Valley Voice May 2021

Page 1

May 2021 . Issue 10.5


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Steamboat Springs Hayden Oak Creek Yampa

Clockwise: Peppa and Wookie, Sam Rush and Gretchen Sehler on the Colorado river just below Fruita.

Photo by Karen Vail


May 2021

Valley Voice

Pet Allergies


Did you know your dog or cat can suffer from seasonal allergies and asthma just as you do?

Signs to look for: • Increased scratching or licking of skin, ears or paws. • Red, smelly, scabbed skin or ears. • Red, runny eyes, rubbing their face. • Sneezing or “reverse sneezing” and wheezing.

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Your fuzzy family members can also spend the spring season feeling miserable thanks to pollens and other environmental allergens.

We ‘ve Moved!

If your pet keeps you awake at night because he/she is uncomfortable, see your Veterinarian!

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

Forgotten riverbank sculpture. Photo by Karen Vail


Call: 970-846-3801 Located in Steamboat Springs,Colorado

Valley Voice

May 2021


Contents Do the Dirty Work!

Page 4

How Routt County Gets Their Money

Page 5

New Murals Coming to Hayden

Page 6

Twin Enviro Quadruples Recycling

Page 7

Andy Dennison/ Lama Konchog

Page 8

By Kelly Romero-Heaney/ Water Resources Manager By Scott L. Ford

By Brodie Farquhar

By Twin Enviro Services

By Catherine Lykken and Molly McClure

Lagomorph? Page 9 By Karen Vail

John Fetcher Page 10 By Ellen & Paul Bonnifield

Publisher/Art Director: Matt Scharf Sales:

VV Assistant:

Eric Kemper

To Be Human On The Internet

Page 11

Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet

Page 12

My Daughter Has a Hole in Her Pocket

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Ode to History

Page 14

By Fran Conlonl

By Stuart Handloff By Wolf Bennett By Ann Ross

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.

Low Altitude Page 14

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.

Ode to Sweat

Page 16

Laughter Has No Place Here

Page 17

Your Monthly Message

Page 18

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. 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).

By Eric Kemper

In Praise of Vaccine Passport By Brodie Farquhar

Page 15

Free? Page 15 By Joan Remy

By Aimee Kimmey By Sean Derning

By Chelsea Yepello

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:

Just to be clear, in all of congress, it was just Lauren Boebert & Marjorie Taylor Greene against Leukemia patients. Be proud, 3rd C.D., be proud… Seriously?! Leukemia patients. Just what kind of soulless idiotic monster are you?... The fear of a severe drought... And the fear of an early fire season... The gap between the “Haves” and the” Have Nots” – It’s how Rome fell… The sky rocketing prices of lumber… The ridiculous conundrum of little pay and nowhere to live…

Raves... To a wonderful soul, Daryl Newcomb. You will be missed by all and especially in Steamboat Springs… To everyone at Steamboat Emergency Center, thanks for all your hard work in the community… The National Marrow Donor Program and the National Cord Blood Inventory… Packing the paniers! Moto adventure starts June 3rd… The service industry here is who sees our visitors first, not the Chamber… Getting fully vaccinated for yourself and the community without a whimper…

Say What?... “We need to escape paradise to go to where they don’t want us.” “We moved here to be part of 'Something.' Now, 'Something' has left town without us.” “I’m surprised of the onslaught of visitors in this town and that it hasn’t worn down to a nub. - or has it?" “Does extreme eating mean not enough or too much?” "Is Routt County different these days?"

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No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. — Heraclitus


May 2021

Valley Voice

City of Steamboat Springs

Do the Dirty Work! Kelly Romero-Heaney/ Water Resources Manager

promote algae growth in our waterways that is known to suffocate fish and aquatic insects while disrupting ecosystem function. At a time when the global pandemic has made us all so germ-aware, why do some pet owners still leave little baggies of pathogens along our community’s trail systems? I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that no one told them that the Poop Fairy doesn’t exist. There. I’ve said it. THE POOP FAIRY IS NOT REAL! Armed with this revelation, let’s talk about what can be done to keep our waterways and trails free of pet waste: • Reuse plastic bags (preferably recycled plastic because it breaks down more quickly in landfills) or buy compostable ones to pick up pet waste from trails, sidewalks, yards, parks, and roadways. The city provides pet waste stations along the Core Trail and at trailheads, but always bring an extra pet waste bag in case these locations are out of bags. • Always dispose of pet waste in the garbage. Landfills are designed to safely handle dog waste and picking up after your pet is one of those rare occasions that singleuse (or double-use, in the case of reuse) plastic bags is warranted.

Rumors have widely circulated and tales have been shared from neighborhood to neighborhood about a little winged creature that flies around Steamboat Springs at night picking up dog waste along the Core Trail, Blackmer Drive, Spring Creek, and other popular areas. You may say to yourself – this seems too good to be true!

• Clean up the dog poop in your yard, particularly as a season of waste melts out of the snow in the spring. Snowmelt and stormwater drain from your yard and into creeks and rivers carrying dog waste, fertilizers, and other contaminants with it.

Come on and say it with me = Bibbidi Bobbidi, POO, Bibbidi Bobbidi, POO, Bibbidi Bobbidi, POO! Did this magical creature suddenly appear or come true? No it didn’t. I have never seen or summoned the Poop Fairy either. While we wish we could wish away waste, it’s up to each of us get our hands dirty and deal with our doody as pet owners. Routt County has nearly 6,000 dogs that produce over 2 tons of poop per day or over 700 tons of pet waste per year. All that poop must go somewhere and if it doesn’t go into the trash (or get picked up by the Poop Fairy) it can be carried away into our creeks and rivers. You may be thinking, “But poop is natural, right?” Well, sort of. Pet waste introduces digested concentrated feed and pathogens into the environment, and it can expose wildlife, other pets, or humans to disease. A single gram of dog waste contains 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, and it is a known reservoir for antibiotic resistant bacteria. Round Worms, Giardia, E. Coli, and other prevalent human diseases also come from pet waste contamination in soil and water. Did you also know that pet waste is a concentrated source of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus – one of the leading contaminants in urban streams? These nutrients

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

• DON’T LEAVE BAGS OF DOG POOP ON THE TRAIL! Even if you have convinced yourself that you are that one person that never forgets to pick it up when you come back, you’re not. Trailheads in Steamboat are littered with bags of dog poop left there by well-intended people just like you. • Come prepared to pack your pet waste out. Products like PooDoo Pouch, the Yukky Puppy Poop Bag Holder, and the Double Doodie Poop Bag Holder allow you to pack that bag of dog poop out in a hands-free pouch until you can get to a trash can. • Forgot an extra bag on a double-poop day and feeling guilty that you left your dog’s business behind? Then ease your conscience by bringing five bags next time and pick up pet waste left by others. No one wants to see poop on the side of the trail or bags of it hanging from tree branches or scattered around trailheads. It’s gross, unhealthy, and terrible for our streams. Show the Yampa River and valley waterways some love by packing it out. The Yampa River and the waterways that lead to it, are one of the highest valued natural features of the community and its residents. Having a clean and healthy river is so much more important to the overall ecosystem. So when dog doody calls, let’s answer it and doo good by scooping it, bagging it and trashing it – so everyone along the eco chain benefits and our community stays healthy. PS - While the Poop Fairy may not be real, the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Great Pumpkin, and Leprechauns are totally a different matter!

Valley Voice

May 2021

Go Figure

Routt County Residents Get Their Money the Old Fashion Way They Earn it! By Scott L. Ford

In my previous column I did a deep dive into the IRS Master File. This file is a summary of the data from our collective tax returns from Routt County. From this data it was clear that the residents of Routt County obtain most of our income from earnings associated with labor source activities. It is useful to understand this data in the context of where we live within Routt County. The Census Data allows us to summarize data based on major political subdivisions. In Routt County there are four of these divisions and they roughly align with the boundaries of the three school districts.


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Although the data is clear that we are becoming more affluent, this affluency is not from non-labor sources of income such as Social Security, Pensions, Investments, Capital Gains, etc. About 80% of Routt County’s household income comes from Labor Source (earnings) activities such as wages/salaries or Sole Proprietors' net profits. There are about 14,500 people in Routt County employed full-time. A great question to asks is, “What in the heck are we all doing?” Continuing our adventure of taking a deep data dive we can easily answer this question. The table below reflects the full-time employment and median earnings based on major occupation categories. Regardless of whom one may be working for or working at, our collective working efforts are classified by the Census into five major occupation categories.

