Front Page

May 18, 2000

Three fires follow ban; serious losses adverted

By Karl Isberg

The wisdom of a county-wide fire ban put into effect May 11 was obvious before the following weekend was over, after local fire crews fought three wildfires May 14.

Archuleta County Sheriff Tom Richards and Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Warren Grams conferred on May 12 and, considering extremely dry conditions in Archuleta County, the two officials recommended the fire ban.

Although the ban went into effect at 8 a.m. on May 11, Archuleta County Commissioners made the ban official on Tuesday.

The first of the three fires on May 14 was the worst, with the potential to become a major blaze.

According to Grams, PFPD crews were called to a fire 8 miles south of Pagosa Springs, approximately 2 miles west of U.S. 84 on the Lower Blanco Road.

"We were called at 10:30 a.m.," said Grams, "and we responded with eight pieces of equipment and 26 firefighters. The fire was raging up the canyon in trees and brush. It was a serious fire; trees were exploding and there was a chance it could crest the ridge. We were working on a very steep slope and if we had not stopped the fire it could have been on Eightmile Mesa in another 30 minutes. We were all huffing and puffing come five or six in the afternoon."

The fire was on San Juan National Forest land and the U.S. Forest Service sent 20 firefighters and two engines to the scene.

"Our guys left the area at 6:30 p.m." Grams said. "By evening the fire was pretty well under control and the Forest Service people were staying there to deal with hot spots."

A May 15 Forest Service news release stated a government crew was still at the Lower Blanco site, dealing with what was left of the blaze. By that time, the fire had burned five acres of pines, juniper and oak. The fire did not threaten any structures in the vicinity.

At 5:30 p.m. on May 14 firefighters from the PFPD fought a grass fire at 9th and Piedra streets in downtown Pagosa Springs. Ten firefighters used a single piece of equipment to extinguish the blaze within 30 minutes.

Firefighters returned to the downtown area at 8:30 p.m. to deal with a grass fire on Reservoir Hill.

"The fire was on top of the hill," said the chief, "just below the water tank, across from 3rd Street. We drove three pieces of equipment to the top of the hill, then ran 300 feet of hose down to the fire. We held the fire to a fairly small area."

Grams reported that investigators suspect each of the May 14 blazes were "started by kids, playing with fire or lighting campfires. In fact, seven of the last 10 fires we have put out were probably started by kids. People need to tell their children to stop using fires. If it can be proven that a youngster started a fire, the parent can face some pretty serious expenses."

According to Captain Chuck Allen of the Pagosa Springs Police Department, there are two juvenile suspects in the Reservoir Hill fire. Police Chief Don Volger said the two suspects will be cited for criminal mischief following development of additional information in the case.

Grams asked local residents and visitors to be mindful of the rules established by the fire ban while dangerous conditions persist in the county.

The county-wide fire ban prohibits all open fires, campfires, the burning of trash, and use of all but propane and charcoal grills. People smoking cigarettes should do so only in open areas where there is no chance of igniting dry fuels.

The National Weather Service has issued a "red flag warning" for southwest Colorado following a forecast of a combination of high winds, high temperatures, low precipitation and low humidity in the near future.

There is no fire ban imposed on national forest lands, but fire danger in the forests in Archuleta County is rated as high. Federal agencies in the region are currently under a 30-day moratorium on prescribed fire activities.

People using public lands are urged by Forest Service officials to adhere to a set of safety precautions.

Visitors to the forest are asked not to smoke outside vehicles or tents and not to throw cigarette butts outside.

Campfires should not be left unattended, even for a few moments, and when in designated campgrounds, visitors are asked to keep campfires inside the grates provided at the site.

Campfires in the back country are not advised during windy conditions.

Vehicles with hot engines should not be parked above dry grass, and anyone cutting wood in the forest should use a chain saw with a spark arrester and carry a shovel and a bucket of water.

Wildfires on public lands should be reported to the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 385-1324.

Fires on non-federal lands in Archuleta County should be reported to Archuleta County Central Dispatch at 264-2131.

PLPOA-Sheriff pact rescinded; 2 directors quit

By David C. Mitchell

Four directors of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association voted Thursday night to terminate the association's law enforcement contract with the sheriff's department. The two who opposed the action announced their resignations following the vote.

The 4-2 decision (Director Dick Hillyer was absent) to terminate the contract followed a lengthy discussion among the directors and some of the 50 members in attendance. Evidently, at a special meeting the board held the morning of May 6, a somewhat similar atmosphere prevailed during discussions on the results of an earlier survey regarding the association's Public Safety Office.

The contract in question was approved March 21 by a 2-1 vote of the county commissioners. Commissioners Bill Downey and Ken Fox favored the agreement, Commissioner Gene Crabtree opposed it. In brief, the contract called for the sheriff to assign at least four deputies to Pagosa Lakes, for at least 20 hours a day, seven days a week. The sheriff's department was to supervise the deputies, and to provide certain reports to the PLPOA. In turn, the PLPOA would pay the county not more than $160,000 a year to cover the salaries, benefits, and other related expenses; provide the officers patrol cars at a cost of $1 a year to the county; and provide office space and a clerk for up to 20 hours a week. The contract went into effect in late March. It was to expire at the end of December. The agreement authorizes either of the two parties to nullify the contract by giving the other entity a 60-day notice of the desired termination.

Prior to the dividing vote, most of the comments exchanged between the board members and the audience addressed the results of a survey of the membership on the Public Safety Office.

Inserted in about 4,700 newsletters that were printed in March and then mailed to the membership, the PSO survey included five statements or options for the property owners to consider. Copies of the resulting responses were distributed to the audience last Thursday night. The findings were tabulated from 471 of the returned survey sheets that had been deemed valid.

Option A stated: "Contract with Archuleta County Sheriff to provide Pagosa Lakes with all services currently provided by our Public Safety Office, except for animal control." It received 105 favorable responses.

Option B: "Contract with the sheriff as in Option A, but require the sheriff and county to gradually (3 to 5 years) take over full financial responsibility for law enforcement." It received 77 favorable responses.

Option C: "Create a special assessment district in Pagosa Lakes for the purpose of law enforcement (a law enforcement authority)." It received 77 favorable responses.

Option D: "Relinquish law enforcement operation to the sheriff but maintain a security patrol and animal control services." It received 71 favorable responses.

Option E: "Eliminate the Public Safety Office entirely except for animal control." It received 207 favorable responses.

During the open discussion, which far exceeded the announced 30-minute time limit for the public comment period, it was mentioned that an earlier survey conducted by the PLPOA's Public Safety Committee had received similar results.

Strong disagreements were voiced on the differing interpretations of the survey results. Differing opinions also were voiced as to how much consideration should be given to the survey since it only solicited a 10 percent response.

Eventually, Vice-President John Nelson said, "We have in my opinion a very strong response that we should be getting out of the law enforcement business." Nelson then made a motion to "follow the results of the survey" and to exercise the 60-day option to terminate the contract with the county.

After Director David Bohl seconded the motion, members of the board and of the audience continued to express differing opinions.

Some suggested that the board place the questions of terminating the contract, or of entirely eliminating the PSO, on the ballot for the PLPOA's annual business meeting.

Citing fire and EMT responses as important services of the PSO, Mary Fletcher, a member of the audience, asked that a survey be conducted to determine the membership's interest in maintaining the Public Safety Office as a security provider.

With it being an election year, the race for the commissioner seats of Districts 1 and 2 (which both include Pagosa Lakes subdivisions) entered the discussions. It was suggested that the county's provision of law enforcement and road maintenance in Pagosa Lakes be made important issues in the county-wide election.

Speaking from the audience, Gene Cortright said that the two incumbent candidate hopefuls (Bill Downey and Ken Fox) were not interested in maintaining the law enforcement contract or in maintaining the streets in the Pagosa Lake area. He said Pagosa Lakes residents should familiarize themselves with how the persons on the ballot for the county primary election stand on issues that concern Pagosa Lakes.

Director Judy Esterly said she was having "major political problems with the (current) commissioners." Should the contract in fact be terminated, Esterly said it would be her "objective to see that the county hires enough deputies to provide adequate law enforcement for the county."

About the only comment offered during the extended 30-minute public comments session came when Bobbie Carruth asked if anything could be done to improve the condition of Vista Boulevard. She was advised that her question would be answered during the report from the road advisory committee. (The recommendations of the road advisory committee are reported elsewhere in this edition.)

Responding to a question from Director Jim Carson, Nelson (who has a law enforcement background) said the current staff at the sheriff's department would be able to provide adequate law enforcement coverage for the Pagosa Lakes area when the PSO's three deputized Level 3 officers are no longer under contract with the county. "It would depend on where the deputy is in the county at the time a call goes in (to central dispatch). The level of response time in this community is so minimal that I don't think it would be noticeable," Nelson said.

Prior to the vote, Director Bohl said he would support what a majority of the property owners wanted and that he would vote in favor of Nelson's motion. Carson said he thought the association should "get out" of the contract with the county even though he "would like to give the sheriff and commissioners more than 60 days notice." Director Fred Ebeling expressed satisfaction with the 10 percent return rate on the survey. "It's quite obvious" the non-responders "didn't care one way or the other. I would go with the 44 percent (Option E) and vote to do away with the Public Safety Office," Ebeling said.

After casting a dissenting vote against Bohl, Carson, Ebeling and Nelson's aye votes, President Rod Preston, the only elected member of the board, calmly announced his resignation, effective immediately. Preston said that when he ran for the board he had run as a strong advocate of the PSO, and that he continued as such. He said the board had worked hard to get the contract with the sheriff's department in place, unfortunately the agreement never had a chance to prove itself. He said he therefore thought it best to resign since he had not been elected to preside over the demise of the PSO.

Director Judy Esterly, whose term expires July 29, likewise cast a nay vote and made her verbal resignation immediately following Preston's announcement. She too excused herself from the meeting. (Esterly's term was set to expire at the end of July.)

With the law enforcement issue apparently being the major concern on the agenda for most of the differing audience, about 80 percent of the audience also left.

Following Preston's resignation, Nelson, as vice-president, moved to the president's chair. He said an advertisement would be placed to solicit an appointee to fill Preston's position on the board. The term for the vacated seat expires in July 2001.

Asked later why his motion only addressed ending the contract for law enforcement rather than eliminating the PSO entirely, Nelson said that terminating the contract "will in essence eliminate the Public Safety Office as it now stands." He said he thought the two greatest needs of the association are dealing with road-related matters and increasing the level of services provided by the PLPOA's covenants and compliance office. Nelson said his term expires July 29 and that he does not plan to run for election.

In other business May 11, the PLPOA board:

- Agreed to seek advice on the best way to budget carry-over funds necessary for covering first-of-the-year operating needs. It was explained that assessment fee collections normally lag during the first two or three months of the year.

- Agreed to establish an agreement with Colorado Management regarding the collection of delinquent assessment fees.

- Agreed to table the question of how to best handle lot consolidations until after the annual meeting and election.

- Heard a report from Mike Mollica, county development director, regarding Round 2 of the upcoming county-wide land-use meetings.

27 roads due for summer improvements

By John M. Motter

Several roads will be rebuilt this summer by Archuleta County road and bridge crews. Other roads will be rebuilt by the Weeminuche Construction Co. through the Fairfield Communities Inc. bankruptcy settlement agreement. Work accomplished by Weeminuche Construction is supervised by the county.

The county road and bridge work schedule was explained by Kevin Rogers, the road supervisor, at the regular county commissioner meeting Tuesday. Rogers' report apportions the tasks according to the kind of work being accomplished.

Application of magnesium chloride to county roads is about 50 percent finished, according to Rogers. About 40 miles remain to be covered with the stabilizing chemical.

Asphalt work to be done by county crews includes the following projects:

- Piedra Road - Approximately 2,000 feet of the northern end will be milled and repaved. The work should be completed by mid-summer. Milling involves grinding the existing asphalt, then reshaping and rolling it into a new road surface.

- Nocturn Place in Lake Pagosa Park - will receive an asphalt surface with an anticipated midsummer completion date.

- Asphalt approach transitions will be reworked for County Road 146 at the Turkey Springs Trading Post, County Road 326 in the Blanco Basin, County Road 335 in the Lower Blanco, and County Road 700 (Cat Creek Road). Completion is expected by mid-summer.

Chip-and-seal work anticipated for county crews includes the following:

- Park Avenue - An August completion date is anticipated for milling, reshaping, and chip sealing 0.73 miles of this street between Cloud Cap Avenue and Carlee Court.

- Handicap Avenue - will be milled, reshaped, and chip sealed for 0.73 miles between Piedra Road and Pines Club Place. August completion is expected.

- Cloud Cap Avenue - will be milled, reshaped, and chip sealed for 0.32 miles between Piedra Road and the concrete spillway for Lake Pagosa. August completion is expected.

Gravel, drainage, and slope stabilization work is scheduled for the following locations:

- Lower Navajo Road - By fall, this road will receive 2.5 miles of new construction to include drainage, slope stabilization and new gravel.

- Trujillo Road - Throughout the year, this road will receive new gravel and drainage improvements from Pagosa Junction south as far as time and funds permit. The road surface will be elevated approximately three feet on portions of this road.

- Cat Creek Road - Graveling will continue on this road from Mile Marker 6 to Pagosa Junction.

- Mill Creek Road - will receive new construction between the first and second cattle guards including drainage improvements, ditch work, gravel, and elevating portions of the road. Fall completion is expected.

- Blanco Basin Road - Before fall, spot gravel will be applied to specific areas on Red Ryder Hill.

- Fourmile Road - Spot gravel donated by J.R. Ford will be applied to this road through the summer.

Milling work is planned for the following roads:

- Fourmile Road - By fall, one mile of chip-and-seal surface will be removed. Then the road will be reshaped and magnesium chloride applied. Reconstruction of this road including rebuilding the base is anticipated during a future year.

- Lake Pagosa Park - A number of streets in this subdivision will be milled as time permits. Among these streets are Gary, Dawning, Debonaire, Emissary, Gala, Carefree, Dayspring, Enchanted and others. Spot gravel will be applied as well as magnesium chloride if the budget permits. Fall completion is expected.

