Archive for June, 2009

[May 2007] The City of Fort Collins, in its monthly insert that comes with the electric bill, says we should try to downsize our garbage service. So, I traded in my 66-gallon can for tags. You pay $1.25 for a tag, then attach it to each bag of garbage you set out.

This system rewards the citizen-consumer for minimizing garbage outflow.

Only, I lost my tags before I ever used even one. I still have to pay for them, but they’re gone. I think I threw them in my recycling bin that got carried off last week.

So I got the idea I would live without garbage service for as long as I could stand. I recycle cardboard, paper, most plastics. I compost any foods that don’t contain fat.

That leaves little bits of plastic wrap, the bag the brown sugar came in, orange juice cartons, dog hair, used tissues. Or about 1 small plastic grocery bag of garbage every 2 days.

Makes you extra sensitive to things that create garbage in the  home.

  • The damn phone book I never asked for that wound up on my front porch! Is that recyclable? I’m not sure, but I have to deal with it and its protective plastic bag.
  • The triple-plastic packaging on my ostensibly earth-friendly, vegetarian-fed, free-range chicken-produced, brown eggs.
  • Dog poop.

    So I rationalized that since I technically PAID for my garbage to be carried off, there would be no harm in leaving little grocery bags of garbage in trash bins around town…as long as the bins weren’t full anyway.

    I left the phone-book bag filled with trash at KFC. In exchange KFC gave me a large bag of plastic with my food. I left that at Stacey’s house.

    I left one bag in the dumpster at work.

    I left one bag in the alley trash can of the people with the really noisy puppies in an outdoor kennel that woke me up every morning this summer when I was sleeping with my windows open, while the owners slept with closed windows and whole house air conditioning.

    I left one bag in the construction bin I plan to revisit later to salvage wood for my chicken coop.

    Tonight when I went looking for places to leave little bits of garbage, I took my 10-year-old boy. We threw snowballs, scouted out new places to ditch garbage, and even gave the dog some exercise.

    The City of Fort Collins might be proud that I’ve made conservation a family activity.

    [Lost Fort Collins is still on vacation. This is another reprint from a 2007 blog.]

    Have you seen the new (2009) gallery on Pine? Much better ideas for throw aways than mine. Seek it out!

    Have you seen the new (2009) gallery on Pine? Much better ideas for throw aways than mine. Seek it out!

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    I’m supposed to be on vacation, but just this one thing ….

    Right before I left for Idaho, I was tasked to pick up a case of O’Dell’s IPA.  So, I tried this place I’d heard booze was first sold legally in Fort Collins.

    I pass it all the time, but never even noticed North College Discount Liquors before. Apparently, that’s not an accident.

    Old advertisement

    Old advertisement found in the back room of No. College Discount Liquors. (Click for readable view)

    The old ad in the photo above more or less reads:

    If visibility is a key element in the success of a retail business, why did Lloyd and Ellie build a liquor store behind a bowling alley where no one can see it? Go take a look at North College Discount Liquors.

    In 1964 when the Bickels built their store, Fort Collins was a “dry town” (i.e., no liquor could be bought within city limits), 814 N. College Ave behind Monte Carlo Lanes was 40 feet outside the city limits of Fort Collins.

    There were only seven liquor stores serving the city then.

    …Fort Collins went “wet” in 1970. Now there are over 100 liquor licenses within the city limits. But if you want to see a little history in action, go out to 814 N. College Ave ….

    The store still has two  original coolers.

    Original cooler. Somehow, cold drinks are better from behind old heavy slider doors.

    Original cooler. Somehow, cold drinks are better from behind old heavy slider doors.

    I won’t go into the history of our dry town turned brewery tourist mecca because Josh Johnson does a nice job of it here: http://www.rmchronicle.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1879

    Liquor Rear

    And so, back to vacation….

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    Hey Fort Collins, what if this year we did Backyfest instead of  Brewfest?

    Regional tobacco growers and hookah bars could set up booths downtown where they hand out samples of private blends like Rocky Mountain Air-cured, Mile-high Burley, and the nationally popular, Snowshredder’s Shisha.

    The growers could use the event to promote indie tobacco farms–a chance to stand out from impersonal corporate operators. It’ll be a feel-good summer shindig, with special awards for those who use enviro-friendly farming methods and treat labor like family.

    Of course, we’ll check IDs and, as always, encourage everybody to smoke responsibly.

    photo Francis Bourgouin

    photo Francis Bourgouin

    (Lost Fort Collins is getting ready to vacation for a few weeks.  So I’m dragging in some of my writing from years past. This one was from a private  2007 blog. But you know, there really was a time when CSU and local farmers experimented with growing tobacco. We might have had a successful Backyfest, if only the local crop hadn’t tasted so awful.)

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    2008, after lions removed

    In one of Lost Fort Collins’ earliest posts, I talked about the Sigma house on Laurel.  The boys lost their charter afterserving alcohol to young girls during a party. Gossip around town said they would paint those lions at the entry stairs red to signal when a brother had bagged a virgin.

    The old house is now, finally, a hole in the ground.

    Frat House

    June 2009

    Or maybe it always was ….


    Sigma house from the 1972 CSU Yearbook

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    For me, the  Foothills Fashion Mall, long the largest and most popular shopping center in the region,  peaked 10 years ago when the animatronic dinosaurs set up for a week. I think it was October, and every family in town went.  Some of us made 5 or 6 trips.  

    I can’t do that now. The dinosaurs are long gone. So are half the stores. And, my son is living by a strict code for teenagers that forbids him to go shopping with his mom.

    Some people say the mall is dead. Our own FC  government says it is a “menace to public health, safety, and welfare (pdf).”  But there are still some lights on. 

    The unpopulated picture above looks toward Sears, on a Thursday afternoon. The last of the open stores rally around it. 

    Thing is, the appliance guys down there are hungry.  I mean famished.   And besides, they don’t carry my Levi’s 515s anymore. Mind if we go the other way?

    This is the fountain. The centerpiece of your mall experience. See those half walls? Those went up in the 1990s when a parent complained in the newspaper that any kid could walk right in and drown like a penny. That was an issue back when we used to exercise our toddlers along these halls in Winter. 


    This was Pennys. Now it’s GlowGolf, harbinger of Dollar Stores. In the foreground, steps to a stage area where school children delivered many a recital.

    This sign appears throughout the mall. It’s part of Marketing’s “We Give Up” campaign.

    Still, you have to credit someone for the Mervyn’s Puppet Theater vision.

    Candy Barn ….

    All right, all right. I’m sorry. The people who keep the mall are working against horrible odds. Only two years ago, hope remained that the mall would see expansion and renewal.  For a while, it even seemed Fort Collins would get an escalator!

    But then the parent company (General Growth Properties) filed bankruptcy, more businesses fled or failed, and it’s anybody’s guess what happens next.

    In those circumstances, our crippled mall remains remarkably clean, safe, and well lit. Clearly, somebody’s still trying.

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