LS: Coffee chats with 3 interesting people in the Grand Junction area

LAURIE KADRICH

ARTIST, HIKER AND CITY MANAGER

Interview with Samantha Stiles.

Laurie Kadrich, 50, drinks her coffee black, no cream, no sugar. I think it’s symbolic. She’s driven and committed to being a strong leader. No frills.

Grand Junction’s city manager seems very much like a “what you see is what you get” kind of person, no cream or sugar to mask anything.

Kadrich’s name appears in print a lot, but almost never accompanied with words such as artist or gardener.

Despite her public and influential position, she’s a real person. She assured me that she does shop for groceries, has plants winterizing in her bathroom and decorated her house for Christmas herself.

She was too busy to meet at a coffee shop, though, so last week I brought coffee to her office.

Lately, Kadrich’s workday has been scheduled into 30- to 60-minute increments. She must write things such as eating and thinking on her to do list.

Stiles: How many hours a week do you spend in meetings?

Kadrich: (Laughs) I bet I’m meeting, uh. I’m certain I’m meeting 40 to 50 hours a week?

Stiles: When do you do things such as check your e-mail?

Kadrich: Around those times. Sometimes it’s very late in the day. Sometimes it’s while I’m eating lunch. I do carry a Blackberry.

Stiles: How do you find the time to separate work from your personal life?

Kadrich: Oh, let’s see. I’ve been working in local government for almost 30 years now. So, I know that if I want to be healthy and do it for the rest of my career, I have to separate. I have
some standing times that I dedicate to things that have nothing to do with my work. I have church activities that I participate in. One evening a week is learning. And then I make sure that on a weekend I’m doing something fun for me. Usually, it’s a hike or it could be a cross-country skiing. I walk almost every day with my dogs.

Stiles: What kind of dogs are they?

Kadrich: I have Australian shepherd/heeler crosses and they’re 2 1/2 years old, so they require a great deal of exercise. They’re litter mates ... Pistol is the girl, Bandit is the boy.

Stiles: What are some of your hobbies?

Kadrich: “Hiking, walking, reading, learning, gardening. I’m a bit of an artist, drawing, painting, making things.”

Stiles: Have you shown anyone your artwork?

Kadrich: Rarely. If you come to my house now, you’ll see some of it ’cause I’ll at least put it on the walls. Somebody gave me a drawing kit for Christmas maybe 10 or 12 years ago and I could do it. So then I took some local classes in the community I lived in. It’s fun for me. It’s something that takes all my concentration. If I go draw or paint for an hour or two, it’s a very good release for me.

Stiles: Where did you grow up?

Kadrich: I grew up in Michigan.

Stiles: So you like the cold?

Kadrich: This is too hot for me. I have trouble in the summer. I’m very happy right now. This weather is perfect for me.

Stiles: You’ve lived in Grand Junction for a couple years now; do you like it here?

Kadrich: I love it. It’s everything that I thought it would be as far as a community to live in. It’s
got a great faith community. That adventure kind of community where people like to do things ... If you say to someone “yeah, I’m getting a hike in on the weekend,” they don’t look at you like, “why?”

Stiles: I think some people might think that you’re not a regular person. What would you like to say about that?

Kadrich: I am probably the most boring person on Earth. OK, so here’s my life on a weekend: laundry, hiking, church, yard work, ironing. I iron my own clothes. I get my meals ready. My mom and I go to Supper Solutions so we can plan our meals for the week, then they’re easier to fix. Things break in the house, and then I fix them.

Stiles: Do you read books for fun?

Kadrich: That would be a matter of interpretation because I read almost all non-fiction. I have done that since the time I was a kid. From time to time, I’ve tried to expand my horizons because people have said, “oh, you can open up the right side of your brain, Laurie, instead of the left, if you would read something for fun. At least a good novel every now and again.” I’m reading a book about every president of the United States. I read a lot of biographies. I read a lot of leadership and management books, what makes someone successful. I read a lot about how to build a community.

Stiles: It’s nice that you get to see what you do put into effect in the community.

Kadrich: It’s one of the best things that we do ... The goal is to improve the quality of life whether it’s traffic, parks, recreational opportunities, development for their homes, safer homes. Or, if they’re hurt, getting a trained person there as quickly as possible, or if you’re a victim of crime, solving that and making sure it doesn’t happen again. You know, there’s no other business like this.

Stiles: You’re probably one of the only people that thinks about things like sidewalks and curbs on vacation.

Kadrich: No. If you talk to our folks in Public Works, they would do the same thing when they go to another community.


AMANDA CURTIS

SCUBA DIVER, SKIER AND HAIRSTYLIST

Interview with Melinda Mawdsley.

Amanda Curtis wanted to be a hairstylist since she was a child, but even she is surprised how quickly her dream of owning her own salon became a reality.

Only 27, Curtis will have owned E’Toile Designs by Amanda for three years on New Year’s Day. E’Toile means “star” in French.

Born and raised in Grand Junction, Curtis is happy to be home among family and friends.
While enjoying a caramel macchiato at Traders Coffee & Tea, Curtis casually talked about bad haircuts, owning a business and Lake Powell.

