge wave lifted the bow of the old Grigory, sliding silverware onto my lap. The next instant we pitched left and down a giant swell, and a wave of nausea swept over me. I grabbed the pink cone of napkin on the table and filled it with the contents of my stomach. Miraculously, it didn’t leak, but I needed another. Across the room our hostess, was clinging with both hands to a chair, bolted to the floor. She completely ignored my wild gestures, by now everyone needed another cone or a bucket. Simultaneously, several of us relieved our churning stomachs onto the floor and headed for the door. The Grigory was rolling and pitching wildly in the bright sunshine. A typhoon had passed through the area a week before, and we had mistakenly assumed that its affects had dissipated. Stumbling down steel stairs, we followed half of the crew into the dank bowels of the ship where we all lay motionless on our bunks. It hadn't occurred to me that the Sea of Japan is a giant bathtub. Storm driven waves that had struck the coast of Japan a week earlier had bounced west to the Coastline of Siberia, north to Sakhalin and south to Korea. Again, and again they reverberated until they met, crashing into the Grigory, plowing through the middle of this churning sea. There were no stabilizers on the old scow, we could only lie flat on our bunks, rolling with every wave, shuddering with every blow, and listening to the throb of her engines. Our survival depended on Soviet technology and on lying perfectly still with both eyes firmly closed. In retrospect, the closest I ever came to the lower rungs of Dante’s hell was the view on my knees before a rusty, Soviet toilet bowl that was pitching, jerking, and rolling wildly through the Sea of Japan. At dusk on the second day we passed the headlands of the peninsula which forms the entrance to Nakhodka Bay. Within minutes we were gliding across calm water, bringing the Soviet crew, my friends, and I out of hibernation and onto the deck to breathe fresh air. Out of guilt, or was it concern for his next source of hard currency, the Captain appeared with a bottle of Stolichnaya vodka. “Welcome to Soviet Union. The Captain wishes to apologize and thank you for your patience during the terrible storm yesterday.” A few shots of vodka later, we were all laughing and comparing notes about our survival in the "bathtub of the gods." Unfortunately, the Captain soon disappeared, taking his elixir with him; and we returned to our cabin to await Soviet Customs and Immigration. At the time we would have preferred spending the next 4 hours almost anywhere on the ship, rather than return to the moribund ward from which we had so recently escaped.

Your dresses should be tight enough to show you're a woman and loose enough to show you're a lady. — Edith Head


June 2022


Valley Voice

Steamboat Springs Walden


Happy Feet, Happy Life The only podiatrist in the region!

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Walton Pond nest cam capturing Ospreys in town. The male is delivering a nice trout to his ‘wife’ who is sitting on the eggs after this weeks snow. We are expecting eggs to hatch in the the next week or so. This camera is publicly available at: Photo courtesy of Peter Parsons


CUCKOO By Joan Remy Enjoyed the little white bird That came in and out Of Grandma’s clock Warm apple strudel Feeling safe within the illusion But knew too much As a child Galaxies spun Earth is crying The Tsunami Hits my face hard I’m jumping over dark and light Sweet animals Are my teachers In all their beauty They forgive. . . For those who live here and for those who wish they did.

