Front Page

February 3, 2000

Memorial service Saturday for Ron Wedemeyer

A memorial service for Ron A. Wedemeyer will be conducted at 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 5, at Community Bible Church. A reception will follow immediately afterwards in the adjoining Sunday school building. The church is located at 264 Village Drive in Fairfield Pagosa.

Family members announced yesterday that Mr. Wedemeyer died of a heart attack early yesterday morning while visiting his oldest son in Bakersfield, Calif.

At the family's request, an obituary will be published in the Feb. 10 edition of the SUN.


County assumes landfill operation

By John M. Motter

County Manager Dennis Hunt has been authorized by the county commissioners to proceed as needed so the county can take over operation of the county landfill and transfer stations. Those steps include hiring help and purchasing equipment.

Waste Management Inc., has been managing the landfill for the county. Waste Management also picks up solid waste from homes and businesses around the county. That firm has indicated a desire to end its management role at the county-owned landfill, but will continue community-wide solid waste collections.

"Waste Management said they wanted out by March 1, but I think April 1 is a more realistic date," Hunt said.

Hunt has hired Clifford Lucero to head the county's new Solid Waste Division created by the commissioners last week. Lucero reports to work Monday. He and Hunt have joined heads in organizing the new division. Lucero will have an office in the county garage and one staff person in the office. Billings will be made from the office, but accounting and accounts payable functions will be conducted by the county finance office.

Two people will be hired to work at the landfill site on Trujillo Road. One will man the gate and the other will operate equipment used to move and cover refuse. Two people will be hired for the Trujillo Road transfer station and one for the Arboles transfer station. Another person will be hired to drive a truck carrying recylables between Durango and Pagosa and also to move refuse bins between the transfer stations and the landfill.

In addition to office furniture and equipment, a small shed is needed for the Trujillo transfer station. Some county heavy equipment will be used at the landfill, and additional equipment will be purchased. Equipment to be purchased includes a 3/4-ton pickup, compacter, roll-off truck, and a loader or scraper. Several bins for holding refuse will be needed.

In the long run, county operation of the landfill should result in a saving of money, according to Lucero.

Mountain Express

Gene Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners, asked that the route of the Mountain Express senior citizens bus run to Durango be altered on a trial basis. Crabtree wants the Tuesday run to go down U.S. 151 to Arboles before proceeding to Bayfield and Durango. The purpose is to transport Arboles senior citizens to Durango to see doctors or for other purposes. A petition containing 42 names asking for the service has been submitted to Archuleta County, according to Crabtree.

"We thought the Southern Ute Community Action Program bus from Ignacio was going to run to Arboles, but it seems that bus only wants to take people to the casino in Ignacio," Crabtree said.

When they learned the Ignacio bus is not helping Arboles senior citizens, Commissioners Bill Downey and Ken Fox agreed to Crabtree's proposal on a trial basis.

County roads

Road Supervisor Kevin Walters presented the 1999 Highway Users Transportation mileage report Tuesday, then discussed current county road maintenance programs.

The HUT report shows the county with 178.43 miles of arterial roads and 365.35 miles of local roads, making a total of 543.78 miles of road eligible for state HUT funds. An additional 178.13 miles of roads exist in the county that are not eligible for HUT funding.

No changes are reported for the mileages contained in the three metropolitan districts dealing with roads, according to Walters. Those districts and their mileages are: Alpha-Rockridge 10.6 miles; Aspen Springs 65 miles; and San Juan River Village 3.5 miles.

The county receives about $1 million a year from HUT funding, according to Walters. That amounts to about $1,840 per mile. The county forwards a certain amount of HUT funds to the metro districts based on the ratio of metro district road mileage to total county road mileage.

CR 551, the road down the Navajo River from Juanita to the Jicarilla Apache Reservation, will receive extensive rebuilding this summer, according to Walters. The Southern Utes have reservation land along that road and seem prepared to help with the building costs, Walters said.

Other anticipated projects include redoing the ditches on CR 982, replacing conduits under a portion of Trujillo Road, and repair of soft spots in the newly-constructed Eightmile Mesa Road.

Vista Boulevard is slated for reconstruction sometime this summer, Walters said. Work on Vista Boulevard scheduled for last summer was postponed when it was learned that the road bed there was faulty. The county redid the surface of Vista Boulevard last summer, but that work isn't holding up.

"We can't do anything about Vista this time of the year, but we will rebuild it from the bottom up this coming summer," Walters said.

Planning department

Mike Mollica, director of county development, made a report concerning activities of his department past, present, and future. (See a related article concerning building in this issue of the SUN.)

Mollica also spoke concerning the proposed Archuleta County Community Plan. (See a related article in this issue of the SUN.)

Finally, Mollica presented a one-hour video describing alternatives to conventional grid-pattern housing subdivisions and strip commercial development. The film was titled "Conserving Rural Character."

County manager

A misunderstanding occurred last week concerning County Manager Dennis Hunt's possible acceptance of a position in Arapahoe County. The SUN erroneously reported that Hunt and Arapahoe County officials failed to reach agreement concerning a proposed employment contract. In fact, at the last minute, Arapahoe County officials decided to do away with the position sought by Hunt.


Voters must be registered by Feb. 10th

County Clerk June Madrid announced this week that Feb. 10 is the last day for Archuleta County residents to register to vote or change their party affiliation for the March 10 Presidential Primary Election.

Local residents 18 years or older may register in the Archuleta County clerk's office on the first floor of the courthouse at 449 San Juan Street between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Madrid said persons who are registered as unaffiliated may affiliate with either political party the day of the election at their polling place. Voters who are registered with a party affiliation may not change from one party to another on the day of the election, Madrid said.

To be eligible to participate in the party caucuses, voters must be registered with the party of their choice by March 11.

For more information, call 264-5633 or 264-2950.


Voters to choose trustees, consider sales tax issue

By Karl Isberg

Registered voters living in the town of Pagosa Springs can look forward to a town election on April 4 to select members of the board of trustees and to vote on a sales tax question.

At their Feb. 1 meeting, town trustees passed an emergency ordinance approving a sales tax question to be put before the voters on April 4. The emergency ordinance was initially passed in September 1999, but Colorado statutes require such an ordinance to be passed within 90 days of an intended election.

Voters will consider a question asking whether or not the town will impose up to 3 percent in sales tax "in the event the existing Archuleta County sales tax is repealed, repealed and readopted, determined to not be effective, or expires in whole or part in an amount greater than one percent. . . ."

Further, the question will ask voter approval that such a tax, if imposed, "shall continue thereafter until repealed. . . ."

Trustees approved the ordinance and election in light of the on-going legal battle between the town and Archuleta County, and the Archuleta County Road Users Association.

The County Road Users Association, represented by two members - Earle Beasley and Fitzhugh Havens - petitioned in 1995 to have an issue put on the November 1995 ballot asking voters in Archuleta County to restructure the manner in which 4 percent of sales tax collected in Archuleta County is apportioned between the town and the county.

There is a 7 percent sales tax levied in Archuleta County. Three cents tax on every dollar spent goes to the state of Colorado, four cents stays in Archuleta County. Two cents of the tax is a perpetual tax and two cents of a tax was approved by local voters in 1994, to remain in effect until Jan. 1, 2003. Archuleta County and Pagosa Springs agreed to split the 4 percent tax remaining in the county 50-50 and the town dedicated part of its share of the revenues to capital projects.

The question proposed for the November 1995 ballot by the County Road Users Association asked the voters to approve a 75-25 split of the 4 percent sales tax, in favor of the county. Archuleta County fought the County Road Users Association proposal in 6th District Court and the court refused to allow the question on the ballot.

Havens and Beasley appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals, which overturned the district court decision and ordered an election. Archuleta County and the town of Pagosa Springs then took the matter to the Colorado Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals stayed the election order pending a Supreme Court refusal to hear the case or a decision on the case by the high court.

As yet, the Supreme Court has not ruled on the case.

The town ballot question, according to Town Administrator Jay Harrington, gives the residents of Pagosa Springs the choice to preserve the town's ability to undertake capital projects by ensuring a flow of sales tax revenues in the event the current split of those revenues is altered. Since, by law, no more than 7 percent sales tax can be collected, the total amount of sales tax levied inside town boundaries could not increase beyond the present level.

With the passage of the emergency ordinance and the setting of the election date for selection of trustees, and consideration of the sales tax question, an election calendar for the April 4 date was established.

Key dates on the town's election calendar include the March 15 date for return of petitions in the trustees race and a Feb. 18 deadline for written comments for or against ballot issues or questions to be submitted to the town clerk.

A Tax Payers Bill of Rights (TABOR) notice must be mailed to all registered voters in Pagosa Springs by March 3. The March 3 date also marks the limits of a mandatory 30-day residency required of all voters wanting to vote in the town election. The last day to register to vote is March 6. Registration takes place in the Archuleta County clerk's office.

Nominations for candidacy for town trustee can be withdrawn as late as March 10, using a written affidavit filed with the town clerk. Nomination petitions may be amended until March 10.

Pagosa Springs voters are likely to return to the polls on May 2 (along with a limited number of voters living outside town limits) for an election to consider dissolution of the Pagosa Sanitation District. The district currently provides wastewater disposal and treatment services for the town of Pagosa Springs, as well as a limited number of properties adjacent to town boundaries.

Town trustees approved an "Agreement and Plan for Dissolution of the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District" at their Feb. 1 meeting - pending changes by town legal counsel.

Dissolution of the district has been a priority for the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District board of directors since the town of Pagosa Springs assumed management control of the district five years ago. The district was formed in 1958 concurrent with construction of the wastewater treatment facility and lagoons in South Pagosa (since replaced by a new facility on South 5th Street). Since 1958, the town has provided billing service for the district. Three years ago, the town took over day-to-day operation of the district under the tenets of a management contract.

According to the agreement, the board of directors of the district "has determined that it is in the best interests of the public health, safety, prosperity and general welfare of the inhabitants of the District for the District to be dissolved and for its assets, duties and functions to be transferred to Town in a manner which assures equivalent service and responsible administration and maintenance."

If the dissolution is approved, Pagosa Springs voters will go to the polling place a third time in 2000, this time in November at the general election, to decide whether or not to create a general improvement district to provide sewer and wastewater treatment within the old sanitation district boundaries.

A general improvement district would allow revenues from the current sanitation district levy of 3.4 mills (expected to be $75,725 in 2000) and an anticipated year 2000 revenue from monthly service and plant investment fees of $142,000 to be used for system operation without adding an administrative and authoritative layer to the process. A general improvement district allows the town to collect tax on properties outside town boundaries now served by the sanitation district.

"We'll have the sanitation district election on May 2 to consider dissolution," said Harrington. "The dissolution, if it is approved, will be contingent on passing the GID in November."

Harrington said the central purpose of seeking to dissolve the sanitation district "is to eliminate a layer of government - to streamline operations. The town has effectively done all the work for the last five years or so, and did the billing back to the creation of the district. Now we do all the work. Furthermore, wastewater treatment plays a significant role in the growth of our community. The expansion and development of the wastewater system dramatically affects our growth patterns and the town wants a say in that."


Weather report: Sluggish system heads for Pagosa

By Roy Starling

Winter's been pretty uneventful so far, and what little snow that's fallen here in the valley is beginning to recede, revealing brown patches of dirt and clumps of grass. But will all of this change soon?

Probably not. This morning should be sunny, followed by increasing clouds that aren't to be taken seriously, according to National Weather Service forecaster John Kyle. Not a flake should fall today, and the highs should be between 40 and 45 degrees.

How about tomorrow? "There's a high-pressure system over southern Colorado," Kyle said, "and that's going to keep you in a fairly dry weather pattern through Friday, which should be dry with lows between 10 and 20 degrees and highs in the lower 40s."

That high-pressure system should weaken by Saturday, but there is not exactly a line of monster storms waiting to invade the area in its absence. "Some Pacific moisture will begin to move in, but there's not much energy with that system," Kyle said. The system is expected to give us the usual "slight chance" of snow, with highs in the high 30s, lows in the teens.

Sunday should continue to be a slow news day for weather. The Pacific system will continue to hang around, so the skies could be gray, but there's still only a slight chance that anything wet will fall from them.

"It looks like your greatest chance of moisture will be Sunday night," Kyle said. "There should be improving conditions Monday and Tuesday. Looking down the road - and of course these long-range forecasts don't tend to be very accurate - there's another disturbance due by mid-week and this one could have a little punch in it."

Last Friday afternoon, many folks in Archuleta County felt the punch of a short but intense snowstorm that left an inch or so of fresh powder over the crusty, frozen, heavy snow left over from earlier in the week.

Yesterday, Wolf Creek Ski Area reported 2 inches of new snow in the last 72 hours and 28 inches in the last week. The area now has 46 inches of natural snow at the summit and 42 inches midway.


Nine compete for two seats

By John M. Motter

The position of Archuleta County commissioner is attracting a great deal of interest this election year. Nine hopefuls, all Republican, are competing for two vacancies.

The county has three commissioners. Two of them complete their term of office this year. Consequently, both positions will be on the November ballot.

In Commissioner District 2, incumbent Ken Fox is completing his first four-year term in office. Fox has attracted three opponents, Alden Ecker, Ralph Goulds and John Feazel. Fox is running for re-election.

Incumbent William Downey was appointed Oct. 27, 1998, to fill the unexpired term of Bill Tallon in Commissioner District 1. Tallon resigned and moved from the area. Downey is seeking the nomination in District 1. Registered with the county clerk to oppose Downey are Patrick Horning, Nancy Rowe, Albern C. Warren and Michael Branch.

Commissioner District 1 generally represents the northwestern part of Archuleta County. Commissioner District 2 generally represents the southwestern part of Archuleta County. U.S. 160 is the dividing line between the two districts with some exceptions. The dividing line between District 1 and District 2 starts at 8th Street downtown and follows U.S. 160 westerly to Piedra Road. At Piedra Road, the dividing line moves north to the intersection with Dutton Creek, then southwest along Dutton Creek to the intersection with North Pagosa Boulevard, then south on North Pagosa Boulevard to the intersection with U.S. 160. The line then follows U.S. 160 westerly to the junction with Cat Creek Road (CR 700), then south along Cat Creek Road to the intersection with La Vega Redonda Road, then follows La Vega Redonda Road north to the Intersection with Colo. 151, westerly along Colo. 151 to the junction of Fossett Gulch Road (CR 193), then north along Fossett Gulch Road to the intersection with Ignacio Creek, then northwesterly along Ignacio Creek to an intersection with a jeep trail, then south along the jeep trail to an intersection with Spring Creek, then west along Spring Creek to the Archuleta-La Plata county line.

The line between Commissioner District 2 and Commissioner District 3, running from south to north, begins at Caracas Road (CR557) moving north to the intersection with Trujillo Road (CR 500), then north along Trujillo Road to the intersection with Apache Street in town, then east along Apache Street to the intersection with South 8th Street, then north along South 8th Street to the intersection with U.S. 160. Commissioner District 2 is west of the line just described. Commissioner District 3 east of the same line.

Before their name is placed on the November ballot, prospective candidates must be selected to the primary ballot by delegates to the county general assembly to be held some time during April or May. The primary election will be conducted Aug. 8, the general election Nov. 7.


Group suggests stocking San Juan River with trout

By John M. Motter

Wildlife, fishing and the great outdoors were the topics of a meeting sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Chapter of the Friends of the National Rifle Association and held at Pagosa Lodge Tuesday night.

Discussion ranged from U.S. Forest Service road closures to new big-game season dates and rules, through lynx reintroduction to elk migration routes, and to planting trout in the San Juan River near Pagosa Springs.

Present at the meeting were Friends of the N.R.A. state representative David Lee, local Colorado Division of Wildlife managers Mike Reid and Doug Purcell, and Ron Decker representing the Pagosa Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service.

