enters river trail dispute
A court decision now
appears to be necessary to realize an Animas River Trail connection.
This week, the owner of the property on which the China Restaurant
sits responded to a legal complaint filed by the city of Durango
in August. At that time, the city alleged that Louis Cummins,
the property’s owner, had refused to negotiate the sale
of the necessary easement.
The Animas River trail currently is interrupted in the middle
at the Main Avenue bridge. Over the past year, the city has
been working to buy property from Terri D’s, the VFW Post
and the China Restaurant in order to complete the connection.
In total, the connection would cost $2.3 million and include
a tunnel under Main.
Millissa Berry, city planner, said “Terri D’s and
the VFW have come to the table, but the China Restaurant has
had nothing to do with it.”
Cummins has not only refused to come to the table, he has rejected
a city appraisal of the property. Consequently, the city is
now considering condemnation of the property, which is legally
allowed if a public benefit exists and a fair price cannot be
agreed upon. Cummins’ attorney has replied that the city’s
posturing amounts to a private property taking.
“The city would like to end up paying for the land,”
said Berry. “But he’s had no dialogue with the city,
and that’s why it’s coming to this condemnation.”
The city has asked for a quick court decision on its complaint
Locals fight back &
One armed robbery suspect is in custody and two more are being
sought following a break-in and attempted robbery at gun point
Tuesday night, according to the La Plata County Sheriff’s
Office. At approximately 8:20 p.m, a man living in the 1900
block of Florida Road, just outside the Durango city limits,
answered a knock at the door to find a man pointing a gun in
his face and two other men holding what appeared to be tire
The three suspects forced their way into the home and ordered
the two residents, Clifton Bozella and Rio Ramirez, both 24
years old, to lie on the floor and not look at them or they
would kill them.`A0Initially, the three suspects had their shirts
pulled over their faces. While the man with the gun and another
suspect went upstairs and began ransacking rooms, the third
suspect stood over the two residents with a tire iron.
At that time, there was another knock at the door and a friend
of the residents, 25-year-old Joseph Spillyards,`A0walked in
and was confronted by the man with the metal bar. A fight ensued
between Spillyards and the suspect, and Bozella and Ramirez
joined in.`A0The other two suspects ran downstairs and, after
a brief fight, fled out the front door,`A0with the gunman firing
one shot back at the victims. Nobody was hit by the bullet.`A0The
victims released the third suspect because they were concerned
that the man with the gun might return, and then they called
A short time later, Cpl. Frank Sandoval of the La`A0Plata County
Sheriff’s Office stopped a man on foot along County Road
240, or Florida Road. That man was identified by the victims
and arrested. Sandoval requested Durango Police officers, who
arrived on scene, to search along the road for a weapon, and
they recovered a 9mm semi-auto handgun. A spent 9mm cartridge
also was recovered near the victims’ front door. The man
arrested was the same man that the three victims initially fought
After he was treated at Mercy Hospital in Durango, the suspect,
identified as 20-year-old Max Angel (also giving the`A0name
Max Dorian) was booked into La Plata County Jail on felony charges
of`A0robbery with a deadly weapon and burglary. His bail was
set at $25,000.
Authorities continue to look for the other two suspects.
New biker rally in the
A new group is negotiating with the Southern Ute Tribe to hold
a motorcycle rally in Ignacio next Labor Day weekend. The event
would not necessarily be affiliated with past Iron Horse motorcycle
Mike Olguin, a member of the Tribal Council, commented only
that negotiations were under way. “We’re in the
process of talking with a new group, and that’s about
as far as I’ll go in order to not jeopardize negotiations,”
An unofficial Iron Horse rally took place this year, after the
event, which began in 1993, was cancelled. The reason for the
cancellation was the inability of the tribe and rally organizers
to come to terms with the tribe’s request for more money.
A formal announcement on negotiations is expected in coming
Charter doubles Dallas
Durango Mountain Resort announced this week that one of its
ski charters would be doubling the number of flights it brings
to Durango from Dallas during two key winter months. This increase
comes on the heels of American Airlines dropping direct service
from Durango to Dallas.
Adventure Tours USA, a Dallas-based company specializing in
all-inclusive vacations, will increase service from two regular
weekly nonstop flights between Dallas-Fort Worth and Durango
to four in February and March. The company has been offering
ski charters to Durango for 24 consecutive years.
“We are very excited about the increase in nonstop flights
to Dallas-Fort Worth,” said DMR Marketing Director Scott
Fortner. “Adventure Tours has been one of our most consistent
partners, and Texans love Durango.”
The additional flights come at an opportune time. On Sept. 6,
American Airlines flew its last direct Durango-Dallas flight,
a mainstay that fluctuated between 36 and 136 seats. Of the
additional Adventure Tours’ flights, La Plata County Airport
Manager Ron Dent commented, “That’s good news to
While the new flights will provide an obvious tourism boost,
the loss of the American flight may not have been detrimental
to tourism, according to Dent. “There were many days when
the plane would be full and not a single pair of skis would
come off,” he said.
The Adventure Tours USA flight includes 122 all-coach seats.
Dent added that Continental continues to offer 50 seats a day
City OKs luxury townhomes
In a split vote, the Durango Planning Commission ignored the
advice of the City Planning Department and approved plans for
luxury townhomes in north Durango last Monday. Nancy Sellers,
owner of New Country Auto Center, plans to tear down Christina’s
Grill & Bar and the Silver Spur Motel and place 21 townhomes
on that property and a vacant lot behind it.
City planners had argued that the development was too dense
and would not provide an adequate buffer between the single-family
residential community along Bennett Street and multi-family
units to the south toward 32nd Street.
“That area had historically been seen as a buffer between
the single family area and the multi-family to the south,”
said Millissa Berry, city planner.
Several neighbors also spoke in opposition to the project. However,
planning commissioners eventually posted a split vote in favor
of the townhomes. The project will now go before City Council
As for the future of the Silver Spur and Christina’s,
Berry noted, “According to the plan, they’ll basically
Police nab purse snatcher
A 44-year-old Shiprock man suspected of preying on little old
ladies was apprehended Oct. 23 by the Durango Police Department.
Peter Henderson Yazzie has allegedly been stealing purses and
wallets from elderly women since April.
Durango Police began an investigation in July into incidents
of women older than 60 shopping in grocery stores having their
wallets or purses stolen. Yazzie would allegedly enter a grocery
store and look for a woman over 60 who had left her purse in
the shopping cart while she shopped. He would then follow his
target around until he had the opportunity to steal a wallet
On July 15, the lead investigator, Rita Warfield, obtained an
arrest warrant for Yazzie, but police were unable to locate
him until last week, when he was arrested exiting north City
Market. Yazzie was placed in La Plata County Jail on charges
of theft from at-risk adults.Warfield declined to comment on
the number of purses that Yazzie stole beyond “quite a
few.” Warfield is asking that anyone who lost their wallet
or purse while shopping at a grocery store in the Durango area
between Jan. 1 and Oct. 23 to contact her at 385-2930.