Dan Hull, center, is assisted by Brian Marquardt, left, and Scott Johnson through floodwaters in Hygiene after they rescued Hull’s two cats and gathered some items from his Hygiene Road home.
more, 1B (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)
Amid another round of storms, Colorado rescues and reunions emerge
By Kevin Simpson and Jordan Steffen
The Denver Post
Raging floodwaters, powered by yet another round of thunderstorms, washed from the foothills onto the Eastern Plains on Saturday, but choppers churned through the unsettled weather bringing tales of rescue and reunion.
Still, hundreds of residents remained unaccounted for, primarily in rain-ravaged areas of northern Colorado, though authorities emphasized that could mean some simply remained stranded with no way to notify friends or relatives.
But evacuees filtered to centers across the region during an early break in the weather Saturday morning, and continued to arrive — many on Chinook helicopters — even as more storms bubbled up in the afternoon and evening hours.
Tracey Shields had an hour to
Colorado flood rescue efforts
Ground crew members assist a woman rescued from one the mountain towns from a National Guard helicopter at Boulder Municipal Airport in Boulder, Colorado September 14, 2013. Many small mountain towns are cut off from road access and people can only be brought out by air. (Mark Leffingwell, Daily Camera)
pack on Saturday before she was airlifted to safety, one of many people flown out of Storm Mountain near the town of Drake in the Big Thompson Canyon in Larimer County.
Although her home was safe and several of her neighbors decided to stay, she seized the moment. Shields and some neighbors lined up at a clearing near town where two helicopters landed in shifts, ferrying 50 people at a time.
“I heard it might be a while before we get out and life needs to go on,” she said.
After landing, many of those rescued became part of the steady stream of full buses and vans transporting residents from the storm-saturated canyons to Timberline Church in Fort Collins.
Dazed and exhausted evacuees walked off. Some ran into giant hugs, while others smiled with relief, and many broke down in tears. Volunteers carried animal crates and luggage into the church where a shelter has been set up.
Uncertainty for some
For some who waited at the church hoping relatives would step off one of the buses, the hours passed with wrenching uncertainty.
Robert Egloff had spent the last two days driving from shelter to shelter leaving notes for his parents — Edward, 48, and Sarah, 50 — who live
This aerial photo shows widespread flooding in Weld County on Saturday. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)
in Drake, near the swollen Big Thompson River.
He last spoke to them on Thursday morning, before they started climbing to safety as the waters began to rise and surround their home on River Fork Road.
“I just told them I loved them,” he said.
Early Saturday morning, Egloff watched aerial footage of his parents’ home surrounded by churning, murky water. Later, he waited at the Timberline Church where bus after bus pulled up and evacuees were welcomed by friends and family.
Someone asked him where all the people had come from.
“All I know,” Egloff said, “is it’s another bus without my parents on it.”
Good news arrived around mid-afternoon when Egloff spoke to Leroy and Marge Rady, who had been airlifted
out of his parents’ neighborhood tired but in good health. They told Egloff that his parents, both veterans, had been leaders among the neighbors stranded on River Fork Road.
Jessica Darling, whose parents also live in that neighborhood, waited with Egloff as evacuees arrived. And then, shortly before 4 p.m., she saw her golden retriever bound out of a school bus.
Her parents, Dale and Shan Darling, followed.
They said that two days earlier, they had hiked to higher ground with Egloff’s parents. By nightfall on Thursday, a group of 24 neighbors huddled together in a few dark homes and waited.
Shan Darling broke down in tears when she spoke to Egloff about his parents and what they did for their neighbors. Egloff’s father took a bucket of paint to the rooftop of a nearby Colorado Department of Transportation building.
In bold blue letters he wrote: “24 Need meds and O2.”
By evening, Egloff said it looked like it might be another couple of days before his parents made it out, as rescuers sought to evacuate individuals with more immediate needs. At day’s end, he seemed physically and emotionally drained.
Finally, he paused for a moment and exhaled deeply.
“You know what?” he asked. “My dad’s a real hero.”
Mark Orphan, co-founder of Serve 6.8, a Christian service organization in northern Colorado, is coordinating with the Red Cross at the Timberline Church shelter. He said that as many as 2,000 people would be evacuated from the canyon areas Saturday, according to official estimates.
Nick Christensen, spokesman for the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, said the helicopter evacuations could continue as long as five days.
