Front Page

July 29, 1999

Staff resigns

PLPOA may hire management firm

By Roy Starling

With the vast majority of its staff resigning effective tomorrow, the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors will meet today to discuss the possibility of contracting with a firm from Denver to manage the association.

Today's meeting, at 2 p.m. in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse, will be a continuation of a discussion that began Monday at 8 a.m. That meeting ended when acting-president John Nelson suggested the board retire to a closed executive session to discuss personnel matters with members of the outgoing staff.

Nelson chaired the meeting in the absence of PLPOA President Nan Rowe, who told the SUN she couldn't make the meeting because she "was in Chicago until late Sunday night, and we had house guests Monday morning. The other board members knew this, but I was told it had to be taken up at 8 a.m."

As of tomorrow, the association will have several gaps to fill in the administrative staff. Waynette Nell, general manager; Janet Thompson, accounts manager; Maureen Clancy, administrative assistant; Erika Cox, accounting clerk; and Jean Sanft, administrative aide, will all resign.

At Monday's meeting, Nell said she was resigning because of "micro-managing by the board. I was unable to do my job, and my health was being affected by it." When pressed to define micro-management, Nell said "disrupting the daily activities of the office."

According to Director Jim Carson, Nell should have brought those disruptions to the attention of the board. "As a general manager, I think you've been flunking your job by not bringing staff problems to the board."

"I went to Nan on all these issues, but basically nothing changed," Nell replied.

Rowe told the SUN that Nell did come to her with problems concerning the board. "Three months ago, I called a special board meeting in executive session to discuss these issues," she said. "The silence of the other board members in response was deafening. I also said at the time that if the board didn't make some changes in the way it related to the staff, the result would be mass staff walkouts. The response was more silence."

Although Nell was asked by Director Nelson to name the board member or members who were guilty of micro-managing, she refused to do so. She did refer, however, to difficulty in accounting caused by "the treasurer moving money without the staff being informed." (Director Judy Esterly serves as the association's treasurer. She was out of town Monday and was unable to attend the meeting.)

Directors Nelson and Ebeling defended Esterly's actions. "The treasurer is very dedicated to her responsibility," Nelson said. Director Fred Ebeling said that "the board is entitled to get information from the staff, and that's what the treasurer was trying to do. But she was unable to get information in a timely manner."

Thompson, Cox and Sanft declined to speak at this time about the reasons for or the timing of their resignations. Clancy would say only that she was "looking for something that uses my education and experience a little more thoroughly than this job has."

Concerning the proposed contract with Colorado Management and Associates Inc., Ebeling said he saw it "as providing interim management. It's only a one-year contract. We have to do something quickly.

"The only thing the company is providing," Ebeling said, "is a computer-generated accounting service. The general manager who will be down here managing the association will be under the direction of the board."

Director Dick Hillyer said that "present department managers of Recreational Amenities, Lakes and Fisheries, Public Safety and Covenant Compliance will continue to run their respective departments."

Director Pat Curtis told the SUN that the board "had no other choice" but to seek help from the outside. "The administrative staff was unhappy with one of the board members and that board member's relationship with the staff. I don't know how much of an effort they made to solve that problem, but it never got solved.

"Waynette was the first to announce her resignation and it kind of had a trickle-down effect. When the rest of them gave their two-week notices, there was no time to hire another general manager and office staff. There really isn't a choice. This company is very well thought of, has been around for a long time, and has managed 50 or so other associations in the state. They're real pros."

Not all board members were in favor of hiring the Denver firm. "I prefer to do a search and hire a general manager rather than a consulting firm," Director Nelson said. "But I'm only one vote."

President Rowe also opposes farming out the association's management. "We'll be sending $12,000 per month out of our local economy and up to Denver," she said. "We're spending this money for a general manager, but that general manager will not be our employee. His employer will be six hours away in Denver."


Four plead guilty to damaging meadow

By Karl Isberg

Four of five suspects charged with damaging a meadow on San Juan National Forest land in early May entered guilty pleas and were sentenced by a Durango-based federal magistrate.

According to U.S. Forest Service law enforcement agent Roger Newton of the Pagosa Ranger District, five local residents were charged on June 2 with unreasonably damaging land, vegetation or resources on the forest.

Three of the individuals charged were juveniles. Newton identified two local adults charged in the case as Benjamin Murphy, 21, and Jacob Egg, 20.

Newton said all the suspects but Egg entered guilty pleas, were sentenced and were in the process of satisfying the penalties assessed by the magistrate .

The incident which led to the charges occurred in early May when the suspects took off-road vehicles to a meadow on Eightmile Mesa Road, south of Pagosa Springs. The section of road next to the meadow was closed to motorized vehicles. The suspects drove their vehicles off the road and cut deep ruts throughout the fragile meadow environment as well as up the side of an adjacent slope.

Damage was reported to the U.S. Forest Service by recreational users of the road following an article about the incident in the SUN, said Newton. Additional information about the case was subsequently provided to his office by sources in the community. That information led Newton to the suspects.

Newton reported that each suspect who entered a guilty plea was assessed a small fine by the court and each agreed to do public service work for the U.S. Forest Service. Some of that work relates directly to resource management and protection.

"All of the youngsters have to go at their own expense and under our supervision to reseed and rehabilitate the area they damaged," said Newton, "and the work must be complete by Sept. 1. A lot of thought went into the penalties for these youngsters. We wanted the kids to appreciate resource values with some sweat equity. When you have to go and fix what you've done, and see how much time and money it takes to repair this type of damage, it's not so much fun anymore."

In addition to the reseeding and rehabilitation work at the meadow, said Newton, "one of the youngsters will do public service work by removing abandoned properties on forest lands, especially old hunters' camps. His five days of work must be complete by Sept. 1."

Newton said another of the young men who entered a guilty plea will complete five miles of trail work on the San Juan National Forest while two other members of the group will each perform 20 hours of general maintenance work at the Pagosa Ranger District office building in downtown Pagosa Springs.

"One of the most important things about this case," said Newton, "is we were able to resolve the situation as a result of a lot of public input. We appreciate the help from members of the local community. The information they provided allowed us to identify the parties responsible for the damage."


Canadian lynx killed on Wolf Creek Pass

By John M. Motter

A Canadian lynx died Friday morning on Wolf Creek Pass after being struck by a hit-and-run motorist. Colorado Division of Wildlife biologists were notified of the feline's untimely death by a motorist who noticed the animal's body lying along the shoulder of the highway.

The Wolf Creek lynx death is the second in Colorado caused by a motorist. About one month ago, a lynx was struck and killed by an Interstate 70 motorist on Vail Pass. The Wolf Creek lynx was a female that had been trapped in Alaska and released May 10. Her body was discovered about 11 a.m., but she was probably hit several hours earlier. The mishap occurred near the top of the pass.

Both lynx are among those released this past winter in the San Juan Mountains as part of a DOW plan to reintroduce lynx into Colorado. Including Friday's killing, seven are now dead. Two lynx have been killed on the highway, one lynx was shot near Antonito by an unidentified gunman, and four lynx died of starvation during the early stages of the release.

"Of course the death of these lynx is unfortunate," said Todd Malsmsbury, chief of information for the DOW. "We picked up both carcasses and delivered them to Fort Collins for a necropsy. The good news is that both had body fat along with food in their stomachs. They have obviously learned to find food in Colorado."

The initial releases were made near Wagon Wheel Gap between Creede and South Fork during February. When four of those early releases died of starvation, the DOW altered the release protocol. First, they held the animals longer in pens, ensuring that they were in good condition. Second, they delayed releases until spring weather conditions increased the availability of more volume and a greater variety of food for the hunting cats.

DOW observers have located seven of the eight lynx released during March. The seventh was located near Carbondale. So far, lynx from the release have been detected as far south as 50 miles inside of New Mexico, as far east as the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, as far west as Mancos, and as far north as the Vail area.

"They have spread out in all directions," Malmsbury said. "The rumor that they were heading north, trying to get back to their Alaska or Canada homes, is simply not true."

The Colorado Wildlife Commission authorized the reintroduction of lynx and wolverines last year. The lynx project involved two winters, with the release of about 50 animals each winter. The release of wolverines has been postponed indefinitely by the DOW.

Analysis of the lynx release program is underway. DOW officials have said if about 50 percent of the 29 animals released during May die of starvation, they will recommend that similar releases planned for the coming winter not be made. The final decision concerning releases during the 1999-2000 winter may be postponed until November in order to gather as much data as possible, Malmsbury said.

In the meantime, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials have postponed until next year, any decision connected with placing lynx on the threatened and endangered species list in the lower 48 states.

"They postponed the decision for six months while they gather additional data," Malmsbury said. "Based on our experiences this year, we continue to supply them with data."

Colorado has asked the federal wildlife agency to consider Colorado as a separate district when classifying the lynx, Malmsbury said.

"If they classify us separately, then the decision about Colorado will be a separate decision," Malmsbury said. "If our reintroduction program is successful, there will be no need to place the lynx on the endangered list in Colorado. If it is unsuccessful, we believe lynx in Colorado still should not be on the list. We will have demonstrated that they cannot survive here."

All of the released lynx have radio collars. In order to locate the lynx, the collars are monitored by aircraft with radio receivers, and by personnel traveling on the ground.


Whopper thunderstorms leave Pagosa soggy

By John M. Motter

Powerful thunderstorms swelled by towering cumulus clouds, spectacular lightning, and booming thunderclaps swept across Archuleta County almost daily this past week. The storms produced above average rainfall leaving the countryside green and soggy.

An especially severe storm Tuesday evening caused weather observers in the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction to issue a severe thunderstorm warning at about 5 p.m. Such warnings indicate possible high winds, large hail, and intensive localized rainfall. The danger from lightning and flash floods is severe.

"That storm was a whopper," said Jim Pringle, a forecaster from the Grand Junction office. "The tops of the cloud approached 40,000 feet above mean sea level and the coverage of the storm equaled about two-thirds of the area of Archuleta County. The storm seemed to contain some rotation (potential for tornadoes) and an enormous amount of electrical energy."

The same weather conditions that have prevailed in Pagosa Country over the past two weeks should continue at least through the coming weekend, according to Becky Klenk, a forecaster from the Grand Junction office.

