'We regret to inform you. . .'
One family finds closure
By Richard Walter
Because of Jon Reid and hundreds of thousands like him, I have the freedom to write this and you have the freedom to choose whether you wish to read it.
Most of us didn't know Jon Reid, but many know his brother, Mike, the Colorado Division of Wildlife officer for Pagosa Springs and environs.
For nearly 30 years - after a helicopter gunship piloted by the 22-year-old Jon Reid went down in a Laotian jungle during the Vietnam War - Mike Reid and his family held out hope in varying degrees that Jon had survived the crash.
Only late last year was there confirmation of Jon's apparent death in the wreckage. DNA testing on two teeth found at a crash site proved the relationship to blood samples taken from two family members.
Nearly three decades of hopes based in great part on an eyewitness account of two men seen running from wreckage toward a nearby tree line and - perhaps - safety were suddenly ended.
Until that time, there were the unanswered questions:
Was Jon a prisoner? Was he alive but badly injured? Was he alive but a victim of amnesia induced by crash injuries? All passed through the minds of members of his family and of servicemen with whom he served.
The Reids, living in Arizona when the crash occurred on Feb. 20, 1971, continued to hope Jon had survived, that some day he would return and live his dream as a Colorado hunting guide or outfitter. It was a dream he had outlined for his sister, Roxena, the last time she saw him as she drove him from her home in Fort Collins to the airport in Denver for his flight to the war zone in Southeast Asia.
As we prepare to mark another Memorial Day saluting those who have fallen in the name of their country and for the cause of freedom, it is a time to reflect on the personal stories of men like Jon Reid and their families.
He wasn't a Pagosa Country native. He wasn't even a Colorado resident. But he had visited the state, had worked on a Colorado ranch, and was filled with the wonder of the state and the sense of freedom one could find in its wilds.
Every family with a son or daughter away at war has a foreboding of telegrams, telephone calls or knocks at the door when no one is expected. They fear the familiar government words, "We regret to inform you. . . ."
Mike tells of being in bed when his family's doorbell rang and hearing the subsequent scream of his mother. "I was 14 and sort of didn't know what to do. I knew what it was without hearing what it was. I think I hid under a pillow."
There is probably no family in Archuleta County which has not been affected at one time or another by the death of a family member, friend, or friend of a friend on a battlefield somewhere in the world.
Valiant members of our armed forces who did not return are saluted during Memorial Day ceremonies. It is a national holiday commemorating efforts by people such as Jon Reid. There is no school, no work for many, picnics aplenty, ball games, races, beer busts and - lest we forget - ceremonies paying homage to those who made the ultimate sacrifice that we might have the freedom to enjoy all these events.
From every neighborhood in Pagosa Country - Chromo to Upper Piedra, Mill Creek to Arboles, Blanco Basin to Yellowjacket and from Pagosa Springs to Pagosa Junction - young men and women have gone away to war on behalf of their nation.
Like Jon Reid, they were simply Americans, no matter what their ethnic heritage. Some, like Reid, did not come back.
They all are mourned and missed.
They went with dedication, bravery and prayer that the price they were willing to pay might be the bargain rate for future freedoms for their loved ones.
Mike notes his brother was not extra-patriotic. He joined the military because he had a low draft number. "He had no fervent belief that the war was right," Mike says, "but he would not let someone else go in his place. He kind of fell into the category of youth who feel invincible and this was a way of testing that feeling."
He recalls that when the unidentifiable remains from the crash site were buried in Arlington National Cemetery on Jan. 14, he was amazed by the number of people who showed up, men who had known his brother in training, who had served with him and others drawn simply because they, too, had served in Vietnam.
One man attending had enlisted at the same time as Jon; another came from Alaska for the memorial ceremony. "Outside of immediate family," Mike wonders, "is there any setting where, 30 years later, you'd attend a service for someone you knew for such a short time or knew only by association?"
Asked what one thing he remembers most about Jon, Mike said, "It's tough to narrow it down. I was the youngest of four children and the others always seemed closer to each other because they were closer to the same age."
"I have a job doing what he wanted. Sometimes I wonder if he had come back if I would have set a different course for myself."
He remembers the two of them going into the desert target shooting, citing one instance when Jon stepped on a rattlesnake and emptied a carbine into it on the spot.
"I used to build go-carts," he said, "and Jon would haul us out into the mountains where I could run downhill in them. He was definitely someone to look up to. He had his failings, but which of us doesn't?
"When I met all the guys who had been there (Vietnam) with him I got the impression they are all starting to look back - they're now in their 50s - and review what happened. Those guys never got a word of thanks and now they have to be their own support group."
Through meeting those men, Mike said, "I got new stories about my brother, about how he lived and behaved under fire. Suddenly he got to be eight months older (the length of time he was in the war zone) and I was able to fill in some of the blanks."
Asked if he had any special plan in mind for Memorial Day, Mike said, "I've always had a kind of personal introspection about Jon, remembering most the good times we had. This is the first time I won't have to wonder. What strikes me is that I've always felt I'd had some closure.
"My dad (Bill Reid) always expected him to come back home. He had a map of the crash site on the refrigerator. He knew Jon was an outdoorsman and believed his son was living in the jungle."
Sister Rowena has said of her dad, "He walked my brother out of that jungle 500 different ways. It was heartbreaking."
Mike said his mother, Audrey, had accepted the fact Jon was not going to come back but wanted to know what happened.
To that end, Mrs. Reid joined others in POW-MIA groups, collected sweets and soap for Red Cross shipments to men presumed to be prisoners of war and in late 1971 even went to Vientiane, Laos, with the other sister, Karen, hoping to find on their own some clue the government and military had not yet turned up.
Mike, however, had come to believe Jon was not coming home. "I saw him coming out of the helicopter like John Wayne or Butch Cassidy. He wouldn't let himself be a prisoner. I saw him go out with guns blazing."
The boys' father, a World War II pilot, died in a plane crash in 1972 and their mother passed away in 1989, just months after Americans were allowed to enter Laos for the first time to look for missing soldiers. Mike says his mother had always said, "The army lost my son, they can find him, too." She just didn't live long enough to see her prediction come true.
Mike, who has sons 13 and 15, said they haven't really had deep discussions about patriotism. "I've told them a little about their uncle, but to them it's ancient history. For that discussion to have any meaning, they have to want to have it."
Noting there were two other men (crew chief Randolph Johnson and door gunner Robert Acadiotto) aboard the flight with Jon and his co-pilot David May (the other man whose remains were buried in Arlington), Mike said his Memorial Day thoughts "will be with their families. There has been no closure for them. They can presume. They can guess. But they don't really know."
As of Nov. 8, 1998, 2,078 Americans were still listed as unaccounted for in Vietnam. "We can now remove two from that list," Reid said. "But 2,076 families still don't know what happened to their loved ones."
That total is larger than the official population of the town of Pagosa Springs.
Final closure for the Reid family will come in July when the teeth found at the crash site in October 1999, and identified as those of Jon Reid, are buried in a family plot in Idaho.
That is the story of Jon Reid, anyman USA. Not a superman, not a superhero. Just a son, a brother and an American to the core.
Mike Reid has reams of reports about and photos of the search scene where his brother's remains were found. But he suggests anyone wanting to learn more about Vietnam read Tom Marshall's book billed as "a true story of helicopter pilots in Vietnam - where life was hell, but death was 'The Price of Exit'."
True valor comes from men and women putting their very lives on the line for freedom's sake.
Please honor those who did not return with your own Memorial Day salute.
(Some background material for this story was extracted with permission from copyrighted articles in the Arizona Republic).
Legion Post will honor war dead in dual ceremonies
American Legion Post 108 will observe Memorial Day in Town Park and Hilltop Cemetery Monday starting with a brief presentation at the Legion Hall at 8:15 a.m. The color guard will assemble at 7:45 a.m.
Ceremonies at Hilltop will start at 9 a.m. following Catholic Mass.
