7/31/07

Clyburn...House Majority Whip and Village Idiot

From the Washington Post:

Clyburn: Positive Report by Petraeus Could Split House Democrats on War

An excerpt:

"House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday that a strongly positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party's efforts to press for a timetable to end the war."

and the real corker:

"...But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be "a real big problem for us." "

So the House Majority Whip feels that a positive report from Iraq is "a real big problem" for the Democrats?

What would make the Democrats feel better? Having a few dozen or so GI's splattered across the countryside on the first day of the Democratic National Convention? Wow. Wouldn't that help in the polls? Would that be negative enough?

And there are people in this country who believe these asshol...twits have a moral imperative to run the country?

You gotta be kidding.

"Why 'Islamophobia' is a brilliant term"

Dennis Prager has writtent a good article:

Islamophobia

An excerpt:

"The fact remains that the term "Islamophobia" has one purpose -- to suppress any criticism, legitimate or not, of Islam. And given the cowardice of the Western media, and the collusion of the left in banning any such criticism (while piling it on Christianity and Christians), it is working.

Latest proof: This past week a man in New York was charged with two felonies for what is being labeled the hate crime of putting a Koran in a toilet at Pace College. Not misdemeanors, mind you, felonies. Meanwhile, the man who put a crucifix in a jar of urine continues to have his artwork -- "Piss Christ" -- displayed at galleries and museums. A Koran in a toilet is a hate crime; a crucifix in pee is a work of art. Thanks in part to that brilliant term, 'Islamophobia.'"

Background on Piss Christ

7/30/07

Here's a good rant

Burt Prelutsky has a very good rant over on Townhall.com:

My Life as a Dog

some excerpts:

"Still, how is it that even after all these years of suicide bombers, beheadings and the events of 9/11, not to mention the ongoing murderous rants emanating from mosques, so many millions of Americans elect to ignore the fact that Islamic fanaticism is a far more dangerous threat to the future well-being of the planet than global warming, second-hand smoke and Lindsay Lohan’s driving, put together?

It astounds me that Islam’s propaganda arm in America, CAIR, is treated with such respect by the media when its purpose is essentially, like the German Bund during the 1930s and early 40s, to put lipstick and formal attire on Nazi pigs.

Obviously, millions of my fellow countrymen are quite willing to turn a blind eye to lunatics blowing up embassies in Africa, trains in Spain, school buses in Israel, cars in France, discos in Bali and skyscrapers in the United States. I guess they won’t take the threat to heart until the crazies do something truly despicable, like find a way to interfere with TV reception during a Super Bowl game."

Yep. It's all a matter of perspective.

And Mike Adams has another good one here:

Life and How to Live It, Part X

7/29/07

Heritage

Saturday morning Leece and I took Froggy and Tookie to an interview for a story Leece is writing.

The interview site was on one of the upper tributaries of the Purgatoire River.

Leece interviewed two scientists who are surveying the land condition, vegetation, and native fauna.

The girls had a great time...we all had a great time. Here are a few pictures:


The girls with John, the lead scientist, under a rock overhang that shows signs of habitation in the distant past. Some of the clues were the presence of pictoglyphs, as well as the depressions near Froggy's hand, which were used for grinding grain.



Aaron, who is working with John, shows the girls some of the smaller creatures that live in the creek near the overhang. He explained how to identify frog species from the pollywog. It's a process of examining the pollywog's mouth under a microscope, and counting the layers of tissue that will become different types of teeth.



A view down the creek.



And looking up the creek.

Leece's article will be appearing in the Ag-Journal.

7/25/07

"The Surge Succeeds..."

Here is one you won't find in the MSM:

The Surge Succeeds

Some excerpts:

"It's now quite clear how the results of the surge will be dealt with by domestic opponents of the Iraq war. They're going to be ignored."

". Diyala province, promoted in media as the "new Al-Queda stronghold" appears to have become a death-trap. The Jihadis can neither defend it nor abandon it. The Coalition understood that Diyala was where the Jihadis would flee when the heat came down in Baghdad, and they were ready for them. A major element of surge strategy - and one reason why the extra infantry brigades were needed - is to pressure Jihadis constantly in all their sanctuaries, allowing them no time to rest or regroup."

"The surge is more of a refinement than a novelty. Earlier Coalition efforts were not in error as much as they were incomplete. American troops would clean out an area, turn it over to an Iraqi unit, and depart. The Jihadis would then push out the unseasoned Iraqis and return to business. This occurred in Fallujah, Tall Afar, and endless times in Ramadi.


Now U.S. troops are remaining on site, which reassures the locals and encourages cooperation. The Jihadis broke (and more than likely never knew) the cardinal rule of insurgency warfare, that of being a good guest. As Mao put it, "The revolutionary must be as a fish among the water of the peasantry." The Jihadis have been lampreys to the Iraqi people. Proselytizing, forcing adaptation of their reactionary creed, engaging in torture, kidnapping, and looting. Arabic culture is one in which open dealings, personal loyalty, and honor are at a premium. Violate any of them, and there is no way back. The Jihadis violated them all. The towns and cities of Iraq are no longer sanctuaries."

The whole thing is worth a read. Naturally, the moonbat left will foam at the mouth and shriek that Dunn is a shill for the Bush Administration.

"Not their finest hour..."

From Red Planet:

The Brits seem to have lost their minds. The moonbats have taken over:

Fury erupts...

An exerpt:

"Fury erupted last night after Sir Winston Churchill was axed from school history lessons.

Britain’s cigar-chomping World War Two PM — famed for his two-finger victory salute — was removed from a list of figures secondary school children must learn about.

Instead they will be taught about “relevant” issues such as global warming and drug dangers. Churchill’s grandson, Tory MP Nicholas Soames, branded the move “total madness.” "

Huh. How 'relevant' will all that be when some carpet-munching Islamofascist loon shoves a nuke up their collective bum?

And then:

No Muslim Terrorists

an excerpt:

"Gordon Brown has banned ministers from using the word “Muslim” in connection with the terrorism crisis.

The Prime Minister has also instructed his team – including new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – that the phrase “war on terror” is to be dropped.

The shake-up is part of a fresh attempt to improve community relations and avoid offending Muslims, adopting a more “consensual” tone than existed under Tony Blair."

And the latest cartoon from Red Planet:

Good riddance

The Board of Regents has voted to fire Ward Churchill.

You remember Ward. He is...was...the professor up at UC-Boulder who raised such an uproar over his likening of 9/11 victims to Adolph Eichmann.

Predictably, the right wingnuts screamed for his head.

I agreed with the Board when they maintained that, objectionable as Ward's scribblings were, they were in fact protected speech.

But what got Ward the axe in the end was plagiarism and falsifying research, and other academic misconduct. Interestingly, we now have the left-wing moonbats screaming for the heads of the Regents. You would think that university professors would be rather insistent on high academic standards, especially among their peers. Apparently that is not the case with some. Note that the most vocal defenders of Churchill are from the social sciences and education branches. Perhaps this is why we have such 'issues' in those areas in real life.

Good riddance to Churchill. We don't need immoral weasels teaching in the university system. At least, not the ones we know about. If we're lucky, if our kids are lucky, his supporters will resign in protest...but that would mean they would have to give up tenure and that cushy tax-payer funded retirement.

Ain't a-gonna happen.

Churchill Fired

Axed and Answered

7/24/07

Trash bags

One day I was at the PD, getting ready to saddle up and hit the streets.
The Jefe, Richard "Cranium" Johnson, motioned me into his office as I walked by.

