Front Page

June 24, 1999

Woman's death remains mystery

By Karl Isberg

Pathologists at a lab in Colorado Springs were scheduled to perform an autopsy Wednesday in an attempt to determine the identity of a woman whose body was discovered in the water at the base of Treasure Falls on June 20.

According to Mineral County Sheriff Phil Leggit, an unidentified tourist discovered the body of "a white female" at the popular site at the base of the west side of Wolf Creek Pass early Sunday afternoon. The site is in Mineral County.

The body was discovered in a pool at the bottom of the falls. Leggit said the tourist alerted Nick Rivera, an off-duty Colorado State Trooper who was in the area, and Rivera then notified other authorities.

Leggit said the woman's clothing was found folded and stacked near the top of the falls. "It appears she took her clothes off on a high, rocky point at the top of the falls," said the sheriff. He would not speculate on how or why the woman's body ended up approximately 100 feet below that spot.

An abandoned car was discovered in the parking lot adjacent to U.S. 160 near the Treasure Falls trail head and that vehicle is considered evidence in the investigation.

Leggit was unable to summon the Mineral County Coroner to the scene, so Archuleta County Coroner Carl Macht responded to assist. Macht and Deputy Coroner Carn Macht retrieved the body from the pool at the base of the falls.

Macht said Wednesday he estimated the woman's death was instant, resulting from multiple fractures and other severe trauma.

Leggit had the body of the woman transported to Monte Vista. The body was then taken to the El Paso County Coroner's Office at Colorado Springs where an examination was set for late Tuesday afternoon or during the day on Wednesday.

As of late Wednesday afternoon, the Mineral County Sheriff office had not received a report from the El Paso County coroner.


Convenience store robbery

Local man arrested

By Karl Isberg

A local resident was arrested on June 23 for his alleged role in the armed robbery of a Pagosa Springs convenience store on April 4, 1999.

Jesse James Colburn-Hanson, 19, a resident of unincorporated Archuleta County, was arrested by Pagosa Springs Police Captain Chuck Allen on a charge of aggravated robbery.

According to Allen, evidence recently developed by the department was coupled with video tape evidence obtained from a surveillance camera at the store. The information led to the identification of Colburn-Hanson as a suspect in the robbery.

In the course of his investigation, Allen determined Colburn-Hanson was on district court probation relating to an incident in November 1998 when Colburn-Hanson was arrested by town authorities for carrying a concealed weapon, menacing and underage consumption of alcohol. Allen said communication with the district court probation department revealed the suspect had received permission to leave the county, so the arrest was made before the suspect could depart.

The robbery in which Colburn-Hanson is a suspect occurred at the Circle K convenience store, located on U.S. 160 at the east end of the downtown area. At approximately 12:45 a.m. on April 4, a suspect described by a clerk as a white male in his late teens or early 20s entered the store brandishing a large knife. The robber reportedly threatened the clerk and escaped the store with a small amount of cash and some cigarettes. The clerk was not harmed. The robber then left the store property on foot and fled in a westerly direction in a vehicle that was parked nearby.

Following his arrest, Colburn-Hanson was taken to the Archuleta County Jail and bail was set at $25,000.


Decline in May tax collections may be misleading

By John M. Motter

May sales tax collections in Archuleta County are down 22.49 percent when compared with May of last year. Collections for May of this year total $226,483. For May of 1998, sales tax collections totaled $292,184.

"That number could be misleading," said Dennis Hunt, the county manager. "Last year's May collection was up 58.57 percent over the previous year. It could very well be a continuing problem with the Colorado Department of Revenue reports. They don't always get everything listed at the first of the month that should be listed."

Through May of 1999, sales tax collections in Archuleta County amount to $1,474,614, up 13.18 percent from the same five months last year - a year when a record amount of sales tax dollars were collected in the county.

The sales tax rate collected in Archuleta County, including Pagosa Springs, is 7 percent. Revenues from that rate are sent to the state. After reducing the total by their 3 percent, the state returns the remaining 4 percent to the county. The 4 percent is divided equally between the town and the county. The county's share is apportioned among the general fund, road and bridge fund, and road improvement fund. The town's portion is placed in a capital improvement fund.

Businesses within the town limits of Pagosa Springs collected 80.3 percent of the total collected in Archuleta County. Businesses outside of the town and within the county collected the remaining 19.7 percent. The amount of sales taxes collected in Archuleta County indicate a total retail sales volume of $29,070,040.

By way of comparison, retail sales in Denver County topped the state with a total of $3,619,965,342. The state total for May was $21,020,500,668. Other Colorado counties with retail sales in excess of one billion dollars are Arapahoe County - $2,905,083,422; Jefferson County - $2,286,748,451; El Paso County - $1,826,948,366; Adams County - $1,632,470,530; Boulder County - $1,472,150,380; and Larimer County - $1,077,833,363.

Retail sales in counties surrounding Archuleta County are: La Plata County (Durango) - $182,253,570; Montezuma County (Cortez) $74,313,243; Alamosa County (Alamosa) - $65,532,779; Rio Grande County (Del Norte) - $34,685,962; Ouray County (Ouray) - $10,412,221; Conejos County (La Jara) - $7,389,429; Mineral County (Creede) - $4,372,554; San Juan County (Silverton) - $1,798,046; Hinsdale (Lake City) - $1,568,653.


School not involved in football ad solicitations

By Roy Starling

Many local businesses have been receiving calls this week asking them to buy advertising space for a Pagosa Pirates 1999 football calendar, but according to high school athletic director Kahle Charles, the school "hasn't authorized the calendar and it isn't getting any money back from it."

Charles said no one from the school or the booster club is currently selling ads for a football calendar.

Local business owner Carol Dillard said she was contacted by a salesman who said he was selling ads for the Pirates' football schedule. "He claimed he was calling from the school," Dillard said, "but when I asked if I could call him back, he said his number was usually busy, so he'd call me. I thought that was pretty weird."

Dillard said the man told her he would "send an invoice with a mailing address and all I had to do was drop my business card and a check in the mail." She said the ad rates were from between $50 and $125.

Yesterday another Pagosa business owner received an invoice similar to the one described by Dillard. The return address was High School Athletic Calendars, 4130 La Jolla Village Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037. The invoice requested a business card and a check for $125.

"If they're posing as representing the athletic department, it's not legitimate," Charles said.

Efforts to reach the company by telephone Wednesday were unsuccessful.


Library to voters: Let us keep excess revenues

By John M. Motter

The Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, also known as the Upper San Juan Library District, will ask voters this fall for permission to keep excess revenues.

"Because of the TABOR amendment each year since 1992, the library has not been able to collect its original 1.5 mill levy," said Lenore Bright, the library director. "Library income has been shorted more than $55,000 in the past three years. We have had to give temporary tax credits of $23,000 in 1997, $17,000 in 1998 and $15,000 in 1999. These amounts would have bought books and materials. There were several grants we had to pass up because the grants would have put us over our Colorado Price Index limits each year."

The TABOR amendment was written to limit the revenue the library can receive and what it can spend, according to Bright. The complicated formula is based on the CPI in Denver, which has no bearing on matters here in Archuleta County, Bright said. This year, Denver's consumer price index is 2.4 percent, which, when factored with an as-yet-unknown growth measurement, limits library spending.

Causing the problem for the library and other taxing entities is the reciprocal relationship between property values established by the assessor according to state law and income limitations imposed by TABOR and the Gallagher Amendment. State law dictates that either Gallagher or TABOR provisions, which ever results in the least income, limits the income and spending of a taxing entity's budget.

The assessed value of the library district was $89,513,460 in 1996, $114,114,365 in 1997, and $118,943,397 in 1998. The assessed value for 1999 is not certified yet. The tax rate and income generated by that tax rate for those same years was 1.5 mills and $129,908 in 1996, 1.293 mills and $147,541 in 1997, and 1.392 mills and $165,567 in 1998.

Bright argues that the same growth that has caused the assessed value of property to soar has also caused the cost of demands for library services to soar. While the assessed value of property has increased almost 33 percent from 1996 through 1998, property tax income from that property has increased 27.5 percent. Because 1999 was a property value reappraisal year, assessed values for the coming budget are likely to increase significantly. Demands for services, especially the electronic and communication services modern libraries provide, are increasing at an even faster rate, according to Bright.

Complicating Bright's budget preparation this year is a mistake in last year's certification process. While the library district was credited with income of $165,657 on the assessor's abstract of assessment, the actual income received by the library district was just over $159,000. Unless the state approves otherwise, Bright is forced to use the higher number, part of which the library did not receive, for 1999 budget calculations.

"The effect of all of this is, I have had to become a fund raiser instead of a librarian," Bright said. "Money received as a gift does not fall within TABOR limits," Bright said. "In order for us to meet the demands of our patrons, I spend a great deal of time and effort raising money."

