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Janet Day: Impoverished country puts Grand County to shame

Janet Day
Talk of the Valley
Sky-Hi Daily News

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Well, Two Out of Three): I love traveling in the developing world. It gives me a much better perspective of my own life and my own country. After spending three weeks in Ecuador recently, I came home feeling embarrassed for Grand County.

Throughout Ecuador, a poor country by just about anyone’s standards, recycling has taken off. In Grand County, it’s been taken off – taken off of our list of options for the tons and tons of debris we generate.

The last time I was in Ecuador six years ago, plastic bags, newspapers and other trash littered the roadsides and fields. This year, it was noticeably cleaner thanks to the recycling stations seen from the Galapagos Islands to the central sierra to the jungle. Located at key rural intersections or prominent places around towns, the stations include two large collection bins, one marked “organic” and the other marked “inorganic.” The contents dropped off by area residents are regularly picked up. Inorganic waste is sorted to be recycled or re-used. Organic waste goes toward composting at the country’s many farms and parks.

The Ecuadorean government and that in each province have made recycling a priority. I wish we could say the same here. It was disheartening to come home and find the recycling bins at the fire station gone, especially since I had a huge pile of papers on the porch, waiting to be recycled – I thought – when I returned.

I don’t generate a lot of trash. I re-use what I can. I buy products with minimal packaging. But I read a lot of magazines and newspapers, drink beverages in aluminum cans or glass bottles, and use products that come in plastic. They’re all infinitely recyclable. Human nature usually means taking the path of least resistance, and that means a lot more recyclable material is going to be tossed in the trash and end up in our landfill, which has its own challenges. I hope Liz McIntyre’s tireless efforts supporting recycling find a solution soon. Right now, I’m taking my paper, plastic, glass, aluminum and steel to a friend’s home in Denver where the city makes it easy to do the right thing.

Ch-ch-ch-changes. Shoulder season is always a busy time for making changes and the period while I was gone seems to have been no exception.

– How many ways can I say thank you, thank you, thank you to the guys who got rid of that annoying deep culvert in the parking lot between Bottle Pass Liquors and KFC?

– The Fraser Post Office has a nice new concrete parking lot (the configuration and handicapped parking spot have changed, so pay attention).

– The Fraser River Trail was repaved.

– Safeway got an airy, open remodel that brought company big-wigs from California into the store this past weekend. I think that was a vice president carrying my 80 pounds of dog food to my truck on Saturday.

– Springsteen released a new album with the E Street Band.

These are all great things, in my mind. What’s not so great is the seemingly uncontrolled gravel crushing operation on the north edge of Winter Park. It’s sending an unacceptable amount of dust and debris into the air, onto Highway 40 and over to King’s Crossing. The dust plume is visible from Tabernash and Winter Park Highlands. A couple people told me they complained to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality or EPA, so perhaps some air quality controls or mitigation efforts will be enforced before we all start coughing.

Also while I was gone, my neighbor had more than 80 dead or dying beetle-infested pine trees removed, opening up the view from my balcony, so that I can now see marvelous sunsets. I even get sunlight in my kitchen. As a friend said, the tree removal activity in the county means we’re all going to end up with great views.

And congratulations to long-time local Karen Gadberry, who was named the new director of human resources for Winter Park Resort. Gad brings her lively personality and stellar people skills to a position that’s all about, well, people. After spending the last year helping bring Steamboat Resort into the Intrawest family, Gad returns to the county full time, which also is a great thing.

No Respect. One of the funniest stories I’ve seen lately about the baseball playoffs comes courtesy of epiccarnival.com, a sports news Web site that models itself after The Onion newspaper with witty spoofs of real news stories. Last week, its twisted writers posted a story about the expected, and usually trite, bet between the governors of Colorado and Arizona, with Gov. Bill Ritter eventually betting Winter Park Resort against Gov. Janet Napolitano’s ante-ing up of the Grand Canyon. Napolitano reacts to Ritter’s offer by saying, “Look, it’s not Breckenridge. It’s Winter Park. Let’s not get carried away.” You can read it yourself, along with the mention of Nixon nearly losing Yellowstone National Park in a poker game, at http://www.epiccarnival.com/2007/10/arizona-governor-bets-grand-canyon-on-d.html.

Boots and Beads. I’ve often wondered if Grand County has more fund-raisers than other places or if ours are just more fun. Girls Night Out, a benefit for Grand County Advocates, is one of the more entertaining events. The Oct. 4 party at the Untamed Southwest Grill was great fun once again, with dozens of women sampling terrific food, enjoying champagne punch and buying what local artists had to offer. My favorites of the night were Frank Expression’s warm and funny cowboy boot slippers, Star Studded Jewelry’s beaded boot bracelets and Heidi’s Beadworks’ new line of bracelets.

Grand Goblins. Celebrate Halloween at the Grand Theater Company in Winter Park. “The Woman in Black” opens Oct. 19 to tell the Victorian tale of a menacing spectre that haunts a small English town. Based on the 1983 novel by Susan Hill, the show is said to keep audiences jumping with fear. Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and students; $12 for children. For details or to reserve seats, call the box office at (970) 726-5048.

Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to JDayQuilts@msn.com.


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