Editor’s Notes for 201320122011201020092008 and 2007.

December ’11

Occupy the wave
Thank you to all in the streets for the Occupy movement.
As I see people of all ages and walks of life—and especially the young people—out protesting corporate takeover and corruption, I am filled with a sense of joy.  Finally, the tipping point.  Finally, misuse of profit, and tacit approval of greed to guide this country, have negatively impacted so many people’s lives that they are saying “enough!” and are pushing back.
A call for serious change has now become a moral imperative, as well as an economic, social, and environmental necessity.
I’m feeling very optimistic about this world-wide “grand awakening”, to quote several sources.  I have wondered:  what form would we see the prophesied events for these times take?
A “global crash” has long been warned of and was something we feared and hoped to avoid. Now I’m seeing it more as a “slaying of the beast” that has been eating up the earth and all her beings.
Change will not come easily.  Those who have the power will use it.  People will cling to the status quo. But, the glimmerings of a “rebirth” are exciting­—and may really be the only hope for future generations—and this planet.
Each of us has a role to play.  How do we live our life?  Where do we spend our money? What can we do differently? Where is our integrity?
Be aware that there are those spreading fear and divisiveness—that PR companies have been hired to discredit the Occupy movement. Know who owns the “news.”    Inform yourself.  Go to a demonstration and let your voice be heard. We need to support this movement.  It is the people, finally, speaking their truth and taking corrective action.
Praying for peaceful change now and in the coming year.
With blessings at Solstice

November ’11

Why I fly the flag

I’m a child of the ‘60’s.  I marched and protested the War in Vietnam. Like so many of my generation, I became very disillusioned with our militarized government.  For much of my adult life I associated “flag waving”  with the slogan “my country right or wrong” and of being pro-military and supporting US imperialism.  I didn’t fly the flag.
Then several things happened.  One was 911.  Janet and I drove from New Hampshire to Colorado shortly after that event, and American flags were flying everywhere in a united outpouring of solidarity and show of grief for all the people killed. It greatly moved me. I came home and hung out a small American flag. This is my country too.
And then the US invaded Iraq.  I was appalled, shocked and ashamed.  We suspected then what we know now, that Iraq didn’t have anything to do with 911.  I was tempted to take my flag down as I protested that war.  But then I saw the faces of our young soldiers who were killed in action silently displayed on the nightly news.  And for their loved ones and family, and for their service, I flew the flag.
This country does not just belong to one party, one group, one gender, race or religion.  The flag is often waved self-righteously by some, but it belongs to us all.  There are ideals of freedom, justice and civil rights that we cherish, that we all have fought to protect and maintain in our own ways.
This is a beautiful wonderful country.  It is not perfect, and it is now struggling to be true to its ideals.  As a gay person, I do not yet have full civil rights.  But, someday, because of these ideals, I believe I will.  Ten years ago I reclaimed our flag and now fly it hopefully and appreciatively.
This is our country too.
Happy Thankgiving,

October ’11

Move it forward

When I moved here 28 years ago, there was a recall fuss going on with the POA. Don’t remember the outcome, but over the years it seems like about every 4 years there is talk of recall; sometimes it actually happens.  Concurrently, there is then an effort to eliminate the Property Owner’s Association and become a municipality, or municipal district, get annexed to Crestone, or just disband the whole thing and be another unincorporated area of Saguache County.

Eagle archives are full of such endeavors to change the form of “government” in the Baca­—because it’s not really a government—it’s a private corporation.  One vote per lot is not a democracy when someone owns ten lots and gets ten votes; when non-resident lot owners can determine what happens locally—because they foot the bill; or when statute-driven municipal laws don’t apply.

It’s been very frustrating over the years for Baca people.  There have been efforts to reduce the dues burden.  POA amenities have been discontinued or transferred. The library recently went to public support. As many roads as possible have been transferred to the County for maintenance—the rest are paid for by homeowner dues.

The formation of a combined emergency services district for Crestone/Baca is the result of many years of  effort to have a homeowner’s association do what it is designed to do, and public entities do what they are supposed to do.

When Crestone agreed that it would withdraw from NSCFPD and create a new district with the Baca, a whole new opportunity opened up.  We would have local control, public funding, availability of other monies and liability protection that a private entity doesn’t have.  Two years’ worth of very intense work has gone into the process.  Hundreds of dollars and volunteer hours.  If this district vote doesn’t pass, chances are it will be decades before anyone ever tries to do it again.  And there will be POA recalls, calls for dues reform, and calls for a better form of real government.

