Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Battling an unseen monster

Nothing is more dangerous than a monster that you can't see to fight.
Our grandfathers and grandmothers remember.

By Rob Carrigan, robcarrigan1@gmail.com

Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919 in Colorado

By the numbers:

When: More than 100 years ago.

First reported case in Colorado, September, 1918:
"Spanish Flu” was first reported in Colorado on September 21, 1918, among the Student Army Training Corp stationed at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Hundreds of soldiers were sickened and 19 later died, according to Katie Randolph, of the Denver Public Library On September 27, 1918, a young Denver University student named Blanche Kennedy, died of pneumonia a few days after returning from a trip to Chicago, according to University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine. It was Denver’s first influenza-related death.

Number of Coloradans who perished:
Between September 1918 and June 1919, nearly 8,000 Coloradans died from influenza and its complications. Colorado had one of the highest mortality rates in the country, possibly because it was home to a large population with compromised lung function (miners and tubercular patients) — folks at a severe disadvantage for fighting pneumonia.
“The flu in 1918 was a pandemic (rather than an epidemic) as it spread quickly and affected a large number of people across several continents. In Denver, Colorado Springs, and towns throughout the state, officials tried to control the spread of the virus by encouraging the use of face masks and placing restrictions on public gatherings, Randolph wrote.

Number worldwide killed by 1918-19 Influenza pandemic:
According to medical researchers, Flu infected 500 million people around the world, including remote Pacific islands and the Arctic, and resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million (three to five percent of the world's population), making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.

Life expectancy at that time:
Disease had already greatly limited life expectancy in the early 20th century. A considerable spike occurred at the time of the pandemic, specifically the year 1918. Life expectancy in the United States alone dropped by about 12 years.

Local response:
City Manager of Health and Charity and former Denver mayor Dr. William H. Sharpley took quick action, according to reports from University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine. “Having heard reports of influenza across the state and assuming that the epidemic would soon reach Denver, he had proactively formed an influenza advisory board on September 26.
Sharpley urged the public to be on guard. He recommended that residents avoid needless crowding, cover all coughs and sneezes, keep their homes and offices well ventilated, and seek a physician at once if cold-like symptoms developed. He also offered the less-than-helpful recommendation to keep a clean mouth, a clean heart, and clean clothes, and advised those affected to make nature your ally, not your prisoner” by avoiding tight clothes and shoes,” reports said.
“Neither Sharpley nor the influenza advisory committee were convinced that the first eight cases near Denver were due to the same virulent “Spanish influenza” strain that was making its way across the nation.It was not until several days later, on October 4, when the number of cases and deaths had climbed rapidly, that Sharpley and the advisory board realized they were facing the deadly epidemic. Sharpley quickly ordered hospitals to isolate influenza patients in separate rooms and not in the general wards, or to use screen dividers between beds in institutions where such separation was not possible,” University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine reported. Colorado Springs restricted some public gathering and canceled meetings. Other towns and governments followed suit.

Statewide, the effects of the pandemic varied:
Some of Colorado's mountain towns were crippled. Silverton, then a bustling mining town, lost 10 percent of its inhabitants. The flu was transmitted at a public gathering in Silverton. But Gunnison County, where Crested Butte is located, only lost two people. At the first precautionary warning in 1918, schools were closed across Gunnison County, and remained so for at least two weeks. County officials also required certain places to remain closed for four weeks. Anybody wanting to enter the county was required to be quarantined for two days. The school and business closures were finally lifted after four months, say officials in Telluride, who have studied the past in Gunnison while trying to prepare for a potential pandemic flu transmitted by avian species, in 2007.

