Latest News – June 14

Happy Flag Day: Stitching The Star-Spangled Banner!

By Kathy Bedell © Saguache Today

Happy Flag Day! Yes, June 14 is the official Birthday for Old Glory.  So to commemorate the occasion, here’s a little known story about a well-known flag, and the person who made it.


It was the summer of 1813 and in many ways the United States continued its fight for independence from England. Even though the US had established emancipation in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence, the battle raged on.

For most people the Battle of Baltimore doesn’t ring a bell. However, it was this fight that not only proved our strong defense against the British, but also gave the country its national anthem: The Star Spangled Banner.

It was this explosive battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the inspiring song which “gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” And while most American’s are familiar with the Star-Spangled Banner story, few are familiar with the story of THAT flag, the one that “gave proof though the night.” So in honor of Flag Day, here it is.


Stars and stripes forever over the San Luis Valley. Happy Flag Day from Sagauche Today and photographer Mark Hunter.

There was a flag maker from Baltimore by the name of Mary Young Pickersgill. In fact, she came from a long line of flag makers, her mother being quite accomplished in the craft. So by the time Pickersgill was 37, she had established her own business. In fact, her name appears in Baltimore directories as a maker of “Ship Colours, Signals, etc.,” namely the functional flags spoken of early in this column.

But in the summer of 1813, it was a request from Fort McHenry in Baltimore which would make her a big part of US history. Mary received a commission from a commander to make an American flag “so large that the British will have no trouble seeing it from a distance.”  Pickersgill’s Star Spangled Banner measured 30 x 42 feet.

To assemble the unusually large flag, she had to lay it out on the floor of a neighboring brewery and worked on it at night by candlelight. She ironically used English wool bunting for the stripes but it was good old American cotton for the stars.

The rest is history, as they say. Not only did the United States win the Battle of Baltimore, proving its military might against England. But Pickersgill’s banner inspired the words that now have Americans standing up, taking off their hats and pledging allegiance to their country in song.

Army Sgt. First Class Dana Bowman parachuted - Old Glory flying along - into Memorial Day services at the Evergreen Cemetery in Leadville on May 24, 2015. Photo: Leadville Today.

Army Sgt. First Class Dana Bowman parachuted – Old Glory flying along – into Memorial Day services at the Evergreen Cemetery in Leadville on May 24, 2015. Photo: Leadville Today.

It’s funny how certain stories and people become a part of American history and some don’t. Most folks have heard of Francis Scott Key and his creation of our national anthem, yet hardly anyone knows about the person who sewed the famous banner that inspired the song.  

And I bet that most readers are familiar with the grade school story of Betsy Ross being the Mother of the American flag. And that’s true, most historians concur that General George Washington commissioned her to do so. Ross did sew the FIRST American flag, but not this Star-Spangled Banner that inspired Scott’s tune.

I’d like to think that Mary Pickersgill represents the true, every-day patriotic American. A person who gets up every day and just lives their life. They’re not looking for the limelight. In fact, probably like most, hard at work, by the dawn’s early light!

Kathy Bedell ©Leadville Today

Latest News – June 13

Museum Open, Book Signing June 25

The Saguache County Museum is in full swing for the 2017 Summer Season. Now in its 58th year, the museum has some new & exciting exhibits, as well as books, crafts by local artists, as well as t-shirts & more in the gift shop.

The Saguache County Museum opens for the summer season!

The Saguache County Museum is OPEN!

Opening Memorial Day weekend was a huge success and the Museum officials want to thank everyone who made the parade and kick-off to the season such a community affair!

The popular tourist attraction is now open daily from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission: $7/Adults, $1/Children under 12.

Laura Evens Book

A book signing of “My Life as a Whore” will be held at the Saguache Museum on June 25 with author Tracy Beach

For the adults, there will be a book signing and free program at the museum on Sunday, June 25 at 1:30 p.m. The public is invited to meet author Tracy Beach who was raised in Salida, and penned the life story of Madam Laura Evens in her book “My Life As A Whore.” Beach will have books available for sale and be signing copies, which will include a special brass brothel token. Refreshments will be served. Donations are accepted.

The museum is located at 405 8th St (US Hwy 285). Phone 719-655-2557. Remember, the Saguache County Museum is a non-profit organization, operated by volunteers, so if you’d like to be one of them or wish to contribute financially, connect with them HERE.



Latest News – June 12

GOCO Award in Saguache on Wednesday

This Wednesday, June 14, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) will be in Saguache to distribute part of the $13.5 million that it awarded in December to six Colorado communities through its pioneering Inspire Initiative grant program.

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The Great Outdoors Colorado grant will help with recreational facilities like Otto Mears Park in Saguache as well as developing trails to get the kids to the park . Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

Locally, it was the Alpine Achievers Initiative (AAI) that will be the recipient of a three year grant in conjunction with Antonito and Creede to develop programs, pathways and places to get San Luis Valley youth and families outdoors. This Wednesday the GOCO Board of Directors will do a site visit to Otto Mears Park where AAI will be hosting a Backyard to Backcountry Summit and facilitating environmental activities for K-5 Saguache County youth.

Local dignitaries will be on hand to listen to the youth speak about the plans and celebrate the project’s funding award. The public is invited to attend.

The grant program is focused on getting kids into the outdoors, using trails, recreation centers and education programs to foster the deep appreciation for wild-land recreation that permeates so much of Colorado.

The youth-led San Luis Valley Inspire coalition gets $1 million for the Antonito Outdoor Education Center, new trails along Willow Creek Corridor and support for the Saguache Backyard to Backcountry Program. The Rio Grande Headwaters Trust gets $376,500 from GOCO’s open-space program to permanently conserve the 460-acre La Garita Creek Ranch near Del Norte. Colorado Parks and Wildlife gets $25,000 from GOCO’s habitat restoration program for the Rio Grande State Wildlife Area. GOCO has invested $42 million in the San Luis Valley, conserving more than 90,000 acres and supporting projects like an ice rink in Alamosa and parks in Monte Vista and Center.

Read the FULL REPORT, including other grants distributed in the state.

Latest News – June 8

Study Club Meets in Saguache Today

Baptist_Saguache TodayThe next meeting of study club will be today Thursday, June 8 at 1:30 p.m. at the Pitkin Avenue Baptist Church in Saguache.

The meeting will be hosted by Delores Worley assisted by Nyla Thompson.  Roll call response will be when we were young what did we want to be? If you’re unable to attend please call Delores or Barbara Donahue. 

Vacation Bible School Starts June 19 in Saguache

This summer’s Vacation Bible School program is being offered by Pitkin Avenue Baptist Church in Saguache. The program is open to preschool (potty trained and able to stay away from parents for three hours) through Junior High students. The school will be held the week of June 19 – 23, starting at 5 p.m.

It’s a great summer program for the kids and includes studying some exciting stories from the Bible as well as food, activities, story-telling, games, songs and lots of fun! This year’s theme is “submerged” in fun! The Sanctuary and classrooms will be decorated in underwater designs!

Vacation Bible School Registration2

The Pitkin Avenue Baptist Church Vacation Bible School is in session this week.

For more information about this program or to register your child, please contact Paster Mark Swinney at 719-655-0201. They are also looking for additional volunteers to help with this engaging group of children. The Pitkin Avenue Baptist Church is located at 610 7th Street in Saguache. 

The church offers services on Sundays: Bible Study 9:30 a.m., Worship service at 11 a.m.

Latest News – June 7

Libraries: Building A Better World

It’s that time of year again, the school year is over and the children (and their parents!) are looking for something to do. Thankfully the Saguache Public Library’s Summer Reading Program kicks off tomorrow Thursday, June 8.


The Northern Saguache County Library District offers a summer reading program at both the  Saguache and Baca Libraries! Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

This year the theme is “Build a Better World!” so get ready for a season of books about all kinds of people who did just that, from teachers to explorers to songwriters. The first program will be tomorrow Thursday, June 8 from 11 a.m. to noon at the library, which is located next to Otto Mears Park.

The Thursday programs will continue to offer weekly programs through July. The reading program is designed for kids from babies to fifth graders, with the older kids participating as “able assistants”

The summer reading program is free, each week sharing stories, books, and fun craft projects . Kids can expects to earn some prizes and enjoy refreshments. Together we can “Build a Better World,” this summer! For more information, stop by the library or call (719)-655-2551.

Baca Library Summer Reading for Kids

The Baca Grande Public Library will be offering a similar Summer reading Program for children who are grade school age or younger. Summer Reading Form Sagache Library.jpgStarting Tuesday, June 3 there will be a weekly program from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. at the Baca Grande Library. Each week children can enjoy stories, crafts, a reading contest with prizes, and refreshments.

