Category Archives: News




Hello, my name is Jim Miles and I’m seeking a position on the Gunnison City Council. I am a native of Gunnison and a long-time local business owner. I have served the Gunnison Volunteer Fire Department for 35 years as a Firefighter, Lieutenant, Assistant Chief, Fire Chief (12 years), and President of the Fireman’s Pension Board (12 years). During my time as Fire Chief, I was involved with the budget process of both the City of Gunnison Fire Department and the Gunnison County Fire Protection District, balancing the budget all 12 years. I was awarded the Robert R. Williams Firefighter of the Year award in 2001 and the Most Valuable Firefighter award in 2007 and 2013. I served as a Reserve Deputy (State Certified Peace Officer) for the Gunnison Sherriff’s Office for 18 years and an Emergency Medical Technician for the Gunnison Ambulance Service and Gunnison County Hospital for 10 years. My wife Becky and I served as Emergency Foster Parents for numerous children throughout the years.

My most gratifying personal accomplishments have been raising three wonderful and successful children with my late wife Becky. My children are Michele Gallowich, Melissa McLeod and Billy Miles and are all current members of the Gunnison community.


  • Ensure proactive fiscal responsibility with investments/properties currently owned by the City of Gunnison (water treatment plant, municipal buildings, “Lazy K” property, streets, parks, trails, and all underlying infrastructure.)


  • Promote healthy economic growth which will ensure that tax dollars remain in the City of Gunnison by encouraging local business growth.


  • Maintain an effective communication link with the citizens of Gunnison to improve services which affect our lifestyle and community values.

I truly believe that I can make a genuine difference with a common sense approach to the many issues facing our community. Due to my decades of commitment to public service, I believe I can give of my time and experience to benefit the residents and visitors of the City of Gunnison!


Watch for your ballot in the mail starting  April 17th, ballots must be received by May 9th


If you would like to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns, please call me on my personal cell phone at:

(970) 209-2886

Talking Social Justice and Translation in the Realm of Poetry

Student Writer / Bethany Eveleth

On Tuesday, April 11 in conjunction with Penguin Random House Publishing, Western’s Contemporary Writer Series and WordHorde hosted poets Todd Fredson and Sarah Vap. Fredson and Vap gave a craft talk that was open to all students, faculty, and staff at 11am. They both discussed their artistic process and led an activity to help the audience understand some of the things that they both attempt to address in their work. Following the craft talk, Fredson and Vap hosted an invitation-only talk for aspiring poets which gave students an opportunity to have further discussion about publishing, the writing process, and translation.

The same evening, at 7pm in the Savage Library, Fredson and Vap read selections from their work. Vap read from her most recent book, Viability.

“[Viability is] a woven hybrid project where I just stole a lot of language,” Vap said in discussion of the her National Poetry Series winning book. She examined and borrowed jargon used economically and juxtaposed that with themes of the body to explore the commodification of human life, particularly women and children, by capitalism. Her work in Viability relies on de-contextualization and repetition to create a series of hybrid prose poems that explore the difficult topics of slavery in the present, motherhood, and the dehumanization of humanity.

Fredson followed Vap’s reading by reading some of his translations of Josué Guébo, an Ivory Coast poet. Translated as serial lyrics, poems that move from page to page without titles, Fredson occasionally stopped to give the audience cultural context about his translations or explain phrases that he left in the original language: French.

“I left some things untranslated because their cultural importance was too great,” Fredson said. Fredson lived in what he classified as a “stereotypical African village” with no running water and no electricity when he was a volunteer for the Peace Corps. It was through translation that Fredson found a way to talk about his own experiences on the Ivory Coast. He discussed his struggles with cultural appropriation and navigating how to capture the unsayable.

The evening concluded with time for audience members to ask further questions and get books signed. Fredson and Vap were receptive and showed genuine interest in their conversations with their audiences. Aided by the intimate settings that Western has to offer and a receptive community, aspiring poets and students were exposed to writers passionately pursuing social justice and hybrid form in the field of poetry.

Does summer break have you unsure what to do?

Then Gunnison just might be the answer for you.