The Weeminuche summer construction schedule under the settlement agreement street improvement project anticipates a number of tasks.

New construction is scheduled for the following streets:

- North Pagosa Boulevard - Village Lake to beyond Dutton Drive will receive asphalt paving. Completion is expected by mid-summer.

- Northlake Drive - Between North Pagosa Boulevard and the Village Lake spillway, this road will receive asphalt surfacing with a mid-summer completion expected.

- Davis Cup Drive - will receive an asphalt surface between Village Drive and the condominium entrance. The work should be finished by mid-summer.

- Park Avenue - will be surfaced with asphalt between Lakewood and Vista Boulevard by mid-summer.

- Vista Boulevard - will be rebuilt and receive an asphalt surface between U.S. 160 and Lake Forest Circle.

- Bonanza Drive - will receive new construction with asphalt paving between Vista Boulevard and Prospect Place.

- North Pagosa Boulevard - A 1,700-foot section of this road where the pavement failed will be rebuilt. The work will take place in the Lake Hatcher-Highlands area.

The following capital improvements projects will be undertaken by the county road and bridge department:

- Navajo Bridge - Bids for replacing this bridge on the road between Chromo and Edith are expected to be awarded by the end of June.

The following capital improvement projects are unofficial until the projects are bid and recorded. They will be financed from funds formerly allocated for rebuilding Lightplant Road. Since the Lightplant Road project has been delayed for a year, the following projects have been suggested as a replacement.

- South Pagosa Boulevard - Asphalt paving will be applied from the end of existing asphalt to Cameron Place.

- Meadows Boulevard - New construction with paving is suggested for Meadows Boulevard from U.S. 160 to the Big Sky Place intersection.

- Navajo Court - New construction with all-weather gravel is proposed for this street between Monte Vista Drive and the end of the cul-de-sac.

- Paisley Court - New construction with all-weather gravel is proposed for this street between Trails Boulevard and the end of the cul-de-sac.

- Beacon Court - New construction with all-weather gravel is proposed for this street between Lakeside Boulevard and the end of the cul-de-sac.

- One-half Bulb off Lake Forest Circle - New construction with all-weather paving is proposed for this street.

Water plant expected to be operative by fall

By John M. Motter

Work is progressing on the new water treatment plant being erected by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District at its Vista facility site.

"It's going a little slower than we expected," said Gene Tautges, assistant general manager for the district. "I expect we'll be on line by this fall."

With its 3 million gallon capacity and versatility, the new plant is expected to boost the district's ability to supply drinking water under almost any conditions.

Last year the demand for water exceeded the district's treatment capacity several times during the summer when people felt the need to water lawns. Similar conditions are already threatening this year, according to Carrie S. Campbell, the general manager.

"There have already been some nights when we had to treat water all night in order to keep up with demand," Campbell said. "If the demand continues, we may have to implement rationing."

The new plant will receive its supply of water from the San Juan River south of Pagosa Springs. Water is pumped from the San Juan River diversion point through a pipeline to the Vista plant under construction.

One feature of the new plant is its ability to route potable water in three directions. Another feature of the new system is the capability to direct untreated water to any of three reservoirs in the Fairfield Pagosa area.

Because of the high electrical cost of pumping the water up hill from the river to the treatment plant, PAWS is joining the treated-water side of the system to a pipe line connecting the Pagosa Springs and PAWS water treatment systems. By using this line, it will no longer be necessary to pump water up Put Hill. Instead, water can move down the hill from the PAWS system, saving on electrical costs.

Once the new treatment plant is functioning, PAWS will initiate another step of its long-range plan. That step is the enlargement of Stevens Reservoir by adding 10 feet to the dam height. Because the Stevens Reservoir project will shut down the Stevens water treatment plant for two or three years, that project has been delayed pending completion of the Vista water treatment plant.

Implementation of the long-range plan will enable the district to keep up with growth in the area. District maintenance crews are booked through July on new installations. They install two, and sometimes three, new taps a day.

PAWS takes care of the drinking water needs of Pagosa Springs and the surrounding populated areas including the Fairfield Pagosa cluster of subdivisions. Water for the Fairfield Pagosa portion of the system is obtained from Hatcher and Stevens reservoirs. Both reservoirs have water treatment plants. Pagosa Springs' water is obtained from the West Fork of the San Juan River and a treatment plant located on Snowball Road.

Sewage services are provided by PAWS for a portion of the Fairfield Pagosa area. The town has its own sewage collection and treatment system.

At their regular meeting Tuesday, the PAWS board of directors swore in the members elected during the May 2 balloting. Sworn into office as board members were Harold Slavinski, Bob Frye, George Chenoweth and Karen Wessels. All are re-elected incumbents excepting Wessels, who had been appointed to fill a vacancy created by Cecil Tackett's resignation.

In other business the board:

- Opted to consult with attorney's concerning a request by Valerie Green that about $20,000 spent by Green to install a water line be credited against Green's anticipated inclusion fees

- Opted to consult with attorney's concerning a proposed land swap with Dale and Deanna Hockett, located near the Stevens Reservoir dam

- Increased tap fees by 25 percent in order to offset increased costs of pipe and other new construction. Tap fees are normally assessed when a main water line approaches within 100 feet of a parcel of property.

- Scheduled a special meeting Tuesday to address the Green and Hockett items

- Entered into an executive session following the Tuesday night meeting, even though an executive session was neither voted on nor listed on the agenda.

County-wide Clean-up week starts Saturday

By John M. Motter

A county-wide spring clean up starts Saturday and continues through the following Saturday. The county effort comes on the heels of the town's clean-up program May 14 through May 20.

The county is providing dumpsters at six locations. Unlike last year, county personnel will be on call over the weekend in the event some of the dumpsters are filled. Last year, no one was available over the weekend and trash spilled onto the ground in locations where the dumpsters were overloaded.

Dumpsters will not be available at each of the locations for the entire week. The free county dumpsters are located at the following sites during the following times and days:

Chromo - The old transfer station on County Road 382, Saturday and Sunday

Lower Blanco - At the entrance from U.S. 84 on the south side of Lower Blanco Road Saturday, Sunday and Monday

Holiday Acres - On U.S. 84 opposite the north entrance Saturday, Sunday and Monday

San Juan River Resort - Alpine Drive near the treatment plant Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Aspen Springs - At the Hurt Drive and U.S. 160 intersection opposite the Turkey Springs Trading Post May 24 through May 27

Vista - On Lyn Avenue at the south entrance to the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District grounds May 24 through May 27

The Archuleta County landfill on Trujillo Road will allow free dumping Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In general, all forms of household refuse will be accepted free. Large items such as car bodies and freezers should be taken to the landfill. Residents are asked to not put liquids or hazardous waste into the dumpsters or landfill. Among items classified as hazardous are car tires and batteries, freon and appliances containing freon, pesticides and fertilizers, and any other chemicals.

Anyone with questions should call the Archuleta County Solid Waste Department at 264-0193.

Inside The Sun
Three hurt in Pagosa Boulevard crash

By Karl Isberg

A May 11 head-on crash on South Pagosa Boulevard injured three people and required attention from members of four law enforcement and emergency response agencies.

Colorado State Patrol Trooper Chris Balenti investigated the two-car pile-up. The trooper was at the scene with sheriff deputies, an EMS crew and firefighters from the Pagosa Fire Protection District.

According to Balenti's report, the accident occurred at noon at a point on South Pagosa Boulevard 2 miles south of U.S. 160.

Theresa Tarr, 40, of Pagosa Springs was traveling northbound on South Pagosa Boulevard in a 1983 Mitsubishi Montero. Tarr's vehicle, reports Balenti, was in the southbound lane of the two-lane road.

A 1994 Chevy truck driven by Eric Branch, 19, of Rowland, N.C., was southbound on the road, in the southbound lane.

Balenti determined that Tarr's vehicle went into a one-wheel skid as it passed through a turn in the road. It continued in the skid for nearly 70 feet prior to impact. Branch's truck skidded 83 feet prior to the crash. The vehicles hit head-on approximately 3.5 feet from the center line of the road.

Both vehicles came to rest on their wheels, and Tarr's Mitsubishi caught on fire.

Neither driver was wearing a seat belt, nor was the passenger in Branch's truck, Kermit Hammonds, 26, of Pembroke, N.C.

Firefighters extinguished the fire and the injured drivers and passenger were tended by EMS personnel.

The three victims were taken to the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center, where Branch and Hammonds were treated for minor injuries and released. Tarr was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Durango. A hospital spokesman said Tarr sustained a mild concussion and was kept overnight for observation.

Tarr was cited for careless driving causing bodily injury and for failing to use a seat belt. Branch was cited for no seat belt.


May snow a surprise but not unusual

By John M. Motter

Snow dusted Pagosa Country Wednesday morning like powdered sugar on a cupcake. As quickly as the wintry fallout appeared, it disappeared almost as quickly.

Residents who happened to step outside about 6 a.m.Wednesday were surprised by winds driving snowflakes through the sky in almost blizzard proportions. Enough snow fell to cover lawns and windshields. By 10 a.m., the snow was gone.

May snow in Pagosa Country is not unusual. Last year we received about 4 inches of snow May 3. This year's May 17 snowfall was probably not measurable. Historically, May snowfall averages one inch in Pagosa Springs. The record May snowfall is 14 inches recorded in 1978.

This is the last month we can expect snowfall in town until September rolls around. The average monthly snowfall for June, July, and August in town is none. Traces of snow have fallen during all of those months.

The forecast for Pagosa Country calls for a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms today and through the coming weekend, according to forecasters in the National Weather Service Grand Junction office. A warming trend should start tomorrow. The high temperature today should reach 65 degrees. By this weekend, that figure should increase slightly to the low 70s. Tonight the low temperature will be about 35 degrees. That figure should be in the low 40s by Saturday.

The rain predicted for last week "passed on the north," according to Gary Chancy, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction.

"A lot of times we get a counter-clockwise air flow around a low pressure area," Chancy said. "The result is often high winds, but no moisture."

Wind speeds this past week peaked at 40 miles per hour Sunday at 4:15 p.m. and 38 miles per hour Tuesday at 4:10 p.m.

The total precipitation recorded in town for this month is 0.15 inches through May 17. May is normally a dry month for Pagosa as evidenced by the long-time average precipitation of 0.43 inches in town.


PLPOA panel lists road work preferences

By David C. Mitchell

Members of the Pagosa Lakes Road Advisory Committee hope to get the most miles possible out of the $1.3 million that remains from the Fairfield Communities Inc., bankruptcy settlement agreement with Archuleta County and Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association.

The committee's plan to stretch the remaining funds involves a commitment from the county road and bridge department on two specific road improvement projects in the Pagosa Lakes area. The eight recommendations also are contingent on whether the cost of some of the work would be covered by the warranty on last summer's road work. All of the road work proposed by the advisory committee would be done in accordance to county specifications.

The committee's top two recommendations involve reconstructing and asphalting Vista Boulevard, and reconstructing and asphalting Bonanza Avenue.

The heavily traveled Vista Boulevard adjoins U.S. 160 and is the main access street for Vista subdivision. The easterly end of Bonanza Avenue (the main east-west street for Vista subdivision) connects to the northern end of Vista Boulevard; Bonanza's westerly end connects to Trails Boulevard which is the main access road for Trails subdivision.

Bill Ralston, road advisory committee chairman, reported last Thursday night that recommendations No. 1 and 2, would cost about $600,000.

However, Ralston said the recommendation is contingent on the county assuming the cost of two other road reconstruction projects on the south side of U.S. 160.

The first project calls for the county to fully reconstruct and asphalt Meadows Drive from U.S. 160 to Big Sky Place. The Big Sky-Meadows intersection is located about 9,715 feet south of the highway. The second project calls for the county to asphalt the portion of South Pagosa Boulevard that the county reconstructed and realigned last summer between U.S. 160 and south Capricho Circle (5,280 feet of roadway), and to fully reconstruct and asphalt South Pagosa Boulevard from south Capricho Circle to Cameron Place, a distance of about 1,020 feet.

Ralston said both projects had already been discussed with supervisory personnel in the road and bridge department, and that they appeared to be open to the proposals. Ralston said any final decision involving the county would need to be made by the county commissioners. (Please see page 1, section 1 article on county roads.)

Should the county agree to the Meadows Drive and South Pagosa Boulevard proposals, Ralston said the road advisory committee would then use the remaining $700,000 of the settlement funds on six additional recommendations.

As for No. 3, Ralston reported that a 1,665-foot section of North Pagosa Boulevard near Pebble Court that was included last summer's settlement-agreement work has started to deteriorate and therefore needs repair. He said if engineers determine the deterioration is due to sub-soil conditions, costs of the repairs would need to come from the settlement funds. If it's determined the damage resulted from faulty application of the asphalt, then the repair costs would come from the project's warranty account.

Recommendation No. 4 targets asphalting 1,215 feet of Alpha Drive, starting at its junction with U.S. 160 and continuing south to McCabe Street.

Recommendation No. 5 involves fully reconstructing and asphalting Martinez Place from its junction with Lake Forest Circle to its junction with Stevens Circle; a distance of about 450 feet.

Recommendation No. 6 proposes that 1,340 feet of Port Avenue be fully reconstructed and asphalted starting at the street's junction with Vista Boulevard.

Recommendation No. 7 deals with asphalting the "transition" sections of Steamboat and Lighthouse places where they connect with the east side of North Pagosa Boulevard. The work was recommended as a means of protecting the shoulders of the targeted portions of North Pagosa Boulevard.

Recommendation No. 8 suggests fully reconstructing and asphalting a 1,215-foot section of Stevens Circle with the work to begin at the street's junction with Martinez Place.

Besides recommendations being contingent on the county's acceptance of the South Pagosa Boulevard and Meadows Drive projects, Ralston said the amount of reconstruction and paving that could be accomplished this summer would depend on a favorable bid from the contractor, Weeminuche Construction.

During the PLPOA board's discussion of the recommendations, Director Fred Ebeling said that because of the roads designated for inclusion in the bankruptcy settlement agreement, none of the $1.3 million could be used on the above-mentioned portions of South Pagosa Boulevard or Meadows Drive.

Acknowledging that the advisory committee's recommendations addressed the most heavily traveled streets in the community, and could benefit residents of Meadows, Director David Bohl made a motion to adopt the road committee's recommendations. His motion was seconded and passed by a 4-0 vote.

Maternity grant OK'd

By John M. Motter

The Archuleta County commissioners agreed to give Sheriff Tom Richards about $3,600 to pay for a temporary employee during the maternity absence of a full-time employee of the department.

Richards said he didn't budget for the situation because at budget time last fall he didn't know the need would arise.

The action was taken during the regular meeting of county commissioners Tuesday morning.

In other business the commissioners:

- Approved the renewal of permits for the sale of alcoholic beverages for Turkey Springs Trading Post, Chromo Mercantile, San Juan Marina No. 1, and San Juan Marina No. 2.

- Approved four lot consolidations.

- Accepted a proposal from the developers of the Elk Park Meadows subdivision that the county allow the developer to donate land and a building to the subdivision's future property owners association in lieu of the usual 5 percent cash donation for public benefits.

- Approved the final plat and the release of bonding and improvements agreement for Timberline Townhomes.

- Conditionally approved the improvements agreement for paving requested by developers of the Ross limited planned unit development.

- Extended an avigation easement on the south side of Stevens Field to include the airspace above the roadways in the area.

- Approved the establishment of a scholarship to be funded by the sale of metal cans through the county recycling program. The sale of metal cans might generate $1,500 a year, according to Clifford Lucero, manager of the County Solid Waste Division.

- Agreed to research Commissioner Gene Crabtree's proposal that the county hire a grant writer.

- Approved a county clean-up week to start Saturday. See related article in this week's SUN.

- After listening to a recommendation from Sheriff Tom Richards and Fire Chief Warren Grams, the commissioners enacted a county-wide open fire ban. See a related article in this week's SUN for more details.

- Listened to a monthly road and bridge report presented by Kevin Walters, manager of the county road and bridge department. See a related article in this week's SUN.

- Accepted a letter from the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association notifying the commissioners that the PLPOA intends to end a contract with the county concerning the Public Safety Office. The contract ends July 15. See a related article in this week's SUN for more details.

- Learned that the joint county-PLPOA road advisory committee endorses the road maintenance plan developed by Kevin Rogers, the county road supervisor. See related article in this week's SUN for more details.


Humane Society

Dear Editor,

As a senior at Pagosa Springs High School, I have been an active volunteer at the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs since September of 1999. I was invited to join the "Train the trainers" program by professional trainer Julie Paige, and now I volunteer there for three to six hours a week. This doesn't sound like much, but when balanced with school, work, family time, and extracurricular activities, it turns out to be an awful lot. I've thought about writing this letter for a while, and was just not sure what I was going to say until I read the letter from Dhian Lauren in the April 27 paper.

To call the people at the Humane Society "ordinary" is very unobservant. Doug, Cheri, John, Jim, and Lill come in seven days a week to clean up after the animals that have been dumped or dropped off there; it's not like you're cleaning up after your own animals either. Doug and the others do this for the animals, not themselves. They do all that they do just to see the gratitude and trust that the abused, abandoned, and unwanted former pets give them. You truly would not believe the difference that the staff and volunteers make in the animals that call the shelter home. These "untrainable" animals, after spending time with people who love and care for them, become unique and loveable pets with better personalities. A great victory for us is a dog coming in and already knowing its name. Sit, stay, down, off, and heel are major extras.

As for the spay and neuter issue, I spent my afternoon on the phone and in vets' offices here and in Durango. Upon asking vets their personal opinion, the varied responses were almost all the same. Spaying starts at eight weeks and goes up, and neuters vary from three and a half to six months. I've seen animals adopted out in other areas where spaying or neutering is not done before the animal leaves, and a month or two later the same dog or cat is back with a litter of eight to 10 puppies or kittens. The policy of the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs is not a bad one.

I would like to thank Doug, Cheri, Jon, Jim, Julie, Lill, Kristin, Nancy, Leslie, Cathy, Rose, and all of the other trainers. You're all wonderful, keep up the good work. Funny thing: you all thanked me on the first day and still do on my way out. I feel more like it is I who should be thanking you for the chance to be a part of these animals' lives, and for the chance to improve my training skills. You're all great people, and very, very extraordinary. We miss you Salilia. Thank you to all who adopted a pet during our adopt-a-thon weekend.

Evelyn Klitzke

Cement plant

Dear Editor,

I have been reading your paper for the last four or five years, as I am a property owner. It has been real humorous to read about people getting upset about such things as a gavel, getting rid of an eye sore like Wolf Creek saw mill and putting in an up scale RV park, and of course there is always the PLPOA.

Not one word has been said about the cement plant going in right on the river five miles east of town on U.S. 160. Where do you suppose all of the wash-out water from the trucks is going to end up, being that the plant is right above the river. I couldn't imagine water running down hill could you? Maybe with the residue from the concrete with it. Who knows, about all of the noise the residents of San Juan River Village, and Elk Meadows campground will have to endure, as it is supposed to run 12 hours a day, six days a week. Will the operator be allowed to mine the river bed and create another eye sore like the one already in place close to town now. I am not fully against growth, it's bound to happen. But shouldn't industry be kept in its proper place, which is not adjacent to peaceful subdivisions and campgrounds which already exist? Maybe the sulfur smell from the spa will cover up the smell of dead fish floating down the river. They will sure be easier to catch.

Ken McLean

It saddens me

Dear Editor,

I, like many people in Pagosa, am a lover of the mountain wilderness. Anyone who goes out in the wilderness knows that there is nothing more advantageous to the soul than pure, uninhabited nature.

It saddens me when I think about organizations like the Piano Creek Ranch. Tennis courts, golf course, swimming pool, massage room; what great conveniences. When I think of these things, I think of the city, a place inhabited by man. But all these are offered at the high mountain Piano Creek Ranch. "How could this be?"

I think to myself, "One cannot mix modern convenience with natural beauty. Wherever man takes up home, nature is lost. All of the cities of this country were, at one time, pure nature, and when man took up home, they lost their nature and became cities." One might say to me, "But what happens when this 'small living space' is taken up?" Someone will say, "I want to live in this beautiful scenery too."After this, only one thing can happen: Expansion. But the people that are living there now must be too caught up in their secular ways of thinking to worry about this. It's all about me and now. I want to live in the forest with modern convenience and I want it now.

But no one thinks of the big picture. What about 100 years from now? Our sons, who by this time are grandfathers, are telling their grandchildren about how Piano Creek used to be beautiful mountain country, but is now Piano Creek residential area.

I know this will probably never happen, but with the fast expansion rate Pagosa is growing at, I fear more property organizations like this will come up. When does it stop? I can't answer this, but I pray it happens before Pagosa Springs becomes Pagosa City.

"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." - Edward Abbey

Josiah Payne


Dear Editor,

I am writing to you as a concerned and upset citizen of Pagosa Springs. I reside in the subdivision known as San Juan River Resort. For those who don't know, SJRR is located approximately 6 miles east from Pagosa, off U.S. 160.

My huge concern is that a heavy industry (concrete batch plant) is being constructed a third of a mile from SJRR. It is also just of U.S. 160.

First, I am concerned about the San Juan River. This proposed plant is on river-front property. It is highly likely, that some form of pollutants will find their way into the river, despite all precautions.

Second, a large concern is U.S. 160. I am in the process now of trying to talk to Colorado Department of Transportation to obtain more information, but I believe that this plant will cause many unforeseen traffic problems and safety issues with its large trucks operating 12 hours a day. (The owner proposes to operate 12 hours a day, six days a week, all year round).

Third, this concrete batch plant will pollute SJRR with the sounds of heavy industry, will most likely pollute the air (despite any precaution), and cause conditions of adversity to our residents.

Fourth, it distresses me that now as visitors or tourists enter our beautiful area from the east, they will be subject to the ugliness in sight and sound of a concrete batch plant.

And finally, questions: Do the people want to have a concrete batch plant greeting all who travel on U.S. 160? Where is the owner's civic responsibility? Has the owner no consideration for an entire neighborhood, the Elk Meadows Campground located across from him or his community?

Thank you

E. Allison McKinney-Smith

Individual rights

Dear Editor,

It is disheartening to observe the incremental erosion of individual rights through the success of seemingly well-intentioned pressure groups who obviously believe their enlightened understanding and knowledge of social needs compels them to impose their agenda to protect us, "the great unwashed masses."

When Mr. Paul Hansen was reported to have withdrawn his proposal to develop an RV park at the former site of Wolf Creek Industries on U.S. 84, due to the petition drive by nearby private property owners, "as long as it is not in my back yard," and assorted protectors of the environment, (one of the world's largest mutual admiration societies) it was a sad day for those of us who steadfastly cling to the importance of individual rights.

In the absence of any violations of zoning laws, restrictive covenants, and with the necessary permits and inspections, we believe that Mr. Hansen should have been encouraged to proceed with his proposal. He, of course, also has every right not to develop his private property, but I can almost hear the gleeful cackling from the newly-added $10 a pop mineral bath pools from here. (What happened to the Great Pagosa Hot Springs aquifer, our truly natural wonder?)

The petition gatherers and letter writers whined about the marring of their view of the area's natural beauty. Get real. The eye-sore of the ruins of the former sawmill? The trailer park on the other side of the highway? If they must, why don't they put their protectionist energies to use in reclaiming our Great Pagosa Mineral Hot Spring or cleaning up the area at the junction of U.S. 160 and U.S. 84 rather than seek to inhibit development which will improve the view while providing jobs and revenues for the county to the benefit of its private citizens?

Gene Takach

Thank Hansens

Dear Editor,

The proposed Hansen Campground was adjacent to where I am building the home I plan to live in for the rest of my life. I believe this was the wrong place to build a campground. However, the Hansens were new to the area, bought the property in good faith, understood there was no zoning, designed a very "green" and efficient site, and were very surprised by all the hostility they encountered.

The county regulations in place would have allowed them to build it and the project would have been approved. The Hansens plan to be a part of this community and volunteered to cancel their project. They proved to me that they are good neighbors.

Now is the time for everyone who opposed the project, who signed a petition or wrote a letter of opposition, to tell the Hansens "Thank You." They have changed their plans in a big way, and now is the time for the community to tell them that we appreciate their sensitivity and we appreciate them.

Let's all be sure to tell them "thanks and welcome to Pagosa."

Don Thompson


Controlled burns

Dear Editor,

The New Mexico fire is a fine example of the cure being worse than the disease. It should remind us here in Pagosa of the Devil Mountain controlled burn of 1996 that also got out of control. It seems nothing was learned from that accident and other controlled burns in the West that have devastated forests and property. We forget that in these fires a tremendous amount of animal life is also lost.

Ron Alexander

Voice opinions

Dear David,

This week, and next, the Archuleta County Community Plan meetings will be held throughout the county. Area residents should please look in the SUN and Preview for advertisements showing specific times, dates, and locations.

This series of meetings will be dealing with alternative growth scenarios, desired future conditions, and development of policy options. This will be Archuleta County citizens' opportunity to debate various advantages and disadvantages of each growth scenario and to make a choice on which way they want to see their county evolve and what sort of controls and regulations they wish to implement to achieve the chosen scenario.

It is vitally important that we all participate in this process. Every opinion is valid and needs to be considered. I so often hear people complaining, after the fact, because a rule or regulation was made which affects them directly and they find objectionable. Please, spare two and a half hours this week or next and let your voice be heard. Together, we can define a plan which best meets the needs of all of us.


Mary K. Carpenter

Archuleta County Community Plan Steering Committee

Congrats PLPOA

Dear Editor,

Congratulations goes out to the property owners of PLPOA. Once again you stood up and spoke for what's right and you won against a board of directors that should have had some wisdom with age, but it seems that a few of them never had it.

Thanks to Dick Akin, Don Lackey and wife, Harry Van Matre, myself and others who were there to set it right in regards to the public safety contract with the sheriff we were successful in terminating the contract in 60 days. We were glad that we won the vote 4 to 2 to terminate and even more thrilled that the two directors, Ron Preston and Judy Esterly who wanted the contract gave their resignations on the spot.

This proves that when you have a body that acts not in the best interest of the people things can be changed. We did it with the snowmobiles, the RVs and now the public safety. Time and energy could be saved if the board would just stop and ask what the property owners want. After all it is our PLPOA.

Thanks goes out to the board members who voted for terminating the contract.

Randall Mettscher

Chase ideas

Dear Editor,

I've been a long-time resident of Pagosa, some of my family there even longer than you Dave.

My question, as a free-lance writer with over 300 articles published at this point, I've decided to chase one of my long-time most interesting ideas . . . that being that the Pagosa SUN is the best example of yellow journalism I've ever seen in my travels about the world. Dave Mitchell seems to have far more regard for his own ego and beliefs (and especially ego) than for any equilibrium of opinions. He is quite sure he is right - and anything else is just a voice to knock down to him. So - I'm going to do some articles that I sell in other venues regarding yellow journalism - using the Pagosa SUN and David Mitchell as a prime example.

Any thoughts?


Todd Murchison

Editor's note: With your many connections as a free-lance writer, I'm sure you will do well.


John Hunt

John Webster Hunt of Pagosa Springs passed away May 14, 2000.

Mr. Hunt was born at Wesley Hospital in Wichita, Kan. to Emery W. and Helen E. Ratcliff Hunt on Sept. 2, 1954. He joined an older sister, Alice at home. His paternal grandparents were Webster and Cora Hunt. His maternal grandparents were J. Anderson and Edith Ratcliff all from Tryon, Okla.

