Monday, November 27, 2017

The passage of time and Woodmoor

Woodmoor has a poetic ring to it. 

By Rob Carrigan,

Somewhere about 458 B.C. Aeschylus figured out that “Time brings all things to pass.”
Though announcements involving housing developments and such, have become quite commonplace in Northern El Paso County, I think it is interesting to take a trip back though those passing gates.
One fine spring day 52 years ago, word hit the streets of a large housing project in the Black Forest area.
“Woodmoor has a poetic ring to it. The word is so quiet sounding it could be a rumor. But it isn’t,” wrote Ralph Moore of the Denver Post in a March 22, 1965 article.
Moore noted that owner /developer Steve Arnold, “unpretentious and slight of build, a conservative in many ways, is busy promoting a pretentious 2,000-acre housing and recreational project in the Black Forest east of Monument.”
Arnold, 31, also described as a former Air Force captain who didn’t even play golf, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1956, and was a native of Los Angeles.
“Chief among the attractions at Woodmoor is an 18-hole, 7, -150-yard golf course which is hewed out of the forest by craftsmen who had little regard for hooks and slices.”
After graduating from the Naval Academy, Arnold reportedly chose the Air Force and spent his early military career at Lowery Air Force Base in Denver.
“Knowing the Air Force Academy would be located south of Monument, Arnold purchased 60 acres of land in the Black Forest because he thought it might be wise to own land near the AFA,” according to the Post story.
“He spent the 1958-1960 period with a flying squadron and in August, 1960, was transferred to the AFA as a freshman Gymnastics coach.
“Meanwhile, he kept adding to his holdings in the Black Forest, nursing the idea that someday their would be a need for a community in the area for the above-average income group. ‘It was just a belief,’ he says.”
At the time this article appeared, it was reported that Arnold had already sold more than 200 home sites in the price range of $4,000 to $11,000.
“Cranked into the project are plans for riding stables, shopping center near the Monument cutoff plus a motel,” Moore wrote.
J. Pres Maxwell was tabbed to design the golf course and a former assistant pro at Denver’s Pinehurst Country Club, Bob Hansen, was given the nod as the resident pro.
“Membership in the golf club is automatic with the purchase of a home site. Otherwise the price is $75 initiation plus dues. Anyone outside a 35-mile radius, meaning metropolitan Denver, can become a member for $500 with no dues attached,” Moore wrote in the Post.
The development’s front nine was expected to be completed and playable by August and the back nine, to be ready by the spring of 1966.
However, it appears that construction on Lake Woodmoor Dam, did not begin until December of 1967. “Construction started Thursday on the 50-acre Lake Woodmoor Dam located in the 2000-acre Woodmoor subdivision near the Monument Interchange north of the United States Air Force Academy,” said the Palmer Lake Monument News (a forerunner of the Tribune) on Dec. 14, 1967.
“Steve Arnold, president of the Woodmoor Corp., stated that the 350,000 cubic yard dam structure is part of the $16 million project that will include residential homesites adjacent to the water’s edge on the half-mile long lake. There will also be townhouse and garden apartments located adjacent to the lake which will make it the only year-round residential lake community in this area,” said December paper in 1967.
“There will be six private sandy beaches for the use of Woodmoor residents and numerous boat docks constructed for the use of boating enthusiast.”
“Sailboating and fishing will be the primary activities on the lake and will be centered around the marina and boathouse located at the water’s edge. Sailboat regattas will be featured as frequent events on the lake,”Arnold said.
Well, time brings some things to pass, anyway.

May love and laughter light your days


Christmas and Irish go way back in time

By Rob Carrigan

“Tis the season. There is a long-standing Irish tradition that, just before Christmas, you start cleaning out everything. Give everything a good scrubbing. Clear the clutter. Sweep out the carriage house and the front walks. Clean the barn. Paint or whitewash the outbuildings. Mop the floors. Change the curtains. Wash all the linens. Make sure the windows are spotless.

Some say it is to make ready for the Christ child, the new-born king. Some pass it off as preparing for Father Christmas.

