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‘Just pure love’ — Gay for Good Rocky Mountains celebrates one year

This weekend, Gay for Good Rocky Mountains celebrated its one-year anniversary of bringing LGBTQ community members together for humanitarian projects in the Roaring Fork Valley.

However, as chapter leader Steve Mills explained, bringing Gay for Good — or G4G, as it’s known in social media branding — to the Western Slope was no easy task.

“All of the other chapters are in larger, metropolitan areas,” Mills said of the nonprofit organization, which from Los Angeles to New York City has 15 chapters across the U.S.

“They didn’t have any track record to know if a rural chapter would be successful and so they had some hesitation approving our chapter. Ultimately they did, and we have completely wowed them.”

Each month, Gay for Good Rocky Mountains partners with an area nonprofit for a community service project. Recent and upcoming events included picking up 170 pounds of trash in Carbondale, as well as building homes alongside other Habitat For Humanity volunteers.

“It’s kind of a two-fold approach,” Mills said. “We can bring the LGBTQ community and its allies together to meet each other and build synergy, but then also partner with nonprofits that have a need for volunteers.

“It was a win, win.”

Today, the local chapter, which welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and straight residents of the greater Roaring Fork Valley area, has over 200 members.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mills previously volunteered for the City of Angels’ Gay for Good chapter. Inspired by the philanthropic work the L.A. chapter performed, Mills was further motivated to get a chapter up and running in the Roaring Fork Valley.

“It’s a great way to give back and it’s a great way to meet new people,” Mills said.

Formed shortly after the Lake Christine Fire’s outburst last summer, one of Gay for Good Rocky Mountains’ first projects included beautifying Basalt High School’s grounds.

“It didn’t have any bells and whistles. It didn’t have anything super shiny,” Mills said. “It was just something very subtle to just ease them into coming back to school after a pretty horrific summer with the fire.

“We didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because we don’t need a pat on the back,” he added. “We’re not looking to gloat. We just wanted to make it very subtle and just having something nice for when the kids arrived that day.”

Between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. July 28 at Carbondale’s Mountain Fair, Gay for Good Rocky Mountains will staff the beverage tent as part of its annual fundraiser. All tips collected will go toward the nonprofit organization’s mission of bringing the LGBTQ community together to give back to the local communities it calls home.

Mills hopes that, in Gay for Good’s second year, it could further ewngage the local Latino community as well as partner with more Colorado River Valley nonprofit organizations in New Castle, Silt and Rifle.

“Positive interactions,” Mills said of what Gay for Good is all about. “At Gay for Good anyone is free to be who they want to be. And they know that there is no judgment, just pure love.

mabennett@postindependent.com

TRLL 8-10 boys baseball wins districts, hosts state tourney

Despite an early loss in the 8-10 boys baseball district tournament the first weekend of July in Grand Junction, the Three Rivers Little League boys’ baseball team showed a ton of resilience.

The team battled back to get out of the loser’s bracket and claim the tournament championship to advance to the state championship next weekend.

Thanks to the district championship win, Three Rivers Little League will host the state tournament July 19 – 22 at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel, giving the valley a boost in local youth baseball exposure for the weekend.

Opening up the district tournament in Grand Junction on June 25, the Three Rivers Little League All-Star team picked up a 16-14 win over Colorado River Valley Little League, thanks to a walk-off grand slam to advance to the next round of the bracket.

There, Three Rivers then picked up a 13-2 win over Grand Mesa to advance to the third round before the all-star team dropped a tough 19-13 decision to Monument, pushing Three Rivers to the loser’s bracket.

In the loser’s bracket, Three Rivers showed a lot of heart and resilience, according to head coach Tom Dion, as the boys won its bracket matchup with Fruita Monument, 12-11. A walk-off steal punched Three Rivers’ ticket to the District 1 championship for a rematch with Monument.

“Every single kid on the team has heart,” Dion said. “They just fought and fought. We were down in the game against Fruita and had to fight again; the kids on this team just showed so much heart to get out of the loser’s bracket.”

