Category Archives: 2006

A poet’s journey

  Sherwin Bitsui is the first Navajo to win the Whiting Writers’ Award for his poetry. The award, announced Oct. 25, came at a time when Bitsui´s spirits were at their lowest, as he mourned the mysterious accidental loss of … Continue reading

Published in December 2006

GOP bucks trend in Montezuma County

The election’s over, the dust has settled and now it’s time to live with the results. Nationally a mood of “throw the rascals out,” exacerbated by ongoing Congressional scandals and outrageous pork-barrelling deficits, resulted in Democratic takeovers of the House … Continue reading

Published in December 2006

Uranium’s resurgence sparks debate

  Gilbert Badoni grew up around uranium mining. “My dad first got a job in the early ’50s around the Cove [Ariz.] area,” he told an audience at the Indigenous World Uranium Summit Nov. 30 – Dec. 2 in Window … Continue reading

Published in December 2006

Ag producers decry proposed ID system

  Unnecessary, intrusive and expensive — those are some of the nicer things Four Corner agricultural producers, especially cattlemen, are saying about the USDA’s new plan for a National Animal Identification System (NAIS). ”It’ll break us. It’s senseless,” said Montezuma … Continue reading

Published in November 2006

Revisiting an American insurgency: ‘Dances with Wolves’ author delves into reality of white/Indian battles

“Dances with Wolves” author Michael Blake has done many things since he left home at age 17, rented a garage apartment, and started his own life. He’s been a grocery clerk, poured concrete, served in the United States Air Force … Continue reading

Published in Arts & Entertainment, November 2006

New tests show mercury in reservoirs still a concern

Don’t eat too much of certain types of fish pulled from the waters of McPhee and Narraguinnep reservoirs. That advisory, issued 13 years ago, will continue indefinitely into the future, based on the most recent tests of fish in those … Continue reading

Published in November 2006

‘The Grand Problem’ absorbs Oaxaca, Mexico

Editor’s note: Phil Hall is traveling in Mexico and sent this report about political unrest in the southern state of Oaxaca. A few days after he sent it, a freelance journalist for and two other people were killed in … Continue reading

Published in November 2006

A counterpoint to my opponent’s assertions

The Nov. 7 General Election is quickly approaching and I want to take this opportunity to address comments made by my opponent, Sam Sparks, in his Oct. 7 candidate column in the Cortez Journal. My opponent stated his campaign planks: … Continue reading

Published in Election, November 2006

$2 million settlement ends stalemate: Squabbles over Cortez’s new sewage plant prove costly

Years late and many dollars short, a new sewage system serving the greater Cortez area finally came on-line last fall, but costly legal wrangling continued for another year, finally creaking to a halt in August with an out-of-court settlement nestled … Continue reading

Published in November 2006

A hazy future for the Four Corners? Concerns about a new power plant are igniting a furor over regional air quality

Anthony Lee, a middle-aged man, stood nervously before a microphone in the cavernous interior of the Shiprock, N.M., High School auditorium on Oct. 4. On the stage sat officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, hearing public comments about the … Continue reading

Published in November 2006

Protection vs. private property rights: Building codes spark debates

Imagine you are a newcomer to Montezuma County. You buy a beautiful piece of land. You hire a local builder to construct your architectdesigned dream home. You move in. A hairline crack in the living-room floor begins to widen. Inches. … Continue reading

Published in Election, October 2006

Welch cites experience with county, promises good service

Karen Welch, Democratic candidate for Montezuma County treasurer, was asked to write about her qualifications for the office. I’m Karen Welch, candidate for Montezuma County treasurer. I’d like to take a few minutes to let you know why I believe … Continue reading

Published in Election, October 2006

Sparks: Boost drug enforcement, animal control

Sheriff’s candidate Sam Sparks has encountered a few major pitfalls along the campaign trail, but he emphatically declares he’s still in the running. Despite pending charges of animal cruelty, and a recent suspension from his job as a Mancos deputy … Continue reading