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Valley Voice

June 2022


'Boat Almanac

Heavy Hangs Over Thy Head! By Karen Vail

Photos by Karen Vail

Wanderings this spring has turned up a plethora of fascinating headgear. I have found moose, deer and elk antlers, and an old bighorn sheep horn. Wait, aren’t they all horns or antlers? Nope. The more I dug up on animal headgear, the fuller the horn of plenty became. (har, har!) It started with a very large moose antler. From base to tip it was longer than my outstretched arm. Not that I could hold it up easily to measure it along my arm. That sucker was HEAVY! I put it up to my head trying to imagine what kind of neck muscles this animal must have had to support two of these! A smaller moose antler found later was very recently shed with a bright red base with bits of hair and skin. Let’s start with the basics; what is an antler and a horn? Antlers are made entirely of bone and are grown and shed yearly. Over time antlers become increasingly branched. The Cervids are the wearers of antlers: deer, elk, moose. True horns are not shed (we’ll look at the outlier in a moment), are unbranched, and are bone surrounded by a layer of keratin (like what our nails are made of) then covered by a keratinized epidermis. In our area, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, pronghorn, bison and the nonnative mountain goat have horns. How antlers and horns appear out of the top of an animal’s head is truly magical. Just imagine you are a 900 pound male moose. Each year you add up to 60 pounds of bone that grows out of the top of your head that spans 40 to 50 inches across. You are also required to walk (without tipping over!) and avoid tangling yourself in shrubs or doing the limbo between tree limbs. Let’s begin the process of growing antlers after the animal has shed them in late winter. Antlers begin growing from two spots on a male’s skull called pedicles. After the antlers have been shed the pedicle is open like a wound, eventually developing a scab-like covering called a wound epithelium within 2-3 weeks. In most deer fam-

ily members antler growth begins shortly after the wound is healed, although moose antlers do not begin growth until 2-3 months after antler shed. Beneath this wound epithelium are cells that will create the antler growth zones. As I was reading a description of antler formation, I was surprised at how similar this process is to root and shoot growth in plants, all growing from tissues at their tips that are nourished from vascular tissues and protected by hardened tissues. Nifty, huh?! Antler bone begins to grow inside a nourishing skin covering the pedicels called velvet. Beneath the velvet is a thicker protective membrane, and beneath this is the actively growing area, the mesenchyme. Young cells form columnar structures as the building blocks for bone to build the antler. Underneath the furry membrane is a rich supply of blood and nutrients for the fast growing antlers; up to an inch a day for elk and a half inch per day for moose. During this stage the antlers feel alive and warm because of all the living tissue, and the animals are very protective of their antlers. There are two types of bone within an antler. Spongy bone is found in the center, is soft and porous and is where nutrients and hormones are transported during growth. Compact bone forms the outer shell and is dense and stiff. The days of summer shorten stimulating a rise in testosterone levels and the growth cycle begins to slow, initiating the process of hardening or mineralizing the antlers. Blood flow is restricted causing the velvet to slough off with aggressive thrashing on shrubs and small trees to remove it. (I would think that it’s got to itch too, huh?!) The velvet is quickly scavenged by mice and other animals because of its high nutrient content. After breeding antlers become a burden going into winter and are shed. Where the antler meets the pedicel cells called osteoclasts form which demineralize the bone along an abscission layer and the antler eventually falls. Again, like a leaf in the fall forming an abscission layer and floating to the ground. Horns have been classified into 4 groups, 2 of which are pertinent to our area: true horns of the Bovidae (mountain goat, bighorn sheep) and pronghorn of the (ahem) pronghorn. Horns of both classes are formed from a keratinous sheath that grows from a core of live bone tissue, and horns are found on both male and female animals. Whereas bighorn sheep add horn material each year, male pronghorn shed their sheath each year. Also bighorn sheep have unbranched horns and male pronghorn have two branches, the forward pointing tine earning them the

Bighorn Sheep Horn

name pronghorn. Bighorn sheep (which is our Colorado state mammal!) are born with nubs of horncores which eventually elongate with a keratin sheath surrounding this. The sheath develops slowly and because the proteins grow faster at the outer edge of the horn, the growth is directed in a spiral inward on the rams. Within each horn is a living core that provides a continuous flow of blood below the hard sheath. Different growth rates of horn are laid down from summer to winter, creating a growth ring like a tree’s annual growth ring. These annuli rings can be used to fairly accurately determine the age of a ram. The inner bone is highly porous and acts as a shock absorber for the high impact duels the males have. New research has shown that even with adaptations for these high impacts, trauma to the brain still can occur. Pronghorn, a family unique to North America, evolved their deciduous keratinous horns (that’s a mouthful!) independently from the bovids. Male pronghorn develop branched horns, females sometimes develop a bony knob where a horn develops. These “deciduous” horns consist of a pair of permanent bony points on the skull covered with a layer of epidermal cells (the sheath) that form horn (keratin) but not velvet. This sheath is shed each year and replaced with new horn material around the bony core. Mosse antler below.

