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The Durango Herald - News - Durango, CO


Leadership class tackles new issues
January 20, 2007

It was a snowy day when this year's Leadership La Plata class met at the Bank of Colorado to discuss problems we share with our neighbors in the Southwest.

Margie Deane Gray and David Eppich discuss regional issues at the Leadership La Plata class, which was held at the Bank of Colorado on Jan. 12.

The class, which was designed by last year's classmates Donna Graves and Brad Kreikemeier, focused on affordable housing and water issues.

David Eppich, an LLP alumnus who is a former Barbara Conrad Community Leadership and Citizen of the Year honoree, gave a presentation to start the day. He then moderated a panel that included Jennifer Lopez (Regional Housing Authority), Connie Imig (Habitat for Humanity), Keith Walzak (Three Springs) and Emil Wanatka.

Their discussion was about the ongoing dilemma of affordable housing. One of the biggest surprises for class members seemed to be the amount of cooperation between local governments, nonprofits and private developers to resolve housing issues.

After a delicious lunch prepared by Cocina Linda, the group moved on to water issues. Colorado's complex water laws proved to be a bit bewildering, but Cap Allen, Casey Lynch (Animas River Task Force and Mountain Waters Rafting) and water engineer Steve Harris, moderated by Ed Zink, helped enlighten the group about what is going on.

Tami Graham, who leads the leadership-skills segment at each class, incorporated the housing situation into the conflict-resolution exercise. Class members played roles incorporating the different perspectives on both housing needs and solutions.

One thing's for sure - while these issues are complicated and just unraveling the basics takes some time and energy, the class now has a better understanding of both the issues and the progress being made on them.

The class also was a farewell to Kreikemeier, who is leaving the Bank of Colorado to move to Nebraska to begin a new business opportunity (not banking) and be closer to his family.

• • •

Getting slightly warmer weather for their birthdays are Jan Ward, Lee Campbell, Courtney Cannon, Barb Conn, Samantha Hess, Velena Eggleston, Steve Wolf, Linda Yoos, Julia Dodd, Marie Wells, Elanor Carr, Kaitlyn Duffy, Beth Maxted, Brigitte Cunningham, Janet Geist, Ethel Goehring, Thomas Boness, Laura Shelton, Connie Zollinger, Marjorie Cornwell, Neil Bourjaily and Matthew Simonsen.

• • •

Congratulations to Durango High School senior Blake Morris, who has been nominated by Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., to attend the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

More than 230 high school seniors applied to Salazar for a nomination to attend one of the nation's service academies, and he nominated 60 of them.

To be considered for an appointment to one of the academies - U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy (West Point), U.S. Coast Guard Academy and U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis), in addition to the Merchant Marine Academy - students must have a nomination from a member of Congress or other nominating authority (such as the vice president of the U.S.).

Salazar chose the candidates he nominated after a rigorous application and interview process.

La Plata County's nominee, Morris, is a member of the DHS speech and debate team, a certified rescue diver and owns his own lawn-mowing business. The knuckle biting continues, as Morris may have to wait until April to learn whether he has been appointed to attend the academy, which is located in Kings Point, N.Y.

• • •

If ever there were a year to join the Friends of the Durango Public Library, 2007 is it. Plans are under way for the centennial of the current library later this year. That's 100 years of serving a community that loves to read - more than 65 percent of La Plata County residents have a bright yellow library card and as many as 1,100 of us go through the facility every day, whether it's to check out a book, audio recording or DVD, do some research or maybe log on to the Wi-Fi Internet access.

The current library came to be after the ladies of the Reading Club of Durango wrote Andrew Carnegie asking him to build the library, and the civic-minded men of the community got General Palmer to donate the land it sits on. Before then, the Reading Club had maintained a subscription library where ladies could check out books for free and gentlemen had to pay a $5 annual fee. The women frequently had to recruit strong young men to help them move the books to a new room when their current site had become unavailable for one reason or another. They wanted a home for their books.

The Friends of the DPL have an ambitious plan for the year - they want to recruit 500 members, five for each year of the library's existence. There are almost 100 reading clubs and groups in Durango - if all their members signed up, the goal would be surpassed!

One of the things the money will be used for is to support grant writing for funding to provide some of the amenities for the new library that are not in the current building budget.

Another way to support the Friends and the library is to donate your excess books. First they are considered for inclusion in the library stacks, but if the library already has good copies of the book, they are contributed to book-sale fundraisers.

Annual Friends memberships are $5 for an individual or $10 per family. Application cards are available at the circulation desk at the Durango Public Library.

• • •

I've been occasionally updating my readers about the adventures of Sally Kondziolka and Brian Clark, who retired early to extensively travel around the world. They've had a lot of adventures in the last 2½ years.

They've often been the only Yanks in some of the places they've visited, so they were quite surprised to run into a fellow Durangoan on a four-day ferry ride from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales, Chile, via the Patagonian Channels.

One of their fellow passengers remembered having met another passenger who had just moved to Durango from California. They hooked up with John Harrington during the miserably cold and turbulent trip.

But most of their fellow passengers were European, Australian, New Zealanders and a few Chileans.

Kondziolka said that it's summer in name only.

In Puerto Varas, Chile, they spent a lot of time holed up in their warm, cozy cabana enjoying the gorgeous local fruit - boxes and boxes of cherries, raspberries and strawberries - and inexpensive fresh salmon.

For New Year's Eve, they saw a spectacular fireworks display over Lago Llanquihue. Kondziolka said they must use chemicals that are outlawed in the U.S., because the fireworks were brighter, more intense and more sparkling than they had ever seen before.

Going through the Patagonian Channels, the couple saw some of the most remote and truly uninhabited territory on the face of the Earth. There was a lot more wildlife than human beings there, including cormorants, dolphins, seals, penguins and even some albatrosses.

Despite the misery of the ferry trip, Clark and Kondziolka managed to enjoy a lot of dramatic scenery, including the cerulean blue Pius XI Glacier, which Kondziolka called stunning, particularly with the ice floes, squalls, sunshine and rainbows. Crossing the Golfo de Penas - Gulf of Sorrows - wiped out more than three quarters of the passengers with seasickness. The captain told them that it is regularly "the roughest crossing in the Americas."

Clark and Kondziolka are planning the rest of their southernmost adventure. It will be interesting to see where they end up next.

• • •

Dancing in the moonlight for their anniversaries are Richard and Connie Imig and Virgil and Maxine "Mackie" Headrick. (Although knowing the Headricks, it's more likely they're preparing for the next golf season.)

• • •

For information on upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.

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