Lachelt embodies American spirit
To the editor,
Planning for the future is not a United Nations plot to take over America.

It is, in fact, a common sense way of making sure that our children inherit a community worth living in. It’s what squirrels do when they gather nuts.

Bees figured this out a long time ago. So how did Kellie Hotter not get the memo? Does having a gas well in your front yard help you achieve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Will sitting in traffic on Camino del Rio give you more time to fight communism? Kellie Hotter is paying way too much attention to a small group of people with a very destructive and distorted perspective.

Gwen Lachelt is a rare and remarkable person who for the past 25 years has truly sacrificed her own comfort and security to build for all of us a healthier, thriving and more secure community. She has been able to bridge all sorts of divisions and divergent interests in order to improve all of our lives, and that to me is truly what America is all about.
Go Gwen!
– Sincerely, Jeff Glode Wise, Bayfield

MMJ is the right choice
To the editor,
Anyone knows that drugs stay in our system for a long time. So this means if you smoke the night before, then say you get pulled over by the peace officer and he says to you, “You seem impaired, we need to check you out.” The test comes back positive, and now you have to go through a lot of red tape and pay a lot of fines and also maybe go to jail.

Let’s say the officer is wrong on this issue, and he just wants to fill up the jailhouse and collect on our dime. It’s wrong of these folks to just go with it and create a lot of headaches and problems for people like you and I, the MMJ patients. We are the ones who are being harassed and unfairly treated due to the THC issues. Not all know of the proper policies or have a way of finding out except for TV or radio.

MMJ patients matter, and so does their health. We all have a choice, and MMJ is the right one. What is not right is we’re all being attacked by peace officers and government by this THC issue. Our policy is constantly changing kind of like our clothes. We must not be confused and not change our policy month to month. Make it right for all MMJ patients. We all matter as a whole. The legal content of THC should benefit for all including the peace officer, not to benefit their pockets. They shouldn’t fill the jailhouse up stupidly on our dime.

Do the right thing for all MMJ patients, not for your benefits. Now remember, you also not only have MMJ, you have meth, crack and other harder drugs, you also have mouthwash, paint and hand sanitizer to go along with the long list to kill you with. So MMJ is light compared to the rest.

MMJ is the right health source to do. Make it right for a proper THC. If we have to have it, don’t benefit it cause you feel up to it. Do the right thing.

Thanks for listening and God bless.
– Denise Jacobs, Durango

Bacon sizzling hot at the Hank
To the editor,
Debuting to a full house at the Henry Strater Theater last Saturday night, Bacon lived up to its addictive name, leaving the audience shouting and begging for more. This reviewer begs the reader’s forgiveness for not yet knowing the names of all of the band members, and for possibly even coming across as a bit incoherent at times. Having just witnessed one of the best performances of the year, I’m a bit stunned, taken aback, and inspired, all at once.

Funky and syncopated like early Jazz Crusaders, but just a little less polite, Bacon is clearly one of the most important jazz quintets to hit the stage today. Simply put, these guys are on fire. They avoid the typical jazz posturing while maintaining a commanding presence through a solid vocabulary.

The sax and trumpet were beautifully locked together, sounding as full as an entire brass section yet as limber and flexible as a single musician. The entire band seemed to shift and pulse like a single organism, writhing like a snake, striking at unexpected rests in perfect unison, even after only five rehearsals together. Bacon’s dynamics were a sight to behold ... from soft, gentle brushstrokes of pale shades, they’d turn on a dime and bring the energy up to a blistering crescendo, mirrored by the frenzied excitement of the audience.

The guitarist’s Ibanez semi-hollow body, which he ran through a Fender Deluxe, had just enough overdrive to make it gritty; his chording was clean and brilliant, while his solos sizzled. The sax player was articulate, smooth and able to play the fastest runs with ease, while the bassist’s five-string finger style playing was rock solid, locking in the groove with the ever-grinning drummer.

