Tuesday, Nov 15, 2002  content presented by Telluride Today .com About The Watch

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Town Park Ice Comes Courtesy of a Hard-Working Two-Woman Crew, ‘Salboni’ Jones and Jane ‘Deere’ Miller Arise Before Dawn to Create Perfect Ice, By Martinique Davis 

Sally Jones and Jane Miller start their shifts at 2 a.m., when temperatures in the Town Park are the coldest of the day.

A Young Singer's First Time Onstage at Carnegie Hall

Telluride High School senior Hamilton Sims gives the following first-person account of a Nov. 10 performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria at Carnegie Hall in New York City, in which she was joined by a contingent of choral singers from all over the Western Slope.  Singers representing Telluride were:  Andrea Benda, Marcie Ryan, River Cummings, Karla Brown, Donna Burd Fernald, Kay Semrod.  Fellow high school students of Sims’ making the trip were Natania Crane, Joanie Dix, Carly Smith, Traci Ranta and Killian Harwell. 

Telluride High School and Telluride Choral Society alumna Jessica Horner, a sophomore at Middlebury College, made a seven-hour bus trip from Vermont to New York to sing at the event.

– A. M.

 By Hamilton Sims

 The building itself is a source of amazement. There are people standing outside of the steel magnate’s most well-known and lasting philanthropic endeavor. They are taking pictures of themselves and their friends to remember the ornate shrine to industrialism, surrounded by today’s department stores and subway stations.

 

Lizard Head Hockey Fires Up for Final Outdoor Season, By Pete Connick

Eighteen years after dropping the puck on the inaugural Lizard Head winter, the Telluride Lizard Head Hockey Club skates into its 2002-2003 campaign, one final short season away from the Stanley Cup of its brief existence, and onto "indoor ice.”

Deal Struck to Preserve 1,244 of Ophir Valley High Country as Open Space, Pauls Family Enters Agreement with TPL, By Elizabeth Covington

The Town of Ophir received an early Christmas present last week when the Pauls family announced that it has signed an option agreement to sell 1,244 acres of mining claims to the Trust for Public Lands. The agreement, signed at the end of October, gives TPL the exclusive right to purchase virtually all the claims owned by the Pauls family in the Ophir valley through October 2005.  

Koffee With Kandee, CASE's New Chair Talks About 400 Miniature, Orchids and Studying Jellyfish in Antarctica

Kandee DeGraw: How’s the Commission on Arts and Special Events going?  How is it being the new chair?

Ron Gilmer: Oh, good. I just finished my evaluations; this is the busiest time of year for us, as you well know being on the board.  We have two new members and I think we have them both squared away. They both seem to be very concerned about their reviews.  I reassured them that they should be quite so serious; it is good that they are, but it will all work out. They are very anxious that their scores will be received well. 

Town Park Ice Comes Courtesy of a Hard-Working Two-Woman Crew, ‘Salboni’ Jones and Jane ‘Deere’ Miller Arise Before Dawn to Create Perfect Ice, by Martinique Davis

Sally Jones and Jane Miller start their shifts at 2 a.m., when temperatures in the Town Park are the coldest of the day.

The Telluride Parks and Recreation Department park supervisor and crew leader trudge out onto the snow-packed ice rink bundled in their warmest clothes, hook up the fire hoses, and begin spraying layers of water onto the ground.  They roll up the hoses only when the morning sun peeks over the mountains, calling it a day when most Telluride residents are just waking up.

“Salboni” Jones and Jane “Deere” Miller have been the queens of Telluride’s ice rinks for most of the last twenty years, dedicating their early winter mornings to buffing up the town’s most popular winter gathering place. They started work on the rinks almost three weeks ago, and are now looking forward to an early Thanksgiving opening for Town Park’s two public ice rinks.

“It’s an incredibly time-consuming process,” Jones explains.  Getting the rinks ready for the winter season takes “a lot of commitment and dedication, and a bit of insanity too,” she laughs.

The process begins only after the first good winter snows have blanketed the park, Jones explains. There must be a layer of white above the ground layer of grass or sand and below the ice, so that the melting effects of the sun can be allayed somewhat. 