Keep your eyes peeled for headgear this spring but remember that it is more valuable to the animals gnawing them for their valuable minerals than it is as decoration on your table. See you on the trails.

I know runners who have suffered a tick bite and ended up with Lyme disease. I'll take an angry moose any day. — Don Kardong


June 2022

Valley Voice

Mensan Musings

Fairy Tales By Wolf Bennett

I recently spent time with my niece who is attending a peculiar high school in Texas. She is in honors classes in most subjects, carries a 4.1GPA, swim team, violin lessons and volunteers at an assisted living center. She is an exceptional young woman in my opinion. My niece is doing robotics in a 15,000 sq.ft. building constructed exclusively for robots with a donation from a very wealthy patron who graduated from the same high school. Twenty seven million dollars will purchase some amazing machinery and staff. These High School kids have 3D imaging computers and software, 3D printers, presses, plastic and wood molding machines, computer driven shaping tools, wood, plastic and metal lathes and more. These are all computer driven, all high precision, advanced programming systems and more. Their teachers are high end staff. As an example: one is the lead engineer for Bell Helicopter’s entire gearbox and engine division. Every bit of design, machinery and testing for every flying machine they make goes through him. There are six more engineers of similar caliber guiding different aspects of these robots. Everything is designed, prototyped, machined, assembled, tested and competed with by High School students. When I was in high school, we built cutting boards and the more advanced kids made lamps. These robots can sense a ball somewhere in a field, race to it, pick it up, find more, storing multiple balls (about the

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size of basketballs) and then it spins, targets and shoots the balls into a twelve foot tall hopper. They are scooping, storing and shooting at a prodigious rate. After the routine is repeated as many times as it can in a limited amount of time it races over to a series of elevated bars and climbs them. These machines weigh over a hundred pounds and are really fast. Seriously, stay behind the barrier. This is the equipment that high end colleges would love to have. My daughter at West Point is envious. Certainly they are required to study a broad base of other educational themes to round out their lives. Subjects like, music, art, history of the world (not just the west), geography, math, physics, languages, sciences, philosophy and then electives such as robotics. Impressive does not adequately describe the place or the possibilities. There are classes in many fields that promise to propel these kids into high end universities around the world. These kids can pursue amazing careers and lives led by incredible professors. The intellectual capacity, potential and promise is fabulous. After that introduction you might be amazed to learn that several of the required classes are to study and accept superstition. They have to learn about talking animals and magical trees, evil spirits, flying people, the benefits of slavery, error strewn geology, false history and justified violence. Support of Santa Claus and similar magic hold a very high place in those classes. Proofs, logic and questions are shunned. Logical fallacies are commonplace and of course the errors, ignorance and hatred for those who disagree with Santa and hypocrisy is prevalent. The students have to learn the proper ways of wishing (did you know there are “correct” ways to express a wish?). The waving of hands and objects, punishment, authoritarian self-righteousness, sanctimonious actions and indoctrination are lauded. It teaches the students that magical words insure that impossible things will happen. It teaches them to suspend thinking, ignore history, externalize blame, encourage division in society and

