Three years of drought and more to come has made people realize the most important asset loss we face is water, not 401(k)s or gas or parking at the grocery store.
The Yampa is a trickle, yet people in Stagecoach and Clark and Steamboat Lake still insist on having green lawns. We live in a high mountain desert. Why try to "Phoenix" Routt County?
Experts say we should use low-flush toilets and restricted-flow showerheads. All we do is flush more often and taken longer showers.
Here are two real solutions: Front-load washing machines (Europe has had them for years) that can save 60 percent to 80 percent of water usage. On a 40-gallon load, that's 30 gallons, say, three times a week nearly 100 gallons per household per week. They cost more because demand is low. Increased demand lowers cost. Thermostat-controlled flow valves on showers so water won't flow until a set temperature is reached can save 2 to 3 gallons per shower. That's a half-billon gallons PER DAY! These two solutions alone can make a shortage disappear. It's conservation and good sense.
I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to the Steamboat Springs community, and nearby residents, for their good Samaritan acts on my behalf after I became seriously injured in an accident. You have extraordinary local folks that unhesitatingly demonstrated unselfishness, compassion, generosity and willingness to become involved, some, at the great personal risk, to come to my aid.
Early in the morning of Aug. 2, 2002, I left Steamboat Springs on my motorcycle after visiting friends for a few days en route to the Sturgis, S.D., rally. About 40 miles up Colorado 14 toward Walden, a mule deer buck bolted out of a ravine across my path in a full gallop without warning. Instantaneously, I struck the deer broadside, causing the motorcycle to flip, sending me, the deer and my motorcycle tumbling down the asphalt, knocking over a roadside sign and coming to rest in a ditch off the road. Wreckage and deer were strewn 500 feet along the roadway.
I sustained five broken ribs, a broken shoulder, broken thumb, serious arm lacerations and a lot of road rash, bruises and sprains. Wearing a full helmet with face shield and heavy riding leathers probably saved my life.
Within three to four minutes, along the desolate stretch of Colo. 14, help began to arrive. In this order, in which I can recall, and to whom I am forever grateful, Bob Stuerke, driving a Wal-Mart truck, out of Loveland, stopped, found me in the ditch, immediately called the nearest emergency services and stayed with me until they arrived. He also notified my local friends. Mike Johnson, riding his motorcycle from Steamboat Springs, stopped and helped me assess my injuries, gather my scattered luggage and gear and direct traffic around the scene to prevent further accidents.
Sheriff Ricky Rizor responded from Jackson County and immediately established command and control of the accident scene, organized the search and collection of debris and traffic control, coordinating everyone's efforts effectively.
Paramedic Jim Rizor and EMTs Terry Myers and Sandy Bond arrived in the rescue squad and provided outstanding emergency medical care to stabilize and treat my many serious injuries and wounds. (I am retired after 32 years of fire-rescue service and have never seen better.)
While being treated by the rescue crew, a wrecker flatbed truck arrived, and assisted by Bob Stuerke and Mike Johnson, the driver (name unknown) from North Park Towing Co. in Walden recovered my badly wrecked motorcycle, loaded it and carried it to Mark Alberti's motorcycle shop in Steamboat Springs. All involved showed extraordinary care, and concern, not to do further damage.
Arrival by ambulance, with the rescue crew still attending to me, at the Yampa Valley Medical Center emergency room was quick, safe and efficient.
Dr. Dave Wilkinson and the emergency staff were outstanding, swarming over me in a well-coordinated symphony of examinations, evaluations, prioritizing, treatments and care of my injuries.
Dr. Edward Kimm Jr. and his terrific staff continued exemplary care and treatment during the next few days in the patient ward. Everyone at the medical center, doctors, nurses, aides, X-Ray technicians, inhalation therapists and even dieticians and cleaning personnel, were professional, kind, caring and eager to help my recovery. Your community should be rightfully proud of such expert, caring medical professionals.
Mark Alberti of Mark-James Enterprises, the motorcycle shop in Steamboat Springs, who constantly called and visited me in the hospital, notified all my local and at-home friends of my status, picked me up after being discharged from the medical center, let me stay at his home until he could make arrangements for me to fly home, ship all my luggage and gear and motorcycle to my hometown dealership for repairs. Mark is an extraordinary caring person, as well as all the others involved in my accident, never once having mentioned reward, reimbursement, inconvenience or their personal sacrifice to unhesitantly come to my aid.
Again, thank you, one and all, from my heart, for your community's great people.