September 30, 1999

Front Page

Eightmile Mesa project follows bumpy path

By John M. Motter

Progress on the $93,500 Eightmile Mesa Road rebuilding project screeched to a temporary halt this past week when County Manager Dennis Hunt refused to approve checks requested by contractor U-Can-Afford Landscaping Inc.

The construction contract calls for the county to write checks at three stages of the project if the work during those stages is approved by Western Technologies Inc. of Bayfield, an engineering firm hired to inspect the work.

Those stages are completion to county specifications of the subgrade, base course, and three/quarter inch minimum for the gravel road.

When Hunt refused payment, contractor Don Ford stopped work. The issue was debated in front of the county commissioners Tuesday and swirled around the proper definition of "level."

According to the contract, two bumps on the road were to be leveled. Hunt argued that leveling means establishing a level gradient, that is, eliminating the bumps so that the road is flat where the bumps formerly loomed.

Arguing on the other side were Fred Schmidt and Ford. Schmidt is the chief executive officer of Loma Linda Subdivision and responsible for providing the money for the work from sales in that subdivision. Schmidt hired U-Can-Afford as contractor, then assigned the contract to the county in compliance with an agreement between Schmidt and the county. Ford heads U-Can-Afford.

Schmidt and Ford contended that "leveling" means reducing the height of the bumps without necessarily leveling the entire bump area. They say the leveling they have done eliminates the possibility of any water standing behind the bumps and allows motorists to see the wheels of vehicles from top to bottom of the section of roadway in question. They say Western Technologies Inc. has certified in writing that the completed work meets county specifications.

Ford also argued that to comply with what Hunt wants would cost him another $15,000 or $20,000, an amount he did not include in his bid because he did not contemplate Hunt's definition of "leveling."

After listening to the debate for about an hour and a half, and in compliance with the advice of County Attorney Larry Holthus, the county commissioners agreed that Ford should be paid immediately and that work should continue.

If the "leveling" does not match county expectations, the county will attempt to obtain redress through the company bonding the project.

On Wednesday, the construction crews were again scraping dirt.


Local items on Nov. 2 ballot

By John M. Motter

Several local items, nearly all of them dealing with retaining excess revenues, will be on the Nov. 2 mail ballot election in Archuleta County.

The only place to vote this year is the county clerk's office in the county courthouse - called a one coordinated mail precinct. Oct. 4 is the last day for voters to register for the Nov. 2 election. The last day for voters to request a ballot is Oct. 28.

Early voting begins as soon as voters receive the ballots being mailed by the county clerk between Oct. 1 and Oct. 8. The last day for early voting is Oct. 29.

Those who will be out of state and wish to vote as absentee must leave the state before Oct. 8 in order to qualify.

Nine ballot styles will be used this election, four by voters living in Archuleta County and five by voters owning property in a district with a ballot issue, but living outside of the county and inside Colorado. People living in special districts will receive ballots containing only special district issues concerning the districts in which they live.

"Anyone with doubts about the accuracy of his or her voter registration address, should contact us before it is too late," said June Madrid, the county clerk and election official.

Attracting considerable local attention on the November ballot is the Archuleta County proposal to retain excess revenues. Other items of local interest on the ballot are presented by the Upper San Juan Library District, Pagosa Springs Sanitation District, Piedra Park Metropolitan Improvement District, Pagosa Fire Protection District, and the School District No. 50 Joint board election. One statewide referendum is included.

Voters will have the opportunity to hear pros and cons of the ballot issues discussed at a League of Women Voters public meeting Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the county fair building.

Archuleta County proposal

The county proposal to retain excess revenues is titled Referred Measure 1A. The county is asking voters to allow them to retain revenues collected in excess of TABOR limits, without increasing its increasing property and sales taxes. The county also agrees to not keep excess property tax revenues that might be collected. Such excess revenues will be generated by the increased collection of fees, permits, and other user-type fees. Although much of the increase in revenues will be generated by more people using county services, additional, growth-related fees, such as impact fees, might be initiated in the future. No limit has been placed on how far into the future the county can retain such fees if the measure is approved.

The county commissioners and others favoring the proposal argue that growth in the county is overtaxing the county's ability to provide services required by that growth. Being able to retain and spend the increasing county revenues will enable the county to provide the required services. If the measure fails, proponents say, the county will not be able to deal with growth problems.

Opponents argue that the county should not be able to retain excess revenues indefinitely, because economic conditions might change in the future. They also argue that the county does not mention the amount of excess revenue that might be collected nor does it state what purposes for which the money might be used.

Upper San Juan Library District

The Library District proposal is labeled Referred Issue 5C and asks voters in the District to allow the district to retain revenues in excess of TABOR limits. The proposal will not increase the existing 1.5 mill tax levy.

Proponents of the increase argue that the library's annual budget is no longer able to keep up with the demands of a growing population. TABOR limits have forced the library to forgo retaining an average of $18,000 a year in excess revenue, according to library officials. Approval of Referred Issue 5C will allow the library to retain such revenues.

No written comments have been filed to oppose the library proposal.

Piedra Park Metropolitan Improvement District

The Piedra Park Metropolitan Improvement District is located in Arboles. The ballot item is labeled Referred Issue 5A. The district proposes to increase indebtedness by $150,000, the money to be used for a water revenue bond to finance improvements in the potable water system. A new well along the Piedra River will be drilled and water treatment plant capacity increased.

Proponents of the proposal argue that increased growth in the area requires better and expanded facilities. In addition, system failures have, at critical times in the past, required users to haul water.

No written comments have been filed against the proposal.

A second Piedra Park Metropolitan Improvement District proposal is titled Referred Issue 5E. Like the county and the library district, the Piedra Park District is asking voters for permission to retain excess revenues. Property taxes will not be increased as a result of this ballot issue. Affected revenue sources include tap fees, facility fees, service charges, inspection charges and other monies collected from normal business activities.

Proponents of the district proposal argue that the district needs to retain excess revenues in order to meet increasing demands created by growth.

No written opposition to the district proposal has been filed.

Pagosa Fire Protection District

The local fire protection district proposal is labeled Referred Issue 5B. The district is asking voter approval to extend district boundaries to include land along Piedra Road immediately north of the Lake Hatcher subdivision area. If included in the district, residents of the proposed area will receive fire protection services and pay a property tax for those services equal to the property tax levied against existing district residents. Only residents of the area proposed for inclusion may vote on this issue.

No written comments have been submitted opposing the inclusion.

Pagosa Springs Sanitation District

County tackles long agenda

By John M. Motter

Tuesday's county commissioner meeting was a marathon session lasting from 9 in the morning until 1:30 in the afternoon without benefit of a lunch break. Items on the agenda ranged through budget changes, subdivision issues, liquor licensing, a monthly social services report by Director Erlinda Gonzalez, and other items.

Adjustments suggested by auditor Tom Breed of the firm of Haley, Breed and Crom LLP, were made to the 1998 budget. The changes do not involve increased spending, but account for unanticipated revenues and create new, separate budget compartments so that certain monies can be better tracked.

The changes include appropriating $158,231 to create a separate budget for the landfill fund; $420,069 to establish a separate budget for the Fairfield Settlement Fund; $134,761 to establish a separate budget for the Capital Projects Fund; increasing the Road Capital Improvement Fund from $38,063 to $132,741;1 $35,943 to establish the Luxury Place Local Improvement District Fund; $17,080 to establish a separate budget for the Hackamore Place Local Improvement District Fund; $13,783 to establish a separate budget for the Chestnut Court Local Improvement District Fund; $19,752 to establish a separate budget for the Greenbriar Place Local Improvement District Fund; $27,147 to establish a separate budget for the Kinley Court Local Improvement District Fund; $314 to establish a separate budget for the Senior Fund; $37,288 to establish a separate budget for the Enhanced 9-1-1 Fund; $5,561 to establish a separate budget for the Jail Commissary Fund; $12 to establish a separate budget for the Capital Reserve Fund; increased the 1998 appropriation for the general fund from $3,267,766 to $4,195,007; $47,565 to establish a separate budget for the Fair Board Fund; increased the Tourism Fund from $105,895 to $105,900; increased the Conservation Trust Fund from $55,000 to $63,339.

CDOT versus occupant

Some time in the past and at the request of the Colorado Department of Highways, the county building department refused to issue a certificate of occupancy of a newly constructed office for a logging business owned by Charles Millard and located on Turkey Lane in Aspen Springs.

Millard's property does not access U.S. 160, but Turkey Springs Road does. CDOT officials want Millard to apply for a CDOT highway access permit. The state agency convinced the county building department to withhold the certificate of occupancy in order to force Millard to apply for the access permit. Despite the leverage, Millard has refused to apply for the access permit for a year now.

The county instructed the building department to issue the certificate of occupancy after asserting that it is not the county's responsibility to enforce CDOT regulations. At issue has been ownership of Turkey Lane Road. Is it owned by the county or by the Aspen Springs Metropolitan District? CDOT officials said they will issue the permit as soon as they determine who is responsible for the road. Apparently, the county owns the road, but the metro district maintains it.

Charley Jones, president of the Aspen Springs Metro District board of directors, said the district will accept responsibility for the road, but will not agree to fund acceleration and deceleration lanes or other expensive improvements.

A proposal by Commissioner Gene Crabtree to abandon Register Loop located along County Road 326 enroute to the Blanco Basin was tabled until further information can be gathered.

The commissioners agreed to allow certain United Way solicitations from county employees, but did not endorse payroll deductions for that charity. They also agreed to develop a policy in regard to uncollected personal property taxes, especially those on the county books for several years.

Retaining excess revenues

A prepared statement was read by Tim Horning endorsing the county's position of asking voters in the Nov. 2 election to allow the county to retain excess revenues.

According to Horning, approval of the proposal will not increase sales or property tax rates, but will provide money to pay for growth-related county needs including those issues endorsed by county voters during a recent survey. Across the state, 41 of 63 counties have already been given permission to retain excess revenues, according to Horning.