Miller, Jones, and other park employees get the ice rink areas level by compacting early-season snow by foot and snowmobile.

“Just getting the base area level is challenging,” says Jones. “It takes a lot of shoveling to fill in sunken areas.”

Once there is a flat, compacted layer of snow on the ground, Miller and Jones begin their early morning ice-making marathons. 

“When we get out there with the fire hoses, we need four to five cold, clear nights in a row to make progress,” says Jones. “One of the myths about the ice rink is that we just go out there and flood it – but since it’s an unlevel surface, it doesn’t work that way… It’s actually a lot of work” compacting snow, spraying layers of ice, and constantly keeping the top ice layers smooth and free of breaks and holes.

Once there is a relatively solid ice base, Miller and Jones then run the Zamboni over the areas as the final icing on the cake.

The entire process, from the first snowfall to the first ice skater on the rink, takes between one and three weeks – depending on the whims of Mother Nature.

“In dealing with the elements there are so many variables,” Jones says. “Each year it is a different scenario with snowpack and weather, and you have to change your technique as you go on.”

Last year, for example, the ground wasn’t frozen when they began work and so it was extremely difficult to build the base layers of snow and ice.  Last year’s opening date was not until Dec. 8; this year’s earlier-than-normal Thanksgiving Grand Opening was made possible by this winter’s early snow and cold temperatures. 

“Every year it gets better and better,” says Jones, who remembers the struggles of creating a viable ice rink on the Beaver Pond when she started working with Parks and Rec. twenty years ago. At that time Parks and Rec. didn’t have a Zamboni, so Jones created her own woman-made rig to smooth the top layers of ice – hence her nickname “Salboni.”  (Her collegue Miller’s nickname, “Jane Deere,” comes from Miller’s “skills on the tractor,” Jones reveals.)

Jones says she and the Parks and Rec. Department are eagerly awaiting next winter’s planned opening of the Town Park Pavilion, which will offer a covered ice rink in addition to the existing rinks – the hockey rink near the white tent and the skating rink near the tennis courts.

Jones says that the covered rink will allay some of the current troubles she and other Parks and Rec. employees face with the outdoor rinks. 

“There will be a lot less delays and cancellations for hockey games,” she says, since the covered rink will not have to be shoveled when it snows. 

The new rink in the pavilion will also offer skaters, broomballers, and hockey players a longer skating season. 

“The covered rink will be a huge benefit for everybody.  It won’t be as sun-effected – and the sun is the major thing we struggle with on the outdoor rinks,” Jones says.  She estimates that the covered rink will be open much past the outdoor rinks’ closing dates in late February/early March.

Jones and Telluride Parks and Recreation Department Recreation Supervisor Rich Hamilton are anticipating another busy season on Telluride’s ice rinks.  Hamilton reports that the park’s two rinks will see plenty of use this winter, with 182 hockey players, approximately 200 broomball players, and nearly 30 School Ice Skating Program students already signed up for their respective sports, on top of the heavy flood of recreational skaters the rinks see on a daily basis throughout the winter.

The newer rink, located near the tennis courts where the sand volleyball courts are located in the summer, was created three years ago to help alleviate traffic on the main rink near the warming hut.

“The second rink is where we can send the public skaters when hockey and broomball are going on in the other rink,” explains Hamilton.

Jones confesses that though she and Miller have “insanely crazy” hours and have to work especially hard to get the rinks ready for the public, it is a labor that she has learned to love throughout her past two decades with Parks and Rec.

“The passion for ice skating, hockey, and broomball is so apparent in this town, it is rewarding to put in those kind of hours because people really do appreciate it,” she says.

For information on the Town of Telluride’s ice rinks, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 728-2173.

 

A Young Singer's First Time Onstage at Carnegie Hall

Telluride High School senior Hamilton Sims gives the following first-person account of a Nov. 10 performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria at Carnegie Hall in New York City, in which she was joined by a contingent of choral singers from all over the Western Slope.  Singers representing Telluride were:  Andrea Benda, Marcie Ryan, River Cummings, Karla Brown, Donna Burd Fernald, Kay Semrod.  Fellow high school students of Sims’ making the trip were Natania Crane, Joanie Dix, Carly Smith, Traci Ranta and Killian Harwell. 