Published in Election, October 2006

Political gadfly Larson seeks commission seat

An outspoken political gadfly decided to go all the way last spring, throwing himself and his considerable energy into a quest for a seat on the Montezuma County commission after no other Democrat stepped forward to seek the nomination. Galen … Continue reading

Published in Election, October 2006

Mill-levy hike would aid curriculum, teachers

School Superintendent Stacy Houser agrees with the tax foes who say that throwing money at problems doesn’t solve them. What he wants to do with a proposed mill-levy increase for School District Re-1 is not to throw the money at … Continue reading

Published in Election, October 2006

Lovejoy touts economic development for Navajos

Lynda Lovejoy might just become the first female president of the Navajo Nation. Her candidacy — and her surprising second-place finish in the Aug. 8 primary — have certainly piqued the interest of observers. Incumbent Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley … Continue reading

Published in Election, October 2006

Dealing in concrete subjects

Jamie Olson speaks slowly, with a trace of a Midwestern accent, on the phone from Bluff, Utah, where he makes a living fashioning what he calls wearable art — necklaces, pins, and earrings. He creates playful designs, human and animal, … Continue reading

Published in Arts & Entertainment, October 2006

Lactating intolerance – get over it, America!

Maybe it’s because I was a breast-fed baby myself. Or, more unlikely, maybe it’s because of my considerable maturity and sophistication. Whatever, I can’t see anything remotely offensive or sexually explicit about a woman suckling an infant in public, and … Continue reading

Published in David Long, September 2006

County proves to be no ‘hog’ heaven

Workers at 2005 rally say they weren’t paid Get your motors running — head out on the highway — but head away from Echo Basin Ranch. That was the message given to thousands of bikers in late August when they … Continue reading

Published in September 2006

Triumph over adversity: Exhibit explores early years of Navajo weaving, silversmithing

  The hollow beads glisten softly as the silver necklace hangs in its case, a cross dangling from its bottom. The smith who made the necklace shaped coins into half-spheres, and soldered them together for the chain. The exquisite jewelry … Continue reading

Published in Arts & Entertainment, September 2006

A taste of Mexico comes to bluff

  It was a beautiful Monday morning. The eastern sky was lit up with brilliant shades of red and orange. A couple of local high-school kids were leaned up against Bluff, Utah’s, new taco stand, Las Dos Hermanas, with sleepy … Continue reading

Published in September 2006

What’s really agricultural land?

  Buy a few acres, stick a couple horses or cows on it, and enjoy a substantial tax break. That’s the idea many people have when they purchase land in a rural area. Agricultural land in the state of Colorado … Continue reading

Published in September 2006

Sage Hen area on the endangered list?Forest Service imposes closures to fight rampant vandalism, littering

  Sprawling graffiti painted over an outhouse. A toilet-paper-holder ripped from a wall. Broken windows and vandalized signs. Wooden pallets dumped around a parking area. Abandoned vehicles. Truckfuls of trash. These unsightly messes and other recurring problems have prompted the … Continue reading

Published in September 2006

Motorcycle rally mired in lawsuits, controversy

Enmeshed in a sticky web of lawsuits and legal questions, the Rally in the Rockies motorcycle rally is or is not scheduled to take place in Montezuma County over Labor Day weekend — depending on whom you talk to. “It … Continue reading

Published in August 2006

An exhibit celebrates the legend of Everett Ruess

More than 70 years ago, an artist disappeared in the wilds of southeast Utah. He left little behind but two burros, a dog, and a legend that lives on today. “He was a storyteller and an adventurer,” says Montezuma-Cortez High … Continue reading

Published in Arts & Entertainment, August 2006

Conservation easements: Monopoly game or community trust?

