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Garfield County prep cross-country runners qualify for state

A Coal Ridge High School runner looks to the runner behind him while pushing it to the finish line at Friday's Colorado 3A Region 1 XC meet at VIX Park in New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Local teams just missed out on qualifying for state as teams but will be sending individual representatives following Friday’s regional meets.

In New Castle, 3A Region 1 host Coal Ridge placed fifth in the girls race and seventh in the boys. Rifle boys placed fifth, two points behind fourth-place North Fork.

According to the Colorado High School Activities Association cross-country bulletin, the top four teams from each regional plus the top 15 individual runners qualify for state for divisions 3A and up. 2A still takes the top 15 individuals, but includes the fifth place team.

For the Titans and Bears, this means a group of narrow misses for the state as teams.

For Coal Ridge, junior Mikayla Cheney finished sixth and senior Araceli Ayala finished 11th. Rifle freshman Ana Robinson came in 15th.

In the boys race, Titan junior Tyler Parker led local athletes with an eighth-place finish. Rifle senior Jace Coller took 14th.

Up-valley schools Basalt and Aspen took second and third, respectively, in the girls race. Basalt junior Katelyn Maley posted a time of 19:23.8 in the 5K to finish second.

Results for the 4A Region 1 — including Glenwood Springs High School — and the 2A Region 4 — including Colorado Rocky Mountain School — were not available at the time of writing.

Regional results are due to the Colorado High School Activities Association by Saturday morning with a full announcement of state entries expected over the following days.

The state championships will be held at Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs on Oct. 30.

Runners from Rifle and Coal Ridge High school run with the rest of the pack during the start of Friday's Colorado 3A Region 1 XC meet at VIX Park in New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
An Aspen High School runner crosses the finish line at Friday's Colorado 3A Region 1 XC meet at VIX Park in New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Runners from Coal Ridge, Basalt and Alamosa lead the pack early in the race during Friday's Colorado 3A Region 1 XC meet at VIX Park in New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Basalt High School's Katelyn Maley finishes second place at Friday's Colorado 3A Region 1 XC meet at VIX Park in New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Basalt High School's Katelyn Maley battles with a runner from Alamosa during Friday's Colorado 3A Region 1 XC meet at VIX Park in New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Runners from Aspen High School compete in the Colorado 3A Region 1 XC meet at VIX Park in New Castle on Friday afternoon.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Basalt High School's Ava Lane finishes in fourth place at Friday's Colorado 3A Region 1 XC meet at VIX Park in New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Runners from Coal Ridge, Basalt and Alamosa lead the pack early in the race during Friday's Colorado 3A Region 1 XC meet at VIX Park in New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent


Glenwood Middle School’s Autumn Rivera named Colorado Teacher of the Year

Glenwood Springs Middle School teacher Autumn Rivera listens to speeches in a ceremony honoring her as the 2022 Colorado Teacher of the Year on Oct. 22.
Rich Allen/Post Independent

The news that Sweetwater Lake is to become a state park was a huge victory for Autumn Rivera, who grew up in the area and whose Glenwood Springs Middle School students led the charge for preservation nearly two years ago.

But it wasn’t even Rivera’s biggest win of the week.

Without explanation, the sixth grade science teacher was escorted out of her classroom Friday afternoon by her students and principal Joel Hathaway. She was taken to the school’s media center where Colorado Department of Education and Roaring Fork School District staff, friends, family and students current and past awaited her.

Rivera was named the 2022 Colorado Teacher of the Year.

“I’m still in shock but I was just so grateful that I got to share it with students,” Rivera said.

“I’m excited but it’s a little overwhelming.”

An enthusiastic, modern educator and advocate for teachers, Rivera has long been recognized as a leader in the community. Her colleagues come to her for advice, regardless of tenure.

Her students say she makes class fun — she uses TikTok videos and computer games to engage them.

She seemingly appears in multiple places at once, serving on multiple boards and somehow still finding the time to develop and maintain relationships with students long after they move on from her classroom.

“Once you’re in her crew or her circle of influence, once she’s wrapped her arms around you, she doesn’t give up,” Glenwood Springs Middle School Principal Joel Hathaway said.