Nicholas A. Fischer / Staff Writer

Snow from an epic storm delayed the start of the spring semester by two days, making the campus a winter wonderland for almost a full three months. As warm weather fights its slow return to the Gunnison Valley, the spring semester rapidly approaches its end. With snow storms possible through May, snow on graduation is tradition at Western, it leaves little time for Mountaineers to enjoy the valley before summer break.

While Mountaineers are finishing their last papers, projects, and presentations of the year, some are preparing for their summer plans, while other’s plans are still up in the air. A majority of students will return to their home towns, while others will set out on adventures across the world. However, a few students will stay in the valley and mountains and get to enjoy the wonders of the short Gunnison summer.

Three factors tend to keep students in Gunnison over the summer break: summer classes, internships, or work opportunities. However, the beauty of the wilderness around Gunnison provides a bounty of relaxation any student or professor needs after a long year.

Students staying as students over summer tend to have a need to take a class over summer to stay on track or are looking to get ahead of schedule. Several classes offered over the summer take students into the mountains to study flora of the land or the stars in the sky, while others allow them to have a hands-on exploration of the past.

Over the last 25 years Western has offered an archeology field school around W Mountain. The Mountaineer Site, located on top of W Mountain, a Folsom archeology site that has the earliest known structures in Colorado, has been the focus of the field school since its discovery by archeology professor, Dr. Mark Stiger and Western students. During the field school in June, anyone can come up on a free ride, being offered through Gunnison’s Parks Department, and tour the site.

Further up the valley near Gothic mountain, Western Students will be interning over summer at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab. The area is a pristine wilderness area that has been under scientific studies for 89 years. Research done at the lab as led to over 1500 publications that have played important roles in expanding our understanding of long-term changes on ecosystems. The lab offers public programs over summer and host a 1/3 marathon on July 4th from Gothic to Crested Butte. The public can stay overnight at the lab, but space is limited.

Staying and studying in Gunnison over summer is not everyone’s ideal summer break, but Gunnison County does offer great employment opportunities for the college students in need of money. Over summer, events like the Cattlemen’s Day, the Wild Flower Festival, and various wine festivals and music events bring in tourist. In addition to abundant wilderness activities, businesses across the county are always looking for help. From inside jobs at restaurants and shops to outside jobs at Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Three Rivers Resorts, there are a variety of jobs that will put cash in a student’s pockets over the summer.

For students who decide to stay in Gunnison, whether it be to study, work, or just relax, the mountains and valleys do not fail to provide an abundance of activities to ensure it is enjoyable.

The trails around Gunnison and Crested Butte are heralded as some of the best mountain biking trails of Colorado. Those trails are just a small part of the extensive network of trails that allow anyone to hike, bike, or four wheel across a vast amount of Gunnison County. These trails take people to some of the most beautiful and remote views in state and are topped off as the wildflowers begin to bloom in June and by July. Crested Butte is known as the Wildflower Capital of Colorado because the meadows and fields are painted with the varying colors of flowers that highlight the lush, green foliage and are backdropped by mountain peaks.

Of course, camping under the stars is one of the unique treasures of Gunnison. Gunnison County is far enough away from big city lights that the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is an International Dark Sky Park, which is a designation for parks that have exceptional starry nights. However, one does not have to camp or travel outside of Gunnison to get a great view of the stars. The Gunnison Valley Observatory, located on the way to Hartmann’s Rocks, offers anyone a chance to see the stars and planets even more up close than the peaks around town.

While 100 days on the mountain is a common goal for winters in Gunnison, 100 days on the water becomes a goal for summer. The East, Slate, Taylor, and Gunnison rivers along with Blue Mesa and Taylor Reservoirs and the many streams creeks and alpine lakes provide plenty of fishing, swimming, boating, rafting, paddle boarding, and yes even surfing opportunities within an hour of Gunnison.

A summer in Gunnison is an experience every Mountaineer should have. While the town and surrounding country is amazing during the months of the normal school year, Gunnison becomes a special place from May to August that makes surviving the bitter colds of its winter, all the worthwhile.

