Valley Voice November 2022

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November 2022 . Issue 11.11

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Steamboat Springs Hayden Oak Creek Yampa


November 2022

Valley Voice

Best Prices in Town!

Keep the feast on the table not under it!

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

Overindulging in the family feast can be unhealthy for humans, but even worse for pets!

“We are on your way home on the right side of the road !”

We have the coldest beer around!

970-879-8185 Mon. - Thurs. 11am -9pm Fri. & Sat. - 10am -10pm Sundays 11am - 7pm

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Many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets – including; onions, raisins and grapes. Holiday sweets can contain ingredients that are also poisonous to pets.

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See Page 12

We are giving thanks this month for our loyal clients and their pets.

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

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

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Valley Voice

November 2022


Contents SSPD Provides Community Training

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Give Where You Live

Page 5

Commuting Paterns of Hayden, CO

Page 6

We Are What We Eat

Page 6

The Brown Ranch: Affordable Housing

Page 7

Freedom is on the Ballot

Page 7

A Way of Life: Struggling to Survive

Page 8

The Magic of Owls

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Picking up bear poop from the front yard and discovering your fingers have become one with it because the bag had a hole… When you realize the car your following isn’t your wife… “Quiet Quitting” with an attitude right in front of your boss and co-workers… Realizing you have the “Long COVID” after you thought it was something you ate a month ago… Witnessing the life being sucked out of a Newbie while he repacks his car again… Merging into one lane and getting flipped off for it... Trying to understand how a roundabout works in the middle of a roundabout… When complaining about the stupidity of humanity instead of looking at the bright side of life.

Bootlegging to Stay Alive

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A Leaf's Life: Part II

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By Steamboat Springs Police Department By Holly Wilson

By Scott L. Ford

By Brodie Farquhar

By Jason Peasly and Sheila Henderson By Julie Hagenbuch

By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield

Publisher/Art Director: Matt Scharf Sales:


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. Website Subscription rate is $40 per year (12 issues). All content © 2021 Valley 3:21 L.L.C. PM Voice, No portion of the contents of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission from the Valley Voice.

By Fran Conlon

By Elaine Callas Williams By Karen Vail

Thanksgiving Page 12 By Ken Proper

All the World's A Cliché

Page 13

The X-Special Project

Page 14

The Beer That Fueled a Revolution

Page 15

Just a 1/3 Cord of Wood

Page 16

By Stuart Handloff By Johnny Walker

By Sean Derning aka A Beer Fairy By Carol Bloodworth

The Compliment Page 17

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 Aimee Kimmey

Your Monthly Message By Chelsea Yepello

Page 18

Comics Page 19

Advertise in the in the Valley Voice! contact

Matt Scharf at or 970-846-3801 (The most affordable in town!)

Halloween stroll downtown Steamboat Springs… When you pay off your house with many years left in you… Health and happiness and a chore list all checked off… Anticipation can be very strong waiting for another winter season, always hoping for the deep stuff… Fulfilling your tag and filling your freezer…

Say What?... “If social media was an art form it wouldn’t hang in any gallery.” “If a visitor pays the short-term rental tax while staying in Steamboat Springs, what do you care if it’s passed onto them?” “Does the ski area buy the snow to ski on?” “What is truly affordable in this town or any other town?”

We go to press November 28th for the December 2022 Edition! Send in your submissions by November 18th!


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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Most people don't realize turkeys are friendly, they're social, they're loyal, they have emotions. — Shannon Elizabeth


November 2022

Valley Voice

The “LOCAL’S” choice for Personalized Health Care

Happy Thanksgiving! Festive Decorations, Candles and more!

City of Steamboat Springs

SSPD Provides Community Training & Informational Sessions By Steamboat Springs Police Department

Help the Environment!

Reuse any plastic laundry container with a refill of quality, eco-friendly laundry detergent.

970 .879 .5717

2620 S. Copper Frontage Steamboat Springs, CO

Sessions Cover Variety of Topics Such As Fraud/Scam Prevention & Fentanyl Crisis Education and learning never stops and the Steamboat Springs Police Department (SSPD) takes that philosophy to the community as it shares tips, training, and knowledge around a variety of topics tailored to community groups. “We believe community outreach and continued education is vital part of community policing,” said Sergeant Sam Silva. “We’ll come to you and share information and tips that provide valuable information to better arm yourself in the decision they might have to make down the road.” A good example of the training and community informational sessions that SSPD provides is the recent presentations on the fentanyl crisis and scam/fraud prevention. During scam/fraud prevention, SSPD shares tips on how to avoid scammers and advises if anything appears to be off with an internet-related transaction, back out and stop communicating. It’s okay to hang up, delete or block when red flags are raised. While digital crime is at the forefront, old-fashion theft can also be common. The SSPD reminds everyone that prevention is as easy as locking it up. And that goes for your ski racks this winter too. Whenever leaving your vehicle even if only for a few minutes, drivers should lock their doors and properly secure equipment so as not to tempt a thief. A focus of increased attention is the drug, Fentanyl, now in Northwest Colorado and resulting in overdoses and deaths. Seven people have died because of fentanyl in Steamboat Springs since 2020, and it’s the number one killer of people between the ages of 18 to 45 nationwide, according to the CDC. So how much Fentanyl can kill you? The lethal amount is next to the penny in the photo.

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

Last month, Sgt Silva gave fentanyl presentations to Routt County United Way’s Women United and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. He also held a fraud prevention presentation for the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Sgt Silva and Detective Greg Griffin also conduct site assessments and security trainings for active threat to schools, churches, public buildings, and businesses. This year, the two-person team has completed nearly a dozen of these sessions for organizations across the community. “Sam and I have completed more than a hundred hours of trainings and community outreach this year,” commented Detective Greg Griffin. “We want to share that knowledge with others and look forward to additional opportunities to assist and educate our community.” Are you a group or organization that would benefit from a presentation on the dangers of fentanyl, fraud prevention, or another law enforcement related topic? Maybe, you’re a business that would be interested in learning more on protecting your organization/facility from an active threat. If so, reach out by email to Sergeant Silva or Detective Griffin or the SSPD to schedule a session.

Valley Voice

November 2022


Yampa Valley Gives

Give Where You Live By Holly Wilson

We work with over 80 nonprofits in both Routt and Moffat counties, and while we are a regional champion of the Colorado Gives program, we operate as a program of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. We work with dozen local businesses, asking for their support as our sponsors, to help get the message out about YVG Day. We raise money for marketing and advertising to raise awareness throughout the year, but especially as we approach December. And those sponsorship dollars go a long way… in 2021, for every $1 raised in sponsorship, $77 was raised for our local nonprofits! So how much money is raised on YVG Day? In the last two years, we have helped the residents and visitors of the Yampa Valley raise over $2.4 million for our local nonprofits, and THAT MONEY STAYS RIGHT HERE in Routt and Moffat counties. In 2021 alone, we raised $1,331,051!

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So why give on YVG Day?

Give Where You Live – this is our mantra at Yampa Valley Gives. We are a regional champion of the statewide Colorado Gives program, which holds the annual Colorado Gives Day annually on the second Tuesday in December, benefitting hundreds of nonprofits throughout our state. Yampa Valley Gives was founded in 2014 by a group of people that were inspired by what Colorado Gives Day does each year, but asked “how do we help people give to the nonprofits they care about in their own community right here in the Yampa Valley?” Out of that question, Yampa Valley Gives was born. So how does YVG work? Our organization works throughout the year to put on Yampa Valley Gives Day – this year on 12.6.22. Our committee members volunteer their time throughout the year.

"The generosity of support our community has shown over the past several months is nothing short of impressive. However, our organizations still are falling short. We need to support organizations critically so they can continue to provide their exceptional services to communities in need," said Helen Beall, Community Impact Manager at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. "Yampa Valley Gives believes in the power of philanthropy to transform lives. During difficult times, we encourage our community to come together to support the organizations they support our working families, inspire arts and culture, encourage our children to play, and protect our land." So how do I give? Go to and search for your favorite nonprofit. You can make your donation starting November 1st.


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Watch for your favorite nonprofits out and about on YVG Day, honk & wave at them, and then please get to a computer and GIVE WHERE YOU LIVE!!


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You never get away from that thing in your hometown that it has over you. You don't outgrow where you come from. — Brian Fallon


November 2022

Valley Voice

Go Figure

What's for Dinner?

Commuting Patterns of Hayden, Colorado Good and Bad, By Scott L. Ford

I often observe that we spend an inordinate amount of time guessing about the economy when the data is readily available. To be sure pure speculation is often a lot more fun than discussing known facts. Speculation allows one to sound knowledgeable without knowing anything about a topic beyond anecdotal evidence. Over the next few months in this column, I am going to provide known facts about the commuting patterns from towns close to Steamboat Springs. Unless noted otherwise the source of this data is from the US Census Bureau / American Community Survey Table DP03. The first town I am going to explore is Hayden. I am looking beyond the city limits to include the commuting patterns of those that live within the boundaries of the Hayden, RE-1 School District. Going forward I am going to refer to this area as Hayden. As of 2020 the workforce ages sixteen and over was about 2,525. Of this number about 1,850 were employed. This simply means that Hayden had a workforce participation rate of 73%. One may ask what was the remaining 27% doing? Most often this percentage includes individuals that are stay-at-home parents, students, disabled or fully retired. How do these folks that are employed get to their place of work?