Mawdsley: Does it seem a little surreal to say you were 25 when you bought your own business?

Curtis: I never thought it would be so soon. It sounds so weird. Twenty-five seems young, but I’ve had a lot of help from my family and friends. It came together really fast. The woman who owned the hair studio before me was my hairstylist. She wanted to retire and knew I was going to school to be a stylist. I worked for her for a year and a half before she retired. I took over Jan. 1, 2006.

Mawdsley: Where did you go to school?

Curtis: I went here at MJM (Institute of Cosmetology). That’s where I did my basic education, and then I went to the Vidal Sassoon Academy in Santa Monica, Calif. It was just one month after I got done with school here, and I moved to California all by myself. I knew I was going to be in California for two years, at least. That’s where I knew I was going to get my experience (before moving back to Grand Junction to work at E’Toile).

Mawdsley: Any cool California stories?

Curtis: I worked at a place called Indo Salon in West Hollywood. It was all decorated in Indonesian style. One of the cool things was I did the Playboy Bunnies’ hair, and we also did the hair for the photo shoots of Playboy magazine and made house calls to Pamela Anderson. It was fun. Everyone was so nice and down to earth.

Mawdsley: I bet you learned a lot out there, but how does a hairstylist get better? It’s not like you can practice on people.

Curtis: I do a lot of hair conventions. I went to New York this summer for a three-day class on cutting and coloring. Peel’s Salon Services here does some one-day classes. In January, I’m going to Vegas for a Redken convention. I try to do something a couple times a year and stay inspired.

Mawdsley: Have you ever given a bad haircut?

Curtis: I’ve never had anyone cry in my chair. There are some people I have trouble with that I can’t get their hair to lay right, but as far as I know, I’ve never given a bad haircut.

Mawdsley: Hairstyles are trendy. What’s in style now?

Curtis: Bobs.

Mawdsley: Yes or no on bangs?

Curtis: They are definitely “in” right now. All kinds of bangs.

Mawdsley: Do you feel pressure to always have your hair done when you go out in public?

Curtis: Yeah. People look at you and if you have nice hair. If they like your hair, they are more likely to trust you to cut their hair.

Mawdsley: What are you doing when you’re not cutting hair?

Curtis: I dirt bike, and I ski, and go to Lake Powell, and I camp. I love Lake Powell. It’s just so relaxing. I just love the water and water sports. I scuba dive a lot.

Mawdsley: Scuba dive? Cool. Top three spots you’ve dived?

Curtis: Turks and Caicos, Belize, and probably Grand Cayman.

Mawdsley: Coolest thing you’ve seen scuba diving?

Curtis: I’ve seen dolphins, sharks. We saw a hammerhead one time, but from the boat. I didn’t jump in after that.

Mawdsley: Sharks? You a big Shark Week fan?

Curtis: Oh yeah.

Mawdsley: Do you watch “Shear Genius,” that hair cutting show on Bravo?

Curtis: I’ve seen it a couple times. I watch that show where the woman goes into the salon and changes things.

Mawdsley: Oh, “Tabatha’s Salon Makeover?” Yeah, I’m kind of a Bravo junkie.

Curtis: Yeah. That show. I definitely take tips away from that.

Mawdsley: Like what?

Curtis: Always clean up the hair after every client. Hair can dig into your skin like a splinter. When you cut hair, it can be razor sharp.

RYAN STRINGFELLOW

FIRE ARTIST, SKIER, RADIO EXECUTIVE

Interview with Laurena Mayne Davis.

Ryan Stringfellow, 31, rolled into Enstrom Candies and poured medium-roast coffee into his own pottery mug.

The mug was made by Palisade artist Tim Wedel and a gift for Stringfellow’s membership-drive donation to Community Radio KAFM 88.1, 1310 Ute Ave., where he is executive director.

Davis: You really made a donation. You just didn’t take the mug as swag?

Stringfellow: I really made a donation.

Davis: What’s going on with the landscaping in front of the (KAFM) building, all the tiers? It looks like it could hold back the Yangtze River.

Stringfellow: Interesting. It all came about because last year we started a really great
partnership with High Noon Solar to put solar on our buildings. So we put the solar panels up last March and afterward we kind of looked at it and were like, wow, those panels look so good and the rest of the building looks really bad.
... And then about the same time as the solar going in, we started working on a landscape design with Ciavonne Roberts and Associates and, through a few meetings, we all decided that KAFM going solar has been this huge step for a community radio station. We should definitely kind of build that into everything we do. ... The idea of the landscaping is, it kind of imitates the rays of a sun, and when you drive by, there’s these lines of plants and bricks. ... I’m talking with my hands as you’re recording this.

Davis: I’m sure it will translate to print just fine.

Stringfellow: I’m sure. There’s these lines of bricks and plants that kind of guide your eye toward the front of the station and toward the solar panels.

Davis: Like the lines on the logo of KAFM (points at the KAFM T-shirt Stringfellow is wearing).

