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Fort Lewis College football plays Colorado School of Mines at FLCMines wins the game, 76-0Brayden Miller of Fort Lewis College football looks for an open receiver while playing Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at FLC. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9301300Paine Smith Jr. of Fort Lewis College covers the quarterback after a fumble while playing Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at FLC. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9001300Brayden Lucero of Fort Lewis College receives the kickoff while playing Colorado School of Mines on Saturday. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10581300Oscar Oliva of Fort Lewis College lines up while playing Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at FLC. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald8511251The Fort Lewis College football team played a hard fought game against Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at FLC. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9051300Brayden Miller of Fort Lewis College looks for an open receiver while playing Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at FLC. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1282950Emmanuel Nwosu of Fort Lewis College looks for an opening while playing Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at FLC. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1399950Hunter Villavicencio of Fort Lewis College punts the ball while playing Colorado School of Mines. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald7981300Jalani Blade of Fort Lewis College makes a tackle while playing the Colorado School of Mines. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9321300Brayden Miller of Fort Lewis College football looks for an open receiver while playing Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at FLC. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9181300The Fort Lewis College football team plays a hard fought game against Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at FLC. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald8931300Fort Lewis College football team played a hard fought game against Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at FLC. Linebacker Ayden Madrid led the team with 15 tackles. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9691300The Fort Lewis College football team competes with the Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at FLC. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11361300The Fort Lewis College football team battles the Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at FLC. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9791300The Fort Lewis College cheerleaders cheer on the football team on Saturday. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9131275Brayden Miller of Fort Lewis College football takes a hit while playing Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at FLC. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9081300Fort Lewis coach Darrius G. Smith coaches his team while playing Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at FLC. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9211300
Mines wins the game, 76-0
Durango High School volleyball takes on Montrose as boys tennis take on Fruita MonumentVolleyball loses nail-biter to Montrose, 3-2, while tennis called due to darkness with DHS trailing 4-2.Rowan Hall of Durango High School plays at No. 3 singles against Fruita Monument High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10181300Calan Barnhardt of Durango High School plays at No. 2 singles against Fruita Monument High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10261300Griffin Hall of Durango High School hits a shot at No.1 singles against Fruita Monument High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9671300Griffin Hall of Durango High School chases down a ball at No.1 singles against Fruita Monument High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald8511300Griffin Hall of Durango High School fires a shot No.1 singles against Fruita Monument High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9141300Calan Barnhardt of Durango High School competes at No. 2 singles against Fruita Monument High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1067950Sarah Somrak of Durango High School goes up to block a Montrose High School kill attempt on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1179600Eva Stewart of Durango High School digs the ball while playing Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald8801300Naomi Rowe of Durango High School digs a shot while playing Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1299950Brooklyn Messier of Durango High School digs the ball while playing Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9861300Durango High School head volleyball coach Kelley Rifilato watches her team play Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald8251269Josephine Balestri of Durango High School saves the ball while playing Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1386950Brooklyn Messier of Durango High School digs the ball while playing Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9491300Mason Rowland of Durango High School makes a kill while playing Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald981950Leah Wolf of Durango High School kills a shot while playing Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1179896Riley Engle of Durango High School makes a kill while playing Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9481300Durango High School volleyball players cheer on their team during some good times while playing Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10231300Durango High School volleyball players celebrate some good times while playing Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1324950The Durango High School volleyball team cheers each other on while playing Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald8781300Sarah Somrak of Durango High School digs the ball while playing Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1262950Aava Dreger, left, and Riley Engle of Durango High School go up and block a Montrose High School kill attempt on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9371288Tanner Coddington of Durango High School goes after the ball with his teammate Carter Ward behind him while playing doubles on Friday against Fruita Monument High School. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9771300Mason Rowland of Durango High School tries to get the ball over the net while playing Montrose High School on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1409950Aava Dreger, left, and Sarah Somrak of Durango High School go up and block a Montrose High School kill try on Friday at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald8551300Cater Ward of Durango High School goes after the ball with his teammate Tanner Coddington behind him while playing doubles on Friday against Fruita Monument High School at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9631300
Volleyball loses nail-biter to Montrose, 3-2, while tennis called due to darkness with DHS trailing 4-2.