Officers of the Pagosa Springs NRA chapter include chairman David Cordray, and committee members Dick Ray, Eddie Archuleta, David Baker, Chuck Betts, Todd Shelton, Lloyd Thompson and Jason Ward. Ray served as moderator for the meeting.

Trout planting

Larry Fisher of the San Juan-Pagosa Springs Fish Enhancement Committee suggested that trout be planted in San Juan River stretches near Pagosa Springs.

Because of the whirling disease, fish have not been stocked in the San Juan for two years, Fisher said. Even with a two-trout limit, the river is fished out, Fisher said.

His organization proposes stocking the river with trout in the 17- to 26-inch size range. A major consideration is raising money to support the stocking program, Fisher said. The Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce has promised to match the enhancement committee's expenditures dollar for dollar, according to Fisher.

An added plus for the program would be the implantation of tags on the stocked fish, making it possible for state game and fish people to study the fish's habits.

Fisher is asking for community involvement, ideas, and money to implement the program. He says the Colorado Division of Wildlife is sympathetic to the proposal, but will have to approve final plans before stocking can take place.

The benefits of stocking, according to Fisher, are boosting tourism, supporting locals who enjoy fishing, research through the tags, and - through a special program for children - enhancement of the benefits children receive through fishing and being outdoors.

Big Game Seasons

Although the official DOW big-game hunting program for this year will not be published for several weeks, Reid and Purcell noted the following season dates and changes for the year 2000.

- Archery (deer/elk) Aug. 26 to Sept. 24. Deer drawing only. Elk either sex licenses sold over the counter.

- Muzzleloader season (deer/elk) Sept. 9 to Sept. 17. Drawing only.

- First rifle season (either sex elk only) Oct. 14 to Oct. 18. All licenses issued by draw only. No deer licenses this season. Private land only (elk either sex) licenses will also be issued for this season. (No additional license.)

- Second rifle season (elk and deer) Oct. 21 to Oct. 27. Bull elk licenses sold over the counter. Either sex/cow issued by drawing only. Deer licenses issued by drawing only.

- Third rifle season (elk and deer) Nov. 4 to Nov. 10. Bull elk licenses sold over the counter. Either sex/cow issued by drawing only. No deer licenses in the Cortez/Dolores/Durango/Pagosa Springs area this season.

- Other seasons (late elk and deer) dates vary. Offered in some units. Will be cow elk only, doe deer only, private land only.

- Bear (archery/muzzleloading/rifle seasons) Sept. 2 to Sept. 30. Issued by drawing only. Hunters purchasing bear licenses over-the-counter must have deer or elk license for the same season.

Lynx reintroduction

The DOW lynx reintroduction program was discussed at some length. No one spoke favorably for the program, which is being continued this spring by the release of 50 additional lynx. Most people commented that the mortality rate should have stopped the program. Reid reported that, of the 41 lynx released this past year, 17 are known to be dead, eight are missing, 15 are being tracked, and one with no collar is known to be alive.

Elk program

A DOW program financed by the Pagosa Springs chapter and designed to monitor the migration habits of elk is having problems because of the mild winter. Because of the mild weather, many think the elk are not following normal winter migration routes. Initially, 25 elk were collared. Remaining are 19 elk, the others having died. Most of the elk in the southeastern part of the county are hanging out near Chromo this winter instead of moving south into New Mexico.

Forest Service roads

Forest Service roads have been closed to vehicular traffic earlier this year because of the lack of snow, Pagosa Ranger District representative Ron Decker said. Closing the roads is necessary in order to keep them from being destroyed while they are wet and to protect motorists from getting stuck a long way from home. Spring closure of roads has been a Forest Service practice for several years because the Forest Service does not have sufficient money to repair badly damaged roads, according to Decker.

Guns and all-terrain vehicles

Guns carried on ATVs must not contain ammunition and must be housed in some sort of case, such as a sheath or holster, according to Reid.


Inside The Sun

Cost for single-family residence increases in Pagosa

By John M. Motter

The cost to build a single-family residence in Archuleta County during 1999 amounted to $193,549, up from the 1998 construction cost of $187,177, according to a report prepared by the county building department.

Land acquisition and resale mark-up costs are not included in the report. Last year the county issued 233 single-family building permits with estimated construction costs totaling $45,097,000.

"It's kind of a guessing game," said Julia Rodriguez of the building department. "I use $75 a square foot, which is very conservative. Some builders tell me the actual cost is approaching $90 a square foot."

The 3.4 percent increase in the estimated cost of construction when comparing 1999 with 1998 can be attributed to bigger homes being built, according to Rodriguez.

"I think the average single-family residence built during 1998 contained about 1,500 square feet," Rodriguez said. "The average this year is about 1,700 square feet."

The number of single-family building permits during 1999, 233, is down slightly from the 243 single-family permits issued during 1998. The number of single-family building permits issued during 1998 was an all-time high for Archuleta County. Modular homes are included with single-family residences.

In contrast to the decrease in the number of homes built, the number of permits for mobile homes climbed from 84 during 1998 to 98 during 1999, a 16.6 percent increase. The average estimated individual construction cost for a mobile home reached $53,250 during 1999, a slight increase over the $50,060 figure for 1998.

The number of duplex permits issued dropped from seven in 1998 to four in 1999. At the same time, the total construction cost of the four 1999 duplex permits is estimated at $685,000, while the total cost of the seven 1998 permits was estimated at $331,000.

One three-plex permit with an estimated construction cost of $374,000 was issued during 1999. None were issued during 1998. One six-plex permit with an estimated construction cost of $424,000 was issued during 1999. None were issued during 1998.

During 1999, one townhouse building permit was issued at an estimated construction cost of $350,000. No townhouse permits were issued during 1998. No condominium permits were issued during 1999 or 1998.

One apartment construction permit with an estimated cost of $81,000 was issued during 1999. During 1998, 16 apartment construction permits were issued with a total construction cost estimated at $192,000.

During both years, 12 timeshare permits were issued with a total value of $480,000.

In the commercial arena, 13 construction permits were issued with a total estimated construction value of $3,347,000 during 1999. During 1998, 31 commercial building permits with an estimated construction value of $4,885,000 were issued.

During 1999, the county building department issued 517 building permits creating 401 living units that had an estimated construction cost of $63,771,740. During 1998, the county building department issued 510 building permits creating 405 living units and having an estimated construction cost of $63,000,100.


Sickening smell shuts down health facility

By Karl Isberg

It was an unhealthy day at San Juan Basin Health.

On the morning of Jan. 28, staff members at the San Juan Basin Health facility on South 8th Street in Pagosa Springs noticed an odor in the building. Soon, members of the staff began to feel sick and to develop headaches.

A call brought a response from the Pagosa Fire Protection District and from Emergency Medical Services. The building was evacuated and while San Juan Basin staff members were given oxygen and had their vital signs checked by EMS personnel, firefighters checked the building in an effort to find the culprit.

"When the call came in," said fire Chief Warren Grams, "the people said there was an odor they could not identify. We could smell it from outside the building. It smelled somewhat like isopropyl alcohol."

Grams said 14 firefighters worked at the scene.

"We looked for open containers, ruptured containers or spills that could account for the odor," said the chief. "We tried to find some source that would produce that odor but found nothing. I checked the building with a multi-gas meter which is designed to detect a number of common gases, but I found nothing."

Grams said, following the unsuccessful search for a source of the odor, he and his crew ventilated the building and closed it for the weekend.

"We rechecked the building on Monday morning," said Grams, "and despite the ventilation of the building on Friday, the odor had returned. I used the multi-gas meter again and there was no evidence of any detectable element."

Grams said officials of San Juan Basin Health took over the investigation of the problem.

Pat Shepherd of the Durango office of San Juan Basin Health said Wednesday the Pagosa building was still closed. Shepherd said he received a phone report from a testing lab concerning results of an examination of water from the sump beneath the building. Shepherd said no elements were detected in the water that could have caused the problem.

"We have a plan," said Shepherd, "and it will begin with a check of the carpets in the building. There is a chance there is an odor blocker applied to the carpets and we plan to hire a service to rinse the carpets on the chance this is the source of the problem. The odor seems to concentrate on the second floor of the building, and when we ventilate the building, everything seems okay for a while. We are bringing in some air purifiers to see if they will help with the situation."

Shepherd could not predict when the facility will reopen.

"I'm going to contact members of the staff in Pagosa," he said. "If the problem can be managed through ventilation and air purification, then we could reopen with limited hours at the facility. In the meantime, we will keep doing research and try to determine what is causing the problem."



Only fantasy

Dear Editor,

In response to Rosemary Horstman's letter (Jan. 27) about the Harry Potter books: First of all Rosemary, have you even read the books? I just finished the third in the series and I am as anxious as my daughters for the fourth to come out. I found the reading enjoyable, exciting, fantasy. And second of all, please, if you want to be concerned about what leads up to incidents like the Columbine tragedy, look at what today's children are watching on television, what they are viewing at the movie theater, and what they are playing on their Nintendos and video arcade games. You won't find witches and warlocks. You'll find real live shoot 'em-up, blow them off the screen violence.

Terri Andersen

Buyer beware??

Dear David,

Jim Denvir, Jerry and Joan Rohwer, and Kathryn Nelson are to be congratulated for dispelling the myth of local support for the Piano Creek venture.

The attack on Jim Denvir for daring, even in jest, to mention some of the disparities in privilege between those who belong and those who do not is not only ill conceived but unconscionable as well. The mention of low-cost housing appeared to be the final proof of "communist" thinking. It should be noted that there are a substantial number of people both locally and nationally who have enough concern for their fellow men to contribute both time and money to providing simple decent housing for all. I have confidence that they are not all "communists," in fact I doubt if I am the only conservative Republican participating.

The Rohwers' experience points to at least two lessons, the first is that when "big" money comes to town, it comes with a heavy hand. Second, that for the price of a retail sale, with full value and service received by the purchaser, there seems to be an expectation of undying allegiance and endorsement, or in the absence thereof, future economic boycott. From those persons who have had their right of free speech on this controversial local matter held hostage by the reasonable fear of economic retaliation, thanks should go to the Rohwers who came forward and took the risk.

For those who still look forward to the economic benefit promised by Piano Creek for Pagosa, it may be well to ask is it worth the cost? In addition after the "full-page episode," how much else about Piano Creek has been inflated or exaggerated? Caveat emptor.

Glenn Bergmann

Participation vital

Dear David,

An activity of vital importance is taking place today, right now, in Archuleta County. Its consequences are far reaching and will affect every man, woman and child living in Archuleta County today and in the future.

I am writing about the Archuleta County Community Plan. This plan is a map, a guideline, which will help determine county regulations, priorities, growth-management scenarios and techniques, traffic patterns, and county development.

This is not an exclusive process. It is open to every citizen in this county who wants their voice and viewpoint to be heard. It is every individual's opportunity to make a difference.

I have been asked to serve on the Community Plan Steering Committee. I and my fellow committee members, are charged with the task of discerning the desires of Archuleta County's citizens regarding growth and management, and conveying those desires to the Four Corners Planning and Design consultants who have been hired by Archuleta County to develop the Community Plan.

Without the input of Archuleta County's citizens, I have no information to convey. So, I am writing to all citizens of Archuleta County to urge you to become a part of this important process. Please let your voices be heard. Most of us live in Archuleta County because of attributes which are meaningful to us. There are some things about our community we would like never to change, and some things which could use change.

Do you want open space? Do you want bicycle and walking trails? Do you think that attracting light industry to our community is important? What is the condition of the roads you travel? Are they safe and adequately maintained? Will they serve the growth of the future? What is the growth of the future? Where in the county will it be concentrated? What other issues should be considered?

From Feb. 15 through Feb. 28, 2000, a series of community meetings will take place throughout the county. They have been located in several areas with the intention of making them as convenient to the citizens of Archuleta County as possible. You will find their dates and locations published in an ad in this edition of the SUN and PREVIEW. They are the first step in the process of developing the Community Plan.

If you are going to be out of town, or just can't make the meeting, or if you simply prefer writing your opinion rather than stating it in public, you can convey your suggestions to myself, or any of the other members of the steering committee. My telephone is 264-2933, my fax is 264-2938, and my e-mail is Also serving on the steering committee are: Karen Aspin, Tim Horning, John Applegate, Dick Moseley, Wayne Pippinger, Bob Formwalt, Mary Madore, Ken Seibel, Lynn Constan, Jo Bridges, John E. Baker Jr., Jay Harrington and Mike Mollica.

Please take the time to think about, and answer, the following questions: What do you like about Archuleta County and what would you like to retain? What do you dislike about Archuleta County and what would you like to change? What is the appropriate balance between making room for newcomers and tourists, and maintaining the quality of life and culture that have been part of Archuleta County's heritage for more than a century?

Please participate. It is important. Archuleta County needs your vision.


Mary K. Carpenter

Potter good reading

Dear David,

This is in response to the letter from Mrs. (Rosemary ) Horstman, (Jan. 27).

Mrs. Horstman, it is quite obvious that you have not read the Harry Potter books by the author, J.K. Rowlings. What would the world be like if all people felt the same as you? I can't even begin to think about what works of literature we would not have had the pleasure of reading.

I have read all three books that Ms. Rowlings has published. I have read the first book to my sons' fifth and sixth grade class. My husband and two older children have read these books. We are not brewing potions in a cauldron, I have no desire to turn anybody into toads. I do not find myself fascinated with the devil (there is no mention of the devil in any of these books). These books are most certainly not "breeders of fear and violence." These books are entertaining and nothing more.

Just think for a minute if you will, all the people in this world who are not readers, just think about how many have actually picked up those books and have read. Reading expands your mind and imagination, it takes you on a journey, an innocent journey. Do you see children of Pagosa Springs trying out their new broomsticks they got for Christmas?

Mrs. Horstman, what evidence do you have that these books have actually altered the minds of people (young and old alike)? What shred of evidence do you have that those of us that have read Harry Potter are now worshiping the devil? Do you honestly believe that the two boys that murdered the kids and teacher at Columbine might have read Harry Potter? And if they had, were convinced to gun down all those people because of the content in these books? Highly unlikely.

These books lead us only to wanting Ms. Rowlings to hurry up and write another book. They do not lead us into temptation. If you are not a firm believer in the First Amendment right, I suggest you find another country that feels that censorship and dictatorship is OK. The beauty of this country is that we do not all feel the same, that we are free to believe and think for ourselves.

The tragedy at Columbine will scar this country for a long time, but it is not because of authors who write a good story.


Sandy Caves

Become involved

Dear Editor,

Archuleta County's growth is one of the highest in the United States. Earlier this year, our local county commissioner's hired a consulting firm with the assistance of the Vision Committee to survey county residents to determine local opinion's on growth issues, desires for growth-management planning, and satisfaction with current services.

Commissioner's also added a full-time director of county development this year, Mike Mollica to the county planning-building staff. Mollica is currently working with grant monies in a joint town-county project, which will take major steps toward creating an Archuleta County vision plan. A Durango consulting firm, Four Corners Planning has been recently hired to facilitate community meetings, which will result in a community-based vision and goals to meet residents desires to preserve what is most important to Archuleta County residents. According to the recent survey, maintaining scenic beauty and small town atmosphere were some of the most important issues.

Serving the commissioners and planning department is a group of volunteers dedicated to keeping these noteworthy efforts moving forward and ensuring public input is considered as the basis of any future plan. The Vision Committee desires to reflect the diversity of the community through good representation by neighborhood and occupation. There will be many ways for the local residents to participate in this planning process and their involvement is crucial to the success of a long-range plan.

If you are concerned with the effects of rapid county growth and are willing to dedicate volunteer time to participate on the Vision Committee, you are encouraged to attend the next meeting at noon, March 1 and the (third Wednesday of each month), at the chamber of commerce building. The committee is specifically looking for volunteers in outlying areas, such as Chromo and Arboles where representation is much needed. The committee will be updating the public monthly on the progress of the Vision Committee through articles in the Pagosa SUN.

