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‘Attending debris’ in the Animas

To Editors;

“City of Durango strives to preserve and enhance the unique characteristics of river,” according to Nichole Killian of the City Planning Department (Herald, 3-29-10). However, the City has recently spent over 700,000 tax dollars to complete the Holly Storm Sewer Project which will use the beautiful Animas River for disposal of storm water and “attending debris” as the City calls it. This includes oil, gasoline, diesel fuel , asphalt oils and trash from 300-plus acres of streets, parking lots and auto repair shops in Northeast Durango. The attending debris will be collected into a 48-inch tube and dumped into private wetlands north of 32nd Street. It will then flow into the Animas River just north of the 33rd St. water sports area.

The City made a feeble attempt at smoke screening this drastic environmental disaster by constructing what they call a “retention pond” located in front of T&L Roofing on 32nd Street. This small pond does nothing to treat the storm water or filter off the trash since the outflow drain tube is an open pipe at the bottom of the pond, allowing all attending debris to flow out to the river, which will certainly change the “unique characteristics” of the beautiful river and not be very healthy for the public which uses that fine water sports area.

Anyone interested in preserving this great river should stop by and examine this engineering joke called a retention pond and respond accordingly to the City Manager. 

– Jim Wilson, Durango

Shades of brown

Dear Editors,

It was 10 years ago when I moved to Durango. After shuffling through piles of brochures on the different colleges across the state, I finally decided that I had to live here. Durango was a funky, liberal, happy town, where Icould be me. Throughout my four years at the Fort, I met all sorts of artsy, funky shop owners, organic chefs, mountain bike fanatics, and laid back rafters. I studied native jewelry in college, and when I graduated I was so decked out in turquoise, many simply knew me as the “turquoise girl.” On days when I wasn’t selling jewels downtown, I’d get a bloody at the Ranch and take my adopted Rez dog for a sunny bike ride on my totally pimped out cruiser along the river trail. And when the days were hot, I’d gear my dog up in his life jacket and pack a couple cold ones for a day of tubing with friends down the Animas.

Ah the days! I loved these days! But when I go to relive these days, I’m hit with a hard reality. Durango is changing. My bike, well it’s been stolen. I bought a new one but when the new one got stolen, too, I decided to walk downtown for my bloody. I leashed up my pup, and as we walked, I couldn’t help but notice all the trash that was on the ground. The town wasn’t colorful anymore; in fact it seemed a shade of brown. I tied up my dog outside the door of the pub, as he’s really friendly and likes the attention from tourists. I ordered my drink but too bad there was no one there for me to talk to, there was simply nobody I knew.

A sip into my drink and a cop walks in the bar; he wants to know whose dog is outside. I tell him that it’s mine and not to worry because he’s a nice dog, but the cop cuts me off to ask me how much I had to drink. I told him none, and insisted my dog was friendly but I was told if I didn’t leave then, I would get a fine. So with a rough start to my day, I made my way to the river for a float. A couple familiar faces invited me over for a beer, but we were once again interrupted by the boys in blue. They made us dump our brews, and began to search our bags. The six pack at the bottom of a friend’s dry bag seemed to be what they wanted. My friend offered to put the brew in his car, but the officer had us crack all of them and dump them. The interrogation went on, and we were made to pull out our IDs and answer questions about where we were going and if we had warrants. No one did of course, but the friend who had offered me a brew was written a ticket and charged a fine.

We floated, but our mood was shot. It wasn’t because we couldn’t drink; it was because we all just had the feeling that these cops were out to get us. Now every day I see the police. Their sirens wake me up in the middle of the night. They even broke into my home by mistake – wrong apartment building. I see them on every block. And I wonder, where is the violent crime? Why are so many people being monitored? I know what this town looked like 10 years ago. It was a happy, earth friendly, funky town. The people living here weren’t criminals. They were more like hippies, artists, musicians and outdoors sports lovers. So what happened? Why is my lovely mountain town no longer shades of pink and green, but now a shade of brown?

I am asking all residents of this town to hold on to what’s left. Grab your dog, your hula hoops and guitars, head to your favorite pub and order a brew. When the days get hot, head to the river in mass number with your head held high and ride the river. Love this town. Pick up garbage, even if it’s not yours. Be peaceful. Don’t drive drunk. And when a cop harasses you, ask them to pull your finger. Share your beer. Invite them for a ride down the river. Show the authorities that we are good people. Show them we don’t need them. We are not criminals. We are Durangatangs.  

– Peace and Love, Michelle Bailey, via e-mail


Homeland hypocrisy

Dear Editors,

In regards to Grant Cyrus’ letter (“What’s wrong with Israel?”), shouldn’t we be giving most of North America (and all of Colorado) back to the Native Americans before we get so uptight about what Israel does? Or does the genocide and occupation of this fine land get a pass because there was no international law in existence when these crimes were first committed?

It might also be true that Mr. Cyrus’ unnamed Jewish intellectual friends would much rather live on their own patches of stolen land up in Chicago, as long as the original victims of that theft continue to lie dead in the ground under them.

Mr. Cyrus, give back everything you’ve gained by virtue of the genocide of Native Americans. Your presence in North America is the evidence of your guilt. Your dead victims won’t rest any easier, but you’ll be less of a hypocrite and that should make you feel better, because it’s really all about you, isn’t it?

– Sam Bridgham, Durango

Stop blaming the DOW

Dear Editors,

I’m tired of folks blaming the DOW and their mission to manage and protect wildlife for the destruction of a local dog harassing elk! The employees that I know working for that entity went to work there because they love animals and wanted to assure their continuation on the planet. Dog owners seem to think everyone else is at fault for their OWN lack of care of their pets. Responsible dog owners keep their animals on a leash and request others to do the same.

We live on Junction Creek right next to the high school and can say first hand that a great many folks disregard “wildlife” and leave their dogs off leash. We have a local herd of deer that travel the area of Rank Park but that doesn’t seem to stop people from thinking “their” animal should run around and be allowed to follow its natural instinct to chase. PLEASE leash your dog and quit blaming the DOW for doing what was right.

– Connie Matthews Imig, Durango



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Amid rise in complaints, City embarks on renewed campaign to educate dog owners

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Rolling retro

Vintage bikes get their day to shine with upcoming swap and sale