|Fenced In: A local rancher fires up the
dozer recently below the snowcapped peaks of the La Plata
Mountains./Photo by Todd Newcomer.
Joe Colgan tapped as Durango's new mayor
Mayor Virginia Castro handed over the
reins of the Durango City Council to Joe Colgan last Tuesday. The
position rotates amongst the council members every year. Colgan has
served on council for seven years and served as mayor during
1999/2000. Dale Garland was named mayor pro tem.
"I'm very happy to be
elected mayor," Colgan commented. "This is a great city and we have
some great opportunities and challenges ahead. If this term is as
successful as my first effort, I'll be real happy."
Castro's term included
the controversial denial of River Trails Ranch as well as the
declaration of Durango as a Patriot Act-free zone and a fiery
debate on parking issues.
"I feel like the past
year went by very quickly, and yet when I look back at all of the
issues and meetings, it was also probably one of the longest years
of my life," she said. "In a word, I would describe the end of my
term as mayor as bittersweet."
Castro said that the
position goes into capable hands, particularly since Colgan has
already served as mayor. "Joe has the rare honor of serving as the
mayor previously," she said. "He definitely has the first-hand
experience of presiding over the meetings."
Colgan said that Durango
faces many of the same challenges as it did during his first
"The issues never seem
to change growth, affordable housing, providing the infrastructure
needs to keep the city functioning well," he said. "A new library
is going to be an important issue in the near future."
Major water users ready for drought
For the second year in a row, major
water users of the San Juan River Basin are preparing for summer
water shortages. Ten participating entities in northern New Mexico
have signed a shortage-sharing agreement in case flows in the San
Juan and Animas rivers are sub-par.
The New Mexico
Interstate Stream Commission described both the 2003 and 2004
agreements as unprecedented examples of tribal, governmental,
agricultural and industrial cooperation. The agreement should
enable users like power plants, municipalities and irrigators to
address shortages without lawsuits.
"The possibility of
priority administration on the San Juan River was averted during
2003 because major water users on the river in New Mexico developed
recommendations for sharing shortages," explained New Mexico State
Engineer John D'Antonio.
D'Antonio added that
this year's agreement should accomplish the same goal.
"I support the efforts
of water users to work toward cooperative solutions," he continued.
"These solutions are preferable to state or court-imposed
The parties to the
shortage-sharing agreement are the Navajo Nation; the Jicarilla
Apache Nation; PNM (operator of the San Juan Generating Station);
Arizona Public Service (operator of the Four Corners Power Plant);
BHP Billiton; the Hammond Irrigation Project; the City of
Farmington; the Jewett Valley Ditch; the Farmers Mutual Ditch; and
the Bloomfield Irrigation District.
As part of the
agreement's principles, the entities have agreed to reduce water
consumption to protect the critical level at Navajo Reservoir. The
San Juan Generating Station, the Four Corners Power Plant and BHP
Billiton, another energy company, have also contracted to lease an
additional 16,000 acre-feet of water from the Jicarilla Apache
Nation during 2004 for use at the power plants and coal
Locals to March for Women's Lives
Local residents will join thousands of
others nationally in the continuing fight for women's rights this
Sunday, April 25. In Washington, D.C., the March for Women's Lives
will he held in support of reproductive freedom. Durango will add
its support to this massive public demonstration with a sister
march beginning at Rotary Park at 1:30 p.m. and marching down Main
"Now is the time to
stand up and be counted in the fight for women's rights," said
local National Organization for Women (NOW) Coordinator, Cynthia
Aspen said that women's
reproductive rights are currently under attack more than they have
ever been in the last decade. She added that march organizers seek
to demonstrate that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe
that they, not the government, should have the right to make deeply
personal health decisions.
demonstration aims to send a clear and resounding message to George
W. Bush and to the United States Supreme Court that we will fight
to protect women's self-determination and reproductive freedom,
including birth control and abortion," Aspen said. "It is time to
send a wake-up call to our leaders that Americans will fight to
protect women's fundamental reproductive rights."
"Reproductive freedom is a human right that all women worldwide
must be able to exercise. That's why we plan to make our voices
heard on April 25."
"The global gag rule' is
just one more reason why hundreds of thousands of women's rights
supporters will converge in Washington, D.C., to march for women's
lives," said Aspen.
NOW is one of nearly
1,000 organizations nationwide that will participate in the March
for Women's Lives.
National Monument receives boost
The integrity of the Canyons of the
Ancients National Monument improved this week. The Trust for Public
Land and Bureau of Land Management announced the purchase of a
440-acre parcel within the boundaries of the relatively new
national monument west of Cortez. The formerly private land will
become part of the monument and conveyed to the BLM.
The parcel is the final
piece of the original 2,000-acre Trail Canyon Ranch, which was
owned and operated by Reece and Leslie Ann Malles. On an adjacent
part of the ranch sold previously to private buyers, a conservation
easement has been placed to protect an important Anasazi site,
including one of only a dozen great kivas known to exist in
Southwestern Colorado. Work also is under way to stabilize and
restore a historic rock cabin on the parcel, and conservation
easements are being pursued on other portions of the
"The Malles have been
sensitive to the cultural resource values of their property for
many years, and we are pleased they expressed interest in making
this last piece of the Trail Canyon Ranch part of Canyons of the
Ancients National Monument," said LouAnn Jacobson, Monument
Manager.The acquisition, about 7 miles west of Cortez, includes
Morrison Canyon and a mesa overlooking adjacent Trail Canyon. It
contains 10 important archeological sites, according to a survey
conducted by the Fort Lewis College Anthropology Department,
including a pithouse, village sites, a pueblo, a granary and a
field house constructed by Puebloan peoples.
"Working to protect a
place like this with the landowner, the BLM, and the community is
gratifying and immensely important," said Doug Robotham, director
of TPL's Colorado program.
Canyons of the Ancients
encompasses 164,000 acres of federal land west of Cortez and was
designated as a monument in 2000 by presidential
compiled by Will