Enroll your child, by connecting with the Northern Saguache County Library District website. Help your child retain or improve their reading skills while having fun with friends and enjoying “Building a Better World” this summer!

FREE Legal Advice Last Thursday at Library

In upcoming library news, if you or someone you know is in need of some FREE Legal advice then mark the calendar! On Thursday, June 29 (and the last Thursday of every month) is the FREE Legal Clinic at the Saguache Public Library! Private, one-on-one legal assistance with an attorney is available for low-income SLV residents who have no attorney. Legal issues that qualify: Family Law (pre-decree); Landlord/Tenant Law; Protection Orders; Consumer/Collections; Probate; and Small Claims Court. Call the library at 719-655-2551 to prequalify. Early sign-in begins at 4:30; clinic runs 5-7. First come, first served.


Latest News – June 5

Hemp History on Wednesday in Saguache

This week June 5 – 10 is Hemp History Week, with events organized across the country by advocates, including those in Saguache Today. This Wednesday, June 7 local Hemp agriculturalist and expert Caren Kershner with the Colorado Industrial Hemp Coalition will be marking the occasion with a one-day event in town. From 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Hempsters and anyone simply wanting to learn more about this “growing” industry will gather at Saguache Works located at 404 4th Street.

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Caren Kershner will present “Everything you Wanted to Know But Were Afraid To Ask” on Weds, June 7 as part of Hemp History Week. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell.

Following a casual meet-n-greet there will hemp snacks and examples of hemp products. After, Kershner will present her powerpoint: “Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask,” including a question and answer session, all to be held in the BeBop Studio at Saguache Works. This event is sponsored in part by Colorado Hemp Industries Association (COHIA) and Colorado Industrial Hemp Coalition. Stop by and find out more about this cannabis cousin that is non-psychoactive and has innumerable uses.

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In May 2016 John Patterson presented his Hemp/Lime Building Workshop at Saguache Works. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell.

Saguache’s Wednesday event is part of a week-long Hemp Road Trip, sponsored by COHIA in celebration of Hemp History Week. They will visit the Western Slope, Saguache County, Crestone, Pagosa Springs, Colorado Springs, La Junta, Denver and Fort Collins to take farm tours and meet other Hempsters on their first “COHIA field trip”!

Here’s the low down and the links. Remember, they’re in Saguache on Wednesday, June 7. Please RSVP for each individual event.

Hemp History Week FlyerColorado Hemp Industries Association (COHIA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to represent the interests of the hemp industry in the state of Colorado. It’s a “trade association with a conscience.”
Members of the COHIA support ethical business practices, including accuracy in labeling, use of environmentally friendly technologies, sustainable and organic agriculture, high quality products and concern for human rights. It is the intention of the COHIA to take all necessary steps to assure consumer confidence in hemp products. An COHIA Member company agrees to the association’s standards.

The COHIA has three classes of membership: business, farming and supporting.
Supporting member benefits are:
• Members only email newsletter & special reports
• Vote Hemp “Let U.S. Farmers Grow Hemp” bumper sticker
• Able to attend the annual COHIA Conference at a discounted member rate
• Committee participation opportunities
• COHIA member product and service discounts (offered by members directly)




Latest News – June 3

Chamber Speaker Program Continues Tuesday

Next Tuesday, June 6, the popular Saguache Chamber of Commerce Speaker Program continues  with Cara Reano, the Sales Membership Manager of AirMedCare Network. The program begins at 6 p.m. in the County Road & Bridge Meeting Room at 305 3rd. St. in Saguache.

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The REACH Air Medical Services helicopter gets ready to leave the Colorado Central Regional Airport in Buna Vista Colorado. Photo: REACH Air Medical Services

The AirMedCare Network, a member of the Saguache Chamber of Commerce, is an alliance of affiliated air ambulance providers. Reano will explain how to benefit from the AirMedCare Network and how membership in this service may benefit you in case of a medical emergency. This service is particularly applicable to residents in the San Luis Valley where fast medical service to remote areas can be critical.

Come, learn more about the AirMedCare Network and how its unique service has come to Saguache and the entire San Luis Valley. Readers can also check out the Saguache Today regarding AirMedCare Network: HERE.


One bad backcountry bike crash is all it takes to start the clock ticking between life and death. Be prepared.

The Chamber monthly meetings (as always) are open to the public. Please contact the Chamber at or call Barry Van Sant at 719-322-7298 if you have any questions about this meeting or if you’d like to know more about the Chamber Speaker Program.