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Janet Sheridan: The allure of the forbidden

In 1961, Boston and Philadelphia banned the hit single, "Beans in My Ears," because the refrain, "My mommy said not to put beans in my ears," inspired children to load their ears with legumes. Some even poked beans up their noses. Being collegiate, I resisted the lure of the lyrics but felt its tug.

When I was old enough to know better, Mom made a special candy log for Christmas that had to season two weeks in a vanilla-infused cheesecloth.

"All of you listen to me," she said as she put it in the pantry. "This candy isn't ready to eat; it doesn't taste good yet. Leave it alone. We'll have it for Christmas."

That afternoon, I dragged a stool to the pantry and used my finger to gouge out a generous portion of candy, thought it tasted pretty good, and helped myself to more.

Barbara snitched, and I had a candy-less Christmas.

Having three older siblings, I grew up with "I'm telling you, you sneaky little snoop, if you get into my things, you'll regret it!" "Mom, if she messes with my stuff one more time, I can't be held accountable!" and, "Are those my socks you're wearing?" But I found the rewards of rummaging through the goods of others worth the risk.

Shortly before I turned 11, I carried out the most dangerous mission to date: Mom's chest of drawers. To my disappointment, drawer after drawer held nothing but clothing I'd seen hanging on the clothesline. Then, I opened a small drawer full of handkerchiefs and scarves and found a leather purse with JB tooled on one side. The initials belonged to me and no one else. It was almost my birthday. Bob was doing leather crafting in his junior high vocational class, and I knew he would never hide something for me in his room, which I tossed regularly.

For three blissful weeks, I sneaked into my parent's bedroom, retrieved the purse, fondled it, smelled its rich leather, and traced my initials. I couldn't believe the brother I both battled and worshipped had something so perfect for me. I've never regretted my early discovery of the best purse I ever owned.

So I continued poking my nose where it didn't belong. Several months later, in a new house in Spanish Fork, I sat at the kitchen table, studying the many cabinets marching around its walls and wondering about a section that stretched to the ceiling.

"What could Mom have stored on those shelves?" I wondered. "Nothing we use much; it's too high. Maybe I should have a look."

Soon, with the help of a kitchen chair, I stood on the countertop, stretched as high as I could, and discovered the top shelves held Christmas decorations and Dad's root beer making equipment, which Mom probably hoped he would forget. Then, in a far corner, I discovered a small, unmarked cardboard box, which I retrieved and carried to the table to examine.

Inside, wrapped in tissue, I found an 8-by-11 tinted studio photograph of a smiling baby I recognized from Kodak snapshots in our family album. It was Alan, my older brother, who died as a toddler from a respiratory infection four years before my birth. Underneath the photograph, I found his funeral program, dried flowers, and sympathy cards and letters my parents received at their small home, long miles from their Utah families, in Nevada City, California, where my dad worked the gold mines, and my mom made a home for him, my oldest brother, and the beautiful, beloved baby whose portrait I held.

Suddenly, I felt like an intruder in my parents' grief. This was not a fun game. It was emotional trespassing. In that moment, I realized there are things too private, too personal, too laden with feeling to be exposed to idle curiosity.

I whispered, "I'm so sorry," and quit getting into things.

Janet Sheridan's book, "A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns," is available in Craig at Downtown Books and Steamboat Springs at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. She also blogs at auntbeulah.com the first and 15th of every month.

Lance Scranton: Preference or conviction?

Evidently, Craig is one of the few towns in Northwestern Colorado that hasn't worked up enough of an appetite for legalized marijuana. The failure to collect enough signatures for a ballot initiative left supporters re-strategizing by trying to influence Craig City Council by running for a vacant seat.

Getting involved in our community and trying to bring about change can be a virtuous endeavour and is one generally worth pursuing. Separating convictions from preferences is an entirely different matter which can have a huge impact on how decisions are made. Convictions are deeply held beliefs that are the foundation upon which most of our potentially life-altering decisions are made. A preference is usually arrived at when given the choice between two alternatives.