Although there are some that view Steamboat Springs specifically as nothing more than a bunch of “Trust Funders,” that is not the case. We are also not a county characterized by increasing numbers of the retired über-rich.

2019 Routt County Major Subdivisions (CCD) Labor Source Income 2019 Routt County Major Subdivisions (CCD) Labor Source Income Total Aggregate Income Total Aggregate Income Labor Source Labor Source Labor Source as % of Total Labor Source as % of Total ACS Table: B19313 & B20003

Hayden Hayden $87,694,600 $87,694,600 $71,217,700 $71,217,700 81% 81%

Oak Creek Oak Creek $137,959,300 $137,959,300 $102,851,400 $102,851,400 75% 75%

Steamboat Spgs. Steamboat Spgs. $846,516,300 $846,516,300 $666,528,400 $666,528,400 79% 79%

Yampa Yampa $25,207,000 $25,207,000 $18,843,000 $18,843,000 75% 75%

TOTAL TOTAL $1,097,377,200 $1,097,377,200 $ 859,440,500 $ 859,440,500 78% 78%

ACS Table: B19313 & B20003

2019 2019 Employment Employment and and Median Median Earnings Earnings by by Major Major Occupation Occupation Classification Classification Hayden CCD Hayden CCD Management, Business, Science, and Arts Management, Business, Science, and Arts Service Service Sales and Office Sales and Office Natural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance Natural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance Production, Transportation, and Material moving Production, Transportation, and Material moving Total Employment & Median Earnings Total Employment & Median Earnings ACS Table: S2401 & S2411 ACS Table: S2401 & S2411

Employment Employment 427 427 358 358 339 339 326 326 138 138 1,588 1,588

Median Median Earnings Earnings $50,571 $50,571 $32,708 $32,708 $26,696 $26,696 $41,250 $41,250 $22,167 $22,167 $39,500 $39,500

Oak Creek CCD Oak Creek CCD

Steamboat Spgs. CCD Steamboat Spgs. CCD

Yampa CCD Yampa CCD

Employment Employment 670 670 310 310 299 299 386 386 135 135 1,800 1,800

Employment Employment 4,164 4,164 2,543 2,543 2,354 2,354 822 822 760 760 10,643 10,643

Employment Employment 174 174 63 63 75 75 69 69 52 52 433 433

Median Median Earnings Earnings $60,305 $60,305 $24,762 $24,762 $26,367 $26,367 $50,417 $50,417 $32,153 $32,153 $45,079 $45,079

Median Median Earnings Earnings $58,284 $58,284 $23,190 $23,190 $37,452 $37,452 $44,960 $44,960 $38,191 $38,191 $40,131 $40,131

Median Median Earnings Earnings $30,667 $30,667 $14,792 $14,792 $31,250 $31,250 $63,977 $63,977 $23,000 $23,000 $31,042 $31,042

Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes. — Lewis Grizzard


May 2021

Valley Voice

Hayden Surveyor Located at Neste Auto Glass

Great Prices, Services & Parts

New Murals Coming for Hayden Grain Silos By Brodie Farquhar

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HAYDEN – A Laramiebased artist will be painting two big murals in Hayden, on adjoining grain silos at the Hayden Granary. The murals will depict two sandhill cranes – one standing and the other bent over, looking for grain. Cranes have been coming to the Yampa Valley for thousands of years to lay, hatch and raise their chicks, called “colts.”

Dan Toro, the artist, educated at the University of Wyoming with a B.A. in Arts and Science, and an emphasis on oil painting and printmaking, has executed murals in Cheyenne, Laramie, Jackson Hole and Buffalo, Wyoming, Salt Lake City, Charleston, West Virginia and Denver and Boulder. In addition to people, subjects include trout, bison and pronghorn antelope.

Unlike most murals, Toro won’t be working on smooth, flat surfaces. The grain silos are ribbed and curved, presenting unique challenges in maintaining the continuity of lines and avoiding warped perspectives for viewers. The work will begin May 3. Toro said it will take some trial and error experimenting, to work out how to paint on a silo. "I did buy a section of that material, to do some experimenting," he said.,

“We are still seeking sponsors for the art and welcome donations to Historic Hayden Granary Inc (online at to help make this a possibility,” said Tammie Delaney, of Hayden Granary and Wild Goose Coffee.

Nancy Merrill, president of Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition, encourages the public to drop by the Granary once the project gets underway on May 3rd, weather permitting. “We are excited to partner with Historic Hayden Granary on this wonderful project,” said Nancy. “We believe this mural will help raise ‘crane awareness’ both among locals and visitors to our valley and will further enhance an already favorite gathering spot of the Yampa Valley community.

Valley Voice

May 2021


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Twin Enviro Quadruples Recycling Output By Twin Enviro Services

Twin Enviro Services recently announced that recycling output has quadrupled at their Materials Recovery Facility in Milner over the past four years. In 2017, the first full year of operations at the MRF, Twin reported shipping 289 tons of baled recycling commodities direct to mills for processing. In 2020 that number increased to 1,086 tons of baled commodities. Twin credits the Routt County community, their partners, and Twin’s recycling expansion into rural areas for this increase in recycling shipments. Shipping sorted and baled commodities direct from Routt County to the mills eliminates hauling single stream recycling to Denver for sorting and baling. This reduces the carbon footprint along that route, eliminates trucks on the road, and the dangers to truck drivers and passenger cars over the mountain roads and passes.

Twin constructed the MRF on their Milner Landfill site in 2016 and incorporated “The Revolution” sorting system into the operation. This was the first carousel sorting system ever used in the recycling industry. The Revolution was designed for smaller communities like Routt County and is solar powered. Twin’s facility accepts recyclables from Waste Management who hauls part of their recycling to the Milner MRF. Although Waste Management and Twin compete locally for trash hauling, they work together in their recycling efforts. Perhaps the biggest reason for the success is Revolution Recycling, the inventor of The Revolution. Twin licensed the operation to Revolution Recycling in 2019 and a number of technical improvements have

since been made. Recently they have gone to two shifts to accommodate the increased volume. Revolution Recycling employs about 10 full time personnel at Twin’s Milner facility. Revolution Recycling has submitted a grant request to the state for additional funding for improvements and uses the Milner operation as a laboratory to improve on their design and increase capacity for more recycling as Twin expands their recycling to more rural areas. Twin Enviro operates in the waste transportation and disposal industry and was started in Routt County in 1971. Twin owns and operates two landfills in Colorado and serves residential and commercial customers in Routt and Moffat counties, and in southern Colorado in Fremont County and Las Animas County.

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May 2021

Valley Voice

Routt County Roots

Andy Dennison/ Lama Konchog

' October 7, 1934 – February 28, 2021

By Catherine Lykken and Molly McClure

Alternating with the Nepal treks were adventures back in the U.S. — hiking, climbing, ski touring (yes, overnights in snow caves) and river running.

Photo, courtesy Lynn Eggleston

From Paul Stettner: It’s been over 50 years, but as I recall,

“Captain” Andy initiated our river adventures when he advised some of us that 1969 was the 100th anniversary of the exploration of the Grand Canyon by boat led by Major John Wesley Powell and, by the way, that he, Andy, had just bought 4 Army surplus “J-tube” pontoons. Given that information and his prodding what else could we do?

Andy Dennison/ Lama Konchog by Leslie Lovejoy - 2006 Pete Seeger wrote a song based on Ecclesiastes 3: To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die… Oldest son of Lucille and C.A. Dennison, Sr., Andy spent his childhood in Birmingham, MI, exploring and adventuring in the woods, reportedly skipping school for months at a time. He graduated from Colorado School of Mines in 1956 with a degree in Petroleum Engineering, and worked for Gulf Oil just long enough to know it wasn’t for him. To fulfill his military obligation, he joined the Army and was stationed at Dugway Proving Ground, an NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) Base. Exposure to nuclear fallout led to an early medical discharge. In the early 60s, Andy was working the reception desk at Arapahoe Basin and joined the Volunteer Ski Patrol. Before long he gravitated to Steamboat Springs where he found a home and lifelong friends at The Barn in Strawberry Park. Andy always had a caring way with youth. Soon he was teaching at The Lowell Whiteman School. The “demanding” job description included leading foreign trips, one being an expedition to Everest base camp in the Himalayas. Andy returned to Nepal many times. There on mountain paths he encountered the Sherpa folk and observed the light in their eyes, their presence and sense of contentment and joy. Thus were planted the seeds of Buddhism.