Photo information:

1. Healthcare workers in Denver, 1918.

2. An emergency hospital at Camp Funston, Kansas, 1918. “Of the 12 men who slept in my squad room, 7 were ill at one time,” a soldier recalled. (New Contributed Photographs Collection / otis historical Archives / National Museum of Health and Medicine)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Going back to the root of a word

Time to put the ‘conserve’ back into conservative

By Rob Carrigan, robcarrigan1@gmail.com

If you look up the root word of conservative in the dictionary, “conserve,” chances are, you would see a definition like “protect something, especially an environmentally or culturally important place or thing, from harm or destruction.”
Conservative forces, and even Republicans, did not always have the reputation of being adverse to environmentalism. Lets just take a look backwards.
Examples of environmentalism in politicians tabbed as “conservative” are as follows.
One of my favorites characters in the political arena was Teddy Roosevelt. Growing up as kid in small town Colorado, in which one claim to fame was at least three Rough Riders charging San Juan Hill with Roosevelt, maybe I was predisposed. But the idea that big-game hunter, lifelong Republican, bully-pulpit president like Teddy Roosevelt could appear like an environmentalist, was once not so farfetched.
During his presidency, T.R. preserved more than 230 million acres of wilderness, created the U.S Forest Service, aggressively pursued soil and water conservation, and established more than 200 national forests, national monuments, national parks and wildlife refuges.
"The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem," he once said, according to the Theodore Roosevelt Association. "Unless we solve that problem, it will avail us little to solve all others."
Even Ronald Reagan was greener than you think.
“Reagan pushed for and signed the Montreal Protocol to phase out ozone-layer-depleting, climate change-promoting chlorofluorocarbons. His administration did the initial work on a “cap and trade” system to control acid rain that ultimately was implemented during the George H. W. Bush administration,” notes the conservative Weekly Standard.
“A classic example of Reagan’s approach can be found in the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, which the president signed in 1982. The law established the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS), a zone that today encompasses 273 million acres of land (an area larger than all but one national park in the lower 48 states) in which federal subsidies to new development​ —​ notably, subsidies for roads, housing, and flood insurance​ — ​are forbidden. Private interests may still develop the land but must do so without a penny of federal money. It is estimated the law has saved taxpayers $1 billion since its enactment.
Let’s look at conservatives on the international front. Margaret Thatcher, who was trained as a chemist at Oxford University, the late British Prime Minister Thatcher may have understood the scientific basis of climate change and other environmental issues better than many other politicians. "It is mankind and his activities that are changing the environment of our planet in damaging and dangerous ways," she once said, according to the Guardian. "The result is that change in future is likely to be more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known hitherto. Change to the sea around us, change to the atmosphere above, leading in turn to change in the world's climate, which could alter the way we live in the most fundamental way of all."
Even unpopular conservatives like Richard Nixon, had positives in the Green World.
Nixon signed into law a long list of environmental legislation. Among those measures: “The National Environmental Policy Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Environmental Pesticide Control Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Endangered Species Act were all signed by or supported by Nixon, according to Mother Nature Network (MNN.com).
He also established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a cabinet-level federal department.
Take for another example, Barry Goldwater — five-term Republican senator from Arizona and a presidential candidate in 1964 — but also a committed outdoor enthusiast.
"While I am a great believer in the free enterprise system and all that it entails," he wrote, "I am an even stronger believer in the right of our people to live in a clean and pollution-free environment."
Goldwater initially supported the construction of Glen Canyon Dam, which some say destroyed the colorful gorges of Glen Canyon beneath the water of Lake Powell, he later regretted his position. Shortly before he died in 1998, Goldwater joined the Republicans for Environmental Protection (now known as ConservAmerica).
In the current political environment of climate denial, I know some see environmentalism and conservation as “dirty words.” But I still see room to put the “conserve,” back in conservative.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Ready to count the ripples

Cast a stone into the river of choice

By Rob Carrigan, rob.carrigan@pikespeaknewspapers.com

In the next few weeks, hopefully most of you will grab that red, white and black, oversized envelope marked “Official Ballot Enclosed” and make some choices.

Ballots were mailed to military personnel and overseas voters on Sept. 22, and ballots were mailed to local, active voters on Oct.16. Return ballots must be received no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day, except for military and overseas ballots. Military and overseas ballots are due no later than the 8th day after Election Day. Mail ballot drop-off locations were open starting October 16, and will remain open until 7 p.m. on Election Day. There are 15 mail ballot drop-off locations and these are open 24 hours, in El Paso County, and similar situation exists in Teller County.