Durango High School softball overpowers Grand Junction High SchoolDHS sweeps doubleheader 15-0, 22-12Teagan Kehm of Durango High School fires off a pitch on Wednesday while playing Grand Junction High School at DHS. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)7781300Durango High School’s lucky charm hangs out in the dugout on Wednesday while the team plays Grand Junction High School at DHS. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)12171300Sydney Flores of Durango High School drives the ball on Wednesday against Grand Junction. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)8671300Teagan Kehm of Durango High School tags out a runner at the plate after a wild pitch on Wednesday while playing Grand Junction High School at DHS. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)1101950Kelly Arthur of Durango High School eyes-down a Grand Junction pitch on Wednesday. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)18932523Sydney Flores of Durango High School looks on from the dugout on Wednesday while playing Grand Junction High School at DHS. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)10321600Carly Piccoli of Durango High School dives back into second base after an infield fly ball on Wednesday while playing Grand Junction High School at DHS. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)8051300Tehya Barnes of Durango High School is congratulated after crossing the plate on Wednesday while playing Grand Junction High School at DHS. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)9711300Durango High School head softball coach John Bernazzani talks with his team on Wednesday while playing Grand Junction High School at DHS. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)8161300Alaysia Kremer of Durango High School gets under a foul ball on Wednesday while playing Grand Junction High School at DHS. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)1138950Durango High School base runners get ready to take off on Wednesday while playing Grand Junction High School at DHS. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)12381300
DHS sweeps doubleheader 15-0, 22-12
Durango woman reboots immune system with $60,000 and a trip to MexicoMultiple sclerosis patients seek stem cell transplantation treatment16001102Carol Clark of La Plata County feeds some of her birds and animals Tuesday at her ranchette southeast of Durango. Clark received a rare stem cell treatment for multiple sclerosis in April. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Carol Clark of Durango realized her immune system was attacking her body in 2000. This year, she ditched it and got a new one.Clark, owner of Union Social House in Durango, is one of at least 3,000 multiple sclerosis patients worldwide who have undergone a stem cell transplantation to try to treat the disease. For Clark, getting the treatment involved $65,000, a trip to Mexico and a “roller coaster” that she wasn’t sure she’d survive.“When my business opened up ... it was visible that I was having a hard time walking, and it was getting progressively worse,” Clark said. “That was the trigger. I decided I didn’t want to be in a wheelchair.”There are about 2.8 million people worldwide who have MS, according to the 2020 Atlas of MS led by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. Of those, about 914,000 patients lived in the U.S. Typically, immune cells, like B cells, start out as stem cells in bone marrow and perform different defense functions for the body.But with MS, some immune cells find their way into the central nervous system. Instead of protecting the system against bacteria and viruses, the cells start attacking it – specifically myelin, a fatty insulation around nerve cells.Internally, communications within the brain, and between the central nervous system and the body, begin breaking down. Externally, people can feel fatigue or have problems with balance. They may experience numbness, tingling, muscle stiffness, weakness, difficulty walking or other symptoms.0VideoYouTube480360When Clark was diagnosed, her most noticeable symptom was numbness in her feet, she said. But her diagnosis was a highly disabling progressive form of the disease, which 15% of MS patients also have.For about 85% of people with MS, symptoms may come and go in phases, according to Roche, a global research and development company.Like many MS patients, Clark tried various treatments: daily injections for years at a time, natural therapies, monthly infusions.“You have to keep track of your medication, prescriptions. It’s a lot. You have to have a balance between keeping yourself happy and joyful, and knowing you are living with something you have to deal with,” she said.In the meantime, Clark started Union Social House and Toast, a mobile bar. She was raising her son and spending time with goats, chickens, ducks, horses and other animals on her small ranchette east of Durango.