Friday, June 10, 2003  content presented by Telluride Today .com About The Watch

This Week's Stories

Summer Reading Program to Send Hats to Tibetan Children

Wilkinson Library's Summer Reading Program kicks off this week with an international twist. Participants will write postcards to Tibetan children living in India; once they've logged ten hours of reading, they will be able to attach those postcards to hats (donated by Travelin' Tots) that will be delivered sometime next fall.

The hats are earmarked for Tibetan children living "in orphan villages in India," says Lenore Nicolay, youth services librarian, which they have traveled a perilous route to reach.

So far, 135 readers ages five and up have signed on for the program, which begins Wednesday, 3-4 p.m., with a performance of Tibetan poetry, song and dance by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer.

The young exiles are not necessarily orphaned, but rather have been sent out of their native land by their parents, who are desperate for their children to have a better life.

As the Tibetan Bulletin reports of the nearly 300,000 Tibetan children who have survived the perilous trip: "They are more courageous – and, certainly, less well-equipped – than any Everest conqueror. Snowblind, hungry and often frostbitten, these kids usually have fled across the treacherous high ranges at their parents' urging to escape Chinese repression in their native Tibet. …Wearing canvas sneakers and layers of dirty sweaters, the children – some as young as four – have braved the terrible crossing in Everest's shadow on nothing but black tea and tsampa, a kind of barley flour."

Some of the children don't make it. "Every winter, so many children die in the snow," the Bulletin quotes the head nurse at the Tibetan Reception Center in Kathmandu as saying, "while their parents back in Tibet think they are safe and happy in Nepal or India."

Financed by international donors and the Dalai Lama's monastery, facilities for these Tibetan refugees are being built in and around Dharamsala, where the refugee Tibetan community is centered. These foster homes-cum-schools are overcrowded, but the children adhere to high academic standards, with a few hard-working teenagers qualifying for scholarships to study at American and European universities.

Nicolay was approached by Mountainfilm's Pia Johanson with the idea of reaching out to the exiled Tibetan children earlier this year. A Ridgway organization, the DZI Foundation, is involved as well; their website,, will be up soon. The DZI Foundation is working to establish a school for Tibetan girls.

The reading program continues with a June 18 talk on How Songs Tell a Story, with Cody Lyon; and a slide show/lecture about Tibet with Ace Kvale and Nancy Craft June 25. For information, call Nicolay at 728-6613.

Arts and Leisure

Singing the Stories of Seven San Juan Generations

Cody Lyon at Writers Guild


If your life had a soundtrack, what songs would play on it? What style? Who would sing them? What would the message be?

For seven-generation Ricoan Cody Lyon, the style ranges from country to rock ’n’ roll, she sings them herself, the message is love, and the songs are about the San Juan Mountains where she now lives and where she goes way back.

Lyon’s great, great aunt had a Rico boarding house for miners. Her great uncle ran the Rio Grande Southern from Rico to Telluride. Her Grandpa John graduated from Telluride High School, and almost all of her relatives worked in the mines or on the railroad.

“I go back to the beginning of time … as far as Rico and Telluride are concerned,” she says.

Though she’s left the region several times—for school and for work—she’s back with a passion.

“I stay here for the beauty, the splendor, the mountains and the history—it’s in my blood,” she says. And it’s in her songs.

Lyon will sing and play acoustic guitar on Thursday, June 12, 7 p.m., at the Ah Haa School as the featured presenter for the Telluride Writers Guild. She’s bringing a sweet surprise: fiddler Rod Sural from North Carolina will join her. The program is part of the Homegrown Performance Series, sponsored by the Telluride Council for the Arts & Humanities.

Following Lyon’s performance will be a short conversation about life and the arts in Telluride, a break for snacks, and then an open reading. Those participating in the open reading may bring songs, poems, fiction, essays, letters, or whatever writing they wish to share as long as it is under five minutes. The program is free.

Lyon began writing songs about eight years ago. “I grew up riding horses in Rico, and thought it would be fun to write a song about my horse and the sky and the mountains,” she says. “Then I wrote another, and then it kept going.”

