Front Page

December 9, 1999

Shots fired; two arrested

By Karl Isberg

Shots were fired in downtown Pagosa Springs on the night of Dec. 4; no one was injured but two men were arrested on charges of attempted second-degree murder.

Four shots were fired during the incident, said Pagosa Springs Police Captain Chuck Allen. Two shots were fired near the junction of 5th and Lewis streets as three men were allegedly involved in a confrontation behind a local business.

The victim in the confrontation, an unidentified Mexican national, reportedly ran to the Bear Creek Saloon in the 400 block of Lewis Street followed by two suspects: Anthony Chavez, 24, and Miguel Domingues, 20, both Mexican nationals residing in Pagosa Springs.

According to Allen, the three men were ejected from the Bear Creek. Shortly thereafter, states Allen's report, at approximately 9:30 p.m. a shot was fired into the bar from the area at the front of the building. The slug went through a window, penetrated one bar stool and lodged in a second bar stool. The owner of the bar, who had just ejected the three men, was reportedly standing a foot behind the second bar stool.

Allen said a fourth shot was fired at the bar from a hill located north of the building.

Police officers Bill Rockensock and Tony Kop took Chavez into custody shortly after the incident. Domingues was captured by Allen the next morning as the suspect returned to his residence on South 7th Street.

Officers recovered the slug fired into the bar and one shell casing. On Wednesday, a handgun was found in a hiding place in the residence occupied by the suspects.

Chavez and Domingues were booked on charges of attempted second-degree murder and are currently in the Archuleta County Jail, with a bail amount for each set at $25,000. Allen said the investigation of the incident is continuing.


Traffic light planned for town intersection

By Karl Isberg

Pagosa Springs trustees met Dec. 7 and heard updates on two eagerly anticipated intersection reconstruction projects.

According to Town Administrator Jay Harrington, bids on a project to reconstruct the intersection of Lewis and 5th streets with U.S. 160 will be opened today, Dec. 9.

The project will reroute 5th Street, moving the point at which 5th Street and Lewis Street intersect to the east. A traffic light will then be installed at the intersection of Lewis Street and U.S. 160. The town and the Colorado Department of Transportation are cooperating on the project.

Harrington said Tuesday that work on the project could be delayed by a lack of some construction materials.

"We could have a major problem with pole suppliers," said Harrington. He said there is only one major supplier of the poles needed for the traffic signal and the supplier normally gives high priority to material deliveries to large-scale projects. "Our goal is to get a contract awarded as soon as possible and get equipment ordered quickly."

Harrington said, ideally, the project will begin in the spring, with a 60- to 90-day period to complete the work. "But," he said, "the exact timing of the job depends on the availability of the materials and, of course, on whether we receive an acceptable bid."

The town administrator also alerted trustees that "concerns" still exist relating to a proposed construction project involving junctions of Piedra Road with U.S. 160, and Piedra Road with Eagle Drive (the access road paralleling U.S. 160 at Piedra Road). Those concerns were first discussed at the November meeting of the trustees.

At present, several parties are planning efforts at the two junctions: the Colorado Department of Transportation, the town, Archuleta County and the developer of a proposed project located on the northeast corner of the current junction of Piedra Road and Eagle Drive.

Harrington said he notified CDOT the town would "like to have all items relating to the projects considered as part of the CDOT plan."

Items include CDOT's intention to install a traffic signal at the junction of U.S. 160 and Piedra Road and to redesign the right-turn-only lane to Piedra Road from westbound U.S. 160 with an island divider, and the work by the town, county and developer to reroute Eagle Drive and relocate its junction with Piedra Road north of the present location.

Another of the issues detailed by Harrington is a desire to have the projects coordinated, if not handled by a single contractor.

"We also have some concerns about the CDOT design," said Harrington. "We met with CDOT in November and notified them of our concerns. We said another meeting was necessary, but no meeting has been scheduled. This could become a rather contentious issue over the next few months." He said the timing of the projects in the vicinity of Piedra Road and U.S. 160 depend entirely on CDOT's plans.


Spanish Fiesta needs community's help

By Karl Isberg

Members of the Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta Club are struggling to ensure the traditional celebration of Hispanic culture survives, and they are calling on members of other local non-profit organizations for assistance.

According to club member Lucy Gonzales, an absence of members of the Fiesta board of directors has put the annual event in jeopardy. A meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. in the Parish Hall on Lewis Street to discuss the situation and to find a workable remedy.

One of the aims at the meeting will be to recruit new members for the Fiesta Club board - people who are willing to spend the time and energy necessary to produce the summer celebration.

"The other thing we are doing," said Gonzales, "is inviting representatives of the many non-profit and service organizations in the area to attend the meeting and discuss participating with us."

Gonzales said the proposal will be for other organizations to assume control over several aspects of the Fiesta and, in doing so, to raise money for their groups and causes. The Spanish Fiesta Club, she said, will continue to produce at least two aspects of the event in order to raise money for the Spanish Fiesta scholarship fund.

"There are basically six different parts of the Fiesta," said Gonzales. "Perhaps some organization or organizations will want to take over one or more of those parts to benefit their organization and, at the same time, allow the Spanish Fiesta Club to concentrate on two of the parts of the Fiesta."

Gonzales said that the six parts of the traditional celebration are the food booths set up at Town Park on the day of the Fiesta, the Fiesta Parade, the Fiesta Dance, the annual Fiesta Jail and the entertainment that goes on throughout Fiesta Day.

"We hope people in other non-profit groups will recognize the value of the Fiesta to our community," said Gonzales. "We hope they will see that their participation can help with this community event and benefit their group at the same time. We invite everyone who is interested to attend the meeting on Dec. 13."


Town board approves budget, lowers mill levy

By Karl Isberg

Pagosa Springs trustees met on Dec. 7 and approved a town budget of $3,672,805 for the upcoming year, an increase of $710,246 from the 1999 budget amount.

At the same time the trustees passed the new budget, they lowered the mill levy within town boundaries to 1.763 mills from the 2 mills levied in 1999. Assessed valuation of properties within the town increased for the upcoming budget year to $26,392,230 from the assessed valuation of $20,942,890 used in setting the 1999 town mill levy.

Upcoming revenues will be generated primarily from sales tax. Sales tax receipts during the upcoming year are estimated at $2,097,597, a 2 percent increase from the previous year. Property taxes will provide $46,530 to the town.

Licenses and permits are expected to add $27,500 to the general fund while intergovernmental revenues are expected to produce $639,404, the majority coming from various state grants. Highway Users fees will contribute $62,631 and county road mills will add $30,000.

Officials anticipate fines and forfeits will equal $34,000 next year and the sale of a street sweeper ($40,000) and miscellaneous revenue interest ($25,000) will add to the fund total.

Other revenue expected in the next year totals $647,774 with the sale of the current Town Hall property at the intersection of 5th and San Juan streets listed at $300,000 for budget purposes and a Town Hall construction grant totaling $250,000 figuring into the amount. The town's geothermal utility is expected to generate $41,774 and funds from the Colorado Lottery are expected to total $36,000.

The 2000 general fund budget is set at $3,025,038, an increase of $642,611 from the 1999 general fund budget.

In terms of expenses, the budget for the town administrator next year totals $73,569, up from $69,022 in 1999.

Recreation Department expenses in 2000 will total $277,073, increasing from estimated 1999 expenses of $264,216.

A Park Department budget of $118,440 will be less than the $200,909 budgeted for the department in 1999 when the town received a $75,000 grant for trail work.

In 1999, an estimated $307,790 will be spent on the town police department. The budget for next year's projects expenses of $338,977, with a seventh officer added to the force.

Street Department expenses in 1999 are estimated at $228,808 with next year's budget set at $685,399. Most of the increase is produced by a $90,000 grant for work on the intersection of Lewis and 5th streets with U.S. 160 and a $213,000 grant for work on Light Plant Road.

The geothermal budget for next year is $41,774, up from the 1999 budget of $39,739 (but less than the estimated expense of $58,604, boosted due to unbudgeted legal fees).

A budget of $100,803 is set for the Building and Planning Department in 2000. An addition of a new town planner position accounts for most of the $55,007 increase over the 1999 budget.

Municipal Court expenses for the upcoming year are set at $103,576, down from the 1999 budget total of $104,893.

The town of Pagosa Springs will provide $34,606 in funds to various local service organizations in 2000. This amount includes $16,000 to the Humane Society - up from $12,000 last year.

Next year, sales tax revenues produced by the town's share of a 2 percent voter-approved sales tax will be dedicated to capital improvement projects. This year, the town budgeted $912,116 for capital improvements. Next year, $1,048,798 will be spent on projects, including $756,798 for construction of a new town hall. There will be $40,000 spent on two new trucks and $180,000 spent on the reconstruction of the Lewis Street intersection.


PAWS budget includes $65,000 tax credit

By John M. Motter

A property tax credit is included in the budget adopted by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board of directors at their regular monthly meeting Tuesday.

The total amount credited will be a little less than $65,000, according to Carrie S. Campbell, general manager for the utility. Creating a need for the tax credit is a rise of about 25 percent in the assessed value of property within the district.

If the tax rate remained the same as last year, revenues generated would increase more than allowed by TABOR and other state limitations on income and expenses. The PAWS board has chosen to temporarily lower the tax rate thereby creating the tax credit. The tax credit will show up on individual tax-due notices mailed to taxpayers. The board could have permanently lowered the tax rate, but chose not to do so. PAWS has not de-Bruced, that is, asked voter approval to retain revenues in excess of TABOR limits. If they had successfully de-Bruced, they could retain income increases that exceed state limitations.

PAWS is divided into District 1 and District 2. District 1 generally includes that portion of the Fairfield Pagosa area located north of U.S. 160. District 1 generally provides water and sewer services. District 2 is generally located south of U.S. 160 and provides water services only. PAWS also provides water in and around Pagosa Springs.

The newly adopted District 1 temporary tax rate of 5.234 mills for operating expenses and 4.34 mills for debt service totals 9.574 mills. The tax credit for District 1 amounts to 0.856 mills.

For District 2, the newly adopted temporary tax rate is 5.959 mills with a tax credit of 0.33 mills.

PAWS' Year 2000 debt service budget calls for revenues of $480,505 with a beginning fund balance of $156,202 and an ending fund balance of $3,569.

The remainder of the PAWS budget is broken into a bond and construction fund, enterprise fund, and general fund. For the Year 2000, the bond and construction fund anticipates a beginning and ending balance of $300,000 with no expenditures.

The enterprise fund is generally financed by various user fees charged by the district and is not subject to TABOR limits. The general fund is generally financed by property taxes and is subject to TABOR limits.

Year 2000 revenue fund income is expected to total $7,398,326 with a beginning fund balance of $2,674,326 and an ending fund balance of $2,881,602. Fee increases adopted for the coming year include a $500 increase in the facilities upgrade fee, 50 cents per month per water user, 50 cents per month per lot availability fee, and a labor charge added to the connection fee.

The connection fee increase was approved at Tuesday night's meeting and amounts to $100 for a water connection and $200 for a water/sewer connection. The new fee will be added to the existing $600 water connection fee and $65 sewer connection fee.

Proposed enterprise fund revenues include $1,079,514 from water service charges, $464,268 from wastewater service charges, $674,268 from availability charges, $2,950,00 from revenue bond proceeds (a proposed revenue bond to finance rebuilding the sewage treatment plant), $1,214,100 from tap fees and facilities upgrade fees, $298,000 transferred from the general fund, $210,000 in connection charges, $195,000 from other interest, $152,902 transferred from debt service-water capital, and several less than $100,000 revenue sources.

The general fund anticipates a beginning fund balance of $517,282 and an ending fund balance of $108,424. The general fund anticipates revenues of $176,394 from property taxes connected with water services, $194,205 from property taxes connected with sewer services, $108,500 from specific ownership taxes, and $6,000 from delinquent property taxes.

In other business Tuesday the board:

- Listened to a statement from Robert Goodman concerning placement of a water meter on the Goodman property. Goodman argued that a recent PAWS action placing a water meter at the Goodman property line violates a 1953 agreement with the town which resulted in a water meter in the basement of Goodman's house. The board ordered the PAWS staff to meet with Goodman and develop a solution agreeable to both parties.

- Discussed issues concerning PAWS inclusion of the Log Park Subdivision and ownership of the Wolf Creek Water Utility System. No action was taken. Both parties are exchanging information.

- Agreed to donate $2,000 to a non-motorized trail construction program as represented by Larry Lynch, Pagosa Lakes Property Owners environmental engineer. The donation will likely be in-kind services connected with a GoCo grant being sought by Lynch on behalf of the PLPOA.

- Postponed action on Michael Wedemeyer's request that a tap fee be waived on a lot Wedemeyer anticipates will be joined to lots on which the tap fee has already been paid. Wedemeyer did not attend the meeting.

- Approved a resolution identifying the district as the project manager and general contractor for the pipeline and new water treatment plant project currently underway. This item was not on the agenda.

- Voted to defer payment of a tap fee on a piece of property in Cloman Industrial Park in compliance with a request from the Archuleta County Development Association. This item was not on the agenda.

- Voted to hire consultant Jack DeLange to prepare information concerning a bond application submitted to Colorado Water and Power. DeLange will also make a presentation to Colorado Water and Power officials to help justify the application. He is also being retained to investigate the acquisition of water rights so that in the future, irrigation of recreational properties in town might be accomplished with river water instead of the current practice of using treated water. This item was not on the agenda.

- Voted to empower the PAWS staff to make a decision concerning the proposed lease of a new telephone system. This item was not on the agenda.


Building permits down


By John M. Motter

Building in Archuleta County during 1999 is following a slower pace than the record-setting building rate of 1998, based on the number of permits issued by the Archuleta County Building Department.

Through Nov. 30 of this year, 499 permits have been issued. Last year at the same time, 527 permits had been issued. The decrease is a modest 5.31 percent.

A major portion of the decrease is represented in the decline of permits for single-family residences. This year, the number of single-family residence permits issued by the county office is 229. By this time last year, builders had sought 253 single-family residence permits.

Another sizable decrease is showing up in the commercial permits category. Last year by the end of November, builders had acquired 35 commercial building permits. So far this year the number of commercial permits is 13.

