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The missing barber

To whom it may concern:

Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your newspaper, but you were not accurate in your article "Off the Top" on page 12 & 13 of your Jan. 22, 2004, issue.

As you can see from the enclosed pictures, there is another Barber Shop in Durango. You said there were only two. I felt kind of left out since I've been in business in Durango for 27 years and my father had a shop here for 20 years before that.

All the investigative reporting you would have to do is look in the phone book under "Barber Shops" and you would have seen this listing:

A Barber Shop

2053 Main Avenue Ste. B

Durango, CO 81301


Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope in the future you will check a little better.

Rod Wenzel

Smelling the right rat

Dear Editors:

Why are these people griping about hauling water? People who live in posh houses in Boulder County also haul water; have been doing so for years.

For example, up Sunshine Canyon west of Boulder on the ironically named Poor Man's Road, people who live in ritzy houses haul water to cisterns. Among its denizens is John Wittemyer, a partner in one of the most prestigious water law firms in the state. Don't recall any of those folks complaining.

Just as in Sunshine Canyon, the Red Mesa denizens have chosen to live where they do. That means accepting the conditions of that choice. It is not the responsibility of federal taxpayers to subsidize their water development.

Besides, I checked water in the Yellow Pages and noted that a rural denizen can get some mighty good quality water from area suppliers.

But the recent story by Will Sands about this Dry Side pipeline and regional water treatment plant does prove that we original opponents of the Animas-La Plata project smelled the right rat.

From the beginning, we were suspicious that the A-LP was not for poor yeoman farmers, but development water. One major clue was a full-page ad in a special Durango Herald supplement published in 1979, bought by one of the Durango developers.

Now, from a much broader perspective, I see these bills being pushed by Jim Dunlap as very bad federal policy because there are 50 states in the USA, all of whom have rural areas. Thus, it's not just $72 million for La Plata rural water users, but all the other rural water users who will be clamoring for a share of this new federal porkbarrel.

I pray that Congress has the wisdom to realize that.

Jeanne W. Englert,

Lafayette, CO

Dogcatcher dharma

Dear Editors:

Playing fetch with your dog has a Zen-like quality. The mindless repetition of throwing the ball and it, miraculously, returning is a wonderful place to let your mind quiet. Only, my mind wasn't quiet on this particular day. Life's roller coaster had been getting me down, and I was feeling thoroughly overwhelmed.

Amidst the turmoil swirling in my brain, I had my beautiful, fuzzy, blond marshmallow of a dog that was going nuts to get some exercise. His favorite thing fetch. So, I decided to let things settle down and do double duty with my dog. I went to the riverside park near my house. Although it was midday, November weather made it cold and blustery.

Needless to say, I was alone in the park. My dog and I had the whole beautiful, green lawn on which to drift into the meditative zone of fetch. We had been playing for about 10 or 15 minutes, and thoughts of the relationships in my life began zooming through my brain like a hurricane gathering strength. The pistons churning in my head were causing me to throw the ball farther and farther. My dog was having a heyday, running back and forth on the lawn, into the river, through the brush. Hey, maybe this was the answer to finally drain him of the obsessive retriever instinct.

With Herculean strength I had just whizzed another tennis ball into the river with my "Chuck-it" when, out of nowhere, "Excuse me miss, are you a resident of Durango?" I gasped, sucked back into reality by a uniformed dogcatcher. I knew where he was going with this, of course. "Yes, I'm a resident of Durango," I replied tersely. Then he asked the most rankling question, "Then why is your dog off a leash?" Now, I don't know what kind of education you need to become a dogcatcher, but it seemed fairly obvious to me that common sense, at the most miniscule level, would tell you the difficulty of playing fetch while on a leash. Having walked across the field to harangue me would certainly have given him time to observe the ritual of the game. OK, it was rhetorical, but I was not in the mindset to be pestered with any type of question. So I replied with the obvious, "Because we are playing fetch."

"Well, as a resident of Durango, you should know that your dog cannot be off a leash!" He was getting a little testy now. But not as testy as me.

This poor little dogcatcher was the spark to set off the dynamite, the final drop breaking the seal to start the torrent, the finger that snaps the bean. And then I unleashed

"You know I have just had about enough of this leash law in the park! I have had a really bad day, and I'm just not going to take it anymore!!!"

He shrunk back with a look of horror as I hurled my Chuck-it across the field as far as I could throw it, releasing the energy that had reached maximum capacity. We had lift-off.

I bored into him with laser beam eyes and challenged him to hand over the piece of paper that would send me to doggie detention. Instead, with a look of defeat intermingled with a smidgen of defiance, he looked at me as if we were fourth-graders on the playground and said, "Well, you're not the only one!"