Her tirelessness, whether it be teaching either at the middle school or at Colorado Mountain College, where she is adjunct faculty, co-chairing the Yes on 5B campaign, leading professional development and mentorship efforts for Roaring Fork School District or serving on any of the numerous boards she does, is going to be tested even more.

Glenwood Springs Middle School science teacher Autumn Rivera does an interactive lesson with students about the life cycle outside of the classroom on Tuesday morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Rivera not only has to complete another application process to compete for the national Teacher of the Year award, but will serve in the Colorado Education Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet. She’ll speak at events as the face of teachers in Colorado and appear at a ceremony at the White House and attend NASA’s Space Camp next year.

It’ll elevate her platform for one of her biggest passions: advocating for teachers, especially rural ones.

“It’s going to give me a louder voice,” Rivera said. “To know that a winner comes from rural Colorado is just awesome because rural teachers are working hard and doing amazing things and I love that it’s going to be celebrated.”

Former students Andre Garcia and Allie Allred — who spearheaded the Sweetwater Lake fundraising push in 2019 — spoke at the ceremony.

“What I love about you, Ms. Rivera, is you treat me like a human being and not some kid,” Allred said in her remarks. “When I suggested we try and save 500 acres of private land and make it public, you never turned me down. You never said we couldn’t. You just said, ‘Let’s do it.’ And we did it.”

To which, RIvera responded, “And we did it. Now it’s a state park,” to the applause of the audience. She grew up near Sweetwater Lake, telling the Post Independent in 2019, “That’s where my childhood was.”

The timing of the two events made both even more special, she said, crediting her students for the success of the Sweetwater Lake campaign.

“It’s so awesome to have this award come at the same time because we’ve been working hard,” Rivera said. “I just love that I’m able to empower my students and it’s recognized in my students and in myself.”

Rivera is the first Roaring Fork School District educator to win the award since Basalt High School’s Leticia Ingram in 2016.

She followed in the footsteps of her mother, who also instructed at Colorado Mountain College and taught science. She has master’s degrees from Colorado College in Teaching Secondary Science and University of Colorado-Colorado Springs in Education Leadership.

The ceremony was live streamed on the Roaring Fork School District’s Facebook Page.

Rifle man sentenced on vehicular homicide, robbery charges

A Rifle man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday morning in two cases, one for vehicular homicide and another for burglary, both while under the influence of alcohol.

Chayton Reynolds was found guilty and sentenced on four separate charges — 15 years for vehicular homicide, six years for felony menacing, three years for felony violation of bail bond and eight years for second-degree burglary. The sentences will run concurrently, not consecutively.

Reynolds was sentenced by Garfield County District Judge Denise Lynch.

Reynolds was originally arrested Jan. 22, 2020 for hitting 50-year-old Robert Baumwoll with his car and killing him. Reynolds was found to be under the influence of alcohol, telling officers on scene he had consumed two beers in the previous two hours before the incident around 7:20 a.m.

Reynolds was 19 at the time and on probation following a guilty plea on a juvenile misdemeanor in 2019.

He met his $8,000 bond in late May and was released. On Nov. 19, he was arrested for allegedly breaking into a Rifle home and awakening its residents by pointing a BB gun at them.

Speaking over WebEx, the victims of the robbery said they had to relocate due to ongoing fears for their safety.

The defense said Reynolds was a product of an abusive father that physically injured him and introduced him to methamphetamines. Reynolds has supposedly been impacted by alcohol and drug consumption since he was 10.

Judge Lynch said she understood that he may have been self-medicating due to trauma, but it did not excuse the “two very serious offenses.”

Restitution in the two cases are still unsettled. The prosecution is seeking $1,638.30 to cover the funeral expenses of Baumwoll and $215 to account for the items stolen in the second case.

Reynolds faces trial still in a third case for allegedly making alcohol while in jail. That case is scheduled to begin on Dec. 2.

