Friday, April 26, 2019
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Pride…vs. hubris

There weren’t many people actively working in Crested Butte about 2 o’clock Monday afternoon. Builders, bakers, brewers and bankers were crowded into a Majestic Theater movie room to watch a hometown hero run in the Olympics. It was beyond standing room only as people who couldn’t see the screen stood in the lobby for nine and a half minutes listening to the sound of women running.
I pulled up at 1:45 and people were leaving the building because it was already too crowded for the 2:05 race. I elbowed into the back and watched with a few hundred people as Crested Butte’s Emma Coburn ran for nine minutes and 23 seconds in the cool evening air of a London stadium.
It was pretty impressive.
Wearing the USA colors across her chest, Emma had the theater pretty quiet save for the occasional “Go Emma” cheer. Applause broke out when she was featured on the giant screen. It was a room filled with pride and she showed class and speed at the Olympic Games.
It’s just wild to get our mind around that concept. She brought a town together—again. The former summer hostess at the Brick was killing it at the Olympics Monday. And she is still young. Given the age of the winners, Emma should peak athletically for her steeplechase event in about four years. The Majestic might have to open up all three theaters in 2016.
Lots of hometown pride is oozing around Crested Butte.

The Gunnison Hospital this week sent us an updated story on the recovery of Gore Otteson. He’s the little boy who nearly drowned in 2010 when he was underwater for more than 20 minutes. But through the quick thinking of the local EMS personnel and local doctors, he miraculously survived. Given the internal turmoil over at the GVH, it was good to see something come out of there to be proud of. Gore and his parents stopped by the hospital with a writer developing a book about his ordeal. It was a positive reminder that we have a good institution in our valley—something to be proud of.
But that makes the current GVH turmoil harder to bear. There is obviously some tension between the board and the staff and I would venture to conclude that pride is contributing to some of that anguish. Backs are up and positions solidified. Lines seem to have been drawn in the sand.
I had several people tell me Dr. Roger Sherman’s letter in last week’s Crested Butte News was much needed and appreciated. Because there is obvious angst among the doctors, staff and board, this is something the county commissioners should monitor closely. They may not want it, but they have the ultimate responsibility for that hospital since it is a county-owned institution. It is a sticky situation, however, when a board member states, “There’s not much to be gained from talking with people who are very angry” in relation to the hospital employees. There is more than pride at work…there is a sense of hubris and county intervention might be needed. Something smells over there right now and it doesn’t smell like pride.

The Crested Butte Arts Festival can be quite proud of itself. Last weekend was a great event and proved that some things can change for the better while honoring its roots. The new layout, collaboration between local artistic groups, a wild entrance gate, performance art, all improved a quality event. Executive director Diana Ralston is leaving the festival for other pastures and she, the staff, the volunteers and the board have shown a wonderful ability to keep an old festival fresh and invigorated. That is something the whole town can be proud of—and is something to learn from. Change isn’t always a bad thing. If it’s done right, it is something to take pride in.

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