Don't get used to this snow
By John M. Motter
Pagosa Country welcomed 1.47 inches of snowfall Monday, the first precipitation in town since Oct. 6 and the first significant snowfall in town this season.
More snow for the Thanksgiving holidays is unlikely, according to forecasters from the Grand Junction National Weather Service office. A slight chance for scattered snow showers exists for Wednesday.
Conditions should return to dry and warmer starting Thursday and lasting until Thursday of next week, according to Dan Cuevas of the Grand Junction office. During that span of days, high temperatures should range from the upper 30s to the mid-40s. Lows should be between 10 and 20 degrees.
The thermometer plunged to 11 degrees Monday night, the coldest reading of the season. The average cold reading for the week was 18 degrees, while the average high reading was 54 degrees.
Meanwhile, folks looking forward to the traditional Thanksgiving opening of Wolf Creek Ski Area are being disappointed this year.
"We received about eight inches over a 24-hour period," said Rosanne Haidorfer-Pitcher, the marketing director at the ski area, "not enough to open. We need at least another foot or two of wet, heavy snow to form a base."
Last year, the ski area opened Oct. 30, the earliest date ever, according to Haidorfer-Pitcher. The last time the resort failed to open by Thanksgiving was 1989 when the opening was delayed until Dec. 22.
"We opened Dec. 22 because people were coming, but we only had one foot of base," Haidorfer-Pitcher said. "After Christmas we received a good snowfall, but the opening was miserable."
Meanwhile the addition of a quad-chairlift and other improvements at Wolf Creek are on schedule and nearing completion, Haidorfer-Pitcher said.
PLPOA may soften stance on parked RVs
By Roy Starling
At their regular monthly meeting in September, the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association directors unanimously supported the Environmental Control Committee's enforcement of a declaration of restriction which apparently prohibited the parking of recreational vehicles in neighborhoods.
At their regular monthly meeting in December, they may modify that position.
At a special meeting Tuesday morning, an ad hoc "RV" committee made the following recommendation to the board:
"In the subdivisions where there are no specific RV restrictions, RVs are permissible. Included within such category are travel trailers, motor homes - including converted van types - truck campers, camping trailers and pickup covers that are mobile."
This recommendation will be on the agenda for the December meeting at which time the board will vote either to approve it or not. That meeting will be held Thursday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.
The restriction in question reads as follows: "No temporary house, trailer, tent, garage, or other outbuilding shall be placed or erected on any lot, provided, however, that the (ECC) may grant permission for any such temporary structure for storage of materials during construction. No such temporary structures as may be approved shall be used at any time as a dwelling place, nor shall any overnight camping be permitted on any lot."
At Tuesday morning's meeting, the recommendations and opinions of two attorneys were made public. PLPOA counsel Tanis Duncan said that "most of the subdivisions have adopted the Master Declaration provisions which provides that 'trailers' are not permitted in the lots," and noted that several subdivisions have "specific provisions regarding the overnight parking of recreational vehicles."
Jerry Orten of Orten and Hindman recommended against adopting "an absolute prohibition against recreational vehicles in the community, especially in those communities where recreational vehicles are expressly permitted, and given the nature of your community."
Orten also offered the following recommendations:
- "Evaluate the problems caused by recreational vehicles in order to determine whether rules and regulations are necessary"
- "Involve residents and owners in the process of drafting rules and regulations" regarding RVs to maximize support
- "Only adopt and enforce uniform rules"
- "Consider amending the Declarations that preclude the rules desired" if the "varying approaches in the Declarations prohibit the uniform rules you desire"
- "Allow us (Orten and Hindman) to review any proposed rules and regulations before they become effective for clarity and consistency with the governing documents and the law"
- Do not grandfather existing RVs "because of the administrative burdens and the perception of selective enforcement."
Recycling program returns to Archuleta County
By John M. Motter
Recycling is again possible in Archuleta County. Tuesday during the regular meeting of the county commissioners, the commissioners lifted the moratorium against recycling that was enacted early last December.
The last obstacle to reinstating the recycling program was overcome when the county decided to hire an attendant for the recycling reception point located at the transfer station on Trujillo Road.
Persons wishing to recycle can haul recyclable materials to the Trujillo Road site or to the county transfer site in Arboles. Currently being accepted for recycling are newspapers, magazines, aluminum and steel cans, and junk mail.
No charge is made for dropping off recyclable materials. A one dollar coupon is required in order to drop off household wastes other than recyclables at either transfer station. Coupons may be purchased at banks or the downtown City Market in Pagosa Springs and at the Piñon Hills Cafe in Arboles.
Recycling became an issue last year when commissioners learned that a large proportion of the material shipped to recycling centers in Durango was being rejected because of contamination. Consequently, the materials were returned to the Archuleta County landfill. Nevertheless, the county had to pay Waste Management to transport the materials. Contamination is the inclusion of any materials other than those that are recyclable with the recyclable materials.
A two-fold approach may solve the problem. First, the number of sites for dropping off recylables has been reduced to the two sites mentioned. Second, an attendant will be on hand at each site and will be charged with making sure the recylables are not contaminated.
The preliminary county budget for the Year 2000 anticipates $40,600 in revenues and expenses connected with recycling.
3 candidates apply for county attorney position
By John M. Motter
The Archuleta County commissioners have received proposals from three attorneys interested in becoming the official legal representative for the county. The current county attorney is Larry Holthus.
One of the proposal packets has been submitted by Holthus. The others were submitted by Mary Deganhart-Weiss of Pagosa Springs and the firm of Goldman, Robbins and Rogers LLP, of Durango.
No action was taken concerning the proposals. The commissioners will study each of the proposals and be prepared to act at their Dec.7 or Dec. 14 meeting.
The commissioners will not meet next week. Commissioners Gene Crabtree, Bill Downey and Ken Fox and County Manager Dennis Hunt will be attending Colorado Counties Inc. meetings in Colorado Springs next week.
In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:
- Listened to an annual update presented by Ed Morlan, executive director of the Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado. The district includes Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, and San Juan counties, and the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian tribes. The report contained an update on Southwest Colorado Telecommunications development, a draft intergovernmental agreement for Beanpole Implementation and Energy Impact Assistance funding, and a draft letter of intent to apply for Energy Impact Assistance funding. In general, the talk concerned plans for improving telecommunications linkage between Albuquerque and Grand Junction, with subsequent development of local areas along the route.
Beanpole Funding is the name given funding provided by H.B. 99-1101 to pay for local public offices to connect with the State Multiuse Network.
- Agreed to help the Pagosa Fire Protection District obtain an Energy and Mineral Impact Grant to finance expansion of the Lake Hatcher Fire Station and to purchase an additional tanker truck. The expansion and tanker are said to be necessary in order to provide fire protection for the newly included 15-square-mile area just north of Fairfield Pagosa and adjacent to Piedra Road.
- Agreed to provide $5,000 of in-kind help for the Pagosa Lakes non-motorized trail project. The county will become the lead agency in an application for a GoCo grant sought for the project, subject to final approval by the county attorney.
Community mourns Bramwell's passing
Frances S. Bramwell, a lifelong resident of the Chromo area died Nov. 17, 1999, in Pagosa Springs. She was 88.
Mrs. Frances Shahan Bramwell was born Sept. 3, 1911, in Chromo. She married Edwin J. Bramwell in 1941 at Lumberton, N.M. The couple ranched in Chromo for many years.
She was active in 4-H and was the overall Archuleta County leader for several years. An excellent horsewoman, Mrs. Bramwell was a member of the Colorado Cowbelles and served as president of the local chapter. She was a member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. She was a generous lady who enjoyed cooking and helping those in need. She is remembered as being a good mother and grandmother who loved time with her family.
Mrs. Bramwell is survived by a daughter, Agnes Dale of Durango; two sons, Jim Bramwell and Richard Bramwell, both of Chromo; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Mr. Ed Bramwell, in 1992; and by her brothers Mr. George "Babe" Shahan and Mr. John Shahan.
A mass of Christian burial for Mrs. Bramwell was held Tuesday, Nov. 23, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church with Father John Bowe officiating. Burial followed at Hilltop Cemetery.
Contributions in memory of Mrs. Bramwell may be made to the Pagosa Springs Enterprises Indoor Rodeo Arena, Box 1841, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.
Teachers react to standardized tests
By Roy Starling
On a statewide level, the quality of education is increasingly being measured &emdash; or at least judged &emdash; by a battery of standardized tests. Schools that can't get their students to perform well on the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests run the risk of losing their accreditation.
CSAP tests are already in place for third, fourth and seventh graders in reading and writing, and soon there will be more tests for more grades on more subjects. Eighth graders will take CSAP tests on math and science next spring. In the spring of 2001, 10th graders will be tested on reading, writing and math.
Teachers and administrators from District 50 Joint's elementary and junior high schools have expressed a determination to meet the state-imposed standards, but have also questioned the tests' ability to accurately measure how well a student reads or writes.
For another year, high school teachers are free from the burden of preparing their students for this high-stakes standardized test, but their day is coming soon. How do they feel about this sort of testing? What elements of a student's learning do they believe cannot be gauged by standardized testing? Here are some responses from an informal survey of Pagosa Springs High School teachers.
How much can a standardized test tell us about a student's writing? Not so much, according to English teacher Jack Ellis. "I don't think they've devised any kind of standardized measuring device for writing," he said. "I suppose a writing sample could tell you something."
Ellis believes writing "can be measured, but it (the assessment) has to be something continuous, because writing is a process. A good test should evaluate not only style, organization and content, but also individual growth. Standardized tests can't measure growth, depth of analysis or style, nor can they truly measure the dynamic aspects of writing."
For Ellis, "All good writing comes from the heart, and writing on standardized tests does not come from the heart."
Ellis also noted that students don't have a lot of motivation to do well on standardized tests &emdash; there is absolutely no payoff for them. "If you must use standardized testing," he said, "make it worth something to the kids. They risk nothing, they earn nothing."