Lyon’s lyrics also explore the messy emotional side of mining and mountain life. “Over the generations, a lot of addiction came with living here, so I also write songs about addiction, letting go, judging each other. I write about helping each other out and having a little more forgiveness.” And in the end, she says, “It’s all about love. I’ve discovered that is true. I didn’t know that for a long time, but I learned because of my own addictions.”

Consider the progression of lyrics in her song, “Inheritance.” One of the song’s themes is the gossip that can thrive in a small town:


Well you can walk around this little town

and act just like a jackass clown

and whisper words in my ear,

or you can come inside

and get real high

and tell us what you really fear.


She explains, “We keep picking on this person, we eat each other up and hurt each other because of gossip.” The song ends,


You can take away my inheritance

and you can wreck my pretty car,

but don’t ever, oh don’t you ever

mess with my guitar.


Her musical style varies. “Some is a bit country, some rock and roll, sometimes very folky, sometimes slow and easy, sometimes very loud,” she says.

Other songs delve into history—for instance, one features the Rio Grand Southern. Four years ago, it was played at the Rio Grand Southern convention in New York.

Lyon’s music is gaining popularity in the region, too. She has opened at the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon for Jerry Joseph and Jack Johnson, and in Carbondale has opened for Mary Gauthier, one of her favorite singers. Every year she’s invited to the Mancos Follies at the Millwood Junction.

For this year's Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Lyon opens for Keller Williams at the Sheridan Opera House. On June 18, 3 to 4 p.m., she will hold a songwriting workshop for preschoolers at the Telluride Public Library. And in July, she’ll do a library-sponsored songwriting program for teens.

“I have a beautiful connection with Telluride,” she says. “It is one of my favorite places on earth.”

She credits Craig Ferguson, Sally Truitt and Amy Kimberly for leading her and her music in wonderful directions, and looks forward to giving her music to John Cowan and Allison Krauss so that they can perform it.

“I’ve changed because of their music,” she says. “It is all about heart and love and change. Music inspires me to keep going.”

Lyon’s performance is produced by the Telluride Writers Guild, in cooperation with the Telluride Council for the Arts & Humanities and funding from the Colorado Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Colorado General Assembly, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Telluride Tickets Hits the Streets

Telluride Tickets is heading for main street.

The successful online ticket-selling service that revved up earlier this year, selling tickets to arts event in the Telluride region, will now operate out of the Telluride and Mountain Village Convention and Visitor Services offices at 398 W. Colorado (formerly home to the Mortgage Store), effective June 23. Operating hours will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

"Our plan is to sell tickets for 'will call,' as we do now," says organizer Dan Garner, but adding an in-person ticket-selling service to their menu of options.

As of June 23, those seeking tickets to upcoming arts events in the Telluride Region will have "several options," – buying tickets in person at the TMVCVS office, with help from staff or a self-service computer; faxing ticket orders (to at 866-366-2329); ordering online at 24 hours a day; or telephoning orders (800-525-3455) or to 728-3041, x 3, during TMVCVS office hours.

Watch Sports

Towman In Position To Upset Tuna Cans

Billy Ball Still Top of "A" League

By Elizabeth Heerwagen


As the men’s softball league concluded its third week of play Sunday evening, both players and teams appeared more confident as they took to the fields of town park. From the 1-5 Jack’s / Maggie’s squad to the undefeated Tuna Cans, every team produced exciting softball moments this past week. From Billy Ball player Steve Margetts’s three run out-of-the-park home run to the precise throws between T.W. Green’s Chris Drew and T.M. Faversham, the league looked solid in the skill and competition of its players.

It was Towman, however, which emerged at the end of the week as a potential threat to the Tuna Cans, last year's "B" league champs. On Wednesday, Towman added another victory to already their successful season record of 1-0-1, and the team put itself in position to challenge the Cans.

Facing off against Towman on Wednesday, Jack’s/Maggie’s knew that they would have to fight hard to win an upset. Jack’s/Maggies sluggish offense has left them at the back of the pack.

Jack’s/Maggie’s opened the first inning with an aggressive triple to left field and a string of single bat hits that put the team on the score board. However, the curse of an easily caught pop fly ended the inning and the team left the dugout with a one-run lead.