Planning issues

Conditional final plat approval was given Hart's Rocky Mountain Retreat, located on U.S. 84 about 5 miles south of Pagosa Springs.

No action was taken concerning the developer of Knolls Subdivision's request to cross a taxiway at Stevens Field in order to reach the subdivision and hangars proposed for construction. Concern was expressed regarding the taxiway's ability to withstand the weight of cement trucks and other construction equipment. Airport Manager Tim Smith said he is concerned about violating provisions contained in contracts between the airport authority and government funding agencies. The developer brought the issue to the commissioners in order to receive guidance.

Aspen Springs lots

Certain lots in Aspen Springs Units 3 and 4 have overlapping boundaries in some cases rendering the lots nearly useless. Property taxes have been levied, but not paid on some of those lots. The county treasurer was instructed to forego issuing tax liens on the 20 lots that are involved.

County bridges

An agreement was reached with the Bureau of Indian Affairs concerning rebuilding bridge 391 on the road connecting Edith with Chromo in the southern part of the county. The BIA has agreed to match a county surplus bridge fund containing $334,789 by providing up to $200,500 for the project. It is not clear at this time when work on the bridge will begin.

Liquor license renewals

A bed and breakfast permit for Canyon Crest Lodge was renewed. The hotel/restaurant liquor license for Loredana's Italian Restaurant was also renewed.

Drug Forfeiture Committee

A Drug Forfeiture Committee was appointed in conformity with state law. Undersheriff Russell Hebert, Pagosa Springs Police Chief Don Volger, Pete Gonzales, an investigator for the district attorney's office, Town Manager Jay Harrington and County Commissioner Bill Downey were named to the committee. Committee approval is required to spend funds acquired as a result of drug apprehension activities.


The commissioners approved a resolution endorsing the coming Year 2000 Census and another resolution endorsing the statewide transportation referendum which will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot. Downey said he does not agree with the referendum.

Social Services

Social Services Director Erlinda Gonzalez made a monthly progress report about issues relevant to her department.

Forum features candidates, ballot issues

By David C. Mitchell

The League of Women Voters of Archuleta County will hold a "School Board Candidates and Ballot Issue" forum Tuesday in the county fair building from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The schedule for the Oct. 5 forum lists a "Meet the candidates and ballot issues presenters" segment at 6:30 p.m., and the public forum from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The five candidates in the school board election - Randall Davis and Laura Haynes in District 1, Carol Feazel and Kathryn Pokorney in District 3, and Russ Lee who will run unopposed for the District 2 seat - have been invited to speak and answer questions submitted by the audience. School officials and local appointed officials have also been invited to attend.

One statewide referendum question and six local questions will appear on the ballot.

The statewide question, Referendum A, relates to financing the "critical, priority transportation needs in the state . . . that qualify for federal funding" by issuing of revenue anticipation notes.

Four taxing entities within the county, the Upper San Juan Library District, Pagosa Springs Sanitation District, Piedra Park Metropolitan Improvement District and the county itself, are each asking the voters for permission to collect, spend or place in reserve all excess revenues and other funds each entity might collect during 1999 and each following year from any source other than monies that are generated by the separate entities' existing mill levies and resulting property taxes. The county's question includes a restriction that would prohibit the county from increasing its existing sales tax.

Directors of the Piedra Park Metropolitan Improvement District are also seeking voter approval to increase the district's debt in order to implement specified improvements in the utility's capacity and overall operation.

The Pagosa Fire Protection District (Referred Issue 5B) is asking voters who reside within a 16-square-mile area that adjoins the district's northern boundary on either side of Piedra Road, and who are seeking inclusion into the fire district, for permission to impose a tax increase. The resulting monies would be used for covering costs related to the inclusion. If approved, the inclusion would provide fire protection to the Teyuakan I and II, Wildflower and Pagosa Peaks Estates subdivisions.

Speakers have been selected to make pro and con arguments on the state, county and special district questions respectively. The presenters also will answer questions submitted by the audience.

Copies of a nonpartisan 1999 ballot issues pamphlet funded by the League of Women Voters of Colorado Education Fund will be available at the forum. The pamphlet has been developed with the intent of helping voters to better understand the major provisions, background, pro and con arguments of the various ballot issues, and to sort through the sometimes confusing wording of some of the questions. Other campaign materials on the candidates and ballot issues will be available at the forum.

The forum's format is designed to present information rather than provide for a public debate. Open to all county citizens, the forum hopes to provide individuals an opportunity to meet and talk with local elected and appointed officials, to meet the candidates, and to meet the persons who have been selected to present the pro and con positions of ballot issues. Besides listening to the candidates' presentations, members of the audience will be able to submit written questions for the candidates to answer. There also will be an opportunity to present questions for the pro and con presenters.

The League selected the Oct. 5 date for the meeting because the 1999 general election is being done by mail-in balloting. Ballots are expected to be mailed to the registered voters on or before Oct. 8. The ballots must be returned or mailed back to the county clerk's office no later than 7 p.m. on election day, Nov. 2. (The county clerk is mailing a copy of the complete text of each of the ballot questions to every registered voter within the county. The notice explains that a "yes" vote on any of the questions is a vote in favor of changing "constitutional or statutory law.")


August tax collections up 29%

By John M. Motter

August sales tax collections in Archuleta County this year totaled $443,258, an increase of 28.8 percent over the collections for August of 1998.

Since Jan. 1, the county has taken in $2,650,484, an increase of 14.83 percent over year-to-date collections through August of last year.

Sales taxes collected in Archuleta County are divided with the town of Pagosa Springs on a 50-50 basis. The county's portion is apportioned among its general fund, road and bridge fund, and road improvement fund. So far this year, the general fund has received $530,097, the road and bridge fund $132,524, and the road improvement fund $110,815.

The town's $1,325,242 share of this year's collections is used for capital improvements projects. About 90 percent of the sales taxes are collected from businesses located within town boundaries.

This year's collections are proceeding at a record rate and should top last year's record of $3,719,235 if the present collection rate continues. Except for February, collections each month this year have topped collections for the corresponding month last year.

Many economists regard sales tax collections as an important indicator of the condition of the local economy. The presumption is that increasing sales tax collections are proof that workers are earning more money and have enough confidence in the future strength of the economy to part with the money.

In Colorado, sales taxes are collected on most items sold at retail. Of the 7 percent sales tax rate in Archuleta County, 4 percent is retained locally and 3 percent is retained by the state.


Blood service is out of blood

Representatives of United Blood Services will be in Pagosa Springs from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30, to accept donations at the Mountain Heights Baptist Church located at 1044 Park Avenue. According to a flyer mailed out late last week, United Blood Services in Durango is "out of blood."

Prospective blood donors must be 18 years old or older and have a valid photo type of identification.

Residents of Pagosa Springs who donated blood at the Aug. 26 blood drive in Pagosa Springs, or who have donated blood anywhere else in the past 56 days, will not be eligible to donate blood at the Sept. 30 blood drive.

For more information about the blood drive, phone 385-4601.




September 30, 1999

Getting a clearer picture

Pagosans can experience a Norman Rockwell moment Tuesday night thanks to the League of Women Voters Chapter of Archuleta County. Whereas "The League" is hosting a public forum in the county fair building, folks in Vermont conducted annual town meetings such as the one Rockwell depicted in one of his noted patriotic paintings.

New Englanders offered any citizens 18 years or older an opportunity to express their opinions, make decisions and vote in local elections at their town meetings.

In keeping with the purpose of the League of Women Voters, Tuesday's forum aims to promote "informed participation of citizens in government by providing non-partisan educational information on topics of public concern . . . ."

With the county's ever-increasing population, more folks are interested in raising questions and exchanging opinions with local candidates or elected officials. These opportunities will be available from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. during the "meet the candidates" segment of the forum. From then until 9:30 p.m., the candidates will have an opportunity to explain why they want to be, and why in their opinion they should be, elected to serve on the school board. Also, supporting and opposing presentations will be made on the statewide referendum question and the local questions that will appear on the November 2 ballot. A moderator will then conduct the question-and-answer segment of the forum.

Rockwell's neighbors in Vermont never expected to appear in a painting when they attended a certain town meeting years ago, nor should you. But attending the League's forum should give you a clearer picture about the candidates and issues on the ballot.

David C. Mitchell


Dear Folks

By David C. Mitchell

An enjoyable way to feel guilty

Dear Folks,

The past few days have been wonderful reminders of how fortunate we are to be able to live and work in Pagosa Springs.

It was awesome watching the rheostat creep towards high intensity Friday night as the full moon edged over Nipple Mountain and illuminated the Continental Divide.

It was much more spectacular than any Colorfest balloon launch or Fourth of July fireworks display. The silence of the night, the absence of traffic and the crispness of the air combined to produce an indescribable experience.

I can't remember a Harvest Moon producing such an abundance of magnificent beauty.

It was hard not to sympathize with the aspen that had painted the San Juans with their wonderful shades of sparkling yellow just a day or two earlier. The chartreuse leaves had finally turned to shinning gold, but then the Harvest Moon fully opened its blossom and redefined beautiful.

Sunday's blue sky and fresh winds were the perfect color enhancer for a leisure walk along the heavily treed banks of Dutton Ditch Sunday afternoon.

There was not a chainsaw or ATV to be heard, and even if there had, I don't think they could have marred the colors.

So I felt rather guilty Monday morning when I assigned myself the task of driving to Wolf Creek Ski Area and shooting photographs of a helicopter operation.

The walk from the parking lot to Alberta Park couldn't compare to sitting at a computer back at the office. Nor could the hike up to a vantage point that provided wonderful views of Alberta Peak, Alberta Lake and the crests of the Continental Divide on the north side of U.S. 160.

I was impressed the helicopter pilot could keep his attention focused on maneuvering the huge bucket of concrete to just the right spot so that the concrete could fill the wooden forms and steel casings.

Finally, I could no longer ignore my responsibility of going to work. It was the first time I remember my pace was slower walking down the mountain than walking up. It was all so beautiful I hated to leave.

