Saturday, July 15, 2017

Town's namesake in the thick of forest history

Monument Rock centers the known trail universe


By Rob Carrigan, rob.carrigan@pikespeaknewspapers.com

If you continue past Limbach Park, across the train tracks on Second Street, take a left on Mitchell Ave. , continue on past the Lake of the Rockies and right on to Mount Herman Road, keep heading west , you are headed the right direction. Monument Rock, for which town of Monument is named, stands amidst Monument Open Space preserve, a symbol of the area’s enduring nature. Extensive trails around the rock cater horseback riding, dog walking, jogging while also serving as a hub to other trail systems.
In “The story behind the Pike National Forest,” by Marion Ritchey Vance and John A. Vance, and on U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service site, history of the Forest Service itself is tied to the anchor of Monument Rock.
“W.T.S. May inherited when he was appointed Superintendent of Forests for Colorado and Utah on August 4, 1898 . On Aug. 8, 1898, Col. May appointed a young man from the Plum Creek Reserve as Forest Ranger in the state of Colorado. William R. Kreutzer thus became the first forest ranger on the Pike National Forest and, reportedly, in the nation. Young Kreutzer knew forests and he took his job seriously.”
His charge from Col. May: “Ride as far as the Almighty will let you, and get control of the fire situation and as much of the mountain country as you possibly can, and keep some sort of a record about it.”
Reforestation became a priority for the new ranger at the turn of the 20th Century.
“A popular image of the Forest Service is that of rangers arriving to protect wooded lands. In the case of the Pike, the job was first to recreate the forest.
“Protection of the Front Range watershed was paramount. That meant re-establishing ground cover as quickly as possible to stem erosion, and preventing further damage,” the Vances wrote.
To cope with such a massive reforestation project, local foresters began experimenting with seed and seedlings. Seedlings proved more effective, but early nurseries yielded little reward for the arduous labor.
The breakthrough came with establishment of a small planting station at the foot of Mount Herman. Officially named the Monument Nursery in 1907, the seedling facility was one of the first in the forest system and the most important in the Rocky Mountains.
Over its 58 years of service, the Monument Nursery produced millions of seedlings annually. By the early 1950s, more than 40,000 acres of denuded lands on the Pike had been replanted with Douglas fir, blue spruce, Engelmann spruce, ponderosa, limber and bristlecone pine.
Monument supplied seedlings to other forests as well and to private farmers for windbreak and erosion control. Similar efforts were occurring nearby, in the Manitou Park area.
Developers like Dr. William Abraham Bell, the founder of Manitou Springs, buddy of Colorado Springs founder of Gen. William Palmer, recognized roads in the forest were important.
Bell, though it is not universally known and talked about, also had development efforts in the early days of what is now Palmer Lake and nearby Monument. Bell’s own efforts, coupled with the efforts of Palmer, led to the donation of Manitou Park to Colorado College.
“Accordingly, Colorado College established the Colorado School of Forestry. In 1937, the Works Progress Administration built a lovely six-building complex at Manitou Park,” wrote Mackell Collins.
On the other side, “During the Great Depression, Monument Nursery was home to one of Colorado’s largest Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps. The Corps was key to the reforestation effort. From 1934 to 1942, CCC crews under Forest Service supervision designed and constructed buildings, fought fires, manned the nurseries and planted seedlings,” Vances noted.Some disagreed with the practices of reforestation.
According to the Denver Republican (June 28, 1908) “…it would behoove the citizens of Colorado Springs to bring an injunction suit against the government, which threatens to plant a million trees per year until 20 million are planted on the Pikes Peak Reserve.”“Water is scarce enough at Colorado Springs at present conditions, but if the government is going to attempt to water 20 million trees in addition to the trees now absorbing water, I can assure the citizens that in 20 years there would only be water for the trees and none for the city. It would increase the water supply of Colorado Springs materially if every tree was cut from Pikes Peak.”
By 1965, with a relatively healthy forest in place, reforestation was no longer a priority for the district office. Nursery operations were moved to Basalt and the facilities converted in the 1970s to the Monument Fire Center. It now serves as base for the elite firefighting crews known as “Monument Hotshots,” says Vance’s story.



Saturday, July 8, 2017

Locally, we benefited from "Harvey Girls."



