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A shift in perspective

To the Telegraph,

I was doubly surprised (no reference to the ad intended!) when I picked up the Dec. 7 issue of The Telegraph: first, by the inappropriate half-page advertisement placed on the back cover by the Starlight Lounge; and secondly, by the fact that you all agreed to run it, and in that location!

I always enjoy the fact that theTelegraph stimulates discussion in my family; and when my elementary age children caught site of the Starlight’s photo, we had lots of great dialogue. We discussed advertising’s purpose; what Starlight’s product might be based on the ad; who are the customers they might be intending to reach with that ad; is it appropriate to advertise with nearly naked women; why might a person want to BE that nearly naked woman; and does that ad inspire you to do business with the Starlight Lounge?

I also noted, and discussed with my kids, the interesting fact that, sharing that same back cover of the paper, was an ad for the 20th anniversary of Carvers Brewing Co. There stood the Carvers, fully clad, marking two decades in an industry where most go out of business in less than two years. The juxtaposition made us all wonder: How long will the Starlight Lounge be in business, considering its focus as represented in its advertising?

The past issue brought forth some great opportunities in my family; yet I’d like to let theTelegraph staff know that my perspective of the paper has shifted. I never gave a second thought to whether the content of the paper was appropriate for families. I’m going to be more conscious, now, of previewing it, cover to cover, before I toss it casually on my couch.

– Max McClure, Durango

A very narrow view

Dear Editors,

I was surprised to find that Durango now features a topless bar called the Starlight Lounge – at least that is what one would assume having viewed the ad on the back of your weekly. Apart from the flagrant tactlessness ofthe ad, it serves to undermine what I thought were the implicit values of your newspaper – of women4 being strong, competent and intelligent members of our community, not merely sex symbols used to get horny men to come into a bar for cheap drinks. If you have to run an ad like this due to financial concerns, please consider putting it in the middle of the paper instead of consuming half of the back page. This might help to ensure that young girls, such as my daughter, don’t grow up thinking that it’s OK to portray women in this manner - and young boys, such as my son, don’t grow up having such a narrow view of what women have to offer. I expected more from a progressive community like Durango – maybe we should just all move to Houston.

– T. Lemke, Durango

Concerned about 2008

Telegraph Editors,

The Bush/Cheney “quagmire” in Iraq adds up to the worst presidency in U.S. history in my opinion. But unless a real contender emerges who was initially against the Iraq war, I won’t bother to even vote in the 2008 presidential election.

Of the 156 Congress members who were wise enough to vote NO on the Iraq invasion Oct. 11, 2002, none are running for president. A mistake! The more popular White House front-runners voted for the Iraq war, the worst catastrophe since Vietnam. So how smart could any of them really be? McCain, Edwards, Hillary, Kerry, Biden, Hagel all voted YEA that fateful day.

Where has this wrongheaded leadership brought us? More than 100,000 Iraqi citizens (our international brothers and sisters) murdered, their neighborhoods annihilated.

Civil war, car bombs and pitched urban gun battles now replace what was a routine society. Our guys our being killed, maimed and psychologically crippled from being stuck in guerilla warfare with no apparent exit.

Terror multiplies.

The U.S. was once respected for solid foreign policy, (Carter, Reagan, Clinton) which makes me wonder, would 9-11 even had happened with Al Gore president?

Bill Clinton purposely used restrained military skirmishes to try and stop genocide (Bosnia) and starvation (Somalia), plausible excuses for wielding our sword. But wife, Hillary, a Dem fav celebre for the White House, and her bi-partisan peers, weren’t listening. They caved to fanaticism and voted for the massive Iraq war. Shallow!

Tough sanctions, not gory war, against the savagery of rogue states does take time, but it needs a fair chance. (i.e. overthrow of South Africa’s apartheid.) What’s needed is a moderate, less war-crazy president and v.p. ticket. I hope General Wesley Clark, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Al Gore and senators Russ Feingold and Barack Obama team up and pick two.

Leadership is about trust and knee-jerk reactions by the popular candidates toward war leaves me skeptical.

– Jim Mimiaga, Dolores

The Peace Wreath

With apologies to Dr. Seuss

Every Loma at Lindaville liked Peace a lot. But the Grinch and his Cronies certainly DID NOT!

This Grinch hated Peace! The whole Peacetime season! Now please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason!

It could be perhaps he just liked to fight, or Maybe his head was screwed on to the Right.

But we think the most likely reason of all May have been that his heart was two sizes too small. No matter the reason. His heart or his head,

He felt really bad, and troubled instead. The more the Grinch dwelled on the Peace Sign thing the more he ached to stop the whole thing!