“I get tons of joy from that,” she said. “It’s really intense to be always thinking about doctors visits. It’s just nice to have a quacky duck around you.”But by 2019, she was stumbling as she walked, and she knew her disease progression would eventually put her in a wheelchair.16001102Working with animals brings relief to Carol Clark after years of managing doctor visits, treatments and “heavy” health concerns tied to her multiple sclerosis. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)The Mexico programClark began researching a stem cell treatment and talking to other local community members with MS. One of her friends, Brittny Squires of Blanco, New Mexico, wanted the treatment, too.“The research says the sooner you do it, the better it is for you,” Clark said. “I’m 21 years in, but Brittny is seven years in. She’d have better luck than me.”But the treatment, called hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, is still being researched and can be hard to receive in the United States.The medications and procedures used in HSCT are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but the treatment is still not widely accepted or used as professionals watch for more well-controlled clinical studies of HSCT therapy, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.“HSCT has been done in more than 3,000 MS patients worldwide; it should not be considered experimental,” said Guillermo J. Ruiz Arguelles, director general of the Centro de Hematología y Medicina Interna in Puebla, Mexico. “HSCT is nowadays the best therapeutic option for persons with MS.”The center’s Clinica RUIZ has conducted HSCT therapy since 1993, he said. The treatment is also pricey. At the clinic, it costs at least $60,000.But for Squires and Clark, it was the best option. Squires went first. By July 2020, she launched a community fundraiser to help raise $60,000 for the treatment. By January, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was in Mexico.“It was definitely scary, but I figured I had a bigger chance of dying driving my car than getting this potentially lifesaving treatment, so why not try it,” Squires said23623236Brittny Squires of Blanco, New Mexico, prepares to receive chemotherapy treatment in January 2021 as part of a stem cell transplantation therapy at Clinica RUIZ in Puebla, Mexico. (Courtesy of Brittny Squires)In February, Clark started her own fundraiser, raising $65,000 within a month. By April, she was in Puebla seeking treatment from Ruiz Arguelles.“She (Squires) dove in and did it. I talked about it and talked about it, and she pulled the trigger,” Clark said. “I was like OK, now I have to go because I told her I was going to do it.”Out with the oldHSCT therapy is essentially an “Alt-Ctrl-Del of the immune system,” said Ruiz Arguelles, director of research at Clinica RUIZ, in an email to The Durango Herald.The treatment involves collecting a few adult stem cells found in bone marrow and blood, called hematopoietic stem cells, and storing them away. Then, the immune system is crushed using chemotherapy drugs. Finally, the stored stem cells are reintroduced to the body where they can replicate and reconstitute the immune system, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.The goal: To reboot the immune system so it stops attacking the central nervous system, Ruiz Arguelles said. 15681122Carol Clark, who owns Union Social House in Durango, said the stem cell treatment was intense. There were times she didn’t know if she would survive it, she said. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)The process makes you sick, and the pain is intense, both Clark and Squires said.“My personal feeling, I thought I was going to die because it was really, really hard,” said Clark, who experienced multiple fevers and had to have a blood transfusion during the treatment. “There were moments like, ‘OK, this is it, I’m cashing in my chips.’ You’re just in the hands of other people.”Each spent 30 days living in an apartment with food and a caretaker, both provided by Clinica RUIZ. There were 10 patients from around the world receiving the treatment in each group, called “stemmy brothers and sisters” because they got new immune systems at the same time, Clark said.“A port in your chest takes your blood out of your body, spins it through a centrifuge and puts it back in. The centrifuge takes out the stem cells,” Squires said. “At that point, your body hopefully creates a new immune system that doesn’t attack you.”960720Brittny Squires, left, is cleared to return home to Blanco, New Mexico, by Guillermo Ruiz Arguelles, director of research at Clinica RUIZ, after receiving stem cell treatment in Puebla, Mexico. (Courtesy of Brittny Squires)It takes at least six months for the body to rebuild its immune system, and even longer to know for sure if the treatment worked.As of September, Clinica RUIZ has treated 1,099 MS patients, 41% of whom came from the U.S. About 80% had a good response with either improved or stabilized symptoms. The clinic’s mortality rate is 0.18%, Ruiz Arguelles said.“I don’t know that it’s worked, but without hesitation, for us, what else are you going to do?” Squires said. “I have two little kids. The options are to get worse or to do this and try to get better.”Both still have bad days where their bodies are worn out by stem cell treatment. After years of seeking treatment for the disease, it was time to take control of it, they said.“Somebody said to me: ‘I have MS, but MS does not have me,’” Clark said. “That’s a really important thing for anybody with a medical issue. ... MS is not who I am. I have to work with it and deal with it, but I don’t like it to stop me.”smullane@durangoherald.com
