Team recovers 3 bodies from mountainside
By Karl Isberg
An operation involving members of the Upper San Juan Search and Rescue group began Wednesday morning as suitable weather conditions allowed them to recover three bodies from a private plane that crashed in the southeast part of Archuleta County on March 27. By mid-afternoon, the recovery was complete.
Poor weather and avalanche danger at the crash site in a snow chute near Chromo had prevented recovery of the bodies of Richard and Deborah Miller of Perry, Iowa, and their 14 year-old son, Ryan.
The Miller family perished when the Piper Cherokee 6, single-engine aircraft piloted by Richard Miller crashed in mountainous terrain in the southeast section of Archuleta County. The plane had taken off on March 27 from the La Plata County airport in Durango and was headed for Iowa.
A search for the wreckage was hampered by storms and heavy snowfall that moved into the area late last month. It was not until April 7 when a crew member on a Colorado Army National Guard helicopter spotted the remains of the plane under heavy new snow, in a snow chute at nearly 12,000-foot elevation on Chalk Mountain.
Unstable weather, including high winds, and the danger of avalanche kept USJSR teams from approaching the wreckage until April 14.
Recovery operations involved a helicopter from Durango-based New Air and a USJSR team consisting of Tim Evans, Sean Curtis, Brad Denison, Leslie Allison, Mark Mueller and John Haner. Other team members remained at a base camp established at the Banded Peak Ranch.
According to Archuleta County Coroner Carl Macht, high winds early yesterday morning put the operation in doubt, but when winds subsided, activity began at approximately 9 a.m.
Macht said Evans was put on the ground first, at a spot some distance from the crash site and at a higher elevation. Evans prepared a landing zone for the helicopter and other team members were ferried to the zone.
Macht said Mueller (a noted avalanche expert) and Haner skied to the crash site from the landing zone to assess the safety of a recovery operation. When the relative safety of team members was confirmed, Macht said the rest of the party took approximately 40 minutes to reach the crash site on snow shoes. They arrived shortly after noon.
Macht said reports from the site indicated the aircraft broke in two parts, with the tail section visible above the snow line (as seen by the Army Guard crew and by Evans on April 7). The remainder of the fuselage, including the passenger compartment, was in a separate piece and was located slightly up the slope from the tail. Macht said it is his opinion that all three victims died on impact, from "trauma to multiple systems."
Once the frozen bodies were removed from the wreckage, a cargo net suspended on a line beneath the helicopter was used to take the bodies to the Banded Peak Ranch. All victims were transported to the ranch by 3 p.m. Macht and former district attorney investigator Dick Cole brought the bodies to Pagosa Springs.
Macht said Wednesday afternoon he would comply with a National Transportation and Safety Board requirement that fluid samples from the pilot be obtained and sent for analysis. He said, once finished with the task, he would release the bodies of the victims to relatives of the Millers.
Kiser pleads guilty to fraud by check
By Karl Isberg
An appearance before District Court Judge David Dickinson in Durango on April 9 added a conviction to the record of former Pagosa resident Thomas Glenn Kiser and ended a local criminal process that began with check fraud charges being filed against Kiser in 1996.
On April 9, Kiser entered a guilty plea in district court to one count of fraud by check, a Class 5 felony, and was sentenced to three years in prison, with two years mandatory parole following time served. The plea was entered on one of four counts of fraud by check originally filed against Kiser; the other three counts were dismissed.
Kiser's prison time will be served concurrent to time he received as part of a Jan. 22, 1999, conviction in U.S. District Court in Houston, Texas. Kiser was convicted in the Texas court on federal charges of conspiracy and money laundering, sentenced to seven years in a federal prison and ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution to defrauded investors.
Kiser was part of a fraudulent international investment scheme. He and a group of associates worked their business through a series of companies, several of which operated out of a Pagosa Springs office. Those companies included Pro Vantage One and Pro Vantage One International L.L.C.
Investors were promised loans and unusually high rates of return on alleged negotiable bank instruments with names such as "Prime Bank Guarantees," "Prime Bank Instruments" and "Prime Bank Notes."
The investors were promised returns at the same time their funds were being divided between Kiser and the other defendants in the case. At least $5 million was taken from investors by the group, and some of that money came to Kiser in Pagosa Springs.
Not enough of that money was available to cover checks written by Kiser to several local contractors and suppliers in 1995, '96 and '97. One of the bad checks totaled more than $200,000 and left at least 27 contractors and suppliers without payment. Bad checks issued to local residents totaled at least $260,000. Charges against Kiser were pressed by then-District Attorney Greg Lyman on March 26, 1996.
PLPOA board mum on Ranch complaints
By Roy Starling
Property owners from the Ranch Community, still fuming over the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board's recision last month of a January resolution, aired their grievances in force last Thursday night, but got only silence from the directors.
The January resolution earmarked $135,000 from the Fairfield Communities Inc. settlement fund for the paving of roads in the Ranch Community subdivision. At the March meeting, however, the board voted to rescind that resolution, a move that resulted in PLPOA Vice-President Joe Donavan's resignation from the board and in threats of a lawsuit.
Donavan is also the president of the Ranch Community Property Owners Association.
Donavan and fellow Ranch Community property owners Valerie Firth, Ingrid St. Laurent and Sepp Leppitsch all addressed the board during the public comments portion of the regular monthly meeting.
Their comments made it clear that a lawsuit was imminent - if not already in the works - that they felt betrayed by the board, and that the Ranch Community was considering withdrawing from the PLPOA.
The PLPOA directors, however, refused to enter into a discussion of the matter. President Nan Rowe said the lack of response was "a very conscious decision on my part. I didn't want to imply that we didn't care, but if we had started down that road, we'd still be there now."
Rowe said that if the Ranch Community property owners "really wanted to discuss this in depth, they would ask to get on the agenda. We try to minimize our responses during the public comments portion of the meeting."
Donavan, on the other hand, said the lack of response "was just plain rude. If they had yawned in my face, it wouldn't have been much different. By their ignoring us, they're saying 'Go ahead and sue us. We want another lawsuit.' And you know what? They're going to get one."
Ranch Community property owner Valerie Firth opened the public comments by suggesting that if building roads was the board's objective, it could "apply $20 of every property owner's dues" towards building them, and "in a very few years you can build every road in Pagosa Lakes."
By following this plan, Firth said, the board could avoid getting "the association in an expensive lawsuit" or placing "the property owners at risk of a major settlement cost." The plan would also avoid "sullying the board's integrity" and wouldn't create the possibility of "having a board recall action commence," Firth said.
Ingrid St. Laurent, also from Ranch Community, cited legal opinions from former PLPOA general counsel Gerald Sawatzky, Fairfield's local counsel Keith Newbold, Ranch Community counsel Mike Chapman, and PLPOA "special counsel" Jerry Orten, all agreeing in principle with current PLPOA general counsel Tanis Duncan's view that the $135,000 should be spent on paving roads in Ranch Community.
St. Laurent closed her remarks by saying "It is the intention of the Ranch Community Property Owners Association to challenge your action regarding Ranch Community funds, which will likely involve a challenge of the entire SFAC (Settlement Fund Advisory Committee) report."
Ranch Community property owner Sepp Leppitsch told the board that the PLPOA's "long history of abuse and discrimination against the Ranch Community" was a major reason why the RCPOA "is seeking punitive damages along with funds that rightfully need to be spent in the Ranch Community."
Leppitsch added that this history was also "ample reason for the Ranch Community to withdraw from the PLPOA," demanding "our proportional share of PLPOA assets."
Donavan was especially surprised that Leppitsch's comments evoked no response from the board. "Our leaving the PLPOA has some pretty serious repercussions for them, but they just ignored that," he said. "That just blows me away."
Donavan's own statement to the board reiterated earlier ones he'd made in that setting, giving his version of the conflict's history, and ending with an assertion that "the board has acted in a dishonest and untrustworthy manner. The integrity of the board and the PLPOA has been compromised, . . . (and) you may be in violation of your legal obligations. You need to correct your actions."
"Otherwise," Donavan concluded, "resign from the board to make way for people who will act with honor, dignity, and integrity."
School board replaces baseball coach
By Roy Starling
Robert Dempsey, former Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association comptroller, has filed a suit against the PLPOA and against General Manager Waynette Nell, President Nan Rowe and former director Vince DeBenedette individually.
Dempsey's "Complaint and Jury Demand," filed with the combined courts of Archuleta County on April 1, lists five causes of action: a breach of contract vs. PLPOA; intentional interference with contract vs. Nell, Rowe and DeBenedette; breach of contract vs. Rowe and DeBenedette; breach of confidentiality vs. Rowe and DeBenedette, and finally, retaliation.
Dempsey, who was also the PLPOA's chief financial officer, was employed by the association from Sept. 1, 1991, to July 27, 1998 - two days after the annual election.
In his complaint, Dempsey alleges he "fulfilled his duties and responsibilities at all times during his employment" and was "discharged without cause." He said the PLPOA personnel manual provides a "graduated disciplinary process, whereby an employee was notified of areas of poor performance and given a probationary plan to meet expected performance goals." Dempsey said he was provided with "no such notice."
Under the first cause of action, Dempsey claims PLPOA "intentionally breached" his contract, "without any reasonable justification or excuse" and "did so willfully and wantonly, and in an insulting manner."
As a result of the breach of contract, Dempsey says he "has sustained and will sustain the following injuries and damage: (a) expenses to search for re-employment; (b) relocation expenses; (c) loss of wages and future income; and (d) mental suffering."
In the second cause of action, Dempsey alleges that "Nell, Rowe and DeBenedette by their words and conduct intentionally induced the Board of the PLPOA to terminate his contract."
In the third cause, he argues that Rowe and DeBenedette, "in direct conflict with the PLPOA Personnel Manual," took "advantage of their positions in an attempt to affect the Plaintiff's evaluation."
He adds under the fourth cause that the two directors "discussed privileged and confidential personnel matters involving the Plaintiff with members of the public and with Plaintiff's coworkers" resulting in his "inability to secure reemployment in the Four Corners area." Dempsey now resides in Ontario, Ore.
Finally, in his allegation of retaliation, Dempsey says "a purported 'rude' comment" he made about a PLPOA property owner "during a public session of the Archuleta County Planning Commission on May, 14, 1997" was one of the "enumerated reasons set forth" for his termination.
Dempsey argues that his "right to participate as a planning commissioner, and his right to free speech in issuing statements regarding his political opinions in the context of those meetings, are protected within the Colorado Civil Rights Act." Therefore, he concludes, he was fired "in retaliation for participating in political discussions and statements protected by the Colorado Civil Rights Act."
Dempsey is being represented by the firm of Crane, Leake, Casey, Ehlers and Eggleston in Durango. Tracy J. Cross of that firm said she and her client would decline comment on the case at this time.
Rowe told the SUN that while she hasn't "actually yet been served, I understand Dempsey's suing me as an individual in addition to my position in the association. As an attorney myself, I can only describe it as shamelessly stupid."
"Of the allegations I've heard about," Rowe said, "my favorite is that as a PLPOA board member, I violated his right of free speech because I criticized his calling one of our property owners a derogatory name in front of a public audience. That was when Mr. Dempsey first started threatening me, so this latest nonsense comes as no real surprise to me."
Dempsey's suit, Rowe said, "just goes to show you that if you look under enough rocks, you'll find the legal profession living down to its reputation. It's obvious that water isn't the only thing that seeks its own level.
"If Mr. Dempsey thinks the PLPOA or I am just going to cut him a check to go away," Rowe said, "then he still just doesn't get it. The PLPOA trough is finally closed to him."
Humane Society, county reach agreement
By John M. Motter
Agreement was reached Tuesday between the Upper San Juan Humane Society and the Archuleta County Commissioners allowing the Humane Society to apply for approximately 10 acres of Bureau of Land Management land in the Stevens Field area.
The agreement erased differences between the two entities regarding the actual location of the 10 acres sought by the Humane Society. Only a week ago, the county had looked at a plan for the 40 acres commissioned by Commissioner Gene Crabtree which relegated the Humane Society property to the northwestern corner of the 40 acres. Tuesday's agreement allows the Humane Society to seek 10 acres on the northeastern corner, a location they insist is necessary for their purposes. In addition, the two agencies promised to cooperate on issues such as access to respective properties.
So far, neither the county nor the Humane Society owns any of the 40 acres. The county applied for the land two years ago and expects to emphasize that application by submitting a draft of anticipated land uses. Possible uses include parks and recreation facilities, county courthouse offices, county fair facilities, and court and jail facilities.
The county has agreed to apply for about 30 acres. The Humane Society is applying directly to the BLM for the remaining approximately 10 acres. That agency is looking for a site on which to expand animal shelter activities.
In approved circumstances, the BLM can transfer property title to other government agencies or to other entities.
Under the agenda heading of unfinished business, Crabtree asked County Manager Dennis Hunt if the county is purchasing fuel through the bid process. Hunt said yes, but not many suppliers can meet the bid conditions because the county has no fuel storage facilities. The bid process calls for the road and bridge supervisor to develop criteria, then notify all parties who might bid. United Oil, operator of the Texaco bulk plant at the east town limits, has supplied county fuel needs and services for several years, according to Hunt.
In other business Tuesday the commissioners:
- Appointed Lynn Constan, a professional planner, to a vacancy on the Upper San Juan Planning Commission.
- Authorized Carmen Hubbs of the local Victim Assistance Program to purchase a vehicle through the state vehicle purchasing program. An interagency agreement will be adopted sanctioning the purchase of a four-wheel drive Blazer for approximately $20,000. Hubbs will use the vehicle to transport persons in need of her services to such places as the Safe House in Durango.
- Granted Louise Jagger, owner of the Chimney Rock Liquor Store, a retail liquor license.
- Corner Store was granted a 3.2 beer license renewal.
- A variance from Planned Unit Development regulations was granted to Mike Branch for the construction of airport hangars. The variance authorizes county planning department personnel and the Archuleta County Airport Authority board of directors to review and make recommendations concerning construction plans for Branch's hangars. The variance allows the developer to bypass the planning board and take plans approved by planning department personnel and the Airport Authority board directly to the county commissioners for final approval. The intent of the variance is to speed completion of the planning process.
Emma Kate Jackson
Emma Kate Jackson died March 31, 1999, at Four Corners Health Care Center in Durango.
Mrs. Jackson was born Nov. 27, 1918, in Sanger, Texas. As a child she moved to central Texas and lived in the Stephenville area until 1995. At that time she moved to Pagosa Springs to be with her family. A teacher most of her life, Mrs. Jackson started her teaching career in a little one-room school house on the Russell Ranch near Thurber, Texas, and taught for 43 years.
She is survived by her two children and their spouses, Jerry and Kathy Jackson and Doug and Mosetta McInnis of Pagosa Springs; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held in Stephenville.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to purchase children's books for libraries in the areas she lived. Please send to Mosetta McInnis, 200 Square Top Circle, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.
Intermediate honor roll
Pagosa Springs Intermediate School Principal Butch Madrid this week released the following list of names of students who qualified for the school's third quarter honor roll.
Sixth grade students earning straight A's were Kelli Ford, Brett Garman, Levi Gill, Jessica Harms, Janna Henry, Hannah Kraus, Molly Kraus, Christina Morrison and Jesse Mueller.
Sixth grade students making the third quarter honor roll were Melissa Voelker, Eric Rivas, Jeremiah Postolese, Deren Hockett, Brandie Womble, Doroteo Ortega, Brandi Pack, Michelle Brusto, Danelle Condon, Brittany Corcoran, RiAnn Daugaard, Kristin Gustavson, Danielle Gialich, Amanda Huang, Christena Lungstrum, Katie Price, Derrick Rader, Ryan Ranson, Cassidy Rotman, Rachel Schur, Jacob Smith, Courtney Steen and Landry Ward.
Fifth grade students earning straight A's during the third quarter were Sara Baum, Chris Baum, Veronica Zeiler, Daniel Aupperle and Mat Nobles.
Fifth grade students making the third quarter honor roll were Jake Cammack, Niko Carrizo, Ursula Hudson, Brandon Reid, Casey Schutz, Craig Schulz, Wade Williams, Emily Bukema, Kelly Freudenberger, Roxanne Lattin, Derrick Monks, Emlie Schur, Emmy Smith, Brea Thompson, Charmaine Talbot, Jessica Blesi, Chris Mueller and Keri Beth Faber.
Madrid said the intermediate school has consistently had about 28 percent of our student body make the honor roll each quarter.
28 junior high students earn perfect 4.0 GPA
Pagosa Springs Junior High School Principal Larry Lister announced this week that 28 students were listed on the school's third quarter Honor Roll for making perfect 4.0 grade point averages.
The 11 eighth grade students who made the honor roll with a 4.0 included Travis Blesi, Megan Daugaard, Jordan Kurt-Mason, Jeremy Marquez, Todd Mees, Sarah Riley, Justin Smith, Brandon Charles, David Houle, Sara Aupperle and Mylinda Blankenship.
Other eighth grade students who made the honor roll were Brandon Rosgen, Jesse Powe, Teresa Morris, Adam Miller, Stacey Smith, Jeremy Buikema, Sara Daugaard, Jared Earley, Lee Ann Foutz, Kiley White, Jared Payne, Tricia Lucero, Kelly Koch, Amanda McCain, Jesse L. Trujillo, Kira Lekos, John Kyriacou, Chasity Manzanares, Katie Bilazzo, Sarah Blackman, Zeb Gill, Kameron Cundiff, Kyle Frye, Meagan Hilsabeck, Nicole Dominguez, Travis Reid, Clay Pruitt, Amanda Snyder, Sarah Smith, Amber Beye, Ryan Wendt, Billy Roeder, Stephanie Montoya, Jessica Buikema, Drisa Carrizo, Lila Garcia, Jared Lincoln, Clayton Mastin, Ashley Wagle, Jason Schutz, Katie Bliss, Marylou Villalobos and Zachary Hannay.
The 17 seventh grade students who made the honor roll with a 4.0 grade point average were Caleb Bergon, Anna Bishop, Melissa Diller, Monica Fehrenbach, Jenna Finney, Sierra Fleenor, Kelly Johnson, David Kern, Sandy Lewis, Clinton McKnight, Drew Mitchell, Seth Paul, Randi Pierce, Leslie Shepard, Malonie Thull, Ryan Wienpahl and Ashli Winter.
Other seventh grade students who made the honor roll were Wade Henderson, Heather Hoffschneider, Monte Holladay, Genevieve Gilbert, Shannon Kennedy, Matthew Lattin, Jennifer Lucero, Stephen Wallace, Matthew Gialich, Corey Coughlin, Jordan Goodman, Liesl Jackson, Danielle Jaramillo, Brandon Samples, Steven Sellers, Stephanie Smith, Sarah Purvis, Jeremy Caler, Roxanna Day, Drew Fisher, Krystle Franklin, Angelica Garcia, Ryan Goodenberger, Aaron Hamilton, Alexis Loewen, Andrea Lopez, Cynthia Neder, Ty Peterson, Michael Quintana, Coy Ross, Jessica Stevens, Amy Tautges, Erin Whitbred, Lauren Caves, Somer Evans, Cassandra Hovda, Andrew Martinez, Daniel McGinnis, Steven Parker, Elizabeth Smith, Jennifer Stymfal, Max Vasquez, Casey Belarde, Ashley Dikes, Kelsey Ferrell, Scott Liebelt, Ashley Lord, Abigail Lucero, Bryan Ray, Talina Sky, Hannah Mills, Courtney Sell, Sierra Lattin and Jeremy Gallegos.
County road crews to work four 10-hour days
By John M. Motter
Starting Monday Archuleta County road crews will work four, 10-hour days each week until the end of daylight savings time. The scheduling change has been okayed by the commissioners based on a recommendation from Commissioner Gene Crabtree and approval by supervisors and men from the department.
Outside crews will work Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. The shop crew will be split. Some will work Monday through Thursday, others Tuesday through Friday. Supervisory staff and office personnel will remain on a Monday through Friday, 8-hours-a-day, schedule.
The commissioners hope to gain efficiency through the change by increasing the amount of time spent on specific jobs. The change did not create a need to increase the number of employees.
"We anticipate a lot of work in the southern part of the county," said Kevin Walters, supervisor of the department. "Because traveling to that part of the county requires about an hour each way, this schedule should increase the time spent at the job site."
The largest project anticipated this year involves applying about 35,000 tons of three-quarter inch gravel to county roads 500 and 700. County Road 500 is also known as Trujillo Road. County Road 700 is Cat Creek Road.
Based on its low bid, Desert Mountain Corporation was awarded a contract to supply magnesium chloride, used to stabilize surfaces and abate dust on gravel roads. Application of the chemical will begin in about two weeks in the Arboles area and will require about 45 days. About 471,000 gallons covering 104 miles of road will be purchased at a cost of $157,738.
A bid for chip-and-seal materials was awarded to GMCO at a cost of $1.30 per square yard. Chip-and-seal work on the following roads is expected to begin in mid-July:
- South Pagosa Boulevard from U.S. 160 south to the end of existing pavement covering an estimated 14,894 yards
- Piñon Causeway from U.S. 160 northeast to Carlee Place covering an estimated 6,571 yards
- Vista Boulevard from U.S. 160 north to the end of existing pavement covering about 6,875 square yards
- Aspenglow Boulevard from Nocturn Place northeast to Monument Avenue covering an estimated 4,277 square yards
- Holiday Avenue from Masters Circle southwest across Park Avenue covering an estimated 7,779 yards.
The length of these projects totals about 1.59 miles. The cost to GMCO is estimated at $52,515. In addition, these projects require 2,447 tons of washed rock costing $13 per ton for a total cost of $31,810. The chip and seal budget for 1999 is $110,000.
Other road work scheduled for April includes the following projects:
- Complete reconstruction of Trails Boulevard from U.S. 160 to the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation water station. New gravel will be added along this stretch of road.
- Prior to the application of magnesium chloride, gravel will be added to certain spots along County Road 500, including Juanita Hill, County Road 359 - Coyote Park, and County Road 542 - Montezuma Road.
- Ditch work will be completed on County Road 400, also known as Fourmile Road, to repair long-standing drainage problems.
- A pond will be drained and a multi-plate excavated on County Road 500 near Arboles.
- At a meeting with the Mined Land Reclamation Board during late April, J.R. Ford's offer to donate about 4,000 cubic yards of gravel for use on County Road 400 will be discussed.
- A cattle guard will be removed from the entrance to Continental Estates.
- Road preparation for the application of magnesium chloride will get underway.
Wienpahl discusses Y2K medical preparations
By John M. Motter
A three-month's supply of oral antibiotics, pain killers and something for nausea relief were the medical items recommended by Dr. Mark Wienpahl for those concerned about Year 2000 survival in the event of the worldwide collapse of computers.
Wienpahl spoke to a group of representatives from the county, town, chamber of commerce, schools, utilities and others involved with contingency planning if the computers should fail.
The group has been meeting once a month at the request of Ken Fox, chairman of the board of county commissioners. The purpose of the meetings is to coordinate the Y2K planning of each of the local government agencies.
Tuesday's meeting focused on medical readiness.
"In general, I do not think the impact of Y2K will be huge," Wienpahl said, "and neither does western medicine."
"Nevertheless," Wienpahl continued, "those of us at Dr. Mary Fisher (Clinic) want to be judicious. We'll have auxiliary electrical power. We've made no big plans yet to stockpile lots of medical supplies. We'll probably order two or three times the quantity of usual supplies we go through in one month."
Dr. Wienpahl said the facility might decide to perform some medical practices currently sent to Durango if road surface conditions are bad or if fuel supplies are limited.
For individuals Wienpahl is recommending "the same as I would for someone going into the mountains for a few days."
"By October," Wienpahl said, "everyone should have a three-month supply of broad spectrum oral antibiotics, a painkiller - perhaps a strong narcotic, and an anti-nausea treatment."
The local emergency medical services group has a recommended emergency kit available to the public.
Local ambulance and quick response vehicles will be operable, according to Bill Bright, Upper San Juan Hospital District director.
"Our biggest problem will be acquiring fuel," Bright said.
The county and town are working with Union Oil to develop fuel supplies.
"The bulk plant has said they will fill their storage tanks if we will pay in advance," said Jay Harrington, the town manager. "There may be other private storage capability as well."
A system to prioritize the disbursement of fuel will be needed, Fox said, in order to keep the roads open and the most important vehicles running.
Plans are underway to use the local nursing home to house homebound patients dependent upon electrically operated medical devices.
Municipal court converted t ocourt of record
By Karl Isberg
Pagosa Springs trustees passed a resolution on April 6, converting the Pagosa Springs Municipal Court to a qualified municipal court of record.
With the change from a court of non-record to the higher status, the Municipal Court will continue to hear misdemeanor cases, but a court record of all proceedings will now be kept and will be available for any appeals of decisions to the Archuleta County Court.
In the past, an appeal of a municipal court decision entailed a new trial in Archuleta County Court.
Another change required by the new formal designation is that the municipal court judge must now be a licensed Colorado attorney. The current judge, William Anderson, is a licensed attorney.
Some municipal court fines, as yet undetermined, will also change with the new formal designation.
The town trustees also reviewed two ordinances on April 6, which they will consider for passage at their May 4 monthly meeting.
Proposed Resolution 521, if passed, will grant a non-exclusive franchise for cable television service to Pagosa Vision.
Pagosa Vision is the only company to have provided cable television service to residents of Pagosa Springs and the surrounding area. Its lapsed franchise agreement allowed the company to utilize town rights-of-way for cable, in return for a franchise fee. The company received an extension from the trustees and has operated for several months since the agreement lapsed while discussions between the company and town officials took place. That extension was continued by the trustees until May 4.
If the resolution passes, Pagosa Vision will be given non-exclusive use of the rights-of-way, with certain conditions.
According to Town Administrator Jay Harrington, Pagosa Vision officials said they might use their cable system in the future to provide Internet services to subscribers. If that is the case, said Harrington, as part of the franchise agreement, Pagosa Vision will provide free Internet cable access at several municipal buildings. As part of a new franchise agreement Pagosa Vision will also pay the town a 5 percent franchise fee per annum and will provide a public access channel should the need for such a channel be established.
Harrington said negotiations with Pagosa Vision will be completed before the May 4 meeting of the trustees.
On April 6, the trustees held a public hearing to consider the topic of the creation of a historic preservation board for Pagosa Springs. Such a board would make historic preservation recommendations to the trustees, urging the board to grant historic status to structures located within town boundaries.
At a special meeting on March 30, the trustees acted as a historic preservation board in order to grant historic status to the old water works building at 1st Street and U.S. 160, the front part of which is occupied by the San Juan Historical Museum. The trustees took the action to facilitate a grant request to the state by the San Juan Historical Society, seeking funds for a planned museum expansion.
Names of prospective members of a historical preservation board are being solicited by the Historical Society and will be presented to the trustees if and when the resolution establishing the board is passed.
Aspen complaints prompt mag-chloride study
By Karl Isberg
Magnesium chloride is used during winter months by the Colorado Department of Transportation as a de-icer on sections of U.S. 160 in and around Pagosa Springs. The chemical is often used in Archuleta County to ease dust problems on gravel roads.
Whether the use of magnesium chloride by the state, and possibly by other governmental entities, will continue might hinge on results of a study begun recently by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.
According to Mike Silverstein of the health department's Denver-based Air Pollution Control Division, the impetus for the study is a set of complaints received from residents of the Aspen, Roaring Fork Valley area and Denver areas.
Silverstein said complaints of "asthma-like symptoms, tightness in the chest and burning sensations," were received from ten people. No reports were filed by residents of Pagosa Springs or Archuleta County.
"This was surprising for us," said Silverstein, "so we are undertaking the study and reassessing our policy to see if we will continue to advocate the use of mag-chloride, or pull back."
Health department officials will attempt to determine whether or not magnesium chloride poses a significant risk to air quality and the health of local residents.
Information collected in Pagosa Springs will be a major component of the study. Health department officials will work on the problem during the next seven months, incorporating data obtained from air quality monitoring devices in Pagosa Springs, Aspen and Denver.
An air-monitoring device sits atop Town Hall and has been a part of a state-mandated, decade-long air quality improvement program designed to reduce the level of small dust particles (PM-10) in the air in downtown Pagosa Springs. Aspen and Denver are subject to the same PM-10 reduction requirements as Pagosa Springs and monitoring of air conditions has taken place in those cities.
Two years ago, CDOT began using magnesium chloride as a de-icer on highways in the three locations; as a result, health department chemists have data available from years when sand was used on the highways and from the period in which the magnesium chloride was used.
Chemists will analyze air filters from the three locations and test them for the presence of a number of chemical elements. The chemists will also analyze representative samples of the application materials, silt samples and roadway soil samples.
