Dear Action Line: Why is there a hole in the center of my ballot envelope? Are people looking through it to see how I voted? Is there something nefarious at work? – My ballot, all mine.
Dear Mine: The local election office has been placing holes in the ballot envelope for at least four or five years, said Tiffany Parker, La Plata County’s clerk and recorder. There is nothing nefarious going on; the hole is simply to make sure your vote has been counted.
“After the election judges have removed the ballots from the envelopes, they can stack them into bundles and see that all the contents have been removed,” she said. “This ensures a ballot or any other materials have not been left in the envelope. Some of the large counties will also use the hole to zip tie the envelopes together in batches for storage.”
The hole is strategically placed so even if someone wanted, they could not tell how someone else voted, she said.
“This is the first election I have conducted that anyone asked about the hole even though we have probably conducted in La Plata County at least 10 to 12 elections with it there,” she said. “Interesting what is drawing attention this year.”
Dear Action Line: While on the Animas River Trail, I walked over the bridge behind Durango High School. There were no rafts, but to my surprise, there is a manhole cover in the middle of the river on the south side of the bridge. How does a man, or woman, get into the manhole without getting wet or drown? – Bull Frog
Dear Frog: The managers of the city’s storm drainage system and sanitary sewer system went to the bridge to peer at the manhole and report back, said Jarrod Biggs, assistant utilities director for the city.
Turns out it is, in fact, a manhole; not just the result of Durangotangs partying and playing their favorite game of, “Let’s toss random things in the river.”
Biggs said it was likely a cheap water-intake structure of some kind, potentially for when that part of town was still known as Animas City. “We have not sent anyone to dive or otherwise take a look inside the manhole,” he said, but city staff members will do some homework to make sure the line is not currently connected.
“Consideration has been given to training up our scuba crew to think about underwater confined space entry, but no solutions thus far,” he said.
Dear Action Line: As far back as I can remember, our City Market stores offered a free donut ($.69 model only) the day after a Denver Broncos win. Yesterday, I went to get my free donut and was told by the assistant manager that they do not do that anymore. He was kind enough to pay for the one I had, but still, what is going on? Is this COVID-related or dare I say all the way up to Trump did it? – Donut Denied
Dear Denied: Action Line emailed the president to see if he shut down the free donuts at City Market because they were some socialist plot, or if it was because he is the only true “bronco” that deserves recognition.
Trump wrote back, “Dear Mr. Line, Thank you for your email. My staff is closely reviewing your correspondence to ensure your views, questions and concerns are addressed.”
In the meantime, Jess Trowbridge, City Market’s spokeswoman, said the free donuts are on hold because of a computer glitch.
“We are currently experiencing a delay on a software update that allows us to continue to offer a free donut through our point of sale when the Broncos win,” she said.
Dear Action Line: Why aren’t the lights working along the Animas River Trail between Rotary Park and 29th Street park? I am one of many early-morning walkers, joggers and bikers, and as the days have grown shorter, the trail has grown darker. There are numerous non-functioning lights, and in addition to various safety concerns, I might find myself inadvertently tripping over a bear! – Concerned Path Walker
Dear Walker: The lights in that section of the trail are having a tough go because they are solar powered. It’s difficult for them to charge up during the day as we head into winter, and some of the lights are blocked by trees for a portion of the day, said Cathy Metz, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
“This solar lighting situation gets some improvement once the remaining leaves drop,” she said.
The lights will be replaced with standard lights once that section of the trail is redeveloped, she said. Upgrading the asphalt trail is included in the department’s five-year plan, but no construction is expected in 2021.
Projects like these are reviewed annually with input from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, so that would probably be your best bet for suggesting the city move up the timeline. City Councilor Chris Bettin is liaison to the board. He can be reached at ChrisBettin@DurangoGov.org.
Email questions and suggestions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Action Line believes City Market should have free donuts regardless if the Broncos win.
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