September 23, 1999

'Crash alley': Accidents pile up on U.S. 160

By Karl Isberg

Call it "crash alley."

And be careful.

Local law enforcement officials and many local residents have speculated recently about an increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents occurring within the town boundaries of Pagosa Springs, and in particular on U.S. 160 between Pagosa Boulevard and the downtown area.

What was once speculation is now fact, if last week is any indication.

According to Pagosa Springs Police Chief Don Volger, there were nine motor vehicle accidents within town boundaries between Sept. 13 and Sept. 18. Of the nine accidents, seven occurred at intersections located along U.S. 160. Of those seven accidents, five occurred at intersections on U.S. 160 between Pagosa Boulevard and Piedra Road.

Volger said two accidents occurred at downtown intersections between Sept. 13 and Sept. 18. One accident was at U.S. 160 and 2nd Street, the other occurred at 6th Street and the highway.

Moving west, into what is becoming "crash alley," the number of accidents, and the severity of accidents increased.

On Sept. 14, a Chevrolet Suburban hit a Toyota at the intersection of Piñon Drive and U.S. 160. The driver of the Suburban was pulling off of Piñon Drive to travel east on the highway and did not see the small Toyota westbound in the highway through lane, hidden behind a larger vehicle making a turn on to Piñon in a right-turn-only lane. There were no injuries in the accident.

On Sept. 15, the driver of a Chevrolet Blazer at the intersection of Talisman Drive and U.S. 160 pulled out in order to cross the highway and travel east. The Blazer was hit by a Buick traveling west. Patients were transported to local clinics but were not seriously injured.

An accident at the intersection of Pagosa Boulevard and U.S. 160 on Sept. 16 was minor, but was related to the problem of impatient motorists attempting to access the busy highway. One vehicle was rear-ended by another in the southbound lane of North Pagosa Boulevard. No one was injured.

Another accident at the same intersection on Sept. 17 was more serious. A Datsun, traveling southbound, attempted to cross the highway at Pagosa Boulevard. A Ford van in the westbound lane of the highway collided with the smaller car. There were no injuries reported.

A second accident at the intersection of Pagosa Boulevard and U.S. 160 on Sept. 17 involved four vehicles. A Cadillac pulled on to the highway from South Pagosa Boulevard and was hit by a westbound pickup truck. The truck broadsided the Cadillac and the car spun around into another vehicle waiting at the stop sign on North Pagosa Boulevard. That vehicle was pushed back by the impact and hit a car stopped behind it. Three victims were transported to local clinics where they were treated and released.

"All of the accidents we had during that time period involved at least one local driver," said Volger. "These are people who should be aware of the dangers presented by these intersections. The stretch of highway on the west side of town is getting increasingly dangerous due to the increased amount of traffic."

Volger noted that many recent accidents seen by members of his department, "involve cases where a motorist's vision is blocked or when someone abuses a turn-only lane. Most people at fault in these accidents are failing to yield."

Some simple precautions can enhance driver safety, said Volger. "Use extreme caution any time you are approaching the highway or driving on the highway. Drive defensively. If you assume anything, assume someone will pull out in front of you, will fail to turn, or can't see you. Assume the worst-case scenario. Please slow down, and be more patient."



Pagosa gets just a peak of snow

By John M. Motter

Chilling omens presaging the coming winter grinned down on Pagosa Country this past week. Snow dusted the higher peaks Sept. 14. The thermometer added its own special warning Monday by dipping to 31 degrees, the first freezing temperature since June 4.

Sunny skies with a scattering of light showers graced the local scene through the remainder of the week, but that all should be changing today.

"On Thursday, look for mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of afternoon and evening thundershowers," said Gina Loss, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction.

By late Thursday and through Friday, the chance for precipitation should increase to 30-40 percent, according to Loss. By Saturday and Sunday, the westerly moving system should have passed across Pagosa Country.

Temperatures today will peak in the mid-70s and bottom in the mid-30s, Loss said. Daytime highs will dip to the mid-50s tomorrow and through the coming weekend. Nighttime lows should range between 25 and 35 degrees.

Clouds covered the higher peaks in the area much of Sept. 14, but a few breaks in the ethereal cover revealed a mantle of white above the 11,000 foot level. The snow was more evident the following day when the cloud cover lifted.

Meanwhile, the Tuesday low temperature was 31 degrees, just one step on the thermometer below freezing. On June 4, the mercury recorded 27 degrees as the last freeze of the spring. For 1999, there have been 107 growing days between frosts, better than average, but not quite enough time for corn or tomatoes to mature. The average growing season in Pagosa Springs is 88 days, according to the county agent.

The average high temperature last week was 65 degrees, with a range stretching from 61 degrees this past Tuesday to 68 degrees last Thursday. The average low temperature was 37 degrees, with a range stretching from Monday's 31 degrees to 42 degrees Friday.

Precipitation for the week amounted to 0.49 inches, scattered across four days. The precipitation total for September is 1.45 inches, compared to the long time September average precipitation total of 1.89 inches.

Stevens Field is the location of the official National Weather Service recording station for the Pagosa Springs area.



Forest Service approves Wolf Creek Ski Area plans

By John M. Motter

Wolf Creek Ski Area received final approval to build a new chairlift after more than a year spent getting U.S. Forest Service approval of the associated environmental impact statement. The southern Rocky Mountain ski area is entirely located on Forest Service land.

"We received final approval in the form of a letter from the Forest Service Sept. 17," said Rosanne Haidorfer-Pitcher, the area's marketing director. "Work on the project should be completed some time this ski season, depending on the weather."

Called the Alberta Chairlift, the new addition will handle 1,800 skiers per hour and cover a 5,243-foot length at a speed of 475-feet-per-minute. Featuring a four-person, Garaventa CTEC "fixed-grip quad chairlift," the new lift starts in Alberta Park at an elevation of 10,350 feet and rises 1,100 vertical feet to unload below the Knife Ridge Outpost. The lift will service an additional 500 acres of glade skiing within Wolf Creek's established boundaries.

The total skiable acres at Wolf Creek is 1,581. Comfortable skiing capacity at the resort increases from 3,300 skiers to 4,550 skiers per hour with total uphill capacity increasing from 5,600 skiers per hour to 8,100 skiers per hour.

With the advent of snowboards, parabolic, fat, shaped, alpine touring skis, and telemark equipment, Wolf Creek introduces the Alberta Lift terrain as an exploratory outback area. Intermediate and advanced skiers are invited to participate in a trend that Haidorfer-Pitcher says is a unique ski experience, a trend that was originally offered with Wolf Creek's snowcat shuttle.

A final touch to summer improvements incorporates an aesthetically pleasing change to the area's parking and base areas. All power lines and electrical transformers have been buried underground and across the highway leaving skiers with an unobstructed view of the mountain.

Wolf Creek Ski Area broke at least three records last year - seasonal attendance, most skiers in one day and the earliest opening ever. The seasonal attendance record set was 202,053 skier days, a 28 percent increase. The increase is attributed to early season snowfall permitting the Oct. 30 opening date.



Health officials: Take precautions against plague

San Juan Basin Health Department officials are urging Archuleta and La Plata County residents to take precautions against plague.

The warning was issued after plague was confirmed recently in domestic cats in the Florida Mesa area near Durango. Also, fleas collected from prairie dog burrows on Florida Mesa tested positive for plague. There is a concern that squirrels and chipmunks in other parts of the region may likewise be involved.

Pat Shepherd, environmental health director with San Juan Basin Health Department, said, "Prairie dog colony die-offs are an indicator of possible plague in an area. Unless you use adequate protection, these areas should be avoided because the infected fleas will be seeking the blood of new hosts to survive."

Plague is a bacterial disease transmitted to humans through fleas and direct contact with infected animals. Domestic cats and dogs can contract plague by catching and eating infected rodents and rabbits, or by being bitten by infected fleas. Pets may carry infected fleas home to their owners or serve as a direct source of infection.

In humans, typical early plague symptoms include sudden onset of a high fever with chills, severe headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and a general feeling of systemic illness. The disease may progress to the development of painful, swollen lymph glands in the groin or underarms.

Persons with such symptoms should immediately contact their physician. Antibiotics are effective against plague, but if an infected person is not treated promptly the disease is likely to cause severe illness or death.

Cats infected with plague often exhibit swelling and sores around the mouth, head and neck. They may also be lethargic and develop a high fever. Handle suspiciously ill pets wearing gloves and face protection and seek professional veterinary care immediately.

Shepherd said pet owners should apply flea powders and shampoos on their cats and dogs if the pets live in or visit rodent-infested areas. He also recommended that human and pet contact with sick and dead rodents and rabbits should be avoided, and that evidence of animal die-offs should be reported to San Juan Basin Health Department at 257-5702, Ext. 218.



Services held for Mrs. Nellie O'Neal

Family and friends gathered at Community United Methodist Church Tuesday afternoon to remember the late Nellie O'Neal.

A long-time resident of Pagosa Springs, Mrs. Nellie Hannah O'Neal was born to Ida and Fred Tallman on May 18, 1901, in Penn Yan, N.Y. She died Sept. 18, 1999, in Durango at the age of 98.

Mrs. O'Neal married John Eben "Buck" O'Neal on Sept. 30, 1930, north of Pagosa Springs at the Toner Ranch in Hinsdale County.

In addition to her being the 27th member of Community United Methodist Church, having joined in 1932; her family remembered Mrs. O'Neal for her resourceful independence, quick humor, devotion to her family, enjoyment of the out of doors, tending her vegetable and flower gardens, and memorable times she spent with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. To many old-timers, Mrs. O'Neal was known for the satisfaction she derived from living in her home atop "School House Hill."

After her husband passed away in January 1953, Mrs. O'Neal made walking her preferred mode of transportation whenever she would go to work, visit friends, attend church, choir practices, various other meetings or conduct business in town. A former clerk and recorder for Archuleta County, Mrs. O'Neal also served as clerk of the 6th District Court, switchboard operator for the phone company, and served on the county's Office of Price Administration during World War II.

