Editor’s Notes for 201320122011201020092008 and 2007.

December ’10

A life worth preserving
I stood in a large circle of friends and neighbors to honor the passing of a dear friend we had all known for many years. I looked around and thought on what a wonderful place I live in, such special people I know, how grateful I am to be a part of this shared living history.
Yesterday I watched happy red-cheeked kids (one of them my grandson) being given rides in a horse-drawn cart around town.
We live here in this remote county for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of rural community, wide open beautiful spaces and a way of living that is very real—one that we may have grown up with, or one we want our children to have. We have this despite the cold, the dust, the short summers, the lack of ways to make lots of money—or maybe even because of these things.
‘Get rich schemes’ don’t work in Saguache County.  They get blown away, sun baked or ‘froze up’.  Our wealth is people swapping multi-generational stories at the Ranching Celebration, cheering at high school basketball games, attending potlucks, weddings and funerals.  There is the value of hard work, learned while pitching hay to livestock before you catch the school bus.   There is experiencing God in your church, in a glorious red sunset and living your life as a spiritual path.
There is noticing the dark night sky, what birds have returned, fresh tracks in the snow and who your neighbors are—and what they might need.
It is a lifestyle that has soul.  More value than industrial intrusions that seek short-term gain and leave long-term harm. Once again I will post the sign that says, “This soul is not for sale.  Not now, not ever.”
Wishing you all a good life and a very happy holiday,

November ’10

It never ceases to amaze me—the beauty of where I live and the spirit and generosity of the people who live here.  We are so blessed.
I feel especially fortunate.  The Eagle has managed to stay in business for 21 years now.  Quite remarkable for our region, and it’s all because of you.  You have kept her alive even through these past few recession years, when things got very, very thin and I wondered if we were going to print another issue.  You came through for us.
Dear advertisers, thank you for your continued support.  We promote your business and help you gain customers. Your ad dollars come back and keep us in business! We thank you for every single ad.
Dear writers, you give so much for so little.  Sharing your talents, spending long hours at meetings, doing research and revisions all at the last minute.  To all of you who contribute, thank you.  You fill those Eagle pages with great material.  You make this small town newspaper the unique and special thing it is.   Your contributions reflect the diversity, intelligence and heart of who we are.
Thank you to the photographers who send us photos.  You make us look good!
Thank you to the subscribers and those who pick up the newspapers at the stands.  We use every dollar you give us!
Thank you to all our readers.  You are what it is all about, and the reason we are here.
A deep thank you to the Eagle crew.  Every month you work together as a creative and awesome team to make it happen.
My partner, friends and family lift my spirits, bring me joy, keep me both going and sane.
And to Spirit, you have poured your blessings upon me.
With Thanksgiving,

October ’10

Up to you

They sat outside the building all night, again; they’d been there for weeks—even through the rain and cold.  In the morning they were all beaten and arrested and thrown into prison.  They knew what was coming, but they sat anyway.  They were ridiculed,  had their homes burnt to the ground and were even lynched. Their families were persecuted. They died, sometimes by the thousands—like at Gettysburg.
Who were they?  People who only wanted to be able to vote.  And those who believed that others should be free and have the full rights of citizenship.
This past primary election on average only 25% of our registered voters in Saguache County and Colorado voted.  And those registered voters are not actually all the people eligible to vote. This is pathetic.  And to those who gave so much, it would be incomprehensible that so many would ignore or disdain what was so dearly won.
There is no excuse for this.
Oh, you may say “I’m not into politics” and shirk your duty to be informed and participate in forming our future.  You may be engaged in more “lofty” pursuits, considering voting to be just too “mundane”. And disconnect from the fact that polices, such as whether or not beauty, wilderness, wildlife, personal freedom or any number of things you value will be destroyed or preserved because those in power make the decisions. Forgetting that those in power get there because either WE elect them, or we default and someone else elects them.
Your vote does count. This past primary election one of our county commissioners won by only 18 votes.  This year there are important issues on the ballot.  They will pass or fail depending on you. Exercise your rights of citizenship.  Become informed.  Vote.
Thank you to all who do,

