Thompson, Lyon, Broderick elected

A sleepy City of Durango election drew to a close on Tuesday night. The most recent contest for Durango City Council, which was marked by few candidates and low voter turnout, resulted in the election of Christina Rinderle Thompson, incumbent Doug Lyon and Paul Broderick.

Thompson, who was the first candidate to declare in February, led with 2,423 votes. Lyon took second at 2,389, and Broderick rounded out the field with 2,133 votes.

Only four candidates, including Aaron Tucson who garnered 1,210 votes, declared for the three vacant seats. Voter turnout for the election was its lowest in more than five years with only 34 percent of the electorate opting to take part.

However, Thompson opted to look forward on Tuesday and offered her thanks to the electorate. “My desire to serve on City Council stems from my enjoyment of three main things: exchanging ideas, promoting an inclusive community, and creating solutions that make sense,” she said. “I am honored to have your support and will work hard with my fellow councilors, city staff and everyone in this community to serve and represent you to the best of my abilities.”

All councilors-elect have indicated a desire to focus more on Durango’s economic vitality. Following her election, Thompson restated this vision. “My focus will be on sustainability, recognizing that the environment and the economy are mutually beneficial, and active listening, learning what you as members of our community have to say – after all, it’s your city,” she said.

Thompson, Lyon and Broderick were all elected to four-year terms. Lyon will return to his seat on council, and Thompson and Broderick will replace Renee Parsons and Scott Graham, who both are stepping down. The new councilors will be sworn in April 21 in Durango City Council Chambers.


Firefighters save Main Ave. building

For the third time in as many years, fire struck Main Avenue last week. However, quick action by Durango Fire and Rescue crews prevented the blaze in the Newman Block Building, at 8th Street and Main, from becoming a major catastrophe.

Crews responded to the smoking building at 7:29 a.m. on Sun., April 5. Their quick action located the seat of the fire between the ceiling of Joel’s and the second floor. Crews attacked the fire aggressively on the first and second floors. and an additional crew opened the skylights and the roof, venting out the accumulated heat and toxic gasses.

The fire was under control by 9 a.m. although crews worked for another four hours to douse the hot spots and clean up the first and second floors. DFRA Chief Dan Noonan commended the actions of the firefighters and help from Upper Pine and Los Piños fire departments. “They clearly saved this historic building from total destruction,” Noonan said.  

The cause of the fire is under investigation but appears to have started where utilities fed the building. Because the utility infrastructure was severely damaged, the reopening of several of the businesses in the building are expected to be delayed.


Denver TV en route to Durango

Durangoans interested in seeing more orange and blue on their television screens could be in luck. The Four Corners Television Act of 2009, legislation that would make Denver television available to Montezuma and La Plata counties, was introduced in Washington, D.C., this week.

The greater Durango area is currently designated as part of the Albuquerque Designated Market Area (DMA), and as a result, local residents are deprived of Colorado news and sports programs. Colorado’s congressional delegation went to bat for local viewers this week by introducing the act, which would allow both cable and satellite carriers to offer Denver programming locally.

“People in Southwest Colorado contact my office every day asking that we do something – anything – to get this long-standing issue resolved,” said Sen. Michael Bennet. “It only makes sense that people who live in Colorado – in this case Montezuma and La Plata counties – have access to news and sports programs from their own state.”


FLC hosts local cultural display

Durango’s cultural heritage goes into the spotlight next week. Local students and community members have assembled the “Journey Through Our Heritage: Familia, Vecinos y Cuentos” exhibition, which will show next Tuesday.

Journey Through our Heritage is a Del Alma program open to Durango middle and high school students. The goal is to help the students develop a better understanding of their own history and cultural heritage through interpersonal relationships and connections. Journey students from Durango High School and middle school students from Miller and Escalante have been collaborating with 21 Fort Lewis College students to conduct a community-based learning and research project.

The project display will include videographies of college students, of local Journey Through Our Heritage students, and of community members. There will also be cumulative documentaries that combine the college student’s class work with in-depth interviews conducted throughout the year.

Journey Through Our Heritage will be displayed on Tues., April 14, 5-7:30 p.m., at the Center of Southwest Studies. For information, call 247-7290.

Mega-bank protest comes to Durango

A group of Durangoans will join in a nationwide protest to reform the U.S. banking system this Saturday. On April 11, protesters in Durango and across the country will take to the streets and call for the U.S. Congress to treat the financial sector in a new way. The movement, A New Way Forward, is calling for the dissolution of the mega-banks that contributed to the current financial crisis and is pushing for massive reform of the financial sector. The protests are expected to be staged in more than 50 cities nationwide.

Nathan Coe, the Durango coordinator, commented, “We must resist solutions that perpetuate and exacerbate the concentrations of wealth and power that got us in this situation to begin with.”

Organizers are looking to those who have been most affected by the financial crisis to voice their concerns. “We expect the unemployed, the foreclosed, the Obama supporters, the progressives, the conservatives, and those who are seeing their country slip away,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, a national organizer. The local chapter of A New Way Forward will hold its first official action April 11 on the corner of College & Main Ave.

– Will Sands




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