Mike Smedley

Position: Special to the Herald

Email: actionline@durangoherald.com

Action Line

A cloud of suspicion hovers over motorized devices on trail

In the past month, I’ve noticed kids on self-propelled skateboards along the Animas River Trail. Is this the “slippery slope” that many feared when the City Council voted to allow electric bikes on...

DATE: Nov. 5, 2017 | COLUMN: Action Line

Pot tax revenue about 1.51% of all tax revenue collected by state

This question has me losing precious sleep. So voters were asked to approve more taxes for schools, roads, airport and health care. I’ve done minimal research, and I see that in 2015, some $996...

DATE: Nov. 13, 2016 | COLUMN: Action Line

Among locals, resolutions are taken quite seriously

Now that it’s almost Dec. 31, would you be so kind as to round up “the usual suspects” and ask them about their New Year’s resolutions. – Jimmy Your wish is Action Line’s command. So let’s start...

DATE: Dec. 26, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Hands-free Durangoans can drive with their knees

A friend was visiting from out of town and was alarmed by local motorists, especially the ones driving newer cars. She has a theory: Car dealers are forgetting to hook up the blinkers when vehicles...

DATE: Sept. 26, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Denial isn’t just for baby boomers, dog owners

Is there a program similar to Big Brothers Big Sisters for those advanced in age? Seems there would be a need for aging baby boomers, Follies cast members and others of that age group who would...

DATE: Sept. 12, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Fuel efficiency is a burning issue at the library

I pulled into the library in my little, gutless 36-mpg car and found an SUV in one “fuel efficient” parking space and a 1970s-era pickup in another. Assuming that being at the library implies...

DATE: Sept. 5, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Hunt for erroneous road sign leads to nowhere

Recently our beloved City Council tried to rename a stretch of U.S. Highway 160. Chaos ensued, and the issue was dropped. But recently I was driving that now-nameless road, and I noticed a large...

DATE: Aug. 22, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

A day late and a dollar short on parking ticket

I got a parking ticket a couple of weeks ago, and being a law-abiding citizen, I immediately mailed my check for $8. Unbeknownst to me (because I haven’t had a ticket in a long time), tickets had...

DATE: Aug. 15, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

There’s something fishy about sanctuary status

Several years ago, the Durango City Council voted to designate Durango as a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. At the time, I considered it another harmless liberal waste of time. Now that...

DATE: Aug. 8, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Democrats’ location puts the party in politics

Is it just a coincidence or is it on purpose that the La Plata County Democratic Party has its 2010 campaign headquarters located next to a bong shop? – Cheech N. ChongIt’s an intentional move. But...

DATE: Aug. 1, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Bear this in mind when trying to identify wildlife

The other day, a bear was killed after it removed a blanket from a person sleeping outside of the Manna Soup Kitchen. After the bear was shot, according to news accounts, the man and his friend...

DATE: July 25, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Readers dish on Durango's 'Seven Wonders'

Start with a fiercely proud town. Fold in a generous quantity of quirkiness. Stir in ample amounts of annoyance andsarcasm. Add a pinch of frustration and angst. Spice with righteous indignation....

DATE: May 17, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

In our fine town, seven wonders never cease

I am seeking your help, and possibly the help of readers, to come up with a list of the Seven Wonders of Durango. It'skind of like the Seven Wonders of the World - only with a local flavor. This...

DATE: May 10, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Climate change begins with the foaming brush

I thought Chicago was the Windy City, but with all the recent gales in our little burg, I'm beginning to wonder. Withthe Dust Bowl-like conditions, are the car-wash people trying to drum up...

DATE: May 3, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

College's blank billboard is a sign of the times

Maybe now that the Fort has new leadership, it could finally update the “Welcome to Fort Lewis College" entry sign onFort Lewis Drive with its references to construction projects “to be completed...

DATE: April 26, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

City makes its presence known around gaping hole

As I was driving on Crestview, I saw this small work site and took a photo. Q: How many warning signs are needed for a10-foot-long hole? A: If you're the city, it takes eight flashing barricades,...