In most cases, I am just like many other western historians, with my blinders on, pretty much ignoring the idea that women had much to do with the history of the west. Not because I think they didn't.  I am positive they had a key role in the taming of the country that was severely under-reported and assigned less import than what actually occurred. It is just not documented.
A longtime resource, from my hometown in southwestern Colorado identifies the problem precisely, though he was talking about all folk, and legacy in general terms.
"They were working people and left much less documentation and monuments to their existence. Their business deals were done with a handshake and their accomplishments are more likely to be made of hard work and sweat, instead of bricks, stone and newspaper articles. History is much richer when we know the story of the people who built the fancy house on the hill along with the people who lived in it," notes my friend, Ellis Miller.
America's tales about taming the Wild West rarely include women. But in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, more than 100,000 pioneering young women left home to work as waitresses in restaurants located on train platforms along the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway.
Locally we benefited from that.
By sketchy accounts, the record describes a Harvey House in Cascade in the 1890s.
"Which I had never heard of, and doesn’t show up in any company documents. With the help of Peter Hansen, editor of Railroad History, and Colorado Midland trainiac Tom VanWormer, we’ve discovered either three or four 'new' Harvey locations in Colorado —which the company ran from 1890-1895, the years the then-troubled Santa Fe owned the Colorado Midland," says Stephen Fried, One Nation Under Fred, a blog about all things Harvey.
"So we can now report there were Harvey Houses and Harvey Girls in: Cascade, Idyllwild and Leadville, and the Cascade house at some point in the early 1890s moved to the Woodland Park depot. This brings the number of Harvey locations in Colorado to 10. Fred had one of his pre-Santa Fe eating houses in Hugo and then beginning in 1879, was in La Junta, Pueblo, Trinidad, Palmer Lake (briefly, a lunchroom from 1899-1902) and then in Colorado Springs. The last Colorado Harvey House, El Otero Hotel in La Junta, closed in 1948," Fried says.
The Harvey House restaurant chain began in Leavenworth, Kansas, after entrepreneur Fred Harvey, left his native England at the age of 15 and found work in New York’s growing restaurant industry. "As the Civil War was brewing, he began working with the railroads, achieving more senior positions as he moved west. Despite his seniority, Harvey never forgot his restaurant roots and, recognizing the poor quality of food for rail travelers, decided to do something about it," says the film documentary, "The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound," by 2013 - Assertion Films, Los Angeles, Calif.
"In 1870, Harvey started a company designed to serve travelers throughout the Southwestern U.S. good food at reasonable prices in clean, elegant restaurants. The women who worked for these restaurants — the Harvey Girls — later became icons, themselves, playing an important role in World War II and helping to transform society's view of women's work," the film describes.
"The Harvey House company left its mark by not only providing work opportunities for women, but by promoting cultural diversity in the workplace. Harvey hired Hispanic and Native American women to be waitresses alongside their Anglo peers," according to the film.
In 1946, MGM turned the Harvey Girls into legend when they released the motion picture musical "The Harvey Girls" starring Judy Garland. This fictional Hollywood movie was the only film, until recently, to touch on their place in history.
"Judy Garland got one of her biggest song hits by accepting a film she didn't really want to do and had started out as another star's project in the first place. "The Harvey Girls (1946)" came about through the kind of happy accidents that only could happen in Hollywood," says Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide, in 2005.
"The story started as a novel by Samuel Hopkins Adams based on the real-life restaurant chain that had helped civilize the West. With waitresses of certified good character, the Harvey houses provided a reliable source of family dining for travelers in the Southwest during the latter part of the 19th century."
Maltin says MGM originally bought rights to the novel in hopes that it would inspire a dramatic film for rising star Lana Turner. Then associate producer Roger Edens saw a tryout performance of Oklahoma! in New Haven. He knew a hit when he saw it and realized that the trailblazing musical probably wouldn't be available to the screen for years (it wasn't filmed until 1955). So he came up with the idea of turning The Harvey Girls into a western musical at MGM, with Judy Garland as a high-spirited waitress. Only Garland wasn't interested," reported Maltin.
"She had wanted to work with Fred Astaire for years and thought a project Arthur Freed was developing for him, "Yolanda and the Thief (1945)", would finally give her the chance. In addition, her husband, Vincente Minnelli was directing it, and the two were trying to work together whenever possible. Edens convinced her that the female lead in Yolanda and the Thief wouldn't be a big enough role for her, and promised that "The Harvey Girls" would be built around her talents.
"It took eight writers to turn The Harvey Girls into a movie, with Samson Raphaelson, who had written some of Ernst Lubitsch's best films, tying them all together. The result was a showcase for Garland's comic, dramatic and musical skills, while also offering juicy supporting roles to deadpan comedienne Virginia O'Brien, sultry Angela Lansbury and a young dancer named Cyd Charisse, who had her first speaking part in the picture."
Best of all was the score by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer, which included a tribute to the railroad that helped win the West, "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe." The number was inspired by Garland's hit from "Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)", "The Trolley Song," and like it was almost an instant hit. Garland recorded it on her own, but the top-selling version featured lyricist Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers. It held the number one spot on the hit parade for eight weeks. As was the custom then, MGM released the song to recording companies before the film was even finished. In fact, Bing Crosby's version of it was playing on the radio as director George Sidney drove to MGM to film the number. "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" picked up the Oscar for Best Song, the first of four awards Mercer would receive in that category.
The classic movie depiction probably has little basis in reality, but at least it helped us remembered that the Harvey Girls existed. Their accomplishments though undocumented, I am sure,  were made of hard work and sweat — instead of bricks, stone and newspaper articles.

By Rob Carrigan, rob.carrigan@pikespeaknewspapers.com







Sunday, July 2, 2017

Uniquely tied to Colorado and Fourth of July

Celebrate Independence: 

We have a long history of doing it right



I know the rest of the country is entitled to celebrate Independence Day but there seems to be something uniquely tied to Colorado and Fourth of July, in my mind.

Maybe it is just fond recollections from July Fourths of the past, in places like Telluride, and Monument, and Dolores, and up here in Teller County.

Legendary celebrations have been held here and after all, we are the Centennial State.

Congress had approved Colorado admission to statehood in March of 1875 and laid out provisions and conditions of statehood but it wasn’t until August 1, 1876, when President Ulysses Grant ratified admission. Communities all over the state had already begun celebrating, and really, have never slowed down.

In Denver in 1890, in celebration of the Fourth and the completion of the Capitol building, reportedly five miles of tables were set up for the barbecue attended by over 60,000.

“There were no greedy gluttonous displays, but every man, woman, and child clamored for food until they had their fill. Just think of it! Three hundred and fifty sheep, 75 calves, 237 fat steers, 13,000 loaves of bread, 3,000 pounds of cheese, 10 barrels of pickles, not to mention a 1,000 gallons of lemonade,” itemized the Rocky Mountain News at the time. “The run on the beer saloons was unprecedented.”

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain in 1776 actually occurred on July 2, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from British rule. After voting for independence, Congress turned its efforts to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its main scribe. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it two days later on July 4.

A day earlier, John Adams, brewer and maltster whose product would have come in handy in modern celebrations, had written to his wife Abigail:

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

Adams's prediction was, of course, off slightly. Americans celebrated independence on July 4 right from the beginning, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.

Historians have long disputed whether members of Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed it on that day. Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly perceived.

Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, James Monroe, another Founding Father who was elected as President, also died on July 4, 1831. He was the third President in a row who died on the anniversary of independence. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872; so far he is the only U.S. President to have been born on Independence Day.

When Colorado was gearing up for statehood, the editor of the Del Norte Prospector had this to say about 38th state’s admission to the union.

“And when the Centennial shall come again. Colorado will be among the fairest of the sisters; her hillsides will have become beautiful under the joint ministry of nature and art: her mountaintops glorified by the sunlight of freedom: and all the bright blessings of civilization and religious liberty will shimmer around her pathway in a golden shower,”

On July 4, 1891, W.S. Stratton was prospecting on the side of Battle Mountain in what was to become Teller County. Based on geology, he reasoned rich ore could be found there. As he searched for gold, Stratton could hear shots fired into the air as miners began their celebration of the Fourth of July. That day, Stratton found and staked out the Washington and the Independence claims.

That claim, and other subsequent moves, made him tremendously wealthy. “He would eventually own one-fifth of the mining land in Cripple Creek and Victor,” writes historian Tom Stockman.

When I was a youngster, growing up in the little town of Dolores, in southwestern Colorado, we stretched back at least 200 years for things to celebrate in the summer of 1976, and every year after, because of our own discovery by Franciscan monks dispatched out of Santa Fe, about the same time as the Declaration of Independence.