She is survived by her two sons, Gordon O'Neal and his wife, Vernette, of Casa Grande, Ariz., and Vernon "Shag" O'Neal and his wife, Reyne, of Pagosa Springs; her grandchildren Veronica Tothe, Brian O'Neal, Janice Campuzano, and Melissa Lewis of Pagosa Springs; Patrick O'Neal of Los Angeles, and Mary-Elizabeth O'Neal of Ruidoso Downs, N.M., and nine great-grandchildren.

Rev. Don Ford conducted the funeral service for Mrs. O'Neal and the burial which followed at Hilltop Cemetery.


Celebrate: Monsoon sent south, dry air moves in

By John M. Motter

Warm, sunny, and dry describes Pagosa Country weather since Friday. Even better, according to the tastes of a lot of folks, warm and dry it will remain through the coming weekend.

"The monsoon season is finished," said Chris Kuoco, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction. "Our weather is in a transition mode, changing from summer to winter. Look for periodic weather fronts from the Pacific Northwest that will be increasingly colder as the season progresses."

"Expect warm, dry weather into Monday," Kuoco said. "High temperatures will be about 80 degrees. Lows will drop to around 50 degrees."

The best chance for rain during the coming week rests with a system moving in from the Northwest Monday night or Tuesday, according to Kuoco, but even that chance is pretty slight.

For almost two months, the Colorado West has been locked in a monsoon weather pattern defined by a high-pressure system east of the Continental Divide, a low-pressure system west of the Divide, and winds laden with Gulf of Mexico moisture sweeping up the Rocky Mountain chain from Mexico to Colorado.

Sometime during late August or early September the pattern changes, according to Kuoco, and that change has occurred. Low-pressure systems containing colder air and originating in the Gulf of Alaska or northwestern Canada and moving from west to east drop into the United States, forcing the monsoon conditions to remain south. The key to moisture in the fall and winter pattern is the location of high altitude jet streams. A jet stream crossing the Four Corners area often causes precipitation.

"Right now, the jet stream is coming across northern California, crossing Idaho into Canada, then dropping down into the northern Plains States," Kuoco said. "From time to time, local storms spin off of the main stream and drop into western Colorado. When that happens we get moisture. By the time winter arrives, those patterns remain further south providing precipitation in the form of snow."

Pagosa Country received 0.79 inches of rain Sept. 1 and Sept. 2. High temperatures this past week ranged between 75 degrees Sept. 7 and 63 degrees on Sept. 1 with an average high temperature of 70 degrees. Low temperatures ranged between 37 degrees Sept. 3 and 50 degrees Sept. 1 with the average being 43 degrees.


Inside The Sun


Safe driving takes time

Regardless of how long a person has lived in Pagosa, by now everyone should be aware of the increased amount of traffic on U.S. 160. It doesn't matter whether the heavy traffic is due to the arrival of new residents, the opening of new businesses, or the east-west motorists who are traveling to destinations beyond Pagosa Springs - the traffic has increased.

The fact that five serious accidents occurred on U.S. 160 between Pagosa Boulevard and Piedra Road during a six-day span last week should not surprise anyone. The grateful surprise is that no one was killed.

It takes time and money to improve the physical conditions of the highway and to install traffic-control devices that could help improve driving conditions. But such measures can't produce safer drivers.

The quickest and cheapest way to make it safer to drive in Pagosa is for Pagosans to develop safe-driving habits. This involves coming to complete stops at stop signs. It requires using turn signals before making lane changes or before turning at intersections. It means obeying speed limit signs, through-traffic lane signs, "right-turn only" lane signs or driving in the right-hand lanes when traveling up hill except when passing. It also involves maintaining a safe cushion or spacing between your auto and the motorist you are following. It involves not crossing over the double-yellow center line on the highway when passing another motorist. It means developing an awareness of pedestrians and bicyclists

It requires exercising patience and common sense at stop signs - don't take chances. It requires looking to the left, to the right, and then once more to the left before turning onto the highway from a parking lot or an intersection.

It takes time to practice safe driving habits, but it is time well spent.

David C. Mitchell

Dear Folks

By David C. Mitchell

Losing a piece of Pagosa's past

Dear Folks,

Pagosa lost another unique part of its past Saturday when Nellie O'Neal passed away.

There are two advantages to living in Pagosa for 25 years or more.

One, the earlier you moved to Pagosa Springs, the less real estate cost.

Two, the earlier you moved to Pagosa Springs, more of the true old-timers were still alive.

Just like knowing Thelma Risinger and countless others, knowing Nellie O'Neal was an enjoyable privilege.

As was noted at her funeral service Tuesday afternoon, Mrs. O'Neal was known - among many other wonderful attributes - for being a top-notch baby sitter. She never tired of telling stories or reading children's books.

She stayed with my boys a time or two back in the mid-70s. She was surprised to learn that their step-grandfather had been born in Penn Yan, N.Y., a year or two after herself.

Being a new comer, I once made the mistake of offering Mrs. O'Neal a ride home when I saw her walking through town one day. Neither high winds, heat, rain, mud, snow or ice could deter her on her daily trips down to town nor on her return walk up the steep driveway which led to her home atop Schoolhouse Hill.

Listening to her family and friends Tuesday share their favorite accounts of their experiences with Mrs. O'Neal brought to mind a visit to Mercy Medical Center in the mid-1980s.

I was waiting in the hospital's cancer area for a physician to take a biopsy from a growth on my esophagus when Mrs. O'Neal and one of her granddaughters arrived at the registration desk.

After patiently waiting her turn, she told the lady at the registration desk that she wanted to have a mammogram examination.

When asked if she was there at the advice of her doctor, Nellie said, "No. I've been reading my Lady's Home Journal, and it said that any lady who was over 30, and who had never done so, should have a mammogram."

Explaining that she was over 30, by more than 50 years at that time, Nellie said she wanted a mammogram examination.

Agreeing with Mrs. O'Neal that a person should not take chances with their health, the receptionist started asking a series of standardized questions on an admission form.

It went pretty well until the question, "Address?"

Without hesitation Nellie responded, "Schoolhouse Hill."

Being unfamiliar with the address, the receptionist asked if Nellie could be more specific.

Even after learning that "everybody knows where Schoolhouse Hill is," the receptionist persisted on obtaining a street address, but Nellie wouldn't budge.

Her granddaughter finally resolved the standoff by explaining that folks didn't use street addresses in Pagosa and gave Mrs. O'Neal's box number at the post office.

Once the receptionist had the information she needed, Nellie had a list of hand-written questions she wanted answers. Evidently Lady's Home Journal had advised its readers that the equipment and procedure required certain standards in order to be reliable. And Nellie had not reached her 80s by being haphazard about her health. She knew that life was great "if you didn't weaken."

It was another one of those moments that make life worth living in Pagosa.

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



25 years ago

Ray Macht reelected as chairman

Taken from SUN files

of Sept. 26, 1974

At the last meeting of the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission, H. Ray Macht was re-elected as chairman of the commission. He has held that position since the commission was originally established. Paul Decker was named as vice-chairman and Glen Edmonds was named secretary. Other members of the planning commission are: Dan Peters, James Cloman, Arnold Larson, Arch Toner, Dr. Leonard Marquez and Reuben Marquez.

A contract was let Monday by the school board for the start of construction of the recreational facilities planned south of town. The worked to be accomplished by the $66,815 project includes general site work, gravel surfacing of two parking areas, gravel surfacing of an access road, installation of a main water line and a sewer line, construction of a baseball backstop and fill for a baseball diamond.

The runway at Stevens Field is being oiled by the county. The entire landing strip has received a seal coat of oil and a thick mat of asphalt is being laid. County equipment is doing the work and at this time it is hoped the work can be completed before the bad weather sets in.

Construction work on two new lakes at Eaton International's Pagosa in Colorado is nearing competition. It is possible that one of the lakes will be filled next spring.



By Shari Pierce

Remembering Nellie O'Neal

I was saddened on Sunday to hear of the passing of Mrs. Nellie O'Neal.

I first met Mrs. O'Neal in 1989 when the SUN was working on a special edition that was published in recognition of the town's centennial celebration. The O'Neal family was one of 10 families that were chosen to have a short history included in the edition because members of the family had lived in Pagosa for over 100 years. The O'Neals arrived in southwestern Colorado in the 1870s. And Mrs. O'Neal was kind enough to help me out with her family's history.

I had known her son, Gordon, for a few years. He is very knowledgeable about the history of the area and had helped me out with this column on occasion. It was Gordon who introduced me to Mrs. O'Neal and who accompanied me on my visit to her home up on top of "Schoolhouse Hill."

We'll skip ahead in the family story to where Nellie became a member of the O'Neal family.

Nellie had come to Pagosa Springs from Penn Yan, N.Y., where she was born on May 18, 1901. She attended school in Penn Yan and then took secretarial training in Rochester, N.Y. She came to Pagosa Springs with a friend who was ill.

Shortly after her arrival in Pagosa Springs, "Buck" O'Neal swept her off her feet. Buck O'Neal and Nellie Tallman were married by Justice of the Peace Archie Toner at the Toner Ranch in Hinsdale County on Sept. 30, 1930.

Buck and Nellie had two sons, Gordon and Vernon. Gordon was born in New York while Vernon was born in Pagosa Springs.

The young O'Neals lived in several places around town before Nellie told Buck that she wanted to live up on the hill near the southwest corner of North 5th Street and Florida Street. So Buck went to the county commissioners and asked them to sell him the hill. He bought 13 lots for $175 and built Nellie her house.

The spot Nellie had chosen for their home was known as Schoolhouse Hill because the local school had occupied that spot for a number of years until it burned in the 1920s.

Buck worked a variety of jobs. He was a trouble-shooter for the telephone company, a "powder" (demolition) man on construction jobs clearing the roadway, a hunting and fishing guide and town marshal among other things. Buck never took an active interest in running the O'Neal family ranch and sold it in 1939. He passed away in 1953.

Mrs. O'Neal was county clerk in the 1950s and later served as clerk of the district court. She was also a member of the United Community Methodist Church and the Eastern Star.

Several members of the O'Neal family still reside in the area.



Community News

Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

See Craigen's metal fish at Bazaar

Amongst the items to be raffled at the Civic Club's annual Holiday Bazaar is a metal sculpture of a fish - done in three types of metal: galvanized steel, brass and mile steel. Don Craigen, who owns Texas Bull, a business working with steel, is the artist.

