I visited the Outreach Clinic last week and interviewed the manager Debbie, clinical assistant Charlene and Live Well co-ordinator Cindy. The clinic is also unique within the state by offering a number of services that had been lacking in poverty stricken Huerfano County. These include a state Family Planning Clinic, the Colorado Women’s Cancer Control Initiative, STD and HIV testing, as well as prescription drug assistance. Debbie also talked about the progress they have made reducing the extremely high levels of teen pregnancy through their educational and support programmes. The Live Well organisation is also part of the clinic and is trying to tackle the obesity problem and has been running a community photo journalism project called Photo Voice to help kick start health initiatives.
I love the rather clinically accessorised ballroom upstairs, which I will return to in order to catch some of the weekly the classes; dance, karate, fencing and Zumba.
I spent the afternoon with Dale last week at his home in Walsenburg. He has Spina Bifida a congenital condition caused by the incomplete closing of the spinal cord during fetal development, which causes nerve damage and subsequent disability to varying extents. Dale seems to have a similar level of Spina Bifida to that my sister, Jackie had. His independence is important with the usual stuff like having a job, his own house and car meaning a lot.
Last week I interviewed Hanne Lindstrom who runs the now Danish owned Quest factory. They make protective clothing for firefighters across the country and are one of the few industrial units left in Walsenburg. Hanne likes the contrast to cooler, flatter Denmark and hopes to be able to stay in Southern Colorado.
I spent last Friday night with prolific artist Joan Hanley in Cuchara, home of the dude ranches and holiday homes in the county. County judge Claude Appel and wife Michelle were organising an evening of country music. We finished the night over G&Ts with Joan’s friends, ballroom dancer, Maddie and Dwight who worked with the Diane Fossey organisation in Rwanda. I had a riotous night with Joan and her friends who could drink me under the table, needless to say they were an absolute inspiration. I spent the night in Joan’s stunning home just outside La Veta and the next day she took me out to the Cordova Pass on the west peak of the Spanish peaks or the Huajatollas (breasts of the earth).
I’ve recently met a few more people who are trying to get things happening in Walsenburg and George Birrer is one one of them. He runs the Dakota Campground, BIRCO RV Parts & Services and is integral to the Spanish Peaks Alliance for Arts who are restoring the Art Deco Fox theatre and keeping it running as a movie and performance theatre. Here is George on stage at the theatre and earlier in the day there was high drama in small town America when someone knocked down a tree in the street in front of the theatre.