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.