NORWOOD TENNIS? … Norwoodian Alex Sokolik has been lobbying for the Pig Palace to be retrofitted for a temporary tennis court for months now. He believes it can be done for under $1,000. The County Commissioners will entertain a public discussion of the idea at its Jan 27th meeting at the Gordon Glockson Building (formerly the Lone Cone Building) across from the County Fairgrounds in Norwood … For exact times of the meeting, call John Huebner at 728-3844 or check the county website www.sanmiguelcounty.org.
BRUCE WHITEHEAD … Not since Dan Noble have we had such an involved and hands-on state senator in District 7 as our new Sen. Bruce Whitehead (D-Hesperus), who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Jim Isgar, who’s moved on to working for the USDA. He’s been to a half-dozen meetings in San Miguel County already, and I’ve been getting similar reports from other commissioners who report the same thing – attending meetings and diving into the thick of regional issues … If you’re of a mind, you might consider sending this good man a little money. He’s going to be worth it. BRUCE WHITEHEAD FOR SENATE, Ken Francis, 820 E. 7th Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
LAO ALERT … A beautiful little warbler inhabiting limestone karsts in Vietnam and Laos has been named a new species. When the limestone leaf warbler (Phylloscopus calciatilis) was first sighted in 1994, it was thought to be a member of the similar-looking species, the sulphur-breasted warbler. But ornithologists began to question that assumption when the bird produced a call significantly different from the sulphur- breasted's. On closer inspection, researchers found that the limestone leaf warbler has shorter wings and a larger bill proportionately than the related species. Olive-green with a yellow breast and striped crown, the new species is fully described in the most recent issue of the journal Ibis … "The discovery of this new species is very exciting and underscores the importance of this region of Indochina for conservation," said Colin Poole, Executive Director of the Asia Program for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). "With increased attention from biologists, the Annamite mountain range of Laos in particular is revealing itself as a Lost World for new and unusual wildlife” … The bare-faced bulbul, a new and particularly strange bird, was discovered from the same region earlier just this year. The bare-faced bulbul (the first bulbul discovered in Asia in a century) is Asia's only bald songbird … In 2002, the same region revealed a species of rodent, called the khanyou or Laotian rock rat, which is the last representative of an entirely extinct family. Discovered by Robert Timmins of the WCS, it is considered “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. In 1999, Timmins also discovered the Annamite striped rabbit in the same area, which remains largely a mystery to biologists although it is commonly hunted … The limestone warbler was discovered by a team of scientists from WCS, Lao PDR Department of Forestry, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Swedish Museum of Natural History, and BirdLife International … For a photo, go here: http://news.mongabay.com/2009/1221-hance_warbler.html.
PEAKS FIRINGS … Those interested in the economy of Telluride welcomed the new ownership of the Peaks, and the chance to refurbish an old warship with the latest armor plating. As a destination resort, it’s true, we need several high-end hotels to keep even a belt-tightened economy afloat on that wealth bubble that sometimes loses air but hardly ever pops … But it’s really sad to hear of long-time locals losing management jobs up there, right before Christmas. I know business people are only supposed to think with one bottom line – profitability. But until we as a culture adopt the triple bottom line, honoring earnings as well as the environment and our community social responsibilities to working people, I’m afraid the Telluride of tomorrow won’t be much different than the Telluride of the robber baron mill-owner era.
THE TALKING GOURD
The sun is a long way from coming up,
the shortest day of the year
only one darkness away.
I am running out
What has to be done in the light
gets done faster
or not at all.
Though I know the earth keeps turning,
tipping in an old direction,
I feel like a product
of the dark.
I have spent all of my fat words
and settled for whats
by a single breath.
I’ve said it.
Now I can close my eyes,
feel the weight begin to shift,
slowed by the force of one hand,
like a merry-go-round getting ready
to be pushed in the opposite direction.