Front Page

July 22, 1999
Look for rain, rain, more rain

By John M. Motter

July rains, already in excess of the long-time average, should continue through the coming weekend, according to Brian Avery, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction.

"Following heavy rains Wednesday afternoon and evening, there should be a diminishing amount of precipitation through the weekend," Avery said. "There is a 30 percent chance for thunderstorms today and tomorrow. In fact, those same patterns should last through the weekend."

A large high-pressure area over the plains to the east is creating the local monsoon conditions, according to Avery. Winds whirling in a clockwise direction around the high pressure pick up moisture from southern Mexico and drop it on the Four Corners area. Extra moisture is coming north, because the Mexican skies are filled with moisture from both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.

Last week, 1.45 inches of rain filled the gauge at the Stevens Field weather observation station. Rain dropped in town every day but Thursday and Friday, swelling the July total to 2.12 inches through July 20. The long-time average rainfall for July in town is 1.6 inches.

The maximum precipitation recorded during July since record keeping started 55 years ago is the 5.78 inches which fell during 1957. On July 2, 1988, 1.7 inches of precipitation was measured in town, the most for any July day on record. Aug. 22, 1995, holds the record for the most rainfall ever recorded in one day in town. On that day, 2.36 inches of rain were recorded.

During an average year, the months of January, August, September, October, November and December all have more precipitation than July. August is normally the wettest month of the year with 2.52 inches of rainfall, on the average. October, November, December and January precipitation totals are swelled by snowfall measurements. The average ratio of snow depth to precipitation is about 11 or 12 to one. That means when 11 or 12 inches of snow is melted, it produces about one inch of water. The ratio varies considerably in the spring when wet, heavy snows fall.

Through July 20 of this year, 12.29 inches of precipitation have been measured in town. Using the long-time average precipitation in town for each month through July, normal accumulative precipitation for this time of the year is 9.79 inches. Accumulative precipitation through July 20, 1999, is 40 percent above the long-time average, but appears to be no threat to set a new record. The long-time average annual precipitation in town is 19.37 inches, with a maximum of 33.86 inches measured for 1957. As little as 10.44 inches of precipitation fell during 1950.

Meanwhile, the daily rains are keeping temperatures down in Pagosa Country. The highest temperature recorded last week was 79 degrees, measured both Friday and Tuesday. The lowest high temperature was 69 degrees measured Thursday. A similar consistency in night-time low temperatures was recorded. The lowest reading of 47 degrees was recorded three times, while the highest low reading was 59 degrees recorded Friday. The average high temperature for the week was 77 degrees, the average low temperature 52 degrees. The thermometer has not reached 90 degrees so far during 1999.


Commissioners approve subdivision variances

By John M. Motter

Variances from subdivision regulations for two developments were approved Monday by the Archuleta County commissioners while meeting in regular weekly session.

Three variances were granted the Elk Park Subdivision, a single-family residential development containing 65 small-acreage lots plus 25 lots of 35-acres or more. The proposed Elk Park is located north of U.S. 160 between Martinez Canyon and Aspen Springs. The project has been to the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission, where it passed the sketch plan phase of the subdivision development process.

In addition, the planning commission met with the developer at the site and were conducted on a guided tour of the property. Following the tour, the planning commission recommended approval of the following variances requested by the developer. County Engineer Dan Flack also recommends approval of the variance requests. The rationale behind each variance is based upon the steepness of the land on which the subdivision is being platted.

First, the developers will be allowed to construct interior roads with drivable widths of 24 feet instead of the subdivision requirement of 27 feet. The change is allowed because the narrower width reduces the extremity of road cuts, which would have destroyed a large number of trees.

Next, the developers will be allowed to install two cul-de-sacs because a road grade in excess of 8 percent would be necessary to loop the roads instead of using cul-de-sacs. County regulations forbid construction of roads with grades in excess of 8 percent. Cul-de-sacs are not normally allowed because they are difficult to maintain and keep free of snow. Road maintenance equipment normally has a hard time turning around on cul-de-sacs. In addition, two separate entrance-exit roads to residential sites are preferred because of the threat that fire will trap residents with only one route.

Finally, the developers will be allowed to plat some single-family residence lots with double street frontage, although subdivision regulations normally do not allow that type of platting. In this instance, the variance was granted because of the location of natural building sites and the topography of the land which dictates the location of roads.

The improvements agreement and a variance were approved for Ridgeview Mall, Phase I. The developers of Ridgeview Mall contemplate construction of a 36,000-foot retail shopping mall during Phase I, with additional construction to follow during Phases II, III and IV. Ridgeview Mall is located outside the town limits on the north side of U.S. 160 between Seminole Drive and Bastille Drive.

Monday the commissioners approved a variance allowing architectural approval of the Ridgeview Mall site plan, instead of approval by the county engineer. Developers argue that site-plan requirements fall within the expertise of architects. Mechanical features of buildings and surface facilities fall within the expertise of civil engineers. County subdivision regulations specify that the county engineer must approve all site plans. In approving a variance allowing site-plan approval by an architect in this instance, the commissioners remain consistent with similar variances they have granted in the past.

The commissioners also approved the mall's Phase I improvements agreement for final-plat approval. A bond of $136,000 has been pledged to secure proper installation of utilities, roadways, parking and drainage requirements on Phase I of the project. The improvements agreement bond is in addition to a construction performance bond and an improvements agreement bond that were pledged during an earlier phase of the development.

The commissioners also conducted the following additional business Monday:

- A discussion on the need for exit interviews for persons leaving county employment resulted in a decision to bring up the subject at the next meeting of county elected officials.

Crabtree had suggested that all persons leaving county employment be allowed, voluntarily, to discuss with the commissioners their employment by the county and reasons for terminating that employment.

County Manager Dennis Hunt pointed out that employees of the clerk, treasurer, assessor and sheriff do not work for the county commissioners. Consequently, unless exit interviews are adopted as a county-wide policy that is approved by all of the elected officials, the commissioners have no right to conduct exit interviews with all departing employees. They can conduct exit interviews only with those employees directly under the commissioners supervision in the county organization chart. (Only through budget approval do county commissioners have any say over the operation of departments headed by other elected officials.)

- Based on a request made by Commissioner Gene Crabtree, appointment of an additional member to the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission was postponed. Six names are being considered for the position. When the appointment is made, all vacancies on the planning board will be filled. All members serve as volunteers, and consequently are not paid for their services. Crabtree asked for the extension so that he might have more time to review the qualifications of the applicants.

- A temporary liquor license granted to the Arboles Store was extended pending state action allowing issuance of a permanent license.

- County approval was given to SUCAP for developing a transit system connecting Allison, Arboles, Ignacio and Durango. The proposed service has no connection with the transit system recently initiated in the Pagosa Springs area.


Three seats open on board of education

By Karl Isberg

Three seats on the School District 50 Joint board of education will be filled following the Nov. 2, 1999 general election.

Candidates will contend for seats representing three of five voter districts and Superintendent Terry Alley said he is not yet sure whether the incumbent directors will run for re-election.

Randall Davis has served the residents of District 1 for 20 years, first taking his place on the board in 1979. District 1 encompasses the area within school district boundaries north of U.S. 160 and west of Fourmile Road. The term in District 1 will be for four years.

Russ Lee was first elected to the board in District 2 in 1995. That district is south of U.S. 160 and west of what Alley described as "the old town limits," essentially the boundary on the west side of downtown Pagosa Springs. The District 2 seat will be held for four years.

Carol Feazel was appointed to the board to fill a vacancy from District 3 in 1997. Whoever wins the election and the District 3 seat will hold it for two years, serving out the remainder of the term Feazel filled by appointment. That seat will then be up for grabs at another general election in 2001.

While members of the school board represent specific districts, they are elected with an at-large vote.

In order to be eligible to run in the election, a prospective candidate must live in one of the three districts in which seats will be contested. Also, a candidate must have been registered as a voter in the Archuleta County Clerk's office for 12 months prior to the date of the election.

Anyone desiring to run as a candidate in the school board election in November must submit a petition containing the signatures of 50 voters registered in Archuleta County.

Alley said the petitions were ordered through the county clerk's office and said he expects delivery of the forms soon. He indicated that petition forms will be available at the district administration office on Aug. 1. The office is located in the 300 block of Lewis Street in the modular building adjacent to the intermediate school.

Deadline for submission of petitions to the administration office is the end of the business day on Aug. 27.


Planning commission deals with lengthy agenda

By John M. Motter

The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission worked through a marathon, five and one-half hour session July 14. By the time the lights were turned off, board members had been considering subdivision issues from 7 p.m. until after midnight.

The nine-item agenda included variance requests for the proposed Elk Park Meadows Subdivision, two sketch plan reviews, one preliminary plan review, and three final plan reviews.

Being developed by Timber Canyon LLC, the Elk Park Meadows development obtained planning commission approval for three variances. All of the variances were granted because of the steepness of the terrain on which the subdivision is being platted. They include permission to construct the driving width of roads at 24 feet instead of 27 feet, permission to include two cul-de-sacs, and permission to allow roads to contact two sides of lots in a few instances.

On Monday of this week, the county commissioners followed the planning commission's recommendations and granted the variance requests. The planning commission is an advisory board. The board's recommended actions do not become final unless approved by the county commissioners.

Elk Park Meadows is located on the north side of U.S. 160 between Martinez Canyon and Aspen Springs. Approximately 337 acres is being subdivided into 65 single-family residential lots averaging 5.18 acres each. Additional 35-acre parcels are being platted by the same developer on the hills north of the subdivision.

The sketch plan for the Grindstaff/Roeder Minor Impact Subdivision was reviewed. This development consists of two lots containing three acres each. Both lots will be used for single-family residences. The property is located on Trujillo Road approximately 1.5 miles south of that thoroughfare's intersection with U.S. 160.

A sketch plan of the Kenworthy Planned Unit Development was also reviewed. This proposal calls for a lodging facility containing five guest rooms, a covered arena for horses, and two barns, all situated on 40 acres located on Stevens Lake Road just past the animal shelter. The developers asked for three variances, which were not granted. The variances concerned road paving, sidewalks on the property, and public access. Because of anticipated commercial use of the horse arena, planning commission members declined any action until reports are obtained from the fire chief and county engineer concerning the acceptability of the access road. In addition, the access road is not public. The planning commission may require public dedication of the road, but took no action on that issue.

Approval was given a preliminary plan for the Hart Planned Unit Development. Located on a 36.98- acre parcel sitting one-half mile south of the junction of U.S. 84 and County Road 119, the proposal contains a single-family dwelling, a barn with an attached apartment, and three seasonal rental cabins. Variances were granted allowing roads with 20-foot surfaces instead of 24 feet, and walkways instead of paved sidewalks connecting the cabins.

Approval was denied for the final plat for Talisman Pointe Townhomes Phase 2 Commercial P.U.D. This development contains a 4,000-square-foot building with six townhouse units located in the Central Core Subdivision of Fairfield Pagosa on the northwest corner of Talisman Drive and Village Drive.

Developer Mike Branch was placed in a dilemma because the planning commission refused to accept a retaining pond the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association required Branch to build. The planning commission is requiring Branch to respond to a list of reservations compiled by County Engineer Dan Flack concerning the holding pond. Issues concerning sidewalks, landscaping, parking, and open space also require a response from Branch.

