At The Durango Herald, we tell the stories of our community each and every day. We’re thrilled to help share the stories of your neighbors, coworkers and family in person with Durango Diaries.

Adrenaline junkies

Podcastlogo
Thursday, March 7, 2019

Many Western Slope residents spend their lives chasing the next natural high. These adrenaline junkies share their stories. Bee Alaine Mathis enjoys getting dirty all over the Four Corners. A 33-year-old, below-the-knee amputee, Bee is in her last semester of college and is relishing all her outdoor activities, including a recent trip to climb Mount Cotopaxi. Sean Englund’s favorite hobby is highlining, which is simply slacklining, but at greater heights; it allows one to be in an air space that no one else has ever been. He also has a passion for rock climbing, ice climbing and mountain biking. Dave Farkas is a transplant from Canada whose passion for the outdoors started at a young age. Since the early 1990s, he's worked as an outdoor professional guide and athlete who takes clients whitewater kayaking, climbing and skiing.

Wednesday, March 20: Women breaking norms (click here to see Facebook event)
Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave.

Three women who work in mostly male jobs will share their stories about breaking through and working in jobs they love.

Kerry Siggins is CEO of StoneAge, Inc., a global leader in the industrial cleaning industry. She joined StoneAge in 2007 as the director of operations and was named CEO in 2009. She recently led the acquisition of a distributor in the United Kingdom and opened StoneAge Europe.

Donna Emenegger worked for the Colorado Department of Transportation for 14 years before retiring in 2018. She was in charge of road maintenance and snow plowing for Highway 160 from Elmore's Corner to east of the Piedra River, 33 total miles or 66-plus lane miles.

Leah Starr is a welder/fabricator at Ska Fabricating where she builds brewing-automated packaging lines. Growing up in a construction family, she was comfortable around power tools. That, combined with her love of art, led to welding and a career of creating in metal.

Wednesday, April 3: Second acts (click here to see Facebook event)
Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave.

Sometimes we need a shift in life. Three residents who made a career change will discuss making the transition to a new profession and the joys - and pitfalls - that came with those new roles.

Nancy Utter was a land-use planner for La Plata County for two years before becoming a consultant. Unhappiness with her career path led her to take a chance, follow her passion and go to medical school to pursue a degree in naturopathic medicine. After graduation, she returned to Durango, where she has been practicing for 20 years.

Nicolas Cofman was a bush pilot in Africa before becoming a dentist. After surviving a plane crash in 2011, Cofman attended dental school in Phoenix while his wife and children stayed in Durango. After graduating, he moved back and got a job as a dentist at the practice in which he was a patient.

Sean Jackson's career began in journalism on the Western Slope. While working for area newspapers, he also worked on and around full-sized trains. In 2005, he left his full-time journalism job to join the Durango train car shop as a rail car inspector and mechanic and has advanced to car shop foreman.
Wednesday, April 17: Bullying (click here to see Facebook event)
Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave.

Bullying is pervasive in our social media culture and can have devastating impacts. Three locals share their experiences with bullying and offer advice on what can be done to help prevent it and limit its impacts.

Suzie Null was bullied in the eighth grade. The bullying increased from name-calling to threats to a physical altercation in front of an entire class. While Null stood her ground, everyone else stepped back. Now an associate professor of teacher education at Fort Lewis College, Null will discuss how those actions, or lack of action, by others affected her.

Shane Nelson, a humanities teacher at Animas High School, has tasked himself with helping the youth of La Plata County. In 2018, he created Project Basecamp, a school-based suicide-prevention and character-development program designed to prevent mental crises, encourage students to advocate for themselves and build strong bonds between students.

Robbie Patla, 16, is a junior at Animas High School. At age 12, Robbie began experiencing social exclusion. In high school, his struggles increased. As a sophomore, he began to seek positive peer relationships, quality mentors, trusted adults and pro-social activities and he grew to become a leader for his peers.

