Valley Voice September 2021

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September 2021 . Issue 10.9


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Steamboat Springs Hayden Oak Creek Yampa

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September 2021

Valley Voice

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"Smiles had by all!"

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

Valley Voice

September 2021

Contents Flying Under the Radar

Page 4

Legislative Action on Wildfire

Page 5

By Stacie Fain/ Airport Manager By Dylan Roberts

Social Security Benefits Maybe Taxable Page 6 By Scott L. Ford

Throw Down Some Brown

Page 7

Three Special Oak Creek Families

Page 8

The Properties of a Paper Plane

Page 9

Keeping Routt Wild

Page 10

To Be Continued...

Page 11

A Dinosaur Met a Pond...

Page 12

Theatre for a New Old Age

Page 13

Healthy Business Principles

Page 14

Delta Virus Variant Taken Seriously

Page 15

By Sean Derning

By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield By Fran Conlon

By Larry Desjardin By Fran Conlon

Publisher/Art Director: Matt Scharf Sales: VV Assistant: Eric Kemper

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 Voice, L.L.C. No portion of the contents of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission from the Valley Voice.

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By Karen Vail

By Stuart Handloff By Angie Gamble

By Brodie Farquhar

WETIKO Page 15 By Joan Remy

The Lost Luggage

Page 16

Michele Angelo Besso

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Your Monthly Message

Page 18

By Aimee Kimmey By Wolf Bennett

By Chelsea Yepello

Art Page Page 19 Mitch A. and Jim Meyers on Ripple Peak Pass

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Rants... Seeing the Chief Theater go from a vibrant, community oriented center of quality local entertainment to being the single biggest collector of dust in NW Colorado… Don’t like to see the Hummingbirds leaving for the season… Chip and seal, chip and seal, and some more chip and seal… Politics… Selling your project motorcycle rebuild you never started that you’ve owned for over 25 years… Getting ticked off on social media and regretting it…

Raves... Being cupid for old friends that have been married for over 20 years… Turning sixty years old and feeling like you’re 40… Riding a two stroke motorcycle with confidence… Witnessing all the smiles on the faces of the SBT GRVL participants… Seeing people you know at a campground 200 miles from your house… Very old skateboarders…

Say What?... Me: “I think we should finally get married after 35 years. Her: “I think we’re rushing into it.” “So... we've got kneepads, elbow pads, even butt pads. What do we have for ribs?” “I walk around like everything’s fine, but deep down, inside my shoe, my sock is sliding off.” “Common sense is like deodorant. The people who need it most never use it.” “There is one word that describes people that don’t like me: Irrelevant.”

We go to press September 24th for the October 2021 Edition! Send in your submissions by September 17th!

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September 2021

Valley Voice

Steamboat Springs Airport - Bob Adams Field

Flying Under the Radar Stacie Fain/ Airport Manager

Seatbelts are fastened, the runway is clear, and we’re on final approach as the Steamboat Springs Airport - Bob Adams Field (KSBS) readies for a fall season full of aviation activities. If you’ve lived here for some time, you might have been lucky enough to fly into Bob Adams Field Steamboat Springs Airport when commercial service (yes, there was a punch/coupon book) was propelling its way between Denver and Steamboat Springs. Maybe you’re fortunate to have a plane that is based out of the local general aviation airfield or flew in on a friend’s or corporate aircraft. Or you may have had to use the services of Classic Medical – not the way we all want to have to fly out of the Yampa Valley, but sure glad to have them so close and standing by in our time of need! “I don’t think most people know that our airport sees more than 12,000 operations per year. In fact, during the past few years, the facility has played an even more pivotal role regionally, serving as a helibase in the rapid deployment against ever increasing wildfire activity. It’s more likely that most folks across the Yampa Valley have never stepped foot on the tarmac at the airfield, which is owned and operated by the City of Steamboat Springs.

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The facility is home to around 80 aircraft based locally and hosts visitors from across the country on a yearround basis. In addition, members of our military use the field as a refueling stop during training missions and several government agencies operate seasonal wildlife programs for animal population counts, environmental studies and water/snowpack surveys from here. The former terminal building is the headquarters for Honey Stinger, the acclaimed honey-powered sports nutrition brand that fuels every activity. The Hive has called Steamboat Springs home for more than 20 years and have been buzzing around the Airport Office Building for the past two years. With all that takes place at the airport, the crew that operates this community gem wants everyone to join us for all things aviation and celebrate the airport during the Regional & Vintage Aircraft Fly-In & Airport Appreciation Day on Sunday, September 19 from 7am to 3pm. Our mountain airport welcomes back pilots from around the region to the event and hopefully many of the residents of Routt County too! The inaugural event was held in 2019 but took a year off in 2020 due to the pandemic and returns full throttle in 2021.


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Zephyr Helicopters (also based at KSBS) will take off for a birds-eye view of the Yampa Valley when you buckle up in their Bell 206LR helicopter, known as the Long Ranger. Prefer to keep your feet on the ground? Classic Air Medical showcases its emergency response helicopter team based at the airport during a special live demonstration. You may also catch a glimpse of the firefighting helicopters and their crews as they continue to protect the community from wildfires in the area.

This is the ideal opportunity to check out the ramp, hangars, Fixed Based Operator (FBO) and get up close to many different types of aircraft that have come in for the day. While touring the facility, chat with pilots and airport staff, land yourself a special “I LOVE SBS” sticker or purchase signature KSBS merchandise. This event allows everyone a chance to experience the airfield up close and personal, regardless of if you like to soar or stay firmly planted on terra firma. It also shines a light on a community facility that runs under the radar most of the time.

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Easy in/out call ahead and pickup. Usually less than 10 minute wait!

The event is wheels up with an early morning, homecooked breakfast from the Lions Club (proceeds benefit local non-profit) from 7-11am. Flights and demos soar throughout the day and the city is offering fuel special for aircraft during the event.

Hunting Season is around the corner. Are you ready?

The Fly-In & Airport Appreciation Day celebrates this aviation jewel that serves Steamboat Springs, northwest Colorado, and the flying community. Whether you can make it for this event or not, know our door is always open and we hope you’ll stop in to say hello and see firsthand what makes Bob Adams Field such a community benefit.

Valley Voice

September 2021

State Representative/ Eagle and Routt Counties

Legislative Action on Wildfire By Dylan Roberts

As we approach the middle of August, we are entering the heart of wildfire season. While we can hope that our increased rain this summer leads to a more mild season, that can change quickly as we move into fall. Further, as we have seen already this summer, wildfires pose an existential threat to every corner of the state, diminishing air quality across the country and when they happen in our backyard, they threaten our communities.

That is why we acted with unhesitating urgency this year at the state legislature and passed a large package of bills to make Colorado as prepared as possible for the months sand years ahead. These new laws will address the pace and frequency of large wildfires, reduce pollution, protect our natural resources, and aid local economies. Here is what we did:

yWe passed six bills—all of them with bipartisan sponsorship—that allocated over $100 million to prevent and ,mitigate the destructive impact of wildfires and help our natural environment recover from previous fires. In the last two decades Colorado has experienced a dramatic upsurge in the incidence and duration of forest fires, and three of the worst fires in state history occurred in 2020. The $100 million will address the intensifying problem and prepare Colorado for increased wildfire response.

Together, SB21-258 and SB21-054 direct about $45 million to forest restoration and wildfire risk mitigation projects, including forest management. The projects will be overseen by state agencies that will have the authority to operate on federal land. Forest fires don’t follow state nlines, they burn across borders, so an expanded ability to fight fires in our national parks and on other federal territory will be a critical tool in Colorado’s wildfire mitigation efforts.


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SB21-240 strengthens Colorado’s efforts to protect our watershed from forest fires by allocating $20 million to the water conservation board. Our environment, economy, and society all depend on a healthy watershed. The effects of wildfires on runoff are potentially devastating and also unclear—ash may have a significant effect on local water supplies—so this bill will assess the damage while also addressing the contamination. With the expanding size and risk of wildfires, it is essential that we take advantage of new, innovative technology to respond to the crisis. SB21-113 directs about $30 million to the firefighting air corps including the purchase of a Firehawk Helicopter that can detect and respond to fires across the state and put them out before they grow. Helicopters have become an essential tool in the state’s response to wildfires, and this bill will strengthen our efforts by investing in new, powerful equipment. Lumber shortages related to fire and beetle kill will continue to be a problem and prices will continue to rise. HB21-1261 will exempt wood products from sales and use tax if the tree was killed by pine and spruce beetles. This tax exemption already exists in statute but was set to expire in 2020, so the bill extends the exemption through June 2026. This bill will incentivize selling lumber from trees that were already infected instead of chopping trees that were otherwise healthy, encouraging sustainability. Finally, firefighters from Colorado and those who come here to fight wildland fires deserve to be publicly thanked and recognized every day as the heroes they are. Their work is immeasurably grueling and is often taken for granted. Let me take this opportunity to say thank you. Further, I am proud that our financial investment in the Division of Fire Prevention and Control this year will go towards supporting these amazing men and women who protect our communities day in and day out.