We built raft frames using rough cut beetle-kill pine from Maijala Brothers sawmill in Yampa. Frames were sized according to the dimensions of cases of beer. Our 2 homemade rafts were launched on the Yampa River in Lily Park. Side canyon hikes were special. Some ended in daylight, but just as often after dark. Six weeks and about 600 miles later after running the Grand Canyon, the rafts were deflated and loaded on a seriously overloaded truck at Diamond Creek, AZ, for the return to Steamboat Springs. There the first stoplight had been installed at 7th and Lincoln. Andy’s focus on rivers was year round. One winter he learned that the Yampa River through Dinosaur had frozen. So 6 of us geared up, skied down into Echo Park and then upriver some days to Lily Park. Meanwhile Nepal beckoned. There Andy immersed himself in the mountain culture, strengthening ties with a Sherpa family in Namche Bazaar whom he had adopted on previous trips. Through this family Andy was introduced to Trulsik Rinpoche, early teacher of the young Dalai Lama in Tibet, both of whom escaped to Nepal in the 50s. Rinpoche established Tübten Chöling Monastery high in the mountains above Junbesi, a beautiful village where a branch of Andy’s family resides. In a letter Andy wrote: An enlightening experience was with Trulsik Rinpoche at the monastery and he set me seriously on the Dharma Path. Andy became his disciple. He took the vows of a monk and was given the name Ngawan Konchog. He shaved his head (not his beard) and donned the maroon and saffron robes. Later he earned the title of Lama for his knowledge and teachings of a very rare Naga Practice. The Nagas are Protectors of the Natural World. Visa requirements and climate made it necessary to exit Nepal from time to time. Andy would go to Thailand to the beaches, and also to Bangkok where “son” Travis Canon, former Whiteman School graduate, resides with his family. They made an annual ritual of watching the Super Bowl together.

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

Wayne Kakela/ by Leslie Lovejoy - 2006 Andy did try married domestic life for awhile, but Nepal always called and he would go. Though he continued to call Nepal home, he established residence in Crestone, CO and frequented Iron Knot Ranch, a Buddhist Retreat Center in NM. Wherever he was he would do his walking meditation and practice. Well into his 80s Andy could outwalk most people half his age. In Tibetan Buddhism giving up attachments is part of the Path. Over time, Andy gave up beer, meat, teeth and technology. After the death of his soul mate Wayne Kakela, Andy, to absolve Wayne for past hunting kills, went around to all the fishing stores and bought up all their worms, then released them into the family compost. Andy/Lama Konchog died surrounded by monks from the White Monastery of Boudanath, Kathmandu. Cremation and accompanying ceremonies, with the full fire Puja, took place at a sacred site. The small gathering included three members of Lama Konchog’s Sherpa family, who said Andy had always wanted to die in Nepal. Andy is survived by his brother George Dennison, niece Molly Czyzyk (Jeremy) and her son Liam Ball; also by Travis Canon of Bangkok. A recent letter from Nawang Chegen Lama:

“He was famous as Andy Gaga (old man) or Baje (grandfather) among our family. We will always remember him and cherish his moment with us. He has been a brother to my Mom and Uncle to me. May Lama Konchog’s soul rest in a beautiful place. To recognize Andy’s love of the Yampa River, contributions may be made for The Mandala on the Yampa Project, Bud Werner Library, 1289 Lincoln Ave. Steamboat Springs, CO 80487, in memory of Lama Konchog; or Friends of the Yampa Education Fund, Box 771654, Steamboat Springs CO 80477.


Valley Voice

May 2021


'Boat Almanac


Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii) photo by Howcheng

We are talking the cute, fuzzy animals here. You know, bunnies. Although you will never hear that word cross my lips. Bunnies bring you Easter baskets. We are talking about lagomorphs; the pika, rabbits and hares. And, yes, they are still really, really cute!! Lagomorphs look a lot like rodents and were even originally classified as rodents as they both have incisor teeth (the front two teeth) that continuously grow. Researchers now realize that the two orders evolved through convergent evolution, side by side, so to speak, with the Order Lagomorpha arising approximately 60 million years ago. One distinctive feature of the lagomorphs is a second pair of peg-like incisors set directly behind the large front two incisors. The lagomorphs are herbivores, with often nutrient poor and difficult to digest diets, and have evolved the “unique” (uhh, gross?!) practice of coprophagy. They reingest their feces. They grind down plant materials with their molars to begin the digestion process, with the food going through the stomach and small intestine where much of the nutrients are absorbed. From here, some food is redirected into the caecum, a small pouch, where the food is further broken down by bacteria, yeasts and other micro-organisms, turning the cellulose into sugars. The other food stuff is excreted as small dry pellets (looking like Coco Puffs!). Several hours later the caecum contents are passed as soft, moist pellets called

By Karen Vail cecotropes, which are eaten by the animal to extract all the remaining nutrients. Now that is efficiency!! Lagomorphs are divided into two groups: the pikas, and the hares and rabbits. In the higher elevations of Northwest Colorado we have pika, mountain or Nuttalls cottontail, snowshoe hare and white-tailed jackrabbit (Mammals of Colorado, Denver Museum of Natural History, c 1994). Hares and rabbits have long ears, a little stump of a tail, and legs meant for jumping with large hind feet. Pika is the outlier in lagomorph physiology having small ears, a pretty nonexistent tail, and hind legs meant for running over its rocky home terrain. Here we will cover the rabbits and hares. Are you tempted to call all long-eared hopping animals rabbits? Not only are the rabbits (Genus Sylvilagus) and hares (Genus Lepus) not related, they have different physiology. Rabbits are smaller, have shorter ears and legs and their young are born naked and helpless. Hares (including the jackrabbits) have longer feet and legs, and the young are born fully furred and ready and rarin’ to go after only a few hours. Most hares live in open country (the snowshoe hare being the exception) and will run when disturbed, rabbits live in brushy habitat and typically freeze when a threat is nearby.

As you walk through the sagebrush or lowland shrublands at dusk or dawn you might catch sight of a white rump bounding away in mighty leaps up to sixteen feet long and running up to 35 miles per hour! White-tailed jackrabbits are a large hare, up to twenty-five inches long, gray in summer, turning white in winter. They have black tipped ears like the snowshoe hare, but the ears are much longer. These are animals of mostly open areas like mountain parks, sagebrush shrublands and native grasslands, and possibly higher into the subalpine. Their summer diet is grasses, sedges and other plants, and in winter they eat shrubs and other plants. They feed mostly at dusk and dawn, often following elaborate and well-travelled trails, but can also be active at night. When not feeding whitetailed jackrabbits will shelter in scrapes at the base of large plants. They also use burrows and often have their young in underground nests, an unusual activity for true hares. Wandering through a Gambel oak forest or even the lower subalpine spruce-fir forests could reveal a smaller (up to sixteen inches long) furball bounding along. The mountain cottontail (Sylvilagus nuttallii), also called Nuttall’s cottontail, is more compact than the hares. The ears and hind legs are shorter and the feet smaller (up to four inches long hind foot, compared to the white-tailed jackrabbit’s almost seven-inch-long hind foot). They move in a more compact way, with shorter more conservative hops, and can often be seen galloping rather than bounding. That threw me off several times as I followed this crazy “gallop” track at the edge of

American pika (Ochotona princeps) carrying flowers and grass to build its nest.

Gambel oak that turned into the more recognizable bound of the cottontail. And I love how James Lowery (“The Tracker’s Field Guide” Falcon Guide, c 2006) describes the cottontail’s personality: “The edges of dense brush form perfect cottontail habitat, and indeed it seems the rabbit’s awareness and ability to burst to safety in a few quick zig-zagging bounds create a tethered safety zone within which it carries on its leisurely life.”