Fellow English teacher Nancy Esterbrook agrees with Ellis that lack of student motivation is one of many problems with standardized testing. "How do you get students to care about it? How do you make it meaningful for them? They have nothing to gain from doing well," Esterbrook said.
Esterbrook cited many other flaws in the standardized approach. "These tests can't gauge a student's ability to learn collaboratively. They don't test how students think or how they use their minds. They don't ask kids to apply what they've learned to their own lives and to the world as they see it. There is no speaking component. These tests don't ask students to use multiple intelligences &emdash; like music, art, kinesthetics &emdash; and sometimes these are the ways kids can best tell us what they know."
And if a student is highly creative? "That's not going to show up on the test," Esterbrook said. "And because they're only writing for one day, the test can't show how well they research or how they synthesize or put things together or make connections."
Essentially, when you try to evaluate a student on a two-hour pencil-and-paper test, "you don't give kids an opportunity to shine by showing what they know," Esterbrook said. "There's no choice in it. They can only respond one way."
History teacher Randy Roberts also found little to like in standardized testing. "They limit students' choices and they limit exploration," he said. "Standardized tests really direct students towards outcomes that are arbitrary to themselves and to the process of learning."
Roberts has nothing against setting standards for students to meet, but he's skeptical about the nature of standards that CSAP tests allegedly measure. "Generally, those standards are created by people who want to be able to measure one place against another for political reasons," he said. That comparison, according to Roberts, is bound to be flawed, because "schools, places and people are all different."
The lock-step standards approach is becoming increasingly out of place as student bodies become more varied. "Students now are more diverse in background and learning style," Roberts said. "Standardized tests don't take this into consideration. It's really important for educators to meet the needs of diverse learners and the needs of a changing student profile."
Roberts acknowledges that there may be "good standardized tests out there, but when a school is forced by an outside entity to live up to its standard irrespective of the make-up of the school and when the school is threatened with loss of funds if it doesn't live up to that external standard, it's just self-defeating. It doesn't help learning, but it possibly could help someone get elected."
History teacher Doug Hershey believes that, in general, "it's very hard for a pencil-and-paper test to measure analytical skills as far as processing information and coming to reasoned conclusions based on the information provided."
Hershey said that in social studies, there are many questions or problems for which there is no "correct" answer. "You gather the best evidence possible and come to a reasoned conclusion &emdash; but there can be more than one conclusion," he said. "How can a multiple-choice test contrive to measure such things?"
Roberts seemed to sum up the prevailing attitude about the heavy-handed reliance on standardized tests as a means of assessing student learning and accrediting school districts.
"I've been hearing about the 'winds of change' coming to education for some time," he said. "When they get here, it'll be a sad day for education and a sad day for this building in particular, because we're really trying to do what's best for the students."
What are some other more productive, flexible and accurate means of assessment? Next week, the SUN will report on some teachers' efforts to answer this question.
Dispatch operation honored for outstanding work
By Karl Isberg
Each year, the Colorado chapter of the National Emergency Number Association presents an award to an emergency dispatch operation in the state that does outstanding work for the agencies and population it serves.
This year, the N.E.N.A. award went to the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department Communications Center.
Julie Blair, vice-president of the Colorado chapter of N.E.N.A. informed center supervisor Sgt. Kim Kinion of the award in a letter dated Nov. 4. Blair congratulated the staff at the communications center and sent a plaque and cash award "as appreciation to a team of dedicated and loyal dispatchers."
A letter of nomination was sent to N.E.N.A. in July by Corp. Scott Dahler, who assists Kinion in supervisory duties at the communications center. "I feel our department is very qualified for this award," wrote Dahler. "Our department does a tremendous amount of work for a small agency and our dispatchers handle themselves extremely well under the pressures presented to them."
In his letter, Dahler highlighted the rapidly expanding service population in the local area and noted that the center, with five dispatchers and two supervisors, handles dispatches for two local law enforcement agencies, two local fire departments (Pagosa Fire Protection District and Archuleta County firefighters), Emergency Medical Services, Upper San Juan Search and Rescue, and numerous secondary agencies.
The communications center does its work with four 9-1-1 lines, five business lines and four radio channels.
"This may not seem a great deal compared to a large agency," wrote Dahler, "but considering we have only one dispatcher on duty at a time, it can make for some very busy shifts. Last year we dispatched over 5,600 calls. This year we expect to have over 6,000 calls."
All members of the communications center staff are Emergency Medical Dispatch certified and can give emergency medical instructions over the phone while a response is on the way. Without an enhanced 9-1-1 system, those staff members, said Dahler, "sometimes have to use good problem solving skills to figure out callers' locations. We also have to be prepared to handle several calls simultaneously, complete an extraordinary amount of paper work, and still retain the courteousness and efficiency to deal with the responders and the public. In short, our single dispatcher on duty is easily overwhelmed, but because of our teamwork and concern and support for each other we are able to provide an outstanding service to all of our user agencies as well as to the public."
The folks at N.E.N.A agreed and a plaque recognizing the achievements of the local staff was hung on the wall of the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department Communication Center this week.
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.
Reuben Marques is a man that should be remembered by all Pagosans, those who knew him and those who never did.
I feel that Reuben was one of the first people I met or maybe one of the first who made me and my family feel welcome to the Pagosa community four years ago.
Reuben was a World War II vet. As a young man in 1940 he volunteered to join the British Army and fought against the Nazi's in North Africa. He was captured by the Germans and was able to escape. He evaded recapture for more than a week in the desert and finally was able to link up with other British forces. Later in the war he joined the U.S. Army and landed at Auntie in Italy. Reuben was one of a thousand Gins surrounded by the Germans at Bastogne. Their refusal to surrender was a key part in winning the Battle of the Bulge. By the grace of God, Reuben survived the war receiving significant decorations from the U.S. and British armies.
Reuben returned to the U.S., married his wife, Ruth, and then started their family. As a vet he was able to get a job with the U.S. Forest Service but as a Hispanic he had to push hard for his civil rights and that of his co-workers. Reuben held several management positions in the Forest Service before he retired after 30-plus years of federal service.
Reuben is a great person. He has gone to his next life. I thank him for making me feel accepted in the Pagosa community. May God bless Reuben and all of us.
Raymond P. Finned
What talent we have in this area as shown through the Music Boosters presentations and the displays presented at the Arts Center in Town Park.
We also have people who just want to offer an outlet for talent and provide a place of fun and relaxation so the rest of us can just enjoy. Thus, we have the Whistle Pig Open Mike nights presented by Kent Grunter and Julia and Stuart Royston. And now we have the Reading Society and Ensemble at a dinner theater presented at Luridness.
Each of these venues will be presented on a monthly basis, along with the Film Society.
Check Kate's Calendar in the SUN for all of the details.
I would like to share the following "Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation" that was issued by President George Washington while serving as the first president of the United States of America.
"Whereas, It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His Protection and Favor; And, whereas, both houses of Congress have, by their Joint Committee, requested me 'To recommend to the people of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many Signal Favors of Almighty God, especially in affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Form of Government for their safety and happiness.'
"Now, therefore, I recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these states to the service of the Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.
"Given under my hand at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine. George Washington"
Turkey Lane update
For those of you who have been following the ongoing dispute regarding Turkey Lane, Millard Logging Inc. and Colorado Department of Transportation; we would like to give you an update.
First of all we would like to thank the hundreds of friends, customers and concerned citizens that offered support for us throughout all of this. We greatly appreciate it.
We were asked by the county commissioners to attend a special meeting today (Nov. 18) involving COT, the county commissioners, Aspen Springs Metropolitan District and the business owners on Turkey Lane.
Upon attending, we were told by Melinda Nichols of COT, that Aspen Springs Metro would not accept responsibility for the Turkey Lane access unless the business owners co-signed the application. Thus if we did not sign, she would name us as "hostile" property owners, take legal action against us for noncompliance and then see to it that Turkey Lane was closed. In turn, Commissioners Ken Fox and Bill Downing stated that if we did not sign the application, they would vote to have our certificate of occupancy revoked and hold the C.O. for the newly-developing businesses until they also signed.
So basically we were forced into signing an application, that leaves us open to unlimited financial liability, in order to keep our business.
At one point in the meeting Melinda Nichols made reference to another business that faced a similar problem. Her response to the situation was "fortunately they went bankrupt before it became an issue." So does that sum up the attitude of COT and Archuleta County toward small business? We tend to believe so.
For any of you out there that are thinking of putting a business in Archuleta County, understand this: not only will you be responsible for the property taxes; the state and county sales taxes; the state withholding taxes, unemployment taxes and workman's compensation on any employees you may need; and (God forbid, you happen to make any money after all that) income tax; you will also be responsible for any highway improvements that COT deems necessary. Watch out, because according to Melinda Nichols the rules are changing daily.
We have had a business in Pagosa Springs since 1990, we have always paid our taxes and we've tried to be honest and fair toward anyone we deal with. Over the last nine years our business has put a substantial amount of money through Archuleta County. During this last year we've been treated like criminals for trying to defend our rights as tax payers, and trying to maintain the livelihood that we have built.
As soon as humanly possible, we will be relocating to any other county, and we will strongly discourage anyone we know from coming here. At one time we were excited about establishing a business here. Now it's hard to remember why.
Charles and Holly Millard
Editor's note: It is surprising the county is reversing itself on what had been a long-standing position of separating itself from COT demands on private property owners. Also, it is another example of the COT bureaucracy disregarding the very citizens and municipalities it is supposedly serving.
I have recently learned that Pagosa Springs has been slowly letting our greatest cultural resources slip away. The Spanish Fiesta may disband its board, simultaneously members of the Southern Ute Grassroots Organization informed me that traditionally the Southern Ute and the JICARILLA people had a venue to participate in social gatherings in Pagosa Springs. Today these venues are no longer available.
According to the last census, over 20 percent of Archuleta County is inhabited by people of Hispanic heritage. Additionally, based on a study conducted by Operation Healthy Communities in Durango, Archuleta County's cultural events make up a mere 1 percent of the community-wide events. As we are all aware by many forms of popular media, our town is growing by leaps and bounds. Some of us want change and others don't. As I see it, change is inevitable in Pagosa Springs. The best thing that we can work for is to make these changes a positive growth opportunity.
As the facilitator for a local group named Chimney Rock Connection, I can say that we are implementing many cultural programs that will enhance community pride by highlighting the diverse background of Pagosa Springs. We are sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Arts Council and are looking for individuals and groups seeking community representation in the arts and other social arenas. If you look around at other successful and healthy communities that have had to recently contend with growth issues there will always be a strong representation in the ethnic communities. Let's implement this quality into Pagosa Springs and help celebrate our ethnic diversity by getting involved in Pagosa's cultural endeavors. If you love living here, as most of us do, you owe it to the community to get involved.
Chimney Rock Connection
The Pagosa Quarter Midget Association has recently completed its first season of racing for kids. It has been an exciting and learning experience for all those involved. We had 13 families consisting of approximately 20 drivers involved in training this season. We began training on the parking lot at the Village Center and completed our season on a high bank dirt oval located on school property near Vista Boulevard and U.S. 160.
Many of the kids involved traveled to Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Denver to train and race with other clubs. The Pagosa Springs drivers learned quickly and did well at the other locations. Our Pagosa drivers consistently brought home awards for their efforts.
We would like to thank the many sponsors who helped us through our first season and ask that everyone in the community become involved in supporting and enjoying this great family recreational opportunity. Have a "Rocky Mountain High."
As I am certain you are aware by now, the e-mail that I forwarded to you (which you subsequently diligently printed) was partially incorrect. The portion regarding a bill numbered 36-37P attempting to levy a surcharge for e-mail was totally inaccurate. While I understand there have even been television news magazine articles about this so-called attempt, it evaded my scrutiny. Had I perused the e-mail a little closer, I also would have recognized the non-conforming bill number (i.e. 36-37P instead of the normal S602).
The portion of this ill-fated e-mail regarding the attempts by telecommunications providers to allow them to charge for all time spent on line is not a hoax and indeed, was attempted in the Colorado Legislature last session.
I apologize for not catching the erroneous portion of that e-mail prior to forwarding. Thank you for being so willing to share potential freedom thwarting information on to your readers.
Rep. Mark Larson
Editor's note: My thanks to Gary Waples of Pagosa Springs for e-mailing Rep. Larson asking that he send a "large retraction" for the misinformation contained in last week's column. Also, I commend Mark's concern, though misguided in this instance, for his constituents.
Local resident Bob Hakes, 70, died in his home in Pagosa Springs on Saturday, Nov. 20, 1999.
Mr. Hakes was born July 13, 1929, to Harvey and Julia Hakes in Big Timber, Mont. He was one of five children. He and his wife Phyllis were married on Jan. 7, 1957, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs.
The Hakes moved from Pagosa Springs for a period of time and returned in 1965 to settle here permanently. Mr. Hakes served in the U.S. Navy. He also worked for years as a miner for excavating companies.
He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Phyllis Hakes, of Pagosa Springs; his mother, Mrs. Julia Hakes; his brother, Bill Hakes; his sisters, Jeannie Durham, Betty Davis and Joan Sciaini.
A memorial service for Mr. Hakes was held Monday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Hospice of Mercy, 95 South Pagosa Boulevard, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.
Frances S. Bramwell
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.
Pioneer descendant is true recycler
Former Pagosa Springs resident Mrs. Frances Davis is a true recycler. It runs in the family.
Mrs. Davis is descended from pioneers who came to Colorado when times were hard, and truly learned the principle of "waste not, want not" which today falls under the category of recycling. As a retiree, she now lives in Aurora near her daughter, Noreen, and grandchildren.
According to her friend Carol Tindell, for the past 15 years, Mrs. Davis's recycling project has involved recycling discarded dolls for the Salvation Army. She "dolls up" over a hundred dolls per year for the Salvation Army Stores for a program called "Twice Loved Dolls."
Salvation Army representatives give Mrs. Davis dolls that have reached the "throw away" condition so that she can fix them up. The refurbishing involves cleaning the dolls thoroughly, washing and styling each doll's hair, and when necessary, making wigs for the dolls. She then designs the "just right attire" for each doll and in turn sews the dress from her reserve of assorted recycled cloth. In some cases, Mrs. Davis will crochet a beautiful dress for the doll.
Though creating the "Twice Loved Dolls" requires demanding skills and is time consuming, Mrs. Davis said she is glad to donate her time to the project.
Mrs. Davis is not alone in donating her time towards her recycling, her son, Ralph "Plumber" Davis still lives in Pagosa Springs and carries on the family's recycling tradition. Neighbors regularly see him picking up trash to keep the roadways near his home on Apache Street clean. Until a few months ago, he picked up the trash on Trujillo Road on a weekly basis, as a donated community service.
To many in Pagosa, Mr. Davis is the "Mr. Fix-it" who has repaired and given away many items that otherwise would have been thrown away. Besides his skills of sharpening saws and repairing small gasoline engines, Mr. Davis is also known for his talents at making wind-driven "folk art" whirley-jigs from recycled aluminum cans, plastic bottles and miscellaneous materials.
Coach remembers decade of success
By Karl Isberg
Check the roster of active Colorado Class 3A volleyball coaches and you find only four who have shepherded their programs through the entire decade of the '90s.
If you look at statistics for Class 3A volleyball teams during the decade that ended with the recently-completed season, you see there is only one active coach with more than 200 wins.
Look for the coach who fits in both categories and you find Penné Hamilton, coach of the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates.
Hamilton, Buena Vista's Karen Dils, Beth Burns of Rye and now retired Melanie Taylor of Ignacio are the only 3A coaches who stayed with their program for the entire decade.
Hamilton is the only one of the four coaches who built a program that rose to the top levels of the 3A ranks and stayed there.
With 15 years at the helm, Hamilton has a tenure unmatched in the 3A classification. She has seen volleyball in Pagosa Springs and the state of Colorado evolve from the picnic game of the '70s and early '80s into the demanding sport it is today - a sport that showcases premiere female athletes and features lightning-fast offenses, set plays and complex offensive and defensive schemes.
With a 204-59 record during the past 10 seasons, the Lady Pirates became a perennial top-10 Class 3A team in Colorado. The program's .775 winning percentage stands among the best posted in any of Colorado's five volleyball classifications in the '90s.
During the '90s, Hamilton's teams won the regular season Intermountain League title 8 of 10 times.
Lady Pirate teams won the district championship eight times, including five consecutive tournaments at the end of the decade.
Pagosa teams went undefeated in league competition from the middle of the 1995 season to the present.
In 9 of 10 years, the Lady Pirates advanced to the regional tournament and won four straight regional championships, 1995 to 1998.
Hamilton took her team to the Colorado state 3A tournament six times during the decade.
Throughout the past 10 years, no one asked if the team would do well; fans had the luxury of observing a dynasty in the making.
The 1990 Lady Pirate team was 16-6, winning the regular season IML title, and capturing the district championship.
In 1991, the Ladies went 18-7, winning the IML regular season race and the district championship. The team took second place at the regional tournament and advanced to the state tourney at Denver.
The 1993 version of the Ladies tied for the regular season title, won the district tournament and placed third at the regional championships.
A 14-6 record was posted by the team in 1993, resulting in a second-place IML regular season finish. As low-water marks go, 14-6 is not bad.
In 1994, the 23-6 Lady Pirates finished second in the regular season league standings, won the district championships, finished second at the regional tournament and qualified for the state tournament.
The 1995 Ladies were first in the regular season league standings, won the district championship, won the regional championship, played in the state tournament and compiled a 21-8 record.
In 1996, the Ladies finished the year with a 27-3 record - the best in program history - won a regular season title, a district championship, a regional championship and made another appearance at state.
Lady Pirates in 1997 ended the year 22-6, with a regular season crown, a title at districts, a regional championship trophy and a trip to state.
Another set of three titles - league, district and regional - were added to the record by the 1998 Ladies who finished with an appearance at state and a 26-4 record.
The final team of the decade captured the 1999 IML title and won the district championship. The team took third at the regional tournament and finished the season with a 20-6 record.
It is a story most programs would love to tell.
The tale involves progress across a 10-year period, measured in terms of coaching, player ability, and player development
"If you look at the statistics," said Hamilton, "we've become a dominant program in volleyball in the last 10 years."
How does a program from the southwest corner of the state join ranks with traditional 3A powers like Manitou Springs, St. Mary's, Platte Valley and Faith Christian?
"I attribute a lot of it to the fact that a local volleyball club program was started in Pagosa Springs eight years ago," said Hamilton. The Pagosa Springs Volleyball Club, a private, non-profit organization, provides skills instruction for local athletes during the summer months. A second local club, affiliated with the U.S. Volleyball Association, was formed last year to provide high school-age players with competition against clubs from other Four Corners programs.
Hamilton believes the key to a system that endures and succeeds is to engage athletes at an early age. "The younger kids get excited about being good at volleyball," she said, "and you get a commitment to being good. Volleyball in Pagosa Springs has progressed steadily during the last 10 years and in the second half of the decade the results began to show up. We knew it would work; we just had to be patient and wait. Now, every year, we have fifth and sixth graders who will be great volleyball players if they stay with it."
Success also comes as a result of good coaching and Hamilton credits her assistants during the decade with helping to move the high school program forward. Those assistants include Robyn Bennett, Shonny Vanlandingham, Denise McCabe and current assistants Shelly Wedemeyer and Connie O'Donnell.
"As a staff, we've tried to go to coaching clinics for training," said Hamilton. "Earlier in the decade, we went to a lot of coaching clinics and we weren't shy about asking questions. I've picked the brains of many college coaches, getting ideas about what to do. The off-season time spent by the coaches has been as important as the off-season time spent by players. Pagosa Springs has finally found a way to overcome the disadvantage caused by where we live, away from the big volleyball centers in the state."
Noting that the overwhelming majority of college athletic scholarships given to Lady Pirate athletes during the '90s went to volleyball players, Hamilton credits her athletes for the program's success.
"We've had some great players," said Hamilton. "We had 11 all-state players in the program during the '90s and numerous all-conference players. Of those players, we had three - Mandy Forrest, Sara Fredrickson and Ivy Isberg - who were named as conference 'Player of the Year.' Sara was named twice, as a junior and as a senior. The most interesting thing about our all-state players is they were homegrown, produced here in Pagosa Springs. None of them transferred in."
Asked to look back on the decade and pick a team she would take into battle if she had her biggest game tomorrow, Hamilton selected 11 players.
"There have been some wonderful players during the decade," said the coach. "I have a lot to pick from. As my outside hitters," she said, "I would pick Jancy Savage ('96-'98) and Ivy Isberg ('94-'96). Jancy was one of my all-around top players. Ivy I would pick because she was my greatest leader and she had great athletic ability.
"My starting middle hitters would be Sara Fredrickson ('96-'98) and Mandy Forrest ('97-'99). Sara is my absolute best athlete in the decade; very dedicated, with a lot of heart, a real power. Mandy blossomed in her senior year; she was a very smart hitter, and probably ran the quick offense better than anyone.
"My right-side outside would be Jenifer Lister ('94-'96) and she would be my second setter on the court. She could do a lot, but was hampered by an ankle injury her senior year. The starter at setter would be Bekka Formwalt ('89-'91). Bekka was very smart and had a lot of experience.
"I would pick five other players to come off the bench. At the outside I would have Mollie Driesens ('95-'96) and Tiffanie Hamilton ('97 to present). Mollie had great ability but basically played only one year of varsity. At that, she was all-state. Tiffanie is one of my strongest outsides ever, and she has great heart.
"My final three selections would be Stacey Wilson ('89-'91) in the middle, Katie Lancing ('99) and Meigan Canty ('98-'99). In the early '90s, before the game got as fast as it is, if there was an overset anywhere near Stacey, it was gone. Katie was only a sophomore this season, but her technique was the best I've seen. Give her another year of experience, then ask me this question again. If I include a defensive specialist and I had to name my best back-row player of the decade, it would be Meigan Canty."
And what if Hamilton had her '90s dream team together?
"It would be scary," she said. "Truly scary. And I could pick a whole other team, with many of the other players I've had, and still put an excellent team on the court."
Hamilton has watched her great players closely enough to know how they got that way. They all started early, she said, and they all benefited from natural talent and good coaching. But, there was something else.
"There is a common denominator here," she said. "They were all hard-working, dedicated athletes who would do things on their own to improve their athletic ability during the off-season. They would work without a coach looking over their shoulders. They are the ones who would stay after practice to work on things, to get better. When you look at the success of a program, you have to give a lot of credit to this kind of athlete. I've been lucky to have them here during the last 10 years."
Will there be another decade guiding the Lady Pirate program?
"I don't know yet," said Hamilton. "Possibly. It's been a lot of fun. The thing that keeps all coaches going is the kids - the players themselves. They keep you coming back when you get frustrated with all the things that happen off the court and outside the program that you can't control. If I could have six to eight of the kind of kids I just named on my team every year, well. . . ."
The Lady Pirates and Hamilton begin the next volleyball decade in September 2000.
Pirates harbor high hopes for hoop season
By John M. Motter
More than 35 high school boys sporting big sneakers and bigger dreams are dribbling and passing basketballs in the high school gym under the watchful eyes of head coach Kyle Canty and assistants David Gallegos and Sean O'Donnell.
Canty hopes to follow the bouncing balls all of the way to the state playoffs next spring.
"Right now, I feel we have a chance to be a good team," Canty said. Canty is beginning his third season as head coach of the boy's varsity. "We may have the best balance we've ever had."
The Pirates have a schedule to match their hopes. Regular season play starts Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 in Cortez at the Cortez Tournament. Included in the Cortez field, in addition to Pagosa Springs and host Cortez, are Monticello, Utah, and Delta. Canty would like to duplicate his team's effort of two years ago when they came home with the tournament trophy.
"Our pre-season schedule includes some tough teams," Canty said, "But I think we'll be competitive in every game. When the league season starts, you have to consider Monte Vista the favorite. They have everybody back from last year's championship team. Del Norte still has Jake Evig, the league's most valuable player for the last two years. The rest of the teams are all solid. Our chances are as good as anybody's."
Even though Canty lost two all-district performers in J.B. Forrest and Brad Ash and starter Darren Davis, he has returning starters Lonnie Lucero and Charles Rand and several players who picked up a lot of court time last season. Among those with considerable experience are senior Clinton Lister and juniors Micah Maberry, Tyrel Ross, Jason McKay, David Goodenberger and Daniel Crenshaw.
The first major test for Pagosa comes at 10 a.m. Saturday when the Pirate boys scrimmage with Durango and Monte Vista in the Durango gym. Following Saturday's scrimmage, Canty will make cuts to form the varsity, junior varsity, and C teams. The varsity squad will consist of 12 players.
On Dec. 10 and Dec. 11, Pagosa Springs hosts the annual Wolf Creek Tournament. Entered in that tournament are Aztec, Dolores County, Gunnison, Nucla, and Salida.
One week later, on Dec. 17 and 18, Pagosa Springs travels to Montrose for the annual Black Canyon Classic.
After a holiday break, Pagosa opens Intermountain League play by entertaining Ignacio Jan. 13. The Pirates play each IML opponent twice. Two routes to the state playoffs are possible. The first route is by winning the IML championship. The second route is by capturing the IML District Tournament to be played at Centauri Feb. 25 and Feb. 26.
Pagosa's traditional IML foes are Ignacio, Bayfield, Del Norte, Monte Vista and Centauri.
Some stories just meant for telling
Last week at the fashion show and luncheon given by the women of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Warron Big Eagle was a part of the entertainment. His talk, made such an impression on those present, that I asked Warron to write it for me to include in Chatter. Warron answered my request with this letter.
As I have been sitting at this machine for hours trying to put down in script what is in my heart I have finally come to this conclusion. Last Saturday I related to the ladies and gentlemen at the fashion show a story from my childhood. It was the story of the first man and woman. My, how everyone got so excited and then decided that it should be down in script so that everyone could read it. Seems no matter how hard I try I just cannot do it.
I do not mean to anger anyone but here is how I see this situation. The beauty of legends is the ability to pass them along by talking and singing. The minute we put them into print we rob the people of the feeling that they shared on Saturday when they heard it for the first time. It becomes then just another story. I know now that if people want to know these stories they must hear them the way that I did and that is with the spoken word.
Kate, if you would like to express what you heard, saw and felt last Saturday, that would be fine, but the Townspeople will have to come to a function in which I speak again to get the true feeling. It is like reading 'The Night Before Christmas' or having your Dad read it Christmas Eve while you wait for Santa!
Warron Big Eagle"
A note from me: There is no way that I can tell you what Warron said. Not verbatim. I didn't take notes. I listened and "felt" his message.
When Warron was agonizing over the paper, Debbie, his wife, said "Warron you are a storyteller not a writer. You can't describe on paper what is in your heart."
I think that what Warron has written is a good answer to my request.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.
They're 'decorating like crazy' at Visitor Center
Three new members to introduce to you this week and 12 renewals - awesome, dude and dudettes. It appears that our nagging is working and that folks are digging through those formidable piles of paper on their desks to find the form. No one wants to miss his or her listing in the 2000 Chamber of Commerce Business Directory, and there isn't much time left until the dreaded deadline of Dec. 1. If you haven't renewed, now would be a particularly dandy time to do so.
Welcome to the Community United Methodist Church located on 434 Lewis Street. This church reaches out to the community and the world meeting the needs of those in need. The church became a busy, busy place beginning on Nov. 22, when all those elves began creating the beautiful holiday wreaths and arrangements we all look forward to seeing every year. Place your order early, because they go like hot cakes. Dec. 10 is the deadline date for orders. Please call 264-5508 for more information about the services and activities of Community United Methodist Church.
Our second new member this week is the board of directors of the Holiday Acres Property Owners Association. We're delighted to welcome this group.
New member number three this week is Terra Tactile Architecture and Construction located at 422 Pagosa Street, Suite 3. Jeff Schneidereit, AIA, owner, brings to his clients over 17 years of experience in commercial and residential design and construction. His many years as a licensed architect and licensed contractor enable Jeff to bring his architectural projects to fruition while meeting his clients' needs and constraints. Jeff's clients receive intricate design and working drawings drafted on a state-of-the-art computer-aided design system. Detailed, first-rate renderings of the architectural projects are hand-drawn, if desired. Give a call to learn more at 264-9150.
In a previous renewal list, I experienced one of my vapid moments and transposed Larry Christine's name as Christine Lawrence. Duh. Forgive me, Larry Christine of Bike and Glide.
Renewals this week include new owners, Harry and Cathe Kropp with the Silver Mine Country Company; Ben Fernandez with the Sky Ute Casino and Lodge; Eddie Campbell with Branding Iron Bar BBQ; Troyena Campbell with Diamond C Antiques; Robert Hynds with Riverfront; Louis Day with Pagosa Springs Funeral Options; Veronica and Anthony Doctor with Alpenglow Guesthouse; Lvonne Johnson with Home Again; Bob Goodman with the Pagosa Springs Downtown Merchants Association; Gina Ellege with Apex Marketing; Judy Smith with 160 West Adult R.V. Park; and new owners of Las Montanas Mexican Restaurant, Roger and Kennie Persson. I met with Roger and Kennie just recently, and we want to wish them well in their new home at Las Montanas.
We once again want to thank our heroes at La Plata Electric for responding to our yelp for help with our flags. They are beautiful flags, indeed, but seem to suffer greatly from winds and tear rather quickly. Steve and Lynch came to our rescue on the recent call to replace the big one on top, and we are very grateful to them, Thanks, guys.
Last year the Chamber offered "permanent Christmas trees" to our membership, and about 45 businesses and individuals responded. Thanks to Steve McPeek, we again offer you the opportunity to order one of these gems. The trees are made of top-grade 3/4-inch plywood that can be used for years. It is hinged in the center for easy storage and includes a base that is easily attached and removed with screws.
The tree is a little over 5 feet tall and about 38 inches at the base. The center hinging not only allows easy handling but also provides a dimensional display - approaching from either side, it is clearly a Christmas tree! Upon ordering your tree, you will have the option of selecting a solid tree or one in which the holes have been drilled for light placement (only the lights show through as the cords will be hidden on the back of the tree.)
Once you purchase the tree, it is yours to decorate as you wish. Last year we saw some incredibly innovative and clever renditions. We call it a "permanent" tree because they can be displayed year round in your place of business (or home) to celebrate each and every season. The tree here at the Visitor Center never comes down, and we have a great time deciding what to do with it every month. If you would like an order form, please stop by and pick one up at the Chamber. The solid, unpainted tree is $65; the tree with 30 drilled holes for lights is $75 and a painted tree with holes is $90. Just remember that this tree will last you for many years to come. The deadline for ordering is Dec. 15.
Remember that we have moved up the deadline date for inserts to today, Wednesday, Nov. 24, because of the holiday. We've had lots of calls and a number of folks have already delivered their flyers and checks. Please bring 700 flyers (not folded, please) and a check for $30 to the Visitor Center before 5 p.m. today. We'll take care of the rest. Call Morna at 264-2360 with any questions.
Christmas in Pagosa
If you've driven by the Visitor Center recently, you've surely noticed that we have been decorating like crazy, and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. We love this season and are looking forward to the official opening of the holidays here in Pagosa on Saturday, Dec. 4, right here at the Chamber. Santa will be here from 3 to 5:30 p.m. in the afternoon to listen to all the wishes and share a candy cane with each of his little visitors. As always, we will serve hot spiced cider and Christmas cookies galore for children and adults alike. We will welcome the Mountain Harmony Ladies Barbershop Chorus arriving in our parking lot on a flatbed truck provided by Circle T Lumber/Ace Hardware around 5 p.m., and join them in all the familiar carols. At around 5:30 p.m. Santa will perform the honors and light up the Visitor Center, creating a veritable winter wonderland. We have added more lights this year and a few other surprises that will make it even brighter than ever before. Plan to bring the children for this festive event and join us in the opening of the magical season. Hope to see you all on Saturday, Dec. 4.
Parade of Lights
Join us for a Pagosa first - the Parade of Lights on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. (Weather permitting, of course.) All members were sent a registration form, but we will be happy to provide you another at the Visitor Center. We are awarding $100 cash prizes in five categories: Best and Brightest Business, Organization, Family, Lodging and Real Estate. Registration is $25 per float and the deadline for registration is noon on Dec. 10. This is your opportunity to be a part of what we hope will become a Pagosa tradition. Please give us a call at 264-2360 with questions.
2 local triathletes have full tank of courage
Robbie Johnson and Greg Sykes, local elite athletes, both did well at the Ironman Florida (held in Panama City) on Nov. 6. This is a very special athletic event that requires impossibly hard training and brutalizing the body. So, besides that, what's so special about the Ironman? Well, depending on whom you talk to, nothing and everything.
Triathlon makes its Olympic debut in 2000 and will open the Sydney games. But the Olympic distance, a 1.5 kilometer swim (0.9 miles), 40-K bike ride (24.8 miles) and 10-K run (6.2 miles), is done in less than two hours. That's vastly different than the Ironman, a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and marathon (26.2 mile) run, which, depending on conditions, takes - well, many hours. Robbie Johnson and Greg Sykes finished the Ironman Florida in 10 hours, 44 minutes and 10:26, respectively. The courage I see in these two athletes is astounding. Courage is fuel - and these two had a full tank. They both gave due respect and meticulous preparation specific to the demands of the Ironman. The intensity of the first two events, the open-water swim and the bike ride, left both of them in a fatigued state that made it humanly impossible to sustain that same level of intensity into the 26.2-mile run. Both had hoped for better times. You want to be careful not to confuse competing in a race with living a life but, let's face it, once you become a competitive athlete, you compare everything to a better performance. Good news, bad news, bad times, good times. It's all a matter, given the alternative, of just keeping going. Optimism helps. "Real life" continues after the mild disappointment of the race but the flame within will rekindle that drive to train harder and go faster. This is a controlled burn of two extremely focused individuals.
Those who have family close by will have the opportunity to share and give thanks together this Thanksgiving. Those who live thousands of miles apart from real family, will share Thanksgiving with new and old friends. Regardless of whom you spend Thanksgiving with, make it a special day of giving thanks for all the good things in your life. For those with children at home, here's a suggestion: tape two long pieces of paper to the refrigerator, one for writing down all the things you are thankful for and the other a list of things you and your children can do for others that they can be thankful for.
The Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center will be closed Thursday, Nov. 25, for Thanksgiving. The staff wishes all its members a happy Thanksgiving.
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.
Local folks featured in 'North American Sportsman'
'Once again, local people are featured in a national magazine. This issue of the "North American Sportsman: An Outdoor Sports Journal," has double page coverage of our Chamber of Commerce with photography by Dick Ray, Sam Snyder, and Harms Photo/Graphic Associate.
Kent Gordon has a four-page spread on his elegant bronze work.
Kate Terry has two articles discussing how Pagosa Springs welcomes hunters, and Warron Big Eagle's Ministry for big game hunters.
The Chamber has several copies of this magazine. Congratulations to all of the locals who are featured.
Oprah's Book Club
"Vinegar Hill" by A. Manette Ansay is considered one of the best books of this year. Amy Tan calls it a modern day "Little House on the Prairie gone mad." "Ansay transcends both feminist epic and midwestern Gothic," said Tan. We appreciate the free books but wish they'd lighten up a little in their selections.
Christian Home Educators of Colorado sent their newsmagazine. It has a list of resources for people interested in this subject.
She Said Yes
The members of the VFW Auxiliary 9695 donated a copy of this book about Cassie Bernall, one of the students killed at Columbine. "She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall," is a story of growing up in the turmoil of the 90s. Cassie is a modern day martyr and her last words have developed a life of their own according to USA Today.
We've broken down the returns by interests. Men want free on-line data bases, longer hours, open earlier, more newspapers, more financial information, genealogy material, more best sellers, a building expansion, more special activities, more reference and science, more books and periodicals, longer checkouts.
Women want more non-fiction books on tape, open earlier, longer hours, more medical and science fair materials, free Internet, more books on tape for children, building books, more mysteries and westerns, knitting books, genealogy, larger library, new fiction, more history and reference, more space, homeschool material, gift shop and coffee bar, more large print, career and college related material, day care center, free interlibrary loan.
The board and staff are planning how best to meet your requests. It will be an exciting challenge to begin this planning process. We want you all to be part of it so watch the column after the first of the year for opportunities to join in the discussions. We'll keep you informed as policies change. Already we're offering free Internet access. You have to know how to use the computer and there are several rules. Come in and sign up.
Financial support came from Sid and Phyllis Martin in memory of Clara Evans, Sid Evans' mother; Don and Ethel Rasnic in memory of Donald and Jimmy Ecker; Nellie O'Neal and Greg Huckins; Jim and Margaret Wilson in memory of Margaret Samples and the Ross Brothers. Kelly Johnson made a cash donation. Materials came from Diane Fackler, Renee Weddle, Peggy Shipman and Carol Mestas.
The library will be closed Nov. 25 and Nov. 26 for the holidays.
Thanks to Whistle Pig Volunteers
Dec. 2 is the date you've been waiting for, when the Arts Center and Gallery at Town Park kicks off "An Olde Tyme Christmas Shoppe," with an open house and reception from 5 to 7 p.m.
Christmas is a comin' - have you done your shopping yet? Jingle on down to the gallery. This is a wonderful opportunity to see what our fine local artists have created and to select one-of-a-kind handmade gifts of art for everyone on your list. Paintings, ceramics, crafts, clothing. So many beautiful things. Don't you just love Christmas?
The Christmas Shoppe will be open from Dec. 2 to Dec. 23 during the regular winter hours, Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
But Joanne Halliday says come early to see (and buy) the best selection.
It's time to offer a cornucopia of thanks to the volunteers who helped make the last Whistle Pig Folk Night with Debbee (Tucker) Ramey and Friends a success: Julia and Stuart Royston, Whistle Pig organizers; Cindy Gustafson, Jean Kirsh, Marti Capling and Anna O'Reilly for the phone calls; Clare Burns and Jennifer Harmick for organizing and staffing the snacks bar; Clay Campbell, Laura Mobley and Tom Ramey for setup and tear down. Debbee's "Friends" were Robbie Pepper on dobro and guitar, Mike Mobley on bongos, and bass guitar player Mark Mendleski. Others who entertained the crowd on Nov. 13 were Tom Ramey, who plays a mean blues harmonica, Jack Ellis, Chuck Martinez, and Kent Greentree. And my sincere apologies to anyone whose name got left out.
The next Whistle Pig Folk Night on Saturday, Dec. 11, will be a Christmas special and feature an open dance combo. Keyboard artist John Graves has agreed to play all evening. Wear your red and green glad rags. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m. Whistle Pig Folk Night takes place at the Pagosa Lakes Community Center, 230 Port Ave. Suggested donation is $4; kids and teens are free.