Yes, it was a great reminder of how fortunate the folks are who are able to live and work in Pagosa.

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


25 years ago

2nd quarter sales taxes drop 11%

Taken from SUN files

of Oct. 3, 1974

Archuleta County was one of six counties in the state that reported a decline in gross sales for the second quarter of 1974. The decline was 11 percent under the sales tax for the same period last year. By far the biggest drop in the county was a 91.9 percent decline in manufacturing. Lower lumber sales by the San Juan Lumber Company in the second quarter account to the sizable loss in sales tax collections.

Public Health Service officials visited here last week on a routine inspection and review of the contract between the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center and Dr. Gary Janssen. The health officials said that the medical center was not yet at the point where it was self sufficient financially and indicated that the contract could be extended another year under certain conditions.

Five persons were injured in two one-car accidents in this area during the past week. None of the injuries were described as critical, but hospitalization was required for most of the accident victims.

Dr. Randall Davis opened his dental practice in Pagosa Springs last week in a house located between Harvey's Motel and the bridge at the east edge of town. Prior to entering his four years of dental college at the University of Southern California, Dr. Davis obtained a degree in psychology but decided that he wanted to practice dentistry.



By Shari Pierce

Memories of Dr. Mary Fisher's funeral

I received a letter from Mrs. Frances Rock Coffee on Monday. It is one which I will treasure especially for one bit of information which Mrs. Coffee provided. She shared with me her memories of Dr. Mary Fisher's funeral. I treasure her thoughts because they are so vivid, like this happened yesterday. I know of Dr. Mary only through memories of people such as Mrs. Coffee and through stories that have been passed down about her.

I hope Mrs. Coffee will forgive me for sharing her words with you, but I thought they were very touching and worth sharing. She wrote, "The day before the funeral, I scoured the hills near the house for wildflowers and made wreaths of them. Next day Grandfather (Luke Rock) and Grandmother (Wilhelmina Rock) drove me and said flowers to the church, we unloaded them and they drove on: to find a place to park. I was met by a man, as I was starting up the long, cement stairs - who directed me to the steps of the choir loft - to deposit my wreaths. I placed them where another man told me to, then he told me to leave - by the same stairs. The building was packed, then I saw why he wanted me to leave. There was no more room for anybody. I went next door and sat on Aunt Mina's stair steps and watched for my grandparents. As everyone was leaving, Ma came and said we'd not go to the cemetery."

Having read Dr. Mary's obituary, I had known that she was very beloved in the community. I also had known that her funeral was attended by a huge number of people. According to her obituary it was the largest funeral ever held in this county, but I hadn't known that so many had been turned away.

According to her obituary, Dr. Mary Winter was born on Feb. 10, 1867, at Lewiston, Ill. She attended Rush Medical College at Chicago, from which she graduated with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. She began practicing medicine in Lewiston, and later came to La Jara, in the San Luis Valley, where she completed teaching a term of school that her sister had begun.

In 1895, she relocated to Pagosa Springs where she began what would become 33 years of providing medical care to area residents. She soon formed a partnership with P.J. Fisher in a drug store, under the firm name of Winter & Fisher. In 1902 they married.

Over the years, she had been elected town and county health officers and county coroner. She was registrar of vital statistics for the county at the time of her death.

Dr. Mary's obituary stated, "Her standing in her profession was of the highest order, and she enjoyed a statewide reputation for her skill and sound judgment in diagnosis and treatment. Her fame extended even to the Mayo Brothers hospital at Rochester, Minn., as well as many Colorado hospitals, and seldom, if ever was her opinion questioned."

Thanks for the memories, Mrs. Coffee.


Community News

September 30, 1999

Local Chatter

By Kate Terry

Comments on library, Tabor Amendment

One of the issues on the ballot for the Nov. 2 election has to do with letting the Upper San Juan Library District (the Ruby M. Sisson Library) keep all the monies received from the 1.5 mill levy designated for the Library.

Since 1992, the monies have been limited by the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (known as the Tabor Amendment) that limits how much Colorado's government districts can keep.

In 1992, when the highly controversial Tabor Amendment was passed, the part mostly understood by the people was the part that said taxes couldn't be raised without a vote of the people. But another part of the amendment, written in an ambiguous way, has caused unanticipated problems for small districts. Tabor limits how much of their authorized money can be kept; the formula for determining these limitations is based on the Denver-Boulder area consumer price index which is 2.6 percent this year.

Because of this limitation, the San Juan Library District has had to return $50,000 in the past five years and turn down $20,000 in Colorado state monies during the past three years. Tabor doesn't allow the libraries to accept state grants if the amount causes them to exceed the specified growth limit. The Library has had to rely on the generosity of its patrons for books and materials during these years.

Tabor allows a district to ask voters to be able to keep and spend their excess revenue. This issue is vital to our community, its education and culture. Please vote "yes" when you get your mailed ballot. The ballots should be out by Oct. 8.

Fun on the run

Why is it when you watch the TV weatherman, he says the same thing five different times, five different ways, with five different satellite images and by the end of the report, you still don't know if it's going to rain tomorrow?


Chamber News

By Suellen Loher

Mark calendar for 'Interviewing Magic'

Three new members to report this week and 23 renewals. While Sally was out of town at a ski show in Austin, Morna and I managed to intercept a few new members. We appreciate the continued support of our membership and look forward to serving our newcomers.

Our first new member is Willie Swanda with Crazy Horse Educational Expeditions. Willie and staff at CHEE are offering education programs for youth groups providing hands-on projects in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Department of Wildlife and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. You can reach Willie at 731-3641 to learn more about this program.

The second new member is the Computer Wizard. Steve Lackey has nearly 35 years of computer experience, offering expert trouble shooting and consulting services to keep your business systems running efficiently and effectively. You can reach Steve at 731-2430.

A third new member is Alliance for Affordable Services. Rick and Debbie Herron belong to a non-profit association that offers affordable health insurance for self employed folks as well as individuals. You can reach them at 731-0188.

Renewals this week include Lynda Brown with Hodge Podge; Jere and Lois Hill with United Oil and Village Texaco; Tom Steen with the Archuleta County Education Center; Salila Shen with Lotus Mountain Coaching and Communication Services; Marion Francis Jr. with Norwest Bank Pagosa Springs; Carmen Miller with American Legion Post 108; Dan Keuning RN with Mercy Home Health and Hospice; Ann Brady with Happy Camper RV Park; Windsor Chacey with the League of Women Voters; Carrie Campbell with Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District; Gary Lucas with Rio Grande Savings and Loan Association; Cappy White and Monica Green with Handcrafted Interiors; James Pruitt MD with Pagosa Springs Family Medical Center; Tammy McDowell with San Juan Timberwrights, Inc.; Pagosa Springs Rotary Club; Tim Smith with Archuleta County Airport Authority; Connie Prunty with CenturyTel of Colorado, Inc.; Land Properties, Inc.; Dennis Hunt with Archuleta County; and Willie Swanda with Crazy Horse Outfitter and Guides.

Renewal Associate Members are Gene and Jackie Schick; and Bob and Patty Tillerson.

What a pleasure it is to have the above included in our membership - thanks to you all.

Interview magic

Check the date on your calendar. "Interviewing Magic" is scheduled for Oct. 6. The invites were mailed last Friday. Chamber business members should sign up before Oct. 5 or walk in on the day of the presentation. Give us a call at 264-2360 if you have questions.

SunDowners 2000

Wow. Tomorrow, Oct. 1, is the date to book a SunDowner for 2000. We will take phone calls and in-person requests. Some things to keep in mind: Your facility should be able to accommodate about 100 people, you provide the food and the chamber provides the drinks. We normally book within a couple of hours, so act fast.

Calendar of events

Okay, I have to start hounding everybody for the 2000 event dates. Yes, believe it or not, I have already supplied two publications with the upcoming events for 2000. Please be among the special events on the calendar. Call the chamber with all your event dates, soon.


Pagosa Lakes

By Ming Steen

Mazaroff takes first at High Altitude Shootout

High Altitude Shootout, Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center's annual racquetball tournament held last weekend, was a success and drew players from near and far. In the Open/AA category, Gary Mazaroff of Albuquerque, N.M., won with Dan Herrera coming in second place in the A/B singles level. Ron Stark of Pagosa Springs placed first, followed by Gary Standhart of Durango in second place. In the Women's A level, Ann Kurtela dominated the field. She was trailed by Esmeralda Berrich, who did incredibly well considering she's only a few months out of shoulder and wrist surgery. In the doubles category, advanced-doubles winners were Gary Mazaroff and Dan Herrera and in the intermediate doubles local players Ron Stark and Pete Westra took first place. The success and appeal of this event could not have happened without generous support from the following local sponsors: Pizza Hut, Subway, Bear Creek Saloon and Grill, The Seafood Cafe, City Market, Hodge Podge, Selena's Candy Shop, Pagosa Springs Golf Course, Burly's Grill, Las Montanas, The Corner Store, Made in Colorado Shoppe, Liberty Theatre, JJ's Gift Shop, Wolf Tracks Bookstore and Coffee Co. and the Pie Shoppe. A special thanks to Esmeralda Berrich who assisted with every aspect of organizing the tournament. Also, thanks goes to Vicki Hujus for all her hard work in tying up the loose ends. Lastly, the tournament was made possible through Drew Pimental's efficient organizational skills and all of the participants who so eagerly spent their weekend at the Recreation Center chasing the ball. Next year's tournament is already being planned.

The PLPOA's Lakes, Fisheries and Parks Committee is seeking persons interested in becoming committee members. If you have an interest in helping with the long-range planning for the lakes, fisheries, open space and parks in Pagosa Lakes, please call Larry Lynch at the PLPOA administration office at 731-5635.

Congratulations to Linda Bernard for completing her first marathon on Sept. 19 in Albuquerque, N.M. She finished in great form and placed second in her age group. Linda incidentally, was also the oldest female runner.

