@DenverNorthHigh Class of 1969 50th Reunion: Go Vikings!

Denver North High School class of 1969 50th Reunion at the Mount Vernon Canyon Club August 23, 2019. Photo credit: Allen Jimenez

I had a great time at my 50th high school reunion this weekend at Mount Vernon Canyon Club and at Denver North High School. It was amazing to see so many classmates. When I couldn’t remember someone I told them it was because I was always ditching school back then so I mainly knew my fellow juvenile delinquents.

Denver North High School at dusk. Photo credit: Humphries Poli Architects
From a hallway at Denver North High School August 24, 2019.
Wood carving of a Viking ship from the Denver North High Alumni Center August 24, 2019.

Remembering Bob Trout — Greg Hobbs

Remembering Bob Trout
by Greg Hobbs

I was Bob’s colleague at Davis, Graham & Stubbs and Hobbs Trout & Raley from 1979 to 1996. Bob is one of our finest Coloradans.

When I joined the Colorado Supreme Court in 1996 and became the Justice assigned to the Civil Rules Committee, I recommended Bob’s appointment to the committee. The best of the best trial lawyers served on this committee. They knew Civil Procedure thoroughly – engaging in prolonged, detailed, scholarly and practical debates every time they considered recommending or not recommending an amendment to the Civil Rules. At that time there was no Water Court Committee. So, Bob, the only water attorney on the Civil Rules Committee – and since water court practice also involves the Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure – through his active and intelligent participation crucially served everyone connected with water court practice and trial practice in general. I mean he held forth with the best of the civil practice attorneys, plaintiff and defense, corporate, the gamut!

I knew Bob would serve well on Civil Rules, for I had experienced his consummate skills as a trial attorney in the federal reserved water rights case involving the forest claims in Water Division No. 1, followed by the very complicated Thornton/Bijou case in which Bob carried a heavy load on behalf of the water users. Bob’s integrity, his calmness under fire (how did he do that!), his meticulous preparation of the facts and expert testimony for trial, and his excellent presentation to the courts both as a trial attorney and an appellate attorney — he exemplified for younger attorneys the traits of a master officer of the court.

Bob was kind, humble, straightforward, true and dedicated to his family. What a fine father to his son and daughter and husband to Jill. For the seventeen years we practiced together, I clearly saw that everyone who came in contact with him relied on his good judgement and his ability to draft all kinds of legal instruments – solving client problems practically with a great deal of equanimity. What a stellar person in all ways with staff, clients, attorneys, engineers, civic organizations and members of the public!

There’s a reason why Bennett and I coaxed Bob to accept the Managing Partner role when we established Hobbs, Trout & Raley in 1992. Competence! We became Hobbs & Trout soon thereafter when Senator Hank Brown asked Bennett to withdraw from the firm and go to Washington D.C. to help the Senator bring about the 1993 Colorado Wilderness Act. When Bennett returned, we became Hobbs, Trout & Raley once again. The firm became Trout & Raley when I joined the Supreme Court in May of 1996. The Northern District’s legal business never skipped a beat! The Board was very confident with Bob as its Principal Counsel. So much so, the District honored his energy and light by naming the hydropower plant on the southern water supply delivery pipeline below Carter Lake’s dam and spillway after him. Very few attorneys are ever honored by such a client in such a way.

When we look to Long’s Peak. When we see the Colorado Big-Thompson pipeline traversing the Great Divide from Long’s Peak to Carter Lake’s dam and spillway – delivering sterling water to the people, farms and businesses stretched out on the plains – we see Bob’s hand at work.

This Tasty Seaweed Reduces Cow Emissions by 99%—and It Could Soon Be a Climate Gamechanger — Good News Network #ActOnClimate #WeCanFixIt

Asparagopsis taxiformis, (limu kohu) formerly A. sanfordiana, is a species of red algae, with cosmopolitan distribution in tropical to warm temperate waters By Jean-Pascal Quod – The uploader on Wikimedia Commons received this from the author/copyright holder., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33353890

From The Good News Network:

A puffy pink seaweed that can stop cows from burping out methane is being primed for mass farming by Australian researchers.

The particular seaweed species, called Asparagopsis, grows prolifically off the Queensland Coast, and was the only seaweed found to have the effect in a study five years ago led by CSIRO. Even a small amount of the seaweed in a cow’s diet was shown to reduce the animal’s gases by 99%.

Associate Professor Nick Paul, who is the leader of the Seaweed Research Group at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), said that if Australia could grow enough of the seaweed for every cow in the nation, the country could cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 10%.

