The valley rings in the New Year |

The valley rings in the New Year

Shely Cruz and Emelina Iraheta

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” I don’t know how much I believe in New Year’s resolutions. There are tons of things I’d like to change about myself, from biting my nails less to reading more, but I’ve never been much of a joiner ” in group actions, that is. Still, I do believe in people.

Recently, I walked around Glenwood and tried to gauge where my fellow Coloradans are at this New Year’s. Are they full of excitement? Pessimism? Something else entirely?

Namely, what are their resolutions for 2009? What are their hopes? Here’s what our neighbors had to say on a blustering, wintry afternoon.

Tucker Porter, 6, from Sweetwater was pretty shy about the whole thing. He hid behind his mom, Andrea, and told all his answers through her. He wants peace on Earth, she said, and for no one to go hungry. She said he hopes to get a “10 out of 10″ on his school’s spelling tests, as well ” though he sounded much more excited about the little carnival he’ll have for his birthday this coming year.

Glenwood’s Heather Bean, 13, wants to “keep active and play school sports,” she said.

And she’s not kidding about that. Currently, she does volleyball, soccer, track, golf and gymnastics.

Nomi Phillips, 35, of Carbondale wants to go back to her summer house in Peru (her home country) as much she can this next year. Her husband, Jason, and kids, Lucianna and Luke, will come along. She’s also looking forward to having her sister, Sandra, finally come for a visit. She’s supposed to be Lucianna’s godmother, you see, and they’ve waiting to do the ceremony for two years now.

“We’re trying to baptize my daughter, but we keep postponing and postponing it,” Nomi said.

Eric Larsen, 22, of New Castle usually doesn’t make resolutions because, in his words, “you never know what’s going to happen.” But next year, he’s got one big goal: To get a new car, hopefully an Audi ” even if it takes him all of 2009.

“I just bought a new home,” he said, “so money is tight.”

Friends Emelina Iraheta, 31, and Shely Cruz, 29, were laughing as they stood outside Safeway. Emelina, originally from El Salvador, and Shely, originally from Mexico, have the same weighty wish for 2009. They just want the economy to get better.

“We hope he can change the situation here,” said Shely, talking about President-elect Barack Obama.

“Everybody wants it to get much better,” explained Emelina.

In terms of resolutions, theirs were the same as well: To work hard and save money for their families. Each has two boys (Shely’s are Uziel and Alexander, and Emelina’s are Milton and Daniel).

As Emelina put it, she hopes her kids “grow up in a country with peace. They can feel their parents support them.”

Naomi Niemann, 84, of New Castle doesn’t make resolutions anymore. She’s not sure she ever really did, even back when, in her words, she was “full of vim and vigor.” But she certainly has some dreams for this country.

“I’m just hoping and praying we can get ourselves in gear again and get ourselves out of this situation we’re in,” she said. “I think it’s too bad.”

And she hopes Obama “does a lot of good,” she went on ” not that she voted for him or anything.

Tracy Wolff of Glenwood is hoping for “Peace and happiness for all” ” short and sweet.

Roaring Fork Valley newbie James Bailey, 25, feels like his New Year’s resolutions came earlier this year. Simply arriving in Snowmass Village from Georgia changed him, explained the great-great-grandson of Robert E. Lee (by marriage). Since coming here a month ago, he’s stopped smoking.

“I just feel like it’s so nice out here, and the air is so fresh and clean, it would be doing injustice to myself,” he said.

In terms of future goals, he hopes to settle down around these parts and to use those skills he just learned in college (he recently graduated with a degree in land surveying and mapping). He’d love to build a new life in this valley.

“I like it out here,” he said.

For the last couple of months, Kristin Enanoria’s family has been trying to get healthier, so that would be her resolution, explained the 38-year-old homemaker. In terms of hopes, hers are simple.

“Not to go down in the economy,” she said.

Angie Herrington of Silt and Christy Godeski of Glenwood were warm inside their work, the Glenwood Sewing Center, as snow fell outside. As always, said Christy, her goal this year is finish more things ” in a timely fashion.

