Front Page

10 inches of snow, 964 skiers

By Karl Isberg

There were 964 paying customers at the Wolf Creek Ski Area Dec. 28.

Compared to the 4,672 skiers who roamed the slopes on Dec. 28, 1998, the number seems insignificant, but in light of the fact a snowfall of four inches on Dec. 14 was the last time any meaningful white stuff was added to the pack at the area, 964 people is a substantial number.

Skier numbers at Wolf Creek during the ongoing holiday period reflect the fact there is little snow on the ground and limited runs open. A holiday minimum of skiers occurred on the first day of the traditional vacation period when 170 skiers took to the slopes on Dec. 18. Numbers perked up on Dec. 20, 21 and 22 when 766, 758 and 646 skiers, respectively, came to the area.

Business picked up again on Dec. 27, with 783 skiers purchasing tickets at Wolf Creek.

According to Wolf Creek spokesperson Roseanne Haidorfer-Pitcher, crews have labored to maintain the skiable surface on several of runs at the area. "We have made some snow," she said, "once we've filled our tanks for the remainder of our water system. We get our water from the nearby streams, and it has been so cold up here we've had to bring water in from outside. We purchased a tanker and we've bought water and transported it to the mountain."

Most area employees who can use a shovel have helped at one time or another to move snow to the center of certain runs, but Haidorfer-Pitcher noted the task is difficult, since the snow in the treed areas is extremely dry. "We have crews on all the time," she said, "and right now, among the choices, you can take the Bonanza Chair and ski the Divide Trail to Silver Streak to the base area or go down Tranquility. You can ski the Bonanza Trail down and out into Navajo."

Wolf Creek reported Wednesday that the snow depth at the summit and midway is 10 inches, with hard-packed snow conditions. The Nova, Bonanza and Treasure lifts were reported open. The Alberta Peak, Knife Ridge and the Waterfall areas were listed as closed.

The bottom line as far as the snow shortfall is concerned? "You can't do a whole lot about it," said Haidorfer-Pitcher. Until nature cooperates and provides a classic dump on the pass, the crews at Wolf Creek will continue to deal with the predicament as best they can.

The unusual weather during the past two months has allowed for construction of the new Alberta lift. Haidorfer-Pitcher said work on the quad lift "is nearly complete, and it's pretty much ready to go" and said inspection of the lift will take place soon.

One grace note to the ski season might be reflected in a recent revelation that Wolf Creek, along with several other smaller ski areas in Colorado, has a more manageable and equitable deal with the U.S. Forest Service for lease of public lands for ski terrain.

According to the Dec. 27 Denver Post, Wolf Creek was paying the U.S. Forest Service $142,463 in 1995 to lease public land. The Post estimated the 1998 payment from Wolf Creek at $124,907. Since the new system charges a fee that is a percentage of revenues generated on public land by the area (as opposed to the old, more complex system involving revenues from both public and private lands), the blow of a difficult season might be somewhat softened.

Regardless of the amount due to the U.S. Forest Service, Haidorfer-Pitcher said the new lease arrangement "is a whole lot better than the old system. The old system was painful, accounting-wise."


Some disappointed by county budget

By John M. Motter

The Archuleta County Year 2000 budget is officially adopted and pretty much set in stone for the coming year. That fact does not please all of the elected officials, however.

Tension has usually existed between the county commissioners and other elected officials because Colorado law makes the commissioners responsible for establishing budget limits, even for the other elected officials.

This year has been no exception. The county commissioners officially adopted the coming year's budget Dec. 14 at their regular meeting for that week.

Following the adoption, the other elected officials said they had not seen the final version before it was adopted, they complained about the process of budget adoption, and they complained of insufficient raises for their employees,

While explaining the budget, Commissioner Ken Fox noted that "department heads received the raises they requested."

County Clerk June Madrid is one of those elected officials.

"They say they gave all the salaries we requested," Madrid said. "What they didn't say was they told us we couldn't go over 2.9 percent on raises. Later on, when the excess revenue issue passed, I tried to go back and get more raises, but they told us no. Basically, they gave us what we asked because we didn't know we could ask for more. I still have three employees at the poverty level, earning less than $20,000 a year."

Madrid also complained about elected officials not having enough say about their own budgets.

"They promised us another meeting before they adopted the budget, but that never happened," Madrid said. "We wanted to see the final draft before it was adopted. What upsets us is, they tell us their plans but we aren't included. It is our budget, too. They should involve us more."

County Assessor Keren Prior is another of the elected officials who basically share's Madrid's viewpoints.

"I got a few things and had other things cut," Prior said. "I asked for two new people and got one, our first additional employee in 14 years. I received the raises I asked for, but that's because they wouldn't let us ask for what we really need. I was told not to ask for much. If I had known what other departments would ask, I would have asked for more. Next year, I'll do it differently, based on this year's experiences.

"I feel the whole process was predetermined and I had very little to say about my own budget," Prior said. "It was not a level playing field. My people are as important as theirs."

The third of the four elected officials other than the commissioners, Sheriff Tom Richards, echoed much the same sentiments. Richards had asked for three additional dispatchers and a dog catcher. He received two additional dispatchers and no dog catcher.

Fox pointed out that the dog catcher position will not be filled until a method of collecting user fees is developed to pay for the position.

"We received the annual, $1,200 per year raise we always get," Richards said. "We still have jailers starting at $17,200 and that's a shame. We can't expect people to work the shifts and hours jailers have to work for that kind of pay.

"I'm concerned that they turned down my request for a new vehicle," Richards said. "The one I want to replace has over 150,000 miles on it. Using those vehicles for police work presents a safety factor. They say they've created a centralized fleet program, but nobody has explained that to me.

"My people depend on me to take care of their needs," Richards said. "Benefits are okay and even necessary, but you can't eat perks. We need better pay schedules to maintain morale and overcome the expense of constantly training new people."

The fourth elected official, Treasurer Traves Garrett, was not available for comment.

In response to the statements of Madrid, Prior and Richards, Commissioners Bill Downey and Fox made the following comments.

"I don't remember if we did or didn't promise an additional meeting," Downey said. "My own perception is that they were very much a part of the process. I welcome any suggestions they might have to improve their involvement."

"We have had elected official meetings all year," said Fox. "In this instance, I'd like to meet with them face to face, not through a third party like the press. I don't recall a promised meeting we didn't keep. We attempted to include them more than they have been included in the past. I don't know when this follow-up meeting might have been.

"I will say this concerning the controversial executive sessions we held with them," Fox continued, "that I am comfortable that they were done right and legally. Those meetings were an attempt to accomplish the goal of involving them more. They were meetings held in addition to the budget presentations of the past."


County officials finalize Y2K precautions

By John M. Motter

Something might go wrong at the dawning of the new year; something might not.

Regardless of what happens, or doesn't, local officials are taking precautions to insure that residents of Archuleta County can reach the necessary agencies and individuals in case of emergency, even if the local phone system experiences problems.

Other plans are set to deal with most contingencies, should any disruptions of normal community life occur after the midnight hour that announces the next century.

Starting at 10 p.m. on Dec. 31, county, town, utility employees and other key officials will man communication centers, ready to respond to any calls.

Getting help will be just like any other time of the year for the average citizen. Just call the county communication center at 731-4799. Emergency 9-1-1 will be working normally, but Y2K coordinators are hoping callers leave that number alone unless they have a real emergency.

If a person's telephone does not work, or the 9-1-1 number experiences problems, a number of citizens and law enforcement personnel with mobile radios will be positioned around the county. The radios will be tuned to central dispatch and to an auxiliary communications center. Local ham radio operators are also participating in the emergency backup radio network. All participants, whether they are positioned in vehicles or in their homes, will display a bright-yellow identification sign in the window, indicating they are in touch with central dispatch and can contact emergency response personnel.

Most of the precautionary Y2K provisions made by the county are based on the assumption that electricity could possibly be off for a couple of weeks. The flip side of that assumption is, if electricity is not off, what's the problem?

Local law enforcement, fire fighters and emergency medical providers will be on hand and in touch with central communications. Local law enforcement will protect certain key facilities in the county from possible sabotage.

Television and radio contact will be maintained with the outside world. Since, under western time, the day begins in New Zealand, people will be monitoring what happens in New Zealand during the first hour of the new year, hours before that hour reaches time zones further to the west.

As reported last week, provisions have been made to provide food, water, warming stations, and medical services for Archuleta County citizens. Again, a call to 731-4799 will connect the caller with someone who can provide answers for questions and directions to available services.

If electricity goes off, School District 50 Joint will open the junior high school building to the public. The school is heated geothermally, has a kitchen, and has access to a community food bank. The town has provided a backup generator to ensure that the geothermal system at the school operates, even if the commercial electric system fails.

The county and town have sufficient fuel stockpiled to operate snowplows and other vehicles.

People on oxygen therapy can continue that therapy at Mercy Medical Center in Durango, according to Russell Crowley, Archuleta County emergency coordinator.

Contingency plans call for contacting state and federal emergency service providers should a local situation develop that exceeds local capacity to respond.


Pagosa's snow shield may break down Sunday

By Roy Starling

Brown Pagosa's hopes for snow last week were thwarted by a meteorological force field pushing weather systems both north and south of us.

Late this weekend, that annoying obstacle might just budge a little. Then again, it might not.

"For the past weekend, you've been under the influence of what we call a blocked pattern," said forecaster Gina Loss of the National Weather Service. "There's a high pressure system situated over the Pacific northwest with an embedded low pressure system over the coast of southern California."

So what does this mean for Pagosa Springs? "Both the high and the low," Loss said, "are closed systems. This means they don't move a lot, and we get very little precipitation and not even many clouds. When storms come from the northwest, the high steers them over us to Montana and the Dakotas, then down into the central and eastern parts of the country."

Southern storms are similarly deflected. "The embedded low-pressure system pushes anything coming from the south down south of us to New Mexico and Arizona," Loss said.

Thanks to this stubborn blocked pattern, Pagosa Springs didn't get a lick of precipitation last week. And while last Wednesday began at a rather nippy minus-1 degrees and wound up an only slightly less nippy 30 degrees, the weather has been downright tropical the last few days. Monday morning's low was only 14 degrees and it warmed up to a balmy 54. Tuesday's low was 17, and the sun again warmed us up into the 50s by midday.

Loss said the reason for the warmer morning temperatures was "an arc of moisture coming up from the south that provided just enough of a blanket of clouds to keep temperatures up at night."

Loss doesn't think we should be getting our hopes up too much, but there does seem to be a crack forming in Pagosa's preventive wall.

"The high pressure system is starting to weaken and open up," she said. "As it weakens, that's going to pull the storm track further south and closer to Colorado and perhaps eventually make it into the western portion of the state. At about the same time, the low pressure is supposed to open up and move inland, bringing some moisture with it."

Loss is pretty sure these systems are going to weaken and open up, but she's not so sure about when. "It's all a question of timing," she said. "Our models can't get a fix on when this is going to happen, and when they do get a fix, they don't agree with each other. On Tuesday, it looked like a Saturday-Sunday time frame. Now it looks more like Sunday-Monday. But a blocked pattern is very difficult to break down and it's hard to pinpoint when it will happen."

The "overall direction" of the weather, she said, suggests "gradually cooler temperatures and gradually increasing chances for precipitation. There is maybe a 20 percent chance of snow, mainly in the mountains, on Saturday, and there's a slight chance of snow showers on Sunday."

Many computer-driven weather-forecasting models suggest the effects of La Niña will keep southwestern Colorado dry right through the summer. Loss isn't willing to go that far.

"It's really hard to say. A good portion of Colorado doesn't have a definite trend associated with La Niña," Loss said.

Okay, but will Pagosa Springs finally break out of this pattern and start getting some good old dumpers from the southwest?

"That's a very tough call to make right now," Loss said.


Allard to hold town meeting

U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard will hold an Archuleta County town meeting in Pagosa Springs on Wednesday, Jan. 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in the county commissioners conference room. The town meeting is part of Allard's pledge to hold at least one town meeting in each of Colorado's 63 counties annually during his term in the Senate.

"I want to extend an invitation to anyone in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County to attend a very informal community meeting," Allard said in announcing the meeting. "This is a chance for citizens to visit one on one with me about issues important to them."

Allard is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, Senate Intelligence Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee.

Anyone with questions about Wednesday's town meeting can contact Shane Henry in Senator Allard's Grand Junction office at (970) 245-9553.


Inside The Sun

Durango firm assumes planning task

By John M. Motter

Responsibility for developing a community plan may become the task of a Durango planning firm chosen by a selection committee appointed by the Archuleta County Commissioners. If the choice is approved by the county commissioners and contract accord reached, work on developing the plan could begin early next year.

