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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

UBC1313 .... Spring Hoedown in Mancos

SPRING HOEDOWN … Tami Graham of Mancos sure knows how to put on a great show. Her family-friendly benefit for the Montezuma County School-to-Farm Project (and her own non-profit The Pay It Forward Fund) packed the Mancos Opera House March 16th.

As emcee, I got to auction off two live humans (for three and a half hours of gardening work). A neophyte as auctioneer, the calling was slow but the bidding was spirited – Farm Boy Harrison went for $70 and Farm Girl Blaize for $88.

We square-danced up a storm with Carla Roberts and the Wild West Squares. My Rainbow buddy (and former Durango Mayor) Michael Rendon led his Caruta Roma Gypsy Band in a slurry of rousing dance tunes. Ashley Edwards of Hello Dollface delighted the crowd with indie soul, and Robby Overfield and the Breaks did their soulful music for the late-evening dancers.

MANCOS … I have to say, this is the second time I’ve been down to Mancos for a great party and huge turnout of tykes and crones, steers and queers, and everything in between – rural Colorado as it moves from red to blue. Some of this energy seems to be La Plata County spillover – Mancos playing Carbondale to Durango’s Aspen. But some of it seems targeted to this rural pocket of Montezuma County, with its back up against Mesa Verde and the San Juans in the distant north. What used to be very conservative, predominately Mormon country, and has now become a haven for alternative lifestyle folks from all over – Santa Cruz to Abilene.

Absolute Bakery in Mancos

Check out Zuma’s the next time you’re passing through on the highway, or maybe make a little detour for breakfast at the Absolute Bakery.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Up Bear Creek 1313 ... The musical Hair

Sixties extravaganza draws crowds
to Telluride's Palm Theatre

HURRAY FOR HAIR … Sasha Sullivan has done the unbelievable. She’s pushed Telluride theater into the next generation … A friend confided in me before the play, “I hate musicals.” But there was nothing to hate in the finale production of Telluride Theatre’s Hair Sunday night, and everything to like. Especially for a long-haired paleohippie like me … Heavy doses of peace and love, some unbelievable singers, marvelous dancing and acting, great staging, lighting, live music, and choreography that was over the top … To single any one person out would be unfair to an amazing cast, top to bottom. And truly, Hair is an ensemble piece, a puzzle in which – if all the pieces fit – it works beautifully … Suzan Beraza was in the audience the night I saw it. She’d played a big part a dozen or so years ago in Telluride’s first production of this paean to “Hippie Power” (which, as a bumper sticker, still flies its flag on my 300,000+ mile Honda Civic) … “It was wonderful to sit in the audience,” she laughed. “I felt like I was watching the torch pass” … Some of us were still dancing coming out of the Palm, and I was whistling show tunes all the way up Norwood Hill.

Monday, March 25, 2013

UBC1113 The Talking Gourd

Lois Hayna

LOIS BEEBE HAYNA … Speaking of Phenomenal Women, this grand dame of Colorado Springs poets is still observing nature and creating lyrics at 100 years of age. You can find a video of her 100th birthday party this past January on YouTube. An amazing woman, I met her through Poetry West – the largest community of poets and writers in the Pikes Peak Region.

Regis University maintains an archival collection of Hayna’s papers. As the site explains, It begins with poetry from her college days, and … essays and short stories she wrote in the 1970 -- 1980s. Of significance is a very comprehensive collection of her poems from the 1970s to the present. Also among her writing are drafts for an unpublished book on herbs, entitled “The Casual Herbist,”  as well as her notes on herbs and a bibliography … Her poetry books include Never Trust a Crow (1990), Keeping Still (2008), and her latest The Praying Mantis(2012) – published when Lois was 99 years old!

A mutual friend, Liz Lewis, has written a lovely tribute to her, appearing this week as the Talking Gourd.

Dirt, Sky and Things Between

-for Lois Hayna at 100

A birder must watch her foot’s
solid placement between roots, prickly pear.
It’s slow progress through poplars,
willows so leaf laden each twig
holds silver/green birds
in a pre-Audubon hallucination.
Real warblers escape the lens,
magpies klatsch in ponderosa tops
and heat distilled sandalwood scent rises
above the ant-chewed underworlds.
She stumbles on a cedar branch, loses
her footing, her binoculars, language:
place and birds, coyote slipping into shadow,
no words for this desperate joy.

-Liz Lewis
Colorado Springs

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Violence Against Women Act

Pres. Obama speaks at signing of VAWA in D.C. (U.S. News & World Report)

UBC1013 ... There’s a big push on right now to support the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The Senate has voted strongly in favor (thank you Bennet and Udall), but the House is dragging its feet, and I can’t imagine Tea Party Tipton voting on anything progressive, let alone in favor of women.