DATE: April 19, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Early exercise appeals to the strong, silent types

I work out at the Durango Community Recreation Center in the morning, and most of my fellow exercisers won't say helloor engage in any conversation. They're so crabby! Yet when I use the Animas...

DATE: April 12, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Health agency has hands-on approach to gloves

As a conscientious follower of the health department's restaurant inspection list, I noticed a local eatery had an“improper use of gloves" violation in the most recent listings. Just what is...

DATE: April 5, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Jail will offer lunch, but it won't cater weddings

Someone told me the La Plata County Jail puts on a real spread for lunch for anyone employed by the department. Fromwhat I understand, not only do the employees get an extravagant free lunch, but...

DATE: March 29, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

32nd Street markings fail the test of time

Last November, the city resurfaced the already-well-surfaced 32nd Street. I'm guessing a consultant came up with theidea of using inlaid arrows for the left turn lane instead of using a can of...

DATE: March 22, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Size matters, sort of, with police car hubcaps

For some reason, this has been bugging me for years: Why do police cars have such small hubcaps? Check it out sometime.All the cop cars I've seen, both here and elsewhere, have these little discs...

DATE: March 15, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Tow trucks, Demon boosters deal with snowpack

What's up with the white Jeep Cherokee parked on Ninth Street between the alley and East Third Avenue? It hasn't movedfor months. With all the snow plowed around it, this thing has occupied three...

DATE: March 8, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

It's a goose egg for in-town chicken permits

After the national televised embarrassment of Durango over the “chicken ordinance," and after reading so much about thetime and energy put into this ordinance, can you find out how many homes in...

DATE: March 1, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Civic boards, not political office, control the plows

What is the lowest level of political office I must attain in order to ensure my street is plowed in a timely manner? Iam willing to spend enormous resources to attain this office, not to exceed...

DATE: Feb. 21, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Bike commuters get no upgrades or exemptions

Regarding the diversion of outbound Florida Road traffic to 32nd Street, there's a problem. At Holly Avenue, 32ndStreet narrows and has no shoulders, bike lanes or sidewalks. I discussed this with...

DATE: Feb. 15, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

On 32nd Street, pothole repairs are in the bag

So I read that the city is getting ready to rebuild Florida Road, with inbound traffic using Florida but outboundtraffic detouring to Main and then up 32nd Street. What the heck? Have you driven on...

DATE: Feb. 8, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Notion of new stop sign gives pause for thought

Why can't the city make the intersection of East Second Avenue and Eighth Street a four-way stop? It's a particularlydangerous intersection, given the location of the Durango Arts Center, which...

DATE: Feb. 1, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

City has a no-returns policy on the gift of snow

As I understand it, precipitation that falls from the sky is legally the property of Colorado. So during last week'ssnowstorms, I decided to give the state back its snow that fell on my driveway....

DATE: Jan. 25, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Library an open book about sign, conveyor belt

Check out this sign. If this appeared outside a grammar school, one might conclude that the author had not graduatedfrom that institution. However, this sign appears multiple times outside our new...

DATE: Jan. 11, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

A new year brings up some old questions

Did you make any New Year's resolutions? Perhaps you could suggest a resolution for those of us who forgot or werehaving too much of a good time to make one. - D.L in Bayfield.The main problem with...

DATE: Jan. 3, 2010 | COLUMN: Action Line

Historic names and airport hard to find

What was Smelter Mountain's name before there was a smelter there? Curiously yours - BethThe land formation has been called Smelter Mountain for well over a thousand years. It was named by psychic...

DATE: Dec. 28, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Leash law doesn't apply to year-end doggerel

'Twas the fifth day 'fore Christmas and all through the townsRecalling the past year brought smiles andfrownsThe readers were anxious, and so we will show 'emIt's time once again for the Action...

DATE: Dec. 21, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

City stays put despite Nebraska billing address

In the city's monthly water, sewer and trash bill, there was a notice about a new address for local utility payments.It's a post office box in Gretna, Neb. Did City Hall secretly relocate to the...

DATE: Dec. 14, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Chance of rogue rooster vexes nonviolent vegetarian

I am a nonviolent vegetarian who lives in town. I'd love to raise my own free-range organic eggs. However, it occurredto me that if I buy six chicks, half of them might be roosters! This is a real...