Conditional approval was granted the final plat of the North Cove multi-family residential condominium planned unit development containing two triplexes and a duplex on a 1.06-acre lot. This P.U.D. is located at the corner of Aspenglow Boulevard and Butte Drive about 600 feet from the intersection of Aspenglow Boulevard and Piedra Road.

The final plat for the first business to locate in Cloman Industrial Park was granted conditional approval. The business is called Doors and More and classified as a planned unit development. The firm intends to manufacture building doors and related items. A 2,844-square-foot building is planned on a lot approximately one-half mile east of the junction of Cloman Boulevard and Piedra Road.


August memorial service planned for Dallas Pancoast

Dallas William Pancoast, 64, beloved husband, father and grandfather departed this life July 14, 1999, at Parkview Episcopal Medical Center in Pueblo.

A resident of Pagosa Springs for the past four years, Mr. Pancoast was born March 12, 1935, in Lakewood, Ohio.

Following his service with the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Pancoast worked for the Federal Aviation Administration for 27 years in flight service; 13 of those years were in Pueblo as an air traffic controller. He retired in 1990 from the Pueblo Army Depot.

He moved to Pagosa Springs in 1995 in order to be closer to his daughter and son-in-law, Debbie and Bill Swenson, and his grandchildren Stephenie and Robbie Swenson; and to spend time outdoors in the high country. According to family members, "his favorite Christian buddy was his grandson Robbie."

His love of baseball and softball led him to organize a softball team for the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Pagosa Springs. During his younger playing days, he was scouted by the Cleveland Indians farm club in 1953.

As an active member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Mr. Pancoast helped form the Care Giver support group which ministered to persons within the parish who were undergoing grief or were in need of comfort. He also was responsible for organizing and operating the "Free Movie" program for teenagers that was offered at the parish hall on Saturday afternoons.

An avid hunter for deer and elk, he also loved fishing and telling stories about "the one that got away." His other hobbies included wood working and making wooden toys which he donated to the children who were recipients of the annual Christmas Wish List and Helping Hand programs in Pagosa.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 43 years, Diane Sitton Pancoast of Pagosa Springs; his daughters, Debbie J. Swenson of Pagosa Springs, Denise Dorland of Federal Way, Wash., and Darlene Maldonado of Pueblo; and his son, Dallas Pancoast of Pueblo West. He also is survived by his mother, Mrs. Evelyn Pancoast of Aurora; his sister, Joyce Lely of Aurora; and his brothers, Jerome Pancoast of Littleton and James Pancoast of Phoenix, Ariz.; and his grandchildren, Michelle Maldonado, Domonic, Alexandria and Levi LeDeux, Dallas, Benjamin Pancoast, Gilbert, Alex and Victoria Dorland, Christopher Espinoza, Calvin Espinoza-Neloms and Stephanie and Robbie Swenson; one great-grandchild, Makayla Darland; and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in August, after arrangements are made following Father John Bowe's vacation. Family will receive friends at the family home.


Town offering scholarship to police officer applicants

By Karl Isberg

A Pagosa Springs Police Department scholarship plan designed to encourage recruitment and training of local residents as officers for future employment has yet to yield a candidate and Chief Don Volger is again sounding a call for applicants in an attempt to stimulate interest.

Plans for the scholarship were approved by the town board of trustees in early June and were announced in the SUN on June 10.

According to Volger, the plan involves a need by his department to recruit officers for the future who stand a reasonable chance of remaining in the community and with the department for a significant length of time.

Since the police department is required to hire officers who have successfully completed the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy program, the scholarship is geared toward paying the cost of that training.

Ideally, said Volger, five applicants will be available for a final selection process. Judged on the basis of test and interview results, a background check will be performed on the candidates and they will undergo a psychological test. One applicant will then be offered the scholarship.

A candidate will be enrolled in one of four law enforcement academies offered in Colorado in conjunction with colleges and junior colleges in Glenwood Springs, Delta, Trinidad and Pueblo. The CLETA course takes an average 10 weeks to complete and, depending on the site, costs $2,500 to $4,500 per student.

The scholarship pays the cost of academy training only. It does not pay a salary to the candidate during the training. There is no secure date available for when a graduate will be hired on to the town department once he or she completes the CLETA process.

Volger and other town officials continue to promote the program, considering the inevitability of growth in town and in the department's ranks. The addition of personnel to the department, said Volger, is inevitable.

"If a person has any inclination to change careers and get into law enforcement," said the chief, "this is a great opportunity."

A prompt response to the offer is imperative, said Volger, if a candidate wants to graduate and be ready for potential employment shortly after the first of the year.

"Most of the academy sessions usually correspond to the schedule of the college or junior college," he said. "If someone starts in the fall, they are not ready to go until the first of the year. If we don't get someone enrolled in the fall, then we will have to wait for a spring session."

If a successful candidate is found and sent to a law enforcement academy, he or she will sign a contract with the town requiring three years of service on the police department or repayment of the scholarship costs.

Volger urged anyone interested in the scholarship program to contact him at Town Hall or to call him at 264-4151.

"Also," said the chief, "I hope someone can give me the names of people who might be interested in this opportunity. I'd like to contact people and talk about the scholarship."


Mounted Rangers pancake breakfast

Members of Colorado Mounted Rangers Troop F are holding a pancake breakfast at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church Parish Hall on Lewis Street Sunday, July 24, from 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. The menu for the fund raiser will include pancakes, eggs, sausage, hash brown potatoes, coffee and juice.

The prices will be $5 for adults and $2 for children 10 and under.

In addition to the excellent food and enjoyable company, door-prize drawings will be held every half hour during the fund-raising breakfast.


Inside The Sun

Karen Wessels named to PAWS board

By John M. Motter

Civil engineer Karen Wessels was appointed to the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board of directors Tuesday evening, replacing Cecil Tackett, who resigned. The appointment was made by unanimous vote of the existing PAWS board.

Also a civil engineer, Tackett first went on the PAWS board in 1990. Now 82 years old, Tackett said of his resignation, "It seems to be the appropriate time. My wheels don't spin as fast as they used to. When I first came to town I served with people on a number of boards who had grown so feeble they scarcely knew where they were. I promised myself that will never happen to me."

Tackett will be remembered by many as the project engineer for the San Juan/Chama Diversion Project, the activity which ultimately led him to Pagosa Springs.

A graduate of Texas A&M, Wessels moved to Pagosa Springs in 1981. She has long displayed interest in local water concerns and has served on the San Juan Water Conservancy District board of directors for many years.

"I understand the importance of water in our area and advocate policies and programs which inform the public about water concerns," Wessels said. "I look forward to serving the public in this important arena."

Wessel's appointment brings the PAWS board to full strength. Also serving on the board are Chairman Harold Slavinski and members Bob Frye, Don Brinks and George Chenoweth.

PAWS provides water for the Fairfield/ Pagosa collection of subdivisions, for the town of Pagosa Springs and for various other users surrounding Pagosa Springs and extending as far south as Loma Linda on U.S. 84. PAWS also provides sewage collection and treatment service for the Fairfield/Pagosa communities north of U.S. 160.

In other business Tuesday, the board:

- Listened to a plea from property owners for help in extending service up Terry Robinson Road. Terry Robinson Road begins about three miles south of town across U.S. 84 from Echo Lake. According to property owners who live on the upper reaches of the road, one land owner, Simmons Land & Cattle Co. is preventing extension of the line. Larry Simms, spokesman for the property owners, asked PAWS to initiate condemnation proceedings to obtain a right of way across property on which a Simmons' conditional easement stops extension of the pipeline. Speaking on behalf of the PAWS board, Slavinski said PAWS will seek legal advice concerning the condemnation request, and engineering advice to determine if the existing water supply capability in the area is adequate. If enhancement is required, a cost estimate will be prepared. Slavinski suggested the property owners contact PAWS in a month or so when the necessary research is completed.

- Assistant General Manager Gene Tautges reported that the current owners of the Mountain Vista Water and Wastewater system are repairing defects preparatory to inclusion in PAWS. The inclusion process should begin in about one month.

- A request was presented by Larry Lynch of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association for PAWS help with implementation of 62 miles of pedestrian trails and a recreation plan for the Fairfield/Pagosa community of subdivisions. Specifically, Lynch asked to borrow a bulldozer for trail preparation along North Pagosa Blvd. He was told that PAWS workers are busy this time of year. If a PAWS employee volunteers to operate the bulldozer on off-duty time, that will be okay. The bulldozer will not be loaned out without a PAWS operator. Lynch is manager of the PLPOA Department of Property and Environment.

- A request from the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District to provide on-call assistance was denied. The rationale behind the denial is that PAWS employees are already as busy as they can handle.

- Approval was given to extend water and sewer into an area being developed at the Vista subdivision.

- Tautges reported that the San Juan Diversion pipeline connection with the Vista facility should be constructed past U.S. 160 within two weeks and reach the Vista facility within a month after that. Planned for construction this year in connection with the diversion is the diversion facility on the river, booster stations and a water treatment plant at the Vista facility.

- A study of the adequacy of the Vista sewage treatment plant is being launched.

- Future PAWS procedures regarding mainline water extensions will be altered to require engineering guidance, as opposed to PAWS staff guidance.

- In the future, those making lot combination requests will be required to follow the process required by the county.

- Carrie S. Campbell, the PAWS general manager, reported great success with a first-of-the month PAWS request that water users limit consumption. Consequently, the threat of imminent water rationing has been avoided so far this summer. Rationing was considered because treatment plants were operating at capacity, not because of a lack of stored water.


Recycling hearing turnout light

By John M. Motter

Only 10 persons showed up for a public hearing on recycling conducted by the county commissioners Tuesday night.

"Don't take this turnout as evidence that no one cares about recycling," said Windsor Chacey, one of those in attendance. "Many people in this community want to see the recycling program started again."

Each of the 10 people in attendance spoke in favor of recycling. No one was opposed.

The commissioners stopped a county-operated recycling program last year. That program allowed the delivery of recyclable materials at specific, unmanned pickup points.

"The reason it didn't work," says Gene Crabtree, the county commissioner most active in attempting to reestablish recycling, "is because there was no one at the drop-off point to make sure the recyclable materials were not contaminated."

Contamination means that objects not suitable for recycling are mixed with recyclable objects. When that happens, the mix is carried to the county landfill and dumped. Consequently, even though a recycling program was ostensibly in place, in fact most of the materials intended for recycling ended up in the Archuleta County landfill.

Crabtree has developed a new system he thinks will correct the former problems. He proposes that recyclable materials be dropped off at either the Trujillo Road transfer station or the Arboles transfer station. A county employee stationed at each transfer station will collect a $1 fee and also separate recyclable materials. To help fund the program, fees paid by Waste Management will be increased.

By having a county employee separate the recyclable materials, Crabtree thinks the contamination problem will be solved and recyclables will no longer end up in the county landfill.

Materials targeted for recycling under the current plan are cardboard, newsprint, aluminum cans and steel cans.

Crabtree argues that recycling benefits the county in other ways, especially by prolonging the life of the landfill, which costs $75,000 a year to operate.