Permit categories showing an increase this year are for mobile homes and for "other." The number of mobile home permits for 1999 is 92, compared with 81 for 1998. The number of other permits this year is 153. Last year by the end of November, other permits totaled 142. Other permits normally cover building additions and miscellaneous construction projects.

In the final category, time shares, the number of 1999 permits is also down, this time from 16 permits in 1998 to 12 permits in 1999.

Even though 1999 is trailing 1998, it exceeds any other year for number of permits issued. For example, by the end of November in 1997, a total of 434 permits had been issued. That total included 196 single-family residences, 71 mobile homes, 34 commercial, 128 other, and five timeshares.

Inside The Sun

New company may get cable franchise

By Karl Isberg

Pagosa Springs trustees have determined that a proposed buyer of the local cable television system can be a party to a franchise agreement with the town only if the company complies with certain stipulations.

The topic of a potential sale of the local cable television system was on the agenda at the Nov. 2 meeting of the trustees, and the trustees came to a decision on the matter at their meeting on Dec. 7.

Following a discussion with trustees in November, town staff produced a resolution approving assignment of a cable television franchise to ICE Cable Holdings LLC, provided the company completes a purchase of the local cable system from Pagosa Vision Inc. The resolution was completed by a town attorney and a draft was sent to ICE officials.

When ICE representatives attended at the November meeting, they heard several complaints about the service provided by Pagosa Vision Inc., current owners of the local cable television system. The proposed agreement reflects some of those concerns.

ICE representatives also made statements in November concerning what they might do if they purchased the system from Pagosa Vision.

Chip James, one of two owners of ICE, attended the November meeting and said, if the sale is completed, his desire is to expand the cable system boundaries. James said he intends to move the customer service office from an Alabama location to "a Colorado location" within four to five months of the sale. He also discussed the possible expansion of system programing and possible future enhancement of the system to include Internet services via cable.

James was told in November that any franchise agreement with the town allowing the company to provide cable television service within town boundaries was likely to include service and maintenance standards.

The resolution approving the assignment of the franchise agreement to ICE was passed by the trustees on Dec. 7 and included several contingencies.

First, the agreement requires that "ICE shall make a good faith attempt to establish a service center within the Pagosa Springs community to service the needs of franchise customers." At present, local cable television customers must pass all comments and requests through an 800 telephone line connected to the Pagosa Vision office in Alabama.

Other requirements in the agreement are that "ICE shall return all telephone calls within 24 hours"; that "ICE shall repair all service outages within 24 hours"; that "ICE shall respond to individual calls for service within 48 hours"; and that "ICE shall upgrade and maintain the system to meet the current and future industry technological standards for communities of comparable size."

The agreement was forged in light of a determination by town officials that "the Town deems the current service provided by Pagosa Vision Inc. insufficient under the terms of the Franchise Ordinance."

On Tuesday, Town Administrator Jay Harrington told trustees a draft of the resolution was forwarded to ICE officials by town counsel but, as of Dec. 7, the company had not responded.




County will unveil budget at Tuesday's meeting

By John M. Motter

The long awaited unveiling of the Archuleta County budget is expected at the regular meeting of the county commissioners Tuesday during a meeting that starts at 9 a.m. Colorado law requires that the budget be adopted by Dec. 15.

At the same meeting, the commissioners are likely to certify the mill levies established by other taxing entities in the county. The commissioners do not set the tax rates for those entities. Tax rates for each entity are established by that entity's board of directors. State law merely requires the county commissioners to certify the tax rates set by those entities.

The commissioners also certify there own tax rate. Then the budgets, tax rates and all, are forwarded to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

This year's county budget has been the source of considerable controversy, particularly among elected officials. While all elected officials are on an equal plane as to rank in the courthouse, state law makes the commissioners responsible for establishing budget amounts for each elected official. Once the budget amounts are established, each elected official spends that department's budget.

Elected officials in addition to the three commissioners include the sheriff, county clerk, county treasurer, and county assessor. Each of those officials has argued that certain employees supervised by County Manager Dennis Hunt are proposed for larger salary increases than employees within their departments. At the same time he is asking for large increases for key employees, Hunt is pushing other elected officials to keep proposed raises at or below the cost of living, according to the other elected officials.

A second issue focuses on a request by the sheriff for four new employees to include dog catcher and three new people in the dispatch center. Total cost of the new people is about $100,000.

The preliminary budget anticipated expenditures exceeding revenues by about $700,000. The commissioners have the thankless job of balancing the budget. While a preliminary budget has been made public and accessible for review by other elected officials, the final budget to be considered Tuesday has not been made available to the general public.

In business this past Tuesday the commissioners:

- Tabled action on approving a contract with Waste Management to haul recyclable materials pending review of the proposed contract by Larry Holthus, the county attorney.

- Approved a routine agreement with the Upper San Juan Hospital District for certain ambulance services.

- Provided conditional approval to act as lead agency and provide $5,000 in in-kind donations to a GoCo grant application being sought by the Pagosa Lakes Property Owner's Association for the purpose of continuing a public, non-motorized trail project underway in the Fairfield/Pagosa collection of subdivisions.

- Listened to a progress report given by Senior Citizens director Cindy Archuleta concerning the county's "Mountain Express" public transportation system. Archuleta noted that private citizens are violating the law by parking in marked bus stop zones.

A suggestion by Gene Crabtree that the route of a senior citizens bus going to Durango be altered to go through Arboles is being studied. Crabtree says he has a petition signed by large number of Archuleta County Arboles residents asking for the change.

Archuleta said she has been asked why the local bus does not run weekends, but only on week days. She recommended that the schedule remain as it is for one year, during which time data can be collected to determine if a change is advisable.

- Mike Mollica presented a monthly progress report concerning the activities of the planning and building departments. According to Mollica, planning department activities have increased 33 percent for 1999 when compared with 1998. The number of planning permits issued is down about 5 percent.

Bob Lynch was reappointed to the planning commission. Brian J. Lewis was appointed to the planning commission, replacing Judy James, who allowed her term to expire and did not seek reappointment.

- Director Kevin Rogers presented a monthly road and bridge progress report.

- Crabtree reported that the Mineral County commissioners want a joint meeting with the Archuleta County commissioners in order to discuss the East Fork Road relevant to the proposed Piano Creek development in the East Fork Valley of the San Juan River.

- Crabtree pointed out that littering along Trujillo Road between town and the landfill continues and something needs to be done. No solution was suggested.

- The commissioners will, sometime this week, interview three applicants for the job of county attorney. Larry Holthus, the current county attorney, is among the applicants, as are Mary Deganhart-Weiss and the Durango firm of Goldman, Robbins and Rogers LLP.


Greeley native new county engineer

By John M. Motter

Roxann Mackenzie Hayes is the new Archuleta County engineer, replacing Dan Flack who returned to his former home near Farmington, N.M.

Hayes is responsible for a wide range of projects. Her duties include being project manager for capital improvement projects within the county; reviewing site plans, plats, and subdivisions; and inspecting roads to make sure road specifications are met. Hayes has been in Archuleta County long enough to work on Light Plant Road reconstruction, a proposed new bridge across the Navajo River, Eightmile Mesa Road, and the Fairfield Pagosa road-settlement project.

Born and raised in Greeley, Hayes graduated from University High School in 1991. Her mother is the gifted and talented coordinator for School District 6, her father is regional manager for Canyon Creek Cabinets. Living in Denver is her younger brother, a human resources specialist for MCI/Sprint WorldCom.

Hayes graduated from the Colorado School of Mines at Golden with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering plus minors in environmental engineering and public affairs.

She formerly lived in Houston, Texas, where she was employed as project engineer for a major chemical company for several years. She then accepted employment as city engineer for a Houston suburb where she was responsible for design and project management of roads, waterline extensions, new parks, buildings, and recreational facilities. She also reviewed site plans and subdivisions, and was the floodplain administrator.

Returning to Colorado is the fulfillment of a vow Hayes and husband, Matt, made when they moved to Houston - a vow to stay in Texas only five years. Roxann and Matt met at college. Born and raised in Kansas, Matt has a B.S. in chemical engineering and petroleum refining with a minor in civil engineering. They married in April of 1996.

Hayes has been a regional director for the Colorado School of Mines Alumni Association, a volunteer for the Homeless Pet Placement League, involved at the state level of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a local officer for the Society of Women Engineers.

She and Matt enjoy hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, skiing, and playing with Luna, a black Lab, and Buster, a German shepherd mix.




Kinder to nature

Dear Dave,

The impending development of the East Fork of the San Juan River troubles me. It's a multi-layered, convoluted, four-dimensional subject that can't quite be set in stone because formulation of the problem is so entwined with our everyday life and mortal being, yet tied to the eternal destiny of us individually and as a common humanity seeking the best for today and tomorrow, ourselves and our children's children and those whose company we may never enjoy in this temporal setting, brief in the time of Earth's history. In the quest of life after life and the glory yet to be but already foretold as of old from long past to the present, we are co-creationists of the future real vision that is blurred due to our limited power or original sin.

The purpose of this rambling, but hopefully, cogent letter is to instill in us something greater than ourselves and small ideas of happiness that have no real fulfillment because our actions betray the good we're capable of and demonstrates the rupture between our desire and the divine wish.

The analogy of a lecherous old man seducing a young virgin for the momentary thrill seems apt. A magnificent picture window to entertain an already super-saturated, near-sighted owner whose dulled conscience insists upon further gratification of sense powered by the politics of property privately owned, generating a deepening rift between those that have and those that have not and continuing the gluttonous consumption of our world's natural resources into a country club playground and national vital interest that will contribute to further undeclared bombings of some anonymous Middle Eastern people.

The symbolism of Piano Creek draws a clear line in the sand. We are all implicated in this event and must choose which side to take. Do we continue to worship the false god of consumption which plagues our society and equates "having more" with "being more?" Or do we stand in solidarity with those less fortunate and seek to foster a kinder, more sensible attitude toward our natural world?

I'll close with two thematically similar quotes from two very different personalities.

The first is from U2 lead singer Bono: "It's immoral, it's obscene that at a time of unimaginable wealth here in the First World, we can't seem to get to grips with the unimaginable impoverishment of a billion people living on less than a dollar a day. I know America wants to find an answer to this problem. I'm a big fan of America."

The second is from Pope John Paul II: "The Christian jubilee calls us to an ever greater awareness of the social values of the biblical jubilee that it hopes to interpret and repropose in the contemporary context, reflecting on the demands of the common good and on the universal destiny of the good of the earth."

What better way to spend this winter advent to the third millennium than gazing with the shepherds and contemplating on the significance of a little baby born in a manger.


Mark Bergon

Standard testing

Dear Editor,

I have a strong opinion as to the use of the minimum standard test given state-wide.

Yes, creativity is nice, be it art, music or writing. However, it is much more important that students pass at least minimum standards in the basic three R's.

Never, since I graduated have I had to use creativity to earn a living. I did, however, have to use basic math skills, letter composing, typing, computers, proper English, and basic science.

I know of a P.S. high school student who gets A's in Algebra, yet who can't half or double a recipe, can't multiply 24 times 12 in his head. Who is also unable to compute proper change from a purchase. This student was obviously passed on each year without grade school math skills.

I had a superior once who was a college graduate and yet had no basic English skills. He might have been creative, but he had no grasp of the language in either spelling or usage. It's good his father owned the company as he would have had a difficult time succeeding otherwise.

I have basic creative abilities, and if I choose, I can read in books how to further my knowledge on any subject.

My daughter was a second chair flute throughout high school. In the nearly 15 years since she graduated, she has never so much as picked up a musical instrument. She got A's in art, yet that did her no good as she furthered her education in the nursing field.

I can't believe that students in our high school can pass through their junior year without typing and computer skills. I can't think of many employment positions, where one can earn a decent living, where computers aren't basic.

This generation needs more education in the areas of life that they will be using to earn a living or to just plain sound intelligent when they speak or write.

The teachers aren't expected to teach so that a student may pass this certain test. They should teach the skills and then the students will have no problem passing the test. SAT tests are mandated for college. Do they teach to do nothing but pass the SAT. I think not. As far as any sense of reward for passing the test, I would think that achieving an excellent score would be reward enough.

Lest anyone think I am dissatisfied with our teachers, I think anyone who dedicates their life to this profession is close to being a saint. I think teachers are one of the least appreciated, least respected, least paid professionals in the U.S. We expect them not only to teach the basics, but also teach morals, ethics, etc. that should still be taught in the home.

It is fun to take elective courses, but all schools need to concentrate on teaching the skills needed for the students to further themselves in life, be it a full-time job, college or a homemaker.

With due respect,

Sue Coleman

Kiwanian thanks

Dear Editor,

Our season to celebrate God's love, made known to us through the gift of his son, Jesus Christ, got off to a tremendous start with the Community Christmas Tree, carolers, Santa's visit to the Visitor's Center, and ending up at the fifth annual Kiwanis Christmas Chili Supper.

The spirit of love was very much alive at the Kiwanis Event - attendance was overflowing and of special notice were the many young families who brought their children to share in the festivities. The children choirs from the Lutheran school, the junior high school and the senior high school were awesome. We have some great talent among these groups. Our emcee and entertainer, Mark DeVoti, did an outstanding job with our Karaoke Kids, who provided us a great ending to the evening's events.

Kiwanians all were pleased that the primary purpose of this event, to bring together friends and neighbors from all areas of the community in an atmosphere of good will, did happen. Our second purpose, to bring in a little money to support healthy programs for our community's children, is greatly appreciated and we will use these funds very carefully.

We had fun - thanks again and best wishes to all over the coming days and weeks thereafter.


Patty Tillerson

for all Kiwanians

'Trails paranoia?

Dear Editor,

What are "Chem-trails"? What a valid question. I've been wondering myself. They must be viruses especially since Mr. John Michaels (SUN, letter to the editor, Dec. 2) read that on the Internet. What a reliable resource.

Oh my, someone is poisoning us. And they're doing it to reduce world population. People will soon be dropping like flies. Run Chicken Little the sky is falling and it has viruses in it.

But, then again it really doesn't matter since the world is going to end in three more weeks anyway.

Paranoia will destroy ya,

Nathan Weisz

Stolen spirit

Dear Editor,

As they report in "Sports Illustrated," here is a sign that the Apocalypse is upon us in Pagosa Springs.