Western’s English Honors Society Attends Louisville Conference

Sigma Tau Delta Conference

Marisa Cardin / Senior Staff Writer

From March 29th to April 1st, 2017, ten students from Sigma Tau Delta flew to Louisville, Kentucky, to attend the annual English Honors society conference. About a year ago, some of these same students had gone to the conference in Minneapolis, with only one of them presenting a collection of poetry. This year, all ten students were presenting something, and some of them were involved with more than one presentation. Five people presented a panel entitled “Women In Violence: Debunking Cultural Myths,” which explored the myth of women being unable to enact violent crimes in the same way that men are able to. Three students presented academic papers, two presented short stories, and three presented collections of poetry. The conference included keynote speakers, such as Jeff VanderMeer and Megan Mayhew Bergman, who students had the opportunity to speak with and even get copies of the writers novels signed. When students weren’t busy presenting their own work, they were welcomed to go around to different readings and panels, some of which included: “A Critical Lens Evaluation of Disney Princesses,” “Narrative in Gaming: Role-Playing and Beyond,” “Adolescents in Original Fiction,” and “The American Short Story as a Form.”

Overall, though the conference only lasted three short days, every student had a fantastic time going from panel to panel, and gained a new perspective on the art of English and Literature through discussing these ideas with members of other STD chapters. Wyatt Ewert, a junior at Western, said that his experience at the conference was “Fun, but exhausting. I found myself going to a bunch of different round tables and readings, leaving me busy for much of the day. However, each of the readings and round tables I went to were interesting, so I have no regrets. I just wish I could have slept more!”

Elizabeth Ramsey, junior, also enjoyed the conference because she doesn’t get to do a lot of traveling. “Being able to go someplace new and far away is always great, but the conference experience itself was a blast,” she said. “The readings and panels are interesting, and we get to interact with lots of like-minded people.” She also was pleased with her reading of her original fiction piece, “Magic for Beginners.

“I was nervous at first, like I always am for presentations, but when I actually got to my panel, the rest of the presenters were very friendly and welcoming, and the audience was polite and invested,” Ramsey said. “The whole atmosphere was relaxed, which made presenting a whole lot less stressful and a lot more fun.”

Ramsey has recently been elected as STD’s new Secretary for the following year. Zoe Henderson, who has been elected as Vice President, spoke of the connections the conference allowed the students to make with fellow English majors and minors from schools all across the conference.

“It was really interesting to learn about their educations and how they differ from and are similar to ours,” Henderson said. “It was also so amazing to be surrounded by so many like-minded individuals who we could talk to about English and our course content even though we had never met before. I made instant connections with some people because they were so similar to me.”

Overall, the students in attendance at the conference agreed that it inspired them to continue along the path of English. Bethany Eveleth, junior and new STD president, was especially inspired. “The conference definitely reignited a passion for the art for me,” she said. “I feel more accountable for myself now, rather than simply writing because it’s a requirement, it was a real wakeup call that in order to get anywhere in this field, I need to practice just like a basketball player or pianist. I know my passion lies in creative writing, and I have to bring that to all of my classes, even the critical ones.”

“I was really inspired by the poets that were succeeding in form. As a writer who is really intimidated by form, and really inexperienced, hearing really skilled villanelles and sonnets, etc. made me make a personal challenge for myself to explore form more and get outside of my comfort zone,” Eveleth finished.

Henderson agreed with this, going on to explain the importance of students attending academic conferences throughout their time at college: “Academic conferences are incredibly helpful toward furthering a student’s education. An academic conference allows students to meet with their peers from all over the world, be inspired, find solidarity, and become more educated in their fields.”

“After my experience at the conference,” said Ewert. “I am now more dedicated to my writing and will strive to create new short pieces in the hopes of not only improving my craft, but also forming a collection of works to put under my belt.”

Overall, the annual Sigma Tau Delta conference was extremely successful for all ten students who attended, especially considering the major rise in presentations over the course of just one year. Next year, the conference will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, and will hopefully have just as many, if not more, students presenting their English work!