The tentative 1999 library budget anticipates revenues of $215,820. Of that total, $159,963 comes from property taxes, $14,000 from specific ownership taxes, and $44,624 from other, which includes fund raisers.

The 1993 budget reported total revenues of $185,847. Of that amount, $126,396 came from property taxes, $5,932 from specific ownership taxes, and $32,103 from other.

The library fund balance is $60,660, a number dictated by TABOR requirements, according to Bright.

"A major problem for us is identity," Bright said. "Legally, we formed as a library district, which is different than other special districts. As a legal entity we are known as the Upper San Juan Library District. We are also known as the Ruby Sisson Memorial Library or the Pagosa Springs Library or by other names. The fact is, they're all the same. There is only one library. On the ballot, we will have both names; Upper San Juan Library District and Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library. They are one and the same."


Inside The Sun

Foundation raising money for sigmoidoscope

By Roy Starling

The Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation is trying to raise enough money to purchase an instrument that will help Pagosans detect and combat one of the most common forms of cancer.

Bill Bright, executive director of the Upper San Juan Hospital District, said that efforts are currently being made to raise between $16,000 and $21,000 to purchase a flexible sigmoidoscope, a device that can detect most cancers of the colon and help physicians decide which patients need additional treatment.

According to Dr. John N. Withers, a Durango physician involved in the fund raising, the sigmoidoscope is "about two feet long and is flexible in order to get around the folds of the bowel. There is very little discomfort, and pain medications are not needed. During the exam, biopsies can be taken or polyps removed. With the newer scopes, pictures can be taken and included in the patient's medical record."

Withers said this procedure should cost only $100 to $150. A colonoscopy, on the other hand, can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 since most insurance companies do not pay for screening exams.

"Everyone over the age of 60 should have this flexible sigmoidoscopy exam," Withers said. "The older the patient is, the higher is his risk of developing the cancer. Withers listed three other groups who may be at high risk and should therefore have the exam:

- Persons who had a mother, father, sister or brother with colon cancer should have the exam beginning at age 40;

- Persons who have had ulcerative colitis for 20 years or have family members who have had many polyps in their colon;

- Persons who notice blood in their stool or change in bowel habits.

"The early detection of a colon cancer can mean a 95 percent chance of a cure rather than a 50 percent if it has spread to lymph nodes," Withers said.

Bright said the fund raising for the sigmoid was part of "an ongoing process in which we try to provide healthcare services locally that Pagosans would previously have to travel to Albuquerque or Durango for."

Anyone interested in contributing towards the purchase of the sigmoidoscope should contact Bud Brasher at 731-4086. The contributions will be tax deductible.


Lower Blanco restoration begins in October

By John M. Motter

The Lower Blanco restoration project should get underway during the first half of October, according to Dale Hockett of Elk River Construction Co., the firm contracted to do the work.

The project anticipates reconstituting about one mile of the river bottom with the goal of lowering water temperatures and creating conditions favorable for the proliferation of trout.

Funding for the project comes from an Environmental Protection Agency grant and donations from a variety of sources. In kind, that is labor and equipment, contributions have been made by a variety of governmental agencies, both local and statewide.

The original bids issued in 1997 anticipated reworking about two miles of the river bottom. Delays since that time have shrunk the work estimate to about one mile. Approximately $95,000 is available, although the sponsoring agency, the San Juan Water Conservancy District, is attempting to acquire an additional grant of $15,000 to $20,000 from the EPA.

Project designer and river expert Dave Rosgen has said, "We will work until the money runs out. That is where we will stop."

The project is considered as a pilot effort which, if successful, could lead to restoration of additional reaches of the river.

Creating the need for the project, according to many experts, are the altered river characteristics wrought by modern technology which make the Lower Blanco unsuitable as trout habitat. A major contributor, according to the river analysts, has been the San Juan/Chama water diversion project. That project takes water from the Blanco and Navajo Rivers and sends it across the Continental Divide into the Chama River drainage and ultimately to the Santa Fe/Albuquerque areas.

As a consequence of the diversion, much less water runs through the historic river channel. The renovation contemplates reducing the size of the river channel to match the current volume of water. As a result, according to the restoration planners, river temperatures should drop to levels more suitable for trout habitat.

Although the Lower Blanco Home Owners Association has endorsed the project and has worked to see it accomplished, a number of property owners along the river voiced enough opposition to prevent its implementation last year. A series of public meetings held during the winter allowed a variety of experts to answer objections raised by the opponents. This year, the opponents have not raised their voices in objection.


Pamphlet focuses on road upkeep

By John M. Motter

The Lower Blanco restoration project should get underway during the first half of October, according to Dale Hockett of Elk River Construction Co., the firm contracted to do the work.

The project anticipates reconstituting about one mile of the river bottom with the goal of lowering water temperatures and creating conditions favorable for the proliferation of trout.

Funding for the project comes from an Environmental Protection Agency grant and donations from a variety of sources. In kind, that is labor and equipment, contributions have been made by a variety of governmental agencies, both local and statewide.

The original bids issued in 1997 anticipated reworking about two miles of the river bottom. Delays since that time have shrunk the work estimate to about one mile. Approximately $95,000 is available, although the sponsoring agency, the San Juan Water Conservancy District, is attempting to acquire an additional grant of $15,000 to $20,000 from the EPA.

Project designer and river expert Dave Rosgen has said, "We will work until the money runs out. That is where we will stop."

The project is considered as a pilot effort which, if successful, could lead to restoration of additional reaches of the river.

Creating the need for the project, according to many experts, are the altered river characteristics wrought by modern technology which make the Lower Blanco unsuitable as trout habitat. A major contributor, according to the river analysts, has been the San Juan/Chama water diversion project. That project takes water from the Blanco and Navajo Rivers and sends it across the Continental Divide into the Chama River drainage and ultimately to the Santa Fe/Albuquerque areas.

As a consequence of the diversion, much less water runs through the historic river channel. The renovation contemplates reducing the size of the river channel to match the current volume of water. As a result, according to the restoration planners, river temperatures should drop to levels more suitable for trout habitat.

Although the Lower Blanco Home Owners Association has endorsed the project and has worked to see it accomplished, a number of property owners along the river voiced enough opposition to prevent its implementation last year. A series of public meetings held during the winter allowed a variety of experts to answer objections raised by the opponents. This year, the opponents have not raised their voices in objection.


Public buses to run Turkey Springs-Pagosa route

By John M. Motter

Public buses running between Turkey Springs Trading Post and Pagosa Springs should be singing down local highways starting July 6.

The choice of a name and logo are about all that remains to be done for the coming transit system, although service may begin without either. The county commissioners will select the name, based on recommendations submitted by a transit advisory committee. Names suggested to the commissioners were Springs Transit and San Juan Express. The commissioners rejected San Juan Express. They asked the advisory committee to reconsider Springs Transit and report back.

A public contest for devising a logo will be conducted following selection of a name, according to Leanne Deal, the Director of Senior Services. A cash prize may be awarded for the logo chosen.

The new program is a blend of the old and the new, of an existing transportation plan operated for the benefit of senior citizens and handicapped persons, and of the need to provide transportation to work for persons coming off of welfare roles. The old ACTRAN service has been operating since the late 1970s.

It all fits within the ongoing transfer of many social service functions from regional and state agencies to county control. The goal of the changes is to create an environment encouraging former welfare recipients to become self-sufficient. Ultimately, proponents of the approach believe the welfare drain on public funds will be greatly diminished.

"Since January, the county has been assuming responsibilities formerly performed by the Area Agency on Aging," said Ken Fox, chairman of the board of county commissioners. "As we develop local control, we continue to use some of the assets through Colorado Works and other programs already in existence. Transportation is a good example. It makes sense to help people find work and help them reach work instead of sending them welfare checks forever. That's what this transportation system is all about. We have opened it to the public at a nominal fee."

Recognizing the need to help workers get to work, Archuleta County Welfare Director Erlinda Gonzalez conceived the idea of joining the old with the new. A transit advisory committee was appointed. The members are Gonzalez; Deal; Pagosa Springs Town Administrator Jay Harrington; Cindy Spear of Community Connections; Sally Hameister, chamber of commerce director; and George Ziegler, representing senior citizens.

Cindy Archuleta was appointed transportation coordinator. Of the new projects, Cindy says, "There has been a lot of interest and a lot of support. We have to thank a great number of people in the community for making this possible."

Money to finance the transit line comes from the Colorado Works Program and the Colorado Department of Transportation. The Colorado Works grant requires renewal from year to year. The existing transportation system had one bus. An additional, 16-passenger bus was obtained and refurbished through the CDOT grant.

The proposed plan identifies 14 stops. The bus will run from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. and requires about two hours and 10 minutes to complete the route. The bus is currently white, but that could change following selection of a logo. Bus stop sites will be identified by signs and when possible, by colored curbs. Fifty cents per ride will be required. Books of passes will be printed, offering a reduction in the per ride cost.

The bus used for senior activities, which also makes a weekly trip to Durango, will continue to carry out former functions.


