Lynx arrive for spring release
Four lynx captured in eastern Canada arrived in Colorado last Monday night, the first of up to 50 lynx the Colorado Division of Wildlife will reintroduce in the San Juan Mountains this spring in an ongoing effort to re-establish the native species in Colorado’s high country.
The four lynx, captured in Quebec earlier this month, arrived aboard an Air Canada jet at Denver International Airport. After an inspection and clearing customs, the lynx were driven to a holding facility in Del Norte, where they’ll spend the next three months to ensure that they are in prime condition for release.

“The weather has made it difficult for trappers in Canada, and it’s unclear whether we’ll receive all 50 lynx we’ve asked for,” said Scott Wait, the DOW’s area biologist in Durango. “We still have more than a month of trapping, so there’s still time to get all we’ve requested.”

DOW wildlife managers plan to release the lynx next April at sites adjacent to the Weminuche Wilderness Area and in the San Juan National Forest. The reintroduction plan, approved Nov. 15 by the Colorado Wildlife Commission, calls for up to 180 lynx to be reintroduced to southwestern Colorado over the next five to six years.

The DOW reintroduced 96 lynx to the state in 1999 and 2000, and numerous animals have survived. However, none of the cats have reproduced. There is hope that adding 180 new animals to the mix will encourage more favorable odds. If the division does not see kittens following the new reintroduction, it says it will give up the effort.

LaChapelle releases Tai Chi book
Longtime Silverton resident Dolores LaChapelle has announced the release of her seventh book, Return to Mountain: Tai Chi Between Heaven and Earth. LaChapelle, who began practicing the ancient martial art in the ’70s, said the book is the culmination of a 25-year dream.

The book contains full-color photos of all 108 forms of Tai Chi Ch’uan. Taken in the San Juan Mountains, the photos feature local Tai Chi practitioner Jodi Nute, and are accompanied by quotations and short textual interpretations.

LaChapelle first gained notoriety as one of the best female powder skiers in the world. She started skiing during World War II at Loveland Pass, west of Denver, before moving to Aspen in the 1940s. She then called Alta, Utah, home for many years, before moving to Silverton about 30 years ago.

Living simply, LaChapelle found much time to ski and think and became involved in the Deep Ecology movement. She went on to write a handful of books on the subject, including 1976’s Earth Festivals, as well as books on others subjects, such as 1996’s D.H. Lawrence: Future Primitive.

Although LaChapelle has now published a total of seven books, she said in a recent interview that she is reluctant to call herself a writer, preferring the term “information dispenser.”

Return to Mountain: Tai Chi Between Heaven and Earth is available at Maria’s Bookshop.

Funny money hits local registers
As the holiday season draws to a close, funny money valued at tens of thousands of dollars is cycling through local cash registers. However, this currency is beneficial and part of a long-standing Durango Area Chamber Resort Association (DACRA) initiative to encourage residents to shop locally.

Called “Community Gift Certificates,” the pieces of paper mimic dollars in every way. The community dollars are good at any chamber member, and any business that receives the certificates can deposit them into the bank with no fees.
The only catch is that the certificates must be spent locally.

“The purpose of the program is to keep money in La Plata County and benefit the businesses that are here,” said Rita Simon, DACRA office manager.
Simon said that between $80,000 and $100,000 in Community Gift Certificates are currently circulating. She added that while the certificates are available year-round, the promotion is strongest during the holidays.

“We do the biggest majority during Christmas time,” she said. “But we sell them throughout the year.”

Rio Grande Air pulls local flights
Durango’s primary airline connection to Albuquerque has pulled out. Effective this week, Rio Grande Air has stopped its two daily flights to the Albuquerque Sunport. Air Midwest will continue to offer one flight per day to Albuquerque from Durango.
Ron Dent, Durango-La Plata County Airport manager, said the small airline’s unfortunate decision was based on two factors: its inability to rebound from Sept. 11; and Continental and American flights to other large cities, which effectively bypassed the need to travel to Albuquerque.

“The volume wasn’t there,” said Dent. “It was kind of a double whammy. I think Sept. 11 hurt them. When Continental and American started service, it impacted them heavily.”

Dent said that the loss of Rio Grande Air’s relatively small numbers won’t hurt the airport, but that he is sorry to see the connection go.

“It’s not that the numbers hurt us that badly,” he said. “But it did offer another option, and it made the airport more usable.

“We’re always sad to lose an airline,” he continued. “We had some high hopes. It seemed like the right aircraft for this market.”

Four boys burglarize Fun Center
At 2 a.m. in the morning last Monday, four young juveniles apparently stole three motorcycles valued at $5,000. The incident took place at the Fun Center Suzuki dealership on Animas View Drive, north of town, according to police reports.

The most unusual thing about the incident, according to Lt. Jim Spratlen, was the boys’ ages. Upon investigation, three juveniles, ages 10, 13 and 15, were taken into custody and charged with second-degree burglary and three counts of second-degree motor vehicle theft. The 15-year-old also was charged with three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. There also was an 8-year-old boy involved who was contacted and released to his parents. He was not charged.

The boys allegedly entered the property through a break in the fence and then entered another building inside the yard to acquire tools with which to get the motorcycles off the property. Patrol officers were dispatched to a juvenile male’s residence at approximately 8:30 a.m., upon being called by the mother that she had two allegedly stolen motorcycles at her residence.

– compiled by Will Sands





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