It’s getting more difficult to maintain my faith in human nature

Photo Credit: Gene J. Puskar, The Associated Press A group holds a sign at the intersection of Murray Ave. and Forbes Ave. in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh during a memorial vigil for the victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue where a shooter opened fire, killing 11 and wounding six,…

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Polis win highlights Boulder influence in state politics

Editor’s note: This article has been edited to correct Josie Heath’s name. A commonly accepted wisdom has long held that a “Boulder liberal” can’t win statewide office, but in an election year that saw a number of electoral firsts from coast to coast, Jared Polis just likely put that canard to permanent rest with an…

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Landscapes of Living History: Native American Nations and the Rocky Mountain Region

Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, I felt separated from federal public lands, like national parks or national forests. At the time, I did not even grasp that I lived near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. As I got older and decided to go to graduate school, I began to understand the meaning of federal lands,…

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Limerick: Here’s how to reckon with Kavanaugh…

Here is the mantra of consolation and reassurance I have been reciting to myself for years: “After this most recent episode of bitter and unresolved conflict, the polarization of the American people cannot get any worse. We have hit bottom, and we are ready for recovery.” Repeatedly, this mental exercise for optimism has quickly collided…

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eTown On-stage Interview – Patty Limerick (CU Boulder – Center of the American West)

This week we’ve got both ‘Wailin’ and Willy! Our musical guests, all making their first visit to eTown, are the incredible Canadian trio of singers known as The Wailin’ Jennys (their three part harmonies will make you cry) as well as singer/songwriter Willie Watson (co-founder of the band Old Crow Medicine Show and talented traditional…

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Celebrating Ken Burn’s brand of history so that the past may live

Once upon a time, a mother took her son to see the Supreme Court in session. The little boy sat patiently as lawyers presented their arguments, and the justices listened dispassionately. And then a fly landed on the forehead of one of the justices, who raised his hand to brush it off. The little boy…

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Good luck to Colorado’s new state historians — you’ll need it

Kevin J. Beaty, Denverite via AP This Thursday, May 17, 2018, photograph, shows “Play Ball!,” the new special exhibit inside the History Colorado Center, in Denver. If you are a historian who has invested hours beyond measure in speaking to and writing for public audiences, you have learned one law of the universe: unless you…

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Outgoing State Historian: History Colorado Is ‘Underperforming’ With ‘History Lite’ Exhibits

When Patty Limerick was tapped to be Colorado’s next State Historian in 2015, she says she was looking forward to working with History Colorado. It did not take long for that relationship to sour, Limerick said. When staff at History Colorado pitched doing a display with Kit Carson’s clothing, Limerick cautioned against treating the exhibit…

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PATTY LIMERICK: Forge new bonds between urban and rural Colorado

“Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic,” William Jennings Bryan said in his famed “Cross of Gold” speech in 1896, “but destroy our farms, and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” This quotation, we cannot help…

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Family History Haunts G.O.P. Candidate for Governor in Colorado

DENVER — As a candidate for Colorado governor, Walker Stapleton has touted a distinguished biography: two terms as state treasurer, a business degree from Harvard and a long family history of public service. But there is one aspect of his family’s past that Mr. Stapleton has largely avoided mentioning: His great-grandfather, Benjamin Stapleton, a five-time…

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History Colorado Replacing State Historian Patty Limerick With State Historians Council

On August 1, Colorado Day, History Colorado will install its new State Historians Council, comprising five historians from academic institutions across the state. The University of Colorado Denver’s Tom Noel will head the council. And so “Dr. Colorado,” as Noel is known, will be in…and Patty Limerick, who was appointed state historian in early 2016, will be…

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Prodding a Historic Friend to do Better

History Colorado and I are old friends. Thirty years ago, still a newcomer to Colorado, I gave the keynote speech at the society’s annual members meeting. Over the years, to use the classic Western phrasing, I have not been a stranger to that organization; my deepest mission in life is reaching members of the public…

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Great Sand Dunes Park Was Born Out Of Cooperation. Is There A Drought Lesson For Today In That?

Eighty percent of Colorado is experiencing some form of drought or dryness. That means dry river basins, hungry wildfires and parched farmland across the state. Some have already started comparing conditions to the 2002 drought. It’s also prompting a closer look by historians into how communities have survived and triumphed over water scarcity — instead of the…

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Laura Ingalls Wilder v. the Librarians

ALA won’t honor Little House on the Prairie author anymore: All the more reason to read her recent biography. You’ve probably read by now that the American Library Association removed Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from an award last Monday. The Wilder Award was one they—the world’s oldest assembly of library professionals—created especially to honor her…

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E pluribus unum? These days it’s closer to “out of one, many.”

In the domain of national slogans, e pluribus unum — “out of many, one” — is distinctively braced and ready for trouble. From the struggles among the Founders over the balance between centralized and localized power to the contests over the expansion of slavery into the nation’s western territories, from the disputes between imperialists and…

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Historians Debate Which President Leonardo DiCaprio Should Play

The Oscar winner has Teddy Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Grant biopics lined up, and scholars are using everything from ‘Hamilton’ to toxic masculinity to make their pitches to the actor. Leonardo DiCaprio really wants to play a president. The question is which president? Ulysses S. Grant or Teddy Roosevelt? The 2016 best actor Oscar winner…

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In Search of the Elusive Dignity

In 2018, that wondrous human quality named “dignity” has been keeping a very low profile. Dignity, it would be reasonable to conclude on many days, has fled the nation’s capital, and may have been given a new identity in a new witness protection program recently created for virtues under siege. And yet, every now and…

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Lessons from a Strenuous Social Psychology Experiment, a.k.a. a 50th High School Reunion

Early in April, my luck took an upward surge, and I was permitted to serve as a human subject in a strenuous social psychology experiment. Or, to put this another way, I went to my 50th anniversary high school reunion. For the young and/or the reclusive, I will outline the steps and stages of this…

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CU Boulder to host Denver political pundit Eric Sondermann

Denver-based political commentator Eric Sondermann will be presented by the University of Colorado Center of the American West in “The New Normal: Conflict, Polarization and Incivility: An Evening of Conversation about Local, Regional and National Politics.” In a conversation with Center of the American West Faculty Director Patty Limerick, Sondermann will share his understanding of…

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Stapleton Name Change Discussion Heating Up

DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – Concerned community members gathered at a room in Stapleton to talk about whether the name of the neighborhood should be changed. Stapleton, built on the old Stapleton Airport, has a name that dates back to 1923. That’s the year in which Benjamin Stapleton was first elected as Denver’s mayor. Historians said Stapleton…

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Environmental History of the High Rockies

In this CU on the Weekend lecture, Thomas Andrews will explore the deep history of human-environment interactions in the Colorado River headwaters region of Rocky Mountain National Park from the end of the last ice age through the present day. By examining the successive stories of indigenous peoples, American miners and homesteaders, and federal land…

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Campus Q&A: The Scholarly Approach of Prize-Winner Sarah Krakoff

CU Boulder last month named professor Sarah Krakoff the 2018 recipient of the Hazel Barnes Prize, the most distinguished award a faculty member can receive from the university. Among her distinguished work teaching students and being part of the CU Boulder faculty, Krakoff is an expert in American Indian law and natural resources. “Sarah Krakoff…

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Pushing Boundaries: Center of the American West gives interns a home where opportunities roam

Torrey Davis has counted red flour beetles, noted the location of nesting sites of red-tailed hawks and studied zooplankton in Iceland and Greenland. RJ Mooney is taking courses in environmental public policy and Native American studies. While their interests and majors vary widely, both CU Boulder undergraduates were drawn to the Center of the American…

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What Does Healthy Poudre River Do, and for Whom?

Part 2 of a series on the Poudre River Thomas Hornsby Ferril, Colorado journalist and one-time Colorado poet laureate wrote, “Here is a land where life is written in water, The West is where water was and is.” In the early 19th century, when Zebulon Pike and Stephen Long explored western territory that would eventually…

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Saved from Stalemate and Antagonism

Fellow Coloradans, why are so many of you sinking so deep into truancy and never showing up in my class? I do not want to threaten, but if this situation does not improve, you are unlikely to receive a passing grade. And now alarm may be setting in. “Why on Earth is she threatening us…

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Am I Doing Everything I Can to Protect My Students?

In some arenas of life, I am getting better traction. In 1972, I left California and moved to New England. The treacherous footing provided by melted and re-frozen snow became my nemesis. While moving to Colorado reduced the frequency of that atmospheric misery called freezing rain, the relocation did not fully relieve the dread aroused…

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A Course Correction Based on Historical Mistakes

Ordinarily, if a person who is 66 years old declares that she can tell you what young people today are thinking, escaping that person’s company is your obvious course of action. But if that person is the state historian, and if the state historian is also a classroom teacher, flight may not be in order….

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From state historian to talking head

When I became the Official Colorado State Historian, I came into possession of a breathtaking portfolio of powers. Given the malfunctions in the civic sense of humor in 2017, it is important to move fast to correct any misunderstanding: that was a joke. In the nearly two years since Gov. John Hickenlooper appointed me as…

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How The ‘Grand’ Became The ‘Colorado’ And What It Says About Our Relationship To Nature

Pull out a map of the United States’ desert southwest and see if you can locate these rivers: Rio del Tizon, Rio San Rafael, or Rio Zanguananos. How about rivers named Tomichi, Nah-Un-Kah-Rea or Akanaquint? Having some trouble? None of these names are used widely today, but at some point in the last 500 years…

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Good books stoke youthful visions, perspectives

It cannot be argued that it is normal to pretend to be starving on the American prairie. Yet as a child, this is precisely what I did, and perhaps in that I am not alone. Blame those serial troublemakers, the authors of good books. It would usually happen on pancake night, the pancakes representing coarsely…

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With monument reductions, Trump enflames century-old debate

President Trump unleashed the latest salvo Monday in a long-running battle over how America’s public lands should be treated. In a stark contrast to recent presidents who have sought to leave a lasting legacy by creating national monuments, Mr. Trump plans to drastically reduce two of the monuments created by his predecessors. His action –…

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Rocky Mountain National Park to expand its Native American representation

Rocky Mountain National Park is going back to its roots, expanding its representation of Native Americans with the help of indigenous-focused University of Colorado groups and tribal representatives. CU students and faculty from the Center of the American West and the Center for Native American Indigenous Studies met with park officials and tribal representatives in…

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National park may broaden exhibits about tribal nations

Rocky Mountain National Park may be getting a historical makeover, one that will deepen and expand the way park rangers and interpretative exhibits share information about Native Americans who have connections to the region. This fall in Estes Park, CU Boulder faculty and students from the Center of the American West (CAW) and the Center…

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‘Little House on the Prairie’ and the Truth About the American West

PRAIRIE FIRES The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder By Caroline Fraser Illustrated. 625 pp. Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt. $35. Stretched past its capacity by the tumultuous migrations and movements of the 19th century, that orderly term “westward expansion” is ready for a break. Rather than proceeding in a systematic march across a continent, a wild…

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Rex Tillerson, I have a modest proposal for you: It has to do with flattering your boss — and preventing nuclear war with North Korea

When I was a child, we learned how to use grammar and punctuation properly. This educational practice has withered over the last half-century, and nothing suggests it will be revived. We also learned how to respond to a nuclear attack — how to crouch under our desks, how to cover our heads, and how to…

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No matter how ugly our heritage, pursue an honest assessment of it

In 2017, the complex legacies of historical figures are proving impossible to restrain in stone or confine with bronze. All over the nation, statues, memorials, and monuments are giving us big trouble. Here’s the source of the problem: Our predecessors on this earth did not make it a priority to design and construct a legacy…

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MSU hosts symposium on Montana author Ivan Doig

Beginning in 1978 with the publication “This House of Sky,” Ivan Doig went on to write over a dozen more books of memoir and fiction, most set in the Montana he knew so well. His work is beloved by readers of Western literature and in 2007 earned him the Wallace Stegner Award, which recognizes individuals…

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MSU sets Doig Symposium for Sept. 13-16

Family, friends and scholars who study the life and work of the late novelist Ivan Doig will be featured during a four-day symposium scheduled for Sept. 13-16 at Montana State University. “Doig Country: Imagining Montana and the West,” is coordinated by the MSU College of Letters and Science, the Center for Western Lands and People…

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When To Stop Honoring A Questionable Historical Figure? CU’s Had That Debate

It’s not just statues of Confederate leaders that lead to debates over controversial figures in U.S. history. Buildings on college campuses across the country bear the names of men who were members of the Ku Klux Klan, were openly racist or, in Colorado’s case, participated in the killing of American Indians. State Historian and University…

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Cody remembered in many ways

Editor’s note: This is the sixth in an ongoing series about Buffalo Bill Cody observing the 100th anniversary of his death. In 1899 alone, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West traveled more than 11,000 miles in 200 days performing 341 times in 132 communities in the United States. That was a microcosm of William F. Cody’s 30…

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Colorado’s long history — and uncertain present — with the KKK and other hate groups

Hate never left Colorado. From massacres of American Indians in the 19th century to the Ku Klux Klan’s control of state politics in the 1920s to modern acts of violence such as the 2013 assassination of the state prisons director by a white supremacist gang member, Colorado has dealt with its share of racism. Now,…

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Reconciling class differences in divided nation

In 2017, a well-staffed army of commentators, observers, and pundits work hard to remind us that we are citizens of a divided nation, starkly at odds in our beliefs, assumptions, and opinions. When it comes to vexing each other, we have emerged as artists of endless creativity. And here, readers will be relieved to know,…

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Center of the West Buffalo Bill symposium Aug. 2-5

As a part of its year-long centennial celebration, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Buffalo Bill Museum is bringing international scholars and museum professionals to Cody, Wyoming, for a symposium Aug. 2-5. Session topics will consider William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s life and enterprises in the context of American western studies, including his place…

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It’s time to give this overused word a break

The word “inappropriate” is perishing from fatigue. Sometimes the word heads out into the world with the mission of calling our attention to very serious matters: for instance, the way that a significant percentage of our national leaders purposefully shun the customs of respectful disagreement. While no individual or party holds a monopoly on this,…

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10 Experts Pick U.S. Historic Places That Are Actually Worth Visiting

As the summer vacation season begins, TIME History asked prominent experts in American history to recommend a historic place to visit, and compiled their picks here. Unsurprisingly given the course of American history, the Civil War looms large on this list, but it is by no means the only moment that lives on in the…

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Four interlocking facts about what happened in 1972

With this column, I have created a historical “Lego” set, placing before us four facts about the year 1972 that we are now going to treat as pieces of a larger whole. 1. On May 2, 1972, the legendary director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover, died of a heart attack. 2….

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Three area museums developing a display on the Borderlands of Southern Colorado

Officials of El Pueblo History Museum are joining forces with their colleagues in Fort Garland and Trinidad to produce a display titled “Borderlands of Southern Colorado.” The undertaking is an ambitious one that prompted museum officials to enlist the services of a number of scholars from across the country. Leading the way is University of…

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Advice to young writers: On story-telling, truth-telling and Hell on Earth

The following are prepared remarks delivered April 28 at the University of Colorado’s Center of the American West banquet in honor of the Thompson Awards for Western American Writing. The contest features undergraduate and graduate creative writers and nonfiction writers. ***** As a young reporter starting out, an editor gave me a hauntingly difficult assignment….

