March 2013

On recycling, writing and Pati Temple

By Art Goodtimes

SMARTS PARK … After taking up Jonathan Greenspan’s invitation to visit Telluride’s SMARTS Park single-source recycling center in Illium Valley, I have to say I was impressed. No, it wasn’t a slick, glitzy sight. It’s an industrial park, and sorting trash into recyclable components is anything if not messy. Plus, citizens regularly drop off all manner of unwanted trash after hours, some of them thinking it’s a county facility, which it is not … But clearly it’s an essential public service. And not only for San Miguel County, but for aggregating regional recyclable waste for baling and shipping to recovery markets as far away as California. Hence, the name – San Miguel Area Resource-Recovery Transfer Station … If San Miguel County and the communities of Telluride, Mountain Village and Ophir are serious about reducing carbon impacts and keeping our waste stream out of the landfills by reusing what can be salvaged, this facility will be critical. And it has added benefits – a half-dozen entry-level jobs and a valuable waste infrastructure site for the entire region … So far, Greenspan has been keeping the facility (and his vision) alive with the help of his private businesses, doing landscaping and restoration work. But you can only bleed red ink so long, so he’s actively trying to find partners to keep SMARTS Park functioning … But, trying to do the right thing environmentally is expensive and difficult in our isolated region, far from major shipping points. There’s a chance to get some major grants to upgrade our capabilities for recycling in the region, but the community needs to figure out how much it wants to deal with trash as a major focus of reducing our carbon footprint … Greenspan has put a lot of time and money into keeping our recycling options open in the region. But it’s not going to survive without some serious public support. The region is at another of those critical junctures in our ability to do more than landfill the waste we produce in this region. Simultaneously, local-government revenues are at their most dismal point in 30 years … How we’re going to afford to do the right thing is by no means certain. But to take a step backwards in regional recycling would be a terrible stumble.


—for Pati

She whirled a big lasso
& roped us all in

Took a shine to wild
mares & mustangs

Loved Trail Canyon
Ranch & its mysteries

Gave David a full mug
& most of her life

Shared the overflow
in McElmo & beyond

Her love a gust of wind
galloping through your hair

PATI TEMPLE … Wild mustangs and McElmo Canyon progressives lost a great advocate with the passing of Patricia Ann Draheim Temple at Trail Canyon Ranch in Montezuma County this past January. She and her devoted husband David were partners for 38 years and together ran Trail Canyon Ranch... Pati and I served together on the BLM’s Southwest Resource Advisory Council, and we became friends – both for our shared care for wild horses and environmental sanity, as well as our love of Colorado’s open spaces and wildlands … I know I speak for a lot of good people in Southwestern Colorado when I say that’s she’s going to be dearly missed.

DAVE MASON … Colorado’s accomplished Poet Laureate and his dynamic Aussie wife, Calley Conan-Davies, were the featured readers at a well-attended poetry reading at the Cortez Library last month. Montezuma County residents turned out in force to hear the duo alternate readings as they inspired the crowd with personal vignettes, narrative delights, lyric love poems and playful interactions … Kudos to librarian Kathy Berg for once again making Cortez a magnet for poetry performance in the Four Corners.

ERICA OLSEN In attendance at the reading and the potluck reception for the poets afterwards was emerging Four Corners writer Erica Olsen. Her first book is newly out from Torrey House Press, “Recapture & Other Stories” … As author Kevin Canty explains, “Erica Olsen gives us the dream life of the Southwest in this striking collection, a landscape told in language as spare and pungent and exacting as the desert itself. A swift and lovely debut from a writer of real gifts.”

ERIKA MOSS GORDON … Speaking of new writers, this intriguing Ridgway poet with a similar first name has a great website, “unlearning through poetry” <http:// erikamossg ordon.>, and is coming out with a chapbook soon, “Of Eyes and Iris” … Watch for it.

VAWA … There’s a big push on right now to support the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which was due to expire last year. The Senate has voted strongly in favor (thank you, Bennet and Udall), but the House is dragging its feet, and I can’t imagine Tea Party Tipton voting on anything so progressive as extending federal protections for women.

Art Goodtimes is a San Miguel County, Colo., commissioner.