Friday, July 18, 2003  content presented by Telluride Today .com About The Watch

This Week's Stories

Telluride Foundation Welcomes Four New Members


“We’re also excited to welcome Ron Gilmer, Betsy Lindsay, Davis Fansler and Marilyn Quayle to the board” of directors for the Telluride Foundation, Paul Major, president, reported earlier this month.

Major reported as well that following its July 3 bi-annual meeting, the Telluride Foundation’s Board of Directors voted to alter its Grants Committee, increasing the number of people serving on the committee from five to seven. At the same time, the foundation also added two new members to its board of directors, and replaced two existing positions, increasing the breadth and scope of its board. In addition, the board reviewed the status and progress of the foundation’s current activities and initiatives, including the Hanley Rink fundraising; the Bright Futures child care fund; its Latino initiative and the Good Neighbor Emergency Assistance fund.

 “Our July meeting was, as usual, comprehensive and productive,” reports Paul Major, president of the Telluride Foundation. “Expanding and reorganizing the grants committee will bring more points of view and [a] broader perspective to the decision making process and reduce the overall load on individual committee members.” Major went on to compliment the new additions, describing them as “four knowledgeable, talented and dedicated individuals who we expect will become active participants in a wide range of foundation activities and functions.”

 The expansion of the foundation’s grants committee is one of many changes to committee structures, largely the result of findings of an ad hoc committee chaired by Anne Herrick that included Tricia Maxon, Susan Saint James and Tully Friedman. The committee was formed last December to review and provide recommendations on terms and rotations of board and committee memberships. Their recommendations for governance changes were adopted unanimously by the board of directors.

The Telluride Foundation Grants Committee, which reviews applications for community grants funded by the foundation and makes recommendations for grant awards to the board of directors, consists of seven members, each of whom serves a two-year term. The chairperson also serves only one, two-year term and staggered elections create an

ongoing rotation of Telluride Foundation board members through the committee. The one exception is the Director of San Miguel County Social Services who sits on the Telluride Foundation Board by appointment and, in order to provide critical expertise and stable insight in the area of social services, will always have a seat on the grants committee as well. Community grants are awarded to local groups once a year, in December.

Stephen Wald currently chairs the Telluride Foundation Grants Committee and will retain his position through the next granting period. To make room for new members, Dick Rodgers, a member of the grants committee since its inception, has resigned and Bunny Friedus, Bill Gershen, Alan Gerstle, Ron Gilmer, Mary Rubadeau and Josh Sale now round out the foundation’s grants committee.

 “The discussion and debate concerning these changes was thoughtful and considerable,” said Major. “Many changes were the result of feedback we heard from the community regarding the perception of our grants committee and grant-making process. The board members listened carefully and are very happy with their adopted changes.”

In joining the Foundation’s Board of Directors, Lindsay, Gilmer, Fansler and Quayle bring the total number of board members to 34. Quayle replaces her husband, former Vice President J. Danforth Quayle, and Fansler replaces out-going Mountain Village Mayor Dave Flatt. Lindsay and Gilmer are new additions from the local community.


“Our newest board members bring extensive experience with local and national charitable causes,” said Major. “We’re privileged to have three more strong individuals focused on strengthening our community, and we’ll certainly be putting their knowledge and expertise to good use.”  Davis Fansler was elected Mayor of Mountain Village last Tuesday. Fansler has lived in Mountain Village with his wife, Bobsey, since 1995. He has five children and, in addition to being a player and for the Lizard Head Hockey Club, Fansler is currently the president of the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club.

Gilmer is currently the chairman of the Town of Telluride’s Commission for the Arts and Special Events, a board on which he has served since 1998. He is a founding member of the Telluride AIDS Benefit, and has been a member of the Colorado Governor’s AIDS Council since 1998. Gilmer has been a property owner in Telluride since 1979 and moved to Telluride full-time in 1991. Prior to that he spent 25 years as a professional research diver, with funding from National Science Foundation Grants, during which time he was a contributing or senior author to 26 scientific investigations into the biology of gelatinous zooplankton (Jellyfish) and co-author of the book Pelagic Snails: The biology of holoplanktonic gastropod molluscs. Gilmer is currently the Vice President of B.O.N.E. Construction, a local building company he’s been affiliated with since 1993.

 Betsy W. Lindsay was born and raised in and around North Kentucky and Cincinnati. She spent five years in Southern California and 23 years in Rowayton, Ct., before moving to Telluride in 1999. Owner of Mountain View Events, she immediately began an active career of volunteer involvements, starting with the 1999 Telluride Council on the Arts and Humanities Summer Arts Fair, the Telluride Jazz Festival, Dance in Telluride and the Beaux Arts Ball. She was elected to the Board of TCAH in February of 2000 and served on the executive committee of Dance in Telluride through 2002. She has been involved with the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program and the Telluride Film Festival. Additionally, Lindsay has been a member of the Telluride Foundation’s development committee since its inception and worked with Operation F.E.A.S.T. (Fund for Expanding And Supporting the Telluride Medical Center) in 2003.

 Marilyn Tucker Quayle earned a law degree from Indiana University, where she met her husband, Dan Quayle, who served as vice president of the U.S. under President George Bush. Active in a number of charitable causes, she has placed special emphasis on disaster preparedness and breast cancer research. Her efforts have resulted in numerous national and international awards and recognition. A woman of strong beliefs, she speaks passionately about faith, families and the future of American and the world. She is co-author of two books: Embrace the Serpent and The Campaign.

The new board members join Co-Chairmen General H. Norman Schwarzkopf and Ron Allred and Richard Betts, Harmon Brown, Bill Carstens, Joanne Corzine, Mark Dalton, Kim Day, Vern Ebert, William Clay Ford, Jr., Bunny Friedus, Tully Friedman, Ken Gart, Bill Gershen, Allan Gerstle, Anne Herrick, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Ron Kurucz, Paul Major, Patricia Maxon, Joan May, Joe Hideo Morita, Stephen Phinny, Dick Rodgers, Mary Rubadeau, Susan Saint James, Josh Sale, Jim Wear and Stephen Wald on the foundation board.

 The Telluride Foundation’s Board of Directors is responsible for oversight of the foundation’s governance and grant-making, and meets bi-annually, in July and December. Members of the executive, grants, investment and dance development and audit committees meet more frequently. The board members, officers, and committee members are elected annually for two-year terms. For a full list of committee members, visit


Telluride Jazz Celebration Revs Up for Memorable 27th Year

It’s only a few weeks away – the inimitable Telluride Jazz Celebration, which beginning August 1 celebrates its 27th year.

Executive Director Paul Machado reports a roster of performers beginning with guest of honor Cedar Walton, whose career dates back to his early years with Art Blakeley’s Jazz Messengers.

Today, Walton is recognized as “one of the most respected and prolific composers and pianists in jazz,” Machado says, who has “long delivered a style that illuminates a bright and dynamite imagination, energizing everything around with a surging sense of swing.”

The Jazz roster includes the John Scoffield Band, with “Sco” performing his “wide range of styles containing true fluency and virtuosity, with “his reputation as a peerless jazz guitarist, while making groove and jam-oriented music,” now at its peak.

There are Jazz stalwarts, including Kenny Garrett, a Miles Davis alum, and Kevin Mahogany, described by Machado as “the quintessential jazz vocalist and a favorite friend of Telluride.” This year, Mahogany will honor the work of “the great ballad man, Johnny Hartman,” says Machado; Mahogany has been selected as Number One Male Vocalist  in Down Beat magazine’s annual critics poll, and has issued his sixth CD, on Warner Brothers.

New this year: Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana. Composer Bunnet “just got a Grammy nomination this year for her recent Blue Note release, Alma de Santiago,” Machado reports. A saxophonist and flutist is “one of the most exciting rising stars on the jazz scene,” he says, “and brings in the finest Afro-Cuban jazz ensembles for her Telluride debut.”

Jazz guitarist Larry Coryell, described as “a true eclectic, armed with a brilliant technique,” who is “comfortable in almost every style,” will make an appearance, as will the Chuchito Valdes, a pianist “from one of the most distinguished Cuban musical families,” Machado opines, who will be joined onstage by his brother, Emilio – “a master of Afro-Cuban percussion,” onstage.

Also on tap: Karrin Allyson, a jazz vocalist whose album Ballads surprised audiences “with her take on John Coltrane,” Machado reports, going on to garner her a Grammy nomination. Leroy Jones – a Louis Armstrong-inspired trumpeter, will perform, with his Quintet, as will Astral Project; D.J. Logic and Friends; Robert Walter’s 20th Congress; Black Frames; Benevento/Russo, an “organ and drum duo that has completely taken over the Big Apple,” Machado reports, the Washington Prep Gospel Chorus, from Washington High School, in Los Angeles, and Mariachi Nuevo Mexico.

