ON THE ROAD … The end of February to the beginning of March has been one of those busy times for me … Everyone has their seasons. In Telluride the ski/festival economy makes for on-season/off-season phenomena. Two busy peaks and two dead slumps. Ranchers have regular seasons of busy and slow. Waitrons too … But for me there are micro-bursts of frantic activity that are all over the calendar, and then times of a bit less stress – although being a commissioner is really a more than 40-hour-a-week job, what with meetings of boards, commissions, task forces, organizations, working groups, etc … It just turned out this midwinter stretch heated up for me, and I even was going to have to call in to a county commissioner meeting (something I rarely do) because I couldn’t be there in person. However, bad weather cancelled the scheduled Feb. 28th meeting in Norwood, even though I did call in. The reason for the miss for me wasn’t bad weather (since I live in Norwood) but rather a special three-day conference on collaboration sponsored by the Forest Restoration Institute of Colorado State University in Fort Collins held at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs … As chair of the Burn Canyon Monitoring Task Force and a member of the executive committee of the Public Lands Partnership (Delta, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties), a statewide meeting on collaboration was not to miss. There were presentations of collaborations all over the state, including the two I’m part of (Mary Chapman of Delta had a fine power point on both of those projects) and lots of scientific reports to hand out (I have a bunch on the cause of our current die-back of aspen trees). Courtney White of the Quivira Coalition gave a tremendous presentation of the stream restoration work using simple, inexpensive materials underway in New Mexico … From Glenwood I rushed over to Grand Junction in the morning just in time to attend Club 20’s Public Lands Steering Committee meeting where Dr. Bill Romme gave a presentation explaining that the bark beetle situation in the ponderosa pine forests of the Front Range were not outside the range of normal variability. He also explained the counter-intuitive scientific fact that once bark beetle kill trees dropped their needles, the forest was actually less susceptible to catastrophic fire than in its pre-beetle attack condition … Then it was another rush to Montrose just in time to attend the executive committee meeting of the Public Land Partnership, where we had our first solo meeting with our new director Pam Motley, and then a full group meeting where we heard reports from our federal partners, Charlie Richmond of the U.S. Forest Service … And then a little sleep before I caught a very early morning flight to DC via Denver for the National Association of Counties annual legislative meeting. That’s where I am now, with our Colorado delegation, battling for PILT, creating policy opposed to public land sales or acquisition without consultation with the counties affected, dealing with global warming, and visiting our entire congressional delegation … But more on that next week.ENERGY EXPO
… And even before all the traveling above, I made a trip up to Grand Junction on Feb. 23rd for Club 20’s Second Annual Energy Expo. Unfortunately, it was mostly an industry gear and propaganda show, with scant attention to energy alternatives or new policy directions … But I did meet some good folks in attendance, like David Grossman of Citzenrê, who’s pioneering no upfront cost solar energy – no system purchase, no installation cost, no maintenance fees, no permit hassles, no performance worries and no rate increases. Sound too good to be true? Call Dave at 970/270-3133 and find out for yourself … The other biggest coup at the Energy Expo for me was finding the Western Colorado Math and Science Center at 2660 Unaweep Ave. in Grand Junction. Perhaps some of you already know about it. It’s a hands-on science center developed through the incredible work of John McConnell and available for children and adults throughout the region. The Center is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the steal of a price, just $1 admission. Contact for more info, 970/ 254-1626 or www.sithok.orgFREE DVDS
… For a short period of time, it appears that DVD copies of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth
are available free to educators. Offer ends when supplies run out. Sound too good to be true? Apparently, this is the same 50,000 copies that were rejected by the National Science Teacher's Association after Exxon applied pressure. http://participate.net/educators/DVD/giveawayRAY ROSE
… I’ve had to write several thank you letters to Rep. Ray Rose the last couple weeks. Yes, he’s a Republican and yes, we’re a Democratic stronghold, and yes, I’m a Green. But in politics, when folks represent your views well, especially in the legislature, it makes good sense to thank them … Rose supported HB 1298, a bill to require the Colorado Oil & Gas Commission to consult with the Colorado Division of Wildlife in order to conserve species threatened by oil & gas development … He also supported HB 1252, Rep. Ellen Roberts bill, on the House floor – the measure that could give surface owners a leveler playing field in arriving at a surface use agreement with oil and gas companies … And he voted for HB 1281, the proposal to increase Colorado's renewable energy standard to 20 percent, which Environment Colorado has been championing. Those all were important bills this session, and I think we owe some thanks to Ray for supporting the citizens of Colorado and the 59th District in particular.RIDGWAY
… Our neighbor got a nice little story in the New York Times
last week about its mix of Old West and New West. Cindy Hirschfield did the piece, which promo’d the Ouray County town as a “haven” for “young families priced out of Telluride as well as urban refugees and second-home buyers seduced by the gorgeous scenery, rural setting and smorgasbord of recreational options” … Amazingly, there’s no mention of hot springs, or the new lodge in Ridgway which hopes to tap into the hot water aquiver for a visitor amenity without having to drive up the valley to Orvis or Ouray.