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will assist Legion members in placing flags on veterans' graves at 4 p.m. Sunday.
All veterans are invited to attend and the public is welcome at both ceremonies.
The Legion cites this statement extracted from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address as their Memorial Day credo:
". . . that from these honored dead, we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . ."
Archuleta County lost 27 men in four major wars: eight in World War I, 17 in World War II, one in Korea and three in Vietnam. They were:
Lester W. Mullins, William P. Gould, Eligio Madrid, Epifanio Trujillo, Jose E. Vigil, Elmer Hotz, Juan Ruybalid, Louis S. Martinez, Joseph B. Nickerson, Frank Gallegos, Edward Valdez, Hugh Melrose, Charles Freeman.
Also, Fred Quintana, Robert Hill, Alex Montoya, Harley Hazelwood, Joe O'Cana, Rocky Thomson, Eddie Montoya, Anastacio Quintana, Jesus M. Archuleta, Jose A. Manzanares, Marcues Fiebelkorn, Merle Curs, Arthur Lambert and Don Rowland.
Legion members note there are 274 veterans buried in Hilltop Cemetery and 23 in private cemeteries in the county.
Twelve of those were added in the past year, including:
Jim Cloman, Ralph G. Flowers, Robert Hakes, Allen Hofferber, Wesley Lattin, Raymond Littlefield, Reuben Marquez, Brad "Duffy" McCarty, Jesus M. Padilla, Edgar L. Schmid, Samuel Teeson and Philip Wroblewski.
Post 108's Gold Star Mother, Dora Manzanares, whose son, Jose, was killed in Vietnam, also will be honored during the ceremonies.
Pagosa High will graduate 118 in biggest class ever
By Richard Walter
The first graduating class of the century will walk down the aisles in Pagosa Springs High School gymnasium at 10 a.m. Saturday in the school's 90th commencement exercise. It will be the second class to matriculate from the new high school building.
Named co-valedictorians for the class of 2000 were Seth Kurt-Mason, Valerie Niesen and Jake Wills. Co-salutatorians are Ashley Wilson and Erica Rader.
A record number of graduates -118 - will receive diplomas during the ceremony which will be opened by Rader reciting the Class Motto: "When we dream alone, it remains only a dream. When we dream together, it is not only a dream; it's the beginning of reality."
The keynote speaker, selected by the class, will be Leigh Gozigian who teaches history and government classes. She will be introduced by Chelsea Volger-Formwalt.
Ashley Wilson will deliver the senior welcome, Supt. Terry Alley will welcome the class and families and Principal Bill Esterbrook will present the Courage in Education Award. (The recipient will not be known until the presentation).
Delivering the class history will be Kristin Bishop, Janae Esterbrook, Amanda Forrest and Gwyn Lewis.
Esterbrook, Forrest and Volger-Formwalt will be joined by Sarah Huckins, James Kirkham, Kayla Mackey and Bonnie O'Brien to deliver a slide presentation and the class song "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day, following a rendition of Carl Strommen's "Down That Road" by the high school mixed choir.
Each of the valedictorians will speak before counselor Mark Thompson makes scholarship awards (stipends totaling $203,333 will be presented) and Esterbrook presents the class to the board of education. Dr. Randall Davis, board president, will accept the class prior to the awarding of the diplomas.
Rader will then deliver the benediction and the high school band, directed by Lisa Hartley, will play the recessional.
Class officers were Janae Esterbrook, president; Dorothy Silva, vice president; and Kayla Mackey, secretary-treasurer. Student body officers were Volger-Formwalt, head girl; George Kyriacou, head boy; Meigan Canty, secretary; and Amanda Forest, treasurer.
Junior escorts will be Morgan Egg, Amber Mesker, Daniel Crenshaw and David Goodenberger and the honor guard will include Chris Edwards, Tyrel Ross, Micah Maberry, Clint Shaw, Patrick Riley and Garret Tomforde.
Batch plant proposal bashed by neighbors
By John M. Motter
Shades of the Old West! The proposed construction of a concrete batch plant along U.S. 160 northeast of Pagosa Springs has folks rolling up their sleeves and squaring off. So far, no one has reached for iron, but words are flying faster than bullets at the OK Corral.
It's cattle barons against sodbusters, old timers against newcomers, or in modern terms, NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) versus "It's My Property, I'll Do What I Want With It."
The batch plant issue is another example of the forces driving a current county study to establish a "Countywide Vision," a definition of how county residents want to deal with growth in coming years. Ultimately, the study could result in a new countywide growth-management plan.
A second result of the batch plant issue will be the testing of a new county tool designed to deal with growth issues, particularly with land uses that seemingly conflict with other land uses. The tool adopted in March of this year is called a special-use permit. A special-use permit allows county planners and county commissioners to consider a number of non-quantifiable issues bearing on the impacts of a particular land use. Depending upon the judgment of the commissioners, the permit might or might not be issued.
In this case, Don Weber has met with county planning officials in a preapplication meeting prior to opening the concrete batch plant. The preapplication meeting allows the county and the applicant to discuss the proposal in order to make a decision as to its viability. Following the preapplication meeting, the Webers went home with a bundle of papers to complete in order to apply for the special-use permit.
Once the Webers return the documents to the county planning office, a sequence of events follow. All entities affected by Weber's proposal will be notified and invited to respond in writing. A public hearing will be conducted by the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission July 12 if Weber returns the documents by June 2. At the public hearing, the planning commission will review the application including any concerns submitted by the other involved entities. Public comment will also be accepted. The planning will either approve the proposal and forward it to the county commissioners, or recommend changes or additional steps. Ultimate responsibility for approving or denying the proposal rests with the commissioners.
Weber's role compares with that of the cattle baron, the old-timer, or the "It's my property. . . ." He expresses surprise at the opposition. "I didn't know we were going to create all of this upset," Weber said. "We planned to use the property the way it's always been used. I just want to be a good neighbor."
Weber said he leased the property to a concrete manufacturer in 1997. The lessee went broke, leaving Weber holding the bag. Since then, the Weber family has planned to recoup by operating a batch plant at the same place.
Weber proposes building the cement batch plant on the east side of U.S. 160 near the San Juan River bridge about 4 miles northeast of Pagosa Springs. The plant site is near, but not directly on, the banks of the river and is visible from the highway.
"That's my property," Weber said. "It has been used for agricultural and industrial purposes for 47 years that I know of. There have been gravel pits and an asphalt plant there for most of that time. The highway department used it for storing materials and equipment. I'm not changing the use of the property. We've been planning the batch plant for some time. We're totally surprised at the opposition to our plans. We've always been good neighbors. I just want to make a living using my property the way it's always been used."
Notification of Weber's plans has been sent to persons living in the surrounding area. The notification is part of the conditional-use permit process. Even though the regulation requires notificatation of people living within 500 feet of the site, the notices were sent to persons living at greater distances.
In general, the notification advises that Weber intends to install a portable batch plant, two buildings, a scrubber/washer plant, aggregate and sand stockpiles, and various equipment. The plant's operating hours could be from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Opposing Weber's batch plant are a group of NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) folks.
Representatives of about 20 of the NIMBYs at the regular county commissioner meeting Tuesday gave the usual litany of reasons opposing the proposed batch plant: it creates an eyesore visible from the highway to folks approaching Pagosa Springs; it will pollute the San Juan River; it will create noise pollution; it will create traffic dangers; heavy industrial usage is inappropriate for the location; a batch plant should not be located next to a subdivision.
An out-of-the ordinary complaint was voiced by the owners of Elk Meadows Campground, located across the highway and downstream from the proposed plant.
"Elk Meadows has been our home and business for 22 years. If that plant is approved, it will put us out of business," said Janice Palmer, daughter of Elk Meadows owners Don and Barbara Palmer. "Who wants to visit Pagosa Springs for an outdoor experience and camp across from a concrete plant?"