While Jack’s aimed to minimize the scoring of the super athletes on the Towman squad, little could be done to control the sharp hitting of Towman Jake Peppard who cut an in-park home run that bounced out of the field and landed him on second.

Fans cried out for Towman players to sound their eccentric horn with a stadium-style jingle, and buoyed by the support of the crowd, Towman finished the first inning, 1-1. While the players were keeping the game tight, Towman owner Emmet Stovall kept his team in order and he took charge of the books. While Stovall directed the team from the sidelines, he refused to play because as he claimed, “I own the team, I don’t need to bat for it.”

At the top of the third, Towman responded to the crowds’ chants to “look alive,” and made an impressive double play that just missed being a triple play. Botching the triple play, the second baseman tumbled to the ground for the catch and lost contact with the bag. Neverthless, Towman managed to snag another easy out and ended the inning without letting Jack’s score again.

Up to bat, Towman put the game away when Pete Ripmaster, living up to his name, ripped a hit out of the ballpark. The play was extra dramatic since the center outfielder on Jack’s knocked down the perimeter fence in his attempt to catch the ball. Unlucky for Jack’s, the catch was not made. Towman took the lead, never relinquishing it.

While Towman was getting more and more aggressive, Jack’s surged in an attempt to catch up, but never quite made it. The squad added four runs to their score with a base hit by J.D. Dalpez and a line drive single by John Kula. Back up at bat, Towman answered Jack’s struggle to comeback with a strong offensive inning. Two consecutive doubles put Mike Florence and Jake Peppard on base, then Mike Merrick slammed an out-of-the-park homer to bring the three runners home.

After Merrick’s home run, the game was beyond the far beyond the grasp of Jack’s/Maggie’s. In the remaining innings, Towman reaped the benefits of their strong offensive plays and big hits, and as the sun set on the town park fields, Jack’s/Maggie’s went home with another loss, and the Towman walked away with the game 24-10.

Towman have incredible promise to take the “B” league championship from the favorite Tuna Cans. However, it will not be until July that the two teams face each other.

In other “B” league games, T.W. Green rose from being the “worst team in the league,” according to T.W. Green James Guest, after winning two games against Loewen Windows and the Down Valley Barley Sippers. Team members attributed the turn around to the recent addition to the formerly injured Tim Regan at short stop. With two new wins under their belts, T.W. Green has a record of 2-4.

In the “A” league play, the indomitable Billy Ball won all three of its games last week. Against Team Rehab, Billy Ball had no problem adding another win to their undefeated record. Team Rehab will need some rehabilitation after they were routed 34-14 on Sunday night. Although the fans rooted for the underdogs, there was no stopping the precise strikes of pitcher George Gage, the amazing catches of center fielder Bruce Easterbrook, or the hitting power of Steve Margetts. Without a doubt, Billy Ball is the team to beat in the “A” league.

The question is, who can challenge Billy Ball? On Wednesday night, the Smuggler’s Style team gave Billy Ball a run for their money with Billy Ball’s narrowest winning margin of 20 - 17. Meanwhile, the fierce Fat Alley squad, who have won all of their games and play with the competitive drive to win, eagerly awaits a chance to take on Billy Ball and try to make an historic upset in “A” league softball. As for the fans, they are always eager for change, as the roars along the sidelines of the field often are in favor of the underdog.

The softball season is long and it will be some time before the playoffs. From team sportsmanship to individual performances, anything could happen.

Paddler 1:

The Dolores river in late evening light


One of the more experienced boaters has some fun in the hole.


The water is colder than it looks.


The view from the riverbank.

Paddler 5:

Bridge over waters.

Going for a ‘Swim’ in the Dolores at the Stoner Stampede

How Kayaking Is Not Like Riding a Bike

Base Camp Telluride

By Brett Schreckengost

In less than an instant I am out of my boat and cursing through shivered blue lips as I head for the eddy. Struggling to rationalize my pathetic situation, I blame my swim on last year’s drought and that fact that the rivers around here haven’t been this big in a long time. Not that my combat roll was ever really “bomber,” but kayaking is supposed to be like riding a bike, right?  I should have at least practiced one roll in less turbulent waters; the Dolores is damn cold and there’s no reason to get your head wet unless you have to.

