Imagine having a lifetime spent in fear of violence, being diminished mentally and physically by the people who are
supposed to love you the most. And then escaping, gathering your courage up in both hands, packing up your children, determined to build a better life.
In Durango, two organizations, Alternative Horizons and the Volunteers of America Southwest Safehouse, give a hand up
in the effort. And one New Mexico woman is helping them do it.
Shantelle Pierce, who has been through her own experiences with abuse in her life, says biking helped her
recover and become strong. While training and racing on bicycles, she reached a level where she was involved in the
U.S. Women's Cycling Development Program, being mentored by the program's founder, Michael Engleman.
When a couple of dramatic crashes threatened her physical-therapy career, Pierce dropped out. But one sleepless
night, as she was thinking about all Engleman had done for her, she realized no one else had ever done nice things
for her before, and how much it had meant. So she decided to give something back, to help other women going through
Because cycling had worked so well for her, she decided to see if it could help others. Based on what happened April
15, I think the answer is absolutely." Pierce donated 10 adult bicycles and three for children, along with helmets, to members of Alter
native Horizons' Multilingual Support Group. Darlene Clayton, who works with the group, said the timing was
perfect because the group's members had been talking about the need to get in shape and looking for modes of
transportation, and Pierce's donation does both.
Roseann Kutzleb, executive director of AH, said the excitement of the bicycle recipients was beautiful to see, and the joy has not diminished since the presentation.
Pierce saved the money to buy the bikes and helmets and got a special deal from Cottonwood Bicycles in Farmington, where she has her practice. (She lives in Aztec and rides with the Durango Wheel Club, so she considers all three
Pierce has a couple of new bicycle-related projects she's working on now. One is to create a stable" of bikes at the
Southwest Safehouse and the battered women's shelter in Farmington for residents' use. The second, working with
Trails 2000, is to build a bike path near the Farmington shelter for women and children to use.
She's looking for help to get the bicycles for the safehouse. Mountain Bike Specialists has agreed to be the
collection point for bicycle and helmet donations - bicycles should be in good shape. The bicycles will stay at the
safehouse, and then she hopes to get some extra bikes if someone shows a special interest and would like to take one
with them when she begins her new life.
Pierce is mostly focused on the physical benefits of bicycling and the mobility they give as a form of
transportation. I think she underestimates how much it means when someone - someone you don't even know - cares
enough to make this kind of effort for you. This is a great idea that shows what one person can do. I hope those of
you who have a nice bicycle you no longer use - and I'm not necessarily talking about some specialized titanium-frame
bike here - will drop it by Mountain Bike Specialists.
Holding on to their hats for their birthdays are Clint Wolf, Amy Mantineo, Sydney Delacey, Tom Helms, Tim Martin, Mason Stewart, Paden Stewart, Marti Bourjaily, Andrea
Mayer, Jacob Clayton, Nathan Parker, Braden Lyons, Bertie Brown, Cheryl
Wiescamp, Barbara Denk and Kade Jackson.
Special greetings go out to Meredith Nass.
Congratulations to the Durango High School Student Council, which has been named a Gold Council of Excellence by the
National Association of Student Councils. The DHS Student Council joined the national group three years ago, and this
was its first shot at applying for a designation.
A Gold Council of Excellence is the highest level a student council can receive. The DHS council is one of just 131
student councils in the country to be so honored. There are more than 3,000 student councils in the NASC.
Keaton Whitcomb, executive student body co-president with Sophia Johnson, tells me students had to meet
a number of requirements and standards. Before submitting their application, they presented it to DHS Principal
Diane Lashinsky, other administration, faculty and some school board members.
These students are organizing events all year long, including graduation, prom, homecoming week (pep assembly, macho
man/powder puff competitions and king/queen voting), to name just a few. They put on a monthly leadership-speaker
series and dances. And student council members spearhead a number of community-service projects, including a
canned-food drive, caroling and serving Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners at the Durango/La Plata Senior Center next
In addition to working with their fellow students, student council members represent them with the administration and
school board on a number of issues, including the recent Strategic Plan. While doing all these activities, many
student council members are athletes or thespians or involved in other school activities. Their energy and commitment
All members of the DHS Student Council deserve to be recognized. Elena Breed, student body vice president, and
Lyda Phillips, executive student body secretary-treasurer, form the rest of the student body leadership.
Senior class members include President Kelcie Scott, Vice President Kelsey McLean, Secretary-Treasurer
Katie Pritchard, senior member Sloane Phillips and Director of Clubs and Activities Chase
Junior class representatives include President Jenna Mulligan, Vice President Julia Nass, Secretary-Treasurer Melanie Taylor, junior member Madeline Tovar, School-Spirit Coordinator Dylan
Schwantes, Director of the Advisory Council Alex Max and Commissioner of Good Will Jessica Hamby.
(Now there's a good title!) Sophomores on the council are Hayden Siekman, president; Kelsy Tune, vice
president; Sienna Moller, secretary-treasurer; Commissioner of Community Relations Zoe Schultz; and
sophomore member Koby McInnis. The freshmen are represented by President Nick Hamlin, Vice President
Brenna Christensen, Secretary-Treasurer McKenna Franzen, and freshmen members Garrett Ball and
Congratulations also go to DHS Student Council faculty adviser Dale Garland, who has spent uncounted hours
with student council members over the years.
April 21 marked another successful outing of TLC for FLC, Fort Lewis College's annual fundraiser for scholarship
Attendance was up - 226 this year - 50 guests more than last year. That's an encouraging sign the economy is
Guests first enjoyed a fine meal at one of three participating restaurants. The Red Snapper and owners John
Sheehan and Nancy Rowley offered a choice of prime rib, ahi tuna, salmon, surf and turf or pork
tenderloin as entrées, along with its wonderful salad bar. Dessert was a scrumptious homemade New York-style
cheesecake with raspberry sauce.
At Season's Rotisserie and Grill, owners Wayne and Karen Barger gave guests a dinner that began with a
choice of the iceberg-wedge or Caesar salad, followed by a selection from a list that included spit-roasted
free-range chicken, a warm asparagus-and-artichoke tart or a grilled James Ranch flat-iron steak. For dessert, it was
Seasons' famous tiramisu or fresh berry shortcake.
At Mahogany Grille, where I had the fortune to dine, Rod and Laurie Barker had designed a menu that
started with a choice of hearts-of-palm salad, wild-berry and sweet-chili scampi or tomato bisque before selecting
from the grill's famous pepper steak Herbert, maple-and-rosemary-Amish chicken or mustard-rubbed red snapper. Dessert
was a triple-chocolate mousse with raspberry anglaise.
Then it was into the Henry Strater Theatre, where both an extravaganza of a silent auction and a varied live
auction were taking place. Once again, Calvin and Pat Story of Treasure Auction donated their services
for the live auction. Perhaps the liveliest bidding took place for the townhouse in Hawaii and a trip to Al
and Carol Harper's Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
Two students who are attending FLC on scholarships put a face on what the evening was all about. Iris Frye is
attending on the Ina Welsh Cook Martin scholarship, and Dan Cammack is the recipient of both the
Don Whalen and the Vectra Bank scholarships.
All told, the event raised about $40,000, which will help a lot of students pursue their dreams of a college
April showers may usher in the anniversaries of Bob and Shannon Kunkel, Jim and Jane
Marentette, Bill and Tamara Volz, Don and Arlene Ingle, Russ and Pam
Turpin and Stan and Alice Crapo.
For information about upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.
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