"Look for a 30 percent chance of afternoon and evening thundershowers through the weekend," Klenk said. "High temperatures should be in the mid-80s to low 90s and lows should be in the 50s."

Last week, 1.09 inches of rain were recorded at the official weather station located at Stevens Field. During the last two weeks, 2.54 inches of rain have fallen in Pagosa Springs, more at selected spots in the high country. Rainfall has been recorded on 11 of the last 14 days, including eight straight days from July 17 through July 24.

Through July 27 the total rainfall this month is 3.21 inches. July's long-time average rainfall is 1.63 inches. During July of 1957, 5.78 inches or rain fell, the record amount ever recorded during July in Pagosa Springs.

For the year of 1999, 15.5 inches of rain have been measured through July 27. Average Pagosa Country rainfall through July is 9.79 inches.

The pattern of recurring thunderstorms should continue through August, according to Pringle. This summer pattern is identified as the monsoon season by the Grand Junction weather people. During this season, tropical moisture is picked up over southern Mexico and transported to the Four Corners area where it is released.

Clouds in the Pagosa Springs area must reach immense heights in order to be detected by the National Weather Service radar beam transmitted from an elevation of about 10,000 feet on Grand Mesa east of Grand Junction. Because of the curvature of the earth, the beam averages over 27,000 feet above mean sea level by the time it reaches Pagosa Springs. Consequently, clouds must be higher than 27,000 feet to be detected by the sweeping radar beam.

Two primary conditions are involved in the creation of thunderstorms and their attendant high energy levels, according to Pringle. The first condition is ordinary daytime heating. The second condition is the release of latent heat as convection currents carry warm air containing water upward into colder temperatures.

A climactic layer called the "tropopause" normally establishes a ceiling for the clouds, but some cloud peaks pierce the tropopause, Pringle said. Above the tropopause, temperatures become warmer instead of colder. Because the cooling atmosphere releases energy, vertical convection currents are created.

The upper portions of thunderclouds contain positive electrical energy, while the lower portions, below the freezing level, contain negative electrical energy. The ground is normally positively charged, but can be negatively charged. When the voltage potential between positive and negative areas is sufficient, electrical discharges in the form of lightning occur. These electrical potential differences can amount to millions of volts. Lightning moves from cloud to cloud or from clouds to the ground.

While most lightning discharges are negative, about one out of 100 lightning discharges are positive, according to Pringle. The positive discharges connect positive electrical fields in the cloud peaks with a negatively charged ground surface. The result can be devastating.

"Lightning causes more deaths in Colorado than any other weather phenomena," Pringle said. "Flash floods rank second."

Last year, three people were killed and 18 injured by lightning in Colorado, Pringle said. Only last week, a tourist was killed in Estes Park by a lightning bolt.

Lightning passing through the atmosphere can create temperatures of 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, five times the temperature of the sun's surface, according to Pringle. The intense heating of the atmosphere creates a shock wave, identified by the familiar thunderclaps.

Most people fail to realize that lightning can strike at a distance of 10 miles from the clouds denoting the obvious location of a thunderstorm.

"People need to take cover sooner than they think," Pringle said. "The best test is the 'flash to sound test.' Upon observing a lightning flash, a person should count the seconds. Each five seconds equals one mile. Persons counting 30 seconds or less, that equals six miles, should take cover."

The best cover is inside a house or car. Persons trapped outside should find the lowest available ground and avoid trees or other high objects which attract lightning. Persons should avoid being the highest object around. Persons caught on open ground without cover should curl up in a ball, but remain on their feet. Lightning sometimes travels along the surface of the ground. By remaining on their feet, people avoid exposing more body surface to the ground lightning. The curling up but remaining on the feet principle is especially important for people caught in lightning storms above timberline.

Persons caught in a lightning storm while passing through a forest should choose the lesser evil by moving to a section of the forest where the trees are lower. Isolated, tall trees should be avoided.

National Weather Service storm warnings are not particularly effective in Pagosa Country because no weather warning transmitters exist in southwest Colorado. Consequently, persons traveling through the high country or traveling under other conditions where they are exposed to the weather should study weather forecasts and always watch the surrounding skies for changing weather conditions.


Work on Eightmile Mesa Road to start August 15

By John M. Motter

The rebuilding of Eightmile Mesa Road should start Aug. 15 and be completed within 30 days, according to County Manager Dennis Hunt.

Loma Linda developer Fred Schmidt and the county, along with two adjoining property owners, are involved in the project.

Schmidt is responsible for rebuilding the primary road bed stretching approximately between U.S. 84 and the entrance to the Loma Linda subdivisions. This work will include the elimination of some steep dips and modifying a curve.

The county is responsible for supplying culverts across the main road bed and also for driveways. The property owners, Dick Ray and Jack Adams, are responsible for installing right of way fences using materials supplied by Schmidt.

Concerning Schmidt's portion of the work, a $93,250 contract has been let with U-Can Afford. Before that work can begin, the county must install four approximately 36-inch culverts where Squaw Creek crosses the road. Cost of the county's culverts is about $11,800.

In the meantime, the county has a lawsuit in place against Schmidt, in order to guarantee that the work be finished. Eightmile Mesa Road is located on the west side of U.S. 84 approximately 8 miles south of Pagosa Springs. It provides access to the Loma Linda subdivisions and Eightmile Mesa.


Inside The Sun

Durkee named to planning board

By John M. Motter

A planning commission member was appointed, dates set for board of equalization hearings, and other business conducted by the Archuleta County commissioners while meeting in regular session Tuesday.

David Durkee was appointed to the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission board, thereby filling all vacancies on that voluntary body.

Durkee was selected from among six applicants for the position. The other applicants were Todd Shelton, Nan Rowe, Michael J. Mitchell, Bob Moomaw, and Claudia Smith.

Durkee joins current board members Linda Delyria, Bobra Schaeper, Julia Donoho, Lynn Constan, Bob Lynch, Betty Shahan, Judy James, and Ed Knight from the Southern Ute Tribe.

A 10-year resident of Pagosa Springs, Durkee's work history includes 25 years in the ski industry, logging, general contracting, and time as a fishing guide. He currently owns and operates Pagosa Lawn and Landscape and Pagosa Nursery Company.

The county commissioners will sit as a board of equalization concerning property valuations for taxing purposes Aug. 3. As the board of equalization, the commissioners listen to property owners protesting the value placed on their property by the county assessor. During an earlier first step of the appeal process, the property owners presented their case to the assessor. That step of the appeal process is now closed.

The second step, for those unsatisfied with the assessor's findings, is the coming board of appeals session. During the board of appeals session, taxpayers state their case directly to the commissioners. Assessor Keren Prior attends this session and presents her side of the case. The commissioners are empowered to render any decision they feel is justified.

Approximately 25 appeals are anticipated this year, more than last year but less than in some previous years, according to County Manager Dennis Hunt. Hearings start at the end of the regular Tuesday morning commissioners meeting at about 10 a.m. and continue through regular working hours.

Prior asked the commissioners to postpone the hearings because she will be out of town Aug. 3. She asked for Aug. 9 and 10 or for Saturday, so that she can be present.

"The county attorney has instructed us that the language concerning the deadline for hearings says 'shall be done by Aug. 5,' " said Commissioner Gene Crabtree. "Under those circumstances, we have no choice but to hold the hearings by Aug. 5," Crabtree said. (In the absence of Commissioner Ken Fox, Crabtree acted as chairman of the board.)

Prior agreed to send a deputy, because she will not be able to attend the hearings.

The commissioners conducted the following additional business Tuesday.

- Approval of a proposed intergovernmental agreement with Hinsdale County regarding management of undesirable plants was postponed based on advice from Holthus.

- Approval of a proposed intergovernmental agreement with Hinsdale County for law enforcement and emergency services was postponed based on advice from Holthus.

- A contract with Southwest Colorado Mental Health Services was renewed providing certain mental health care for prisoners incarcerated in the Archuleta County jail. Fees to be paid by the county are $71 for individual contact for more than 30 minutes, $35 for individual contact for up to 30 minutes, $50 for group contact, and $68 for case management.

- A resolution was approved endorsing a plan by property owners in the Lower Blanco Basin to clean up the shoulders and ditches along Lower Blanco Road. The commissioners agreed to supply trash bags for the project from Colorado Department of Transportation supplies. County road and bridge trucks will pick up the bags after they are filled.

- Several variances were approved for a planned unit development located on Lot 9 at Cloman Industrial Park. The commissioners followed the recommendations of the planning commission concerning the variances.

The variances granted are:

1) A requirement that driveways and parking lots be paved was waived because roads entering and within the industrial park are not paved. The commissioners recommended that the builders pave the driveway and parking lot at such time as the access road, Cloman Boulevard, is paved.

2) A provision requiring alleys was waived because entrance to the proposed building is in the front.

3) A requirement for paved sidewalks on both street frontages was waived to allow a gravel sidewalk on one side only. The sidewalk on that side enters a common green area.

4) The requirement for street lights was waived. Instead, the builder will install downward-pointing lights on the buildings. One consideration for not requiring street lights is the proximity of Stevens Field.

5) A request that the requirement for a final plat be waived was denied.

6) A variance from the performance bond requirement was granted on the condition that the certificate of occupancy not be allowed until all improvements are completed.

- The commissioners listened to a suggestion from Tom O'Hare that water rights and their availability be included in the county master plan. O'Hare presented himself as a concerned citizen.


Relay for Life surpasses goal

By Karl Isberg

Relay for Life organizer Leslie Patterson set a fund-raising goal of $10,000 for the inaugural event on July 23 and 24 and by Wednesday of this week she was thrilled the relay in Pagosa Springs had raised at least $11,836 for the American Cancer Society.

Nine teams with 134 team participants began their overnight relays at 6 p.m. on July 23 at Town Park. Teams raised $100 each as entry fees and individual team members raised additional funds to contribute to the total. Each team developed themes and decorated themselves and their campsites accordingly.

The Relay for Life began with a "victory lap" by local cancer survivors. There were 26 survivors who walked in the event. Rain fell, but did not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants.

