September 2, 1999
Front Page
September 2, 1999

Plane crash claims two Pagosa men

By Karl Isberg

Two Pagosa Springs residents lost their lives on Sept. 1 in the crash of a small, single-engine experimental plane near Bayfield.

The accident occurred approximately 8 miles east of Bayfield and 1 mile north of U.S. 160. Emergency crews were dispatched to the scene at 11 a.m.

According to a press release from the La Plata County Sheriff's Office, the plane crashed in a ponderosa pine forest, killing both occupants instantly. There was no fire at the crash site.

The press release stated the crash was witnessed by persons on the ground. A witness told La Plata County sheriff personnel the pilot of the plane did a barrel roll, attempted to execute a loop, but was unable to pull out of the maneuver before hitting the ground.

The two victims, not officially identified as of late Wednesday afternoon pending notification of next of kin, were in one of two "home-built" Van's RV-4 aircraft that left Stevens Field in Pagosa Springs on Wednesday morning. Pagosa residents Frank Hutchins and John Huft were in the second plane.

Hutchins and Huft reportedly lost contact with the second aircraft and their attempts to establish a radio link were unsuccessful. When the two men circled back they saw the other plane's wreckage on the ground.

Stevens Field manager Tim Smith said Hutchins and Huft returned to the Pagosa airfield where they contacted him. Smith, in turn, called Archuleta County Central Dispatch and the National Transportation Safety Board to report the accident.

Officials of the Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were expected to arrive at the crash site Wednesday afternoon to begin an investigation.

Once next of kin have been notified, identities of the two victims will be released by the La Plata County coroner.


Growth, development issues crowd agenda

By John M. Motter

"Save the East Fork" was the title plastered on posters inviting people to an Aug. 25 meeting conducted by Friends of the East Fork Valley.

The purpose of the meeting was to build opposition to the proposed development of private land located along the East Fork of the San Juan River by a firm called Piano Creek Ranch LLC.

About 90 people attended the evening meeting held in the county fair building at the Archuleta County fairgrounds. It was unclear how many of those in attendance oppose development and how many are simply curious about what is going on.

Conducting the meeting were Kathryn Nelson, Mark Pearson, Gwen Lachelt, and Dan Johnson on behalf of Friends of the East Fork Valley. Friends of the East Fork Valley is a coalition of environmental organizations including San Juan Citizens Alliance, Save Our San Juans, Durango Ancient Forest Rescue, Colorado Wild, and the Weminuche Group branch of the Sierra Club.

The San Juan Citizens Alliance has about 360 members, the Save Our San Juans group about 100 members, and the Weminuche group about 300 members, according to Lachelt, director of San Juan Citizens Alliance. She didn't know how many people belong to Colorado Wild or Durango Ancient Forest Rescue.

After presenting a description of the development proposed by Piano Creek, the protesters described why they oppose the development, answered questions from the audience, and discussed future strategies.

"It's my personal feeling that all of the facts concerning this development work to my advantage," said Johnson, one of the speakers opposed to the development. "I'm against this type of development in East Fork Valley."

Camping in the valley is okay, but not a development with the characteristics of the proposed Piano Creek Ranch, according to Johnson, who said the issue is a class issue.

"East Fork should be protected for everyone's enjoyment, it's wildlife habitat left intact, not reserved for the exclusive, jet-setting, high-rollers," a Save the East Fork Valley document proclaims.

According to the same document passed out at the meeting, most of the mountain valleys of Colorado have been turned into trophy homes, golf courses, strip malls, ski resorts, and other clutter.

They assert that the East Fork Valley has avoided this kind of development and should be spared because development there will push wildlife out of critical habitat, disrupt elk migration routes, foul clean-flowing streams, and turn productive wetlands and meadows into manicured, pesticide-laden golf courses. In addition, according to the protesters, Archuleta County will be burdened with growth costs, but will not receive property tax revenues since the proposed development is in Mineral County.

One of the strategies proposed for stopping the development involves applying public pressure against the U.S. Forest Service in connection with an environmental assessment that will probably be required to improve the Forest Service road accessing the property.

An environmental assessment will probably be required, according to Jo Bridges, district ranger for the Pagosa Ranger District. The Forest Service is currently studying the need for and likely parameters of such a study, Bridges said.

"That road will remain open to the public," Bridges said. "One of the questions is, what will be the environmental effects of keeping it open all winter?"

Other strategies proposed for opposing the development include applying pressure against Mineral County officials responsible for okaying building and development plans, and other governmental agencies responsible for approving land development and utility implementation plans.

Mineral County was singled out because the development plans must go through the Mineral County Planning Commission and the Mineral County commissioners. Several people at the meeting expressed the opinion that Mineral County needs money so badly, they might approve anything. Another member of the audience suggested that Mineral County officials might not have the "mental capacity" to deal with a development of this complexity.

Those in attendance and opposed to the development were urged to attend all public meetings relative to the development, to write letters of opposition to elected officials, and to write letters of opposition to newspapers in the area.

Two officials from Piano Creek in attendance at the meeting were invited to speak, but declined. They invited written comments concerning Piano Creek plans and invited those present to visit the company's headquarters in Pagosa Springs. Piano Creek conducted a public meeting concerning their plans earlier this year.

Finally, several commentators from the audience suggested that persons or organizations opposed to Piano Creek's plans should either purchase the property or lobby the government to make the purchase, since the proposed development is on private land.

A statement in one of the handouts claims that the land to be developed passed from Forest Service to private hands through "misguided land exchanges" in 1933 and 1943.

In a seeming contradiction to the "misguided land exchange statement," homesteaders lived in the valley from about 1880, long before the Forest Service was created, until approximately 1911, according to government documents and local history sources. Lands lived on by those homesteaders are included in the property being developed. Lands acquired from the Forest Service by trade form only a portion of the private land involved.

Friends of the East Fork Valley has scheduled a catch and release fly fishing, barbecue, and cleanup get together on the private property on Sept. 18. According to the Friends, government documents transferring title to the property from the Forest Service to Whit Newton during 1933 and 1943 guaranteed public access to trails and to the river for fishing.

Not so, says Piano Creek spokesperson Jerry Sanders. Piano Creek does not recognize any public fishing access to the private property.

"We're still researching that issue," said Bridges. "We do not see anything about fishing rights in Forest Service documents conveying the property to Whit Newton. There are some ancillary documents connected with the transaction which we can't read. We're trying to have those documents transcribed. We don't have anything conclusive on that issue so far."

The Piano Creek development contemplates selling about 395 timeshare memberships at a cost of $500,000 per membership. Proposed amenities include 15 homes for the original investors, a lodge, individual dwellings for members, golf, skiing, horseback riding, fly fishing, guided tours of the surrounding mountains, and more. The area will be open year around. Employee housing will be provided.

Planning for the project will be reviewed by the Mineral County Planning Commission with ultimate approval of the plans resting in the hands of the Mineral County commissioners.


Summer's over: School starts Tuesday

By Roy Starling

For about 1,540 school-aged youngsters, this weekend will put the lid on the rainy last summer of the decade, the century, the millennium. Early Tuesday morning, it'll be time to go back to school.

Classes at the elementary school, which houses kindergarten through fourth grade, will begin at 8:05 Tuesday morning. Principal Cyndy Secrist wants parents to know that "the doors to the building aren't open until 7:45 a.m., so there's no supervision of children until then."

Monday through Thursday, elementary school students are dismissed at 3:10 p.m. On Friday, they go home two hours earlier.

Secrist says she expects about 550 students to show up Tuesday.

Fifth and sixth graders at the intermediate school will begin classes at 8 a.m. and get out at 3:30 p.m., except on Fridays when the final bell will ring at 1:30 p.m. Principal Butch Madrid says he currently has 239 students enrolled.

Junior high students - seventh and eighth graders - will follow the same schedule as the intermediate school. Principal Larry Lister says the enrollment now stands at 250 students, and a surprisingly high number of them want to play sports.

"Almost 50 percent of our boys want to play football," he said. "Because of the large number of students involved in sports, we've added a 'C' schedule for volleyball and football."

At the high school, where Principal Bill Esterbrook is expecting about 500 students, students should report to the commons area at 7:50 a.m. Tuesday to pick up their schedules. School will let out at 3:20 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and two hours earlier on Fridays.

The high school will have its freshman orientation tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the commons area. "Parents should call my office if they're attending," Esterbrook said. "We need to know how many are attending."

New student registration is continuing at all four schools during regular office hours. New students need to show up with their birth certificates, immunization records and Social Security numbers. If immunization records need to be updated, students will be given two weeks to do so. After that, they're excluded from school until they get the required shots.

Junior high secretary Cheryl Bogert said immunization requirements for seventh and eighth graders have changed this year. "Seventh and eighth graders are now required by law to have a second measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and the hepatitis B series which consists of three shots."

Superintendent Terry Alley said anyone having questions about school bus routes should contact district transportation director John Rose at 264-2305.


Rain,rain, will you ever go away

By John M. Motter

August rainfall in Pagosa Country totaled 7.48 inches, a new record that shatters the old record of 5.36 inches by more than two inches.

"Rainfall records are being set all over the state, especially in your part of the state," said Brian Avery, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction.

By the end of August, the precipitation total in Pagosa Springs since Jan. 1 reached 20.26 inches, well above the annual average precipitation of 19.54 inches. The average January through August precipitation total is 12.31 inches. August rainfall averages 2.52 inches.

August's total precipitation approaches the record for any month since record keeping started in 1939. The overall record was 7.8 inches set in October 1972. In January of 1957, 7.79 inches were recorded. This year's amount ranks third on the all time list.

The end may be in sight, but not before a few more drenchings, according to Avery.

"Thursday will be cloudy and windy with afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms," Avery said. "There's a good chance for blustery winds with heavy rain or hail."

The amount of rainfall may decrease over the coming weekend, but the possibility for afternoon showers and thunderstorms remains through Sunday, according to Avery.

"Relief from the monsoon rains may be in sight," Avery said. "The present rainfall is coming from the west instead of the Gulf of Mexico. The monsoon season could continue through mid-September or it might be over."

Temperatures ranging from highs of 75 degrees through lows in the upper 40s or low 50s are forecast through the coming weekend, Avery said. A slight cooling trend could be evident Saturday or Sunday.

Rain fell four days last week, leaving a total of 1.89 inches in the rain gauge at the official weather station at Stevens Field. The heaviest rainfall was Tuesday morning when 0.93 inches were recorded.

Based on records kept over the past 55 years, September should be slightly dryer than August. The longtime average September precipitation is 1.89 inches, with a record reading of 5.68 inches recorded during September of 1970.

