Monday, February 8, 2016

Baseball diamond more circular than we think

I really don't understand this, but maybe, the baseball diamond is more circular than we think — or it is truly a game of a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.
I thought about that a while back, when I  ran into Rick "Goose" Gossage while walking my dogs one day.  He was out jogging, but said "Hello."
I thought about legacy, coincidence, high-powered names and old-time baseball. I didn't have my Yankee hat on, and the dogs didn't recognize him, or if they did, they didn't realize he was in the Baseball Hall of Fame. And nobody really remembers who was in the 1916 World Series, almost a hundred years ago.
A hundred years ago, the 1916 Monument Baseball team had a wonderful season. They won the El Paso County Championship that year, which was quite a feat, as they played mostly teams from larger areas in the Colorado Springs area.
"In those days, the team had to make their own expenses, and there was no charge for the games. The team gave dances, and Hagedorn family orchestra furnished the music. This money was used to buy the team's uniforms. Dr. McConnell always bought balls for them," wrote historian Lucille Lavellett.
Her brother, George Hagedorn first organized the town's baseball team in 1914. Along with George, the players of that early team were Dan Davidson, Bill Connell, Bud Connell, Tom Connell, Roy Gaunt, Jack Roser, Bryan Hagedorn, Marion Hagedorn, Wilbur Fulker and Iven Fulker was manager.
So much for dropping names, and talking baseball, and 100-year-old history.
Long before the Yankees were strong, Carrigan was a household name in Boston, Maine, and all over New England. 
Bill "Rough"Carrigan was "deadball era" catcher and played 10 seasons for the Boston Red Sox. In the middle of the season in 1913, he replaced defending World Series manager Jake Stahl as a player manager. Later, he returned as Boston's manager in 1927 and stayed until 1929. Carrigan was fairly small for major league baseball, only about 5 foot, 9 inches, and weighed about 175 pounds.
"In the spring of 1906 Carrigan was signed to a Red Sox contract by Charles Taylor, the father of Red Sox owner John I. Taylor. Carrigan joined the struggling Red Sox directly in the middle of the season, immediately catching the likes of Bill Dinneen and Cy Young," according to Mark Amour, for the SABR Baseball Biography Project.
The next few seasons established him as a reliable contributor on the field and in the box. 
"In July 1913 the Red Sox were grappling with a series of injuries, fighting among themselves, and limping along in fifth place. Team president Jimmy McAleer fired manager Jake Stahl just months after his World Series triumph, and replaced him with his 29-year-old catcher. Carrigan liked Stahl, as did most of the team, and was reluctant to take charge of a team filled with veterans, many of whom were just as qualified for the job as he. McAleer persuaded Carrigan to take it. The Red Sox were a team fractured along religious lines, as Protestants like Tris Speaker, Joe Wood, and Harry Hooper often crossed swords with the Catholics on the team, including Carrigan," says Amour.
"Smoking Joe" Wood began his baseball career on town teams in the Colorado San Juans, playing for Ouray teams in Telluride, Rico and Silverton, before his outstanding major league run.
"The well-mannered Carrigan earned the nickname 'Rough' for the way he played. He was a well-respected handler of pitchers, and had a fair throwing arm, but it was his plate blocking that caused Chicago White Sox manager Nixey Callahan to say, “You might as well try to move a stone wall.” On May 17, 1909 he engaged in a famous brawl with the Tigers’ George Moriarty after a collision at home plate, while their teammates stood and watched. He had a fight with Sam Crawford a couple of years later, and maintained a reputation as someone who would not back down from a confrontation," according to Amour.
After he replaced Stahl as manager, he led Boston to a second-place finish in 1914 and then, two world championships in 1915 and 1916, stacking up an 8–2 record as a manager in World Series play. Until Terry Francona duplicated the feat in 2007, he was the only manager to have won two World Series titles with Boston. Babe Ruth called Carrigan the best manager he ever played for.