Luminarias devoted to the memory of cancer survivors and those who unsuccessfully fought the disease were lit and lined the pathway on which relay members walked through the night. Entertainment was provided on Friday night by The Cranks.

Relay walkers and runners kept up their efforts on the course for 18 hours, until the finish line was crossed at noon on July 24.

"We made the goal," said Patterson. "This was a huge accomplishment for a community this size, doing the event for the first time, in the rain. Everyone showed up with umbrellas and with bells on. I was really impressed with the commitment, considering the rainy weather."

Patterson said she wanted to thank the 12 volunteers who assisted with the event and expressed her thanks to relay participants. "I'm grateful for everyone's help," she said. "Everyone knew I was doing this for my dad (Pat Patterson). I told him about it and he cried. He's in San Antonio fighting lung cancer. He said he'd be here next year when we do this again. We're all a little overwhelmed with the magnitude of the occasion. It's just setting in, but everyone's already talking about next year."


Bicycle Tour of Colorado leaves bad impression

By Karl Isberg

Call it an involuntary local donation to public television in Denver and Grand Junction.

When participants in the Bicycle Tour of Colorado left Pagosa Springs on the morning of July 21, they left some disgruntled residents and officials in their wake.

Among the upset citizens, you can count frustrated motorists, as well as representatives of the town of Pagosa Springs and School District 50 Joint.

The Bicycle Tour of Colorado was held to benefit Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting which operates public television stations KRMA in Denver and KRMJ in Grand Junction. Tour organizer was Kent Powell, of Denver.

Organization, or the lack of organization, say dissatisfied local officials, was at the root of several problems.

According to Town Administrator Jay Harrington, police Chief Don Volger, and high school Assistant Principal Kahle Charles, few arrangements with local officials were made by tour organizers and when plans were made, many were not observed.

Traffic and the safety of cyclists and motorists was a primary worry for Harrington and Volger.

"Within the town limits," said Harrington, "there was a lack of course marshals to ensure it was a safe riding environment. We've received numerous responses from town residents about their concerns with a lack of traffic control. Bike riders blocked roadways in construction zones and were not stopping at (stop) lights and stop signs."

Harrington said the problems reflect poorly on local cyclists who do not appreciate a negative image for their favorite activity and on other cycle tours (such as Ride the Rockies, which has been through the area twice) whose organizers "come in at least a year ahead, contact everyone and make sure plans are in place that will work."

According to Harrington, "an important thing is that, as a community with a tourism economy, we rely on special events to boost that economy. When an event doesn't go well, it makes a difference for other events."

Volger said tour organizers did not respond to a request he made in a letter dated March 15 in which he asked for clarification of event plans. He said he attended one meeting in Durango held in conjunction with the Colorado State Patrol and said a list of concerns he had was largely ignored.

"I got the impression," said Volger, "they (tour organizers) didn't want to talk to anyone. I had some concerns, but they seemed to think they had everything taken care of. The only things they were worried about were left turns. They said they would have a traffic monitor at the intersection of South 8th Street and U.S. 160 to direct bikers to the high school. There was no monitor there early." Harrington noted the absence of monitors at U.S. 160 and Hot Springs Boulevard as well as at the intersection of Hot Springs Boulevard and Apache Street.

Volger said organizers did not contact his department when the tour was in town. "I asked them at the Durango meeting to contact us and let us know how to get emergency messages to tour participants," said the chief. "No one got in touch."

The condition of the Pagosa Springs High School property following the departure of the cyclists provided even more evidence the tour had been in town.

According to Charles, the school district agreed to allow tour participants to use select parts of the high school property "because it was a charitable event and because the organizer told me there would be only 400 to 500 people at the high school. We made reasonable requests and agreed there would be camping allowed on the soccer field only and that people could sleep in the commons area of the building. The organizers paid us a $250 use fee, a $250 deposit, plus $50 to use the kitchen for each of three meals. They paid one custodian for 12 of the hours they were here and paid another employee for 24 hours in conjunction with the meals."

One of the more significant promises made by the tour organizer, said Charles, was that "they would have a large clean-up crew. They said they would leave the facility clean."

Charles reported the number of tour participants at the site was far greater than organizers promised and said it took six district custodians five hours to clean the interior of the school. A separate crew cleaned trash from the dugouts at the nearby baseball field.

"They didn't put away the tables (in the commons area) or clean up mud in the building," said Charles. "We asked them not to go into the gym and we asked that no one wearing cleats be allowed in the building. When I went down to the building, people were in the gym and people wearing cleats were walking through the building. We asked that tents be pitched on the soccer field and we found tents on the newly-sodded areas next to the building. People had entered the wrestling room when we had asked that it remain closed."

Charles said tour organizers "did not contact us when they arrived in town. I left a message asking them to contact me and they didn't. If they had been in touch us, we could have discussed arrangements other than the ones we originally made with them, but I couldn't locate a contact person. While we understand there would be mud tracked into the building with the conditions at the site, we are very disappointed with the lack of clean up. The first logical thing for us to ask was if the school would be cleaned. They left us with the impression that it would be done."

Asked how the performance of the tour organizers would affect future requests for use of the facility, Charles said: "I'm a year smarter now. We like to do these things if people are responsible, but not with the way these people did it, at the expense of the schools."

Powell responded Wednesday by phone to questions about the experience in Pagosa Springs.

According to Powell, Volger's assertions that there was a lack of communication and that his concerns fell on deaf ears are not true. Powell said concern was voiced by the police that an alternate route to the high school be established due to construction on South 8th Street and it was satisfied when he personally rerouted cyclists to Hot Springs Boulevard.

Harrington's comments about a lack of marshals at major intersections were dismissed by Powell. He said the intersection at U.S. 160 and Hot Springs Boulevard is "a controlled intersection" with a stop light and said he saw no problems with traffic caused by tour participants. "I didn't see any overwhelming traffic problems, and I was out there all the time" he said. "Putting people at intersections doesn't seem to help."

The complaint by Charles that there was little contact between the school district and tour organizers was dismissed as false by Powell. "I was in his office with him for 30 minutes," said Powell. "I introduced myself, shook his hand and thanked him for letting us use the gymnasium."

Regarding the promised clean up of the school property, Powell said the tour "hired a custodian" and it was expected the work would be done by the custodian. He said he was unaware that cyclists had entered the wrestling room and suggested there would have been no tents on newly-sodded lawns if the district had roped off those areas.

"We tried to coach people and we let the town know beforehand that we were coming in," said Powell. "A lot of circumstances could have been different . . . (town and school officials) probably had complaints, and it's easy to throw it back on the tour. Each town we come into prospers by $120,000 to $150,000 in revenue. You need to weigh that. We thought Pagosa was a pretty good stop; obviously you didn't. I'd like to see us come back to Pagosa. As a town, you'll have to weigh that out."


Elected public officials should serve public

Editor's note: Having personally reported on the regular public meetings of the county commissioners, hospital district, school board and town board for many years, I know the frustration a reporter experiences when elected officials conduct public business in private. The following comments are John Motter's analysis on what I consider to be some elected officials' failure to comply with Colorado's open meeting laws.

By John M. Motter

Everyone is familiar with the ringing of church bells. Even though church doors have swung open each Sunday for the last 2,000 years, many churches still ring the bells each Sunday morning. The sound of the chimes serves as a friendly reminder that church services are still being held. The privilege of attending or not attending the church of our choice is among the most cherished of American freedoms.

In a parallel vein, almost everyone is familiar with another of those cherished freedoms, the open meetings and open records laws. And, like the church bells, it is periodically incumbent upon the citizenry to remind their elected servants that public business should be conducted through "open doors." Anything less is reversion to the tyranny and despotism millions of Americans have rejected, even sacrificing their lives in the effort.

Because they are present at most meetings, the mantle of "sounding the alarm" is often draped across the shoulders of representatives of the press. It should be clear to all citizens that the press has no special privileges relevant to open meetings or freedom of information. When the press is denied access to a meeting or to information, every citizen is effectively denied that same access. Consequently, any increase of closed meetings or of locked information files is a loss for all citizens of a free and open society.

Locally, several violations of open meetings laws have occurred recently. It is difficult to ascertain if the violations occurred because of ignorance, laziness or because of an unwillingness to conduct public business under public scrutiny. The cause doesn't matter. There are no excuses for such violations.

At a recent meeting of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board of directors, several votes and actions were taken on items not listed on the agenda. Members of the board should be reminded that such actions are illegal. Persons who oppose those actions, or who simply oppose any illegal actions by any board, may find cause to bring suit, have the actions negated and in some instances obtain criminal sanctions against the offending board.

The Archuleta County commissioners recently conducted an executive session, with two items listed on the agenda. Item A concerned "contract negotiations with Fred Schmidt regarding Eightmile Mesa Road." Item B involved "Review of requests for proposal regarding space needs assessment."

I asked county attorney Larry Holthus why either item should be conducted in executive session, an environment hidden from the public. Holthus replied that "we are negotiating with Schmidt," and "we want to feel free to say things to Schmidt we wouldn't want to say in public."

I am convinced both justifications, even if legal, are a real stretch of the intent of the open meetings act. The commissioners have been meeting and negotiating with Schmidt for years concerning Eightmile Mesa Road. They have contracts with him and a law suit pending to ensure he complies with the contracts. What is left to negotiate? What remains to be done that must be hidden from the public?

Concerning the space needs assessment, I sat in a public meeting as each of the bidders presented an explanation of his bid, including price. Following the meeting, I wrote a news story on the presentations, including estimated costs. What negotiations remained that should be hidden from the public? The reason public bodies are allowed to hold secret negotiation meetings is to prevent bidders from learning each other's prices and running their bids up or down. How could that apply in this instance?

On a related subject, the commissioners regularly vote on items obscurely listed on the agenda as "county manager's report," "unfinished business" or "other business."

True, the county manager lists many items under his portion of the agenda. It is also true, if business comes in after the agenda is posted and the county manager feels that business needs action, the commissioners often vote on that item even though it is not on the agenda.

I submit that no citizen, even with a copy of the agenda which is posted according to law at least 24 hours prior to the meeting, could reasonably anticipate a commissioner action taken under such a non-descriptive heading. If such actions do not violate the letter of the law, they certainly violate the moral intent of the law.