Wednesday, May 8: People with a passion (click here to see Facebook event)
Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave.

Members of local groups share their passions.

Daryl Hinderer was hooked once he played the sport of pickleball and credits it with changing his life. The game is designed for players as young as 9 or as old as 90.

Gloria Macht joined the Society for Creative Anachronism 15 years ago. The SCA is a historical education group that studies, researches and recreates the Medieval World.

Scott Gibbs, vice president of the Durango Railroad Historical Society, with other members restores freight cars and shares the history of the rails.

Wednesday, May 22: War veterans
Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave.

Veterans of five wars will share stories from their service.

Wayne McGee, 95, was drafted during World War II and joined the Navy. After radio school and amphibious training stateside, he went to serve overseas, mainly in the Marshall Islands, Pearl Harbor, Okinawa and Iwo Jima, where he watched the raising of the American flag by service members from his ship at sea.

Eric Green, 90, grew up as a Jewish child in Germany. After spending two years as a refugee in France, he immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12; soon after, his parents and sister were killed at Auschwitz. Drafted by the Army during the Korean War, he was sent back to Germany in 1950, where he worked with radios and served as a translator.

Stan Crapo enlisted in the Navy after during the Vietnam War. He was trained as a hospital corpsman. In December 1968, he arrived in Vietnam where he served as medical personnel for the Marines, who didnt have their own. He served there for less than a year.

Shoshona Darke joined the Army National Guard her senior year in high school with medic as her mode of service. She was activated for the Gulf War during her first year of college and spent her 21st birthday serving in Iraq. Upon returning, she finished nursing school and has worked for 26 years as a nurse and in management.