And, as always, the Telluride Student Jazz All-Stars will feature as well as scrutinize up-and-coming jazz musicians. Students 13 and up will converge on Telluride July 28 for a workshop directed by renowned trumpeter, educator and Yamaha clinician Bob Montgomery. Their work will culminate in what has come to be expected as one of the weekend’s most memorable performances.

For information on tickets, please call 728-7009 or visit

Mountain medicine 

When Lightning Comes Close – Seek Cover, Know CPR

By Martinique Davis


When it hasn’t rained for weeks, any promise of precipitation becomes a good omen.  As the dust gets high, the grass brown, and smoke from neighboring forest fires thicken we curse sunny days and rejoice when the clouds roll in and the lightning and thunder rumble the valley.

The thought of saving a hike for another day, when the threat of a thunderstorm looms on the horizon, can seem ridiculous, especially when a rainy-afternoon ramble is often just the cure for life in the mid-summer drought. 

And while a lightning injury isn’t always one’s first thought when grabbing a raincoat, on any hike that loops up through the high country, lightning can indeed be a fierce adversary.

Lightning never strikes twice, so they say.  But it only has to strike once to devastate your body, especially if the proper first aid isn’t administered.  Lightning’s awesome, unpredictable and dangerous power can’t be overemphasized, and that’s why avoiding lightning injuries in the first place is our first line of defense against Mother Nature’s blazing bullets.

Backcountry First Aid by Buck Tilton suggests some safety guidelines to help maximize safety in a lightning storm.  First, know the local weather patterns.  In Telluride, storm clouds tend to roll in during the early afternoon and are typically gone by early evening.

For those caught out in the backcountry when lightning bolts cut across the sky, it is imperative to know when it’s time to find a safety zone.  When the flash of lightning precedes the boom of thunder by five seconds, the storm is approximately one mile away, and it is time to be searching for a safe spot to wait out the storm.

A safe waiting spot must have a uniform cover, e.g. low rolling hills or trees of about the same size, deep dry caves, buildings, or cars with the windows rolled up.  Avoid high places, tall objects, metal objects, open places, low places, and open bodies of water.

Fatal lightning injuries are fairly uncommon – between 150 and 300 people end up dying after lightning strikes in the United States each year. That number accounts for approximately ten to twenty percent of total lightning injuries sustained each year, however (Medicine for Mountaineering by James A. Wilkerson.)

The voltage in a bolt of lightning is extremely high (200 million to 2 billion, as opposed to 200,000 in manmade voltages) and so the strike typically “flashes” over the outside of the body.  Electricity does penetrate the body enough to disrupt the electrical functions of the brain and heart, but lightning injuries are not usually associated with the extensive burns typically produced by manmade voltages.

The most serious effects sustained from the electric voltage of a lightning strike occur in the brain.  The electricity shocks the heart as well, causing it to arrest, but the heart’s intrinsic tendency to resume beating usually kicks in shortly after a lightning strike.  The brain, however, requires much longer to recover from electrical disruption, and because the brain controls respiration, the victim may not breathe, even though the heart is beating.

Medicine for Mountaineering reports that more than 70 percent of individuals struck by lightning have enough disruption of brain function to lose consciousness.  Recovery of enough function to resume breathing can take as long as twenty to thirty minutes, so the emergency treatment an unconscious victim of a lightning strike is clearly to begin rescue breathing, if a pulse is present. If no pulse is found, a trained responder should begin CPR immediately. 

The next most serious and common injuries sustained from lightning strikes are to the central nervous system; second most frequent is skin burns and internal organ injuries, caused by the passage of electricity though the body.

In their book  Mountaineering First Aid, Jan Carline, Martha Lentz, and Stephen Macdonald urge evacuating any victim of a lightning strike, regardless of the severity of injury.


Nightwatch – no name

Three of Motown's Top Artists Bring Nostalgia,

Romance and Soul to Telluride Conference Center

Kicker - Smokey Robinson, Chuck Jackson and DeeDee Sharp in a Two-Part Motown Revue

Motown roars into Telluride this weekend, with three of its pioneering performers singing Friday and Saturday night at the Telluride Conference Center.

Kicking off the two-part series Friday night is the King of Crooners, Smokey Robinson, whose classic songwriting skills alone once earned him the sobriquet of "America's Greatest Living Poet" from none other than Bob Dylan.

Expect surprises in a performance from Smokey Robinson, who fronted the Miracles in the 60s, at the same time working with almost every Motown act as a songwriter, producer and/or label executive.

In concerts in recent years, Robinson has been known to sing everything from his own "Ooh Baby Baby" to "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" to "Tears of a Clown" to Christmas medlees.

Robinson was lured back to the once-legendary Motown label not too long ago by his longtime manager Suzanne de Passe. "We went up to the Motown offices in New York," he told an interviewer four years back, "and the atmosphere there, the feeling of the people, had that old Motown feeling. It reminded me of the early days of Motown."

Robinson is perhaps best known for his love songs. When a San Francisco Chronicle reporter asked him if "a special lady" had inspired any of them, he responded: "See, the reason I write about love is because love to me is the never-ending, never-dying subject." As for his own love life, all he would say is: "I'm a very blessed man. I live a life that I love, and I earn my living doing something that I absolutely love. Your songs are like your kids. I always give them my all."

Robinson went on to cite his mother, who died when he was only ten years old, as having given him some advice he has held close to his heart ever since. "'She told me some things that I still live by, like, 'From the day that you're born to the day you ride in the hearse, there's nothing so bad that it couldn't be worse.'"

Go give romance a chance with its most compelling chronicler tonight, 8 p.m., at the Telluride Conference Center.

Saturday night at the Conference Center is part two in the Motown revival, with the legendary Chuck Jackson taking the stage to sing such classics as "Any Day Now," "I Keep Forgettin'" and the inimitable "Something You Got."

Jackson's career began when members of his grandmother's church noticed his "incredible voice" and promoted him to the role of lead singer at the improbable age of 11. Not too many years later, Jackson was touring the U.S., first in gospel groups, and then with the Del Vikings. More recently, Jackson has released "I'll Take Care of You," a critically acclaimed set of duets with Cissy Houston, mother of Whitney and sister of Dionne Warwick. Teaming up with Jackson onstage is the unparalleled DeeDee Sharp, whose singing career was assured from the first time she sang in the choir at her grandfather's church, in Philadelphia. At age 13, she answered an ad in a newspaper seeking a girl who could read music, play piano and sing – which led her straight into singing background vocals for recordings by Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker and Freddie Cannon. When her first solo record, "Gravy For My Mashed Potatoes," hit the charts, this granddaughter of a strict Baptist preacher had to add another skill to her repertoire: Learn to dance. She first danced the Mashed Potato in her mother's kitchen, a masher in one hand, a bowl of potatoes in the other, with her older brother Roy helping her learn to perfect the toe-twisting motion that so influenced that dance of the 60s, the Twist.

The music originally recorded by Sharp, who is a regular on the late-night TV circuit, has been heard in everything from Sister Act to Hairspray to Desperately Seeking Susan; she co-authored the gospel hit I Wanna Go Where Jesus Is with Gloria Spencer. She holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.


Sunset Concert Series: Ritmo Caliente, Wednesday night, 6-8 p.m.

Latino fusion takes center stage when Ritmo Caliente, formed five years ago to explore and honor the rich heritage surrounding the vibraphone in Latin Jazz, plays for the Mountain Village Sunset Concert Series, starting at 6 p.m.  The band draws upon Latin masters such as Tito Puente and Cal Tjader for the main body of their repertoire.  Ritmo Caliente blends the band members’ cultures and heritages into a joyous celebration of Latin music.  Many successful concert events, including performances at the Havana Jazz Festival, have catapulted Ritmo Caliente into high gear.

  Rep Presents a Dark and Sexy Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Park

By Marian Smith

“It’s not your grandmother’s Midsummer Night’s Dream!” said director Sean Rozsa as the cast took a break from rehearsal Tuesday night.

Titania, Queen of the Fairies (a fully clothed Sue Knechtel) had just finished ravaging the transformed Bottom (Leo McNamara) in a tight, squeaky, black leather getup and headdress akin to those worn by Las Vegas showgirls. 

The Telluride Repertory Theatre’s free Midsummer production opens tonight and runs until July 27 (except for Monday) in Town Park, where audience members are invited to bundle up in parkas, blankets and sleeping bags and line the cozy in-the-round set atop the stage.

“Showtime is 8:40 p.m.,” advised Suzan Beraza, Rep founder and board member as well as producer of the show. “We suspect that people will come early, so a green show is starting at eight.  The actors are putting together some light house entertainment as people come in… just some funny descriptions of the show and limericks and things.”

And new for the Rep is the generous grant from the Telluride Foundation, enabling the show to be free of charge. 

“We want it to be accessible to everyone,” said Beraza.  “Since it’s free, everyone can come, and as many times as they want to, too!”  Beraza pointed out that Shakespeare in the Park is a time-honored and respected tradition, not only in Telluride, but all over the world.

To build on the support from the Telluride Foundation, the Rep is inviting individual Telluride citizens and businesses to sponsor each night of the production.

