Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

Hydromowing doesn’t replace fire

Editors, I read your article on the hydro-mulching of national forest land near Durango with interest. I share local residents’ concerns about the aesthetic and ecological impacts of  this crude forest mowing.

After the Cerro Grande prescribed fire blew out of control and burned part of Los Alamos, N.M., in May 2000, federal agencies have been afraid to use prescribed fire near communities, even when it could be done easily and safely like this spring. Mechanical thinning with saws or mowers is attractive to the Forest Service because it makes no smoke and allows them to contract out the work to private companies as the Bush administration wants.

Yet mowing is no substitute for prescribed fire which recycles nutrients and thins out trees and shrubs selectively as a natural evolutionary force. Saw thinning combined with fire is the best method in many places but fire is the most natural way to thin forests and keep habitat for plants and animals. People who object to forest fire smoke need to understand this is a natural and permanent element of life in the West.

– Tom Ribe, southwest regional coordinator, Firefighters United for Safety Ethics and Ecology (FUSEE)


Journalism or promotion?

Dear Editors,

How fine is the line that separates good journalism from bad promotion? I was interested to read in your May 19 issue that Kiva Orchards is “introducing” community supported agriculture to La Plata and Montezuma counties (Sharing the Local Spread) as our farm ran a successful CSA for eight years, delivering to the same communities, and Hesperus Herb Farm (which is no longer around) also ran a CSA in Durango for a time. While we’ve gone on to pursue other marketing avenues for our produce, our CSA was quite successful. As neither Kiva Orchards nor theTelegraphwere around until our CSA was well established, it’s understandable that you may not have been aware of it, but as journalists, I would expect that you would have at least done a simple search of other area publications’ archives and come across the press we received when4 

we initiated the program in 1996 before forwarding the claim that Kiva Orchards is the first. If that is too much to expect, then why not at least pay attention to the information being printed in your own publication? Is it possible for Kiva Orchards to be “introducing” CSA to the area when another company, Durango Fresh Produce Club, is also marketing their own CSA to Durango at the same time? You published an ad for Durango Fresh Produce Club in the very same issue that ran the feature on Kiva Orchards. In the name of accurate journalism, shouldn’t you have felt compelled to also interview them in your article on Kiva?

Publishing a weekly in a small community must be tricky business – you want to support your own – but I had always hoped that the Telegraph would take the time to go past the rhetoric of press releases. After all, a press release is intended to be promotion and what the Telegraph does is intended to be journalism – or at least that was my impression at one time.

– Sincerely,

Rosie Carter, Stone Free Farm

Numbed by a sad reality

Dear Editors,

I was numbed by a sad reality that became tangible as I studied for the Praxis exam to be a certified teacher. Printed in the Arco book, Preparation for the Praxis II Exam 2005, by Joan U. and Norman Levy, on page 102, is the question, “Why should a middle-grade student study the Eskimos, Aztecs and Native Americans in preference to the Greeks and Romans?” The numbing answer is “(A) Roman and Greek society is more complexly structured, requiring abstract conceptualization of many broad social science concepts.” The sad reality is in the jargon, “more complexly structured,” implying that cultural groups should be presented as simplistic or complex rather than as different from one another, but equally important.

All cultural heritages are unique and complex. Whether studying Greek or Roman myths or Native American legends, students can interpret what was taught and what was valued in any ancient society. The Greeks and Romans developed art forms, philosophy, an alphabet, mathematical and scientific concepts, but Native American cultures wove art into their everyday-use items, spoke in a variety of tongues, lived their philosophies, had both matriarchal and patriarchal leadership, and have survived centuries of assimilation policies. Hopefully, I have clearly stated general facts about Greek, Roman and Native American societies – illustrating their differences – not their complexity nor simplicity, neither their superiority nor their inferiority. As a future educator, I will allow my students to draw their own conclusions about the valuable contributions ancient societies have made to current knowledge without implying any one culture was/is more complicated or sophisticated or better than any other.

– Loretta Marlman,

via e-mail

Taking on cruelty and neglect

Dear Editors,

In response to Sue Binkley’s letter to the editor in early May, I need to clarify that Animal Control is continuing to investigate cruelty/neglect cases in La Plata County. True, there is currently no county ordinance regarding this issue. However, as a Bureau of Animal Protection Agent appointed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, I am currently the only Animal Control Officer that can issue state level cruelty/neglect summons and complaints into La Plata County court upon investigation. There is a Durango ordinance referring to cruelty to animals within the city limits allowing any Animal Control Officer to issue a citation into municipal court if warranted. This year to date we have received and responded to 44 cruelty calls, 20 in Durango and 22 in La Plata County.

– Mike Lively,

director of La Plata County Animal Control


In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows