John Peel
John Peel

Position: Herald Staff Writer

Email: johnp@durangoherald.com

John Peel

GeoQuiz

About: John Peel was Features Editor at The Durango Herald

Warm greetings from this side of the world

Hello from the Nepal outback. It's a 5-minute walk to a place where you can see the mountains of the Tibet border. We've been welcomed many, many times now by traditional dances of the people of...

DATE: Nov. 17, 2014 | COLUMN: John Peel

Durangoan feels heat of Kenyan election

As the Kenyan election dissolved into chaos around him, Ben Grazda took it all in. Was a Kenyan civil war about to break out? The Durango native was hopeful it wouldn't, but he wasn't sure. Not 3...

DATE: May 25, 2013 | COLUMN: John Peel

An illustrative past

BAYFIELD – Eddie Martinez is fascinated with Mesoamerican culture – the Chacoans, the Aztecs, the Mayans.He can talk to you about it, he can write about it and he can definitely draw it.But what he...

DATE: Jan. 12, 2013 | COLUMN: John Peel

Investor high on Stoner

Music, marijuana venture in works at old townsite

DATE: Dec. 2, 2012 | COLUMN: John Peel

Always ‘right’?

IGNACIO – In a Hollywood kind of way, one can feel the drama:It’s January and J. Paul Brown is walking out the door, on his way to tell fellow Republicans he isn’t going to run. His wife, Debbie,...

DATE: Dec. 26, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

Friends step up to help Durango family

One day she was overseeing the Durango city pool and, when not working, taking care of two little kids.The next day, the 31-year-old was lying comatose in a Denver hospital with clotted blood...

DATE: Sept. 26, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

Beyond Durango: A Summer Detour Living large in the Lone Star State

WASKOM, Texas – Seriously, you’re not into Texas for two seconds when the theme is set.Everything is big here. Everything.With a state and a mindset so huge – how can I be nice about this? – people...

DATE: Sept. 12, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

Even now, civil rights is a hot issue in Deep South Alabama

SELMA, Ala. – The afternoon sun cooks my uncovered head. Below, to my left, the lazy, mud-brown Alabama River flows by. To my right, rusted trucks zip past within reach of the narrow sidewalk.The...

DATE: Sept. 5, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

Beyond Durango: A Summer Detour NASCAR: Some folks lap it up

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Mix one part pro wrestling-type hype, one part raw power and one part mind-numbing circuits of a half-mile track. What do you get?It’s hard to say exactly. But this much we know:...

DATE: Aug. 29, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

‘Freedom' on the rise in Lower Manhattan

NEW YORK CITY – A stranger shoves a thin booklet of glossy photos into my hand and begins explaining them. Here's the World Trade Center before, here it is after, from this angle …My first reaction...

DATE: Aug. 22, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

Life seen through the fog of a high mountaintop in Maine

BAXTER STATE PARK, Maine – I knew I’d reached the exposed saddle only because the wind now was whipping and snapping a pack strap on my cheek.Blue dashes painted onto the rock and periodic cairns...

DATE: Aug. 15, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

Peace, love and a near riot in Cleveland

CLEVELAND – Lake Erie isn’t prime real estate for your beachhouse, its water not renowned for purity. The last half-century has witnessed a shrinkage in both population and the economy as its...

DATE: Aug. 8, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

Copper Harbor trails can take you for a ride

COPPER HARBOR, Mich. – It was my search for a pay phone that led to a chance encounter and unearthed more valuable treasure:A fantastic system of mountain bike trails, an easy route to cell phone...

DATE: Aug. 1, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

Astronomers will admire Chacoans' knowledge

CHACO CANYON, N.M. - They say about 6,000 people lived here in Chaco's heyday. They say nobody lived here.They say the ancestral Puebloans pecked an image of the 1054 supernova into the rock near...

DATE: May 16, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

Looking beyond Durango: A summer detour

My 12-year-old nephew didn't quite get it.Why, Uncle John, would you want to drive around the country in your truck? What's the point?That blew my mind. I've always loved to travel, from the time...