“We’re just trying to garner membership support,” Beraza explained.  “Since we were unable to sell out for sponsorship every night, we’re making it possible for someone to become a Rep member at each show.

“This particular play has the advantage of being relatively easy to understand,” Beraza added.  The show’s accessibility is enhanced by the Rep’s screamingly sexy rendition of one of Shakespeare’s most sensual comedies. 

The fairies and their queen in this production take the cake with their erotic, almost inhuman dances and costumes.  Describing Titania’s headdress, costume designer Kandee DeGraw laughs: “It’s like a silver Mohawk with bobbles,” fashioned from papier maché.  Slinking around a dark stage eerily glowing with fiber optic lights to mysterious music, the fairies writhe amongst each other’s limbs and make for quite an erotic scene.  “The music is like the rock version of classical,” said fairy Molly Wickwire Sante.  She and the other women are clad in black fishnets, short skirts, tight bodices and glowing hair, while the men spring athletically yet gracefully across the stage in androgynous, cyberpunk bodices and trousers.  Draping their leather-clad bodies suggestively and flexibly over each other, they make a unique semblance of Shakespeare’s magical sprites. 

DeGraw’s costumes and fairy Jane Fields’s choreography reveal a dark, forbidden and mysterious side of Shakespearean magic. The fairy queen, love-potion-struck Titania is a dominatrix, taking advantage of Bottom the Weaver turned ass.  Knechtel’s near sexual assault is sure to shock even the most libertine of playgoers. 

According to director Sean Rozsa, the dreamscape theme of this Midsummer is meant to bring together Shakespeare’s two persisting topics: “All he wrote about was sex or violence,” he said.

The famous plot of four star-crossed, or rather confused and mismatched lovers, is well presented.  Hermia (Jade Graham) is grand and virtuous, and her lover, Lysander (Daniel Hartley), is equally pure, delivering the famous line, “The course of true love never did run smooth” with perfect boyish appeal and charm.  He keeps it up until the love potion mix-up makes him starry-eyed for Hermia’s childhood friend, Helena (Dahlia Mertens), who is in love with Demetrius (Buff Hooper).  Hermia’s dedication to Demetrius and quest for his love is brilliantly breathless, lustful and humorous, and Demetrius’s resistance to her is indefatigable.

The “hempen home-spuns,” or mechanicals – Bottom, Quince (Peter Chadman), Flute (Luigi Chiarani), Snout (Mike Harold), Starveling (Jonathan Sweet), and Snug (Peter McGinty) – add more light-hearted appeal to the Rep’s already hilarious production.  They plod onto the stage, a scraggily bunch of simple men, and engage in what is the closest to slapstick comedy that Elizabethan England had to offer.  Bottom, played by McNamara, musically presents his speech about their play, Pyramus and Thisbe, in a deep bass ringing with bravado.

And of course, there is Puck. Jeb Berrier’s wild hair and continually contorting facial expressions transform him into a Puck whom Rozsa calls “the Anti-Christ.”  His scene with one of the fairies is frighteningly close to sexual assault as he throws her over one shoulder and rolls on top of her, the chains on his trousers scraping the floor all the while.

“Dreaming allows us to be safely insane every night,” said Rozsa of the main point of this, or any, Midsummer.  So it follows that “conceptualizing Shakespeare into this dark side has been the best part of this production,” he continued.

Rozsa, originally from New York City, moved to Los Angeles a couple of years ago after acting and directing at his own company.  Early this spring he came to Telluride for the first time to direct Godspell; the Rep sought him out after seeing its off-Broadway production during their stint in New York.  Back in Telluride for Midsummer, Rozsa is excited about his debut as a director of Shakespeare. 

“I liked performing, but as a director you get to see the more holistic approach, and you have to be responsible for everyone,” he said of his fifteen-year commitment to directing.

Stage manager Erin Hamilton agreed wholeheartedly about being on the other side of the curtain.

“I love seeing it all come together,” she said.  “I get to be proud of everyone.”

Town of Telluride

Permit Parking in the ‘G’ Zone Gets Off to a Bumpy Start

Council Addresses Series of Concerns

By Seth Cagin


The start of permit parking in Telluride’s residential neighborhoods this month is aimed at encouraging commuters to use “Carhenge,” the town’s new west end parking lot; increasing the availability of parking adjacent to the commercial core; and reducing traffic. The implementation of permit parking in residential neighborhoods is in fact the long-awaited, last major piece of a parking solution that the town has developed for the better part of the last decade. It is only possible, town planners say, because the town now has Carhenge available to commuters at the Coonskin Base.

But separating Americans from their cars is never easy, as the Telluride Town Council was reminded on Tuesday.

A number of residents and business owners who said they are impacted by the new permit parking zone raised a plethora of concerns. How many permits should each residence in the new “G” zone be given? How much should additional permits cost? How much two-hour parking should be permitted in the “G” zone to those without permits? Should businesses located on main street be given “G” zone permits? Is the Telluride Marshal’s Department adequately staffed to enforce new parking regulations?

For every objection that council heard, however, it heard another voice in support of moving forward with permit parking.

“This is definitely a step in the right direction,” said Brian Miller. “Ultimately this will help business. Town will be more comfortable the less traffic we have.”

“Our biggest overall goal is to reduce vehicle use in Telluride,” said Kathy Green, a member of the Telluride Planning and Zoning Commission. “It’s very much a walking-around-town issue.”

One goal, Green said, is to encourage greater use of existing off-street parking that has not been used for parking.

Council’s answer was to tweak the rules, seeking to address the concerns without abandoning the goals.

Council agreed, for example, that residents of the “G” zone should be awarded one permit per resident. After a year and a half grace period, requests for more than two permits per residence would be granted only if the residence in question lacks off-street parking.  The idea was to allow time for property owners to make off-street parking that is not now being used for parking usable for that purpose.

A number of other concerns were addressed by the single expedient of allowing two-hour parking in most of the “G” zone without a permit. Two-hour parking would accommodate most visitors and service calls, for example.

Green and P&Z Chair Michael Zivian argued strongly against offering “G” zone permits to businesses, on the basis that businesses whose employees need close access to their cars should lease commercial parking spaces if they need more than their building provides.

Moreover, Green argued, Carhenge is not too far from the commercial district for employees to walk.

Real estate broker Ed Andrews argued that as a property owner on main street, he should be entitled to a permit. David Wright of Mesa National Bank, asked for consideration because the bank’s property includes only one off-street parking place, and he and several of his employees need ready access to their cars.

A narrow council majority asked staff to come back with recommendations to address the question of how permits for businesses might best be accommodated.

“We’re not going to get this perfect,” Mayor John Steel noted at one point in the discussion. “We’re going to come back in a couple of months and continue to tweak this thing until we get it right.”

News Flash: Spanketty-Spank Studio Frank Ranks Seventh

Title: Women's Softball Heats Up, Winds Down

Kicker: Tow Women Fight Valiantly, Lose to Slammers; Riders Crack Diva Crockpot

By Martinique Davis


They’ve had nearly two months to nail those line drives and perfect their fielding, and now the ladies of summer have put their game faces on to compete in the much-anticipated Town League women’s softball playoffs.

One week into Round Two, and the top teams in both pools have already established their reigns as queens of the diamond – but the lower-ranked teams have proven that they could rally and rebel against the favored teams for an upset in the playoff weeks to come.

Tuesday’s early evening match-ups pinned second-ranked ASAP/TMT Slammers against fourth-ranked Last Dollar Tow Women in the A pool, and sixth-ranked Telski against eighth-ranked Resort Quest in the B pool. 

The A-pool’s Tow Women stormed the field fast and furious, giving the Slammers more than they had bargained for in the first two innings of Tuesday’s 5:30 p.m. game. 

The Tow Women stepped up to the bat to start the game testing the Slammer’s skills in the out and infields, with Tow Women batters Ginna Schuelke, Jodi Doherty, Barb Kondracki, and Wight Schuelke leading their team in putting a commendable three runs on the score board to open the game.

Playing a staggering two women down, the Tow Women bravely took to the field lacking a third basewoman as well as a fourth outfielder to finish out the first inning. 

The Slammers’ first four batters, typically some of the team’s strongest offensive players, were sent right back to the bench after Tow Women defense shut them down at the plate with some fast and painless defensive plays in the outfield.

A fracas emerged on the Slammer side when, in the first inning, longtime Telluride intramural sports referee Rich Estes called a Slammer batter out on grounds of the much-contested in-field fly rule. The questionable call was followed by a Slammer out when batter Candice Good stepped out of the batter’s box, sending the Slammers out of the inning ornery and without a single run.

It was then the Tow Women’s turn to get ruffled when, in the second inning, Slammer batters became ball-watchers instead of strike-hitters, smacking pitcher Julie Close in the face by watching the ball instead of hitting at it and ended up racking four walking runs plus a five more to come out of the second inning ahead by two.

