Dear Action Line: Can anyone get a “Colorado – Established 1876” license plate? Or are they reserved for locals who purchased their car when Colorado was admitted to the Union? – R.E.L. Longtymer
Dear Longtymer: Ha. Dear readers, he’s being funny, because back in 1876 you could drive your Mazdas and Porsches and Chevys around without a license plate. Colorado didn’t start issuing vehicle license plates until 1913.
Where this “Established 1876” placard came from, and how long this vehicle lasted on our streets without being issued a citation is unknown. This is not a plate issued by the state, and would not be a valid license plate, confirmed Kyle Boyd, spokesman with the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Motor Vehicles.
If you want to boast about your Colorado longevity, get the “Pioneer” plate, which 34,131 people own and is the state’s second-most-popular special plate. You once had to prove an ancestor lived here 100 or more years ago, but now anyone can get them. The most popular is the “Columbine” plate, with 84,740 issued; it honors the victims of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.
There are dozens of special plates. As of March, 3,594 were driving around Colorado with “Support the 10th Mountain Division” plates, 2,574 with “Greyhound” plates, 637 with “Childhood Cancer Awareness” plates and 7,676 with “Vietnam Veteran” plates.
Here’s a quest for you: Find one of the 206 registered Fort Lewis College plates. Boyd pointed out a complete list of the plates: https://tinyurl.com/5mdd4euv.
Dear Action Line: Certain people make frequent comments on The Durango Herald website. Some Durangoans who post online share the same name with others in the community but have very differing viewpoints. This can lead to mistaken identities and cause awkward situations. Anything you can do to enlighten readers to be aware of this? – Anonymous
Action Line was not sure exactly where to take this question from several months ago, or whether to even attempt an answer. But since then, several specific incidents have come to Action Line’s attention.
If you are a website reader, the best answer is to be careful about jumping to conclusions. There are 18,000 Durangoans, 56,000 La Plata Countians and 328 million Americans, and our parents didn’t always bless us with unique names. The person commenting might not be the John or Jane Doe whom you think it is.
Consider: There is a John Peel who was blamed for the massacre of eight people on a fishing boat off Alaska in 1982. That was not me, and I do have an alibi for that day. Then there is the famous progressive BBC disc jockey John Peel. Not me either, but that’s kind of cool.
If you are a website poster, the best answer is to identify yourself clearly to remove all doubt.
Laurie Scarborough Voss, Ph.D., a local leadership consultant, has been mistakenly confused with a namesake since she moved here in 1998. This has become more sensitive recently because another Laurie Voss posted views that got the former into some hot water.
“She’s entitled to her view,” Laurie Scarborough Voss, wife of Mountain Middle School Head of School Shane Voss, said after Action Line tracked her down. “I make an intentional choice to share mine privately. I do not comment online.”
An attempt to track down the other Laurie Voss was unsuccessful.
Longtime Durangoan John Dunn, retired fireman and ski patroller who now runs Dunn Deal Resale Store, recently had a similar issue and took the step of writing a letter to the editor of the Herald. He believes that at one time there were five John Dunns in Durango.
“I am not the John Dunn who has been responding to the editorial pages of The Durango Herald,” he wrote. “That person is a namesake. I have not seen his comments and cannot deny or concur that I agree with them, but they are not mine.”
The digital world of endless information and faceless commenting is a complicated one. Using the “facts” you find is sometimes tricky and can lead to misunderstandings and ethical dilemmas.
Our friend Brian Burke, psychology professor at Fort Lewis College, said that psychologists 50 years ago showed that “humans have a strong need to blame others, especially when things go wrong. (Robert R. Dies, 1970.) And it feels psychologically better to identify a specific target for our rage, anger or revenge.”
Burke noted that just a couple of weeks ago Egypt’s first female ship captain was accused of blocking the Suez Canal by online trolls who Photoshopped a story about her. She was in Alexandria at the time of the blockage, working on a different ship, nowhere close to the Ever Given.
Only jokingly was I accused of killing those eight people on the fishing boat, but that was in the 1980s. Today, who knows what might happen?
Action Line can only wish good luck to us all, and to urge that people try to keep these complexities in mind when using the web.
There. The sermon has concluded.
Email questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You knew that Colorado was admitted to the United States in 1876, right? Trivia: What number state were we?
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