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

Bubba gets Lynched

Dear Editors,

My name is Bubba Iudice, and I have been a local resident for the past 15 years. I am writing this to you to express my point of view regarding a photo that was printed in the last issue of the Telegraph. The photo is of myself and Paddy Lynch – local political candidate. I met Paddy for the first time at a booth that I was working downtown one day, and he was wearing a “Vote Lynch” T-shirt. One of my close friend’s last name is “Lynch”... and it has been an inside joke between us this election time seeing “Vote Lynch” signs around town. Knowing that it would be funny to own a shirt with his last name on it, I asked the man if I could have one. He was nice enough to give me one and then asked me if he could take a picture of me with it on – and of course not thinking much of it – I let him. Little did I know that he was going to publish the picture in my local newspaper without my permission!

I do not know Paddy Lynch. I’ve met him once – the time he gave me a T-shirt with my friend’s last name on it! He seemed like a nice man at the time for giving me a T-shirt, but now I obviously have a different opinion of him knowing that he used my likeness in the paper for his political gain …without asking me.

For the record, I do not nor have not in any way endorsed anything Paddy Lynch stands for politically. Unfortunately for me, the T-shirt that once would have brought a few laughs between friends has now brought on a new meaning that I’d like to forget!

– Bubba, via e-mail

Too close to home

Dear Editors:

I am fortunate enough to live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world and am horrified to see a mining company destroy La Plata Canyon. Mining is improper use of the land in our canyon. La Plata Canyon is a residential and recreational area. Wildcat Mining Corp. has already dug a tailings pond and cut down many trees and has plans for a second pond.

The La Plata River and Animas River are in danger. The chemicals of concern are heavy metals (copper, cadmium, manganese, zinc, lead, nickel, aluminum, iron) and acid mine drainage. This could affect our drinking water, contaminate irrigation water, adversely affect aquatic life and destroy wildlife habitats. Remember some of the Superfund sites in Colorado (Summitville Mine, which ruined the Alamosa River, and the Idarado Mine in Telluride). Are we next on the list?

Drive up County Road 124. It’s beautiful until you4 look off to the right where the pavement ends and you see the destruction caused by the mining operation. Hikers, campers, bikers, hunters and more all enjoy our canyon, but not for long if this mining operation is allowed to continue. The sound of rock crushers won’t be music to your ears. We need all of you to unite and speak out for our precious earth. This is too close to home.

– Poppy Harshman, Mayday

The right to mine

Dear Editors, I represent the owners of 10 patented mining claims, several of whose boundaries are within 1,000 feet of the two mining properties set to reopen. Theodore Roosevelt signed the patents for these properties I represent on Dec. 13, 1906. The California Mining District, located in La Plata Canyon, was created in 1873 by Captain John Moss and according to Gold Occurances of Colorado, published by the Colorado Geological Survey, Department of Natural Resources, the California Mining District estimated production of 204,762 Troy ounces of gold were recorded between 1873 and  the present (1990). At current prices, that represents $1.28 billion dollars! A Rio Grande Southern rail spur was built from Hesperus to the mill at Mayday in 1906 to service the increasing number of mines in La Plata Canyon. Interestingly enough, many of the people protesting the opening of the Mayday and Idaho mines enjoy hiking on the old RGS right of way in La Plata Canyon. Were it not for the mines, that trail would never have existed. The RGS Story Volume IX shows numerous photos of the mining operations from Mayday to north of La Plata City. There’s a photo of a community of 500 people at the junction of Burnt Timber Creek and the La Plata River that no longer exists.

Roman Catholic padre Francisco Dominguez named the La Plata Mountains in 1776 after Juan Maria de Rivera brought back precious metals he found during an expedition in the canyon in 1765. Many of those protesting the opening of the mines are chronic trespassers on posted patented mining properties in the canyon. One of the more vocal protesters hosts commercial events that are in violation of the zoning codes and these events create dangerous traffic hazards on County Road 124.

Those protesting the reopening of the Mayday and Idaho mines are not unlike the people who move in next to an existing airport and then call for the airport to be closed because of noise! The history of mining in La Plata Canyon has been documented for over 240 years. There is historical precedence for allowing mining in La Plata Canyon. State and federal regulations are in place to protect the environment. Finally, this issue boils down to private property rights. If I’m denied the right to mine, will environmentalists, CR 124 residents or the county reimburse me for the diminished value of my property?

– Dennis Pierce, via e-mail

A bit too exclusive

Dear Editors,

This past week’s article by Jules Masterjohn on the Friends of the Art Library at the Durango Arts Center was a positive and informative overview of what our group is offering to the community. However, we want to take exception to one sentence in the article in order to clarify our mission.

At the end of paragraph six, Jules follows Louise Grunewald’s quoted statements with a statement of her own. About the library’s offerings, she says that Louise is “referring to art that is unusual; art that is a bit beyond the aesthetic scope of most Durangoans.” That statement feels too exclusive. One of our goals at the Arts Library is to be inclusive and accessible. While our venues are often different than others offered in Durango, they are well within the scope of what people here can take in and enjoy. We encourage and invite everyone to come on in and experience what we are showing.

– Sincerely, the members of  FOAL: Louise Grunewald, Caitlin Connaughton-Cross, Deborah Gorton, Barbara Tobin Klema, Mary Ellen Long and Jane Steele

Street Song

(dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944)

There they sang in the guttered smoke

For that faith found in tenuous will,

Under furored and fevered skies

That languished in solemn hearts still.

There they sang from sewer and ash

For land and love so shattered,

While the will of souls denied,

Under titan tanks that scattered.

Proudly, we embrace the winds of freedom

Over the veil of death.

Sadly, we hail cattle-car comrades

Who ride the trains of death.

The young boys, they call to their fathers,

The young women cry to the prayer,

Under death-smell fascist elders

Searching the pandemic lairs.

Ghostly homes in tunneled dark,

Myriad in the maze,

Housed the spiritual light

While above the streets ablaze.

Nature healed that consecrated ground,

Silent under the stars,

Soon the stones that marked those graves

Will be forgotten

Under the eye of Mars.

Proudly, we embrace the winds of freedom

Over the veil of death.

Sadly, we hail the cattle-car comrades

Who ride the trains of death.

– Burt Baldwin, Ignacio


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