Book Train, Book Train Goin’ So Fast…

I purchased the last book I will ever buy at Book Train in Glenwood Springs today. Since they were having a “Lost Our Lease” sale, I also purchased a lot of magazines that will be hard to find elsewhere in the Roaring Fork Valley.  Another bookstore bites the dust in Glenwood.

We lost Through the Looking Glass in 2011, after 33 years, which made Book Train and Book Grove the only two left in town. Book Train has been serving customers for 42 years. Now, it’s gone…or will be by the end of this month.

I have fond memories of Book Train, such as the chocolate kisses I won for guessing the source of the daily quote, written on the chalkboard in the window.  The elegant green awning. The cats. The wonderful window decorations, reflecting the seasons or Banned Book Week or International Women’s Day or Martin Luther King Jr Day or Harry Potter. My friend, Stacy Linman, used to do the window dressing for the store. If she were alive today, she’d be really peeved that the store is closing.

I actually won a contest at Book Train several years ago. I can’t remember what the contest was about but I remember getting the phone call that I’d won something, which ended up being a hardbound, coffee-table book about travel. I was so excited and remember that the women who worked there were excited, too. They were always excited to talk to customers and share music tastes and favorite authors, happy to recommend books; willing to make those special orders. I was told that the book I purchased today was probably the final special order they will ever do.

You could buy newspapers there – not only local papers but the New York Times and the Denver Post. Great greeting cards. Great kitsch, like Harry Potter gummy creatures (!) or those wind-up dentures that hop. And, the magazines! From People to those esoteric European photography magazines that are more like books. Adbusters, the International Socialist Review, the Sun, as well as countless fashion and gardening rags. Anything you wanted in the magazine world, Book Train usually sold it. It was a real-live newsstand, just like in the old days.  We can still go to the library for magazines but the only place to buy them is City Market. No more newsstands.

I hear an ice cream and sweet shop will fill that space. How many ice cream and sweet shops does Glenwood have now?  Way more than there are book stores. I realize it was a perfect storm of circumstances that forced Book Train to close – no one person is to blame – but an ice cream store replacing an institution that has been in operation for 5 decades?

I was tempted to count restaurants, ice cream/sweet shops, tattoo parlors, dispensaries, and empty storefronts today while I was in town but held back. Too depressing now that there will be no more book store on Grand Avenue. I don’t understand what makes Glenwood Springs the Most Fun Town in America. Seriously, and my apologies to the Glenwood Chamber Resort Association, but what’s fun about a town without a homegrown bookstore?

I like towns with bookstores, and I don’t mean Barnes & Noble. I mean small towns with unique places to peruse books, used and new. Moab has Back of Beyond. Aspen has Explore. Basalt has Bookbinders. Denver, Tattered Cover. Lisbon has the Bertrand, the world’s oldest bookstore, open since 1755. Then, there’s the Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal, with the world’s longest line.

Glenwood Springs once had four – two that sold new and two that sold used. Now, the city has one that sells used. Sheri Scruby does a great job with her comfy, neighborhood Book Grove and perhaps she’ll add a section of new books so former Book Train customers or tourists who want more than thrill rides, beer tastings, marijuana, and ice cream for vacation options won’t feel starved.

I, for one – and I know I’m not alone – will miss Book Train and the culture and intellect it added to a faded Glenwood Springs downtown. And, I’ve already started ordering books from Sheri. I feel like I need to support the town’s bookshop hold-out lest we end up with a bricks-and-mortar Amazon Books in the Glenwood Springs Mall. Or even worse: no bookstore at all.

Thanks for listening…

 

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Neighbors

My 40-something neighbor is outside playing with his remote-controlled car. At first, I thought, “That’s different; a 40-year old man with a remote-controlled car.” It gave me kind of an odd feeling, like when I see that birthday card with the diaper-clad baby with beard stubble.

But, then I realized things could be worse. He could be shooting guns off or curing dead animal heads in the refrigerator crisper. That describes the male who lived next door a few years before the remote-controlled car guy and his wife. The gun guy really did shoot his rifles off out back. And, one day, I said something to him, which led to a conversation about gun control and AK-47s, which led to his inviting me into his house to look at his gun collection.

It was an arsenal.

A couple of shotguns, a high-powered rifle of some sort with a scope on it, and an AR-15. Semi-automatic, I think. He also owned a high-powered bow that looked like a torture device. He was cleaning his guns on the carpet. He told me he often strapped on one of the long guns and went for a walk in the hills across the road. In camouflage no less. Why, I asked.  Just for fun.

It was difficult to sit and pretend I was impressed by the firearms or carry on a pleasant conversation when all that was running through my brain was Sandy Hook and “GET OUT OF THERE”.

He was also a second-rate bull rider and liked to work on his truck in the garage (echo chamber) with music blaring. I mean blaring. So loud he couldn’t hear me when I’d ask him to turn it down.

ME: It’s too loud!

HIM: WHAT?

After he moved out, rent-delinquent and jobless – oh, did I mention his dog that liked to jump through the windows while the screens were in them?

