You know it's bad when fires cause flooding

Signs like this all over Colorado serve as constant reminders of the danger of drought. BY DENNIS FORNEY
July 5, 2013

COLORADO SPRINGS - While thunderstorms and periodic rains soak the soils of Delaware’s Cape Region, bright orange and flashing signs along the highway here remind residents this section of the Rockies is in an EXTREME fire danger mode.

On top of that, due to the Waldo Canyon fire that scorched this area in summer 2012, sudden thunderstorms here can cause flash flooding. Without trees and ground vegetation to slow the downward progress of rain falling on the denuded slopes above the Route 24 corridor and Ute Pass, the creeks fill quickly. That causes the ironic condition where extremely dry conditions lead to exacerbated flooding. Residents want the rain, but in the low areas the threat of flooding creates a mixed bag.

There were no fireworks planned in Colorado Springs to celebrate Independence Day. No fireworks - or open campfires - are permitted in the extensive national forest lands in this area. Every flash of lightning puts officials and firefighters on edge. One night this week while we watched the news, a quick-moving storm cell closed the highway, muddied the streets and damaged cars. At the same time, we watched footage of the tragedy in the Prescott, Arizona forest fire where 19 firefighters lost their lives in a deadly inferno that surrounded them and closed in, in nature’s characteristic careless fashion.

As the world’s population continues to increase, so too does the pace of catastrophes related to nature’s muscle-flexing.

Becky and I have logged almost 1,900 bicycling miles now in our journey across the U.S. In the interest of time and August engagements, we’ve decided to drive our bikes across Kansas and resume our bicycling in Missouri.

There we will pick up the nation’s longest rail-to-trail conversion, the Katy Trail, which runs 250 miles or so across the state to Saint Louis.  

The trail parallels the Missouri River for much of its distance and, as such, also follows part of the route Lewis and Clark helped blaze back in the early 1800s.

No preaching on the beach?

I’m sure there will be more said and written about this, but I received a message and letter this week decrying a decision by Rehoboth Beach to deny a permit for a church service on the beach. It was planned for July Fourth.

At first blush it sure does look like a silly denial, especially in light of the freedoms represented by the Independence Day holiday.The mistake made by the applicants was in pursuing the initial request. Many years ago, a tall and thin black man in a fedora hat would make his way up and down the Boardwalk in the summer singing out REPENT at the top of his lungs. No one tried to stop him, and he certainly didn’t apply to city officials for permission to exercise one of his basic constitutional rights: freedom of speech and peaceable assembly.

Instead of just showing up and preaching a sermon, or the city just saying “Sure, go ahead,” now we’ll have another grand controversy.

So what’s with the culture of no that’s emerging? Lewes tells a Pennsylvania church children’s choir they can’t sing in the park. Rehoboth tells a pastor he can’t preach a sermon on the beach.

Come on, land of the free. Let’s lighten up on the governing touch. I was proud of Lewes many years ago when Mayor and Council resisted attempts to make skateboarding illegal on city streets. Make drivers be more careful and slow them down. Don’t drive the kids out. The decision felt so much like fresh air.

Let freedom ring!

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