Much of the discussion surrounding retail marijuana sales and subsidiary business opportunities seems to be based on a preference for money coming into Craig or dollars leaving our city. Whether from sales or taxes, the possibilities seem to be attractive as you look around the state and realize the potential for adding more revenue to our city coffers.

Budgets are being stretched, and tough choices have been made regarding funding allocations and where best our tax dollars should be spent. It is a commendable undertaking for city and county officials to tackle these issues head-on and not kick it down the road like their federal counterparts in Washington D.C.

My convictions tell me that allowing marijuana to become something we rely on for revenue generation is a dangerous precedent. The real question is how much are we willing to spend on the issues related to the effects of legal use of marijuana. Some estimates conclude that, for every dollar of tax revenue generated, upwards of four dollars is spent to mitigate the effects of legalization.

Preferences for relaxed laws are always attractive, because there is an issue of enforcement that makes the viability of using our legal system to police other laws is a solid argument. But, my preferences take a back seat to convictions when we are dealing with something as potentially destructive as marijuana could be to our city. Legalize it — or don't, but I sure do hope we don't make preferential decisions that go against our convictions and end up with something we never intended.

Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.

Moffat County School Board to choose two new at-large board members

CRAIG — The Moffat County School District Board of Education is set to grow from five to seven members when it meets to appoint two new at-large representatives at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, in the board room of the Yampa Building, 755 Yampa Ave.

By the Jan. 18 deadline, the district had received applications from Jnl Linsacum, Cynthia Looper, and Kirstie McPherson. Applicants will be interviewed during the monthly school board workshop, which begins at 4 p.m. in the same location as the board meeting. The board will then vote to appoint two members to serve until the next regular school board elections in November.

Board members also plan to review the proposed 2019-20 calendar, discuss 2018-19 budget amendments they will consider approving at their meeting, hold a public hearing at the workshop and second and final reading, during the meeting, on policies that address safe schools, agenda, financial administration, bidding procedures, communicable diseases, staff health, support staff recruiting/hiring, equivalence of services,  student organizations, student organizations, open forum, and administering medications to students.

In addition to considering a consent agenda to approve previous meeting minutes, financial reports, and personnel recommendations, the board plans to hold an executive session pursuant to section 24-6-402(4)(b) of the Colorado Revised Statue to confer to receive legal advice about specific legal questions on a pending litigation matter.

The board will also discuss, at the workshop, and introduce, during the meeting, for first reading policies regarding the rules of order, security and access to buildings, drug and alcohol testing for bus drivers, secret societies and gang activity, and the use of physical intervention and restraint.

Policies and the agenda in full may be found at moffatsd.org.

Obituary: Dawne Angela Ellifritz

Jan. 6, 1948 — Jan. 13, 2019 

Dawne Angela Ellifritz (Foisy)(Cloer) passed away Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Grand Junction, Colorado, at the age of 71.

She was born Jan. 6, 1948, in Spokane, Washington, to Marvin and Alice Foisy. She was the oldest of a set of fraternal twins; her sister, Sunset Diane was 21 minutes younger.

Growing up, the family lived in several different places, finally settling down in Craig, Colorado, where their dad worked as a steam fitter and mom was a nurse. The twins graduated from Moffat County High School in 1966.

Dawne married Bob Cloer in 1969, and to that union was born a son, Michael Robert Cloer.

They divorced, and she married the love of her life, Paul Ellifritz, on July 1, 1977. They were married 41 years.

Dawne worked many jobs in her life, including, switchboard operator at Mountain Bell, waitress at Galveston in Craig, Colorado, and her last job was doing the books and billing at Sunshine Taxi.

Dawne was the type of person who would help anyone down on their luck and had such an infectious laugh that you knew she was in the room before you saw her. Her sense of humor and rebellious attitude will be missed by all.

