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With dwindling opportunities to write individual greetings for Christmas and the New Year I have, like so many of my relatives, friends and colleagues, succumbed to the lure of the annual newsy letter to be posted on my website.

It has been a long while since Sylvia and I have sent out special messages to everyone but it seems that the older we get the less time we have to pursue everything we would like to accomplish.

I can no longer remember the exact dates, and now even the exact year, as the days slip by so quickly that exactness seems less significant...only that certain events happen that impact our lives that give us reason for celebration and/or consternation.

Some of the more memorable do include the four "procedures" on my body parts that tended to slow me down...temporarily. A TURP, gall bladder and nose polyp removals and migrating kidney stones. However, having been near-sighted all my life I can now see at a distance like a 4 power scope, offset by having to have reading glasses for everything else. We are finding that compromises come daily and feeding habits are often dictated by what we need vs. what we desire, e.g. I can no longer partake of one of my favorite foods, chili, even in the "mild" form. Sylvia is one of the healthiest latter middle-age persons around sticking to all the best recommended "live longer" diets and keeping her weight just right. She has had an encounter with vertigo but has been to a rehab specialist and faithfully does her exercises and is much better.

We continue to put out bird seed and water and while it was a very good late spring and early summer we are very dry again). The deer are drinking all the water in the bird "bath" almost every night and eating any of the green grass exposed after my weeding around the house. We had several pair of Scaled Quail coming in during the summer and one pair had 24 (a full 2 dozen!) chicks but have not been back recently. Our resident Towhees who stay all winter and nest under the porch are still here as well as Juncos, Flickers and a collection of Jays: Shrub, Pinon and a single Steller's. The usual migrants have been through plus an ill-advised very late departure by a Gnatcatcher who should be soaking up some sun much further to the south. It (very difficult to distinguish sex) has been trying to find a companion in its reflection in the door and car windows. I have built a box under the deck just in case it decides to spend the winter. There are about 40 elk on the south end of the ranch and several herds of Pronghorn in the immediate area. This was a good year for the Mule Deer and we are seeing quite a few twin fawns.

Obviously, we are still enjoying living apart from town and having the solitude that affords all of the wildlife in our midst.

To be able to keep all of the amenities and the occupied property I have taken on a new profession. Although I am still in training as I complete my CDL licensing I will be a propane delivery, service, painter and salesperson for Rocky Mountain LP headquartered in Westcliff, CO. They also have offices in Wyoming and in Bolder, Walsenburg and as well as yards in Rye and La Veta, Colorado. It has already been a very good experience being out in the backcountry of the southeastern part of the State and seeing lots of wildlife (including the Bighorns on the way to work) plus learning the history and taking pictures of the incredible scenery and early settlements first-hand. One of the best perks is meeting some really interesting customers/characters. Recently, we were setting a tank and although we had an appointment the residents didn't appear to be home, but just in case they had not heard us approach I looked inside an outbuilding to see if someone was there and, WOW! What I saw were extraordinary watercolors of a variety of species from the refuge they had established on a pristine location at the southwestern base of Greenhorn Peak. It had a log cabin homestead, a creek running through it and a unique house that we later learned had been built by the artist and his wife, Roz. When we went back to hook up the tank for his studio I met Jim McCain who has been recognized many times in numerous venues for his work. He invited me back when I had some time to spend which gave me the chance to connect him and his wife with Jim Richerson, Director of the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center and Linda Crawford, a major sponsor of exhibits for the Pueblo institution. Sylvia and Jim's wife, Judy, joined in the excursion and got to see the fabulous art work, property and the house which had been constructed from salvaged wood from a warehouse in old Pueblo. Roz had made delicious apple pies from their orchard that was a perfect end to a great day.