Integrated Mountain Group rejuvenates historic Glenwood landmark

Featuring Elms Building after renovation, photo courtesy of Integrated Mountain Group
Featuring Elms Building after renovation, photo courtesy of Integrated Mountain Group

For well over a century, Glenwood Springs has been viewed as an area with great healing potential; in 1903, Dr. W. F. Berry passed through the town and noticed the health resort possibilities it offered with a relatively mild climate and therapeutic mineral waters. He had already built a sanitarium in Michigan, and by 1906, he had moved to Glenwood Springs and constructed a huge hospital on 10th Street. There, doctors did everything from deliver babies to treat disease until 1937, when a businessman bought the building and converted it into an apartment complex. Today, that same building stands as the Elms Apartments, housing local residents.

Featuring Elms Building after renovation, photo courtesy of Integrated Mountain Group
Featuring Elms Building after renovation, photo courtesy of Integrated Mountain Group

Local management and real estate firm Integrated Mountain Group has managed the property since the company’s founding in 2017. They know that maintaining buildings — and restoring historic properties to their prior splendor — adds to the health and wellbeing of a community, both aesthetically and financially. So, last summer, in partnership with the building’s owner, they began the extensive process of renovating the four-level, historic Elms Apartments.

“Glenwood Springs is a small community, and this is a large historic building that’s very visible. It’s part of the fabric of our historic town, and it helps define the town,” said Integrated Mountain co-founder Scott Key. Glenwood Springs has a lot of culture and history, and certainly, a lot of people don’t want to lose that.”

Featuring Elms Building after renovation, photo courtesy of Integrated Mountain Group
Featuring Elms Building after renovation, photo courtesy of Integrated Mountain Group

The Integrated Mountain Management and Maintenance team began transforming the 22-unit apartment complex on the corner of 10th and Bennett by giving it an exterior facelift. Renovation started with new energy efficient windows and doors.

Work expanded to the 14,000 square feet of exterior siding and then moved to the interior with new carpeting throughout, among other upgrades. A palette of warm tones was chosen for the final paint, brightening the formerly weathered-white building.

Featuring Elms Building before renovation, photo courtesy of Integrated Mountain Group
Featuring Elms Building before renovation, photo courtesy of Integrated Mountain Group

Of course, any remodeling project — much less a historic one — has its challenges.

“It was a team effort between our property managers and the full Integrated Mountain Maintenance team” said Suzanne Henry, Integrated Mountain Management leader and co-founder. “It’s an incredible structure, and the process often required more than a dozen staff and local contractors on site for many months. The result has given this historic building a fresh face and new lease on life, befitting this downtown residential location.”

The Elms renovation led not only to improved values for the building, but a positive impact on the neighboring properties and downtown area.

Featuring Elms Building before renovation, photo courtesy of Integrated Mountain Group
Featuring Elms Building before renovation, photo courtesy of Integrated Mountain Group

The Elms Apartments is the second major downtown renovation initiated by the Integrated Mountain Group on a downtown Glenwood historic landmark. The first involved the redesign and rebuild of the former Tamarack building on 10th and Grand, completed with DM Neuman in 2017. The re-christened Integrated Mountain Building now serves as the Glenwood Springs home for Integrated Mountain Properties, Management and Maintenance.

“The Elms renovation is a good example of our partnership and commitment to our customers and community. Since our founding, we have been a strong supporter of dozens of local organizations and non-profits, from education to youth empowerment, sports, and the arts,” said Bob Johnson, senior vice president and co-founder of Integrated Mountain Management. “It’s a wonderful heritage we are building, and the Elms is a very visual example.”

West Glenwood’s 480 Donegan project to be annexed, rezoned

The Glenwood Springs City Council approved the annexation and rezoning of nearly 16 acres in West Glenwood for the proposed 480 Donegan project.

The vote capped a monthslong negotiation process with developers R2 Partners that featured several meetings, postponements and a cornucopia of public comment — primarily opposed to the development. City Council approved R2 Partners’ request for annexation and rezoning of a property north of the Glenwood Springs Mall.

“As leaders in this community, I think you need to do what’s best for the community, which is not always popular,” said Barry Rosenberg, R2 Partners co-founder. “There’s a reason your entire professional staff supports this.”