Telluride High School and Telluride Choral Society alumna Jessica Horner, a sophomore at Middlebury College, made a seven-hour bus trip from Vermont to New York to sing at the event.

– A. M.

By Hamilton Sims

The building itself is a source of amazement. There are people standing outside of the steel magnate’s most well-known and lasting philanthropic endeavor. They are taking pictures of themselves and their friends to remember the ornate shrine to industrialism, surrounded by today’s department stores and subway stations.

The inside may be the most beautiful room I have ever seen. This is a performer’s Mecca, holding rows and rows of seats piled on one another like a tiered cake, topped with a frosting of ornately carved woodwork and beautiful light fixtures. There is tons of wood, making for better acoustics than any musician could dream of. Microphones hanging from the ceiling are there only to record the performance because amplification is simply not necessary. The stage’s lacquered floor seeps vibes from the hall’s many famous guests – from Tschaikovsky to The Beatles, Martin Luther King Jr. to Maria Callas. When you open your mouth to sing, they are with you. This is Carnegie Hall.
When we get there, all 125 of us are stuck in a dirty, dingy room beneath the stage. There is no room to breathe, much less walk around, or prepare for the 50 minutes we have to rehearse onstage.   We stand there thinking: "What kind of institution puts Leontine Price in a room like this to get ready?"

Before we know it, stern-looking people with stuffy attitudes are directing us up a tiny stairwell, where upon summitting, I spy a sign pointing to other dressin

g rooms, and I hope – for Leontine’s sake – that they are nice.  I look left and see cables and TV monitors and switchboards, and further, a glimpse of shining light and wood. We have reached the stage. The condition of the green room we just left makes no difference because we’re surrounded now by another century – one with chandeliers, over-the-top ornamentation, and all the elegance of Europe in the middle of New York.
It takes my breath away and I am glad there are other people from our small town in the Rockies to share in this grandeur. Our conductor, Steve Grives – formerly of Western State College in Gunnison – steps in front of The New England Symphonic Ensemble, two professional singers who sing the solo arias, and 125 amateur singers from Colorado. He raises his baton, gives the signal, and “Gloria! Gloria!” erupts. The sound fills the cavernous room. It’s like nothing I’ve heard before!  An orchestra and the space can make a chorus of people who have never met each other, much less rehearsed together, sound like a choir of Vivaldi’s angels. We leave our short rehearsal ready to perform for true music lovers in just a couple of hours. We step out onto the street and bombard a hot dog/hot pretzel cart with purchases. Our group becomes the people taking pictures, and then it’s two o’clock and we have a concert to put on. We file back to our side street entrance and prepare to go on the stage.
When we arrive on the stage this time we look out on a sea of people: They look like sprinkles on the layered cake. We file on to our risers and launch into ebullient song. Before I know it, all 12 movements of the Gloria are over. All the little sprinkles are applauding loudly for us. I allow myself to relish this moment – this view, this sound.
We file off the stage, and I secretly say good-bye to it and hope that I will be back someday. We climb up six flights of stairs and settle in to our seats to watch the rest of the show, feeling satisfaction and pride that can only come from singing a great concert in a great hall.

 

Hamilton Sims is a senior at Telluride High School. She plans to study music at New York University next year.

Lizard Head Hockey Fires Up for Final Outdoor Season, By Pete Connick

Eighteen years after dropping the puck on the inaugural Lizard Head winter, the Telluride Lizard Head Hockey Club skates into its 2002-2003 campaign, one final short season away from the Stanley Cup of its brief existence, and onto "indoor ice.”

Conservatively speaking, six years of research, travel, sketches, drawings, campaigning, meetings and more meetings, not to mention two elections, ultimately brought a passionate group of players, parents, coaches and factions of the Telluride community together and to the brink of small town nirvana: a covered, refrigerated indoor facility.