Don Craigen's steel sculpture is only one of the donated items to be raffled. When you walk into the Library, you can't help but spot the stained glass piece in the window behind the desk, a beautiful piece done by Mary Miller. Her use of different kinds of clear glass to portray clouds, mountains and the like is exceptional. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5 and absolutely the best way to spend your money, for the money goes to the Ruby Sisson Library. Items are on display at the Library. Tickets can be purchased at the Library or from Margaret Wilson at 264-4246. Call her.

The Civic Club's Holiday Bazaar is Nov. 6 at the Extension Building. The hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please note that the Bazaar is only one day this year.

This is a story without names but it happened within the past three weeks.

Our local firemen answered a call. The inside of the house was full of dense smoke. The smoke was from bug bombs. But just the same, the firemen were thorough. They went into the house to check for possible victims (there weren't any). This house isn't fire proof but for certain, it's bug proof. Please note though, if you have a smoke alarm, please notify the dispatcher if you intend to use bug bombs.

Fun on the run

A kangaroo yanked her young one out of her pouch and gave it a healthy smack on the backside. "I'll teach you," she declared, "to eat crackers in bed!"

An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him, "How do you expect to get into heaven?"

The boy thought it over and said, "Well, I'll just run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, 'For heaven's sake, Jimmy, come in or stay out.'"



Chamber News
By Sally Hameister

You'll need plenty of coffee to get through these renewals

Five new members to introduce this week and 47 renewals, so once again you might want to make a fresh pot of coffee, relax and read. We are delighted with the renewal responses and somewhat astonished at the number of new recruits that seem to come on board at a very steady rate. Always puts a little, no a lot, of zip in our day.

New member number one is Andrew Jones with Solid Rock Masonry. Andrew offers custom masonry work specializing in unique handpicked stone work on fireplaces, patios, pillars, fences, chimneys, floors and more. Andrew's wife, Stephanie, will receive a free SunDowner for her recruitment efforts - it is her name that appears on the membership form as the recruiter. More and more folks are realizing that this is a real easy way to win a free SunDowner. You can reach Andrew at 264-5068 to learn more about Solid Rock Masonry.

Speaking of Stephanie Jones, she has relocated to the area behind the Hogs Breath and has changed the name of her business from the San Juan Dance Academy to the San Juan Living Arts Studio. I was happy to hear that the number of her students has risen dramatically and congratulate Stephanie on such a successful endeavor. If you are interested in ballet classes, please call Stephanie at 264-5068.

New member number two is Susan Balcomb with Balcomb Business Works located in her home.

Susan is a public accountant with thirteen years in business plans, budgets and taxes. She can also give you a hand in the area of mortgage lending and/or assistance on first purchase or second home, investment rentals or commercial real estate. A business loan from the small business administration is yet another option available to you. She invites you to call her at 731-2500 to learn more about Balcomb Business Works.

Richard Bracken joins us next with Orton Homes located at 160 Hawk Place right here in Pagosa. You can give this gentleman a call to discuss either your custom home building needs or remodeling plans you might be considering. You can reach Richard at 731-2243 for more information.

Saddle Creek Wildlife Studio joins us next with Kimberly Price at the helm. This award-winning custom taxidermy studio is located at 86 Goldmine Drive. They will design and create shoulder mounts, life-size mounts, rugs, skull and antler mounts, birds and fish. Custom work is their specialty and you can learn more by calling 264-3160. Don't be surprised if the phone is answered by five-year old daughter, Faye, who seems to play quite a large role in running the business and giving personal tours.

Doug and Judy Galles join us as new Associate Members this week, and we are especially grateful to Judy for the Diplomat work she does for us. Happy to have you.

Renewals this week include the following: Gayle Allston with Allston Designworks; Selena Lungstrum with Selena's Candy Shop; Paula Woerner with The Second Story; Robert and Debbie Sparks with The Fireside Inn; Ron Bubb with Switchback Mountain Gear and Apparel; Frank Jesmer with San Juan Marina; Curt Cristensen, CPA; Father John Bowe with Immaculate Heart of Mary; Diane McGinnis with Fairfield Pagosa, Inc.; Roger Horton with Century 21 Fairfield Realty; Justine Woodard with First Inn of Pagosa; Jim Kahrs with the Kahrs Insurance Group; Jody and Rick Unger with Copper Coin Liquor; Terri Andersen with Discovery Toys; Harvey and Harriet Robinson with Cool Pines RV Park; Steve and Shirley Keno with Keno's Kritters; Betty Johann with Betty Johann Realty, LLC, a.k.a., "Here Today - Gone Tomorrow"; Sally Bish with Cruise One; Steve and Dee Butler with Studio 160; A.J. and Lana Schlegel with Schlegel Bilt Homes; James E. Angelo with Pagosa Realty, Inc.; Ian Vowles with the Colorado Mounted Rangers, Troop F; Bonnie Masters with Lone Eagle-Pagosa; Christy Pollard with Directory Plus; Rocque McClellan with Airport Self Storage; John, Eugenia, Rusty and Chris Hinger with Bruce Spruce Ranch; James Hallock with Earth Block, Inc.; Joyce Hopkins with Log Park Trading Co.; Stacia Aragon with Pagosa Glass; Vicki Buck with Sunetha Management; Dan Aupperle with Citizens Bank of Pagosa Springs; Andy Donlon with Buyers Resource Real Estate of Pagosa; Christine Seavey with the Archuleta County Board of Realtors; Chris Willhelm with Riverside Properties; Jerry Driesens with Jerry Driesens Real Estate; James E. Grant with Pagosa Lakes Ranch, Inc.; John Steinert with Juan's Mountain Sports; Dan Levesque with Kiwanis Club of Pagosa Springs; Don and Mable Headrick with Country Lodge; and Susan Neder with Colorado Land Title Company.

New Associate Members include Real Estate Associate, Victoria Appenzeller; Randy Stefanowicz; Anna Reilly; Emmet and Bev Showalter; Mamie Lynch and Don and Patsy Braune. Whew! What a pleasure it is to share all these names with you - thank you all.

Colorfest recap

Although we're still counting tickets, we know that attendance this year exceeded all existing records for both the Wine and Cheese Tasting and the Colorfest Picnic and Concert. Well over 300 people attended both evenings and a great time was had by all. I'm sure it is no surprise to anyone that behemoth efforts go into this fantastic weekend by staff, board members and volunteers. Suellen and Morna are first on the list of those who expended large amounts of blood, sweat and tears for weeks in preparation and clearly are largely responsible for the great success. Jean Sanft and Nita Heitz are most likely still nursing sore hands from cutting pounds and pounds of cheese for us. Those who served the wines for us include: Sue Gast, Monica Greene, Ken and Jan Harms, Mike and Lauri Heraty, Ron and Sheila Hunkin, Mike Markley, Don and Mary McKeehan, Kelly McKeenan, Robert and Tina Soniat, Tom and Ming Steen, Lynnis Steinert, Doug Trowbridge, Dalas and Carrie Weisz, Cappy White and Stan Zuege.

Special thanks to Sylvia Murray who, once again, was my sidekick for both the Tasting and Picnic - the stories we could tell. Thanks, too, to Denny and John at the Hogs Breath for withstanding the winds and weather to serve over 300 hungry folks and to the musicians of Badly Bent for hanging in there and entertaining despite a windy, questionable start.

Liz and Mike Marchand are to be commended for their organizational expertise in putting together an amazing Balloon Rally. Don't be deceived by the fact that it looks so easy - months of preparation and communication go into attracting balloonists from all over the place. Liz and Mike have built this rally from six balloonists to fifty and climbing and everyone who participates always wants to come back year after year because they are treated so well and have such a good time. At any rate, our congratulations to Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventures for hosting a smashing event. Now you can start work on next year's rally, kids.

Interviewing magic

We've all been there. You have just hired what appears to be the perfect employee after an extensive and exhaustive interviewing process. You're pumped. After a month or so, you notice that your office has been turned upside down - work is incorrect, loyal employees who have worked for you forever are jumping ship. They grab the weekly SUN right off the press to check the "Help Wanted" section, mumbling something about how "things have really changed around here." Somehow that "perfect employee" has turned into your worst nightmare. Take heart, help is on the way. Jim Lawrence, CIC, of Anco Southwest Insurance Services, Inc., will present "Interviewing Magic: How to Hire the Ideal Employee" at the Sports Page Bar and Grill from 1 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 9. In this workshop, Jim will share an interviewing and hiring process that will greatly increase your chances of hiring the ideal employee. This process is implemented by many successful businesses throughout the nation and it works!

The fee for this event $15 and Chamber business members will receive invitations in the mail. Give us a call at 264-2360 if you have questions. Mark your calendars for this one, folks, to avoid that "turnstile syndrome" in your place of business.

New addition

The gang at Exclusively Elizabeth is excited to welcome a new member, Diane Ricker, to their staff. Diane is a full-service nail tech featuring manicures, pedicures, acrylic and fiberglass nails. She specializes in air brushing and free hard nail art. Please give them a call at 264-6413 to learn more.

SunDowners 2000

A big reminder to those desiring SunDowner hosting privileges in 2000. On Oct. 1 at 8 a.m. we will accept requests here at the Visitor Center on a first-come, first-served basis. There seems to be a great deal of competition for these babies due to the limited number available (10) and the increasingly large number of businesses who want to host. I can assure that they will go like hotcakes, so please mark your calendar to either be here or send someone to sign up for a 2000 SunDowner.



Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

Ming races at Imogen Pass Run, then replays it on way back home

They say time heals all wounds and it's been over a week since the Imogene Pass Run. Any muscular discomfort and lingering memories of how very difficult it is to breathe while running at over 13,000 feet is all gone (forgotten). A group of Pagosan runners - Reid and Debra Kelly, Steve and Nancy Kitson, Scott Anderson, Lana Jorgensen and Mark DeVoti and I participated in the 26th annual Imogene Pass Run. We all got through the steep ascent and gutted out the even steeper descent. We even managed a smile at the finish line.

On the way home, I did what runners do. Reran the race in my head. Obsessed. As I massage tight leg muscles and examine a big toe nail that has turned black, I think again about running. Another finish line comes into focus.

There are few greater emotional feelings than finishing a tough race. And there are few worse physical feelings than finishing a tough race. And so we all have our goals for next year at the finish line in Telluride. It's a dual aim for better times and even better feelings. We will do what we know how to do: Run steady, heads up, enjoy the ambience and just keep on going.

Through the years, participants in the Imogene Pass Run have encountered a variety of weather conditions. Starting out in Ouray at 7,800 feet, the 17.1-mile race summits at 13,114 feet and then descends into Telluride at 8,745 feet. In good-weather-years the challenge of the traverse is rewarded by unsurpassed vistas and in the bad weather years, the wind, fog, rain and/or snow along the course make a successful arrival in Telluride a virtual rite of passage into the realm of true mountain running.

Of the 26 Imogene Pass runs, half have been conducted during good weather conditions (sunny to partly cloudy skies, warm temperatures in the valleys with cool to cold temperatures on the pass, calm winds and a dry course). Other years were more challenging (cloudy, cold to freezing temperatures, gusty winds, rain, heavy snow above timberline with occasional whiteout conditions). An hour before the 7 a.m. start of this year's run, the skies were heavy with rain, black thunder clouds and lightning. It cleared enough by race time, making for an invigorating misty "moisty" first 7 miles. The weather deteriorated above timberline to hail, 25 mph winds and fog. With over a thousand racers on the trail, I found myself alone on the mountain. At that moment, I fully understood the profound pleasures of being in sync with the terrain . . . not a sound except for my breathing, the pounding of my heart in my ears and my shoes hitting the rocks. Or is it a high-altitude buzz and the wondrous God-given intelligence of the body to get where I'm going with as little oxygen-burning muscular effort as possible. A sea of hail reverie?

A week before the Imogene Pass run, Greg Sykes, Robbie Johnson and Byron Monterroso took themselves to Creede to race in a 22-mile run from 8,800 feet to 12,500 feet and back to Creede. Also participating from Pagosa were David and Mark Smith in the 12-mile category of the race. These summit-crazy guys all did well and are ready to do it again. We are all hubris-crazy, begging-for-pulmonary-pain-crazy.

Some of the peaks surrounding Pagosa are already capped with white, a harbinger of things to come. Snow is seriously on my mind. "Snowriders" (the latest term for skiers and snowboarders) - Wolf Creek Ski Area pre-season lift passes will go on sale this Saturday, through Oct. 3. To get your pass in person, go to the ski area ticket office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can have a new mug shot taken for this season's pass or if last year's was a real "glam" shot, those good folks in the ticket office will recycle. Can't make it up there in person - mail your contract and check to Wolf Creek Ski Area, Box 2800, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 or phone 264-5639 and give them your credit card number. The pass can then be put together on your first day of skiing.

Also going on this Saturday are a number of other events. At 7 p.m. at Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse, this month's Open Mike Night will feature David Snyder and Sharman Alto.

San Juan Outdoor Club will be heading out of a 12-mile hike on the Piedra River this Saturday morning. Hike coordinator is Robbie Schwartz (731-9168). Be sure to call her if you wish to hike with the club. Because of growing interests in the club's many activities, members are given priority. All others are advised to talk to the trip coordinator first.



Education News
By Tom Steen

More info on after-school programs

Each year more schools are creating after-school programs like those offered by the Education Center in the local schools.

The reasons why the public supports these programs are clear. Over 28 million school-age children have both parents or their only parent in the work force. At least 5 million children - and possibly as many as 15 million - are left alone at home each week. Many children, especially low-income children, lose ground in reading if they are not engaged in organized educational activities which extend their learning time beyond the normal school day. Experts agree that school-aged children who are unsupervised during the hours after school are more likely to receive poor grades and drop out of school than those who are involved in supervised, constructive activities. Statistics show that most juvenile crime takes place between the hours of 3 and 8 p.m. and that children are also at much greater risk of being the victims of crime during the hours after school.

The Education Center's "After Hours" tutoring program begins Oct. 4 in the elementary school. This tutoring program will provide help in academic subjects to public, private and home-schooled students in first through fourth grades. Talented high school tutors will conduct one-on-one and small group tutoring under the guidance of a licensed teacher. Students are accepted into this program by teacher or parent referral.

Tutoring sessions are held Monday through Thursday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Room 11 of the Pagosa Springs Elementary School. Tuition is $25 per month for one hour of tutoring 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. or 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., two to four days each week. Students may also be enrolled for a second hour of supervised activities in the "Klubroom" for an additional $15 per month. Children must be re-registered each month to remain in the program. Scholarships are available.

The Education Center will hold Klubroom activities in Room 12 of the Pagosa Springs Elementary School. The Klubroom is for students waiting for tutoring at 4:30 or who have finished their enrichment activities for the day and are waiting for parents to pick them up. A snack is served each day at 3:20 p.m. before tutoring and enrichment classes begin. Children must be currently enrolled in tutoring for enrichment classes to attend Klubroom activities.

October is also Community Safety Month. Children are invited to attend safety workshops on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Guest speakers and topics include: Officer George Daniels (bike safety), Fire Chief Warren Grams (fire safety) and EMS Staff (first aid tips). Tuition for this series or workshops is $12.

Upcoming art classes include: "Drawing and Painting" taught by Lisa Brown. This class will provide children with the opportunity to try their hands at a variety of basic drawing and painting techniques and give them the freedom to experiment in making art. Classes will be held Mondays from Oct. 4 through Oct. 25, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuition is $15 (materials included).

"Art with Tessie Garcia." This class will enable children to experience a wide variety of art activities. Activities will change monthly. Classes will be held Wednesdays from Oct. 6 through Oct. 27, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuition will be $15 (materials included).

"Crafts from Many Cultures" with Lisa Brown. This class will expose children to a wide variety of folk art crafts from around the world, allowing them to learn the art history of various cultures. Students will then use this knowledge to create two and three dimensional projects. Classes will be held Thursdays from Oct. 7 through Oct. 28, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuition is $15 (materials included).

Other after-school enrichment classes this fall will include a new variety of hands-on activities. Watch this column for schedules and details. Parents please note: The Education Center has a $5 annual registration fee. This fee will be added to the tuition for your first enrollment.

Enrollment for all "After Hours" community education programs is held at the Education Center at 4th and Lewis streets.

You may call 264-2835 to register by phone or for more information. More program information is also available on our website:



Library News
by Lenore Bright

Check library for missing spoon

More special items are coming in for the raffle. We will be displaying them soon. Monograms Plus donated another elegant vest, Liz Allen brought in a beautiful quilted Christmas wall hanging; a money wreath and basket are among the many prizes. The raffle will be on Nov. 6, at 6 p.m. as part of the Civic Club Bazaar. We have raffle tickets here.

Remember, this year's Bazaar is just one day. And by the way, this is the 25th anniversary of the annual event. Congratulations to the ladies who make it so. We appreciate their continued support.

Fort Lewis

We have a number of fall community class schedules. Would you like to take some classes just for fun? How about Navajo weaving, or a mountain bike weekend to explore canyons in Utah? Writing a screenplay, or learning to write children's books? Many more fun classes are planned. Pick up a bulletin at the library.

Missing spoon

We have a lovely Oneida tablespoon someone left at the food table at the Friends Annual meeting. If you're missing one, we'll keep it right here until it's claimed.

Book reviewer

Our Mary Stahl reviews books for "Sisters" magazine. Her latest revue covers the book "Aunties - Our Older Cooler, Wiser Friends." Mary recommends this book by Tamara Traeder and Julienne Bennett. Mary has lots of experience since she is aunt to five nieces and four nephews. We have a copy of this book.

NEPA newsletter

NEPA stands for the National Environmental Policy Act. It provides you a listing of all ongoing Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service projects so you can be involved if you choose.

The document lists the Pagosa Ranger District with the names of the contacts and what projects they are working on. This includes sales of timber, improvement of roads, new trail construction, and improving recreation facilities. Ask for it at the desk.

Another celebration

The Library of Congress will mark its 200th birthday next April. This bicentennial is truly a celebration of all libraries and the important role they play in community life. Join us by stopping in and signing our large greeting card that will be sent on to Washington.

You may visit your nation's library at

New book

It is John Fielder's "Colorado Millennium 2000" project. This is the book you've heard about on Denver television. Journey with John Fielder as he tracks the footsteps of William Henry Jackson, Colorado's first photographer, retaking his 19th century landscape photographs.

This is the ultimate coffee table book and it must be read at the library. It has 156 pairs of "then and now" photographs made across Colorado, with provocative essays about the old and new West. We are very proud to own this special edition. It was purchased with gift monies.

Last chance

You may not be registered to vote. It will soon be too late to do so. If you didn't vote in the general election last year - and many of you didn't - you need to re-register. You may pick of a form here at the library, or at the County Clerk's office. It will be a mail ballot and Oct. 4 is the last day to register. Almost half of the 4,622 voters aren't registered now.


Financial donations came from Jim and Margaret Wilson in memory of Grace Kiser; Gil Bright in memory of Clem Ankeney. Thanks for materials from Thomas Thigpen, Sharon Johnson, Mary Lou Sprowle, Sandra Martin, Earle Beasley, Katherine Cruse, Sue Tripp, Addie Greer, Nell Jones, Susan Durkee, Dr. Richard Ellis, Marty Johnson, Darla Maclean, Astrid Homan, Melanie Wayne, Debbie Swenson, Willie Hammer and Jane Slaughter.



Arts Line
By Jennifer Galesic

Cardins exhibit at PSAC gallery

Currently showing at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council gallery in town park are the works of husband and wife Mary and Tom Cardin.

This artistic duo is bringing the magic of the season indoors as they present "Autumn in the Rockies," through Sept. 29.

Tom, a prize-winning professional photographer, has traveled near and far to bring you some of the most captivating photos in his vast collection. Trains are a definite theme with Tom's work and his fascinating perspective takes the viewer to the places he has ventured. Mary Cardin is a talented, self-taught artist, specializing in watercolor media. She has a unique gift for creating dreamy florals and fall landscapes with vivid colors and expression. Come and meet Mary Cardin at the gallery Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. She will be demonstrating her exciting watercolor technique throughout the day. Refreshments will be served.

