Locals compete in Mount Sopris Runoff | PostIndependent.com

Locals compete in Mount Sopris Runoff

Back in the early days of the Mount Sopris Runoff, race director Bruce Gabow billed his hilly run from Basalt to Carbondale as being “16 long miles,” referencing the fact that the actual distance was a bit more than the even 16 miles most runners thought it to be. The modern version of the Runoff, now under the guidance of Independence Run and Hike owner Brion After, has been moved from a start at the Basalt 7-Eleven to the old Emma School House, just a couple miles down the road and closer to the finish line in Carbondale. The race has now morphed into an on-the-dot 14-miler.

Or has it?

“Every time we have driven the course in the car, we get a different measurement,” Brion After stated, with a smile and a shake of his head. “It’s been anywhere from 14.1 miles to 14.3, so it’s a bit off, but that kind of goes hand in hand with the theme of the Mountain Fair.”

Regardless of the starting point, runners still must tackle the steady climb up West Sopris Creek Road, an elevation gain of 1,500 feet, before a quad-pounding 1,700 foot descent grinds the legs in the race’s last 4 miles on the way to finishing in the heart of the Mountain Fair at Sopris Park.

This year’s Runoff winner was Joseph DeMoor, a Buena Vista native who set a new course record with a time of 1 hour, 25 minutes, 51 seconds. DeMoor, who got married in June and just moved to Redstone with his wife, was the 2008 state 3A cross country champion at Buena Vista High School.

“It was a beautiful course out there today,” said DeMoor, who looked fresh as a daisy crossing the finish line well ahead of runner up Casey Weaver. “This race has an old school feel to it. No timing chips, not a lot of fancy stuff, just start the race and run to the finish line.”

Weaver’s second place time was 1:27:39, with Carbondale’s Jeason Murphy rounding out the top three with a 1:28:15 clocking.

Glenwood’s Melissa Goodman last ran the Sopris Runoff in 2010. She placed third among women that year, and was just hoping to run close to her 2010 time in this year’s race.

“I was hoping to match my time of 6 years ago,” said Goodman, who bested the women’s field with a time of 1:44:39. “I started out a bit too slow today because of the hills at the beginning, but I still had about the same time as my past race.”

Carly Porter came in behind Goodman for second at 1:55:24, and Basalt’s Amy Rollins was third for the ladies at 1:58:11.

There were 71 total runners in the 14-mile (or somewhere close to that) race.

The Mount Sopris Runoff is actually a two-race event, as the shorter 4-mile Fair Run covers the ending, and the fast downhill portion of the day’s longer version.

A young man who has made a habit of dominating local road races this summer, Cody Sedbrook, who runs for the University of Minnesota/Duluth, ran a course record of 19 minutes, 10 seconds to capture another Valley victory. Glenwood High sophomore Gavin Harden came in second at 22:45. Harden was followed by Eric Westerman at 24:43.

Katie Stookesberry of Basalt claimed the women’s crown in the 4-miler. Stookesberry’s time was 27:27. Hannah Stripeika of Moab, Utah was next at 28:45. Third place was Olivia Foulkrod with a time of 28:52.

There were a total of 54 participants in the 4-mile Fair Run.

Top Twenty-Five Overall 14-Mile Mount Sopris Runoff (*Female): 1. Joseph DeMoor, 1 hour, 25 minutes, 51 seconds; 2. Casey Weaver, 1:27:39; 3. Jeason Murphy, 1:28:15; 4. Wesley Toews, 1:31:42; 5. Logan Kemphey, 1:34:06; 6. Ryan Lewis, 1:37:53; 7. Sam Anderson, 1:38:00; 8. Henry Barth, 1:44:18; 9. Jeff Wanner, 1:44:34; 10. Melissa Goodman*, 1:44:39; 11. Morgan Neely, 1:46:48; 12. Jeff Stephens, 1:47:56; 13. Gilles Cote, 1:49:15; 14. Russel Bollig, 1:50:26; 15. Wano Urbands, 1:55:16; 16. Carly Porter*, 1:55:24; 17. Amy Rollins*, 1:58:11; 18. Evan Ellison, 1:58:24; 19. John Stroud, 1:59:17; 20. Thomas Simmons, 1:59:58; 21. Meredith Zaccherio*, 2:00:22; 22. Mary Cote*, 2:01:23; 23. Tom Miller, 2:02:09; 24. Ashley Connolly*, 2:02:32; 25. Kallie Carpenter*, 2:05:13.