remember: questions are definitely not welcome. In these classes reality is suspended. No teaching of logic, creativity, questioning skills, awareness, scientific methodology, health, debate skills, mental health, emotional health or critical thinking skills or how to spot fallacies, frauds or charlatans is allowed. Amazed, I found the most bizarre aspect of the school is that it rates students who don’t believe those superstitions as deficient and failing. I realize our brains, like our bodies, have faults (evolution explains those faults quite well). Brains don’t work the way they seem to work. They are so easily fooled it is commonplace to hear people deny reality with absolute “certainty”. It is fascinating to study how efficient the brain is at creating our (un)reality. Tiny amounts of information are expanded into false “realities”. Have you ever had a dream that is stunningly real? The power of belief drives us to absurd places (nothing short of bizarre) when provable facts are considered. Psychology and Neuroscience have come a very long way and are highly accurate. We build habits constantly and our brains are lazy and don’t want to change. Type 1 and type 2 thinking explain so many aspects of how we live our lives. However, we can train our brains, change habits, learn to spot fallacies and change poor thinking skills. We can develop our intuitions far better if we only practice. Do you ever question yourself and come up wanting for answers? It is probably because you have been led down paths by well-intentioned but ignorant and convinced people. We all could be truly amazing if we can just escape the wasted time of indoctrination and learn to think. We’ve all been exposed to limited thinking and absurd training so what do you do to change that in your own lives? Forcing people to swim with anchors is silly and a waste of life. Imaginary stories are exactly that… imaginary. Fairy tales may be interesting but they are stories created by humans. Practice logic, critical thinking skills, skepticism, “how” to think and the results will amaze you.

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Valley Voice

June 2022


Tales from the Front Desk

The Pool Towel By Aimee Kimmey "Good to know." The clerk nodded, giggling internally. The guy wasn't dangerously soused, but she made a mental note to go and check on him in a half hour. "So uh... you need something?" "Oh, yeah!" He laughed. "I need a towel." Although most travelers managed to find their own towels, the clerk shrugged. Sure, there was a full rack of towels, neatly folded, right next to the pool, and at least 3 fluffy, fresh clean ones stacked in his room. But sometimes it's just easier to walk to the laundry room than to explain to the drunk guy the variety of ways he could acquire a towel. "Yeah, we have some fresh ones back here, just a sec..." Leaving the guy sipping his cocktail, she headed off to the laundry room. It wasn't that far, and she wasn't super busy, so it wasn't that much trouble. Besides if she had sent him off to find his own towel, she would have completely missed his reaction when she returned: his jaw dropped, his eyes about popped, and he threw up his arms cheering, "Yeah, the towel Goddess giveth!!" "Freshly cleaned!" She grinned. Saturday 4:27 pm. Lobby

The story you are about to read is true... more or less. The clerk had once read in a travel guide that a towel was the most massively useful thing a hitchhiker can have. Not that she has spent much time hitchhiking, or any really. But the wisdom still seemed to ring true to her. After all, a towel could be pretty handy; drying your bod, laying on it, wrapping up in it... there were a lot of uses for a good towel. At the very least, having a dry towel waiting for you when you crawl out of the pool or shower is a must. When you're dripping and shivering, is there anything better than a fresh clean towel? The guy from 302 sauntered into the lobby in his a bathing suit. Since the pool was just around the corner, it wasn't really all that shocking of a sight; people often wandered through the lobby wearing a towel, or a robe, or just a suit. So the clerk didn't think too much of it. Until he wobbled up to the counter. His cheeks had a warm, rosy glow and from the lazy smirk on his lips, the clerk guessed the plastic glass in his hand contained an adult beverage. He looked at the clerk with a dopey grin, "Hey. I'm going to the pool." The clerk smiled, clearly not his first adult beverage of the day. "Well that explains the outfit." He leaned on the counter, the sticky looking substance in his glass tipping precariously close to the rim. "Did you know they used aviation technology to create hot tub jets? Water therapy, true story!"

As he leaned in to take the towel, some of his cocktail sloshed over the edges of the glass and hit the tile floor with a loud splat! His joy became utter shock; he looked up at the clerk, guilt filling his face. "Uh-oh!" "Don't sweat it," She tried to console him. "It's not the first thing that's spilled on this floor." He didn't hear her, he was already kneeling down, swabbing at the spilled drink with the bright white cotton towel she'd just pulled out of the dryer. "Don't worry its fine, I got it..."

The clerk shuddered, she would have been a lot more concerned about the cleanliness of the fabric she was about to wrap around her near naked body. It seemed like good health 101 to her. But clearly the guy from 302 wasn't terribly concerned with the state of his towel, as long as he had one. She could only shrug, to each his own towel, but... eeugh!

