Western Slope Round-Up: What the Heck, Let’s Impeach the President

Hey, what else is there to do in the summertime in the Rockies? Telluride has found out, however, dumping the Dynamic Duo in Washington is not necessarily good for tourism.

Read more below about a commissioner’s predicament and sitting on your pot roast as you buy and sell cattle, eating Olathe corn. Get the President Outta Here
Last week, the Telluride Town Council passed a citizen initiative that called for the impeachment of President George Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. Of all the thousands of towns and cities across the U.S., who really cares what Telluride citizens think?

Apparently, hundreds of tourists and local Republicans took this action seriously. To start the day with a chuckle, read the Telluride Daily Planet article. Here’s an excerpt:

Just a day after the Telluride Town Council passed a citizen initiative calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, town officials said they were feeling a backlash.

The town fielded angry e-mails, calls and letters, most from out of town. One businessman said cancellations will cost his company and the town tens of thousands of dollars.

“It’s true democracy at work, but it’s backfiring in a number of ways,” said Henry Lystad of Telluride.com and Alpine Lodging.

Lystad said he has received a handful of e-mails from groups saying they couldn’t imagine ever vacationing in such a Bush-bashing place.

The council needs to vote again on the ordinance at its next meeting for it to go on the books, and still has the option of sending it to the ballot and letting voters decide.

The Letters to the Editor section of this newspaper has been brimming with angry letters from people who claim the town is out of touch with everything except its own navels and rectums. One Texan even seemed to threaten military action.

Scott McQuade, CEO of the Telluride Tourism Board, said he’s received about five angry e-mails.

“We’ve certainly gotten some e-mails from concerned groups saying they’re not happy with Telluride’s stand,” said McQuade, “and we have heard some people say they’re canceling their vacations.”

McQuade said it’s impossible to tell how many e-mailers were actually planning to come to town, and how many are just grandstanding.

Voting in the 2008 Election Will Be Expensive
Maybe the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Janet Rich likes to see Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis gyrate. She has been rattling his cage over purchasing 130 additional voting machines at a cost of $453,000 over her 2007 budget.

But what is Meis to do? He’s up for election in 2008 and if voting problems arise because the commissioners didn’t approve buying more voting machines…well, the spotlight would be on him.

From the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

The chairman of the commission, Craig Meis, said the cost of the new machines upsets him.

“That would be a 54 percent increase in machines,” Meis said. “It’s difficult to pass the red-face test just with that statistic. It’s a tough pill to swallow.”

The thought of angry voters standing in long lines might be tougher to swallow.

The call for new machines is based on the region’s booming population and an anticipated increase in Election Day voters.

In order to prevent a logjam at the polls, Rich, acting on the advice of the Citizens’ Election Review Panel, said the county will need 286 voting machines on Election Day, 102 more than it used in the 2006 election. That would serve approximately 25,700 anticipated voters, almost 9,500 more than Election Day 2006.

Each machine has the ability to handle just 90 voters on Election Day, Rich said.

Whoa! Do all election machines handle only 90 voters during Election Day? Has anyone been doing their math at the Secretary of State’s office?

Moo-oovin’  Cattle
Why go to the cattle auctions in markets like Chicago or Kansas City when you can be in beautiful downtown Steamboat in Colorado? Superior Livestock Auction sold over 330,000 head of cattle in the largest cattle auction in history from the comfort of a chair.

The Steamboat Pilot explained:

By week’s end, 330,000 cattle will be sold in Steamboat in what organizers say is the largest cattle auction in history. If you’re wondering why you haven’t seen, smelled or otherwise noticed hundreds of thousands of cattle around town this week, it’s because they aren’t here. Superior Livestock Auction, a company specializing in satellite and Internet auctions, is conducting the auction.

Richard Stober, general manger of Superior Livestock Auction, said this year’s “Week in the Rockies” broke its own record set two years ago of 275,000 cattle sales. The auction continues today and Saturday, beginning at 7 a.m. and lasting until about 4 p.m. Through Thursday, 195,000 cattle already had been sold.

The auction is simulcast on Dish Network, DirecTV and on the Internet. Whether bidding at the Sheraton or from home, bidders see broadcast feeds from the lots they are buying their cattle from, eliminating the need for cattle to travel before they are actually sold. Despite the worldwide accessibility, Stober said about half of the auction’s sales come from people on site.

Ranchers who used to truck their cattle hundreds of miles to sale barns now can place their cattle up for sale via the Internet saving thousands of dollars in costs, labor and time.

This Is Really Corny
Olathe is a small town south of Grand Junction and they want you as a customer. In fact, if you are dining on Colorado sweet corn on the cob, you are supporting the Olathe economy. Add butter, salt and mmmm! Olathe grown sweet corn melts in your mouth.

From the Montrose Press:

“We ship to the east coast so far as Roanoke, Va. and west to Los Angeles and northwest all the way into Alaska,” Tuxedo Corn Company owner John Harold said.

“We’re a little earlier this year than we were last year. The weather’s been conducive, the demand’s great so all in all it looks like an excellent year.

I suppose our biggest hurdle this year was labor.”
  The process to harvest the corn includes the hands of about 30 workers and some heavy machinery. The first ear of Harold’s Olathe Sweet sweet corn crop was picked at 6 a.m. Monday. Thirty minutes later, a truck of 480 boxes, each containing four dozen ears, departed the field for the warehouse.

Olathe Sweet sweet corn is special in that it requires a certain climate to grow to the fullest flavor. “You need temperature swings to make it work, meaning the nights and the days have to have, oh, a 35-degree (Fahrenheit) differential,” Harold said. He said the varieties he grows mature in about 68 to 82 days.

Harold said his farm will produce more than 500,000 boxes from 1,300 acres by about Sept. 6.

Not just cattle are corn-fed this time of year. If you are a real corn fanatic, put the Aug. 4th Olathe Sweet Corn Festival on your calendar. It features a day of all-you-can-eat corn, roasted or boiled and a corn eating contest. Take a look at www.olathesweetcornfest.com.

Future Homeowners Helped
From the Durango Herald:

The La Plata County Regional Housing Authority has scheduled a hearing Tuesday to take comments on the use of a $256,800 grant for down-payment assistance to low- and moderate-income families.

“We learned Wednesday that we got the grant,” said Lopez, referring to $256,800 the agency will receive from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development through the state Division of Local Affairs to create a revolving loan fund to assist with down payments and closing costs.
“We’ve never seen this kind of money in La Plata County before,” Lopez said.

A family of four with an income of $48,500 or less annually could qualify for financial aid, Lopez said. The amount is 80 percent of the area’s median income, she said.

“The money will help families who don’t have money for a down payment or closing costs,” Lopez said.

Housing prices have eliminated a lot of middle-income families from owning their own homes on the Western Slope. Hopefully, other counties are taking a look at this La Plata plan. However, $256,000 won’t go far.

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