Front Page

January 13, 2000

County manager offered new job

Hunt negotiates contract with Arapahoe County


By John M. Motter

Archuleta County Manager Dennis Hunt, 53, announced this week that he has been offered the job as Arapahoe County manager and is "in the process of negotiating a contract."

The new position offers a salary "in six digits, about twice my present salary" and the responsibility of managing one of Colorado's largest and fastest growing counties. The Denver Post reported Wednesday that Hunt's salary will range from $100,000 to $110,000 annually.

The Arapahoe County seat is Littleton, located on the southeast side of the Denver metroplex. Arapahoe County has about 500,000 residents.

Hunt was selected from among 196 applicants, he said.

"I should know the results of the contract negotiations within 10 days," Hunt said. "My starting date there will be determined during the contact negotiations."

Hunt was hired in August of 1991 as Archuleta County manager/planner. After about six months his work emphasis and title shifted to county manager, only. He is the first and only county manager Archuleta County has ever had. The Year 2000 budget lists Hunt's salary at $60,000 with benefits of $10,704.

During much of Hunt's time as county manager, Archuleta County has been among the fastest growing counties in the nation.

"I guess the accomplishment I am most proud of is the development of a more business-like approach to county government," Hunt said. "We've developed an excellent staff. We also negotiated the Fairfield Bankruptcy settlement, a real plus for the county.

"I see a real positive future for the county," Hunt continued. "The commissioners are addressing growth issues and moving in the right direction."

What advice does Hunt have for any potential replacement?

"Don't take everything personal," he said.

"Dennis' leaving will be a real loss to the county," said Gene Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners. "We're losing a lot of experience. Personally, I'm glad for him that he is getting this opportunity to move up with the big boys."

Crabtree already has ideas about how the county should operate in Hunt's absence.

"I'd like to see the commissioners wait awhile before advertising for a replacement," Crabtree said. "In the meantime, Kathy (Kathy Wendt, administrative assistant to Hunt) has a lot of experience. She can provide information and let us three (commissioners) run the county for a while. I know that was tried before, but those commissioners weren't paid much. Now it pays more and we have the time."


Jackson Mountain

Landowners protest timber sale



By John M. Motter

A U.S. Forest Service timber sale proposed for Jackson Mountain is attracting protests from landowners in San Juan River Village, and from an environmental group called Colorado Wild.

Planned for cutting during the year 2001, the sale anticipates logging between 11.5 and 15 million board feet of timber from portions of approximately 3,200 acres of Forest Service land. Jackson Mountain is located about 9 miles north of Pagosa Springs and on the east side of U.S. 160.

"This is planned as a restorage sale," said Rick Jewell of the Pagosa Ranger District office. "We might make a little money, but its purpose is to restore conditions as they were before European settlement."

The deadline for filing protests against the sale is Tuesday. Protests have been filed by the property owners of San Juan River Village, by the San Juan River Village Metro District, and by Colorado Wild as represented by John Whitney.

Conditions in the Jackson Mountain area have created a need for ecological restoration, according to a Forest Service news release. Past timber management and fire suppression in the area have created timber stand conditions that favor the establishment of shade-tolerant conifers (mostly white fir) within the understory of stands containing mixed conifer, aspen, and ponderosa pines.

As a result, according to the Forest Service, tree defoliation and mortality from western spruce budworm will increase, tree mortality caused mountain pine beetle will increase, tree-killing root rot will increase, and fire danger will increase.

The San Juan Village protest asserts that various activities, such as road building, on Jackson Mountain may cause the mountain side in the area to shift, damaging homes, utility lines, the Pagosa Springs water supply line, and a natural gas pipeline traversing the area.

Colorado Wild echoes the San Juan River Village concerns and adds the following concerns:

- The sale involves some old-growth ponderosa timber, a notion Colorado Wild opposes

- The sale anticipates 4.9 miles of new roads and 11.3 miles of road reconstruction. The road work will increase the probability of landslides and erosion.

- Roads will be built in an area designated as roadless

- The plan proposes to clear cut about 224 acres of aspen

- The plan proposes to log a rare ecosystem near the top of Jackson Mountain

- The sale will negatively impact wildlife such as the goshawk, wolverine and pine marten

The Pagosa Ranger District office has answered the protesters as follows:

- The proposal involves several sales made up of two larger sales and several smaller sales. Concerning old growth, the sale area contains no rare old-growth ponderosa pine. No harvest will occur in the old-growth stand on top of Jackson Mountain. The 80 acres on top of the mountain formerly under consideration have been dropped from the proposal.

- The Jackson Mountain area was logged in the early 1970s and contains about 20 miles of roads. The main Jackson Mountain access road crosses a small slide area. The remainder of the roads have remained stable since 1970. At the most, 4.9 miles of new road will be constructed. The mountain, existing roads, and proposed roads have been analyzed by an interdisciplinary team of specialists including a hydrologist, soil scientist, and geotechnical engineer. No significant road failures are anticipated. When the logging is finished, appropriate mitigation measures will be taken.

- After reviewing all known landslide risks in San Juan River Village, approximately 125 acres of the proposed sale have been withdrawn.

- Plans for this sale were developed prior to adoption of the roadless area. In fact, the roadless area already contains roads and is subject to public traffic.

- An environmental analysis has been conducted instead of an environmental impact statement because no new significant impacts are anticipated, one of the requirements for an EIS.

- The Forest Service is supportive of Dr. Romme's fire research and has dropped plans to log within the research area.

- Aspen will be clear cut to the extent necessary to remove an entire clonal root system. Clear cutting is the best method of regenerating aspen, a goal of this sale.

The sale time line involves the following steps:

- The time for public comment ends Tuesday

- A time span of about three months is allowed for the Forest Service to develop responses to the public comments. Following the three-month response period, the Pagosa District Ranger will issue a recommendation. The forest supervisor will approve or deny the recommendation.

- A 45-day appeal period follows the decision

- A final decision will be made concerning any appeals.


County, PLPOA still negotiating


By John M. Motter

The Archuleta County commissioners and Pagosa Lakes Property Owners did not reach accord at the regular Tuesday meeting of the commissioners. The PLPOA is proposing a contract governing operation of that entity's public safety office.

A large number of PLPOA members, including many of the board of directors, attended the Tuesday meeting to learn if the commissioners will consider negotiating for a new contract replacing an earlier contract now believed to be illegal. The commissioners agreed to schedule a future meeting with the PLPOA and discuss the proposal. The county sheriff attended the Tuesday meeting. A date and time for the next meeting has not been scheduled.

Also Tuesday, the commissioners named Karen Aspin, Tim Horning, John Applegate, Dick Mosely, Wayne Pippenger, Bob Formwalt, Mary Kay Carpenter, Mary Madore, Ken Seibel, Lynn Constan, John E. Baker Jr., Jay Harrington, and Mike Mollica to serve on the Archuleta County Community Plan Steering Committee. The committee's purpose is to act as go between citizens in specific areas of the county and Four Corners Planning and Design Group, a firm hired to learn what actions local citizens want the county to take regarding growth issues.

Aspin represents Area 1 in the northwest part of the county; Horning and Applegate the Fairfield Pagosa area; Mosely north of Pagosa Springs and east of Piedra Road; Formwalt the northeast area along the U.S. 160 corridor; Carpenter and Moore the Mill Creek, Blanco Basin and Lower Blanco areas; Seibel the Arboles area; and Constan the Chromo area. A Forest Service representative has yet to be designated.

On Monday morning, settlement was reached on the law suit brought by Grant General Contractors concerning payment for acceleration and deceleration lanes on U.S. 160 adjacent to the core area in the Fairfield Pagosa development. When the county refused to reimburse Grant from Fairfield Communities Inc. bankruptcy settlement funds for building the A and D lanes, Grant sued the county. According to the settlement hammered out under County Judge Jim Denver, the county will give Grant $192,000 from the bankruptcy settlement funds and the case is closed. Grant had asked for $355,670.

Tuesday's meeting with the PLPOA was in response to a PLPOA request that the county negotiate a contract allowing the county sheriff to supervise the activities of five public safety officers to be paid for by the PLPOA.

For the past year, the PLPOA's Public Safety office has been supervised by the sheriff, but paid by the PLPOA under an earlier agreement. During December 1999, the PLPOA asked the commissioners for a new agreement. The commissioners said they had learned that the existing agreement did not meet requirements for such situations as explained in a document published in May 1999 by the Police Officers Standards and Training board.

Following the December PLPOA request, Undersheriff Russell Hebert issued a directive prohibiting PSO officers from enforcing criminal law unless under the direct supervision or express direction of a deputy sheriff, town policeman, highway patrolman, or other Level 1 law enforcement officer.

The PLPOA proposes that the county hire five officers to be totally under the supervision of the county sheriff. The association proposes to pay the county for the five officers including the cost of vehicles, uniforms and other equipment.

After a considerable amount of discussion by representatives of the county and the PLPOA, the county agreed to schedule the future meeting to determine if agreement can be reached.

In other business Tuesday:

- County Assessor Keren Prior asked the commissioners to overrule the county manager and building maintenance supervisor's judgment that new carpeting planned for the assessor's office must be red, to match carpeting in other courthouse offices. Prior argued that red incites people to anger and she doesn't need red carpeting to irritate people who come into her office. The county refused to act, asserting that the problem was a management problem and should be worked out by county management.

- Airport manager Tim Smith's contract was renewed for another year. Smith is to receive $2,163 a month.

Board amends complaint policy


By Roy Starling

Staff members who are the subject of discussion in executive sessions during school board meetings must now be notified in advance. The School District 50 Joint board of directors adopted an amendment to that effect at their regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

According to Superintendent Terry Alley, the amendment to the board's existing policy on "Complaints to Board Members" was "brought about by staff concerns over an incident that occurred during the last school year. This policy was developed to address those concerns."

The board's policy requires board members to observe the following procedures: "Neither the board of education as a unit nor any individual member will entertain or consider communications or complaints from teachers, parents, or patrons, until they have first been referred to the superintendent of schools. Only in those instances where satisfactory adjustments cannot be made by the superintendent and his assistants, shall communications and complaints be referred to the board.

"After hearing evidence submitted by the superintendent, in such event, the board of education will, if it deems advisable, grant a hearing to the parties interested. Such a hearing may be held during executive session of the board."

The amendment adopted by the board reads as follows: "A staff member must be notified that he/she will be the subject of discussion prior to the board discussing the staff member in executive session."

In other business, the board approved the following staff recommendations:

- Don Weller will replace Joan Mieritz (who resigned) as a teacher in the Day Treatment Program. Weller had been a case manager in the program, and Social Services will hire someone to fill that slot. Brian Seavey remains a therapist for the program.

- Shauna Kop was approved as a high school custodian, and Yul Wilson as a volunteer junior high basketball coach.


Four challengers for two county commissioner seats

By John M. Motter

During presidential election Year 2000, the seats of two Archuleta County commissioners will be the only county positions on the ballot. Those seats belong to District 1 Commissioner Bill Downey and District 2 Commissioner Ken Fox, both Republicans.

Downey was appointed Oct. 27, 1998, to finish the unexpired term of Bill Tallon, who resigned and moved to Arizona.

If he chooses to run again, Fox will be seeking his second term. He was first elected in 1996 and took office in January 1997.

Four candidates have already entered the commissioner races. Patrick Horning and Nan Rowe have filed with County Clerk June Madrid to run against Downey in District 1. Ralph Goulds and Alden Ecker have filed to run against Fox in District 2. As Archuleta County clerk, Madrid is the chief election official. The four challengers are Republicans.

The primary election will be held Aug. 8, the general election Nov. 7. All polling places in the county will be used for this election, according to Madrid. Candidates for county office must, in addition to other qualifications, be endorsed by the party they represent before their names can be placed on the ballot.

Unaffiliated candidates must either have 750 names on a petition or submit a petition containing names amounting to at least 2 percent of the number of votes cast for the office being sought during the previous general election. In District 1, 2,529 votes were cast during the last general election creating the need for 51 names on a petition. In District 2, 3,324 votes were cast creating the need for 66 names on a petition.

District 1 is roughly the northeast one-third of the county including the Fairfield Pagosa communities north of U.S. 160 and West of Piedra Road. District 2 is roughly south of U.S. 160 and west of Trujillo Road.

The first hurdles candidates affiliated with a political party face in order to get their names on the primary ballot are the precinct caucuses April 11 and, within 30 days, the county assemblies. Republican candidates move through Republican caucuses and the Republican county assembly. Democratic candidates do the same in their own party.

At precinct caucuses, delegates to the county assembly are selected. Candidates try to become acquainted with and gain favor with the delegates chosen at the caucuses. If possible, they try to have delegates selected who will support their candidacy.

At the county assembly, delegates nominate and vote for candidates to be placed on the primary ballot. In order to advance to the primary, a candidate must receive at least 33 percent of the votes of the delegates present at the county assembly. Presumably, three primary candidates could be named at the county assembly.

The Archuleta County Republican Party county chairman is Ross Aragon. Aragon's Democratic party counterpart is Mary Weiss.

In order to vote in primary or general elections in Archuleta County, voters must be registered with the Archuleta County clerk. To learn how to register, a call to the clerk's office (264-5633 or 264-2950) in the county courthouse is in order.


No January commodities


Due to circumstances beyond the control of Southwest Community Resources personnel, this month's free government food commodities distribution has been postponed until further notice. There will be no food distribution in January.

A news release announcing the postponement stated Southwest Community Resources sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience.

Inside The Sun

Are you ready for some (nighttime) football?

By Roy Starling

How about lighting up Golden Peaks Stadium? How about some nighttime football?

If Pagosa Springs High School athletic director Kahle Charles and a group of local parents and business people have their way, the Black and Gold may be popping pads under the lights as early as next season.

After hearing a presentation from Charles and receiving input from members of the audience Tuesday night, the School District 50 Joint board of directors agreed to decide by their February monthly meeting whether or not to put the job of lighting Golden Peaks out for bids.