County studies senior citizen tax exemption

By John M. Motter

County action relative to a 1981 law allowing senior citizens to work off property taxes was suggested by Gene Crabtree Tuesday at the regular meeting of Archuleta County commissioners.

"I think we ought to look into this law, maybe form a committee to study it and report back to us with recommendations," Crabtree said. "It would be a nice opportunity to help the seniors. They could do jobs like answer the telephone, or file papers or lots of other things."

"The idea has merit," said Bill Downey, another of the commissioners. "We should look into it, but I think the best approach is to discuss the idea at one of our Wednesday work sessions."

"I just want to ask some people at Colorado Counties Incorporated, maybe our attorney, maybe some other folks to see what they think and get a legal opinion. Then, after we've gathered that information, we could hold a work session," Crabtree said.

"I agree with commissioner Downey," said Ken Fox, chairman of the board of county commissioners. "I have some reservations, some questions. I'd like to hold a work session first."

The commissioners agreed to schedule the topic for a work session at the first opportunity, possibly in three weeks.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners took the following actions:

- Plans to add one new member to the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission were extended. The county has advertised the vacancy for the past two weeks. No one has responded. By consensus, the commissioners agreed to review the qualifications of the three existing applicants before making an appointment.

- A conditional contract for the installation of a communications repeater on Sandoval Mesa was approved. Sandoval Mesa is located on the Southern Ute reservation in the southwestern part of the county. Installation of the repeater will improve radio communications in portions of the county where radio communication is now impossible.

- A retail liquor license renewal was granted to Turkey Springs Trading Post owners Todd and Connie Smith.

- Robert Herrera asked that speed limit signs be replaced on County Road 500 near his property located at the upper end of Navajo Lake. Herrera said the existing signs had been stolen. Dennis Hunt, the county manager, reported that road and bridge crews are in the process of replacing or installing traffic signs throughout the county and should take care of Herrera's problem.

- After returning from a meeting of county attorneys across the state, Larry Holthus, the Archuleta County attorney, reported that legislation recently signed by the governor will require all counties to redo subdivision regulations.

"The new regulations take into account recent Supreme Court decisions regarding 'takings' issues," Holthus said, "and could wreak havoc in some instances." "Takings" is a term used to describe government actions which result in the loss of individual property without compensation for the individual. The commissioners promised to talk further about the bill at a future meeting.

For more information concerning the Tuesday county commissioners meeting, see articles on county roads, planner, sales taxes and transportation.



Mollica returns to mountains

By John M. Motter

For Mike Mollica, the new Archuleta County director of community development, reporting to work in Pagosa Springs means returning to the mountains he and his family love. Mike reported to work Monday.

Even though Mike is from Connecticut and his wife, Elizabeth, is from North Carolina, the couple has spent most of the past few years in the mountains.

"Our children, both girls, were born in Colorado," Mike said. "Colorado is our home."

The Mollicas are parents to Brittany, 5, and Elise, 3.

After working for Vail and Eagle County for 11 years, Mike took his family back to Connecticut, where they have been for the past year and where the Archuleta County commissioners found them.

Mike has been placed in charge of the county planning and building permit departments. The commissioners have emphasized that they expect Mike to spend most of his time developing long range planning guidelines.

"Planners don't operate in a vacuum," Mike said. "In order to develop planning guidelines, we have to determine what the community wants and where they want to go. The recently completed survey is one good tool that will help with the process. I was not surprised at most of the responses to the survey."

Mollica expects to spend the next few days getting acquainted with the people with whom he will be working in and outside of the courthouse.


'Livability issues'

Living in Archuleta County for the past 25 years has taught me that growth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Some folks will argue that growth is good and should be encouraged. Others will contend that growth is the worst thing that ever happened to Archuleta County.

Some folks want you to believe that growth is positive progress. Others are convinced that growth is fostered by one person's greed and another person's desire for change.

About the only thing folks will agree on is that it's hard to come up with a precise definition for growth.

According to an article that appeared on page 1 of The Denver Post June 9, the county commissioners in Washington County, Ore., have an interesting concept on growth.

In an effort to keep Intel Corp., the largest employer in the county, the commissioners agreed to grant the company $200 million in property-tax breaks. The company in turn agreed to two conditions set forth by the county commissioners. One, Intel agreed to invest up to $12.5 billion in new equipment and plant upgrades over the next 15 years. And two, Intel agreed to pay a "growth impact fee" if it exceeds a ceiling of 1,000 new manufacturing jobs on top of the 4,000 it already provides in the county. Yes, the county is demanding $1,000 per excess worker per year if the company exceeds the new-jobs limitation.

The county officials reportedly say they want to keep Intel and the company's existing workforce in their county but they "really are not interested in a major expansion which would put new strains on the schools, roads, utilities and many other services in an area that is trying to hold on to its patchwork of farms, forests, orchards and other undeveloped (open) space that make it a particularly attractive place to live. . . . We are more concerned about retaining the economic strength we have rather than creating more."

The county officials contend that if communities really want to battle sprawl, the job-limit innovation could well become "a national model for how to achieve sensible precisely defined growth." Evidently they want to grant incentives for a stable economy that also provide ways to deal with "livability issues."

It's senseless to cater to folks who left one area when the congestion started increasing and the profit margin started declining and moved to Pagosa because the profit margin was greater and the congestion was less; with the unspoken realization that in time their presence would cause the congestion to increase and the profit margin to level off and it eventually would be time to leave Pagosa for greener pastures.

I know the Jewish prophet Isaiah was not thinking of Pagosa Springs, but some of his words in chapter 5 of his Old Testament writings hit close to home the other morning. Verses 8 and 9 of chapter 5 offered the following thoughts: "Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field til no space is left and you live in the land alone . . . surely the great houses will become desolate, and the fine mansions left without occupants. . . ."

Evidently livability issues go back quite a few years.

David C. Mitchell

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Expanding on 'Dr. Handy's Mountains'

Dear Folks,

Summer is officially here: SUN readers are asking if we are going to publish more of "Dr. Handy's Mountains."

Newer subscribers should be aware that the series of Dr. A.W. Handy's ink sketches are hard to come by, so please save them on a weekly basis. There is no guarantee extra copies of a certain date will be available for forgetful collectors.

A retired physician, Dr. Handy has resided in Pagosa Springs since 1976. During his first 15 or 20 years in Pagosa, Dr. Handy was one who climbed mountains for exercise and enjoyment.

The past few years he has devoted countless hours to doing ink-pen sketches of the San Juan Mountains based on color photographs from his earlier hikes or from photos provided by some of his younger hiking partners.

The SUN ran a series of 19 of Dr. Handy's sketches starting in January 1992.

The sketches served two purposes. One, the hours studying the photographs and reproducing them with pen and ink enabled Dr. Handy to mentally revisit many of his favorite areas. Two, he hoped his sketches would encourage others to hike where he had hiked and to experience firsthand the scenic beauty offered by hiking the trails of the neighboring San Juan Mountains.

While he shyly appreciates the interest shown towards his sketches, Dr. Handy contends no artist can convey the varied sensory satisfactions a person experiences while hiking the upper reaches of the panorama which frames Pagosa Springs.

With the public's ever-increasing awareness of the neighboring Weminuche Wilderness Area, Dr. Handy hopes his sketches cause folks to consider the area's multiple uses such as hiking, downhill skiing, snow boarding, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, bicycling, packing and camping trips, art, photography, hunting or fishing.

He also hopes the sketches will stimulate interest in the history, geology, flora, fauna, ecological problems and utilization of the national forest lands.

Because only a few of the peaks have official names that have been established by geological surveys, Dr. Handy has taken the liberty to list "some suggested names" as a means of reference.

Also, because the handwritten descriptive and identification information Dr. Handy provides with the sketches transcribed by a type setter, then prepared for print and pasted-up onto the layout pages by the editor, errors will occur in spelling or in placing the identifying numbers for a particular peak or prominent geological feature.

Please forgive us for the errors. Hopefully they will not detract from your interest and enjoyment of Dr. Handy's Mountains.

Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers.


By Shari Pierce

A man who saw the nation change

This week we'll conclude our look at the new mural on Pagosa Street with the life of Henry Gordon, the gentleman on horseback.

Gordon was born near St. Louis, Missouri, in 1832. As a teen, his first job was working as a hand building the grade for the first railroad that was built from St. Louis to Kansas City.

Later, he went to central Texas where he became acquainted with the Keith and O'Neal families. In the early 1870s, he moved to Cimarron, N.M. with John and Jim O'Neal. In about 1877, the group moved to the San Juan Basin, settling at Animas City, near present-day Durango and being among the earliest Anglos to settle in the San Juan Basin. Another move took Gordon along with John O'Neal to the Pine River, near present-day Durango.

