Last week you and other area residents received a questionnaire about the proposed Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill.
If you have already completed and returned the survey to me, please accept my sincere thanks. If not, please do so today. It is extremely important that your responses be included in this study so that the results accurately represent the opinions of all residents, both those for and against the mill. I have no position on the mill, but am simply interested in what you think.
If you did not receive the questionnaire, it was misplaced, or if you have any other questions, please call me at 435.797.1230 or email me at email@example.com. I can send you another questionnaire today.
Stephanie Malin, Dept. of Sociology, Utah State University
A Cruel, Violent Plan for Exterminating the Migrant Prairie Dogs
The great respect that I have for members of the Open Space Commission makes it difficult to understand the ill-conceived, environmentally insensitive upcoming decision to poison the migrant prairie dogs. The heroic efforts of Todd Creel and Marla Croke were instrumental in the preservation of the Valley Floor. Other members, like Brian Werner, Peter Mueller and Jenny Russell, are known for standing tall on important issues. How could these civic champions so easily dismiss the natural, humane and permanent solution offered by renowned wildlife expert, Dr. Nicole Rosmarino.
Prairie dogs will not occupy an area where their vision is obscured. Their survival depends on a clear view of oncoming danger. The planting of weather resistant native shrubbery would permanently dissuade them from migrating into the area west of their colony. With the correct selection, the shrubs should require no maintenance, once established. In contrast, the cruel extermination of this endangered species will need to be repeated year after year. Some, who have an irrational hatred of these harmless creatures, will find a sadistic satisfaction at the thought of their poisoning. But this will soon fade away as their roaming pet accidentally ingests a poisoned prairie dog and suffers an agonizing death. Rozol and Kaput-D are blood-thinning poisons. When ingested, they cause animals to slowly bleed to death. Raptors and other predators feeding on the tainted prairie dogs may suffer the same cruel fate of secondary poisoning. As the predators decline, more poison will be required.
Many are offended by the prairie dog mounds. Some believe that brutal manipulation should be used to force a false reality of what they think nature should look like. Like a smoker who refuses to quit his life threatening habit, to avoid unsightly weight gain, the priorities are upside down. With all of it’s perceived imperfections, I believe that nature, undisturbed, is beautiful. On this special place, people should obey the laws of nature, not the other way around. On the “Forever Wild” Valley Floor, if we must bend nature to suit our short sighted will, let’s not use extermination to control an endangered, keystone species, but rather seek the sensible, permanent and humane solutions offered by the experts.
– Dan Chancellor, Placerville
Wonderful Fall Fundraiser for Preschool
On behalf of the Rainbow Preschool, Rascals Toddler Program, and Rockies After School Program Board of Directors, I would like to thank the Telluride community for another wonderful Fall Fundraiser. Every year I am amazed by the generosity of the local businesses and community members. This event is not possible without the help of many individuals. I would like to thank all of the board members for their contributions. Thanks to Bill Ellison of Viking Rentals for donating all of the tables and catering supplies. Thank you to Lara Young and Wendy Hampton for your sous chef services, Erica Doemland and Barb Gross for setup, check in/out and take down, Lucy Lerner for set up and creating the awesome slide show and to Annie Carlson and Sydney Denman for soliciting donations. Thanks to the other directors, Dawn Katz and Laurie Belka for your help and support. A huge thank you to Shawn Merie Parent of Merle's Brown Bag for spending many hours preparing the delicious food for the event! Thank you to all the business owners and individuals who donated their goods and services to the event. Your support year after year is amazing. Thanks to all of the staff that babysat all of the kids that night at the various facilities. You are the best! Finally, thank you to all the parents of our programs for selling the event tickets, bringing desserts and sharing your kids with us. The kids in this community are so lucky to be loved and nurtured by so many in our small town!
– Megan Berry, Rockies After School Program and Summer Camp Director
On Friday, Nov. 12, the Ouray County Clerk counted the final remaining 41 provisional ballots in the Commissioner election. Unfortunately the vote gap widened to 34 votes in favor of my opponent, Mike Fedel. The unofficial vote count now stands at 1,273 for me and 1,307 for Mike with all votes now being counted.
While this is a very narrow margin, it does not meet the statutory threshold for an automatic recount. After considering the accuracy of the vote count and integrity of the election process, we have decided not to ask for a recount. Accordingly, I phoned Mike yesterday to congratulate him on the election and wish him well in his term as County Commissioner.
I am confident that this result is a reflection of the partisanship and anti-incumbency sweeping the country and not dissatisfaction with our county government. I am proud of the legacy of my term in office representing your interests. The county is more robust and healthy fiscally, organizationally and procedurally. We have an excellent and professional staff working hard for us in all county departments. The process changes and regulatory changes we have put in place the last four years will continue in my absence. This election was certainly not any kind of a mandate for sweeping changes in the direction of the county.
Now that we can move on from the election I will commit to you that I will stay involved and active in county matters. I will be looking for alternative employment, hopefully in a job where I can continue to foster the county’s interests regionally and in the state. I urge you to also remain active in the county process. The commissioners will need your continued advice, guidance and oversight. We need to support them to insure that our county government works for everyone’s interests, not just the few.
More on Prairie Dogs
The Telluride Open Space Commission is outside the realm of mainstream environmental science in its proposal to “euthanize” Gunnison’s prairie dogs on the Valley Floor.
As reported by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Gunnison’s prairie dog was on track to receive listing under the Endangered Species Act until political interference and altered scientific documents under the Bush Administration stopped the process.
According the the Environmental Defense Fund, “For prairie dogs, large numbers of surviving individuals may provide a misleading impression of a more secure conservation status than actually exists. ..Having all members of a local population concentrated in a relatively small area makes them susceptible to catastrophic events such as plague and poisoning... small isolated colonies do not provide adequate habitat to maintain viable populations over the long term.”
The Center for Native Ecosystems “is continuing to press for protections for this keystone prairie species. In the meantime we seek to protect its remaining habitat in the Southern Rockies, where it is most at risk.”
The Telluride environmental community is always asking the surrounding ranching and mining communities to make significant sacrifices in order to protect natural values. But when a threatened wildlife species inconveniences us here at home, it turns out we are quick to adopt a more "fair and balanced" approach.
– Carol Black