One concern of the health department is to ascertain whether or not accumulation of de-icer material in roadside soils and the leaching of those materials from the soil could play a part in the "risk assessment and exposure profile."
Silverstein said that research done on magnesium chloride use to this point has not indicated any problems, but he said that work completed by a noted researcher at the University of Colorado dealt only with the effects of the chemical on water resources. "A study about to be published by CDOT shows no negative impact of run-off regarding water quality," said Silverstein. "And we did have water quality problems associated with the use of salt and sand. We have always advocated putting less sand on the roadways, and CDOT has gone to using mag-chloride as a de-icer. They like its performance."
Following receipt of complaints about potential health problems associated with magnesium chloride, Silverstein said department toxicologists "got a good first look at the situation. They designed a study and took samples of mag-chloride and of the roadside soil along the highway in the Roaring Fork Valley. Now they will conduct the analysis of the filters from the three locations. They will analyze the filter material to find mag-chloride as well as other elements, including corrosion inhibitors, to see if anything shows up."
According to Silverstein, the health department is not going to sanction the use of magnesium chloride simply on the basis of 10 citizen reports. "But," he said, "We're not discounting anyone's complaints or conditions; there is a certain population of people who are extremely sensitive to chemicals. We won't halt a program just on the basis of a few complaints without examination; something has to be put on the roads. Before we take a position, our toxicologists will issue a 'risk-assessment report' in November and determine and compare the possible health impacts of sand and magnesium chloride."
Pagosa Springs Town Administrator Jay Harrington said the town and CDOT have dealt successfully with the PM-10 air quality problem and said he hopes another difficulty is not in the wings.
"We don't want to create another problem by dealing with PM-10," said Harrington. He said the town has done much of the work to lower the PM-10 levels to an acceptable point over the past decade, by paving streets and sweeping the highway and paved streets in the downtown area.
Town officials are waiting for the health department and CDOT verdicts on magnesium chloride use, with an eye toward winter driving safety and potential use of the compound for dust control.
The change to magnesium chloride by CDOT, said Harrington, has helped during winter months but whether the town will use the chemical for dust control, as it is used on many roads in unincorporated areas of Archuleta County, has not been decided.
"It could be a cost-effective way to deal with dust control within town boundaries," said Harrington "but most of our streets are paved now. We haven't gone to mag-chloride for dust control on our remaining unpaved streets; and now we are waiting to see what CDOT comes up with. We've concentrated on paving and street sweeping as dust control measures; that's why we are looking at trying to pave parts of Hot Springs Boulevard as a town-and-county project with some financial support from CDOT. We will also look next year at the possibility of purchasing another street sweeper for the town. We believe these measures will allow us to continue to keep our air quality at or under acceptable levels."
Endangered fish trigger Lake Navajo releases
By John M. Motter
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation may release 114,000 acre-feet of water from Navajo Lake this spring, enough to clean downstream cobble beds used for spawning by the endangered pike minnow and razor back sucker.
"Under the most probable scenario, the proposed release should not greatly impact recreational users of the lake, or the water intake line of the Piedra Park Metropolitan Water District," said Bill Weiss, Navajo State Park manager. "In that scenario, the water level will probably only drop about three feet lower than it is today."
The 114,000 acre-feet release has been proposed to the Bureau of Reclamation by advisory committees established to make recommendations concerning efforts to reestablish the two fish listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Actually, we have been presented with three scenarios for spring runoff and lake levels," Weiss said, "a maximum probable, a most probable, and a minimum probable. We expect the most probable scenario with a lake level of about 6,059 feet above mean sea level."
A maximum probable situation would require so much spring runoff that water from the lake would be pouring across the spillway, a 1 percent probability according to Weiss.
A minimum probable situation would involve no precipitation after April 1 and could drop the lake level to 6,044 feet if no fish release is made, and 6,033 if the 114,000 acre-feet release is made.
The recent storm which dropped 87 inches of snow on Wolf Creek has created the "most probable" situation, according to Weiss.
When mandating lake releases, the Bureau of Reclamation considers a two-year period. The minimum operating level for the lake is 6,020 acre-feet, the level of the Navajo Irrigation Project intake pipe. If the lake level were dropped to 6,033 feet this year and drought occurred next year, a danger exists that the level could drop below the 6,020-foot mark next year.
Surface recreational uses and the intake for the Piedra Park Metropolitan Water District are not controlling factors when establishing the lake level.
The concrete boat ramp at the recreation area drops to the 5,975-foot level and is in no danger of being unusable, no matter how low the lake level falls. Of greater concern are the boat mooring slips near the dock which have to be moved as the lake level drops. When the lake level reached 6,029 feet in 1987, a breakwater protecting the mooring slips was removed. With the breakwater gone, a storm smashed the docks, portions of which drifted across the lake.
A flexible water intake pipe mounted on a raft on the Piedra River input section of the lake about 100 feet from the shore currently rests in from 6 to 10 feet of water, according to Weiss. The intake pipe is used to collect water for the Piedra Park Metropolitan Water District. If the lake level drops sufficiently, the raft could be high and dry, forcing water users to haul water. Such a condition happened a couple of years ago. If the lake level only drops about 3 feet, as is predicted with the most probable scenario, the intake should remain functional.
Of greater concern to people using the lake and park facilities is the 353,000 acre-feet release made every two or three years in order to scour the river bed below the dam for the purpose of improving the habitat of the endangered fish. If such a draw-down occurred during a dry year, impacts on recreational uses and the water district would be severe.
Driving the releases are conditions required under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species Act to restore the pike minnow, better known locally as the squawfish, and the razorback sucker.
Experts who have examined the problem assume that water depletion - reduced water flows - have caused the fish's demise. In 1993, a stretch of the San Juan River from its confluence with the Colorado River upstream to Navajo Dam was identified as habitat for the endangered fish. A minimum flow level was suggested based on flow levels measured before Navajo Dam was built. Negotiations were conducted from 1984 through 1987. A seven-year research project was launched in 1991 to identify steps for restoring the fish and getting them removed from the endangered species list. This study has been completed and is being evaluated.
In the meantime, flow levels are being recommended, two razorback sucker rearing ponds have been established in New Mexico, and multi-agency advisory committees established. Implementation of recovery actions should follow synthesis of the information gathered during the seven-year study.
A different sameness
A columnist's unsolicited letter arrived this week making a guaranteed claim to "stimulate letters to the editor, bring angry telephone calls, and liven up your newsroom." Obviously the writer is unaware of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board.
The current PLPOA board members' attitude towards elected officials of the town and county is different. Their decorum towards the audience at their meeting is different. The hours they spend on research and such is different. Their working relationship with their administrative personnel and staff is different. It is their mind set or philosophy regarding the function of a property owners association that is no different from what has prevailed since the early 1980s.
Prior to the current PLPOA general manager, Marjorie Long, Bob Kranz and Roy Vega served at the will of the board. None were empire builders.
If anything, Marjorie was the antithesis. It was during her tenure that the philosophy of the directors made a noticeable shift from that of their predecessors. No longer was it acceptable to just pay the bills, deposit collections, handle correspondence, maintain mailing lists, and provide information for absentee property owners and the gradually increasing number of permanent residents. Instead, the PLPOA adopted the mind set or philosophy of a corporate office or bureaucratic organization. Sensing the shift in philosophy, Marjorie resigned.
Bob Kranz was hired with the specific assignment of spearheading the board's effort to have Pagosa in Colorado become incorporated as a home rule municipality. Through no fault of Kranz, the proposal was defeated at the polls by an overwhelming majority of the voters.
Roy Vega was hired to replace Kranz and to carry on the board's philosophy. In time, he received an assignment to pursue incorporation. The board eventually dropped its effort at incorporation before it ever went to, what would have been another defeat by the qualified voters. During Vega's tenure as general manager, the PLPOA board had the authority to dismiss him whenever it choose. He did what the board asked, and allowed him to do. He carried out its philosophy
Yes, some of the current directors on the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board differ from their predecessors. No previous PLPOA board members used a letter to the editor as a venue for sarcastically criticizing their peers. In the past, caustic remarks or threats to "kick shins" or "go outside to the parking lot" were issued verbally during the regular monthly meetings.
Still, the current board is following the philosophy of the boards of the early 1980s and those that have followed. It is a philosophy that makes a property owners association more than it needs to be. It is a philosophy that results in property owners' money - annual assessments - being used to pay inflated salaries for law enforcement, fire protection and emergency medical services that are already provided through the property owners' taxes. It is a philosophy that results in the property owners' money being used to pay inflated administrative salaries, benefits and wage-related taxes. Expenditures are wasted on PLPOA personnel and equipment who perform necessary services, rather than such functions being contracted out on a less-costly bid basis.
The current directors need to admit their role and functions as directors should be minimized rather than proliferated. They should recognize the fact that improved roads and road maintenance is the greatest common concern among their constituents. Rather than wasting time fighting among themselves they should be focusing on facilitating the annexation of certain subdivisions into the town of Pagosa Springs.
All of the directors are fooling themselves if they think merely altering actions and structures - without abandoning the philosophy of their predecessors - will result in positive change.
David C. Mitchell
Stay calm, this is only a drill
If you haven't already read this week's Legacies column, stop reading this and move to the bottom left hand corner of this page.
I'm serious. The "Conclusion of Chapson's autobiography" offers good advice for how Pagosans should prepare for Y2K.
During Harold Chapson's boyhood at what today is known as the "At Last Ranch," Y2K conditions existed every winter.
The wood shed was filled to overflowing.
Wood stoves were used for cooking and heating.
Gasoline lamps were used for light.
Beans and other staples were stored away in large supply.
Trips into town were made by horse and wagon.
Bread was baked at home.
There was a lack of indoor plumbing.
Hardships were an accepted way of life.
Now turn to page 9 of this section and read Dr. Mark Wienpahl's suggestions on Y2K medical preparedness.
Yes, Y2K is on my mind this week.
Besides Legacies and John's report on the county commissioners monthly Y2K meeting, a letter from the Rocky Mountain Family Council caught my attention.
The letter didn't include a sales pitch, promoting a book or solicit a donation. It simply made some reasonable suggestions for preparing for some debatable circumstances.
The letter suggests "think through the practical preparations you would need to make if you were to be without utilities, access to grocery stores, or access to your bank account for several days or weeks. You might want to stock up on food, bottled water and fuel."
Just to be sure the SUN is prepared a Y2K bug visited the darkroom yesterday afternoon.
Oblivious to the fact that the date was 041499, rather than 010100, the computer chips in the vertical camera went south.
So that means that as soon as i finish this column I'm heading west to the Cortez Sentinel.
Once the folks at the Sentinel shoot the page negatives for the first section, I'll head back and drop the negatives off in the darkroom.
Todd and Robert will be coming in extra early this morning to burn the aluminum printing plates.
They hope to have the first section off the presses by 6 a.m. - the TV guide, Preview and section 2 are already in the mail room.
Hopefully we can get the papers for the subscribers in Dulce, Arboles, Bayfield, Chimney Rock, Chromo and Ignacio before the second truck leaves the Pagosa post office this morning.
The other papers should be at the post office soon enough to get into the boxes at their regular time. The ones for the news stands will probably be a little late.
Last night's and today's drill should help us have some of the bugs out and better prepared when the clock rolls around to Y2K.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
Conclusion of Chapson's autobiography
This is the conclusion of a very small portion of Harold Chapson's autobiography which he shared with me a number of years ago.
"Getting the wood for the winter was a very large job. When it rained during the haying season, our hired men would get wood. They would find a dead tree and saw it into short lengths, which then were split into correct sizes for the two stoves. The men saved the knots because of the pitch they contained. At thirty degrees below zero, we needed to get the fires going as quickly as we could. We needed an enormous amount of wood for our harsh winters. In a winter day, in the cookstove we burned about twenty logs, two and a half inches by four foot, and in the living room stove we burned five or six larger logs. We had a woodshed where our logs were stored under a roof. It was stacked only as high as Mother could reach, about six feet, in four or five twelve-by-twenty-foot rows.
"We used gasoline lamps for lights. These were an improvement over the kerosene lamps we had previously used. Keeping the mantel (wick) for the lamp trimmed and keeping the glass cover clean were two repetitious chores.
"We went into Pagosa Springs occasionally, where we bought some staples, such as salt, sugar, baking powder, a few spices, coffee, tea, and a few canned foods. We bought flour and pinto beans by the ton, in one hundred pound bags. For Thanksgiving and Christmas we would buy a turkey. To get to Pagosa, we took a spring wagon, which was built for carrying passengers. Mother could easily hitch up the wagon. This meant that she would put harnesses on two mules or horses and fasten the wagon tongue to the horse collars, and then attach the 'single trees' where the tugs went from the collar to the wagon. Horses liked Mother and cooperated with her. She also found it easy to saddle a horse.
"Food preparation and clean up were not so easy for the ranch wife. Mother made bread every week, from yeast which she kept growing in a jar. In summer she made much more bread and other food, to feed our hired men as well as the family. She was also responsible for separating the cream from the milk in our separator. The men did the milking, and I made it my responsibility to see that the separator was kept clean and sanitary.
"Lack of indoor plumbing resulted in hardships. My mother always had to keep water in the kitchen where it would not freeze."
Burglaries plague Pagosa
The community has been plagued the past two weeks by various break-ins and acts of vandalism. Burglars entered Ed Unmack's Conoco Service station through a door, after breaking the glass. The safe, with all its contents, was then hauled away. Late last week, El Centro was broken into and large amounts of foodstuff and other materials were taken.
The town board Tuesday night named Leonard Gallegos as chief of the local police department. A resident of Pagosa Springs for most of his life, Gallegos returned last week from a month's training at the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy at Golden.
A suit filed in the U.S. District court last week holds a large significance for this area. Filed by Ernest Schutz, Herman Hartong and the Southwestern Water Conservancy District, the suit alleges that the San Juan-Chama Diversion Project is being illegally operated and asks that a court order be issued requiring changes in the operation.
Patricia Minnis has filed a civil suit against the school board and District Superintendent A.D. Hahn. She is asking for $75,000 in damages and $165 in expenses. Minnis, who was principal at the high school the past three years, was relieved of her duties last week.
Sunday is National Columnist Day
National Columnist Day is April 18, the 54th anniversary of the death of Ernie Pyle.
Recently, the New York University's journalism department released a list of the top 100 works of journalism in this century. Ernie Pyle's reports from Europe and the Pacific during World War II (Scripps Howard newspapers 1940-45) were ranked ninth.
