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

Operation Billy Goat

Dear Editors,

Vallecito, Bayfield and Durango are home to some amazing people. Two weekends ago, area businesses and residents offered tremendous support for one of our local musicians, Dave Mensch of Formula 151.

Billy Goat, Dave’s dog and best friend of 13 years, had a broken femur and was in dire need of a costly surgery. Dave had only a matter of days to come up with funds for the procedure in Colorado Springs or he would need to have his dog euthanized to save him from prolonged pain and suffering. After a valiant effort, more than $2,000 was donated in three days. Sadly, however, Billy Goat “crossed the rainbow bridge” before getting the surgery on Wednesday morning (due to cancerous tumors found in a pre-surgery test).

A heartfelt and special “Thank You” is in order to The Schank House, Billy Goat Saloon, Desperados, The Office Spiritorium, Derailed Saloon, Ska Brewing, Steamworks and all the local residents who have donated to the “Operation Billy Goat” fund. These businesses, without hesitation, offered their hard-earned money, upfront, with no questions asked. The same was true for our local friends, who in lean times found a way to put a little aside for the sake of an animal they had never met.

This week we witnessed not only kindness and generosity, but an amazing show of human spirit and a community pulling together to help one of our local residents in his time of need. Thank you for being such great human beings. In a time when we all need heroes, you have all stepped up to the task. Let us learn from this example that when we all pool our efforts, amazing results can be achieved, and the “impossible” is suddenly “possible.”

Our condolences to Dave, and may his friend Billy Goat live on in his heart until they meet again.

– Peace, Lisa, Geoff and Yukon Bourque, Vallecito Lake

A new, renewable future

Dear Editors,

National demand for electricity is growing faster than generation resources.

We are addicted to fossil fuels; 72 percent of Tri-State’s electricity is generated from coal. Even as coal-fired plants are converted to natural gas, reserves of fossil fuels are finite, their costs are increasing and impacts will accrue to future generations. “Clean coal” technology may in time significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions but pollution from combustion ash will remain. As an extractive industry, mining will continue to produce environmental degradation; there simply is not a “clean” way to mine coal.

Solar radiation on the other hand, is abundant, never-ending and free. As technology advances, it is becoming a more economically viable source for producing electricity. LPEA can mitigate future rate increases by transitioning now to renewable generation.

This year LPEA will pay Tri-State $67 million for primarily coal-generated or out-of-state electricity. Wouldn’t it be better to send Tri-State our electricity instead of our money? We live in a solar rich environment and could potentially produce a significant portion of our own electricity; generating local power for local use. We can create jobs and build our community’s economy and self-reliance by investing in “neighborhood” solar and small hydro co-ops.

LPEA should initiate a pilot program to purchase the power output of these neighborhood co-ops. This program would have a modest cap to limit LPEA’s financial exposure, give preferential consideration to local contractors and require financing by local banks. Let’s move LPEA toward a new, renewable energy future.

– H.L. Riegle, LPEA Board Candidate, Durango

High time for change

Dear Editors,

Just this past week, the town of Nederland voted in favor of legalizing marijuana for adults 21 & over. The town follows Denver and Breckenridge in taking such action. Shouldn’t we finally take a sensible stance on this plant in our city? Does it really make sense to prosecute our friends and neighbors for enjoying a substance that is far safer than alcohol? Couldn’t we benefit greatly by removing marijuana from the black market and taxing and regulating its sale to adults? Please consider these questions as we move toward our November 2010 city election and vote on this topic as a community.

– Corey Chavez, Director of Sensible Durango, via e-mail

Fighting back

To the Editors,

On behalf of the American Cancer Society, and in celebration of the 37th annual National Volunteer Week (April 18-24), I would like to thank volunteers in La Plata County for their efforts in making a difference for people facing cancer. In La Plata County alone, hundreds give their time and talent to fight back against the disease.

Volunteer drivers transport patients to cancer treatment; volunteer mentors, who are breast cancer survivors, work with newly diagnosed breast cancer patients; cosmetologists offer classes called “Look Good Feel Better” to women during treatment to help with appearance issues; and support groups provide understanding to both patients and their families. Relay for Life, Climb to Conquer Cancer, Daffodil Sales and Canines for the Cure Walk are volunteer-driven fund-raisers. In addition, 12 Durango motels and hotels offer complimentary rooms to patients who travel more than an hour for treatment.

The Points of Light Foundation and Volunteer Center National Network sponsor the annual National Volunteer Week, which began in 1974 with an executive order by President Richard Nixon.

Volunteers are the foundation of the American Cancer Society and have been crucially important in enabling the American Cancer Society to help save lives. As we recognize this special week, we want to thank each of our volunteers in La Plata County for dedicating their time and energy to our cancer-fighting mission. Volunteers impact the community in ways that could not be done without their personal commitment to creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays. These volunteers contribute to helping people stay well, get well, find cures and fight back against cancer through a variety of roles, efforts and American Cancer Society programs.

As the nation’s largest nongovernmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer, and countless more who have avoided it, will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at (800) 227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org . If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please call Ginna Harbison at 247.0278. Thank you La Plata County volunteers – we couldn’t do it with you!

– Ginna Harbison, American Cancer Society, Durango




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