Coming soon

The PSAC is pleased to bring the art of Danny Smith and Joseph Leal, as well as an encore from Mr. Tom Cardin to the town park gallery on Sept. 30. Danny Smith is a self-taught artisan, with works of various mediums including oils, watercolors, pastels, wood carvings, leather works, rifle building and cabinet making. Wow! A Texan-gone Pagosa, Danny and his wife Debbie have recently made this area home.

Joseph Leal channels his love of the outdoors into the fine art of wood carving and metal sculpture. Living in Pagosa Springs has inspired Joseph to create unique carvings such as bears, eagles, hummingbirds and trout. He refers to his art as "life's simple things." To culminate the trio, Tom Cardin will display his fantastic photography for an additional two weeks. Please join us on Sept. 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. to celebrate the opening and reception for a treasure-filled exhibit, featuring three fine fellas. The show will run through Oct. 13.

Sue Weaver

Presented by the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, "A Tribute to Sue Weaver Night," will take place this evening, Sept. 23, at the Lantern Dancer Gallery in the River Center. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. and runs until 8 p.m., with a live auction at 7 p.m. Items for the auction include artwork and various donations from the gallery and many local artists. All proceeds go to the Sue Weaver Memorial Fund at the PSAC. This special fund will be used to sponsor art workshops. Hors d' oevres, drinks and entertainment are all in the works for tonight's tribute. A donation of $5 is requested at the door.

Art competition

We're having a water media competition.

No, this is not a swim meet for local radio and newspaper personalities. In fact, the PSAC water media competition is an annual show, open to all amateur and professional water media artists who are either full- or part-time Archuleta County residents. The competition encourages local participation, with openings in five categories including Child (under 12), Young adult (13 to 18), Adult novice, Adult-amateur and Adult-pro. Prizes will be awarded in each category. Rules and entry forms are available at the PSAC gallery in Town Park, at Moonlight Books, and The Wild Hare. All entries are due by 5 p.m. Oct. 5, at Moonlight Books.

Paintings will be on display at Moonlight Books from Oct. 8, through Oct. 29, with an opening reception on Oct. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. Good luck to all of you talented watercolor artists.

Creede Theatre

The PSAC is sponsoring a fun-filled evening with a performance by the Creede Repertory Theatre players. This special presentation titled "The Complete History of America" (abridged version), will take place on Oct. 15, at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street. Tickets include dinner, cocktails and the show, all starting at 6:30 p.m. Get your tickets at Moonlight Books, the Library, or Wolf Tracks Bookstore. See you there.

Hiking with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

Trying not to resemble a deer

Since Tom and I moved here at the end of July, we haven't had much time to do one of the things we came here for, namely, to hike.

And since our last major backpack trip took place in spring of 1997, we are not in the best of shape for a major trek. (When I say that, Tom gives me The Look. Okay, I'm not in great shape.)

But it was important to us to get in some trail time before the snows. So in late August we headed south on the Continental Divide Trail from Wolf Creek Pass for a day hike to the rocky bump that is called Alberta Peak. Although there were plenty of people at the Pass, posing for snapshots in front of the identifying sign, few of them left the pavement to follow the trail that crosses the meadow to the bridge. Once we were in the trees we were alone. The trail climbs to a rocky ridge, where marmots and pikas whistled and squeaked at us. Near Alberta Peak a pair of falcons practiced aerobatics in the windy updrafts. All in all it was a heady day and the fact that we made it back to our car at 2 p.m., five minutes before the rain hit, was icing on the cake.

"Okay," we said, "let's plan a short backpack trip." At first we thought we'd make a 3-day loop over Labor Day weekend. But then came the Four Corners Folk Festival, so we postponed the trip. Then, because of Tom's travel obligations, we scaled the trip down to a single night.

And then we started thinking about sharing the woods with hunters. Until this year, all our hiking in Pagosa Territory has been in July or early August - high summer. Not even near hunting season. We've heard the hunting horror stories, from the guy who shot his wife as she reached for an apple from the tree in the orchard to the couple who were picked off as they road their motorbikes along a forest road. Images of trigger-happy hunters filled our dreams. We didn't want to be anyone's targets.

By now you've probably decided that we don't have guns and we know beans about hunting. You're right. When it comes to knowing what goes on out there in October, we are babes in the woods.

Standing meekly at the gun counter, next to guys talking about ammunition, I asked for a copy of that booklet with all the hunting seasons. There are so many! Our overnight trip was to be Sept. 12 and Sept. 13, go up Friday and come back Saturday. "That's bow season," people told me. "You'll be okay, if you wear orange." Our neighbor shook his head. "Black powder season starts on that Saturday. You'll meet outfitters taking people in on Friday. Be sure you stay on the trail," he added. "Wear orange."

We began to scale back our hike to a day trip. Why take chances?

I went to the Ranger Station to ask about routes the outfitters might be using. I asked whether I should wear orange. Peggy Jacobson looked skeptical. "Bow hunters and muzzle loaders have to be pretty close before they fire," she said. "I think you'll be okay." She and I poured over the map and she suggested Fourmile Trail, because outfitters wouldn't be using it. Windy Pass was another possibility.

I stopped at Ye Olde Hunters Supply Store to see if they had any suggestions about where the hunters might be going. "We've been directing people to Windy Pass area," they said. So that was out. I asked about wearing orange. They showed me the vests - lightweight, one size fits all. I bought one for each of us.

"What about orange caps?" I asked. "Do you think we should wear those, too?" The pleasant-looking, helpful woman working there took a look at my short, shaggy gray hair. "Well-l-l," she said, drawing the word out, "With your hair, they might mistake your head for an elk's rear end."

I bought caps for Tom and me.

During my inquiries, I was told that we'd probably never see bow hunters, that they wore camouflage and crouched motionless and silent for long periods of time. I also learned that the rifle hunters have to wear orange and I don't remember whether that applies to the black powder hunters.

On the Friday morning we drove out to the Fourmile Trailhead. Feeling only a little self-conscious, we put on our lightweight orange vests and our bright orange hunters caps. You could spot us, all right.

Two people set out on the trail while we were still lacing up our boots. They weren't wearing orange. Neither were the four people we met a little later, coming back from the falls. Neither were the hunters who were there to scout. Nor the couple at the falls with the camera on a tripod. Nor any of the other twenty or so people we encountered that day on Fourmile Trail.

If anyone thought we looked a little silly, nobody said anything. Except for a fellow hiking in the opposite direction, whom we encountered about a mile in from our car. In a booming voice he said, "When I saw you coming up the trail, I thought it was a couple of construction workers!"

At the falls, it began to drizzle. We put on our rain jackets and stowed the vests in our daypacks. Finally Tom took off his cap. I kept mine on.

It worked. Nobody took a shot at me.



State Review
By Roy Starling

Paying the price for Paradise

Since I got back from my home state of Florida last weekend, I have been hounded by people either calling me or stopping me on the sidewalk and asking, "What's Florida like? And what's it like to return to a place where you spent some 40-odd years of your odd life?"

As a service to all of you, I offer the following State Review, a look at the Sunshine State, the one that taught us all the meaning of "peninsula."

Florida has many pleasures and many beauties, but its most distinguishing characteristic can be summed up in one word: heat. The heat, laced as it is with humidity, bears down on you from above, radiates up to you from below, coating you with a sweaty aura.

It turns the inside of parked cars into furnaces. It shimmers off highways and parking lots. It makes your hair hot. It makes your glasses slide down your nose. And it does all of this in late September when the worst of it has been chased away by "cool" fronts and hurricanes.

In Florida, they say this is just the price of Paradise.

And then there are those hurricanes, of course. During my visit, Hurricane Floyd the Barber threatened to clip the state, to part it right down the middle, to take a little off the sides of Orlando (where I was staying).

As a Florida native, I had been through these things before. It all came back to me quickly: the long lines at the gas stations, the long lines at the grocery stores, the long lines at the building supply stores; the empty gas pumps, the empty shelves at the grocery stores, the empty shelves at the hardware stores.

People fighting in line over a piece of plywood. The announcement coming over the public address system at the grocery store: "We are all out of water, bread and batteries."

Lines beginning at the cash register and running the length of a grocery store aisle. People in line talking on cell phones, not to each other.

Orlando International Airport closes, causing massive backups, delays, cancellations over the next three days. People sleeping in airports. And crying in them. More cell phones.

Disney closes, Sea World closes, movie theaters close, book stores close.

Roads crammed with traffic: people looking for water, bread, batteries and plywood; people leaving work early; people fleeing the coast where Floyd the Barber, three times the size of Hurricane Andrew, trudges ever closer, winds at 155 miles per hour. The Florida Turnpike heading north turned into a parking lot. State Road 520 heading west turned into a parking lot. Interstate 4 turned into a parking lot going east and west.

Everyone braces for the storm, and then the worst happens: 24-hour storm coverage by local news teams. Reports from evacuation shelters, grocery stores, the governor (George Bush's other son), Orlando's mayor, hardware stores, highway patrol, National Weather Service, Hurricane Center.

School closings.

Reports from what I call storm dummies: Young reporters sent to the coast to demonstrate live and in person just how bad it really is: "Well, Bob, we've just (cut out) squall line move (cut out, static) as you can see just behind me, the waves are starting to (cut out), and (voice drowned out by wind, rain, surf) . . . !"

"Thanks, Flora, and you stay safe out there." Stay safe? On the coast during a hurricane?

Thankfully, Floyd the Barber only gives the eastern coast a close shave and then heads home to Mayberry, N.C.

Hurricanes: another price to pay for Paradise.

Paradise, though, is really up above, about 260 miles north, in Tallahassee, the state's capital, the home of the Florida State University Seminoles.

Paradise is Tallahassee on game day, and I was there to witness it, FSU versus Georgia Tech. Game time, 8 p.m. Happy hour begins about midday, earlier at the frat houses.

Garnet and gold and booze everywhere. FSU fight song blaring from car stereos and store P.A. systems. War chants, tomahawk chops, traffic jams, ticket scalpers, drunk coeds, everyone headed to that late 20th-century version of a medieval cathedral, Doak Campbell Stadium, the center of worship for the space of an evening.