Car, truck, or van 89% Drove alone 82% Carpooled 7% In 2-person carpool 5% In 3-person carpool 0% In 4-or-more person carpool 1% Public transportation 1% Walked 4% Bicycle 1% Taxicab, motorcycle, or other means 0% Worked from home 5% About 5% of the employed population living in Hayden walked or bicycled. Another 5% worked from home. This means that about 90% of the employed population commuted to work by driving a car, truck, or van. About 80% of the those living in Hayden that were employed, drove to work all by themselves.

Commuting Direction of those that live in Hayden but do not work in Hayden

11% 9%

The next question is when did they leave for work? Again, we do not need to guess. Based on the data in the table below we see that about 70% of the employed population left for work in the three-hour period beginning at 6:00am and ending at 9:00am. Time of Departure to go to Work

12:00 a.m. to 4:59 a.m. 5:00 a.m. to 5:29 a.m. 5:30 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. 6:00 a.m. to 6:29 a.m. 6:30 a.m. to 6:59 a.m. 7:00 a.m. to 7:29 a.m. 7:30 a.m. to 7:59 a.m. 8:00 a.m. to 8:29 a.m. 8:30 a.m. to 8:59 a.m. 9:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

1% 4% 6% 10% 10% 23% 13% 6% 5% 22%

Once they left for work, how long did it take them to get to work? About 50% of the employed population took between 20 and 45 minutes to get to work. On average people spent about 25 minutes commuting. Travel Time to Work

Less than 10 minutes 10 to 14 minutes 15 to 19 minutes 20 to 24 minutes 25 to 29 minutes 30 to 34 minutes 35 to 44 minutes 45 to 59 minutes 60 or more minutes

25% 9% 4% 7% 1% 33% 8% 12% 2%

We now know the means of how they get to work, when they leave and how long it takes them. The remaining question is exactly where they are going. To do this we need to use an obscure data base called the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics. This is one of the few data sets available that combines information from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One needs to be an economic data geek to enjoy what this database has to say. About 42% of those employed live and work within the boundaries of Hayden. The other 60% living in Hayden work outside of Hayden. For many years, the political leadership in Hayden did not want to be known as a “bedroom community.” Face the facts, you are and are becoming more so. What is the commuting direction of those that live in Hayden but do not work there? Based on the data below it is safe to assume that about 80% of the workforce that is commuting are commuting to the East/Southeast which is Steamboat.


Next Month – Commuting Patterns of those folks that live in Oak Creek. East & Southeast

South & Southwest

West & Northwest

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

We Are What We Eat By Brodie Farquhar

Last week, the White House hosted a conference on hunger, nutrition and health. It is the first such conference since 1969, which led to our food stamp program. And yet, the Food and Drug Administration reports that 10 percent of all U.S. households experienced food insecurity in 2021. Until recently, I worked for over seven years in a local grocery store in Steamboat, and I would like to share some observations and thoughts. In towns like Steamboat, Hayden, Craig and Oak Creek, there’s an abundance of opportunities to buy food. Clark, Maybell and Yampa have fewer options. There aren’t many food deserts in Colorado. They are more common in major metro areas that have concentrated areas of minorities. There is a lot of fast food and convenience stores, but few grocery stores. Lots of customers have voiced unhappiness with inflation, the COVID pandemic and supply chain shortages, which are fewer today, but not entirely absent. Even in a relatively wealthy community like Steamboat, there is such a thing as food uncertainty – meaning food in the fridge or pantry becomes less certain at the end of the month, and in growing numbers. Families have to cut back and stretch food budgets with things like pasta, rice and beans. Meals for school age children have become more expensive and free lunches and breakfasts have been reduced or eliminated. Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, a conference sponsor, said “The key is to address food insecurity, and to help families and individuals cut back on massively processed foods that are filled with sugars, salt and saturated fats and are essentially addictive.” Booker said a third of government health care dollars are spent dealing with diet-based illnesses. Ironically, he added that government subsidies go almost entirely to growers of corn and manufacturers of highly processed foods, with only 2 percent of Ag subsidies going to real food. I can testify that at checkout, I see clear evidence of horrible diets that can lead to obesity, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease. And yes, I’ve been known to buy chips, candy, ice cream and yummy stuff that have long ingredient lists filled with words I can’t even pronounce. I’ve also seen customers focus on fresh produce, meats, dairy and grains that’s unprocessed by the food giants like Kraft, General Mills, Kellogg, Coke, Pepsi, etc. Sen. Booker and I are not calling or arguing for a “nanny” state that tells you what you can and cannot eat. I love a good burger or steak, but I don’t eat ‘em at every meal. But I also am eating more fruits and vegetables, and more delicious salads. That’s why I’ve been able to edge away from prediabetes, lose some weight and hope to get into older jeans. I have more to do, but indulgences like Reese’s cups are now fewer in number and frequency. Maybe what we need to do as parents and as a community is encourage school districts to offer fitness, nutrition and cooking classes to communities, not just k-12.

Valley Voice

November 2022

West of Town

The Brown Ranch: A Solution to Our Affordable Housing Crisis By Jason Peasly and Sheila Henderson Steamboat Springs has been fighting a housing crisis for decades, but its magnitude has exploded over the past few years. People cannot afford to live and work here. Currently, we’re short 1,400 housing units. Families are living in bedrooms, not houses; renters are living in constant fear their landlord will cancel their lease; and families are leaving because they just can’t make it work anymore. For the last ten years, the demand for workforce housing has greatly outpaced the supply. The added demand for short-term rentals and second homes only intensifies this imbalance. Business owners and residents almost universally cite housing as their number one need. Restaurants are leaving sections open because they can’t find servers, the Steamboat School District has over 40 positions unfilled, and help wanted signs are everywhere. We have an opportunity to transform the lives of our friends and neighbors who are struggling to live and work here by creating affordable and attainable housing at the Brown Ranch. When people have a safe and healthy place to live, we can create a strong and healthy workforce which in turn creates vibrant businesses, organizations and our community. The Yampa Valley Housing Authority (YVHA) was blessed to receive a $24 million dollar gift from anonymous donors to buy the last tract of developable land within the City of Steamboat Springs Urban Growth Boundary. With the help of our volunteer Steering Community, technical consultants, and teams that focused on housing demand, environmental sustainability, economics and sustainability, urban design, infrastructure and health equity plus meetings with 3800 community members and 230 groups - a neighborhood design was created both by and for the community. This first phase of community engagement was funded by the generous contributions of the Colorado Health Foundation, the Craig-Scheckman Foundation and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

Building upon other plans, like the Routt County Climate Action Plan and the Routt County Master Plan, community members requested bike and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, public transit, services like access to food, medical care and childcare to be a self-sufficient community. The Brown Ranch will have housing choices at all income levels. YVHA hopes to have the first phase of 1400 units by 2030, with the rest built by 2040. Phase 1 will also include a 15,000SF community food market, 48,000SF of retail space, 10,000SF of office space and 5,000SF earmarked for childcare. Future commercial amenities will follow as the development grows. The overall proposal includes 1,486 apartments or condos, 484 single family attached homes, and 294 single family detached homes. No lots will be sold. The Brown Ranch will only be for individuals who work and/or have retired from a Routt County employer and income will be verified. YVHA’s ability to access grants from federal, state and philanthropic sources will help pay for the infrastructure of raw land but local sources of funds will also be needed to build this new neighborhood. Local leadership and community support are necessary for the Brown Ranch to succeed. YVHA has submitted their petition for the City of Steamboat Springs to annex 420 of the 536 acres of the property. This petition starts the joint conversations to identify the needs and requirements for water, sewer, utilities, and other infrastructure needs with the hope of creating a memorandum of agreement between YVHA and the City of Steamboat Springs as well as a timeline. The time is now to make the crucial investment in creating affordable housing. An incremental approach will not help the current residents that need safe and healthy housing now. For more information check out


Get Your Vote On!

Freedom is on the Ballot By Julie Hagenbuch

Freedom is accessing healthcare without worry of going broke. I voted for those making strides towards Universal Healthcare, like $35/month insulin, preserving the Affordable Care Act, lowering costs for senior’s drugs, and expanding veteran coverage. Freedom is retaining or expanding Medicare and Social Security. Freedom is having clean air, clean water, and public lands for multiusers. Freedom is access to quality public education, free from censorship, and without fear of gun violence. I voted for an experienced teacher for state house and the governor who spearheaded Colorado Universal Pre-Kindergarten. Freedom is having tax money going to public schools and not being syphoned off to private and religious institutions. Freedom is protecting the rights of all registered voters to cast a ballot using secure methods without intimidation, and for those ballots to be counted accurately; as they have been for centuries. The current Secretary of State will advocate for all voters by urging the Supreme Court not to further decimate the 1965 Voting Rights Act in a case they hear this session. Choosing our own leaders is the bedrock of our democracy. Freedom is having courts that interpret law and uphold current law. Choosing the Supreme Court judges is an important US Senate duty. Freedom is planning your own family without interference from others. The Supreme Court enabled states run by GOP, to take away essential women’s healthcare (Roe). Is contraception next? Freedom is being able to love and marry whoever you choose. Freedom is keeping and improving our Democratic Republic. Without democracy, there is no economy. Policies that benefit all the people rather than only the rich, is what makes us great. Freedom is separation of religion and government as the founding fathers intended. Christian nationalism and/or authoritarianism is dangerous and unconstitutional. Corruption, increased violence, and subverting the will of the majority will ensue.