It would serve no purpose to repeat all of the provisions of the open meetings law here, even if we had space. Still, repeating a few of the provisions of that law seems to be in order.

As a legislative policy, the law avers: "It is declared to be a matter of statewide concern and the policy of this state that the formation of public policy is public business and may not be conducted in secret."

In general, all bodies formed by the public or appointed by public bodies are subject to open meetings laws. A meeting is any kind of gathering convened to discuss public business, in person, by telephone, electronically or by other means of communication.

Closed, also known as executive, meetings are allowed only during a regular or special meeting and must be preceded by a notice and an agenda. The topic for executive session must be announced to the public. Executive sessions are allowed only to consider security matters, property matters, to receive legal advice from an attorney or certain personnel matters. The law does not require meeting in executive session simply because the subject matter fits one of the four stated categories. Judgment is required and that brings us to a conclusion.

That judgment should always lean in the direction of holding meetings and discussions open to the public. Any public body which creates the impression that it is hiding from the public is in big trouble. In the long run, public business cannot be conducted without public approval. Local public bodies that give the impression they are hiding from the public create public suspicion and lose public approval. They should take great care not to create such an impression. Listen to the bell.


Sales tax at record pace

By John M. Motter

With one-half of 1999 accounted for, sales tax receipts continue to fatten county and town coffers at a record pace.

Sales tax receipts for one calendar year set a new record last year when the total reached $3,719,235. By the end of June last year, receipts of $1,570,625 had been recorded. By the end of June this year, $1,787,765 had been recorded, a pace that is 13.83 percent ahead of last year's record setting pace.

Collections for June of this year amounted to $313,150, or 16.96 percent ahead of the $267,751 collected during June of 1998.

If 1999 is like 1998, the months for collecting the largest amount from sales tax levies still remain. Last year, October, with $450,990 in sales tax collections, was the leading month. Following October, the next best months in order were July with $393,335, January with $372,755, and September with $349,915.

The sales tax rate in Archuleta County is 7 percent, both inside and outside the town of Pagosa Springs. That amounts to seven cents on each dollar of taxable sales. Colorado's Department of Revenue retains 3 percent of the levy, the remaining 4 percent is divided equally between the town and the county.

For July of this year, the county received $156,575 and the town the same amount. The county's portion is apportioned among the general fund, road and bridge fund, and road improvement fund. For July, the general fund received $62,630, the road and bridge fund $15,660, and the road improvement fund $78,290.

So far this year, county sales tax receipts have totaled $893,885. Of that amount, $357,555 has gone to the general fund, $89,390 to the road and bridge fund, and $446,940 to the road improvement fund.

Pagosa Springs allots its entire sales tax income, $893,885 thus far in 1999, for capital improvement projects.



An association at risk

This time last week I had the misconception that the passage of a year could make a difference. I was wrong. A year has passed and folks are still creating full-page "Chicken Little" advertisements to warn their neighbors the sky is falling.

Twelve months ago a supposed "brand new day in the PLPOA" became a reality. The three "status quo" candidates in fact did "go" once the votes were tallied at the annual election. But as predicted in a maligned pre-election editorial, other than names, not much changed in the tumultuous and expensive operation of the property owners group.

The PLPOA continues to waste money by providing 24-hour emergency medical responses that the tax-supported San Juan Hospital District provides at a much higher level of competence and experience. The same is true with fire protection which the tax-supported Pagosa Fire Protection District provides the area. Thanks to the sheriff's department decision to grant them limited authority as level-3 deputies, the association's over paid and over-equipped safety office is authorized to issue traffic citations within the subdivisions included in the association.

Now the directors are wanting to spend $144,000 of the property owners money over the next 12 months in order to hire a management firm to carry on the responsibilities of the general manager, accounts manager, administrative assistant, accounting clerk and administrative aide whose resignations become effective tomorrow.

Upon learning of the five resignations, I had to ask myself, who thought up the titles for all these positions? Does each of them have their own desk, computer, calculator, phone, medical and dental coverage, paid vacation and other benefits?

It must be an eight-hour job for the top administrator to manage all the managers, assistants, clerks and aides that fill the lower links on the chain of command in the administration office. But with all the assistants, clerks and aides it must be a doable task.

I also found myself wondering about how many similar positions exist in the association's public safety office. Does the top person have a secretary? And does the secretary have an aide or a clerk?

Are two managers, an assistant, a clerk and an aide really needed to operate a property owners association? Surely there is an effective, affordable software program on the market that is capable of handling the management needs of a property owners association.

This year's annual meeting is an opportune time to seriously consider a new course of action that would best protect and enhance property values in the subdivisions. Rather than being concerned about the survival of an expensive bureaucratic structure, it's time to decide what facets - such as road maintenance, recreational amenities, fisheries - are of the most concern to the overall membership of the association.

Rather than being concerned about the survival of the PLPOA, it's the ideal time to implement a cost-effective down sizing of the association's expensive administrative chain of command and costly staff structure. Otherwise the eventual new bureaucracy will continue to do all it can to justify its existence, expand its size and increase its salaries and benefits and spend someone else's money.

And there will always be another director who is willing to help micro-manage the operation.

David C. Mitchell

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Tuning thy neighbor's piano

Dear Folks,

Nothing enhances my appreciation of Pagosa Springs more than hosting out-of-town visitors.

Since Tuesday of last week I've tried to juggle my responsibilities as editor and as a host.

My sister, Kathryn, and her husband, John Lye, are visiting from St. Catharines, Canada. I hope they are enjoying themselves as much as I enjoy having them visit.

Saturday morning we rode our mountain bikes up to Plumtaw Road as far as Cottonwood Creek just so we could turn around and enjoy the ride home.

Sunday afternoon we hiked the Continental Divide Trail from the Wolf Creek Pass crest up to the top of Alberta Peak. Every time my breathing started sounding like a steam locamotive, my sister discreetly stopped to identify the wild flowers or examine the interesting rocks.

Monday afternoon we parked at the Fourmile Road trailhead and hiked to Fourmile Falls. As the hike moved further uphill I realized that though my breathing resembled the huffing and puffing of an engine, I was trailing behind like a caboose.

Being able to spend some protracted time enjoying the nearby national forests raised some questions about the "San Juan Citizens Alliance." That's the group that is "organizing for the people and land of the San Juan Basin." Earlier this month I received a fax from the SJCA regarding a "citizen rally to oppose exclusive resort development in the East Fork Valley." The fax claims that the "Piano Creek Ranch" being proposed for development on Dan McCarthy's property will be "constructed in one of the last unspoiled valleys in the San Juans."

Monday, an article on Piano Creek in The Denver Post repeated SJCA's concern about one of the last unspoiled valleys in the San Juans and reported on the proponent's desire "to develop a ranch in the wilds of Colorado." Give me a break.

If anything, Dan McCarthy's privately-owned East Fork Ranch is far from being a wild, unspoiled valley. It's bounded on one side by a highly-used Forest Service road. It's about 3 miles from some public campgrounds and 5 miles from a heavily-traveled, paved U.S. highway.

It's a contradiction of terms to drive to or through an unspoiled valley or wild area. Folks who are willing to invest the sweat and accept the soreness can hike into such areas, but they are not reached by maintained roads.

I talked with the county manager in Mineral County about the east Fork Ranch earlier this month. He said that other than an informal meeting between the Piano Creek proponents and the county commissioners, nothing in the way of preliminary plans have been prepared or submitted.

If the Friends of the East Fork Valley want to be the self-appointed protector of private lands in this area, they are a little late. They should have been here in the early 1970s and saved the former John Stevens Ranch from becoming today's Fairfield Pagosa.

If in fact there are a sufficient number of folks who are willing to spend $500,000 on an eight-week time share, the Mineral County commissioners won't hesitate one second on approving a feasible planned unit development for the East Fork Ranch, and accepting the subsequent property tax revenues.

I can hope for the best. I don't own the land. Even if it was for sale, I couldn't afford to buy it. And despite owning a word processor, laser printer and fax machine, I'm not going to try to save Dan McCarthy's or anyone else's private land.

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

25 years ago

Schutz sinks first hole in one

Taken from SUN files of Aug. 1, 1974

Harold Schutz, chairman of the county commissioners and a Chromo rancher, is the first golfer to make a hole in one at the Pagosa Golf Club. On July 1, Schutz using a pitching wedge at hole No. 3, hit his tee shot 130 yards for the hole in one. Bud McGonagill, club pro, said that this is the first hole in one made at the club.

Officials at Eaton International Corporation, developer of Pagosa in Colorado, announced today that the results of additional studies by retail merchandising experts have convinced them to delay construction of the Pagosa Village Center, just off U.S. 160 west of town, while changes to the site plan are made by the developer. When completed the Village Center will house a variety of retail shops and offices to serve the residents of the 26,000-acre resort community.

The local school board, superintendent and former high school principal are the defendants in a recently filed suit by the former secretary to the high school principal. The suit seeks $9,800 in damages in a civil action. The plaintiff alleges that because of the dismissal she has since been unable to obtain a job.

An uninhabited house in the southwest corner of town was destroyed by fire last Saturday night. The structure had walls of railroad ties and burned for several hours. Volunteer firemen tore down the walls and let the debris burn.

By Shari Pierce

Memories of days gone by

On Tuesday, July 20, I visited Mrs. Frances Rock Coffee and her daughter, Ilah. Mrs. Coffee grew up in and around Pagosa Springs and shared some of her memories with me which I will, in turn, pass on again this week.

Mrs. Coffee told me that she learned how to play the piano when she was about 8 years old. She learned from a Mrs. Green in Dulce, N.M. Mrs. Green was the only lady in Dulce who knew how to play, and she was deaf. One of her favorite memories was playing the organ in the Methodist Church. She was too small to reach the pedals on the pump organ, so her teacher would pump the organ and Frances would play.

She also played for the school and the town orchestras. Later Frances played three years for the silent movies at the local theater. When the "talkies" came, she collected tickets for the movies.

Little Frances attended school in Dulce where her grandfather was employed by E.M. Biggs. Biggs operated a lumber mill. By seventh grade, the Rocks had returned to Pagosa Springs to live. Frances attended the school on the hill at the corner of U.S. 160 and Fifth Street. It was while she was in seventh grade that the school burned. Afterwards Frances found herself attending a makeshift school at the Baptist Church while a new school was constructed.

