Animas Valley gravel mine
Gravel mining is mixing emotions in
the Animas Valley. Next Monday, the La Plata County commissioners
will consider a request by Bueno Tiempo Ranch to process and sell
large amounts of gravel extracted from a recreational
Bueno Tiempo, a
guest-style ranch, received county approval last summer to
construct an 18-foot deep, 10-acre reservoir on its property near
the Animas River. The stipulation of the approval was that the
reservoir be used for nonmotorized recreational uses. However, now
that the reservoir has been excavated, Bueno Tiempo owner Monty
Nichols is having trouble getting rid of the material.
"They do have a permit
out there to build a lake and have to get rid of the material so
that's the purpose of their current request," said County Planning
Director Nancy Lauro.
Nichols has asked to be
allowed to bring processing equipment onto the property and
effectively turn the property into a gravel mine. Such an activity
is expressly prohibited by the Animas Valley Land Use Plan. The
proposal has created some neighborhood fireworks.
Ron Margolis, acting as
agent for adjacent property owner David Scott May, said that he
understands that Nichols is involved with the mining industry in
Arizona. "Some of the neighbors feel like this has always been
about gravel mining," Margolis said. "Maybe he knew all the
Lauro acknowledged that
the proposal has ruffled feathers in the valley and noted that the
county Planning Commission has recommended that the commissioners
reject the request. "There are a lot of concerns with whatever he's
doing out there," she said. lot of the neighbors have spoken up,
and the position of the county Planning Commission is that gravel
mining is not allowed in that zone."
The final decision will
be up to the county commissioners. The item is tentatively
scheduled for discussion Aug. 18.
FLC announces reorganization
Fort Lewis College unveiled a proposed
college reorganization plan last week. The plan, primarily
developed by FLC President Robert Dolphin Jr. and the college's
vice presidents and deans, will be discussed on campus for the next
two months and adopted by mid-October. The reorganization is a
response to declines in funding for higher education.
must be accomplished with no increase in total costs, either in
salaries or in support expenses, and with an eye toward increased
efficiency and further cost reductions where possible," Dolphin
said. "Funding levels are lower and may decline further, while
state and national mandates and expectations are
The reorganization plans
to enhance the quality of the lower division student experience,
maintain the quality of the college's academic resources, realign
the role of the president, improve the administrative
effectiveness, and coordinate the college's academic information
and intellectual resources.
reorganization is a unique opportunity to improve the college,"
Dolphin summarized. "This proposal can provide new opportunities
for us to grow, develop, improve and move forward as we continue to
give attention to our core mission."
Local food directory in the
Another effort to encourage
sustainable, locally produced agriculture is under way. The "Mesa
Verde Country Guide to Local Sustainable Food and Fiber" is being
compiled and will be available on the Web and in directory form
this fall. It is hoped that the guide will aid local agriculture
producers in selling directly to local consumers.
The directory will cover
the region roughly 90 miles around Mesa Verde and is a response to
more and more consumers looking for high-quality products grown in
the local area, according to organziers of the Growing Community
Food Project. Producers are invited to list their products and when
and where they are available. A space in the guide costs $10, which
covers publication costs, and requires filling out a one-page form.
Producers must sell direct to local consumers, stores, restaurants,
etc., or be willing to do so.
To get a listing or for
more info, contact Sue Bruckner, of Growing Community Food Project,
(970) 946-5269, firstname.lastname@example.org or Jim Dyer of the
Southwest Marketing Network, (970) 588-2292,
Suspect confesses to 2001
A 31-year-old Ignacio man turned
himself into the Federal Bureau of Investigation last Sunday and
confessed to the 2001 murder of Aztec resident Brenda
According to a release
from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Carlos Herrera was aware of an
arrest warrant charging him with the murder of Chavez prior to
making the confession.
After being reported
missing on Feb. 9, 2001, Chavez's body was found May 9, 2001
southeast of Ignacio by three children on four-wheelers. They
stumbled upon the victim's vehicle roughly 200 down an embankment
off County Road 321. An autopsy determined Chavez was slain by a
blunt blow to the head.
Herrera appeared in U.S.
District Court for an advisement of charges last Monday. He is
being held without bail in La Plata County Jail. His arrest is the
result of interviews and investigations conducted jointly by
Southern Ute Tribal Criminal Investigator Hal Koenig and FBI
Special Agent John Wallace.
Broads drum up wilderness
A Durango-based conservation
organization is hitting the trail in an effort to drum up support
for wilderness. Aug. 14-18, the Great Old Broads for Wilderness
will be putting their boots to the ground near Rifle to explore two
proposed wilderness areas and garner support for legislation
introduced by Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., that would offer
protection to Colorado's unprotected Bureau of Land Management
wilderness-quality lands and adjacent national forest
The "Broadwalk" will
focus on two areas Deep Creek and the Roan Plateau, both of which
have wilderness-quality features but are unprotected.Deep Creek
is part of a contentious wilderness proposal sponsored by Rep.
Scott McInnis, R-Colo., who continues to negotiate with local
outfitters and the conservation community on the details, including
his demands for allowing helicopter landings.
"Some of Colorado's most
magnificent wild lands are those still most in need of protection,"
said Great Old Broads Executive Director Veronica Egan. "This event
is about creating and fueling people's passion for wilderness, and
our hope is that by getting people out on the land they will see
exactly why these lands deserve protection."