"If the district could swing the money for materials, we could get enough community support to pay for labor," Charles told the board. "The lights could be purchased for probably somewhere between $41,000 and $46,000." To have someone come in and install them, he said, would "at least double that cost."

Jason Valant, a Denver representative from Musco Lighting, said the usage fee for a football season would be "between $50 and $100." A more significant cost, he said, would be a $500-per-month "demand charge" to turn the lights on. Charles told the SUN Wednesday, however, that he believes there is a feasible way around the demand charge.

Tim Sanford, addressing the board as "a parent and a fan," said he believed "we could get the majority of the labor for free." Other parents in attendance agreed and committed to raising funds to help defray other costs.

Another possibility, Charles said, is "to take revenues from football games and put them towards the operating costs." Currently, revenues from football go into the district's general fund.

What would be the advantage of lighting Golden Peaks? "I think you'd see attendance go up dramatically," Charles said. "I think you'd see the community be much more supportive of both football and soccer on Friday nights. Saturday afternoon games are awfully tough on a lot of people, especially during hunting season."

Another argument used by parents Tuesday was that "Ignacio and Bayfield already have lights on their fields."

The push for lighting the field began in earnest last spring, according to Charles. "A group of parents came to me and asked about the possibility of installing lights at the stadium," he said. "At about the same time, a group of faculty also asked about it."

Wednesday, Charles said that, in addition to the support for the project demonstrated at Tuesday's meeting, "La Plata Electric is really going out of their way to help us with this one."



1999 in review: July through September


A new public bus service went into operation on July 6 in Archuleta County. A 16-passenger bus began making rounds, picking up and leaving local residents at 12 stops. The public transit service was the work of the Archuleta County commission, the Archuleta County Department of Social Services and the Archuleta County Senior Citizens.

After nearly 20 years of speculation and rumors, the Great Pagosa Hot Spring property finally changed owners. The 20-acre tract of land on Hot Springs Boulevard on which the spring is located was sold by an 11-person group and was purchased by Pagosa Springs Inc. and its principals Bill Dawson and Matt Mees, owners of the adjacent Spring Inn property. At the time of the sale, Mees said the new owners would make efforts to clean the spring. They made good on the promise with a project in December designed to remove mud that had collected in the spring over the years.

The rains fell on Pagosa Country in July, nearly doubling the average rainfall for the month. Total rainfall during one week of the month was 1.45 inches, nearly equaling the monthly average of 1.6 inches. By July 20, 2.12 inches of rain had fallen in the area and by month's end, the total rainfall was measured at 3.28 inches. As of the end of July the total yearly rainfall to date was 15.5 inches - far above the yearly average of 9.79 inches.


Bears were back in force during August, as the furry forest fun lovers went in search of food and fat for the upcoming winter. Colorado Division of Wildlife officials noted the number of human-bear contacts were the highest in a decade. Bears roamed residential areas in search of goodies, driven out of the forests by a lack of natural foods. The influx of hungry bears led DOW officials to issue cautions concerning use of bird feeders and outdoor grills as well as advice on proper disposal of trash and garbage.

The town of Pagosa Springs annexed 10 tracts of land on Aug. 24, all of the tracts contiguous to the westerly town boundaries. New to the town were two tracts located on the south side of U.S. 160, across the highway from the Pagosa Springs Golf Club. A tract occupied by the Fairfield Communities Inc. timeshare office on Piñon Causeway was annexed as were the tracts on the northwest corner of Piñon Causeway and Village Drive occupied by tennis courts and the Fairfield Activities Center. Pieces of land at the intersection of Village Drive and Talisman Drive, and on Village Drive and Eaton Drive west of that intersection also became part of the town.

Heavy August rains eclipsed the monthly average of 2.32 inches when a new record 7.48 inches dropped during the month. By the end of August, Pagosa Country had received 20.26 inches of rain, far more than the amount of 12.31 inches falling from January through August in an average year.


Pagosa Springs trustees passed an ordinance designated as a "protective measure" and designed to take Pagosa Springs voters to the polls in the event the town's share of the total 4 percent county-wide sales tax is put in jeopardy by impending court decisions.

According to the ordinance, voters living within town limits would go to the polls in either November 1999, or April 2000, if "the existing county sales tax is repealed, invalidated, readopted or expires in whole or in part greater than 1 percent." The voters would then determine whether or not the town would institute a town sales tax "not to exceed 3 percent."

The action was taken in response to a possible Colorado Supreme Court decision on an appeal relating to a long-standing legal battle that began when the Archuleta County Road Users Association sought to put a ballot issue before county voters seeking approval of a 75-25 split in the total 4 percent county sales tax between county and town respectively. That tax is now divided 50-50 between the two entities.

A controversial Colorado Division of Wildlife program to reintroduce the lynx to Colorado wilderness areas was endorsed by the Colorado Wildlife Commission and given a year's extension. As of the time of the extension, 4 of 10 lynx released the previous year between South Fork and Creede had died.

The U.S. Forest Service gave final approval to plans to construct a new quad-chair ski lift at Wolf Creek Ski Area. The 5,243-foot long Alberta Lift was completed later in the year, with a 1,100-foot vertical rise and a capacity to serve 1,800 skiers per hour.


The Lady Pirate cross country team finished its best season in the 16-year history of the program, with a second-place finish at the Class 3A state meet in Denver. The Ladies won 5 of 10 meets during the season and added a regional championship to the list of their accomplishments.

Local school officials expressed concern about edicts issued by the Colorado Department of Education requiring specified performances on the Colorado State Assessment Test by students in District 50 Joint schools. Those officials were slightly dismayed by the latest test scores recorded by local students but were encouraged by progress in two areas: the number of Hispanic students improving their test scores and the overall reduction in unsatisfactory scores. District administrators and faculty members questioned the ability of the tests to accurately gauge reading and writing skills and whether the state is putting too much emphasis on the testing of students in grades 3 through 11. The state has indicated that school districts have three years to increase the number of students scoring at the proficiency level or above by at least 25 percent. Districts must demonstrate progress until at least 80 percent of the students tested in the district meet the proficiency standard. Failure to meet the requirements, says the state, will entail sanction of a district.


Pagosa Springs High School athletic teams finished successful fall sports seasons.

The Pirate football players won the Intermountain League championship with a 5-0 league record and advanced to the first round of the Class 3A playoffs where they lost to eventual state champ Fort Morgan.

Lady Pirate volleyball players posted a 20-6 record, going undefeated in IML play and winning the district championship before being eliminated at the regional tournament.

On the soccer pitch, the Pirates forged a successful season which ended in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs in Denver.

Pirate golfers finished 16th in team competition at the regional qualifying tournament.

Voters went to the polls in November in Archuleta County and 57.4 percent of the votes cast were in favor of the Archuleta County commission retaining and spending revenues in excess of TABOR limits, for an unlimited number of years.

A library district ballot issue asking for the right to keep and spend excess revenues passed by a vote of 1,854 to 422.

Three incumbent members of School District 50 Joint board of education were returned to the board by local voters. Randall Davis was elected to represent District 1; Russ Lee returned to represent District 2; and Carol Feazel received voter approval in District 3.

A wet summer turned into a dry autumn in Pagosa Country. A prolonged dry spell through September, October and November prompted Archuleta County Sheriff Tom Richards to enact an open fire ban in November. While 1.47 inches of snow fell on downtown Pagosa Springs on Nov. 22, with four inches dropping on Wolf Creek Pass, the average daily temperature of 54 degrees made accumulation of the white stuff an impossibility.


The Year 2000 budget for the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District listed a $2.9 million upgrade of the Vista wastewater treatment plant. The planned upgrade will increase the capacity of the plant from 1.35 million gallons per day to 2 million gallons per day, with expected financing generated by revenue bonds (which are not voter approved). The district also announced plans for construction of a new water treatment plant near the Vista site, with major work set to begin in the spring of 2000.

Snow conditions were marginal throughout the region during December. Wolf Creek Ski Area reported a base of 10 inches on Dec. 28, with the last reported accumulation of snow on Dec. 14. Despite the lack of snow, more than 900 skiers traveled to the area on Dec. 28. Forecasters predicted a chance for snow as the year ended, but you will have to read the "Year in Review" for the year 2000 to find out if they were correct.

Local officials finalized plans to deal with possible Y2K problems as the century ended. Town, county and utility employees, as well as numerous officials, were set to man communications centers as of 10 p.m. on Dec. 31. A special County Communications Center was established at the county courthouse, with links to mobile radio and ham radio stations throughout the county in case emergency communications were required.

Sales tax revenues for 1999 set a new yearly record before the final month of the year. It was reported that $3,888,740 in sales tax revenues were collected in Archuleta County through the month of November, 1999. This amount exceeds the previous yearly record of $3,719,235, set in 1998. There was $312,226 in revenue collected in December of 1998 and, using that amount to estimate the December 1999 collections, local officials speculated that the 1999 total could exceed $4 million.

Archuleta County is subject to a 7 percent sales tax, 3 percent of which goes to the State of Colorado. The remaining 4 percent is divided equally between Archuleta County and the Town of Pagosa Springs. Archuleta County sales tax revenues go to three funds: the general fund, the road and bridge fund and the road improvement fund. Town proceeds are dedicated to capital improvement projects.


Censor Potter? No!

Dear Editor,

One down. Hundreds more to go. Why take Harry Potter off the shelves when 50 percent of other children classics have the same magical elements in them like good-versus-evil, sorcery and witchcraft?

Why is Harry Potter being censored when the Douglas County school board isn't even thinking about censoring other books like "A Wrinkle in Time," "The Wizard of Oz," "Alice in Wonderland," "Peter Pan," "Beauty and the Beast" and many others?

I don't think that the Douglas County school board should be telling the kids what they should be reading. I think that they should keep their noses out of other people's business. One person shouldn't be telling you if you can or can't read Harry Potter. If they don't want to read it fine but they shouldn't be telling you if you can read it.

Heather Dahm

Editor's note: The above is representative of 14 letters submitted by fifth- and sixth-grade students of the School Within a School class at Pagosa Springs Intermediate School.

Potter not bad

Dear Editor,

I don't think Harry Potter should be banned, because it's not teaching us anything about witchcraft or the devil or wizardry. All it's about is a young boy named Harry Potter who lives with an abusive uncle, aunt and cousin, discovers he is a wizard from a giant man, and goes to school for warlocks, wizards and witches. It is adventurous, funny, sad, scary and it makes us smile a lot.

And most people who try to ban books haven't even read the book. They just take a word out and say: "Oh look, 'wizard,' that's bad. Let's ban the book because it says 'wizard'."

Also, we kids don't even get to voice our opinions. How come we don't get to decide what we want to read? My class has read 12 chapters into the book, and I haven't heard one thing so bad that the book should be banned.

If you don't like Harry Potter, fine. Don't read it. But don't ban it just because you don't like it. Other people really enjoy this book, and some people are kind of taking it away from them.

I'm glad that it hasn't been banned from Pagosa yet, so that we can read it here. And I hope it stays that way.

Joe Quick

Editor's note: The above is representative of 14 letters submitted by fifth- and sixth-grade students of the School Within a School class at Pagosa Springs Intermediate School.

Great Logic

Dear Editor,

I'll have to admit: Jim Kelly's letter to the SUN of Jan. 6 managed to motivate some brain cells. Which is noteworthy as one approaches dementia. But it is often stimulating to "think." Why? Maybe because it prompts questions. But then - the mind is like the stomach. It is not how much you put into it that counts, but how much it digests.

Question: Why can't the three commissioners exercise the logic Bill Downey utilized in a recent SUN regarding the hiring of a new county attorney to that of searching for a new county manager?

Commissioner Downey stated: "The current attorney has provided the county with legal services for a number of years. Sometimes, after a long time of service, a fresh perspective is beneficial. By making a change we are losing considerable experience but the trade off is we'll gain fresh enthusiasm."

Sounds like "great" logic to me. Even though I emphatically disagree with the commissioner's choice of a new county attorney - yet another issue. But that was definitely a most lucrative contract package they gave the now enthusiastic county attorney. Perhaps her local private practice was . . . sickly?

There is no doubt the commissioners could also find enormous "enthusiasm" for a yearly salary exceeding $60,000. I can't be sure of the $60,000 figure, but the county manager's salary for 1999 was well over $50,000 with the benefit package. But surely his 2000 salary couldn't be more than $60,000. Could it? Especially with all the recent controversy generated over other county employee salary increases. That's one heck of a percentage salary increase. Besides, the county manager has been with the county now for over eight years. That's two terms - time to move on. A new millennium . . . a fresh perspective.

An alternative: Dennis Hunt, the present county manager, made two fairly recent hires for the county, a director of county development and a finance director. Their two salaries alone represent over $82,000 with the benefit packages. Why can't the commissioners ask one of those two recent hires to be county manager along with handling their current title. Wear both hats; many aggressive managers do so - successfully. The $60,000-plus savings by eliminating the current county manager position would also go a long way in helping other departments that desperately need it.

Far fetched alternatives? I don't think so. Actually, it would only require bold leadership from the three county commissioners and ask they each shoulder a little more of the county workload. As a tax payer and voter, that's what I expect them to do.

The SUN's editor stated that two former commissioners either resigned from office or changed their opinion after about nine months in office. If their reasons were due to workload or mental and emotional homework, those individuals did not belong in public office anyway.

Jim Sawicki


Blood donor month

Dear Editor,

January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month. This national declaration reminds us how important the citizens that take time out of their busy schedules to donate blood are to all of us.

In the United States, only 5 percent of the eligible population donates blood, while almost 75 percent of us during the course of our lives will use blood or blood components.

On behalf of the patients that have received your life saving sacrifice; thank you. You truly have given the gift of life.


The Staff of United Blood Services

in Durango.



Public safety

Dear Editor,

Great day in the morning, finally someone else has spoken out on the PLPOA. I would like to thank David E. Bohl for his letter last week ("Fiduciary duties," Jan. 6), it was great.