Dr. Rich Weiss Park Photo by Matt Scharf

Recent passage of Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (Chips) and Science Act, along with Inflation Reduction Act, has several manufacturers building new plants in the US. If you want legislation not angertainment, solutions not rhetoric, and if you support democracy and progress, join me in voting for the Democrats by November 8th at 7PM.

Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac? — George Carlin


November 2022

Valley Voice

Bonnifield Files

A Way of Life: Struggling to Survive By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield

Agricultural conservancy land in South Routt County. This was taken from CO 131 and the land will always be open space thanks to the land owners who want to conserve open space and ranching.

New Holland developed a self-tying hay bailer. (Earlier bailers required three men to operate.) Within a few years, bail wagons that picked up the bails were marketed. Haying became much faster and more efficient in both putting up and feeding out. Bailed hay was much easier to market. The new system required several pieces of equipment and more money. To meet the costs, ranches became larger with fewer ranchers. In the early 1960s, the railroad began reducing shipments of livestock. By 1970 all but the Yampa stockyards were gone. Ranchers in the Yampa area maintained the Yards to use the scales to weigh their cattle and sheep. They could not ship by rail, although one failed attempt was made to ship cattle to Kansas City.

Ask anyone living in the five counties encompassing northwestern Colorado – Moffat, Grand, Jackson, Routt, or Rio Blanco – why they live here. The majority will answer that they love it, enjoy it, and like the way of life. Look deeper and ask why they answered as they did. Their answer will probably be vague with the usual generalities of lifestyle, environment, or recreation. It is a sense of place deeply felt and deeply important but hard to verbalize. It’s open space; wildlife, trees, grass, sagebrush, livestock, haying, cowboys and cowgirls, wind, snow and skiing, creeks and rivers running. Hell, we don’t know, but we do know it is the place called Home. Dating back to colonial times, Americans have a continuous attachment to land and place. Time and everything changes; but as the old saying goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Last issue of the Valley Voice looked at the golden age of rodeos in northwestern Colorado. This time was also the golden age for ranching and farming. In the early summer and fall months, highways and by-ways became clogged with bands of sheep being driven to and from high pastures. A common sight involved a sheepherder walking behind a band of sheep while shaking a string of tin cans on a wire loop making noise to keep sheep moving. Lambs were shipped by rail. Cattlemen joined the fall parade moving stock to the stockyards at Craig, Cary Ranch, Hayden, Steamboat Springs, Phippsburg, Yampa, Toponas, and Egeria. At haying time, teams of horses pulled dump rakes in circles around stack pens forming wind rows. All rows pointed toward the stacker. Horse drawn sweep rakes and ingeniously redesigned old trucks pushed the hay to the stack. An old truck or team of horses pushed the hay over

the top of the plunger or basket stacker. A plunger stacker has a long pole attached to a header that pushed the hay up the stacker’s pole face. A basket stacker had a series of cables and pulley used to lift the hay. (For many years an old basket stacker sat near CR14 and the junction of ‘CO 131.) Two men, the highest paid in the field, powered by water from a canvas water bag, stacked the hay. Stacking hay besides being hard work is a skill that only a few mastered. The stack when finished had to be waterproof and easy to feed out of during the winter. Bill Gay was among the best stackers. Grain farming in the Hayden and Craig area was big business. The grain season was a vital time for the railroaders working out of Phippsburg. Train loads of wheat were shipped to eastern markets. Residents of northwestern Colorado felt the idyllic way they lived would last forever. Everyone talked about the same subjects – weather, feed, livestock etc. Mrs. Starbuck snapped at her husband and friends as they visited, “Can’t you talk about anything else than cows?” They changed and talked about horses. Suddenly it all changed. Small seven-hundred-acre or smaller ranches depended upon the cream check. All of them hand milked a half dozen cows morning and night. The cream was shipped by rail to Meadow Gold in Denver and the skimmed milk fed to pigs and chickens. Eggs were traded, and pigs and chickens eaten. They ran a few cows and a little bunch of sheep. Meadow Gold stopped buying cream and the railroad ended its passenger service. Ranchers sold their milk cows. (Usually a shorthornbrown Swiss mix.) Without milk, the pigs were butchered. Most of the Cow-Sow-Hen ranches were sold. The Viele family are the only truly small ranchers left in South Routt County.

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

The Denver Stockyards was the home market for every sheepman and cattleman. Due to a set of complex problems, by the mid-1960s the Denver Yards began closing and by1987, it was completely gone. Stockmen found other markets at various sale rings. For a few years livestock sales rings operated in Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs, and Rifle. With the livestock tub (stock trailer) and big truck (tractors), shipping of livestock to market became quicker and more efficient. A V Construction of I70 and the boom in the ski industry A beginning in the early 1960s brought resort cities with o an entirely different lifestyle. The 1960s -1970s with ski n bums, hippies, druggies, long haired men, anti-war, the pill, a co-habitation, environmentalists, and civil rights upset s the nation and in turn northwestern Colorado. Cowboys against hippies, – anti-war, dirty hippie against pro-war T cowboy. The stereotyping had nothing to do with real cow- t boys and hippies; however, the image hurt both. Two bars o glared at each other across the street in Oak Creek. One m served cowboys, the other served hippies. On Boogie Night T (Thursdays) the town got wild and bad things happened. I S Some environmental organizations were anti-ranch and t anti-livestock. One influential organization campaigned to t remove all livestock from public land by 1995 with the slo- w gan “no cattle by ‘95.” Several environmental groups and d individuals remain hostile to grazing cattle on public land. I Sometime between 1960-1965 the Craig radio station r KRAI stopped playing Sons of the Pioneer tunes between n 7:45 am and 8:00 am. Shortly afterward the station S stopped broadcasting the noon livestock market reports c from Denver. Many ranch families were looking to move F elsewhere – someplace where they felt at ease and safe. n

Others stayed and chose to fight back and maintain a T strong cultural presence. Rodeos became a stone in their F defense. Early rodeos were more a wild west show than f an organized sport. Cowboys who “followed the circle” c faced a hard road. Contestants were often cheated of a prize money or in other ways. The contest rules changed i from place to place, and the “draw for livestock” was often R rigged. Contestants paid all their own travel expenses and H entry fees. It all came to a head at Boston Gardens. Rodeosh at Madison Square Gardens and Boston Gardens were p considered the world championship rodeos. t

Valley Voice

At Boston the rodeo cowboys went on strike and won. Victory was followed by organizing the Cowboys’ Turtle Association, a name chosen because they were slow to organize and afraid to stick their neck out. In 1945, the name changed to the Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA) and later renamed the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). The Turtles had their hands full. Numerous rodeo committees and contestants resisted a union and didn’t want anyone telling them what to do – standard rules and equipment, timing of events, safe construction of arenas, etc. Their biggest challenge was to turn a Show into a Rodeo. In a serious campaign, cowboys were instructed not to say Show but instead to say Rodeo. Too often cowboys came to town, got drunk, made fools of themselves in town and in the arena, skipped out on their room and board bills, and wrote bad checks. The Turtles and the RCA cleaned up rodeos and turned it into a highly skilled professional sport. In the Yampa Valley when everything seemed to be against ranching, rodeos came to their assistance. After the northwestern Colorado rodeo circle folded, Steamboat Springs turned to “jackpot rodeo” – no fixed purse and the constantans paid a “mount fee” to ride or rope. Energy Fuel (Bob Adams) put in lights at the arena allowing for night rodeos. The Steamboat Pilot read, “Rodeo Series: A rising Phoenix.” From 1985 to the present Steamboat Springs has successfully hosted a summer series of professional rodeos. The city of Steamboat has proven solid support with money and maintenance. The key person keeping the rodeo going and growing is Brent Romick with support from the Romick family. Brent also manages a large ranch near Hayden. (We could not find time for an interview because he was gathering and shipping 1,100 steers.) The family patriarch, Jack Romick was heart and soul a believer in the West.

November 2022



A cowboy was asked why rodeo. “Even when you are a champion there is little money in it; travel costs are high; it is all a game of chance based on what you draw and what the judge sees; and a contestant is going to get hurt, it’s a question of when, how bad, and how often.” The cowboy answered, “it’s a way of life that cannot be changed or ignored.” Under market pressure from manufactured fibers, the demand for wool steadily declined. In 1954 the Eisenhower administration passed the National Wool Act subsidizing over production of wool. The federal assistance kept several hundred sheep operations in business. Despite the subsidy, wool production fell from 283 million pounds in 1955 to 89 million in 1988. In 1993 congress ended the wool subsidy, saving the government hundreds of millions. National wool production dropped from 63.5 million pounds in 1995 to 24.7 million pounds in 2017. Nearly all the sheep men in northwestern Colorado either turned to cattle production or went out of business. A group in Steamboat was not willing to accept defeat, and for eleven years, 1997–2011 produced wool blankets and other woolen goods. They had strong support and a good local market, but the Faribault Woolen Mills in Minnesota closed in 2009. Nancy Mucklow was unable to find another woolen mill that met the company’s standards, so it too closed. The organization of the Community Agriculture Alliance united with Historic Routt County, and Colorado’s Cattlemen’s Agriculture Land Trust to assist the broad needs of Routt County agriculture. The Community Alliances’ activities are too extensive to list here. In the summer it organizes Steamboat’s farmers’ market and encourages local restaurants to serve locally raised vegetables and meat. The Ag Alliance publishes a regular column in the Steamboat Pilot and Today. On special occasions it hangs a sign across Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat proclaiming, “Without agriculture we would be cold, naked, and hungry.” Although several counties organized Ag Alliances, Routt County’s is the only one to survive. A large share of the success is due to the effort of Marsha Daughenbaugh. Quoting from Twenty-five Years of Keeping Working Lands in Working Hands, “There are those among us who view land as sacred, not just another commodity to be developed to maximize short-term profits. There are also those among us who believe that producing food for the rest of the world is a hallowed calling.” Deeper in the same publication we find: “Beef is what’s for dinner; Open space is what’s for dessert.” Holding onto open space is a serious challenge. Eagle County, with Vail resort and I70, has lost nearly 46 percent of its privately owned open space. On the other hand, Routt County has more than 60,000 acres in agriculture land trusts. In a land trust, the landowner sells the development rights to the Ag Trust, and the land cannot be developed. It must remain open space agricultural land. The Routt County public voted a tax upon themselves to purchase development rights. Both the urban dweller and the rural rancher have joined together to protect ranching. Open space, running water, racing wind, cold-snowy winters, hot dry summers, thunder and lighting, newborn calves, lambs, and fawns are sacred to everyone who calls the Yampa Valley home.

