Unknown R’s, ‘UFO drone thing’ perplex

I lived in Durango for 19 months and never found out what the “9-R” in School District 9-R means. It’s no doubt wonderful for headline writers, but what other purpose does it serve? – Galloway H. Hudson (now living in Houston)

You’re right. “9-R” takes up far less space than “school district.” But the designation wasn’t created for newspapers. It’s a curious abbreviation of historical note.

Sometime in the 1950s, all the small local school districts merged into a larger, unified district. There were nine districts at the time, so the consolidated district was named 9-R: “nine reorganized.”

Seriously. That’s the story, and it comes from Marty Kay Hutton with 9-R student support services.

But you know Action Line – who never lets something like “truth” get in the way of “authoritative and distinguished commentary” each Monday morning.

It’s a little-known fact that there are actual “R’s” behind the 9-R name, with each “R” describing the district’s focus.

The first three R’s are Readin’, ‘Riting’, and ‘Rithmatic.

But the other six R’s are a different story.

Back in the ’50s, when Durango was a gritty Western cowboy town, the 9-R school district’s remaining six “R’s” stood for Ranchin’, Ropin’, Ridin’, Railroadin’, Ranglin’ and Rustlin’.

That obviously doesn’t apply today, so in an ultra-secret executive session, the 9-R school board recently reassigned its nine “R’s” to better reflect the current state of affairs.

Now there’s Readin’, ‘Ritin’, and ‘Rithmatic – plus Restructurin’, Reducin’, Revisioneerin’ and Ritalin.

That’s only seven R’s. Because of budgetary constraints, the 9-R board was forced to cut the remaining two R’s.

At last weekend’s Telluride Blues & Brews Festival there was some sort of UFO drone thing flying over the crowd. With this year’s “Get Your Geek On” Snowdown theme, will Snowdown use flying drones at any of their events? – An Anonymous Geek

Reports of any “UFO drone thing” must first be verified, especially when made from a remote mountain location with an abundance of alcohol.

And it’s confirmed. “That was a remote-controlled octocopter that takes video footage,” said Courtney McClary, director of operations for the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival.

Having a small UFO drone thing buzz Snowdown would be cool and geeky – but unlikely unless someone picks up the tab.

If this odd-looking drone were deployed, wouldn’t it be a hoot to fly it over certain areas of the county where people believe the United Nations has grand designs to take over their property?

On second thought, it’s probably better to just let that one go. After all, these people are heavily armed.

That said, be advised Durango will be buzzed by hovering aircraft Thursday morning – it won’t be a remote-controlled UFO thing but a full-on helicopter with a videographer.

The occasion? It’s Durango Connect, an event to create a seven-mile human chain to “connect” our community and celebrate the linking of the Animas River Trail from north to south.

The helicopter will film this only-in-Durango event – and you’re invited. Visit www.durangoconnect.com for details.

It’ll be just like the Snowdown parade – except it will be daylight, the weather will be warm, everyone should be sober and there won’t be any hot-air balloon people nearly setting the traffic lights on fire.

durango colorado

You can count of the Mea Culpa Mailbag for enlightenment.

Last week’s column ended with a ponderous aside, wondering why Oktoberfest was in September.

Local reader Claudia Foley works at the new Durango Welcome Center, “where we are challenged daily by this question and many more.”

Claudia Googled Oktoberfest. “It appears the festival is the longest wedding party ever and does, indeed, start in September,” she writes.

“This fact was soon verified by a pair of German visitors who unfortunately wanted to know where our Oktoberfest was happening, about 10 minutes after it ended Sunday.“I directed them to our fine local microbreweries, where I was certain the party would be continuing.”

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if you differentiate between a geek and a nerd.