Fear, Loathing and Selfies on the Burro Trail

By Hal Walter At the starting line of the World Championship Pack-Burro Race in Fairplay, an ill-saddled donkey exploded bucking and kicking, causing a minor riot among the other animals and their humans waiting for the gun. On the other side of the street, another burro kicked out repeatedly in angst. My own burro tried […]

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Between Fire and Flood

By Hal Walter After the driest spell in recent memory, the rains came pitter-pattering on the leaves of thirsty plants, splattering upon the dusty ground and at last creating a steady pouring sound as the water streamed from the roof splashing into the flower beds. I’d just finished a long period of “work” which mostly […]

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A Pyrrhic Victory?

By Hal Walter When we last left off in the continuing saga of our efforts to get Harrison on Medicaid coverage through the Children’s Extended Support (CES) Waiver, his application had been denied by the state, and I was determined to raise hell about it. As background, Harrison is diagnosed with autism and ADHD, and […]

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From the Editor: Newsprint Blues

By Mike Rosso Hal Walter’s column this month struck a chord with me. I too worked for both the Pueblo Star-Journal and Chieftain newspapers years ago. I was employed as a photographer and Hal came on board about six months after I left. We finally met in Salida shortly after I moved here in 2001.

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Closing a Chapter in Colorado Journalism

By Hal Walter If all the portents are correct, The Pueblo Chieftain, the last of Colorado’s family-owned major daily newspapers, could be sold to a chain before you read this, and along with it a volume of non-news stories from within its walls will fade entirely into the banality of corporate-run media. My own story […]

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The Rugged, Figurative Terrain of Deep Sport

By Hal Walter For the past couple of years I have been at least partially absorbed by the concept of something called “Deep Sport.” The notion stems from Deep Ecology – explored by the poet-essayist Gary Snyder – which speaks to the inherent worth and value of all living beings beyond their perceived value to […]

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At What Cost?

By Hal Walter I’ve followed with keen interest a case in which parents sued Colorado’s Douglas County School District to pay tuition after pulling their autistic son from the public system and placing him in a $70,000-per-year private school for special-needs kids. The parents claimed the district did not provide adequate education for their child, […]

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Wearing A Cause On My Sleeve

By Hal Walter My wrists are often bruised and bear small cuts or scars. When my son Harrison gets frustrated or angry he often hits my arm or grabs me by the forearm and squeezes, frequently digging in with his fingernails. Sometimes he grips my wrist with both hands and butts his head against it. […]

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A Snapshot of Gratitude

By Hal Walter I don’t get a lot of photo assignments, but I wish I got more like the one this past Thanksgiving week. Publisher Mike Rosso emailed, overwhelmed with a production deadline and a move. He asked if I happened to know the Rusk family and if I could perhaps take pictures of them to […]

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The Perfect Season

By Hal Walter It was one of those awkward encounters. A casual acquaintance threw out a random statement and it made me think. In this case it was in a grocery store and the statement was essentially that there’s such a gap in this country, everything from homeless people “doing nothing” begging in the streets […]

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The Last Word: Commissioner Hal?

By Hal Walter The early morning phone call caught me by surprise. It was a longtime and well-respected friend and neighbor. As I was rushing about trying to get my son Harrison to the school bus, he quickly explained he was calling on behalf of some local citizens hoping to draft me to run for […]

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Postcards from Summer Vacation

By Hal Walter It was perhaps fitting that the first real day of school coincided with the solar eclipse. For like the eclipse, it’s difficult to imagine such an event will happen until it actually does, and you don’t want to stare at the date on the calendar too hard lest it burn a hole […]

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What if Wildflowers Could Sing?

By Hal Walter Peter May has been a musician for most of his life, and even co-produced and played on a Grammy Award-winning album, but he never dreamed he’d be the composer for one of the greatest symphonies in the universe – nature. The 52-year-old Michigan native and longtime Crestone resident recently released his new […]

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Whither Pack-Burro Racing?

The sages tell us that everything is always changing, and in fact the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that nothing endures but change itself. Thus is the case of Colorado’s indigenous sport of pack-burro racing. It began back in 1949 with a race over Mosquito Pass to Fairplay. Nearly seven decades later I’m beginning to wonder […]

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The Weed of Wrath

By Hal Walter Marijuana. Most folks are either decidedly for it or against it. Me? I’m mostly a weed spectator though I lean toward the libertarian viewpoint that a person has the right to do whatever to their own body so long as it doesn’t harm others. Like it or not, marijuana is now legal […]

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