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Choking on Orio’s Roadhouse

To Whom It May Concern:

Please allow me the opportunity to express my dismay at the DA’s decision to drop the criminal case against Orio’s and to offer my comments. My office, where I spend 40 to 60 hours per week, is located above Orio’s. I have anxiously awaited the Colorado smoking ban as I am forced, on a daily basis, to inhale second-hand smoke that permeates my office from below.

Prior to the smoking ban, I would arrive at my office in the morning to an appalling stench of tobacco smoke. The carpet is saturated with the smell and the windows visibly cloudy. Late in the afternoon, I am always keenly aware of the arrival of Orio’s patrons as I begin to feel my eyes burn and my throat sting, accompanied by a tightening sensation in my chest. It takes me a short moment to realize my office is filling with smoke from the bar. Sometimes I rush to complete my work so that I can escape the smoke, but often I make the regrettable choice to stay and complete my work despite my physical discomfort.

Thursday night, Nov. 9, I was dismayed to find that Orio’s patrons were smoking inside the bar again and my office was filling with smoke. I am very worried that I will be forced to live with the ill effects of the second-hand smoke for the foreseeable future if Orio’s is allowed to circumvent the new law. It upsets me profoundly that my health may again be subjected to the proven dangers of second-hand smoke. It worries me further that a final ruling could put the final nail in the coffin, so to speak.

Is it not the intent of the law, at least in part, to protect workers from second-hand smoke? While I am not in the employ of Orio’s, I am forced to breathe second-hand smoke from the bar in my place of work. As a longtime patron of Durango’s establishments, I have chosen to avoid places such as Orio’s where smoking was allowed because I feel very strongly about the dangers of second-hand smoke. However, for obvious reasons, I can’t avoid going to work. I work in what is considered a nonsmoking workplace, and smoke from Orio’s filling my office seems a clear violation of my rights and my employer’s rights to provide a smoke-free workplace.

I would also like to express my concern that the4court risks setting a precedent that may very well weaken the law. The law clearly states that for a bar to be exempt from the smoking ban, it had to have generated 5 percent or $50,000 in income from tobacco sales AND the rental of on-site humidors during 2005. The law also refers to “cigar-tobacco” throughout; not tobacco and not cigarettes. Orio’s clearly does not meet these criteria. Rob and Heidi Orio, and their lawyer seek to cloud the fundamentals of the law with ambiguities that are simply untrue.

While I believe the law does not favor Orio’s argument, I understand that the courts may find otherwise. Nonetheless, in that unfortunate event it would only be appropriate to require and enforce Orio’s obligation to prevent smoke from the bar from entering other buildings such as my office. While smoking may suit some businesses, it does not suit my office or my lifestyle. I should not be forced to live with the physical discomfort and health risks that the law has been designed to protect against.

I hope that the courts will not defer to establishments such as Orio’s and render ineffective a law that aims to protect our health and our rights in public places. However, regardless of legal interpretations and whether or not Orio’s is entitled to an exemption from the law, my right to a smoke-free workplace should, ultimately, take precedence.

– Cynthia A. Dow, Durango

A Ted fan forever

Dear Editors,

Wow! I don’t know what to say!! Ironically, I was going to write to you today to tell you that Ted’s Society Page is my favorite feature of theTelegraph. No, seriously – it really is my favorite, and I really was going to write today. And then I saw the “Ted was Here” and my heart sank.

Actually I was going to write to tell you that although I don’t want to hurt any feelings, I am not usually a big fan of Jared Boyd’s “Day in the Life”

spread. Not that the pictures aren’t nice, but there is rarely any variety. It’s always a bunch of pictures of just one or two people doing the same thing. I first noticed with the demolition derby layout. I thought it would feature several different participants, but as I recall, it only featured one guy and his car. I meant to write then, but you know how it goes. So please encourage a bit of variety in the photos.

But I was going to also tell you that even when I don’t have time to read anything else in The Telegraph, I always make time for the Society Page (and Word on the Street). Although I am sure I am outnumbered, I have always been a Ted fan, since back when we were at KDUR together. I have always appreciated his sense of humor (it helps to hear it in his Philly accent), especially his taste for the nonpolitically correct.