Now in regards to thinking that the PLPOA has a responsibility to inform the property owners, we all know different. It seems that they are the all powerful and we are just there to pay in money that gets spent needlessly. I haven't even received a newsletter in so long which proves they have no intention on letting us know what is going on. But we already know that since they tried to sneak this contract past us.

We should consider David Bohl's first option in abolishing the Public Safety the one-and-only option. All these officers are doing anyway are setting up speed traps and patrolling only next to U.S. 160 so they can make a traffic stop and maybe find an outstanding warrant so they can add another arrest to their belt. When we get rid of the Public Safety then we can rehire them to repair our new roads which need it already. Put the money to some good use. We pay taxes to the county and they have the duty to provide us with protection.

David Bohl was right about the number of patrol cars needed. Even if we had more than two officers the vehicles are used by all officers. Monies are being mismanaged and it needs to stop. And I don't want to hear that these extra cars are needed to respond to medical and fire emergencies, bull! The medical and fire agencies seem to arrive just as quick if not before the Public Safety. We don't need overlapping duties.

If we need protection let the sheriff's office provide it or we could stop paying taxes for something we do not receive. I will do my own protection if we can't get this solved the correct way. After all I solved my own burglary so who needs the Pagosa Lakes or the sheriff? I do not want the Public Safety to ever respond to my home if I need fire or medical, understand?

In closing I have sent off a letter to the Colorado attorney general in regards to the legal aspect of paying the county from a private organization for police protection when we already pay for it in our county taxes. No matter what the answer is, we still need to do away with the Public Safety. It's a glorified group that's existence is outlived.

Property owners do the right thing and abolish the Public Safety now.

Randall Mettscher

Slow phones

Dear Editor,

While it may be quaint to experience a reduced level of telecommunications services while visiting a Third World nation, it is unacceptable even within rural areas of this country.

When I called my local Internet service provider to find out why it had become so difficult to get connected, I was informed that CenturyTel had again delayed the installation of 24 lines promised some six weeks earlier. These delays (not to mention the frequent service outages of present lines) were costing the service provider customers and beginning to cause major problems for my business.

I was told that the local CenturyTel technicians were doing a great job but were backlogged with orders, and from my experiences with them, I believe this to be true. However, this does not excuse CenturyTel's management. CenturyTel is a large company with the means to measure and anticipate changes in service demand. Their performance, however, demonstrates that management either does not know how to properly use these tools, considers our area to be of secondary importance, or is otherwise incapable of growing their facilities at a rate matching that of the community they have pledged to service. The result is that businesses in our area heavily dependent upon telecommunications services must curtail their own growth to accommodate CenturyTel's pace, and offer services to their own customers contaminated by the service hiccups CenturyTel passes along. This, of course, while CenturyTel ventures into the long-distance business and solicits our inter-exchange traffic.

Pagosa Springs deserves better.

Gary Smith




Alexander Cairns

Alexander Wilson Cairns, 93, died Sunday, Jan. 9, 2000, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. He lived in Pagosa Springs for the past 10 months.

Mr. Cairns was born April 23, 1906, in Berre, Ontario, Canada, the son of Alexander and Agnes Cairns. He married Doris Butler in 1926 in New York. He came to the United States at the age of 22. He worked as a machinist for 26 years.

He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Ron and Sharon Cairns of Pagosa Springs; his sisters, Margaret Cairns of Erie, Pa., and Edith Bauer of North Hollywood, Calif.; seven grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; and one great-great grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his wife Mrs. Doris Cairns.

A graveside service will be at Montecito Cemetery, Loma Linda, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 15, 2000, at 11 a.m.



Tiffany Wiggers

Tiffany Wiggers' academic performance at Western State College at Gunnison earned her a place on the Dean's List for the fall semester, Jay W. Helman, vice-president for academic affairs announced recently.

A 1998 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, Wiggers served as co-president of the student body her senior year. She is currently a sociology major with an intent to teach children with learning style differences. Wiggers said she attributes her college academic success to her "many wonderful teachers in Pagosa Springs with special thanks to Mr. Mark Thompson, Mrs. (Nancy) Esterbrook and Mr. (Jack) Ellis."


Sports Page

January 13, 2000


Ladies nip Bobcats, prepare for more Bobcats

By Roy Starling

Last Friday, the Lady Pirates traveled to Bloomfield, N.M., where they eked out a scary 48-45 victory over the stubborn Bobcats. Tonight they host another batch of Bobcats, the fierce felines from Ignacio.

In a game that tips off at about 5:30 p.m., Ignacio's Ladycats will certainly have their backs up and their fangs bared. They've had their sights set on a victory over Pagosa since 1994 and they're still smarting from a thrashing they suffered at the hands of Centauri Saturday night.

If the Ladies get past Ignacio tonight, they can take a deep breath. They may not have time to exhale, however. Tomorrow night they make the long trip to La Jara to mix it up with Centauri's Lady Falcons, arguably the toughest team on the Pagosa schedule.

How did the Ladies prepare to face these two powerful rivals on back-to-back nights? According to Pagosa coach Karen Wells, by taking the focus off Ignacio and Centauri and keeping it on themselves.

"We're not worried about either Ignacio's or Centauri's game," she said. "We're just worried about our girls playing to the best of their ability. If they do that, we'll be fine."

In Bloomfield Friday night, the girls didn't play their best, but they did show significant improvement in a number of areas. "We played better offensively than we have all season," Wells said. "And our rebounding was excellent." The Ladies owned the boards against the Bobcats, pulling down 35 rebounds and holding Bloomfield to 19.

Sophomore Katie Lancing cleaned the glass most often, matching her season high with 12 boards. Mandy Forrest added 10 rebounds, while Ashley Gronewoller grabbed eight.

The Ladies also made life easier for themselves by staying out of foul trouble. When the final buzzer sounded, only two girls had as many as four fouls. This is a vast improvement over their last outing when three Ladies were disqualified and two more were on the brink with four fouls each.

Silversmith strikes again

The game against the 'Cats was a dogfight from the start.

The Ladies opened with two quick baskets from Lancing, the second coming off a crisp pass from Forrest. But a Pagosa turnover - one of eight in the first quarter - led to an easy layup by Bobcat offensive whiz Jerilysa Silversmith. With 5 minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the first, Silversmith slipped free for her favorite shot, a 3-pointer from the right corner, and she swished it through, putting her team up 5-4.

Twenty seconds later, Forrest tied it up with a free throw, then at 4:20 she took a pass from Lancing and drilled a 12-footer to move the Ladies back in front, 7-5. After a rash of turnovers from both teams, Silversmith drove the lane to even the score at 7-7.

At 2:51, Pagosa came back when Lancing found Gronewoller near the bucket for an easy two, then the teams again swapped turnovers before Bloomfield's Claudette Frausto scored underneath to tie it at 9-9.

Two consecutive Lady Pirate turnovers resulted in an easy basket from Laci Candelaria, but Gronewoller tied it back up with an offensive putback with 51 seconds remaining.

Another Pagosa turnover put the ball back in the hands of Silversmith, and she made the Ladies pay, connecting on another of her patented 3-pointers from the corner. Pagosa got two of those back when Gronewoller was hacked by Frausto and sank both shots from the stripe, ending the quarter at 14-13, Bloomfield.

The elusive Silversmith had 10 of her team's 14 points in the period.

Ladies move ahead

More Lady Pirate turnovers in the second continued to turn hoops into "oops!," but a strong quarter by Forrest helped the girls to a narrow lead at intermission.

Forrest put her team up in the opening seconds with a putback. Gronewoller deflected the next Bobcat shot, and when the Ladies gained possession, Forrest created a shot from 10 feet, and Pagosa was up 17-14 at the 7:10 mark.

Two free throws from Jillian Martinez cut into that lead, but at 6:52 Janae Esterbrook darted under the basket, took a pass from Forrest, and banked it off the glass for a 19-16 Pagosa lead. Martinez answered with a funny looking three, then, after a Lady Pirate miss, scored again on a break, putting the Bobcats up 21-19 with 5:42 remaining in the half.

Candelaria's two free throws pushed the lead to 23-19 before the Ladies regained control of the game. Lancing hit one of two from the line at 3:40 to make it 23-20, then followed that up with a big block of Silversmith's 3-point attempt.

At 2:39, Bloomfield coach Charles Kromer came unglued again - it was his technical that helped the Ladies defeat the 'Cats in their last meeting - and earned a "T" from an irritated official. Meigan Canty knocked down one of the ensuing free throws and the Ladies retained possession of the ball. Seconds later, Forrest slipped free about five feet from the basket, Lancing found her, and Forrest buried it, tying the game at 23-23.

The Ladies would get one more score to take a 25-23 halftime lead when Gronewoller sank a short jumper off a Lancing assist.

Esterbrook escalates

Thanks to baskets from Forrest and Lancing, the Ladies led 29-25 with 5:16 remaining in the third. At that point, Esterbrook found her shooting touch and helped the Ladies hold on to their slim lead.

At 4:02, the senior shooting guard got nothing but net from 10 feet after taking a pass from backcourt partner Canty. Esterbrook's bucket put the Ladies up 31-27.

Martinez then erased that lead with a rare 4-point play. She was bumped while launching a successful three, then sank the free throw, and the game was tied again, 31-31.

Esterbrook answered by snapping off a pretty 12-foot jumper off yet another Lancing assist. Bloomfield tied the game following a Pagosa turnover, then Gronewoller put the Ladies up by one with a free throw. With 52 seconds remaining, Esterbrook created a shot for herself in the lane, and Pagosa led 36-33 going into the final period.

Post play prevails

In the fourth, the Bobcats were unable to stop the Ladies' taller post players from scoring under the basket and they were hampered in their own offensive efforts by some intensive Pagosa "D," especially on the part of Canty.

Canty, who had been pestering Bobcat guards throughout the game, became even more of a presence early in the fourth. At 7:13, she ended a Bobcat threat by stripping the ball from Martinez, then at 6:37 she forced a rare error from Silversmith, inducing the slick ball handler to travel under pressure.

"Meigan did a good job of stepping up on defense and disrupting their offense," Wells said about her junior guard.

Meanwhile, the Ladies got some offense when Forrest drove the lane with four minutes remaining, then fed Gronewoller for another basket at 3:22. The Ladies led at this point 41-37.

That lead was stretched to 43-37 at 2:25 when Forrest scored off a Lancing assist. From that point on, both teams seemed to be wracked with a bad case of nerves, and the game degenerated into a battle of free throws, a battle the Ladies finally won when senior guard Bonnie O'Brien hit one of two with four seconds remaining.

The only respite from the parade to the stripe was a back-breaking basket by Gronewoller from a Forrest assist with 20 seconds remaining, putting the Ladies up 47-44.

Forrest was the Lady Pirates' top scorer in their 48-45 victory, racking up a season-high 16. Gronewoller had 14, while Esterbrook and Lancing had eight each.

Wells was pleased at the way Lancing was able to put the ball in the hands of her open teammates. "Katie really came through with six assists," Wells said, "When she wasn't open, she found the girl who was. And she stepped up her rebounding with 12."

Now 6-3, the Ladies shot 45.2 percent (19 of 42) from the floor and 50 percent (10 for 20) from the free- throw line.


Pirates anxious for win against Ignacio

By John M. Motter

High school basketball fans are in for a treat tonight when arch rivals Pagosa Springs and the Ignacio Bobcats light up the score board in the Pirates' gym. Game time is 7 p.m.

Both teams are battling for a chance to advance to the state basketball playoffs at the end of the Intermountain League season. Ignacio is 4-2 for the season, but dropped an IML encounter last week to the Centauri Falcons.

The Pirates are 6-2 after completing their pre-season schedule. Tonight is their first IML game and coach Kyle Canty's cagers are anxious to open with a win. Tomorrow night they bus across Wolf Creek Pass to tangle with the Falcons. Junior varsity play starts at 4:45 p.m. in Centauri High School's gym in La Jara. The boys' game will start at approximately 7:30 following the junior varsity games and girls' varsity game.

Canty received good news following the holiday break when doctors cleared junior starter Daniel Crenshaw for action. Because of a sore Achilles tendon, Crenshaw missed the final two Pirate games in the Black Canyon Classic. The foot will be taped, but Crenshaw will start. Crenshaw gives Canty one more potent weapon on offense and "is a strong defensive player" according to Canty.

Multiple offensive weapons are a Pirate strong point this season. Canty has been able to get substantial scoring from Crenshaw, David Goodenberger, Micah Maberry, and Charles Rand. If left uncovered, Tyrel Ross and Clinton Lister can also thread the hoops. Three-point accuracy has been a characteristic of the Pirate attack. Several Pirates have made the opposition pay for lax defensive coverage by successfully bombing away from outside.

Ignacio is led by all-Intermountain League first-team selection Martin Rivera, a strong rebounder with springs for legs. Helping Rivera are 6-foot Calvin Parks and six returning letterman, including 6-foot-8 Sky Poulton.

"They are much improved over last year," Canty said of Ignacio. "If they get hot, they can beat anybody in the league."

Pacing Centauri are 6-foot Kevin McCarroll, 6-foot-4 Gregg Anderson, and three other lettermen. Southpaw McCarroll is a good perimeter shooter who forces defenses to come out on the edge to take away his shot, thus opening the key for closer scoring attempts.

Last year's IML champions, the Monte Vista Pirates, are favored to capture their second title in a row. They are ranked No. 5 in Colorado among Class 3A schools and have lost only to Pueblo West and last year's state champions from Buena Vista. The Del Norte Tigers, led by Jake Evig, the IML's most valuable player for the past three years, should press Monte Vista for the title. The Tiger's only loss this year has been to Buena Vista.

The rest of the teams in the league are expected to battle for third-place honors. According to Canty, there is enough balance in the league that on a given night, any team might defeat any other team.

Pagosa must win every game against the pack, plus earn an upset or two against the two front runners to have a chance to enter the playoffs. Any upset of Monte Vista or Del Norte will help. What the Pirates cannot afford is a loss to Ignacio, Centauri or Bayfield.


Pirate grapplers finish third at Rocky Mountain

By Karl Isberg

When the pre-Christmas segment of the wrestling season ended, the Pirate grapplers team had nowhere to go but up.