After getting out of the loser’s bracket for the championship rematch against Monument, Three Rivers needed to beat Monument twice to claim the championship.

The boys did just that, grabbing a 19-15 win over Monument in the first game thanks to a 12-run fourth inning, before winning the tournament on July 1 with a 17-12 decision, setting off a huge celebration for players, coaches and fans.

“It was surreal,” Dion said. “The team, going into the first championship game knowing we had to beat them twice, fought hard and got through it.”

Dion said the team was definitely nervous heading into the first matchup in the championship round, but once the game started the confidence was there.

“Then, when we won, the team went crazy,” he said. “It’s the first time this age group for Three Rivers has won the district championship, so it’s pretty special.”

Turning their attention to the championship tournament, Three Rivers returns to action at 5:30 p.m. July 19 at Crown Mountain Park.

“We obviously want to win the whole thing, but I just want the kids to take the experience away from this opportunity,” Dion said. “Most of them probably won’t have this again in their lives, so I just want them to enjoy the moment and take it all in.”

The Three Rivers Little League All-Star team is made up of players from Edwards, Eagle, Gypsum, Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Aspen, who played in the regular season in either Minors or Major-Minors for the TRLL.

Team members include: Cain Courtney, Chase Fenton, Ricardo Gutierrez-Juardo, Aiden Justice, Quintin Lovato, Evan Neuman, Tavin Shreeve, Diezl Dion, Clayton Fulk, Brayden Hughes, Kenyon Lovato, Mason McCormick, Gabriel Ortega, and Ryder Strablisky.

In addition to head coach Dion, assistant coaches are Jason Neuman and Chris McCormick.

jcarney@postindependent.com

Mulhall column: ‘De-Brucing’ Colorado

On July 2, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis welcomed former Reagan economic advisor Art Laffer to the capitol to help gin up Republican support for Proposition CC, which would allow Colorado to keep and spend $1.2 billion in tax revenue surpluses estimated over the next three years.

These revenue surpluses would ordinarily get refunded under Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), and right now there’s $575 million on the table, so Gov. Polis may call a special session to make a play for it.

Why?

Perhaps because some of Colorado’s Democrat leaders don’t think something like a Constitutional amendment should stand in the way of spending.

Under TABOR, state and local governments, including schools, cannot raise tax rates without voter approval. Likewise, if tax revenues roll in faster than the rate of inflation and population growth, Colorado cannot spend the windfall without voter approval.

To many, TABOR’s not a popular amendment, and nearly every article on the subject invokes the fact that TABOR’s author spent time in the pokey for tax evasion, as though you’d have to flip a lot of rocks to find a slimier SOB. But the guy took taxation seriously, and in 1992 Colorado voters did too.

TABOR arises from the idea that government can only spend what it gets by taxing citizens, which as almost anyone will tell you is only true in laboratory conditions.

Every Colorado politician was once a citizen and at some point answered the question, “Government! What does it do, and what should it do?”

Even if a Colorado politician never answers that question publicly, his or her stance on TABOR tells you almost everything you need to know.

By 2010, most Colorado voters knew Jared Polis by his first of five terms in Congress, yet last year we elected him governor anyway, so it should come as no surprise that after his gubernatorial dalliances with gun control and the Electoral College, he’s now set his sight on TABOR.

Yes, this Nov. 5, your ballot might pose the question, “Without raising taxes and to better fund public schools, higher education, and roads, bridges, and transit, within a balanced budget, may the state keep and spend all the revenue it annually collects after June 30, 2019, but is not currently allowed to keep and spend under Colorado law, with an annual independent audit to show how the retained revenues are spent?”

What a rosy way to say “if you let us spend what we owe you plus any windfalls that occur from here on out, future politicians will show you how it’s spent.”

Yea, right.

A blank check. A Seventh Street beautification fund. A weekend at Bernie’s. Call it what you want, but Gov. Polis looks at surplus revenues due back to Colorado taxpayers the way a sweaty glutton looks at a porterhouse — a nice start.