The proposed community plan will be used to guide county government actions related to growth and development.

Four Corners Planning and Design Group is the firm chosen by the local selection committee, according to Mike Mollica, director of planning and development for Archuleta County.

Development of the community plan is a joint effort involving the county, town and Colorado Department of Local Affairs and a top priority for the coming year, Mollica said.

Mollica and about 15 members of a vision committee appointed by the commissioners have been meeting regularly to develop ground work for developing the community plan. The selection committee, an outgrowth of the vision committee, has disbanded subsequent to recommending the Durango firm. Mollica hopes to develop a steering committee from the current vision committee membership to provide guidance for the Durango firm. Steering committee appointments are expected to be a joint effort between the county and town. Steering committee members may also be chosen from around the county.

The developing community plan methodology involves data collection analysis, citizen interviews, developing alternative growth management scenarios and selecting a preferred scenario, and recommending growth management techniques.

Mollica is considering separating the county into eight regions and conducting interviews with people in each of those regions. Steering committee members could come from those regions.

"We won't necessarily come up with eight visions, one from each region," Mollica said, "but we could come up with eight visions. The idea is that the vision differs in differing parts of the county. We want to faithfully represent the vision people in the county have for future growth, then develop techniques designed to implement that vision."

The coming study will include review of existing information, data, and documents. Included are the Archuleta County Master Plan, the town of Pagosa Springs Land Use Plan and Land Use Plan Update, Archuleta County subdivision regulations, Tosch and Associates Community Survey, 1998 road impact study, Pagosa Lakes Homeowners Association Parks and Trails Master Plan, sewer and water supply studies, and other data identified by the county and town.

The County Master Plan contains important baseline data through 1994 concerning population, employment, housing, and other information that will be reviewed and updated.

A land use inventory will be conducted; commercial and industrial uses analyzed; traffic circulation and other transportation issues reviewed; parks, trails, and open space analyzed; infrastructure capacities gauged; and future economic development opportunities estimated.

The public will be involved through public meetings, steering committee meetings, and meetings with elected and appointed officials.

Initially, the eight areas identified in the county are the town of Pagosa Springs, the area north of town accessed by Fourmile and Snowball roads, the northeast U.S. 160 corridor, Aspen Springs, Arboles, The Upper and Lower Blanco, The Navajo River area, and the Fairfield/Pagosa collection of communities.

Total cost of the project is expected to be $29,000, funded jointly by the county, town, and Colorado Department of Local Affairs.


Donations bring center closer to reality

By Karl Isberg

Sixteen months of fund-raising efforts by members of the Pagosa Springs Public Facilities Coalition has resulted in more than $130,000 in donations in hand to help with the construction of a $2 million community center for Pagosa Springs.

With the addition of an estate bequeathed at an estimated value of $700,000 and $669,700 in assets acquired as part of the community center project, the future of the proposed project seems secure. The assets include a 2.5-acre site for the community center on Hot Springs Boulevard as well as an adjacent 13.5-acre wetlands/nature preserve; a piece of property located west of town donated with a value of $10,000; and the Riverwalk (including the footbridge across the San Juan River behind the Archuleta County Courthouse) that connects the downtown area to the U.S. Post Office property on Hot Springs Boulevard.

A variety of donation categories have produced $273,519 in pledges thus far in the fund-raising campaign (with $131,786 collected to date). Categories include single-payment business donations, with $135,950 pledged; single-payment family donations with $33,005 pledged; business donations with monthly payments with $47,817 pledged; family donations on a monthly-payment basis with a pledge total of $22,400; donations from a "Celebrity Waiters" auction held last year, totaling $32,000; proceeds from a "Wine and Cheese Gala" of $1,440; and $867 raised at a recent fundraiser hosted by Jeff and Addie Greer.

On Dec. 23, Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon, a member of the Coalition committee, received a letter from Archuleta County officials stating the county commissioners approved an expenditure of $42,788 in the 2000 county budget to pay for a kitchen at the community center.

The next step for coalition members and for the community center fund-raising project is to take donation requests to foundations and other philanthropic institutions and individuals. At the same time, the quest for local donations will continue.

"We'll be meeting soon with foundation representatives," said Aragon, "and we anticipate doing very well. With the success our fund-raising efforts have produced so far, we'll be able to show these institutions a great level of local support for the community center project."

Aragon said Wednesday he and other members of the fund-raising committee have been pleasantly surprised at how well their efforts have gone. "In any kind of process like this," he said, "you expect to spin your wheels a bit. But, in this case, we haven't had that happen. So far, it's been a very successful project, and I think it goes to show that this community center is something we really need. We have a hard-working committee and no one has lost enthusiasm. Things are going so well, you need to take your hat off to the many people who are working so hard to make this center a reality."



Brighter holiday

Dear Editor,

I thought that Humane Society supporters would like to know how the homeless pets at the animal shelter spent Christmas. We wish, of course, that they could have all had a home to go to; hopefully, one day that will be true. But thanks to the generosity of people in the community, the dogs and cats at the Humane Society had a very special day.

The Humane Society received an unprecedented amount of food, treats, toys and other needed supplies in response to the Wish Trees around town. One family spent hours gift wrapping separate toys and treats for every single dog and cat at the animal shelter. Other gifts came from children or from beloved family pets.

Every animal was served canned food for Christmas dinner. For dessert, they had special treats and chew bones. Each one was given a new toy to help reduce the boredom. There are enough toys that the dogs and cats will have something to play with in the coming weeks and months, and enough canned food, dog biscuits and cat treats to give the animals occasional treats.

Just before Christmas, a puppy with a gun shot wound was abandoned at the animal shelter. One of the local veterinarians removed the bullet and that puppy spent Christmas in foster care with Doug Trowbridge, the shelter manager.

The Humane Society is bursting at the seams with dogs at the moment. Some have special needs, such as the puppy recovering from the gun shot, a deaf Dalmatian and an emotionally traumatized lab mix. It would be a big help if people would visit the animal shelter to walk the dogs and help them get some exercise. We also need more people for the dog training program, a volunteer program to work with the dogs to teach them basic commands and manners, thus making them more adoptable. If you are interested, call Julie Paige at 731-0231.

There are also some cats with special needs: an older (6-years) Russian blue, a cat that wants to be an only cat and a couple of feral (wild) cats. The Humane Society always needs more people to adopt pets. The animal shelter is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Thank you, Pagosa, for making the holiday season brighter for the animals that had to spend it inside a cage or a dog run.

Mary Jo Coulehan

Humane Society president




Dear Dave,

Once again, I must respond to the rhetoric of Tony Rackham in regards to his delusions (letter to the editor Dec. 16) about wildlife. When writing papers one must work with facts and assumptions. If your assumptions are incorrect, then your entire paper is invalid. This happens to be the case with Mr. Rackham's letter. Fact: Deer were extremely scarce in the early part of this century until the mid 1940s. Fact: Upon the use of 1080 in 1944, the deer population increased radically. Fact: The deer population became healthy and continued to increase even with increased hunting pressures until 1972 when 1080 was removed from general usage. Fact: After 1972 the deer herds started to gradually decline. Fact: Burgeoning predator populations are not a total indicator of a healthy deer herd. Coyote, lion and bear eat more than deer. They eat calves (ask Betty Shahan of Chromo), they eat sheep, and many other animals, both domestic and wild.

Mr. Rackham deviated from my comments (letter to the editor Dec. 9) and went to the 1800s in discussing excessive hunting. I must agree that during this period most of the population hunted for their own existence. My great-grandfather made his living as a contract meat hunter for the Denver & Rio Grande Southern.

However, my letter covered the period of the early 1900s to date. Until Mr. Rackham can provide other factual data to justify the decline of the deer herds after 1972 I stand by my original comments. I will agree there are some other factors besides predators that affect the health of the deer herds, but predation is the most significant. Liver flukes, automobiles, severe winters and other factors also have a bearing on our wildlife.

I have never met Mr. Rackham, but would welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue in depth without boring your readers any further. Thanks for the opportunity to air my views.

I wish all of your readers a very Happy New Year and a prosperous millennium.

Franklin W. Anderson

Wake up

Dear Editor,

Hello, the lights are on but nobody is home in those minds of the board members. Do you really expect us to believe that this new change in the Colorado statutes wasn't known to the sheriff's office for some time now? They have been looking for a way to acquire our officers to work for them full-time without increasing their budget and now it has been orchestrated to their benefit.

They also waited to tell the property owners about the suspension of duties of the officers not because of the election results but because they were trying to sneak in this new contract arrangement behind our backs. The sheriff's officer that is overseeing the Pagosa Lakes officers is also driving one of our vehicles instead of the sheriff's vehicle. The sheriff's office has acquired new vehicles, equipment and officers without any increase to its budget or any expenses to the rest of the county and now it wants the officers we are paying for to become full-time deputies. A private organization paying for the county's full-time deputies sounds like there should be a legal problem in this thinking.

What is it going to take for the members to wake up and see that we have no control over our own organization anymore? It is still evident that you still will do nothing to stop the ones in power until it's too late.

One last thing. Is it illegal under the bylaws to serve alcoholic beverages in the club house? If so then why is there a New Year's Eve party scheduled and it was implied that you could bring your own?

Here is an idea. Ask the town to annex the Pagosa Lakes, then they can hire more officers to patrol. We pay county taxes and get nothing for it. Why should we have to pay again just to have the control put into the sheriff's hands. Wake up Pagosa Lakes.

Randall Mettscher



Charles T. Higley

Charles T. Higley, 84, passed away Sunday, Dec. 26, 1999, in Henderson, Nev.

A resident of Henderson for the past 45 years, Mr. Higley was born Jan. 14, 1915, in Utah.

A veteran of World War II, Mr. Henderson worked as a carpenter following his discharge from the armed forces.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Rosalie Higley of Henderson, and their children Charles T. Higley Jr. and Maria Edison, both of Henderson, John D. Higley of Boulder City, Nev., and Jo Pinther and Donna Carrington, both of Las Vegas, Nev. He also is survived by 19 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

A rosary was held at Holy Family Catholic Church in Henderson on Dec. 29. A mass of Christian burial is to be conducted at Holy Family Catholic Church today, Dec. 30.

Helen Mackensen

Mrs. Helen Mackensen passed away in Durango on Dec. 24, 1999.

A resident of Pagosa Springs for the past year, Mrs. Mackensen was born in Kansas City, Kan., on Jan. 29, 1921. She had two brothers, the Rev. John Kutz, a Lutheran minister for 60 years, and Richmond Kutz, a printer for the Kansas City Star. Both brothers preceded her in death.

Mrs. Mackensen was educated through the 12th grade. She attended St. Luke's Lutheran school in Kansas City until the second grade, then public school through the sixth grade. In 1928, Mrs. Mackensen's father and three other men started Grace Lutheran Church. In 1932, the church established a school where she finished her grade school education being the only child in her class. After grade school she attended Wyandotte High School, graduating in 1938.

On Oct. 12, 1946, Mrs. Mackensen married Gustav Valentine Mackensen at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Kansas City. After their marriage they lived in Saint Louis, Mo. Along with her husband and nine other families she helped start Grace Chapel Lutheran Church and school in 1955.

Mrs. Mackensen worked at home when her two children were young, doing sewing for individuals as well as all the costumes for a dance school's semi-annual recitals, upwards of 150 per show. In 1962, she began work as a seamstress and alterations person for a local dry cleaners, then in 1968, began work for Goldes Department Store as head of alterations. She learned to knit during this time and eventually taught classes. She even learned to knit left handed so she could be a better teacher. All during her life she felt God's gift of sewing was to be used for making wedding dresses. She made numerous dresses, in excess of 30, none of which she ever charged for. Mrs. Mackensen retired from her work as a seamstress at the age of 71.

After the passing of her husband, in 1981, Mrs. Mackensen moved four more times, living in Austin, Texas, Holidaysburg, Pa., Duncanville, Pa., and finally Pagosa Springs. For the past year she has resided at Pine Ridge Extended Care Facility. In spite of her health limitations she remained busy and active, always being the first to want to go anywhere and do anything.

Mrs. Mackensen was a devoted Lutheran, gifted seamstress and knitter. Her family and numerous friends would characterize her as having been a very generous person.

