1st state historian from Western Slope

Column by Sonya Ellingboe
Posted 7/28/20

The Craft and Home Improvement Fair, a signature event during Littleton’s Western Welcome Week that was set for Aug. 15, has been canceled this year, yet another example of the fallout from the …

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1st state historian from Western Slope

In this 2019 photo, Michael Mersmann and his two children, Ellie and Dominic, are seen picking up trash next to the High Line Canal. Mersmann said the cleanup was an opportunity to teach his children about volunteering in the community.
In this 2019 photo, Michael Mersmann and his two children, Ellie and Dominic, are seen picking up trash next to the High Line Canal. Mersmann said the cleanup was an opportunity to teach his children about volunteering in the community.
Kailyn Lamb

Duane Vandenbusche, professor of history at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, assumes the role of Colorado state historian on Aug. 1, Colorado Day. The first state historian from outside the Front Range, he is a member of the State Historians Council with Nicki Gonzales, Tom Noel, Jared Orsi and William Wei, immediate past holder of the honorary post. He is author of “A Land Alone: The Colorado Western Slope.” He will lecture across the state and write for History Colorado’s membership magazine. Admission to all eight History Colorado museums across the state will be free on Colorado Day, Aug. 1.

High Line Canal

The High Line Canal Conservancy hopes to focus area interest on the 71 miles of the High Line Canal, encouraging hiker/walkers to log miles and gather per-mile pledges for the Conservancy, which hopes eventually to turn the entire path along the former irrigation ditch, which passes through five different governmental entities, into a 71-mile park. Walkers’ mileages can be achieved either on the canal path or in one’s home neighborhood, with any pledge money to be sent to the conservancy office at 915 S. Pearl St., Denver, CO 80209, or

Check your libraries

Several libraries are at last open, although with limited hours — check your own before venturing forth — reinstating the happy prospect of browsing shelves and displays, leafing through new or older volumes to see if they seem right for the week ahead. For example, Bemis Public Library in Littleton has modified hours as of press time: Tuesday to Friday 1 to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday. Number of visitors limited — you may have to wait ... Computer sessions limited to one hour per day. Virtual programming continues. Chat reference service 9 a.m. to noon Monday to Friday. Masks required. Furniture and computers have been moved to comply with social distancing requirements. Meeting rooms, programs, story times, computer lab not available.

Curtis Center for the Arts

The 37th Annual All Colorado Show runs through Sept. 12 at the Curtis Center for the Arts, 2349 E. Orchard Road, Greenwood Village. (Just west of University Boulevard). The gallery in a historic schoolhouse is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Winners chosen by juror Rachel Basye are: first place, “Girl Talk” by Brittany Horrigan; second place, “Sea Plant” by Jean Smith; third place, “Desert Bloom” by Nancy Eastman. Admission free. Parking lot east of building. 303-797-1779.

Spectrum at ACC

Spectrum, virtual art exhibit by students and instructors in the Arapahoe Community College Workforce and Community Programs is shown through the Colorado Gallery of the Arts’ Virtual Gallery through Aug. 6. See

Theater retirement

Maxine and Mark Rossman, founders of Cherry Creek Theatre, announce their retirement, although they will continue involvement as emeritus board members. The theater company has performed 28 plays and musicals, some nominated for Henry Awards, and of the 366 performances, the Rosmans have attended 356! The company has been performing at the Mizel Jewish Community Center, 350 S. Dahlia. We will look for program announcements when theater becomes possible again. CCT board member Matt Meier will succeed the Rossmans. Susie Snodgrass is artistic producer.

Highlands Ranch dinosaur finds

In 2019, as excavation was underway for a new building at the Wind Crest senior living facility, fossils surfaced and were recognized, leading to a call to Denver Museum of Nature & Science experts, who identified remains of a smaller triceratops. Construction activity let experts and volunteers from DMNS visit the site to recover the fossils. Highlands Ranch Historical Society has a video on its website,, which is available to all who are interested. We wonder if a career will be started here for some youngster. Visit

Children’s summer reading

Prizes are available for kids who finish their reading logs — free books and prize packets — at Littleton’s Bemis Library. Visit during library hours in August (Tuesday to Friday 1-6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at 6014 S. Datura St., Littleton.

Deadline at hand for peaches

Littleton Rotary will sell Colorado peaches — order through July 31, pick up Aug. 15 at Arapahoe Community College. A 10-pound box is $32 — other products available. Visit for information and to order.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver announces a new senior curator, Miranda Lash, who will begin in mid-September. She comes from the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, and has organized more than 30 museum exhibitions during her career, including focus on women, LGBTQ-identifying artists and artists of color, according to MCA Director Nora Burnett Abrams, including “Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art,” co-curated with Trevor Schoonmaker (2016). The MCA Denver is at 1485 Delgany St., Denver.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this column misidentified Western Colorado University in Gunnison.


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