Hard as it is to believe, Snowdown 2015 is over, starting and ending so fast it was like a flash.
But before it flew by, a lot of money was raised for good causes, one of those being Mercy Regional Medical Center’s Durango Cancer Center. (Wow, two centers in one name. That’s almost as bad as Roshong Recital Hall inside Jones Hall at Fort Lewis College.)
The center was the beneficiary of the Steampunk Soirée at Sorrel Sky Gallery on the Saturday of Snowdown week. The biggest challenge for hostess Shanan Campbell Wells and the gallery staff in holding this event is moving sculptures out of the middle of the gallery, both to protect the sculptures and to provide room for the big crowd that attends.
Karen Midkiff, chief development officer of the Mercy Health Foundation, said the event is starting to become as popular as the Follies, with a sellout crowd.
Seasons Rotisserie and Grill handled the cocktail-tasting portion of the evening. Owner Karen Barger tells me it served a Steamhattan, known as a Manhattan the other 360 days of the year, made with Blanton’s Bourbon, including a bourbon-soaked cherry, and a Wild West Cosmopolitan, prepared with a vodka from Breckenridge Distillery.
Kirk Komick of the Rochester Hotel kept the champagne – the hotel’s own label – flowing, and A&L Coors provided the brews.
The Mercy Garden Terrace Café prepared lots of goodies to keep partygoers fueled, because there was dancing, lots of dancing, going on, mostly to the classics. (Rock ‘n’ roll classics, not steampunk classics.) Included on the menu were beef Wellingtons, antipasto kebabs, Brie en croûte, smoked salmon, an array of cheeses, shrimp cocktail, mini-crab cakes and a selection of dessert bars.
Jeff Laydon of Pagosa Photography provided a photo booth, allowing those so-inclined to immortalize their steampunk finery.
Last summer, when I was working on my nonprofit series, Midkiff, Joy Hess, foundation development officer, and David Bruzzese, Mercy’s spokesman, generously spent a couple of hours with me explaining how the foundation works.
They always raise money for something specific. In Steampunk Soirée’s case, it was a linear accelerator, which actually sounds like a steampunk device. But the Victorians never could have dreamed of a piece of technology like this.
It allows doctors to use a radiation beam that pinpoints a tumor and protects the surrounding healthy tissue. (One of the big problems of many cancer treatments is how radiation not only attacks the cancer, it inflicts collateral damage that means patients have to recover from the treatment as much as the cancer.)
The accelerator also uses an on-board X-ray system that provides real-time diagnostic information and tumor imaging to aid in the targeted radiation. To top it off, the accelerator actually adjusts to a patient’s breathing rhythm, so it continues to provide precise targeting information despite the expansion and retraction of the lungs. How cool is that?
The foundation is embarking on a three-year fundraising campaign to buy the accelerator and other pieces of state-of-the-art technology to provide the best care possible to cancer patients in the region.
The cancer center and foundation believe the equipment adds so much to care, they have decided to lease it until they raise the funds to purchase it. Steampunk Soirée raised almost $16,000, so they’ve made a good start, but this kind of equipment does not come cheap, falling in the $2.4 million to $3 million range.
If you would like to support Mercy in its mission, tax-deductible contributions may be sent to Mercy Health Foundation, 1010 Three Springs Blvd., Durango, CO 81301, or you can call 764-2800 to learn more.
Mark your calendar for Soup for the Soul on March 18. The annual fundraiser for Hospice of Mercy, it’s a chance to catch up with half the town plus enjoy some fabulous food from area restaurants.
Having a busy week of celebrations, between their birthdays and Valentine’s Day are Suzanne Parker, Christine Phillips, Kristi Nelson Householder, Kelsey Jordan, Jerry Maxey, Lu Leidy, Gary Steinbrach and Brigitte Wahl.
Oh, and by the way, while I’m still adrift in steampunk nostalgia, hold on to that awesome outfit you created for Steampunk Snowdown. Despite the tweet I saw about how area thrift shops will be full of goggles and top hats post-Snowdown, they could come in handy. The Powerhouse Science Center is holding its fourth annual Steampunk Stomp on March 14, and boy, howdy, are there some great outfits at that event. It’s worth going just to check out the crowd.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Along with entry to the event, the price of admission includes catered goodies from Durangourmet, live music by Papa Otis and the Silent Film Stars, a soundtrack provided by DJ Southside Steve and performances by Miss Goodie’s Can-Can Review and the Mataholla Moon Belly Dancers. Wowsers, as a colleague is wont to say.
I usually don’t preview an event this far in advance, but I wanted to catch readers before you disposed of your steampunk regalia.
I got a lot of great feedback after I wrote a rant in January asking people to be more considerate on the road. I also received an excellent suggestion: Address everyone who shares our roads.
One of the best things that’s happening on our roads is the number of cyclists and pedestrians. It’s better for our health, better for the environment and better for downtown parking. But, and that’s a big but, we all need to be considerate, regardless of our method of transportation.
I work and drive in the downtown area frequently, and I can’t count how many times a pedestrian has jauntily strolled across the street in the middle of the block or crossed the street against the stoplight, often noticing the car coming has the green light but crossing anyway. It’s rude, and it’s dangerous. One distracted driver is all it would take for that pedestrian to have a very bad, if not fatal, day.
And it sets a bad example. I walked across an intersection against the light – no cars were coming – and heard a little boy say to his dad, “I thought we weren’t supposed to do that.” I’ve never done it again.
Cyclists are supposed to obey the rules of the road just as motorists are, but I routinely see them sailing through stop signs and stoplights or cruising multiple cyclists abreast and blocking traffic.
I was once rear-ended by a cyclist because a parked car ahead of me began to pull out, so I braked. Not only was he following too closely, he cursed at me for stopping, and that’s beyond rude. If a car had rear-ended me, they would be cited for following too closely. I might not have been cited for hitting the car, because it was the other driver entering traffic unsafely, but on those diagonal parking spots on our side streets, it can be difficult to see past large vehicles to determine what’s coming.
So that’s my rant, part two. We’re all on our roads together.
Let’s remember that!
It’s romance squared for Randy and Jeanine Puskas, enjoying both their anniversary and Valentine’s Day in one fell swoop.
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