Multiple sclerosis patients seek stem cell transplantation treatment
Fort Lewis College volleyball takes on New Mexico HighlandsSkyhawks rally to win the match, 3-2Madi Nash, left, and Kamryn Lopez of Fort Lewis College dive for the ball on Tuesday while playing New Mexico Highlands at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)9621300Alexis Hobie of Fort Lewis College makes a kill on Tuesday while playing New Mexico Highlands at FLC. Hobie had 18 kills in the game. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)1565950Fort Lewis College head volleyball coach Giedre Tarnauskaite talks with her team while playing New Mexico Highlands on Tuesday. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)9171300Madi Nash of Fort Lewis College makes kills a shot Tuesday against NMHU. Nash had 16 kills in the match. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)1366950Alexis Hobie of Fort Lewis College dives for the ball on Tuesday while playing New Mexico Highlands. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)841950Fort Lewis College plays New Mexico Highlands on Tuesday at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)8471300Lauren Burns of Fort Lewis College makes a kill on Tuesday while playing NMHU. She had five kills in the contest. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)1318950Fort Lewis College players dive for the ball on Tuesday. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)6741300Kamryn Lopez of Fort Lewis College receives a serve while playing New Mexico Highlands on Tuesday. She had 27 receptions for FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)1380950
Skyhawks rally to win the match, 3-2
16001503Eli Tomac of Cortez on Saturday won one of two motos at Hangtown in Sacramento, California, to move into second place overall as the 2021 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross series concluded.Eli Tomac’s second-half push propels him to No. 2 finish in motocross seriesCortez rider benefits from strong riding, Roczen crash Eli Tomac of Cortez on Saturday capped a comeback season with a fourth-place finish and a win at Hangtown to overtake Ken Roczen in the motocross standings and finish second overall.Dylan Ferrandis, the rookie sensation in the 450cc class, won the 2021 title.Entering Hangtown Raceway in Sacramento, California, nine points behind Roczen, Tomac set up a strong race day with a fourth-place finish in Moto 1. He started the race in fifth place and passed Christian Craig in Lap 2. Roczen grabbed the early lead over Ferrandis. Cooper Webb was in third.In Lap 6, Tomac raced nearly 2 seconds faster than Webb and passed him for third. Then, with the leaders in his sights, Tomac laid down the fastest lap of the race in Lap 7, at 2 minutes, 14.5 seconds – nearly 2 seconds faster than Ferrandis’ time.His charge was short-lived, however. He crashed in Lap 8, and finished fourth after Webb regained third place. Ferrandis overtook Roczen for the lead and eventual victory in Lap 10. “I felt like I was gonna be able to catch those guys, and of course just missed my one main line,” Tomac said in a post-race interview. “And I washed my front end out.”He also said he injured his thumb in the crash, which hindered his speed after he remounted his bike. 16781133Eli Tomac prepares to race.Part 2 of the race day storyTomac got his break in Moto 2.He avoided a crash at the first turn, which snagged Ferrandis and Roczen. Ferrandis dropped to 23rd place after Lap 1, and Roczen dropped out of the race altogether.Tomac finished Lap 1 in fourth place and passed Max Anstie for third in Lap 3 while Craig and Webb raced for the lead.It was the green light that he’d been waiting for.Webb and Tomac passed Craig in Lap 5 and engaged in a duel for first. Tomac posted his fastest lap in Lap 8, and passed Webb for the lead and eventual victory with seven laps to go.Ferrandis ran perhaps the most striking comeback race of the season. After crashing in the first turn, Ferrandis started Lap 2 in 23rd place. But he charged into sixth place in Lap 5 and into third in the 14th of 15 laps.Ferrandis’ combination of a first and third in the two motos gave him the overall victory, his sixth of the 12-race season. Tomac was second overall, with a fourth and first, and Webb was third, with a third and second.Tomac’s victory in the second moto gave him his sixth moto win of the season and his third since winning the second of two motos in the Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana, on Aug. 28.It also capped the end of a surge that gained momentum in the second half of the series.0VideoYouTube480360The second half of the seasonSince racing in Washougal, Washington, on July 24, Tomac was