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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Up Bear Creek / 16jun50011

Don Coram, yes! CCI, no!

DON CORAM … Our state rep here in the 58th District came to Telluride, but not too many folks turned out. The few Republicans in the county were there, but Dem-heavy Telluriders had other things to do. But too bad. I’ve been darn impressed by Don and his wife Dianna. They like to say the “R” behind their name stands for “Rural” and I’m a believer. Last week Gov. John Hickenlooper signed two bills in Montrose that were sponsored and successfully carried through the legislature by Coram … For this year’s Senate Bill-267, which promotes biomass from forest lands, he teamed up with two Dems (Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Gail Schwartz). The program will go towards utilizing beetle-kill, and cleaning our forests of dead trees. The bipartisan proposal, now signed into law, is evidence of willingness to work with others to bring important legislation forward – already a good sign … But it was his support for SB-177 that won my support. Montrose has suffered in the past from a very high teen pregnancy rate. The sunset date on a Colorado Teen Pregnancy and Dropout Program was lifted and the program, which has been successful in lowering high teen birth rates in our neighboring county. However, the original Republican sponsor of the bill dropped it like a campfire hotcake after the website for GJResult Tea Party thundered, “SB11-177 under the guise of Teen Pregnancy Prevention is a backdoor funding mechanism for abortion providers in Colorado.” This crafty and deceptive measure, etc., etc.” … Republican leadership freaked. But it wasn’t true. So, Don went and asked to put his name on the bill as sponsor, in spite of warnings, and carried the bill through the House over the objections of Republicans like Sen. Kevin Lundberg of Larimer County – and then teamed up with my friend and former Gilpin County nurse and commissioner Sen. Jeanne Nichcolson, to get the bill to the governor, who now has signed it … Those are two good reasons why Rep. Don Coram is my favorite state rep in the 58th since Rep. Kay Alexander.

VAIL … Colorado Counties, Inc., held their summer meeting in Vail’s pricey Cascade Inn, and those of us embattled Dems & Greens got a taste of what “bi-partisanship” means in the hands of a triumphant & combatitive Repub county commissioner majority at CCI … We have 10 state steering committees to help us craft language for bills we sponsor, support or oppose. The state can do a lot to help, and hinder, local government. So it’s important to have a unified voice on legislation that will cost local taxpayers more money or less services. But most goodwill in the group was gone when the Repubs teamed up to knock all Dems and Greens (just one, actually, me:>) out of leadership last fall. Only 1 Dem remained as vice-chair out of 16 positions. Traditionally, a Repub is chair if there’s a Repub majority and a Dem/Green gets vice-chair – too sort of balance the energies. Oh, but not this batch of partisan Repubs … So, at our Vail meeting, when it came time for District elections (another separation of the membership into 5 geographic regions for extra regional meetings), we Dems/Greens in the Western District put up Lynn Padgett of Ouray as our choice, and the Repubs put up Audrey Danner from Moffat County as their choice. Danner won handily, which was to be expected. But then instead of letting Lynn take the vice-chair position, the Repubs put up Olen Lund of Delta, a second Republican – effectively, once again keeping progressives out of leadership in CCI … Never in the 14 years I’ve been working within CCI has the group been so partisan, and so dismissive of minority opinions. It’s making some of us wonder if, in these hard times, we ought to be putting our taxpayer dollars into an organization that shuts us out of leadership and supports positions that our citizens don’t agree with.

OUTPOST MOTEL … If you’re passing through Dolores and you need a pillow for the night, let me recommend this old-fashioned fishing camp gem. Not glitzy or modern. But scrupulously clean, and quaint in the way of old country inns. Spent a lovely night their during the Dolores Riverfest days, and they were kind enough to even send along some crucial things in my world – like the one-of-a-kind thread I needed to finish a basket for a very important former county employee and a fold-up flashlight that I can use in my red Honda Civic (officially “totaled” a year ago) who interior dash lights never worked when I got the car from my daughter several years ago … Funny how we get so attached or place such value on the oddest of things.

CORNET CREEK … Most of the recent issue of the Colorado Public Works Journal (available at the Wilkinson) featured a long article on the flooding of Cornet Creek over the years and the efforts of the Town of Telluride working Tetra Tech, a civil engineering firm specializing in fluvial geomorphology. It’s a fascinating look at the stream and its wild intent to leap its banks and move a lot of sediment out of the mountains and onto the alluvial plain on which Telluride sits … I remember riding with a bunch of civil engineers as a reporter years ago on a tour of potential disaster sites. And I especially recall one engineer saying that, given what we know about flooding potential, no one would be allowed to build a city on the Cornet Creek alluvial floodplain these days. It’s a disaster waiting to happen (but maybe not as bad with the re-do).



          -for Red Bird

I blink my eyes
& Red Bird’s there
Blink again

The fireball’s imprint
behind the lids
tells me lies

about a land
I want to love
Takes me back

to a river of sorrows
A slickrock
desert trench

Let’s blink together
& remember the flame of
Leonard’s hair

His passion to share
How he loaned it
with deep interest

Made a safe place
for student deposits

& folded cranes
Even in death

each blink
brings more of his gift

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