Slammer defense kept the Tow Women at bay for the next three innings, while their offense spearheaded by Kristin Holbrook (a grand slam and a 2 rbi homerun), Noreen Morton (a fence-hitting triple), and Katie DeFrancesco (a couple of solid doubles), leading their team to score six more in the third and five in the fifth inning.

Tow Women defense weren’t giving up their lead that easily, however, and with stellar plays in the out and infields by shortstop Doherty (who had the gruesome job of covering third base while also protecting the most targeted area of the infield) and outfielders Sara Spencer and Schuelke, the Tow Women held the Slammer scoreless in the fourth inning.

The Tow Women’s handicap of playing shorthanded eventually won out over their fast skills, however.  The Tow Women finally threw in the towel in the sixth inning, after the Slammers jumped ahead by more than twenty runs to win it 31-11.

On the B pool side, Telski’s seasoned team also managed to “twenty-run” their opposition despite missing their star pitcher, racking up 24 runs to Resort Quest’s 11.  Resort Quest made a stellar effort to keep the Telski crew at bay, with a heart-stopping tag-out at home by catcher Hollie Headrick to keep the Telski girls on their feet.

But the Telski ladies, who had struggled earlier this season to get their bats going, stepped up to the plate with renewed force and proceeded to smack the heck out of the ball.  Kim Risner and Kate Christiaanse both tagged homeruns to their overall season’s record, while Jessica Dumke kept the Resort Quest’s defense on their toes with a handful of solid basehits.

Resort Quest’s Cindy Fusting and newcomer Erin Headrick both gave it their all, but weren’t able to finish off the Telski crew.

The 7 p.m. games matched A pool rivals first-ranked Mountain Limo Riders/Telluride against third-ranked Dirty Divas, and B pool opponents Hotel Columbia/Paragon (ranked in first in the B pool, fifth overall) with spanketty-spank Studio Frank ranked at seventh.

The A pool game played very much like Tuesday’s earlier A pool matchup between the Tow Women and the Slammers, with the underdog Dirty Divas coming out strong with a no-score, three up, three down inning against the characteristically strong Riders to start out the game. 

The Riders held strong in the face of opposition, however, and responded to the Divas’ tough defense with some tough defense of their own; shortstop Alexa Warren and pitcher Eileen Andrews showered the infield with their tornado-speed reflexes to keep the Divas’ offense at bay throughout the first inning.

The Riders’ unrelenting pressure (who can ignore the unmistakable crack of the bat when Riders Susan Heard, Shirley “Shirl the Pearl” Purdy, Wendy Huffman, and of course Darcy Levtzow step up to the plate?) allowed the team to steadily advance on the scoreboard, scoring five, three, and six runs in the second, third, and fourth innings.

Dirty Divas pitcher Lor-Dawg valiantly tossed in strike after strike, though still injured from a line-drive taken to the shin delivered by Rider Heard last week.  Divas offense stepped up to the plate delivering their customary hand-stinging hits, with Sheila Blackney, Jen Brand, and Amy Holmgren testing the Riders at every corner of the field.

The Riders pressure soon cracked the Diva crockpot, however, and the Riders won by 22 runs.

The unmistakable Studio Frank The Spank girls again busted out the boom box, and to the songs “It’s Gettin' Hot in Here,” “Gimme that Nut,” “Bad Bad Leroy Brown,” “O.P.P.” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” the pink ladies proceeded to have a really good time while losing to Hotel Columbia/Paragon 24-4.

“I feel like I’m back on South Beach for a hip-hop weekend!” exclaimed one Paragon player before taking to the field on Tuesday evening.  Though perhaps slightly deterred by The Spank Starts Here’s on-the-money deejaying, Paragon players Alacia Foster, Katy Quinn and Tamara Henderson started the team off with a cool five runs to Spank’s zero in the first inning.

Spearheaded by the Spank’s defensive guns Spank If Your Horny, Boom Boom Kitty Spank, and Three Spanks You're Out, the Spank managed to keep the Paragon ladies to scoring only a handful of runs at each at-bats for the next few innings.

The Spankers, displaying drastic improvements behind the plate from earlier in the season, picked up the pace toward the end of the game with huge hits from Spankewich, Spankx, S.P.A.N.K., and Spank ‘Em If You Got ‘Em. 

The Spank’s defense also picked up the wooden paddle during the last inning, powerhousing through a fast sixth inning to keep that lurking 20-run game ending rule at bay.  But the Spank just couldn’t get a hand on the behinds of swift Paragon players Sydney Melzer, Audrey Mosher, and home-run-hitting Chelsey Padilla and Terri Mackenna (smacking her first homer of the season in the last inning of the game.)

The Spank succumbed to Hotel Columbia Paragon in the seventh inning by a twenty run deficit.

Playoff action emerged again this week last night; results from the games were unavailable at press time.  Check out more women’s softball action coming atcha this Tuesday starting at 5:30 p.m.    


Neuromorphic Scientists and Others Create Academic Atmosphere in Town

By Marian Smith


“Now when I ran this office it was neat as a pin,” laughed Nana Naisbitt as she unlocked the door to the back of the Telluride Elementary School, where 60 neuromorphic engineers had set up their workshop for the summer. Computers, wires, and robots littered the halls and classrooms and scientists bent over their projects. The scientists, who herald from the four corners of the world, have been coming to Telluride through the Telluride Science Research Center for about nine years.

While the neuromorphic engineers' workshop runs for about three weeks, other groups of scientists generally meet for one or two weeks over the course of the ten-week center, according to Naisbitt, TSRC Coordinator and Executive Director of the Pinhead Institute.  "The neuromorphic engineers are unique," she said, "because they actually build things whereas the others mostly just have PowerPoint presentations and a Q and A discussion after it."

Matt Cheely, one of the neuromorphic engineers from the University of Maryland, agreed wholeheartedly and explained the basis of neuromorphic engineering. 

"Some people want to learn about engineering through biology, and some people want to learn about biology through engineering. It's the practical and the scientific approaches," he said. "We make these guys so that we can study processes that we take for granted, like our motor skills and senses."

The "robot room," as Cheely called it, was filled with robots that moved eerily like animals at the command of their creators. Among the robots were "kheperas," which looked like mini pool-cleaners on wheels and zipped randomly around an enclosure. When they approached the enclosure's walls, they responded to built-in sensors and rolled away so they wouldn't hit the walls. In another corner a snake writhed on the floor in a continuous wave, and "Marilyn" walked like a real person (or at least was meant to). She lifted one leg, released her mechanical muscles, and let her foot to fall to the ground the way we do. 

"This workshop is lots of fun," Cheely said. "People bring equipment and crazy ideas, and then we collaborate." The neuromorphic engineers are all about sharing, he insisted.  "We're happy and we have fun!" All one has to do is recall their appearance in the Fourth of July Parade as the bizarrely dressed "Neuromorphs" to believe that. 

And what makes them choose Telluride?  "I actually came for the first time three years ago driving a truck of equipment," said Cheely. Many of the other students come on recommendation from their advisors and professors, he said, and then they fall in love with Telluride and keep coming back. "The two main organizers of this specific workshop are the University of Maryland and the Institute for Neuroinformatics in Zurich, so a lot of us are from there," he added.

Stephen Berry of the University of Chicago started TSRC with the idea of breaking away from the traditional academic setting of professor and student and remaking the hierarchy. He wanted an environment that included graduate students, post-docs, research students, and professors from universities all over the world where they would meet as equals in discussion. He also wanted to base TSRC in Telluride's informal setting

Naisbitt described the process: "A faculty member from some university decides that they want to hold a workshop and applies to centers like the TSRC to hold it. Ten board members and one president reviews the request and then, if approved, they invite everyone else." 

The workshops are growing in popularity, said Naisbitt, as evidenced by the 280 scientists in town this summer for ten different workshops. That number has grown from 180 last year and seven in the first year of the center's operation. 

With the Pinhead Institute in charge of TSRC's operation for the first time this summer, Naisbitt is hopeful that the collaboration will yield more of an academic atmosphere in Telluride.  "When people are looking for a place to retire or own a second home, they usually choose Aspen because of the intellectual life," said Naisbitt who grew up in the backyard of the University of Chicago and attended the university herself.  Scientists in Telluride are in the process of enriching the community and instigating the beginnings of a campus-like ambiance.  "There really is a lot of potential here," she continued, noting the abundance of "people with global capabilities."

To integrate the scientists into town life, this summer Naisbitt started "Town Talks," which holds lectures by TSRC scientists in the Wilkinson Public Library once a week. 

“I’d like the Pinhead Town Talks and TSRC to be an indicator that a campus-like setting could be successful here,” she said.  The talks are aimed at a highly educated lay audience and are presented like an introductory class along the lines of those presented at elite universities like Naisbitt's own alma mater. Since their debut on June 24, each talk has attracted audiences anywhere from 65-100 people, and are proving to be the perfect means by which the community can interact with the scientists.  Although it is only the first year, Naisbitt anticipates the beginnings of more campus-like activities that will draw a different tourist audience to Telluride.