DATE: May 10, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

Even after death, Bill Mashaw's influence continues to help local causes

Those acquainted with Bill Mashaw knew a determined man who twisted arms to get people to hand over their money.If that sounds like a recipe for evil, well, in Mashaw's case, it was the opposite....

DATE: March 1, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

Call it a heavy metal workout during winter doldrums at the gym

Cowbell: plink-plink-plink-plink-plink-plink-plink. Power chords: “Dun-dunh-dun-dunh." Cowbell:plink-plink-plink-plink-plink-plink.Right there. You can't help it, can you? You're immersed in the...

DATE: Feb. 21, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

Looking in the dark for the bright side

Southern Arizona reached the high 60s last week. Acapulco hit the mid-80s. With each thick layer of slush that I slide onto my shovel, then fling over the head-high-and-still-growing pile along...

DATE: Feb. 1, 2010 | COLUMN: John Peel

Bonus: A story with 3 'endings'

A story may seem to have an ending. It can be happy, sad, funny, ironic. But an ending is just a trick.Life is not so clear-cut. Do people simply vanish when their stories end? Most do not. After...

DATE: Dec. 28, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Durango's twin biathletes take aim at another Olympics in 2010

How's this for twin answers:“Honestly, it was probably one of the worst weeks of my life," Lanny Barnes said last week from a hotel room inSlovenia.“One of the worst weeks of my life," Tracy Barnes...

DATE: Dec. 21, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Where the streets have an aim

What a deal.At absolutely no cost, we are about to put lucky readers on famous streets of the world.We will transport you to travel hot spots, where you can spend as much time as you'd like.You'll...

DATE: Dec. 20, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

A goal accomplished, and the roles we played

All of us who attended a game, listened via radio, read a newspaper account - anyone who cared - can take at least adram of the credit. That's what being a fan is all about. Ladies and gentlemen...

DATE: Dec. 7, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Movie's 40th anniversary elicits Durango memories

For a teenage waitress, it was an experience not forgotten. For the actor who played Flat-Nose Curry, Durango "seemed like some enchanted and magical town." For the owner of a ranch where the...

DATE: Nov. 2, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Why cold weather, heavy metal and monkeys don't mix

Apparently I was the only one who saw the monkey.He was climbing up a vertical rock wall on Wolf Creek Pass, just off the highway. Those spindly arms were taking him up into the hills, in search of...

DATE: Oct. 19, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Hard work, long bus rides: Bayfield graduate chases dream

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee has just released the ball.“Change-up,” Will Latimer predicts.We’re watching playoff baseball on TV at a downtown Durango restaurant, eating Cajun chicken...

DATE: Oct. 12, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

A spider, a mouse - a battle in the house

Saturday morning: It’s bad enough to wake up with a (very rare, really) horrible hangover. Then your wife informs you that a mouse has had its way with the kitchen pantry and several drawers,...

DATE: Oct. 5, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Big changes can come from small towns

You're a humble girl from a small town. How do you go about changing the world, starting right here in Durango? Here's one way ... Trish Sanders graduated from Durango High School in 1971. She left...

DATE: Sept. 28, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Right or wrong, Chapman Hill snowmaker stays

Some Durangoans are looking at Chapman Hill with anger in their eyes.As the city tightens its fiscal belt and makes serious budget cuts - including furloughing employees for four days this quarter...

DATE: Sept. 7, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

You're stuck at Kangerlussuaq; where are you?

I'll give you an easy one:If you're at Durango-La Plata County Airport, you're at what city's major airport?Some of you probably said Ignacio or Oxford, or maybe even Falfa, but those aren't quite...

DATE: Aug. 30, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Harley rider brings faith as jail chaplain

  Marvin Moncrief owns the build of a bouncer. If need be, he could put the hurt on someone. He certainly looks the part of Harley rider, which he is.This image undoubtedly gives him clout in jail....

DATE: Aug. 17, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Durangoan shares her story of final climb with her father

Natalie Brandsma now has climbed 16 of Colorado's 14,000-foot-high peaks - all at her father's side.It's not easy to imagine how she felt July 20, when she scaled 14,255-foot Longs Peak with him,...

