Fathers and sons rescued from flash flood waters
By John M. Motter
Two dads and their sons, trapped last week by the Middle Fork of the Piedra River, clambered across a fire department ladder to safety last Thursday.
The camping party from Austin, Texas, consisted of Darroll Paiga and his sons Cameron, 8, and Taylor, 10, and Jeff Riddle and his son Ryan. Combining to rescue the campers were the Archuleta County Search and Rescue Team and members of the Pagosa Fire Protection District.
The campers set out on their adventure at about 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 4, according to the older Paiga, after being advised by the Forest Service to "stay below tree line" because of the threat of thunderstorm activity every afternoon.
"They didn't say anything about flash floods," Paiga said.
After every pack was checked and found to be in order, the party waded the river at the Middle Fork trailhead, the water of the river scarcely reaching their knees. About two hours later, camp was made at an elevation of about 10,000 feet.
By 2 o'clock on the morning of Aug. 5, rain began to fall. The deluge lasted until noon, cascading down the steep slopes and swelling the normally placid river. The party broke camp at 7:30 a.m., intent on descending the mountain as quickly as possible.
"This was difficult because it was slippery and each boy carried his pack," Darroll said.
They arrived at the river at 9:30 a.m., chagrined to learn it was much deeper and moving much faster than on the previous day. After searching up and down the stream for a crossing, they decided at 10:30 a.m. that the older Riddle would attempt to cross and get help. He was successful.
Help arrived at noon. A first attempt to establish a bridge failed when a dirt island used as a support collapsed. A second attempt was successful and the rescue was completed about 3 p.m.
The rescue was accomplished by spanning the river with fire engine ladders. Normally six- or eight-feet wide during the summer, the river had spread to a width of about 35 feet. Since the ground in the vicinity was too wet to support the weight of a fire engine, the ladders were removed and transported to the site on a Suburban van.
While waiting for the rescue, Darroll Pagia constructed a shelter, boiled water to keep the boys warm, fed them, and encouraged them.
"The search and rescue police were incredibly helpful in reassuring us that one way or another, we would get across before nightfall," Darroll Paiga said later. "What impressed me was one officer's words as he shouted across the river to the children, 'You will not fall in the river . . . but if you do . . . I will jump in after you. I am big and strong and will swim you safely to the other side. Don't worry.' I want to thank all of the officers who helped."
Taking part in the rescue, according to Fire Chief Warren Grams, were deputies Sean Curtis and Karn Macht leading the Archuleta County Search and Rescue team, and four members of the fire department.
Woman plunges to death from Overlook
By John M. Motter
Sharon H. Radcliff, 45, Pagosa Springs, died last Thursday from massive head injuries received while plunging down a rock embankment on the west side of Wolf Creek Pass.
Death occurred shortly after 10 p.m. when Radcliff jumped or fell from a rock ledge at the site popularly known as the Overlook. Radcliff is the second person to die from falling at the Overlook this year.
On May 26 a New Mexico man, Christian Thompson, died after tumbling 250 feet down the Overlook precipice. A third person, Christine Douglas of Pagosa Springs, died as a result of falling from the top of nearby Treasure Falls June 20. No one saw Thompson or Douglas fall.
Last Thursday's tragedy was different, because three people were at the scene in addition to the victim. The drama began unfolding at about 9:30 p.m. when an unidentified motorist approached Colorado State Patrol Trooper Chris Rivera who was parked in the vicinity. The man reported seeing a vehicle with an open door in the parking lot of the Overlook, according to Rivera. When the man investigated, he discovered a woman on a ledge who was crying and urged him to "go away."
After the man located the trooper, Rivera proceeded to the Overlook where he was joined by Colorado Division of Wildlife Officer Mike Reid, who overheard Rivera's communication with Highway Patrol Central Dispatch.
"I tried to approach, but she said stay away," Rivera said. "The weather was miserable, it was windy and foggy and raining very hard. She was on a ledge beyond the safety fence. As I turned away from her to turn off the spotlight, I heard a scream. When I turned around, she was gone."
Because of the severity of the weather, no attempt was made to recover the body until the following morning.
"We felt climbing on those cliffs at night during a downpour would unnecessarily risk the lives of the climbing party," said Mineral County Sheriff Phil Leggit.
Wolf Creek Pass and the Overlook parking area are in Mineral County and therefore Leggit's responsibility.
The following morning, in a combined effort, Archuleta County Search and Rescue and EMT personnel rappelled down the face of the cliff about 250 feet to the location of the body. The body was then lowered to a Forest Service road at the base of the Overlook. At that location, Mineral County Deputy Coroner Kelly Mortensen examined the body.
According to the death certificate, Radcliff's death was caused by massive head injuries and was listed as a suicide.
Only incumbents in running for board
By Roy Starling
With two weeks remaining before the deadline for petitions, only the three incumbent school board members up for election have indicated they will run.
At Tuesday's regular monthly meeting of the Archuleta County School District 50 Joint board of directors, Superintendent Terry Alley said he had received "no other petitions (for the three positions) at this point."
Petitions containing the signatures of 50 voters registered in Archuleta County are due Aug. 27. If the incumbents face no opposition, Alley said, the election can be canceled on Aug. 31.
The three seats up for grabs are currently held by Randall Davis, Carol Feazel and Russ Lee. Due to the term-limits law passed last fall, Davis and Lee would be prohibited from running again after this election. School board members are elected for four-year terms.
Davis, who chairs the board, was first elected in 1979 and represents District 1. Lee, who holds the District 2 seat, was elected in 1995. Feazel, an appointee from District 3, must file for election and win at the polls in order to remain on the board. The term she is filling ends in 2001.
To be eligible to run in this year's election, candidates must live in one of the three districts in which seats will be contested and must have been registered as a voter in the Archuleta County Clerk's office for 12 months prior to the date of the election.
District 1 runs north of U.S. 160 and west of Fourmile Road. District 2 is south of U.S. 160 and west of downtown Pagosa Springs. District 3 is north of Mill Creek Road, back along U.S. 160 to town, then north of Lewis Street down to Fourmile Road, then up Fourmile Road and to the east to the Continental Divide.
In other business Tuesday night, the board:
- Heard from Alley regarding the schedule for opening the 1999-2000 school year. Alley said that school offices will open today (Aug. 12); there will be a meeting of all new staff on Wednesday, Sept. 1, at 9 a.m. in the junior high library; there will be a meeting of all staff on Sept. 2, at 7:45 a.m. in the high school commons area; Sept. 3 will be a work day for all staff; and classes will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 7.
- Approved the hiring of the following staff: Debbie Moore, third-grade (from a Class-Size Reduction Grant); John Rose, transportation director, replacing the retiring Don Ruth; Karen Wells, high school girls head basketball coach; Kathy Carter, high school head golf coach; Tony Scarpa, volunteer football coach; and Scott White, assistant varsity football coach. White will replace Ron Shaw who resigned from the coaching staff Monday.
- Heard from Alley that the district received, as expected, a $65,000 grant to develop a pre-school program for at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds. Alley told the board the district had also received a $490,000 Board of Cooperative Services grant over a three-year period. The money will be used primarily to train teachers to improve instruction, improve student performance and implement standards.
The school board meets again on Sept. 14, 7 p.m., at the school administration building. During this meeting, the directors will finalize a draft of its goals for the next year, and then send the draft to district staff for feedback. Alley said the board's goals will probably be formally adopted at the October meeting.
Two speed limits lowered
By John M. Motter
Activities connected with roads consumed much of the agenda at the regular meeting of Archuleta County commissioners Tuesday. Road activities included changing speed limits, a progress report on Eightmile Mesa Road reconstruction, Fairfield/Pagosa roads, Greenbriar Drive Local Improvement District, and a monthly progress report on the overall county road program.
The speed limits on Park Avenue and Lower Blanco Road have been reduced from 35 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour.
Implementation of the new speed limits will take place as soon as the signs can be ordered and installed, perhaps within two weeks. Property owners along both thoroughfares had requested the changes, which were preceded by an engineering study.
Park Avenue is a collector road traversing the Fairfield Pagosa community in a generally northeast to southwest direction.
"My idea is that Park Avenue traffic should be slowed to 25 miles per hour," said Commissioner Bill Downey. "I've observed a lot of foot traffic (pedestrians) on that road and it doesn't have shoulders. It will only get worse."