"The most important event of the 1914 season was the purchase, at Carrigan’s urging, of pitchers Ernie Shore and Babe Ruth from Baltimore of the International League. Although Ruth gave his skipper a lot of credit for his development as a player, Carrigan was humble in his own assessment: “Nobody could have made Ruth the great pitcher and great hitter he was but himself. He made himself with the aid of his God-given talents.” Old Rough did allow that his protégé needed quite a bit of discipline, and Carrigan was there to provide it, even rooming with Ruth for a time. Carrigan caught Ruth in his pitching debut, on July 11," wrote Amour.
"In early September 1916, Carrigan announced that he would be leaving baseball at the end of the season. He had actually wanted to quit after the 1915 Series, and had so told owner Joe Lannin, but his owner talked him into the one additional campaign. Carrigan later wrote, “I had become fed up on being away from home from February to October. I was in my thirties, was married and had an infant daughter. I wanted to spend more time with my family than baseball would allow.” He retired to his hometown of Lewiston and embarked on careers in real estate (as co-owner of several movie theaters in New England) and banking. A few years later he sold his theaters for a substantial profit and became a wealthy man."
He returned home to his banking career, eventually becoming president of People's Savings Bank in Maine. In 1946 he was named to the Honor Roll in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, in 1968 was named to Holy Cross College's Hall of Fame, and in 2004 named to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame. "Rough Bill" Carrigan passed away in a Lewiston, Maine, hospital in 1969 at the age of 85. 
Not too many folks probably remember Carrigan's Red Sox defeated the Brooklyn Robins in 5 games to win the World Series in 1916.
Just a few years before, on Aug. 14, 1909, in the area known at the time as the town of Husted, (which was near my house and the North Gate if the Air Force Academy) unfortunately was the site of a terrible rail accident.
“Nine persons are dead, and others are expected to die; between forty and fifty are injured; three engines are in the ditch; two baggage cars, including the contents, are smashed to kindling wood, and several passenger coaches are badly damaged as the result of a head-on collision between east bound passenger train No. 8, and westbound passenger No. 1, on the Denver & Rio Grande, near Husted, thirteen miles north of this city, at 10:25 a. m. today. The wreck was due to a misunderstanding of orders, it is said.”
Report from papers all over the nation carried the dispatches.
As No. 8 drew into Husted about forty miles an hour, the crew of the engine saw a light engine standing on the switch north of the station.
“Mistaking the engine for the second section of No. 1, the crew did not stop, and went through the station as fast as the two engines could draw the thirteen heavily laden coaches. As soon as the train got out of the station, the engineer of the first engine of No. 8 saw another train coming slowly down the incline. He slammed on the air brakes, and the emergency brakes, and then shouted to the other members of the two crews to jump. Before they had time to jump, No. 3 had rammed No. 1 so hard that all three engines lay in the ditch,’ according to the Nebraska State Journal at the time.
Wilbur F. Fulker and his brother Iven were passengers on the southbound train out of Monument involved in the collision. Wilbur took a series of photographs with a new camera using that famously chronicled the accident. Wilbur’s son, also Wilbur, is the tuba-playing inspiration for the Colorado Spring’s landmark “Uncle Wilber’s Fountain” at Acacia Park and longtime teacher and administrator at the Colorado Deaf and Blind.
“Fireman J. A. Gossage, of train No. 8, was killed as he was firing his engine, and never knew what struck him. The members of the other crew escaped serious injury by jumping.”
The smoker, attached to train No. 8, was the car in which the people were killed. All those badly injured were in the same car.
Other reports said that J.A. or Jack Gossage, the fireman on the helper engine who lived at Husted and had just waved to his wife as the train passed his home was trapped between the engine and the tender when the collision occurred.
Jack Gossage's wife continued to work for the railroad for many years afterward as a cook for crews in Husted, and the Gossage name eventually became quite famous for other reasons in Colorado Springs. Jack Gossage is grandfather to Colorado Springs standout and major league baseball hall of famer Rick “Goose” Gossage.
Today, it occurs to me, that legends and names are relative. So much for dropping names.
Our name is written in the dirt alongside the plate. 
But the umpire can sweep it away — the next time there is a close call at home.