The Indian Summer Half Marathon will be held in Cortez, on Saturday, Oct. 9. The race starts in Mesa Verde and finishes in downtown Cortez. Also available are shorter runs, a 5-mile and a 2-mile course. Registration forms and information are available at the Recreation Center.

The Southern Colorado Rotary Club is seeking four outstanding business and professional people to visit São Paulo, Brazil, in 2000 through the group study exchange program of the Rotary Foundation. The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club would like to send a local candidate to the district-wide selection process.

The program strives to improve international understanding by enabling people from different countries to learn from each other on a professional level. The awards involve exchanging teams of business and professional persons for four-to-six week visits. The dates for this exchange trip to São Paulo will be from April 18 to May 18, 2000.

While abroad, team members stay with Rotarians to observe their hosts' way of life and study the nation's economic, social and cultural characteristics through travel and discussions within participating Rotary districts. Team members also have the opportunity to meet their professional counterparts.

Over the years, Pagosa has had strong participation in this exciting international program. Team members have included Patti Renner, to the Dominican Republic; Elsa Lucero and Roger Candelaria, to Spain and Debra Kelly to India. Serving in the capacity of team leader, Rotarian Tom Steen led the 1996 exchange to New Zealand and this writer led the 1997 exchange to India.

For an application, please contact members of the local Pagosa Springs Rotary Club. Information and applications are also available from Tom Steen. Application deadline to the local clubs is Friday, Oct. 8.



Education News

By Tom Steen

Even more info on after-school programs

After-school tutoring for intermediate and junior high school students will begin on Oct. 4.

LeeAnn Skoglund, teacher in the Pagosa Springs Intermediate School, will again coordinate this program. We will hire and train high school students to work as tutors. Pagosa Youth Force tutor applications are now being accepted at the Education Center office at 4th and Lewis streets. We also invite community adult volunteers to work with students in this and the elementary school's "After Hours" program. Please call the Education Center for additional information.

The Education Center has also added new, after-school enrichment classes for intermediate school and junior high school students. These include theater, jewelry art and swing dance. We invite and encourage private school and home school students to participate in any or all of the after-school programs.

Susan Garman will begin a Theater I class for fifth through eighth grade students on Oct. 11. This class will be held each Monday from 3:45 to 5 p.m. through Nov. 15. This six-week course will cover various theater experiences and acting techniques. Parents are invited to attend a showing of work in progress the last day of class. Tuition for this class is $20.

Lisa Brown will offer a "Jewelry Making" art class for fifth through eighth grade students beginning on Oct. 5. This class will be held each Tuesday from 3:45 to 5 p.m. through Oct. 26. Students will learn some cultural history of beads and adornment while learning basic jewelry-making techniques. Tuition is $18, and this fee includes materials.

High school students take note: Sharman Alto will offer "Swing Dance" for fifth through twelfth grade students. Students will learn East Coast and West Coast Swing Dance and they will be able to develop and expand their own style. The "Swing Dance" class will be held on Wednesdays from 3:45 to 5 p.m., beginning Oct. 6 and continuing through Oct. 27. The tuition is $15.

Attention teachers and parents of elementary school students: 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-school 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 p.m. or who have finished their enrichment activities for the day and are waiting on 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 or enrichment classes to attend Klubroom activities.

October is 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 of 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 on 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 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).

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

'Weather Book' donated to the library

We thank Moonlight Books and Joan Rohwer for her donation of the "Colorado Weather Book" by Mike Nelson and the 9 News Weather Team.

Our state is famous for the incredible diversity and drama of its weather. This book gives an overview of the history of Colorado weather from pre-1900 to the present. It covers aspects of global climate change and how it affects Coloradans. It is an excellent addition to our collection.

Employment programs

The Governor's office sent a copy of the Colorado Workforce guide to public and private employment and training programs in the 18 regions throughout Colorado. Our Education Center and Training Advantage are listed. Anyone interested in job opportunities will be interested in this.

Voter forum

We've been asked to speak at the League of Women Voters' Forum next Tuesday evening at the Extension Building. It is an opportunity to discuss the upcoming election when the Library will be asking to keep and spend our revenue without raising the 1.5 percent mill levy.

We will be answering questions and it is your opportunity to also hear other issues our community faces with this unprecedented growth. It is disconcerting to be one of the ten fastest growing counties in the nation.

We have given out 955 new library cards since the first of the year.

This is an average of 4 per day year in, year out. We now serve 5,580 patrons.

Survey findings

Our planning survey is about over. We appreciate all of you who took the time to fill one out. We will continue to accept surveys through October. The board of trustees will plan future library services according to our ability to fill your needs. I will report on the various survey findings for the next several weeks.

Library funding

Many people are not sure how we are funded. We are not supported by the County or the Town. We are legally the Upper San Juan Library District. The Sisson Library is actually a governmental entity just like the state, the town, the county, the fire district and others. We are supported by a small property tax mill levy. The rest of our income is from fees, fines, the specific ownership tax on car licenses, gifts and grants.

For the past seven years we've been short an average of $18,000 a year. We've had to do private fundraising to keep a balanced budget. This becomes harder to do each year as library costs rise, the mill levy goes down, and gifts diminish in comparison with the shortfall. We can ask just so much of our supporters.

A copy of our budget is on file at the library for anyone wishing to see the actual figures for the past several years.

The survey produced several requests.

A large majority of respondents requested that we continue to provide income tax forms, free online data bases and Internet access. Books on tape are becoming popular items, but print materials remain the most important service we provide.


Thanks to the following for items: Carole Howard, Mary Lou Sprowle, Ann Brothers, Dick and Betty Hillyer, Marty Johnson, Donald Mowen, Cynthia Murphy, Emily Martinez, Forrest Rackham, Joan Rohwer, Suellen Loher, George Reeves, Annie Ryder, Marilyn Copley, Joan Young, Ann Van Fossen, Sam Romain, Charles Pelton, Bill McDaniel, Jim Wilson, S.A. Kolman, Joseph Washburn, and Barbara Sansom in memory of Lorraine Cline.


Arts Line

By Jennifer Galesic

Whistle Pig open mike nights resume

The Whistle Pig open mike nights have resumed with great success.

Whistle Pig Folk Nights take place at the Pagosa Lakes Community Center at 230 Port Avenue and are open to all musicians, poets, storytellers and other entertainers who want to go out and express themselves.

The Sept. 25 event featured special guest "Shamba Eagle Fly Free," alias David Snyder, who performed with Sharmon Alto and an array of colorful characters. Performers for the evening included Jesse Taylor, Robbie Pepper, Charles Martinez and Kent Greentree, among others. Thank you to Wolf Tracks Coffee Shop which donated the coffee for the event and to Clare Burns and Ponderosa Hardware for the donation of the popcorn popper for the evening. Thank you also to Jennifer Harnick and to Jim and Joanne Halliday for their help at the event.

Whistle Pig nights are sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Arts Council and will continue throughout the Fall. The next gathering will be held on Oct. 23 and will feature Harry Banana and the Bunch, followed by a Nov. 13 event with Debbie Ramey (Tucker) and friends. A Dec. 11 Whistle Pig night will feature John Graves with a Christmas special and open dance combo.

For further information about the Whistle Pig Fold Night, call Julia at 731-9959.

Weaver benefit

Jerry and Rosie Zepnick hosted a tribute to Sue Weaver at Lantern Dancer Gallery last Thursday evening. Many thanks to all the contributing artists whose donations to the auction benefited the Sue Weaver Memorial fund at the PSAC. The fund will sponsor art workshops. Thank you to the Zepnicks and Carol Fulenwider for their work in organizing this wonderful tribute to an artist who gave so much to this community. Thank you to Hunan Restaurant and Silver Dollar Liquors who gave discounts to the participants that evening.

Watermedia contest

The PSAC Watermedia Competition will hold its opening reception at Moonlight books on Oct. 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. Works from the competition will be on display there through Oct. 29. Entries for the competition will be accepted at Moonlight Books until 5 p.m. on Oct. 5. If you have an original watermedia work completed in the last two years that you've been dying to exhibit, why not enter it in the competition? For entry information, contact Moonlight Books or the Arts Center/Gallery in Town Park.

On Sept. 30, "The Two of Us" exhibit will hold an opening reception at the PSAC gallery. The exhibit features the works of Danny Smith, Joseph Leal and Tom Cardin. Smith's works include pastels, watercolors, small woodcarvings, pen and ink. Leal will display his large wood carvings and Cardin, a photographer, will present his Cumbres and Toltec train photographs. The reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m. and will allow visitors to meet the artists.

Creede theater

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council once again welcomes the Creede Repertory Theater Players to Pagosa Springs. The players will present "The Complete History of America (Abridged)" on Oct. 15 at Parish Hall on Lewis Street. Wine will be available at 6:30 p.m., dinner will be served at 7 p.m. and the production will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the Arts Council gallery in Town Park, at Moonlight Books, at the Library, and at Wolftracks Bookstore.

Please call the PSAC at 264-5020 for more information.

Help wanted

Writers wanted! If you are a writer and would like to donate some time to the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, we have a spot for you. The "Petroglyph," a quarterly newsletter of the PSAC, is looking for volunteers to fill the positions of editor and computer layout. If you are interested, please call Natalie Koch at 264-2698.


Ballooning with Cruse

By Katherine Cruse

Hiker shares Starwalker adventures

Having been told by several people that Colorfest was an event not to be missed, I went to the reception on the Friday evening. There was a crowd, as promised. You could pick out some of the balloonists by their headgear, top hats, Cat in the Hat hats, or in the case of one man, a long blond wig. I met Diana and Ken, who were looking for volunteer crew members. Being a little slow on the uptake and also having been rendered temporarily deaf from the noise under tent, I first thought Ken was the pilot and Diana the crew chief. They soon straightened me out. "No, no. SHE'S the pilot," said Ken.