The protesters also claim the proposed batch plant is not a usage consistent with the best interests of the county. They say a major portion of the county economy depends on tourism, hunters, and retirees seeking a difficult-to-define quiet, peaceful wilderness experience including wildlife and sweeping vistas of the rivers and mountains.
Weber answers the accusations by asserting:
- A serious portion of U.S. 160 frontage in San Juan River Village near the homes of protesters is being advertised for sale as commercial property. "I guess I could buy six acres there and build my batch plant on it."
- The San Juan River Village sewer lagoons with their "slimy green water" are highly visible from U.S. 160 and encountered by entering motorists before reaching the site of the proposed batch plant.
- The batch plant is not visible from the homes of many of the upstream protesters.
- If concrete is such a destructive pollutant, why is the new Pagosa Springs High School built of concrete? Why are all house foundations built of concrete? Why are the trusses and pillars supporting bridges and standing in the river built of concrete?
- Concerning negative impacts the proposed batch plant may have on the Elk Meadows Campground, Weber points out that a batch plant formerly stood for years along U.S. 160 at the crest of Put Hill and adjacent to an RV park which appeared to succeed very well.
- Installation of the batch plant is a continuation of traditional use, not a change.
- The batch plant will add to the local economy by hiring local people and will be "locally owned" something most concrete suppliers in the area cannot claim.
"They say I've done something illegal, but I haven't," Weber said. "The metal building didn't require a building permit because it was erected for agricultural purposes. I've always run cattle on property I own surrounding that site.
"The batch plant is portable and I've never operated it," Weber continued. "I've gone to the county planning office and applied for a permit, just the way I'm supposed to. I am complying with the law."
Planning department officials agree that Weber is complying with the regulations. Because he has not returned the completed forms needed to initiate the conditional use process, county officials refuse to comment because nothing official has happened.
Interpretation of the conditional-uses permit enabling document will guide the commissioners when they make a final decision on the Weber application. The decision may have long-range implications relative to land usage in the San Juan River Corridor of Archuleta County.
In its purpose and intent paragraph, the conditional uses document states:
"Conditional uses are land uses that have potential for causing adverse impacts on other uses because of such factors as location, method of operation, scale or intensity of activity, or traffic generated. Because of their unusual or special characteristics, conditional uses require review and evaluation so that they may be located properly with respect to their effects on surrounding properties and Archuleta County at large. Conditional uses may be permitted subject to such conditions and limitations as Archuleta County may prescribe. The intent is to ensure that the location and operation of the conditional use is in accordance with the development objectives of the county (per the Archuleta County Master Plan) and will not be detrimental to other uses or properties. Where conditions cannot be devised to achieve these objectives, or it is not possible to mitigate adverse impacts, applications for conditional uses shall not be approved."
The document goes on to say:
"For clarification purposes only, conditional uses shall include, but not be limited to: commercial uses; industrial uses; multi-family dwellings (with some exceptions); airports; mining or extraction activities; transportation services and facilities; major new water systems; major new sewage systems; major extensions of existing water systems; major extensions of existing sewage systems; water storage facilities; water impoundments; telecommunications facilities; natural gas transmission pipelines; electric power generation facilities; electric power transmission lines; utility substations; and sanitary landfills."
In the case of Weber's batch plant, battle lines have been drawn, the legal process initiated, and an outcome is forthcoming. When the showdown comes, the county commissioners will be wearing the badge.
Summer Guide published today
Looking for a place to go in Pagosa Country, somewhere to try out those new hiking shoes or the best fly rod money can buy?
If any of those things interest you, look for answers in our annual Pagosa Country Summer Guide published with today's edition of the SUN.
It features 68 pages of directions to area attractions, outlines of famous and not so famous events of interest, descriptions of scenic views you can enjoy at your leisure, guides to restaurants, lodging, campgrounds and the recreational areas in Pagosa Country.
Cover photos feature the beauty of the upper San Juan basin from the overlook on Wolf Creek Pass looking toward Indian Head mountain on the left; a fisherman trying the waters of the San Juan just outside the front door to the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center; and a view of one of the many entries in the annual Red Ryder 4th of July parade. All were shot by Jan Brookshier.
The summer guide is designed to provide readers with a handy at-your-fingertips calendar of special events, directory of places to go, and things to see and do.
If you want additional copies to send to friends or family or extra copies to distribute to customers, they are available free at the SUN office.
Support for Patty deeply appreciated
We are truly grateful for the outporing of support, prayers and love we have received over the past three months involving Patty's struggle with cancer.
This is a very difficult time for all of us, but we appreciate the way so many friends have expressed their love and caring for Patty. We thank each and every one of you.
Ross Aragon and family
County signs Piedra Road pact
By John M. Motter
The Archuleta County Commissioners signed a contract with the U.S. Forest Service at their regular Tuesday meeting specifying conditions for the application of magnesium chloride on that portion of Piedra Road located within Archuleta County.
Piedra Road is owned by the Forest Service. Maintenance in Archuleta County is performed by the county under conditions specified in a contract with the Forest Service. A similar contract exists between the Forest Service and Hinsdale County for that portion of Piedra Road between the county line and Williams Creek Reservoir.
Archuleta County will receive $6,000 as compensation for applying magnesium chloride to Piedra Road between the cattle guard located at the north end of Fairfield Pagosa and the county line located near Piedra Road's junction with McManus Road. The amount of money received from the Forest Service is $2,000 less than the amount received last year.
Hinsdale County will spend $5,070 to apply magnesium chloride to the portion of Piedra Road located in that county, according to Paul Christianson, San Juan National Forest road manager.
In other business Tuesday the commissioners:
- Spent a great deal of time listening to public comment concerning a proposed concrete batch plant located along U.S. 160 northeast of town. See related article in this issue of the SUN.
- Heard from J.R. Ford, during public comments, that, since the county took over maintaining the county landfill on Trujillo Road, the road is looking trashier than ever. Ford suggested the problem is caused by trash blowing from uncovered trucks. Ford said a solution would be to video-tape all vehicles entering the dump, and mailing fines to those hauling uncovered trash.
It was also suggested that enforcement of laws related to hauling trash should be done by the highway patrol and county sheriff. County officials promised to look into the problem.
- Agreed to support a $40,000 Department of Local Affairs grant through the Forest Lewis College Office of Community Services. In the past, these monies have been used to pay facilitators at Archuleta County public planning meetings, and for similar circumstances.
- Approved a variance request for Crowley Ranch Reserve IV allowing construction of a cul de sac
- Denied a variance request for the Don Ford subdivision permitting the use of a 40-foot road width in place of a 60-foot road
- Approved the final plats and improvements agreements for Colorado Timber Ridge Phases 2 and 3.
In the page 1 article last week, "27 roads due for improvements," county road manager Kevin Walters was mistakenly identified as Kevin Rogers.
Tackett recalls incendiary attacks on Tokyo
By Helen Richardson
Almost 50 years ago, Cecil Tackett ran out of money half way through his college carreer. So he joined the Army Air Corps thinking he would only have to serve one year of active duty and could save enough money to finish college. From a monetary point of view, his plan worked out, but his timing was bad. Tackett finished flight school in September of 1941, just three months before Pearl Harbor. Instead of one year, he spent five years flying for the Army Air Corps.
Tackett already had a private pilot's license and believes it was a big plus toward him surviving flight school where 50 percent of the class didn't make the grade. After finishing flight school, Tackett found himself assigned to a pursuit team flying single-engine planes. Not liking single-engine planes, he paid a classmate $100 to swap places with him in hopes of being assigned to multi-engine planes. He had to borrow the money from the bank, but it proved to be a good investment.
From his station in Boise, Idaho, Tackett was soon transferred to the Seattle area following the invasion of Pearl Harbor. He joined a group of fliers keeping an eye out for the Japanese fleet which was expected to attack the large Boeing facility in Seattle. That site needed to be protected because, at the time, the U.S. Army Air Corps had far more pilots than airplanes.