Higher in the subalpine of the dark, dense spruce-fir forests with heavy snow and short summers, the snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) has found a niche. And a well camouflaged niche at that! I can’t tell you how many times I have tracked snowshoe hare through conifer forests and never caught sight of their white, still forms hiding under the canopy of trees. Their white winter fur changes to brown in summer, earning them the name varying hare. Climate change creates a conundrum for many molting animals as they become “mismatched”. Traditionally snowshoe hares were in sync with the changing seasons, but the earlier melt of snowpack and longer summers result in mismatched colors for the hares in their surroundings. Research projects looking at the impacts on predation of mismatched hares show increased predation, but there was an interesting twist. Researchers at the University of Montana found that the brown version of a gene in snowshoe hares was recently acquired from interbreeding with black-tailed jackrabbits. Unlike the white-tailed jackrabbits, the black-tailed jackrabbits remain brown all year, and this hybridization provided important coat color variation for lower elevation snowshoe hares where snow cover is increasingly absent. (“Research identifies how snowshoe hares evolved to stay seasonally camouflaged” University of Montana, June 21, 2018). Days are spent resting in forms or scrapes in dense brush or under conifer trees, and feeding is typically at night. They create well-used runways to favorite hare cafes of mostly green plants in summer and in winter needles, bark and young twigs of conifers, aspen, willows and often Gambel oak. An animal with the name snowshoe hare must be well adapted to regions with long periods of snow cover. Large hind feet provide support on the snow to help escape predators, the soles are covered in insulative fur, the seasonal color change of its coat and ability to subsist on meager winter food sources make these hares experts in winter survival. Hares and rabbits are animals worthy of your patient observation skills, from their fun track patterns and interesting signs, to the occasional (and oh so exciting) glimpse! We’ll see you out hopping down the trails!!

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. — Dalai Lama


May 2021

Valley Voice

Bonnifield Files

John Fetcher: The Man Who Changed Steamboat Springs By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield David H. Moffat, John and Bill Evans, Sam Perry, James Crawford, and Porter Smart were among the first men to dramatically change Routt County. But they were men of the long ago. John Fetcher more than any other single person is the creator of modern Steamboat Springs, although he did not work alone. Many others helped lift the load. He never set out to redirect or even dramatically change northwestern Colorado. When John and his brother Stanton (Stan) purchased half of John Barbee’s Angustorra Ranch near Clark in 1949, they intended to become cattle ranchers – whatever that meant! According to John, “neither of them knew which end of the cow stood up first.” Mountain irrigation, stacking hay, fixing fence, milking cows, calving, and driving a feed team was totally new territory. Yet, they found a community unlike any they previously experienced. Orvil Bedell and Bill Lause taught the brothers about ranching. The hired man Bill Haul instructed them on milking cows and shoeing horses. John, his wife Clarissa (Criss), and three small boys arrived in 1949. Daughter Amie was born in 1950. They left behind the rat race and pollution of industrial Penn Valley, Pennsylvania. In a 2009 Denver Post interview, John confessed, “We chose the Yampa Valley in 1949 because of the skiing potential.” In his heart of hearts, he was first and foremost a “ski bum.” John was born January 1, 1912, in Winnetka, Illinois. Following World War I his family began a three-year trip through France and Switzerland where John became fluent in French. He also learned to ski. Both served him well in later life. Following high school, he attended Harvard receiving bachelor and master degrees in electrical engineering and business. His research in spot welding under Dr. Comfort Adams explored an advanced study in the1930s. In 1935, he worked for Babcock and Wilcox constructing the penstock at Hoover Dam – his first work in dam construction. Fluent in French, he became a technical representative for the Budd Company in Paris constructing stainless steel railroad passenger cars. In 1938, he returned to the United States as the chief plant engineer for Budd Company. During World War II he had 400 engineers under him manufacturing munitions including bazookas and fragment bombs. John’s younger brother Bill was an officer aboard the cruiser Juno when it sank off Guadalcanal. Serving aboard the cruiser were the five Sullivan brothers. All were lost. John remained with Budd Company until 1949. In a Three Wire Winter interview, John recalled, “Steamboat was a dead town. Just think of this – Hotel Harbor was closed in the winter, because there was no business. We had to plead with the owners of the hotel, who had moved to Arizona, to come up and open it for the carnival... You could walk down Main Street and not worry about getting hit. There was no traffic.”

The same year the Fetcher family arrived, northwestern Colorado entered a serious economic crash – worse than the Depression. Coal mines closed, mining towns disappeared, Phippsburg’s railroad shops and round house closed, sawmills went broke, cattle prices fell, and people moved out. Ranching was caught in a web of the past. Most ranches were too small to be profitable; they remained tied to teams for haying and feeding; selling cream was the only steady income. Nearly all work involved manual labor. Recreation was drinking and gambling. Following World War II, America changed. Federal programs joined with private investment and strong labor unions changed the national economy. Eight-hour days, five-day work weeks, paid vacations, steady jobs with living wages boomed the recreation industry. New technology in skis, boots, bindings, lift speed, and safety attracted skiers. Federal policies encouraged Colorado’s ski industry (forest land opened for large scale ski resorts). Resorts attracted people willing to spend and play. In 1953, John became involved with Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club – a life time commitment. Skiing was much different then than now. To groom the trail for the winter carnival, school kids and community members lined up across the jump and side stepped up, slowly covering every square inch. The same side stepping repeated on the downhill and shalom trails. Without grooming equipment, runs on normal days were often hard packed moguls. Skis were longer, heavier, and waxes usually worthless. In the 40s and 50s a person had to want to ski under adverse conditions. Powder days were heaven back then as now. With the changing culture in the United States, associated with vast improvements in highways, road maintenance, and technology during the 1950s, winter sports became popular. Throughout the state, talk of building large ski areas intensified and investors saw opportunities to make big money in resort communities. Unlike Vail and Breckenridge, Steamboat did not have investors with deep pockets, but Jim Temple saw visions of trails extending from the bottom to the top of Storm Mountain (Mt. Werner) and Gordy Wren made it big in the Olympics. Marvin Crawford and Gates Gooding were on board and Buddy Werner waited on the horizon. John Fetcher was a man who understood engineering, business, and politics. Once committed, he fully committed. In 1959, Temple organized the Storm Mountain Ski Corporation with Jerry Grossword as treasurer. The Corporation faced many hurdles including under funding and leasing land from the Forest Service (which later cooperated). The county even furnished manpower and equipment to help clear the first runs. Yet, progress was slow and debts heavy. No one really knows what happened, but in 1963 Temple and several others were forced out of the leadership. Until then Fetcher and Temple were close friends and fellow Elk River ranchers. For the remainder of his life, Jim never spoke to John.

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

It must have been a hell of a blowup but necessary if the dream was ever to come true. At times Fetcher mortgaged his cows to meet payroll. In the fall of '62 the company building the first chair lift went broke and stopped work, but the lift was absolutely necessary for the Christmas season. Without funds to pay conventional trucking costs, John and a friend drove John’s ranch truck to California where they loaded the two large bull wheels – an engineering feat in its own right. Way over loaded and hoping a patrolman did not stop them, they drove back to Steamboat. On Christmas eve, long into the night, he and Buddy Werner spliced the cable and installed the chair lift. Christmas day 1962, Storm Mountain greeted the skiers with a newly installed chair lift. Although Storm Mountain Ski Corp sold to new owners, John continued leading. He saw the Mountain through difficult times, an important name change to Mt. Werner, trail construction, new and faster lifts, development of the base, sale to different owners, and general development. By the mid-to-late '60s “Ski Colorado” was a national craze. Resort communities boomed in Eagle, Summit, and Grand counties, with Mt. Werner drawing national attention. Developers purchased land in Pleasant Valley, changed its name to Catamount, constructed a dam, and dreamed big. In South Routt County, Woodmoor began the Stagecoach development. Had it been completed, it would have dwarfed Steamboat. The culture of the county changed with the arrival of ski bums, hippies, drugs, and cohabitation. Suddenly, reaction against resort towns became strong and determined. Colorado voters rejected funding the Olympics. Voters wanted limited growth. Using his engineering skills and business savvy, in 1952 Fetcher began improving the lift and jump at Howelsen Hill. In 1972, someone burned down the ninety-meter wooden ski jump. Without the jump Steamboat was simply another resort town. “Every Steamboat resident resigned

