County budget deadline nears
By John M. Motter
Balancing the Year 2000 budget tops the county commissioners agenda during two marathon sessions scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday. The commissioners meet from 9 to 3 on both days. The result should be a balanced budget, according to Dennis Hunt, the county manager.
The budget process began weeks ago when elected officials and other department heads submitted budget requests for their respective departments. From those lists, a preliminary budget was devised, an unbalanced budget in which spending requests exceeded expected revenues by about $700,000.
Along the way, on Nov. 2, county voters agreed to allow the commissioners to retain revenues in excess of state statutory, better known as TABOR, limitations.
Last week, the commissioners conducted four controversial meetings with the assessor, clerk, sheriff and treasurer. The meetings were closed for "personnel" reasons. Each elected official complained that Hunt was proposing larger raises for his people than he was allowing in other departments. That's a situation the commissioners must deal with when they balance the budget.
Continuing the process, elected officials and other department heads met with the commissioners Monday and Tuesday of this week during which the department heads attempted to justify their budget requests.
The meetings tomorrow and Saturday are open to the public, but the public will not be allowed to provide input. Primarily, the commissioners will be searching for ways to eliminate the $700,000 difference between requests and anticipated revenues.
Even though voters agreed to allow the county to keep excess revenues, the county expects to make a property tax credit of $624,446 for the coming budget, the equivalent of 4.163 mills. That is because property taxes were exempted from the proposition presented to voters.
Creating the need for the property tax credit is the almost 25 percent increase in the assessed value of taxable property in the county. Placed at $119,334,405 last year, the assessed value has grown to $149,999,848 this year. Because of TABOR and other limits on revenues, when the assessed value goes up, the tax rate must come down in order to keep revenues within legal limits.
The permanent tax rate in Archuleta County is 21.135 mills, adopted in 1990 according to Hunt. Since that time, county commissioners have chosen to provide property tax credits by adopting a lower temporary tax rate. This year's temporary tax rate will be 16.972 mills.
The commissioners plan to formally adopt the budget for the coming year either Dec. 7 or Dec. 14, depending on how quickly they can reach a balance.
A certified copy of the budget must be mailed to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs before Jan. 1, 2000.
Givens given pink slip by PLPOA board
By Roy Starling
The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors, acting on a motion by Director Judy Esterly, removed Craig Givens from the Environmental Control Committee during last Thursday's monthly meeting.
The directors voted 6-1 to remove Givens, with Director Rod Preston opposing. Givens' dismissal was not on the agenda.
Esterly prefaced her motion with the following prepared statement: "The members of the ECC Committee have the most sensitive job of all of the committees. It's an autonomous committee, however, the members serve at the pleasure of the Board. When the Board loses confidence in the judgment of any of the ECC members, this poses a serious problem. It's my belief that the Board has lost confidence in Craig Givens, therefore, I am making the following motion. I move that the Board relieve Craig Givens from his position on the ECC and further that we do thank him for his work while he was on the committee."
On Friday, Givens told the SUN he was "unaware of what was going to happen (at the meeting). I hadn't been notified by the board of anything." Concerning the reason for his dismissal, Givens said, "The only thing I can think of was the letter to the editor I wrote a few weeks ago (Nov. 4). I haven't heard any criticism of my decisions or work on the ECC."
Givens' Nov. 4 letter to the editor focused primarily on the PLPOA's contract with Colorado Management and Associates Inc. and on the board's accepting a $75 transfer fee (for the sale of lots) within that contract.
Givens said that "the other members of the ECC seemed to have confidence in me, as did the Department of Covenant Compliance staff."
When PLPOA President Pat Curtis was asked why the board had lost confidence in Givens' judgment, he said, "He wrote a pretty nasty letter to the editor a little while back. We just felt that was a totally inappropriate way for him to voice his opinion. We would've appreciated it if he had come to see us in person or in a public meeting to discuss his concerns about the direction the board and the association is going, rather than airing them in the newspaper."
"At previous meetings, I've brought up my complaints concerning the whole concept of contracting with CMA without getting competitive bids," Givens told the SUN. "Basically, I was told by Pat (Curtis) that there wasn't time. I also tried to make a comment following Jerry Driesens' presentation (in which he spoke out against CMA's transfer fee) last month, but Pat went on to the next topic."
The PLPOA board, Curtis said, "has virtually no control over what that (ECC) committee does. The ECC is in a position that can result in lawsuits against the association. We need to have people on there who support what the association is doing and we didn't feel Craig could do that anymore."
Earlier this week, Givens received a letter from Curtis, on behalf of the board. After thanking him for his "past service to the Association," Curtis writes, "The Board believes your differences with us, which you recently aired in the press, are sufficient enough to affect your ability to act in the best interest of the Association. Accordingly, your membership on all committees is hereby terminated."
Director Preston, the only board member to oppose Givens' dismissal, was unable to draw a strong enough correlation between Givens' letter and his ability to make decisions as a part of the ECC. "I thought his letter really didn't have that much to do with his ECC responsibilities," Preston said. "I thought a person ought to be free to say what he thinks."
Preston said he was in favor of "meeting with him (Givens) and talking with him. I thought we ought to at least talk to him before relieving him of his committee responsibilities."
ECC members are unpaid volunteers. Givens said he "started serving on ECC about a month after I moved here last year, in an effort to get involved with the association and the community."
The agenda issue
President Curtis was asked if he thought there was a problem with Givens' dismissal not being on the agenda. "It was not on the agenda, but just prior to the meeting, Judy (Esterly) asked me if she could do that (read her statement and move for Givens' dismissal), and I told her she could," Curtis said. "We are not, as far as I know, required to put every item on the agenda."
That requirement seems to hinge on an interpretation of Robert's Rules of Order, which PLPOA's bylaws - Article V., Section 5 (d) - require the association to "adopt for the conduct of (its) meetings."
The PLPOA has adopted Merriam Webster's Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised (1998). Under "Establishing an Agenda," the author notes, "The agenda is for informational purposes only," but that it is "formally binding" once adopted (page 185). After an agenda has been adopted, according to the Rules, "it can be changed only by a two-thirds vote or by unanimous consent" (page 188).
Under "Guidelines for the Chair," the chair is instructed to "call the speaker out of order" if he or she "strays from the agenda, (or) offers personal comments unrelated to the subject of the debate" (page 200).
Robert's Rules of Order also addresses the problem of "disciplining" committee members. A committee "has no authority to punish its members," but it may "report to an assembly what has transpired in the committee meeting. However, the account must be in the form of a written report."
In Givens' case, "what . . . transpired" was not in a committee meeting, but in a letter to the editor, apparently leading the board to lose confidence in his future committee work.
Dry weather prompts county open fire ban
By John M. Motter
A ban on open fires is in effect in Archuleta County and will remain in effect until lifted by Sheriff Tom Richards, the chief county fire official.
Residents within the county are forbidden to burn leaves, branches, refuse or any other items except in containers covered so that sparks can not fly from the fire and ignite surrounding grass or debris.
Richards instituted the ban, which started yesterday morning. Joining Richards in the decision was Warren Grams, chief of the Pagosa Fire Protection District fire department. The county commissioners are expected to endorse the sheriff's decision at their regular meeting next week. Unseasonably dry weather has been given as the reason for the ban by Richards.
As of yesterday, the Pagosa Ranger District had listed fire hazard conditions as being "high" for those portions of the San Juan National Forest that are within the Pagosa District. Last week the San Juan National Forest and local Bureau of Land Management officials moved in a similar direction by asking that persons visiting the public lands to exercise extreme caution when using fire. The Forest Service enacted no formal restrictions, but asked for voluntary compliance with the following precautions:
- Never leave a campfire unattended, even for a few minutes
- Do not burn any open fires outside of developed campgrounds
- Use gas stoves if possible, instead of building campfires
- Do not smoke outside of vehicles, buildings or tents, or toss cigarette butts outside
- Put campfires completely out before leaving by pouring water over the ashes and stirring until there is no smoke
- If gathering firewood, make sure chain saws are equipped with spark arresters and accompanied by extinguisher, shovel or bucket of water
- Do not use welding equipment or torches with open flames except within areas in a 10-foot clearing on all sides
- Do not park vehicles with hot engines above dry grasses because catalytic converters can ignite dry materials laying underneath the vehicles' exhaust system.
Town trustees create 3 new zoning districts
By Karl Isberg
Pagosa Springs trustees held a special meeting on Nov. 16 to consider development and land-use issues, and the meeting resulted in the creation of three new zoning districts within town boundaries.
An ordinance amending the town's zoning code produced the three districts, all intended to establish zoning requirements for recently annexed properties on the west end of town.
A "D4 District" was created by ordinance to cover what the document labels the "West Corridor Business" area.
According to Mark Garcia of the town planning department, the district is not defined by strict boundaries but, "can be applied to various properties adjacent to U.S. 160 on the west end of town." Garcia said all of the elements incorporated in the new zoning districts were conceived, as much as possible, in conformance with existing declarations and restrictions.
The D4 District was "established for commercial and residential development which incorporates coordinated accesses with detailed site development considerations."
A set of allowable uses were set for the D4 designation. Certain businesses cannot be established within the district while others must obtain a conditional use permit. Those types of businesses which meet all ordinances and codes can be established without special consideration.
Examples of the types of businesses not permitted in the D4 District are salvage and junk yards, industrial and manufacturing operations, auto sales, auto repair shops and tire shops, adult entertainment establishments, lumber yards and timber processing businesses, and rock and mineral processors.
Temporary structures or manufactured housing used for commercial purposes in the D4 district will require a conditional use permit as will nurseries, greenhouses and all residential facilities.
The ordinance created a CC-MF District, also known as the "Central Core-Multi-Family District." This new district applies zoning regulations to all multi-family residential development in those portions of the central core subdivision currently part of the town of Pagosa Springs. The central core subdivision is located between Village Drive on the south and Park Avenue on the north, and between North Pagosa Boulevard on the west and Piñon Causeway on the east.
The CC-MF District is established by ordinance "for multi-family housing which includes apartments, townhomes and condominiums." Any development within the district that establishes ownership will be required to satisfy the town's planned-unit development regulations or state subdivision regulations. Building footprints for new construction must not exceed 35 percent of the total parcel area and no structure can be greater than 50 feet in height. Landscaping must total 20 percent of the total parcel area and all dwelling units must include at least 600 square feet of floor area, not counting non-living areas. There are also setback and parking regulations that must be met for new construction in the CC-MF district.
A commercial district, CC-C, was also created for the Central Core subdivision. According to the ordinance, the "district is established for numerous commercial activities which include retail sales facilities, financial institutions, private clubs and lodges, business offices, professional offices, theaters, churches, education facilities and light industrial facilities."
Building footprints in the CC-C District must not exceed 40 percent of the total tract and structures will not be more than 35 feet in height. There are landscaping requirements for the commercial properties and site improvements such as parking, drainage, pedestrian mobility and lighting will be reviewed for need and conformance with all ordinances. Any permitted light industrial facility will be required to obtain conditional-use permits.
Other uses in the CC-C District requiring conditional-use permits are service stations, timber processing and lumber yard operations, nurseries and greenhouses, and all temporary structures or manufactured housing used for commercial purposes.
Business operations not permissible in the CC-C district include auto parts and supply stores, auto sales, auto repair and tire shops, motels, hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts and inns, rock and mineral processing businesses, drive-in restaurant franchises, salvage and junk yards, residential uses and adult entertainment establishments.
Should the town enact a pedestrian impact fee ordinance in the future, the CC-MF and CC-C districts will be subject to its requirements. Such a fee would be assessed during the site development review in accordance with the ordinance establishing the fee.
Pagosa students present 'Charlie Brown' musical
By Roy Starling
The Pagosa Springs High School music department will present "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m., at the high school auditorium.
The musical features characters from Charles Schulz' "Peanuts" comic strip and songs penned by Clark Gesner.
Ian Widmer is cast as Charlie Brown, and Ashleigh Corell is his friend/nemesis Lucy. Justin Smith plays the pianist Schroeder, Nora Fabris will don a beagle outfit as Snoopy, and Justin DeWinter will portray the deep-thinking Linus. Chris Tautges will raise some dust as Pigpen, and Liz Brown plays Charlie's sister Sally.
Music for the show will be provided by Melinda Baum (piano), James Kirkham (percussion), Dave Krueger (bass) and Joetta Martinez (flute).
The musical is being co-directed by high school music teacher Lisa Hartley and student teacher Carla Lister.
Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students.
Services set for Marquez
Reuben R. Márquez, a respected longtime resident of Pagosa Springs, died on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 1999, at 4:50 p.m. at Mercy Hospital in Durango. He was 78 years old.
Mr. Márquez was born on Oct. 12, 1921, in the community of Las Mesitas in the San Luis Valley.
After being raised on a ranch in the San Luis Valley, following his discharge from the U.S. Army, Mr. Márquez enjoyed a 34-year career with the U.S. Forest Service while faithfully serving in the Pagosa Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest. He also was very active in the community and the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.
Mr. Márquez was a World War II veteran, serving with distinction in the First Infantry Division in Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. He was a member of the American Legion Post 108, and was a Fourth Degree Member of the Knights of Columbus, Dominguez-Escalante 2072 Assembly.
His notable civic contributions included serving as a member of the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission, the Governor's Commission for Victims of Crime, Chimney Rock volunteers, the Pagosa Springs town board, in civil rights organizations and in several church activities.
Mr. Márquez is survived by his wife of 54 years, Ruth E. Márquez, who was a longtime teacher at Pagosa Springs High School. He is also survived by four children, C. Arlene Marcus and Mary Kaye Fautheree of Pagosa Springs, Ruthe West of Aurora and Richard Márquez of Albuquerque, N.M.
He also is survived by seven grandchildren, Mateo, Nicholas and Kelsey Márquez of Albuquerque; Jeremy Márquez and Andrea Fautheree of Pagosa Springs, and Natalie and Joseph West of Aurora.
Mr. Márquez is also survived by four brothers, Jose D. Márquez of Santa Fe, N.M.; A. Roberto Márquez of Pueblo and Ernesto F. Márquez and Allario R. Márquez of Antonito.
He was preceded in death by a son, Reuben R. Márquez Jr., his parents Antonio and Amada Márquez, and three brothers and two sisters.
Mr. Márquez loved the outdoors, fishing, reading, writing, teasing his grandchildren and enjoying his retirement with the love of his life, Ruth.
A rosary service will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Immaculate heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs with Father John Bowe conducting the service. Father John likewise will conduct a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Saturday at Immaculate heart of Mary Catholic Church. Internment will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22, at the Santa Fe National Cemetery in New Mexico.
CMA cuts PLPOA transfer fee to $50
By Roy Starling
Colorado Management and Associates Inc. and the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors have agreed to an addendum to their contract which will lower a controversial $75 transfer fee for real estate resales to $50 and extend the contract from July 31, 2000, to Dec. 31, 2000.
CMA provides accounting and management services for the association. The original contract was signed Aug. 1, 1999.
"We were trying to listen to the needs of the homeowners, and to help facilitate some of their needs, we lowered the transfer fee by $25," said interim General Manager Bill Watts of CMA. Watts said the fee affected "a lot of different scenarios, so it's difficult to settle on just one (reason for lowering the fee)."
"I think CMA deserves a big credit for lowering the fees," PLPOA President Pat Curtis said at last Thursday's regular monthly meeting. "I hope this is taken as a gesture of good faith and good will."
Curtis added that "the gentleman" (Jerry Driesens) who spoke out against the transfer fee at the October board meeting was "way out of line. I'm taking that whole thing last month as the complaints of an unhappy real estate salesman."
Driesens said Monday that he was not addressing last month's meeting as an individual realtor. "In fact, I was selected officially by the Pagosa Springs Area Association Realtors," he said. "Betty Johann (the association's president) was there as were other officers, but we were told only one person could speak on the subject."
Director John Nelson said the contract extension was made "so that we were in sync with our approved budget process and our fiscal year."
In other business at Thursday's meeting, the board voted to "at least examine" the possibility of building homes on some of the small lots owned by the association for low-income housing for PLPOA staff and "our service people" who can no longer afford to live in the Pagosa Lakes area.
President Curtis acknowledged that the project "would use property owners' money, but it would grow in value and generate income."
Hunting numbers decline locally
By John M. Motter
A plunge in revenues earned from selling big game licenses seriously hurt business this past hunting season in Archuleta County, according to several local license sales agencies.
Primary blame for the losses is placed on the state's decision to provide deer licenses only through a draw, as opposed to across-the-counter sales. Unseasonably dry weather throughout the three rifle seasons was also blamed. The decision to require a draw for deer tags was made to bolster declining numbers of mule deer, according to Colorado Division of Wildlife Public Information Specialist Chamois Pierson of the Denver office.
Most local agencies report a decline of from 20 to 30 percent in license sales and revenues from license sales. A decline in retail sales associated with hunting was also reported.
The number of hunters in the field and hunting success as measured by the number of animals killed was down in this area, according to Mike Reid, a local Division of Wildlife officer.
"During the first rifle season, the numbers were close," Reid said. "The trailheads were packed and there was a reasonable harvest. Nobody came during the second season. Those who came stayed a few days, then went home. The third season was hard to judge because hunters were scattered from down low to up high. The harvest during the second and third seasons was down."
If the elk and the deer won this season by surviving in greater numbers, bear were not so lucky.
"1998 was a record bear season in the San Juan Basin with 120-130 bear taken," Reid said. "We probably topped that this season. The bear harvest was close to 160."
The record bear harvest may have relieved pressure created by bears visiting residential homes in the community.
"They haven't hibernated because there hasn't been any snow," Reid said. "They normally go into their dens when it snows. The large number of bears killed has probably created some space for the bears around town to move into."
The mountain sheep harvest near Pagosa Springs was probably normal, Reid said. Sheep hunting by draw is allowed in three areas near Pagosa Springs: Sheep Mountain, Cimarrona, and Fish Lake. Five sheep can be taken from Sheep Mountain, three from Cimarrona, and three from Fish Lake.
"I know they took two from Cimarrona and I think the other areas were about the same," Reid said.
Archuleta County has traditionally benefited from license sales because of its location as an entry to southwest Colorado. A large number of hunters entering Colorado through this county purchase licenses here, no matter where they intend to hunt.
Chromo Mercantile is the first place to buy a Colorado hunting license for out-of-state hunters entering the state by way of U.S. 84.
"We're way down," said Ron Bamrick of Chromo Mercantile. "We used to sell 4,500 deer licenses in a season. This year we lost one-half our business because of the draw for deer tags and because of the good weather. A lot of out-of-state hunters arrived here intending to buy a deer license along with their elk licenses. They didn't know about the draw and when they reached here it was too late.
"Personally, I think DOW is trying to set the stage to sell all licenses by draw and eliminate us out here in the field. If they double the price of licenses, our earnings would double. I think they want to double the price, go to the draw for all license sales, and keep the money for themselves. I think that is where they are headed."
"The first season is usually our best, but we took a massive hit," Bamrick said. "The other two seasons don't amount to much for us."
At the Sports Emporium in downtown Pagosa Springs, owner Art Million reports, "Our license sales are down 20 percent, but our retail sales are up substantially. This is only our second year in business at this location. License sales are important, especially the deer thing. Almost every hunter we talked to complained about the deer draw. A lot of them say they won't be back next year."
Goodman's Department Store has been in business in Pagosa Springs forever. They reported a drop in license sales approximately equaling the loss of across-the-counter deer license sales.
"We're probably down about a third in license and retail sales because of the draw on deer licenses," said owner Bob Goodman.
Ponderosa Hardware hasn't been in business as long as Goodman's, but it has been pushing licenses and other hunting related items across the counter for almost 20 years.
"We're down considerably, maybe 40 percent, over last year for the three rifle seasons," said Mike Haynes, vice president and general manager. "I attribute most of the drop to not having deer licenses. The dry weather has hurt, also."
Sporting goods sales are close to normal, according to Haynes. Non-resident elk license sales are down about 6 percent, Haynes said, while resident elk license sales are down about 8 percent.
"We're down 15 percent when compared with last year," said Larry Fisher of the Ski and Bow Rack. "I am concerned that what the Division of Wildlife is doing is hurting people. Licenses and hunting supplies sales are the biggest boost of the year for a lot of towns that, unlike Pagosa Springs, do not have a winter ski industry."
Fisher is on the state's Big Game License Allocation Committee.
"We met almost every two weeks this past year," Fisher said. "I spent a lot of time listening to different points of view. DOW says the deer license draw is being used to increase the number of deer. Reports from our own biologists (DOW) show that the draw will not help big game populations. We did not recommend the draw. DOW never did one thing we recommended."
Results reported by Chimney Rock Game Processing match those from license agencies.
"We are down at least 20 percent," said Louise Jagger," owner of the Chimney Rock facility. "The hunters were not in the woods and the hunters were not in Colorado. I blame it on the deer draw and the weather. The game is feeding during the cool of the night, then retreating to dark timber during the day."
A U.S. Forest Service controlled burn in the First Notch area drew Jagger's wrath.
"The biggest thing hunters here complained about was that Forest Service fire," Jagger said. "Smoke and fear it was a forest fire drove them out of the woods from First Notch to Devil Mountain. I'm furious. Most of the hunters were disgusted and went home. All of our numbers are down except the campground. That was up because the fire drove the hunters out of the woods. We depend on hunting season to help us get through the winter, so this hurts us a lot."
Sales were down about 10 percent at the area's other meat processing plant, The Buck Stops Here.
"We've increased about 10 percent every other year, so this year we are really down about 20 percent," said owner Bernie Schuchart. "We're probably equal on elk and down in deer. We're up significantly on bear. We've done 50 bear or more. The thing is, DOW should make decisions further into the future. Hunters are already planning next year's hunt."
County, PLPOA discuss law enforcement
By Roy Starling
The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association's Public Safety officers may be impacted by two new requirements handed down by the Peace Officers Standard Training Board of Colorado's Attorney General office.
Capt. Otis May of the Archuleta County Sheriff's Office said the POST board wants reserve Level 3A officers' duties to be more "time and task specific" and to be more closely supervised by Level 1 officers. The POST board establishes training and certification standards for Level 1 and Level 3A officers.
The PLPOA's Public Safety officers are Level 3A reserves and serve under the supervision of Sgt. Sean Curtis of the sheriff's office.
"Basically, they want the reserves to be assigned specific times and specific tasks," May said. "They can't just generally go out and be cops."
PLPOA President Pat Curtis believes the "essence of the change is the requirement for more direct supervision of our officers by the sheriff's deputy. We can only conform to this mandate by contracting with the sheriff for law enforcement services. This (PLPOA) board is in the process of working on a contract for those services at this time."
Curtis said that the board "has no intention of getting rid of Public Safety."