Space in the current cell being used at the landfill will be exhausted soon, according to Crabtree. Consequently, the county will have to open a new cell within two years at a cost of about $2.5 million.

Crabtree advises using part of the recycling revenue to pay for recycling and the remainder to establish a fund to finance future landfill needs.

The commissioners, acting as a body, have taken no action to reinstate recycling.


Hospital district reports that new program proves to be successful

By Karl Isberg

If recent growth isn't obvious when you drive the local streets or highways, when you shop at local stores or when you see the new homes being built, it is clear if you look at statistics released recently by the Upper San Juan Hospital District's Emergency Medical Services Division.

According to Bill Bright, executive director of the hospital district, the period from June 20 to July 20 is on a record pace for responses by EMS personnel.

Bright reported that EMS responded to 90 calls and requests during the period in question. "We'll go over 100 by the end of July," he said, "and our previous all-time record was 91 responses in the same time period in 1998." The division had 68 responses from June 1 to June 19.

EMS utilizes five ambulances, a rescue unit and three quick-response vehicles in its responses, said Bright. This summer, one of the ambulances has been dedicated to a backcountry rescue and response unit and is not used on general calls.

"Since June 25," said Bright, "we have treated 136 patients." He said 17 of the patients arrived on their own at the Emergency Medical Services building on North Pagosa Boulevard. Those patients were either treated at the building or transported to a clinic or hospital by ambulance.

There are nine response districts on the EMS map. Of the total number of patients treated, 49 were from districts in the Fairfield Pagosa subdivisions and 40 lived in the town of Pagosa Springs. There were nine calls in the district west of Pfeiffer Park along U.S. 160, six in the district along U.S. 84 and seven in the district along U.S. 160, east of Pagosa Springs.

Of the 136 patients served as part of the 90 responses, 43 were classified as "trauma" cases and 93 were classified as "medical" cases. Accidents resulting in trauma accounted for 32 of the calls, with some involving more than one patient. On two occasions, patients were transported to hospitals in Durango and Farmington, N.M., by AirCare medical-evacauation helicopter.

Bright said the types of patient complaints encountered by EMS personnel varied. There were eight complaints of chest pain during the period and seven complaints of abdominal pain. Seven patients complained of respiratory distress, three suffered seizures, three had the flu and there was one case of heat exhaustion.

The hospital district began a 24-hour coverage program on June 1, with paramedics and emergency medical technicians occupying quarters at the EMS building and ambulance facility. The service, said Bright, is proving itself valuable as the call load at EMS increases.

"The new program is excellent," said Bright. "Before we began the 24-hour program our after-hours response time was seven to 10 minutes before an ambulance would roll. Now we are down to about two minutes and this is a real step forward."


County building plans take giant step forward

By John M. Motter

County building expansion plans took a giant step forward this past week when the county commissioners interviewed three consulting firms, all experts in developing a county facilities master plan.

Faced with the need to furnish more room for the district court, and more room for county functions such as the clerk, treasurer, assessor, sheriff and dispatch, building code department and planning department, the commissioners intend to develop a facilities master plan to ensure coordination between measures need to be taken this year and steps needed 20 years in the future.

In order to develop the facilities master plan, the county intends to hire consultants who specialize in that type of planning. To that end, the commissioners and staff interviewed three firms this past week, starting with Fentress Bradburn on Friday, and continuing with Dan Smith and Associates plus Voorhis/Robertson Justice Services Inc. on Monday.

Each firm described the process it will use to develop a facilities master plan, as well as a cost estimate for developing the plan. In each instance, the process involves an inventory of present services, a projection of future requirements, a listing of alternative solutions, and cost approximations for each of the solutions.

Cost estimates submitted by each of the firms for developing the facilities master plan, including expenses, range from $34,000 to $40,000. Estimates of the amount of time needed to complete the study range from two months through four months. All of the firms propose a plan anticipating building needs over 20 years with five-year implementation phases.

A multi-disciplinary process was described by each firm. One discipline involves experts who inventory current work loads in the various county departments, then project future work loads based on demographics and other factors. From the projected work load requirements, space needs are developed.

Not only will future space needs by plotted, an analysis will be completed concerning the location of buildings required to answer those needs. For example, each of the spokesmen for the consultants noted that room for expansion is extremely limited on the present county courthouse grounds.

Consequently, additional land may be needed for additional buildings. Since certain courthouse activities are related, they function best when located in proximity to each other. Fitting this category are the jail and the courtrooms. If the jail and courtrooms are separated, perhaps by several blocks or several miles, considerable expense and activity are required to move prisoners back and forth between the jail and the courtroom. These kinds of relationships between codependent activities will be considered when developing the facilities master plan.

A second discipline involving architects then takes into consideration the space, work station requirements and interdependency factors and develops general building plan recommendations and cost estimates. Specific architectural design is not included in the facilities master-planning process.

The expansion of county facilities may require several steps over the next few years, including some steps that are temporary, according to Ken Fox, chairman of the board of county commissioners.

One immediate expansion step involves a tentative agreement with the town to move Social Service Department activities into the municipal complex proposed for construction south of the post office on Hot Springs Boulevard.

The county has set aside $800,000 in a capital improvements fund earmarked for building expansion. In addition, the commissioners are pursuing the acquisition of 40 acres of land located near Stephens Field from the Bureau of Land Management. They may also be considering other land acquisitions. Governmental land purchase negotiations are normally conducted in private.

Creating the need for additional space is population growth in the county which has seen the number of residents nearly double since 1990. The number of transactions conducted by each of the county offices has increased proportionately with the population growth, as has the need for additional storage space.

Compounding the problem, the district court judge has informed the county commissioners that more space must be provided for court-related activities, which have also grown in proportion to the population growth. In addition to more courtroom space, space is needed for jury rooms, witness rooms, attorney consultation chambers, storage and other needs. At critical times during the past two years, county court has been held in the commissioner meeting room because district court proceedings were being held in the courtroom on the second floor.

Once the commissioners receive recommendations from whichever firm they hire to develop a facilities master plan, they will be in position to make decisions concerning which lands to acquire, which buildings to erect and which funding mechanisms to adopt.


Relay for life this weekend

Relay for Life takes place at Town Park on Friday and Saturday, July 23 and 24, providing the citizens of Archuleta County an opportunity to honor cancer survivors and those who have been lost to cancer, and to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Activity at Town Park begins at 6 p.m. on Friday. The all-night relay marathon starts with a "victory lap" for survivors of cancer.

Event organizers invite all local cancer survivors to participate in the victory lap. Any survivor not already signed up for the lap can do so at Town Park at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. All victory lap runners or walkers will receive a relay T-shirt.

Following the victory lap, teams will take to the route to begin the overnight marathon. There were seven teams signed up as of Wednesday, with each team providing a $100 minimum donation at the time of registration. Members of each team were asked to raise $50 to $100 in additional donations.

Funds raised by the team members and Relay for Life organizers provide as much as 25 percent of the local American Cancer Society's annual fund-raising goal. That money is part of the $90 million raised nationally by the organization each year.

At 7 p.m. on July 23, entertainment at Town Park will be provided by "The Cranks." At 9 p.m. luminarias will be placed around the course at the park as glowing tributes to everyone who has faced the challenge of cancer and to all those who will face it in the future. Luminarias are available at the park for a $5 donation the night of the event.

A horseshoe tournament will take place Saturday morning as an additional fund-raising effort at the Relay for Life.

Educational materials concerning the fight against cancer will be available at the main tent during the event.

The Relay for Life marathon ends at Town Park at noon on July 24.



Chance to make a difference

What a difference a year makes. It is fortunate that it is so easily forgotten, but this time last year folks were in the midst of a couple of extremely bitter elections.

One involved the annual election of directors for the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association. The other involved the local Republican party's primary race for the office of county sheriff.

Twelve months later its almost time for another PLPOA election. This year the annual ballot will not have a full slate of candidates or any contested positions for the board. Though not an ideal situation, such a scenario is not that critical when it involves a non-taxing entity.

But having an uncontested election can cause serious consequences when the election involves the major taxing entity in the county and a board that strongly influences the future of the young people of the county. Yes, as reported on page 1 this week, three of the five seats on the School District 50 Joint board of education will be up for election on November 2.

Whether through apathy or satisfaction, for the past few school board elections it has been the norm for candidates to run unopposed, and for some of the seats on the school board to be filled by appointment due to a lack of candidates on the ballot.

Anyone who has been registered as a voter in the Archuleta County for 12 months prior to November 2 is eligible to run. They only have to pick up a candidate's petition form from the school district's administration office, and then have the petition signed by 50 registered voters in Archuleta County.

The petitions will be available at the district administration office on Monday, August 2. The completed petitions must be returned to the school district's administration office by the end of the business day on August 27.

For years folks have questioned why Johnny can't read. Possibly it's because the apathetic adults in Johnny's school district can't run.

David C. Mitchell

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Being over the hill has its perks

Dear Folks,

It was a real disappointment Tuesday morning to watch some of the early-arriving riders on the Bicycle Tour of Colorado ride down Put Hill.

Some of the riders were showing a total disregard to their own safety and towards the motorists who were driving down the crowded east-bound lane on Put Hill. To see a rider pedaling or coasting along in the middle of a downhill lane on a crowded highway creates a real negative image of bicyclists.

Evidently none of the riders sustained any serious injuries while pedaling through Pagosa Country. I hope their ride over Wolf Creek went well yesterday and that last night's stay in Creede was enjoyable. Also, I hope they will show more concern about their own personal safety and about creating a more positive image of cyclists when riding crowded, narrow highways.

Last weekend's Courage Classic was one of the best I've riden. None will ever match my first ride for Children's Hospital in 1995, but this year's came close.

Cynthia rode part of the route Friday and then led the way over all of Saturday's 50-something miles. She still leaves me behind on the climbs, but it was great having her company. It was even greater Saturday when after lunch she opted to pedal the base route back to Copper Mountain rather than ride the optional 28 miles up to the top of Loveland Pass.

I had checked with the Social Security officials back in April, and they said folks who are 65 can either start accepting their retirement benefits or they can pass on riding the optional routes on the bike tours. The over-the-hill folks can also avoid riding up hills with 10 percent grades if they wish to do so.

Another enjoyable aspect of this year's Courage Classic was the Pagosa factor. Even though Bill Price, Bill Hill and Scott Anderson weren't along this year; Jack Ellis, Steve Monjares and former Pagosan John Sclough were up in front of the pack. And Doug Call and his enthusiastic representation of Pagosa was a most-enjoyable addition.

Also, it looks like we might be able to recruit Suellen Loher for next year's ride. It's a natural environment for her chamber of commerce skills and expertise at promoting Pagosa Country. And though he had decided four years ago that the 1995 Courage Classic would be his last, Drew said Saturday that he is thinking about cranking it out again next summer.

At this rate, there's a good chance Doug and Jack can recruit a few more Pagosa riders to join the newly-formed "A Team Called Doug" for next year's ride. With the continuing number of local youngsters who have benefited from the excellent skills and services of Children's Hospital in Denver, it would be an excellent opportunity for local riders to make a serious fund-raising effort in 2000.