“Seaweed is something that cows are known to eat. They will actually wander down to the beach and have a bit of a nibble,” Dr. Paul said.

“When added to cow feed at less than 2% of the dry matter, this particular seaweed completely knocks out methane production. It contains chemicals that reduce the microbes in the cows’ stomachs that cause them to burp when they eat grass.”

The USC team is working at the Bribie Island Research Centre in Moreton Bay to learn more about how to grow the seaweed species, with the goal of informing a scale-up of production that could supplement cow feed on a national—and even global scale.

“This seaweed has caused a lot of global interest and people around the world are working to make sure the cows are healthy, the beef and the milk are good quality,” Dr. Paul said.

“That’s all happening right now. But the one missing step, the big thing that is going to make sure this works at a global scale, is to make sure we can produce the seaweed sustainably.

Job Announcement: General Manager Position Northern Colorado Water Association Wellington, #Colorado

From email from the Northern Colorado Water Association:

The Northern Colorado Water Association (NCWA), a Colorado non-profit corporation, which provides potable water service to approximately 1,500 rural customers in northern Larimer County, is seeking a General Manager. NCWA provides domestic water to the rural area roughly between Fort Collins and the Wyoming border; and between the foothills and the Interstate 25 corridor. Existing sources of water supply include wells and connections to area water districts. The current General Manager is retiring at the end of 2019 and it is anticipated that the replacement would start around December 1, 2019.

If you are qualified and interested in applying for this position, please email your resume and a letter of interest identifying your unique qualifications to perform the required duties to rich.ncwa@cowisp.net by September 1, 2019.

Duties of the General Manager include the following:

Provides overall company management, subject to review and approval by the Board of Directors.

Provides overall company management, subject to review and approval by the Board of Directors.

Responsible for all aspects of financial management including:

  • Budgeting
  • Billing
  • Revenue
  • Expenditures
  • Payroll
  • Cash flow
  • Banking
  • Investments
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Coordination with outside accountants/auditors
  • Preparation of monthly reports of financial activities for the Board of Directors
  • Performs continual monitoring, assessment, and identification of the water system’s capability to provide reliable water service to existing and future customers including:

  • Evaluation of water system supply capability
  • Determination of ability to serve new taps
  • Identification of needed capital improvements
  • Assessing maintenance needs
  • Evaluation of raw water supplies
  • Long range strategic planning
  • Coordination with outside consultants/jurisdictional agencies
  • Participates in extensive communication and coordination with the Water System Operator relative to field activities and system operation

    Responsible for human resource activities including;

  • Hiring employees
  • Compensation
  • Performance evaluation
  • Acquiring and administering employee benefits
  • Filing periodic government reports
  • Addresses customer questions and/or complaints

    Attends Board of Directors meetings, prepares agendas, takes minutes, and advises the Board of the company’s activities, status, etc.

    Organizes the annual Membership meeting, provides legal notice, secures proxies, and provides a report of the company’s activities during the previous year to the attendees

    Administers the acquisition and maintenance of office equipment and software

    Acquires and coordinates legal counsel when appropriate.

    Organizes and maintains company records

    Other activities that may arise or be directed by the Board

    Photo credit: Melissa Wiseheart via the Northern Colorado Water Association

    #Colorado Farmers Market Week highlights direct-to-consumer role — Ag Journal #farmersmarket

    Sorry, I missed National Farmers Market Week (August 4-11, 2019). Here’ a report Candace Krebs that’s running in The Ag Journal:

    Farmers markets play an essential role in providing farmers with direct access to consumers while allowing them to earn retail prices for what they produce.

    With seasonal markets now brimming with produce, it’s an ideal time to celebrate Colorado Farmers Market Week, which was designated by Governor Jared Polis to coincide with National Farmers Market Week during the first full week in August.

    “We’re very excited to have the support of the governor’s office to highlight farmers markets across Colorado,” said Rosalind May, executive director of the Colorado Farmers Market Association.

    Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture introduced the snappy catchphrase “Know Your Food, Know Your Farmer” back in 2012, weekly visits to seasonal outdoor markets have become a routine part of life for many shoppers.

    “Farmers markets serve as small business incubators for farmers and value-added producers,” May said. “We’re at a time when people really want to know where their food comes from. People are really looking for that connection.”

    The markets also play an important public health role by creating access to fresh, local food in their communities. Many of them accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) vouchers and use double-up food bucks to stretch those funds even further.