At Doak Campbell, the Noles have lost only once in their last 54 games. They win another one for us, 41-35, and do it in a most entertaining way: receiver lines up at quarterback and throws to quarterback who has lined up as a receiver; receiver lines up at quarterback and runs draw; fullback lines up at quarterback and . . . well, I forget, but you get the picture: Paradise.

For a week I leave cool little Pagosa, abandoned by its Labor Day crowds (though some folk festival fans are still waiting in line for Chinese/Thai food on the top of Reservoir Hill), its mountains getting their first dandruff dusting of snow, leaves trying to turn yellow in a soupy atmosphere, hunters in the hills harvesting game - I leave this and descend into the steam-bath heavy air of Paradise.

In the highlight of my trip, I hold my new grandson. I visit with my beloved children and my parents, and guest-teach a class at Rollins College, my old place of employment. Even the heat, the hurricane and the traffic begin to feel like home again, a meager price to pay, and I'm reminded of an old James Taylor song:

"May this day show me an ocean. / I ought to be on my way. . . . / I'll stay away from you no more, / I've come home to stop yearning."


Video Review
By Roy Starling

Who's to blame for boys gone bad?

What with the onset of hunting season, there's probably a lot of serious father-and-son bonding going on up in the mountains right about now, so let's take a look at two movies that deal with the male of the species: the gritty Anthony Mann Western "The Man from Laramie" (1955) and the even grittier "Affliction" (1998) starring Nick Nolte.

"The Man from Laramie" is the stuff of myth and it's saturated with allusions to fathers and sons from the Old Testament.

Will Lockhart (James Stewart), the so-called man from Laramie, shows up in New Mexico (where the movie was filmed) on a mission that isn't fully revealed until well into the film: His brother has been killed in an Apache raid, the Apaches used repeater rifles, and he aims to find out who sold them those rifles and then kill the guilty party.

While there, he is caught trespassing on the Barbed Ranch by Dave Waggoman (Alex Nicol), the deranged son of ranch owner Alec Waggoman. Dave teaches Will a lesson by dragging him around behind his horse and shooting his mules. Now Will has another wrong to avenge.

Will eventually meets up with Alec (Donald Crisp), the old patriarch himself. He learns that Alec has hired Vic (Arthur Kennedy) to run his ranch and to help keep an eye on his prodigal son. Vic seems like a good guy, and he's expecting that the Barbed Ranch will pretty much belong to him when Alec goes on to meet his maker. What point would there be in leaving the place to the shiftless Dave?

So we have a kind of Cain and Abel thing going here. Dave seems to be Cain, Vic Abel.

But it doesn't quite work out that way. Vic's humanity is compromised by his ambition and he commits crimes that I won't reveal in this review. Dave, meanwhile, is a rather limited figure, but still a very complicated character. Alec claims that Dave is the apple of his eye, but Dave doesn't feel that. He's insanely jealous of Vic and appears to be starved for love.

How could that be? Maybe it's because his father has devoted his life to taming the savage land and building the Barbed Ranch empire. A man had to be very hard to do that successfully, and it didn't leave a lot of time or energy for nurturing, for taking little Dave to soccer practice or joining him in a game of hackysack.

There's the further complication that Alec married the wrong woman, i.e., one he didn't love all that much, and one who, he says, spoiled Dave and made him less a man.

I don't think it'll spoil this very fine movie for me to tell you that Dave is killed, and the ensuing scene will remind bible readers of King David's learning about the death of his son Absalom: "Oh Absalom, Absalom, my son Absalom!" Like Absalom, Dave was causing a lot of very serious problems and he was doomed to die early and violently. But it still rips Alec's heart out to see him go.

While all of this father-and-son stuff is going on, Stewart is turning in yet another brilliant performance as Will. Under the direction of Mann, he always did some of his very best work. One scene in particular sticks in my mind: During one of Dave's rampages, he has his buddies hold Will while he (Dave) shoots him in the hand at point-blank range. This allows the affable Stewart to get in touch with his inner madman, to drift into the rage and hysteria he was actually quite good at conveying.

While Alec Waggoman was a basically well-meaning father with an ounce of feeling, the father in "Affliction" is a monster, but a believable one. (James Coburn plays the father in an Academy Award-winning performance.) And as in "Man from Laramie," this father seems to have Cain and Abel sons. Wade, played by Nolte in one of the finest performances you'll ever see, is the "criminal," while Rolf (Willem Dafoe) is a mild-mannered college professor.

But again, it's not that easy. Wade is sort of like a bear. He's not a bad guy. He acts with an animal's here-and-now consciousness, responding instinctively to situations as they come up, and responding in the absence of any firm moral center. He's prone to overreacting, lashing out without thinking carefully about the damage he's doing to himself and others.

Rolf, not surprisingly, tends to see his family's story and life in general from a detached distance, and he analyzes everything in true academic fashion. But he's not always right - even though naive viewers will assume that he is since he's the one telling us this story. In fact, it's his effort to fill in gaps in the narrative that turn Wade's imagination loose and turn Wade into a maddened grizzly.

Things turn out very badly in this movie, and since it was made in the '90s, I guess we're supposed to ask, "Who's to blame? Whose fault is all of this?"

Can it all be pinned on the influence of an abusive alcoholic father? Rolf thinks so, and based on talk shows, memoirs and novels of the last 20 years, society would agree: Alcoholic fathers are the cause of every bad thing their children do and every bad thing that happens to them.

A careful viewing of "Affliction," however, may force you to look a little deeper than that. Is the father's problem only alcohol? Do you really think he would be a generous and caring person if he put away the booze? Does he have demons that he's actually trying to drown with liquor?

What about the responsibility of the "wiser" brother for the less wise one? I came away with the feeling that Rolf could have bailed Wade out of his problems, but instead he dug a grave and then pushed the poor guy into it.

I admit that I'm being very vague about what happens in this movie. I think it's better for you that I do that. You need to see it unravel for yourself, and experience it the way poor Wade experiences it in order for it to have the proper impact on you.

I will tell you that the film's critical moment is a hunting accident, that it takes place in a small town in snowy upstate New Hampshire, and that the past keeps intruding on the present by way of flashbacks to Wade's and Rolf's childhoods, and these flashbacks have the look of grainy black-and-white home movies.

"The Man from Laramie" and "Affliction" are two very different movies filmed in very different times, but they both do us the favor of reflecting the complexity of reality and of challenging our tendency to indulge in simple either-or thinking, quickly labeling people as good or bad, Abel or Cain.


Food for Thought
By Karl Isberg

Volleyball obsession grows stronger

It's autumn.

I'm obsessed.

What could it be? you ask.

A newly discovered Pinot Noir from an obscure Oregon vintner?

The chance that a naive bowhunter will give me the back strap of a freshly slain elk?

A basket of chanterelles, the fungi plucked at the peak of flavor?

A recent delivery of Thai curry pastes?


It's my regular fall obsession.

High school volleyball.

Specifically, Lady Pirate volleyball.

I love watching the Lady Pirates, complete with all the spectacle, the triumphs, the tragedies, the thrills. I've covered the sport for the SUN since 1987 and my obsession grows stronger each year.

Simply put, no more exciting team sport is played in high school - it's the best show in town.

I'm obsessed.

While some folks spend the fall motoring around the mountains gawking at dead leaves, I'm speeding past that same colorful mountain scenery, oblivious to the transient glories of nature, on my way to a distant town, consumed by fevered speculation about the chances for another Intermountain League title, fretting about the foot speed of an underclassman middle hitter, gnashing teeth at the prospect of a backcourt breakdown, talking to myself about hand position on a tandem block.

While many folks are parked in front of their television sets on autumn nights, I'm front row center in the bleachers at the high school gym engaged in ardent conversations about an ominous dead spot in the middle back row or the ability of an outside to hit down the line.

If you must be obsessed, I say this is the complete package.

What gives, Karl?, you ask. How is it that a guy who has spent time in the Tate gazing at Turners and Blakes, who has memorized the halls of the Louvre, the Pompidou and the D'Orsay, MOMA and the Getty, who weeps when he hears Barber's "Adagio," who has gazed into the eyes of the burghers of the Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum, who has hoisted vin du pays in toasts at obscure boites and savored the glory of a perfect unpasteurized Camembert, is devoted to the spectacle of a bunch of high school girls playing a game with a small white ball and a net?

Don't laugh until you've tried it.

I admit, I am biased. I have two daughters who played the game - one at Denver North and one at Pagosa Springs. Granted, too, I have watched and analyzed nearly every Lady Pirate player who has donned the black and gold during the last decade, from the time she first grabbed the white sphere as a tot and tried to propel it across the net. I've watched them, I like them, I care about them.

But, there is more. This game delivers the goods, in spades.

In my opinion, sport - played and watched - is a fundamental element of a life fully lived.

Playing a sport is a special experience, and the athlete has moments of accomplishment and transcendence that are incomparable.

There is also a special state of being available to a spectator; it comes when you are focused on the flow of a game, tuned to the spontaneous development of anticipated forms, intent on a pattern of action that jerks you from your normal place in space and time, that concentrates your attention in a way few other things can. It is an experience that can be cultivated as carefully as the experiences associated with great art, theater, music, architecture, superb food and drink.

Believe me, a sure access to this sport-induced state of mind in Pagosa is Lady Pirate volleyball. Give it a try.

What can you expect, what will you see?

If you arrive at the gym at the appointed time, you will be privy to three matches, the first two of which are largely experimental - enjoyed primarily by parents of players and the discerning talent scout. These are the C team and junior varsity matches. The C team is composed of neophytes, working to develop the skills of the game. The junior varsity involves athletes working to bring those talents to the level needed for varsity play. To watch both contests heightens your appreciation of what is to follow.

It is the varsity match, the final match of the night, that displays the game at its best. Here is your stimulant, your elixir, the delicious center of your obsession.

During your first couple of visits to a Lady Pirate match, be dispassionate, be open to the sudden delights that await you.

The first thing you'll observe is the Grand Entrance. This is a big deal and is heralded by a tremendous blast of music (if you are over 30, read "noise"). The members of the team collaborate to produce a taped medley of high-decibel racket to accompany their arrival on the court. It is a form of feather fluffing, a ritual display geared to dazzle the crowd and to unnerve the opposition.