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Bipartisan policy to mitigate and respond to wildfires has become a staple at the state legislature, as it should be. However, we know that there is more work to do, especially as we grapple with fire and climate change impacting our daily lives—the closure of I70 in Glenwood Canyon and hazardous air quality due to fires and pollution to our west. I am engaging as strongly as I can as your representative to get our communities the resources they need to mitigate the impacts of closures and detours and also to take action mitigating the impacts of climate change and fire in the future. There is a lot more to do and I encourage you to share your ideas with me as we get ready for the legislative session next year. Email: Dylan.Roberts. and cell: (970) 846-3054.

Representative Dylan Roberts serves Eagle County and Routt County in the Colorado House of Representatives.

Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you're aboard, there's nothing you can do. — Golda Meir


September 2021

Valley Voice

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Warning! Your Social Security Benefits Maybe Taxable By Scott L. Ford

If the total amount of combined income is more than $25,000 for an individual or more than $32,000 for a married couple, then part of your Social Security benefit income is taxable. The taxable portion of the Social Security income can vary from 50% to 85% depending on the person's total combined income amount. If your combined income is higher than these thresholds you may face taxes on up to 85% of your benefits. The higher combined income thresholds are $34,000 and $44,000, respectively.

In November 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote his friend the French scientist Jean-Baptiste Le Roy. Franklin was concerned that he hadn’t heard from Le Roy since 2620 S. Copper Frontage the start of the French Revolution. After asking about Le3:21 Roy’s health and events in Paris for the past year, Steamboat Springs, CO zirkel-valleyvoice-ad-3.1667x5.5-071421.pdf 1 7/14/21 PM Franklin gives a quick update about the major events happening in the United States. The big event from Franklin’s perspective was the Constitution’s ratification a few years before and the start of a new government under it. “Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes,” Franklin said. How true!

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The topic of this month’s column will be the taxation of Social Security Benefits. This is a reality many who are just starting to receive Social Security benefits or plan to soon, find as an unfortunate surprise and do not plan for. Yes, you need to plan on paying federal income taxes on some of the amount you receive from Social Security. For those of us that live in Colorado, it is one of 13 states that also apply a state income tax to Social Security benefits.

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What determines whether any of your Social Security benefits are taxable is your combined annual income, which includes: A. Your federal adjusted gross income (AGI), (See note) B. Plus, your nontaxable interest income, C. Plus 50% of the amount of the Social Security benefits you received. The combination of these three sources of income is known as “combined income”.

Note: Your AGI includes any wages, self-employment, capital gains, alimony, 401K distributions, taxable interest, dividends, employer pension payments, etc.)

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Your adjusted gross income + Nontaxable interest + ½ of your Social Security benefits = Your "combined income"

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These income threshold amounts have not been changed in years. In 1983, Congress made the decision to tax up to 50% of benefits if combined income exceeded the thresholds mentioned above. In 1993, that rule was amended, again by Congress, to expand the thresholds in order to tax up to 85% of benefits. If the income thresholds would have been adjusted for inflation, they would now be about $70,000 for a single and $90,000 for married couples. As a result of these income thresholds not being adjusted for inflation, an ever-increasing number of individuals find themselves owing federal income taxes on at least 50% or up to 85% of their Social Security benefits. As of 2020, the Social Security Administration estimates that about 56 percent of Social Security recipients owe income taxes on their benefits. Surprisingly few folks anticipate this tax and are stunned that at the end of the year they owe money. Ouch! Each January, you should receive a Social Security Benefit Statement (Form SSA-1099) showing the amount of benefits you received in the previous year. You can use this Benefit Statement when you complete your federal income tax return to find out if your benefits are subject to tax. If you do owe taxes on your Social Security benefits, you can make quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS or choose to have federal taxes withheld from your benefits. A rough rule of thumb to estimate the taxes you might owe on your Social Security benefit is to take the total annual gross payments you will receive, take 85% of that amount and then multiply by 15%. Example: On a combined annual basis you and your spouse receive $30,000. This the gross amount prior to any deductions for Medicare Part B and D. Multiply this gross amount by 85% = $25,500 X 15% = $3,825. The best way to plan for and pay these taxes is to have Social Security withhold about $320 per month ($3,825/12 months) for taxes or plan on making quarterly estimated tax payments of $956 ($3,825/4 calendar quarters). Regardless of how you want to pay for the income taxes on your Social Security benefits, it is best to plan and not be surprised. As Benjamin Franklin said to his friend, “…in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.”

Valley Voice

September 2021


The Beer Fairy

Throw Down Some Brown By Sean Derning

Brown meets brown; three brown ales at the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge As the days are becoming shorter, the nights cooler and the leaves starting to change color, it’s time to realize summer is about over. The scorching drought from the last few months created a crazy thirst for pilsners, hazy IPAs, ice cold lagers and the like. But like trading clothes from summer to fall fashion, it’s time to pull out beers that offer more foundation to the palate. Something that can cure one’s thirst without being too heavy. Enter the American brown ale. American brown ales are an offshoot of their British counterparts, which have been brewed since the 1800s. According to, “the invention of the drum malt roaster in 1817 by Daniel Wheeler in England changed brewing. Black patent malt was produced for the first time and was rapidly adopted by the brewers of porters and stouts. It was around this time that British pale ales came about, and by 1850 had eclipsed porter and stout as the favorite beer of England. Brown ale slipped into obscurity, and by the beginning of the twentieth century had all but disappeared.” In England, brown ales from the northern part of the country are typically lighter brown in color and have a higher alcohol content, while their southern English counterparts are usually sweeter and darker. The style was revived by homebrewers here in the US and color and taste vary drastically, resulting in brown ales that can taste anywhere from sweet to hoppy. Brown ales are currently distributed in Colorado, and A Beer Fairy elected to choose three browns for a comparison; Boulder’s Avery Brewing Company’s Ellie’s Brown Ale, Telluride’s Telluride Brewing Company’s Face Down Brown Ale and Missoula, MT’s Big Sky Brewing Company’s Moose Drool Brown Ale.

All the beers had a similar color; deep browns and still able to allow light to pass through. All had rich, tightly beaded tan heads that held up for well over a few minutes. But that’s where the similarities ended. The first beer sampled was the Ellie’s Brown Ale from Avery. This beer had a nice aroma of caramel and brown sugar, with a hint of dark woody nuts, like pecans or walnuts. The taste was earthy and sweeter with a wet finish and not overpowering. It was very drinkable and there’s easily room for another if your thirst warrants it. The second beer was the Telluride Face Down Brown Ale. The nose had hints of brown sugar and a bit of hops. But where this beer really impresses is on the tasting, offering three distinct different sensations. For the first few seconds, the caramel malt coats the tongue but then is abruptly cut short by the hop presence. Then the yeast takes over, offering a dry finish. A Beer Fairy hasn’t tasted a beer this complex in a very long time and it’s no surprise this ale has won medals at the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival. The final beer tasted was the Big Sky Moose Drool. Probably the nicest color of the bunch, Moose Drool has a brown/ruby color and the aroma has caramel notes. The beer smacks of medium toasted grains, is sweeter and features a wet finish. Where these beers all shine is with food pairings, as brown ales don’t dominate or fail to stand up to what is being served. “For consumers, I always say that brown ale is the universal food pairing beer,” wrote chef Ray Daniels on Craftbeer. com. “Malt and toasty flavors tend to resonate with lots of different foods, so it is usually going to be at least “OK” as a pairing. That makes things easy for folks who are just looking for a quick way to select a beer. Years ago I did a pairing exercise in Japan where we were looking for beer to go with different types of sushi… That was really the point that I realized brown ale’s ability to pair decently with a lot of different things.” In conclusion, readers should be on the lookout for one of these brown ales to honor the upcoming change of seasons, to pair up with cool weather meals and to bring back and enjoy a classic beer style.

