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City of Six Sisters

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PULP: How did Pueblo get involved in the Sister City organization?

Carlos Moldonado: About 40 years ago, we got an invitation from the city of Puebla, Mexico, to become sister cities. Dr. Hopper, who was president of Southern Colorado [State] College at the time, got a group together and they traveled there. Out of that trip came the idea for sister cities. Then Henry Reyes continued with that idea. That was our first sister city. Then about five years later, one of our state representatives got an invitation to join Sister Cities International because a city in China, Weifang, wanted to make a connection with Colorado.[…]Then about 10 years later, we added Chihuahua.

PULP: What period of time was this?

CM: It was in the 80s. Then we began sister cities with Chihuahua. Then after that, we added Lucca Sicula, Sicily and Bergamo, Italy. The last one we added was Maribor, Slovenia. We like to have sister cities in places where there is a lot of [the] Pueblo population which is represented by those cultures. And that’s why we have Mexico, Italy and Slovenia, because those cultures are very strong in Pueblo…We have college students from Slovenia and Italy in Pueblo right now, and we’re sending students to universities in our sister cities. That’s our main emphasis, education. But, we do culture, we do music, we do art, we have police exchanges, we have fireman exchanges, and administrators from our sister cities come here to learn about how our city is run, and we send our administrators to our sister cities to learn about their ways.

PULP: How does the Sister City organization help students go to foreign universities?

CM: We facilitate – we raise monies to help with the exchange. In some cases, we give scholarships to students. We make direct contact with those universities in Italy, Slovenia and Mexico. We work with them to find host families, to make sure that our students are taken care of – we really get involved in that.

PULP: Do any of the students who come here, stay?

CM: Well, some do, especially with Mexico. After they have completed their training here, they are afforded the opportunity to stay and work in the United States for one year. And then, if the company that they work for [decides] that they are good employees, then they apply for a visa.

PULP: When the students come for these activities, is there fanfare?

CM: Of course, we welcome them Pueblo style! They stay with families so they get to know our culture.[…]We have one person from Slovenia who has been coming here for six years [in] a row.

PULP: Do we participate in any sort of economic exchange or activities?

CM: We worked very closely with other organizations; we are partners with the Latino Chamber of Commerce, and we are planning on having a Chihuahua expo to bring Chihuahua products to Pueblo. That’s going to happen during Fiesta Day weekend. And we are going to try to take Colorado products to Chihuahua for a Colorado expo there. Chihuahua is a big city, a million people. So we hope to make those connections, to improve on our commerce and trade, so that’s also part of what we do.

PULP: Is this commerce and trade exchange happening with any of the other sister cities?

CM: Not right now. We have a good relationship with Grupo Cemento of Chihuahua here, and we try to help in whatever way we can with that relationship. Atlas Pacific has a plant in Italy, and we use that connection also, to help.

PULP: When the sister city commissioners visit other cities, they go on their own dime?

CM: Oh yes, yes, we pay for our own way.

PULP: Is there anything else we need to know?

CM: We are involved in a lot of things…We work closely with our local governments. And that’s why we are able to bring the police from Chihuahua […] here for training. They had the army from Ft. Carson come in and help; they had the state patrol come in to help – it was a complete package – they really need that training. The city police also donated bullet-proof vests to Chihuahua.

PULP: Is there an event coming up?

CM: International Taste is our big event. That’s when we raise our money. You’ll get to taste food from Slovenia, and we don’t have a Slovenian restaurant in town, but you can have it there. We have Chinese, Mexican, German, of course, American and the music! We have performers all day! That’s our big, big event for the year.

PULP: How does someone end up on the Sister City Commission?

CM: They apply and the commissioners decide who gets on the commission. They decide who is qualified. You can reapply every three years for the chance to be reappointed.

We look for people who have the experience and the knowledge and the how-to to deal with different systems. Of course, they are all different – the Italian, the Mexican, the Chinese, the Slovenian – they    are all very, very different. You need to follow protocol, and you need to not to step on any toes, and you need to see how the different governments work and how they operate. It’s fun; it’s a lot of fun!

PULP: How long have you been on the commission?

CM: Probably 26 or 27 years? I love it. It’s my life. I worked for CSUP and my last job there was Director of International Programs, so this has been my life. International studies, international everything. I’ve been all over the world, and I love different cultures, different languages. It’s been great! That’s my passion. I’ll stay there until they kick me out!

To learn more, please visit pueblosistercities.org and sister-cities.org

By Rosemary Thomas

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Arts & Culture

Open Call: Pueblo Haiku Competition

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Submit your original haiku for possible publication in the August issue of PULP!
To be eligible for publication, the submission must be original and unpublished. Use the format of a poem with seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five.

  • The Subjects: Pueblo and/or summer
  • Each individual may submit up to three (3) entries. Each entry must be submitted separately.
  • Submit via email to [email protected] and put HAIKU in the subject line. Submit by mail to Pueblo PULP, Attn: HAIKU, 120 S. Union Ave., Pueblo, CO 81003.
  • Include your full name, city of residence and phone number with each submission.
  • To be eligible for publication, entries must be received by July 10th.
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Arts & Culture

When Did The Lights First Go Out?