Not long ago while trying to restore one of the company's propane hot water heaters, "Z" (for Zollie, who recommended me for the job with RMLP) and I met Amos Mace, a bright young man who is in charge of running his father's wood working shop near La Veta. As it turns out it is one of the largest specialty wood suppliers in the country with an 18K sq. ft. sales outlet in Denver. Amos invited us to visit the operations when Selena comes back home briefly in January. Dr. Selena is now Southern California Regional Manager for Reef Check California, a 20 year old firm helping to ensure the long-term sustainability and health of reefs and kelp forests. She coordinates the activities of volunteers and marine biologists doing research along the coastline from northern CA to Baja. Naturally, we are extremely proud of her and her accomplishments.

Bryce and Roxie are now sharing a home in Midland, Michigan with Demar and her husband, Michael and their two children, Vera and the new baby, Oliver. They are all doing well which makes us very happy.

As usual, this turned out much longer than I had planned so will end by wishing everyone a very special holiday season, a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!!!

NOTE: These are my comments related to a recent series of conversations re climate and water specifically.

In response to: Study Finds Temperature Adjustments Account For ‘Nearly All Of The Warming’ In Climate Data.

They are chasing a "ghost rabbit" down a bottomless hole....

Yes, there ARE fluctuations in the weather that do occur on a regular/cyclic basis and seasonal variations have and will continue to happen.....

BUT that is not the point that needs discussion and constant monitoring....the FACT that "science" and the results retrieved from careful evaluation of PAST climatic changes e.g. the altithermal, glaciation peaks, warming or cooling oceans, etc. has proven that the current alterations have never happened as quickly and consistently as they are right NOW.....

Now, why is that occurring? Every indication and scientific evidence is concluding it is because of the increased elements in the very complex atmosphere, e.g. CO2, which is at its highest level in 3 million years (and yes that is measurable) and could THAT affecting the conditions that we are experiencing....YES!!!

Let's step back and look at the big(er) picture.....what if....this is all a hoax and all these "scientists" are colluding for political reasons.....1.) What would be their point/agenda, what would they have to gain over the past several decades of warning that we were getting into, maybe headed for, an irreversible change? 2.) Even if we heed the warnings, what possible challenge is there to trying to clean up the environment, pollution is undeniable and affecting millions (look at every news cast from Beijing to India), 3.) Our reefs are dying at a faster rate than at ANYTIME in the past (and yes we know that), 4.) Edge habitat species are becoming extinct (the last time that occurred was over 7,000 years ago), 5.) What if, we clean up our air, rivers, lakes and even the oceans what harm will that have on the human population?

Our resources are finite e.g. the Ogallala aquifer, that underlies the Great Plains is, because of daily irrigation of millions of acres, dropping a foot a what? There is no recharge and in places it has already dropped below windmill level and is becoming below irrigation pump level and even if we drill deeper the largest underground water reservoir in North America will have been depleted by mid-century if usage is continued at the existing rate.

Finally, I find myself defending the scientific method a lot these days....reckon why that is....who, what, when, where, why and how does "fake news" become real?

It is now hard for the varying views to back down and each other.....and come to conclusions that benefit society as a whole...we need to, no "but's", no "and's, no "if's" or "maybe's"

The latter is factual....I held a "water conference" while I was at NMJC and that was the evidence based on hundreds of tests done from Nebraska to Texas...bottom line the aquifer is only about 100 ' deep in most places...deeper in extinct river channels but the depth below the surface varies from 400 ' in the Northern Plains to about 100 ' in the Southern Plains....this is "Paleo water" generated during the last Ice Age and recharge is only 0.024 inches / year in the southern part.

The first well was drilled in TX in 1911 near Lubbock which was 130 ' deep....In Hale County by 1930 there were 170 wells, by 1960, 4,300 and by 2008, 8, the surrounding 15 counties there are 88,000 wells with over 15,000 shut down, no longer able to pump water = dry.