UBC1113… Okay, time for me to eat crow … My friend Kevin Kell pointed out that most of his fellow Republicans in the Colorado delegation, including Scott Tipton (our Third District U.S. Representative), Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner, voted FOR reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in the House. Only Tea Party Repub Lamborn voted against the act … I admit to being prematurely dismissive of Tipton’s willingness to entertain this piece of progressive legislation … So, let me apologize, and hope that U.S. Rep. Tipton and his staff continue to find common ground with Democrats (and Greens) on select issues, as citizens of his district so earnestly hope for.

UBC1113 ... Western Slope Native Seed meet

Jim Garner leads Native Seed meet

SUPPORTING THE NATIVES ... For many years the Public Land Partnership, centered in Montrose and under the leadership of Delta’s Dr. Mary Chapman, provided a table of trust forum for public land stakeholders of all sizes and shapes in four of the counties surrounding the Uncompahgre Plateau. Alliances were formed, and projects spun off from this innovative forest collaborative. Those projects included our own Burn Canyon Monitoring Committee and what has now become the Uncompahgre Partnership (UP).

One of UP’s most successful projects was its Native Plant effort. For years it has coordinated native seed collection and production for use in regeneration seed mixes on public lands -- not only in Colorado but in multiple Western states. Thanks to a recent grant, UP is hiring a Native Seed coordinator. Last month they held a two-day Native Seed Summit in Grand Junction at the Doubletree Inn, pulling together land agency managers, seed producers, botanists, enviros and a lone country government representative to try and see what this new coordinator could be doing to help forest restoration efforts in the Four Corners region using native seed in place of introduced forbs and grasses.

Locally collected native plants are usually best adapted to local regeneration projects, but the seed is often difficult to collect, harder to grow and rarely available in sufficient quantities to treat large landscapes, particularly after a forest fire. Jim Garner of Colorado Parks & Wildlife had great news, as reported in the Telluride Watch earlier this year – his state agency is building a native seed warehouse, where rare seeds will be able to be stored and research can be done on unique seed strains and cultivars.

 My interest was piqued because one of the primary recovery efforts for the Gunnison Sage Grouse is restoring critical areas to the kinds of sagebrush flats -- with an understory of succulent native forbs and grasses -- that the bird depends on for habitat. I’m hoping to see if San Miguel County can provide support to private landowners in our boundaries by paying them to do this kind of native plant recovery – a win for the bird, the private landowners and the community if we can increase critical habitat and, hopefully, increase the bird’s numbers in our county. The Native Seed folks had lists of native seed known to provide the best habitat for the Gunnison Sage Grouse. I’m hoping the county will be able to ease the burden to private landowners with money to help in habitat restoration.

UBC1013 ... The Talking Gourd

Rosemerry at Shroomfest (photo by Matt Stits)

Text scraping the ink
off my pages, sending it
for biopsy

-Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

3rd Karen Chamberlain Poetry Fest ... Mar. 29-31, 26013

Uche Ogbuji performing last year (Goodtimes)

The Thunder River Theatre Company's pleased to announce the third annual Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival to be held in Carbondale, March 29 - 31, 2013. Poets, performers and listeners are invited to join us as we honor the inspiring life of Colorado poet Karen Chamberlain, who passed away in September 2010. 
Festival organizer Valerie Haugen    

This year's theme is "Poetry Everywhere!” The first evening of the festival will feature an award ceremony naming a new Western Slope Poet Laureate. On Saturday evening, honored Colorado poet Reg Saner will be presented the Chamberlain Award for Lifetime Poetic Achievement. 

Performers this year include current Western Slope Poet Laureate Art Goodtimes, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Trinity Lafey, Jared Smith, SETH, Uche Ogbuji, Kit Kalriess Muldoon, Roseanna Frechette, Eric and Jacob Walter, MD Friedman, David Rothman, and more

Performances and open mics will take place Friday and Saturday evenings. Sunday morning’s program includes a continental breakfast, followed by a Gourd Circle led by Goodtimes. 

Colorado Poets Center's Bob King

Saturday workshops, more than a dozen of them, include Ogbuji’s "Poetry from the Heart's Far-Flung Places"; "Contemporary Music and Poetry: Creative Connections" taught by Richard Kempa; "Writing the Political Poem" with Debbi Brody, and Stewart Warren’s “Collaborations: the muse everywhere,” among others. 

Don't miss this incredible opportunity to honor a great lady, to celebrate the Western Slope's vibrant poetry community, and to find the poetry growing wild in your own soul's garden

Tickets are available online at <> . For more information, e-mail <>

UBC913 ... Ken Salazar Comes Home

Ken and Art at Center of the American West conference, 2012

The Denver Post opined that Salazar, stepping down from his post as Interior Secretary for the first term of the Obama administration, was in a good position for any number of future possibilities. The headline Feb. 17th read, “Ken Salazar returns to Colorado with image intact and many options.”

According to co-writers Karen Crummy and Bruce Finley, “Some see Salazar as governor. Others see him as a high-level envoy or ambassador. A few consider him a good pick for a presidential ticket down the road.”