“I must stop this Peace Wreath from being,...but how! “I know what I’ll do, I won’t stand this abuse.”
He thunked to himself “All I need’s an excuse.”

He looked for an excuse to take the Wreath down. But, since excuses are scarce there were none to be found.

Did that stop this ol’ Grinch...? NO! The Grinch simply said “If I can’t find an excuse, I’ll make one instead!”

He did better than that, he made a Big List, and Right here they are, and some we have missed.

The Wreath may offend, or it might not be nice, it might be for Pagans, who drink wine with ice!

Maybe it’s code, all secret and sneaky, Maybe these Loma’s are just being cheeky!

Then he fired his cronies (who weren’t so uptight), They said it’s not bad, but the Lights kept him up nights!

He puzzled and twisted and puzzled some more, He listed excuses, till his Puzzler was sore.

Then finally his Puzzler hit on the Thing! Maybe really this Wreath’s not such a bad Zing!

Maybe Peace to the World isn’t so bad, Maybe Peace to the World, shouldn’t make him so Mad!

Imagine; a world where folks spoke up for Peace! Like Lisa, the Loma, with her Peace Wreath!

And what happened then...? In Lindaville they say That the Grinch’s small heart Grew three sizes that day!

And the minute his heart didn’t feel quite so tight He could answer his phone and not hide all the night!

He stopped all his Trickzies, and called off his goons ...and he hung back the Wreath, by the light of the moon!

– Jim Fuge and Gay Klingenberg, Southwest Colorado Peace and Justice Coalition

Mercifully profiled

Dear Editors, As a frequent viewer of the sitcom “Scrubs,” I’ve grown accustom to seeing hospitals as being full of zany characters who, in between treating patients, learn life lesson thanks to clever plot twists and the occasional cameo appearance by people like Billy Dee Williams, you know, he played Lando Calrissian? Wise man. Just last week, I had my own experience with Durango’s own Mercy Medical Center. For the majority of last week, my hand and wrist had swelled to near-blimpish proportions and a searing pain ran down the length of my arm. This made it pretty hard to do my job, and by Saturday I had decided to make my way down to the Mercy Medical’s ER to have it checked out. I was admitted quickly, and the nurse took my vitals with great efficiency. Sidenote: the nurse’s scrubs appeared to be made entirely from a denim-like material. Amazing, I know. I mean where else besides Colorado could you experience a nurse in denim scrubs? Perhaps a hospital in one of those middle Canadian provinces?

Anyway, the trouble began upon further inspection of my arm. I told the nurse my symptoms, what hurt and what didn’t, and was told it could be any number of things but was given no definitive answers. The nurse then excused herself and began to leave the room, but to my surprise, clicked her heels and executed a perfect about-face before locking on to my upper arm with her eagle-like eyes. My opiate- and amphetamine-free blood ran cold as she scanned my arm in a fashion reminiscent of Arnold in the Terminator movies. She turned again to leave, and her fanny pack had hardly cleared the doorway when she bellowed out, “Well I don’t see any IV drug tracks.” How discreet. I knew then that I was not going to get a fair shake, but I was thankful that my belt was fastened correctly around my waist instead if mistakenly around my arm, and that I had forgotten my copy of Trainspotting to read in the waiting room. Perhaps there was still hope. Enter the PA, who half-listened as I politely described my symptoms all over again, all the while casting dubious and scornful looks at me. He sinisterly stroked at his scraggily, ginger facial hair before tapping my wrist a bit and officially diagnosing me with “wrist pain.” Thanks a lot. I knew I had wrist pain. That’s why I was in and out in 10 minutes. I was told that’s a record by the woman at the front desk.

Soon the pain in my arm and wrist was eclipsed by the frustration of being wrongly profiled as a drug addict and denied effective medical treatment. And while my left arm continues to hurt and swell, I can’t help but feel that I’ve learned my own life lesson about people’s prejudices toward one another. And that lesson, friends, is this: Don’t trust anybody who appears to be wearing all denim. They have poor work ethics and are probably Cheney-loving Klan members who might occasionally feast on the living flesh of kittens or small dogs. If anything, that’s the lesson to be learned here. Right? Wait. No. It’s judge not, especially when somebody’s health is at stake, lest they write a scalding letter to the local hippie rag. Yeah, that’s the lesson.

