November 2016 Around Town 2

True Nature Building Kiva 
in Carbondale

A kiva is being built in the public gardens behind True Nature Healing Arts in Carbondale. Historically, kivas were underground buildings that were used by Pueblo Native Americans for religious rituals, many of them associated with the kachina belief system. Among the modern Hopi and most other Pueblo peoples, kivas are square-walled, underground structures used for spiritual ceremonies.

Many historic kivas, such as those at Mesa Verde, are round, like the one being built at True Nature. By the time this magazine went to press in the middle of October, concrete footers had been poured and the forms were being erected to hold poured concrete walls.

True Nature’s Kiva will be used for workshops, training, classes, music and creative expression. The building idea came through a “channeling session” with True Nature owners Eaden and Deva Shantay. Eaden explained, “The guide shared that we needed a building that would marry sky and earth and ground the True Nature development. The building will be two-thirds underground with a living roof and skylight to let the sun shine in.” The Kiva will hold 30 yoga mats for trainings and 75 for workshops, music and dance. All roofs will be living green scape, and the building will be geothermally heated and cooled.

Basalt Pedestrian Underpass in 
the Making

Recently, the Town of Basalt began construction of an illuminated pedestrian underpass at the intersection of Highway 82 and Basalt Avenue. The underpass is meant to connect the south side of Basalt with the historic downtown. Because there are schools, residential, and commercial areas on both sides of Route 82, many pedestrians and bicyclists must cross the busy highway.

The road, known as “Killer 82” in the 1960’s before it was fully widened to four lanes in 2004, has become safer over the years, according to Colorado Department of Transportation statistics. Two pedestrian fatalities did occur in Basalt along Route 82 in 2014. Crossing the four-lane road remains daunting; the stretch between El Jebel and Basalt Avenue has an average daily traffic count of 30,000.

The new underpass will be 140 feet long, up to nine feet tall and 16 feet wide. In addition to the removal of over 8,000 cubic feet of dirt for an underground path, the project includes the installation of new traffic signals and an upgraded storm-water drainage system. The underpass is slated to open in the fall of 2017. Updates, and a link to a video by Outside Adventure Media may be found at

Chickening Out at the “Chicane” on Independence Pass

As locals know, Independence Pass closes right about now. And stays closed until around Memorial Day.

But like medievals, most vehicle navigation systems believe the world is flat. Global positioning systems (GPS), which project a vehicle’s position onto a two-dimensional database of roads, have caused plenty of winter misery. Not only is GPS oblivious to the fact that Independence Pass is approached by six percent grades and summits at 12,095 feet, they also fail to realize that it’s covered by deep snow all winter!

During a closure of Glenwood Canyon last February, hundreds of cars and semis stacked up at the Route 82 gate above Aspen. Another 20 trucks stacked up at the Aspen gate in July due to a rockslide closure of Glenwood Canyon. Each time, Aspen police, local sheriff’s officers and the Colorado Highway Patrol racked up hundreds of hours of overtime turning deadlocked vehicles around and stemming an oncoming tide of others.

Now, Pitkin County commissioners and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) are considering new ways to keep large vehicles off of Indy. CDOT is proposing to spend $200,000 to $250,000 to install an electronic system near the Difficult Campground. The technology would identify vehicles more than 35 feet in length and then trigger an electronic sign that warns the driver to turn around. About a mile beyond that sign, Pitkin County would build a narrow artificial curve, one similar to the Narrows higher up the pass. Normal cars would have no trouble with the man-made curve, called a “chicane”. But trucks would have to avoid it by following a roundabout that would route them back toward Aspen.

Rifle Librarian Takes Helm of Garfield County Libraries

Jesse Henning, the manager of the Rifle Branch Library, was named executive director of the Garfield County Library District in October. Henning, who holds a master’s degree in library and information science from Kent State University, had relocated from Ohio to take the job in Rifle in August. Henning now lives in Silt with his wife, Carrie Waibel, who is also a librarian.

Henning’s promotion comes at a time when the library district is projecting a $1.2 million decrease in revenue for 2017 due to a drop in natural gas production in the county and decreased property taxes. The library district is facing a large reduction: the budget approved in 2016 was nearly $2.7 million while the 2017 budget is slated to be only $1.8 million, necessitating cuts to wages, benefits and services. The library district does not anticipate closing any of its buildings.

USDA-Certified Makeup Company Opens in Glenwood

The first USDA certified organic facial makeup company in the United States opened in Glenwood Springs this month. Olga’s Organics was founded by Olga Reding, who began the startup company in New Castle.

Reding stated, “We are the first USDA organic makeup company in the United States and feel very proud of this accomplishment. We have formulated the first USDA-organic-certified loose face powder in the country… We are in the process of finishing packaging for our USDA-organic-certified whipped body butters. Our strategy involves selling our products at the local farmers’ markets here in the Roaring Fork area, as well as engaging with our customers through various social media outlets. Our sales doubled from our first month at the farmers’ markets this June to the end of the market season in September. In addition, we created partnerships with seven local shops/boutiques that currently carry our product.”