Gordon and O'Neal settled in Archuleta County in the late 1880s. They settled in the area of O'Neal Park which was named for John O'Neal. At this time Gordon acquired a ranch in the park that he still owned at the time of his death. Gordon lived with Buck and Nellie O'Neal for many years before his death in May of 1934 at the age of 101 years.

Charles Day delivered the eulogy at Gordon's funeral and said about him -

"He saw the tribal laws of the Indians give way to the written laws of the white man. He saw Texas but a few years after she had won her independence from Mexico and became the great Lone Star state of a great sisterhood of states. He saw the thundering herds of buffalo moving from north to south and from south to north, and saw the trails that they had made worn deeper by the seemingly endless streams of Texas longhorns being driven to the Dakotas and other northlands, and finally saw these trails blotted out forever, to be covered with fields of waving grain. He is being laid to rest today in territory that at the time of his birth was owned by Spain. Truly a wonderful span of life.

"To have known Henry Gordon in his lifetime was an experience in itself, an experience for those who know what it was to look upon the great West when it was new and to share with others the rare companionship of mine, who, like my friend lying here, followed the course of empire to the last frontier and have finally fallen asleep amid the scenes and among the people he and they loved so well.

"We who knew Henry Gordon, perhaps better than a majority of his acquaintances, have yet to learn or even hear of him doing another wrong. He lived the creed that honest men live and he leaves a heritage to you and me greater than any heritage left by those whose riches were counted by any other standards of weight or measure, for Henry Gordon held no man to be an enemy and no man held him to be an enemy. He was honest, straightforward, brave and generous, a lover of nature."

25 years ago

Assessors' Assoc. to visit Pagosa

Taken from SUN files of June 27, 1974

Mrs. Genevieve Olsen, Archuleta County assessor, said this week that plans are ready for the ninth annual summer conference of the Colorado Assessors' Association, which will be held in Archuleta County this year. Registration of county officials and guests will be held at Pagosa Lodge Sunday afternoon.

Jami McGonagill, the 10-year-old son of golf pro Bud McGonagill, won the Hiwan Junior Open tournament at Evergreen last week, placed third at one in Durango, and will play in the state junior tournament at Eisenhower Golf Club early in July. His finish at Durango qualified him for the state tournament which is for golfers 17 years or younger.

Colorado State Patrol Officer Tom Richards last week arrested a an escapee from Hilborn County Jail in California. The wanted man is a felon and was out on a $3,000 bond at the time of his escape. He was stopped on a routine traffic check and the information came on the outstanding arrest warrant.

Members of the Pagosa Golf Club and invited guests enjoyed a Hawaiian luau at the Pagosa in the Pines Golf club pro shop and clubhouse last Saturday night. A large number of out-of-towners attended the colorful affair which was held on the deck of the club house.


Community News
Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

Jokes, anecdotes, comical stories

This is a column of all sorts of funny things that people send me. It is all Fun On the Run!

Observations of life:

"The Good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but the fly comes close." (Mark Twain)

"Do you know the three times that most people are in church? When they are hatched, matched, and dispatched." (Lowell B. Yoder, Holland, Ohio)

"Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered I was not God." (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

Q. What's happening when you hear "woof...splat...meow...splat?"

A. It's raining cats and dogs.

The doctor sent a bill with a note that said it was now one year old. So the man returned it with a note that said, "Happy Birthday."

Nine-year-old Joey was asked by his mother what he had learned at Sunday School.

"Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his engineers build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then he used his walkie-talkie to radio headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved."

"Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?" his mother asked.

"Well, no, Mom. but if I told you the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it."

If at first you do succeed, try not to look too astonished.

Confucius say:

Man who wants pretty nurse, must be patient.

He who lives in glass house, dress in basement.

He who run behind bus get exhausted.

Man who jump off cliff jump to conclusion.

This is a compilation of actual student GCSE answers (GCSE is the British high school exam for 16-year-olds.)

Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.

Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea where they made unleaven bread which is bread made without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada.

Solomon had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines.

In the Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java.

Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and was canonized by Bernard Shaw. Finally Magna Carta provided that no man should be hanged twice for the same offense.

Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained.

Gravity was invented by Isaac Walton. It is chiefly noticeable in the autumn when the apples are falling off the trees.

A nearsighted minister glanced at the note that Mrs. Jones had sent to him by an usher. The note read: Bill Jones having gone to sea, his wife desires the prayers of the congregation for his safety.

Failing to observe the punctuation, he startle his audience by announcing "Bill Jones, having gone to see his wife, desires the prayers of the congregation for his safety."

Two football players were taking an important final exam. If they failed, they would be on academic probation and not allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl the following week. The exam was fill-in-the-blank. The last question read, "Old MacDonald had a ______."

Bubba was stumped. He had no idea of the answer. He knew he had to get this one right to be sure he passed. Making sure the professor wasn't watching, he tapped Tiny on the shoulder. "Pssst Tiny. What's the answer to the last question?" Tiny laughed. He looked around to make sure the professor hadn't noticed. Then he turned to Bubba. "Bubba, you're so stupid. Everyone knows Old MacDonald had a farm."

"Oh yeah," said Bubba. "I remember now." He picked up his No. 2 pencil and started to write the answer in the blank. He stopped. Reaching to tap Tiny's shoulder again, he whispered. "Tiny, how do you spell farm?"

"You are really dumb, Bubba. That's so easy. Farm is spelled E-I-E-I-O."

Q. What's the difference between a northern fairy tale and a southern fairy tale?

A. A northern fairy tale begins "Once upon a time..." A southern fairy tale begins "Y'all ain't gonna believe this..."

The three stages of life:

1. You believe in Santa Claus.

2. You don't believe in Santa Claus.

3. You are Santa Claus.

The woman applying for a job in a Florida lemon grove seemed way too qualified for the job.

"Look Miss," said the foreman. "Have you any actual experience in picking lemons?"

"Well, as a matter of fact, yes!" she replied. "I've been divorced three times."

A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.

Chamber News
By Sally Hameister

Chamber Visitors Center increases summer hours

Four new members to share with you this week, and we are delighted to do so. We are just about two months away from our 2000-2001 membership year, and it is always interesting to see where we end up with our membership numbers. The Chamber business, not unlike other businesses, is a numbers game and, generally speaking, the higher, the better. We have already exceeded last year's high of 610, so we will be watching the next two months very carefully and will certainly share our findings with you.

Our first new member this week is Buckskin Towing and Repair, LLC, with Cody Ross as the contact person. These good folks are located at 960 Bryn Mawr (Cemetery Road) and can be reached by phone at 264-2518. They offer you towing, body repair, mechanical repair, glass repair, auto sales, tire sales and basically, anything that has to do with an automobile. We're happy to welcome Cody and gang to our Chamber family and look forward to a long, productive relationship.

Lee Roy "Spud" Heaton joins us next with Rocky Mountain Sanitation located right here in Pagosa. Spud can help you out with any portable toilet needs as well as septic tank service. We call on Spud to help us out with just about all of our special events needs involving large numbers of people and encourage you to do the same. Give Spud a call at 731-4418 or 731-4400. Happy to have you, Spud.

We welcome Camille Cazedessus II and congratulate him on moving from a home-based business to a storefront business located on Third Street. Rendezvous Books and Art/Pulpdom will open on July 3 and will feature old books, publishing, maps, posters, books of southwest Colorado, Kit Carson and Pagosa Springs. Join Camille for the Rendevous opening on July 3 and check out Camille's unique inventory.

Ray Pack joins us as an Associate Member this week, and we are especially delighted because Ray serves as one of our Diplomats as well. Thanks for all you do for us, Ray, and thanks for becoming an Associate Member.

Poma's paradise

Our warm thanks go out to Matt Poma, Tina, Chris and Corey for their warm hospitality this past Saturday. The Chamber gang was invited to be the guests of Piedra Packing and Outfitting on the glorious Poma Ranch for a trail ride and chuck wagon dinner. There were many of us and not an experienced rider among us, so you know we were quite a challenge. Matt and Chris met the challenge with warmth, humor and drop-dead professionalism. Our day was perfect and the Poma Ranch will be seeing more of us in the future, you can be sure (forewarned is forearmed, Matt). Tina absolutely outdid herself on our delicious dinner, and you simply haven't lived until you've tasted her Dutch-oven cherry-raspberry cobbler - yikes, it's delicious. Thank you all for a very memorable day and for sharing one of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen.

New hours

In an attempt to meet the increased needs of summer, we have extended our weekday hours hoping to serve those guests arriving in the evenings looking for lodging and sustenance. Suellen and Morna have graciously adjusted their schedules so that the Visitor Center is manned (or womanned in this particular case) from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Thanks to these two ladies, our Visitor Center has become even more user friendly and accommodating. Thanks, kids.

J.J.'s Upstream

Congratulations to restaurant member J.J.'s Upstream on their recent opening and what certainly looks like a rip-roarin' success judging from the number of cars appearing in their parking lot at all hours of the day and night. Suellen and I welcomed them on Friday and were very pleasantly surprised with the great changes they have made both inside and out. The menu is phenomenal, and we have heard rave reports that the food is fabulous. Our congratulations to the gang at J.J.'s and warmest wishes for continued success in beautiful Pagosa Springs.