We all realize, the town of Pagosa Springs is changing. However, it is sad to realize that our changes are not all good. Last week we purchased a large wreath from the Community United Methodist Church to decorate the end of our building, which faces the highway. On Sunday morning we discovered that the wreath, and the hooks used to hang it, had been ripped from the building.

For those of us who work here, this Christmas season has been filled with joy, for we finally have the space to decorate and share our holiday spirit with the community. It is indeed sad that someone felt they needed to steal something that is a symbol of the holiday season and had been purchased to support the Methodist Church fundraiser and displayed for the enjoyment of all.

Tracy and Karen Bunning

High Country Title



Centauri, where?

Dear Editor,

I was reading the online version of your newspaper and saw this sentence near the end of the article: Pagosa's traditional IML foes are Ignacio, Bayfield, Del Norte, Monte Vista and Centauri. I was wondering where Centauri, CO is, I can't seem to find it on any map I own.


Jeffrey Owen, Park City, Utah

Editor's note: Centauri High School is located in La Jara; about 15 miles south of Alamosa, or four miles north of Bountiful.

Not just pom-poms

Dear Editor,

Thank you for such a nice article - Roy Starling's "Cheerleaders head to Denver for state competition" (SUN, Dec. 2). I really appreciated the way you let the readers see that there is a bit more to cheerleading than just sparkly outfits and pom-poms.


Lyn Frank

'Go to the light...'

Dear David,

Thanks for putting the SUN on the Internet. It is wonderful to settle in on a Monday night (while football rages in the other room) and get caught up with the latest news from the old home town. Of course, my main reason for reading the SUN is to follow my nieces' (the fabulous Volger sisters) accomplishments.

I had a good laugh at the article noting that Pagosa Springs would be getting an additional traffic light and the lament of "gone are the days of giving directions by saying, go to the light and turn left." I am sure I date myself by saying that I remember when no one really knew the names of any streets (there was Main Street, Back Street, Cemetery Road and Lightplant Road) and directions consisted of: "Go past Norman Ottaway's house - be sure and watch out for his dog - turn at the big tree and don't slide into the ditch!" Lewis Street was an adventure in going to church on Sunday since you needed hip waders to get through all the mud.

I also have a piece of advice for all the "newcomers" to Pagosa Springs (this includes anyone who hasn't been there since elementary school) - remember why you fell in love with this place enough to move your lives here and don't just come in and try to "make it better." There are those of us who would love to come home some day and only hope you won't have fouled it up before we can get there.

Pam (Formwalt) Strunk

The Colony, Texas

Editor's note: It's enjoyable to hear from the leader of the fabulous athletic Formwalt sisters - Pam and Melinda.



Stephen Sonmor

Friends and family mourn the passing of Stephen Sonmor, 96, of Pagosa Springs. Mr. Sonmor died Friday, Dec. 3, 1999, at his daughter and son-in-law's home in Pagosa Springs.

Mr. Sonmor was born in Spring Valley, Wis., in 1903. He married Marveda Lund in 1929. They raised four children while living and working in Wisconsin where Mr. Sonmor worked as a farmer most of his life. He moved to Pagosa Springs in 1997.

He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Phoebe and Mitch Koentopf of Pagosa Springs; his son and daughter-in-law, Stephen and Marilyn Sonmor Jr. of Avondale, Ariz.; his sister Evelyn Vokolek of Bainbridge Island, Wash.; his granddaughter Tami Sonmor Engram of Avondale; his granddaughter Terri Sonmor Godoy of Yakima, Wash.; his grandson S. Mark Sonmor of Grand Junction and nine great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Marveda; and two daughters, Faith and Charlotte Sonmor.

A memorial service in honor of Mr. Sonmor was conducted by Steve Engram on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 1999, in the Pagosa Springs Funeral Options Memorial Chapel.

Memorial contributions may be sent to Alpha Omega Institute, Box 4343, Grand Junction, CO 81502 to assist the ministry of Mark Sonmor.


Robert Gomez

Pvt. Robert S. Gomez graduated from basic combat training in the U.S. Army on Sept. 16 in Fort Jackson, S.C. He is the son of Jeanette and James Gomez of Pagosa Springs, and Renay and Greg Lenz of Austin, Texas.

Pvt. Gomez left Pagosa Springs on June 29 for Fort Jackson. He is now training for aircraft engine repair in Fort Eustis, Va. He will be home on leave for the Christmas holidays on Dec. 18. He will return to Fort Eustis on Jan. 2.

Anyone who would like to write can reach Robert at: Pvt. Robert S. Gomez, A Co. 1-222 AVN Regt. 2 PLT, Fort Eustis, Va. 23604.




Larry and Cindy McCormick of Pagosa Springs announce the Oct. 9, 1999, engagement of their daughter, Breezy Autumn McCormick, to Paul Thomas Beckler, son of Jerry and Peggy Beckler of Bayfield.

Breezy graduated from ABeka Correspondence, and is presently pursuing a biblical studies degree at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. She will graduate in 2002.

Paul is a graduate of Durango High School, and is pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in business administration. He will graduate in the fall of 2000 from Fort Lewis College. The couple plan a June 3, 2000, wedding in Durango.

Sports Page

Young Lady Pirates 'D'-claw 4A Cortez Panthers

By Roy Starling

What a way to start a rebuilding year.

The Lady Pirates began their 1999-2000 basketball season with only one returning starter and only two players with significant varsity playing time.

So how would they do in a season-opening game against the Class 4A Cortez Panthers, on the Panthers' home floor, in the first round of the Cortez Invitational Tournament?

Not bad. The Ladies' defense, trying to hold down the fort until an offense kicks in, frustrated the Panther shooters for the final three quarters, securing a tough 35-28 win for Pagosa.

How did the Ladies manage to earn a "W" under such difficult circumstances? First-year Lady Pirates coach Karen Wells credited her defense, balanced scoring, solid second-half rebounding and an impressive outing by sophomore post Ashley Gronewoller in her first varsity game.

Sophomore Katie Lancing was the top Pagosa scorer with 10, followed closely by seniors Mandy Forrest and Janae Esterbrook with nine and eight, respectively. "I like to see that balanced scoring," Wells said. "That way if one girl's not hot, somebody else can pick up the slack."

In the first half, the Panthers pushed the Ladies around under the boards, but Forrest, Lancing and Gronewoller polished up their blocking-out techniques in the second half, holding Cortez to nine boards while the Ladies racked up 19.

Forrest cleaned the glass 13 times, four on the offensive end, while the 6-foot-2 Gronewoller, playing in only two quarters, had 10 boards. "Ashley played really well against Cortez," Wells said. Lancing finished the game with seven rebounds.

The Lady Pirates got off to a sluggish start, falling behind 11-2 midway through the first quarter. But then their defense slammed the door on the Panthers, and baskets by Esterbrook, Forrest and Lancing helped get the Ladies back in the game, trailing only 11-8 at the end of the period.

In the second quarter, the Panthers could only connect on one field goal against Pagosa's aggressive "D." The Ladies, meanwhile, got a big boost from a Bonnie O'Brien 3-pointer and four points from Lancing, and took a narrow 17-16 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Lady Pirates stretched their lead to 29-24 by the end of the third, taking good advantage of their time at the free-throw line. The Ladies went 6 for 6 from the stripe, and they added field goals from Esterbrook, Forrest and Lancing.

Neither team could generate much offense in the final stanza. The Lady Pirates could manage only a half dozen points - four of those from Forrest - but they held their hosts to a paltry four, sealing the 35-28 win.

"Cortez pressed the whole game and trapped most of it," Wells said. "We had quite a few turnovers, but I think we'll improve in that department once these girls get used to playing with each other."

The Ladies' stingy defense was keyed by constant ball hawking on the part of Canty, Esterbrook and O'Brien (who had four steals), and Forrest's and Lancing's aggressiveness under the basket. Forrest had four blocks against the Panthers, while her post partner Lancing picked off four passes and blocked one shot.

The Panthers' offense was led by 6-foot post Casey Bauer with eight points and Denise Newlin with seven.


Rugged Ladies give Rams run for their money

By Roy Starling

The Lady Pirates' season-opening 35-28 victory over the Cortez Panthers Friday night earned them the right to go up against the Rio Rancho Rams Saturday afternoon. The Rams made it into the finals of the Cortez Invitational Tournament by trouncing the Class 4A Delta Panthers 72-38.

The Rams won the Cortez event, beating the Lady Pirates 60-47, but the story is a little more complicated than that.

Rio Rancho, it turns out, is the largest high school in New Mexico. While Pagosa Springs High School has roughly 480 students, Rio Rancho boasts an enrollment of 3,200. At times Saturday afternoon, every one of them seemed to be on the court dogging the Lady Pirates.

In reality, the Rams faithfully adhered to the time honored rule of playing only five girls at a time. But the eight very talented young ladies on the bench also saw plenty of action. Every Ram but two played in every quarter.

By comparison, Lady Pirate coach Karen Wells used only six players in the first half.

In short, the game had all the earmarks of a blowout in the making, but it never happened. It's hard to explain why not. The simplest explanation is that this year's Ladies, while making their share of early season blunders, really have a way of getting on the nerves of their opponents. They never stop hustling, they play-in-your-face defense, they're opportunistic and they're aggressive enough on offense to force their share of fouls.

Other than that, they're pretty unpredictable.

When Wells saw Rio Rancho's army of big, talented girls hit the floor for warmups, she thought she might be able to predict the outcome of the game. "When I saw those girls come out," she said, "I thought we were in trouble. I was really happy to see how we stayed with them and even led at times."

The Ladies jumped out in front in the first minute when sophomore Katie Lancing scored off a Mandy Forrest assist, but then the Rams seemed ready to run away with the game.

Jamie Stephens, a 5-foot-10 wing, scored on a fast break, then the Ladies were unable to inbounds against the press. Stephens put the Rams up 4-2 when she scored off an offensive rebound, then a steal by Brittany Burtner led to Stephens getting hacked under the basket by Janae Esterbrook. Stephens connected on both shots from the line to push the lead to 6-2.

With six minutes to go in the quarter, 6-foot Rams post Shena Galla scored off yet another offensive rebound, and the Lady Pirates were in trouble.

But on the Ladies' next possession, senior guard Bonnie O'Brien took a pass from Forrest and drilled a 3-pointer from the right side. Thirty seconds later, Esterbrook picked off a Ram pass on the Rio Rancho end of the court, drove around and through the Rams' harassing defenders, and pulled up for a jumper at the free-throw line. The lead was cut to one, 8-7.

The Rams used steals and free throws to build up a 12-8 lead, then Forrest got the Ladies back in gear when she banked in a shot from a Meigan Canty assist. After Ram guard Krystle Jim hit a free throw with 2:28 remaining in the first period, Forrest responded with a layup, driving in from half court to cut the lead to 13-12.

With 1:20 left, Esterbrook, the Lady Pirates' "Captain Guts 'n Gumption," rebounded a missed 3-pointer by the Rams and bobbed and weaved the length of the court for a layup that put Pagosa up 14-13, and that would be the score when the period ended.

But if things looked bad for the Ladies during warmups, they looked even worse now. During the first quarter, all 13 Rams played, meaning that none of them had broken much of a sweat. The Lady Pirates had stuck with their starting five, and now two of them, Esterbrook and Forrest, had two fouls.

The second period began with Rio Rancho's Terry Salazar stealing an inbound pass and scoring, to put the Rams ahead by one, 15-14. But then Salazar got a little too zealous and fouled Canty, who drained both free throws to put the Ladies back in front.

On the Rams' next possession, they capitalized on the Ladies' inability to get position under the basket and kept shooting - five times - until they sank one. Unfortunately, that shot came from beyond the arc, and the Rams went up 18-16. But it would be another four minutes before they scored again.

At 6:41 in the second period, Esterbrook put the old shake-and-bake move on a Ram defender and drove for two to tie the score. Two minutes later an O'Brien free throw gave the Ladies a 19-18 lead. At 3:45, Lancing padded that lead after taking an inbounds pass from Forrest. Eight seconds later, sophomore Ashley Gronewoller made it 23-18, converting two from the line after being fouled on a drive.

There would only be two more field goals for the remainder of the half: The Rams' Jim heaved in a three from somewhere near Mesa Verde and Lancing scored underneath off a feed from Canty with time running out. The Ladies led 27-24 at the half.

Fifteen Rio Rancho fouls sent the Ladies to the stripe 19 times in the first half, but they could only convert eight of those.

Rio Rancho went ahead with two quick baskets to open the third quarter, then Esterbrook tied it back up at 28-28 at the 6:56 mark. After the teams swapped turnovers, Esterbrook nailed an 18-foot jumper. The Rams' Salazar answered quickly with a bucket underneath, then Burtner swished a three-pointer to break the tie.

Down 33-30 with 4:30 remaining in the quarter, the Ladies still weren't ready to call it quits. Forrest tied the game back up with an old-fashioned three, getting hammered while scoring underneath, then dropping in the free throw.

Burtner hit 1 of 2 from the line at 4:17, then Lancing went 2 for 2 from the stripe to tip the seesaw in Pagosa's direction, 35-34.

But there was no pulling away from these Rams. On their next possession, they zipped the ball around the perimeter until Jim got open for a 3-point attempt, which she buried. Down 37-35, the wheels slowly started to come off the Ladies' wagon.

At 2:55, Esterbrook picked up her fourth foul on a call which was heartily disputed by the Pagosa fans. At 2:34, Forrest followed suit, and both Lady Pirate veterans were on the brink of disqualification. At 2:19, the Ladies botched a fast break. At 2:00, they lost the ball on an inbounds play.

Canty then stole the ball, was fouled and made 1 of 2 from the line. A Burtner free throw put the Rams up 38-36, but at 1:05, Lancing put a quick move on Ram post Galla and flashed past her for two. Lancing was fouled on the play, and her free throw gave the Ladies' their final lead of the game, 39-38.

The Rams reeled off the quarter's final seven points, including their third three of the period, to take a 46-39 lead into the fourth.

The depth discrepancy finally took its toll in the final stanza when the Ladies continued to try to hustle, but had a hard time convincing their weary bodies it was a good idea. The girls lost Canty, Forrest and Gronewoller to fouls and lost Esterbrook to a floor-shaking body slam that went unnoticed by the well-meaning official standing next to her.

Resorting to "matador" defense, they sent the Rams to the line 10 times in the period and were outscored 14-8.

