Seeing world through new eyes

To the editor:
I had the great privilege and joy to participate in Durango Nature Studies’ fall training program to guide local school students through the inspiring learning process of the natural world. Durango Nature Studies (DNS) is truly a gift to our beautiful Southwest community. Children arrive in busses and cars  to spend a morning of discovery and wonder, learning to recognize animal tracks on the paths, which can be anything from raccoons to bear to mountain lions. There is a certain awesome feeling to realize that a mountain lion had just walked on this same path, perhaps only minutes ago.
Children from kindergarten to middle school learn to recognize animal scat (feces) as one of the telltale signs of the multiple kinds of animal and plant life that live in this remarkable ecosystem. They learn how to know the difference between a crow and a raven from the shape of their tail feathers. They learn about how the creepy crawly things that grow in the river under rocks contribute to the life of the whole natural community. We all learn the difference between a Rocky Mountain juniper cedar and a Utah juniper cedar and how essential the piñon jay is in the perpetuation of these trees even as they feed themselves and their families for generations by hiding those nutrition rich nuts and how they remember where they hide them. The children are given games and exercises that inspire them to think and plan ahead like the wild animals who live in a day-to-day survival awareness – how to notice the most subtle signs that trigger core survival.
DNS provides an incredible service to Four Corners children, parents and community to expand acute consciousness as to how we all live on this planet together and how important it is that we must respect ourselves, each other and our environment – and how we can contribute in a positive way to our remarkable living Mother Earth. What a blessing to our children and to everyone young and old!
DNS offer so many special opportunities, including “stellar” star gazing through huge telescopes, archeological day explorations, survival techniques and on and on.
The DNS staff, including, of course, Director Sally Shuffield, share their awesome dedication, their vision, skills, life experiences from all over the world and their limitless, loving hearts with all of us! Do yourself a favor, volunteer and discover to see the world with brand new eyes!
– Warmly, Susan Urban, Durango

Bringing energy production home

To the editor,
Hopefully you have heard about 4Core’s Solarize LaPlata campaign by now. If you haven’t, please visit This initiative is taking local renewable power seriously and is facilitating 100 new solar electric installations in the county.
Here are some great reasons to consider installing solar today and increasing energy production in our region. When we spend money locally, that money circulates in our community and supports our neighbors, which is the simple but effective idea behind the Buy Local campaign. It can apply to energy production as well. If we could generate even 10 percent of our energy locally, that would have a $7 million (paid to Tri-State annually) x three (multiplier effect of spending locally), or about $20 million positive impact on our community! Coal costs are increasing 5-6 percent per year, two to three times faster than inflation. Tri-State, LPEA’s  energy supplier, currently uses over 70 percent coal. We will see this increase in energy costs for some time reflected in our LPEA bills unless we take some local control of our energy production. SW Colorado has a competitive advantage when it comes to solar, with over 290 days of sunshine and optimal cool temperatures. This resource is underutilized as currently, of LPEA’s 40,000 meters, only about 1 percent have solar PV.

I know that independence and sovereignty are very important values to me and much of our rural SW Colorado community. Using this clean, plentiful resource we can increase control of our energy costs, help with local job creation and increase our local clean energy production here in SW Colorado. The time is right to consider a PV system for your home and Solarize La Plata can make it easier and more economical for you. This project is available for a limited time, so get on the list before Jan 31. Give 4Core a call at 259-1916 and start helping our community and yourself with locally produced energy!
– Katie McGee Waller, Durango

Obama appeasement weakens U.S.

To the editor,
Obama and Kerry continue to promote an agenda of U.S. appeasement.
Kerry has played a leading role in formulating and implementing an agreement with Iran to temporarily put a limit on Iran’s uranium enrichment program for six months. Iran can continue enriching uranium to 5 percent. In return, Iran gets access to $7 billion in frozen funds and more importantly, is able to get partial relief from the crippling burden of the economic sanctions.
Although inspectors will be monitoring the temporary agreement, Iran will probably continue a higher-grade uranium enrichment program in secret facilities. As the end of the agreement approaches, it can stall and hinder negotiations and ask for the continuation of six-month temporary agreements until it has the nuclear weapons. Iran cannot be trusted.
While Kerry is appeasing the Iranians, Obama is busy appeasing China’s power play in the East China Sea. China has declared an air defense zone and wants aircraft to notify China if aircraft enter the international air space. Japan has refused to comply with the demand, but the Obama administration has asked U.S. commercial airlines to make the notifications.
The Obama administration continues to weaken our stature in the world through unbridled appeasement.
– Donald A. Moskowitz, Londonderry, N.H.

Still recovering from hospital bill

Dear Telegraph,
I always assumed Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango was a community asset, and I felt good about it being here. Until I had to go there. Now I know, it is just another “nonprofit” hospital whose CEOs make millions that charges insane amounts for services and won’t (can’t?) explain its charges. The bill for 17 hours there for a swollen tonsil was $8,935, plus Mercy-associated bills for a total of $10,534. That was for doctors, drugs, IV, CT scan and a procedure that should not have been done. I asked for an itemized statement (they did not want to give me it) and it has over 30 charges.  They put a scanning wrist-band on me and I became a cash register!
It is hard to find financial information on Centura Health, who owns Mercy, I assume, because they don’t want you to know how much money they make. I did find that Centura’s CEO made $1.2 million – and that was in 2004! According to Centura’s website, Centura was created by the Catholic Health Initiatives and Adventist Health System and their mission is “... to extend the healing Ministry of Christ.” I did not know Christ was in the business of fleecing the weak and sick.
Besides the outlandish cost, the doctors did a procedure that cost $1,018 and took 10 minutes, despite the CT scan showing that it would not work; and I was plied with so many antibiotics that, even with taking probiotics, the flora in my gut took months to recover.
It is disappointing that our local hospital is enjoying the charge-scam that is rampant in our medical system. So beware: there is no mercy at Mercy.
– Dave Mehan, 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