After County Manager Dennis Hunt pointed out that the commissioners are legally bound to comply with recommendations included in the engineering study, Downey agreed to the 30 miles per hour recommendation. Downey is a retired highway patrolman.
The Lower Blanco Road, also known as County Road 335, is the only road serving several subdivisions located along the Lower Blanco River approximately 12 miles south of town.
Piedra Road and North and South Pagosa Boulevards are being studied to determine if current speed limits are appropriate. Eventually, the county will review speed limits on all county roads. Bechtel Engineering is conducting much of the research and evaluation.
Eightmile Mesa Road
Reconstruction is underway on Eightmile Mesa Road between U.S. 84 and Loma Linda Subdivision. The county is replacing culverts under the main road bed and under driveways accessing properties adjacent to Eightmile Mesa Road. Loma Linda developer Fred Schmidt is rebuilding the main road bed, widening the surface along Eightmile Mesa Road from its junction with U.S. 84 to its junction with the entrance to the Loma Linda development, removing some curvature, and softening dips.
County culverts under Eightmile Mesa Road were expected to be in place Tuesday or Wednesday. Schmidt was expected to initiate work Aug. 15 and complete his obligation in 30 days. Both Schmidt and the county are contracting with U-Can-Afford Landscaping for most of the work. County crews are installing some of the culverts.
Schmidt has placed about $93,000 in escrow for his portion of the work, but had not posted a performance bond Tuesday morning. A county lawsuit remains active in an attempt to force Schmidt to complete his portion of the work.
County road update
Continuing rains through July and August have slowed county road building and maintenance progress, according to Kevin Walters, the county road superintendent.
The entire chip and seal program planned for this summer is completed, according to Walters, but two roads have been removed from the program.
"We can't do Vista Boulevard," Waters said, "because it doesn't have enough base. I'm going to include it in next year's budget. It will cost from $60,000 to $70,000 to prepare and pave Vista Boulevard. It wasn't properly built in the first place."
Work on Bonanza Boulevard, running through Vista, is also being postponed.
Before the work season ends, the county intends to add 3/4-inch base rock to the bottom mile or so of Lower Blanco Road, which currently contains little rock.
Meanwhile, incessant rains are causing barrow ditches and culverts along many county roads to fill with silt, forcing water to spill across road surfaces and eroding gravel already in place. Especially impacted is an eight-mile portion of Trujillo Road between Pagosa Junction and Navajo Lake, according to Chris Chavez, a former county commissioner.
"I've used that road all of my life and this is the worst I've ever seen," Chavez said.
To Chavez' claim that road crews aren't excavating barrow ditches properly, Walters replied that "it is too muddy to do the job properly."
Fairfield Pagosa Roads
Work on Fairfield Pagosa roads being done under the bankruptcy settlement agreement will not be completed until the end of next summer (Year 2000), according to Dan Flack, the county engineer. Contractor Weeminuche Engineering has received payments of about $3 million of the almost $5 million contract.
"It's hard to estimate what proportion of the work is finished," Flack said. "It's probably accurate to say that Alpha is pretty much finished. Other roads are waiting for signs or some other task."
The original time estimates on the project are being extended because of delays caused by rain and additional work not contemplated in the beginning. Additional work includes replacing and adding culverts, work under a separate, $1.2 million Fairfield Communities Inc. settlement, and some add-ons.
Greenbriar Plaza Road Improvement District
The commissioners refused to reimburse developer Mike Branch for monies spent to install roads by the Greenbriar Plaza Road Improvement District. While noting that they had reimbursed road improvement districts serving residential developments, the commissioners said that Branch is being treated differently because his development is commercial.
They expressed concern that reimbursing Greenbriar might set a precedent that could adversely affect an ongoing lawsuit between the county and Tom Grant, another commercial developer in the area. Finally, the commissioners said they are complying with a recommendation of the joint county, PLPOA road advisory committee by not paying Branch. Greenbriar will be paid, but is listed as a lower priority and will be paid from funds, if any, left from higher priority projects, according to the commissioners.
Pagosa trades gray skies for blue
By John M. Motter
Those rainy day blues may be on their way out for Pagosa Country residents sick of the downpours that have drenched the countryside, leaving everything soggy but green.
"The forecast is for mostly dry with a slight chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms through the coming weekend," said Gary Chancey, a National Weather Service forecaster in Grand Junction.
Chancey's "slight chance" for precipitation is about 20 percent through Sunday. A slight warming trend will affect temperatures with afternoon highs expected to be between 80 and 85 degrees and after-dark lows in the mid-50s.
Monsoon conditions that have dominated local weather for the past six weeks are breaking up, according to Chancey. A low-pressure area along the West Coast is drifting to the north and east and will pass north of Colorado. At the same time, a high pressure area focused in the Central Plains states is drifting south. As a result, winds that have been carrying moisture from southern Mexico to the Four Corners area will stop.
"It's too early to say if the monsoon season is finished for this year," Chancey said. "It normally lasts until mid or late August. There is still plenty of moisture in the atmosphere over southern Mexico."
August is normally the wettest month of the year in Pagosa Springs. During August since record keeping started in 1938, 2.52 inches of precipitation are the average monthly measurement. The most precipitation ever measured for August is 5.36 inches, the total measured in 1993. The most precipitation ever to fall in one year in Pagosa Springs is the 33.86 inches recorded in 1957.
August precipitation this year has already topped the average for the month. Through Aug. 10 of this year, 3.19 inches of rain has been captured at the official weather station located at Stevens Field.
For 1999 to date, 18.76 inches of precipitation have been recorded in Pagosa. The long-time average annual precipitation through August is 12.31 inches. In fact, Pagosa Country thus far in 1999 has already received almost as much rain as falls during an average year. The average annual rainfall is 19.54 inches.
The super abundant moisture is creating misery for ranchers unable to harvest hay crops, road maintenance crews who can't keep barrow ditches clear of silt, and recreation enthusiasts who like to travel and camp throughout the back country.
Closed by the Forest Service are East Toner Road, Forest Road 637, and Snowball Road, Forest Road 646, above the Hershey Ranch.
"We're advising people to not use the Elwood Pass Road above the second river crossing," said Forest Service spokesperson Liz Granby. "The remainder of the roads in this area are open, but people using remote roads should be cautious because a single rain shower could mean walking home or worse."
Backpackers and hikers are also advised to use extreme caution. Hikers on trails crossing creeks and rivers should return to lower elevations at the first sign of torrential downpours or rising water. Ranchers are warned that the Fourmile, Turkey Creek, and Beaver Creek trails are extremely soggy. The trail from Poison Park to the Weminuche is also in bad shape.
Meanwhile, despite the excess rain, local rivers have not spilled over their banks.
"It's been an easy year for me," said Val Valentine, an employee of the Colorado Water Conservation Board who oversees the distribution of irrigation water in the area. "The demand for irrigation water has been very low."
Allard holds town meeting
U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., will hold a town meeting in Pagosa Springs on Thursday, Aug. 19, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the county commissioners meeting room in the county courthouse.
"I want to extend an invitation to anyone in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County to attend a very informal community meeting," Allard said in announcing the meeting. "This is a chance for citizens to visit one on one with me about issues important to them."
Sen. Allard is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, Senate Intelligence Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee. The Archuleta County town meeting is part of Allard's pledge to hold at least one town meeting in each of Colorado's sixty-four counties annually.
Anyone with questions about the Aug. 19 town meeting can contact Andy Colosimo in Sen. Allard's Grand Junction office at (970) 245-9553.
Commissioners contract for space study
By John M. Motter
An agreement to conduct a study of future space needs was approved Tuesday between Archuleta County and Daniel C. Smith and Associates/Vietta Group.
Smith plans to begin the study immediately and will be paid $35,000 to analyze current county space usages and availability, then predict future needs. The county will use the information supplied by Smith to determine land purchases and building construction requirements in order to provide housing for future county functions.
Smith's work should be completed in about four months and will included space assessments for county offices, law enforcement and jail needs, and courtroom requirements. The study will correlate various related activities so that functions will be located adjacent to similar and interdependent functions. Approximate pre-architectural cost estimates will be provided by the contractor.
The county has hired Smith because of increasing pressure to provide additional office and storage space for the various county offices including the planning department, and more space for county and district court activities.
In other business Tuesday the commissioners:
- Continued to discuss an intergovernmental agreement among Durango, Archuleta County, La Plata County, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Southern Ute Community Action Program regarding transit development plans.