Photo 1: 
Cy Young, Jake Stahl, Bill Carrigan and Michael T. McGreevey, Boston Red Sox Spring Training, 1912.
Photo 2: 
Babe Ruth, Jack Barry, Bill Carrigan, and Del Gainer of the Boston Red Sox.
Photo 3:
1916 Monument Championship baseball team: Left to right, Roy Guant, Jack Roser, Wilber Fulker, unknown, unknown, George Hagedorn, the three Connell brothers, and Iven Fulker, Manager.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

135 years of friendly, local service in one spot

 Monument pioneer William "Penny" Lierd earned his nickname as payback for a coffin purchase.
"Mr. Lierd, a very honest man, always paid his debts and he expected everyone to do the same. He sold a coffin to a party and they would not pay so started to sue. They finally came and paid for the coffin, $50; they brought the money all in penneys and made him count it out.  From then on, he was known as "Penny Lierd," according to an account by Monument historian Lucille Lavelett from 1970s,
That could have been just about any time after 1882. The store Lierd built at 243 Washington, started construction sometime in 1881, and carried a sign for a long time saying "established 1882.".
He first set foot in Monument in 1870, coming to Colorado to heal his lungs from tuberculosis, buying a 280-acre ranch, north and east of town on the Douglas County line.
But William "Penny" Laird was just one in a long line, of civic-minded shopkeepers in what is now Catriona Cellars.
"This is really a great community, " says "Woody" Woodworth, who has conducted business there for the last 20 years. "We bought the Feed Store business in January of 1996."
Woodworth and his wife Catherine later expanded the feed business to "High Country Feed and Garden," a top Garden Center and later added other elements. Two years ago, they undertook a major renovation as Winery, restaurant, and wine-making and home-brewing supply store.
He still dabbles in landscape, planting and other elements, but, as he says, "That is a younger man's game. It's a lot of work, very physical. "
The wine business has taken off. "Wine Sales are huge," he says and the downtown is poised to really take off. "It's historic, well-maintained, family-friendly, quaint, and unique, with a bunch of personable people operating businesses. It is the strength of the individuals."
Over time, the buildings of the Winery have housed various businesses and endeavors.
Early on, a cellar there served as jail for wide-open Monument. "We found the bars," says Woodworth, about their restoration work on a portion of the property. "It looked like there was possibly three partitions to divide cells."
Lierd, the first proprietor, sold dry goods, shoes, groceries, caskets and coffins.
Records show that men sock brought 25 cents for three pairs. Shoes priced at $2.50 a pair and hard candy were popular items, as was plug tobacco, with a special plug cutter right there on the counter.
"On each pound strip of tobacco were five tin horse shoes or stars which were good for premiums.  If a customer didn't want the horseshoes Mr. Lierd would ask for them," Lavelett related in histories. "Will Lierd's son, Clifton, told me the Lierd's had a dining set acquired by sending in 70,000 horseshoes."
In fact the Lavelett Truck line was located there at one time in the 1940s, notes Woodworth, as well as Engel Feed and Fuel in 1950s, the Fire Department in the 1960s, and the Equity Produce and Mercantile, which was a farmer's Co-op operating in 1922, by J.R. Close and C.C. Garrett. Elsi Romack Newbrough was clerk in 1918.
Woodworth says people of a certain age, still come into the business and recall playing bingo as children in the fire hall, and Engel descendants still live in the Tri-Lakes area.
He and his wife Catherine purchased the feed business from Judy Bliss, who acquired it in 1980. Artist Jodie Bliss, daughter of Bill and Judy Bliss, now has her studio facing the back of the lot, and the Bliss family still maintain ownership of the historic location.

Photo1: Interior of Will "Penny" Lierd's store on Washington Street in Monument in the 1880s, and left to right: Will Lierd, Fred Sailor, the man with the derby hat and whiskers, Andrew Curry.