    “We can provide better access to fresh fruits and vegetables for recipients while supporting local farmers at same time,” May said.

    Countless farms have used the markets to get started, expand, diversify or bring the next generation into their operations.

    Jeni Nagle, sales director for Ela Family Farms of Poania, has been bringing fresh fruit and prepared items like applesauce, jams and fruit butters to the Boulder Farmers Market since 2006.

    “We are actually able to grow new farmers because of this market,” she said on a recent Saturday morning as shoppers streamed by.

    In addition to being among the largest in the state, the Boulder market consistently ranks among the top ten farmers markets nationwide, attracting an estimated 70,000 visitors a year. It is so popular that getting a space to sell there can take years on a waiting list.

    Nagle said a number of factors contribute to the success of the market, starting with the fact that it is organized as a nonprofit run by the farmer vendors.

    “They keep the fees low,” she said.

    Farmers markets do best when they prioritize the needs of the growers, May confirmed, adding that many of the markets charge lower fees to farmers than to other vendors and give them more stall space.

    They also rally around them when crops are lost to hail or other natural disasters, making it a point to educate customers about the risks inherent in farming.

    In short, community support is vital.

    “Support from cities and local businesses adds to the strength of the markets and makes them vastly easier for the market managers to run,” she said. “Some of the markets are even run by the cities, and that can make a huge difference.”

    As an example, she cited the Greeley market, which is run by a city employee and housed under a special shade structure the city built.

    The surrounding farms are what give many Colorado communities their character, but loss of water rights, lack of labor and cheaper foreign imports are chipping away at that legacy.

    Nagle said small orchards are dying out all over Colorado simply because it’s just not economically feasible to sustain them.

    “The only way we can keep going is with direct marketing,” she said. “Without being able to charge retail prices, all of the Ela apple trees would be gone. That’s why our direct customers are so important to us.”

    Ela Family Farms is an organic operation that relies on 11 farmers markets in the Denver area to help pay the bills.

    Ironically, it was here in Boulder where Steve Ela’s family first got into fruit production. Ela’s grandfather planted his first orchard in the Boulder area before the family eventually migrated west to Paonia, where their farm is located now.

    As old family orchards die out, a renewed interest in old apple varieties is being rekindled. At the University of Colorado-Boulder, researchers started the Boulder Apple Tree Project in 2017 to seek out and map old orchards and graft heirloom varieties onto hardier rootstock so they wouldn’t be lost for good.

    “I’m in awe that those might be the same apples my grandfather tended,” Ela said during a cider-tasting workshop held in Denver in mid-July.

    Ela grows 32 different apple varieties, including some that are considered worthy of protecting due to their rarity and unique flavor.

    Farmers markets have helped rejuvenate demand for novelty products, enhancing biodiversity and keeping things interesting for growers as well as shoppers.

    At the Boulder market, fourth generation Kersey farmer Kyle Monroe was beaming about a recent interview he did with National Public Road in which he shared the story of what he calls the “Greeley wonder cantaloupe.”

    “My great grandfather saved the seeds from it, and now we are bringing it back out of extinction,” he said with obvious satisfaction. “We even sent some of the seed to Svalbard, in Norway, to be put in the seed vault there.”

    Monroe said the one-of-a-kind melons can weigh almost 20 pounds by harvest.

    Despite his enthusiasm, Monroe was also candid about the challenges market growers face.

    That morning he and three other workers scrambled to pick 250 bushels of produce before heading out to the markets.

    Labor shortages and water skirmishes are taking a toll, he said.

    He credited the burgeoning hemp movement as a factor making it more difficult than ever to hire and retain good help.

    In fact, Monroe is planning to try the government’s H-2A program for the first time next year, even though many growers complain that it’s expensive, inflexible and often unreliable.

    The program is costly because it requires employers to provide transportation and housing for foreign workers and sets a pay level based on salaries in the area. But a big positive in Monroe’s mind is that it also limits foreign workers to working only for the farm that brings them in.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that it is proposing some changes to the H-2A program, evoking praise from the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Western Growers and other industry groups.

    The proposed rules are intended to streamline and simplify the process. Suggested provisions include electronic filing of job orders and applications, some flexibility for post-certification modifications, staggered entry of H-2A workers, updates to how the “adverse effect wage rate” is calculated and other changes intended to add flexibility and make the paperwork less burdensome.

    Back in May, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visited with Colorado produce growers at Sakata Farms in Brighton to discuss ways to make the program easier to use.