- Took no action on an agenda item labeled "GoCo grant applications." No action was taken because the item concerns obtaining a grant for a 40-acre parcel of land the county does not own, but hopes to obtain from the Bureau of Land Management. Any grant applications must wait until the county obtains the land.
- Heard a monthly progress report from Cindy Herrera concerning senior citizen and county transportation program affairs. Herrera is director of the local senior citizens program. The senior program was reviewed last week by Joan P. Miller, a program specialist for the Colorado Department of Human Services. The report pointed out:
1) A need for five more wellness education training programs in order to comply with Area Agency on Aging requirements
2) The local program served an average of 41 meals per day during July, amounting to 497 meals for the month.
3) The Home Chore Program projected serving 47 clients for the year. Only three clients have been helped. The number of people helped will increase significantly during the winter because of snow removal assistance.
4) Transportation funds will be enhanced by billing $12.59 per trip plus 63 cents a mile for Medicaid patients.
5) The number of volunteers is increasing.
- Lakeside Hills, a development with more than 30 owners, asked for commissioner endorsement of a plan to form a metropolitan improvement district instead of an improvements agreement to satisfy subdivision requirements. Formation of the district and issuance and sale of bonds for improvements might be accepted in lieu of the usual improvements agreement and bonding arrangement required by county subdivision regulations. The commissioners informally approved the concept. Lakeside Hills is located near U.S. 84 on the north side of Echo Lake.
- Tim Smith, Archuleta County Airport manager, gave a monthly progress report that addressed the delay of final acceptance of an environmental assessment completed this past spring. The approval of the environmental assessment is required before a projected building program can be launched.
Fire district asks to expand
By John M. Motter
The Pagosa Fire Protection District is placing an item on the Nov. 2 ballot asking voter permission to add about 25 square miles to the district's area of coverage.
Approved by the district's board of directors Tuesday night, the proposal seeks inclusion of land stretching generally 5 miles north of the cattle guard at the north end of the paved portion of Piedra Road and including subdivisions known as Windmill, Wild Flower, Teyuakan, Eagle Peak Estates, Pagosa Peak Estates, and associated properties.
Inclusion means property owners and residents in those areas will receive fire protection from the district, pay district property taxes, and be eligible to participate in district benefits such as voting and serving on the board of directors.
The SUN mistakenly reported last week that the fire district will, on the Nov. 2 ballot, ask voters for permission to retain excess revenues. In fact, the district's voters approved that measure during the last election. The district is already allowed to retain excess revenues.
The only 1999 ballot issue being pushed by the district is the request for expansion reported earlier in this article.
Some things are constant
For a number of years I've come away from the Archuleta County Fair, the Fourth of July Parade, the Red Ryder Round Up, and the Fourth of July fireworks display with the same two thoughts: This year's was the best I've seen in Pagosa; and, There is no way next year's can match this one. Yet these events' tireless organizers and their faithful cadre of volunteer supporters continue to prove me wrong.
I usually watch these events through the view finder of a camera and am unable to enjoy them as a spectator. Yet even with one eye closed much of the time, it's obvious these ever-changing events are attracting and satisfying larger crowds and are continuing to expand their appeal.
And though it is the newcomer to the group, the four-year-old Four Corners Folk Festival is starting to demonstrate a similar propensity towards consistently improving with age. Having become an annual festival, the musical talents and matchless Reservoir Hill setting of the Labor Day event provides another significant boost to the local economy. It is another noticeable change in Pagosa.
This summer marks my 25th year in Pagosa. And it seems that change has been a constant factor during those 25 years.
Due to the inception of Eaton International's Pagosa in Colorado development west of town about two or three years earlier, and the installation of the first chairlift at Wolf Creek Ski Area during the summer of 1974, change was becoming a way of life in Pagosa. While it is hard to become accustomed to change, it's even harder to stop it.
As one of my friends from Ignacio once pointed out, change has been a constant ever since the arrival of the first European to this area.
David C. Mitchell
Some sights are very noticeable
I understand a group of riders from Italy stopped for lunch in Pagosa Springs yesterday while on a bicycle tour across the United States.
I wish them well, but I don't think I would want to invest the amount of time such a venture would demand. Some day I hope to have enough discretionary free time so that we can spend more time with our grandchildren.
Or possibly I'm just wishing I had enough stamina to ride my bicycle from coast to coast across the United States. A lot of folks do it, but it's not on my "one-of-these-days" list.
From time to time I've thought about riding my bike to my 50th high school reunion in 2002. But it's hard to find a reasonable route that stays away from the busier highways. And I'm hoping that by then I'll be old enough to know better.
Our fax machine produced an interesting "release" last Thursday from folks with the Southwest Colorado Travel Region office in Durango.
It claims the Bicycle Tour of the San Juans "will give cycle enthusiasts the chance to traverse the rugged passes and peaks between Telluride and Durango" during the second weekend in September.
Evidently the road bikers will ride from Durango through Dolores and up to Telluride on a Friday. Then from Telluride to Ouray the next day. And ride from Ouray to Durango on Sunday.
I think I'll pass on this one. I've already had enough riding this summer with the Ride The Rockies and Courage Classic ventures. Both were enjoyable. But without a doubt, the most spectacular ride I made all summer was over near Creede earlier this month.
Drew and I joined my brother-in-law in a breathtaking eight-mile ride down Pool Table Park road to the northwest edge of Wagon Wheel Gap.
The fact the front brakes were out on the mountain bike I rode made the muddy, winding steep descent interesting. But it was seeing the lush pastures in the Bellows Creek Valley, the Goose Creek Valley and the open lands along the Rio Grande that made for such an impressive ride.
This summer's abundant rains had made the valleys emerald green, and had lined the graveled roadway with all sorts of wild flowers. I hope to find the time to ride it again, or to go over the top and follow the road down to the northeast side of Del Norte.
This year's Ride The Rockies route offered some interesting sights, but not all of them were related to the scenery.
You might have noticed that biking shorts and shirts expose some sizeable portions of skin. Early on both rides it became obvious that tattoos have become the "in" thing with a lot of bicyclists. And is the case anytime demand exceeds supply, the quality of a product or trade diminishes significantly.
It was hard not to notice many of the tattoos, they stuck out like a bad haircut. But unlike a bad haircut, they were not going to look better after three or four weeks.
I'm sure some of the folks were looking forward to ski season when their recreational attire will cover up their tattoos.
Though lacking a tattoo, I'm not alone in looking forward to the coming ski season. A lot of folks are starting to wonder if this winter's snowfall will match this summer's rainfall. If it does, it will be an interesting winter in Pagosa.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
Charges against deputy dropped
Charges against Deputy Marshal Ernie Rivas were dismissed this week. He had been charged by John Barger with assault. It had been alleged that Rivas assaulted Barger when issuing him a ticket for a traffic violation. When Barger, as the complaining witness, failed to appear to testify against Rivas, the case was dropped. Barger still has charges pending against him for an alleged assault on a policeman.
Sheriff John Evans announced this week that an emergency telephone number is now available in the community. The number is 2277 and is to be used only in emergencies. Eaton International and Pagosa Lodge are providing the answering service at no charge as a community service.
A large portion of the equipment for the new chair lift at Wolf Creek Ski Area arrived this past week. Heavy rains at the ski area have put the installation schedule slightly behind but extra time was allowed so the lift will be in and running by the time there is enough snow for skiing.
Dr. Gary Jansen has announced the purchase of a defibrillator for the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center. The machine which cost several thousand dollars was donated to the clinic in memory of the late Florence K. Turner. Dr. Jansen made several trips to Denver to find the right model to serve the community.
Sharing some Macht family heritage
One of the highlights of the past weekend's county fair was visiting with Ray and Genelle Macht. Ray was chosen to receive this year's Western Heritage award by the fair board. As a result, the Machts set up a display of family memorabilia and spent the weekend visiting with friends and strangers alike about their family's heritage.
Ray descends from Victoria Macht, who arrived in Pagosa Springs in 1883. Victoria was a widow in her 50s with five children when she came in a covered wagon over East Fork and Windy passes. This was a remarkable accomplishment for Victoria, with her oldest child being only 13.