The Sioux tribe has a custom, though not necessarily exclusive to this time of year, of calling over all their friends and perhaps a few enemies, and giving away most of their belongings. Just start handing stuff out, the more valued the possessions, the better the person holding the giveaway is reported to feel.

Nothing says it is Irish Christmas time more effectively than a Bing Crosby carol.

“One of the more surreal moments in pop music history took place Sept. 11, 1977, when the leading American pop star of the first half of the Twentieth Century met and performed with one of the more innovative rock 'n’rollers of the last half of the century,” writes Steven Lewis of the Bing Crosby Museum.

According to Lewis, it was Crosby’s idea that he and rocker David Bowie would perform “The Little Drummer Boy” as a duet but Bowie felt the song did not showcase his voice very well. As a compromise they added “Peace on Earth,” which suited Bowie’s talent very well.

“The two musical spokesman of different generations met for the first time on the morning of the taping, rehearsed for an hour and finished off their duet in only three takes,” writes Lewis.

Crosby died a month later and the public did not get to see the performance until after his death.

But of course, a lot of things Irish have roots in Christmas history.

The Celtic festival of Alban Arthuan celebrated the Winter Solstice on December 21 in ancient times. It is, according to lore, the ancient Druidic fire festival and apparently translates as “The Light of Arthur, in honor of legends that hold King Arthur was born on the Winter Solstice. It is also called Yule, derived from “Yula,” or “Wheel of the Year’ that marks the both the shortest day and the beginning of the return of the sun, according to Clans of Ireland, Registered Charity No. 11585. The custom of burning the Yule Log is perhaps the most familiar surviving Yule tradition.

But the Irish offer us other traditions that warm the heart and tickle the imagination. Among my favorites is the candle in the window.

A lighted candle is placed in the window of a house on Christmas Eve to welcome Mary and Joseph as they travel looking for shelter and to indicate a safe place for priests to perform mass as, during Penal Times this was a major concern. Another element of that custom was that the youngest in the house was to light it and only a girl named ‘Mary’ could extinguish the flame.

Also the placing of Holly on doors is directly connected to Irish history as it flourished during the Holiday season and gives the poor ample means with which to decorate their dwellings. According to Ireland, “All decorations are traditionally taken down on Little Christmas (January 6) and it is considered to be bad luck to take them down beforehand.

In the interest of cleaning things out and giving things away, may peace and plenty be the first to lift the latch on your door, and happiness be guided to your home by the candle of Christmas.

Finally, I recall my Grandfather’s Gaelic greeting shared in the pubs with cowboys and Irish miners on the Western Slope during the season, signifying ‘Merry Christmas,’ in the Celtic fashion. Though he did so in Sioux and German, and English, as well.

‘Nolliag Shanoa Duit’ which is pronounced as ‘null-ig hun-a dit.’

Monday, November 20, 2017

It really is a small world, after all.

Model Railroad Magic:

Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9, 10 and Dec. 16 and 17, 

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

By Rob Carrigan,

It really is a small world after all. And there is no place that more starkly defines that, than Bob Bandy’s basement in Gleneagle. Nearly 6,000 feet of track, 1/87 the size of their real-world prototypes, operating on its own power grid, spanning the last century of railroad and engineering technology and history, at the same time. Also, nearly 20 years in the making. And it is not finished yet.

If you have wandered around the country, looking at architecture, and land forms, and transportation corridors, it might all seem oddly familiar. There is Vedauwoo, an area of rocky outcrops (Sherman Granite) located in southeastern Wyoming, north of Interstate 80, between Laramie and Cheyenne. Its name, according to some, is a romanized version of the Arapaho word "bito'o'wu" meaning "earth-born."

As you sneak through the canyons between tracks, you will recognize Pulpit Rock, locally. And mining operations on the Eagle River in Colorado, Mount Sneffels, down in the corner of the state, and the Sinclair refinery in southern Wyoming.

But complex bridges in Northeast are there too. Locations in Montana. And lumber operations in the Pacific Northwest, and places in California. The whole transportive world of the last century seems to be in that basement.

