Much was made about seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong's visit to Durango on Oct. 20, the premiere of
the film Race Across the Sky" about his training and victory at the 2009 Leadville 100 and Durango's first-ever
$500-a-plate fundraising dinner.
Not as much was made of Armstrong's generous spirit while he was here.
First of all, the money raised at the dinner went to two major local causes, the Fort Lewis College Cycling Team and
Trails 2000, which will touch the lives of all of us who enjoy our trail systems and root for our local cycling
Armstrong's appearance came about because of connections. Armstrong raced on the Trek team for 15 years. Durango's
Travis Brown, who competed in the 2000 Olympics, also raced for Trek on the
mountain-biking circuit and now heads up the company's research and development efforts. After Armstrong recruited
Brown to help him train, Brown recruited FLC cycling Coach Matt Shriver, and
the race was on.
Armstrong's Durango appearance was a thank you to the two men.
Mary Monroe, the executive director of Trails 2000 and Brown's wife, is also
a veteran of Trek, having served as the sports-marketing director for all of its brands. Trails 2000 and the cycling
team were designated as beneficiaries of the event.
After the film screening, guests sat down to a gourmet meal prepared by Sodexho Catering. What did Armstrong and his
fellow guests eat? The meal began with wild-mushroom-and-corn pudding with Vidalia-onion confit, asparagus in a
lemongrass glaze and fall greens with herbed goat cheese and basil croutons dressed with an apple-Dijon-mustard
An entrée of roast filet of beef from James Ranch was served with wilted Swiss chard and a sauté of pear tomatoes, risotto Milanese and gorgonzola-pecan glace de veau.
Dessert was a lovely - and edible - centerpiece of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory chocolates and
apple-cheese-jalapeño tarts prepared by The Yellow Carrot.
In addition to Sodexho, the event was sponsored by Animas Orthopedic, Durango Coca-Cola Bottling Co., FRS Healthy
Energy, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, Bank of the San Juans and FLC.
Professional athletes immediately burn off those calories, and Armstrong is no exception. The next morning, he hit
the trails built and maintained by Trails 2000 at Durango Mountain Park and Horse Gulch with local cycling champs
Brown, Shriver, David Wiens, Susan DeMattei and Ned Overend.
Armstrong is, of course, more than the most famous cyclist in the world, he is a man whose own bout with testicular
cancer has made him a prominent face of cancer survival.
While he was here, he made lots of time for a dozen cancer survivors and those who are currently fighting the
disease, signing jerseys and answering questions.
Those of us who have not faced cancer may not be able to understand what it means to have someone of his prominence
share the journey, but all of us can recognize that support and inspiration are important tools in any health-care
Long after the cameras were turned off, he continued his efforts. Monroe suggested he stop by the new Mercy Regional
Breast Care Center en route to the airport. He was traveling with his girlfriend and new baby son, and I'm guessing
he could reasonably have said he'd done enough while here and he was tired, but he didn't.
Armstrong stopped, visited patients and made his last hour in Durango an hour of giving.
Happy Sagittarius birthday greetings go to Marty Rabeno, Cyrilla Kelby, Betty Jane
Lazo, Adrienne Aronson, Renate Widder, Ella Roth, Kyla Patterson, Tatiana Corey, Lisa Duffy, Greg Farley, Carl
Johnson, Ann Allsbrook, Jennifer Walker, Lilian Tucker, John Shafer, David Ottman, Catie Clarkson, Luke Young, Luke
Tichi, Brook Gauthier, Owen Kraft, Courtney Bulen, Lauren Biery, Kathy Phelps, Melodie San Miguel and
While many of us are gearing up for the holiday season, others are struggling with loss and tragedy. That is the case
for the family of Cassandra Yazzie, who was killed in a car accident near
Oxford last week. Three of her children were seriously injured in the crash.
Dante Hawkins, 6, the grandson of Roger
Hawkins, is fighting head injuries at Children's Hospital in Denver.