When Victoria and her children came to Pagosa Springs, they brought some cows with them. They were unprepared for the snowfall of Pagosa Springs and lost half of their cows the first winter. The winter of 1883-84 was particularly harsh and the animals were unable to reach the grass. Therefore the Macht boys chopped down cottonwood trees and fed the twigs to the animals. From this winter, an important lesson was learned. The summers were spent cutting and storing hay for winter.
The cows were replaced as soon as possible because they were vital to the family's income. The family sold milk, butter and cream to the locals.
Harry Macht, as a teenager, would ride horseback to Silverton to sell butter. He would travel to Silverton at night, with a stop in Durango during the day to keep the butter cold so it did not spoil. Harry would make the return trip from Silverton in one straight ride. Butter sold for 19 cents a pound at the time.
The Macht boys butchered beef and wild game to sell to settlers and local businesses. They also took wagon loads of meat to the railroad at Amargo, N.M., the nearest point on the rail line. From there, the meat was shipped to Denver to market. Beef sold for three cents a pound during this time.
Victoria was instrumental in the success of the Macht family. She was very strong-willed. She would decide what was best for her family and the boys would then work to accomplish the goal, no matter how difficult it may be. She was strict with her boys and taught them the self-discipline they needed in order to succeed.
Victoria knew the importance of schooling for her children and, therefore, lived in town for part of the year so the children could attend school. Her sons Will and Harry boarded with a family in Durango and remained in school through the 10th grade.
More about the Macht family next week.
Don't forget about mail ballot election
Attention! The election this fall is going to be a mail ballot (people mail in their ballots).
After the last election, those who didn't vote were sent a card telling them they would have to reregister. The instructions were as clear as mud and consequently many receiving the reminder did not understand that they had to reregister. But registration slips can be obtained at the Court House and at the Sisson Library. This next election is very important, so please see to it that you are properly registered.
The Archuleta County Fair was wonderful. The rain didn't stop the flow of talent in this community, and the Taste of Pagosa was exceptional. Many thanks to all who participated in any way.
Pagosa Springs has a postmaster, Richard Love, but when a woman is in charge of a post office, she is also called a postmaster. And this is why.
When James A. Farley was postmaster general from 1933 to 1940 (appointed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt), he wrote a letter to Miss Sarah Lounsberry, who was in charge of the post office at Stone Ridge, N.Y., a hamlet outside Kingston. He addressed the letter to the postmistress. When he didn't get an answer, he wrote again but still didn't receive an answer. When he didn't get an answer after his third letter, he called her wanting to know why she was ignoring his letters. Sarah Lounsberry said to Mr. Farley: "I'm not now, I never was and I will never be anyone's mistress. Anyone who is an expert in their trade is a master and I am a postmaster."
Farley visited Sarah Lounsberry and they became friends. As a result "postmaster" has been with us ever since.
I visited in Kingston a few years ago and talked to the postal employees about Miss Lounsberry. My sister-in-law knew her and got the story from her first hand.
Fun on the run
A little girl was sitting on her grandfather's lap as he read a story. From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek. By and by she was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again.
Finally she spoke. "Granddaddy, did God make you?" "Yes sweetheart," he answered. "God made me a long time ago." "Oh," she said, then "Granddaddy, did God make me, too?" "Yes, indeed honey," he assured her. "God made you just a little while ago." "Oh," she said. Feeling their respective faces again, she observed, "God's getting better at it now, isn't he?"
Gourmet Colorado raises funds for community center
We're as delighted to welcome our two new members this week as we were to welcome the sunshine we experienced last weekend. I was especially happy for the County Fair folks who worked so hard to bring us the fair this year - obviously somebody up there likes them to have provided such beautiful weather for their annual party.
Cynthia Ellen Watson, a charming lady, brings us Gathering of Eagles located in Aspen Springs.
Cynthia offers healing energies enhanced or awakened using unconditional love as well as the Melchizedek Method certified practitioner workshops (brochure available). You can also see her for Reiki attunements and private health sessions. If you would like to visit with Cynthia about her services, please call 731-3581. Thanks to Cynthia for her recent membership and thanks to Rick Unger of Copper Coin Liquors for his recruitment efforts. This is Rick's second recruitment and hence his second free SunDowner. If this keeps up, we'll just have to put Rick on the Chamber payroll.
A very nice gentleman, Maurice Woodruff, joins us next with Woodruff Enterprises located at his residence on Lewis Street. Maurice offers handyman services from changing outdoor locks and windows to building and repairing decks. He can also help with small concrete, drywall and remodeling jobs. Maintenance services are also available. Maurice must have known that I have been making a few calls on local businesses that are not currently members asking what in the world they are thinking. Guess he knew that he might be next on my "hit list" and wanted to avoid the fate worse than death.
Once again, our congratulations go out to all who worked so hard to create Taste of Pagosa and the Archuleta County Fair this year. As always, I sold tickets at the outrageously successful "Taste" and was thrilled to see the fabulous representation by our local restaurants. Everyone who stopped by raved about the food, so I'm sure that those restaurants will see lots of folks from Taste who will follow them into their eateries. It was a great business and community move to be there. I went on Sunday to just check out all the activities and had a grand time. Thank you all for a terrific fair - we're already looking forward to next year.
Tuesday, Aug. 31, beginning at 5:30 p.m. you'll want to be at the Sports Page Bar & Grill for the annual Auction for the Animals presented by the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs. You may want to wear your roller skates to allow you to race from item to item to check your bids on the amazing celebrity donations. You can count on the Humane Society to give a whale of a party and the Auction night is always spectacular. The number of items offered is consistently mind-boggling - I can find at least 50 that I would dearly love to have. (You can view some of the items at www.websites. pagosa.net/humanesociety.) I have two wonderful mementos of past auctions on the walls of my office donated (and autographed) by Whoopi Goldberg. Those of you who know my dog will understand my affinity for these posters. Tickets for this event are available at the Chamber of Commerce, Humane Society Shelter and the Pack Rack Thrift Store. The $20 tickets ($25 at the door) include a souvenir wineglass, wine tasting and hors d'oeuvres. The regular admission tickets are $10 ($12 at the door) and include hors d'oeuvres and cash bar. Hope to see you all there.
Studio art tour
The Pagosa Springs Arts Council is presenting the Studio Art Tour on Aug. 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Advance tickets are $8 and tickets the day of the tour will be $10. You can purchase advance tickets at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery, the Ruby Sisson Library and the Chamber of Commerce. This is a unique opportunity to see twelve local artists in their working environments. Just about every medium you can think of will be available for your viewing that day plus the added feature of chatting with the individual artists about their work. On your ticket will appear a map of the location of each artist, so this has the added fun feature of an adult scavenger hunt. Happy hunting on Saturday.
We've had a number of inquiries about the quarterly newsletter, Chamber Communique, inserts and are happy to share the information. You bring us 650 flyers, a check for $25 and we'll do the rest. This is a dandy way to get the word out about your new business, new location, new product or a special you might be offering. We encourage you to put your message on colorful (8 1/2 x 11 unfolded, please) paper and use both sides, if you choose. It's an advertising opportunity you just don't get every day, I promise you. Those of us who market for businesses, towns or anything, for that matter know that you don't get too many advertising offers that cost $25. Please bring your inserts and checks to the Chamber of Commerce by Friday, August 27, for inclusion. If you have questions, just give us a call at 264-2360.
Use of the Chamber Boardroom for meetings is one of the many benefits we are happy to offer our valued members, and usage is increasing right along with our membership numbers. Due to a few security concerns, we have recently changed the locks to the Visitor Center and those of you who have scheduled meetings on a regular basis need to be aware of that change. If you are unfamiliar with the procedure, we require that a member of the group pick up the key on the day of the meeting. Morna is our "key keeper" and users will be asked to sign out the key and return it the following day. Obviously, this procedure applies only to groups meeting after the 6 p.m. closing of the Visitor Center. We will also ask that the door remain locked after everyone has arrived to prevent folks from wandering in unattended while the meeting is going on. I'm sure you will all understand why these measures are important to the security of the building. Morna and I are preparing a memorandum that will go out with each key that will include a few "gentle reminders" to those using the room. Once again, we are delighted to provide a meeting place and ask only that you observe a few procedural details.