For some, the drama unfolded from hundreds of miles away.
Farley Ziegler hadn’t heard from her sister, Darian Shaw, who lives in the Boulder County town of Salina, where high waters had threatened residents.
Another sister already had called authorities to put Shaw on a missing-persons list.
“We had been trying to make contact by cell and e-mail and hadn’t heard from her,” said Ziegler, who lives in Los Angeles. “We were quite concerned. This morning, I just decided to Google, ‘Darian Shaw, Boulder, Colorado’ and ‘flooding.’ ”
The search led her to a picture taken by Denver Post photographer Joe Amon that showed Shaw being transported across Fourmile Canyon on Friday by rescuers using a high line and sling.
“That’s the reason we knew she was alive,” said Ziegler, adding that the family immediately made a donation to the rescue teams.
Also in Boulder County, dozens of students and 14 adults stranded at the Cal-Wood Education Center, an outdoor-ed facility near Jamestown, were choppered to safety.
More than 85 fifth-graders from Fireside Elementary boarded helicopters that took them to Boulder Municipal Airport. From there, buses took them to a school in Louisville to be reunited with family.
The students had been cut off once rising waters washed out roads on Wednesday night, but seemed to weather the ordeal well.
Ten-year-old Parker Wolf told the Daily Camera that the situation wasn’t frightening and kids were even able to go hiking in the rain. His “I went to Cal-Wood with my school” shirt now reads, “I survived Cal-Wood with my school.”
The best part, he told the paper, was getting a helicopter ride out of the deal.
Even as rescue operations plucked residents from treacherous situations, some chose to stay put.
Ignacio Aldana, who lives on Fern Avenue in east Greeley, rode out the flood in an evacuation area overnight. Most of his neighbors evacuated. Some of them left by helicopter.
“It was creepy, like when you watch a horror move,” he said. “Silent. All dark. All you can hear is water rising all around your land. You can’t really sleep.”
The water rose past his crawl space and reached the level of the first floor. On Saturday, the water remained high as three pumps worked to empty the space under the house.
“You work all your life to get what you’ve got,” Aldana said. “And it all can be swept away in a minute.”
Kevin Simpson: 303-954-1739, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/ksimpsondp
Staff writer Bruce Finley contributed to this report.
Colorado Flood: Rescue efforts ongoing for hundreds of people still unaccounted for; death toll rises
By Kirk Mitchell
The Denver Post
Rabbit, ears down, drawn by Belinda Baardsen, Artist for Animal Rescue
A 60-year-old Cedar Cove woman was believed to be the fifth person killed in this week’s historic flooding in northern Colorado as authorities scrambled Saturday to reach hundreds of people listed as unaccounted for.
Rivers continued to flow well above flood stage, prompting orders for mandatory evacuations on both banks of the South Platte River in eastern Morgan County, including the towns of Orchard, Goodrich, Weldona and Muir Springs. Thousands living in the flood zones were displaced.
The South Platte was nearly nine feet over flood stage at Kersey Saturday morning.
“It is no doubt an epic event,” said Weld county commissioner Sean Conway. “It is a once in 500 years or 1,000 years situation.”
Water flows through the property at 51 S. Bowen St. in Longmont, Colorado on Saturday morning, Sept. 14, 2013. (Lewis Geyer, Longmont Times-Cal)
and hail also prompted warnings and flooded streets in parts of Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Douglas counties.
Throughout the area, rescue teams continued their efforts. Boulder County doubled the number of rescuers Saturday to around 800, authorities said.
“There might be further loss of life,” Boulder County sheriff Joe Pelle said in a news conference. “It’s certainly a high probability…With an army of folks and an air show we’re hoping to reach everyone as soon as possible.”
Seven helicopters continued rescue trips in Larimer County, evacuating 1,200 people stranded in Pinewood Springs between Lyons and Estes Park along U.S. 36, and 100 people in Big Elk Meadow off Larimer County Road 47, the Boulder Daily-Camera reported.
By the end of the day, 15 helicopters were in service to reach stranded residents in remote parts of Boulder County, including many who weren’t able to contact relatives because phone service was down.
“We’re very much concentrating today on life-safety issues,” said Dan Dallas, incident commander of Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team B. “We’re working to bring order to a chaotic situation.”
Hundreds of people were evacuated by Saturday morning, Dallas said.