Council voted 4-3 to approve the annexation, with council members Tony Hershey, Paula Stepp and Ingrid Wussow voting against. Mayor Jonathan Godes, Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Willman and council members Shelley Kaup and Steve Davis voted in favor.

Originally pitched as multiple apartment complexes containing more than 400 apartments, R2 Partners responded to community feedback and council with numerous changes to the proposal, presenting a potential housing plan Thursday that could include 272 multi-family residential units, residences, including 40 for-sale townhomes, 13 live-work units and about 220 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

Hershey made a motion to deny the annexation and rezoning, which was seconded by Stepp.

“The work the developers have done — I applaud you, but there are a number of things that we need to work on as a city, and we need time to work on it,” Stepp said, explaining she was concerned about future infrastructure costs to the city and increased traffic in West Glenwood. “Even at adding approximately 655 people in this community, that’s still a number of cars on those roadways.”

The motion was defeated 4-3, with Godes, Willman, Kaup and Davis voting against.

Willman said despite making a similar motion to deny in September, he was swayed by the developers’ willingness to further reduce the residential density of the project by about 20% and include a dedication of up to 1 acre of public parkland into the development plans.

Reducing the density of the project also reduced the number of units designated as affordable housing, which is based on a percentage of the total number of units available, Davis said.

“I don’t really, but you guys spend a lot of time up here talking about how we need affordable housing, and our recent surveys have shown us it’s the residents’ No. 1 priority for the city’s growth,” Davis said. “I’m disappointed in the density in this latest proposal. We gave up a lot of affordable housing.”

When presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission, commissioners told R2 Partners they would like to see the housing development either include 10% of the overall residential units rented at rates based off 100% of the Area Median Income (AMI) or 20% of the units rented at 90% of the AMI.

R2 Partners’ latest presentation included 10% of the units rented at 80% of the AMI and 10% rented at 130% of AMI.

Davis made a motion to approve the annexation on the conditions the developers be allowed to increase the total number of units to 300, provide 2 acres of land for public use — up to 1 acre for a fire station and up to 1 contiguous acre for public parkland — and vesting rights of up to five years. Kaup seconded, and the motion was approved.

“I’m disappointed in you guys,” Wussow said. “This is not your hood. You will not be impacted by the traffic increase. I think when we make decisions like this, we are not putting our residents’ needs first.”

Kaup said Wussow had the opportunity to support the development at a lower density rate but chose not to.

“Even with the reduction of units from the developer, it was not enough to get some of the council members on board,” Kaup said. “So going back up to 300 units provides six more units of affordable housing for our community, and that’s a win for me.”

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at ifredregill@postindependent.com.

Obituary: John “Bud” Strong

January 3, 1929 – October 18, 2021

Bud, 92, of Rifle passed away peacefully at his house with loved ones by his side.

Bud was born while on vacation in Park City, Utah to John and Emma Strong. He was raised in Aspen and graduated from Aspen High School in 1947.

He spent his life in Roaring Fork Valley. He was an avid outdoorsman. His passion was management of spruce trees in National Forests. He was 3rd generation Aspenite, and 2nd generation logger, co-owning Strong Bros. Lumber with his brothers.

Bud loved life, spending time with family, he proudly wore Aspen Fire Department Badge #1 for 21 years. He served in United States Navy aboard the USS Shelton during the Korean War. He owned one of the first ski shops, Big Lift Ski Shack, under Lift One in Aspen in 1962

He was a member of Aspen Eagles, two time Exalted Ruler of the Aspen Elks and American Legion.

Bud married Byra Vay Shipp they had four children, later he married Florence Rockwood had two children and gained two step children.

He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings Kenny, Mick, Emma Lou and Jeannie, daughters, Penny Lynn and Peggy, stepson, Chuck, grandson, Joshua Lea, and great-granddaughter, Morgan.

Bud is survived by his siblings Walter and Irene, his children, Becky (Ula) Strong, Tina (Mike) Deere, George (Leslie) Strong, Bonnie (Darin) Strong Grimm, and Suzanne (Bo) Bobo, ten grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, numerous extended family and friends.