After the Pagosa-sponsored Rocky Mountain Invitational on Jan. 8, the Pirates had increased their elevation- significantly.

With a third-place finish at the Rocky, the Pirates showed themselves, their coaches and their fans that the promise seen on paper and in the practice room at the beginning of the season was starting to take real form in competition against other teams.

Pagosa finished third at the tourney with 122.5 points, behind Durango (169 points) and champion Aztec, N.M. (305.5).

Pagosa medalists

Senior Josh Trujillo led the way for the Pirates, capturing the tournament championship at 145 pounds.

Trujillo began his march to the title with a 7-1 victory over Tim Gonzales of Aztec. A 10-2 major decision over John Williams of Bayfield moved Trujillo to the semifinals against T.C. Garcia of Monticello, Utah. Trujillo pinned Garcia in the third period of the match to advance to the finals. A 15-2 major decision over Tyson Waters of Durango put Trujillo in the top spot.

Pirate coach Dan Janowsky pondered Trujillo's performance, compared to the wrestler's pre-holiday action. "The big difference," said the coach, "is Josh was aggressive throughout this meet. You could tell when he went up to the scorer's table before a match that he had the intensity, and he carried that intensity the whole six minutes if he had to. But that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Josh is a defending regional champion and the kids rally behind someone who wrestles our style. His next task is to prove that this is the way he'll be for the rest of the year."

Shane Prunty, the Pirates heavyweight, took second place at the Rocky. The senior drew a first-round bye then proceeded to put together two victories by pin to advance to the finals. Prunty's first victim was Umberto Rodriguez of Bloomfield, N.M. Prunty pinned Rodriguez in the first round of the match. Stephen Snyder of Dolores was the next to fall to the Pirate, his shoulders going down in the first period. In the final match of the tournament, Prunty was pinned by Tim Wagoner, of Aztec.

"Shane came out and took Wagoner down in the first period," said Janowsky. "Shane had him in deep trouble but lost him a couple of times at the edge of the mat. I think Shane mauled Wagoner in the first period, but time ran out."

Josh Richardson won three of four matches to finish in third place at 189 pounds. The junior pinned Gabe Salinas of Del Norte in the first round of action. A decision over Durango's Tyler Slauter put Richardson in the semi-final against Nathan Samora of Monte Vista. A 7-3 loss threw Richardson into the fight for third place which he won when he pinned David Taylor of Aztec in the second period.

"Josh pinned the kid from Aztec and, in doing so, he sewed up third place for us in the team standings," said Janowsky. "Josh tends to wrestle better versus better wrestlers; he fought a good, smart match against the kid from Aztec."

George Kyriacou secured fourth place at 215 pounds. Following a first-round bye, Kyriacou pinned Jerome Casous of Bloomfield in the first period. A loss to David Thompson of Durango put Kyriacou in the fight for third place, which he lost to Aaron Sanchez of Ignacio. The loss was a close one for the Pirate senior who traded single points with Sanchez on escapes. Sanchez got a 3-1 victory with a takedown with three seconds remaining.

"It's good to have George back on the mat," said Janowsky, referring to a layoff for Kyriacou caused by an arm injury suffered during the football season. "Now, we'll work to refine some rough spots, and George should do well."

Junior Clint Shaw is finally competing against athletes closer to his weight. Many were the times last season and a half when Shaw ended up dealing with wrestlers who outweighed him by 15 to 20 pounds. Competing at 171 pounds at the Rocky, Shaw was more in his element and he took home the medal for fifth place, earning significant advancement and bonus points along the way. Shaw nailed a fall against Chris LeBlanc of Del Norte then lost to Dan Elworthy of Durango. Dropping to the consolation bracket, Shaw pinned Jason Duran of Antonito in the second period. In the match for fifth place, Shaw pinned Matteo Garcia of Center in the second period.

"Clint scored a lot of points for us," said Janowsky. "His confidence is on the rise."

Daniel Martinez also earned a fifth-place medal - at 140 pounds. Martinez started strong, pinning Aaron Sandoval of Antonito. In his second match, Martinez lost a decision to the eventual champ, Chris Keating, of Aztec. In consolation action, Martinez forged a major decision over Ignacio's Anthony Horn then pinned Pagosa junior varsity wrestler Orlando Martinez. In the battle for fifth, Daniel Martinez pinned Roger Reyes of Monte Vista.

"Daniel was four and one for us," said Janowsky. "It was too bad he drew the champion early, but his performance was important. And it will be important all season; Daniel is the first of our seniors to appear in our lineup."

The only Pirate from the lower weight classes who medaled at the Rocky was freshman Jesse Trujillo, at 112 pounds. The young Pirate lost his first match to Blake Haynes of Del Norte. In consolation action, Trujillo started with a victory by decision over Justin Reed of Dolores and followed with a decision over Chris Murphy of the Pagosa junior varsity. Trujillo lost his last consolation match to Kevin Sutherland of Durango.

"You could see Jesse improve from match to match," said the coach. "He corrects mistakes and makes adjustments, and that accounts for his improvement."

Good experience

For the other members on the Pirate team, the Rocky Mountain Invitational provided solid experience and, in some cases, victories to count toward the team point total.

Several Pirates were able to wrestle two matches at the tournament: Ryan Lee at 103 pounds; Cameron Cundiff at 125 pounds; Clayton Masten at 135 pounds; and Keith Candelaria at 152 pounds.

Three Pirates won single matches during the tournament. Michael Maestas won his first 119-pound consolation-racket match with a decision over Ronnie O'Brien of the Pagosa junior varsity team. At 130 pounds, Conner Backus pinned Kevin McCown of Bloomfield. Kraig Candelaria earned a major decision over Derek Cundiff of Durango at 160 pounds.

On to Alamosa

While Janowsky is pleased with the progress exhibited by his wrestlers at the Rocky Mountain Invitational, he harbors no illusions about either the work that must be done to continue that improvement, or the difficulty of the next meet on the schedule.

"We're making some real progress," said the coach. "There are still a lot of things we need to work to improve. We need to get points out of all our experienced wrestlers and we need to see more points generated by our guys at the lower weights. But, I see progress."

Whether or not the progress will be clearly visible on Jan. 15 at the nine-team Alamosa tournament remains to be seen. The annual event figures to be a typically rugged test, with few weak links in any weight class. This year's tourney will feature perennial Class 4A contender Alamosa and New Mexico powerhouse Aztec. Also on tap will be 5A teams from Douglas County and Centaurus, 4A Pueblo East and Adams City, and top 3A program, Rocky Ford.

"This one is the toughest of them all," said Janowsky of the Alamosa tournament. "There are no soft spots, and no easy matches. It's a great test for everyone."

Action at the Alamosa tournament begins at 9 a.m.


Community News

Local Chatter

By Kate Terry

Local author writes on media

Carole and Bob Howard moved to Pagosa Springs five years ago from New York where they had lived for 20 years. Carole is the retired vice president of public relations and communication policy for the Reader's Digest Association in New York where she had world wide responsibilities for public relations and also served on the corporate Management Committee. She has given talks to the Rotary, Civic Club, and Women's Club on her experience launching Readers Digest in Russia, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.

In 1985, Carole wrote "On Deadline: Managing Media Relations," a book with guidelines on all aspects of dealing with the media and setting up a successful media relations program. The newly released third edition features expanded coverage of international PR and information on how the Internet, other new technologies, and tabloid journalism have changed the practice of media relations. One reviewer has called Carole's work, "an encyclopedia of media relations." Carole updated the book because of continued demand, particularly on the Internet, from professionals and students.

Carole has written scores of articles on PR, global marketing, advertising and management, and had her speeches published in three textbooks. One of those was her lecture at Stanford University on "Publicizing Your Products on the Internet" which was published in Italian by Milan Textbook Company. Her book offers an unusual breadth of experience and advice in practical terms. She writes, speaks and leads seminars on media relations, global public relations, employee communications and marketing.

Carole gives recognition to the staff at Sisson Library (which, in private, she calls the best library staff in the world) and to Debbie Tucker for providing her with useful information on how the Oklahoma City Fire Department successfully handled the thousands of reporters covering the 1995 federal building bombing which killed 168 people in the most deadly terrorist attack ever to occur on U.S. soil.

And she gives acknowledgment to Molly and Mac, her two "Tuxedo" (black and white) cats she shares with husband Bob. They came from the local Humane Society. In her acknowledgement, she says that they "provided close and appreciated supervision of the manuscript" and says that "cat lovers will immediately know that means they slept on the pages, walked on the computer keys and monitored the fax transmissions as I worked."

Carole and Bob are from Vancouver. They moved to California, attended the University of California at Berkeley, lived in Seattle for eight years and moved to New York. Now, they are full-time residents of Pagosa Springs and spend much of their time enjoying the great outdoors.

Fun on the run

The children of a prominent family chose to give the patriarch a book of their family history. The biographer they hired was warned of one problem: Uncle Willie, the "black sheep" of the family, had gone to Sing Sing's electric chair for murder. The writer promised to carefully handle the situation, and did so in the following way: "Uncle Willie occupied a chair of applied electronics at one of our nation's leading institutions. He was attached to his position by the strongest of ties. His death came as a true shock."


Chamber News

By Sally Hameister

Business community works together

Six new members to introduce to you this week and 13 renewals - not bad for a chilly week in January.

We couldn't be more pleased with our current membership numbers which indicate that a very large percentage, doggoned near all of the businesses in Pagosa Springs, are members of the Chamber of Commerce. This is a classic example of a business community working together to accomplish what would be impossible individually - our goal always.

It's been a tough winter thus far due to the lack of snow over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays, but it would have been far worse if we hadn't experienced such a strong spring and summer. Your Chamber membership dollars have allowed us to market Pagosa in new and different areas that would have been impossible to reach in previous years. We all benefit from the additional marketing that brings folks in during good times and allows us to get by when things aren't so great. This community surpasses any other I know of in the area of working together for the common good, and you should be very proud of yourselves.

Member number one this week is Judy C. Ewing who brings us Three of Cups Antiques located at 132 Pagosa Street. The unusual name is derived from a good-luck tarot card depicting three maidens frolicking about with cups in their hands. Judy specializes in primitive antiques and rustic furnishings, vintage furs, wedding gowns and old hunting and fishing gear. Her inventory is obviously built to appeal to both genders. If you would like to learn more, just stop by her shop or call Judy at 264-6381.

Don Jacobs joins us next with the Pagosa Springs Seventh-day Adventist Church located at the corner of Oren and Majestic, off Piedra Road. This church offers Bible study on Saturday mornings at 9:15 with worship beginning at 11 a.m. These folks are Bible-based Christians who love to worship and study and invite you to join them in these endeavors. If you would like more information, please call 731-1005.

Sally High and Jerry Smith join us with High Country Cowboy Company located at 601 CR 193 right here in Pagosa. High Country Cowboy Company offers Western saddles and tack as well as custom silver, spurs, chaps and other fine equipment. Saddles are all handmade to order. To learn more about this handmade, high-quality equestrian equipment, please call 883-2293.

Our fourth new member this week is one who has lived and worked in Pagosa for quite some time and won't be a stranger to many of you. Verna L. Lucas joins us with The Touchstone, Pottery and Gifts, located at 136 East Pagosa Street, #6, in the River Center. Verna offers her very own unique, wheel-thrown pottery created on site right in the store. These functional, artistic pieces include salsa bowls, tortilla warmers, porcelain teapots and much, much more. Verna also welcomes special orders and will be happy to talk to you at 264-0550.

Lynn and Doug Cook join us (as co-owners with Paul Nobles) with Four Seasons Land Company, Inc./GMAC Real Estate located at 490 Pagosa Street. Lynn offers friendly, courteous, professional real estate service and would welcome the opportunity to help you find the "home of your dreams." This lady would like to be "your Colorado connection." Give Lynn a call at 731-4614 to learn more about what she can do for you.

Our sixth and final new member this week is Frazer Barr who brings us Twin Creek Construction located right here in Pagosa. Frazer's services include custom design, building and general construction of affordable and liveable homes. He would be happy to discuss your home needs and specifications if you will give him a call at 731-6031.


Our renewals this week include Jackie Schick with the Town of Pagosa Springs; Lois Lee with The Training Advantage; Kristi Cohen with the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad; Harold Walter with Walter Body Shop; Fred W. Schmidt with the San Juan Motel; Tim Segar, owner, and Debby Newell, manager, Now and Then Antiques and Gifts; Paul Matlock with Matlock Insurance Agency (new business name and location at 102 B Third Street); Debra Stowe with Great Divide Title; Adam and Rhonda Logan with Pack 'N Mail Plus, Inc.; Pam Poitras, Real Estate Associate with Coldwell Banker, The Pagosa Group; Real Estate Associate, Jean Poitras, Broker/Associate with Four Seasons Land Company, Inc. GMAC Real Estate and John S. Farnsworth, Associate Realtor with Four Seasons Land Company, Inc./GMAC Real Estate. Thanks to one and all for your continued support.

Dinner theatre

It's time once again for the Thursday night Dinner Theatre with live music and presentations of both "Ethel and Albert" and "Fibber McGee and Molly" episodes. I attended last month and thoroughly enjoyed myself along with a fun-loving, slightly raucous packed house. Dinner is accompanied by live music prior to the performance, and $15 covers the entire evening. Doors open at Loredana's Authentic Italian Ristorante at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20, and tickets are available at Hodge Podge in the River Center and at Loredana's. Join this wild and crazy gang for good food, good music and good fun. Children are not encouraged due to some adult themes.

Board candidates

The nominations are in and the deed is done for Citizen of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, so your next membership task is to make your vote count for the three new Chamber directors. I have already warned you about the difficulty of this choice, but choose you must.

