Turn excess baggage into positivity
To the editor,
Is it me, or is anyone else tired of the rantings and negativity of Mr. Pierce? I feel for the editors of our papers that have to constantly  read and print what ever he and Vi McCoy so negatively send their way.

My thoughts are simple, why don’t we all chip in our plastic bags, or canvas ones that most of us use, and send Vi and Dennis on their way to, say, California?

Oh that’s right. The world is amiss wherever they go. Even better, why don’t you two turn your rants into positives for your community.
– Please be positive, Lynn Gray, Durango

Shipwreck leaves many questions
To the Editor,
As a former naval officer; officer-of-the deck underway, independent and formation steaming; and qualified marine navigator and instructor, I have questions concerning the grounding of the cruise ship Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy.

Was the captain on the bridge exercising control of the ship? If so, why was the ship so close to the rocks? If not, who was on the bridge conning the ship? What were their qualifications? Was there a maritime pilot on the bridge? The most dangerous period in peacetime for a ship underway is when it is leaving and entering port or traversing in close proximity to land. This is when you have to be on full alert.

Why did the Costa Concordia only hold emergency evacuation drills once every 15 days? During a 15-day period, the ship would normally visit a number of ports and embark new passengers. A drill should be held prior to leaving every port.

The maritime industry should evaluate the viability of lifeboat systems that fail when a ship takes on a significant list that makes it very difficult or impossible to launch lifeboats.

More attention must be paid to the safety of passengers and crew.

– Donald A. Moskowitz, Londonderry, N.H., via e-mail

Be informed political ad consumers
To the Editor,
On Jan. 21, the nation marks the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a decision that enabled corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence federal and state elections. As the 2012 election season ramps up, so will the corporate, union and special interest financing of political advertising. We just saw this in a major way in the Iowa Republican caucus. With the proliferation of SuperPACS and 501(c) organizations set up to influence voters, major donors funding election advertising remain unidentified.

Be an informed voter. First, ask every candidate at every level of government for his or her position on campaign finance reform. Second, visit http://www.opensecrets.org for reliable information for following the money in races in your district and around the country.

And finally, question every political advertisement you see or hear. Ask yourself who paid for that ad and why. Does the ad state clearly who paid for it? If the sponsor is a group or organization, can you go to its website and see who is a member and who contributes? If not, ask yourself why not?

Help make democracy work – cast an informed vote!

– Nadine Ancel, Treasurer League of Women Voters of La Plata County

Mentoring/learning two-way street
To the editor,
January is National Mentoring Month. In support of the event I’d like to share my experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado’s Study Connection program. I responded to their newspaper advertisement with the presumptuous notion that I was as smart as any grade-schooler. How was I to know that my “study buddy” would be a wise and generous mentor in his own right? One hour a week together provides lessons for the next seven days for us both. Right now our local Big Brothers Big Sisters office needs volunteers and donations. I encourage everyone to contact them at 247-3720 or email justin@bbig.org. You’ll do a world of good for a child, this community and yourself!

– Chap Myers, Durango

Many of us collect it.
It is found in a box
In the corner of a closet,
Under the bed,
In the shadows of an attic,
Or on a shelf in the garage.  
When the urge comes,
We rummage through the ephemeral
Icons of our personal histories,
Trying to exorcise that which was lost…
And that part of us that is beyond redemption.

– Burt Baldwin, Ignacio

GMOs are ‘substantially’ dangerous
To the Editor;
I really enjoyed Ari’s article about GMOs, especially his mention of the theory of “substantial equivalence” that Monsanto, et al have used to push their crops onto others for years – WITHOUT using the precautionary principal. Other countries, on the other hand, have demanded labeling and have used the precautionary principal and outlawed these toxic, disastrous seeds.

One the one hand, these biotech companies go to the U.S. patent office claiming their product is so unique it deserves to have its own patent, which cannot be infringed upon without dire financial consequences. Even if it’s no fault of the person whose crops get ruined by the GMO seeds and even if the person never wanted the GMOs in the first place, like Percy Schmeiser, canola farmer from Canada.

Then, on the other hand, they go to the USDA, White House and consumers and claim these crops are “substantially equivalent” to their non-GMO and organic counterparts, thereby needing no regulation or testing. It is such blatant hypocrisy!!

These GMO crops are contaminating, cross pollinating and ruining organic and non-GMO crops every time the wind blows or a bird or bee flies.
The Obama White House has been especially disappointing in its support of the biotech industry and its appointment of Michael Taylor, former executive for Monsanto (and one of the proponents of bovine growth hormone and opponent of labeling such), as Obama’s food czar. This White House, which I did support, has approved without studies one GMO crop after another and just recently decided it needed to streamline the approval process by training biotech companies to do their own environmental assessments! Outrageous!

I feel GMO damage to human and animal health and the environment will someday in the near future prove to be a catastrophe. But by then, as Ari states, the executives will have bailed, enjoying their good fortunes isolated from these toxins, leaving behind sick people and an agricultural environment in shambles.

– Sincerely, Julie Meadows, 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