And the detail. Locomotives of every stripe. Trucks that no one remembers. Shipping containers with pioneers of shipping industry’s branding. Buildings that no longer exist in real life. People and scenes from long ago. Don’t waste your time trying to fact-check something Bob tells you about railroads in this lifetime, however. He can explain more about how this country’s economies function, and the tax structure works, in hour of railroad wisdom than the “Oracle of Omaha.”

As Bob says, “It is a time for traditions and celebrations. Let us be a part of your Christmas tradition and help us by celebrating the completion of another year of projects on the Grand Pacific Northwestern Railroad.”

Bob Bandy and Lou, will host an open house Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9, 10 and Dec. 16 and 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the basement at 15455 Pompeii Square in Gleneagle (off of Jesse Drive). He asks that you RSVP at or call 719-481-0566.

“We thank you for your support. It is you who tell our story. Join us this Christmas season, and see the Magic,” he says.

Cycles of transport: Trying to get there from here

Going around in circles of history and transportation

By Rob Carrigan,

I recall thinking, at least 20 years ago, that the embrace of the Internet, and all things tech-related was a modern equivalent of the gold rush. You could see it in behavior of capital markets, in consumer activity, in additional development.

We truly are a slow-moving society that keeps doing things over and over again in cycles of history.

Railroads played a key role in the development of the United States — industry in the North East, settlement of the West. The system was largely built by 1910, but then trucks arrived to eat away the freight traffic, and automobiles (and later airplanes) to devour the passenger traffic. After 1940, the use of diesel electric locomotives made for much more efficient operations that needed fewer workers on the road and in repair shops.

“Most business historians have assumed that the transcontinental railroads would never have been built without government subsidies. The free market would have failed to provide the adequate capital, or so the theory asserts. The evidence for this theory is that the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads, which were completed in the years after the War Between the States, received per-mile subsidies from the federal government in the form of low-interest loans as well as massive land grants. But there need not be cause and effect here: the subsidies were not needed to cause the transcontinental railroads to be built. We know this because, just as many roads and canals were privately financed in the early nineteenth century, a market entrepreneur built his own transcontinental railroad,” writes Thomas J. DiLorenzo, in “How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, From the Pilgrims to the Present.”

He cites for example, James J. Hill built the Great Northern Railroad "without any government aid, even the right of way, through hundreds of miles of public lands, being paid for in cash," as Hill himself said.

But "travel is never a matter of money, but of courage,” according to Paulo Coelho. And modern transportation is cycling up to front in this country, and particularly here in Colorado.

“Arrivo will first build a test site by the E-470 toll road, running past the main airport. The company could even take over a lane of traffic in either direction instead of building a whole new path. The company plans to add 200 employees to a nearby technology center by 2020, with the end goal of having a system running in the next five years,” wrote Mike Brown, a few days ago in “Inverse.” It is sort of like a hyperloop, proposed by Tesla leader Elon Musk in 2013.

“Well, not exactly a hyperloop. A hyperloop-inspired system,” notes Alex Davies of “Wired.”

“It’s a meaningful distinction,” says Brogan BamBrogan (yup, his legal name), founder and CEO of Arrivo, which today announced a deal with the Colorado Department of Transportation to develop such a network throughout the Denver metropolitan region that looks an awful lot like the maglev train systems now running in Japan and China. When Elon Musk first publicized this idea for high-speed tube travel in a 2013 white paper, he described people- or cargo-filled pods levitating above a track inside near-vacuum tubes. This elimination of nearly all friction and drag would mean that the pods could hit near-supersonic speeds with relatively little energy expenditure. Since then, hundreds of people and a handful of companies have been trying to realize hyperloop. They have mixed and matched Musk's ingredients, trying to find a recipe that delivers the right blend of cost, speed, and infrastructural feasibility,” says “Wired” Alex Davies.