Next week's SUN will feature the pictures and profiles that appeared in the December quarterly newsletter to reacquaint you with the candidates and their personal/professional profiles. (I just love alliteration, don't you?) We are hopeful that you will exercise your voting privilege at the Chamber of Commerce annual Mardi Gras on Saturday, Jan. 22, but if you can't make it, please drop by the Visitor Center and cast your vote. In alphabetical order, your six candidates are Mark DeVoti, Kathey Fitz, Liz Marchand, Bonnie Masters, Curtis Miller and Susie Terrell. These are all exceptional candidates who make our job close to impossible, but we all must select only three from the field. Yikes.

Annual meeting

It's party time, and we hope you will join us at this year's annual get-together at Pagosa Lodge on Saturday, Jan. 22, beginning at 6 p.m. Our membership numbers have grown to the point that no one in town can accommodate us for a sit-down dinner, so we decided to hold our own Mardi Gras with all the New Orleans trappings and fun. You will be able to visit four stations at the Lodge, each with its own unique decorations, theme, and food. The lounge will become Bourbon Street with drinks, pretzels and peanuts, and the South Face will become the Bayou offering shrimp cocktail, crab cakes and seafood stuffed mushrooms. The library will be transformed into the French Quarter with Louisiana beignets, eclairs and the famous King Cake. The historical King Cake tradition dictates that the person who finds the baby in his or her piece of cake must throw the next big party. The Chamber version will award that lucky person a free membership for the year 2001 if they are fortunate enough to find the baby in their piece of cake. In the Pinon Room, you will find Red Hot Jazz with red, white and black decorations and balloons and jambalaya and Cajun spiced chicken strips to munch on. There will be three cash bars available to you that evening so you won't have to travel too far for libations. We will all adjourn to the Ponderosa Room around 7:30 for the awards ceremony which will include Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Pagosa Pride Awards and some pure nonsense and fun that we always manage to dig up. Costumes are encouraged but certainly not required for the evening. Everyone who attends will receive a souvenir cup, beads and a mask if they choose not to come with their own. We will award prizes for the best male and female costumes of the evening, so you might want to give that costume thing a little thought or two. Invitations will go out this week, and the reservation deadline will be Tuesday, Jan. 18, by 5 p.m. We sincerely hope that you will join us for the first of what we hope to be many more Mardi Gras evenings.

Payment center

CenturyTel announces the re-opening of the bill payment center at 421 Lewis Street in downtown Pagosa. The center will re-open Monday, Jan. 17, and the opening week will be highlighted with festivities. Look for refreshments, door prizes and giveaways throughout the week. Hours of operation will be 8:30 a.m. until noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon, Monday through Friday. In addition, customers will continue to be able to make payments in person at Burns National Bank in the New City Market. Their hours of operation are 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.


Pagosa Lakes

By Ming Steen

Improv, Whistle Pig go nose to nose Saturday

January is generally a quiet month; a time to get reorganized and refocused after the hectic months of November and December. But there are still things happening that many of you will enjoy being a part of. Don't forget the Improv-O-Rama benefit performance, 7 p.m. on Jan.15 (Saturday) at the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium, for the Archuleta County Victims Assistance Program. Denver's own improvisational troupe, Improv-O-Rama is loosely patterned after ABC's smash hit, "Whose Line is It, Anyway?" Improv-O-Rama takes audience suggestions and creatively transforms them into outrageous comedy skits the whole family can enjoy. This professional stand-up comedy group has provided many laughs to audiences in Metro Denver at functions ranging from the Museum of Natural History open house, to the smaller groups of businesses and non-profit sponsored events. Improv-O-Rama's cast and producer Roger McCormick are philanthropists at heart. They donate their talents to support many groups. Proceeds from the Pagosa performance will benefit the local, non-profit victim's assistance program. This program supports victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Archuleta County. Carmen Hubbs, director of ACVP, is encouraging the community to support the event and reap the benefits of an evening of good laughs. Tickets in advance are available at Moonlight Books, Wild Hare Gift Shop, Sisson Library and Pack N' Mail Plus.

Also happening on Saturday night - a tough conflict - is the Whistle Pig Folk night. Held at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse, the open-mike entertainment format begins at 7 p.m. This month's performance will include guest artist Kent Greentree, the San Juan Dance Academy and dancers from the Spanish Fiesta. Donations, in lieu of admission tickets, are accepted to cover the cost of setting up and advertising.

The Senior Winter Games for 50-plus athletes will take place at the Summit in Breckenridge Feb. 6-8. Competitions include downhill skiing, speed and figure skating, hockey goal shoots, cross country snowshoe races. Additional information or applications are available from Bruce Muirhead at 731-2934.

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

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

- Call to order

- Approval of agenda

- Approval of board meeting minutes: president's position

- General manager's report: Fairfield Timeshare multiplier, Website contract fee, general manager's position

- Public comments

- Committee reports

- Old business: Newsletter format, PSO situation

- New business:

A. Combining lots, County Assessor Keren Prior

B. Appointment of reserve committee

C. Proposed DOR changes for North Village Lake

D. Collection agency

E. Jack and Lynda Burch request for consolidation extension

F. Tom Cozzitorto requests for fine reimbursement

G. Announcement of volunteers needed for insurance committee

H. Appointment of DRIP committee chairman.


Education News

By Tom Steen

Center needs friends for 2000

The Education Center is inviting local families and businesses to become supporting members of the "Friends of the Education Center" for the year 2000. Thank you to the following earlybirds who have already become supporting members for this year.

Silver Members ($1,000 to $4,999): Town of Pagosa Springs.

Bronze Members ($100 to $999): Archuleta County, Dave and Carol Brown, Teresa and John Huft, Bud and Barbara Brashar, Jim and Jean Carson, Pam Barsanti, Gary and Nan Rowe, Jack and Tamara Searle, Bob and Lisa Scott, Ray and JoAnn Laird, Don and Mary McKeehan, Michael Alley, Henry and Wilma Espoy, Paige and Jean Gordon, Emmet and Beverly Showalter, Cecil and Barbara Tackett, Lee and Laurie Riley, Doug and Jamie Sharp, Ron and Cindy Gustafson, Steven and Ellen Rolig, Jack and Katie Threet, Dan Aupperle, Tom and Susan Wellborn, Willie and Christen Spears, Don and Dianna Stubbs, Gene and Joan Cortwright, Chris and Summer Phillips-Pierce, Ken and Kathryn Perry, Ray and Teddy Finney, Reid and Debra Kelly, Jon and Fran Jenkins, Stu and Marti Capling, Bonnie Masters and Dick Babillis, Barbara Sanborn and Ranza Boggess, Jr., James and Debra Brown, Stan and Beverly Haynes, Sidney and Phyllis Martin, and Roy and Betsy Gill.

Family and Single Members ($35 to $25): Windsor and Ron Chacey, Jere and Lois Hill, Jim and Vanessa Sutherland, John and Linda DiMuccio, Dhian Lauren, Sue Gast, William D. "Pops" Kimble, David and Mary Helen Cammack, Rice Reavis and Ben Lynch, Elizabeth Allen, Scott Allen, Sharon L. and Ray A. Pack, Howard Zacher, Charles Hubbard, Jane and Dr. J.R. Cook, Gene and Jackie Schick, Bob and Patty Tillerson, Bill and Marguerite Flick, Ralph and Lois Gibson, Jan and Ken Brookshier, Jack and Mary Madore, James Pruitt, M.D., Gil and Lenore Bright, Kathy Mymern, Frank and Charlsie Reardon, and Zack Nelson.

Business Members ($50): Blood of the Lamb Counseling, Bootjack Ranch, Citizens Bank, Colorado Dream Homes, Cool Water Plumbing, J.E. Sutherland Construction, Jackisch Drug Store, Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate, LaPlata Electric Association, Mountain Snapshots, Pagosa Players and King's Men, Sunset Ranch, and United Oil Company.

The Archuleta County Education Center, Inc. (the Education Center) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation. We have offered a wide range of children, youth and adults education opportunities in Pagosa Springs for more than ten years. Please send tax-deductible contributions to the Education Center at P.O. 1079, Pagosa Springs, 81147.

Mission and offerings

Our mission is to offer programs and support to meet literacy, educational, and vocational needs in our community. This mission is based on the belief that learning is beneficial and valuable to everyone throughout life and that individuals living in small communities should not be deprived of educational opportunities.

Education Center offerings include;

1. An alternative high school diploma program.

2. Access to high school classes through distance learning options.

3. Literacy tutoring.

4. Assessment and training to pass the GED (high school equivalency) test.

5. Classes for speakers of other languages (ESL).

6. Youth job skills training and placement (Pagosa Youth Force).

7. After-school tutoring and homework help (first through eighth grades).

8. After-school enrichment programs (arts, dance, drama, music).

9. CPR/First aid certification and training classes.

10. Computer classes.

11. Various general interest community education classes.

12. Access to Pueblo Community College classes taught locally.

13. Access to degree programs available through various distance learning and telecommunication options.

New class offerings

"Microsoft Word for Realtors," meets Monday and Wednesday Jan. 17 through Feb. 3, 6 to 8 p.m.

"First Aid/CPR for Infants and Children," meets Saturday, Jan. 15, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

"After-School Tutoring (fifth to eighth grade)" takes place Monday and Wednesday, 3:45 to 5 p.m. or Tuesday and Thursday, 3:45 to 5 p.m.

"Family Night - computers for kids and parents," Thursday, Jan. 13, 6 to 8 p.m.

"Family Night - from the sheep to the coat," Tuesday, Jan. 25, 6 to 8 p.m.

"Good Credit Made Easy" will be held Saturday, Jan. 22, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"After-School Tutoring (first to fourth grade)" meets Monday through Thursday, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. or 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

"Kids Klubroom (first to fourth grade)" meets Monday through Thursday, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. or 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

"Storytelling Fun (first to fourth grade)" takes place on Jan. 10 and Jan. 17, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

"Computer Club (first to fourth grade) will meet Tuesdays, Jan. 11 to Jan.25, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

"Art with Tessie (first to fourth grade)" will be held Jan. 12 to Jan. 26, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

"Drawing and Painting (first to fourth grade)" meets Thursdays, Jan 13 to Jan. 27, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

For more information or to register, please stop by or call the Education Center at 264-2835.


Library News

by Lenore Bright

Census 2000 needs more workers

Comedy comes to Pagosa Saturday night by way of a professional troupe from Denver. The show, "Improv-o-rama" will be performing at the high school auditorium. Tickets are available here at the library and at the door. Adults are $7, students $5, and kids 5 and under are free. The show runs from 7 to 9 p.m. and is appropriate for all ages.

Proceeds will support the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program, which helps survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.


Billions of dollars are distributed to communities on the basis of census information. Building roads, health care - we will lose money if all of our citizens fail to fill out the report for Census 2000. Workers here in Archuleta County are needed to work on this important project. If you are interested in a part-time job check our bulletin board for the phone number.

The Department of Commerce sent us a special poster selected by the department titled "The Library." It is a copy of a work by Jacob Lawrence that hangs in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C.

The caption of this poster, "How America Knows What America Needs," celebrates the fact that Libraries are central to the dissemination of information in a democratic society, and that information gathered by the census is central to our understanding of what our communities need.

Old news

We have a subscription to an interesting historical newsletter titled, "Old News." The latest issue is quite timely as its headline is, "Will the United States Build The Panama Canal?" Since we did build it, and we just turned over control, this subject couldn't be more timely. It would certainly make an interesting report for a student.

Fuel economy

We have several copies of the latest guide for the model year 2000. This pamphlet covers the different cars and may help you in deciding what to purchase.

"Join Together"

A newsletter has some new perspectives on community plans to prevent and reduce substance abuse, and some good web sites.

New books

I have a drawer full of suggestions of books our patrons would like to see purchased. I'll be ordering soon. If you have some new titles you'd like us to buy that fit our collection policy, please let us know.

"Southwestern Lore"

This interesting journal covers the historic preservation of the Colorado Plateau concerning the history of uranium, carnotite and other minerals. The legacy of nuclear mining is still with us. The journal is in the Hershey collection.


Financial help came from: Bev and Charlie Worthman; Don and Ethel Rasnic in memory of Raymond McWhirter; the library staff in memory of Helen Bartlett's Mother; Jack and Catherine Threet; the Pagosa Woman's Civic Club; the library staff in memory of Stan Haynes.

Materials came from David Durkee, Mary Weiss, Mike Branch, Patti Exster, Jean Harvey, Donald Mowen, April Matthews, Emily Martinez, Bud and Barbara Brasher, Crista Munro, Sherry Murray, Bob and Carole Howard, Judy Harvey, Mosetta McInnis, Patty and Lee Sterling.


The library will be closed Jan. 17 for Martin Luther King Day.


Arts Line

By Trisha Blankenship

Improv group to perform in Pagosa

The second annual Artists' Liquidation Sale is a chance to purchase work at unbelievable prices and is a treat for all. Come down and witness the amazing works of Pagosa's local artists at prices that just cannot be beat. Among the displays are beautiful photographs, intriguing rock collages and amazing works in wood.

Now is the time to take a gander at the work of multiple artists in your community. This sale will continue today, Jan. 13 through Jan. 29 in the Pagosa Springs Gallery and Gift Shop at Town Park. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. So come on down. . .and drag a friend or two along!


The art of acting, even when it's silly, is still art. Prepare yourselves Pagosans, for a improvisational comedy troupe from Denver.

IMPROV-O-RAMA will perform on Jan. 15 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the high school auditorium, and the improvisational comedy transforms audience suggestions into hilarious skits.

Advance tickets are being sold at Moonlight Books, the Ruby Sisson Library, Pack N' Mail Plus and the Wild Hare gift shop. Adults are $7, students (ages 6 to 18) are $5, and kids 5 and under are free. The comedy is appropriate for all ages so be prepared to be entertained to the fullest.

This fundraiser is for an excellent cause, supporting the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program which assists survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Whistle Pig

The Whistle Pig rides again!

This Saturday, Jan. 15, at the Vista Community Center, prepare to put on your dancing shoes after tuning your vocal chords. Open night mike begins at 7:30 p.m., featuring Kent Greentree. Along with Kent will be special performances by the Spanish Fiesta Dancers and members of the San Juan Dance Academy. Remember, all musicians, poets, and storytellers are encouraged to perform. Make a $4 donation and kids and teens come along free. You can't beat that. Dance on down this Saturday with the family and have a grand old time.

Photography contest

Now is the time to prepare (if you haven't already) to get those cameras clicking for the 12th annual photo contest in Pagosa Springs. Not only is this contest fun but it is intended to encourage the participation of amateur and professional photographers and give the community a unique and fresh show every year.

Guidelines and entry forms can be obtained at four easily-accessible locations: the gallery and gift shop at Town Park, Moonlight Books, Focus and Sound, and Mountain Snapshots. The deadline for entering the contest is Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. (a day rapidly approaching). The opening reception will be Saturday, Feb. 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. The photos will be on display Feb. 5 to Feb. 26. There will be a $3 entry fee for each photograph.

For more information on this exciting annual event contact Joanne at the Arts Building at 264-5020 or Phyl Daleske at 731-4589.


The Pagosa Springs Arts Council is still on the look out for a donation of a CD player to demonstrate the CD's for sale in the gift shop. If you or anyone you know is willing to make this grand sacrifice please contact Joanne at the arts building at 264-5020.

The exhibit applications for the year 2000 are here at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery at Town Park and at Moonlight Books. Drop on by to pick one up today.


Thanks to Jeff Laydon, Patricia Harris and Deanne Newman for helping Joanne Haliday arrange the arts and crafts for the Artists Liquidation Sale which runs through Jan. 29.


Senior News

By Janet Copeland

Seniors plan bus trips to Durango, Farmington

Our new year/new millennium started off with excitement. Cindy Archuleta, our director, announced she had gotten married on Dec. 31. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Schaupp!

George Ziegler gave a presentation Friday for those interested in temporary part-time employment with the U.S. Census Bureau. The pay is approximately $13.50 per hour plus mileage. Anyone interested in these jobs may call (800) 325-7733 to sign up for the test to qualify for the positions. All applicants must have a valid drivers license and Social Security card.

For those interested in signing up for the Food Care program, Elaine Nossaman is usually at the Center on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to take applications. We were happy to see Raymond Burk, Elaine's grandson, at the Center on Friday.

Cynthia Mitchell has placed a volunteers calendar at the front desk. If you can donate a few hours a week at the Senior Center, please sign up. In listing past volunteers, I inadvertently missed listing Lena Bowden, who helps on the Seniors Bus as well as helping with many other jobs around the Center. Thank you Lena.

The Senior's Choice Meal will be served on Jan. 17. This is the one meal a month that Dawnie allows Seniors to vote on foods they want. It is always delicious so everyone treat yourselves by being present on the 17th.

There are many services for Seniors available, one being snow removal. Anyone desiring this service should contact Cindy at 264-2167.

There are several trips for the Seniors lined up for the near future. On Feb. 4 the bus will transport those desiring to attend the Fort Lewis College "Second City Comedy Troop" presentation in Durango. On Jan. 18 there will be a trip to Farmington. Those desiring to go on these trips need to sign up at the front desk at the Senior Center.

Ron Gustafson is this week's Senior of the Week.

We want to send a big "Thank You" to Daylight Donuts for its generous donations of donuts/pastries to the Seniors.


Adventures with Cruse

By Katherine Cruse

Skiing with Cruse

Call me Snow Bunny. Last week Hotshot and I hit the slopes at Wolf Creek Pass. I have to tell you, it was a great experience. Totally positive. First, we had to get ready for the big adventure. Skis and boots we would rent, of course. But clothes were a different matter. I had nothing to wear skiing. I know, I know, that's a typical "female" complaint. But in this case, it was true, for both of us. We've read all the tips on winter activities - stay dry, stay warm, stay hydrated. Actually the same advice applies to backpacking. But my backpacking outer gear is designed for summer rainstorms, not winter snows. I usually hike in shorts. Somehow, I don't think that they're quite the thing for snow-packed slopes.

No problem, said our new friends. Check out the thrift shops; you can get everything you need there.

Well, yes, you can, if you can find your size. I haven't done much hiking or even jogging for a couple of years, and the old muscles have gotten kind of flabby. And we won't even mention the pounds I've put on.

I eventually found a jacket. And a pair of quilted pants that looked like they were designed for snow, even though they didn't have the zippers and loops that some of the others did. They were red, not a trendy color at all, but the price was pretty terrific.

Tom struck out at the thrift shops, so we headed to the ski and sports clothing stores, where he bought a pair of pants and we both got gloves and mittens and goggles. We didn't look quite like the experts in the ski videos, nor like models in the expensive ads, with snow in the background, but at least we wouldn't freeze.

We also signed up for a set of private lessons. "Too much money," I said. "Worth every penny," countered Hotshot. "Maybe he can spend the first half-hour advising us on clothing," I said.

On the first Tuesday of the new year, we headed up the pass. Getting started was a little ragged. When we walked into the rental shop and said we were total novices, I don't think they understood exactly how out of our element we were. But the people working there are friendly and helpful, and fitted us carefully with boots and skis. Then we got into a conversation about how long we had been in Pagosa, and that so distracted all of us so much that we walked out without poles. Back for the poles.

"I don't know how people walk in these ski boots," I said to the friend who came with us. "Well, no wonder you're having trouble," she said. "You have to unfasten the clamp at the back. Nobody can walk in them otherwise."

We carried our skis and poles over to the area where the instructors hang around and found Lou, our teacher. And the fun began.

The last time I was on skis about 100 years ago, I was a teenager. "In your teens? Yup, things have changed since then," said my neighbor, Buck. "Now they have lifts, you don't have to make your own skis from whiskey barrels, and you wear ski boots instead of engineer boots!"

I put on the short skis. My body remembered the clumsy, awkward feeling of long ago, when skis seemed about 20 feet long. The difference was striking. This time I could do what the instructor said. I could plant the poles downhill and turn around with little steps. I could snowplow and I could even stop. At no time did the front tips cross over each other. Plus, skis now have these little prongs that jut down into the snow when you release the bindings. If you lose a ski, you might slide down the hill before your ski will.

Pretty soon Lou said, "Let's head for the lift."

Holy cow, the lift! I thought, I'm not ready for this. Forget about skiing down the hill. I've never been on a chair lift. How do I get on? More important, how do I get off?

"Slow it down," our instructor told those wonderful friendly people at the top and bottom of the lift. "Got a beginner here." They smiled. They slowed the lift. My exit down the little slope at the top wasn't graceful. The little kids, the Wolf Pups, did a better job. But I made it. Actually, Lou grabbed my arm and kept me from falling.

That morning we did two trips on the short run and then a longer run off the second lift, named Dickey. We had been on skis for 2 hours and were getting tired and dehydrated. I desperately needed to rest. We called it a morning and clumped into the ski hut to join our friends over cocoa and lunch. And water. Lots and lots of water. Surreptitiously, I studied everyone's clothing. No one paid any attention to my red pants. I think they're really meant for snowmobiling.

"You should make another run off the Dickey lift before you quit," Lou had told us. "Build your confidence." Our friends agreed. "I'm too tired," I told them. "I'm just going on the bunny slope."

"I'll go with you," said Mary, who is a part-time instructor. Together we headed for the lift. And you know what? I did fine getting off the lift and getting down the hill. I stopped looking at the snow right in front of my skis and started looking where I wanted to go, and my feet and skis just seemed to follow of their own accord. Amazing. That little run felt so good that when Mary suggested we head over to the longer lift, I didn't hesitate.

I fell twice toward the end. But I got back up by myself. That was another new experience. And I finished with a smile on my face.

I'm still a snow bunny. I've only come down the green dot trails. But in spite of my obsessing about clothes and skis and falls, the whole day was a positive experience. The people were friendly. We met other novices who, poor things, live in places like east Texas and only have a few days here. We can go again and again.

I told Buck about our day. He invited us to run moguls with him on Alberta face. Maybe next year, Buck.




A beneficial 8 years

The Denver Post scooped the SUN Tuesday morning

when it reported that County Manager Dennis Hunt

had been chosen for the "controversial new county administrator position" in Arapahoe County. Until the details of a contract are agreed on, and proper signatures affixed, it's not a done deal.

Whereas Arapahoe County has about 500,000 citizens and five commissioners, it appears Dennis will be right at home - the article in The Denver Post used controversial or controversy three times to describe the new position that awaits him. No one from Jefferson County asked, but if they had, I would have given Dennis a favorable recommendation.

Being familiar with the problems facing the county and knowing the condition of the county's roads, bridges, facilities, finances, staffing and regulations in 1991; I know that during the past eight years Dennis made many sound decisions that benefited Archuleta County.

By no way was Dennis a one-man show, but many of the decisions he made in the day-to-operation of the county and the advice he offered to the commissioners he served under have helped the county.

Dennis never shied away from controversy and readily accepted the fact that he served at the will of the county commissioners he worked under. He accepted the fact that prudent decisions are not always popular, pleasant or painless.

With statistics showing that the average county manager experiences a "life expectancy" of serving two and a half years in the same position, the folks in Arapahoe County can rest assured that Dennis is an effective administrator.

David C. Mitchell

Dear Folks

By David C. Mitchell

Y2K brings end to 'used to' time

Dear Folks,

It's not every year that you have three zeros in the year's date.

It's not every January that four folks file with the county clerk's as candidate hopefuls for the two county commissioner seats to be filled in November. Used to, it wasn't done that way.

It's no longer "used to" time in Archuleta County. Most of the folks in Pagosa used to live somewhere else. So it's natural to expect new trends.

Hopefully, Commissioners Ken Fox and Bill Downing will seek another term in office.

Experience is in short supply in the courthouse.

If the county officials start developing a one term is enough mentality, it will open the doors for candidates who are more interested in the salaries the elected positions offer rather than the challenges and responsibilities that go with the territory.

It would be a surprise if any of the current or past elected officials didn't meet some frustrations, disappointments and discouragement during the first part of their first term in office. Negative encounters and bothersome situations should be expected.

Used to, the good ones accepted disagreements, disputes and heated differences as learning experiences. They simply considered controversy as part of the territory.

Maybe it was a mistake to add the annex to the earlier annex on the courthouse and to remodel the old offices and courtrooms.

Used to, no one ever worried about the color of the linoleum tiles on the floor. Budget hearings were for folks who were hard of hearing. I can remember one county official shouting out the reasoning behind his budget requests. I can't remember if the commissioners heeded his request, but there was no doubt they heard it.

The best thing to be said about some of the old meetings in the courthouse is that they weren't as bad or long as some the town board used to hold.

To his credit, Mayor Ross Aragon stayed the course. Thanks to his perseverance, Pagosa enjoys an effective town government today. Ross lost some blood and earned some scars along the way, but he stuck with it. He made some mistakes and at times followed some wrong advice, but he learned from them. His tough tenacity played a major role in Pagosa being what it is today.

Today's county officials should count their blessings. They have been able to learn from past successes and problems.

Surely anyone who helps appoint folks to serve on the Archuleta County Community Plan Steering Committee would want to stay in office long enough to help implement the eventual plan.

It's easy to sympathize with today's elected officials. The continually changing composition of the county's population makes it impossible to recognize all the faces much less know all the names. Campaigning has become a real chore. Eating breakfast at the Elkhorn, lunch at Jan's Cafe and supper at the Town House, no longer puts elected officials in contact with most of their constituents.

You don't need to read the SUN to know Pagosa has changed. It doesn't matter if the changes are good or bad - they're a reality. Most folks deal with them.

Things - power struggles, personalities, pressures, back stabbing, grand standing, favoritism, deception, etc. - in the courthouse really haven't changed that much in the past 15 years. It would be a shame if a trend towards giving up or being chased away after one term in office becomes one of the changes.

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


25 years ago

Marquez named as commissioner

Taken from SUN files

of Jan. 9, 1975

Governor Vanderhoof last Thursday appointed Dr. E. Leonard Marquez to fill the vacancy on the Archuleta Board of County Commissioners. This is the second appointment to that board since the last election. Dr. Marquez fills the vacancy left by the resignation of Lewis Luchini, which was effective Jan. 1.

Drugs were reportedly stolen from the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center last weekend when the center was broken into. The value of the drugs was not large and only a small amount was taken. There is not normally any noticeable amount of narcotics kept at the medical center.

Approximately 16,000 skiers have used the slopes at Wolf Creek Ski Area thus far this season. This number is well ahead of last year's attendance. A new chair lift at the ski area has been a big drawing card and has eliminated long lift lines. There was a 55-inch base before new snow started falling this week.

Location certificates were filed with the county clerk and recorder last month for 1004 mineral claims. The claims are in the San Juan National Forest in the area of Turkey Springs Road and on west to Devil Creek. State and federal laws require that certain amount of so-called "assessment" or development work must be done on such claims every year to keep the claims valid.




By Shari Pierce

Bits and pieces make a whole community

Did you know . . .

The first European visited the San Juan Basin in the mid 1500s? It is reported that an expedition of 350 Europeans and 800 Indians under the leadership of Vasquez Coronado visited the San Juan Basin on their quest for gold.

It was over 200 years later before we have a record of another visit by white men to this area? It was 1776 when two Spanish fathers, Dominguez and Escalante passed through the southern portion of Archuleta County. These men and their party were searching for a route from Santa Fe to California.

A legend tells us that there is millions of dollars in gold buried on Treasure Mountain? Reportedly a 1790s French expedition comprised of 300 men camped near Treasure Mountain and spent a summer mining. They hid their gold until they were ready to leave. Their luck changed. Disease killed many, supplies ran low and the Indians attacked. Only 17 men left the mountain with their lives. Sixteen of these perished before making it back to civilization. The surviving Frenchman, Lebreau, returned to France with a packet of papers marking the locations of the treasure. Though many have reportedly looked for the landmarks leading to the gold over the years, it remains hidden.