Wow, so many events, so little time. The Pagosa Springs Community Center Committee invites you to attend A Wine, Gourmet Cheese and "Wild" Alaskan Salmon Tasting Fest on August 18, at the Fireside Inn, 1600 East Hwy. 160 from 5 to 7 p.m. This is an adult only event that will take place rain or shine. Once again, it pays to purchase your tickets in advance to save some dough. Advance tickets are $12 and you will pay $15 at the door. This event is sponsored by CC's Meats and Cheeses, Cottonwood Cellars, Copper Coin Liquors and the Fireside Inn. Among the many door prizes being awarded that evening is a champagne weekend at the Fireside Inn, so I suggest you attend. Community Center Committee members will be happy to sell you a ticket.
Pagosa Lakes triathlon will work around sloppy trails
The Pagosa Lakes Triathlon will take place this Saturday at 8 a.m. - rain or shine. If the precipitation keeps up and the single-track trail becomes too slippery, some rerouting will be done. Race organizers will keep runners and bikers on asphalt and gravel roads so as not to damage athletes and the trail.
Teams for the triathlon are still being formed. If you wish to participate on a team, please call the Recreation Center as soon as possible at 731-2051. The running portion of the triathlon covers a 7-mile course. The mountain biking segment involves two laps (14 miles) on the same loop as the run. The last segment, a half-mile swim, will be in the Recreation Center indoor pool. Registration for the triathlon will begin at 7 a.m. on Saturday, that is if you are one of those that like to wait till the very last minute.
PLPOA directors will meet tonight for the regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. at the Pagosa Lakes Community Center. Members and observers are encouraged to attend. Public comments will be heard at the beginning of the meeting. The following agenda was provided by PLPOA:
- Call to order - 7 p.m.
- Approval of agenda
- Approval of board meeting minutes
- Public comments
- Non-departmental committee reports
- Treasurers report - Treasurer Judy Esterly
- Road maintenance and improvements - Director Fred Ebeling
- Rules Committee - Director Ebeling
- ECC liaison - Director Ebeling
- Public Safety Committee - President Curtis and Director John Nelson
- Lakes, Fisheries and Parks Committee
- Recreational Amenities Committee
- General manager's report
A. Ad hoc Golf Course Committee
B. Insurance update
A. Resolution 99-42 - Policy for access to association records
B. Resolution 99-43 - Amendment to ECC building package
C. Ratify President Curtis as official board representative for Bob Dempsey lawsuit
Senior Citizen Center offers community many programs
The Archuleta Senior Citizen Center offers many programs to our community. We have literature and information on senior health insurance assistance programs, San Juan Area Agency on Aging, 1999 Guide to Health Insurance for people on Medicare, Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (Leap Apps.), American Association of Retired Persons, The Alzheimer's Association of America, Hospice of Mercy and Home Chore Care Services.
If you know of someone who is unable to contact us for our services, or they just need some social contact and a friendly hello every now and then, please let us know so that we can do what we can to get them a hot meal or some 8-ounce cans of high protein nutritional energy drink which we keep on stock. You're not alone, we care about your wellness.
Don't be a target of phone scams. Fraudulent telemarketers try to take advantage of older people on the theory that they may be more trusting toward strangers. Older women living alone are special targets. Sometimes they reach out to you when you are feeling lonely, you may be promised free gifts, prizes, or the "investment of a lifetime" but only if you act right now. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. A recent phone scam in this area involved callers who offered to approve new credit card applications, but first needed the serial number and expiration date of the target's current credit card. Don't give out the serial number of your credit card over the telephone to an unknown caller.
We had a surprise visit Friday from a past president of the Archuleta County Senior Citizens board and good friends Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Heyl. It was nice to see them. We wish them a safe journey home.
JoAnn Sager is our Senior of the Week. Anyone who knows her and her husband, Jerry, can tell you that just knowing them makes our town a more beautiful place to live. Hats off to you both.
Special thanks to the American Cancer Society and Don and Millie Ragsdale for their generous donations received last week. We appreciate any items which can be used for the center or Seniors in need.
The Seniors Swim Club is doing well and is free every Monday and Thursday to seniors from 9 to 11 a.m. Transportation is available by calling 264-2167. For pick-up reservations, the bus goes to Durango on Tuesdays. It leaves at 8 a.m. and returns between 4 and 5 p.m. It costs $6 for seniors and $8 for non-seniors. Call 264-2167 for updated weekly schedules and events.
Volunteers bring beauty to life.
County fair survives soggy beginning
I have great admiration for all the workers who helped put on the County Fair, especially the people behind the scenes who scooped many loads of wood chips around to fill in the mud bogs. In spite of a soggy beginning, it was a success. Good food, beautiful exhibits, elegant llamas marching around. It is truly a happening to be enjoyed and to be proud of. Congratulations to all of the dedicated volunteers.
The Library Booth sponsored by the Friends and the Civic Club provided information about the TABOR amendment and the ballot issue for November. People had a chance to guess how much thirteen library books cost. The winner, Joan Parman, guessed $590 and the actual amount was $592.50. The TABOR amendment forces us to give back on the average of $18,000 each year, which is our book budget. The Library District will be asking voters to keep and spend their revenue without raising the .0015 property tax mill levy.
We are still asking citizens to fill out the library survey to help us in our planning for the future. Please come by and fill one out.
Voter registration forms
County Clerk June Madrid asked us to help distribute voter registration forms. If you did not vote in the 1998 General Election and didn't send in a small white continuation card you received in the mail, you are not registered to vote. If there is any question, come by and pick up a form to send in.
End of summer
Three more story times to go. Friday mornings at 11 a.m. for the pre-school crowd. It feels like summer's just begun, but so many of our part-time residents are already talking about going home. It doesn't seem right, as the best is yet to come with our beautiful fall scenery and weather.
Of course the weather may be a great guessing game this year. We have a group of weather prognosticators who have an annual bet on the first appreciable snowfall. The library lawn is the site for this event.
Hmmm - I wonder when?
Bird songs, nature sounds
The Colorado Division of Wildlife has a number of compact discs, cassette tapes and videos that present the sounds of wildlife. They range from frogs and toads to birds and various habitats. Ask for a copy of available material at the desk.
We're very proud to announce the new business and consumer website which is a collaborative effort of the Colorado State Library, the Auraria Library and Colorado Business Librarians. This project is a cooperative collection of Internet resources. http://business.aclin.org/ has information on starting businesses in Colorado, and on state and federal laws and regulations concerning commerce. There are many links to other websites dealing with business in our state.
The State of Colorado Home Page is www.state.co.us and has current state government information. ACLIN and this site are packed with helpful information.
The state now has an 800 number which will get you in touch with most departments - 1-800-332-1716. This is listed in the Governor's Advocate Directory.
Financial help came from Exxon Corporation and Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Bohannon's matching gift. Materials came from: Dick and Bonnie Babillis, Sherrell Bohannon, Judy Schifiliti, Beverly Luffel, Marilyn Pruter, Patti Exster, Carol Hakala, Peggy Tucker, Judy Cecka, Don Draper, Gary Neel, Dave Northrup, Emily Stoltz, Mary Lou Sprowle, Dale and Debra Eden.
Brooks and Holt show at gallery
Well there's no such thing as too much of a good thing. This speaks true for our featured artists at the gallery this week. That's why we are pleased to have them show again at the PSAC gallery. "Gifts From the Mother" is a two-person exhibit featuring hand-woven items made from an assortment of natural material, created by the gifted hands of Donna Brooks. Also featured, for your viewing pleasure, are the beautiful landscape paintings of area newcomer Tom Holt.
You can feast your eyes on Donna's fastidious pine needle baskets woven to near perfection or gaze upon her animal skin pouches and rattles. Or if landscape paintings are more your fancy, you'll have many choices of Tom Holt's interpretation of New Mexico Wilderness. Either way you're in for an amazing and intriguing treat. So drop on by the PSAC gallery today or any time Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Aug. 18.
Well it's nearly here and we are all trembling with anticipation. This weekend kicks off the Studio Art Tours! On Aug. 14 you will have the opportunity to witness the study area of many local artists so you can witness where the magic of these artists' creations begin. Their own private domains will be open to the public for all the world to see.
The artists featured in this amazing fund raiser are Betty Slide doing watercolors, oils, pastels, notecards and books; Deborah Robinson with watercolors, mainly figures and floral; Joe Leal demonstrating chainsaw carving and metal sculpture; Kent Gordon with bronzes; Cappy and Monica White doing woodworking, doors and furniture; Kathleen Wolfe with oil and pastel paintings, landscapes; Emily Tholberg showing her mosaic art; Soledad Estrada-Leo portrait artist, pastels, charcoal and pencil; Virginia Bartlett doing oils and watercolors; Sandy and John Applegate with colored pencil, watercolors, semi-abstract and photography; Linda Lerno demonstrating painting, matting and framing; and Roberto and Ana Garcia with bronze sculptures and foundry for casting.