On the outside of the envelope of the ‘official election mail,’ the county clerk and recorder’s office usually suggests “Vote Early. Once you decide to vote, return your ballot to one of our convenient ballot drop-off locations listed on the enclosed Secrecy Sleeve,”

El Paso County notes “Returning your ballot early helps reduce campaign calls and streamlines the election process.” All good objectives, I would agree.

Learn more about ballot drop-off. For more information about the 2017 Coordinated Election, visit the El Paso County election page.

For Teller County,http://www.co.teller.co.us/cr/electionsdept.aspx

“The good thing about democracy is that every vote counts. The problem with democracy is that every vote counts,” according to Charbel Tadros, author of ‘Leviathan.’

So basically, the deck is stacked against the folks that don’t vote. But more than that, the system is our system.

“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." A foreigner by the name of Winston S. Churchill said that about his country’s similar form of government in Speech in the House of Commons, Nov. 11, 1947.

I am also am a fan of a particular quote of Abraham Lincoln. “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.” The beer reference, I think was a stiff afterthought attempt at humor, but all-in-all, not a bad idea.

The truth is, as Mother Teresa (also a foreigner), identified, the idea that intent and deliberation goes a long way in all of our efforts. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Cast a stone, and create many of your own ripples.

Photo info: Native American Navajos register to vote for the first time in 1948.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Top of the world views nearby

Spruce Mountain: Locals love looking out from the overlooks

By Rob Carrigan, robarrigan1@gmail.com

The large, tree-covered mesa known as Spruce Mountain is a popular local track for hikers, horses, bikers and more. Visible from Interstate I-25, Spruce Mountain Road, County Line Road, and Highway 105, it is part of an important wildlife corridor allowing travel between the Pike National Forest and Greenland Open Space and Greenland Ranch. Douglas County has created over 8.5 miles of recreational trails on the property.
The Spruce Mountain Trail gently switchbacks up Spruce Mountain through a ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forest up to rocky overlooking vistas and a loop around the fairly-flat, forested mountaintop. Lookouts offer breathtaking views of Greenland Open Space, surrounding buttes, Pikes Peak, the Palmer Divide, Carpenter Creek and thousands of acres of protected open space. There are plenty of lookouts, ridges and meadows from over eight miles of trails. For variety, descend on the service road, hike the loop to the west, and hike back along the Eagle Pass trail, says information from Douglas County Open Space and Natural Resources.

* 8.5 miles of trails. Staying low on the easy Eagle Pass Trail will take you along the edges of forests and meadows. Moderately easy hikes to the upper loop will gently climb through shady forests to a wide and gentle trail that circles the top of the mountain. Small children commonly hike it, but keep an eye on them at the rocky lookouts. Ice and snow can build up on the shaded trails on the northern climb. The east end of the Service Road that Descends Spruce Mountain can be difficult, since it is steep and usually quite rutted. The western loop of the Eagle Pass Trail and the Service Road are moderately easy.
* Trail Length, It is about 5.5 miles from Spruce Mountain Road parking lot, around the Upper Loop, and a roundtrip back. You can add on another couple of miles to include the meadows and beautifully forested Eagle Ridge on the west side of Eagle Pass Trail and the Service Road.
* An interpretive kiosk and a port-a-potty are available in the parking lot trailhead, which accommodates cars and light trucks only. Trailers may be parked at the large Spruce Meadows Trailhead along Noe Road to the northeast. There is no water available at this site. Water is available a spigot at the nearby Greenland Open Space Trailhead.

Location: 13415 Spruce Mountain Road, Larkspur, CO. From I-25, take the Greenland Exit (167) to the west and travel ¼ mile west on Greenland Road and ½ mile south. Bypass the Greenland Trailhead and continue right on the main gravel road (Noe Road) over two sets of railroad tracks. (If you have a horse trailer or very large vehicle, park at the Spruce meadows parking lot on your left and take the 2-mile trail to Spruce Mountain.) Vehicles without trailers can continue another mile west on Noe Road to Spruce Mountain Road. Take a left and head south for about one mile to the parking area on your right. Or, cars can exit at Larkspur and go south six miles to Spruce Mountain Road to the entrance on the right.