During high school, she worked for Mrs. Pim at the telephone switchboard. She would go to work in the afternoons after school and this allowed Mrs. Pim to have some relief from operating the switchboard.

Frances Rock graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in May of 1931, one of a class of 11. In August of that same year, she married Oran Coffee. The young couple moved to Amarillo, Texas, where they raised a family of four daughters.

Oran Coffee was a veteran of World War I. Mrs. Coffee wrote to me in 1994 about her husband, "He drove a truck in the Area Squadron, 15 planes. When he enlisted, he was in the Cavalry, sent to Columbus, N. Mex. He was there when Pancho Villa attacked the town. (Gen. John J.) Pershing was his commander. But no horses were sent, just trucks (solid rubber tires and carbide lights).

Years later, "Oran worked at Pantex, Amarillo, where part of the atomic bomb was assembled. He was a fireman and thus on the safety squad. They loaded bombs there also."

In closing, I would like to thank Mrs. Coffee and her daughter for taking time to visit with me and share their memories of days gone by. I hope they'll be able to return to Pagosa for another visit soon.


Community News
Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

A lot going on at Pioneer Museum

A lot is going on at the San Juan Historical Society and Pioneer Museum.

Thanks to the Rotary Club for the good-looking sign out front. On the inside there is a large case for changing displays. The local Boy Scouts did one in June. The July display features the Colorado Mounted Rangers Troop F, and the August display will possibly be one of glass work done by local talent. The hours at the Museum are 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and an occasional Saturday. Volunteers are needed.

The plans for the Pioneer Museum are to repair and stabilize the water holding tanks. The next phase will be to construct a roof over the tanks and to move the original Fort Lewis officers' cabin now housed at the Hott Ranch on Four Mile Road to the museum to be placed in a tank.

The waterworks structure was built in 1938 to serve Pagosa Springs. Donations are needed for this restoration project. Any donation is welcomed, regardless of how small, but there is a donation system that could help in a mighty big way. One can make a onetime donation of $500 (or pay $25 a month for 3 years) and become a member of the Headgate Club; or make a donation of $1,000 (or $30 a month for 3 years) and become a member of the Pipeline Club; or make a $5,000 donation and be a member of the Reservoir Club; or give $10,000 and be a member of the Waterwheel Club.

The San Juan Historical Society is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (c) (3) corporation. The address is San Juan Historical Society, P.O. Box 1711, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Also, the Pioneer Museum will soon have available another volume of "Remembrances" (a series of local histories) that has stories about logging, ranching, and businesses in this area. Pre-publication cost is $20. Post-publication cost is $25. Copies of Vol. I, II and III are available at the museum. To place an order call the museum at 264-4424.

Trail work

The Pagosa Springs Trails Council, an amalgamation of local area trail user groups, worked on the Monument Park Trail this past weekend. The trail connects the Turkey Springs area with the First Fork Road, located along the Piedra River west of Chimney Rock. The trail was cleared of fallen trees, and drainage ditches were installed to help control erosion. This trail is important because it's a part of a future hut and trail system, but, as of now, it is not open for motorized use.

Fun on the run

If you don't understand this tale then ask a golfer.

A man was about to tee off when he felt a tap on his shoulder and a man handed him a card that read, "I am a deaf mute. May I play through, please? "

The first man angrily gave the card back, and communicated that "no, he may not play through, and that his handicap did not give him such a right." The first man whacked the ball onto the green and left to finish the hole.

Just as he was about to putt the ball into the hole he was hit in the head with a golf ball, knocking him out cold. When he came to a few minutes later, he looked around and saw the deaf mute sternly looking at him, one hand on his hip, the other holding up four fingers.

Chamber News
By Sally Hameister

Pagosa keeps showing up in the news

We're delighted to welcome two new members this week and as an aside, to welcome the sun back to Pagosa. I'm sure you will agree that we experienced a most unusual couple of weeks weather-wise. In my eight-year tenure here, I don't remember that many consecutive rainy days, but I confess that I am thoroughly enjoying the lush green landscapes that result from such excessive moisture.

We first welcome Bill Goddard and Connie Bunte who bring us The Choke Cherry Tree located at 1501 West U.S. 160, Unit 1. You can't miss these folks as you head west from town on Put Hill with their white tent and fresh offerings. They specialize in homemade products produced locally to include jams, jellies, syrups, toppings and fruit butters. Delicious fresh vegetables and fruits are always available in season. You are invited to create your own gift basket with the many selections available. If you would like to talk to these folks, just call 264-6846.

Welcome to Charlotte and David Overley on their recent associate membership. Charlotte just took the big dive into the Chamber and has become one of our valued Diplomats as well as an Associate Member. We thank you.

Relay for Life

Our congratulations and great respect go out to all those dedicated folks who braved the soggy conditions that prevailed throughout the night to walk in the Relay for Life. It takes a lot of pluck to stick to a task that requires walking through the rain at all hours of the night and morning, but these folks clearly had what it takes to complete a mission. My hat is off to each and every one of you involved in the Relay for Life with the ultimate goal of defeating cancer. Thank you all for you dedication and tenacity.


This seems to be our year for being in the news. I don't think anyone missed our mention on nationwide television with the "Good Morning, America" show a few months back and the beat goes on. I have in front of me four or five articles that appeared in newspapers in Indiana, Arkansas, California and Washington, D.C. Pagosa Springs is mentioned in regard to everything ranging from our great ski season last year, to retirement location, to Y2K readiness, to a fitness forum in Arkansas at which Ming Steen spoke.

We can now add to that list an extremely complimentary article that appeared in the June/July edition of "SW Aviator" written by Greg Gibson. Gibson acknowledges that, "Though marquee resort towns like Aspen, Vail and Telluride are more likely to be covered in mainstream travel publications, Pagosa Springs is as worthy a destination as any other in the state." His article is a Chamber of Commerce dream come true because he addresses just about all of the area attractions that we would normally spend thousands of dollars extolling in all the various mediums. He addresses the glories of Wolf Creek Ski Area for both skiers and boarders, our 27-hole golf course, the San Juan National Forest, abundant fishing, hiking, biking, camping, bird-watching, hunting opportunities, local museums and of course, the hot springs. I share this with you just so you will know that our secret is out. There are those of you who jokingly (and sometimes, not so jokingly) accuse me of doing my job too well in getting the word out about Pagosa Springs so, in my defense, I had nothing to do with the aforementioned publicity although I must admit that I celebrate the advertising dollars saved when someone else writes about us. As I understand it, it is my job to encourage folks to come to Pagosa as a vacation destination. I just can't be held responsible when they subsequently fall in love and decide to move here. We have the excellent good fortune to have found this divine place and it only makes sense that others will follow suit.

Sponsorship deadline

Liz Marchand would like to encourage everyone to sign and submit those Balloon Rally sponsorship checks to her before the absolute deadline of Aug. 4. I assure you that this year's Balloon Rally is going to be nothing short of spectacular and you will want your (business) name on one of the 46 balloons ascending on two mornings. Honestly, kids, this is going to be some kinda wonderful this year with a record number of balloons participating and all the peripheral activities taking place over one of the most exciting weekends of the year. We have already received the Colorfest/Balloon Rally shirts that you will want for your own and the wine glasses are on the way. Just so you know, this year's wine and cheese event will be named, "Black, White and Red All Over." You'll recall that the last two years have been "An Evening in Black and White" and "An Evening in Black and White: The Sequel." This year you simply have to add a touch of red to your black and white ensemble and you're set to come and enjoy the fabulous wines and cheeses we'll have for your tasting pleasure. We will have the community picnic and concert in Town Park and a concert for your listening pleasure and a balloon glow at dusk for your visual pleasure. All in all, you won't want to miss a minute of this weekend. It's one of our very best. Get those sponsorship checks off to Liz right away or give her a call at 731-5190.

Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

Gray Wolf Ski Club staying busy hiking

PLPOA board of directors will hold a special meeting today at 2 p.m. in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse to discuss the proposed contract with Colorado Management, a private management firm, and to explore other options that may be available. Property owners are invited to attend.

Gray Wolf Ski Club members are enjoying a busy summer of hiking (for some) and golfing (for others). Hikes for the rest of the season are: Opel Lake via V-Rock Trail, Aug. 10; Turkey Creek Falls, Aug. 17; Table Mountain, Aug. 24; Little Blanco Trail, Aug. 31; Alberta Peak, Sept. 7; Leche Creek Trail, Sept. 14; Bonita Pass-Silver Mountain, Sept. 21; Chama Basin (to see the fall colors) Sept. 28. The last hike for this season is Sept. 28. Weather and trail conditions can change, so hike coordinators Bob Tillerson and Jerry Sager can never know for sure until just before each hike itself. To join the fun, meet the hiking group at the west end of the Country Center City Market parking lot by 8:30 a.m. every Tuesday. That's when plans for that day's hike are confirmed and car pooling arrangements are made. Meanwhile, the Gray Wolf Ski Club is looking for a leader for those hikers wishing to ambulate at a more leisurely pace to smell the wild flowers. If you would like to fill that position or have questions regarding the Tuesday hikes, please contact Bob 731-5160, or Jerry 731-2302.

San Juan Outdoor Club will hold its August meeting on Thursday, Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Parish Hall. The program for that evening will be Ron from Switchback Mountain Gear and Apparel who will give a rundown on what's new in the world of sports relative to equipment.

Pagosa Peak, in my opinion, is a must-climb for all able-bodied people. The hike is not especially strenuous if you take it slowly. Views from the top are breathtaking. If you haven't done this hike yet, I recommend going up with someone familiar with the route. The San Juan Outdoor Club through Dan Aupperle is coordinating a hike up to Pagosa Peak on Sunday, Aug. 8. Plan on meeting at 7:30 a.m. at Norwest Bank parking area to drive to the trailhead. Please call Dan at 731-2162 if you plan to join the hike. Adequate drinking water, a nutritious lunch and rain gear are necessary. If you want to brag about the trip to friends and relatives, throw in the camera.