Despite the Ram's size advantage and superior numbers, coach Wells felt like the Ladies let one slip away. "We could've won that game," she said. "We just had too many turnovers and we were only 16 of 32 from the free-throw line. Also, I want to see more offense."

On the positive side, Wells said the Ladies are a "very good defensive team. They play with character and they keep it clean. They may have to get a little tougher, though."

Forrest led the offensive effort with 13 points and was named to the all-tournament team. Lancing added 12, Esterbrook had nine, Canty five and Gronewoller and O'Brien four each.

Lancing was the top rebounder with 12 followed by Esterbrook and Forrest with eight each. Canty, a 5-foot-6 shooting guard, pulled down five rebounds.

Burtner had 16 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead the Rams. Galla and Stephens had nine each.


Pirates go 1-1 at Cortez Invitational Tourney

By John Motter

After capturing consolation honors in the Cortez Invitational Basketball Tournament this past weekend, the Pagosa Springs Pirates open their home season by hosting the Wolf Creek Classic Basketball Tournament this coming weekend.

The Wolf Creek Classic provides local fans an opportunity to see some of the best high school teams in the area, teams they won't see when league play starts. Competing with Pagosa Springs in the 12-team tournament are San Juan, Utah; Dove Creek; Nucla; Montrose; Gunnison; Aztec, N.M.; and Salida, both boys' and girls' teams.

The Pagosa boys open against Gunnison Friday night at 8:15 in the new gym, shift to the junior high gym (Mamie Lynch Gymnasium) Saturday for a 10 a.m. match with Nucla, then close the tournament Saturday night by playing Salida at 8:30.

Last year in the Wolf Creek Classic, the Pirates beat Nucla in a 63-61 squeaker, then fell to Gunnison 44-38.

This year's Pirate cagers opened the 1999-2000 basketball season by capturing consolation honors at the Cortez Invitational Basketball Tournament this past weekend. Last year, Pagosa lost twice at Cortez.

The Pirates nudged Monticello, Utah, 65-63 Saturday on David Goodenberger's sinker at the buzzer to take the consolation trophy in the four-team battle. Goodenberger, a 6-4 junior, was named to the all-tournament team.

Delta bagged the tournament championship by besting Cortez 74-65 in the championship game Saturday. Cortez had beaten Monticello 61-48 Friday night.

Coach Kyle Canty's Buccaneers opened the season against Delta Friday in the first boy's game of the tournament. By the final buzzer, the Panthers from the Gunnison River Valley were on top 60-48.

"We looked pretty ragged in both games," Canty said. "We suffered from a lot of turnovers. I think if we had taken care of the ball, we might have beaten Delta. Against Monticello we had a huge lead, then let them back in the game and had to win it at the buzzer."

Against Monticello, Charles Rand topped Pagosa scorers by canning three field goals, three 3-pointers, and a free throw for 16 points. David Goodenberger dropped in 13 points with four field goals, a 3-pointer, and a free throw. Daniel Crenshaw chipped in with a field goal, a 3-pointer, and two free throws. Pagosa was called for 22 fouls. Micah Maberry, Lonnie Lucero and Tyrel Ross fouled out.

Goodenberger paced Pagosa with seven rebounds, followed by Crenshaw with six rebounds. Lucero was tops in assists with four.

The Buccaneers played like world beaters in the opening quarter against Monticello. Seven Pirates hit the scoring ring to give Pagosa a 20-12 lead going into the second stanza. By the half Pagosa was on top 38-24 and looked unbeatable.

The Monticello boys tightened up during the third quarter to outscore Pagosa 22-16 and continued to whittle away at the Pirates' lead during the final stanza until Goodenberger's buzzer beater iced the contest for Pagosa Springs.

A feature of the Pirates' attack was balanced scoring. Rand and Goodenberger each contributed 12 points, Clinton Lister 10 points, Crenshaw nine points, and Maberry and Ross eight points each. No one fouled out for Pagosa, but Clinton Lister, Maberry, Lucero and Ross each had four fouls.

Pagosa's top rebounders were Goodenberger and Carlos Martinez with five each. Ross, Goodenberger, and Crenshaw each contributed three assists. Rand turned in six steals.

Following the Wolf Creek Classic, Pagosa plays in one more tournament before taking a holiday break. The Pirates compete in the Black Canyon Basketball Classic Dec. 17 and 18 at Montrose.

Following the holiday break, Pagosa returns to action Jan. 13 by hosting the Ignacio Bobcats in the opening round of Intermountain League play. The following night, Jan. 14, Pagosa travels to Centauri for an IML encounter with the Falcons.


Pirate wrestlers can't get past Pass

By Karl Isberg

A trip to the eastern plains of the state and the Rocky Ford wrestling tournament ended last Friday near the west side of La Veta Pass when the Pirates wrestling team was turned back due to heavy snow.

As a result, their first matches of the season will take place tonight, Dec. 9, at the Pagosa Springs High School gym when the Pirates face teams from Ignacio and Aztec, N.M., in separate dual meets.

"It's too bad we weren't able to get to Rocky Ford," said Pirates coach Dan Janowsky. "It took us four hours to get from Pagosa to Fort Garland (near the west side of La Veta Pass) and the weather got bad and the time frame got critical. We were told by a snow plow driver not to attempt to get over the pass and were told the same thing by the principal of Sangre de Cristo High School, who had just come over the pass."

The loss of the season-opening tournament was disappointing for Janowsky and his athletes, but the situation may have a bright side.

"It gives the guys a chance to heal some injuries," said the coach. "We'll be a little stronger this way, and most of our guys with shoulder injuries will probably be better."

Two Pirates, however, will not compete tonight due to injuries. George Kyriacou (215 pounds) is still out with a broken arm, and Reuben Coray (135 pounds) suffered a finger injury in the weight room that will keep him off the mat.

Janowsky has decided on most of his starters for the matches this evening. He will go with Ryan Lee at 103 pounds, Mike Maestas at 119 pounds, Anthony Maestas at 125 pounds, and Albert Martinez at 130 pounds. The Pirates' wrestler at 135 pounds will be Trevor Peterson, while Keith Candelaria competes at 160 pounds and brother Kraig Candelaria works at 171 pounds. Clint Shaw will take the mat at 189 pounds. Luke Boilini will wrestle at 215 pounds and Shane Prunty will compete at heavyweight.

Janowsky will decide before the matches begin between Jesse Trujillo and Chris Murphy at 112 pounds. Daniel Martinez will take the mat in either the 140- or 145-pound match. Either Josh Trujillo or Jacques Sarnow will wrestle at 152 pounds.

Competition this evening should be substantial.

Aztec comes into the season after winning every New Mexico State championship in its division in the '90s. The Tigers defeated Durango 55-15 in a dual meet last week and seem as strong as ever.

"The rumor is Aztec has reloaded," said Janowsky, "and that's usually true. I've heard they have national ranking, so they sound like a typical Aztec team. We should have some great matches against them."

Ignacio defeated the Pirates at the Intermountain League tournament last season, but lost several key athletes to graduation. Despite this, the Bobcats will put a formidable team into action this year.

"Ignacio is still a very difficult matchup for us," said Janowsky. "They're down from last year, but their good wrestlers match up with our good wrestlers. We need some wins at the lower weights."

The action begins at the high school gym at 5 p.m. when the Pirates clash with Aztec. Ignacio and Aztec compete in the second meet of the evening, then Pagosa and Ignacio battle in the final meet of the night.

Community News

Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

Test your Christmas knowledge

The Kiwanis Club's annual chili supper was a fun event (and they served seconds!). Local school choral groups provided the entertainment. All were good, but a special note has to be made at how well the kids from Our Savior Lutheran School did - such little ones with poise.

Let's test your Christmas knowledge.

1. How did the Pilgrim Fathers celebrate their first Christmas in 1620?

2. Where did George Washington spend Christmas night 1776?

3. What is the favorite carol of Salvation Army Bands?

4. Which Christmas carol has been voted the favorite of opera singers?

5. By the Twelfth Night, how many gifts had True Love accumulated?

6. How do Santa, Rudolph and Tiny Tim fare in humorist James Finn Garner's "politically correct" versions of favorite Christmas stories?

7. What was Franklin D. Roosevelt's favorite custom on Christmas Eve?

8. What executive order did 8-year-old Tad Lincoln successfully beg of his father on Christmas Eve?


1. By shunning all celebration and rituals and getting down to hard work building the colony at Plymouth.

2. Crossing the Delaware River.

3. "Joy to the World."

4. The French carol "O Holy Night."

5. The number comes to 364 if you counted all the gifts.

6. Santa is "an overweight patriarchal oppressor, reindeer enslaver and exploiter of elves." Rudolph is "a nasally empowered reindeer with a unique luminescent olfactory organ." And as one might expect in a socially sensitive reworking of Dickens that begins: "Marley was non-viable to begin with," "Tiny Tim is a vertically challenged preadult with a birth-induced delayed trauma disorder."

7. Reading Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" aloud and all the way through, to the family gathered around the fire at Hyde Park or in the White House.

8. A stay of execution and a full pardon for Jack, the turkey fattening on the White House lawn, who thereafter became a capitol nuisance, intimidating guards and tourists.

Fun on the Run

What mothers teach:

My mother taught me logic: "If you fall off the swing and break your neck, you can't go to the store with me."

My mother taught me medicine: "If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they're going to freeze that way."

My mother taught me to think ahead: "If you don't pass your spelling test, you'll never get a good job."

My mother taught me ESP: "Put your sweater on, don't you think I know when you're cold?"

My mother taught me humor: "When the lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

My mother taught me how to become an adult: "If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

My mother taught me about sex: "How do you think you got here?"

My mother taught me about genetics: "You are just like your father."

My mother taught me about my roots: "Do you think you were born in a barn?"

My mother taught me the wisdom of age: "When you get to my age, you will understand."

My mother taught me about anticipation: "Just wait until your father gets home."

My mother taught me about receiving: "You are going to get it when I get home."

My mother taught me about justice: "One day you will have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you - then you'll see what it's like."


Chamber News
By Sally Hameister

Register now for Parade of Lights

Good Grief, Gertie, we have 15 new members to introduce this week and 16 renewals. This is indeed reason to celebrate and rejoice in the season during which those things are perfectly appropriate. We are delighted to welcome the following new members.

American Southwest Log Homes located at 12 Goldmine Drive is our first new member this week with Terry Smith at the helm. Terry is also the fearless leader of two other member businesses, Circle T Lumber/Ace Hardware. We're glad he has this third business so he won't get bored. American Southwest Log Homes offers the finest in milled logs from dry Colorado timber. Over 40 standard plans are available in three structural systems. This is America's most complete and affordable log home package.

Please give them a call at 264-4176 to learn more about American Southwest Log Homes.

Tony Simmons joins us next with his second business, The Brew House, located at 375 South 8th Street. Tony also owns and operates Simmons Says. . ., an advertising, marketing agency, so not much spare time on his hands I would imagine. The Brew House invites you to brew your own great-tasting beer, wine, or natural sodas safely, easily and inexpensively in their brand new facilities or in your own home.

He features kits, ingredients, equipment and gift certificates for unique gift ideas. Please give Tony a call at 264-0093.

Our next new member is actually one who took a year off and came back to the fold. Music in the Mountains rejoins us with K. Kay Ulwelling at the helm located in Durango. We'll share their description at a later date, but you can call Kay at 385-6820 for information about Music in the Mountains.

A.V.D. Service (Animas Valley Delivery) joins us next with business offices located at No.18 County Road 5911 in Farmington, N.M. Tommy J. Thompson is the man in charge at A.V.D. Now available to the Pagosa Springs area, a personal delivery and assembly service which encompasses the entire Four Corners area. Also available are motor freight and hot-shot service. Please give Tommy a call at either 800-483-9604 or in Farmington at 505-504-8950.

Jim Shugart joins us next with Leeland Corporation, a home-based business right here in Pagosa Springs. Jim designs and builds custom homes that accommodate specific lifestyles and dreams as well as structures that are compatible with the natural environment. Jim invites you to give him a call at 264-5065 to discuss your design and building needs.

Barbara and Richard Husbands who are currently members twice with their own businesses, have decided to jump into a third business, The Lone Star Cattle Company located at 30 North Pagosa Boulevard (formerly Burly's Grill.) Lone Star Cattle Company is a barbecue restaurant serving authentic Texas bar-b-que cafeteria style. You can dine in, take out or even fax in your orders. The Husbands team will also offer catering services. We will announce their opening date when Barbara and Richard give us the high sign.

Brian J. Lewis PE joins us with Brian J. Lewis Company located in his home here in Pagosa. Brian offers a management consultant service to both engineering and architecture firms. If you would like to learn more about the Brian J. Lewis Company, please give him a call at 731-0420.

R. Michael Bell & Associates, Inc., Architects & Engineers, joins us next located at 922 East Second Avenue in Durango. These folks provide professional services in the fields of architecture, structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture, interior design, historic preservation and cost estimating. If you would like to learn more about R. Michael Bell & Associates, please give them a call in Durango at 259-1078.

Emily Deitz joins us next with Deitz and Associates offering tax and accounting services for individuals and businesses. In addition to these services, Emily also offers consultation and business plan development for new and growing companies. To learn more about what Emily can do for you, please give her a call at 264-5182.

New owner Glen Kinum, joins us next with The Pie Shoppe (formerly the Rocky Mountain Pie Shoppe) located at 301 North Pagosa Boulevard. Glen continues the tradition of the tastiest pies in Pagosa Springs and great southwestern foods. The Pie Shoppe is open for breakfast, lunch and Sunday brunch and invites you to call them at 731-7437 to learn more.

Kathryn Young joins us this week with At Your Disposal, a trash collection and recycling service. This locally owned and operated company proudly offers friendly, reliable service with very reasonable rates throughout most of Archuleta County. Please give Kathryn a call at 264-4891 for more information about At Your Disposal.

Paul Nobles of Four Seasons Land Company/Better Homes and Gardens joins us as an Associate Realtor this week as well as Karen Cox with Coldwell Banker. Smart move, kids. Welcome to new Chamber Associate member, Malcolm R. Rodger, MD. We're happy to have you.