Applications for exhibiting work at the Arts Center Gallery during the next year are available at Moonlight Books now and at the gallery beginning Dec. 2.
Reminder: The Arts Center/Gallery is still closed for the month of November, and reopens with the Christmas Shoppe reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 2. Lots of great refreshments and great arts and crafts. Hope to see everyone there!
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 day to be grateful
Tomorrow we are privileged to celebrate Thanksgiving. It offers us an unhurried opportunity to pause, reflect and to give thanks.
Three hundred seventy-six years ago, Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts, again faced starvation. The conditions of the previous year had killed many of the settlers. During the spring of 1623 the survivors planted seeds but the summer brought a potentially devastating drought. Therefore, Governor William Bradford ordered the citizens to observe a day of fasting and prayer. The reverent prayer vigil continued for nine hours. Finally small clouds appeared in the sky; soon a long refreshing rain showered the area. The Pilgrim's crops were saved.
To show their gratefulness to God, the Pilgrims designated a day of Thanksgiving on November 29, 1623.
Governor Bradford therefore issued the following proclamation:
"Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an
abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes,
and garden vegetables, and has made the forest abound
with game and the seas with fish and clams, and inas-
much as he has protected us from the ravages of the
savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has
granted us freedom to worship God according to the
dictates of our own conscience; now I; your magistrate,
do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and
little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill,
between the hours of 9 and 12 in the daytime on Thurs-
day, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one
thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and the third year
since ye Pilgrims landed on the Pilgrim Rock, there to
listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to Almighty
God for all His blessings."
Thanks to their sacrifices and vision, we experience freedoms far beyond those our forefathers enjoyed and are strangers to their hardships.
I'm thankful that though conditions related to Governor Bradford's proclamation are no longer applicable today or his comments considered as being politically correct, tomorrow many Americans will offer prayers of thanksgiving to almighty God for all of his blessings.
David C. Mitchell
A time to practice thankfulness
I am really looking forward to Thursday. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. A day of rest, a day with family and friends, a day to be thankful for the blessing of being able to celebrate Thanksgiving.
I can't remember celebrating a Thanksgiving day without having many good reasons for being thankful.
I'm thankful that for the most part, unlike Christmas or Easter, Thanksgiving has remained unchanged down through the years. It has escaped the distortion or contamination of commercialism. No elves, no jolly old man, no gifts, no bunnies, no dyed chicks, no candy or hard-boiled eggs.
Thanksgiving doesn't create the same excited anticipation as Christmas, it's void of the anxiety, guilt or frustrations fostered by the commercialization of Christmas.
Other than no longer being a designated day of worship and listening to a pastor, the day is still somewhat similar to what the Pilgrims observed. I'm thankful for life. I'm thankful for family. I'm thankful for freedom. I'm thankful for Thanksgiving memories.
Thanksgiving has escaped the drawbacks of hoped-for gifts, broken toys, strained budgets or wasted money.
My earliest Thanksgivings were special because Dad killed and plucked the turkey himself. This provided a supply of feathers for headbands and crude homemade arrows. Using a razor blade, Dad also made quill ink pens out of some of the turkey feathers.
It mattered not that some years the turkey was not as large as the one from the year before. There was a couple of years that we didn't have the traditional turkey. But the explanations as to why we were instead eating goose, baked hen or ham were so convincing that I was thankful I didn't have to eat turkey like everyone else.
It was the same with having oysters in the corn bread dressing. Some years there were oysters and giblets. Other years, only giblets were mixed in with the celery, onions, eggs, dried corn bread and seasonings. But always, there was corn bread dressing and gravy.
It took me years before I could be thankful for cranberry sauce. Only the future will tell whether candied sweet potatoes will ever be appreciated on my plate.
Sweet potatoes didn't interest me one bite. Pecan pie or mince meat pie was another matter. The only thing better than a piece of pecan pie was a big piece of pecan pie.
I'm sure I wasn't the only one at the table who was thankful that the corn bread dressing and pecan pie was going to taste better on Friday after it had been in the ice box over night. And by Friday, I was already looking forward to having a turkey sandwich in my sack lunch at school on Monday.
But Thanksgiving was more than food.
I loved Thanksgiving because it provided a special family time. Not simply time for doing things, but a time for being together in the kitchen and around the table. A time for talking with Mom and Dad and hearing about the Thanksgivings of their youth. It was a time of simplicity.
I remember it as being an era when integrity was more important than income, self respect took priority over self fulfillment, greater emphasis was placed on service than success and thankfulness was based on personal convictions rather than present conditions. It's hard to explain Thanksgivings past to folk's whose lives are too busy to have time for experiencing thankfulness.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers.
Richards wins 110-120 mph chase
Taken from SUN files
of Nov. 28, 1974
A Phoenix, Ariz., motorist is in La Plata County Jail after leading police in a chase where speeds of 110 mph were common and speeds of 120 mph were reached. He will be charged with driving under the influence, attempting to elude and careless driving. State patrolman Tom Richards arrested the speeder about 8 miles west of Bayfield 31 minutes after he went through Pagosa Springs at a high rate of speed at 9 p.m. Monday.
Wolf Creek Ski Area opened Saturday with good snow conditions and a new chair lift operating. Over 300 skiers were present for the opening and more than 400 were at the area Sunday.
A fire at the Plateau Service Station Thursday night resulted in heavy damage to the main building and destroyed about all of the belongings of the Mickey Ralston family. The Ralstons were residing in a house at the rear of the station. The fire was intensified by the fact that raw gasoline had been spilled or leaked on the ground surrounding the station.
A rock slide about 7 a.m. Sunday closed off Wolf Creek Pass for about two hours until highway crews cleared part of the highway for one-way traffic. The slide was completely cleared away around noon. A few weeks ago this would have caused a traffic jam of monumental size but less than 20 vehicles were held up by the slide Sunday.
Florist turns talent into Bazaar event
When I visited Community United Methodist Church last Thursday, preparations were underway for the annual Russ Hill Memorial Bazaar. I ran into Jody Hott there, which is always a delight. Conversation turned to the bazaar and when it began. I remembered that I had written about the bazaar a few years back, but the details were vague. I promised Jody that I would look back into my records. It turns out that it was six years ago that I wrote about the event.
It was in 1963 that the bazaar began and it has blossomed into an affair which signals the beginning of the holiday season. In honor of Russ Hill, the bazaar offers many holiday decorations made with fresh greenery collected by church members.
Lloyd Russell Hill was born in La Junta on April 23, 1933. Hill was a Navy veteran of the Korean War, and a florist. He was forced to retire from the business due to allergies. He came to Pagosa Springs from Denver in 1959. In Pagosa Springs, he worked as general manager of the former Hersch's Super Market. He was also a stockholder in the business.
Hill put his florist expertise to work teaching members of the Methodist Church how to make arrangements and to tie floral bows. He also put them in contact with wholesalers who could provide them with supplies for their projects.
At the time of his death, Hill was serving his second term on the town board. He had served as director of the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce, Welfare Advisory Board and Upper San Juan Planning Commission. He was also a member of the Pagosa Lion's Club.
Hill was devoted to helping the community as well as the Community United Methodist Church. In addition to his work on the early bazaars, he was a board member at the church and served as secretary-treasurer. He had also served as president of the Methodist Couples Club.
Mr. Hill passed away unexpectedly March 10, 1973, at the age of 39. In his March 15, 1973, editorial, editor Glen Edmonds wrote the following about Hill:
"He was in his prime and was active and energetic in those things that tend to make a community livable, enjoyable and progressive. Russ was not only widely known, but universally respected. His efforts in civic improvement, church work, business affairs, and government have made this a better community in which to live.
"His good nature and willingness to help will stand out in the memory of many. It sometimes seemed as if when no one could be found for almost any kind of work, project, or job, someone would inevitably say, 'Let's see if we can get Russ to do it,' and do it Russ would.
"His generosity was great and his acts of help and kindness were seldom known to anyone but the recipient. Whether it was in chamber of commerce work, on the town board, in his church, or in the community, Russ was a cheerful worker.
"It is sad that he will no longer be here to visit with, to help, and to cooperate, but most certainly this is a better community for his having been here."
Spend a night with the 'Hunter'
Charles Laughton's "Night of the Hunter" (1955) is cinema at its best. This stylish, visually stunning work should be required viewing for all film lovers. Even people who just like to watch a good movie once in a while will enjoy it also.
Critics at the time, incidentally, considered it pure dog meat, and their nasty, shortsighted response discouraged the gifted Mr. Laughton from ever directing again. Our loss.
On the surface, you wouldn't think this would be such a great flick. It's a simple Southern Gothic yarn (I'm guessing it's set in West Virginia) about a psychopathic killer who quotes scripture and talks to God, and his effort to find $10,000 a hanged killer left behind for his two little children.
But in the hands of director Laughton and screenwriter James Agee it becomes much more than that. Based on the novel by Davis Grubb, the film is something like a dark fable about the struggle between harsh, manipulative, conniving religious hooey and genuine Christian charity.
This odd films begins, well, oddly, with an unidentified older woman, with the starry night as a backdrop, giving a kind of homily to a group of children. She tells them about the lilies of the field, about the commandment to "judge not, lest ye be judged," and about the threat of false prophets, ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing.
Her teachings articulate the theme of the film, and near its end she returns to illustrate it. She turns out to be Mrs. Cooper (wonderful old Lillian Gish), a woman who takes in forsaken or homeless children. Her own children have, in a sense, abandoned her, so she adopts these strays in order to continue being a mother. The parent-child relationship, she understands, isn't confined to blood ties.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Early in the film, we have the pleasure of seeing Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) at work. He's driving along talking to God, with whom he seems to be on intimate terms. Their conversation (actually, we don't hear God's side of it) concerns where Harry can go to get money to do the Lord's work. Another widow, maybe?
Harry believes he knows what God loves and hates. It's not killing that bothers God (since "your book is full of killin' "), it's "things" that smell of perfume and wear lacy lingerie. But just as Harry is preparing to polish off another exotic dancer for the Lord (the switchblade springing open suggestively in his pocket), he's arrested for stealing a car.
While in the joint, he meets Ben Harper who has been accused of murder and of stealing the aforementioned $10,000 and will shortly be hanged by the neck until dead. He finds out that Ben has hidden the money and he resolves to go marry the Harper widow and collect the dividends.
It turns out that the widow Willa Harper (Shelley Winters before the bulge) lives in the Land of the Dumb and Gullible. Willa herself is dumb as a post, and her matronly friend Izee is a frustrated and repressed dingbat just waiting to be conned to high heaven by the scripture-spouting "man of Gawd" Harry. These people are pretty definitive proof that ignorance is not bliss.
By the way: Some of Izee's comments on the necessities of marriage are downright shocking for a film made in the mid-50s. Very funny, too. For 40 years of marriage, she'd just think about her canning.
When Harry comes to town, crooning "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" in a rich baritone, the fox is definitely in the hen house, so let's leave him there and talk about what make this film one of the most distinctive works you'll ever see.
"Night of the Hunter" makes excellent use of black and white photography. In fact, I can't imagine it in color. Laughton works wonders with shadow and light. For example, Harry first appears to the little Harper kids as a sinister shadow on their bedroom wall as young John Harper is telling his sister Pearl a bedtime story. John looks out the window to see the source of the shadow that's just fallen over his life standing under a street lamp. Spooky.
In another bedroom scene - this time Harry and Willa's - a steeple-like shadow is cast upon the wall while Willa, the blissful stupid martyr, lies in a teardrop-shaped pool of light. This memorable scene is shot almost like a series of tableaux. Harry is first frozen in a half-shadowed listening pose as if he were in some secret communion with his Lord. Later, he freezes in a lover's pose over his dormant bride, his favorite shiny instrument raised above his head. The scene has a dance-like quality about it.
This is not realistic cinema. This is eye-catching, expressionistic, mood-setting, fun to watch cinema. And there's more:
There's a peephole (or iris) shot, rarely seen since silent movie days, used to show the audience where John and Pearl are hiding from Harry (for much of the film, Harry is in hot pursuit of the little rascals).
There's the eerily beautiful shot of Willa going for an underwater ride in a convertible, her blonde hair floating out behind like tall grass in flood water.
There are the recurring shots - some from above - of little John and Pearl drifting down a moonlight-dappled river, the starry sky above them, with little critters (a frog, rabbits, a fox) in the foreground seeming to watch from the shore. This has a kind of Blair Witch creepiness to it - little kids just shouldn't be out on the river at night by themselves.
There's the shot of a back-lit Harry riding a horse across the horizon outside the barn John and Pearl are sleeping in; the barn door frames him as perfectly as another movie screen. Guess what he's singing? "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms."
These shots all lead us, finally, to the home of Mrs. Cooper and her orphans. She's a Mother Hen in the nicest sense of the term, gathering her chicks under her wings to shelter them from a world that's "hard on little things." The fox will visit this hen house, too.
Like Harry, Mrs. Cooper quotes scripture and talks to God. She even joins Harry, in most peculiar circumstances, for a stanza of - altogether now - "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms."
Trading some longevity for gusto
Let's consider an interesting concept that arises in a life of abundance and ease: that you have a measure of control over how long you will live, and that what you eat is a major factor in the situation.
If this is true, you make an important choice several times each day, every day.
What type of choice is it?, you ask.
How long do you want to live? What's for dinner?
But is it simple?
Some folks think so.
The idea we can extend our life with diet has become a hot topic recently, and there is a growing community of people who believe the situation is simple indeed.
I realized this after reading one of my wife's many magazines that dwell on the subject of health, after I glanced at the books she orders that detail the oh-so-many ways you can "eat to live longer."
The idea is everywhere in the land of plenty.
Go to a bookstore. The periodicals section is jammed with magazines full of information on the newest "life-saving" diets. There are entire sections of books that outline the ways you can alter your diet in order to live longer.
Read the titles of the magazine articles.
"From Fat to Firm - Change your Diet, Change your Life."
"Miracle Foods Produce Years of Healthy Life."
"Eat Right, Live Longer."
"Age Slower, Slash Fat and Calories."
Below each of these headlines are countless column inches preaching the same ugly sermon: Your diet is killing you, stripping away years of potential life. If you change your toxic ways, you can look forward to an extra decade during which, as a sweatsuit-clad oldster, you can powerwalk with your friends and return with a rosy glow to your room at the assisted living facility to enjoy a cup of low sodium chicken broth and an alfalfa cracker before bingo begins.
The strategy proposed by the champions of longevity is clear cut.
And I don't like it.
Because the situation is not simple. Nosiree.
First, because the advocates of the "eat for long life" theory fail to unpack and examine a presupposition: namely, that there is value in just living longer.
Second, and more important, there's the fact that most of the foods they identify as staples of a life-lengthening diet taste awful; if they don't taste outright terrible, they are bland, unexciting. The truth is that sprouts and tofu and tempeh and raw kale and gluten, uncooked vegetables and hearty, whole grains are, in most forms, dull and depressing.
The health mongers' formula is paradoxical: a lifeless cuisine promotes a longer life. I like paradox as much as the next guy, but not this one.
I ask: Is this worth living for?
Now, before you health food fanatics get hot and bothered, allow me to establish some balance here.
There is irrefutable evidence that most of the truly scrumptious goodies in the culinary universe do things like stop your heart and send clots of waxy gunk hurtling through your carotid smack dab into the old coconut. Sad, but true.
As with all things, this deal is more complex than it appears at first sight.
At first glance, we are confronted with the horns of a dilemma: go totally "healthy," indulge a hedonistically bankrupt diet, and die very old and totally bored. Go the other direction, eat all the things that taste incredibly good, and end up in the ICU at age 55, unable to remember a telephone number, a clump of plaque wedged next to your amygdyla.
These are dreary alternatives. On the one hand we can succumb to the attitude of the puritan - a constricted consciousness that regards pleasure as evil and that attempts, from a platform of abject misery, to ensure that misery is universal. At the other end of the spectrum, we can become a Cyrenaic animal, bound to overdo everything, convinced excess is the key to enlightenment.
As I said, this isn't simple.
The only way to avoid the nastiness of the extremes is to grab the horns and strike between them. In view of a complex situation, my friends, we must strive to be Epicurean.
The Hellenistic philosopher Epicurus urged we travel a path that leads to pleasure, but he understood that denial is not the only creator of misery; he knew that too much of a pleasurable thing produces pain. The trick, said Epicurus, is to locate the correct level of indulgence, one that maximizes pleasure and contentment without producing a disastrous consequence.
(His point is clear if we ponder the difference between the gourmet who has a martini or two in order to lubricate the social engine and the college kid who chugs a quart of cheap gin and wakes up the next day 500 miles from the campus, splayed out on the bathroom floor of a single-wide, being licked by a Rottweiler and kicked by an angry divorcee. One person has located the correct level of indulgence, the other has not.)
The bottom line: We can enhance our health with our intake of foods, but not at the sacrifice of the utter joy food can bring us. Balance requires sophistication. We need a hedonistic calculus to help us find our way.
To help us find the epicurean mean, our calculus must involve three elements: the quality of foods, considered in terms of "healthy" and "pleasurable" attributes; the effect of the attributes of a food on the potential lifespan of the consumer; and - here's what makes this a less than simple situation - the consumer's willingness to trade time for pleasure.
For example: oatmeal is high on the "health" index and produces very little pleasure in anyone with the slightest bit of character. Oatmeal, eaten five times per week, will add approximately five years to the life of a person genetically programmed to remain animated for 75 to 85 years.
Tournedos with bernaise sauce, on the other hand, are low on the health index but can produce intense pleasure (especially when consumed with a whopping portion of gratinee Lyonnaise, accompanied by several glasses of a reserve zinfandel and followed by a precious raspberry tart). The tournedos, eaten once a week, will shorten that same life span by approximately four years.
Okay, you've got nine years to play with. Consider the characteristics of each food, how nice you feel when you consume them, and figure out how much you will give up for the tournedos. I would eat the tournedos every two weeks, and cut the oatmeal to four servings per month. I would temper my sacrifice by including a few spears of steamed broccoli with the tournedos. In the end, I'll gladly surrender a month of the 30 additional years my genes might allow me to live. If I include some raw cruciferous veggies with the balsamic-dressed greens that accompany the meals, I can buy back a week.
Not a bad trade.
Let's try this again. Let's look at a sample "healthy" diet, designed to add five years to the life of an average 50 year-old.
In the morning, mmmm, you have some raisin bran, half of a whole wheat bagel with some low fat cream cheese and a cup of 1 percent milk. What a neato way to start the day!
Lunch consists of a veggie burger on half of a whole wheat roll, with some strips of green pepper and lettuce. Plop cheap mustard on that beauty, and you are a picture of health.
A mid-afternoon pick-me-up involves a package of instant lentil soup.
At dinner - hold on to your hat - you tie into some bulgur mixed with steamed veggies and graced with a low fat vinaigrette
Don't despair if you're a bit hungry right before bed: Your life-prolonging diet allows for a bit of reduced fat cheese with a hunk of rye crisp.
Just think, with a similar diet each day, you could live to be 85 instead of 80.
Five extra years of rye crisp and reduced fat cheese. And 500 extra sessions of bingo.
I ask you: Given that you have other options, is this any way to live?
If you are willing to end it all at 77 instead of 80, here is a sample daily diet.
For breakfast, how about some toasted sourdough bread, a bit of savory chicken hash and two eggs over easy? This calls for three or four cups of French Roast, don't you think?
At lunch, nothing says "come and get it" like a grilled Italian sausage on a fresh-baked roll, topped with grilled onions and peppers, and a slab of provolone.
No need for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up with this diet - dinner will top off the tank, and then some.
As tempting as that bulgur might be, why not have escalopes of veal Holstein instead? If there is any such thing as an evil dish - one designed to insult nature and please the palate - this is it.
Kill a defenseless calf or, with your store purchase of veal, contribute to the slaughter of the innocent bovine. One way or the other, procure veal cutlets, about a half pound per person.
Put a cutlet between sheets of plastic wrap and beat the tar out of it with a rolling pin or a wine bottle. Smash the daylights out of the meat until it is incredibly thin - the thickness of a half-used pad of sticky notes. (Here, I pay tribute to the jargon of one of my favorite English food writers: Elizabeth David. In her out-of-print classic "French Country Cooking," she uses measurements like "a lump of butter," "a claret glass of Armagnac," a "suggestion of tarragon," and a "tentative scraping of nutmeg." She also includes a lengthy, untranslated passage in which Anatole France extols the virtues of Cassoulet de Castlenaudary.)
Apply a moderate amount of salt and pepper to each side of an escalope then dredge in flour. Holding the cutlet in the air with tongs, discipline it lightly with a butter knife to rid it of excess flour. Dip the escalope in an egg wash then dredge in bread crumbs. Put the cutlet on a plate and spank the crumbs lightly with the side of a knife to secure them to the meat, then refrigerate the breaded cutlet for a half hour or so.
Sauté the escalope in butter until golden brown. Serve with a fried egg on top (runny yolk, please, to give the salmonella a chance to prosper), a garnish of an anchovy or two rolled around some capers, and a wedge of lemon.
Eat this baby with even vague regularity and you'll be waving bye bye a year or so early.
But it will be worth it.
What are some other trades you can use as you manipulate the culinary calculus to insure you live a bit longer, but happily?
One ounce of pork confit, made with the loin, is equal to seven tons of fresh spinach and worth the sacrifice of a half day of extra life per portion.
One serving of pasta putanesca equals six pounds of steamed winter squash and is worth six hours.
A half pound of lobster thermidor is worth surrendering a day of extra time and is the equivalent of all the quinoa produced on the planet in a decade.
Let's get proletarian: A hefty slab of quality meat loaf, made with equal amounts of ground beef, pork and veal and bound together with beaten egg can be traded for 17,000 pounds of rye crisp. A hit of outstanding meat loaf can be exchanged for at least four hours of time. (And, after all, what is time when everything is here, now?)
What's a three-egg cheese and sausage omelet worth, one with sauteed onions and mushrooms? How about 4000 "healthy peach smoothies" made with soy milk and artificial sweetener, and one day?
I will gladly take a major league serving of carnitas or carne asada, or three tacos al carbon with guacamole, in trade for a boxcar full of trail mix and six hours.
Special occasions benefit from use of the calculus.
My friend Russell and I are planning a millennium feast, a meal to counter the effects of Y2K with its errant Russian ballistic missiles, its massive failures of communication and power systems and the resulting chaos that will overtake and destroy civilization. We are ordering our provisions from fancy catalogs offering grossly overpriced foodstuffs. Russell will do the cooking, and he is a superb hand in the kitchen. He is getting very excited.
If the bombs fall, we will have watched the Big Curtain drop in fine style. If the millennium dawns without disaster, we will have traded away 30 days on the tail end of our earthly existences. An excellent choice.
At this point, we have settled on a trio of hand-rolled saucisson with a sheep's milk camembert for starters. With the appetizers, we'll sip a nice sauvignon blanc or a relatively dry chardonnay, Oh, and we'll dive into a paté maison prior to the meal, the creamy goodie blessed with peppercorns.
For the main course, perhaps a seven-rib roast, rubbed with garlic, crusted with salt, roasted to a prim 165 in the center, served with parslied new potatoes and petit pois ( I use the French for Russell's sake). A sturdy peasant loaf with plenty of butter, a high-end cabernet, a merlot perhaps? My oh my.
Cheese? You bet, including a real roquefort, a cave dweller with a classical pedigree eaten with hunks of baguette and loads of butter, washed sweetly away with a mini-flood of sauterne.
Sherry, anyone? Port?
I will happily trade this century-ending extravaganza for the entire first month of the year 2032.
Get the picture?
Don't be swayed by the simple equation of food and time. If we consider food, we must entertain the notion of quality when we make our choices. We must factor in the sublime.
Take this suggestion for a system and add your favorite foods as elements in the calculus. Make your choices carefully: If you must sprinkle a tablespoon of flax seed on your mixed greens, for heaven's sake don't waste the 80 year-old balsamic vinegar!
If you really believe a peanut butter and strawberry sandwich on whole grain bread or a cup of low-fat cottage cheese will serve you well, balance it off later in the week with Yorkshire pudding.
Get serious about your choices, about quality; use the calculus, make some viable trades. Take advantage of abundance.
Remember, nothing lasts forever.
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."
More news from old Pagosa
Settlers began building homes in Pagosa Springs for the first time in early 1878. To reach the hot springs city, they bounced hour after hour on horseback or in wagons across rough, dusty, and lonely roads.
Spectacular mountains covered with unending pine forests spread as far as the eye could see across Pagosa Country. Deer, elk, wolves, and bear - including silvertip grizzlies - lined the route. And somewhere, maybe on the reservation, maybe not, lurked members of the three Southern Ute tribes, armed and edgy.
According to the most recent of many treaties between Ute and white, a reservation was established starting at a point on the Utah/Colorado border 15 miles north of the New Mexico border and running eastward to the San Juan River. Utes watched with amazement as white men carted their families across the reservation with no regard for the terms of the treaty. The Utes should not have been surprised. Just a few years earlier the white man had promised to stay out of all of the San Juans and a few years before that all of western Colorado. Many Utes remembered when there had been no reservations because all of the land had been home to the Indian.
And so, by 1879 and a trail of broken treaties, Indians watched and wondered and grew angry at the latest white invasion. All over Colorado white leaders worried, fearful that a war with the Indians might break out. Army units drilled and moved around, hoping to be at the right place at the right time. The Buffalo soldiers stationed at Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs were in the field, ready for action. Commanded by Capt. Dodge, Company D of the 9th Cavalry had already seen plenty of action in West Texas. They were ready.
Still, the white man came, bringing sons and daughters into the midst of the Southern Ute Reservation in southwest Colorado.
Last week, we recalled a confrontation between Utes and some drunken cowboys that took place in the La Plata River Valley as reported in a Silverton newspaper, July 3, 1979. Our narrative continues.
"Soon after the Indians had withdrawn (from the shooting confrontation) a message was sent from the captain of the roundup to the Deputy Sheriff of Animas begging him to come out at once and help them out of trouble, as they expected the Agent would be down on them, and if he did not interfere the Indians would attempt to settle the matter in there own way. Jim Hefferman is an Irishman, and enjoys a bit of scrimmage as well as the most warlike of his race, but as Deputy Sheriff (La Plata County) he had to look at this appeal in its serious aspect, and with a promptness that showed his appreciation of the danger. He sent word to both whites and Indians to come at once to Animas City, where he would endeavor to get Col. Page (the Ignacio Indian agent) to meet them. Leaving Animas at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, he drove to the Agency, a distance of twenty-two miles, and at 10 o'clock that night was back in Animas with the Agent where they found all the parties to the conflict waiting their arrival. The next morning early the town was alive with anxious white men, and when the council assembled in a large hall, a sense of most anxious suspense ensued to those on the outside, which was not allayed until after a session of more than five hours when it was announced that a compromise had been effected and the Indians were satisfied. The white men who fired the first shots admitted that they were drunk, and proposed to pay the Indians a small sum of money, and Sharpe (who had fired the first shot) proposed to leave the country within thirty days and not return. Being considered a bad man in the community, this part of the agreement was hailed with much pleasure by most of the whites, and they hoped that a repetition of this affair could be avoided. Too much praise cannot be expressed for the agent for his energy and firmness in the matter, and but for this, and the confidence both whites and Indians have in his fairness and judgement, there can be little doubt that a bloody Indian war would have been inaugurated. For the present, peace is restored. As long as the government pursues the dangerous policy of allowing a powerful tribe of wild Indians to occupy a Reservation in close neighborhood with a rapidly increasing white community, to roam at will over the country outside of the reservation, an armed and organized body of vicious tramps, no one can tell at what moment the fires of war may be lighted in this splendid valley, destined at no distant day to become the most prosperous part of Colorado. The plow horse of the white man and the war horse of the Indian can not long roam over the same pasture lands; sooner or later the interests of the industrious ranch man and the whims of the indolent redman will conflict to an extent that will not submit of settlement without the shedding of blood. There are already scattered along the San Juan valley in close proximity to the Ute Reservation 350 white men inured to toil and familiar with danger, able and willing to defend themselves when peace cannot be maintained with honor. The spark of war just removed could not have appeared had the Indians been confined to their reservation where, by treaty, they are required to stay and where no white man will attempt to molest them, and only the bad character of the man who brought the difficulty . . ."
On Sept. 29, Indians on the White River Agency near Meeker lashed out, killing unpopular agent Nathan Meeker and capturing Meeker's wife and daughter. Before the uprising ended, troops of Company D, 9th Cavalry battled bitterly for survival. More about the "Meeker Massacre" next week.
Betty Diller owns and operates H&R Block and Diller Investment and Tax Professionals. The businesses are located at 190 Talisman Drive, Suite C-5 and a grand opening was held on Nov. 19.
Diller provides tax preparation and accounting services as well as investment planning.
H&R Block and Diller Investment and Tax professionals are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays during tax season. The phone is 731-1080.
See front page for weather story.