Thanks, Andrew

In case you haven't noticed the most visible and indeed the largest business card in town, please take the time to check out Andrew Woodward's outstanding contribution to Pagosa Springs. Andrew has completed the mural you see between Milton Lewis's Wagon Wheel Gallery and The Irish Rose Restaurant right on Main Street just west of the traffic signal. Andrew is actually a mural artist, so we knew right away that he would be comfortable with that large expanse of wall. He has created an exceptionally pleasing artistic rendition of some important pieces of Pagosa history. The two gentlemen who appear in the mural were real members of Pagosa's past - the cowboy is Henry Gordon and the other gentleman is "Buckskin Charlie" who, according to the Southern Ute Cultural Center, was the most popular, photographed Ute in this area. At any rate, we are grateful to Andrew for his beautiful mural and congratulate him on a job well done.

July 4

Hard to imagine that the July 4 weekend is almost upon us with its myriad fun and frolic activities. It kicks off big time with the ever-popular Rotary Independence Day Parade on Saturday, July 3, at 10 a.m. Entry applications are available at the Chamber of Commerce, and don't dilly-dally because the deadline is Wednesday, June 30. There will be four categories, and cash awards will be presented to the top three entries in each category. The four categories include: Commercial, Non-profit and Service Groups, Individuals and Families, and Youth Groups. Don't miss Pagosa's biggest and best parade.

The Arts and Crafts Festival will be here and open for business at noon on Friday, July 2, with more vendors than ever before in both Centennial and Town Parks. Suellen has gathered together a terrific amalgam of talented folks who will share their hand-made crafts with you throughout the weekend as well as plenty of food vendors so you won't starve to death while hunting bargains. She has also asked several local musicians to come down and entertain in Centennial Park. You'll have beautiful craft items, food and music. Does it get any better than that? You will want to join us, I assure you.

Sunday evening, July 4, we will once again convene at Pagosa Lodge for a picnic barbecue, concert and fireworks display. The Lodge will provide a whale of a dinner with BBQ beef, pork or hamburger on a Kaiser bun or a chicken leg quarter. Your choice will be accompanied by cole slaw, baked beans, potato salad, macaroni salad, watermelon and fruit punch. You will be pleased to learn that there will be two food lines this year to speed up the process. Soda, beer and wine coolers will also be available to you but will not be included in the price of the dinner - $7.95 for adults and $4.95 for children (including tax). The Lodge requests that you do not bring your own alcohol. Beer and wine coolers will be sold at a reasonable cost. Do bring your own blanket, chairs, coats and umbrellas (just in case) and picnic if you wish.

You will be lovin' the concert this year. Once again our own local treasures, the Pagosa Hot Strings, will join us and the newly-formed Badly Bent featuring Jeff Hibshman and Pat Dressen. We have such awesome local talent, and you will be on the receiving end of lots of it during this concert. Be there for the "Red, White and Bluegrass Concert" beginning at 6:30 p.m. on July 4. The concert will go on until dusk, at which time you will be treated to a fabulous fireworks display. This display is particularly stunning at the Lodge because all the color and pizzazz are reflected in the water surrounding the Lodge, so you get twice as much ooh and ahh. We're grateful to the Lodge for hosting this colorful event.

The Lodge has combined forces with Wilderness Journeys to provide a transportation service to and from town to avoid a potential parking problem. The town pick-up station will be at the elementary school and schedules will be forthcoming.


Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

1K run leads off annual Fourth of July parade

Do you realize that July 4th is just around the corner? This summer has gone by too quickly.

The Fourth of July Parade sponsored by Pagosa Springs Rotary Club will be held this year on Saturday, July 3. A one-kilometer run will again lead off the parade. Also organized by Pagosa Springs Rotary Club, the "1K Freedom Fun Run" will precede the start of the parade by a minute. Runners of all ages and ability levels are invited to participate. The crowds will be there to cheer you on and on as your run the parade route in red, white and blue, complete with a small flag of the U.S.A. Patriotic? You bet.

Runners should meet on the Ruby Sisson Library lawn, across from the downtown City Market, between 9 and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 3 to register and pay a $5 registration fee. Preregistration on or before June 30 will assure the participant a commemorative T-shirt, donated by Lee Riley "I Sell Pagosa" and Mountain Home Maytag. Winners in the male and female categories will take home an apple pie and all participants under the age of 12 will be given a treat. Watermelons will be available for everyone. Our two local City Markets will be donating all the food. The $5 registration fee will go into Rotary's Scholarship Trust Fund. Registration forms for the run are available at the Chamber Visitors Center downtown or the Recreation Center in Pagosa Lakes. Call Ming Steen for additional information at 731-4596.

Many thanks to the numerous volunteers that came out last week to assist with the PLPOA newsletter mailing. Your help made the huge job easier and more enjoyable.

All Pagosa Lakes property owners are invited to be a part of a field trip to look at proposed trails and trail needs from Pagosa Lakes into national forest land. This field trip is part of an environmental assessment requirement. The field trip will leave from Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse on Saturday, June 26, at 9 a.m.


Senior News
By Thelma Risinger

Dennis Martinez big help at seniors picnic

Seniors citizens can visit Lucy Cotton in the Rock Ridge Rest Home on Wednesdays. Lucy has been hospitalized in Farmington.

Many thanks to Dennis Martinez for donating his time and talents to El Centro and senior citizens. Thanks for setting up the tables and helping at the picnic, Dennis.

Birthdays are celebrated at El Centro on the last Friday of each month. If you have had a birthday in June, come sit at the birthday table and let us sing to you.

Jewel Walton was hospitalized in Durango last Friday. Prayers for Jewel and Lucy.

Marion Knowles is "Senior of the Week" out here at El Centro. Marion winters in Arizona with a sister but is very happy to be back here for the summer. She comes to El Centro often. We have a good time with Marion.

Hello to an "old timer" Evelyn Anderson Anton. Evelyn is not so old but was born and raised here.

Does anyone hear from Jerry Heyl, Anna Carter or Alice Jane Ritterspach? They used to put life in this place.

The senior bus travels to Durango each Tuesday at 9 a.m., returning late afternoon. The fare is $6 round trip for senior; $7.50 for others. The senior bus is the only paid transportation out of Archuleta County - believe it or not. When will we ever get a bus going to Denver or Albuquerque. When will we get a paid passenger plane? We threw the little train away a long time ago. Wasn't that smart?

See you at El Centro, 12 noon.

Bye bye.


Library News
by Lenore Bright

Time to discuss information literacy

Readers of the week are Forrest Rackham, Mattaia Weerstra, Alaina Garman, Isaiah Thompson and Silas Thompson.

Windsock: Cody, Casey and Dennis Stadler, Sierra, Keith and Levi Suttles, Daniel Martinez, Audrey Martinez, Wesley Vandercook, Maddie Bergon. Diver: Katie Laverty, Megan Bryant, Dustin Anderson, Josie Snow, Misha Garcia, Aliya Haykus, Randi Andersen and Audrey Miller.

Coloring: Nathan Millard, Tyler Greenly, Angie Gallegos, Re'ahna Ray, Briana Bryan, Dustin Anderson, Raesha Ray, Wesley Laverty, Aaron Miller and Heather Andersen.

More than 200 have signed up for the Title Wave summer reading. There is still time to come in and register. A participant must read six books between now and July 24. Prizes and weekly contests are on going.

Jack Ellis read last week at story time. This takes place every Friday at 11 a.m. Parents are requested to remain in the building. Come in and see what fun things are available free of charge.

Information literacy

The push has been for technology. We've worried about access, cost and developing skills to use the technology. Now it's time to talk about "information literacy."

Are we preparing everyone for the onslaught of information provided by these technologies? How can one know what information is credible?

With so much information, everyone must not only have reading and computer skills, but information skills too. This means the ability to access, evaluate, organize, and use information from a variety of sources. And then turn the information into knowledge.

Knowing how to get information does not guarantee a quality learning experience.

In the past, a trip to the library provided carefully selected but limited and often out-of-date collections of reference material. Now, with the Internet, there is so much more available, and the temptation is to assume all information is valid simply because it comes off the computer.

We must become critical thinkers. We must "learn how to learn," and use these skills as consumers of information throughout our lives.

The impact of moving from strictly text-based learning to resource-based learning created a demand for more and varied media resources.

This has important budget ramifications for schools and libraries.

This also has implications for the workplace. The Department of Labor now lists information literacy as one of the five essential competencies necessary for solid job performance.

One is unprepared for the world of work if one cannot analyze information for its timeliness, bias, source and accuracy.

How we deal with the realities of the Internet will have an enormous impact on our way of life. Who will control our information resources?

Beware of those who would limit your access to the information you and your family members need to make thoughtful decisions.

