How much in human years?

Hostess Darla Cliff, left, gets a thank-you smooch from Corey, while cuddling Suri, left, and Gidget; Patsy Carey and Robert Boies are holding their pooches Kirby, Bentley and Missy. La Plata County natives Gidget, Corey, Bentley and Missy were born Oct. 16, 2004. Enlarge photo

Courtesy of Patsy Carey

Hostess Darla Cliff, left, gets a thank-you smooch from Corey, while cuddling Suri, left, and Gidget; Patsy Carey and Robert Boies are holding their pooches Kirby, Bentley and Missy. La Plata County natives Gidget, Corey, Bentley and Missy were born Oct. 16, 2004.

The canine birthday celebrants didn’t get any of the homemade German chocolate cake, but that didn’t seem to spoil their fun.

Darla Cliff planned the Pooch Party Extraordinaire on Sunday to mark the eighth birthday of her dogs Gidget and Corey. Interestingly, Gidget and Corey’s littermates Missy and Bentley are owned by Cliff’s friends Robert Boies and Patsy Carey, and the four dogs have gotten together regularly all these years and were all on hand for the festivities.

Gidget and Corey’s housemate Suri and Bentley and Missy’s buddy Kirby were also invited, and Cliff decided the more the merrier, so Hans and Cynthia VanDerLeden came with Minnie and Tippy, Ed and Jeanne Willems brought Ginger and Sammy and Joy Marden came because, apparently, she likes both dogs and a little bedlam.

The gorgeous day allowed the dogs to play outside, while party balloons and bandanas made it clear they were there to party. Snack time included Zuke’s Crunchy Biscuits for the canine patrol and party platters from Subway and City Market for their humans.

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Happy birthday wishes go out to the first of the Scorpios – Tom Lorenzen, Mary Jo McLaughlin Wickman, Susan Wright, Shanan Campbell Wells, Judy Katzin, Lexie Bauer, Wayne Hildgedick, Margaret Barge, Gavin Blank, Carrie Forsythe, Jayson Helms, Hannah Robertson, Saige Hall, Grace Caldwell, Randal Jernigan, Mary Knowles, Marie Davidson, Carol Lewin, Timothy Loftis, Alyse Spencer, Dan White, Mackie Headrick, Megan Dignum and Gary Jones.

Very special greetings to two people celebrating big birthdays today at opposite ends of the age spectrum – Ernestine Brewer, who is turning 96, and Matt Stilwell, who is now of legal age to imbibe.

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Maria’s Bookshop couldn’t be a better member of our community. It sells tickets for nonprofits, donates to all kinds of causes and supports local authors.

And now the store is combining two out of three as it sponsors the Giving Back Gang’s Holiday Party. The actual event isn’t until Dec. 7, but local authors have until Thursday to apply to participate.

Fifteen authors, who have each selected a nonprofit to support, will be showcased at a book signing. The charity should have some kind of connection to the theme of the book, and the author commits to donating a portion of his or her total sales at Maria’s from Dec. 1 to 7. The goal is to not duplicate nonprofits.

Oh, and you have to bring a plate of cookies for the event.

There are still a few slots left, and applications are due by Thursday to Holli Pfau, who has been donating the proceeds from her book Pure Gold to humane societies all around the Four Corners. Her email is Application details are available by clicking on Dec. 7 in the events tab at

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The Tiffany-Allison-Rosa-Arboles Historical Society is holding its annual chili supper along with an open house at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the new community center at 333 Milton Lane in Arboles. The Archuleta County commissioners will be on hand to hear about concerns and issues from the community.

Chili is $5 per bowl for adults, $3 per bowl for children 6-12, and children younger than 6 eat free. The supper includes all the garnishes for the chili, tortillas, cornbread, cookies and beverages.

Many thanks go to Norma Conley, who’s great about keeping me posted on the doings in southeastern La Plata County.

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It’s that time of year to remind people to send in nominations for the Barbara Conrad Leadership Award. Recipients must be an alumnus of Leadership La Plata and lead in a spirit of building consensus and helping our community thrive – which is what Conrad did in the years before her death at far too young an age in 1996.

Actually, that’s my shorthand for the award, but the actual criteria, in addition to being a graduate of the program, are that the nominee must serve in leadership roles in the community, think creatively outside the box, have collaborative leadership skills, be dedicated to the LLP program and, duh, be involved in the community.

Nominations are available by emailing and are due Nov. 5. The award will be given at the Durango Chamber of Commerce award ceremony in January.

If you’re not sure what I mean by the spirit of building consensus and helping our community thrive, maybe the list of former recipients will give you an idea: Bill Mashaw, Linda Geer, Char Day, David Eppich, Pam Patton, Ed Morlan, Sidny Zink, Lon Erwin, Nora Tracy, Dennis Lum, Marsha Porter-Norton, Indiana Reed, Kip Koso, Wanda Ellingson, Diane Becket and Christi Zeller.

I was privileged to be Conrad’s friend – in fact, I met her the first evening of the retreat in our Leadership La Plata Class of 1991-1992 – and I can’t think of a better way to honor her memory than recognizing others who help make this the community we know and love.

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Holding hands so they won’t blow away on their anniversaries are John and Shanan Campbell Wells and Troy and Leanne Moore.

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Here’s how to reach me:; phone 375-4584; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk. Please include contact names and phone numbers for all items.

I am happy to consider photos for Neighbors, but they must be high-quality, high-resolution photos (at least 1 MB of memory) and include no more than three to five people. I need to know who’s who, left to right, and who to credit with the photo. Candid photos are better than posed, and photos should be submitted as .jpg or .tif

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