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American Relief and Recovery Act may have whole new meaning

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By Merilee Dannemann

You can’t accuse anybody of exploiting the world-famous church in Las Trampas for gain.
In front of the church is a dirt parking area, and across the way is a small, funky shop, with “La Tienda” painted by hand over the doorway, where you can find modestly priced pottery, odd-looking wood sculptures that are a Pueblo version of kachina figures, and cold drinks that you can serve yourself from an old refrigerator.
Some folks walk in and ask the shop owner if there is a public restroom anywhere. The owner, Mr. Lopez, directs them into his own house. He starts a conversation.
The high road to Taos, now officially labeled a Scenic Byway, is 80 miles long without a single public restroom, he says. He says politicians - including now-Sen. Tom Udall - stop by his shop all the time, and he’s been telling them for years that a rest stop is needed.
“People stop in Chimayo and eat meat and beans,” Lopez said. “Then they go on down the road and what do you think is gonna happen?”
He lets visitors use the restroom in his house as a personal courtesy.
I tell Lopez that I know a few politicians and will pass his idea along. But I propose another alternative: He should build a restroom himself and put a sign on it requesting donations. I’m guessing he could make a decent return.


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