The most recent info I was able to retrieve predicts at the current the depletion rate we could see all but a small percentage of wells going dry by 2028....the surviving resource will be in Nebraska (where the aquifer gets its name) and that will be in some 1,000 ' wells....So....I was being

It's always about education....we haven't done a very good job....actually a poor job of responding and relating to the general public....e.g. the water issue...states are now suing other states over "rights" and families are suing families that live on the other side of the road from the conservation initiatives...Selena (Calvin's PhD daughter specializing in ocean reefs) is seeing the degradation of reefs far beyond anything expected at this point...there have been several major "conferences" but that was academicians talking to the choir....It has to go beyond PBS.... It might have been possible to expand the Paris accords beyond politics but doubtful....there will always be debate but right now that is not getting either "side" to the table to discuss the challenges that start locally but affect globally....In TRYING to listen to both views I'm finding myself very frustrated by the lack of civility and the automatic refusal to listen and communicate with one another...which, I will add at the expense of offending a vast majority of the population, is reflective of the current "atmosphere" we find ourselves facing in our democracy. I guess by my nature I'm a mediator, and always, at least, seeking a solution...but that is certainly becoming more complicated.... cbs

February 3, 2017

Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

In the February 6, 2017, Time Magazine, on page 29 in an article entitled, "Trump can thank the arts for his wealth", by Karen Finley, it states in part, "As part of upcoming budget cuts [President] Donald Trump plans to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities and privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting." Ms. Finley goes on to defend the funding for these entities and has made some valid observations but has missed the larger, more significant far reaching point that the elimination of these entities would have on our society as a whole.

I have been blessed to be in the museum profession for half a century, having helped establish several cultural institutions and was founder, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Museum Studies at Baylor University for 20 years. We had 150 graduates from our program during my tenure and had placed 90% of them in the profession before I retired in 2003. Therefore, my comments are from a different perspective than those of Ms. Finley's and bring a contrasting experience to the conversation.

Most importantly, it should be acknowledged that from the Egyptians, to the Greeks to the Native Americans their cultures are identified and remembered for their contributions to civilization by the artifacts, art and architecture that they created. The only way we have to procure, protect and promote our current National identity in perpetuity is by and through our museums. It should be noted that there are more visitors to museums annually (850 million) than to all sporting events combined (483 million) and received more than 500 million on-line visits a year when last verified several years ago.

As 501(c)3 educational public trusts museums receive only a small portion of their operating funding from governmental agencies (city, county or nationally) relying primarily on tax deductible contributions from citizens within the communities they serve. In turn, the museums continually invest more than $2 billion each year on educational programming and interpretive activities for K - 12 students. Museums also rank in the top 1% of the most trusted institutions in the world and they employ more than 400,000 Americans contributing over $21 billion to the economy annually. A similar amount is spent in businesses by visitors to the local cultural organizations with over 75% of travelers and tourists participating in their offerings.

Bottom line, for every $1.00 invested in museum oriented endeavors $7.00 is returned in tax revenues, therefore, museums are good for the economy and are not, and never have been, a drain on the Federal budget and what is allotted to the NEA and NEH are, and should be considered as incentive, start-up and infrastructure monies that create more jobs, producing more tax income and greater economic recovery the more that is invested in their operations, responsibilities and fulfillment of their missions.

Finally, in the commitment to preserve our various heritages for posterity, museums have been charged with conserving the over 2 billion objects held in U. S. collections and with over two thirds of our museums in economic stress and one state supported museum recently being closed temporary for lack of funds, there should be some consideration given to increasing grant monies through, for instance, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for the necessary care and proper storage of this priceless patrimony.

Thank you for allowing me to voice another opinion on how devastating the eradication of these governmental agencies would be for the country, the economy and the future of the most dependable form of educational opportunities for children of all ages, as we all remain children in some aspects of the learning process.


Calvin B. Smith, President and CEO

Legacy Museum Consulting

1747 Newton Road, Pueblo, CO 81005

Phone: 719/485-1747 Cell: 719/252-6714



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