She was preceded in death by her parents, nephew Scott Burke, lots of friends and furbabies.

Dawne is survived by her loving husband Paul, son Mike (Christina) Cloer, sister Sunset (Mickey) Burke, little sister Esther Mease, half brother Don (Marla) Foisy, half brother Maurice (Karen) Foisy, five grandchildren, four great grandchildren, four nieces, and one nephew.

A celebration of life will be held this summer.

No services are planned at this time.

Obituary: Cynthia Kay Hobbs

Sept. 3, 1949 — Jan. 15, 2019

On the morning of Jan. 15, 2019, Cynthia “Cyndi” Kay Hobbs, 69, passed away peacefully in her home in Montrose, Colorado, with her daughters at her side.

Cynthia was born in Craig, Colorado, on Sept. 3, 1949, to Robert and Ruth Herod. After graduating high school, Cynthia met Tom Hobbs, with whom she had three daughters. She devoted her life to raising her girls.

Cyndi made a living as a bartender and worked many years at the OP Bar & Grill. Cyndi was always up for a game of cards or down for a trip to the casino.

She is survived by her daughters Shana Fortney of Montrose, Colorado, and Gina (William) Makinen of Rawlins, Wyoming; grandchildren Taylor Hammock, Morgan Hammock, and Chance Rankin; and four great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert Irvin and Ruth Olivia (Lippard) Herod; one sister, Marjorie Dean Brunsvold; one brother, James Lee Herod; and her daughter, Candice Lea Hobbs.

Funeral services were held at 11 a.m., Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, at the Grant Mortuary Chapel. Burial followed at Craig Cemetery.

Obituary: Elwin Walter Updike

Dec. 3, 1926 — Jan. 11, 2019 

Elwin Walter Updike was born Dec. 3, 1926, to Guy and Nina (Sturgill) at their homestead on Great Divide, northwest of Craig, Colorado. He went to be with our Lord on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, at the age of 92.

Elwin was raised by his parents on their homestead until drafted into the U.S. Army toward the end of World War II, serving with the military police. Elwin married Maxine (Miller) on Sept. 11, 1947. They lived in Craig most of their married lives. They celebrated 65 years of marriage before Maxine’s death in 2014.

They have a family of four children and their spouses: Lowa (Clif) Shultz, Marjorie (Stan) Lucier, Lynn (Brenda) Updike, and Tami (Dale) Hunt. They have 13 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren, with another on the way.

During his life, Elwin worked at the local railroad, Gilbert Meats Grain Elevator, Bill Pugh Construction, and Bob Quillen Construction. He retired as the carpenter for Empire Energy Coal Mine. He was proud to proclaim carpentry as his primary occupation.

Elwin was an avid hunter and fisherman up until this year and shared his love of the outdoors with his family. Elwin was very proud to be a member of the First Christian Church, fulfilling many duties for many years. He loved his family, music, and his home.

Elwin is survived by his children and their families and his younger brother, Marvin Updike of Grants Pass, Oregon.

Elwin was preceded in death by his wife, Maxine Updike; parents, Guy and Nina Updike; brothers, Orville Updike and Vernon Updike; sister, Ella Marquess; grandson, Aaron Lively; and granddaughter, Brittney Hunt.

Elwin never met a stranger, loving to talk with and help others. He will be deeply missed by his family and many friends. Funeral services were held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, at Craig Christian Church. Burial followed at Craig Cemetery with military honors presented by the VFW Post 4265 and the American Legion Post 62.

Obituary: Charles Gallegos

May 14, 1929 — Jan. 19, 2019

Charles Gallegos, of Craig, died Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, at The Memorial Regional Health Hospital. Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, at St. Mark’s Church of Grace. Interment will follow in Craig Cemetery.

Prather’s Pick: Picture book from Richard Byrne spins chalkboard mystery

The leading characters in this week's picture book are pieces of chalk. "The Case of the Missing Chalk Drawings" was written and illustrated by Richard Byrne, and children will find this story both wacky and lively.