Photo 2: Built in 1881 by William Leird, better known as Penny Leird, General Mercantile store, and stocked with groceries, meats, farming equipment, — anything the town's people of Monument would need, they carried. Also they had a full line of coffins and caskets. At this time in history funeral parlors were unheard of. Standing in front of the store is Nellie McShane, owner at this time J.M. Brown, and Jessie McShane. The McShane girls were daughters of Monument pioneer David McShane. McShane was the builder of McShane Fort on the edge of Monument and Palmer Lake., and the girls were employed by owner Brown. Monument Fire Department bought the building in 1966, and renovated it. Carl Campbell was the Engineer of Renovation, and Bill Simpson helped by grading and moving heavy timbers.

Photo 3: Catriona Cellars, owned by Woody and Catherine Woodworth, today.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Spirits of Higby and Moore haunt downtown Monument

All politics is local. Former Speaker of the U.S. House, Tip O'Neill is credited for the phrase and is most closely associated with it. But perhaps the history-book writers were unfamiliar with William Eugene Higby, of Monument, early in the 20th Century.
Architecture, art, politics and history all get rolled up in a package and placed on the corner — the corner of Second Street and Washington, to be exact.
"W.E. Higby was known by everyone as Gene. He was very interested in public affairs and his public career began in 1910 when he was elected Treasurer of Monument. In 1912, he was elected mayor, and served continuously for 25 years. In 1912, he was also elected to the Republican precinct committeeman, and served continuously for 55 years. In 1920, he was elected to the board of District 38, a job he held for 15 years," wrote Lucille Lavelett in her book "Through the Years in Monument."
By 1932 he had entered State government becoming first a State Representative from El Paso County, then State Senator, and then Lieutenant Governor, by 1942. He ran, seeking the Governor's position shortly thereafter, but lost out in a four-way split at the assembly, but still reprised his role as Lt. Governor afterwards. Later, he served on the Colorado Springs Board of Health for more than 10 years. Interestingly enough, Gene Higby was the first person in Colorado to preside over both the House and Senate as he also served as Speaker of the House, of which he was elected unanimously.
In the meantime, he helped run a Hereford cattle operation with a spread of more than 4,000 acres, dreamed up the working ideas of an early jet engine propulsion, and worked, and operated  Higby Merchantile Co. That is where the corner of Second and Washington comes in.
The J.W. Higby family, Gene's dad, came to Colorado in 1888, homesteading in the Eastonville area first, and then moving to Monument and establishing Higby Mercantile Co. in 1900, on said corner.
The business was in continuous operation in Monument for 67 years.
Here is where the art, architecture, a little music and more history are folded in.
Jim Rand Moore, originally a native of Milwaukee, Wis., and educated at  Stanford University and University of of Wisconsin, after receiving an Economics degree, moved his family to Monument in 1971. He had fallen in love with Colorado, while visiting with his family that owned a small chain of fine men's clothing stores, MacNeil & Moore, one of which was at the Broadmoor Hotel.
"He loved classical as well as jazz music, fine architecture as well as fine art, and talented horses as well as talented equestrians," according to his biography, distributed among those gathered to honor him at his funeral in August, of 2007.
"He was a great musician mastering many musical instruments including the guitar, bass, banjo, trumpet, trombone, tuba, violin, and viola. He even produced a couple of albums as a member of the Dixieland Jazz Band, the Riverboat Rascals, back in the 1960s. He was also a talented artist in drawing, painting, and sculpture."
Lee and Rob Frisbee, of Monument Pharmacy, and current owners of the Chapala Building, which they bought from Moore in 2004, said he was a real force in Monument, over time.
"We appreciate anything that carries Jim's memory forward and casts him in the wonderful light he deserves," says Rob Frisbie.
As a general contractor, he designed and built many structures locally including the family's state-of-the-art solar heated Moutain Shadow Farm at the base of Mount Herman.
"He also turned his eye to the historic buildings of Downtown Monument and renovated the old 1900 Higby Mercantile Building into the Mexican-style Chapala Building. He also built Chapala North and the Monte Verde Building in the same unique style and many other downtown buildings were heavily influenced by his sense of design," according to his biography.
Although Gene Higby's and Jim Moore's physical presence have been gone for years now, their artistic and public-minded spirits still linger, at the corner of Second and Washington, and throughout the historic architecture of Monument. Politics, art, music and more, rolled up in a package and placed there on the corner.


