Melanie and Sky Fairlamb of Delta spent Thanksgiving in the small hilltop village of Montisi in the Tuscany region of Italy with their daughter and her husband, Laura and Bryan Rhodes of Seattle.
They were invited to join a core group of six friends of Laura and Bryan who travel annually to Montisi for Thanksgiving. Five Italian friends joined the group this year for a total of 15 guests for Thanksgiving.
The invitation to Montisi was extended in the summer of 2013 by Marcia Gamble Hadley, the owner of the Villa Madelania and an architect friend of Laura and Bryan’s.
Regardless the depth of the snow blanket covering the valley as the weather warms, there is more of the white stuff waiting in the mountains come spring because of the local Water Enhancement Authority.
The WEA was established in 1990 with the goal “to increase the snowpack levels seen on the Grand Mesa, and possibly other surrounding higher terrain such as Battlement Mesa and the West Elk Mountains,” according to a report issued recently on the orgnization’s work.
The WEA operates a network of 18 cloud seeding devices sited at various Grand Mesa locations. They are put to work coaxing additional snowfall from passing storm clouds by a corps of local volunteers. When prospective storms approach, volunteers are alerted by a retired meteorologist living in Montrose whose job it is to keep a constant expert eye on the skies for likely snow-producing weather.
At the age of 80, Daphna Russell admits she’s slowing down. But having dedicated her entire life to the arts, she’s not giving up the creative outlet that gives meaning to her life. She is, however, backing off some of her volunteer endeavors. She’s been active in her church, faithfully visiting the sick, delivering flowers to hospitalized church members, singing in the choir and coordinating a prayer ministry. She’s volunteered in the local food bank, written a newspaper column, and submitted press release after press release on behalf of a variety of arts organizations.
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