After picking up the pieces and draining all the water from my borrowed play boat, I hang out and dry off while others surf a hole. 

How many times have I swum this section in the past while attending the trial-by-fire kayaking school put on by a group of my more experienced friends?

“You’ll be fine, just paddle really hard,” was their chorus as they led me down places like Westwater Canyon, the Gunny, Gates of Ladore and other not-so-beginner-friendly spots

This one, the Stoner Stampede, also falls in the not-friendly-for-beginners category.

Beginning as a trickle on Lizard Head Pass, the Dolores River quickly gains momentum from forks and feeder creeks along its way to the still waters of McPhee Reservoir. The steep, young river drops at a rate of 49 feet per mile and can become a raging torrent during the spring runoff season. The Stampede is a mile-long class III (out of V) section of rapids, waves and holes above the Stoner Bridge. Dubbed a play spot for kayakers, the section contains numerous places to hang out and surf along the way.  A play spot is a standing wave or hole that you can paddle into and ride like an ocean wave that never goes anywhere.

Play boats are specifically designed to ride these river features. Small, edgy, and blunt-nosed, these crafts enable the paddler to pull-off a handful of tricks and moves while surfing the river. The learning curve is a bit like snowboarding, you catch a lot of edges at first and then things start clicking. However, a good “combat” roll is essential if you want to have a good time. When you’re starting out, you usually do your first roll in the still waters of a pool. By contrast a combat roll is one pulled off in real-time on moving water with things like shallow rocks, strainers and more rapids to think about. The roll itself is really no different than the one you did in the pool, but for some reason the brain sees it differently. The ability to perform your roll in these situations can be a psychological barrier that must be broken through by pulling off a bunch of these things while on the river. Swimming, or exiting your boat and making for the shore, is not fun and only gets annoying after awhile, especially when you think you have it down. You can only get back in your boat, snap on the spray skirt, and paddle back into the froth ot face your demons. There is just no other way. 

As I ponder the complex psychology of intermediate-rusty-boater-syndrome from the riverbank, and I notice a group of cute boater babes upstream and scramble back into my boat. I might not go back into the hole this time but at least I can look like I know what I’m doing.

Town of Mountain Village

Sandy Wickham: ‘Time for the Residents to Start Taking Control of the Town’

Mountain Village Council Candidate

By Elizabeth Covington

If elected to Mountain Village Town Council on June 24, Sandy Wickham will be a voice for the town's residents and property owners.

"I am committed to bringing the concerns and needs of residents and property owners to the attention of council," said Wickham.

Council needs to respond more quickly and accurately to resident and property owners concerns, as compared to responding only to the concerns of town developers or those of the Telluride Ski and Golf Co., Wickham says.

"We have reached a point where it is very important to respond to the needs of residents, as opposed to the needs of developers," she said. "Mountain Village has grown up to be an adolescent who is flexing his own mind and desires and it is time for the residents to start taking control of the town in which they live and have more say."

"I feel strongly about numerous issues in Mountain Village," she added, when asked whether her husband's outspoken opposition to the height variance requested by the proposed Ritz-Carlton hotel is driving her candidacy.

She is not a single-issue candidate, Wickham emphasized, segueing into a list of town issues she will tackle if elected.

For one, she is concerned about the town's budget, which used to be "flush" and not a critical issue. "It will be very important to use a critical eye on the budget and watch where the money is spent and how it benefits property owners. We need to ask, 'Does it meet their needs?'" Wickham said. "Revenue sources are dropping and the new council will be looking at which items to fund. Some hard decisions will need to be made as budgetary concerns become more critical."

Wickham would also like to take on the current charter requirement that each voter is restricted to voting for one town council candidate. Thus, in an election such as the present where there are nine candidates running for four open seats, voters are allowed to vote for only one candidate.

"It may be cumbersome and difficult to change," she said, "but it is the prevailing thought that this issue needs to be addressed. Maybe now is the time to look at this."

In addition to addressing the issues, Wickham believes that with the departure of Linda Rodgers from town council (Rodgers, an eight-year veteran of council, is prohibited by town term limits from running again), the town needs to have a woman on board. In Wickham's experience having women on a board makes that body more efficient.