In the story, four pieces of chalk of different sizes and colors are happily drawing flowers on the chalkboard. Orange, pink, and blue flowers decorate the border of the board, and yellow chalk draws a sun above them. That's when the teacher, Mrs. Red (another chalk), calls the students to lunch.

When the chalks come back from lunch, they're surprised to find the flowers are gone. Only the bottom parts of the stems and leaves and the sun remain. Who could have taken the flowers?

So, the chalks start a new drawing, but this time, Mrs. Red draws a fence all around the flowers. She tells the little chalks the fence should keep the flowers safe while they go in for a story.

But, it doesn't.

When they return, the flowers are gone again — and the fence, too. Only three little lines of the drawing remain. It's clear now someone is stealing the flowers.

So Sergeant Blue arrives in his blue police car. He's a chalk, too, and wears a mustache. Sergeant Blue finds some evidence. First of all, he measures the distance between two of the lines of the drawing that were left on the chalkboard. He knows how tall the culprit is. He also notices some chalk dust.

Sergeant Blue doesn't lose any time rounding up suspects. He puts them in a line-up. First, there's a pencil. He's too thin. Next is a bottle of glue. The bottle is too small. A pair of scissors is too pointy, a ruler is too tall, and a paint brush is too hairy. Only one suspect is left: an eraser.

Sergeant Blue asks the eraser to turn around. Sure enough, he has a dusty red bottom! However, before Sergeant Blue can lock him up in the chalkboard prison, the eraser flees in a cloud of dust.

The chase is on! The chalkboard is covered with a bunch of colored lines and red dust as the sergeant and chalks try to catch the robber. What to do? Then, Sergeant Blue has a plan.

Children are sure to enjoy this imaginative book.

Byrne, and author and illustrator, has written other books with intriguing titles, such as "This Book Just Ate My Dog" and "This Book is Out of Control."

All the books are published by Henry Holt and Company, 2018. This week's book costs $17.99 in hardcover. You can also find it with other new books in the children's room at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.

Moffat County commissioners to consider personnel requests

CRAIG — The Moffat County Board of County Commissioners will consider three personnel requests from the Human Resources Department when it meets at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way, Suite 130.

All three personnel requests, to be presented by Human Resources Director Lynnette Siedschlaw, deal with the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder’s Office and specifically refer to the positions of motor vehicle supervisor, chief deputy, and election coordinator.

The position of motor vehicle supervisor was eliminated when former Motor Vehicle Supervisor Tammy Raschke took office as Moffat County’s new clerk and recorder on Jan. 8, but now, Raschke is requesting the position be reinstated and that Clerk and Recorder Technician Stacy Morgan be promoted to the job.

If the request is approved by the BOCC, Raschke further asks that the position of clerk and recorder technician be eliminated.

The position of chief deputy was not included in the 2019 budget, but Raschke is asking it be reinstated and that current Senior Clerk and Recorder Technician Debbie Winder be promoted to the job. The move, if approved by commissioners, would eliminate the position of senior clerk and recorder technician.

Finally, the position of election coordinator is also open, and Raschke is proposing it be downgraded from election supervisor — a role formerly filled by Tori Pingley, who resigned Jan. 8 — to election coordinator, reducing the position from grade 22 to grade 19.

The latter two positions are crucial, as Raschke last week informed the city of Craig it would not be able to conduct the upcoming municipal election, as no one in her office had undergone the training required by the Colorado Secretary of State's office to conduct an election.

The BOCC's agenda for Tuesday also includes the following items:

  • Approval of the consent agenda.
  • Public comment, general discussion, and BOCC reports.
  • The November financial report, presented by Finance Director Mindy Curtis.
  • A update from Dorina Fredrickson, with the Craig Association of Realtors.
  • An organization update from Jennifer Holloway, executive director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce.

The BOCC's next scheduled meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5.

