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

Pennies for peace

To the Editors:

What is the power of a penny? Here in the U.S., we often ignore this smallest part of our currency but in some impoverished countries a penny will buy a pencil for a child who has never had a chance to go to school.

This summer and fall, students and adults in Durango will have the chance to make a difference in the lives of children half a world away. The Pennies for Peace Campaign raises money to build and fund schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. These schools are especially important for girls who otherwise would have no hope for an education or a better future. Greg Mortenson, co-author of Three Cups of Tea, has built more than 60 schools in Central Asia since 1993. Greg will be visiting Durango on Sept. 18. This is a wonderful opportunity to show our generosity.

Needham, Riverview and Park elementary schools and Escalante Middle School will soon begin their Pennies for Peace campaigns. Collections are ongoing at Ike’s Coffee House, the Durango Kid, Magpie’s Newsstand, Durango Joe’s Coffee, the Mancos Bakery, Maria’s Bookstore, Common Sense Café and Lemonhead Hair Salon.

If you would like to have a collection jar at your business or make a donation to Pennies for Peace, call me at 247-8144. For more information about P4P, please read Three Cups of Tea by David Relin and Greg Mortenson or go to www.ikat.org or www.penniesforpeace.org

Although tickets for Mortenson’s 7 p.m. presentation are temporarily sold out, we expect to have more tickets after Sept. 12. Add your name to the wait list at the FLC ticket office behind Magpie’s.

I invite you all to empty your pockets and open your hearts to building bridges of peace, one penny at a time.

– Ellen Fisher, Durango

Election hasty, sloppy, erroneous

To the Editors,

As I feared and tried to express, the special election for organization of the La Plata Archuleta Water District (LAPLAWD) on Aug. 12 was hasty, sloppy and erroneous. Many citizens were not allowed to vote, and while some did not understand that excluding their property made them ineligible, many others were turned away because of mistakes on the voter and property lists provided by the county.

I urge anyone who feels they were not allowed to vote in error or who were provided a provisional or mail-in ballot and have concerns that it was not counted to get in touch with me at (970) 883-5305.

State law requires that election records be preserved, and the election can be investigated with this information.

– Caryl Helmin-Schmid, Bayfield

Harsh health-care realities

Dear Editors,

As much as Bob Schaffer would like to make the Senate race a one-issue race (price of gas), the letter in last week’s Telegraph mentioning health care reminded me that there are many issues facing us this fall. Health care is a huge one. I was one of the eight people who took time from their busy day to meet Schaffer personally in Durango. I wanted to hear what he had to say. What he said just amazed me.

One woman asked him about health care: he said he thought the “system was working fine” much like the letter indicated on Aug. 21. He then proceeded to tell me right to my face, looking me straight in the eye, that he was very happy with his health-care plan, that he had a $10,000 deductible and huge monthly premiums to insure his family. This is preposterous! A $10,000 deductible, and he is happy with that? That certainly shows just how out of touch he is with Coloradoans. 

Well, when my insurance went up to more than $700 a month, I had to raise my deductibles, too, and give up all my co-pays on doctor’s visits. So I have stopped a lot of my preventative health care I used to do. I am not happy with my health care, and there are almost a million people in Colorado who cannot afford heath care either or are rejected for similar pre-existing conditions to the one I have.

No wonder Washington, D.C., is in a logjam, with people like Schaffer who refuse to see the reality the rest of us see and deal with everyday.

– Julie Mehan, Durango

A clear water policy

Dear Editors,

OK, now John McCain says his comments about renegotiating the Colorado River Compact were “misconstrued.” These comments were quoted in an article that appeared on 8/15 in The Pueblo Chieftain. People a lot closer to this issue than me, for example Gov. Bill Ritter, have observed that “the word ‘renegotiate’ does not have double meaning.” Water in Colorado and the West is a critical issue to our livelihood and to our future. Misstatements or naïve remarks about a situation like this one are just another example of the poor leadership that Sen. McCain offers.

The alternative is Sen. Barack Obama, who has real solutions for addressing water usage in the West, and it doesn’t include forcing states to give away the water already committed through a seven-state agreement. He respects the work done in 2007 and will honor this compact. Sen. Obama will establish a national plan to encourage communities to develop voluntary water banks, wastewater treatment and other market-based measures. He will increase collaboration among the federal, state and private organizations to promote conservation of our precious water resources. His intentions are to assist farmers in deploying water conservation measures and will recommend solutions to use our resources more wisely.