"I feel strongly that there should be a woman on council," she said. "Women are at least 50 percent of the property owners in town. It is important to have a female property owner voice."

Wickham will bring to the job numerous talents and skills that she said will serve her well as a member of council.

"As a registered dietician, I owned by own business for 15 years in Pagosa Springs," she said. "I have run my own budgets and understand how that worked."

Additionally, in the course of her work as a nutritionist, she has worked with government entities, ranging from Archuleta County to the United States federal government. As a consultant for Archuleta County, she advised that local government on a nutrition program for its new jail and for its senior food program. She also served on the Archuleta Education Center board, as a general member and as its president, during a time when that body evolved from an organization offering GED and supplemental education programs into an alternative high school.

"It was a highly successful program," Wickham said.

As a businesswoman, Wickham obtained a federal patent for a food packaging idea and sold that to a "large food corporation."

Wickham also holds a pilot's license and with her husband, Roger, ran a freight-moving company that had general sales agents in 52 countries around the world. For two years she was chief pilot of the commercial airlines, Rover Airways, that was part of that business.

Locally, Wickham is an active member of the Telluride Rotary Club and the Telluride Pilots Association. She is also a member of the Telluride Women's Network.

She lives full-time in the Mountain Village with her husband Roger and continues to pilot airplanes, though now when she and her husband travel.

Town of Mountain Village

Rube Felicelli: ‘Finishing the Core Will Give Us More of an Identity’

Mountain Village Council Candidate

By Jennifer Heflin


Rube Felicelli, a four-year veteran of the Mountain Village Town Council and the town’s current mayor pro-tem, says he would like another term to complete projects that he started in his first term.

If elected, Felicelli says, he would like to see Mountain Village continue its growth toward becoming a vibrant community. One key to the process, he says, is to tighten up the budget by reducing taxes to stimulate more activity and in turn strengthen the Mountain Village economy.

Monitoring the Mountain Village budget is particularly challenging, Felicelli says, because revenues are collected and money is spent by three separate government entities that share staffing and payroll.  Consolidating those three entities – the town, Mountain Village Metro Services and the Mountain Village Metro District – is essential, he says, for true accountability in government. 

If he is reelected, Felicelli says he would work to bring Metro Services, which is the master homeowner’s association for Mountain Village, and Metro District, which maintains roads and bridges in the town, under the town council’s umbrella.

According to Felicelli, incorporating the Metro District under the town's wing "should be fairly easy. Several members of District have already committed to this idea, as have several members of council," he said. "I could see that happening in the next year and a half."

On the other hand, folding Metro Services into the town could be "more difficult," said Felicelli. "At this point the question is whether the Metro Services board is willing to do that right now." The Metro Services board is composed of three members appointed by Telluride Ski and Golf Company; one appointed by the lodging community; one appointed by the retail businesses; and two elected by residential property owners.

Whether the board would be willing to consider merging with the town is uncertain, particularly "with the new ski area owner, and whether they would be receptive," said Felicelli. "Services could not go away entirely because it collects the real estate transfer assessment, but its role could be diminished and the RETA could be collected and passed on to the town."

The town is prohibited by the TABOR amendment to the state constitution from imposing and collecting a real estate transfer tax.

“It is difficult to make changes with three entities,” Felicelli added. 

As for invigorating Mountain Village’s sluggish retail economy Felicelli, who is an avid bike rider, said he would like to bring more activity to the town in the summer, in particular by adding more bike trails and bike races. The council is currently coming up with activities to provide an alternative to the 360° Adventure Festival that was scheduled for July but was cancelled after a major sponsor dropped out.

“We’ve been trying to do things right away to serve as an alternative to things that are happening in Telluride,” Felicelli explained. “We have already lined up activities including The Sunset Concert Series, Ride the Rockies and we’ve scheduled a breakfast during Bluegrass, and we would like to expand even further.”

“I’d like also like to see a skate park, more fitness and recreational activities, and more theater so locals and visitors alike would want to come up,” Felicelli said. “As we bring more and more little activities that bring in business for the Village we will gradually encourage more business in the core.”

