While Santa Claus is checking his list to see who's been naughty and nice, I've been checking mine to make sure I
haven't missed any important stories.
Let's just say I hope the jolly old soul is more accurate than yours truly.
There is a group of very talented needlewomen in our area who put love into every stitch of the blankets they create
for young people who are going through hard times. The blanket recipients may have been in a car accident, been taken
into foster care,
been the victim of a crime or have survived a natural disaster or other trauma.
Project Linus literally wraps those children and young people in warmth.
On Nov. 7, 30 women gathered for the annual Project Linus appreciation luncheon in the Fellowship Hall at Christ the
King Lutheran Church. They enjoyed homemade soups with rolls, corn bread and a variety of delicious desserts.
They held it during the month of Thanksgiving to show gratitude to those who had sewn, whether it was one blanket or
I first learned about Project Linus when Julie Butler and Ro Babcock, the local chapter's founders, were seeking a new coordinator to keep the Durango Chapter going when they stepped down. Watching the women of all
ages at work, and reading the letters from social agencies and the families whose children received a bla
nket was truly heartwarming. (Sorry, everything about Project Linus evokes the adjective warm.")
The Durango Chapter of the national organization - whose name refers to the Linus of Peanuts" fame who is the
ultimate blanket aficionado - is a 100 percent volunteer organization with the mission of making blankets from new
materials for disadvantaged kids of all ages to provide them with love, security, warmth and comfort.
Every year, the group, whose members call themselves blanketeers," makes and distributes more than 400 blankets to
hospitals and agencies in the area. To date, the local group has made and distributed more than 4,300 blankets, not
only in our area but to children in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the children of firefighters and police
officers killed on Sept. 11 and even children in other countries.
Most of the materials for the quilts, blankets and afghans are purchased with funds donated by the La Plata Quilters
Guild, which has made Project Linus one of the beneficiaries of its Small Quilt Auction for several years.
In recent weeks, Project Linus members have been distributing their handmade blankets to the teens at the Robert
DeNier Youth Services Center and families who are being served by Project Merry Christmas.
To learn more about Project Linus, call coordinator Regina Hogan at 385-4989 or e-mail her at
These folks are celebrating their birthdays in the most festive time of the year -
Grant Pierce, Clark Kinser, Steve Nogarede, Paula Seay, David Lobato, Miranda
Polsfut, Donna McConnell, Dianne Pratt, Beth Cugini, Anne Putnam, Trina
Martin, Ashleigh TerMaat, Sierra Good, Amanda Schwartz, Harper Hartman, Bruce
Glennda Baumgardner, Julie Atkinson, Jenny Hill, Dannah Casto, Dorrian Casto, Jean Smith, Jennifer Houle, Claire Choate, Carole Sheldon, Norm Stern, Tom
Caver Jr., Nicki Masseion, Bonna Steinle
and Mark Rahner.
Special birthday greetings go to Fort Lewis College President Brad Bartel, who turns the big Six-Oh on
While most of us think about him as the leader of our illustrious institution of higher learning, he is a scholar who
has devoted his life to the free, open exchange of ideas. Before he steps down as FLC president in June, you'll get a
chance to see him in action in the spring giving a lecture about his passion - anthropology - during the Professional
Associates Lifelong Learning Series.
You also may not know that he is a community volunteer, voracious reader and a pug lover. But most of all, he is a
loving family man. He and his wife, Laura, will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary next year, and are
planning a trip somewhere warm with their son, Jordan, 27, who is the assistant editor of
B, a publication of the Baltimore Sun, and daughter, Kim, 25, a social worker at Families Together in
With school out of session, I hope you can relax and have some fun, Brad.
It may be the end of her responsibilities, but I hope
Marion Layman still has some grand slams in store.
The longtime hostess of the Monday afternoon duplicate-bridge game at the Durango/ La Plata Senior Center is retiring
at the end of the year after more than 15 years. Her smiling face has become well-known in duplicate-bridge circles.
For those of you who are not bridge players, it's a technical form of bridge where, for competitive scoring purposes, players play a hand that others have already played to see who achieves the highest score.
When she moved to Durango, a new friend asked if she played bridge, and Layman responded that she knew a little
something." She immediately found herself leading the longstanding Monday bridge group.
Friends and members of the Durango Bridge Club celebrated Layman for her contribution to the game they love with a
large party attended by more than 50 well-wishers on Monday. It was a holiday feast featuring ham, salads and side
dishes prepared by atte
Layman shared some of her favorite memories of coming to Durango, and then all enjoyed not one, but two, cakes. One
was for Layman and the other was to celebrate
Jentra Barker's 79th birthday. Barker is a regular at the bridge table on Mondays and Fridays.
The party was organized by
Willa Beatty and Sandy Halseth. The event also served to introduce newer bridge players to the
duplicate game. Five tables of newcomers - or 20 players - learned the basics under the direction of
Martha Siverson, while the normal Monday game convened with club President Barry Hillmer and Vice
President Bob Westerwick
Word has it that everyone had a good time (no mention of good scores), but not very much of the delicious lunch was
My thanks go out to Jim Beatty for serving as my correspondent on this item. I'm too much of a scaredy cat
when it comes to duplicate bridge.
This is a big week for Manna Soup Kitchen. On Sunday, it is one of the beneficiaries of Purgatory at Durango Mountain
Resort's Locals Day, which will bring in much needed funds to an organization that feeds the most fragile among us.
And on Christmas Day, the kitchen is throwing open its dining room for a community dinner at 1100 Avenida del Sol.
Santa Claus will be passing out presents to both children and adults, and dinner will be served banquet-style with
New Executive Director Sarah Comerford says Manna plans to serve 350 or more Christmas dinners in the spirit
of the more established Durango Community Thanksgiving Dinner, with friendliness, love, acceptance and service.
She is afraid that people may choose hunger over going to a soup kitchen" because there can be some stigma
associated with that term. I personally will be stopping by and hope to see you there. Chef Warren Smith is a
talented guy, and I can't wait to see what he's serving up.
Just like the Community Thanksgiving Dinner, the volunteers at Manna are going to make every effort to deliver hot
meals to anyone who does not have transportation or cannot get out for any other reason. Call 385-5095 for delivery.
An advance call wou
ld be appreciated.
Celebrating their anniversaries with holly and ivy are Joe and Barbara Dunne, Frank and Mary
, Raymond and Sue Walker, Wayne and Kathy Pratt and Ward and Rita Lee.
For information on upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.
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