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A youthful resolution to snowed-in fire hydrants

Anyone, kids or adults, who shovels snow from around a hydrant is doing a good deed, says Karola Hanks, fire marshal with Durango Fire Protection District.

Dear Action Line: I think I have the solution for kids who are bored, being left at home to do homework in the days of COVID. This might make them happy and be beneficial for the town. Kids, bundle up, grab a shovel and go clear snow from around a fire hydrant. Breathe fresh air, get exercise, forget school and maybe even save your home. – Snow Burner emeritus

Dear Burner: So, where’s the question? Yeah, kids, this sounds like a great idea.

Action Line figured it might be good to check with the authorities, just in case something seemed amiss to them.

“The city and fire department would be extremely appreciative if somebody was shoveling around the hydrants,” said Karola Hanks, fire marshal with Durango Fire Protection District.

City of Durango plow drivers’ first priority when a storm hits is to get the roads clear. After that, utilities staff members get out and unbury any hydrants that have been covered. But that may take a while, so any work by the public to dig out the hydrants is welcomed.

Keep the hydrants in mind year-round, Hanks said. Try to maintain a 3-foot cleared buffer. One time, Hanks discovered a hydrant, which seemed to have disappeared but that she was certain was there, hidden in the middle of a juniper bush. If you plant pretty flowers around a hydrant, just realize they’re not exactly a priority when the fire department is scrambling to douse a burning building.

Anyone, kids or adults, who shovels snow from around a hydrant is doing a good deed, Hanks said.

Dear Action Line: Not to recycle a recycling question, but yet again the city didn’t pick up Friday’s single-stream curbside castoffs. What’s the explanation this time? Did the city’s sustainability pooh-bah decide to take a vacation to Mexico, leaving recyclers out in the cold? – Macon X.Q. Sess

Dear Macon: The Ted Cruz reference leaves Action Line a bit chilled, but let’s take a shot at picking up this mess with a partly recycled answer.

The issue in this case was Monday, Feb. 15, Presidents Day. City trash and recycle collection didn’t occur that Monday, and the schedule was bumped back a day for everyone. What was normally collected on Monday was collected Tuesday, and so on. The normal Friday collections were made Saturday.

However, some of us on the Friday schedule who signed up for text/phone/email reminders were told on Thursday that our recycling would be collected Friday, the normal day. What?! Wasn’t it supposed to be bumped to Saturday?

Again, Action Line is becoming dizzy writing about this befuddling restructuring of days. To cut to the chase, recycling was indeed picked up on Saturday, as both Action Line and our friend Macon discovered in the end.

You can see the 2021 schedule and sign up for the reminders here: durangogov.org/364/Garbage-Collection.

Action Line’s always-on-top-of-things neighbor Barb did his work for him, and contacted the city about this confusion, which happens only on weeks with holidays. (The next potential confusion will come Memorial Day weekend. That’s three months away, but brace yourself now if necessary.) City employees admitted they dropped the ball this time with the reminders; they’re still adjusting to this as well.

Whew! Done! Action Line is sincerely hoping this puts a lid on garbage and recycling questions for a while.

Uplifting airline news

A couple of weeks ago, Action Line wrote about Durango’s absence from a United Airlines ski promotion email. Some of us Southwest Colorado fans – including Tony Vicari, director of aviation at Durango-La Plata County Airport – were miffed that United considered Montrose and Grand Junction “top U.S. ski destinations,” but not Durango.

Does Action Line get results? Oh, yes.

This update from Vicari:

“The next round of similar material was disseminated (Feb. 19) by United to their Mileage Plus members, and lo and behold Durango is now included in the list of highlighted ski markets alongside traditional heavyweights such as Aspen, Jackson Hole and Sun Valley.”

Although Action Line loves to take full credit for things, the question’s originator, “Heading Downhill,” and Vicari, who lobbied his contacts at United (before Action Line’s prompting), probably deserve the kudos.

“Our effort to recognize the great skiing available in Southwest Colorado was successful,” Vicari said. “Now, let’s just hope that the snowfall continues, creating great ski conditions for locals and visitors alike.”

Yeah, and so those bored kids can dig out those fire hydrants.

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.

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