Mrs. Mackensen is survived by her children, Dr. Robert and Dr. Melissa Colbert of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Russ and Nancy Mackensen of Pagosa Springs; by her three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Grave side services for family were held at Hilltop Cemetery on Dec. 28, with Pastor Dan Sanders of First Baptist Church of Pagosa Springs officiating. A memorial service to honor Mrs. Mackensen's life was conducted on Dec. 28, at 3 p.m., at Our Savior Lutheran Church with Pastor Richard Bolland officiating.

In lieu of flowers those desiring to give memorials in Mrs. Mackensen's memory are invited to give to Our Savior Lutheran Church or School, 56 Meadows Drive, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Thelma Tate

Services for Mrs. Thelma Tate will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 30, at the Allison Community Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Jeff and Laura Finch officiating. Burial will be in the Allison-Tiffany Cemetery. A reception will follow at the Allison Community Presbyterian Church annex.

Thelma Opal Berry Tate was born July 30, 1908, in Arron, Mo., to Samuel Eurcell Berry and Maude May Miller Berry. She passed away on Monday, Dec. 27, 1999. The cause of death was extended illness.

Mrs. Tate was in the first grade when her parents moved to Drumright, Okla. She graduated from Drumright High School. After graduation she attended Oklahoma City University. Her father was in business and she kept the books for him. In the later part of 1927 they moved to Shawnee, Okla., in a covered wagon.

In April 1928 she married Arthur Francis Tate. After their marriage they moved a lot. Their first son, Tom, was born in Drumright, Okla. They moved to New Mexico for a short time until they moved back to Tulsa where their daughter Shirley was born. Their son Harry was born in Shawnee, Okla., a year and five months later. They moved back to New Mexico and Jack was born, back to Oklahoma where Betty was born, back to New Mexico where Bobby was born and then to Denver where John was born and then to Bayfield where Margaret was born and then to Durango where Alice was born and back to Bayfield where Sammy was born. This represents just a few of their moves.

Arthur and Thelma Tate were always in the logging and saw mill business until 1963. In 1963 they started an auto salvage business in Bayfield where they built their home and where Mrs. Tate lived until three years ago. They continued their auto salvage business until 1980. In 1979, Mrs. Tate's beloved husband of 51 years passed away. She worked hard all of her life, but decided it was time to retire and she sold the business. She continued to live at her home in Bayfield.

In 1997, Mrs. Tate moved to live with her oldest daughter Shirley Engler in Allison. She lived a happy and healthy life most of her years. She loved the mountains and camping out. Her daughter recalls that "Mom was a real homemaker, she will always be remembered by her family. They will remember her homemade biscuits and especially all the love and care she showed to her family. She loved life."

Mrs. Tate was a member of the Mt. Allison Grange, La Plata Pomona Grange, Allison Community Presbyterian Church, Allison Ranchettes and the Allison Willing Workers.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 51 years, three sons and one daughter. Mrs. Tate is survived by her sons, Thomas Tate, Bayfield; Jack Tate, Blanding, Utah; John J. Tate, Bayfield; and her daughters, Mrs. Richard (Shirley) Engler, Allison; Mrs. Robert (Betty) Swanemyr, Allison; Mrs. James (Margaret) Sutton, Allison. She also is survived by 34 grandchildren, 79 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren and numerous cousins.



Roger Lord

Lieutenant Commander Roger Lord, U.S. Navy, son of John Lord of Pagosa Springs graduated Thursday, Dec. 16, from the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, Calif. LCDR Lord received a Master of Science Degree in Acquisition and Contract Management. He will relieve as the head of contracting at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard located in Portsmouth, Va.

LCDR Lord is a 1979 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School and is married to the former Kimberly Ann Weir of Monterey.


Sports Page

Could be a three-way fight for IML title

By Roy Starling

So far the Lady Pirates have had eight games to get themselves into shape for a run at a fourth consecutive Intermountain League title.

They're 5-3 so far and still have one more warm-up before the IML season begins Jan. 13 when the archrival Ignacio Ladycats prowl into the high school gym. On Friday, Jan. 7, the Ladies will travel to Bloomfield, N.M., for a rematch with the Bobcats, a team they edged 64-59 on Dec. 18 to finish atop the consolation bracket at the Lady Bronco Fall Classic in Kirtland, N.M.

The Lady Pirates have picked up wins over the Class 4A Cortez Panthers (35-28), the 2A Nucla Mustangs (56-37), the 3A Gunnison Cowgirls (51-40), the Bloomfield junior varsity (69-13) and the Bloomfield varsity.

The losses have come to New Mexico's Rio Rancho (60-47), the 4A Montrose Indians (49-39) and the Kirtland Central junior varsity (51-46). Both Rio Rancho and Montrose were deep, big, talented teams, while Kirtland Central's JV, which was strong enough to win the Lady Bronco Classic, had good speed and good team discipline.

Still, Lady Pirates coach Karen Wells thinks her girls were capable of winning all three of those games. The Ladies, she said, are still adjusting to playing as a team, and as that process continues, she expects to see fewer turnovers and a smoother rhythm on the offensive end of the court.

A look at the Ladies' statistics suggests that they should be difficult for any coach to prepare for. Enemy defenders will have a hard time deciding where to concentrate their energy. Sophomore Katie Lancing is the Ladies' leading scorer, hitting an average of 12.3 points a game. But put a hand in her face, and senior post Mandy Forrest will make you pay. Forrest has an 11.5 average.

Clog the middle, and senior shooting guard Janae Esterbrook will light it up from outside, on either side of the 3-point arc. Esterbrook is scoring at 10.9 points per game. When 6-foot-3 sophomore Ashley Gronewoller comes in to rest Lancing or Forrest, she racks up an average of 7.3 points per game.

Guards Bonnie O'Brien and Meigan Canty haven't been putting up huge numbers offensively, but defenders can't afford to leave either one of them unguarded on the perimeter. O'Brien has been connecting on about 40 percent of her 3-point attempts.

No one Lady Pirate is likely to lead the IML in assists this year. Not only do the Ladies have balanced scoring, they also have balanced passing. Canty leads the team in this department, but the girls have also been blessed with some crisp passing in the post. Lancing, Forrest and Gronewoller have all had big assist games, sometimes kicking the ball back out to the guards, sometimes dishing it off to one another in the lane.

Under the boards, the Ladies started off slowly but are beginning to warm up to the task. If they continue to improve on their rebounding and can stop giving their opponents so many free possessions, they have a good chance of finishing in their familiar first-place slot in the conference race.

Forrest leads the Ladies' trio of trees with an average of 9.9 rebounds per game, followed by Lancing with 7.9. Not far behind is Gronewoller with a 6.1 average. Even the guards have been crashing the boards. Esterbrook, a towering 5-foot-7, is averaging five boards a game, and her back-court partner Canty, roughly the same height, grabs three a game.

So much for what the Lady Pirates bring to the hardwood. How about their IML opponents? Let's take a look at them in alphabetical order.


The Lady Wolverines weren't too difficult for the Lady Pirates to solve last season, but the Bayfield girls might be a bit more of a threat in 2000. They lost at home to 2A powerhouse Dolores 60-44 and to Bloomfield (N.M.) 56-41. This season, at least, the Purple and Gold are putting up more points and staying close to some pretty decent teams.

Bayfield returns last year's leading scorer Ginny Flippen, an athletic senior shooting guard, and leading rebounder Cecilia Hanna, a 6-foot-1 post player.

The Lady Pirates will first see the Lady Wolverines on Tuesday, Jan. 18, when the teams square off in Pagosa. They'll play a rematch in Bayfield Friday, Feb. 4.


Centauri was a thorn in the Ladies' side last season, handing them their only IML loss in two years. The Lady Falcons nipped Pagosa in La Jara, winning 55-54 after being down 41-29 going into the fourth quarter. The Ladies avenged that loss by knocking off the Centauri girls 43-35 in Pagosa two weeks later.

So what's missing from a team that lost only three games - two to Ignacio - last season? They lost a superb, all-around athlete in Kateri Valdez, a streaky shooter who'd be fairly quiet for three quarters and then win a game single-handedly in the fourth.

Also graduated is point guard Elisha Meza, the young woman who hit the winning shot against the Lady Pirates that fateful night in La Jara. Wing player Kami Moeller and backup post April Shawcroft are also gone.

But the Macs are back, all of them. The Big Mac is No. 25, junior post Cindy McCarroll. Cindy tends to confound her defenders with an assortment of moves in the high post, moves that generally free her up for a lefthanded layup. She made a living off the Lady Pirates last season, averaging 15 points in her two games against them.

There's also a McCarroll on the perimeter, sharp-shooting guard Holly, who is finally a senior. Holly had 16 points in Centauri's win over the Ladies last season. Both Cindy and Holly were first-team all-IML selections last season.

Should these two McCarrolls grow weary, there are two more waiting to replace them: Erin, a big sophomore who can rest Cindy in the post, and Michelle, who can play either on the wing or in the post.

Crashing the McCarroll family reunion will be steady senior post player Jennifer Bond, guards Nicole Espinoza and Melissa Rogers, and a truckload of talented girls from a junior varsity team that handed the Lady Pirates' JV their only loss of the season.

So far this season, the Lady Falcons have won at Alamosa, 51-37, lost to 2A Swink at home, 49-46, and defeated 3A Rocky Ford (59-24) and 2A Sanford (57-42) at home. They've also lost to Sanford (52-43) at home and whipped 3A Trinidad (69-47) on the road.

Centauri will open its IML season on Monday, Jan. 10, in Monte Vista. The Lady Pirates will drop in on Centauri Friday, Jan. 14.

Del Norte

The Lady Tigers were the recipients of two severe drubbings at the hands of the Lady Pirates last season, 70-28 and 75-13. Almost everyone who scored against Pagosa graduated. What does this tell us about Del Norte's prospects for this year? It could be another long, long season.


Ignacio will see to it the Ladies find out what they're made of in their opening game of the IML season, Thursday, Jan. 13, in Pagosa. The Ladycats are never to be counted out, never to be taken lightly; no team ever comes out of a game against Ignacio feeling fresh and rested. It's a rare occasion indeed when coach Chris Valdez's girls don't show up ready to play ball.

Last year's team made it all the way to the regionals where they lost to Rangely, arguably the best Class 3A defensive team in the state, 46-24. The Lady Pirates knocked off Ignacio by scores of 58-42, 61-43 and 50-35 last season, but all three of those games were very much in doubt into the final quarter.

Gone from that Ladycat team are 6-foot-1 post Paige Ranney and all-IML shooting guard Lori Pinecoose. With Pinecoose's departure, all the team loses is hustle, leadership, a deadly outside shot, an ability to draw fouls (by hurtling her body into defenders standing around in the lane) and terrific accuracy from the free-throw line.

Still, Ignacio returns enough talent to cause trouble for the rest of the IML. Ranney's partner under the boards, 6-foot-1 Teresa Cox, returns, giving the Ladycats a strong rebounder, an aggressive defender, and a prolific scorer from close range.

Running the Ignacio offense will be senior point guard Kira Ross, a typically tenacious Ladycat defender and a threat from long range. Joining Ross in the back-court will be Julia Valdez, a junior who began putting up good numbers on offense last season, and senior Alison Young.

So far this season, Ignacio has lost 42-37 to Dolores, ranked fourth among the state's 2A teams, but had to blow a 10-point lead to seal the loss. The Ladycats trounced Monticello (Utah) 63-27, but that team was playing without four of its starters. Ignacio is now 4-2 on the season.

Monte Vista

The San Luis Valley Lady Pirates had a winning season last year, but had little luck against Pagosa, losing by scores of 52-38, 53-35 and 53-37. Gone from last year's squad is high-scoring Wendy Gardner, who wasn't afraid to put up a three from anywhere on her side of the halfcourt line.

Returning is Kiley Schmeir, a 5-foot-11 post player whose quick, soft, close-range jumper gave the Ladies fits last season. Schmeir will get plenty of help from senior guards Misty Howard, Stephanie Schaefer and Lucia Martinez; shooting guards Cassie Kelso (senior) and Jessica Javalera (junior); and 5-foot-9 senior post Sonia Moncy.

So far this season, Monte Vista has beaten 2A Sierra Grande twice, 63-36 and 56-28; 3A Salida, 45-37; 3A Battle Mountain, 56-49; and 2A Custer County, 63-49. Monte's only loss came at 2A Sanford, 68-29.

The Lady Pirates will get their first look at Monte Vista on Saturday, Jan. 22, in Monte. They'll host their namesakes on Friday, Feb. 11.

The dust will settle on what promises to be an interesting IML season on Feb. 19. Then, on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25 and 26, the top four teams will travel to La Jara to fight it out for the IML-District 1 championship and a chance to advance to regionals.