on the moto podium nine out of 12 tries. In the first half, he was on the podium just four times.He started the second half in fourth place overall, two points behind Justin Barcia at 207-205, and 25 points behind runner-up Roczen at 230-205. Ferrandis led with 262 points.This season, Tomac won two of the 12 races and finished on the podium 13 times. His average finish during the first half of the season was 5.5. In the second half, he cut that average to 2.6, for an average of 4.1 for the entire season.Ferrandis, the rookie for Yamaha who made the leap to the 450cc class this year, won eight of the season’s 24 motos, and finished on the podium 22 times. His average finish was 2.1.Roczen won seven motos and was on the podium 15 times. His average finish for the season was 6.1.What’s next?Tomac can’t comment until Oct. 1, when his contract with Monster Energy Kawasaki expires, but insiders say he’ll join the Star Racing Yamaha team. The move would give Star Yamaha Ferrandis and Tomac, the top two finishers in the 2021 AMA Motocross series.On Saturday, Tomac said he had mixed feelings about leaving the Kawasaki “family,” and though he and the team were on good speaking terms, he was “pretty emotional.” “It was tough that way today, leaving the track, but, um you know, it’s this life-goes-on kind of thing, and that's all you can do.” Tomac’s move helped set in motion a series of changes.Jason Anderson of Albuquerque, who had talked with Star Yamaha, likely will take Tomac’s place on Monster Energy Kawasaki. Aaron Plessinger, on the way out at Star Racing Yamaha, likely will go to Red Bull KTM, and Malcolm Stewart has signed with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna.And after that? The Monster Energy Supercross season begins Jan. 8 in Anaheim, California, and Tomac, who first raced in 2010, will be there.“I still have the itch for chasing green flags and checkered flags and being on the start line,” Tomac said Saturday. “I still like to do it, so that's it: I still like to do it. I still enjoy trying to win races and trying to be the best guy. So, um, that's why I'm still around. “
Cortez rider benefits from strong riding, Roczen crash
Local first responders honor fallen in stair climb on 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 attacksThe annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College started and finished at the top of the Sky Steps at FLC on Saturday. The event honors the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Each participant climbed the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10961600jm@durangoherald.comFirefighters and law enforcement, family members and friends make their way down and up the Sky Steps on Saturday morning at Fort Lewis College during the annual stair climbing event in honor of the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11021600jm@durangoherald.comSome take a moment to rest or think about why they are climbing the Sky Steps on Saturday morning during the annual stair climbing event in honor of the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1540950jm@durangoherald.comWater and Gatorade was handed out during the annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College on the Sky Steps that participants climbed five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1118950jm@durangoherald.comA dousing of water was welcome during the annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College on the Sky Steps. Above average temperatures added to the difficulty of completing the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1425950jm@durangoherald.comFirefighters, law enforcement, family members and friends make their way down and up the Sky Steps on Saturday morning during the annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College. The event honors the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Each participant climbed the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10671600jm@durangoherald.comAbove average temperatures during the annual stair climbing event on the Sky Steps at Fort Lewis College added to the difficulty of completing the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)10121600jm@durangoherald.comFirefighters, law enforcement, family members and friends make their way down and up the Sky Steps on Saturday morning during the annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College. The event honors the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Each participant climbed the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9311300jm@durangoherald.comA dousing of water was welcome during the annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College on the Sky Steps. Above average temperatures added to the difficulty of completing the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1545950jm@durangoherald.comFirefighters, law enforcement, family members and friends make their way down and up the Sky Steps on Saturday morning during the annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College. The event honors the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Each