Another strike against canola
To the editor,
I read with great interest Ari’s recent article about Canadian canola oil. I know how, sensibly, he is educated and very anti-GMO overall, and I have appreciated this very much, as I do think that GMOs having entered our environment here in the U.S. untested and unlabeled and with the blessing of the (paid off) USDA and other government agencies, will prove to be a total environmental and health catastrophe. The negative effects of these terrible crops is starting to visibly manifest in such ways as animal sterility, animal organ damage and a huge increase in food allergies among other things.

Ari’s article, however, did not even once mention GMOs and the fact that most if not all canola oil worldwide is genetically modified. I was surprised there was not even a reference to this. These GMO crops claim to have higher yields (untrue), use fewer herbicides/pesticides (untrue) and have little or no health effects on the environment, animals and humans (untrue). The ramifications of the use of GMOs and their required herbicides and pesticides is indeed dire, and the negative effects are increasing everyday. I would have appreciated if Ari had at least mentioned the use of GMOs in nearly all the non-organic canola grown in both the U.S. and Canada.

Thank you. I try as often as I can to bring more attention to this matter – it’s hugely important.

– Best, Julie C. Meadows, Durango

One for the Gipper in 2012
To the editor,
Hey, Republicans – you’re glum about getting stuck with Mitt Romney, I know. You close your eyes and see bumper stickers like, “Romney: It’s the best we could do!” and “Mitt Happens – 2012.” But it could be worse: you could have been saddled with the repellent Rick Santorum, or hobbled by the repulsive Newt Gingrich.
If you’re willing to think way outside the box, there’s a solution for your problem. For President, nominate the guy every GOPer genuflects to: His Holy Gipperness, Ronnie Reagan. Let me just stop the naysayers in their tracks. First, there’s no Constitutional requirement that a candidate be actually living. Second, the current Reagan can’t possibly do a worse job than the pre-deceased version.
Here’s the best part: for Veep, pick Dick Cheney. He’s appropriated some unfortunate’s heart, and is re-energized, with the old scorn back in the sneer, the menace back in the scowl, and the creepiness back in the death’s-head grin. And, when it comes to filling in for a brain-dead president, Dick has eight years of experience.
There you go, GOPers: Reagan/Cheney in 2012. It’s the best you could do.
– Juris Odins, Farmington

Durango makes a wish come true
To the editor,
The people of Durango are the kindest, most special people on the planet. Our family visited this lovely town for our son, Reese’s, Make-a-Wish trip. His wish was to drive a steam engine train similar to the one in “The Polar Express.” During the first months of his treatment, we watched that movie every day, sometimes several times.
In early April, we spent six wonderful days in Durango and loved every minute. The town is very charming, friendly and welcoming, and its residents are generous and kind. My family has fallen in love with Durango.
A little history on Reese: In November 2010, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.  He had a tumor in his abdomen the size of a football with 12 metastasized sites throughout his body. He was given a 17 percent chance to survive the year! He underwent chemotherapy and radiation, had surgery to remove the tumor, and endured antibody therapy and a bone marrow transplant. In January of this year, when we thought we had defied the odds, Reese relapsed with a tumor in his brain. The doctors said Reese would not survive and performed immediate brain surgery. For six long weeks, Reese had to endure more chemotherapy and radiation. We sent a prayer each day and asked our friends and family to do the same, and each day he got better, stronger and healthier. Within a few months, much to the surprise of the doctors, Reese had no live cancer cells in his body and is on his way to recovery and healing.
With this trip being the first we’d taken that did not include hospitals, doctors or chemotherapy, we were a little nervous. We live in Tennessee and the thought of being away from St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, our home away home for the last year and a half, was a little scary. But being among normal (non-cancer oriented people) was also refreshing.
The day we arrived, we were exhausted from travel but filled with excitement as we walked into our gorgeous home at Durango Mountain Resort. We felt so honored to stay in such a beautiful place. In addition to the majestic surroundings, local businesses and citizens filled our living room with toys for both our boys, gift baskets filled with goodies and beautiful flower arrangements in each room. Abi May (DMR) prepared a meal that melted in our mouths.
Y’all rolled out the red carpet for our family and treated Reese like a rock star! He simply wanted to drive a steam engine, but because of Durango, its lovely people and the superb organizational skills of Jola Schraub (DMR), Reese enjoyed far more.
He went dog mushing with Durango Dog Ranch, rode in a snow cat with Mike McCormack (DMR), worked at Top That frozen yogurt shop, made chocolates at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, enjoyed a carriage ride with San Juan Sky Outfitters and had the surreal, exciting experience of the D&SNGRR with the Harpers. Every meal was free – we had gift certificates to eat just about anywhere in town. There was so much to do, but not enough time!
We wish we could thank each person and business for their generosity and kindness and making our son’s wish grander than he could have ever imagined (and believe me, he dreams big!) Our hearts have been forever touched by your generosity and kindness. We usually vacation in Florida each summer; now Reese wants to vacation in Durango each winter. We will have to work on that one. He is even asking for a snowboard for Christmas.
Thank you so much for making Reese’s dream so sweet and memorable. He has not stopped talking about Durango; he is your city’s best and most outspoken public relations advocate.
– The Martin Family, Barry,  Regennia, Reese and Riley