In September 1955 the family moved to Liberal, Kan. Mr. Hunt attended kindergarten through high school in Liberal and graduated from Liberal High School in 1972. While in school, he was active in Boy Scouts and 4-H. He enjoyed raising and riding horses. This led to his interest in trading horses. While attending Garden City Community College, he was a member of their livestock judging team. This team won several events and was recognized throughout southwest Kansas.

In 1975, Mr. Hunt made his first visit to Pagosa Springs. He returned after that summer of work to Liberal, but his heart stayed in Colorado. While living in Liberal, he worked for National Beef and worked as a partner with his father for Western Associates.

In 1983, Mr. Hunt married Mary Heddings. They had one son, Mathew Estes Hunt. Mr. Hunt became a devoted father and friend of his son Mathew. In 1988, he was divorced and moved back to Pagosa Springs. Mathew joined him in Pagosa that year and they became "fans" of the Pagosa Springs area. They both enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping and everything the area had to offer. Mr. Hunt spoke often of the special hunting trips he had when his Uncle Chuck came to join him from Missouri.

Mr. Hunt was involved in a hand gun accident shortly after arriving in Pagosa Springs. During his rehabilitation from the accident, he studied and received his license to sell real estate. He also worked for a short time as a Western Associates salesperson before becoming permanently disabled.

As his son Mathew became a member of the Archuleta County 4-H Club, Mr. Hunt became his biggest supporter. Mathew also raised steers and pigs. Mr. Hunt was very proud of Mathew and his 4-H awards.

Throughout his life, Mr. Hunt also enjoyed motorcycles. He rode small bikes as a teenager but always loved Harley Davidsons. In later years, he was finally able to obtain one. His love of riding was slowed only by his foot injury.

At the time of his death, he was disabled from his foot injury.

He is survived by his son of the home, Mathew; his parents Emery W. and Helen E. Hunt of Liberal; his sister, Alice Hunt Duwe and her husband Wes of Wichita; nephews Brandon Duwe and his wife, Heather, and great niece Ashlyn of St. Joseph, Mo.; Brent Duwe, Wichita; a host of aunts and uncles and many personal friends. They will all miss his caring attitude and fun loving nature.

Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. May 17 at Community Bible Church.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be sent to the Archuleta County 4-H Club, Box 370, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Karen Riddle

Karen W. Riddle passed away May 14, 2000, at University Hospital in Denver after a brief illness. She is survived by her daughter Danielle Mariah Denton, her mother Mrs. Irene Riddle, brother Dennis Riddle, sisters Terry Riddle and Sherry Buffington.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Our Saviour Lutheran Church which is located at the southeast corner of Meadows Drive and U.S. 160. A pot-luck dinner will be held at 1 p.m. at the Brown residence 5 miles west on County Road 335 of the Lower Blanco.


Joni D. Lattin

Joni D. Lattin, daughter of LeRoy Lattin and Dawn Walker, graduated from Adams State College in Alamosa May 6 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education. Joni is a 1994 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School. Her family and friends said they are proud of her dedication and focus.

Robin Davis

Robin W. Davis, son of Randall Davis and Cindy Hamilton of Pagosa Springs, has accepted a Fort Lewis College Presidential Scholarship for the 2000-01 academic year.

He will graduate from Pagosa Springs High School May 27. While at PSHS, he was active in the National Honor Society, recognized as a top-10 academic senior and received awards in the following: art, economics, vocational mechanics, technical drawing and government.

Renee Wendt

Renee L. Wendt of Pagosa Springs has accepted a Fort Lewis College Deans' Scholarship for the 2000-01 academic year.

Wendt is the daughter of Kathy Wendt of Pagosa Springs.

She will graduate from Pagosa High School where she was active in the Future Business Leaders of America and Odyssey of the Mind programs.


Sports Page

Prunty leads six Pirates to state track

By John M. Motter

Senior Shane Prunty heads a parade of six Pagosa Pirate athletes who will compete in the state Class 3A track and field championships tomorrow and Saturday at Dutch Clark Stadium in Pueblo. Events start at 9:40 a.m. Friday and at 10:45 a.m. Saturday.

Joining Prunty, who is making his third trip to the state meet, are Daniel Crenshaw, Sarah Huckins, Annah Rolig, Meigan Canty and Andrea Ash.

The Pagosa tracksters qualified for the state meet by finishing fourth or better at the regional meet conducted last Friday at Adams State College in Alamosa.

Prunty hurled the discus 145-09 feet, to capture third in that event behind the 161-07 heave of Del Norte's Jake Evig, the 156-01.5 of La Junta's Joe Trainor, and the 139.09.25 by Jesse Reece of La Junta. Pagosa's Josh Richardson seemed to have fourth place and a trip to state wrapped up until bested by the final 139-9 throw of Jesse Reese of La Junta. Richardson's fifth-place effort of 133-9 was a personal best, but not good enough for state. The four best 3A discus throws in the state this year have been made by Region 3 competitors.

In the shotput, Prunty's 44-7 3/4 was good for fifth place behind Evig's 48-0, Matt Mascanares of La Junta's 47-0, Kelly Adams of Trinidad's 45-1/2, and Brandon Erchal of Buena Vista's 44-10 1/2.

Crenshaw, a Pirate junior competing in track for the first time this season, qualified in the 800-meter dash with a time of 2 minutes, 06.37 seconds. Crenshaw was bested in a photo finish by winner Willy Snyder of Monte Vista, who's time was 2:06.12.

Huckins was the lone Lady Pirate to qualify in an individual event. Huckins captured third place in the 800-meter dash with a time of 2:33.96. Beating Huckins to the finish line were Katie McDaniel of Centauri with a time of 2:30.79 and Ashley Hahn of Bayfield with a time of 2:32.88.

The Lady Pirates 800- and 1,600-meter relay teams both qualified for state. Running on both teams are Canty, Rolig, Huckins and Ash.

In the 800-meter relay, Pagosa finished third with a time of 1:55.54. Winning the event was Centauri in 1:53.34 followed by Lamar in 1:53.51. Pagosa captured fourth in the 1,600-meter with a time of 4:27.61. The event was won by Lamar with a time of 4:20.08 followed by Bayfield in 4:25.08 and Trinidad in 4:27.38.

Points were awarded the first eight finishers in each event. Earning points for Pagosa, but not qualifying for state were: boys' 1,600-meter relay, eighth; girls' 3,200-meter run - Amber Mesker, fifth; Chelsea Volger, seventh; girls' 3,200-meter relay, sixth; girls' high jump, Canty, eighth; girls' triple jump, Sarah Huckins, seventh; boys' 800-meter relay, Pagosa Springs, sixth; boys' triple jump, Garrett Tomforde, sixth; Richardson, discus, fifth; Prunty, shot put, fifth.

The Bayfield girls edged Centauri 116 to 98 to capture the girls' championship. Pagosa's girls finished 10th with 29 points. Centauri took the boys championship with 135 points, 32 more than runnerup La Junta. Pagosa's boys also finished 10th with 29 points.

Three diamond stalwarts named all-conference

By Richard Walter

Three key players for the Pagosa Springs Pirates baseball team were named this week to the Intermountain League All-Conference team.

Selected for all-league honors were outfielders Lonnie Lucero and Keith Candelaria and shortstop Darin Lister.

Lucero, who also pitched, played shortstop and second base during the season, stole 22 bases in 26 attempts, giving him a four-year career total of 93 thefts in 98 attempts. For the season, he had 22 hits in 57 at bats for a .388 average and had three home runs.

Candelaria, playing in right field, had 23 hits in 55 at bats for a .418 average for the season with three home runs.

Both are graduating seniors.

Lister, only a sophomore, had 21 hits in 47 at bats for a .446 average, and had four home runs. He also had a 4-2 record on the mound and is expected to be a mainstay of next year's Pirate diamond crew.

Lucero plans to attend University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and hopes to play baseball. \He also intends to try out for the football team as a defensive back and special teams player.

Candelaria will be attending San Juan College in Farmington in the fall.

Perhaps a more telling statistic for the three all-conference players was their on-base percentage: .485 for Lucero, .644 for Lister and .583 for Candelaria.

Bayfield catcher Aaron Howard was named the league's player of the year. Others selected for all-conference honors were Bayfield pitcher Rory Martinez and infielders Jon Qualls and Isaac Fleener; Monte Vista infielders Darren Montoya and Dustin Weyers and outfielder Joaquin DuPont; Centauri infielder Daniel Polkowski; Ignacio utility player Robert Lucero and designated hitter Kevin Hronich; and Del Norte outfielder Trevor Kerr.

Monte Vista's Brad Swartz was named conference coach of the year. His San Luis Valley Pirates won the league title and district tournament and their state quarterfinal game against Pueblo West. They were defeated in the semifinals by Buena Vista.

Bayfield, second place finisher in the district tournament, lost its quarterfinal round game to D'Evelyn 10-0.

Season statistics

Season averages for the balance of the Pirates, released Monday by Coach Tony Scarpa, included:

Brandon Thames, 23 hits in 56 at bats for a .410 average with two home runs; Clinton Lister, 19 hits in 46 at bats for a .413 average with one home run; Kyle Keelan, seven hits in 18 at bats for a .389 average with one home run; Ronnie Janowsky, 16 hits in 45 at bats for an average .357 and three home runs; Josh Trujillo, three hits in 19 at bats for a .158 average; Kraig Candelaria, eight hits in 38 at bats for a .210 average; Anthony Maestas, 15 hits in 38 at bats for a .395 average; Brandon Charles, two hits in 10 at bats for a .200 average; Nate Stretton, 13 hits in 38 at bats for a .342 average; and Ross Wagel, four hits in eight at bats for a .500 average. Gabe Silva appeared in several games as a pinch runner but did not get a time at bat.

Team stolen base leaders in addition to Lucero were Darin Lister with 12 and Keith Candelaria with 10.

Pitching statistics showed Keelan with a 2-and-3 record, 25 walks and 61 strikeouts and an earned run average of 3.57; Lister with 17 walks, 16 strikeouts and a 2.82 earned run average; Janowsky with a 1-0 record with four walks and eight strikeouts and an earned run average of 5.60; Clinton Lister with one inning pitched in relief, recording three walks and two strikeouts and allowing no runs; and Brandon Thames, a 1-and-3 record with 24 walks, 13 strikeouts and a 9.63 earned run average.

Riding, roping and dreaming of rodeo nationals

By Richard Walter

Three Pagosa Springs High School students are making names for themselves in a little publicized but locally appreciated form of competition, all on their own time and without their school's involvement in any way except to certify their eligibility.

Senior Dusty Payne and juniors Josh Ray and Will Clark are members of the Basin High School Rodeo Team which competes against similar teams across the state and hopes to send representatives to national competition.

Payne has switched from calf roping to team roping in an effort to make nationals. Ray hopes to qualify in bull riding. Clark ranks 11th in the state right now in saddle bronc riding. Only the top four in each event statewide qualify for the nationals.

Noting there is only a 60- to 70-point difference between first and 11th places right now, Clark said qualifying for nationals may not be realistic for him, but it is not impossible.

"We have three rodeos left with eight days of competition and a total of 80 points possible. If I could score high in all three, I could move up."

State finals, at which the winners will qualify for the July nationals in Springfield, Ill., will be held in Greeley July 14-17.

The Basin team features participants from three other area high schools - Ignacio, Durango and Bayfield.

In high school rodeo, competitors can earn up to 10 points (first place) for placing in an event and those points are accumulated through the fall and spring seasons. At the end of the first two rounds of the state tournament, only the top 15 performers will advance to the "short go" competition.

In the short go, riders accumulate 1.5 times the customary points for placing. Those points, in turn, are added up to determine the top four competitors in each event and they will represent the state in the nationals.

Payne and his team-roping partner, Colt Roberts of Durango, currently stand in fifth place overall but are only one point (a 10th place finish) from moving up to the top four.

Clark, son of Kathy Clark, said he goes to team practices, has participated in the summer family night rodeos here and practices during the winter at the indoor Sky Ute rodeo grounds in Ignacio.

He said he started riding when he was four and was thrown for the first time that same year. He watched rodeo but was not a participant until eighth grade, he said, when Ray talked him into trying it.

Not wanting to compete against his mentor, he chose bronc riding instead of bull riding and has been competing since last September.

Asked if he's ever been injured, Clark admitted suffering "a broken collar bone, getting 10 stitches in the back of the head and two stitches across the bridge of my nose - all in a two-month period."

Is his mother worried about the injuries?

"She doesn't give any sign of it," he said.

Ray, son of Rodney and Debbie Ray said he became interested in bull riding by going to watch rodeos in which his cousin, Mike Ray, competed. Mike was Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) rookie of the year in 1989 and that gave Josh the impetus he needed to get started.

"I progressed from sheep to calves and steers and finally into bull riding," he said, noting that both his parents supported his decision and that Mike helped send him to a special school for bull riders. It was, he said, "one of the best things that ever happened to me."

Ray said he stands 17th in the state right now in bull riding competition but expects to be able to move up into the top 10 in time for pre-nationals competition. "I've been consistently covering one bull every weekend for the past several weeks," he said. "Now it's time to push myself to the next level."

Asked if he'd ever suffered serious injury in competition, Ray said he broke his right femur at a family night rodeo in Pagosa Springs three years ago on the sixth bull he ever rode and also has suffered dislocated wrists twice.

"But, you always go right back to it as soon as you're healed," he said.

Payne, son of Vic and Vicky Payne, stands fifth in the state right now in the team roping competition. He expects to qualify for state honors and hopes to return to nationals for a second consecutive year.

Dusty said he's been riding since he was three years old and roping since he was six. As the only senior among the group of local rodeo performers, he already is planning his college career where he can continue in the field. He expects to attend Odessa (Texas) Community College "which has a great rodeo program."

Payne said team roping involves two riders starting from either end of the grounds with the steer in the middle. At a signal both riders advance with prearranged moves to determine which will go for the steer's horns and which for the heels. It is a race against time to determine which team controls its steer the quickest.

The three agreed that rodeo for teens had faded for a few years but seems to be recovering now. Ray said he knows of three junior high school students who will be active next year, giving Pagosa Springs at least five participants in the Basin High School Rodeo program.

