Out of the hospital

An old editor once told me about reporting the news: “If you put people in the hospital, you better take them out.” Well, we thrust you into the issues surrounding the Nov. 2 election, so we’re gonna get you out with a rundown of the results.

Locally, the most contentious election was that for the Durango School District 9-R School Board (now there’s a sentence we never thought we’d have to write).

The 9-R election, however, reflected a national trend where school boards have seemingly become the center stage for culture wars on topics like how to teach children about race and whether schools should implement COVID-19 protocols.

Though school board elections are supposed to be nonpartisan, three conservative candidates – Donna Gulec, Dean Hill and Kristina Paslay – banded together as a three-piece ticket, vowing to challenge things like mask mandates and critical race theory (which is not taught in 9-R schools).

These newcomer candidates, however, were handily beaten in this election by what was seen as their “progressive” counterparts.

In District A, 9-R incumbent Erika Brown received 8,407 votes to Paslay’s 3,346. A third candidate, Catherine Mewmaw, ran in this district and received 1,137 votes.

In District C, Rick Petersen, also a newcomer, beat Hill 8,681-4,105. And in District E, 9-R incumbent Andrea Parmenter beat Gulec by a vote of 8,961 to 3,870.

Now, can we make school boards boring again?

Also, all three statewide ballot measures failed. 

• Prop 120 would have reduced property taxes for multi-unit housing and hotels, but not for single-family homes. And, the reduction in taxes would have  hit to schools and fire districts.

• Prop 119 would have raised marijuana tax sales to fund out-of-school programs. However, opponents argued it would undercut already underfunded public school districts to fund private companies with little oversight.

• Amendment 78 would have created a new process for how the state would spend some federal funds.

La Plata County had 42% voter turnout, high for an off-year election. “I’m very happy voters turned up,” said La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Lee.

Good job, you did it.

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The Pole

Turkey triage
11/24/2021

One Thanksgiving, a few years ago, I sliced my finger on a piece of broken glass while cleaning dishes, requiring a late night trip to Mercy Regional Medical Center’s emergency room to put half of my pinky finger back on.

There, a doctor, making small talk while pumping an alarming amount of anesthesia into my finger, said every year people are admitted into the ER on Thanksgiving for … drumroll please … over-eating. As I waited several hours for the routine procedure of four stitches, and while my partner slept outside in the car with the heat on, I wondered, what is everyone else doing in here?

Just add snow
Just add snow
11/19/2021

Rain or shine (or snow), Purgatory Resort plans to hold opening day this Saturday. As far as what lifts and trails will be open, we’re still in a state of – if you hate bad puns, look away – purgatory on what that will look like.

Southwest Colorado has received little to no early season snow. As a result, Purgatory Resort has had to rely on its snowmaking capabilities to make good on its target to open Nov. 20.

Shining a light
11/18/2021
In this week’s issue, you’ll find a little hello from our newest music columnist, Stephen Sellers.
Durango Nuggets
11/11/2021

Durango’s Police blotter can be a source of endless entertainment.

People yelling at lamp posts, late night marauders stealing asparagus from home gardens, reports of deadly spirits attacking hotel managers, drunken people atop trees yelling at people down below, a gang of raccoons blocking someone from getting into an old folks home, an unauthorized guy in the middle of Camino del Rio directing traffic. It never disappoints.

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