"There's a house with a pile of trash bags in the alley up in the 1600 block of Edison," he informed me, "get them to clean it up."

"You mean out in the alley? They have bags of trash for pick up?" I asked.

"Yes. Have them get rid of it or issue them a summons," he ordered.

Consider the strangeness of this. Here we have Our Beloved Jefe getting involved in a minor code violation. Could it be some kind of political hot potato? A councilman with a bug up his ass over the trash bags? On the other hand, it wouldn't be the first time such a thing had happened. The stories of mayoral apoplexy over trailers parked on the street were legendary.

"But according to the city ordinance, there's nothing wrong with trash bags being used thusly," I countered,"they aren't required to use a can or container. And if they use a container, it doesn't even have to have a lid. The stuff can rot and we can all enjoy Eau d'Maggot."

"Just do what I said. Go up there and take care of it." He was quite twitchy. His James Olmos mustache was a-quiver and he was in his WinkenBlinken mode. Some councilman wasn't the only one with a bug caught in his sphincter.

I thought about it a bit and decided that a witness would be in my best interest. I asked dispatch to call Mackey the code officer in. This was really Mackey's type of call anyway, and the fact that Our Beloved Jefe was directly involved and assigning it to a uniformed officer was what we call in the parlance of the trade a 'clue'. But a clue to what ...

Mackey and I went up to the alley behind the house. It was a moderately-sized prefab, nicely kept. From the looks of the pile of bags and other items, someone was either moving in, or moving out.

We went around to the front door and rang the bell. 

A woman opened the door and stood there looking at us. She was dressed in a halter top and shorts. She was pretty good looking.

I glanced over at Mackey. The significance of these observations was not lost on him, either. I discreetly turned on my handy little digital recorder.

"Good day to you, ma'am. We're here about the trash bags in the alley behind your house," I explained.

"You guys don't have anything to do except come roust me out over trash bags? Crime must be pretty easy here in Mayberry," she said.

I suspected that she wasn't from around here. Otherwise she would have said "The Naked City."

"Uh...well...you know, we try to keep the neighborhoods looking good," I temporized.

"Uh huh. Right. Like all those beer bottles decorating the curb next door?" She wasn't going to go easy.

"Did someone complain?" she asked. 

A reasonable question.

"I don't know, ma'am," I explained, "all I know is the chief of police wanted something done about the trash bags." No sense in taking the heat for the Stupid Chiefly Stunt of the Week. 

"Johnson. Right?"

"Ummmm...yes ma'am."

"That bastard. That gutless worm. That pathetic little weasel. You go back and tell him if that's the best he can do over gettin' told 'in your dreams, jerk' he can kiss my ...". She was vaporlocking. She was so mad she was spitting and now she was speechless.

I gave Mackey my best Joe Friday look. He gave me his best Bill Gannon look. Cops don't actually practice that look. It just comes naturally. It's kind of  "...and now we know the rest of the story ...".

"Ma'am, if you would like to make a complaint, please feel free to contact the city manager or the mayor. I am sure they would be most interested in your views on police services here. Thank you for your time."

We hustled on out of there and went to Loaf and Jug, where I sprang - as usual - for the cold ones.

As we stood out on the sidewalk sucking down ice cold Dr. Peppers, Mackey said, "Looks like someone didn't get laid last night, hey?"

"Yup."

There are 7568 stories in The Naked City...this has been one of them.

The Naked City

7/23/07

Las Animas Church of the Nazarene Overhaul

La Junta's First Church of the Nazarene is joining Westminster Nazarene Church's local Work and Witness mission, which is to help finish the remodeling of the Las Animas Nazarene Church's sanctuary and support facilities.



The first Westminster crew arrived in Las Animas this afternoon. The project leader gave the rest of the crew and Pastors Brian Williams and Don Smith of La Junta a tour to lay out the plan of operation.

The project will continue the rest of this week. Anyone, no matter what church affiliation or no church affiliation, is welcome to join in. Experienced finish carpenters, carpet layers, and general helpers would be most appreciated.

For more information you can reach the Westminster team in Las Animas through these cell phone numbers:

(720)480-6930
(303)910-9277

Heavy metal

No, this isn't about Metallica or Fort Carson's armored units.

It's about that extension of Colorado Springs' sewage system. It's about Fountain Creek.

The Chieftain has a good article on this here:

Fountain hot spots harbor heavy metals

Here is an excerpt:

"E. coli is a problem even in Southern Colorado Springs, but becomes noticeably worse as Fountain Creek nears Pueblo, said Brian Vanden Heuvel, of the CSU-Pueblo biology department. More data is available for lower reaches of Fountain Creek because of involvement by the Sierra Club Water Sentinels in Pueblo County, he said.

High levels of zinc, copper and selenium were found in water samples taken from the stream bed during tests of a sediment collection system last month, said Professor Scott Herrmann."

So we downstream Hicks from the Sticks have to put up with biological contaminants from raw sewage, and now heavy metals.

All this while Ken and Wayne think the Army is doing so well at trying to 'dialogue' with us.

Perhaps it's time to 'dialog' with Ken at the ballot box next time around. Wayne's already out. Perhaps we need to make sure his replacement understands that while we may be Hicks from the Sticks, we aren't turds floating around in El Paso County's economic punchbowl.

7/22/07

Falsehoods

The Chieftain has another article based on Brother John's and Marilyn Musgrave's positions on Pinon Canyon:

Expanded Army training site holds a false promise of economic boon

An excerpt:

"Despite the Army’s best claims, the additional troops assigned to Fort Carson are not going to travel to Pueblo to bank, buy clothes or get home loans. Our neighbors in Walsenburg, Trinidad, Thatcher, Model, Delhi and Tyrone and families all across Southeastern Colorado, however, are the ones who currently conduct their business in Pueblo.

It’s also unwise to assume, based on history, that the additional troops will move to the Pueblo community as the Army now claims. The same promise was made 20 years ago about troops moving to Trinidad, but it just didn’t happen."

John, you might want to let your brother Ken in on these little secrets. He doesn't seem to get it.

Of course, Ken's voter base is the entire state, and there are more voters in El Paso County than all of we Hicks from the Sticks. Ken may have been trying to fish in Pueblo County. Doesn't sound like some people are goin' fer it.

7/21/07

Gold Camp Road Bike Trip

We did 20 miles of the Gold Camp Road trail above Colorado Springs today. It was a beauty of a day and some of us got a bit sunburned. Some of us ate a bit of dust. We all had a great time. The trail follows an old railbed and is not particularly punishing, though it is a definite change from paved county roads.











Lunch outside the first of five tunnels.





The Pause that Refreshes. Mountain creek water is very natural. Fish poop in it.





Colorado Chocolate Factory in Old Colorado City. Michael snuffles a chocolate-dipped strawberry.

That's a "Colorado Snowball". Fudge covered with white chocolate and rolled in coconut. This is called "bustin' the caloric budget". To be perfectly honest, however, we split it three ways.

7/20/07

RapFest of the West

Is in fact a coalition of Christian rappers. Their lyrics were anti-gang, anti-drug, and anti-violence.

The rappers played to a small but enthusiastic crowd:



Leece will have more next week in the fishwra...sigh...the T-D.

Army Blues...

From today's Chieftain:

Back to Drawing Board on Pinon Canyon

Some excerpts:

"In a letter to Colorado Sens. Ken Salazar and Wayne Allard dated Thursday, Geren repeated the Army's often-stated goal of acquiring land from "willing sellers," but also said it intends to look at ways to offer some economic "enhancements" to the region.