“Colorado drivers may be the first to escape traffic thanks to a new partnership between state officials and a Los Angeles-based hyperloop tech company. Arrivo founder Brogan BamBrogan joined Colorado transportation officials in Denver Tuesday to announce a partnership to create a network of roadside tubes at the congested heart of the city that promises to whisk drivers and their cars to their destinations at speeds of up to 200 mph. The public-private players include Arrivo, the Colorado Department of Transportation and E-470 Public Highway Authority, which operates a 75-mile, user-financed toll road running along the eastern perimeter of the city. The Arrivo test site will be near E-470 and groundbreaking is slated for early 2018. BamBrogan says Arrivo's first commercial system could be ready in 2021 depending on funding, regulatory and public-perception hurdles,” says Marco della Cava, of USA TODAY.

In the meantime, the Colorado Department of Transportation is still working with Hyperloop One as announced in September.

“Hyperloop One, the only company in the world that has built a full-scale Hyperloop system, today announced Colorado as one of the 10 winners of its Hyperloop One Global Challenge to identify the strongest new Hyperloop routes in the world. Following a close assessment of the proposals by a panel of experts in infrastructure, technology and transportation, ten teams from five countries were chosen from among hundreds of applicants. Hyperloop One will commit meaningful business and engineering resources and work closely with each of the winning teams/routes to determine their commercial viability. Additionally, as a direct result of the Global Challenge, Hyperloop One and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), with support from AECOM, will enter a public private partnership to begin a feasibility study in Colorado that considers a Front Range route from Cheyenne to Pueblo,” said release at the time.

"We are excited​ to partner with Hyperloop One in exploring the next step of feasibility of this innovative technology, potentially transforming how Colorado moves," said Shailen Bhatt, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Transportation. "The Hyperloop technology could directly align with our goals of improving mobility and safety in Colorado, and we have been encouraged by the continued progress the technology is taking," said the Sept. CDOT release.

Also, interestingly enough, CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt, who touts among his top accomplishments for the state system as being selected and launching as one of 10 global finalists and moving forward with a first-of-its-kind feasibility study to build Hyperloop, a new rapid speed travel infrastructure. Bhatt also focused on deploying transportation technology, creating the RoadX program and making Colorado a national innovation leader and by teaming with the private sector to shape our transportation future.

Bhatt will leave his position in December to become President & Chief Executive Officer at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.

Illustrations: Renderings of hyperloop system.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

More efficient means for going backwards?

Completely lost in technology, but making good time

Photo: Gijsbert van der Wal

By Rob Carrigan,

Election night, I was with a group of people, with skin in the game in a local elections, as they waited for results. Big screens surrounded the group overhead but about 70 percent of the heads were down everywhere, watching the feed on their phone. Several of them even commented on how bad they thought that was, considering how hard they tried to get their teen-age kids to look up from the phones, on a daily basis.

“It seems every generation of parents has a collective freak-out when it comes to kids and new technologies; television and video games each inspired widespread hand-wringing among grownups. But the inescapability of today’s mobile devices — combined with allure of social media — seems to separate smartphones from older screen-based media. Parents, teenagers and researchers agree that smartphones are having a profound impact on the way adolescents today communicate with one another and spend their free time,” notes Time magazine in a Nov. 6 story.

“And while some experts say it is too soon to ring alarm bells about smart phones, others argue that we understand enough about young people’s emotional and developmental vulnerabilities to recommend restricting kids’ escalating phone habits.”

According to Time, the latest statistics on teenage mental health reinforce the concern.

“Between 2010 and 2016, the number of adolescents who experienced at least one major depressive episode leaped by 60%,” citing a nationwide survey conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services.

“The 2016 HHS survey of 17,000 kids found that about 13% of them had at least one major depressive episode per year, compared with 8% of the kids surveyed in 2010. Suicide deaths among people ages 10 to 19 have also risen sharply; among teenage girls, suicide has reached 40-year highs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All this follows a period during the late 1990s and early 2000s when rates of adolescent depression and suicide mostly held steady or declined.”

I personally have always tried to treat technology like an unfamiliar dog, that might easily become a new friend, but always carries with it the potential to bite you and others around you if not approached correctly.

And it appears local educators have a similar approach.