Women’s History Month empowers women and men at Western

Western celebrates women on campus and in the community

Bethany Eveleth/Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Mar. 7, Western celebrated Women’s History month on campus. Hosted by the Western Cabinet, the event welcomed guest speakers to campus to encourage and empower women (and men)! Tom Burggraf, director of the Western Foundation welcomed all of the guests in attendance, and shared an anecdote about his mother, in which he reminded women to not limit themselves to “what man can do,” but to challenge themselves as individuals and achieve what they personally can do.

Keynote speaker Stephanie Dawes spoke about her experiences in the fashion industry, and her challenges as a business owner. Dawes graduated from Gunnison High School in 2005, and moved away for several years to pursue a degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California. Three years ago, Dawes took over “The Toggery,” her family’s long-time business. After renovation, Dawes reopened the store as “Toggery Elevated,” which is located on Main Street in Gunnison. A business owner, mother of two, and wife to a full-time student, Dawes addressed the pressures and stresses of being an entrepreneur while raising a family, and reminded everyone that with hard work and determination, anyone can accomplish their dreams.  

“I was fairly nervous,” Dawes said. “I had been contacted just the week prior, so I was a little intimidated at the idea of speaking for 30 minutes! Once I began though, I felt more comfortable and really just tried to share my experiences in a way that would be encouraging to those in attendance.”

Dawes attended the event last year and was pleased to see the improvements, and hopes that it continues to gain popularity in future years.

“It felt very empowering to be a keynote speaker for a Women’s History Month celebration!” Dawes said. “I really did enjoy everyone who spoke and it always is a lovely event.”

Between speakers, recent Western graduate Sara Coblentz kept everything moving and introduced the line-up as the MC of the event.

“The atmosphere when you walked into the ballroom was empowering, sassy, classy, and beautiful all in one,” said Coblentz. “And that was all because of the community that attended.”

Not only was the event about recognizing women at large, but recognize women at Western’s campus. History professor Heather Thiessen-Reily was recognized at the event for her leadership on campus. She was introduced by the Behavioral and Social Sciences Department administrative assistant, Donna Holden, who gave audience members who were not familiar with Thiessen-Reily a snapshot of what exactly she does for her students and colleagues on campus. Thiessen-Reily has been with Western since 1995, and added new fields to Western’s history program: Borderlands History and Public History.

“It was inspiring to hear a local woman speak about her struggles and successes in the pursuit of her dream,” said Western student, Brooke Gilmore.

The event ended in social time for congratulations, old hellos, and new acquaintances for all that attended.

Honors Choir Weekend

Quigley Hall welcomes 150 high school students to the 65th Western Slope Choral Festival

Grace Flynn/ Staff Writer

High school students from 27 different schools all around Colorado spent Mar. 2 through 4 working with Western vocal music majors and guest conductors.

The students traveled to Western to attend the Western Slope Choral Festival. Professor Heather Roberson, director of concert choir and chamber singers, organized the weekend and invited guest conductors to work with the students.

“The most difficult thing about this festival is the amount of time it takes to organize it all. People are aware of what happens when the festival occurs, but they don’t know what all happens behind the scenes and what leads up to it,” Roberson said.

Daniel Afonso Ph.D., from the University of California, Stanislaus, was the guest conductor for the women’s choir, and Jeremy Manternach Ph.D. was the guest conductor for the mixed choir. They worked with the students on techniques to improve their singing skills.

“My favorite part about the festival is the progress the students make in the short time of just two and a half days. It’s just amazing,” Roberson said.

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) played a part in the festival by helping visiting students find their practice rooms, the rehearsal hall, and navigate the campus. NAfME students helped keep the festival running smoothly and going for the three days of rehearsal.

During this festival, the fire department also held their annual benefit concert. Back in 1953, a committee of Gunnison Volunteer Fireman spoke with the president at Western to suggest sponsoring two evenings of music by the Western band. Since then, the proceeds from these concerts have been used to replace equipment at the fire department. The band concert traditionally features the piece “Third Alarm March” by Arthur Fiedler, which includes fire fighters playing bells and earsplitting sirens.