One-hundred and sixty girls, boys, men and women have registered so far with Telluride’s Park and Recreation Department and USA Hockey for this winter's season, proving once again (this time to the cackling hen farmer in Norwood) that ice hockey in Telluride isn’t a “fad.”

“Actually, the numbers are up a little over last year," reported intra-mural administrator and czar of the pinstripes, Rich Hamilton, who added that last year, by contrast, was a record year. “With the addition of the new practice time for girls, we have 118 youth hockey players. Twenty-two women have signed up to play with the Beavers and so far, 20 adult men," Hamilton said. “I am going to extend the registration period through the weekend, until Monday, in an effort to get everyone who wants to play signed up.”

While 2002/2003 will offer a full slate of special mini-camps, new leagues, new opponents and rule changes to review before practice moves from local living rooms onto the Lizard Head Ice Garden Monday afternoon, nothing takes precedence over the fact that another piece to the big Telluride Hockey Club picture touched down during the dog days of mid-November.

Through the efforts of Nanci Brown and the rest of the hockey club board, ice time, which was slim to none, was secured for a fifth-to-twelfth grade-girls-only practice slot Friday afternoons. Sixteen girls registered in the past three weeks; equipment has been scraped together, mouth guards molded, and bundles of hair stuffed inside caged helmets.

“I think all the girls are really excited,” Brown commented at a recent board meeting. “I was amazed at the response – these kids are gung-ho!”

“We are really excited,” gushed high school athletes Britt Whitelaw and Shelly Hale, as they tried on foreign-looking pieces of body armor.

“I haven’t skated a lot but this is something I’ve always wanted to try, so here goes," said Whitelaw.

“There is no doubt an all-girls youth program is a big step,” added THC President John Cohn. “I sure am glad we will have the pavilion next year, because given the tight situation with ice time I don’t know where we would put them if we stayed with the current [outdoor]scenario.”

With the advent of any new athletic offering in a town as tightly wound as Telluride, not everyone’s thirst was quenched with the addition of the 5-12 all-girls practice. As soon as the reality of a sizeable roster of middle high and high school registrants soaked in, letters started flying in support of a U-10 girl’s team.

“It’s not that we are trying to discourage the elementary school girls,” reasoned THC V.P. Teddy Errico. “ It’s just that we don’t have the resources, no matter how you slice it, ice time, coaches – we are stretched to the max as it is. We are a relatively young organization, compared with Aspen or Vail, and we are just not there yet.”
Those two towns offer or are starting to offer an elementary school girls program.

In an effort to put the issue to rest – at least until next year when morning practices, long a hallmark of youth hockey experience around the world, will take the stress out of an afternoon-and-evening-loaded ice schedule – the hockey club drafted a motion stating: “Mite and Squirt-aged girls (10 and under) are required by the Telluride Hockey Club Board of Directors to play co-ed for the 2002-2003 season. Pee-Wees and above are eligible for either program.”

“We never want to turn any player away from this great game,” followed up Cohn, “and hopefully all the elementary school girls who want to play will, and hang tough until we can work something out in their favor for next winter. But for now we are doing what we think is best.”

National USA Hockey registration reports show that almost 30,000 female youth hockey players signed up for the 2001-2002 season and that almost half of the girls registered played on boy’s teams. One key element pertaining to this crunch not lost on board member Kevin Swain is the fact that, “…because there is no checking in mini-Mites, Mites, and Squirt hockey, the girls have always played, and played well, with the boys here in Telluride.” There is no checking in any age division of girl’s hockey. Tell that to Tammy Granato!

Four of the five youth teams, from Squirts on through Midgets, will be treated to new rinks and fresh opposition this winter as the hockey club has been accepted into the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League, a recreational league comprised of as many outdoor programs as indoor, featuring such towns as Steamboat, Glenwood Springs, Kremmling, Craig, Summit County/Breckenridge, Vail/Eagle and Vernal, Utah, among others. The move into the RMYHL marks another maturation point for a Telluride program poised to move under a roof next year.

