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Case of the Snowdown sheriffs

Dear Editors,

I am a 55-year-old citizen of Durango. On the evening of Feb. 2, 2008, I attended the Snowdown “Golf Tournament” awards dinner/presentation at the Elks Club and decided to leave at about 5 p.m. When I got to the foyer leading to the 9th Street exit there was some kind of altercation going on. There was an extremely drunk young man trying to force his way into the main hall, but he was being restrained by several people. He was completely out of control, wanting to fight somebody. For some reason, he then caught my eye and started in on me, saying “What are you looking at mother f—-er, I’ll kick your ass,” etc. He repeated threats like that a couple times, so I started to move around them to the left to leave when a larger man turned and started forcing me backwards, yelling into my face “Turn around, walk the other way, NOW!” He did this twice. He was in a knight’s costume, and I asked who he was but he didn’t respond. He also appeared to be very drunk. He then turned to his friend and I again tried to leave. I again had to pass the man being restrained and he again started threatening me. I again his rants and left the building. As I got a ways down the street, I heard someone yelling “Come back here mother f—-er, I’ll kick your ass, blah, blah.” I didn’t turn around. At some point the glass in the Elks Club door was broken, the police were called, and people were thrown out.

Some time later, I heard the men were La Plata County Sheriff’s deputies so I called the sheriff’s department to report their loutish behavior. I said I wanted an apology from the men, and I wanted to know that the department had done something to let them know this kind of violent behavior is not tolerated.

Investigator Tom Cowing soon called to gather details. I filled him in as best I could, however, I did not have great descriptions of the men due to the time that had passed, the fact that I was trying to avoid them, the costumes, the crowd, etc. I found another 55-year-old female witness who actually talked to the man, telling him he needed to calm down and according to her, he told her to f—- off.

This led to a rather questionable photo lineup some five weeks after the incident where the deputies “may or may not have been in the lineup.” We were told we would be hearing from the sheriff. We did not.

Suffice to say, apparently the sheriff did not believe us as neither man offered an apology and the sheriff never answered my calls, although they did have to pay for the window and apologize to the Elks Club. Go figure. Their side of the story is that one of the deputies4 was mad because someone grabbed his wife’s butt, and that’s all they remember.

I find it inexcusable that an elected official does not respond to his constituents, nor hold his employees accountable for their actions. Sheriff Duke Schirard has lost my confidence, my respect and my vote. I am disgusted at the shoddy handling of this matter, the dishonesty of the deputies and the attempts to protect the officers obviously involved.

Congratulations, Duke. You have a deputy who can’t handle his liquor AND is walking the streets like a human time bomb. I hope you’re prepared for when he next goes off. Hopefully he doesn’t go for his gun.

I recently obtained the Durango Police Department Incident Report and found that the larger deputy’s name is Mike Brown and the belligerent one was Cody Story. Well Deputy Story, if a pinched butt is all it takes to make you want to assault innocent people, STAY HOME. I didn’t touch you or your wife. Snowdown is not for you. And for our sake, NEVER touch another drink in your life. You’re too immature to drink, and from what I saw, too unstable to carry a badge.

According to the report, Brown’s shirt was stained with blood from the altercation, so apparently there was an assault of some sort.

If anyone has more information regarding the incident at the Elks Club, please e-mail me at kvanz@aol.com.

– Ken Van Zee, via e-mail


Back to basic birthing

Dear Editors,

April is Cesarian section awareness month.

The U.S. c-section rate is 30 percent. That means one in four pregnant women giving birth will receive a c-section. According to the World Health Organization, the c-section rate should be no higher than 5-10 percent. If it’s higher than that, c-sections unnecessarily harm both the mother and baby. Most c-sections are done because of failure to progress, or the mothers inability to push the baby out, which can be caused by drugs such as epidurals and the supine position. Women were designed to birth in a squatting position.

Women require the same need for privacy that all mammals do. When a women enters an unfamiliar environment like a hospital with many people around, her labor slows down because her primitive brain is saying this is not a good place to give birth. She needs to get back to her cave to birth in her own territory and in privacy. Birth is a sexual event, and just like sex, birth requires the need for privacy.

Pitocin and other drugs are often used to speed up labor, but these drugs can cause contractions to become more painful, the cause baby’s blood pressure to drop, and uterine rupture. Lying down in a hospital bed can cause this, too. This creates the need for many other interventions. Epidurals increase the chances of vacuum, forceps and c-section delivery. Interventions are like falling dominos – once one falls, the rest will follow, and it begins the minute the woman leaves her home. Complications are caused by interventions. Most homebirths are safe for the majority of women.

The U.S. has the second-worst maternal and infant mortality rates, and only 1 percent of women give birth at home. The countries with the lowest mortality rates have midwives and the majority of births are done at home. C-sections are major surgeries that carry many more risks than a vaginal delivery. It has more risks for mothers and babies, mothers have a harder time bonding with their babies, and a harder time nursing their children, and have a higher risk of postpartum depression. This is also true if the baby is separated from her mother immediately following vaginal delivery, and if the mother has had drugs given to her. The absence of this bonding time between mother and baby has traumatic results mentally and physically, which can result in depression, anxiety, violent behavior and drug abuse later in life for the child.

Babies need the stimulation of uncut vaginal walls to stimulate their breathing, their nervous system, and their digestive system. Without that, many diseases and poor

health often are the results. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. With drugs and interference both physically and mentally, the whole natural process of labor and birth is stopped. This stops the hormones that began the bonding process, and everything else that Mother Nature intended to happen for the survival and health of the species. Violent birth leads to violent lifestyles, so peace on earth begins with birth. C-sections should only be done for births with placenta previa, which is very rare.

