Posts Tagged Boulder

Heavy Rain and Flooding in Colorado

I am safe and dry at home, and I expect to stay that way. But the rain is still coming down in buckets. I hope that any readers who live in Colorado are safe as well. We received over 6 inches of rain last night, which is very unusual:

NCAR Foothills Lab Weather Station

Here is a story at about the rainstorm:

Colorado floods: 3 dead, 1 missing, rescue efforts continue amid rain

I forgot to check the Emergency Closure before I headed out to the bus this morning. Imagine my surprise when I headed down the last street to my lab and beheld a lake where the road should have been! That’s the first time I’ve ever had to take off my shoes and wade in to my office. Yes, the facilities were closed for the day.

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Colorado Joins the Pac-10

In sports news, we learn that the University of Colorado at Boulder has joined the Pacific-10 Conference. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and a Master of Science degree in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Colorado. This means that my two alma maters will now be playing each other on a regular basis. Yay! This is cool!

This is a good move for Colorado. The Pac-10 is a great conference! In college football, the Pac-10 has a lot of great west coast teams, with exciting offenses and tough defensive squads. UC-Berkeley was always a great game, UCLA is tough to get by, Washington usually has lots of talent, and the Arizona fans in Sun Devil Stadium made for a deafening contest whenever Stanford played there. USC was always tough (sometime too tough), but Stanford football has earned some wins and ties against Southern California. The other athletic programs provide worthy competition, too – baseball, basketball, water polo, tennis, and so on. It will also be good for CU to join the stellar academics of the Pac-10 schools (Stanford, Berkeley, University of Washington, UCLA, etc.).

For Colorado sports fans, the Pac-10 schools are wonderful places to visit. Oregon is the most beautiful state in the country when the sun’s out. Seattle is a kick! Southern California is a fun place to spend a few extra days visiting Disneyland or going surfing. When in the Bay Area during fall, head to San Francisco and on to the wine country! San Francisco is the first big city I ever enjoyed.

During my senior year at Stanford, before I had ever visited Boulder, I remember a guy from the Stanford radio station telling me what an amazing place Boulder is when he traveled here for a rare Stanford-CU football game. So I came. I’m still here.

I don’t even know who I should root for! Undergraduate ties to the school’s athletic program are usually stronger, but I have been steeped in local football enthusiasm for decades now. I’ll go to the first Boulder game and just let the competitive juices flow where they will.

To all those Pac-10 students, fans, and alumni I have this to say: Come out and see us! Boulder is a great place to visit in the fall. Spend a few extra days in the mountains, hang out on the Pearl Street Mall, drive over the Trail Ridge Road before the snow flies, go skiing after the snow flies, have a meal at the Dushanbe Tea House and ask some local to tell you the real history of the place, or bag a Fourteener!

We’ll give you a good football game and send you on home, tired but happy.

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John Karr Arrested for the Murder of JonBenet Ramsey

Okay, my home town is in the national news again. Let’s see if I can add some local angle to the story that you can’t get from

Obviously the JonBenet Ramsey case was in the local paper for many months in 1997. A sizable amount of suspicion fell on her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey. They attended an Episcopal Church in town, and some of the horrible fascination with the crime centered around the idea that these respectable church-going people might have a dark side.

The homicide case of Mary and Matthew Winkler in Selmer, Tennessee is a blunt reminder that church-going folk can also commit terrible crimes, but I never considered the Ramseys as likely suspects. That scenario was just too complicated, requiring an elaborate pattern of deception on the part of the dead girl’s parents. Naw!

When I thought about the case at all, I preferred the intruder theory. The most obvious clue was that the amount of money demanded for the ransom ($118,000) matched the bonus that John Ramsey had just received from Access Graphics. Who would know that amount? Some disgruntled employee, that’s who. So find the disgruntled employee! What’s the problem? But the police didn’t seem to key in on that aspect of the crime. I don’t deserve any credit here because I never figured out all the angles to the theory.

The Ramsey house itself has attracted some unwanted attention. The Boulder Daily Camera has carried several stories of fights breaking out on the street in front, usually between people wanting to take pictures and people wanting to protect what little privacy the family had left. The neighborhood itself is in an area of steep financial gradient between the low-priced student rentals near the University, and the high-priced mansions on small lots up next to the open space and mountain parks. Lots of people flow through the area.

I’ve ridden my bicycle by the house a few times, taking care not to appear too interested. They’ve done some landscaping – planting trees in the front yard, and other touches. The place looks different now than it did on that Christmas evening in 1996.

The Rocky Mountain News on August 17 published a short item – Under suspicion – on page 31A detailing the other suspects in the case. If you want get creeped out, consider these:

A man who showed up at a memorial service for JonBenet a year after her death. The man has a criminal history, including the sexual assault of a 7-year-old girl in Oregon. Around the time of the slaying, he was getting food and picking up mail at a church near the Ramsey home. When arrested on an unrelated charge in December, officials found a stun gun and a poem about JonBenet in his backpack.A man living in a suburb east of Boulder who an informant said had a basement shrine to JonBenet. The shrine included a candy cane similar to the candy canes in the Ramsey’s front yard at the time of the killing. The tipster also said the man owned stun guns.

A man once arrested in Oceanside, Calif., for a crime against a child. The man lived six blocks from JonBenet’s home but disappeared soon after her death.

We locals would like to think that the arrest and apparent confession of John Karr means that the case is solved, that justice has been done at last. Karr could also be some wacko who wanted to attract a bunch of attention, so he did some research and made up a cruel story with himself at the center. The evidence will come out in the weeks and months ahead, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

One final note: I’m sure thankful that my own daughter is leading a normal life: reading mystery stories, learning to dance and play soccer, sleeping in on Saturday mornings, looking at algae through her microscope, braiding her hair, and  just living. That’s what little girls should be doing. If she complains about having to eat her whole dinner, I don’t mind so much. Because sometimes I think, what if she were suddenly taken from me? Or brutally assaulted and murdered like JonBenet was? I know I would long to hear her complain about dinner just one more time.

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