From Kurt Carlson, past Lyons Parks & Recreation Director:
YES- I remember Walt Kinderman. In fact, he was one of the first people that I met. Even before ‘officially’ being hired / appointed by the Lyons Board of Trustees as the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Director.
I recall, it was a chilly Monday evening in early March of 1994. Walt walked in to the Town Hall, then personally extracted me out of my very first town board meeting. I hadn’t yet been appointed. He basically stepped up, asked if I was going to be the new Recreation Director, then asked me to leave with him. He quickly put me into his unmarked white van (lots of cigarette butts) and drove me a block north to downtown and the newspaper office. There, Walt gave me a very quick and fairly intense interview of sorts (height, weight, marital status, complete background, etc., etc.) It was pretty thorough.
He quickly took a couple mug shots, told me I was actually the second choice for the job, that they’d offered it to a woman from Steamboat, then whisked me back into the van, drove a block south back to the Town Hall where we both rejoined the meeting (of course still in progress).
As I sat down again, the Town Administrator at the time, Bob Freeman, scribbled out a quick note on a piece of yellow legal paper. Then he carefully folded it up and passed the note to LaVern Johnson – who, in turn, passed it to me. I quickly unfolded the note and read it- “Beware: Town Newspaper Editor Walt Kinderman. He’s very Inquisitive- So you may want to consider any response(s) carefully” …
I remember laughing to myself and thinking “Sure hope I ‘passed’ the real interview”.
See associated article
(also – very ironically – see adjacent story on
Southwestern Portland Cement- now CEMEX Quarry.
Old news – current news)..
I also remember an incident when a Town contractor was cutting down some trees on Main Street in order to plant better, more conducive trees. He couldn’t get into his other work sites due to rain but could work off the blacktop, so he called me last minute and moved us up on his schedule. Unfortunately, I made the PR mistake of cutting a couple trees down near the St. Vrain Market on Earth Day.
The plan to replace these trees had been approved by the Tree Board, a Street Tree Grant had been approved. The plan was a solid approach. However, the timing on the tree removal wasn’t well thought out.
I’ll never forget Walt walked out of the newspaper office and snapped a photo of town staff (me) chipping up the trees – on Earth Day. It created quite a stir downtown. I was frustrated but used the opportunity to educate the Lyons citizens in next week’s paper about why the trees were being removed and replanted.
I’ll never forget a letter to the editor that was written and printed. It said the following:
“As I approached downtown Lyons today, on Earth Day, I noticed something was different – something didn’t seem quite right. Then, to my horror, I realized that someone had cut down trees on Lyons Main Street- on Earth Day nonetheless”. The letter went on to say “I shudder to think what the town may have in store for our mothers on Mother’s Day”…. Funny
I’ve actually used this incident as an example of great intentions, with very poor timing.
Funny now, but good ol Walt made me pay the price in the paper over that one… made the front page as I recall.. But we educated people about our ‘why’ – which was priceless.
Walt also really appreciated the Good Ol Days and sold ads that were associated with the official printed schedule (old school). I think he got a kick out of seeing who’d step up from the Town and Chamber of Commerce to get the job done. It was always good for selling more papers too.
Lyons Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Dept. Director 1994-2001