Valley Voice

May 2021



To Be Human On The Internet By Fran Conlon himself to life without a major ski jump, to the end of an era as a national jumping center.” That is, everyone but John Fetcher. It took him six years, with countless setbacks, huge cost overruns, mud slides, and little encouragement from others. John knew how to work the government, large private donors, and large corporations. January 27-29, 1978, Howelsen Hill was once again the site of the North American Ski Jumping Championships. At the opening ceremony Marv Crawford told the crowd and the world, “That ski jump is here today because of one man, John Fetcher.” Without the jump there would be no Howelsen, Nordic events, and the Winter Sports Club would be much different. Being an Elk River rancher, John soon became involved in water issues. Water, ditches, dams, laws, and intrigues fascinated him as he enjoyed a new field for his talent. Steamboat Lake flooded part of his ranch. Developing Mt. Werner required supplying water and sanitation. At Yampa and Toponas, ranchers tried for decades to dam the river and store irrigation water. They believed the problem was solved with Stillwater Reservoir, but it fell woefully short. The drought of 1977 nearly bankrupted the ranchers. Elvis Starbuck, an experienced dam engineer and upper Yampa rancher, teamed up with Fetcher and the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District. Voters approved funding and in 1981 Yamcolo was constructed and the Five Pine Ditch rebuilt. Through the numerous droughts since, Yamcolo has been a “godsend.” Woodmoor went bankrupt and Stagecoach development went into receivership. Fetcher and the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District gained control of the Stagecoach reservoir site. Its primary purpose is to promote recreation and urban development. Due to its senior water right, it is a threat to Yamcolo. In 1989, Fetcher constructed Stagecoach reservoir and wildlife refuge. Routt County and especially Steamboat Springs will forever carry the marks or scars of John Fetcher.

Thank you Katie and the Tread of the Pioneers Manuscript Collection.

To be human says a lot, A voice alone can be a puzzle, Too often it is just a “Bot,” Not human; nothing to nuzzle. Even a picture can mislead, That gentle smile may not be real, Merely playing on my social need, Doubtless it has a charming appeal. Were I to see some genuine folk, I'd love the exchange of social graces, Convinced of reality that was no joke, Company for journeys to various places. Of course, it may be a fine android, Programmed with a human code, Would that really make me annoyed? It's still a companion on the road. So, bring on the sophisticated phantasm, It can fill the soulful chasm. (I'll greet and say, “How do your do?” It's lunch we'll share, if you can chew.)

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Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face. — Dave Barry


May 2021

Valley Voice

Piknik Theatre

Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet... or What I did for Love By Stuart Handloff

Caitlin attended the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan while Grace stayed closer to home, finding her tribe at our own Perry-Mansfield Camp. Both ultimately ended up in New York City, the Valhalla for the American performing artist. And both are unusually tall which has affected their careers in similar ways. But here their career paths began to diverge. Caitlin had originally wanted a career in the ballet, studied endlessly under some of the greats in the dance world, was hired by the Carolina Ballet, and eventually rose to the role of a soloist. But she wanted more and knew she was too tall for many of the classic roles (en pointe she could tower over some male dancers) so she returned to New York and jumped immediately into the musical theatre pipeline. Obviously with her dance and gymnastics background, she scored high dance marks but didn’t have the vocal skills necessary for leading roles. So she returned to study and work to find success. “Singing lessons became my barre,” referring to the classic piece of dance workout equipment that she probably spent thousands of hours using in her youth.

Caitlin Abraham, A Chorus Line: hold for a 12 count I used to tell my drama students at the high school that if you can do any other work besides performing arts, by all means do it. But if you couldn’t do anything else, no other job would be as fulfilling. I am fortunate to know a couple of multi-talented professional performing artists who - fortunately for us all - cannot do much else. Grace Stockdale, a former neighbor here in Steamboat Springs, has performed in over 1200 touring company productions alone of Kinky Boots and Waitress (and is contracted for the company of the Broadway revival of 1776 opening in 2022). Caitlin Abraham, who helped create the dance program at the Yampa Valley Arts Academy, has a lengthy professional resume including leading roles in Chicago, original Broadway productions of La Cage aux Folles, American in Paris, and - who else? - Cassie in a revival production of A Chorus Line. This Broadway production about the world of those dancers 20 feet away from stardom won all the Tony awards in 1985 and probably inspired countless young people to forsake the farm and move to NYC with the dream to make it to Broadway. Well, these two young women did just that. They were gracious enough to send me an hour of their reflections on their careers to date and this month’s column is mostly their words, not mine. If your children choose to take on this dream, blame them. Their stories are similar: both knew they loved dancing and performing at very young ages, in their earliest memories. Caitlin recalls watching a high school performance and telling her mother “I want to dance on that piece of wood [the stage].” Grace would act as the Prince to her sister’s Cinderella. They were all under the age of 5. Both women found a nurturing and sustaining environment outside of their communities during adolescence.

Grace found success astoundingly quickly, landing a leading role in the touring company of Kinky Boots almost right out of college (Ithaca College: a foremost musical theatre program for you parents searching for your college bound juniors and seniors). She stayed with the company for over a year and soon afterward was cast in the touring company of Waitress (as an understudy for the lead actor, Jenna, among other roles, and performed as the star on several occasions). Her reflections on over three years and hundreds of performances are much like what we all think of our jobs: glamorous, romantic, wellpaying, and filled with hours of diverting travel activities. NOT!!! It was hard work, with 8 shows a week including a travel day, prior to the next week of 8 shows. For three years. While those of us who got to catch up with her backstage after a performance basked in her glory, she was thinking about getting something to eat and getting enough rest for tomorrow’s show(s) or travel. Her graciousness speaks volumes about the individual far beyond her skills as a performer.

costume fitted, when the world turned upside. Many of her friends and colleagues took other jobs telecommuting; or left the city entirely. Fortunately, although Grace wasn’t able to do much else other than perform, the “else” has turned into a fulfilling career in photography and videography. Her side gig has become her main gig for another year and it’s taught her an important lesson: “cultivate the human being that you are and the performer inside you benefits.” Reflecting on her younger self, she realizes that while she’s found success and failure, she could have avoided a lot of pain and suffering in her career if she had cared a little less. “You’ll lose roles because you’re taller than the leading man [there’s that height thing again] or if a Tony award winner suddenly becomes available. But it’s not YOUR fault! Bring what YOU can offer to an audition or a performance, and avoid the rest of the drama.”

Caitlin is scheduled to perform in a new Broadway-bound musical Marie, Dancing Still and is a professor of dance at Marymount College in NYC. She’s been instrumental in educating dancers here in Steamboat via Zoom, if not in person. Her appreciation has grown for the confidence and self-assuredness children exude when performing. She wants to support them harnessing their dreams while offering insights into the business of the performing arts; because it is - after all - a business. If there is one final common denominator from both of these outstanding artists, it is that at the end of the day, you should - no matter what parents or peers or guidance counselors recommend

“Follow that damn dream!!!” Do what you do for love. “Kiss today goodbye And point me toward tomorrow We did what we had to do Won't forget, can't regret What I did for love What I did for love” A Chorus Line {Songwriters: Marvin Hamlisch / Edward Kleban)

Grace was never a dancer growing up. Like most Steamboat kids, she skied, played basketball (leading scorer for the Steamboat Sailors), ran track, and was generally athletic. Combining her natural athleticism with the same work ethic she demonstrated early on for singing and acting has enabled her to become the classic Broadway “triple threat.” She was able to learn the dance moves required for her role in the morning, practice them during the lunch break, and return in the afternoon with some degree of mastery: “I can’t kick myself in the face but I am a mover.” The past 12 months of pandemic - and continuing - have been particularly difficult and tragic for performing artists in New York. The Broadway theatres are closed and will be for most of the year. Grace was weeks away from her first opening on Broadway with contract signed and

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

Grace Stockdale: Be yourself, stand up for yourself, do your work, move on.