In February, a conservation-easement deal was splashed over the front page of the Cortez Journal. The story mentioned $862,000 to help preserve a Montezuma County ranch. Could conservation easements be the next get-rich- quick scheme? A way to keep the … Continue reading

Published in August 2006

Beauty vs. Blight

In Euclid, Ohio, it is illegal to cover the windows of your home with anything other than curtains, shades, or mini-blinds. No taped-up newspapers, no blankets, nothing unsightly. Violate the ordinance and you could go to jail for six months … Continue reading

Published in August 2006

Antiquities Act marks a century of preservation – and looting

It’s immoral. What? I asked. To dig up the remains of indigenous people who inhabited the continent for centuries; to categorize, classify, and display their remains all in the name of scientific research. My mother and grandmother said to leave … Continue reading

Published in August 2006

Republican treasurer’s candidates give views

Dyess, chief deputy public trustee, uses common-sense approach My name is Sherry Dyess. I am a candidate for Montezuma County treasurer. I am originally from Monticello, Utah, where my parents, Madge and Roy Miller, homesteaded a farm. I have lived … Continue reading

Published in Election, July 2006

Wallace says deputies solving more cases

Conner promises to boost morale in sheriff’s office Montezuma County Sheriff Gerald Wallace believes he knows why the county commission chose him 2-1 to succeed former Sheriff Joey Chavez a year and a half ago — even though Chavez, who … Continue reading

Published in Election, July 2006

Poverty drives immigrants: Mexicans seek survival not just a better life

This is the second article in a two-part series. Victor and Magdelena “Maggie” Nuñez are an American success story. They own two restaurants in Montezuma County, one in Cortez and one in Dolores. They serve Mexican and American food. They … Continue reading

Published in July 2006

Magic of Santa Fe Opera resumes

The sun sets behind the peaks of 13,000-foot mountains. The sky turns pink. After the hot July day, cool air refreshes the drivers on U.S. 84/285. Headlights glowing, they hit the exit ramp, duck under the highway, and make a … Continue reading

Published in Arts & Entertainment, July 2006

Growth boom prompts heated debates

Times are changing. Ten years ago, if Montezuma County had been having a public hearing on anything to do with a land-use code, the room would have been filled with private-property-rights advocates vocally opposed to more regulations. But when such … Continue reading

Published in July 2006

2006 biker-rally bid buys more time

Arm-wrestling, “pineapple-pit female wrestling” and “biker bull-busting” are among the events slated for a motorcycle rally proposed in Montezuma County this Labor Day weekend. But the legal and political contests taking place before the rally have been as intense as … Continue reading

Published in July 2006

Locals debate merits of motorcycle rally

It’s sort of a good-news, bad-news situation. The good news is that tens of thousands of bikers may converge on Montezuma County over the Labor Day weekend, spending money freely and swelling sales-tax coffers. The bad news is that tens … Continue reading

Published in June 2006

A unique park celebrates its centennial

The first light touches the mesa. The Puebloan Ancestor slips from his adobe house. Heavy poles support the mud walls. Glancing around, he studies the row of identical dwellings curving softly away from his. No sound drifts from them. He’s … Continue reading

Published in Arts & Entertainment, June 2006

Findley touts experience, accomplishments

Montezuma County Commissioner Dewayne Findley takes pride in his work and would like to keep his job for another four years. The chairman of the Montezuma County Commission is running for a second term, but faces opposition from within his … Continue reading

Published in Election, June 2006

Chappell promotes roads, economy, communication

Montezuma County commission candidate Steve Chappell didn’t mince words when asked what he’d have done differently over the past four years than incumbent Commissioner Dewayne Findley, his opponent in the Republican primary this August. “Communication between the county and the … Continue reading

Published in Election, June 2006

Capturing Mesa Verde’s magic in music

Sterling Procter doesn’t remember when he started spending summers in Durango playing with the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra. He does know that every year “the magic and mystery of the native culture and land” around Durango inspire him. … Continue reading

Published in Arts & Entertainment, June 2006

Illegal immigration: A view from the border

Editor’s note: Phil Hall has traveled extensively throughout Mexico. He recently took a motorcycle trip down to the Mexican border. This is the first of a two-part series. “You’d just as soon try to bail the Rio Grande with a … Continue reading

Published in June 2006