Lewis Palmer District 38 Superintendent Karen Brofft, and the Parent Community Technology Advisory Committee earlier this week presented SCREENAGERS: Growing Up in the Digital Age, a documentary about one of the biggest parenting issues of our time.

“Are you watching kids scroll through life, with their rapid-fire thumbs and a six-second attention span? Physician and award-winning documentary filmmaker Delaney Ruston saw that happening with her own kids and began a quest to uncover how it might impact their development. Ruston takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction,” said a release about the Nov. 13 presentation.

A recent article by Louisville, Ky., writer and teacher Paul Barnwell in The Atlantic explores the issue.

“The phone could be a great equalizer, in terms of giving children from all sorts of socioeconomic backgrounds the same device, with the same advantages. But using phones for learning requires students to synthesize information and stay focused on a lesson or a discussion. For students with low literacy skills and the frequent urge to multitask on social media or entertainment, incorporating purposeful smartphone use into classroom activity can be especially challenging. The potential advantage of the tool often goes to waste,” he says

“It’s like giving kids equal access to cigarettes and candy ... teens are not as adept at understanding risk and cause and effect,” he says.

“And I know smartphones do have wonderful learning potential, having had occasional success with them in my own classroom. I’ve had students engage in peer-editing using cloud-based word processing on their phones, for example. I’ve also heard and read about other educators using phones for exciting applications: connecting students to content experts via social media, recording practice presentations, and creating ‘how-to’ videos for science experiments.

We also know that other school districts across the country are in the midst of trying to incorporate technology to enhance learning, and to close the so-called digital divide—to ensure all students have access to an Internet-enabled device. One way to solve the access issue is to allow students to use smartphones in class,” Barnwell says.

I suppose it is appropriate that we consider smartphones and other technology like renowned science fiction writer Arthur C. Clark. “Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.” Or like another such writer, Aldous Huxley said. “Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.”

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Leader from a very young age

Dickson Memorial effort brings veterans’ sacrifices home

By Rob Carrigan,

Eric V. Dickson – by all accounts, was a leader from a very young age – and Woodland Park student who joined the Marine Corp after graduation in 1967.

“The cold and harsh fact that an undeclared war in progress thousands of miles from Teller County has struck. And with a terrific impact, one which will perhaps never be fully understood,” said the Courier at the time.

“Although the confusing Viet Nam conflict has been under way for more than 10 years, it had, until last weekend, received little attention in this area. Many residents have extended sorrow to relatives and friends affected by the war, But Teller County had not given up one of its own,” the Courier said.

The U.S. Defense Department telegram read: “Lance Corporal Eric V. Dickson, a member of B. Company, First Battalion, First Marines, was killed in action near Quang Tri, Republic of Viet Nam, when he received fragmentation wounds to the body from a hostile explosion device while on patrol May 31, 1968.”

“Eric is Woodland Park’s hometown hero to many of us that are still around and remember him with love. His death was incredibly hard on all residents of the area at the time. He was very well known and respected by everyone, young and old,” said longtime area resident Steve Plutt several months ago.

“Back then, Woodland Park was a very small town compared to today. A beautiful memorial fountain was erected in his honor right on Midland Avenue where everyone could see it all the time. It was right across the street from the Ute Inn. The Marine Corp even sent an Honor Guard up here when that fountain was dedicated,” Plutt said.

“As the years past however, times changed and suddenly, not many if any, city leaders knew or had heard of Eric. Our war memorial for Eric fell in disrepair by lack of maintenance from the city and then was vandalized. Soon, it seems that it was in the way of progress and was finally torn down and a public toilet was erected in its place,” he said.

Cause for corrective action.

The group hopes to raise the money to pay for, build and dedicate a new tribute to Dickson on National Vietnam War Veterans Day, March 29, 2018. That will also mark the 50th anniversary of Eric’s death. They are trying to raise a modest $75,000.

“We are a newly formed organization committed to erecting a memorial to a Woodland Park man killed in action in Vietnam in 1968. He was Woodland Park and Teller County’s only death in that war. We are raising money to have a life sized bronze of Mr. Dickson commissioned and placed in Woodland Park,” Steve Storrs, also of group, said this summer.

