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Quantity of life

Dear Editors:

Why not just fill it all in and be done with it?! Plans for county and city development each already include nearly 3,500 lots or buildings, or about 7,000 – before Twin Buttes or other recent proposals. Many more to come, of course. One starts talking real people here – 10,000? – and real traffic, real air pollution, water and tax demands, and more government services. Quantity of life yes, quality, no. The new elementary school needed with the TB development – where would that go and at what cost to whom? 

As approximately 20 percent of city homes presently meet the affordable/attainable definition, TB is not needed for this and should not be approved. The county percentage is higher, and TB housing is priced too high to help. Would we ever see affordable housing in TB anyway? Previous developments that had promised such did not always deliver. Housing priced above affordable/attainable is presently available also.

TB would threaten the integrity and viability of the existing Perins Peak State Wildlife Area. Though much of the adjacent TB land is too steep to build on – including open space to be donated by the developer – the number of homes and commercial space proposed is too great. This area already provides important quality habitat, including year round water, and homes for bear, mountain lion, neotropical migratory birds, game birds, deer and elk. Why impact this existing “green” area when “green” development for humans could occur elsewhere in less sensitive areas?

To mitigate – but not fix – problems of TB affecting wildlife, 52 measures are needed and someone must pay for this. TB will bring many conflicts with wildlife, which always loses. We keep building on the best habitats with a great combination of food, cover and water and expect wildlife to always go “someplace else.” Though the TB proposal is laudable, it should not be built where proposed and it should go someplace else – while it is still just a plan.

Unannexed county land would mean no TB and only approximately 12 homes, perhaps 30 people total allowed. This would be more appropriate for the area, leaving much more natural habitat alone for wildlife to use. (Meanwhile, we can all rest assured that plenty

of growth is already in the pipeline, with more to come.) Better yet would be purchasing the area for open space. But first, I hope that council will deny land annexation and deny approval of TB.

- Sincerely, Jan Holt, Durango

A fan of Thursdays

Dear Editors,

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the entireTelegraph staff for the content, creativity, and quality of your paper. As a resident of Durango for almost a decade, I was there when your first publication was distributed to the public. Since then, it has become my Thursday ritual to go to one of the many local coffee shops just so I can sit with my warm, delicious cup of coffee and fill my head with this weeks news, art, and humor. Your entire staff, as a collective team, put out a fine product.

After reading the several criticisms and attacks pertaining to the content of both McCain’s photos and the political cartoons, I felt compelled to send a positive boost to these journalists.

First, to David Halterman. I found your photos of McCain to be entertaining. There were no mannerisms or facial reactions that I felt were inappropriate or of poor taste. It isn’t like there were photos of him sitting on the can or digging deep within his nose and pulling out a surprise. No, the pictures printed displayed everyday expressions that we all share. I tip my hat to you, Halterman. I found the McCain pictures in good standing with photojournalism with a little twist of humor and scariness.

For my next dose of “spirit sprinkles,” I send them to Shan Wells. Wells is more informed about politics and world affairs then almost anyone I know. I understand that a political cartoonist does not always aim at being cute, silly, and kind. Unfortunately, a lot of what goes on in the world is neither of these and the truth is sometimes disturbing. As a child born from a military family, every war and/or conflict from WW II to Iraq has had members of my family fighting and dying in them. I have never been offended by the content of Wells’ cartoons. Yes, sometimes they are disturbing, but the truth seems to be that way. Wells, you do a fantastic job and you’re a brilliant individual.

As I wrap this letter up, I want to extend my best wishes to all theTelegraph staff for putting out a wonderful paper. As we enter this new era of “hope” and change I will continue to find hours of entertainment with your publication. Thank you. The hard work you all put in is always appreciated.

– Thanks,

“Farmer Dave” Travieso, Durango

Tuning up Chapman Hill  

(Editors’ note: The following is an open letter to the Durango City Council and Parks and Recreation Department regarding skiing at Chapman Hill.)

Dear Council and Staff,

It appears that the city and the Parks and Recreation have failed to effect the installation of a permanent snowmaking system for the second time in the last two years.

This being the case, there are several things that should and could be done to ensure the areas use Mother Nature’s snow.

Everything suggested can be accomplished in house surely with all of the employees in the Parks and Recreation Department. The tasks can all be completed with a minimum cost in dollars and a minimum cost in effort. The tasks include the following.

Number one. Clear and clean the entire ski slope of rocks and brush. This will allow maximum use on a minimum amount of natural snow. Currently, the brush height ranges from 12 inches to eight feet. Mother can not deliver enough snow to cover this brush.

Number two. Re-seed all of the slopes and barren areas that were made by previous mountain bike events. Surely the parks department knows how to grow grass. They must have some grass seed available. The last mountain bike event’s earth moving is an environmental mess.

Number Three. Establish adequate drains or water bars to control the erosion that is taking place. It will take some design work.

Number four. Spray all of the area for noxious weeds that have invaded the area due to lack of slope maintenance.

Number five. Clean the two building at the base of Chapman Hill. One is the Chapman House, a historic building. The other is a pre-built shelter. Both of the buildings appear to be abandoned.

Number six. The whole area shows a lack of maintenance and should be made to appear ready for the sledding and skiing activities. Winter will come sooner than you think.

Number seven. Make sure the rope tow is ready to operate and has been inspected by the Colorado Tramway Board engineer.

Number eight. Develop an operating schedule that serves the children and adults that use the area. That is after school and evenings six days a week. (All day Saturday and Sunday, and all day on school holidays such as Christmas and spring break.) The current schedule in the 2009 Parks and Recreation Activities Guide is very weak as it pertains to children and family use.

Also, in your chart on page 54, you fail to include skiing or sledding as an activity on this 37-acre park. Remember that snow is time sensitive so you need to use it to the maximum before you lose it.

Number nine. Clean up the sledding area and maintain the slope and the snow. The sled run is not a recreation step-child and is a high-use area that could be better. The city engineer developed a plan for the sledding area that was never implemented. I am sure that the communities, families, and children will appreciate attention to this facility.

Winter is on its way folks and Chapman Hill ski and sledding areas do not appear to be ready for the 2008-2009 season.

– Yours Truly,

Dolph Kuss