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

25 years ago

Ski area to show its master plan

Taken from SUN files of July 25, 1974

A presentation of a master plan for Wolf Creek Ski Area will be presented Friday night at the ski area. The master plan envisions the eventual installation of as many as eight chair lifts and the expansion of the area to cover as much as three times its present size. The area is in the process of installing a double chair lift that will be in operation this coming winter.

Miniature Automation Systems Inc., designers and fabricators of machinery used to assemble components for the nation's electronics industry, will open a plant at Pagosa in Colorado, according to David Eaton, vice-president of Eaton International Corporation. The new company will occupy 2,500 square feet in Eaton's industrial building (now being used by Paradise Pizza) adjacent to the Ray Lumber Company complex.

With the addition of an experienced police officer, John Rowe, to the local police department, the force is again up to standard strength. Town police officers are Chief Leonard Gallegos, and officers Ernie Rivas and Rowe.

Harvey Catchpole, La Plata Electric board president, announced last week that the REA has applied for permission to increase local electricity rates 5 percent. The application was made to the Public Utilities Commission and is for all classes of consumers.


By Shari Pierce

Wonderful childhood memories

When I returned to the office from lunch on Monday, there was a note on my desk to let me know that Frances Rock Coffee had been in to see me. Fortunately a phone number was left for me to call. Mrs. Coffee has corresponded with me a few times over the years and I have looked forward to meeting her.

We set a time to meet on Tuesday. After a little delay on my part, we finally met on Tuesday evening. I spent a delightful evening visiting with Mrs. Coffee and her daughter, Ilah. I immediately felt at ease, as though I had met a long-lost friend. Mrs. Coffee lived in the Pagosa Springs area until 1931 and has relatives who still live in this area. She also has many wonderful memories of growing up here and was gracious in sharing those with me.

Frances Rock was born in 1912 in South Pagosa to Fred and Ilah Davis Rock. Dr. Mary Fisher attended the birth.

Fred Rock worked for the sawmill. He, along with a partner, rode the logs in the sawmill pond. It was their job, as a team, to get the right size logs to the conveyer belt to be cut into planks. They would ride around the pond on the logs and use spiked poles to maneuver the logs into position. It was important to know what order the sawyer would be filling that day so they could get the correct size of logs.

By the time Frances reached the age of 6, both of her parents had passed away. She was then raised by her grandparents, Luke and Wilhelmina Rock. Wilhelmina was better known by the name of Emma.

Mrs. Coffee remembers that during World War I, her grandmother taught her some basic knitting stitches and she helped with the Red Cross efforts. Three days a week, a group of ladies would get together from just after lunch until school let out for the day to knit for the war effort. Using yarn that was provided by the Red Cross, the group would knit socks, mittens and such.

Being only 6 years old, Frances did not yet know how to count good enough to count her knitting stitches. Her grandmother devised a way for little Frances to keep track of her stitches. A row of pennies was laid out. Grandmother cast on the stitches and then Frances took over. Each time she reached the end of a row, Frances would take away a penny. When all of the pennies were gone, she would take her knitting to her grandmother who would end off the square and start another. Then the little girl would return to her pillow in the corner of the room, put her pennies in a row and begin again.

Next week, I'll share a few more of Mrs. Coffee's memories with you.


Community News
Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

Workshop will help trace your heritage

This a last call!

The Archuleta County Genealogical Society is sponsoring an excellent genealogical workshop Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Community United Methodist Church. Heritage Quest Magazine will be presenting one of its Heritage Quest Road Shows.

This is your opportunity to ask questions about how to find long-lost relatives and to get tips on how to locate records and to learn what is available in CD Rom technology. A display of books, supplies, forms and computer programs will be available for purchase allowing you the time to peruse before buying. A preregistration cost is $27 ($12 for each additional family member) and $30 at the door ($15 for each additional family member.) Registration forms are at Sisson Library.

The Pagosa Fire District has completed an ISO Fire Department Evaluation. This evaluation determines the Fire Department's rating. This rating determines the premium of your fire insurance. It will take approximately 10 to 12 months to get the rating back.

If you are a chili cook then enter the Pagosa Sun Annual Chili Cook Off at the Archuleta County Fair, August 8, at 1 p.m. If you enter, get your chili there by 12:30 p.m. This year there will be a contest for the best tortillas.

Rules for chili include entering 2 or more quarts of chili, cooked in a Slow Cooker or Hot Pot. The rule for tortillas is to enter a minimum of one dozen tortillas.

Call Darrell Cotton at 264-2659 or Gene Cortwright at 731-2533 for questions. Forms are at the Sun, Moonlight Books, The Visitors Center and Archuleta County Extension Office.

Lee Sterling heads up this contest and, as usual, his humor surfaces - this time with the eligibility requirement. Enjoy.

"You may enter if you are a newcomer, old-timer (anyone who has moved here three days before you) strangers and relatives unless they are Fair Officials or immediate relatives of the Judges or contest staff."

Fun on the run

Laws of golf

Law 1: No matter how bad your last shot was, the worst is yet to come. This law does not expire on the 18th hole, since it has supernatural tendency to extend over the course of a tournament, a summer and eventually, a lifetime.

Law 2: Your best round of golf will be followed immediately by your worst round ever. The probability of the latter increases with the number of people you tell about the former.

Law 3: Brand new golf balls are water-magnetic. Though this cannot be proven in the lab, it is known fact that the more expensive the golf ball, the greater its attraction to water.

Law 4: Golf balls never bounce off trees into play. If one does, the tree is breaking a law of the universe and should be cut down.

Law 5: No matter what causes a golfer to muff a shot, all his playing partners must solemnly chant "you looked up," or invoke the wrath of the universe.

Law 6: The higher the golfer's handicap, the more qualified he deems himself an instructor.

Law 7: Every par three hole in the world has a secret desire to humiliate golfers. The shorter the hole, the greater the desire.

Law 8: Topping a 3 iron is the most painful torture to man.

Law 9: Palm trees eat golf balls.

Law 10: Sand is alive. If it isn't, how do you explain the way it works against you.

Law 11: Golf carts always run out of gas at the farthest point from the club house.

Law 12: A golfer hitting into your group will always be bigger than anyone in your group. Likewise, a group you accidentally hit into will consist of a football player, a professional wrestler, a convicted murderer and an IRS agent.

Law 13: All 3 woods are demon possessed.

Law 14: Golf balls from the same "sleve" tend to follow one another, particularly out of bounds or into the water. (see Law 3.)

Law 15: A severe slice is a sight of horror.

Law 16: "Nice lag" can usually be translated to "lousy putt." Similarly, "tough break" can be translated "way to miss an easy one, sucker."

Law 17: The person you would most hate to lose to will always be the one who beats you.

Law 18: The last three holes of a round will automatically adjust your score to what it really should be.

Law 19: Golf should be given up at least twice each summer.

Law 20: All vows taken on a golf course shall be valid only until sunset.

Chamber News
By Sally Hameister

Don't miss 'Taming of the Shrew'

Five new members to report to you this slightly soggy week, and we are very happy to report that our membership now stands at 635. With just a bit over six weeks to go in our membership year, we're sitting at a mighty fine number. Thanks to all for the support and loyalty.

The Pagosa Real Estate Store joins us with Judy Gentry as the contact person. These fine folks are located at 56 Talisman Drive, Suite 6-B and can be reached locally by phone at 731-2175. The Pagosa Real Estate Store offers full-service real estate services on residential, commercial, farm, ranch and vacant land. You can call their toll-free number, 800-560-6050, for all your real estate needs. We thank Dave Gundling for his recruitment of this business and are pleased to give Dave a free SunDowner for his efforts. Don't forget, if you are the recruiter of a new business, you will receive a free SunDowner as well.

Next we welcome Richard Husbands with The Lighting Center located at 63 North Pagosa Boulevard, Suite 3. Richard offers residential and commercial light fixtures as well as ceiling fans (which seem to fly out the door as fast as he can get them in) and landscape lighting. He will be happy to come to you with on-site consultation and share over 25 years experience with you. You can reach him at 731-5633.

Alliance for Affordable Services joins us next with Sandra L. Tiemens at the helm located at 63 North Pagosa Boulevard, Suite B-3. Alliance for Affordable Services is a nonprofit association that provides self-employed people and individuals group buying power for health insurance. To learn more about this service, you can give Sandra a call at 731-0886.

It is a particular pleasure to share our fourth new member with you, and I'm sure you will all join in with me to give them an especially warm welcome. The Chamber Board of Directors voted unanimously to bestow our exceptional Ruby Sisson Memorial Library with an honorary lifetime membership. We presented said membership at the annual library meeting and book sale at the extension building last Friday night, and it was obvious that the entire crowd agreed that this was a great idea. It is just one small way to express our gratitude to Lenore Bright and her dedicated staff and volunteers for creating the best imaginable facility of its kind. Our library has contributed so much to the quality of life in this community by providing a state-of-the-art resource for all who live here as well as visitors. If you haven't been in our library, I strongly encourage you to do so - and while you're there, be sure and thank those folks for all they do. By the way, if you missed the book sale on Friday and Saturday, you missed the best bargains ever. I look forward to this event with great anticipation every year and am never disappointed with the amazing buys I score. This year I was able to add 25 books to my collection for very few dollars and plan to do it every year - so many books, so little time.

We have our first renewal for the 1999-2000 membership, and you won't be surprised to learn that it belongs to "The Hoots," better known in some circles as Ron and Cindy Gustafson. No one but no one is more supportive of all that goes in Pagosa than the Hoots. You will see them at each and every activity and event enjoying themselves immensely, and you can be sure they contribute to each and every worthy cause. We are grateful to them for their support and thank Ron for the many hours he volunteers at our Visitor Center winning new friends for Pagosa. We're proud to count them among our Associate Members.


I have heard wonderful things about this production of "Taming of the Shrew" and want to remind you that you have four more opportunities to take advantage of the Pagosa Lodge Lawn Theatre presented by the Pagosa Players and the King's Men. "Taming of the Shrew" will be presented on July 23, 24,30 and 31 so you have two weekends to include it in your schedule. A lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into this production, and I would love to see our community support it so that we can enjoy many more in the future. Theatrical productions of all kinds are always a tremendous bonus to any community because they offer us the opportunity to broaden our frames of reference and learn, learn, learn.

Tickets are available at The Plaid Pony, The Linen Closet, Fairfield Activities Center and the Chamber of Commerce. General admissions for open lawn seating are $10; seniors (60 and older) and children 10 and under are $5. Children under two are free, and show time is at 8 p.m. You are invited to bring your own picnic or call the Lodge to reserve a prepared box supper. Tarps and chairs are available to you on a first-come, first-served basis, so you'll want to get there early if you are interested. If you have questions, please call 731-5262 for more information.

Pet Pride

My eyes are still a bit blurry from all the whipped cream, but nonetheless I want to congratulate the remarkable Upper San Juan Humane Society board, members and volunteers for yet another fun-filled, successful Pet Pride Day. Whoopi and I thoroughly enjoyed the One-Mile Paws Walk and all the vendors and activity in Town Park. I was the recipient of more than my share of gooey whipped cream but would do it again in a heartbeat for the furry, four-legged ones. Congratulations to you all for another great year.

