R.I.P Chuck Berry

During the video Mr. Berry says that “Sweet Little Sixteen” was dedicated to a young fan in Denver, Colorado.

From The Chicago Tribune (Greg Kot):

Chuck Berry, who died Saturday at 90, was one of the architects of rock ‘n’ roll as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. More than any artist of the ‘50s, his songs exploded with imagery that saw rock ‘n’ roll not just as a fad but as the future — a vision of freedom that transcended generation and race.

Berry’s opening solo on “Johnny B. Goode” blared reveille for subsequent generations of rockers. Every rock guitarist since is in his debt. In addition, Berry wrote and sang at least two dozen rock ‘n’ roll classics, including “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Back in the U.S.A.,” many of them recorded at Chicago’s Chess Studios in the 1950s and ’60s and later covered by countless artists, including the Beatles, Beach Boys and Rolling Stones.

“If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry,’ “ John Lennon once said…

Born Charles Edward Anderson Berry in St. Louis in 1926, Berry grew up singing in church and listening to blues and country music on the radio. An admirer of Louis Jordan, T-Bone Walker and Nat “King” Cole, he began playing guitar in high school. As a teenager, he was sent to a reformatory after being convicted of attempted robbery. He moonlighted as a beautician in St. Louis and worked on a car assembly line to support his family. While in his twenties, he led a three-piece blues group during regular weekend gigs.

Berry developed a sound that synthesized genres and created the most popular template for rock ‘n’ roll: a small, guitar-led combo performing original songs. A half-century before, country guitarists borrowed riffs and runs from blues performers. Berry flipped the formula; he was essentially a country-music guitarist who added blues inflections and a faster rhythm-and-blues beat. Plus, he played electric guitar, and the amplification enabled him to simulate the sound of two or three guitars playing at once. He thickened the sound by employing a two-string technique, sliding along the frets and bending them to create enormous power and drive. His tone evoked a trumpet.

Berry’s staccato-laced rhythmic drive also derived from swing jazz and the ebullient boogie-woogie played by another St. Louis musician, pianist Johnnie Johnson, who would become his often unsung collaborator. Johnson would sue Brown in 2000 for songwriting credit on more than 50 songs, but the claim was dismissed because a judge determined too much time had passed since the songs were written. Together, they played counterpoint melodies and solos that raised the excitement level of countless classic songs, with Johnson’s strong left hand and Berry’s hard strumming beefing up the rhythmic pulse.

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, who acknowledged that his own rhythm-guitar style was based on Berry’s technique, said the guitarist “always was the epitome of rhythm and blues playing, rock and roll playing. It was beautiful, effortless, and his timing was perfection. He is rhythm supreme.”

The Berry-Johnson partnership was forged on New Year’s Eve 1952, when the guitarist was enlisted as a last-minute replacement for an ailing saxophone player in the Johnnie Johnson Trio in East St. Louis. Berry became a regular in the already well-established band, and soon became the star attraction with a style that included his signature “duck walk,” skipping across the stage in a half-crouch while playing his guitar.

“Every weekend, they’d be looking for Chuck,” Johnson told the Tribune in a 1992 interview. “When he’d play that guitar, the people would form a circle and square dance. Chuck did this song from the Grand Old Opry, ‘Ida Red,’ and the people loved it.”


Berry came to Chicago in spring 1955 determined to become the next Muddy Waters. On hearing Berry’s guitar playing, Waters was impressed enough to introduce him to Leonard Chess, co-founder of Chess Records, who encouraged the handsome, articulate stranger with the big hollow-body guitar to make a demo tape.

The tape included Berry’s bid for blues stardom, the slow, sensual “Wee Wee Hours,” with a lavish Johnson piano line. But Chess much preferred another song on the tape, “Ida Red,” an old country song that Berry juiced up with comically exuberant boy-chases-girl lyrics involving a Cadillac Coup Deville and a V-8 Ford.

“The big beat, cars and young love,” Leonard Chess later said. “It was a trend and we jumped on it.”

Chess liked the song’s upbeat tempo and saw it as a way for his blues label to break into the teenage pop market. He was right. By Aug. 20 of that year, the song he retitled “Maybellene” was the No. 5 pop record in the country.

The song was as distinctive lyrically as it was musically. In the first line of his first hit, Berry coined the term “motorvatin’,” as if he were bent on reinventing the English language even as he invented rock ‘n’ roll. The longtime critic Robert Christgau called him “the greatest rock lyricist this side of Bob Dylan.” Narratives populated with images of cars, girls and school brimmed with humor and underdog charm. At a time when most grown-ups sneered at rock ‘n’ roll as mere juvenilia, Berry invested it with poetic power. Rock ‘n’ roll, in his telling, was more than just a passing fad, “kids music” that would be dismissed and forgotten in a year or two. In the vision laid out in Berry songs from “Roll Over Beethoven” to “Back in the U.S.A.,” rock ‘n’ roll was a world of endless possibility, a promised land where even a poor black kid could be a star.

