Tribute to the summer of anguish and celebration


Rick Langenberg

As we put the finishing touches on our big, all-too-short summer, here are some definite highlights and trends from happenings in our no longer secret high country hideaway.

Now we head into the fall, a healthier season kicked off by the change of aspens and the 31st anniversary of limited-stakes games in Teller County. But when it comes to summer 2022, here are a few moments to cherish or forget.

* Best party times. Special events, and don’t mess with our festivals and concerts. This theme came through loud and clear whether it was the Salute to American Veterans rally, Donkey Derby Day, the Green Box Arts Festival, the ongoing Oktoberfest and Farmers Market or even the live concerts of the GMF gift shop and Painted Bear. The locals came out in force, with a few exceptions.

The idea of ​​special events has even become a political issue in Cripple Creek, with the latest encore attempt dealing somewhat with this hot topic. Of course, in Cripple Creek, city leaders have been squabbling over marketing and special events for over three decades and possibly more. I don’t see that changing anytime soon, because everyone at Cripple Creek is a self-proclaimed marketing expert.

But perhaps because of the still post-pandemic blues, people want to go out like never before. This trend signals a desire to allocate more energy into the festival arena and perhaps more money.

*Best Unusual New Attraction. No questions about this category, because the Green Mountain Falls Skyspace wins that title with its unique mountain planetarium setup and more toned down James Turrell artwork. I don’t know how many people will visit this attraction in the winter, but their sunrise and sunset shows were a big hit.

I was lucky enough to see this at a special exhibit in mid-June and hike the new trail, and it’s quite an experience. Of course, our friends at The Gazette chose to photograph me among everyone else, as the main person gazing at the horizon from this installation in their photo exhibit on this attraction. From the photo, I looked like someone who listened to too many Pink Floyd songs, or maybe I was trying to perform the song “Heart of the Sunrise” by Yes (which would be perfect for this exhibition , keep that in mind Green Box Operators. Vocalist Jon Anderson would be perfect for a bit of Skyspace effects in the background. Maybe he’ll even do a song for you.)

Be sure to check out Skyspace in our Fall Time Remaining.

*Best Political Theatre. The Woodland Park RE-2 School Board attempted to recall first place in this contest. It became the talk of the region for months.

Although the recall group ultimately failed, it collected an impressive number of signatures for this domain; and I hope that the board of directors in place will not gloat too much. The fact that so many autographs have been obtained on recall petitions signals that there are still strong concerns in the district. We haven’t seen recall signings reach this level in years. And like most petition campaigns, far too many autographs were thrown around. This is a common pitfall for petition campaigns in our region, as these signatures are scrutinized very closely.

In reality, their campaign was doomed from the start solely on the basis of mathematics. The group attempted a recall, following an election that probably featured the highest turnout for a school board vote in years, making the task of a recall nearly impossible. But now may be the time to come together, a theme highlighted at the last school board meeting, or at least to find common ground on a few central issues.

The recall drums are now beating in Cripple Creek, with two leaders there facing an eviction effort. Here the barriers are much less difficult, but the main question is the cost of a special election, if one occurs. Callbacks are generally more accepted in South Teller.

* Best Surprising Controversy. Debates over short-term rental properties or vacation homes. Not a single community of Teller and the Ute Pass has managed to escape this debate which has required hours of discussions and dozens of special meetings. This question, however, could reach a mini-conclusion in the coming months in our region. This is my prediction.

*Best positive break. Summer is raining. Yes, they are a drag and have given linksters, road workers and afternoon hikers a hard time. But the rains of 2022 may have once again saved our region from being burned. He also brought into play the big issue of fire mitigation. I remember seeing our landscape in mid-May and it was downright scary.

* Best upcoming issues to watch. Without exception, I would say the issue surrounding the legalization of retail marijuana in Cripple Creek, which will be voted on next November. Expect lots of comments on this one next month. Also, planned developments occurring in Teller such as the Woodland Station project and hotel expansions in the creek are definitely biggies. The coming year will certainly be a pivotal time for Teller County and the Ute Pass. Some even say it could make or break us.


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