De La Rosa, Rockies win 5th straight

NEW YORK — Jorge De La Rosa earned his 100th career victory and the Colorado Rockies eventually caught up with Bartolo Colon, beating the New York Mets 7-2 on a rainy Saturday night for their fifth straight win.

The Rockies improved to 12-4 since the All-Star break and won despite losing NL home run leader Trevor Story to a jammed left thumb. He seemed to get hurt on a scrambling slide in the fourth, exited early and X-rays on the rookie shortstop were negative.

On the day the Mets retired Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza’s No. 31, the Mets lost their fourth in row. The 43-year-old Colon (9-6) faltered in his first start on three days’ rest since 2005, and slugger Yoenis Cespedes left in midgame because of a nagging quad injury.

Colorado retired New York’s last 16 batters. Mets manager Terry Collins was ejected in the ninth after umpires overturned their original call and took away a home run from Wilmer Flores, ruling a fan reached over the wall and prevented left fielder David Dahl from making a catch.

DJ LeMahieu drove in three runs and Dahl hit his second homer since making his big league debut this week, helping the Rockies reach .500 for the first time since late May.

Colorado’s push toward NL wild-card position has been boosted by its 6-0 mark against the Mets. Last year, the Rockies were 0-7 against them.

De La Rosa (7-7) gave up two runs in six innings. He is 100-82 lifetime.

A Citi Field crowd of 42,207 chanted for Piazza prior to the game but didn’t have much to cheer as the night wore on. A day after Collins told his team to relax and lighten up, the Mets took a quick 2-0 lead before the Rockies rallied.

Justin Ruggiano had an adventuresome time after signing with New York earlier in the day. Cut by Texas on Tuesday, the veteran major league joined the Mets when they put infielder Jose Reyes on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left ribcage.

Ruggiano got a hit, but also overran a ball in center field for an error and was thrown out stealing on a replay reversal. He also was involved in a play that tilted the game.

Colon held Colorado hitless until Nolan Arenado singled with one out in the fourth. Carlos Gonzalez followed with a drive to right-center and Ruggiano ran a long way and made a diving try on the warning track, only to have the ball glance off his glove for a double.

Story followed with an infield hit and when the throw to first got away, he tried to advance and was thrown out. Dahl then lined a two-run homer for a 3-2 lead.

Charlie Blackmon doubled twice, and set up LeMahieu’s two-run single in the fifth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rockies: OF Ryan Rayburn didn’t start for the second straight day, but singled as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. His left knee was bruised Friday night when he was hit by a ball during batting practice.

Mets: Cespedes left after grounding out to end the fifth. He stepped gingerly leaving the batter’s box and jogged down the line.

UP NEXT

Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis (9-6, 5.19) is 5-1 in his last nine starts. Colorado has supported him with nearly seven runs a game over that span.

Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (9-5, 2.45) is 1-3 in his past five starts. The All-Star won his only career start vs. the Rockies last year.

PHOTOS: Grand Valley Days parade

Exploring Cuba’s glorious contradictions

When my husband and I started telling others that we had begun making plans to travel to Cuba this summer, their reactions ranged from curiosity to something like thinly veiled horror: Cuba, of all places? Fidel Castro, communists, the missile crisis in the ‘60s — why Cuba?

For us, the answer was simple: Cuba today is at a pivotal moment in its history, and has not been this accessible to regular Americans in more than 50 years. It is also one of the most interesting, culturally rich, and astoundingly gorgeous natural areas on Earth. When Christopher Columbus landed on Cuba’s northeastern shore in October 1492, he wrote that he “never beheld such a beautiful place.”

This we had to see.

But first, we needed to figure out how to get there. U.S. travel restrictions had been locked in place for decades, embedded in our country’s 1961 trade embargo and loosened only in late 2014. With additional lightening of limitations in March of this year, travelers like us could plan our trip without needing to apply for a visa with the federal government so long as our trip’s purpose fit into one of 12 pre-approved categories. These include humanitarian work, academic research, sport competitions and journalistic activities (hint, hint: this article’s for you, feds!). Purely touristic travel, however, is still technically prohibited under U.S. law.