And why not? The spending isn’t over when the surplus is gone, for Proposition CC “de-Bruces” Colorado.

What’s de-Brucing?

It’s a verb for undoing TABOR, and it came about because it happens all the time — 200 Colorado municipalities and 174 of Colorado’s 178 school districts have already de-Bruced to one degree or another, as well as numerous counties and special districts.

How do you “de-Bruce?”

That’s easy. Write a ballot measure like Proposition CC and get it passed. Up to now, no one’s had the chutzpah to do it at the state level.

Of course, de-Brucing Colorado begs the question, “Why have a constitutional amendment if politicians just work ways around it?”

The answer, of course, is that we shouldn’t — if you go by the view of those who see TABOR as an unenlightened nuisance that stands in the way of government.

From a social compact standpoint, de-Brucing is at best a dismissive way to look at consent of the people.

At worst? Well, that’s harder to imagine because it’s something like chaos — a social compact so constantly undermined that in time it fails to unify.

Mitch Mulhall is a husband, father and longtime Roaring Fork Valley resident. His column appears monthly in the Post Independent and at postindependent.com.

Gypsum’s Humerickhouse wins the Glenwood Open

One day after shooting an opening round of 65 Saturday at the Glenwood Open, Gypsum’s Keith Humerickhouse held on Sunday in the final round with a 72 to pick up the tournament win with a two-day score of 137. Humerickhouse’s final round of 72 was just good enough to defeat Denver’s Tyler Bishop in the championship flight as the Denver native shot a final round of 70 after a Saturday score of 68, finishing with a two-day score of 138.

Bishops’ final-round charge came up just short, as did Denton Walker’s in the championship flight as Walker shot a two-round total of 141 to finish four strokes off the lead.

In the first flight at the two-day Glenwood Open, Kirk Blaszyk won with a two-day score of 147, shooting a 71 on Saturday and a 76 on Sunday. David Sorel finished second in the flight with a two-day score of 149, shooting a 76 on Saturday and a 73 on Sunday up on the hill.

The second flight saw Josh Berns and Chris Hoffmeister tie for the lead as both shot a 160, with Berns shooting an 82 on Sunday and Hoffmeister shooting a 78. Jim Richmond and Shane Chatfield placed third and fourth with scores of 161 and 162 in the flight.

The third flight also saw a tie as Mike Wommack and Mike Hoffmeister shot two-round scores of 160 each, while Rifle twins Miguel and Hugo Mondragon shot rounds of 162 and 164 at the Open.

Closing things out in the fourth flight, Jim Otto won by five strokes, shooting a 164 to hold off Ron Stevens and his two-round score of 169. The fifth flight saw Todd Saunders win by 14 strokes with a 124, holding off David Vanderhoof with a score of 138.

jcarney@postindependent.com

Thiessen column: Megan Rapinoe’s anthem protests hurt the fight for gender equity

WASHINGTON — Nike has withdrawn a new Independence Day-themed shoe featuring the Revolutionary War-era flag after former NFL quarterback and Nike-endorser Colin Kaepernick complained that the flag was a symbol of the slave era, according to the Wall Street Journal. Nike offered a lame excuse that it had removed the shoe from retailers because “it featured an old version of the American flag.”

In fact, it featured the American flag that was actually in use in 1776 on the original Fourth of July, and it is named for the pioneering Founding Mother to whom its design is commonly attributed, Betsy Ross. As it happens, a version of that very flag was carried into battle by Union troops fighting to abolish slavery during the Civil War.

Sadly, Kaepernick, who blew up his NFL career by refusing to stand for the national anthem at games, is not alone in his hostility to patriotic symbols. Megan Rapinoe, the co-captain of the U.S. national women’s soccer team, refuses to place her hand over her heart with the rest of her team when the national anthem is played at the World Cup in Lyon, France. “I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart,” she told Yahoo Sports. “I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again.”

