FLC soccer takes on cancer

Once again Fort Lewis College soccer teams are proving they are “Tough Enough to Wear Pink.” This Sunday, Sept. 14, the men’s and women’s soccer teams are donning pink for cancer awareness. The FLC teams are joining forces with Mercy Health Foundation to promote cancer awareness and raise money for a new comprehensive breast care center at the Mercy Regional Medical Center. 

The awareness celebration kicks off on Saturday at the Irish Embassy which is partnering with the Fort Lewis soccer program to raise money by donating 50 percent of their revenue from Saturday’s business to Mercy Health Foundation. The Embassy staff has also donated their time that day to help with the cause. 

On Sunday, attention turns to Dirks Field as the Skyhawks work to build cancer awareness in their second annual Tough Enough to Wear Pink Day. The teams will wear pink shirts in pre-game warm-ups and pink banners will fly from the flagpoles around the field. Limited edition T-shirts will be on sale at the field and the Irish Embassy.

“A sea of pink at the games and a crowd at the Embassy will be a visible show of support for the fight against cancer,” said Tim Hankinson, head coach of the Skyhawks. “The fight goes beyond the soccer pitch – this is a cause our teams have embraced. Pink may be best known for breast cancer, however the key point is that we’re fighting against a common enemy, cancer.”

Fort Lewis has a personal tie to the disease. Brad Bartel, the Fort Lewis College president, has been in ongoing treatment for multiple myeloma, a rare form of cancer of the plasma cells. The FLC soccer players came up with this outreach idea last season to show their support for Bartel by honoring him during their season. After learning of Mercy Health Foundation’s “Yes Ma’am” campaign, they thought they might also help the community by promoting cancer awareness and raising money for the breast care center.

The men’s team plays CSU Pueblo at noon on Sunday at FLC’s Dirks Field and will be immediately followed by the women’s game at 2:30 p.m. against Adams State. 

Popular trail turned into illegal road

A popular trail went under the blade recently. The Bureau of Land Management has discovered that almost a mile of the Whitehead Gulch Trail, located south of Silverton, has been illegally constructed into a road. The trail, located in the Deer Creek drainage, east of U.S. Hwy 550, leads to a cabin at the Mabel Mine, a patented mining claim. It had been a foot and horse trail used primarily by hikers, horseback riders and hunters.

In mid-August, BLM employees discovered that the narrow trail had been bladed with heavy equipment to create an 8- to 12-foot road width with cut-and-fill into steep slopes. In addition, hundreds of trees were cut, and a gate was constructed at the trailhead and locked, preventing horse access to a public trail.

No permits had been issued by the federal agency for this activity on public lands, according to the San Juan Public Lands Center. Any road or trail construction on/across BLM or national forest lands must be approved in writing prior to construction.

The area affected is in a mixed-conifer forest and riparian zone at altitudes exceeding 11,000 feet in elevation. Natural resources affected include damages to soils, watershed, vegetation and wildlife habitat. Agency specialists are currently assessing the scope of damages to determine appropriate reclamation measures. Initial stabilization work should be completed this fall, with final reclamation taking place next summer due to the short time remaining in this year’s field season at this altitude.No charges have been filed, but agency officers are investigating.

Wind power takes off in region

Southern Colorado is moving into the cutting edge of the renewable energy movement. Denmark-based Vestas Towers has announced that it will build the world’s largest wind tower manufacturing plant in Pueblo.

The $240 million capitol investment includes a manufacturing facility that will produce up to 900 steel towers annually for Vestas wind turbines, employing 450 to 550 workers, not including other contracting and consulting jobs. The plant is

scheduled to open in 2009.

The tower manufacturing plant represents the largest single investment in Vestas history. Vestas officials cited easy access to rail and highways, a highly skilled workforce, a favorable business climate, and strong dedication and commitment from state and local leaders to growing Colorado’s New Energy Economy as reasons for further expanding their Colorado operations.  

The company is also opening two new production facilities in northeast Colorado in Brighton. One factory will make wind blades, and the other will assemble nacelles, the housing units that sit atop the tower and contain the gearbox, generator and transformer. Vestas opened its first North American manufacturing facility in Windsor earlier this year. All four production facilities amount to a $700 million capital investment by Vestas and will result in the creation of nearly 2,500 new jobs in Colorado.

“On behalf of the people of Colorado, I want to personally thank Vestas for recognizing the incredible potential here in Colorado,” Gov. Bill Ritter commented.

Downtown honored for excellence

Durango will take home many honors when the Governor’s Awards for Downtown Excellence hosts its annual gala next Thursday. The awards program recognizes the progress being made in revitalizing Colorado’s historic downtown and neighborhood business districts, and local efforts are not going unnoticed.

The City of Durango will be honored with the Best Restoration Award for “Keeping the Historic Strater Hotel Historic.” The Animas River Trail Trout Wall Mural, a collaborative public art effort, will be recognized with the Best Public Space Award. And the After the Fire Memorial at the La Plata County Fairgrounds has been chosen for the Colorful Colorado Award.

According to the Colorado Community Revitalization Association, the awards also recognize the contributions communities are making to Colorado’s quality of life and economy.

The awards will be presented Sept. 18 in Steamboat Springs.

Four Corners landmark collapses

A regional landmark is no more. Wall Arch, located along the popular Devils Garden Trail at Arches National Park, collapsed in August.

The arch fell to the ground sometime during the night of Aug. 4, and rock continued to fall from the arms of the remaining portion necessitating the closure of the Devils Garden Trail just beyond Landscape Arch. A few days later, representatives from both the National Park Service and the Utah Geological Survey visited the site and noted obvious stress fractures in the remaining formation. In addition, rock debris blocked the trail. The trail has since been rerouted and was opened Aug. 26.

First named by Lewis T. McKinney in 1948, Wall Arch was a free-standing arch in the Slickrock member of the Entrada sandstone. The opening was 71 feet wide and 33½ feet high. It ranked 12th in size among the more than 2,000 known arches in the park.

-Will Sands



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