Payne suggested more interest would be aroused in area teens if the school district recognized the program. Right now, he said, Pagosa is the only one of the four schools represented which does not award the participants a letter.

Rodeos remaining prior to the state competition will be in Westcliffe, Monte Vista and Lamar on consecutive weekends.

Junior High Choir rated state's best - again

By Richard Walter

They said it couldn't be done.

No junior high school could win consecutive statewide first place choir ratings.


Voices melding in near perfect harmony, the representatives of Pagosa Springs Junior High School proved the impossible can be accomplished Saturday when they received the second highest superior rating and the overall No. 1 ranking at competition in Denver.

Music instructor Sue Anderson was ecstatic about the performance of her group, noting it was one of only four out of 10 competing choirs to get a superior rating. In all, she said, more than 2,000 pupils were in the competition.

"What made it even more remarkable," she said, "was that it was the second year in a row . . . a tremendous reward for our program."

The choir performed three numbers, the first an unjudged warmup followed by "Music in You," and closed with "Exsultate Cantamos Festiva" with lyrics in Latin and Spanish.

Judges for the competition, involving schools from Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska, were Dr. Galen Darrough, director of choral activities at University of Northern Colorado and Michael Lipe of Colorado State University.

Pagosa's entry received a final score of 95.5 - the highest of four Colorado schools which received superior ratings from the judges.

"We were really proud of their performance," Anderson said. "We started working on the songs for presentation in January and a lot of these kids are involved in other school activities, so sometimes they had to miss one of our four practices per week."

The judges both expressed appreciation for the choir's robes, Darrough noting "how refreshing it is to see a choir in robes and not in blue jeans and T-shirts . . . not that there's anything wrong with those items.

"You look really sharp," he told the choir, "sharp and ready to perform."

The robes were borrowed from the high school music department and were purchased for the school district by the Pagosa Music Boosters.

Seventh grade members of the choir are Randi Andersen, Caleb Forrest, Brett Garman, Jessica Harms, Chantel Hatfield, Amanda Huang, Caitlyn Jewell, Tim Johnson, Hannah Kraus and Molly Kraus.

Also, Kyle Lincoln, Hannah Lloyd, Mallorie Mackey, Christine Morrison, Chris Nobles, Ryna Ranson, Eric Rivas, Michael Spitler, Jessica Strauss and Elizabeth Wellborn.

Eighth grade members are Lindsay Abbott, Anna Bishop, Cassi Blundell, Emily Campbell, Jessica Carpenter, Lauren Caves, Roxanna Day, Monica Fehrenbach, Lauren Felts, Kelsey Ferrell, Jenna Finney, Sierra Fleenor, Krystle Franklin, Angelica Garcia, Genevieve Gilbert, Jordan Goodman, Aaron Hamilton and Liesl Jackson.

Also, Danielle Jaramillo, Kelly Johnson, Shannon Kennedy, Alexis Loewen, Ashley Lord, Clint McKnight, Dominic Maez, Leslie Martinez, Mallory Messinger, Cynthia Neder, Steven Parker, Ty Peterson, Randi Pierce, Michael Quintana, Cheryl Romine, Steven Sellers, Ryan Versaw, Stephen Wallace, Erin Whitbred and Leesha Whiteswan.

Anderson said the eighth graders will be sorely missed but she has a solid core of seventh graders as a foundation for next year.

Pagosans final chance to see and hear this group perform will come at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when they combine with the Junior High Band for the last concert of the school year in the high school auditorium.


Community News
Local Chatter

By Kate Terry

Check out golf course additions

When this paper comes out, I'll be on vacation in a well-known spa with world-class specialists and 24-hour room service, and my thoughts and heart will be open to all you loyal readers.

Next week's column will be the result of my cleaning out the file holding stuff for Fun on the Run.

Around town

You may want to check out the two latest additions to the Pagosa Springs Golf Course - Bobby Bear off the number four tee box and Betty Bear behind the sixth green of the Ponderosa course. They were sculpted by a local artist from several deceased Ponderosa pines.

Chimney Rock Archaeological Area opened May 15 and will remain open until September 30.

Guided tours (about 2 1/2 hours long) are held at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. and at 1 and 2 p.m. The cost is $5 for adults and $2 for ages 5 to 11. Visitors to Chimney Rock consider the guides (mostly volunteers) the best they have encountered at a national or state park. Full Moon tours are held once a month. Reservations are needed. Watch paper for dates, or call 883-5359.

Fun on the run

If you're too open minded, your brains will fall out.

Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, if he gets angry, he'll be a mile away and barefoot.

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.

It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.

If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

Always yield to temptation, because it may not pass your way again.

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

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

No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes.


Chamber News

By Sally Hameister

Pagosans prove their generosity

Before you are inclined to believe that "people just don't care anymore," think back on last Thursday and Friday in Pagosa Springs. It was Pagosa at its very best and most generous, as well as yet another confirmation that this is indeed a unique and very special community.

It started with a phone call from Matt Meese on Wednesday night telling me he was on the road just outside of Los Alamos and that the fire and smoke damage was especially horrifying up close. He also mentioned he had contacted the nearest American Red Cross and offered rooms at the Spring Inn for the fire victims. Matt said it was clear there would be a lot of folks who would need housing outside of the Los Alamos area in the near future.

I composed a memo the first thing Thursday morning to all our Chamber lodging members asking them to contact us if they could donate rooms for the fire victims, and the response was absolutely nothing short of phenomenal. I assure you the fire victims have many places to stay in Pagosa, both in lodging facilities and private homes. Animals large and small also have a number of choices about where to live until they can return to home.

I also called Will Spears at KWUF to ask for his help in getting the word out on the radio and, of course, he was happy to do so. I then called the Red Cross in Durango to ask about the other needs in Los Alamos and was given a list of goods to announce. Again, Will and KWUF came to the rescue, and before you could say "donations" our Visitor Center lobby was filled with everything from diapers to dog food. Terry French at NAPA offered to donate a U-Haul to transport all the goodies to Durango and ultimately to Los Alamos, and we took him up on it. Robert "Casper" Soniat and his family loaded up everything in their truck and the U-Haul and spirited off to the Durango location for drop-off.

To each and every one of you out there who called, came in with goods, helped us load up, and offered to do whatever was needed, we extend our eternal gratitude and blessing for your concern and generosity. Morna spent the better part of a day faxing and phoning; Dalas Weisz just popped in to help load and spent a couple of hours hosting for us in a busy lobby. A gentleman came in to offer to drive his own truck and when he was told we had one, he stayed on to help load. These are just a few examples of the outpouring of the giving, generous spirit we experienced on Friday.

It's Monday morning as I write this and we have had a call from Cathy at KWUF to let us know there will be another pick-up tomorrow for the Los Alamos victims. They are announcing this on a regular basis on KWUF AM/FM, so I know our lobby will be filling up again thanks to the generosity of citizens of Pagosa Springs. So, once again, when someone tells you that we have become a society of apathetic, self-absorbed narcissists, be sure to tell them the story about how the people Pagosa Springs responded to the needs of another community. Thanks to each and every one of you who cared. Know that you have made a difference.


The good news here at the Chamber is that we have six new members to introduce and four renewals. Yahoo and yahoo. We sure do love it and are especially giddy this week (imagine us giddier than usual - what a visual!) because we have broken the 700 barrier - yep, we have 703 members and couldn't be prouder.

Congratulations to Mary and Bob Hart for becoming member No. 700 with Hart 's Rocky Mountain Retreat which will open in December at 2297 U.S. 84. We're especially pleased to welcome Mary as a new Chamber Diplomat as well as a new member. Hart's Rocky Mountain Retreat is a Colorado getaway with secluded 2- to 4-bedroom, fully-equipped log cottages and homes to accommodate honeymooners, families and groups. Anniversary packages are available. The Harts invite you to experience the Rockies in beautiful Pagosa Springs. Phone calls can be made after June at 970-264-0123.

The Harts also join us with Hart Construction Company, with the same business location as above.

Bob is a man of many talents as builder and a Southland Log Home dealer and offers his backhoe services as well. He also deals in Rumford fireplaces and Masonry heaters. If you would like to learn more about Hart Construction Company, please give Bob a call at 264-0110. We thank Dave Gundling for the recruitment of the Harts, and will get a free SunDowner pass off to Dave right away.

We next welcome Stanley L. Seligman who brings us Great New Homes, Inc. right here in Pagosa. Great New Homes, Inc. is a builder of fine-quality, single-family homes and promises you "so much for your money." Please call Stanley at 731-3113 for more about Great New Homes, Inc. Lee Riley will receive a free SunDowner for his Chamber membership recruitment efforts. Thanks, Lee.

Welcome to Louis Mannatt and Dave Hanson who bring us Pagosa Roofing and Construction located here in Pagosa. This business is locally owned and operated and would like to take care of all your residential roofing needs. They can put on a new roof or re-roof what you have with metal or shingle. These gentlemen are quality-minded, cost conscious and ready to set the roofing standard in Pagosa Springs. Give them a call at 264-1155 to discuss your roofing needs. Thanks to Lyn DeLange of the Pagosa Springs Welcoming Service for recruiting these gentlemen, and we will thank her again with a free SunDowner pass.

Michael DeWinter joins us with a second business this week, DeWinter & Associates, located along with Michael 's other business, The Plaid Pony, at Pagosa Lodge. Michael is a degreed, professional interior designer experienced in residential, commercial, hospitality and retail design. Michael can assist you with furnishings, accessories, flooring, carpet, rugs and window treatments. Custom work is available to you with a call to 731-5262. Michael 's creative talent was beautifully apparent at the recent PPKM production of "The Diaries of Adam and Eve" - he was responsible for the outstanding set decorations.

Dale Schmidt joins us next with JLM Records and Distribution located here in Pagosa. Dale is the producer of the community local artists' musical CDs including duplication networking for artists and distribution. Dale's Volume I CD, "A Local Gathering," is available at the Visitor Center, and I think we can look for Volume II sometime later in the year. You can reach Dale at 731-3711 with questions.


Our renewals this week include Michael DeWinter with The Plaid Pony; Charlie Rogers with Aquila and Priscilla Tentmakers; Caroline Brown with Friends of Native Cultures; and Associate Members Ray and Sharon Pack. Ray is also one of our valued Diplomats, so he definitely contributes more than his share to this Chamber of Commerce.


This week we want to give special thanks to Paul Hogue at Hogue's Glass for donating some work on an acrylic piece we needed for the lobby, and to Bob Sprague of Acres Green RV Park for a big helping hand on one of our recent Visitor Center projects. I will say again and again that we here at the Chamber get by only with the help of our friends. Thanks, guys.

A huge thank you to the 14 home-school kids who came to give us hand again this year for the "spring cleaning" at the Visitor Center. These kids performed numerous and varied tasks for us on Friday, and we appreciate them coming back every year. Their many hands make short work of projects that would take Suellen many days. Thanks to Lauren McIntyre, Bliss Gordon, Sherie Melendy, Christina Spencer, Duane Adams, Rueben Coray, Daniel Abraham, Logan McIntyre, David Lokey, Erin Lokey, Esther Gordon, Heather Lokey, Christine Spencer and Mirion Coray.

Great service

The invitations have been sent, and we hope you will take advantage of one of the three upcoming training workshops concentrating on guest service and customer skills.

Summer is approaching, and, like every summer, we can expect to be inundated with guests from all over the world who are looking for a new place to love. Pagosa Springs can surely qualify for that spot if our guests are treated so well that they want to come back again and again to the "friendliest little town on the planet." Like anything at all worthwhile, great service and warm, sincere hospitality are never accidents - they don't just happen. Being a professional service provider is the product of training and practice; one learns this skill as opposed to being born with it. Take advantage of this training opportunity to create employees who are better armed to meet and deal with the public in a way that will bring them back again and again. Workshops will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on May 23, from 1 to 3 p.m on May 25, and from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m on May 30. Just call Morna at 264-2360 to reserve space for all your employees - a very small investment for a huge return.

Free counseling

Jim Reser, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College in Durango, will be heading our way on May 26, for free business counseling appointments at the Visitor Center.

This service is one of your fabulous Chamber benefits and doesn't cost you one little penny. Jim has been the director for many years and has an excellent grasp on the business climate in the Four Corners area. He's definitely the man you want to consult about any business ventures you might be considering or for help creating a plan for your existing business. Just give Morna a call to schedule an appointment on May 26.

SJDA Recital

Stephanie Jones, owner and teacher of the San Juan Dance Academy, is pleased to invite you to the combination recital and summer class registration this Saturday, at the Our Savior Lutheran Church. The recital will include the waltz from "Sleeping Beauty," "Mazurka" from Coppelia and two original works by Stephanie herself. Please join Stephanie and her students (ranging from two years to 50+) on Saturday.


Pagosa Lakes

By Ming Steen

Rec center hosts 7th graders

An end-of-school-year party for local seventh graders will be held at the Recreation Center tomorrow night from 6:30 to 9. Hosted by the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center, there will be no charge for the evening's swimming, basketball, wallyball and dancing. Parents of students who are also willing to chaperone are asked to contact Ming Steen at 731-2051. The Recreation Center will stay open to its members.

On Saturday morning, a Special Olympics swim meet will be conducted at the Recreation Center, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pagosa athletes will compete against swimmers from Cortez. Following the swim meet, lunch provided by the Methodist Church Ladies Group will be served in the picnic gazebo on the Recreation Center grounds. After the lunch, the special Olympians will travel into town and congregate outside the Pagosa Springs City Market for the Torch to the Lakes Run Parade. Spectators and supporters are encouraged to attend the swim meet and/or the parade. It will be a very good day for our athletes.

While all residents of Pagosa Lakes have an interest in the quality of our lakes and streams, lakeside residents will have the greatest opportunity to protect and preserve the waters adjacent to their properties. The League of Women Voters and PLPOA are collaboratively hosting an informational meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6, in the Pagosa Lakes Community Center. A 15-minute video explaining how "non-point source" pollution (example, spilled motor oil on driveways, overuse of pesticides, etc.) can contaminate our pristine lakes and how you can help prevent that will be shown. You will also be given a "Colorado Water Protection Kit" to assist you in learning how you personally can help do your share in preventing water pollution.

