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Becoming a community asset

Dear Editors,

First, thanks to the Telegraph for reporting on La Boca Center for Sustainability (LBCS) in the Sept. 7 edition. I would like to take this opportunity to talk about our journey in developing LBCS and to shed some light on a few misconceptions in the Sept. 7 article.

Shannon Iris and I began this journey when Dr. Roy Craig, the previous owner of La Boca Ranch, was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and was informed that he had about a year to live. At the time, Shannon and I were living on the ranch helping Dr. Craig with chores and maintenance. After his diagnosis, he expressed his concern to Shannon that he did not know what to do with the ranch, the place that he had called home and loved for the last 27 years of his life and wanted to keep intact as a working ranch and farm beyond his life.

Dr. Craig, his sister and her husband bought what was left of the historic ranch in 1978 and over the years pieced together the prime acreage of what was once a ranch of over a thousand acres and had been subdivided by the previous owner. When Roy told Shannon of his concern, Shannon told him about a dream that she and I had (similar to LBCS) as well as about a nonprofit model that would keep the ranch intact and working indefinitely. The nonprofit model we told Dr. Craig about was based on the world famous Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory located in Gothic, Colo. RMBL has been carrying out its mission since 1927 and is a place where Shannon and I worked, met and became engaged.

After a year of conversations we had with Dr. Craig, he put the ranch into a conservation easement and a trust. The trust is to lease the ranch and its buildings to LBCS for 15 years. When LBCS becomes a viable operation, the ranch and its assets are to go to the nonprofit.

We have had a huge number of volunteers help with LBCS over the years and are very grateful of the help. Currently, we have a very talented crew working at La Boca. Gabe Eggers and Mike Nolan are running La Boca Farms under the umbrella of LBCS. Eric Husted, owner and operator of Lorax Logging, a sustainable logging company using draft horses, is developing a grain and hay production program at La Boca using draft horses. Abi Allen has been at La Boca for a couple of years developing a small animal husbandry program that4 includes chickens, goats, cows and sheep.

Each of these programs are being developed for the purpose of creating a working, integrated, sustainable farm as well as creating a hands-on, accredited curriculum to be taught in a seven-month, intensive apprenticeship program that is based on the apprenticeship program at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at U.C. Santa Cruz, the program that Mike and Gabe graduated from. Gabe, Mike, Eric and Abi would be the primary instructors.

We recently hired Gabe to be the assistant director of La Boca, and he has done a fantastic job of developing and implementing protocols and procedures. We also hired Erin Jolley to fund raise and complete public outreach. She has worked closely with Durango Nature Studies to develop a fifth-grade curriculum that is currently being offered to local schools. The funds that we are working from came from the La Boca Trust.

Also, LBCS is a partner within the communitywide Growing Partners, which consists of a number of other entities (Southern Ute Community Action Program, Southwest Marketing Network, Turtle Lake Refuge and The Garden Project) that are working toward creating a healthy, local food system.

We are currently in our fifth year of operation and our largest wish is that LBCS and La Boca Ranch is and further becomes a community asset, especially in regards to rebuilding the local food system.

– Chester Anderson, executive director, La Boca Center for Sustainability

More to the story  

Dear Editors,

In response to the letter from Amber Robertson in last week’s Telegraph that details an alleged incident that occurred at the Lost Dog on Saturday, Sept.r 13, we believe that there is more to the story than what was written. The Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity has been hosting a Friday night Happy Hour at the Lost Dog for more than two years now, and the staff and owners of the Lost Dog have been nothing but friendly and welcoming. Before we ever moved our Happy Hour to the Lost Dog, I personally went and spoke with the owners, Ann and Victor, to make sure that we were welcomed as a group, and they both said they had absolutely no problem with us gathering there. Some Friday nights we have had only four people there, but other Friday nights we have taken over the entire front room or back patio, and there has never been a confrontation with any of the staff. It is not unusual for members of 4cGLAD to kiss hello or goodbye, hug, embrace, share the same seat, or even dance together at our Happy Hours, and we have never been asked to leave. The Lost Dog has hosted many birthday parties, going away parties, a welcome for PFLAG’s annual meeting, and has donated to events that we have held. We have never experienced any sign of discrimination or homophobic behavior from anyone associated with the Lost Dog.

On the other hand, we know that at times, when people are having fun, usually mixed with a little too much alcohol, some people can forget that they are in a public place and their actions might cross the line of what is deemed decent. This is true for both gay and straight couples. If this couple was asked to leave the Lost Dog, we believe that the staff did not discriminate against them for being gay but more likely for being inappropriate in public. No one wants to witness two people, whether they are straight or gay, doing something that should be done in private. If Amber Robertson, her friends, or any witnesses to the incident wish to contact the board of 4cGLAD to dispute this belief, we encourage them to do so by e-mailing us at info@4cGLAD.org.  4cGLAD’s mission is to create a safe, welcoming and empowering community for all GLBT people, and we take any reports of discrimination very seriously.

Until proven otherwise, we will continue to hold our Happy Hours and parties at the Lost Dog, a local establishment that has been very welcoming, warm and friendly to our community.

– Sincerely, Greg Weiss, Board Chair, Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity

Peculiar local color

Dear Editors,

The Durango-to-Silverton Narrow Gauge Train should be a good neighbor. But when friends and I dined near the depot recently, it did not sound, nor smell, like the train gave a hoot – no pun intended – about neighboring businesses.