September ’10

Making it happen

If you are reading this editorial, then the Eagle actually went to press—we managed to pull it off.
Right in the middle of production our main computer’s hard drive when down—a possible major disater.  But Mark & Erin scrambled for solutions,  bypasses and down and dirty fixes—talking techie to rival Jordie & Data while a new hard drive shipped over night.  Stacia skillfully carried a huge extra burden, and along with Isadora, Janet and Diane we kept doing our jobs, switching tasks, backing each other up while those who knew hopefully figured it all out.
We got in the new hard drive.  Mark did major transplant surgery and got it going. Great.
And then incompatibilites locked up our working files! Shut down access to the ads and photos—a very BIG oh no.  And so we worked on words, forgoing links, laying out pages with big holes in them, running blind. Super Mark went into cyberspace and stretched his limits—finding solutions designed by Mac geniuses that were generally unknown to exist on planet earth.
We all pulled together, worked extra hard, made good things to eat, broke open a bottle of wine while he went around the obstacles forging new loops and links and goddess knows what and got it all back—sorta. If you are reading this paper, we managed to get it to the printer—maybe by internet upload, maybe by Chevy Blazer.  Right now, as I write this, we just don’t know what will hold, what those “incompatibilities” may do next.  Things may take a little time to be fully functional.
So I think about how much I love this crew.  How deeply I appreciate them and how, when we each contribute our talent and hang tight, we make it happen.They set a good example here on how to deal with obstacles, how to find creative solutions, work hard and work together—with joy.
Thank you dear ones,

August ’10

Primary endorsements

Does your vote count?  Absolutely.  Especially on the county and state level. One by one they add up.  I remember a few years back we lost a very valuable county commissioner by less  than ten votes.  It happened because people thought it was a sure thing and didn’t bother to vote.
I encourage you to either send in your absentee ballot or go to the polls on Tuesday, Aug. 10.  Those  registered as “unaffiliated” can declare a party at the polls on voting day.  Vote!
The Crestone Eagle would like to endorse these candidates:
Andrew Romanoff, for the US Senate.  Many Coloradans felt that he should have been given the Senate seat instead of Bennett. He’s the people’s choice. He’s worked hard for years in the State Legislature—especially as Speaker of the House.  He was key in creating the BEST bill, along with Gail Schwartz, that funded building and repairing schools.  He does NOT take election campaign funds from political action committees or corporations. He took the time to visit here and hear directly from us. He’ll make a great Senator for Colorado.
When you have local incumbents that work hard and have done a good job I think it is smart to retain them and the experience they have gained.
We support Linda Joseph as Saguache County Commissioner.  She has been an excellent Commissioner, working hard for the whole county.  These past four years has seen her passing regulations that will protect our rural lifestyle and environment while still allowing for appropriate development.
We endorse Melinda Myers as Saguache County Clerk. She has upgraded the Clerk’s office, run elections successfully and professionally and has gained valuable training and experience.
Thank you for voting!

July ’10

Like oil & water

Less and less I watch the news on the gulf oil spill.  I can hardly stand to see it anymore.  So big.  Bigger than Katrina.  My heart aches at the scale of senseless damage being done.
The loss of life is huge.
The oil companies said they had safeguards and knew what they were doing.  They didn’t.  It reminds me of our own efforts to stop drilling for oil & gas on the Baca Wildlife Refuge.  I applaud all those who have forced the government to redo the environmental studies—there were no rubber stamping & back door deals  allowed—we were all watching.  Why oppose the drilling here so strongly?  Because so much is at stake—like what some consider the largest underground fresh water aquifer in North America.
So often when environmentalists take on big business’ questionable undertakings they are accused of taking away jobs, obstructing progress, overreacting, “making mountains out of molehills”—until you can’t drink the water.
Unfortunately, I see the same people in the Gulf states who thought business should police themselves, didn’t want regulation or government interference now hollering for the government, the business, to “do something!”
I turn on the news and see the oil spreading.  Relentless.   Tragic. What are the passionate patriots doing?  Arguing about whether Obama is a natural-born citizen?  Afraid that gays will get married? Stockpiling guns in case the bad guys show up?  Well, while they were so distracted, the bad guys did show up—and they ruined all the water.
I’m so proud of our community.  Sometimes we do overreact.  You do that when time and again your trust has been betrayed.  But better to do so and then reevaluate, then to allow mountains to be made into molehills.