Andy Rice, veteran staff member at the Recreation Center, reports from Carlsbad, Calif.: "Coaching went really well. . . the paper picked us to finish next to last in our league, yet we ended up third. My hope is I can bring the knowledge I gained back now that about 20 to 25 high schools in Colorado are sponsoring boy's volleyball." Andy left Pagosa Springs in February to take a coaching position with the San Marcos High boy's volleyball team. In his spare time, he had both knees operated on and hopes to be back snowboarding at Wolf Creek Ski Area this winter.

Senior News
By Dennis Martinez

Seniors' Scrabble board awaits Thelma's return

Due to illness, for the past two weeks Mrs. Thelma Risinger has been unable to write her "Senior Citizens News" column which is a very important means for informing our local senior citizens and their families of the Senior Citizens Center's important services to the community.

We're all praying for your speedy recovery Thelma, hurry back soon. The Scrabble board is getting cold.

The senior citizens second "Picnic in the Park" of the summer was scheduled for July 16, due to bad weather and unsafe conditions it was held at the El Centro dining room. Sixty-seven locals and many visitors were served faithfully by our wonderful kitchen staff.

United Way did a filmed documentary that day on the life of Myrtle Hopper and how the services of the Senior Center give her independence and make her lifestyle possible in the atmosphere where she lives.

They filmed many smiling faces with our heaven-sent volunteers working harder than expected. Our new director, Cindy Archuleta, was interviewed about her position and responsibilities.

Catching up on some old news, the Senior of the Week for the week of July 12 was Lena Bowden. Glen Vanderweele was Senior of the Week for July 19.

As for new news, Bev Evans is Senior of the Week for this week, July 26.

Everyone who celebrates their birthday in July should sit at our birthday table on Friday, July 30. If you were born in July be sure and be there.

Our local county transit system has informed us that the route will soon service the Senior Center, San Juan Basin Health and Head Start.

Many, many thanks go out to our ever so special volunteers, Jerry and Joann Sager, June Nelson, Mae Boughman, Teresa Diestlekamp, Wanda Aeschliman, Jo Rose, Lena Bowden, Johnny Martinez, George Ziegler and our favorite pianist, Dorothy O'Hara and Teddy Cope for donating a new piano and Kendall McAllister for the flower baskets he donated from Ace Hardware.

Next month's activities calendar is available at the Senior Center located at 475 Zuni and South 8th streets where we serve our wonderful lunches Monday, Wednesday and Friday at noon. For more information call 264-2167. For senior information updated weekly, call 264-NEWS (6397) ext. 261 for activities menu or 262 for lunch menu.

Bye for now.

Library News
by Lenore Bright

276 children read 2,700 books in 6-week period

We're proud

We continue to watch with pride as our library users grow up, excel in college and go on to lead productive lives. We were especially pleased to find Tracy Allen, hired as the county's new Financial Officer. Tracy used to be one of our best customers years ago. She went off on adventures to Alaska, and is now back home. Congratulations to the county for picking Tracy for the job.

It's over

Another summer reading program is all wrapped up. Mary's friend Trish, who is a professional dancer, helped put on a lively show for story time. Everyone got to dance and sing, and a grand time was had by all.

The crocodiles are on display at the library along with some of the Haiku poetry and collages made by these wonderful young artists. We are quite impressed with this year's talent crop.

There were 276 children signed up for the program this summer - 67 girls and 44 boys - and 111 actually finished their contracts. They read 2,700 books in the six-week period. Fewer books were read this year, but more "hands-on" activities were enjoyed. The number of books read is still impressive, and we feel good about the participation. Since we've used contracts specifying reading books at the proper grade level, the actual reading has been more realistic.

Hats off to the boys and girls who read this summer.

We will continue story time on Fridays at 11 a.m., until Aug. 27. We will list all of the final winners next week after the party.

Rare books

Quite often we're asked about book dealers that might buy your old books, or at least tell you if they are valuable. Here is your chance. On July 30 and 31, the Rocky Mountain Antiquarian Booksellers Association will hold a book fair in Denver at the Merchandise Mart. There will be book signings, a mystery writers panel, and information about book collecting on the Internet. Over 100 select dealers from across the nation will be in attendance. Pick up a copy of the flyer at the desk. They also sent a list of regional bookstores that deal in rare books. You may have a copy of this brochure too.


Financial help came from James and Barbara Corboy, Sid and Phyllis Martin in memory of Leda Hubert, Paul and Mary Alice Behrents in memory of Leda Hubert and Mary Daltroff's granddaughter Natalie. Betty and Bill Gibbons also donated in memory of Mary's granddaughter.

Materials came from Jean Sparks, Medora Bass, Donald Mowen, Rosemary and Don Horstman, Evelyn Kantas, Scotty Gibson, Penny Follett, Mary Hannah, Joan Seielstad, Tom Schoemig, Julie Gates, Carol Muratides, Jane Slaughter, Windsor Chacey, Pat Jackson, Richard Miller and Jeanne Simpson.


"Pop N. Fresh Dies. Veteran Pillsbury spokes-model Pop N. Fresh died yesterday of a severe yeast infection. He was 71. Fresh was buried in one of the largest funeral ceremonies in recent years. Dozens of celebrities turned out including Mrs. Butterworth, the California Raisins, Hungry Jack, Betty Crocker, Chef Boyardee and the Hostess Twinkies.

The grave site was piled high with flours as longtime friend Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy, describing Fresh as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded.

Fresh rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with many turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Still, even as a crusty old man, he was a roll model for millions. Fresh is survived by his second wife. They have two children and another in the oven. The funeral was held at 3:50 for approximately 20 minutes."

(This is courtesy of Librarian James LaRue, Douglas County Public Library.)

Have a good week, I'm still playing with my children.


Arts Line
By Jan Brookshier

Brooks, Holt featured at gallery

Now showing at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park, "Gifts From the Mother," a two-person exhibit featuring handwoven items of all natural materials, created by Donna Brooks. Also featured are the landscape paintings of area newcomer Tom Holt.

From the moment you examine one of the many pieces, whether it be a deer skin pouch, an elk skin rattle garnished with a lovely pheasant feather, or my personal favorite - intricately woven pine needle baskets - you soon realize the amount of time, patience and creativity Donna has emitted into each thoughtful work.

Tom Holt is an experienced painter of landscape, having lived in the New Mexico wilderness for many years. This venture allowed Tom the opportunity to draw on the beautiful and sacred land surrounding him.

You may feast your eyes on Tom and Donna's exhibit right here through Aug. 4.

Art of the Hopi

An upcoming exhibit celebrating the art of the Hopi reservation will open on Aug. 5, at the PSAC gallery. Eight to 10 artisans from the Hopi reservation in Second Mesa, Ariz., will participate in a two-week show featuring traditional artwork including jewelry, baskets, kachinas, paintings and drawings.

Please join us for the reception of this truly cultural festivity on Aug. 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. Refreshments will be provided. "Art of the Hopi" will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, until Aug. 18.

Studio tour

Mark your calendars for one of August's biggest events. The first-ever PSAC artists studio tour will take place on Aug. 14. The artists participating in this terrific fundraiser for the Arts Council are as follows: Deborah Robinson, Roberto and Ana Garcia, Cappy and Monica White, Emily Tholberg, Linda Lerno, Kent Gordon, Virginia Bartlett, Soledad Estrada-Leo, Betty Slade, Joe Leal, Kathleen Wolfe, and John and Sandy Applegate.

"This sounds great," you say. "How do I get tickets for such an inspiring journey?" Here's the scoop: Tickets may be purchased beginning Aug. 1, for $8 in advance and $10 on the day of the tour. They will be sold at the PSAC gallery in Town Park, at the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center and at the library.

With your ticket, you will receive an exclusive map of the artists' studio locations, allowing you to choose who you would like to see and when, keeping in mind the tour begins at 10 a.m. and wraps up at 5 p.m. Don't miss this rare opportunity to see some of Pagosa Springs' greatest artists in their working environments. For the next few weeks, we will be featuring three to four different artists involved, so you can learn a bit about each of them and their creations.

First, there is Deborah Robinson. Her work is produced using watercolor techniques. She specializes in portraits, of children in particular. As a Christian artist, Deborah feels that by working from photographs and slides she is able to capture the spirit of the individual.

Next up is Roberto and Ana Garcia. This sculpting duo is quite unique in the respect that they have their own foundry (an establishment in which metals are cast and molded). Ana chooses to work in smaller, tabletop sculptures, while Roberto takes on colossal life size statues. All of their work is done using bronze.

Emily Tholberg is also one of the many artists. She specializes in mosaic work of various mediums. Emily creates masterpieces made of granite, marble, tile, stained glass, as well as recycled goods and broken dishes. Some of her work includes table tops, counter tops and backsplashes in kitchens and bathrooms.

Stay tuned for the exciting continuation of profiles of all the artists involved in the PSAC studio tour.


Video Review
By Roy Starling

West pretty wild in 'Stagecoach'

Well, the new "Wild, Wild West" is finally here, playing at a theater near you, and I'm sure it's very good, stretching the fine art of film making to new heights. Sadly, my lack of interest prevents me from checking it out.

Instead, I'd like to reflect on a poor little Western that was handicapped by a lack of computer-generated special effects. I'm talking about "Stagecoach," made back in 1939, the same year as "Gone With the Wind" and "Wizard of Oz." It was directed by John Ford, considered by film scholars as one of the old American masters of cinematic art.

With little technical wizardry at his disposal, Pappy (as Ford was called by his cast and crew) had to settle for making a movie based on a well written story and focusing on interesting, well developed characters. What a concept!

In "Stagecoach," Ford deftly contrasts the expansive nature of the Western landscape (the film was shot on location at nearby Monument Valley) with the claustrophobia of close quarters. In his exterior shots, you can see forever, around and beyond the massive 1,000-foot buttes on the Valley's floor.

Once inside (in the stagecoach or in little outpost cabins), however, you have the film's major characters squeezed together, rubbing shoulders, knocking knees and smelling each other's breath. Seems like no matter how much room there is, folks have got to learn to live together.

Through his choice of characters, Ford assembles a kind of microcosm of Western society as it was depicted on the silver screen. There are outcasts and aristocrats, good guys and bad guys, rich and poor, outlaws and businessmen, brave and cowardly.