May said the sheriff's office and the PLPOA are still very early in their contract talks, and it is too early to predict the outcome. "We're just kind of talking back and forth at this point," he said.
Hot Springs corridor includes 'neighborhood plan'
By Karl Isberg
With approval on Nov. 16 of a "neighborhood plan" for the Hot Springs Boulevard corridor, Pagosa Springs trustees set town staff in motion with directions to implement a multi-use development scheme for the area.
The neighborhood plan was produced by contract planner Albert Moore and Mark Garcia of the town planning department following meetings with owners of properties located on Hot Springs Boulevard between San Juan Street on the north and Apache Street on the south. Those meetings provided information concerning development interests of the property owners and their views regarding a long-range plan for the boulevard.
A draft plan was produced by Moore and Garcia and a public meeting was conducted on Sept. 14, 1999, involving property owners and detailing the proposed plan that, if adopted, will be used as a guideline for development along Hot Springs Boulevard.
On Oct. 19, a public hearing was held before the Pagosa Springs Planning Commission. Public comments were entertained and the commission urged approval of the plan by the town trustees.
A resolution adopted on Nov. 16 signals the trustees' approval of the plan and sets out fundamental details in the development guideline.
Part of that guideline is the statement that the plan for the boulevard will consist of three "overlay zones."
The first of the zones is the "Lodging, Healing Arts, and Bathing Zone." This area is located at the north end of Hot Springs Boulevard and encompasses the area that now includes the Spa Motel, Oak Ridge Lodge, and the Spring Inn property. The area currently provides hot springs bathing and swimming facilities as well as healing arts businesses.
A second zone is the "Mixed-Use Development Zone" which extends down both sides of the boulevard from a point near the location of the U.S. Post Office south to the boundary of the proposed community center-town hall tract near Apache Street.
The last of the zones is the "Governmental Overlay Zone" at the south end of Hot Springs Boulevard, including the community center and town hall tract on the west side of Hot Springs Boulevard and a site for potential Archuleta County facilities located on the east side of the boulevard.
According to Town Administrator Jay Harrington, the overall plan is colored by what he calls a "neo-traditional" approach. That approach entails multiple use, centering on mixed commercial and residential development.
"The middle zone in particular," said Harrington, "is multi-purpose, with mixed use. Commercial development is set at the front, on the boulevard, with residential development and parking put behind the commercial establishments, allowing for a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere. There will be higher-density residential development behind commercial structures on the west side of the boulevard."
The neighborhood plan details a specific street and block network, with designated parking areas. According to the resolution the intent "is to create an urban setting with emphasis on pedestrian mobility and reduced vehicular conflicts."
"Streetscapes" are set out in the plan, specific for each overlay zone and encompassing details such as privacy walls, sidewalks, landscaping, parking, lanes of traffic on the boulevard, mid-block pedestrian accesses and building frontage alignments.
In their resolution, trustees directed town staff, "to develop the specific implementation tools needed to undertake the plan and to begin the engineering analysis needed for planning and developing the infrastructure along the corridor."
Harrington said the directive gives staff "the go-ahead to take the concept and find ways to implement it. We have no particular time frame at this point. We will begin with traffic engineering for the roadway itself, then move to design issues."
Once preliminary work is complete, a public hearing will be scheduled to consider zoning concepts for the Hot Springs Boulevard corridor and to discuss the means developed by town staff to implement a full development plan for the area.
A little extreme
With the postal delays involved in the SUN reaching California and this letter finding its way back to you, I suppose my comments will be pretty far behind in the curve when you finally see them, but here they are anyway.
I've never met the Laue family, don't live in their neighborhood and haven't seen their now apparently famous sign. I'm also certain, as several writers have stressed, that they are undoubtedly fine people and a longstanding credit to the community. I'm just puzzled as to what bearing this has on their alleged violation of a clearly-stated rule they undoubtedly agreed to in writing when they purchased their property.
After reading the letters thus far published in their defense, I suspect the uproar has far more to do with the message on the sign than the prohibition against its posting. If their sign had read, "Crafts for O.J. Simpson" or "Support third-term abortion" or "Hooray for gay rights," would the same righteous indignation have poured forth? The solution to the problem is simple. Simply change Article 7G of the master declaration of restrictions to prohibit all signs unless they contain a politically-correct message.
By the way, I have never been a champion of the PLPOA, but comparing their actions to those of Nazi Germany may be a little extreme.
Anaheim Hills, Calif.
I have wanted to write this letter for months. We have a number of very special people living in this community and I want to mention several.
In honor of her father who has cancer, Leslie Patterson organized the "Relay for Life" this year - starting from scratch - since this was our first relay. She had a goal of $10,000 and raised over $13,000 despite no cooperation from the weather. Leslie had a wonderful committee of hard workers and Nate Weisz kept the luminaries aglow despite the rain. Leslie was everywhere in her shorts with a little tiara on her head. And cancer survivors took the first lap - we have a lot of them here. Do you know any of them?
While I am on the subject, I would like to mention this little gnome of a man, Lee Sterling who does so much for this community. One of his most recent projects was organizing volunteer drivers for the Road to Recovery Program - driving cancer patients to their treatment destinations. This was an immense project carried out successfully.
Another person I would like to mention is Roy Starling who took a strong position on the East Fork issue. Despite opposition expressed in letters to the editor, he remained strong in his opinion. We will be losers here in Pagosa when Roy returns to Florida to be near his new grandchild.
We live in Aspen Springs and love it. But we have needed some help with some monumental decisions that need to be made by our homes association. Our commissioner was never available, but finally Gene Crabtree came out and offered suggestions. And was the county clean-up effective? A bit overwhelming. We hope more dates will follow. Gene Crabtree works with and for the people.
Jim Sawicki is rather controversial with the material in some of his letters to the editor but he was right on with his Veterans Day letter (SUN, Nov. 11) concerning patriotism. Thank you.
I appreciate people like those mentioned above.
I'd like to comment on two things. I'm impressed that the school board in interested in the ideas of Alfie Kohn. He is one of the few that seem to have it right; develop a love of learning, teach your curriculum well, and the scores will take care of themselves. If, however, you focus on test scores you will not teach anything except what is on the test, bore the students, and kill their enthusiasm for learning. One example is what has happened in Texas. We have gone to tests for reading, writing, and arithmetic. Teachers haven't taught social studies or science in years because they aren't on the tests. Now the state leaders have figured it out and are trying to include these two on the tests, too. So we'll have more tests, lose additional instructional days to testing, and not improve learning at all.
The second comment deals with George Esterly's letter. He said the PLPOA covenants were in force when we bought our lots. He said the PLPOA board and ECC can't change them, they can only be changed by a majority vote of property owners. I checked my Declaration of Restrictions booklet. For Lake Hatcher Park they were signed by Ralph Eaton in 1977. I see set-back provisions, minimum square footage, and space to park vehicles. I do not see any prohibition of RVs. I do not see any requirement for a culvert or a garage. I do not see white being disallowed as a color for a house (although it sometimes has been depending on who was the compliance officer).
If the board and ECC can not change the restrictions and they can only be changed by a majority vote of the property owners, when were these additions voted on? I sure don't remember having an opportunity to vote on them and I have owned property for at least 17 years.
I also take exception to Mr. Easterly's repeated claim that the covenants keep property values elevated. I don't have an RV and don't plan to have one. But, if a neighbor had one on his lot next to my lot, I doubt my property value would nosedive.
George Ernest Clay of Durango died Friday, Nov. 12, 1999, at Mercy Medical Center. He was 89 years old.
"Ernie" Clay was the grandfather of Marti Hoffmann of Pagosa Springs. An obituary will be published next week.
For further information and schedules of services call Pagosa Funeral Options at 264-2386.
Reuben R. Marquez
Ronald C. Rosul
Ronald C. Rosul, 59, of Pagosa Springs, died Saturday, Nov. 13, 1999.
Mr. Rosul was employed by Allied Signal, EG&G, Los Alamos National Laboratories and other government contractors in New Mexico and Nevada. He was a member of Christ Unity Church. Rosul had been a reserve officer with Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office and was proud to have worked on the Apollo Project. He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hiking, biking, downhill and cross country skiing. The Weminuche Wilderness Area was his favorite area. He was a loving family man and was very proud of his children.
He is survived by his wife, Catherine Rosul of the family home; sons, Ronald Rosul Jr. and wife, Megan of Seattle, Wash., and Sean Rosul of Colorado Springs; daughters, Linda Rosul of Chicago, Ill., and Regan Gambier and husband, Andrew of New York, N.Y.; granddaughter Roosanneke Rosul of Seattle; parents, Charles and Mary Rosul of Albuquerque, N.M.; and sister, Joan Thompson of Los Alamos, N.M. He was preceded in death by his son, Steven Rosul.
Memorial services were held Wednesday, Nov. 17, 1999, at Christ Unity Church in Albuquerque, with Pastor Greg Barrette officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions (write "regarding Ron Rosul" on your check) may be made to Nature Conservancy at 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203, Attention: Member Services.
Archuleta County Central dispatch
Where were you born and raised?
"I was born in Durango, and I was raised in Pagosa Springs. I'm as local as local can be."
Where were you educated?
"I graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 1987."
What is your domestic status?
"I'm a single mother, with three children: Logan, 11; Zane, 8; and Trey, 6."
What work did you do prior to your employment at Central Dispatch?
"I went into the U.S. Navy in 1987. I was a Fireman Apprentice, stationed at Orlando and San Diego on the USS Cape Cod. I worked in Hawaii for Navy sales promotions. I worked for Sears in Connecticut in customer relations. In Burlington, Kansas, I had a job as a job counselor then worked at the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant in Burlington. I moved back to Pagosa Springs in June, 1999, and went to work here at Dispatch."
What do you like best about your work?
"I like the people I work with. It's a very good team."
What do you like least about your job?
"Nothing comes to mind."
Fort Morgan pulls away from Pirates in fourth quarter
By John M. Motter
The Pagosa Pirate football team gave Fort Morgan a first half scare before falling 42-7 in the first round of the Class 3A state playoff action Saturday.
The loss to Colorado's top-ranked 3A team ended the Pirates' most successful football season since 1993 when they reached the state semi-finals. By reaching the playoffs, the Pirates entered an elite circle containing only the top 16 Class 3A football teams in the state.
"I thought we played well, showed a lot of heart against Fort Morgan," said Pirate coach Myron Stretton. "Our guys fought through the whole game, even when they were down by three touchdowns in the fourth period when a comeback was very improbable."
A bad snap from center on fourth and 10 on the Pagosa 37-yard line allowed the Mustangs to go up by two touchdowns early in the second period. Following the snap, Fort Morgan took over on Pagosa's 14-yard line. Undaunted, Pirate Kraig Candelaria sacked quarterback David Valle on the 24-yard line to give the Pagosa defense some breathing room. Two plays later, Valle passed to Joel Dreeson for a touchdown that should have broken Pagosa's spirit.
That's not what happened. The Pagosa boys responded by fighting even harder. The Pirate brick wall defense refused to allow another Mustang threat during the first period.
Then, with three minutes remaining in the first half, the Pirates launched a drive from their own 18-yard line. Five first downs later Clint Shaw crashed over from the 3-yard line for a Pirate score. Darin Lister booted the extra point and with only 8 seconds left in the half, the score was Fort Morgan 13, Pagosa Springs 7.
As the teams broke for halftime, Pagosa chances looked good because they had captured the momentum and they would receive the second half kickoff. Again, that's not what happened. Pagosa continued to move the ball, only to have several third period drives stymied by penalties. Fort Morgan scored one time before the third period ended with a 21-7 Mustang lead.
By the time the fourth period started 36 minutes of banging into much larger opponents began to show on the Pagosa boys. As the Pirates tired, Fort Morgan scored three more touchdowns.
"We played as hard as we could," Stretton said. "The biggest difference between the two teams was size. Some of our guys were outweighed by 60 pounds. And they had a lot more of those big boys than we did."
Fort Morgan plays Faith Christian next week in second round 3A playoff action. Meanwhile, Monte Vista, the team which finished second to Pagosa Springs in the Intermountain League, won a playoff game for the second week in a row and will play Denver Lutheran in the state Class 2A semifinals next weekend.
Pagosa Springs will play as a 2A team next season, after playing as a 3A school the past two years.
"I look forward to entering the playoffs as a 2A school," Stretton said, "but people shouldn't think the games will be any easier. By the time they reach the playoffs, 2A schools are usually pretty tough. I doubt if any of them will be as big as Fort Morgan was this year."
The Pirates' chances next year look pretty good, according to Stretton. He is losing only five offensive and six defensive starters. Graduating are Lonnie Lucero, Josh Trujillo, Kraig Candelaria, Keith Candelaria, George Kyriacou, James Hopp, Shane Prunty and Gabe Silva.
"We are losing some key players, but hopefully others will step up to fill the gaps," Stretton said.
Returning for the Pirates will be juniors Tyrel Ross, Anthony Maestas, Nathan Stretton, Clint Shaw, Garrett Paul, Josh Richardson and Garrett Tomforde. Returning sophomores are Darin Lister, Ronnie Janowsky, Cord Ross, Michael Vega, Ethan Sanford, Bryce Paul, Matt Ford, Daniel Wells, Eric Mesker, Hank Wills, Ross Wagle and Robert Kern. Freshman returning are Brandon Charles, Jason Schutz, Jesse Trujillo, Ryan Wendt, Brandon Rosgen, Pablo Martinez, Andres Knaggs, Clayton Mastin and Cameron Cundiff.
The IML roster of all-district players will be released as soon as Monte Vista either wins the state 2A championship or is eliminated from the playoffs.
"I was proud of how our boys played this year," Stretton said. "They showed a lot of heart and pride. They were very competitive. Hopefully, we can build on that next year."
Drop off donations during open hours
Please drop off any donations you have for the thrift shops during the hours they are open. Donations are being vandalized after hours. At the Methodist Thrift Shop, bags have been opened and clothes strewn all around the building. Apparently the vandals took what they wanted and dumped the rest. Anyway, please leave your donations to the thrift shops during the open hours.
Eighty people attended the Marines' birthday party. So mark your calendar for next year, Nov. 10, 2000. The easy way to remember is that the Marines' birthday is the day before Veteran's Day.
It was another successful Turkey Trot. The runners and walkers were happy. One runner, Linda Bernard, was so enthusiastic she says to "keep it up" and suggests that we might consider a 5K walk/run or a 5K run. Others made suggestions also. Any suggestions should be made to the Sisson Library staff or to a Friends of the Library member. And to be remembered is that it takes a lot of work to put on the Turkey Trot and if it is to get bigger, volunteers are needed. Anyone want to volunteer for this?
To mark your calendar ahead, please note these entertainment events:
WinterFest Follies, scheduled for early February (as always) will be directed by Steve Rogan. Its title is "Animal House." There will be lots of music.
The Aspen Ballet will return to Pagosa Springs on April 5.
Music boosters will produce a major musical, "Forever Plaid," next August.
The cutoff date for out-of-town mailing by the Russ Hill Christmas Bazaar is Tuesday, Dec. 7. The Bazaar closes Dec. 10.
Once again, the Immaculate Heart of Mary's fashion show and luncheon was sold out. It was an important social event for a good cause, to help finance Immaculate's youth in their trip to Rome next summer.
So many people said that they would like to have a copy of what Warron Big Eagle said about his father and his history. Warron was a part of the entertainment centered around the American Indians. Warron has offered to write out what he said and Chatter will include it next week. Please note that his first name is spelled Warron and not Warren.
Fun on the run
Jones came into the office an hour late for the third time in one week and found the boss waiting for him.
"What's the story this time, Jones?" he asked sarcastically. "Let's hear a good excuse for a change."
Jones sighed. "Everything went wrong this morning. The wife decided to drive me to the station. She got ready in 10 minutes, but then the drawbridge got stuck. Rather than let you down, I swam across the river - look, my suit's till damp - ran out to the airport, got a ride on Mr. Thompson's helicopter, landed on top of Radio City Music Hall, and was carried here piggy back by one of the Rockettes."
"You'll have to do better than that, Jones," said the boss, obviously disappointed. "No woman can get ready in 10 minutes."
Drop off inserts and $30 check
Two new members to report to you this week and 14 renewals. We are happy to report 688 members. This number blows me away. When I started working at the chamber just four years and five months ago we had 232. Thanks to all who believe in the Chamber, Pagosa Springs, and Archuleta County
We would like to welcome High Country Title Inc. to our membership. Tracey and Karen Bunning at High Country Title are located at 486 Lewis St. They provide a complete line of title insurance services underwritten by Stewart Title Guaranty Company, performing quality and professional real estate and loan closings. You can reach them at 264-2128.
The out-of-area business that joins us this week is Phillip Wehmeyer with Inside/Outside Publications, LLC. Located in Durango at 1309 E. 3rd. Ave., Suite 26, Inside/Outside is the only region wide, monthly magazine covering culture, sports, recreation and entertainment throughout the Four Corners.
We are happy to welcome the following renewals: Claudia Bishop with Bishop Publishing, LLC; Robbie Schwartz with the Humane Society Thrift Store DBA as The Pack Rack; Anthony and Veronica Doctor with Alpenglow Guest House; Melinda Baum with Colorado Pines Bed & Breakfast; Mitch Koentopf with Burns National Bank; Steve Schwartz with Spectrum Construction; Stuart and Kim Bishop with Skyview Motel; Jim Standifer with Jim's Lock and Key; W.E. Lehr with Alpine Lakes Ranch; Scott Quick manager of Holiday Inn Express; Tony Simmons with Simmons Says, Maury Smith with Sole Enterprises, and Betty Diller with H&R Block and Diller Investment. Associate members Bob and Jane Stewart.
We have a limited number of Pagosa Springs Christmas cards and they are available now at the Visitor Center. Once we sell out, that is it. They are very beautiful and capture Pagosa very well. Make sure to stop by soon and get your box of 10 cards for just $17.50.
The inserts are due with your $30 check on Nov. 24. We normally have great volunteer's help to collate the inserts we have. Last quarter we had 25, you can imagine the time and effort that go into putting the newsletter together.
Parade of Lights
The days are flying by and Dec. 10 will be here before we know it. I recommend that you go buy your lights now before the supply is exhausted. We are looking forward to an awesome show of lights for this great event. We will have five categories: Best and Brightest in Business, Organization, Family, Lodging, and Real Estate. Entry fee is $25 and the forms can be picked up at the Visitor Center.
Christmas in Pagosa
Mark your calendar for Christmas in Pagosa, Dec. 4, at the Visitor Center. We will begin from 3 to 5 p.m. with Santa Claus, following from 5 to 5:30 p.m. with caroling by Mountain Harmony Ladies Chorus, and the Visitor Center Tree Lighting will be at 5:30 p.m. Sally, Morna and I love this event.
Please join H&R Block and Diller Investment for an open house on Nov. 19, from 2 to 6 p.m. Be sure to drop by at the new location, 190 Talisman Dr. Suite C5. Their new phone number is 731-1080. Enjoy some refreshments and register to win a mountain bike valued at $400.
Enjoy your week!
'Tis the season for lots of things in Pagosa
A master's swim clinic will be conducted free this evening at 6:30 at the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center. The 90-minute clinic is the third in a series that is being taught by coach Natalie Koch. She will work on the techniques of the four competition strokes with specific emphasis on arm position, arm entry, streamlining the body and kick drills. The clinic is free to Recreation Center members.
Someone once said that swimmers are a special breed of people who watch the black line at the bottom of each lane hour after hour and day after day. I attribute that to a huge amount of self motivation and a love of quiet time. Water provides a surrounding protective cocoon that allows the swimmer to do his or her own thing without distraction. Besides, swimming is as restful as a nap with the body in a horizontal position and the water gliding over the body in gentle massage motion. I love to swim because of how good it feels. New swimmers often find it difficult to synchronize the stroke with the breathing. Don't give up yet. Comfort level increases with proper coaching and practice.
If you have unused winter clothing lying around your house, consider donating these items to the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club Operation Winter Coat. Donated items will be distributed on Saturday, from 10 a.m. until noon at the Archuleta County fair building.
'Tis the season for the Nutcracker. Aspen Ballet Company will present this traditional Christmas tale on Saturday, Dec. 11, and Sunday, Dec. 12, at Fort Lewis College Community Concert Hall. There will be two showings, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Please call box office 247-7657 for tickets.
'Tis also the beginning of the season when friends get together and complain that they're eating too much. But don't sweat the meals this year - it's the drinks that will get you in the end. Sure, eggnog is a famous fattener. But "eat, sip and be merry" is also good advice when it comes to soft drinks, wine, cocktails and even juice and flavored teas. The problem is one of self-regulation. One piece of mincemeat pie might suffice. But liquid calories don't satisfy hunger so easily. When people eat solid foods, they tend to get full and stop eating. But when they drink a beverage such as a glass of wine, they often go ahead and eat as much solid food as usual, and maybe top it off with another glass or two of wine. That results in excess calories and unwanted weight gain. It only gets worse around the holiday season. So the next time someone calls out "bottoms up," reflect on the size of your own.
'Tis also the season for colds and flu. The nasty viruses that cause us such grief survive longer in colder temperatures. And all of the "fellowshipping" that occurs during the holiday season puts us in close contact with each other - often in enclosed indoor spaces. Cold and flu viruses are usually spread by shaking hands with an infected person, or by touching something that the infected person has just handled. You can then infect yourself by touching your mouth, nose or eyes. Wash your hands frequently when around people with colds or flu, and maintain a safe distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing, since these viruses can be broadcast quite a distance through the air. Use good judgment, and balance that with moderate exercise, adequate rest and a healthy diet.
Success in reading begins early
In 1999, we are witnessing a time of unparalleled activity to get more children on the road to reading.
An unprecedented pro-literacy movement, focused on children under age 9, is sweeping through thousands of communities across the nation. A common strategy has emerged for reading success: we must start early by preparing young children to read, and we must finish strong by providing excellent instruction and community support in the primary grades.
In 1998, The National Research Council produced "Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children," a blueprint for action to create a nation of readers. The study clearly defines the key elements all children need in order to become good readers. Specifically, kids need to learn letters and sounds and how to read for meaning. They also need opportunities to practice reading with many types of books. While some children need more intensive and systematic individualized instruction than others, all children need these three essential elements in order to read well and independently by the end of third grade. Effective teaching and extra resources can make it possible for many "at-risk" children to become successful leaders.
Newspapers, businesses, libraries, sports teams, community service groups, employees, college students, and volunteers of all ages are stepping forward to tutor children, work with parents, provide books, and support schools. This crusade is reshaping our view of the reading challenge. Every parent, caregiver, teacher, and citizen has a role to play to spark dramatic improvement in reading. Explore ways that you or your organization can support this effort.
What can be done to prepare more children for reading success?
First, families can maximize the benefits of parent-child communication from birth.
Second, caregivers and preschool teachers can be trained and given resources to stimulate emergent literacy.
Third, children deserve well-trained teachers who understand reading development, who can pinpoint problems, and who can address them effectively.
In addition, entire communities can rally around their children for literacy success. This means more partnerships between schools and communities. It means greater engagement of private enterprise and cultural groups. It means more volunteers and more opportunities for legions of mentors and tutors.
By expanding our view of who contributes to students' reading success, we are increasing opportunities for millions of Americans to endow our children with this lifelong skill. If we succeed in engaging this untapped pool of adults, the results will revolutionized education in this country.
The Education Center is working with the schools to coordinate the participation of tutors in after-school programs. Many of the current tutors are local high school teens who are doing an outstanding job of working with younger students. There is a pressing need to involve more community adults as volunteers to support this program.
Please contact the Education Center at 264-2835 to see how you can help during the after-school hours or contact the schools if you would like to help during regular school hours.
81 trotters in annual library event
Well, the sixth annual Friends of the Library Turkey Trot was a huge success! There were a total of 81 Trotters, including 32 runners and 49 walkers, and the Friends of the Library netted over $1,000 to buy books. It sure has been quite a month, between the favorable Library vote, the Civic Club Bazaar, and the Turkey Trot. Now we are going to relax a little bit in anticipation of the holidays. Mary Stahl, Cathy Dodt-Ellis and the Friends of the Library are to be congratulated on another successful event. Mary listed all of this for your information:
We have so much to be thankful for, and so many of you to be thankful to. Here are the wonderful people and businesses that helped make the Turkey Trot successful: Ming Steen and the Staff of the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center; Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association; The Bank of the San Juans; downtown City Market; Rolling Pin Bakery; Century Tel; Lyn DeLange; Jack Ellis, Joel Loudermilk, Kate Terry, Cindy Gustafson, Cathy Dodt-Ellis, Shirley Iverson, Lenore Bright, and Mary Stahl. Sue Tripp designed our great T-shirts. Rita Thompson, Cindy Gustafson, Lynn Constan, and Lyn DeLange sponsored runners. Our fabulous Friends of the Library put it all together: Mo Covell, Charla Ellis, Warren Grams, Dick Hillyer, Cynthia Mitchell, Patty Sterling and Judy Wood. Thanks to everyone.
Here are the overall winners of each event. In the Women's 5K Walk, Marilyn Harris came in first at 34:42, Kitty Handley at 36:16, and Patricia Stokes at 36:25. In the Men's 5K Walk, Glenn Van Patter left them all in his wake at 33:55; Martin Wittkamp finished at 36:49, and Granton Bartz at 38:30. In the Women's 10K Run, Chelsea Volger was the winner at 43:52, Ming Steen came in at 46:34, and Lvonne Johnson at 47:13. In the Men's 10K Run, Pagosa Springs newcomer Byron Monterroso lead the pack with an impressive 39:16; Darin Davis came in at 41:03, and David Martinez at 43:19. A complete list of all Trotters' times and age category ribbon winners is posted at the Library, along with pictures from this fun event that just keeps getting bigger every year. By the way, we had seven Trotters from New Mexico, and many from neighboring communities as well. This is getting to be a not-just-for-Pagosans event.
Here are the winners from the turkey drawing: Carole Howard, Charles R. Naranjo, Elaine Lundergan, Barb Quanz, April Bergman, Elitsa Nikolova, Jackie Goodenberger, Britta Seppi, Shaun Arnold, Barbara Sanborn, DeeAnna Keller, Anita Schwendeman, Kitty Handley, Kurt Raymond, Byron Monterroso, Ron Gustafson, Darin Davis, Normand Cyr, Susan Balcomb and Glenn Van Patter. Those listed above who were not present at the drawing, come on over to the Library and pick up your turkey gift certificate. In the true spirit of the season, many of our winners donated their turkey to a needy family. The Friends also collected several large boxes of canned goods to donate to Operation Helping Hand.
The Library will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 25, and Friday, Nov. 26, so we may spend the Thanksgiving holiday with our families. We will reopen Nov. 27 from 10 am to 2 p.m..
We received materials and financial contributions this week from Jerry and Bill Hallett, Mary Lou Sprowle, Sheila Hunkin, Paul and Mary Alice Behrents, Ronda Haprov, the estate of Jerry Nelson, Sandy Lohman, Kent Schafer, Vasuki, Barbara Carlos, Jennifer Mountain, Pier Madore, Ray Pack, Ed and Valley Lowrance, Carole Howard, Mr. and Mrs. George Muirhead, Meryle Backus, Betty Reynolds, Annie Ryder, David Scavezze, Lupe Henrichsen, David G. Swindells, Pris Severn and June Beck. Thanks to everyone for your generosity.
Gallery, gift shop closed for November
The Pagosa Springs Arts Center and Gallery and Gift Shop in Town Park is closed during the month of November. It will reopen with a grand open house and reception on Dec. 2 from 5 to 7 p.m. This will be the inaugural evening for the "Olde Tyme Christmas Shoppe." Refreshments will be served too.
The "Christmas Shoppe" is chock full of wonderful gift items created by local artists and artisans. There will be something for everyone on your list, and the gifts will be all the more special because they are handmade. The Shoppe will be open from Dec. 2 through Dec. 23. Come to the grand opening reception, meet some of the artists, have some refreshments, and visit with old and new friends.
If any of you artists or artisans out there are interested in exhibiting in the "Christmas Shoppe," leave a message for Joanne Haliday at 264-5020. Some space may still be available.
Applications are now available for those who would like to exhibit in the PSAC Gallery during 2000. They can be picked up at Moonlight Books during the month of November and at the Center and Gallery after that. This is a great venue to show off your work and probably make some good sales as well.
PSAC is looking for two persons with computer skills and access. We need someone to work on the membership committee and also on the quarterly newsletter "Petroglyph." These are very important positions that greatly help the arts council. Don't be shy; leave a message at 264-5020 for more details. A big thank you once again to Marguerite at Mountain Greenery. She generously donated beautiful floral arrangements for each of our open houses.
Center welcomes back Sagers, Martinez
The Senior Center will be closed on Nov. 25 and 26 for Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving meal for seniors will be served on Nov. 24. I'm sure Dawnie and the kitchen crew will have something extra special for us. Phil Janowsky will be back to entertain with old-time western and classical country music, so be sure to attend that day. We are truly blessed to be living in this wonderful country and community and to have this exceptional Senior Center with such a dedicated and talented staff - Thank you God.
Congratulations to our Senior of the Week: Lydia Martinez
Our most welcome guests this week include Paula Borame, Madena Hamilton, Barbara and Donald Palmer, Doris and Preston Waller, and Mr. and Mrs. Denny. It was also good to see Wayne Van Hecke, Richard Irland, Don and Ilse Hurt, Wanda Aeschliman and Helen Schoonover. We hope all of you folks will come back to eat with us again soon.
Jerry and Joan Sager were back this week. The Sagers just returned from the 1999 National Senior Olympic Games, where they competed in swimming events - Jerry earned two gold and three silver medals, as well as a fourth-place finish, and Joan won a seventh-place ribbon. We are so proud of them.
We are sad to learn that Paul and Mary Alice Behrents will be leaving Pagosa. They are moving to Rio Rancho soon. Paul is a past president of the Senior Center.
Welcome to Cynthia Lou Mitchell, who is the new relief bus driver. She will also help with the Senior Center activities.
Dennis Martinez - welcome back. Thanks for the beautiful holiday paintings on the windows at the Senior Center.
Again, our sincere thanks to all the wonderful volunteers at the Senior Center. This week's volunteers include Teresa Diestelkamp, Kathy Perry, Lydia Martinez, Johnny Martinez, Helen Girardin, Lilly Gurule, Don Hurt, Mae Boughan, Jerry Sager and Jo Rose. Volunteers can look forward to the Christmas Party for Volunteers on Dec. 22.
If anyone wants information about the following programs, please call Cindy Archuleta at 264-2167 between 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday:
- Watch Your Step program - provides funding for installing safety features for your bathtub
- Tax preparation program for the coming tax year
- Legal counsel program
- Year 2000 Census - provides help in filling out the forms
- Prescriptions program - provides help in getting prescriptions filled more economically.
We want to remind everyone to bring their no-longer-used eyeglasses to the Senior Center. They are to be donated to the various eyeglass programs for use by people in need.
Cindy has several events lined up for the near future including a trip on the Durango-Silverton train, yoga classes, and some special Christmas events. So be sure and stay tuned.
A Veteran for a friend
Last week this space was used to pay a Veterans Day tribute to the countless number of unnamed brave men and women who fought and died in the service of the United States.
This week it is time to remember one of Pagosa Springs' World War II veterans by name. Though not a surprise, it was a painful disappointment yesterday to learn that Pagosa had lost Reuben R. Márquez. The American flag on the pole in the Márquez front yard in the 200 block of Pagosa Street had been respectfully lowered to half mast.
I met Mr. Marquez 25 years ago while teaching at Pagosa Springs High School. Mrs. Marquez was the Spanish teacher. Their youngest daughter, Ruthe was a student.
For years his conversations with me focused upon his family and his work with the Pagosa Ranger District. In time, he talked about his experiences as a soldier during World War II. While justly proud of his activities in the campaigns in Africa, Italy and France, he held a special reverence for the comrades he fought beside during the Battle of the Bulge in Germany and their stand at Bastogne.
His eyes would shine with a bit of moisture as he asked if I knew what Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe had replied when the German officers had asked him to surrender his out-numbered men to the superior German forces. His voice was barely audible when he repeated Gen. McAuliffe's response. "Nuts. He told them, 'nuts,' " Reuben would say with justifiable pride and a thankfulness that only a survivor of such an ordeal could possess.
Pagosa has provided me many priceless memories, but one of my favorites occurred four years ago on the sidewalk just outside the entrance to the downtown City Market.
It was just past mid-December. Mr. Marquez and I were carrying our groceries to our pickups. The silvery full moon stopped him in his tracks as he looked up at the brightness in the frozen December night air. Keeping his gaze on the moon, he said, "The moon was the same way 50 years ago tonight. Only I was laying in a slit trench - the ground was too frozen to dig a decent fox hole. It got a lot colder than this before the night was over. I was one of the lucky ones. Not everyone woke up the next morning." After a moment, he turned with a smile and said, "And folks ask me why I walk leaning over with this crooked leg." Tapping his well-worn knee with his walking stick, Mr. Márquez said, "I ought to tell them nuts."
As we went our separate ways that night, I drove home thinking that I was one of the lucky ones. I had lived in freedom 50 years earlier and now I could count Reuben Marquez as a friend.
David C. Mitchell
Dear FolksBy David C. Mitchell
So much for planning ahead
Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and editors, go astray.
With most folks warning that planning ahead is the best preparation for offsetting the Y2K bug, I planned ahead.
Yes, late last March when the Colorado Press Association sponsored a "Y2K Videoconference" at the Denver Press Club, I plan ahead. Rather than attend the March seminar, I opted to wait until later in the year when information on Y2K concerns would be more current and up to date.
So naturally I accepted the invitation to the Nov. 16 "CPA Y2K Videoconference." The program was to originate on the University of Colorado in Boulder campus. Fort Lewis College, through its telecommunications facility, was named as one of six sites for the interactive broadcast.
Tuesday's follow-up program included the same speakers who had been featured during the March seminar. Only eight months later, it was reasonable to anticipate that Troy Eid, Governor Owen's chief counsel, and David Buffalo, the Y2K project director for the city and county of Denver, and the other presenters would have the latest scoop.
There was no doubt the information would be reliable, timely, applicable, informative and would make for an interesting article for this week's SUN.
Well the Y2K bug hit here at about 4 p.m. Monday. Rather than the phone going out, the phone rang. Ed Otte, the Colorado Press Association's general manager was apologizing that the Videconference had been canceled.
Just one other editor had registered for the program. Is the Y2K bug is so formidable that the others have given up? Or is it not as threatening as the nay sayers were warning earlier this year? Obviously the answer rests somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
Being prepared for unforeseen winter-related problems should be an annual exercise for folks in Pagosa. Going without electrical power, telephone service, running water, adequate heat, convenient transportation, unlimited shopping opportunities and such can be normal winter occurrences in Pagosa.
Sometimes the disruptions are temporary. At other times it takes more than a day to unfreeze the pipes or to restore other such conveniences.
Just the other day a reader asked if we ever planned on doing reruns on the late Worthe V. Crouse's "Weld Spatters" columns.
Having been raised in Pagosa, Crouse would have loved the Y2K thing. He had been raised being Y2K compliant.
Get out the snow shovels. Sharpen the axes. Put a new handle in the sledge hammer. Find the splitting wedges. Store more than enough firewood. Put away a supply of food stuffs in the root cellar. Fill up some water jugs. Find the candles and kerosene lamps, and trim their wicks and polish mantles. These were all part of Crouse's advice.
As for vehicles, winter meant it was time to check the anti-freeze and battery. Get the motor tuned and spark plugs checked. Check the snow tires and be sure the tire chains are in good shape. Replace the windshield wipers and find the ice scrapers. Find the jumper cables and tow strap.
I suppose this year he might have added waxing the cross-country skis or checking the bindings on the snow shoes to his to-do list. The same with sleeping bags, wool sweaters, mittens, caps and socks.
He would have enjoyed poking fun at us as he prepared us to plan ahead for another winter.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
New trout farm business to open
Taken from SUN files
of Nov. 21, 1974
A new type of enterprise for this area is now in operation just east of town. It is the Shive Springs Trout Ranch where trout are to be hatched and sold commercially to owners of lakes and ponds in this area. Many years ago Born's Lake was operated as a commercial fish hatchery but this area has been without one for a long time.
A group of searchers from South Dakota is in the Blanco Basin area this week looking for a plane that has been missing for almost a month. The plane, carrying two men and three bodies, was en route to South Dakota from Gallup, N.M., when it disappeared.
High school Principal Ron Shaw was presented with the keys to a new 1975 Chevrolet last week by Ben Johnson, owner of Johnson Chevrolet. The vehicle is to be used by the school for its driver's training program. There is no charge to the school for the car, with its use being donated by Johnson Chevrolet.
A very lively comedy is in the offering as the Pagosa Springs High School Drama Club presents its fall play, "Off the Track," tomorrow night and Saturday in the high school gym. Under the direction of Will Hobbs, the cast includes Tammy Powell, Paulette Shoemaker, Debby Cole, Julie Peters, Robert Martinez, Janet Walter, Laurie Corbin, Dawn Walker and Laurie Ebeling.
Worthe Crouse hired to build Pagosa's bridge
Four and a half months after the bridge across the San Juan River washed out in late 1957, Pagosa's trustees decided to take matters into their own hands. To date there had been little progress on getting a new bridge for the crossing in the downtown area.
At their January 1958 meeting, the trustees hired board member Worthe Crouse to build Pagosa's bridge. Crouse submitted his resignation from the board in order to take the job. It was his plan to reassemble a bridge previously given to the town by the state and then move it across the river.
Anyone who knew Worthe Crouse would not be surprised to learn that the bridge would be built for the $10,000 that had been budgeted for the project.
Anyone who knew Worthe Crouse would not be surprised to learn that by two weeks after he began the job, the preliminary work of assembling the framework of the bridge was nearly completed. Moving the bridge frame across the river could begin by early February.
And, anyone who knew Worthe Crouse would not be surprised to learn that many people were skeptical about whether the job could be completed with the equipment available, but Crouse's crew got the job done.
The Feb. 13, 1958, SUN reported that the bridge was across the river. However, a lot of work remained to be done. Pilings had to be driven to build the piers for the bridge to rest on. After the bridge was on the abutments, the decking would be put in place. It would also be necessary to build the approaches to the bridge on both sides of the river.
I'm sure townspeople were not surprised to learn the bridge was open to automobile traffic before the end of February. A few finishing touches were in order, but the bridge was usable.
Editor Glen Edmonds summed up his thoughts about the new bridge in his Feb. 20 editorial, under the heading of "It Couldn't Be Done." A few of those thoughts were, "The bridge in the Town Park is now across the river. It may not be built just exactly the way the State Highway Department would have had it done and it may be more stout than on the pretty but it is there.
"It is not so unusual for a bridge to be there. It is unusual that this particular bridge should be there and that it should be across the river because 'they' said it couldn't be done that way. According to many it could not be moved after it was built on the bank and if it should happen to be moved across it couldn't be made to fit the piling.
"There is no use in arguing the matter now because it is there and it does fit. Now if the people responsible for it being there had known that it was impossible to put it there in that fashion, it would not be there. But the poor souls just didn't know that the 'experts' said it was impossible.
"This goes but to show that a great many of the problems that face this community that are in the impossible category will probably be taken care of when we can find more people that don't know it is impossible."
Let's all go to Vanderhoff's place
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet . . . even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."
Now there's a sentiment that flies into the teeth of nearly everything we've been taught about working hard in order to succeed, about being productive, about making something of ourselves, about dressing for success.
This memorable saying is cleverly alluded to near the beginning of Frank Capra's "You Can't Take It with You" (1938). The kindly and eccentric Grandpa Vanderhoff (Lionel Barrymore) is standing in a bank, munching popcorn and observing a jittery Mr. Poppins (played by the aptly named Donald Meek) crunch some numbers.
"Why are you doing that?" Vanderhoff asks him. "Do you like what you're doing? What do you like?"
Poppins first tries to sputter out an explanation about how some people have to work for a living, even if it's doing something they can't stand, then he admits that he's always liked "making up things," that is, inventing toys and gadgets.
Vanderhoff promptly invites him over to "our place" where "everyone does exactly what he likes."
Poppins wonders who looks after such people. "The same one who looks after the lilies of the field," Vanderhoff replies. "Only we toil a little, spin a little and have a whole barrel of fun." Poppins then accepts the invitation, delighted with the prospect of "becoming a lily."
For some viewers, Vanderhoff's place will seem a heaven on earth. There, people work at their play and play at their work. They've discovered what they love to do, what they're reasonably good at, and, thanks to their charitable godfather, they have a place where they can unfold their being, where they can blossom like lilies.
Vanderhoff's daughter Penny Sycamore (Spring Byington) writes plays, using a kitten as a paperweight. Her husband makes firecrackers in the basement. One of their daughters, Essie (Ann Miller), dances and makes candy. Essie's husband Ed (Dub Taylor) likes being a printer and playing the xylophone. This group, of course, is joined by the aforementioned Mr. Poppins who goes to work "making up things."
What links this Wonderland, this Shangri-la, this Paradise, this City of Art to the outside world as we know it, the one that dominates CNN, the one where people routinely go through their entire lives unaware of their gifts, let alone sharing them and being appreciated for them?
That link comes thanks to the other Sycamore daughter, Alice (Jean Arthur, my all-time favorite actress), who works at a bank owned by Anthony P. Kirby (Edward Arnold), an enormously wealthy (and enormous) businessman who has, to mix a metaphor, taken the elevator to the top of the ladder of success.
Eventually, these two worlds - the corporate world and the Land of Lilies - collide. This happens in two ways. First, we learn that Kirby has cut a few slimy deals in Washington and elsewhere that will enable him to seize a monopoly on the munitions industry. All he has to do is complete the purchase of 12 city blocks, the eventual location of his factory.
But Vanderhoff's home sweet home is on one of those blocks, and he won't sell it, not even for four times its appraised value. His home, which he associates with his departed wife, means more to him than money. Imagine that! Also, he knows his many friends and neighbors can keep their homes if he doesn't sell.
The second conflict arises when Kirby's son, Tony (James Stewart), a vice-president in his bank, falls in love with his secretary, who just happens to be Alice Sycamore.
When these two worlds are brought into such close proximity, the fireworks begin, literally and figuratively. And the differences between the two are illuminated by symbols that a 25-year English major like me can't help but love.
The object most frequently associated with Vanderhoff is a harmonica, which reflects the ever present music in his home, but maybe also harmony. Kirby, on the other hand, is in constant need of bicarbonate of soda. The poor fellow's endless worry over his empire has his stomach in a pickle.
There's more. Kirby hopes to finish off his fortune with a munitions plant; Mr. Sycamore and his friends are the creators of far less sinister explosives, fireworks. Kirby's drudges toil and spin; Vanderhoff's adopted misfits sing and dance.
Vanderhoff, who says he "used to be just like Kirby," had a life-altering epiphany on an elevator. One day, when he reached the floor of his place of business, he realized he wasn't having any fun. He took the elevator down and never went back up.
In another apparently symbolic touch, Vanderhoff is now on crutches which makes me greedy to talk about his humility and to say "The lame shall enter first." But I can't. Vanderhoff is on crutches because Barrymore was partially paralyzed by a combination of arthritis and a leg injury.
Will Kirby ever see the vanity of his elevator ride to the top floor? Will he learn, as Vanderhoff tells him, "The only thing you can take with you is the love of your friends"? Will he learn, as a fatally defeated fellow businessman tells him, "You can't shut out every decent impulse and survive"? Will he finally trade his bicarbonate of soda for a harmonica? Or should that be an harmonica?
The film answers all of those questions but the last one.
Now here I've raced almost all the way through this review without saying much of anything about the film's two stars, Stewart and Arthur. For me, their roles are secondary to the conflict between Kirby and Vanderhoff, the one a corrupt, greedy, ruthless American success story, the other a faithful shepherd of a loonie flock, "with malice towards none and charity for all."
Stewart's character, Tony, drifts toward the playful Vanderhoff mentality; the vivacious Alice has at least one foot in the workaday world. They make a great couple, and their scenes together are sweet and giggly without becoming saccharine.
But enough about them. The reason to see "You Can't Take It with You" is Capra's unfailing ability to be simultaneously dreamy and subversive, somewhere between Norman Rockwell and that rabble-rousing iconoclast of the '60s Abbie ("Up against the wall!") Hoffman.
Incidentally, the film was nominated for five Academy Awards, and won for Best Picture and Best Director (Capra's third).
Yeah, I know.
I've got a problem.
"Karl, where was your column last week? Don't you write a column every other week?"
Yeah, but I've got a case of writer's block. I'm creatively corked.
"It's been a couple of weeks since I've read one of your columns, Karl. What's going on?"
Yeah, well, there's this writer's block thing, and. . .
"Boy, with the holidays approaching, the Preview is going to get larger. Sure would help if Karl wrote a column."
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
It's true: it's been a couple of weeks since I wrote a column.
I'm concerned, but I have to maintain a healthy perspective about my situation. In the cosmic scheme of things, what's a couple of weeks?
Let's get technical: Who's to say time isn't simply a matter of duration, huh? What do you mean, "week?" What is a "week" if you consider things in terms of sidereal time? Time, measured with attention to the Big Picture is nothing; in the greater scheme of things, a year is like a mote of dust in a deserted mansion, a bacterium in the dinosaur's gut. So what's a week?
