Newsletter 5


Hello Informed Readers!

Fall is in full swing and I hope you’ve been able to get out and enjoy it! In addition to autumn leaves and variable temperatures, this season is bringing an abundance of opportunities for all of us, as citizens, to be proactively involved in directing the growth of our community. With the election on the horizon, there’s been no shortage of topics to report on in my blog, Your Front Row Seat.”

Before we dive in to this week’s newsletter topic, a quick word about my blog, as well as some new information on recent issues we have been discussing.

We’re now five weeks into the launch of my cornerstone content. My plan has been to roll out the lengthier posts for the first six to seven weeks to give you a foundation of information and reference on my key topics: education, community and recreation. As I’m closing in on that goal, I intend to send you newsletter updates and blog posts only every couple of weeks. This will give me time to attend meetings, interview various leaders, and pull together these blog posts- which can, depending on the subject, be massive projects!

Please know that I appreciate how engaged and responsive you are to my content. I am motivated by the feedback you provide!

On that note, I made the decision last week to activate the comments section on my website, Feel free to post a comment in the “Post a Comment” section, or continue to respond to me directly. Let’s keep the conversations going. Your responses give me ideas for future topics.


I so enjoyed hearing from you last week on the topics of educational testing and e-School. Thank you — Mike Freeburn and Dave Farkas — my first two Guest Opinion authors — for your leadership and contribution to my blog, “Your Front Row Seat.” Check out their posts in this package if you haven’t had the chance to read them yet. Please share them if you find them informative.


If you haven’t seen the original e-bike blog, you can read it here. E-Bikes are currently banned on all Durango city trails, both hard and soft surface – they are allowed on city roads for commuting in bike lanes and on city streets. The Multi-Modal, Parks and Recreation and Natural Lands Advisory Boards are forming a committee consisting of two members from each board in order to review and address the issue of e-bike recreational use on hard and soft surface trails within Durango city limits. The e-bike committee will provide a recommendation for consideration by the three Advisory Boards – and the public – in a meeting to be scheduled before the issue is brought before the City Council for consideration.

In the interim, each of the Advisory Boards was notified last week of recent findings which will require further study before the city determines a course of action.

Several of the city’s soft surface trails are subject to conservation easements that prohibit motorized vehicles. With regard to La Plata Open Space Conservancy, there is little room for negotiation on e-bikes once a conservation easement is put in place. In addition, many of the hard surface trails in and around Durango were funded with grants from Great Outdoors Colorado, State Trails Program and Colorado Department of Transportation. These organizations do not allow motorized transit on projects they fund; how they ultimately classify e-bikes will be an important consideration. Obviously there is a lot more work and research to be done on this topic for the e-bike committee, joint Advisory Boards and city staff.


This week’s cornerstone blog post discusses another very important infrastructure ballot issue with long-term ramifications for our community. (My previous infrastructure blog post was on the Roads and Bridges ballot initiative 1A and can be seen here.)

The local press has recently covered the airport initiative in some detail, with a resulting flurry of comments and Letters to the Editor. This is a very complex project in scope and size, making it difficult to understand all of the issues.

That’s exactly why I’ve provided an in-depth overview for you in my post, “The Durango La Plata Airport – Ballot 1B.” My intention in researching and writing this post is to give you a strong, unbiased resource from which to form your opinion and engage with your neighbors. The timing on this post is intentional, as the November 8th General Election is fast approaching and all registered voters should receive ballots in the mail soon.

This is, in my opinion, a very important topic and Ballot initiative to our community. And, as my community, you’re very important to me. I would like to encourage you to share this blog post with your family, friends and colleagues.

You can simply copy this link and forward it to your network, or post it on your social media:

*Also, please know that you can easily share a post by clicking on the social share buttons located at the top of each post.

And as a reminder: Ballots must be received by 7pm on November 8th and mailed in by October 31st — or you can vote in person beginning October 24th at one of the Voter Service and Polling Centers.

For more information on the 2016 General Election see the La Plata County Colorado website.

Thank you again, so much, for reading and for being part of my community.

Here’s to being fully invested in the enjoyment of these beautiful autumn days AND the privileges and responsibilities we have as American voters!

Melissa Youssef, Blogger
Your Front Row Seat
Focusing on issues and initiatives significant to all who call Durango home.

P.S. Please DO remember that you’re invited to add your comments beneath any of my blog posts. You can also hit reply to this e-mail or contact me directly at Please don’t hesitate to let me know what you’d like to see more of.


Published: October 18, 2016