Sixty years ago this week: Merrill E. Shoup, chairman of the Golden Cycle Corporation, testified before the Senate State Minerals Subcommittee that “the Russians are boosting their gold production and hoarding gold.”

Shoup was representing 10 miners and crushers in the Cripple Creek area in an effort to restore gold and silver production in the United States after a sharp decline in the country’s reserves, and was trying to mobilize government grant support for the gold mining industry.

Shoup told the Senate subcommittee that gold was just as important as uranium during the Cold War.

But committee chairman Sen. John Carroll, D-CO, made it clear that “the Treasury Department, the State Department, and the Budget Office all oppose SJR 44,” which would provide grants of up to at 35 dollars an ounce for national gold.

“Big grants might tend to throw the budget off balance,” Carroll said. “But stronger gold support would tend to strengthen the US dollar in global trade.”

Production in Colorado’s Cripple Creek area had been halted since the start of the year, but Shoup said work could resume within 30 days with 500 people put to work “to start” if an incentive of 35 to 70 dollars per ounce was adopted.

In other unrelated news, two prominent federal judges were praising Carroll for his conduct during hearings to nominate Indiana’s Luther Swygert for the US Circuit Court.

Chief Justice John Hastings, 7th Circuit, spoke at a meeting in Washington DC of the annual judicial conference attended by Justice Early Warren and 30 other US judges.

“No court would have been as patient as Senator Carroll,” Hastings said, referring to attacks on Swygert by a group of lawyers. “But when the time came to close the case, he did so without hesitation. It was, for me, a most exciting experience.

Chief Judge Alfred Murrah, of the 10th Circuit, which includes Colorado, added: “In the 10th Circuit, we owe a lot to Senator Carroll for giving us an excellent district judge, William Doyle, a hard working man and clean the bench.

Twenty-five years ago: The 20 Club, Western Slope’s self-proclaimed premier lobbying and promotional organization, presented several awards at its annual banquet. Among those for long-serving service was the “Exxon Prize,” an unidentifiable slab of grime, for “extreme insensitivity to the western slope.”

The recipient of the award was the subject of a heated debate, oscillating between three candidates. Rep. Norma Anderson, R-Lakewood, was named “for attempting to loot statewide GoCO funding to build schools on the Front Range,” according to 20 Club President Greg Walcher.

Ohio Rep. John Kasich, chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee, was named for trying to kill the Animas-La Plata project by calling it “corporate welfare.”

But the ultimate prize went to U.S. Representative Gerald Solomon, R-NY, Walcher said, “who used his considerable influence as chairman of the rules committee to try to drain the Gunnison River.”

Walcher told the Colorado Statesman that Solomon, acting at the request of a constituent, had sent Navy Seals to search for the body of a young man who had drowned in the river.

“It didn’t work out,” Walcher said. “But Solomon lobbied the Bureau of Reclamation to lower the river level significantly so the search could continue. If it had had its way entirely, the flow of water would have been completely stopped.

The Exxon 20 Club prize was so named because it was one of the biggest contributors to the oil shale collapse of the 1980s due to the company’s grand promise.

Since Solomon was not present at the banquet to take possession, the Exxon price would be displayed in the 20 Club office until the following year, Walcher said.

“It will go to whoever fucks us the worst,” he added.

Rachael Wright is the author of the Captain Savva Mystery series, graduated in political science and history from the University of Colorado Mesa, and contributes to Colorado Politics and The Gazette.