Sean Derning is A Beer Fairy and offers beer and brewery Youtube critiques at

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September 2021

Valley Voice

Bonnifield Files

Three Special Oak Creek Families By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield

All photos provided by the Historical Society of Oak Creek & Phippsburg/ Tracks and Trails Museum.

Dominic Amidy and his young wife, “Mama,” after a brief period in South America, arrived in the United States in 1902. Mama, like thousands of women of the era, lost their given name after giving birth to her first child. She simply became Mama. On arriving in the U.S., Amidy, as with untold numbers of immigrants, had his name changed at the whim of the immigration agent. Amidy became Hamidy. Dominic Hamidy's family, and for the remainder of their lives and of their children’s lives, legally carried the surname Hamidy. The oldest son, Robert/Bob, age 3, remained in Italy with his grandparents for ten years before Mama and Papa were settled in America and he was old enough to travel by himself. In the early 1900s, U.S. agents recruited Italians to work in the mines. The Italian government, fearing over population, encouraged people to go abroad. The Amidy/Hamidys soon found themselves at Pictue, Colorado, a mining camp near Walsenburg. Dominic worked as a carpenter and not an underground miner. Here Eunice, Edward, Elsie, and Joseph Remo (Shorty) were born. The oldest son was still in the old country.

Spiro and Maria Callas at the 2005 Labor Day barbecue at Decker Park. It is easy to tell stories about the wild and untamed events in history. They’re full of drama and suspense, but it’s the solid citizens who give a place and time its special meaning. They’re often overlooked and go unrecognized; however, they are the foundation of Oak Creek. Let’s look at three families who enriched Oak Creek – from Italy, Shorty Hamidy; from Crete, Spiro Callas; and from Slovenia, Joe Petranovich.

Spiro Callas in his US Army uniform from WWII

Seeing new opportunities with the completion of the Denver Northwestern & Pacific Railroad to the Yampa Coalfield, Dominic left the family in New Mexico and began work as a carpenter at the Juniper Mine north of Oak Creek. There was plenty of work for skilled carpenters and, in 1911, the family joined Papa. For the remainder their lives, Dominic and his sons Shorty and Edward were an integral part of Oak Creek’s and Milner’s coal mining adventure. Dominic had higher goals than laboring at the Juniper Mine. Following the arrival of his family, he took a bold step. He and Octavio Grassi opened the North Pole Italian Store on Colfax Avenue (now Nancy Crawford Avenue) near the bank (Circle R building). The following year, 1912, Dominic became the sole owner and his children, although young, began working in the store. The large Italian population in and around the mines assured the store’s success; however, dame fortune had other ideas. Dominic was a strong supporter of the United Mine Workers when they went on strike in 1913-14. Following a night of rioting with the family huddled in the bank’s basement, the Hamidy family moved to a union tent colony on the Gilruth Ranch (located at the inlet to Stagecoach Reservoir). Here they spent the winter. Another tent colony was at present day Decker Park. Following the arrival of the militia, the strike was broken and Dominic, along with many others, was black listed and forced to leave town. He moved to Milner and opened D. Hamidys Bakery. Eventually the North Pole building was divided into two homes. These are the two homes along the street between city hall and the Circle R. The Hamidy family did not leave Oak Creek. Here they experienced the indignities heaped on foreigners during World War I. Oak Creek was planning a big celebration for Lincoln’s Birthday and 21-year-old Edward Hamidy switched shifts with a friend at the Moffat Mine. Three miners had not cleared the Argo Portal when the shot-firer set off his first charge. The shot fired through a thin pillar igniting the coal dust. Edward and four other men were killed.

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N s b E K Joe Petranovich, the chief of police, who served in this o position from 1953-1973. Photo shows Joe in his casual w uniform of police badge and police cap. He is posing in b front of his own car used to patrol the town. f y Edward’s brother, Shorty, kind of lost his head and was r rushing into the mine to get Edward when Dude Todd h grabbed him. Todd was a big man and sweet on Shorty’s t sister. He kept Shorty from certain death. b b Soon after completing the eighth grade and following the well-worn path, Shorty gave up school and went to work at W the mines. State law required remaining in school through a the eighth grade and child labor laws set age limits. Com- c monly, young teenagers went to work at different mines. S Shorty primarily worked at the Victor/Pinnacle on the o hoist or as an electrical assistant. Following another bloody labor war in 1927, Shorty left the mines and began working for Bell Lumber Co. Following the death of Lewis Bell in 1937, Shorty became the manager. In 1944 he opened his own hardware business on Moffat Avenue. In 1943, he became a board member of the Federal Savings and Loan where he served for 42 years. Shorty and Tizah Shepard were married in 1937 and lived happily ever after. In 1950, the mines at Oak Creek closed and the area went into a deep recession. To help the unemployed, Shorty and a group of prominent Oak Creek business people leased the Keystone Mine and attempted to operate it, but the costs were too high and their pocket book too small. As a boy and young man, Shorty enjoyed skiing and one of his heros was Carl Howelsen, whom he followed around. Nearly everyone in those days had to make their own skis. Shorty had little formal musical training, but he became very good on the saxophone and he helped organize “The Moonlight Serenaders” that played swing music at a wide range of dances and venues. Anyone who knew Shorty realized he was one of a kind.

Valley Voice

Remo "Shorty" Hamidy, inside Hamidy's Hardware. Photo taken in 1960. Now let’s turn to the story of Spiro Callas. Crete had suffered years of violent turmoil when, with his family’s blessing, sixteen-year-old Stelos Kelaidis in 1908 landed at Ellis Island. He suddenly learned he was no longer Stelos Kelaidis – he was Steve Callas. Following the path of many of his countrymen, he arrived at McGregor where he went to work in the mine. Two years later, Steve’s younger brother, fifteen-year-old Pete arrived at McGregor looking for work. The mine boss considered him too small and too young to work in the mine. He would only be able to chase rats out of the mine. Pete was forced to Denver where he shined shoes. A couple of years later, Pete returned to Routt County to work in the McGregor mine with his brother. Taking the advice of a pit boss, Pete became a barber and opened a shop in Oak Creek. With World War I ending, Steve contacted a “match maker” and in 1919, his young bride arrived at McGregor. The couple had two sons while living at McGregor George and Spiro. In 1925, Steve partnered with George Nikolas to open the Greek Pool Hall and Coffee Shop in Oak Creek.

The North Pole Italian Store located on the south side of Nancy Crawford Blvd to the right of the "Bank" building. Owned by Dominic Hamidy - He carried a lot of miners on credit during the strike of 1915 and was forced to close. The empty building was rented out as a hall for lodge meetings and was used for the Town Hall in the early 1920's. Photo taken in 1912.

September 2021


Poetry The following year Steve became the sole owner and the family moved to Oak Creek. The business became the center of Greek life in Routt County. In 1934, Steve added a liquor store. At that time Oak Creek had illegal gambling and seventeen bars. The liquor business was a good business. After graduating from Oak Creek High School in 1942, Spiro joined the army and saw active combat in the Philippines. With the war’s end, things were booming in Oak Creek. Spiro opened a cinder block making business. He made the cinder blocks for Bonfiglio’s building. When the mines closed in the 1950s, Spiro worked at the post office until his father’s death. Then he became the owner of Spiro’s Liquor Store and Trading Post. He was able to make a living when things were very tough; he helped hundreds of needy people and Oak Creek was proud to say “Spiro is one of us.” Again, let us turn to a third family, the Petranovichs. Wanting a better life for themselves and their children, Matt and Amelia Petranovich left their daughter Mary with family in Slovenia and moved to the coal mines in New Mexico. While the date they came to America is uncertain, in 1911 their second child, Joe, was born at Koehler, New Mexico. Mary had already rejoined the family. The anti-Austrian/German bigotry was hell on Slovenian miners during World War I. That bigotry certainly factored into Matt and Amelia’s decision to move to White City in 1920. White City was one of two Pinnacle company towns west of Oak Creek. Coal mining was seasonal work – October to April when homes were heated. For employment when the mines were closed, the Petranovichs moved to a small ranch on upper Oak Creek near the Pine Grove School. As was common for numerous miners/ranchers, the men usually stayed at the mine during the winter while the women and family milked the cows, fed the chickens, and slopped the hogs. Selling fresh pork in Oak Creek opened a big market. Homemade link sausage using carefully cleaned hog gut was much sought after. Amelia (Kuma, God Mother) Petranovich was blessed with a beautiful singing voice and Slavic men and women from all over came to their ranch for special occasions. Friends and family squeezed into the small house which had only three rooms. Strumming the balalaika, Kuma sang numerous Slovenian ballads with male voices backing her. These early settlers endured a hard life with endless exploitation of miners, mine accidents, and only seasonal work. The oldest Petranovich son, Joe, was forced to quit school in the seventh grade (despite state law) and go to work in the Pinnacle Mine to help care for the family. He remained in the mine until it stopped operating in 1949. After his father died and the children were grown, Joe moved his mother into Oak Creek; however, she insisted on keeping a cow and chickens. They were her assurance of survival during hard times. Joe, a respected boxer, began part time work in law enforcement in Yampa and Walden. When the mines stopped working in the 1950s, Joe became Oak Creek’s chief of police. He had a special way with kids and young men looking for trouble. Joe was so respected he only had to say something, always in a soft voice, and trouble stopped. The town of Oak Creek proudly honored Joe with a light on the Avenue of Lights.