His lyrics invariably identified with teenagers in their endless struggle with adult authority, and championed the idea that fun was just as much a part of growing up as preparing to be an adult. But he also infiltrated the charts with seemingly upbeat songs that painted subtle portraits of racism (“Brown Eyed Handsome Man”) and satirized the work-day runaround (“Too Much Monkey Business”).

He also celebrated his newborn sound and its break from the past. As an African-American who had his fill of the status quo, there was double-edged meaning when he sang, “Hail, hail rock ‘n’ roll/Deliver me from the days of old.”

The narrators and protagonists in his songs were inevitably thinly veiled alter-egos, never more so than “Johnny B. Goode,” the little country boy “who could play his guitar just like a-ringin’ a bell.” He also demonstrated a feel for Latin music in “Havana Moon,” doo-wop in “Almost Grown” and deep blues in “Childhood Sweetheart.” From 1955 to 1959 he had nine top-40 hits, an African-American in his thirties who embodied the yearning, joy and frustrations of a largely white, teenage audience.

Granada wrestles with debt load for water and landfill infrastructure

View of Amache (Granada) concentration camp, c. 1944, Colorado Courtesy of Densho, the George Ochikubo Collection

From The Prowers Journal (Russ Baldwin):

The Granada Trustees are faced with two expensive issues that will impact the town’s residents in the future. The Trustees discussed their revenue options to upgrade the aging water lines in the community, a matter that is being carried over from last year; and how to afford to bring the town’s landfill into compliance with state regulations, again with only limited funds available needed to correct those deficiencies. The Trustees met in regular session, Wednesday, March 8th at the town complex.

The main concern is being able to repay a zero percent, 30 year, Drinking Water Revolving Fund Loan which could save 80% of the cost of the two phase project. Last year, a rough estimate of the complete project, wells and pipeline, would cost approximately $2.2M with $1.17M for the distribution system and administrative costs and another million dollars for rehabilitating the tanks and drilling a fourth well. Consultants from GMS Engineering want to touch base with the Trustees to get a determination on a possible grant from the Department of Local Affairs which would help pay down costs. Even with grant funding, the cost to the community would be in the neighborhood of $600,000.

Agriculture Day at the Capitol set for March 22 in Denver

Denver City Park sunrise

From The Prowers Journal:

The 48 ag organizations that make up the Colorado Agriculture Council will once again host Agriculture Day at the Capitol, starting at 10:45 a.m. and featuring the teaming up of 13 local chefs with various lawmakers and ag representatives in a cook-off competition of Colorado-grown foods. Lunch will be served around 11:30 a.m.

Producers, the public and media are all invited to attend the event, which takes place as part of National Agriculture Week.

The Colorado ag event at the State Capitol has become one of the most popular events under the Golden Dome – attended by about 1,000 people last year, including the governor, state legislators, farmers, ranchers and many others.

Each year, the event showcases all that Colorado’s ag industry does for our state, highlighting its efforts in feeding Colorado’s 5 million-plus people, its stewardship of our resources, and its $40 billion economic impact – a top two or three contributor to the state’s economy each year. The event also recognizes the ag industry’s incredible generosity to those in need, as Colorado producers continue to be some of the biggest supporters of the state’s food banks.

“This has got to be the most popular event that happens in the State Capitol, and for good reason,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in his remarks during last year’s Agriculture Day at the Capitol. “We take the quality of our food, the freshness, the diversity and abundance that we enjoy, and we mix that in with the shelters, and making sure that we provide as much food as we can for those who are less fortunate. It’s amazing.”

Anyone looking for more information about Agriculture Day at the Capitol can contact event manager David Collie at david@5280culinary.com.

#Snowpack news

Westwide basin-filled SNOTEL map March 17, 2017 via the NRCS.

From The Kiowa County Press:

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently released its Colorado Water Supply Outlook Report, based on March 1 figures, which marks the third comprehensive, update for Colorado since the “2017 water year” began on Oct. 1.

According to the report, statewide snowpack levels had decreased some since the Feb. 1 report, but remained above the historic average statewide.

#Drought risk under #ClimateChange

From the PLOS.org:

Drought risk assessment under climate change is sensitive to methodological choices for the estimation of evaporative demand