September snow is likely in the higher mountains, but rare in town. During September 1959, the town received three inches of snow. Traces of snow were detected during 1961. No September snow is reported for any other year in town.

October is another matter. Snow has been recorded in town during 23 of the last 53 Octobers. The average snowfall for October is 2.9 inches.


Davis, Feazel face opposition for school board seats

By Roy Starling

Two members of the School District 50 Joint board of directors face challenges in the November election, Superintendent Terry Alley told the SUN Monday.

In District 1, board president Randall Davis will be opposed by former board member Laura Haynes. A District 3 director from '93 to '98, Haynes resigned when she moved out of her district. Current director Carol Feazel was appointed to Haynes' spot on the board in '98. Davis has served on the board since 1979.

Feazel will face opposition from Kathryn Pokorney for the District 3 seat.

Russ Lee will run unopposed for the District 2 seat.


Injured 'mutton buster' doing well

By Karl Isberg

A Bayfield youngster injured in an accident at the Red Ryder Rodeo grounds on Aug. 26 is home and doing well following treatment at San Juan Regional Medical Center at Farmington.

Tyrel Pierce, 7, was hurt while participating in a "Mutton Busting" event at the Bad Moon Rodeo. Mutton busters ride sheep in a timed event similar to bronc or bull riding. According to Tyrel's father, Pat, the youngster has ridden sheep in similar events many times during the past five years.

"It was a freak accident," said Pierce in a Wednesday telephone interview. "The sheep was running full bore and the whistle blew. Tyrel was trying to get off when the sheep took a hard left and its hind feet went out from underneath it. It fell, Tyrel rapped his head on the ground and the sheep rolled over on top of him. Tyrel was hurt when his head hit the ground."

Young Pierce was knocked unconscious and was tended at the scene by an unidentified EMT and nurse, then by an Emergency Medical Services ambulance crew that transported the boy to the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center. The victim was transferred to the Air Care 1 helicopter and flown to San Juan Regional.

According to Bill Bright of EMS, the youngster "remained unconscious and not responsive to stimuli until just prior to the flight to Farmington."

Bright reported that San Juan Regional officials told him Tyrel remained unconscious for two days at the hospital with gradually improving response. Finally conscious, the youngster was released on Aug. 31 to return to the family home.

"Tyrel was released to the care of our family physician, a neurologist and a speech therapist," said Pierce. "He's looking good, but he does have some head injuries. They are treating his condition as a major concussion. He had two CAT scans and they came back negative. His one MRI came back positive. He has a number of smaller bruises on his brain that are affecting his speech and temperament. He's walking and has no broken bones at all."

While it will take some time before Tyrel recovers and participates in another event, he is not going to stay away from rodeo. In fact, said his father, Tyrel will attend the final Bad Moon Rodeo at the arena in Pagosa tonight. When he arrives back in Pagosa, he will be among a crowd of people who have exhibited care and concern for the young man since his injury.

"Everyone involved in Pagosa went out of their way with help," said Pierce, "keeping in contact and checking up on Tyrel. The EMS staff was outstanding and people we don't even know have offered their help. We are very grateful for everything."


Inside The Sun

High school may get new service-oriented club

By Roy Starling

Pagosa Springs High School Principal Bill Esterbrook is hoping his students will have another opportunity to serve their community while developing their leadership skills this year.

At a first-day assembly on Tuesday, he will make a pitch for the formation of a Key Club, an organization dedicated to community service. The club is sponsored around the world by Kiwanis International.

Bob Fisher, a member of Pagosa's Kiwanis Club, said his organization wanted "to create an opportunity through the Key Club for young people to make a difference in their community. The Key Club is all about service, first to the high school, then to the community as a whole."

"We're always looking at ways to provide opportunities for students to see the responsibility they have to their community and to their fellow man," Esterbrook said. "So anything that is service oriented, we strongly support."

Esterbrook said he would have a sign-up sheet for the club in the school office Tuesday. "If there's an interest, we'll pursue it," he said. "From time to time, different service organizations have tried to start service clubs at the school, but this is the Kiwanis' first shot at it."

"There would be close cooperation between the Kiwanis and the Key Club," Fisher said, "but the kids would run their own show, working with Mr. Esterbrook. Key Clubs tend to be very active. No one's just a member - they're an officer, a committee chairman or an active member of a committee."

Fisher said the kind of service Key Clubbers provide depends on the needs of their particular community. "The elderly, the disabled and the underprivileged have all benefited from Key Club sponsored projects," he said.

"I'd like to invite any adult interested in working with kids to come to a Kiwanis meeting and see what it's all about," Fisher said. "We meet every Wednesday at noon at the Pagosa Lodge."

Transportation director discusses school bus safety

By Roy Starling

Starting Tuesday morning, John Rose would like drivers in Archuleta County to relax, take a deep breath, slow down, be patient and "be courteous to school buses."

Rose, the new transportation director for School District 50 Joint, believes we have "a severe problem in this county with people getting impatient and running buses' flashing red lights."

In case you've forgotten, Rose will gladly refresh your memory about the school bus law: "Whenever those lights flash red, you are required by law to stop until they're turned off, whether you're on a divided highway or not."

Failure to obey this law can obviously endanger the life of a young person. But it can also take some weight out of your wallet.

"If you get a ticket for this, you lose six points off your license and you're fined up to $200," Rose said. "And it's the only traffic violation that can be reported by a bus driver, and the highway patrol can go to your home and write you up."

Rose also has some advice for young school bus passengers. For one thing, don't crowd the bus as it's stopping to pick you up. "When the bus is coming to a stop," Rose said, "stand a good six feet away from the door until the bus driver opens the door.

"When getting off the bus, step away from the bus at least three giant steps (about 10 feet). If you need to cross in front, you need to take five giant steps to the front of the bus and walk where you can be seen by the driver at all times. Always wait for the driver to give you a hand signal before crossing in front of the bus."

Even with sharing the roads with impatient drivers and negotiating wintry road conditions on mountainous terrain, Rose contends that school buses are by far the safest way to transport students to and from school.

"There has been one child killed inside a school bus in Colorado since 1989," Rose said. "During that same time, 43 Colorado kids lost their lives being driven to and from school by their parents. In 1996, the latest year we have records for, six students nationwide died in school bus accidents while over 1,000 died being transported to or from school by their parents."

According to Rose, "No vehicle has a safer record than a school bus. Colorado has the most stringent law in the Union concerning school bus structure."

The chances of a bus being involved in an accident, however, do rise significantly when students engage in disruptive behavior. "When one kid starts beating up on another, and the driver looks at the rearview mirror, the bus essentially travels the next 100 feet without a driver." Misbehaving students can cause a driver to momentarily lose track of the fact that he's carrying the equivalent of three classes (about 60 students) down the highway in a 28,000-pound projectile.

"That's why I have no tolerance for students who endanger the safety of others on a school bus," Rose said. "Working closely with the school district administration, we're developing a system that will be transportation and parent friendly and that will help us maintain our goal of keeping all 60 students on a bus safe."

Rose, who replaces the retiring Don Ruth as transportation director, has been in Pagosa Springs since 1994. "I've been a farmer in the area, raising draft horses and hay with my partner Lu Ann Baker. I retired from my job as a thermoplastic process engineer for Industrial Molding Corporation in Lubbock, Texas, and moved up here to enjoy the good life," he said.

Wanting to contribute to the community by driving a bus part time, he contacted Ruth who promptly hired him full time, assigning him the Cat Creek route.

"Then I started piddling in the shop, helping Don out," Rose said. "Within a year I was the head mechanic of the school district."

One of Ruth's principles made an impression on Rose. "Don always said, 'It's the kids who suffer.' If we don't do our jobs, that's the bottom line: The kids will suffer. I took this job because I was willing to do whatever it takes to get our kids to school and back (home) safely."

Rose's 17 drivers transport approximately 1,100 students 174,000 miles in a year, and he's justifiably proud of his crew. "I think we have the best and most conscientious drivers in the state. Our guys are really underrated. People just don't realize what driving a bus is like. Not everyone can do it. It's tough."

Still, if there are folks out there who are interested in driving and think they can get through the rigorous screening process, Rose would love to hear from them.

"We only have two subs, and we're always looking for more sub drivers," he said.



'Making' the news

Pagosa made the front page of The Durango Herald last Thursday. It's not unusual for a daily newspaper that covers a city such as Durango to report on neighboring areas whenever an important event occurs.

Having never been associated with a daily newspaper, I failed to recognize that an informal public meeting aimed at preventing the proposed Piano Creek Ranch from getting off the ground would fall into the important-event category.

So it caught me by surprise last Thursday morning when I saw the Herald's lead story on page 1 covered a public meeting that had occurred in Pagosa Springs only hours before the first section came off the Herald's presses. Even more surprising was that evidently hastily written article was accompanied by two color photographs and a map that illustrated the proposed Piano Creek development's in location in Mineral County. All together, the late breaking story and its accompanying graphics occupied more than half of the Herald's front page.

Considering the fact the meeting in Pagosa Springs lasted until about 8 p.m., and a drive to Durango takes at least an hour, I really admire the Herald's staff of photographers, graphic artists, staff writer and composition room personnel for being able to write and edit an article, pagenate the news holes and two other color photos on the front page in such a short amount of time in order to meet the deadline for the first section's press run of the August 26 edition.

I was likewise surprised to see that one of the speakers, Mark Pearson, who was listed on the agenda for the August 25 meeting in Pagosa, also was by-lined, along with his photo, as being the writer of the "Thinking Green" column which appeared on page 1 of section 2 of the Herald's August 26 edition.

In the second paragraph of Pearson's August 26 commentary, he wrote: "In an age of cynicism about government, the (Sept. 3, 1964) Wilderness Act has achieved a remarkable record of ecosystem preservation."

By the same token, in this age of cynicism about the media, I hate to think a newspaper would prepare much of its page 1 coverage of a meeting hours or days, before the meeting ever occurrs.

Based on the inaccurate statements and misinformation that have come both from the proponents and opponents of the Piano Creek Ranch proposal, it's hard not to be cynical about both sides. Hopefully newspapers can maintain their objectivity and avoid being sucked into the cynicism.

David C. Mitchell

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

I'm missing our Senior reporter

Dear Folks,

The topic of "locals" came up while I was visiting with an old-timer at the county fair last month.

Not "locals" in the sense of whether folks live in Pagosa or somewhere else; but "locals" the snippets of "local news" that used to fill the pages of the SUN up until the early 1980s.

Reading about so-and-so's guests for Sunday dinner, or who "businesses" in Durango, or who had over-night guests or relatives visiting, or trips to Denver, or accounts of how many fish so-and-so caught used to fill much of the space in each week's edition.