The Properties of a Paper Plane By Fran Conlon

The paper plane has the dream of flight, Joining the sky like a bird, Even before the brothers Wright, Who glider and motor were finally heard. Our friend Icarus flew close to the sun, Ignoring the warnings of ambition, Melting wings 'ere the mission was begun, I, too, must learn a more balanced rendition. A paper plane has a special fold, Too much or too little is with care explored, The balanced mean is one of gold, Where happy compromises are not ignored. From paper to metal to composite form, We'll fly o'er the world and into space, Dreams of journeys are newly born, To be alert for a cosmic smiling face. The paper flight across the classroom. Draws frowns and smiles—zoom, zoom. (Before the Wrights was there a paper plane? The classroom would never be the same.)


Steamboat Springs Walden


No matter where they came from - Italy, Crete, Slovenia, or other places in the world – excellent humans have found their way to Oak Creek and been welcomed.

Wherever you go, your memories from the place you grew up in always remain special. — Guru Randhawa


September 2021

Valley Voice

Protecting Elk in Colorado

Keeping Routt Wild By Larry Desjardin - President of Keep Routt Wild

The image above shows CPW-indicated elk calving areas (diagonal stripes) overlayed with the latest Forest Service proposed maps of Mad Rabbit trail segments (purple/ numbered). Detailed maps may be found on the Keep Routt Wild website. We are blessed to live in Routt County, home of the Yampa River, Routt National Forest, Park Range, and the Flat Tops and Mount Zirkel Wilderness areas. For many people, this is why we choose to live here, surrounded by wildlife, fish, and fauna. But are we loving our wild places to death? We live in a remarkable ecosystem that should be protected and cherished. This is the goal of Keep Routt Wild, a community-based 501(c)3 non-profit. We are dedicated to preserving wildlife and wild places in Routt County. Our mission is to promote policies and practices for the benefit of conserving the Yampa Valley for future generations of outdoor enthusiasts by balancing the opportunities for recreational development with the habitat needs of wildlife. We do this through education and engagement. Our website www. is chocked full of scientific papers and articles directly applicable to the Routt County environment, while our Facebook page is northwest Colorado’s largest conservation forum, with over 2000 followers from the Yampa Valley alone, and over 3000 state-wide. Our monthly newsletter (sign up at the bottom of our home page) brings breaking news to the Routt County conservation community. We remain humbled and honored by the enthusiastic reception we’ve received in our brief two and a half years of existence. The conservation ethic in Routt County runs deep! We’ve scored multiple successes since our creation. We successfully advocated for a bear-aware ordinance in Steamboat Springs aimed at reducing food sources for bears within the city limits. Due to that ordinance, we are on a path to bear resistant trash containers being deployed citywide. We continue to promote best practices including securing one’s trash and keeping bird feeders and pet food inaccessible to bears.

Our bears should be foraging the forest for natural food sources, not cruising trash bins in Steamboat. Together, we can keep our bears wild and alive, and our residents safe. We are also pleased with the formation of the Routt Recreation Roundtable. The RRR is convened to provide non-binding insights and recommendations to land managers engaged in recreational planning processes and/ or recreation policy decisions in Routt County. The RRR brings a wide set of stakeholders together and looks at outdoor recreation issues through a conservation lens. We are hopeful that this will lead to a countywide conservation/recreation plan that could be a model in balancing recreational development with conservation across the Rocky Mountain West.

The issue of recreational impacts to wildlife and wildlife habitat has gained considerable prominence lately. Across the Rocky Mountains, wildlife biologists are sounding the alarm bells about the impact of outdoor recreation on wildlife. Last year Keep Routt Wild and Bud Werner Memorial Library cosponsored a talk by Rocky Mountain Wild’s Paul Millhouser titled, “Disappearing Elk: Loving Our Wild Places to Death.” Millhouser documented the 50% decline in elk population over just 15 years in nearby Eagle and Roaring Fork valleys and determined this was largely due to habitat loss and fragmentation. First, by decreasing winter range due to development, and then by a reduction in summer range due to recreational expansion. “When the elk already weren’t getting the winter habitat they need, that summer habitat becomes more critical because if they can’t feed well in the winter, they sure as heck better bulk up during the summer and fall or they’re going to be out of luck.”

Locally, we’re seeing disturbing metrics as well. A key metric is the calf/cow ratio- a measure of how many elk calves survive to winter. Data collected by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) shows a precipitous decline in that ratio for the E2 Bear’s Ears Elk herd over the past 15 years, from 0.64 to 0.48. The E2 herd spans Moffat and Routt Counties and is the second largest elk herd in Colorado, making it also the second largest elk herd in the world. Even more concerning is that the resident herd from GMU14, the nearest area to Steamboat with the most recreational development, has seen this ratio decline even further to just 0.37. We are approaching a level where the elk may not be able to maintain a stable population. The key to avoiding the same fate as we’ve witnessed near Vail and Aspen is to utilize best practices when planning recreational development with wildlife in mind. This means avoiding winter range and elk calving areas, and concentrating summer use to already disturbed areas so summer range is not fragmented further. It is with these principles in mind that we’ve sourced a compromise proposal for the controversial proposed Mad Rabbit Trails Project.

Elk calf/cow metrics have shown a precipitous decline over the past 15 years. This ratio measures the number of surviving calves per cow elk near the beginning of each year. Image courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife – Steamboat Springs.

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

Valley Voice

September 2021

Afternoon Movies

To Be Continued... By Fran Conlon

As a youngster, the Saturday afternoon movies in town had a continuing adventure film—usually a Western series. Each episode ended with a crisis in which the hero might have been killed. But I knew he wasn't. (I hoped.)

This project is the second phase of a massive trails sprogram in Routt National Forest and is poised to disrupt elk calving areas and further fragment summer range. A map showing some of the overlap with elk calving areas is below.

Using best available science, we’ve endorsed some trails, objected to others, and proposed modifications to the remainder. Our detailed compromise proposal is posted on our website. Recently, CPW has determined that much of the area north of US40 hosts elk calving areas. It is crucially important to avoid these areas, as research from Eagle County has shown a 5% mortality rate each time an elk calf is disturbed, defined by merely causing it to move locations. Other studies have shown recreationalists, such as hikers or bikers, can cause this disturbance from 1000 meters away or more. With ample time to look at alternatives, we’ve suggested that the Forest Service consider moving many of the trails located north of US40 to the south, where they will avoid these sensitive areas. We’ve articulated many issues with the Mad Rabbit project. The majority of trails lie in Colorado Roadless Areas, a designation that requires higher environmental scrutiny. For example, any development that significantly alters the undeveloped character of a roadless area, which the current proposal clearly does, requires an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement), a much more rigorous process than the currently planned Environmental Assessment. We’ve retained the law firm of Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell and are represented by one of the authors of the Colorado Roadless Rule. Routt County is lucky to have these wild and protected areas so close, and we are not going to have these protections waved away on our watch. While the Mad Rabbit Trails Project as proposed represents consider impact to wildlife and wildlife habitat, particularly in Colorado Roadless Areas, our compromise represents a path forward that minimizes the impacts to the environment while delivering significant new recreation opportunities. That’s the benefit of using the best available science to craft a proposal. We believe that our proposal would also remove the necessity of an EIS. We have the unique opportunity to avoid the fate of Eagle and Pitkin Counties and to become a role model for the entire Rocky Mountain region. Future generations will thank us for this. Let’s choose that path and keep Routt County wild.