Crestone is reaching out, telling you it already pays the mil levy, and it’s affordable and worth it. (In 22 years I’ve never had a letter to the editor complaining about taxes for the existing district.)

We are one community.  Let’s work together.  Now’s your chance to make a change.  Please vote to form the new emergency services district.  It’s needed, it’s time.   Thank you,

September ’11

Turn of the wheel

Just briefly, the mountains dusted white late yesterday.  It was probably hail that came in with the rain and thunderstorm.  Even though it quickly melted, it was a sign of the season change coming.
Whew, what a busy summer this has been.  A lot went on with festivals and music and art venues­—it was great to see everyone and play together!  Plus markets, tourists and summer folk. Charter School construction keeps moving along. There have been bears in the hood, dogs barking at them half the night, cars circling the downtown area (where are they going?) A couple of near dangerous fires, scary drought followed by rain and rainbows. And more political swirls and fusses than we all cared to hear about (and those aren’t over yet). It’s a wonder any of the retreatants found any quiet!
I’m not ready for a wintery frost yet. Our squash still has to mature and the corn needs to ripen.  The wood pile is still growing and only half stacked.  But I am ready for autumn. With its baskets of apples (what the bears haven’t gotten to), a table covered with fresh canned goods and herbs drying in bundles. I imagine it orange and golden with beautiful days, cool nights, azure skies and very, very quiet.
I also imagine peace in the neighborhoods as the intense solar energy backs off.  Time to evaluate what is real, what is important and to find ourselves again as the Indian Summer stretches out—teasing us with the occasional white dusted peaks.
The election issues will come to a peak, things will change, or maybe they won’t.  But by then it will be below zero.
For now, I just ask that we treat each other and all living things with respect.
And please be aware of school buses when they stop.

August ’11

At what price?

As I watch the news on TV I become more and more concerned about the future of our country.
We are being taken for a ride right off a cliff, driven by those engaged in big power struggles who put their own political gains, their own twisted ideology ahead of the real concerns of this country.
The battle rages in Washington as one group holds hostage the whole country by refusing to pay the bills that our country already owes.  They seem unconcerned about the huge harm they can cause by a govenment default.
People are understandably unhappy with government’s big spending, and seeing their hard-earned tax dollars being wasted on wars and special interests. But, this dangerous standoff is not the solution nor the right place or time for it.  It’s a powergrab.
Who is driving the debate?  Why is having the very weathiest pay their fair share of taxes off the table? We keep hearing the sound-bite “don’t tax the job creators” while referring to the rich and we’re all supposed to buy that line. But, in truth, it is the working class who are the job creators.  We purchase goods and services and are the consumers who drive this economy.  As we have had less money and lost jobs, we are spending less—even on essentials, and every business large or small has felt the drop in revenue.
Someone is convincing the people to vote against themselves.
We have all got to educate ourselves (before all the education funds are cut).  There is a concerted effort by radical right-wingers to bring down this country so as to be able to blame Obama or the Democrats for it. Even reasonable Republicans are appalled (and targeted) by their dangerous stupidity. People are hurting. It is time to come together to solve our common problems. Yet, every solution proposed to help is rejected.  Ask yourself “why?” and if you want to pay the price for it.  If not, you need to make yourself heard.

July ’11

Doing all right

Besides being kinda dry and needing a good rain, we are actually doing pretty well during these hard economic times.  We seem to be growing and having more economic development.  As  I walk around Crestone I see that nearly every commercial space is rented and there is a need for more.  New businesses have sprung up and we’re even going to have a lumber yard & hardware store again.  Crestone’s business community is doing all right despite what may be happening in other parts of the country.
More good news is that a group of citizens have formed a company to bring us high-speed internet—“real broadband”—which we greatly need. The big communication companies have ignored us, so we’re doing it ourselves.
I recently talked to local realtors and they expressed optimism.  Darlene Yarbrough says that houses are selling, people are looking and she’s showing properties practically every day.  “Even during a recessionary year, the town has improved itself,” she says.  Shirley Motz at Century 21 has seen increased sales as well, saying “we’re in an upswing.” Cindy Pearson of ERA says she had a “fabulous first quarter—people see the beauty of this area and the benefits of this wonderful community.”  They all say they are selling vacant land, lots and houses.
Efforts over the years to be more sustainable have seen an increase of small local food production and farmers’ markets and benefits from shopping locally.  More houses utilize solar energy, and are more “green” as people try their new ideas. We are adjusting to changing times.
This year’s parade theme is “Past, Present & Future”.  Let’s keep making things better for ourselves and investing in our future.  It seems to be working.
Keep praying for rain.
With appreciation,