Gunnery Sgt. Nathaniel Burford enlisted in the Marine Corps during his senior year at Fruita Monument High School. He has served in Okinawa, Japan; Camp Pendleton, California; was deployed to Ramadi and Fallujah, Iraq, in 2005 and 2006; and to Afghanistan in 2011. He is currently the Marine Corps recruiter for Southwest Colorado.
Diaries
Durango 2040
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019
In this session, local futures talk about what Durango will look like and be in 2040. Storytellers include: Sarah Lemcke is a certified early childhood educator, advocate for children and passionate champion for progressive education. She is employed at Riverview Elementary School as a preschool teacher for children ages 3-5. Having always been passionate and fascinated by alternative forms of education, she spent the summer training at a forest kindergarten in Zurich, Switzerland. Her experiences as a forest teacher altered her paradigm around education for the better. Sarah is committed to bringing best practices into public education and is proud to work in a district where this mindset is encouraged and supported. Dr. Richard Grossman practiced obstetrics and gynecology in Durango for 40 years. For most of that time he was the volunteer medical director of the health department. He has written the column Population Matters for The Durango Herald since 1995. In high school he read an advertisement in Scientific American titled “A Statement of Conviction about Overpopulation” which said, “We believe that widespread, effective and voluntary use of medically sound and individually acceptable birth control is an essential factor in any humane design to raise world living standards and achieve international peace.” He was hooked and since that time has done what he can to help every child born in Durango be planned, healthy and loved. In addition, he has learned about the limits to growth, and learned that humans have gone far beyond those limits. Greg Hoch worked for the City of Durango’s Community Development Department for 35 years. He retired in 2016 when he was the department director, a job he describes as administering the public decision-making processes related to the physical forms and associated change within the city.
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Episode 8: Agriculture and farming second session
Friday, Nov. 30, 2018
Welcome to this edition of Durango Diaries, a storytelling event put on by The Durango Herald. This week's storytellers include: Daniel and Hana Fullmer are local farmers. Daniel started Tierra Vida Farm in 2015 after working on various farms and learning from expert farmers and in 2017, Hana began helping run the farm. Prior to farming, she worked as a practicing functional medicine nutritionist. J. Paul Brown has been a rancher all his life and is well know for his sheep that are herded through Bayfield twice a year. He has held numerous public offices, including that of state representative. Davin Montoya was born with agriculture in his blood and a deep connection to the land. The rancher has spent his career growing his cow herd and ranch.
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Episode 7: Future of farming and ranching
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018
This week's storytellers include: Daniel and Hana Fullmer are local farmers. Daniel started Tierra Vida Farm in 2015 after working on various farms and learning from expert farmers and in 2017, Hana began helping run the farm. Prior to farming, she worked as a practicing functional medicine nutritionist. J. Paul Brown has been a rancher all his life and is well know for his sheep that are herded through Bayfield twice a year. He has held numerous public offices, including that of state representative. Kate Greenberg is the Western Program Director for National Young Farmers Coalition where she organizes young farmers, advocates for supportive policy and promotes land, water and climate stewardship.
Childrenspeakers
Episode 6: Raising extraordinary children
Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018
More and more parents and caregivers are seeing and celebrating their children’s uniqueness. We notice when they have unique ways of learning, unique strengths, special talents and creativity. We also see blind spots and foresee challenges they may face that other kids won’t. We try to consider and imagine the possibilities. Then make the best choices we can to raise them, nurture them, equip them for the future and challenge them to be the exceptional person that only they can become. Five parents tell their stories of raising kids at Durango Diaries. The speakers include: Andy Corra, father of Wiley, 15, who fell nearly 40 feet from a pedestrian bridge earlier this year while visiting Salt Lake City. At the time, Wylie was a freshman at Durango High School, known for his skills in outdoor sports. He has been kayaking since he was 2 and was on the high school cross-country team. But his main sport is Nordic skiing. Two weeks before his accident, Wiley placed third at the 2018 US Ski & Snowboard Cross Country Junior National Championships. Janet Kuss, mother of Jeff and Eric, likes to say she doesn’t know much about parenting, but she knows about grief. Her son, Jeff Kuss, died in a plane crash June 2, 2016, while training for an airshow with the Blue Angels in Smyrna, Tennessee. “He wanted to fly since he was a baby,” she said. “He