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A Historian of the American West Shares Her Insights

Patricia Limerick, well-known historian of the American West, gave a talk at the community center in the town of Burns, Oregon, one evening not long ago with her heart slightly in her throat. Limerick belongs to the small category of historians who are occasionally recognized on the street, and she gives talks all the time….

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How to lose elections and influence people

When the Republican congressional leaders realized they could not pass their long-promised revision of the Affordable Care Act, this defeat made them sad. More to the point, there was little evidence that defeat had improved their characters or clarified their thinking. I can help them with that. In a long-running streak of good fortune, I…

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It’s important to recognize our geographic roots

My Grandma Dorothy was fiercely loyal to South Pueblo, as she was born on Bohmen Avenue, raised on Eilers Avenue, lived as a newlywed and first-time mom on Mesa Avenue, and spent the final chapter of her life on Acero Avenue. Some of my best memories involve riding in her electric blue Monte Carlo down…

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The time I dueled with Louis L’Amour (and made peace with him)

In an encounter with the makings of legend, a very famous cowboy and an entirely unknown schoolmarm met in a showdown between romance and realism in the American West. This confrontation — between a popular novelist beloved in the heartland and a Harvard-based member of the liberal elite — seemed certain to produce far more…

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Why the solar industry can shine in our current political climate

Patty Limerick had the perfect story to warm the hearts of renewable energy proponents at the opening session of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association annual conference on Monday evening. A professor of history at the University of Colorado-Boulder where she directs the Center of the American West as well as the Colorado state historian,…

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Public Land Management in the American West

The conversation about public land management in the American West continued Tuesday morning during an in-depth NPR segment featuring top officials from the Utah Governor’s Office, the Outdoor Industry Association and western historians. Click here to listen. Cody Stewart, Director of Federal Affairs for Governor Gary R. Herbert and Jessica Wahl, Government Affairs Manager for…

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West words worth writing home about

When Atherton Phleger arrived at his first job as a park ranger at Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah, he was a dedicated acolyte of the late Western writer, environmental activist and curmudgeon Edward Abbey who had studied his well-thumbed, weather-beaten copy of “Desert Solitaire” as if it were a holy text. “If there…

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Hear ye! I henceforth issue these two executive orders

Time’s a-wasting! Just as February winds down, I am at long last issuing my first two executive orders. Issued on Feb. 19, 2017, these orders rest on the authority vested in me as the leading candidate for the presidency of the Association of Befuddled American Citizens, who seem to be emerging as the true majority….

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Let’s ask American Indians about the “immigration crisis”

In 2017, as the nation steps into the ring for yet another fight over immigration, the time has come to seek guidance from the people who have endured the most trying encounters with unruly and ill-mannered immigrants. For five hundred years, American Indian people have been coping with an immigration crisis. Since 1492, Europeans and…

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“Center for the Study of the American West” Increases Regional Awareness

A new venture at West Texas A&M University is drawing a lot of buzz across the High Plains. The Center for the Study of the American West was launched this fall and has already positioned itself as one of the jewels in WT’s crown. The project’s sponsor, Dr. Alex Hunt, says the Center’s role is…

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How Trump can win on infrastructure

After the presidential election of 2016, many good souls have declared that the building of bridges now registers as our most urgent national priority. Depending on the kind of bridges you have in mind, President-elect Donald Trump agrees. Russell Berman recently wrote in The Atlantic that “the very first specific promise Trump made upon claiming…

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Colorado State Historian, Patty Limerick to speak at GCHA annual dinner

If you want to learn (without falling asleep) about how Denver gets their water from our rivers in Grand County, I recommend reading A Ditch in Time: The City, the West, and Water. Celebrated historian and writer, Patty Limerick will be at C Lazy U at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 5 for the Grand County…

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How 3 Black Colorado Men Helped Advance Voting Rights

Coloradans voting in the 2016 election have an opportunity to remove a reference to slavery from the state constitution. The language, written in 1876, says, “There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime.” Amendment T seeks to remove that exception. This language got KUNC wondering…

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State Historian Patty Limerick regales Steamboat Springs audience with Wallace Stegner stories

Steamboat Springs — Colorado State Historian Patty Limerick offered no easy answers Oct. 24 to questions about the complex personality of Wallace Stegner, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer about the American West. However, Limerick succeeded in weaving humorous anecdotes into her talk at the Bud Werner Memorial Library, while confronting controversial aspects of Stegner’s career. “He was…

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Wilkinson’s Nov. 7 lecture continues MSU series about North American West

Charles Wilkinson, an award-winning author, teacher and expert on natural resources law in the American West, will give the second lecture in the Montana State University College of Letters and Science’s 2016 Western Lands and Peoples: Perspectives on the American West Lecture Series on Nov. 7. Wilkinson’s lecture, “Becoming a Westerner: Montana and Other Cherished…

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When Colorado Wanted To Build A Wall And Make (New) Mexico Pay

This election year, we’ve heard a lot about border security. As Donald Trump has said: “We can do a wall, we’re gonna have a big fat beautiful door right in the middle of the wall. We’re going to have people come in, but they’re going to come in legally – and Mexico is going to…

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From the past, a new slogan: Make America normal again

How is it possible that so few commentators have noted the match between Donald Trump’s lack of preparation for the presidency and the comparable deficiency that burdened President Warren Harding in 1920? In truth, Harding’s appeal to voters seems much easier to explain. To a nation fatigued by the vexations and sorrows of World War…

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‘Reclaimed epithet’: Scholar talks of ‘bureaucrat’ contributions to West

At the beginning of her lecture, Patty Limerick jokingly gave attendees who gathered at the Logan Tabernacle on Thursday night a “trigger warning” that her talk would include “bureaucratic studies ahead!” and warned people who had a “high sensitivity to boredom may need to take refuge.” But Limerick’s talk was anything but boring. Limerick, a…

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Arrington lecturer to talk Interior Dept. development of West

A professor and administrator from the University of Colorado will talk about federal government employees’ role in the development of the American West in this year’s annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture. Patty Limerick will present “Hair-Raising Tales from the Department of the Interior” at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29, in the Logan LDS…

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2016 Arrington Lecture Features Patty Limerick and ‘Hair-Raising Tales’

Hair raising tales from government workers and clerks? Yes, according to Patty Limerick, American West historian, author, teacher and the featured guest for the 2016 Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture in Logan. Limerick presents “Hair-Raising Tales from the Department of the Interior” Thursday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m., at the Logan LDS Tabernacle, 50 North…

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Connections between recently proposed legislation and antigovernment extremists threaten public lands in the West

Residents, transplants and visitors alike recognize Colorado as a pioneer in public land leadership. From forests like the White River National Forest to parks like Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado leads by example, paving the way for other Western states to embrace public lands within their state lines. However, there are a growing number of…

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Loved To Death: The Unintended Consequences Of Colorado Tourism

Nearly 78 million visitors hit popular spots in Colorado in 2015. They pumped more than $19 billion into the economy, according to the state’s tourism office, but that money comes with a dark side for wild places. Once-hidden hot springs now overflow with people. Formerly pristine ecosystems are being damaged by people who don’t understand…

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In Nevada, Tribes Push To Protect Land At The Heart Of Bundy Ranch Standoff

When rancher Cliven Bundy claimed his family of Mormon pioneers had “ancestral” rights to the federal land in and around Gold Butte, Nev., Vernon Lee scoffed. “As a native, and as the tribe that actually had that land granted by the federal government back in the 1800s, he really doesn’t got a right at all,”…

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Announcing a coalition for long-term thinking

I would like to announce the creation of Partners for Posterity, a coalition of groups that have taken up the great cause of long-term thinking. Asking Americans to include, in their decisions and choices, the people who will follow us on the planet. Partners for Posterity offers the nation an alternative to ill-temper and paralysis….

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From Sand Creek to Dallas, and from brutality to grace

The recent killings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas have turned us all into amateur theologians and moral philosophers, presenting us with questions we could not evade or dismiss: How can human beings hold such opposite capacities — for acts of grace and for acts of brutality? And when the brutality has been unleashed, how do…

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Fracking opponents and the opposite of peaceable assembly

Let’s say that you have gone to hear Gov. John Hickenlooper talk about his recently published autobiography, “The Opposite of Woe.” And then woe suddenly becomes your own destiny, and all you can hear are angry people shouting about their opposition to hydraulic fracturing. You forgot to bring your copy of the Bill of Rights,…

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Changing Landscape Raises Concerns in American West

Real estate and energy development in Western states have transformed more than 4,000 square miles of land between 2001 and 2011. “A new analysis by the nonprofit Conservation Science Partners finds that natural areas out west are disappearing at the rate of a football field every two and a half minutes,” U.S. Secretary of the…

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Anti-fracking protesters disrupt Hickenlooper’s book event in Boulder

A book talk by Gov. John Hickenlooper at the First Congregational Church in Boulder turned unexpectedly chaotic Wednesday night when it was disrupted by anti-fracking protesters from a group called the Colorado Community Rights Network. The Colorado governor was forced to abandon his initial effort to speak. Smiling, Hickenlooper appeared to take it in stride,…

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A Conversation About The Future Of Water

As part of the Going There series, Michel Martin traveled to Fort Collins, Colo. to host a live storytelling event about owning water and dealing with a future where water may be scarce. The conversation tackled the water issues in the Western United States while also highlighting the water crisis in Flint, Mich. and the…

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Going There: The Future Of Water

The Colorado River has been a major source of water in the southwestern United States region, but many worry that it’s beginning to dry up. Some observers point to population growth, climate change and water mismanagement as causes in discussions regarding the dwindling river. Could the water crisis that has struck many western states be…

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With Drought The New Normal In The West, States Scramble To Prepare

As the Colorado River dries out, the seven states that rely on this body of water risk water scarcity. Colorado state historian Patty Limerick discusses preparations for water scarcity in the West. Transcript: MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: Now we’re going to take the conversation closer to home. Water is becoming a major topic of concern in…

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NPR Chooses Colorado to Host a National Debate on Water

The future of water—who gets it and who has access to it—is just the start of an upcoming panel discussion presented by National Public Radio and host of “All Things Considered” Michel Martin. “Water is so central to the development of the west,” Martin says. “We’re working together to talk about something locally important and…

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Limerick: Thanks, parents, for letting me teach your children

In a universe very distant from the one I inhabit, parents and teachers collide and clash. Helicopter parents make frequent landings, complaining that unfair standards and demands have been imposed on their children. I have had only visited that universe once. The child in this incident — confidentiality requires me to choose my words with…

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Limerick: A lack of nuance in today’s political scene

As the madcap exercise called “the presidential campaign” lurches along, a vexing question haunts me: How, in the wild political scene of 2016, can young people retain a positive opinion of their elders? In other words, is it time for baby boomers to offer a collective apology for our failure to direct democratic self-governance toward…

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Stegner Award winner Egan visits Boulder

When author and journalist Timothy Egan went to Stanford University in 2009 for a centennial celebration of Wallace Stegner, he described the late writer as the “uber-citizen of the West.” Stegner, who taught at Stanford and won both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, was a passionate advocate for conservation and wilderness. “Something will…

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Limerick: True faith and allegiance

After a recent visit to our nation’s capital, I came home with restored hope for my nation. There’s a tribute you don’t hear every day. In a once-common pairing of actions that have become increasingly rare, I was nominated for a federal appointment by the White House and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. On March…

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Something to chew on

Perhaps the only coherent message to come out of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge debacle in eastern Oregon has been this: Local people, rather than the federal government, should control the land around their own communities. Just “give back” the refuge and other public land in Harney County to those who believe they should rightfully…

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Five Bits Of Colorado History You Rarely Hear About — But Should Know

Colorado has a new state historian, Patricia Nelson Limerick. That’s not the only hat she wears. She’s also a history professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. And she’s faculty director and chairwoman of the school’s Center for the American West. CPR News posed this question to Limerick: “What is the least understood aspect of…

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Will bureaucracy swallow Patty Limerick?

Appointing Patty Limerick to be Colorado’s state historian is kind of like putting John Elway in the front office of the Denver Broncos. Both are superstars in their field and beloved veterans who scored their reputations by doing the grunt work, not calling the shots. That’s not an exact analogy. In addition to her landmark…

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Limerick: Why I fell in love with Colorado

I never wanted to move to Colorado. As the newly appointed Colorado state historian, I aim to earn a high ranking for the celebrated virtues of transparency and full disclosure. In the early 1980s, I was teaching at Harvard on the “revolving door” plan. Assistant professors arrived on campus with the knowledge that we would…

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Not just water: City says river’s charm is key to well-being

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — A picturesque Colorado river with a peculiar French name is the latest prize in the West’s water wars, where wilderness advocates usually line up against urban and industrial development. This showdown has a new force: City dwellers who say a vibrant river flowing past their streets, parks and buildings is…

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UC Santa Cruz alumna to join National Council on the Humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced today that UC Santa Cruz alumna Patricia Limerick is one of three prominent and accomplished individuals who will join the Endowment’s advisory board. The board, called the National Council on the Humanities, consists of 26 distinguished citizens who meet three times a year in Washington, DC to…

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History Colorado names state historian in partnership with University of Colorado

History Colorado has named a new state historian — one who will operate for the first time in a partnership between the quasi-governmental historical society and the University of Colorado Boulder. Patty Limerick, director of CU-Boulder’s Center of the American West, will replace Bill Convery, who retired as state historian last year at the same…

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Patty Limerick Named State Historian as History Colorado Looks to Future

History Colorado has been making some history of its own over the past six months, with a complete reconfiguration of the board to make it leaner and meaner (at least when it comes to financial matters), buyouts and layoffs of staffers, and the departure of many of the organization’s top managers, including state historian Bill…

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Patty Limerick, CU-Boulder’s ‘maverick’ of the West, earning her spurs

Patty Limerick, masterful in charting mankind’s progress across the expanse of time, is having herself a moment. Limerick, Faculty Director and Chair of the Board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, is adding two more considerable distinctions to a list of career accomplishments already heavily weighted with lofty honors….