Saturday I showed up at 6:30 a.m. at the Chamber building, where balloonists and sponsors and would-be crew volunteers were assembling. Liz Marchand called out names."Wave your hand so they can see you." To match up sponsors with pilots. Diana and Ken pushed over through the throng to greet me like a long-lost relative. A couple of other people standing nearby volunteered to crew for Diana and her sponsors, Don and Mary McKeehan, appeared with their daughter and son-in-law and a young woman who works in their business. One of the other crew volunteers said he could take people in his car, so we didn't all have to ride in the back of the pickup truck, and we headed off to the brush and rock-strewn field just south of the Hot Springs. Balloonists began unloading baskets and balloons and fans and tarps and other gear from their vehicles. Diana gave us the rules.

Rule 1 - Don't wrap any line around your hand or arm or any part of your body.

Rule 2 - When the propane burner is lit, you better not be smoking a cigarette.

Rule 3 - If the balloon is determined to rise, don't hang on to a rope or to the basket. There were other rules, but these are the important ones.

I was assigned to work the throat, which meant that I helped hold the balloon open so that the air from the fan could get inside for the initial inflation. Someone held the crown rope and several people walked back and forth lifting the wrinkled silk and spreading it out as the envelope filled. Balloons are made of nylon, like backpack tents, but huge. They need a tremendous amount of space, especially after they begin to inflate.

In about 15 minutes Diana's blue and silver balloon, "Starwalker," was inflated to the point that it was time to "go hot." Diana got into the basket, which was lying on its side and fired the burner into the throat. The balloon quickly rose and several of us grabbed the basket and helped to stand it upright. "Weight. I need weight," said Diana and we held onto the basket rim while Johanna, the first rider climbed in.

Starwalker went high and headed west. We followed. Starwalker descended into a pasture on Trujillo Road. At that point, with the envelope inflated and the basket barely touching the ground, a balloon can drift into trees, brush, electric wires, etc., so we all ran down the slope and put our weight on the basket. Johanna got out and Diana asked if I wanted to ride and - can you believe it? I said "no." Being a backpacker, I like having my feet firmly on the ground. There was no second chance. Another crew member, immediately said, "I'll go." The switch was made and up they went.

On the second flight Starwalker floated west over the Alpha area. We did a lot of driving around trying to keep her in sight and guess where she'd land. She finally came down among a clump of scrub oak trees, but she missed the tall pines right next to them. She also missed the power lines, so everyone was happy. I've heard that a balloon death by power wire happens almost yearly. The landing was close to the road and we dragged/floated the basket onto the gravel and collapsed the envelope.

And then we all learned how to repack the balloon and stow everything away. This is the point where a large crew, preferably of big strong men, is useful, because both the basket and the balloon are HEAVY. "Bend your knees," cautioned Diana, as we all bent to the task. With the gear loaded on the truck, we joined the traffic jam of other balloonists refilling tanks at the propane station. And then we celebrated with champagne and snacks.

I went to the launch again the next morning and before we got started I put my arm around Diana's waist. "If you ask me again, if I want to go up, I won't say no this time," I confided. The first ride was already promised to Gregg, who had crewed the day before. The second one would be mine.

If you were watching on Sunday, you know that the balloons went east from Pagosa Lodge and a lot of them came down all along Putt Hill. Starwalker stayed high and finally descended somewhere north of Cemetery Hill. Horses in a nearby pasture snorted and galloped and were generally spooked by the sight of this enormous bird dropping from the sky.

The weather was cloudy and almost drizzly at one point and it didn't look like clearing anytime soon. You don't want a wet envelope; it's heavy enough when it's dry. That was the end of ballooning for the day. We stuffed it back into the bag and Diana said she'd probably have to pull it out again when she got home and string it all through her house so that it could dry thoroughly. It's a lot easier to dry out a backpack tent. So I didn't go aloft. I still had a great time.

Here's what to expect if you volunteer to crew for a balloon. Be prepared to lift heavy loads, wander around on back roads squinting for a sight of your balloon, gallop across rock-strewn fields or stagger up brush-covered hillsides, lift heavy loads and hang around the propane station sniffing noxious fumes. Did I mention you get to lift heavy loads?

You should also be prepared to bond with total strangers. After packing up the gear at the end of a successful flight, especially if you're working with a crew that anticipates what needs to be done and shares in the work equally, you feel like these are your new best friends. You want to work with them again and again, to participate in the illusion of weightless beauty that is ballooning.

By the way, when they come back next year, I'm looking for Starwalker. I'm going to be ready for a flight.



September 30, 1999

Video Review

By Roy Starling

Half the critics wrong about 'Cookie's Fortune'

The critics seem to be about evenly split on Robert Altman's "Cookie's Fortune" (1999), and I, your loyal hometown video reviewer, am here to break the tie.

Some critics see Altman's latest as a boring, confusing film, playing on small-town Southern stereotypes, and coated with an unrealistic layer of sugar. They say it wastes a great cast and forces these fine actors to become "lost in their roles."

Others say "Cookie's Fortune" is Altman at his best, a nicely paced yarn about family pride and the eccentricities of the local-yokel citizens of a tiny Deep South burg.

I side with this latter group.

"Cookie's Fortune" is set and filmed in little Holly Springs, Miss., and follows the fortunes of Jewel Mae (Cookie) Orcutt (Patricia Neal), her relatives, and her live-in caretaker, handy man and friend, Willis (Charles S. Dutton).

The two-hour movie begins slowly as it introduces its major characters, cutting from a rehearsal for Oscar Wilde's "Salome," being directed at the First Presbyterian Church by twisted Southern Belle wannabe Camille Dixon (Glenn Close) and starring her dizzy, simpleminded sister Cora (Julianne Moore), to Willis finishing up a night at the local juke joint, to Cora's free-spirited daughter Emma (Liv Tyler) making herself at home in a van.

The film's slow pace continues as morning breaks on the following day and we see the aging Cookie banter with Willis and slip in and out of time and reality, meet a few more of the town's characters (e.g., Chris O'Donnell as a bumbling Barney Fife-like deputy and Lyle Lovett as a seedy and slightly suspicious fish-house manager) and witness more of the peculiar master-slave relationship between sisters Camille and Cora.

This leisurely set-up ends when Cookie happily blows her brains out in order to be reunited with her late husband Buck, and is then discovered by her niece Camille who promptly goes into a tizzy and tries to destroy any evidence of a suicide, that particular form of dying being beneath her family.

Some critics see this first part of the film as a cure for insomnia; others see it as unhurried pastoral poetry that gives us all one more look at the 73-year-old Neal's remarkable acting ability. I side with the latter group.

I really like the fact that the rest of this film refuses to give its viewers what they expect to see. Even though Willis, who is black, becomes a suspect in Cookie's death, the movie never degenerates into yet another wallowing in the racial hatred and mistrust that allegedly exists in every Southern town.

Instead, it continues to focus on small-town craziness and the tension between city folks and town folks and between "respectable" family members and misfit black-sheep outcasts such as Emma. In the words of screenwriter Anne Rapp, it shows us the best and worst of family pride.

I found Rapp's script to be a tip of the hat to Southern Gothic literature, those short stories, plays and novels by such writers as William Faulkner, Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty and Tennessee Williams that dominated the American literary scene during the first half of this century.

This literature found many receptive readers because, like "Cookie's Fortune," it depicted Southern blacks and whites as actual three-dimensional human beings while confirming the beliefs of readers north of the Mason-Dixon line that Southerners were just a little wacky.

"Cookie's Fortune" also succeeds thanks to some masterfully crafted scenes and some top-notch acting.

Notice, for instance, old Cookie's final exhausted, wobbly ascent up her stairs interrupted by the creaky opening of a gun cabinet door, something her husband Buck would have fixed long ago. Near the top of the stairs, she turns around for one last look, almost as if she's forgotten something. It's a beautiful shot, and Altman frames it perfectly.

And there's Ned Beatty, who began his film career by squealing in "Deliverance," saying that he knows Willis is innocent "because I've fished with him."

And there's another satisfying performance by Moore - the lone redeeming point of the "Psycho" remake, as you may recall - who has the difficult chore of playing a dense flatliner who may or may not be as stupid as she seems. It's also fun to watch her play a very bad actress as the title character in "Salome."

And there are those final two scenes, the juxtaposition of which pretty much sum up Southern film and literature in a nutshell. First, we see a woman (and I won't tell you who it is) in a jail cell apparently doing a decent imitation of Blanche DuBois's breakdown scene from "Streetcar Named Desire." Her brief flight into fantasyland then becomes a deranged fit of rage.

Cut from this hysteria to a small group of people fishing on a dock by the river. Included in this group are young and old people, black and white. As we watch them from the river, they talk and laugh quietly. Then the camera shows us the view from their perspective: The dark river, speckled with white bobbers, flows slowly and gently by. Beyond the river looms a thick green wall of trees.

The mysterious river continues its journey, moving towards the sea as slowly as time itself. Soft laughter emanates from the shore. Back in her cell, a madwoman wrestles with her pillow, writhing on the floor.

Same planet, two different worlds. In "Cookie's Fortune," both are equally real and, their occasional overlappings provide the film with its fine mixture of menace and humor.




By John Motter

Salvador: Mountains were his mentor

By John M. Motter

Salvador Martinez never had a chance at book learning. Family needs were too great. Nevertheless, with the San Juan Mountains as a tutor, trees as textbooks, and the wilderness for a classroom, Salvador's knowledge became great.

"I didn't go to school much, a little at Stollsteimer and a little at Allison," Salvador says. "I didn't learn to read and write. My school was the sheep."

Now 75 years old and retired, Salvador was born May 12, 1924, in Rosa, N.M., to Rafael Martinez and Antonina Mascanarez. He was the second of five children. The others were sisters Aurora and Lydia, and brothers Reynel and Alberto. Salvador's dad was from somewhere near Española, N.M., his mother from near Mora or Clayton, N.M.

Rafael's earliest memories stretch back to a two-room log cabin on the family homestead about six miles up Archuleta Creek from its intersection with Stollsteimer Creek south and east of the Washington Flats area. Warmth radiated from the same wood stove used for cooking by Salvador's mom. Water carried by bucket from a nearby spring fulfilled household needs, including the family wash. All work, including the laundry, was done by hand. Electricity had not yet arrived at this remote home. The twisty, rutted road connecting the Martinez home with the outside world passed Otto Burster's house. Burster was well-known as a cowboy in early Pagosa Country history.