Mrs. Margaret Havens faithfully mailed in the weekly news of the folks in Chromo. The late Mrs. Georgeanna Etheridge was the SUN's correspondent in the Allison-Arboles area. At one time, similar weekly columns reported the goings on and happenings of the folks in the Yellow Jacket, Dyke and Upper Piedra areas.

Mrs. Norma Johnson covered Pagosa Springs and the immediate surrounding area. Whereas the other writers had weekly columns, the news Mrs. Johnson reported appeared without a headline. The single-sentence paragraphs were set apart by what typesetters call a "bullet". The bold, round dot ¥ introduced each local news account.

For years Mrs. Johnson used her phone book as a guide for calling to learn if a family had "any news to report" for the past week. She would then record the news on the pages of a yellow legal pad and turn it in to the editor.

By mid-1981, Mrs. Johnson was ready to retire from her weekly phone beat. Pagosa was growing and many unfamiliar names were appearing in each year's new phone book.

For a while, Charla Ellis assumed the role of reporting the local news of the folks of Pagosa. But though she had lived here for about six years, folks were used to hearing from Mrs. Johnson. And Charla's responsibilities as a mother were making increased demands on her time.

So it was Mrs. Thelma Risinger agreed to become the SUN's reporter for the local news in Pagosa. Being an old-timer, she knew the old-timers. But in time she discovered that folks in Pagosa were becoming so busy that they no longer had time to discuss their family's day-to-day happenings or events.

Being a resourceful person, Mrs. Risinger introduced the idea of reporting on the news of the Senior Citizens Center. It was a natural since many of the folks who used to visit one another downtown at the bank, drug store or post office, were - like Mrs. Risinger - active at the El Centro Senior Center. Thus a column was born.

For the past couple of months Mrs. Risinger has taken a leave of absence to be with her daughter, Maudie Baker, at the Bakers' ranch in Saguache. While visiting in Saguache has been a periodic pattern for Mrs. Risinger, but as many folks know, this visit is due to Mrs. Risinger's health.

I talked with her grandson, Terry Alley, last week and he reported Mrs. Risinger was still having her good days and her bad days, and was wanting to return home whenever the doctors gave their approval.

She missed being at the birthday table at the Senior Center last month, as she turned 89 on August 24. She knew Dawnie would have baked a special cake and everyone would have sung "Happy Birthday" to her and her fellow "August Babies."

She was hoping to visit her friends in Pagosa over the Labor Day weekend but plans to wait until the rain clouds leave the area. Naturally, she misses all her many friends in Pagosa, and many of us have missed the brightness she provides "The Park" on the east end of Hermosa Street.

Though folks can't play Scrabble by mail, I'm sure Mrs. Risinger would love to hear from you. Her address care of Larry and Maudie Baker, is 53094 County Road T, Saguache, CO 81149-9719.

I know she would love to hear some "local news" from her countless friends in Pagosa and elsewhere.

As she often would comment about others in her weekly reports in the Senior Citizens News: "Prayers for Thelma."

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


25 years ago

Chair lift going in at Wolf Creek

Taken from SUN files

of Sept. 5, 1974

Progress on installation of a chair lift at the Wolf Creek Ski Area has improved greatly this month. The concrete foundations are now in place for the large towers which will be put in place within a few days. Ben Pinnell, manager of the area, said that more than 100 yards of concrete were poured in one long day last week.

San Juan Lumber Company is dust coating the Hayden road for seven miles with a light surface of oil. The coating was required by the U.S. Forest Service to cut down on the dust problem while logging trucks are using the road.

The new night depository facility at Citizens Bank building at the courthouse corner is now in operation. Merchants and other citizens may make deposit in the facility at any time the bank is not open. The new facility will enable deposits of large sums of money over the weekends and on holidays.

It was announced last week that the Pagosa Hardware had been sold by Hal Franklin to Mr. and Mrs. A.M. Alexander of Georgetown, Texas. While the Alexanders are new to the business community in Pagosa, they aren't strangers to many Pagosans. The family has vacationed here off and on for the past 20 years. Last year they purchased the Indian Head Lodge at Williams Creek Lake and the establishment is operated by a daughter and her husband.


By Shari Pierce

County benefits from CCC program

The men of Civilian Conservation Corps and the county mutually benefited from the work done by the CCC program in the Pagosa area. Projects done by the men at the local camp included road construction, erosion control, repair of telephone lines, pine beetle control and fire fighting.

In late December of 1933, the local conservation works committee announced six new projects, some of which were scheduled to begin in that same month. These projects provide just a sampling of the valuable works performed in Archuleta County by the program.

The first of these projects was general repair work on the roads in the Blanco Basin in the amount of $570. The work was scheduled to last approximately 50 days and involve six men.

Gravel and excavation of trenches for water mains within the town of Pagosa Springs was scheduled to begin in January of 1935 with 16 men and last about 35 days. Estimated cost of the project was $2,224.

A third project was scheduled to last 30 days and included doing road work and repair on the Trujillo and San Juan River roads. A total of $1,703 and 15 men were allotted to this job.

Thirteen men would be assigned to do road work on the road running near the Navajo River below Chromo. The budget was set at $619.30.

Road work in the areas of Juanita, Pagosa Junction, Carracas and Kearns was to be done by 20 men. Time allotted for the project was 35 days at a budget of $2,504.

And lastly, another road project with a budget of $2,417.70 and lasting about 40 days was scheduled in the Stollsteimer area west of Pagosa Springs.

In addition to learning a wide variety of vocational skills, the men also could take advantage of several classes: Spanish, English, typing, forestry, geology, auto mechanics, bookkeeping, fingerprinting, arithmetic and algebra. Other benefits of living at the CCC camp were that the men were well fed, and had a place to live. They also had several recreational opportunities to provide a well-rounded program. Some of these were basketball, horse shoe pitching and boxing.

By 1935, the local CCC camp, No. F29C, had an enrollment of 191 men.


Community News
Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

Some background on Mounted Rangers

Once again the Colorado Mounted Rangers will be on hand to monitor the traffic at the long-awaited Four Corners Folk Festival coming this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Traffic control is just one of the things the Rangers do. This organization was founded in 1864 as the Colorado Rangers, to guard shipments of gold from the Leadville-Fairfield area to Denver. It was officially organized by the Colorado State Legislature in 1885 and disbanded in the late 1800s only to be recalled to service in 1941 by Governor Teller Amous. Today it is basically a Civil Defense organization subject to call by any county Civil Defense agency in the state.

But the Rangers do many things. They serve in search and rescue operations, assist in fire control, help in traffic control at fairs, rodeos, pow-wows, parades, and other functions requiring additional assistance in handling and parking and traffic. In Pagosa they often assist with funerals.

The Rangers are rigorously trained and have to pass the rigid standards set by the department they serve before being issued deputy commissions. They only have authority when in an official capacity - called upon by city, county, state or federal capacity.

The Rangers pay all of their own expenses, their uniforms and equipment. Some have their own horses. They are not paid, except donations, much appreciated, that go for equipment.

The presiding governor is automatically Chief Ranger. There are at present troops in Pagosa Springs, Durango, Colorado Springs and one outside Colorado Springs. Pagosa's Troop F was chartered in 1957. Ernest Schultz was captain at the time. There are 12 members; Robert Penton is Captain. The building is located on San Juan Street. Meetings are the first Thursday in the month. For more information about the Colorado Mounted Rangers, please call Ian Vowles at 731-4062.

Alliance meeting

The 1999 annual meeting of the Southwest Land Alliance will be held on Sept. 10 at the Feazel family's "At Last Ranch" picnic area. The meeting will start at 5 p.m. with food being served at 6 p.m. The SLA will provide the food and drinks. There will be a short membership meeting.

To get to the meeting, drive east on U.S 160 to the bridge next to the East Fork access Road. The picnic area is located on the right side of East Fork Road. Follow the signs to the entrance. If you can, bring lawn chairs.

If you are not current on your annual dues, they can be brought current at the annual meeting. But you don't have to be a member to attend. Everyone is invited. If you are interested to find out about conservation easements and how they help to protect open spaces, wildlife habitat, and the family ranching way of life, please come and visit with the group.

Library contest

The Ruby Sisson Library has a clever contest in progress, matching volunteers and staff members with their baby pictures. The pictures are in a library case as you enter the library. The group of pictures includes Lenore Bright, Shirley Iverson, Cathy Dodt-Ellis, Mary Stahl, Kay Grams, Warren Grams, Donna Geiger, Cindy Gustafson, Kate Terry, Patty Sterling, Lee Sterling, Mo Covell, Pat Riggenbach, and Judy Wood. Go try your hand.

Fun on the run

Two gas company servicemen, a senior training supervisor and a young trainee, were checking meters in a suburban neighborhood. They parked their truck at the end of the alley and worked their way to the other end.

At the last house, a woman looking out her kitchen window watched the two men as they checked her meter.

Finishing the meter check, the senior supervisor challenged his younger coworker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck to prove that an older guy could outrun a younger one.

As they came running up to the truck, they realized the lady from that last house was huffing and puffing right behind them. They stopped immediately and asked her what was wrong.

Gasping for breath, she replied, "When I saw two gas men running as hard as you two were, I figured I'd better run too."


Chamber News
By Sally Hameister

Elk Meadows wins renewal race

Now this is more like it - six new members to report this week and this is much more to our liking. We here at the Chamber know that you live to make us happy and you have accomplished that and we sincerely thank you.

I've been after this next gentleman for a couple of years and I know he will rest easier now that he knows that I won't be stalking him for membership dues. Just a joke, folks. John DiMuccio joins us with Cool Water Plumbing and Piping LLC, located at 100 Alamosa. John offers energy-efficient radiant heat designed by a heating engineer. He can help you with residential, commercial, new construction and additions with full-time service and repair. Solar and wood-burning hydronic heat is a specialty with this gentleman who brings 27 years experience to his business. Please call 264-9088 to discuss your plumbing and heating needs with John or Linda. As an aside, to point out the power of a Chamber membership, just this morning I recommended John's services to someone who inquired. Doesn't take long for those membership bennies to kick in, does it?

We are very happy to welcome the next new member for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that we can now recommend a rental business to the many who inquire about same. The most recent inquiry was from out of the area with a need for 300 chairs for a gathering here - nice little piece of business for a member. Bernard (Bernie) R. Martinez joins us with Pine Valley Rental and Sales Inc. located at 305 Bastille Drive. The Pine Valley folks are homeowner friendly and offer tough equipment to dig, trench, compact, unclog sewers and weld. Also available are lawn care tools and equipment, carpet and concrete tools and many items to help you celebrate either small or large gatherings. There are over 2,000 items available to you at Pine Valley Rental and Sales, so you will just have to run over there and check them out or call 731-4410 to learn more.