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“To be Continued” was the end of that week's serial presentation. We kids had to wait until next week to see if the hero still lived. Had he jumped off the out-of-control wagon headed for a cliff? And, indeed, the next week's series showed the missing scene wherein the hero jumped to safety while the wagon went to destruction. Whew! We knew it was so; you just can't lose a hero (or heroine). So, it has “to be continued.” Nowadays, I have mixed feelings seeing some TV copadventure series, like NCIS and others, conclude their hour-long show (with multiple commercials) with “To be Continued.”(TBC) I don’t know if I'll ever see the sequel. The preemptive sports event or cultural presentation seems to have priority. Somehow they seldom have a to-be-continued conclusion. Maybe a sport's rain-delay counts as to-be-continued, but that's an act of nature, not a network scheme.

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I long for a real conclusion, the denouement, and the genuine outcome. There is a satisfaction in seeing the crime solved, let alone the sub-plot romances of some of the super-hero characters. Life situations seem to have too many to-be-continued (TBC) situations as is. The bills are paid, yet more come. I fill the car's gas tank, but it must be done again (in spite of the price increase). I mow the lawn, but it keeps on growing. One of the most successful TBC has been climate change issues, now often referred to as “climate crisis.” The Brit's BBC got in trouble with a study guide for teens that pointed out how climate change could make our world better. Aside from eco-apocalypse, warmer temperatures could lead to a more vigorous crop growth. Aside from desertification, new shipping routes across the Northwest Passage could give a shorter, less expensive transit. Aside from bird-killing wind machines, resources in Alaska and Siberia might be more easily accessible in a warmer climate. Plus, northern lands may become friendlier to farming. And tourist access might become available.

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Getting Star Distance with a Cheap Camera

I must adjust my psyche to the new window of expectations. To be Continued...

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Climate change is not just about melting polar ice caps. It is about our public health and protecting our Earth for future generations. — Mike Quigley


September 2021

Valley Voice

'Boat Almanac

A Dinosaur Met a Pond... By Karen Vail

Photos by Karen Vail

Going even farther back, I mean waaaay back to the Eocene epoch some 56 to 33 million years ago, fossilized seeds of Nuphar were found in Japan and China. Unconfirmed records date Nuphar back to the Cretaceous epoch from 145 to 166 million years ago. The studies are ongoing, but many researchers believe the Nymphaeales (water lilies) to be a very early link to modern day flowering plants. Hey, we have a dinosaur in our ponds!! The flowers of yellow pond lilies advertise their ancient evolution. Generally speaking, the older the lineage of a plant, the simpler their flower parts are: parts are separate and not united, there are many stamens and pistils, and the showy “petals” are actually tepals (sepals and petals appearing similar). This describes our yellow pond lily. The flower is globe shaped, the showy yellow we see are sepals, and the petals are tiny and hidden inside below reddish-purple stamens. Get close enough to the flowers to feel their sepals and they are a leathery waxy texture, very unflower-like! In the center is the yellow disc of the stigma, where pollen is transferred to the ovary. The flowers open during the day, closing at night, for 4 to 5 days. They have a sweet fragrance that first day (some say they smell like brandy), then smell less pleasant thereafter. Seeds are produced in a fleshy structure looking like a bottle. They are dispersed across water surfaces either within the floating fruits or within a buoyant jelly-like mass surrounding the seeds. Both methods can move the seeds up to 80 meters per hour, and after 72 hours they will begin to sink. (“Dispersal Ecology of Nuphar luteum: Abiotic Seed Dispersal Mechanisms: Hart, Kimberly., Cox, Alan., Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2008). The flower stems, sometimes up to six and a half feet long, arise from a massive (massive!!) fleshy rootstalk up to sixteen and a half feet long and six inches in diameter.

A good friend sent me a picture reminding me of why I love a rather strange, albeit gorgeous, plant (thanks Allison Mecklenburg!). On a backpack trip to the Wind River Range she and hubby Dave found a subalpine lake dotted with large round leaves interspersed with stunning yellow globes of flowers, all floating serenely atop the water. Aah, there is nothing like yellow pond lilies (Nuphar polysepala aka Nuphar lutea ssp. polysepala)! At the mention of water lilies, you probably envisioned fancy water lilies gracing fancy landscapes. Yellow pond lilies are a subdued version of the brazen waterlilies and are our only native pond (water) lily. The Water Lily Family, Nymphaceae, is named after the water nymph and Greek goddess of springs, Nymphe. In medieval Germany, water lilies were believed to be maidens disguised as flowers to avoid the advances of lecherous men (“Wild about Wildflowers” Katherine Darrow, Wildkat Publishing Co, 2006).

Also arising from the rootstalk are long stems with the beautiful heart-shaped leaves floating on, or occasionally jutting out of, the water. Pond aquatic conditions include nutrient poor soils, and little oxygen. How is a plant that needs oxygen and nutrients to deal with that? First, a little botany 101 for hydrophytes, or plants that live in, and have adapted to, water. Because they live in water the roots are poorly developed and don’t necessarily assist in water or nutrient absorption. The massive rhizomes of our pond lily are primarily for vegetative reproduction and anchoring the plant in the soil. The flower and leaf stems are filled with air in tissues called aerenchyma (your new word for the month!), for gas exchange and providing buoyancy. Since water is supporting the plant, framework tissues are limited, although scientists have found supportive structures in some of the water lilies. The upper leaf surface exposed to the air has a protective waxy cuticle that is dotted with stomata. All land plants have stomata covering their leaf (and sometimes stem) surfaces controlling gas and water exchange. Living in water, stomata are not needed except for where tissues are exposed to air. Yellow pond lilies only have stomata on the upper surface of their floating leaves (OK, another word for the month – epistomatous leaves. You’re getting so smart!!) We see the fanciful large floating leaves, but as you are passing by on your paddleboard look deeper. Underneath, toward the pond bottom, it looks like a totally different plant!

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

These submerged leaves look like cabbage or lettuce. This heterophylly, having dissimilar leaves on the same plant, is pretty common in aquatic and many terrestrial plants. These shaded leaves photosynthesize, but at a very low rate compared to their floating companions. Researchers have found that the number and size of submerged leaves were much higher in river systems than in standing water and proposed that the increased biomass helped capture sediment and organic matter to increase the nutrients for the plants. Yellow pond lilies have some interesting adaptions to a life in water. Water levels often fluctuate leaving leaves submerged during high water. Plant hormones move through tissues in different ways. Volatile messengers move rapidly by diffusion through a plant’s air-space network. Nuphar can create “internal winds,” basically mass flows of air within the plant, moving compounds quickly. When leaves are submerged the gas ethylene, which normally escapes from the plant, accumulates within the tissues within an hour of being submerged. The rise in ethylene stimulates rapid petiole elongation in about 30 minutes, returning the leaf blade to the surface. Wowzer!! (“Rapid Long-distance Transmission in Higher Plants” Malone, M., Advances in Botanical Research, 1996). Yellow pond lilies have developed a way to compensate for low oxygen in their roots through pressurized gas flow. Basically, the plants transport oxygen from the atmosphere under pressure to the roots, and carbon dioxide and methane are pushed out to the atmosphere. In many areas, yellow pond lilies are considered invasive. They can spread through a pond that has the perfect growing conditions (water that is not too deep, not too shallow, but juuuust right!). They provide many benefits to an ecosystem. Their large leaves shade and cool the water and provide valuable organic matter for many organisms. Ducks and other waterfowl eat the seeds, and beavers and muskrats consume the rhizomes. Underneath the leaves and intertwined through the stems and submerged leaves is a unique habitat of micro and macro invertebrates as well as protection for maturing fish. Now that you have heard “the rest of the story,” don’t you agree that these are truly amazing plants?! A lineage to the first plants, adaptations to a challenging environment, and oh, so beautiful! Paddle or row out to introduce yourself. See you on the trails!