As a volunteer of this committee, I beg the community to become involved in this issue, please attend the up-and-coming public hearing to be announced in the paper.

Sincerely yours,

Debra Brown

Develop relationships

Dear David,

In response to last week's (Jan. 27) letter suggesting that children reading Harry Potter books are on the road to becoming the next Columbine killers, I offer the following:

Children who feel safe enough to communicate with others, to share their genuine feelings and concerns, to write the editor from their classrooms, to be valued and accepted and who have multi-generational relationships are not the children who have pulled the triggers in our classrooms around the country.

It is those who are not accepted or valued, those who are shut down, those who feel misunderstood and outcast, those who feel they cannot respond safely who respond with violence.

To tell our children that reading the wonderful Harry Potter tales will send them down the road to violent homicidal outbursts, and then attempting to justify this fear by using the Bible alienates our youth and creates unfounded fear.

If you are truly concerned about youth and violence, you may want to check out the Search Institute's work on the 40 Developmental Assets. I also encourage you to establish a positive relationship with some of the many youth in our churches, neighborhoods, and community . . . perhaps even have a good natured discussion over Harry Potter.


Mark DeVoti


Dear David,

For John Feazel to imply that Judge (Jim) Denvir is a racist, guilt-ridden Marxist is ludicrous and slanderous. To say that liberal Democrats are responsible for creating "disadvantaged people" is downright stupid. To imply that all "entrenched liberal Democrats" are Godless is untrue and unfair. John Feazel, the windbag, wants Judge Denvir to be brief? Give me a break.

Well, I'm sure that the "upbeat, able and forward-thinking wealthy people" at Piano Creek are tickled to death to find out that Mr. Feazel is one of their valued supporters and most ardent defender.

I want to go on record here by saying that I am a "supporter" of Piano Creek. Piano Creek, please send me a $100 check payable to,

D.C. Duncan

Needling urbanities

Dear Editor,

I was delighted to learn that there is no Fairfield in the county.

My neighbors are disappointed that I will be unable to move to this community. I could move to Fairfield, Virginia, but I'm afraid my hogs would not be able to stand the stench emanating from Washington.

I guess I'll sit tight and do my best to needle the urbanites in northern Archuleta County.


Bob Dungan


Sign needed

Dear David,

I was just thinking of the time when I wrote a letter while I was in boot camp and how confused I was. You talk about some stress . . . boot camp was full of it.

Well, I remember getting a paper in the mail and reading your column you wrote and mentioned us in it. Us being my fellow Marines I graduated with, Rusty Nabors and Sonny Davidson. I'm stationed out here in the best place in the world. Yeah, I'm surrounded by miles and miles of sand. Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., isn't exactly your great getaway tourist town. The biggest attraction would be the infamous 7-11 store/gas station/everything. I'm sure some people know what I'm talking about. Anyhow, I recall that one soldier requesting a city sign. Well, now it's my turn. I just wanted something to remember home by and so I could feel closer to it. The best thing that's happened to me lives in town . . . she knows who she is, and it would make me feel less farther away from her if I had a simple sign. We're going to Okinawa, Japan, in August for six months, talk about a carnival cruise, huh? I love it here in the Marine Corps!

Since my last letter, I've been meritoriously promoted to lance corporal. So, I'm not hurting too bad as far as rank goes. I just thought I'd update anyone who may be following. I tell you what, going from nice, crisp mornings to 70-plus degree weather here is a big change for me. I'd rather be in the cold than this January heat.

Well, I'd just like to thank everyone again for everything that they've done for me. If anyone has any info on me getting a hold of a (Pagosa Springs) sign, they can write me at: LCPL Hill, Taro, 2/7 Fox Co. WPNS PLT., 29 Palms, CA 92278.

Thanks again, everybody.

Yours truly,

Taro R. Hill

Great volunteerism

Dear David,

Those who came to our Big Band '40s Swing Dance at the Pagosa Lodge this past Saturday night heard some terrific music, and it sure looked like everyone there had a great time. In addition, it was a great fund-raising cause for the League of Women Voters of Colorado.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the Pagosa Lodge for the very generous donation of its party room for the dance. Without the support that the Lodge provided in this manner, we never would have been able to put on our fund-raiser dance. I also want to specifically thank Jackie Rapp at the Lodge for all her logistical help in putting the benefit together, Dawn Klein for providing wonderful hors d'oeuvres for the evening, and Ann Rapp for making sure the entire evening ran smoothly.

In addition, I want to thank John Graves and Debbie Tucker Ramey for donating their incredible talents toward making the evening even better. I hope they enjoyed playing and singing with the band at least half as much as we all enjoyed hearing them.

I think we all know that our wonderful community would collapse in a heartbeat without all the incredible volunteerism that keeps it running so beautifully. Saturday evening was a perfect example of that reality.

For those who weren't fortunate enough to join us in dancing to Jeff Solon's '40s Big Band at the Lodge Saturday, they'll have another chance to hear the band at the Pagosa Rotary Club's St. Patrick's Day event in March. Don't miss it.


Nan Rowe



Dear Editor,

I believe I must apologize to the two county commissioners that I berated in my ill-conceived letter in last week's SUN (Jan. 27).

It came to me last night that since gavels have been used by many if not most chairpersons of our county commissioners in past years, these two commissioners were not out to humiliate the chairman, but were castigating him for spending his own money to bring back this old custom. I really think they felt hurt for not being included in the purchase. I hope they will forgive me for my innocent but stupid error.

Lee Sterling

Good luck shopping

Dear Editor,

So local merchants want Pagosa people to shop Pagosa first. Let me give three examples of why we go to Durango, Farmington and the Web:

1. City Market: One item at your store costs $9.35, at Wal-Mart it's $5.47. Another item in your store is $4.50, in Wal-Mart you can purchase two of the same items for $5. Another item we save $1.35 by purchasing it at Wal-Mart. These are regular prices. You say you're only in competition with Albertson's and only match their prices. Well, tell the managers in Grand Junction when a store moves into town, no matter if it's Joe Blow's Grocery Store or Wal-Mart, you are in direct competition with that store.

2. To the travel agency we contacted in June for an October trip. At that time we told you to take a couple of weeks since the trip was planned for October and we wanted the best deal. We also told you of three future trips planned for 2000 we would like you to schedule when the time got closer. We're no longer waiting on that call, it never came, so we went to the Web. Evidently the commission on $5,400 in airline tickets wasn't worth your time or effort.

3. To the caterer we started contacting the first part of December. Okay, you were busy so we agreed to wait until after the holidays, then it was the third week in January. When we called the third week in January, our calls weren't returned. We called the next week, luckily you were in the office so we agreed on an appointment. When we got to the appointment at the predetermined time, you were out running errands and would be late. We waited 10 minutes then left. We were already getting the impression you really didn't want our business and this was the last straw. All you had to do is call us and say you were going to be late and could we come at a later time. This would have made us think you wanted our business. But errands? Give me a break, are errands more important than business.

We could give you more instances of our frustration with shopping Pagosa first but we will stop with these three.

We do and will always try to shop Pagosa first, but when given the impression that you don't want our business, not given some degree of courtesy, and consider only your pockets, yes, we will go to Durango, Farmington and the Web. We will continue to have our Durango list, our Farmington list, and our "Big City" list. We can't afford not to.

Wake up merchants. Yes, we know you need to make a profit, but your profit will be eaten away if you don't consider your local customers, as well as visitors, and your competition. Both merchants and local customers are needed to support and build the Pagosa economy.

Dave Jackman and Glenna Worley


Is too, is not, is too

Dear David,

Re: Your editor's note to my letter to the editor (SUN, Jan. 27) regarding the question: "Which exists first, the developer or the development?" The area now known as Pagosa Lakes started out as Navajo Trails, evolved into Eaton International Corp., then into Fairfield Pagosa Inc.

Pagosa Property Owners Association was incorporated under Eaton March 14, 1972, and as Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association (PLPOA) on Aug. 27, 1984. (Your history lesson for the week). As I previously stated, Fairfield Pagosa Inc. declared bankruptcy to try to evade their commitments to the development and ceased to exist when they were reorganized by the bankruptcy court in Little Rock, Ark.

So, should we call PLPOA - Navajo Trails or Eaton - since you raised the question of which existed first? No, I don't think so - Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association is the name of the development and should not be referred to as Fairfield. And, I do know what the meaning of "is" is.

Mojie Adler

Editor's note: Hmm. Navajo Trails . . . Pagosa in Colorado . . . Fairfield Pagosa . . . Pagosa Lakes . . . Carnival Country, Colorado. Bring on the clowns.

Carnival Fairfield?

Dear David,

I read in The Durango Herald ("Carnival may buy Fairfield," Jan. 25) that the Carnival Corporation and Fairfield have signed a letter of intent for Carnival to buy Fairfield. I can't help but wonder if our community of Pagosa Lakes will then come to be known in certain circles as "Carnival," as it once was "Eaton" and now "Fairfield." In view of some events over the past couple of years, that might be appropriate.

Historically, the Declaration of Restrictions for 13 of the subdivisions was dated March 13, 1970, with Navajo Trail Corporation as "Declarant" and the development bearing the name "Pagosa in Colorado."

The Declaration of Restrictions for Pagosa Meadows, Unit II was dated Sept. 9, 1971, with Eaton International Corporation as "Declarant" and the development still bearing the name "Pagosa in Colorado."

The first publication of bylaws for the "Pagosa Property Owners Association Inc." was dated Feb. 29, 1972. The most prominent feature on the front cover is the "Pagosa in Colorado" logo. The Articles of Incorporation of "Pagosa Property Owners Association" also were dated Feb. 29, 1972.

At its annual meeting on July 28, 1984, the members of Pagosa Property Owners Association adopted an amendment to the articles of incorporation changing its name to "Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association." Secretary of State Natalie Meyer issued the Certificate of Amendment on Aug. 27, 1984.

The proposal for the name change was the result of a survey involving all of the members. We all received something in the mail inviting us to submit our proposed names for our community and association The responses were tabulated and analyzed by the board, staff and committee. Four names, Pagosa Lakes, Sunetha, Twin Creeks and Pfeiffer, as I recall them, were put on the ballot for the annual meeting. The overwhelming choice was Pagosa Lakes, which received more votes than the other three combined.

The question of why the name "Fairfield Pagosa" wasn't on the ballot, as Fairfield had wanted, was raised at a public meeting. The answer given was that numerous responses were very negative about any proposed name with the word "Fairfield" in it.


Earle Beasley

Pagosa Lakes

Editor's note: Could you please provide information about the results of the vote former Fairfield Pagosa general manager Ron Ault conducted in which the property owners had an opportunity to vote for or against the name Fairfield Pagosa?

Poets - didn't know it

Dear Editor,

The diversity in the characteristics and make up of the Pagosa Springs population is something that not only makes this area unique, but also a great place to live. After perusing the letters to the editor section of last week's SUN, I am even more impressed with the talents we have here. Imagine, two poet laureates under one roof.

I was so inspired, it brought the poet out in me - here goes: Roses are red,/ Violets are blue./ PLPOA ghostwriters for the Curtis' poems/ I think so . . . don't you?

By the way, Karl's article on Phantasm Ponds Property Owners Association (Jan. 20) was a satirical masterpiece rivaling the best works of Mark Twain. It was not only humorous, very entertaining, but also, and sadly so, very truthful. While Karl becomes more like Twain, I find myself becoming more like my friend Lee Sterling.

Roy K. Boutwell

Metro district?

Dear Editor,

As a property owner in Loma Linda, I am concerned about the recent agenda to create a "metro district" for the area. Just what is the "metro" area supposed to do - charge taxes for road maintenance while the homeowners association continues to collect for the same thing?

Are there minutes from any of the meetings regarding this issue and does anyone have an idea as to the break down of ($) numbers when it comes to metro versus status quo regarding road maintenance fees?

It becomes very difficult to vote for anyone on or off the board when all appear to be in the dark on particulars.


James Otis

Trite comments

Dear Editor,

Could you, would you please print the following in next week's edition?

Dear Mr. Mettscher,

Although I understand your frustration with the Public Safety Office in the PLPOA, your comment regarding the PSO officers having their hands full "with traffic stops and eating donuts" is trite and unnecessary. The officers are not responsible for the way their organization is managed. So, Mr. Mettscher, get off their backs with the "donuts" comments.

Julie Paige

Thankful Pagosans

We just wanted to thank all the wonderful people who go unsung for all their work and kind efforts that make Pagosa such a great place to live. While cross country skiing up on Fall Creek Road this past Sunday, we met a man who was on his snowmobile grooming the trail so that people like us can enjoy being there so much more easier.

We really do appreciate all your time and energies. Thanks Norm Vance.

Donna Wagle

Carol Feazel




Loren G. Snook

Loren G. Snook, 80, of Aztec, N.M., died on Monday, Jan. 31, 2000, after a long illness.

Mr. Snook was born on Feb. 28, 1919, in Pagosa Springs to George W. Snook and Julia A. Bellamy Snook. He was preceded in death by his parents, five brothers and two sisters.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Irene Snook, who he married on Dec. 17, 1942; and their children, Sharon and husband Larry Pew of Big Spring, Texas; Darrel Snook and wife Debby of Aztec; and Sheryl Archuleta of Durango. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

In 1977, Loren and Irene, after retiring from ranching, moved from Pagosa Springs to Aztec.

A memorial service will be held for Mr. Snook on Friday, Feb. 4, at Cope Memorial Chapel in Aztec. Cremation has taken place.



Yerton-Luetkemeyer Engagement

Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Yerton are pleased to announce the engagement of their son Joshua David to Miss Jennifer Luetkemeyer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Luetkemeyer of St. Charles, Mo. Joshua is currently employed by Black and Veatch Engineering in Kansas City, Mo., as a design engineer. Jennifer is employed as a physical therapist for St. Lukes Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

A June 10 wedding is planned at Our Savior Lutheran Church in St. Charles. Photo courtesy of Matt and Jen Thompson


Walls-Mummert Engagement

Mr. and Mrs. Fay Mummert of Cumberland, Md., announce the engagement of their daughter, Michelle Lee Mummert to Rev. Christopher Lee Walls, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thermon L. Walls of McKinney, Texas. The wedding will take place on Feb. 19, at Christ United Methodist Church of Cumberland. The bride is a graduate of Forstberg State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a marketing emphasis and is currently the director of marketing for the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

Chris is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biblical studies, language and history as well as a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The couple will make their home in Pagosa Springs where Chris is pastor of Mountain Heights Baptist Church.


Eliason 50th Anniversary

Earl and Dena Eliason will celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary on Feb. 5, 2000. Mr. and Mrs. Eliason were married in Rapid City, S.D., in 1950. After an adventurous 50 years of travels from South Dakota, to Guam, to New Hampshire and a brief stay on the West Coast, these two rambunctious roughnecks have retired to the peaceful setting found in Pagosa Springs.

They have eight children, 14 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren from this half-century of love, who wish them the very best in the many years to come. "Uff Da!"

Beach earns Naval award

Navy Commander Fred C. Beach was recently awarded the Bernard Smith Award, for what was cited as "outstanding performance of his duties" as the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division's military deputy department head in the Combat Systems Dept. at NSWCDD.

Cmdr. Beach is the son of Fred and Carolyn Beach of Pagosa Springs. He is a 1982 graduate of the University of Oklahoma (BS nuclear engineering and chemistry) and a 1996 graduate of the Naval Post Graduate School. He currently resides in Fredericksburg, Va.

The Bernard Smith Award was established to recognize those individuals with exceptional, significant, technical contributions in engineering or science, particularly contributions that are accomplished by exceptional persistence and competence in the face of unusual odds or significant opposition. It is named for the former technical director of the Naval Weapons Laboratory.



Sports Page

Lady Pirates hold on, even score with Centauri

By Roy Starling

Okay, so maybe the Pagosa-Centauri rematch wasn't exactly the clash of the titans. Maybe it was more like "truth is stranger than fiction." In either case, the Lady Pirates got the job done, winning a game they absolutely had to win, edging the Lady Falcons 42-38 to grab a share of the Intermountain League lead.

What was strange about the game? The Lady Pirates scored only two points in the third quarter and connected on only two field goals in the entire second half, and won anyway.

They did it by matching Centauri point for point (14-14) in the first quarter, then dominating the paint in the second to build an 11-point lead, and finally giving the Lady Falcons very few decent looks at the basket in the final period.

Lady Pirate coach Karen Wells said the game was won with rebounding and defense. Going into the game, the Ladies were determined not to be out rebounded, and they weren't. "When they beat us in La Jara, they had eight more rebounds than we did," she said. "But we stayed even with them this time. We both had 29."

Thirteen of those 29 rebounds came on the offensive side of the floor, and the Lady Pirates converted them into 13 points.

Defensively, Pagosa held Centauri to its lowest point total of the season. The Lady Falcons' leading scorer and 3-point specialist Holly McCarroll failed to connect from the perimeter, winding up with five points from two breakaway layups and a free throw.

Sparkplug point guard Nicole Espinosa was held to six points, and this time the Ladies made sure there were no heroics from her in the fourth period.

"Centauri scores more from the outside than the inside," Wells said, "and we slowed them down with a man-to-man defense. We'd switch to a zone occasionally, so they'd have to figure out what we were doing."

Early standoff

The Lady Pirates made life hard for themselves by turning the ball over eight times in the first quarter, but Centauri wasn't able to convert the miscues into a lead.

After both teams worked through a case of nerves, Janae Esterbrook put Pagosa in the scoring column first with a net-singeing 3-pointer. Seconds later, McCarroll broke loose on a fast break and cut the lead to 3-2.

Sophomore Ashley Gronewoller then went to work in the post, scoring at 4:55 from a Bonnie O'Brien pass and again at 4:26 after grabbing one of her four offensive rebounds on the night. After an Espinosa runner in the lane, Centauri post Cindy McCarroll fouled Katie Lancing who made 1 of 2 from the line to give the Ladies an 8-6 lead at 3:55. More important than the free throw, however, was the fact that Cindy's foul was her second in six seconds, and the gifted post was in foul trouble the rest of the game.

Lady Falcon senior Jennifer Bond, who had a big game before fouling out in the fourth, tied the game with a baseline jumper with 3:36 remaining in the period, but Mandy Forrest answered quickly, confounding the tight Centauri zone by drilling a jumper from 15 feet, courtesy of a Meigan Canty assist.

Gronewoller put the Ladies up by four, scoring down low from a Lancing feed, but Centauri responded by going to its own sophomore post, 5-foot-11 Erin McCarroll, for a baby hook in the lane. With 1:11 left, Bond scored on another 5-footer on the baseline to knot the game at 12-all.

With a minute left in the first period, Lancing somehow found Forrest in a flock of Falcons, and the senior spun and scored, giving the Ladies a 14-12 lead that would last until a turnover led to another Holly McCarroll breakaway bucket with 10 seconds left. The quarter ended in a 14-14 draw.

Power in the paint

The Ladies threatened to run away with it in the second quarter when Centauri could find no answer to their size and skill in the post. Four times in the period, the Lady Pirates crashed the boards, collected their own misses and put them back in.

In the quarter's first minute, Forrest rebounded a Falcon miss, raced to the other end, posted up low, took a pass from Lancing and then ripped the cords with a turn-around jumper.

At 6:52, Lancing stole the ball and went coast to coast, but when the ball refused to fall through the hoop, Canty was there for the putback: 18-14, Pagosa. Bond then interrupted the run with an offensive putback of her own, but at 6:14 Gronewoller turned a Pagosa miss into two points, and the Ladies went back up by four.

At 5:20, Gronewoller snared a defensive board, and when the Lady Pirates missed on the other end, Lancing skied for the carom and banked it in for a 22-16 margin. On Centauri's next possession, Gronewoller swatted away a shot, and the Ladies had the ball back. When they put up a clanker, Forrest grabbed the rebound and was fouled, giving the girls another shot, and, after taking a pass from Forrest, Lancing made it count: 24-16, Pagosa.

The Ladies scored twice more in the period, one on a fade-away from Lancing after taking an inbounds pass from Forrest, the other on yet another offensive rebound, this one by Forrest, the latter giving them a hefty 11-point lead, 29-18. With 10 seconds remaining, however, Erin McCarroll would gnaw into the psychological boost provided by a double-digit lead, scoring underneath to make it 29-20 at halftime.

Caught in a trap

A nasty Centauri trap lured the Ladies into seven third-period turnovers and dried up their offensive production in the paint. "They're quick and they have a really good press," Wells said of the Lady Falcons. "And in the third period, they cut us off inside."

The visitors outscored Pagosa 12-2 in the period to take over the lead at 32-31, with the Ladies' only points coming from two Esterbrook free throws. Centauri, meanwhile, hit 5 of 7 from the line, and received a big break when Espinosa banked in a 3-pointer from 23-feet, evoking a bashful, apologetic grin from the point guard.

At 4:31, Bond pulled off an old fashioned 3-point play to bring the Lady Falcons to within three, 31-28. Seconds later, momentum finished dressing itself in red when Lancing was called for an intentional foul on Holly McCarroll, a call so questionable that some of the less objective reporters at the game were seen tossing their note pads in disgust.

The foul was Lancing's fourth, which put a key Pagosa player on the bench, but, because it was deemed intentional, it also returned the ball to Centauri after Holly hit 1 of 2 free throws from the line. Fortunately, Gronewoller stuffed Cindy McCarroll's effort on that possession, and the Ladies kept the damage to a minimum.

Déjà vu again

The Pagosa-Centauri games seem to be going into rerun. As recounted on these pages two weeks ago, this season's first game in La Jara was remarkably similar to last year's. The echo effect continued during Saturday's game in Pagosa.

In '99, the Ladies saw a comfortable halftime lead dwindle after a Centauri surge in the third. Ditto '00. In '99, the Ladies regained their composure, played rugged defense in the fourth, and held on for a 43-35 win. In '00, the Ladies, well, pretty much replayed the fourth quarter of the '99 game.

On the perimeter, Esterbrook, O'Brien and Canty jammed the Lady Falcon guards who responded by uncharacteristically forcing shots and, consequently, missing them. Centauri did not score from the outside in the final period.

Underneath, Gronewoller blocked a Holly McCarroll shot on Centauri's second possession. At 4:48, Gronewoller blocked another shot and caught it for a Pagosa possession. At 3:21, Gronewoller blocked a shot from Erin McCarroll under the basket. At 1:32, Gronewoller grabbed a Pagosa miss and put it back where it belonged for a 38-36 Lady Pirate lead.

When the Lady Falcons managed to fire up a shot that exceeded Gronewoller's considerable reach, Forrest was on the boards to hold them to one opportunity per possession.

Centauri managed to tie the game at 38-all when Cindy McCarroll drained two free throws with 1:05 left in the contest, then there was no scoring while Pagosa fans held their breath for the next 37 seconds.

With :28 seconds remaining - which is forever in a Pagosa-Centauri game - Canty knocked down a clutch free throw to give the Ladies a lead and evoke a rare burst of noise from the Ladies' quiet fans. Pagosa's "D" forced a huge turnover on the Falcons' next possession when Espinosa, sandwiched by Ladies, traveled.

Fouled after catching the inbound pass, O'Brien responded on the other end by hitting 1 of 2 from the free-throw line. Centauri, down 40-38, then tried to set up a play with 10 seconds remaining in the game. But the Ladies wouldn't allow them a good look, and the Falcons' last effort sailed over the basket into the waiting arms of Esterbrook who had muscled out big Erin McCarroll for position. Without that rebound, there was still time for Erin to have sent the game into overtime with a putback.

Instead, she was left to foul Esterbrook, who calmly sank both free throws - free throws that not only nailed down the victory, but also gave the Ladies a wide enough margin of victory to break a tie with Centauri and give them a No. 1 seed for the IML District tourney next month in La Jara, provided they finish the season without another loss.

Gronewoller and Lancing led the Ladies in scoring with 11 each, while Forrest added nine and Esterbrook seven. Gronewoller was the top glass cleaner with 13, followed by Forrest with eight and Lancing with five.

Centauri had seven shots sent back their way during the game, five of those compliments of Gronewoller, two from Forrest. Lancing and Gronewoller both had three steals, and Lancing again led the team in assists with three.

The Ladies shot 35.8 percent (14 of 39) from the floor and 57.8 percent (11 of 19) from the line.

Bond led the Lady Falcons with 11 points. Erin McCarroll had 10, Espinosa and Cindy McCarroll had half a dozen each, while Holly McCarroll had five points.


Ladies head to Bayfield

By Roy Starling

Having overcome a gigantic obstacle Saturday night by edging the Centauri Lady Falcons 42-38 in Pagosa, the Lady Pirates become road warriors tomorrow night when they take the bus to Bayfield for a rematch with the Lady Wolverines.

The girls' junior varsity game begins at 4 p.m., followed by the boys' JV contest. The varsity girls' game should tip off a little before 7.

Back on Jan. 18, the Ladies spanked Bayfield pretty convincingly, winning 50-22 at home. The Lady Wolverines were without leading scorer Ginnie Flippen that night, and her return to the court might make a difference against the Ladies. Against Ignacio, Flippen, an athletic shooting guard, scored 29 points in a narrow 67-58 loss.

Since the two teams last met, Bayfield has also lost to Centauri 77-36 and to Monte Vista 60-57.

Pagosa, now 5-1 in the Intermountain League and 11-4 overall, will take another week off after tomorrow night's game, swinging back into action Friday, Feb. 11, when Monte Vista comes to town. Del Norte's Lady Tigers will visit the next night, and then the Ladies will finish their regular season with a must-win away game in Ignacio Thursday, Feb. 17.


Pirates whip Centauri, go 6-0 in IML

By David C. Mitchell

For the first time since the formation of the Intermountain League, Saturday night the Pagosa Pirates took the court as the league leaders with an unblemished five-win and zero-loss record.

After persistently out hustling the Centauri Falcons for 32 minutes, the Buccaneers exited with a workman-like 55 to 41 victory.

With the IML season entering its second round of play, the Falcons took the court wanting to know if the Pirates are for real. Only time would tell.

Despite the east bleachers being filled to capacity with enthusiastic Pagosa boosters, the Pirates refused to play to the crowd. Instead, they unselfishly worked together as a disciplined team for four quarters.

Each team's offensive efforts matched the sub-freezing nighttime temperatures during the first quarter as the Pirates and Falcons both rolled sevens during the first eight minutes of play.

Whereas the second quarter somewhat started with a question mark, Micah Maberry ended it with a buzzer-beating exclamation point off a highlight put back that typified that relentless hustle makes good things happen.

During the opening period, single field goals on the part of Daniel Crenshaw, David Goodenberger and Tyrel Ross, along with a free throw by Ross, enabled Pagosa to match the seven points the Falcons picked up off Derrick Rogers' 3-pointer, Michael Hostettler's two free throws and 6-foot-1 Jerry Gibson's left-handed rainbow from just inside the 3-point arc.

Whereas 14 points aren't bad for one quarter, if they are all scored by the same player; 14 points leave room for improvement when they are evenly divided between two varsity teams.

Time to make points

Evidently coach Kyle Canty made this point between quarters.

Centauri junior Kevin McCarroll's 2-pointer sent the Falcons back in front less than a minute into the second quarter.

Maberry answered a few seconds later with a soft jumper from the right side of the lane to knot the score at 9-9. It was Maberry's first two points of what was to be a 10-point second-period production by the 6-foot-3 Pagosa junior.

McCarroll, 6-foot-2, responded for Centauri with a short jumper from the left side of the lane. Again, Maberry matched it with a short jump shot from the baseline to balance the score at 11-11 with 5 minutes, 47 seconds left until half time.

It appeared the Falcons had found an answer to the Pirates' defense when 6-foot-4 junior Ryan Sutherland nailed a jumper from the free-throw line to send Centauri ahead 13-11. Seconds later Sutherland hit from the top of the key as Centauri widened the margin to 15-11 at the 5:02 mark.

Goodenberger stopped the Falcons' four-point run by posting up inside for a turn-around jumper from point-blank range to cut Centauri's lead to 15-13.

The determined Sutherland apparently thought "upset in the making" as he muscled in a layup from the right baseline to give Centauri a 17-13 lead. Instead, he woke up the Pirates.

After Gibson missed a layup, Goodenberger stole the rebound from the Falcon's 6-foot-5 Gregg Anderson and fired an outlet pass to Lonnie Lucero around mid-court. The Pirates' defensive specialist raced in for a layup to pull Pagosa within two, 17-15.

Maberry provided another two and then two more to give Pagosa a 19-17 lead with 1:26 remaining until intermission.

Charles Rand, who like his teammates can play the role of scorer, play-maker or defender equally well - depending on what's needed most, decided the Pirates needed three points. Using his quick first step in an apparent drive from the outside, Rand yo-yoed his dribble across, then back behind the arc before lofting a 3-pointer from the left side. Rand's shot touched nothing but net with 0:57.8 clicking on the clock.

With time running out, Centauri's Derrick Brady, a 5-9 junior, demonstrated why he's also listed on the Falcons' junior-varsity roster. Brady's charging foul along the Centauri baseline sent Clinton Lister to the Pagosa foul line at the other end of the court. Lister calmly cashed in on both ends of his 1-and-1 opportunity to put the Pirates ahead 24-17 with 0:40.2 seconds left in the half.

After the Falcons ran the clock down to 0:06.7 seconds, Larry Joe Hunt, Centauri's well-regarded veteran coach, called for a time out to scheme for one last shot.

Raising another question

Make that two last shots. Write the last one in capital letters, and put a big exclamation mark after it.

Intent on sinking their last shot of the first half, the Falcons forgot to complete their last inbound pass.

Rand stole the ball and drove for a sure layup only to watch his shot bounce off the back of the rim. The miss made for a Maberry moment.

Knowing hustle makes good things happen, Maberry turned the "oops" into an opportunity. Having raced along behind Rand's break- away, Maberry went airborne about a step inside the free throw line just before the buzzer sounded. He caught the rebound in both hands, extended it at arm's length above his head and softly laid the ball in the basket as his momentum carried him under the rim.

By the time Maberry's feet hit the floor, both officials had agreed the basket counted and the scoreboard showed 26-17 in favor of Pagosa.

The flustered Falcons flocked off the court with a new question: Can you believe that shot? You better believe it!

Except for three points in the fourth quarter, Maberry returned to a supporting role in the second half as a trio of his teammates accounted for Pagosa's 15-point offensive effort in the third quarter.

Four straight 3s

Content to shoot over Centauri's tenacious zone defense, Tyrel Ross, Daniel Crenshaw and Rand combined to net four consecutive 3-pointers for Pagosa in the third period.

Rand started the skyrocket show by draining a three from the left side of the arc to make the score 29-17 with 5:40 left on the clock. Then Crenshaw passed the ball outside to Ross who buried a 3-pointer from the right corner to make the score 32-21 at the 4:27 mark. Following Crenshaw's lead, Goodenberger passed the ball back outside to Rand for another three and a 35-21 Pagosa lead. Crenshaw's 3-pointer resulted from a Lucero assist as the Pirates widened the gap to 38-21.

Crenshaw added a free throw and Rand a 2-pointer to extend Pagosa's lead to 41-27 by the end of the third quarter.

Maberry and Rand shared scoring honors for the game with 13 points each for the night. Sutherland led the Falcons with an 11-point effort.

Pagosa protected its 14-point lead throughout the fourth quarter as both teams scored 14 points during the final eight minutes.

Goodenberger made the highlight film when he floated across the lane to grab a rebound off the glass and put the ball in the basket to give Pagosa a 50-36 lead with 1:31 left in the game.

