Work begins on Discovery
Efforts to convert the abandoned 1893
Durango Power Plant into the Durango Discovery Museum has forged
ahead. Renovation of the historic structure into the new home of
the Durango Children's Museum began late last week, and completion
is targeted for the summer of 2006.
The city has agreed to
donate the powerhouse to the Children's Museum, assuming certain
funding goals are met by the museum. Plans are for the historic
structure to become the Durango Discovery Museum, which will offer
hands-on learning experience highlighting the scientific and
technological innovations made in the Durango area. The museum will
put a special emphasis on the local development of
Construction began last
week on the structure's roof, courtesy of a State Historical Fund
grant and City of Durango funding. The new roof will be more
historic in appearance and help to stabilize the building. The roof
construction also is a kick-off that should trigger other
"This is really the
first step," said Jeff Vierling, Children's Museum board member and
volunteer coordinator of the project. "The linch-pin has really
been getting this roof started. We have several grants lined up for
the reconstruction of the outside of the building."
In addition to the roof,
asbestos will be cleaned up. During the next phase, stucco will be
"We're just really
excited to see it start happening," Vierling said. "It's great to
see it come back to life."
Thus far, the Children's
Museum has raised $1 million of the projected $5 million cost.
"We've done really well with grants and will continue to pursue
them," Vierling said. "We also really hope that with the
construction beginning that the community will step up and help us
raise the remainder."
Vierling concluded by
saying that the project has been somewhat mislabeled as being only
a children's museum. Once complete, the Discovery Museum will be an
asset for the entire community, he said.
"The roof is really the
first step toward a Discovery Museum that will serve all ages and
include a lively riverfront events area and a museum that focuses
on energy in the past, present and future," Vierling
Great Old Broads celebrate 15
Great Old Broads for Wilderness, a
Durango-based conservation group, will celebrate 15 years of
advocating for wilderness at the end of the month. The group was
founded in 1989 by a group of older women as a way to celebrate the
25th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and to counter allegations
that the elderly need roads to access wilderness.
Broads has stood up for
wilderness throughout America since that time, fighting grazing
impacts on fragile desert ecosystems, oil and gas leasing and
exploration on public lands, off-road vehicle travel, and the
continued expansion of illegal roads into wilderness-quality
Libby Ingalls, board
member, commented, "It was a voice that was missing, the
gray-haired woman who's seen it all and been through it
Broads boasts more than
2,500 members nationwide that participate in Broadwalks to garner
attention for areas that need protection throughout the
"When you get the
gray-haired old ladies in tennis shoes out there, it gets people's
attention," said Rose Chilcoat, Broads programs director. "It's the
voice of the elder. When an older person speaks, people still take
time to respectfully listen."
Great Old Broads will be
celebrating 15 years of Broadness at a Broadwalk Conference in Snow
Canyon State Park near Saint George, Utah. The celebration begins
Sept. 30 and will include hikes in wilderness study areas and talks
by noted speakers, including Earthfirst co-founder Dave
For more information
Red Mtn. preservation
What was once cause for alarm is now a
reason to celebrate. This weekend, Red Mountain Heritage Day will
commemorate the preservation of more than 7,000 endangered acres in
the vicinity of Red Mountain Pass.
Preservation of the area
became critical in the fall of 2002. At that time, landowner Frank
Baumgartner had been marketing "mountain homesites any size" in the
vicinity of Red Mountain Pass. He also had been making noise about
reopening a gold mine. The situation reached a breaking point when
Baumgartner flexed some muscle and bulldozed several historic
structures on his property.
Now approximately two
years later, Baumgartner's 1,600 acres have been placed in public
hands along with approximately 5,400 additional acres.
"We've been able to
acquire over 7,000 acres and get them into a protected status,"
said Ken Francis of Fort Lewis College's Office of Community
Services. "We've also stabilized about nine historic structures up
The Red Mountain Project
was created to purchase scenic mining claims, transfer them to
public hands and preserve the remaining historic features from the
1880s mining boom. The effort has secured $14 million to date, is
ongoing and plans to acquire another 3,000 endangered acres in the
area. Negotiations are taking place on several targeted
This Saturday, Sept. 18,
from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Heritage Day will showcase the project for
its beneficiaries the public. Nine historic sites, including the
rarely open Idarado Mine, will be open and staffed with
"It's a celebration and
outreach for the public to come out and visit the land that's now
theirs," Francis said. "The idea is to have the people come out in
the midst of fall colors and enjoy access to these lands that are
now in public hands."
For more information on
Red Mountain Heritage Day, contact the San Juan County Historical
Society at 387-5488.
Pertussis strikes in La Plata
Pertussis, or whooping cough, has
joined West Nile virus and hantavirus as a local health threat. The
San Juan Basin Health Department reported nine confirmed cases of
pertussis in La Plata County over the past month. The disease is
particularly harmful to young children and infants.
The disease is a
bacterial infection that has been on the rise for several years.
Symptoms include episodes of uncontrolled coughing so severe that
they result in vomiting, difficulty inhaling (which produces a
whooping sound) or periods of not being able to breathe at all.
Pertussis lasts six to 10 weeks and is most severe in infants with
a fatality rate of up to 1 percent.
Infants are generally
immunized for pertussis at 2, 4 and 6 months of age, with boosters
at 18 months and between 4 to 6 years. After the final booster,
immunity gradually decreases, leaving older children and adults
susceptible to the disease.Children under 7 years old can
receive a pertussis vaccine, but there is no immunization available
For more information,
call SJBHD at 247-5702.
compiled by Will