"Our intent is to fully consider potential economic enhancements to local communities, with the goal of accomplishing the acquisition of the necessary property from willing sellers," Geren's letter said."

What does that mean? Are they going to try to buy off the local communities while sending the ranchers swirling down the drain?

Then we have:

"An Army spokesman Thursday said the promised economic discussions could take place before and during the acquisition process, which begins with an environmental study.

"Why wait for the formalistic (environmental) process to begin before listening to, and assessing, the interests and concerns of the Pikes Peak region and local communities?" the spokesman said in an e-mail response. "Obviously, once the (acquisition) process begins, this 'open door' approach would be continued through the process and public meeting/notification processes." "

The 'Pikes Peak region' is not southeastern Colorado. 'Local communities' in the 'Pikes Peak region' is not Fowler, Manzanola, Rocky Ford, La Junta, Trinidad, Kim...or the ranchers who form a loose community down south. Does this spokesman have a clue about who is affected? About whom he is speaking?

And more:

"Asked whether the letter's reference to "willing sellers" meant the Army was disavowing the use of eminent domain, the spokesman said any answer to that question would be "premature." Responding to the Army's letter Thursday, Salazar called it a "major positive step" in the controversial fight between ranchers and the Army over the expansion. Salazar has said he will not support any expansion unless the Army can make it economically beneficial to the region."

And Ken Salazar continues to waffle and dance a two-step to the 'ka-ching' of cash registers up yonder in 'the Pikes Peak region'. Hey. There are far more voters in El Paso County than there are down these parts. Does anyone really believe, based on his past performance and on statements like this that Ken Salazar gives a rat's rosy red patootie about we Hicks from the Sticks?

"If any plan is going to move forward, it must protect the ranchers and the ranching economy and provide positive economic benefits to Southeastern Colorado," the Democrat said in a statement."

Yeah? I ain't holding my breath.

Senator Allard isn't doing any better.

And more:

"But one factor in the Army's response has to be the fact the House overwhelmingly voted last month to stop all funding for the Pinon Canyon expansion next year, even for initial environmental studies. That amendment was added to the 2008 military construction appropriations bill."

The tree-huggers strike.

And an opportunity to become slumlords as an 'economic alternative':

"Shortly after the House vote, Salazar sent a letter to Geren saying the Army needed to immediately develop some kind of economic assistance plan for Las Animas County and the region to offset the loss of the ranches that would result from the expansion. He gave the Army until July 21 to reply, but Geren answered on Thursday.

Salazar said he wanted the Army to consider basing troops in the Pinon Canyon area and other methods to provide economic development to the region."

Salazar clearly doesn't get it. You know what it sounds like? Remember your history? Remember when the Plains Indians were on the res? Couldn't hunt bufflers any more? So they turned some cows loose and let the Indians shoot them with bowsnarrers?

"We're going to destroy the ranchers' way of life, and everything associated with it, but it will be OK, because we'll base troops in the Canyon area." So...what's that mean? The ranchers can become motel owners? Take their condemnation money and build cracker box houses along the side of 350 and rent them to soldiers?

Here's a corker:

"The Army said Thursday it was willing to discuss all those ideas with lawmakers and the community."

And there, in that statement, we see the arrogance of the government. The arrogance of the Army leadership. They are 'willing to discuss...". Who do they think they are? Who do they think funds them? Why do they think they exist in the first place? They are 'willing to discuss...'? What makes them think they have a choice?

And then Brother John chimes in:

"Reps. John Salazar, D-Colo., and Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., put the ban on the expansion in the 2008 military construction bill and they are opposed to any expansion of the 238,000-acre training area.

John Salazar was unimpressed with the Army's letter to his brother.

"If Army officials succeed in their plans to take more than 400,000 acres of ranchland out of production, millions of dollars that are spent in the regional economy will be lost," he said in a statement Thursday."

John at least seems to have some sense of reality and responsibility. Of course, he depends on voters only in his district. Ken has the whole state to play with. Ken can have a few hundred thousand voters in his pocket if he just continues to play the "El Paso County Ka-Ching Cha Cha Cha."

Good post over on Yahbut

Leece has written a pretty good article over on Yahbut:

Will God Forgive?

The Project

Work proceeds apace on the improvements at 10th and San Juan. Rick Klein says that the new intersection layout will greatly improve the flow of traffic. Anyone who has been hung up there at lunchtime or right at The Smile Hi City's rush hour will appreciate this.

TLM workers have been prepping the area for the last few days. Yesterday's pictures show them installing forms for the curb, gutter, sidewalk, and the traffic island that will separate the right turn lane. Today, they are pouring the concrete for those structures. And the last photo below has Assistant City Engineer Bob May hamming it up a bit for the camera.

Rick says the first step in this project took the longest; getting rid of the old gas station at the southeast corner of the intersection. Because of the underground tanks, there was a considerable amount of compliance work to make sure that any contaminated soil was removed. They got lucky, though, in that there was a clay 'lens' that protected the subsoil and only about 200 cubic feet of soil needed to be removed. Purchasing and then demolishing the station to make room for the intersection improvement was an Urban Renewal Project, he said. It was also one of the projects in which he had a strong personal interest. He has been wanting this intersection improvement for a long time, and now it is coming to fruition.

Terry Mills' crews were cheerful and seemed to be enjoying the work and the day when I stopped by for a quick chat and the pictures. Bob says if the weather holds the project should be finished as planned, on or about 10 August. Bob also says the right turn lane will have a yield sign, and so far as he knows, there are no plans to install a traffic light at the intersection.








7/18/07

Another shooting...or, High Crimes and Misdeemeemers

It appears that there was another shooting incident over in North La Junta or environs a few days back.

The word over at the Quickee's bench is that a fellow got out of prison, most likely on parole, and was over swilling a bunch of Keystone or Bud Light with his homies when discord struck.

As might be expected, they allegedly decided to settle their 'issues' with bullets.

Whups...hold on...a 'source' is calling in...

OK...it appears now that a gaggle of thugs was gathered around Loaf North 'round about midnight (thanx and a tip of the hat to Miles Davis) this past Sunday. Shortly after that, they drove south on Main and cranked off half a dozen or so rounds of 9mm. The sheriff's office investigated, reportedly but unconfirmedly hooked three miscreants in the 500 block of Main, and the investigation proceeds apace. And yes, it would seem to be gang-related.

National Agro- and Bio-Defense Update

Do we all remember that? The NBAF? Another lost opportunity? While Manhattan, Kansas is in the running for this half-billion dollar installation, we in southeastern Colorado continue to dance around with the Army over Pinon Canyon and beat our brains out over a lodging tax while the communities around us move ahead. Colorado Springs is already hearing the ka-ching of cash registers while continuing to flush downstream, and our senators, our glorious senators, remain at best lukewarm about all of it. Progress in southeastern Colorado. Fortunately we have some people who are willing to keep plugging away at the ostriches.

++++++++

Hi Mike,

Just an update. This could have been in our neck of the woods. Take a look at the coalition and how they worked in CONCERT to get to this point. Sen. Allard stated at one point in time that “this would never happen”. So much for the lame duck intelligence. Thanks for all of your help on this initiative. Wayne.