Photo Information:

Photo 1: Higby Mercantile store, shortly after opening in 1900.

Photo 2: Inside the store in 1900.

Photo 3: W.E. Higby in store holding up a copy of the first issue of the Lake View Press.

Photo 4: The Chapala Building today.

Photo 5: Higby Mercatile in 1957.

Photo 6: Jim Rand Moore.

Photo 7: Old safe that still resides (and probably always will, because it is very heavy, and doesn't fit through any doors) in the Chapala Buiding.

Historic photos courtesy of Lucretia Vaile Museum.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Trains, magic, helping out, and seeing is believing

The Polar Express is basically the story of the power and magic of believing. Gary Coleman, 70, and his son Travis, 42, of Palmer Lake, know a thing or two about believing, and trains, and magic.
They are true believers.
Every year, for the last nine years, the two have created their own version of The Polar Express and used it to promote good, help people, and capture some winter-time magic locally. And though they got late start, this year is no different. With the help of family and friends, they set up O scale train layouts and recreate the worlds of wonder with the look and feel of small town America, and more than a few links to their hometown. This year's display is located in West End Center in Palmer Lake and encompasses really four different Polar Express trains and a trolley car, in at least two different gauges, and space of more than five full sheets of plywood.
"This year, any donations we collect will go to the children of victims of the Black Friday Shooting in Colorado Springs," said Gary Coleman.
The two have collected donations over the years for the Palmer Lake Fire Department, Awake the Lake, and other local efforts. Some years they raise as much as $700, Gary said.
The displays have been located many different places, including The Depot Restaurant, the Rock House, West End Center and the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, and the Depot still provides tickets for a cup of hot chocolate. That was where the original setup occurred years ago.
"We basically outgrew our own living room with all the layouts, even though we took all of our furniture out to make room. Alicia gave us a room upstairs at The Depot."
The setup was late getting started this year because trouble locating setup space and Gary fell, breaking his glasses and cutting his head. The arrival of new glasses enabling him to see well enough to put the complex layouts together delayed the process for the former Land Survey Company owner, mail carrier, and Palmer Lake Town Board Member.
But The Polar Express is not the Coleman's first railroad.
"My dad was the ticket supervisor at Union Station in Washington, D.C.," says Gary.  "When I moved out west with my mom, he would bring a train set, and other presents every year for Christmas, and spend all night setting them up so they would be operating on Christmas morning. I have liked trains ever since," he said.
That, in fact, played a role in him locating in Palmer Lake, alongside the Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks and train-watching community. He and Travis have been collecting and engineering miniature railroads since Travis was very young, and that life-long pursuit has rubbed off on other members of the family. His wife Mary, until her death nearly six years ago, helped paint buildings in the town, and collect Caribou, and create trees, bridges and other structures. A step daughter still helps Gary add to the fire department collection every year with a new engine, and things like El Paso County Sheriff's vehicles grace the landscapes.
"My favorite," says Travis of an American Flyer S Scale layout that looks hauntingly familiar to local landscapes with a diner reminiscent of Rosie's, and two Starbucks stands.
Posters of Santa and movie trailer shot adorn the walls and there is even a Star, complete with multiple engines and a replica of the bell, made famous by the movie.
And speaking of believing:
"At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found on Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe," says main character Hero Boy in the movie The Polar Express.
For Travis and Gary Coleman the bell will never be silenced, and as the conductor said, "The thing about trains ... it doesn't matter where they are going. What matters is deciding to get on."
Seeing is believing, and Coleman's trains should be set up in West End Center for about another week. You can make an appointment to see them by calling 481-8937. Sometimes, however, the most real things in the world are the things we can't see.