Community News

Local Chatter

By Kate Terry

Time to thanks some Pagosa folks

The year has come to an end and it's my time to consider some of the things I like and to (in print) say "thank you" to people and organizations in Pagosa Springs. I'm sure that when I see this in print, I'll hit my head and say "How could I have left that out!" But here goes.

1. Peter Marrit's primitive painting located just off the Riverwalk down behind Jim Smith's Realty. This portrays people important in Pagosa's history.

2. The new bridge connecting 8th Street and Hot Springs Boulevard

3. The hot tubs at the Spa Motel and across the street at the Springs.

4. The Ruby Sisson Library (my second home.)

5. The Christmas Parade this year with "lots of music." What a joy!

6. The Emergency Medical Service (The EMTs are wonderful!)

7. The well-organized service clubs in town.

8. The hospitality offered by the local businesses. (People from out of town often comment on this.)

9. The churches in town.

10. The Pagosa Pretenders Family Theatre.

11. The Music Boosters.

12. The Mountain Harmony Ladies Barbershop Chorus.

13. The Christmas Choir.

14. The Pagosa Springs Arts Council and its gallery with its continuing shows.

Fun on the run with telemarketers.

1. If they want to loan you money, tell them you just filed for bankruptcy and you could sure use some money.

Ask, "How long can I keep it? Do I have to ever pay it back, or is it like the money I borrowed before my bankruptcy?

2. This one works better if you are male:

Telemarketer: "Hi, my name is Judy and I'm with Canter and Siegel services . . ." You: "Hang on a second." (few seconds pause) "Okay (in a really husky voice), what are your wearing."

3. Crying out, in well-simulated tones of pleasure and surprise, "Judy! Is this really you? I can't believe it! Judy, how have you been?" Hopefully this could give Judy a few brief moments of terror as she tries to figure out where she could know you from.

4. If MCI calls trying to get you to sign up with their Family and Friends plan, reply, in as sinister voice as you can muster, "I don't have any friends. . . would you be my friend?"

5. Let the person go through their spiel, providing minimal but necessary feedback in the form of an occasional "uh-huh, really, or, that's fascinating." Finally when they ask you to buy, ask them to marry you. They get all flustered, but just tell them you couldn't give your credit card number to someone who's a complete stranger.

6. And you can always tell them that you aren't talking to telemarketers this millennium.

Happy New Year!


Chamber News
By Suellen Loher

Chamber changes business directory format

We are happy to announce two new members and 11 renewals. Thanks to all for your membership with the Chamber of Commerce.

Welcome to Sears Retail Store located at 140 South 6th Street. Yvonne and Steve Giesen offer appliances, hardware, electronics and much more. Great Sears prices. Mark Jan. 8 on your calendar for the Grand Opening ceremonies from 9 to 12. Everything in the store will be on sale. You can reach them by calling 264-1055.

Our next new member is Gratitude Gems, offering just the gem for you! Color, clarity, cut, carats, and cost designed to your desire. Certificate of authentication is provided at no extra charge with each gem. Please call 731-1731 for an appointment. Special events welcomed.


We're happy to welcome Eric Maedgen with Eric Maedgen Photographer; Bob Parker with Buckskin, a vacation home; Anthony Morse with Paradise Brewpub and Grill; Mark Stauth with Bear Creek Saloon; Steve Henderson with KOBF-TV in Farmington; Denny and Judy Barber with Hogs Breath Saloon and Restaurant; Joe Bob and Donna Leake with Bear Claw Enterprises; Dusty Pierce with the Upper San Juan Builders Association; Clay Campbell with Aspen Nook Industries; Sharon Porter with Body Psychotherapy; and Association members Gary and Wanda King.

Business directory

Morna and I are working very hard to have the first draft of the directory for Sally when she arrives back on the Dec. 31. She will proof this copy and off to the printer we go.

We will be using a different format this year that we hope will be very user friendly. We hope to have the first run ready in February. We would love to hear your feedback once we get the directory published.

Vet clinic moving

Please note that Dr. Baker has moved his veterinarian clinic to 101 County Road 411. This is down Cemetery Road and the clinic has the same phone number, 264-2148.

Christmas goodies

We would like to thank all those folks who dropped by all the tasty Christmas goodies. Morna and I have yet to finish everything. We saved a few things for Sally upon her return.

Looking forward

We would like to wish everyone a safe and happy 2000. We are looking forward to serving our membership in 2000.


Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

Self-efficiency the key

I know all of you are busy writing out your New Year's resolutions, so I'll help by being brief.

Within the next few days, many will make New Year's resolutions, but very few of these will get acted on. Why is it so hard for even the most intelligent and motivated person to unlearn bad habits and form good ones? According to one theory, the key is "self-efficiency" - your perception of your own ability to do a specific job, such as quitting smoking, spending more time with the children, losing weight or exercising regularly. If you believe in your ability to reach a goal, you're more likely to reach it.

If you think your self-efficiency needs boosting, try the following: think about similar things you've succeeded in doing. Past performances can encourage you. Find a role model. If someone you admire, for instance, is shedding pounds, you may gain confidence in your own ability to do the same. Make a list of steps you must take to achieve your goal. Recruit your family and friends as a support group. And most importantly, don't undertake too much at a time. Use a one-day-at-a-time goal-oriented philosophy. Instead of saying, "I'm going to lose weight," say, "I'm going to lose one pound this week." Then outline a plan for doing it. Good luck and may you act upon your 2000 resolutions with a resolute quality of mind.

Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center will maintain its regular business hours on New Year's eve and New Year's day. Those hours are as follows: Dec. 31, 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Jan. 1, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The staff wishes all its members a very safe and health-centered entry into the new millennium.


Education News
By Tom Steen

PCC announces Spring 2000 schedule

Pueblo Community College has announced a Spring 2000 schedule for Pagosa Springs. Classes include English Composition II, Children's Literature, Acting I, and Principles of Speech Communication.

Additionally, students wishing to complete courses for their director qualification for day care providers may enroll in either Infant and Toddler Theory and Lab, or Nutrition and the Young Child. All of these classes will be held beginning Jan. 10 in classroom space at Pagosa Springs High School.

Enrollment can be completed by calling the Pueblo Community College registration system at 1-800-314-9250 or by stopping by the Education Center at 4th and Lewis streets in Pagosa Springs. For more information, students may contact the Education Center at 264-2835, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Principles of Speech Communication is scheduled for Monday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. Carol Feazel will teach this course emphasizing speech delivery, preparation, organization and audience analysis.

English Composition II (ENG-122) will be offered on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. This class has a prerequisite of ENG-121. Jack Ellis will be the instructor.

Wednesday evenings, Acting I will be instructed by Zack Nelson. This course covers basic acting techniques including scene study, improvisation and script analysis. Meeting time for this course will be on Wednesdays, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Children's Literature is being offered for the first time in Pagosa Springs. Discussion topics explore age levels, values taught through literature, and literary and artistic qualities to be considered when selecting appropriate literature for children. This course, taught by Roy Starling, will meet on Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m.

Also being offered for the first time in Pagosa Springs are two Early Childhood courses. First is Infant and Toddler Theory and the lab which follows the theory class. This class is scheduled to meet two evenings a week, but may be rescheduled to meet the needs of the students.Call the Education Center for more information on this class.

Nutrition and the Young Child will begin in March during the second eight-week session of the Spring 2000 schedule. Students need to enroll at the beginning of the semester.

For more information on classes or the enrollment procedure, call the Education Center at 264-2835.


Library News
by Lenore Bright

Library hosts wedding in stacks

Two years ago, the board and staff discussed holding a public relations campaign that would highlight the marriage of the printed word and the new electronic media. We brain- stormed the possibility of having a wedding promotion a the library. Technology moved too fast for us. The Internet eloped with the card catalog, and we were left at the altar.

But our dreams of a wedding remained, and so - on the afternoon of Dec. 23, after closing for the holiday, the Board, Staff and Volunteers hosted the real wedding of Mary Stahl and Joel Loudermilk.

This will go down in library annals. A literary romance - Handsome patron falls in love with beautiful librarian; they were married in the stacks, and lived happily ever after. Congratulations and best wishes to Mary and Joel.


The library will be closed for inventory on Dec. 31. On that day, volunteers come in to count, clean and mend books and do other necessary chores to get ready for the New Year. We thank all of the more than thirty people who help out all year long, and give many hours of work on your behalf.

If you would like to meet some of the nicest people in the county, consider volunteering next year. Come in and see interesting jobs are available.

Care and education

The State sent a planning document for quality standards for early childhood care and education services. It is a notebook from the Department of Education aimed at children from birth to age 8. The goal being that children begin school ready to learn. This notebook should be of interest to parents, teachers, home schoolers, and providers of childcare. Ask for it at the desk.

Adolescent depression

Dr. Alton Dohner M.D., donated another exceptional book to our collection on childhood emotional problems. "Help Me, I'm Sad," is a valuable book for parents of children at risk. It will help parents to better understand what can make a difference in overcoming illness and maintaining health. It has an excellent list of organizations and resources.

First aid

The Wilderness Medicine Institute is sponsoring a "Wilderness First Responder Recertification course on wilderness first aid Jan. 28 to Jan. 29 at the Crow Canyon Archaeological center. Tuition is $120. This two-day course is used by many organizations to introduce first and long-term patient care to trip leaders, camp counselors, guides, and rescue team members. There may still be time to register. For more information, call 970-565-8975.

Drug alert

The National Institute on Drug Abuse sent their bulletin about the latest "club drugs," which are being used by young adults at all-night dance parties, clubs and bars. Used in combination with alcohol, they are extremely dangerous. A copy of the bulletin is free.


Financial help came from: Donald Logan and Patricia Howard in honor of Carole and Bob Howard. Other money came from Bill and Carol Fulenwider, Lee and Patty Sterling. Materials came from Betty Johann, Dennis Martinez, John and Jean Taylor.


Arts Line
By Katherine Cruse

Local artists plan January sale

Well, today is the last day of the Christmas Arts and Crafts shop at the Arts Council Gallery in Town Park.

If you don't read your paper until Friday, you missed a great opportunity! (I personally picked up Christmas ornaments, soap, jewelry, and a stuffed reindeer the size of my 2-year-old granddaughter.) But don't despair, because another sale is coming right after the holidays. January 6 marks the opening of the 2nd annual Artists' Liquidation Sale.

If you read last week's Arts Line, you probably think this sale is in February. Not.

This great January Liquidation Sale benefits our many wonderful local artists, who can clear out their inventory and get ready to create new works. And, it benefits the rest of us, because we can purchase some great things at clearance prices. The artists' liquidation sale runs from Jan. 6 through Jan. 27. Plan to attend the opening reception on Jan. 6, from 5 to 7 p.m., enjoy the refreshments (always a special treat) and check out the wide variety of works at reduced prices.

All you artists and artisans who are interested in participating in the January sale, please call Joanne at the Arts Council Gallery ASAP.

If Joanne doesn't answer the phone, leave a message. The number is 264-5020.

Photo contest

Coming in February, the 12th Annual Photography contest. If you think you have that winning photo, or your new camera has been working overtime, start sorting your pictures and selecting those special ones.

This contest is intended to encourage local participation and it's open to all amateur and professional photographers.

There are 11 different categories, and ribbons will be awarded to the top three entrants in each category. Plus, Best of Show and People's Choice winners will be selected.

The works entered cannot have been exhibited previously.

Selling your photographs is optional, but the PSAC will receive a commission on each work sold.

Entry photos must be matted or mounted or framed, and ready to hang. They'll all be on display from Feb. 5 to Feb. 26 at Moonlight Books.

Guidelines and entry forms are available at four different locations: at the Arts Center/Gallery in Town Park, at Moonlight Books, at Focus and Sound and at Mountain Snapshots. Deadline for entering is Feb. 2, and that day will be here before you know it.

An opening reception on Feb. 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. will kick off the photography show. Even if you're not going to enter the contest, plan now to attend and see some fascinating photos.

Pretenders theater

Also in January, the Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater will be holding auditions for "Arabian Nights," based on the translation of "A Thousand Nights and One Night."

Auditions will be held on Jan. 5 and Jan 6, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the junior high school choir room. Come prepared to "perform" or speak for one minute on any topic.

There are opportunities for all family members either on stage or behind the scenes. This is family (not just children's) entertainment and a opportunity for the entire family to do something together. Volunteers, both take-charge and go-fer types, will be needed for all areas of production, from stage and technical crews to props, backdrops and costumes. Call Susan Garman to volunteer, 731-2485.