participant climbed the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10671600jm@durangoherald.comThe annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College started and finished at the top of the Sky Steps at FLC on Saturday. The event honors the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Each participant climbed the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11141600jm@durangoherald.comGus Elbert, a Durango Fire Protection District firefighter, is cooled down with water after he completed the annual stair climbing event on the Sky Steps at Fort Lewis College. Participants climbed the steps five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1339950jm@durangoherald.comFirefighters, law enforcement, family members and friends make their way down and up the Sky Steps on Saturday morning during the annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College. The event honors the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Each participant climbed the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10711600jm@durangoherald.comFirefighters, law enforcement, family members and friends make their way down and up the Sky Steps on Saturday morning during the annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College. The event honors the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Each participant climbed the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10561600jm@durangoherald.comFirefighters, law enforcement, family members and friends make their way down and up the Sky Steps on Saturday morning during the annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College. The event honors the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Each participant climbed the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10671600jm@durangoherald.comFirefighters, law enforcement, family members and friends make their way down and up the Sky Steps on Saturday morning during the annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College. The event honors the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Each participant climbed the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9921600jm@durangoherald.comFirefighters, law enforcement, family members and friends make their way down and up the Sky Steps on Saturday morning during the annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College. The event honors the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Each participant climbed the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1320950jm@durangoherald.comFirefighters, law enforcement, family members and friends make their way down and up the Sky Steps on Saturday morning during the annual stair climbing event at Fort Lewis College. The event honors the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Each participant climbed the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10671600jm@durangoherald.comChief Bob Brammer with the Durango Police Department and officers participated in the annual stair climbing event Saturday on the Sky Steps at Fort Lewis College. The event honors the 412 emergency workers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Each participant climbed the stairs five times to simulate climbing the World Trade Center’s 110 flights of stairs. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11401600
Fort Lewis College football and men's soccer games on SaturdayMoises Durazo of Fort Lewis College controls the ball on Saturday while playing Texas Permian Basin at FLC. The two teams tied, 2-2. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)1209950Kieran Fry of Fort Lewis College returns a kickoff on Saturday while playing New Mexico Highlands at FLC. Highlands, however, won the game, 44-7. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)1341950Brayden Miller of Fort Lewis College looks for a receiver downfield on Saturday while playing New Mexico Highlands at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)9431300Clayton Rutz of Fort Lewis College drives to make a tackle on Saturday while playing New Mexico Highlands at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)9581300Fort Lewis College head football coach Darrius G. Smith talks with his team while playing New Mexico Highlands on Saturday at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)8991300Quarterback Brayden Miller of Fort Lewis College looks to hand off the ball on Saturday while playing New Mexico Highlands at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)1101950Brayden Miller of Fort Lewis College hands off to Jeff Hansen on Saturday while playing New Mexico Highlands at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)11941269Aymaro Vargas of Fort Lewis College pushes the ball on Saturday while playing Texas Permian Basin at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)10071300Quinn Bosanko of Fort Lewis College fights off a defender on Saturday while playing Texas Permian Basin at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)1455950Goalie Peter Byrne of Fort Lewis College calls