From the K-State Newsletter: NBAF

Manhattan among finalists for National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility

Kansas Bioscience Authority

The Kansas Bioscience Authority announced July 11 that Manhattan, Kan., has been selected as one of five finalists for the $450 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF). This decision comes after months of intensive review by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of 17 locations in 12 states around the country. Manhattan, along with each of the other finalists, will now work with DHS to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which consists of an extremely thorough and detailed review and analysis of the site location.

"We're extremely pleased that the Manhattan site has been selected by DHS for further review," said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), honorary chairman of the Kansas NBAF Task Force. "Given our strong investment in animal health research and education, as well as our long-standing agricultural heritage, we believe that Kansas is the ideal location for this important federal facility. We are looking forward to the EIS process that will hopefully result in Manhattan being named the new home for NBAF."

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, whose foresight guided the development of the Kansas NBAF Task Force in January 2007, also was excited about the decision. "I couldn't be more pleased with the leadership and commitment shown by Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson as the Task Force Co-Chair, Rep. Nancy Boyda, the congressional delegation, local leaders and the Kansas Bioscience Authority," said Sebelius. "From the very beginning, the Leavenworth and Manhattan communities have pulled together to demonstrate the best of what Kansas has to offer, and this decision shows that we can and will continue to compete for national projects like NBAF."

From the outset, Tom Thornton, president and CEO of the Kansas Bioscience Authority, has been a driving force on the NBAF initiative. "The Manhattan site has a number of characteristics that make it an exceptionally good fit for NBAF. However, for those of us involved in the process, what has been the most exciting is the overwhelming amount of public and private support that has come from all corners of this state," said Thornton. "The continued widespread interest and support for this facility will undoubtedly be a key factor in siting NBAF in Manhattan."

The Manhattan site is located on the campus of K-State, directly adjacent to the new Biosecurity Research Institute and near the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Manhattan's university research setting would immediately provide those working at NBAF with synergies and opportunities for cooperation and collaboration with these organizations that they would not otherwise have access to at other sites.

"We believe Manhattan offers the perfect location for NBAF. Our nationally recognized expertise in agriculture, zoonotic emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, and livestock medicine is on par with any organization in the world," said Dr. Ron Trewyn, K-State's vice provost for research. "Coupled with the on-going collaboration with our colleagues in Leavenworth, as well as the success we have had with the Biosecurity Research Institute, we believe that we are well-suited to host, and even accelerate, the research planned for NBAF."

Leavenworth's city manager, Robyn Stewart agrees, "From the outset, our collaboration with Manhattan was focused on elevating the state of Kansas in an effort to attract this facility. Now that the Manhattan site has advanced, we support their efforts completely, with the strong belief that this site should have a home in Kansas."

With four other sites still in the running, it will be important to continue to demonstrate that Manhattan and the surrounding region have the necessary infrastructure, assets, workforce and community support to host the facility. The lab is projected to have an economic impact of more than $3.5 billion over the first 20 years of operation. Construction of the facility alone is projected to employ 1,000 workers.

"We're pleased to have met this key milestone. This is the culmination of a great deal of hard work for many of those involved, in both Manhattan and Leavenworth, who collaborated with the goal of siting this facility in Kansas," said Thornton. "Now it becomes our job to showcase why our strong assets throughout the region, including those in Missouri, make Manhattan such a great fit for hosting this facility in the Midwest."

The next step in the site selection process is called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will be conducted by a multi-disciplinary group hired by DHS. This process is scheduled to begin within a few months and will review the impact that the development of such a facility would have on the surrounding environment. This may include a review of the ecological and environmental impacts, geological hazards and an assessment of other aspects that may have relevant impact on the final decision to site the facility at the Manhattan location.

Following the completion of these EIS studies, which are scheduled to be completed in October 2008, DHS expects to name which of the locations will be chosen to host the facility. Construction is then expected to begin in 2010, with completion in 2014.

NBAF is a $450 million, state-of-the-art national laboratory being commissioned by DHS to research and develop diagnostic capabilities for foreign animal and zoonotic diseases that can affect public health, animal health or the food supply.

Armchair Generals

Here is a good editorial from today's Chieftain:

A Low Blow

Some excerpts:

"Despite what anybody thinks about our nation’s policy regarding Iraq, the vote last week in the U.S. House of Representatives that was clearly an anti-war message has to have been a morale buster for our troops on the ground in the Middle East."

and

"What’s disturbing about all this is that the members of Congress who are clamoring for a cut and run strategy or are seeking to manage the war from their Capitol Hill offices are failing to give the new war strategy of Gen. David Petraeus a chance to succeed. He’s only recently received all the extra troops he requested - something that some of the same antiwar members of Congress had previously been demanding."

Once again we see that the Bush-bashers are so blinded by irrational hatred that they will stoop to the lowest levels. The Dems whined and complained that more troops were needed. So more troops were sent and Petraeus is working the 'issues' hard Over There.

But still, we see the continued whining and engaging in weaselry. It goes beyond Loyal Opposition. Some of our Congresscritters are better snipers than are the insurgents/terrorists/Islamofascists. Perhaps they should go to Iraq and practice their sniping skills there.

Meanwhile, here is another editorial in the Chieftain that perfectly exemplifies one of the main responsibilities of The Fourth Estate:

Priorities

I am sure there are many in the Pueblo city government who see this editorial as 'negative'. I am sure there are many Pueblo citizens who do not.

7/17/07

RapFest of the West

There is an outfit calling itself the I-25 Alliance which is holding a 'free community concert' in the Potter Park picnic area near the WipeOut.

This event starts at 6:00PM, Friday, 20 July.

The 'artists': MVP; Rollah; Spanish Kid; Mr. Minority; S.O.C.O.M.; JayMay; Da Clay; Illustrate; Springs Illumination Crew.

Word is these guys are Christian rappers. Yes, there is such a thing. Whether these guys really are remains to be seen. Yes, that may be a ...ummmm...a bum rap...sorry, couldn't help myself...but rap these days sucks so badly what with all the gangster linkage that it does indeed remain to be seen.

Here are some links:

S.O.C.O.M.

Top 100 Christian HipHop Sites

Christian Rap

Rapfest of the West

Lodging Tax...redux...again

OK, here we go!

The lodging tax apparently will be on the ballot this November. The rate was set at 3 percent.

Thanks to Dee Bond for doing a lot of work to get this thing back before the public.

I found it interesting that four motel owners/managers supported the tax. The article in the paper did not get into why they support it.

Three motel owners did not support it. The reasons for this lack of support were reported on. One motel owner cited a lack of knowledge as to what use the tax revenues generated would be put. I think that's a good question. So does every other person I have spoken with about this. They all want a plan. A budget. And so, unsurprisingly, does Councilman Friedenberger. Councilman Bob does a pretty good job on council. Every once in a while he gets fished in a bit but most people agree that he does a pretty good job. When I lived in his ward, I was glad to have him as my councilman. Some of his colleagues might think about following his lead.

Another motel owner thinks the tax should be placed on the entire city, since the entire city will benefit from it. I would agree with that, too, if it were in fact a burden on the entire city or even the local motel. It is not. The local population does not pay the lodging tax, unless perhaps a local couple is meeting for a little clandestine Afternoon Delight. And the tax does not come out of the pockets of the motel owners.

The argument that the tax will drive potential customers down the road does not hold water. Sorry, I have heard that whine and I ain't buyin' it. In our travels in the last year, generally between Albuquerque and Denver and points out to the western part of the state, I have asked numerous fellow travelers if they ever refused to stay in a hotel because of a lodging tax. Most of them do not even know what a lodging tax is. It's just part of the bill. And in any case, they don't care. The motel owner who is pushing this view was against the tax to begin with. It seems to be that the 'data' presented supporting that view was part of a self-fulfilling prophesy. There are too many other communities that use the lodging tax much too effectively to push it off in such a cavalier and one-sided manner.