But because Ford was an artist and not just some hack trying to make big bucks through commercial tie-ins with fast-food companies, his characters aren't so easy to categorize. They go beyond their types and thus surprise us, making us doubt our ability to peg people at first peek.

The outcasts, for example, are Dr. Josiah Boone (Thomas Mitchell), an alcoholic physician; Dallas (Claire Trevor), a lady of the late afternoon and evening; and the Ringo Kid (John Wayne), an escaped convict. Doc and Dallas are on the stagecoach because they've been driven out of town by the nice ladies of Tonto's Law and Order League. Ringo is picked up early in the trip (he's had to euthanize his horse) and promptly arrested by Sheriff Curly Wilcox (George Bancroft).

Doc, for all of his drunkenness, is the wisest of the lot, and serves as a kind of father to the orphaned Dallas and Ringo. Mitchell, incidentally, won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Doc. Dallas turns out to be the typical tart with a heart, unselfishly caring for one of the other passengers who I'll mention later. Ringo is a good-natured, good-hearted, lovable, courageous kid whose only crime was avenging the death of his father and brother at the hands of the good-for-nothing Plummers.

The film's alleged respectable figures are a bank president, Henry Gatewood (Berton Churchill), whose wife is head of the Ladies' Law and Order League, and Lucy Mallory (Louise Platt), a Southern gentlewoman - in a delicate condition - in search of her husband in the cavalry. But Gatewood is a pompous, selfish windbag who has just robbed his own bank, and Miss Mallory is a cold-hearted snob - even though, to her credit, it took a lot of gumption for her to be out in the frontier in her condition.

Other passengers taking the long, dangerous, symbolic journey from Tonto (which means "foolish," as you probably know) to Lordsburg (the Lord's town?) are the above-mentioned Curly; the gentle but cowardly Peacock (Donald Meek), a whiskey salesman often mistaken for a preacher; Hatfield (John Carradine), a decadent Southern aristocrat prodigal son who boards the coach "for the lady's protection;" and Buck (Andy Devine), the coach's dim, squeaky-voiced driver.

What I've described so far conveys the film's real dramatic conflict, even though it doesn't sound much like a Western. How do these people from their various backgrounds and with their differing agendas survive the long journey through hostile territory in the wild, wild West? Will difficult circumstances prompt them to tear each other apart or to grow more tolerant, become more of a community, willing to work for each other's survival?

They don't get off to a very good start. An early scene succinctly captures the tension within the group, especially that rising out of the too close proximity of a lady and a prostitute. When the coach stops at an outpost for some vittles, there ensues a mealtime scene that is downright painful to watch.

Dallas sits a little too near Miss Mallory who is then quickly ushered away by the gallant Hatfield, making the lovely young pariah feel like something the cat drug in. Fortunately, the affable and naive Ringo is there to treat Dallas like an actual human being.

By the time the coach makes it to Lordsburg - ironically, a dark, sleazy, Western version of Sodom and Gomorrah - one member has perished, another has been seriously wounded, and a certain unrepentant white-collar criminal has been arrested. The rest have been molded into unselfish, brave, decent human beings. They've been joined by a fresh new soul, and the birth of Miss Mallory's baby may represent to English majors the rebirth of the other pilgrims.

Almost secondary to the growth of these intriguing characters are the typical Western plot devices: the terrorizing of the group by Geronimo and his posse, escaped from the reservation; and a final showdown between Ringo and the dirty rotten Plummer boys. So what normally drives a Western becomes only window dressing in Ford's masterpiece.

"Stagecoach" is a pivotal work in the history of American cinema. It is credited with raising the Western from silly "B" movies intended mainly for country boys to a respected art form and for making a legitimate star out of Wayne, who was 31 at the time.

Ford's classic will be watched, enjoyed, praised, imitated and written about long after "Wild, Wild West" has settled comfortably into the junk heap of pop culture.


By John M. Motter

Little known facts of Pagosa history

Some facts from Pagosa Country history should be filed under the heading of "Who Cares?" or "I'll bet you didn't know that." We have included a few of those facts in this week's column.

For starters, I'll bet few people know that John J. Pershing purchased three Pagosa Springs lots during 1888. Pershing is better known as General "Black Jack" Pershing, the leader of American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. For younger readers, Pershing was the WW I equivalent to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower of WW II fame.

- According to records in the Archuleta County courthouse, on June 1, 1888, the U.S. Land Office in Durango received from John J. Pershing of Fort Stanton, N.M ., $15 in full for lots 13, 14, and 15 of block 28, each containing 50 by 150 feet. Fort Stanton was the young lieutenant's first duty station after graduating from West Point.

On that same date, Mrs. Ida Hodgsen, also from Fort Stanton, purchased lots 16 and 17 of block 48 for $10. On June 20 of the same year, George L. Scott purchased lot 11 of block 57 for $4 and Thomas Cruise purchased lots 13 through 17 of block 59 for $4 each. Both men were from Fort Stanton.

The Pagosa Springs lots purchased by Pershing were apparently not sold during the 1885 government auction of Pagosa Springs town lots. The town site was surveyed in 1883 and the lots auctioned by the U.S. Land Office in 1885. A peculiarity of the plat and sale was that only measured lots were sold. Streets and lands between measured lots continued to belong to the federal government until years later.

The former Pershing lots are located on the southeast corner of the intersection of Pagosa and 3rd streets.

- The adobe building housing the Bear Creek Saloon on Lewis Street first opened to the public Sept. 1, 1900. It was built by Frank Buckles, of whom we know quite a bit, and a Mr. Schutz, of whom we know little. The first building was two-story, but considerably smaller than the current building and operated as a general store. A short while later, Mrs. Schutz began taking in boarders. Within a few years, in 1904 to be precise, Bryce Patterson of Georgia Colony and Silverton fame purchased and enlarged the building, and added geothermal bath facilities. Patterson changed the name to the Arlington Hotel. Buckles moved to Arizona, where he passed away. Of Schutz, we know nothing. Patterson's name was associated with the building for many years.

- Frank Frakes built the Pagosa and Northern Railroad's station house in Pagosa Springs, starting in October of 1900. Asa Poor was the first station manager. The first engine from that line, which connected Pagosa Springs with Pagosa Junction, rolled into town on a Saturday night, Oct. 9, 1900.

- During 1920, the unincorporated town of Edith, located in Archuleta County on the Navajo River about 25 miles south of Pagosa Springs, boasted of a hotel, company store, public hall (for the Knights of Pythias), post office, light plant, and a big lumber mill owned at the time by McPhee and McGinnity of Denver and E.M. Biggs. A company railroad ran from Lumberton, N.M., six miles to the south, and to logging camps north of Edith. A few years earlier, the railroad had reached within three miles of Pagosa Springs. By 1920, the easy timber in that corner of the county had been logged and small, scattered stands kept the mill's saws buzzing.

The lumber milling plant had a capacity of 80,000 feet per day and included a planing mill and box factory. E.M. Biggs managed the plant and Pagosa pioneer Welch Nossaman was assistant superintendent of the logging camps.

- During 1913, an estimated 105,000 head of sheep grazed on U.S. Forest Service land in Archuleta County. They represented an investment of approximately $500,000. These sheep produced an average of four pounds of wool per year per head for a total of 420,000 pounds. Because wool sold for 12 cents a pound, Archuleta County income from the sale of wool amounted to about $50,000. About 75,000 head of lambs and a few old ewes were sold at the end of summer for an average of $3.25 a head or a total of $250,000. The total revenue from sheep for the year was about $300,000.

The average flock of sheep ranged from 1,500 to 2,000. They begin to move up from the south in March or April and reached the lambing grounds during the latter part of April. The lambing season usually began about the 10th of May and lasted to the first of June. Following lambing season, the flocks were driven to the highest mountains until October. By October, the May lambs reached a weight of 75 pounds and were sold to eastern feed lots. The best lambs in 1913 brought an average price of $4.

Navajo ewes were often added to upgrade the herd, along with Rambouletta rams. During winter months, the sheep were driven by easy stages 50 to 100 miles south of the Colorado/New Mexico line where they were wintered.

Often a 100 percent crop in lambs were marketed, and when such is the case it represented a 75 percent profit less the cost of the year's running expenses, which ought not to exceed 50 percent of the gross income.

- One of my favorite old time Pagosa characters was Fil Byrne. His given name was Felix and he arrived in Pagosa Country during 1878, having reached the swashbuckling age of 19 years. By the time Byrne died in 1932, he had lived in Pagosa Country about 54 years. His life spanned the transition of Pagosa Springs from a frontier fort community with almost as many bars as people to a modern mountain resort. Byrne is said to have been the community's first school teacher, holding forth in a little log cabin on the east side of the river and opposite the fort.

When Archuleta County was created in 1885, one of the first official duties was to form a school system. In those days, each county had a superintendent of schools who presided over the many school districts. Byrne was the county's first superintendent of schools. He also carried mail from Summitville to Pagosa Springs, drove the stage from Amargo to Pagosa Springs, and was county judge for many years.

Through it all, he often found time to serve as a deputy sheriff. The following story recorded in an early newspaper before the turn of the century provides ample evidence of why a sheriff would want Byrne for a deputy.

It seems that J.P. Archuleta, one of the Archuleta family for whom the county is named, swore out a warrant before Justice Chase charging L.D. O'Neal with the theft of 16 head of cattle. In those days, the Colorado judicial system included the justice of the peace function. The warrant was served by Deputy Byrne, who, when he wasn't chasing criminals, also served as county superintendent of instruction. Byrne was accompanied by Lee Parr and Frank Brown as he served the warrant on O'Neal just below the crossing of the Summitville Road and Four Mile Creek a few miles east of town. O'Neal had sold the cattle to a gentleman from Monte Vista, and they were on their way then driving them over the range.

As the party passed the ranch of Gordon Grimes on their way back to town, Byrne got off his horse to tighten the cinch strap. Because a cloud of flies seemed particularly bothersome to Byrne's horse, O'Neal made a play to brush them off. Instead, he used a quirt on the steed, causing it to jump to the side on which Byrne was standing.