"We have to think globally, think regionally, all of us," said Felicelli, adding that "all of us," includes the two towns, as well as the county. "We have to work together and do things that complement, not necessarily compete, with each other."

Felicelli says that a major new hotel, as is now being proposed on land acquired by Metro Services for the purpose, is an important element in successfully redeveloping the core.

“I think it should be a hotel and that the size must fit in a way that compromises both scale and amenities and offers a balance,” said Fellicelli. “I don’t want to see us reach a point where the developer walks away, nothing gets built, and the town and core are empty.”

“We’ve reached the point where Mountain Village is becoming a community and finishing the core will give us more of an identity and people would like to see a complete town,” Felicelli said. 

Another task on Felicelli’s priority list for the town is to develop more affordable housing. Currently, half a percent of sales tax is dedicated to affordable housing and during the last four years more units were added to Village Court, and lot 649 in the Meadows was converted from light industrial to 22 deed restricted units but Fellicelli would like to see more.

“I’d like to see more entry level housing for purchase,” he said. “However, it is difficult to find property and keep costs low. We do not have any entry level housing allotted yet, I am interested to see what kind of creative things we can do.”

“We would like to see developers to give more. If you put a hotel up, then some affordable units should be built with that,” Felicelli said.

Fellicelli said he wants reach out to a different segment of a small community, notably the little guy. 

Currently a real estate broker for Telluride Real Estate Corporation, Felicelli first moved to Mountain Village in 1991; he was one of the first residents of Village Court. He has lived in the Mountain Village since, except for a brief detour to Telluride, where he lived for a year and a half. Currently he lives and owns a unit in Prospect Creek.

Before becoming a real estate broker, Felicelli work for Telluride Sports as a manager and as its ski and bike buyer for ten years. He managed the Mountain Village rental store, when it was no more than the back end of a doublewide trailer located in the Lot "D" parking lot. As the Mountain Village grew, so did Telluride Sports store there, and when it opened a store in the Peaks Felicelli managed the retailer's location there. Felicelli continues to consult for Telluride Sports.

"I've watched all this fill-in," he said of his unusually long tenure as a resident and worker in the growing town.

Fellicelli is also a member of the Fen Oversight Committee and president of the Prospect Creek Homeowner's Association. 

In what appears to be the most contested election in the town’s short history, there are nine candidates running for four seats on the Mountain Village Town Council. Election day is June 24, though ballots have already been mailed to registered voters and may be returned by mail any time prior to election day. Polls will be open in the Blue Mesa Building on June 24 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Registered voters may cast a ballot for only one candidate.

The Watch is running profiles of three candidates in today’s edition, with profiles of the another three candidates scheduled to run on Friday, with the final three set to be published next Tuesday.

The Watch is also sponsoring a candidate’s forum in the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village on Wednesday, June 11, from 5:30-7 p.m. The moderated discussion will include questions from the audience. Refreshments will be provided by the Mountain Village Merchants Association.

Dan Garner: ‘The Big Challenge Is Sound Fiscal Management’

Mountain Village Town Council Candidate

By Elizabeth Covington

"There is a transition going," said Dan Garner, a candidate for Mountain Village Town Council. A retired businessman, Garner was relaxed as he spoke, after a day on the Telluride Golf Course.

"This is an expected transition from when there was no one here but the developers and the ski company,” he said. “Now there are homes, condos, and people living here. Some have made big investments. Others are renting."

For Garner the pressing issue in the election is that residents need to have a voice on council.

"They did a great job," he said of the developers of the eight-year old town. "It is a nice place to live." Residents need to participate now.

As for the particular issues facing the next town council, Garner pointed to the town budget as a critical concern.

"Up until a year ago Mountain Village thought that it was bullet proof," he said. "Now we have to watch our government services. The big challenge is sound fiscal management, keeping our taxes in line, managing growth, and supporting property values. It is an evolving era."

He pointed to the Mountain Village Metro Services real estate transfer assessment as one area where local government revenues have dried up during the past year. Though the town is supported by a different revenue pool, it, too, must still watch what comes in and what goes out, he said.

"Our property taxes are still low, but everybody would like to keep them where they are," he said.