    Like Robert Sakata, who heads up the fruit and vegetable growers association, Monroe has stopped growing sweet corn, even though it is a popular summer staple. There’s just too much hassle involved in harvesting it and not enough labor to go around, Monroe said.

    On top of that, many customers now prefer to buy their corn already shucked, he said.

    Highlands Square farmers market in Denver. Photo credit: Colorado.com

    There are advantages to commuting by bicycle #Denver #Colorado

    Coyote Gulch on the Clear Creek Trail near Little Dry Creek Lake in the industrial area of S. Adams County August 9, 2019.
    Clear Creek Trail near Little Dry Creek Lake in the industrial area of S. Adams County August 9, 2019.

    Meet your local anti-government extremist groups — @HighCountryNews

    From The High Country News (Tay Wiles, September 27, 2017):

    Since the election of President Donald Trump, a steady stream of right-wing street rallies have brought together an array of extremist groups — from white supremacists to self-styled militias that espouse anti-government ideologies.

    Meanwhile, investigations continue into the Trump team’s potential collusion with Russia during his presidential campaign, raising the prospect of impeachment or indictments. Roger Stone, a former adviser and longtime confidant to Trump, recently told a reporter with TMZ that an impeachment of the president would cause “a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you’ve never seen.” Stone also supported Trump’s recent pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted in federal court for criminal contempt. Stone is now urging a pardon for Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who is about to go on trial for leading an armed confrontation with federal employees. Given Stone’s insurrection statement, the push for presidential pardons in spite of federal court orders, and a spike in hate or bias incidents following the election, it’s worth understanding some of the key players of anti-federal ideology, hate and extremism in the West today.

    Oath Keepers

    The Oath Keepers are one of two of the most well known of the country’s 165 or so militia groups. They are named for the oath that members of the military or police take to defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. You might see the oft-armed Oath Keepers in camouflage battle dress uniforms posturing as peacekeepers or security at “free speech” rallies.

    Oath Keepers were among the militia groups that showed up to support Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy during the 2014 armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service. They also spent weeks in the fray in Burns, Oregon, during the 2016 armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

    You might also see them doing community service, running security for your local Republican, Libertarian or Tea Party events, or in the mix at a variety of emergency situations from the 2015 riots in Ferguson, Missouri, following the killing of Michael Brown, or the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

    The Oath Keepers are fixated on apocalyptic scenarios. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a progressive organization that tracks extremist groups, calls the Oath Keepers’ core tenets “a set of baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government working to destroy the liberties of Americans.” For instance, they are committed to “NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.”

    Yale Law School graduate Stewart Rhodes founded the Oath Keepers in 2009. The group now claims 30,000 members and specifically recruits current and former members of the military and law enforcement.

    In recent months they have tried to distance themselves from the white supremacist and nationalist movements emboldened since Trump’s election. For instance, Oath Keepers nixed their plans to attend a right-wing rally in San Francisco in August because the organizing group, Patriot Prayer, couldn’t promise white nationalists wouldn’t show up. Similarly, the Three Percent leadership told its members to “stand down” after anti-racist activist Heather Heyer was killed during protests organized by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.

    Danny Vanderschelden, the grounds keeper for the Sugar Pine Mine group. He says he makes a living mining up in the mountains. Oath Keepers, a group of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic” in Josephine County, Oregon stood up at the Sugar Pine Mines in April to defend miners’ rights to due process.

    Three Percent

    Like the Oath Keepers, the Three Percent are Second Amendment activists and one of the most well known militia groups today. Their network is less centralized than the Oath Keepers’, with individuals using the name to create loosely affiliated local groups across the country.

    In 2008 Michael Vanderboegh of Alabama, who died last year, founded the Three Percent. The group takes its name from the unsubstantiated claim that only three percent of American colonists took up arms against the British. Vanderboegh was a fierce critic of gun control laws, the SPLC reports: “In the wake of the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre, he warned in emails sent to more than 1,000 employees of the Connecticut State Police that they risked ‘initiating hostilities’ if they tried to enforce the state’s tough new gun control law.”

    Three Percent members participated in the 2014 Bunkerville standoff, in support of the Bundys. Vanderboegh said after the incident: “It is impossible to overstate the importance of the victory won in the desert today. The feds were routed.” Eric Parker, a defendant who will appear alongside Cliven Bundy in court for the standoff in October, is a former vice president for the Three Percent of Idaho. “The militia were shopping for a cause,” when the Bunkerville standoff happened, says J.J. MacNab, an anti-government extremism expert.