"Father Fray Francisco Atanasio awoke somewhat improved, and in order to change terrain and climate rather than to make progress, we set out from the camp and Rio de San Lázaro toward the northwest. We traveled a little more than a league, swung west by west-northwest, and went five leagues through leafy forests and good pastures. Then we turned west, traveled two and a half leagues through a chamise thicket with little pasturage, went a quarter of a league to the north, crossed Rio de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, and camped on its north bank. This river rises on the north slope of the Sierra de la Plata, and runs southwest to this place, where it makes a sharp turn. It is a little smaller than the Rio del Norte in this season. - Today a little more than eight and a half leagues," wrote Francisco Silvestre Vélez de Escalante, on August 12, 1776.

"We remained in camp, partly so that the Father might improve a little and be able to go forward, and partly to observe the latitude of this site and meadow of the Rio de los Dolores where we were. An observation was made by the sun and we found we were in 38° and 13 1/2' north latitude. Here there is everything needed for the establishment and maintenance of a good settlement in the way of irrigable lands, pastures, timber and firewood. On an elevation on the south bank of the river in ancient times there was a small settlement of the same form as those of the Indians of New Mexico, as is shown by the ruins which we purposely examined. Father Fray Francisco Atanasio felt better, and we decided to continue our journey next day," Escalante writes August 13, 1776.

As noted, Colorado has a unique relationship with Independence, and we have a long history of doing it right.

















Saturday, July 1, 2017

A million dollars, still right there in the ground?

Boom, bust, before the boom, and then the bust






By Rob Carrigan, rob.carrigan@pikespeaknewspapers.com



The highest-ever recorded national average price a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $4.114, recorded by AAA, on July 17, 2008. The average price last week was $2.265, for the same fuel, according to the same source. As consumers, we are now cruising on low gas prices. While much of the oil and gas industry has survived an especially tough few years with weak demand and low prices.

But fortune has come and gone before.

Locally, it brings to mind the idea that we once had our “gusher” in this area, and along with it, our own “oil and gas patch.”

“The first whispers of oil in Old Colorado City were heard as early as the 1880s and were ephemeral and delicate but insistent,” wrote Inez Hunt in the first Occasional Papers produced by the Pikes Peak Posse in 1979.

“The oil wealth that poured out in Florence, Colorado, encouraged dreamers to try their luck. Along Oil Creek, near Canyon City, there were occasional small holes which seeped a smelly but tantalizing black trickle of crude into the stream.”

Perhaps being fanned by a hopeful newspaper editor in old Colorado City, the flames of oil passion spread like a gasoline fire as The Iris newspaper in that town reported that 48 prominent citizens had already purchased stock, leases had been signed, and drilling was set to start immediately.

“The year of 1894 seemed to be one of destiny to the oil promoters. Operations of the first well began officially on March 18. The well was named the Iris Well No. 1, to honor one of the most loyal supporters of the project, W.P. Epperson. Epperson was an important civic leader, editor, and owner of the Iris, a man well-educated from Illinois. He held the position of police judge and also took special interest in the fire department. As the owner and editor of The Iris, he was able to see that the city was kept informed of the front-page action at the drilling site. He was soon appointed manager of the project. He was a born promoter,” wrote Hunt.

Epperson even had his own house plumbed to use the natural gas produced in Iris Well No. 1, and Iris Well No. 2.

“Prosperity was in sight for the city, the belief was strong that property owners, the stock owners, everyone would profit. Premature predictions that gas would be sold to future mining mills to roast Cripple Creek ores were conjured up again. Also there was talk of a railroad between Cripple Creek and Colorado City by way of Bear Creek. The oil company no longer begged for buyers of stock. It planned to sell only enough to pay for maintenance; the profits would be divided by fewer people.”

Though Epperson was able to produce enough natural gas to run his own home heating and cooking needs, investors eventually became disinterested when no oil was produced.

“Hard luck dogged Epperson. He tried to persuade the investors to allow him to drill up near the Trenton limestone strata. The investors were growing tired of feeding money into seemingly endless maws of wells that produced only paper certificates,” Hunts paper says.

Epperson never completely gave up on the possibility of striking it rich in the oil business, but eventually chased other projects including mining interests, a trunk and harness store, and other ventures.

His final comment in The Iris, before he moved on to Utah 1909 was, “There is a million dollars, still in there.”

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Chasing the traces, in tracks of time


Pioneer town of Gwillimville out to pasture now


But still remembered, part of the local chamber legacy fabric

 

By Rob Carrigan, rob.carrigan@pikespeaknewspapers.com


Last week, Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce members armed with cellphones and other cameras, as well as a bucket (quarter-full of cattle feed pellets), braved the ankle-deep-in-places bogs of Searle Ranch lower pasture. The feeders, while trying to avoid “Longhorn Landmines,” were all the time, in sight of the last few remaining vestiges of the pioneer town of Gwillimville.

"In 35 years of putting on Texas Longhorn Sales, we've learned that the most successful ones offer good cattle and a memorable social experience," says Stan Searle, Charlie's father.

Stan (and the rest of the family, as a result) have been involved in the Longhorn business since the early 1970s and formerly founded and published the Texas Longhorn Journal. Charlie worked as editor, and Shelley worked alongside. Stan's wife, and Charlie and Shelley's mom Lorna, was Ad Manager.

For the last 15 years, it has been a local Longhorn operation out at Cherry Springs Ranch (with other grazing ground out in Ellicott) on the former site of Gwillimville. Founded in 1869 by Gwillim R. Gwillim, originally from South Wales, and six miles east of Monument on Highway 105.

"The cabin and hay shed in the bottom of the pasture dates back to the time of the town," noted Stan in recent tour during a Chamber event. Gwillimville was never incorporated. In its heyday, a cheese factory, creamery, store, blacksmith shop, several saloons, a post office, school, church and worker's quarters sprang from the earth around Cherry Springs and the source of Cherry Creek. The Gwillimville School was eventually moved to Monument, becoming Sunday school for the Presbyterian Church and in the 1980s, the former Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce building on Highway 105 in Monument.

In January of 1880, a Diphtheria epidemic broke out affecting brother of the founder's family Richard Gwillim's two daughters.

"In spite of all efforts, the two little girls passed away within a few days of each other. These girls are buried in the Spring Valley Cemetery," wrote Lucile Lavelett in her Monument's Faded Neighboring Communities. "Avery strange and sad coincidence happened that two children in every family in the neighborhood died of Diphtheria during that epidemic."

