Lake Nighthorse signed into
It's official. The giant
construction project just south of downtown Durango is known as
Lake Nighthorse. This week, President Bush signed into law a bill
that names the Animas-La Plata Project's most vital component Lake
U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici,
R-N.M. introduced legislation in early June to name the reservoir
after friend and fellow congressman, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell,
R-Colo., of Ignacio, who is retiring. As a result of Bush's
signature, Ridges Basin Reservoir, which is currently being
bulldozed into existence above Bodo Park, is now Lake Nighthorse.
Domenici is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Committee and said the bill is a tribute to Campbell. "It is
fitting that the Ridges Basin Reservoir, which was created pursuant
to legislation introduced and shepherded through Congress by Sen.
Campbell, bears his name," he said.
After the name was
authorized this week, Domenici commented, "I'm very pleased that
President Bush has signed this bill into law as a way to honor
Senator Campbell. Renaming this lake after him is a fitting tribute
to his record of public service,"
Campbell announced his
retirement from the Senate earlier this year and is currently being
investigated by the Department of Justice for alleged kickbacks and
improprieties, a fact that was not mentioned by
Domenici also neglected
to mention that not only does "Lake Nighthorse" not currently
exist, but the Bureau of Reclamation has yet to obtain a decreed
water right to divert Animas River water, pump it upstream and fill
Ridges Basin Reservoir.
Instead, a statement
reads, "The lake near Durango was created under the Colorado Ute
Indian Water Settlement Act of 1988."
Forest Service busts rogue
The Forest Service came
down hard on a hunting outfitter last week, notifying Tom Bertges,
of Fort Myers, Fla.,that he has no authorization to occupy
National Forest lands and must remove his commercial hunting camp
from Missionary Ridge. The notice stemmed from an investigation
that revealed a fraudulent outfitter permit along with animal
abuse. Columbine Ranger Districtofficialsoriginally
investigated Bertges' camp on Sept.22 after hearing reports of
animal abuse. After visiting the site, the officials issued a
Notice of Noncompliance, charging that the outfitter-guide permit
had been violated. The notice was not issued to Bertges, but to
Seven Mazzone of Cody, Wyo., whose permit they believed Bertges was
operating under. It was later discovered
thatMazzonehadactually soldhis business to Bertges,
effectively terminating the outfitter permit.
"When the change in
ownership of the business occurred, the permit terminated on its
own terms," said Pauline Ellis, Columbine District ranger. "Since
the permit is no longer in effect, there is no valid authorization
for either Bertges or Mazzone to guide on Missionary
Following a separate
investigation, La Plata County Animal Control served Bertges with a
summons for three counts of cruelty to animals last weekend. The
charges included hauling animals in an unsafe manner, not providing
care for a dying mule for three days, and not providing food and
care to a severely underweight horse.
Division of Wildlife officials are reporting a successful hunting
season thus far. Early estimates show an elk harvest during the
first rifle season that was better than last year's. The first
rifle season was particularly strong in the San Juan Basin,
according to DOW biologist Scott Wait.
"The first season was
good down here," he said. "Lots of bulls were harvested and there
have been some good ones. It is indicative of the less than average
bull harvest locally last year and the carryover to this
Fort Lewis among the Best
For the second year in a
row, the prestigious Princeton Review has ranked Fort Lewis College
among one of the 134 best colleges and universities in the western
"It is a great honor to
be included in the list," said Fort Lewis College President Brad
Bartel. "As one of only 20 public liberal arts colleges in the
United States, we are driven to provide the finest quality
education to our undergraduate students."
Fort Lewis College was
recognized with only eight other Colorado colleges and
universities, including Colorado College, Colorado School of Mines,
Colorado State University, United States Air Force Academy,
University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Colorado-Denver,
University of Denver and University of Northern
Fort Lewis College
Director of Admission Gretchen Foster said that Fort Lewis is in
good company and explained why the school was selected.
"Fort Lewis College has
been recognized because it is a public liberal arts college with a
very diverse student body, has a great geographical location, and
is supported by Durango, which is an ideal college town," she said.
"Who wouldn't want to go to school on the Western Slope of the
The Princeton Review is
a top resource for prospective students who are shopping for
"The Princeton Review is
one of the most reputable guides for potential students and parents
looking for guidance about selection of quality institutions,"
Bartel said."Fort Lewis College is proud of the designation as
one of the Best in the West.'"
High school considers
Durango High School is
currently debating whether students should be required to stay on
campus all day. The 9-R School District is currently recruiting
community volunteers to study the feasibility of a closed DHS
Prior to the beginning
of the recent $23 million construction program, the DHS campus and
cafeteria facilities were too small to keep all students on campus
during the lunch hour. Now with the expanded facilities, the high
school has the capacity to keep all students on campus all day. As
a result the school is studying whether closing the campus is an
"In 2002, when the
district asked voters to approve the $84.5 million bond referendum,
parents consistently asked whether the high school improvements
would provide enough room to close campus," said 9-R Spokeswoman
Uroda added that with
construction nearly complete, the issue has resurfaced. "Now that
construction is nearing completion, a group of DHS parents asked
Principal Greg Spradling to engage the community in a discussion
about closing campus, and that's what we're doing," she
Uroda explained that
proponents say that closing campus will address safety, truancy and
other discipline issues. Opponents argue that closing campus will
require more staff power and resources than currently available to
monitor students to ensure they stay on campus.
9-R is currently
assembling a task force to study the issue. In addition to DHS
teachers, students, administrators, parents, campus neighbors and
area businesses, the school district is seeking volunteer community
members. Interested volunteers should be willing to work
cooperatively with a group of stakeholders and commit to five or
six two-hour meetings between December 2004 and March 2005.
Applications are available by calling 259-1630, Ext.
compiled by Will Sands