Homebirths are safe, perhaps safer than hospital births, so please, women, educate yourselves and choose to have a homebirth either unassisted or assisted with a midwife that will respect your privacy. If the midwife gives you the feelings of being watched, then the midwife is no benefit. Wouldn’t it be more joyful for couples to catch their own children, and birth their children the way there where created? Like Michael Odent said, “the best place to give birth is the best place to make love.” The only way to avoid an unnecessary c-section is to stay out of the hospital. Poverty, intervention and fear are the major killers in childbirth. It was never doctors and hospitals that made birth safe – only more dangerous. But before I go, let me leave you with these two quotes: “There is something wrong with a society that insists on making a complicated, expensive, medical emergency out of a normal physiological function primitive women have been doing by themselves for centuries.” – Cathi Cogle; “If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the beginning of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From those roots grow fear and alienation, or love and trust.”

-Suzanne Arms, author of Immaculate Deception II, and Cassandra Fisher, Durango



Looking forward financially

To the Editors,

In 2005, many organizations across the state combined efforts in a campaign to pass Referendum C, which created a five-year time-out to the revenue caps mandated by TABOR (the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights). This time-out is now in effect, and will expire in 2010. When Referendum C passed, many knew it was a stop-gap measure for our state’s conflicting constitutional mandates and funding problems that have resulted in past (and potential future) cuts to higher education, roads, health care, public health and children’s programs. The current economic downturn and housing market crisis further impact the state’s financial problems.

The League of Women Voters La Plata County and the “It’s About Kids” La Plata County Advocacy Network, along with several other state and local sponsors, invite you to a presentation on this important statewide and local issue: “Looking Forward: Colorado’s Fiscal Prospects After Referendum C.” Our speakers from The Bell Policy Center and the Colorado Children’s Campaign will focus on where the state’s finances are headed and explore if that’s really where we want to go. A brief Q&A session will follow the talk.

We invite you to this educational forum, which we hope will start a community conversation about the topic and provide us with the information we need as citizens of the State of Colorado. This event will be held Wed., April 30, 5:30-7 p.m., in The Peaks Room at the Durango Community Recreation Center, 2700 Main Ave. Refreshments will be served.

– Ellen Park, president, League of Women Voters of La Plata County

A bitter, rural American responds

Dear Editor,

I disagree with Mark Mahlum’s thumbs down to Sen. Obama.

Where is the insult in acknowledging that many of us regular, working Americans are bitter at how things are going in our government? Mind you a government that is supposed to help build and ensure the foundation for a healthy future. It doesn’t take “urbanite condescension” to complain about what this administration has to show America for its past eight years of possessing the good faith and backing of the American people.

Back when W. Bush and his New American Century handlers took over our government, the world’s cadre of dedicated terrorists could be counted in the hundreds, with a cast of thousands of sympathizers who supported but weren’t quite convinced themselves. After 9-11, rather than turning the tide during that short post 9-11 window of opportunity, the numbers of adversaries has multiplied by a million on both counts!

What’s most tragic and bitter making is that we provided the “cause” by our own indiscriminate use of weapons of mass destruction. USA’s Armed Forces and American resources have been squandered in an effort that has only given cause to those who already mistrusted us, to totally hate us now ... Why, you may ask ... how many limbs have been torn off how many innocent children’s playful bodies with our own weapons of mass destruction? How would you react? What can we expect?

Here at home, Mr. Bush campaigned to help heal our nation, yet America is many times more fearful, polarized and angry at itself than ever before. Mr. Bush promised to get the guilty for 9-11, yet Osama Bin Laden is still around to taunt us. Why not feel bitter? Seems to me it’s about time a politician acknowledged the way many Americans are feeling.

As for the other part of Obama’s comments – there is nothing “condescending” about questioning that age-old human tendency to cling to old beliefs in the face of fear and new challenges. For example, we have powerful government officials claiming, and believing, that our universe – the Earth itself and all in it – was created 6,000 years ago, in a dramatic weeklong poof of creation. This in a time when we possess human artwork dating past 60,000 years ago, to say nothing of the volumes of even more ancient marvels that our universe’s history holds for all who care to ponder and study. This attitude scares many to the core, because it shows an ability to absolutely ignore massive amounts of contrary evidence simply because it doesn’t fit one’s particular belief structure. This, in turn, indicates people who are incapable of admitting to their own fallibility and biases. This, however, does help explain how grievous mistakes such a Bush’s misadventure in Iraq can occur with such ease. Still, shouldn’t we strive to learn to avoid such mistakes in the future?

I say thumbs up to Sen. Obama for having the insight to appreciate some of these undercurrents. It indicates an intellect capable of appreciating the many faceted complexities of our real world – and highlights one of many reasons why Obama is worthy of this nation’s highest office.

– Sincerely, Peter Miesler, Durango


Broads salute Jeep Jamboree

Dear Editors, Last weekend saw the last Jeep Jamboree ride up Arch Canyon, that unique, fragile canyon in San Juan County that is home to numerous wildlife species and many archaeological sites. The Jeep Jamboree has decided that the time has come to discontinue this particular ride. Great Old Broads for Wilderness commends the management of the Jamboree for its action and hopes that other organized motorized groups will follow suit. We also urge the BLM’s Monticello Field Office to close the canyon to motorized traffic entirely. It is a wonderful place for a hike, horseback or bicycle ride, and southeast Utah has thousands of miles of gorgeous roads and trails that are open to motor vehicles. But Arch Canyon is simply not a place where motorized activity ought to be occurring. We hope that the Jamboree riders will enjoy many more years of responsible riding in the red rock country, and thank them for their excellent decision.

– Veronica Egan, executive director, Great Old Broads for Wilderness


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Rolling retro

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