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They the people

The Western roots and meaning of an anti-government stunt “UNCLE SAM is rich enough to give us all a farm.” So runs the refrain of a popular song of the mid-19th century, when America’s government began dispensing homesteads in the newly opening West. Sometimes, impatiently, the settlers took the land, or its resources, without permission:…

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Why the Government Owns So Much Land in the West

The United States government owns 47 percent of all land in the West. In some states, including Oregon, Utah and Nevada, the majority of land is owned by the federal government. Of course, it used to own nearly all of it. And that remaining ownership and management of large tracts of forest and grazing lands…

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How the government came to own the West

The federal government owns 28 percent of all land in the United States. But those lands are concentrated in 11 Western states: in those states, roughly half of the land is under federal ownership. According to “Federal Land Ownership: Overview and Data,” published in 2012 by the Congressional Research Service, Nevada tops the list, with…

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Limerick: Jerk Studies 101

Thirty years ago, designing and conducting an innovative research project, I established myself as a founder and pacesetter in the field of Jerk Studies, an area of expertise that gains relevance every day. My research methodology was as simple as it was rigorous. I sought out the company of people who work with the public:…

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Historian Patricia Limerick: We can’t change history, but we can change how we understand it

Filling in neglected parts of history is ongoing and necessary work. Patricia Limerick helped start a revolution in how historians think and write about the American West. In Seattle Tuesday, she said she’s been dismayed to see how often an understanding of history is missing as we struggle with racism, terrorism, climate change and other…

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Limerick: The Paradox of Bernard DeVoto

The University of Colorado at Boulder has given an honorary Ph.D. to a contentious public figure with a habit of using words like “stupidity,” “idiocy,” and “imbecility” to characterize his opponents’ positions. Before you get braced for another ill-tempered squabble over free expression in higher education, note this important matter of timing: This honorary degree…

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Limerick: The myth of the vanishing Indian

Even though time travel is impossible, we are sometimes picked up and abruptly deposited in the past. “Nearly all of the Indians in this area,” a well-intentioned guide informed our group, “died in the 1820s and 1830s. So when the American settlers came, there was basically no one here.” If our guide had presented himself…

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CU prof launches ‘Humor Initiative’ in bid to lighten Boulder’s political discourse

A politician walks into the bar. No, scratch that. Better make it a horse. Too often, politics and humor have been like oil and water, uneasy partners except perhaps in unscripted moments such as Sen. Marco Rubio’s awkward reach for a sip of water while giving the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the…

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Noted historian Patricia Limerick lectures Oct. 16 as part of MSU American West series

Patricia Limerick, an award-winning author, teacher and researcher who is considered to be one of the leading historians about the American West, will speak at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 as the third lecturer in the Montana State University College of Letters and Science’s Western Lands and Peoples: Perspectives on the American West Lecture Series. Photo…

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Colorado higher-ed leaders discuss importance of research as part of Chopp’s inauguration

The University of Denver on Friday welcomed more than a dozen leaders from higher education institutions across the state of Colorado — both public and private, serving traditional and non-traditional students — to help celebrate the inauguration of DU’s 18th chancellor, Rebecca Chopp. The day included breakfast and lunch panel discussions, moderated by Denver Mayor…

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Limerick: Hold on to your sense of humor, America

Is our nation approaching an ungovernable state, paralyzed by polarization and pettiness? Is there an out-of-the-box remedy we should try? How about a friendly amendment to the Declaration of Independence? Originalists and devotees of the Founders, don’t panic! We won’t change a syllable in those timeless words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that…

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MSU College of Letters and Science sets fall lecture series about North American West

Prominent thinkers and writers about the American West’s history, literature, ecological studies and geography will speak at Montana State University during the College of Letters and Science’s “Western Lands and Peoples: Perspectives on the American West” lecture series scheduled throughout the fall semester. Patricia Limerick, considered to be one of the leading historians about the…

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Documentary shows how precious water is

The highly anticipated feature documentary The Great Divide premieres on Thursday. The Great Divide is a feature length documentary exploring the historic influence of water in connecting and dividing an arid state and region. The film is being produced by the Emmy award-winning team at Havey Productions, in association with Colorado Humanities. Millions of people,…

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Limerick: National Park Service saves more than history (it saved me)

Returning from my summer vacation, I carried home happy memories and valuable lessons. And yet, if we had to choose a movie title to characterize my vacation, “There Will Be Blood” would be the obvious choice. To residents of toastier parts of the nation, the Maine coast promises the relief of cool summer temperatures. On…

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Limerick: John Wesley Powell, the original credible heretic

The time has come for a visionary entrepreneur to launch a start-up: “Credible Heretics, Inc.” By common definition, a heretic is a person who holds “an opinion at odds with what is generally conventionally accepted.” In 2015, we have an over-supply of not-so-credible heretics, flooding the world with ill-informed, wacky dissent. But heretics situated on…

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Western Water Symposium examines precious resource

From the vast fields of farmland on the eastern plains to the glistening streams of the Rocky Mountains, water enabled the foundation of our state’s past and will continue to shape our future landscape. The 2015 Colorado State University Western Water Symposium and Barbecue will provide guests with insight about past water-related innovations, technology and…

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Anvil Points mine: Decades of boom, bust

When I first moved to the Rifle area I lived and worked on a cattle ranch 11 miles up West Divide Creek from Interstate 70. The only man-made light I could see from my porch at night was a tiny speck from a dusk-to-dawn light way up on the face of the Book Cliffs. Later,…

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Limerick: Campaign bloviation reform

I am not by nature a complainer, but I am going to experiment with that role, temporarily. Having to endure more than 18 months of people giving speeches about why they are running for president strikes me as an affliction that none of us should have to bear. In the spring of 2015, we have…

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Historians bring national conference to St. Louis, seek to historicize Ferguson

Even before events in Ferguson unfolded last August, the Organization of American Historians (OAH) was planning to hold a session about race relations in St. Louis. The shooting death of Michael Brown and the ensuing community reaction brought on new meaning for the OAH, as the group convenes its 108th annual meeting April 16-19 in…

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Wednesday: Historians bring national conference to St. Louis

The Organization of American Historians will convene April 16-19 in downtown St. Louis for its 108th annual meeting. Two conference panels will center around the historical implications of the events in Ferguson. The first is called “American History from the Inside Out: Putting St. Louis’s History of Cities, Suburbs, and Race Relations to Work to…

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Think: Losing the West

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, Muenzinger Auditorium, CU Boulder campus, 1801 Colorado Ave., Boulder, 303-449-5928. This week the International Film Series is getting local with a screening of Losing the West. The documentary talks about the protection, or lack of thereof, for open space and agricultural lands. As the population and rate of development grow,…

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Fool on the hill: April 1 capabilities talk by CU-Boulder’s Patty Limerick

To mark April 1, Patty Limerick, faculty director and chair of the board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, will hold forth Wednesday evening in a critique of practically 40 years as “self-confessed, officially appointed, forthright Fool.” The speech begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Wittemyer Courtroom at the…

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CU-Boulder’s Patty Limerick to review nearly 40 years as University Fool on April 1

University of Colorado Professor Patty Limerick will review nearly four decades of service as University Fool and reflect on the value of humor on April Fools’ Day. On Wednesday, April 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the Wittemyer Courtroom of the Wolf Law Building on the Boulder campus, the history professor and Official University of Colorado…

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Limerick: Riding express bus from Denver to Boulder provides true convenience

In a long overdue tribute, I write in praise of bus drivers. In Boulder, the express bus to Denver stops four blocks from my house. To put this in another way, I walk four blocks to get to Denver’s downtown, a state of affairs that stretches the powers of the adjective “convenient.” Without a moment’s…

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Conservation and recreation don’t always mix well

GRAND JUNCTION — In 1949, Aldo Leopold gave us the land ethic. With the understanding that ethics direct people to cooperate with one another for the mutual benefit of all, he crafted a philosophy that set the stage for the modern conservation movement. “The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include…

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Dead men at Boulder County’s Eldora tell conflicting tales

The proposed expansion and improvements at Eldora Mountain Resort are not likely to disturb the eternal sleep of the two men believed to be buried in the cold ground near a simple stone marker at Deadman’s Gulch. And while the dead hold their silence, the land above and around them is alive with the pulse…

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Limerick: How ice concentrates the mind

Even with its interludes of balmy temperatures, this has been a spectacular winter for ice. Consider the circumstances of Monday, Jan. 5. By the middle of that warmish day, an abundance of accumulated snow had been transformed into water and slush. And then a cold night set in. The next morning, Boulder presented itself as…

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Lessons in leaving: Making a visit to Holt with Denver Center and Kent Haruf

For more than a decade, we’ve been able to make little stops by this small, fictional town of Holt, out on the eastern plains of Colorado. We were first delivered there in Plainsong, the 1999 novel about two aging brothers, cattle ranchers who take in a pregnant, homeless teenager and allow her and her baby…

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Rocky Mountain National Park celebrates a century of preserving nature

One hundred years ago, President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation that created Rocky Mountain National Park, which promoters called “America’s Switzerland,” a massive chunk of pristine wilderness that now includes more than 260,000 acres of panoramic vistas and alpine majesty. It’s one of the most popular attractions in Colorado, according to Visit Denver. Rocky Mountain National…

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Limerick: The complicated history of extraction in Colorado

On Sept. 8, I learned that I had not been appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Oil and Gas Development. I moved through the stages of grief and loss at a brisk pace. Wasting not a second on Denial, I accepted reality, and barely paused for Anger and Bargaining. I did make a brief…

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Limerick: Looking beyond the race and the riot gear

Nationally, we are in need of strategies to de-escalate the conflicts between police officers and men who are members of racial and ethnic minorities. This is a problem with a long history. I was 16 years old when I was first immersed in it. As a high school senior in Banning, Calif., I talked my…

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Kent Haruf, 1943-2014: An astute observer of rural life in the West

With the death of novelist Kent Haruf, Colorado has lost one if its celebrated native sons, its astute and wise observer of rural life and community on Colorado’s Eastern Plains. The prize-winning author of the acclaimed trilogy “Plainsong,” “Eventide” and 2013’s “Benediction” — all set in the fictional town of Holt, Colo. — died Sunday…

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Limerick: How can we get more of the electorate voting?

At the end of an election season, the ritual remark, “The voters have spoken,” echoes through the nation. In the midterm election two weeks ago, the voices of voters in this state were indeed quite audible. Colorado scored high, with a voter turnout registering a little over 50 percent. But nationally, the turnout for a…

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SPLIT UP BY ECONOMY

RIFLE — Niki Smith and her two young sons rarely sit around the table and have family dinners anymore. Nowadays, they say, they tend to just snack. The boys don’t get to toss footballs in the yard with their dad, and Niki finds herself doing all the chores around the ranch, including taking care of…

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Limerick: Let’s meet, talk about history

Every person in my line of work has been tormented by variations on this conversation: “What do you do?” “I teach history.” “Oh, history. All those facts and dates. I’ve never been more bored in my life.” Dreading that statement, and dreading even more the deep yawn that a bored student can unleash in a…

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‘Innocent of Hops:’ The case of Colorado’s first craft beer

Editor’s Note: This essay is part of a collaboration between Colorado Public Radio and the Center of the American West. The author, Jason Hanson, is a member of the Research Faculty at the Center of the American West at CU Boulder. This much we know with certainty: The story of the first beer brewed in…

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Former National Park Service director at CU-Boulder on Thursday

Former National Park Service Director Robert Stanton will be featured Thursday night at the University of Colorado in a lecture hosted by the Center of the American West. Stanton, the featured speaker for the 2014 Randy Jones Lecture, is a featured speaker in the series of events marking the centennial of the creation of Rocky…

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How ‘Beer and Steer’ parties put Colorado at the center of the craft beer world

Editor’s note: This essay is part of a collaboration between CPR News and the Center of the American West at CU-Boulder. The author Sam Bock is a research assistant at the Center of the American West and a PhD student in History at the University of Colorado Boulder. As brewers and revelers alike prepare to…

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Local hops can’t keep pace with Colorado breweries

Some call the Front Range, with its 230 breweries, the Napa Valley of beer. Unlike Napa, however, Colorado doesn’t grow most of the key ingredients, and it’s been a struggle to change that. Will Witman’s small Niwot farm illustrates the problem with Colorado’s hop industry. To get started, he had to built an expensive, complex…

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CEJargon: Center of the American West Director Patty Limerick

Homer and Halliburton might be strange bedfellows, but there’s one thing the bard of the ancient world and the multinational drilling giant have in common: both explore the mysterious world beneath our feet. Patty Limerick, director of the Center of the American West, stopped by the CEJ on Thursday, September 18 to share her work…

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Limerick: Armchair quarterbacks of the world, unite

I have been trying to find the mission statement for an association that is clearly having a big impact on public conversation these days. I know this organization must exist because its members are so visible and audible. And yet Googling has not yet led me to the website for what appears to be a…

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War of the words

If you want a taste of just how confusing it can be to navigate the debate over oil and gas development’s environmental effects, look no further than recent news coverage: From the Washington Post’s Wonkblog: “Study: Bad fracking techniques let methane flow into drinking water.” And from The New York Times: “Well Leaks, Not Fracking,…

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Greeley City Council discusses continuing dialogue on oil, gas

Greeley City Council members heard a brief recap Tuesday to the three-meeting series “FrackingSense: Greeley” held this past spring and discussed continuing the dialogue about oil and gas. Patty Limerick, director of the Center for the American West, outlined future options, which include a Front Range/Western Slope conversation. Mayor Pro Tem John Gates recommended they…

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Oil and Gas ‘Conversation’ Covers Health, Fracking, Water

RIFLE — Health, fracking and water were the main topics of discussion at Saturday afternoon’s “Community Conversations” event held by Colorado Mountain College at the West Garfield County Campus in Rifle. The keynote speaker was Dr. Patty Limerick, a faculty director and chair of the board of the Center of the American West at the…

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A Native American Story That Leaves ‘Feathers Or Leather’ Cliches Behind

The new film Winter in the Blood is based on a landmark of literature from the American West: a novel, published to critical acclaim in 1974, about a 30-something American Indian man living in Montana. It was written by Native American author James Welch, and adapted for the screen, for the first time, by two…

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Limerick: Humor, sorrow and Robin Williams’ suicide

In western Pennsylvania, our Volkswagen bug abruptly ended its useful life. Standing in the rain in the breakdown lane (which has always struck me as a fine name for a rock band), my husband Jeff and I looked into the engine compartment. We discovered evidence of the event called “throwing a rod” — which may…

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CU’s Limerick rhymes with a powerful reason

When argument rattles each rafter And leaves bitter feelings thereafter, You still can have calm And defuse the bomb. Ask Patty! She’ll do it with laughter. Sparks could have flown at BizWest’s 2014 Energy Summit, held July 10 at The Ranch east of Loveland, over the hot-button topic of fracking. In the opening session, however,…

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Limerick: With blame out of the way, it’s time to solve these issues

Like many Americans, when I contemplate the state of national leadership, I move quickly to a mood of gloom and hopelessness. Observing the tiresome squabbling among our nation’s leaders has become a torment. But then I came upon an idea of a positive intervention I could make in this muddle. And so I write to…

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Limerick: Meeting the future

On June 2, a person representing the future made a visit to the Center of the American West. This visitor turned out to be the happiest person I have ever met in my life. There was no need to tell her to “live in the moment” or “seize life’s opportunities.” Her name was Lygia, and…

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Limerick: An invitation to Cliven Bundy

In the manner of a person slinking around the edge of a social gathering, trying to steer clear of a person I do not want to meet, I have done my best to avoid Cliven Bundy. Though I am a Western American historian engaged with contemporary issues, when an Associated Press reporter left me a…

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Final forum on oil and gas development in Greeley is tonight

They may not readily admit it, but after hosting forums on oil and gas development in Greeley and Boulder, Patty Limerick said the residents of those cities have more similar concerns about the industry than they might think. Limerick, faculty director at Center of the American West with the University of Colorado at Boulder, said…

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Second of three fracking forums is tonight in Greeley

The second of three public forums on oil and gas development in Greeley will be from 6:30-9 p.m. Monday night at Billie Martinez Elementary School. The forums, titled FrackingSENSE, are organized by the Center of the American West. Monday’s forum, which is free, will have an air quality focus and include discussion of risk assessment…

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Limerick: A run for Congress? I wasn’t in my right (or left) mind

In 2007, I suffered a bout of what many Americans might call temporary insanity. I thought about running for Congress. Mark Udall held the seat for the state’s 2nd Congressional District. But the word on the street was that he intended to give up his seat in the House and to run for the Senate….