Renewals this week include Jean Farrer with the Pinewood Inn; Terry Smith with Circle T Lumber/Ace Hardware; Jamie Sharp with the FireFly Ranch (whose services now include not only the Sharp Llamas, but Fibers, a spinning, felting and weaving shop, F.F.R. Pinto Ponies and soft touch and cotswold sheep); Jerry Dermody now with Land Properties, Inc. in South Fork; Debi Hilsabeck with both United People Help Ministry Thrift Store (now located in the River Center) and United People Help Ministry, Ministry Building; Ralph Delgado with Pack Saddle Ranch Bed and Breakfast; Kayla and Sharon with Harmony Works; Bryan Madsen with All American Plumbing; Bill Samples with the Spanish Inn Restaurant; Stan Zuege with The Spring Inn; Helmut and Doris Mueller with Bavarian Inn; Mark E. Miller, "Pops" with Let It Fly, LLC; Lauri Heraty with The Source for Pagosa Real Estate; Linda Shelton with Century 21 Wolf Creek Land and Cattle, Inc.; Mike Barr with Affordable Kitchens, Inc.; and Jeff Laydon with Pagosa Photography @ Studio 160.

Many thanks

We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas in Pagosa last Saturday and thank all who attended and made it so much fun for us. It's one of my favorite days because many precious children come through the doors and provide my yearly fix for holding and hugging. We thank all those who were instrumental in creating such a great opening of season as well, to begin with Ron and Sheila Hunkin and Bob Malson who were here (as always) helping with decorations and lights on the first day. We also thank Santa who "ho, ho, hoed" his way through three hours of conversation with the kiddoes and one or two rather vocal ones who were not pleased to see him for the first time. Terry Smith of Circle T Lumber/Ace Hardware generously donated not only his truck (again) but his own personal services as the driver to transport our carolers to and from the library parking lot. Thanks, Terry. In a tradition I love, the Mountain Harmony Ladies Barbershop Chorus again generously donated their time and talents to rounding out our annual opening. I don't think it would be Christmas without these ladies and their beautiful voices appearing on the haystacks in our parking lot. Thanks to Doug and Jamie Sharp for loaning us the haystacks again this year and to Jeff Laydon of Pagosa Photography for snapping those wonderful pictures of all the children on Santa's lap. The Hunkins, Dalas Weisz, and Robert Soniat helped us with the numerous switches involved with the lighting, and Don and Mary McKeehan and Curtis Hinton receive the prize for the best clean-up crew. Carolyn Church and Debbie Carlson were great hostesses and helpers throughout the day - thanks, ladies.

Last and adamantly not least, Suellen and Morna held the week together with their hard work, diligence and dedication. Suellen once again proved her expertise as the "The Lights Queen" as well as maintaining her long-respected title as "Xena, the Chamber Warrior." That girl, with the help of Ron Hunkin, spent more time the last ten days on a ladder than she did in the office trying to get each strand of lights to behave. She's awesome. Morna, as always, held us all together with her patience and memory - she has that great facility for remembering just about everything and keeps us on track around here. I am grateful, on a daily basis - and sometimes hourly, for these two women, I promise you.

Business directory

If you have not renewed for the 2000 Chamber year, I suggest now would be the best time to do so. We have extended the renewal deadline to Thursday, December 23, for inclusion in the upcoming Business Directory, and I'm sure you won't want to miss out. Member restaurants will receive a special reminder with the current dining guide to update changes. We print 10,000 dining guides at a time around here, and share many with the 40,000+ visitors who come through our doors to look for restaurants. The Chamber offers the best (and cheapest) marketing available for your business, so please get those renewal forms in before December 23 when Suellen will close the current membership books to get the Directory in the final stage of completion. Please call Morna with any membership questions at 264-2360.

Members activities

We want to share a few member events in this frenetic month and hope that everyone will be able to handle the pressure of possibly exceeding their fun capacity. Solar T's Alpaca Ranch will host a holiday open house on Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

New owners of Las Montañas Mexican Restaurant, Roger and Kennie Persson, announce the revival of the Las Montañas Sunday brunch beginning this Sunday, Dec. 12. The brunch will commence at 11 a.m. and continue on until the final, full-to-the-gills diner leaves.

Parade of Lights

You still have time to register for and participate in the first Pagosa Springs Parade of Lights this Friday night beginning at 6 p.m. on South 8th Street. We have some great entries and would love to have you, your business, family, or organization join us in what we hope will become a treasured tradition in Pagosa. We have plenty of registration forms at the Visitor Center, and you have until noon on Friday to complete it and turn it in. If you can't participate in the parade, we sure hope you become a spectator. We have heard rumors about a big snow system coming in, so, just in case there's any doubt, please tune into KWUF radio for updates about possible cancellation (which I will hate.) Don't forget about the $100 cash prizes being awarded in five categories - nice Christmas dough.


Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

PLPOA sponsors ballroom dance club

A newly-formed ballroom dance club, sponsored by the PLPOA, is now available to dancers and wanna-be dancers. The teachers are Richard and Debbie Love. They will be following the American-style ballroom bronze syllabus in their lessons. The group will meet at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse on Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., except for the second Thursday of each month when the clubhouse will be used for the PLPOA board meetings. On those Thursdays the group will meet at a club member's home to analyze dance video tapes. If this dance club is of interest to you, mark your calendar for Thursday, Dec. 16, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse to check out the first dance lesson. This will be a free session. If you are a real swift learner, you just might have the foxtrot ready for the millennium celebration. Please call Richard or Debbie at 731-4917 to inform them if you are going to participate in the free demonstration lesson.

The last swim clinic for this year will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 14, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. This is a free clinic for Recreation Center members who are interested in becoming better and faster swimmers. Natalie Koch, coach of the Pagosa Lakes Swim Club, will conduct the clinic. Please call the Recreation Center at 731-2051 for additional information.

Congratulations to Scott and Carol Anderson on the birth of their son. Baby Anderson arrived last Saturday. When Scott and Carol brought him home the following day, his sister Kelsey had decorated and cleaned the house. Kelsey even put on her best dress for the very special occasion of welcoming her little brother home from the hospital.

The PLPOA monthly board meeting will be held tonight at 7 in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. Members and observers are encouraged to attend. Public comments are heard at the beginning of the meeting.

The following agenda for tonight's meeting was provided by the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association:

- Call to order

- Approval of agenda

- Approval of board meeting minutes

- General manager's report

- Public comments

- Committee reports: Lakes, Fisheries and Parks Committee regarding Parks, Trails, Recreation Master Plan; Recreational Vehicle Committee recommendation; Environmental Control Committee appointments

- Old business: Board acceptance of 1998 audit

- New Business:

A. 2000 budget

B. Legal counsel for association

C. Resolution 99-49, rule enforcement and fine imposition procedures

D. Resolution 99-50, authorizing the sale of PLPOA property

E. Administration Department and Department of Covenant Compliance; copier lease agreements

F. Newsletter format

G. Grievance panel addendum to personnel manual.

Molly Driesens, former lady priate, just completed an outstanding year playing volleyball for California Baptist University. Molly led her team to the national women's collegiate quarter finals in Fresno, Calif. last week. Her efforts earned Molly, still a junior, a place on the Academic All-American team. Molly's parents, Jerry and Joanie, were present to watch her play. Ask Jerry about it if you want to see a father swell with pride.

Education News
By Tom Steen

Gala raises $10,000 for center

The Education Center held its first Holiday Fine Art Gala on Dec. 3. A festive crowd of more than 100 supporters attended this charity event and helped raise another $10,000 for the much-needed new wing for The Education Center's building.

This semi-formal evening of fine art, music and hors d' oeuvres brought out many local folks all scrubbed up and looking very elegant. The event exhibited many pieces of art from 22 of the best southwest Colorado has to offer in artistic excellence. Our community is proud of the creativity and beauty these artists give us. Seventeen pieces of art were purchased that evening to grace the homes of the new owners.

The Education Center now has raised $167,000 toward the $208,000 needed for a new 2,000 square-foot building addition. Although most of these funds have been provided by local donations, several recent foundation grants have pushed the capital campaign nearer its goal. The Gates Family Foundation committed $60,000 toward the project if the balance can be raised from other sources. The Kenneth Kendall King Foundation contributed $5,000 and the Sam S. Bloom Foundation donated an additional $4,000.

Tom Steen, executive director of the Education Center, is anxious to raise the additional $41,000 needed to begin construction as soon as possible. "We really hope to be able to occupy the additional classroom space when school starts next September," reports Steen. "Our students are severely over crowded, and our youth and adult program options are greatly restricted. We have definitely outgrown our current 'one-room school.' "

The Education Center is not tax supported. It is a 501C3 nonprofit corporation and has to raise all of its own operating capital. It has offered a wide range of youth and adult educational opportunities in Pagosa Springs for more than 10 years.

Current Education Center offerings include: an alternative high school diploma program, access to high school classes through distance learning options, literacy tutoring, assessment and training to pass the GED test, classes for speakers of other languages (ESL), youth job skills training and placement, after-school tutoring and homework help (first through eighth grades), after-school enrichment programs, CPR/first aid certification and training classes, computer classes, various general interest community education classes, access to Pueblo Community College classes taught locally, access to degree programs available through various distance learning and telecommunication options, and adult work force and job skills training.


Library News
by Lenore Bright

Return books; all is forgiven

Do you have any overdue library books at home?

In celebration of the millennium, we will give a one-time amnesty. If overdue materials are brought in between now and Dec. 30, you will not be charged fines. There will be a charge for lost or damaged materials.

Take advantage of this opportunity to wipe the slate clean and restore your library privileges. There may be another amnesty in 2999, but I doubt it.

Art everywhere

We are enjoying the works of several local artists. Joe Leal is displaying his latest creations made of papier-maché and acrylics. Joe works in a variety of media from cement to polymer. Come enjoy his eclectic collection of Southwest subjects. His collages of Chimayo and the Mission at San Jose de Laguna are framed in barnwood. Hot air balloons float in the children's room; story tellers and other vases fill the display cabinets. We are always glad to see what new direction Joe's work has taken.

Jennifer Mountain is displaying her father's paintings, which are for sale. Sid Mountain's work is quite distinct with a Western flavor. These are a few of the remaining works in Sid's estate.

The beautiful Christmas quilt made by Ella McNatt and Margaret Wilson will be displayed for the rest of December, and Randall Davis's bronze is back for a few more weeks. Come enjoy all of these works of art.


We have a resource kit that seems to be different from the booklets sent to seniors at home. If you're interested in health care information, you may wish to look at this reference piece.

Spanish Fiesta

We were saddened to hear that this important activity is in jeopardy. Surely some volunteers can be found to keep it running. If you have some suggestions, please get in touch with the committee. Better yet, attend their meeting coming up on Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. at the Parish Hall..

Catalog deluge

It is estimated that there will be 17.6 billion catalogs printed in 1999. That works out to 64 catalogs for each individual. I think the majority of them end up here at the library. According to Catalog Age, close to 50 percent of the public bought something from a catalog this past year. We trust the Internet could make catalogs obsolete. How many trees will be saved?

In the meantime, browse the free items in our entryway in case you aren't on a catalog mailing list.

Economic development

For those interested in community telecommunications plans, Ed Morlan from Region 9 provided a copy of the latest update with maps and projections. There may be funding for completing the electronic infrastructure to our area. We are close to getting more access if things go as planned. Ask for the report at the desk.

Reading tips

The State Library sent free brochures to help parents read with their children. This helpful pamphlet begins with newborns and goes up to school age. It is a good gauge of what responses you can expect from your child at certain ages. In this time of multimedia, we cannot forget that reading is the fundamental skill that can mean the difference between success and failure in life. It starts at birth and parents are the first and most important teachers. Take advantage of this excellent publication.

Holiday closings

The library will be closed at noon on Dec. 23, opening again on Monday Dec. 27. We will be closed Dec. 31 for inventory, opening again on Jan. 3. Those needing reference materials over the holiday vacation need to plan for these closings.


Thanks for materials from Tony Simmons, Dick Van Fossen, Julie Gates, Sue Tripp, J.J. Publishing, Jerry Baker, Evelyn Kantas, Luella Gross, EBSCO, Mary Alice Behrents, Dick and Gerry Potticary, Debbee Ramey, Sepp Ramsperger, Jean Sanft, Fran Jenkins, Shirley Snider, Wilbert Anderson, Shanta D'Alonzo and the Second Story Book Store. And a special thanks to David Swindells who has donated a subscription to "Bloomberg Personal Finance."


Arts Line
By Trisha Blankenship

Christmas Shoppe, Whistle Pig, arts fair

The Olde Tyme Christmas Shoppe had its grand opening with great success. The Pagosa Springs Arts Building is alive with color and flair because of this latest exhibition.

Visitors will be amazed at the multitude and variety of unique handcrafted gifts available now. From beautiful wooden clocks and tables, to nifty hand-painted rocks, to beautiful paintings, there is definitely something for everyone on your list. But that's not all. Additional artists are coming this week to display their wares! The Christmas Shoppe will be going on through Dec. 23, Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Shoppe will also be open later, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday Dec. 10, to help celebrate Pagosa's first lights parade (weather permitting). So don't delay, drop on by, and get your hands on some unique gifts from local artists.

Whistle Pig

Hot Dog! It's going to be a fun Saturday night this weekend as the PSAC presents another Whistle Pig Folk Night on Dec. 11. It is another night of expression for all musicians, poets, and other entertainers in the area. This is your calling, folks!

John Graves will appear on Dec. 11 with a Christmas Special and open dance combo by the San Juan Dance Academy. Whistle Pig occurs at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave. at 7 p.m. Donations are $4 for adults; kids and teens are free. Talk about a whopping good time! Be sure to bring family and friends to this fun and entertaining spectacle.

Crafts Fair

Want to surprise someone with something unique and handmade with more of a personal touch this year? Well you're in luck because The Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair will be held at the Pagosa Lodge on Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Don't miss an opportunity to give the perfect gift and support your local artists at the same time.

Other events

Attention all performers, actors and actresses.

Members of the Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater will begin work on their winter production in January. Auditions will take place the first week in January. Stay tuned for exact time and place. Tentatively, the theme for the production will stem from "Tales from the Arabian Nights."

Other items

The year 2000 exhibit applications are in. You can pick up your application to exhibit at the PSAC gallery at Town Park or at Moonlight Books.

The PSAC is also looking for a CD player to demonstrate the CDs that are for sale in the Gallery Gift Shop. If you know of anyone, or if you yourself wish to donate a player please contact Joanne at: 264-5020.