– Beau Miller, via e-mail

Spray out the beetle epidemic


Thanks for the informative and interesting article about bark beetles, which are a huge problem in the western Colorado landscape today. After reading this article, I felt it necessary to point out what I feel is a misrepresentation of the facts presented by Mr. Romme. It is true that dead piñon trees with needles are more prone to wildfire (flammable) than dead piñons without their needles. But what the article fails to report is that dead piñon trees with or without needles are much more prone to wildfire than healthy, green piñon trees. The moisture content of dead trees is far less than that of healthy trees, and thus dead trees are more flammable. The article states that “catastrophic wildfire is actually not as likely in dead stands without needles.” The point should be made that catastrophic wildfire is much less likely in healthy stands. Don’t think that dead stands of piñons without needles won’t burn because they will. In my opinion, the difference in flammability between dead piñons with and without needles is small, while the difference in dead piñons both with and without needles and healthy piñons is huge! In our experience, preventative spraying is the only means of protecting healthy piñons from the bark beetles. Our success rate is about 95 percent or higher. Thinning of stands also helps but is by no means as effective as spraying.

– Mike Kane Sr., Fire Ready of Durango/Cortez

Wrong project, wrong place

Dear Editors,

For many of the neighbors of the proposed mining and milling operation in Mayday, there are some serious issues. First, the mining is not the primary problem, most of the issues stem from the milling operation and the way Wildcat Mining has gone about the process. They seem to be operating under the premise that it is easier to do something and see what happens rather than be sure their permits are in place first.

They don’t have legal access for anything larger than pickup trucks to get to the property but have used large trucks and heavy equipment across the access. They also replaced a bridge across the La Plata River before finding out if they needed an Army Corps of Engineers permit and were “red tagged” by the county but continued to work regardless.

There are questions over whether they have adequate water rights or water storage for the proposed operation. They tried to place a tailings pond partially on Forest Service property, common sense would require someone to know where their corners are. They might claim the corner location was unclear due to ground movement on the hill. I’d ask, if the hill is moving is this a smart location for a tailings pond due to possible failure above the La Plata River?

We have co-existed with the mining that has gone on in the neighborhood for the last 20 years with no problems. Wildcat Mining has shown no respect for the neighborhood or process until forced to. I feel this is the wrong project in the wrong place.

– Dave Linden, Durango

Getting way too ‘alpha’

Dear Telegraph Soapbox,

To the couple with the aggressive dog in the Park Elementary School field on Friday night: Take responsibility for your dog. Getting “a little ‘alpha’ while she’s playing with her Frisbee” is not an excuse for her attacking my leashed dog. Explaining your dog’s behavior doesn’t make me feel like my space was respected. If you are aware that your dog has tendencies to get aggressive when she’s playing, don’t throw the Frisbee for her in a very public field in a residential neighborhood. Consider what could have happened if I was an elderly lady or young child taking a dog on a walk, only to be ambushed by an aggressive dog unprovoked. I don’t understand what kind of integrity you think you have in this situation.

And by the way, after I examined my dog in a lighted room, I noticed a small wound underneath his left eye. Your dog did bite, and left a mark. Maybe this will change your actions in the future.

– Alicia Spear, Durango

Tainted democracy

Dear Editors,

I was astounded by the headline in today’s (Dec 6) Herald regarding Ellen Robert’s blaming the source of the low blow flyer on the Democrats. This coming from a candidate who benefited so much from 527 negative ads and did little to dissuade 527’s from a flood of TV, radio and mailers that viciously and most unfairly attacked Joe Colgan. It undoubtedly cost Joe the election. Despite these ads that must have run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Ellen was not able to carry La Plata County, where both she and Joe are well known.

Furthermore, to imply that the Democrats waged a war of negative advertising is ludicrous coming from the candidate who rode the wave of unprecedented negative ads in this district. I also found Ellen’s starry eyed response to these ads during the campaign to be weak and insincere. In light of the fact that Mark Larson was making TV spots for the same 527 group touting Ellen’s vast experience, it is beyond logic to imagine that Ellen was in the dark regarding these ads. Did Mark and Ellen never talk, her key advisor and campaign coordinator for Montezuma County? Innocent till proven guilty, but seems pretty shady to this voter.

During the campaign, Ellen argued she could effectively work both sides of the aisle. Yet before even taking office, she attacked her own party by calling for Shannon Richardson’s resignation and now unbelievably is attacking the Democrats. Is this divisive type of judgment what we can expect from our new state rep for the coming two years? And why is she still fighting won battles?

It is clear that reform has to be addressed regarding 527 activity in this state, and I hope Ellen will work closely with Andrew Romanoff, Jim Isgar and the governor to close the door on this type of campaigning. We need to look to our neighbors in Arizona, where this type of activity has been significantly dampened. The election for the 59th District was tainted by this and threatens true democracy. I wish Ellen the best of luck in tackling this issue.

– Erich Bussian, Durango

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