For a complete agenda and packet, visit colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/jan22_docs.pdf.

Memorial Regional Health: Support essential in quest toward weight loss — Research shows emotional, social, practical support bolster weight-loss goals

Editor's note: The following article is sponsored by Memorial Regional Health.

Year after year, Americans make New Year's resolutions to lose weight, but research shows many completely give up on their goal by February.

Many weight loss resolutions include some kind of quick-fix fad diet, which research shows is one of the worst plans a person can follow in terms of long-term success. Fad diets usually claim to help you lose weight quickly — more than 1 or 2 pounds per week — often without exercise. Fad diet marketing campaigns show promising before and after photos, contain boasting endorsements from people who are likely being paid as part of the advertising, and usually require you to spend money on things like pills, books, seminars, prepackaged meals, protein powders, and more, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

At Memorial Regional Health, a new monthly weight loss support group is aiming to help patients who have had bariatric surgery succeed the healthy way by providing education, tools, and social support for living a healthier lifestyle.

The third Thursday of every month, MRH will host a different speaker to discuss various weight loss-related topics before opening the discussion for attendees to ask questions, said Adysen Jourgensen, registered dietitian at Memorial Regional Health. While the group is geared toward bariatric surgery patients, others can attend.

"These topics can vary from exercise to nutrition, and we are hoping to get some guest speakers who can come in and talk about the different bariatric surgeries and various other topics related to weight loss," Jourgensen said. "We are covering all of these topics in hopes of providing attendees more knowledge and various tips that individuals can use to achieve their weight loss goals."

Support works

Support, whether emotional, practical, or inspiring, is a major factor in achieving weight loss goals, according to The Mayo Clinic. Emotional support might be a shoulder to lean on when you're feeling discouraged, while practical support could involve someone watching the kids while you exercise. Inspiring support might include an exercise partner who motivates you on days you feel like giving up.

Psychological research shows it's easier to stick to a weight loss plan when you have support, according to the American Psychological Association. And just in October 2018, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported the findings of a weight loss study that showed intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions in adults with obesity can lead to clinically significant improvements in weight status. These interventions focused on nutrition, physical activity, self-monitoring, identifying barriers, problem solving, peer support, and relapse prevention.

MRH's weight loss support group includes all of these components, and Jourgensen said she thinks it has the potential to truly benefit attendees.

"Being able to discuss practical ideas when it comes to meeting physical activity goals, different nutrition tips, and various other topics of interest in the weight loss realm with peers can be great," she said. "Support is huge when trying to achieve any type of goal, and building relationships with others who are experiencing the same things you are can really help with staying on the right track. I think the comradery that will come from this group will be huge in helping our participants."

Why fad diets aren't the answer

Unfortunately when it comes to weight loss, there are no quick fixes. That's not to say you can't lose a fair amount of weight quickly with a fad diet, but keeping it off becomes the challenge.

"Slow, steady weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes. Healthy plans aim for a loss of no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week," according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. "If you lose weight quickly, you’ll lose muscle, bone, and water. You also will be more likely to regain the pounds quickly."

Jourgensen said her rule of thumb is that, if you don't think you can eat a certain way for the rest of your life, then you probably shouldn't start it.

"Quick results are much more exciting and satisfying than long-term lifestyle changes," she said. "I think all of us enjoy instant gratification, so it is much easier to get discouraged when you aren't seeing immediate results."

So what's the best answer? Jourgensen said it's eating healthfully — including lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and limiting eating out — and in the appropriate portion sizes, and getting 150 minutes or more of physical activity per week.

One of the best tips Jourgensen has is to write things down — your weight loss goals, the "why" behind those goals, grocery lists, workout schedules.

"As simple as this sounds, seeing your goals each day and reminding yourself why you started the journey can serve as a huge motivator to continue working towards achieving them," she said. "Those who make a life-long commitment to eating healthier and exercising have the most success in terms of weight management in the long run."