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Social Documentary

New Mexican Architect Has Spent 55 Years Breaking the Rules

By Ron Stauffer ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For five decades, architect Bart Prince has been told time and again, “You can’t do that.” This has never given him a moment’s pause. Prince is known internationally for designing large buildings with strange shapes, complex angles, and a disregard for the traditional Adobe style that has defined New […]

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Features

“Pops” Williams, Who Lives On The Streets

By Ron Stauffer LONGMONT, COLORADO – When Russ Williams’ family moved from Montana to Colorado in 1958, his first few days here were a shocking surprise. He woke up one morning, completely abandoned. “My parents left me in a motel room when I was five years old. I’ve been here ever since.” Learning that his […]

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Music

Wagner’s Ring Cycle: Impact on Culture and Modern Music

By Ron Stauffer Looney Toons. Star Wars. Jaws. Apocalypse Now. Here Comes the Bride. Ride of the Valkyries. The Lord of the Rings. Indiana Jones. “A little bird told me.” What do these movies, TV shows, melodies and idioms all have in common? They were all heavily influenced by the German Romantic-era opera composer Richard […]

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Social Documentary

Column: Names Changes and Stonewalling in Yosemite National Park

By Ron Stauffer YOSEMITE, Calif. — In January 2016, Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher announced that a new organization had been hired to run the concessions inside the park. As part of the transition, a quirky change was also going to be made: five major landmarks in the park will have their names changed. […]

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Social Documentary

Yosemite National Park Draws Professionals and Volunteers

By Ron Stauffer YOSEMITE, Calif. — Judy Craig retired from teaching 18 years ago. But she’s spent a month each summer for the past eight years volunteering at Yosemite National Park. Sporting khaki shorts, a dark blue shirt and name tag, she spends each day volunteering at one of the many information booths located throughout […]

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Social Documentary

After Three Years and a $40 Million Renovation, Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove Reopens

By Ron Stauffer YOSEMITE, Calif. — Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park has reopened to the public after a renovation project that lasted three years and cost $40 million. Home to over 500 Giant Sequoias, Mariposa Grove is the biggest of Yosemite’s three groves where these trees, some of the largest in the world, grow. […]

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Music

Concert Review: Wagner’s Ring Cycle at San Francisco Opera 2018

By Ron Stauffer SAN FRANCISCO — Like many opera fans, I have spent years trying to attend as many live operatic performances as I can. This often requires traveling to different cities or states, either by plane or by taking a long road trip. So far, I’ve been able to see several operas by a […]

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Music

Wagner’s Ring Cycle: The Greatest Story Ever Told

By Ron Stauffer SAN FRANCISCO — “The Ring [Cycle] is a gigantic work of art. It’s comparable to the complete works of Shakespeare, or the Sistine Chapel ceiling of Michelangelo, or any of the greatest monuments of art.” – Terence McEwen Thus begins a narrated recording of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, which was provided by […]

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Features

The Annual Bison Roundup at Tallgrass

By Ron Stauffer TULSA, Okla. — It’s a cold and foggy morning at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, where cowboys work for the second day in a row in their week-long annual bison roundup. For the past three weeks, they’ve used four-wheelers and pickup trucks to round up the nearly 1,500 bison that call the nature […]

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Profiles

The Humble Beginnings of Stockton’s Own Billionaire, Alex Spanos

STOCKTON, Calif. — Ask anybody who has lived in California’s Central Valley over the past few decades if they’re familiar with the name Alex Spanos, and you’re likely to get affirmations and enthusiastic nods. For many people who live in or around Stockton, it’s hard not to notice the effect that this man has had […]