Furthermore, if you compile a list of the things that are important in life, does a "Food for Thought" column break into the top thousand?
Still, perspective cemented in place, I'm concerned.
I've tried to break outta this thing.
Many were the evenings during the past few weeks that I've retreated to the back room to sit in front of a glowing computer monitor. The results? I find if you stare at the monitor, try very hard to keep from blinking your eyes and allow your jaw to go slack, you can hear Gerry and the Pacemakers singing "Ferry Cross the Mersey."
Physically, I've been ready for things to happen. My fingers have been in contact with the keyboard, ready for the literary dam to break, for the levee to collapse, for the copy to pour out.
Mentally, it's been another story.
As in zip, nada, zero, blank.
Gerry and the Pacemakers.
I've got writer's block.
Not the best thing for someone who makes his money writing.
I've had ideas. Ideas are my business, my stock in trade. I get ideas for columns all the time.
The problem is, I can't flesh out the ideas as long as I suffer from this writer's block.
For example, I had an idea about being a goofoff, and about how difficult it is for kids to develop real skills as goofoffs given the slack ideas dominating contemporary American education. Being a goof is something I know a lot about; I have raised goofing off to a high art. I am the Da Vinci of goofs.
I know what it takes to become a world-class goofoff. How can the cream rise to the top, goofoff-wise, if schools continue to avoid Industrial Age discipline and factory-like monotonous routine? To develop as a one-in-a-million goofoff, a kid needs rigorous, arbitrary standards to rebel against. Is there a future for goofoffs? Surely we see that goofoffs must continue to exist. There is a sociobiological imperative requiring the goofoff to balance an anal retentive strain in the species that threatens to destroy everything with a relentless and energetic application of good intentions and greed.
This is a problem, isn't it?
If I didn't have a whopping case of writer's block, I could write my goofoff column and let the world know what a catastrophe we face. This issue makes the greenhouse effect look like play time, and I am mute.
It's not the only potential catastrophe I could write about, if I could write.
Driving home from the regional volleyball tournament a week ago, I noticed an inordinate number of Chinese restaurants, all with the same name. Every small town on the route between Colorado Springs and Lake Pagosa Park has one of these restaurants, with the same name.
Is this a coincidence?
As I drove, a clever and insidious plan became clear to me. The plan revolves around the use of MSG which, as any health-conscious American knows, has the power to cloud the mind and confuse your cultural and political loyalties. Enough trips to the all-you-can-eat buffet, enough egg rolls and servings of shiny sweet and sour pork and, kablam!, you are compliant, serving a new master. Willingly.
This is a swell idea for a column. It has socially redeeming value.
Can I write about it?
Not a chance.
I've got writer's block.
Without the writer's block, I could write about driving long distances alone. Admit it, when you take a solo road trip, you talk to yourself. Admit it.
I know what I say to myself when I am alone in the car. If I could beat this problem with the writer's block, I could tell you all about it. It's not pretty.
But, no, I'm jammed.
Since my column is ostensibly about food, I thought, why not write about food? Report on some new recipes, reminisce about Aunt Hazel and the time she taught me to make cream puffs.
The idea of cooking cucumbers and lettuce is weird enough to make for an interesting column, isn't it? What about udon? Who isn't fascinated by udon?
How about another sausage article? Next week, I will gather a couple of friends, break out the Porkert Fleischhacker 10, and create some sausages for the upcoming holiday seasons. Why not write about sausage? Another reverie about bockwurst, a paean to chorizo, an ode singing the praises of andouille?
Why not work a column around Jonson's Delight? We're at a time of year when a hefty batch of this Swedish elixir is just what the doctor ordered. It's a tried-and-true remedy for seasonal mood disorder.
Jonson's Delight is simple, yet strange enough to make most readers recoil. It's ambrosia with an edge, redolent of a rank North Sea breeze. When you eat it, you say things like "Let's paint ourselves blue, sail off and have our way with some monks," in Swedish, of course. As you chew, you hear the splash of oars and the heavy breathing of berzerkers. This is a lot better than Gerry and the Pacemakers.
All you need are potatoes, four or five of them sliced thinly. You slice some onions thin and you crack a couple of tins of anchovy fillets. Butter a baking dish, put down a layer of potatoes. cover the spuds with onion and lay about 15 or so anchovy fillets and some of the oil from the tins on top. Add some pepper. (Do not add salt, whatever you do. You will regret it!). Toss a liberal number of hunks of butter on top of the layer and add a touch of cream. Top with a second layer of potatoes and dot with more butter. Bake for about 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Add a cup of cream and put back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Add a half cup of cream and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the whole thing is tender and the Valhallan tastes amalgamated.
Paradise is rarely manifest here on earth, but with Jonson's Delight. . . prepare to invade England.
Too bad I have writer's block.
I'm pretty sure there's material for a column in the ad I saw on television the other night. The product is a new fat-blocking drug. It's great stuff, they say. There are a few problems: excessive gas with "oily discharge," increased number of bowel movements and "an inability to control them."
But, hey, you lose weight.
Just be sure you don't eat Jonson's Delight.
There's something funny here. Too bad I can't write about it.
"Ferry Cross the Mersey."
Another idea is a humdinger, considering I'm so depressed about this writer's block thing.
Pain: a tribute to pain - a piece written on the basis of intense familiarity with different types of pain. The slant: There are some kinds of pain, transient pains, that act to remind you that you are alive, that lead you to strange and epiphanic moments.
I thought about using a recent experience with a fractured tooth as an example. Lift weights, fracture tooth, experience pain, put off a trip to dentist, feel more intense pain, whimper like a baby, eat tons of pain killers, hurt worse, two months later go to dentist.
I have great material about my dentist, all of it true. There's some fine stuff here. My head throbbing with pain, the first thing I see when I enter my dentist's office is my tightly-wound little buddy, standing next to his assistant. The oral trauma team is wearing identical smocks, buttoned to the top button. The smocks are emblazoned with brightly-colored cowboys riding bucking broncos.
I am ushered to the chamber of horrors where my dentist puts a dental dam in place then begins working in my mouth with metal instruments. At the same time, he begins to talk politics. Hot-headed reactionary rhetoric. The little sadist.
Then, he pauses, head cocked slightly, his eyes glazing over and moving skyward. It's only then I notice the music he is playing in the office: "Country Favorites Sing the 'Star Spangled Banner'."
Some gal is yodeling the national anthem.
"You know," states my dental buckaroo, "no one does that song quite like Trisha Yearwood." He shakes his head wistfully, lost for a moment in a reverie, then resumes ripping around in my mouth and lamenting the fact there aren't more Republicans in the military.
The little sadist.
It's a shame I can't flesh this one out.
Same with the idea I had about my mother-in-law and her tendency to scramble words.
Ruth is an ace with the malaprop. If I wasn't so messed up, I could write a column centered on Ruth's most recent project: to buy a "security condom" where she can wait out KY2.
But, no. All I get is a blank screen and Gerry and the Pacemakers.
If I could write, I would develop an idea I've had concerning the dolts who work on highway projects, holding the signs that stop traffic. You know and love them; they keep lines of cars full of irritated people stopped while a crew of yokels hurtles around on heavy equipment, smoking cigarettes, drinking bottled water and pretending to move rocks and put down asphalt.
Do these people need to go to school for this? Is there an academy that teaches these people how to maximize stress on motorists? Why do they wear hard hats? Is something going to fall from the sky?
With writer's block, the idea lies fallow.
How about that article in last week's Preview about the breeding potential of one pair of free-roaming cats? According to the Humane Society spokesman, one pair of free roaming cats will, in 10 years, lead to nearly 400,000 descendants.
Doing a bit of what my pal Roy Starling calls "catculus" I've run the Humane Society math out to 100 years - just a little less than the lifetime of Pagosa Springs. It is safe to assume there was one pair of free-roaming cats in the area back then. Using the exponent-kissed Humane Society equation, there are now 3.32 billion cats in Archuleta County.
Where are our little feline friends? We should be walking on a carpet of kitties.
Granted, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of restaurants in the region in recent years, but there is no way these establishments could account for the loss of more than, say, 250,000 of the cats.
Are the cats living under Archuleta Mesa with the aliens?
If I wasn't creatively restrained, I could delve into this problem.
I've got a superb recipe for Vitello Tonnato, but I can't write about it.
One last idea.
Do you ever read the food columns in big time city daily newspapers?
What on earth does "chockablock" mean, and why do food critics use the word so often?
I can't write, so I can't pursue the idea. My computer screen is not chockablock with sentences.
I've got to find a solution to this dilemma.
I think a radical change of environment and habits will do the trick.
I've decided to take a risk and see if I can shock myself out of the doldrums.
My solution involves a security condom in Las Vegas, KY2 precautions, and a double load of Jonson's Delight. I will also switch from Barolo to a 65-35 mix of Grenache and Syrah.
I'll let you know if it works.
With luck, I'll write about it.
Writer combines insight, heart
Shortly after soccer season ended, as I was finishing up a story on Seth Kurt-Mason and Peter Dach - the Pirates' two all-conference selections - I decided it was time to write about a Pagosa High student who was a star in the classroom.
I was looking for a hardworking student, one who committed him or herself to each assignment, one who surprised teachers, going above and beyond what was required.
I talked to senior English teacher Jack Ellis about my search, and it didn't take him long to end it. "Seth Kurt-Mason," he said. "There are others, but he's the first one that comes to mind."
Ellis had Seth for senior English earlier this year and now has him in a class on contemporary literature. So far, all of his papers have had the same effect on his teacher: "I can always expect to be surprised when I read his work," Ellis said. "He really takes pride in what he presents. I think he truly works at his communication skills, and I really admire that."
When Seth writes about literature, Ellis said, he quickly gets past the surface details and delves into the richer material lying beneath them. "His written analyses of literature show so much depth in his thinking," Ellis said. "Most of his writing goes straight to the heart of the issues the literature deals with. His writing reflects a real strong grasp of the material and a connection with it."
Nancy Esterbrook, who taught Seth in English I, II and III, agrees. "Seth shows a real mature insight into the literature and how it applies to our own lives. He has a fine mind, and he uses it well."
For Ellis, narrative writing "cuts closest to the soul of the writer," and he believes that style of writing is Seth's forte. "I remember one narrative in particular that was brutally honest about a situation that took place in high school."
That situation was an assault by another student, and Seth describes it succinctly in the opening of his essay:
"My eyes searched frantically for my attacker. I could not see him, only the large white diamond that hung mockingly in the air in front of my face, following my gaze no matter where I turned my head. Another right flew, finding its mark, this time, on my chin. My head jerked back and I dropped my books. I looked down at them dumbly."
Seth told me he liked to write to "try to get closure on events that have happened to me. It really helps to understand an issue if you write about it."
Clearly, his essay on the assault strives for that closure and understanding. He moves back and forth in time, from the incident itself to his feelings about it today:
"For a long time, I sat alone in the nurse's office, eyes bloodshot, tears rolling down my face, thinking. I felt insignificant and despondent. I grew angry with all of the attention I received for this. It was nothing; I wanted everyone else to believe that; I wanted to believe that. I only wanted to get on with my life and forget any of this ever happened. That, however, would not be the case. Now, at age 18, I still think about that day nearly five years ago . . . . "
In a powerfully written concluding paragraph, Seth struggles with two conflicting impulses: the macho hunger for revenge and punishment versus the need to forgive, to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies. He acknowledges "a private storm of hatred" and lethal emotions "bottled up like some ever-expanding gas," while at the same time hearing from his heart - or his conscience - the need to forgive his attacker and to do it soon.
