Less than 20 percent of the athletes invited to train at the center, who often end up living there for three to six years and working like hell to be the best they can be, ever make it to the Olympics. But hope burns eternal.

— Alan Prendergast

Rocky Ford Cantaloupe Creations Cook-Off, 16th Street Mall

The fish are biting at Lake Mary in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.
The fish are biting at Lake Mary in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.
Rod Henderson is a senior maintenance supervisor at the Eisenhower Tunnel.
Rod Henderson is a senior maintenance supervisor at the Eisenhower Tunnel.

Why didn't the melons get married? Because they cantaloupe!

It's an old joke in Rocky Ford, home to what has been one of Colorado's signature crops for the past 125 years. But things weren't so funny last year, when a listeria outbreak at a cantaloupe farm a hundred miles away, in the town of Holly, caused thirty deaths nationwide and scared consumers away from Colorado cantaloupes for a while.

As this year's harvest season kicked off, the Rocky Ford Growers Association wanted to refresh its image (and the Colorado Department of Agriculture is helping with a $175,000 promotional campaign). It got a good start when the group and Safeway decided to sponsor today's cantaloupe cook-off on the 16th Street Mall.

"We really wanted to have some fun, especially after some of the situations that have happened with other cantaloupe," says growers association spokeswoman Diane Mulligan. "Not only do we want to get the safety message out there, but this is such a fantastic year for the sweetness of the cantaloupe. We really wanted the general public to have an idea of what we were doing and some of the cool things you can do with cantaloupe."

Four chefs participated in the cook-off, creating cantaloupe-inspired dishes that were available for sampling — and rated by three judges.

Chef Jensen Cummings of Row 14 paired his compressed cantaloupe with Kona Kampachi (Hawaiian yellowtail tuna) topped with chocolate mint, sunflower seeds and a honey horseradish vinaigrette. "I really like the idea of taking the melon and making it almost like a protein," he says, adding that he will incorporate a similar dish into Row 14's menu.

Chef Sarah Callaway of Panzano whipped up a cantaloupe sorbet in a light, crispy honey-tuile cone with toasted sesame and micro-basil to top it off. Cook-off judge Marty Coniglio of 9News said, "The basil gave it such a nice balance. It took it to a different level. It was delicious and refreshing."

Willie G's chef Chris Meier concocted a beautifully plated dish consisting of an involved caprese salad with mozzarella balls, baby tomatoes, spicy capicola ham and, of course, Rocky Ford cantaloupe drizzled with balsamic. He then paired it with a cantaloupe consommé and carbonated cantaloupe for a colorful, decadent trio.

The contest winner, Lee Reitz of Wystone's World Teas, truly flew above and beyond with his dish, however. He basted a prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloin in butter and olive oil, placed it on top of a grilled goat-cheese polenta, then completed it with avocado, cantaloupe chutney, cantaloupe gastrique and a garnish of toasted cantaloupe seeds. The vibrant dish wowed judge Joan Brewster, who described it as "an adventure. You kept tasting different things, and the chutney was amazing."

— Natalie Gonzalez

Also read: Fifty latest reasons Colorado is the best state in the country

Snowmastodon exhibit, Denver

Four elementary-school boys press their faces to the glass window, peer into the Schlessman Family Foundation Laboratory of Earth Sciences and scrutinize the object on the other side. "It's a giant white...thing," one reports. He's not wrong. Thankfully, researchers at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science have placed a sign near the thing: "Today's Fossil: Mastodon pelvis."

"Oooh, cool," his friend pipes up. "A mastodon's like an elephant, right? Where did it come from?"

The answer to his last question is one of the proudest in the state's natural history, but its sheer novelty makes it the kind of story these guys would be most likely to hear at bedtime. On October 14, 2010, while excavating the Ziegler Reservoir outside of Snowmass Village, bulldozer driver Jesse Steele uncovered part of a skeleton amid the usual rubble and dirt. When he saw the bones flip over in the bulldozer's blade, he grew both excited and scared. These were too big to come from a cow.

After Googling the bones and matching them to an ancient mammoth, Steele and his supervisors at Gould Construction dialed research outfits across the state until they found a partner in the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. "We get three or four calls a year that sound interesting, but this one sounded particularly interesting," says Ian Miller, the museum's curator of paleontology. "A mammoth high in the Rockies? That's unheard of."

Early the next morning, a team of scientists drove from Denver to Snowmass to confirm the find, which most still believed to be a single, if exceptionally old, animal. But as public attention surrounding the dig site grew, so did the parameters of their discovery. A project that began with $40,000 in expected costs expanded to more than $1 million, and one mammoth turned into 6,000-plus bones from more than thirty old-world species, including mammoth, bison, sloth, salamander, coyote, squirrel, frog, snake, otter, beaver, shrew and gopher.

But the single most important discovery made at the site might well be the ground itself. By digging cores straight through layers of sediment, museum scientists collected hundreds of thousands of years' worth of data to create the state's most complete long-term climate record. In roughly two years, this data will feature heavily in a book of Snowmastodon research that museum staff and volunteers are currently compiling as they brainstorm a large, updated display from all of their finds. Right now they're working on a 6,000-piece crossword puzzle, and though the original Snowmass excavation is finished — and the man who co-led it, museum head curator Kirk Johnson, just announced that he's taken a job as the director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. — they find extra pieces each day in the samples they extracted.

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Come to beautiful Colorado to vacation.

Return home w/ a record and on probation.....


It's too bad our police forces,

and individuals such as Carole Chambers,

ruin what once was one of the best best

places to live in the nation......


from dave eberhardt, baltimore, md-to the sunshine state



Rain fell in Aurora, Colorado today,

 It fell for the Victims and Executioner as well

. It smiled at the dawn references That news reporters made re the name,

 Although none of them made any;

 It smiled at the Lack of reporting On Colorado gun laws... 

It forgave and forgave.

 If you listened closely you Might have heard how it said: 

Forgive and forgive.

 Seek no vengeance, work for peace. It said,

I washed the blood off Forever battlefields and I can wash this off

. Press on,

it said but it said it like this: 

Ssssh, ssssh...




   From:     Hogan, Steve <shogan@auroragov.org>To:     'mozela9@comcast.net' <mozela9@comcast.net>  Odd, but that's the same message an opponent of stronger laws sent me.  Someday maybe your side and their side will grow up, and get past calling each other names. Colorado law does not allow cities to overrule the state legislature, even if they want to.  Since I couldn't do anything one way or the other without a vote of another elected body, where does that put me, other than in the same place as you, and the person on the other side of the issue? Next time, and there will be a next time unless all types of weapons are outlawed, you might really think first about those actually killed or wounded, instead of your political agenda. Steve HoganMayorCity of Aurora