The final score of 55-41 in favor of Pagosa left little question that the well-conditioned Pirates are for real and are ready to make the long-distance run for the IML title.


Canty credits defense for win over Falcons

By John M. Motter

Pagosa's Pirates boosted their pace setting Intermountain League record to 6-0 with a convincing 55-41 triumph over Centauri Saturday night in the Pirate gym.

"It was a good win," said Kyle Canty, the Pirates coach. "The offense was a little sloppy, but the defense looked good."

Canty's "D" seems to be improving with each game. When they played the Falcons Jan. 14, the score was 70-61 in favor of the Pirates.

"You have to give the defense credit." Canty said. "That flex offense used by Centauri is difficult to cover. We still haven't played our best game. What I like is, our defensive effort increases with each game. Concerning the offense, I'm very pleased with the unselfish play. It doesn't seem to matter to the guys who scores, as long as it's Pagosa."

Pagosa travels to nearby Bayfield to take on the Wolverines Friday night in an IML encounter, then buses to Monticello, Utah, Saturday for a return engagement against the Broncos. They beat Monticello 65-63 in the Cortez Tournament last December. The Monticello game is not a league game.

Canty sees the Bayfield contest as critical for the Pirates to capture the IML title outright and avoid the uncertainty of the district tournament

"They are getting better and better," Canty said of the Wolverines. "We had our hands full with them over here and they're tougher in their own gym. I expect them to put a lot of pressure on us, bounce back and forth between a zone and a man-to-man defense."

Pagosa topped Bayfield 59-49 earlier this season, but were burned for 18 points by the Wolverines' Zach Martinez.

Meanwhile, Pagosa's 6-0 IML record puts them in first place. Monte Vista is second at 4-1, followed by Del Norte and Bayfield at 2-3, Centauri at 2-4, and Ignacio at 0-5.

Pagosa vs Centauri

First-quarter buckets were hard to come by in the Centauri game. The quarter ended in a 7-7 tie. Tyrel Ross, David Goodenberger, and Daniel Crenshaw each connected on a field goal for the Pirates during the period and Ross added a free throw.

Pagosa picked up the pace in the second period with 19 points. Centauri fell behind, able to come up with but 10 points. By halftime Pagosa led 26-17. Micah Maberry's five field goals paced the Pirates' second-period spurt.

The Pirates opened the second half with a string of four straight bombs from behind the three-point arc. Charles Rand threw in two of the 3-pointers. Crenshaw and Ross each added another. Rand connected on three of four 3-point attempts for the game. By the end of the third, Pagosa had stretched its lead to 41-27.

The final period, like the first, was a standoff. Each team picked up 14 points. Pirate scoring was scattered among five players.

Rand and Maberry topped Pagosa scoring for the game with 13 points each. Adding to the Pirates total were Crenshaw with 9 points, Goodenberger and Ross with 8 points each, and Clinton Lister and Lonnie Lucero with 2 points each. Pagosa hit 16 of 29 two-point tries for 55 percent, 5 of 11 on 3-point tries for 45 percent, and 8 of 14 from the charity stripe for 57 percent.

Clinton Lister's seven rebounds led the Pirates in that department. Goodenberger was tops in blocked shots with two. Goodenberger and Ross each had three assists. Maberry and Lonnie Lucero each had one steal. Pagosa committed 11 turnovers.


Pirate wrestlers finish second at Ignacio

By Karl Isberg

Though Pirate wrestlers started the day slowly at the Ignacio tournament on Jan. 29, performances during the remainder of the day were good enough to give the team a second-place finish.

Second place at Ignacio - behind tourney winner Ignacio and ahead of Bloomfield, N.M., and Class 5A Overland High School from the Cherry Creek District - produced valuable momentum for the Pagosa team as it heads to the first post-season tournament on the schedule.

Pagosa earned 136 1/2 points at Ignacio with two championships, five third-place finishes, and three fourth-place awards.

Daniel Martinez won his first championship of the year, at 140 pounds.

Martinez, a senior, drew a bye in the first round of competition. Facing a wrestler from Overland in the second round, Martinez controlled the match and took the victory by pinning his opponent in the second period.

In the championship match, Martinez won a 16-8 decision over Anthony Horne of Ignacio.

"Intensity is never a problem with Daniel," said Pirates coach Dan Janowsky. "Too much intensity is usually the problem. At Ignacio, Daniel tempered the intensity. He wrestled at an even pace, took advantage of his opportunities and didn't do anything to beat himself. He had a good day."

Josh Trujillo took the tourney title at 145 pounds.

The Pagosa senior pinned a Bloomfield wrestler in the first period to start down the road to the championship.

In his second match, Trujillo dispatched an Aztec, N.M., opponent, pinning the man in the second period.

An 8-5 decision over an Overland grappler sealed the championship for Trujillo.

"In his first two matches, Josh did extremely well," said Janowsky. "Then, he did what he had to do in order to win in the finals. This was the second tournament championship for Josh this season."

Other medalists

Mike Maestas took third place at 112 pounds. The freshman lost a match to an Aztec wrestler then came back to win three consecutive battles. Trailing a Bloomfield opponent in his first consolation match, Maestas fought back to win a 10-7 decision. A 6-1 decision over a Mancos wrestler put Maestas into contention for third place, which he won with an 8-1 decision.

"Mike wrestled well in the last half of each of his matches," said Janowsky.

Anthony Maestas was third at 119 pounds. Following a first-round loss to the eventual champion from Bloomfield, Maestas beat an Aztec wrestler 12-4 and defeated Kes Peña of Ignacio with a 16-1 technical fall to take third place.

Kraig Candelaria captured third place at 160 pounds. After a 7-6 loss in his first match, Candelaria pinned the Overland entrant in the second period. An 18-2 technical fall over a Dolores athlete advanced Candelaria to the third-place match where Ethan Morrison of Bayfield was Candelaria's victim, pinned by the Pirate in the second period.

Three victories gave Josh Richardson third place at 171 pounds. The Pirate fashioned a 15-0 second-period technical fall against a Bloomfield wrestler then dropped to the consolation round following a 17-12 loss to an Overland opponent. Pinning a Dolores athlete in the second period, Richardson moved to the third-place match and a victory with a fall in the second period.

George Kyriacou got off to a rough start after drawing a first-round bye at 215 pounds, losing to a Dolores wrestler. Kyriacou came back with two pins - one against a Mancos opponent and the other against an Aztec wrestler - to take third place.

Shane Prunty was third in the heavyweight class. A first-round bye was followed by a loss to the Aztec heavyweight. In the consolation semifinal, Prunty pinned a Mancos opponent in less than 20 seconds. The Pirate won third place when he pinned a contender from Dolores in the second period of their match.

Fourth place at 103 pounds belonged to Pagosa's Jesse Trujillo. The freshman lost his first match 7-2 then drew a bye. In the consolation semifinal, Trujillo scored a takedown in overtime to beat Bayfield's Daniel Edwards, 6-4. An 8-3 loss to the Overland 103-pounder gave Trujillo fourth place in the weight class.

Keith Candelaria got off to a slow start at 152 pounds, but fought a lingering health problem and other wrestlers to secure fourth place. After a 13-4 loss in the first match to an Overland wrestler ranked first in Class 5A, Candelaria pinned a Bayfield opponent and took a 10-5 decision from an Aztec athlete to move to the fight for third place. A loss by decision put Candelaria in fourth place.

Three Pirates competed at the tournament but did not place in the medal standings. Cliff Hockett won 1 of 3 matches at 125 pounds, forging a 15-0 technical fall over Bradigan Ross of Ignacio. Zeb Gill (130 pounds) and Clayton Mastin (135 pounds) each fought two matches at the tournament.

IML tourney

The Pirates host the Intermountain League Tournament on Saturday and this year, for the first time, competition will occur in a dual-meet format. Six teams will attend the tournament: Pagosa, Bayfield, Monte Vista, Centauri, Del Norte and Ignacio.

Action begins at the high school gym at 9 a.m. when Pagosa battles Del Norte. Also at 9 a.m., Centauri faces Monte Vista and Bayfield meets Ignacio.

At 10:15 a.m., the Pirates square off against Ignacio. Bayfield meets Monte Vista, and Centauri fights it out with Del Norte.

Pagosa challenges Centauri at 11:30 a.m., while Ignacio deals with Monte Vista and Bayfield butts heads with Del Norte.

The gym will be cleared for a lunch break between 12:45 and 2 p.m.

When wrestling resumes at 2 p.m. one mat will feature a match between Pagosa and Monte Vista. On a second mat, Bayfield will compete against Centauri. The third mat will feature the contest between Ignacio and Del Norte.

The tourney ends with 3:15 matches pitting Pagosa against Bayfield, Centauri against Ignacio, and Del Norte against Monte Vista.

The 1999-2000 IML team and individual champions will be crowned following the last set of duals.

No IML passes or PSHS family passes will be honored at the tournament. An all-day adult pass is $5, while seniors and students pay $3 for the all-day pass. Once the gym is cleared for the lunch break, only holders of all-day passes will be readmitted. Tickets for the second session will be sold to other spectators at $3 for adults and $2 for senior citizens and students.

Community News

Local Chatter

By Kate Terry

The fun just keeps on running

No chatter, all fun!

(1) Bob Smith, my assistant programmer, can always be found (2) hard at work in his cubicle. Bob works independently, without (3) wasting company time talking to colleagues. Bob never (4) thinks twice about assisting fellow employees, and he always (5) finishes given assignments on time. Often Bob takes extended (6) measures to complete his work, sometimes skipping coffee (7) breaks. Bob is a dedicated individual who has absolutely no (8) vanity in spite of his high accomplishments and profound (9) knowledge in his field. I firmly believe that Bob can be (10) classed as a high-caliber employee, the type which cannot be (11) dispensed with. Consequently, I duly recommend that Bob be (12) promoted to executive management, and a proposal will be (13) executed as soon as possible. (14) Signed, (15) Project Leader

A memo was soon sent following the letter:

(1) That idiot was reading over my shoulder while I wrote the (2) report sent to you earlier today. Kindly read only the odd (3) numbered lines (1,3,5,7,9, etc. . .) for my assessment of him. (4) Signed, (5) Project Leader

Another language

A language instructor was explaining to her class that French nouns, unlike their English counterparts, are grammatically designated as masculine or feminine. Things like "chalk" or "pencil," she described, would have a gender association although in English, these words were of neutral gender.

Puzzled, one student raised his hand and asked, "What gender is a computer?"

The teacher wasn't certain, and so divided the class into two groups and asked them to decide if a computer should be masculine or feminine.

One group was composed of the women in the class, and the other of men. Both groups were asked to give four reasons for their recommendation.

The group of women concluded that computers should be referred to in the masculine gender because:

1. In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on. 2. They have a lot of data but are still clueless. 3. They are supposed to help you solve your problems, but half of the time they ARE the problem. 4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that, if you had waited a little longer, you could have had a better model.

The men, on the other hand, decided that computers should definitely be referred to in the feminine gender because: 1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic. 2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else. 3. Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval. 4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

Mottos to live by

If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

A conclusion is a place where you got tired of thinking.

Never do card tricks for the group you play poker with.

The colder the x-ray table, the more of your body is required of it.

The severity of the itch is proportional to the reach.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

The problem with the gene pool is there is no lifeguard.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.

If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.

Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.

Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.

A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.

To the new year

'Twas the week (month) after Christmas, and all through the house, Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse. The cookies I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd taste at the holiday parties had gone to my waist.

When I got on the scales there arose such a number! When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber) I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared. The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rare. The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese, and the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."

As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt, and prepared once again to do battle with dirt, I said to myself, as I only can, "You can't spend a winter disguised as a man!"

So, away with the last of the sour cream dip, get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip, every last bit of food that I like must be banished 'till all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won't have a cookie . . . not even a lick, I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick. I won't have hot biscuits or corn bread or pie. I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry. I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore - but isn't that what January is for?

Unable to giggle, no longer a riot, Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!

Again, thanks to Tom Gossen and the Cowdreys who keep sending good stuff for fun on the run.


Chamber News

By Sally Hameister

Odd year to get Winterfest going

Two new members to welcome this week and two renewals. Not bad for a winter week, not bad at all.

David Griggs joins us with Bugle Mountain Outfitters located at 120 Beaver Meadows Road in Bayfield. David offers scenic secluded trail rides pack trips, hunts (turkey, elk, deer and bear), fishing in both the San Juan Forest and private land. David' s license number is 1800, and you can reach him on the web at HYPERLINK You can also give him a call at (970) 884-2730.

New member number two this week is John Fullenkamp with High Country Furniture and Gallery located west of town at 10537 West Highway 160. John specializes in log furniture, lamps and shades and chainsaw carved bears. He has generously "loaned" one of these bears to the Chamber, so you can come visit us and see his work. Our bear is simply irresistible, by the way. If you would like to give John a call, please do so at 731-2820.


Our renewals this week are Shannon Bennett with Pagosa Springs Mini-Storage and Gabriel Torres with Job Corps/Del-Jen, Inc. Thanks to new members and renewals for your support.

Board retreat

Many thanks to Maureen and John Widmer for their amazing hospitality last Friday at our board retreat at their lovely bed and breakfast, Echo Manor Inn. Board members and staff were once again treated like kings and queens and adored every second of it. We were served amazing morning treats, a fabulous gourmet lunch and chocolate eclairs and candy as an afternoon snack. I asked the Widmers if they would consider adopting me, but Ian, their son, didn't seem overly anxious to share the bounty with me. Pity. I would make such a good child. At any rate, thank you, Maureen and John, for once again hosting our all-day meeting and putting up with such a rowdy, vocal group. We are deeply appreciative of all you did so beautifully for us.


Congratulations to Robert "Casper" Soniat for his re-election as board president for another year, to Ken Harms for becoming vice-president, and to Bonnie Masters, new board member, for becoming the secretary-treasurer for the year 2000. Thanks to all board directors for attending our all-day session and for all the ideas and input. We actually had a great time and were quite productive - must have been the eclairs.


Gotta tell ya that this is the oddest year yet for trying to get Winterfest in place. Here's what we do know: On Saturday, Feb. 5, you can count on a balloon ascension, featuring seventeen balloons, at Pagosa Lodge around 8 to 8:30ish a.m. You can also count on the 12th Annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photo Contest at Moonlight Books from 5 to 7 p.m. Weather permitting, you can count on a balloon glow at Pagosa Lodge around dusk, and, of course, the Rotary Follies with a performance at both 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. If we get some white stuff between this writing (Monday) and Saturday, Juan' s Mountain Sports will sponsor a Snowboard Jumping Contest on Reservoir Hill at 2:00 p.m. with registration at Juan's beginning at 1:00 p.m.

On Sunday, Feb. 6, you can count on the Lion's Club Annual Pancake Breakfast at Parish Hall between the hours of 7 a.m. and noon. The price for this scrumptious meal is $5 for adults and $2 for the children. Once again, around 8 to 8:30ish, you can witness another 17-balloon ascension at Pagosa Lodge (weather permitting). If we get some snow between now and then, we will hold the Almost Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race at the High Country Lodge at 1 p.m. with registration at noon and practice runs beginning at 12:30.

I wish I could be far more confident about all these "weather permitting" activities, but the snow gods just haven't been cooperative this year. I pine for the days that we could, with great gusto and assurance, announce things like the snow sculpting contest, the hockey game, etc., but conditions the past couple of years have undermined our efforts and made us rather timid about scheduling all those activities. We are due a year of yards and yards of snow and perfect conditions for an all-out Winterfest. In the meantime, tickets for both the Rotary Follies and the Lion's Pancake Breakfast are available at the Visitor Center.