And the drummer. My. God. This guy was clearly having the time of his life. He was constantly playing musical jokes and laughing out loud at his own punchlines. Sometimes they were so good that I laughed out loud, as well. But as I looked around, it didn’t look like anyone else got it. All the better ... it was like they were inside jokes, and I was part of the in-crowd. To see this guy in action was to witness poetry in motion. After they were finished and the next band was playing, he happened to walk by my seat, and I shamelessly grabbed his hand and said, “Dude! You are freaking amazing!” He thanked me, with a stunned look. Either he thought I was a freak, or he doesn’t actually realize how good he is. Maybe that’s for the best; he was clearly playing for the love of it, devoid of any hint of ego. Just like everyone else in the band.
The trumpet player, Chris Ross, has a knack for playing exactly the notes that sound right ... like an artist who knows instinctively what color to use in any given situation. From subtle nuances to all-out, red-faced, staccato jamming, it sounded at times as if Chris was blowing his soul out through his horn.

The only disappointment of the night was that Bacon left the stage after only three songs, turning the mic over to the headliners of the evening, the Robby Overfield Band, who were also great.

Hopefully the next time Bacon performs, it’ll be for at least 90 minutes; preferably for two hours. I will gladly buy tickets to see these guys as soon as I can. I urge you to check them out.

More Bacon, please!

–Tim Birchard, Durango

Honoring Durango educators
Dear Editor:
On May 3, the Durango Foundation for Educational Excellence recognized the outstanding teachers and staff members who go the extra distance for Durango School District 9-R students: Jeb Holt, Marian Huffman, Barbara McLachlan, Sonia Miera, Jason Thomas, Gloria Smiley and Lori Smith. For only the fourth time in its 28-year history, DFEE also chose to give the “Pride in Excellence Award,” this time to retiring Needham Principal Pete Harter.

The DFEE is grateful for the substantial number of local businesses and individuals who contributed prizes, food and beverages to make the occasion memorable; a full list is posted at . DFEE couldn’t support the 9-R employees without support from the community! Thank you all.

– Elizabeth Testa, executive director, Durango Foundation for Educational Excellence

Don’t let Congress sell public lands
Dear Editor,
Recently, some apparently uninformed and/or misguided Colorado state legislators (chief among them, Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling) have introduced House Bill 1322, which would sell-off/ transfer federal public lands, ultimately removing them from the public domain, which means the owners of these currently public lands (i.e., me and you) would be locked out: no more hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, backpacking, biking, etc.

Sonnenberg apparently doesn’t understand that sportsmen’s economic impact to Colorado (which is dependent on public lands) is over $2 billion annually, and a renewable resource. Forest Service and BLM lands are major drivers to tourism and travel and are essential to local communities all over Colorado, such as Meeker, Craig, Gunnison, Kremmling, Rifle and Yuma.

In addition, every dollar we put into land acquisition contributes about $2 to the U.S. economy, and hunting and fishing generate more than $6.3 billion in annual tax revenues and create more than 900,000 sustainable American jobs. Federal investment in public lands (parks, refuges, trails, rivers, recreation areas and national forests) drives a conservation, recreation and historic preservation sector of the economy that supports 9.4 million U.S. jobs.

Whether manufacturing, retail or service related, most of these jobs are resource or tourism based and cannot be exported. The combination of conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation is responsible for more than $1 trillion in economic activity and more than $107 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.

Federally owned public lands in America were created to be preserved in perpetuity (forever). Great wildlife and conservation leaders like Teddy Roosevelt fought their own battles simply to set aside public lands, and knew even then some people would come later to covet those lands and seek to take over/liquidate them. As imperfect as public lands stewardship may appear at times, federal ownership, oversight and management does work, is flexible and encourages multiple public uses.

In a nutshell, HB 1322 is an attempt to transfer public lands from the public domain to the private, where they can eventually be sold off to the highest bidder. Public lands of the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are the assets of all 310 million American citizens. Did anyone ask all of them if they want their federal public lands sold to the highest bidder? Urge your legislators to do Colorado a huge favor and vote NO on HB-1322.

– David A. Lien , co-chairman, Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, via e-mail