The only other columnists to make the list were Murray Kempton, (49); Russel Baker, (60); Ben Hecht, (62); and Walter Lippman, (64).
Pyle's books are exceptionally readable and as pertinent to the daily grind of the soldier in combat as today - surely a required reading for any history major or World War II buff and for anyone else who likes just plain good writing. The National Society of Newspaper Columnists did well to select this date.
Coming up is National Volunteer Week and organizations all over town will be recognizing their volunteers. For one, Sisson Library with a pizza party on Monday.
The United States is noted for its volunteers, the most volunteering country in the world. Pagosa Springs depends on its volunteers and has much to offer, in part because of the contributions of its volunteers; the care programs, the schools, churches, culture, clubs, library and others. People are kind and caring and want to stay active by giving of themselves.
People who volunteer live longer. They keep the mind, the strongest part of the body, active by doing something for others. Long live the volunteer!
Some quotes from famous people have much to say on the subject of volunteering.
"Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect the nation's compassion, unselfish caring, patience and just plain loving one another." (Erma Bombeck)
"We make a living by what we get, but make a life by what we give." (Winston Churchill)
"If you want to change the world, be that change." (Ghandi)
"Always do the right thing. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." (Mark Twain)
"Volunteers don't necessarily have the time; they just have the heart." (Anonymous)
"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely help another without helping himself." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
"When you stop giving and offering something to the rest of the world, it's time to turn out the lights." (George Burns)
"In my career, I learned that giving your services for free gives you a good return on your investment, not just financially but morally. It supplements your personal integrity." (Stevie Wonder)
"Volunteers are unpaid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless." (Anonymous)
"May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion." (Thomas Jefferson)
"I get paid for my voluntary work. I just don't get paid money." (Young volunteer in London)
"I wonder why somebody didn't do something. Then I realize I am somebody." (Anonymous)
From Ima Gurl's Notes
The body of every organization has four bones: wishbones, jawbones, knucklebones and backbones.
"Wishbones" are those who wish someone else would do the work.
"Jawbones" are those who do all the talking but little else.
"Knucklebones" are those who know everything anyone else tries to do.
"Backbones" are those who get under the load and do all the work.
Visitor Center has dazzling floor
One would think that spring has sprung from the looks of it today, but I've lived in the mountains too long not to know that this is just a little spring tease. We probably have a few cool, wet spells ahead, but it sure is nice to experience a preview or two before the real thing arrives for good.
Wolf Creek Trail Blazers joins us this week with Herman Hageman as the Chief Blazer. The Wolf Creek Trail Blazers is a snowmobile club that offers monthly meetings and group rides. I've wanted to hitchhike a day with these folks for years and have just never done it, but it sounds like way too much fun. If you would like to ask Herman a question or two, please call 264-4863.
We also welcome ALLTEL which has recently purchased all the Cellular One stores in the southwest Colorado market. They will be taking over the store at 527 San Juan Street, Suite B, which has been occupied by Cellular One for some time now. Gina LaBattaglia is the contact person for ALLTEL and can be reached at 247-3111 in Durango. ALLTEL will be holding a Grand Opening at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 21, at the Pagosa Springs store and invite everyone to attend.
If you would like to be dazzled, I invite you to come see our new look at the Visitor Center. You are probably aware that we were closed for four days to acquire new tile in the lobby area, and it looks like a million bucks (the bill was slightly less.) Billy Cumby of Original Stone Works and his trusty crew, Mark Jones (Jonesy) and Diana Sanchez took on this formidable task. I certainly don't want to give away the piece de resistance, but let me just share that both Billy and Diana are not only tile experts, they are mosaic artists. I couldn't be more pleased with the work that they have done and am very excited and anxious for all to see what they have done. Wear your sunglasses so you won't be blinded by the sight.
To prepare for this work required a lot of moving and shifting, as you can well imagine. As always, we accomplished this only with the help (and strong backs) of dedicated friends who were willing to risk herniated disks to help the Chamber. Our thanks go out to Ron Gustafson, Jim Miller and Doug Call. At this writing, no one had been hospitalized, so I'm pretty sure everyone survived in one piece. We also thank Dan Stubbs, The Handy Guy, who took out and replaced all the molding in the lobby, halls and kitchen. In case you've never noticed, there's a lot of it - ask Dan. Thanks, too, to Linda Delyria at The Tile Store for her conscientious attention to this project -she came every day and peeked through the windows to assure herself that appropriate progress was being made.
It will take awhile to get everything completely back in order, but it will be well worth the fuss and muss for years to come. When you see it, I'm sure you'll agree.
Congratulations to Burly and Cindy White, formerly of Coney Express, on their recent move and name change. You will now find them in their spacious new location in the Shell station on the corner of U.S. 160 and North Pagosa Boulevard. They held a Grand Opening a couple of weeks ago and served in excess of 300 hamburgers and hot dogs to the folks who came to wish them well. One of the reasons that Burly changed names was that he wanted everyone to know that he served far more than just coneys. You will find polish sausages, chili, chicken, bagels, Danish, charcoal hamburgers, coffee, yogurt and the biggest and best baked potato in Pagosa. They also run the gas station and convenience store connected to Burly's Grill, so these are some kinda busy folks. They will also be hosting the SunDowner this month on April 28, and I will tell you more about that next week. In the meantime, congrats to Burly and Cindy.
I want to mention once again that Annual Bike Tour of Colorado with about 1,000 riders will be coming through Pagosa Springs on the evening of July 20 and need a group/organization/restaurant to feed about 600 hungry bikers on that evening and/or the following morning. These folks will be camping out at the high school football field (and at local lodging facilities) and we have been told that about 600 will be looking for food. This could be one heck of a moneymaker for a group or restaurant and, of course, a lot of work. Please call me at 254-2360 if you are interested, and I will put you in touch with the organizers.
"It May Be What You Heard, But It Isn't What I Said" is the name of the workshop which will be presented by John Porter on Wednesday, April 21, at 5:30 p.m. in the Visitor Center Boardroom. The price of admission is absolutely nada and will be limited to the first fifteen folks who register. This intriguing presentation will include topics including the origins of gender communication and the differences we all experience, practical tips about addressing difficulties, and the relevance and application of gender communication as it applies to the workplace. John will be happy to field and discuss specific problems you may be experiencing on the job or at home. Communication is a huge factor in our lives, and I for one can use all the help I can get. Please call Paige at 264-2360 to register.
A reminder to our current Diplomats and those who are interested in becoming a Diplomat to call Paige and let her know which workshop you will be attending. These workshops are invaluable to those in the Diplomat biz and to staff as well. They acquaint you with all the responsibilities attached to Diplomat service as well as provide the perfect forum for questions and information gathering. The thing we enjoy most, I confess, is just getting together and catching up after the winter.
In case you're new in town and asking yourself, "What the heck is a Diplomat?" allow me to tell you. Diplomats are folks who are willing and able to volunteer their valuable time and talents at the Visitor Center hosting our 34,000-plus a year visitors. Everyone who walks through our doors has questions and lots of them about Pagosa, and our Diplomats answer all those questions and point them in the right direction. These volunteers are expected to know everything about everything and manage to do that graciously seven days a week. The normal "work day" is four hours in either the morning or afternoon - and you always have a partner to work with and sometimes two. Ask any Diplomat how they feel about their work at the Chamber, and you will find a common reply is that it's their favorite "job." Feel free to join us at any of the workshops - call Paige for days and times.
Porpoises hold annual fund-raising swim-a-thon
Pagosa Lakes Swim Club - the Porpoises - will hold their annual fund-raising swim-a-thon on Wednesday, April 28, from 4 to 6 p.m. This event will take place at the Recreation Center pool. You can give these youngsters a good reason to swim many laps by pledging a certain amount of money per length. Each swimmer can swim up to a maximum of 200 lengths, which is approximately three miles. Give them your support.
You don't have to cook dinner on April 24. Plan on being served dinner from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Archuleta County Senior Center. Yes, this is the famous annual Senior Citizens Chili Supper. Mark your calendar, please. There is an open invitation from the Senior Center to all senior citizens, their families and their friends to join together every noon for lunch. Please do take advantage of this opportunity to visit with our seniors and to give our children the opportunity to know them. These nutritious (and very delicious) meals cost $2.25 for adults ages 60 and older and $4.25 for younger folks. For newcomers, the Senior Center is located on South 8th Street, one block north of the Pagosa Springs High School.
The Special Olympics swim program started last Monday. Held at the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center, training for the six athletes runs from 5 to 6 p.m. through the end of May. Although there are currently enough volunteer coaches to meet the need, more helpers can be utilized to create a one-on-one arrangement. Frequently, replacement coaches will be needed as well to cover for volunteers who may be out of town. Please call Kathy Pokorney at 731-4123 or Ming Steen at 731-2051 if you can help. Remember, you do not need to be a champion swimmer to help coach.
Pagosa Players, a newly formed not-for-profit theatre group, is inviting local thespians to come out and audition for their first production "Taming of the Shrew." Audition dates are April 16, 7 to 9 p.m.; April 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and April 21, 7 to 9 p.m. All audition sessions will be held in the Pagosa Lodge Ponderosa Room. Please bring photo (if available) and a short monologue or speech with you to the audition.
Zach Nelson and Michael DeWinter, charter members of Pagosa Players, have set production dates of July 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and 31 for the "Taming of the Shrew." Pagosa Lodge Lawn Theatre, located behind the lodge, will be the home of Pagosa Players' summer productions. DeWinter said, "This will be an annual event and next year we hope to do three productions in the summer." I look forward to enjoying Shakespeare in the Pines, under a starlit sky.
Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association has one vacancy for a volunteer position on its board of directors, for a term expiring in July 2001. The board is inviting interested PLPOA members who are in good standing and permanent residents to apply for this vacancy. Application forms may be obtained from the association office in person or by mail. Applications must be returned to the office by 5 p.m., Friday, April 30. It is the board's intention to interview all applicants and appoint the new director at the regular meeting in May.
PLPOA Nominating Committee is seeking qualified members of the association willing to stand for election for two regular board vacancies on July 31. The term of both vacancies will be through July 2002. In order to serve on the board, a person must be a resident member in good standing and agree to attend all meetings of the board. Applications for review by the nominating committee need to be returned to the association office by Friday, May 2, 5 p.m. The bylaws also provide for nomination by petition. The deadline for petitions will be Monday, May 17, 5 p.m. Petitions are to be accompanied by an official application.
Six proposed bylaw changes will be on the ballot in the PLPOA July election packet. Property owners who are interested in reviewing the bylaw changes before the ballot is sent out should go by the PLPOA administrative office or call 731-5635. Pro and con statements are welcome and will be printed in the PLPOA June edition of Pagosa Lakes News.
PLPOA Lakes, Fisheries and Parks Committee would like to announce a public meeting on Monday, April 19, at 6 p.m. in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. The main topic of discussion will be the proposed quarter midget race car track in the Vista Subdivision, Parcel A. Also on the agenda will be updates on the long range parks, trails and recreation master plan for Pagosa Lakes.
Tickets for annual chili supper going quickly
Tickets for the annual Senior Citizens Chili Supper are selling fast. Get yours now. The chili supper is at El Centro April 24. It is the best fund raiser of the year. Help and donations are needed for this occasion, so pitch in.
Maudie Baker from Saguache, was here visiting over the weekend.
The month is going fast. Birthdays will be celebrated at El Centro on April 30. If you have had a birthday in April come sit at the birthday table and let us sing "Happy Birthday" to you.
Our former volunteer bus drivers are to be commended for the wonderful job they did driving the bus and helping the elderly.
It was nice to have Josie and Don Brinks come to lunch at El Centro last Friday.
The wind up-rooted several trees around here. Days and nights are colder. Seasons are changing. We are having many beautiful birds at this time.
"Senior's Choice" meal is April 19 and promises to be a good one. Seniors name the menu on that day.
A big hello to Francis Rock Coffee. We are looking forward to seeing you this summer.
Carol and Mel Pliner had lunch at El Centro last Monday. Both are looking great and love Arizona. They still love the mountains and their friends here.
Volunteers for Monday were Helen Schoonover, Lena Bowden, Lydia Martinez and Tina White. Kurt Killion is always standing by to help and work in every department.
The museum will be opened for the summer on Memorial Day weekend. Volunteers have been working very hard over there.
Joan Sager is "Senior of the Week" out at El Centro. Joan does much to help senior citizens and is a past president of the organization. Her husband Jerry does much for the flowers at El Centro - a good couple.
We hope to see you at El Centro at lunch time Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Think chili supper April 24 at El Centro.
Volunteers help keep library running
Your library could not function without the consistent help of an army of volunteers who come in on a weekly basis and assist the staff with many of the never-ending jobs.
The most important job in the library is to re-shelve the books that have just been returned, and "read" the shelves to see that everything is in order. Usually on an average Monday morning, we have more than one cart full - that is six shelves of books that must be checked in and put in their proper places. If the book is not in its rightful place, you, the patron, cannot find it.
This particular week as I write this column, we have four carts (or 24 shelves of books) waiting to be shelved. We are just hoping a volunteer will appear any moment, and help catch up on the backlog caused by Spring Break.
Volunteers do many other jobs. Most volunteers are also members of the Friends of the Library, and sponsor many annual programs and activities. Friends sponsor the Summer Reading Program for the children, and recently helped purchase a digital camera that will be used by many civic organizations.
We love our volunteers and honor them all during National Volunteer Week. If you love books and would like to help with this most important library job, come in and sign up.
Paige Gordon brought us a copy of "North American Sportsman" magazine that features the beautiful bronze work of his son, Kent Gordon. We are all very proud of his work and the national recognition he's received. His dear daughter, Bliss, volunteered at the library so we know what good work he does in all areas. Ask to see the copy of the magazine with Kent's work.
Almost Local Celebrity
Sid and Phyllis Martin brought in a family press release telling about their son, Bob. Dr. Robert Martin, recently the Librarian of the whole state of Texas, has joined the faculty of Texas Woman's University as Professor of Library Science. Dr. Bob's credentials include playing a major role in library affairs at the national level and being a leader in the American Library Association. He is leaving the public sector to dedicate himself to teaching a new generation of librarians. Congratulations to Dr. Martin, Phyllis and Sid.
Want to start learning about genealogy? The Archuleta County Genealogy Society will give a workshop on Saturday, April 24, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Cost is $15 to cover three different sessions. The $15 covers all the workshops and materials. For more information, call Harold Morrison at 731-5793.
Terrible Tax Time
Whew, by the time you read this, the deadline will have passed and you all should be finished with your returns. In case you haven't - we still have the big book of schedules that you may copy for a price.