I was one of those people who was sad to see Mike Sheahan leave his post at The Telegraph, but when I first saw Ted’s name on the byline, I think I said “Mike who?” Of course I’d never tell Mike that either – oh wait, maybe I did. Well with any luck, next week I’ll be saying “Ted who?”

But I doubt it.

Good luck Ted, you’re going to need it. No one will appreciate you like those at theTelegraph.

– Have fun, Pamela Marshall, Hesperus

Paddy back to Bubba

Dear Editors,

I read Bubba Iudice’s letter to the editor, and I wanted to set the record straight.

It is true that I met Bubba for the first time at a booth that he was downtown while I was campaigning. He asked me about my T-shirt and I told him that I was asking for a $20 donation for them to help finance my campaign. Bubba said he wanted one of them and gave me a check which I reported on my campaign finance report. Bubba knew that I would be using the photo in a political ad, as did the two gentlemen beside us. I even put on a Bubba Boards sticker on my shirt to

“endorse” Mr. Iudice’s business. We took two photos because one didn’t come out good enough to use for and ad. I guess with my arm around Mr Iudice’s neck, it might appear that I was coercing him to put my shirt on and hold him there while I had one of his assistants take the picture twice. What did a “local resident for the past 15 years” think? That I was a tourist and wanted a picture to blow up and put on my wall? If he wanted a T-shirt for his friend, why was he wearing it?....and if I wanted a T-shirt for my friend, I’d just go have one made...it’s cheaper. I just hope that Bubba’s friend with a last name of Lynch is a little more honorable. I also wonder if Bubba would have sent a “disclaimer” if I would have won the election. Bubba knew.

1,058 thanks. I was thinking of running for Bob Lieb’s position in ‘08. There are times when a man of good conscience has to stand and fight … even if he loses.

– Padraig Lynch, via e-mail

At the end of a long road

To the Editors,

Thank you to all the fine people who supported my attempt to serve as your representative in the Colorado House of Representatives, District 59. Running for a partisan public office is a long and arduous process, and the wide variety of support – financial, letters, volunteering and personal encouragement – from the people one hopes to represent sustains a candidate in the quest for office. To those who voted for me, I’m sorry to disappoint you. However, be proud that you supported a campaign that focused on the issues that would have promoted the common good of all citizens of Southwest Colorado and one that never once engaged in negative political advertising. I have of course congratulated Ellen Roberts, and we should all support her now, as she goes forward to represent us in the Colorado Legislature. Again, Mary and I really appreciate your support and friendship. Together we can make Colorado better.

– Joe Colgan, Durango

Miracle cat’s wild ride

Dear Editors,

Is anyone missing a very lovable, beautiful female cat since Fri., Nov 10? A little after 5 p.m., my daughter and I witnessed a cat being horribly drug by its hind legs from underneath a car on Hwy. 160 West at Coal Creek Canyon (the second curve east of Lake Durango), about 2 miles east of Durango West II. The vehicle may have been a Suburu Outback or similar small station wagon, dark or maroon in color. I was driving a grey Toyota tundra with a shell on back (in case you remember some maniac swerving, blowing his horn, and flashing his lights at you). We tried to signal the driver over, but before we could, the cat fell off onto its head, hitting the pavement at 55 mph. It bounced and skidded off the highway into the small creek next to the road. Luckily I was able to slam on the brakes and swerve to avoid hitting her. My 15-year-old daughter, Marybeth, lept out of the car and down the creek after her. The injured kitty came right up to her and let her pick her up. We then sped to Riverview Animal Hospital. She was bleeding from all four feet, and her face and mouth. Miraculously, she did not suffer any broken bones or major injuries, though she was in shock and obviously terrified about her wild ride.