She says she is taking a stand against President Trump — sending an “F you” to his administration. But she started protesting the anthem in solidarity with Kaepernick in September 2016, before Trump was elected, when she played for the Seattle Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Let’s be clear: Rapinoe is an amazing athlete. Her heroics in the quarterfinal against France were a wonder to watch. And she has every right to express her displeasure with the Trump administration. Many Americans have legitimate grievances with the president.

But Rapinoe is not playing for the Trump administration; she is playing for the United States. It’s one thing for a professional athlete to protest the national anthem, but quite another for a member of Team USA to do it. Rapinoe is protesting the Stars and Stripes while wearing the Stars and Stripes. That’s not OK. Representing your country is a privilege, not a right. If she really feels she can’t show respect for the U.S. flag and anthem, then she shouldn’t wear the U.S. jersey.

Here’s the worst part. What she’s doing is selfish. Her protest comes at a time when the U.S. women’s team has taken an important stand against gender discrimination. They are suing the U.S. Soccer Federation because, despite being more successful on the field than the men’s team, and bringing in more revenue, they are paid significantly less than the men. They have a point, and the World Cup is a chance to rally the country behind their cause.

But instead of unifying Americans behind her team’s admirable fight for gender equity, Rapinoe is dividing Americans with her anthem protests. Untold numbers of Americans who might have been inspired to support the team’s cause have been alienated by its leader.

In 2017, at the height of the NFL anthem protests, polls showed that 64% of Americans said athletes should “be respectful during the national anthem,” while just 24% disagreed. Considering that only 42% of Americans approve of Trump, that means there are millions of Americans who, like Rapinoe, don’t like the president, but also don’t like athletes protesting during the anthem. Why drive these Americans away? How does that help the cause of gender equity in sports? Answer: It doesn’t.

Rapinoe has also said that if Team USA wins its fourth World Cup title, “I’m not going to the f— White House.” Good for her. Lots of athletes have refused White House invitations from Republican and Democratic presidents alike. She has every right to stay home if she wins. But she does not have the right to protest the U.S. national anthem when playing for the U.S. national team.

During the World Cup of Hockey in 2016, U.S. coach John Tortorella announced that “If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game.” Asked why, Tortorella told ESPN: “It is probably the most disrespectful thing you can do as a U.S. citizen.” He noted that “there are men and women that give their lives for their flag,” and those who have suffered “traumatic physical injuries, traumatic mental injuries.” Their service and sacrifice, Tortorella said, make it possible for athletes to play a game for a living.

He was right.

Follow Marc A. Thiessen on Twitter, @marcthiessen. (c) 2019, The Washington Post Writers Group

USWNT wins 4th World Cup title, 2nd in a row

LYON, France — The United States women’s soccer team was as good as American players promised — maybe even better.

Especially Megan Rapinoe, the pink-haired captain who emerged with the Golden Ball as top player, the Golden Boot as top scorer and a world-wide stature as a champion for gender equity.

The U.S. won its record fourth Women’s World Cup title and second in a row, beating the Netherlands 2-0 Sunday night when Rapinoe converted a tiebreaking penalty kick in the second half and Rose Lavelle added a goal.

Rapinoe scored in the 61st minute after a video review determined Stefanie van der Gragt had fouled Alex Morgan with a kick to the shoulder in the penalty area.

Two days past her 34th birthday, Rapinoe slotted the ball past goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal for her sixth goal of the tournament. The oldest player to score in a Women’s World Cup final, she struck a familiar victorious pose with arms outstretched.

“It’s surreal. I don’t know how to feel like now. It’s ridiculous,” Rapinoe said. “We’re crazy and that’s what makes us so special. We just have no quit in us. We’re so tight, and we’ll do anything to win.”

Lavelle, at 24 the team’s up-and-coming star, added her third goal of the tournament on an 18-yard left-footed shot in the 69th after a solo run from the center circle.

“She’s superstar, not even in the making, she’s straight up superstar at this point,” Rapinoe said.