Favorable flying conditions early in the day helped teams rescue many more before rains began again Saturday afternoon. Private pilots assisted by flying reconnaissance missions over the flooded areas to help spot those in need of rescue.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead activated five Wyoming National Guard helicopters to assist evacuation efforts Saturday afternoon.
Larimer county sheriff’s spokesman Nick Christensen said the rescue efforts focus on “people first, then structures.
“The recovery will take months.”
Some people in mandatory evacuation areas, including Jamestown, decided not to leave their homes, Pelle said. About 50 of the 295 residents in Jamestown had declined to board helicopters as of late Friday night,
Longmont Colorado Flooding
Rosa Garcia surveys the flood damage to her home at First Avenue and Elizabeth Court, in the Bohn Park neighborhood, Saturday morning, September, 14, 2013. Garcia, who has lived there for 15 years, said she has no flood insurance. (Lewis Geyer, Longmont Times-Cal)
It could be several days before the National Guard can send helicopters with food, drinkable water and supplies.
“We are making our best effort today to evacuate people but we might not be able to do so [Sunday],” Pelle said. “We hope that they’ll come down.”
Pelle predicted that despite hundreds of rescuers trying to reach people who are in remote areas, the sheriff’s office will be unable to help some residents because roads are unaccessible.
“It’s a sinking feeling… We are not going to be able to help them,” he said.
The mountains are strewn with cabins and homes that are in some cases miles away from any community, Pelle said. Rescuers are using ATVs and are hiking in to dozens of homes doing
Boulder Colorado Flooding
Meg Faygen walks along a washed out Topaz Drive in Boulder, Colo., on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. View more images from the Colorado floods. (Paul Aiken, The Daily Camera)
Just because authorities haven’t heard from people listed as unaccounted for doesn’t mean that they were killed or injured, he said. It may be they were unable to get out of the mountains on their own and do not have phone service.
“We don’t know what we don’t know. Part of the challenge is getting to all those people,” Pelle said. “I’m assuming we’re going to make a very large dent in reducing the list of people who are unaccounted for.”
Forecasters expect rain in the area, heavy at times, to continue through Sunday.
“Our normal has changed for a while,” Pelle said.
Road closures continued across the area. At a press conference Saturday, Gov. John Hickenlooper said several assessment teams are
Longmont Colorado Flooding
Looking south, the washed out bridge on South Sunset Street in Longmont, on Saturday morning, September 14, 2013. (Lewis Geyer, Longmont Times-Cal)
looking at bridges and roads.
Hickenlooper said he reached out to Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin on Saturday for insight on transportation infrastructure. Vermont, hit by catastrophic Hurricane Irene in 2011, is the “model of best practices” for Colorado, he said. On Monday, the state will send two people from the task force that headed Vermont’s relief to Colorado.
He said he expected a full assessment damage to roads and bridges by Tuesday.
As floodwaters overwhelmed municipal sanitation plants, officials imposed ever-increasing limitations on water use.
One pregnant woman was flown out of Lyons on a helicopter Friday, Pelle said.
“Her water broke last night,” he said. “There are some personal stories that make all this worth it.”
A group of Louisville fifth graders who were sheltered at the Cal-Wood Education Center outside of Jamestown were taken by helicopter to the Boulder airport Saturday.
In Evans, where the First Avenue treatment plant was out of service, authorities asked residents to stop flushing toilets, doing laundry, taking baths or showers and washing dishes indefinitely. The city is distributing portable toilet facilities around town.
Longmont officials asked homeowners to stop watering their lawns.
Residents of the close-knit community of Jamestown have opened up their homes and refrigerators to neighbors in need.
“My truck is high and dry behind my house by my buddy’s trailer has half tank of gas if you can siphon it out,” wrote one Jamestown resident on an online community bulletin board after he was evacuated Saturday. His message applied to anyone left in town.
“Keys are under the driver’s side mat if you need to move it or use it,” he added. “My dirt bikes are up there …My house door is locked but shouldn’t be too hard to get in if absolutely necessary. Hang in there Jimtown, we’ll be back.”
Kristen Browning-Blas, Bruce Finley and Jordan Steffen contributed to this report.
Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206, denverpost.com/coldcases or twitter.com/kmitchelldp
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How To Be A Really Really Good Listener
I’m sure you’ve heard it said that to be a good listener you should walk a mile in the other person’s shoes. Okay. But exactly how do you do that? And how can you know that you are walking in another person’s shoes? How can you be sure that your perception is not mistaken or maybe it’s just your fantasy?
The operative term in the phrase—the other person’s shoes—is the word “other.” The goal is to get to know and understand the “other.” I emphasize the idea of the other to make the point that being a really really good listener requires that for the time it takes to listen well you have to place your own ego behind you. Not deny it. Not suppress it. But set it aside; bracket it, so to speak, so that your intention can actually bring the unique person of the other into full view.
Really good listening is a process that begins with the principle that the other person is not you. This may sound simplistic and it is if it’s interpreted superficially: different genders, different clothing, different names. Those are gross differences that matter but usually only minimally. To go deeper into who the other person is it’s important to recognize that they don’t operate from the same assumptions as you do: the most important assumptions being those that are unconscious. Even if you both come from the same social and economic status, the same ethnic and religious background, the same education and experience, that’s not enough to guarantee listening deeply, because there will always be points of divergence. When you’re not expecting these points of divergence differences they can branch off in unexpected and startling ways that can lead to confusion if not irritation and even rage.
How often has a friend, colleague, or spouse shocked you with something they said or did? Have you ever said something like “How could you have said that?” or “I can’t believe you did that!” or “Is that what you really think?” The more important but far less often asked question is—“What did I believe about you that led me to be so surprised?”
So, the first of the essentials of really good listening: be sure to act from the premise that the other person is not you. And this leads to the second essential of a really good listener—curiosity. You must sincerely want to know who the other person is. What makes them tick? What assumptions govern their lives, unconscious or otherwise? In many instances deep listening is not worth the time and focus it takes. But when it is it returns a treasure of understanding that enhances the familiarity and the closeness of your relationship.
The third essential: keep in mind that the other person’s point of view is as important to them as yours is to you. This perspective will prevent you from dismissing them out of hand when they express something not in alignment with what you think or believe and sometimes they may even contradict your position. If you do not grant them the right to be different from you and legitimately so, the onus falls on you for projecting your narcissism onto the other. The option is to allow your curiosity to give them the benefit of the doubt. This doesn’t mean you have to agree or even want to remain connected. But you won’t fall into the trap of characterizing them from your own point of view which means that you’re characterizing them as in some way wrong if they are not you. Why? Because you’re the only one in the moment that counts.
The fourth essential: listen for their non-conscious presuppositions/assumptions because they form the context or the non-conscious frame for their point of view. This may seem daunting but it’s not. People express consciously. Without consciousness they’d be non-functional, perhaps in a coma, and unable to emote or communicate at all. At the same time we all express from the unconscious dimension of our minds. That’s unavoidable. And it’s in the unconscious where the presuppositions reside. They are expressed as slips of the tongue, inconsistencies, even contradictions.
For example, have you ever said “I didn‘t really mean that.” The truth is you did mean it but upon momentary reflection you want to make a correction. The fact is it was said. The passion with which you delivered it is a clue to the depth of your conviction and conviction, no matter how rationalized, has its roots in the unconscious. This applies in kind to the other person.
To listen really well you must be aware of and stay alert to both dimensions of the mind—conscious and unconscious. Short of that you are certain to be listening only partially and with equal certainty you will miss what’s right there in front of you.
To recap: begin with the fact that the other person is not you. Follow that with your sincere curiosity. Bracket your ego and remember that the other person’s point of view is as important to them as yours is to you. And listen for their non-conscious presuppositions/assumptions. The degree to which you can integrate and practice these listening strategies will not only make you a really really good listener but will open up other people to you in ways that will sometimes prove breathtaking.
(Photo Credit: quinn.anya Flickr)
Jim Sniechowski, PhD and his wife Judith Sherven, PhD http://JudithandJim.com have developed a penetrating perspective on people’s resistance to success, which they call The Fear of Being Fabulous. Recognizing the power of unconscious programming to always outweigh conscious desires, they assert that no one is ever failing. They are always succeeding. The question is, at what?
Currently working as consultants on retainer to LinkedIn providing executive coaching, leadership training and consulting as well as working with private clients around the world, they continually prove that when unconscious beliefs are brought to the surface, the barriers to greater success and leadership presence begin to fade away.
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