DATE: Dec. 7, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Durango not flexible on darkened windows

Just how dark are tinted vehicle windows allowed to be? When crossing West Second Avenue, I was almost hit by a big SUVwith nearly black windows. I couldn't tell whether it was driven by a man,...

DATE: Nov. 30, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Potato chips, 'billboards' are lofty issues

The vending machine at work features potato chips on the top shelf, while the candy bars are on the lower shelves.Isn't it kind of stupid to put breakable snacks up high where they have the...

DATE: Nov. 23, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Asphalt at fault on near-failing 32nd Street

Why has 32nd Street been turned into a ravine and at what cost? In comparison with many in-town roads, it was not inneed of repair. - Stephanie O.Stephanie's letter wasn't the only inquiry about...

DATE: Nov. 16, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Rec center energized by conservation ideas

Now that we know the recreation center is Durango's Big Foot of carbon, has anyone considered other ways to"Slenderella-size" the facility's environmental impact? Why not reconfigure the cardio...

DATE: Nov. 9, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Orange-camo combo evades the Fashion Police

Why do hunters wear orange coats and camouflage pants? - Sign me 'Eleanor Fudd' Wow. For the first time in modern Durango history, a local resident has noticed odd clothing and questioned a ...

DATE: Nov. 2, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

High roller seeks iffy Social Security gambit

I will be getting my Social Security in December. I remember the youngsters trying to transfer my Social Security into the stock market about four years ago. Is that still an option because the...

DATE: Oct. 25, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Durango turns red, but not from embarrassment

Why is the city spending so much time and effort on backyard chickens and medical marijuana? Aren’t there more essential problems, given the challenging economy? – S.D.Poultry and pot are important...

DATE: Oct. 19, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Rural areas produce bumper crop of pundits

After reading the letters to the editor, I have one question. How is it that the experts who have such a total understanding of economics, foreign policy, domestic affairs and social programs end...

DATE: Oct. 12, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Electric lines are a black hole for AM radio

I listen to ESPN on KIUP (AM 930). Why does my car’s AM radio always lose reception just south of 17th Street and Main Avenue? A few seconds later, it’s back on again. I was thinking something at...

DATE: Oct. 5, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Bike riders are at work, not in spaceship

Many early mornings I see more than a few parked bicycles on Main Avenue sidewalks. Were the riders abducted? By aliens? By Focus on the Family? By NORML? Thanks, Dan (P.S. Why do they call it a...

DATE: Sept. 28, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Family smitten by elephant in the room

Most times, the Mea Culpa Mailbag is devoted to a few brief snippets from reader letters and e-mails. But this week, we stray from the norm to present a delightful and bizarre saga.Remember the...

DATE: Sept. 21, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

City takes dim view of tiki torches downtown

How did flaming tiki torches find their way past the stringent historical regulations of downtown Durango? These torches, securely mounted in flagpole holders in front of Moe's Starlight Lounge,...

DATE: Sept. 13, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Time to raise a stink about skunks under houses

This west-side neighborhood is crawling with skunks! All night long, they're doing their smelly thing. A skunk family has dug a home under my house. I have tried mothballs, ammonia-soaked rags and...

DATE: Sept. 7, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Identifying invasive species can be tricky

Driving past Chapman Hill, I noticed at the bottom of the slope a wide swath of plants with pinkish-purple flowers. It looks like a bunch of thistle! What's wrong with the city? Can't it manage to...

DATE: Aug. 10, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Highway median not quite garden-friendly

What's up with the concrete barrier on the new section of U.S. Highway 550/160 at Bodo? Aesthetically, it's a disaster. Did the city not have any say in the design? Why not install a median with...

DATE: Aug. 3, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Up in arms about dubious chicken thighs

When ordering fried chicken thighs, a certain fast-food joint and all the local supermarket delis pass off backs as thighs. Upon questioning employees, they appear to have no chicken thighs in...

DATE: July 20, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Home-brewed police logo is toast to town

I've noticed that several of the Durango police cars now have a mountain outline logo, which makes me wonder the following: Has the city made a corporate sponsorship deal with Coors Light? Will the...