What an amazing and diverse group of individuals! Wish you could participate in this once in a lifetime event? Well, you can. Tickets may be purchased here at the PSAC gallery in the Town Park or at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center or the Ruby Sisson Library. Ticket prices are $8 in advance and $10 on the day of the tour. Along with your ticket, you will receive an exclusive map to the artists' studio locations, allowing you to choose who you see first and last and all in between. Keep in mind that the show starts at 10 a.m. and wraps up at 5 p.m. This is bound and determined to be a fun and adventurous event for the whole family. Do not miss this rare opportunity to see the work stations of the wonderful artists in your community.
Another exhibit to look forward to this month is Bruce Andersen and Don Craigens' "Nature of the Seasons," Aug. 19 through Sept. 1. The opening reception will be Aug. 19. Don and Bruce will be "exploring nature throughout the seasons with creative metal sculpture and splendid photography." Be prepared to be astonished and entertained by this upcoming spectacle of these two talented artists.
The PSAC is now issuing a gallery guide for Pagosa Spring galleries. Galleries included are Lantern Dancer Gallery in the River Center; Cimarrona Gallery located at 302 Pagosa, 1 block east of the stop light down town; Milt Lewis Gallery on the main street of Pagosa; Moonlight Books and Gallery located in the middle of the main downtown block; Treasures of the Rockies located downtown on the corner opposite the County Courthouse; and the Pagosa Springs Arts Building in the Town Park. You can pick up a brochure at any of these fine galleries. Pick one up today.
Thanks so much to the folks at Mountain Greenery for their donation of flowers at every PSAC gallery's exhibit opening, usually every other Thursday 5 to 7 p.m. We appreciate your generosity.
The Pagosa Springs Arts Gallery may have two, two-week exhibit openings in September and October. If you are interested in doing a fall exhibit, please call Joanne at the arts building in the town park at 264-5020.
Norton, McGregor: 2 shooting stars
Word on the streets has it that we're in for a bit of a meteor shower late tonight, so in honor of this celestial light show I decided to review two somewhat obscure films that feature a couple of young stars who have been shooting across the movie screen with some regularity the last few years.
Those two rising stars are Ewan McGregor and Edward Norton. McGregor first caught our attention in the seedy but masterfully done "Trainspotting." This summer, he has enjoyed some decent exposure as young Obi Wan in "Star Wars: Episode One: The Phantom Menace: How This Whole Big Thing Got Started Back When Darth Vader Still Looked and Acted Much Like Opie Taylor."
Norton recently shocked and disturbed viewers in "American History X," in which he played a fun-loving white supremacist. This fall, he'll star in David Fincher's "Fight Club," a movie that promises to make "American History X" look like "Pollyanna." Fincher gave us that heartwarming family flick "Seven" a few years back.
Anyway, here's a look at what these two young men were doing back in the old days, in 1996. McGregor was adding youthful good looks to Mark Herman's "Brassed Off," while Norton was already making audiences squirm in "Primal Fear."
If you like brass music, but have a hard time picking up on subtle political messages in movies, you should really enjoy "Brassed Off." It's about a group of Yorkshire coal miners who play in a brass band when they're above ground. Margaret Thatcher and her band of henchmen are closing all the pits, and Grimley pit - where the brass musicians work - is on her hit list.
It gets worse. The closing of the pits will also mean the end of the Grimley Colliery band, directed by a retired miner named Danny (Pete Postlethwaite) whose passion for music is a joy to watch. Danny, however, is dying from black lung, and he's desperately hoping for his band to win a championship in Albert Hall before he goes on to that Great Coal Mine in the sky.
Meanwhile, Danny's buffoonish son Phillip, also a miner, is losing his family. And these folks are just a tiny cluster of people among the thousands going through the same thing due to the closing of the pits.
Can you see why this movie was marketed as a comedy in which characters played by Tara Fitzgerald and McGregor "turn the town upside down"? Neither can I. In fact, it's easy to forget these two are even in the film. Fitzgerald plays Gloria, a young woman who joins the Grimley band (she's the band's first female) and rekindles a late childhood romance with Andy (McGregor). They're an awfully cute couple, but some of that cuteness begins to fade when Andy learns Gloria is (or seems to be) on the side of management.
The appeal of this film has little to do with either the eye-pleasing Fitzgerald or the shooting star McGregor. "Brassed Off" is stolen by Postlethwaite as Danny. He's the one we care about, the one we pull for as he tries to realize his dream of a colliery band championship. His performance alone makes the movie worth seeing.
For me, "Brassed Off" was kind of a guilty pleasure. I knew I wasn't watching "Citizen Kane" and I knew that director Herman was occasionally lapsing into sentimentality, trying too hard to squeeze tears out of his audience.
Sometimes, however, Herman got it just right. When Danny collapses and winds up in the hospital, his band gathers beneath his window one night and serenades him with a beautiful version of "Danny Boy." In order to see, the band members have worn their miner helmets with the lights on. When they've finished the number, they slowly switch those lights off in a nice symbolic touch that suggests not only the end of the music, but the end of their lives as miners and of Danny's life, period.
One piece of trivia for you. Some of you will remember that three years ago a group called Chumbawumba had a hit song called "Tubthumper" that got a lot of play before high school basketball games. The oft-recurring refrain was "I get knocked down, I get up again, you're never going to keep me down."
I thought you'd like to know that the spoken words that begin the song were taken from Danny's speech at Albert Hall. Referring to the championship trophy, he says, "I thought it mattered, I thought the music mattered. But does it bullocks? Not compared to our people matter." (That's Yorkshire coal miner talk.)
While we're overlooking McGregor to see the unheralded Postlethwaite in "Brassed Off," we pretty much ignore Richard Gere to watch young Edward Norton's stunning debut in "Primal Fear."
Gere plays a hot-dog, arrogant, self-centered, amoral, big-shot defense attorney who decides to defend a young man accused of brutally slaying and mutilating a Chicago archbishop. Sounds like just another trashy story, another one of them ol' nasty talkin', shootin' and cussin' movies.
Then we meet Aaron Stampler (Norton), the altar boy accused of the heinous crime. The poor kid has been abused by his father back in rural Kentucky, then rescued off the streets of Chicago by the "good" archbishop (see the movie and you'll understand the quotation marks). He's a bashful stutterer with a slack-jawed, mouth-breathing, hangdog look. Why, this boy couldn't even hurt a fly!
Then we discover he has another side, a vicious, explosive, evil, snarling, foul doppleganger named, appropriately enough, Roy. It is really difficult to believe that Norton has both of those characters inside him, but he switches effortlessly from one to another.
The movie turns out to be about "doubles," that is, about our tendency to have two faces (if not more). This is true for the archbishop, for the defense attorney Marty (Gere), and obviously for Aaron and Roy. The beauty of the story is the way Aaron/Roy is/are able to completely turn Marty's world upside down, forcing him to take a wholesale inventory on his nasty little value system. The attorney's potential conversion or awakening, however, would have been much less credible without Norton's outstanding performance as the accused.
Some film critics see Norton as the '90s equivalent to the '70s' Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. I agree with them. This guy is the real deal. While McGregor's star may fade (and I'm not wishing that on him), Norton could quit today and still have a place etched in the history of cinematic acting.
If you still haven't seen Norton's work, and you're sure there are no kids in your entire subdivision, maybe you should rent both "The People Vs. Larry Flynt" and "American History X" to see this actor's range.
Finally, another piece of trivia. The role of Aaron/Roy was originally intended to be played by the pre-"Titanic" Leonardo DiCaprio, but he declined the part.
Grandpa Paden's gone, but not dead
Grandpa Paden has been gone for a long time. Just the same, Grandpa Paden is not dead. I'm not sure grandfathers die, ever .
Personally speaking, I've been doing grandfatherly things quite a lot over the last two or three years, things like swapping diapers and filling sippy cups. Frankly, the job has its ups and downs. The fact that I've not had much preparation has complicated my role. While looking for help, I checked several institutions of higher learning, but the search was a waste of time. None of them offer courses in how to be a grandfather.