"Also," she chuckled, "the time frame of 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. is perfect mind candy before dinner. It would make a perfect date – a perfect early date – and would get people talking about interesting things." 

And with other scientists from TSRC attending lectures, the lay audience is in for quite an experience. "It's like a peer-review," Naisbitt explained.  "With the lecturer's equals in the audience, everyone else gets to see the back-and-forth, the challenge, and the argument in much more depth."

This intellectual activity will grow to be motivating, predicted Naisbitt.  "Someone with the funds and the wherewithal will be inspired to start something up here in Telluride," she said. 

Rally Seeks to Build Momentum as Condemnation Enters Crucial Phase

Appraisals Are Due in Valley Floor Acquisition Bid

By Liz Lance


With beer flowing, Liza Oxnard jamming on the guitar, and a few welcome sprinkles of rain, the Rally for the Valley at Elks Park Tuesday night was considered a success by organizers, who estimated a crowd of about 250.

Save the Valley Floor, which operates as a nonprofit through Sheep Mountain Alliance, staged the event to continue to educate the community about current developments in the effort to stop the Valley Floor from being developed.

The Town of Telluride is currently trying to acquire 550 acres of the Valley Floor south of the highway from San Miguel Valley Corporation, owned principally by San Diego industrialist Neal Blue. Telluride voters passed an ordinance in June 2002 that allows the town to proceed with condemnation on the land. That process is currently underway.

In 2000, the land was appraised at approximately $15 million. Pursuant to state statute, the town and the landowner will release independent appraisals in the next few weeks, at which point the town will make “a good faith offer” to buy the property. According to Sheep Mountain Alliance, the town has $22.3 million available, gathered from the town’s open space fund, bonding capacity, and private donations upwards of $5.6 million. SMVC has stated that the land is not for sale; the town therefore expects that its good faith offer will be rejected and a condemnation suit will then proceed.

If the town does file for condemnation, and succeeds in winning the right to acquire it, SMVC would have the right to decide if it wants a judge or a judge-appointed panel of experts to decide the value of the land. Members of SMA anticipate the condemnation litigation to continue for three to five years before they will know how much money will be needed to buy it.

If the town is unable to raise the money, they have the option of walking away, but not without a penalty. Since the town first started looking into buying the land, it has already spent about $725, 000, which includes legal fees and both the town’s and SMVC’s appraisals. If the town were ultimately unable to buy the land, it would also be responsible for the court costs, at an estimated at $2 million. This has left some town residents feeling uneasy.

Sheep Mountain Alliance Director Joan May says she understands the risk, but adds that the town is going through with what the community decided through the ballot initiative last year. “We know it’s a risk, but we’re confident and we need to pursue it to the end.”

Hotelier Michael Zivian, who sits on the Telluride Planning and Zoning Commission, thinks that ultimately SMVC will make a deal. Zivian points out that the Valley Floor is not necessarily the best development option around, anyway. The land is 65 percent wetlands, there are sewage lagoons, and because of the high concentration of tailings, any housing built would have to be close to the highway. And being on the Valley Floor, the views don’t compare to what some other new developments have to offer.

Ken and Lucy Lehman, Illinois residents who have been coming to Telluride for the past 15 years, were among those who attended this week’s rally and who donated money to the cause. In the face of the national trend to fill up empty space, and the tendency to take over space that should be kept green, Lucy Lehman said it’s important to support this effort.

“The Valley Floor is vital and essential to the character of Telluride,” Ken Lehman added. “All of our friends in Telluride think it’s important, and we like to support what the town believes in.”

While most attending the rally have been supporters of the movement for years, a few people were just learning about the issue and trying to make up their minds. One local resident, Ryan Housam, said he would hate to see the land developed into tract condos and appreciates the aesthetics of the open space, but thought it economically unrealistic for the town to keep it completely undeveloped. Under the impression that the town would be losing out on important revenue by keeping that area undeveloped, Housam said he wouldn’t be willing to pay higher taxes to meet costs.

“It would make more sense for the town to buy the ski area than to keep the Valley Floor green,” Housam said smiling. “At least it would be less expensive.”

Former Telluride Town Manager Steve Ferris says that is a common misconception. In theory, less development is tax reducing, because the town doesn’t have to increase infrastructure.

As Housam walked over to the information booth to learn more, Liza Oxnard took a break from the stage and some of the organizers spoke to the crowd.

Former Telluride Mayor Amy Levek invited the crowd to recall their first time driving into town, and the impression that it left. “The Valley Floor defines that approach, and the mountains seal it. It’s the proverbial first impression and its effect is profound on anyone who sees it. It must be preserved, or we will have lost Telluride’s spirit.”

Local writer Rosemerry Trommer took the audience on a spiritual journey to open their hearts up and prepare for the emotional battle that could ensue. By repeating the Basque word oshua, which means heart, “all the hard walls around the heart break down and it opens us up to walk the right path for the human and the more than human.”

Mayor John Steel urged the crowd to take a walk up Jud Wiebe, or down the bike path, and look at the Valley Floor as it is now and think about how it might look if it was developed. He then challenged the people to decide whether greed is going to dominate the community, or the community is going to dominate the community.

“We are in the midst of a clash between very different philosophies and we need to keep our wits about it. We have to have everyone’s support as we have now,” Steel concluded to the cheers of the crowd.

As Oxnard took the stage again, Housam wandered back over with a beer in hand and said he had had a change of heart. “I would hate, I mean hate, to see this place developed.”



One-of-a-Kind Gramicci/Icebreaker Store Opens in Mountain Village

Sells Innovative Merino Fabric

By Martinique Davis

From polypropylene long underwear to Gore-Tex outerwear, Telluride’s outdoors-people have worn it all… until just recently.  The American outdoor sports clothing industry just opened its doors to one of the best products since waterproof fabric. It is called merino, a natural fiber superior to wool and synthetics that may soon become the only thing you wear outdoors.

Though the fabric is considered by the industry to be a break-through product, you won’t have to look far for the newest innovation in outdoor clothing. Gramicci/Icebreaker, the only company selling merino in the U.S., has already made a home in Telluride. Thanks to J. Michael Brown, longtime owner of Paragon Ski and Sport in Telluride, top-quality outdoor wear made out of merino can be found in Mountain Village; Brown opened a Gramicci/Icebreaker store in the old Paragon location in the Granita Building in Mountain Village over the Fourth of July weekend. It is currently the only store of its kind in the country.

“There is nothing out there like it,” Brown says of the new Mountain Village store that sells only natural Gramicci cotton and Icebreaker merino clothing. “It’s all exclusive – you’ll find just about everything Gramicci and Icebreaker make.”

Brown says his decision to move Paragon out of the space in Mountain Village and replace it with the new Gramicci/Icebreaker store grew out of a number of reasons; the primary one was his close relationship with Gramicci owner Dan Love. Love, who owns a home in the Ski Ranches and has developed a strong personal and working relationship with Brown over the years, recently brought the outdoor clothing industry’s newest revolution to Brown's attention.

Merino is a natural fiber farmed from the coats of merino sheep, who live in the high altitude regions of New Zealand.  Merino fibers are much finer than traditional wool; thus  merino fabric has a smoother feel and doesn't itch.

Merino is also more technologically complex than synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene and polyester. Merino fibers have a coat of tiny overlapping scales that encase a super-absorbent interior. The scales act as the water resistant force, like tiles on a roof, while the interior is able to absorb and release ten times more moisture than synthetics. 

Each fiber can absorb up to one-third of its own weight in moisture without feeling clammy or wet to the touch, leaving you warm and dry while the fibers do all the work wicking away moisture from the skin and releasing it into the atmosphere.

So what’s the merino magic?  It is a technology that only nature can produce. Synthetics are made from melting, extruding, and setting a petrochemical-based product, similar to plastic. The process creates a fiber that can’t effectively breath, absorb, or release moisture.  When knitted into fabric, synthetic fibers are limited to one-way moisture movement.  That can make for a chilly evening after a sweaty hike – but worst of all that one-way breathability is the culprit of the seemingly ever-present stink that hovers above Telluride’s climbers, hikers, and skiers who wear synthetics for their daily activities.

“Merino-made clothes are purely functional in the sense that you can wear them for weeks without washing them, and they don’t stink like synthetics,” says Brown.

Love, after discovering all the nature-made benefits of merino, joined up with the only U.S. importer of merino, Icebreaker, to bring the new fabric to the American outdoor clothing scene. Gramicci/Icebreaker has just made its debut in America; Icebreaker already is selling well in Europe, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. Brown was one of the first to jump on the merino boat in the Western U.S.

“Opening a store devoted solely to Gramicci and Icebreaker lines is a much better vehicle to present the product that putting them into our Main Street store, which is packed with North Face, Mountain Hardware, Patagonia, and other lines,” Brown says.  “That gives people a better opportunity to taste what Gramicci and Icebreaker are really all about.”