Contact: Douglas County Open Space and Natural Resources at 303.660.7495.

Year acquired: 2003 – 231 acres fee simple, 2008 – 662 acres fee simple, 2008 – 458 acres conservation easement
Acres:  893 acres Fee simple; 458 acres in conservation easement
Land Category:  Preserve/Wildlife habitat
Conservation Tool: Fee Title & Conservation Easement
Cost: $8,985,000 Douglas County, $250,000 Great Outdoors Colorado, $1,875,000 United States Department of Agriculture – grant pending
Partners: Great Outdoors Colorado, The Conservation Fund, Douglas County, private conservation buyers. United States Department of Agriculture and Colorado State Forest Service
Location: Three and half miles north of Palmer Lake. Six miles south of Larkspur, with access along Spruce Mountain Road. The property is located between Perry Park Road and Spruce Mountain Road, south of Noe Road in the South I-25 Conservation Corridor.

Monday, October 9, 2017

We will miss Joiner’s strong and confident voice

The thing that stood out over and above for me  about Jere Joiner, was his voice.
Not necessarily his physical voice, though that was made for radio, or the opera, or something special but the way he took charge of what he wanted to say, when he wanted say it.
“Writing is not about the voices in your head, but the voices that make the great leap to the page,”  said J.H. Glaze, also a writer of renown.
Good writers have cadence, a pitch, a tone.
A writer's voice is something uniquely their own. It makes their work pop, plus readers recognize the familiarity. You would be able to identify the difference between Tolkien and Hemingway, wouldn't you? It's the way they write; their voice, in writing, is as natural as everyone's speaking voice.
Jere Joiner had such a voice in his writing, his speaking, and in more than once, in our own arguments. Sometimes, Joiner wanted say something that I disagreed with, or many times he wanted to present it in a way I felt was inappropriate. Or on occasion, I even thought I could improve the message, if he would just do it my way. All those discussions ended well because, in addition to a strong voice, Jere Joiner also knew how to listen, while still making his point.
“What is needed most is empathy, the ability to look out at the world through another person's eyes. Such an ability rarely comes naturally, but it can be learned. The solution is learning how to do it, and then making it happen on a large enough scale to be effective,” wrote Jere in one of his frequent letters to Gazette, over the years.
“Sociologists know that people tend to group themselves according to interest and education. College professors associate with college professors. Police officers, particularly, like to associate with other cops. Musicians, doctors, pro football players, pilots, politicians and teachers all feel more comfortable around people who think the way they do. They have common interests and understand each other's problems. Such groups may belong to a union, fraternity or civic organization where mutual ideas and views are shared and discussed,” Joiner said.
“Empathy will change the narrative, particularly if it goes both ways. Identifying and strengthening the ties that bind should be everyone's goal,” he explained.
His voice was born of his experience, of which, I was in awe.
Shreveport Detective Captain, leadership in the Sheriff’s Offices in Teller and El Paso counties, FBI training at Quantico, international expert status on use of the breathalyzer, political operative, father, husband, community leader, were just some of the roles he excelled at.
Also, one telling example of his strength of character, and as current El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder notes proof that “Jere was a fine man with a huge heart and will be missed,” was what the dogs thought of him.
He often would bring his two Portuguese Water Dogs to the office, and they would, without incident, wait patiently in the back office, for him to return, if he were to step out.
The minute they heard his voice, it was a homecoming of sorts. The dogs missed him back then, like all of us at the Courier, Woodland Park and points of the compass near and far, will miss that strong and confident voice that we all cherished.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Whispered in my ear, recently

In aggregation, the last few days, have been difficult for me. Others too, I am sure.

From a release from El Pomar:

"All of us woke up Monday to the shocking news that once again our country had a community in crisis. While the nation and the Las Vegas community need to process the how and why of such a deadly event and grieve for the loss of life while caring for survivors and families, many of us around the country want to help, to do something positive, to act.