Need help

Not all our local artists work in the visual arts. We have some great musical talent here too. The PSAC is still looking for a CD player to demonstrate the local musicians' CDs on sale in the Arts Gallery Gift Shop.

If you can help, please call the Gallery at 264-5020.

Applications available

Remember artists, Y2K exhibit applications are now available at the Arts Gallery and at Moonlight Books. Stop by or call 264-5020 for more details and an entry form.

 Senior News

By Janet Copeland

Christmas not white, but still wonderful

Even though our dreams of a white Christmas didn't materialize, we still had a wonderful Christmas and thank those who helped make it possible. The kitchen crew prepared a very tasty Christmas dinner on Wednesday - roast beef, carrots, potatoes, and bread rolls. After feasting, we exchanged gifts, then several folks came to our home for a little tour/reception to share our decorations. We loved having them and hope it added a little cheer to everyone's holidays.

Never let it be said that age keeps one from accomplishing some pretty awesome goals. During our Chimney Rock tour to view the moon during the winter solstice, one 74-year-old senior, who had recently undergone quintuple bypass surgery, made it to the top. Eva Darmopray is an outstanding example of what can be done with a little determination. We thank Susan Stoffer (an R.N. who accompanied us to make sure the seniors were safe), Kent Schaefer, Cynthia Mitchell, Jeffrey Schaupp and Michael Curd for accompanying us to help carry supplies and give assistance where needed.

We were happy to have Arthur and Ramona Ruiz, Charlotte and Jim Archuleta, Larry and Louann Waddell, Madeline Finney, Frankie Reed and Becky Thome dinning with us on Wednesday. Hope all you folks will become regulars.

Arthur Ruiz is our Senior of the Week.

Just a reminder - beginning next week it will be time to renew memberships in the Senior Center. The $2 fee is very minimal for the many wonderful benefits we enjoy, so hope everyone will remember to renew.

The Senior Center will be closed on Dec. 31 so employees may spend New Year's Eve with their families. No meals will be delivered on the 31st.

We hope everyone will have a very happy new year and will begin the new millennium blessed with good health, good friends and much happiness.



Reflections on time

The coming year is sure to be a good one. The SUN's calendars for the year 2000 arrived last Thursday. That's the earliest for them to arrive in the past 18 years. However, the printer misspelled February. He dropped the first R. So "Febuary 2000" is definitely not Y2K compliant.

The same could be said for today's editorial - it's not Y2K compliant nor is it based on the Gregorian calendar. If you read any further, don't say you weren't warned before you wasted your time.

I don't mean to downplay the significance of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades and centuries; but years ago I became more interested in life than in time. This doesn't mean I lost interest in living a long life. I didn't. But I became interested in investing my life in something of eternal value rather than simply extending my longevity and accumulating future garage sale items.

It's comfortable to forget that originally, time was measured by the movement of a shadow that was caused by the position of the sun. It's understandable that in time, clocks replaced sundials. Clocks and watches are more compatible to the popular concept of life. It's uncomfortable to think life is as fleeting as shadow. Clocks and watches offer more permanence, more future. Wind them correctly and they will tell time tomorrow after tomorrow after tomorrow. Some will even "take a licking and keep on ticking." It would be great if life did the same. But life is out of our hands.

It's interesting that a Swiss watchmaker invented the digital watch. It took the hands out of telling time and replaced them with numbers. Digital watches are inexpensive, light weight, durable and the numbers are easy to read any hour of the day or night. If only the blinking numerals didn't serve as a reminder that our days are numbered.

As for the Gregorian calendar, to some people, Saturday is being considered as the start of a new millennium. But just as the Earth has 24 different time zones, there are many varying calendars. There is the Chinese calendar, the Islamic calendar and the varying Hindu calendars.

The Hebrew calendar is reported have started with the Creation, at 3,760 years and three months before the Christian era thus making Rosh Hashanah, September 30, 2000, the start of the year 5,760.

If nothing else, January 1 has somewhat popularized the word millennium. In time, it might serve as a reminder that the term millennium is more commonly used to refer to the specific 1,000-year period mentioned in the 20th chapter of the New Testament book of Revelation, when Christ will be neither B.C. or A.D., but in a heart beat will establish his reign on Earth.

But as for that day, no one knows the time.

David C. Mitchell

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Here it comes, ready or not

Dear Folks,

Hide-and-go-seek was one of my favorite childhood games. It was even more fun once I learned to count from one to 25 with my eyes closed.

A psychiatrist could probably explain why being able to call out ". . . 24, 25, here I come ready or not!" supplied me such satisfaction.

I was just as much in the dark as my friends. Except they knew my location. I had no idea where they were hiding. Yet shouting "here I come ready or not" provided a real sense of importance.

By this time next week folks will know the factual whereabouts of Y2K.

For the past 12 months folks have been counting "1, 2, 3 . . ." as they awaited the final countdown to midnight January 31. Shouting out the count and periodically interjecting a lusty "here it comes ready or not," heightened their sense of importance.

I'm thankful I'll be in Pagosa Springs when the countdown reaches the Mountain Standard Time Zone. I'm thankful to have lived here since June 1974. Regardless of the outcome of "here it comes ready or not" tomorrow night, Pagosa's the place for me.

You can't live in Pagosa long without thinking, "I wonder what the mountains, valleys, forests, rivers and streams looked like when the first human ventured into this place called Pagosa."

Surely you have wondered what this area looked like when the first settler stopped at the Great Hot Spring and dismounted from his horse. That would have been great.

Yes, I'm one of those folks who if given a choice, would want to go back into time rather than ahead to the future. It is easy to make such a claim when you know you're not going either direction.

I've enjoyed this year's Y2K factor. Somewhat like Pagosa's very first newcomer, there are no guarantees of what tomorrow holds. Much like newcomer No. 1, folks have oiled and sharpened their self-sufficiency. Y2K has helped folks redefine their personal "vital necessity" and "top priority" categories.

Somewhat like a game of hide-and-go-seek, Y2K has caused folks to count down while in the dark. Their personal speculations, preparations and possibilities share the commonality of uncertainty.

Rather than "here I come ready or not," this year's shout sounded like "here it comes ready or not."

Archuleta County's fortunate to have Russ Crowley serve as its emergency services coordinator. Being raised on a working ranch in Chromo, (at one time, working ranch was the only type of ranch in Pagosa), gives a person a sound sense of responsibility and priorities. Being home schooled enhances a person's self-reliance and dedication to the task at hand. It nurtures research and extensive reading.

So I'm confident folks will be in good hands when it's "here I come ready or not" time in Pagosa.

It won't be much different for when we first moved to Pagosa. All of us thought we knew what to expect, but we didn't. All of us thought we were well prepared for what our first winter would hold, but we weren't. All of us thought this would be a great place to live no matter what, and we were right. Somehow we made it through those unexpected difficulties and for some reason we enjoyed doing it. In time we became determined to stay.

I don't know what the future holds, but I trust the one who holds it. And based on the wonderful handiworks of Pagosa Country that declare his personality, I'm glad tomorrow ends the countdown to "ready or not" time. It should be a most interesting day.

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


25 years ago

Students to study Pagosa's past

Taken from SUN files

of Dec. 26, 1974

The San Juan Historical Society will hold an important meeting Friday at the REA building. The topic of discussion will be the forthcoming visit of a class from Colorado Woman's College. The group is from the history department at the college and will do a research project on the history of Archuleta County.

The Pagosa Pirates placed second in the basketball tournament at Creede last weekend. The Pirates lost the championship game to Cotapaxi by two points in the final minutes of the game.

Doug Sutton, formerly of the Winter Sports Club at Snowmass, has been appointed winter sports director for Pagosa Lodge. Sutton will plan all outdoor activities for the Pagosa Winter Sports Center during the coming months. This will include teaching cross country skiing and conducting half-day or full-day ski tours over the network of marked trails at the 26,000-acre resort community.

Postmaster Dick DeVore and his staff (Mrs. George Masco, Mrs. Ray Boughan, Mrs. Melvin Sorrels and Chuck Woods) had to handle a heavy load of mail during the peak of the Christmas mail rush. DeVore said that the one-day peak this year was not as great as some in years past, but that the overall load of Christmas mailings did extend over more days with more mail being handled this year.


By Shari Pierce

'Did you know?'

Did you know . . .

In 1867, a duel was fought over ownership of the Pagosa hot springs? Colonel Albert Pfeiffer fought on behalf of the Utes against a Navajo. Pfeiffer was successful in winning ownership for the Utes.

In 1879, a military post was established at Pagosa Springs to protect the new settlers from the Indians?

In late 1880, it was determined that the fort was no longer needed at Pagosa Springs? By 1881, it was moved to Hesperus, near Durango.

In February 1885, a bill was introduced into the state legislature calling for the forming of Archuleta County?

In May 1885, the first county officials, who had been appointed by the governor, met to organize the new county?

The first elected officials of the county took office in 1886?

By 1890, the federal census showed the population of Archuleta County to be 927?

In July 1890, the local newspaper reported: "There are 335,200 acres of surveyed government land in Archuleta county, subject to entry or filing"?

In August 1890, a new bath house had just been completed? It was 42'x22' and contained a plunge 24'x15', vapor, sweat room and sitting room. The "commodious building" cost $900.

The Pagosa Springs News of 1890 predicted that Pagosa Springs would have a railroad connection by the next summer? Oops, that didn't happen for a number of years.

In February 1891, it was voted to incorporated the town of Pagosa Springs by a majority vote of the people? Thirty-eight votes were cast in the election. Twenty-six were for incorporation and 12 were against.

In April 1891, the town held its first election? In that election, John L. Dowell was elected mayor. Six trustees were also elected.

In August 1891, a new arrival to Pagosa Springs asked Manager Patrick at the Springs how the water in the bath houses was heated?

In October 1900, the railroad steamed into Pagosa Springs for the first time? The first train arrived on Saturday, Oct. 13. The first official timetable of the Pagosa & Northern was dated Monday, Oct. 22, 1900.

Geothermal wells were being drilled in Pagosa Springs around the turn-of-the-century?

In October 1911, the worst flood in recorded history struck the town and county?

In 1916, Wolf Creek Pass opened to the public for summer travel only? In places it was only a narrow, one-lane road. It wasn't until the mid 1930s that the road over Wolf Creek was improved to the point that it could be maintained for year-round travel.

Have a safe and happy New Year's weekend.



Top Ten Review
By Roy Starling

Don't we all love a good list?

One thing we've learned here in the media is that lists sell. People love lists. Next time you find yourself standing in front of a magazine stand trying to get up the courage to buy one of those mags with a bikini-clad, high-heel wearing female standing in front of a lowrider, look at some of the other covers:

"10 quick ways to nicer ankles." "7 things guys wished they knew." "22 secrets for keeping your special man special." "Is he cheating? 37 ways to find out." "A 10-step program to help blind you to the horror of your essentially empty and meaningless existence."

See? And I'll bet even Karl Isberg will stoop to doing a kind of "10 favorite dishes" thing for his "Food for Thought" column. He'll do anything to try to snag a few readers.

But over here in the "Video Review" column, it's business as usual. I'm just going to take another look at the best movie I saw this year.

Actually, when I think of it, I'd rather not single out any one film in particular. And I hate to say the "best" movie. Maybe I should admit how subjective this whole business is and talk about films I personally, from my own peculiar point of view, found most interesting.

Hmm. How many truly interesting films did I see during 1999? About 10, I guess.

So here they are, folks, in no particular order: The 10 most interesting films I saw in 1999!

'American Beauty'

Have you ever stopped to appreciate the beauty of a plastic bag made airborne by a gust of wind? Can you imagine what it takes to die smiling? Can an ordinary man have his own private apocalypse?

"American Beauty" plays with these questions and many more, loading up the average-sized brain with wonderful things to think about while it heaps startling, fresh, beautiful images upon the eyes. This is the kind of movie that can change the way you think about movies and the way you think about your life.

On the most superficial level, it's about Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), an ordinary man, having a midlife crisis. Even a casual viewing will reveal much more than that. It's about us, Americans, especially middle-class suburban Americans and the shiny but hollow myth we've been duped into pursuing. It's about how the world of consumerism and acquisition is radically at odds with an honest pursuit of happiness and fulfillment.

It's about how there is no such thing as an ordinary person.

It's about hearts deadened from neglect and routine, then quickened by beauty and love, love that is like a red, red rose, thousands and thousands of red, red roses.

This is an extraordinarily funny movie about a man who (to slightly misquote Matthew Arnold) is living between two worlds, one dead, the other struggling to be born.

In addition to being very funny, "American Beauty" has been known to make grown men, cynical, crusty-hearted men, weep openly, honking their noses into napkins already saturated with popcorn butter.

