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One for mining in Mayday


My heart goes out to Poppy Harshman and other Mayday residents who are “denied the right to express opposition.” Good luck with that.

In the mid-1930s, my mother purchased two cabins in Mayday. She taught at the Mayday school, not an easy job in the winter when she would struggle through waist-deep snow to get there. More than once, a storm resulted in her having to rope her charges together and lead them to her cabin until their parents could retrieve them. Mining was the livelihood of Mayday and La Plata County residents.

My brother and I spent each summer at our cabins, fishing and exploring. We were delighted when electricity replaced kerosene lamps. We loved to visit Bill Little’s gem shop and listen to Olga’s tales of her packing days. We were thrilled by Lady Eleanor’s orange hair and chauffeured Cadillac and frightened by the great-coated and bearded spectre of Axel Cedarwall, whose home is now simply labeled “miner’s cabin.” The only “no trespassing” sign was on the neat fenced yard of Stanley, a long-time prospector, and it was in German. We knew our neighbors and always checked around for needed supplies if we were going to town.

All that changed in the 1960s when the Forest Service decided that the destruction of a community was a small price to pay for a land grab. All of us whose homes were on non-patented land were evicted, regardless. Legal? Apparently. Moral? Certainly not. And now it is called “the land of many uses.”

So Poppy, I’m sorry you are inconvenienced by the historical use of the canyon. We have been inconvenienced for decades by the loss of our property and by the change in the character of the residents. I am wondering how mining activity could possibly be more disrupting than noisy four-wheelers, jeep tours and beer cans being flung from music-blaring SUVs. Enjoy. And don’t forget to maintain that “no trespassing” sign. My brother and I might want to visit our old trout holes, causing you much distress.

– Sincerely, Loraleigh Parker, Mancos

P.S. I might take Poppy more seriously if she could tell me how Mayday got its name.

On the front lines

Dear Editors,

I feel sorry for our military men who, as my friend would say, “suffer the duress of flawed policy after flawed policy.” I know, as a parent, I want to be proud of my4 kids’ decisions. Going into the corrupt establishment of the military would not be one. I would not, could not, feel pride. I am no safer today than I was 30 years ago. Did you know that a woman’s chances of being raped by fellow soldiers was 90 percent? That she was often threatened with insanity charges if she tried to report these men? Our military has degraded into dark forces who raid and rape. Not unlike many tribes throughout the world.

Doubtless to say, women are not being encouraged to enlist. This modern-day military is a fancy computer game, killing more civilians than at any other time in war history. Our soldiers, who come home from Iraq, are committing suicide at a rate of 18 young men a day! Who are these soldiers really protecting? Mostly, I wish they could protect me from my government!

“Courage to Resist,” an activist group in Oakland, has seen a 200 percent increase in the last few months of men who seek asylum from the military. As of 2001, 50,000 soldiers have gone absent without leave. There is a movement of soldiers who need to be heard, and are afraid to speak. They are resisting going to war and applying for Conscientious Objector status. This is a movement that needs huge public support. You can’t have a war, if nobody comes! How can we continue to allow our government subsidized wars to act in our name, in the name of “Homeland Security?” We have become the terrorists, the infiltrators, the murderers. I pray America gets her head out of the sand, sooner than later. Feeling proud of the military was something from past propaganda, designed to brainwash the masses. My heart breaks for all the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, whose loved ones have gone to war. It feels like such a waste of human energy.

– Viva La Resistance! Heather Snow, Durango

A healthy dose of statistics

To the Editors:

Life expectancy in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 77.9 years in 2007, the latest year for which statistics are available, continuing a long upward trend (That’s

75.3 years for men and 80.4 years for women.) The death rate from cancer, the second-biggest killer, dropped 16 percent from 1990 - 2006. That reflects declines in deaths due to lung, prostate, stomach and colorectal cancers in men, and breast, colorectal, uterine and stomach cancers in women. Death rates dropped significantly for eight of the 15 leading causes of death in the U.S., including cancer, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, accidents, diabetes, homicides and pneumonia, from 2006 - 2007. (Of the top 15, only deaths from chronic lower respiratory disease increased significantly.)

The overall age-adjusted death rate dropped to a new low of 760.3 deaths per 100,000 people – half of what it was 60 years ago. The death rate from coronary heart disease dropped 34 percent from 1995 - 2005, though it is still the biggest single killer in the U.S. Deaths from cardiovascular disease dropped 26 percent over the same period. Deaths from stroke dropped 29 percent since 1999. Average total cholesterol in adults aged 20 to 74 dropped to 197 milligrams per deciliter in 2008 from 222 in 1962. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults have never had a permanent tooth extracted because of dental cavities or periodontal disease in 2004, the most recent data available, compared with 30 percent in 1994.

