We come in all shapes and sizes: bankers, journalists, elected officials, nonprofit executive leaders, board members, volunteers and professionals, Girl Scout troop leaders, teachers and principals, residents of Native American, Asian, Hispanic and Anglo heritage. ... You name it, and the sector is represented among the alumni of Leadership La Plata.
On Thursday, about 110 members of the 400 graduates on the alumni roster gathered in the Secret Garden at the Rochester Hotel to celebrate an important landmark: 25 years of educating people about the ins-and-outs of the community and teaching them new skills to be more effective as leaders. It has been 25 years of meeting new people, building a network of movers and shakers for getting things done and adding many friends to our circles.
This seems a good place for the disclaimer I have to include when writing about LLP. I, too, am an alumna, a member of the fourth LLP class, the Class of 1991-1992. (The class year starts in September and runs through May, thus the dual dates.)
Organizers Charles Leslie, Wanda Ellingson and Julie Cooley, along with LLP Steering Committee Chairwoman Karen Thompson, hit all the right notes. Not too much speechifying with libations and enough munchies to keep the crowd fueled.
Hot Tomatoes catered a menu that included asparagus wrapped with ham and herb-creamed cheese, pepperoni pizza puffs with marinara sauce, Southwest spring rolls with salsa, tomato and mozzarella bruschetta and antipasti kebabs with chocolate chip cookies and lemon bars for a sweet touch.
Thompson has been working on updating LLP’s email list, and trying to track down people who have moved is more than a bit of a challenge in today’s mobile society. She’s only missing about 30 out of the 400 grads.
I didn’t get around the whole garden but saw at least a couple of LLP founders, Jasper Welch and Richard Ballantine. Two of the founders are no longer living, and both were active community members – Bill Mashaw and Harold Green.
I believe two members of the very first class, 1988-89, were on hand, former Durango Mayor John Gamble and Susan McGinness were members of what we affectionately call the “Anasazi” class. Their class was the only one that met half days. Since then, classes have met for a full day one Friday a month.
Unfortunately, several classes have lost members to death, and this seems like a good time to remember them: Julie Jones, Shary Doak, Barbara Conrad, Paula Schaefer, Jim Jennings, Mark Dold and Buckskin made their marks, no matter how briefly they were here.
The centerpiece of the evening was a special LLP trivia contest run by my former colleague Ted Holteen – he’s also an alum. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit of a trivia nut, but I was worried that he might be asking trivia about LLP or its grads, which makes it anybody’s game.
Instead, it was the kind of trivia he’s known for asking Tuesday nights at Ska Brewing Co. but geared toward the years the program has been in existence. Alas, I arrived too late to compete in all three rounds but did manage to get an answer or two in.
Holteen attracts a large crowd at Ska but takes the summer off to play softball, so it’s a long time to go without a Super Ted’s Super Trivia Night.
Fortunately, he’s hosting a fundraising evening of trivia for the Durango Arts Center at 6:12 p.m. July 16. It’s $100 per team of five, and my team signed up right away. Expect history, literature, sports, geography, popular culture and lots of other brainteasing categories.
Public radio station KDUR-FM manager Bryant Liggett is creating one of his infamous “Name that Tune” (or artist) music rounds. I’m loath to give other teams any tricks of the trivia trade, but let’s just say there’s a lot of music since the 1990s, so young team members are much-prized.
There will be prizes for individual champions.
Call Holteen at 259-2606 or email him at email@example.com to learn more about Super Ted’s Super Trivia Fundraising Extravaganza.
Gearing up for a holiday week as they celebrate their birthdays are Beth Walker, Eric Sparks, Eva McCleery, Bill Ward, Suzanne Cash, Doc Stanton, Cheryl Clay, Dana James, Geni Miller-Parker, Joanne McKnight, Megan Cole, Aaron Unterreiner, Mary Irby, Joe Potter, Daphne Cahill, Jan Nesset, Loris Rank, Mary Roberts, Russ Turpin, Clark Kepple, Jill Wiegert, Lucy Martinez, Hannah Buck and Brian Van Mols.
While I’m on the topic of big anniversaries, there are some big ones going on this year and next. George Usinowicz has taken on the project of gathering photos, posters, memorabilia and artifacts concerning the 50th anniversary of the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College this year and the golden anniversaries of Purgatory Ski Area (now Purgatory Mountain at Durango Mountain Resort) and the FLC Class of 1965 in 2015.
Owners of such remnants of history may donate them outright to the center or give them on long-term loan.
Items will be kept in a secure, climate-controlled environment for both public and scholarly research.
My favorite kinds of stories are the ones where I get to look into our area’s history and share it with Herald readers. And the archives and materials at the Center of Southwest Studies are one of my favorite places to research. You never know what treasures you’ll find.
Contact Usinowicz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-2602 to see if the things you’ve been saving are worth preserving for posterity.
A lot of local long-time organizations are struggling to find their way among the new realities of life in the 21st century.
The Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks Lodge No. 507, located on the corner of East Second Avenue and East Ninth Street, has served as both a gathering place and philanthropist to the community since 1899. It has occupied its beautiful lodge since 1926.
It’s not inexpensive to maintain a building that large and that old. So the Elks depend on some income flow from renting their hall, which you enter from 9th Street. But, to be honest, while a great size and in a wonderful location, it was more than a tad dated.
It was so 1970s, Bronwyn Oney said, with colors of purple and mint green. The Elks have done a major remodel, adding a stage and dance floor, replacing the shag carpet (yea!), updating the color palette and just overall making it a more pleasant setting appropriate for weddings, parties and meetings.
To show off the new digs, the lodge’s trustees are holding a spaghetti dinner starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday evening. An entry fee of $5 gets you a plate of pasta, garlic bread and salad.
The last of the June couples are celebrating their anniversaries this week (Do you believe it’s July already?) – Ernie and Mary Anne Gregg, Walter and Julia Jackson, Steve and Tamra Lavengood, Don and Lori Hammond, John and Shanna Stordahl, John and Louise Grayson and Carl and Shelly Hotter.
Here’s how to reach me: email@example.com; phone 375-4584; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk.
Please include contact names and phone numbers for all items.
I am happy to consider photos for Neighbors, but they must be high-quality, high-resolution photos (at least 1 MB of memory).
This column has been modified to reflect the fact that Meghan Maloney, now Meghan Trubee, is alive and well and living in Denver. She had a pound sign after her name in the alumni directory, which meant she had left the area, instead of an asterisk, which means an alumnus of Leadership La Plata has died.