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Friday, May 13, 2011

Up Bear Creek / 5may50011

Oldest son graduates from Ft. Lewis

RIO COYOTL … Okay, so what’s the big deal? Lots of sons graduate from college. But not all kids graduate summa cum laude (Latin> “with highest praise”). I sure didn’t. And not many kids do. But Rio did … And (I have to brag) this boy who was homeschooled, attended public schools in Norwood and Paonia, as well as parent-organized private schools in Norwood and Ridgway, managed to be appointed Student Marshal at the commencement ceremonies in Durango last weekend. There were four marshals in total – the four students with the highest grade point average in the graduating class at the Fort this year … Majoring in Accounting, Rio took an extra year of study and managed a 3.999 gpa for all five years of classes (one A- and the rest all As)… As a paleohippie-turned-pol and San Miguel County resident, I’m not only proud and impressed by my son but delighted to see a local boy excel in a completely different field then his dad. Our children are such amazing spirits, and to see them come into their own is one of life’s blessings, particular to parents, if never guaranteed … But then his best friend since childhood has been Norwood’s Mesa Hollinbeck, another Ft. Lewis alumnus, now working as a rocket scientist!

Mother Jones at the Capitol

“I’m not a humanitarian; I’m a hell raiser.”
---Mary Harris Jones

There’s another war that needs
To honor its dead. There’s another struggle
Needs memory. Mother Jones
Led women through a trench of snow
Down to the Capital in Denver.
She was mobilizing support
For the strikers in Ludlow
& the southern coalfields.
“The miner’s angel,”
She was always there.

In Trinidad they arrested her.
Can’t let this old woman cause trouble.
When the women marched
To protest her arrest
General Chase fell off his horse.
Damned women spooked his stallion
“Ride Down the Women!” he ordered
To cover his embarrassment.
So, sabers flashing these brave &
distinguished militia
Rode down on unarmed women
On Main Street in Trinidad
& saved Colorado from unions.

So, here’s my idea: Statue of
Mother Jones standing at the Capital
On one side & a statue of Louis Tikas
On the other
So we never forget what
It took to get workers’ basic rights.
And every May Day
We can reaffirm the struggle
To keep those rights
& add a few.

-Phil Woods

MIXED MESSAGES … U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) had two aides in San Miguel County last week … Adam Eckman of the D.C. office made it over Lizard Head pass in a storm to meet for a quick dinner at Cocina de Luz and talk about natural resource issues – his specialty – and the San Juan Wilderness Bill … Chris Quintana of the Cortez office cut short a Norwood visit but promises to come see us in San Miguel County soon.

SPEAKING OF SCOTT … Did all of you get that self-congratulatory flyer in your mailbox from the 60 Plus Association telling you to call Scott Tipton and thank him for “improving and protecting Medicare”? According to the big format glossy, Scott’s vote in favor of the new federal budget plan 1) reduced Medicare waste, 2) protected current Medicare recipients, 3) targets more money for sick and poor seniors, and 4) will provide better choices for future generations. Sounds great … And 60 Plus Association characterizes itself on the flyer as ”a non-partisan national seniors advocacy group.” Clearly, a group to be trusted, right? Well, maybe not … According to SourceWatch -- “Your guide to the names behind the news” -- – The 60 Plus Association is described in an article in the AARP Bulletin (AARP truly being a national seniors advocacy group) as a front group for the pharmaceutical industry. The author, Bill Hogan, writes that 60 Plus, along with Senior Coalition and United Seniors Association, claim to speak for millions of older Americans, but that their membership does not come from membership dues. In fact, adds Hogan, “virtually all of their largest contributions in recent years have come from the same source -- the nation's pharmaceutical industry.” … This is the same group that targeted former U.S. Rep. John Salazar with a dozen inflammatory out-of-state mailings in the last election – all because Salazar championed a bill to let the government negotiate with pharmaceutical companies over drug prices for seniors – a provision of the Obama health care bill that Republicans fought successfully to kill … So, don’t be fooled. If you want to call Rep. Tipton at 719-587-5105, do so and suggest to his aides that he ought to be truly representing senior citizens in his district, not carrying water for the pharmaceutical companies

CLEAN ENERGY PARK … If you think that’s a term for an alternative energy development you’d want to have in your community, think again. This is the name a developer on the other side of the range gave to a development with a $5 billion Nuclear Power Plant as its centerpiece … Luckily, the Pueblo County Commissioners weren’t fooled (including my hero Commissioner John Sandoval) and they turned the proposed Planned Unit Development down on a unanimous vote. Thank you, John, and the other commissioners … Watch out for names. Clearly unscrupulous developers are trying to snooker folks by proposing bad projects with appealing names. Just like the 60 Plus Association above.

OOPS … I sent in a flurry of corrections to last week's column -- none of which made it into the Watch (self-correcting backup systems being among the hardest to put into effective place -- as we're seeing at Fukashima) ... Only two of the Ouray County commissioners, not all of them, will miss this summer’s Colorado Counties, Inc.’s annual meeting in Vail ... And those were female Mountain Sheep (all) in the herd of 12 or so I saw in Sawpit a couple weeks ago. Mountain Goats have the same small horns, but their fur is pure white, not the brownish white of Mountain Sheep ewes. My apologies for any confusion ... Nevertheless, the Sawpit Mercantile continues to stay open for off-season.


My Mother’s Things

In the very last of the death boxes:
umpteen beautiful crystal bottles filled
with exotic perfumes from foreign lands,
pounds of barbaric jewelry,
ancient bones and stones.

A jug full of bells.
A jug full of bells...
some of them tongueless, voiceless.

Poetry...even a book of poetry
the poet being an old, dead lover
of my mother Wild Honey.

The belt she made at camp
when she was fourteen.

My second grade report card...
my teacher notes my "enormous imagination"
and my "sense of humor."
(It was nice of her to write that...
I can't think of anything worse
than me as a funny second-grader.)

I have my mother's old love letters.
She also saved every word I ever wrote to her.

I have her silks
yards and yards of red silk and purple.
I'm going to make my photograph in them...

I have her passport, her library card...
her statue of Obi Wan Kenobi.

I have her eyes...her cheekbones...
her blood...
her ashes.

-Valerie Haugen
Glenwood Springs

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