Open house

Kathey and Dick Fitz, owners and proprietors of High Country Lodge located east of town right next to Ole Miner's Steakhouse, invite you all to join them for their second annual Open House on Sunday, Feb. 6, from 12 to 4 in the afternoon. They will have snacks and tours for all and maybe even the Almost Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race on their hill, weather permitting. Kathey and Dick have been working hard all year on upgrades and improvements and would love to share them with you on Sunday.

Newsletter inserts

I know it seems early, but Morna has asked me to share with all of you who are interested in putting an insert in the March quarterly newsletter, The Chamber Communique, a general "heads up."

For those who may not be familiar with this economical way of advertising, allow me to enlighten you.

It' s very simple. You just bring us 700 flyers of your ad or information and a check for $30, and we take care of the rest. This is a great way to reach the entire Chamber membership with information about your grand opening, change of location, specials you might be running, upcoming events, etc. Basically, anything you want to share with lots of folks. We'll take care of the collation and mailing. Please bring your flyers and check to the Chamber by Friday, Feb. 25. If you have questions, just give Morna a call at 264-2360.

Pagosa Players

The Pagosa Players and The King's Men invite you to join them every Thursday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. for their "Actor Training in Shakespeare" series. The Pagosa Players and The King's Men is a resident theatre company of local actors, actresses, musicians and technical people founded in March, 1999. PPKM brought us "The Taming of the Shrew" last summer and will bring us "Romeo and Juliet" next summer. They are well into rehearsals on the production, "A Gentleman and a Scoundrel," to be presented as a dinner-theatre on Valentine' s Day evening. Please call Zach Nelson at 731-3300 or Michael DeWinter at 731-5262 for more information.


Pagosa Lakes

By Ming Steen

Ming celebrates Chinese new year on Saturday

To all my readers "guo nian" - which means "celebrate the new year." On Saturday, Feb. 5, my family and I will observe the Chinese new year, popularly known as the Spring Festival because it starts from the beginning of spring on the Chinese calendar.

The origin of Chinese new year or "guo nian" is difficult to trace. Several explanations are hanging around. Most Chinese agree, however, that the word "nian," which in modern Chinese solely means "year," was originally the name of a monster beast that started to prey on people the night before the beginning of a new year. (I am talking about the new year in terms of the Chinese calendar.)

One legend goes that the beast Nian had a very big mouth that would swallow a great many people with one bite. People were very scared. One day, an old man came to their rescue, offering to subdue Nian. To Nian he said, "I hear say that you are very capable, but can you swallow the other beasts of prey on earth instead of people who are by no means your worthy opponents?" So, swallow it did many of the beasts of prey on earth that also harassed people and their domestic animals from time to time.

After that, the old man disappeared riding the beast Nian. He turned out to be better than Superman. Now that Nian is gone and other beasts of prey are also scared into the forests, people began to enjoy their peaceful life. However, before the old man left, he had the people put up red paper decorations on their windows and doors at each year's end to scare Nian in case it sneaked back again. Red, it is believed, is the color the beast most feared.

From then on, the tradition of observing the conquest of Nian is carried on from generation to generation. The term, "Guo Nian," which may mean "survive the Nian" became today's "celebrate the new year." The word "guo" in Chinese has two meanings: "pass-over" and "observe."

The custom of putting up red paper and lighting fire crackers to scare away Nian should it have a chance to run loose is still around. However, people today have long forgotten why they are doing all this, except that they feel the color and the sound add to the excitement of the celebration.

Even though the climax of the Chinese new year lasts only two or three days, the preparation and the festivities go on for 15 days. Before the new year, every family gives its house a thorough cleaning, hoping to sweep away all the ill-fortune that may have been in the family to make way for the wishful in-coming good luck. As part of a huge family of 10 children, my father devised tedious and time-consuming ways of cleaning out tight corners with toothbrushes. As the youngest and smallest, it was my duty to crawl under the furniture and clean underneath. We also decorated the doors and windows with paper-cuts made out of red paper. Mother would write calligraphy of "happiness," "wealth," "longevity" and "good marriage with more children." These we pasted on the walls and the piece with "good marriage with more children" I would always put in some less obvious corner because I didn't want it to come true. We were already running out of bed-space and I unwilling to relinquish my comfortable spot.

The eve of new year is carefully observed. Supper is a feast with all members of the family coming together. One of the most popular course is "jiaozi," dumplings boiled in water. "Jiaozi" in Chinese literally means "sleep together and have sons." Every year I wished for my mother to not eat "jiaozi." There were already three tyrannical boys in the family. After dinner, my sisters and I cleaned up the dishes and kitchen and then ironed and set out all brand-new clothes (underwear included) for the next day. At midnight, the whole sky was lit up by fire crackers that made our quiet little village seem like a war zone.

Very early the next morning, we greeted our parents and were given "ang-pows" - cash in red envelopes. Then the family started out to say greetings from door to door, first our relatives and then our close neighbors. It's a great time to get rich (in childish fiscal terms).

This description is based upon the recollections of my own childhood. Customs for observing the new year vary from place to place - considering that China is a big country, not only geographically, but also demographically and ethnically. Yet, the spirit underlying the diverse celebrations of the Chinese new year is the same; a sincere wish of peace and happiness for the family members and friends.

Join me in wishing Andrew and Monica Pimental all the very best as they relocate to Denver. Andrew, whom many of you know from the Recreation Center, will be working at the Goodson Recreation Center in Littleton. He will be the assistant manager of that huge, beautiful recreation center. Monica will be doing market research for an Internet company in the Denver Tech Center. They will be missed.


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

Keep those new book orders coming

I'm having a grand time ordering books you've asked for. New books and audiotapes are arriving daily. If you have not given us your suggestions, now is the time. We will try to accommodate as many individual titles as possible that fit within our collection policies.

Another first

We've always laughed about the fact that when people get a new puppy and come in for a training book, chances are very good that the book will be returned chewed to bits. Now a patron checked out "Taming and Training Cockatiels," and yes, you guessed it, that little bird worked the book over. It just goes to prove that smart pets read library books.

Computer use

We have new public computers thanks to several grants. The equipment is free but there are many stipulations. Students under 18 must have a parent with them, or a signed copy of the policy. For more information, ask at the desk.

You must know how to use the programs as we can't give assistance. Nothing may be downloaded, and machines are for legitimate research - no pornography, chat rooms or games. Patrons must sign a contract agreeing to the rules. There are also time limits, and anyone abusing the privileges will be denied access in the future.

Earthquake hazards

The state sent a map showing earthquakes and related hazards in Colorado. The map was developed to increase awareness of our earthquake history and is a revision of a 1993 map. It shows quakes felt in Colorado from 1867 through 1996. It also shows potentially vulnerable infrastructure and population by the hazard-class dams. Ninety-two faults are identified.

Secondary hazards triggered by earthquakes such as landslides and avalanches are also shown. Ask to see the map at the desk.

Special law

The state sent a copy of the educational rights of students with disabilities and their parents. Copies may be had free of charge.

Crow Canyon

Two excellent summer programs are being offered. You may have a free copy of the news releases. "Adults Only Weeks" is an acclaimed week-long excavation program. Three different sessions are planned. Participants will excavate at Shields Pueblo. The other program will examine the lives of women through time. "Faces of Women: Reflections on the Past, Reflections of Ourselves," will take place July 9 through July 15. This unique workshop travels though southwestern Colorado and northern New Mexico. For more information, ask at the desk.


Thanks for materials from Carole Howard, Peggy Case, Billie Riggs, Aliya Haykus, Bill Storm, Nancy Strait, April Matthews, Nancy Ray, Dan Fogelberg, Carol Curtis, Kathy and Hollis Davis, Barbara Corboy and Shirley Iverson.



Arts Line

By Katherine Cruse

Photo entries exhibited at Moonlight

The Pagosa Pretenders, a family-oriented volunteer theater group, is busy rehearsing "Arabian Nights," to be presented March 10, 11, 17 and 18 at the high school auditorium at 7 p.m. Proceeds will be donated to the school district and community. There are still opportunities to help backstage. For more information or to volunteer, please call Susan Garman at 731-2485.

Photo display

Be sure to step into Moonlight Books and admire the photography contest entries, which will be on exhibit all this month. Y2K exhibit applications are now available at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Art Gallery and at Moonlight Books. There is still an open time slot in March, if you hurry. Call 264-5020 for more details.

Thank you

Many thanks to those who have donated items and services to PSAC: Martin and Gerda Witkamp for the computer; Walter and Doris Green for the fax machine; and Piano Creek Ranch for a monitor. Also, Lynn DeLange and Pagosa Springs Welcoming Service for including PSAC brochures in Welcome Packets; Kent Greentree and Stuart and Julia Royston for producing Whistle Pig Nights, and Joan Hageman for her extended command of the membership roster. A new volunteer, Doug Schultz, is the new membership chair. Thanks, Doug. If you would like to be a PSAC volunteer, please call Joanne at 264-5020 and see what opportunities are available.


The PSAC is still looking for a CD player to demonstrate the local musicians' CDs (so we can sell them) on sale in the Arts Gallery Gift Shop. If you have a player to donate, please call the Gallery at 264-5020.

Pagosa Players

The Pagosa Players and The Kings' Men is a non-profit theater group and is now a division of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. The mission of the group is to present entertainment and education to our community. The group will present monthly concert readings beginning April 1, with "A Comedy of Errors." PPKM is now in rehearsal for the second annual "Shakespeare in the Pines," with "Romeo and Juliet" to be presented next July. The group will present present Jack Sharkey's light-hearted comedy, "A Gentleman and a Scoundrel," as a dinner theater entertainment on Feb. 14. For information about the dinner theater and future PPKM productions, call Zach Nelson at 731-3300.


Senior News

By Janet Copeland

Bring your cards to the Valentine's party

Valentine's Day will be coming up in a couple of weeks. There is a box in the dining room for everyone to deposit their Valentine's cards/greetings, so let's have some fun and surprise our friends. Feb. 14 will be our Valentine's party (with special entertainment), as well as the day for our Seniors Choice meal. Hope everyone will join us for an extra-special day.

If you missed our birthday meal on Friday, you missed a good time. Some of our January birthday folks were missing but we were happy to celebrate with the large group that was present.

Have you been wishing you had access to a computer/word processor? The Senior Center has one available for seniors to use, and Cynthia Mitchell has volunteered to help those who need a little instruction on how to use it.

It won't be long until we must face the daunting task of preparing our income tax returns. Teresa Huff has volunteered to assist seniors in preparing their returns. Those who would like to take advantage of this generous offer should sigh up on the sheet in Tina's office at the Senior Center, and should bring last year's tax return with them when they meet with the tax preparer.

Lilly Gurule is our Senior of the Week. Lilly is one of our dedicated volunteers and we are so pleased to honor her this week.

We enjoyed having Mary Archuleta's granddaughter, Connie Chavez, with us on Wednesday. Mary has every reason to be proud of Connie, she is a beautiful young lady.

We welcomed Rose Facker and Ed Finney as guests on Friday and hope they will visit us often.

There are so many volunteers who help our seniors and we thank all of them, but especially the members of the Isaiah Group for their efforts in assisting seniors with snow removal and making deliveries when needed.


Herding with Cruse

By Katherine Cruse

Crafty cats cruise Cruse yard

Here we are in February, celebrating romantic love and Fix a Feline Month, courtesy of the Sun's Cupid Classifieds and the Humane Society and local veterinarians. So - let me tell you about the cats in my neighborhood. My neighbor Buck, being a hunter, is suspicious of "veggie-loving tree-huggers," like me. He's not real sentimental about pets, either, especially cats.

"Hey," he says, "you seen one cat, you seen 'em all. Lemme tell you," he says, "if something happens to a cat, there'll be another one around the next day to take its place."

There's a twinkle in his eye when he says this, so he's probably just trying to rattle my cage. Maybe the tough-guy stance is just an act. In fact, I'm sure it is, because when Buck bought the house on the end of our road, he agreed to keep feeding the former owners' two semi-wild cats, Little Sister and Big Brother. The former owners told me they'd made him promise. For all I know, they wrote it into the sale contract.

The two cats, both smoky gray longhairs, spent all their time outdoors, and did a great job hunting mice, but they could also go through their own little door into the garage for the food and water that Buck keeps there. Other cats come in too, from time to time, and enjoy a little free meal.

Buck's even confessed that he gives them a little "wet food" once a week. Hotshot and I had watched Big Brother and Little Sister out hunting ever since we first bought our little cabin in the meadow. They could sit on one of the old logged stumps for hours, motionless, watching for mice or voles or ground squirrels. Then a quick leap and pounce, and off the cat would trot with dinner swinging from its jaws.

Little Sister was friendly and sociable, and she used to accompany her owners or us on the evening stroll to the mailbox. Brother was always kind of aloof, but he at least used to come over and say hi, before heading off to whatever important business he had going over in the scrub oak. Except for one evening, right at dusk, when he stayed with us in the middle of the road, walking right between us, keeping very close. Heck, we almost tripped over him. Hotshot looked up to see a great horned owl circling overhead on silent wide wings, head cocked a little bit, big eyes fixed on the cat. It wasn't that Big Brother especially liked our company. He was using us for protection!

Back in Nashville there is a state wildlife refuge surrounded by suburban growth. It's a little oasis of nature, where you can see deer and bobcat and red-cockaded woodpeckers and barred owls. "How about great horned owls?" I once asked the ranger. "Nope, they're in that new suburb beyond the ridge," he said. "There's more cats over there."

Little Sister has gone to her reward, and I guess Buck's right, because the other neighbors have acquired two cats, mother and baby. These cats have made themselves right at home, and they've got a good deal going at all three houses. In the early morning, as soon as they're let out of the barn at home, they head for Buck's garage, for breakfast #1. Then they trot down the driveway to our place, where they sit on the porch railing and look pathetic until Hotshot feeds them.

We buy them those little cans of fish, as though cats raised in the Rocky Mountains can tell salmon from trout from whitefish. Hotshot divides the food into two sections on one plate, and they share the meal. I watch him chopping up the smelly mess with a fork, and I say, "You've seen one of those cats eat a whole mouse, raw, crunching through the bones and everything. You think they'll have trouble with a little canned food?" He just smiles and keeps chopping.

Sometimes only one of them shows up, and he gives it half a can. We once read that a little can of cat food is the nutritional equivalent of one mouse. "Half a mouse for you," he says. When the other inevitably comes begging, he does a little fast shuffle to feed that one without the first-comer horning in for a second helping.

The cats hang around for a while, soaking up sun on the railing, and then they wander home or back over to Buck's place. Soft life. Last summer and fall they earned their bit of breakfast, hunting mice. I expect they'll hunt again when the snow is gone.

Hotshot and I have named them Missy Kitty and Buster. Buck's wife calls them Momma Kitty and Baby Kitty. Buck calls them Hey Cat. The cats don't care.

Baby/Buster is now bigger than his mother. He seems dedicated to making Big Brother's life miserable, pouncing on him and chasing him off. Big Brother, in spite of his excellent hunting abilities, is really a cat wimp. When Little Sister was alive she used to protect him, keeping other cats away.

Buck says she was pretty fierce.

Big Brother probably has his own cat name for the two interlopers, and I'm sure it's not at all polite.

I haven't asked the "real" owners what they call their cats.



Seasonal concerns

This has been an unusual winter. For the most part

Pagosa has had very little snow. But based on the

number and nature of the e-mails and letters to the editor the past few weeks, some folks are experiencing severe cases of cabin fever.

However, there were some encouraging notes this week.

One, Judy Kleckner called Friday to report her Jan. 27 letter to the editor regarding her lost Corgi dog had produced positive results. Folks started calling Thursday afternoon to tell Judy they had noticed a Corgi wandering around with other dogs in their area. Friday, a good Samaritan phoned to say the Corgi was at his home and provided Judy directions for an eventual reunion. So thanks to the readers, the Corgi is back home.

Two, the comments Glen Bergmann and D.C. Duncan offered this week regarding a Jan. 27 letter about our county judge.