DATE: Aug. 10, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Polish native, then 17, recalls bloody Warsaw Uprising 65 years later

The day of the uprising was chaos.The Polish underground had scheduled a surprise revolt against its German occupiers for 5 p.m. But planning something so large surreptitiously is no simple task....

DATE: July 27, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

A column that's coldblooded (check it and see ... what I mean)

Pebbles in your shoe. Mosquito on your back. Bee in your bonnet.Some people say they come to this column on Mondays because there's usually a "feel-good" story here. Well, it's true. But is it good...

DATE: July 20, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

If you build it, they will come (on bikes)

A high-energy buzz of youthful zeal permeates the room, and the fact that the gathering is in a church is merely coincidence. One by one, the 31 blue-T-shirt-clad Bike & Build members introduce...

DATE: July 6, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Durango student drawn to Middle East

Perhaps this represents most Americans' knowledge of the Middle East:"I didn't know anything about the region at all. As far as I knew, the Crusades happened and there was lots of sand in the...

DATE: June 29, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Alzheimer's a challenging, heartbreaking disease for everyone

Why did I find this so amusing?Even when it got to the stage that my mother didn't remember who I was, she was teaching me the intracacies of the English language. "That would be fine with Judy and...

DATE: June 22, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

John Gamble steps into retirement

He was eager for this Y in the road.John Gamble didn't hesitate long before picking a direction.The 61-year-old Durangoan is retiring. Great for him, but that means a change at the top in the...

DATE: June 14, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Labor of love

The uphill gravel entrance road is unfit for a vehicle with low clearance.You park and enter the compound, to be greeted by a cacophony of barking, as many as 70 or 80 dogs announcing your...

DATE: June 8, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Spring keeps springing in Southwest Colo.

Flower petals swirl in the wind, grass turns from brown to green, birds fill the air with song.Yes, yes, we know about all that. The obvious signs of spring. And sure, they're all beautiful and...

DATE: May 11, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Durango family split by U.S.-Cuba relations

A Caribbean romance. A father separated from his daughter. An attempted escape from Cuba by boat. It's an exciting, action-packed story. So far, it lacks one thing: a happy ending. Kathleen Villa...

DATE: April 27, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Speed cameras: Story of paranoia

Orbiting 22,300 miles above Earth in the Clarke Belt, a satellite tracks your vehicle as you whiz around the turns down Florida Road (County Road 240) right before town.You're wondering whether you...

DATE: April 20, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Renowned kayaker made Durango home

A magazine called him "the most accomplished expedition whitewater paddler of his time." For those who knew Lars Holbek in the last decade of his life - the time he lived in Durango - that...

DATE: April 6, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

William H. Lewis: A hero, but not often remembered

Pop quiz:Fort Lewis was first established near a) Hesperus b) Durango c) Pagosa Springs.Fort Lewis College was named after a) Meriwether Lewis b) William H. Lewis c) Jerry Lewis.Fort Lewis is now...

DATE: March 23, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Book shows Durango as microcosm of women's advancement in athletics

"I've been a women's libber since I opened my mouth," Mary Ruth Bowman says, and she will readily admit to opening that mouth quite often.Just look at the photo, she'll tell you, on page 48 of her...

DATE: March 9, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Coping creatively

Ryan Jameson was on the road a year ago, playing basketball in Denver. But he was thinking of Southwest Colorado powder. He called his brother, Logan, at the base of Durango Mountain Resort.Logan...

DATE: March 2, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

This meeting brings shock to heart

How's this for being on the ball: Durango emergency responders rushed Karen Saller to the hospital before she even had her heart attack. Two weeks before, in fact. But that's Hollywood.And that's...

DATE: Feb. 23, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

White or brown: Which side are you on regarding the question of snow?

 "It's a darned nuisance, and we're not going to take it any more," the president of the Fooey on Snow Committee began the meeting. "I say we ban it, once and for all."The president massaged his...

DATE: Feb. 16, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel

Right fit? After 1st year, many think it is for LeBlanc

Picking a city manager probably isn't as important as, say, picking a spouse. But it's almost as tricky.You want someone who is capable and fits your community. And you can only hope the right...

DATE: Jan. 19, 2009 | COLUMN: John Peel