Chamber director Lieb resigns post

A pillar of the Durango business community is stepping out of the public spotlight. Bobby Lieb, director of both the Durango Chamber of Commerce and the La Plata Economic Development Action Partnership (LEAD), has announced his resignation from the sister organizations. Lieb will now head development of La Plata County’s latest business/industrial park.

Located adjacent to the La Plata County Airport on the Florida River, the new 110-acre business/industrial park is currently seeking approval in the La Plata County planning process. Lieb was instrumental in negotiating the purchase of the site and bringing the development to its current planning position. The Durango Industrial Development Foundation and Gravel LLC are both partnering in the effort.

With this in mind, the step to full employment was a natural one for Lieb. As project manager of the new airport industrial park, his responsibilities will include ongoing planning, business operations, marketing and sales.

“It is still about economic development, which I love,” said Lieb. “Having grown up around manufacturing and commercial property most of my life, industrial parks are something with which I can identify, and I believe development of a new business park is a significant key for La Plata County’s future economic health.”

Lieb, son of County Commissioner Bob Lieb, assumed the position of LEAD’s first director in November of 2000. With the realignment of the former Durango Area Chamber Resort Association (DACRA) in late 2002, which separated tourism and chamber into two offices, Lieb added the chamber directorship.

“This is a good time for a transition,” said Lieb, who is confident he leaves both the Chamber and LEAD in good hands. “The organizations are in great shape. Membership is up, leadership is strong, revenues are good and the programs are solid. It’s time for me to take on a new personal challenge.”

Lieb plans to assume his new position on Jan. 1, 2007. Meanwhile, the Chamber and LEAD have started their searches for Lieb’s replacement.


Sunnyside named top elementary

Local education is again receiving high marks. Sunnyside Elementary School has been recognized as one of the top schools in Colorado.  

The Colorado Department of Education recently nominated Sunnyside Elementary School to represent the state as a contender for the 2006 National Title I Distinguished Schools Award. Title I is a federal grant program that provides funding for literacy instruction. All district elementary schools are designated Title I schools, and the district uses Title I funding for reading specialists and support. Sunnyside was one of only two schools statewide to receive the distinction for outstanding student performance on the CSAP math and reading tests.

Colorado nominates two Title I schools for the national award each year. One nomination is for the school that has made the most progress in closing the achievement gap. The second is for the school that shows exceptional academic performance for two or more consecutive years.

Sunnyside was nominated for exceptional academic performance as demonstrated by its 2006 CSAP test scores. In reading, 100 percent of third-graders, 95 percent of fourth-graders, and 100 percent of fifth-graders scored at grade level or above. In math, all of the school’s 132 students scored at grade level or above.

“Under Principal Victor Figueroa’s leadership, Sunnyside demonstrates how effective schools can be when they align instruction with state standards, focus on individual student achievement, commit to professional development, and involve families and neighbors in their learning communities,” said District 9-R Superintendent Mary Barter. “Sunnyside is a shining example of our commitment to students in all our schools.” 

Sunnyside will receive a $10,000 cash award, and two staff members will attend the National Title I Conference in January to be recognized as the state’s nominee and possibly to bring home the national honor.



Local housing advocates recognized

A long-standing effort to bring affordable housing to Durango was recognized recently. Local affordable housing advocates Bill Mashaw and Reid Ross have been given the Eagle Award by Housing Colorado NOW!

Housing Colorado NOW! has been acknowledging leaders in the housing community for the last 15 years at its annual conference. The prestigious Eagle Award recognizes outstanding leadership and accomplishments related to affordable housing and/or supportive services in Colorado. Specifically, the award acknowledges excellence in the areas of affordable housing development, design, funding and finance, advocacy for fair housing and overcoming NIMBY (not in my back yard) issues.

Mashaw and Ross, with the La Plata Community Development Corp., have worked tirelessly to create affordable housing opportunities in Durango and La Plata County. Through their volunteer efforts they have been able to acquire properties and make them available to Volunteers of America, Housing Solutions for the Southwest, Habitat for Humanity and Colorado Housing Inc. As a result of their persistence, a 30-unit senior V.O.A. project is under construction, a 31-unit HUD application is pending, and a 47-unit affordable project is being developed.

Housing Colorado NOW! is a statewide organization engaged in the full spectrum of affordable housing production and preservation. Mashaw and his wife, Dorothy, relocated to the Seattle area this summer.


Counterfeit bills roll into town

Funny money is once again on the loose in Durango. The Durango Police Department is warning local businesses and citizens that on the weekend of Oct. 21-22 several counterfeit $20 bills were passed to local area merchants. The $20 bills have the same serial numbers: EL77520577H and CB41456811F.

If you receive a bill that you suspect may be counterfeit or if you question a note that is already in your possession, write your initials and the date on an unprinted edge on the front of the bill, place it in an envelope, and surrender it only to the police or the U.S. Secret Service. If the note is genuine it will be returned to you as soon as possible. If the note is counterfeit, you will not be reimbursed. However, knowingly passing a counterfeit note is against the law.

On June 29, 2006, the U.S. government announced that it will redesign the $5 note as part of ongoing efforts to enhance the security of U.S. currency.  The government currently expects the $5 note to be issued in early 2008.

If you have any information about this crime, call Durango Crime Stoppers at 247-1112.

– compiled by Will Sands


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