Valley Voice

May 2021


Mensan Musings

My Daughter Has a Hole in Her Pocket By Wolf Bennett

They are all attached to everything else in our lives and like a rubber sheet, if you push down on one spot it takes everything else around it down too. There are the mental things I’d like to be able to lose. Memories of mistakes, thoughts that were awful and selfish, times I drank too much, bad songs, totally stupid choices or times when I hurt someone I loved. A hole in my pocket where things disappear and don’t come back might be useful. Then again, many of those memories remind me to do better next time so I suppose they serve their purpose too. Even more, I felt like I just wanted to forget my failures and problems. They will never go away by themselves as time does not heal all wounds. Trying to squash a thought is like putting a rock on top of jello... it just squishes out some other place. Doing things differently and learning works better. I took a grief class many years ago and by the end I felt I had actually taken a pack off my back, set it down by the side of the road and it didn’t follow me. By remembering things and dealing with them, the baggage was no longer heavy. Discovering I shouldn’t clear out everything, learning awareness and knowing that I was not alone were great gifts. She was riding her bicycle and her favorite face mask fell out and was lost. Her comment was, “Everything I put in that pocket falls out.”

Forgiveness is a habit and self affirmations, especially those that involve multiple senses work quite well. Harsh self judgment is common and so being gentle with yourself is a good habit. Through conscious action we can move on, if not, it sticks with you. What a great class.

And so, I don’t believe we should be able to lose everything, even though painful. There are ways to take those difficult things, keep them as lessons and not carry them as burdens. I know my load has been both heavy and unwieldy many times in my life. Wouldn’t it be better if we actively took those things and consciously put them by the side of the road? How much unnecessary baggage do you carry? It is truly a wonderful thing to reach into our pockets and retrieve the treasures we forgot we put there. Not all treasures are equal or beautiful. Sure, they might be a little dusty, gummy or damaged but gems always need cleaning and we have quite a lot of them. Frogs, coins, pains, joys, laughter and dreams are really all the same. So go mining in your own metaphorical pockets, dig deep in those emotional, mental and physical pockets and discover even more. While you will necessarily find some things that are unpleasant, right alongside you will find great things. My next project is to repair that hole where I have lost too much.

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The question was begged, so I asked, “Why would you put anything in that pocket?”. “Because there are some things I don’t want to keep, but don’t have the heart to throw away.” Interesting awareness for a young person. I thought of many things I once wanted but would rather not have now and to put them someplace where they went away by themselves seemed like a nice level of practicality. Sure, I could sell, ignore or give away but if they went away on their own, just letting the universe take its own course seemed pleasant. Is it a level of denial, turning a blind eye, resignation, fatalism or just complacency? Maybe there is a place for a hole in our get it done responsibility training? Certainly there are the physical things like tools that I have not used in years, extra materials gathered for house projects that never happened and all that junk mail that accumulates on my desk. I have too many pairs of skis, t-shirts and socks, books I’ll never read again and a nifty pile of junk. More, there are a number of emotional things that I would just like to go away. Old tired feelings that just make the rounds again and again. Embarrassing moments and actions that I am ashamed of. Emotional damage is always more damaging and long lasting than physical pain (the gift that keeps on giving). But, you cannot crush a feeling.

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When other little girls wanted to be ballet dancers I kind of wanted to be a vampire. — Angelina Jolie


May 2021

Valley Voice


ODE TO HISTORY By Ann Ross The Duke of Edinburgh is dead after 99 years the consort of English Queen I hiked Scotland's "Royal Mile" Bloody boot worn cobblestone path to top Ten century old castle stands hill top Royals, military, countrymen and boys Fight to save or conquer treasure Guns, canons, sword, spear or malice "They fight to win the kill" Plague, flu and famine rid country few will Scot or English win? What year? Fear the winning Monarch’s will Land grab, new taxes and religion Off with your head, no matter Peace come or last? Hear the cries of those who passed Open wide the massive wood spiked gates "Black Watch" military-band Pipers sounds arise from bowels of earth Aye, many do not know or hear their wail Back down the heavy trodden path to sea Scot flags fly high a half-mast Red lion stretch on gold, white cross on blue Canons roar, and danger weapons change Power, supremacy still rage Half-mast flags fly for fallen everywhere Will we make a change ? From Whence we came we shall Return.

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Hockey Talk

Low Altitude By Eric Kemper

Bill Wirtz was an icon in the city of Chicago. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1977, he owned the Chicago Blackhawks for over four decades. A successful businessman in a variety of industries, his liquor distribution business sold a third of all liquor in Illinois. ---------------The Colorado Avalanche has been on a tear this season. Or so I’ve heard. Ranked at or near the top of the NHL all year long, the Avs are young, skilled, successful, and almost nowhere to be seen in the state of Colorado. Franchise icon Joe Sakic, in his executive role that he appears to be executing with the same quiet mastery that exemplified his brilliant playing career, has assembled a stacked team that is built to win both now and from now on. Nathan MacKinnon would already have won at least one Hart Trophy if the award were still given to the league’s MVP; presently, it seems to be designated for the player with the most points who has any sort of connection to the Canadian jersey Wayne Gretzky once wore. With dynamic young defensemen, a skilled goalie and a scouting department with a good sense for finding talent, the Avalanche are a top-notch NHL franchise. ---------------Bill Wirtz had interests in real estate, banking, insurance & liquor distribution. He co-owned the United Center with Jerry Reinsdorf. His charities donated millions to the Boys and Girls Clubs, and his contributions to amateur hockey got him inducted to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985. He helped oversee the merger between the NHL and the WHA and he was on the U.S.A. Hockey Olympic committees for both 1980 & 1984. ---------------The Avalanche are just a part of the sports empire owned by Stan Kroenke. Born a son of Missouri, he was named for two of the great Cardinal icons of their day: Enos ‘Country’ Slaughter & Stan Musial. A savvy businessman and real estate investor in his own right, Stan Kroenke married Ann Walton, daughter of Walmart co-founder Bud Walton. Despite his roots and namesake connections to the city of St. Louis, Kroenke valued money over loyalty and moved the NFL out of the city for the second time, taking the Rams to LA. This pursuit of profit at the expense of any other consideration is really the throughline in all of Kroenke’s sports businesses. When one’s worth reaches well into the billions of dollars, there needs be no concern for public interest or personal reputation. See the response the fans of English soccer club Arsenal have to their team’s profiteering owner. The fanbase is currently in open revolt regarding Arsenal’s proposed move to a now defunct ‘European Super League.’ The proposal would have dramatically disrupted the traditional English Premier League, as well as traditional leagues throughout Europe, but would have netted the Kroenkes a sizeable payday and Kroenke himself a seat on the new organization’s governing board. Stan Kroenke’s greed and open disdain for the public have successfully made him a pariah on two continents. ----------------

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

Bill Wirtz developed a reputation for being stubborn, not an uncommon trait amongst businessmen like himself. However, its combination with his well-known frugality earned him the nickname ‘Dollar’ Bill. Under Wirtz’s ownership, the Blackhawks lost players like Bobby Hull, Phil Esposito, Dominik Hasek, Ed Belfour, Chris Chelios & Jeremy Roenick. The team’s Cup drought lasted his entire ownership tenure. ---------------Altitude TV is a vanity project network for Kroenke’s Colorado teams. Currently Altitude is in a years-long dispute with most of Colorado’s television providers and not available to the majority of households in the state. While no one in this dispute comes off looking good, and certainly satellite and cable providers have never been known for their nobility, value or customer service, the intentional severance of the relationship between a town and its teams must fall most heavily on the teams’ owners. If a private television network can’t be run successfully when backed with Walmart money, it begs the question of just how necessary or worthwhile the venture even is in the first place. Then again, having the pure wealth to maintain that kind of exclusivity is really the point. If Stan Kroenke wasn’t completely aware of how hard he was screwing the citizens of Colorado, would his soccer team, the Rapids, play at Dick’s Park while the Avalanche and Nuggets are at Ball Arena? Look to Kroenke’s recent court win in Canada keeping the public away from public lakes surrounded by his private land for further evidence of ‘Silent’ Stan’s notion of civic values and public good. ---------------Bill Wirtz’s greatest misstep may have been the way he damaged the relationship between the Blackhawks and the notoriously loyal fans of Chicago. For years he refused to televise Blackhawks home games because he felt that it was unfair to the ticketholders. He sacrificed the interest and loyalty of millions of Chicagoland residents for the meager presence of the few thousands who would sit in his building. Bill Wirtz died in 2007. At a moment of silence held for him before a Blackhawks game, the crowd booed. ---------------So here’s to the Avalanche. The team I rooted for since they came to my state, in a sport I’ve followed since my dad took me to Colorado Rockies games before that team moved to New Jersey, just an absentee billionaire’s exclusive plaything. A private Stanley Cup contender, wearing Colorado’s name but kept strictly away from the rabble. It would be unreasonable to expect or hope for anything more, especially considering what was done in Stan’s own St. Louis. It’s a good thing that the Kroenkes are much too rich to care what people think of them. Because we won’t miss them when they’re gone.