Grand opening

Anco Southwest Insurance Services invites you to their Grand Opening this Friday, July 23, held at their offices located at 2147 U.S. 160 West in Century Plaza from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. The gang at KWUF will be there with a live remote, as well as Red Cashion, famed former NFL official. These folks are going all out with free BBQ brisket, cold drinks and prizes from Martha T's, Studio 160 and Pagosa Photography. Lovely Rhonda Greer, who runs the show at this office, will be your hostess and hopes you will all join us for the festivities. I'll be there with bells on and hope to see you.


Next Wednesday is the day for our monthly SunDowner, and we invite you all to join us at the Pat Parelli Natural Horsemanship offices, 56 Talisman Drive, Suite 6. Pat and Linda Parelli have been such a terrific addition to our community and have brought in visitors from all over the world. I was sick to have missed their recent open house, but you can be sure I will be at the SunDowner on July 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. The Parelli gang will be showing veddy, veddy interesting videos of the work they do to improve and enhance the human-horse experience as well as hold special drawings throughout the evening. Be sure you bring extra business cards for their drawing and the "Five Minutes of Fame" drawing. As always, the two-hour party will set you back a paltry five buckaroos for food and libation. Such a deal. We look forward to seeing you Wednesday evening for fun and games at the Parelli place.


Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

Shakespeare theatre offers 4 more performances

"Pagosa Players and the King's Men" have already put on three successful performances of William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew."

More performances are scheduled for this weekend and next weekend, July 23, 24, 30 and 31. Performances are being held on the Pagosa Lodge lawn at 8 p.m.

My family and I saw their first performance of "The Taming of the Shrew" last Friday evening and we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The ambiance was unique - Pagosa Peak the backdrop; the clear, sharp evening air provoking the mind and local talent bringing to life the language and playfulness of a time past. The casual seating with your very own favorite repast makes this an ideal entertainment for the whole family. Forget about theater etiquette. In fact if you can fall into the role and mindset of the ribald and lively audience of Shakespeare's time, the performers would probably enjoy their roles even more.

The dream of the Pagosa Players was to create a Shakespeare-oriented theatre company in Pagosa. My compliments to Zach Nelson, Michael DeWinter and their cast of talented players for bringing this seed to fruition. Plan your weekend now to include an evening with Shakespeare. I know the evenings of late have been wet but in the event of inclement weather, the production will be moved inside the Pagosa Lodge to the Ponderosa Room.

The pool at the Recreation Center will open for swimming and water exercises at noon on Saturday and Sunday for the rest of this summer. Due to a huge increase in bather load, the filtration system needs to have extra time to adequately filter out the waste in the pool water. Once the summer vacation is over, all the timeshare visitors have gone home and the children are back in school, the pool hours will return to a 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. schedule on Saturday and Sunday. No changes will be made at this time to the pool hours during the week. Please call the Recreation Center for more information if needed 731-2051.

Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, will get underway this Friday at 6 p.m. The 18-hour relay will continue through the night and finish on Saturday at noon. With all the recent precipitation, the original venue of the high school soccer field will not work. It may work if participants are willing to wear their hip-waders. Instead, the Relay for Life will be held at Town Park on Hermosa Street. Wish to participate, help or get more information? Please call Leslie Patterson at 731-4643 or Ming Steen at 731-4596.

Library News
by Lenore Bright

Look for ratings on computer games

I'm writing this column a week ahead of time so when you read this, I will be entertaining my dear family coming down from Canada for a short visit. I will be reading stories to Michael and Rachel and fixing many egg salad sandwiches upon request.

I'll report the library news next week while recovering from the visit.

Summer reading

We had numerous Summer Reading program winners during our fourth week.

Goldfish counting: Spencer Rasmussen. (453 goldfish - one for each book read.)

Readers of the Week: Lauren Parker, Michelle Parker, Carmella Lujan, Kade Eckhardt and Gabby Rasmussen.

Mermaid/Merman: Raesha Ray, Aliya Haykus, Maegan McFarland, Heather Andersen, Gracie Andres, Erika Lucero, Julia Adams, Gabby Rasmussen and Randi Andersen.

Coloring: Mattaia Weerstra, Emily Bryant, Gracie Andres, Austin Miller, Tasha Rayburn, Tara McKeever, Megan Bryant, Spencer Rasmussen, Matthew MacFarland, Ali Ebright and Randi Andersen.

Story: Gracie Andres, Erika Lucero, Julia Adams and Becca Stephens.


Ruby Sisson's nieces and nephews came to visit from Texas. They donated some books and enjoyed a tour of the library. Betty Massengill sent a note of thanks for the tour and information about Ruby. We gave them a picture to take back home.

Library sojourn

Our good friends up in the Steamboat Springs Library are sponsoring the seventh annual Festival of Authors on Sept. 11. Rudolpho Anaya, Amy Bloom, and Kinky Friedman are among the authors who will participate. Pick up a brochure if you're interested in registering.

County Fair

We have copies of the rules and regulations for this year's fair. "Honor the Past, Imagine the Future," is the theme. Ask for a copy at the desk.

Computer games

More concern about the violence and sex that may be found in computer games encouraged companies to code the games. The information is found on the box. For a free copy of the codes, ask at the desk.

Computer games rated EC and G, are safe. K-A, PG or PG-13 may have minimal violence and crude language. T stands for "teen" but may have sexually suggestive themes, violence and strong language. M, R, AO or X are questionable.


Thanks for materials from Second Story Book Store and Coffeehouse, Anita Hinger, Paulette Mobley, Ed Lowrance, Charles West, Bill and Billie Riggs, Dave and Marilyn Copley, Joan and Harry Young, Lori Moseley Ethel Rasnic, Jerry Hart, Eloise Peters, E.W. Schwartz, Mr. Hatfield, Liz Morris, Mary Lou Sprowle and Joan Cortright.

Arts Line
By Jan Brookshier

Art and nature featured in new exhibit at gallery in town park

Another excellent and exciting exhibit opens this evening at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park. Donna Brooks and Tom Holt will hold their opening reception this evening from 5 to 7 p.m.

As many of you know, Donna is truly a "local," having lived in the Blanco Basin the past 23 years. Her goal has always been to live a simple lifestyle in harmony with nature and to learn the lessons nature has to offer. She makes beautiful, intricate pine needle baskets, rawhide rattlers, jewelry, wood items and herbal salves, among many other lovely natural pieces.

Tom, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer to our area, although he is not a stranger to the Southwest. He has spent the last 20 years in the Gila Wilderness where he completed a series of paintings of southwest New Mexico. He plans to continue his landscape paintings, using our area as his subject matter. Tom says, "I do not embellish or distort the image. I could never create anything as perfect or balanced as the natural world." Tom's work hangs in thousands of homes and businesses through the United States and Canada.

This exhibit will run from July 22 through Aug. 4. Stop by this evening for some refreshments and a chance to visit with these artists in person.

Nunsense thanks

Super Kudos to all those who worked on the Music Boosters' presentation of "Nunsense." It was a truly professional performance. I feel sorry for anyone who missed this. Music Boosters' offerings just get better and better. Special thanks go to the following persons from PSAC who helped with the snack booth at the performance: Jeff and Laura Laydon, Bill and Jo Anne Young, Fred and Marilyn Pruter, Jennifer Galesic, Jana and Ashleigh Fleenor, Vic and Stevie Noblitt, Jean Payne and Joanne Haliday.

Upcoming event

The inaugural PSAC studio art tour will be held on Aug. 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. At the time of this writing, 10 artists have agreed to open their studios to participants in the tour. You will be able to see the artists' work and perhaps even see them at work. What a splendid opportunity to visit with the artists, ask them questions and tour their studios. Tickets are on sale at the PSAC Gallery in Town Park, the Chamber of Commerce and the Library. Advance tickets are $8, and $10 if purchased the day of the tour. Watch this column and other announcements for full details of which artists' studios will be on the tour. This is not only a great fundraiser for PSAC, but also a great chance to meet some of the premiere artists of our community and see them in their milieu.


PSAC is looking for someone to work on the membership committee. This position will require once-a-month duties and is a very important position. Also needed is someone to work on the quarterly PSAC newsletter; Petroglyph. If you would like to learn more about these positions before volunteering, call Joanne Haliday, the PSAC Center director, at 264-5020 and she can give you all the details. This is a fine opportunity to be a part of one of the most important and successful organizations in our community.


By John M. Motter

Bullets voice a father's pride

By John M. Motter

E.M. Taylor was not the first or last man to dote on his only daughter, but he may be one of the few to shoot a son-in-law because of that daughter's unhappiness. It all happened in 1900, the beginning of the 20th century.

Taylor, Eudophus was his first name, was a solid, reputable, upstanding citizen, the kind of man who helped build the West. For years he served the people of Pagosa Country as town clerk, county clerk, court clerk, county judge. He also dabbled in real estate and often loaned money before any banks graced the community.

People affectionately called him Doc, overlooking the ostentation implied by his given name. Ostentatious names were common around the turn of the century. In Pagosa Springs lived Ethereal T. Walker and Ephraim Kelly Caldwell and Joshua Seigel Brown and Barzillai Price, to name a few.

We don't know if Doc was ostentatious, but he was a Yankee and a proper man and we can guess that he was strait-laced in his dealings with other folks. Formality and correctness would have been proper for a man of his station in life and at that time. And, oh yes, there was Hattie, the only daughter. Hattie was surely the apple of his eye. Woe to anyone who caused unhappiness for Hattie.

Hattie married well in 1893, her husband being Victor C. McGirr, an attorney and the owner of a ranch near the north end of Snowball Road. McGirr had been born in Kingston, Ontario, in 1865 and graduated from the University of Toronto. He should have been a good catch, but events in later years proved other wise.

Apparently, Hattie swirled at the center of the community's social circles. In reporting a Valentine's Day dance, the first masquerade ball of a newly formed dancing club, The Pagosa Springs News said in February of 1900, "A great many good valentines were present. Mrs. McGirr deserves special mention, being the prettiest dressed lady."

Now Taylor was a Civil War veteran, having fought for the north. Some folks referred to him as Capt. Taylor. He moved permanently to Pagosa Springs in 1883 and was the first county clerk when Archuleta County was formed in 1885.

By 1900, Pagosa Spring hummed with activity. Crews between Pagosa Junction and Pagosa Springs busily laid track, daily bringing Sullenburger's Pagosa and Northern Railroad closer to town. Coming with the railroad was the Pagosa Lumber Company with a large payroll and plenty of things to buy from local merchants. Confidant that the railroad and lumber company would bring added prosperity, a large number of business people set up shop in town. And so it was forgivable if the towns people felt good about the future, even a little smug.

Imagine their shock one Wednesday evening when they heard a shot, then the rumor passed through town - Victor McGirr has been shot, blasted in the left side by a shotgun. And the man who pulled the trigger was Doc Taylor, solid citizen, and father-in-law of the victim. The talk persisted and soon everyone realized rumor was fact. McGirr was indeed shot. Dr. Mary was treating him as best she could. She didn't know if he would survive. And yes, Doc pulled the trigger. Why would a man shoot his son-in-law?

D.L. Egger, editor of the Pagosa Springs news explained the affair this way.

"The shooting is the result of a family trouble of long standing, and no one knows how it happened except the party that did the shooting and the party that was shot.