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First Greeley oil and gas forum Monday

The first FrackingSENSE forum will take place from 6:30-9 p.m. Monday at the University of Northern Colorado’s Long’s Peak Room at the University Center, 2045 10th Ave. in Greeley. Monday’s forum is the first of three free events hosted by the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Center of the American West, in partnership with the…

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“Fracking” brings Limerick back to South Dakota

March 31 event part of Harding lecture series BROOKINGS – Patty Limerick owes her career as a public speaker to a March 1972 trip to South Dakota. Now the faculty director and chair of the board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, where she is also a history professor,…

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Greeley to partner with Boulder academics for oil and gas forums

A Boulder-based research group will come to Greeley this spring to talk about the energy industry, and city officials welcome the conversation. In fact, Greeley is helping to orchestrate upcoming forums hosted by Patty Limerick, faculty director at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Center of the American West, and a team of academics reaching…

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Limerick: Let’s aim to be politically direct, not politically correct

We have gathered to pause and reflect On the concept, “politically correct.” While the right of free speech Protects freedom to screech, We’ll still make a claim on respect. I invite you to join in the launching of a movement. My expectations are modest. I’m hoping to recruit and enlist just a few allies. Here…

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Arvada Center to Host ‘ROCKY FLATS THEN AND NOW,’ 6/6-8

On June 6, 7, and 8, 2014, the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities will host Rocky Flats Then and Now: 25 Years After the Raid, a multifaceted event marking the 25th Anniversary of the historic raid on the nation’s only factory making the plutonium cores for nuclear bombs. For the first time ever,…

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Limerick: New perspectives on Colorado history?

Coloradans, a cascade of emotionally intense anniversaries is about to descend on you. To a professional historian, every thought in every day draws a line between the present and the past, between then and now. For people in other lines of work, when the number of years since a historic event’s occurrence registers as a…

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Talks to highlight importance of watersheds

In the 1880s, explorer and surveyor John Wesley Powell tried to convince Congress that Western states’ boundaries should be based on natural watersheds, not geopolitical interests. Had Powell succeeded, New Mexico would look entirely different and surely would have handled its water resources differently, as well, said Jack Loeffler, a jazz trumpeter turned watershed advocate….

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Limerick: Taking a stand on academic boycott

In an action that has become a matter of international controversy, the American Studies Association recently passed a resolution endorsing a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. As a former president of the ASA, I joined seven other former presidents in a letter expressing our dissent from this resolution. I am not speaking for my fellow…

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Patty Limerick has a fracking good sense of humor

Patty Limerick is not a standup comedian, but she could be. I met Patty years ago at a conference for journalists, sponsored by The Property and Environment Research Center, and held at Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana. Since that time I have followed, and valued, the work of the Center of the American…

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Finding common ground on drilling, starting with how to spell the F word

The Denver Post this morning announced that the four largest drilling companies working in Colorado’s Denver-Julesberg Basin have invested $4 billion in 2013, with plans for even more investment in 2014. It’s a bet that the Niobrara and other formations underlying the basin will produce oil and gas for a good number of years. Also…

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Limerick: Nurturing students in a digital world

When a student enrolled in my course disappears from the world, I take a fast trip to self-reproach. Did I miss a chance to throw out a lifeline? As I gaze at the swirling sea of young people on my campus, how can I pay close enough attention to know when someone is “drifting away”?…

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50th Anniversary of the Assassination of John F. Kennedy | Nov. 22, 1963

Had JFK lived: Coloradans speculate on an alternate 1960s, his legacy

President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline arrive in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. After leaving the airport, the Kennedys traveled along a 10-mile route that wound through downtown Dallas on the way to the Trade Mart, where the president had been scheduled to speak at a luncheon. (The Rodgers Archive) Related Stories As…

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What I Have Learned about Hydraulic Fracturing Since Last Fall: A Status Report (November 6, 2013)

  Note: You are free to share this document, but you must remind anyone who sees it that this is simply a personal statement and not an official report on the National Science Foundation Sustainability Resource Network grant on Natural Gas Production and Hydraulic Fracturing. Also, please note that this is an evolving document; I…

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What Congress can learn from a 1930’s Western

I will now attempt to set an inspirational example for the members of Congress. On public record, I am going to reject moral purity and compromise my principles. While our national leaders were standing by their principles and thereby perfecting their genius for the production of gridlock, I was trying to get out of a…

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A crash course in risk perception

Interested in becoming an expert on the intriguing subject of risk perception? Here’s a quick way to get started: go for a walk, during the breaks between classes, on the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus. Picture the scene on the first day of school. The number of young people on campus has made a dramatic…

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Documentary maker to study Colorado water issues

Emmy Award winning Havey Productions, a Colorado historical documentary film house, announces its next documentary film project: “The Great Divide,” revealing how the destiny of the west is written in the headwaters of Colorado.”The Great Divide” will take on one of the most pressing and critical issues of our time in order to raise public…

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Limerick: In the social media age, voices carry

Before there was Facebook or Twitter, there were pre-digital devices that were amazingly effective at distributing and delivering information. These devices were called “small towns.” Spending my formative years in a small town, I headed into the world richly supplied with memories of occasions when I thought I was speaking to one person, but I…

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Limerick: Calling on Stephen Colbert and Co. to put the humor back in humanities

The “disciplines overboard!” distress call has gone out for the humanities. This call has been much amplified by a recent publication from the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, created by the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Tracking a declining enrollment in humanities courses and a reduced number of humanities majors, this…

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Who Won and Lost the Civil War Changed Over Time

The Civil War fundamentally changed the course of American and world history. It preserved the unity of the American nation while ousting from power a planter class that had controlled the national government since its inception. It made the Republican Party the dominant political force for the next six decades. It created a new banking…

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Aspen Historical Society rings in 50th year with slew of events

Aspen’s history will be celebrated next month with a week of events that itself could be history making in terms of the volume of information presented in varying, creative ways. Aspen Historical Society (AHS) celebrates its 50th anniversary July 8-12 with “Chautauqua Aspen,” featuring character acting, restored historic footage, all-star panels, fun learning for the…

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Limerick: What does the pigeon say? Frack!

Decades ago, finding wisdom and inspiration in our avian friends, people flocked to the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” the inspirational story of a bird that parted from the tawdry customs of its fellow seagulls and pursued the highest meanings of flight. No one in the early 1970s chose to tap into this vein of popular…

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Why the rush to drill here, drill now when so much is yet to be proven?

Josh Fox, the Pennsylvania filmmaker, was in Colorado recently to premier his second production, called “Gasland II.” If it’s anything like his first film, “Gasland,” where one lingering image was of Fox in a gasmask playing a banjo, this new film is a gonzo-giggle in its storyline. That first film was also casual in its…

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Hold on to rights, Colorado

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the dramatic growth in the supply of domestic oil and natural gas that has turned American-made energy into our nation’s latest success story. Nationally, the low price of these domestic energy resources has translated into billions of dollars of savings for the American consumer. According to a…

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Man lays family’s claim to oil shale

A Grand Junction man says his family’s oil shale claims covering thousands of acres in northwest Colorado are valid and an analysis by the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder says he might have a point. The Bureau of Land Management says the odds are against that, but that…

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Limerick: Now, does reading matter?

Last month, some employers in Colorado generously contributed their time and expertise to respond to my query: Do writing skills matter when you are hiring young people? An overwhelming majority (actually, all but one person!) declared that writing mattered very much in hiring decisions. Many employers said that application material with a couple of errors…

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Hickenlooper: ‘I Am Constantly Attacked Now For Being In The Pocket Of Oil And Gas’

Gov. John Hickenlooper has been a lightning rod for the controversy surrounding oil and gas production in Colorado, specifically the industry’s use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to reach natural gas deposits locked in subterranean rock. On Thursday night, the Democrat discussed the topic as part of the FrackingSENSE lecture series at the University of…

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Limerick: Does good writing matter?

Employers in Colorado, I need your help. Answer this question: “In a difficult job market, will the ability to write clearly and effectively provide a competitive advantage for a young job-seeker?” I think the answer is “yes.” But if your response is “no,” don’t try to protect me. Be blunt. If I am paying too…

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Limerick: Geeks of the world, unite

Last weekend, I had the great luck to have dinner with a science geek. Before anyone writes to protest what might seem a negative characterization, note this was the term that my dining companion used to characterize himself. As the saying goes, if the shoe fits, wear it. So I now rephrase my opening statement:…

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The Fracking Lectures: Prelude

What would you like to know about fracking? An upcoming lecture series at the University of Colorado aims to find out “what we know, what we don’t know, and what we hope to learn about natural-gas development”. It’s hosted by the Center for the American West, Boulder County, and an entity calling itself the AirWaterGas…

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To rediscover Banning’s past, Nelson-Limerick stepped away

Sometimes it takes getting away from a hometown to appreciate what is actually there. It was the case of then Patty Nelson, Banning High School alumna, Class of 1968. Patty Nelson Limerick, while taking graduate studies at Yale University, the San Gorgonio Pass was brought up during a history lesson. “There, all the way out…

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Limerick: Grandma Nelson’s land of opportunity

Like millions of Americans, my presence in this nation derives directly from immigration. My grandmother on my father’s side was an immigrant, a Mormon convert from Denmark. When her five children were still alive, there was a spirited (if not spiritual) family dispute about the true nature of her beliefs. Grandma Nelson was a person…

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Limerick: Leave assumptions behind

When you stand in front of a college class in a lecture hall, you may well think you are looking at a group of young people who are full of life and insulated from death. It’s time, in fact, to think harder about who is actually in front of you. Exactly one year ago, I…

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BANNING: Acclaimed historian to give lecture

Acclaimed historian Patty Nelson Limerick will give a lecture in Banning as part of the city’s year-long centennial celebration. The lecture, “Beginning with Banning: From Conquest to Civil Rights, from Stagecoaches to VW Bugs, from the Old West to the New Western History,” is Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center’s gathering hall….

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Colorado’s rich, diverse heritage

I have been attending lectures at the History Colorado Center in Denver this fall. The September lecture featured Dennis Boggs as Abe Lincoln in a living history portrayal. President Lincoln was very interested in the Colorado territory and the mineral wealth miners were extracting from the mountains, so much so that Lincoln wrote a speech…

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In Ignorance We Trust

A packet of letters arrived the other day from the honors English class at St. Lawrence School in Brasher Falls, N.Y. Snail mail, from high school sophomores? Yes, and honest, witty and insightful snail mail at that. They had been forced to read a book of mine. “Personally, I don’t like reading about history or…

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CU-Boulder center asks Washington’s leaders to cooperate — via a T-shirt

The University of Colorado’s Center of the American West has sent a message of bipartisan cooperation to top leaders in Washington, D.C. Five T-shirts bearing a quote from Gifford Pinchot, a personal friend of Teddy Roosevelt and the nation’s first chief forester, are on their way to President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, House…

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Limerick: Cliffs in the West

Supplied with a great abundance of literal precipices and stark drop-offs, the state of Colorado seems like a good place to think about cliffs. There are two principal Western traditions when it comes to falling off cliffs. Two women in the 19th century West recorded stories that perfectly sum up the first tradition. In “A…

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The 2012 Books You Missed But Shouldn’t Have

Dec 3, 2012 12:00 AM EST Here are 11 books that might have flown under the radar but shouldn’t be overlooked. ‘Beautiful Thing: Inside the Secret World of Bombay’s Dance Bars’ by Sonia Faleiro. 240 pp. Black Cat. $15. The subtitle does not lie: Inside the Secret World of Bombay’s Dance Bars. Faleiro chronicles that…

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CU-Boulder to screen documentary film about water on December 5, 2012

The University of Colorado Boulder’s Center of the American West is pleased to present a screening of Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West, followed by a panel discussion featuring the film’s producer, as well as prominent Colorado Water experts discussing the Colorado River and its future. With Robert Redford as its…

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Limerick: Explaining this year’s election

Two weeks ago, an airport shuttle driver in a distant state deepened my election-year despair. “We have been told,” he said, “never to discuss the election with our passengers.” This nation’s Founding Fathers were not a very harmonic group (we’ll come back to that). But if they could have foreseen — or foreheard — the…

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The true believer and the skeptic: A review of River Republic and A Ditch in Time

Two optimistic new books exhort Americans to embrace the challenges of their aging water infrastructure, but they provide sharply opposing views. In River Republic: The Fall and Rise of America’s Rivers, political scientist Daniel McCool calls on citizens to undo the damage done to the country’s waterways by the engineers of yore. In contrast, in her…

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Limerick: Interferin’ with the Presidential Debates

“Sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way,” Rep. Paul Ryan pointed out to Vice President Joe Biden during their recent debate. I’m Patty Limerick, and I endorse this statement. This is a bipartisan endorsement, and it stems from the fact that I have a hearty supply of my own public…

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Stephen Crane Rides Again

Nostalgia for an imagined golden age does not enhance a historian’s job performance. And yet election-year debates pull me off track and into a deep swamp of nostalgia.  Within minutes of a debate’s start, I am lost in yearning for a past era when candidates made their cases in substantive, cogent, and thorough ways. By…

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Denver Post Review of “A Ditch In Time”

Historian Patricia Nelson Limerick has done the impossible. She’s made a history of the Denver Water Department interesting. Well, mostly. “A Ditch in Time” is filled with robber barons, high-handed bureaucrats, environmental zealots and even a few references to the movie “Chinatown.” Private entrepreneurs saw the need to deliver potable water to early Denver and…

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CU public lands conference turns up a few nuggets

Conferences are often the worst place for journalists to find great story ideas or spontaneous comments – just imagine panelists sitting on a distant stage droning on about abstract topics and you’ll find your eyelids involuntarily drooping. But as someone with a lifelong interest in public lands, the lineup at the Center for the American…

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NSF awards CU-Boulder-led team $12 million to study effects of natural gas development

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $12 million grant to a University of Colorado Boulder-led team to explore ways to maximize the benefits of natural gas development while minimizing negative impacts on ecosystems and communities. Led by Professor Joseph Ryan of CU-Boulder’s civil, environmental and architectural engineering department, the team will examine social, ecological…

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Book on History of the Denver Water Department Due in September

As a child, I slipped into unnecessary self-disclosure and confessed to my parents that I was interested in history. This put the idea in their minds that I would enjoy meeting old-timers and hearing about the olden days of my hometown, Banning. Although I was a shy child, my parents were relentlessly sociable, and so…

