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Be on the lookout for Hula Hoopers, students

Hula Hoop here? The pedestrian warning sign along East Eighth Avenue at the Rim Trail crossing.

Dear Action Line: As you approach Fort Lewis College via the front hill (East Eighth Avenue), there’s a Hula Hoop crossing warning sign. My proposal to teach a course in the Physics, Art and Zen of Stone Skipping was turned down, and now they’re offering a course in Hula Hoop? – Jim Cross, exercise science professor emeritus

Dear Emeritus: Funny how you can drive past something a few hundred times, and then one day you catch a slight detail and think it’s something new.

Not to embarrass anyone – such as the former FLC professor who asked this question – but this sign was given a Hula Hoop decal a while back. Like several years ago.

Action Line isn’t the most coordinated Hula Hooper, and has, in fact, elicited derisive laughs at his last attempt at a party. (Note to self: Try after several more beers next time.) But it’s hard. Anyone who can Hula Hoop and simultaneously do anything else – pat their head, pull up their drawers, balance a baseball bat on their chin – is very athletically gifted. So, it would be very interesting to watch a group of Hula Hoopers stroll across the road.

That crossing is for users of the Rim Trail, so hoopers might have to dodge not only cars but a few mountain bikers. But on to the mystery.

As pointed out by Lindsay Nyquist, director of marketing and communications at FLC, the Hula Hoop decal is related to the band String Cheese Incident.

If you’re into indie jam bands of the 2000s – and who isn’t – you’re probably a fan. This band formed in Colorado, with some Telluride ties, and played several times in Durango from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, said Bryant Liggett, station manager at FLC radio station KDUR, and knower of all when it comes to musicians who’ve set foot around here for the last quarter-century or so.

“They blew up pretty big in the jam band world,” Liggett said.

Be proud they blew up here early on. String Cheese bassist Keith Mosely told The Durango Herald recently, “Durango’s always been on the map as one of those happening Western Slope towns that would come out and see us.”

The musicians figured out that jam band concerts and Hula Hoops go together like string cheese and, um, cholesterol, so it became a thing to do some “hooping” at String Cheese Incident shows.

By 2004, the Hula Hoop decals began showing up on signs around the country, and those in the know realized that was String Cheese Incident’s logo.

In far-flung locales, you may spot astronaut crossing signs, Hula Hooping cattle and deer-with-wings warnings. (Yeah, highway departments don’t always see the humor, but Action Line does.)

Exactly when the Hula Hoop decal was stuck on the sign here is uncertain.

“The world could use more Hula Hooping,” Liggett concluded. “It’s a good, low-impact, aerobic exercise.”

But unfortunately, there is no official class as of yet, so FLC students will have to learn on their own.

Dear Action Line: With schools partially closed, can the school caution lights be changed to appropriate times when kids are present? – Ana S. Kedual

Dear S. Kedual: It would seem that you would just have to tweak a few dials or flick a switch or two on the big control board that runs all city operations. But Action Line is informed it is not quite that easy.

“It has been a really messed up year with COVID,” said Mike Somsen, city of Durango street superintendent. “I can’t wait to get everything back to normal.”

Somsen said the caution lights are designed to be programed for the entire school year and left alone. There are 11 caution lights in town, Somsen said, and each takes up to eight hours to reset and work out the bugs. Each time, workers must make a visual inspection to assure the light cycles correctly twice a day, five days a week. With all the schedule changes, the process is too labor intensive for the city to keep up.

So, just try to go along with the flashing lights. It won’t hurt to slow down and take a deep breath, meditate, whatever works for you. And it may save you a ticket, now or later.

Action Line asked to see the big control board that runs all city operations, but has been told there isn’t one.

Yeah, right.

Redundant at least once

Loyal reader and Herald reporter back in the day Deborah Uroda pointed out the redundancy in a term – “general consensus” – that Action Line used last week.

Action Line apologizes, and promises to cease and desist.

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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