___ Rob Carrigan,


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Family farms, legacy and traveling Lakota land

"A traveler has a right to relate and embellish his adventures as he pleases, and it is very impolite to refuse that deference and applause they deserve."
__ Rudolf Erich Raspe, Travels of Baron Munchausen

Lingle, Wyoming, 1985

The Treaty of Fort Laramie, an agreement between the U.S. government and the Ogalala, Miniconjou and Brule bands of the Lakota, Yanktonai Dakota and Arapaho, signed in April of 1868, said the Lakota owned the Black Hills of South Dakota and outlined hunting rights in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. The Powder River area was supposed to be closed to western expansion by white settlers.
That is all history, of course, but I'm a dedicated traveler of such paths.
There was about 10 and half miles, distance by car from Fort Laramie to the Stage Coach Restaurant in Lingle, Wyoming.
I lived in apartments next door to the Stage Coach, and worked across the street. I ate there almost every day, and knew the owners Sam and Wilma Bingham pretty well, I guess, for a traveler, and a newspaper hack. Wilma's sister, Meriam Bremmer, worked at paper years before, and years after I traveled on.
Back then, it was the height of the farm crisis. We ran auction ads, selling off equipment that families had worked years to accumulate, at pennies on the dollar. Times were more than tough.
In the summer, bikers headed for Sturgis rumbled through in groups and individually, often stopping and parking their Harleys diagonally in front of the Stage Coach, or Rose Bros. Tractor, or the Corner Bar that had once been a bank. I think now it is called "Bitch's Corner Bar," since about 2000, but there was trouble about that name, five or six years later.
There was also a little grocery store. A fabulously popular barber shop was run by a local woman then, and the Lingle City Hall and Post Office was nearby. Lingle-Fort Laramie High School educated the masses, and of course, the red-white-and-blue band shell with the American Flag flying out front sometime kept them entertained.
I remember the divorced woman who lived behind me in the apartments seem to have her eye on me, and worked for Sam and Wilma at Stage Coach. Meriam protected me, however, and besides that, I was always working, trying the get the latest Lingle Guide or Guernsey Gazette out, at all hours of the night and day. Plenty of time for lunch, though.
Merriam's cowboy rancher husband Dale would meet us over there, and we usually ate at one big table with Wilma and sometimes Sam (unless he was still cooking) and other stragglers we picked up along the way. Beef and Barley Soup. And maybe a sandwich, or something. Almost every day. Wonderful stuff, for sure.
On Friday nights, I would take photos at the first half of the Lingle football game, then jump in the car and drive to Guernsey thirty-some miles away and shoot part of the second half of that game — then run home and soup film in the tiny darkroom at our office in Lingle. Other nights and days were not remarkably different, with Lingle Council, Fort Laramie happenings, Guernsey School Board, and some kind of feature for both.  That was, when you could get the equipment to work.
We set copy on an old Compugraphic VDT, transferred the five-inch floppy to a silver monster in the back running three-inch light sensitive paper out in galleys, and under the cover of night (in the dark room) process a hundred yards at a time (or, at least it seemed like it was that long).
But the meanest piece of equipment in the place was an old address machine that still used metal address plates to mail the paper. Meriam was really the only one that could make that work.
Though the stuff was old, the equipment was pretty hearty however. I recall more than once, when the Pat Davarn had to bring Torrington copy over from our sister paper in the middle of the night because their newer stuff was not working and he knew our old silver beast typesetter would slowly grind through it.
My history was made up of bear stories mostly at that time. My travels were colored by them. Much of my first two decades had been spent among the Dolores Bears in an idyllic river valley in southwestern Colorado. I don't think the life I had lived to date, was quite as rough as the wind-blown sugar beet farmers and cattle ranchers in Goshen Hole, by comparison. Family owned farms were in deep trouble.
Even Willie Nelson felt like he had to do something, despite his own troubles.
Farm Aid, a benefit concert first held Sept. 22, 1985 in Champaign, Illinois, was organized by Willie, John Mellencamp and Neil Young. Reportedly nudged forward by comments made by Bod Dylan at Live Aid earlier, the three hoped to raise money to help farmers in danger of losing their farms under the crush of mortgage debt.
80,000 people, and performers including Dylan, Billy Joel, B.B. King, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and others showed up in Champaign,  and raised over $9 million for America's family farmers that September. I was familiar, at least with the name and idea of Champaign, Ill., because I'd heard of it most of my life from the neighbor kids I grew up next-door to. Their parents had moved to Colorado from there, and gone to school at University of Illinois.
The organization is still going strong, but with the money from that first concert, Farm Aid established emergency hotlines for farmers and farm associations. I remember thinking how good an idea that was at the time.  Reason being, I had attended those farmers meetings and seen the anguish on generational agricultural  families about to lose the farm.
Strike that. They were about to lose their whole identity.
While covering a standoff between local police and a long-time farmer who holed himself up in the barn across the road, because he couldn't take the auction process and evaporation of generations of family legacy — I had heard the shot of his own gun that ended it.
Later, in California, I saw a man that lost everything, he said because banks had convinced him to borrow money recklessly prior to the farm crisis. The fellow worked himself to death in his 50s trying to recover ground, and died on the toilet during one of his few breaks in his 18-hour days.
Even their neighbors were sometimes unsympathetic, and of the opinion that they did it to themselves.
The hotlines were a good idea, though. And probably provided gentleness of words — words, like the shot, that can never be taken back.
But as I said, I was just a traveler in that space and time.  According to the treaty of Fort Laramie, the Lakota owned the ground and hunting rights anyway. It was supposed to be closed to white settlers since 1868.
As Willie said, "There is only one map to the journey of life, and it is within your heart."


