Ear to the ground:

“I want to talk to someone who’s had brain surgery by Ben Carson, because I’m beginning to think he’s not so smart after all.”
– Local observation after a number of missteps and foibles by the Republican presidential candidate

Get rolling

You may not be able to get a head start in 2016’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, but at least you can get a jump on registration. Although online registration at ironhorsebicycleclassic.com officially opens to the public at 8 a.m. Sat., Dec. 5, locals can get a leg up the day before. The IHBC will be holding its annual local registration party from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Fri., Dec. 4, at Mountain Bike Specialists, 949 Main Ave.

And in case you’re not quite into 2016 yet, this year’s IHBC – the 45th annual – is slated for May 28-30. Events include the classic race/ride to Silverton as well as the Quarter Horse to Purgatory; circuit, kids and MTB races, the cruiser crit, and time trial. There are also plans to once again offer the Memorial Train to Silverton for veterans and Adaptive Sports participants.

The 2015 IHBC drew some 4,000 participants from all 50 states and four countries.

No bones about it

We all know the scene from “A Christmas Story,” where the Bumpuses dogs raid the family feast. Or perhaps we have a holiday hound horror story of our own. To keep from bellowing “sons of b*****” at the family table and possibly ending up sucking on a bar of Palmolive – or worse, at the vet’s office paying holiday rates – the folks at Milk Bone bring you these tips to ensure you enjoy your food coma to the full extent:

- Guard those leftovers. Many dogs get sick not from being snuck brussels sprouts under the table but because they climb up on the table and eat huge quantities of food when their humans are out tossing the pigskin or engrossed in the big game.

- Sure, they can eat anything, but they probably shouldn’t. Certain foods can be harmful or even toxic to dogs, including turkey skin, turkey or poultry bones, onions, grapes, raisins and fatty foods.

- All the excitement can wind Fido up tighter than your belt after the second helping of pie. To avoid this, make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise prior to the big festivities. A little walkabout for the owners couldn’t hurt either.

Looking up

After slightly disappointing sales tax numbers for August, local cash registers are rebounding. The City of Durango released its October sales tax report this week, reflecting sales for September. Since Labor Day fell in September this year instead of August, the month-over-year numbers were a bit skewed. However, when August and September sales tax were combined, a much rosier picture emerged. During that period, sales tax was up 8.4 percent over last year, with the central business district reporting gains of 9.1 percent. Year-to-date, city sales tax is up 6 percent, with the CBD up 7.2 percent.