The attack never came, so Tackett transferred to Florida, on to Cuba, then Trinidad, and, finally, Dutch Guiana (now Surinam) to patrol for German submarines. The German U-boats had been sinking an ore ship a day, disrupting the vitally important supply of bauxite being shipped from South America to U.S. assembly plants. Because the Germans had excellent intelligence, Tackett never saw a German sub. However, the the sinking of the ore boats stopped while he and his fellow pilots were on patrol.
All this time, Tackett was flying twin-engine B25s with 75 mm guns. It was time for an upgrade. After receiving training in four-engine planes, he was reassigned to the "Pride of the Yankees," a B29 bomber that was flying out of Saipan. One of the Marianas Islands in the North Pacific, Saipan is nearly 1,400 miles south of Japan. Tackett's crew only had two days to pick a name for the plane and he admits he never cared much for it. The name was even less popular with the crew members from Georgia.
Tackett and his 11-man crew of the Pride of the Yankees, flew 35 missions to Japan. Besides personally earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, he and his crew received air medals.
"The Pride of the Yankees was the only bomber to make return trips from Tokyo twice with only two working engines," says Tackett. He piloted it after losing one engine on each side. The bomber's other crew made it back with two dead engines on one side, the most difficult challenge.
His most spectacular run, says Tackett, was the night they set fire to Tokyo. Each bomber carried 180 incendiary bombs, 90 pounds each. That meant each plane could lay out a strip of fire a half mile long. The incendiary attack on Tokyo was aided by 40-mile-an-hour winds which spread the fire from the 500 similarly equipped B29s which bombed Tokyo that night.
The heat from the fire was so intense it created unpredictable thermal columns. "One time, we dropped so suddenly the cardboard box we kept our lunches in on the floor of the cabin was held tight against the ceiling. The odor of burning was intense," says Tackett.
Tackett remembers a similar attack on Osaka because his crew was assigned to drop flares to mark the targets. "The plane doing that job catches all the anti-aircraft fire," he said, "because you go in as a single plane. We got caught in the search lights and the anti-aircraft fire was fierce. It sounded like hail on a tin roof. It must have been small-arms because, when we checked the plane, we had lots of dents but no holes."
He feels quite lucky to have survived all of his combat missions without a scratch.
Twice on return flights to Saipan, Tackett and his crew landed on Iwo Jima to refuel. He's thankful to the Marines who liberated that island in the North Pacific because it was a valuable refueling site for the B29s bombing Japan. "It saved many airplanes and crews from being lost," he claims. There was no aerial refueling at that time, and the 2,000-2,800-mile run required 14.5 hours.
Returning from one mission with only two good engines, Tackett really would have appreciated stopping in Iwo Jima. But the refueling site was completely fogged in, including the surrounding ocean. Given the option of flying over the fog or of bailing out, he kept flying. He knew that two weeks earlier, a crew that tried bailing out didn't fare well - half of them landed in the ocean and drowned. Tackett made it safely back to Saipan, saving the Pride of the Yankees.
Tackett's first mission over Japan was Thanksgiving Day, 1944. "The sky was full of zeros (Japanese fighter planes)," he says. By the end of the war, he reports, you could be up all day and not see one. The U.S., on the other hand, had numerous airplanes by 1944.
Tackett lost many friends during his five years as an Air Corps pilot. He says the hardest part was getting started. Rounding up the crew and getting ready for take-off was a struggle because they all knew "this time" it might be them who didn't come back. Tackett considers himself lucky, but he also ran a tight ship. As air commander for the crew, he expected everyone to do their job because each job affected everyone.
Tackett left the Pride of the Yankees in good working order when his tour of duty ended, and he's sad that the surviving B29s were cut up for salvage so quickly after the war. He said only three of these World War II bombers remain, and only one is in flying condition. When he visited the Pima Air Museum in Tucson a few years ago, he was invited to sit in the cockpit again. "It seems awfully primitive now," he said.
As for Memorial Day, Tackett is a combat veteran who is very familiar with its significance.
Memorial Day has Civil War roots
By Bernice I. Brungard
With May 29 being recognized as Memorial Day, readers might like to know that the women of Columbus, Miss., laid flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate dead as early as 1863.
That the first formal observance of Memorial Day was 1868 when Gen. John A. Logan, Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a general order to all the GAR posts that "The thirtieth day of May 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land . . . post and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit."
That the first official services of the day were special services at the National Cemetery at Arlington. The orator for the occasion was James A. Garfield, a member of the House of Representatives and later president of the United States. His closing words were: "Here let them rest, asleep on the nation's heart, entombed in the nation's love."
That by 1873 the 30th of May was designated "Decoration Day," a public holiday, by the Legislature of New York state. Other states quickly followed, thus, each year the citizens of our nation honored the Civil War veterans by placing flowers on their graves.
That in the Pagosa Springs area the American Legion Mullins-Nickerson Post 108 purchases the U.S. flags that are placed on all known graves of veterans in the area. Post 108 members, it's Ladies Auxiliary, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other volunteers place the flags for the day on the graves at Hilltop Cemetery and other remote graveyards.
That American Legion Post 108 of Pagosa Springs on the current designated Memorial Day, May 29, holds a memorial service in memory of local deceased veterans at the Post home located immediately east of Town Park, followed by services at Hilltop Cemetery. Both services are very impressive and well worth attending.
Commissioner hopefuls must file by Tuesday
By John M. Motter
Tuesday is the deadline for would-be county commissioner candidates to turn petitions with signatures into the Archuleta County election official, county clerk June Madrid.
Seven Republican candidates for two county commissioner openings picked up petition forms from the clerk's office earlier this year. County commissioner positions in District 1, where Bill Downey is the incumbent, and District 2, where Ken Fox is the incumbent, will be on the August primary and November general election ballot.
As of Wednesday of this week, five of those petitions have been turned in and the signatures approved. The required number of signatures for each position is 52. Those having returned petitions are Julia Donoho, District 1; Mike Branch, District 1; Ralph Goulds, District 2; John Feazel, District 2; and Jim Willingham, District 2.
Pat Horning, District 1, and Fox have picked up petitions, but as of yesterday morning had not returned them.
Three Republican candidates have qualified for the August primary ballot through the party's county assembly. They are Nan Rowe and Downey from District 1, and Alden Ecker from District 2.
J.B. Smith will be unopposed on the Democratic Party's primary ballot. Smith was chosen to be the Democrat's candidate for District 2 at the party's county-wide assembly.
Rain will go away for weekend
By John M. Motter
Following thunderstorms accompanied with a 30 percent chance of rain Thursday and early Friday, Pagosa Country skies should remain warm and dry for the remainder of Memorial Day weekend, according to Joe Ramey, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction.
"A jet stream moving through a closed low-pressure system off of the coast of southern California and Baja should bring moisture into the Four Corners area," Ramey said. "The storm should arrive Wednesday night and last through early Friday morning."
This storm has a better chance of producing rain than the storm predicted for last week, according to Ramey. Last week's prediction was based on a low-pressure area moving in an almost direct, west-to-east direction. Such storms often carry little moisture, Ramey said.
Because the storm this week is moving in from the southwest it should bring up-slope winds and a better chance of rain, according to Ramey.
Tuesday the thermometer climbed to 85 degrees, almost an all-time high reading. The highest temperature ever measured in town during May was 87 degrees May 27, 1951, and May 31, 1956. The highest temperature recorded during the past week was the 85-degree reading Tuesday. The average high reading for the period was 69 degrees.
Three times this past week the thermometer dipped below freezing. The lowest reading was 25 degrees May 18. The average low reading for the week was 35 degrees. Historically, the lowest temperature ever recorded during May was 8 degrees measured May 1, 1967.
Rounding out the weather paradoxes in Pagosa Country, 0.1 inch of snow was recorded in town May 17. Total May precipitation through yesterday is 0.15 inches, far below the long-time average May precipitation of 1.21 inches.