You just saw a picture of this nice couple in the SUN last week breaking ground at Cloman Park to build the first business on that site. No offense to the other folks in the picture (including me), but they were easy to spot because they are so doggoned young. Michael and Melinda Short join us with Doors and More currently located on Bastille Drive. If you need pre-hung doors, molding and/or door hardware, these are the folks to see. They also offer custom door sizing, custom pre-hanging, job site consultations and delivery. Please call 731-9949 for more info on Doors and More.

Welcome to Kent and Diane Davis who join us next with Cabinets Plus located at 4760 West Highway 160 right next to Harms Photo/Graphic and Los Amigos Mexican Grill. Cabinets Plus offers quality cabinetry from Brandom, Prestige, DuraSupreme and Knapp for your kitchen, bath, den or office.

Their services include personalized, innovative design solutions and computerized plans and models. Please give Kent and Diane a call to learn more about what they can do for you at 731-9339.

Linda Schmitz joins us next with her in-home business, The Shirt Outlet, and as a bonus, member Leslie Montroy, owner of Monograms Plus Leather, earned herself a free SunDowner for Linda's recruitment. Members recruiting new members is 'way up there on our list of favorite things around the Chamber. Linda offers custom artwork as well as silk screening on tee shirts, jackets, banners and all kinds of things. She will be happy to design your company logo or use the existing logo. School and special local organization rates are also available. Give Linda a call at 264-6530 to learn more about The Shirt Outlet.

We have a new Associate Member to welcome this week in the person of Vic Noblitt. Vic is a familiar face about town and had asked me about an associate membership fairly recently and threatened to come in and join. Sure enough, he arrived, signed up and we're happy as clams that he did.

If you were to believe Johnny Mathis, Christmas is "the most wonderful time of the year," but here at the Chamber it's membership renewal time that makes us break into song. I said that the first business to respond to our renewal mailing would receive special mention, and Elk Meadows Campground is the one. This one is especially easy to talk about because co-owner, Barbara Palmer, is also a Chamber Diplomat, and you all know how we feel about our Diplomats. Barbara shows up for duty every Monday morning at the Visitor Center and has for a number of years. We love to see her coming because she's always cheerful, full of vim and vigor and ready for work. So, thank you, Barbara, for both your work as a Diplomat and for your membership renewal along with husband, Donald.

Thanks to another Associate Member renewal and Diplomat, Jean Sanft and our old pals, Tom and Bev Evans who can always be counted upon to attend each and every Chamber function. Once again, new members and renewals make this time of year our very favorite. Thanks one and all.

Sidewalk sale

Look in this edition of the SUN for the Sidewalk Saturday Sale ad and make a note in your daytimer so you won't forget to take advantage of all the goodies. This will be our third year to sponsor this sale in connection with the Four Corners Folk Festival and we have had great reports from both merchants and locals about successful sales and purchases. The posters have been distributed and we will remind people when we are up on Reservoir Hill this weekend that they need to do some serious shopping while in Pagosa. Locals can save some dough as well, so plan a little shopping expedition this week and "Shop Pagosa First" because that way, we all win.

Folk festival

The big weekend has arrived at long last, and we are ready to head up the hill and man the sales booth for the duration. What fun we have - and are perfectly positioned to hear all the tunes throughout this outrageous Fourth Annual Four Corners Folk Festival. You will be able to buy souvenir tees, souvenir hats, souvenir mugs - the whole lot. We'll be delighted to sell you everything your little heart desires, so don't be shy. We are looking forward to seeing you this weekend and know you won't want to miss one of Pagosa's very best events.

Mountain Harmony

Just a reminder that the Mountain Harmony Ladies will present an encore performance of their "Gospel Train" program at the First Baptist Church at 6 p.m. on Sunday evening, Sept. 5. I was fortunate enough to catch the first performance and enjoyed every energetic, familiar song. Don't miss this added opportunity to watch this talented group strut their stuff just for you.

Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

San Juan Outdoor Club meets tonight

Last week this column highlighted the history of the Gray Wolf Ski Club. For those who are neither gray nor 50 years of age, do not despair. The San Juan Outdoor Club, another local group pursuing an etiquette of "play hard" in the Colorado great outdoors, is an alternative.

Formed in 1994 by Dr. Bill Sayre and Lou Larson, the San Juan Outdoor Club is an organization devoted to providing outdoor opportunities for its members. These opportunities include a wide gamut from backpacking, hiking, canoeing, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, 4-wheeling to mountain biking, etc. The club holds monthly meetings at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at the Parish Hall, 451 Lewis Street in downtown Pagosa Springs.

The educational emphasis of these monthly meetings is very interesting. Guest speakers have shared on subjects ranging from wildflowers, edible mushrooms, back-country survival skills, avalanche awareness and other educational lectures of local interest. The San Juan Outdoor Club is continually open to suggested outings and lecture topics. On a more global scale, Dr. and Maryann Sayre have shared with club members some highlights of their many diving trips to various coral reefs around the world. For members that love to bike, the Sayres created interest when they did a slide presentation of a bike trip through Costa Rica. Here's one that made it onto my wish list - to ski the Haute Route. Lisa and Kurt Raymond showed some breathtaking slides of the Alps when they both skied the Haute Route, starting in Chamonix, France, and ending up in Zermatt, Switzerland.

Tonight at 6, the San Juan Outdoor Club will hold its general meeting at the Sportsman's Lodge, located north on Upper Piedra Road. The club will provide hotdogs and fixings and drinks. If you can come, please bring a salad, beans or a dessert. There will be a campfire and cowboy poet Bob Huff will regale the crowd with a feast of his superb poetry.

Membership to the San Juan Outdoor Club can be purchased at the campfire picnic tonight. Members who have not renewed are reminded to take care of their dues immediately. This 5-year-old club currently has close to 200 members. Its board of directors are John Nelson (president), Robbie Schwartz (vice president), Sue Passant (secretary), Dallas Weisz (treasurer) and Dr. Bill Sayre (past president).

The San Juan Outdoor Club newsletter is published monthly under the able direction of editor Cheryl Nelson. If you have an interest in being a member and would like additional information, the Nelsons can be reached at 731-2277 or by e-mail to Cheryl at

The fourth annual Four Corners Folk Festival will be held this weekend on Reservoir Hill. This year's festival will bring many familiar faces returning to perform, along with some exciting new ones. A good selection of food vendors providing an assortment of fare will be on site all weekend. Beer will be sold to individuals 21 and over. Coolers and food may be brought into the Festival, but alcoholic beverages may not. Seating for 400 people is available under the main tent. A huge meadow outside the tent provides additional space for stretching out in the sun or in the shade of the trees. No dogs are allowed anywhere on site. Although dogs were around in the past, a number of unpleasant experiences have compelled the new strict policy. Tickets for the festival are available at the site.

Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center will go to its fall-winter business hours starting Sept. 1. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the facility will open at 6:30 a.m. On Tuesday and Thursday, the facility will open at 8 a.m. On Saturday and Sunday, the facility will open at 9 a.m. Closing time will be 9 p.m. every night.


Education News
By Tom Steen

Education Center announces PCC fall classes

The Education Center partners with Pueblo Community College (PCC) to provide post-secondary course opportunities for Pagosa Springs teens and adults.

PCC is a two-year college serving southwestern Colorado. PCC Southwest Center, which directs the program in this area of the state, is headquartered in Cortez and also maintains a full-time office in Durango. The Education Center is the local PCC administrative site for Archuleta County.

Local college classes are offered in the evenings for area residents and during daytime hours for juniors and seniors at Pagosa Springs High School. Some high school students are able to enroll in specific courses for both high school and college credit. Typically these dual-credit courses are standard college courses transferable to another two-year or four-year college in Colorado.

Evening classroom courses are typically held in high school classrooms. Evening college courses to be offered in Pagosa during the 1999 Fall Semester include the following:

"Introduction to Early Childhood" and "Into to Early Childhood Lab Techniques" will be offered Monday evenings from 6 to 8:50 p.m. and 9 to 9:50 p.m., respectively. Pat Hauschild is teaching these classes which are designed to help provide course requirements for local child care providers pursuing their certification and licensing.

"English Composition I" will be offered Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. Jack Ellis, a long-time and highly respected teacher in our local high school, will again be teaching this class.

Russ Boosted will be teaching "U.S. History I" on Thursday evenings this semester. This class is also held from 6 to 9 p.m.

"Masterpieces of Literature" is another class scheduled for Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. Teacher and class location will be announced.

Rob Beck will be teaching an "Applied Math" class. The schedule and location of this four-credit-hour course will be announced.

An interesting new elective being offered this semester is "Development of Theatre I." This three-credit-hour course will be taught by Carol Feazel on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m.

Registration for these classes will be at the Education Center between Aug. 30 and Sept. 3 from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. The Education Center also offers students the option of registering for PCC classes by phone or on-line. The Education Center will be the site of PCC Bookstore for purchase of required texts on Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. The Education Center is downtown on the corner of Fourth and Lewis Streets. Please stop by our office to pick up a PCC Fall Schedule of Classes or call 264-2835 and ask for Cynde or Hilary for additional information.

Tele-learning at PCC offers students the opportunity to complete most course work outside of the traditional classroom setting. Telecourses and College by Cassette courses are unique delivery methods that allow students the flexibility to take classes that suitably meet individual scheduling needs. Tele-learning students should enroll using the regular college registration procedures.

Telecourses are telecast on KRMA Channel 6 and other PBS stations. Students need PBS access and a VCR for taping broadcasts. Courses being offered this fall include Film Appreciation, Astronomy I, Principles of Macroeconomics, English Comp I, College Algebra, General Psychology I and II, Intro to Sociology I and II and Spanish I.

Library News
by Lenore Bright

Check out 'must have' arthritis program

Ahhh, September song - my favorite time of year.

If the weather will cooperate, the T.A.R.A. Historical Society in Arboles will hold its annual Arts and Crafts Fair and Auction on Sept. 11. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is probably still time to get booth space. Call 883-5344, if you're interested.

The auction will be at 2 p.m. with many items available, including a honky tonk piano.

We are excited about what is going on in Arboles with the T.A.R.A. project. They are ready to start a small library and we will be helping them set it up. This fundraiser will help.

Arthritis course

Good news for those of us who suffer from arthritis. This is a "must have" program for those who wish to help themselves. A trained, certified instructor will teach a six-week course that is the key to understanding and managing the disease whether your symptoms are major or minor.