could barely sit up and he would choose the fat, plastic planes over everything else.” Eric still lives in Durango and works at Durango Glass. Jim Judge, father of Mike, Jay and Shana. Judge, like other parents, said all of his children are gifted and exceptional in their own way. But Mike Judge has a little more name recognition. He is the Emmy-winning animator who created “King of the Hill,” “Beavis and Butt-Head,” “Silicon Valley,” and the feature film, “Office Space.” Mike Judge is now working on a new animated series called “Tales from the Tour Bus.” Mike Judge was born in Ecuador, raised in Albuquerque and majored in physics at University of California, San Diego. “He was kind of an average kid growing up,” said Jim Judge, who taught archaeology at Fort Lewis College from 1990 to 2003. Priscilla Blevins, mother of Kaylee and Christopher, lost her mother before her children were born. But she passed on her mother’s values to Kaylee and Christopher, who share a unique bond. Anyone who follows mountain biking has likely heard of Christopher Blevins, but they may not know Kaylee Blevins plays a key role in her brother’s success. Jennifer McConnell is a mother of four children, including Everett, 11, who tests in the 99th percentile of intelligence for his age. Though he is exceptionally intelligent, he is often misunderstood. He has struggled in school because of a number of emotional challenges, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and autism spectrum disorder. She’ll talk about what it’s like to have a twice exceptional child.
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Episode 5: Media insight: Youth suicide series
Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018
A panel of Herald reporters and editors will discuss the solutions-based project looking at youth suicide in La Plata County that ran in The Durango Herald in late September and throughout October. Mary Shinn reported the youth suicide prevention series based on the model of the Solutions Journalism Network. She is the special topics and the health reporter for the Durango Herald. Mary started working for Ballantine Communications in 2013 and covered Mancos town government for The Journal. She joined The Durango Herald in 2014 and has covered Durango city government, health and business. Sarah Flower is an alumna of Fort Lewis College and has been working in broadcast journalism in the Four Corners since 2001. She has worked at KDUR, KSUT, Four Corners Broadcasting and KSJD in Cortez. Sarah is currently project editor for a solutions journalism grant with KSJD and four other radio stations across the Western Slope. She is also the office manager at KDUR Community Radio at FLC and hosts a weekly public affairs program "Off the Rim." Shane Benjamin is a graduate of Fort Lewis College with a degree in mass communication. He has been in journalism for 19 years, working as a reporter and editor. He joined the The Durango Herald in 1999 as a reporter and covered city government, county government, education and cops and courts. He contributed to the 2002 Missionary Ridge Fire coverage that won the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism in the category of public service. Amy Maestas is executive editor of The Durango Herald. She has worked as a journalist for 30 years in various positions and publications in the West. She joined the Herald 22 years ago as a reporter. From 2016-17, she was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. David Buck is a graduate of Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. He began his journalism career in 1997 at The Glenwood Post in Glenwood Springs. David arrived at The Durango Herald in 2001 and worked for seven years as news editor on the papers copy-editing desk. After a two-year absence, he returned to the Herald in 2010. He is an assistant city/digital editor and guiding editor of solutions journalism stories.
Anne
Episode 4: Anne Hillerman
Friday, Oct. 12, 2018
Anne Hillerman talks about writing the mystery series her father, best selling author Tony Hillerman, created in 1970. The fourth in her re-envisioning of the mysteries, Cave of Bones, debuted as No. 8 on the New York Times best-seller list for combined hardcover and e-book sales. She lives and works in Santa Fe. Frank Lister is the owner of Time Traveler Maps which creates companion maps for the novels written by Tony and Anne Hillerman. Lister lives in the Mancos Valley.
Chefs
Episode 3: Durango cuisine scene
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018
Durango, Colorado, chefs talk about what drives them. Katie Burford worked as a journalist for 13 years in the U.S. and Latin America before leaving the field to start a business making ice cream. Her shop, Cream Bean Berry, turned 5 years old this spring. She has two boys, Leo, 12, and Rex, 10, who eat a lot of ice cream. She is working on a book about her experiences titled Rocky Road. Marcos Wisner began his restaurant career in high school working internships at Carvers and East by Southwest. After high school he landed a job in New York City at Masa, followed by a job as a chef de partie for Jean George. Marcos has worked at Eleven Madison Park, Noma, The Restaurant at Meadowood, a pop-up dinner series he created and his own food truck, The Box. He is the owner of 11th Street Station, a food truck collective and bar. Sean Clark joined the Steamworks Brewing Co. team in 1995 as part of the original crew. He began his foray into food at the age of 16 as a part time job in the restaurant business. After college, he became certified by the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He’s the driving creative force behind El Moro Spirits & Tavern and is the executive chef and managing member of both Steamworks and El Moro.
