Someone told me the La Plata County Jail puts on a real spread for lunch for anyone employed by the department. From
what I understand, not only do the employees get an extravagant free lunch, but they oftentimes bring their family and
friends to indulge. Along with this, the jail kitchen also will cater weddings, funerals, etc. for department
employees. How do we get in on this free lunch since my employer doesn't feed us? Let me know, I'm getting hungry. - ME
Someone's been feeding you a line.
The jail personnel can and do have meals there during their shifts. But they are a captive audience," Duke Schirard,La Plata County sheriff, said wryly.
It's not as if correctional officers can close up shop for an hour and run to Subway.
And should a fellow peace officer drop off an inmate during mealtime, he or she is welcome to grab a plate, the sheriff
But friends and family? Hardly.
Schirard said the jail prepares meals in huge batches, generally enough to feed 225 people. So a plate or two always is
In fact, if you would like to tour the facility and have a bite, Schirard would be more than happy to accommodate you.
Seriously. Just call the jail and schedule your visit.
Of course, you also could arrange a do-it-yourself tour of the La Plata Ramada.
This involves getting arrested.
You'll not only get an insider's tour of the facilities and three squares a day, but you will have your picture taken
and receive an orange jumpsuit.
That's not the ideal way to experience the jail," Schirard added.
The sheriff is proud of the meals served.
There's nothing fancy, but all meals are healthy and wholesome," he said. A well-fed inmate is easily managed, and
we've had very few problems."
As for catering special events, Schirard said it does happen once or twice a year, at the behest of the county
The commissioners will request the jail kitchen prepare some hors d'oeurves and snacks for a county function at the
courthouse," he said. County staff and visitors can sample what the jail kitchen can create.
As for weddings and funerals, we don't do that," he said with a chuckle.
I know Durango has strict sign regulations. So is it true that the city forbids signs to be visible from the Animas
River? Is this to preserve a wilderness experience for drunken tubers floating through town? - Josh M.
It's true. But not for the reasons you cite.
The section of the Animas flowing through the commercial part of town is called the River Corridor Overlay Zone.
This zone has special laws to preserve and enhance the unique characteristics of the river," said Nichole Killian with
the city's planning department, citing language in the code.
Before a sign can be installed, the site has to undergo a viewshed analysis."
Mrs. Action Line is quite experienced at viewshed analysis.
About every other week, she'll gaze out the back window at the shed.
After a moment, she'll decisively conclude, We really need to get rid of that piece of junk."
But that's not the procedure the city uses.
A viewshed analysis examines the proposed sign site from two perspectives, one from the middle of the river and the
other from across the river.
The sign will need to be situated above historic flood levels, as well, Killian added.
It's a case-by-case situation," she said. You can have signs; they just need to conform to certain guidelines" so the
river doesn't become flanked by ugly billboards.
Not having signs visible from the river also has side benefits.
Merchants will be spared the hassles of having to mop up after the soggy looky-loos.
And who wants to shop when there's floating and bloating to be done?
E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
or mail them to Action Line,
The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you call someone
at random Thursday and ask
if their refrigerator is running.