From a column I wrote years ago about 1974 Chevy Vega I once owned:
Air band concerts took place on the hood as music from the soundtrack of the movie FM blared from the speakers inside.
"It's alright if you love me. It's alright if you don't. I'm not afraid of you running away from me, honey. I get the feeling you won't," sang Tom Petty . Break down, car. Go ahead and give it to me.

Believe it or not, a mental health professional can make it through his or her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs without having a single, significant discussion on what the term “mental health” actually means (or the term “mind” for that matter).
We tend to be trained to think that mental health is “not” something.  In other words, one becomes mentally healthy when they are “not depressed” or “not anxious” anymore.   At best, we receive a very functional definition of mental health.  That is, a person can be considered mentally healthy if they are able to function well at work and in relationships.  That’s a decent working definition, but it leaves a lot of territory unexplored.

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithonthecouch/2013/06/am-i-crazy-the-9-components-of-mental-health-and-how-you-get-them/#7MTiRjeJZ8W6jycg.99

From a news story I wrote Friday:
The suspect arrested for menacing bikers and others as they searched for Tim Watkins, before his body was found near Mount Herman Road west of Monument, is reportedly been called a person of interest in the murders of Delphi, Indiana teens Abby Williams and Libby German, according to various news outlets in Indiana.
Two teenage girls, Abby Williams and Libby German ages 13 and 14, were killed while hiking on a trail in Delphi, Indiana in February. Police have not released how they were killed.
Nations was living homeless in Morgan County the same week the girls' bodies were found, according reports. He was living under bridges in Morgan County when the girls were murdered, according to the Morgan County Sheriff's Department.

The “FM” story unfolds across a background of concerts, broadcast music, appearances by various rock stars, and public appearances by the station DJs. A minor subtheme to the film is the competition between QSKY and another area radio station. The major event of that subtheme occurs when Jeff arranges to broadcast a live concert by Linda Ronstadt that is being sponsored by the competitor's radio station.
Another minor subtheme is the ongoing task of massaging egos of the various DJs to keep them happy and on the air.
Martin Mull appears in his feature film debut as a zoned-out record spinner. He plays Eric Swan, a libidinous disc jockey with eyes for everyone female. The character is self-centered, smarmy, quick tempered, and overbearingly insincere. During the course of the film, Swan beds a supposed girlfriend, encounters a female fan with a peculiar physical "gift", and barricades himself in owing to a severe emotional breakdown due to his agent's dropping him and his girlfriend's leaving him, all within the confines of QSKY's studio.
Also rounding out the cast are Cleavon Little, who plays the Prince of Darkness, QSKY's overnight host (Little had previously played a disc jockey in the 1971 film, Vanishing Point); Eileen Brennan as " Mother", the 40-something nighttime DJ; Alex Karras as "Doc Holiday", the midday DJ with the lowest ratings on the station who is eventually let go from the station; and Tom Tarpey as new sales manager Regis Lamar, the bane of the disk jockeys' existence.
In addition, the film includes live appearances by Tom Petty & REO Speedwagon and live performances by Linda Ronstadt & Jimmy Buffett. Steely Dan performed the title theme, which became a sizable hit. The Eagles, James Taylor, Bob Seger, Dan Fogelberg, Billy Joel, and Queen were featured on the Platinum-plus soundtrack album.
From Wikipedia listing from “FM,” the movie.