Next is the warm-up. As with the entrance, this also has a dual purpose. First, of course, is the preparation of bodies and minds for the competition ahead. Second is a display of power, a form of muscle flexing conducted for the sake of the opponent. For years now, the Lady Pirates have conducted a warm up that begins with a frightening display of hitting. Players on the other teams try not to watch, but it is impossible. It is like passing a car wreck and not looking. Impossible.

Then, to the game.

It is a simple game, and to watch it for the first time you need to know very little about the rules. Float with the current. Enjoy.

To start, understand there are six players per team on the court.

Only the team that serves can score a point. The serve goes to the opposing team if a point is not scored by the serving team.

Don't worry about all the reasons why a point is awarded or why the serve changes hands; you'll learn by watching. The first team to score 15 points (or that wins by a two-point margin if the score is tied at 14 or higher) wins the game. The team that takes two games out of three wins the match.

Grab a bag of popcorn or buy a chili dog and sit back to absorb the delightful succession of crescendos that make the sport what it is: flat-out fun.

How can I describe the essence of the game? Poorly, at best.

A volleyball team on offense is well compared to a weapons delivery system and, in fact, the term used to describe the perfectly-hit ball is "kill." The delivery system, when it works smoothly, is a thing of beauty. The position of the ball determines the range of possibilities available to the delivery system on each exchange. As the ball moves, you can see what might happen, what should happen, what is going to happen, and the uncertainty is special. When it happens right, it is golden.

The guns in the weapons system are the hitters.

Hitters are distinguished by their power and by the variety of ways they find to put the ball to the floor on the opposite side of the net. The aforementioned kill is the most dramatic, but a great hitter has a knack for hitting off-speed shots, for deliberately hitting shots that angle off or between the hands of opposing blockers, and for scoring on occasion with soft shots that drop behind blockers at the feet of back row defensive players, or that travel down the net in front of blockers expecting a more powerful shot. There is subtlety to this craft.

But the guns are silent without the setter. The setter is like the computer in a weapons delivery system. Think back to Desert Storm, to all those black and white videos of smart bombs going through the windows of buildings. Pretty dramatic blasts, don't you think? Without the computer that locked on the target and provided the right information for the missile, you'd be watching a black and white video of an explosion on a sand dune.

So it is with the setter: She takes the pass and converts it into an opportunity for a hitter, placing the ball into a position where the hitter can do her work. That conversion, when it is successful, is gorgeous to behold. Sets can go high or be placed right at the top of the net. The setter can put the ball to a hitter located in front of her or in the back court, or she can "back set" the ball to a hitter behind her. The setter herself can hit the pass, or dump it to an open spot on the floor.

For the setter to accomplish her role, she must get a decent pass out of the defensive mode of the game - a player must find a way to keep an opposition attacker from putting the ball to the floor, and she must send that ball to the setter at a spot where it can be transformed into an opportunity to score.

The best way to get a decent pass to the setter is to make sure the ball does not travel across the net untouched. This is the role of the blocker on defense. There are numerous blocking schemes available to a team: A single player can attempt to block the hit, but most often two players combine to thwart a hitter. A stuff block, when a shot is rocketed back in the face of a hitter, is one of the great moments in the sport. The speed with which the blockers move to the point of attack is critical, as is the movement of the best back row players who can read the body positions and the approach of hitters in order to second-guess the placement of the ball into the back court.

When the entire system works, when the back row player digs an attempted kill, when the pass goes to the setter, when the setter puts the perfect ball to the hitter, when the hitter leaps and the kill goes down. . .wham!. . . epiphany, a lightning stroke, noise, delirium, delight.

There are few things more satisfying than a kill that thunders from the hand of a soaring middle hitter, cratering the floor inside the ten-foot line, leaving defensive players flat-footed and open-mouthed. Pagosa has had some great middle hitters during this decade. The team has a great one now. You need to come out and watch her.

There is nothing more dramatic than a cross-court kill or a bolt shot down the line by a premiere outside hitter - a kill that leaves the opposition sprawled and stumbling. The Lady Pirates have featured a succession of superb outside hitters over the years. They have one now, so come out and watch her.

Good setters are rare. Pagosa has a wonderful setter, a surgeon of a setter; come see her play.

You want drama? How about a dig of a blistering hit, the defensive player diving to keep the ball in the air and alive? Lady Pirates do it all the time.

What about an ace serve, a ball sent to just the right place on the other side of the court - a ball hit without spin, or with the right spin to confound the receiver and deny a return? It happens regularly.

You like uncertainty in your sport? Volleyball is a game characterized by incredible swings in momentum. A team can be ahead 12-0 when the momentum shifts. Suddenly, the score is tied. Which team has the character to win? Which team has the leadership on the court? Which team has the player who can provide the composure, generate the confidence, the energy? The teams are even, the physical skills are balanced: Which team has the floor leader who can take control of the collective emotions? Pagosa has one, come watch her work.

Oh, when this game is clicking, it is the best. When all cylinders are firing, there is a sustained tension that occurs only in the greatest of sports. When the energy is there, when the teams are at the top of their games, when the rallies are long and the ball is zipping first like a laser then floating like a feather, when bodies are flying and the feats are improbable, when you are twitching with each exchange, your nervous system firing spasmodically, when the rhythm is perfect and, finally, when the right team puts the ball to the floor, this game is so very, very good.

Wow, I love watching the Lady Pirates.

In fact, I like it so much, I ought to make a dinner for the members of the team one of these weeks.

I can whip up something good, but not too good - they are teenagers after all. Perhaps I'll find a suitable place to serve it, and I'll con some of the parents into waiting table. They're nuts, they'll do it.

It's the least I can do to pay for all the fun.

What do you cook for a volleyball team?

A balance of protein and carbs, for sure. We're dealing with jocks, after all.

Usually, a team meal involves spaghetti.

I refuse to cook spaghetti.

But, acknowledging that most teens are comfy in the quasi-Italian zone, I can make a lasagna, or stuffed rigatoni or manicotti. Maybe a couple of the dishes, since they utilize the same basic ingredients.

I can make one version with meat and one without.

The basic filling: a mix of ricotta, egg, basil, oregano, garlic, nutmeg, salt, pepper, some shredded mozzarella and some grated Parmesan. For the meatless filling, I'll add a bit of chopped, cooked spinach. For the meat version, I'll toss in some crumbled hot Italian sausage.

This filling can be crammed into al dente manicotti or rigatoni, the stuffed shells layered in an oiled baking dish. I'll cheat and use a bottled sauce, doctored a bit with some fresh spices. Cover the stuffed pasta with sauce, top it with some grated Parmesan and into the oven it goes.

The lasagna uses the same filling, as well as thinly sliced mozzarella, sauce and dabs of bechamel between the layers of al dente noodles. The final layer gets tomato sauce and two cheeses - the sliced mozzarella and grated Parmesan or Romano. Into the oven it goes.

I'll toss together a salad of mixed greens with some shredded carrot, chunks of cucumber, some black olives, and have some croutons on hand. I favor a simple vinaigrette with this salad, but since we're dealing with finicky teens, I can provide bottled ranch and Italian dressings.

Hot Italian bread is a must.

For dessert, if I'm in an energetic mood, the tykes will have to suffer and eat something relatively sophisticated: perhaps a fruit tart with a pastry cream base. They won't like it, but who cares.

What we care about is volleyball.

What do you care about? Half-baked sitcoms, trash movies and washed-out television news shows?

Check the local sports schedule, get off your duff and put some zip into your life.

It's fall.

Join me at the gym.

Get obsessed.

It's time for Lady Pirate volleyball.


September 23, 1999

Growth issues

Dear Editor,

In response to the (Sept. 16) article concerning the "Vision Committee," I would like to report the following progress to the public. On Sept. 15, at the regular planning commission meeting, Jim Tosch of Tosch and Associates presented his final report of the "Growth Issue" survey to the planning commission, county commissioners and the Vision Committee. After Mr. Tosch gave his report and answered questions, it was agreed that the survey was a valid reflection of the public's opinion on growth issues.

At this meeting, it was decided that the director of planning and building, the planning commission and the Vision Committee should proceed on working together on the survey results. The first planning workshop session will be on Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. at the commissioners meeting room and is open to the public.

If we are to have long-range planning and we are to implement the changes recommended by the survey then the most important issue before us as a community is the up-and-coming ballot issue Resolution No. 99-54 in November (growth-related revenues). On Oct. 5, there will be a public information meeting held to educate the public on the pros and cons of this issue. Please, if you are interested in long-range planning in our county, attend this meeting at the county fairgrounds building at 7 p.m.

As a personal observation, last week at two public meetings concerning our county's growth and planning issues, I counted one person from the public showing concern at one meeting and at the other there was no public attendance. I challenge each member of our county and the 90 persons who attended the Piano Creek Protest to become involved in our own county's long-range planning and growth issues by attending this meeting.

Debra Brown

Broken alternator

Dear Editor,

My husband and I were in Pagosa on Labor Day when our alternator went out on Main Street.

We want to thank all the people who helped us get our battery started and the two businesses who helped us. It took one and a half hours to get the battery charged and we had to go to Durango to Napa Auto Parts, which took over another five hours to get a new one and back to the hotel at Pagosa. So by the time we checked in the hotel it was 11 p.m. But I do want to thank everyone who helped us. Again thanks to all in Pagosa, you are wonderful people.


Doris and Stan Crawford



Dear David,

In response to the Millards' letter in the Sept. 16 SUN, we would like to respond to several inaccuracies. The (Charles and Holly) Millards did attend a meeting of Aspen Springs Metro District requesting assistance. We did not state that we would "handle the matter," but that we would investigate the problem. No board member that I know of subsequently told them that our attorney was "working with Nichols" to resolve the matter.

Further, Ms. (Melinda) Nichols did not agree the problem lies with ASMD, but instead called a meeting with Commissioner Gene Crabtree, Mike Howell, two representatives of ASMD, the Millards and other property owners in the area on Sept. 13. Ms. Nichols stated the Colorado Department of Transportation would issue a permit to the party responsible when such responsible party was identified. I have been advised verbally, not in writing, that the Archuleta County attorney advised that the county was the owner of Turkey Lane and ASMD was responsible for maintenance only.

We of ASMD are anxious to have this resolved, just like the business owners involved. When the permit is issued to the county, we are prepared to assist in bringing this access to meet CDOT standards.