State opens Workforce Center in Pagosa
By Rosemary Marshall
To better respond to the needs of employers and job seekers in southwest Colorado, the Department of Labor and Employment has established the Southwest Colorado Workforce Center in Pagosa Springs
The new service is under the direction of employment specialist Martha Garcia, who was transfered from the Southwest Colorado Workforce Center in Durango to the new Workforce Center in Pagosa Springs. The center is located in the Archuleta County courthouse. Its hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Its phone number is 264-4133.
According to State Labor Director Vickie Armstrong, the Pagosa office provides far more than job placement. "The Workforce Center brings together a comprehensive menu of job training education and employment services. Our focus is on meeting businesses' needs for a skilled workforce and in providing the training education and employment needs of job seekers who will comprise that workforce," Armstrong said.
According to Garcia, previously local job seekers simply received job search and placement assistance. "Today, we offer a lot more. Job placement is still available to all customers with no eligibility requirements, but we're providing more intensive services for people who are having difficulty finding a job," Garcia said. Job seekers now will be able to easily receive career counseling including access to up-to-date labor market information which identifies job vacancies, the skills necessary for the in-demand jobs, as well information about local, regional and even national employment trends. A resource room offers Internet access and a variety of self-directed assistance in skills building, according to Garcia.
Job seekers may receive a preliminary assessment of their skill levels, aptitudes and abilities. They can also obtain information on a full array of employment-related services, including local education and training options, and receive help evaluating their eligibility for job training and academic programs, including GED and English as a second language.
For all job seekers, individual responsibility and personal decision-making is promoted as never before. The local Workforce Center brings together the services of the Department of Labor and Employment, The Training Advantage (a local private-sector nonprofit) and regional JTPA services.
Along with Garcia, the Pagosa Springs Workforce Center includes Lois Lee, employment training representative; Diane Hart, mentoring program coordinator, and LaNelle Lyda, Employment First assistant. Together they work with job seekers to select the training they determine is best for them. It's a market-driven approach that enables job seekers to get the skills and credentials they need to succeed, Garcia said.
The Southwest Colorado Workforce Center in Pagosa Springs is part of a workforce preparation and employment system designed to meet both the needs of the nation's businesses and the needs of local job seekers and those who want to further their careers. It is also a part of the community in which it operates. Local businesses play an active role in ensuring that the center is meeting their needs. Employers now have a single point of contact to provide information about current and future skills needed by their workers and to list job openings. The center provides them with customized recruiting, screening of skilled applicants, on-the-job training incentives, assistance with tax credits and information on employment law.
"For employers, we offer the tools needed to find the right employee. For job seekers, we provide the tools to build a better future," Garcia said. "We look forward to working with the people of our community."
For more information about the Colorado Southwest Workforce Center in Pagosa Springs, phone Garcia, Lee, Hart or Lyda at 264-4133.
Kate Terry has heart surgery; blood needed
By Karl Isberg
Local writer Kate Terry, whose column "Local Chatter" appears in the Preview section of the SUN, underwent heart surgery May 18. She is currently at Heart Hospital of Albuquerque, making a recovery.
With one heart valve replaced and another valve repaired, Kate had an experience common to many people who undergo a surgical procedure. It is an experience shared by many accident victims, by women giving birth, by cancer patients. According to Kate's friend Kay Grams, who has been with Kate throughout her hospital stay, at least four units of blood have been used so far during the process.
That is four less units in the supply of blood available for Kate, or for use in any other medical emergencies.
Several local EMTs and members of the Pagosa Fire Protection District were ready to make a trip to the Community United Blood Services facility at Durango today in order to see that the blood used by Kate is replaced.
Friends and fans of Kate - any and all adult residents of Archuleta County - have the opportunity on May 31 to do their parts to ensure the supply of blood is enough to deal with all types of medical needs.
United Blood Services will conduct a blood drive from 2 to 7 p.m. May 31 at Community United methodist Church on Lewis Street in downtown Pagosa Springs.
"We will have cards at the Pagosa drive that people can fill out to tell a friend or a loved one a donation has been made in their name," said Randy Hubbs, United Blood Services director. "If someone wants to make a donation in Kate Terry's name or anyone else's name, they can fill out a card and we will send it to that person. Kate Terry is a good example of the many people who need blood because of surgery, injury or some other medical emergency. When they need the blood, it is there - usually donated by a stranger, by someone who cared."
Hubbs said blood supplies in the region dipped perilously low in recent months, and a strong turnout at the blood drive is always appreciated.
"We were at a point several weeks ago," said Hubbs, "where our local blood supply was down to a day's worth, or a day and a half at most. We weren't sure we had enough blood to last for 18 hours. Then, the Los Alamos fire occurred, an emergency call went out and we had 100 donors come in. It's a good thing: shortly after that we had a young man seriously injured in a auto accident in Durango and the blood was there for him. People are great about donating during an emergency or with individual patients, but it's the everyday question that is important. Is the blood there on the shelf every day, when a patient needs it? We urge people in Pagosa to come in on Wednesday and donate blood - for Kate Terry, for a friend or relative, for the community."
Anyone wishing to donate blood on May 31 must provide identification at the time of the donation.
Public meetings set on roadless forest plan
By John M. Motter
Public meetings will be conducted by the San Juan National Forest Service May 31 and June 27 concerning the Roadless Area Conservation Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Proposed Rule.
An informal open house meeting designed to share information will be conducted between 4 and 8 p.m. May 31 at the San Juan Public Lands Center, 15 Burnet Court, in Durango. Forest Service officials will be on hand to answer questions and explain maps delineating the areas affected in the San Juan National Forest.
A second meeting between 3 and 8 p.m. June 27 will be conducted at the San Juan Public Lands Center.
"A couple of things will come out of this," said Rick Jewell, a public information spokesman for the Pagosa Ranger District. "First, in the future no roads will be built in existing roadless areas. Second, it's important for people to know where to obtain information and where to submit comments."
According to Jewell, the timing is premature to give specifics concerning local impacts of the proposal.
"This is a preliminary EIS," Jewell said. "We have to wait for public input, analysis of that input, and the final solution selection. That could take some time and involve some changes over what we are looking at now."
Locally, about one-fourth, 475,000 acres of the San Juan National Forest is inventoried as roadless. Another one-fourth of the San Juan has been designated by Congress as wilderness. The remaining one-half of the forest is accessible through a 2,900-mile classified road system.
The preferred alternative of the draft EIS proposes to:
- Prohibit road construction in 43 million acres of inventoried roadless areas within the 192-million acre national forest system
- Provide opportunities for additional protection for the inventoried areas and other smaller unroaded areas through local forest planning
- Defer until 2004 any decision on providing additional protection for 8.5 million acres on the Tongas National Forest in Alaska.
Maps of the location of inventoried roadless areas by state are available on the U.S. Forest Service's roadless web site, http://www.roadless.fs.fed.us. A table provided with the maps includes acreage totals for roadless areas and other national forest system land.
Written public comments will be accepted at both meetings and throughout the public involvement period which ends July 17. Comments can be faxed to (877) 703-2494 or mailed to: USDA Forest Service-CAET - Attention: Roadless Area Proposed Rule, Box 221090, Salt Lake City, UT 84122. People can also comment directly at the roadless web site, roadless.fs.fed.us. Also available at this address are the proposed rule, draft environmental impact statement, a summary, maps and appendices. This information will be available for review at the public meetings, all Forest Service offices, and major public libraries. Individuals can also call (800) 384-7623 for information.
County building permits near record setting pace
By John M. Motter
The number of building permits issued by the Archuleta County Building Department has experienced a huge jump through April 30 of this year when compared with the same date for 1999. If the trend continues through the remainder of the year, a record number of permits will have been issued.
Leading the increase are permits issued for houses. The number of house permits issued through April 30 of this year is 107, almost a 53 percent increase over the 70 house permits issued by April 30 last year.
"The area is catching on," said Jerry Mount, a county building official. "People want to move here. The value of a lot of the homes being built starts at $160,000 and goes up. Most of them are being built for private owners, there don't seem to be a lot of spec homes (homes contractors build as a speculative venture). A lot of them have additional buildings such as garages, which adds to the cost."