In 1895, Richard Gwillim's home burned, pretty much spelling the end of Gwillimville.

Stan Searle's career in the media business was not confined to Longhorns however and had fingers reaching out in several directions. Locally, he was the founder and manager of Tri-Lakes Cable, which was sold to Adelphia in 2000, (later becoming part of Comcast) and managed other trade magazines related to cable and other business.

Named among the top 100 Pioneers of the cable industry, Stan's heart however, was in the cattle business. Suggesting that some of his inspiration comes from legendary trail founder Charles Goodnight, Stan co-founded International Texas Longhorn Association and is a recipient of their prestigious "Charles Goodnight Award. The Goodnight-Loving Trail beginning with the "Gather" in Texas after the Civil War, goes through Monument, on into Denver. Charlie, a noted musician, photographer, writer, began his musical career at Alamo Village working for Happy Shahan, former partner of actor John Wayne in development of Alamo Village for the film.

Legacy, tradition, local activism, and a history of reaching out.

With much fanfare, the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce moved into the Highway 105 location in 1985, but the building itself has quite a storied history. It's been a bit transient.

According to a letter dated March 15, 1985, from long-time Monument historian Lucille Lavelett, the building has been bopping around Monument since perhaps as early as 1869.

"The C.E. (Christian Education) Building was once a one-room Gwillimville School. Gwillimville was once a small, thriving community five miles east of Monument on Highway 105. It was founded by Gwillim R. Gwillim in 1869."

Lavelett relates the following story:

"During a period of a few years, a dozen or more families had come from Wales and several from England, and settled in the community. Church services were held in the one-room Gwillimville School until the Gwillimville Church was built in 1893. This Church was built on the northwest corner of (Highway) 105 and Highway 83," wrote Lavelett.

"On Aug. 6, 1919, Monument School consolidated with three smaller districts which were Pring, three miles south of Monument, Husted, six miles south (Husted is now part of the United States Air Force Academy), and Stout, which was east of Husted. The following year, Gwillimville joined the new district (1920)," she wrote.

"It was in the late 1920s or early 1930s, Rev. R.J. Hassted, minister of the Presbyterian Church, and Earl Thompson moved the little white school into Monument and put it south of the Presbyterian Church to be used as a Sunday School and community services. To help the church, the Monument Homemakers Club in 1938, and 1939, paid for having ceiling and walls re-plastered and painted, built a new flue in the west end, bought a large coal circulator heater to heat the building and put linoleum in the kitchen area. The east end had a cook stove, sink and cupboards. Cook stove did not give enough heat to warm the building, so the new flue was built," Lavelett said.

"In the late 1940s, the church built the new kitchen and Sunday School room on the north side of the building. Also a restroom. The town, at that time, had natural gas, so a gas heater was installed," she said.

At the time of the 1985 move to its present location, Lavelett noted that this was third move for the old Gwillimville School.

"When it was built, its home was about one and a half miles north of (Highway) 105 where the children had to walk through a cattle pasture. Children were afraid of the cattle, so it was move close to 105. Moved then to Monument, and in 1985 to home of the Chamber of Commerce," according to historian Lavelett.

Then County Commissioner Frank Klotz and Chamber President Sandy Smith turned a spade-full of dirt in honor of the new building in February, and actual move took place in April of that year, reported the forerunner of the Tribune at the time. The chamber had been organized nine years prior to spearhead efforts to attract business and industry to the Tri-Lakes area.






Saturday, June 17, 2017

Experience of fire


Thank you for answering the call


Fighting fire is something I am familiar with. My dad fought them all of his life. My younger sister spent years battling them for the United States Forest Service. I mark various watershed events in my own life by the experience of fire.

All the time I was growing up in a small town in southwestern Colorado, a strange, faceless phone with no dialing mechanism hung right on my dad’s side of my parent’s bedroom. I think there might have been as many as eight of them (exactly alike) hanging in various locations (homes and businesses) around the small town of 800 residents.

All of them were the property of the local volunteer fire department.

Whether it be night or day, the loud, unremitting, urgent ring would sound continuously at the breakout of a fire -- until someone picked up and answered the call.

If the call was judged not to be a prank, or false alarm, then the lever on the black box next to the phone was shoved over, all the way to the right, and the fire siren down at the town hall would begin its mournful summons of the 25 or 30 volunteer firefighters in the area.

Later, of course, heavy, boxlike pagers were worn on volunteers’ belts and the siren (that also served as the noon whistle, because it was necessary to test each day), became obsolete. I am not sure what they use today in that town.

The volunteers serving on that department – all by choice – and all continuing to work their regular jobs or at businesses to pay the bills and feed their families, would drop everything when the siren wailed.

I considered that carefully this week, as we continued to evaluate how fortunate we are, and what a debt we owe, regarding firefighter’s response and effectiveness when called to serve. When everyone else is running out, they are unselfishly, and usually anonymously, running in.

Of course, this month we are marking the 15th anniversary of Hayman Fire, the fifth anniversary of the Waldo Fire and fourth anniversary of the Black Forest Fire, three of the most destructive fires in the history of Colorado.

I suppose we should be out lining the roads, making signs and remembering to mark the firefighters recent efforts, as well.

Wouldn’t it also be appropriate to also recall the locals, and on a regular basis, the efforts of people like Pineville Hot Shots Kathi Beck, Tamera Bickett, Scott Blecha, Levi Brinkley, Douglas Dunbar, Terri Hagen, Bonnie Holtby, Rob Johnson, Jon Kelso or Missoula smokejumper: Don Mackey, and McCall Smokejumpers: Roger Roth, Jim Thrash and Helitack Robert Browning, Jr., and Richard Tyler who all perished on Storm King Mountain in 1994?

Or perhaps Oregon wildland firefighters: Zach Zigich, Retah Shirley, Jacob Martindale, Danial Rama, and Bart Bailey who suffered the same fate, in the van crash near Parachute, as they were coming to help us out during Hayman?

After all, it might be night or day, and they may have to drop what they are doing to hear our urgent ring.

Much like that faceless phone of my youth, we might forget about them for the most part, and never remember their names, or what kind of sacrifices they may have to make.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Be careful with those bees




Swarm on the rocks gets moved without incident


It can be somewhat unnerving when swarm of bees show up, flying all around on your front porch. Marianne Roane had that problem last week when the little buzzers started relocating on rocks near her front porch at her townhome in Monument.

Neighbor Bob Jackson helped her out by calling a bee guy to come and take a look.