June ’11

Beauty for a crazed mind

It was one of those days.  Eagle on deadline, phone calls, emails and streams of people. So many back & forths and over & unders that my mind was splitting from overload.  I just couldn’t think one more thought and would probably bite the head off of anyone who asked me to.
Fortunately, I had an errand to run close to quitting time that  got me out of the office and to the far reaches of the Baca. On my ride back home, all of a sudden, I saw it.  The vista.
The western sky was nearing sunset, the clouds had made a formation, causing “hallelujah!” streams of light to pour through.   Stunning.  And that’s a good word because it stunned this mind into quiet, into calm, into awe.  I continued on home to our garden.  The cliffs above were now running through their play of sunset colors.  Golden, then rose, all the while shining with a crisp clarity of depth while the western sky went red and then violet.
I sat on the earth and found tears of release come to my tired eyes as I witnessed such beauty and felt such grace.  The day’s information overload and “Very Important Things” dropped away.
I sat in quiet and saw where it was I really am.
I love this place.  The wide-open ever-changing beauty.  The majesty and expanse of it all.    The peaks and streams, forests and grasslands. How fortunate we are to live here.
I don’t know how people who live in cities do it.  How they keep their sanity.  Maybe that’s why they come here.  To retreat, recharge and reconnect.  I welcome them.  Breathe it in friends.
Now, at this moment, I’m wrapping up the June Eagle.  But then, you’ll find me (maybe) planting raspberries or off with the girlfriend somewhere beautiful enjoying the Colorado summer.
Pray for rain. With love,

May ’11

What’s up?

First, let me give thanks for the rain/snow/hail mix of moisture we finally got the end of April.  May lots more moisture continue to come our way.
Besides the grass and the iris, seems like lots of things are “up.” We continue to follow what is happening with the election in Saguache County.  The ins & outs of it have been making news.  Right now there are lots of opinions on all sides of the issue on what happened and what didn’t, what should have happened and what needs to. Who can view and count the ballots and how. The courts will soon hear all this and make their determinations. We will report the results when we have them.  It will certainly be good to have this all settled.  We made online revisions to our last issue’s election story and will keep it posted for awhile at www.crestoneeagle.com.
The creation of a new emergency services district will be news in Crestone all summer.  Most people I’ve talked to feel it’s a good thing that is long overdue.  Some people object for their own reasons.  I encourage everyone to read the documents, the budget and service plans and inform themselves.  For updates and info go to www.crestoneemergencyservices.org. The POA website of www.bacapoa.org will also be posting membership information.
Also in this issue you will find the recurring theme of self sufficiency and sustainability.    The world keeps getting crazier with weather extremes, political upheaval and nuclear fallout from Japan blowing across the planet. Gas prices will rise and affect the cost of most everything.  I feel that it is of utmost importance for communities everywhere to work together.  There are big issues that are up in our changing times.
In the meantime, I give thanks for the rain and the green and the sweet blooming flowers.

April ’11

Red flag warning

This January I wrote an editorial about how dry it was and asked everyone to pray for rain.  The ink was hardly dry on the pages when we were blessed with a foot of snow in early February.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But I’ve always believed in the power of prayer, group intent, wishful, positive and magical thinking and so I ask you all to do again whatever it was you did in early February! Make it rain.
The Baca Fire Department recently posted their “red flag” warning because the dry and windy conditions have made  the fire danger very high. Fires have been popping up all around Colorado. Please do what you need to do to protect and inform yourself.
I’m very concerned about this spring and summer for us here.  I tend to be an optimist about life and am not generally much of an alarmist (lousy traits for a journalist) but I find myself wanting to tell everyone who lives on the side of this mountain to get outside now and mitigate their property.  To clear out the tumbleweeds and cut back the brush.  To be very vigilant about fire and to know what to do, quickly,  in case of one.
It appears that the predicted earth changes are now happening.  The weather around the world is in a state of flux. We could just as easily be wet as be dry. No one really knows what the future will bring.  It behooves us as a community to continue to make good choices and good intents to carry us into the future.
On a milder note, I hope that you readers enjoy our April issue.  If the spring wind starts driving you crazy, or it’s raining or snowing too hard, take a break and peruse our pages—we have some good stories for your information and entertainment.
Pray for rain, pray for peace,