out instructions to his teammates on Saturday while playing Texas Permian Basin at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)8451300Daniel Coronado Morales of Fort Lewis College strikes the ball on Saturday while playing Texas Permian Basin at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)9741300Tomas Duenes of Fort Lewis College celebrates his goal on Saturday against Texas Permian Basin at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)1549950The Fort Lewis College men’s soccer team starters lineup on Saturday before the start of the game against Texas Permian Basin at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)9331300Fred Mady III of Fort Lewis College wraps up the ball carrier as Austin Anderson is double teamed on Saturday while playing New Mexico Highlands at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)11811600Max Hyson of Fort Lewis College knocks the ball loose as he hits the New Mexico Highlands quarterback on Saturday while playing at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)642950Fort Lewis College head football coach Darrius G. Smith talks with his team while playing New Mexico Highlands on Saturday at FLC. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)1111950
People at Purple Cliffs grow frustrated with talk of closing campsiteCampers, government officials and experts favor managed camp16001091David Tarr, who is living at Purple Cliffs, a designated camp for people experiencing homelessness in Durango, talks with his wife, Christine, as he sits with their dog, Eddy, on Aug. 20. Tarr uses a walking stick and faces tripping hazards on the rocky ground and steep slopes at Purple Cliffs. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Christine and David Tarr turned to the camp at Purple Cliffs along La Posta Road in Durango when they lost stable housing in May. The camp has been a source of comfort ever since, they said.“It’s comfortable. It’s a home for us right now – where we know we can lay our heads down and say, ‘Thank you God for a good day,’” Christine Tarr said.But looming over the campers is a potential closure date for the 200-acre site: May 2022.La Plata County established the designated camp in September 2019 as a temporary option for people experiencing homelessness. The city of Durango tried to find a different location until August, when the county took over the effort. The goal is to create a managed camp in a more suitable location, according to the county.After more than a year of waiting to see if a new site will be found, some campers are increasingly frustrated with the uncertainty.“After two years of the city and county going back and forth, we’re back at square one,” said Tim Sargent, who camps at Purple Cliffs and acts as a camp leader.In early August, about 84 camps were sprawled on the steep hillside at Purple Cliffs, west of the Animas River near the Durango Walmart.The campsite includes a makeshift kitchen, shower, hand-washing stations and other amenities built up over the years. It’s a centralized location where people can be connected to services offered by local groups, such as the Neighbors in Need Alliance.“We’ve formed a community. We’ve tried really hard. I have people from (age) 3 to 70 here,” Sargent said. “Some, it’s the first time they’ve experienced homeless, and others have been doing it for decades. It’s not one-size-fits-all. There’s lots of variety up here. They just haven’t gotten to know us.”Sargent said mental health services and a weekly religious service are available for campers.“We have all of these structures, and they want to throw it away for a camp that doesn’t exist,” he said. “I don’t care where the damn camp is, but there needs to be one.”16001067The Purple Cliffs camp faces possible closure in 2022. La Plata County plans to find a more suitable location where people can access services. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)The county says the Purple Cliffs campsite is not a suitable location because of issues with wastewater, and pedestrian and driver safety on the two-lane road with no shoulders. Trash, bear activity and wildfire risk also are issues.Some issues could be mitigated, said County Commissioner Clyde Church. But improvements like widening the road or creating easier access points for trash service would cost “millions of taxpayer dollars,” he said.Plus, the camp does not comply with state camping requirements and the county’s land-use code.“It would be completely costly if not impossible to comply with the state’s campground codes up there,” Church said. He did not know exactly which codes were being broken.Emergency responders cannot access areas of the camp, and natural gas seeps from the ground in a few places. Church said he did not know Friday what the air quality impact was on campers.16001028Some areas of the camp are difficult to access for emergency responders and campers with disabilities. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald) In fall 2020, La Plata County commissioners said the campsite would close in May. When that deadline passed, they pushed it to May 2022.Church said the county aims to stick to that closure date, but it could change. County staff members need to identify a new site and ensure it goes through the approval processes such as the land-use process, which includes opportunities for public comment.“We’re not limiting ourselves to just county property. We’re looking at other properties that could be donated or acquired,” Church said.But with the possible closure looming, it’s harder to persuade people to take care of the site, Sargent said.“Screw the ‘We’re leaving in May’ thing,” Sargent said. “Until we can find another suitable campsite, let the Purple Cliffs stay in place. That would take some of the pressure off of people.”16001187David Tarr has lived at Purple Cliffs with his partner, Christine Tarr, since May. They hope to find an apartment soon. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)If the county does close the encampment, the city and county should help people move to a new site, Christine Tarr said. In the meantime, David Tarr, who has epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, hopes for improvements at Purple Cliffs that would remove safety hazards for people with disabilities. Christine Tarr also hopes drivers will stop yelling at or insulting campers.“Be kind with what comes out of ur (sic) mouth,” she said in a text message to The Durango Herald.Exploring a new siteUnlike the low-barrier Purple Cliffs site, a new camp would be managed, with a limited number of spaces and on-site support such as a camp manager, security features and access to services. County officials have referred to Camp Hope in Las Cruces, New Mexico, as a possible model.The managed camp strategy has the support of Sargent and Kathleen Van Voorhis, director of community strategy with the affordable housing group Project Moxie.Camp Hope, one of the services at the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope, focuses on a housing-first model that prioritizes connecting people with safe, affordable and stable housing.0VideoYouTube480360Other essential services are available at the self-governing, transitional living community made up of tents sheltered inside three-sided structures with showers and cooking facilities.The camp is limited to a capacity of 50 people. It would not serve the summer population at Purple Cliffs, but it’s the recommended capacity, Van Voorhis said. People move out of the camp to stable housing and open up new spaces.Sargent said campers are looking for something similar: a managed camp with minimal barriers, security, simple rules and basic amenities.“We need a space that can accommodate 100 people,” he said. “Fifty wouldn’t solve the problem, but it’s a great start. We can negotiate.”16001067About 85 people camped at Purple Cliffs this summer. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)In the meantime, La Plata County should be ready for an increasing population of people who are experiencing insecure housing or who might fall into homelessness, Van Voorhis said.“I think the biggest thing the county and the community need to understand is we’re seeing an exponential increase in the amount of first-time homelessness over the last two years,” she said.“I think this needs to stop being an us-and-them thing,” Van Voorhis said. “The county needs to realize, whether you’re housed or unhoused, we’re all neighbors.”smullane@durangoherald.com
Campers, government officials and experts favor managed camp
Durango High School football defeats Aztec, 54-0Tyler Harms of Durango High School passes the ball while playing Aztec High School on Friday night at DHS. The Demons won, 54-0. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9071300Junior Garcia-Rodriquez of Durango High School makes a tackle while playing Aztec High School on Friday night at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1207950Cole Matava of Durango High School tries to bring down the Aztec High School quarterback on Friday night at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald8581300Jordan Stanley of Durango High School receives a punt while playing Aztec High School on Friday night at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1149950Joshua Bates of Durango High School closes in on the Aztec High School quarterback on Friday night at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1011950Nate Messier of Durango High School runs down the field after a handoff on Friday night while playing Aztec High School at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1355950An official signals a touchdown after Zach Haber of Durango High School crossed the goal line on Friday night while playing Aztec High School at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10351300Zach Haber of Durango High School gets hit before he can bring in the ball while playing Aztec High School on Friday night at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1137950Quarterback Tyler Harms of Durango High School keeps the ball and scores a touchdown while playing Aztec High School on Friday night at DHS. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10111300