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Politicians used to debate with pistols

Allen Best
Vail, CO Colorado

GRAND LAKE ” People like to think that politics has become a dirty, mud-slinging business. But back in the day, it was often much worse.

Consider the political dispute in 1883 in Grand County. A shoot-out on the streets of Grand Lake, located at the headwaters of the Colorado River, sent one county commissioner to a grave in the new cemetery.

The cemetery, which is now located within Rocky Mountain National Park, also tells the story of long, long winters. Among the “residents,” says the Winter Park Manifest, are members of the Greggs family, whose matriarch killed three of her children in 1905 at the end of a long, isolated winter during which her husband and eldest child were away.

The cemetery is one of the few cemeteries to lie within national park boundaries. It has authority to continue expanding, but at the present rate, the existing space will last for another 15 to 20 years.

MAMMOTH, Calif. ” Sam Osborne has become known around Mammoth Lakes as the Recycle-lure. It’s a play on words, because on any given windless day, he can be found floating alongside fishermen, except that instead of angling for trout, he’s fishing for the lost lures and broken lines that litter the lakes in the Sierra Nevada.

Osborne tells The Sheet that the lures and lines can become a death trap for small animals, including fish. “I’ve seen innumerable dead fish caught up on lures and line, and lots of dead fowl, too,” he said.

He came by this passion in an unusual way. A former surfer, he had suffered a broken back, and as a way of regaining his strength, he had taken to paddling his surfboards across the alpine lakes.

“As I was paddling around I noticed all the sparkles in the water and realized that there was a gold mine of lost lures under there,” he said He sometimes uses a pole to remove lost lures, but other times drives to retrieve the items.

“I don’t think anybody else would ever do this, because the water is temperature prohibitive,” he said. “There’s something about it I just dig, and it is rewarding. It’s my Zen thing.”

He has retrieved about 500 lures a year.

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. ” Anchorage, not Seattle, actually leads the nation in coffee shops per capita, at 2.8 shops for every 10,000 residents. But Mammoth figures it just might have room for an argument, since it now has six full-time coffee shops for a year-round population of 7,500 people.

The Sheet suggests a new motto for Mammoth Lakes: “We’re the Seattle of the Sierra ” without all the rain and crappy drivers.”


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