Genealogy workshops

On July 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Heritage Quest Road Show will give three workshops at the Methodist Church. Preregistration is $27. This fee pays for the workshops and a year's subscription to the Heritage Quest magazine. Books, supplies and computer programs will be available to purchase. Registration forms are available at the library, and you may call Harold Morrison at 731-5793 for more information.

San Luis historian

For those interested in Southwest adobe churches incorporating arches and domes, this issue gives the history of the La Capilla de Todos Los Santos over in San Luis in Costilla County. La Capilla is unique to Colorado. The latest copy of the Historian is in the Hershey Collection.


We thank the following. Financial help came from Judy Wood and Ernestine Bowers in memory of Billie White Evans Mother, Leda Hubert; Jane Cook in memory of Dorothy Schutz; Otis and Marsha Preuit in memory of Jim Cloman, Eula Black, and Dorothy Schutz. Materials and books came from Mary Lou Sprowle, Anita Statton, Ted Stampher, Claire Walker, Gerald Conrad, Janet Spaulding, Lee Eckert, Charles Pelton, Gail Stuckenschneider, Don Mowen, Ralph Wiley, Marilyn Pruter, Lynn Constan, Betty and Lloyd Reynolds, Merton Burkhard, Steve and Molly May, Scotty Gibson, Sherrell Bohannon, Carol Hakala, Jack Renner, Jennifer Logan, Susan Crull, Elizabeth Thissen, Don Lundergan, Dr. Richard Anderson and Cathy Dodt-Ellis. Special thanks to Ione Adams and Bev Worthman who took pity on us and donated a new knitting book.

Arts Line
By Jan Brookshier

'Denny and Ginny' reception at gallery

Stop everything you're doing and make a note to attend the opening reception for "Denny 'n Ginny and the Gang" from 5 to 7 p.m. tonight at the Pagosa Springs Arts Center and Gallery in Town Park. This is sure to be a fun-filled and artistically pleasing event, with refreshments to boot.

Virginia Bartlett (Ginny) and Carol Fulenwider (Denny Rose) will present the works of their students. Media represented will be watercolor, oil and mixed media. The 14 talented students are Sandy Applegate, Patti Aragon, Marilyn Bunch, Janie Bynum, Pat Fregia, Doris Green, Victoria Kaiser Kimble, Anita King, Barbara Lincoln, Mary Ann Limmer, Annie Ryder, Mary Jo Smith, Cate Smock and Inge Tinklenberg.

The teachers state: "We are so proud of the accomplishments of the individuals who have studied with us during the past year at Fairfield and during those years we have taught privately and for PSAC. We have enjoyed introducing them to the magic of their inherent creativity, and felt almost parental as each has taken what we had to offer and incorporated those skills into work that is totally their own."

This show will run from June 24 to July 7, and the exhibitors will be volunteers at the gallery, allowing the PSAC Gallery in Town Park to be open most days from 9 a.m. until 6 or 7 p.m. This will make it possible for all the locals and visitors who are in the area for July 4 to visit and shop at the gallery.

Be sure to drop by the opening tonight. The word is this will be a great event with live music, food and, of course, lovely artwork to admire and purchase if you wish.


PSAC needs volunteers to work on the float for the Fourth of July Parade (which will be held on Saturday, July 3). If you'd like to join in this fun, leave a message at the Center at 264-5020.

PSAC needs a membership volunteer. For more information contact Joan Hageman at 264-4863.

We could use one more writer for Artsline (this weekly column). You'd need to write only once a month. If this sounds like something you would like to contribute, leave a message at 264-5020.

New summer hours at the Art Center and Gallery are 11 to 5, Tuesday through Saturday.


Tickets are now on sale for the Music Boosters' next production, "Nunsense." I've spoken with director Andy Donlon, and this is going to be one hilarious production. Imagine, for instance, Mary McKeehan as a nun. Performances will be held the first and second weekends in July in the new high school auditorium. Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce, Ruby Sisson Library, The Wild Hare and Moonlight Books.


Video Review
By Roy Starling

First racism, then recycling

I've pretty much had it with racial hatred, prejudice, distrust, resentment, feuding and cleansing, and so I'm going to try to end it this week by writing a video review. Once this whole nightmare is over - by late this weekend, I'd guess - I'll take on Pagosa's shameful and embarrassing lack of recycling opportunities.

"A Family Thing" (1996) is such an honest, touching, human movie about reconciliation between blacks and whites that it could make inroads into the heart of a hardened bigot.

Early in the film, the mother of Arkansas redneck Earl Pilcher (Robert Duvall) goes on to meet her maker and leaves her son a letter letting him in on a family secret: He is actually the son of the Pilcher's maid, Willa Mae, by way of the senior Pilcher. Willa Mae has another son (by way of her husband) living in Chicago. Old Mrs. Pilcher's letter instructs Earl to go see his brother Raymond (James Earl Jones), apparently to make his peace with him.

The rest of the film is comprised of a journey - both an actual journey and a metaphorical one. Earl leaves rural Arkansas in his trusty pickup and arrives in the alien world of urban Chicago, becoming a stranger in a strange land. Before he returns home, he needs to meet the Other, his black brother, and recognize his kinship with him.

Earl, you should know, is basically a good man, his only noticeable weakness being a lack of tolerance for racial differences.

As you can imagine, Raymond doesn't exactly greet him with open arms. Raymond already knows the story and he's been nursing a hatred for Earl's daddy his whole life. "Blood don't mean (bleep)," he tells Earl. "You're not my brother." He then looks at the blue-eyed man from Arkansas and laughs. "How does it feel to be colored?" Raymond asks.

Raymond, too, is a decent, reasonable man, but old Mr. Pilcher's treatment of his mother and her death shortly following Earl's birth have left him with a callous area on his heart.

Thinking that he's followed his mother's wishes as best he can, Earl prepares to depart Chicago. On his way out, however, he gets carjacked, beaten and robbed by a carload of young black men. The police find Raymond's address in his pocket and call him to come pick up Earl.

Since Earl is flat broke and is too badly injured to travel, Raymond becomes his brother's keeper, grudgingly taking him into the home he shares with his Aunt T. and son Virgil (Michael Beach), a less than congenial young man.

This little twist in the story - written beautifully by Tom Epperson and "Sling Blade" creator Billy Bob Thornton - allows the two brothers time to get to know each other and to move awkwardly, with half starts and reverses, toward reconciliation. There's no Disney, no Hollywood, no mawkishness in this process. It's gradual, painful, believable.

Raymond and Earl might have remained estranged forever without the help of Aunt T. (Irma P. Hall). You get the feeling this wise, hard-nosed, no-nonsense old woman could negotiate a lasting peace in the Mideast. She orders Raymond, Earl and Virgil around as if they were snotty-nosed little boys, and they have the good sense to mind her.

Aunt T. has some of the film's best lines. When Earl whines to her that she doesn't know what it's like to go through life thinking you're white and then to learn you're not, she snaps back, "You're right about that. I don't know what it's like. Nobody ever knows what it's like for somebody else, and that's always the problem." This film suggests that when people learn what life is like for other people, the distance between them decreases significantly.

I can't remember the context, but the blind old woman also makes an insightful comment on the age-old tendency to classify people according to color and shape. Since she lost her sight, she says, "I don't have the blessing of being able to separate people out by looking at them anymore."

Perhaps the film's finest moment comes when Aunt T. forces all three of these stubborn men to gather their chairs around her while she recounts the story of Earl's birth. Her story, told by way of an almost colorless flashback, vividly demonstrates that Earl and Raymond came from the same mother and that she loved them both. Raymond, a little boy at the time, held Earl in his arms.

It doesn't take much to see a moral growing out of this story, one that applies directly to Raymond and Earl, and one the rest of us could stand to ponder for a while: "You come from the same mother. She loves you both. Treat each other like family."

Some other good reasons to watch this film:

- The film's balanced portrayal of whites and blacks; neither race is perfect; both races are flawed, but both are redeemable.

- To see Jones give his best performance in years. This is a slightly different role for the man with the hippo jowls whose rich baritone voice gave us such memorable lines as "Luke, I am your father," "You must return to the circle of life," and "This is CNN."

- The way the film acknowledges that generational differences can create as much of an impasse as racial ones; notice the tension, for instance, between Raymond and Virgil.

- The way the film gets the atmosphere of a small southern town just right, as well as the dialect: "You want me to getcha sumpin' or other to eat?" "Reckon why I dreamed that?"

- The bit of sly foreshadowing early on when the backlighting in Earl's shop makes him appear black even before he gets the news.

- Duvall's acting, which is as good as ever, and that's saying something. Watch him work when Earl is trying to read his mom's letter to his dad. Ever seen a man trying not to cry?

Anyway, that's my best shot at ending racial hatred in our time. If you know of any good movies about recycling, call me.

By John M. Motter

When the Pagosa mayor's horse outran the school bus

By John M. Motter

Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon always liked a challenge. Ask some of the friends who went to school with him.