We choked on diesel fumes from a switch engine, ate smoke from the switch engine and attempted to shout over the endless honking and other noise from the switch engine. I heard other diners express similar frustrations. If they assumed that this is “just local color,” I can assure them there was once a time when it was possible to eat dinner south of 6th Street without the above-mentioned “amenities,” particularly diesel fumes during the dinner hour.

I know there is train equipment that must be moved for the next day’s trips, but a well-maintained diesel engine should emit relatively little smoke – and, believe me, this was nothing like a little smoke. Considering the close proximity of restaurants and shops, why is a cleaner form of switch engine not used or why is the work not done when nearby businesses are closed?  I also got the impression that the horn on the switch engine was more someone’s toy than used only as needed.    

I hope that creative win-win solutions can be found that will mean train equipment moved without half suffocating or half deafening those nearby or doing what this certainly does: harm nearby businesses who work very hard to maintain their customer base!

– Kathleene Parker, Rio Rancho, N.M.

A teach-in on Twin Buttes

To the Editors:

Here comes the “Teach-In on Twin Buttes: The Truth Behind the Spin” to help concerned citizens sort out the myths from the realities related to the proposed 597-unit development on 595 acres two miles west of  Durango off Highway 160.

The Teach-Ins are a pair of open houses taking place from 5 to 8 p.m. both Tuesday, Sept. 30 and Wednesday, Oct. 1 at the Unitarian Universalist Hall, 435 San Juan Drive.  The Citizens to Save Twin Buttes is sponsoring the events at no charge but donations will be accepted.

The keynote speaker on Tuesday is Bob Saunders, Telluride Town Councilor who will present on that city’s successful effort to acquire open space – the Telluride Valley Floor – through purchase by eminent domain.  The Twin Buttes property holds high priority for open space acquisition due to its wildlife and scenic, iconic landscape.

Saunders will speak upon his arrival from Telluride where he is tied up with a council meeting until mid afternoon. During both open houses, the public can wander amidst the exhibits and meet with a set of presenters who will provide informal briefings on important issues concerning affordable housing, the proposed community gardens, wildlife, transportation and other infrastructure impacts, along with the city’s planning process and fiscal liabilities.

The Twin Buttes project is set for the City Council’s Oct. 21 agenda, and citizen comment by hearing and email will be accepted. Informal presenters include Dave Wegner, John Viner, Sara Ransom and Alan Ralston, among others.

Vicki Love and I are co-chairs.  Call me at 247-0822 for further information.

– Sincerely, Chris Paulson, Durango

Searching for the truth

Dear Editors:

On Sat., Sept. 27, there will be an all-day simulcast concerning the Truth Project, held here in Durango at First Baptist Church. The Truth Project, created by Focus on the Family, is a 13-hour DVD series designed to teach believers a Christian worldview by showing them what God says about such subjects as government, ethics, science and the arts. People who study this series become better prepared to communicate their beliefs to family and friends. Participants will each receive a complete set of DVDs and will be qualified to lead study groups, or simply view the series for their own education. Please call Louise at 247-3540 for more information or to sign up.

– Debi Marti, Durango

Cast an informed vote

To the Editor,

Election Day, Nov. 4, is fast approaching. There are two contested seats for La Plata County commissioner, a 6th Judicial District Attorney race and an uncontested seat for State House District 59. The candidates for county commissioner in central La Plata County District 2 are Peter Tregillus (D) and incumbent Kellie Hotter (R). District 3 candidates in Eastern La Plata County are incumbent Wally White (D) and Harry Baxtrom (R). Running for district attorney are Todd Risberg (D) and Russell Wasley (R). Ellen Roberts (R) is running unopposed for State House District 59.

The League of Women Voters of La Plata County will be holding three candidate forums for voters to meet the candidates and ask written questions. The forums are:

-Wed., Oct. 1, Bayfield Town Hall

-Mon., Oct. 6, Durango City Council Chambers, City Hall

-Tues., Oct., 14, Ignacio Public Library

All forums will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  The Durango forum will be televised on CitySpan Channel 10. Space is limited, so please arrive early. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. More information is available on our website at www.lwvlaplata.org. Please plan on attending, bring your questions and exercise your right to cast an informed vote.

– Stephanie Huss, League of Women Voters of La Plata County

Running wild

Dear Editors,

Obama had the foresight, common sense and economic insight to realize long ago where Wall Street was headed. Barack Obama said this weekend, “They wanted to let the market run free ... instead, they let it run wild.” Obama is correct: We can’t keep going down the same road in the same direction, letting the guys who drove us into this ditch hang onto the steering wheel. We need a new driver, with a better sense of direction. America needs Barack Obama, a leader with the intelligence to be our Commander in Chief. Thank you for your support.

– JJ Colman, Durango

Don’t get fooled by 48

Dear Editors,

If you value each woman’s right to make her own personal choices regarding her health and her family, then VOTE NO on 48.  Amending the Colorado Constitution as a seemingly equal-rights measure is a false sell. What Amendment 48 would actually do is take away the rights of all walking, breathing women to make their own health choices, in favor of giving “equal rights” to a fertilized egg. Is an egg or an actual human being a “person.” VOTE NO on 48 and leave our Constitution alone.

– Julianne Ward, Durango



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