I turned around and stared at the river, stunned that the dogcatcher actually possessed human qualities. Had he disarmed me with his sensitivity? Was he a person with relationships and even a personality? Maybe he even had a human family and they all had human feelings. A trickle of regret began seeping through my skin. As it grew, I turned around to face the music and maybe even apologize for my outburst. But he was nowhere in sight! He had vanished faster than the fame of Joe Millionaire.

I was left with the realization that maybe it wasn't all about me today. Now, I had infected the poor dogcatcher with my gloom. Yes, it's true that I consider those in the dog catching occupation lowlier than 4 telemarketers, but I suppose they are still people. People who may want to consider a better line of work but, nevertheless, people.

So, assuaged by the niblet of insight gained by unleashing on the dogcatcher, I gathered my Chuck-it and my furry friend and headed home.

Mary Hollis McCord

The other Missy Votel

Dear Editors,

I read with amusement and interest the "Hockey Mom" editorial by your Missy Votel in the Jan. 8 edition of The Telegraph .

How tragic for this would-be puckster to have actually suffered the indignity of "whiffing" on an apparently open shot or pass.

Like the writer, I'm from Minnesota where hockey is king, possibly surpassed only by the challenging sport of ice fishing.

It turns out that, coincidentally, I have a daughter by the name of Missy Votel. However, unlike your hockey mom heroine, my Missy Votel is an athlete of almost mythical legend. Her sport was basketball, and the venue was the gritty world of rough-and-tumble grade school city league competition in the early 1980s.

At the commencement of one game, her considerable talent had apparently not yet caught the attention of her coach. My Missy Votel, being self confident in her talent, quietly and patiently assumed a position at the end of the bench, where she remained fully uniformed and ready for destiny's call. Alas, that call did not come during regulation time, and the game, being at a tied score, entered over time. The tied score ensued, and the call to stardom did not come for Votel during the first overtime period. During the second overtime her five remaining teammates, those who had not fouled out, were on the floor.

Votel, apparently recognizing that her rise to glory would not occur until another day, was still occupying her solitary position at the end of the bench, but, in preparation for the wintry ride home in her father's cold family truckster, had now put on her coat, hat, mittens and slacks still fully uniformed underneath.

As fate would have it, at this inopportune moment one of her teammates fouled out, and the seemingly delayed call to stardom had arrived. The players, coaches, referee and fans patiently waited while Votel took off her outdoor clothing in preparation to enter the game .The score still being tied, but by now in the low teens, the anticipation was electric. Like your hockey mom, the hoopster Missy received a pass, but unlike your hockey mom, she embraced the opportunity for greatness, took a shot and scored the winning basket.

Thus, started her legendary athletic career. Two Missy Votels? Both from Minnesota? One a hoopster, one a puckster? Strikingly different athletic fates? A coincidence?

Maybe maybe not.

Terry Votel,

Eagan, Minn.

Advice for the cartoonist, editors

(Editors' note: We believe the following letter is the last of many on the editorial cartoon in the Jan. 15 edition of the Telegraph.)

Dear Editors:

May I suggest that cartoonist and editors alike familiarize themselves with both the full scope as well as some of the details of the "Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict", a/k/a the Geneva Accord. The full text of the Geneva Accord can be found at: http://informationclearinghouse.info/article5019.htm

The agreement is complex with implementation clearly difficult to accomplish. Most news coverage, editorials and political cartoons comment on single aspects of the problem because the entire issue defies brief explanation. This puts added responsibility on the commentator to get it right.

Although peaceful people of all faiths are welcomed there, Israel is by definition a Jewish state. This will not change. However, hostile Arab factions such as Hamas and Hezbollah frequently demonstrate an unqualified commitment to the destruction of Israel. It is obvious that threats to Israel's fundamental security will continue regardless of the establishment of a sovereign state for non-Israeli Arabs now living in areas controlled by Israel.

Without question, a sovereign nation has the basic right and responsibility to protect its borders from attack. I suppose if, rather than relatively benign individuals, suicide bombers and other would-be killers were entering the United States from Mexico, Americans would demand that our government take all measures necessary to stop them, including walls and guard towers.

The majority of voting Israelis seems ready to effect the abandonment of settlements and cede Gaza and the West Bank to Arabs in order that they may establish a sovereign state. Most Israelis have come to realize that the establishment of a sovereign Arab state makes life more secure for Israel in the long term. Also, most Israelis would rather not erect walls and fencing because of the constant reminder these structures provide of the fragile state of their personal safety.

However, until New Palestine (or whatever it may be called) demonstrates its ability to establish social order and contain its criminals, fortified borders are a necessity for Israel.

Satire fails utterly when the satirist has missed the point. Perhaps your cartoon should have depicted a bomb-toting Arab tunneling under the wall only to be met by an Israeli soldier with the Road Map in one hand and a rifle in the other.

Henry Silver,

Pagosa Springs





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