Brown has been carrying Gramicci “forever." It is practical, durable, and fashionable, he says.  “I’ve always carried Gramicci for the simple fact that it is the best casual outdoor wear out there,” he says.  “It’s all I wear.”

The opening of the region’s newest sports store is supported by Brown's more than two decades of experience operating sports stores in Telluride. He opened Paragon Ski and Sport, Telluride’s oldest sports store, 18 years ago. Prior to that he operated Olympic Sports (now called Telluride Sports) from 1972 to 1976.

“These are two first-rate, high quality clothing lines, and I’m excited to try it out,” Brown says of opening a Icebreaker and Gramicci-only store.

He adds that he is looking forward to joining the Mountain Village business sector for year-round commerce (Paragon in the Mountain Village operated only during the winter months.)

“My goal is basically to give it a shot in the Mountain Village, and make a go at being open year-round up there.  With the new coffee shop [Telluride Coffee Company], the new restaurant [The Crunchy Porcupine], and the newer retail stores going in the Core, I figure it gives us a good opportunity to jump on board the new Mountain Village business scene,” Brown says.

Brown’s new store in the Granita Building in the Mountain Village is open daily from "10ish to 5ish."  The new store’s “head honcho” Jacqueline Major, who has done all the ordering, merchandizing, and store layout, is still receiving new inventory.

What to Do for Nothing Festival: Buy a T-Shirt, Have a Cup of Coffee

By Marian Smith

The Nothing Festival began something like this: “Back in '91 Bill Graham had a rock concert not one month after Bluegrass,” said accidental founder of Telluride’s favorite non-festival Dennis Wrestler. “Bluegrass itself is pretty huge, and since Bill Graham’s music was so popular also, it brought a lot of people to town. Two big events like that were too much!” he said, chuckling.

When Wrestler found out that Graham was considering bringing another large concert to town the following year, he wrote an appeal to Town Council to have a non-permit for a weekend dedicated to a non-festival. 

“Then I forgot about it. It was not even meant to be serious,” he said.  Then owner of Between the Covers David Katz approached Wrestler. He wanted the application to be taken seriously, and so Wrestler agreed, adding that he “just kind of ran with it.”

In the end Telluride locals and visiting tourists alike loved the non-festival, despite complaints from merchants who worried in the early years that business would flag on that weekend. 

“The merchants thought it was meant to be anti-tourist or something, but that’s not true at all,” said Wrestler. “I want to see healthy businesses in town, just like anyone else, and this gives visitors a chance to see the town not all decked out for a festival.”

So what do people do during the Nothing Festival?  “You can make it what you want it to be,” said Wrestler.  “Do whatever you want. I usually get a coffee and nose around town, hoping everyone is having a good time.” 

Happily, the relaxed weekend has turned into a success and the tongue-in-cheek attitude has served as a mental health break for everyone. We’re lucky to have the luxury of being able to laugh at ourselves, especially during the past two years, said Wrestler.  “After 9-11 and Iraq we really need it,” he added.

During the 13th annual non-festival, July 18-23, Telluriders and visitors are welcome to experience the following main events (which are listed on the festival's website, sunrises and sunsets, gravity, an increase in the earth’s rotation to add a few thrills, the laws of physics on display, a duct tape seminar: How to Defeat Weapons of Mass Destruction for Under $10, a sense of humor search, and a T-shirt sale.  In addition the website reminds festival goers that the Alert Level will be Green, or low to none, and will only rise to Red if “politicians cease lying to you,” “the French say they love us,” or “we’re out of T-shirts,” among other conditions.

“The government started going through all these alerts telling us to tape up our houses and it just seemed absurd to me,” Wrestler explained about his website.  “I made the site light-hearted this year because you have to look at everything that’s going on as a little skewed.  If you took everything the government said seriously you’d be a paranoid schizophrenic!” he said laughing. Wrestler went on to say that he was thinking of doing a duct tape sale, but decided against it because the whole fiasco had fizzled out.

As usual, Wrestler will be selling his ever-popular Nothing Festival T-shirts. This year’s design shows a confused genie approaching the familiar sombrero-clad non-festivarian saying, “You don’t get it, dude. All I want is… to be left alone!!!!”  Jack Rajca of Fishbone Graphics out of Ridgeway has been designing the T-shirts for Wrestler since the non-festival began. 

“He used to have a little shop down in Placerville, formerly called Morning Sun Graphics,” Wrestler said. The shop was located next to where Wrestler used to work.  “Then one year Judy Kohin licensed the Valley Cows to me” for a T-shirt design.  “I was thinking of reprinting the old shirts for a collectors package,” he said, recognizing the shirts’ great reputation around town.

“Earlier this year the Elks Club got a hold of me and asked if they could sell the T-shirts for me,” Wrestler said. “Since they have the manpower to sell the shirts and are a non-profit community service organization, it seemed like a fit for me.” 

Never a step too far from a good joke, Wrester has in the past sold his T-shirts and asked people to pay $15 if they have a sense of humor and $20 if they do not. 

“No one has ever paid $20,” he said.  “I guess people take their sense of humor – or lack thereof – very seriously.”

According to Wrestler, the non-festival weekend is intended to give you a “blank slate” with which “to use your imagination to do what you want,” he said, reminding town citizenry that it is not an excuse to leave your mind entirely blank. It is merely a time set aside for no scheduled events.

A few people have visited his website and, confused about how there can be nothing, when everything has to be something, have written him. 

“They didn’t quite get it,” said Wrestler.  Other people do, though, and send him droll little messages like, “Thanks for nothing!”

“I’m an enabler,” Wrestler concluded.  “I hope everyone will get out have fun this weekend.”

Town of Mountain Village

Suit Seeks to Overturn Mountain Village Election Results

Sandy Wickham lost a seat on the Mountain Village Town Council in the June 24 election, receiving 30 votes, or just two less than Jonathan Greenspan, who was elected to one of four open seats.

This week Wickham and her husband Roger Wickham filed a complaint in District Court arguing that irregularities prevented at least three voters who would have cast their votes for her from voting. Had the alleged irregularities not occurred, the complaint states, Wickham would have been elected.

The complaint filed on July 11 alleges that Mountain Village Town Clerk Linda Check failed to send mail ballots to residents of Mountain Village who had registered to vote with the San Miguel County Clerk, instead of registering with Mountain Village. The complaint alleges further that Check informed “eligible electors… that unless they were registered to vote with the municipality, they would not be allowed to vote and could not receive a ballot, despite the fact that they were property owners who qualified to vote in the municipal election or registered electors with the San Miguel County Clerk and Recorder.”

The complaint also states that Check did not provide for persons registered with the county clerk rather than the municipality to sign an oath before voting, as provided for in state statutes.

As a result of the alleged improprieties, the complaint concludes, “numerous qualified electors … were denied mail in ballots, replacement ballots and their right to vote in the June 24, 2002 Town Village Municipal Election.

"This action is not about individuals or personalities,” Roger and Sandy Wickham said in a written statement. “It is about a process we feel was faulty and must be examined and corrected.  The nature of the complaint involves naming the person just ahead of me winning a council seat and the number of votes between us, in this case Jonathon Greenspan and two votes. We wrestled with the decision to file this complaint and concluded it was our responsibility to do so."

Check said that she cannot comment on a matter that is being litigated. 

Mountain Village once before defended its voting practices in a legal action, and won.

The American Civil Liberties Union and local attorney John Steel, now the mayor of Telluride, filed actions in both state and federal courts on behalf of six town residents alleging that the town’s provision allowing non-resident property owners to vote in municipal elections violated both the U.S. and Colorado constitutions.

After lower courts dismissed the complaints in 1997, appeals were filed to the U.S. and Colorado supreme courts. Neither court agreed to review the case.



Management policies for the boulder have now been established. There will be three disclaimer signs; users must sign waiver forms; and a monitor will be on premises during open hours.  Now that it has insurance, the boulder’s renaissance will commence this Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.


One Year Later: MV Boulder Gears Up for Daily Use!

By Martinique Davis


The 14-foot tall, 24-foot wide giant boulder that has been in hibernation in the Mountain Village core since last summer's 360 Adventure Sports Competition will be awakened from its slumber starting Saturday, and will be open to the public for free bouldering every day from 4:30-7:30 p.m. for the rest of the summer.

“Bouldering is the hottest sub-sport out there,” says the designer of the Mountain Village boulder, local mountain guide Peter Walker.  “It has eclipsed sport-climbing, traditional climbing, ice-climbing, and mountaineering in popularity.  It’s what everybody is throwing their energy into – and that’s why opening up this boulder to the public is going to be so exciting.”

The massive climbing boulder was built last summer (with funding from the Telluride Foundation and the Town of Mountain Village) and placed in the Telluride Conference Center plaza to accommodate the early July 360 Festival’s climbing competition.  Some of the world’s best climbers were the first to scurry across the Mountain Village boulder’s flanks during its maiden voyage at the 360, but after all the cameras and spectators were gone, the handholds were removed and the boulder began its year-long climbing hiatus.