The bee guy, Ed Buckley of Buckley Homestead Supply, came by that afternoon and moved the swarm into a cardboard box, with the help of Hadley Buckley and a younger Ed Buckley.

“It’s all very natural,” said the older Ed Buckley. “Half of hive stays with the old queen, and half goes with a new one.”

He said it wouldn’t be much of a chore to move them into the box, because as soon as he found the queen, all the rest would follow.

Sure enough. After scooping several hand-fulls into the box, as Buckley said, the bees started to signal “in here, she’s over here.”

The rest followed, and as far as anybody could tell, no one was stung in the process.





Saturday, June 3, 2017

As I walked out in the streets of Norpaso ...


Because we can’t describe where we live, let’s rename it


“I’m not my name. My name is something I wear, like a shirt. It gets worn. I outgrow it, I change it.” Jerry Spinelli

I think there once was one of the those green signs on I-25 that said something about Gleneagle Drive, right on the highway. Now, of course, Gleneagle Drive never touches I-25. You have to take North Gate Blvd., go through two roundabouts headed east to the light to Struthers Road, take a left, and then turn right on Gleneagle Drive. Thursday, local fire departments set fire to the old Gleneagle Golf Clubhouse. Donald Wescott Fire Protection District was in charge of the training exercise.

That is the thing about names around here —if you wait long enough, some change.

That can create confusion. Last week, I thought about that when considering the various districts and jurisdictions, and responsibilities.

In my 20+ years in the area, I have seen quite a bit. It is possible to recall when you could count the total population in the Tri-View Metropolitan District, on your fingers, and maybe even one hand. Town (meaning Colorado Springs) was miles away to the south. Woodmoor was sort of out in the country then, Black Forest was just that, Palmer Lake and Monument were the only real towns.

And of course, Gleneagle was sort of like the Gaza Strip, a small, self-governing territory with a golf course and pool, east of the United States Air Force Academy, with several homeowners associations including Gleneagle Civic, Gleneagle North, Academy View, Sun Hills, and several others. It relied on service by Donala Water, fire protection by Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, your choice of gas companies (several options), power from Mount View Electric, policing by El Paso County Sheriff, education through Academy District 20, and mail service through the Colorado Springs Post Office in Briargate.

Areas to the North were similar, Woodmoor having its own security and fire service, a restrictive homeowners association, and other such elements of responsibility and jurisdiction. But, though it was close, Woodmoor, was not part of Monument, and relied on Lewis Palmer School District 38, that originally served Monument and Palmer Lake. Baptist Road was the dividing line between District 20 and District 38.

So let's complicate this with a few more things. Palmer Lake's rural postal routes originate out the Monument Post Office, the Douglas County line is right at the top of Monument Hill, Tri-View Metro District was created to take care of roads, water, and parks in Jackson Creek, one of the newer areas of Monument, the Monument Town water system just takes care of the part of town west of I-25, and there are several different other districts between there and Palmer Lake. Fire service is handled by Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (which now also includes Woodmoor). The city of Colorado Springs recently annexed about half of Donald Wescott Fire Protection District. Other residential areas have developed east of Woodmoor including Kings Deer, Bent Tree, Ridge at Fox Run, etc...

And what is the Tri-Lakes? Maybe about seven or eight old-timers can tell you what the three lakes are.

It is not necessarily surprising when someone has to call around to see who takes care of a problem with the neighbor's pet. Just a few weeks ago, I chuckled a little when the Drug Enforcement Agency described a marijuana grow as being at Monument home, when it was nearly five miles northeast of the city limits. But the El Paso County Sheriff labeled a problem last week at the Brewery on Woodmoor Drive as being a Colorado Springs address.

I would like to petition you folks right now to change the name of this area. We have outgrown it. And we can't even describe where we do live. Let's do something that reflects the combinations that we have become. Something that accurately reflects our diversity, and history. Yet, it needs to be simple and all-encompassing. May I suggest Norpaso.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

WMMI welcomes back Machinery Days

After 17 year hiatus, tractors and machines spin again





Photos and Story by Rob Carrigan, rob.carrigan@pikespeaknewspapers.com

The Western Museum of Mining and Industry (WMMI) hosted the return of the annual Pikes Peak Antique Machinery Days on their historic 27-acre Reynolds Ranch, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 12 to May 14, with displays by WMMI, the Arkansas Valley Flywheelers, Front Range Antique Power Association, antique automobile clubs, tractor pulls, and more. A line of tractors, not seen since 2000, ran around perimeter of the grounds.

“Not a bad showing for being gone for 17 years,” said Harold Hopkins of the Front Range Antique Power Association and Arkansas Valley Flywheelers. “Pretty good, in fact, for our first year back.”

The event, which featured antique tractor pulls, unique items at the silent auction, antique engines and tractors on display, as well as the museum’s operating steam engines, was held for 14 years from 1986 to 2000, but left for complicated reasons, said Hopkins. At the height of the show in past years, he said they were able to draw 400 engines and 200 tractors.




Antique cars shared the row with tractors and machines


Gene Wesback, of Franktown, has owned his orange, modified Model A for 68 years now. Since he was just 13, and could only drive around his parent’s yard. Wesback has tinkered with it.

But it was kept in pretty much the configuration as when bought it all those years ago, until he got into high school, he said.

Then, he dropped a flathead Ford engine in it, changed the wheels, modified the firewall with a chrome version, painted it. But his first car is still with him, and he likes to show off at events like the recent Antique Machinery Days at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry.

The former Air Force officer and fighter pilot, is member of Rocky Mountain Model A Club, and attended the recent event along with other antique car owners.




Photo information:

1. Gene Wesback, of Franktown, takes a shade break on the bumper of his modified Model A he has owned for 68 years now.
2. Sandy Boese, and her family gather around 1931 Auburn Phaeton, that has been a member of the family since 1966.
3. An Edsel maneuvers into place.
4. Model A peeks around the corner.