Fans, many dressed in red, white and blue, chanted “Equal Pay!” at the final whistle , a reminder players sued the U.S. Soccer Federation in March claiming gender discrimination.

Rapinoe drew the ire of U.S. President Donald Trump during the tournament by saying she and teammates would refuse to visit the White House, part of the team’s wider push for gender equity. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio needed just a few seconds after the final whistle to invite the team to a ticker-tape parade up the Canyon on Heroes in Manhattan on Wednesday.

The Americans never trailed in the tournament and set records with 26 goals and a 12-game World Cup winning streak dating to 2015. U.S. coach Jill Ellis became the first coach to lead a team to two Women’s World Cup titles, and the U.S. joined Germany in 2003 and 2007 as the only repeat champions.

“It’s just chemistry. They put their hearts and soul into this journey,” Ellis said. “They made history.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino handed over the trophy, a stark contrast to four years ago in Canada, when then-president Sepp Blatter was a no-show as U.S. prosecutors investigated corruption in soccer’s governing body. While the U.S. added fourth star to its jersey, Germany is the only nation that has even two.

With confidence and brashness that some called even arrogant — triggering a backlash that the angry response was sexist — this American team established a standard of excellence that exceeded the U.S. champions of 1991, 1999 and 2015, becoming a goal for all others to match. Former American players joined the current generation on the field for the postgame celebration.

Alyssa Naeher, the 31-year-old who succeeded Hope Solo in goal, faced repeated questions entering the tournament but allowed just three goals in the tournament and finished with her fourth shutout.

The U.S. had scored within the first 12 minutes of its previous six matches in the tournament but the European champions sat back to keep their defensive shape and kept the score 0-0 through the first half.

Video review, adopted by FIFA for the men’s World Cup last year, showed its impact when Stephanie Frappart, the first woman to referee a men’s Ligue 1 match, went to the screen at the side of the field and then signaled toward the spot.

Rapinoe, who missed Tuesday’s semifinal win over England with a hamstring injury, became the first woman to score on a penalty kick during a Women’s World Cup final, her 50th goal in 158 international appearances. She matched Morgan and England’s Ellen White for most goals in the tournament and won the Golden Ball based on fewer minutes.

Rapinoe was given a standing ovation by the crowd when she subbed out in the 79th minute. The crowd of 57,900 at Stade de Lyon for Le Grand Finale included French President Emmanuel Macron.

The Americans opened the tournament with a record 13-0 rout of lowly Thailand, triggering debate over whether the celebrations after each goal were excessive. Carli Lloyd responded the next match by following a goal with a polite golf clap. Then Morgan stirred it up again when she scored against England with a tea sip, pinkie outstretched.

Chateau at Rifle resident Matty Baker celebrates 104 years

It is fitting for Matilda “Matty” Baker to celebrate her birthday just days before the nation’s birthday, because at 104 she is a real firecracker.

Vibrant as someone at least 20 years her junior, Baker was the center of attention last Saturday during the annual 4th of July celebration at the senior living establishment on the north side of Rifle.

Not your typical 104-year-old, until the last few months she had been walking a quarter mile twice a day around the facility with only a little help from a cane.

“It’s staggering, especially since she is so healthy,” her daughter and Basalt resident Maury Kaplin said. “People laugh when they ask, ‘How’s your mom,’ and I say her memory is starting to not be as good as it was — they look at me like I’m crazy. … She’s 104.

“She has been so sharp all along. She just goes on and on,” Kaplin said.

Recently, Baker began using a walker, but she will be the first to tell you she can still get around without it.

She said it comes in handy to pack around her tissue and serves as a purse to carry her personal items including a wallet, in which she still carries old photos of her children.

“According to the way it is, I can feel the age coming on, I can find things I used to do with ease difficult to handle, but I do it and I try to do it as best I can,” Baker said.