The Magic of Owls By Fran Conlon

The Owl is oft’ thought wise, Perhaps the shape of its face, The meadow mouse avoids his guise, For owl’s flight is a hunter’s pace. Autumn is but summer's husk, A time for soul’s reflection, The sage will rest at day’s dusk, History’s passed the peak selections. A time to pause: the seasonal shift, The air is filled with climate magic, Drifting leaves give colors gift, Do not believe this change is tragic. Rather, look to the harvest gleaning, ‘Mid the crops’ discarded stubble, For a gem-seed with special meaning, In future growth with beauty subtle.

Newbie Notes Spend all your money on the ski boots. Spend the time making sure they fit correctly. Wear thin high-top socks. Boots > Skis

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Survival was my only hope, success my only revenge. — Patricia Cornwell


November 2022

Valley Voice

Routt County Memories

Over One Hundred Years in Routt County: Bootlegging to Stay Alive By Elaine Callas Williams

was one of those individuals. I was told he changed his name when he arrived in Oak Creek and then used his given name after it was safe.

Louis A. Tikas House, Loutra, Crete, Greece

Plaque on Tikas House, Loutra, Crete Greece. Translation: “Here in 1886 Louis A. Tikas Was Born. Leader of the Coal Miners Union Battle. He Died in Colorado of America at Ludlow on the 20th of April, 1914.”

Immigrants of all nationalities from Oak Creek and the other little coal camps would come to play pool or card games, such as babouti at my grandfather Steve’s pool hall. This is a game like gin rummy. (Winners are two 6’s, two 5’s and two 7’s. All other cards are losers.) These card games were played in the back room, where Steve was more than happy to serve his home brew, or bootlegged liquor. I understand that in 1920, my grandfather also bought the Star Bottling Works in Oak Creek with his friend, Archie Gillas. We always wondered if it was to bottle the homemade firewater he made. My grandfather Steve was a personable man and made friends easily. He counted among them the Routt County Sheriff and a Greek man, Mr. Kuskulis, from Denver. Mr. Kuskulis was in charge of the local office of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Federal agents would conduct surprise raids at the pool hall. Fortunately, because of my grandfather’s friendships with Mr. Kuskulis and the Routt County Sherriff, one or the other would call Steve on the pool hall phone and warn him that the “feds” were coming. He was never arrested for bootlegging, but he was fined once for illegal gambling. Steve was also a very resourceful bootlegger. He had a secret hiding place in the house. The master bedroom, which had a trap door in the floor, would become quick storage for the bootlegged alcohol. At night, people would knock on Steve’s bedroom window and he would arise, greet them at the back door and give them a bottle of the liquor they wanted. Sometimes, these townspeople had no money, so they gave my grandfather Steve their shotgun or a pistol as collateral until they could pay him. Many times, my grandfather was never paid, but was left with those guns. After holding the guns for many years, he finally sold them to a man who wanted them. The price of those firearms was what Steve was owed for the liquor.

One .44 caliber pistol had 13 notches carved into it. Uncle Spiro always wondered whether those were people or bottles the gun owner had shot. Steve was never caught, and local liquor law breaking ran unchecked in Oak Creek during those years of Prohibition. It may be humorous now but it mortified my poor grandmother, Helen. Guns and Greeks Guns were important to the Greeks. At Ellis Island, where my grandparents first landed when they emigrated, there is a photograph of Greeks proudly displaying their guns. To deny a Greek a gun for protection of his family or native homeland was more than antagonizing. It was a personal affront to their dignity and manhood. My great uncle Petros had a Winchester, an unusual gun for an immigrant to have in the U.S. There is some speculation that the Winchester rifle was taken from a dead Colorado militiaman during a conflict with striking coal miners. That same gun sat in the gun closet at Uncle Spiro’s house until he passed away in 2018. The Cretans were especially gifted with knife wielding skills as well as shooting pistols with amazing accuracy. In fact, the village where my grandfathers were born was known and feared for the men’s skills with the blade. The village’s name, Mahairous, is a derivative of the Greek word, mahairovgaltithes, or knife wielders. These Greek men would also pull a knife or gun at the slightest suggestion of impropriety. They were warriors. When the Ludlow Massacre in southern Colorado occurred in April, 1914, Greek immigrants hid in the hillsides, ready to kill any Colorado militia in retribution for killing Louis Tikas, the champion labor negotiator from Crete, who the militia killed during the Massacre. Several men came to Oak Creek after Ludlow with their names changed to avoid any association with the Ludlow Massacre of 1914. The father of Walt and Otto Michalik of Oak Creek purportedly

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

A tragic example of guns in our own family occurred in 1926. A former Cretan suitor of my deceased great aunt Ekaterini entered her brother Steve’s pool hall, drew his gun and killed Mr. Kapetanakis, the husband of Ekaterini, as revenge for her death. My grandfather Steve turned to this man who shot him in the right leg. His brother Petros ran behind the bar to get his gun. The former suitor told Petros to stop, that he knew he had a gun, but did not want to shoot him too. He said he shot Steve in the leg because he did not protect his sister from Kapetanakis and she died. The killer of Kapetanakis and shooter of my grandfather was arrested and went to prison for his crime. He died during a prison riot in Canon City, when the guards used firehoses to subdue the rowdy prisoners. He was thrown against one of the concrete walls by the force of the water and hit his head hard enough to suffer a cerebral hemorrhage and die. Steve was taken to Denver for medical care and was away from Oak Creek for about six months. He was hospitalized all of that time with a fragmented bullet lodged in his leg. The doctors pulled out pieces of the bullet during his hospital stay, but it never all came out, and the bullet fragments remained. He returned home in January, 1927 with a cane and a limp lasting the rest of his life. This wound continue to cause my grandfather Steve’s leg to bleed for the next thirty to forty years. Uncle Spiro helped my grandfather tweeze out more bullet fragments from the hole in his leg until the end of his life. My dad and uncle were always afraid that one of those fragments would get into his bloodstream and travel to his heart. Steve would have been dead instantly. My grandparents continued their struggle with money after my grandfather came home. A hat was passed in Oak Creek for my family. The community of Oak Creek did not fail us. The Depression The 1930’s were very bleak years in Oak Creek and in this country. These were the years of the Great Depression. My family was luckier than most people who lived in the city because they had a vegetable garden and animals, but it was still tough to get by. Dad and Uncle Spiro were teenagers in those years. In the late 1930s, they loved to go to the dance hall down the street. My Dad, who was a member of the Oak Creek High School Glee Club, Uncle Spiro and Joe Maynarich, Uncle Spiro’s best friend, enjoyed singing and harmonizing together. They also liked to drive around Oak Creek in Joe’s grandfather’s car—an old Ford. With the end of Prohibition, my grandfather Steve began to lawfully sell alcohol. The town was pretty quiet in those years and many people had moved away when the coal mines slowed their activity. By 1940, there was more activity, but it was not until 1941 with the onset of World War II that Oak Creek’s economy changed for the better. As a result, the Callas family lives dramatically changed.

Valley Voice

November 2022


'Boat Almanac

A Leaf's Life: Part II By Karen Vail

Photo by Karen Vail

I got all settled into this rich smelling earthy place when these weird critters started biting me. Hey, now, what do you think you’re doing? Oh my, I’m getting smaller, and smaller and smaller... Before we answer that question, let’s look at the process very briefly. As organic matter settles on soil, the first interested parties to are typically the macrofauna – here come the millipedes, sowbugs, snails, beetles, and other invertebrates to break the plant structures into smaller pieces. Their activities and feces “stimulate” the microscopic fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and nematodes that will continue to break down the materials into the basic elements of H20, CO2, and their mineral parts. Of course, nature is not so linear and simple! These organisms thrive in rich soil and a moist environment with plenty of fresh organic material. Many decomposers secrete enzymes into the organic matter and absorb the dissolved molecules. Without water these reactions cannot occur. You can imagine the slow decomposition rate in the alpine environment compared to our rich aspen forest. New research has also found that the phyllosphere of the leaf (remember that? The microbiome on the surface of a plant) can “precondition” decomposition and modify the species of fungi in the soil that begin the on-ground decomposition process. (“A Preconditioning Paradox: Contrasting Effects of Initial Phyllosphere and Early Leaf Decomposer Microfungi on Subsequent Colonization by Leaf Decomposing Non-Unit-Restricted Basidiomycetes.” J.Fungi 2022, 8(9),903; https://doi. org/10.3390/jof8090903, Bibbo, Silvia; Lodge, Jean).