"My papa homesteaded that ranch in 1918. We stayed at that place a long time," Salvador recalls. "My papa had another ranch in the Turkey Springs area where he sometimes took cattle in the fall, but we never lived there."

Salvador's papa raised about 250 sheep, a little hay, a little grain, and a few potatoes along Archuleta Creek. Sheep provided a cash crop in the spring and in the fall. The spring harvest was wool. In the fall, lambs were sold. During the winter, Salvador's papa earned cash by trapping mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, skunk, and bears.

"He used to trap a lot of bears and sell them to the Japanese mill," Salvador said.

The "Japanese" mill was located at a place called Talian near the intersection of La Vega Redonda and Cat Creek roads. The Japanese were named Matsumoto and Yamaguchi. Talian was named for a Ute who located his allotment there during the early days of settlement in Archuleta County. A coal mine used by the Pagosa and Northern Railroad was also located in the Talian vicinity.

A trip to town for the Martinezes, usually to Pagosa Springs, was a rare but wonderful occasion.

"I was too small to remember much, but papa made good money trapping. In those days, $100 was a lot of money and things were cheaper. I remember a pound of coffee cost 10 cents and eggs were 8 cents a dozen. Most sheep men lived on credit and paid their bills in the spring at shearing time and in the fall when we sold the lambs. We had credit with Hersch in Pagosa Springs and Mrs. Barrett at Arboles."

The trip to Pagosa Springs often involved a horse-drawn wagon ride to Dyke. There everyone boarded the narrow gauge train and puffed on into town.

As often as they could, the family attended the Catholic church at Frances, later known as Stollsteimer, and sometimes at Rosa or Arboles. Later, when Salvador was 17, the Martinez family bought 100 acres south of Allison. By then, the young sheepherder was earning his own keep.

Work for Salvador started at the age of six or seven when his papa put him in charge of the family sheep. The Martinez herd was not driven to the high mountains, but grazed for free year around near the family home on Kearns Mountain and Sandoval Mesa.

"Dad was real hard with me," Salvador remembers. By the time he reached age 15 or 16, Salvador was gone from home and working for ranchers in the area. The pay? Fifty cents a day plus room and board.

"I worked a lot for the Youngs at Allison and also for Earl Mitchell at Allison," Salvador said.

The years passed and Salvador worked for many ranchers, among them Joe Hersch, Si Candelaria, Harold Radcliff, the Southern Ute tribe at Ignacio, Perry Olsen of Grand Junction, and Old Man Harrington.

"I had a camp near where Pagosa Vista is today back in 1959 when Joe Hersch sold that land to Calvin Perkins," Salvador remembers. "Si Candelaria was the best I every worked for and Mr. Olson the worst. He was too hard."

"We worked 3,000 sheep for Olson," Salvador said. "We had to move those sheep from Rio Blanco, Utah (near Vernal), to the railroad. Then they were shipped to Meeker. I was a good counter, so he used me a lot for that. I was also in charge of moving the camps. In the spring when we sheared, we also had to cut (castrate) the male lambs and dock the tails. We'd start work at three in the morning, take a break for lunch, then work until dark. He took a nap at lunch, but he made me keep working. I finally quit him. He was too rough."

Driving the sheep to the high mountains was the big adventure each year, according to Salvador. Most herds nibbled their way up the mountainsides, reaching the high county by July 4th. There they remained until about Sept. 12. Early snow was a problem. If it snowed, the sheep started down the trail for home, leaving at night if the herder wasn't watching.

Two men accompanied the herd, along with five horses. One man was camp tender, the other the herder. The camp tender set up camp, moved it when necessary, gathered firewood, boiled the coffee, and stirred the beans. When sheep strayed, the camp tender had to find them. And at regularly appointed times, the tender rode back down the trail where he met the owner delivering supplies to restock the camp larder.

All food was cooked on a metal sheepherder's stove. Basic groceries consisted of flour, coffee, beans, and tortillas. An occasional lamb provided meat and if the camp was near a productive stream, fish were caught and eaten.

"Sometimes we would catch 60 trout a day," Salvador said. "We'd dig a hole near the camp, fill it with water, and keep the fish alive. We just ate as many as we wanted each day."

As the name implies, the herder spent his days protecting the sheep, moving them to new grass when necessary, and keeping count. Bears and coyotes were a constant menace.

"If we got a chance, we'd shoot a bear or coyote to protect the herd," Salvador said. "When I worked for Old Man Harrington on Devil Mountain, we must have killed about 20 bears. There were no grizzlies in that area."

There were grizzlies in the upper Weminuche and Rincon la Osa country where Salvador and Juan Garcia herded sheep for the Southern Utes. In fact, a grizzly gave Salvador one of the biggest scares of his life while he was camped in Pine Meadows Park.

"It was night and I was lying on the tent floor where I could see through a little opening in the door flap. This big bear came by and stretched out on the ground in front of the door. I could see his head through the opening. It was huge. I kept very quiet until it finally went away."

While they camped near Rincon La Osa, bears killed 12 to 15 sheep a night. Overwhelmed, the sheep men sent for help. Government trapper Lloyd Anderson provided the answer. Anderson camped near the sheep camp, then trapped a huge grizzly. There were other grizzlies in the area, according to Salvador and Anderson. Anderson sent the skull to U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologists in Denver. After careful examination, they agreed that the skull had been worn by a grizzly. Many folks credit the subsequent creation of Weminuche Wilderness Area to that discovery.

"One time me and Juan Garcia were camped in the Weminuche," Salvador said. "There were about seven bears around the herd. Juan took his gun and went out to shoot them. He saw five bears. Since he only had three bullets, he came back to camp without shooting."

"Another time, when I was just 16, I went with Ben Herrera to Flag Mountain this side of Pine River," Salvador said. "The bears must have killed over 100 sheep. It was the worst I ever saw."

Sheepherders had to be as familiar with the mountains as with their own home kitchens. One of their jobs was to limit the herd grazing to the specific land allotted by the Forest Service for that herd.

When herding for Si Candelaria, that allotment was high up the Middle Fork of the Piedra River, according to Salvador. Amadore Chavez was the camp tender in those days and the herd included from 1,800 to 2,000 sheep. For companionship, Salvador carried Joe, a diminutive Chihuahua. While riding herd, he carried Joe on his lap. The Chihuahua's legs were no match for the horse. His courage matched anything in the mountains.

"He would fight the bears if I let him," Salvador said, "but we didn't have trouble with bears in that area."

After he married Teresa, Salvador quit going to the mountains. Instead, he worked with the San Juan/Chama tunnel construction crews. Later, he worked on a variety of construction jobs. Finally, he worked for Bill Willington at the Three Meadows Ranch.

Teresa passed away four years ago, the victim of a heart attack. The couple had four children, Antonina, Melinda Bryant, Tomas, and Salvador Jr.

Today, Salvador tends his small home in Pagosa Springs. Looming through the windows are the San Juan Mountains, dominating the skyline like a shelf full of books. And there in those mountains, recorded line by line, are the pages of his life.


Music Boosters

By Roy Starling

Music Boosters bring Gershwin to Pagosa

By Roy Starling

George Gershwin, the American composer known for the opera "Porgy and Bess," the orchestra piece "Rhapsody in Blue" and such songs as "Swanee," "I Got Rhythm," "Someone to Watch Over Me," and "I've Got a Crush on You," is coming to Pagosa Springs.

Well, sort of.

Although Gershwin died back in 1937, he'll be brought back to life Oct. 15 and 16 when the Music Boosters pay tribute to him in a revue called "S'Wonderful." Performances both nights begin at 7:30 at the high school auditorium.

"Gershwin's music is wonderful, vibrant and full of life," said Kathy Isberg, who is co-directing the revue with JoAnn Laird. "His music celebrates his genius, and we're paying tribute to that. It'll have a nostalgic appeal, but I also think it'll appeal to younger audiences who may not be familiar with Gershwin."

The revue, she said, will "basically be a sampler of Gershwin's most famous music, ranging from his show tunes to some of his dance numbers and even some of his orchestral works, even though we don't have an orchestra to do it."

The inspiration for "S'Wonderful" came from pianist John Graves. "John is our principal accompanist on the piano and our primary musical consultant," Isberg said. "He also helped write the script with us."

Graves' remarkable keyboard work promises to be one of the highlights of the revue. "His artistic wizardry on the piano is something to behold," Isberg said. "If you've never heard him play before, you'll be quite impressed."

The revue will feature solo work by veterans of Music Booster productions as well as some newcomers to local theater. Among the new faces will by Tonya Hubbard, Mark DeVoti, Pam Spitler and 12-year-old tap dancer Elizabeth Wellborn.

Old timers performing solos in "S'Wonderful" are Joan Hageman, JoAnn Laird and Warron Big Eagle.

In addition to musicians Bruce Andersen, Lisa Hartley, Dave Krueger, Susan Martin and Cary Valentine, the cast features Muriel Buckley, Bob Case, Randall and Trish Davis, Carol Feazel, Rich Harris, Kathy Jackson, Carla Kruger, Carla Lister, Bill Nobles, Denis O'Hare, Cindi Owen, Sharon Porter and Steve Rogan.

The cast will also feature Andy Donlon and Morgan Gronewoller as a "father and daughter" emcee. "Andy and Morgan will thread together the pieces of the show with a dialogue that in a way tells a story," Isberg said.

"We'll have several ensemble vocal numbers, duets, trios, large ensembles and a ballroom dance number featuring Bob and Diane Outerbridge," she said. Isberg and Laird have been busy in the weeks leading up to the show "writing choral arrangements, writing a script for the show, organizing the cast, coordinating costuming, locating and gathering props and about 40 million other things that aren't very interesting," Isberg said.

The two directors have benefited from help from Hageman, and "Graves and Krueger have done a lot of the instrumental arranging," Isberg said.