And then we had this pearl, the 'individual' who said that the entire tourism promotion effort is a waste of time because La Junta has nothing to offer anyway.

And people call me negative? My whole rant on this subject is the holdup over pushing tourism for The Northern Otero Metroplex, wasting time rather than getting things done. Was this person a motel owner? I'd like to know so I can steer business to one of the other motels.

One other thing comes right to the surface in discussing the lodging tax. That is the Chamber of Commerce. Universally, people have told me that if any of this tax revenue goes to the Chamber of Commerce they will vote against it, as they will if the funds are used for a new building for a visitor center.

I definitely agree with that. I too will vote against it if any funds are allocated to the Chamber or to a new building...unless we see some radical changes within the Chamber that indicate that we can trust them with the money. A new building is a vote killer in my book, all the more so if it impinges upon the Santa Fe Plaza. I agree with Lynn Horner about making the Plaza as enticing as possible to make it a better draw. Greenspace does that for downtown areas.


So there we are. Thanks again to Dee Bond and her co-conspirators for the work they put into getting this on the ballot.

What's next?

East Side Story

On the Fourth of July there was a driveby shooting in La Junta. Apparently related to that shooting were a beating with a crowbar and a stabbing.

There is plenty of 'information' circulating in the community about these events. Some of the versions have them taking place at the brown house at the corner of 8th and Edison. Others have them taking place at the house in the middle of the block across from the middle school, on Edison. Being somewhat familiar with both places, both versions sound credible to me.

These incidents are reportedly gang-related. Again, this is credible.

One person told me of the kids who live near the shooting that were so frightened by it that they hid out behind a brick wall in their house the rest of the night. This sounds a lot like kids sleeping in cast iron bath tubs in gang-ridden neighborhoods in The Big City.

Another told me that one of the bullets lodged in an old lady's house near the target house.

Everyone seems to be in 'agreeance' that it was a squabble between red-raggers and blue-raggers. Human cockroaches getting drunked up, doped up, and settling their real or imagined slights by endangering the rest of the community and having a negative effect on the quality of life.

And that also seems to be the reason, everyone agrees, that it is not being reported. It's too 'negative'. It detracts from the small town atmosphere. Who knows if that's true; it's what is being said.

The cops know who the players are and are hunting them down. The players know who they are and are hiding under rocks in various places. Most of the community knows who they are, too. So it isn't being kept under wraps as some kind of super-secret law enforcement security operation.

Why isn't it being reported? What is the status of the investigation? Who if anyone has been arrested? If the investigation is on-going, then at least give the community a few details to stem the misinformation while the cops do their work.

Where is the media?

7/15/07

Sunset over The Holy Land

Here are three shots of this evening's sunset over the Swink metroplex. Click on the image for a larger format:





7/14/07

That Dam' Ride

Today we did nineteen miles, from the Pueblo Nature Center, over the dam, down Juniper Trail to the north marina, where we had lunch. The PNC portion of the ride was typically easy, but once we started up The Seemingly Endless Hill over the dam it got a bit more difficult.

We pedaled over to the north marina and had lunch. It was a bit pricey for snack bar burgers and sandwiches, but pretty good. We then returned by the same route and made our way back to The Holy Land.

Here is Pueblo Nature Center and Raptor Sanctuary:

Pueblo Nature Center

This is a good place to take the kids for a ride, too. If you go east along the river, the trail is mostly flat and easy. If you go west, you'll climb up and over the dam, then follow a trail through the junipers to open grassland. The trail in the junipers has some short but stiff hills. Out in the open you can really feel the heat. Make sure you take a couple of liter water bottles. There are standpipe spigots spotted along the trail where you can refill water bottles.

Also plan on a side trip to the Raptor Center (see the PNC website). Kids love this.


This doe was just off the trail before the woods feathered out into open land.


This small bridge crosses over a dry creek as the trail runs back into the woods east of the dam.


This is a couple of miles east of the dam.


Kayaking on the river.


Getting ready to climb the hill trail over the dam.


Unlike John Martin Dam, you cannot drive, cycle, or hike over the top of the dam itself. The road and the cycling trail both run from along the river below the dam over the north edge and then along the top of the mesas overlooking the reservoir.


On top.


The reservoir from Juniper Trail.


Dock ducks. These guys hang around the edge of the floating docks mooching whatever they can.


There were large patches of these flowers along the trail west of Juniper Trail down to the marina.


On the way back from the marina.

7/13/07

Cucumbers and Avocados

We stopped in to The Barista for a quick lunch today. The Soup de Jour was surprisingly good. A cold cucumber/avocado bisque served with cucumber slices, bruschetta, and chunks of bread for dipping. It was quite good, especially for a hot day when a heavy meal just sort of sits there like a greasy lump.


Leece browses through Country Living's porch renovations article while taking a break from snuffling.


Wallowing in caloric guilt, Leece hides behind her waffle cone stuffed with Dreyers....not Blue Bunny...blueberry/cheesecake ice cream.

7/11/07

Yahbut

Leece has started her own blog:

Yahbut

Comments on religion, Christianity, the ministry...and other stuff.

The Wall

No...not Pink Floyd.

City Park.

Rick Klein and Brad Swartz met with the crew from Colorado Grouting, doing the test section of city park wall for the stabilization project.

They are injecting a special concrete-like compound about 6-7 feet down, under the wall, injecting from both sides. This is to stabilize the wall and keep it from shifting.

They also met with Marc Diament, who is a historical architect consulting on the master plan for maintaining and improving City Park.

The test project is funded for $63,000. $48,000 comes from State Historical funds, while the remaining $15,000 is a match from the city.

In addition to stabilizing the wall by injecting the specialized concrete mix, the wall itself is in dire need of repair. Water seeped into the wall while it was buried under the snow, and subsequently froze. The ice so formed pushed out chunks of rock and molding. The damage is extensive, all along the perimeter of the park.

The wall is of considerable historic and nostalgic value to the city. It was constructed during the Depression. An excerpt from the National Register of Historic Places registration form gives some specific information:

"...Though land for the La Junta City Park was donated in 1905, the park as it exists today is primarily the work of the CWA and WPA, which carried out a series of improvement projects in the park from 1933 to 1941. The focus of the CWA project was improving drainage in the park. The WPA carried out a more extensive rebuilding and landscaping of the park which included laying drives, planting trees, building the lake, and constructing rustic stone walls and buildings."

You can find the registration form here:

La Junta City Park Historical Registry

The WPA was the largest of President Roosevelt's New Deal initiatives. It was designed to put the nation back to work in recovering from The Great Depression. You can find out more about it here:

Works Progress Administration

and here is some information about the consultants/contractors for the project:

Marc Diament Architecture PC

Colorado Grouting


Rick and Brad greet the consultants on the project.


The crew from Colorado Grouting injects the mix. The injection points are about 8 feet apart, on both sides of the wall. The depth is 6-7 feet.


Rick, Brad, and Marc Diament, the consulting historical architect, discuss the damage done to the wall during the blizzard.


This damage was caused by the people who live across the street dumping snow on top of the wall and sidewalk in the aftermath of the blizzard.


More discussion about how the project can be best managed to repair the considerable amount of damage done to the wall.