Valley Voice

September 2021


Piknik Theatre

Theatre for a New Old Age By Stuart Handloff

Having just completed our 2021 outdoor Piknik Theatre season, I’m overwhelmed at the popularity and the ability of these little pieces of free theatre to touch the souls of audience members. We had more in attendance this season than ever, despite the ongoing pandemic cloud constantly lingering overhead; and the wildfires contributing beautiful and toxic sunsets. People spread out on blankets and chairs as usual, maybe a little more spread out than usual but with new loudspeakers supporting their voices, these professional performers had little trouble being heard. Shakespeare had audiences chuckling and the original “world” premiere (well, maybe; we’ve not heard of anyone else adapting Charlie Mackesy’s beautiful little graphic book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse into a dramatic performance work) brought tears to the eyes of grown men and wonder to the eyes of little children. There was such joy in the creating process during our rehearsals - all of which were held outside for obvious reasons; there was such joy in the performances to the receptive and generous outdoor audience members (thank you all very much!!). If there was any doubt why live theatre is so powerful, these two shows put those doubts to rest. Now Piknik Theatre moves indoors to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for a season of Romeo and Juliet with the security usually reserved for the courtroom. They’ll be a strong arm at the door checking IDs, vaccination cards, and providing masks for those without. There will be social distancing and limited seating capacity. And we’re not the only theatre in the country taking these precautions. From LA to NYC, all professional theatres are taking similar measures to protect both actors and audience members from a slippery and elusive virus that continues to sicken and kill the unwary. Where’s the joy going to be for these performances? We trust our actors to overcome adversity and focus on the telling of a story that transcends these shaky circumstances. If you look at theatres in Afghanistan and Palestine, or Myanmar and Hong Kong, you know that storytelling can persevere under the most difficult environments. If we learned anything from our productions this summer, it’s that theatre is resilient and powerful. We are a group of artists working in an art form that has an inexorable appeal to the human spirit. “People will come, Ray, people will most definitely come. For it is money they have and peace they lack.” For those brief moments

in the beauty of the Yampa River Botanic Park, peace and the tranquility of the soul prevailed through timeless stories wonderfully told. In the hallowed sanctuary of St. Paul’s, the classic Shakespearean romantic tragedy told in magical words will stir our spirits once again. Over two thousand years ago, our Western storytelling tradition began in the outdoors amphitheaters of ancient Greece. There were no microphones, no lights or electricity, and no asphalt parking spaces. I’m not sure what they did for toilets but I’m certain they didn’t flush. There was just the simplicity of a story well told in sound and movement. We can return to this level of simple storytelling once again in our beautiful outdoor environments of Steamboat Springs. That appreciation of the outdoors is what has brought so many of us to this valley over the years. If we’re to continue these traditions that began thousands of years ago, and avoid the pandemic issues that began in 2020, it will be through a return to outdoor performance. Is there a perfect location for an outdoor performance venue in the Steamboat Springs area? Of course not. We’ve got a major highway that’s seen incredible traffic and truck jams this summer due to interstate highway closures that will persist for years to come. We’ve got a railway line with train traffic that will continue regardless of the fate of the coal industry. There’s an airport who’s glide path covers much of the town from east to west. The Greeks didn’t have to deal with the overwhelming

cacophony of modern life. Vacant land, public or privately owned, is precious and rare. Quiet public or private land is even more dear. The City owned property in the Spring Creek drainage that was once an industrial area - the town’s water supply a hundred years ago - is both quiet and badly in need of rehabilitation after a botched dam decommissioning. The barren rock and weed strewn gravel are begging for a new life as a quiet spot for Verdi, Mozart, and Shakespeare. We need only look back to see the possibilities for the beautiful simplicity of outdoor performance; we need only look to the present to realize that the outdoors in Steamboat is both our reason for living here and our salvation for safe and inspirational stories.

There’s a deeper and very practical reason for encouraging outdoor performance in our community and it’s based on the sometimes-overused word “sustainability.” Indoor palaces demand too much energy to heat and cool, for expensive and elaborate sound and lighting systems, to pave vast acres with asphalt for parking, and in the new age of pandemics these gilded cages sit mostly empty or with only partial seating. Our town simply cannot afford or support this sort of wasteful development. The era of multi-million dollar performing arts centers is over, except perhaps in large urban areas. A Spring Creek location with minimal solar power, no parking (except at the high school), compostable toilets, and sturdy low maintenance construction materials allows six months of intimate, acoustic performances at a fraction of the cost and energy consumption that inside-the-box performance venues demand. Electric bikes, shuttles vans, and our own feet can deliver soul satisfying performance minutes from our downtown businesses and public transportation. It’s an old theatre model for a new age.

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970-870-8807 There's something about dinosaurs that should be very humbling to human beings. — Colin Trevorrow


September 2021

Valley Voice

Business Principles

Considering Healthy Business Principles in the Yampa Valley By Angie Gamble

As we consider the topic of affordable housing in the Yampa Valley, I have had to turn my attention to consider business principles. There is a principle in much of today’s business-minded thinking that says something like: “if your business is not growing year by year in terms of financial gain and products sold, you are not doing your job.” This principle is partly based on the idea that business competition in terms of having the best products and making the most money, though these seem like selfish motives, will actually drive the economics of the world in such a way that people will have enough jobs and things to survive physically and to lead fulfilling lives. This principle argues that self-centeredness is the major driver of a healthy world. And furthermore it says that material gain and physical provision are the main elements of happiness. I would argue otherwise. I believe this principle of selfishness can lead to outward-looking grandeur at times, yet will leave the heart unfulfilled and also lead to a shallow community structure. Let’s get the easier question out of the way and apply some simple math. And let’s start locally. On a local level, if real estate grows unchecked and unendingly here in the Yampa Valley, we obviously would eventually run out of space. I remember taking off from the island of Oahu in Hawaii one time.

As I looked down into some of the beautiful lush valleys, I saw housing sprawled out into the far reaches of several valleys. It looked like any space that was flat enough to build a house was taken, so that the lush green vegetation was relegated to the steeper places of the mountainous valleys with perhaps a few in between some houses. It looked physically impossible to build more houses there. There are limits to land space. On a world level, if every business and every community in this country, as well as in the world in general, worked towards expanding itself continually, well, we would eventually run out of space to put all the things that these evergrowing businesses would create. I suppose only if companies started to make all of their products virtual and sold new ideas that help people down-size their possessions in some way would it be possible to continue to grow businesses indefinitely. But, who wants to live predominantly in a virtual world where they play virtual basketball and take virtual kayaking trips?! We live in a mountain town for a reason and would never go for that! Furthermore, if every business met their goal and made financial gains as much as every other business, the gains of each would cancel each other out so that the only point of increase society would be left with would be that of inflation. On to the second point. Besides simply being an illogical goal, I have realized more and more how unhealthy the continuous growth business model is – unhealthy to society as a whole, as well as to the very people promoting this goal in the first place. There is a myth in Western society that people mainly have physical needs and that we are meant to create jobs that will provide for these physical needs and the rest, as they say, will take care of itself. Yet, people are made up of the components of spirit, soul, and body, and have needs and points of interest in all 3 of these areas. Likewise, society at large is not just made up of physical things, but must have a combination of social health, relational health, physical health, emotional health, financial health, environmental health, and more in order to thrive and be vibrant and full of life for itself as well as life-giving potential to others. In thinking locally once again, it seems there is a focus these days to some extent on marketing Steamboat as if it is a product that produces memorable vacations, packaged, guaranteed fun, and boasting points to share with neighbors when vacationers return home, not to mention the iconic t-shirt they get to show off. While some of this may have originated years ago from an honest desire to share this beautiful winter-wonderland that many call home with those who do not live in such a dramatic landscape, it has now spiraled out of control and succumbed to some degree to the money-making, ultra-capitalist, and ultra-growth oriented business goals that have increasingly permeated American culture in the last few decades. These business goals have monopolized the focus of large sections of the American public to zero in on material and financial growth, many times at the expense of focus on mental health, relational health, social health, physical health, environmental health, spiritual health, and living from a standpoint of authenticity. Human beings are multi-faceted and we were always meant to balance

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

many different aspects of our lives together to bring about wholistic health both to individuals and society at large. If we make our local community of Steamboat primarily about money and materialism, we increasingly take away from the reason many of us moved here. So many of us moved here because Steamboat offered a different way of life and thinking to the money-focused desk job sought after in many cities. People moved here to be able to slow down, appreciate relationships, to be right in the beautiful mountain landscape that surrounds us and have time to enjoy it. People moving to a place like Steamboat came with a desire to “be” in life and to do things from the heart. After all, we are “human beings,” not “human doings,” and many found in Steamboat and other mountain towns the ability to return to this core of who we are. Many move to Steamboat and other mountain towns to enjoy the adventure and ruggedness of both winter-time mountain skiing, as well as the variety of ways to enjoy the summer mountain beauty and charm. In his book Downhill Slide, Hal Clifford talks about how people moving to ski towns in the 60s came to escape the mainstream. Clifford says skiing “was epitomized by a sense of freedom, a shared camaraderie in the face of hard times, and a deep understanding that the ski life was about something very different from what was going on in the rest of America.” (p. 37) He also quotes a journalist who writes about the young people coming to Crested Butte that they “found not only the uncrowded skiing and relaxed atmosphere of a small town, but acceptance, (and) a place to utilize their talents.” (p, 37). Clifford also says that ski towns used to be “vibrant and full of creative souls” (p.36), but now “at a greater level than ever before, ski areas have become amenities to drive real estate sales.” (p.45).