June ’10

Wing on the wind

Windows wide open—ain’t it grand?  It stopped snowing, and the wind has ceased blowing in great billows of dust and grit.  Finally, it’s green and warm.
These past 2 weeks, since about mid-May we’ve seen an amazing influx of birds to the greater Crestone area. (See page 4 where I listed the species I saw or was told about in town.)
Something is up.  Maybe it was all the wind blowing this way, or maybe it’s because the drought is over, or maybe it’s a climate shift, or the need for a safe place—but I am seeing more sub-tropical type migrants and nesters than I’ve seen in my 27 years of living here—and more of them.  Where before you’d see a couple of western tanagers if you were lucky, now we’re seeing whole flocks of them. Flashes of color at my feeders have had me reaching for my guide book to find birds I’ve never seen before.  —Like just now, someone new out my window.
They’ve come flying in on the wind—hungry. Singing their songs of life and call to love.
Like some people I’ve met here.  Brought in by a dream.  Moving with the wind.  Wearing their colors.
Welcome friends from far-away places.  It brings me such joy to see your bright orange faces—your crimson heads and saffron chests. Evening grosbeak, the yellow visor you wear over your eyes is totally cool.  Iridescent and oh so fast you come hummingbird and hover, and yeah, the nectar is waiting.
Enjoy, enjoy. Summer has come to the mountains.

May ’10

Very grand mothers
“I love you Kizzen” said my 3-year-old grandson. We were settling into my quilted bed with a couple of books to read before afternoon nap time when he spontaneously put his small arms around my neck and kissed my cheek and proclaimed his love.  “I love you too” I replied as tender tears came to my eyes and we continued with the merry adventures of Pooh.
I am fortunate to have two sons and one daughter (plus their spouses) and five grandchildren: two girls, three boys.  They fill my life with joy and give me continuing perspective on my roles of mother, grandmother and woman.
Mothers carry the generations forward.  Literally, in their wombs, in their arms. Culturally, by how they teach their children. Politically, by their activism when they raise their voices for human rights or speak against war—recognizing in all families our common bonds.  Socially, as they advocate for children. Environmentally, when they see that their grandchildren really will inherit the world.  By their very nature, women see long-range. Their bodies are the bridge between the generations before and the generations after.
Women bring stability to their families and communities. It is imperative that they bring their abilities to the global level. They are the keepers of life.
Celebrating Mother’s Day should be more than buying some flowers for Mom—it should be about empowering her—every day of the year.  It was founded in this country as a response against war by a feminist who believed that a woman had a responsibility to shape society.  Society that could make a better world for the children and grandchildren they so deeply love.
For mothers everywhere,

April ’10

Leap of faith—for Petie
Some people can make a big difference in our life.  Small moments of right action can be pivotal in creating long lasting effects.
In 1989 Petie Lipscomb was the POA Manager. Tough as nails, smart, competent, big hearted, and the steady guiding hand behind the changing POA board.  I had been working for the POA for 3 years as the editor of the Baca Grande News.  This was their newsletter-turned-12-page-newspaper.  My initial job was to print the Baca news, golf course and tennis scores.  We ran a County News column but not much more.  After I’d had the job a year or so I started expanding the coverage, adding more news of import.  I got called on the carpet by the board—“why wasn’t the front page POA news?” I said “I thought these stories were more important” (such as AWDI wanting to sell the water). I persisted and some board members weren’t happy. It stopped being fun for me.  I gave Petie notice to find another editor.
She surprised me by saying that she thought I was doing a great job, that I had turned the newsletter into a real community newspaper and why didn’t the board just sell me the newspaper?  She pitched the idea to them—the paper was costing them money, they had to pay me and the printing costs, it was a liability in many ways and did the POA really want to be in the newspaper business?  Turns out they all agreed with her and sold me the paper for a $1—glad to be rid of it.  They even contracted with me to purchase POA-designated pages for 3 years so I could get the business off the ground.  That was Petie’s doing.
I changed the name to The Crestone Eagle, and the rest is history.  Petie believed in me.  I was relatively young, I could have moved away the next year, the paper could have been a disaster.  But Petie took that leap of faith in me.  For that I am deeply grateful.
God bless you Petie,
Love, Kizzen