Since neither addressed the comment, "What has he (Judge Jim Denvir) and his kind done in their past . . ." to assists those in need, I'll do so.

In his "past," Judge Denvir volunteered his services as a legal aide for persons who lived in the Long Beach, Calif., area and who were unable to afford legal assistance. Also in his past, after earning his law degree, he served as a legal service lawyer with the California Rural Legal Assistance program in Gilroy and Yuba City, Calif. The program provided legal aid for migrant farm workers and other low-income persons of that region.

Personal attacks of public figures usually say more about the person making the attack than about the target. Consider the source. To be attacked by a bull is much different that to be annoyed by a noisy bull frog. The same is true of being attacked by a swarm of hornets as opposed to a swarm of gnats.

Still, being sprayed by a skunk &emdash; an attack that is void of any significant harm &emdash; it is bothersome and disturbing.

Oh, lest I forget, Friday a reader asked for a clarification on my concluding comment in last Thursday's Dear Folks that said ". . . the future (of Archuleta County) will become worthless if the persons elected to implement and enforce the (Archuleta County Community Plan) are controlled by the real estate-related interests within the county."

It was an attempt to politely say that while it's incidental for a salesman to boast, "I sell Pagosa," I hope the day never comes when a land speculator or anyone in a related industry can claim, "I bought the courthouse."

Rather than a seasonal winter malady, my comment is an election-year concern. David C. Mitchell


Dear Folks

By David C. Mitchell

He wasn't a flowery sort of guy

Dear Folks,

Sometimes I wish the telephone had never been invented.

Yesterday morning was one of those times.

A digital "MSG" note was showing on my voice-mail monitor yesterday morning when I arrived at my desk.

After punching in the code numbers and hitting the play button, I heard a familiar voice say: "Hi David, this is Shelly. . . .

I hung up. I was pretty sure why Shelly would be calling on a Wednesday morning. I didn't want to hear the rest of her message. It was too soon.

An hour or so later I phoned Shelly. As I expected, she confirmed that her father-in-law, Ron Wedemeyer, had died of a heart attack a few hours earlier.

Ron was one of the first men I met when my family and I moved to Pagosa the summer of 1974.

He was selling real estate.

As newcomers, my family and I wanted to buy a place to live.

A classified ad in the June 6, 1974, SUN stated: "SIX ACRES &emdash; Older four bedroom house with garage, bunk house, barn, corrals, close to town, superb view, irrigation, plenty of grass, excellent well, apple trees. $37,500." An ad one-space higher in the column showed that the 11 1/2 acres that adjoined the home site were likewise listed for sale.

The house and 17 acres, "more or less," were on Fourmile Road. (It would be another 20 years before an imaginative realtor dubbed it "prestigious Fourmile Road.")

"Older" and "superb view" were the ad's more accurate statements.

At that time, Ron and his family likewise lived on Fourmile Road, about a mile north of town. Their large, new two-story log home sat atop a tall shale knob that was situated in the center of a 40-acre parcel.

It was know as "Fort Wedemeyer."

Today folks know it as "TLC's A Bed & Breakfast."

Ron loved that place, except when it snowed. Back then it snowed big time. More than once he swore to head for Mexico, Puerto Rico or anywhere warm; never to return.

That is he was selling out and leaving once he finished digging out his long, steep, winding driveway.

Though Ron hated snow, he loved to ski. Except no one kept score in skiing. And if there was no score, there was no competition.

Whether it was selling real estate, playing golf, tennis or slow-pitch softball, Ron was a competitor. He loved to play. He loved to bet. He loved to win. He hated to lose.

Even more than playing, Ron loved watching his own youngsters or their friends compete. He was an avid fan. No, he was an addicted fan.

It mattered not if it was summer or winter, rain, shine or freezing temperatures. Regardless whether it involved driving to Dove Creek, Denver, Gunnison, Hotchkiss, Grand Junction, Greeley, Montrose, Norwood, Ouray, Albuquerque or wherever, if Pagosa youngsters were on the field, on the court or on the mats, Ron would be right there with them.

He camped in sleeping bags on high school football fields, or the wet grounds of public parks. He could have cared less. He just wanted to be there for the first match, the first pitch, the tip-off or the opening kickoff.

Even after a Wedemeyer was no longer listed among the competitors, Ron would attend the games and matches &emdash; home or away.

It could be a pee wee wrestling tournament in Pagosa, state championship in Denver, or whatever wherever, you could spot Ron's crop of steel-wool hair standing out above the crowd as he stopped by to watch "for only a minute."

There always was somewhere he was supposed to be, or someone he was supposed to meet, or a deal he needed to close. So he could only "take a minute." They were minutes that made for many enjoyable hours and for an unwanted message on my phone.

If you're planning on attending the memorial service for Ron Saturday, the family has asked that you don't sends flowers or plants. They would rather that you make a donation to the Pagosa Springs Wrestling Federation program Ron helped start. Flowers are nice, but if you knew Ron, you'll understand.

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


25 years ago

Pagosa police make two drug busts

Taken from SUN files

of Feb. 6, 1975

Chief of Police Leonard Gallegos said this week that a Durango man has been arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A minor girl was arrested at the same time on charges of juvenile delinquency. Earlier this week, Gallegos said, two local youths, both minors, were taken into custody on charges of possession of marijuana.

State patrol officers Tom Richards and Sgt. Hauger arrested three New Mexico men last Saturday on U.S. 84 south of town. All three were charged with violation of the hitchhiking law. One of the men was charged with possession of dangerous drugs. The three were said to be students at the university in Las Vegas, N.M. The three were arrested as the officers were en route to Edith where a stolen auto had been reported as abandoned.

Pagosa Boxing Club is hosting boxing matches Saturday night in the high school gymnasium. Bill Lynn and Ralph Yamaguchi are the local boxing coaches.

The citizens cross country ski races held last Sunday at Pagosa in Colorado attracted a large number of local skiers. Kurt Laverty, 17, posted the best time overall in winning the race in the 19-and-under classification. Mike Martinez, 14, was second. Bill Hill was first in the 20-and-over race.



By Shari Pierce

Red Ryder character goes to the big city

Many folks enjoy following the "Red Ryder" comic strip in the PREVIEW section each week. It was drawn by Pagosa's own Fred Harman. At the height of the strip's popularity, it was seen by approximately 45 million people in over 750 newspapers on three continents. This seems quite an accomplishment for someone who grew up on a ranch here in Archuleta County.

Harman's parents began homesteading here in 1902, when he was not yet 6 months old. Harman grew up on the ranch and put his own personal experiences to work in creating his strip, paintings and sketches. Some of the characters and likenesses were also based on people from this area who Fred knew. One of those people he incorporated into his sketches of western life was Bill Flaugh, who was at one time employed by Harman.

Knowing these items, I read with interest a July 1931 news article about Bill Flaugh and a visit he made to St. Paul, Minn. The article, which appeared in an issue of the SUN, in turn referred to an article in the St. Paul Dispatch from the previous month. Reportedly accompanying that story were a photograph of Flaugh and a drawing of him on a bucking bronco, done by Fred Harman.

Portions of the story give insight into the character of Flaugh, a man I think I would have enjoyed knowing. Here's a little of what the article had to say.

"Bill Flaugh will be dropping a line one of these days to the home folk down in Pagosa Springs, Colo.

" 'I've got a stiff neck,' Bill probably will write. 'It got that way from me watching the automobiles in St. Paul. I'd sure hate to ride old King down the main stem in this town.'

"Old King is Bill's hoss and Bill is a cowpuncher, who until he arrived in St. Paul never had spent more than a day or two away from Pagosa Springs. And Pagosa Springs is one of the few remaining cowtowns in the Southwest. Bill is visiting in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Harman, 1842 Sargent Avenue.

'They just put a hackamore on me and pulled me up here,' Bill drawled today, meanwhile getting an eyeful of Minnesota's blue sky. 'I kind of wish old King was along, but we couldn't bring him in an automobile.' "

Next week, a little more about Bill Flaugh and his story about not knowing exactly where he was born.


Big Game Review

By Roy Starling

SB 34: Faith, miracles, prayers

Before I begin this week's review, I need to correct an oversight from last week. I had written the following fragment intending to attach it to the end of my review of "The Apostle." But somehow, in all the confusion of getting the darn paper out, it was left sitting in the Preview basket when the rest of the paper went to press or, as we call it in the newspaper business, was "put to sleep."

So I include the fragment now for your reading pleasure. Hope it's still timely. Hope it's still pertinent. Hope it's not like yesterday's news:

Super Bowl pick

For this coming Sunday's Super Bowl, I'm pulling for the Tennessee Titans, chiefly because the Rams were so classless after they eked out a victory over the hard-nosed Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their third-string quarterback last week.

But even though my heart is with the Titans (who, I predict, will lose defensive back and team leader Blaine Bishop to a scary injury in the third quarter), I'm going to pick the Rams to win it with another lucky fluke of a long touchdown pass - just as they did against the Bucs - in the game's closing minutes. This will help make up for the lack of character they'll show by blowing a 16-0 lead.

The Titans will come awfully close to forcing overtime, but a last-second pass will come up about a yard short.

The final score will be 23-16, St. Louis.

Okay, now on to this week's business.

Super Bowl review

The Super Bowl, as we all know by now, is America's No. 1 Holy Day, a day when we put all our other loftier pursuits and beliefs in storage and succumb to an orgy of crass commercialism, consumerism and flashy, gaudy, high-tech marketing. The result is a festival of film shorts interrupted periodically by snatches of a football game. No matter how exciting, the game itself comes off as filler, a kind of afterthought spliced in to give our overloaded senses a brief respite from elaborately produced films hawking web sites, Disney World, ABC programs, pizza and soft drinks.

Sunday's profound ritual begins around noon, just as many Coloradans are receiving benedictions from their less explosive form of worship commonly known as "going to church." Over three hours later, as game-time approaches, they come face to face with Faith - Faith Hill, that is. The comely country music warbler belts out a stirring rendition of the National Anthem, accompanied by an entire signing choir for this nation's many hearing-impaired football fans. The signing portion, as I understand it, was not lip synched.

Thousands of flash bulbs from the stands and thundering fireworks herald the introduction of the game's participants, who come onto the field banging each other with their protective head gear, dancing, strutting and pointing to the sky as if to say, "Not me, Lord, but you," indicating that the Creator of the Universe is also adept at blocking and tackling, at throwing and catching a porkskin-covered spheroid.

The film festival then begins in earnest. Two films remind us that Mike Ditka has recently been fired as head coach of the New Orleans Saints. One shows us how old Ringo Starr is now. One shows us two dolphins in a car filled with water.

Are you ready for some football? Is there really going to be a game?

Yes. Occasionally, the network reluctantly shows us what's going on in a rather anticlimactic contest. The St. Louis Rams are threatening to run away with it, marching repeatedly down near the end zone, and then having to settle for field-goal attempts. They botch two of their first three but still lead 9-0 at halftime.

But before halftime, we're treated to several commercials by E*Trade, hyping not their business, but the E*Trade Halftime Show.

And then, on this sacred occasion, a miracle really does occur. The paralyzed Christopher Reeve, who once made us believe a man could fly in "Superman" and its sequels, walks again. Unfortunately, this is accomplished by computer-generated imagery, not actual healing. We know this because his head isn't in proportion to his body. The real Christopher Reeve, we learn in a promo, is still paralyzed and he'll talk about this whole thing on "Good Morning America."

Then Oldsmobile rips off a Gap commercial.

Somewhere in here, one ABC camera begins to develop a crush on Ram quarterback Kurt Warner's mother, I mean his wife, and keeps looking at her between plays. She's sporting a nifty spiked 'do, reminiscent of Pete Rose in the '70s, and wearing a lovely blue top, tastefully accented by enough blue ostrich plumes to clothe an entire blue ostrich.

The halftime show, which we've all been waiting to see since last January, is introduced by Mickey Mouse, considered by many to be the father of our country. It is a glorious production, one Cecil B. DeMille himself would've been proud of. It features scantily clad spear-wielding warriors, lots of dancers wearing goofy headware (there seems to be a sort of Aztec motif happening), lots of sparkle, and a giant godlike figure looming above it all.

Even though the meaning of it all isn't readily apparent, it's obvious that the show is an essentially religious drama, tapping into centuries of sacred rituals. I find myself quite moved by it and vow to hold this spectacular image in front of me as I resume my workaday life on Monday.

The worship continues in the second half when the Titans begin a comeback. The camera, apparently bored by the feathery Mrs. Warner, shifts its attention to Mrs. McNair, the lovely wife of Titan quarterback Steve McNair.

Mrs. McNair appears to be praying. I try to read her lips, and as far as I can tell she's saying something like, "Oh Lord, I know there are people in other parts of the world being senselessly tortured, butchered, slaughtered and martyred, and I know there are people starving even in this great nation of ours, and then there's that whole Christopher Reeve thing, but please, please let us win this game."

Oh, yes, the game. The Titans move down the field, setting up a short run by Eddie George, and the score is 16-6.

Then there are advertisements for,,,,,, and One ad features a mute Muhammad Ali, no longer capable of floating like a butterfly or stinging like a bee, just of fighting time.

In the fourth quarter, with 7:21 showing on the clock, George runs for another TD, and the Titans are down only by three. The camera forsakes both Mrs. Warner and Mrs. McNair, focusing instead on Ram coach Dick Vermeil. The formerly volatile Vermeil - back in his days as the Eagles' coach - was a picture of serenity for the first three quarters. As long as his team has a comfortable lead, he keeps everything in perspective: "This is just a game; I'm a mature 60-something man who has lived a full life, and I, too, have a lovely wife in the stands, even though the camera might not be quite so fond of her."

But in the fourth quarter, the camera can't stop watching Vermeil's peaceful countenance degenerate into a series of frightful contortions that leave him looking something like a memento mori, a Death Head, with bulging eyes and an unnatural number of teeth showing from a gaping mouth.

But minutes later, Mr. Vermeil can relax and walk graciously off the field, chatting amicably with the press ("Get outta here!" he yells at them). There will be no sacrificial Rams on this day. Instead, there will be a Titanic sinking, as Kevin Dyson lies stretched out on the artificial turf, the seconds ticking cruelly off the clock, one arm straining futilely for the promised land, like Leonardo DiCaprio trying to pull himself up on that raft Kate Winslet was so thoughtlessly hogging.

Then, just eight hours after the coverage began, it's all over. Drained, I walk onto the ice-covered deck and think briefly about thumping my chest and pointing to the sky. But, honestly, I have only one thing on my mind.

I have got to get Mindy one of those blue-ostrich-plumed outfits. I'm certain there's a web site for stuff like that.


Food for Thought

By Karl Isberg

Make your own funeral arrangements

It's all over.

I'm running a high fever.

My body aches. When I move, bones creak and connective tissue grinds.

Something like battery acid leaches from my head into the back of my throat. My lungs are filling with fluid and I cough constantly.

Worst of all, I'm not hungry.

My father was a physician, so I know what is wrong.

I'm dying.

The Big Train is heading for the Station.

Lock the door, we're out of business.

Who knows what happened: maybe I ate a Central American banana and contracted a weird hemmoraghic virus loosed by the burning of rain forests; a microbe crashed to earth inside a meteorite and I am the unlucky soul who inhaled the deadly aerosol; I was abducted as I slept then taken to the lab beneath Archuleta Mesa where an insidious pathogen was introduced to my body via an undetectable time-release implant.

Whatever the reason, I'm slipping away.

I crawl from my bed and struggle to the front room to bid Kathy adieu.

"You've got the flu," she says, looking up from her latest copy of the Pottery Barn catalog. She has her eye on a snazzy Mission-style side table. "Go back to bed and I'll bring you a cup of tea."

Poor, naive sweetheart, I think: she's in denial. I'm a mere breath or two from my demise and yet she bravely clings to the illusion I will soon be well. It's touching.