A focus on money and materialism and the competition of having more than other people can leave many other parts of one’s life empty and hollow. Furthermore, when wealth gain is come by at the expense of other peoples’ financial welfare, this creates unfair advantages for some and disadvantages for others. Increasing the gap of the rich and poor, though it can look as though it is benefiting the rich, can actually harm BOTH rich and poor, for it causes a break in integrity, damage of mutual trust between individuals and the fabric of trust in society at large, and alienation of relationships and isolation which can promote depression and other mental health difficulties. Furthermore, theft can cause us to live from the standpoint of outward-looking grandeur while never developing our own gifts and talents and living from our own authentic core. Theft is not healthy for those acting in it or for its victims. It is not healthy on a small or on a large scale. The problem we are having today in Steamboat, and many mountain towns, of not having enough, what some people call “service industry workers” – though I do not like to promote class-like thinking – is largely a result of the widening gap between rich and poor in the country as well as in Steamboat, which is at least partly a result of the business philosophy in question in this article. So let us re-think our business philosophy and our understanding of what leads to the health and happiness of individuals and society.

Valley Voice

September 2021

COVID-19 and the Delta Variant

Delta Virus Variant Should be Taken Seriously By Brodie Farquhar

Americans are facing two serious problems in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic that is surging again, filling up hospital beds and giving morticians more business than they want. The first problem is that the nature and the characteristics of the virus have changed dramatically since January 2020, to the Delta variant, which first roared through India and is now the dominant strain in the United States.

However, there have been cases of vaccinated people getting infected, called “breakthrough” cases. These people might experience low-to-medium symptoms, but are still capable of expelling Delta viruses for a few days in the course of breathing. That's why even fully vaccinated people should still mask up to protect your self and others. The second problem is the misinformation spread by rightwing media, and the intellectual laziness of viewers and listeners.

The Delta variant is more contagious than previous strains that ran through the country – about 1,000 times the production of new viruses than the earlier versions. The Delta virus replicates itself very quickly, so much so that simple exhalations of an infected person can waft hundreds and thousands of viruses into the air.

Fox News, aided by secondary players like Newsmax and OAN, is largely responsible for a flood of misinformation about masks, vaccines, the CDC, Dr. Fauci, public health, mask and vaccine mandates and science in general. There are millions of people who are ferociously hostile to the very idea of masking and vaccinations.

Yes, all COVID-19 virus variants hitchhike on mini-droplets of mucus expelled during coughing and sneezing, so social-distancing still helps. But the Delta variant is so prolific that it doesn't depend on hitchhiking, but can create clouds of high-dose virus that can hang in the inside air until ventilation/filter systems move it outside or trap it in filters. Point of comparison: have you ever stepped into a room, big or small, and could immediately tell someone has been smoking? Take away the smell and that's similar to a room full of the Delta varient.

The ex-president himself was recently boo'd by a MAGA crowd in Alabama when he said people should get vaccinated.

Masks and improved HVAC systems are crucial in protecting the public, front-line employees and their customers. Masks should be worn inside crowded public spaces like grocery stores, bars and restaurants, as a way to minimize transmission of the disease. This is true even if people are fully vaccinated. The ongoing research of COVID-19 indicates that the vaccinations do a terrific job of protecting people from serious bouts of the disease that might necessitate hospitalization, ICU care and last-ditch use of ventilators and possible death. That's what the vaccines were designed to do, and if you are not vaccinated, Delta will find you, eventually. So get vaccinated.


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Every anti-masker and anti-vaxxer can talk endlessly about personal rights and freedom, but never mention the word “responsibility” or the concept of responsibility toward others. Masking, vaccinations, social distancing and investing in advanced HVAC systems are ultimately minor, cheap inconveniences and expenses in the big picture. Why are so many willing to risk their health and lives with irrational anti-mask, anti-vaccine positions?



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Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. — Groucho Marx


September 2021

Valley Voice

Tales from the Front Desk



The Lost Luggage By Aimee Kimmey

He was probably sweaty and over weight. Of course, she decided, it must belong to a man, no woman could ever wear such a thing. But where could that slobbish man possibly be now? Why would he have left his luggage sitting in the parking lot? Maybe the fat man had suffered some sort of psychotic break and just wandered off into the woods? Maybe his life had become more that he could take, and the ratty old suitcase was just a symbol of everything that hung around his neck. Had he turned his back on it all and just walked away? Or had he been abducted by a gang of street punks? Was he the victim of some sort of violence? Was he lying battered and dying just off the parking lot? Mrs. Brewster peeked out the window again, looking for signs of violence or a blood thirsty gang skulking at the edges of the parking lot. This was a small town for sure; who knew what kind of horrible things happened in these places? She thought about calling the police, but what if they were in on it? Maybe it was a trap, and they were waiting for someone to try to take the suitcase so they could swoop in, accuse them of stealing, and throw them into a work prison for the rest of their days.

The story you are about to read is true... More or less. Thursday. 7:38 pm. Parking lot. The suitcase sat in the hotel parking lot, drenched in shadows, completely unattended. Mrs. Brewster had been watching it all afternoon. She had a clear view of it from her room. Every few minutes she would peek out to see if someone had taken it away. But no, it just loomed there, watching her, mocking her, tormenting her.

Or what if the suitcase was a full of explosives? Maybe guerrilla radicals had left a time bomb ticking away in the parking lot... waiting until the precise moment when it could do the most damage. Was there someone important staying at this hotel? Or maybe it's just some group of crazies who were bent on mayhem. But what did the hat mean? Was it a statement? Did it symbolize the person they wanted to destroy? Maybe someone just wanted to watch the hat burn!

It was there when she returned from lunch, lurking next to an open parking space. It was one of those ancient leather things with wheels, and an extendable handle poking up over the top. She pointedly refused to get close to the thing. I mean, who knew what sort of germs might be crawling all over it? It could be wallowing with the COVID virus, E. coli, maybe even anthrax. Mrs. Brewster wasn't about to take any chances. She'd parked on the other end of the parking lot and walked as far away from the thing as she could get.

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

Who knew?! All Mrs. Brewster knew for sure was that she couldn't take that suitcase taunting her a moment longer! She snatched up the room's phone and dialed the front desk. "There is a suitcase out in the parking lot, it's been abandoned there all day!" Her voice sounded shrill and panicked, even to her. "Oh..." The clerk paused, clearly looking out the window. Mrs. Brewster took a few deep, shaky breaths. She watched the suitcase like a hawk. She wanted to be ready for whatever evil might spill out of it. "Oh, yeah, I see it. That's definitely Delphine's hat, it must be hers. She's one of our regulars, she was super late getting out of here this morning." The clerk gave a little laugh. "And y-you're sure it's not a bomb or poison or anything?" Mrs. Brewster needed to know. "Huh?" The clerk sounded confused, "Naw, it's probably just the nuts and trail mixes she sells. I'm surprised the bears haven't gotten in to it by now! I'll go grab it and give her a call." BEARS?! Mrs. Brewster's mouth fell open as the other end of the line went dead. There were bears?!