Whee, I am floating through the air in a flurry of golden showers! My journey continues after I settle on the ground nestled amongst thousands of other leaves, smelling the rich earth for the first time. I also have many new visitors, and they tell me of what is ahead. Kinda scary, huh?! But exciting to know I could become part of another big, big tree! Soon after organic matter contacts the ground the fascinating processes of decomposition and decay begins. We tend to think of death and decay as “the end.” Natural systems would not survive without death and decay, and we should consider decomposition and decay the yin to the yang of growth. This is a vital closed-loop cycle of all natural ecosystems. Can you imagine a world with no fungi or bacteria and other organisms to decompose animal carcasses, poop and other plant materials? We would be thick in stinky stuff. Plus, this loop returns vital nutrients back into the system, ensuring healthy growth for oncoming generations. In nature there really is no “end.” So, our beautiful leaf has fallen to the ground along with all its buddies. What happens next is steered by many different factors: type of substrate, moisture, temperature, health of the microorganisms, and the type of plant materials. Woodier materials take longer to break down as they contain lignin in their cell walls. Softer materials like leaves will be mostly decomposed in a year in a typical forest setting. Of course, rockier areas have much slower decomposition than rich soils, and moister areas tend to decompose faster than drier areas. But, why?

They are also learning that the breakdown of plant tissues is not a linear process but is a succession of fungal species that use a variety of substrates and also alter the substrate for future organisms, constantly changing who is doing the work of decomposition. In other words, nothing in the decomposition process is linear and constant. Seasonal changes, soil alteration, and climate change are all shifting who is active in the process. Scientists are finding that with global warming, many bacterial communities shift more rapidly than fungi. How will this shift change our environment? – Well, we will soon find out, wont we?!

It’s getting so dark now. Mmm, smells so good though! I think I will just settle in for a long nap while it is dark and cold. G’night. As our leaf is broken down, the finer particles and elements are moved deeper into the soil by critters, water movement and root action in a unique area called the rhizosphere. This is the area of soil that is affected by the roots of plants and is a crazy busy place in the soil! Plants use some of the energy they make through photosynthesis to produce carbohydrates and proteins known as exudates which they release from their roots. Their presence feeds specific beneficial bacteria and fungi that feed off the exudates. The plant controls the organisms that enter the rhizosphere according to what they need. They need different compounds in spring than they do in the fall. If the plant is ailing, they can call on certain organisms in the soil to come to their aid through very

specific exudates inviting very specific organisms. Teaming with Microbes; The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis (Timber Press, c 2010) offers a great description of life in the rhizosphere: “Soil bacteria and fungi are like bags of fertilizer, retaining in their bodies, nitrogen and other nutrients they gain from root exudates and other organic matter. Carrying on the analogy, soil protozoa and nematodes act as “fertilizer spreaders” by releasing the nutrients locked up in the bacteria and fungi “fertilizer bags.” The nematodes and protozoa in the soil come along and eat the bacteria and fungi in the rhizosphere. They digest what they need to survive and excrete excess carbon and other nutrients as waste.” The organisms that have “eaten” our leaf are attracted to this area in the soil where the soil food web could keep the chemicals tumbling along until the plant is ready in the spring to absorb them into the root tissues. Here is where our beautiful leaf shines in the amazing cycle of nature as delicate spring leaves peek out fueled by previous years of growth and death.

Hello world! Look at me, I'm all green and new and ready to grow! What a journey it has been!! Sigh, as I write this, it is dumping white stuff outside and spring looks a long way off. Time to trade the hiking boots for skis and we will see you on the white trails.

879.5929 905 Weiss Drive - across HWY 40 from the Holiday Inn

All our baked goods are Be Local & made here at the Granary Eat Local! with love!

198 East Lincoln Ave. Hayden, Colorado 970-276-4250

Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole. — Ralph Waldo Emerson


November 2022

Valley Voice

Victims of Love


Corina acknowledged, “A woman should accomplish what is necessary. If it involves love, then it is a bonus. You can live without love, but you cannot live without what is necessary.”

By Ken Proper

Maggie grinned back at Angela and replied, “I think passion is much like illness that can attack again and again until you die.” Corina sipped her glass of ale and added, “I agree with that.” I looked into her lovely green eyes. Her shoe bumped my leg under the table. It was intentional. “You girls speak of love like one can’t survive losing it,” I returned philosophically. “You managed, Romeo,” Corina beamed. “It’s a small town and apparently there are few secrets,” I stated. “Indeed. “Corina looked at Maggie. November 26, 1914

She blushed and retorted, “I don’t gossip that much!”

Corina invited Maggie, Angela, and me for Thanksgiving dinner. My first American feast featured turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, and baked sweet potatoes, which was a first for me. Baked sweet potatoes covered with butter will be a regular part of my diet. Several bottles of ale and the fruit jar of whiskey came out of its well-worn cloth sack and appeared on the table. We told stories of our childhoods, our former lives, and distant homes. We laughed naturally and hard. Eventually, the conversation turned to love. Angela sitting straight in her chair and softly smiling at Maggie said, “Love is like lightning. It strikes you once and you are never the same.”

Groans surrounded the table. I paused for a moment and then said, “No, I mean what if you do survive true love. What if your lover dies? My Uncle Thomas was engaged. His fiancée became ill and she died before they were married. He seems very much in love again. I think true love will find you again and perhaps several times, if it is meant to be. Life is full of qualms.” “A widow remarries out of necessity and not love,” Maggie quantified. “I don’t want to talk of death,” Angela sighed and looked down at her hands.

It was silent except for the clock ticking. We stared at our empty plates evidently all thinking. I put another sweet potato on mine. The cat chased a mouse across the parlor. Maggie stood and watched them scamper away, “I’ll start washing the dishes.” Corina looked up saying, “No, no you wash other folks’ dishes every day,” and then asked, “Would you help me sell Christmas Seals for the National Tuberculosis Association?” “Of course,” we agreed as one voice. Corina informed us she would be receiving the packets soon by mail, and we planned for sections of town we would solicit for donations. Then she poured another glass of ale, gazed at me across the table and bumped my leg again with her shoe. I smiled back. Angela watched us. She looked at Maggie and said, “I need to practice tonight and take a bath.” Maggie answered back, “Angela wants to spend the summer at the nudist camp.” “It’s not a nudist camp. They teach modern dance.” “She gets covered with perspiration while she ‘performs,’ as she says. Julius you should see the outfit she wears. It’s like jumping around in her frillies.” “They have the structure, lining and padding a confident woman needs. It makes me feel free, alive.” “And sweaty.” “You don’t seem to mind the baths.” Corina joked, “Well now, aren’t we getting a lot of information here.” She mimicked a jailer slamming the door, turning the key, and started to throw it away, then raised her index finger to her lips with a “Shh ladies.” Angela’s pleading, convincing stare made Maggie stand and say, “Tomorrow is another day at the Cabin. You’re due before noon Julius. You don’t mind us leaving you alone with Corina, right?” “Not at all.” “Maybe another bolt will break on the electrical plant flywheel and it will be dark all night, like last Saturday night,” Corina cooed. “You can help me not be frightened.”

“I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day.” - Frank Sinatra

“It was the first outage with Carver’s generator in eleven years. Not much chance of it happening again.” Angela gave me the eye. “I’ll help you set up oil lamps and candles. It will be my pleasure.” “Lovely dinner Corina,” Angela complimented and smiled at me. “Thanks for inviting us,” Maggie added, and they left.

On the corner of US40 and Hilltop Pkwy


New Hours: Mon. thru Sat: 10 am - 9 pm Sunday: 11:30 am - 7:30 pm

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

We sat on the couch. The lamps, candles and dishes forgotten. She moved closer and smiled. “What are you reading now?”

Valley Voice

“The short stories of Guy de Maupassant.” “Oh, I love him, which one?” “I finished That Pig of a Morin today.”

November 2022

Piknik Theatre

All the World's A Cliché By Stuart Handloff skiers, and a small theater company of ex-CSU actors who believed with all their hearts that theater in the mountains would be a dream come true.

“What a hilarious tale of sexual assault. Poor man, that Morin, his reputation ruined for a moment of hot blood.”

I followed their dream and now, 50 winters later, I’m the only one still living it in Steamboat. Given the lifestyle of these wild and crazy thespians, I’m probably lucky to be living at all. But all sentimentality aside, the role of the performing arts is reinvention: the only constant in theater is change. We’ve seen it firsthand during the recent COVID infected years when performance was forbidden and even now when many are reluctant to attend indoor events. Did theater disappear? "Is the theater really dead?" asked Paul Simon, so memorably in 1966? The answer is yes and no, of course. Theater is an ephemeral art destined to be performed and experienced in the moment, in a specific place and time, never to be recreated, and so to die, only to be reborn again.

“It shows how gossip can be dangerous.” “It shows how we have a double standard in our society.” “How so?” “Our society views sexuality of men and women entirely different. Men are encouraged to be Casanovas, bulls in the pasture, rakes, and heartbreakers while women are labeled lewd tramps and whores. The pervasive threat of scandal prevents girls and women from exploring their sexuality the way men can.” “She could have ignored him or said, ‘No,’ and nothing about the stolen kiss.” “True, my aunt always insisted clumsy flirting is not a crime, and I believe it too. Was her mistake smiling at a stranger or traveling overnight alone in a rail coach or jumping up and screaming?”

