Off Limits

The joy of Pepsi

In response, Montero divulges a dirty little secret:

"Not filling the fountains was one little piece of trying to use water sensibly," she says. "The thing with the fountains is that they are very labor-intensive. They become a maintenance issue because of all the kids and dogs who use them, and dogs use no discretion -- so it's not like we can just leave the same water in there all summer in the state it is in. You'd be surprised how many times the crews have to clean those out."


"It's going to be a tough summer for folks," Montero concludes. "But the swimming pools will be open tomorrow."

Rock the Rockies: You might think that Bill Coors, president and chairman of the Adolph Coors Company, would be disappointed by the state legislature's decision to name rhodochrosite as Colorado's state mineral. After all, Coors is based in a town called Golden, and two of its products are known as the Silver Bullet and Extra Gold. Even aluminum might have seemed a more marketable choice as Colorado's first-place metal, since Coors was one of the pioneers in that industry.

But as it turns out, rhodochrosite suits the beer baron very well: Coors is a collector.

It was Coors (through the Coors Foundation) who acquired the Alma King, a six-inch, five-and-a-half-pound chunk of rhodochrosite, from Bryan and Kathryn Lees (the couple owns the Sweet Home Mine in Alma, one of the best rhodochrosite-producing mines in the world) and promptly donated it to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (or whatever it was called in 1994). Appropriately, the red rock was then placed in the Coors Gem and Mineral Hall.

And so on April 17, when Governor Bill Owens appeared at the museum and signed into law HB 1346, designating rhodochrosite as the state mineral, Coors, who'd just retired as a museum trustee, was on hand.

Although Westword had hoped to dig deeper into Coors's hobby, his office would supply only the following quotes, which look like they were partially cribbed from remarks that Coors probably made both at the recent state mineral designation as well as back in 1994, when he gave the Alma King to the museum.

"No mineral occurring in Colorado could be more deserving of designation as Colorado's state mineral than rhodochrosite," Coors's office told us. "As minerals go, rhodochrosite in its amorphous form is fairly common throughout the world, but occurrence in its crystal form is very rare. One of those rare spots is a small silver mine near Alma, Colorado, called the Sweet Home Mine. From this mine have come most of the world's finest specimens. The finest of these and, according to some experts, the finest mineral specimen of any kind in the world, is the Alma King, a massive crystal which graces the mineral hall of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

"Rhodochrosite crystals have an eye appeal matched by very few other minerals. Every mineral collection worldwide demands a specimen. When I first became aware of the existence of the Alma King, I knew it had to stay in the state of its origin and that the right place for it was the then Denver Museum of Natural History."

Although Coors's comments come canned and slightly stale (like his brewskis, some might say), sources report that his wife, Rita Bass, sports a giant rhodochrosite ring given to her by Bill.

Rock on.

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