PLPOA has obtained special non-polluting fertilizer for use on lawns adjacent to the lakes. Fifty pound bags will be available for purchase at cost.

Several people will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. Larry Lynch, the PLPOA environmental department manager, and Jim Carson and Emmet Showalter who are both Colorado water protection project volunteers have graciously donated their time to share important and pertinent information with you at the meeting. The Colorado Water Protection Project is an educational campaign of the League of Women Voters. If you are unable to attend this meeting, there will be kits available for pick up from Lynch (731-5373 or 731-5635).

PLPOA will sponsor an adopt-a-street program this summer. We here in Pagosa Lakes live in a beautiful environment, but it takes help from the community to keep it that way. If you live in Pagosa Lakes, and would like to help out in your neighborhood by keeping roads and open spaces litter free, please contact Larry Lynch at the PLPOA administration office (731-5635) for more information. Just volunteering a few hours over the course of the summer can go a long way in keeping your neighborhood roads looking great. The PLPOA will help by coordinating neighborhood efforts, picking up roadside trash bags and erecting signs on streets designating them as having been "adopted" by area residents.


Arts Line

By Pamela Bomkamp

Advanced art students' works go on exhibit here tonight

Make plans to attend the opening of a show presented by advanced art students taught by Pagosa Springs High School art teacher Charla Ellis. Show your support of our youth by visiting the reception tonight, from 5 to 7 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

The students exhibiting their works are from Ellis' Art III and Art IV classes. They are Julie Gurule, Chelsea Hill, Seth Kurt-Mason, Amanda Parker, Cassey Ray and Patrick Riley. These students have a lot of talent and all of them show great promise.

If you cannot make it tonight, the Pagosa Springs Art Council Gallery at Town Park is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Starting May 26, the Gallery will operate on summer hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The Gallery is located at 314 Hermosa Street.

Spanish Fiesta

The Cinco de Mayo Dance at the Parish Hall was a great success, and we are looking for a few good people to help us with the Spanish Fiesta at the Town Park on June 17. If you're an entertainer, food vendor, artisan or craftsperson interested in participating in the Fiesta, contact the PSAC at 264-5020 as soon as possible. The Fiesta parade starts at 10 a.m. and the Fiesta is from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Fiesta street dance starts at 7 p.m. A good time is guaranteed.

Writer's group

Fiction or non-fiction writers looking to join a weekly support group should call B.J. Stewert at 731-6009. Dues are $15 for the first five-month session. The first meeting will be held on June 20.

Speaking of writing, we are still looking for another Arts Line column writer to write a column on an occasional fifth week. "Occasional" is an understatement: You will write only two articles this year, and about four or five articles in the following year. The Arts Council also needs a small copy machine. If you would like to donate, contact Joanne at the gallery, 264-5020.

Coming soon

Watch for more information on the Pagosa Players and The King's Men's next event. They will perform William Shakespeare's "A Mid-Summer's Night's Dream" on June 3, at WolfTracks Coffee Company and bookstore. I took my mother to their performance of "Diaries of Adam and Eve" and we just loved it.

Angel box

The Pagosa Angel Box Painters will meet Saturday. The meeting is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Community Bible Church. If you are interested in attending, call Cathy Magin at 264-5597.


Senior News

By Janet Copeland

Community Center will be boon to elderly

The Copelands are on the road this week, attending the graduations of two of our grandchildren, but I wanted to report a little information on the future community center and how it will benefit our seniors.

The Pagosa Springs Community Center, as well as the new town hall, some county offices, and the parenting facility, will be built in an open area along the San Juan River on Hot Springs Boulevard. The town hall and county offices will be funded by the town and county and will be separate from the community center. Planning for this project began in January 1998 and continues as we get closer to actual construction. This community owes a great big "Thank You" to Mayor Ross Aragon and the Community Center Board (which includes two representatives from the seniors), who have worked diligently planning this facility and raising funds to finance it. There will be no debt funding in this project (the project will be paid for when finished) so this has been and will continue to be a massive undertaking to raise enough money to enable us to apply to grant foundations for help in funding it. So far over $1,000,000 in funds/assets have been raised locally but there is still a lot more needed.

The town hall ground breaking is planned for July of this year, with ground breaking for the community center scheduled for the spring of 2001. We are all excited as the time gets near to actually see plans materialize.

The plan is to make the community center available to everyone in the community, including an area designated especially for the Senior Center. The seniors have outgrown the present facility, especially when special programs/activities bring guests to join us. The new facility will have rooms that can be joined to handle large crowds. The multi-purpose room will comfortably seat about 400 people. Also, there will be areas for banquets, family receptions, supervised youth center, Pagosa Springs Arts Council, and activities such as crafts, games, etc., that will appeal to our members. Areas for parking will be much improved - more parking area available as well as it will have a level surface so people can more safely gain access to the center.

When the Senior Center relocates to the community center, the Head Start program will expand and have access to the entire El Centro Building, space which they desperately need.

We hope everyone will share in our excitement as we draw nearer to our goal, and if you have not been contacted to donate or pledge monthly contributions, no matter how small, please contact Mayor Aragon or one of our board members. Also, the board meets on the second Tuesday of each month at noon at the Senior Center. Anyone who wishes to learn more about the project is welcome to join us.

Cruising with Cruse

By Katherine Cruse

Few prints, 'sign' aplenty, but no birds

Hotshot and I both went turkey hunting with Buck, a couple of weeks ago. In one respect, hunting is just like fishing: You have to start early if you want to catch anything.

We got up at 5 a.m., drank a fast cup of coffee, and pulled on our longjohns and the ever-fashionable camouflage suits.

Apparently, we weren't early enough. Driving down U.S. 84, Buck said, "We should have started about 15 minutes sooner. The birds are usually coming out of their roosting places right about now."

It was still dark outside! How could the hunters see, or shoot, accurately? Maybe we were better off where we were, still in the car, rather than out there traipsing around in the dark. Wearing camouflage.

A few miles south of Pagosa we parked the car and loaded up. I, the designated spotter, got the binoculars.

Buck carried his gear in camo bags and pouches. Hotshot was given a gray bag full of something. Buck shouldered his gun - which looked enormous to me - and led the way up the trail.

For someone like myself, who mainly thinks of hiking the big ones like the Continental Divide Trail, and the well-marked trails that provide access to it, this in itself was a new experience. Sure, there was a trail up the canyon, but I don't think anyone would write it up in a book for hikers. It was just a pathway through the grassland, worn by the feet of hunters and a few other curious folks.

Buck said that this canyon was a pathway for migrating elk herds. There should have been some of them around, but we saw few indications. Just a few hoof prints in the muddy earth where the path crossed the creek. In fact, there wasn't much water in the creek. "That's not good," said Buck. "It shouldn't be dry this early in the year."

Hunters look for various 'sign' when they're out in the field. Scat, also known by the less professional term, poop, is important. Hunting involves becoming closely acquainted with scat. We looked at more animal droppings, with more interest, than I can ever remember doing. The variety was vast, and educational. There were new droppings and old chalky ones, and hairy ones, and dried up pellets from elk or deer. I'm pretty sure I saw a couple of piles that could only have been made by a bear, large and round and full of seeds.

And that started me imagining what we'd do if a bear came our way. Or rather, what I'd do. Buck and Hotshot were way ahead of me, and I was just poking along, stopping to look at the first little spring flowers and listen to birds calling and trees creaking against each other.

Up ahead, the guys inspected the bones of an elk. The spine and some ribs, with more ribs nearby, and bits of jaw and teeth.

There was a lot of 'sign' in the vicinity of the bones. "That looks a little big for a coyote," said Buck. In the years I've hiked here, it never crossed my mind that all the poop that resembles what the dog left in the yard might be coyote droppings.

"Or maybe it's a cat," he went on. My reverie about meeting a bear changed to close encounters of the cat kind. How fast could I make myself look big and threatening and not at all like dinner?

About every ten minutes we stopped and Buck called the turkeys, using a wooden box with plungers that creaked and squeaked as he moved them in and out. No answers. We'd listen for a minute and then move on. This wasn't a gobble sound, more like a squawk or a creak, so I guess it was supposed to make a tom turkey think there was a hen in the vicinity.

Didn't matter. We didn't see a bird of either sex. Turkey sign was almost non-existent.

It wasn't until almost the end of the trek that Buck spotted a hen's dropping. It looked rather like a small marshmallow that had fallen in the dirt. Not the J shape made by a gobbler. See, we have special language again. I thought a male turkey was a tom, but no, you can call a big one a gobbler. And a young male is a jake.

If we had heard any gobblers, Buck was ready to hang his camouflage curtain and have us sit down and be quiet. He might have put out the decoys too, which were in the gray bag that Hotshot carried. I guess decoys come in different types and price ranges. These were made of closed-cell foam. You unfold them and set them out on stakes around your blind. Give me a break! Any turkey that's fooled by these things probably deserves to be removed from the gene pool.

We saw two other hunters that morning, a host of robins, and an Abert's squirrel, which is also known as a tassel-eared squirrel. Ears like a jack rabbit on that critter. We didn't see any elk or deer or turkeys. But we had a great walk in the woods.

We didn't return empty handed either. We brought home three aluminum cans, a bunch of cigarette butts, assorted candy wrappers and a whole lot of that bright orange or yellow tape that hunters use. Some intrepid woods warriors had tied pieces of this tape to branches every 10 feet. I guess they were afraid they'd get lost.

Buck's wife didn't go out with us. But she welcomed us home with hot coffee and fresh muffins, which tasted delicious.

That might be the best part of hunting.


Education News

By Tom Steen

White House outlines trends

On May 2, the White House hosted a satellite teleconference on teenagers. The conference included parents, teens, policy makers and other experts who discussed the importance of the teenage years in the social and intellectual development of children.

The gathering underscored some of the common misconceptions that parents have about the teenage years and offered strategies for raising responsible and resourceful youth. Conference participants highlighted ways in which parents, schools, businesses, the media and others in the larger community can support children during this critical stage of life. Some of the information released at the conference is highlighted below.

The conference released a new report by the President's Council of Economic Advisers, "Teenagers and their Parents in the 21st Century: An Examinations of Trends in Teen Behavior and the Role of Parental Involvement." This report outlines positive trends for today's teenagers, including increases in student achievement, college access, and participation in community service, as well as declining rates of pregnancy, teen suicides, and homicides. The report concludes that teenagers whose parents are engaged and involved in their lives are more likely to excel in school and avoid risk behaviors. The report also makes clear that many challenges continue to confront America's teens: college opportunities remain more elusive for Hispanic youngsters and those from low-income families; the number of teens who smoke and eat poorly is increasing; and, in states where teens have greater access to guns, teen suicide and homicide rates are on the rise.

A YMCA of the USA poll conducted by the Global Strategy Group shows that, despite the positive trends highlighted in the CEA report, parents are anxious about the well-being of their teenagers. They rate drugs, alcohol, and violence among their top concerns.

By contrast, teenagers rate "not having enough time together" with parents and education as their top issues. The poll reveals that many families are unable to eat meals together more than a few times a week; many teens watch television and surf the Internet without parental supervision; and many parents wish they had more quality time with their teens.

The conference highlighted preliminary research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health indicating that the cognitive portion of the brain goes through a critical second wave of development just before puberty. Although the total size of the brain is already 95 percent of its adult size by the first grade, the new research shows that the gray matter of the brain thickens as the brain cells grow extra connections. This process peaks at about 11 years in girls and 12 years in boys, after which excess connections are "pruned," resulting in a thinning of the gray matter. This exciting new finding implies that the early years of adolescence are pivotal years of determining the make-up of the adult brain.

The day of the conference, the President signed an executive order to bar discrimination against parents in the federal workplace. The order bars discrimination against parents in all aspects of employment, including recruitment, referral, hiring, promotions, discharge and training. The order also prohibits employers in the executive branch from acting on assumptions that parents, or those with parental responsibilities, cannot satisfy the requirements of a particular position. The order does not interfere with an employer's ability to select workers; it simply ensures that workers are not discriminated against simply because they are parents.

The conference announced a new web site for teenagers, The site provides a gateway to federal and other publicly-supported web sites for teens. With this new web site, teens can find information to help them do their homework, pursue a hobby, or choose a career. The President also directed federal agencies to expand educational material for youth on their own websites and to assure that all federally-supported websites for you comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and relevant federal regulations.

Library News

By Lenore Bright

Library aide on state task force

We were pleased to find out that Cathy Dodt-Ellis has been named to a Colorado State information task force.

Cathy will serve on the ACLIN Information Delivery Task Force, which will work on building a statewide resource sharing system. ACLIN stands for the "Access Colorado Library and Information Network." ACLIN can be found on the web at

Eventually, you will be able to search our library holdings from anywhere in Archuleta County, and will be able to search other libraries all over the state and order interlibrary loans direct from your home. This is a monumental project that we have been working on for 30 years at the state level. It is about to happen. Our library has been involved in bringing about this possibility from the beginning. The ramifications are enormous. Cathy represents small public libraries on this important task force.

Cathy will serve with representatives from academic, school, special libraries and two large public libraries. Out of 14 libraries, Cathy will represent the only small library.

More about ACLIN

ACLIN demonstrates the role libraries have in providing equal access to information. Before ACLIN, existing library networks were accessible only by visiting a local library or by a local phone call in Denver, Colorado Springs or Grand Junction.

Now, our network provides free access to more than 200 resources, including 175 libraries. It also provides information about the government, education, business, health, arts and nonprofits. This is where to find out about daily legislative activities including the status of bills, the house and senate journals, and the legislative calendar.

The ACLIN Business and Consumer website provides information on doing business in Colorado, along with laws and regulations, and much more.

ACLIN was named one of the top 100 Colorado Web Sites by The Denver Rocky Mountain News. The Health and Medicine site was also named as one of the best sites in 1998. It is truly a wealth of knowledge for residents in Colorado. This site is a must for anyone with Internet access.

We unveiled a new ACLIN interface on May 17. The new interface will provide access to the "Colorado Virtual Library." To effectively use this, you will need an Internet browser that supports frames and tables. We have the instructions for downloading the latest Explorer or Netscape browsers. Version 4.0 or greater will support this. Ask for instructions at the desk, or call us at 264-2209 for more information. Please take a look. We'll know more after Cathy completes her task force duties.


Mosetta McInnis, elementary school librarian, is retiring. Cathne Holt, one of our Sisson Library trustees will replace Mosetta. Cathne teaches and will now be in a new educational role. Our congratulations to both Cathne and Mosetta - both good friends and mentors to your children.

Summer reading

Just a reminder that school will soon be out and we will hold our annual summer reading program, which will start on June 12. Lots of fun is in store for our vacation readers of all ages. We'll tell you more next week.

New books

The Methodist Church Supper Club donated funds to buy a new Thomas Register, and the World Book Encyclopedia. A grant from them last year also helped to purchase new books for our medical section.

Many business people use the Thomas Register and will be glad to know we have an up-to-date set. Our thanks to the Supper Club for this substantial donation.


Materials came from Donald Mowen, Rosemary Horstman, Fran Jenkins, Dahrl Henley, Carol Hakala, Denis Riddiford and Barbara Lindley.

The roads ahead

The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association's May

11 meeting was neither the best of times, nor was it

the worst of times. And rather than being a tale of two cities, it was a tale of opposing opinions of what is best for property owners who are full-time residents, for those who are part-time residents and for those who are non-resident property owners.

Whereas law enforcement generated the most heat, the report on street maintenance shed the most light. The report by the road advisory committee also offered the most hope. Especially in light of the report Kevin Rogers, county road supervisor, presented to the county commissioners Tuesday.

That law enforcement in that area of the county should be made a political issue was the most reasonable comment offered during the meeting. It is neither a new or old concept, it is a state-mandated fact of life.

The Colorado statutes establish the position of county sheriff as a duly-elected - or political - office. The statutes likewise require the sheriff to provide law enforcement for all of the unincorporated area of the county. It therefore becomes the responsibility of the sheriff to allocate his budgeted monies and organize his deputies in such a way that the county will enjoy the security of adequate and equitable law enforcement. This is nothing unique to Archuleta County.

I'll stop there before I get off on a side street.

This week's good news is that county road and bridge schedule for this summer compliments the recommendations of the Pagosa Lakes Road Advisory Committee. Should the targeted projects of these two entities in fact be completed during the upcoming construction season, the road improvement agreements that were entered into by the county and the developers of Pagosa in Colorado/Fairfield Pagosa during the 1970s and '80s will for the most part be complete.

The way would then be clear for making the streets in the Fairfield Pagosa subdivisions a political issue.

It is politically improbable to expect elected county officials to handle such an issue. But as with other important issues our elected representatives at the county, state and national level have avoided turning to a vote of the citizenry they are supposedly representing; it is likely that the question of whether the county should provide maintenance for subdivision streets will eventually appear on a county-wide ballot.

Nor should it be a surprise if property owners of certain residential subdivision follow the lead of the businesses along U.S. 160 west of town and petition to be annexed into the town of Pagosa Springs.

Some rough spots still need to be resolved before either of these political issues reach fruition, but they shouldn't be too far down the road.

David C. Mitchell


Dear Folks

By David C. Mitchell

I don't know about this column

Dear Folks,

It's no fun to already know by 8 o'clock on Monday morning that it's going to be a tough week.

That's how this week started.

Having left a note next to my tooth brush Sunday night as a reminder, I arrived at Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center at 8 a.m. Monday for the second of what has become my annual physical exam.

By 8:01 I had already received a bad report - my appointment was for 8 a.m., Monday, May 22.

To her credit, the nurse kept a straight face. It was somewhat reassuring that she didn't suggest that I schedule a mental exam.

I've saved the reminder note and hope to again place it by tooth brush before going to bed Sunday night.

It will be the time to try again.

It's also time to admit I'm distracted.

I've been out of synch ever since I walked to the crest of the road to the microwave tower atop Wolf Creek Pass during the Thanksgiving holidays.

Nor did it help a couple of days later when I walked to the base of Fourmile Falls.

At that time of year at those elevations, you are supposed to be using snow shoes or cross country skis, not walking shoes. The calendar said November, my head said, "What's happening?"

It was January before I used my season pass at Wolf Creek Ski Area. But not until after I had walked the road that leads to the dam at Alberta Lake. Again, hiking boots were sufficient footwear.

By then I was totally out of my winter mode.

I had not shoveled snow.

I had not slid off the road.

I had not adapted to doing summertime things during the wintertime. I had lost my interst in skiing.

Possibly I should expect to miss a doctor's appointment by seven days.

By now, if you are still reading this, you're aware this column is struggling.

Looking on from the inside, I knew it was struggling long before I pecked out the first word for the first line.

That's about all I know.

So excuse me while I fill space with some other one-line things that I know.

I know that being surrounded by skilled, gifted, intelligent friends increases my own performance.

I know that observing how my own children respond to me is a true indication of how I respond to God.

I know that life is not fair, and that I'm very fortunate that I haven't received everything I deserve.

I know that having all the sources of information is more important than knowing everything.

I know that holding a warm unknowing, unresponsive hand is more comforting than visiting a grave side.

I know that having one of my grandchildren fall asleep in my arms is one of my richest moments.

I know that the older I get, the less important it is to always be right.

I know that watching the mother and father of a newborn child makes you both envious of, and glad for them.

I know that deadlines mean that things will get done, but not necessarily on time.

I know that mirrors don't show how I look, but only where I am looking.

I know that repetition without concentration results in wasted time rather than improvement.

I know that there is a God and that I am not Him.

I know that being able to pay the bills and cover the payroll is more enjoyable than receiving positive recognition.

I know that being in a situation where "all I can do is pray," is the best situation I could be in.

I know that behavior is displayed when others are watching and character is exercised in total solitude.

I know that most of you stopped reading this after about the fifth line of the first column.

I know there is a good chance I will forget to be at the doctor's office at 8 a.m. Monday.

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

25 years ago

Locals could lose welfare aid

Taken from SUN files

of May 22, 1975

Archuleta County's Welfare Department and those of the other 62 counties in the state are in jeopardy of being forced out of business unless the state legislature acts swiftly on a supplemental appropriations bill. A spokesman for the Archuleta County Welfare Department estimates that over 800 persons would feel the impact.

Operations at the San Juan Lumber Company mill resumed Monday to end the second longest shutdown in the history of the local plant. As various operations are phased back in, 180 employees are expected to be on the payroll by mid-June.

Final action was taken Monday by the Upper San Juan Planning Commission that could eventually lead to the establishment of a new natural resource industry in Archuleta County that would employ as many as 30 workers. The board acted favorably on plan by Milton G. Fuller of Durango to greatly expand the coal mining operations on Stollstiemer Creek 5 miles west of the junction of U.S. 160 and Colo. 151.

Archuleta Water Company has submitted an application to the FHA to secure a loan to serve rural water users along U.S. 160 east, U.S. 84, and along Fourmile Road.



By Shari Pierce

Montoya-Howe shooting

This week we return to the story of the Montoya-Howe shooting. On Aug. 26, 1892, the Pagosa Springs News reported on the death of William Howe in a gun battle with Juan Montoya on Aug. 24. Several "distant witnesses" to the shooting called it "a cold-blooded murder."

In subsequent reports, it was related Montoya was arrested by Sheriff William Kern the morning following the shooting. Montoya admitted to killing Howe, but claimed self-defense. Following his arrest, editor D.L. Egger of the News attempted to get Montoya to make a statement, but he refused.

On the Monday following the shooting, Sheriff Kern took Montoya to Durango to be held until his trial. Kern felt Montoya would be safer out of Archuleta County. It was in Durango that Montoya chose to make a statement to the press. The Durango Herald published his version of the events. Egger picked up the story and ran it in the Sept. 8 News.

Montoya said, "I saw three men coming toward me, when they got very close to me one went to the right, the others to the left." Also, "there was not a word said and I said nothing myself." He claimed, "they were all armed with Winchesters, and before I was quite aware of their intentions they commenced shooting at me." He said he then opened fire with his 40-82 Winchester and "did not see anyone fall after I had shot several times."

Montoya, along with others in his party, had been looking for the shortest route to drive their 20,000 sheep to Cat Creek. They believed they would have to cross the Howe Ranch. Abe Howe claimed he told them of a different route to take so they would not cross the ranch.

According to Montoya, his brother went to the ranch and, "The men told my brother the nearest road but said nothing about not wanting us to move our sheep. In fact, I always understood that we had permission to go the road we were on and suspected trouble of no kind."

On the Thursday following the shooting, William Howe was buried in the same grave his son had been buried in the day before. Rev. Harpst presided over the service. The News reported "the funeral was one of the largest ever witnessed here."

More next week on the fate of Juan Montoya.


Video Review

By Roy Starling

Fun film not so far-fetched

Just the title "Galaxy Quest" strikes me as pretty funny. I mean, galaxies are pretty big places. How hard can they be to find?

The film's premise, at first glance, seems really silly. Some folks from another planet have been receiving television transmissions from Earth. Since these aliens are completely guileless (they don't understand lying or any form of deception), they believe that all TV shows are "historical documents." One humorous offshoot of this belief is that they are all truly saddened by the plight of Gilligan, the Professor and Mary Ann, etc.

It turns out that all their technology is inspired by a sci-fi series called "Galaxy Quest" (which we, the viewing audience, should recognize immediately as the filmmakers' gentle spoof of "Star Trek"). Years after this series has been canceled, the aliens (I'm sorry I can't remember their names - it's something ending in "-azar," of course) are attacked by a vicious lizard-like tyrant, so they beam themselves down to a "Questerian" convention to enlist the help of Commander Taggart (Tim Allen) and his crew.

This leads to the usual series of comical shenanigans as one by one the crew members (including stuffy Brit Alan Rickman and a blonde Sigourney Weaver) realize that these are actual aliens, not just more nitwit Questerians dressed up like aliens.

The next wave of comedy comes from these actors being cast in the roles of militant astronauts or space soldiers. It's kind of like having Marcus Welby, M.D., remove your appendix. They don't know what they're doing and can only gamely fake it by remembering events from various old "Galaxy Quest" episodes: "Wait a second! I think something like this happened in Episode 83!"

In one scene, the ship runs into a "mine field," and when the explosions begin, the crew members behave much like we would in a similar situation. Instead of bravely facing up to their impending demise - the way Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock would, for instance - they scream and yell and dive for cover. That's us!

When you finish laughing at this fun movie, you realize its premise isn't so farfetched after all. Think about it. These aliens have mistaken shallow entertainment for historical documents and then, as much as possible, have created a civilization around it. They've built a spaceship, for example, exactly like the one on "Galaxy Quest," only it's the "real" deal, not thrown together plywood and plastic props. They've come to worship the ship's TV crew as their heroes and have turned to them as saviors in their time of need.

How unusual is that? In its more exaggerated manifestation, you see this phenomenon in "Trekkies," whose entire lives seem to revolve around the compilation of "Star Trek" trivia and gadgetry. But on a more subtle and insidious level, many viewers get their news from Jay Leno and David Letterman, get their history from Oliver Stone and Steven Spielberg and their understanding of human relationships from "Friends" and "Party of Five." Oh, and their understanding of vampires from "Buffy."

As the novelist Walker Percy has one of his characters observe, people these days are crazed or unhappy because they don't know how to "do the right thing," and by that they mean how to do things the way people in TV and movies do them.

"Galaxy Quest" embarrasses us a little by reminding us of this, but it remains a fun movie, not a serious indictment of anything. The crew members remember to be brave because that quality has been written into their characters. They are, in a sense, predestined to be heroic. The movie is even kind to those terminal geeks, the Questerians, whose encyclopedic knowledge of the series (and especially of the mysterious Omega 13) is enlisted to help save the day.

While the movie is a satire, it doesn't go over the top like Mel Brooks' "Spaceballs" or like the Abrahams-Zucker movies such as "Airplane!" Instead of bombarding us with sight gags, it keeps us hanging around between laughs by sustaining a relatively suspenseful and enjoyable plot.

And in the film's slower moments, you can always sit back and enjoy watching the statuesque Weaver as a blonde.

Going to Durango?

One of the promises I made to the nice people in the Preview's video and book review department was to stick with material that I was pretty sure would be available in the Greater Pagosa Area. Still, I hope no one will be angry if I mention a couple of flicks that might show up in Durango.

One of my first nights here (in Orlando, in case you're just tuning in) I watched "The Virgin Suicides" at this area's snazzy art-house theater. My long-time loyal readers will remember that I reviewed that novel a few years back. Some of you greeted me the next day by saying, "Roy, you're a sick man."

Anyway, the movie version is directed by Sofia Coppola (yes, it's his daughter) and contains some nice cinematic flourishes. That is, Ms. Coppola already knows that movies are primarily for the eyes, that much of the art should be visual. So it's a visually adventurous movie. It does seem a little slow, however, and the story loses a little something without all of the witty and sometimes poetic commentary by the collective male narrator. Still, if you've read the book or are a little sick, you'd enjoy the movie.

The other one I might drive to Durango to see is "High Fidelity," starring John Cusack as the owner of a record store who talks to us, the viewing audience, about what went wrong in his All Time Top 5 break-ups, and about what those break-ups say about him. A friend of mine said this about "High Fidelity," which is based on a novel by Nick Hornby: "This is the kind of movie guys don't want girls to see, because then they'll know what we're really like." It's true. This guy's twistedness is hauntingly familiar.

The soundtrack to this film is just excellent and it was fun for me to watch a group of music snobs at work, since I am one despite my poor understanding of music.

Finally, someone asked me the other day, "Roy, do you like gladiator movies?" I'll get back with you on that one in the next week or so.