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Two NSF Sustainability Research Networks Are Each Awarded $12 Million

To explore ways of maximizing the benefits of natural gas development while minimizing potential negative effects on human communities and ecosystems, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has entered into a cooperative agreement with a University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder)-led team of scientists, engineers and educators and eight partner organizations. NSF has also entered into a…

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Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar speaks at CU

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, a former U.S. Senator, Colorado College graduate and Colorado’s 36th Attorney General, spoke at CU Thursday regarding public lands. Salazar’s speech took place Thursday afternoon in the Stadium Club at Folsom Field as part of a conference entitled “The Nation Possessed: The Conflicting Claims of America’s Public…

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Ruminating on rivers

Patty Limerick is sitting, incorrigible as ever, in her cluttered office, wearing a T-shirt that reads, “It’s a greater thing to be a good citizen than a good Republican or a good Democrat.” It’s not just a lesson for the upcoming election. It’s also a glimpse into the mindset of a CU-Boulder professor who refuses…

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Salazar: All energy production OK on public land with careful planning Read more: Salazar: All energy production OK on public land with careful planning

BOULDER — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Thursday outlined an expanded “all-of-the-above” strategy for balancing conservation of public lands with increased domestic energy production. “We see energy independence within our grasp,” Salazar said in a speech to about 180 participants in a symposium at the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado. The audience…

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CU-Boulder Hosting Symposium on 200th Anniversary of the General Land Office

The University of Colorado will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the General Land Office with a conference hosting Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and other high-ranking officials. CU’s Center for the American West and the Public Lands Foundation will present “The Nation Possessed: The Conflicting Claims on America’s Public Lands” next…

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Why the U.S. Forest Service’s First Chief Deserves a Cool T-Shirt

If during this super-heated summer you have traveled to any of the electoral battleground states, you’ll know that the sun-baked temperatures outside are more than matched by the ultra-hot campaign ads saturating the airwaves. And you’ll understand why Patricia Limerick and her students decided to counter the pounding partisanship with a time-honored device in American…

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Learn about our public lands

If you are already worn down with election-year contention and wondering how you are going to make it to Nov. 6, a big dose of relief is within your reach. On Sept. 12-14, the Center of the American West, in partnership with the Public Lands Foundation, is hosting a conference, called “The Nation Possessed; The…

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Western to host 37th Annual Colorado Water Workshop

Western State College of Colorado/Western State Colorado University will host the 37th Annual Colorado Water Workshop July 18-20 with the theme, “Water Taboos: Addressing Our Most Challenging Issues.” “We decided on this theme last fall,” said Workshop Director Jeff Sellen. “Since that time, drought and fire have made water issues in Colorado and the West…

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Colorado Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs Featured at June Water 2012 Book Club Event

On June 18, author, scholar, and Colorado Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs will present on two of his books: Living the Four Corners: Colorado, Centennial State at the Headwaters, published in 2011, and his new book Into the Grand. The presentation will include a special introduction by Patty Limerick, Faculty Director and Chair of the…

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27th Anniversary Celebration Recognizes Three Iconic Leaders for Unique and Inspiring Contributions to Colorado

Denver, May 18, 2012 – The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation today celebrated the 27th Anniversary of its Annual Award Program by announcing the 2012 recipients of the Bonfils-Stanton Awards:  Dr. Patricia Limerick, Robert Tointon, and Dr. Temple Grandin.  Each year, the awards recognize outstanding Coloradans for contributions made to enhance the quality of life for residents of…

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Local author receives Wallace Stegner Award

National Book Award nominee Kent Haruf, Salida, received the Wallace Stegner Award April 25 at a ceremony at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Seven Salida residents were among the approximately 150 people who attended the event at the university’s Center of the American West. Best known for his novel “Plainsong,” Haruf received a standing…

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Patty Limerick featured on the Bureau of Land Management’s Website: Is Democracy Compatible with Conservation?

If you pay attention to the history of the Bureau of Land Management, you will soon be wrestling with one of the most consequential questions of the last two centuries. The practices we cluster under the category “conservation” all hold in common a commitment to restrain some uses of natural resources so that those resources…

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Patty Limerick quoted in USA Today: “Tiny towns go up for sale”

For the right price, you can own what is billed as America’s smallest town — Buford, Wyo., pop. 1. The minimum bid of $100,000 in Thursday’s national auction wouldn’t buy you a townhouse in many cities.   Don Sammons is Buford’s sole resident and will sell the town by auction. Whoever buys the 10 acres…

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Oil Shale – Fact or Fiction?

Some scientists estimate the oil bed under Utah, Colorado and Wyoming amounts to triple the reserves of Saudi Arabia. But environmental groups say that’s speculative. Last night, the Bureau of Land Management hosted a public meeting in Salt Lake City to get public input on a plan to develop over 350,000 acres for oil shale…

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Is Oil Shale Close to Becoming a Reality?

For about a century, entrepreneurs have tried to squeeze oil from rock on Colorado’s Western Slope. It’s often said that there’s enough oil shale out there to dwarf Saudi Arabia’s reserves. But no one’s ever been able to make any real money extracting it.  That COULD be changing.  Shell recently announced that it was able…

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History Faculty Begin Nationwide Tuning Project: What Should History Degree-Holders Know and Be Able to Do?

Washington, D.C.– The American Historical Association (AHA) is initiating a nationwide, faculty-led project to articulate the core of historical study and to identify what a student should know and be able to do at the completion of a history degree program. Professors Anne Hyde (Colorado College) and Patricia Limerick (University of Colorado Boulder) will lead…

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BLM Colorado hosts Student Art Contest

The Bureau of Land Management’s Colorado State Office, in partnership with the Public Lands Foundation and the Center of the American West, will host a juried art contest for Colorado high school students to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the General Land Office. The art contest is framed around an educational presentation covering the history…

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Bunky Echo-Hawk brings ‘live art’ to CU-Boulder

Contemporary, Native American artist Bunky Echo-Hawk is planning to complete his next painting on Thursday evening. However, with less than 48 hours to go, he has no plans for the design of his piece. The painting will likely include bright, vibrant colors and an obvious connection to Echo-Hawk’s Native American heritage — both staples of…

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Q&A: Bunky Echo-Hawk on sharing art and ideas with the people

​Indian artist Bunky Echo-Hawk is an old soul in a cutting-edge suit — his bright paintings, slabbed with blocks of blinding color, mix traditional and pop imagery and ideas, resulting in a body of work that’s funny, sad, stridently satirical and very smart. He’s therefore an excellent choice as a lecturer for the University of…

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Words to Stir the Soul pays tribute to Reg Saner, a true writer of the West

​Usually it’s a literary hodgepodge of writings about the West read by Colorado celebrities — not the glitzy ones, but a round-robin of teachers, historians and politicians. but tonight’s Words to Stir the Soul, an annual tradition curated by the University of Colorado’s Center for the American West, will focus on the words of just…

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Jason Hanson Addresses Oil Shale Industry

GOLDEN, CO – Center Researcher Jason Hanson, coauthor of the Center’s What Every Westerner Should Know About Oil Shale website, gave the closing plenary address at the 31st annual Oil Shale Symposium at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden today. Giving a talk entitled “The ABC’s (and X’s) of Scouting the Future for Oil…

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John McPhee Wins Wallace Stegner Award

Pulitzer prize-winning author John McPhee has another accolade to add to his collection after the Center of the American West presented him with the Wallace Stegner Award Thursday. With 28 books under his belt and 48 years contributing to The New Yorker, this award counts McPhee among “those who have faithfully and evocatively depicted the…

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Patty Limerick Receives Museum’s Earle Chiles Award

BEND, Ore. — The High Desert Museum has chosen Patty Limerick, faculty director and board chair of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, for the 28th annual Earle A. Chiles Award. The $15,000 award funded by the Chiles Foundation is for Limerick’s scholarship and public history forums that challenge popular…

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Symposium to celebrate Theodore Roosevelt’s life

President Theodore Roosevelt is celebrating his 153rd birthday in an unconventional fashion. The sixth annual Theodore Roosevelt Symposium and the 92nd annual meeting of the Theodore Roosevelt Association have collaborated to create a four-day celebration of the life of Roosevelt. The influence North Dakota had on Roosevelt, and the influence Roosevelt had on North Dakota…

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Saddle up! Networks stampede to cash in on Western genre

The rugged individualism of myth, the challenge of uncharted territory, the bad sanitation and awful racial stereotypes . . . the TV Western is back in the saddle. More than half a dozen projects set in the Old West are in the pipeline or ready for roll-out across several networks in coming months. The “horse opera,” a…

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Botched Police Raid Inspires New Novel

Boulder author Jenny Shank’s new novel is about a clerical error with devastating consequences. “The Ringer” is loosely based on a true story, when Denver police raided the wrong house and killed an innocent man. Her novel jumps back and forth between perspectives: first the white cop who fired the fatal shot, then to the…

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Fall dials back the time machine as TV shows revisit bunnies, “Angels” and stewardesses

America needs a girdle. Maybe that’s the message of the flood of retro-programs that treat the Kennedy era with reverence. Think pointy bras, skinny ties and vintage cars, add a Sinatra soundtrack, and you’re halfway to a prime-time television series, give or take a subplot. The TV networks hope that the invocation of the past…

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Proposed Post Office Closures Spark Anger, Challenge Rural Identity

Small towns across America may soon lose a part of their identity if the U.S. Postal Service has its way. Up to 3,000 post offices are targeted for closure because of the agency’s ongoing budget problems. Eleven facilities are on the list in Colorado, and for residents in the town of New Raymer the move…

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Wilderness or Wild Lands? Policy Sparks Controversy

Wilderness conservation took a hit as part of this year’s federal budget compromise. A rider slipped into the bill at the last minute has put millions of acres of land back on the table for oil and gas drilling.  One of those places is South Shale Ridge in western Colorado. The area is not federally…

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Budget Compromise Impacts Wilderness Conservation

MICHELE NORRIS, host: You’re listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Now to a battle over funding and wording. In this year’s budget compromise, conservation funding took a hit. A rider slipped into a bill put millions of acres of land back on the table for oil and gas drilling. One of those places…

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‘Encounters with the Archdruid’ turns 40

In 1971, a book by author John McPhee hit the shelves and cast a balanced view on the rapidly expanding environmental movement of the late 1960s. “Encounters with the Archdruid” tells the true story of firebrand environmentalist David Brower. McPhee created situations in which Brower interacted with a mineral engineer named Charles Park, a resort…

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BOULDER CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE: PATTY LIMERICK AND CHARLES WILKINSON

September 13, 2011 Location: Chautauqua Community House Address: 900 Baseline Rd, Boulder, CO 80302 Times: 5:30pm Admission: $15 Venue: Chautauqua Dining Hall Visit Website Add to Trip Planner In 1986, Patty Limerick and Charles Wilkinson founded the Center of the American West. The Center of the American West serves as a forum committed to the…

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Report from 2011 Triennial

Sixty-nine members and guests came to an unusually rainy Boulder, Colorado for SWG’s 2011 Triennial meeting. We met at the Millennium Harvest House, located on Boulder Creek, Thursday, May 19 through Sunday, May 22. We had a grand time in spite of rain, and the epic flight delays getting to Denver experienced by some members….

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WSC Colorado Water Workshop, “Risk, Opportunity & Leadership in Changing Climates;” July 20-22

The 36th Annual Colorado Water Workshop will be held July 20 to 22 at Western State College of Colorado (WSC). This year’s theme is “Risk, Opportunity & Leadership in Changing Climates,” which explores issues related to political, economic and physical conditions that affect water use in Colorado. The Colorado Water Workshop brings together experts, policymakers,…

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Words to Stir the Soul: The Fourmile Canyon Fire

At 10am on Monday September 6th, 2010 – Labor Day – a wildfire started in Fourmile Canyon west of Boulder. Over the course of 11 days, the fire consumed over 6,000 acres of land and destroyed 169 homes. It was the most expensive wildfire in Colorado history, costing around $10 million to fight and causing…

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Rule of CWA: Talent must be imported from outside Colorado

Over the years, a number of local intellectuals have lobbied Juli Steinhauer, co-chairwoman of the Conference on World Affairs, for a spot on the participants’ roster. Colorado artists, scientists, musicians — and, just last week, a defense attorney — have asked to be guests of the weeklong CWA at the University of Colorado, Steinhauer said….

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Residents of Fourmile Fire burn area, firefighters come together at CU-Boulder

Residents of the Fourmile Fire burn area, firefighters and local government officials will gather next week on the University of Colorado campus for a book reading to commemorate the six-month anniversary of the Fourmile Fire, which has gone down in history as the state’s costliest wildfire. CU’s Center of the American West is hosting “Words…

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Fourmile Canyon Fire to be remembered in ‘Words To Stir The Soul’ at CU-Boulder March 14

The University of Colorado Boulder’s Center of the American West will host “Words to Stir the Soul and Reckon with Reality: The Six-Month Anniversary of the Fourmile Canyon Fire” on March 14. Readers will include residents of the burn area, firefighters and local government officials representing a multitude of perspectives on the wildfire that burned…

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Jason Hanson Discusses Oil Shale With Colorado Public Radio

Colorado Public Radio wanted to catch up on the latest news from Shale Country, so Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner sat down with What Every Westerner Should Know About Oil Shale coauthor Jason Hanson to discuss the recent legal settlements and more in an in-depth interview that aired today during Morning Edition and on Colorado…

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Patty Limerick interviewed by local high school student, Stefy Bautista

Patty Limerick is the Faculty Director and Chair of the Board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado. As well as teaching, Patty is a leading historian on the American West, writing books and consulting on documentaries on the subject. She is a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant award….

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Author of “Entirely Synthetic Fish” to speak Feb. 7 in Bozeman

BOZEMAN – The award-winning author of “An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World” will sign books and give a free public lecture on Monday, Feb. 7, in Bozeman. Anders Halverson, research associate at the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, will sign his book at…

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Colorado’s most crucial resource

Denver’s dry winter has done nothing if not underscore the tenuous nature of water supplies along the Front Range. The Highlands Ranch Library is inviting the public to participate in a forum, “Insights on Front Range Water Issues,” at 7 p.m. Jan. 20. The forum will be presented by Patty Limerick of the University of…

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Discovering the True Meaning of Family

As a research associate at the Center of the American West at CU, Buzzy Jackson was inspired to begin her search for her family’s history by the recent birth of her son and her scrawny family tree. In the course of researching her family tree, Jackson connected with distant relatives, traced her roots back more…

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Advisers, experts helped Hickenlooper craft the right words for his inaugural speech

Just hours before he was to be sworn in as Colorado’s 42nd governor, John Hickenlooper retooled the speech he would deliver the next morning. In earlier drafts, he discovered the word “government” was the fifth-most-used word in the speech. That had to change. “We needed to talk about people’s potential,” he said. Hickenlooper enlisted a…

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Tough to squeeze duties into a guv box

When John Hickenlooper is sworn into office today as Colorado governor, he joins a small fraternity who have held that title: Only 36 people have served in the position since statehood arrived in 1876. Like those predecessors, Hickenlooper will have to hold on to his hats as his new life begins, since he will sport…

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How The West Can Save: A new report examines how Westerners’ relationship with energy is destined to change

Imagine waking up on a refreshing summer morning in the Rockies, stepping out of your front door to pick up the newspaper, and finding this headline: ENORMOUS OIL FIELD DISCOVERED IN THE AMERICAN WEST. Imagine also that this oil field promised to produce enough energy to substantially offset growing national demand, help prevent shortfalls in…

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Ted Turner in Boulder for debut of his restaurant

After being honored by the University of Colorado’s Center of the American West in the morning and speaking over lunch for the Colorado Conservation Voters, media mogul Ted Turner spent Tuesday night mingling with dignitaries at his new Pearl Street restaurant.

