spray’ list allegedly violated
A La Plata County woman is alleging that she and her organic
farm were deliberately sprayed with pesticide by the Florida
Mosquito Control District. Rebecca Thomas said that she was
at her property, on County Road 225, three miles from Elmore’s
Corner, on Sept. 15 when a spray truck approached. In spite
of her “no spray” signage, her certified letters
asking not to be sprayed, and repeated phone calls and attempts
to wave off the truck, Thomas said that she, her garden and
her property were deliberately sprayed.
“He looked at me and looked at my sign and sprayed me,”
Thomas said of the truck driver.
She added that, based on the strong odor of the spray, she
suspects that it may have been Malathion, a more toxic mosquito
pesticide that has been linked with human health problems, rather
than the permethrin that was supposed to be sprayed. Thomas
is currently having plants tested for the presence of the chemical.
She also is in contact with an attorney but is not sure how
she will proceed.
“I’m hoping for a public discourse that will allow
those of us who don’t want to be sprayed not to be sprayed,”
Thomas added: “I want to have the Florida Mosquito Control
District be accountable for its actions and have responsibility
when they handle these chemicals and also respect the rights
of citizens. I have a right not to be sprayed and to grow food
that’s herbicide and pesticide free for my family and
Thomas has sold her produce at Nature’s Oasis and Durango
Natural Foods. She also said that she and other community members
tried to get the Florida Mosquito Control District to move its
location in the late 1990s. It had been located right next to
the Florida Mesa Elementary School playground, and Thomas said
the Environmental Protection Agency found two violations that
Sandy Waddell, manager of the Florida Mosquito Control District,
did not return our phone calls seeking comment.
Greg Vlaming, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension
agent, said that he is prepared to testify for Thomas as an
expert witness should the case go to court. “She told
me she did get sprayed, that she had ‘no spray’
signs and she was on the ‘no spray’ list,”
He added that the results of the current tests could be significant.
“There’s a real story there if the tests come back
and say that Malathion was sprayed,” Vlaming said.
Grand Canyon fire creates local haze
The brown haze seen over Southwest Colorado this week is not
the result of any prescribed burns on San Juan public lands,
according to the San Juan National Forest. The haze is coming
from a wildfire burning in the Grand Canyon. The lightning-caused
fire, known as the Poplar Complex, is estimated at 1,142 acres
and is burning 20 miles northwest of Grand Canyon Village. It
is being managed as a Wildland Use Fire, meaning no structures
or people are in immediate danger, and it’s being allowed
to burn. The local haze should move out midweek as light winds
Fire managers in Southwest Colorado have several prescribed
burns planned this fall, but more moisture is needed. The Dolores
Public Lands Office has burned approximately 550 acres this
fall in the Dolores Rim and Boggy Draw areas.
City hires central business specialist
The city of Durango has chosen former Durango Mountain Resort
senior vice-president Bob Kunkel to fill the new position of
central business district events and promotion specialist. Kunkel’s
primary job will be to attract and retain business and industry
for the central business district. This will include coordinating
promotional and marketing activities and identifying Durango’s
economic drivers. There also will be a strong focus special
“The process took longer than expected, but we feel we
have now found the perfect person to fill the job,” said
Assistant City Manager Greg Caton. “Bob brings a great
amount of experience and well-rounded skills to the position.”
Kunkel said he is looking forward to helping improve Durango’s
core. “From almost any perspective, the central business
district is the heart of Durango,” he said. “Given
the many issues and challenges that Durango is facing, contributing
leadership and resources to maintaining central business district
health and vitality is a top priority for the city. I am very
excited to be able to contribute to the vision of a successful
Last fall, City Council discussed hiring a person to work on
event promotion. It initially sought to fill the position through
an independent contractor but was unsuccessful in finding the
right fit. The city then redesigned the position and received
applications from 43 people throughout the country.
County enjoys oil and gas victory
Last week, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in favor of
La Plata, Archuleta, Las Animas, Routt and San Miguel counties
when it reversed a Denver District Court decision. The district
court had dismissed a claim by the counties against the Colorado
Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). The counties filed
suit against the COGCC, challenging an amendment that would
have exempted oil and gas drilling from some county regulation.
In its order, the court found that counties “have a legally
protected interest in enacting and enforcing their land-use
regulations governing the surface effects of oil and gas operations.”A0
Josh Joswick, chair of the Board of County Commissioners, commented,
“This is an important ruling for counties because it reaffirms
counties’ statutory right to regulate land use and development
over oil and gas operations within their jurisdictions.”
Smiley receives giant solar donation
The Smiley Building has received a donation of solar panels
from BP valued at $18,000. The package, capable of generating
three kilowatts of clean electricity, will help the Smiley Building,
located on East Third Avenue, reach its goal of going completely
off the grid.
“It was very generous of BP to give these solar panels
to the Smiley Building,” said Smiley Building co-owner
Charles Shaw. “They are helping us reach our goal of producing
100 percent of the building’s electricity from the sun
by 2008. Currently we are making 40 percent of the building’s
The donation includes 18 new high-efficiency, mono-crystalline
solar modules made by BP Solar, a solar-electric product manufacturer.
Together, these modules will help boost total solar electric
production at the Smiley Building by about 10 percent.
Additional information on the donation as well as solar products
will be available at the Solar Buildings Tour, kicking off at
the Smiley Building this Saturday morning, Oct. 4.
- compiled by