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Farewell to Jimbo

Dear Editors,

Longtime area resident James Matthew Wilson III died of complications from Pick’s disease, a type of frontal temporal dementia, in Bayfield, on Mon., Sept. 28. He was 55.

Known as “Jimbo,” “Jimber,” “Bro,” “Cool Man” and “Jim Jaguar,” he was born Dec. 10, 1953, to Dolores and James Wilson Jr. in Philadelphia. He grew up in Cherry Hill, N.J.

In 1976, Wilson moved to Colorado and established Animas Electric in Durango. He sold the company to his nephew after his diagnosis.

On Dec. 24, 1979, he married Janet Smith in Durango. The marriage ended in divorce after 24 years. The Smiths enjoyed traveling and would work and save until they could take off several months to visit an area of the world. In the mid-1980s, they spent a year and a half traveling around the world, spending a great deal of time in Africa and Asia. They also traveled through most of Central and South America.

“Jim was a renegade,” his friends and family wrote, “a true free spirit with his sense of humor, playfulness and mischievousness. He was an adventurer who loved the outdoors and deep wilderness in all its forms.”

Wilson enjoyed biking, hiking, climbing, kayaking and skiing. He was an accomplished musician who played guitar, drums, shakers, flute, recorder, saxophone, harmonica, mandolin, violin and piano. He combined his passion for music and love of travel by collecting instruments from around the world.

During the last year of his life, Tom and Carin Garcia cared for him in Heartwood Co-Housing in Bayfield. There he enjoyed visiting with his daughter, Angela, taking siestas, listening to music, playing tic-tac-toe and watching reruns of the “Andy Griffith Show.” He was a warrior brother in the ManKind Project and enjoyed sitting in a circle of men right to the very end, his family said.

Friends and family held a three-day visitation with music, candles and flowers at Heartwood Co-Housing from the time of his death until Wed., Sept. 30.A celebration of life will be held from 1 - 9 p.m. Sun., Oct. 11, at Heartwood Co-Housing in Bayfield. Friends are asked to bring a dish to share and come enjoy a feast of food, music and stories. For questions or directions, call 884-8512.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Heartwood Organic Gardens and Farm, 800 Heartwood Lane, Bayfield, CO 81122.

– Tom and Carin Garcia, Bayfield


The greatest good

To the Editors,

The Chris Park land exchange issue deserves the attention of everyone in the area who cares about our local national forest. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the land exchange raises many issues, including the decision process itself, and the appraisal contains eyebrow-raising conclusions.

The Forest Service selected the alternative favored by the Glacier Club, and most intrusive on Chris Park, as its preferred option. This was done without any written evaluation criteria or guidelines that could assure that DEIS-identified issues are given appropriate consideration. This action provoked Congressman Salazar to write to the Secretary of Agriculture “I am deeply concerned that on this matter the Forest Service is not being responsive to the public’s concerns as expressed by both the general public as well as local and federal representatives.”

Only the no-action option protects the wagon road, which the State recently determined is eligible for the National Historic Register. In 2007, the Forest Service was asked to assist in the nomination process by the citizen who prepared the application. After two years of no response, the application was forwarded to the State. Related issues? Is this lack of action a signal that the land swap is a done deal?

The DEIS faults the no-action option for not solving the Glacier Club trespass issue, ignoring the obvious alternative of no action combined with requiring compensation from the GC for their continuing trespass. The DEIS even fails to define the acreage or length of time involved.

It fails to analyze the noise impact of trucks ascending and descending the steep grade of the proposed access road. It fails to identify the highest and best use of the Chris Park parcel (its present use) and how it would be degraded under exchange options. It fails to identify and consider the annual visitor-days use of each parcel.

As to the appraisal, do you believe that on a per-acre basis, land adjacent to the Glacier Club golf course is worth approximately the same amount as the Mitchell Lakes parcel accessible only by a very steep and rough, unplowed 4WD road? That indeed is the appraisal finding, a finding required in order not to kill the land exchange.

In 1905, the first forester was instructed “Where conflicting interests must be reconciled, the question shall always be answered from the standpoint of the greatest good for the greatest number over the long run.” Don’t let this sound guidance on Forest Service management be ignored. Express your views. Comment on the DEIS, you have until Oct. 30. Contact Congressman Salazar and Senators Udall and Bennet.  

– John Viner, Durango


A smoking success

To the Editor:

The Southside Neighborhood Association held a yard sale and silent auction Sept. 19 for the Train Smoke Mitigation Task Force’s partnership with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to reduce smoke and emissions in Durango. The Train Smoke Mitigation Task Force was created in 2005 to proactively implement a program that maintains the railroad’s historic steam engine operations while reducing smoke and pollution. Tremendous progress has been made and the money raised, and generated business participation, from this event demonstrates the community support for the Task Force efforts. Our deepest thanks go to the many volunteers and businesses that supported this effort.

This effort raised more than $800 and over 100 hours of time to support community match as the Task Force works with the Railroad on a roundhouse scrubber system.

– Sincerely, Laura Lewis Marchino for the Train Smoke Task Force members


Get schooled

To the Editors,

Want to learn more about the five candidates running for four seats on the Durango School District 9-R Board of Education? The League of Women Voters of La Plata County and the Latina Initiative will hold a candidate forum on Thurs., Oct. 15, from 6-7:30 p.m. at Durango City Council Chambers, 949 E. Second Ave. Candidates

will introduce themselves and answer written questions from the audience. The forum will be broadcast live on CitySpan10.

This is a mail ballot-only election. You must be an active voter registered with the La Plata County Clerk at your current address by Oct. 5. All ballots must arrive at the Clerk’s office by 7 p.m. on Tues., Nov. 3. Winning candidates will be sworn in during the November School Board meeting to a four-year term of office

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that encourages active and informed participation in the political process. For more information on this forum, election or other LWV events, visit our website at www.lwvlaplata.org.

Please plan on attending, bring your questions and exercise your right to cast an informed vote.

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



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