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Episode 2: Local authors
Friday, Sept. 14, 2018
Though they tackle varied genres, local authors Chuck Greaves, Anna C. Swain and Scott Graham’s are all driven by a common influence: the location and stories of Durango and the Four Corners. These three storytellers are joining together this week to share their stories of inspiration during Durango Diaries, The Durango Herald’s twice-a-month speaker series. Chuck Greaves may be best known for his crime fiction series featuring Jack MacTaggart, but his stand-alone novels, like “Hard Twisted,” available under the name C. Joespeh Greaves, provide insightful literary takes on true crime. Greaves has been a finalist for most of the major awards in crime fiction. Anna C. Swain launched her book career during sleep-deprived late night feedings of her newbornAt the urging of her husband, Swain wrote down her rhymes launching a path in self-publishing with the children’s book “Animas Animal Adventures.” Scott Graham is the author of the National Park Mystery series, featuring Chuck Bender and his wife, Janelle Ortega. The most recent in the series,“Yosemite Fall,” was released earlier this summer. In addition to his fiction novels, he is the author of five nonfiction books.
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Episode 1: Firefighters
Friday, Aug. 31, 2018
Local firefighters share stories of what they experience while battling fires. Storytellers include: Kara Chadwick, supervisor for the San Juan National Forest, began her U.S. Forest Service career in 1985 working on fire and timber crews in Montana and Idaho for the Kootenai National Forest. She's been in the Durango area for more than four years. Lorena Williams is a wildland firefighter. She has spent 14 seasons with the U.S. Forest Service in capacities ranging from wilderness and recreation to heli-rappel and dispatch. She currently works at Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch on the San Juan National Forest. Greg Childress serves as a captain with the Durango Fire Department. A veteran firefighter, he helped battle the 416 Fire this summer.
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Episode 10: A Portrait of the Artist
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Creating art is difficult, time-consuming and a labor of love. Durango artists share why and how they continue to pursue the craft.
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Episode 9: Motherhood
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Motherhood is tricky, funny and and oh so rewarding. For Mother's Day, local mothers and daughters share tales of motherhood and of growing up with a great example.
Immigration
Episode 8: Immigration
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Immigration is a hot-button topic in today’s political environment. Local immigrants and those who work with related support systems share their stories.
Beer
Episode 7: Craft Beer
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Craft brewing has a long history in Durango, Colorado. Brewing experts share their years of experience brewing (professionally and at home), judging beer and growing hops.
Hozhoni
Episode 6: Hozhoni Days
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Today’s speakers include Fort Lewis College professors Dr. Kay Holmes and Dr. Kathleen Fine-Dare and FLC students Miss Hozhoni Natalia Sells and Wanbli Ota president Alyssa Tapaha, discussing the popular event put on by the college.
Skiing
Episode 5: Skiing in the San Juan Mountains
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
One of the best parts of living on the Western Slope is the easy access to plentiful skiing opportunities. Residents discuss the history of skiing in the San Juans and how our local slopes came to exist.
Mj
Episode 4: Legal marijuana and teenagers
Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018
Raising teenagers is never simple, but things get a bit more complicated when they are told not to use drugs in Colorado, a state where recreational marijuana use is legal for adults.
Love
Episode 3: Love Stories
Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018
For Valentine's Day 2018, two Four Corners couples share their stories of falling in love at first sight and a couples counselor talks about some of the tricky situations he's seen in his years helping couples.
Snowdown
Episode 2: Snowdown
Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018
Snowdown, Durango's original winter festival, takes a huge team to put together each year. Those who work tirelessly to put on the playful event discuss the magic behind the scenes and how it all comes together.
Home
Episode 1: Home in Durango
Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018
In our inaugural episode of Durango Diaries, we take a look at the history of Durango, what residents are doing to improve day-to-day life and a look at what our future holds.
Wednesday, March 20: Women breaking norms (click here to see Facebook event)
Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave.

