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for people who care about the West

A tailings-pile childhood

 

Ah, fond memories of growing up playing in the Animas (“The River of Lost Souls,” HCN, 5/28/18). I, too, well remember the dust from the tailings pile swirling through the valley and dusting the town. My brother, Woody, used to sneak over and ski the tailings pile. I’ve always wondered: Did the rare cancer that took his life so early come from these exposures?

As kids, we sensed some hostility towards the San Juan Basin Health Department, where our father worked, particularly from the county commissioners. Reading about George Moore makes me wonder: Did that spring from resentment toward Moore’s research? I can imagine he wasn’t too popular in some circles in town.

Dennis Hesselbarth
Poulsbo, Washington