The nationally recognized program was developed 10 years ago at Stanford University. Statistics show that the course helps reduce pain substantially, reduces doctor visits by over 40 percent annually, and increases the ability to cope with arthritis.

The program runs for six weeks and meets on Wednesdays at the Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic. It starts Sept. 22 and runs through Oct. 27, with sessions from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The cost is $25, which includes the "Arthritis Helpbook." A spouse or caregiver may attend at no additional cost.

Pick up a registration form here at the library. The fee must be sent to the Arthritis Foundation in Denver. For more information, call 1-800-475-6447.

Crow Canyon

Ancient techniques of making fire, pottery, atlatls and dyes from native plants, storytelling and a variety of Native American games are the subjects at an intensive hands-on workshop at Crow Canyon Center. Teachers and other interested adults will construct a variety of teaching aids and develop teaching kits in this materials design course. A farewell dinner includes some traditional Native American dishes with recipes and suggestions for recreating a feast at your school or organization.

"Teaching Tools for Hands-on History" will take place Oct. 21 through Oct. 24. Cost is $325. For more information, come by and pick up a copy of this press release.

Consumer catalogs

Your free fall catalog is out. It is the list of free and inexpensive information put out by the government to help you save money and get the best consumer deals. Pick up a copy here.

Stained glass

Mary Miller brought in an outstanding piece of stained glass for the Civic Club raffle. Margaret Wilson is gearing up for the raffle and asks that any donations be brought here to the library. The Bazaar will be on Nov. 6. Lois Gibson is in charge of booths. Her phone number is 731-2689.


Thanks for materials from: Mary Lou Sprowle, Sandy Lewis, Keith Olinger, Patti Exster, Bonnie Briscoe, Johanne Coleman, Nicholas Afaami, Penny Follett, Harold Simmons and Larry Larason.

Library closed

Labor Day is here, and we'll be closed on Monday. Have a safe holiday. Be careful in the exodus of folks heading home.


Arts Line
By Jan Brookshier

Wolfe family exhibit at gallery

Come one and all to the fantastic opening and reception of "Vibrant ColorsÉDancing Light," the latest exhibit at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in town park, tonight.

This alluring display of fine art is truly a family affair as it features oil paintings by Kathleen Wolfe; jewelry, clay and marionettes created by daughters Angela, Katrina and Jessica; and handcrafted frames by husband, Shane Carlson.

Kathleen's inspiration stems from a childhood where she studied art and gathered an awareness of light, color and form. Later in life, her passions came full circle as she developed an appreciation through the pristine Colorado rivers, hot springs, mountains and dramatic ever-changing weather. Paintings of these places reflect the strength, harmony and peace Kathleen hopes to convey.

Join us this evening from 5 to 7 p.m. for an opportunity to meet this talented family as well as indulge in food, fun and what promises to be a colorful show. "Vibrant ColorsÉDancing Light," will continue through Sept. 15.

As an added bonus, you can meet Kathleen on the following days and times: Sept. 3, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sept. 4, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sept. 7, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Sept. 10, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Sept. 14, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Worth mention

The PSAC would like to extend its gratitude to the participating artists in the "Artist on a Sunday Afternoon" event. Ten percent of all proceeds were donated to the arts council.

Thank you to Marguerite at Mountain Greenery for providing the beautiful, complimentary flower arrangements every two weeks at PSAC opening receptions.


The gallery has an opening for a two week exhibit, Sept. 30 through Oct. 13, due to a cancellation. If you're an artist and would like to show your stuff, please contact Lili Pearson at 731-5159, or Joanne Haliday at 264-5020. Time is of the essence, so be expedient and call today.

PSAC gallery and gift shop hours beginning Sept. 7 will be 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

Have a safe and happy September and most importantly, remember that "To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of the arts."


Video Review
By Roy Starling

Films celebrate teaching, learning

During my 20 years of teaching, I always loved this time of year. It's a time of clean slates, of exciting potential, a time rich with possibilities. It's sort of like baseball's spring training, when even the Colorado Rockies can dream of a championship season.

This idealistic moment, this dewy morning of the yet unopened bud, will be followed, I remember, with a nine-month pregnancy with complications, with intense labor pangs giving birth in May to frustration, fatigue, burnout and a soul-withering exhaustion that non-teachers will never understand.

But it's worth it. This week I'll look at two movies - "Educating Rita" (1983) and "October Sky" (1998) - that illustrate some of the joys and sorrows of teaching, the agony and ecstasy of what I'll always consider the finest profession.

Teachers, if you'll watch these movies with your heart, suspending for a while your nasty habit of analyzing everything into ashes, you may be reminded of why you became a teacher, and maybe you can enjoy your calling again for at least the first few weeks of the semester.

Both films focus on students from humble backgrounds finding a way to expand their respective worlds through education.

In "Educating Rita," Rita (Julie Walters) is a British hairdresser who enters the "open university" in an effort to "find me self" (her words) and shake loose from what she perceives as her stifling working-class surroundings. Basically, she wants to learn. More specifically, she wants to learn literature. She wants to read and understand Chekhov, Blake, Lawrence, Ibsen and Shakespeare.

She chooses as her reluctant mentor Dr. Frank Bryant (Michael Caine), a burnt out alcoholic professor gone to seed. Everything about Frank suggests world weariness. He's lost both his love for and belief in what he does. Tired of living, he destroys his liver, keeping a bottle of liquor on his bookshelf behind Charles Jackson's "The Lost Weekend." Rita tells the unkempt Frank he "looks like a geriatric hippie."

You can see there are two journeys to be taken here: Rita must go from merely having a hungry mind to being able to talk and write about literature intelligently (i.e., she must become a scholar) and finally to understanding how it can make her life better. Otherwise, why bother? Frank must take the long road back to being a teacher. Both student and teacher will encounter some potholes along the way.

Rita's efforts to better herself alienate her from her husband and family who believe "we're not good enough for you anymore." Her husband wants her to go back to being the woman he married. He wants her to hang around the house and drop a litter of kids. So he does the only sensible thing he can do in such a situation: He burns her books.

Like many people who take their education seriously, Rita enters an awkward transitional stage where she's not yet comfortable in an academic setting, but no longer at home at home. "I feel like a freak, an outcast," she tells Frank.

Later, her journey takes her into that sterile land of intellectual pride and literary one-upmanship. She knows all the right names to drop, she knows what "assonance" means, and she knows when Shaw wrote "Saint Joan" and when it was staged. So? Some people never get farther than this in their education; luckily, Rita does. She understands that education can offer "something more." But what that "something more" is, is a mystery too deep for words.

When a teacher is blessed with a student like Rita, the teacher's ride can be rather bumpy, too. The teacher can get too emotionally involved, can take both the student's success and failure too personally, can become jealous of others who teach or nourish the student, and can feel abandoned when he has done his job so well the student no longer needs him. Frank falls prey to all of these, the poor sot.

But as I said before, it's all worth it, and "Educating Rita" demonstrates this. No Pygmalion fairy tale, this film is a believable depiction of the alchemy, the metamorphosis that occurs when the right student meets the right teacher at the right time. The student is given a new life, with the option to choose any number of other lives. The teacher is rejuvenated by the memory of why he teaches.

In "October Sky," based on a true story, the student is Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaul), one of a "bunch of hillbillies" in Coalwood, W.V., destined to grow up to be miners like their fathers. But Homer's focus shifts from the subterranean to the terrestrial on an October night in 1957 when he watches the Russian satellite Sputnik streak across the sky. From that moment on, he is devoted to building the perfect rocket for a science fair project and then growing up to work for NASA.

Like Rita, Homer meets resistance at home. His father, John (Chris Cooper of "Lone Star" fame), wants his son to follow in his footsteps, meaning Homer would eventually track coal dust across the carpet. His older brother, who will attend West Virginia University on a football scholarship, shows considerable contempt for Homer and his geeky friends. "Homer hopes to go to college on a science-fiction scholarship," he says.

At one point in the movie, it appears that Homer will join all those other Coalwood boys who eventually follow their fathers down the shaft. An injury to John deprives the Hickam family of its chief source of income, and to help bail them out, Homer quits school, giving up the life of the mind for life in the mines. While there's nothing wrong with being a coal miner, the world would have been a poorer place if Homer's education hadn't allowed him the freedom to choose another kind of life.

Homer is finally free to choose because of the persistence of belief. He refuses to quit believing in the value of his project, and his science teacher, Miss Riley (Laura Dern) refuses to quit believing in him.

As we saw in "Educating Rita," a persistent student can help restore the belief of his or her teacher. When a teacher looks over a class full of students, she can't help but notice that many of them wish they were somewhere else. But if she can find one who returns her gaze with interest, one who is awake and hungry for what she has to offer, her faith is restored and she can continue to believe.

When Homer succeeds beyond anyone's expectation (in real life, he actually grew up to become a NASA engineer), he thanks Miss Riley for "first inspiring me," and she replies that now she'll always tell her future students about his success: "If Homer could do it, maybe you can, too."

So, teachers, that first bell is about to ring, jarring you out of your peaceful summer space. As those students file into your classroom and into your life, look carefully. Somewhere in the bunch there will almost certainly be another Homer or Rita waiting specifically for you.

Happy New Year!


Old Timers
By John M. Motter

Long, rich history of East Fork Valley

By John M. Motter

The rich history of the East Fork has always captivated Pagosa Country residents. When locals say "East Fork," only one place is meant: the East Fork Valley of the San Juan River.

More than once in the past, the East Fork attracted the attention of people across the state and even across the nation. Historically, the valley has been near, if not the epicenter of, a lot of notoriety. For many years it provided one of the few gateways by which pioneers could cross the southern San Juan Mountains with wagons. Once again, the valley is attracting headlines.

Today's headlines are the result of a conflict between proposed private development of the valley and the self-styled "Friends of the East Fork Valley." More specifically, a firm calling itself Piano Creek Ranches promises to erect a timeshare retreat for the wealthy on the valley's private property. And the "Friends" promise to stop Piano Creek in its tracks in order to preserve the so-called pristine nature of the valley.

Piano Creek follows hard on the heels of a proposed ski area that generated news copy across the county and the state for nearly 10 years before giving up the ghost. Other recent controversies, that is, within the last 100 years or so, involved mining for molybdenum, the state deciding not to fund the state highway which ran through the valley, and a couple of attempts to close the valley completely to public access.

In the more distant past, the valley attracted attention for a variety of reasons.

Legend, or is it fact, holds that a party of Frenchmen discovered gold on nearby Treasure Mountain during the 1700s. One way to reach Treasure Mountain was through the East Fork. Treasure or no Treasure, prospectors still comb Treasure Mountain hoping to find a fortune in buried gold.