“From what I have seen and heard from the other club directors, this is a good move for us,” confirmed Cohn. “I mean Kevin [Swain] has done one heck of a job getting us into tournaments in Colorado Springs and nurturing relationships with Flagstaff in past years, but I truly believe the time has come where we have to step up and get our kids into a recreational Colorado league.”

The biggest rule change this winter, affecting not only Lizard Heads, but all youth hockey players across the USA hockey map, is the new birth date deadline of Dec. 31. Moving the date forward five months from July 31 means children will be that much older and players will find themselves in higher divisions, occasionally losing a second year of Squirt or Pee Wee age play.

“So long as we are all on an even playing field, the kids should have no problem with the change,” confirmed Coach Swain. “Of course I hate to see kids like J.D. [Kirkendoll] and Charlie [Cohn] lose that second year of Pee- Wee and Bantam, but after this winter it will not be an issue.”

Highlights for the coming year include the return of “super coach,” Alain Lemieux, brother of “Super” Mario Lemieux, the greatest offensive player in the history of organized hockey. Lemieux will be in town holding clinics, Dec. 10, 11, 12, and 13 for all Lizard Head divisions, plus a return visit with Mo Hannah, Elizabeth Gaz and the Box Canyon Beavers.

Mike Gempler and the Rocky Mountain Hockey School will also return to Telluride, his fourth trip to the Lizard Head Valley, for a two day power skating camp January 7 and 8.

Players or parents with questions regarding the upcoming season are urged to call Rich Hamilton at 728-2714, John Cohn at 728-7330, or Kevin Swain at 728-8000.

Deal Struck to Preserve 1,244 of Ophir Valley High Country as Open Space, Pauls Family Enters Agreement with TPL,

The Town of Ophir received an early Christmas present last week when the Pauls family announced that it has signed an option agreement to sell 1,244 acres of mining claims to the Trust for Public Lands. The agreement, signed at the end of October, gives TPL the exclusive right to purchase virtually all the claims owned by the Pauls family in the Ophir valley through October 2005.  

“We are really excited about this,” said Ophir open space coordinator Nancy Craft. “This sale is in line with our open space goals.”

“This is good for Ophir, if the property is protected,” said Ophir Town Mayor David Glynn. "Congratulations to all those who worked on this project."

According to Glenn Pauls, a family member who lives in the Telluride region, the Pauls family started buying claims in the valley in the mid-80s. At the time the family envisioned leveraging the claims in a United States Forest Service land trade. To achieve those goals the family sought to purchase “the entire Ophir valley,” said Pauls. 

“We were working with Ophir, but as [San Miguel County's high country zoning] rules came in, they became a player and were affecting our valuations,” he said.

The county has been engaged in the process or rezoning the high country around Telluride and Ophir for the last couple of years, with “the ultimate goal,” according to County Planning Director Mike Rozycki “of seeing the high country preserved as open space."

"The primary goal was not to prohibit building cabins or driveways. The primary goal was to preserve the open space values of the high country over any type of development," Rozycki explained.

Under the proposed new zoning, which the San Miguel County Planning Commission has recommended for approval to the Board of County Commissioners, improvements to historic roads, such as Tomboy Rd. and the Ophir Pass road, would be prohibited; an increase in allowed floor area for residential improvements could be approved in exchange for certain incentives, including perpetual retirement of development rights and foregoing building a drive; and winter maintenance on public roads used for winter recreation would be prohibited.

The commissioners will consider the proposed zoning sometime after the first of the year.  In the meantime, the county has enacted a moratorium on the processing of development permits for the affected areas. Under the terms of the moratorium, in order to encourage private agreements to protect open space, the county invited property owners within the district to enter “standstill agreements.” If a property owner demonstrates that it has entered or is actively and diligently pursuing a conservation agreement with a land trust or public land management agency, the county will agree to temporarily exempt the owner from the zone district.

Though the Pauls family and the county have not yet entered such an agreement, Glenn Pauls expressed his willingness to go in that direction.

“[The county] will not apply the zoning, as long as we are moving toward a conservation deal,” he said. “It is important to leave the old zoning in place until we get the transaction accomplished.”