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In tough economic times, Coloradans go back to school, census stats show

In hard times, college enrollment programs can experience great times — particularly those that teach specific job skills. While Colorado residents suffered wage cuts and job losses during a national recession, the number of them paying to go to college grew, according to census survey data released Tuesday.

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Ted Turner Accepts Award as Leading Westerner

You can see how Ted Turner might be a handful. Patty Limerick, the noted historian of the American West, interviewed him on Tuesday morning, and for awhile it was uncertain whether she would get a question in edgewise. Limerick, who can parse and parry with the best of them, rarely has that problem.

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CU-Boulder slips to No. 13 in Sierra Magazine’s green ratings

The University of Colorado needs to pass its green crown to Green Mountain College, a school in Vermont that celebrated last Earth Day by installing a biomass plant on its campus.

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Book review: ‘Shaking the Family Tree’ by Buzzy Jackson

Author Buzzy Jackson has the 20th most common surname in America, but she managed to trace her roots back more than 250 years. It wasn’t easy, as Jackson makes clear in Shaking the Family Tree, an entertaining, enlightening look at how she did it.

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The National Landscape Conservation System— The Next Ten Years

While many of our predecessors had created monuments in much the same manner, it seemed to me that the time was now at hand to change that practice. The West had now come of age, with a growing constituency for conservation and for preserving our heritage of unimpeded wide open spaces.

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New energy for Colorado: The future of powering the Rocky Mountains

  For just a brief period of civilization, humans have tapped the dense energy of fossil fuels. “Sweet perfume,” Carbondale’s Randy Udall, a consulting energy analyst and one of the nation’s leading activists in promoting energy sustainability, called them at a recent panel discussion in Denver. “These fossil fuels are magical.”

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A Response to Jeremy Nichols

On May 10, 2010, Jeremy Nichols, Climate and Energy Program Director for WildEarth Guardians wrote an article entitled “Get Your Sharp Sticks Ready.” His piece, referencing a comment given by Patty Limerick in a Denver Post article on May 9, 2010, provided the perfect opportunity to open a dialogue for discussion on this heated topic. Below, is…

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Photographs by UNR professor and author on display at Haldan Gallery

An exhibition by photographer Peter Goin called “Fire!” will be on display through June 18 at the Haldan Art Gallery at Lake Tahoe Community College. Goin is a professor of art in photography and videography at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the author of “Tracing the Line: A Photographic Survey of the Mexican-American Border,”…

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Best Place to Live? It’s All Relative

NEW YORK — How nice to see that New York Magazine, one of the what’s-trendy weekly magazines here, has chosen my neighborhood, Park Slope in Brooklyn, as the best place to live in New York City. To be sure, Park Slope has become a pretty nice place over the past 25 years, as the neighborhood,…

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On the Bookshelf An Entirely Synthetic Fish How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World

After a sensational day of fishing for Yellowstone cutthroats back in the 1930s, my grandfather fought heroically outside a bar in Gardiner, Mont., with a man who insisted nothing but a rainbow trout was worth catching.

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Wise Fool gives CU dose of levity

  BAR: THE CORNER BAR The Corner Bar at McCormick’s Fish House and Bar sees the action. Picture windows face Wazee and 17th streets — the best way to see whether it’s snowing. For when it is, Irish coffees are $1. The nightly happy-hour menu approaches the ridiculous, with a big, juicy cheeseburger going for…

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The Jewel in the Darkness: The Other Side of Manifestation

In our fairy tale “spiritual world,” where fantasy reigns supreme, one program after another claims that by changing your thinking, or by consciously wishing for things, you can have them and be happy. There may actually be some truth to this idea, in very specific contexts, but it ignores the fact that most of us…

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Book review: “An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World” by Anders Halverson

Who doesn’t love the rainbow trout? Whether sauced in butter, sketched in pastel or stripping line from a flyrod in a Montana stream, the game little fish with the freckled skin and the rosy side-stripes has always been a poster child for Unspoiled America. Presidents from Teddy Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover to Jimmy Carter have…

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One Strange Fish Tale

  Behold the regal rainbow trout, dappled denizen of deep lake and rushing river, fierce hunter of fish and fly—and prize of pork-barrel politics, invigorator of men, eradicator of native species, payload of numerous bombing missions.

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Your Turn: Choose the Book That I’ll Review

  Every week, publishers and authors send me books in the hope that I’ll review them for New West.  I read pretty fast, but I can’t get to all of the deserving books, so some of them end up in my Book Cabinet of Guilt.  My daughter keeps her crayons in the same cabinet, so…

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CU’s Patty Limerick to Interview Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt

University of Colorado at Boulder history Professor Patty Limerick will bring history alive when she interviews nationally recognized actor Clay Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt in Boulder and Denver on Feb. 24 and 25.

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CU professor Anders Halverson writes book on rainbow trout

Original article can be found at Daily Camera Originally published on February 6, 2010 By Sarah Horn More than a century ago, America’s government leaders wanted to encourage men to get back in touch with their primal abilities because they thought industrialization had diminished their masculinity, according to a new book written by a University…

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Interior chief Salazar’s first year a gusher of controversy

  Somewhere just after 12:30 p.m. on a cold Wednesday this month, the image of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as a Western pragmatist and wily political deal-maker evaporated in a cloud of heated rhetoric. After months of doing battle with the oil and gas industry, the typically cautious Salazar lost his cool in a media…

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Boulder’s ‘kindred cities’ to reunite

Boulder’s 150-year anniversary continues as representatives of the city’s “kindred cities” meet at the University of Colorado on Wednesday night to discuss mutual challenges they share and how they plan to face them.

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Four Officials From ‘Kindred Cities’ of Boulder to Speak at Sept. 23 Public Forum

BOULDER — Four prominent leaders from Aspen, Colo., Madison, Wis., Portland, Ore. and Sante Fe, N.M. will share their experiences and thoughts in an evening forum, Wednesday, Sept. 23, titled “Separated at Birth: Insights from Kindred Communities.”

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The President Packs Haruf’s “Plainsong” and Elmer Kelton Dies at 83

White House Press Secretary Bill Burton announced a list of five books that President Obama is bringing on his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.  Among them is Kent Haruf‘s Plainsong.  Now, during last year’s Democratic National Convention in Denver, Jeff Lee of the Rocky Mountain Land Library asked a bunch of notable Western writers and…me to…

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RMNP presents program on Yellowstone Wednesday

Retired Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Bob Barbee will speak at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Auditorium in Rocky Mountain National Park on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. The talk is open and free to the public. It is the third Randy Jones Memorial Lecture, jointly sponsored by the University of Colorado`s Center of the American…

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An Invitation to Redemption for Joe Wilson and Van Jones

To Joe Wilson, Congressman from South Carolina and Now-Legendary User of Language to Convey Disrepect for the Presidency of the United States and To Van Jones, Gifted Environmental Advocate and Now-Legendary User of An Immature and Impoverished Figure of Speech to Characterize Political Opponents

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Western Perspective: Oil shale and its not-so-repetitive past

  “The Center of the American West probes the West’s oil shale resources and the past and future efforts to pull the oil out of its rocky bed”By Patty Limerick and Jason L. Hanson Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder   “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned…

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Boulder Lens

It’s so easy to say “Those were the days.” The older you get, the more you hear that comment. Fact is, you can’t turn back time. While “live in the now” may be a better mantra, there’s nothing wrong with looking back. And that’s exactly how it went in May when Boulder’s Sesquicentennial Celebration invited…

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Report: Oil Shale Offers Promise, Pitfalls An even-handed report finds oil shale could bring environmental and social costs – and a whole lot of oil.

Oil shale has a rocky past in the West and an uncertain future, but the sheer amount of resources available, and dwindling supplies of world oil, could make it a crucial resource. That’s the conclusion of a report by the University of Colorado’s Center for the American West, which found “serious and significant” environmental challenges…

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Patty Limerick: Breathing New Life into the History of the American West

  For Americans coming of age in the middle of the 20th century, one Hollywood actor above all others embodied the virtues and bravado of the American West — John Wayne. But the movie star, whose real name was Marion Morrison, was mythology. In John Wayne’s America: The Politics of Celebrity Garry Wills described him…

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Study: Harnessing of oil shale could aid energy solutions CU report says another oil shale development cycle is ‘on the horizon’

BOULDER, Colo. — The University of Colorado’s Center of the American West released an online report Friday that examines the extensive history of oil shale and aims to “bring an impartial perspective to the debate” over its future. Oil shale is a rock saturated with deposits of oil, so much so that the rocks are…

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Report aims to shed light on oil shale debate Study analyzes boom-bust cycles of earlier development efforts

  When it comes to attempts to squeeze oil out of rock in places like northwestern Colorado, past results aren’t necessarily indicative of future performance, a new report says. “What Every Westerner Should Know About Oil Shale,” released Wednesday by the Center for the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder, says the…

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CU-Boulder Alumni Association to Present 79th Annual Awards May 6

Three professors will receive the Robert L. Stearns Award in recognition of extraordinary contributions to the university: Douglas Burger, associate professor and associate chair of the English department whose outstanding efforts in the classroom have had a profound impact on students; Patty Limerick, a history professor, faculty director of the Center of the American West and nationally recognized expert on the American West

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Liberation From Purity

At long last, we are positioned to embrace the muddled state of human nature, and therein lies our greatest opportunity for conservation. Pure virtue and unambiguous principle, history shows, have struggled to keep their footing and stay upright when they descend from the heavens and try to touch the earth. When we depart from the…

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What does it mean to be a ‘real’ Indian?

David Treuer, an Ojibwe Indian and prize-winning author, will speak at the University of Colorado at Boulder on April 23 as part of the Center of the American West’s Modern Indian Identity Series. The talk will take place at 7 p.m. in room 150 in the Eaton Humanities Building on the CU-Boulder campus. The event…

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Avoiding boom-bust cycle requires protecting our natural resources

  “The West is very rich in resources. The West is very rich in landscape beauty. As a result, the West is rich in contention.” “It’s not easy being rich.” — “What Every Westerner Should Know About Energy” That truth, contained in a 2003 publication from the Center of the American West at the University…

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First Novels Belong in the Basement: Against Self-Publishing

A few months ago, my parents got a letter in the mail from the Center of the American West that said I was invited to a banquet and the organizers wanted to give me some more money for a writing prize I’d won ten years ago. Back then, I was in grad school in Boulder…

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Patty Limerick as University Fool

Fox News reports on Patty Limerick’s April Fool’s day. View the video news report on Fox 31’s website.

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CU-Boulder’s “University Fool” to Hold Court on April 1

Patty Limerick, the renowned University of Colorado at Boulder history professor who also serves as the official “University Fool,” will put on white face paint and hold court on campus on April 1. Limerick will appear on a “throne” in the University Memorial Center’s fountain area from 11 a.m. until about 1 p.m. The University…

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Energizing the Conservation Conversation

Extra! Extra! Americans’ changing relationship with energy is big news at last! Energy has finally found a place at the forefront of Americans’ thoughts about our future. Growing concerns about where our energy comes from, how we use it, and the ramifications it carries for our environment, our economy, and our national security have propelled…

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Companies Believe In Oil Shale’s Future

LISTEN NOW There’s a saying in the Rocky Mountain West: Oil shale has a promising future — and it always will. The Obama Administration has reversed a Bush administration policy of allowing large leases on public lands for oil shale research and development. That made environmentalists happy, but oil companies are not giving up on…

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Saying Goodbye to the Rocky and McGuane and Stegner Honored

Last Friday the Rocky Mountain News printed its last edition. With the close of the paper, another great books section vanished forever. I sincerely hope that Patti Thorn, the Rocky’s gracious, smart Books Editor finds a new home for her talents soon. I wrote book reviews for the Rocky for over eight years, and read…

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Hard to lose that chance to pause and think

The death of a newspaper hits me as hard as the death of a friend. Every now and then, a platitude captures reality, and the old saying – that newspapers are the first draft of history – is one of those high-performance cliches. And this first draft involves a lot more than record-keeping. We all…

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Report Looks at Helping Those “Caught in the New Energy Crosswalk”

LISTEN NOW Denver – The question of balancing energy policy so that it is humane, economically sound and environmentally responsible is the gist of a report released today by the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Researcher Jason Hanson says they looked at a number of “green” energy solutions and found…

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Center of the American West Releasing New Energy Report

The Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder is releasing its latest report, “High Energy Prices & Low-Income Americans, Reducing the Risk of Unintended Injury” at a Tuesday evening reception in Denver. Energy Outreach Colorado funded and provided information for the report, which outlines the challenge of transitioning to a…

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The Life and Legacy of Wallace Stegner

LISTEN NOW Wednesday on RadioWest we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Wallace Stegner. Stegner was one of the most important writers of the American West – probably not overstating it to say his book “Angle of Repose” is a masterpiece. Stegner reworked the myth of the West and brought the lives and…

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Wind Expert Predicts Quick Shift Toward Renewable Power

LISTEN NOW BOULDER, CO (2009-02-20) University of Delaware Professor and wind energy expert Willet Kempton is visiting the University of Colorado’s Center of the American West this week. Professor Kempton is out to rebuke popular assertions that the United States is a long way off from transitioning to a renewable-energy based system. He also sat…

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Time to Eat the Dogs – Blog “The F-word”

The word “Frontier” lives a double-life. In the public world of bookstores and Star Trek episodes, it carries itself with bearing, symbolizing something wild and lawless, a place of promise, adventure, and renewal. Within the Academy, however, “frontier” carries the whiff of the disreputable, a word that has fallen into disuse. Once praised and powerful,…

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CU presents award to Western author Tom McGuane

McGuane honored with 2009 Wallace Stegner Award Western author Tom McGuane is the recipient of the 2009 Wallace Stegner Award, the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado announced Monday. McGuane is best known for his novels “The Sporting Club,” “The Bushwhacked Piano” and “Ninety-Two in the Shade.” The Stegner award, named…

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Western Author Tom McGuane to Receive Wallace Stegner Award From CU-Boulder’s Center of the American West

The Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder announced today it will present its 2009 Wallace Stegner Award to author Tom McGuane, best known for his novels “The Sporting Club,” “The Bushwhacked Piano” and “Ninety-Two in the Shade.” “Tom McGuane has been a spectacular ‘participant-observer’ in the changing world of…