And no; because during the COVID years we reinvented performance in video, in audio (itself a reinvention of radio plays from the last century), and in the outdoors. The earliest theater was - no doubt - the primeval storytelling around the campfire with performers who always knew they could get a laugh imitating the tribal leader or tripping on the banana peel. Clichés provided a grounding for the stories and gave them a comfortable resolution. When change meant risk and danger, the old tales provided reassurance.

“You make it sound like jumping up and screaming. Poor Morin misread her intentions, tried to apologize and was arrested.” “Exactly, her reputation was preserved and his ruined with the zeal of hypocritical prosecution. A gorgeous bow was tied on the package when she made love to the investigator because he was younger and handsome. ‘She opened her book; he turned many pages and the candles burned down to the holders.’ Wonderful playing with words, don’t you think?” “I’m not sure of the point you’re making.” She paused for a moment and then confidently explained, “Sex is about consent. The warped morals and double standards passed down through generations cloud our judgement. Either you want to, or you don’t. One needs to make their intentions clear.” I was mesmerized by her green eyes, soft skin, tumbling hair as she pulled the pin and let it fall. I touched her face and kissed her. We held each other close for some time. I felt so happy, secure. She kissed me again, placed her hand on my leg and slowly moved it up saying, “You don’t have to leave.” “But I do, eventually.” She bolted upright and said, “Then you better go now. You’re ruining everything.” Dumbfounded, I walked home painfully saying over and over, “Why leave? A promise to my mother? Fear of being my grandfather? Why?” (Again, I stumbled with my pride and quick temper. I washed the dishes alone, mumbled over and over why are you afraid to tell him? Would he despise me? Then, I love him but cannot deceive him. What shall I do? CE)


I’ll attempt to fill this little column with all the clichés I can manage. I’ve never claimed to be original in my thinking; I can just reorient the unoriginal thinking that has gone before to look at things in a new way. Besides, every cliché once expressed a truly remarkable and unique view of the world. Think of the first woman who walked into her boss’ office, breaking through the glass ceiling, demanding a role in company management because it was high time to start thinking outside the box! It was a momentous occasion that stirred the soul and brought a tear to every eye, not a bored yawn in the house. I bring it up because I’m soon to embark on an odyssey that offers an opportunity for a reinvention of the spirit, a new beginning, and a rejuvenating shot in the arm [aside: remember to get your flu and COVID vaccinations soon! As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!] Having lost yet another lease after a year, I’m seeing the handwriting on the wall: it’s time to take a break from winter. I’ll never forget the first one, walking alone on the empty streets when the temperature was 45 below zero. Well, those days are gone... For one thing, an artificial hip would probably freeze up in that weather and then where would I be? Up a creek with no paddle, is the answer, of course. So, I’m California bound, California dreamin’, California here I come, right back where I started from (in 1972 when I rolled into Steamboat Springs in a soon to be beat up blue Volkswagen valley car). Everything I owned or cared about was inside the folded down back seat, including the obligatory stereo system that every young man needed to woo the apple of his eye. Not terribly surprising that Steamboat in those days had very few apples. The population was mostly construction workers, miners, cowboys (the REAL ones, who liked to beat up hippies and provide the shave and a haircut, two bits not required),

We all crave reassurance of the known, to paraphrase the words of Hamlet:

Who would fardels bear, to grunt and sweat under a weary life, but that the dread of something new - puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? After 50 years of living the same cycle of seasons, the same rhythms from spring to spring, there’s a certain weariness of being a one trick pony that creeps into my thinking. The classic Steamboat cliché is that familiarity breeds contempt. To be an expert at anything, you must live at least 500 miles away. Every local organization craves to have that highly sought-after voice of authority who blows in, blows off, and blows out; advising us to do exactly what we knew was the best solution but invoking an air of mystery, savoir faire, and enlightenment that only distant wisdom can inspire. Now I’m choosing to channel the Genie from Aladdin, at least a little bit. I can’t do anymore damage around this popsicle stand. I’m free! I’m hittin’ the road! Gettin’ out of Dodge! I’m off to see the world! I’m history! The door will not hit me in the ass on the way out! Although all the valuable stuff needs a small U-Haul trailer in addition to the folded down seats, that’s a small price to pay. And when I return next summer to support the rebirth of the 16th season of Piknik Theatre and oversee the construction of the region’s first amphitheater, an outdoor performance space reminiscent of those early days around the campfire, it will be with a new spirit. I’ll never be the out-of-town expert but I’m expecting a renewal of energy and appreciation for the wisdom I’ve always had. Hey, Rug Man, Ciao!

Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants. — Kevin James


November 2022

Valley Voice

Adventure... A Guide to Life's Challenges

The X-Special Project By Johnny Walker

I was 38, (1988) and decided to become a teacher. I wanted to somehow make a “difference.” Twenty years of building almost everything imaginable from boats to houses taught me many skills, but something was missing. My wife, Gigi, encouraged me to attend a “career” workshop which resulted in my decision to get a college education and become a teacher. Four years later I found myself applying for elementary teaching positions here in Steamboat. I was interviewed but the competition was too great. After two years, the best I could do was substitute teach. I’d been subbing regularly in the industrial arts shop and did manage to impress the middle school principal, Bob Harris. The day before school started that year of 1992 I received a phone call from Bob, he said, “Johnny show up to school tomorrow at 8am, I need a shop teacher!” I asked “Do I have a curriculum?” Bob said, “No!” Bob’s request was to teach for the first half of the school year to replace a teacher’s temporary departure. And then he said, in his usual assertive fashion, “I just want you to keep ‘em busy, make ‘em love you, and CHANGE IT!” I never left at the end of that “half-year” and retired with Bob’s mandate still in my pocket! That original position was supposed to be the first half of the school year but I was given the liberty to think about an advance building class of my own design. My classes went well that first semester and I spent much time brainstorming a future class with a few of my favorite students. I tried to impose my idea of building a fleet of small sailboats. Of course, that would be my dream class, but my students would not let go of another idea - lets build a race car. Now that would be a stretch. Well, I’m not much into cars, I’m a carpenter, not a welder and know nothing about car design. With some research we learned of an electric race car race circuit and many cars being built around the West. They were to be a testing ground for early electric car design. The class would be called Applied Technology. The cars would be built to a few guidelines using the same size battery to compare their success on the track.

Before the school year was over we had formed a group of 10 motivated students. Three of the students came from the special education department, several from the gifted and talented program, and all with individual skills to contribute to the project. It was deemed “The X-Special Project.” The team began work on the first day of that following year. We began with studying automotive design, fundraising and basic welding. The “Spirit Challenge” fundraiser donated $10K. Each local bank put-in $500 and several private donors brought our budget to almost $20K. Our class would meet daily throughout the school year along with donating after school time and many Saturdays. We converted the shop’s paint room into a welding and fiberglass work center. My other shop classes could observe the daily XSpecial progress through the large windows of the former paint room. Some teachers objected to the smells of polyester resins and the noise of grinders and metal cutting saws so we put a huge exhaust fan in the exterior wall and worked outside when possible but still most teachers and administrators had little idea what was happening in the school shop. The X-Special progressed slowly with lots of trial and error (mostly error!) and eventually evolved into a futuristic electric race car complete with a one-piece aerodynamic body, full roll cage and handicap controls. We all learned together how to design, weld, wire, and build a competitive racing car. The suspension, steering, wiring and electronics required skills previously thought to be beyond that of ten 14 year old kids with a carpenter for a teacher. Our testing grounds were the school track. The official race was to be held in May at the National Energy Research Lab in Golden. We expected about ten other entries from the Rocky Mountain Region. The race would last exactly one hour and the car with the most laps wins. The X-Special was completed and ready for testing about a month before the end of the school year. For every hour spent on the test track the students of Applied Tech would spend many more hours repairing almost every aspect of the car. The car would break down on the track and then I’d watch students running back and forth to the shop for tools and spare parts. More time was spent repairing and tuning than actual driving. As their teacher and facilitator I enjoyed watching these break-down scenarios. The X-Special slowly became a competitive race car. The only serious accident we had was when we buckled a physically handicapped student, Donnie, into the 5-point harness.

The “Electrathon” racing class attracted a few high school and college engineering classes and several adult electric car enthusiasts. In the early 90’s electric cars were thought to be little more than a fantasy, hardly a middle school shop class! Bob, said, “Stick around for another year or so. That’s the change I’m looking for.” I kept on teaching shop for 15 more years.