Initial research of the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area was carried out in 1921? The investigation was jointly sponsored by the State Historical and Natural History Society of Colorado and the University of Denver. Further studies were carried out each summer over the 1920s. Renewed interest in the site led to more extensive studies and preservation beginning in the early 1970s. It is thought the inhabitants were religious people "given to ceremonial dances on the plazas, and in the dark subterranean temples called Kivas the men practiced a ritual of worship of the heavens and the earth, heat, light, and water." The people largely survived on game, fish, fresh vegetables, corn meal, wild fruit and berries.

"Sunetha" is derived from a combination of the names of Sullenberger, Newton and Thatcher? Alexander Sullenberger was the president of the Pagosa Lumber Company, Whitney Newton a company vice president and M.D. Thatcher was the company secretary. Sullenberger came up with this to be the name of his ranch west of Pagosa Springs which eventually contained 3,597 acres. In addition to running sawmills, building railroads and operating logging camps, Sullenberger raised Hereford cattle on his ranch.

We putt up Put Hill? So named for the Putnam family who resided at the base of the hill a number of years ago.


Video Review

By Roy Starling

'Haunting' is one good movie

What with Halloween being just around the corner (or Valentine's Day - I get the two mixed up), I thought it would be a good idea to compare the two film versions of Shirley Jackson's novel "The Haunting of Hill House." Both films are entitled "The Haunting," but the similarities end there.

The original was directed by Robert Wise back in 1963. Wise had already made a name for himself by editing Orson Welles's "Citizen Kane" (1941), then directing the hot little horror flick "The Curse of the Cat People" (1944), followed by the sci-fi classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), the Susan Hayward death-row laugh riot "I Want to Live" (1958), the "Romeo and Juliet" remake "West Side Story" (1961), and the endless tear-jerking romantic songfest "The Sound of Music" (1965).

Jan De Bont, who directed the 1999 version of "The Haunting," has a totally different kind of resumé, and just a quick look at it will give you a good idea of what his version is like. He made the big time with the thrill-a-second "Speed," starring Keanu Reeves. He followed that up with the loud but hollow "Twister." He then etched his name among Hollywood's great flops by directing the disastrous "Speed 2."

So now that I've given you a little background, any guesses as to which of these two movies is worth seeing? Think carefully.


Wise's 1963 version is a chilling and subtle study in dementia, phobias, terror, atmosphere, loneliness and the power of suggestion on a fragile psyche. De Bont's remake is a loud, ugly, special-effects driven pile of poppycock. Consequently, De Bont's debacle earns my favorite moniker for blockbuster dog meat: His film is a bloated wart hog.

The original opens in classic horror-movie fashion: We see a dimly back-lit Hill House, in beautiful black and white, and we hear a creepy voice-over and sinister, cacophonous music, shrill and jagged. The disembodied voice - one that would unnerve Mr. Edgar Allan Poe himself - gives us a century's worth of history of Hill House in a matter of minutes, a history that is illustrated through a series of dissolves reminiscent of the beginning of "Citizen Kane."

The house was built by one Hugh Crane, and his first wife died seconds before she entered it. His second wife didn't fare much better. His daughter Abigail grew old in the house, then died when her nurse/companion was busy making out with some guy while Abigail futilely called for her by beating on the wall with her cane.

Apparently, Abigail's spirit didn't get too far after she quit breathing. "The dead are not quiet in Hill House," we're told.

Hill House, incidentally, is in "remote New England," which, along with the Old South, is where all good American Gothic stories take place.

Years after Abigail's death, Professor John Marquay (Richard Johnson) decides to recruit six volunteers to help him conduct an experiment on the supernatural in Hill House. He hopes his work will eventually help him "find the keys to another world."

Three of his guinea pigs chicken out. The three who show up are Eleanor (Julie Harris), Theodora (Claire Bloom) and Luke (Russ Tamblyn).

Eleanor is a pathologically lonely, unstable and disenfranchised young spinster who has enough abandonment issues to keep a convention of psychologists busy for a few years. No one has ever liked her and no one has ever wanted her. The call to Hill House is the best thing that's ever happened to her. "Finally, I'm going somewhere where I'm expected. I have a place. I belong. I'm a new person," she says, by way of a voice-over that seems to be emanating from either an echo chamber or an empty brain pan.

Theodora is a kind of '50s beatnik, all in black, a precursor to today's Goths, those moody, introspective and generally highly intelligent young folks who are wafted by unseen spirits across college and high school campuses across this great nation of ours. Dr. Marquay has chosen Theodora for his experiment because she has "remarkable powers of ESP." Of course, Theodora already knew that when he told her.

Luke is there because he's in line to inherit the place when the last remaining branch of the Crane family tree rots and falls to the earth. A myopic capitalist, Luke sees Hill House only as "desirable property," and he worries that Marquay's ghoulish theories will "downgrade property values."

One other character deserves mention. Marquay and his entourage are greeted at Hill House by Mrs. Dudley, a spooky housekeeper who resembles an anorexic Joan Baez. On more than one occasion, she warns the apprehensive guests that "Once it's dark, once it's night, I'll be in town. No one will come any nearer than that in the night, in the dark."

For the rest of the film, Wise and his cameraman give us a good case of the heeby-jeebies, not by showing us ghosts and gore or animated demons and angels, but by making excellent use of camera movement, camera angles and lighting to create a downright uncomfortable atmosphere, a setting seething with potential evil. And unlike De Bont, Wise understands this classic bit of creep-show wisdom: the greatest terror is unseen.

Here's an example of how Wise does it. Eleanor and Theodora are talking on a bed (more about this later). They hear an awful racket coming from outside the bedroom door. The camera looks at the door and we see the source of the noise, but not what's causing it. Then, in what we in the film criticism profession call a "reverse angle shot" or "reaction shot," the camera shows us a tight close-up of the two women trembling in fear. Then, back to the door, back to the women, etc., etc.

We're frightened enough without the door turning into an ugly face or growing fingers; in fact, like Eleanor and Theodora, we're more frightened because we can't see what's causing the ruckus

Through voice-overs, Wise also lets us spend an uncomfortable amount of time inside poor Eleanor's haunted head. We know she's coming unraveled, so all of her perceptions become suspect: Are these things really happening or is Eleanor merely projecting her mental illness onto the house?

Whatever's "really" happening, we know that, in some sense, Hill House is calling out to Eleanor. It is trying to become both the home she's never had and her destroyer at the same time. Now that's unsettling.

Wise's technique clearly makes for an effective thriller, but the film is made even better by Harris's and Bloom's excellent acting. These women are so good at their craft that they make the most of every scene they're in. Harris, especially, is brilliant as the tormented Eleanor, suffering from terminal estrangement from the human race, fighting off a strong crush for Marquay and oddly attracted to Theodora - there's definitely a subtle tension between these two.

De Bont's remake, on the other hand, pulls out all the high-tech stops, giving the house eyes, animating statues, creating a band of smoky angel babies, inventing a stupid human-smashing device that springs from, I think, an oversized fireplace. Like most blockbuster directors, he has no appreciation for or understanding of metaphor. Hill House can't just be like an oversized ogre, it has to actually become one, taking on all sorts of garish human characteristics.

Nor does De Bont's film have any fine acting to admire. Lili Taylor plays Eleanor, and Taylor is no Julie Harris. The supposedly beautiful Catherine Zeta Jones does nothing special as Theodora, and young Owen Wilson, who co-wrote the wonderful "Rushmore," is an uninteresting Luke. Liam Neeson, who really is a pretty good actor, gets stuck playing a Marquay (except he's called Marrow) who's just a feckless prankster, conducting his experiment on Hill House as some sort of cruel joke.

Watching this film is like being trapped inside a video arcade or, better yet, inside one of the actual games. It's an all out assault on the senses, geared towards an audience with a short attention span, an audience drawn towards pulsating lights, wall-to-wall sound and elaborate magic tricks.

Some film critics believe the incredible success of last year's "Blair Witch Project" (which might very well be indebted to the original "Haunting") has made it next to impossible for film audiences to ever again fall for another bloated wart hog like "The Haunting" remake. I hope they're right. I hope people will eventually choose masterful technique over computer generated glitz and gore. Our senses, after all, need not be overwhelmed in order for us to feel fear or, for that matter, love, hope, compassion or joy.

Both versions of "The Haunting" are available on video somewhere in Pagosa. Choose Wisely.


Food for Thought

By Karl Isberg

Pleasure of surviving, being right

I was ready, so very ready.

To survive and, more important, to be right.

Things looked promising as the Big Moment loomed. There was a global calamity pending where, at the single stroke of a clock's second hand, all humanity would be neatly divided into two camps and subjected to a nasty cybernetic disaster.

Us and them.

Those of us who predicted and understood the impending disaster, those of us who prepared for it, were in one camp; the haughty morons who did not prepare and who mocked us would suffer for their errors - permanent residents of Camp Pain.

It was Y2K. Everything hinged on the tick of a clock, and the slamming of awesome binary doors.

Then, the whole thing collapsed like a poorly-tied balloon.

I should have known it would not work out.

We were deceived by clocks and computers.

Clocks and computers are pitiless devices: machines of malevolent regularity - a regularity most people mistake for something more than a manifestation of a category of human understanding, one we persistently and pathetically project on a universe beyond our experience.

That was the mistake I made; that is why I got so excited. I love to project my ego on all aspects of existence so, on Dec. 31, in the thrall of the temporal illusion, I sat in the bunker I constructed in my front room and watched the second hand of my clock. I was waiting to be right - waiting for others to be wrong. It meant a lot to me.

I had carefully calibrated my time-keeping machine, aligning it as closely as possible with the atomic clock at the Bureau of Standards, trusting our nation's chief timekeepers were in constant touch with Greenwich - the Mecca of linear thought. As I watched the clock's hands move inexorably toward midnight, I focused on the moment when my dualistic dream would become reality, simultaneously a glittering instant of triumph for me and a stark, horrible reality for anyone who scoffed at the impending Y2K tragedy. I was ready for the computo-cataclysm and my adversaries were not. It was perfect: I would be proven right and anyone who disagreed would pay a massive price.

My attitude was part of a great tradition. It is emotionally stressful to deal with certain, personal doom; it is easier to buffer the shock of realization by projecting personal transience onto the entire species, the entire world. "I am doomed," becomes "we are doomed" and "it is doomed," and everything feels better. The icing on the psychic cake, of course, is to develop a set of circumstances or rules where, with existence unraveling and you in possession of all the answers, you come to a worthy end while those who disagree with you absorb a horrible blow.

I did my mental and emotional homework as Y2K approached. I had the answers. I was ready.

As the second hand worked its way to the golden hour on Dec. 31, I inflated with a sense of worthiness. Then, midnight struck and my dream began to disintegrate.

As a matter of fact, midnight had been striking around the globe for most of 20 hours and nothing disastrous had occurred. Nothing happened in Auckland or Beijing. No mishaps in Prague or Reykjavik. Times Square was unscathed.

I was nervous. Still, I had hope.

I closed my eyes as the second hand neared the top of the dial (I refuse to use digital clocks - they provide scant drama as indicators of our remaining moments). I took a long breath with two seconds left in the long and rich history of humanity. I counted to myself: "one-thousand one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three" and I opened my eyes, expecting to find myself in the dark, the sound of generators and rifle fire in the distance, a chill pervading the initial inky blink of January.


I still had hope.

Well, I thought, maybe the disaster will occur as a result of a chain reaction - the gloom produced by a domino-like process: A Commodore computer shuts down in Samoa and a ripple of cyber-mayhem shimmers west across the Pacific, gaining momentum until finally, as a tsunami packing world-altering energy, it crashes ashore in Asia, pushing power stations to grinding halts, one dynamo after another shutting down until an ominous shadow sweeps over the Danube and the Seine, leaps the English Channel and the North Atlantic, wipes out the eastern seaboard of the U.S. and rolls unstoppable across the Great Plains, presaging the annihilation of civilization in Chicago, St. Louis, Salina, Las Animas, Walsenburg, Fort Garland, Alamosa, Monte Vista, Del Norte, South Fork and. . .

Perhaps it would take the better part of a day before my niche in the civilized world was eradicated, before ATMs no longer worked and traffic lights blinked steadily yellow. Before I was right. Before others were punished for their insolence in the face of enlightenment, for their inattention to prescribed detail.

I watched the Rose Bowl Parade, ready for the television screen to go blank, ready for the Krups coffee pot to perk its last cup. Boy, were the naysayers going to suffer.


Now, it's four days into the 21st Century and the lights are still on.

Suddenly, the question flipped from how to fight off crowds of freezing, hungry miscreants to, What am I gonna do with all these beans?

I've got four years' worth of beans on my hands, even after I sold Starling 100 pounds for his Y2K larder.

I can deal with the 1000 gallons of water I stored in the crawl space and I'm sure Kathy can bake six or seven hundred loaves of her famous cranberry bread in order to use up the half-ton of flour we stashed in the garage. The quinoa can be used to feed birds and our government surplus peanut butter has an expiration date of May, 2010. Packets of freeze-dried Stroganoff will keep indefinitely. The ten cases of Grenache/Shiraz will age well, but will probably be consumed within a year.

What am I gonna do with the beans?

Two hundred pounds of pinto beans is a major league batch of legumes, my friends. Add a hundred pounds of dried navy beans to the mix and, with another hundred pounds of Great Northerns, you are talking a massive amount of nutritious and fiber-filled food.

I'm not sure I can make a decent cassoulet with what I have on hand. I failed to manufacture any confit prior to the new year, so I'll need to substitute some of the hundred pounds of elk jerky I stored in the upstairs bedroom. I saw no need to lay away any garlic sausages so I hope the Vienna Sausages and Spam I cached for the cosmic debacle will suffice.

Mmmm. Cassoulet with jerky, Spam and Vienna Sausage. Should go nicely with a Grenache/Shiraz.

Since I secreted away several hundred pounds of pasta, I'll consume quite a bit of pasta e fagiole during the next year or two.