Tickets for "S'Wonderful" are available at Moonlight Books and the Wild Hare, and they're going for $10 (adults), $7 (students) and $5 (children under 12). For this performance, the Music Boosters are using reserved-seat ticketing, so "whoever buys tickets first has a better chance of getting good seats."

The doors at the auditorium will open at 6 p.m. for both performances.


September 30, 1999

Silent no longer

Dear Editor,

It's been a while, but even a nice, even tempered person such as myself can only remain silent so long. I will be referring to the letters in the Sept. 23 issue of the SUN sent in by Mr. Terry Northrup, Mr. Bruce Kehret and Mr. Randall Mettscher. I have found three people that I can agree with whole heartedly.

As to Piano Creek Ranch, why not? This 2,800-acre ranch, as it is referred to is such a small area amongst a great vast wilderness, it won't even be noticed by the deer, elk, bears, or the birds and bees. It was proven to me that enterprise doesn't mean that wildlife has to be eliminated. I enjoy the hot springs. I try to go every morning. Yesterday morning all 14 pools were closed to the public due to a private party, in honor of "Mr. Bear." I'm thankful that he didn't insist that I stay for breakfast.

The ones who are trying to cause the problems are a real joke. Have you ever been around these tree huggers? The animals don't like them, because they stink. At least the animals know that water is not only for drinking, but for washing also.

As for the next issue, PLPOA, This is a real joke. They seem to think that they can impose ridiculous rules and regulations upon whomever they choose. Granted, there needs to be some controls. I would like to ban RV's altogether. I see them as a great road hazard, an accident waiting to happen. But, they have rights also. As I see it, they should be parked anywhere, including Pagosa Lakes. Does this issue mean that travelers can't stop to fill with fuel or eat at our restaurants that we are so fortunate to have. I think they are leaving themselves open for a big, big lawsuit. These people that were voted in can be voted out. That's my suggestion.

Now, as for Mr. Mettscher and that's using the term loosely, I told you so, Randall.

For those who have nothing better to do, get a life, or go back where you have already been ejected from. Leave things alone.

No more silence,

Bob Faulds

Very big thank you

Dear Editor,

I'd like to thank everyone involved in the successful benefit held last Thursday night for the Sue Weaver Memorial Fund of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. Over $2,700 was raised to start the fund which will underwrite a lot of art education in the future.

The event came about because in the final days of her life, Sue asked that her Pagosa friends be told that she would appreciate memorials made to the Arts Council. Each person attending was asked to donate at least $5 to the fund. The organizers were gallery owners Jerry and Rosie Zepnick, along with a few of their friends.

Although fewer than a hundred folk turned out on the drizzly, cool night, those that came had a great time. We were treated to the Zepnicks wonderful culinary creations, the music of flutist Chuck Martinez, and the chance to get magnificent bargains while supporting this worthy cause.

The quality of the donations were amazing. Artists donated their own work or the work of others. If you missed seeing Barbara Lincoln's watercolor irises, Jeff Laydon's wonderful photograph, Ginnie Bartlett's jewel of a painting in oil, you really missed a lot. In addition to those originals and one of mine, there was original jewelry, a DiMock turtle, a marvelous leather wall-hanging with a wolf's head, and so much more.

Lantern Dancer Gallery donated jewelry including a corn maiden necklace that was truly spectacular. Rhonda Sande, who now has all rights to Sue's reproductions was there to bring 10 prints of one of Sue's latest paintings and also "Warrior Woman" done in a magnificent mat and frame.

There were also donations from Fine Print, Sue's favorite printmaker of Fort Collins, and a Wolf Creek jacket from Summit Sport and Ski. There was pottery, coins, a stay at Be Our Guest B&B, dinner at the Hogs Breath, and a shard stepping stone from Joseph Leal. And more.

It was my pleasure to help auctioneer Jake Montroy, who did a magnificent job, with the live auction of donated items. Everyone who bid successfully got treasurers at great prices . . . sometimes as little as 30 cents on the dollar. And in addition to all their work and expense to prepare and host the event, the Zepnicks donated the custom jewelry creations and ten percent of all sales for the day.

So I'd like to say a very big thank you to all who participated, but especially to the Zepnicks. Every artist and potential artist who benefits from the fund owes you a debt of gratitude.

Thank you,

Carol Fulenwider

Help our library

Dear David,

I am writing to ask you to vote to allow our library to keep and spend its revenue.

The library cannot continue to grow with donations, fund raising and the budget limited by another amendment (Tabor) to the constitution.

My personal dream is to see a separate children's library where parents can read aloud, special events can take place and children can talk without disturbing others.

I'd love kids to be able to check out books with tapes and puppets like in Durango and play educational computer games. I'd love to see the outdated, and just plain bad books weeded out, and more classics and award winners added.

These ideas and others may never happen unless we act to help our community library now with this upcoming vote that can only benefit the people of Pagosa.

Thank you,

Addie Greer

Caring community

Dear Editor,

I would like to take the time to thank the wonderful group of V.F.W. men who strung up our wire fence for us.

Men included were Johnny Brungaard, Butch K., Bernie Candelaria, Matt Archuleta, Mike Schaffer and everyone else.

At the same time I wish to also thank our EMTs who responded promptly to our call at home. I am grateful to all and thank God we live in a caring community.

God bless you all.


Mrs. L. Henrichsen

No merit

Dear Editor,

Pagosa Springs residents suffered a double loss on Sept. 1, as a result of a plane crash east of Bayfield. As time attempts to heal some of the wounds we have endured, I cannot erase the inappropriate front page story in the Durango Herald on Sept. 2. Since the day we lost Phil Wroblewski and Ralph "Grumpy" Flowers, family and friends have spent countless hours sifting through the facts and sorting out the fallacies. We have a copy of the news release from the La Plata County Sheriff's office given to the Durango Herald "to meet a deadline."

The news release has no merit and is capitalized with hearsay and speculation in the Herald. Among the many inaccurate statements, "the plane had been doing barrel rolls at a very low altitude earlier in the morning" is completely false. During the sight-seeing trip over Chimney Rock, Navajo Lake and other local sites, Phil never did any aerobatic maneuvers. The fact that two airplanes are following each other does not constitute an aerobatic maneuver. It is much safer for two planes to keep each other in sight, than not.

Skip Williams of the Bayfield Pine River Times did an in-depth study of the tragedy and printed the most accurate account of the crash. However, the Times is read by a handful of people compared to the Herald. There are two witnesses who gave the same basic account of events. Then there is a statement by a person who was standing in the ponderosa pine forest, 75 yards east of the crash site. I visited the site on Sept. 8. There is no way this person could have seen anything but up. His story is conflicting with what he told the sheriff's office. His second account of the accident states: "I started off this way, (east) and I was looking over my shoulder. I couldn't see well enough through the trees, but I could catch a glimpse every five seconds or so." Given the statement "every five seconds or so" would indicate he looked more than once. In five seconds, that RV-4 would travel approximately 1,320 feet (a quarter mile), therefore, Phil would have been a quarter to half mile beyond the crash site while this fellow was catching his glimpse.

Leaving all the inaccuracies aside, I want to convey to those who didn't know Phil and who think this flight was a reckless and careless stunt, that this is the furthest from the truth. I knew him well. I was his instructor and then he became our friend. The National Transportation Safety Board is finding out from people of all walks of life, from Minnesota to California, that Phil was dedicated to flying and enjoyed giving rides to anyone who wanted to share in his love of flying. He explained the instruments, he asked if they were comfortable and he did everything to make sure this was a pleasant experience.

So why did Phil and Grumpy die on Sept. 1? All indications now point to a medical/physical trauma that caused Phil to be unable to fly the airplane. A stroke, a heart attack, or what, we cannot be sure; but statements from those closest to him in recent weeks would indicate that he may have suffered mini-strokes. The autopsy may or may not be able to confirm any of this. What we positively know is that Phil would never attempt any low-level aerobatic maneuver and never would do any aerobatics maneuver with Grumpy in the plane. The credible witnesses state the plane started a descent with the wing rolling to one side. This would indicate that Phil had slumped forward against the shoulder harness and that his hand had left the controls. Whatever struck Phil was so sudden and severe, that he could not press his thumb a quarter inch to activate the mike and let anyone know something was wrong.

Even the NTSB investigation may not solve the mystery of the crash. Skip Williams of the Pine River Times sums it up like this: "Until then accept this, Low level acrobatics - No. An accident waiting to happen - No. Hot dogging - No. Playing? Only as if skiing within one's ability and comfort level. That is what they were doing; waving to a friend, sharing a passion for flying with a neighbor, enjoying the sights - all within the pilot's ability and comfort level."


Marilyn Hutchins

True story

Dear Editor,

Once upon a time there was a quiet, unique, pristine valley surrounded by huge mountains and many wild creatures. Sounds like a fairy tale? It is at this point a true story and describes the last remaining unspoiled and undeveloped valley in the Pagosa Springs area. This is about to be forever changed if an out of state, big money interest called Piano Creek Ranch has its way.

East Fork Valley is a few miles east of Pagosa toward Wolf Creek Pass. This ranch is 2,800 acres of private land several miles into the area, which is totally surrounded by the San Juan National Forest. It contains a very large wetlands area, beaver ponds and many species exclusive to wetlands. The only existing buildings are the original homestead cabin and a Forest Service cabin. This area is a major migration route and home to one of the largest elk, deer, bear and lion populations in the Four Corners region.

Currently the Forest Service road provides access for the public to the river, many trails, and historic mining areas. There were two misguided land exchanges in 1933 and 1943, which transferred the property from national forest land into private hands, opening it to the proposed ravages. The Piano Creek Ranch intends to sell 395 "memberships" at $500,000 each. The plan is to build an 18-hole golf course, ski runs, lodge, restaurant, trophy homes, employee housing, electricity plant, sewage and water treatment facilities, and a helicopter pad.