More recently, gold in huge quantities was discovered in a huge caldera centered in the South San Juans. Some of that paydirt was taken from the banks of creeks draining into the East Fork. The old mining town of Elwood draped across the top of the valley just below Crater Creek. Almost unknown, a few log cabins known as Bowenton stood near the intersection of Silver Creek and the river. And not far across the divide were Summitville, Stunner, Platoro and other gold mining communities. Anyone living in Colorado during the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s was invited to take part in this mineral "development."

Launched in 1870 on the Wightman Fork of the Alamosa River, Summitville was one of the great mining camps of the San Juans and the only major mining camp in the San Juans dependent on gold only. All of the other camps including Silverton, Telluride, Rico, Lake City, and Creede produced far more silver than they did gold. Following the Summitville discovery, prospectors swarmed across the South San Juans poking into every nook and cranny of the mountains surrounding the East Fork.

Some of them even settled in the valley, built cabins, and raised crops. Among those early settlers were the Lane brothers, the Young brothers, Lemuel L. Laughlin, the Murphys, and irrepressible Old Joe Mann.

An 1881 survey of the valley conducted by W.W. Allen resulted in a map noting the presence of several cabins. We can only hope Allen's survey methods were more accurate than his spelling. He listed "Menn's" cabin, and McLaughlin's cabin. Menn was Old Joe Mann and McLaughlin was Laughlin. Both names are prominent in early Pagosa Country history and a direct descendant of Laughlin still calls Pagosa Springs home.

Mann's cabin, much altered, survives as today's McCarthy cabin. At least traces of the other cabins were uncovered by archaeologists conducting a study for the Environmental Impact Statement in connection with the proposed ski area. Across the road from the Lane cabin, a legendary rhubarb patch survives to this day.

The life blood of the valley has always been the road which coursed its length from east to west. The road branched on the east side of the Continental Divide. One branch ran across the marshy mountaintop meadows to Summitville and then down Piños Creek to Del Norte. The more southerly branch skipped around the mountain peaks until connecting with the headwaters of the Alamosa River. This branch followed the river down to near Alamosa. A Canadian mining venture at Summitville during the 1980s is said to have leaked chemicals into this branch of the Alamosa River, killing it and giving birth to one of the nation's largest Superfund sites.

The Alamosa branch was surveyed by Army Lt. Ruffner, stationed at Fort Garland. Ruffner was given the problem of finding the best pass connecting Fort Garland with the San Juan Basin. In that connection, he conducted several surveys, including the Elwood Pass/East Fork route, Stony Pass between Wagon Wheel Gap and Silverton (there was no Creede at the time), the then unknown Cumbres Pass, and another pass in New Mexico just south of Cumbres.

Ruffner recommended that the Army use the Elwood/East Fork route as being the best and closest route for supplying Army bases in the southwest. The road was built and became a wagon route traveled by newcomers to the San Juans. Its productivity lasted only until the first winter when the Army discovered that the best of its mules could not conquer the prolific San Juan mountain snows. Soon the Army was sending its supply trains and couriers from Fort Garland to Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs by way of Ojo Caliente at the southern end of the mountain range.

Nevertheless, settlers continued to use Elwood Pass/East Fork and a number of settlers lived in the valley year around. For several years, the state of Colorado appropriated funds to maintain the road as a state highway. Then the epic flood of 1911 thundered through the cañon at the mouth of the valley, destroying any semblance of a road. As soon as they could, the remaining settlers got out and no one has maintained permanent residence in the valley since.

The state stopped appropriating funds for the route, opting to construct Wolf Creek Pass instead through a pass never used before. Of Ruffner's routes, only Cumbres is still in regular use. Cumbres was chosen by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and served that conveyance for many years. Today, Elwood Pass and Stony Pass are passable only by 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Incidentally, the Barlow and Sanderson stage connected Summitville with Del Norte, but no stage coach ever ran between Summitville and Pagosa Springs.

Since about 1911, the private property in the valley has belonged in succession to Whit Newton, a wealthy lumberman with political connections across the state; Frank Teal; Dan McCarthy, and the current owners in conjunction with McCarthy. The private land has been used for cattle grazing and the entire valley by outdoor enthusiasts. At one time, a logging firm cut logs from Tie Creek and rafted them down the San Juan River to a mill where they were cut into railroad ties.

And so, the headlines about activities in or around the East Fork are nothing new. Since Europeans have been in the San Juans, the East Fork has been a center of attention.


Food for Thought
By Karl Isberg

Lessons learned in Hawaiian Islands


I've returned from a trip to Hawaii. From a cruise.

I brought back a souvenir: twelve pounds of ugly fat to add to the 30 or so pounds of ugly fat I had with me when I left home.

Kathy shot the photos and bought the geegaws during our trip.

I gained the weight.

I ate. I learned.

What did I learn during my trip to the Hawaiian Islands?

1. Hawaiians use too many vowels.

2. Hawaii is much like the mainland Southwest.

The islands rely on tourism for their economic health, so the disease of boosterism is epidemic there, as it is here. Development has transformed much of the place, and not for the better. "Natural and cultural wonders" are all-important parts of the allure of Hawaii, and it, too, is fueled by illusion and sham.

A pathetically thin "Old West" veneer overlays the Four Corners - a Hollywood-tainted vision of the West and its inhabitants, replete with crumbling cliff houses haunted by the ghosts of cannibals; fake cowboys wearing idiotic hats and unused ditch boots, driving Land Rovers and living in 10,000 square-foot log homes; show biz rodeos with flak-jacketed tobacco chewers perched atop raging hunks of beef; mediocre snapshot-like art featuring maudlin, mindless renderings of elk, alpine vistas, ramshackle ranch houses, Native American maidens and ocher mesas; poorly prepared "Southwest" cuisine and cheapo turquoise jewelry.

In Hawaii you get hackneyed "Island" elevator music, kitschy paintings of whales and brightly-colored birdies, bored gum-chewing teenagers in tacky Ti leaf skirts gyrating in perfunctory fashion in front of crowds of retirees, tours of volcanoes that do nothing, gaudy shirts and leis, and hotel luaus where a porker per day is consigned to the pit.

In short, Hawaii is a lot like home, with high humidity, more plants and an ocean view.

3. It is possible to eat too much fruit.

4. Most traditional Hawaiian stories have no point: They are tropical non-linear records of begats in which gods skulk around like neurotic suburbanites, have affairs with cousins and give fiery birth to new islands. The stories take hours to tell and require a monotonic delivery.

5. Don't attempt to drink more gin and tonics than the guys in the band at the Ohana Lounge on the S.S. Independence. The Poi Boyz are formidable - as musicians and as imbibers.

6. Don't sign up for shipboard ukelele lessons after you spend a lot of time in the Ohana Lounge. I made this mistake and was humiliated when I froze up on the G7 chord in "Little Grass Shack." I vapor-locked; the silence among my fellow students was profound and the embarrassment so great it forced my hasty withdrawal from class. Kathy, on the other hand, flew through the course with flying colors, received a diploma and flailed away at her uke during stirring performances of "Pearly Shells" and "Going to a Hukilau" before a packed house in the ship's theater. Her triumph was brilliant; my shame was absolute.

6. If you are on a cruise of the islands, be careful how much you ingest at midnight buffets or you will gain 12 pounds of ugly fat.

I was not careful. At the buffet or elsewhere.

This takes us to what is great about Hawaii: the aforementioned natural wonders, of course (we have, in our history, stolen numerous beautiful places and this is one of the most beautiful), and the food.

Especially the food.

What goodies precipitated the sudden increase in my bulk?

There was a lovely restaurant Kathy and I visited in Kula, on Maui, on the slopes of Haleakula. My sister and brother-in-law live nearby and they treated us to dinner: mine, a sashimi appetizer - sea-foam-fresh slices of raw fish flesh, with strands of daikon and wasabi strong enough to rouse the dead; a thick slab of grilled medium-rare ahi daubed with ancho cream sauce and bedded on some of the finest mashed potatoes imaginable, set next to a saute of julienned vegetables - squashes, sweet Maui onion, carrot. A delicate Pinot Noir.

A restaurant in Honolulu near the Aloha Tower produced coconut shrimp and barely seared yellowtail, the center of the fish shimmering as if still asea.

On board the S.S. Independence - mahi in coconut sauce, Merlot, lobster Newburg, crab salad, Cabernet, salmon lomi lomi, smoked marlin, tuna roll, Malbec. Perfectly ripe pineapple and strawberries the size of plums.

Grilled chicken breast with bernaise. Sauvignon blanc.

Medium rare New York strip with morels. A healthy hit of Syrah.

Guava cheesecake with a drizzle of raspberry sauce. Coconut flan with a drizzle of guava sauce.

Omelets, poignantly chubby breakfast sausages, blintzes.

Shrimp, teriyaki pork loin, chicken in sherry mushroom sauce, paté. Mouvedre.

I ate it all, drank it all. Everything, every day.

Each night, after a session with the Poi Boyz and a trip to the midnight buffet, I staggered to our cozy cabin and sat on the edge of the bed listening to Kathy practice an uptempo version of "Tiny Bubbles" on her uke. I was swollen, sweating, lit at the core by a vicious digestive fire. . .wondering what would be served at breakfast.

There was a floor-length mirror in the cabin. I looked across the room at a frightening image - an ever-larger Char Pei of a man clad in a pair of stretched-out boxer shorts, rolls of flab being pulled floorward by indifferent and brutal gravity.

I was sated. Sated, and pathetic.

I made a token effort to stave off the consequences of my eating and drinking binges. I forced myself to take a shipboard stroll each day during the trip, laboring under the illusion that it constituted exercise. My strolls took me past the mid-morning snack cart and, of course, the Ohana Lounge. When ashore, between tidbits at little stands and ice cream shops, I did some "power walking" - to the next stand or shop.

By the time we disembarked at Honolulu, my belt was out at its limit. I contemplated the purchase of a pair of Sansabelt slacks.

On the flight back to the mainland, wedged into my seat and struggling for breath, I tried to blame my discomfort on a greedy corporation intent on narrowing the seats and maximizing profit.

When I had trouble getting out of the seat, there was no escaping the truth.

Twelve pounds of added ugly fat, in one week's time. Undeniable.

So, how does one go about losing 12 pounds of ugly fat - and the 30 pounds of ugly fat it joins?

My oldest daughter Aurora believes she has the answer.

Aurora recently gave birth to my granddaughter Ipana. Instead of going to Hawaii to gain weight, Aurora got pregnant. Three months after Ipana's arrival, Aurora is on leave from her job as a flight attendant. She needs to drop quite a few pounds before she goes back to work, unless United will let her serve drinks in the cargo hold of a 747.