Considering permits of all kinds, this year's issue is up about 85 percent. This year's total is 170 permits, compared to 144 permits at this time last year.
In other categories, 18 permits have been issued for mobile homes this year compared to 23 permits for mobile homes last year, one commercial permit has been issued this year compared to five commercial permits last year, seven timeshare permits have been issued this year compared to no timeshare permits last year, and 37 permits in the "other" category have been issued this year compared to 46 other permits last year.
This year's increase is more startling when compared with 1996 when 92 permits, including 43 house permits, had been issued by the end of April.
'Citizen outcry unfair'
I am concerned about the fate of Mr. Paul Hansen's RV park. Never once did he have an opportunity to present his project to the planning commission. He was pressured by some citizens to give up before he even started. He was zoned out in a vigilante Wild West style. In my conversations with people around the county there are plenty of citizens who thought it was a good project and that he should have the right to do whatever he wants with that piece of land.
My concern is not whether or not he should be allowed to do that project in that location, but that the citizen outcry was unfair and is not a good planning strategy for directing growth. Truthfully, we sell a lot of property, telling the prospective buyers that we have no zoning and that they will be free to do whatever they want with the land. Many residents believe strongly in maintaining unrestricted property rights.
That is why the community planning process is so important. This is a good vehicle for directing growth and I thank all those who have participated and attended. It is much more fair to everyone if we all know what can be developed on neighboring properties and what can't. As we work toward developing a final master plan and adopting regulations, let us remember that the alternative is unpredictable and unfair "vigilante" spot zoning.
I'd like to explain a little of the history between San Juan River Village and the Weber family. The first year that we irrigated our property, we had raw sewage and tissue running in our irrigation ditches. Although it made extremely unpleasant working conditions, we didn't come running to complain, but we did advise the proper person that there was indeed a problem.
When SJRV installed its sewer ponds within 10 feet of our property line, we never complained because we understood that they needed the facility to continue to operate. Many houses in SJRV overlook these ponds as well as ourselves, other neighbors and the highway traffic coming into town. If sewer ponds are not offensive to view, why is our concrete plant and shop?
In 1997 the area experienced a drought and SJRV did not have enough water for the existing homes to get through the summer. The metro district came to the Weber family and asked for our help. Without a second thought, we sent a man up there to work in the river so more water would run through our irrigation ditch to fill the SJRV ponds. Without this help, the homeowners would have had a shortage of water that year. There was no hesitation on our part to pitch in and help.
In 1999, the metro district representatives again came to the Weber family for help. They were unable to get their water out of the river to fill their ponds because the ditch was in such bad repair and it ran through the property of a man who appeared to be unwilling to cooperate and allow the needed repair of the SJRV ditch. Again we helped them by allowing the SJRV water to run through the Weber irrigation ditch to the point of diversion for the SJRV ditch. Without using the Weber ditch, SJRV would have had to repair their ditch, which was unfeasible, or do without water.
This month, you again needed our help. At the start of irrigation time, you needed to drain your ponds to repair them so SJRV can have a plentiful supply of water for this year. We were asked to shut off our irrigation water so the repair work could be done. There was no argument, we immediately agreed to help our neighbors.
Now that we want to do something on a small part of our property to help sustain our living and ensure our son's future, we have very strong objections from many who live there. We also have tried to be good neighbors with Elk Meadows and have never complained when their guests stray over onto our property. This has been our home for the last 25 years, we have raised our children here and buried one here. We have no wish to destroy our home, pollute the river, or cause problems for our neighbors. We do want the right to make a living and try to sustain the beautiful ranch land that surrounds our neighbors. Is that asking too much?
We are owners of Elk Meadows Campground and have owned it 22 years. It is not only our business and investment but our residence. We own two properties, one north and one south of U.S. 160. It is sad to say that with the construction of a new concrete batch plant, a heavy industry, the character of our neighborhood will change drastically and therefore our property use will change.
If the permit were granted for the plant southeast of us, it would be to our benefit to get a like permit for our two properties for a future owner. Is this what county residents want east of town? Heavy Industry?
If the cement batch plant is approved and becomes operational 12 hours a day, seven days a week as the conditional use permit states; the nature of our present "for sale" condition will change according to the changing land use in this neighborhood. The problem here is the neighbors to our west will follow suit as industry begins to spread. No one here will consider this area for tourist-oriented businesses or for residential use. This would be a shame for the beauty of the San Juan River valley, and for people already living in this valley such as the people at the San Juan River Village.
While we were not originally in favor of zoning for Archuleta County, we have changed our mind and believe zoning is necessary to preserve the San Juan River valley corridor.
We are currently building a new home in the Pagosa Lakes area because we realized the risk building a residence east of town with no protection considering land use.
If the batch plant is approved by the county commissioners, we will look for new sources of buyers including people interested in a heavy industrial site.
We understand that the concrete plant on Put Hill was moved to another location because it was not appropriate for the area and we think the same applies to our area.
We encourage any Archuleta County residents who are interested in preserving the U.S. 160 corridor east, to call or write the county commissioners and the county planners to express your "vision" for the county.
Barbara and Don Palmer
Pages of ideas
The second round of community planning workshops is drawing to a close. Over 600 citizens attended the first set of meetings in February, filling the walls with pages of ideas. An additional 230 high school students made good use of the opportunity to describe the future they would like for the area. Four Corners Planning and Design Group, the consultants hired to develop a proposed plan for Archuleta County and Pagosa Springs, have done an outstanding job of taking all of the comments received from the first set of meetings and organizing all those ideas into options for public consideration. During this second set of meetings participants are able to see how the consultants took all of that information and created four future growth scenarios. These represent a point to begin a conversation about the consequences of various aspects of each, possibly even inspiring new ideas and approaches. From the response to this second set of meetings, the consultants will develop a proposed growth management plan to be presented in late August.
The scenarios discussion is focused on the "big picture," but the workshops are not limited to abstract concepts of growth patterns. The consultants have also prepared 130 possible policy options to help us reach the goals we expressed during the first round of workshops. Many of these are ideas that were expressed directly by residents; others are tools that have been used effectively elsewhere. These options are very specific and depict a range of approaches to accomplishing desired future conditions in the natural environment, development design, transportation, housing, economic opportunity and roads. Some of the options focus on education and others would require regulation. During the workshops there has been an opportunity to discuss these options with neighbors and express personal opinions about which are the most appropriate. The chance to listen has been as valuable as the forum to speak. Both have been encouraged during these workshops. All of the responses to policy options will help guide elements of the proposed plan.
The final workshop is tonight, May 25, from 7 to 9:30 in the Parish Hall on Lewis Street. This meeting is located for the convenience of residents of the town of Pagosa Springs, but as with all meetings, everyone is welcome.
If you were unable to attend any of the meetings, you still have an opportunity to express your opinions. Mike Mollica, director of county development, will happily provide you with all the policy options and growth scenarios if you give him a call at 264-5851, or stop by the county administration building. Everyone is welcome to take these handouts and identify their preferences, then return them to Mike by June 1. The Archuleta County Commissioners, the county planning staff, and the planning steering committee want any final proposal to be the best reflection of the desires of the residents. You can make that happen.
Thanks for all the support.
I would like to take a minute to write and give thanks to all those wonderful teachers out there. I've written a poem of thanks for them.
A thank you note/ From me to you/ You've helped me/ In all you do/ How can you do it?/ Live in this zoo/ And struggle so much/ To teach us this tool/ You've taken these rocks/ And made them jewels/ Lifelong weapons Now we're ready to duel/ Thank you for the start/ From the bottom of my heart.
As I am a senior and I'm getting ready to graduate, I would just like to ask that for once I could let my teachers know how much they have impacted my life. Every teacher I've had has added something new and important. They've taught me values and things even more important than they could ever know; prepared me for battles untold and problems unsolved. All this and more the teachers have given me. I've seen their faces, seen how they sacrifice time to be spent with their families for those of us who need just a little more time to meet a deadline, or stay later to help us reach a higher point of understanding. The least I can do is say thank you very much. You've made me rich with knowledge. Pagosa Springs High School staff is awesome, and I only hope the public realizes that. Keep up the great job.
