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Legend of the River of Lost Souls, Part 2

Dear Editors,

So Boat Man and Cataraft Man took their craft and their passengers to the place known as Ninth Street and pushed their boats into the current of the River of Lost Souls. Quickly they passed Where Red Lion Dwelt and Where Dogs Run Freely. As they looked ahead on the river, their eyes were blinded by the reflection of the sun, many times over.

“This city must truly be a magical and powerful place!” said the awestruck Valley People. “Only the Palace of Versailles in Paris has such a Hall of Mirrors! Is this where they commune with their gods?”

“No,” said Learned Man Who Studies People. “This is where they treat their sewage.”

The Valley People were puzzled by this, but they had no time to ponder it, for their ears were filled with the roar of the Rapids Called Smelter.

Boat Man stood and studied the river ahead of them. “I have traveled this stretch of river day after day, over many years, but it is unfamiliar to me now. In the winters, when the waters are low and the river has no power, the Concrete Queen and her minions come in and rearrange the rocks.”

“Why do they do this unnatural thing?”

“To impose their will on it. They want to tell the river to jump where they want it to jump, and when they want it to jump. It is from this they derive their pleasure, not from the river itself,” said Boat Man. “And they wish to appease the Yak-ers. Yak-ers are strange creatures – they have no legs, only a plastic pod and solid plastic heads. They take no joy in flowing with the river, but clamor to stay in one spot in the river and ‘play’ in ‘play holes.’ That is why they rearrange the rocks – to make as many ‘play holes’ as possible for these noisy children.

“They call this River Enhancement.”

Learned Man of the Law was troubled. “But what if the way they rearrange these rocks makes the river more dangerous for others, like ourselves? Did such a

thing not happen, just a few short years ago?” “The Concrete Queen told us not to fear,” said Trailer Woman, “for the city has much liability insurance.”

Boat Man sighed. “The city can spend its riches4 


Legend of the River of Lost Souls, Part 2

Dear Editors,

So Boat Man and Cataraft Man took their craft and their passengers to the place known as Ninth Street and pushed their boats into the current of the River of Lost Souls. Quickly they passed Where Red Lion Dwelt and Where Dogs Run Freely. As they looked ahead on the river, their eyes were blinded by the reflection of the sun, many times over.

“This city must truly be a magical and powerful place!” said the awestruck Valley People. “Only the Palace of Versailles in Paris has such a Hall of Mirrors! Is this where they commune with their gods?”

“No,” said Learned Man Who Studies People. “This is where they treat their sewage.”

The Valley People were puzzled by this, but they had no time to ponder it, for their ears were filled with the roar of the Rapids Called Smelter.

Boat Man stood and studied the river ahead of them. “I have traveled this stretch of river day after day, over many years, but it is unfamiliar to me now. In the winters, when the waters are low and the river has no power, the Concrete Queen and her minions come in and rearrange the rocks.”

“Why do they do this unnatural thing?”

“To impose their will on it. They want to tell the river to jump where they want it to jump, and when they want it to jump. It is from this they derive their pleasure, not from the river itself,” said Boat Man. “And they wish to appease the Yak-ers. Yak-ers are strange creatures – they have no legs, only a plastic pod and solid plastic heads. They take no joy in flowing with the river, but clamor to stay in one spot in the river and ‘play’ in ‘play holes.’ That is why they rearrange the rocks – to make as many ‘play holes’ as possible for these noisy children.

“They call this River Enhancement.”

Learned Man of the Law was troubled. “But what if the way they rearrange these rocks makes the river more dangerous for others, like ourselves? Did such a thing not happen, just a few short years ago?” “The Concrete Queen told us not to fear,” said Trailer Woman, “for the city has much liability insurance.”

Boat Man sighed. “The city can spend its riches4 

rearranging the rocks, but one day the waters will flow, with even more force than this, and the River Gods will place the rocks as they should be.” Their boat reached the Terrible Tongue of the Rapids Called Smelter. “Paddle!” commanded Boat Man, and pushed with all his strength on his oars.

The Learned Men paddled as though their lives depended on it. Which they did. In the midst of the rapids, there arose a wave so high and powerful, Trailer Woman had not seen its like since the Canyon Called Grand. It washed her from the boat as it crashed down!

Wise Woman of the City leaped to her aid, and grabbed her life jacket at the shoulder, but so great was Trailer Woman’s weight, she could not be pulled into the boat. So she floated along, a fleece-covered drag-bag, until Boat Man could to leave his oars and haul her, like a giant flounder, onto the floor of the raft. There was no time to rest, for on their right arose The Greatest Horror of Them All – the Ultimate Absurdity – and Boat Man and Cataraft Man strove mightily to keep from being sucked into its ugly maw. Next : Our intrepid travelers confront the Animas La Plata Project.