Once the legal details were ironed out, we booked two flights: one to Mexico, and one from Mexico to Havana. The good news is that this type of roundabout entry into the country will soon be unnecessary, with direct flights from the States to several Cuban cities scheduled to resume this fall. Denver’s own Frontier Airlines has even been awarded a number of daily trips by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Soon, we were stuffing last-minute snacks and sunblock into our backpacks and locking the door to our Glenwood home behind us. As we exited customs in the Havana airport about 24 hours later, a blast of infernal tropical heat pummeled us — and I knew we had arrived.

For the next three weeks we drove across the island from east to west in a small Chinese rental car, beginning in the eastern metropolis of Santiago de Cuba and eventually making our way back to Havana. Santiago was a fascinating introduction to the country, a vivacious city pulsing with music, dance and youthful energy. Here we stayed in the first of several Airbnb’s throughout the trip, booked online before we ever left home. Airbnb has taken off since beginning operations in Cuba last year partly because private homestays, or casas particulares, are one of a few limited forms of private enterprise allowed by the government.

After Santiago we drove northeast through Guantanamo province, stopping near the top of its eponymous bay to see if we could squint hard enough to spot our infamous U.S. base at the other end. The road then took us to lush, secluded Baracoa — arguably the most lovely town we visited in all of Cuba. Accessible only by sea for centuries before a single road was constructed in the 1960s to connect it with the rest of the country, Baracoa maintains its own unique atmosphere, culture and food traditions today. The heaping plate of spiced tetí we ate there — tiny fish the size of rice grains, native to the region — was the most unusual culinary experience of our trip.

From Baracoa we went west along Cuba’s northern shore, with stops in the sleepy colonial towns of Banes and Gibara. Further inland we visited stunning Camagüey and roamed its labyrinthine streets, which were reportedly designed to confuse pillaging bands of pirates a few centuries ago. Afterward we continued to Trinidad, a cobblestoned village surrounded by ghostly old sugarcane plantations, and then skirted the south coast until hitting the Bay of Pigs.

Would anyone believe that the Bay of Pigs, once the gruesome site of the U.S. government’s doomed 1961 attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro, is now a bona fide adventure destination attracting snorkelers and scuba divers from all over the world? Well, it is — and for good reason. Along the bay’s eastern edge is a wild and uncorrupted 22-mile stretch of coral reef and gentle crystalline waters. What an odd place for us to spend the Fourth of July this year.

For our final few days in Cuba, we saved the biggest sight for last: Havana. At once grand and decrepit, Havana was everything we had seen in pictures and more. Vintage cars the color of bubble gum and banana cream, crumbling colonial architecture, horse drawn carts full of papayas, children playing handball in the street, daiquiris, dancing, music pouring from open doors, sunsets over the sea wall: as our Lonely Planet guidebook put it, “No one could have invented Havana. It’s too audacious, too contradictory, and — despite 50 years of withering neglect — too damned beautiful.”

The same, I think, could be said of the entire country. The fascinating thing about Cuba in 2016 is that all of its glorious contradictions are coming to a head. It is obvious that change is happening — but what exactly that change might bring is anyone’s guess.

Cuba surprised me in ways that I did not expect. At every turn, something or someone was waiting to dismantle the old Castro-Communist-Missile Crisis narrative of Cuba that I (and most other Americans) had grown up with. Where I anticipated animosity, I was granted kindness; where I assumed danger, I felt safety; and where I expected ugliness, I found beauty. Cuba is not what it was in the 1960s, or the 1990s, or even what it was five years ago — and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Sunday Profile: Beloved Rifle vet Zane Carter retires

Much has changed in Rifle and western Garfield County in the past 35 years. Roads that were once dirt are now paved and once-open fields are filled with homes.

But throughout that time, area pet owners felt a sense of comfort in knowing if their animal friend became sick or injured, Dr. Zane Carter was there to take care of them.

Carter, who moved to Rifle in April 1981 because of its central location to renowned outdoor recreation, has closed his clinic, Antlers Veterinary Hospital — opening new doors in life as a retiree.