The current zoning, called agriculture-forestry, is not as restrictive as the proposed new high country zoning; some landowners believe an appraisal for their property will be higher under the current zoning.

Though the option agreement between the Pauls family and TPL marks a great milestone in the efforts by Ophir and the county to preserve the high country, Pauls emphasized that nothing is final. In fact, the parties gave themselves three years to work out all the details, including funding of the purchase by TPL.

“Some details have yet to be worked out. We might hold one or two back, but don't want to build on them," Pauls said . “Fair market values have to be worked out. We have to have survey work and title reports done.”

For his part Glynn expressed some concern that though the deal appears great at first glance, the proof will be in the pudding.

“There are still questions of value and clean-up responsibility to be answered,” he said. “All along the Pauls family has said they wanted to see the property protected,” said Craft. “And TPL has made it happen for them.”

TPL is a national nonprofit land conservation organization, which is celebrating is 30th anniversary in 2002. Since its founding TPL has worked to protect land for people by purchasing 1.5 million acres of the nation’s commonwealth of parks, open spaces, wildlands and working landscapes.

Koffee With Kandee, CASE's New Chair Talks About 400 Miniature Orchids and Studying Jellyfish in Antarctica

Kandee DeGraw: How’s the Commission on Arts and Special Events going?  How is it being the new chair?

Ron Gilmer: Oh, good. I just finished my evaluations; this is the busiest time of year for us, as you well know being on the board.  We have two new members and I think we have them both squared away. They both seem to be very concerned about their reviews.  I reassured them that they should be quite so serious; it is good that they are, but it will all work out. They are very anxious that their scores will be received well. 

KD: Who are the two new members?

RG: Elisabeth Gick and Lou Bendrick. They are good. They are both members of the community and they both live in town, which is good.

KD: How do you feel about that rule of members having to live in town?

RG: I think it is good; we do have two alternates who live out of town. I think we are pretty well-balanced now on the board. It does have a direct effect on everything, it is important. There has been so much contention in the past about calendar dates and things and events. It is good to have people from town who are actually affected by it, we need that balance.

KD: What does CASE do, exactly?

RG: The Commission for the Arts and Special Events was established in 1986 to oversee all of the calendar events for the town, and to give away a certain amount of taxpayers' dollars raised from sales tax revenue. Its mission is to enhance the arts and cultural events of the community, it sort of has a very broad definition. Basically, dealing with any special events, any kind of cultural or educational events that enhance the community – that's what it is for.

KD: Give us some examples…

RG: Well for a long time they have funded the [Telluride] Film Festival, Mountainfilm Festival, Telluride Academy, the [Telluride] AIDS Benefit, a lot of groups for various things, from venue rental to salary. The applicants have to specify what they are going to use the money for, and we decide if that is a good cause or not. We have turned down people in the past. We don’t normally do that, I don’t think that is our goal. It is so hard to apply for a CASE grant that we really try to give them something. 

KD: Yeah, it’s a process.

RG: (laughs) Yes, it is. 

KD: So what else do you do, besides being the chairperson for CASE?

RG: I run the BONE Construction office. 

KD: And that’s Chuck and Kathy…

RG: Yeah.  I still sit on the Governor’s AIDS Council. Governor Owens did resurrect it a couple of years ago. It is still going, it has sorta had its ups and downs. Right now we have a really strong council, really involved, very engaged with the AIDS groups in the state. We just had a work session, oh, about four months ago, where Jane Norton, who is the head of the [Colorado] Public Health Department and is now the lieutenant governor, actually come and sat with us for about four hours and worked with us on our goals and objectives. So it is a pretty intense group right now. We have a lot of new people, and they are focused on making the council a viable thing. AIDS has kinda become a back burner subject for a lot of people, which is unfortunate because there are still a lot of problems. People are going to hear a lot more about it in the next coming years.

KD: Why is that?

RG: Because it is really starting to affect the countries of the world that are economic players, like India, China and Russia.  It is going to be a big deal in those countries if they don’t start doing something now. Kofi Annan just went on a trip to those countries to talk specifically about AIDS.

KD: Kofi Annan?