A memorial book fund has been set up to honor Dorothy Schutz. Gifts to this fund came from Ralph and Genevieve Phelps, Lawrence and Emma Shock, Bonnie Hoover, Ray and Genelle Macht, Norwest Bank of Pagosa Springs, Duane and Pat Riggenbach, B. J. Stangby, William and Bernice Storm, Judy Wood, John and Helena Simmons, Richard and Cecelia Simms, folks from the Banded Peak Ranch c/o Anna Jester, Gretchen Osterhoudt, Gene and Jacquelyn Schick, Donna and Franklin Tate, Gil and Lenore Bright. Materials came from Carole and Bob Howard, Mary Lou Sprowle, Melinda and Michael Short, Shirley Snider, Connie Prunty, Linda Schweickert, Jane Day, R. C. Manring, Jane and Phil Kolenmainen, Cynthia Olsen, Dick and Ann Van Fossen, Karen Cook, Debbie Shaw, Patty Sterling, Don Lundergan, Joan Arnold, Joseph Washburn, Dr. Alton Dohner, Mark Thompson, Barbara Lindley, Esther Orr, Kay Grams, Gerda Wittkamp, Brent Doan, Cindy Baker, Mary Weiss, Gloria Macht.
Dick and Vimmie Ray gave a gift subscription to "Range" magazine. Lloyd and Betty Reynolds gave a gift subscription to "Martha Stewart's Living." Mr. Ray also brought us three books on hunting donated by the National Rifle Association. Thanks to Dr. Dohner for his donation of stickers and a cute container for the Summer Reading Program.
Our heartfelt thanks to all of you who help the library in so many ways. We could not do it without you.
Hunters at least hearing birds
Despite the cold weather last Saturday, quite a few hunters were out for the opening of the spring turkey season.
Most of the hunters that I talked to over the weekend reported at least hearing birds during their hunt, although I had several different reports on how well the birds were responding to calls. I checked several successful hunters that had gobblers come in to their calls and many more that hadn't been able to get a response from any of the turkeys they had seen.
As the season continues, access to some more good hunting areas should improve as roads dry out and are opened by the Forest Service. However, for the second year in a row, I was able to find strutting gobblers in areas with no hunters around. The spring turkey season will continue through May 16.
The ice has been off our local reservoirs for several weeks now and fishing has begun to pick up. Navajo Reservoir is beginning to pick up for catfish and pike, and I've heard of others doing well at Echo Lake. Williams Creek Reservoir has gotten off to a slower start as far as fisherman numbers, due to the amount of snow that fell during the last storm.
The latter part of April is when we usually get the first reports of bears coming out of hibernation. Now is the time to take a look around your homes to make sure that you don't have anything out that will attract a bear. Garbage, pet food, bird feeders and barbecue grills are the most common attractants that we see. Once a bear has found a meal, the more likely it is to keep coming around. Moving a bear is rarely the best option since they have been known to move over 200 miles to return to the same trash can. Prevention is the best way to avoid a problem, which could ultimately lead to property damage or the destruction of the bear. The Division of Wildlife has a brochure called "Living with Wildlife in Bear Country" that has more information for those who are interested. They can be obtained from any DOW office or from your local wildlife officer.
Early spring is also the time of year when wildlife is in its weakest condition following winter. It is important for dog owners to realize this and keep their animals on a leash or in a fenced yard. We have had numerous reports in the last month of dogs chasing deer and elk to the point of exhaustion. It is illegal in Colorado to allow your dog to chase wildlife. The dog may be destroyed, if necessary, to stop it from chasing wildlife and the owner may be ticketed. Owners may also be sued civilly to recover the value of any wildlife that the dog has killed.
I've had a lot of people asking about the lynx project. The most recent information that I have is that of the 13 lynx that have been released, three have died and one was recaptured to determine its health. The other nine are radio-collared and are being monitored regularly to determine their movements and hunting success. At last report, four of the lynx were on our side of the Continental Divide. While it was sad to lose the three lynx, it was not unexpected that some would die. Normal mortality rates vary depending on species, but can be very high, even in totally natural situations. Several more lynx are at the holding facility and will be released in the future.
Lady Pirates finish first at Shiprock meet
By John M. Motter
By finishing first in the final event of the day, the Lady Pirates vaulted to a first-place finish Saturday in the Shiprock Invitational track meet.
"This may be the first, first-place trophy in track the Pagosa Springs girls have ever won," said Kyle Canty, the Ladies head varsity track coach. Connie O'Donnell is the assistant coach.
The Pagosa Springs boys finished fifth, trailing first-place Shiprock.
Entering the final event, the Bayfield girls were on top with 70 points, followed by Dolores in second place with 69 points, and Pagosa Springs in third place with 68 points.
Julia Rolig tensed in the starting blocks for the Lady Pirates in the final event, the 1,600-meter relay. The starting gun sounded, Rolig shot out of the blocks and soon grabbed the lead. She stayed in front until passing the baton to Sarah Huckins. Huckins finished her leg in first place, handed off to Meigan Canty, and Canty reached the final leg and anchor, Tiffany Hamilton, first. Hamilton clinched the Lady Pirates victory and a first-place trophy by showing nothing but heels to her challengers from Dolores and Bayfield.
When the race was over, the Pagosa Springs girls led the meet with 78 points, followed by Dolores with 77 points and Bayfield with 76 points.
In addition to the first-place finish in the 1,600-meter relay, the Pagosa girls captured first place in the 400-meter relay. Running on that foursome were Canty, Sara Fredrickson, Hamilton and Rolig.
Those were the only girl's relay events run during the meet. A number of Pagosa Springs girls picked up points in individual events.
Fredrickson captured second place in the 100-meter high hurdles with a time of 18.1 seconds. Fredrickson was also second in the 300-meter low hurdles with a time of 52.9 and second in the shot put with a heave of 32 feet.
Huckins trailed Fredrickson and placed third in the 300-meter lows with a time of 54 seconds flat. Huckins finished first in a preliminary heat of the high hurdles, but hurt an ankle and was unable to run in the high hurdles final.
Lizzie Mueller earned sixth place in the shot put with a toss of 26 feet and 7 inches.
Prunty leads boys
Shane Prunty captured first place in the boys' discuss with a toss of 130 feet. Prunty picked up more points for the Pirates by pushing the shot 40 feet to grab second place in that event.
Clint Shaw earned points in two events. His mark of 38 feet and 7 inches in the triple jump was good for second place. His 16 feet and 11 inch effort in the long jump captured third in that event.
Tyrel Ross covered the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in 47.08, good for fifth place.
Pagosa Springs finished sixth in the 400-meter relay with a time of 48.2. Running on that foursome are Tyrel Ross, Cord Ross, Tyler Kirtley and Shaw.
Tomorrow, the Pirate boy and girl tracksters travel to Ignacio for the Pine River Invitational Relays, where they will be joined by more than 20 other teams.
Pirates win two in wind
By Roy Starling
Welcome to the wonderful world of high school baseball in southwestern Colorado, a world of home games on the road, wind tunnels, snow delays, and buses for dugouts.
Last Friday, the Pagosa Pirates opened their Intermountain League schedule by "hosting" the Centauri Falcons at Del Norte, a move necessitated by the continued sogginess of the Pirates' home diamond.
With the wind howling and the snow flying, Pagosa swept the Falcons 24-2 and 20-0. While gale-force winds blew in from left field throughout the two games, the snow made its visit at the beginning of the second game. After two outs in the second inning, the game was halted "due to horizontal snow," according to Pirates coach Paul Roskelley.
Conditions didn't improve much once the skies cleared. When the snow stopped, Roskelley said, "it was freezing, it was brutal." Since the Del Norte diamond isn't equipped with dugouts, the players took refuge in a school bus while they waited their turn at bat. Some fans huddled there too.
The Pirates used two successful strategies to cope with the inclement conditions: The batters scored plenty of runs to end the games early - the first game was halted after three innings - and, in the second game, senior pitcher Jason Schofield made sure his defenders didn't have to chase down wind-blown balls by striking out 12 of the 15 batters he faced during a 5-inning no-hitter.
Schofield pitched both ends of the double dip. In the 3-inning first game, he gave up two hits and two runs (only one of them earned), walked one and struck out four. Those two runs came in the first inning when a Centauri batter went deep on him with a man on.
"After that," Roskelley said, "Jason battled back. He had that 'not-again' attitude, even though it was awfully tough weather to throw in."
While Schofield settled into a groove, the Pirate batters got fat off Centauri pitching. They scored their 24 runs on 21 hits, getting four from lead-off man Lonnie Lucero and three each from catcher Jeff Wood, designated hitter Nathan Stretton and first baseman Brandon Thames.
Thames' hit parade resulted in seven runs batted in. Wood's hits were all doubles, and he drove in three runs. Lucero, who had four stolen bases, also drove in three runs and scored three.
Down 2-0 when they came to the plate in the bottom of the first, the Pirates rallied for nine runs and effectively put the game out of reach. After Schofield held the Falcons scoreless in the second, the Pirates added six more.
Just to make sure, they pushed nine more runners across the plate in the bottom of the third, sending 10 consecutive batters to the plate without an out. When the side was finally retired, the mercy rule went into effect and the Pirates had their first league win of the year.
"The way we hit Friday," Roskelley said, "no one's going to beat us. No one was selfish. Everyone played their role at the plate."
A windy win
Schofield got his second win in the windy second game. No Centauri batter could get the ball out of the infield, and only three could put the ball in play. After a Falcon popped up to first sacker Thames in the second, Schofield fanned the final nine batters he faced.
For the game, the senior right-hander had 12 Ks while walking only two. Schofield is now 3-0 on the season with 24 strikeouts in 15 innings and a minuscule 1.86 earned run average.
The Pirate batters racked up 18 more hits in the 20-0 second-game win. Schofield had four of those safeties, driving in three runs and scoring four. Clinton Lister, Ronnie Martinez and Wood all went 3-for-4, with Lister picking up five RBIs, and Martinez and Wood four each.
Rusty Nabors and Lucero each added two runs batted in to the slaughter.
After six games, Wood is the team's most potent offensive weapon with a hefty .741 average, three home runs and 20 RBIs. Second baseman Lister is hitting .560 and has driven in 14 runs.
After his 4-for-4 run against Centauri, Schofield's average shot up to .538. Also over the .400 mark for the Pirates are Martinez (.476), Stretton (.455), Darrin Lister (.444) and Lucero (.429). Thames, who is hitting .381, is third on the team with 13 RBIs. Lucero leads the team with 11 stolen bases.
The Pirates will take a break from conference play this weekend when they travel to Farmington to take on the Piedra Vista Panthers Saturday at 11 a.m. They'll get back into the IML fray Tuesday, April 20, with a doubleheader in Ignacio beginning at 2 p.m.
Kimber gives up coaching for pro biking career
By Roy Starling
The woman who guided the Lady Pirates basketball team to unprecedented heights the last two seasons is stepping down.
Shonny Vanlandingham Kimber met with her players Tuesday afternoon to tell them she's leaving her position as head coach to devote more time to her career as a professional mountain biker. Kimber is a member of the KHS National Mountain Bike team.
Telling the girls, Kimber said, "was really tough for me. I almost lost it. I just told them I have some very high goals in my mountain biking career and sometimes we have to sacrifice things in order to reach our goals, even if it's something we love. Having sacrificed so much themselves for their goals in basketball, the girls could relate to my decision, and I think they understood."
Kimber said this was her peak time as a cyclist and she has a very specific five-year plan. "I want to be tops in the nation," she said. In order to reach that lofty goal, she'll need to train year round.
"My opponents start training in September," she said. "They're ready for the season (which begins in May) by racing in February and March, while basketball season is still going on."
Giving up her position as the Lady Pirates' coach was made more difficult, Kimber said, because "the whole thing was just so ideal - the players, the administration, the fans, all of it. I'd like to come back some day if there's an opening."
Looking back on her two-year stint, Kimber says she is proudest of "what the girls accomplished as a team and their commitment to excellence. I'm proud of all the work they put in to get there.
"They won not only because they were talented but because they were willing to put in the time that girls on other teams weren't willing to put in. I think this (work ethic) is just going to carry over into their lives outside of basketball."
Kimber says she hopes she taught her girls the value of teamwork. "When you're on a team," she said, "you can't do it on your own. You accomplish things collectively. You have to learn your role on the team and accept that every role is important."
She said she also tried to convey to her team the importance of goal-setting and "what it takes to reach your goals. You can't expect success without deserving it. It takes a lot of work, but even with work, if you don't believe, you're never going to make it. Over the last two years, I saw our girls start believing."
Kimber says she has no regrets connected with her two years as head coach, "but if I come back to coaching, I still have some goals to accomplish."
The Ladies' coach took them to the finals of the state tournament in her first season, losing to Denver Lutheran in overtime. Her team also went 10-0 in Intermountain League play that year and breezed through the IML district tourney, finishing with a 22-3 record.
Last season, the Lady Pirates repeated as IML champions, knocked off Ignacio to win the district crown, defeated Roaring Fork to qualify for state, then once more made it all the way to the finals before losing a squeaker to Eaton. Their record was again 22-3, and Kimber was named IML Coach of the Year.
Kimber's teams exhibited a white-hot defensive intensity while mirroring her own emotional restraint. Instead of engaging in shrill pregame hoopla and banging on their lockers, they closed their eyes and silently visualized the task ahead of them.
Watching Kimber on the sidelines, it was difficult to tell if her team was ahead or behind, even though, as she admitted, "I may seem calm on the outside, but I'm churning inside." Her version of screaming at the officials was to call a 20-second time-out, walk over to the referee and calmly say: "If you'll tell me what the girls are doing wrong, I'll tell'em to stop doing it."
Athletic director Kahle Charles said he had "mixed emotions" about Kimber's departure. "I understand about her personal goals and I respect that," he said, "but I sure hate to see her go."
Kimber, Charles said, "was an excellent coach and an excellent role model for our athletes. She was a natural as a coach and worked hard to become a better one. After she's achieved her goals I hope she'll consider coming back."
Before taking over as the Ladies' head coach, Kimber coached the girls' junior high team for two years and the junior varsity for one. Her resignation won't become official until the school board acts on it at their May meeting.
Plenty of great basketball in Ross tourney
By Karl Isberg
Local basketball fans are in for a treat as the fourth annual Dirk and Colt Ross Memorial Basketball Tournament gets underway tonight, with games and other activities scheduled through Sunday.