"Yes, I went to school with Ross," says Pete Lopez of Arboles. "I remember when he raced the school bus with his horse and won."

"Oh, yeah. I remember that," Ross recalls. "It was the last day of school. We lived between Allison and Arboles and it was 13 miles to school in Ignacio. Most of the time we road the bus. On the last day of school, I rode my horse. School got out early, around noon I think. I got on my horse, his name was Thunder, and beat the bus home."

The family home where Ross grew up was along Sambritos Creek between Allison and Arboles, Old Arboles before Lake Navajo displaced 200 families and several communities. Like his ancestors before him, Ross learned to stick to the saddle almost as soon as he learned to walk. Riding from Allison to La Frague, "The Forge," was common. La Frague was a small settlement down the San Juan River from Rosa. La Frague might be interpreted as "the place of the blacksmith shop."

"We used to go up on Carracas and rope wild horses," Ross recalls. "One time I caught one and brought it home. It was full of ticks and my grandfather was upset. We traded it for two pigs."

When people talk about ancestrage and "How long have you been here?" to Aragon and many others of Hispanic descent, a different measuring stick must be used. The answer is generations and even hundreds of years and might even stretch to Spain.

Aragon's great-grandfather, Nicolas Aragon came with his father, Serafin Aragon, to La Boca, probably in the late 1870s, according to Frances Leon Quintana, writing in "Pobladores, Hispanic Americans of the Ute Frontier." La Boca means "the mouth" and was once a thriving community on the Pine River below Ignacio. The timing of the exodus coincided with the building of the Denver and Rio Grande railroad line from Chama to Durango

While describing the entry of many Spanish families to the San Juan area between Arboles and Aztec, Quintana said, "Finally, there was Serafin Aragon from the Ojo Caliente area who, after some years in southern Colorado, returned to New Mexico and filed for a homestead near La Boca, where the railroad crosses the Rio de los Pinos."

In one sentence, Quintana described the Aragon family's moves from Ojo Caliente in New Mexico, a community north of Espanola which had been settled at least since the early 18th century, into the San Luis Valley and from there to the San Juan Basin. Permanent Hispanic settlements in the San Luis Valley appeared in the late 1840s and early 1850s. Ute and Jicarilla Apache raids on those communities were a factor in the U.S. government establishing Fort Garland in the San Luis Valley in 1858.

Until moving to the San Juan country, the Aragons had been raisers of sheep. As time passed, Serafin lost the La Boca property because he was not familiar with American homestead laws and failed to file properly. Finally, better educated in the laws of the land, the family purchased about 400 acres on Sambrito Creek where Ross was born.

On his mother's side, Ross traces his lineage through the Chavez family. The historic pattern for the Chavez family parallels that of the Aragon family. In fact, the pattern is the same for most Hispanos living in Pagosa Country today. Those living in the Chama River Valley, the San Luis Valley, or the San Juan Valley, are nearly all descendants of the soldiers of Don Diego de Vargas, who reestablished Hispanic settlement in New Mexico in 1692. Hispanic settlers under the leadership of Juan de Oñate had founded the first New Mexico colony in 1598. In 1680, Pueblo Indians with free-roving Indians as allies, drove the Spanish out of New Mexico and down to the Isleta area near today's El Paso. Since de Vargas' reentry, Hispanics have always lived in the Chama River Valley.

Closer to the present time, Serafin Aragon's name showed up in the 1870 Saguache census. Later, the family lived in La Loma, known today as Del Norte. Aragon is in possession of a certificate of baptism for Pedro Jose Aragon and Maria Pablita Leblanc in La Loma dated Nov. 1974. Pedro was Serafin's grandson and Ross' grandfather.

Lablanc was also born in the San Luis Valley and was the daughter of a Canadian-born mountain man with the same name. She and Nicolas married in La Loma during the 1870s before moving with the family to the Rosa area.

Lablanc was well known in the Rosa area as an educated, registered midwife, charging $25 for each delivery, according to Quintana. Later, she embarrassed her husband by running away and living with Jose Blas Lucero. The two lived at the jacal of Frederico Panayos (Henry Tree) in the La Plata Valley. Lucero eventually was attracted to yet another woman and La Blanc returned to Allison to live with her on Pedro. Still later, Lablanc worked as far away as Grand Junction. She died during the 1930s in Allison.

Why did the Hispano settlers move to the San Juan Basin?

"Life was very different in those days," according to Ross. "They were looking for a place where they could have their cattle and sheep and goats and raise crops and fruit trees and gardens. They lived on what they raised."

Pedro Aragon was a big man, 6'4", and well respected in the community.

"He had a four-season economy," Ross said. "He was progressive and had two of the first tractors in the area. In the spring, he connected a belt between the rear axle of the tractor and an electrical generator. The electricity was used to power shears for shearing sheep before they were driven to the mountains."

During the summer, Pedro took care of his crops, which included a variety of fruit trees. During the fall, he traveled around Pagosa Country with his tractors, threshing grain for farmers who didn't own tractors and threshers. During the winter, Pedro repaired equipment, worked on the home place, earned money as a blacksmith and broke horses for the Army troops stationed at Hesperus.

By the time of Ross' father, Juan, times were changing. Subsistence living, that is, growing most of what one consumed, was becoming more and more nearly impossible. Ross' dad worked at mines in Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, and Price, Utah. Juan's marriage was unhappy and Ross largely grew up in a broken home. Juan is remembered as a musician who played for the frequent community dances. He played the fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and banjo.

"I was raised mostly by my grandfather," Ross recalls.

Born in 1940, Ross went through the sixth grade in the Allison school, then through the ninth grade at Ignacio. At that point, he moved to Pagosa Springs where he lived with his mother and graduated from high school.

Of his youth, Ross remembers, "Everybody was busy. People helped each other with the harvests. We didn't shop much because we raised everything we needed."

Young people passed Sunday afternoons during the summer by swimming in the San Juan River by a big rock near Arboles. When they weren't swimming, they were horseback riding. Then there was the train which still whistled through the San Juan Valley.

"I remember we rode the train from Allison to Arboles," Ross remembers. "That was the first time I ever saw a black man. We got to spend five cents for an ice cream. That was a wonderful treat."

Since then, Ross has grown to be a respected father, business man, and community leader in Pagosa Springs. He has managed Archuleta Housing Corporation since 1975. In 1976, he was elected to the Pagosa Springs town board. During 1978, he was elected mayor and has held that title since. As mayor, Ross has known governors and senators and dignitaries from across the nation. He has watched Pagosa Springs grow from a sleepy mountain town to a busy recreation destination. He has more than watched, he has helped lead that transition. Ross Aragon has met the challenge of living in Pagosa Country.



Power to the people

Dear Editor,

The staff of the POWER House wishes to express our thanks for another successful fund raiser auction. Each year the POWER House auction has helped to provide utilities for our building and insurance, as well as for necessary equipment which keeps the Center open for teens of this community. As a result of this fund raiser, we are able to provide a safe, neutral environment for junior high school-age students without charging them to take advantages of our awesome facilities. We believe what we raised this year will once again take care of these expenses.

This year was a true test of the support of this community for the POWER House. Despite a windy, drizzly afternoon and evening, we had a great turnout come to enjoy Joe Bob and Donna Leake's Chuckwagon Supper, and then stay for the fun of bidding on some incredible donations from local businesses. We were overwhelmed by your response to us.

Thank you Pagosa for your generosity!

God bless,

Bay and Peg Forrest

Brian and Morgan Gronewoller

Joel and Ronnie Arrington

Who can you trust?

Dear editor,

I am writing this letter to inform everyone that this past week, June 14 and 15, I was found not guilty by a jury right here in Pagosa Springs. I was another innocent person wrongly accused in this so called undercover investigation gone bad. These last few months of my life have been very hard and stressful for me and my children. I was thrown in jail for a crime I did not commit then I had to even go to trial. The persons involved in this investigation, the police department, their detective, and the mayor who, by the way, started this whole mess, should look at what they have done to my life and everyone else's life that they involved in this very unprofessional, and inappropriate investigation. The confidential informant that they used was a drug addict who was using a lot of innocent people like myself to get the money she needed to support her drug addiction. This whole incident from the courts issuing an arrest warrant, to me being arrested and then have them waste all this time and money of the tax payers to take me to trial, only for the jury to find me not guilty has me outraged just like all the others that were snared into this investigation. I was very scared because I saw that innocent Hispanic man get convicted, and I have children and now that this is all over, I want my named cleared. I was slandered, my character was deflamed, and it has even been hard for me to get a job. This whole situation has been a nightmare for me and my children. As hard as I try I cannot forget the morning they showed up to take me to jail, and all the stress leading up to the trial. I'm angry, I feel violated, but most of all now I don't know who to trust, because deep down inside I know if I could get arrested for a crime I didn't commit and even be taken to trial for it and possibly convicted it makes me feel very insecure and afraid of the people who everyone is trusting to protect us.