I can't wait to see this one again. I raced over to Durango to see it in October, and now I'm just waiting with the rest of you until it comes out on video.

'Blair Witch Project'

I've written about this one twice already, so I won't bore you with anymore of my commentary. I will say, however, that this herky-jerky bit of neo-Gothicism chased more people out of the woods than last summer's extended monsoon season.

Also, I'd like to apologize to all the people who saw "Blair Witch" based on my recommendation and then hated it. Maybe this says something about how sick I am of conventional, safe, formulaic films. Just give me something with a little originality - hand-held cameras, no script, no real actors, no soundtrack - and I'm on it like white on rice.

Oh, and another thing: It's all a hoax. It's just a movie. In real life, there were no three young filmmakers lost in the Burkittsville, Maryland, woods. The nice folks in the Burkittsville chamber of commerce wanted me to tell you this.

This jewel is currently available all over everywhere in video.

'Eyes Wide Shut'

Don't go getting goofy on me and running from the room at the very mention of this film. Admittedly, it was preceded by a wrong-headed marketing campaign that emphasized its, how to put this, glandular nature. But this wasn't really a film about you-know-what. Like Stanley Kubrick's other films, it was complex, surreal, overwrought, cold, spooky and long.

The main thing you should know about this movie is that it's a dream. Kubrick signals this with unrealistic lighting, recurring images (watch the Christmas trees), oddly parallel events, and a distorted sense of time.

The movie is a dream about people's inner lives, their dream worlds, their fantasies. Based on "Eyes Wide Shut," we all have these. Because of this, we can never really know other people, even those people - our spouses, for instance - we are closest to. When their eyes are shut, and sometimes even when they're wide open, they go places we shouldn't follow, shouldn't even know about.

In "Eyes Wide Shut," a physician played by Tom Cruise learns this truth, painfully and gradually, about his stunningly beautiful wife played by his real-world stunningly beautiful wife, Nicole Kidman. She is a good wife and a loving, caring mother. But when she shares with him one of her secret desires, it shatters his vision of her. In fact, it changes the way he sees everything and he becomes obsessive in his quest for a kind of payback, the old "two can play this game" thing.

That quest will not be fulfilled. While the Kidman character blithely resumes her role as wife and mother, her husband proves himself inept even in his fantasies. The fabric of his being starts to unravel, and he simply cannot get on with his life. He never understands that people tend to be more complex than our visions of them.

This movie is a little like a modern (or postmodern) retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown." In both cases, male characters have trouble accepting their female partners in their entirety. And both stories seem to be taking place while someone is sleeping.

I waited for a while for "Eyes Wide Shut" to come to Pagosa before going to see it in Buffalo, N.Y. Hey, whatever it takes. It's still not on video.

'The Sixth Sense'

What a smart, creepy movie this is! While the story is an old one - a psychiatrist attempts to help a little boy who sees dead people - it has some interesting twists and a great big secret that I hope no one's told you yet.

It also has some major gory scenes, what with all the dead people exhibiting the wounds and illnesses that polished them off, and some highly effective "shock cuts," in which you, the viewer, suddenly see something you're not expecting. That may not sound like much, but very few horror movies do that very well anymore.

And let's hear it for little Haley Joel Osment, the actor who plays the kid who sees dead people. He does a great job as a scared and tortured child, one who can't tell anyone what's happening to him, not even his mother.

This one should be on video soon.

'Sweet Hereafter'

Unlike "Eyes Wide Shut," this one might eventually show up in my children's literature class, if it actually makes. Using frequent allusions to "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," this film tells the story of a little town in which almost all of the children are killed in a school bus accident.

Not long after the accident, a lawyer (Ian Holm) comes to town in an effort to find out who was responsible for the tragedy and then force them to make restitution to victims' families. Is that possible? Can you make restitution for a lost child? Some of the townspeople think so, others won't even talk to the lawyer.

While the film pursues the issue of responsibility, it also shows people's need to find meaning in tragedy, to make sense of it. It examines the lawyer's private tragedy of having an alienated daughter and it invites us all to reflect on how we can go on after the loss of our children.

"Sweet Hereafter" is based on a novel by Russell Banks, but in the hands of director Atom Egoyan, it becomes poetry, pure poetry. It's available at one local video outlet, if not more.

'Run, Lola, Run'

I saw this German film when I was in Florida in September to visit my grandson Gabriel and to experience the windy pleasures of a gargantuan hurricane.

I don't know if it'll ever show up here, but honesty compels me to include it in my top ten list of most interesting films. It's a short movie, not much over an hour, that tells the same story three times. With each telling, we see how one tiny variation can change the outcome of the entire story and have a huge impact on the lives of the characters.

The three tellings proceed in a kind of spiral effect, from ending very badly to ending quite well. Each telling also contains mini-stories or sub-stories, prefaced by "And then . . . " that tell us what happened to peripheral characters: depending on the telling, the same character may go on to be killed or to be rich or to be sent to jail or to become a great philanthropist. It all depends on little things such as the ringing of a phone, the blowing of a car horn, the opening of a door.

The different versions of this story make the thoughtful viewer reflect on how different his or her own life would be if certain chance events had been a little different or if he or she had responded to chance events in a slightly different way.

In all three versions, the main character Lola (sorry, I can't remember who plays her) is running, running, running, her short, punker, match-tip red hair shimmering and undulating as she runs. Her steady almost desperate running lacks the crispness, precision and discipline of a long-distance runner, but it is still a graceful, dance-like motion that makes running look like so much fun.

She runs as if everything depends upon it (and it does), and the camera captures her rapid journey from every imaginable angle, each of which emphasizes her grace and beauty.

Like "American Beauty," "Run, Lola, Run," is pure cinema, a treat for the eyes and the mind. Ask your local video dealer about a copy today.

'The Ice Storm'

Directed by Ang Lee, "The Ice Storm" is a kind of first cousin to "Sweet Hereafter." It stars Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver and, most importantly, Christina Ricci, and is set in the Seventies during a New England ice storm.

While the parents (Kline and Weaver) are busy trying to figure out exactly how they feel about such things as wife-swapping, the kids are busy being quite troubled. One child winds up dying.

Is the ice storm responsible for this early death? Are the parents responsible? Is it the kid's fault? Has the world just gotten so complicated and confusing that it's made it very difficult to be a kid? Do kids need much more help in surviving adolescence than they did 30 or 40 years ago?

There are no easy answers in this film and no finger pointing, either. There is, however, a great performance by Ricci. This would be a pretty good movie without her, but with her it's downright special.

This used to be at a local video store, but I think it's gone now. All the more reason, in the future, to read my video reviews early Thursday morning and then go rent the video that very day. While the shelves will always be full of films by Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, Adam Sandler, and pretty young actresses with three names, very interesting and unusual movies have a pretty brief shelf life.


You know, until this year, I wasn't a big fan of Nick Nolte's. Then I saw him do some great work in "Afterglow," with Julie Christie, and "Affliction," and I moved him way up on my list of favorite actors.

Like "Sweet Hereafter," "Affliction" is based on a novel by Russell Banks, which means it's another rich story set in a cold, snowy little town.

Have you ever had your life fall apart and then tried to get it back together while under the influence of a severe toothache? That's what the bear-like Wade (Nolte) tries to do in this film. He wants his daughter from a previous marriage. He wants to settle down with a woman played by Sissy Spacek. He wants to figure out what happened in a local hunting accident.

But because he is afflicted with a toothache, with an impulsive nature, with an inability to reason carefully, with speculative stories from his mild-mannered college professor brother (Willem Dafoe), and with nightmare flashbacks from his childhood from heck, he can't accomplish much of anything. You know what Wade is? Likable, but doomed. This makes for heartbreaking viewing.

Throw into this mix an Academy Award-winning performance by James Coburn as Wade's loveless, spiteful alcoholic father, and you've got yourself a mighty fine film to watch on a snowy afternoon, if it ever snows. It's still available in local video stores.

'Waking Ned Devine'

See complete review elsewhere in this week's Preview.

Well, either I can't count or that's 10. But in honor of this being the last issue of the Preview of the millennium, let me leave you with a few more of the lists you love so well:

Movies I wished I'd walked out of: "Entrapment" and "The Haunting"

Movie I shouldn't have been so hard on in a review: "The Matrix." Many folks have stopped me on the sidewalk and assured me that movie was better than I said it was, and I think they're right. One day, perhaps, I'll sit through it again and try to do it justice.

Movie I most wanted to come to Pagosa but didn't: "Being John Malkovich"

Movie that came to Pagosa that I'm most sorry I missed: "Three Kings"

Movies that almost made it into my top ten (or however many) list: "Go," with Sarah Polley; "The Apostle," with Robert Duvall; "Afterglow," with Nolte and Julie Christie; "Shadrach," with Harvey Keitel and Andie McDowell; "A Simple Plan," with Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton; "Fight Club," with Edward Norton and Brad Pitt; "Summer of Sam," with John Leguizamo, Mira Sorvino and Adrien Brody; "Buffalo 66," with Vincent Gallo and Christina Ricci; "Twilight" with Paul Newman; and "Dogma," with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

Happy New Year.


Food for Thought
By Karl Isberg

Karl invents the Top Ten List

"The sense of the world must lie outside the world. In the world, everything is as it is, and everything happens as it does happen: in it no value exists - and if it did exist, it would have no value."

Ludwig Wittgenstein


Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

This is a humdinger of a quote, isn't it?

The quote has absolutely nothing to do with what follows, but it lends the proceedings an air of intellectual authority. I'm so stoked about this column, I thought it needed a sophisticated grace note.

Why am I stoked?

Well, because this is it: the final column of the year, of the decade, of the century, of the millennium. It is the final "Food for Thought" before the electricity goes down and we have to use monks to handprint each edition of the SUN, before we need to use a Town Crier to shout out the details of Police Blotter to the assembled crowd.

Moreover, the occasion calls for something special, something novel. And I have come up with just that something.

What is it?, you ask.


It is an idea that will shake the foundations of American writing. My idea.

My colleague Starling and I were at our desks in the Pop Culture Department last week, pondering a proper way to end the year, the decade, the century and the millennium.

In the midst of our typically meaningful banter, suddenly. . . a lightning stroke. . . an idea so unique, so overwhelming, I decided not to share it with my friend and fellow journalist. Starling can read this column at the same time you do, and marvel at what I have done. Let him find his own way in the wilderness.

I can't directly describe my exhilaration at the moment of discovery; I'll take an oblique approach.

The realization that I had a great concept at hand sent a tremor through my cortex. You've had a similar feeling, haven't you? Like when you walk through a door at O'Hare marked "DANGER. DO NOT ENTER" and you find yourself directly behind a 747 as it moves away from the concourse. You know? The corticosteroidal buzz you get right before you're hustled away by a brace of surly security guards? The giddy feeling you have just before the thugs spray you with mace, call you nasty names and remand you to the custody of the Chicago police?

Well, if you can remember how that felt, you can relate to my state as I realized how I would shape this column.

Sitting at my desk, babbling with Starling, I stumbled on to what has to be the best darned idea ever to occur to a journalist.

Hold on to your hats.

The Top Ten List.

Get it? A list of ten things: ten things tops among all things in a class of things, experienced during a given period of time. Say, a year.

Say, 1999.

Can you believe it? So simple, yet so complete.

I can't imagine why someone else hasn't used this idea!

Aside from the benefit that comes of the joy of creation, this baby is bound to attract hundreds of new readers to my column. I will be king of the newsroom. I will be able to reserve a time in the SUN bathroom. The folks in the front office will remember my name and will use the intercom to call me when busloads of journalism students arrive to quiz me and to admire the many third-place contest awards this column is sure to win.

I can't wait till the Preview is printed and Starling takes a gander at what I've done. No doubt, he will have the lion's share of a week producing a typical Starling movie review, his final review of the year, the decade, the century and the millennium - probably centering on his obsession with Christina Ricci - and when he reads my food and TV Top Ten of 1999, the last year of the decade, the century and the millennium, he will put down his cheap Scripto pen and weep. He might have a Ph.D., but I have the Top Ten List.


I'll finish the year, the decade, the century and the millennium a legend in the making, my column read by a legion of avid fans, and Starling. . .well, let's just say he'll greet a new age cowering in his crawl space with a three-legged Saint Bernard, clutching a fistful of pathetic videos, cursing the day Isberg had the thinking cap on, and he didn't.

Even in my moment of triumph, though, I must share the glory.