RG: He's the United Nations' Secretary General.  It is a really important issue.

KD: You are still on the Telluride AIDS Benefit board?

RG: Yeah, I do that, too.

KD: How’s that going?

RG: I think good. I have had to draw back a little bit from it this year, because of all my problems. I just lost Rob in September…(takes a big breath)…

KD: I am so sorry.

RG: I just had to let go of some of it. I just can’t be everywhere for everybody all the time. We have a really good director now, Betsy Adler is doing a really good job. She works at Telluride Real Estate Corporation here, with Ed Roufa. That’s her real job. She has just been great; everyone just loves her.  It will be an interesting year to see what happens.  I think the Fashion Show is really going to spectacular… everyone is really excited about that.

KD: Charity Garber is directing it again this year?

RG: Yes. We have getting quite a bit of response from the fashion people. I think some of our corporate funding will be down this year. We have had some people turn us down already.

KD: That sucks.

RG: It will be all right, we will just do what we can. That’s what I keep telling Betsy, we just have to do the best that we can.

KD: You can only get so big, I guess.

RG: I think so; it certainly doesn’t need to grow anymore; it's a good size. I want it to be fun for people to go to, there are so many interesting things for people to go and see. The arts show is so great; so is the designer luncheon – this is the second year for that – there is just so much for people to do. 

KD: Now, what else do you do?  I know there is more.

RG: Isn’t that enough?

KD: You’d think. 

RG: I grow orchids. I dabble with my orchids.

KD: How many do you have now?

RG: About four hundred. A lot of them are small, luckily, tiny little miniatures.

KD: How much time does it take to care for all of them?

RG: Oh, I probably spend about 45 minutes a day working with them; then I spend half of Saturday or Sunday watering them all, every week.

KD: You have those big old orchid houses, don’t you?

RG: Yeah, I have some cases that are fairly large for them.

KD: Because?

RG: Because that keeps the humidity higher. It also warms them up.  My house is cold, even during the day, so on days like this it is very cold. So if you put them in cases with lights and things it keeps them warmer in the daytime and you can then cool them off at night. 

KD: You went to an orchid show a couple of years ago, right?

RG: Yeah, they are deadly. 

KD: What?

RG: You shouldn’t go to orchid shows, unless you are serious.  I always end up buying a lot more then I ever should. I go into stores and say I am going to buy one orchid and pay cash, but I end up buying four or five and charging them. It is just not a good thing to do. I just went on a trip with Tammy Burden to back east. We went to Connecticut and Massachusetts and the main reason I went with her, the reason I agreed to go at all, is that there is an orchid grower in Connecticut that I have always wanted to ago to and it was really near where we were going to be, so…I got to spend about three hours at their green house and that was really spectacular.

KD: You said the other day that the whole trip was great.

RG: We did have a really great trip. I spent some time on Cape Cod with my really old friends. You know I lived on Cape for eight years. I have a lot of friends there; it is still nice. Spent a night in P-Town…

KD: Ummm, P-Town?

RG: Provincetown. And that was just great.

KD: How did you get to Telluride from there?

RG: Well, you know I worked on jellyfish for 20 years as an oceanographer.  We worked in Florida as well, in a lab down there. I traveled all over the world working on jellyfish, I stay home a lot now. (laughs)

KD: What do you mean working on jellyfish?

RG: Just studying their basic biology, discovering what they are, finding new species.  There is a whole lot of stuff in the ocean that has never been described.  We did that for a long time. Oceanography has really gotten to computer modeling, that is the big thing since about 1990. It has just changed a lot; there isn’t a lot of basic biology going on any more. It’s much more applied science now, like toxins from phytoplankton blooms and things like that. It doesn’t really interest me as much as it did when I worked in the field.  It was more interesting to me when we would just go and dive off the ships, play Jacques Cousteau kinda stuff. That is what we did basically, it was really great.

KD: You went to Antarctica?

RG: Oh, yeah, five different times.

KD: How are the jellyfish in Antarctica?

