For the five-plus weeks since the devastating earthquake hit the impoverished nation of Haiti, Americans, and, of
course, Durangoans, have been giving generously, praying and coming to understand just how dire the need is.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church has been one of the leaders in that regard because of its already established contact with
the Caribbean country through the Colorado Haiti Project. For the last week, the church has held an ongoing silent
auction that culminated in a Soup Soirée on Friday night. The goal: to increase contributions from $38,000 to $50,000.
The money is still coming in, but Scott Hagler tells me it has raised more than $45,000 so far.
Weather kept the expected crowd down to about 75 people, but the bidding was still active.
A number of local restaurants and food purveyors donated the bread and soup, including Bread, Carver Brewing Co.,Christina's Grill & Bar, Cyprus Café, Jean-Pierre Bakery, Manna Soup Kitchen, Mercy Regional Medical Center and
Sodexho. Carver's brought two of its famous chowders, chicken and corn; Alison Dance from Cyprus Café contributed her
yummy Mediterranean lentil soup; and Warren Smith from Manna Soup Kitchen came through with a spicy Haitian pumpkin
soup and pasta fagioli soup.
A number of talented individual cooks prepared big pots of their signature soups as well, including Linda Geer's
The list of donors to the silent auction was equally impressive, including businesses such as Animas Eyecare, Bayfield
Treasures, Canyon Music, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Durango Coffee Co., Hogan's, Blossom and Star
Both art organizations and artists were some of the most generous donors. Music in the Mountains, the San Juan Symphony
and the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College were joined by individual artists such as Kari Brenner, Nancy
Conrad, Alice Crapo, Cathy Duggan, Geer, Louise Grayson, Hagler, Mary Alice Hearn, Mary Ellen Long, Linda Mack, Mary
Anne Nelson, Lisa Pedolsky, Rebekah Wilkins-Pepiton, John Sfondolias, Don Smiley and Paul Stahlecker.
Patrick, 5, and Aeneas McBrayer, 2, sons of Justin and Anna McBrayer, created abstract watercolor notecards for the
auction, and their artist mother designed a T-shirt for the cause that was produced with help from Valley T-Shirt and
Trophy and made its début Friday.
If we learned anything from Hurricane Katrina, it's that recovery isn't complete in a month or six months or even six
years. Multiply the destruction in Haiti by 100 to understand the desperate need in a nation where survival was already
a daily struggle, and we will need to give of our time, talents and money for perhaps decades to come.
This was a great start.
Mother Nature is going to continue giving these locals snow for their birthdays - Paul Broderick, Fred Kroeger,Charlotte Pirnat, Deb Campbell, Jake Washburn, Lorraine Rombeck, Donna Bauer, Thomas Ridings, Tim Smith, William
Gustavson, Steve Pye, Donna Meadors, Brooke Ellis, Tessa Parker, Jack Benner and Peter Larsen.
Special greetings go to Barbara Chilcoat for her 90th birthday today.
The Art and Culture Class of Leadership La Plata is traditionally one of the favorites every year. In a town with
significant portions of both, there is plenty to see and do.
On Feb. 12, the class gathered in the Durango School District 9-R Boardroom, where coffee and tea were provided by
Carver Brewing Co.
The day began with a short DVD of photographs of public art around our community that were taken by Mary Anne Nelson,programmed by Scott Davis of Sage Technologies while the Jeff Solon Trio provided the soundtrack. The show ended with
an important question: What if there was no Art?"
A morning panel included members Julie Cooley, vice president of the Mortgage Department at First National Bank and
board chairwoman of the Durango Independent Film Festival; Susan Lander, executive director of Music in the Mountains;
Amy Wendland, the chairwoman of the Art Department at Fort Lewis College; Bob Kunkel, city of Durango manager of
Business Improvement District; and my colleague Ted Holteen, arts and entertainment editor of The Durango Herald.
They discussed topics relating to the business of art, fundraising for nonprofits, coordinating the efforts of various
art groups, contributions to the community from FLC art students and recently proposed legislation to promote the
To be a leader in La Plata County almost inevitably involves sitting on a board of directors or two - or 10. Tami
Graham worked with class members about understanding board styles, the pros and cons of serving on boards and a
role-playing activity to keep them involved in the lesson.
And how fun is this? Class members were then sent off on a scavenger hunt using clues to locate specific art pieces at
Rain Dance Gallery, Canyon Music, Your Flesh Tattoo, Open Shutter Gallery, the Durango Art Center and Toh-Atin Gallery.
In their follow-up discussion, the concept of art as a political statement" came up.
Because LLP learning happens outside the class as well as in, the class had been assigned homework. After lunch from
Stonehouse Subs, members presented information they had learned in interviews with Karyn Gabaldon of Karyn Gabaldon
Fine Arts; sculptor Preston Parrot; musician Solon; Lee Ann Vallejos, executive director of Del Alma; Davis from Sage
Technologies; and Riley Neugebaurer of the Durango Youth Coalition.
Class members used their own artistic skills in presenting what they had learned, with skits, posters and music. They
not only discovered facts about the various arts and artists, they learned about leadership philosophies regarding the
The day ended with another kind of art experience. Laurel Lee brought her art students from the Kindred Spirits Arts
Program to participate in arts activities with the LLP students. Kindred Spirits provides both visual and performing
art lessons to adults who have physical and developmental disabilities. It was immensely energizing to my dad, Charlie
Butler, after his traumatic brain injuries.
Sharon Mehesy, independent-living coordinator from the Southwest Center for Independence presented information about
the service her organization provides.
A day of learning and creating was enjoyed by class members Kevin Hall, Sophie Parrott, Jeanine Justice, Meghan
Maloney, Greg Weiss, Marty Palecki, Eric Eicher, Michelina Nyberg, Steve Barkley, Jennifer Lopez, David Marvin, Jason
Portz, Sarada Leavenworth, Kristen Carico, Jessica Denison, Julie Frank, Katie Copeland and Charles Leslie.
The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution isn't just about historical preservation and
genealogy, its mission also includes educating young people to be citizens and recognizing those who excel in
On Saturday, the Sarah Platt Decker Chapter of the DAR held its annual Awards Tea at First United Methodist Church of
Durango. About 25 attendees honored three area high school students for their qualities of dependability, service,leadership and patriotism, which they exhibit to a high degree.
They are Brittany Davila from Durango High School, Hannah Fox from Bayfield High School and Casey Crow from Pagosa High
School. All three participate extensively in both school and community activities.
Crow also was selected as winner of the Good Citizens Scholarship Contest for her essay, Our American Heritage and Our
Responsibility for Preserving It: What is the Greatest Challenge We Face in America Today?"
The Sarah Platt Decker Chapter was organized in 1917 and has about 80 members. It is one of 40 chapters in the state.
Meetings are held once a month from September through May in Durango, with members coming also from Pagosa Springs,Chromo and Bayfield.
Membership is open to any woman who is 18 or older regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove
lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution. Members of the chapter can provide guidance and assistance in
the preparation of an application, which can be a bit of a genealogical project.
They were great with a young colleague of mine, Allison Hull, who has moved back to the Washington, D.C., area but was
able to take her DAR qualification with her.
To learn more, visit www.
Hot buttered rum, a blazing fire and thou is what these anniversary couples are hoping for this week - Sam and Kathy
Burns, John and Pati Sandhaus, Dan and Amy Mantineo and Kevin and Denise Simonsen.
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