All of our country's veterans should be personally embarrassed because of a statement that Bill Clinton recently made, "The older generation must learn to sacrifice as other generations have done."
That's my dad's generation. I knew that eventually someone would ferret out the dirty secret: They lived the "lifestyles of the rich and famous" all their lives. Now, I know they must bare the truth about their generation and let the country condemn them for their selfishness.
During the Depression they all danced to the tune of "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" They could choose to dine at any of the country's soup kitchens, often joined by their parents and siblings. Yes indeed, those were the heady days of carefree self-indulgence.
Then, with World War II, the cup absolutely filled to overflowing. They had the chance to bask on the exotic beaches of Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Okinawa; to see the capitols of Europe and travel to such spots as Bastogne, Malmedy and Monte Cassino. Of course, one of the most memorable adventures was the stroll from Bataan to the death camps.
The good times really rolled for those lucky enough to be on the beaches of Normandy that June day in '44. Unforgettable.
Even luckier were those that drew the tickets for cruises on sleek, gray ships to spots like Midway, the Salmons and Murmansk.
Instead of asking, "What can we do for our country?" an indulgent government let them spend their youth wandering through the jungles of Burma and New Guinea.
Yes, it's all true, and they supposedly never did realize what sacrifice meant. But they do envy you, Mr. Clinton, for all those terrible harsh lessons you learned in London, Moscow and Little Rock.
My dad's generation is old, Mr. President, and guilty, but it is profoundly repentant. Punish them for their failings, sir, that they may learn the true meaning of duty, honor and country.
Words certainly aren't sufficient . . . aren't adequate to convey the debt we honestly owe the men and women of our country's protecting forces . . . and their families . . . for the sacrifices they've made in preserving the American way of life. Many made the ultimate sacrifice. And many families too, because there can never be any real healing for the loss of a loved one . . . no words, no memorials . . . that can even hope to make things right.
I have a deep respect for the courage, determination and just plain guts of those who put their lives on the line. I'm talking about American's best . . . the heroes of the Marines, Air Force, Army, Navy, National Guard and Coast Guard. Through their unflinching efforts, aggression has been put in check world-wide.
Proudly remember them on Memorial Day America: Everyone must do all they can to preserve and honor their memory. They gave us freedom.
We noted the avoidance of the words "private property" in the letter to the editor of May 18, entitled, "It Saddens Me." The word choices "organization like Piano Creek Ranch" and "property organizations" does not change the fact that we are talking about private property whether owned by an individual or groups of individuals. Let's not use "spin words" when addressing our individual rights as private property owners.
We certainly insist that all of the appropriate government resources be utilized to monitor any pollutants in our beautiful San Juan River downstream from Piano Creek Ranch. How carefully is the river being monitored for pollutants as it flows through town to the new intake of our drinking water?
Today, May 18, Clint Eastwood, is speaking before a House Committee and against the Americans With Disabilities Act passed by Congress in 1991. Mr. Eastwood is complaining for small business in that the act is too burdensome, and that small business should have more than 10 years to comply.
I think Mr. Eastwood should come to Pagosa, (healing waters), and see how our million dollar health spas have burdened the disabled by refusing to even raise one stinking hot tub to wheelchair height to comply with the law, federal and moral. The Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA is a federal Civil Rights law passed by your Congress.
The problem is not the law, the problem is clearly an uneducated, greedy, uncaring, ignorant bunch of business owners that just refuse to comply and building codes that are not equally enforced. I can point to businesses all over this community that have been thriving for years but are just too cheap and uncaring to change a thing. Even the Post Office doors have never worked right and nothing has really been done. There are brand new condo buildings in Fairfield totally inaccessible to wheelchairs. Supremacists intentionally discriminate, as they are telling me that I am inferior and they don't want me or my kind living in their condos. A good law says different. I would rather concentrate on all the businesses that have complied such as at the new City Market complex.
The real problems are two fold: We disabled don't have a Clint Eastwood and the Chamber of Commerce to fight for use, only an abused, fragile law allowing us to pursue happiness like the rest of society. Is a ramp instead of stairs really asking too much or restrooms large enough for all to use? I don't think so.
And I used to like Clint Eastwood.
This is a letter in support of our friends and neighbors in San Juan River Village. Hopefully by now you all have had a chance to reconsider the idea of building a cement batch plant only 300 yards from national forest land and a mere stone's throw from the beautiful San Juan River.
Water pollution, air pollution, excessive noise and traffic-these are some factors that I'm sure have been brought to your attention already. Quality of life is why most of us have chosen this area for vacations, retirements, year round living. That quality of life, if chipped away by this project, will be diminished beyond measure.
Please listen to the people and say "no" to this plan before it goes any farther.
Richard and Della Dickerson,
I am a property owner in San Juan River Village and if this batch plant goes in our property values will go down and those individuals who rent their homes out on a short-term bases will lose revenue. Tourists will not come back to stay in a unit when there is no wildlife and the noise level so loud you cannot think.
If you owned a home in an resort community would you want a batch plant running six days a week 12 hours a day in your neighborhood?
Please help us.
Randy and Laura Fehrenbacher
Dear David Mitchell
Here's hoping you will pass on my thanks again to the thoughtful couple that returned papers to me last month at the post office parking lot. I was reminded of their tenacity as I read Richard Walter's (Pedestrians can't be too careful) column in the PREVIEW May 11: ". . . Not only do people use the wrong entrances and exits, . . ."
I noticed a car that did that - entered the post office lot from the exit-only egress - and I was surprised that it had a local license plate. And then, while I was fiddling in my purse for the mail box key, the driver - a good looking young man with an admonishing look for me on his face, strode up to my car on the driver's side. He was holding a clear-plastic courier pouch. "My goodness," I thought, "that looks like my mail pouch." And then I saw that it was my pouch - with the papers I had carefully prepared for the mail.
The gentleman and his lady passenger noticed that this pouch had slid off the hood or roof of my car as I drove from a parking spot on 8th Street. I had put the pouch there to free both hands while loading all the other stuff in the car. I was thinking that I needed to do more research before I mailed some forms, so, with that on my mind, I forgot about the pouch and drove off. This nice couple stopped their car (a Saab?) to pick up the pouch and then followed my car as I drove to the post office (not their destination) and, to make sure I would not go further without the pouch, they drove into the post office parking lot in such a way as to block my exit and capture my attention.
Every time I think of it I am so grateful. I hope that the next time either one of this couple recognize me they will stop me again and I can thank them again.
Mary A. Hannah
We enjoy your online paper so much. It has the best layout of any newspaper on line, don't dare change it.
Ben and Dolores Hitt
My husband and I live in San Juan River Village, a subdivision 6 miles east of Pagosa Springs on U.S. 160. In a couple of weeks we will have been here five years. We have been coming here pretty regularly since 1984, and a few times all the way back to 1973. So we have witnessed a great deal of change and growth. Not all of it has been good for this area. The growth is somewhat of a two-edged sword.
Our economy was once based upon agriculture, ranching, logging and a little mining. All that has changed over the years. Environmentalists have just about made it impossible to earn a living logging, as well as mining. Sadly, the big ranches are subdividing and selling off. Raising cattle, horses, or crops is no longer profitable or practical. I am sorry folks can't make a living in agriculture any longer. We have therefore been forced to look elsewhere for income and for something on which to base our economy.
The folks with vision in this area saw the need to develop the tourist trade. We are surrounded by national forests, a beautiful river runs through it, there is history and culture. We have a lot of resources to tap into, without giving in to big business. Let our history and our tradition remain. There is still a lot of the old west right here in Pagosa.
Please, help us protect this valley, this corridor, this river from more pollution of all kinds.