Sunday, May 21, 2017

Engineer shot bandit

Leadville Herald Democrat, Sept 2, 1910


Daring attempt to hold up Midland 3, Near Divide, 

early this morning, One train robber dead


As the result of an attempted train robbery on the Colorado Midland between Divide and Florissant, one robber is dead, Engineer Stewart is shot in the leg, and unknown hobo dangerously injured.
The other two robbers have made their escape, but a posse organized by Sheriff Phul of Cripple Creek has taken their trail.
When the Midland westbound No. 3 in charge of Conductor Wesley Steel reached Divide, shortly after midnight, one of the robbers climbed onto the tender and when the train reached milepost 32, a short distance beyond, covered Engineer Stewart with a revolver. The train has stopped at this point to meet No. 4 eastbound. Stewart, however, drew his revolver when the robber opened fire, the bullet hitting Stewart in the leg. Stewart opened fire and shot the man dead.
Just at this moment the other bandits sent a fusillade of bullets into the express car but the messengers refused to open the door.
The train crew by this time had on their fighting clothes and a hail of bullets was sent in the direction in which the robbers appeared to be located. It is believed that there were three men engaged in the holdup, one of them crawling on the tender and the other two at the rendezvous at the point where the No. 3 and 4 usually meet. The other two disappeared in the darkness.
It was discovered after the excitement that an unknown hobo riding the rods on the No. 3 had been accidentally shot by the train porter.
Engineer Stewart and the unknown hobo were taken to Colorado City on the No. 4.
As soon as possible Sheriff Von Phul, of Cripple Creek, was notified and he directed his deputies at Florissant and Divide to take the trail.
The coroner has also started for the scene to take charge of the remains of the dead robber which lie beside the track where he was placed after Engineer Stewart had killed him. Engineer Stewart's home is in Colorado City.
Colorado Springs, Sept. 2 --
Dr. O. G. Place of Denver, happened to be on the train when the shooting and the attempted holdup occurred, and at once took charge of Stewart. A tourniquet was at once applied and without much further loss of blood, the injured man was brought to this city and taken to St. Francis Hospital.
At Colorado City, Dr. G.S. Vinyard boarded the train and accompanied the wounded man to the hospital. Both doctors connected with the case agree that Stewart is in no danger.
The weapons used by the daring robbers are of a cheap make of Smith & Wesson pattern. They were worn in a broad leather belt around the waist and had evidently been unused for some time.
According to the injured engineer and the train crew, the man was of good size, speaking with an accent of a Scandinavian, and was rather shabbily dressed. When he climbed over the tender of the engine, he had a cloth mask over the front of his face, and a sort of gunny sack across his chest.
From the details which can be gathered, it appears that the robber evidently had designs on the passengers, for there was no unusual shipment in the Wells Fargo consignment in the express car at the time and the robber told the fireman while he was on his way back to the express car that he was "After the passengers too."
Several of the passengers who were on the train stopped in the city. Among them was Mrs. M.C. Roach, who said that she know nothing of the whole affair until after the train was on its way and she thought that the engineer had had his head blown off.

Photo Information: Midland Railroad Terminal, Divide, 1896.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Guess we have a story to tell

 

 Remarkable coincidence in the search for connections

“What connection can there be, between the place in Lincolnshire, the house in town, the Mercury in powder, and the whereabout of Jo the outlaw with the broom, who had that distant ray of light upon him when he swept the churchyard-step? What connection can there have been between many people in the innumerable histories of this world, who, from opposite sides of great gulfs, have, nevertheless, been very curiously brought together!”

― Charles Dickens, Bleak House


Coincidence is often defined as a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection. I continue to marvel at how it plays a role in my own life.

Years ago, I befriended an old guy in Fairbanks, Alaska, that lived next door to my wife's family. Frank Stewart. As things progress, he found out I was newspaper guy, working at the time with the Courier and Gold Rush in Cripple Creek.

He said his father, Frank Stewart also, was a railroad engineer on the Colorado Midland, based in Colorado City, but after that, he went north to work on the Alaska Railroad.

He told me a story, and showed me a pistol that was taken from would be robber, between Divide and Florissant during a train robbery.

For perhaps 20 years I looked to authenticate that story, in the records of the Cripple Creek Times, Victor Record and other papers that became folded into ones that I became associated with. For years after the first meeting, I provided a subscription of the Cripple Creek Gold Rush, and later the Courier, that Frank (Jr.) said he would be interested in, hoping it might lead something, even another story or anecdote, that folks like us storytellers can hang our hat on.

I have not been able to track it down. Frank, being very young when he heard the stories (it happened before he was born), didn't really have an idea about date. Time marched on. I left the papers in 2007, and did other things for years, though I remained curious about the whole affair over those years.

Then, in 2011, I returned, though I must confess, did not think much of it until visiting Frank in Fairbanks again about three or four years ago. With time and health issues, Frank didn't really remember much about the whole affair. But his wife asked me then to discontinue the sub, that had somehow survived through different papers and ownerships, and asked for possible repositories for the pistol and perhaps other items related. I suggested some. Don't know if they acted on my suggestions.

Time marched on, years passed, and another old story, about trains in West Creek area, caught the interest of Ken Springer, a local guy with common interest in history and trains etc ...

"I'm really into the Cripple Creek and CO railroad history in this area. Lots of info stashed on my HD, and I know where to get more but just can't seem to have the time or finances to get it done," he said. "Maybe we should get together sometime." We met at the Courier a few months ago and among about million other things, the train robbery on the Midland came up.

A few weeks ago, I received the following email from him.

"Hot Damn!!! Here's your train robbery!" And sure enough, in the pages of Leadville paper, The Herald Democrat, Sept. 2, 1910, was the telltale headline.

"ENGINEER SHOT BANDIT, Daring Attempt to Hold Up Midland 3, Near Divide This Morning. One Train Robber Dead," it said.

"As result of an attempted train robbery on the Colorado Midland between Divide and Florissant, one robber is dead, Engineer Stewart is shot in the leg, and unknown hobo dangerously injured," read the lead.

"That's the one," I emailed Springer. " I appreciate you finding it." Looked for that for years, I thought to myself. Then I thought, what did Dickens mean by "Mercury in the powder?"

It's not surprising readers don't understand this, as it requires obscure knowledge of Roman mythology and the way servants were dressed at the time his book was set. Mercury was the messenger God, and footmen and doormen wore powdered wigs. So, "Mercury in powder" just means a servant who is announcing a visitor.

Time still marches on. Coincidence. Connections. Curiosity. Guess we have a story to tell. Certainly it is remarkable.

Photo Information: The Colorado Midland's Maiden Voyage to Cripple Creek in 1900.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

More than a memory





History lesson that we are doomed to repeat

“One is always at home in one's past...”

― Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory


Everyone that knows anything about me, sees my love of history, and breathes in the nostalgia in my airspace.
It is my wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition. As many have said, Algos means "suffering." So nostalgia, according to Milan Kundera, is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return. It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures.
But to counter, Marcel Proust noted, “Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”
Today, as I write this and reflect, May 4, on the 47th anniversary of the Kent State killings, I follow my memories where they take me.
Last classroom on the south, upriver side; warm enough that windows all had to be opened, like flapping upside-down bird wings in the spring, strategically positioned to allow sight recognition of anybody in the parking lot, coming or going.
Brian Tobin, with hair matted on one side and askew on the other, rants about screaming Arab regulars, voting early, often, and some story about fishing with hand-grenades as a Marine in Vietnam.
Post WWII History, with William E. Leuchtenburg's first, or second edition of "A Troubled Feast: American Society Since 1945," and your choice of other supporting readings. I chose Hunter Thompson's "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, 1972." Classic. More than a writer, Gonzo loaned his press pass to one of his derelict friends, who in turn, made "Big Ed" Muskie cry publicly on the back of the "Sunshine Express."
But in the regular text, the photo on page 5 is the iconic shot for Life Magazine of the sailor in full uniform kissing a bowled-over nurse, also in dress whites, on the streets of New York. Consumer Culture and the Cold War, first chapter.
The Man from Missouri, "Truman brought to the task a mixed assortment of talents, sentiments, and personal qualities. None doubted his grit. He made bold decisions quickly and executed them briskly. However, he was generally unreflective, sometimes cocky and brash," wrote Leuchtenburg.
By the end of the semester we could quote the lyrics from the Eagles' Hotel California and noted that, if Rip Van Winkle had fallen asleep in the Eisenhower years and awakened with Carter in the White House, he might think that nothing has changed.
Russel Baker said it this way:
"The growing public absorption in the hedonism of public pleasure and private consumption -- the hunt for the ideal restaurant, the perfect head of lettuce, the totally satisfying human relationship" were "the current equivalents of the Eisenhower age's passion for big tail fins, drier martinis, darker steak houses and cozier evenings with the family."
Everyday, we would drift down the hallowed hall of Dolores High School, past the class pictures of earlier classes that would stare down at us, disapprovingly, from above the grey lockers, and filter into that last classroom. We would serve our time, burn our hour, as history and the odd Jedi master tried to interest us in the lives that we were likely to live, the government we were destined to deserve, the place in the cosmos we were to choose and accept.
My good friend Rusty Hector graduated the year before I did, and tells the following story:"Brian Tobin -- I think my senior class with him was American Government. If I recall correctly, it was the final day of class and school year. His parting lesson went something like this...'If you remember nothing else from this class, remember this. As Seniors you feel you are invincible. When you start getting all puffed up and full of yourself I would ask you to fill a 5-gallon bucket with water. Stick your arm in the water, all the way down so your elbow is submerged! Remove your arm from the bucket. And that voided space in the water is how much they will miss you when you are gone.'"
According to Hector, "From time to time I still share the story, (recently with a coworker actually). I think it is a great reminder of humility."
Did I learn a lesson? Are my eyes open? Am I doomed to repeat? Can we make America great again? Or was it really that great in the first place?
"My history had been composed to be an everlasting possession," according to Thucydides. "Not the show piece of an hour."
History is mine to make, I learned in the hour. As I sat there there, next to young men and women that would fight their own wars, park nose-to-street in anticipation, and for easy access to the battle, select their own public pleasures.
It was more than a memory for me then. Still is.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Recipe for bankruptcy?

 

Time to pay attention to school funding 

and the ‘negative factor’


By Rob Carrigan, rob.carrigan@pikespeaknewspapers.com

I have been hearing a lot about “the Negative Factor” in certain circles regarding school funding in Colorado. No surprise. It has been talked about a lot for nearly a decade now. At a Kiwanis meeting last week, one fellow gave it another name, and called it “a recipe for bankruptcy for the state.” Time now to pay attention.

“The “negative factor” is a provision in state law that reduces the amount of total program funding and state aid provided to K-12 school districts,” said Josh Abram of the Colorado Legislative Council Staff in an issue brief in December 2015.

The economic downturn beginning 2007 reduced state operating revenue from income taxes and the state sales tax and, as result, the General Assembly faced shortfalls across all functions of government.

This, despite a constitutional amendment passed by Colorado voters in 2000, that required the base per-pupil funding amount to increase yearly by at least the rate of inflation.

The financing of K-12 public education in Colorado over the past three decades has been affected by three constitutional amendments, in fact. The Gallagher Amendment, adopted by voters in 1982, designed to reduce residential property taxes, it required that the residential assessment rate, which used to determine the taxable value of residential property, be adjusted every two years to maintain a fixed, proportional relationship between the assessed values of residential and non-residential property. The Gallagher Amendment mandated adjusting assessment rates for residential rates to maintain prescribed proportions.

The second constitutional change came with Douglas Bruce’s TABOR Amendment, approved by voters in the state in 1992. TABOR limits the amount of revenue that can be collected and retained by school districts in a given year. The limit is equal to the prior year’s revenue increased by inflation plus student enrollment growth. TABOR also requires voter approval for an increase in the the district’s mill levy or an increase in assessment rate for any class of property, including residential property.

Finally, Amendment 23, approved by voters in 2000, was designed to increase public education funding in Colorado and requires statewide base per pupil funding and total funding for categorical programs increase by inflation at least. It also created the the State Education Fund and transfers to the fund an amount equal to one-third of one percent of federal taxable income from the General Fund, exempt from TABOR limits.

But that is not all, folks.

As result of the 2008 recession, the General Assembly struggled with less revenue and the constitutional requirement for increasing the per pupil base for K-12 public education. In the 2010 legislative session. In House Bill 10-1369, the legislature introduced the “negative factor” which reduced the state’s share of public education funding.

“Imposition of the negative factor functionally changes the role that state aid plays in the context of school finance,” says Marc Carrey, Economist for the State in a March 1, 2017, Colorado Legislative Council Staff brief. “Instead of letting total program be formula-driven with state aid covering whatever gap exists between total program and the local share, the negative factor allows the General Assembly to determine the funding level it can afford and budget the state’s overall contribution to school finance.”

Since the creation of the “negative factor,” many school district have used Mill Levy overrides to fill in and replace funding lost to the “negative factor.”

“The ability to replace negative factor funding reductions with local override revenue varies widely across school districts,” says Carrey. “60 districts had not authorized any mill levy overrides. This may be because the district never asked its voters to approve an override, or because the voters declined to authorize an override. Districts with relatively low property wealth are limited, as the mill levy required to generate significant revenue can be prohibitively high.”