Sidelia Marie Elledge


Dear Editor,

I recently circulated a petition asking the owners of a funeral home not to locate on main street in the old Weminuche Printing building. The petition was signed by 40 of the closest neighbors to that building, both commercial and residential. Everyone agreed that the location of a funeral home in the middle of an emerging retail section of town, with residential properties surrounding it on the back side, would be most inappropriate.

I believe two things about this location for a funeral home.

1. It is not compatible with the existing business in the area. Those of us in this section of town have worked hard to create an interesting retail identity which helps to establish and to maintain a unique "feel" to downtown Pagosa Springs.

2. It is not compatible with the residentially zoned properties that surround the building and the alley behind. Many of us, with and without kids are walking and biking that alley daily. "Deliveries" would be a problem.

If you feel as the 40 of us do, please voice your opinion to the town. As there is no zoning to prohibit the location of a funeral home in this building, all we can do is to appeal to a sense to do the right thing.


Cappy White


E mail

Odd happenings

An article on the front page of the summer edition of the PLPOA Newsletter was very misleading and designed to once again denigrate the outstanding service that our ex-comptroller, Bob Dempsey (which the new "rogue" Board of Directors had as their goal to fire), gave to the PLPOA in his years of service from 1991-1998.

The true story regarding the $100,000 in outstanding dues is: In 1991, when Mr. Dempsey was hired as the Comptroller, the outstanding delinquent fees and fines had a balance in excess of $500,000. This total was aggressively reduced each year by at least $100,000. In 1997, more than $200,000 of delinquent fines and fees was collected. If he had not been terminated in July, 1998 (illegally), the remaining amount of $100,000 would have been reduced to a very negligible amount by the beginning of 1999.

Did anyone find it strange that the contentious resignation of Director Boutwell was not mentioned in the summer edition of the PLPOA Newsletter - even though it occurred well before press time? Was it because of the embarrassment of losing (by resignation) all three of the Directors "elected" in 1998, all in less than a year after the shameless lying and misleading tactics that was undertaken to "elect" these three individuals? Boutwell's resignation left the Board with only one elected member and five appointed members. Five of the current Board members were/are active participants in the SPEAK OUT Group.

Did you notice that the current edition of the PLPOA Newsletter had no advertisements? The advertisements normally pay for more than 85 percent of the cost of publishing and mailing of the newsletter. Again, the true story of why there were no ads: The Fairfield Sales Contracts Office representative, Steve Thull, requested that no real estate sales ads be included in the newsletter - did not want the competition. This request was presented to the Board of Directors at the 13 May, 99 meeting. Therefore, the Property Owners paid for the entire expense of printing and mailing the current edition of the newsletter. Won't we ever get away from being "screwed" by Fairfield? And when does fiduciary responsibility start with this Board?

Communications with our out-of-town property owners has been severely diminished with only two newsletters being published per year and the termination of the WEB page.

Mojie Adler


Bramwell, Payne to compete in 'largest rodeo'

By Christy Bramwell

Two local young men are headed to Gillette, Wyo. July 19 to 25 to compete in the world's largest rodeo: the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHFR).

Dusty Payne and Zane Bramwell, both of Chromo, earned their positions on the Colorado State high school rodeo team in the team roping event. The team had no support from the local school district, but the boys were graciously accepted into the Basin High School Rodeo Club which includes the Durango, Ignacio and Bayfield areas. Still, Dusty and Zane have represented Pagosa Springs well.

The team placed second in the average at the state competition and third in the state standings for the year. Their success qualified them to make the national team. This is no small feat. They have accomplished something that few can comprehend. Two boys from a tiny community have competed and won their way to the top, beating out students from schools of all sizes across the state. Only the top four teams in each state are invited to attend the national competition. The boys will represent Pagosa Springs in front of the nation in a wholesome, positive way that all of Pagosa can be proud of.

The team of Payne and Bramwell will be competing along with over 1500 contestants from 42 states and four Canadian Provinces for over $70,000 in prizes. In addition, NHSFR contestants will be vying for more than $150,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named the National High School Rodeo Champions. To earn this title the contestants must finish in the top twenty after two go-rounds of competition before advancing to Sunday's final championship performance. This year, the Sunday performance will be televised nationally on TNN on Aug. 15 at 1 p.m. in all time zones with the top finishers being featured.

Dusty and Zane have had tremendous support from their families. Dusty is the son of Vick and Angie Payne, and Vicki Payne of Chromo. He will be entering his senior year. Dusty is an aspiring artist, like his dad, creating with clay sculpture.

Zane is the son of Jim and Sandy Bramwell of Chromo and graduated this May. He also competed in the calf roping event earlier in the season; however, a broken wrist and a lame horse put his calf roping career on hold. Zane is looking for a two-year college that focuses on rodeo while he completes his general education requirements.

The boys share a common dream of flying airplanes and roping as their careers. Both boys have been roping since they could ride and riding since they could walk. The goal they have reached has been long in the making and your support is appreciated.


Anniversary Love

Today is an auspicious one for Bill and Gail Love of Pagosa Springs. Bill ("BJ") and Gail were married on June 24, 1966, and celebrate 33 years of matrimony today with the love and best wishes of family and friends.


James Hoyle

Marine Pfc. James M. Hoyle, son of Rebecca A. Kish of Pagosa Springs recently reported for duty with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363, Marine Corps Base, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Hoyle is a 1998 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School and joined the Marine Corps in July 1998.Tyler Hoffmann


Tyler Hoffmann

Air Force Senior Airman Tyler Hoffmann is a member of the 22nd Fighter Squadron Weapons from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, who participated in Operation Noble Anvil in Yugoslavia. The operation supported sortie flying missions over the skies of Yugoslavia.

Air Force members assisted with aircraft weapons and munitions preparation and loading, and directly contributed to more than 100 successful flights over Serbian held territory.

Operation Noble Anvil is the U.S. Air Forces in Europe component of NATO air operations which was designed to curb Serbian aggression against ethnic Albanians in Yugoslavia and the Kosovo region.

Hoffmann, an F-16 fighter aircraft avionic systems journeyman, is the son of James and Martha Hoffmann of Pagosa Springs.


Lillie Anne Stanfill

Kenny and Katherine Stanfill are happy to announce the birth of their daughter, Lillie Anne Stanfill, on April 8.

Lillie Anne was born at Mercy Medical Center at Durango. She weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces and was 18 and 1/2-inches long.

Lillie Anne has six siblings: Slade, Lannie, Jamie, Dannielle, Chandra and Jason.

Maternal grandparents are Joe and Corina Valdez, of Pagosa Springs. Paternal grandparents are Charlie and Carol Stanfill, of Arboles; and Ernie and Mary Anne Heltsley, of Tucson, Ariz.

Weather Stats


















































Nightly freezes are over for a while

By John M. Motter

Traditional summer rains have not settled on Pagosa Country, but nightly freezes are a thing of the past, at least for a season.

The most recent freezing temperatures were recorded June 4, 5 and 6 when the thermometer dropped at night to 27, 30 and 30 degrees respectively. When will it freeze again? The latest June freeze on record since 1938 took place June 28, 1948, when the thermometer dropped to 22 degrees. The coldest June temperature was 17 degrees on June 8, 1950.

Will the thermometer drop into the freezing range during July? It has in the past. The coldest July reading was 27 degrees, measured July 7, 1941, and again July 5, 1956. The thermometer has dipped to 32 degrees or lower eight of the most recent 55 Julys. Freezing temperatures also occur during August in Pagosa Country. There is no month during the year when a freeze has not occurred.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Pagosa Springs, 99 degrees, occurred July 7, 1989. The next hottest temperature, 98 degrees, occurred June 12, 1946, and again Sept. 6, 1955. The maximum June temperature has surpassed 90 degrees 16 times during the past 55 years. During July, the thermometer has topped 90 degrees 24 times and during August it has topped 90 degrees 16 times.

The forecast for the coming weeks calls for warmer temperatures with a slight chance for afternoon and evening thunderstorms.

"The best chance for showers will take place Friday," said Beckie Klenk, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction. "Even then, there is just a slight chance for afternoon and evening thundershowers. There should be a drying trend Saturday and Sunday."

Temperatures should range from highs in the 80s to lows between 45 and 55 degrees through the weekend, Klenk said. Slight cooling could take place Saturday if thunderstorms materialize.

"Weather we describe as the monsoon season hasn't arrived yet," said Jim Pringle, lead forecaster at the Grand Junction National Weather Service station. "We could be getting a little moisture from Mexico, but the monsoon season normally starts in mid-July and lasts into early September."

The monsoon scenario requires winds from the Pacific Ocean carrying moisture into southern Mexico. At that point, winds traveling along the Rocky Mountain cordillera carry the moisture north to the Colorado area.

"Right now, the main storm track is north of Colorado," Pringle said.