Councilman Bob Friedenberger kibitzes a bit, doing a little on-site fact-finding about the project.

State Softball Tournament

There is a State Softball Tournament for 10-11 year old girls this week, starting tomorrow evening and running through the weekend.

Brad Swartz tells us that there are 10 teams, from here, southeast Denver, Centennial, Cortez, Lamar, the Tri-County League (Delta-Montrose area), Limon, and the Santa Fe League (locals).

The opening ceremony is at 6:00 PM Thursday at Tippy Martinez field, followed by two games. There will be 6 games on Friday, 6 on Saturday, and 3 on Sunday, all at Tippy.

Brad says that a tournament of this size will bring in about 500 people. Many of them will be staying overnight, as well as eating at local restaurants. He is handing out packets that contain swim passes and the Bond Brochure, as well as other information about the La Junta-Swink metroplex and environs.

Her Holiness, Cardinal Spelling

We were sitting in The Barista, me and Leece, and Tookie. Tookie and I were playing chess and I was being whipped to a fare-thee-well by the little urchin. Leece was reading yet another book. The remnants of our lunch had been cleared away and we were using up the rest of the lunch hour.

DinkyDau Billy came wandering in. He was looking a lot better than in times past. He had even clipped his dreadlocks and was sporting a high and tight. This was new.

"Billy! What did you do to your hair!" Tookie was dumbfounded.

"Ah, I got tired of it bein' so hot and all so I regressed," he answered. "Wutcha readin'?" he asked Leece.

"Oh...it's Cooper's doctoral dissertation on the linguistic structure of biblical poetry," she shared, "he was just appointed Provost at Jewish Theological Seminary and this was recommended by one of my professors."

"Hah. Still workin' on that master's, huh?" Billy asked.

"Yep."

"And the bald-headed preacher man is still workin' on his M-Div," he went on.

"Yep. He already has a master's in Spiritual Formation. The M-Div is his second," she explained.

"Huh. You guys are wastin' your time. You don't need to know nuthin' about any a that thee-oh-logee to be a minister," he stated.

Leece raised an eyebrow and sat up in her chair, closing her book.

"Stand by for a fighter pilot!" shouted Tookie, who is a great fan of The Great Santini.

Billy looked rather smug, like a guy who has just won the lottery.

"You want to run that by us again?" Leece asked. She was doing pretty good, I thought. She didn't even have her jaws clenched.

"You don't need no book-learnin' and no degrees and no biblical scholarship to be a minister," he expounded, "lookit Tori Spelling. I bin calling her 'Cardinal Spelling'." He chuckled over that last.

"Explain that, please."

"Yeah. S'plain that," echoed Toot Sweet.

"Please. You forgot 'please,' you little stinker," cautioned Leece.

"Please." Toot Sweet can take a hint. Sometimes. From Leece.

"Well, Tori...Sister Tori...got her minister's license on-line and is performing marriages,"Billy explained, "same-sex marriages. At the Chateau."

"What kind of church will license a minister with no educational background or other preparation or interviews as to calling and stuff like that?" asked Tookie.

"Well, The Universal Life Church Monastery claims to have licensed 20 million ministers since 1959, and they will do it online from their website," Billy explained further, "I even ordained myself this morning off their website."

"Billy. You didn't. Surely not." Leece was a bit agitated.

"Well...no...I played with it to see how it works. I used 'John Martin van Damm' for a name."

Tookie snorted some espresso up her nose and started hacking and wheezing. Billy slapped her on the back several times.

"Billy. Be careful, man, she's only six. You're going to knock her tonsils loose."

"Yeah. Yeah. But the point is, you don't need to be readin' all that stuff and writin' all those papers and gittin' roasted by no professors. You kin be a minister with a real certificate without all that."

"I have a certificate, Billy, and it means something to me exactly because I've been reading all that stuff and writing all those papers and getting roasted....being challenged...by all those professors. That on-line 'ordination' is an insult to every minister of every church of any denomination who takes his or her ministry seriously...and more important, much more important, who takes his or her congregation seriously."

"Whoa. You really have a bee up your bloo...bonnet...over this, huh?" I asked.

"I don't wear bloomers," she advised me, rather straightforwardly, "nor a bonnet."

This didn't seem to be the time to go on about having a sense of humor that she was aware of. For once I kept my mouth shut. Billy snickered. Tookie giggled. She fixed them with a no nonsense glare and they subsided.

"Uh...anyone want some peanut butter fudge Blue Bunny?" I asked.

"It'll make Leece fart," said Tookie, "but I'll take some."

"Me too," chimed in Billy.

Leece ignored them. She is very dignified when she ignores them. Ignoring them takes great spiritual strength. We hoi polloi like that in our ministers.

Reverend Tori Marries Gay Couple

The Monastery

7/10/07

Minutes of the Southeast Colorado Regional Tourism meeting

Here are the minutes of the last SECORT meeting. For more information on any item mentioned, please contact the individuals named. Here is the basic contact info:

Kathryn S. Finau
Project Manager
KSF Strategic Services
719-469-8818
ksfinau@rural-com.com

June 7, 2007

John Martin Reservoir State Park

Present: Janet Frederick, Chairperson; Wayne Snider, Vice Chairperson; Jeanne Fenter, Secretary; Kathryn Finau, Project Manager; Mary Root, Prowers County, Executive Committee; Rick Wallner, Bent’s Old Fort NPS, Executive Committee; Sandy Bemis, John Martin Reservoir, Executive Committee; Kim Fournier, Emerald Productions; Lee Dahl; Joanne Fields; Fred Dorenkamp, Arena Dust Tours; Norma Dorenkamp, Arena Dust Tours; Roger Jones, PCDI; Becky, Principal, Eads High School; Alexa Roberts, Superintendent Bent’s Old Fort; PJ Culp, Owner, Mid Town Motel; Beverly & Jack Babb, Kit Carson Hotel; John Headlee, Corps of Engineers, John Martin Reservoir; Lisa Trigilio, Kiowa County Economic Development; Scott Babcock, Colorado State Parks

1. Leisure West Tours Presentation, See attached

2. County Reports:

Discussion about what should be presented and format for reporting what is happening in each county. Originally the report was to keep others informed as to planning and accomplishments, events included. [Event Reporting has changed. Please use new Xcel Spreadsheet, Event Calendar for reporting events. We will still report at meetings on activities counties are involved with supporting tourism and preservation. Please use form that has been sent to you.]

Bent: Richard Carillo

  • Teacher’s workshop at Boggsville, July 7
  • Overview of Colorado Cultural, Hispanic, and American History
  • Field School, Boggsville, July 19-24, full week with 10 students
  • OJC Drama, Voices Under the Wind, summer, includes Dinner Theater and beginning of writing a play.
Kiowa: Alexa Roberts, Lisa Trigilio, and Janet Frederick
  • Sand Creek opened, 52 people opening weekend
  • Artists of the Plains Gallery having a fundraiser
  • Eads Theater, outside every Saturday night through out County
  • 2nd Annual Maine Street Bash, July 22
  • Lisa is putting together brochures for entire County
  • Water in Great Plains Reservoirs
  • Use Listserv for promoting your events
Otero: Rick Wallner and Wayne Snider
  • Bent’s Fort Encampment & Kid’s Quarters full
  • Their film won the Telly Award
  • Alexa Roberts new Superintendent
  • The La Junta Tourism Committee has produced a new brochure
  • Fowler has had a sign on HWY 50 that the Fowler Museum is open resulting in increased visitation and donations.
Prowers: Roger Jones and Kim Fournier
  • Big Timber’s Museum now open, beautifully displayed
  • Video of Lamar and surrounding area is currently being done commercially (Mayer’s TV) and ill be put on PCDI website
  • Holly Blue Grass Festival
  • New Newspaper in Holly
  • Camp Amache being worked on
  • Bike Race on Labor Day weekend, 102 mile race, longest in Colorado, website www.emeraldproductions.org . Kim will need lots of volunteers, contact her if interested.
3. Minutes of May 5, 2007

Motion made to approve by Rick Wallner, seconded by Wayne Snider, approved.