Valley Voice

May 2021


Healthy Choices

In Praise of Vaccine Passports By Brodie Farquhar

The roll out of COVID-19 vaccines has been remarkable, with some 141 million inoculations by mid-April, well before President Joe Biden’s first 100 days of his administration. I’ve been fortunate to be inoculated with the Moderna vaccine, as a result of being fairly old and an essential worker. It has been a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. I still wear a mask and practice social distancing, not out of fear of others, but conscious that it remains possible that I might be able to get infected and become contagious, before my immune system kicks into gear and attacks the COVID-19 virus. Nevertheless, I hunger for the day that I can attend a play before a packed auditorium, see the Rockies play before a roaring Coors Field stadium, or belly-up to the bar while my favorite pub is jumping to music. I am, like most people, a social animal. I like hugs and handshakes, having people over for dinner, or visiting friends in a backyard for burgers, beer and corn-hole. A good crowd can magnify and enhance emotions. A standing ovation of one for a great performance seems silly, but when hundreds of people rise and clap and whistle together, it becomes a thrilling moment to treasure for years to come. Trouble is, that day of joyous crowds, unworried by the pandemic, is uncertain until we achieve what epidemiologists call herd immunity – meaning enough of the US or Colorado or Routt County population has been immunized, that the COVID-19 virus has almost nowhere to go and dies out. But with approximately 20 percent of the US population swearing they will not get vaccinated, herd immunity remains a distant and uncertain goal. If 20 percent is defiantly unvaccinated, that’s more than enough to provide

plenty of hosts to the disease and keep it going for years. Millions more will get sick, thousands will sicken and many die. We’re already at 570,000 deaths on the anniversary of Trump’s bleach cure for the virus. Do we want more deaths? Whatever the reasons for anti-vaxers, I think I know a way to persuade, not force, them to get vaccinated and achieve the goal of effective herd immunity. I believe vaccine passports and their widespread use is the carrot/stick that would do the trick. We need widespread adoption of valid, verifiable vaccine passports that will allow the vaccinated to enjoy busy, crowded restaurants, bars, parties, raves, performances, ball games, movies, plays, musical performances, etc. It is the only way owners can open their doors and not fear getting sued into oblivion by creating conditions for a new hot-spot or spike of COVID-19. If the vaccinated are having all the fun, and anti-vaxers are left outside looking in, maybe the anti-vaxers will get with the program and get that shot in the arm. Of course, some anti-vaxers will try to bull their way into a venue or use a counterfeit passport for admittance. They should be firmly blocked at the door, ejected and if they try to use a fake passport, face escalating fines for endangering public health. I don’t have any sympathy for anti-vaxers. Let them scream, shout and pound on locked doors for admission. No passport. No entrance. Period. Oh, and vaccination proof is required already if you want to travel internationally. You cannot get into lots of countries without proof of vaccinations, nor can you get back into the United States from those counties with exotic diseases. Or you can get tucked into quarantine for a few weeks to prove you’re okay.

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FREE? By Joan Remy

What does it all mean Walking side by side But separated The mask of deception We decided to incarnate On Earth Moving beyond galaxies Open borders Children hurting On a warring planet What is left and right That blinds your sight Can we breathe “Conspiracy Theories” Are true It’s happening

Vaccines save lives; fear endangers them. It's a simple message parents need to keep hearing. — Jeffrey Kluger


May 2021

Valley Voice

Mountain Motivation

Ode to Sweat By Aimee Kimmey

I need to exercise, but I don't want to. It's been a long day. A really long day. Everything that could go wrong, did. My brain feels like mashed potatoes, and I just want to punch someone. Besides I'm still sore from last weekend's exercise. I should've gone to bed early last night and gotten some sleep. But I stayed up half the night like some brainless zombie watching a movie on basic cable that I own on DVD. Why? I don't know, I like that movie, and I was so comfortable on the couch. But now I just want to crawl back into bed and sleep until the world ends.

The memory of that jelly doughnut flits through my brain like the ghost of Christmas Past. The one I told myself it was okay to eat, because I was going out to exercise today. And then, there was dinner last night, what was it? A large bowl of pasta? I was carbo-loading for today. Yes, I need some exercise. If you get some fresh air and sweat, my gear promises me, you'll feel better. But I don't want to. So I make a deal with myself--I'll just go out for a little bit. I'll take it easy, I think as I chew my energy bar. Damn, why doesn't this thing have some caffeine? Or a shot of adrenaline? I could really use that right now. Ugh, I think as I pull on my exercise cloths, I could skip it, no one's forcing me to go. It's not too late, I think as I look at the sun block in my hand. I could still curl up into a ball on my bed... No, sigh, I'll go, I'll go. I assure myself that I won't go too far or too hard. If I just get out there for a little bit, then I can come back and take a nap with a guilt free conscious.


Steamboat Springs Walden


I head out the door reviewing routes in my head, searching for the shortest, easiest path to exercise. Once I decide which way to go, I start off slow, concentrating on just moving forward. Just a short trip, I can do this, it's not too far to the turn around point. The motions are familiar, I've done them all hundreds of times before. It's not long before my brain starts to wander. I think about the day I've had, and wonder what it would be like to actually punch that special someone. I remember parts of the movie I stayed up watching, and

smile, oh yeah, that's why I stayed up. I think about the projects I've got going, and my brain starts to really chew. The sounds of my breathing fills my ears. Steady and rhythmic. I can feel my heart pounding out a regular beat as my muscles loosen up. I can feel the sweat starting to form, and it feels good. Yeah, okay, I can do this. I start to push, just a little. I mean why not? I'm out here, I might as well make the most of it. My heart pounds a little harder. My brain has gone quiet, maybe giving up the blood to the rest of the machine. Suddenly I realize I'm at the turning point. And I'm just starting to feel good. I can go a little further, there was that jelly doughnut after all. So I push just a little more, my heart thuds a little louder. By now the sweat rolls freely. It slips down my forehead, along my cheek and off my chin. As the drops of sweat leap into oblivion, they take with them all of the day's frustrations and irritations. Everything I've spent all day worrying about falls away with the sweat. The giant knot of tension I didn't even know I'd been clinging to begins to unfurl. I see my goal on the horizon. One last push, time to empty the tank. I open up the engine and give it everything I've got. My vision narrows, all I can see is the goal--the end of the push, the top of the hill. My heart slams against my rib cage, my lungs ache for air. I push harder. My muscles begin to scream, I can feel my face contorting itself into a grimace of agony. Now saliva mixes with the stream of sweat flowing off my chin. I gasp for air. I'm almost there, just a little further, keep pushing! The burning, the pounding, the goal--that's my world now. My heart feels like it’s going to burst right out of my rib cage. Every tension, frustration, and anxiety vanishes as if it never existed. At last I reach the end of my push, I gulp air and let off the gas. My body feels like jello, I think my heart might still explode. Sweat rolling into my eyes threatens to blind me, and I might throw up. I want to sing and shout and scream: I DID IT! If only I had the air. This big stupid grin will have to do.

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I turn for home, my blood still racing through my veins. My lungs still struggle to catch up. Slowly my brain kicks back on, everything I spent all day bunged up about doesn't seem so important anymore. My knot of tension is long gone. I find myself looking at problems in a fresh new light. Solutions that seemed impossible just a little while ago are suddenly low hanging fruit. Now I remember why I exercise; it's not for the jelly doughnut, or the bowl of pasta. It's for the sweat. When the sweat starts to flow, it's impossible to cling to fears and frustrations that darken my daily life. When it dries, I may be dirty and crusty and in pain, but the world is suddenly a brighter place. Now I know beyond the shadow of a doubt, everything is going to be just fine!