“We are officially endorsed by the City of Woodland Park, Woodland Park VFW Post 6051, the American Legion Eric V. Dickson Post 1980, Woodland Park Arts Alliance, Aspen Valley Ranch/ Pikes Peak Community Foundation and the Lake George-Florissant VFW Post 11411. “Our Committee (The Eric Dickson Memorial Project) consists of the following members: Denise DeNomme, Elizabeth Agan, Kim Plutt, Mark Agan, Timothy Michael McMillin Sr., Elijah Murphy, Steve Storrs, Steve Plutt.”

The project has been endorsed by State Sen. Kevin Grantham, Congressman Doug Lamborn; Woodland Park officials Mayor Neil Levy and David Buttery; the Board of Teller County Commissioners; Sen. Michael Bennet; Sen. Cory Gardner and State. Rep. Polly Lawrence.

Donations for the commissioned statue of the late Eric Dickson can be sent to Ent Credit Union, Eric Dickson Project, c/o American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Post 1980, 920 Paradise Lodge Ln., Woodland Park CO 80863.

“Eric Dickson volunteered to serve his country. And he did so without fear, in order that each of us might have a better life in the trying days ahead. We must not let his efforts be in vain,” said the Courier, back in 1968.

Can't think of a better thing to do

The perfect opportunity to say thank you to veterans

By Rob Carrigan,

Originating as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans — living or dead — but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

Locally, and individually, we all have our own heroes. Bill Crawford, Jim Newbrough, and a host of other local guys that served in the various branches. Today, it is estimated that nearly 100,000 veterans live here in El Paso County and about 40,000 active duty.

We have roads named, William Crawford Highway (105) through Monument. We have the recent memorial built (mostly by local vets) on the edge of town in Palmer Lake that will be dedicated this next weekend.

Crawford was born in 1918, and from Pueblo, Colorado, and later joined the U.S. Army from that city in July 1942. By September 13, 1943, he was serving as a private with the 142nd Infantry Regiment 36th Infantry Division in southern Italy. On that day, he was acting as a squad scout when his company attacked Hill 424 near Altavilla Silentina. During the battle, Crawford twice moved forward through continuous fire and, using hand grenades and his rifle, destroyed machine gun nests which were holding back his platoon's advance.

After the battle, Crawford was captured by the Germans and presumed dead. So in 1944 the Medal of Honor was presented posthumously to his father. Later in the year, Crawford was among a group of soldiers rescued from German captivity.

On January 13, 1946, he married Eileen Bruce. He re-enlisted in the Army in 1947, retired in 1967 with the rank of master sergeant. He later worked as a janitor at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and as director of the Lucretia Vaille Museum in Palmer Lake.

While working at the Air Force Academy, he mentioned to friends that he had never received the Medal from the president. In 1984, during that year's graduation ceremony, President Ronald Reagan formally presented him with the Medal.

Crawford died at age 81 on March 15, 2000, in his residence at Palmer Lake. Upon his death Governor Bill Owens authorized all Colorado flags to be lowered to half staff in his honor. He is buried at the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado Springs, the only non-USAF, US Army enlisted person buried there. He is one of four Medal of Honor recipients from Pueblo, Colorado, the others being Drew Dennis Dix, Raymond G. Murphy, and Carl L. Sitter.

Jim Newbrough, the great grandson of David McShane, a Monument pioneer who built a fort on the edge of town in the 1860s. Newbrough was awarded the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster for his heroics in the Mundi Air Strip Battle during World War II. He single-handedly manned a machine gun nest at that Pacific outpost and is credited with saving the battalion that day.

“As the fight progressed, Newbrough, alone on the gun, kept it going constantly,” said Yank Magazine in December of 1943. “Nobody, not even he, knows how many belts of ammunition he expended. As the gun continued to fire, it attracted more and more attention until it seemed that Newbrough was the only target. Bullets spattered onto everything, cutting down the shelter, half on top of him and clearing the underbrush from around him.”

Next week, a number of celebrations, tributes and events thank Veterans for their service. I can’t think of a better thing to do.