4. Executive Committee, Meeting May 22, Executive Committee selected:
  • Chairperson: Janet Frederick, Kiowa
  • Vice Chairperson: Wayne Snider
  • Secretary: Jeanne Fenter
  • Mary Root, Prowers
  • Rick Wallner, Otero
  • Laneha Everett, Baca
  • Sandy Bemis, Bent
  • Need representative for Crowley
5. Financial Report: Kathy Finau, Project Manager
  • Spent $1060.72 for Travel
  • Balance: $216,339.83
  • Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union has awarded $25,000, for ENT Training, Marketing, and Organizational Structure
6. Project Management Report: Kathy Finau (see attached)
  • She needs help reaching out to communities. What organizations need to be talked to, email or call Kathy, 719-469-8818
  • Response to presentations so far, more participation at meetings
  • Membership ideas for Outreach needed
  • Use Listserv for comments
  • Brochure created with anchor sites with directions and lodging. She will send to listserv so that it can be passed out convenience stores etc.
  • Audubon Leads: Walden Mills Group is doing market analysis
  • Community Foundation Workshop, 3 hours, at Gobin’s building Rocky Ford. She will be setting date. Is developing information on what it will be included
  • Website: Four Pilot Projects pooled money with MMG doing design. They will be at the July meeting doing presentation.
  • SECORT Calendar: Features dates and meeting topics
7. SECORT Bylaws
  • Article IV, accepted corrections from Lisa and Rick. Motion to approve, Wayne motioned, Rick seconded, approved
8. Walden Mills Group Report, Richard Carillo for Judy Walden:

1) PRESERVE AMERICA JULY ROUND: In a conversation with K. Finau re: a project that we could apply for” fast with available match,” I followed up with her idea to have the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions come do a CAMP on-site in Southeast Colorado with their team of 3 trainers. I contacted them in Georgia, and ran the idea past CPI and Dan Corson at the State Historical Society. All thought it was a great idea, but the Preserve America minimum project cost of $40,000 is way above what money is needed. Therefore, Dan is going to send out an offer of one-day training in the SE region and use that as a starting point. He had discussed this idea with Alexa Roberts just this Monday when he was in Eads, and also Wayne had contacted him last week about getting Fowler to be a CLG, so this would address several needs. I told him we could use training funds from the project to support him with whatever he needed.

Meanwhile, CPI is looking at Preserve America funds as a possible match for the CCC survey in BACA which was approved for funding by SHF, but which still needs a $20,000 match. Abbey has contacted Laneha directly, as the commissioners will have to approve. This would be excellent in two ways: 1) It would bolster one of our historic anchors (the Dust Bowl) and 2) demonstrate to the counties that they now have the power to seek PA funding for local projects.

The other project still “looking for a match” is the nature trail at Bent’s Old Fort which needs $37,000 in match. Preserve America could also be a source for this project. The question now is whether we could get two projects funded out of the SE region—I would hope so with our fresh designations. Please review this with the group on Thursday and let me know if there are any other ideas afloat in the region. We want to make sure we are not competing with ourselves!

2) HISTORIC THEATERS WORKSHOP AND MOTHBALLING WORKSHOP
The main focus will be on the Preservation and Operation of Historic Movie Theaters. Jon Schler has been interviewing theater owners/operators around the region for the past months to determine their individual and collective needs, so has a good idea about what the elements of that program should be. He has had strong support from these groups for a region-wide workshop of one or two day duration.

As he has toured the region, he has been struck with how many historic buildings are in peril, especially after last winter. This need has brought up a second possible topic: How to Mothball a Historic Building. This addresses the fact that many buildings may not have a use in the current economic climate, but can be stabilized for future reuse.

3) INTEREST FROM THE WHITE HOUSE. “Keep encouraging the troops” section: Monday Judy and Ann Pritzlaff provided bullet points for speech writers in the White House who were looking for a shining example of how Preservation America money is making a difference on the ground. Mrs. Bush evidently made a speech not long ago using Glouster, Mass as a fishery that had lost its fish and is now turning to heritage tourism; her one-place-in-depth presentation was well received. We are a candidate for an upcoming one-place-in-depth presentation. As usual, no guarantees and no dates provided, but we love the ongoing attention.

4) STRATEGIC PLAN: I asked Kathy to discuss with the group the best timing to roll out our strategic plan for public comment/input. I asked whether the group would prefer that make the county rounds with the Power Point that we presented in Eads, or that we wait until we had more meat on the skeleton and do the rounds in the fall when our biorhythms are especially well tuned to starting something new. We do have a new factor at play—the Farmers Union money needs to be spent in the next 3-4 months. With that in mind, we are soliciting input from the group about their ideas about how to best roll out the plan, but also please help them understand that we might be forced into some other schedule by the pressures of getting the new money spent in a short timeframe.

5) CULTURE HISTORY CLASSES AT BOGGSVILLE/FRONT RANGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE FIELD SCHOOL

On Tuesday and Wednesday, June 5 and 6, a two-day teacher’s workshop through the Otero Jr. College’s “Summer Academy” was held at Boggsville. Attended by seven teachers and 3 interested individuals, Richard Carrillo, with the assistance of Jordan Pickrell, an ABD graduate student from the University of Pennsylvania who is conducting research on the Spanish Borderlands for her dissertation, presented an archaeological and historical overview of the culture history of southeastern Colorado.

Between Tuesday, June 19 through Sunday June 24, an archaeological field school will be conducted with students from Front Range Community College. One anthropology instructor, an assistant and ten students will descend upon Boggsville and live on site for one week and attend class sessions in archaeology and be presented with an overview of southeastern Colorado archaeology and history, tours of some of the important sites (i.e. Las Animas City, Bent’s New Fort and Summit Springs and the Kit Carson Museum) in the area. Additionally, archaeological mapping and other techniques will be conducted at Boggsville. The construction of an adobe horno will also take place.

Plans are underway through the OJC Drama Department to present the play “Voices under the Wind” about Bent’s Old Fort at Boggsville this summer. A dinner theatre will be held in conjunction with the play. Additionally, plans are in the works to begin to write a play about the Boggsville saga. As plans are firmed up, notices will be given.

Next Meeting: July 12, 2007, Jaspers, Manzanola (Otero County)

Submitted: Jeanne Fenter, Secretary

The Lodging Tax

The Lodging Tax, like a dormant dragon, is beginning to stir once again.

De Bond raised the issue a couple of council meetings ago.

In the minutes of the last meeting of city council, we see two things of interest:

The Tourism Committee has recommended that the city move ahead with discussion on a 2-3% lodging tax, and it should be an item at the next council meeting on July 16.

and

The city...the city, mind you, that entity that so many people do so much pissing and moaning over...the city, not the Chamber of Commerce...is moving ahead with an Events Coordinator by filing for a grant from El Pomar.