Right now, she is doing wonderfully, having suffered serious thermal burns mainly on the top and bottom of her front paws, with the pads partially burned off. She was in kitty intensive care for 12 hours, receiving IVs for fluids, pain meds and antibiotics, but as of Tuesday the 14th, she was eating, doing really well and being very friendly, purring and rolling over to get her tummy rubbed. She is 2 to 3 years old, spayed, with a tattoo from the La Plata Humane Society next to the scar. She is two shades of brown and white, short-haired, possibly with a bit of Siamese in her. We would really love to reacquaint her with her owners, who must be missing her terribly. We have no idea how long she was hanging on under the car, if she possibly fell asleep where it was warm, or whether or not it was her owner’s vehicle, a neighbor’s or a visitor’s, we have no idea. She has some major medical bills, but thanks to Dr. Randy Hays, Rita, and the rest of the staff at Riverview Animal Hospital (247-8545), she survived and I took her home on Tuesday the 14th to acquaint her with my other half-dozen cats as either a foster parent or permanently if the real owners can’t be found.

Please call me at 259-9217 or e-mail at lauro@mydurango.net, if you have any information or think she may be your missing baby. She is a real awesome cat and obviously has some cat-loving owners who are missing her.

– Thanks, Phil Lauro, via e-mail

Rockin’ in the free world

Dear Editors,

Went by the Abbey last Tuesday night to an election party and walked in to “The Hounds of Purg” rocking out. These kids are 13 and they rip. There is something priceless about seeing a teen-age rock band play AC/DC and Jimi Hendrix. Some old curmudgeon was yelling for them to stop so he could watch 0 percent of precincts reporting on the elections on CSPAN, truly riveting stuff.

Although the Hounds should have kicked over an amp and flipped the geezer off, they sadly stopped before their time was up. I understand being passionate about politics even if it is like holding out hope for a bad lover to get better. But yelling at kids who are probably psyched to be playing music for you? Poor form to say the least. Hey curmudgeon, I bet there are some nice elevators around town with your kind of music, and next time stay home and watch your own damn TV. Hey Hounds, keep on rockin’ in the free world!

– Jeremy Fuller, via e-mail

The gay, pot-smoking minority

Dear Editors,

Why are gays and potheads offering up their hopes for legalization of their institutions to the masses? Do they not realize that the average Colorado citizen is a rural conservative? Why else would male political candidates have their pictures taken in Howdy Doody outfits and make a big deal of their down-home roots and agricultural fortunes? Gays and dope smokers make up only a tiny fraction of Colorado’s population. Their demographics being so minute and their admissions so exclusive, what sympathy can they hope to garner from the citizenry? These issues are of private morality – which the state cannot hope to monitor or police at any rate. Gays want to marry and have those marriages recognized by the government ... potheads want to get high and have their intoxications decriminalized. What’s next? Ranchers with a penchant for sheep? Lickers of psychedelic toads? The state cannot, and should not regulate, accommodate and subsidize idiosyncratic lifestyles, or variations thereof. Any intrusion by the state into individuals’ private lives is a travesty – thus, inviting the government into private affairs such as marriage or intoxication is tantamount to allowing it carte blanche. Who is to say the state won’t demand its pound of flesh after delivering these accommodations to the affected parties? Taxes on marijuana? Taxes on the income and property of married gays? Expecting sound judgment and wisdom from the masses is like expecting compassion from a rattlesnake. The consensus of voters is not the sum of its parts – that is, you don’t get the results of the combined wisdom and logic of millions in polls, but rather the voice of the proto-citizen, which is garbled and stupid. Hear me, gays and potheads...you’re better off alone, without any references to yourselves in the State Constitution. Asking the public to regulate private morality is the first step toward totalitarianism. No government will relinquish power once it’s been surrendered.

– A Fabis Abstinetes, M.K. Swinderman, via e-mail

In this week's issue...

July 21, 2022
Wildlife success or deal with the devil?

Land swap approved in Southwest Colorado, but not without detractors

July 21, 2022
Tapping out

The latest strategy to save the San Luis Valley's shrinking aquifer: paying farmers not to farm

July 14, 2022
Hey, good environmental news

Despite SCOTUS ruling, San Juan Generating Station plans to shut down