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

Go big inside the city limits

Dear Editors,

The buildings in town are fine. They are not on the open space of agricultural land or wildlands. They are having to provide parking garages. The more people who want to live in town the better. Maybe the lands can be saved in that way. And going up in height is the only way to create the possible lower-cost housing for local workers. A caveat could be that if they want more height, they must provide good-sized townhomes at affordable rates for those who will work in these places. Overhead cross walks open to the public will cross streets. Bicycle garages that are check in and out with safety will also be needed.

Locally raised beef is good for open space. Riders and ranchers need to have a real dialogue. Both need and want open space. Both love it. The small family ranchers have a keener sense of it than any one else. LISTEN.

– Margaret Pacheco, via e-mail

Slow it down on CR 250

Dear Editors,

I am writing on behalf of the residents living at “Gelande Village” on County Road 250 and just above historic Baker’s Bridge in Durango. Because our small, shaded corner of the world blends so delightfully into the north valley landscape, some of our hurried neighbors might hardly have taken notice that we are a fairly domestic bunch together with a number of small children and beloved family pets. Please consider our plea, asking that you share our concern for the safety of our friends and families by knocking it down to around 35 mph within several hundred feet of our small community. Oh, that goes especially for the drivers of the two DirecTV vans that repeatedly tore through our neighborhood at speeds nearing 70 mph on the evening of Thurs., June 21 … Shame on the both of you for your unprincipled conduct!

– Thank you all for your support, David Stroud, via e-mail

Keep the Roan Plateau wild

Dear Editors,

“Do we have to destroy every beautiful place?” asks Keith Goddard, owner of Magnum Outfitters of Rifle, who depends on the Roan Plateau for his income4 and way of life. A wild Roan Plateau attracts the hunters, anglers and photographers he ushers across the plateau, and he knows those people won’t come when the roar of big trucks and the bright lights of drill rigs destroy the night. “Who’s going to pay me $2,500 to $3,000 to see a bunch of roads and gas wells?” Goddard asks.

A recent poll of 400 likely voters in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District (represented by John Salazar) showed 72 percent support for prohibiting drilling on the public lands atop the Plateau. This support was strong across party affiliations. There is also strong support for restrictions on drilling among the outdoorsmen of the district. Among hunters, 69 percent support restrictions on additional drilling. Support is even stronger among fishermen (74 percent) and hikers and campers (74 percent).

Recent studies in the booming coalbed methane fields of Montana and Wyoming indicate energy development is driving away mule deer from their historic grounds. “We’ve seen a 40 percent decline in deer populations close to energy activity,” David Stallings of Trout Unlimited’s Public Lands Initiative said. “That also means loss of hunting opportunity.” An earlier report from the BLM estimated the Roan Plateau deer herd could decrease by 36 percent because of energy development.

And it surely will be, because the area is also the No. 1 County in the state for drilling permits, with more than 1,700 wells permitted in 2006 alone. Another 15,000 to 20,000 new wells are expected to be drilled during the next decade. To some, that may sound like a good idea, but we cannot drill our way to energy independence.

Sixty-five percent of the world’s known oil reserves are in the Persian Gulf; the United States has only 3 percent, but we account for 26 percent of the world demand. It’s simple math and common sense. Drilling the Roan Plateau will not do us any good in the long run. Foreign oil and gas imports will continue to go up because U.S. production peaked 35 years ago and has been declining ever since. Accelerated drilling – as opposed to conservation and developing alternative energy sources – only beholdens us to Middle Eastern dictators and tyrants.

But until our leaders realize that it’s impossible to drill our way to energy independence, until they recognize that drilling in our national treasures destroys the very things that make this country worth cherishing and defending, and until they see that the only way to reduce foreign oil dependence is to raise fuel economy in cars and embrace alternative energy, the fight will never really be over.

– David A. Lien, Co-Chair, Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Thanks for the big Daddy

Dear Editors,

Thank you to all who made the third annual Who’s Your Daddy street festival another huge success for The Children’s Museum of Durango/Durango Discovery Museum. The event raised more than $30,000!

We want to thank our event sponsors: Carver Brewing Co.; Animas Surgical Hospital; The Point; and BP. It was one hot day, but kids cooled off in the Durango Rapid Wash Wetzone and enjoyed some putt-putt time on the Glacier Club Microgolf course. The streets were rocking with talent from Rock ’n Rye, Pinhead, Staboola McPet Quintet, Lawn Chair Kings and Box Car. Special appearances by Ryan Nutter with “The Point,” Connie Cummins (Music Together), Melanie Milburn, Matt the Magician and Jethro the Clown kept all ages entertained.

Carver Brewing Co., our sugar daddy, ensured no one went hungry with delicious wraps, tasty grilled items and a variety of crisp home brews. Lost Dog kept the cool drinks flowing, Nature’s Oasis provided bottled water, Domino’s baked up the hot pizza, while P is for Peanut filled tiny tummy requests for homemade PB&Js. Leland House provided delightful cookies, and Durango Party Rental supplied a rainbow of sno-cone flavors for dessert. Thanks South City Market for lots of needed ice, too.