Action takes place in the Mamie Lynch Gymnasium and the former junior high school gym at 4th and Lewis streets with games scheduled in three divisions.
Ten teams will clash in a double-elimination format in the 6-foot-and-under division.
The Santa Fe Rebels, the Jicarilla Inn from Dulce, N.M., and Nashe's Nightclub from Pecos, N.M., will travel to Colorado to compete in the division. Valdez Forest from Ignacio, LPEA from Durango and AFC from the Durango-Bayfield area also will participate. The field will be completed with four Pagosa teams: Lucero Tire, JR's Concrete, Bear Creek Saloon and the Pirates - a team of Pagosa Springs High School athletes.
Lucero Tire meets AFC tonight at 7 p.m. in the junior high gym, and the Pirates clash with LPEA in the junior high gym at 8 p.m.
Six-foot and under play resumes Friday at 7 p.m. in both gyms, with games at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. scheduled for the junior high facility.
On Saturday, play in the division resumes in the junior high gym at 10 a.m. with games scheduled for 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Division games in the Mamie Lynch gym will take place at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Sunday games in the consolation bracket at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. will select a team to move to a game in the Mamie Lynch gym on Sunday at 3 p.m. to decide the 6-foot-and-under championship.
35 and over
The "Ben Gay Classic" will be played again this year, involving players 35 years old and older. Six teams will contend for the prestigious title. Teams from Farmington and Dulce, N.M., Two Dogs and Niel's Excavation from Ignacio, and Ross Boot and Saddle from Pagosa Springs.
The old warriors begin their double-elimination tournament with two games tonight. Ross Boot and Saddle meets Two Dogs in the Mamie Lynch gym at 8 p.m. and Dulce and Niel's Excavation square off at 9 p.m. in the junior high gym. Competition continues Saturday morning with 9 a.m. games in both gyms and daytime games in the junior high gym at noon, 2 p.m. (the championship semi-final), 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
The Ben Gay Classic title will be decided in the Mamie Lynch gym on Saturday at 8 p.m.
Top players in Open
The Open Division brings some great players to town and the action is guaranteed to entertain spectators.
A team from Durango - Run With Us - includes Fort Lewis College alums, with players from the European Professional League, Alabama and Denver. Two other Durango teams will participate: No Skillz and the Durango Nuggets.
Ignacio provides the Outlaws to the tourney roster while Gunnison offers a team including Pagosa native Greg Schick, his sons, and players from Western State College.
Local Open Division teams include Buckskin Towing, Bear Creek Saloon and Grill (with former Pirates star David Snarr and players from Oklahoma), and Radio Shack, with former Pirate and Adams State College star Yul Wilson and former Pirates varsity basketball coach Brad Dorais.
Buckskin Towing begins play tonight at 7 p.m. in the Mamie Lynch gym against Bear Creek, while Run With Us plays No Skillz in the same gym at 9 p.m.
Open Division schedule
On Friday, Open Division play begins in the Mamie Lynch gym at 8 p.m. when the Outlaws battle Radio Shack. Gunnison and the Durango Nuggets face each other in the Mamie Lynch gym at 9 p.m. There will be an Open Division game in the junior high gym on Saturday at 11 a.m. Games on Saturday in the Mamie Lynch gym take place at 10 a.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
On Sunday, Open Division teams play in the junior high gym at 1 p.m. A game in the Mamie Lynch gym at 2 p.m. will determine the opponents in the 4 p.m. championship contest.
Referees from the Four Corners region will handle officiating duties at the tournament.
"This is the highest quality basketball in the Four Corners region," said tournament organizer Troy Ross. "Yul Wilson told me recently he thinks it's the best tournament of its kind west of the Mississippi."
Great basketball is only one aspect of the annual tournament. At halftime of most games, children in the crowd can participate in paper airplane throwing contests with prizes awarded to winning contestants. Door prizes for children and adults will be given out throughout the tournament.
A number of Grand Prizes will be awarded on Saturday night and at the Sunday tournament finale. Grand Prize winners must be present to take home awards which include $200 toward a new set of tires from Buckskin towing and a "Hunting Library" of spectacular video tapes produced by Dirk and Colt Ross.
On Saturday at the Mamie Lynch gym youngsters can participate in a free-throw contest from 6 to 7 p.m.
From 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday the eagerly-anticipated three point and slam dunk contests for tournament participants will take place in the Mamie Lynch gym, and a video memorializing the late Dirk and Colt Ross will be shown.
Volunteers are welcome to assist with concession duties at the tournament and can call Loretta Ross at 264-5266 for information.
Tournament tickets are $2 for adults and $1 for seniors and students.
Dizzying tale of guilt, obsession
No winners in last week's trivia sweepstakes. As you may remember, I generously offered to give all the change in my pocket to the first lucky person to correctly identify the great director who would've been 100 years old this year.
The switchboard leading to the Preview's film department was flooded by anxious callers, but no one could give the correct answer: Alfred Hitchcock.
In honor of Hitch, we're looking at "Vertigo" (1958), a rich and complex film about falling. Unless you just want the pleasure of reading a relatively well written review, you should probably watch the movie before proceeding, because in order to make any sense of it whatsoever, I'm going to have to give away some of its surprises. Sorry.
The movie begins with Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) sliding down a roof and catching hold of a gutter which then begins to break away, leaving the poor man dangling 100 feet or so off the side of a building while his partner, while trying to save Scottie, goes hurtling to his death.
How does Scottie get out of this alive? We aren't told. In some sense, he never really does.
When we next see him, Scottie is trying to overcome his fear of heights in the apartment of Midge (Barbara Bel Geddes), his bespectacled, down-to-earth female friend. When he falls off a kitchen stool, she catches him. Maybe he should've learned something from this. Maybe a woman who is an actual human being is what he needs.
But no. Soon Scottie takes a job tailing the enigmatic Madeline, the wife of his friend Elster. What a mysteriously alluring woman she is! She doesn't seem altogether real and she has this eerie tendency to disappear from time to time.
Madeline, played by the gorgeous and graceful Kim Novak, believes herself to be possessed by the spirit of a Spanish ancestor named Carlotta, a woman whose husband abandoned her, taking their only child. Carlotta eventually does herself in.
Madeline, too, responds to the beckoning of the Grim Reaper, jumping into the San Francisco Bay, but the snooping Scottie jumps in after her, fishes her out, takes her back to his place, removes her wet clothes and falls in love with her.
Now it's Madeline's turn to fall, and she does, off the bell tower of San Juan Baptista mission. Frozen by his vertigo, Scottie can only watch as her lovely body goes plummeting earthward.
So, as he did in "Psycho" a few years later, Hitchcock has killed off his lovely heroine a little over half way through the film, leaving Scottie and the film's audience with no focal point, with nothing left to pursue.
But wait. Quite by chance, Scottie meets up with a saucy, gum-popping wench named Judy, and man, does she look like Kim Novak (I mean Madeline), except with dark hair and bigger eyebrows.
For the rest of the film we see Stewart doing some of his finer acting as the grief-stricken and obsessive Scottie trying to remake Judy in the image of Madeline, the only woman he's ever loved and one he can never have.
It's awkward and a little embarrassing to watch this man try so hard for a second chance, something we never really get. And it's painful to see Judy reluctantly going along with this Pygmalion thing, wishing that Scottie loved her for herself.
If you haven't seen this movie and you plan to watch it and hope to be surprised by it, put down the Preview now! You can come back and finish reading this later. You've been forewarned.
Judy wishes Scottie would love her for herself because she is (or was) Madeline, and that wasn't really Madeline's lovely body Scottie saw plummeting earthward. Hitchcock reveals this little secret with about 30 minutes remaining in the film, so now the emphasis is off mystery and on the psychology of deception, guilt and obsession.
Judy, in league with Scottie's friend Elster, has deceived Scottie, drawing him into the fictional life of the non-existent Madeline, luring him into a relationship with a phantom. Scottie falls in love with the phantom, but Judy - the woman behind the phantom - falls for him, too.
So it is Judy who loves Scottie, but Scottie loves Madeline, partly because of the death wish she inherited from Carlotta, who doesn't actually exist either.
Now you can see why I said earlier that Scottie should have fallen into the flesh-and-blood arms of the prosaic Midge. I've given this a lot of thought and I've concluded that it's better to have a relationship with a real person than with a fictional character, even if the latter looks like Kim Novak.
And now you can see why this is a movie about falling, about that horrible feeling of stepping out on to thin air. Scottie falls into the grave of obsession (watch for his dream that suggests this), a grave that actually seems to be symbolized by Madeline's French twist hairdo, a vortex-like image that Hitchcock's subjective camera (from Scottie's point of view) is drawn to like a moth to flame.
Through Scottie, Hitchcock (an obsessive sort of fellow himself) makes clear the link between obsession and death. Obsession blinds him to all of earth's other pleasures and focuses all of his attention and energy on a single object, an illusion at that.
One thing I haven't given away is the film's painfully abrupt ending. But once you've seen it, I hope you'll ask yourself, "What's going to happen to Scottie now? Where does he go from here?"
A look at Harman homestead cabin
A set of old log cabins rest next to the Fred Harman Art Museum, cherished reminders of the pioneer heritage of Pagosa Country. If cabins could talk, those buildings could recite enough stories from our past to excite the most eager western history aficionado.
This week's Old Timer story concerns one of the four buildings gathered there, the Fred Harman homestead cabin. Famous western artist Fred Harman Jr. spent much of his youth in this cabin, and probably dreamed many of the dreams which later exploded from canvas to life through Harman's fertile imagination.
Fred Harman III, operator of the museum and son of the artist, has gathered the cabins adjacent to the museum in order to preserve our local heritage. Harman hopes to also gather enough money to stabilize and restore the cabins.
Assembled at the Fred Harman Art Museum west of town is the log cabin built by Harman's grandfather back before the turn of the century; the old Cooley house which used to sit in downtown Pagosa Springs; the mysterious, two-story Smith cabin, a masterpiece of frontier carpentry from seven miles west of town; and the Upper Blanco school house.
Our subject this week is the Harman cabin, largely built by Fred Flaugh and typical of frontier homes in the San Juan Mountains. Flaugh drove stagecoaches in Pagosa Country during the early days. His son, Bill Flaugh, was a close friend of Fred Harman Jr. (the artist) and was the model for Red Ryder, Harman's most famous creation.
"Bill Flaugh was always hanging around the house," says Fred Harman III.
The cabin is interesting, of course, because of the family who lived there and because of their contributions to Pagosa Springs history. Col. Bill Sturgill, the man who homesteaded Three Meadows Ranch, was largely responsible for the Harman family coming to Pagosa Springs, according to Fred Harman III.
Sturgill had lived in the Pagosa area about the time soldiers still drilled at the fort, then located on the west bank of the San Juan River where the main part of town sits today. At some point, Sturgill returned to St. Joseph, Mo., where his family was friends with the Harman family. He persuaded Cos Harman, Fred Harman's brother, to visit the Pagosa Springs frontier.
A short while later, probably during the late 1880s, Cos, Sturgill, and a man named Black stepped down from the train in Gallup, N.M., and purchased horses for the trip to Pagosa Springs. Along the way across the desert vastness that is northwestern New Mexico, they lost their horses and almost lost their lives. Eventually, the trio of adventurers reached their destination and claimed adjoining homesteads along the San Juan River in the vicinity of today's San Juan River Resort. After getting established, Cos rode horseback from Pagosa Springs to Trinidad, where he caught the train back to St. Joseph. There he persuaded Fred Harman Sr. to come to Pagosa Country.
Fred Harman Sr. filed for an adjoining 160-acre homestead about 1895 and with the help of Fred Flaugh put up a log cabin complete with walls, a ceiling, floors, and windows, but no running water or electricity. Water was carried in a bucket from a nearby spring. The cabin served as home for three generations of Harmans down through the years until Fred Harman Jr. became a household name by creating the Red Ryder character for comics, paperbacks, and Hollywood movies. With his new success, Harman purchased property and erected a home in the Blanco Basin.
The original homestead house was constructed of logs and was two stories high. Downstairs was a living room, kitchen, dining room and a porch along one side of the building. The upstairs consisted of one large room. In later years, one end of the porch was converted to a sleeping room. The home never had electricity, but a single spigot water outlet was added to the kitchen. In 1932, a second, larger cabin was built up the hill from the original cabin. Fred Harman Sr. remained in the old cabin until 1943. His wife, Mary, lived there much longer. Son Fred Jr. and his family resided in the second, larger cabin.
Fred Harman III, the artist's son, moved the older cabin to the frontier village setting adjacent to the Fred Harman Art Museum, where it can be seen today.
Visitors to the museum get a double bonus. Inside the museum proper, they can view a large collection of Fred Harman oil paintings. In addition, they can view desks, easels, photographs, cartoon panels, and many other artifacts that illustrate how the artist worked. In other portions of the museum are impressive collections of Indian arts and crafts.
On hand much of the time to guide the visitor is Fred Harman III, son of the artist. The younger Harman spent his early life in Pagosa Country and lived in the log cabin he's moved to its resting place just outside the museum. From the son, one gathers much insight into the thinking and goals of the father.
"As a partner of Walt Disney in the early days, Dad had a chance to get in on the ground floor of animation," says the son. "He chose not to do that and developed his western art instead. I believe his real goal was to preserve our western heritage. That is what I am doing here at the museum."
A big part of that preservation is the collection of frontier buildings assembled next to the museum. Anyone interested in learning how it was "in the good old days" should tour the Fred Harman Art Museum and frontier village.
He's just an average, ordinary guy
Our society spares no cost or effort in the drive to be average. In our society, average equals normal. Almost everything is keyed to a so-called normal curve. Despite the relentless pressure on Americans to be average, or normal, being average is no fun.
Nevertheless, most employers want an office staffed with average people. Most school administrators hire a staff of average teachers. And most teachers want classrooms full of average students. Average people arrive at work or school on time, they do their homework, and they don't do things to embarrass those around them.
Our children, of course, never fit the definition of average, at least according to their parents. When is the last time you heard a mom or pop describe Junior or Heloise as average? It just never happens.
Still, as I said earlier, on the average, most people are average. And being average is not fun. You don't get an employee of the month award for being average. Average people don't reach the head of the class or the top of the Dean's list.
If you are average, you will never see your name in the newspaper or your face on television. No one writes books about Mr. or Mrs. Average. Who would read such a book? Certainly not Mr. and Mrs. Average. The average person wants to read about weirdoes or excessive achievers. If you are average, don't expect Hollywood to come knocking at your door, eager to film a full-length feature of your life.