But for now, Salazar says he’s going to focus on finding a money-paying job and spending more time with his family.

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt touted Salazar's "consensus-building magic" in many of his accomplishments over the past four years. "The environment he stepped into was impossible,” insisted Babbitt. “The economy was really struggling. He was trying to figure out how you get anything done when everyone's attention in Congress and the administration was on economic issues and jobs. And he set in motion things that are quite powerful."

Added Gov. John Hickenlooper, "He brings integrity everywhere he goes. He's always going to do what is right for the country, right for Colorado, before he does something that will benefit himself. He is, by nature, someone who thinks of others. His default position is to help someone else."

Monday, March 4, 2013

UBC1013 ... The Talking Gourd

Text scraping the ink
off my pages, sending it
for biopsy

-Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Sunday, March 3, 2013

UBC1013 ... Catching Up on Our Neighbors to the South

DOVE CREEK PRESS … Living in the upper watershed of the San Miguel River, our newspapers have a very hip upscale look separating us from this more traditional rural weekly. And the prevailing community attitudes and op-ed spins are often diametrically opposed … I’ve written about Linda and Doug Funk’s DoveCreek Press. The newspaper serves the county seat of Dolores County, our neighbor to the southwest (Rico having once been the county seat, until dryland farmers and uranium miners wrested it away from hard rock mining-camp-gone-bust holdouts back in the Fifties). Folks over in San Juan County, Utah (Blanding and Monticello) read it. The Press also serves as local news organ for San Miguel County’s far West End: Egnar, Slick Rock, Disappointment Valley -- all of it located in the Dolores River watershed and San Miguel County Commissioner District #3 … I subscribe. It helps keep me in touch with all the different perspectives that make up citizen views in my bifurcated constituency. And last week’s issue couldn’t have showcased those differences more.
Gunnison Sage Grouse

SAGE GROUSE LISTING … Usually sporting a local snapshot of some rural landscape scene, the Funks’ front page for Feb. 21st featured a color (rare) map of proposed U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s Gunnison Sage Grouse Critical Habitat – both occupied (40,000 acres) and potential (108,000 acres). The front page headline, below the fold, told the story: “County hires experts to fight sage grouse designation as endangered” … Dr. Rob Ramey was granted a $6,000 contract to help oppose listing, and “a GPS company” $5,000. Here’s some direct quotes from Doug Funk’s article … Commissioners lamented over the fact that Dove Creek/Monticello has few birds but a huge area of critical habitat… [County Attorney Dennis] Golbricht said he talked to a big wig in Kinder Morgan and was told that if sage grouse are designated endangered, drilling in Dolores County will cease“Without oil and gas and farming, we’re done,” said [Commission Chair Doug] Stowe …As I understand it, some sixty percent of Dolores County revenue comes from oil & gas extraction. Depending on how the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service meshes with local farmers and how much truth there is in Golbricht’s rumor, listing could shut things down in Dolores County worse than the Bush-era Banking Collapse … In the Letters to the Editor section, Corinne Roring of San Juan County (UT) explains how her family has for years tried to protect the grouse, never killing them, and how they’ve worked with Utah Fish & Game to transform their windmill into a solar bird watering facility. But she believes, like many farmers and ranchers, that predation is the root cause of grouse declines. Roring writes, “It is a losing battle if the Fish and Game does not manage the predators, especially the raptors, with eagles at the top of the list.”

SHERIFF’S PERSPECTIVE … An occasional columnist, Dolores County Sheriff Jerry Martin weighs in, later in the paper, on gun control … “I am sure the potential terrorists will only show up with weapons and ammunition clips allowed under the new law. This makes about as much sense as buying a guard dog and then having his teeth extracted”“Chicago and Washington D.C. have some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation and also lead the nation in homicides. Is there a lesson to be learned here?”“I support the recent decision by the school board to designate select school employees as school source and protection employees and will work closely with them to see that they are trained and able to respond.”

FRONT PAGE NEWS … One of my favorite regular features (along with Doug Funk’s own rural life column, Phunque’s Desk) is this summary of regional stories from newspapers in other communities. Telluride doesn’t make it very often, but the Cortez Journal, Dolores Star, San Miguel Basin Forum, Pine River Times (Bayfield), the Palisade Tribune, and the San Juan Record (Monticello) are all regulars … Here’s the Funks’ take on a Record story: … “Sally Jewell has been nominated to replace Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar. San Juan County residents fear she may be in favor of more National Monument designations.”

Saturday, March 2, 2013

UBC913 ... The Talking Gourd

The Female Form

Girl Dressing Hair by Ito Shinsui

Yes, I posed nude for him.
But he wasn't like any
other artist I've ever
worked for. I'd sit on
his lap, his left arm tightly
around me while he painted
with his right hand. He said
he didn't want to paint
the way I look, only
the way I feel.

-Valerie Haugen