Headline Roundup: News from the Plains

From Julesberg to Springfield, the rolling plains of Colorado’s fourth congressional district has a culture all its own. Farm and ranch communities dot the landscape – from one stop light towns to historic county seats that harken back to a bygone era of boom and bust pioneer outposts.

Today, rickety grain elevators are being replaced by wind turbines as hard scrabble dry land agricultural economies transform into money-making beacons for renewable energy.

The folks out here are much more akin to the plainspoken Midwesteners in Kansas and Nebraska than their mountain brethren. And like the rural Western Slope, the Plains always has stories to tell. The front page story in the Fort Morgan Times celebrates the career of Dr. Don Ostwald who will retire from his animal care practice on “June 1, exactly 50 years after he earned his doctorate in veterinary medicine from Colorado State University in Fort Collins.”

Ultimately, the 73-year-old said the decision to stop practicing was made partly because it became too much to suffer with his patients.

“I guess I really suffered with them,” Ostwald said. “As young men we used to be hunters; we liked to shoot stuff. Not anymore. You just don’t have the heart to kill anything anymore. Including putting animals down.

“That was getting so hard with me, I was shedding tears with every client when we had to do that.”

Photo credit: Nate Taylor, Fort Morgan Times.

In nearby Haxtun, summer bike safety is the page one priority. Dipping into the police department’s drug education fund, Police Chief Tanya Mayhew purchases bike helmets for every kindergartener and all students new to the school district, reports the Haxtun-Fleming Herald.

Last week, the department held its annual bike rodeo to teach local children road safety lessons and proper helmet fitting.

Photo credit: Jean Gray, Haxtun-Fleming Herald

Further south in sleepy Prowers County, residents beat the heat at the Lamar Days festival last week reminiscing about ice skating. Saturday marked the grand re-opening of the Big Timbers Museum that features an exhibit on the career of Lamar native and ice skating star Jinx Clark.

From the Lamar Daily News:

Over 220 visitors flowed through the museum in its first two hours of operation following an extensive remodeling which has closed the museum for the past three months. The museums’ nationally-acclaimed World War I poster exhibit, rare Civil War battle flag, Worth-designed Victorian-era wedding dress and other major exhibits have been joined by memorabilia donated by Clark’s relatives, which include a scrapbook of her skating programs and press clippings and Christmas ornaments made from trims taken from some of her skating costumes.

Clark, who was a featured star of Holiday on Ice, began her career touring with Olympic athlete and Hollywood movie star Sonja Henie in the mid-1940s. From the early 1990s until her death earlier this year, she was curator at Big Timbers Museum.

An apparent crime spree of federal proportions in rural Adams and Elbert counties has the I-70 Scout taking notice.

According to Director of Aviation Dennis Heap, approximately $12,000 worth of equipment was stolen from the [Front Range] airport last month. The equipment was part of emergency markers used by general aviation facilities across the Front Range.

“Officials from the Greeley airport came down to pick up the markers and when we went over to storage to get them, we found that there was several pieces of equipment from the signs and their generators that had been taken,” Heap said. “Whoever it was knew what they were doing, because the markers were covered back up and some primary generation and lighting equipment was taken. It’s very frustrating; it makes you want to wring some peoples’ necks.”

In addition, Heap said non-airport use of dumpsters and dumping of other trash on roads surrounding the airport and on airport property is increasing.

The paper also reported a break-in at the Agate Post Office earlier in the month. A postal inspector would not release details about the crime while the investigation continues. A $2,000 reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects.

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