Anyway, after he moved out, the landlords went in for the usual between-renters clean-up and remodel. This is when they found the deer head in the crisper.

But, it could have been worse.

A few renters prior, a couple lived there. She worked. He shot guns…at small animals out back and inside the house.  One day, he was shooting out back but close to my house and I ran outside, pissed off. I hate hearing gun shots less than 50 feet from my living room window. I live in western Colorado, in the mountains. Typically, not a war zone.

So, I ask the guy to stop shooting. He says “I live in the country; I can do anything I want!” I said – so fumed that I ignored the fact that he had a gun in his hand – “The hell you can, you son of a bitch!” And, ran off to talk to the landlord, who thought it was funny. After the couple finally moved out, the landlord was doing the between-renter thing, which was when he found the bullet hole in the washing machine.

Then, there was the con man who still owes my landlord $4,000 and dumped all the used cat litter out the back door, thinking somehow it would magically dissolve into the earth.  Not.

Don’t get me wrong: the current neighbors are some of the friendliest, kindest people I know. So, I guess I’ll turn a blind eye to the remote-controlled car…unless he starts to work on it in the garage with the music loud or mounts a tiny machine gun on the hood.

Thanks for listening…

 

 

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Demise of 215-Year Old Ute Council Tree Saddens, Angers Utes

UTE COUNCIL TREE 82517.jpg

The Ute Council Tree, just outside Delta, Colorado, is a 215-year old cottonwood…or was a 215-year old cottonwood. It was cut down Friday. Click here to hear a report from KDNK’s Amy Hadden Marsh. (photo by AH Marsh, copyrighted. Do not use without permission.)

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Path of Totality Totally Awe-Inspiring

Path of Totality, Wyoming: Cosmic. Click here for a report

Carbondale Eclipsians in Wyoming, August 2017.

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BOCC unanimously approves drilling in Battlement Mesa

Peggy Tibbetts writes for From the Styx. She has excellent coverage of this week’s Garfield County Commissioners’ public hearings about nat gas drilling inside Battlement Mesa PUD. Thanks, Peggy.

From the Styx by Peggy Tibbetts

Map of the two well pads in “Phase 1” of Ursa’s proposal to develop minerals under Battlement Mesa. The closest residence is within 579 feet. Map of the two well pads in “Phase 1” of Ursa’s proposal to develop minerals under Battlement Mesa. The closest residence is within 579 feet.

At the  COGCC rulemaking hearing last month industry representatives predicted that future well pads will be constructed closer to municipal boundaries, and that low prices are forcing operators to use larger well pads. Anadarko Petroleum expects 40 percent of future wells will be near or within municipal boundaries.

Welcome to your future, Coloradans!

BREAKING: Commissioners approve drilling in Battlement PUD

After three days of testimony and questioning, Garfield County commissioners this afternoon unanimously approved applications from Ursa Resources to drill within the Battlement Mesa residential development.

The decision carried a lot of heartache and a lot of angst, both of which are likely to continue, Commissioner John Martin said just before the first vote.

Approval of the applications for phase one of Ursa’s plans within…

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A Yellow River Runs Through It

From the Styx by Peggy Tibbetts

The Animas River after the spill The Animas River after the spill

The Animas Disaster and the Great Web of Things

Guest post by Phillip Doe*

As all the world knows by now, one of the last remaining undammed[1] major rivers in the west, the Animas River, in southwestern Colorado, was damned with a 3 million gallon sludge of toxic mine waste on August 5.

The devastation was so visually disturbing that pictures of the river’s flow, a diaper-mustard colored concoction laced with heavy metals, made the front page of The New York Times.

The sludge passed out of the state in a few days, and Colorado’s Governor, John Hickenlooper, (Hick, to his friends) quickly declared the emergency over by drinking water from the river in Durango, Colorado, one of the state’s tourist centers. He’d taken the precaution of adding an iodine tablet, quipping after his act of derring-do, “If that shows that Durango is…

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Don’t believe EPA chief Gina McCarthy

This from guest blogger Peggy Tibbits from her From the Styx blog.

From the Styx by Peggy Tibbetts

Breaking news:  EPA chief Gina McCarthy says water quality in Animas River back to “pre-event conditions”

DURANGO [Denver Post] — Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy said Wednesday that water quality in La Plata County has “returned to pre-event conditions” after last week’s Gold King Mine wastewater spill.

The spill was caused by an EPA cleanup crew on Aug. 5 and released 3 million gallons of acidic water into the Animas River basin.

“We have water quality data from August 7, 8 and 9 from La Plata County that show levels have returned to pre-event conditions,” McCarthy said during a 15-minute news conference in Durango at the command center …

Oh really? Here Gina, drink this …

"Rayna Willhite, of Aztec, holds a bottle of water collected from the Animas River on Thursday near Bakers Bridge. The river is carrying mine waste from the Gold King Mine north of Silverton. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)" Rayna Willhite, of Aztec, holds a bottle of water collected from the Animas River on Thursday near Bakers Bridge. The river is carrying mine waste from the Gold King Mine north of…

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