Thanks to a reader last week, my astronomical knowledge is back in true orbit. I mentioned that Sirius, the Dog Star, is a magnitude 8.4 star. I was rightly corrected, as follows:

“Thanks for providing the information on Comet Leonard. One correction: Sirius is a double star. The visible star, Sirius A, is magnitude -1.4. The dimmer star, Sirius B, also called The Pup – it is part of Canis Majoris – is 8.4 and would NOT be visible to the naked eye. In fact, it is so close to A that it is difficult to resolve in a telescope. The difference in brightness is also a hindrance to resolving B, as it is at least 10,000 times dimmer than A.”

Now, if only the skies would clear and give me a chance to see Comet Leonard.

This is my epilogue to the boondoggle ballot measure 1A in Ouray County which was defeated in November by a 60/40 margin. The margin might have been larger, but 40% of the county brethren just says “yes” to anything.

I have mentioned this measure the past few weeks, only because the three Ouray county commissioners pushed it as a $400,000 annual “necessary” tax.

The tax, which would have been extracted from property owners like teeth from an over-anesthetized dental patient, was for Public Health Services, but really was for anything but Public Health Services.

It was designed to free up money in the general fund currently earmarked for PHS so the commissioners could, at the very least, add a sheriff deputy position.

There were other unstated goals.

Miraculously, last week we learned that money had been found and the sheriff deputy position was being added.

This week, we found out the unstated goals.

Turns out, according to reporting in the Ouray County Plaindealer this and last week, the county not only managed to add a sheriff deputy, it also added three more full-time positions.

So, since the tax was defeated, you ask, where did they find the money?

The county administrator found it!

She estimates that property taxes will haul in nearly an additional $350,000, and sales tax will be 32% ahead of estimates.

Spend it.

Spend it all.

The Sheriff’s Department gets not one, but two positions as it also gains a full-time investigator. A graphic information system technician and a building inspector/code enforcer round out the new expenditures.

They also managed to fund a COVID-19-related temporary contract position, that pays what computes to an annualized salary of $41,000.

If we’d have known back in October that the county was going to find oodles of moola, perhaps even some of the 40% might have made a different choice.

Of course, if I wanted a nearly half-million dollar tax to be approved by voters, I probably wouldn’t mention that there’s nearly a half-million in extra payola coming in until after the election.

Speaking of sheriffs, my sister, who lives with me and is cognitively disabled and deaf, got pulled over on County Road 1A last week by a Ouray County sheriff deputy.

My first clue something was amiss was, while sitting at home having my morning coffee, she called me.

Of course, she never voice calls me.

But the connection was bad and the call was disconnected quickly.

Then my phone rang with a FaceTime call. I answered it, and to my surprise I was staring right at Marty, one of the county deputies.

The connection was poor. But what I managed to hear was he was letting her off with a warning – she was going a wee bit too fast.

I sent Ouray County Sheriff Justin Perry, a real good egg if ever there was one, a thank you note for the way his deputy handled the stop. He appreciated the positive note because, as you can imagine, that can be one thankless job at times.

The Daily Mining Journal, of Black Hawk, Colorado, in its Dec. 24, 1864 edition, summarized the recent election of the day in Idaho as thus:

“Idaho has elected a Democratic Delegate to Congress by over 1,000 majority. Idaho is overrun with thieves, gamblers, highwaymen, guerrillas and murderers.

It is the home of the outlaw, the Paradise of crime, the lair of the escaped convicts of every state. Outside the confines of the lower regions, better materials for the formation of a Peace Democratic party cannot be found than is Idaho.

The lines were fairly drawn between honest men and rogues of the Territory, and the latter were found to outnumber the others. Hence, we are by no means surprised to learn that Idaho has gone “Democratic.”

This extract is not intended to be representative of any recent local election, and any resemblance of such is purely coincidental.

Alan Todd is a 35-year newspaper veteran who lives in Ouray County. He can be reached at