Celebration of Life on Saturday, October 23rd at 1pm, at Buds house in Rifle. Aspen Fire Aspen Elks Lodge tribute will be November 13th at 11:30a at the Aspen Fire Department.

Great appreciation for all the caregivers that took care of dad.

Obituary: Kelly Stillings

February 4, 1947 – October 12, 2021

Kelly E. Stillings, age 74, of Glenwood Springs, CO passed away on October 12, 2021 in Wichita, KS.
Kelly is survived by his son Brian (Cher) Stillings, daughter Brandie (Mike) Nielson, sister Nita Workman, and his 6 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.
Kelly is proceeded in death by his wife Bonnie Stillings, father Eugene Stillings, mother Ruth Gilliand, sister Doris Shunn, and step-father Wilbur Gilliand.
Funeral Services will be held on October 22, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. at the Harvest Community Church (8340 W 21st St., Wichita, KS 67205). Celebration of Life will be held after the funeral service from 6-10 p.m. at the Maize Rec Center (10100 Grady Ave., Maize, KS 67101.

Obituary: Jim Schumacher

April 9, 1948 – September 29, 2021

Devoted husband, Dad and Grandpa. A true patriot. Jim was born in Mishawaka, IN to Paul and Helen Schumacher. He was an honest, hard working and devoted husband, father and grandfather. He loved his family and always made time to put them first. He was a strong pillar in our family and a role model for all men. He was a great outdoorsman and gave you a handshake you couldn’t forget. He was degreed in Architectural Engineering and an adjunct professor at IVY Tech College in Indiana. He invented the Castaway Bobber for fishing and received a patent for the bobber. He handmade each and every one. He was very proud of his service in the United States Marine Corps and was a veteran of the Vietnam war. More recently he was known as the Ace Hardware man in Carbondale, CO. He loved being known as the “Screen Guy”. He was amazingly innovative, could fix anything and was always cheerful and helpful to all. He leaves behind many, many family members and friends who admired him. He left an impression on everyone who meet him and leaves a void in those who knew him well. There will be a memorial service Saturday, Oct 23rd between 2-4 PM at Miner’s Park in Carbondale, CO. Memorial contributions maybe made to the Jim Schumacher Memorial Account at Alpine Bank in Carbondale, CO. Jim is survived by his wife of 49 1/2 years Kathy, daughter Elizabeth of Avon, CO, son Matthew and his wife Aftin of Redstone, CO, and son Andrew of Carbondale, CO. He is also survived by five grandchildren Alivia, Mack, Asher, Wyatt and Mylo.

Historical Society’s Ghost Walk highlights women through Glenwood History

If you go…

What: Ghost Walk 2021

Who and why: Glenwood Springs Historical Society fundraiser

Where: Linwood Cemetery, 12th and Bennett

When: Friday-Saturday, Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 29-30; tours at 6:30, 7:15, 8 and 8:30 p.m. (early tour recommended for families with young children)

Tickets: Purchase online [glenwoodhistory.com/ghostwalk2021]

Amelia Williams was a “bit of a maverick for her time,” notes Glenwood Springs Historical Society board member Clara Miller.

Born in England and later coming to the United States and settling in the Midwest, Williams eventually made her way to Glenwood Springs where she ran one of the town’s many boarding houses during the early part of the 20th century.

Hayley Keller who will be portraying Elmira Kier during the second weekend of the Frontier Society's annual Ghost Walk stands near a grave marker in Linwood Cemetery in Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

“She never married, and was kind of sassy … a bit different from other women of the time,” Miller said. “But her friends were always there for her.”

Then there was Elmira Kier, a lady of the night who was known around town as the “9 of Diamonds.”

“She was from the lower class and, to put it nicely, not as wealthy (as the aforementioned Ms. Williams),” Miller said. “But she made her way the best she could.”

Those are just two of the women from the pages of Glenwood Springs history who participants in the Historical Society’s Ghost Walk 2021 will get to know.

Two volunteers get prepped and ready for a night at Linwood Cemetery for the 19th annual Ghost Walk in 2019.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

This year’s two-weekend run of tours up the rocky trail from Bennett Avenue to Linwood Cemetery — Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30 — returns to its live, or shall we say, after-life setting, after going virtual for the pandemic last year.