What can you expect, if you are average? For one thing, everyone will talk about you in the generic sense, especially those who love to quote statistics.
Every day you will hear, "The average American spends $279 a year on bread," or something like that.
Here is something else the average person can count on. The politicians and community leaders know who you are. Your vote puts them in office and keeps them there. Your money pays the taxes and their salaries. Your attendance at football games and other sporting events keeps teams going. When you purchase groceries and lawn chairs, you keep business doors open.
Being average is like being one brick in a very large wall. Normally, the adornments on a wall get all of the attention. On the average, the bricks will be hidden by a more attractive veneer. Nevertheless, without all of those average bricks, there could be no wall. And without average people, there would be no schools, no businesses, no governments, no society. Average people are the building blocks, the bricks, of society.
What would happen if all of the eccentrics and overachievers were locked up together in one room? Would they have fun? My guess is, the result would be pure, unadulterated terror.
Whenever I'm not having fun, whenever I feel down in the dumps, convinced that my life has been a failure, I give myself this speech. After all, I am average. And the speech? It works, on the average.
Food for Thought
Is television really a waste of time?
"Mr. Plato. We have a reservation for Mr. Plato. Plato. . .table for ONE."
He's back. He keeps returning, like a ghost haunting my intellectual house. Like an infection. And this time, he came close to nabbing me.
I had a teacher and mentor when I was a young student of philosophy who urged me to read all of Plato, to attempt to absorb some of the information, then to move on to other things with the intent, should I live long enough, to revisit the ponderous Greek in late middle age.
When I was hired by that same mentor to teach philosophy in the department he chaired, he allowed me to deal with Plato in introductory classes only. "The students don't know what Plato is about," he said, "and neither do you. You won't have a chance until you're at least 40 years old."
Just like the Caballah or a triple-X film: No kids allowed.
Okay, I thought, I'll become an existentialist instead. I get to mope around, be inconsistent and contradictory without fear of reprisal, wear shabby clothes, stay up late, be depressed and write insipid poetry. I like that. Plato is boring; you have to follow ponderous arguments developed in stilted dialogues; you have to think. When reading Sartre, all you need do is adjust your brain chemistry to a state similar to his when he wrote a given piece and, voila, you're an existentialist, mon ami!
This was easy, and it got easier when I decided to devote time to Nietzsche. There's nothing more comforting for a guy with a short attention span than an aphorism written by a syphilitic German. You're in and you're out, in the blink of an eye
This philosophical strategy worked well for me until recently.
As I waddled into my mid-50s, I sensed someone lurking over my shoulder. I shuddered.
It was him.
He was asking me to come with him, to join the club.
I have television, movies and the computer to thank for my most recent exposure to Platonism, for this most recent scare.
As a Platonist, I might have to devote more time to thinking complete thoughts. I'm worried.
I also have some Luddite acquaintances and their half-baked opinions about contemporary information machinery and programming to thank for it.
Let me summarize what happened.
I love television. I am unashamed. I could be a poster child for ADD and television is my medium of choice. My skittery consciousness has been massaged and molded by television for 45 years, and the cheery flow of photons from the screen is my crackling fire in the fireplace, my cup of warm cocoa, my warm glow in the window on a cold winter night. I don't care what it is - sitcoms, news programs, sports - I'll watch it, and lots of it. I am particularly fond of the highest achievement of television art: the commercial.
I also adore computer games and virtual reality computer simulations. I am a sucker for an arcade at a mall; I got hooked on Space Invaders 15 years ago and I've stayed hooked since. I am usually the oldest person in the arcade, popping fists full of quarters into machines. I don't care.
I use a computer in my work and I grow decidedly uncomfortable if I am away from my keyboard for a significant period of time. When I switch on the hard drive and hear the familiar clicking and whirring, my blood pressure decreases, my muscles relax, my breathing slows. I am content. The sound of the hard drive is my mantra, the byte is my manna.
And now, because of my association with these machines, I came in touch with fundamental Platonic ideas and in a post-modern sort of way, I began to understand what the old Athenian coot was doing. I came close to the edge.
It is the Luddites who gave me the boost. It was their smug reactions to technology - to television and computers -that opened the floodgate and allowed Platonic waters to pour forth. Their heated denial of these media gave me pause to examine the things I enjoyed so much. If their criticisms were accurate, I should be embarrassed. If they were right, I have wasted countless hours in front of screens, pixilated, mesmerized by light-borne information. They put me on the spot. They put my lifestyle in jeopardy.
I don't like to be embarrassed (unless I am paid) so I began to think about television, movies, computers. It was my attempt to evade criticism that brought me close to disaster.
My Luddite friends refuse to watch television because it "is a waste of time" or "brings so much nonsense into the house," or "corrupts the kids," or "takes away from more meaningful pursuits," blah, blah, blah.
Movies and all the incredible special effects are "too much, too far out, too extreme." Computers, aside from their function as tools, are "evil, captivating, addictive, a disconnection with reality."
This was the gist of most of their complaints: that these media were detached from "reality." Upon reflection, and in search of an excuse to continue with my habits, I realized my friends were reacting to content, bouncing emotionally off the thematic veneer of the media and, as decidedly non-Platonic folks, they missed the point. They were not moving past appearances.
Plato was whispering to me, enticing me.
I put on the thinking cap and I cracked the info-shell of the phenomena produced by television, by movies and their special effects, by computers (which are, more and more, the dynamos at the core of the other media). I divested myself of gut reactions to topics and images. I saw that rather than being essentially "unreal," as the Luddites insist, these media are, in fact, more real than most other things; more revealing of reality than most other experiences.
You might ask: Where were you going with this, Karl?
To the apex, dear reader, all the way to the Demi Urge. I was leaving the back of the cave, moving past the fire that casts shadows on the wall - the shadows we mistake for reality. I was going to stand outside the entry to the cave, squinting, stunned, nearly blinded by the sun.
I was arm-in-arm with Plato.
Let me give you a grotesquely brief summary of the grotesquely brief introduction to Platonic thought I provided those freshmen years ago.
According to the Big Greek, everything you sense - everything you see, touch, taste, smell, hear - is ambiguous, relative, in a flux. The things of sense experience are imperfect, transitory, ephemeral. The world of sensation is one of uncertainty, a world of opinion, of perspectives, productive of confusing emotions.
If something is absolutely true, however, by definition it must be changeless, immutable, perfect.
Jump ahead. Be Platonic.
The world we sense, therefore, is not real. The objects of our sense experience are mere imitations of perfection that exists elsewhere - Forms and Ideas from which emanate the phenomena we emotional and imperfect beings naively assume to be actual.
The only access to the Forms and Ideas is provided by reason. Emotion and opinion based on the evidence of sensation - an attachment to material things - is a weight that mires us in a world of appearances.
We must think our way beyond appearance, to reality. We must use reason, and the peak of reason is mathematics.
Television and computers provide insight into the Platonic system. As physical entities, the machines are imperfect. As sentient observers, we are imperfect, and absent of reason we are trapped by the literary, content-driven appearance produced by the machines. We are floating on the ever-changing imagistic surface, unaware of the depths.
You sit in your living room in front of the television set. You think you are watching a rerun of the Brady bunch.
If you are really thick, you think you are watching real people in real situations, in real time. A real Brady Bunch.
If you are slightly less dense, you believe you are watching actors, performing before a camera; you recognize amusing situations and Florence Henderson. There is a plot and you form an opinion about that plot. You get emotional when one of the kids breaks an arm or loses a lunchbox.
If you reason a bit, you find you are sitting in your living room observing light as it is radiated from a mechanical device.
If you are a Platonist, propelled by the definition of absolute truth, you know the device, the light, the transmission, do poor service to a set of mathematical equations. You know your living room is unreal and, surprise!, that you aren't far behind.
Beyond the Brady Bunch, the actors, the script, the machine, and the light turn out to be electrons behaving imperfectly in accord with mathematical principles - and it is the principles that connect with something ultimately real, with an immutable realm. The emotional surface of the information that gushes forth on the weak end of those principles, the broadcast you watch, the message you e-mail, the computer game you play while you sit on the rug in your unreal house are the shadows on the wall of Plato's cave, transient and weak - mere residue. Imitations.
It hurt me to realize this and I developed a crick in my neck. Attempting to keep up the Platonic pace, I told myself my neck is not real, so. . .
After all this darned intellectual work, I was pooped. When I get tired, I get hungry. My hunger was an illusion, but I was weak. My weakness was an illusion, but. . .
I went to my recipe file to find something to cook.
The stress intensified. I felt Plato's cool breath, Aegean, fresh, pure.
I realized that recipes are sign posts on the Platonic highway.
Each recipe is a formula for an ideal entity - a mathematical description of ingredients and processes that must occur in order to produce a representation of that ideal. A recipe for macaroni and cheese, for example, is a precise description of the Idea of macaroni and cheese. And, since the end product never turns out the same, time to time or chef to chef, it proves that truth and beauty and goodness is in the idea of the dish, not the imitation of macaroni and cheese you mistakenly believe is on the imitation plate you mistakenly believe is real. The ideal dish can never be achieved in this transitory world. The recipe, the product, the eating. . . all inform us of the imperfection of bodily experience, of the fact that perfection is elsewhere. Perfection is the Idea of chicken Parmigiana, the Idea of hummus, the Idea of satay.
As I stood on the precipice, I realized enough was enough. Whoa Nellie.
Now I was really hungry. I'm in late middle age and, like my dearly-departed mentor predicted, I'm knee-deep in Plato and sinking fast. I needed food. Transient, imperfect food, something to bring me back. Something to make me an existentialist again.
What to eat to allay this hunger (an imperfect imitation of the Idea of hunger that exists outside of time, somewhere else).
What would it be? Something Greek?
I'd just returned from Los Angeles where I went to see the new Getty Center, magnificent architecture, majestic stone set on a mountain spine above Santa Monica. I saw an exhibition of Greek statuary and pottery. I recalled the incredible decorations on the urns and amphorae, the bands of black figures making their way round the orange-glazed clay forms, the scenes of banquets and celebrations and revelry. What were they eating? Did the potter know Plato? Did he know Plato had little respect for artistic endeavor producing, as it does, imitations of imitations?
What did Plato eat as he sat with his friends, collecting the material that would later fill his dialogues. What did Socrates and Critias and Alcibiades and Parmenides eat? What did the guys munch on during The Symposium?
Probably simple things (deceptively simple, considering the articles put into mouths were mere reflections of a formal reality): imperfectly roasted meats, fish, olives, vegetables of the region, fruits, unleavened breads, lots of lemon, vinous products, oceans of wine?
What say I put together a moussaka? Layers of eggplant, ground lamb in a cinnamon-kissed tomato sauce, breadcrumbs, grated hard cheese, and a heavenly white sauce combined with soft cheese, blessed by nutmeg, the layers baked together into a transcendental blend of flavors? As the moussaka bakes, the scent of the spices fills the kitchen. What the nose smells is an illusion?
How about a leg of lamb a la Grecque, the meat impregnated with slivers of garlic, rubbed with oregano, salt and pepper, bathed in lemon then roasted with vegetables?
How about anything prepared with oodles of high-grade olive oil, lemon, mint?
My mouth was watering as I scanned the options - the Forms, the Ideas - knowing I could never realize the Real Moussaka, the Actual Leg of Lamb a la Grecque.
If I went with Plato.
I had to fight it. With food.
I was awash in the promise of sensation. I was being pulled back from the brink. Being a Platonist spoils everything, and food was about to rescue me.
Plato could wait. I wanted food. I wanted to eat until I burst. The pleasure of eating is undeniable. Satiation is temporary, but wonderful. I wanted to taste, I wanted to feel, I wanted to smell. I didn't want to attack a prime ribeye with reason.
Food was bringing me back to my senses, back to my imperfections. My glorious imperfections.
I decided to whip up that moussaka so I could taste the cream sauce with the ricotta, so I could see the sheen of oil on the crisp-crumbed, browned surface. I'd feel the heat as I cut and removed a square of the magical medley from the baking pan. I'd linger over the taste of the Sangiovese I would drink with the moussaka. (Retsina could lead to sensory overload.)
I was coming back. I was recovering my delight in the flaws of existence. I left the entry to the cave and dutifully took my place, my back to the entrance, watching the play of shadows on the wall.
I ate my moussaka as I sat on the couch, in front of the television.
I forgot the math, forgot the photons, forgot the imperfection.
Mouth stuffed with spicy ground lamb, eggplant, cream and cheese, I regressed past the facts of a script, of actors, of multiple takes and canned laughter.
I found Ellie Mae and Jethro and Uncle Jed and Grannie. We were together again. We ate and laughed, down by the cement pond. We played with the critters.
I was back. And yet, over there, ducking behind Mr. Drysdale's house. Was that a man carrying an orange-glazed amphora? Was it a shadow, or was it. . .
Thank you for giving the library the front page of the Preview to celebrate National Library Week. We appreciate all of the publicity you give us.
Our legal name is the Upper San Juan Library District, but we are known as the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library. It gets confusing sometimes, but we answer to all of our various names, and we encourage all citizens in the district to come in and fill out a survey to help us plan for the future. The district is most of Archuleta County.
If your motive for phrasing the question (Whaddaya think about the war in Yugoslavia? Would you want your children to fight in it?) in "Whaddya Think?" in the April 8 SUN was to assure a certain response, you ought to explain that. Otherwise, it's not good journalism.
Editor's note: The question provided the intended response - four different answers.
Mr. R. K. Boutwell's letter of last week, and your editorial comments of the previous week, compel a response. In attempting to compare the current PLPOA board with previous ones, Boutwell speaks from ignorance. As he has lived here only about a year and a half, he has little personal knowledge of previous boards and, consequently, no credible basis for making comparisons.
Having lived here for decades, David, you have no such excuse. Otherwise, why would you have told Boutwell last summer that the new board "is no different from the last board." Your early analysis of the new board suggests either a degree of prescience not previously apparent or an inclination to prejudge-based, perhaps, on moon phases.
Historically the PLPOA has been anything but a "property owners" association. It has often more closely resembled a fiefdom presided over by ambitious, narrow-minded lords - and on occasion by well-intentioned, but not very creative individuals. Much of the time it has been run essentially by empire-building general managers for personal aggrandizement rather than by elected directors for the benefit of property owners.
The "old guard's" overriding ambition was to form an upscale incorporated town completely divorced from the "quaint little community" located at the foot of Put Hill.