"Both parties are well known in this section, V C. McGirr being the town and county attorney, and Capt. E.M. Taylor, who held the office of county clerk for several years, is one of the most prominent ranchmen in the county.

"No one intimate with the family, or otherwise, had a presumption that the ill-feeling that had existed in the family for a number years would terminate in the tragedy that was enacted Wednesday evening.

"Mrs. McGirr is the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E.M. Taylor. She was married to V.C. McGirr in the fall of 1893. Their married life cannot be said to have been a happy one, as quarrels between the pair have been quite frequent, and separations have occurred, but the difficulties were always amicably settled, presumably. Their last quarrel reported by neighbors took place Tuesday evening and Wednesday Mrs. McGirr again made preparations to go to her father's home."

On the day of the shooting, Taylor learned of the latest fight between McGirr and his daughter. He returned home, did his chores, and after arming himself with a double-barreled shotgun, returned to town. It was an hour or so before dark and he seemed to be in his usual good spirits, even joking with his friends. No one guessed at the dark thoughts hidden in his heart until they heard McGirr yell "murder."

The trouble occurred at McGirr's in the Strawn house on Pagosa Street. McGirr burst from the house shouting "murder."

Roy McElhanney and Hugh Kyle were taking a walk up the street near the Harpst blacksmith shop when they heard the report of a gun. It was about 8 p.m. Racing toward the sound, they met McGirr near Bowling's old warehouse.

"I'm shot," he said.

They picked him up and carried him to Winter and Fisher's drugstore. On the way he said, "Boys. It's no use. I'm dying."

Dr. Mary Winter gave McGirr stimulants and sent for help. Soon, Drs. Slick and Clock arrived. They cleared the store and did everything they could to save him.

About 10 o'clock, he was returned to his home. Dr. Winter, Messrs. Thompson, Bostwick, Dowell, Mann, and Albright remained with him through the night. He suffered intensely, but toward morning and early afternoon he rested easily. Late in the afternoon he took a turn for the worse and many despaired for his life.

Probably not to exceed half the charge of shot entered McGirr's body, and had the muzzle of the gun been brought around a little further, it would have missed him entirely. Only a few shot entered the kidney, the only vital body part struck. Many of the shot entered the ceiling of the room.

Shortly after the shooting, while the doctors still cared for McGirr, Doc drove his team of fine horses and buggy past the scene and down the street where he surrendered to Sheriff Roy B. Sanderson. He was immediately locked up, but refused to make a statement concerning the affair.

McGirr made a statement Wednesday night and again Thursday morning. When shown McGirr's statement, Taylor denied its truthfulness, but still refused to shed any light on the happenings.

McGirr described the event this way:

"I was sitting in the room reading the evening papers when someone knocked at the door. I said 'Come in,' but no attention was paid to it. In a few moments there was another knock, and I repeated, 'Come in.' When E.M. Taylor came rushing in with a double-barreled shotgun in his hand and both barrels cocked, and at the same time said, 'You are the ---------- I am looking for,' I tried to talk him out of it, but seeing that he was mad I grabbed the barrel of the gun, when the same was discharged striking me in the side. I tried to hold onto the gun as long as I could and Taylor hit me several times in the face. I was growing weaker from the loss of blood, and giving him a hard push away from me, I rushed out the door."

District Attorney J.F. Spickard from Durango arrived in town the following Monday, Taylor waived examination, and easily paid the $1,500 bond.

By April 6, McGirr was totally recovered, "a familiar figure on our streets."

On July 2, when Judge James L. Russell of the 6th Judicial District Court tried the case of the People versus E.M. Taylor, no evidence was submitted. The judge then instructed the jury to "return a verdict of not guilty."

Taylor survived the incident with his reputation unscathed. In fact, he served as parade marshal for the 1900 Fourth of July parade. Later, he ran unsuccessfully for the Colorado House of Representatives from southwest Colorado.

And what of the unhappy married couple? We don't really know. Mrs. Hattie McGirr passed away in February of 1946 in California, still bearing McGirr's name. We have know record of where he died or if they remained together until the end.

Food for Thought
By Karl Isberg

New blood needed for Spirit Award

- - - Call for entries - - -

Notice to parents of local school children.

Could you be the next recipient of the UBC Spirit Award?

Are you prepared to join ranks with some of the most profoundly disturbing parents in the history of Archuleta County, to take your place in the pantheon?

If you think you're obnoxious enough to be a candidate for the 1999-2000 Spirit Award, get your application in now; the deadline for applications is fast approaching.

Only five lucky Archuleta County parents will make the final cut and be able to fight it out over the next school year. Only one will emerge victorious.

Only one will receive the next UBC Spirit Award.

- - - - - -

Summer vacation for local school children is more than half over. Ready or not, it is time for students and parents to set their sights on the upcoming school year.

Kids must begin to accumulate their school clothes and start to collect the supplies they'll need for a successful academic performance.

Just as important, young people who participate in sports and other extracurricular activities need to begin to gear themselves up for the competitions and projects that lie immediately ahead.

For a special group of parents, this time of year is extremely important. It brings mounting anxiety, engenders a blooming tension. These parents realize the fall sports season is ahead. The inevitable club projects and theater presentations are looming on the horizon.

For these parents, it is time to meditate, to gather strength, to prepare mentally and emotionally for the trials and tribulations lurking just ahead.

And for the most skilled of these parents, it is time to consider whether they will have what it takes to contend for and, if dreams come true, to win the 1999-2000 UBC Spirit Award - the first of the new millennium.

A bit of history.

The UBC Spirit Award was presented for the first time six years ago. It bears the name of a local resident whose conduct at school sporting events personifies the attributes recognized by the award. In the interest of avoiding litigation, I will omit his name from this column. It will be enough to note his initials are B.L., with a J. thrown in for good measure. The man was, and is, a veritable Titan.

The award winner is selected by vote of the stellar membership of the UBC each spring, following the spring sports season.

Regular readers of this column are acquainted with the UBC - the Underemployed Businessmen's Club of Pagosa Springs - one of the area's most active service organizations.

What better group to create and dispense this honor? UBC Membership runs the gamut from government hoohahs both elected and employed, to artistes, postal dictators, corporate headhunters, retailers, accountants, land pimps, retired guys who spend their time writing ambiguous letters to the editor, and law enforcement thugs.

At mid-summer, it is time to compile a list of candidates. The selection is crucial: candidates will be closely monitored and evaluated throughout the coming school year before a decision is made - before one of the candidates is presented with the most prestigious award in Archuleta County.

The pressure is on.

In past years, UBC members were able to pick from a herd of potential candidates. This summer, there are no front-runners. Jerks are in short supply. Most of the greats - spectacular examples of outrageous parental behavior - have moved on, exerting their mighty talents in other areas, no longer tainting what should be innocent occasions, no longer dedicating themselves to the formidable task of shaming their children, the school, their community and the species.

Perhaps you, or someone you know can fill the bill. Now is the time to step forward. There is a full year of school sports and activities ahead. The Award is up for grabs.

How do you know if you qualify?

The award was created to honor outlandish parents, in particular parents of young athletes and of children involved in extracurricular activities in the local school district.

Candidates are observed at local school events then analyzed and ranked in accord with a sophisticated point system. As a rule of thumb: the more garish and distressing the behavior, the higher the point total.

Winners of the Spirit Award excel in eight categories of judging.

1. Volume.

A winner must be extraordinarily loud. When you attend a school event, you must be able to shout over the din, you must be heard. If you can't be heard, how will everyone in attendance know you're an ass? Silence (or moderate volume) is no virtue for a UBC Spirit Award winner. Use of electronic devices such as bullhorns is not allowed.

2. Visibility.

A winner must be obvious. What good is it to be a total fool and not be seen? You sap value from your child and his or her activities if you are a wall flower. You must be front-row center, in the middle of the action.

Say your child has a basketball game. Where are you?

If you're a potential winner, you are in a spot at the bleachers where the incredible volume you have developed in accord with criteria 1 can draw attention to you. After all, who is this about?

3. Attendance.

To perfect a role as a world-class mooncalf, a winner has gotta be there, all the time. One cannot perfect talent with sporadic attendance.

4. Multi-activity effort

If you are lucky, your child participates in more than one extracurricular activity. It is difficult to hone your edge if your kid plays just one sport or takes part in just one club or organization. Encourage your child to get involved in all sorts of things: sports, drama, chorus, art projects. Each one gives you the chance to be ridiculous and to make any number of pathetic attempts to project yourself through your child's activity.

5. Official sanction.

One way to guarantee you will be in the running for the Spirit Award is to be sanctioned by an official or an institution.

A winner's easiest option, of course, is to be ejected from a stadium or gymnasium by a referee, preferably following a threat of physical violence. However, a word of warning delivered by an athletic director or a principal bears serious weight. Those same individuals can lend credence to your candidacy with disapproving looks and with denigrating remarks made behind your back. Cultivate these relationships; a total lack of respect on the part of school administrators or sport officials is a bonus when it comes time for UBC club members to cast their votes.

6. Unbridled arrogance and all-consuming ignorance.

An Award winner possesses these qualities in abundance. If you think about it, these attributes form the foundation of all your best qualities as a Spirit Award candidate. How can you make a complete spectacle of yourself in public and embarrass your children if you're not a total twit?

You must know more than the referees, even though you have never officiated a sport. (Officiating a slow pitch softball game or a rousing session of dodgeball does not count.) In harmony with criteria 1 and 2, you must sit close enough to the officials to shout stupid things at them, and be heard, throughout the contest.

Better yet, since you have never coached the sport in question, or any sport at a significant level, you must also know more than the coach. If your kid's team does not win, whose fault is it? Coaches are incompetent, and it is your job to make this fact known - to the other fans, to the coach and, most importantly, to your child. You will be awarded extra points if you schedule appointments with the school principal to discuss your knowledge of the game and to criticize the coach's weaknesses. Your opinion is always appreciated, you can be sure.

7. Plumage

Do you wear articles of clothing in the school colors?

Do you wear large buttons with your child's picture and uniform number emblazoned on them?

Good. You are doing well. This is an excellent place to start, but relatively sane parents wear these items. You must go further in order to win.

Manufacture and display your own pom pons. Use them to exhort the crowd at games. It is a winner's responsibility to generate the enthusiasm absorbed by the players. The kids' primary concern, after all, is what you are saying and doing up there in the stands. Who, after all, is this about?

8. Post partum activity.

Your kid is gone. The thoughtless wretch had the nerve to graduate.

Does this deflate you, deprive you of a sense of purpose in life?

Not if you are a potential Award winner.

You can continue to make a complete ass of yourself for several years after your own child is no longer a part of the action. Press on. A gym ejection earned two to three years after your child is no longer on a team guarantees major points in the voting.

Surely there are parents out there who can satisfy these criteria.

Look at what some previous winners did to earn their awards.

How about getting kicked out of the Ignacio gym during a junior high school basketball game, two full years after your kid has graduated from high school? After you've moved to another state and traveled 800 miles, overnight, just to watch the junior high team?


How about threatening to contact the school district superintendent and school board to exact your revenge if your daughter is not made a member of the varsity?


How about hurling your program to the floor after your son loses a wrestling match then stomping out of the gym, slamming the heavy exterior door of the building as loudly as possible to signal your dismay to hundreds of people? And to your son?