In retirement, Carter and his wife, Sarah, are looking forward to indulging in the activities that brought them to the area in the first place: backpacking, fishing, camping, hunting and exploring the outdoors.

The decision, he said in an interview last week, was based on their love of the outdoors and their ability to physically enjoy those activities.

“That’s the reason we’re wanting to go out, to do this now, because we are both physically able to do it,” Carter said. “We feel good and want to do things while we still can.”

Although understanding, the decision was difficult for clients, such as John Wheeler, to hear.

“I just hate to see them go, but at the same time he’s worked hard, he deserves his retirement and I hope they just enjoy themselves and the outdoors … I wish them a happy retirement,” said Wheeler, a Rifle resident and client for at least the past 15 years.

Beverly Anderson, a Silt resident who says she has been a client from the beginning, said the compassion that the man she calls “Doc” displays kept her coming back for many years.

“He has a genuine love for animals and in my family we love our animals just like a member of the family,” she said. “And every time one would get sick we all be totally upset and Doc would just care for them so tenderly. He and Sarah both have a true concern for the pets he treats.”

Carter and his wife concede it will be somewhat of an adjustment.

“Both of us have worked our whole life … we have never been unemployed, so that’s going to be an adjustment,” he said.

But on to that point, there have been plenty of adjustments during his long career. Like most things, computers and technology play an increasingly important role in operating the business — which itself is somewhat of a rarity.

As the couple explained, the “mom-and-pop” style that made the practice so popular with local pet owners has disappeared over the years.

“Even the office work is different because the mom and pop way of doing things is outdated, it’s history,” Carter said.

The “mom-and-pop” style is part of the reason why local pet owners came back time and time again to the Carters.

“I mean it wasn’t the fact that he’s just a vet running a business. He’s a pretty special person and he really cared about what he was doing and really took care of the animals,” Wheeler said.

That caring nature has roots in Carter’s childhood, which was spent on a ranch outside of Simla, Colorado. When he was 5, his parents took him to a neighboring ranch, where a horse had been bitten in the nose by a rattlesnake, which Carter called “the most terrible looking thing you ever saw.”

From there, he was 100 percent certain about what he wanted to do in life.

“And that’s when I decided that I wanted to be a veterinarian, and I stuck to it,” he said. “I never changed.”

After graduating from veterinary school at Colorado State University, Carter went to work in Franktown on the Front Range.

For a young man who grew up in rural Colorado, living in the city did not appeal to him.

“I was there in the Front Range with the congestion and the traffic and every spare minute I had was spent coming over here into the mountains and it just got to be ridiculous,” he said. “So it was time to try and get closer to what I wanted.”

He picked Rifle because of its central location to popular recreation areas such at the Flat Tops, Grand Mesa, Lake Powell and the various canyons.

“Everything I wanted to do was right here, so I moved over here and started my own practice and it took off,” he said.

Interestingly enough, Sarah, who went to CSU the same time her future husband did and worked as a surveyor in an area outside of Fort Collins where Carter would fish, also was growing tired of life on the Front Range.

“The traffic and congestion over there was not good for me,” she said, “and so it got to the point where … it was more important to be in this sort of environment rather than an urban environment. I’m not really a city girl.”

Despite not knowing each other — although Zane believes they likely crossed paths at some point — both ended up in Rifle.

The two did not meet until Sarah needed a vet for her two boxers, a breed of dog she has had throughout her life. Then one night, Zane was responding to an emergency and needed somebody to help who would not pass out as he performed surgery. He recalled Sarah worked on an ambulance and he asked her to assist him.

Sometime after then, one of the employees at the practice got hurt and Zane asked if she would come “pinch hit.” It was the start of a strong relationship.

“I found somebody that not only had the love of animals that I had but the love of nature and the preservation of our environment,” he said.

Through hiking, skiing, backpacking and enjoying the outdoors together, the two became best friends in the early ‘80s. They soon married, and, as Zane said, “have been side by side every since both at work and in adventure.”

Through the years, the couple has traveled across the country and abroad, work permitting. That became easier after 1985, when Carter decided to stop doing emergency on call work, which Sarah said could mean responding to a call at a ranch in the evening, then performing emergency surgery in the early morning hours and still showing up at the practice for regular appointments.