Pacing Pagosa

By Richard Walter

Modern stroll turns nostalgic

People are worrying about how fast Pagosa Country is changing, how the open lands we see today might become the shopping malls of tomorrow and how the idyllic lifestyle we covet will be impossible.

Change, it will, and sometimes change is for the better. For more than 100 years Pagosa Country has been changing, sometimes imperceptibly and other times almost overnight.

Walking the area helps the memory develop nostalgia; the mind's eye pictures scenes today as we remember them.

Things like the wooden sidewalks of Pagosa Springs, the clunking sound you made as you walked home from school with your field boot heels striking the tune of a specific pace. Not only are they gone now, the areas where they existed have no sidewalks at all.

Summer was a fun time for a child in the postwar Pagosa of the late 1940s and early 50s, and baseball was one of the primary elements. When we weren't listening to games on the radio and keeping score right along with the pros, we were playing the game wherever we could.

The primary field was, in part, where South Pagosa Park now exists, home plate near the area where Apache Street runs now. Center field was uphill from the plate, the outer edge being near where Casa de los Arcos stands today.

When it was in use, we needed a secondary place to play and created our own field on a raised area east of San Juan Motel, the site now of a mobile home and RV park. Freddy Catchpole's grandmother owned the property and allowed us to use it.

Creating an imaginary dividing line, those of us who lived north and east of what is now San Juan Street challenged those living south and west and the result was spirited games which lasted for hours.

Some names out of Pagosa's sports past which can be linked to that field include Larkin Villareal, Abe Rodriguez, Alva Lee Cox, brothers Sammy and Henry Trujillo, brothers Armondo and Fernando Trujillo, Manuel Archuleta, Tommy Lines, Leonard Kinser, Jimmy Chambers, the Catchpoles (Freddy and Harvey John), Junior Sorenson, the Brown brothers, Jimmy and Bobby (Bumpy) and Miles Kara.

There was a bridge over the San Juan River east of where the Riverside Restaurant now stands and one of the best early morning fishing holes in the area was in its shadow. A swampy area existed where the ponds are now behind the River Center and the only business there was Fussy Gussy's Restaurant.

Back on San Juan Street, a livery stable stood near where the Sports Emporium sits today and next door was a small private home where wild raspberries grew profusely along the fence line, an unbearable temptation to passing youngsters.

We didn't talk of Pagosa Street or Lewis Street in those days. They were simply "main street" and "the back street" where DeVore's Bakery, San Juan Supply, Lewis Mercantile and the Methodist Church were located. The Catholic Church sat two doors east of what is now Third Street on "the back street." The Baptist Church was yet to be built but the congregation was meeting in a private home near where the auto parts store (at that time Whitefield's Gamble's store) sits now on San Juan Street.

And if you got thirsty while you were out walking or recovering from a spirited game, there were two fresh water fountains right in the sidewalks of Main Street where you could get refreshed.

Goodman's Department Store and Jackisch Drug were where they still are. Pagosa Hardware, operated by the Ferris Breedlove family, was next door to the drugstore where the fountain was the after-school gathering place for town teens.

The Pagosa Hotel building was actually a hotel owned by Albert Petry. Dr. L.H. Andrus had an office on the second floor. The main floor housed Hazlewood's Variety store and fountain, DuBossier's leather goods, and in the rear, the U.S. Post Office. In the basement, where candy is now the temptation, was Lou Nelson's pool hall and card parlor.

The theater stood where it is now and where Ronnie Willett, now The Sun's commercial printing director, was to become a projectionist. Next door was Pagosa Telephone Co. operated by Jud Thiel and up the street was a duck pin bowling alley where the top performer was Axel Nelson.

Also in the block were Highway Cafe, operated by Herb and Rachel Tishner, Mullins Barber Shop (where youngsters like myself got a good part of their education by just sitting and listening), Hersch's Piggly Wiggly and department store, the Pagosa Bar and La Cantina Bar, and on the approximate site now occupied by The Sun was Lois Kinser's Diner, fashioned from an old rail passenger car.

Citizen's National Bank occupied the corner and to its west was Moorhead Chrysler-Plymouth and Conoco service, operated at the time by Aubrey Fowler. An apartment complex and second Conoco station were across the street next to Poma's Texaco. Ralph (Hoppo) Yamaguchi ran a Phillips 66 service facility on the corner of U.S. 160 and "the back street.'' West of there, on the banks of McCabe Creek, Ronnie's father, Herman, once had a variety store.

Businesses east of the courthouse (long before additions made it the size it is today) included Robertson's Leather Goods and Lynn's Dairy Dream. The public library and town hall were across the street from them on the bluff above the river.

The school for all grades, kindergarten through senior, was the present middle school. The gymnasium in the sub-basement was unique in that the spectators sat in a balcony above the floor and over the player benches.

In the town park was a gazebo which was regularly the venue for musical presentations and for boxing matches promoted by Hoppo and Billy Lynn. Among the more well-known fighters they produced were the Padilla brothers Amos (also one of the area's best baseball players) and Andy.

Some names prominent at the time retain their recognition level in the community today. Included are Bob Goodman of the department store family, Ben Larry Lynch in the pharmacy, Terry Alley and Larry Lister in the school administration, Lou Poma in the auto service field, and the Giordano family with the outdoor pool and motel.

Also among the best remembered are Ray and Genelle Macht, still ardent supporters of Pagosa Pirate sports teams as they were of youth activities 50 and more years ago. The Pagosa Teen Club often met in their farm home and at Christmas they provided the wagon, hay and horse for a caroling hay ride around town by club members.

Yes, things will change, and not all change is bad. A walk in the present can stir memories of how things were then and how many remain the same.


Old Timer

By John Motter

Deep snows turned logger into educator

By John M. Motter

Henry Smith's dad came to Pagosa Country to make lumber. Logging and sawmills had been Harry Smith's life since he was a teenager back in Wisconsin. Pagosa Country had been a logging paradise since pioneer times. The match between the land and the man was perfect.

Just to place the story in perspective, most local folks know Henry Smith as the elementary school principal. Henry retired from that position in 1991. Folks who knew him in suit and tie and sitting behind a desk might be surprised to learn that in his younger years, Henry was a lumberjack and heavy equipment operator. What triggered the change?

"We were logging on Archuleta Mesa one winter," Smith recalls. "I was skidding logs and the snow was four feet deep. Every time there was a big bump hidden by the snow, I'd have to jump off of the Cat (Caterpillar) into the snow to see if the bump was a big rock. Then I'd have to climb up on the Cat again. That's when I decided I'd had enough."

Not that he didn't miss the outdoors and heavy equipment while he sat behind the school house desk for all of those years.

"I've always liked machinery and to operate heavy equipment," Henry says.

That's what he's doing now that he's retired from the public school system, running a backhoe and a bulldozer and such. And of course there's the RV park. Maybe the machinery and heavy equipment are in his blood. After all, that's what he saw his father do all of his life.

"Dad quit school after the fifth grade," Henry said. "He started cutting and selling railroad ties, first in Wisconsin, then in the pine forests in the Black Hills of South Dakota."

From South Dakota, during 1942, Harry Smith moved his family to New Castle in northwestern Colorado. There they cut one of the first roads into the Trapper's Lake area in order to log Engleman spruce trees infested by Spruce beetles. It was a work that helped save the forest from infestation.

"He had seven or eight small mills scattered around in the White Mountains," Henry said.

The timing was during WW II and manpower was scarce. Most of the country's able-bodied men were off fighting a war. The solution to the manpower problem was to hire able-bodied men from another country. Henry's dad hired German prisoners of war, 100 at a time. A good number of the hired Germans had served under Nazi General Rommel in the African campaign. The POWs were housed in camps in the mountains, far from any settlements. They proved to be good workers.

Trees were cut the old fashioned way with two-man, crosscut saws and axes. In order to keep the tools sharp, the POWs were issued hones, but not files. The government provided food for the prisoners and two guards.

"As a little boy, I got along well with the Germans," Henry recalls. "Many of them kept in touch with our family after they returned home following the end of the war. They had a hard time back in Germany until the economy revived. We sent as much help as we could."

In their White Mountain logging camps, the Smiths took care of the workers.

"We provided bunk rooms, bedding, and a mess hall," Henry said. "I was in elementary school. The other kids were afraid of the Germans, but I found they were great people. That experience has helped me look at people with a different perspective all of my life."

One of the first things the POWs did was take care of a personal problem. On a grassy knoll outside of their living quarters, they built a barbed wire stockade for "housing the Nazis who might make trouble in camp."

While running the logging and milling operations in the White Mountains, Henry's dad also had a winter operation in Dulce, N.M., a place of lower elevations and warmer temperatures.

In 1947, all of the Smith operations moved to the Pagosa Springs area where Harry had several small mills. Among those mills were one on the lower Blanco, one in Coyote Park, one or two on the flanks of Squaretop Mountain, and one at the top of Put Hill west of town where the old burner still stands.

"We logged a lot on Squaretop and built the first roads up there," Henry recalls. "We built the first road to Mill Creek up Lefthand Canyon and also the Porcupine Road. In those days, mills were typically small. When the trees near the mill were cut, we'd move the mill closer to the remaining trees. Nobody hauled logs for long distances like they do today."

Some of the other Pagosa Country mills at that time were operated by Schoonovers, Belardes, Trujillos, Jenkins, Bartholemew, and "names I can't recall."

Even though Henry's logging experience was post WW II, at his dad's side he learned much about how logging was accomplished in earlier times.

"My dad was a practical engineer," Henry said. "He just knew how to do things. After I'd gone to college and learned some math and engineering, I was working on a setup problem at one of the mills. I thought I had it figured out, so I showed it to my dad. He scratched his head, then suggested some different pulley and cable sizes. I went back to the math and, sure enough, he was right."

Not only was Harry Smith right, he bore the scars common to loggers and mill workers before OSHA established safety regulations. Missing fingers and mangled hands didn't seem to slow him down appreciably. One time, the empty fingers of a glove caught in a planer belt pulley. Before the merciless machine released its grip, it pulled the little finger off of Harry's right hand, all that remained on that side, and mangled the bones of the hand. Doc Thompson of Pagosa Springs was called on to treat the injury.

"Thompson sewed up the hole where the finger had been," Henry said. "He said he couldn't do anything for the hand and put a bandage on it. By afternoon, dad and I were back working."

When Henry was young in the White Mountains, no one used chain saws for falling and limbing. Everyone sweat over two-man, crosscut saws. Liberal application of kerosene stored in a whiskey bottle in a back pocket prevented pitch from gumming up the saw blade.

The first chain saw Henry remembers was a Diston and weighed 110 pounds. It required two men, one on the control end and on the tail end a man pumping the oiler.

"It was a great advance over the old crosscut," Henry says.

Early mills were powered by steam, often with flexible belts running in every direction to power conveyor belts, trim saws, and such. Later mills were powered by diesel engines, but still featured Rube Goldberg pulley and belt configurations. The logs were cut with one or two belt-driven, circle saws, depending upon the size of the mill and the size of the logs.

Much of the early log skidding was done with horses and mules.

"I added a considerable number of colorful words to my vocabulary, listening to those mule skinners," Henry said, "words my mother didn't appreciate. All of the commands were oral; nobody was using reins to control the animals. One thing about the horses and mules; they knew when it was lunch time and when to head for the barn at the end of the day."

Loggers and mill workers were a special people in Henry's mind.

"They were a tough, hard lot," Henry says. "They made great friends. If they liked you, they'd do anything for you. At the same time, I wouldn't want to meet any of them in a bar if I didn't know them."

"You know, we had a ratchet setter who couldn't read or write," Henry added. "Just the same, he could count backward in quarter-inch intervals. That skill was required on his job. They were a special people, uneducated in the school sense, but often wise in a practical way."

In South Dakota and northern Colorado, most of the workers hired by Henry's dad were of Scandinavian origin. In Pagosa Country, most of the workers were Hispanic. A percentage of Jicarilla Apaches worked in the Dulce operations.

Following graduation from Pagosa Springs High School in 1954, Henry served in the Air Force from 1955 into 1959.

After marrying, Henry discovered a need for more money. He subsequently graduated from University of Northern Colorado in 1964 with a degree in special education and later took a master's degree in administration. He taught for three years, then was a principal for five years in the Brighton, Colo., school system. In 1973, he returned to Pagosa Springs where he served as elementary school principal until retirement.

Henry has three children: Nicol, who works in missile fiber optics; Naomi, an environmental specialist with Hewlett Packard; and son Henry who runs a computerized asphalt plant for Huskin Construction Co.

Henry's dad worked until 1969, the year he died at the age of 73. His life spanned an era in U.S. logging history that is not likely to be repeated. Henry participated in some of that same history, from the warning shout of "timber!" heralding the fall of a tree, through the gees and haws of animal labor and up to, but not into, computerized mills.

Today Henry operates earth moving equipment, manages an RV park with his wife, winters in Arizona, and swaps stories with other Pagosa oldtimers about times that survive only in the minds of men.


Shelleen Rhonda Penton

Proud parents, Robert and Joleen Penton are proud to announce the arrival of their daughter, Shelleen Rhonda, who was born at 12:20 a.m., May 15, 2000. She weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces and was 19 1/2-inches long. Her maternal grandparents are Joe Lujan of Pagosa Springs and Dolores DeSelms of Pagosa Springs. Paternal grandparents are William and Virginia Penton of Pagosa Springs. Great-grandparents are Santana and Emma Lujan of Pagosa Springs.


Business News
Biz Beat

Steve Tothe owns and operates Pagosa Rooter, an insured business providing drain service and plumbing repair to residential and commercial customers.

Pagosa Rooter utilizes cable and high-pressure water jet treatments to free drain lines of grease, roots, sediments and other blockages. Tothe can also thaw frozen lines during winter months.

Pagosa Rooter offers customers service seven days a week, 24 hours per day.

Call Pagosa Rooter at 946-3692 during normal work hours, and at 731-6134 after hours.


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