From a Daily Beast, Tuesday Column by Stereo Williams

A sticking point for Petty was when fans began to bring Confederate flags to shows. In 2010, Fred Mills of BLURT recalled seeing Petty live in 1990 (with Lenny Kravitz opening, no less) when a fan tossed a Confederate flag onstage.
“A certain yahoo element had already been making its presence in the crowd known, emitting whoops and raising beer cups whenever Petty would make a regional reference. It was starting to feel like a NASCAR rally in the arena. Now, as the band eased into the song’s signature piano intro, somebody tossed a folded-up object onto the stage,” said Mills. “Petty walked over, picked it up, and started unfolding it: a rebel flag, symbol of the Confederacy—and of a whole lot more. He froze, uncertain as to what he should do. Well, wave it proudly at all your fellow Southerners, you could almost hear the collective thought ripple through the air. Instead, Petty walked back to the mic, still holding the flag, and slowly began to speak, talking about how on the Southern Accents Tour a few years ago they’d included a Confederate flag as part of the stage set, but since then he’d been thinking about it and decided that it had been a mistake because he understood maybe it wasn’t just a rebel image to some folks. As a low rumble of boos and a few catcalls came out of the crowd, Petty carefully wadded the flag up and concluded, ‘So we don’t do’—nodding at the flag—‘this anymore.’ Glaring at it one last time and then chucking it back down, he glanced at the band then launched directly into the next song.”

From a release Monday from Douglas County Sheriff’s Office:
On Sept. 30, The Douglas Regional Dispatch Center received a report of a body along the side of the road in the area of SB I-25 at MM 167, the Greenland Exit, South of The Town of Larkspur. Deputies and Larkspur Fire were immediately dispatched to the area to investigate.
The body of a female was located South of the Greenland Exit near MM 165.5. Although the cause and manner of death are still under investigation, The Douglas County Coroner’s Office has identified the female as Shelby Weatherly (DOB 9/20/1993).
Putting all of this together, we all want some kind of control in our lives. When our control in one area is restricted, we look for another outlet. That means that it is worth spending some time thinking about the areas of your life in which you can exert some control. Perhaps you have a creative outlet in which you feel you have mastery. One reason why these kinds of creative outlets are therapeutic is that they provide you with an arena in which you have control that you can use as a refuge when other elements of your life feel out of your control.
Follow Art Markman, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/abmarkman
“I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy.”
From a release from CU Boulder:
Beverly Kingston, director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) at the University of Colorado Boulder and Bill Woodward, training director at CSPV are available to discuss research-based strategies for preventing violence, including mass shootings. “A lot of times someone hears or sees something that doesn’t seem right and they don’t know who to call or how to report it. We would say: Do something,” says Kingston. She points to research by the U.S. Secret Service showing that in 4 out of 5 mass shootings at schools, someone other than the attacker knew of the plans. “They also found that most attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the incident that caused concern or indicated a need for help,” Kingston says.
She credits Colorado’s Safe2Tell Initiative, out of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, as an important resource for preventing numerous subsequent tragedies. Founded after the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, Safe2Tell provides a 24-hour anonymous tip line for citizens to report concerning behavior.
“When you are crazy you learn to keep quiet.”
In just eight hours, learn to identify and respond to signs of addiction and/or mental illness in a friend, family member or co-worker. Mental Health First Aid is an international program, but this is the last local offering in 2017. Class size is limited, and registration is required at www.mhfaco.org/find-a-class. For more information, contact NAMI-CS at 719-473-8477 or info@namicos.org. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Adult Mental Health First Aid Training, 8am-5pm, Friday, October 27, 2017, Citizens Service Center, 1675 Garden of the Gods Rd., Colorado Springs 80907, FREE www.mhfaco.org/find-a-class, NAMI Colorado Springs 719-473-8477
“In Scandinavia, there was a firm belief in the ability of some people to change into or assume the characteristics of bears. Our English word "berserk" comes from this legend. It was thought that if a warrior was to don a bear-skin shirt (called a bear-sark) which had been treated with oils and herbs, that the warrior would gain the strength, stamina, and power of the animal. These people would be driven into a frenzy in battle and were said to be capable of biting through the enemy's shields or walking through fire without injury.” — Gary Coulbourne
Sometimes, stories should be allowed to tell themselves.
In November of 2003, I began exploring the idea of writing something about how my friend, Lynn Leavell’s life and death had an impact on my own, and the lives of some of my friends. Pieces of that exploration have appeared here and there, but the definitive account, the be-all-to-end-all version that puts the matter to rest, never seems to emerge.
After wrestling with this mystery off and on all these years, the truth may be that I will never understand. Life may simply be just one damn thing after another, or not.
But following are few of the conversations and exchanges I’ve shared as I wander about, seeking.
Intro to a blogpost about a friend of mine.
We got somethin', we both know it, we don't talk too much about it
Ain't no real big secret, all the same, somehow we get around it
Listen, it don't really matter to me baby
You believe what you want to believe, you see