The list of activities and crafts was endless and engaged visitors of all ages, from the giant slide to homemade crafts. We want to thank all our booth sponsors: Azteca Landscaping, Maria’s Bookshop, Katie Ogier and Chris Serwe of Wells Group, Dyerbilt Construction, Basin Printing, Four Corners OBGYN & Aesthetics, Garrhs/Hercules, Durango Orthopedics, Edgemont Highlands, Kids Rock, GPAA Durango Diggers, Pediatric Partners of the SW, National Guard, Four Corner’s Eye Clinic, Goldman, Robbins and Nicholson legal firm, Trish and Scott Sohle of Remax, Tierra Toys, Renewable Energy and Efficiency Education on Wheels, SW Colorado Renewable Energy Systems, Animas Trading Company, For the Birds, Liberty School, Wells Group, Alpine Bank, Rocky Mountain Children’s Co., Icee Kool, Peterson’s, and Native Roots.

This special event was made possible by the many people who generously donated time, money and resources. We are so thankful to all our wonderful Daddy-O volunteers who sweated the day away to ensure all had a wonderful and safe experience, as well as all of you who supported the Children’s Museum of Durango/Durango Discovery Museum by attending. Thank you for making a great event happen and supporting our vision!

–Who’s Your Daddy Steering Committee, Durango Discovery Museum Board of Directors

Middle finger for the Telegraph

Dear Editors,

Have you ever wondered how the words in a newspaper would read when its editors cowered in fear at the thought of offending its readership?

If you’ve made it this far in the pages of the Durango Telegraph, the chances of you having already read this status quo fluff I speak of are about as likely as those of finding a tourism-business oriented advertisement on the following page.

Start with the staff editorial, for example. Most of the time I have no idea what point the editors are trying to make with their long-winded, beat around the bush style of editorializing. Didn’t they teach these people in journalism school to get to the point early on in the story, even if it is creative writing?

Take the Telegraph’s June 21, 2007 staff editorial, for instance. In this piece the editor speaks of ducking his tail to run from an argument after someone complained to him about the dress styles and celebratory howls of mountain bikers previously encountered on the trail. The editor continues to fawn at the idea of the offended person noticing his Specialized bike t-shirt, his tan lines, or his mountain bike anchored to the top of his car, whereupon he might have to admit that he too is a mountain biker. Retreating in cowardice, the editor manages to escape from the frail, soft-spoken individual without sticking up for mountain bikers, no matter what their style of dress or tone of voice with their friends may be on the trail. This is brown-nosing behavior!

How could one be adversely affected if a biker with tattoos, piercings and body armor rides by them anyways? That’s just silly to say that mountain bikers with an unusual dress style are giving the sport a bad reputation. For an editor that both rides and works for a newspaper named after a local trail, he should be ashamed of himself for distancing himself from mountain bikers.

Whom are they serving by writing claptrap editorials about how they conform to social norms by participating in local outdoor activities if they never go against the grain with their so-called opinions? How does it make it their opinion if they are writing something that they think only the majority of readers would agree with? Conform to non-conformity, I say, and stop giving us this fluff that is only supporting the bottom line.

For a weekly paper claiming to be independent, the so-called opinions are extremely conformist to the liberal majority in our community. But strong journalism and creative writing has the power to do more than just support the status quo opinions. It has the ability to raise a critical consciousness among its consumers. It has the ability to question the practices of local businesses that gouge locals or provide a disservice.

But scrolling down to the Thumbin’ It section just below the so-called staff editorial, I get concerned. You get inconsequential opinions about how great it is that we’ve had the latest surge of tourists, sunshine, or rain. You get a naïve thumbs down about how wildfire season is taking off, while not mentioning its natural role in the ecological cycle. Where’s the unexpected criticism of local public officials, policies or business practices anymore in this pitiful state of so-called independence?

Turn a few pages to the Quick’n’Dirty news briefs page and you get press releases being printed sometimes almost word-for-word directly from the e-mails of public relations officers working for nonprofits or government agencies. This is the state of affairs at a so-called independent news weekly.  

Read on to the Top Story or Local News pages. Where’s the diversity, skepticism, or alternative points of view inherent to an independent press? Accountability is lacking from these pages. Public officials aren’t held responsible for their actions as one would expect them to. Businesses are mostly promoted for their behavior through advertisements posing as news stories. Shady business practices are rarely, if ever covered.

What is the point, then, of writing under the guise of professional, independent journalists if they don’t question what people tell them, both on and off the job? Why does one write for a newspaper if it serves as a bulletin board for public officials and businesses that want to advertise? To this widespread, monumental problem of undercutting responsible journalism in return for the bottom line, I give these ass-kissing editors and their respective profit-minded businesses the middle-finger salute.

– Sincerely, Adam Howell, Tor Stetson-Lee, Teal Stetson-Lee, Ellen Barlow, via e-mail

Editors’ reply: Rather than address each of the half-truths and misrepresentations listed above, we’ll just mention that Adam Howell is a formerDurango Telegraphfreelancer who is evidently disgruntled over a less-than-glowing reference during his ongoing employment search. That said, we are always open to suggestions at theTelegraph, but will respectfully take a pass on Adam, Tor, Teal and Ellen’s tips on how to run a paper. We do, however, encourage them to put their fiery opinions into practice and take a crack at starting their own publication. Good luck.


In this week's issue...

July 18, 2024
Rebuilding Craig

Agreement helps carve a path forward for town long dependent on coal

July 11, 2024
Reining it in

Amid rise in complaints, City embarks on renewed campaign to educate dog owners

July 11, 2024
Rolling retro

Vintage bikes get their day to shine with upcoming swap and sale