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He was very excited, and just as we had given him driving instructions, his leg and foot cramped and pushed the throttle to full power. The X-Special took off and quickly reached a speed of 20 mph. He steered through the first corner of the 1/4 mile gravel track and onto the straight section where he hit top speed of 30 mph. The next corner was too tight to keep the car on the track. The X-Special and beginner driver shot into a side ditch of Butcherknife Creek. The still water splashed high into the air as the car and strapped in driver gracefully rolled over and came to a stop in a foot of water. Several members of the class, me included, ran, full speed, to the rescue. I was thinking this class is all over! We charged into the water. The fastest of our group arrived within seconds and immediately up righted the X-Special. Just as I was about to send a student back to call 911 we could hear Donny laughing from under the Plexiglas cowl. We quickly unlatched the cowling and unbuckled Donny. He was quite wet but unscratched. We retrieved his cruches and rolled the X-Special back to the shop for a few repairs. That spring the X-Special was raced in three races. We raced with adult experts and pioneers in electric car development, 14 year old kids doing the impossible. We never really ever lost a race, well we never actually won one either. Our best was a 4th place against 10 other cars, but we won because we completed each of those 60-minute races and most of all, we won because we built and successfully raced (and “crash tested”) an electric race car of our own design. The Applied Tech went for 4 more school years building a car each year. The middle school then switched to a quarterly schedule eliminating the possibility of an advance full-year class in Industrial Arts. I recorded the curriculum for each of my shop classes and left them behind. Most Industrial Arts teachers are taught to teach specific skills. My goal was to teach an “ATTITUDE” and let each student find their own path to getting things built. The world now is demanding more than just building a box. To “change the world” - it takes more. I hope that the graduates of my classes enter their careers with the “ATTITUDE” that if you can dream it, You can build it! Good luck. It took kids like Mark Burin (construction leader), Ben Beall (fiberglass body and car design), and Loren Eakins (prototype design), to get the X-Special on the road along with the work ethics of Jessica Gray, Rich Abate, and Adam Smith. Dalton Reed developed an electric racing bike during this class while many other students who worked on high tech projects in what was, previously considered, a low tech class. Charlie Holthausen (Black Diamond Auto) was our engineering advisor and they all had one thing in common... the “ATTITUDE.” - Thanks, Mr. J

Valley Voice

November 2022


Suds Central

The Beer That Fueled a Revolution By Sean Derning aka A Beer Fairy The Industrial Revolution also helped to name the beer. As trains needed to have their goods unloaded and unloaded, thousands of workers, or porters, were required to do the heavy lifting. And this hard work required rehydration, so the porters reached for their namesake beer to slake their thirst.

The wheel deal; Breckenridge vanilla porter, Samuel Smith's Taddy porter and Deschutes' Black Butte porter. When the Industrial Revolution began around 1800 in Great Britain, it changed the course of transportation, manufacturing, production and distribution forever. One industry in particular that benefited was the British brewing industry. During this time, porter beer, a darker beer made from roasted malts and a close cousin to stouts, reigned supreme and was the popular taste choice for the populace not only in Britain but also worldwide. The beer style has seen its rise and fall over the last two centuries and serves as a great example of how the Industrial Revolution grew and matured. This month’s tale will explore the history of porters, how the beer earned its name and a tragic event involving the beer. A review of several locally available brands will conclude the article. Great Beginnings When roasted malted barley became more widely available due to the invent of Daniel Wheeler’s Malt Roaster in 1817, it allowed brewers to use darker colored malts that created a beer with a different taste. Depending on the grain profile used in the brewing process, coupling the darker colored grains with lighter grains resulted in darker beers that could be either sweet, bitter or both. Wheeler’s machine was a benefit to the brewing industry, but an even bigger player used in the brewing and other industries was the invention of the steam engine. This early method of train transportation allowed large amounts of raw materials and supplies to be delivered right to the brewery, and it also allowed the product to be delivered to far away areas of the country or to ports where is was shipped to America, Russia, Baltic countries, China and Ireland. According to, around 1820, porter beer was the world’s first mass produced food product.

Size Matters During this time, British breweries exploded in size. As porter was once often brewed by the owners (called publicans) of small taverns that served it, the brewery expansions put the publicans out of business. Arthur Guinness, brewmaster of the world famous stout, built up his brewery to become the largest brewery in the world, according to, and the facility encompassed 60 acres and exclusively produced 1.2 million barrels of porter annually. Some breweries had large, wooden fermenters (or vats), complete with iron bands to secure them and some of these could hold over two million liters of beer in each vessel. When these large fermenters weren’t being used, the brewery would use them to host promotional events, according to For the sake of comparison, drinkers at Oktoberfest in Munich consume 7.5 million liters of beer at each annual celebration. So four of these vintage wooden vats could have accommodated modern day Oktoberfest drinker demands, with a half million leftover liters. A Dark Day For Dark Beer On the afternoon of October 17, 1814 at the Meux Horse Shoe Brewery in London, George Crick, a storehouse manager, noticed that one of the iron bands clamping the wood vat staves had slipped on the 22-foot-high vat, which contained 157,000 gallons of porter. He informed his supervisor of the concern, but the supervisor replied, “no harm would ever ensue”, according to Wikipedia, and the super told Crick to write a letter to the head partner to have it fixed later. An hour later, with the note in his hand, Crick was 30 feet from the vat when it burst. The force of the pressure caused a neighboring tank to also rupture, releasing both vats of all their contents. According to Wikipedia, a wave of porter 15 feet high swept into New Street, where it destroyed two houses and badly damaged two others. When the flood receded, there were eight people dead, either from drowning or alcohol poisoning, with several of the victims being mourners at an Irish wake. Stories circulated of surviving residents collecting the beer for consumption, mass drunkenness

and additional people passing away from alcohol poisoning. Following the event, historians officially termed the tragedy as, “The London Beer Flood.” Porter at Present After prohibition, porter was a forgotten beer style in this country and production ceased. But in 1972, the Anchor Brewing Co. of San Francisco, CA was the first brewery to revive the lost beer style, according to Anchorbrewing. com, and it celebrates 50 years of production this year. Craft brewers and homebrewers have also recognized the style and have brought the beer back to its legitimate award-winning status. Like fruit beers, brewmasters and homebrewers have also experimented with porters as they can handle the addition of other flavors, such as cocoa, vanilla, smoked grains, graham cracker and even peanut butter. Some of these have an acquired taste but if they are pleasing to the drinker, so be it. But beware; if you haven’t tried a porter with these additions, you could be sitting on a six pack of a beer that will move to the back of the fridge over time. The good news is these misfits can be used as excellent marinades for barbequed meats. Variations on taste Three porters were chosen to best represent the style; a domestic (Deschutes’ Black Butte), imported (Samuel Smith’s Taddy) and flavored porter (Breckenridge Brewery’s Vanilla). Tasting notes as follows; The first offering, Breckenridge vanilla porter, pours with a head with large bubbles, but the head does not sustain. The lightest color of the group, the vanilla is there, not so much in the nose, but in the taste. The spice is not overpowering or a bad taste combination, and the beer serves as a good primer for those interested in wading into a flavored porter. rated it good, with an 83 rating. Next is the domestic Black Butte porter from Deschutes. One of the best in the country, it pours a creamy tan head, has an opaque color and roasted, robust taste. This is a beer worth seeking out as it received a 94 rating on and has also earned 20 national and international medals in competitions. The final offering is Samuel Smith’s Taddy porter from Britain. Most impressive is the head, which sticks around for three minutes when timed by A Beer Fairy. The beer features a nice, bready (brioche) nose and roasted grains, is very smooth and has a ruby color. The beer is world class, with a 95 rating from, but it is spendy and a bit hard to find. Conclusion With a deep history, porter beers are a perfect match for early winter days when something more robust is desired. Although not produced in the mass numbers as hazy IPAs or whatever is trending in the beer industry, porters serve as a time-honored retreat for those who value taste over trend.

-Sean Derning is A Beer Fairy and offers beer/brewery reviews and videos at

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November 2022

Valley Voice


GOLDEN WINGS By Joan Remy Let the tears soak your face They become crystals Under moonlight Walking in the desert It’s warm and fragrant Another place An Angel holds me gently The past disappears Feeling peace Remembering for a moment The Divine

Another Winter

Just a 1/3 Cord of Wood By Carol Bloodworth A few days later, I’m still trying to squeeze in the time to pick up the wood. Finally we embark in my Toyota Tacoma to get whatever we can fit in the back. There is no time to check the tires on the old truck. This would be the most valuable few hours of the summer! A friend joins me for a drive up Strawberry Park on beautiful day. We arrive to see neatly stacked rows of cut wood, measured precisely for a 1/3 cord. Perfect.

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I noticed this post that caught my eye. "FOR SALE or GIVEAWAY... We have furniture, lawn equipment, clothing, campers, firewood, and a car for parts, come see us at..." Hmm, I’m busy as hell, but what can it hurt? I’ll just take a quick look. Wait! I read it twice; Pine, rounds or split $75. Well, I do need some more, but not much more. I still have this pile of aspen sitting right here. It just needs to be cut up. I’ll never have time, and everyone I’ve asked doesn’t show up. Geez it’s hard to get anyone to work these days. I guess, back to work for me. What a summer this has been. I haven’t had a moment to breathe for months. I just need to keep going a little bit longer. Wow, it’s December and there is still no snow on the ground! Maybe I still have time to “get ready for winter.” Ha! Oh yeah, that firewood! It has to be gone by now, but I’ll call anyway. “What? You still have some left?!” He said, “It’s just a 1/3 cord”

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I said, “That’s ok, I don’t need much. We won’t be able to pick it up for a few days.” This kind voice on the other end says. “That’s OK. We’re still cutting, so there is no hurry!” Relief! “Ok, thank you! By the way, would you like to come out and cut some aspen for me?” “Well, sure I guess I could, how about tomorrow?” “Ok, great!” The next morning, as promised, this nice gentleman actually shows up with a chainsaw and all! What a gift. This is just what I needed.

