A deer takes a pause from its daily business to scratch
an itch along County Road 214 south of Durango./ Photo by
9-R project faces unexpected costs
Efforts to expand facilities
throughout the Durango 9-R School District got hit with an
unexpected extra bill recently. An additional $1.6 million must be
spent in order to retrofit existing buildings with sprinkler
systems. The money will have to come from cuts in other parts of
the project's $84.5 million project.
In November of 2002,
voters approved an $84.5 million bond issue to cover upgrades,
renovations and additions to each of the facilities in the school
district. The district had set aside $1 million for sprinkler
installation in new buildings. However, in July of last year, the
school district was notified by the Durango Fire and Rescue
Authority that existing buildings would also have to be retrofitted
with sprinkler systems as well because of a "a distinct hazard to
Deb Uroda, 9-R director
of public information, said that the notice came as a shock.
"According to the existing building code, you do not have to
retrofit existing buildings unless the fire marshal declares a
distinct hazard," she said. "It is interesting to note that there
was no distinct hazard prior to the bond issue passing"
Since the notice last
July, the district has worked to find ways to cover the new
expenses and has received a $600,000 Energy Impact Grant from the
Colorado Department of Local Affairs. However, for the remaining $1
million, cuts will have to be made in each of the projects. Uroda
stressed that there will be no sacrifice to quality.
"It's more a matter of
making a few rooms a little smaller or using different material on
some of he walls," she said.
Search turns up snowboarder alive
A 22-year-old male snowboarder was
found uninjured but hypothermic just before midnight on Sunday,
Jan. 25, by members of the San Juan Sledders working with La Plata
County Search and Rescue. Missing since Sunday afternoon, Phil
McGovern had ridden out of bounds off of Durango Mountain Resort's
western boundary and into the Elbert Creek drainage. He was
discovered approximately 5 miles west of the resort.
McGovern had been last
seen at about 10 a.m. on Sunday when he left from Lift 1 near the
top of Durango Mountain Resort. A friend reported him missing to
DMR patrol at the end of the day, and a further search by resort
personnel failed to locate him. The La Plata County Sheriff's
Office was then notified.
La Plata County Search
& Rescue and San Juan Sledders responded to the area and,
combined with DMR Patrol personnel, searched the western edge of
the ski resort. Eleven members of DMR's patrol and 24 members of La
Plata County Search & Rescue and San Juan Sledders teamed up
for the search on snowmobiles and skis.
"Full marks go to La
Plata County Search and Rescue, the San Juan Sledders, and the
Durango Mountain Resort patrol for their efficiency in coordinating
efforts and conducting the search," said DMR Ski Patrol Director
Scott Clements. "With the cold temperatures and blowing snow,
McGovern is a fortunate individual."
Lt. Dan Bender, of La
Plata County Sheriff's Office, concurred, saying, "With weather
conditions being what they are up there, it is quite possiblehe
would not have survived the nighthad he not been found when he
It appeared that, while
snowboarding in a densely wooded, out-of-bounds area,
McGovernbecame disoriented and eventually entered the Elbert
Creek Drainage.Once there, the deep snow and rugged terrain
prevented him from finding his way back.
It is unlawful to go
beyond ski area boundaries except at designated access points, and
violators can be prosecuted. Those who require rescue can also be
charged for cost of the search and rescue. It has not yet been
determined whether McGovern will be prosecuted or charged for the
costs. His riding privileges at DMR have been suspended.
Mercy makes stride in cardiac care
Mercy Medical Center took a big step
toward improved cardiac care last Friday when two patients received
implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). The surgically
implanted devices are used to shock the heart back into action if
it suddenly fails or beats abnormally and can also electrically
pace hearts that beat too slowly.
"ICDs have allowed many
people to live longer," said Dr. Chris Peters, a cardio-thoracic
surgeon who helped implant the devices. "I'm glad we can bring this
procedure to the region. It's yet another link in the continuum of
care we can provide through Mercy's growing heart
devices are inserted under the skin in a patient's chest and
contain a battery, microprocessor and other circuitry. Two wire
leads connect the device to the patient's heart, monitor the
heart's activity, and transmit electrical stimulation when
"What many people don't know is that the heart's electrical system can be permanently
damaged by a heart attack, which is caused when the blood supply
to the heart is restricted or cut off for a period of time,"
said Dr. Bruce Andrea, a cardiologist who also helped implant
the devices. "ICDs monitor, pace and jump start hearts with
Peters and Andrea
estimate that 80 to 100 patients in Southwest Colorado could
benefit from the devices. As of August of last year, approximately
80,000 patients in the United States had defibrillators
Forest Service seeks artist-in-residence
The San Juan National Forest is
accepting applications for the Aspen Guard Station
Artist-in-Residence Program through March 1. The residency program,
now in its 10th year, is open to painters, writers, poets,
musicians, photographers, sculptors, performers, dancers and other
Those selected for
residencies will stay at the historic Aspen Guard Station for one
to two weeks during the summer or fall of 2004. The rustic log
cabin, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, is a
former ranger station set in an aspen grove 12 miles north of
Mancos. In return for their residencies, artists donate a piece of
artwork portraying their stay at the cabin and share their talents
with the public through exhibits, performances, open houses or
Representatives of area
art associations will choose six finalists and one alternate by May
1. Selection will be made solely on the basis of merit, without
regard to sex, race, creed, religion, national origin or physical
ability. However, because of its historical nature, the Aspen Guard
Station does not meet American Disability Act standards.
are available in Durango at the San Juan Public Lands Center, 15
Burnett Court, and the Durango Arts Center, 802 E. Second Ave. For
more information call 247-4874.
-compiled by Will