The new board has sought to cooperate with the town, county and other organizational entities. You should bear in mind that only one of the seven directors had as much as one year's previous board experience. Shouldn't the new board be entitled to the usual honeymoon period?
Unlike previous administrations, the new guys held weekly, publicized and open meetings in an effort to get properly organized and to take advantage of input from property owners. Moreover, the weekly public meetings continued from August until December. Key committees did likewise.
Under the new administration, property owners are not only encouraged to attend board meetings; they are urged to speak on the issues and are treated with courtesy and respect. No longer does one expect to be insulted and demeaned by either the chairman or a director, as in the past. Robert's Rules of Order are taken seriously by the new administration.
In my judgment the new board's accomplishments will far surpass in fairness, content and quality the work of any previous administration. This despite the defection of two elected directors who have personal agendas of their own.
I had no role in selecting the candidates who were elected as directors last July, nor did I campaign on their behalf. Moreover, I do not share their views on a number of association issues. Nonetheless, I give the new board an "A" for effort and extend my sincere appreciation to President Nan Rowe for her spirited leadership, her fairness and professionalism in presiding over six independent-minded directors and for the manner in which she and fellow directors have infused a strong sense of service among the able staff.
Hopefully, David, the foregoing will cause you to objectively reconsider the merits of the new PLPOA leadership, perhaps even to the point of stimulating your interest in attending a board meeting for the first time in a decade.
Editor's note: Let the records show that I attended, and reported on the March 12, 1998, meeting of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association. With an editor's comparative lifespan being somewhat like that of a dog's, it does feel like a decade has passed.
It was interesting to read R. K. Boutwell's letter to you last week. Director Boutwell has expressed his disdain for the work some of the new directors, including me, have done on three different occasions. Raving and ranting twice in meetings and now in the paper. Three strikes is all you get so I want to respond to this crybaby routine of his.
He states Joe Donavan was "literally forced out" of the board by a majority which does not include him. This is absolutely not true. Donavan resigned because he saw his effectiveness on the board ebbing. He needed that effectiveness to accomplish his primary, and probably only, goal, ie: to get as much as possible for the Ranch Community. Donavan stated on his application for nomination before last year's annual meeting: "My current position on the Ranch Board ends on June 24, 1998. If elected to the PLPOA board, I would not run for re-election to the RCPOA board because of possible conflicts of interest. . . ." He not only ran but accepted the presidency of that board. He wasn't forced out he just went back to his first and only love.
I'm certainly glad to hear that Boutwell intends to stay on the board. He has a record that one should be ashamed of. There have been 28 board meetings under this administration, Boutwell has missed nine of those or 32 percent, more than any other elected member, now that's real dedication. There is no record, that I could find, which would indicate his committee has ever held a meeting. Since I was appointed PSO committee chairman, we have held 22 meetings. Committee member Boutwell attended two of those. You get the picture.
When he spoke to you at the chili contest, the elected board was in place. But then his memory fails him.
If membership on the board, the board members and board meetings are as bad as Boutwell paints them in three of his eight paragraphs, it would appear that making a decision to stay on the board would rank up there with Hitler's decision to invade Russia or Clinton's decision to get together with Lewinski. Real intelligent, professor.
I supported Donavan and Boutwell for election, both financially and otherwise. In so doing, I disregarded my strong opinion that people who live here for less than a year don't make good board members regardless of what their backgrounds are. That was my mistake.
Finally, his crass remark about "a few new butts" is indicative of his low life attitude toward others.
This is a note of thanks and commendation to Bill and Eva Dawson and Matt Mees from just one of thousands of area residents who thinks their hot spring complex is one of the most aesthetically pleasing manmade features in the Rockies. And, then, to complement their entrepreneurial savvy, they demonstrated deep generosity and community spirit with the donation of a priceless chunk of land for our future community center.
A second round of applause goes out to the Pagosa Hot Strings, a trio of gifted and disciplined musicians who left audiences hollering for more at the Durango Meltdown this past weekend. Carson Park and Josiah and Jared Payne have been astounding bluegrass enthusiasts for several years. Listeners exchanged superlatives long after the final encore, commenting "Wow, those kids are just fantastic for their ages (all in their early teens)." Well, they are now simply fantastic and, to top it off, are writing some fine original songs and instrumentals. It was a treat to learn that they have recorded a CD that will be available soon.
Pagosa has always been the best place to be and has boasted fine soaking spots and music, but to have world-class hot springs and hot strings added to the mix - what wealth.
Board not the same
This PLPOA board is not like prior boards in spite of what you and Roy Boutwell say. If Mr. Boutwell regularly attended committee and/or board meetings, he would know of the positive changes made by this board.
Now, the board makes policy for staff to follow, not the other way around.
We invite property owners to come to our meetings and speak about their concerns at 7:15 p.m. rather than at 11 p.m. like the last board. No one has ever been told to, "Sit down and shut up!"
We have rescinded all the resolutions that are not in compliance with the declarations or restrictions and bylaws. We have revised the builder's package with input from the Upper San Juan Builders Association and the ECC. We revised the codes of enforcement. There are new personnel and PSO manuals. By June we will have six commissioned public safety officers. An aggressive past-due collection plan is in place and we have collected $26,000 to date and this work has just begun. We proposed bylaw changes to simplify and clarify several areas of concern to the members. We lowered property owners' dues and instituted a conservative finance policy. We funded trail work on North Pagosa Boulevard. Space precludes me from naming more of our accomplishments.
No one pushed Joe Donovan out, he chose to continue being Ranch Community president while he was on the PLPOA board. It appears that he was more interested in getting as much money as possible for Ranch Community than being true to the 1,500 plus property owners who voted for him. Mr. Boutwell and Mr. Donovan know that there can be no decision made in secret by our board. All decisions must be ratified at an open meeting and recorded in the minutes. There is no record in the association minutes of Ranch Community and PLPOA agreeing to let our attorney decide the validity of the Settlement Road Advisory Committee Report. Directors Ebeling, Curtis and I were unaware that there were four attorneys opinions that the Settlement Road Advisory Report was legal until we did some in-depth research.
I am delighted that Roy Boutwell is staying on the board. At least, he is true to the people who voted for him, unlike Mr. Donovan.
Boutwell called the new members to the board "self serving, narrow minded demigods." Yeah Roy. We've spent hundreds of hours of research and work at home and at meetings just so we can be self serving, narrow minded demigods. Roy has an ego problem. He cannot stand to lose any motion he presents to the board. I've lost more motions than Roy. However, I do not have a temper tantrum when I lose one, but rather mumble to myself and go on to the next issue. As for Mr. Boutwell's rather crude closing to his letter to you David, I suggest Roy might want to look into the mirror for the anatomical picture he presented to the public.
Judith S. Esterly
My husband and I are wondering if there is anyone in our area that is interested in "middle of the week camping" - short outings of a day or two? We're thinking of maybe just tent campers, vans or pop-ups, not "big rigs."
Also, I would like to exchange or loan picture puzzles to local puzzle makers. The puzzles are so expensive and we own a lot of them.
If anyone is interested we would appreciate it if they would phone Cindy Gustafson at 731-2105.
Seems like only yesterday that the Pagosa Lakes property owners voted into office a newly structured PLPOA board by some whopping majority. It was then evident that these board members would quickly launch a few and sail them off to different sunsets and other horizons.
I was saddened to read in the April 8 SUN that Robert Dempsey, a recent PLPOA chief financial officer, is still out there somewhere just waiting for his money ship to hit port; maybe he's already missed the boat.
My letter in last week's SUN evidently ruffled some feathers. I understand that a couple of scathing letters from Pat Curtis and Gene Cortright will appear in this week's paper. When I mentioned "wannabe directors" I didn't name names, but I understand that he adamantly denied being one at last Thursday night's meeting. Maybe he knows something I don't.
Evidently the biggest gripe coming my way is that I am not being constructive in my dialogue, and I'm airing my concerns and feelings publicly. Well, I tried the private approach with the board, and it didn't work. As far as being constructive - stop the blatant micro-managing, and let the staff do its job. That's the main contention I have with this board. This problem has been festering for months and is now completely out of control. Maybe my definition of micro-managing is out in left field, but I don't think so.
I think it is micro-managing when a director, in an association meeting, publicly critiques our PSO officers' monthly performance activities. Isn't it the daily personnel aspect of the PSO the responsibility of the PSO manager and the general manager? The same director, at the same meeting, humiliates the PSO manager by criticizing the format of her report. This action from this particular director is both surprising and disappointing. It's the responsibility of the GM to supervise the PSO manager, her activities and yes, her reports. It is micro-managing when another director, on her own initiative and without the knowledge of either the board president or the GM, who was out of the office, proceeds to "take the bull by the horns" and "handle" a problem, that unbeknownst to her, has already been resolved, and in the process screws it up royally. It's the responsibility of the GM to handle the day-to-day operations of the association. It is micro-managing when an individual director wants to assume the responsibility of dictating the hiring, firing and supervising of staff. According to any rational operations manual, that is the responsibility of the GM.
Just ask any staff member why morale is rock-bottom. The rationale I was given by a certain director for the dictatorial, autocratic approach by this board was "the inexperience of the staff and the fact that the previous board was too passive in its approach."
I regret that unfortunately all of this is coming to a head under the presidency of Nan Rowe. She is a very dedicated, capable leader and a very close, personal friend. This board is unraveling in spite of and not because of her. She has performed admirably this past year and her PLPOA legacy is and will remain very positive.
I also regret I have had to air my concerns from a distance and not in person, but unfortunately, that was not possible. I trust this dialogue will be viewed as constructive in nature. I have tried to express my views and convictions in a straight forward, non-vindictive approach.
Editor's note: Director Boutwell has been in Texas for the past month due to his wife being hospitalized following a severe automobile accident.
I am disappointed. I am saddened. I am disgusted.
There must be something about the southwest Colorado winter that drives people either crazy or into lawyers' offices, or both. After a sensible agreement with regard to the RCPOA set a side, agreed to in accordance with the letter and intent of the settlements with Fairfield, PLPOA sees dollar signs and welshes on the deal. I thought this sort of thing ended when the new PLPOA board set out to do its business in a way that eschewed such underhandedness.
And of course we, the property owners, must pay for this idiocy.
When did a man's word cease to be his bond? What is the word of PLPOA worth?
And to Mr. Joe Donovan, thanks for trying.
Laurel Henderson was named to the Colorado Rocky Mountain School Headmaster's Honor Roll with a 3.0 or better grade point average for the third-quarter.
She was also named to the school's "new-this-year Honorable Effort Roll, which commends students who have earned three or more of the school's highest grades for effort."
Laurel is the daughter of Sheila Henderson of Pagosa Springs and Robert Henderson II of Ignacio.
Colorado Rocky Mountain School is a private college-preparatory boarding and day school in Carbondale.
Susan Jane Riffel of Pagosa Springs, died Tuesday, April 6, 1999.
Mrs. Riffel was born July 6, 1946, to James R. and Betty Ross in Minneapolis, Minn. She grew up there. She married Gerald Riffel on April 8, 1972. To this marriage were born five children, Ron, Cindy, Leesa, Troy and Melody. Mr. and Mrs. Riffel lived in Fergus Falls, Minn. until moving to Woodward, Okla. in 1975.
They lived in Oklahoma for 15 years before moving to Pagosa Springs in 1988. Mrs. Riffel worked as a hotel manager in Pagosa Springs.
She is preceded in death by her father, James R. Ross and her brother James Ross Jr. She is survived by her husband, Gerald Riffel of Pagosa Springs; her mother, Betty Ross, of Crystal, Minn.; her sister and brother-in-law, JoAnn and Lowell Carpenter and her brother and sister-in-law, Jon and Dee Ross, all of Coon Rapids, Minn.; her brother, Jeff Ross of Minneapolis; her sister-in-law Sandra Ross of Anoka, Minn; her sister and brother-in-law Charlene and George Grellman of Walla Walla, Wash.; her sister and brother-in-law Patty and Arlyn Reinhardt of Frankfort; her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Don and Carolyn Riffel of Snudarko, Okla. and Darrell and Betty Riffel of Woodward, Okla.; her children, Ron and Donna Riffel, Cindy and Gary Winters, Leesa Keeney and Troy Riffel all of Guymon, Okla., Melody and Tony Lemmones of Texhoma, Okla.; 12 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; many nieces, nephews and cousins. She also had many loving friends in both Colorado and Oklahoma and will be greatly missed by them all.
Funeral services were held at Mountain Heights Baptist Church in Pagosa Springs on Friday, April 9. They were officiated by Rev. Chris Walls. Additional services were conducted in Shattuck, Okla. on Monday, April 12. Interment followed at the Shattuck Cemetery.
Emma Kate Jackson
See Front Page.
Elise Jane Murphy
Michael and Margo Murphy of Pagosa Springs are proud to announce the birth of their daughter, Elise Jane Murphy, who was born Thursday, April 8, 1999, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. Elise weighed 4 pounds, 11 ounces and was 17 1/4-inches long.
Paternal grandparents are Dr. Michael P. Murphy of Hannibal, Mo., and Dr. Norma B. Murphy of Pagosa Springs. Maternal grandparents are George and Jane Whitten of Center.
Jacob Daryl Couch
Kristen Griego is proud to announce the birth of her baby brother Jacob Daryl Couch. He was born Sunday, March 21, 1999, at 12:14 a.m. He weighed 7 pounds, 1 1/2 ounces and was 19 1/2-inches long.
His proud parents are Mark and Michele Couch of Santa Fe, N.M.
By John M. Motter
The sun is shining, birds are singing, and the deluge of snow which buried Pagosa Country during the first week of April has almost disappeared.
Spring in all of its glory, and with its unpredictable weather extremes, has enveloped Pagosa Country. Conditions today are sunny and cooler with a chance for snow showers in the mountains, according to Bob Jacobson, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction.
Tomorrow should see mostly sunny skies with a warming trend setting in. Temperatures Friday should range between the mid-50s during the day and mid-20s during the night, according to Jacobson. The "improving trend" should continue over the coming weekend with highs climbing into the 60s and lows in the 30s.
A ridge of slow-moving high pressure is dominating the west, Jacobson said. The high pressure area is bordered at the Continental Divide on the east by a low pressure trough across the plains. Consequently, Thursday should be breezy, a condition that will decrease over the weekend.
"Spring always presents variable weather," Jacobson said, "because of the extreme differences between temperatures in the north and in the southwest. Temperatures over Canada are still below freezing, while in the United States the longer days are getting warmer. The temperature differences create windiness and wild variations in temperatures, sunny one day and snow the next."