You don't have to live like a refugee
(Don't have to live like a refugee)

Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have kicked you around some
Tell me why you want to lay there, revel in your abandon
Honey, it don't make no difference to me baby
Everybody has to fight to be free, you see

You don't have to live like a refugee
(Don't have to live like a refugee)
No baby you don't have to live like a refugee
(Don't have to live like a refugee)

__ Tom Petty, Michael W. Campbell

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Bullet holes in the warning signs

Shots fired, despite a three-year, target-shooting ban

By Rob Carrigan, robcarrigan1@gmail.com

As bicyclists were unloading equipment for the memorial ride for Tim Watkins on Mount Herman Road that Saturday in late September of 2017, I could hear the gunshots in rapid-fire succession coming from the canyons above. Nothing new, I guess, but it troubled me considering the circumstances.

The Forest Service Ranger District had banned target practice in early July of 2014, so I wasn’t supposed to hear that.

A 12-mile section of the forest, in and around Mount Herman Road between Woodland Park and Monument was declared off limits to recreational shooting then by Forest Service rules that were clearly posted at the time and still are.

“The area closed to target shooting are areas of concentrated activity with many nearby roads and trails, recreational sites, private land developments and livestock grazing nearby. Restricting shooting in these areas reduces hazards to others who play, live and work within these areas,” said materials and map put together by officials of the Pike and San Isabel National Forest, they gave to me that July, three years ago.

Jon Pfeiffer, reserve law enforcement officer and off-highway vehicle manager for the Pike Ranger District, said enforcement was going as expected, at the time.

Pfeiffer, and others place nearly 30 signs in the off limits area the week before as the new (at the time) rules went into effect. Patrolling on Mount Herman Road that Friday, he noted that the first sign crews put up on the Tuesday prior, already did have “fake” bullet holes stickers on it.

Barb Timock, public affairs officer in the district’s Pueblo office, also said that the public had been supportive of the, then new rules.

She said near misses, whizzing bullets and other danger, over time prompted the official action, but the district consider it carefully and was ready with signs, maps, educational material and an enforcement plan.

“The Pike National Forest has many places to enjoy your favorite recreational activities, including target shooting if done in a safe and responsible manner,” said the material at the time. Estimates from the district held then that 94 percent of the forest was still available for recreational target shooting.

The order affected Mount Herman Road (Forest Service Road 320) from Monument, west to the Teller County line.

Fast-forward to last week.

The Forest Service imposed shooting bans in and around the area where Tim Watkins body was discovered in July of 2014, but many locals say they commonly hear and see evidence of violations against that ban in that area.

Barb Timock, Public Affairs Officer, for the United States Forest Service also refers questions related to law enforcement back to Sheriff’s Office officials.

“As always, the County Sheriff is the lead for this type of illegal activity. The USFS will continue our patrols and encourage the public to follow the safety recommendations of the Sheriff to be vigilant,” Timock said.

“The Sheriff is the best source of information on the amount and details of illegal activity in the County. The USFS is certainly aware of illegal activities that takes place in these thousands of acres. (I don’t have access to USFS law enforcement figures.)

“We rely heavily on our partners in law enforcement to do the bulk of patrolling and enforcement in the County. The Pike and San Isabel National Forest is over two million acres. That is a lot of ground to cover no matter how many patrols,” she said.

“The Sheriff’s Office did a good job of reminding our public of safety precautions. We rely heavily on our partners in law enforcement to do the bulk of patrolling and enforcement in the County. The Pike and San Isabel National Forest is over two million acres. That is a lot of ground to cover no matter how many patrols,” Timock said.

But, in contrast to those fake bullet hole stickers that first week. Many of the the signs on the route have real ones in them now.