    A Three Percenter spokesman Chris McIntire distanced the group from the Malheur occupation, at the time saying, “We didn’t make any calls to arms nor plan or advocate any form of armed uprising.” But like the Oath Keepers, they lingered in the nearby town of Burns, Oregon, during the occupation, posturing as peace-keepers or even mediators between law enforcement and the occupiers.

    Three Percent and Oath Keepers are just two of the most well-known of 623 far-right anti-government groups operating nationwide today. That number is down from 1,360 in 2012, according to the SPLC. Yet as of last year, multiple armed groups were active in every Western state, from the Washington Light Foot Militia to the Arizona State Militia.

    Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association

    In 2011 former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack created CSPOA, which asserts that county sheriffs represent the supreme law of the land, superseding federal law enforcement. As of last year, the group claimed 4,500 members, including 200 sheriffs. The constitutional sheriffs movement has been particularly strong in Western states, where local and county officers can have tense relationships with federal land agencies.

    Two prominent CSPOA sheriffs recently made national headlines for their ties to Trump. Last month Trump used his presidential authority to pardon former sheriff Joe Arpaio, who helped found the CSPOA. “Trump does seem to buy into the idea that sheriffs are the highest law enforcement of the land,” MacNab says, “which signals to the anti-government extremist movement that he’s one of them, though I don’t know if he’s one or not.”

    Another CSPOA member, former sheriff David Clarke, of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, was rumored to be in the running for a position at the White House last month. Clarke was a vocal supporter of Trump during the campaign last year. He has since taken a position with the pro-Trump America First Action PAC.

    According to Politico, Michael Barkun, an expert on political extremism, calls the CSPOA philosophy “radical localism” because “it valorizes and exploits subnational sources of power. In theory, that kind of localism could be a vehicle for many kinds of politics, but in practice constitutional sheriffs and their followers tend to occupy the edges of anti-government conservatism.”

    Border militias

    Independent militia groups have sporadically patrolled the U.S.-Mexico border for many years, aiming to stop drug smugglers, human traffickers and undocumented immigrants from entering the country, where they say federal border patrol agents aren’t doing their job. The movement dwindled in the late-2000s. One of the most well-known groups, the Minutemen, which once claimed 12,000 members, is now defunct. But other groups around the country still operate in the area, as Mother Jones chronicled through undercover reporting with the Three Percent United Patriots last year. Another organization, Arizona Border Recon, founded in 2011, may now be “the only vigilante group with a continuous presence on the Arizona-Mexico border,” Arizona Republic reports.

    While militia members describe positive relationships with the federal government and see themselves as the eyes and ears of U.S. border patrol, there have been many reports of paramilitary groups getting in the way of the feds and local officers. According to the Arizona Republic, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada “is a vocal critic of Arizona Border Recon, saying such groups can do more harm than good to local law enforcement’s efforts ability to police their jurisdictions.”

    Sovereign citizens

    This movement emerged in the 1980s, based on a mix of anti-Semitic and anti-government beliefs. Sovereign citizens see government institutions as illegitimate and are known for evading taxes and resisting judicial authority by filing unnecessary court motions with fringe legal theories, or putting liens on judges to ruin their credit ratings as a form of protest. (A sovereign citizen appears to have recently filed a lien for $1.5 million against U.S. District Court of Nevada judge Gloria Navarro, for her dealings with the federal case against the Bundys.) In 2011, experts estimated about 100,000 hard-core sovereign citizens existed nationwide. “In the late 2000s and early 2010s, most new recruits to the sovereign citizens’ movement are people who have found themselves in a desperate situation, often due to the economy or foreclosures, and are searching for a quick fix,” the SPLC reports. “Others are intrigued by the notions of easy money and living a lawless life, free from unpleasant consequences.” While sovereign citizens represent a distinct movement, there is some overlap with other so-called “Patriot” groups, which include militias and a variety of other far-right organizations.

    Hate groups

    Aside from these typical Patriot groups, the West is home to a large number and wide variety of hate groups. According to the SPLC, the number of hate groups grew from 784 to 917 between 2014 and 2016; within that, anti-Muslim groups rose sharply, from 34 to 101. Hate groups can be found in every Western state, ranging from the white nationalist American Vanguard in Utah, Arizona, California and Washington, to the anti-Muslim Treasure Valley Refugee Watch in Meridian, Idaho, and the anti-LGBT Family Watch International in Gilbert, Arizona.

    Many of these groups have existed in the West for a long time, and it remains unclear how they will grow or change now that a candidate many of them supported is in the White House.