It's easy, says Aurora. Follow the plan and the fat will melt away.

Ah, the plan. I know of these plans: evil designs, blueprints for a mansion of misery!

It's easy, dad, she says, and she recites the commandments.

No processed food products.

No white flour.

No cheese.

No cream.

No sucrose, including sauces containing sugar.

No red meats.

No fats other than small amounts of cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil.

No alcohol.

No reason to live.

Aurora, son in-law Forrest, and little Ipana came for a visit after we returned from Hawaii. Why not give it a try? I thought. Cook dinner for the kids. Follow the guidelines; enjoy, watch the pounds melt away.

Ordinarily, when Aurora visits, I make one of her favorites: rellenos with chile verde, chicken Kiev, red curry.

Not this time.

The menu? Grilled turkey burgers, fresh greens and raw veggies from the garden dressed with a concoction of red miso, shredded onion, garlic and lemon juice; whole wheat pasta with a touch of oil and garlic, assorted unripe fruits.

I pushed back from the table after the meal and did a credible job when asked for my reaction. Like an enthusiastic performer in a Wild West show or a dancer at an "authentic" Hawaiian luau, I smiled broadly, and pretended I was happy. I patted my immense gut and said: "Boy, I'm really surprised. Yes indeedy, that wasn't bad, Nosiree, not bad at all. Who's up for some ukelele music?"

It was wretched.

Whole wheat pasta?

You gotta be kidding.

After one meal, I realized I can't do this.

So, what is the solution?

I think I've got it.

Definitely cut down on the fats; exclude most if not all white flour and sugar from the diet, grill things, limit the cheese. Continue to drink lots of wine.

And, I've come up with a way to use whole wheat pasta.

It's a variation of Pad Thai.

Cook a batch of whole wheat pasta, rinse and cool.

Drain and cube some extra-firm tofu, mince four or five cloves of garlic, slice up a batch of green onions, chop a bit of cilantro, and grate some fresh ginger. Squeeze the juice of a lime and have ready some crushed chile pequin, a handful of dry roasted peanuts and a half cup of coconut milk. If you have some fish sauce on hand, so much the better (made from fermented anchovies, it seems like Satan's favorite beverage, but transmogrifies when cooked.)

Heat a heavy frying pan or wok. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil and, when hot, toss in a beaten egg. Scramble the egg and remove. If necessary, add a bit more oil, then put in the onion, garlic, ginger and pepper. Next, add the fish sauce, coconut milk, the lime juice, tofu and egg. Finally, put in the noodles and peanuts and heat through. If you happen to have some shrimp and/or leftover chicken around the house, toss that in too. Garnish with cilantro.

Pass a bottle of sriracha. Everyone has sriracha in the icebox, don't they?

The whole wheat noodles are almost palatable, with the addition of a glass or two of Zinfandel.

A few other dietary adjustments similar to this one, and a bit of weight "Made in Hawaii" might disappear.

I've come up with one other technique to make the process easier.

Get rid of floor-length mirrors.

Hey, who's up for some ukelele music?


Worth clarifying

Dear Editor,

My husband didn't feel the letter in your paper dated Aug. 26, from a Mr. Bob McClatchie titled "Being a Victim" was worth responding to. Since his letter was about my husband and how my husband has been a victim three times, I feel it is worth clarifying.

You see, you are only allowed to write a letter under 500 words or less. Sometimes, it's difficult to tell an entire story in so many words. The first time my husband had his tools stolen was at a job site very near our own home. They were placed overnight in the owner's garage. Locked. The person or persons broke into the garage.

The second time around was last July 3 when we were at home. The person or persons broke into our garage during the evening, but after dark. They entered my husband's truck and rummaged through his glove compartment then went into the garage and entered my car, then tried to hot-wire my riding lawn mower. Apparently our dog scared them off.

The third time was again at my husband's job site where he is building a home. He had his tools locked up in a trailer with two Master Locks. My husband purchased four of these locks from a locksmith in town. Master Lock specifically stated on the box: "Armored protection against bolt cutters." My husband had his name, "Butch," engraved on all of his tools along with green paint. He also kept serial numbers for the tools, however, the sheriff's department never asked for those numbers.

Thieves usually do wait until most folks go to bed, however, the three instances we were robbed the thieves were so brazen they weren't going to wait until bedtime. If Mr. McClatchie is referring to a "tag number" as a license plate number given, the answer is no. Mr. Carl Smith told the officer he saw an older model truck, Chevy or Ford tan in color. He specifically said it was a "utility truck," but did not get the license plate as he thought it was one of my husband's workers on the job site.

Also, in response to Mr. McClatchie's statement about telling people how to do their job. I believe that if you are in a position such as being employed by the sheriff's department you should take that job seriously. You are being paid to do that job and people count on you. That includes responding to a call to dispatch in a timely fashion, taking down serial numbers and getting the correct information from all witnesses. If the sheriff's department had done these things, my husband would not have written that letter.

In closing, I would much rather be married to a man who worked to earn a living than being a wife of a lazy man who stole from others. My husband is a good person and a hard worker and does not deserve getting robbed three times.

Wanda Bowman

Somewhat weak

Dear Editor,

Some weeks ago I read a letter to the editor entitled "This is America" (Gil Johnson, Aug. 18 SUN) which struck to the heart of the free enterprise system that has in large part made this country strong in relation to other countries. I thought that your rebuttal was somewhat weak and did not speak to the issue; especially your remark that the Piano Creek Development was in Mineral County. Do you mean that money for schools and county expenses is only of value if it benefits people in Archuleta County and not our neighbors?


Richard Broom

Editor's note: The editor's note was not made as a rebuttal to the letter. It was to correct inaccurate statements made in the letter.

Jump in

Dear Editor,

I would like to reply to Mr. Glenn Bergmann's recent letter (SUN Aug. 19) where he states that he finds it difficult to believe that hard work and diligence for a lifetime will bring a Piano Creek level of affluence. This happens every day. At the head of the list are men like Dave Thomas of Wendy's, Tiger Woods, Mike Del, Bill Gates, and many others too numerous to mention. Any CPA who has been in business for very long knows of many businessmen who have stepped out on their own and made very adequate money to live in Piano Creek.

My best advice for Mr. Bergmann comes from Richard Cardinal Cushing who said: "A great deal of talent is lost in the world for want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves obscure men whom timidity prevented from making a first effort; who, if they could have been induced to begin would have in all probability gone to great lengths in the career of fame.

"The fact is that to do anything in the world worth doing we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can."

Dr. James Cate

Pagosa Springs

Grave effects

Dear Editor,

The East Fork area is nearly pristine. It evokes a joyous thanksgiving to witness all that beauty still existing with no modern structures, off-road 4-wheeler tracks or paved or other man-made distractions. Rather, deer, elk and abundance of ground critters and birds bear witness to the value of this area as natural habitat.

At the Friends of East Fork meeting, Wednesday (Aug. 25) evening, reasonable questions were asked, good comments made, yet a lack of clarity regarding Piano Creek Ranch development remained. Representatives from the ranch refused to participate in discussion, denying the opportunity to search for common ground or clear understandings of their plans.

It appears the Piano Creek proposal includes: 18-hole golf course, 10 private ski runs, luxury lodge, restaurant, and shops, 52 luxury bungalows, 15 trophy homes, employee housing, on-site gas and electric plants, sewage and water treatment facilities and a helipad, with the initial buy in at $500,000 for an 8-week share. The Piano Creek people neither confirmed, nor denied these plans as accurate.

This sounds great, except there are already many extraordinarily beautiful places all over the globe for the wealthy to enjoy. Do we need to chisel into more diminishing natural areas?

Land owners's rights should allow great freedom in the use and development. However, when companies, and deep-pocket individuals put their dollars together in a manner that may conflict with, and disregard conservation, ecology, and the immediate community, it becomes vital that all parties get real honest, and look for the best win-win situation for now and future generations.

Certainly 200-400 cars, or more on East Fork Road will have grave effects on the ecology and erosion of the public and private areas. Taxes and property costs could sky rocket. Pagosa Springs, a place of diverse cultures and means, could become another Vail, Aspen, Telluride or Santa Fe, a mirror of gloss and glitz, far removed from the natural beauty of land still open for all to enjoy and support.

Can developers possibly improve what already exists at East Fork? Without clear and honest disclosures regarding permits, environmental impacts, ultimate use, energy and waste plans, etc., it is nearly impossible to take an informed position. Emotional reaction can become very impassioned and explosive in the absence of clarity and honesty. Open dialog could possibly bring out some plan that neither "side" can visualize while operating as adversaries.

Chief Seattle asked, "How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

"Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."

I encourage both developers and concerned citizens to work together to find a gentler, more sacred future for East Fork valley than that presented at the meeting.

Chandler McLay

Truly blessed

Dear David,

It is with great emotion that we write this letter to you, and Pagosa Springs. For the past 13 years we have been truly blessed to live, and raise our children, in such a wonderful community. Pagosa is not only one of the most beautiful places on earth, but is filled with the best people who always hold a very special place in our hearts - the best of friends, outstanding school teachers, coaches and the incredible Power Pact Youth Ministry, caring doctors and nurses, far-superior bank-tellers, warm and friendly businesses, the list could go on and on. You have touched our lives and we will miss you all.

On October 1st our family (minus Abby, she is headed to Australia for five months) will be leaving for Kona, Hawaii, to begin a six-month mission with Youth With A Mission, and after that, only the Lord knows where we will be. As hard as it is to leave, we are excited about this new adventure in our lives.

And, I guess if we have to leave Pagosa, Hawaii is not such a bad place to go - but the people of Pagosa Springs can never be replaced. Thanks for the past 13 years, you are the best.

With love,

Keith, Diane, Abby

and Nick Rima

Change priorities

Dear Editor

Pagosa Springs citizens demonstrate great ongoing support for the Pagosa Springs Humane Society. I commend the outstanding media coverage from the Sun and Connections for the fund-raising events and service projects to benefit the welfare of animals. However, I do not see the same media zeal when it comes to children's needs. Animals have a shorter life span than children, yet we seem to invest more time and energy to help animals than children who are our future.

Well, I'm not writing this letter to condemn our past actions, but to encourage us to change our priorities for our children's sake. I believe if we all did this one simple act, we could better the lives of the children in our community a hundred times over. How about each of us offering to help a single-parent by spending some quality time with their children, and giving that single-parent the break they deserve. I urge both men and women to do this, but especially men. Most single-parents are mothers. The sons of these mothers often do not have the support of a male figure in their lives, so that is why we need men to step forward and get involved.

