Turning out in RED for our community

Courtesy of Keller Williams

Joe Clair was one of almost 40 staff members and real estate agents with Keller Williams Realty Southwest Associates who participated in RED Day, a day to do something for the community. Clair helped clean up Florida Road. His shirt says, “Give Where You Live.”

A few weeks ago, I wrote about John Wells’ idea for local businesses and organizations to clean up parks and trails to make Durango look her best for summer visitors – and us, too.

Both Columbine Christian School and the Wells Group already had cleaned up most of the Animas River Trail, so that left about 200 miles of trails and 30 or so parks needing to be spruced up.

So when Keller Williams Realty Southwest Associates staff members and agents geared up to join more than 70,000 other associates for RED Day – Renew, Energize and Donate – on May 10, they talked to the city and selected Rim Drive up at Fort Lewis College and our newly refurbished Florida Road as areas that were looking a little, shall we say, trashed.

If you tried to call that day, you probably caught them on a cellphone, because everybody, 100 percent of the staff members and agents, pitched in.

More than 30 bags of trash later, they had found a few curiosities, such as a soda can from the 1960s, a customized mouth guard and a 55-gallon drum off Florida Road near Folsom Park. (Really!) The last item didn’t fit in a garbage bag.

RED Day is a collective service day where Keller Williams folks are asked to give back to their community. The local day was organized by SebastianHartley, Karen Overington, Mary Jo Paxton and Fred Zimmerman.

Joining them in picking up trash and removing graffiti were Aubrey Donahue, Ben Stowers, Cindy Brossman, Diane Purdy, Evin Alcindor, Geoff Overington, Gina Romano, Greg Jameson, Hal Lott, Hollie Dowd, Jamie Heirtzler, Joanne McKnight, Joe Clair, Judy Spolum, KatieSturm, Kim Cofman, Kris Hannum, Lars Johnson, Larry Gardner, Larry Turner, Linda Crowther, Lorri Shields, Luv Knudson, Mary Masters, Phil Taylor, Preston Pitcher, Rachel Overington, Russ Smith, Samantha Gallant, Sara Staber, Scott Kurlander, Sebastian Hartley, Skip Garcia, Steve Setka, Ted Talmon and Velbeth Jones.

I can’t guarantee to run all the names if your organization joins the cleanup movement, but I can guarantee we’ll all be grateful Durango is looking her best.

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Enjoying an extra day this weekend to celebrate their birthdays are BrooklynChambers, Alexis Wood, Jeffery Reynolds, Marian Townsend, Barbara Bush, Peter Bussian, Ken Jungerberg, Bruce Longwell, MatthewLongwell, Christine Wright, Marilyn Baker, Sue Evans, Kip Boyd, Ann St.John, Michael LaVerghetta, Barbara Edmanson, Jon Lupia and KevinSchank.

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This is a lesson in keeping websites up to date. I’m writing this at 11:40 p.m. Thursday to make my deadline Friday, and it’s a little late to be calling people for information. So what do I do? I go to an organization’s website to confirm the information.

In one recent case, I went to the Durango Arts Center’s website to get a list of the staff members for my piece about Sheri Rochford Figgs’ thank-you party as she left her position as the DAC’s executive director.

(Please keep in mind I’m not slamming the folks at the DAC – they have a lot on their to-do lists. This happens all the time with nonprofit, business and governmental websites. It’s a veritable epidemic of difficult-to-find, not current, inadequate information out there – and in the “Information Age,” too.)

So I left out an important player in the crew that keeps the DAC running. Gayle Burrows came to the center via an interesting route.

Figgs was able to get Burrows’ services free for six months thanks to the federal Senior Community Service Employment Program. That was important in those early days when she was trying to get the DAC back on its feet financially.

Burrows proved to be an invaluable help as an administrative assistant, and she is now on the payroll two days a week. She, too, has been a key part of the arts center’s turnaround. Now get Burrows on that contact list and replace Figgs’ name with new Executive Director Peggy Zemach, and Terry Swan’s name with Rochelle Mann as the president of the board and you will be current!

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The Rotary Club of Durango doesn’t give a “Heart of Rotary” to any old Tom, Dick or Harry. So members really meant it when they awarded one to CliffSpencer, the superintendent of Mesa Verde National Park, on May 15.

Spencer was honored for contributing to the cultural and historical literacy of our area. The Rotary Club isn’t the only place he has talked about what’s up at the park, but it’s probably the one that most appreciated him for his efforts.

The big news at Mesa Verde is the new $12.1 million Visitor and Research Center, which is scheduled for a soft opening in November and the grand opening in May 2013. Count me in for that party – it’s been a long time coming.

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A big mea culpa and apology go out to the Sky Ute Casino and Resort for messing up some details about their big cash giveaway. They refresh the cash between participants so every one has an equal shot at some moolah. My colleague Ted Holteen, who once went into the Nonprofit Cash Booth for KDUR-FM public radio, tells me it’s really hard to get that cash through the slot, which accounts for the wide variations in how much money people managed to grab.

And to Durango Friends of the Arts, whose Artists Market will be held July 21 at the Edgemont Picnic Grounds with 50 spots available for artists to show off their creations – my calendar is now correct.

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These couples will have to hold on to each other for their anniversaries as high winds are forecasted today and the next few days will be “breezy” – Bob and Beth Barnhardt, Stephen and Vicki Linn, Frank and Tiffany Mapel, Kleber Araujo and Amanda Preston-Araujo, Jim and Virginia Martin, Ron and Essica Williams and Mel and Becky Owen.

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neighbors@durangoherald.com

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