“I always say, ‘If it wasn’t for the last minute, I wouldn’t get anything done,'” she said, laughing.

Angie added that she wants to get to all her “UFOs” this next year ” as in “unfinished objects.”

“That’s a quilting term,” she explained, nearly laughing as well.

She also hopes her son finds a new job. As a pilot for DHL, he’s supposed to be laid off.

And, of course, both women wished for a “happy, healthy family.”

At Summit Canyon Mountaineering, a group of cool-looking teenagers and 20-somethings were on vacation from Durango and Boulder. One of the bunch, Duncan Gulliford, 20, said his hope for the future is “to live until 2012.” Erin Sornsin, 17, chimed in, with a little sarcasm, that she hoped “to live beyond 2012.”

Their buddy, Scott Norman, 22, made it clear that his resolution “was not to quit smoking.”

No, he’s going for something much more out there. He wants to travel around the world and record indigenous music, just like his favorite record label, Sublime Frequencies.


Judy Fitzsimmons, a cheery 67-year-old who lives between Carbondale and Glenwood, resolves to “get more organized.” When it comes to the country on a whole, she wants it “to get back to the way it should be.”

“Peace of course, peace especially, number one,” she said. “And hope for all the people in need, to find a way for them to have a better year. I hope it will all get better for them.”

Then the 35-year valley resident smiled and added, “And also, I feel it’s a blessing to live here.”

For Joshua Rousu, a painter, sculptor and heating/air conditioning technician out of Glenwood, his resolution is all about temperature.

It’s “to move to a place that’s always warm,” he said. “Maybe a sprinkle of fall mixed in.”

Perhaps that means Costa Rica, he explained, maybe Santa Fe. Wherever it is, he wants it to be friendly and open, not so crowded as this valley has gotten. Then he held up a copy of “Can Humanity Change?” by J. Krishnamurti, who he called “awesome.”

“For the world, I wish that everyone would read this man’s work,” he said.

Lane Domingues, 25, who was tending bar at Doc Holiday’s Tavern, would like to start going to church again. She is also full of excitement for her next big adventure: Marriage. The ceremony will be in March in her old home of LaFayette, La. She just moved from there a year ago.

“And I hope Obama treats us well,” she said. “And that the war is over.”

The owner of Glenwood’s Chocolate Moose Ice Cream Parlor, Silt’s Melisa Bellio wants all those people who’ve been laid off recently to get “bigger, better jobs.” Right now, her problem is the opposite, as it looks like she has more jobs than she could ever want. Besides running the store, she is driving her son to figure skate in Aspen several times a week, farming alfalfa with her husband and building a home.

Not surprisingly, she’d enjoy a little more time for herself this coming year ” “For my art and writing books, children’s books,” she said.

Lily’s Consignment Store manager Kelly Bender, 25, and sales rep Karen Richardson (self-described as “40-something”) were nodding and agreeing with each other’s words.

“Health and happiness is all I could hope for,” said Kelly.

Karen talked about those who’ve recently become unemployed.

“I just want them to get better jobs and for there to be more jobs,” she stressed.

Yvonne Siebert, 59, of Rifle is going to try to be healthier. She also wants “All the children that are in foster homes to be adopted,” she said.

Simon Brand, 20, of Johannesburg, South Africa wants “to stop living with my mum.”

A film student in his native country, he’s currently in Glenwood for several months as he saves up money for school. After stating his hope for Obama to pull troops out of Iraq, he gave a shout-out to his homeland.

“I also hope that South Africa is adequately prepared for the 2010 Soccer World Cup,” he said, proudly. “It’s happening in South Africa.”

Ginny Gera of Glenwood said she would love to use her credit cards less this year. Then she smiled an excited smile.

“I just found out Saturday I’m having a grandchild, and so I’ve got hopes for a healthy baby,” she divulged.

So perhaps that credit card resolution might not work out after all, she admitted.

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