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


Filling Mark Larson’s big shoes


Dear Editors,

State Representative Mark Larson’s departure from the 2006 Senate race is indeed a blow that many of us regret to see happen. Yet, few would fault Mark for his honest reasons to change his mind about running, given that the job of most elected officials is all consuming, often thankless and fraught with partisan bickering, and does not pay well. As many have already noted, Mark has worked extremely hard to serve all of us in Southwest Colorado. For those who are disheartened, (or excited, given your point of view), in thinking that moderate Republicans committed to the core Republican values of limited government, local control and individual and fiscal responsibility are now gone with Mark ... please, think again. We are still here and are working hard to help the Republican Party be a party of differing opinions and one that is respectful of all of its members, be they conservative, moderate or liberal. If I did not believe in the vision of the Republican Party as truly capable of being the Big Tent Party, I would not be running for state representative to fill Mark Larson’s big shoes. I am proud to carry Mark’s endorsement to be the next state representative for Southwest Colorado, and I urge all who care about the Republican Party and its wider vision to get involved! We would love to have your help on my campaign. Thanks again to Mark, for his many years of dedicated service to our corner of the state.

– Ellen Roberts, Durango



Lounge music can be addictive


Dear Editors,

Thank you for the recent feature on “Movin’On.” This terrific dance band is heard far too infrequently, and it is a great treat for anyone interested in classic country honky-tonk and fine musicianship. Another group with Peter Neds, and which perhaps highlights his talents as a guitarist to better advantage, is that undercover band of uncertain name, variously known as the Greg Ryder Experience, Greg Ryder and the Rickies, and Calypso Louie and the Coconuts, to mention only a few. With sometimes fluctuating membership, this group of extraordinary musicians can be heard most Wednesday and Thursday evenings at the Diamond Belle Saloon. I would encourage Durangoans to take time to hear these artists before they move off to the national stage.

But be warned, this brand of “Western Lounge Music,” as Mr. Ryder calls it, is addictive. Once hooked, you may give up your comfortable chair and the TV4 you’ve been watching too much of for the exhilaration and heartache of this music. If you go, you are likely to hear, in addition to Greg Ryder’s amazing voice and soaring melodies, Peter Neds sounding just as good as Doc Watson and Django Rheinhart, growling out some country tearjerker and then surprising you with a powerful booming note that makes you suddenly feel you are in a much bigger space. Benny Galloway on the bass brings in jazzy percussive elements and gives a whole new quality to the music when he bows his instrument, a haunting, deeply resonant sound. Jim Craighead’s artistry on the violin seems too elegant to be called “fiddling.” Almost dancing with his accordion, he adds an interestingly classic 1930s retro element to some songs.  If you are lucky, you may catch Anders Beck on Dobro, Robin Davis, or Jeff Hickman on mandolin.

Greg Ryder’s repertoire includes wonderful renditions of romantic standards like “Stardust,” an absolutely up-tempo swing version of “Corina, Corina,” and a most joyous take on “Mr. Sandman.” You may come away with a whole new appreciation for Merle Haggard. Mr. Ryder also sings some heart-rending original ballads of his and Bennie Galloway’s composition, melodies so beautiful you may find yourself crying. I guess that’s the essence of “Western Lounge Music.” As the Voice of the Coconuts likes to say, “Ladies and Gentlemen, it just doesn’t get any better than that.”

Thank you to the Strater Hotel for providing such a comfortable, intimate venue for this music, and thanks to these artists for sharing so much of themselves.

– Peggy Maloney, Mancos


Brush up on international affairs


Dear Editors,

The League of Women Voters of La Plata County and the Durango Public Library are pleased to again offer the Great Decisions discussion series on current international policy issues. This year the series, developed by the Foreign Policy Association, covers eight topics: United Nations Reform; Brazil; Human Rights in an Age of Terrorism; the U.S. and Iran; Global Health: Pandemics and Security; Turkey; Energy Sources; and China and India: Partners or Competitors? Three two-hour sessions on each topic will be offered: Tuesday and Thursday at noon in the Twilight Room of the Rec Center and Wednesday evenings at 5:15 p.m. in the Reed Library on the Fort Lewis College campus. These eight brown-bag lunch or dinner sessions, which are open to everyone, will begin Jan. 24 and end May 4. Participants may attend any one of the three identical sessions on each topic.

Briefing books may be purchased for $17 from Pat Chatfield, 247-1692, or reviewed at the reference desks of both the Durango Public Library and the Reed Library. The briefing books provide basic, nonpartisan background information and policy options, along with maps, related references and discussion questions for each topic. A short video on each topic launches the discussion. Participants are urged to make their views known to the FPA on “ballots” at the conclusion of each session. The compiled results of the balloting across the country are submitted to Congress, the State Department and the White House. Additional information on the Foreign Policy Association is available at their website www.fpa.org

Participants in previous years have found the series to provide concise, in-depth, factual background information on each topic, which lends itself well to informative and spirited discussion. We invite you to participate.

– Marilyn T. Brown, president, League of Women Voters


Peeved about poop


Dear Editors,

I am a dog owner. I pick up after my dog. I use plastic bags. Do you ever stop to think that a person can go out and back on a trail?  Many times I have searched long and hard to find the bag I placed on the trail going out only to find it deposited at the end of the trail by someone else. Yes, sometimes I may not see it on the way back and forget. But why would you give the action of picking up the poop in the first place a thumbs down? 

– Connie Robb, via e-mail


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