I anticipate the discussion will come up a lot in the next few years. Some suggest a constitutional rewrite, that no longer allows the easy change of the document., hopefully sparing us from Amendments that conflict, such as Gallagher, TABOR and Amendment 23. Others suggest different drastic measures aimed at a fix. Something is probably going to have to be done. As noted earlier, it is time to pay attention.

Cinderella's Fairy Godmother Project a hit


Local boutique collects dresses to empower young women

By Rob Carrigan, rob.carrigan@pikespeaknewspapers.com


Lillians of Monument, a women’s boutique owned by Elma Gonzales, recently gathered more than 70 locally donated dresses to a try on at Harrison High School. Gonzales and her employees Kindra and Brittany Roberts created a special event called Cinderella's Fairy Godmother Project and were able to collect numerous beautiful dresses that were then given to Harrison students for free for prom.

Gonzales and her employees, said it all started one Saturday when she and her employees started talking about prom, and how there were probably slightly-used prom dresses in many local closets.

“It snowballed from there,” she said. “And by the end of five weeks, we had collected more than 90 dresses.” The boutique is still collecting and will continue to have students coming into the shop from places as far away as Trinidad in Southern Colorado. Harrison High School students benefited by Gonzales and Kindra taking many of the dresses down to the school.

“While we rolled it out only the week before prom, we were able to get dresses for more than 20 girls who were absolutely pumped! We had our prom last Saturday and we had higher attendance than we have had in five years because some of our students that wouldn't have been able to afford an outfit were able to go,” said Anna Conrad, a teacher at Harrison High School.

“Elma reached out to Harrison High School and her, and I, were able to organize a dress expo during which students tried on the more than 70 gently used dresses that Elma had brought down to us. Since the event took place the week of our prom, many of our students had already gotten their dresses, but for those who had not yet had the time or resources, this event was incredible opportunity to be able to attend our prom in style! We were able to give away more than 25 dresses over the course of the week, which were then now only worn to prom, but I am sure will be utilized for formal events over the next couple of years including the JROTC’s military ball this later spring, our Homecoming next fall, as well as next year’s prom,” said Conrad.

“We are so deeply appreciative of Lillians of Monument, and particularly the owner Elma’s, thoughtfulness and generosity. Additionally, we would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of the individuals and families in Monument who were willing to give their dresses to our students, ensuring that students every socioeconomic background have an opportunity to feel beautiful at their proms and thoroughly enjoy this high school tradition,” she said.

“We are hoping to work with Lillian’s again next year and increase the size and organization around the event, and I will be sure to better document it then. The expo occurred in my classroom and many students were very rushed due to sports practices, etc. so many of the dresses were tried on over clothes. Additionally, I taught in one of the dresses on Friday to advertise for last-minute tickets sales, so of course one of my students was dared to try one on with me.”

“The students, and their parents were very appreciative,” says Gonzales. “It was really great to see the looks on their faces when they were able to find the right dress.”

She says the shop itself is all about empowering women of all ages, and prom is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She noted that other fundraisers for groups such as Wounded Warriors, TESSA, and Pink Street Week for Breast Cancer Awareness have been very successful as well, at Lillian’s.

“We are not done yet,” Gonzales said. “The Cinderella Fairy Godmother Project will be even bigger next year.”







Photo with two black dresses: Lindsey Caro (left) and Trinity Jacobs (right)
Photo with male student in grey and woman in blue: Jarek Carter (left) and Anna Conrad (right)
Group photo from left to right: Kendra (one of Elma's employees), Esperanza Trujillo, Mary Roach, Cynthia Nshimirimana, Malaysia Fields, Vanessa Trujillo, Ivana Acaron, Najah Tandoh, Elma 
Photo with two girls in pink and blue: Brittany and Courtney Kibin


Lifeguard saves friend and fellow lifeguard at Woodmoor Aquatic



Sievert commended for helping pull diver from water, managing accident scene

By Rob Carrigan, rob.carrigan@pikespeaknewspapers.com

Amanda Sievert, 18, and her friend, Arik Althouse, 17, have worked as guards at Woodmoor Aquatic Center for nearly three years. Sievert is a senior at Palmer Ridge and swims (100-yard breaststroke) for the combined Lewis-Palmer team. Althouse is a junior competing as a diver.

If you were to ask either of them, they would tell you, lifeguarding is about training, and generally fairly routine. One recent Tuesday, during spring break, at the end of March, it took a different twist.

That afternoon, Sievert found herself in the very real position of rescuing her much-larger friend from the water, after a dive went went astray. Though he doesn’t remember much of it, Althouse said he is thankful that his friend was there for him.

“I was attempting a reverse twist, and apparently hit my head on the right side of the board on the way down,” he said. Then, in the water, he clenched into a ball, in seizure. Sievert, guard on duty at the time, took charge of managing the water rescue with help from others, got him out of water, and onto backboard as protocol called for. “It was challenging, and complicated,” she said.

From all accounts, Sievert rose to occasion and performed admirably. In fact, so much so, the professional emergency service staff wanted to recognize her for her deft conduct as a guard.

“She did exceptional work,” says Adam Wakefield, paramedic responding from Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District.

“By the time we got here, he was perfectly packaged, on the back board, with an SC Collar, neck stabilized. I would call it text book. By the book.”

Sievert was quick to point out help she received that day, including the following:

Strydr Silverberg- LP swimmer who helped me with pulling Aric from the water

Breck Donahue- LP swimmer who called 911

Jack Nagle- LP diver who was in the water at the time of the accident, grabbed Aric immediately until I got there

Natalie Wright- LP diver that grabbed the backboard for me & assisted with clearing others from the building

“We are very proud of our daughter, and the great training she has had here at Woodmoor, and she was able to help her good friend,” says Amanda’s mother, Jan Sievert, and she says that Amanda will continue to use that training to lifeguard at University of Oklahoma after graduation in few weeks.

Amanda was talking with dive and swim coach Alan Arata at the time of the accident, and both said they knew when beginning the dive was thrown, something had gone wrong.

“It was frightening, but she did everything correctly.” Althouse was transported to the hospital that day, and underwent concussion protocol for week, but is back diving again.

Cutlines:

Paramedics Adam Wakefield, Tony Tafoya and Kris Mola responded when Sievert needed to pull her friend, Arik Althouse, from the water after a dive went astray. The paramedics returned last week to commend her for coolness and effectiveness under pressure.

Arik Althouse and Amanda Sievert flank the backboard on which Althouse was transported on.

Keith Barker, Morgan Cudney and Greg Lovato transported Althouse to the hospital.

The diving board at Woodmoor Aquatic Center.