March ’10

What we value

We have been discovered.  Time was, most people in Colorado had no idea where the San Luis Valley was, and if they did happen to drive through, it was on their way to somewhere else. Most of what they saw were some ranches, a few farms, the mountains off in the distance and long stretches of highway.   “Why on earth would anyone want to live way out here?” was asked by many a person as they cruised on by.
The many generations who were born here and stayed, and those who abandon cities, traffic, noise and fuss, those who love wildness and open spaces and find here a sense of home, know why.  Despite, or maybe because of, its isolation.  It gets under your skin—and then you either love it, try to change it, or move away.
But change does come, and sometimes it’s needed. Progress can be good. We need jobs and some development. Otherwise the working people suffer and young people move away.  But, sustainable development please—which enhances our lifestyle, rather than diminishes it. It is key to know where we are, who we are, and what we value.  If we destroy something in order to keep it, then we are left with nothing at all.
Citizens, towns and Saguache County have been actively master planning to preserve what we value and to create criteria for future development.  We need to keep in the forefront what is unique and special about this place—and not sell our soul.  Because once sold, we can never get it back.
It’s about balance.  It’s about regionally appropriate development.  It’s about being true to this place and not importing what we moved away from.  It’s about the choices we make, and we MUST make good ones now—for the land, water, wildlife and future generations.
Welcome Spring.

February ’10

Earth reunited;  do you know a millionaire?

It was with great pleasure that I ran this month’s front page story about the opportunity to acquire Lexam’s mineral rights in the SLV.  This news is huge!
If you have been reading the Eagle for years you have read over and over again about our legal battle to stop Lexam’s oil and gas drilling on the Baca National Wildlife Refuge. Lexam owns the majority share of the mineral rights under what had been the Baca Ranch (as well as other areas nearby and in the San Luis Valley).
The quest to preserve this land has gone on for over 20 years.  We have fought water developers, military training flyovers, gold seekers and now oil & gas companies—led by those who love the earth, the wildlife and who recognise the unique value of this place.
It is imperative to regain the mineral rights. The goal now is to reunite them with the land and stop any future mining, oil or gas development. To do this, we have to buy the mineral rights.  Cost at the moment is $9.7 million.
The San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council is working with other experiened non-profit organizations to purchase the mineral rights—much like the Nature Conservancy did when it brokered the purchase of the Baca Ranch until the Federal Government could appropriate funds to buy it.  We need to get these funds together now until the federal government has an opportunity to review appropriation.
Do you know a millionaire?  Do you know people or organizations willing to invest in the future of this landscape. If so, serious inquirers please contact the SLV Ecosystem office at 719-589-1518 or slvwater@fairpoint.net.
It is with great effort we’ve gotten this far.  Call a millionaire today. Let’s finish the job.
Thank you, with love

January ’10

Goodbye & hello

On Christmas Eve I decided to wear my nice silver and red coral conch belt.  It’s a favorite of mine.  As I gave it a quick polish I thought about how I had dickered and bartered for it from friend Richard Enzer.  We both made a good trade on that deal.
I put on my special dress-up coat, just like the one Rebecca Eastlake had.  I felt her wink of approval as I added the finishing touches to my outfit.  That gal could be a sharp dresser.
As Janet & I made the rounds of the holiday parties I think I caught a glimpse of an outrageously dressed angel. Dear BG, you missed some good parties—and your laughs, your hugs were also missed.
And Kailash, where do we start with noticing your absence?  At the music? In the band? Lending a hand? You still live on in my computer’s cyberspace as your photo comes up on my facebook page as a friend suggestion.  Confirm?  Oh yes.
We have lost others this year in our small community, old timers Bob Carlsen and Bob Sisemore. Nancy Valko, Tony Ross and others touched many people here.  We wrap up 2009 saying goodbye and thank you—not just to people, but to many things we must let go of.
A special thing about living in a small town is you get to know people—through all phases of their lives. We are blessed to know the new babies that were born in 2009, to know the children now becoming teenagers, and to see the young couples marry. To see them grow into their very own future.
Life is such a rich adventure. We don’t know what 2010 will bring to us—but we hope for good things.  We will again be saying goodbye to old friends­—but we will also be saying hello.
With love, good health and prosperity in the New Year,