Western is proud of the Gunnison Volunteer Fire Department and appreciative of their efficient and indispensable contribution to the school and the community. These concerts are a token of that appreciation.


Facing Adversity and Breaking Records.

The Mountaineers at the NCAA DII National Championship Festival

Nicholas A Fischer/Staff Writer

Over the weekend of Mar. 7-11, eleven Mountaineers from Western’s Wrestling, Swimming and Diving, and Track and Field teams qualified and travelled to the NCAA DII National Championship Festival in Birmingham, Alabama.

Junior Alicia Konieczek continued her run through the Western record books as she became the first Mountaineer to win National Championships in two events. Konieczek edged out Admas State’s Jenna Thurman by just over half a second in the Women’s 3000m with a time of 9:23.19. Konieczek’s won the championship in the Women’s mile by 3.54 seconds with a time of 4:37.42, a school record. In addition, Konieczek has the school record in the 3000m with a time of 9.17.90, which she posted earlier this year.

While Konieczek had the most success, her fellow teammates’, Senior Georgia Porter and Junior Sophie Seward, performances helped Western’s women team to an eighth place finish at the National Championships. In the the 3000m, Porter finished eighth while Seward was fourteenth. Seward and Porter finished in seventh and eighth place in the Women’s 5000m. Seward and Porter’s times in the 5000m and 3000m were also good enough to earn positions in Western’s record books.

Konieczek, Porter, and Seward became All-American with their top ten finishes at the National Championships. This goes along with the All-American honors the trio earned at the Cross Country National Championships this past fall. They will have a chance to earn All-American honors in the coming outdoor track and field season.

Western’s Men’s Track and Field also experienced some success at the National Championship, with Seniors Noah Zorsky and Keifer Johnson having strong showings. Zorsky became an All-American with a second-place finish in the final round of the Poll Volt after clearing a height of 5.25m. Johnson finished sixteenth in the 5000m finals and nineteenth in 3000m finals.

Representing Western in Swimming and Diving at the National Championships, were Sophomore RMAC Swimmer of the Year, Randi Yarnell and Junior Diver, Jessica Anderson. Anderson was unable to qualify during the preliminaries and Yarnell was swimming through an illness and did not break the top 20 in her four events.

Western’s Wrestling team was represented at the National Championships by Senior, Ronald Wardleigh at 125 lbs., Junior, Ian Steen at 149 lbs., Sophomore, Brandon Supernaw at 174 lbs., and Freshmen, Konnor Schmidt at 184 lbs. All four drew strong competition for their first matches of Championship rounds and lost. Wardleigh, Supernaw, and Schmidt won their first matches in the Consolation Round, before being eliminated in their next matches. Steen was eliminated in first match of the Consolation Round.

Even though Western’s Swimming and Diving and Wrestling did not see the same success and the Track and Field teams at the NCAA DII National Championship Festival, just qualifying for them was an admirable feat. To reach that level of competition it takes year of dedication, hard work, and support of teammates, coaches, friends, and families. Each athlete represented Western well on what is one of NCAA DII grandest stages.

In Memoriam: John Peterson

Professor of Computer Science John Peterson, 61, passed away Sunday, March 5 following a climbing accident. Peterson began teaching computer science at Western in 2005.

Peterson was not simply a professor to his many computer science students. He was their mentor, dedicated to helping them succeed in all his classes. It was common for him to stay long after his office hours to assist them with their assignments. Outside of the classroom, Peterson was a friend and even a tour guide to his students, as they were always willing to tag along with their professor on his many adventures.

Greg Haynes, assistant professor of music and longtime friend of Peterson’s, said that he was an incredibly authentic person with a “larger than life personality.” His infectious charisma made it easy for people to put their trust in him, even when out of their comfort zones.

Peterson was an avid climber and often took his friends, family, and students along on his adventures. Prior to meeting Peterson, Haynes was unfamiliar with rock climbing and didn’t think it was something he would do. Soon enough however, he found himself scaling the flatirons in Boulder alongside Peterson. “He could always make an experience happen for you,” Haynes said.  “Everyone has this story about John. Where they never would have tried this thing but John brought them into it and created an experience.”

