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Ripped off in Durango

Dear Editors,

So I just moved back to my home sweet home Durango after five years hard time in the Mission District of San Francisco, where I lived adventurously with eyes in the back of my head, my sleep filled with the sound of sirens and street fights, and my vehicle in perpetual risk of being broken into for a coin that might be under the seat. I've been back in D-town for a mere six weeks, but already I have let my guard down, adjusted my dreams to the sound of silence and ... made the mistake of leaving my beat-up bike messenger bag in my locked truck while I hiked Falls Creek Trail. Because, as fate would have it, I was chosen to have my window broken and bag stolen with everything from my last paycheck from California, credit cards, cash and cell phone to my writing book, ladybug pin and favorite superball in it. Andyou might ask, "Why did you leave all that in your car?" And I would answer, "Because it was 11:30 in the morningon a sunnyday after Thanksgiving, all the way out JunctionCreekand this is Durango, not some mean, desperate neighborhood in the city or a trailhead in Appalachia (where car robbery is actually quite common). This is DURANGO where people stop if you need a lift or a jump, take care of each other when there is a birth or accident in the family and helpto maintaina cool, laid-back community with decency and respect for others." Or is it anymore? I'm not saying Durango was ever perfect or that kids (and, unfortunately, I am assuming teen-agers did this) didn't do thoughtless andmean things 20 years ago, I'm just saying that this shouldn't be a town where people should be scared to leave anything in view that's not bolted down.

So,directly to whoever robbed me, here's a general tip"Be a leader not a follower" and a personal note ... everything you stole from me I have to replace out of pocket. I'm just a regular (actually, exceptional), hard-workin' girl with no comprehensive insurance. Do the right thing. Quit breakin' and stealin' people's shit. It's ultimately not good for your psyche. And P.S.: if it was my California tags that flared your criminal mind ... I just gotta ask, "Where are you from?"

Thanks for paying attention, Durango. Teach your children well, keep your minds open, and watch your stuff.

- Jenny Goessel (aka Jojo),

via e-mail

Common quality-of-life concerns

Dear Editors,

So the Responsible Growth Initiative (RGI) has failed. Does this mean that we should just sigh and say "oh well" or "whew!" and go back to what ever it was we were doing before? In the weeks before Election Day, I found myself swinging back and forth over the RGI. Eventually I felt compelled not to vote in favor of it for two reasons: where the seat for county commissioner was contested, both candidates were against it; and I read a very compelling letter by Dylan Norton who has as his credentials been on the Planning Commission and been a past president of the San Juan Citizens Alliance (SJCA). I believe the RGI was intended for good, but the manner of implementation and potential results were too questionable.

No, I don't feel we should go back to whatever it was we were doing before. I would like to challenge the members of the Friends of the Animas Valley (FOAV) and the Citizens for a Sustainable Durango (CSD) to bury the hatchet. I am positive that these two groups have some interests in common. Because aren't we all concerned about our quality of life? If the CSD didn't just form as a reactionary group and they really believe in what the word "sustainable" means and the FOAV hasn't become discouraged and is willing to compromise, I think theywill find some common ground.

This letter isn't just directed at the FOAV and the CSD. I would like tosuggest to all concerned citizens, community groups and our elected officials to hold a kind of summit that wouldopen up theissues that, if not all but most of us believe are important to address. Issues like: Affordable housing, traffic, recreation, development, natural resources, infrastructure limitations, sustainability and maintaining our quality of life. The purpose of such a summit should not be to point fingers or take sides. The purpose should be to join together andexamine these important issues in an effort to find ways to deal with them that most of us can agree on. We can put aside our disagreements for another day. The outcome might be that we discover how similar we are and that there are actual living, breathing human beings involved, not just a list of names in an advertisement. And more importantly, wecould also put together initiatives that address some of these issues that the voting public will be in favor of.

Perhaps as you are reading this you might be thinking, "This summit sounds like an interesting idea, but who's going to put it together?" Well here I am proposing the idea, I guess that means I'm volunteering. The truth is, I have almost no knowledge or experience in staging this kind of meeting. If what I am proposing is seen by the community as needed and useful, then I would ask for help from individuals and groups with mediation and facilitation expertise to bring about such an event. Let me know what you think, I'm in the phone book.

- Thank you, Carsten Almskaar,

via e-mail

In defense of sex and Snowdown

Dear Telegraph,

Whoa! Well into my second decade of recovery from being a Sensitive Male of the '80s, Ms. Cynthia Aspen's thoughtful rant (last week in the Telegraph) against the Superhero Snowdown 2005 poster slapped me upside the head and into the fetal crouch that I learned to assume whenever one of my sisters in the Sexual Revolution got on her high horse about matters patriarchal, back in the Rebellious '70s.