Boy, howdy.

How about sending a stream of "press releases" to the newspaper touting the drama in which - surprise! - your kid has a major part? Follow that with a vitriolic letter to the editor complaining about a lack of news coverage.

Hoo yeah!

How about refusing to congratulate your little daughter after she finishes second in the state in a swimming race.

Momma mia!

How about trying to organize a petition drive to get rid of a coach with a 15-year .850 winning percentage because her team did not win the State championship?

Yadda yadda hey!

These are the footprints of giants, folks. All received the UBC Spirit Award and stand as paragons of the parenting qualities that make school sports and activities, such a grand and rewarding spectacle.

Don't be deterred by these accomplishments. Rather than being discouraged by their achievements, learn from the masters. Practice, practice, practice.

There is greatness in the past and greatness awaits you in the future.

Need more incentive?

Think of the glittering night when the UBC holds the Awards Banquet. Think of the glory awaiting you if you win. You can be a part of it, if you only make the effort!

The award banquet is a stunning spectacle. The "cocktail hour" begins at 5 p.m. and the ceremony starts at 9 p.m. After a brace of gin and tonics, speeches are transfixing: some are extremely short, some ramble a bit. No one cares. The food is terrific.

This year, as usual, I am in charge of the banquet menu, and I am determined to provide a meal commensurate with the high level of character displayed by the Award winner.

UBC members, their guests and the candidates will feed informally, buffet style, choosing between beef desembrada or chicken burritos (the meats cooked with garlic, sauteed onion and chipotle in adobo sauce) fresh pintos, fresh corn and guacamole. Olé.

The desembrada is simple. I'll cook a pot roast and include lots of garlic and a healthy amount of Mrs. Padilla's red chile powder in the beef stock I use as a cooking liquid.

When the meat is done, I'll shred it - that's the "desembrada." I'll sauté onions in olive oil until golden and add mucho chopped garlic. I'll pop in whatever amount of chopped chipotles common taste can tolerate and add several tablespoons of the adobo sauce in which the peppers are packed. (Chipotles are smoked red jalapeno peppers and the adobo is a thermonuclear tomato-based liquid used to pack the peppers). I'll add a little of the pepper and sauce at a time and sample, erring on the side of caution for the benefit of our timid guests. I'll hit the mix with just a touch of beef stock and warm the beef, onion and chile with the steam. Plop a wad on a hot fresh white flour tortilla, add some chopped cilantro and a smattering of queso fresca and you are ready to chow down.

I'll prepare the chicken in much the same way. I'll grill boneless skinless chicken breasts and cube when finished, or cube the breasts and sauté in olive oil. I'll pop in the onion the garlic and the chipotles. If I find a decent green pepper, I'll julienne some of the pepper and sauté with the onion.

I'm going to keep the guacamole simple: roughly mashed avocado, some finely minced white onion, mushed garlic, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime juice. A mild, perfect foil for the chipotle.

The annual gala promises to be spectacular - if we hold it!

Here I return to problem faced by members of the UBC: there are no stars rising in the firmament.

Granted, last year's Spirit Award winner will be back and promises substantial embarrassments for a couple more years. But who will meet the challenge, who will enter the ring? Where is the new blood?

In a desperate last-minute attempt to develop a stable of championship-calibre parents, the UBC is holding two clinics in the near future. Make plans to attend at least one.

The club will hold a clinic the first week of August in an effort to bolster the talent pool for the fall and winter sport seasons. If you are the parent of an elementary school-age child and you have felt your blood boiling at a T-ball game or a youth soccer tourney, plan to attend. The clinic will feature inspirational talks by previous Spirit Award winners, with tips on how to be truly humiliating and horrible in public. Categories covered in the instruction include sports, chorus, band, drama, and chess club. Participants will receive a lunch and a clinic T-shirt.

A second clinic will be held late in August and will concentrate on awful parental behavior at pee wee wrestling matches. Many great Spirit Award contenders developed their chops at pee wee wrestling. This year's UBC-sponsored clinic will focus on "The Pee Wee Wrestling Mom" - a special and truly terrifying specimen. Instructors this year will come from Aztec, Dove Creek and Cortez. There is no charge for this clinic, but participants must weigh 200 pounds or more and must have at least three visible tattoos.

Its time for local moms and dads to step forward and take the plunge. There is a rumor afield that Bayfield has at least seven unbelievably hideous parents ready to flower this fall and sources at Centauri and Monte Vista are crowing about their material. Word has it there are several Ignacio moms and dads promising a full-scale riot for the home volleyball match against the "wimpy" Lady Pirates.

Come on Pagosans. What are you made of?

If you believe you have the "right stuff" and want to be included on the list of prospective candidates for the 1999-2000 UBC Spirit Award get your application in now.

Write a brief letter stating your qualifications and include a "mission statement" concerning your proposed behavior for the year ahead. Submit your application to any UBC member or, better yet, bring it to the UBC meeting at the back of the Rose Restaurant in downtown Pagosa Springs, weekday mornings between 8 and 9 a.m. Application deadline is Aug. 9.

Do yourself, your kid, Pagosa Springs and the universe proud.

The next UBC Spirit Award could be yours.

Motter's Mutterings
By John M. Motter

Mutterer masters mowing machines

It was summer, the lawn needed mowing, and the wife watched through the kitchen window. Oh yes, one thing more. The riding lawn mower wouldn't start.

I don't know much about engines, but as nearly as I can figure out, most mowers are powered by two-cycle engines. It's my impression that two cycle means the contraption goes around twice and then quits. Chain saws, gas lawn edgers, and similar devices that only run on the showroom floor all operate the same way and they all break down all of the time.

If you don't believe me, go to your nearest small engine repair shop. It's take a number and wait. They're so busy you have to make an appointment, just like with your doctor and your plumber.

And, if you're happy with the hole in your check book made by your doctor or plumber, you'll be ecstatic with the cost of fixing your lawn mower. A new carburetor doesn't cost as much as a heart transplant, but its close.

If the whole engine is bad, forget it. You can get a new kidney easier than components for a Briggs and Stratton whatsis. Forget fixing it. Send the mechanical failure to the small engine graveyard. It will have plenty of company there.

My guess is, a huge proportion of those expired engines died of other than natural causes. I've considered taking the axe to a couple of them myself.

Personally speaking, I have better luck - I thought of saying success but you would know I was lying - with the chain saw. It's not that it doesn't give me plenty of trouble. The good part about the chain saw is, it makes the kind of trouble I have a chance of fixing.

Usually, a new spark plug does the job. Spark plugs aren't expensive, maybe a couple of bucks, and every parts store has them. If you want to know what I really think, however, here's a little secret. I don't think the chain saw really needs a new spark plug all that often. I think it has a touchy-feely personality and just wants to be stroked. It starts feeling neglected if I don't use it for a while. I can understand that. I wouldn't want to sit around on the shelf day after day with only a three-eighths inch drill for company. What could be more boring? I think my chain saw sits as long as it can stand it, then dribbles oil on the spark plug just to get attention.

Nowadays, if I haven't fired the saw up for a couple of weeks, before I even yank the rope I install a new spark plug. Somehow, it always starts, I believe out of gratitude because it realizes I was thinking about it.

I feel like an idiot when I take the mower to a repair shop. Other idiots must visit the place as often as I do and get asked the same stupid questions. The repairman always wants to know, "Did you turn it on?" Of course I did, except for a few times.

There are little tricks to making the grass guzzler work right, tricks like pushing in the clutch, disengaging the blades, simple things I am apt to forget. The repairman doesn't forget. He seems to derive special pleasure from telling me about these simple tricks - things I should already know - in front of a line of impatient customers. More times than not, he turns on the stupid machine and it starts on the first try. It's a psychology thing. He gets me feeling so small, I'm embarrassed to complain about the bill, which is huge.

The worst thing about two-cycle engines is, they let me down when I need them most, like when my mother-in-law is coming for lunch and the wife wants the grass to look good.

I know it only takes a couple of hours to mow the lawn, right? So I figure, since its my day off, I have time for a leisurely breakfast with an extra cup of coffee. I even have time to run down to the post office, conduct an important discussion with O'Reilly who also plans to mow his lawn this morning, and even get the car washed.

Boy that O'Reilly is a windbag, but if I hurry I can still finish by noon. It's 10:30 when I first crank the motor. Uh-oh. The grass-eater grunts and groans, but it won't start. After rummaging through several boxes, I find a sparkplug wrench, clean the plug, and try again. Still, it won't start. I knew that, of course, so I dig out the new plug I hid in the kitchen while trying to suppress a sly grin because I know I've outsmarted the little monster. Forget the grin. The little monster refuses to start, even with the new plug.

Now its time to look at the carburetor filter. I clean that to no avail. It's time for Plan B, so I give the machine a once over to see if something has fallen off, glance at the house where the wife is glaring through the window, and kick the contraption in its apparatus. A part falls off, but it still won't start.

By now its 11:15 and I call Friendly Fred at the repair shop. I sense Fred grin and start counting as he answers the telephone.

"Well, if you're sure you turned it on and it still won't run, better bring that baby in. I have an opening, let's see, yes here it is, I have an opening three weeks from Thursday," Fred gloats.

It's all over, time to run for the border. Good advice would be forget the lawn, forget the lawn mower, get a herd of sheep, get some barbecue, enjoy, it's summer. But, I can't forget that face in the kitchen window.


July 22, 1999

What's the gripe?

Dear Editor,

It's a very small paragraph in the lower right hand corner of page 51 in the July 19 Newsweek. "1999, The U.S. hosts the third Women's Cup, one of the biggest women's sporting events to date. But pay disparities remain: the U.S. women each get $12,500 if they win; the American men would have nabbed $388,000 each had they won the 1998 Cup."

I can see this getting women all riled up so I thought it best to nip it in the bud. After all gals these men probably have families to support. Yeah, I know, what about single moms who can't make enough to support their kids. C'mon girls, it's real easy to pick up a waitress job in this town. Most single moms can work two or three jobs. There's plenty of opportunity. Besides, you had the children so obviously you can work a 14-hour day.

And you single white women who represent the bulk of the 45 percent of the people in the U.S. who can't afford health insurance; what is the gripe? You save $2,000 a year because you don't buy health insurance.

Women have come so far and we should be grateful. I sure hope I haven't offended anyone but silence sucks and if you don't speak you get canker sores.

Donna Davis

Speed limit

Dear Editor,

Three weeks ago, on the eve of July 1, 1999, we had the (mis)fortune of witnessing the expertise of an Upper San Juan Emergency Response Team firsthand. Returning from an anniversary dinner at Paradise Pizza, our guests - celebrating 51 years - collided with a young local couple head-on as they turned left into our drive off U.S. 84. The light was dim; the hill, blind; the oncoming car, black; unfortunately traveling the legal speed limit, 65 mph - much too fast for this roadway. Fortunately, all involved escaped with cuts and bruises - this time. Both cars, a Volvo and a Subaru, were totaled, vehicles as opposed to human lives.