These shared experiences were not limited to his love of the outdoors. Peterson was also deeply passionate about classical music and played the trombone in the Western Symphony Band. He never hesitated to travel long distances to experience a live symphony performance, usually with a group of people in tow.

His love of music and computer science led him to co-create the music technology minor alongside Haynes. The music technology minor was added to the Western catalog in 2015. With the inclusion of other math and music professors, the pair built a successful program that has continued to gain student’s interest, according to Haynes. “He was able to accomplish such incredible things by bringing the right people together to do them and with an attitude that all things were achievable in some respect,” Haynes said.

Peterson is survived by his wife Marti and sons Eric and Jay.  

Dr. John Peterson, professor of Computer & Information Science, teaches programming at Western’s summer Computer Camp.

Film Review: Moana

Computer animated musical offers laughs and heart for all ages.

Sam Thornley / Staff Writer

Moana is the latest animated musical feature released by Walt Disney Pictures and offers entertainment as wondrous as the ocean the titular heroine travels. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the film stars the voices of Auli’i Cravahlo and Dwayne Johnson with Temuera Morrison, Rachel House, and Jemaine Clement rounding out the cast. Filled with music by Mark Mancina, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Opetaia Foa’i, the film was released in theaters on Nov. 23 and will arrive on home media platforms on Mar. 7.

The film revolves around Moana, the teenage daughter of a Polynesian tribe’s overprotective chief, who is about to pass the title on to her. When the life on the tribe’s island starts to decay, Moana is sent on a quest by the gods and her dying grandmother to find the legendary demigod Maui and restore balance to the ocean.

What really makes Moana work is the phenomenal voice acting that drives the film through the main protagonists. Newcomer Auli’i Cravahlo is excellent as Moana, capable of hitting the entire emotional and musical range required of the character, along with having some great chemistry with Dwayne Johnson’s Maui. Dwayne Johnson does an equally commendable job as Maui with a careful application of his trademark wit balanced out with some tenderness during the more emotional scenes of the film.

The supporting cast of the film also delivers some great performances that help power the film’s emotional core. Temuerra Morrison and Rachel House in particular convey a lot of pathos as Moana’s father and grandmother respectively, making the most of their screen time in the film. Finally, Jemaine Clement delivers an over the top and enjoyable performance as the thieving coconut crab Tamatoa and provides a catchy musical number to match.

The most excellent part of Moana is the music, which is bound to remain with the viewer long after they leave the theater. In particular, the songs feature an excellent combination of English, Samoan, and Tokelauan lyrics that are catchy and simultaneously awe-inspiring, which manage to make the film feel more dramatic and sweeping.

Another excellent part of the film is the animation, which involved the development of new rendering technology to create the hair and water featured prominently throughout the film. The sand and water are rendered in incredible detail, along with the hair of the characters as it gets wet and blows in the wind. Additionally, the film features some well-done hand-drawn animation work for Maui’s sentient tattoos that add a creative flair to the computer animation.

Finally, the film has a wonderful amount of humor and emotion all mixed together. The film features funny interactions between Moana and Maui as they try to work through each other’s differences before exchanging pep talks and advice. Often, the film does this within scenes and succeeds at it marvelously thanks to the excellent voice acting.

If there are any real flaws with the film, it’s that the plot doesn’t stray too far from the usual Disney formula for their musicals. It still retains an animal sidekick and the villain has more to them than it seems at first sight, along with a saving-the-world plot and optimistic outlook. There are also some minor moments of repetitive humor that may get tiresome for some viewers.

Additionally, while remaining a funny character throughout the film, Moana’s pet chicken Hei Hei feels somewhat superfluous to the narrative. Since he cannot speak and has the intelligence of a rock, he mostly just sits around in the background while occasionally popping up for a quick joke. Considering he does not have much of a personality or arc behind him, he feels a little tacked on to the film in contrast to previous Disney sidekicks.

Overall, Moana is an excellently made animated film that will charm both adults and children with its emotion, music and, humor. While it has some flaws, its strengths more than outweigh them, and it manages to be an all-around strong film worthy of standing with the best that Disney has to offer.