Friday, December 25, 2015

Plans for the Forest, now and 50 years ago

The wheels turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.
I thought about that when considering plans for Pike National Forest — recent plans, and those from 50 years ago.
Just about a year ago in a meeting at Ute Pass Cultural Center in Woodland Park, I asked Pikes Peak District Ranger Oscar Martinez about any specific areas of concern as it pertains to the threat of wildfire.
He  tabbed the Upper Monument Creek landscape.
"We are just beginning a modelling project to take that landscape and look at how to fragment the way that fire moves there. Our intention is to manage the landscape so that we might be able to design treatments to put speed bumps in place should a major wildfire occur."
Carin Vadala, NEPA Planner for the Forest Service is the lead for the Upper Monument Creek Project, and said things were just beginning.
"The Front Range Roundtable identified this area as a high priority treatment area to reduce the risk of large severe fires and to increase the function of the watersheds. They have worked to garner funding through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project which will help fund the work done on the forest. The estimated costs are approximately $10 million over a ten-year period or about $1 million a year to implement. The main objective is to create a forest structure that is varied across the landscape and is also resilient to disturbances. The timeline is not completely set because the district is currently working on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which will be released to the public for review later this year. Once the EIS is finalized it is anticipated that projects will continue for about 10 years," Vadala says.
According to a description in Forest Service reports, "The landscape is highly urbanized with the Colorado Springs metropolitan area dominating on the southeast border and the community of Woodland Park on the southwest. Two smaller communities, Monument and Palmer Lake, border the landscape to the northeast. The U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) is a significant presence on the landscape’s eastern boundary. The USAFA also maintains the private 655-acre Farish Recreation Area as an inholding within the landscape itself. The northern portion of the UMC landscape includes approximately one-quarter (4,407 acres) of the U.S. Forest Service’s Manitou Experimental Forest and 3,409 acres of designated Colorado Roadless Area. The 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire burned across approximately 11,000 acres at the landscape’s southern tip.
Based on these analyses, it recommended over the next 7-10 years, the USFS use a combination of mechanical, manual and prescribed fire treatments to manage conditions on approximately 18,000 acres within the UMC landscape.Back in July of 1966, the USFS released grand plans of another project, perhaps much larger in scale, but having effects in the same area.
"Rampart Range Road could become one of the top scenic attractions in the country if plans now being developed by Pike National Forest planners become a reality," wrote Dave Richter of the Colorado Springs Free Press at the time.
Thomas Evans, Pike National Forest supervisor then, said the project, called the Rampart Range Recreational Way, is recognized nationally as a priority project. He said then that an impact survey of the affected area was being carried out and would be forwarded to the Denver regional office by Nov. 1 (1966) an after study, sent to the Forest Service chief in Washington and eventually to the Bureau of Budget for Congressional appropriation.
The Rampart Range Recreation Way was tied into development of the Monument Rock Recreation Area on the the site of the abandoned Monument Nursery, and the enlargement and proposed opening to the public of Northfield Reservoir No. 5, (part of the Homestake Project)  and construction of Two Forks Reservoir on the South Platte River north of Deckers. At the time, it was noted that not any of the projects had been appropriated.
