SMARTS PARK … After taking up Jonathan Greenspan’s invitation to visit the SMARTS Park single-source recycling center in Illium, I have to say I was impressed. No, it wasn’t a slick, glitzy sight. It’s an industrial park, and sorting trash into recyclable components is messy. Plus citizens regularly drop off all manner of unwanted trash after hours, some of them thinking it’s a county facility, which it is not … But clearly it’s an essential public service. If our county and the communities of Telluride and Mountain Village are serious about reducing carbon impacts, keeping our waste stream out of the landfills and reusing what can be salvaged is critical. And it’s a focus for more than a handful of jobs – scarce commodities in this economic climate … Still, trying to do the right thing environmentally is expensive and difficult in our isolated region, far from major shipping points. There’s a chance to get some major grants to upgrade our capabilities for recycling in the region, but the community needs to figure out how much it wants to deal with trash as a major focus of reducing our carbon footprint … Greenspan has put a lot of time and money into keeping our recycling options open in the region. But it’s not going to survive without financial support from county citizens … We’re at a critical juncture in our ability to do more than landfill the waste we produce in this county. And we’re also at the most dismal point in 30 years for local government funding. How we’re going to afford to do the right thing is by no means certain. But to take a step backwards in regional recycling would be a terrible shame, even as we claim to want to work towards a sustainably resilient mountain community.
PATI TEMPLE … Wild mustangs and McElmo Canyon progressives lost a great advocate with the passing of Patricia Ann Draheim Temple at Trail Canyon Ranch in Montezuma County last month. She and her devoted husband David were partners for 38 years and together ran Trail Canyon Ranch... Pati and I served together on the BLM’s Southwest Resource Advisory Council, and we became friends – both for our shared care for wild horses and environmental sanity, as well as our love of Colorado’s open spaces and wildlands … I know I speak for a lot of good people in Southwestern Colorado when I say that’s she’s going to be dearly missed.
KEN SALAZAR … The Denver Post opined that Salazar, stepping down from his post as Interior Secretary for the first term of the Obama administration, was in a good position for any number of future possibilities. The Feb. 17 headline read, “Ken Salazar returns to Colorado with image intact and many options.” … According to co-writers Karen Crummy and Bruce Finley, “Some see Salazar as governor. Others see him as a high-level envoy or ambassador. A few consider him a good pick for a presidential ticket down the road” … But for now, Salazar says he’s going to focus on finding a money-paying job and spending more time with his family … Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt touted Salazar's "consensus-building magic" in many of his accomplishments over the past four years. "The environment he stepped into was impossible,” insisted Babbitt. “The economy was really struggling. He was trying to figure out how you get anything done when everyone's attention in Congress and the administration was on economic issues and jobs. And he set in motion things that are quite powerful” … Added Gov. John Hickenlooper, "He brings integrity everywhere he goes. He's always going to do what is right for the country, right for Colorado, before he does something that will benefit himself. He is, by nature, someone who thinks of others. His default position is to help someone else."
DAVE MASON … Colorado’s accomplished Poet Laureate and his dynamic Aussie wife, Calley Conan-Davies, were the featured readers at a well-attended poetry reading at the Cortez Library last week. Montezuma County residents turned out in force to hear the duo alternate readings as they inspired the crowd with personal vignettes, narrative delights, lyric love poems and playful interactions … Kudos to librarian Kathy Berg for once again making Cortez a magnet for poetry performance in the Four Corners.
ERICA OLSEN … In attendance at the reading and the potluck reception for the poets afterwards was emerging Four Corners writer Erica Olsen. Her first book is newly out from Torrey House Press, Recapture & Other Stories … As author Kevin Canty explains, “Erica Olsen gives us the dream life of the Southwest in this striking collection, a landscape told in language as spare and pungent and exacting as the desert itself. A swift and lovely debut from a writer of real gifts.”
ERIKA MOSS GORDON … Speaking of new writers, this intriguing Ridgway poet with a similar first name has a great website, “unlearning through poetry” <http://erikamossgordon.wordpress.com>, and is coming out with a chapbook soon, Of Eyes and Iris … Watch for it.
THE TALKING GOURD
The Female Form
Yes, I posed nude for him.
But he wasn't like any
other artist I've ever
worked for. I'd sit on
his lap, his left arm tightly
around me while he painted
with his right hand. He said
he didn't want to paint
the way I look, only
the way I feel.