Three women who work in mostly male jobs will share their stories about breaking through and working in jobs they love.

Kerry Siggins is CEO of StoneAge, Inc., a global leader in the industrial cleaning industry. She joined StoneAge in 2007 as the director of operations and was named CEO in 2009. She recently led the acquisition of a distributor in the United Kingdom and opened StoneAge Europe.

Donna Emenegger worked for the Colorado Department of Transportation for 14 years before retiring in 2018. She was in charge of road maintenance and snow plowing for Highway 160 from Elmore's Corner to east of the Piedra River, 33 total miles or 66-plus lane miles.

Leah Starr is a welder/fabricator at Ska Fabricating where she builds brewing-automated packaging lines. Growing up in a construction family, she was comfortable around power tools. That, combined with her love of art, led to welding and a career of creating in metal.

Wednesday, April 3: Second acts (click here to see Facebook event)
Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave.

Sometimes we need a shift in life. Three residents who made a career change will discuss making the transition to a new profession and the joys - and pitfalls - that came with those new roles.

Nancy Utter was a land-use planner for La Plata County for two years before becoming a consultant. Unhappiness with her career path led her to take a chance, follow her passion and go to medical school to pursue a degree in naturopathic medicine. After graduation, she returned to Durango, where she has been practicing for 20 years.

Nicolas Cofman was a bush pilot in Africa before becoming a dentist. After surviving a plane crash in 2011, Cofman attended dental school in Phoenix while his wife and children stayed in Durango. After graduating, he moved back and got a job as a dentist at the practice in which he was a patient.

Sean Jackson's career began in journalism on the Western Slope. While working for area newspapers, he also worked on and around full-sized trains. In 2005, he left his full-time journalism job to join the Durango train car shop as a rail car inspector and mechanic and has advanced to car shop foreman.
Wednesday, April 17: Bullying (click here to see Facebook event)
Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave.

Bullying is pervasive in our social media culture and can have devastating impacts. Three locals share their experiences with bullying and offer advice on what can be done to help prevent it and limit its impacts.

Suzie Null was bullied in the eighth grade. The bullying increased from name-calling to threats to a physical altercation in front of an entire class. While Null stood her ground, everyone else stepped back. Now an associate professor of teacher education at Fort Lewis College, Null will discuss how those actions, or lack of action, by others affected her.

Shane Nelson, a humanities teacher at Animas High School, has tasked himself with helping the youth of La Plata County. In 2018, he created Project Basecamp, a school-based suicide-prevention and character-development program designed to prevent mental crises, encourage students to advocate for themselves and build strong bonds between students.

Robbie Patla, 16, is a junior at Animas High School. At age 12, Robbie began experiencing social exclusion. In high school, his struggles increased. As a sophomore, he began to seek positive peer relationships, quality mentors, trusted adults and pro-social activities and he grew to become a leader for his peers.

Wednesday, May 8: People with a passion (click here to see Facebook event)
Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave.

Members of local groups share their passions.

Daryl Hinderer was hooked once he played the sport of pickleball and credits it with changing his life. The game is designed for players as young as 9 or as old as 90.

Gloria Macht joined the Society for Creative Anachronism 15 years ago. The SCA is a historical education group that studies, researches and recreates the Medieval World.

Scott Gibbs, vice president of the Durango Railroad Historical Society, with other members restores freight cars and shares the history of the rails.

Wednesday, May 22: War veterans
Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave.

Veterans of five wars will share stories from their service.

Wayne McGee, 95, was drafted during World War II and joined the Navy. After radio school and amphibious training stateside, he went to serve overseas, mainly in the Marshall Islands, Pearl Harbor, Okinawa and Iwo Jima, where he watched the raising of the American flag by service members from his ship at sea.

Eric Green, 90, grew up as a Jewish child in Germany. After spending two years as a refugee in France, he immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12; soon after, his parents and sister were killed at Auschwitz. Drafted by the Army during the Korean War, he was sent back to Germany in 1950, where he worked with radios and served as a translator.

Stan Crapo enlisted in the Navy after during the Vietnam War. He was trained as a hospital corpsman. In December 1968, he arrived in Vietnam where he served as medical personnel for the Marines, who didnt have their own. He served there for less than a year.

Shoshona Darke joined the Army National Guard her senior year in high school with medic as her mode of service. She was activated for the Gulf War during her first year of college and spent her 21st birthday serving in Iraq. Upon returning, she finished nursing school and has worked for 26 years as a nurse and in management.

Gunnery Sgt. Nathaniel Burford enlisted in the Marine Corps during his senior year at Fruita Monument High School. He has served in Okinawa, Japan; Camp Pendleton, California; was deployed to Ramadi and Fallujah, Iraq, in 2005 and 2006; and to Afghanistan in 2011. He is currently the Marine Corps recruiter for Southwest Colorado.