Walker explains that the boulder’s year in limbo was not due to lack of interest in opening it to the public, but instead was because it was difficult to find an insurance company that would give coverage to activities on the boulder.  Because the Mountain Village boulder is totally unique – it is, Walker declares, unlike any other climbing facility in the country – there were no precedents for insurers to follow in giving it insurance coverage.

“Insurance companies considered the boulder a climbing wall, but it’s not managed like a traditional climbing wall.  It took some education on both sides to finally get it up and running,” Walker explains.

Management policies for the boulder have now been established. There will be three disclaimer signs; users must sign waiver forms; and a monitor will be on premises during open hours.  Now that it has insurance, the boulder’s renaissance will commence this Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.

Besides open bouldering for the public, Walker says that at least three bouldering competitions will be scheduled throughout the remainder of the summer.  The competitions will likely coincide with the summertime Wednesday-night Mountain Village Sunset Concert Series.

Bouldering competitions are much more thrilling to watch than most sport-climbing competitions, Walker says, because spectators get up close and personal with the climbers.

“Every five minutes someone is trying the same route, and so the spectators begin to develop a relationship with each move.  Since you are so close, you really get an idea of how small or devious a handhold is.  You can see and understand what the climber is going through,” Walker says.

He says that the Mountain Village boulder’s southwest facing side, the competition side, will be set up with three distinct climbs for competitions.  This will allow more than one competitor to climb at one time.

He also hopes the boulder will become the site of at least a few “dyno” (dynamic moves) competitions.  Dyno competitions test how far climbers can throw themselves and still latch onto the wall.  “This boulder is big enough that a climber could break the world record,” Walker says, noting that the current dyno world record is around 7’3”.

Walker, who is the owner of Telluride Mountain Guides, has built roughly a dozen other climbing walls around the country.  He says the boulder in Mountain Village was modeled after the texture, fracture patterns, and colors of the Dakota Sandstone found at local Society Turn and Ilium bouldering areas.

One of the Mountain Village boulder’s interesting design issues is that it has ample space for steep (95-100 degree angle) climbs, without having an overhanging ledge.

“Building an overhanging ledge would have cost a fortune, so we came up with the concept of having a ‘cave’ where you can have a sit down start and climb a very steep problem through the cave and out to the other side,” he says.

The boulder itself also has about six “natural routes,” or ways to climb the boulder without even using an installed handhold.

Walker and the boulder’s actual builder, Ty Foose of Monolithic Sculptures, collaborated to create a climbing boulder that was not only a challenging climbing playscape but also a visually pleasing sculpture for the Mountain Village core.  “We had an aesthetic obligation to the Mountain Village,” explains Walker. “So we designed it to be a work of art as much as it is an activity center.”

As much as the boulder looks like a true-to-life sandstone boulder, it is actually made mostly of manmade materials.  The interior is composed of six Styrofoam blocks reinforced with concrete pillars; this composition was then sprayed with a concrete and fiberglass mixture to create the rocklike exterior.

Last summer, Walker’s crew drilled between 1200-1300 holes for handhold placement, and currently there are approximately 500 handholds available to set routes on the wall.  Walker explains that since the boulder isn’t the typical plywood-backed climbing wall, they had to purchase special latex climbing handholds (normal handholds are typically made of epoxy, resin, and ground stone.)

Walker says there will be six or seven “extremely difficult” climbing problems, flagged with course-setting tape, that will change every few weeks – “to keep people challenged,” he says.

Local climber Jim Hearst will be the boulder’s head course setter, but Walker explains that any “visiting dignitaries” will be invited to create signature climbs on the boulder when they are in town.

The boulder’s grand opening is this Saturday, with extended hours throughout the Jeep King of the Mountain downhill bike racing events.  There will be around 20 pairs of climbing shoes and chalk bags to borrow for Saturday’s opening, but in the future, users will have to bring their own gear

Screamin’ Doggies sports store in Heritage Plaza is looking into offering climbing shoes and chalk bags for rent – they may be ready to rent gear for bouldering soon.

Local climbers will be on hand during the boulder's open hours to monitor safety issues as well as give helpful hints.  Local climber and snowboard instructor Michael Blanton is the head monitor, and along with two other local climbers (also snowboard instructors) as monitors, visitors to the Mountain Village boulder should be able to garner some good advice about tricky spots on the boulder.

Walker explains: “Since they have a lot of training in sports-learning theory, these guys are going to be really helpful to have around up there at the boulder.”

The boulder will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and then, starting Sunday, will take up as daily schedule of 4:30-7:30 p.m., every day until Labor Day.  Users must sign waivers, which will be kept on file after the first use. 


Alta Fire Contained, Although

Not Quite Officially Declared Out

“I’m leaving this evening,” Lew French, public information officer for the U.S. Forest Service, said in a phone call Wednesday night.

The Montrose-based French has been headquartered at the USFS Matterhorn station near Trout Lake since reports first came in of the Alta Fire, sparked July 10 by human error, according to the official USFS report, and spotted shortly before sundown.

French can’t say more regarding cause of the fire. “It’s still under investigation,” he said, upon being asked to confirm unofficial reports it was sparked by either an out-of-control campfire or a construction site burn-off.

When told he sounded almost sad to go. The Montrose-based French sighed. “Well, these are always good people to work with.”

The fire is expected to be dead by Sunday – and possibly before that, if the predicted rainstorms keep on coming.

The 120-acre fire, which consumed mostly Engleman spruce and subalpine fir, French reported, is officially contained, although the estimated 10 percent of the fire still flickering is “duff.”

Duff, he explained, is accumulated litter on the forest floor that “tends to build up faster than it decomposes,” so that, over time, it can be well over a foot deep in some places.

Cleanup crews are dousing duff with shovels, turning it over to put out what few sparks remain of the Alta Fire.

San Miguel County residents were lucky this time, French acknowledged. “We dodged some gusty erratic winds” in the fire’s early stages, he said. Nonetheless, as fires go: “It was a very spotty burn,” he reported, leaving “lots of areas either very lightly burned or not burned at all.” And while visitors to the backcountry will go through some ashen remains of what once were Engleman spruce, subalpine fir, Douglas fir and even aspen forests, French said visitors can expect “a mosaic of vegetation” with places where the fire “totally killed everything” to places it left entirely alone.

In other fire news: “We have demobilized the big dozers,” he said, of the flock of bulldozers assembled for fighting the blaze; structure-protecting fire engines and “a bunch of the water tenders” have headed elsewhere as well. Water tenders carry “3,000 gallons or more of water,” French explained, so that the engines carrying “only 500 to 750 gallons of water don’t actually have to leave” the scene when their water runs out.

One smaller dozer will stay put for fire-reclamation work, he said, so that water bars can go into dozer lines put in place to keep the fire at bay.

Asked whether the long-accepted USFS practice of fire suppression, which officials have learned in recent years can lead to catastrophic big blazes, contributed to the Alta fire, French said that unlike lower-elevation trees, in forests with “relatively frequent fire cycles” of 10-15 years, the San Miguel County forests of Engleman spruce and subalpine fir are in burn cycles that “might be every 200 to 300 years,” when “a catastrophic, stand-replacing fire,” triggered by non-human causes, will hit.

“We need to modify the Smokey the Bear message,” he acknowledged, of “only you can prevent forest fires” – although, he said ruefully, that is what caused the Alta blaze. But Smokey’s message still needs modification, nonetheless.

“Fire is a natural part of the ecosystem,” French said, “and we should try to either let fire resume its natural role, or we should do other things that will mimic the effects of fire.”

The local Grand Mesa Uncompahgre Gunnison forests dodged a bullet last summer, in French’s estimation, what with southwestern Colorado’s devastating drought. “I thought the GMUG forest would have a big Engleman spruce fire,” he said. “Last year was ripe for it, but it didn’t happen.

“I guess we were lucky.”

The USFS has a dedicated satellite phone line for queries about the Alta Fire; call 800-301-1182.