Joanne would like to thank all 33 artists participating in the Olde Tyme Christmas Shoppe for bringing such a beautiful and numerous amount of arts and crafts into the gallery. A big thank you goes out to Susan Garman, Jennifer Harnick, Barbara L. Draper, and Deanne Newman for helping set up and organize the event. Thanks also to Gesda Witkamp for donating her computer to the PSAC. A final thanks to Greg Coffey for the cheery Christmas window paintings he created for the arts building. You can reach him at 247-2596 to decorate your windows.


Senior News
By Janet Copeland

Local seniors remember meaning of Christmas

As we prepare for this glorious holiday season, we should take time to remember the meaning of Christmas and to be thankful for our many blessings. One of our blessings here at the Senior Center is the love and concern that we share - this week we are concerned and thankful that Myrtle Hopper is recovering at Pine Ridge.

We are also thankful for the many programs available to seniors to help simplify their lives. One such program is the Medicine Program which seeks to aid those who have exhausted all other sources for help with medication. These clients have too much income to qualify for government prescription assistance but not enough to purchase private prescription drug insurance coverage.

Also available is the Senior Insurance Assistance program which is a counseling program for Medicare beneficiaries and their families when they need help understanding Medicare, medical bills, supplemental insurance or Medicaid. These services are available at no cost to seniors.

Another helpful program is the Watch Your Step program which provides help with home safety, such as railings, ramps, etc.

To learn more about these programs, brochures are available at the Senior Center or you can call Cindy at 264-2167.

Congratulations to our Senior of the Week: Elaine Nossaman.

Our most welcome guest this week is Ted Archuleta (Mary's son).

Our own Cindy Archuleta has been invited to be included in "The National Registry of Who's Who." We are so proud of Cindy!

Don't forget the special events taking place this month:

Dec. 10 - Kate Lister's second graders will again brighten our day with their presence.

Dec. 16 - for a $10 fee, seniors can ride the Durango-Silverton train.



An enjoyable night

Reading past editions of the SUN in order to prepare each week's 25 Years ago column is an enjoyable task. It provides a brief visit with former friends and renews my awareness of past events and conditions. One of the more interesting aspects about past editions is how closely the past relates to the present.

Hopefully, Ralph Eaton will read Patty Tillerson's letter in this week's edition on the success of the fifth annual Kiwanis Christmas Chili Supper which was held in the Parish Hall.

Patty wrote about the spirit of love that ". . . was very much alive . . ." at the event and how the ". . . Kiwanians all were pleased that the primary purpose of this event, to bring together friends and neighbors from all areas of the community in an atmosphere of goodwill, did happen."

Twenty-five years ago, in the December 19, 1974, edition of the SUN, Mr. Eaton placed a very large advertisement that featured a nighttime photograph of the glowing light bulbs that creates the outline of the Christmas star atop Reservoir Hill.

The message in Mr. Eaton's display ad stated: "Christmas is a time of distant lights from windows reflecting on new-fallen snow, a time for gathering together of loved ones in homes insulated from the cares of the world, a time of closeness, cheerful faces and gentle words.

"This year across the nation people are uncertain, and some, afraid, just as they were at the time Jesus was born in the stable, a time we celebrate during the coming holiday, because then a simple birth gave new hope to men in all the ages. The star that shines down on Pagosa Springs each Christmas is a sign that the people here acknowledge His presence still.

"All the people at Eaton International Corporation wish to extend our appreciation for the star you share with us and the spirit behind it.

"With God's help our kinship will grow stronger, our homes and our families will be secure, and we will share the hope that He has brought to us through all the seasons of the year. Ralph H. Eaton"

As alluded to in Mr. Eaton's advertisement, an adversarial "us versus them" attitude existed between folks in Pagosa Springs and the few new residents at Pagosa in Colorado west of town 25 years ago.

Saturday night, the hundreds of folks who enjoyed one another's company at the Kiwanis Christmas Chili Supper and/or the caroling and tree lighting activities at the Visitor Center could not have demonstrate a stronger or happier sense of "kinship." No one bothered to burden themselves with concerns about what area of the county a person lived in or about how long they had lived in Pagosa.

Thanks to the chamber of commerce folks at the Visitor Center and the members of the Kiwanis Club of Pagosa Springs, it truly was a night of bringing " . . . together friends and neighbors from all areas of the community in an atmosphere of goodwill. . . ." just as Mr. Eaton had hoped for 25 years ago. It was a night he would have enjoyed.

David C. Mitchell

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Some unforgettable memories

Dear Folks,

I woke up Tuesday knowing that it was December 7, "a day of infamy."

But by the time I reached the parking lot out back I had forgotten about my earlier thoughts on Pearl Harbor.

Then as I walked through the building I thought I heard a radio disk jockey comment about the war that "started 54 years ago." Hopefully he said the war that "ended 54 years ago," and I simply misunderstood his comment.

The bombing at Pearl Harbor kept slipping in and out of my thoughts through out the day.

When a friend at the bank said she was not yet born 58 years ago, it brought to mind the radio broadcast that Sunday afternoon as we were planting shrubbery from the northeast front of the house and on out along the sidewalk.

Even after my folks explained the tremendous consequences of one nation declaring war against another nation, my older brother and I had little or no understanding of all that was to be involved.

Later that day I found myself looking at Pvt. Robert Gomez's basic training mug shot and the news he had graduated from combat training at Fort Jackson. I recognized the haircut, shallow cheeks and vacant eyes. Except for Robert not wearing the round-lens, government-issue, gold-wire frame eye glasses that had been stylish back in the middle '50s, he looked somewhat like myself and all the other frazzled recruits I went through basic training with.

Only a few months ago as we worked together in the mail room, Robert and I would talk about his plans to enlist into the U.S. Army in order to train to be an aircraft engine mechanic. I hope Robert can enjoy his military career and will benefit as much from it as I did mine.

Forty-five years ago I volunteered for the draft so as to qualify for the G.I. Bill. I was 45 years too soon.

Tuesday, while reading a U.S. Army recruiting press release, I found it hard to believe qualified new recruits can collect a $20,000 cash enlistment bonus.

My enlistment bonus was that the recruiter promised me that my brother and I could go through basic training with the same outfit.

"Pearl Harbor Memories" made page 10 of the first section of The Denver Post Tuesday. There was a valid concern as to whether future generations ". . . will appreciate the sacrifices that were made during World War II."

I'm afraid they are fighting a long-standing losing battle.

I remember a conversation I had while stationed in a Germany during early 1955. My German friend was a year younger than myself and she had vivid memories of the bombings in and around Darmstadt during World War II. I suppose it would be difficult to forget being bounced off the cellar floor by the impact of exploding bombs. Well educated, fluent in English and having visited relatives in Philadelphia only month earlier; she was appalled by the then popular TV series "Hogan's Heroes." She could not comprehend how Americans could use a German concentration camp as the setting for a comedy. I had no answer for her question: "How can you Americans forget so quickly?"

In time, G.I. Joe became a toy and the toy became a collectible.

In time, combat fatigues became a form of casual wear.

In time, automatic weapons became popular products in sporting goods or hardware stores.

Combat patrols, air combat dog fights or bombing missions are now simulated on computer CDs as a form of entertainment.

Our homes, streets and school yards have become combat zones.

And I still don't have an answer as to why Americans forget so quickly.

We won the war but we're losing our nation.

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


25 years ago

Deer killed in battle of the bucks

Taken from SUN files

of Dec. 19, 1974

A new industry, Miniature Automation, has been established at Eaton International's Pagosa in Colorado. The company makes precision machinery that is used by electronic manufacturers. The new firm is headed by Heinz Bareiss and Werner Kuhne who operated a similar business in Chicago for many years. Both are originally from West Germany.

It will be free candy, a free movie and a visit with Santa Claus for children who attend the big Christmas party this Saturday afternoon at the high school gymnasium. The chamber of commerce sponsored affair gets underway at 2 p.m. Santa Claus will arrive right after the movie to visit with the children, and to distribute candy and teats to all of the youngsters.

Lewis Luchini, a Republican and county commissioner for the past 10 years, has submitted his resignation effective Jan. 1, 1975. A resident of Arboles, Luchini sated in his letter that he was moving from Archuleta County and therefore would no longer be eligible to hold the position. He is the second commissioner to resign in the past few months.

Wolf Creek Ski Area has excellent conditions, snow depth is over three feet, and the area will be operating every day during the holiday season. The big new Borvig chairlift installed there this past summer is preforming flawlessly.


By Shari Pierce

Letters contain memories not just facts

Last week I wrote about one of many friendships I have developed through this column. This week I'd like to mention another person I became acquainted with because of writing Legacies.

My first Legacies appeared in May 1985. In July, I received the first of many letters from Mrs. Helen James Dutton. She was among the very first persons who told me she was enjoying my column. Her letters continued over the years.

Helen James came to Pagosa Springs with her parents in time to attend Pagosa Springs High School for four years. She wrote in a 1985 letter, "I was not a Pagosa native, only a captivated daughter of the place which I first saw before my 14th b-day. I graduated from Pagosa Hi in a class of nine - 1926, was married there in 1927. My first born is in the Dutton Plot at Hilltop. We came to Washington June 1929, but had trips back."

Helen married Elmer Dutton who was the sixth child of William Dutton and Idella Hatcher, both familiar names in Pagosa history. William Dutton came to Pagosa Springs with his parents in 1879 at the age of 12. Later he served as one of Archuleta County's elected county commissioners. William raised sheep and cattle.

I never met Mrs. Dutton in person, only through her letters. She dubbed herself as my "older friend" early on in our correspondence.

Her letters were always a joy to receive - they contained memories of what life was like - not just facts about Pagosa history. A sampling follows: "My mother's kitchens, wherever she was, were designed for efficient one-person operation. She was glad to have me grow up in a healthy outdoor atmosphere, free of domestic duties - which suited me all too well! Consequently I entered matrimony and the duties of Cattle Ranch wife with little more kitchen ability than the baking of a top flight, lofty Angel Food Cake (from scratch). On the other hand, it seemed I was a born nest builder, and was soon enjoying my home maker role - often interrupted, however, by Cattle Ranch emergencies - I have often said, 'on the Dutton Ranch there was a crisis every day.' I have enough in my head to fill a book - 'Bride on Half Diamond Hat Ranch' - Half Diamond Hat being the Dutton Ranch registered brand!"

Mrs. Dutton's letters stopped a few years back, but I am thankful for her friendship over the years and cherish the letters I still have and the memories they hold.


Video Review
By Roy Starling

Revisiting a children's classic

I'll get to this week's video review in just a moment, but first I'd like to make a shameless plug for a class I'll allegedly be teaching for the Pueblo Community College Southwest Branch in Pagosa Springs.

I say "allegedly" because the last time I got my hopes up about teaching in this program, all but two of you forgot to sign up for it. Thanks a lot! This time, I'm counting on you to do better than that. I know you good people wouldn't send me back to Florida without the pleasure of teaching a single class.

The course is called Children's Literature, but it may not be what you think. We're not talking "A Horse for Johnny" or "Susie's Magic Braces." We're talking the good stuff, classic children's literature. Remember "Hansel and Gretel"? "Beauty and the Beast" (not the Disney version!)? "Rapunzel"? And moving up a few centuries, how about C. S. Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia"? A. A. Milne's Pooh stories?

Remember the Wicked Stepmother's original (unsanitized) request when she sent that fellow out after her lovely daughter Snow White? Whaddaya think Freud and his buddies have to say about that?

Why were stepmothers always wicked and why aren't there more wicked stepfathers? What must fairy tale fathers have been looking for in their second wives? What were fathers typically like in fairy tales? Remember Hansel and Gretel's courageous, domineering dad? "Gosh, dear, do we really have to abandon our children in the woods? Well, all right."

How would you like to talk about what's really going on in Alice's weird wonderland, created by that rather peculiar lover of children, the Rev. Charles Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll? Some of you may know that Dodgson was also quite the whiz with a camera, one of the pioneers of the art of photography.

Classic children's literature is only simple if you're a child. We're not children, and when we read it in class starting next month, we're not going to pretend to be. We're going to revisit those classics as mature adults (at least we can pretend to be mature).

If we can believe J.R.R. Tolkien, a medieval scholar who wrote "The Hobbit" and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, classic fairy tales weren't written for children in the first place. It's just that children continued to love those stories when they went out of fashion for adults.

Are you psyched? Are you pretty much beside yourself with excitement? Ready to read? Wanna write a kid's story of your own? And get college credit for it? Then get over to the Education Center and register today. If you'll only show up, this'll be fun.

The actual review

You won't be too surprised to learn that this week's video is also a children's classic, the latest (and, I think, the best) film version of Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Secret Garden." This thing was written back near the turn of the century, so what's it still doing here? What keeps attracting young audiences to this story?

Oh, the usual things kids like to talk about during kindergarten recess: unloving parents, death, grief, deformity, secrets, nature, healing and rebirth.

The film opens with a very brief scene in India. In just a couple of minutes, we learn that little Mary Lennox' parents don't have time for her, and that, as a result, she's built a fortress around her heart to keep it from hurting, and she never cries, and her parents get wiped out by an earthquake while we're learning this.

Judging from this beginning, I'm guessing it's not the job of children's stories to protect the little people from life's harsh realities.

With the real parents gone on to be with the angels, the stage is set for some wicked stepparents and, in a way, this happens. Mary, along with a whole bunch of other newly orphaned children, is shipped back to England. There, she will stay at Mistlewhaite Manor, the home of her uncle Lord Archibald Craven (John Lynch) and Mrs. Medlock (Maggie Smith), who I take to be the governess at Craven's joint.

What delightful company these two make for a little girl! The icy, stern, stiff Mrs. Medlock immediately informs Mary that her uncle won't want to see her. Uncle Lord Archibald is experiencing near terminal grief for his wife Lillian who died about a decade ago. Consequently, he's twisted inside and out; he's morose, maybe even lachrymose, downright lugubrious.

Mary finds out that the dearly departed Lillian Craven was her mother's twin sister. Then she finds out Lillian and Archie produced a little boy, Colin, who is the same age as she. Nobody ever told her or Colin anything! Lord Archie wisely keeps the sickly Colin shut up in a room by himself so, in case Colin dies, which it appears he'll do, Lord Archie won't be so attached to him and have to go through that whole grieving thing again.

Mistlewhaite Manor, then, is a veritable garden of secrets, locked-up hearts and emotional dwarfism. As Mary says, "The house seemed dead, as if a spell had been cast upon it." How can life ever be brought back to this place?

That's a job for fecund Nature and Her high priest, Dickon, a sort of younger, tamer version of Heathcliff from Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights." Dickon is of the earth, in such harmony with nature that he converses with creatures in their language and his own. Under his gentle touch, the secret garden of the title will flourish again, the contrary Mary will be healed and, together, they'll give hope to puny Colin who will then pass that hope on to his gloomy dad.

As the flowers commence to bloom and Colin regains his strength, the children wonder "Who's working this magic?" And the answer is the children themselves, powerless little beings who nonetheless have the courage to go on living in the midst of death, to be the light in the darkness of Mistlewhaite Manor. You know the old saying: "And a child shall lead them."

This seemingly simple children's yarn betrays the influence of the British Romantic poet William Wordsworth, of his buddy Samuel Coleridge's Gothic poem "Christabel," and of the aforementioned Brontë. Gifted director Agnieszka Holland does a wonderful job of mingling the complexities of adults' emotional strivings with the children's unconscious comprehension of them and their simple solutions to them.

"The Secret Garden" features extremely fine acting, breathtaking photography of the English moors, gratuitous shots of rabbits, foxes, goats, sheep, deer, geese and swan frolicking with the children, and this fine closing sentiment from Mary:

"If you look the right way, you can see the whole world is a garden."

And Holland's beautiful film gently evokes from us a desire to "look the right way."


In a Class by Themselves . . .
By Roy Starling

The two stories of Gabe Silva

By Roy Starling

In this week's "In a Class by Themselves" feature, we have two stories to tell. First, we'll go back a few years to the time when a young man named Gabe Silva was a freshman at Pagosa High.

Story One begins with Gabe and his friends milling about at a safe distance from the old high school, now the junior high. They're not thinking about what they're going to learn that day, and they're not thinking about their grades. Actually, they're trying not to think at all. They're preparing for their academic day, not by finishing up their homework, but by passing around a joint and a couple of beers.

Back then Gabe heard his friends say, in effect, "Look, we've been dealt a lousy hand. We've been given really rotten lives. We might as well go through them drunk and high." Not much was expected of these guys, and they had every intention of living down to those low expectations.

"I was trying to take everything away from me," Gabe recalls. "But I never really thought about quitting school. I just wanted to get through it without doing anything."

Principal Bill Esterbrook said Gabe was "never belligerent" back then, he "just didn't show up. He apparently saw no reason to be in school."

Sean Downing had Gabe in a ninth-grade English class, and his memories are similar. "Everything in Gabe's life was working against him," he said. "He was really the kind of student a lot of teachers might have a tendency to give up on, but the teachers at this school don't give up on people."

As a freshman, Gabe took pre-algebra with Mark Thompson, now the school's counselor. "My experience was that he wasn't a terror in the classroom, he just wasn't real engaged or motivated," Thompson said.

History teacher Doug Hershey remembers Gabe as being "pretty nearly totally non involved. He wasn't disruptive, in fact, he was a nice kid, but he did next to nothing. He showed up unprepared for class and didn't do anything once he was there."

According to Gabe, even when he made it to class, he wasn't really there. "In first period, I was usually still so stoned I didn't remember anything the teacher said." He'd just try to hang on until lunch when he'd "smoke some more dope and, about half the time, take a few more drinks."

This went on for some time. Gabe says he "used up" two school years and an additional summer in this condition. He remembers those years as being "relaxing, but empty; carefree, but troublesome."

When there was trouble, someone else would usually have to tell him about it. "I'm told I was busted in class one time," Gabe said. "I guess I just lost it and started swinging at another student. I guess I said some bad things to a teacher. I don't know. I completely blanked out. The next thing I remember was sitting in Mr. (Kahle) Charles' office, listening to him and Mr. Esterbrook. One of them said, 'Look at you!' "

When Gabe looked, he didn't see anything unusual: same ol' Gabe. "They were both very upset," he said, "but it was just another day for me."

Gabe said there were "other incidents," some he can't recall, some he'd rather not. He does remember sleeping some in the high school nurse's office.

Meanwhile, Gabe was making absolutely no progress academically. "I think maybe I earned two D's in ninth and tenth grade," he said. "The rest were F's." While Gabe was earning very few credits at the high school, he racked up a pretty impressive record on the police blotter, earning "10 summons tickets for alcohol and marijuana use."

Story One ends with Gabe Silva going nowhere fast, resigned to becoming the town drunk, the Otis Campbell of this Mayberry in the mountains, just following through with what seemed to be expected of him.

Story Two

Pagosa High senior Gabe Silva - the star, incidentally, of Story One - lives by a motto: "Take every opportunity to do what isn't expected." A little over a year ago (on Sept. 8, 1998, to be exact) he decided he'd better start putting that philosophy into action.

He was in Durango to buy some school clothes. Before heading into Wal-Mart, he downed "a six-pack or more in the parking lot." Once inside, he was busted for trying to steal some shoes.

The arresting officer, Gabe said, "noticed I was intoxicated. I believe that was ticket number 10."

On the way home from Durango, Gabe had an unusual experience, one that led him to do the unexpected. "Maybe I was still emotional from being drunk," he recalls. "I actually had some tears. I had feelings of success. There was something inside me that wanted to change. I heard words in my head reminding me I could do more with my life, that I could control my life. I knew I could turn the tables from being a drug addict alcoholic troublemaker to becoming a successful person. I challenged myself to make the switch."

Gabe said that personal goals that had lain dormant for years began to rouse themselves and rise to the surface of his consciousness. "Since I was 9, I've had a dream of being a law enforcement officer," he said, and on the way back from Durango "all those memories came back to me and helped motivate me to change."

Gabe also found motivation in "all those fines, all the trouble I was getting into. I knew I was just going to wind up in jail." On top of all of that, he realized he didn't exactly have the reputation of being a ladies' man. "I was so stoned I couldn't express myself," he said. "That made it pretty difficult to get into a relationship."

Shortly after the Durango experience, Gabe was so certain he was ready to make a new start that he made his intentions known to Esterbrook. "He came in on the first day of school last year," the principal recalls. "He told me, 'I want you to know I'm going to be different this year. I'm going to be a good student.' "

Did he live up to his promise? Yes, and then some. "He hasn't backed away from it," Esterbrook said. "He's exceeded it. And he hasn't had it easy. He never has a light schedule. He's had four solid courses each term with lots of homework."

Downing said Gabe has become "a model student - hardworking, diligent, respectful. Everything good I could possibly say would be short of the mark. Coming from where he came from, those adjectives just don't cut it."

What impressed Downing the most is that Gabe had "the strength of character to change right then. A lot of people can't do that."

After Gabe's about-face, Hershey had him in back-to-back classes, two semesters in a row. "It was a complete turnaround," Hershey said. "He gave a consistent effort. He was prepared for class every day. He wanted to know what he could do to make things better and what he could do for extra credit. He was intrinsically involved in the educational process; he was part of it. I was just thrilled with the effort I saw from a kid who had previously not done anything. Really remarkable."

Gabe, Hershey says, "is the kind of student that, as a teacher, you always hope for but rarely ever actually have, somebody who actually turns it around."

Leigh Gozigian, who now has Gabe in an American government class, calls him "a wonderful young man, courtly, gentlemanly. I wouldn't have guessed his earlier problems. He's doing very well in class, and I'd say his success is largely due to how hard he's working."

Although Gabe still finds it challenging to wake up every morning, go to school and do all of his work, he continues to persist, looking ahead to graduation and pursuing his career in law enforcement. He also finds numerous "little" ways to count his blessings each day. "I'm relieved that whenever I drive, I know I'm safe. I don't have to worry about doing something stupid and not knowing about it. I'm relieved to be able to make my own decisions instead of alcohol making them for me. And I love waking up sober without a hangover."

Gabe credits Thompson with helping him stay focused, especially while he was still shaky in his new life. "He helped me extend my success," Gabe said. "For a while, even after I had changed, I still wasn't thinking clearly - I guess my head was still filled with smoke. Mr. Thompson was there to counsel me and help get my classes together. He was like a father to me."

Even though he's happy with his new life, he doesn't spend much time trying to change his old drinking and smoking friends. "I encourage them to go on with what they're doing," he said. "If you want to mess up your life, go for it. You can always use your background as an excuse, but eventually you have to make your own life."

Several of Gabe's friends on the faculty and staff have favorite stories involving him, special "Gabe moments" that signal another victory for the young man.

Gozigian remembers seeing him dressed nicely at school last year and complimenting him. "He looked great," she said, "and I think he wanted to project a different image to the school, both for himself and for all of us."

Thompson remembers Gabe receiving the Endaba Retreat Pirate Award at last spring's awards assembly and "the kids giving him a standing ovation." The award went to Gabe to honor his "exceptional courage and persistence in the face of adversity."

Downing remembers Gabe reading his class an essay he had written about "waking up and not knowing where he was and realizing something had to change. When he finished, there wasn't a dry eye in the room. It was really powerful."

Esterbrook, who sees high school sports as a way for students to learn and practice the courage and commitment required for real-life challenges and victories, remembers an image from a football game: "Watching Gabe catch a touchdown pass against Mancos and knowing what he'd been through - for me, that was the biggest win of the season."

And Esterbrook looks forward to another moment, one that will take place in late May. "When he graduates this spring, there will be no one in this district who has done as much as him, no other student who has graduated from here who has come so far, who has done so much in such a short time and who has worked harder to accomplish his goals than Gabe Silva."

Story Two doesn't end here. With Gabe's strength and with help from his friends, it should continue for a long, long time.

Food for Thought
By Karl Isberg

Karl saddled with pudding monkey

I'm obsessed.

I've got a serious jones, and I can't shake it.

This is nothing new: I'm prone to obsessive behavior, to fixations and whatnot. Always have been.

If I dip deep in the memory banks, I find odd attachments lurking at the furthermost reaches, at profound depths, at great distances. They've been with me all along. For example, I recall an infantile preoccupation with female circus performers or I dislodge a later fascination with the uniforms and saddle shoes worn by the winsome students at an exclusive girls school in southeast Denver.

But these and other enchantments were eventually unloaded or, as in the case of the saddle shoes, sufficiently subdued, rendered ineffective.

The last few years I've done just fine, having traveled a far piece carrying only a few quirks, little things like having to take the first step in a flight of stairs with my left foot or beginning any unilateral exercise with my left hand - residue from my days in the Blue Knights drum and bugle corps. These attachments are slightly annoying, but not burdensome; no more so than my need to take only two steps within each standard-sized block of concrete in a sidewalk. Nothing to worry about.

Things were proceeding smoothly when, four months ago, the monkey climbed on my back again, locked on with its claws and held tight. I can't get the beast off.

It's the worst kind of monkey - the pudding monkey.

The rice pudding monkey.

Specifically, the Kozy Shack Rice Pudding monkey.

It's killing me!

My problem began suddenly, when I made a turn down the last aisle of the grocery store, moving past the dairy cases, veering toward the butter and the cheese in search OF a snippet of bel paese.

For no reason at all (oh, really?) I glanced at the top shelf of the refrigerated case and spied a display of nondescript 22-ounce tubs of pudding. My first inclination was to ignore the containers. After all, most store-bought puddings consist of metallic artificial flavors and bits of indistinguishable organic matter suspended in a distressing and, I suspect, polymerized emulsion.

Then, I read the label on one of the containers: Rice Pudding.


There was no way I could resist. At that moment, a dangerous and delicious relationship began with my dealer, my connection: Kozy Shack Inc., of Hicksville, N.Y.

Why this attraction to rice pudding?

Easy to explain. Rice pudding was one of the first, semi-solid comfort foods that passed the lips of little Karl. Rice pudding was an eagerly anticipated gift grafted to some of the most pleasurable activities I experienced as a tyke. Norman Rockwell moments, with Nonny.

Nonny cared for me and my brother and sister when we were young, and rice pudding was one of the few foods Nonny made well. Really well.

Though she cooked frequently, high quality was not one of the earmarks of Nonny's cuisine. On the contrary, Nonny was renowned for her ability to orchestrate meals in terms of the color of foods, rather than their tastes. At times, the motif matched the occasion: nothing but green foods on St. Patrick's Day, red foods on Valentine's Day, red, white and blue foods on the Fourth of July, etc. At other times, different foods were on the menu simply because their colors went well together: all earth tones, for example, assembled as a tribute to autumn, or complementary colors and the ripping optical illusions produced when they are placed side by side. Nonny had a real thing for liver and onions (a symphony in greys, a full palette that would have pleased Constable) and the horror of the meal is indescribable.

Her rice pudding, on the other hand, was the food of the gods - pale, pure, ambrosia.

Nonny cooked her rice pudding in a double boiler, and she plunked some raisins in it.

I remember the pudding clearly: white, warm, served in a small glass bowl, the surface of the pudding barely covered with a sheen of cream. I sat in a small room off the kitchen, at a table with an enameled metal top, my feet dangling above the linoleum, delighting in each spoonful of the pudding, gazing out the window at the hedge-rimmed back yard, watching the clouds move east from the Divide, listening to the Arthur Godfrey radio show. I was adrift in a rice and cream-fueled reverie.

Husserl tackles the notion of time dilation in several of his works, including the obscure "Phenomenolgy of Internal Time Consciousness," but his efforts to describe the effect fall short. If only he had sat at that table, eating Nonny's rice pudding, the universe framed by that window, defined by those hedges, his consciousness focused on each bite of that incredible food and nothing else . . . then, he would have known. Time stretches, grows tissue-thin, dissolves, becomes vaporous like the notes from Arthur's ukelele as they pass from electrical impulse to a vibration in a fiber cone to a sound wave and out, ever thinner, until they evaporate in the ether.


So, suffice it to say, with a linkage that powerful, the lure of the tub of Kozy Shack was difficult to resist. I rose to the bait. I needed to sample the stuff expecting, of course, to be disappointed.

I opened the tub the instant I stepped into my kitchen. I sampled the pudding.

The stuff was unbelievably good!

I was hooked.

Quick as that.

I read the label as I continued to eat from the container: all-natural ingredients - rice, milk, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla. I ate the entire 22 ounces of pudding.