You do not need to be a volunteer with Big Brothers or Big Sisters to help a child, just do it. Sure, you won't get your picture in the paper like you would for helping an animal, but you would be remembered in the mind of a child who will grow up to lead a more productive life because you cared.

Jean Salem

Editor's note: The photographs in the SUN of individuals who have adopted animals are printed in paid advertisements.

Bitten, but no blood

Dear Editor,

The crowd was excitedly hushed and expectant on the White House lawn a few weeks ago, during a ceremony to announce that the American bald eagle was being taken off the endangered species list. There were half a million of the great birds in 1783, when the eagle was chosen as symbol of the young nation. Sadly, by 1963 the population had dwindled to only 417 pairs. But after concerted conservation efforts, the bald eagle is once again flourishing and is considered to a national treasure.

In honor of the occasion, a 10-year-old eagle named "Challenger" graced the podium, waiting in regal splendor as the president described the eagle as the "living symbol of our democracy."

But as the president moved closer, the bird did not hesitate at all; Challenger bent determinedly forward and bit him. Hard. Pecked Bill Clinton right there on his "left" hand. A concerned White House spokesman later explained: "The president was bitten, but no blood was drawn."

Yes indeed, our great nation's bald eagle, a fitting God-fearing symbol of American freedom. Fierce. Proud. Who also recognizes that you can never trust a liberal. And, it appears, is quite discerning.

Jim Sawicki

Wonderful job

Dear Editor,

I am writing in regards to the letter about our funeral home.

I want to say thanks to Janna McDonald (letter to the editor Aug. 26) for saying exactly what I was going to say, only she beat me and did a wonderful job of saying the truth.

We all should be very proud to have a funeral home in Pagosa. Especially someone like Rev. Louis Day and his staff.

Two years ago my beautiful mom passed away and the kindness and compassion Mr. Day showed us helped us through a very rough time.

So thank you Janna for saying so. We do not need any more tourist traps but we do need a funeral home. Regardless of where it's located, we will all need one some day.

Della V. Truesdell

Restored faith

Dear Dave,

Thank you very much for kindly printing our letter to you in last week's edition of the SUN. We are quite pleased that it was instrumental in the return of our beloved family member, Tasha, our 10-year-old rottweiler.

Thanks also to all of our friends, acquaintances, coworkers and even unfamiliar, but sympathetic townsfolk who expressed their support in our efforts to get Tasha back. Thanks also to the person who "found" Tasha, who had the courage to call us and arrange for her return. We are very grateful to all.

It has restored our faith in humankind and in the great little town we have come to love in the past few years.

Tim and Vicki White



The Hawthornes

Dear Editor,

Reita and Bill Hawthorne, who have been on the mission field in Bucharest, Romania, for the past two years, will be in town Sept. 13. They have many friends and acquaintances in the Pagosa Springs area whom they would like to see. They would also like to share some of the exciting things the Lord is doing in Romania and their vision of the future work there as well as their continued involvement in it.

They are coming to Pagosa not only to see friends, but also for some much needed rest, so we are asking their friends and acquaintances to set aside Sept. 13, from either 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. or 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to come to our house at 800 Prospect (in the Vista) to visit with them. By doing this we will give them a little time alone in the mountains just resting and not having to run hither and yon to see all the many people they'd love to see. This will be the only "R and R" time on their whirlwind trip back to the states.

For directions to our house, call us at 731-5016.


Bobbie Carruth

Well said

Well said, Jana McDonald.

The Rev. Clark Sherman




Heather Joy Helbach and Matthew Edwin Olds of Pagosa Springs were married June 5, 1999, in Devil's Lake State Park of Wisconsin.

Both are originally from Wisconsin but met while in Pagosa Springs during the fall of 1996.

Heather is the daughter of Con (and Susan) Helbach of Sun Prairie, Wisc., and Peg (and Jay) Williams of Indianapolis, Ind. Matthew is the son of Jim and Leanne Olds of Madison, Wisc.

Heather and Matthew Helbach-Olds plan to move to Seattle, Wash., in September.


On a rainy evening on Aug. 17, 1999, Stacey Lynn Formwalt and Emzy Taylor Barker IV were united in marriage by Rev. Don Strait in a garden wedding held on the Formwalt Ranch in Pagosa Springs.

The bride, daughter of Bob and Jessie Formwalt, is a recent graduate of the University of Southern Colorado with a Bachelor of Science nursing degree and is employed as the school nurse in Dulce, N.M. The groom, son of E.T. and Ava Barker of Elgin, Texas, is a graduate of Southwest Texas University with a degree in animal sciences. He is presently self-employed. The couple will reside in Pagosa Springs.

 Shawn Christie

Former Pagosa Springs resident Shawn Christie's slow pitch softball team from Pueblo recently won the 22-team Colorado U.S.S.S.A.'s Class C slow pitch tournament in Longmont on Aug. 21 and 22, for the second year in a row.

The team will play in the National U.S.S.S.A. tournament in Overland, Kan., over the Labor Day weekend.


Jim and Meryle Backus of Pagosa Springs are pleased to announce the upcoming marriage of their son Jeremy to Sommer Mortenson of Glendale, Ariz. The wedding will take place on Sept. 4, 1999, at the LDS temple in Mesa, Ariz.

All of their friends are invited to an open house in their honor on Sept. 10 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in Pagosa Springs at the LDS Church on Majestic Drive in Piedra Estates.

 From selling things to selling God

By John M. Motter

If life is a journey, as some insist, Donald A. "Don" Ford, has traveled from selling things to selling God. Ford is the new minister of Community United Methodist Church of Pagosa Springs.

Life began for Don in Sepulveda, Calif., a community located in the Los Angeles Metroplex. He graduated from Monroe High School where he starred in football and track while following a college prep academic course.

Following graduation from high school, Don attended University of Redlands, graduating with dual degrees, one in mathematics, one in physical education. While at Redlands, Don competed in football, track, and baseball. He earned all-league football honors three years in a row, all-district two years, and when a senior was chosen for the "Little All-American" team as a split end.

"What I am most proud of," Don says, "is the fact that I played both ways, getting almost 55 minutes of playing time a game. I played split end on offense and defensive back on defense."

After graduating in 1968, Don attended the Oakland Raider training camp, retiring after the second training camp.

From that time until entering the ministry in 1992, Don was involved in sales, often in a traveling capacity. More recently, with wife Barbara, he was self employed, operating a video store in Salt Lake City.

Don and Barbara met in Elko, Nev., during 1983 when he was on the road as a salesman. She was employed as a clerk in a hardware store. They married in 1983. She had grown up in Whittier, Calif. Between them, the couple has four children, all born during previous marriages.

In a situation somewhat unique for ministers, Barbara is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, the Mormon faith.

"She has always been supportive of everything we have chosen to do," Don said. "When I wanted to sell the business and our home in Salt Lake City and become pastor of a Methodist Church in Paonia, Colorado, she was very supportive."

When the respective church schedules do not conflict, Barbara attends both churches.

"I support her in her activities as much as I can," Don said. "She has been so supportive of my calling. She gave up her family in Salt Lake City to move with me to Paonia. A mixed marriage like this works because we are both tolerant and accepting of each other."

Don's call to the ministry came relatively late in life.

"Like a lot of folks, I was facing a life crisis," Don said. "I grew up in the church, but drifted away during college. When the crisis came, I returned to the only place I knew. The pastor and members of the Methodist Church in Carson City, Nev., helped me when I needed help.

"I made a deal with God," Don said. "If you help me this time, I promised, I will never forsake you. When you make a deal with God, it's usually not God who breaks it."

Don kept his part of the bargain for the next 16 years, all of the while becoming more and more involved with church functions.

"As a lay member representative at an annual conference in Fort Collins during 1991, I joined the others in singing a hymn. I felt someone tapping my shoulder, but when I turned around no one was there. When the words of the hymn 'Here I Am Lord,' came to the part asking 'Whom shall I send?' I felt the tapping again. At that time I felt I was called."

One can become a Methodist pastor through one of two routes, according to Don. The more common route is to attend seminary, then be ordained and appointed to a church. The second route, chosen by Don, involves the licensing of lay people after a series of qualifying steps are met. Pastors who follow the second route are titled "local pastor."

Don was appointed as the local pastor at Paonia in 1992 and served there until appointed to the Pagosa Springs church earlier this year.

Being a pastor contains times of both despair and inspiration, according to Don.

"Despair comes when you see so many people really hurting," he says. "It hurts when you hear 'church is for hypocrites' and of bad church experiences."

Inspiration comes when "those who are seeking finally find what they have been seeking, something greater than themselves as they come closer to God," Don said. "Then there is real joy for me and for them."

"My personal theology is moderate and tolerant," Don said. "I'm still in sales, selling hope through God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit."

When not ministering to his flock, Don is interested in railroads and model railroads. He constructs scaled down railroad models from scratch. He also likes genealogy, hiking, and community involvement including helping youngsters learn how to play football.

Barbara intends to be involved with the affairs of the local community.

Don and Barbara Ford, sales reps for God.

C.W. Ankeney

C.W. "Clem" Ankeney passed from this life on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 1999, at Pine Ridge Care Center. A memorial service will be conducted Friday, Sept. 3, at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church on Lewis Street at 11 a.m.

Mr. Ankeney was born April 16, 1915, in Colorado Springs. His father was an ore refiner and his mother was loving and devoted to her son. These characteristics were shown in Mr. Ankeney's life as he was a caring, generous person. Mr. Ankeney loved life and was always optimistic even when ill. He was a retired machinist preceded in death by his father, mother, sister and beloved wife Doris. He served in the Illinois National Guard and worked for the defense department during World War II.

Mr. Ankeney was a mainstay for the Pagosa Lakes Tuesday Night Duplicate Bridge Club. He cheerfully volunteered his time to arrange partnerships, seeing that tables were set up and supplies were in place, and that the games ran smoothly (not always an easy task). He gallantly tried to make sense of the often-times erratic scoring and, many nights, stayed up well past midnight in order to have the score sheet ready to post by Thursday morning. Always the gentleman, he was often asked to substitute in the Ladies Thursday afternoon bridge group. On those days, he was "Clementine." He has been, and will continue to be, sorely missed by his many friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made at Norwest Bank of Pagosa Springs.


Isaac Rivas

Hi, my name is Isaac Domnick Rivas. I was born in Durango, July 17, 1999, to Rene Lujan and Tony Rivas. My brothers are Marcus Rivas and TJ Lujan. My sisters are Naquita Rivas and Cristy Lujan.

My paternal grandparents are Lala and Jim Willingham of Pagosa Springs. My great-grandmother is Amanda Stollstimer. My maternal grandparents are Barbara and Oscar Contresras of Durango.

I love you all.

Isaac Rivas


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