Several studies have projected increases in drought severity, extent and duration in many parts of the world under climate change. We examine sources of uncertainty arising from the methodological choices for the assessment of future drought risk in the continental US (CONUS). One such uncertainty is in the climate models’ expression of evaporative demand (E0), which is not a direct climate model output but has been traditionally estimated using several different formulations. Here we analyze daily output from two CMIP5 GCMs to evaluate how differences in E0 formulation, treatment of meteorological driving data, choice of GCM, and standardization of time series influence the estimation of E0. These methodological choices yield different assessments of spatio-temporal variability in E0 and different trends in 21st century drought risk. First, we estimate E0 using three widely used E0 formulations: Penman-Monteith; Hargreaves-Samani; and Priestley-Taylor. Our analysis, which primarily focuses on the May-September warm-season period, shows that E0 climatology and its spatial pattern differ substantially between these three formulations. Overall, we find higher magnitudes of E0 and its interannual variability using Penman-Monteith, in particular for regions like the Great Plains and southwestern US where E0 is strongly influenced by variations in wind and relative humidity. When examining projected changes in E0 during the 21st century, there are also large differences among the three formulations, particularly the Penman-Monteith relative to the other two formulations. The 21st century E0 trends, particularly in percent change and standardized anomalies of E0, are found to be sensitive to the long-term mean value and the amplitude of interannual variability, i.e. if the magnitude of E0 and its interannual variability are relatively low for a particular E0 formulation, then the normalized or standardized 21st century trend based on that formulation is amplified relative to other formulations. This is the case for the use of Hargreaves-Samani and Priestley-Taylor, where future E0 trends are comparatively much larger than for Penman-Monteith. When comparing Penman-Monteith E0 responses between different choices of input variables related to wind speed, surface roughness, and net radiation, we found differences in E0 trends, although these choices had a much smaller influence on E0 trends than did the E0 formulation choices. These methodological choices and specific climate model selection, also have a large influence on the estimation of trends in standardized drought indices used for drought assessment operationally. We find that standardization tends to amplify divergences between the E0 trends calculated using different E0 formulations, because standardization is sensitive to both the climatology and amplitude of interannual variability of E0. For different methodological choices and GCM output considered in estimating E0, we examine potential sources of uncertainty in 21st century trends in the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) and Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI) over selected regions of the CONUS to demonstrate the practical implications of these methodological choices for the quantification of drought risk under climate change.

US Drought Monitor March 14, 2017.

Cotter Mill spill

Lincoln/Cotter Mill Park superfund site

From The Pueblo Chieftain:

Colorado Department of Public Health officials on Friday received a report of a spill that occurred at the Cotter Crop. Uranium Mill south of here.

Steve Cohen, Cotter manager, reported the spill occurred just before 8:30 a.m. as Cotter workers were trying to drain a section of pipes that connect the new and the old pipeline. A new pipeline is being installed to prevent contaminated water escaping the site.

About 5,200 gallons of water was spilled, all of which was contained within the trench and Cotter workers were able to recover most of the spilled water using a water truck, said Warren Smith, health department spokesman.

From Canon City Daily Record (Kara Mason):

It’s unclear how much “slightly contaminated” water seeped into the ground or will evaporate, but Steve Cohen, Cotter’s plant manager estimates around 3,000 to 4,000 gallons were picked up with the truck.

The spill happened when Cotter workers were attempting to drain a section of pipe where the old pipe and the new replaced pipe connect. A brittle or cracked valve is to blame, Cohen said. “Basically when the workers touched the valve it blew.”

The valve will be replaced, Cohen added.

The water was contained in the trench where pipeline construction has been ongoing for the last couple of weeks. Now, the water will return to the impoundment pond on Cotter property.

Cotter is replacing the pipeline after several leaks the last couple of years. Last August, Cotter reported a 7,000-gallon leak, which occurred over the course of 48 hours. That leak was the result of a hairline fracture in the pipleline — which is now being replaced on site.

Despite the most recent spill, Cohen said the pipeline replacement is still on track to finish the final week of March.

Cotter is required by Colorado law to report spills to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which posts the information on its website. CDPHE is expecting a report on the spill next week.

Arkansas River Basin Water Forum Seeks Nominees for Bob Appel Award

Arkansas River Basin — Graphic via the Colorado Geological Survey

From The Prowers Journal (Russ Baldwin):

Nominations are being accepted for the 13th Annual “Bob Appel – Friend of the Arkansas” Award that is presented each year at the Arkansas River Basin Water Forum.

This year’s forum will be April 26-27 at the Hotel Elegante, 2886 S. Circle Drive, Colorado Springs. Reservations and information about the program are available at http://www.ARBWF.org.

The award, named for one of the forum’s founders, is intended to honor an individual who has over the years demonstrated a commitment to improving the condition of the Arkansas River as it flows from its headwaters near Leadville to the Colorado-Kansas state line.

The award is meant to recognize someone who has helped to promote the best management practices in the usage of water in the Arkansas River basin. Such efforts may include contributions in the general areas of development, preservation, conservation and/or leadership…

Past winners include Mike Conlin, Denzel Goodwin, Paul Flack, Reed Dils, Carl Genova, Allen Ringle, Bud O’Hara, Alan Hamel, Steve Witte, Greg Policky, Lorenz Sutherland and Bernard Smith.

Nominations may be sent to: Jean Van Pelt, Arkansas River Basin Water Forum, PO Box 11295, Pueblo, CO 81001, or ARBWF1994@gmail.com. Nominations must be received no later than 5 p.m. Monday, April 3, 2017.

A perfect time to rethink your yard. (That would be now) – News on TAP

Changing seasons, changing landscapes: How to turn your yard into a water-efficient urban oasis.

Source: A perfect time to rethink your yard. (That would be now) – News on TAP