He also pointed to the viability of the ski area and of the golf course as critical to the continued healthy fiscal life of the town.

"In this community all the property values and jobs are driven, if not attracted by the ski area and the golf course," he said. "It they dry up, this town could sink into a recession and a lot of people could lose a lot of money on their property."

Merging the three local governments in Mountain Village, the town, Mountain Village Metro Services and Mountain Village Metro District, makes good sense from a fiscal and efficiency point of view, Garner said. In addition he would like to revisit the town rule that each voter is restricted to voting for one candidate.

"I think it was originally designed to minimize slates and I would like to hear the discussion about it and take a look at it," he said. He would also like to see the town initiate a voter registration drive.

"The town has done little in the way of reaching out to part-time property owners and others," he said. "A lot of property owners don't know that they can vote."

Shoring up the vitality of the Village Core will take an increase in consumer traffic, he said. "You can't afford retail with out traffic. It is a classic retail formula," he said.

One issue in the mix is the number of luxury condominiums in the core which are not rented year-round and which sit empty. To illustrate, the most recent building constructed in the core contains "large expensive condos," whereas a hotel "would have more people wandering around." In addition a hotel would bring an ice rink, a restaurant, and "would revitalize the area." He quickly added that with respect to the fate of the hotel proposed for Lots 50 and 51, he has "not yet made up my mind."

In fact, Garner described himself as a person who sees and evaluates all the evidence before drawing a conclusion or making a decision.

Before retiring to the Mountain Village, he spent 33 years in business with an emphasis on finance, marketing and management. In that time he ran five or six businesses, of which four he started from scratch.

In town he recently started Telluride Ticket, "which though it is a non-profit, must be run like a business." Telluride Ticket sells tickets on behalf of non-profit arts organizations and is owned by Telluride Mountain Village Visitor and Convention Bureau. "This work has been like creating a business from scratch."

As to what skills and talents and interests, he would bring to the job, Garner responded: "I would be somebody looking out after the residents' interests, as opposed to the developers and other groups. Everything is a balance to make sure our quality of life remains the same and taxes are kept in line. Residents need to be taken care of because they make a commitment to live here long term. The developers are important, but they take their money out on the front end."

According to Garner, he approaches a problem from "an analytical standpoint, looking at the pros and cons before making a decision, and balancing the costs and the benefits, as well as the cost to the environment and the impact on businesses."

He also feels strongly that his marketing background will allow him to look at "who is the customer," when looking at marketing Telluride. "Telluride's customer is a fairly affluent tourist. This is an expensive place to come to. If you are on a budget, you wouldn't come here with a family of six. So we need to look at everything to try to appeal to our natural market."

The Confessions of a Tyrant’s Secretary

TFF Presents Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary

A hit not only at the last Telluride Film Festival, but at festivals and theaters around the world, Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary presents an eyewitness account of Adolf Hitler’s last years, from a unique vantage point.  The film is Traudl Junge’s confession, as it were, filmed in the last year of her life at the age of 81, after she had kept her silence for nearly sixty years.

Blind Spot shows at 8:30 on Thursday at the Nugget Theater, a presentation of the Telluride Film Festival.

Junge, in her early 20s, lived with Hitler in his fortified bunker during the tyrant’s final days. Indeed, he dictated his final will and testament to her. Junge also worked with Hitler at Wolf’s Lair (his field headquarters in East Prussia), at his Bavarian residence at Berchtesgaden and on the Führer’s special train.

Austrian filmmakers Andre Heller and Othmar Schmiderer, both Jewish, won Junge’s cooperation in the spring of 2001. The result is a riveting historical document, according to critics; it consists of ten hours of filmed interviews condensed into 90 minutes.

The film’s power, says critic Robert Denerstein is not in Junge’s “readily confessed regrets” but in her “eyewitness account of the quotidian calm surrounding the 20th century’s most monstrous figure… Junge’s description of the last days in the Fuhrer’s Berlin bunker (he dictated his will to her) are as compelling as any dramatization of those events I have ever seen.”

“Oddly,” Denerstein notes, “Junge died a few hours after the film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival.  She was struggling with cancer even during the filming.  It’s tempting to think that once her words were made public, she had no further reason to live.” 