That thing on the lodging tax is just 'discussion'. Will it move to the ballot in the upcoming election, which is also a mayoral election? That remains to be seen. But the chitchat around the Loaf and Quickee's tables, those barometers of community opinion, indicates that a lodging tax at least has a chance of passing. At issue, a very significant issue, is whether or not the Chamber of Commerce will get its clutches on the bux so collected. The general consensus among the citizenry as they slurp their cappies and contemplate local politics is that the Chamber needs to tighten up its group before they can be entrusted with public funds. The conflict here is most interesting: If we run a survey in the fishwrapper, or off a blog such as this one, we will see that most people go elsewhere to shop. Yet 'The People's Choice' selections in the fishwrapper seem to indicate that most of us have some local businesses that we hold in fairly high regard. Why is that? Isn't that at least somewhat contradictory? And if we have at least some local businesses that we hold in high regard, then why all the shopping in Pueblo? I've heard the surveys 'pooh-poohed' as 'unscientific' and therefore meaningless...but that's wishful thinking. On any given trip to Pueblo it seems like half of La Junta is there. That's not 'wishful thinking'; that's direct observation.

So why can't these businesses put together a Chamber of Commerce that is worth something? That can accomplish something? If we have business owners that know how to run a successful business, why can they not run a successful Chamber?

Here is a very interesting article in today's Chieftain, on their lodging tax:

http://www.chieftain.com/business/1184077295/1

Some excerpts:

The chamber receives a portion of the city's lodging tax in order to promote tourism while the city keeps the remainder, so the higher collections are good news all around.

The lodging tax is 4.3 percent, and is collected on top of the regular sales taxes, Slyhoff said. The total collected for the first half of this year is about $362,000, up about $68,000 over the same period in 2006. In all last year, the city collected about $750,000, much of that total in the busy months of July, August and September.

and

The challenge now is to come up with events for weekends that aren't already being used by another event, Slyhoff said.

We aren't likely to be hosting conventions, as they can do in Pueblo. But as we have seen with Brad Swartz' and Andy Nunez' efforts, the city - yes, that entity that everyone pisses and moans about, not the Chamber - can put together a first rate event. Why can't the business community do that? One argument is 'all those other Chambers you mention have paid staff and paid event coordinators'. OK. Good point. But what is the source of funding for that paid staff and paid event coordinator? Almost certainly it is a lodging tax, at least in part. Big part.

So why did the business community allow a couple of motel owners to kill the lodging tax last year, against the collective wisdom of all those who recommended for such a tax?

Where would we be now if we had a lodging tax, and were a year ahead of where we are now, still spinning our wheels. The city - yes, that entity that everyone pisses and moans about - is trying to fill the vacuum with that El Pomar grant. The city, not the Chamber.

What's it going to be this year? Another defeat? Another derailing by a very small special interest group with no vision at all?

What if we do get a lodging tax on the ballot? Who will manage the funds? The Chamber? If that happens, I'll vote against it myself. Well...I guess not. You have to be an actual resident, right? Not just a property owner? When the lodging tax was being discussed last time, the Chamber was plotting to scarf the funds and build a new 'visitor center' down there in Santa Fe Plaza, ripping out the fountain to emplace a new building in order to hand out brochures. Talk about getting the cart before the horse. And what community in its right mind will rip out Green Space for another building? Wasn't it Lynn Horner of the Urban Renewal Board who suggested replacing the current fountain with a spray fountain? And new restrooms? Isn't that a much better idea than destroying park space in the DTA? Wouldn't the Santa Fe Plaza be far more attractive with that spray fountain? Or even an operational conventional fountain? How well marked is it from First Street as a place to stop for a leg stretch? And how about a business directory in that place with the dummy? Pointing people to The Barista or the Copper Kitchen or other downtown businesses? Do we really need a new building?

The successful application of a lodging tax has far-reaching consequences, far beyond the city limits, even out into The Holy Land...because like it or not, The Holy Land, or Swanky Swink, or whatever you want to call it, is dependent in large part on the economic well-being of The Smile Hi City.

It's much too important to hand over to the Chamber of Commerce...unless there are some significant changes in the Chamber. It is also much too important, too vital to us all, to allow a couple of motel owners to destroy it. The Chamber needs to get itself together and first support the lodging tax, and then offer to the voters some better thinking than that so far presented on what to do with the funds once it is passed.



7/9/07

New Blog

The La Junta First Church of the Nazarene has an announcement/message blog:

http://lajuntafirstchurch.blogspot.com/

Comments are moderated. That is, you can post a comment but it will be reviewed before posting. Feel free to ask questions about matters related to the Nazarene Church in general or the local church in particular, about activities, doctrine, theology, etc.

Retreat

Sometimes management has to get away to think things through. To hash things out. To develop...well...you know...vision.

Pueblo seems to have the right idea. Chris Woodka describes it here:

http://www.chieftain.com/life/1183992425/1

Perhaps that is what local leadership needs to do. Perhaps they too should hie off for Breckenridge, far from the distractions, there to map out the future. Perhaps that was what was wrong with the CAP and other community-based inputs. They were too close to home. Perhaps a trip to Breckenridge is just what the doctor ordered.

Mickey would love to spend a few days up in Breckenridge.

Meanwhile, off on a tangent, in previous posts I have commented on what I call "the dumbing down of La Junta" as we suffer a kid drain and a brain drain as people move off to greener pastures, or at least to pastures where the stagnant thought processes are not killing off progress.

Read this and see if it doesn't make some sense as a partial explanation:

A Little Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing

Live Earth Weekend

Well...all manner of 'aware' individuals gathered to watch the LiveEarth webcasts and teevee shows this weekend.

Anyone who is interested in how Mother Earth is doing has been following the hoohah over global warming. Is it real or is it hype? Is it a combination of reality and hype? Is Al Gore a deeply concerned human being, or is he a cheap politician leaving a huge carbon footprint on the globe, like a rude and witless child who has stepped in dog crap and tracked it through the house? You remember Al Gore. He's the fellow who exhorts us out here in Podunkville to save energy, think Green, eat lots of fiber, and save more energy. All while he flits about the world on his private jet, returning now and again to his electricity-sucking mansion.

Rich Galen has summed it up fairly nicely over on his column:

Live Earth Weekend

An excerpt:

"If three hundred million people did that [planted a tree] every year, it would have a positive effect on CO2 levels, wouldn't it? Not so much as to completely offset the damage done by Al Gore, the entire membership of the US Congress and most of the population of Malibu flying around on private jets, maybe, but it would be something everyone could point to and say, "I did that." "

God save me from one more tear-jerker Hollyweird celeb or political hack chastising me about my 'global responsibilities' before said weirdo hops into the air-conditioned limo to head back to the airport to hop again into the private jet to flit to yet another ecological guilt-fest.

While you and I are trying to figure out ways to keep the thermostat at a reasonable level without breaking the bank, Al and his cohorts are off to one resort hideaway or another, almost all of them by private jet. You won't find Al staying in a Motel6 with a cranky air conditioner unit. Nope. And isn't Hillary the one who threw a hissy fit over the interior decoration on one jet, insisting that she have another?

It just makes me want to go out and sing "Kumbaya" with the Democratic National Party.

The Republicans, at least, make no bones about it. Pave over Pinon Canyon and make it one big parking lot for Abrams, Bradleys, and Strykers, and let the next generation sweat it out. El Paso County cash registers will be 'ca-chinging' happily in the meanwhile.

It's enough to bring the Libertarians to the top of the ballot.