If I had been around my own grandfathers more, it might have helped. Life wasn't that kind. All of my grandfathers but one passed away before I was old enough to know them. The one I remember was Great-grandpa Paden. He is worth remembering. If I can be half the grandfather he was, my grandkids will indeed be fortunate.
Grandpa and Grandma Paden were the oldest people in the world, as I remember them. Grandma Paden had arthritis or something so she couldn't walk. She either spent all of her time in bed, in a wheel chair, or complaining when Grandpa Paden moved her from the wheelchair to the couch.
Going to Grandpa Paden's house was a lot of fun because he lived next to the railroad tracks. When I'd hear that old train whistle blow, I'd run outside and stand as close to the tracks as I could tolerate while the train rumbled and clattered past. At first, that was pretty close, but when the engine came along side and I could see those wheels going 'round and 'round and the puffs of steam snorting and swirling along the ground beside the engine, I backed up. No matter how many times I tried to be brave and stand up close, the overwhelming commotion of the engine always forced me to retreat.
Eating was a major reason to go to Grandpa Paden's house. I always anticipated the food as we pulled into his driveway. Breakfast was the big treat. We either had Nabisco shredded wheat or buckwheat pancakes lathered with blackberry jelly.
During the evening, he'd haul out a sack full of popcorn. This popcorn was still on the ears and the first job was to shell it by rubbing two ears together. Then the popcorn was put in a skillet and heated on the old wood-burning kitchen range. The person doing the popping, usually my older sister, held the skillet handle in one hand and a lid over the popcorn in her other hand. She'd slide the skillet back and forth while we all listened to the crescendo of miniature explosions going on under the lid. When the popping stopped, she'd pour melted butter over the mound of fluffy white kernels, then give us each a bowl.
A glass of cold milk always accompanied the popcorn. Milk and butter were wonderful treats at Grandpa Paden's house because they were the real thing, fresh from Grandpa's Guernsey cow. We even got to run the plunger up and down in the old crock churn, a task more chore than fun.
Also among the wonders at Grandpa's house were the two apple trees. Now apple trees are pretty common fare for anyone growing up in Oregon, but Grandpa Paden's apple trees were special. He had green and yellow and red apples, all on the same tree, all on the same branch. I watched him make a graft one time, so I understood why his apple trees were different.
Sometimes Grandpa Paden would put a shotgun over his shoulder, climb the fence, and march off across the neighboring fields. After awhile he'd return with a bunch of pigeons stuffed into a tote sack he was carrying. He'd clean and prepare the pigeons and we'd have them for supper.
Best of all, Grandpa Paden was a whittler. With a piece of soft pine and his ever-present pocket knife, he'd sit on the back porch and whittle and tell stories until that block of wood became a gun or bowie knife or boat or sometimes even a horse. Of course he had no place to store his creations, so I had to take it off of his hands.
As life passed by, my family moved to a town some distance from Grandpa Paden's town. A few years later, I think I was about 15 years old, Mom asked me to sit down beside her. She held an envelope in her hand, one edge torn and crumpled. Her eyes were red.
"Grandpa Paden is dead," she said. "We're going back to Eugene for the funeral."
Thoughts of Grandpa Paden filled my head, visions of trains and shredded wheat and popcorn and apple trees and of him carrying Grandma Paden to the couch. She had passed away some years earlier.
"You're wrong, mom," I said. "Grandpa Paden's not dead."
Not taken seriously
I am writing this letter to inform your readers of our third theft that occurred on July 27th and how the Sheriff's Department is handling the investigation.
At approximately 6-6:30 p.m. most all of my tools that I use on the job site were stolen, totaling an amount of approximately $10,000.
On the morning of July 28th, we called into Dispatch at 7:15 a.m. It took the officer two hours and fifteen minutes to arrive. I called Dispatch three times while we were waiting and the dispatcher who answered the phone told me she didn't know why it was taking the officer so long. I also informed the lady from Dispatch that we had a description of the vehicle. When the officer did arrive, Dispatch called him and asked him if he found his way.
I had my crew and a witness, Mr. Carl Smith, waiting for the officer. I gave the officer a complete inventory of the tools that were stolen along with their estimated values. The neighbor, Carl Smith, gave the officer his story and how he had seen the vehicle the evening before during the robbery, but thought it was one of my workers. I also told the deputy to go to the road and bridge building and ask their workers if they had seen anything. The people that I spoke with that work there said they never saw him.
We faxed a complete inventory of the tools taken for the second time to the sheriff's department. Ten days later, after complaining to Gene Crabtree, the county commissioner, and Mayor Ross Aragon who referred her to D.A. investigator Pete Gonzales, my wife finally obtained a deputy's report. Even then, the officer did not get the description of the vehicle correct that was given to him by the witness.
Also, I identified a vehicle that fit the description that the witness gave and told my wife to call it into the sheriff's department. When she called, she spoke with Joleen the secretary. She asked to speak with Otis May. Joleen held the phone down and told Mr. May, "It's Wanda Bowman who is causing trouble for you again." Mr. May said "tell her I'm not in." Joleen told my wife, "He's not in." My wife replied, "I hear you talking to him, is he in for everyone else, but just not me?" She answered "I mean he's with someone."
My wife went in and spoke with Russell Hebert. She informed him that the description of the vehicle was still incorrect on the report. He told her "we can nit pick this thing to death all day." It seems to me that getting the correct description of the vehicle would not be "nit picking."
The amount that was taken from me is considered a felony and I feel this situation was not taken seriously from the beginning. I didn't know the sheriff's department was only qualified to hand out traffic tickets and DUI's.
Made of humans
Let's not throw out the baby with the bath water.
Yes, the PLPOA board has made mistakes and most likely it will continue from time to time to make mistakes - after all, it's made of humans. I've disagreed with decisions made by the board from time to time, but let's not have such short memories. Had it not been for a previous board all the Pagosa Lakes area would have lost its green belt areas to Fairfield. Did that fight cost money? Of course. Was it worth it? It was, for those of us who live on a green belt area. Another board fought for the money to build the roads that Fairfield had been committed to build, but had not when it declared bankruptcy. Did that cost money? Surely, but it was worth it for people who owned property that had no roads to it or had such poor roads that they couldn't get to their property during rainy weather.
I'd like to invite all those in favor of doing away with the PLPOA board to move near me in the Vista (where my husband and I enjoy living) if they succeed in eliminating the PLPOA board completely. Someone has to be available to enforce the covenants and restrictions in our area. Otherwise, those who do break the covenants would multiply greatly and there would be no recourse for those of us who don't. So as I said, let's not throw out the baby with the bath water.
Possibly, the property owners need to consider a suggestion that was made to me. Have each area, such as the Vista, Meadows, Lake Hatcher, etc. Send one representative each year to serve for a year on an advisory committee to the PLPOA board. The problems that exist in the Vista are totally different from problems the Meadows might have.
Editor's note: I'm not wanting to throw out the baby with the bath. I advocate reducing the size of the staff and accompanying excessive equipment, salaries and benefits that are used to pay for the simple operation of washing a baby. The civil court rules on covenant and restriction violations.
Regarding Ron Levitan's letter to the SUN of Aug. 5: as Ronald Reagan did coin so effectively, "There you go again!"
It was blatantly obvious years ago from Ron's letters to the editor that he was frantically searching for "any" book that would actually equate God to be amongst the earth's great liberals. Somehow he would not be denied this driving quest. But since he's happily relocated, he's now attempting to plagiarize his "grace cakes" with some feeble arguments that just don't rise very well.
Sorry: I'm not swallowing his psycho babble. How can God possibly be a liberal Ron? Abject "failure" is not part of his daily diet. However; at least you do emphatically admit to the stunning assumption that God does indeed have the ability to take care of himself. Now there's your true balance.
Your "grace cake" recipe requires more yeast Ron: He's risen.
'PLPOA must go'
Some of us are living within the PLPOA boundaries because we can't afford property outside of it, but that's not to say that it's not expensive within also. This has happened within the last four years due to people coming here with large amounts of money causing prices to go up.
If you purchase property in the PLPOA you do not have a choice to be a member or not be a member. You become a member automatically with the purchase and you have no say about it. You do not own your property in the PLPOA. If you do not comply to their covenants they have the power to take away the property and resell it. Basically you are a renter, never an owner. If may seem like a lot of people are moving in but at the same time a lot are leaving.
