Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

A blooming success

Dear Editors,

I am happy to announce that the Dandelion Festival was a blooming success. It seems that Durango has an affinity for the underdog flower, long touted as an important medicine in many cultures, growing prolifically around the globe. The first ever Dandelion Festival enjoyed large crowds, consisting of a diversity of people. The weather at Rotary Park was warm and gorgeous – very fitting for the spring celebration of sustainability.

The event was put on by a team of organizers from Turtle Lake Refuge, as a celebration for the community and as a fund-raiser for the Turtle’s latest offshoot, GrassRoots Organic Lawn and Garden, offering liquid compost fertilizer and other land steward education opportunities. For more information, write codestar@soon.com.

We at Turtle Lake would like to give a big thank you to all those involved in the co-creation of this event. We could not have done it with out you. Thank you to the City of Durango, the Parks and Recreation Department, and all of our sponsors, including the Bootleggers of Durango for creating the delicious Dandelion Brew. Thank you to all of the poets and musicians, the workshop presenters, the local food vendors, volunteers and artists. Thank you to the creators of the Kid’s Area, Thrift Store and recycled tee screen-printing station. Thank you to the massage therapists and chiropractors in the healing area.

Thank you to all the people who believe that we can create the healthy world that we want to live in by working together with the plants and the Earth, as well as with each other. Thank you to the dandelion flower for your bright, healthful presence, intuitive wisdom, and your sunshine of encouragement.

– Cody Reinheimer, festival co-organizer, Durango

Creative housing solutions

To all those who rent:

Year after year, a growing number of people we know pay huge amounts of rent for housing – the money never to be seen again. No tax advantage, no home appreciation, just a huge monthly payment. Here’s the solution, very affordable, great quality town homes in the low $200,000s with an option of solar hot water systems, which has its own cash back return and the possibility of a fenced back yard. Check out how much support there is right now for average income families to buy homes! There’s an $8,000 first time home buyer’s stimulus that can be used toward your down payment! Regional Housing Alliance has creative resources to support home ownership. And if all of that isn’t enough, we are also providing lease options. Lease options are a great way to accumulate a larger down payment and are risk free. In a lease option you pay the same amount of rent, but a couple hundred dollars of the rent each month gets put toward your down payment if you decide to buy it. After all, why rent when you can buy?

Please go on Regional Housing Alliance’s website www.rhalpc.org or contact Les Van Den Berg at 946-3268 to find out more about these great opportunities. Parrot Creek Builders will be holding an open house at these great townhomes on Sat., May 30, from noon to 4 p.m. Come by and check us out! Just turn at the Shell Station in Bayfield and follow the signs.

– Sincerely, Shannon Van Den Berg

Playing politics

Dear Editors,

Most professional sports teams have a “franchise player.” The quintessential model of team leadership and ability; the best talent to match up one-on-one with anyone in the league and the best person in the long run to build a team around.

The “franchise player” of the current Colorado Democratic Party is Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. “Hick” is to the Democrats what Elway was to the Broncos in the ’90s.

Therefore, “All” candidates facing tough, close races in 2010, ones in which the outcomes of their victory could be in doubt, should seriously consider the “statesman” thing to do: defer to John’s leadership and electability and choose to not stand for reelection.

As in sports just because a player may have had the position for the current or past season should not ipso facto result in their retaining that position. Poor Jay Cutler!Current elected Democratic office holders should look themselves in a mirror and ask this simple question; “can I or Mayor John Hickenlooper best retain this office for the Democratic party in 2010.”

To do nothing less is to place self before principles thus vitiating the party momentum that clearly is heading us in the right political direction.

– Jim Martin, via email

The laws of connectivity

Dear Editors,

Two weeks ago, I wrote about honey bees, and I’d like to conclude by saying that it is not about honey bees or any particular environmental issue. It is about talking about these issues and putting the environment on the conscience of every human. Instead of salivating over those yellow arches, let’s salivate over yellow and black buzzing bees, or solar panels … something that empowers our community and supports life. By talking about these issues of environmental and communal empowerment, collective consciousness gains momentum, so let me give a little more environmental artillery on the plight of the bees.

Understand that pesticides and herbicides are not just an issue of who chooses to use or not to use them; it has deeper implications of what we choose to accept as a society in terms of how we grow food, lawns and gardens. The imbalance comes in the form of monocultures that are human-imposed (because nature would never do such a thing) cultivation of a single species of plant for acres and acres, or just the size of a lawn. Yes, a lawn is a monoculture.

See, a monoculture is like a communist plant field. No, not communal or community, because there is only one type of plant welcome. This homogenization shorts these plants the opportunity to strengthen from adversity and diversity causing the field total vulnerability by a single pest. One pest can wipe out the whole field, have a gluttonous party, and multiply like a cancer. What’s more is communist plant fields only bloom for about two weeks in the year, thus offering food to pollinators only during bloom. It’s as if Durango’s only spring bloomer were the chokecherry. We’d have to schedule a date to get a whiff during its special two weeks of adornment. We’d be Duranged, not Durango.

So, a communist plant field offers only limited food to the honey bees and ensures them a strong dose of pesticides because the field can’t fight pests like it would in nature. Come to think of it, it is not much different for us brilliant humans. Either we eat pesticide food that only fruits at certain parts of the year, or we grow a diversity of food to secure our food system and allow the natural foods and medicines such as dandelion, mallow, plantain, amaranth, lambs quarter and other edibles and medicinals to take root and blossom at different times of the year. Naturally, nature designed different plants to show up and blossom at different times of the year so the proper medicines and foods are available for that season.

Ironically, we’ve spent so much time, money and resources fighting communism overseas, and we’ve done the same battling to secure it a place in our lawns and national food system.

Bees, pesticides, lawns, food…it’s all connected. Bringing this full circle, I propose we make all environmental issues ongoing conversations and stop biting our tongues. Yeah of course, practice what you preach, but like those damned infomercials – “but wait, there’s more…you’ll also receive…” – next thing you know you’ve got 200 sushi grade knives in your kitchen. Keep talkin’ and we’ll have flower gardens in our back yards, or corn, beans and squash in your lawn, and maybe a bee hive in your back yard to pollinate it all. These things are doable and these local organizations can help with gardens, bee keeping/problems, and sustainable living: Turtle Lake Refuge (247-8395), Grass Roots Organic Lawn Care (247-1773).  

– Sage Petersen, 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