These are solutions for Colorado and this is the kind of leadership we need. I have been involved in local water issues over the years here in La Plata County and will welcome Sen. Obama’s leadership and commitment to work on the tough issues.

– Jigger Staby, Durango

Making Community Connections

Dear Editors,

Sometimes BP gets a bad rap, but I want to point out a new program they have that has helped Community Connections, Inc. (CCI).

A BP engineer, who wants to remain anonymous, recently donated $500 of BP’s money to Community Connections – the only nonprofit in our area providing comprehensive services to more than 200 kids and adults with developmental disabilities. In addition, he wrote out a check for $250 of his own money that will be matched by BP once they receive the application from CCI. That means $1,000 for people with developmental disabilities right here in our community.

This money will be used for things like recreation passes for swimming (sometimes the only exercise possible) or for funding a trip to see a parent (CCI encourages independence) that is not covered by Medicaid but that most of the people CCI serves could not afford without help from donors like our BP engineer.

This new program is called the “Fabric of America Fund,” and it allows most employees of BP America to request a company donation of up to $500 between now and Sept. 30. If every eligible employee participates, this could mean more than $12 million in new contributions to organizations across the nation.

So we at CCI just want to say thanks to our BP donor for supporting our mission to provide opportunities for kids and adults with developmental disabilities to lead healthy and fulfilling lives in our community.

– Julie Dreyfuss, development director, Community Connections, Inc.

Bailing out babies in need

Dear Durango Telegraph,  

The March of Dimes would like to thank the people of Durango for their support of our recent Jail & Bail charitable event. More than $15,000 was raised, due to the efforts of our Jailbirds, their donors and our host (Steamworks Brewing Co). This generous achievement will help our work to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. A special thanks to Durango’s top Jailbird, Greg Munro, who raised $1,116 for healthy babies.

The March of Dimes is proud this year in Colorado to fund nearly $2.4 million in research, services and education to help our state’s babies and families. We invite any group that provides infant and maternal health care to apply for a grant. Plus, our Pregnancy and Newborn Health Education Center is available 24/7 with free information for every mom and mom-to-be. More may be learned about March of Dimes healthy-baby resources by calling our local office at (970) 243-0894.  

Again, thank you, Durango!

– Sincerely yours, Debra Horwitz, Western Colorado Division director, March of Dimes

Choose a team

Dear Editors,

It’s en vogue in these times of political disillusionment to claim to be an Independent. It gives the impression that one is seriously and carefully weighing the political options in front of them, while not declaring loyalty to either campaign. But, are you an Independent or an Inactive? It seems to me that those wearing the Independent button are simply sitting out the process. More than one person has said to me that they’re so unhappy with the two-party status quo system that they are voting for the Independent candidate, yet they can’t even name an Independent candidate.

If you are truly an Independent who cares about elections and the importance of voting, then it’s time to choose a team. Because, regardless which side you land, that campaign needs your help now.

– Diane Morazen, Durango

Don’t buy into the smear

Dear Editors,

Between now and Nov. 4 much of what voters will see, hear and read will be misleading. Verify the facts. Do research to make an informed decision before you vote. Do not allow smears to determine your choice. Separate truth from fiction. I support Barack Obama, and I find it disturbing that some people want to believe the smears, no matter the facts. Get the whole story. Try these two sources for starters: factcheck.org and politifact.com.

– JJ Colman, via e-mail

The Price of Postage

“Sarge” was my Dad’s friend

And drinking buddy.

He was one of those “happy” drunks,

Always carefree and perpetually “running on empty.”

It was true that he was pinned under a Panzer

For twelve hours at Anzio,

His left hand crushed under the tread,

And it is also true that he

Went into Local Liquors in’57,

Two days before my birthday and tried to buy a pint.

The old man wouldn’t sell it to him. “You’re a penny short!”

Sarge, jokingly tried to barter for the bottle

With an unused one-cent Lincoln.

It is true that Sarge walked out calmly,

Got into his truck,

And it is also true that the windshield shattered

In a smoky blast that resounded in an eerie echo.

On my 8th birthday Dad drove cross-town

To buy his case of Ballentine.

– Burt Baldwin, Ignacio

Momma Obama for president

Dear Editors,

I’m sure that anyone who watched the opening night of the Democratic Convention is wondering if we are supporting the wrong Obama for President. I know I am. Michelle Obama seems like the sort of person who can take Barack Obama’s hollow rhetoric about change and turn it into substance.

A ticket with Michelle Obama and Carolyn Kennedy...Hmmm.

– Doug Quinones, via e-mail


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