Three out of 10 U.S. schoolchildren aged 5 - 17 in 2007 did not miss a single day of school because of illness or injury during the preceding 12 months. The proportion of undernourished children worldwide under five years of age declined to 20 percent in 2005 from 27 percent in 1990. Hip fractures – which can rob elderly patients of their mobility forever – are down nearly 30 percent in the U.S. and Canada since 1985, for reasons not completely understood. Thanks largely to antiretroviral drugs, U.S. deaths from AIDS dropped 10 percent from 2006 - 2007, the biggest decline since 1998, and they remain well below the 1995 peak. New cases of AIDS, though static in recent years, also remain well below the 1990s level. Antiretroviral drugs have also helped cut dramatically the number of babies born with HIV in the U.S.; in 2006, there were 28 diagnoses of AIDS among children, down from 195 in 1999. Thanks in part to vaccines, the rate of acute viral hepatitis A

dropped 90 percent between 1995 - 2006, and acute viral hepatitis B dropped 88 percent from 1982 - 2006, both to record lows. Acute viral hepatitis C is down to 0.03 from 2.4 cases per 100,000 since 1992, though rates have recently plateaued.

Nearly 62 percent of U.S. adults said they were in excellent or very good health, along with 82 percent of their children, according to families sampled by the federal government for the National Health Interview Survey, which was conducted in 2007 and released this year. Experts have found that some of the best things you can do for your own health are simple and free: Getting adequate sleep can help you lose weight, fight infections, recall memories and think more clearly. Spending just 30 minutes a day in the sunlight to4soak up vitamin D across a broad swath of the country can reduce your risk for a variety of cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and many other diseases. Volunteering to help others can lower your risk for depression and heart disease, raise your self-esteem and happiness and extend your life, according to numerous studies. The longer you live, the happier you are likely to be. Many older adults find that happiness and emotional well-being improve with time; they learn to avoid or limit stressful situations and are less likely to let negative comments or criticism bother them than young adults, according to research presented at the American Psychological Association conference in Toronto this year.

May I pose the question – where is the health-care crisis?

– Ron Applebee, via e-mail

A sad state of affairs

To the Editors:

To me, the sad thing about America, and what we have become as a country, is that there is always enough money for war, and never enough money for health care. 

– Julie Mehan, via e-mail

Priced out at Purgatory

From Locals to Derck:

Ever since we have moved to Durango, my current roommate and I have been fairly displeased with Durango Mountain Resort and its practices. These displeasures range from season pass/ ticket prices to the destruction of perfectly fine and enjoyable establishments, such as Purgy’s being replaced by a giant Vail-esque cafeteria and private pool (not to mention the fabled $2 tall-boys becoming a ridiculous $5). We would like to know why DMR is trying so hard to be a big mountain resort when the actual mountain is not a big mountain. Our new base looks just like it belongs to a giant mountain in Summit County rather than a fairly small local mountain. We find it hard to see how DMR can do all of the building expansion (while we are in a recession!) and compensate for it by raising season/day pass prices basically every year. Purgatory did need more rooms to host our tourist visitors, but did the buildings have to be so overwhelmingly large? Wouldn’t they attract more locals and others by lowering prices!? This issue hits the locals deep, especially college students. DMR offers “cheap” student passes for about a week after students move back to Durango to go to school. At this time, students are spending much of their money on books and are more worried about school than anything else. After things calm down a little bit, students start looking at purchasing season passes, yet the DMR season price has already increased by almost $200 to $539. Also, how can prices be so much cheaper for people in other states when DMR claims to be so local friendly. Oh, and what about the wage freezes enacted this year and the bonuses for every employee being taken away? Last year, the employees at DMR didn’t exactly receive bonuses either; instead they got “Mountain Cards” that could only be spent on things for the mountain. This year, nothing. Where is the incentive for students to ride at Purgatory when they can save money on season passes by instead riding at Telluride. Sure it is farther away, but there is more terrain, they treat our students better regarding prices, and car-pooling isn’t hard when most people tend to ski/ride with a crew anyway. How about a comparison to all of the Front Range riders? Anyone can buy an Epic Pass for $579 and ski six mountains, or $350 and ski five different mountains! Of course only 10 free days at Vail/Beaver Creek. What amenities does DMR provide that they should be able to get away with such high pricing?

– Andy High & Alexi Grojean, via e-mail



In this week's issue...

July 21, 2022
Wildlife success or deal with the devil?

Land swap approved in Southwest Colorado, but not without detractors

July 21, 2022
Tapping out

The latest strategy to save the San Luis Valley's shrinking aquifer: paying farmers not to farm

July 14, 2022
Hey, good environmental news

Despite SCOTUS ruling, San Juan Generating Station plans to shut down