Surrounded by her daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter, grandson-in-law, two of her 15 great-grandchildren and all the residents and their families of Chateau at Rifle, a stunned Matty could only smile and try to hold back tears as she was given a birthday honor by the Colorado Commission on Aging.

Baker says she knew nothing about the surprise party for her 104th birthday.

In tribute to her 100 plus years of life, CCOA representative Chad Federwitz presented Baker with a framed certificate signed by Gov. Jared Polis.

“A hundred years of perspective, that’s amazing — 104 is even more amazing,” Federwitz said. “I think this award and honor of recognizing centenarians or people who live longer is another aspect of honoring how we as a state value older adults, It’s an opportunity to really reflect and look back at history, hear their perspectives.”

Rifle Mayor Barbara Clifton was also on hand to celebrate with Baker and her family as well.

“One hundred and four is very impressive,” Clifton said. “I think it is really important that we celebrate aging, and that we show its importance. Older people are valued, and they have a lot to contribute.”

A LIFE LIVED ‘MY WAY’

A resident of Chateau at Rifle for two-and-half years now, Baker is enjoying living the best life she can at her age.

She was born and raised on Long Island, hailing from Huntington, New York, approximately 40 miles from New York City, where she started her career.

“I lived in Manhattan, on 34th Street and 2nd Avenue overlooking the East River,” Baker said. “I had quite a tour.”

She was a dancer and taught dance until she was married, moved to New Jersey, and started her family. There, she and her husband, Bill, raised their three children, two boys and a daughter.

After losing her husband of 66 years, she went back to work.

“I got a job as an office manager at Bellevue Hospital in New York City,” Baker said.

She worked at the hospital for almost 10 years before retiring at the age of 71.

Living on her own after retirement, with only a little help during the daytime, Baker’s children thought she needed someone there with her at night, as well.

“I have a theory that everybody has got their own place. I love my children dearly, but I will not live with any of them — their life is theirs to live, and I’ll live mine,” she said.

“I fought it for a while, then my daughter insisted I come out here and stay with her.”

Kaplin and her husband Gerry, who retired to Basalt, talked Baker into moving to Colorado to be closer to them.

“We promised if she came out to establish Colorado residency, we would look for an assisted living residence for her — which we did,” Kaplin said.

Baker moved to Roaring Fork Valley in September 2016, and lived with her daughter and son in law for about four and half months. The family looked around the valley trying to find the closest place to the family’s Basalt home.

“We found the Chateau, and here I am, very content and delighted to make my own home, and do as I please,” Baker said.

Kaplin said that when they first came to visit the Chateau, everyone was welcoming and said hello to her mother. She remembers her mother saying she liked the place. It felt comfortable and friendly.

“It will be three years February first,” Kaplin said.

Kaplin and her mother say the place is a delight, she loves the staff and everyone has been great.

“I’m very content to be here,” Baker said.

LIVING ONE DAY AT A TIME

For Baker, a year ago when she turned 103 it seemed hard to face 104, and the same feeling comes over her as people begin to talk about her 105th birthday.

“It doesn’t seem possible, but what will be will be,” Baker said.

“I live from day to day. People come to me often and they ask me what did I do to obtain this age. Nothing unusual, I lived a normal life, I ate what wanted to eat and I still do. I’m not on any diets, and if I don’t like it, I don’t eat it. If I like it, I order it.”

Everyone at the Chateau has fallen in love with Matty Baker.

To many residents at the Chateau, she is known as momma, because she is old enough to be some residents’ mother.

“We love our momma, our grandmother and to some of us our great-grandmother,” said Chateau Executive Director Sonya Vick.

“She is my inspiration. I think she is everybody’s inspiration here at the facility. We all want to be like Matty,” Vick said.

Always the feisty one, Baker had a few parting words for family as the party came to a close Saturday.

“I once told my daughter, when I go, don’t cry over me, be happy I lived this long and had the life I lived, but don’t cry.”

To which she said Kaplin replied, “What if I do?”

“I’ll come back,” Baker said with a laugh that filled the room.

kmills@swiftcom.com