This is a bean-based dish I really don't mind. I'll wash and sort a batch o' beans and soak them overnight. I'll drain the beans in the morning and rinse them, cover them with a mix of water and chicken stock and bring them to a boil. I'll turn the heat to low and add a ham hock or two to the beans (any chunk of meat will do - beef, lamb, etc.) along with some chopped tomatoes. I'll cook this combo for a couple of hours, until the beans are tender. After I take the meat out of the beans, I'll puree about a third of the beans and return them to the pot. I'll pick the meat from the bones and throw the meat in the pot, along with some chopped, fresh spices. I might even add a touch of olive oil to the mix. I'll serve the beans with a mess of al dente pasta and some grated Parmesan.

I can also use the pintos. I'll prepare them the same way I did the Great Northerns I made for the pasta e fagiole, substituting beef stock for the chicken stock. To the pot of beans, I'll add a hefty amount of ground red chile powder (from my two-year supply of Mrs. Padilla's red - the Mercedes Benz of red, from Espanola), some sauteed onions, a couple of cloves of garlic minced, and a whisper of cumin and oregano.

Both bean dishes should go well with a Grenache/Shiraz.

I'll do up loads of three-bean baked beans with bacon and beef shanks. I'll use cooked, cold beans in salads. I'll puree cooked beans with lemon juice, garlic, tahini and mint and pass it off as palatable dip. I'll make bean likenesses of my favorite members of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors; I'll coat the sculptures with acrylic and mount them on posts next to my driveway, like the perimeter of heads at the residence occupied by Kurtz in "Heart of Darkness." The horror, the horror.

The beans, the beans.

Eventually, I'll deal with the problem of the beans, but the blow to the ego caused by this Y2K non-event is another matter altogether.

I really wanted to be right. I needed my antagonists to suffer.

I suppose I'll have to await the arrival of the next catastrophe before sweet validation will be mine.

I might not have long to wait.

I've received solid information (from the same source who tipped me off about the alien genetics lab beneath Archuleta Mesa) that disgruntled Russian scientists took over a decomposing germ warfare lab inside a mountain in the Urals and are working feverishly (pardon the pun) to marry the Ebola and smallpox viruses. We're looking at a pandemic as soon as these needy ex-commies decide to let the dog out of the closet.

Let this serve as your warning.

Tomorrow, I am driving to Albuquerque to procure some Israeli gas masks and a gross of Mylex suits. This weekend, I intend to seal my residence with a series of thin spray coats of a temperature-resistant polymer.

You think this is far-fetched?

Boy. . . are you going to be sorry.



By Roy Starling

Pretenders prepare for 'Arabian Nights'

The stories told in "The Arabian Nights" had to be pretty good. In fact, they had to be nail-munching, pot-boiling, page-turning, edge-of-your-seat stories.

These stories were told by a young woman named Scheherazade to her husband, the Sultan Shahriyar. The Sultan, it seems, was a kind of Bluebeard, with a nasty habit of "banishing" his young brides the morning after the big wedding ceremony and reception.

But before Scheherazade agreed to marry the big guy, she had her sister visit him on their wedding day and beg him to allow Scheherazade to tell him just one story. He agreed to her request because, really, what could be the harm in that? Get married, hear a good story, "banish" the bride first thing in the morning.

Scheherazade was no fool. On her wedding night, she began a tradition that would later be used by Charles Dickens in the serialized novel, by Saturday matinee Western and Sci-Fi movie shorts and by such never-ending stories as "The Guiding Light," "As the World Turns," "The Days of Our Lives," and "Beverly Hills 90210."

In short, Scheherazade, in an effort to save her life, might well have invented the cliffhanger. This was "publish or perish" in the purest sense of the phrase. She had to make her stories so gripping, so riveting that her listener - in this case, a compulsive "banisher" - fell under their spell; and then, she had to stop them at just the right moment each night and hope that the Sultan was enthralled enough by her yarn that he'd keep her around for another day.

It worked. Scheherazade kept up her storython for 1001 nights, spinning yarns about such characters as Aladdin, Ali Baba and Sinbad, and by that time the Sultan was not only a literature major, he was in love with his story-telling wife.

The Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater will be bringing some of these stories to life on stage at the high school auditorium the first week of March. Auditions for this production, called "Arabian Nights," will end tonight.

"Our last audition is tonight from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the junior high choir room," "Arabian Nights" director Susan Garman said. Folks interested in auditioning will only "need to be able to speak for a minute on a topic of their choice," she said. "There are no age limitations, but very small children need to be accompanied by an older sibling or a parent."

"Pretenders' auditions differ from traditional auditions in that we don't turn anyone down," Pretenders' co-founder and producer Addie Greer said. "It's a fun theater experience for all ages. A whole family can be involved. It's educational and it's fun."

"In sports," Garman says, "kids play while parents watch. But Pretenders is a good family bonding thing, a sharing experience. It's something family members can talk about and relate to."

The Pretenders don't use a set script, instead leaving considerable latitude for improvisation and ad-libbing. "Kids are given prompts and partial plots for a scene," Garman said, "then they're free to ad-lib the dialogue. But the scene has to maintain certain points to carry the story."

Garman said the Pretenders' production staff decides, during rehearsals, what has to be kept in the story and how much liberty the kids can take with the material.

"We try to create the play improvisationally," Garman said, "but the actual performance should have little improvisation in it. We want it to have a more polished appearance. Paying customers don't just want to see a bunch of folks goofing off. By opening night, witty digressions are brief and there aren't too many surprises. We do hope to have some surprises, however, because that's what keeps it fresh."

This will be the Pretenders' sixth production. The group was inspired, Greer said, by an idea by Bill Hudson. With "about 10 or 12 people involved," the Pretenders began with a production of "Snow White and the Seven Coyotes." The following year they did "Billy Bronco and the Chocolate Factory." Next was "An Imaginary History of Pagosa Springs," followed by "Peter Pan."

"Last year," Greer said, "we hit the big time, putting on 'Wizard of Oz' in the high school auditorium. We had 95 audition for the cast alone."

The first big-scale Pretenders production netted about $1,100, all of which went towards stocking the shelves of the junior high-intermediate school library. This year, according to Garman, part of the proceeds will go to the school district, the rest to the community.


Old Timers

By John M. Motter

Tierra Amarilla once supply source

By John M. Motter

Tierra Amarilla is a small community on the fringes of Pagosa Country located just a few miles south of Chama, N.M., on U.S. 84. For folks racing along Highway 84 between Pagosa Springs and Santa Fe, Tierra Amarilla is a small sign and a place to momentarily slow the vehicle. For many Pagosa Country pioneers, Tierra Amarilla was home or a source of supplies.

Yellow Earth is the Spanish meaning of the expression Tierra Amarilla. "TA" as it is called by locals, is the county seat of Rio Arriba County, one of the old counties of New Mexico and still huge, stretching from the Colorado border to include Espanola on the south, and from the Navajo Reservoir dam on the west, to the east side of the San Juan Mountains on the east.

Many wonderful yarns could be spun from Tierra Amarilla's colorful past, but in today's article we content ourselves with a brief sketch of TA's origins and of its vital historical relationship to Pagosa Country. Our source is a paperback book titled "La Tierra Amarilla: The People of the Chama Valley," edited by Anselmo F. Arellano and available at the Chama Valley School District superintendent's office in Tierra Amarilla. The book is the result of a Chama Valley School District project financed under a Title IX Ethnic Heritage Grant.

Today, TA refers to the specific city with that name, but that wasn't always so. In the beginning, Tierra Amarilla referred to an area containing a cluster of Spanish villages or rancherias. The Tierra Amarilla was settled largely by families from the Abiquiu area and was part of a generation-by-generation, frontier Hispanic expansion up the Chama River Valley. The Old Spanish Trail passed though the heart of the Tierra Amarilla, which ranged from present day Canjilon north to the Colorado border, west to the Jicarilla Apache reservation, and east to Tres Piedras.

Until 1880, the village known today as Tierra Amarilla was known as Las Nutritas. The name was changed from Las Nutritas to Tierra Amarilla in 1880 by the New Mexico Territorial Legislature at the same time TA was designated as the Rio Arriba County seat.

Considerable evidence exists that the Spanish had been passing through Tierra Amarilla to trade with the Ute and Navajo nations since the early 1600s; that is, possibly at the same time the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. The expanding Abiquiu population likely grazed sheep in the area from the mid-1700s. The Tierra Amarilla was traditional summer hunting grounds for the Capote and Weminuche bands of Ute Indians. Whites entered the area only when the Utes were feeling tolerant. As late as 1850, when the area was already a part of the United States following the Mexican American War, 53 persons were reported killed by Indians along the northern frontier from Abiquiu to Mora. The Indian problem delayed permanent settlement of the region for 250 years.

On Feb. 8, 1814, Marcial Montoya and Pablo Antonio Romero made the first documented application for a land grant on the Tierra Amarilla. They applied on behalf of themselves and 60 others for land on the "Brazos del Rio de Chama," but nothing came of the request. Six years later, Manuel Martinez and Romero petitioned for the same land, but were denied, as was their second request Sept. 21, 1824.

Martinez' third request April 23, 1832, was approved. Those first settlement attempts were thwarted by Indian attack and severe winters, forcing the settlers back to Abiquiu. According to oral tradition, the first settlement attempt was in the Cañones area, north of today's Los Brazos. For years, the area was apparently occupied for grazing during summers and abandoned during winters.

During 1860, a large number of people moved north into the area, the first year for which proof of permanent settlement of Tierra Amarilla exists. Sixty or so families came to stay, founding the communities of Los Brazos, La Puente, and Los Ojos. Fuertes, or forts, were built in these settlements to protect the settlers from Indians. Several irrigation ditches, known as acequias, were constructed. Some of these date as early as 1838, indicating the early attempts at settlement in the area. Ensenada was probably not settled until 1865.

Early in 1865 some of the principal citizens of the area petitioned for military protection from the Indians. The Army investigated and temporarily placed troops about 50 miles northwest of TA, near the newly developing San Juan gold fields. When the Army delayed response in the TA area, the governor of the Territory of New Mexico commissioned Thomas D. Burns as a captain of a militia to deal with the Indians. Jesus Maria Cordova and Justo Sandoval were designated lieutenants and authorized to raise militia volunteers. They failed to raise a local militia because of the reluctance of local Hispanics to fight the Utes.

Finally, a company of New Mexico Volunteers commanded by Col. Edward H. Bergman and 80 enlisted men arrived in Tierra Amarilla Nov. 7, 1866. By this time, U.S. government rations were being issued to the Utes at Tierra Amarilla. Bergman found no Indians, but established Camp Plummer. Regular Army troops replaced the volunteers in 1867 and on July 31, 1868, the post was renamed Fort Lowell. After more months of non-happenings, Fort Lowell was abandoned July 27, 1869.

About 1871, a new colony was founded in La Tierra Amarilla. The New Mexico Stock and Agricultural Association of Chicago laid out the site for the town of Park View north of the Los Brazos. A group of Swedish immigrants were persuaded to settle there. After reaching a peak population of about 75, the community was exposed as a fraud and most of its inhabitants moved north into Colorado. Tradition has it that the post office at Park View burned and the developers had it rebuilt in Los Ojos. Los Ojos subsequently became known as Park View, a situation remedied by the community in 1972 when the name reverted to Los Ojos.

By way of reference, note that settlement in the immediate locale of Pagosa Springs did not begin until 1876.

More about Tierra Amarilla next week.


Business News

Biz Beat

Appraisal Services Inc. & Public Account Service

Jesse Formwalt, left, is the owner operator of Appraisal Services Inc. and Peggy Cotton owns and operates a public accountant service.

The two businesses moved offices to a new location - 344 Lewis Street - on Dec. 11, 1999,

Appraisal Services offers residential, commercial and vacant land appraisals, and can be reached at 264-4109. Peggy Cotton provides a full range of accounting services and her phone number is 264-6525.

The offices at 344 Lewis are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.


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Jet stream and snow stay north


By John M. Motter

Dry weather and clear skies smiled across Pagosa Country this past week, prompting more than one winter sports fan to respond with anything but smiles.

Nothing is predicted to change the current weather pattern, according to meteorologist Jeff Colton, but there is a slight chance of snow showers Monday.

"Monday is pretty far out, so that prediction is risky," said Colton, who works in the U.S. Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

Today through Saturday will remain mostly sunny with high temperatures in the mid- to upper 40s and lows ranging from 5 to 15 degrees, Colton said. Sunday will see increasing cloudiness.

The polar jet stream remains north of Pagosa Country and that is where the snow is falling, Colton said. By Monday, the jet stream could dip south close enough to Pagosa Country to bring a few snow showers.

Wolf Creek Ski Area, meanwhile, reported 28 of 50 trails open Wednesday with 28 inches of natural snow at the summit and midway up the slopes. Located at elevations above 10,000 feet, the winter resort reported a temperature of 15 degrees at 6:30 a.m. yesterday, with a Tuesday high of 26 degrees and a Tuesday night low of 16 degrees.

Down the valley in Pagosa Springs, the Tuesday high temperature was 45 degrees, the Tuesday night low 7 degrees, appreciably colder than the ski area.

While Pagosa Country temperatures remained relatively cold during the past week, they did not threaten any records. The average high temperature for the week was 35 degrees, the average low temperature 0 degrees. The highest temperature was the Tuesday 45-degree reading. The coldest temperature was minus 6 degrees recorded Jan. 5. On Jan. 5, 6, and 9, the temperature never climbed above freezing.

The mean January temperature for Pagosa Springs based on readings in town over the past 55 years averages 19.8 degrees. The average maximum of 29.7 degrees was recorded during 1981, while the average minimum of 14.2 degrees was recorded in 1947 and again in 1988. The extreme maximum January temperature of 66 degrees was recorded Jan. 15, 1944. The extreme low January temperature of minus 42 degrees was recorded Jan. 13, 1963, the only time the thermometer has plunged below 40 degrees during January over the last 55 years. January lows below minus 30 degrees have been recorded six times since 1938.

January's average precipitation is 1.85 inches, fed by an average snowfall of 27.1 inches. The maximum January precipitation of 7.79 inches occurred during 1957 when 108.9 inches of snow found its way into town. During 1986, only 0.8 inches of snow fell in town during January, much less than the 13.5 inches already received this January.