“I knew that if I continued the 24-hour on call (work) … that I would not be able to last decades in the profession. I just couldn’t do it,” Carter said.

Through the years, the area has changed and become more urbanized. Still, the couple not only remained the go-to animal care center for their clients, but also their clients children.

“We have had some that have been with us the whole 35 years, and not only that we’ve been through generations (of) people … because clients I started off with in the ‘80s came in with their kids and their kids grew up and now their grandkids are coming in,” Zane said.

Said Sarah, “We’ve had generations; that’s what makes it really hard to say goodbye.”

For some of those clients, it’s equally hard to say goodbye.

“I do appreciate them and I’m going to miss them so much and I’m hoping they will return to this community,” Anderson said. “If they’re moving, it will leave an empty spot for so many families especially the Anderson family.”

While the couple plans on heading to the Pacific Coast for a month, they do not plan to leave the area. After that month, they’ll return to hunt and fish and cross-country ski.

Firefighters able to contain blaze near Carbondale

Firefighters are expected to spend today finishing off a 20-acre brush fire south of Carbondale.

Officials announced Saturday evening that the fire was fully contained and that firefighters were in the mop-up stage.

A hand crew is expected to work through the day to fully extinguish the fire, which is in Pitkin County.

The fire started around 3:30 p.m. Friday and grew to 20 acres, which forced temporary evacuations of nearby homes and a campground.

It held at that size overnight and all evacuations were lifted by Saturday morning.

The blaze also closed the southbound lane of Colorado 133 about 4 miles south of Carbondale between the BRB Campground and Red Dog Road.

The southbound lane will be closed today between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. The Colorado Department of Transportation will allow alternating traffic in the northbound lane during that time.

Colorado short on hundreds of teachers

Lending support to the notion that Colorado’s teacher shortage might get worse before it gets better, a new report shows that the state isn’t producing enough teaching graduates to keep up with demand.

A labor market report from the Colorado Office of Economic Development found that the number of annual graduates (1,976) falls well short of the annual number of job openings (3,456) for preschool, primary, secondary and special education teachers.

The study also notes the demand for teachers in Colorado is growing faster than the national average.

Last year, it felt like you couldn’t visit Twitter or Facebook without bumping into a story from somewhere about the teacher shortage.

But as normally is the case, the portrait looked vastly different depending on location.

Colorado’s traditional teacher preparation programs have been in decline for five years, as documented in February by the state Department of Higher Education. The number of people completing alternative preparation programs, however, is rising.

Other warning lights are flashing. An estimated 5,500 Colorado teachers will retire this year while only about 2,000 state college and university graduates will have earned a teaching license, according to a coalition of 60 education advocacy groups that earlier this year outlined several strategies to tackle the teacher shortage.

One important caveat to the latest labor market report: Many teachers that wind up in Colorado were trained elsewhere. More than one in four Colorado teachers graduate from out-of-state programs, the state Department of Education estimates.

That’s why the anticipated teacher shortage is much smaller than the labor report suggests — approximately 300 positions a year, the higher education department projects. Not surprisingly, the problem is more acute in rural areas.

The labor report provides a mixed picture on supply and demand for those earning degrees in STEM — or science, technology, engineering and math — fields. The state is producing more than enough science graduates, has a slight deficit when it comes to computer sciences and is more in line with market demand in engineering graduates.

Yet jobs that demand these skills pay well, and Colorado has a long bench of employers looking for good people to fill jobs. As a result, the report said, the state might consider a strategic workforce plan to expand teachers and graduates in STEM careers, and encourage employer-run internships, as the Denver Business Journal notes.

Christopher Olson

Christopher Olson, 57, died peacefully surrounded by family, July 26, 2016, after a four-month battle with cancer.

Chris grew up in Wisconsin, where he met his bride-to-be, Diane, in a singing group. Chris developed life-long friends attending college in Bozeman, Montana, finishing in Economics/Business at U of MN, settling in Colorado. Chris’ entrepreneurial spirit led to conducting business worldwide, as CEO/President of Omnitech, among others.