The Monument Rock area was to have provided all types of recreation facilities, including game areas, an amphitheater, visitor information center, camp and picnic grounds, group picnic concessions, and parking for 560 cars.  It was to be built on the old nursery beds, which are divided from one another by rows of mature trees.
Supervisor Evans said that the idea of a highly developed recreation area was new to the Forest Service then, noting that historically it concerned itself with more rustic facilities as part of multiple use of the forest. "The idea of such recreational facilities, with their concentration of people and activities, is more in line with the National Park Service philosophy," he said.
Also in the works, at the time, was plans for a connecting road between Monument and Rampart Range Road, although no grade had been picked.
"The road could use the old Mount Herman Road or follow a road being built by American Telephone and Telegraph for access to a relay station," it was reported.
"The idea is to provide access to the recreational way for visitors to the Monument Rock area without a long trip via Colorado Springs or Sedalia,"
Plans for further development along the Pikes Peak Toll Road were also included in the proposed recreational study, and it was suggested that Rampart Range Road would be paved and a strip of land on both sides would of the road would be left in a natural state. Private land along the road would be bypassed by new construction, so that no commercial development, which would ruin the road as a scenic way, could occur.
The route was to provide a scenic alternative to Interstate 25 for travelers between Denver and Colorado Springs, Evans said back then, and it would be easily accessible to residents between Fort Collins and Pueblo on the fast-growing Front Range.
About 80 percent of the state's population resided on the Front Range at the time.
"The effect of the recreation way on the economy of the region would be large. Some small cities, such as Woodland Park, which is at the end of the upper portion Rampart Range Road, may receive a substantial economic shot in the arm from the project," it was reported in 1966.
"It is possible the recreation way, which will be similar to a larger one already in existence along the crests of the Great Smokey Mountains, may become important to the tourist industry as the Air Force Academy and Pikes Peak are now."


Photo 1: Along Rampart Range Road, mid-December, 2015.

Photo 2: Pikes Peak District Ranger Oscar Martinez.

Rob Carrigan,

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Low-down, dirty, newspaper at Christmas blues

Guy called, "Hold everything." Knows it's late, but wants to get a letter in.
Copy editor started drinking last year's Christmas party, won't stop this millennium.
Story is late, and corresponding wire content doesn't correspond with correspondent.
Advertising promised position, miners knows its not sexy, but wants to market selenium.
Features ran off with printers, and automotive despairs, crestfallen, disconsolate, despondent.
Widows and orphans require more lead, loose paste up, Exacto knife and "Air" again.
Publisher back from Rotary and wants to know what edition donation printed in.
Setting heads, old 7200 Compugraphic and counts don't fit the space for them.
Reporter's dog ate his story. Assignment says, "Follow it around 'til it is in the bin."
"Can't be any more convoluted than last week's, and the same old spin of him."
Old dogs and children. Guess what leads off the on front ten, and then refers in?
Photographer still trying to light just right, uses timer, two pods, models a friend.
The old red suit, white beard, drops his letter, "Yes, Virginia O'Hanlon."