Get the picture? Imagine this unsoiled natural valley that should be declared a national treasure, devastated by a huge commercial development reserved exclusively for the rich. Where does that leave the public, our kids, and grand kids? Also, if these people go bankrupt and pull out, who pays the price and cleans up the mess? The answer is the wildlife and the people of this area.

Please contact the Forest Service and ask them to push for a repurchasing of this 2,800 acre parcel that should have never been sold in the first place. It's the job of anyone who loves the outdoors to try and preserve this very special place called East Fork Valley. Please write to Archuleta and Mineral counties, the Army Corps of Engineers, state and local representatives, and utility companies. Ask them for impact statements regarding the issues of wildlife, water quality, recreation and access, and road maintenance. It's now or never and we can make a difference in this valley's future.

Karen Mason

'Crash alley'

Dear Editor,

"Crash Alley." Who has to die to get U.S. 160 safer? We have lived in Pagosa for almost seven years. We have had the opportunity to live at four different locations off U.S. 160.

Cemetery Road was our first experience, this road was an interesting experience, two side streets merge into one at U.S. 160. I heard a Pagosa rumor that a street light was going in there. I hope it's not just a rumor. I have seen many times adults and children almost get hit in the crosswalk there. Not just out-of-towners, but locals with FAA plates go right through that crosswalk and not look. People do cross on crosswalks to be safer.

Our next interlude was at Fawn Gulch Road and U.S. 160. This junction is on the way to Wolf Creek Ski Area about 5 miles out of town. If you can dodge cars and trucks going 60 miles an hour in both directions you're okay. Must have a V-8 engine to get out of the way fast.

We then moved to the Alpha section in Fairfield Pagosa. You can get to it two ways - going behind Ace Hardware or using Alpha Drive by the Pagosa Lodge. The Ace Hardware junction is bad. You put on your (turn signal ) blinker way ahead of time to let the cars and trucks, that are now picking up speed to get up Put Hill, know that you are turning left. You hold your breath and hope they see you. I heard a lefthand lane would cost a bundle if Ace requested the cut. And Ace would have to pay for it. Can't the county see that this is a bad junction also. The other way out of Alpha is Alpha Drive. This is plainly marked 45 mph and is the safest of them all so far. You must be on "Pagosa time," at times miles of cars in both directions. I can live with that.

But the worst and scariest is the last experience with U.S. 160 and Piedra Road, which I heard is now called County Road 600. You may be waiting to turn left onto U.S. 160 and get hit. This is a poorly marked road. If you live here you can figure it out. But I still have seen locals go straight through when they are to turn right or left onto Piedra Road. I realize that a light is not probable due to the grade of the hill coming from Aspen Springs the ice factor in winter would make starts difficult after stopping. Can we try guard rails, reflectors, or cement blocks or all three? This would stop some of the daydreaming drivers who are not paying attention to the road. A little difficult to snowplow, but come on, we need something more than what we have. And these road markings are fairly new to U.S. 160 - Crash Alley.

We all have a daughter or son driving, or soon to drive, what do you tell them? One does all the right things, stop, put on blinkers (turn signals), look for oncoming traffic and then . . . who has to die?

Concerned driver,

Toni Rogan

Public forum

Dear David,

Elsewhere in today's issue of the SUN is an advertisement by the League of Women Voters of Archuleta County announcing the League's planned public forum on Tuesday, Oct. 5, at the county extension building. The forum will feature presentations by the candidates currently running to fill three local school board seats, as well as speakers both in favor of, and in opposition to, the various questions which will be presented to the county's voters on this year's ballot.

This year's ballot will be strictly a mail-in ballot, and they should be arriving in voters mailboxes in early October. While many at the national level are already focusing on the 2000 election year, 1999's election choices for Archuleta County have the potential to create a real watershed year for our county.

Because this year is largely viewed as an "off election year" this year's local choices constitute what I consider to be somewhat of a "stealth ballot," and I urge all Archuleta County voters to give those choices the attention they deserve. In addition to voting on school board candidates, voters will be considering several ballot questions that really cut to our quality of life here in Archuleta County. Specifically, there will be a question asking voters to permit the county to retain "excess revenues" to use for addressing growth-related problems in the county. There will also be a question asking the voters to grant similar authority to our public library. In addition, there will be questions pertaining to our local fire and water districts, as well as a state-wide transportation funding question.

The League's public forum on Oct. 5 presents the perfect opportunity for county voters to familiarize themselves with the choices they'll be facing when they receive their mail-in ballots. Candidates and speakers will be available to meet the public from 6:30 p.m. until 7 p.m., and the program will begin promptly at 7 p.m.

I urge everyone to take advantage of this opportunity, and we hope to see a fine turnout of concerned voters.


Nan Rowe



Big success

Dear Editor,

The tribute to Sue Weaver night held Thursday, Sept. 23, at Lantern Dancer Gallery was hailed a big success by all who attended.

The affair raised in excess of $2,750 for the Sue Weaver Memorial Fund at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, which will be used to sponsor art workshops.

As owners of Lantern Dancer Gallery, Rosie and I would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the following artists and businesses who donated auction items and/or contributed to the success of the fund raiser: Carol Fulenwider Rhonda Sande, Nancy Dimock, Jeff Laydon, Barbara Lincoln, Pat Frigia, Virginia Bartlett, Dick and Vimmie Ray, Sharon Colby, Indian Mountain, Jeff and Addie Greer, Joseph Leal, Citizens Bank, Hogs Breath Saloon, Pagosa Springs Arts Council, Fine Print Lab, and Tom and Pam Schoemig who all donated auction items. Others who contributed their time and/or services include entertainer Chuck Martinez, Old West Press, Becky Struve, Rick and Vicky Kimble, Kate Terry, Silver Dollar Liquors, Hunan's Restaurant, The Malt Shoppe, Joan and Wayne Corbiere, Linda Dimuccio, Jeff Laydon, Summit Ski & Sports, Pagosa SUN, KWUF Radio, Connections, and a special thanks to Jake Montroy for doing a great job of auctioneering.

Extra special thanks to Carol Fulenwider who helped organize the benefit and worked tremendously hard at promoting it.

We would also like to thank all those who attended and donated to the cause. Kudos to all who bid on items at the auction, and all others who helped.

Plans are being made to make this an annual affair to help keep the Sue Weaver Memorial Fund an ongoing endowment to teach art in the Pagosa Springs area.


Jerry and Rosie Zepnick


Deep roots

Dear Editor,

This e-mail is in response to the letter from Pierre and Sandy Mion, which was in response to the letter from Mr. Cappy White, who thought the funeral home was inappropriate on main street.

I have to agree 100 percent with Pierre and Sandy, the stores on main street are not "crappy tourist traps" - for the most part. Not that those types of stores do not have their place. If their owners weren't selling plastic souvenirs someone else would, because there is a demand. The other stores on main street are unique in what they offer and have wonderful items that makes shopping on main street a real draw. I don't live full time in Pagosa but I can tell you that every time I go there, I go shopping because of the shops they have and I don't buy souvenirs.

I would like to offer a solution to Mr. White. Perhaps the funeral home could arrange to sell tourist items from their front office? Would that be more fitting for main street? I've seen Pagosa Springs growing and growing for the last 20 years.

Pagosa Springs is not some "crappy tourist town." Pagosa Springs has deep roots and the residents and others should work hard to try and keep the town's identity as well as trying to preserve something of what it once was. 20 years ago you heard a lot more Spanish being spoken than you do today. And you heard coyotes every single night. I haven't heard a coyote there in I don't know how long.

I suggest Mr. White read the "Milagro Bean Field Wars" and learn more about what happened in Central City so he can rethink his objections to the funeral home being on main street.

Sincerely yours,

Cindy Larason



September 30, 1999



Vanessa Michelle Blythe and Julian Jose Archuleta were married on Sept. 25, 1999, in Pagosa Springs. The bride is the daughter of Reneé Blythe and Valdamar Montoya of Pagosa Springs. The groom is the son of Julian and Matilda Archuleta of Pagosa Springs.

Weather Stats

September 30, 1999


















































Time to dig out ice scrapers

By John M. Motter

Once again it's time to check the antifreeze and dig in the closet for coats and wraps. Icy windshields and frosty lawns greeted Pagosa Country residents this past week, a sure sign that fall is here and winter is coming.

Monday night the mercury dipped to 25 degrees Fahrenheit and Tuesday an even chillier 23 degrees was recorded.

Expect a slight warming Thursday and Friday as the west-northwest air flow that has dominated weather patterns the past week shifts, said Dan Cuevas, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction.

Starting Sunday, temperatures will again drop, Cuevas said, as the northwestern air flow returns. High temperatures should peak between 70-75 degrees, while lows should dip to the middle or upper 30s.

The average high temperature this past week was 68 degrees, while the average low temperature was 36 degrees. The highest temperature was 74 degrees, recorded Sunday. The lowest temperature was the 23 degrees recorded Tuesday.

No precipitation is forecast at lower elevations through the coming weekend according to Cuevas, but there is a slight chance for showers at higher elevations. Last week, 0.51 inches of precipitation were recorded at the official National Weather Service Station at Stevens Field, bringing the September precipitation total to 1.96 inches. The long-time average precipitation for September is 1.89 inches.

The 90-day National Weather Service forecast covering September through November calls for "no significant deviations from the normal," according to Cuevas.

"Beyond that, I couldn't say," Cuevas said, "and I don't know of anyone else who knows."

Based on historical records, Pagosa Country will receive about 3 inches of snow this coming October, although more can fall. The October record snowfall occurred during 1961 when 31 inches blanketed the area. Other significant October snowfalls came in 1959 when 17 inches were recorded, 1980 when 16 inches were recorded, and 1984 and 1991 when 14 inches were recorded.

The average precipitation for October is 1.2 inches. During October of 1972, a record 7.8 inches of precipitation soaked the countryside.

During October the average monthly mean temperature is 45.4 degrees. The highest October temperature of record is 85 degrees, recorded Oct. 14, 1940. The coldest October temperature on record is 5 degrees, recorded Oct. 31, 1971, and Oct. 28, 1954.