Animal cruelty isn’t entertainment
To the editor,
The circus is coming to Pagosa Springs and Ignacio. Animals used in circuses spend their lives in cages and chains. They endure endless hours in cramped, poorly ventilated and filthy transport trucks.

It is standard practice to use sharp “bullhooks” and electric prods to hit, beat, shock, chain and whip animals to force them to perform confusing, unnatural and ridiculous tricks. Living in such abusive and unnatural conditions causes many animals to go out of their minds.
Please do not support this kind of exploitative treatment. Every ticket purchased is another blow to these abused animals. For information about what happens behind the scenes at circuses, please go to:
– Thank you, Kathy Juracka, Ignacio

Grief weighs heavy
Grief weighs heavy
on a child’s heart.
A boy loses his kittens
to marauding dogs
and hands me,
with a trembling lip,
a picture of them prior to their demise.
Taken by surprise,
I try to assure him
that there is a special place
in Heaven for such small creatures.

Later, that afternoon,
at recess,
I see him leaning against the west fence,
holding the precious image
that anchors a stream
of inconsolable tears.
– Burt Baldwin, Ignacio

Funding equine-assisted learning
To the editor,
On behalf of The Big Picture High School and Phoenix Program staff and students, we would like to express our gratitude for everyone who helped support our fund-raising efforts for equine-assisted learning with Therapeutic Experiences. We reached our goal, and a lucky number of students will be attending interdisciplinary, experiential learning with the horses both this spring and next fall! We are all very excited.
It began with the generous donation from artist Robin Caspari who offered her beautiful print to support our cause.  Kim Hardesty was an enormous source of positive energy, powerful productivity and partnership. Branding Iron Promotions deserves thanks for the graphics and design for our magnets. The Irish Embassy was amazing with their generosity of spirit, of creativity, and venue, as well as a very generous financial donation. Many thanks to Nanna and Phil! We also want to thank the students for their help with many aspects of the fund-raising process.
Finally, we want to thank all of YOU who came out to offer your support empowering our local youth.
– Gratefully, Hallie Whitney and Dreher Robertson

Great Outdoors Auction a success
To the editor:
On behalf of the members of Greater Dolores Action, the organizers of the Dolores River Festival, I would like to thank everyone in the community for supporting the 8th annual Telluride Mountainfilm On Tour and Great Outdoors Silent Auction. The event took place Fri., April 20, at the Dolores Community Center and was a fund-raiser for the Dolores River Festival. The evening was a tremendous success.
We would especially like to thank Osprey for their support in compiling auction items. Thanks also to Dolores Food Market, Absolute Bakery, Dolores River Brewery, and Jeff & Heather Mobley for donating food, beer and wine. Thanks to all the local businesses and individuals who contributed items for the silent auction. We couldn’t have done it without a great group of volunteers who set-up, ran and cleaned-up the event. All in all, it was a great showing of community support for the Dolores River! We are looking forward to seeing you all at the Dolores River Festival on Sat., June 2, in Joe Rowell Park for an amazing day of music, river activities and fun.
– Sincerely, Megan Coxwell, fund-raiser coordinator

Monopocare in Montezuma County
To the editor,
On Jan. 11, 2012, the Montezuma County Hospital District Board executed the Mancos Valley Health Center. The board appointed by our county commissioners extinguished the only independent health center not under the control of the Southwest Hospital CEO. The Mancos Clinic was a federally qualified health center. This somehow-qualified Board takes out a federally qualified center. The other centers under the control of Southwest, (Cortez Primary Care, Southwest Primary Care, Southwest Memorial Physicians, Urgent Care and Crossroads Orthopedic) are not; thus the county is losing federal aid. Quoting the hospital CEO, “they will provide the same care.” Aye Aye, Sir. Thank you, Board. Thank you, county commissioners. Montezuma County health care is soon to be monopocare. Is it any wonder doctors are leaving this area?
– Friend for Freedom (to Choose), Gregory E. Trojanowski