Four tours take place each night, at 6:30, 7:15, 8 and 8:30 p.m. The early tour is recommended for families with young children.

Due to the fact that more women volunteers stepped up this year to portray the characters at different stations along the trail, organizers decided to go with the “women-of-history” theme, Miller said.

“We’re always beholden to our volunteers and whoever is able to play the different characters, and since we had a lot more women this year than men, it just kind of happened naturally,” she said.

As history was written, though, a lot less was known about the women who helped shape Glenwood Springs in those early years, unless they were relatively wealthy.

An image taken from filming of last year's virtual ghost walk at Linwood Cemetery.
Chris Tribble

“So, we tried to find some stories that you don’t necessarily get to hear about, and people you might not have thought about,” Miller said.

Like Ella Stellar, who died at a young age. “It was quite the tragic story,” Miller said, careful not to reveal too much for those planning to join the tour.

Altogether, there are 10 different characters who will be portrayed during the walk, and it might not be the same ones each weekend. Multiple visits are encouraged.

A few male characters will make cameo appearances, including several of the men who worked the area coal mines; all portrayed by a single actor.

And, of course, Ed Hughes, one of the founders of Glenwood Springs who was credited for helping turn the somewhat rowdy, Wild West town into something a bit more civilized.

Ghosts reappear

After making a return in 2019 following a year’s hiatus due to a lack of volunteers, and then going virtual in 2020, the Glenwood Ghost Walk is now entering its 21st year.

The live-streamed event last October butted up against the 2020 presidential debates, so the live audience wasn’t what had been hoped for, Historical Society Executive Director Bill Kight said.

“But we recorded it and put it on our website with Spanish translation through a grant,” Kight said. “So, people can still go online and view last year’s virtual tour for free.”

Kight said he’s excited for this year’s theme, and the surprise format where people can take the tour twice and get to know a few different characters each time.

An image taken from filming of last year's virtual ghost walk at Linwood Cemetery.
Chris Tribble

Not being portrayed this year, or for the past few events, is the infamous Doc Holliday, after the actor who played the notorious gunslinger retired and moved away, Kight said.

So, if anyone out there thinks they might be up to the task in future years, there may very well be an opening.

To portray any character, part of the task is researching that person and becoming familiar enough with them to talk off the top of your head as if you are that person, he explained.

That’s not an easy thing to do, “but it comes across really well because our volunteers really get into the character and make it real, like you’re listening to them tell their story,” Kight said.

For the most part, the tour has always focused on people who are actually buried at Linwood Cemetery, which contains the grave of Doc himself.

The Ghost Walk serves as the largest single fundraiser for the Historical Society, usually generating about $8,000 to $10,000. Another fall fundraiser will be a gingerbread house contest at the Hotel Colorado, during the post-Thanksgiving holiday lighting celebration Nov. 26.

This year, money raised at the events will go to support some major historic preservation projects that are in the works, Kight said.

Glenwood Historical Society Executive Director Bill Kight and other volunteers work to fill and light lanterns before the start of the Friday night Ghost Walk at Linwood Cemetery in 2019.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

One of those projects aims to refurbish the Cardiff Coke Ovens near the Glenwood Springs Airport that had been vandalized.

“We haven’t been able to really stabilize them and we’re hoping for a grant so that we can reconstruct a couple of coke ovens and protect them better,” Kight said.

In conjunction with the city’s South Bridge project, the Historical Society also hopes to build a pullout and parking area at the coke ovens for people to visit and learn about their history.

Ghosts of Glenwood

Glenwood Springs’ ghost stories are pretty well known, especially those associated with the Hotel Colorado. Those stories are chronicled in some of Colorado’s ghost story books, including “Ghost Hunting in Colorado” by Clarissa Vazquez and “Guide to the Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps” by Perry Eberhart.

“Apparition Manor — True Ghost Stories of the Hotel Colorado” by Kathy Rippy Fleming is all about those local ghost stories.

“There are some really good ghost stories right here,” Kight said of the 1905 Victorian-style house at Colorado Avenue and 10th Street that houses the Frontier History Museum.