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By Samantha Printy
On May 16th 1933, a patent was granted to a man named Richard Hollingshead, Jr. His idea was to build an Auto Theater, or as it is called presently, a Drive-In. The first drive-in opened in New Jersey on June 6th, 1933, and 300 cars filled the theater to capacity to watch a movie called Wives Beware.

Hollingshead marketed the drive-in idea by pointing out its many advantages, such as the fact that patrons could smoke and talk in their cars without bothering other people, and small children could sleep in the car, thus saving money, as baby sitters would not be needed. Though he quickly sold the idea to a company called Park-In Inc., little did he know that his idea would have a lasting influence on American culture.

At the peak of the drive-in culture during the late1950s, there were about 4,000 theaters across the nation. The drive-in became a favorite American pastime, encompassing many aspects of American culture of the time, which centered on family, friends, food, automobiles and movies. Drive-in theaters also became known as “passion pits,” as couples could become intimate in the (semi-)privacy of their own cars.

While  high film rental rates versus the low cost of a ticket was a burden on theaters, they soon developed the idea of the concession stand, which funneled money straight to the theater and not to the film industry.

For the first decade, it seemed as though the drive-in industry was on top. But during the 1960s the drive-in culture began to dwindle and in the 1980s many theaters were demolished. By the ’90s, with the appearance of the multiplex theater, the increase in rental rates and pressure from suburban development on theater-owned properties, only about 800 drive-in theaters remained nationwide. Some feared these theaters would become extinct.

Pueblo, a relatively small town, once had four drive-ins operating at the same time. The Pueblo Drive-in opened around 1950 and was closed by 1992. The Lake Drive-in opened in the early ’50s and was closed by 1985. The 96 Drive-in also opened in the ’50s and met the same fate as the previous theaters despite an attempt to reinvent itself in the ’80s. It closed its doors under the name East Drive-in around 1985. Only one theater out of the four has managed to weather the storm:  The Mesa Drive-in, which opened in 1951.

However, according to Drive-Ins.com, scores of drive-ins have been built since 1990 and over four dozen of those are currently open. Colorado currently boasts eight drive-ins in operation, most built in the ’50s heyday. Several Colorado drive-ins have added additional screens (the Mesa Drive-In has added two) in the last two decades, echoing the small but continuing resurgence of drive-ins across the county.

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We Are Local

Uncommon Conversations – After Dark With Dr. Mike

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Aliens forcing intergovernmental diplomacy; Ted Kaczynski: the time traveler; a two year old possessed by the devil when he murdered his grandmother; and other paranormal phenomena are all issues that Dr. Michael V. Coots discussed with me over the phone prior to the commencement of his live talk-radio broadcast, “After Dark With Dr. Mike” on 1480 AM and 93.9 FM.
In all honesty, I was quickly beginning to get the sense that this radio program was going to be like listening to a schizophrenic rap battle. What was heard, in contrast, was one of the most compelling conversations on faith that I have ever heard over the airwaves thanks in large part to the night’s guest Jon Pompia, columnist for the Pueblo Chieftain. To effectively summarize the course of conversation on this night’s broadcast in so few words would be akin to sewing water to the wall; it would be a legitimate miracle.

Pompia served for twelve years as an altar boy being groomed for the priesthood in the Catholic Church, and his training as a practicing Catholic spanned a period of twenty-five long years. Jon Pompia came prepared with citation after citation for a two-hour discussion on the nature of the Christian God, summoning the voices of everyone from Mark Twain to the Apostles themselves.

Although a self-described “seeker” of faith, he now rejects the Christian God as nothing but “hogwash” because of items in the Old and New Testaments that in his mind undermine any claims that others may have of a benevolent creator. He described the Christian faith as a “snowball that rolled over dozens of pagan religions.” It was apparent that the night’s discussion was going to be a provocative one.

The first caller, Samson, agreed with Pompia that organized religion is one of the main factors that divide our modern world. Pompia added that he had been waiting in vain for any headline to read: “Atheists Attack Agnostics Over Land In the Middle East.” Describing instances in which the Bible advocates men to marry their rape victims, sex slavery, and the stoning of disobedient children, Jon was on a heretical tear that virtually begged a faithful retort. The two that came had a similar theme.

Two female Christian callers echoed one another in their belief that the Bible is a fallible book by design, having been written by mortal men trying to articulate the whims and rule of God. The latter caller went as far as to say that the rules set forth were actually patriarchal commands that men where imposing on each other, invoking a God merely as a means of subjugation and control. Jon pressed the latter caller to provide concrete evidence of a loving God without using terms of feeling. Convinced that she was not following these instructions faithfully, there were a few moments of interruption and friction, but ultimately the whole of the night’s discourse was educational, respectful, and compelling.

Dr. Michael V. Coots, and engineer, Jared Kershaw, largely assisted in providing garnish to the debate. Having no other reference, I can’t say whether or not this broadcast was representative of what one can expect of the show as a whole. But I can say one thing with confidence: this was one unforgettable night of radio. I will definitely be tuning into 1480 AM and/or 93.9 FM anytime between 9-11pm, Monday through Friday, to find out whether or not this night’s program was a freak paranormal experience in itself or actually what it seemed: a refreshing program that celebrates the tenets of free speech and respectful debate.

PRINT CORRECTION: In the print edition we incorrectly listed the show’s information. The radio program is After Dark with Dr. Mike. It airs every Monday to Friday from 9-11PM on 93.9 PM or 1480 AM

By Kevin Healey

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