Tickets to this TFF Presents screening are $7.  TFF Presents is curated by the Telluride Film Festival, and features movies that either were programmed or were worthy of programming at the Telluride Film Festival.The next film in the “TFF Presents” series will be Nowhere in Africa on July 17.

Four Nights of World-Class Chamber Music

Plus Two Children's Matinees and Even a (So-Called) Amateur Night!


"I'm an amateur," demurs avocational pianist Josh Aronson, who divides his time between Telluride and New York City.

Amateur, perhaps, but as the regular host of chamber music performances featuring world-class musicians in his Gramercy Park loft ("my teacher encouraged it," Aronson says, by way of explaining he began hosting performances five years ago), he is emerging as a promoter of a new experience for contemporary classical music lovers – chamber music in the living room.

"Chamber music is designed to be performed in the living room," he says, with pieces scored to be played by a group of musicians so small as to include just a pianist, cellist and violinist. That's precisely the configuration of Trio Soloiste, the group Aronson has brought to Telluride for four nighttime performances this week, as well as two children's matinees for this week's group of campers at Telluride Academy.

Trio Soloiste made its Telluride debut last night at the home of Aronson's neighbors, Vincent and Ann Mai, also music lovers with roots in New York City, with whom he has teamed up to present Telluride's newest springtime event.

Trio Soloiste – it literally means "three soloists," which the musicians clearly announce themselves to be, their longstanding ensemble work notwithstanding – is made up of violinist Maria Bachmann, who doubles as the group's artistic director; cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach; and pianist Jon Klibonoff.

For Wednesday night's program (at Aronson's home), Lark Quartet violist Catherine Lockwood and New York pianist Inessa Zaretsky will join the trio. Friday night's performance, billed as Amateur Night, will feature such well-known local talent as the Telluride Chorale madrigal singers, David and Laura Homer and at least one surprise (Who knew Todd Hoffman is a classical guitarist, trained in Spain? "He hasn't touched a guitar for a long time," Aronson chuckles, "but I encouraged him to dust if off"), as well as Aronson himself, accompanying Rice University music graduate Lucy Shiels, a "fantastic soprano" whose family is long-time second home owners, with whom he will play five songs.

Composers range from Barber, Poulence, Mozart, Lehar and Joaquin Turina to George Gershwin, Brahms, Schumann and "early Stravinski," when his music was "more tonal" and accessible than some later pieces. "We programmed very carefully," Aronson says, trying to not be "so avant garde" as to "turn people off."

Although Aronson "can't turn a music lover away," the suggested donation is $25 per performance for this series that's running "on deficit financing," he chuckles.

For more information, call Aronson at 728-6061.

Oh Happy Day!

Balloons Take Flight for 20th Telluride Balloon Festival


Marilyn Branch knew the Balloon Festival was aloft "when the pie ball took off," she reports – balloonists' jargon for "the helium-filled balloon we send up to squirrel around, changing at the various altitudes."

After two years of being grounded by windy weather, the Telluride Balloon Festival came back in full force this year, with all 13 balloons aloft Saturday in "a Telluride box," says Branch, more jargon for optimum flying conditions that enable the brilliantly colored bulbs to dip down and waft up, swapping out crew members and even performing "splash and dash" maneuvers – one, a touchdown on the San Miguel River; the other, a touchdown on the beaver pond – which brought two startled beavers out of their lodge for a look-see and got the ducks quacking.

More than a few balloon crews found themselves fac/e to face with surprised townspeople "in various states of undress" soon after takeoff, which ran from 6:30-7:30 a.m., Branch reports. "It was wonderful how many people came out on their balconies" to chat with balloonists in baskets as they floated by.

"This wouldn't have happened without the San Sophia," the Pacific Ave. inn and restaurant that hosted a Lighter Than Air champagne brunch Saturday and Sunday, and helped fund the event, as well.

With this year's smashing success, Branch hopes to regain funding from Telluride Council on the Arts and Special Events, withdrawn this year "because we'd become a non-event" during two years of not leaving the ground.

Upon finishing the Telluride Box circuit, balloonists tethered in Town Park and gave rides "to everyone who wanted one," Branch reports.






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