Last August 23, 1998, we addressed a letter to the Colorado State Department of Transportation expressing our concern for this dangerously high speed on U.S. 84, a main access road sidelined by many unmarked roads. A response on Sept. 4, 1998 stated the Highway Department would reexamine the speed limit and contact us with the results. To-date, we have never received that response. We appeal to you now as concerned Pagosans to draft a letter to the Department of Transportation, Region 5, Traffic and Speed Limit, 3803 N. Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301, detailing your commitment to the safety and well-being of community residents and visitors, and requesting the state's help in preventing further disaster. With your support, a change will be made.

One final important note, we would like to recognize the efficient and impressive professional care provided by the Upper San Juan Emergency Response Team and to thank those who responded with the personal attention extended beyond the call of duty. To Mike Patterson, Carl Macht, Lindy Bauer, Will Sanders, Kea Cundiff, Caroline Coley, Kim Cox , Cathy Conway, Larry Escude, Scott Wallace, Ed Vezey, Noel Withers and Carol Curtis, we extend not only our heartfelt thanks and gratitude, but an open invitation for breakfast here at our home, anytime.

Thank you,

Maureen, John, Monique

and Ian Widmer

The Echo Manor Inn Bed and Breakfast

Business tax returns

Dear David,

I recently received a letter from Sam Cassidy, president and CEO of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, who asked me to pass along the following information. Basically, every business that paid business personal property tax in 1998 is eligible for a tax refund and CACI encourages all eligible businesses to take advantage of this opportunity.

The State Tax Refund Form (Form DR 1311) must be completed correctly and postmarked by Aug. 31, 1999. When submitting the form, businesses must include proper documentation of the tax paid in order to secure the business personal property tax refund. If the form is not filled out correctly, the refund will not be given and after Aug. 31, you will not have the opportunity to make corrections to your application form. Therefore, you are urged to submit the form early in order to ensure ample time to make corrections if necessary.

The business personal property tax refund is a direct result of the advocacy efforts of CACI, which successfully saw the Colorado Legislature pass HB 99-1311. The bill ensures a refund to businesses of 100 percent of the first $500 paid in personal property tax. Any amount paid over $500 will be refunded at 13.37 percent. According to the Department of Revenue, 126,000 businesses are eligible for this refund, but you must act now.

The refund will be issued immediately after the Colorado Department of Revenue approves the claim, provided there are no initiatives on the November 1999 ballot that address the retention of the TABOR surplus. Specific questions about the refund should be directed to the Department of Revenue's Business Tax Hotline at (303) 232-1416 or consult with your tax advisor. If you need a copy of the form, please stop by the Visitor Center or contact Melanie Tripp in CACI's membership department at or call (303) 831-7411 to request a copy of the form.


Sally Hameister, director

Pagosa Springs Area

Chamber of Commerce

Not worth a life

Dear Editor,

They are not worth a life: The extra-long mirrors used on pick-ups, house trailers and vans.

Our son could have been seriously hurt on July 3 in front of our house - 200 block of Pagosa Street (U.S. 160) - when a teenager whizzed by and hit his parked vehicle. Luckily our son had opened his pick-up door and was reaching for a Beanie Baby for his niece. The damage, a deep dent on his new pick-up took the blow.

It was reminiscent of a similar accident on May 1993, when a young high school student lost his life in front of the Town Hall.

You who feel you need such mirrors, please be extra cautious in driving the vehicles they're on. The life you save may be your own.

Thank you,

Mrs. Reuben R. Marquez

Cheerful spirit

Dear Editor,

It was with a sense of loss that I read of the passing of Lucy Yamaguchi Cotton. I was in high school with her and well remember her cheerful outgoing spirit. She was valedictorian of her class. It is good to remember the last time I saw her and could hug her - in a crowd at the Community Bible Church after a piano concert a very few years ago.

That others may know, may I locate Talian, her childhood home in Archuleta County. It was on the railroad that came from Pagosa Junction to Pagosa Springs traveling northerly through Cat Creek toward Dyke (near present day County Road 700) with Talian being one of the first stops.

In the May 20, 1999 issue of the Preview, John Motter's account of his interview with Ury Ealum, one can read of this once thriving little settlement beside a railroad on which to ship its products. I believe there was a coal mine there as well as the Matsomoto sawmill. A daughter of this family also attended Pagosa Springs High School in those mid 1930 years.

Yours truly,

Genevieve Phelps


Dear Editor,

On Saturday, July 10, at around 5:30 p.m., my husband and I were driving on U.S. 160 between Pagosa and Durango when we encountered a heart-breaking scene: there in the center of the westbound land, on a dangerous curve, lay an injured "Aussie" puppy, and beside it lay its litter mate, uninjured, yet not wanting to leave the side of it's sibling. The mother dog ran back and forth across the crowded highway, quite frantically, yet the uninjured dog wouldn't budge from the side of its litter mate.

Unable to just drive on, being dog owners ourselves, we flipped back around, and by then other cars had also stopped to help. A very kind woman in a red suburban took the injured pup into her vet in Durango. When the two uninjured dogs saw that the humans were there to help, they came right over to us, licked my husband's face and hands, and allowed us to place them in the car with two sweet women, who took them to the Humane Society in Durango, where they remain yet.

These two good dogs obviously have been well-loved and taught good manners. They appeared to have been swimming - out for a lark that went terribly wrong, and now find themselves separated from their people and in strange surroundings. Thankfully, they've been kept together and are now up for adoption.

It's quite obvious that Coloradans love their dogs by the show of concern on that dangerous curve of highway. Hopefully, whomever they belong to will see this letter and find their good dogs . . . but, if not, won't someone please stop by the Durango Humane Society and consider giving these two sweet dogs a good home? If my own menagerie weren't full, I'd take them in a heartbeat.

Having adopted dogs in the past, I can assure you that the knowledge that you've given good dogs a good home is reward far greater than the cost of adoption. And these little guys have had it rough enough. They deserve a good home. Won't you please, please help?

Shelley Seeley

Dripping Springs, Texas


Dear Editor,

It is intriguing to compare the two prominent schools of thought about how to interpret the Second Amendment; although both camps seem to find the passage perfectly clear, their readings are diametrically opposed. I cannot but wonder whether the genius of the authors lay in contriving a passage so exquisitely ambiguous as to allow most of the ratifiers to suppose that their personal bias had been aptly expressed.


John Spradley

E mail

Keeping updated

Dear Editor,

I would like to express my appreciation to the Pagosa Springs SUN.

I am a former resident of the area. I had written an e-mail asking that the SUN's web page be brought up to date. By reading the SUN, I am able to keep updated on local stories. I do this via the internet.

Recently, my mother (who still resides in the area) told me of a sad event she read about in your paper. The passing of one of my childhood friends; Catherine St. Laurent. Although we had lived miles apart, Cathie and I had stayed in touch over the years. The last correspondence I had received from her was when she had undergone treatment for her illness in Denver's University Hospital. If it had not been for the SUN's obituary write up, I might not have known she had passed on.

Cathie was a wonderful person and a treasured friend. My heart and thoughts go out to those she left behind. She will be missed.


Valerie Colpritt

Editor's note: The SUN's web page is dependent on the local telephone provider, CenturyTel. Its subscriptions are dependent upon the U.S. Postal Service. The SUN cannot guarantee timely delivery in either case.

Losing battle

Dear David,

I was very distressed to learn that Tom Fletcher, a 14-year veteran of the Pagosa Lakes Public Safety Office, has been fired. Tom has always been the officer on whom everyone in Pagosa Lakes has relied, providing trustworthy support in all types of emergencies.

No one has cared more for the people he served, or served more honorably than Tom Fletcher. I do not know the rationale for this outrage. I can only assume that the slogan promoted by last year's big-spending candidates (who are no more) "the Status Quo must go" is now being implemented by the "Speak Out" appointees.

Our officers have gone from respected, experienced, highly-trained professionals (with new recruits from the top of the class) to individuals who must take the Police Academy test over and over to pass. The priorities seemed to have shifted from protecting lives and property to traffic cops patrolling U.S. 160.

We have lost, like so much else, our Public Safety Office.


Walt Schaeper

Jeremiah Ramey

Jeremiah Ramey, a graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, was named to the Dean's List of Aims Community College Scholars for the spring quarter of 1999. Ramey was cited for the honor for having maintained a 3.72 grade point average while enrolled in 12 or more hours of "letter graded" courses.


Two young local cowboys competed in the team roping event at the National High School Rodeo Association finals in Gillette, Wyo., on Monday of this week.

Zane Bramwell of Chromo and Dusty Payne of Pagosa Springs qualified for the National High School Rodeo championships by posting a third-place finish at the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association finals in Greeley the week of June 9 through 12. They finished in third place in the incentive team roping competition at the 1999 Red Ryder Roundup.

Brandon Carter

Brandon Carter of Pagosa Springs was named to the spring 1999 Dean's List at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

A sophomore in the College of Agricultural Sciences, Carter received a 3.8 grade point average or higher while enrolled in 12 or more credit hours during the spring semester.

Heather Riley

Heather Riley of Pagosa Springs was cited for her academic achievements at Texas Christian University by being named to the Dean's Honor List for the 1999 spring semester. In order to be eligible for the honor, students must be enrolled in 12 or more semester hours of study and have earned an exceptional grade point average.

The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lee Riley and a graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, Heather is a sophomore education major at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.



Dallas Pancoast

See front page.

Jerry Douglas

A memorial service will be held for Jerry W. Douglas of Aztec, N.M., on July 24 at 10:30 a.m. in Pagosa Springs Town Park on Hermosa Street. In case of rain the service will be held at Community United Methodist Church at 464 Lewis Street.

Mr. Douglas, 49, a former resident of Pagosa Springs died Oct. 2, 1998. He was born Sept. 16, 1949, in Beaumont, Texas. During his adult years he worked as a construction manager and ranch foreman, and was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing, rodeo and the peaceful solitude of the mountains.

He was preceded in death by his father, Jerry A. Douglas, a former resident of Pagosa Springs, and his grandsons, Jacob and Jedidiah. He is survived by his wife, Glory Douglas of Aztec; his daughters, April Douglas of Grand Junction and Lisa Miller and her husband, Todd of Kailua, Hawaii; his sons, Jake Douglas of Fort Collins and Cody Douglas and his wife, Staci, of Grand Junction. He also is survived by his mother, Dorothy Douglas of Galveston, Texas; his sister, Sherry Orlando of Sugarland, Texas; and his grandson Brett.

Donna Gallavan

Donna Lea Halverson Gallavan was born in Bayfield while her parents, Leslie Jerome Halverson and Zetta Pearl Pargin, were on their way to Durango on July 18, 1935.

She grew up at Yellow Jacket on the family's ranch and attended Yellow Jacket grade school. She always had a love for animals.

At a very young age, she was breaking milk-pen calves to pull a red wagon. The trained calves received a number of blue, red and silver stars for their respective behavior. At the age of about 5, Bert Cooper gave her a horse, "Dunny," which she rode for years.

Donna Halverson attended high school in Durango. Later she married Richard Gallavan. The couple lived in Durango for several years and later bought and ran the Piedra Store. She also drove a school bus for Archuleta County School District 50 Joint for quite some time. There wasn't anyone that she wouldn't try to help. When her father began to fail, she took care of him for the rest of his natural life. She was living on the old Ed Pargin place at the time of her death on July 9, 1999.


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