DATE: July 13, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Politicians aren't going to get their hands dirty

The president recently assured new car buyers that their warranties would be backed by the government in the event of domestic automaker failures or bankruptcy. Does that mean that Sens. Mark Udall...

DATE: July 6, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Cold coffee discharge may get you into hot water

When I get out of the car in the morning, I dump my coffee on the street. That got me thinking: Am I violating the city's littering laws? I see a lot of fellow commuters toss the last cold remnants...

DATE: June 29, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

There's something fishy about salmon, casino photo

I purchased a salmon fillet at the grocery store. The product was tagged as "Atlantic salmon," and its country of origin was Chile. I thought Chile was on the Pacific coast of South America. In...

DATE: June 22, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

New retiree frets about possible social stigma

Dear Action Dude, I'm going to start getting my Social Security this fall. Am I going to be considered a socialist? If so, should I send it back? - Durango Retiree Ahem. That's Action Line to...

DATE: June 15, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Bridge-naming contest music to Durango's ears

The impromptu Name The Bridge contest is the summer's surprise hit.In case you missed last week, Action Line readers were asked to come up with a catchy nom de guerre for our embarrassing...

DATE: June 8, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

FLC sculptures didn't cross sluggish gangster

Last week's column mentioned the sculptures inside the Goeglein Gulch roundabout. So what's the deal with those three slabs with faces on them? They remind me of Star Wars when Han Solo was frozen...

DATE: May 24, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Lime prices put the squeeze on margarita make

Last week, I purchased fresh limes for 20 cents each at north City Market. I returned today to buy limes only to find that they are now 39 cents apiece, and yet a sign touted "new lower prices" on...

DATE: May 18, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Durango won't get a chicken in every pothole

Would the city consider Kentucky Fried Chicken's ingenious plan for corporate sponsorship of potholes? Imagine how many businesses could advertise on the re-"freshed" potholes on Florida Road....

DATE: May 11, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

It's status quo for trail lights, traffic lanes

Why is the Animas River Trail so dark at night from the Junction Creek bridge to the fairgrounds? Also, I had to dodge rather large piles of horse excrement in two places along the trail. Are...

DATE: April 27, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Every dark cloud has a silver lining

When forecasting the weather, the weather people say 20 percent chance of rain. Why can't they say 80 percent chance of nice? I've heard that one prerequisite to economic recovery is consumer...

DATE: April 20, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

City stands firm on soft trail alternative

I'm excited about the extension of the Animas River Trail north of 32nd Street, but can the city make the trail from dirt instead of bone-destroying cement? Walking on cement can damage the body....

DATE: April 6, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Readers do heavy lifting for spring break

Two kind readers provided a spring break surprise. Not only did they make inquiries, but they provided responses, as well. It must be March madness. So now Action Line can relax on the veranda with...

DATE: March 23, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Fill-in-the-blank letter is pretty full of holes

I came up with a handy multiple-choice form letter for personal attacks: "I was (somewhere/nowhere/in the middle of the desert/on the moon) with (everyone/no one/someone I hate). This person said...

DATE: March 9, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Get creative when testing your speedometer

I haven't lived in Durango long and wonder if you could help me in finding an automotive repair shop capable of calibrating the speedometer on my late-model Toyota. My speedometer is obviously 10...

DATE: March 2, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Economy a rude awakening for field of dreams

Did I read correctly that Durango High School plans on firing teachers next year because of budget cuts but wants a million bucks to install fake grass on its football field? Are these people nuts?...

DATE: Feb. 23, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Drivers squeezed by thinner parking spaces

There are more important problems in the world, but I've got a gripe: narrow parking spaces. I run a business on east Eighth Street and all day long, I watch locals and tourists alike try to...

DATE: Jan. 26, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

Clueless skiers, bikers clog trails, roads

In the summer, my pet peeve is bicyclists riding two abreast like they own the place, giving all road bicyclists a bad name. In winter, it's classic cross country skiers who eschew the track so...

DATE: Jan. 19, 2009 | COLUMN: Action Line

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