Valley Voice

May 2021


Memories for Memorial Day

Laughter Has No Place Here By Sean Derning

We met with the organizer, his assistant and the chaplain who prepared a brief eulogy and Bible passage from the book of John. We followed the organizer in our cars down a narrow paved road to the mausoleum. There was a small marble fountain on the left with a sloping, tranquil view of the Lincoln and Washington memorials across the Potomac River. At the end of the mall were seven soldiers bearing arms. In front were six white gloved pall bearers, all dressed in Army blues, not a stitch out of place nor button tarnished. The bearers walked heel to toe, their steel plates clicking in unison on the slate surface. They retrieved Dad’s remains from the coordinator’s car and marched into the mall to a sheltered concrete structure lined with folding chairs overlooking the Potomac valley.

Arlington House also known as the Robert E. Lee Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. Section 32 of the cemetery is in the foreground.

We were seated and the detail took an American flag and unfurled it over his remains. The flag was painstakingly refolded into a triangle and given to the honor guard master sergeant and held in place. Across the mall to the right, the command was given to the firing squad; “Ready! Aim! Rifles fired, reloaded and the volley of 21 rounds lasted perhaps 21 seconds. The squad then set their rifles at rest.

After waiting three years for permission, we finally made the trip to Washington DC to inter my father's remains at Arlington National Cemetery, as it was his last formal request before he passed. Dad served as an Army sergeant during the Korean War, earning four bronze stars and several commendations during his tour of duty. He didn't talk much about the war as the experience soured him after reading his weekly letters home to his parents. Weather extremes, homesickness, and seeing other soldiers coming back from the front lines in various states of disfigurement were all elements at the root of his distress. And the reality of being in a combat zone, with snipers, artillery, mines and other weapons of destruction always required additional attention and caution. My wife, son and sister were the only family in attendance for the ceremony. We arrived at Arlington National Cemetery an hour before the ceremony as was requested. The September weather was beautiful; 75F and cloudy with a light breeze to keep the humidity in check. Sis and I went to the administrative building, a simple single story, flat roofed building where we were shown to a room with light blue leather chairs and oak paneling. At the end of the room was a full picture window which offered a peaceful view of a sheltered yard with mature oaks and green grass. Perhaps the most remarkable feature at Arlington are the old growth hardwood trees; maples, oaks, elms and dozens of other species. In the fall, the color contrast of the white marble tombstones against the gently sloping hills, deep green grass and blazing leaf colors must be an amazing visual feast.

A lone trumpet sounded to the left. The bugler blew his Taps notes from a few feet inside the concrete walls of the mausoleum, so the notes had extra amplification and echo. zirkel-valleyvoice-ad-120519.pdf



The hollow, solemn notes were haunting. Sobering. Real. The chaplain read his eulogy with flawless diction and the master sergeant, on bended knee, presented me with the flag. I wish I could remember all of what he said because his piercing gaze looked right into my soul. And with the eloquence of a Shakespearian actor, he said “This nation is indebted to the efforts made by your father.” Sincere words that were believable. The truth. We were then escorted to the courtyard where the remains were placed, called a niche, about 300 yards from the Pentagon. My son put the tin box containing Dad’s medals, special photos and mementoes of his life’s achievements in the niche. Now we were to say goodbye. My sister touched the box firmly and wiped a tear from her eye. I was next. Touching the box I said, “You raised a good boy, soldier.” My wife and son then paid their respects and it was over. We took a slow drive through the grounds, stopping at memorials and points of interest, snapping pictures along the way. Unfortunately due to Covid, all of the buildings were closed, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We left the grounds and went back into the world, with traffic and people in a hurry to live their lives and having the freedom to do so. In closing, it was perhaps the most reviving experience for an American. There are so many social and political issues today threatening the foundation of the articles our country was founded on. Many of those soldiers in the cemetery paid the ultimate price to defend democracy. Experiencing an Arlington ceremony will refresh your perspective of why democracy is the greatest form of government ever conceived by humans. We are a great nation. Arlington renewed my will to help rekindle this great nation. We are due for a rebirth to prove ourselves as a world leader. Political bickering and party politics compromise and distract us from reaching this goal. Positive, progressive actions by the people, not slogans, will make our country great again.

6:36 PM












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The willingness of America's veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude. — Jeff Miller


May 2021

Valley Voice


Your Monthly Message By Chelsea Yepello Aries

March 21 - April 19

When you need to do a quick sacrifice in a gas station bathroom before hopping back on the highway, a chicken is the perfect travel sized alternative to a goat.


April 20 - May 20

As you stumble into the party, you suddenly feel paranoid that everyone is staring at you. You try to ease the perceived tension by offering them drinks from the big bottle of booze you’re carrying but just as you do this, a couple alter-boys grab you by each arm in attempt to escort you out of the building. This makes you question what kind of party this really is and if you need to call child protective services. Then it dawns on you, somehow you drunkenly stumbled into Sunday Mass, so yes, you should definitely call child protective services.


May 20 - June 20

People say you are known to wear many hats. Every day, you seem to switch seamlessly between one task to the next and always have the answers. Is it because you have an overabundance of talents and endless motivation, or are you just selfconscious and wear hats to cover your egg-shaped head?



June 21 - July 22

For rent: One gifted mind filled with an insatiable appetite for knowledge, adaptability, curiosity and talent. One year lease required, no smoking, pets negotiable. Hey, if you’re not going to use it, someone should.


July 23 - August 23

When life gives you lemons, make a lemon meringue pie and smash it in life's face. For some added fun, put on your clown suit before you pie life and really make life regret giving you lemons.

OPEN DAILY Go Old School!

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On the Free Bus Route

August 23 - September 22


September 23 - October 23

For you, the worst part of Covid isn’t missing all the live music when the concerts were cancelled. You miss getting that ultimate ego boost when you bought a front row ticket to a concert, turned toward the concert goers and pretend that everyone was cheering for you. It’s just not the same on Zoom. The AirBnb did a crappy job cleaning after Mary and Joseph’s stay. The guests that stayed in the manger after them said they found a twin. The little guy is fine, but the Pope will be pissed. This is really going to affect their score on Travelocity.


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


October 24 - November 21

You are appalled by the steep and unfair medical costs in America. So, to save yourself time, money and stress, you decide to skip going through the hoops of buying dental insurance and just remove all of your teeth before they need their next cleaning.


November 22 - December 21

You will have an overwhelming desire to express yourself in an old fashioned way, by slapping someone in the face with a leather riding glove.


December 22 - January 19

You wanted to become more eco-friendly and create an opportunity to give back to nature and wildlife. Unfortunately, your eco-crusade might have gone too far when you are discovered as a serial killer who uses the bodies as fertilizer in the National Forests to nourish the trees. The general public didn't think the benefit outweighed the drawbacks, but maybe they just don’t care about the planet as much as you do.


January 20 - February 18

Children are the future of the planet, the greatest resource for our earth and the key to preserving history. This is why you should get a windowless van, a bag of candy and try to collect as many as you can, just in case.


Recreational & Medical



February 19 - March 20

You write a self-help book for the busy literary fans of 2021. Despite reviews from critics stating that writing a book that details how to discreetly mail poo to your enemies is a niche subject matter and will never be successful, its also #1 on Amazon… so ya know…Tomato, Tomahto.

Valley Voice

By Matt Scharf

No Workforce Housing Previously printed in 2016

By Matt Scharf

Living the Dream Previously printed in 2016

May 2021



May 2021

Valley Voice

We sell used barrels! Starting at $100! email us at: steamboatwhiskey

New to Our Line up! Sticky Fingers Peanut Butter Whiskey! Yum!

Mud Season Hours (May 1-28) Open Thursday - Saturday at 3 pm. Come see us for happy hour all day with great specials on drinks and food. DRINK FOR A CAUSE - A portion of the proceeds from the sale of our award-winning WARRIOR WHISKEY are donated to Veteran organizations in order to support our Vets.

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