Dear Action Line: The Animas River flow rate is slowly falling toward the 100 cfs mark. Has it ever fallen below 100, into double digits? – Drying Up
Dear Drying: The U.S. Geological Survey has data going back to 1898. During the past 122 years, there have been only seven days when the amount of water flowing down the Animas River was below 100 cubic feet per second. Six of those seven days have been within the past three years (boo!).
The record low is 94.0 cfs, set on March 2, 1913. Right now, the river is flowing about 110 cfs. The record high is 25,000 cfs on Oct. 5, 1911, when the river nearly flowed over the Main Avenue bridge by Rotary Park.
The measurements are taken every 15 minutes and reflect a day’s readings overall. Sometimes, the river flows a bit faster; sometimes slower.
“Although the river is not at an all-time low, flows are the lowest we’ve recorded at this site for this time of year,” said Steve Anders, Western Colorado data section chief for the USGS.
Dear Action Line: City Market is not giving change back to cash-paying customers, apparently because of a national “change shortage.” Instead, City Market credits customers’ Value Cards, and the change from a previous purchase is applied toward the bill of your next purchase. This all seems like a bunch of B.S., if not illegal. Is this illegal? – Short changed
Dear Short: You are correct. There is technically not a “change shortage.” There are still billions of coins out there, and the U.S. Mint is cranking out about 1.6 billion each month. The coins are just not moving around the economy like they did before COVID-19.
People are buying less stuff because of the pandemic, and they shifted their spending online. This dried up the “natural flow of pocket change through banks, restaurants and retail stores,” according to The Washington Post.
With fewer coins floating around, businesses like City Market (and many others) adopted “exact change” policies, which mean stores can require you pay exactly the price of your item. If you don’t have the exact price, you can cancel the transaction and leave. Or, you could pay more, but receive back the change in a form other than currency, or like at City Market, donate it.
“Like many retailers and businesses, we are adjusting to the temporary shortage in several ways,” said City Market spokeswoman Jessica Trowbridge.
You may view this as B.S., but it’s perfectly legal B.S.
There is no federal law that says a business is required in the first place to accept currency or coin as a payment for goods or services, according to the Federal Reserve. “Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether to accept cash unless there is a state law that says otherwise,” says the Fed.
At least one national business, Chipotle, decided the best approach to “exact change” was to just keep it, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Basically, Chipotle responded by saying, “Hey, we put up signs and our staff tells customers before they order we can’t hand out change, so customers knew what they were getting into.”
Unlike the concept of “Legal B.S.,” this case may be decided under the well-known legal doctrine of “Illicitus bovis stercore” (Illegal B.S.).
Dear Action Line: Since when is it legal, safe or even smart to pull out into oncoming traffic to pass a bicyclist? My heart skips a beat when I see an oncoming motorist veer into my lane. Can people still make a citizen’s arrest on these scofflaws? Whew. Thanks. I feel much better. – Donell Deane
Dear Donell: Legal, safe or smart? Durangotangs chuck those ideas the second they move here. Good news is, yes, you can make what is basically a citizen’s arrest, said Durango Police Chief Bob Brammer.
“An observer can certainly call dispatch and be a willing witness,” he said. “We can write tickets based on others’ observations not in our presence if they are willing to stand in court and explain what they saw if it was illegal.”
Dear Action Line: We live in Colorado and Spectrum cable channel 15 is supposed to be Denver KUSA channel 9. However, the volume goes to zero and the video becomes very fuzzy. What is the explanation? Also, why do we not get all the Denver stations or at least the Grand Junction stations? – John Rankin
Dear John: Spectrum said it will check with their engineering team and the cause of your signal loss. Specifically, “If it is on our end or not,” said Bret Piccolo, Spectrum’s spokesman.
“As far as Durango customers receiving Albuquerque stations rather than Denver stations, TV markets are defined by the FCC, not by Charter or any other TV providers,” he said.
“Durango is part of the Albuquerque market. We are required to carry the in-market affiliates on this channel lineup, which are based in Albuquerque per the FCC’s definition of that market.”
Email questions and suggestions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 8130. Most of the column is B.S., but fortunately, the legal kind. I think.
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