Author: Steve Skinner

You Are Important to Me

This is it. My favorite time of year. When hope springs eternal. It’s easy to get lathered up on politics, no matter which side you are on, and make no doubt, almost everyone is on a side. But don’t let the rapid whirling and flushing sounds you hear distract you from the beauty of this day. Don’t let the bombs, the warming and the winning get in the way of appreciating the moment. I borrowed a spanner from a real nice guy at a bike shop in Fraser recently. I needed it to jimmy a lock that was frozen...

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Time for Equality in Relationships

Grand County State Senator Randy Baumgardner. Senator Al Franken. Matt Lauer. Judge Roy Moore. Don Trump. Kevin Spacey. Louis CK. Harvey Weinstein. Q: What do these guys have in common? A: They’ve all been accused of some form of sexual harassment or assault. Victims have come out of the dark and shed light on their bad behavior. Some of these alleged monsters have admitted misdeeds but some have made denials and called their accusers liars, despite overwhelming evidence and credible accounts. This kind of response discourages victims and adds insult to injury. Lower profile reminders are all over Facebook. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October women who have been victims of harassment or worse posted a simple, “Me too,” letting the world know that they too have been abused or harassed. The campaign shed light on an issue that’s not always up front. The members of the “Me too” club are all over the place. This year I trained to be an advocate with the Advocate Safehouse Project in Glenwood Springs and I occasionally answer the 24-hour help line. I was worried that women would not want to talk to a guy on the help line but have discovered just the opposite. The women I’ve talked to are mostly looking for a sane person who will listen to their words with respect and empathy. It’s heartbreaking. My first...

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Fortunate in Fraser

When I hear people say that they are lucky I don’t really believe it. I don’t believe in luck. Fortune yes, but not luck. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel particularly lucky but I do feel fortunate, especially when I assess the basics. I breathed a lot of good air this year and had me some delicious water coming right out of the ground. I got outside and floated some rivers. I walked and explored the Crystal River Valley and the Fraser Valley. I spent countless days with my loved one and my dog. I laughed and played. Yes...

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Blowing hot air on an emergency

As I watch my health insurance melt away I wonder about how people can still be fighting over this. Do we want our friends, fathers, mothers, kids and others to be able to go to the doctor when they become ill? Accessible healthcare for all is the only solution. In a blaze of orange the opioid addiction crisis was just declared a national emergency. No funds have been allocated. I doubt that blowing hot air on a national emergency will change anything. The Affordable Care Act is far from good. I suffered under it for years as my premiums...

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What really happened to Elizabeth Anne Margaret Gardner?

Elizabeth liked her name. She liked all her names. Elizabeth Anne Margaret Gardener. Elizabeth was very strict. No one called her “Liz,” or “Ellie-Anne,” at least not more than once. Elizabeth was outwardly serious and even more grave on the inside. She was 11, independent and self-assured. Her looks were striking. She had black hair, light auburn eyes and skin so pale that she looked like she was covered in baby powder. She was waif-like and slender and always dressed in dark, draping sweaters and skirts that covered her from the sun and shielded her from the eyes of...

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Waiting on a Friend

I am a communications specialist and I can no longer communicate. The world has passed me by and I am now completely befuddled on how best to interact with anyone. Email is out. Texting no longer works. Traditional phone calls are out. Face to face is history. Pagers are done. Smoke signals are only mildly effective. Facebook Messenger seems to be the only way to call or text message about one-third of the people I know. I got a phone call over Facebook Messenger recently and it was choppy, latent and surreal. The new thing. I try to keep up but I cannot find half the people I want to communicate with any more. Totally ignoring my text, email or phone call is the new norm. No use getting upset because I have to assume that they do that to almost everyone. The age of connectivity is a hoax! An Internet search of “How to get people to return your text,” reveals a Buzzfeed article, “17 Perfect Responses For When Someone Doesn’t Text You Back,” which gives examples of sarcastic rejoinders and bitter, petty responses. One of the better, bitter responses: “Sorry I annoyed you with my friendship.” What is really strange is that most of us are lost in our devices, staring, stabbing and scrolling. We’re looking for love, looking for likes and looking for life while ignoring...

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What a Gift

With great assets come great responsibilities. In KFFR, the Fraser Valley has a rare and valuable community asset with the potential to lift our quality of life and bring us all together. I am talking about KFFR, of course. This spanking new community radio station is just sprouting up. Depending on what we do with it, KFFR could become a source of joy, inspiration, entertainment, empowerment and information for all of us. This local, non-profit public radio station was fostered by longtime part-time resident, Denis Moynihan. KFFR is Moynihan’s gift to the community that will keep on giving. In the late 1970s and early 1980s there was a  public radio boom in Colorado. A lot of stations were springing up. Now you can motor into a town like Durango, Telluride, Crested Butte, Aspen or Paonia and tune in a local radio station and hear local announcers giving out local inside information and playing local music. Some of those stations are still nimble and fun and great to listen to. That’s the potential we have now at KFFR, 88.3 FM. It won’t be easy. Some say radio is dead, long buried under all those smart, smart phones and the Internet full of music services. They say that our shrinking attention spans are occupied with Facebook, Game of Thrones trailers and videos of cats on YouTube. Just after the public radio...

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Columnist: Steve Skinner

This place is alright if you like scenic splendor I was alarmed by the alarm honking in my left ear at 4:30 in the morning. I had to get to Rangely from old town Winter Park and needed to be there bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by 9 a.m. I was headed to learn about working in “The TANK Center for Sonic Arts,” a massive steel water tower in Rangely. The sonic echo chamber was once used for the Rio Grande railroad and is now deployed as a performance space and recording studio. It’s amazing what you’ll do when you have nothing to do. Pulling onto I-40 on a summer morning before dawn is one of life’s sweet pleasures. The bosom of stillness, coolness and lingering dark hold the truck, the mountains and the valley in a cool embrace. I was gazing through the Tacoma windshield in a bit of a fog on the inside, not drunk but not at the top of my game, either. Watch for wildlife and maybe the police? I was feeling kind of in between while passing through Winter Park, Fraser and then Tabernash. There was cool air, fog, misty mountains and not much else on the road and in the fields. Like my dad would say, “This place is alright if you like scenic splendor.” On that moody morning, I was remembering the first time...

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