Hey, Spike! – Dr. Mikey returns for a visit
Like many who have visited here, lived here, and then left, the lure of living in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado pulls strong. You know it, too.
Ready to return is Mike Silverman, or as we call him now: “Dr. Mikey.”
At age 50 and armed with a Ph.D in international education earned at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Mikey is back here for a few days of skiing and to explore teaching opportunities with Colorado Mountain College.
“I still love the snow,” he says, with that always-present smile.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in environmental design at the University of Massachusetts, the Andover native moved west and lived here from 1982-88, teaching skiing at Copper Mountain Resort and Keystone Resort, and wrote and sold advertising for our publications.
A couple of those winters included teaching at Copper’s sister resort in Portillo, Chile, giving him that feeling of “endless winter.” His Spanish improved and it became a part of his life for several years.
Locally, he warmly recollects friendships with Janice Weitzmann, Harlow Perrigo and Jan Prowell, Peter Siegel, and Ben Way.
Meanwhile, Mikey’s been a globe-trotting education and rural development expert, using his UCLA master’s degree in teaching English as a Second Language, a certificate in sustainability, and his Ph.D. research on community development, in distant places like Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Chile, with visits to Guatemala and Costa Rica.
He speaks Vietnamese, Thai, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, with some limited “gift of gab” in Portuguese and Japanese.
“In Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, I spent some time there, contracted by the British Fauna and Flora International Conservation Agency, and it was very beautiful with thousands of karst limestone islets,” he explains. “While in Nha Trang, I worked with Vietnamese fisherman – old ones with not many teeth – in protecting the coral reef, contributing to raising their income with healthier and more plentiful fish.”
In Vietnam, “I have also worked on gender mainstreaming with Vietnamese colleagues – like our like Title IX – trying to get more opportunities for women, a lot of this has been around community-based tourism and came together during post-doc work on gender and the environment,” he adds.
His travels to Thailand had him teaching two years at Mahidol University, in Bangkok, where students revere their professors and “grovel on their knees before you with flowers – twice a year.”
On the Thai coast in Phang Nga, where that horrific Tsunami killed thousands in 2004, Mikey worked on a micro-enterprise project there before and after the disaster.
He adds, “The commitment by so many international volunteers has made a big impact in moving the communities from disaster to development – from reliance to resilience.”
Living in the Philippines, he once had to pay $20 for a day’s services of a personal security guard, armed with a semi-automatic, so he could visit a nearby pink sand coral island.
“The Philippines are very cool,” he offers.
Asked his expert’s opinion of that “best spot,” he quickly alters the word choice to “favorite” place: Dumaguete, Philippines – it has good diving, snorkeling and really good Cacao forests and chocolate there, and great fresh market, icy cold beers. At 85 degrees … that first sip is awesome … sitting there, looking out at the ocean. I’d think about retiring there because of the easy-going locals, the cheap cost of living and the mountains and beaches.”
And now back to the present: One of the benefits of information/communication technology, on Saturday, he will be teaching his USC teacher education class via the internet, video-conferencing from Frisco.
Boulevard Bend Condos developers Larry and Carole Feldman hosted a party in the $1 million clock tower unit the other night for some of their owners, Realtors and contractors.
Catered by The Boatyard, those attending included recent buyers Sue Cannon and Rob Williams of Golden, and Denise Cann of Frisco; RE/MAX Brokers BJ McCarthy and assistant Kendall Roberts, and Dave Bittner and wife Jan; High Country Real Estate’s Bernie and Bo Zurbriggen; Mountain Diggers/Builders (MD/B) honcho Jim and Shelley Neville and daughter Rhiannon, and son Michael and wife Camille and grandson Davian; MD/B Project Manager Bob and Susan Gentile and daughter Laura; WHK Masonry’s Bill and Erna Kirkhoff and son Dillon; Jon and Christie Roble, MD/B office manager; and yours truly.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years.
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