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Bill Lane speaks on Lincoln – Patty follows

Lane Center hosts conference on Lincoln and the West Stanford’s Bill Lane Center for the American West played host on Friday to a discussion of Abraham Lincoln and his legacy in an all-day conference at the Schwab Residential Center, featuring five of the nation’s preeminent Civil War-era scholars. Friday’s lectures and panel followed Pulitzer Prize-winner…

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CU-Boulder to Host Renewable Energy Talk by Willett Kempton Feb. 19

The University of Colorado at Boulder’s Center of the American West will host a talk by a national leader in the cause of renewable energy, University of Delaware Associate Professor Willett Kempton, on Feb. 19. The talk titled “What Most Analysts Tell You About Renewable Energy is Wrong: Rethinking Energy, Power and Policy in the…

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Salazar takes reins at Interior at tumultuous time

On Inauguration Day, Ken Salazar became the 50th U.S. secretary of the Department of the Interior and the sixth Coloradan to serve in the post. Until now, Colorado has been tied with Ohio and Illinois, each of which contributed five Interior secretaries to the United States. With Salazar — who is the first Interior secretary…

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CU-Boulder to Host Panel on Native American Religious Practices and Public Lands in the West Jan. 21

The University of Colorado at Boulder’s Center of the American West and School of Law will host a panel discussion on “Public Lands, Private Ceremonies: Native American Religious Practices and Public Lands in the West” on Jan. 21. The panel discussion will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Wolf Law Building’s Wittemeyer…

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Southwestern Archeology Today

January 12, 2009 Southwestern Archaeology Making The News – A Service of the Center for Desert Archaeology Center of the American West Public Lands – Private Ceremonies: Conflicts which arise over the use of public lands by the dominant culture, for either extractive or non-extractive purposes, and which are inconsistent with traditional religious or cultural…

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What the West wants from the Obama administration

From The Denver Post The Denver Post asked a diverse stable of Westerners to add their voices to the chorus of Americans who have advice for President-elect Barack Obama. Top row, left to right: John Hickenlooper, Cleo Parker Robinson, Norma Anderson, Jeff S. Fard. Middle row: Dottie Lamm, Gary Hart, Federico Pena, Brian Schweitzer, Tucker…

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Blog: Stegner 100

Wallace Stegner as a White guy, circa 1945 At the end of World War II, Look Magazine commissioned Wally to write a series of articles on racism. He spent a year and a half traveling the nation with Look photographers, visiting minority communities from Boston to Los Angeles, covering Filipinos, Jews, Blacks, American Indians, and…

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Legacy of Conquest as it applies to the Western film Appaloosa

Dr. John Hajduk Dillon was out catching a film and saw Appaloosa. In his analysis, he uses a quote from Patty’s book, Legacy of Conquest. If you’re interested in the way the American Western is headed in current cinema, check out his blog.

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The works of immigrants

From the CU Independent Center of the American West examines literary diversity The Center for the American West is promoting a new way of getting the experience of American immigrants across to a large audience. Members of the CU and Boulder community gathered in Old Main Chapel on Wednesday night and listened to speakers present…

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A grand new flag waves

Last week’s election may have boosted gun sales for some Coloradans, but it’s flags that others are rushing to stockpile. Hardware stores are reporting increased sales of American flags since Barack Obama’s win on Tuesday. In some areas not exactly known for flag-waving, Old Glory is flying off the shelves.

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Words to Stir the Soul Readers write about their experience

Each year, Words to Stir the Soul brings together an amazing and diverse group of people to read pieces of Western literature to audiences in CU’s Old Main auditorium. This year, with the theme of Western Immigration in mind, readers delighted us with a myriad of pieces from authors such as Thomas Andrews, Luis Alberto…

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CU’s Center of the American West Takes on Immigration

From Colorado Higher Ed News BOULDER – Immigration is the subject of the 12th annual Words to Stir the Soul event to be presented by the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Nov. 12. Among the readers will be Manuel Ramos (left), author of Chicano literature and director of…

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CU’s Center of the American West Takes on Immigration with ‘Words to Stir the Soul’

Immigration is the subject of the 12th annual Words to Stir the Soul event to be presented by the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. in Old Main Chapel. The event presents readers from all walks of life reading aloud from great works…

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Chancellor’s Letter: Arts and humanities are our foundation

CU is about more than just science and tech Four Nobel Laureates, seven MacArthur Fellows, No. 1 in NASA research funding — clearly, the University of Colorado at Boulder is a national leader in the natural sciences and engineering research. As a comprehensive national university, however, our responsibilities extend well beyond science and technology.

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A Chickasaw writer returns to her heartland

DENVER – For Native people, tribal homelands beckon. We are the places of our origins. For acclaimed Chickasaw writer Linda Hogan, returning to her Oklahoma roots was a discovery of connectedness that defies years lived in other places. She is the author of “People of the Whale,” a recently released novel chronicling conflicted lives and…

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Boulder couple donates $2 million for CU biotech building

Gift will help fund vaccine lab A Boulder couple has pledged $2 million to a new University of Colorado biotechnology building, with the money going toward a laboratory where researchers will study and develop vaccines. Jeannie and Jack Thompson — who met at The Sink on University Hill when they were University of Colorado students…

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CU Professor Patty Limerick Receives Western Literature Association’s 2008 Distinguished Achievement Award

Patty Limerick, a well-known author and professor of history at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is the recipient of the 2008 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association. Limerick, who also is chair of CU’s Center of the American West and a professor of environmental studies, received the award Oct. 2 along with…

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State girds for drought if temps soar if climate changes

Is Colorado ready for a future with a different climate – hotter days and altered precipitation patterns? DENVER – Some January day in the future, you might be sitting in your living room, drinking coffee made from bottled water and looking across the sand dunes in the front yard. You’ll glance at the headlines and…

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Indian Tribes See Profit in Harnessing the Wind for Power

ROSEBUD, South Dakota: The wind blows incessantly here in the high plains; screen doors do not last. Wind is to South Dakota what forests are to Maine or beaches are to Florida: a natural bounty and a valuable inheritance. Native American tribes like the Rosebud Sioux now seek to claim that inheritance. If they succeed…

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CU-Boulder Energy Initiative Names New Leadership Council Members

The University of Colorado at Boulder’s Energy Initiative, created in 2006 to help meet the world’s sustainable and renewable energy needs, has announced a group of corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, advisers, scientists, policymakers and academics as members of its newly formed EI Leadership Council. The council currently is made up of 16 private sector seats…

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Western Literature Week Kicks Off in Boulder

By Jenny Shank October 1, 2008 New West.net Article Western Literature Week, a collaboration between the Center of the American West and the Western Literature Association, kicks off today in Boulder. Public readings by Western authors will be held from October 1 through 4, including the October 2 presentations of Aaron Abeyta and Linda Hogan…

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The Value of Controversy and Education

Mount Rushmore superintendent discusses both in National Park Service management BOULDER, Colo. – America’s national parks, venerated family recreation areas since the time of Teddy Roosevelt, may become important reflections of the country’s Native history, aided by a National Park Service superintendent who believes “controversy is always fun and education is always needed.” Gerard Baker,…

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Lesson for McCain, Obama: Voters don’t go by the book

With Colorado in the unfamiliar role of swing state this presidential election, a look back might offer lessons for Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama as they battle over the state’s nine electoral votes. So the Rocky Mountain News asked a panel of historians for help. Their answers: Tread carefully because history is a…

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Spokesmen for the landscape

Udall cousins make their bids for the U.S. Senate If the polls of September prevail, the U.S. Senate will have two first-cousins in January, Tom Udall, of New Mexico, and Mark Udall, of Colorado. The cousins grew up together in Tucson, both participated in Outward Bound, and both arrived as freshmen congressmen in 1998. As…

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‘Kennedys of West’ take aim at U.S. Senate

Cousins Mark and Tom Udall, both congressmen, shoot for higher office They have been called the “Kennedys of the West,” and today two members of the Udall family — cousins Tom Udall of New Mexico and Mark Udall of Colorado — are hoping to make the next jump together to the U.S. Senate. The two…

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Prominent Western Writers to Give Public Readings in Boulder During Western Literature Week Oct. 1-4

William Kittredge and Patty Limerick are among 10 well-known Western authors scheduled to give public readings in Boulder Oct. 1-4 as part of Western Literature Week. The University of Colorado’s Center of the American West and the Western Literature Association are co-sponsoring the series of events celebrating contemporary Western writing, all of which are free…

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Mount Rushmore superintendent to speak at CU

The superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the highest-ranking American Indian in the National Park Service will speak at the University of Colorado today as part of the Center of the American West’s Modern Indian Identity Series. Gerard Baker, a full-blood member of the Mandan-Hidatsa tribe of North Dakota, will speak on “Why I…

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CU ‘making progress’ on professor post

CU doesn’t have its Professor of Conservative Thought and Policy yet, but it isn’t for lack of trying. Last spring, CU Chancellor G.P. “Bud” Peterson launched a drive to raise money to create the position, largely in response to the perceived need for more conservative voices on the campus. At the time, the figure to…

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Mount Rushmore National Memorial supt. is keynote speaker

Superintendent Baker speaks about modern Indian identity at memorial lecture Superintendent Gerard Baker of Mount Rushmore National Memorial will speak at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Auditorium in Rocky Mountain National Park on Thursday, Sept. 18 beginning at 7 p.m. The talk is open and free to the public. It is the second Randy Jones Memorial…

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Front Range Briefs

CSU to hold free public lectures on climate change FORT COLLINS — Colorado State University will ask professors to answer lingering questions about climate change including how, why and what it means to people worldwide. The series of seven lectures begins Thursday. All sessions are free and begin at 7 p.m. at the Lory Student…

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CU’s Modern Indian Identity Series To Feature Mount Rushmore Superintendent On Sept. 17

The superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota will speak at the University of Colorado at Boulder on Sept. 17 as part of the Center of the American West’s Modern Indian Identity Series. Gerard Baker, a full-blood member of the Mandan-Hidatsa tribe of North Dakota and the highest-ranking American Indian in the National…

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LIMERICK: Wanted: A great audience

In the next few days, we are all going to be professors of communications, as we grade Barack Obama and John McCain on their speeches. Democrats and Republicans, Obama supporters and McCain supporters, at least we all share one standard of judgment in 2008: If they gave a PowerPoint presentation, they’d get an F.nylon fetisch…

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LIMERICK: Unearthing a real Democrat

Wherever you look, paramedics on bicycles are available and ready to come to your aid. But no one had the foresight to arrange for a fleet of cultural anthropologists on bicycles to circle the town, wielding their professional expertise to help us figure out the spectacles unfolding in front of us. The anthropologist who came…

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LIMERICK: Do right by Ike

‘As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow.” Who said this? A Democrat at the Pepsi Center speaking in opposition to offshore drilling? Actually, Republican President Dwight…

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LIMERICK: Fuzz-y feelings

There are police everywhere in Denver – on foot, in cars, on bikes, on motorcycles, on horses. Looking at them has made me a rattled time traveler. In one moment, I am solidly in 2008, and I am looking right past the guns, clubs, helmets, face masks and uniforms, and seeing a bunch of people…

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Western wonders

Cañon City— Standing in the shadow of their brand-new solar electric panels, Pete and Paul Austin launch a brotherly argument whose political implications soar on a late-summer breeze toward the Colorado border and out to the boundaries of the Mountain West. Paul would drill more oil wells on Colorado’s wild lands. Pete would rather step…

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Wild West No Longer a Lock for GOP

Denver’s identity has always been defined by displays of rugged individualism. Voters rejected statehood in the first go-around in 1864, and long after joining the union, maintained a love-hate relationship with the national political establishment. They demanded subsidies for agriculture, mining and other economic activities but chafed at efforts to regulate them.

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Between Past And Future, Denver Establishing A Presence

Denver’s Identity Is An Uncertain Mix Of Its Rugged History And A Niche In The High-Tech World Decisions, decisions. For the Denver political, business, and cultural elite, there is no more prized invitation than the one to tonight’s cocktail party at the Denver Art Museum — sponsored by the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck….

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Obama prospecting for electoral gold in Old West

DENVER (AFP) — Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are hoping to strike electoral gold by mining for votes in a series of western US states long regarded as Republican strongholds, analysts say. A Quinnipiac University poll Sunday, taken before Obama chose Senator Joseph Biden as his running mate, found Republican John McCain was leading…

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LIMERICK: Western polls often can’t be pigeonhole

Imagine a scenario that would hold great hope for the nation: As the Democratic delegates arrive at DIA, they are each handed a book, produced by a bipartisan team of Coloradans. The book is called A Field Guide for the Identification of Rocky Mountain Political Figures. On its cover there is a brightly colored label…

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How the West Will Be Won

The West evokes thoughts of classic heroes riding into troubled towns, bringing justice and order. The candidate who captures that myth — and the region’s swing voters — will have the advantage. In the winter of 1874, Alfred Packer and five fellow prospectors headed into the snow-packed mountains of southern Colorado. A few weeks later,…

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Both parties appealing to ‘uncoralled’ Westerners

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Western history professor and writer Patty Limerick probably understands more than most the draw of the region’s myth and romance. When it comes to politics, though, Limerick believes Westerners have more to teach the country and its candidates than legends about cowboy-hat-wearing heroes. She believes the region’s history of building communities…

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Hourlong performance recalls Buffalo Bill Presentation blends history, drama to bring showman to life

CODY – With countless interpretations and speculations on the life of Buffalo Bill Cody already in the mix, actor Bill Mooney presents his own take on the legendary Western icon this week in a solo theatrical performance. “Tonight! Buffalo Bill!” is an hourlong dramatic biography of Cody originally written by Mooney for the Center of…

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American Faust: Patty Limerick Interviews J. Robert Oppenheimer

If you ever wanted to know what was going through the heads of scientists during the Atomic Age, then get ready for an evening to remember. On July 16, history will come alive through engaging social commentary, as “J. Robert Oppenheimer,” father of the atomic bomb, visits the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. More…

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Rocky Mountain National Park undergoing eco-alteration

RMNP’s future in flux because of climate change Northern Colorado’s crown jewel is a few years from its first century, but a new era is already beginning for Rocky Mountain National Park. Although no one can say what the park’s next 100 years will look like, there’s little question that changes are already under way…

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Climate change giving scientists new ways to “play” in the park

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK – Climate changes predicted for the Rocky Mountain National Park area could provide scientists with both new challenges and new opportunities in this living laboratory. Rocky Mountain National Park and the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado have released a new report that studies the anticipated effects…

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Warming could alter Rocky Mountain National Park dynamic Infrastructure, species could be changed

Predictions of starving polar bears and melting ice caps have become a symbol for the dangers of global warming. But what about ice and wildlife in Northern Colorado? Permafrost at Rocky Mountain National Park is thawing and, if it continues, could cause Trail Ridge Road to slump, said Judy Visty, park research administrator. “We don’t…

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Workshop looks at impact of climate change to Rocky