Chris valued spending time with his wife, sons, family and friends, singing, hunting, fishing, skiing, golfing, camping, cooking, and “fixing things.” We all greatly miss Chris. His songs and laughter live on in our hearts.

Survivors: wife Diane; children Aaron (Amanda), Tyler; parents Harold and Dorothy; siblings Steve (Debbie), Karen (Tom), Dave (Robin); nieces and nephews. Preceded in death: sister Julie.

Services: Tuesday, August 2, 10:30 a.m., Rifle United Methodist-Presbyterian Church. Memorial donations may be either to www.cancertreatmentsresearch.com, or to the family for a memorial tree.

Festival draws families, returning natives

A sunny second day of Carbondale’s signature event filled Sopris Park with music, families, food and festivities.

Many festivalgoers said they were coming from out of town, some who’ve made Mountain Fair a not-to-be-missed tradition and some who were returning for the first time in years.

Salida artist Lindsay Sutton, visiting with her husband Aaron Stephens, had her work on display amongst the vendor booths during their fifth Mountain Fair.

“We love the whole vibe; the community is great and always remembers us and wants us to come back,” said Aaron.

This year Aaron is defending his title in the men’s wood splitting competition after having placed first last year.

“This is our favorite event of the summer,” said Lindsay. “It’s just got good juju.”

“It’s the friendliest event that we do” – not to mention that it produces Sutton’s highest gross sales of the summer.

Musicians from a variety of cultures took the stage for festivalgoers who were dancing and kicking back on blankets in the grass.

Kids tried their hand in a fly-casting competition. Hula-hoopers put their hips to work. Children donned face paint. Many people took refuge from the heat in shade tents, one of which had several people lying on padded tables while masseurs worked on their backs and limbs.

In the kids section of the festival was also a bouncy castle. Parents also placed their children in huge beach balls and gave them the Sisyphean task of running in a pool.

Jessica Hemingson, a Carbondale native, who now lives in Denver with her young family, came back to visit her hometown.

She and her husband, Adam, said they don’t miss an opportunity to stock up on Colorado Mountain Honey, which was available at the fair.

The Hemingsons planned to get out for a hike, spend time by the river and enjoy escaping the crowds of Denver, said Adam.

Kristen and Nate Baier were exploring the festival with their one-year-old son, Bennett, having just moved from Denver to Carbondale a month ago.

Looking at the event with fresh eyes, the family said they loved the kid friendly activities and reasonably priced art.

Sharon Johnson was enjoying her 39th Mountain Fair with her sister-in-law, Jennifer Hunt, and said she was going on about 27 Mountain Fairs.

“Once you’ve started coming you can’t break the tradition,” said Johnson. “It’s fun because it’s local.”

And many people who grew up in Carbondale and moved away return for the festival, so it’s often like a mini reunion, she said.

The event also draws lots of return vendors, but each year there’s something new, said Hunt.

Stuart and Katie Fox were also with their daughter Nora, who was just old enough to get her first face painting.

Katie, another Carbondale native, joked that her mother used to say Mountain Fair is where you see the hippies gone to seed.

The event brings out the culture and art that the town is known for, she said.

Stuart, originally from Fort Collins, said Mountain Fair draws all aspects of the community and always feels welcoming and family-centric.

Mountain Fair is where the things that make Carbondale special really shine, said Carbondale Trustee Ben Bohmfalk, who was almost unrecognizable in his Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses and wide brimmed straw hat. “I’m in Mountain Fair mode,” he said.

Firefighters quell small brush fire in west Glenwood

Glenwood Springs firefighters quickly extinguished a small brush fire in a residential area before it could reach a nearby home.

The fire started Saturday afternoon at the corner of Tanager Drive and Ptarmigan Lane, near the Glenwood Springs Golf Club, when a resident was trying dispose of some weeds with a propane burner, said Doug Gerrald, battalion chief with the Glenwood Springs Fire Department.

The burn got out of control and spread to nearby junipers. Flames were as high as 20 feet and heading toward the property owner’s home when firefighters arrived on scene, Gerrald said.

Within minutes, the single engine that arrived first was able to extinguish the fire, which burned an area about 25 yards by 3 or 4 yards.

With high fire danger in the area, Gerrald said the incident is another reminder to be extremely cautious with any open flames or sources of ignition.