At that same instant, O'Neal touched spurs to the flanks of his own mount and was soon galloping up the road at a forty-mile gait, ignoring Byrne's call to halt. Byrne then drew his Winchester from its scabbard and fired at the running horse at a distance of 100 yards. The first shot broke one of the animal's legs.

The horse fell and O'Neal continued another 20 feet before uniting with the ground in a heap somewhat separate from the horse. The parties soon landed their prisoners in jail following the excitement. We do not know what fate the justice system granted O'Neal, but we know his bond was set at $1,500.

After telling the Byrne story, the newspaper editor completed his column with the following, unrelated item.

- A miserable imposter is said to be working his game in some of our neighboring towns, selling from house to house a salve which he guarantees to cure warts. All sensible people know that the only way to remove a wart is to rub it with a half raw potato, which must afterward be buried by a pigeon-toed school boy in the northwest corner of a graveyard at midnight during the dark of a storm. As the potato decays, the wart disappears. Don't pin your faith on wart salve, when so cheap a remedy is available.

Motter's Mutterings
By John M. Motter

Will these foolish questions never end?

"Is that you John?"

The person asking the question is looking straight into your unblinking brown eyes.

"No. It's not me, mom. I'm somebody else. What's the deal? Do I look different?"

"Oh, don't be a smart aleck," mom said with disgust.

The above dialogue takes place every day in the living rooms of America. Such silly conversation could be filed away under the heading of "Foolish Questions," the title of a country western song I once heard.

Examples of foolish questions are endless.

I am in the bathroom in front of the medicine cabinet mirror, face covered with lather from sideburn to sideburn, my mouth contorted, and razor in hand. The wife calls from the kitchen. I can't hear clearly, so I walk into the kitchen.

"What were you saying?" I ask.

"Oh. Were you shaving?" the wife says.

"No," I reply. "I just like the taste of soap. I thought I'd lather up and lick it off like a popsicle. You know how I love the taste of lemon-lime shaving cream."

A few years ago, I attended the funeral of a former friend. On the way home after the funeral, I met another friend who inquired about my formal attire.

"I'm on my way home from Mack McTruck's funeral," I explained.

"No kidding? Did Mack die?" the friend wanted to know.

"Not really," I said. "Mack just wanted to be sure, when he died, that everything would go as planned, so we went through a dress rehearsal, you know, nailed him in a coffin, lowered the coffin in the grave, and threw dirt on it. Real life like. Just like they do for weddings, you understand."

The list goes on and on and includes questions asked on employment forms and credit applications. I've always been tempted to provide the following answers to questions about my appearance: (1) hair? answer - some; (2) eyes? answer - two and (3) sex? answer - of course.

When asked why I want a job I answer, "Because I need income." Why lie and say I want the job because I just can't wait to go to work or some other equally stupid answer?

The most annoying questions come during those 2 a.m. telephone calls, especially the ones from your adult children. The scene unfolds something like this. The telephone rings. After the second or third ring you decide you are not suffering from a nightmare; the telephone really is ringing. After fumbling around, getting the receiver in your hand, placing the proper end against your ear, dropping it and going through the process of orienting the receiver one more time, you say "Hello."

"Hello. Is that you dad? Say, I've just found the greatest restaurant."

"Mumble, mumble," from dad.

"I didn't wake you, did I dad?"

"Not completely," I answer. "I was just sitting here with the phone in my lap and wondering what to do next when, miracle of miracles, it rang. There you are at a great restaurant. I'm so tickled for you I can hardly stand it."

"Good," answers a much-relieved number one son. "I was afraid you might be asleep. I know when people get past a certain age, they need more sleep."

"And dad. About this restaurant. The food is great, but the prices are a little steep. In fact, I can't cover the price of my meal and they have this policeman standing over my table. Can you help?"

Talk about foolish questions. And foolish dads. Anyway, I show up at El Singe, the great restaurant, wearing a robe, bathroom slippers, and a deep frown. Only my son, the owner, and the policeman remained in the room. The owner's frown matched my own.

I walked up to the table, credit card in hand.

"Is that you dad?" my son asked.

"No," I replied. "I'm the credit card fairy."

I ask you, Is there no end to these foolish questions?



Plea for animals

Dear Editor,

I will never ever understand how so many humans can be so cruel and unfeeling towards children and animals. I realize some of what goes on is from ignorance and even just downright stupidity, so I'm hoping to get through to some of these people. First of all, it is so extremely important to spay and neuter your dogs and cats, especially the females, so that there are not so many more unwanted animals added to our already over-burdened pet population. Many just get dumped by the side of the road. I know, as I am fostering two young mixed-breed female dogs who were dumped in Aspen Springs along with their brother. They were obviously not treated well, as they were terrified of people. But amazingly enough, they still love people and with work, they are coming out of it. But it makes me sick to think of what they have been through.

I also have an extremely abused Ausie mix that, I believe, has been kicked so much and so hard that this has caused physical and mental problems. Some very sick person has obviously taken his frustrations out on this helpless animal and he will suffer for the rest of his life from the abuse he has received. Why can't we all realize that animals feel pain and have feelings too?

Also, there are so many animals at the Humane Society right now who need socializing and though there have been notices in the SUN recently about dog walkings on Saturday mornings from 10 to noon, not one local person has shown up. (I'm not counting July 4th and Pet Pride Day, of course.) Please, folks take an hour or so out of your weekend and come out this Saturday to give some exercise and loving to these very needy animals.

And again, please spay and neuter your dogs and cats. The shelter has a fund to help with this if you cannot afford it. If those of you who have allowed your dogs and cats to have litters just so your dog can be a mother just one time or your children can see the baby kittens, think about what happens to them down the line. Some of the people you have given them to may not want them when they start getting bigger, or if they become a problem, may dump them. Or they may not spay or neuter their animal either and then many more will be added who will not necessarily find good homes, if they survive. If you went to the shelter and saw how many are already there, you might realize what a serious problem this is. For every one that goes out, two more come in. When the shelter gets way overcrowded, which is often, someone takes them to the Dumb Friends League in Denver, but that only gives them a second chance. Not all will find homes. So, please, get smart and find some compassion in your hearts and stop adding to our already overpopulated pet world.

Thank you,

Jean Frisbie

No justice

Dear Editor,

My son was in a minor accident July 3 when this attorney opened his pickup door into through traffic. This is violation No. 1. He had no insurance - violation No. 2.

He will not return phone calls to the Pagosa Springs Police Department or to myself. The "extra-large mirrors" on his pickup truck were of legal width.

On July 6, my son left for the Marines and I am left waiting for this irresponsible attorney to call. Where is the justice?

Thank you,

Jerry Nabors

E mail
Good-bye Pagosa

Dear Editor,

Being a resident of Archuleta County was the absolute best that God could ever do for me.

The people I knew, the friends I made. It was always fun for me, and moving away from it was also the hardest thing to do, to live where I loved was just a gift. Now being located in Asheville, N.C., has been hard at first but also great at the same time.

Well, the main purpose of this letter is to remember you all. To remember the fun we had, the laughs, the crys. I would first of all say that I have had a great summer, but have missed you all atrociously. I have gotten out of touch with you all, and the truth is that I was careless, to ever think that I should move on, get new friends. That is absolutely untrue. I will always think of my tender years from 3-12 were so special to me. I would like to say a special hello to Andrea Archuleta, Sunni Goodrich, Mike Valdez, Mark Ginn (the funniest guy alive), Mia VanHorn, the Richey's, the staff at the Rolling Pin (you guys were great to us), Sarah Blackman, Ashley Snow, Stephany Montoya and Ashley Lord. You guys were funny, you guys kept me smiling and busy. I know that I have left out so many others that I would just love to say "thanks" but being so far apart, I can't.

Hope you all are doing well. I will always miss you and just to let you know we will be visiting next spring to see you all. Okay, well now I am at the end, goodbye Pagosa Springs.

Leah Levitan


Marrie Swanson

Marrie Swanson, daughter of Jerry and Joan Driesens of Pagosa Springs, has graduated magna cum laude from Biola University in La Mirada, Calif. on May 29, 1999, with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology. Marrie was elected to membership in Epsilon Kappa Epsilon, the Biola University Scholarship Honors Society.



Phyllis Dotson

Phyllis Dotson, 65, died June 26, 1999, in Boise, Idaho.

Mrs. Dotson was born Aug. 27, 1934, in Calabozone, a small community near Pagosa Springs. She was the daughter of Anna and Frank Quintana. She was raised in Pagosa Springs and graduated from Pagosa High School. In 1964 she married Royce Dotson.

Mrs. Dotson moved to Prairie City, Ore., in 1980 where she worked as a dietary technician at the Blue Mountain Nursing Home. She loved cooking, music, dancing, reading and spending time with her family.

Mrs. Dotson was preceded in death by her two sisters, Sarah Guzman and Sophie Montoya and her brother, Baylor Quintana. She is survived by her husband, Royce Dotson of Prairie City; her daughters Tina Willet of Prairie City and Crystal Quintana of Pagosa Springs; her sisters, Cleo Quintana of Pagosa Springs, Josie Romero of Albuquerque, N.M.; her brother Frank Quintana Jr. of Pagosa Springs; and her grandson, Timothy Quintana of Pagosa Springs.

Funeral services were held Friday, July 2, 1999, at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Father John Bowe officiated.



Madison Margaret Greenly

Tyler Greenly happily announces the arrival of his baby sister, Madison Margaret. She was born on Sunday, May 16, 1999, at 7:07 a.m. in Durango. She weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 18 1/4 inches long.

Madison was welcomed home by her proud parents, Thomas and Julie Greenly. Her maternal grandparents are Barton and Erika Cox of Pagosa Springs. Her paternal grandparents are Thomas and Kathryn Greenly of Berthoud, Colo.

Dixie Marie Chacon

Selene Nevarez and Al Chacon are proud to announce the birth of their daughter, Dixie Marie Chacon. She was born on June 29, 1999, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. She weighed 4 pounds, 12 ounces and was 17-3/4 inches long.

Dixie Marie was welcomed home by her big sister Natashja. Her maternal grandparents are Apolonia and Alfredo Nevarez. Paternal grandparents are Alcario and Rosalia Chacon.


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