I bought another tub of Kozy Shack the next day and ate the whole thing. A week later, cognizant of my excess, I cut myself back to half a tub per night and I have been able to maintain that dose since.

My nightly maintenance dose involves two and a half of the recommended servings of the pudding, or 11 ounces of rich goodness. This includes 350 calories, 75 of the calories generated by fats. My dose provides 60 grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of dietary fiber, 45 grams of sugars, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 7.5 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, and 10 grams of protein.

Kathy says I have a problem. She's right. She feels compelled to say something every time she comes into the front room and finds me watching television, sprawled on the front couch, a tub of Kozy Shack on my chest, spoon in hand, a stray kernel or two of rice spilled on my sweatshirt. She says snippy things like "Do you want me to call 9-1-1 when you go down, or just take out a section of wall and rent a frontloader to haul your dead - out of the house?" Kathy is very sensitive. That's why I married her.

I know I have a problem. I attempted to wean myself from the rice pudding last week by substituting a tub of Kozy Shack chocolate pudding. It did not work.

Kathy and I went to Phoenix for Thanksgiving to visit our granddaughter, Ipana. I planned to take a small cooler with four or five tubs of Kozy Shack - one tub for the drive in either direction, the remaining tubs to keep me going while we were in Arizona. Kathy knew something was up when I tore the garage apart in a frantic search for the cooler and she stymied my plan. I sensed trouble ahead.

We drove to Phoenix and by the time we motored through Gallup, I could think of nothing but Kozy Shack.

Once I got the Thanksgiving dinner cooking at my daughter Aurora's house, I used the old "Oh, I think we need some olives. I better go to the store" ploy, zipped out of the house and was speeding away before Kathy could stop me.

Can you believe there isn't a grocery store on the west side of the Phoenix metro area that stocks Kozy Shack! What kind of world does my granddaughter inhabit?

I went into Kozy Shack withdrawal. I developed a nasty case of the shakes and I perspired freely. I reduced the frequency of Ipana kisses to six per minute and I refused to pet the dog. I was on bad turf.

Later that night, I lay in the dark in our room at the Sheraton wondering if I could call the concierge and have him locate a tub of the precious stuff - have it express-mailed from Hicksville if need be. A handsome tip would be forthcoming if he succeeded. I was desperate. No one answered my call.

When we returned to my daughter's house the next day, I forced my son-in-law to let me use his computer. I figured, without the big fix, I would find something to tide me over. I got on the net and went to I read the history of the company, tracing its operation from modest beginnings in New York City, to its home in Hicksville. I lingered lovingly on photos of a '40s-era delivery van. I entered my name on the Kozy Shack mailing list along with an effusive salute to the company's prowess. I analyzed the numerous home and institutional uses of Kozy Shack products. I stayed on line for more than an hour, until Kathy forced me to pay attention to little Ipana. And the dog.

My situation was pathetic. I realized it. The monkey was shredding me. I was helpless.

On the drive home, I tried to enjoy the scenery and think positive, sparkly thoughts. I listened to the Arizona 2A football championship on the radio. I tuned to three hours of Navajo radio. I resolved to rid myself of the Kozy Shack habit, to clean up, to go to rehab if necessary.

Who was I kidding?

When we arrived in Pagosa, Kathy wanted to get a few things at the grocery store before we went home. She was exhausted from the trip and she let her guard down. I volunteered to run into the store and before she realized what was happening, I was out of the car, hustling across the parking lot to the entrance, cash in hand.

Two tubs of Kozy Shack, a loaf of bread and some processed cheese.

I knew it: I needed to deal with this problem, to stop chasing the ghost.

As I stretched out on the couch to watch an episode of "Real Stories of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police," a tub of fresh pudding resting heavy on my chest, I figured the only way to break the spell was to dampen the Kozy Shack glow, to strip the veneer off the product, to throw a blanket on the sheer delight of the Kozy Shack experience.

In other words, make a pudding that is better than Kozy Shack.

There are variations to consider when you make rice pudding: with egg, without egg; baked or on the stove top. I tried them all.

One thing you definitely need is rice. Long-grain or medium-grain white rice. For six to eight servings, as much as a cup of rice.

While some recipes have you cook the rice in milk, most use water. For a cup of rice, use maybe 2 1/2 cups of water and a bit of salt. Bring the water and salt to a boil, add the rice, cover and cook over low heat until the water is absorbed - about 20 minutes. Cool.

Here's where you make the choices.

Baked, with egg: preheat the oven to 350. Butter a baking dish. Whisk together a cup and a half of whole milk, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, two eggs plus a yolk, a half cup of sugar, a touch of salt and, if you like, a touch of nutmeg or cardamom. Add a cup and a half of rice and some raisins if you appreciate them. (Soak overly dry raisins in a little warm water and plump them before you add them to the pudding. Do not desecrate rice pudding with inferior raisins!). Put the whole mess in the baking dish and set the dish inside a larger pan. Fill the larger pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Pop in the oven and bake on the center rack until the pudding is firm. Check at an hour and adjust time as necessary. Cool and eat. Eat all of it.

Craig Claiborne would have you bake the pudding, without egg, putting raw rice, milk, sugar and salt in a casserole and baking it at 300, stirring on the half hour for two hours, then adding raisins, vanilla and nutmeg and baking without stirring for another half hour or so. Each to his own.

Mark Bittman cooks a no-egg pudding on the stove top, adding milk to the cooked rice and simmering until half the milk is absorbed then adding sugar and spices and continuing to simmer until all the milk is absorbed. He also suggests substituting coconut milk for all or part of the milk in the recipe. Without the egg - a bit weak. The coconut milk is a nice touch.

These are adequate recipes. Merely adequate. They can't touch Kozy Shack.

But, I can't stop trying. My future hangs in the balance.

Tonight, I think I'll settle on the couch with a tub of Kozy Shack and go through Nonny's old recipe cards. Nonny's pudding could knock Kozy Shack for a loop. Perhaps she did something different with her recipe, something related to the various shades of white.

With luck and the right recipe, there's a chance I can thrash this jones.

If not, I'll move to Hicksville, N.Y. Get near the source. Rent a studio apartment, and write ad copy for Kozy Shack Inc.

Maybe get a discount.

Anyone need a monkey?

With saddle shoes?


By John M. Motter

Fort Lewis and early Pagosa

By John M. Motter

Fort Lewis's impact on the founding of Pagosa Springs cannot be over estimated. One can easily argue that the first settlers came to town because of the fort and its soldiers. By extension, it is easy to see that when Fort Lewis moved west to the La Plata River, town economics were tremendously impacted.

The first soldiers to arrive at Pagosa Springs were members of Companies I and B of the Fifteenth Infantry, and Company D of the Ninth Cavalry - the famous buffalo soldiers. They came starting in October of 1878. The post first called Camp Lewis Oct. 26, 1878, was given the higher designation of Fort Lewis on Dec. 30, 1878. During the fall of 1879, the Northern Ute Indians with Agency headquarters on the White River near Meeker, lashed out in a bloody uprising. Troops from Company D, Ninth Cavalry were embroiled in that conflict. Following the so-called Meeker Massacre, the Army reassessed its position in Southwestern Colorado. The days of Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs were numbered.

General John Pope ordered construction of a new post on the La Plata River Aug. 15, 1880. On Jan. 21, 1881, General Sherman ordered, "By the direction of the Secretary of War the new post on the Rio de La Plata, Colorado, will be known and designated as 'Fort Lewis' and the name of the temporary camp at Pagosa Springs, Colorado, will be changed from 'Fort Lewis' to 'Pagosa Springs.'"

The action moving Fort Lewis west was made in response to a recommendation made by General Phil Sheridan after he toured the area in 1879. Sheridan advised moving the post west because that was where most of the settlers and Utes were. An additional factor was the number of settlers encroaching on the military reservation at Pagosa Springs.

While visiting Animas City and Pagosa Springs, Sheridan bounced along in an Army ambulance, his favorite form of frontier conveyance. He spent one night at Peterson's road-side boarding house on the Piedra River before continuing on to Pagosa Springs.

Lieutenant Colonel R.E.A Crofton passed through Pagosa Springs during August of 1880. He was commanding Companies A, B, C, D, and E of the Thirteenth Infantry, a full battalion en route to the new La Plata River location.

While in Pagosa Springs, Crofton ordered Captain R.L. Torres, 13th Infantry, to remain with Company A for the purpose of "removing the public stores, dismantling and removing the public buildings to the Rio Mancos."

Company D Ninth Cavalry and Company C of the Thirteenth Infantry spent the winter of 1880 in Pagosa Springs because there was not adequate housing for them on the La Plata. A limited number of troops from Company A Thirteenth Infantry remained at Pagosa Springs, now a sub-post of Fort Lewis on the La Plata River, until Dec. 2, 1882. At that point in time, the post was totally abandoned by the Army.

Torres never carried out his orders to dismantle the Fort Lewis buildings located in Pagosa Springs. Old photographs of that part of town reveal that the buildings remained into the 1890s, perhaps a little longer. The 10 enlisted men's barracks disappeared before the four officer's buildings. Through the years, many Pagosa pioneers are said to have lived in the buildings temporarily while waiting to find permanent quarters.

According to R.D. Hott, his grandfather, Jule Macht, disassembled two of the officer buildings during the early 1900s and reassembled them into one building at the Macht Ranch on Fourmile Road. That building remains intact to this day.

Rumors that the old Cooley, or Colton building that stood on Pagosa Street opposite the Baptist Church was a Fort Lewis building are probably inaccurate. Laura Manson White, an early Pagosa Springs historian, has left a written account of Mrs. Cooley building the building. There is considerable evidence in the county courthouse that Nancy Cooley may have purchased the bare elements of the building from E.T. Walker and that White's story refers to a time when Mrs. Cooley enlarged the building. Mrs. Cooley, incidentally, was the daughter of Doc Gilliland and the sister of Serena Texas Smith, George Smith's wife. Smith built the two-story log house that used to stand at the entrance to the Hell's Hip Picket area. Interestingly, both the Smith cabin and the Cooley cabin have been moved to the Fred Harman Art Museum, where they remain to this day.

Another building that some oldtimers thought was formerly a Fort building was the old town hall located on the west river bank at the intersection of San Juan and Pagosa Streets. Maps of the fort show a building in this location, possibly the bakery located for easy access to water. Other information discloses that the building was owned by Abner J. Lewis, P.A. Dellar, and Charley Schaad at different times and operated as a butcher shop and bar before the town acquired it. It is not clear if the old town hall was a fort building, but it is clear that, if it was, it was greatly modified by private owners.

Finally, one hears arguments that the false front building on Lewis Street owned by Ray Martinez and operated as a barbershop was formerly a Fort Lewis building. There are several reasons for not believing these arguments.

First, the conceptual drawing for Fort Lewis and the survey of the town showing the location of Fort buildings do not show this building. What is shown is one of five enlisted men's barracks nearby. Further, a list of buildings at the fort prepared by an Army inspector general in 1879 does not list the building, nor is an Army "paymaster' building ever referred to in connection with Fort Lewis or any other frontier fort.

Photographs of that part of town showing the fort buildings do not reveal this building. Later photographs, circa 1901 or 1902, do show the present building. An article in a newspaper of that era describes a paymaster's building being erected on Lewis Street by the Pagosa Lumber Co.

At historical society meetings I attended during the early and mid-1970s, oldtimers said the building was built by the lumber company as a paymaster building. While that is possible, it is hard for me to understand why the lumber company paymaster building would be on Lewis Street when the lumber company with all of its employees was located south of town in the vicinity of the present high school complex. Quien sabe?

In any case, Fort Lewis existed in Pagosa Springs as an active base from 1878 through 1882. The buildings lasted longer. Today, the only building remaining from the fort is probably the one on the Hott Ranch.


Colton Wyatt

David and Stacie Castro of Pagosa Springs are proud to announce the arrival of their son, Colton Wyatt. Colton was born on Oct. 15, 1999, at 4:28 p.m. at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. He was 18-1/2-inches long and weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

Colton's maternal grandparents are Eddie and Darlene Archuleta of Pagosa Springs. His paternal grandparents are George and Sandy Castro of Glendale, Ariz. His great grandparents are Tim and Charlotte Archuleta and Senovia Sanner, all of Pagosa Springs, and Emma Castro of Chicago, Ill.


Business News

Biz Beat

Las Montañas

Kennie and Roger Persson are the new owners of Las Montañas Mexican Restaurant, located at 56 Talisman Drive, one-half block from the intersection of U.S. 160 and Talisman Drive. The Perssons purchased the establishment in November.

Las Montañas Mexican Restaurant is a family-oriented restaurant featuring traditional-style Mexican food, with recipes from central and northern New Mexico.

The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to closing, six days each week (closed on Tuesdays). Las Montañas Mexican Restaurant will serve Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., beginning Dec. 12.

Call 713-3012 for information.


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Meteorologist insists: Our weather could change

By John M. Motter

Weather of the wet and snowy type managed to avoid Pagosa Country again this past week, but that all could change according to the weather man in Grand Junction.

"Thursday will be partly cloudy with high temperatures in the mid-30s and lows around 10 degrees," said Jim Daniels of the Grand Junction National Weather Service office.

"Friday should be mostly cloudy," Daniels continued, "with a 30 percent chance of afternoon snow showers."

The clouds and snow showers should remain through Sunday, according to Daniels. A clearing trend with partly cloudy skies and temperatures peaking in the mid-30s and dropping to the 10 to 15 degree range should dominate from Monday through Wednesday of next week.

Wednesday, a low pressure area over northeastern Arizona was dropping snow in that area and threatening to move into the Four Corners. Another system moved through the area Tuesday, but failed to drop snow.

"Friday through Sunday, you'll be into more of a Pacific system," Daniels said. "Your area is under the influence of the polar jet stream which is moving to the north, maybe across Montana, then slipping south east of the Continental Divide and hitting the Front Range with snow. A little bit of that is drifting south into the Four Corners."

About one-half inch of snow Dec. 2 teased Pagosa Springs folks. The average December snowfall in town is 22.2 inches. The average high temperature last week was 43 degrees, with high temperatures ranging from 52 degrees to 37 degrees. The average low temperature last week was 14 degrees with low temperatures ranging from 26 degrees to 4 degrees.

The coldest temperature recorded in town during December is minus 34 degrees recorded Dec. 25, 1990. Official record keeping in town started in 1938.