RG: Spectacular. Most of them have ten-foot bells and their tentacles are 300 feet long.  There are huge colonies of Mastarias; they are these colonies in the water that have fish and shrimp and crab schools. All these different things going along with them in the water; it is amazing, the community around this one animal. No one knows very much about them because you have to get into the water to look at them. No one gets into the water any more, or if they do it is unusual or they are studying penguins swimming behavior or seals. 

KD: Why penguins swimming behavior?

RG: It is still a really big thing down there. It is just interesting. Aside from getting into the water, there isn’t any other way to do it. They are very interesting animals; they have an unusual body for swimming and are well-adapted to the Antarctic. We cooked one once; it was terrible, very oily.

KD: Now, you said "we" studied earlier. Who are we?

RG: Oh, just the people I worked with. Actually, that was one of my ties to Telluride.  I worked for a professor from U.C. Davis; that is where I went to school for my bachelor's degree. I met a professor at the marine lab out at Bodega Bay who was going on a sabbatical in 1971 to the Bahamas to work on jellyfish. I wormed my way onto that trip and spent a year and a half there working on jellyfish. I learned a lot of new stuff about particular species that I specialized in and wrote some papers on them. I actually made a name for myself in science. I am in the basic oceanographic textbook for discovering the way a group of plankton feeds. I just worked on that for a while. I worked for him in Antarctica and in Palau. His father was Bill Hamner, who used to live here in the 60s. He owned the Senate. He was an old artist. His brother came to Telluride in the 60s to use the old mines for biological testing on birds. They used the darkness of the mines for experiments.  So I had heard about Telluride in the early 70s, I knew all about it. I have known Chuck Kroger since 1972, so when Chuck and Kathy moved here in 1979, I just had to come and see what Telluride was all about. I had all these ties to Telluride even before I ever came here. It was bizarre.

KD: And the photos in National Geographic?

RG: There were a lot.  We were the first to work in the lakes in Palau, which are very famous now. Five thousand people a year go out there now to see these lakes. We were the very first ones to go out and study those lakes. That is where I met John Engbring and Paul Engbring and he came to Telluride because of that. We had an article on the Antarctic and a couple on the stuff from the Bahamas, from the first time I was back there in the 70s.

KD: Cool.  Now, you are also a chef?

RG: Yeah, I did that for a while too, I went to cooking school in San Francisco for 18 months. I cooked out there. I was with Robert Presley at the time. I moved him out there from Florida and we spent the summer here in 1990 and then moved to San Francisco. That is where I am from originally. I went to cooking school and he worked at Mr. S. Leather out there; that’s a leather fetish shop.  He worked his way up to being the top designer there in no time, of course.  I had a pretty good job out in San Francisco, I ran the kitchen for Project Open Hand, which feeds 1,800 people with AIDS a day. Robert was the one who really wanted to move back to Telluride, so at the end of  91 we did. I cooked at the Doral for a whole winter, before it was the Peaks, and I was the Grade Manger Chef, which is the cold food chef. I was up there about eighty hours a week and never saw Robert, so got thinking that maybe this wasn’t the right thing for me.  I went back to work for Bone Construction, which I had helped start with Chuck back in 1980.  That is where I have been ever since. I still do a little catering now and then, but not very much any more. It is interesting to me and I still cook a lot of great food for myself. I still have dinner parties, and that’s fun, I still enjoy the wine festival every year.

KD: What is in the future for you?

RG: Gee, I don’t know, I am just surviving, trying to make it.  I am just trying to enjoy Telluride and watch it evolve.  It has been fun to see how it has changed over the years.  I feel kind of stuck here in a way, because with HIV my drug costs are $12,000 a year. 

KD: My god.

RG: I can’t just move away some place; you have to think about that. I will always have to live some place where I have health insurance. I am really lucky to have it. It is something to consider for people who are high risk; if you get HIV, you have to start spending tons and tons of money on your health. Even though you are healthy, you still have to have all this stuff done. It is horrible, it really is. I am happy here. I have really grown to love the Western Slope. I go to Denver often enough that I don’t think I could live on the Front Range, just too many people. I don’t like the weather over there as much as I do over here. I like that desert influence. 

 

 

 

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