I lumber down the hallway to the bedroom. I get into bed and crawl under the covers. I am wearing wool socks, sweatpants and a Pagosa Pirate wrestling sweatshirt and I am shivering.

What to do in these last few moments?

Feel sorry for myself? Watch TV? Put my affairs in order?

I opt for all three.

Pouting all the while, I watch seven hours of daytime TV and I learn some very important things. I am thankful I can spend my last few hours on earth still excited about knowledge, still eager to absorb information.

Allow me to summarize what I learned during my last moments on earth.

- The Rip Curl Surf Championships proved once again those darned Aussies are nearly unbeatable. The residents of that giant island continent know their way around the H2O.

- Don't try to escape from angry terrorists if you're driving a 1964 VW bus.

- There is a see-through plastic shoe rack that fits on the back of any conventional-sized door!

- What happened to the Partridge Family can happen to anyone.

- There is an 800 number where you can obtain trouble-shooting tips for your riding lawnmower. Four out of five America homeowners mow their own lawns, you know.

- Asian women are on the verge of dominating professional billiards. Is this right?

- The Winter X Games are just as boring as the Summer X Games.

- Polar bears often appear to be asleep when they are not.

- Bugs Bunny is a personal friend of Michael Jordan.

- Manchester United and Arsenal are at it again in the FA Cup. One of the United strikers is described by the British commentator as "a cunning little devil."

- Very few applicants go qualify to be a member of the L.A. SWAT Team.

- The collective IQ of the finalists in the NPC National Bodybuilding Championships is 6.

- It's so natural, no one can tell.

With fever-wracked brain full of new and vital info, and the Reaper knocking on the door, I set to the task of putting my affairs in order.

Since I have no assets, I was able to skip directly to the most important consideration prior to cashing the Ultimate Ticket: planning the funeral.

How many of us really take time to plan our own funeral? More often than not the job is left to grieving family members and friends (if we have any). Sometimes the plans are made by a detached funeral director or, worse yet, by a junior member of the staff at some cheeseball funeral home.

If family members do the work, they usually pick the wrong stuff for the ceremony. They tend toward music and memories that coincide with their sense of loss - they focus on details that reflect their frame of reference.

I'm selfish. I want to control the flow of emotion. I want to dominate the perception of me, the deceased. FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE!

First up is the subject of flowers. I don't pretend to know much about flowers, so I turn this job over to Kathy. She brought me a cup of herbal tea and, in a weak voice befitting my critical state, I asked her what blooms she will select for the service.

"Petunias," she said as she quickly left the sick room. "They're cheap."

Hopefully, my bride will take this responsibility more seriously as the event approaches. On the other hand, any money she saves will help with the purchase of the Mission side table.

Next: Who will speak at the service?

I want the proceedings to drag on, like a speech by a Third World dictator- two to three hours minimum.

I've decided to have six speakers at my service - five of them recounting high points of my absolutely fascinating life. Each speaker will be allowed to embellish the facts as necessary. This is only fitting, since I am a chronic exaggerator - schooled as a child in the art of hyperbole by old Cornish storytellers.

The first speaker will be an acquaintance from my childhood. This person will recall how adorable I was, despite severe myopia and a ferocious case of ADD. They will regale those in attendance with a description of the homemade ringmaster's suit I wore on Halloween at age seven.

Second to the podium will be a friend to recall how a series of concussions led to a misspent but amusing adolescence.

Third on the bill will be an associate who remembers my misspent late adolescence. This should be interesting, since I can't remember anything from this period of my life. I wish I could be alive to hear the stories.

Another peer will recall my misspent early adulthood. The incident on the train from Manhattan to Philadelphia is off limits!

Finally, someone from Pagosa will wrap things up with anecdotes concerning the years I squandered while in residence in the Upper San Juan Basin.

Since I've contracted an unbeatable malady (I feel my strength waning as I write this) I am once again an Episcopalian. As a result, I want the service to finish with a dry and vaguely inspirational Anglican message. As insurance, I want a Muslim cleric and a Buddhist priest to second the sentiment.

Music will play a big role at my funeral.

If possible, I want the Youth Choir Permonik to provide the music at my service. If the gals are unable to travel from Czechoslovakia for the occasion, a CD player will suffice. My musical selections are intended to produce maximum emotional impact - moving helter-skelter from the sacred to the profane - while revealing something of my aesthetic sensibility.

My selections:

"Loverman" by Thelonius Monk, from the London Collection

"I Don't Feel No Way Tired" by the Barrett Sisters. (I once had the honor to hear the Barrett Sisters perform. It is the only time I ever cried at a concert.)

Jiracek's "Kyrie Eleison" by Youth Choir Permonik.

"Hammering in My Head," by Garbage.

What service would be complete without Nasrat Fateh Ali Khan's "Man Atkeia Beparwah De Naal?" The dervishes in the crowd will be allowed to spin to their hearts' content.

Throw in "The Wind Cries Mary" by Jimi Hendrix and "My Love, She Comes in Colors," by Arthur Lee and Love.

Segué to the prelude to the third act of Verdi's "La Traviata."

Finally, for a superb effect, the music program terminates with Samuel Barber's "Adagio." I prefer the version by the Kronos Quartet; there is a weird edge to it.

Okay, the preliminaries complete, everyone is appropriately moved and it's time to adjourn for the most important part of the event.


I've selected some faves that can be prepared in bulk, ahead of time, so the kitchen staff can attend the service and emote with the rest of the guests.

I've chosen dishes featured in Craig Claiborne's "New York Times Cookbook." Claiborne died last month, so this is a nice touch.

First on the menu is Chicken Marengo: chicken, white wine, tarragon, mushrooms, tomato, garlic, butter, parsley, garnished with fried eggs and crawfish. Legend has it the dish was invented for Napoleon after he won the battle of Marengo, using ingredients scavenged from local sources. (Of course, the French believe the Little General won all his battles. According to what I saw at Hotel des Invalides, Waterloo never really happened. Viva la France!)

Spanning the culinary globe, diners will also enjoy Moussaka a la Greque, the dish brimming with lamb and eggplant, embellished with tomato, cheesy white sauce and cinnamon.

As a gesture to my heritage, the buffet will include Swedish meatballs - beef, veal and pork delicately seasoned with onion, salt and pepper, bathed in a velvety cream sauce.

Lastly, a bay scallop quiche kissed with nutmeg and sherry, and linguine with a heady anchovy sauce. Throw in some baguettes and butter, forget any and all extraneous vegetable matter, and you have a perfect funeral repast.

To spite my friend Russell Hebert, I want a cheap pinot grigio available for the white wine drinkers. (Hebert has hinted he will arrange for an appearance by the Denver Police bagpipe band at my service. Should anyone dressed in kilts arrive at the hall, they are to be stopped at the door!) On the red side of the spectrum, something chewy and foreign: a Rosemount Coonawara Reserve cabernet. I always wanted to travel to Australia to watch the surf championships and to visit the Rosemount Estates winery. Pity.

I am composing a list of nine individuals who will be allowed to join my brother Kurt and enjoy a bottle of Mondavi Napa Valley Reserve '96, which will be kept in a back room, under guard. If you want to be considered for the Mondavi list, contact me before I die. You'd best hurry.

For dessert, a salute to good old American down-home cooking. Coconut cream pie made by my sister-in-law, Jo.

When the meal ends, I want my ashen remains transported to Central City in a 1960 Mercedes 190 SL, cream with a red leather interior - the car in which my father taught me to drive. Once at the cemetery northwest of town, locate my great-grandfather Ike Welch's headstone - it's huge and probably toppled by a gang of drunken fraternity boys. Scatter me in the immediate area; other family members are there, so I'll be in good company.

Once you've dusted my residue off your pant legs, take out a bottle of '45 Dow Port and have a sip.

Someone propose a toast: To Karl, to the meteorite, to the best funeral ever.

Oh, go ahead, have another sip of the Port.

You have plans to make.


Old Timers

By John M. Motter

Fitzhugh's family roamed West

Chromo's Alvin Fitzhugh was born into one of those restless families that roamed the West during the latter half of the 1800s, looking for a home. Just check family birthplaces, generation by generation.

Alvin's grandfather, H.T. "Henry" Fitzhugh, was born in Henry County, Missouri, May 14, 1845. In 1852, the youthful Henry traveled with his parents to the California gold fields. They never struck it rich in California. Henry married Kate Gatlin in 1876. Kate had been born in Brighton, Iowa. The young Fitzhughs apparently moved to Nevada, because son Edward was born in Whitepine, Nev., during 1878. Before meeting Kate, Henry had been to Colorado where he served a short stint in the Army. By 1879, the couple was back in Colorado, living near Fort Collins.

Alvin's dad, Clarence Henry Fitzhugh, was born to Henry and Kate in La Porte, Colorado, May 30, 1884. La Porte is a little town in the mountains west of Fort Collins. In 1887, Henry got the urge to move to Cortez. A brother had decided to move to Wyoming, but traveled with Henry instead. Henry packed the family belongings on a pair of horse-drawn wagons, put the older boys in charge of driving the livestock, and hit the trail.

That trail wound down the Front Range through Denver, through Pueblo, over La Veta Pass and across the San Luis Valley, over Cumbres Pass, and into the Navajo River Valley where camp was made along the Navajo River just above today's Price Bridge.

"The story is," Alvin said, "he looked around his camp site, saw grass going to waste, fish in the stream, and deer crossing the fields. He decided it would be a good place to live."

Even in June, Cumbres Pass had a great deal of snow, and the passage by wagon required two weeks. That meant shoveling a lot of snow and camping out every night in the freezing temperatures.

Henry homesteaded on land now owned by Harold Schutz. The family built a home and raised cattle on the lush grass, grazing them on Uncle Roy's place during the summer. Uncle Roy homesteaded on land now known as the Hughes place. Beneath the current Schutz house are portions of the old adobe house Henry built. Several dairy cattle were milked, butter made from the cream, and the cream stored in the coolness of wells until it could be sold in Chama or Pagosa Springs.

Uncle Roy was fireman on one of the New Mexico Lumber Company logging trains. He and Ed Fitzhugh were killed when the train wrecked while making the big curve on the Blanco River.

Children born to Henry and Kate, in addition to Clarence, were sons Roy, Edward, Gordon, Mack, Harry, and Carrell, and daughter Mrs. Fay Havens. Henry and the boys performed what work they could to survive. At one time, Henry worked in the coal mines at Monero. The boys worked on the train and maybe in lumber mills and logging camps.

"Grandfather was a small man, but he was tough," Alvin said. "He and a neighbor got in a fuss over a fence. Grandpa told the man 'I'm going home to get my gun. If you want to live, you better be gone when I get back.' When grandpa returned, the man was gone."

Henry's method of negotiating with his neighbor seems to be typical of early day community affairs on the Navajo. The community presents a solid front to outsiders, but from within hard feelings festered for many years. Instead of using the courts to obtain justice, Chromoites preferred to take care of business themselves. An example was the treatment they gave a man charged with wife beating. The man was escorted to the State line with the suggestion he should ride away and not come back. According to local history, the last seen of the man was his back and his horse's tail as he disappeared in a southerly direction.

"There have been at least three murders down here, but no convictions," Alvin says.

Some of the hard feelings may have built up over the treatment of one of the girls attending the Chromo school, according to Alvin. The boys from one family gave the girl a hard time and generally harassed her, while the boys from another family defended her.

The U. S. Forest Service was formed in 1905. Not too many years later, probably 1908, Clarence crossed the San Juan Mountains to become one of the first forest rangers near Antonito. He stayed with the Forest Service about three years, then quit to open a butcher shop with a partner. The shop was located in Antonito.

During 1910, Clarence married Minnie Richerson, who had been born in Antonito in 1887. The couple had four children, all born in Antonito. The children are Evelyn, Elizabeth Jones, Alvin, and Ruth dePriest.

After a time, Clarence learned that his name was a better business asset than was the name of his partner and he bought the partner out. Slowly, the business grew into a general mercantile store. In 1929, the store burned. Then the Depression came. Since all of Clarence's business was on credit, he went belly up when his patrons couldn't pay their bills.

"They usually paid their bills maybe once a year when they sold their crops or cattle or sheep," Alvin said. "Dad only collected on one bill and it broke us."

The family moved to Albuquerque where they operated a motel, known as a camp in those days. When the state moved the highway, the family was broke again, so they moved back to Antonito. It was mid-depression and Clarence picked up what odd jobs he could find. Alvin had been born in Antonito, Jan. 14, 1916. He attended high school in Denver, graduating in 1934.

In 1935, the family moved back to Chromo on to 640 acres they had purchased while they owned the store in Antonito. The section of land was situated along the Navajo River Road just east of the Chromo Store. Meanwhile, Grandmother Kate and Uncle Doc tried to hang on to the old family homestead.

That first year irrigation water was brought to the new 640 acres and fences repaired. A loan secured enough money to buy a few heifers and the family started selling cream to the Browns in Pagosa Springs, making enough money to buy a few groceries. When the creamery shut down, the cream was sold to Swift Creamery of Durango. The Durango firm had established a truck route picking up cream from rural areas.

"Everybody got by selling cream, a few eggs, and a few steers," Alvin said. "We used the residue from the cream to feed a few hogs. We butchered for winter. We used to have to salt the pork. That was a bother because we had to get the salt out before we could eat it."

"Then I got the idea of keeping the pork in brine," Fitzhugh said. "We did that for years. It was easy to keep and easy to rinse. We usually butchered one steer and canned the meat so it would keep."

Electricity didn't reach the Navajo until the 1950s, although the Fitzhughs had a propane refrigerator. It didn't have a freezer.

"When electricity came, I got a deep freeze as soon as I could," Fitzhugh said.

Before electricity, the women had a tough life, according to Fitzhugh.

"For years they washed clothes with a rub-board, a stick, and a rock," Alvin said.

The first washing machine was a Maytag with a gasoline engine and a kick starter. Water was heated in a 55-gallon barrel attached to the wood cooking range. The water was lifted by bucket from a hand-dug well.

Alvin first married Eugena Ujick, who had come to Chromo to teach in the eight-grade school. They had a son named Louis before Eugena passed away. Later, Alvin married Lily Faye Hughes. She had a daughter, Sheila, when they married.

The Fitzhughs have piled up a mountain of history in Pagosa Country. Ed Fitzhugh had married Daisy Opdyke. She was the widow of Ed McIntire, another Chromo pioneer. Daisy had been a little girl in Pagosa Springs when Fort Lewis was part of the town. Her writings give us much of what we know about those first years of settlement.

Now, the land on both sides of the Navajo River is being taken up by homes belonging to people who live there because it's pretty. They don't ranch and they don't farm and they don't live off of the land.

"Back in the 1940s, we used to have community get-togethers," Alvin said. "We'd hold picnics at the same place my grandfather camped when he first came to this country. I guess times haven't changed that much. No long ago, I was invited to a party so we could all get to know each other. I don't know my neighbors any more."



Tate Christopher Hinger

Chris and Anita Hinger praise God for their new son, Tate Christopher. His birthday, Jan. 8, 2000, brought the whole family such joy.

Tate is welcomed by 2-year-old brother, Jaden; grandparents Gordon and Donna Rowe of Durango; and grandparents Craig and Eugenia Hinger of Amarillo, Texas, and Pagosa Springs.


Business News


U.P.H.M (United People Help Ministry)

Debi Hilsabeck, left, and Kendra Hilsabeck own and operate the U.P.H.M. (United People Help Ministry) Thrift and Gift Shop, located in the lower level of the River Center on the east end of Pagosa Springs. The store is accessed from the rear of the building.

Thrift and Gift offers a wide range of new, used and consignment goods, including clothing, furniture, books and kitchenware, and has a selection of family-oriented video rentals.

Proceeds from the Thrift and Gift go to charitable causes including work to assist needy families, single parents and the children of broken homes and teens.

Thrift and Gift is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The phone number is 264-8746.




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