I worked on this list with help from my wife Kathy and my youngest daughter, Ivy. Kathy insisted on reviewing the final draft due to something she calls my "problem." I am not aware of any "problem."

This Top Ten list is offered in reverse order, with my top choice listed last. I realize this is a complicated introduction to a new idea, but bear with me, struggle and be patient. I include food and television selections on the list because I always eat while I watch television. Don't you?

Here goes.

Top Ten Dishes and TV Programs of 1999

10. The double cheeseburger with chopped green chile, from Chubby Chicken in Aztec, New Mexico. No one does the noble double cheese like those sturdy gals at Chubby Chicken. The burger is immense, the beef cooked with love, messy as all get-out. Chubby Chicken does not serve wine, so I recommend adjourning to one of the rough-hewn picnic tables next to the restaurant (your only other choice is your car, since the place has no indoor seating) where, regardless of weather, you can cozy up to the medium rare flesh, chile and cheese, and accompany the repast with a few belts off a bottle of mouvédre discreetly hidden in a plain brown paper bag. Keep an eye peeled for the Aztec police; they have no aversion to using electricity in the search for a confession.

As my No. 10 television pick, I recommend TeleTubbies. I adore each of the four bizarre mutants and I yearn to live in their happy, simple world where a smiling baby face replaces the sun and everything outdoors is pthalo green. I make this suggestion fully aware one of the little rascals (the violet one) is reputed to represent the love that dare not speak its name. I am not embarrassed; I'm a libertarian.

9. The dish is recommended by my daughter Ivy, who is home for a few days to collect gifts: duck ravioli with Dijon cream sauce, from Bistro 45 in Pasadena. I put the duck ravioli at the ninth spot because, while I enjoy a hunk of relatively rare duck breast, the bird is not a big fave of mine. I like Dijon as an additive to sauce. I often fashion a Dijon cream sauce to tantalize a piece of beef. It's easy to make: deglaze the pan in which the meat has been seared with a measure of hearty stock, reduce to a syrupy minimum, add a dollop of Dijon, some cream, salt, crushed garlic and freshly-ground black pepper; warm, reduce slightly and serve.

The television show, from Ivy, is "The Tom Greene Show" on Comedy Central. Get hip, be cool. According to my daughter, "Tom is always pulling things on his parents." This appeals to Ivy and her favorite bit was when "Tom waited until his parents were asleep. Then he introduced a variety of obnoxious animals into their house and sealed the place in plastic." Heh heh heh.

8. Foodwise, we're talking about either the MuShu chicken or the Chilean sea bass in black bean sauce at the Imperial Restaurant on South Broadway in Denver. I sampled both dishes two weeks ago, and they were superb. The food made a weekend spent trapped in malls, inhaling myriad microbes delivered in aerosol form by hacking preteens, somewhat bearable. Many people labor under the mistaken belief that a meal at a Chinese eatery demands either ratty Chinese beer or a glass of plum wine. Plum wine is the Mogen David of Asia - cough syrup with 12 percent alcohol. Believe it or not, a Riesling goes well with MuShu and sea bass. Actually, a decent Riesling goes well with almost anything. It's nice all by itself. And all by yourself.

My choice for the eighth-best television experience of the year goes to the PBS cooking shows on Saturday morning. I watch at least six shows each Saturday, cuddled cozy under a comforter on the couch, clad in my PJs, clutching a cup of extra-thick java, happy as a clam. There is no such thing as too much information about braising.

My hero Julia Child continues to deedle her way through the kitchen, with her pal Jacques Pepin propping her up. This alone brightens the day. Julia Child has done more for American lovers of food than anyone in the quickly waning century. We need a statue erected when the saintly dame croaks. Bon appetit!

7. Kathy's choice for top meal of the decade finds its way to the No. 7 slot. She recalls a New York Strip, grilled and gussied up with teriyaki sauce, served on the U.S.S. Independence as the venerable old barge was moored offshore of Kona. (I am referring to the ship.) I'm convinced Kathy was dazzled by my newly-purchased Hawaiian shirt and her judgment was affected by her triumphant performance at the evening's ukulele concert. But, the steak was done well and I allowed her to put the dish on the list for fear she will reveal this so-called "problem."

In terms of the No. 7 television experience, I would be remiss if I did not again highlight "Cops" on the Fox network. Despite the many, and very entertaining spinoffs from this show ("Real Stories of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police," "World's Most Dangerous Police Chases," etc.) we must return to the paradigm to appreciate the essence of the genre. It's all here: the persistent problem of the underclass in a stratified society; the threats posed by youthful exuberance; the reassuring presence of authority standing firm in a stack of empty and crushed beer cans, secure in a torrent of ceaseless obscenity.

For people worried they are not receiving enough police protection, for staunch citizens fretting about the potential loss of cheap electronic appliances and meaningless knickknacks, "Cops" is a great show; as it is for all the middle-class bozos who do not understand that the chaotic border of the democratic garden nourishes the most beautiful of new blooms.

6. I'm thinking about a piece of grilled Ahi with chipotle mayonnaise served at the Hailii Maile Restaurant, a gem of an establishment located in a quaint building on a road at the edge of the upsweep of Haleakala, on Maui. Great Googlie Mooglie (to quote the century's preeminent musical genius, Frank Zappa), this is fish cooked just right, seared with the center shimmering, pearlescent, quivering fresh as sea foam in the cosmic current.

Match this outstanding bit of grillery with Sister Wendy and you've got an unbeatable food and television combo. Sister Wendy is more than an amusing product of a crippled convent system: She understands the Platonic triumvirate of truth, beauty and goodness. She knows the intersection of these ideals can occur in a painting - a two-dimensional reorganization of materials into an object productive of thought and feeling, of a novel perspective. She also understands this divine collocation has never, and will never, occur in an illustration of a cowboy or an elk, or in a mundane rendering of a landscape.

5. Mid-pack, food-wise, is my friend Russell Hebert's crawfish etouffé. I could wax poetic about Russell's culinary skill, but his ego is enormous enough without inflating it further with the gas of praise. Suffice it to say, the nuggets of crawfish are suspended in a sauce, a gravy, a cradle of extraordinary quality; flavor and texture meld in a perfect statement, a poignant symphony straight from the humid core of the Acadian soul. Mon Dieu!

To go with the etouffé, scope out an episode of the WB Network's "Seventh Heaven." Ivy is convinced the show provides the ideal ethical balance to the life she lives in L.A. If existence cannot be simple and replete with moral messages as it is lived. . . well, inject the material in a television show. Everything works out well when it is transported by photons. We Americans love our photons and if they carry a saccharine and sweetly inane message, so much the better.

4. I wrote in July about an experience I had at a restaurant located on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. I ate outdoors, on a patio at the front of the restaurant. During the meal, I made close friends with at least 5,000 people who strolled past me, a mere foot or two away. I felt like the fat guy in the carnival midway. But the dish I ate with gusto - and which I reproduced at home, with the recipe delivered in this column - was more than commendable. At the No. 4 spot in the list of Dishes of the Year is rigatoni, sausage and peas in a nutmeg- and garlic-riddled cream sauce. A few fresh greens blessed with choice balsamic vinegar is the perfect foil.

The meal is good enough to pair with Kathy's suggestion for a top television treat: a November PBS special dealing with the peculiar mysteries of fractal geometry. Toss in a sidebar explanation of Godel's Theorem and you've got yourself an evening of special, head-slapping fun. If you don't like math and science, the carbs in the rigatoni will put you to sleep.

We're getting close to the ultimate goodies now. We're down to the top three choices for 1999.

At No. 3, I had decided on another suggestion from Ivy: the chicken breast with fried plantain, from Cafe Brazil, in Venice, California.

But, at the last possible moment, I discovered something delicious and reproducible. Just the other day, I had yet another conversation with my friend and fellow food fanatic, Ming Steen. The chatter centered initially on the Malaysian curry powder Ming recently transported from the land of her birth to Pagosa. We moved quickly to a discussion of Ming's latest use of the miracle mix: a melange of salmon and shrimp carted boldly in a brew of curry, coconut milk, onion, and a splash of lemon juice.

I was inspired. I hustled home and made two versions of the dish and I heartily recommend each of them.

Skin a filet of salmon and cut the flesh into generous chunks. Saute some sliced onion in a bit of oil until the onions are translucent. Add curry powder to the pan and allow it to toast, until the aroma fills the room. At the same time, pop in a couple of cloves of garlic, minced, and a hefty amount of minced fresh ginger. Add a can of coconut milk and bring to a slow boil. Add the chunks of salmon, salt, a serious squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a bit of sugar. Cook until the fish turns color and the flesh begins to flake. Add as many fresh, shelled shrimps as you like and cook a few minutes until the shrimps turn pink.

Version two utilizes Thai red curry paste instead of a curry powder and this version is a touch more piquant and considerably more intense in terms of heat. Cook the dish exactly as you did the first version, but consider substituting lime juice for the lemon. I accompanied each curry with egg noodles, green peas and a simple raita made of yogurt, cucumber and cilantro.

Television at the No. 3 spot: fake sports.

The tube was rife with suspicious "sports" events this year. Notable were roller derby with on-line skates (with plenty of cleavage and steroid-flushed muscle mass); golf, with more and more goofy get-ups and silly macho gestures; the world championships of ballroom dance (look, it's amazing, both her feet are off the ground at the same time and her smile is so. . . radiant! She's taking 1000 milligrams of Zoloft every day, and she is still able to dance!); and, of course, figure skating "competitions" involving sequin-clad shopworn pros performing before audiences of adoring prepubescent girls. Add to this the heart-racing action of billiards and the X-Games, and the television sports calendar is truly full.

Second on the list of 1999 foods is a butterflied filet mignon rubbed with red chile, salt and pepper, dribbled with a bit of olive oil, broiled to a blissful medium rare and served with a side of barely-set bernaise. Accompanied by a saute of chanterelles, portobellos and shitakes (with a kiss of garlic), the dish produces transcendent effects.

Make the bernaise yourself; you won't be disappointed. Who cares about the salmonella thing with the egg yolks? If you die, you die sated. In intense pain, but sated.

The ideal television accompaniment to prime beef and bernaise is A&E's "Castles of America." This is the ultimate "Hey, look at what we've got" kind of show.

If you have any doubt the Vanderbilts were better off than you are, you need to check out this series. The blinding glories and the hideous flaws of capitalism are all rolled into one tidy hour-long display. If you are sitting in your house in the Lake Forest subdivision, and you've been laboring under the misconception you own anything worth saving, use your remote and tune to A&E.

Numero Uno

Now, the top dish, and top television treat of the year 1999.

Grilled saba, tuna sashimi and gyoza, a la the sadly-defunct Mandarin Cafe on 20th Street in Denver.

No way you are going to locate sashimi-grade tuna here in Pagosa, so forget trying to duplicate the complete menu. If you get to Denver and find Pacific Mercantile on Lawrence Street, you can purchase credible frozen gyoza and save yourself some serious time and effort. While you are at the store you can buy saba - Japanese mackerel. You can also purchase daikon, a few serrano peppers and some shoyu. The shoyu must be Yamasa; no substitute is acceptable.

When you purchase the mackerel, gaze into the eyes of the fish. If the eyes are clear and if, upon close inspection, the fish smells fresh (i.e., it does not smell like iodine or, eek!, like fish) and the flesh is firm, buy it. Plan on a half fish per person. Pack the fish in ice and race home. Remember to do the speed limit between Buena Vista and Poncha Pass; the Colorado State Patrol Troopers who prowl that section of highway are heartless brutes.

Fire up the outdoor grill. Cook a pot of short-grain rice. Slice several serranos into small rounds. Finely shred some daikon.

Split each mackerel in half, down the backbone. Remove anything that looks icky. Lightly oil the fish, lightly oil the grill. Place each piece of fish flesh-side-down on the hot grill. Cook the saba for approximately five minutes, then turn and continue to grill until the fish flakes easily.

Do not, under any circumstances, grill the mackerel inside the house. Do not take this warning lightly; there are some fabrics, and some short-hair breeds of dog, that will never shed the odor.

Set up your TV tray and tune into Karl's favorite television treat of 1999.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I've said it before; I'll say it again: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Place some of the shredded daikon in a small bowl and wet sparingly with shoyu. Combine a bit of saba, a dab of daikon and a slice of serrano pepper and eat. Watch Buffy and her noble pals fight the undead in an arena bleached pure with post modernist irony.


Savor each bite, each sight. Come midnight, tomorrow, the computers will have destroyed civilization, so make the most of what is left of the year, the decade, the century and the millennium. The "Best of" for the upcoming year is likely to include slabs of elk, moldy pinto beans and leaky cans of scavenged Ripped Fuel and other unpalatable bodybuilding supplements.