– Willow Woman


Deadly weeds of La Plata County 

Dear Editors,

Farmington’s recent Four Corners Weed Symposium presenters warned that weeds are not just unsightly – they can kill animals, humans and our pets. SF/X...The management checklist I researched follows.

n Mistaken for water-parsnip, sweet-smelling Western waterhemlock, among cattails and irrigation canals, can cause animal and human convulsions and death in 30 minutes. Waterhemlock’s leaf-veins end in notched-V areas. Handle wearing rubber gloves.

n Leafy spurge sap burns skin and can cause animal and human blindness. It’s toxic to cattle and elk.

nReducing wildlife forage by 90 percent, spotted knapweed’s state epicenter is La Plata County. With 15-year seed-viability, it erodes soils 10 times more than prairie bunch-grass.

n Musk thistle increases fire potential.

n Highly flammable cheatgrass reduces fire frequencies to three to five years from 60.

n Purple loosestrife, with 3 million seeds per stem, also grows from severed parts.

n Mayweed chamomile, with 200,000 seeds, blisters cattle muzzles.

n Horse chewing-disease death can result from Russian knapweed (eating 50 to 70 percent of body-weight).

n Yellow starthistle, houndstongue and locoweed (silky crazyweed) kill horses and poison livestock.

n Kochia and flixweed (tansy mustard) can cause oft-fatal grazing animal liver disease.

n Halogeton causes sheep kidney failure.

n Larkspur poisons mainly cattle.

n Poison hemlock causes cattle/sheep abortions, deformities, decreased fertility and weight.

n Eating two pounds of twogrooved milkvetch in two hours poisons animals.

n Canada thistle causes nitrate poisoning and regenerates from severed plant parts.

n Common burdock seeds trap and kill bats, hummingbirds, etc.

n Soil weed-seed banks and extensive root-systems, i.e., Russian knapweed’s 20 feet of interconnected rhizome-roots, and field bindweed’s 80-year seed viability, outlast chemicals’ effectiveness.

n Oil and gas road – wellpad – pipeline construction, along with wheeled conveyances and recreational activities, i.e., picking/discarding unidentified wildflowers, disperses seeds. Other examples: residential/commercial construction (sand, gravel, topsoil) and road maintenance/snowplowing.  

Rep. Mark Larson shepherded Colorado’s Noxious Weed Act (2003:HB-114) www.ag.state.co/DPI/weeds/ statutes/weedlaw.pdf, and leafy spurge, Russian knapweed, diffuse knapweed, spotted knapweed, dalmatian4 toadflax, yellow toadflax are mandatory for control in La Plata County.

New Mexico’s nine-year experiment eradicated leafy spurge when the Natural Resources Conservation Service released 500 beetles. Cloudcroft, N.M., eradicated spurge in seven years combining spraying and beetles.

Some chemicals require additives or plant absorption can’t occur. Some mixed with irrigation water won’t work. Some herbicides increase plant sugar production, attracting animals. Beware herbicide – sales scams promising impossible results. Success requires site-precipitation/weed-species/weed-cycle specific chemicals. Read labels before purchasing. Read labels before using.

Drought-stricken rangeland grasses need around five years to recuperate.

– Susan Franzheim,

via e-mail

Solidarity with Aung Sang Suu Kyi

Dear Editors,

This Sun., June 19, is the 60th birthday of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi. A House Arrest Gathering in solidarity with Aung Sang Suu Kyi and the people of Burma will take place at the house of Tricia Karpfen, 99 Ute Canyon Road, from 3-6 p.m. Please join for any amount of time.Watch video clips of Aung Sang Suu Kyi. Meditate for peace and freedom in Burma. Join in talks about what you can do to help.

Here in Durango, we are blessed to live in a place of great beauty, safety and freedom to choose. I’ve found that expanding my awareness to know and understand the profound lack of these things for most people of the world creates greater appreciation for what I have here. For more information on the gathering, call 259-5120.

– Tricia Karpfen,

via e-mail


Bush continues to squander

To the editors,

After squandering a huge budget surplus from President Clinton, we’re now looking at a $412 billion deficit. Bush’s 2006 budget will make it even worse. The Bush admin’s Enron style of accounting does NOT include the cost of the war (expected to cost $82 billion this year alone) or his scandalous Social Security privatization plan (estimated overall cost of near $2 trillion). Bush’s 2006 budget sticks it to our vets especially hard. More than half of Colorado’s 430,000 vets will have to pay double for prescription drugs and a new $250 fee to access their health care. Bush also breaks his promise for an increase in death benefits to families of soldiers killed in action. The 2006 budget underfunds his “No Child Left Behind” program by $13.1 billion – 27,635 Colorado children will go without promised help in reading and math. This is the fourth year in a row that George W. Bush has underfunded his own program.

Remember Osama Bin Laden? Bush is slashing $415 million from Homeland Security. Bush fails to provide for an additional 2,000 border patrol agents. This was promised in landmark intelligence reforms passed last year and endorsed by the 9/11 Commission.

The environment? $283 million cut for Wildland Fire Management. Bush plans to cut funding to clean up hazardous waste and radioactive hot spots by $800 million. Clean water in Colorado will be cut by $3.1 million. He also will be cutting child care for 300,000 U.S. children. Despite his State of the Union speech, the 2006 budget screws 65,070 Colorado students out of Pell Grants to the sum of $85.6 million. After-school programs will be cut for 16,538 Colorado kids. He continues to provide $6.6 billion LESS than is authorized under the Higher Education Act.

There is some good news, what about $197 billion in tax cuts to the upper 1 percent of the income bracket? Good for them. Bad for the rest of us.

– Bill Vana,

Durango


 

 

In this week's issue...

June 13, 2019
Haven't got time for the pain

In the words of the great Salt-N-Pepa, let’s talk about sex (baby.) There, we said it.

June 13, 2019
Scoping begins on Silverton travel plan

The plan to bring more singletrack to Silverton is rolling forward. Last week, the Bureau of Land Management announced the beginning of a 30-day public scoping period on its proposed Silverton Area Travel Management Plan.

June 10, 2019
2019 Hardrock taps out

Snow, avi debris, high flows force cancellation