The morning of the unexpected snow

And a season of fascinating local news stories

| Dec 11, 2012

We awoke this morning to a delightful surprise: two inches of snow that had not really been forecast. It was the soft kind you could kick into a cloud, and it was a relief, easing our worries about a second winter of drought that would probably guarantee water rationing next summer.

Safe and warm inside, we were content to read our newspaper of record, finding several quite fascinating stories continuing to unfold.

<strong>WHITE SURPRISE:</strong> <em>Mt. Sanitas and a distant Flagstaff looked ethereal after light overnight snow.</em>

WHITE SURPRISE: Mt. Sanitas and a distant Flagstaff looked ethereal after light overnight snow. (Reporter photo)

The city and state were both busy grappling with the uncertainties of implementing recreational marijuana use, as was handily voted into the State Constitution in November. The officialdom speak quite concretely of preparing to accommodate, regulate and tax the stores that will sell recreational, not just medicinal, marijuana. Oh brave new world.

Before liberal Boulder could totally revel in this display of tolerance toward Smokers of the Weed, they immediately had to swallow hard at two fun-loving CU students who brought THC-laced brownies to a 9 a.m. history class (“Early Modern Society”), leading to scary overdoses on the part of several, including the professor who, per the Camera’s report, took one bite that put her in the hospital for 24 hours. That’ll help CU attract the academic creme de la creme of America’s high schools to good old CU.

CU was rebuffed by one would-be football coach — one who appeared quite scary with his snarly-looking face and brush haircut — then rapidly bagged a more pleasant-seeming fellow instead. Sigh of relief. For all the absurdity that is now big-time college football, we can’t help but pay attention, this being still, blessedly, a university town.

Meanwhile on TV news, accused Aurora theatre shooter James Holmes looked unshaven in the artist’s sketches of his latest courtroom appearances, but a reporter said he showed no visible medical evidence of rumored recent attempts to harm himself. His parents had flown in from California to be in court with him.

Two Boulder police officers, both of whom had been tasked with dealing with DUI cases, were themselves both charged with being quite thoroughly drunk behind the wheel, and within three weeks of each other. One officer’s mug shot, in particular, had that ruddy look that tends to connote a way-too-enthusiastic fondness for alcohol. Innocent until proven guilty, of course. But the two arrests cannot but arouse curiosity about what in the world is going on inside Chief Mark Beckner’s Boulder Police Department. Camera letter-writer Robert Henson stated the issue pointedly:

When I reread the story [about the two arrests] a number was used, and if you blinked you might have missed it. The number was 44. The number of times Detective Scott Morris has been pulled over. This time he was drunk and on the seat was a bottle of Vodka and a loaded .38. Of all the numbers used on the front page number 44 is the one I found most difficult to understand.

Turning to the environmental news, Bill McKibben came to town and packed a large audience into the Glenn Miller Ballroom to hear his warnings of climate cataclysms and his appeal to students to pressure CU to divest itself of energy-related investments. Meanwhile, the debate over how to regulate fracking in Boulder County has grown intense. Fracking’s opponents defend their disruption of a recent County Commissioner meeting and their impoliteness (at the least) toward an industry lobbyist. Do fracking’s possibly imminent local health dangers suggest it’s no longer time for white gloves at Buckingham Palace and time instead for Gandhian civil disobedience? Democracies don’t relish the latter. But it happens.

* * *

Just a small and pensive overview of these mid-December days, the days when winter starts to move in on us for real. May we have many days of fluffy snow underfoot and face-warming sunshine in deep-blue skies.