I talked to a member of the PLPOA board on Monday and he stated that the firm that has been hired to manage us is doing the best job ever. This board member also stated that if he had their way the organization would be done away with. Put a set of covenants in and leave it at that. I agree.
We also talked about the Public Safety. Members of the PLPOA have put out $89,000 for two vehicles fully equipped and have no say in the operation of the Public Safety. Because the Public Safety officers are reserve deputies under the Archuleta Sheriff's Department the sheriff tells them what to do. The members of the PLPOA are paying these officers and buying the equipment for the sheriff's use. I will correct a statement from my letter last week. I learned that the fines from citations goes to the state, not the county.
This organization has out lived its usefulness. It's time to do away with it.
'This is America'
I was so shocked when I read Roy Starling's article in today's paper that I hardly know where to begin.
This is America. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives citizens property rights which includes real estate. America is also a capitalist democracy which means that anyone who is willing to work hard enough can, through the free enterprise system, improve their quality of life. Competition through the free enterprise system has produced quality goods and services that allow us to have our comfortable lifestyle.
Mr. Starling's article infers that the owners of Piano Creek Ranch do not have the right to own the property and furthermore, no one should own property.
I saw the movie "Saving Private Ryan" and I read Tom Brokaw's book "The Greatest Generation." Mr. Starling is from a generation that has forgotten the great sacrifices that those who came before us made to ensure our freedoms and property rights. He doesn't know or care that 19-year-old boys laid in the jungles of Vietnam and the beaches of Normandy with their guts hanging out crying for their mothers while defending our way of life and freedoms.
"Developer" is not a four-letter word. Unless Mr. Starling lives in a tent in the park he probably lives in a house on a lot created by a developer. Same for the rest of us. The property owners of Piano Creek Ranch will pay property taxes that will improve our school systems and roads and they will purchase from local merchants with money they made somewhere else.
I found his comment about our local students most offensive. Yes, Mr. Starling, I hope that every young person in Pagosa Springs looks at the homes in Piano Creek and knows that he or she lives in America and yes they can work hard and buy such a home if they sacrifice and work hard enough.
I am especially thankful that those attitudes shown by Mr. Starling do not represent the majority opinion of Pagosa Springs.
Editor's note: Property taxes imposed on the East Fork Ranch are paid to Mineral County; the property is not located in Archuleta County. Roy neither lives in a subdivision or a park. His generation was born in 1950 and therefore was aware of the events of the Vietnam War and studied the events of World War II and Korea; he also was presented information about his country's military history during basic training and four years with the U.S. Air Force. I agree with your opening sentence: Your letter clearly indicates you hardly know where to begin.
The staff of New Life Youth Outreach would like to offer your community our sincere apologies for the excessive noise on Saturday night, July 31, and again Sunday morning, Aug. 1. We are sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused them and their families.
We want to thank them and the town of Pagosa Springs for allowing us to hold this year's youth summer camp in their beautiful town. We had an incredible time and appreciate all the town offered us. You truly helped to make our camp a success.
Once again, please forgive us for the loud noise and disturbance we may have caused.
Executive Assistant to Youth
Pastor John Bolin
In the absence of Lee Sterling, the chief organizer of the annual Chili Contest (and who is vacationing in England), the contest coordinating committee wants to thank all of the contestants who entered the Chili Cook Off and Tortilla Masters competition at the 1999 Archuleta County Fair.
In addition, the committee would like to thank the following individuals for their efforts in making the contest a success: Judges were Jeff Caldwell, Paul and Lorrie Carpino, Gene Crabtree, Georgie Curtis, Wilma Espoy, George and Judy Esterly, Carol Feazel, Dick and Betty Hillyer, Ron and Sheila Hunkin, Curt Killion, Mamie Lynch, Butch and June Madrid, Pete Mergens, Dave and Diane Ousterling, Dick and Gerri Potticary, Tom and Wyoma Richards and John and Mary Weiss. Servers were Alice Archuleta, Ted Archuleta, Joan Cortright, Gene Haning, Ilene Haykus and Nan Rowe. Registration included Peggy Cotton and Sue Donlon; Master of Ceremonies was Andy Donlon.
If anybody was inadvertently omitted, it's Lee's fault.
Hi. . . I was vacationing in Pagosa Springs last week, and after coming home found the P.S. newspaper on-line. I just now looked at your slide show, and really enjoyed the photos. Nice job.
My name is Darroll Paiga. On Aug. 4 while camping in Pagosa Springs, four of us had to be rescued due to a river (Middle Fork of the Piedra River) that had risen substantially overnight. Thanks to your dedicated firemen, police and local volunteers, an extension ladder was used as a bridge across a 25-foot section in the river (near Middle Fork Trail) and we were rescued. My two sons and their friend (ages 10, 8 and 8) plus myself and the friend's dad wish to express our warmest gratitude.
I have a picture of the rescue which shows my 8-year-old son crawling across the ladder bridge with the search and rescue team on the other side. We left a copy of the photo at the fire station on Saturday, but I will be happy to scan and e-mail it to you should you want to publish it in your paper. We just want to publicly thank those men who helped us that day and thought you could mention it in your paper.
Enemy is us
As a walker in the Pagosa Lakes area, I am beginning to notice a new style in roadside refuse. For lack of imagination, I term it "McLitter." McLitter of course includes trash other than that originating from our drive-in food establishments.
The locations of the improperly ditched containers lead me to believe that our visitors are not the cause of this blight against beauty but rather as a comic strip character states and I paraphrase, "We have found the enemy and it is us."
I am part of the solution, but it's a poor solution. I carry a plastic grocery bag and pick up inadvertently misplaced items. Now if we could only recycle some of it.
Samantha Trujillo was named to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs' Dean's List for the 1999 spring semester. Associate Dean K. M. Rangaswamy reported that Trujillo maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average for 16 hours of course work during the spring semester.
Due to the incomplete information that was provided the SUN for the obituary of the late Phyllis Dotson, the name of her sister, Della Gallegos of Durango, was omitted from the list of survivors.
Former Pagosa Springs resident Mrs. Edith Johnson, 91, died July 30, 1999, at the Arkansas Valley Regional Nursing Care Center in La Junta.
Mrs. Johnson was born Nov. 28, 1907, at Texola, Okla., to Dugas and Mable "Smelker" Goodwin. As a child, she homesteaded with her family near Kim.
She married Jack Johnson at Sarah, Okla., in 1929. She and her husband moved to La Junta in 1950. The Johnsons resided in Pagosa Springs from 1973 to 1978 and were co-owners of Johnson's Chevrolet with their son Benny Johnson.
Mrs. Johnson is survived by her sons Donnie Johnson and Billy Johnson, both of La Junta; Danny Johnson of Kim and Ben Johnson of Pagosa Springs; and grandchildren John Johnson, Jace Johnson and Janae Johnson of Pagosa Springs.
Funeral and interment services for Mrs. Johnson were held in La Junta with Pastor Maynard Bowen officiating.
Sharon "Bimbo" Harolene Radcliff, daughter of Harold and Ruby Mae Radcliff was born Aug. 7, 1953, in Durango and died Aug. 5, 1999, on Wolf Creek Pass.
Sharon graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 1971 and obtained her B.A. degree in music from Fort Lewis College.
She spent most of her life in southwestern Colorado and was married to Larry Luzar of Durango for 20 years. She has three beautiful daughters, Kristy Lynn, 17, Tracy Ann, 13 and 8-year-old Casey Marie. After Sharon divorced, she moved back to her family's Dyke Ranch to care for her father.
Her family said she loved country music and could dance the night away. Sharon trained horses, taught riding and was an expert equestrian. Sharon laughed with her friends, had a passion for movies and was never seen without a pitcher of iced tea. But more than life itself, Sharon absolutely loved her girls.
She is survived by her father Harold Radcliff; her only sister, Wanda Chadwick; brother-in-law Dave Chadwick; her three daughters; two nieces, Shana Lee and Sharlene Chadwick; a nephew, Shannon Chadwick, and three great-nieces, Aja, Jade and Megen.
Caroline Ann Kuhns
Mark and Susan Kuhns would like to announce the birth of their baby girl, Caroline Ann Kuhns, "Carrie Ann," born June 7, 1999, in Denver. Other well wishers include her older sister, Allison Kuhns.
Caroline Ann's paternal grandparents are Richard and Jean Kuhns of Parker. Her maternal grandparents are Ellsworth and Hazel Cramer of Canton, Ohio.