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He swiped the towel as far as his arm could stretch across the lobby floor. The dirty, grungy, lobby floor that people tracked God only knew what across all day long. The clerk grimaced. Yes, she mopped the lobby... most days, but still... eeugh! The guy smeared the booze about, sopping up most of it. When he'd soaked up the majority of the liquid, he stood, grinning, "See, all better." "Uh, yeah, thanks. Let me grab you a new towel--" She started to walk back to the laundry room, but the guy waved her off. "Naaawww! S'all good, s'fine." He held up his half-empty glass to salute her, "Cheers to the towel lady!" Swinging the soggy, stained towel over his should, the guy toddled off toward the pool.

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I have always been fascinated by the supernatural elements in stories, whether fairy tales, myths, film or literature. — Trudi Canavan


June 2022

Valley Voice


Your Monthly Message By Chelsea Yepello Aries

March 21 - April 19

You feel motivated to improve your survival skills after watching a very informative documentary about the majestic squirrel and its incredible adaptation to its habitat. However, stuffing your pockets with as many nuts as they can hold and running frantically from your neighbor’s dog doesn’t make you feel equipped to be an expert survivalist.

result of your unconscious body being stored in a containment unit for future medical experiments after the Y2k apocalypse.


July 23 - August 23

Time goes by fast because it’s quicker than you and you’re out of shape. You could start a rigorous training regiment, work really hard and try to catch up to time, or you can just make it easy on yourself and trip it with the big stick you found on the side of the road. Time doesn’t move so fast when it needs to elevate its ankle twice a day.


April 20 - May 20


May 20 - June 20

The kid at the hardware store will pretend to believe you when you tell him the heavy-duty floor drill press and an extra-large tarp is for a modern art piece. He knows what you really want it for, he just doesn’t want you to buy two tarps.

Whenever you feel lonely, remember that you have 114 loyal followers on Twitter, although only 12 of them are people you actually know. The others are charismatic advertising robots tactlessly trying to sell you products based on the purchasing trends of your age, race and socioeconomic class.


June 21 - July 22


Nobody decides your future but you, but nobody decides if you should keep your eyes but your cat.

And just when you think you finally have life figured out, you discover that all of this has been a twenty-two-year fever dream as a


August 23 - September 22

September 23 - October 23

Your co-workers won’t find it humorous when you repeatedly sneak up behind them while they are trying to concentrate and sneeze in their

ear. You will think it’s less funny after you have single-handedly circulated Covid to your entire workplace and have to work alone for the next two weeks.


October 24 - November 21

People remark that even though it's weird, it’s pretty common for tweens to practice kissing on fruit, their hands or in the mirror. You’ve heard them comment that now that you are 32, it's kind of peculiar to still go to first base with your own reflection. They just don’t understand that you think you’re a catch and no one knows the way you like it like you do.



Furniture - Art - Antiques Apparel - Home Decor - Gifts

November 22 - December 21

You’re standing in the cereal aisle when you feel your pant leg pulled by a whining child. The kid is throwing a tantrum, demanding that you buy it the unnecessarily sugary indulgence with a pink bunny on the box. People walking by give you judgmental looks and you can feel your skin turning red with embarrassment. For a moment you consider buying the cereal just to shut the kid up but suddenly remember this is not your kid, you don’t have any kids. Where are this little shit’s parents? December 22 - January 19

Be prepared for an exciting new opportunity that for once, doesn’t include cryptocurrency or your collection of novelty Looney Tunes stamps. Break out your best dress-up sweatpants, you have to leave your house for this one.


January 20 - February 18

You will put your life savings into starting an autonomous sensory meridian response podcast. Unfortunately, no one will subscribe but your mom, your old neighbor and that weird guy that thought it was going to be sexier.


February 19 - March 20

For your frenemy’s birthday, you will hire a snarky teenager to follow them around and narrate their decisions and daily routine. That will knock them down a peg.

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Our Bike Town U.S.A.

By Matt Scharf

Fun Has No Guarantee

June 2022



June 2022

Valley Voice

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