It's possible that some of Seth's pent-up fury for his attacker is unleashed on the soccer pitch where he is known as a bruising midfielder. He talked to me about the relationship between his soccer life and his academic life.
"Soccer is definitely a big part of my life, so I write about it," Seth said. "Playing soccer actually helped my study habits because it gave me a set schedule I had to follow. There was school, then practice, then homework. You have to concentrate on your schoolwork, because if you don't, you fail a class and you don't get to play soccer."
For Ellis's senior English class, Seth wrote about his final game as a Pagosa Pirate soccer player. He begins by describing the team's departure for the state playoffs in Lakewood:
"The bus pulled out of the high school parking lot and took us to the elementary school. Two hundred kids stood outside, our official send-off. We ran along side of them, and they gave us high-fives and bottles of Gatorade. Their smiling faces and screams boosted our morale; adrenaline surged through our veins. We left town under police escort."
This heroic send-off is then quickly deflated as the team's feeling of relative anonymity sets in:
"No one in town knew who we were or where we were going, but that didn't matter to us.
'Check it out,' Jacques called, 'These people don't have a clue who we are. All the cars are pulling over. They probably think that we're going to jail.' Then he screamed out the window to the staring onlookers, 'Get me out of here!' "
Seth then reflects on his soccer career, beginning in the preschool days, playing with his friends Peter Dach and Jacques Sarnow, and continuing to the "good old days" when these three and Aaron Renner played on Pirate teams in which the players were "dedicated to the season, to the sport and to each other," and concluding with the 9-0 defeat at the hands of eventual state 3A champions Colorado Academy.
After that game, Seth writes, "We walked off the field with our heads up, laughing a little at ourselves. The game mirrored our cursed season. I looked around at all of my teammates and it hit me, I would never have the honor of playing with any of these guys again."
While Seth impresses readers with his writing, it's not his first academic love. He likes the sciences best, followed by art. "Writing would definitely not be first," he said. "Somewhere in the middle, maybe. I just put my heart into it and make it the best I can."
The best thing about writing, Seth says, is the way it can "expand your creativity and be an outlet for your creativity. It's an art. I really enjoy writing personal essays. I don't enjoy doing research papers or argumentative essays."
Seth doesn't expect to focus on writing at the college level. "I'll be doing something with biology, preferably something outdoors," he said. "Maybe marine biology."
Pagosa news before the SUN
By John M. Motter
Settlement of the town of Pagosa Springs probably began in early 1878, the same year Fort Lewis came to town. The first Fort Lewis troops arrived in Pagosa Springs during October of 1878. A few months earlier, by June, Pagosa Springs had a post office and possibly 100 residents.
In terms of who lived where, the fort occupied the west side of the San Juan River with most of the buildings and parade grounds located where the main business block is today. Civilians lived on the east side of the river in a pattern stretching from today's San Juan Street south about a mile to a bridge and old river crossing. The wagon road from the south entered Pagosa Springs by way of Mill Creek in those days.
Pagosa Springs had no newspaper until 1890. Consequently, we have to look at newspapers from surrounding communities for clues as to what was happening in Pagosa Springs before 1890. If there had been a newspaper in Pagosa Springs in 1879, what would the headlines have been? We find this item in Silverton's La Plata Miner of May 24, 1879.
"Travel is increasing on the southern route from Alamosa. . .twenty teams arrived in Silverton during the past week, coming over the Animas Canyon Toll Road. Five teams loaded with household goods and families went through Animas Falls on Tuesday. They came by the Conejos cut-off road (the infant Cumbres Pass) and report the road good between Silverton and Alamosa. There will undoubtedly be a large travel into Silverton this season by the new route. The road between the Animas Valley and Pagosa Springs is being put in a first-class condition, and work on the military road (Elwood Pass) will be resumed with a large force soon and when finished the distance to Alamosa will not be over 175 miles over a route that. . .single teams can easily load 9,000 pounds. Better than that is that the iron horse will be snorting thirty miles south of Silverton within 15 months."
At that time, the iron horse had reached Alamosa. Freight and passengers from the east took the train to Alamosa, then freighted on wagons to the destination of choice in the San Juan Basin. Alamosa - Spanish for trees or cottonwoods - was a town newly formed expressly for Gen. Palmer and the Rio Grande Southern Railroad.
What about those settlers riding wagons westward with their wives, children, and household goods? What was on their minds? The La Plata Miner reported the following situation July 3, 1879:
"A battle is going on between the whites and Indians on the La Plata was the word that reached Pagosa Springs last week, and your correspondent started at once for the scene of the action, determined to get at the bottom facts and send the story to the ends of the earth by means of this great religious daily. To a 'tenderfoot' a ride of sixty miles in twelve hours over mountain roads would have been sufficient excuse for not starting to the seat of an Indian war, any old stager don't mind distance, fatigue, or danger when his friends are in peril.
"The road from Pagosa Springs to Animas City (Animas City was located in the north part of what today is Durango, around and north of Mercy Hospital. Durango was not organized until Gen. Palmer and his railroad arrived in 1880-1881.) skirts along the spurs of the mountains, a little north of the reservation of the Southern Utes, and though ordinarily one feels as safe in meeting the bands of Indians that are constantly on the road as in passing a load of white headed Kansas emigrants, the frequent appearance of dusky warriors mounted on fleet horses armed with the most approved pattern of long range rifles and painted in the most hideous style of Indian art, at a time when it is known that war is imminent is not very reassuring to a lonely traveler. Your correspondent knows many of the chiefs and head men of the tribes, and trusting to the friendship that they have always manifested for him, felt little apprehension of danger as he drove rapidly over the rough road, soon becoming entirely reassured as Indian after Indian accosted him with the Ute salutation 'Wano dias,' (Buenos dias) nodding pleasantly as they passed. Your correspondent soon became satisfied that no serious collision had taken place and when he arrived at Pine River post office (later named Bayfield), twenty miles from this place (Animas City), he learned from the white people there that there had been a fight but that Col. Page, the agent of the reservation hurried to the scene of the action, and that peace and order had been restored and all was quiet along the line. The belligerents met in council with the agent from Animas and settled the difficulty.
"It appears that at the animal roundup of cattle for the purpose of branding the calves that was progressing on the La Plata, some of the cattlemen had indulged too freely in the use of whiskey and one or two of the more turbulent had become quite belligerent. Gathered around the corral were six of Red Jacket's band, a sub-band of the Weminuches, one of the divisions of the Southern Utes of whom Ignacio is the chief. Angered by the presence of the Indians, a reckless young fellow by the name of Sharpe ordered them to go away and becoming mightily inflamed by the taunting refusal of the grinning savages to move, fired a pistol over their heads. The Indians at once retreated out of pistol range and opened fire from their rifles on the white men, who were compelled to keep to the shelter of their corrals ineffectually returning the fire with their pistols. After a brisk firing of half an hour, the Indians withdrew a little before night and sent runners on fleet horses to inform the agent and Ignacio, their chief, of the condition of affairs and to ask advice, and if necessary, assistance.
"The whites had, by this time, become thoroughly alarmed. The men engaged in the hostile demonstrations are the owners of immense herds of cattle that roam throughout the Indian reservation, and are liable to destruction when the Indians feeling aggrieved set out to seek revenge for the destruction of property. Nor was the loss of property the only thing to be feared. The homes of the whites are scattered from Beaver Creek to the Dolores, a distance of 100 miles, hemmed in on the north by an impassable mountain barrier, and on the south by the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, upon which are 250 hardy Indian warriors as ever rode on the warpath, amply provided with firearms and ammunition and owners of more than 1,000 as fleet horses as can be found anywhere in the world. No wonder that men whose wives and little ones were at the tender mercy of such a foe would feel that they had sowed to the wind and might reap the whirlwind." (Continued next week)
At Your Disposal
Kathy Young owns and operates At Your Disposal, a new and locally-owned trash collection business.
At Your Disposal provides residential and commercial trash collection Monday through Friday in all parts of Archuleta County, with carts provided to customers in both categories. The business began operations on Nov. 1.
Young intends to begin pickup of recyclable items in December in conjunction with a county-supported recycling program.
Call 264-4891 for information.
Could be raindrops falling on your head
By John M. Motter
Pagosa Area residents might enjoy a few rain drops this morning, according to National Weather Service forecaster Michael Meyers of Grand Junction.
The local forecast through Sunday calls for partly-cloudy skies with isolated showers this morning, dry weather Friday and Saturday, and a chance for showers Saturday night and Sunday, Meyers said. Temperatures will range from highs in the low 50s to lows from 15 to 25 degrees.
If rain visits the area, it will be the first measurable precipitation in Pagosa Country since Oct. 6, a span of 43 days. An unmeasurable trace of rain fell Oct. 28.
"A disturbance now in northern Nevada is moving into the area Wednesday night," Meyers said. "There will be some clearing and then another disturbance moves in Saturday night and Sunday morning."
Low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska has weakened, causing the high pressure ridge over the central Rockies to weaken, according to Meyers. As a result, the polar jet stream has moved south allowing disturbances to move from west to east across the central Rockies.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has issued winter weather warning and advisory criteria common to Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Warnings and advisories are provided for individual events defined as a 24-hour time period.
For western Colorado and Utah, a heavy snow warning anticipates six inches or more of snow in valleys per event, up to 12 inches in mountains, and up to four inches in the Grand Valley and Moab, Utah, areas.
A snow advisory anticipates three to six inches of snow per event in valleys, five to 12 inches in mountains, and two to four inches in the Grand Valley and Moab areas.
A winter storm warning is issued whenever a combination of significant snowfall near the heavy snow warning criteria and other events such as strong winds occur.
A snow and blowing snow advisory is issued whenever a combination of advisory criteria snowfall and areas of blowing, drifting snow are expected.
High wind warnings anticipate sustained winds of 40 miles per hour for one hour or more, or gusts of 58 mph or more for any length of time in valleys. High wind warnings for the mountains anticipate sustained winds of 50 mph or more for one hour or more or gusts of 75 mph for any length of time.
Wind advisories anticipate sustained winds of 31 mph for three hours or more or gusts of 45 mph or more for three hours or more in valleys. In the mountains, wind advisories anticipate sustained winds of 40 mph or more for three hours or more or gusts of 58 mph or more for three hours or more.
A wind chill warning anticipates temperatures of minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler with winds of 10 mph or greater.
National winter weather warning criteria used by the Grand Junction office include the following:
- Blizzard warning - Snow and/or blowing snow reducing prevailing visibility to less than one-quarter mile, and sustained winds for 35 mph or greater for three hours or more.
- Dense fog advisory - A dense fog advisory is issued when visibility is reduced to less than one-quarter mile in a significant area.
- Blowing dust advisory - A blowing dust advisory is issued when visibility is reduced to less than one-quarter mile in a given area.
- Smoke advisory - A smoke advisory is issued when visibility is reduced to less than one-quarter mile in a given area.
- Freeze warning - A freeze warning is issued when the temperature drops to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or less at the beginning or the end of growing seasons.
The dividing line between mountains and valleys is arbitrarily set at 7,000 feet in western Colorado, according to Jim Pringle, the warning coordination meteorologist at the Grand Junction office.
Since Pagosa Springs is at an elevation of about 7,000 feet, the town falls on the dividing line. Is it mountain or valley?
"When issuing weather warnings concerning Pagosa Springs, we think of it as valley," Pringle said.
Weather warnings and advisories are normally broadcast over local radio stations, the weather television channel, on the Internet and through newspaper wire services, according to Pringle.