Nether’s World

Nether’s World


When the police cruiser approaches, Nether doesn’t run and he doesn’t hide the bucket of glue at his feet. He used to put up his pieces under cover of darkness, but the police never harassed him, so he switched to daylight hours, which he prefers. It gives him a chance to chat to the neighbors while he works. Some people call what he does vandalism. Nether, nom de guerre of one of Baltimore’s most visible street artists, calls it a “site-specific installation.” The streets are Nether’s gallery, his muse, his subject, his canvas and his artistic statement. (more…)

Fire Evacuees Hope Homes Remain


GLENWOOD SPRINGS – For about 260 people driven from their homes, news of the Coal Seam fire’s progress on Sunday trickled in by TV, radio and rumor and on the winds that whipped through the trees outside the community college where they had taken refuge.

Evacuees stiffened as gusts blew through the open doors of Colorado Mountain College’s cafeteria, where they picked at bacon and eggs and waited for word on their homes.

“That breeze feels good, but it’s scary, too,” said Niki Tupper, 75, who fled her home at West Glenwood’s Robin Hood trailer park the previous afternoon.

Her new roommate agreed.

“Yeah. Every once in a while you can get a whiff of that smoke,” said Stephanie Heim, 60, who fled her home at the nearby Storm King trailer park, a cat under one arm and another shooed out the door.

Smoke could be seen curling in the distance. Among those who escaped their homes for a dorm room or a cot in the gym, rumors ran like wildfire.

Like most, Tupper was hesitant to trust news, good or bad, after a day of conflicting reports. And nobody at the time could answer the big questions on her mind, and on many others’: Is my home still there? Will it be there when I get back?

“As far as I know, my place has not burned down yet, but I don’t know that for sure,” Tupper said.

Red Cross volunteers were readying for up to 500 displaced residents by Saturday night as evacuations spread.

News that they could be left homeless until Wednesday – by which time, firefighters said, a safe return could be assured – was met with a collective sigh, then steely resolve.

In the student center, a message board was pinned with loved ones’ attempts to reach each other.

“Son would like you to call him.”

“Please call husband and family.”

Downstairs, a lounge filled with box after box of donated food, blankets, clothes and toys, while volunteers streamed through the door to help. One local rancher donated 50 pounds of beef. Local stores donated food and supplies. Cash was also coming in, including more than $25,000 given to a fund started at Glenwood-based Alpine Bank.

“Everybody’s really, “What do you need? What do you need?'” said the Red Cross’ Kathleen Golding.

Some fled their homes for refuge at churches in Glenwood, Carbondale and Basalt, but most gathered here.

Some had homes in the fire’s path, many of them Latinos who needed translators for information. Some had homes that could soon be in danger. Others were evacuated from hotels as flames licked at the edges of this tourist town.

Lloyd and Jeanette Bolles of Fort Collins had taken Amtrak to Glenwood Springs for a night at the historic Hotel Colorado when it was evacuated early Sunday.

“It was a gift from our kids,” Lloyd said. “It was our anniversary. One we won’t forget right away.”

Tupper said she was trying to be optimistic about going home again.

“I look at is as, I’m a Christian – I try to follow God’s will the best I can,” she said, sipping coffee and exchanging rumors with Heim. “I don’t look at it as something he did to somebody. It’s just the way the world works.”

On this day, however, it worked in Tupper’s favor.

Late Sunday, she got the news she was hoping for after neighbors Todd and Vickie Derby, who live two trailers away, were allowed to tour the trailer park.

“Yours is the only one that’s not damaged at all,” Todd Derby told her.

“It looks like it just shot up the hill and curved around (your) house,” he said.

Vickie Derby was shaken by what she viewed at the eight-trailer park.

“It was honestly the most devastating thing I’ve seen in my life,” she said. “Everything was so green around us and now everything’s black.”

But for the moment, that didn’t matter to Tupper. When she got the news that her home was safe, she threw her hands in the air and laughed. “I must live right,” she said.

This is Tupper’s second evacuation. During Glenwood Springs’ 1994 Storm King fire, she fled in a car packed with her pictures, Tommy Dorsey records, some valuables and a basket full of clothes. This time, she fled with nothing but her purse.

So early Sunday afternoon, she left the college and headed to Wal-Mart in her 1986 Oldsmobile – a last birthday gift from her late husband, Keith – and picked up essentials to get her through the next few days.

“I was actually going to come down here after church and buy flowers,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll get any today.”