Regardless of what happens at the turn of the new century, I'll be a happy guy.

I enjoyed some wonderful food during the last year of the 20th century.

And I developed the greatest idea in the history of journalism.


Video Review
By Roy Starling

Ned, we're forever in your debt

Just the other day, I was putting away a delicious breakfast at a fine Irish eating establishment just down the street when I noticed this blessing on the wall:

"May you be in Heaven 40 years before the devil knows you're dead."

Now who else but the Irish could come up with such a colorful saying? Here's another one I like:

"When the good Lord made time, he made plenty of it." That's the Irish way of saying, "Hey, no hurry."

Although I only have a wee bit of Irish blood flowing through my veins, I have a soft spot in me heart for the lot of them.

What a gallery of literary artists the Emerald Isle has produced: Thomas Moore, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, James Stephens, Liam O'Flaherty, Frank O'Connor, Sean O'Casey and Samuel Beckett. What these guys can do with the English language ought to be against the law. There's music and wit in almost every line they write.

Back in the '20s, an Irish-American filmmaker named John Ford (born Sean Feeney) began to project the Irish sensibility onto the silver screen. Sure, most of his best known films were set in the Old West, but they were peopled with Irish characters and Irish stereotypes.

You can't get through a Ford movie without hearing an Irish ballad or seeing a brawl ("Is this a private fight, or can anyone join in?"); one character (often played by Victor MacLaglen or Ford's brother Francis) will drink a bit too much Irish whiskey or down a few too many pints; tall tales will be eloquently spun, jigs will be danced and there'll be inevitable lapses into sentimentality.

Last weekend I watched the wonderful "Waking Ned Devine" again, and I'm happy to report that Ford's mantle has been passed down to a young man, not altogether Irish, named Kirk Jones.

Jones graduated from film school in the late '80s and since then has made his living directing award-winning commercials. But about five years ago, he read about a postmistress in a small town winning a huge sum of money in a lottery and then trying to keep it a secret. No such luck. Fascinated by the story, he began to write one of his own, about a very small Irish village name Tullymore and its lotto-crazed citizens.

When Jones finished the story, he got backing for it and then directed it himself. Watching "Waking Ned Devine," you'd never guess that this was a young man's inaugural effort. What a piece of work this thing is.

Jacky O'Shea (Ian Bannen) and Michael O'Sullivan (David Kelly), two lifelong friends in their 70s, find out that someone in Tullymore has just won the lottery, a prize they believe to be worth about half a million pounds. They narrow the possible winners down, first, to 49, then to 18, and then they invite those 18 over for a chicken dinner. Their goal: "We want to be best friends with the winner by the time he cashes his check."

They have no luck at the dinner, but once it's over, Jacky's wife Annie (Fionnula Flanagan) realizes someone didn't show up: There's one chicken leg left over. The missing party is one Ned Devine. It turns out that Ned's dead, having gone out with heart failure when he learned he'd won the lottery. Who could blame him? The winning ticket is worth £6,894,620.

Once Jacky and Michael think it over, they realize there's only one thing to do: They have to keep Ned's death a secret, and one of them has to become Ned and claim the winning ticket. Starting here, the story blossoms into a rich Irish yarn about friendship, greed, generosity and the communal life of tiny Tullymore.

The heart of this film is the acting of Bannen and Kelly, two old pros who have resumés that would stretch from Dublin to Galway. These two elderly gentlemen have developed faces any camera would love, faces that are tapestries of rich, full lives.

Bannen's mug is somewhere between a cherub's and a leprechaun's, his eyes always twinkling with mischief and anticipation. Kelly is just the opposite, his heavy-lidded eyes suggesting a chronic melancholy (but nothing serious). He has a huge nose projecting from a lean face and shadowing his thin, tight lips. Briefly, Bannen is an endomorph, Kelly an ectomorph.

Bannen and Kelly are a delight in every scene, but there's one whose brilliance sets it apart from the rest. It takes place at a funeral, but it exemplifies the following Irish blessing: " 'Tis better to buy a small bouquet, / And give to your friend this very day, / Than a bushel of roses white and red, / To lay on his coffin after he's dead." Watch for this scene, and keep the tissue handy.

Speaking of funerals, I'm sorry to report that Bannen was killed in an automobile accident in Scotland about a month ago.

Jones occasionally departs from the shenanigans of Jacky and Michael to flesh out his story with subplots centering on the lives of some of the other villagers. Some scenes are devoted to a cute, budding romance between Pig Finn (James Nesbitt) and Maggie (Susan Lynch), a striking young woman who could be described as a poor man's Andie McDowell. She clearly loves Finn, and Finn obviously loves her and her fatherless son Maurice, but they can never get together as long as Finn smells like a pig.

Jones also weaves in a series of vignettes feature little Maurice and a young priest who is filling in temporarily for Tullymore's regular priest. While the Maurice-priest scenes don't really serve to advance the plot, they help maintain the film's spirit of innocence and subtly suggest the difficulty of an outsider gaining acceptance in a small village.

Several things about this film lead me to believe Jones studied the old master Ford in film school. Like Ford, Jones is partial to close-ups. He knows how people love faces and he knows that with Bannen and Kelly he's working with two of the best faces in the business. Like Ford, he pays a great deal of attention to the composition of every frame, especially the exterior shots of the lush landscape of the Isle of Man, where the film was shot. Like Ford, he reflects the harmony of his community by showing them singing, dancing and drinking together.

Whether Jones is indebted to Ford or not, I think the old man would have wholeheartedly approved of Jones's debut. I know I do. "Waking Ned Devine" is a bighearted, generous, refreshing film with one of the sweetest final scenes you'll ever see.

So, until next week, "May the road rise up to meet you and may the wind be always at your back."

 Old Timers

By John M. Motter

A short history of Amargo, the little town that walked away

Back in the 19th century before the San Juans were fully tamed, real men wore guns and real women stayed home. At least that's what we are led to believe. Every town was tough. Tough was the norm. Silverton, Durango, Lake City, Del Norte, Creede, all had shootin's and hangin's. But, of all the tough towns, none was tougher than Amargo. A fair question is, if Amargo was so tough, why ain't there no Amargo today?

A fair question deserves an answer. First, we might answer the question, "Where was Amargo?" The answer to that question is easy. Amargo spraddled across several acres of alkali and sage brush on the north side of today's Hwy. 64 in Northern New Mexico about two and one-half miles east of Lumberton and a little west of Monero. Only Lumberton didn't exist at the same time as Amargo, and there is a reason.

When Amargo sprouted we don't know, but some kind of a community existed there in the late 1870s because rations were issued to the Jicarilla Apaches from Amargo at that time. The current Jicarilla Reservation had not been created. The government had an inclination to establish a reservation in that area for the Jicarilla and much of the tribe camped in the vicinity. Several Hispanic families, the Gomezes, Archuletas, Cordovas, and others, already had homesteads in the area and so they protested against the proposed reservation. The government responded by shipping the Jicarillas to a reservation near Fort Sumner. There they were crowded together with Mescalero Apaches and the Navajo Kit Carson had routed from Canyon de Chelly. The Fort Sumner Reservation was another government fiasco and by the mid-1880s the Jicarilla were back in the Amargo area, this time with a reservation. That, however, is another story.

Amargo straddled an old Indian trail connecting New Mexico and Colorado. Naturally, Gen. Palmer's Denver and Rio Grande narrow gauge railroad line, after leaving Chama, passed though Amargo on its way to Durango. For a short time in 1881, Amargo marked the end of the railroad, a tent-city home for railroad building crews. Crowds of hard-muscled, single men with money to spend attracted crowds of gamblers, loose women, and hard cases of every sort bent on grabbing as much of the payroll as possible.

Fortunately, we have a first-person account of Amargo in 1881. The story teller is Harry Jackson one of Durango's most prominent pioneers. This account is contained in "Pioneers of the San Juan Country."

"As the Sunny San Juan was being extensively advertised and the D. & R.G. was building into that section, Fred (Jones) and I decided to head for that country. We arrived at the end of the railroad at a place called Amargo, which was then a wild and woolly town, being filled with gamblers, saloonmen, and dance hall people who preyed upon the hard working men.

"The water at Amargo was terrible, so alkali you could not drink it; so when the train came in we would go to the engine and get a bucket of drinking water. (In Spanish, Amargo means bitter, probably referring to the bad water. Conversely, Dulce means sweet, probably referring to the sweet water found there.)

"In the short time I was at Amargo thirteen people were killed in shooting scrapes; it got so when we heard a shot in the night we did not pay any attention. One day I was at the back of our shop looking over my revolver, a six-shooter I had just bought. I had never fired it and I wanted to hear the sound of it, so I fired the gun in rapid succession six times. Immediately half the town was around the shop and wanted to know where the killing was. A deputy sheriff by the name of Charles A. Johnson (who later became a noted criminal attorney in the San Juan Country) took the gun away from me and threatened to arrest me and put me in jail in Chama for 'disturbing the peace' if such a thing was possible short of murder in Chama!"

Jackson talks about putting a sight on a gun for Jimmy Catron, leader of a gang of desperadoes, then continues, "In Amargo at this time another gang of desperadoes was headed by Charlie Allison; they had their camp in a little grove right below town. They all lived in a big tent, and I used to go out there evenings and have a good time. They were all young fellows, had a fine bunch of horses and each carried two guns. I would have joined them, but they didn't invite me.

"One day at noon the stage from Chama, carrying passengers to Durango, rolled in and stopped at the General Store; at once this Allison gang held up the stage, then held up the store and so made a general cleanup. I was working in the shop and heard the shooting-they fired a lot of shots to intimidate the passengers. This holdup occurred in broad daylight, and as soon as it was over the young desperadoes went back to their camp and took a nap; nobody bothered them in the least.

"I well remember our last night in Amargo; the town was moving on to the next station at the end of the track, a place called Arboles. Footpads and gamblers held up every business place they could get into that night. Fred Jones and I did not go to bed; we sat there in our shack and waited, but nothing happened."

By the early 1890s, Arboles had become a tamer place to live, but trouble of another sort developed. For an account of this trouble we turn to the "Pagosa Springs News."

In July of 1893, we read that Ed A. Vorhang's hotel in Amargo burned. Vorhang had recently won title to the section of land on which Amargo was built. The fire appeared to be a response to rent due notices Vorhang delivered to all of the business owners in town. "There is no doubt the fire was started by an incendiary," "The News" reported. "In fact the people seem to know just who did it, yet there is no proof to convict. Mr. Vorhang has just recently obtained title to the land on which Amargo is located, and for years there has been trouble between him and the residents of the town."

The plot continued to thicken. Under a "Dastardly Deeds" headline the "News" reported in September "Amargo has assassins as well as incendiarists within her confines. On Tuesday night before retiring Ed Vorhang went out of the house, and while standing near the door some one shot at him, the ball passing through the fleshy part of his arm and lodging in the wall behind his house. The shot came from behind the fence of the corral just west of the Archuleta store. Mr. Vorhang's wound is painful but not dangerous. Life in Amargo must be a burden. The trouble there seems to have just begun.

"The stage driver reported yesterday evening that the night before some giant powder (dynamite) was exploded under Mr. Vorhang's house, in the corner which was previously occupied by a bed. The location of the bed had been thoughtfully changed, or the dastardly attempt might have succeeded, as a large hole was blown in the building. Mr. Vorhang has wisely left town."

The beginning of the end for Amargo was signaled in this Feb. 23, 1894, "News" article: "Orders have been received at Amargo to remove the post office to Lumberton. The name will not be changed until April 1, the beginning of the next quarter. Then the name will be Lumberton instead of Amargo. It is thought the railroad depot will be removed also in the very near future. Then Amargo will pass out of existence."

So what happened to Amargo? Rather than pay rent to Vorhang, the businessmen of Amargo packed up their chickens, families, and goods and moved two and one-half miles west where they founded Lumberton. E.M. Biggs of the New Mexico Lumber Company started a new mill at Lumberton and launched his logging railroad from Lumberton to Edith and into Archuleta County. Thus did Amargo die and thus was Lumberton born.

Some local oldtimers, such as Ray Macht, remember driving cattle to the stock pens at Amargo where the cattle were loaded on trains as recently as the 1930s. Unless you know exactly where Amargo is, don't go looking for it. Not only are the buildings and stock pens gone, everything at the site seems to have been plowed under the dirt. A careful observer (with permission from the private landowner) might find a hand full of square nails. Besides a few memories, that's all that remains of Amargo.