While there is only a little we can do to help the family emotionally, all of us can help this young family with the
devastating financial expenses.
Contributions may be mailed to the Dante Hawkins Benefit Account, First National Bank of Durango, P.O. Box 2910, Durango, CO 81301 or dropped off at the bank.
For more information, call Laurie Morgan Cooper at 382-5733.
I would say it's a small world, but then that Disney song would be an earworm for the rest of the day, so let's just
say that synchronicity is a wonderful thing.
During a recent trip to the mid-Atlantic states, Carroll Pete" and
Maxine Peterson went out for a walk one morning around the town square in the
charming colonial town of Georgetown, Del. They had spent the night in a handsome, beautifully restored old hotel
that is on the square.
As they were crossing the street, a passing car pulled over, the window rolled down, and a voice said, I can't
believe I'm seeing you here."
The driver was Jeanette Cartier Hedges, who was one of Pete Peterson's
students at Fort Lewis College. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in English (his discipline) in 1994.
Three years ago, she and her husband moved to Lewis, Del., which is about 15 miles from Georgetown. Hedges had just
taught an English class at the community college in Georgetown and was headed home when she spotted her erstwhile
Want to know just how small the world is? Delaware is the second smallest state in the Union, second only to Rhode
Island with an area of 2,490 square miles. The state's entire population is less than 875,000. And it's more than
1,750 miles away.
Meanwhile, La Plata County is 1,700 square miles with a population of about 48,000.
You do the math (because I can't get my head around calculations at that level on a holiday Friday afternoon).
Peterson, of course, is also known for his involvement in barbershop singing. His First Class Delivery quartet will
be singing at the Festival of Trees at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum.
The whole barbershop chorus will hold its annual free Christmas show at the Main Mall at 7 p.m. Dec. 15.
If you were out and about on the weekend of Nov. 20-22, you had a chance to do some shopping and make a difference at
the same time.
The Friends of the Library had its final book sale of 2009 and had a steady crowd both Friday and Saturday. The group
still has two storage units full of books, as well as its sorting room at the Durango Public Library, so more sales
are in its future. And all of the money raised goes to support the library in a plethora of ways, from financing
programs for kids and adults to putting more periodicals on the shelf and acquiring more items for the collection.
Sheryl Ayers, who performs much of the management of the Friends' bookstore
and sales, has decided that the collection of Christmas-themed books that were left over from the sale will be
available at the Friends' store at the library during the holidays, so if you're looking for a cookie recipe or a
copy of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, stop by.
Meanwhile, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Bloomer Sale at the Extension Building at the La Plata County
Fairgrounds attracted chocoholics galore. This sale's beneficiaries were United Way, Volunteers of America and
Civitans, and volunteers from all three organizations helped shoppers find the perfect caramels and creams. And
toffee oh, that toffee!
Over at the First United Methodist Church of Durango, the first bazaar of the holiday season attracted pie lovers, sloppy-joe noshers and fans of handmade crafts, with proceeds going to the missions of the United Methodist Women.
Finally, Music in the Mountains held its first ever gently-used clothing sale at Animas Cliffs Condominiums, which is
just north of Sweeney's Restaurant. A whole tractor-trailer load of elegant and casual clothes came in from Dallas
for the sale, which had stylish women of all ages stopping by to find a bargain or two for the upcoming holiday
Florence Foxie" Mason, the president of the board of the classical music
festival, said somewhere around 100 people stopped by, helping them raise between $3,500 and $4,000. There will be a
reprise of the sale in the spring, so keep your eyes peeled.
Enjoying the last of November and the first of December anniversaries are Bob
and Karen Anderson, Robert and
Carol Simmons, Richard and
Peggy Glasco, Kurt and Deb Campbell
and Anthony and Ani Gannone.
For information about upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.
Here's how to reach me: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 375-4584;
fax 259-5011; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk.
Please include contact names and phone numbers for all items. If you are submitting an item for preview, please send
it with briefs in the subject line and e-mail it to "mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org.