It's always interesting how something you see on the news about an event that is taking place half a world away
affects someone you know.
The event in this case is the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Iceland and the havoc it wreaked on air travel
in Europe in April.
Three Durangoans, Ginna Harbison, Caroline Kinser and Ruth Wagner saw a lot of" Venice when they were stuck there
for five extra days because of the dangers the volcanic ash posed to air traffic.
They met two men who had rented a car and took off for a four-day drive to get to Denmark, but in general, they were
told the trains were booked, and no rental cars were available, so in Venice they stayed.
They were among the lucky ones. While there were horror stories of people stuck in airports for days on end, the
Durango contingent had a hotel room and were able to extend their occupancy. They were supposed to leave on April 18, and went out to the airport to check in just to make sure they held space with the airline. That turned out to be a
good move, as the airline rebooked them for Friday, April 23, under the assumption flights would resume on the 22nd.
Harbison said the trio jumped up and down and shouted for joy when they heard planes taking off overhead as they were
walking in St. Mark's Square that Thursday.
The BBC was their news source, and it came on at 7 every evening. Otherwise, they came to understand how children can
become so rapt in front of the tube - one evening they watched a cooking show in some foreign language and found
themselves mesmerized while debating what kind of meat the chef was using.
One thought I had when I heard the news was that being stuck in Europe could be tough if, like me, you've had fun
spending all your money while traveling and are going home with relatively" empty pockets.
The intrepid Coloradans figured out a way to stretch their dollars. They ate a good breakfast from their hotel's
breakfast buffet and then squirreled away rolls, lunch meat and fruit for a picnic lunch. Then they went out for a
They lucked out another way - it was a special week in Venice, and many museums offered free admission, making seeing
the city a lot more affordable.
The idea for the trip began at P.E.O., an educational, philanthropic sisterhood, when Harbison said her husband, Gary, didn't want to go to Italy with her, and asked if anyone there would like to go with her. Kinser and Wagner
raised their hands and thus the adventure began.
Before they arrived in Venice, the women had spent several days in Rome, including a day in Pompeii.
While all of the trip was fun, they probably won't be returning to Venice any time soon.
In the meantime, their husbands will reap the benefits of their wives' travels - on Friday, they cooked an Italian
repast of dishes they enjoyed on their journey.
The skies are blue and these folks are happy for their big days - Kris Ryall, Diane Welle, Jim
Lewin, Susie Robertson, Roger Folk, Ace Hall, Don Mapel, Nancy Hoyt, Nicholas Mimmack, Lesley Ponce, Diane Estes, Betsy Morriss, John Loftis, Jane Marentette, Jack Llewellyn, Diana Longwell, Winston Marugg, Bob Canning, Greg
, Mark Dickmann, Diane Van Den Berg, Karen Mordi and Sue Jackson.
Agriculture, in this case ranching and farming, has been important in Southwest Colorado for 140 years or so. And for
60 of those years, the La Plata-Archuleta Cattlemen's Association has been a force in organizing, lobbying and
ranchers working togethe
On April 10, the organization held its annual banquet at the Sky Ute Event Center to celebrate the landmark
anniversary. It's not only a time- honored tradition; it's actually in the original bylaws that one should be held.
Tom Compton and Davin Montoya brought some fun as masters of ceremony. Terry Fankhauser, executive vice
president of the Colorado Cattlemen, and Robbie LeValle, president-elect for the Colorado Cattlemen, gave updates on
what is happening at the state level.
Clayton Wilson, who was nominated by the La Plata-Archuleta Cattlemen for the Colorado Cattlemen's Wildlife
Officer of the Year, received his award at the banquet for all of his help in dealing with problem wildlife.
Both the association and the La Plata County Cowbelles give scholarships every year (a total of nine $1,000 gifts) to
students who are pursuing an ag career. Megan Semler, a recent recipient, talked about the Hills and Valleys"
a young person goes through when leaving home and beginning the next stage of life.
Semler is attending Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The College of Agriculture named her one of three
Outstanding Freshmen, and she is a member of CSU's award-winning Wool Judging Team. The team won the judging contest
at the National Western Stock Show and was named national champion at Houston's Livestock Show.
Another longstanding tradition at the banquet is the raffle and auction of two of the Cowbelles' famous brand quilts, featuring cattle brands from area ranches. Sharon Nossaman was the lucky winner of the raffle quilt, and
Chris and Kathy Burgess were the high bidders on the auctioned quilt, kicking in $1,700 to the
Cowbelles' scholarship fund. Ranchers are encouraged to reserve a space for their brand on next year's quilts.
The grand finale of the evening is always the presentation of the Cattlemen of the Year Award." The Beebe family of
Bayfield was justly selected for 2010 after a lifetime of service to the association, the community and the cattle
Gary and Peggy Beebe are the patriarchs of the clan. She is beginning her fourth year as president of
the Cowbelles and her second year as secretary for the association. Their son, Kyle Beebe, is vice president
of the cattlemen's association, and their daughter, Debbie Bergt, is secretary of the Cowbelles.
The family's involvement goes down to the third generation, where Kyle and his wife, Shannon, Beebes' son
Tyler is a director for the Colorado Junior Cattlemen. All of the grandchildren are members of the Junior
If there is an activity with agriculture, you can count on the Beebes to be there.
On another interesting note about the Cattlemen, Barbara Jefferies is beginning her second year as president of the
organization. She is the first woman elected to the office - hey, it only took 59 years for a woman to break the
The presidency is a family tradition. The La Plata-Archuleta Cattlemen's Association was founded in 1950, and
Jefferies' father, Frank Wommer, was elected president. Later her brother-in-law, Jim Mars, and
husband, Ned Jefferies, held the post.
Jefferies has been tremendously helpful to this town girl" over the years I've been writing the Neighbors column, and I congratulate her for the well-deserved honor - and commend the men for noticing what a mover and shaker she is.
Trees are flowering for the anniversaries of Jim and Ann Ruetschle, John and Sheila
Sfordilias, Blaine and Mary Thomson, John and Jenny Hill, David and Becky
Fontenot, Paul and Monica Broderick, Tom and Karla Sluis, Mary and Duane
Mykra and Al and Sue Mages.
For information about upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.
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