A changing climate Rocky Mountain National Park and the Center of the American West recently released a report on climate change. The report highlights the results of a workshop held in November where experts from around the state came to discuss the anticipated effects that climate change would have on the Park’s ecosystems. Join Park…

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Climate changes’ effects on park are discussion subject

ESTES PARK — Rocky Mountain National Park and the Center of the American West will hold a program to discuss results of a recently released a report on climate change at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at in the auditorium at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center at Rocky Mountain National Park. The report highlights the results…

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Essayist, historian, and co-founder of the Center of the American West Patty Limerick to receive honorary degree

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – May 8, 2008 – Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will address the Colorado College graduating class of 2008 at its commencement at 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 19 on Armstrong Quad, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St. The quad is located directly north of the intersection of Tejon and Cache La…

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First Person: Tales of Western Adventure

The rigid standards of hiring and tenure are all that stand in the way of humanities professors as thriving public scholars I am sitting at a desk behind a nameplate that identifies me as “Dr. Patricia Limerick, Marriage Counselor.” I am looking earnestly into a camera lens, and from time to time, an attentive person…

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FISH CULTURE

Stocking Trends: A Quantitative Review of Governmental Fish Stocking in the United States, 1931 to 2004 AbSTRACT: This article provides a quantitative review of the type, number, and estimated weight of the fish stocked by the 50 state agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the United States in 2004. I examined trends…

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Every day is Earth Day at CU

As we celebrate Earth Day today, many know of the University of Colorado’s long history of being environmentally conscious and of our leadership in the creation of the 14-month-old Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, a partnership between CU-Boulder and three other institutions including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). But far fewer are aware of the…

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Sandra Day O’Connor: “Don’t change it”

At CU-Boulder to receive the 2008 Wallace Stegner Award from the Center of the American West, Arizona native and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was asked to give her opinion on state supreme court judicial selection methods. Notably pleased to be asked the question, she responded that she was involved in drafting the…

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O’Connor: Coloradans are ‘lucky’

BOULDER — Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman ever to sit on the United States Supreme Court, spoke about her childhood in Arizona and praised Colorado’s judicial selection process in a packed auditorium Thursday night at the University of Colorado at Boulder. At the end of her speech, the Center of the American West presented…

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Sandra Day O’Connor speaks at CU

Sandra Day O’Connor talks about family, childhood Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor did not spend much time on court decisions or judicial politics in her address at the University of Colorado on Thursday night. Instead, she wistfully described her family history and childhood experiences growing up on the Lazy B cattle ranch in…

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What’s afoot: Walking saves money, sanity, your waistline

Last weekend I walked to a grocery store about three blocks from my apartment. It was a mild, sunny day. Even the dandelions looked beautiful. My brain was hurting after a morning of reading scholarly articles. A sample sentence: “Fitting into the larger domain of critical theory, this line of inquiry probes the assumptions that…

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Lamm, Limerick sparred in debate over immigration

Editor’s note: In honor of CWA’s 60th anniversary, Camera history columnist Silvia Pettem is taking a daily look this week at six decades of dialogue. Immigration was the topic that pitted ex-Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm against University of Colorado history professor Patricia Limerick at the Conference on World Affairs in 1996. Lamm argued for greater…

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Episode 6, Part 1: Patricia Nelson Limerick

Just for the record, I’d like you to know that I danced plenty in high school, thank you very much. With that off my chest, I do hope that you’ll take a moment to tune in to Patty’s reading of her essay “Dancing with Professors,” where she muses about the reasons behind the obtuse prose…

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Sandra Day O’Connor To Speak At CU-Boulder On April 17

Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court and one of the better-known justices of modern times, will give a public talk at the University of Colorado at Boulder on April 17 at 7 p.m. in Macky Auditorium. O’Connor served on the court from 1981 to 2006 and played a pivotal…

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Sandra Day O’Connor to be honored at CU

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will speak on the University of Colorado campus at an April 17 ceremony honoring her for being a good Westerner. CU’s Center of the American West is awarding O’Connor with an annual award that is given to “an individual who has made a sustained contribution to the…

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Grammy Award-Winning Musician To Give March 19 Talk in Boulder

Robert Mirabal, a Grammy Award-winning musician and composer best known for presenting a contemporary view of American Indian life through his work, will give a talk at the University of Colorado at Boulder on March 19. Part of the CU-Boulder Center of the American West’s Modern Indian Identity Series, the talk will be held at…

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Energy documentary to be screened at CU

The University of Colorado’s Center of the American West will hold a screening of the documentary film “National Sacrifice Zone: Colorado and the Cost of Energy Independence” on Thursday. The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the ATLAS Building, Room 100, with the screening of the film, which delves into the current and future…

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Benson: From roughneck to CU president

Supporters say straight-shooting style could help appointee quell controversy As a 20-something roughneck, Bruce Benson told his boss he couldn’t work on the oil rigs anymore because the semester was starting, and it was time for him to go back to college. That declaration was met with a look of disbelief. Benson “followed the rigs”…

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Center for the American West Provokes Debate, Dialogue

From the Boulder County Business Report BOULDER – The calendar of events for the Center of the American West keeps you guessing. Some events are political, some are artistic, and some you expect would be political are not. On Thursday, Feb. 28, the center is screening a film on the ills of the energy industry,…

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Current And Future Effects Of Colorado’s Energy Boom Topic Of Feb. 28 CU-Boulder Event

The documentary film “National Sacrifice Zone: Colorado and the Cost of Energy Independence,” will be shown and discussed at a Feb. 28 event at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Sponsored by CU-Boulder’s Center of the American West, the program will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the ATLAS Building with the screening of the film,…

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Boulder Faculty Assembly says “No” to Bruce Benson

BFA Chair says president must have experience in academics Bruce Benson is facing tough opposition on the road to CU presidency after the Boulder Faculty Assembly voted him an unqualified candidate, Thursday evening, in a 40-4 decision. The decision comes as opposition to the sole candidate builds, with the University of Colorado Student Union voting…

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Bruce Benson’s Service to Colo. Education Unmatched

Bruce Benson’s status as finalist for the position of CU president has unleashed a storm of strong emotions. Nearly all of the publicly quoted voices heard from Boulder oppose Benson’s candidacy. I have been a faculty member at CU since 1984 and am a member of the Presidential Search Committee. I support Benson’s appointment, and…

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Tough Crowd Fails to Deter Benson

Presidential finalist vows not to drop out Bruce Benson, the sole finalist for the position of University of Colorado president, met with a hostile crowd on the Boulder campus Tuesday but said a vocal faction of professors and students opposing his candidacy would not persuade him to bow out. At Benson’s second stop on the…

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Bruce Benson Makes His Case

Sole finalist for CU presidency under fire from critics BOULDER (KWGN) — Multi-millionaire Bruce Benson was back on the CU Boulder campus for another visit Tuesday night, trying to make his case for why he would be a good university president. But he’s meeting with opposition. The oilman and former Republican politician spent tonight talking…

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A Lost Past?

Western State College Professor Discusses George Catlin and the Influence of American Indians American Indians have been stereotyped for what seems an eternity. “Into the 21st century, many well-meaning Americans hold on to an image of Indian people as residents of a lost past, not fully present in modern times,” said history Professor Patty Limerick,…

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Learning to Speak Western

Contenders could energize their campaigns by addressing issues critical to the West Let’s begin with a moment that will not strain your imagination. Let’s say that we are sitting in front of our TVs, yawning a bit as we listen to a predictable debate among presidential candidates. Now imagine the moderator suddenly catching all candidates,…

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American West Lecture to Focus on George Catlin

The work of George Catlin, best known for his paintings of American Indians in the mid-1800s, will be examined in a Feb. 7 lecture presented by the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “Living Beyond Lament: Rethinking George Catlin’s Vanishing America” will be presented by Professor John Hausdoerffer, an…

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Winter 2008 Newsletter

That’s right, it’s that time of year again for the release of the Center’s Newsletter! You can access the newsletter from our Newsletter page to read it online, or contact us for a physical copy to call your very own. Don’t miss the exciting news from this past fall!

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Colorado Profiles: Patricia Limerick

Interview by Kirk Siegler BOULDER, CO (2007-11-29) Patty Limerick has been called everything from an iconoclastic western historian to a polarizing liberal academic. She’s not sure she fits in either category. Limerick founded the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she’s also a professor of history. KUNC’s Kirk…

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New York Times Interview Draws Questions About Abandoned Mine Count

On November 11, the New York Times Magazine ran an interview with Patty Limerick on the recent resurgence of Westerns in Hollywood. As part of that interview, Patty mentioned offhand that “No one is going to make a film about the 500,000 abandoned mines in the West – and that may be too small a…

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Cowgirl Blues

As a professor of American history at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the chairwoman of the school’s Center of the American West, what do you make of the flurry of new films that revisit Jesse James and the town of Yuma and the empty space of the desert landscape? Just as we had…

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Mayor Reads Western Favorites, Jenna Bush Bans Knitting Needles

By Jenny Shank, 11-07-07 New West – books and writers www.newwest.net Elections wrapped up yesterday, but things are still looking political on the regional books front. For starters, the Center of the American West’s “Words To Stir The Soul” reading is tonight on the CU Boulder campus (7 p.m., Old Main Auditorium, free). The annual…

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Readings by Leaders to Inspire

Leaders are readers – at least they will be this week at an event in Boulder. This year, the Center of the American West’s annual read-aloud event is a shout-out to and by public officials, including Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien and first lady Jeannie Ritter. The literary landscape covers vast terrain: an epic history featuring…

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Mayor Hickenlooper, Other Officials To Read Western-Inspired Literature At Nov. 7 CU-Boulder Event

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and First Lady Jeannie Ritter will be among the well-known participants gathering at the University of Colorado at Boulder Nov. 7 to celebrate the region’s rich literary heritage. “Words to Stir the Soul: Celebrating Our Public Servants,” presented by the Center of the American West, also will feature Lt. Gov. Barbara…

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A-Haunting We Will Go

…CU Professor Patty Limerick, faculty director of the Center of the American West, will also be heading up a Halloween costume competition between the center’s staff and the staff of the CU-Boulder Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society today.Limerick said she and the center’s staff will leave the Center of the American West office in…

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The Limerick Pedestrian Diet and Exercise Plan

The Patty Limerick Pedestrian Diet and Exercise Plan has been getting some attention in the blog world. The blogsite boinboing gave it some kudos in its October 22 post. What do you think of this simple yet amazing plan?

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CU’s Modern Indian Identity Series To Feature Eva Garroutte On Oct. 25

Eva Garroutte, author of “Real Indians: Identity and the Survival of Native America,” will speak at the University of Colorado at Boulder Oct. 25 as part of the Center of the American West’s Modern Indian Identity series. Her talk, “My Father’s Stories: Remembering Oklahoma,” is free and open to the public. The lecture begins at…

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Falling in Love Again…

Our collective love affair with fossil fuels may be winding down, but there’s another worthy suitor to consider. We may not know your name, but we already know one pretty private thing about you. You have been involved in a tempestuous relationship, pursuing a mad romance with fossil fuel. But now, thanks to a spectrum…

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New West Book Review

Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller: Reframing the American West By Robert T. Self University Press of Kansas, 208 pages, $29.95 In his new book, Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller: Reframing the American West, Robert T. Self beautifully describes the opening of Altman’s famous Western: “The camera pans slowly across a moody gray landscape…

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Western Energy: Patricia Limerick Looks Back, and Looks Ahead

If there’s one thing often missing from talks about energy efficiency, it’s, well, energy. But when renowned Western historian Patricia Limerick took to the podium at the University of Montana’s University Center Theater Monday night it didn’t take long to realize she wasn’t there to spout off depressing statistics and flash pie chart after pie…

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Speaker Looks to Unlock West’s Power

Nostalgia is high on Patricia Limerick’s list of things that people need to put away if the Rocky Mountain West is ever going to unlock its potential for sustainable energy. It is right up there with thinking you know what’s on a person’s mind just because he drives a tractor. Or that an engineer can…

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UM’s Public Land Law Conference Begins Today

The 31st annual Public Land Law Conference, Rocky Mountain Energy Leadership: Strategies for a New Energy Future, begins today at the University of Montana in Missoula. This evening Patricia Limerick will deliver the keynote address, titled “The Power of the Rockies: Living with Energy in the Old West, the New West, and the Next West.”

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Author Ivan Doig honored by CU’s Center of the American West

As a young boy growing up in Montana, Ivan Doig never imagined his childhood experiences would turn into award-winning books. Many years and 11 books later, the acclaimed author is being honored by the University of Colorado’s Center of the American West as this year’s recipient of the Wallace Stegner Award.

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Author Ivan Doig to Receive Stegner Award From CU-Boulder’s Center of the American West on Sept. 27

Ivan Doig, the acclaimed author of “This House of Sky” and 10 other books often set in Montana, will receive the Wallace Stegner Award from the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Center of the American West on Thursday, Sept. 27. The center’s highest award will be presented at 7 p.m. in the Wolf Law Building…

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Appeal to Western Pride

Conspicuous conservers could use their energy-efficient behavior to drive social change In our new report (see the first Western Perspective piece for more information), we make the case for people to adopt better energy efficiency and conservation practices by appealing to the three main dimensions of human motivation: Reason, Pride, and Pleasure. The following excerpt…

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Energy in the West Focus of Law Conference at UM

The role the American West plays in providing energy will be the focus of the 31st Annual Public Land Law Conference Sept. 24-26 at The University of Montana School of Law. “Rocky Mountain Energy Leadership: Strategies for a New Energy Future” will emphasize how laws and policies can position Rocky Mountain states to play a…

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Abandoned Mines Cause Environmental Devastation

They contribute to ecological and human health concerns SUMMIT COUNTY – Prospectors began hacking at Colorado’s mountainsides 150 years ago in search of gold, silver and any other kind of profitable metal that might have been nestled deep inside the rock. Soon mines peppered the landscape. And while most of them were abandoned nearly a…

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Varieties of History

If you define history as a written record of the past, then it’s easy to be precise about when history began in central Colorado: exactly 228 years ago, when Juan Bautista de Anza, governor and military commander of the Spanish province of New Mexico, led an army north from Santa Fe.In August 1779, Anza took…

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Global Energy Crisis Is Topic Of Aug. 30 CU-Boulder Panel

The effects of global energy use on the climate and the impact climate change will have on future generations are among the topics to be discussed during an Aug. 30 symposium at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “The Global Energy Crisis: Climate Change, Mitigation and Adaptation,” will be presented in the University Memorial Center,…

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Witnesses to Persecution

DRIVEN OUT Thinking realistically about the history of the American West easily lands on the list of this nation’s top 10 least favorite pastimes. Hundreds of historians have invested their life force in pointing out the inaccuracies in the image of the 19th-century West as a place of colorful romance and innocent adventure. “No thanks,”…

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How The West Can Save

How The West Can Save A new report examines how Westerners’ relationship with energy is destined to change By Patty Limerick and Jason Hanson Center of the American West for Headwaters News June 14, 2007 Imagine waking up on a refreshing summer morning in the Rockies, stepping out of your front door to pick up…

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