“This house reportedly has the presence of ghosts, and we had a group come in that has some special meter that they use, and they did get a reading up in the bedroom, where an image appeared,” Kight said. “Some people I know in town said they had experienced ghosts here when they were children coming here to visit … and smelling and seeing one of the characters smoking a cigar. They’ve come back since and said they smelled a cigar in the dining room.”

The Historical Society also gave ghost tours at the Hotel Colorado prior to the pandemic, and hopes to resume those again some day, Kight said.

“It always seems to be around this time of year that they have things happen at the hotel, like electronic stuff not working or the chandelier in the big dining room being broken,” he said. “We just lay it on the ghost … you just accept that we live with ghosts, and keep moving on.”

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

Doctor’s Tip: Optimizing your gut microbiome — prebiotics, probiotics, postbiotics and exercise

“The single greatest predictor of a healthy gut microbiome is the diversity of plants in one’s diet,” Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, MSCI, in “Fiber Fueled.”

This is another column in a series about the gut microbiome and health. An optimal microbiome contains a large diversity of health-promoting bacteria, and today we will discuss how you can achieve and maintain that.

AVOID ANTIBIOTICS unless absolutely necessary. For example, five days of ciprofloxacin wipes out a third of gut bacteria, and although most species recover within four weeks, some are still absent after six months, and your microbiome may never completely recover. A course of clarithromycin or metronidazole can have harmful effects on the microbiome for four years.

AVOID PROCESSED FOOD, ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS AND OTHER FOOD ADDITIVES, all of which have a deleterious effects on gut bacteria.

AVOID ANIMAL PRODUCTS, or at least cut down to a minimum amount. Meat, dairy, seafood and eggs all encourage growth of disease-promoting gut bacteria.

AVOID SUGAR AND TOO MUCH SALT (recommended maximum is 1500 mg a day), which harm the microbiome.

PREBIOTICS refer to what healthy gut bacteria eat:fiber. Animals have bones that hold them up, whereas plants have fiber that holds them up. Only plants contain fiber. There is evidence that when humans were evolving, people ate at least 100 grams of fiber daily, and this is true in primitive societies today; the average American eats 15 grams. To optimize your gut microbiome, eat a variety of vegetables daily, including cruciferous veggies, legumes, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds. People with the healthiest microbiomes eat at least 30 different plants a week.

PROBIOTICS are bacteria in supplements touted to improve the gut microbiome and are controversial. Being supplements, they are poorly regulated, so you never know what you’re really getting. They have not been shown to help reestablish the gut microbiome during or following antibiotics and, as a matter of fact, have been shown to delay normalization. Furthermore, they only last for a couple of days.

FERMENTED FOODS, on the other hand, are loaded with good bacteria and are useful for optimizing the microbiome. Bulsiewicz recommends that we all eat some daily, but they are especially useful for people with gastrointestinal issues and during and following a course of antibiotics. Examples are sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh and Japanese natto, all of which have a high salt content, so eat small portions. Another fermented food is sourdough bread, which can be made without salt. Kombucha is a popular fermented drink, but look for a variety with a low sugar content. Kombucha is acidic and can erode tooth enamel, so dilute it with water. Yogurt is a fermented dairy product, and if you avoid dairy, Kite Hill yogurt is made from almond milk — buy only the plain, because the flavored varieties contain a lot of sugar.

POSTBIOTICS refer to the health-promoting substances made by an optimal gut microbiome — such as short chain fatty acids.

EXERCISE results in a 40% increase in healthy gut microbes. Adequate sleep and stress reduction also support a healthy microbiome.

EAT AT REGULAR TIMES: Remember, you aren’t just eating for one but for several trillion bacteria as well. What you eat is what they eat. They are on a regular, circadian rhythm, and the good bacteria thrive best when you eat at three regular meals a day, and don’t skip meals.

Dr. Feinsinger is a retired family physician with special interest in disease prevention and reversal through nutrition. Free services through Center For Prevention and The People’s Clinic include: one-hour consultations, shop-with-a-doc at Carbondale City Market and cooking classes. Call 970-379-5718 for appointment or email gfeinsinger@comcast.net.