March ’11

People power

What do Tunisia, Egypt and Wisconsin have in common?  The power of the people.
I grew up in a family that valued workers’ unions and was taught the importance of employees banding together to ensure good working conditions and decent wages.  Before collective bargining, employees were at the mercy of greedy employers and often worked in deplorable conditions. Because of unions and civil service protections, the middle class grew in this country, workers were able to buy homes, send their children to college, get health insurance and be assured of a secure retirement.
It doesn’t suprise me that certain Republican forces are going after the unions.  The Republicans are supported by big corporations­—who are now “people” (and money is now “free speech” —money really does talk), while the Democrats have long been supported by the unions.  This is all a political party battle, not just “budget cuts”.
The difference between what the average worker earns and what the CEOs get has grown exponentially.  The gap is so big as to be criminal.  Well-bought politicians fought like hell against eliminating special tax breaks to the wealthy.  Those sacrifices that the wealthiest just couldn’t make, we are now asking of our very beleaguered middle class.  Sounds like the civil servants in Wisconsin have answered with a loud “Hell, no!”
This movement is going to go “wildfire”.  The working people are starting to stand up for themselves and push back.  I think many Americans have been inspired by the Egyptians taking it to the streets.  It won’t surprise me if more fed up people rediscover peaceful protest, union strikes and the power of the people.  We are up for some interesting times.

February ’11

Get us wet please

This month one of our lead stories is on the unusual weather we’ve been having.  While we may have been enjoying the warmth and not having to shovel snow—this just ain’t right.  And it could cause some big time worries in the near future.  Climate change is being felt all over the world—record cold in Minnesota, heavy snow in the deep south and snow and cold in England and Europe. We’re seeing record flooding in South America, Australia and many other places.  Global warming is now—no doubt about it.
I’m very concerned about the lack of snow here so far this winter.  We seem to have a tendency to run dry during these changes, while other places run wet. The San Luis Valley is called a “high desert”, yet I’m amazed that we can live in the Colorado mountains at 8,000 ft, up against 14,000 ft. peaks and have less snow than Alabama.
So, I’m asking all you readers to start praying for some snow for us. To think snow, visualize snow and do snow dances.  Maybe hold snow parties.  Wash your car, start re-roofing your house, plan an outdoor event, leave your firewood uncovered and clothes out on the line, wear sandals to work—do the sorts of things that usually attract those tricky snow elementals.
Seriously though, if we don’t get some moisture, we could have a dangerous year.  I’ve already started my springtime wildfire mitigation projects—might as well, the ground is clear.
I’m sounding this alarm now, hoping we’ll get 3 ft of snow in March and I’ll look foolish. That’s ok, I’ve been foolish before.
As Chris & Mark have been saying on their answering machine for many years, “wish a lot of moisture our way.”
Snowy love to my Valentine,

January ’11

Great new year

This month our headline news is again about potential industrial development, some we are opposed to, others we may have mixed feelings about. But I think one of the most important stories is on page B-4 on the brainstorming and planning meeting on local food production that was recently held.
Just as it’s important to decide on what we don’t want for our communities, it is also important to act on what we do want.
This year we have done very well setting in motion positive things for our future.  We voted to fund our schools and library, we are moving to make our emergency services more workable and equitable.  The Charter School acquired land in Crestone to build a new school and is laying pipe even as I write this.  The Town of Crestone acquired land that could allow for the building of community and public facilities. Now some residents are exploring having a swimming pool.  Imagine that!
This year has seen the Saturday Market really take off with lots of regionally grown food available, making it possible to buy and sell locally.  We are really moving right along in creating for ourselves the things we want and need. Exciting.
The few people who spoke in favor of Tessera did so because of the need for jobs.  It’s a real concern. So let’s create sustainable creative ways to bring in a steady income that pays a living wage.  Light or cottage industry? Green technology? What goods and services can we market?   We seem to be on a roll, so let’s add this to the wish & work  list.
As we enter this new year, I give thanks to all you hardworking people who have made these new good things possible. I think it’s going to be a great year.