Watch Sports

Team Telluride Makes ‘Strong’ Showing at Mountain Cup #6

By Elizabeth Heerwagen
In the sixth event of the Mountain Cup Series, Team Telluride riders put up strong performances in both the downhill and the cross country races last weekend.
Traveling to Sol Vista, Colo., the Telluride riders faced brutally hot weather in what downhill rider Tiffany Moore calls "the hottest place in Colorado."
The races took place on the old Silver Creek ski area. On Friday, riders had a chance to practice on the course. During practice runs, Moore found the course to be mellow and fun. However, with somewhere between 150 and 200 gravity competitors riding the course, it became rutted and difficult to maneuver.
By race time, Moore reports, the course was "harder than Angel Fire," the site of her last races, and supposedly the most difficult course in the series. On the Sol Vista course, she reports: There was “lots and lots of single track that was rocky and technical." In addition, the rough conditions forced riders “to go slower than they wanted to go." Nevertheless, there "were still lots of fun spots on the ski runs where you could go really fast."
In the semi-pro men’s category, Team Telluride rider Dan Goss placed third. Goss has been having a strong season, with a steady improvement. Moore says he just "keeps getting faster and faster." As a result of his quality riding, Goss will most likely go pro in the near future. In the series overall standings, Goss ranks ninth.
Fellow gravity rider Jim Wynn had several strong rides over the weekend. Despite a huge crash on one of his rides, Wynn placed 8th in the Expert Men’s0-34 category. Moore believes that Wynn would have placed first if he hadn't gone down. The team looks forward to him winning in their next race at Snowmass this weekend.
Tiffany Moore placed sixth in the Sport Women’s category. Challenged by the course, Moore reports she thinks she spent more time off her bike than on it during the race.
Team Telluride also competed in the cross-country event at Sol Vista. Daniel Murry and Chad McGlamery raced the cross country course, cheered on by fellow Team Tellurider Katherine Nolte who attended the races to support of her teammates.
Team Telluride travels to Snowmass this weekend for more downhill and cross-country races.

San Miguel County

Airport Open House Provides Forum for Debate Over Runway Proposal

Some Like Faux-Finished Retaining Walls, Some Don’t

By Elizabeth Covington

A large crowd attended the open house hosted by the Telluride Regional Airport Authority Board this week. But the participants were seemingly no closer to agreement after hearing and seeing the airport's presentation than when they arrived. Strong support for improvements aimed at making the airport safer and more viable was met by equally strong opposition to feared noise and visual impacts.

The airport board was directed by the San Miguel County Commissioners to hold the open house and present a three-dimensional model of the proposed extended runway and its controversial retaining walls.

The airport board has proposed a $50 million, five-year phased construction project that will lengthen the runway from 6,870 feet to 7,000 feet and level the dip in the middle of the runway (the incline of that dip would be reduced from 1.9 percent to 0.8 percent). To flatten the dip the ends of the runway will be lowered 15 feet and the center will be raised by 15-20 feet.

As part of lengthening the runway, the airport will also be required to increase the size of the safety areas as well as the width of the sides of the runway, according to airport manager Rich Nuttall. The enlarged safety areas will require retaining walls on each end of the runway; the one on the west end will be 200 feet long by 115 feet high, and the one on the east end will be 700-900 feet long by 130 feet high. The sides of the runway will be increased from 150 feet to 250 feet.

"These are the two main safety features," said Nuttall at Wednesday night's meeting. "The airport's traffic is down 24 percent. We are in a recession, folks. If people aren't flying they aren't going to fly because Rich Nuttall built a bigger airport. Safety doesn't have to do with growth."

The proposed improvements would raise the rating of the airport from a D-3 airport to a B-3 airport, a designation the Federal Aviation Administration has asked the Telluride airport to comply with, if it is to receive federal monies, Nuttall said. The project will be funded entirely by FAA grants (90 percent of the project) and state grants and other Telluride airport generated revenue (five percent), continuing the airport's pledge to be self-supporting, said Nuttall.

Addressing the question of whether the improved safety rating will mean a greater number of larger airplanes landing at the airport, Nuttall emphasized that "the mix of aircraft will stay the same. You can't land a 737 here. I would need 9,000 feet of runway to do that. This will allow a Canadair regional jet to land here in the winter, if there is a need. That all depends on the airlines and whether they believe it is financially feasible to land here. The FAA's intent is to make this and all mountain airports safe."

The San Miguel County Planning and Zoning Commission gave conditional recommendation for approval to the airport's application for a special use permit in late May. The Board of County Commissioners continued consideration of the matter from its June 25 meeting to Aug. 6.

The commissioners on June 25 directed the airport board to host an open house and in particular to address neighbors' and community concerns about increased noise and the aesthetics of the massive retaining walls. In particular, County Commissioner Art Goodtimes asked attendees at the June 25 meeting to ask themselves what kind of community Telluride is and what role the expanded airport might play in that.

The airport has spent $500,000 over the past three years on engineering and consulting studies to prepare for the expansion, Nuttall said.

At the open house, poster board exhibits compared what the proposed retaining walls would look like from three different view angles.

"Existing natural features will be used as a guide in developing surface finishes for retaining walls," read the poster. Another poster illustrated how the east end retaining wall will stabilize an area that slid in 1987. That slide settled the area by three inches and crossed Hwy. 145.

"I signed the petition for the county commissioners asking for more time," said Jolana Vanek. "When I look at the artificial rock, I think it is awesome. Maybe they will put up some green as well to match the trees. They could also make the top more curvy to match the natural way," she added, pointing to another poster board that showed various types of artificial rock and how it is applied.

"I've changed my mind. I think this is an asset. I've had dozens of tourists tell me they are scared when landing on the downhill."

"I don't think the aesthetics are displeasing," said Mountain Village Town Councilmember Rube Felicelli "The expansion is to ensure commercial flights. People are saying this is just for private planes. The reality is that most commercial airlines are doing away with turbo-props and right now our airport can't handle the commercial jets.

"We have to ask ourselves, 'do we want commercial flights?' If we believe in commercial air services, then this is necessary."

While Vanek's and Felicelli's opinions represented that of many at the meeting, others, particularly Last Dollar and Aldasoro residents, raised continuing concerns about noise and the need for the expansion.  

"Private jets are the SUVs of the sky," said Last Dollar resident Bill Wells. "That's what this is for – private jets. It fits in with what Romey Glen talked about – what kind of tourism do we want? What does Telluride want to be? There was a letter to the paper today saying if it is harder to get there, then all the better. Our society is so speeded up."

For the first hour the open house was casual and courteous. Viewers milled around, ate raw vegetables and barbequed beef on skewers and looked at poster exhibits and a specially prepared video. The video showed the mesa-top runway floating and turning in space and digitally created renditions of each retaining wall as it was built. The size of the east retaining wall was particularly impressive and the sight of the huge concrete wall before a faux finish was applied drew a visceral response from the crowd. 

"I had no idea," said one unidentified member of the crowd.

If the runway is not lengthened and the rating of the airport stays the same, "the runway will not be as safe as it could be," said Nuttall. "The regional jets could not land here and the airlines are phasing out turbo-props. This is a choice the community has to decide."

The question and answer session during the second hour of the open house turned hot and heated when airport neighbors argued that the airport does not need to be as large as proposed.

"What would a C-3 be? We have a D-3 and you have proposed a B-3," said Deep Creek Mesa resident Kate Clayton.

"We would still have to have the 1,000 foot safety area on the end," replied Nuttall.

Are we guaranteed the money when the federal government is looking at a $450 billion deficit? asked another member of the audience.

"The FAA has never not finished a project," said Nuttall. Moreover, the money for the project is held in a trust fund supported by user fees, added airport board member Brian Eaton. The money does not come from federal general funds.

"The larger jets will be more noisy. I called you once about airplane noise and you said, 'Airplanes are noisy,'" said part-time Aldasoro resident Harvey Roisman to Nuttall. "I'm afraid that there will be more and larger jets."

"I would rather see one or two jets a day rather than five to six turbo props," said Nuttall.

"We don't hear the turbo props," countered Roisman.

"I'm not going to stand here and say jets are not noisy. They are part of what we do and part of having a healthy economy," said Nuttall.

"Let's go back to the compromise suggested by [Clayton.], where we can solve the safety issue. You said we could make it safe with the middle ground, but then the regional jets won't come in," said Roisman.

"Yes, I said that,” said Nuttall.

John Simon, who primarily expressed concerns about a possible increase in airplane traffic noise, questioned the wisdom of conducting a noise contour during Telluride Film Festival weekend (Labor Day weekend) when traffic at the airport is the highest.

Five years from now, when the improvements are completed, another contour would be conducted and that study would be compared to this year's contour. If the noise levels have risen five decibels, the airport would be required to mitigate the increase.

"People think it is too loud now. We don't want to go back to that," said Simon.

"We are in a resort, guys. We are all here for the quality of life, but there are many families who support themselves on the local economy," argued real estate agent Ed Rouffa.

"But he says it isn't because there are fewer and fewer flights," said Clayton.

"This is an opportunity to make it safer," interrupted Rouffa. "If we lose one person because we didn't take the opportunity … that is not acceptable."

"But that is not how people make decisions. Otherwise we would have a speed limit of 10 m.p.h.," said Pamela Zoline.

"Things can always be made safer," Roisman agreed.

"Safety is a trade-off," Zoline added.

When Zoline asked Nuttall for a noise profile of the batch plant the airport would likely establish on the property for some portion of construction, the discussion disintegrated.

"Then we'll tell everyone to leave," said real estate agent George Harvey, adding that asking for that detailed amount of information was superfluous. He continued but was interrupted by Zoline.

"I don't believe in your version of progress," she said.

Harvey stormed out of the meeting, calling his wife to join him. "Let's go hon."

In the parking lot Harvey was still arguing his point with a friend and then he opened the door to his BMW and drove away.








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