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Before loading the truck, we had a nice chat about how he likes giving his grandkids a job to do. They help clear out some deadfall in the forest for firewood. A good work ethic is always admirable. “You can’t do this on a phone!” What an inspiration, in a time of no one wanting to work at all and to find them working for the fun of being in the woods together! Now we start loading and stacking the truck carefully. Together we fit as much in as we can. No hurry… how nice. Let’s get this right. We were all laughing and talking while pitching in. I was in the back stacking carefully and he notices what I’m doing, He appreciates the effort and gives constructive ideas as we go. Eventually, we filled the entire back with the topper on, to the roof! We had carefully placed and wedged it in so it wouldn’t shift and bust a window. As I turn to say, “It’s full!” I see that it all fit! A 1/3 cord! Who’d have known that a Toyota holds exactly a 1/3 cord of wood! As we prepare to leave, he asks if we’d like some “loboffs.” “What the heck is that?” We are laughing and exhausted. I thought I’d seen it all. Loboffs? So he throws in some beautiful slices of wood in beautiful shapes that could be used in many ways. It was a fun ending to our little adventure. All loaded up, I headed back to work. A few days later it has started to snow, but my firewood is safe and dry in the truck. I start using some out of the truck, and then with warm thoughts, unload some in sections, just as they were stacked. Seemed a shame to undo all that. With each piece I pull out to burn, a warm, thankful memory comes back of that nice day. And restores my faith in humanity. And the strength to go on, through blowing snow, and -15 mornings. I got so much more than a 1/3 cord.

Valley Voice

November 2022

Tales from the Front Desk

Newbie Notes

The Compliment By Aimee Kimmey Sunday. 9:48 am. Front Desk. The story you are about to read is true... more or less. Even at the front desk Sunday mornings are sometimes actually peaceful. On this one, the pleasant din of content diners drifting in from the breakfast buffet was the only evidence of customers. The clerk smiled, no one was complaining or demanding service, it felt good. She settled into her favorite chair. Sighing with satisfaction, she propped up her feet and cracked open the Sunday morning paper. A few minutes later, a middle-aged man strolled out of the dining room with a paper cup of coffee. Peeking over her paper, the clerk watched him walk toward her; it looked like her solitude was about to end. Oh well, she had enjoyed it, and she knew it wasn't going to last forever. "Hi." The man said. She remembered him, she'd checked in yesterday afternoon, he was staying in room 310. He was a little stand-offish yesterday, but he wasn't rude or anything, so she hadn't thought much about him. Today he seemed more chipper. He looked like he was headed to the country club; in penny loafers, crisp white pants, and a pink Polo shirt with a yellow cardigan draped around his shoulders. He had thick blond hair and tan leathery skin that hinted at many hours golfing, or perhaps in the tanning bed. As he arrived at the counter, she set her paper aside and stood up to greet him, "Morning, what can I do for you?" 310 leaned on the counter with his coffee, "I just had to stop by and let you know: I'm going to leave a great review on your website!" The clerk beamed, that was certainly not what she expected. A warm glow bubbled up through her chest pushing her cheeks into a broad smile. "Well thank you, that's really nice to hear." "I am so impressed with what you've done here." He grinned. "Well I'm glad to hear you're enjoying your stay." The warm glow bubbled around her chest. "You know I normally stay in much nicer places." He continued in an excited tone. Smiling she nodded, but something in his last sentence made her brain do a double-take. It had sounded complimentary... but as the meaning of the words sunk in, she wasn't so sure. Had he actually meant to say that? Maybe he hadn't heard himself, he did seem to be rambling a bit. "My usual hotels have big, fancy lobbies. You know, new furniture and art on the walls... but you guys are really making the most of... this." He absently waved his hand around, indicating the lobby. Frowning slightly, the clerk looked around. Sure it was a little small, and their easy chairs were a couple of years old, but it was still perfectly comfortable.


And what exactly did he think that huge painting over the fireplace was? "When I first walked in I expected the worst, you know?" 310 chuckled as he glanced around the lobby. "I figured if the lobby looks like this, the rooms must be a nightmare. But they're actually not too bad. I mean they're small and the furniture is out-dated, if it ever was in fashion, but it's really kind of... kitsch." "Uh-huh." The clerk's warm glow was starting to feel rather tarnished. "Even beds weren't as bad as I expected." He babbled on, "When I got to my room I thought, if that mattress is half as old as the bedspreads, we're in for a rough night's sleep! But it really wasn't too bad; especially considering that your sheets are what, like 200 thread count?" He looked appalled by the mere words. The clerk cocked her head, staring at him, was he was actually trying being insulting or did he genuinely think he was being nice? Without noticing her frown, 310 blathered away, digging his hole deeper and deeper, "My usual places really go big on the sheets, you know, nothing less than 1000 count! But even with your sheets, I had a pretty good night's sleep. Of course I'm sure it didn't hurt that I was exhausted from traveling yesterday!" "I'm sure." Her response was utter deadpan. By now 310 looked positively giddy with himself. "I was so impressed with my night that I decided to roll the dice this morning and take a chance on your buffet! I wouldn't normally even try it at a place like this, but it was actually... decent. I mean I'm sure the eggs are totally instant, and the coffee, well... you know. But still, all things considered, it wasn't that bad." 310 grinned at her, completely oblivious of the sour look growing on her face.

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"So I just couldn't help myself, I had to stop by and let you know how impressed I am: you have done a really good job, all things considered. And I'm going to tell the world about it!" 310 beamed at her. The clerk was fully scowling by now. "Gosh, thanks." She couldn't keep her voice from dripping with venomous sarcasm. 310 strolled away with a joyous spring in his step. He honestly believed he'd just paid her, and the hotel, the ultimate compliment. He was clearly pleased with himself, and yet, she couldn't help but feeling utterly insulted. She shuttered to think about how his 'great review' was going to sound: this hotel isn't too bad, better than you'd expect... She shook her head as she returned to her paper; compliments like that made her miss the complaints!

I can live for two months on a good compliment. — Mark Twain


November 2022

Valley Voice


Your Monthly Message By Chelsea Yepello Aries

March 21 - April 19

Your mind is like a steel trap. Unfortunately, you locked it and can’t remember the combination to get it open again.


April 20 - May 20

You have so much to do, you don’t know where to start. You make an inventory of your errands, get overwhelmed and feel tired just thinking about it. So, you decide the most rational thing to do is just lay on the couch and take a nap. Hours later, you wake up and realize that you are hungry but you haven’t gone to the grocery store so you go back to the couch and take another nap feeling optimistic that when you wake up, things will be different.


May 20 - June 20

You never thought that you would have been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, however Frank; the sweet-talking ladies’ man in your head saw this coming from a mile away.


June 21 - July 22

You will realize that monopolizing every conversation with your life woes isn't stimulating enough for you anymore, so you sprinkle in kicking, screaming and uncontrollably dry heaving to see if that will liven it up a bit.


July 23 - August 23

You will be slightly bewildered by how instinctually scrapy and cunning are after you get into a fist fight with a complete stranger at the Super Walmart. In the end, the assault charge was well worth the last box of pumpkin spice Pop Tarts and infamous street cred.


August 23 - September 22

While escaping the scene of the crime, you realize you are wasting a lot of precious time franticly searching for your missing left sock, so in a panic you decide to leave it behind. Unfortunately, it was the only piece of evidence that connected you to the crime, even worse it was half of the personalized photo socks your mom gave you for Christmas with your face printed all over it and now she won’t stop reminding you how disappointed she is that you never appreciate her gifts.


September 23 - October 23


December 22 - January 19

When your parents sarcastically asked you if you’d jump off a bridge if all of your friends did, they obviously never considered if you were on a rail bridge and a train was coming and the only escape from becoming a grease spot on the tracks is if you followed your friends who had already jumped off the bridge. That's what we call variables kids.

You will catch the eye of an attractive stranger while they gaze at you from across a crowded room. They study you like you are the most interesting person in the world. You will feel so entrapped by their glance that you muster all of your courage and slowly walk up to them. Your eye contact never breaks as you lean into their ear and yell “STOP STARING AT ME!”



Maybe there wouldn't be as much uncomfortable silence if you didn't keep asking everyone to speak loudly and clearly into your jacket pocket every time they tried to have a conversation with you.

October 24 - November 21

If you’re final request is for your body to be cremated, your ashes mixed into a firework and launched into the sun to notify your mothership of your recent passing, you might want to put it into your will because at this point, no one is taking you seriously.


November 22 - December 21

You want to be a local hero and give back to your community by baking the biggest cookie ever baked. This way, as the town eats the giant cookie, you will go down in history as the person that helped a town put their differences aside and unite over a simple wholesome comfort. Unfortunately, the town will quickly run out of milk

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after you miscalculate the appropriate milk/ cookie ratio and you became responsible for the biggest riot the town has ever seen.

January 20 - February 18

Says one Goth to the other: I’d like to smile tomorrow. Says the other: What do you think that feels like? Says the first: Do you think it will hurt? Says the other: Well, we like pain... Says the first: Oh yeah. So, let’s smile tomorrow. Says the other: Yes. Let’s. Because it will hurt.


February 19 - March 20

First Ice up Spring Creek Photo by Gwen Skinner

Valley Voice

November 2022 Getting to know oncoming traffic...

30+ years

Low number WZ plates

10+ years

Brand new one ton truck

3 years

Still owns the Porsche

2 hours

Just signed a lease at the Ponds



November 2022

Valley Voice

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