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9/14/2017 Peaks of the Past
(Information was gleaned from copies of the Wet Mountain Tribune, all from the second week in September.) 100 Years Ago – 1917 Henry Henning, Jr., narrowly escaped serious and probably fatal injury on Wednesday last while engaged in moving the machinery from the Geyser Mine shaft house, when in some way an appliance used in handling the machinery became disengaged and fell about fifty feet, striking the young man and fracturing his right shoulder. The object weighs about twenty-five pounds and had it struck Henry on the head it would probably have caused instant death. Dr. Hinshaw made a record trip to the scene of the accident and administered medical aid and the young man is getting along first-rate. A car of ore extracted from the old Maverick Mine dump by Richard Maughan was loaded here this week for shipment to the smelter at Salida. A crew of a dozen men came in on Monday’s train and have been working on the tracks in the Rio Grande yards here for the past few days. Miss Elizabeth Boyle arrived in Silver Cliff on Saturday last to again take up her duties as teacher in the school there which opened on Monday. Mrs. Geo. Croxford and little son, after spending two weeks with relatives and friends in these towns, left on their return to Salida, their home, yesterday. Mrs. Croxford has done her bit in the present war, with three sons, a son-in-law, brother-in-law and nephew – all volunteers – in some branch of Uncle Sam’s army. Private Coleman, on a brief furlough, came up from Fort Logan on Friday last on a visit to his father at his ranch north of town. Frank Hightower, on a ten-day leave, came down from Camp Baldwin Tuesday evening. 50 Years Ago – 1967 Mrs. Connie Gamble, a native of Penrose, has been named extension home economist for Custer and Fremont counties. She assumed her duties two weeks ago, succeeding Glenda Gay Beach who had resigned. She will do extension homemaker work and also assist 4-H clubs. Two former Custerites have been added to the faculty of Southern Colorado State College in Pueblo. They are Wilbur Miller and Joe Giuliano. Miller, son of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Miller, will teach mathematics. He taught mathematics and physics last year at Florence High School. Giuliano will teach fine arts at the college. Along with his wife Collette and their two children, he spent several months at Silver Cliff early this year. Charles (Bud) Piquette is taking his boot training in the U.S. Navy at Naval Training Station at San Diego, Calif. 25 Years Ago – 1992 Silver Cliff’s calm was shattered Friday when a Pueblo man shot and killed his wife and a best friend, and then turned the gun on himself. The double homicide/suicide occurred about 4:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, at the Cliff Dwellings condominiums in Silver Cliff. Authorities say a 41-year-old man burst into the condominium unit and with a single shot each killed his 39-year-old wife and his 47-year-old long-time friend before turning the gun on himself. Authorities were notified by the on-site property manager after he heard three gunshots; several deputies swarmed on the blood-spattered scene and said it appears the shootings took place without any verbal exchanges. The weapon found at the scene was a .243 Winchester hunting rifle. The killings are the first homicides in Custer County in recent memory; the only other murder in recent years was the death two years ago when an infant was killed by his uncle at a campground near Wetmore after the child was abducted from his Pueblo home. With the county’s hay harvest well underway, hay growers are reporting average crops this year. Some say the rain has caused some damage, other say it’s the recent cold weather resulting in average yields. County Extension Agent Steve Aagard says that overall, this year’s hay crop is probably slightly better in both quality and quantity, although he says it’s difficult to tell because a good portion of this year’s crop still hasn’t been harvested. Aagard anticipates that local growers will get between $60 and $100 per ton, based on protein content. He said there are some 17,500 acres of hay in the county, including 2,000 acres of alfalfa, and he estimates that about three-fourths has been harvested. 10 Years Ago – 2007 Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, Commander of U.S. Forces in Japan, were among the dignitaries attending Tuesday’s dedication of the Eagle Summit Ranch northeast of Westcliffe. The ranch is a residential resource center for wounded veterans founded by David Roever, a Vietnam veteran and internationally known motivational speaker. A trio of artistic heavyweights will exhibit their works in an exhibition that opens Saturday at the Brookwood Gallery in downtown Westcliffe. Gerald Merfeld, owner of the gallery, will display some of his internationally acclaimed works. Joining him will be Eric and Mary Ann Bransby of Silver Cliff Ranch and Colorado Springs who will also exhibit some of their art pieces. Eric Bransby is a world renowned muralist. At a formal ceremony Saturday at the Joint Force headquarters of the Colorado National Guard in Centennial, Army Chaplain Andrew Zeller of rural Westcliffe was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Zeller’s parents, his wife, and other family members were on hand. 5 Years Ago – 2012 The county commissioners met this week with two representatives from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The FEMA spokesmen, from Denver, discussed initiating a flood insurance program in Custer County. Spokesman Michael Gease said that that if the county joined the FEMA flood insurance program, it would have to adopt building regulations to be used by those building in flood zone areas. Commissioner Lynn Attebery said it might be a good idea to hold public meetings on the matter. Previously, the county has chosen not to pursue the FEMA program. The San Isabel Scout Ranch near Lake San Isabel has been placed under a conservation easement through the San Isabel Land Protection Trust and other partners. The 409-acre Boy Scout property has diverse wildlife, spectacular scenery, hiking trails, camping areas, rivers, ponds and other offerings. Western State University in Gunnison will be holding its homecoming celebration this Saturday, and the Piquette family of Westcliffe will be honored for their “legacy” status. Over the years, 22 members of the Piquette family have obtained degrees from Western State. 1 Year Ago – 2016 The recall petition against County Commissioner Bob Kattnig failed to produce the needed signatures required to make the Nov. 8 general election ballot. The three petitioners, Darla Wilhite, Jaxine Bubis and Carol Clemenson, had until Sept. 12 to turn in the required 400 signatures. “It’s time for the citizens of Custer County to start working together,” Kattnig said after learning of the failed recall. A busy weekend is in store in Westcliffe, when the first Wet Mountain Western Pilgrimage takes place. The three-day event will showcase the Valley’s legacy, with tours of area ranches, museums and historic sites. The Sangre de Cristo Seminary southwest of Westcliffe is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Since its inception, hundreds of theologians have obtained degrees from the seminary.