So-o-o-o ... I decided to see for myself. "Damn if she doesn't have a point," I thought at first look. Then the 12 Steps of Gender Pride Recovery kicked in, and I saw that while the poster DOES incidentally "celebrate" an idealized (some might say impossible) female form in the depiction of Weather Woman, and she DOES look a tad less able than Snowman, posters from previous years also feature stereotypes of our benighted society. If the Flintstones, the Indian, the Cowboy, the Roman, the Uncle Sam, the Hippie, the Roaring '20s and the Nimoy (Snowdown posters '04 through '97) were acceptable parodies - can't we allow one year of homage to sophomoric male fantasy? Please? Because if we "enlightened" folk in "progressive" little enclaves like Durango keep embracing the prohibitionist rhetoric of the Puritans (which tells everyone else what she/he shouldn't/should do/think), it's going to keep smelling more and more like the cesspools of "civilization" we're escaping here in our little mountain community. Let's hope next year to see more skin on Mr. Snowman and more muscle on Ms. Weather Woman, or that the Poster Gods/Gaias parody some other fantasy ripe for the abuse. Meanwhile, what do you say we SNOWDOWN 'til we drop - in peace?

- B. Frank, Hesperus

Drivers: An untapped resource

Dear Editors,

Thanks for putting out your great publication. I came into town shortly afterThe Telegraph appeared, and thinking it was the know-all and end-all authority on life inDurango have fashioned my life based on the intrinsic philosophy and body of knowledge I found.

I have since learned that indeed your publication is just a baby, and that I have precariously created a new self, based uponthe prepubescent flounderings of alocal fledgling rag. I have high hopes for us both,that wefollow our respective hearts and succeed, based on our own definitions of success.

May I suggest a hertofore untapped resource - The column "Dear Diver," may alternately be coined "Dear Driver." I havemany times had the benefitof words of wisdom from themouths of pizza deliveryfolk and suggest therefore that you might explore the wealth ofknowledge and advice that may betooling around town in the wee hours of the morning delivering sustenance for mind and body alike.

- Veggie Supremely yours, Timmie Ann Schramm,

via e-mail

The next FDA cover up

Dear Editors,

That Vioxx`99 (rofecoxib), a cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX 2) inhibitor, causes increased heart attack and stroke among users was known four years prior to its removal from the corporate drug market. This fact is substantiated by the study known as VIGOR (VIOXX Gastrointestinal Outcomes Research), performed in 2000 by MERCK. VIGOR showed that the COX-2 inhibitor promotes the clotting of blood and high blood pressure due to sodium retention in the kidneys in some users. The "deadly duo" elicited an estimated 100,000 preventable injuries in Vioxx`99 users. The grotesque imitation of what should be the scientific community is not stopping what appears to be the next "FDA cover up."

A member of the FDA's drug safety advisory committee and a well-known authority on drug safety, Dr. Curt Furberg, recently came forward to announce that Bextra `99 (valdecoxib), a chemical cousin of Vioxx`99, also causes heart attack and stroke. Published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Dr. Furberg insists that his studies "showed that Bextra is no different than Vioxx, and Pfizer is trying to suppress that information." Immediately thereafter, Dr. Furberg was barred from serving on the panel that is responsible for considering the safety of cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX 2) inhibitors.

Dr. Furberg is not alone in his convictions. Garret Fitzgerald, MD, PharmD, of the Center for Experimental Therapeutics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, discussed his findings relative to Bextra `99 at the American Heart Association Scientific Session 2004 on Nov. 10. His studies showed that the risk for heart attack and stroke was more than twice as high among those patients taking Bextra`99 compared to the placebo group. These were identical to the findings of Vioxx`99 in the year 2000.

As chemical cousins, Vioxx`99 and Bextra`99 share the same biochemical qualities. Both drugs are considered COX 2 inhibitors. Both drugs thicken the blood. Just like concrete thickens upon addition of water, so does the blood upon addition of Bextra`99. Technically speaking, both COX 2 inhibitors increase the production of thromboxane. This chemical promotes blood clotting, which in turn increases the chances of suffering from heart attack and stroke.

Pfizer and the FDA aren't letting this out, even if it means barring leading scientists from advisory boards. This approach works because pharmaceutically complaint politicians have democratized the drug industry. Drug safety is a simple matter of 51 percent telling the other 49 percent that deadly drugs like Bextra`99 are safe and necessary.

Science and choice no longer prevail in medicine. Instead, health tyranny, motivated by profit and asserted by insurance companies, dominates. Rent-a-quote medical doctors simply follow orders by mandating prescription drug addiction. This is so apparent that it would take a highly educated person to miss it. Health is only guaranteed to those who resist the greed-driven current that draws them to deadly, FDA approved drugs.

- Shane Ellison M.Sc.,

via e-mail

Wheel confusion

Dear Editors,

The wheel that graces the cover of your Nov. 18 issue is not that of a tractor, but either a diesel-powered generator or compressor ... I can't remember which. That information came to me by way of an acquaintance I once knew who was a member of the family that owned both the property and the equipment.

In any case, I can assure you that it has been parked in the same place at least since 1979. That year, I moved into an apartment in the 1800 block of Florida Road, which at that time, was several hundred feet from my nearest neighbor.Even then that red "thing" looked to have been there for an eternity.

- Waldemar Winkler,

via e-mail





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