Stringfellow: Right. It’s all xeric. It’s all low water usage. The front part of the landscaping next to the building is such that anybody can come and plant some plants.

Davis: But no tamarisk.

Stringfellow: No tamarisk, although they do provide good shade. I think Tim at the tamarisk coalition would kill me.

Davis: We’re not going to talk about work anymore.

Stringfellow: Good.

Davis: Tell me what you do when you’re not at work.

Stringfellow: Well, right now with the snow on the ground, I’ve been skiing a lot ... last week my girlfriend and I started hiking up Powderhorn at 5 in the morning and then skiing down before we’d go to work. It’s a great way to get the dogs some exercise. ... I’m also really into continuing to build more of an electronic music culture in the Grand Valley ... I’m into developing that art for myself as a DJ and also providing opportunities for different DJs to kind of show up and share their craft.

Davis: What’s your DJ name?

Stringfellow: It’s the same as my radio name, which is Strangefellow. I just go by DJ Strangefellow.

Davis: And I know you have a show coming up Jan. 2 at the Radio Room.

Stringfellow: It is an event put on by Rigged to Flip, which is a loosely knitted group of folks based here in the valley that go to the Burning Man each year, the art festival out in northwestern Nevada ... and so we like to kind of come together and provide these great dance parties. And this will also be a fundraiser for a 1977 Cadillac limousine that the Burning Desert Fire Collective, which is a local fire troupe here in town, have recently started putting together as kind of a prop for their performances.

Davis: So it’s a limo that has flames painted on the side and a reinforced roof for dancing.

Stringfellow: Ideally, we hope to have a stripper pole.

Davis: “Ideally, we hope to have a stripper pole.”

Stringfellow: We’re looking for a stripper pole, and it also has fire cannons that actually blow fire.

Davis: How do you accomplish that? Gas?

Stringfellow: Yeah, it’s propane gas through some regulators and some tubing and actually a weed burner at the end. ... We’re just a bunch of pyromaniacs building that community of fire and fire performance.

Davis: Let’s talk about Burning Man Festival.

Stringfellow: You know, I learned about Burning Man like eight or nine years ago actually in a bike magazine. Somebody was calling it a bike festival.

Davis: A bike festival?

Stringfellow: And I can see why, because most people ride bikes there. They build a city in the desert that’s over two miles wide and they don’t let you drive your car around. Once you get there and you want to go somewhere, a bicycle makes sense. ... I’ve been going for five years. Burning Man Festival is a collection of people from all walks of life that come together to celebrate whatever they want to, whether it’s art, music, self-expression, radical self-
reliance, and they’re able to be part of this temporary city of what is now 60,000 people and a fully functional city and to make it work for a week.

Davis: Having never been to Burning Man, I picture like Mad Max on acid.

Stringfellow: Yeah, Mad Max on acid at a rave in San Francisco. And also surrounded by some of the most amazing art that you’ve seen. Very experiential art. It’s always over Labor Day. Labor Day weekend. ... It’s one of the largest gathering of fire spinners.

Davis: Have you ever burned yourself?

Stringfellow: I burn myself all the time. I had these huge chops up until last week (touches cheek with thumb), and during the Parade of Lights, I totally singed one whole side of my chops.

Davis: That’s part of the challenge, to try not to burn yourself?

Stringfellow: We take safety very seriously, but hair burns very easily. I don’t always put my long hair up, and cover it up, so I’m always singeing the ends of my hair. You just kind of deal with it.

Davis: As long as you brought it up, “some people” have described you as having lovely, beautiful, long Jesus hair.

Stringfellow: Oh, that’s so generous, Jesus hair. That’s funny.

Davis: Only the white Jesus.

Stringfellow: Even though he was probably black.

Davis: Oh, I’m sure. ... Where are you originally from?

Stringfellow: I grew up, mostly, in Gunnison. We would come to Grand Junction to school-clothes shop. ... and then I ran cross country and track in high school, and we’d have a lot of our track meets here. After high school my parents actually moved here, and I went to college at NAU in Flagstaff, and I was there for about a couple of years, you know I followed a girl there, which is not always the best reason to move someplace, and I changed my major about three times ... and a lot of my time off I was coming back up to Colorado, and I realized that I really missed Colorado. I missed the mountains, so I chatted with my parents and I shared this plan that I wanted to hitchhike to Alaska. ... And that was like a little over 10 years ago, and I’ve still never been to Alaska.

Davis: Did you ever read “Into The Wild”?

Stringfellow: Oh yeah, it’s a great book.

Davis: So maybe it’s just as well you didn’t hitchhike to Alaska.

Stringfellow: Oh yeah, I could have been that guy, leaning against the bus, with the sunken-in cheeks.

Davis: It’s better here. There are things to eat here.

Stringfellow: Grand Junction is a place where you can plant seeds and they are gonna grow, but it grows slowly because it’s the desert, and things don’t grow fast in the desert.

Davis: That’s a great analogy.

Stringfellow: This is the time in my life when those seeds that I planted five, 10 years ago are fully growing and blooming.


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