Ernest O. Jones

ASMD Board of Directors

Not kosher

Dear Editor,

At the last meeting of the PLPOA board as was reported in the Pagosa SUN, was the board's decision to ban all RVs in PLPOA. This was done without any input or notification from and to members. No notice anywhere to the fact that this was to be addressed at the meeting.

We are opposed to this decision and the manner in which it was handled. We assume this is all RVs and include those in garages in the Meadows and Forest Lakes. If it does not, it is selective enforcement which is against PLPOA Policy.

We believe the board members should be the ones to notify the higher echelon of the decision. Also to move the RVs out of garages, sheds or wherever and into storage. The decision is all RVs cannot be on the property. So rich and poor alike, an RV is an RV. No distinction where or whose.

Storage is expensive and there are not that many sites for storage in the Pagosa area. There are a lot of RVs in PLPOA. No storage available, what then? Take it to Durango? Yeah, right.

This decision was ill-timed and poorly thought out. Members were not notified, not kosher. Since no RVs are allowed, how do we load or unload, and prepare to go anywhere. We can't even bring them to the house. Really a totally and completely unacceptable situation. Maybe someone on the board owns a storage lot?

Thank you,

Joseph P. and Gladys Marion

Editor's note: Rather than assuming the worst, a phone call to the PLPOA administrative office (731-5635) should provide a reasonable clarification of the restrictions on RVs.


Dear David,

We were all greatly hurt and insulted by the letter from Michael Gillich on the relocation of Pagosa Funeral Options to Pagosa Street. With the recent passing of our son we have had to deal with the realities of death. We have been through a lot, but never would have thought that death, embalming and funerals would be open to ridicule and third-rate satire. At our son's visitation and funeral we never saw revulsion, comedy or nausea expressed. We did, however, see a lot of love expressed by a caring community.

Mr. Gillich, if we must adopt your mentality in order to support a tourist economy, we are all in deep trouble. If your philosophy prevails, Pagosa will turn into a sterile theme park with only the "right" business and the "right" people allowed in certain locations. Perhaps you would not be embarrassed living at Elitches or Disneyland, since their main streets don't have funeral homes.


Doug and Marla Paul

Unreasonable action

Dear Dave,

The PLPOA has decided to enforce the restrictions on recreational vehicle, boat, utility, travel trailers and snow mobile trailer parking. This, after they have been issuing permits to some residents to construct pads for parking their RV's. Apparently the left hand does not know what the right is doing.

A petition has been started to submit to the next board meeting on Oct. 14. I ask RV owners who are members of the association and have RV's, to call me at 731-3858. This action is totally unreasonable to enforce after all these years of indifference.

Thank you,

Bruce Kehret

Haven for adults

Dear Editor,

I am writing to address concerns I have for the children of Pagosa. Pagosa seems to be a haven for adults especially seniors and non-working upper-class but, for working parents and single parents much is to be desired.

It is very hard to support our children in athletic or after-school events. Practices and games fall during regular working hours and when you are struggling already this becomes a major issue. Also, I myself was excited to hear Pagosa schools offered such wonderful after-school programs and even happier to hear we now have a town transit in place. Now, I've learned the city bus does not go to the schools at all when these programs end at 4:30 p.m and 5:30 p.m. Whose idea was it to let the children out of school on Friday at 1:30 p.m.? The parents?

In speaking with other parents the conclusion we've reached is that this is real nice for the teachers, but, the parents? Not too many of us have hours like that. After-school programs vary in time between schools by as much as an hour. While it may be okay to let an intermediate school aged child wait on school grounds for a half hour an elementary child could end up on U.S. 160, this could happen if you had children in both schools. The main problem here is that the elementary children are the ones getting out earliest.

My son has just started soccer and he is thrilled. Now, I have to tell him I can only make it to one game as it is at 6:30 p.m. and the rest are at 4 p.m. He is not alone as other parents will not be able to make it either. My son filled out a form for Big Brothers in February of this year. In March we received a call stating it had been received. As of Sept. 17, we have not heard another word.

I have recently signed up to be a leader for 4-H here in Pagosa. Fridays would be good for the group to meet but, again transportation is an issue that could be corrected if the town would look at where the children's needs are. A lot of the intermediate school children go to the church across from the school on Fridays waiting for parents in a good atmosphere. If the town bus could make hourly trips to the church at this time it would help approximately six children make it to Aspen Springs where their cooking lessons and a wonderful learning experience will take place.

If I am misinformed please correct me. If not, let's get some local working parents together to discuss how we can make Pagosa a "family friendly" place to live. If you only knew how many children are uninvolved that want to be involved. If we can keep Pagosa a nice place to live with children that are well shaped in their community, by their community, please, let's do it. We will all benefit from it. We offer our children so much. Let's get them there.


Lisa J. Braswell

Editor's note: The local public transportation program is operated by the Archuleta Transit System which is under the direction of the county commissioners.

Nothing better to do

Dear Editor,

Well here we go again. It seems that PLPOA board had nothing better to do than to cause another problem for the property owners (renters). This enforcement of declaration 7.B is just another example that shows us that we do not have any rights to do what we want on our property. What everyone is missing here is that in reality we do not own the property that we are paying for but that the organization PLPOA owns it and until we get a majority together and vote this organization out we will never own the land and we will never be able to live on it in peace or manage it the way we want.

The definition of a house is "a building used as a dwelling by one or more families."

The definition of a building is "a structure; edifice. The act, process, art, or occupation of constructing."

Now like everything else this will be open to interpretation for whoever wants to make it fit their agenda. But it's clear that a motor home, trailer or tent does not come within these definitions.

I once saw a bumper sticker on a vehicle owned by a property owner who now is a board member which stated "Imagine world peace." That bumper sticker is no longer on that person's vehicle. This concept of world peace will never be possible because people cannot mind their own business and just take care of themselves. This declaration 7.B is my business because the PLPOA had made it mine by imposing it on me and now trying to enforce it. And what about increasing the timeshare multiplier? I hope some of those people come down on the PLPOA also. What ever happened to this being a free country?

Randall Mettscher



Dear Dave,

We in the Wednesday afternoon sewing group would like to extend an invitation to all in the area who like to work with any kind of needle and thread or yarn to come meet with us. We are now meeting at Mt. Heights Baptist Church from 2 to 4 p.m. each Wednesday and once a month we have a great pot-luck where the husbands attend. It's a good way to get acquainted if you are new to the community.


Bobbie Carruth

Get used to it

Dear David,

I've been reading, with some amusement and some amazement, the letters regarding the Piano Creek development. It seems "Mother Earth" and her tree hugger friends are upset that the developer is planning to do something they would not do, if they owned the land. They seem to think he should be forced to follow their values. In their view he should just forget about the millions he has sunk into the land and let it stay natural.

They are writing letters to the editor and having public meetings, as if there is going to be a vote on how he can use his own land. Thank heaven there are still some rights left. He does not have to conform to their views. As long as he follows applicable laws, he may do as he pleases, whether any of us agree or not. If the environmentalists are all that concerned, let them buy the land and donate it to the government.

You noted once, and were quite correct, that everyone wants to close doors to immigration and development starting the day after they got here and built what they wanted. No one else, however, should have the same right. If people want the land to stay pristine, then everyone should deed their land to the government, tear down all they have built, and haul out all the materials - leave no trace. Then the whole county could go back to the way it was. I doubt there will be many takers on that idea. So, what is their alternative? Don't let anyone else in and create laws so no one can build anything new or different. Nonsense, change is going to happen. Get used to it. It's been that way since the 1880s and won't change anytime soon.

Terry Northup

Abilene, Texas




The family and friends of Leo Landon and Victoria Stewart would like to announce their marriage. Leo and Victoria were united in marriage on Sunday, Sept. 19, 1999, at 2 p.m. at the home of Les and Francis Bleeker with Steve Rogan officiating. It is with great joy, we the family of Leo Landon, welcome our new family member. We look forward to sharing in your love and happiness for many years to come. The Landon's will continue to reside in Pagosa Springs. Special thanks to Les and Francis Bleeker for all your love and hard work to make this a very special day. How blessed they are to have friends like you.


Jean, Jennifer and son Dylan Lindberg were married on Aug. 14, 1999, in Pagosa Springs, at the home of Jenny Bell. Jennifer is the daughter of Ruth and Bud Read of Pagosa Springs. Jean is the son of Mark and Dena Sudden of Pagosa Springs, and Myron Lindberg of Ventura, Calif.

The wedding party included: Mark Sudden and Brian Leewitt as best men, Joleen Penton as matron of honor, Angela Rubio as maid of honor, Shanley Lujan as junior bridesmaid, and Ryan Sudden as ring bearer.




Carla Marie Verce

Carla Marie Verce passed away Sunday, Sept. 19, 1999.

Mrs. Verce was born in Durango on Dec. 12, 1932, and was a fourth generation, lifelong resident of Durango. Her great-grandfather Dan Pargin moved to the Piedra River Valley in 1876 and started the family ranch which is still operating as a working cattle ranch.

Mrs. Verce attended the University of New Mexico and was a charter member of the La Plata County Humane Society and a long-time volunteer. She was a member of the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority. She loved to garden and spent many hours with her flowers and vegetables, and passed on the joy of gardening to her children and grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Leslie and Zetta Halverson and her sister, Donna Gallavan.

Mrs. Verce is survived by her husband, Joe J. Verce; two sons, Jim and Mike Verce, and two grandsons, Martin and Landon Verce, all of Durango; and a brother, Harold Halverson of Chimney Rock.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m., Sept. 24 at St. Columba Church in Durango.

Contributions would be welcome in her name at the La Plata County Humane Society.


Nicholas Adan Talamante

Nicholás Adán Talamante receives a warm welcome home by big sister, Marissa. Nicholás was born June 22, 1999, in Mercy Medical Center of Durango. He weighed 6 pounds, 8-1/2 ounces and was 20 1/2-inches long. Proud parents are Adam and Angelene Talamante. Paternal grandparents are Andres and Della Talamante. Maternal grandparents are Roy and Kathy Vega. Maternal great-grandparents are Frank and Emily Mestas. Maternal great-great-grandparents are Alfonso and Sophia Cantu.


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