"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer." -Frank Zappa

The luggage was scuffed and faded; it was certainly not purchased in this century. From the safety of her room, she couldn't see tags or any sort of identification on it. God only knew what was in it or who it belonged to. Had a street person abandoned it? Had a terrorist left it?! And, as if that thought wasn't uncomfortable enough, there was a sweat stained, straw fedora draped over the handle. It had wide ventilation holes along the top and a worn paisley band that made her think of steamy Cuban nights and thick cigar smoke. She shuddered, Mrs. Brewster couldn't imagine she would care for the man who wore that hat very much at all.

That would have been somewhat understandable, although she had to admit, rather extreme. Maybe when they were setting the timer of the bomb, they had taken the hat off to wipe nervous sweat from their forehead and just forgotten it.

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Valley Voice

September 2021


Mensan Musings

Michele Angelo Besso

1873 - 1955

By Wolf Bennett

Have you ever met an arrogant teenager, or were you one? In my experience most people simply roll their eyes at the individualism and the high charged spirit and then ignore, crush, dominate or attempt to change that “awful teen phase,” rebellion, teen angst and acting out. Brain research has shown that in early teen years the brain becomes capable of abstract thinking. It can start seeing absurdities and logic flaws far more easily. It is quite normal and healthy to question parents and systems, however uncomfortable to those in power. To stomp on those ideas and questions is to needlessly crush the spirit of a human being. Try redirecting that energy and begin working with them. Guiding instead of leading. Yes, it can be difficult, but that is a reflection of your skills, not theirs. Besso had an impressive knack for mathematics but got kicked out of high school for insubordination, and later in college his professors resented his intellectual arrogance so much that they locked him out of the library just out of spite. Sometimes he would be the perfect fool – a schlemiel. If he seemed to never quite know what he was doing it wasn’t for lack of intelligence. “The great strength of Besso resides in his intelligence, which is out of the ordinary and in his endless devotion to both his moral and professional obligations; his weakness is his truly insufficient spirit of decision. This explains why his successes in life do not match up with his brilliant aptitudes and with his extraordinary scientific and technical knowledge.”

Have you encountered anyone struggling with life? Were they easy to get along with? Could you look past the dramas, the abstract thinking skills, the ability to see that parents are not perfect or religions seriously flawed? Did you listen to them and actually hear what they were saying? Did you have a teacher, parent or friend who inspired you to greater things? Did you have coach who used the Pygmalion effect to its fullest? The question that has been begged from the beginning of this article – were you the inspiration to another so they could achieve greatness? Were you the lesser sidekick, the Besso, who simply supported to the best of your ability? I coach U8+ for the Winter Sports Club. I have had parents apologize for their “wild children.” I truly have never had a bad student, challenging ones, yes, but never bad. It is up to me to learn to deal with the person, not for them to conform to my limitations. In teaching small children I try to give them solid skills so when they get to upper levels they don’t need to unlearn anything, they just need to add skills to what they already know. I try to teach real life skills in the same way. Yes, I talk philosophy with 6 year olds and they do understand amazing levels. One little girl, of many, was a handful. She was strong willed and pampered, - perfect for redirection and encouragement. All I did was open her eyes to better results and greater goals, I redirected the energy.

Skiing was just the classroom, the life lessons were far bigger. heard years later: “My daughter learned more from you in 10 weeks than in many years of other coaches, but more than that, she loves to ski... because of you.” I am not the best, we all are the best, just at different levels and learning. Maybe she will grow to support others or be her own star, good on her... Many are willing to crush, control, ridicule, manipulate, indoctrinate, hate, divide and overpower anyone who they can and the results are painfully obvious and the losses are stunning. It really doesn’t take all that much to change ourselves and by so doing we build others. I have a friend who teaches dance, but far more than that, she teaches flow, movement, devotion and the love of learning and being something better. She teaches courage, joy, dreams, endurance and curiosity through the work and discipline of dance. A powerful lesson for any age and inspiration for me. My goal and hope is to be a small Besso and support that person, who then supported an Einstein. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a community in ten thousand small ways to raise a champion. Will you learn to be the sidekick of the superstar and still tilt at your own windmills with joy?

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He met Einstein in 1896 and apparently they recognized something in each other: they both wanted to get to the truth of things. He had the look of a nervous mystic and Einstein was a handsome youth with soulful brown eyes. Besso went on to become Einstein’s sidekick of sorts, a sounding board, a wake up call, a person who would inspire Einstein to find the right answers. He was a collaborator making suggestions, working calculations and a dear friend. He had a tendency to show up at exactly the right moment handing Einstein books to read, offering suggestions, prodding him, goading him, nudging him onto the right path as if he had a plan. “I watch my friend Einstein struggle with the great unknown, the work and torment of a giant, of which I am the witness – a pygmy witness – but a pygmy witness endowed with clairvoyance.” When Einstein tilted at windmills, he had a friend who inspired him to greater things. Other times Besso would play the role of Einstein’s conscience, “Nobody else is so close to me, nobody knows me so well.”

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I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks. — Daniel Boone


September 2021

Valley Voice


Your Monthly Message By Chelsea Yepello Aries





OPEN DAILY Recreational & Medical

1755 Lincoln Avenue Steamboat Springs, CO On the Free Bus Route


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

March 21 - April 19

True to natural change of the seasons, the ‘estival solstice’ or ‘midsummer’ occurred when one of Earth's poles hit its maximum tilt toward the Sun, now is the period between the autumnal equinox, where day and night are equal in length and the temperatures are gradually decreasing. During this length of time, children mature into young adults and adults are exposed to the responsibilities of the world, thus incorruptibility and virtue may waiver and be lost. Lastly, dyschronometria is a condition of cerebellar dysfunction where individuals cannot accurately estimate the amount of time that has passed or may distort the perception of time. This is the purpose of Billy Joe’s request of assistance to be awoken at the end of this month.


April 20 - May 20


May 20 - June 20

It’s true that alcohol doesn’t solve life’s problems, but then again, neither does exercising regularly, driving safely, drinking eight glasses of water a day or being nice to your mom. You will finally light a fire under your ass to move out of your mom and step-dad’s basement when they register you as an emotional support animal to deduct your food costs on their taxes.


June 21 - July 22

In the near future, childproofing your house will evolve from simply putting up a baby gate at the top of the stairs to setting booby-traps around your house’s perimeter and arming yourself with primitive handmade weapons after all the children go feral and become homicidal bloodthirsty killing machines.


July 23 - August 23

In Alaska, a small town nominated an orange cat named Stubbs as mayor from 1997-2017. Yes really. Stubbs proved adept at the role and served as mayor for 20 years until its death. This proves one of two things; either cats have mind control and can manipulate entire towns, or people are absurd and lose all rational though when it comes to cute lil' fuzzy kitty cats. Either way, Stubbs had it all figured out. Be like Stubbs.




October 24 - November 21

You will be delighted when you sell a melted gummy bear vaguely shaped like the state of Colorado on eBay for $6,000. Unfortunately, late one night, you will spend the same $6,000 on eBay purchasing an M&M that has an uncanny resemblance to the McDonalds Arch on its shell.


November 22 - December 21

You always liked donating to the foundations that help wild animals and endangered species. They send you cute pictures and information of the animal that you “adopted” which you can hang on your fridge or show off to your friends. This makes you wonder why the government doesn’t send pictures of the people you have been supporting with your tax money, who choose to stay on unemployment benefits instead of getting a job over a year after COVID.


December 22 - January 19

You were always under the impression that you were filled with nothing but self-loathing, but it turns out that you are six layers of disgust, hostility, pity, animosity, detest and regret with a delicious lavender buttercream frosting separating each row.


January 20 - February 18

You will be complimented for your healthconscious ways, but in reality, you accidently brought your water bottle filled with water instead of your water bottle filled with vodka.


February 19 - March 20

You say you don’t need anything else besides love, love is the one thing that will get you through any hardship. That being said, it helps clarify your untimely death from starvation and dehydration.

Go Old School!

August 23 - September 22

No matter how old you get, you will secretly always hope that Weird Al Yankovic will accept the invitation to your birthday party you sent him when you were turning 10.

September 23 - October 23

You’re not sure if you’re insulted or relieved when you receive a legal eviction from the entirety of a town after it overhears your brash public complaining about “getting the hell out of this podunk town” for the millionth time.


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

Never Miss an Issue!

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


Valley Voice

September 2021


Pelicans on Stagecoach by Suzy Pattillo won Grand Champion at the 2021 Routt County Fair.

Know when to fold. Pay attention to the signs. They're there. — Molly Bloom


September 2021

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

Valley Voice

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