I honestly believe that there is a more suitable place for this batch plant. I understand that there is a need for this type of business. However, I believe the needs and concerns of the 300 property owners in the immediate area, an established camp ground, users of the river, and all the folks down stream who need water are even more important. There will be traffic problems, air, light and sound pollution to deal with.
I own two businesses in Pagosa Springs and my husband still works full time. It takes all we can do to keep our heads above water, pay our bills, our employees and have anything left over for ourselves. We need for the tourists and the potential residents to find our valley peaceful and beautiful. If there are batch plants, saw mills, wrecking yards, and other light industry at every entrance into this town, there will be no reason to come here. It will be just like hundreds of other little towns that have sold out and let realtors, developers and good ole' boys do whatever they want because they were making money, and that's "what they've always done."
This is emotional and there are personalities involved, but this is not personal. I just feel this is not the location for this type of business activity. My plea is to protect the way of life, the incredible scenery and usefulness along the San Juan River.
Pamela A. Schoemig
Fred and Mary Jaramillo are celebrating their 40th anniversary. Your children and grandchildren want to wish you all the best.
Irene Lucero, daughter of Librada Gurule has been selected as Educator of the Year 2000 by the Mesa County Chamber of Commerce. A banquet was held on April 18 at the Bookliff Country Club with Superintendent George Straface presenting the award.
She was honored for her dedication to her students and for her involvement in the community. Irene has also been named as Who's Who of American Teachers, a national honor that is based solely on nominations from her students. She is currently a counselor at Grand Junction High School.
By Virginia Bramwell
Floyd and Virginia Bramwell are both natives of Pagosa Springs. Floyd was born on a ranch down the San Juan River, below Pagosa, owned by his parents, Jake and Hattie Bramwell. Virginia was born at her grandfather, C.M. Smith's homestead in the Blanco Basin. The ranch was later owned by her parents, Mark and Esther Amyx, when the grandparents moved to a home in town of Pagosa.
Floyd and Virginia met in the third grade and both rode horseback to school from different directions. They later dated some, off and on, in their teen years. Their dates were usually on horseback holding hands as they rode along except on trails where they would go single file, of course.
For a few years they didn't see each other often, as Floyd worked on larger ranches with cattle and horses, and Virginia attended high school. She graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 1936. She typed and did clerical work in the county courthouse for Fred Catchpole, who was clerk of district court for three years. Then she went to college a term at Union College, a SDA Christian College in Lincoln, Neb. Later, she returned home and did clerical work in the local bus station. During this time she and Floyd again began seeing each other often and soon made plans to marry. Prior to this Floyd was riding, roping and working steadily with cattle and horses. In 1935 he won the trophy for "Best All Around Cowboy" of this area and again in 1939 to keep the coveted prize.
During their married life they have exemplified "teamwork" together in rearing their children and since then, they are both Christians and by faith and the grace of God they plan to be together when Jesus returns eternally.
Floyd had six sisters and four brothers, all natives of Pagosa - two sisters are living, Bessie Stephens of Phoenix, Ariz., and Opel Turner of Bloomfield, N.M. Virginia had three sisters, natives also of Pagosa Springs, two are living - Pansy Johnson of Fallon, Nev., and Ester Margaret Patters of Dayton, Wash.
Floyd and Virginia became the parents of four beautiful children - Connie Loyce, deceased at age 36, Douglas Rex of Bloomfield, N.M., Floyd Gary of Pagosa Springs and Manuel Lynnette of Reno, Nev. At this time they have seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Family and friends are invited to a reception to be held at fellowship room the Seventh Day Adventist Church from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. (at 3 p.m. refreshments will be served) Sunday, May 28, - no presents please.
Three soccer stars honored
By Richard Walter
One junior, one sophomore and a freshman representing the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates soccer team have been selected for all-conference honors.
Athletic directors and coaches of the Class 3A Southwest League tabbed junior Jennifer Gross, sophomore Alysha Ranson and freshman Meagan Hilsabeck for league honors.
Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason, who singled all three out for individual praise in his comments at the conclusion of the season, said of the freshman, Hilsabeck. "I wish I could bottle her talent and feed it to all our players."
He said Gross should be a senior leader for next year's squad and credited Ranson as being the one player "who held the defense together all year."
All three were starters for the Lady Pirates during their second year of competition.
Other league players selected for all-conference honors were Wesley Jackson, Tjandra Peters and Jaime Zoltec of Ignacio; Tara Ficco and Janelle Leeper of Ouray-Ridgway; and Carrie Lamb, Sydney Melzner and Kelly Richards of Telluride. Honorable mention went to Kelsey Bennett and Amy Scott of Ouray-Ridgway and to Erin Alegri and Maureen Johnson of Telluride.
Telluride won the league and the district tournament and along with Ouray-Ridgway, which defeated Pagosa in the district playoffs, advanced to state playoff competition. Both were defeated in their quarterfinal games.
Lady Pirates named state's academic champs
By Richard Walter
That term applies to Pagosa Springs female athletes who parlayed knowledge of the game of basketball and the system utilized by their coach, Karen Wells, into another trip to state tournament action this school year.
Members of the Lady Pirates squad consistently delighted fans and surprised opponents with their brand of "smart" basketball during the 1999-2000 season.
Now we have an indication of how they developed that court smart attitude.
For the second time in three years, the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates are the state's Class 3A academic champions.
The nine-member squad recorded a team cumulative grade point average of 3.944 to recapture the state's top spot. The conclusion is that developing brain power in the classroom translates to the use of brainpower on the court.
Members of the squad were graduating seniors Janae Esterbrook, Mandy Forrest and Bonnie O'Brien; Juniors Andrea Ash, Meigan Canty and Amber Mesker; and sophomores Ashley Gronewoller, Katie Lancing and Carlena Lungstrum.
The three graduating seniors already have been accepted in colleges: Forrest at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix; Esterbrook at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs; and O'Brien at Colorado State University.
Some tall tales for the family duffer to tell
Whatever golf is or isn't, a lot of people spend a lot of time knocking that little white ball around.
G.K. Chesterton said, "I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles." And Mark Twain said, "Golf is a good walk spoiled."
But golfers like golfing jokes, so here are a few (although some of them may have appeared before in this column.)
- Taxes and golf are alike: you drive your heart out for the green, and then end up in the hole.
- A golfer hit his drive on the first hole 300 yards down the middle. When it came down, however, it hit a sprinkler and the ball went straight sideways into the woods.
He was angry but he went into the woods and hit a very hard 2-iron, which hit a tree and bounced back straight at him - hitting and killing him.
He was at the pearly gates and St. Peter looked at the big book and said, "I see you were a golfer, is that correct?"
"Yes, I was," he replied.
St. Peter than said, "Do you hit the ball a long way?"
The golfer replied, "Yes, I got here in two!"
- The room was filled full of pregnant women and their partners, and the class was in full swing. The instructor was teaching the women how to breathe properly, along with information informing the men how to give the necessary assurances at this stage of the plan.
The teacher then announced, "Ladies, exercise is good for you. Walking is especially beneficial. And, gentlemen, it would not hurt you to take the time to go walking with your partner." the room really got quiet.
Finally, a man in the middle of the group raised his hand.
"Yes?" replied the teacher.
"Is it all right if she carried the golf bag while we walk?"
- It seems that a hack golfer spent the day at a plush out-of-town golf course, playing golf and enjoying the luxury of a complimentary caddy.
He played poorly all day, so as he neared the 18th hole, he spotted a lake off to the left of the fairway. He looked at the caddy and said, "I've played so poorly all day, I think I'm going to go drown myself in that lake."
The caddy looked at him and said, "I don't think you could keep your head down that long."
- Golfer: Notice an improvement since last year?
Caddy: Polished your clubs didn't you?
Golfer: Why do you keep looking at your watch?
Caddy: This isn't a watch, sir, it's a compass.
Golfer: The doctor says I can't play golf.
Caddy: Oh, he's played with you, too, huh?
Golfer: Caddy, why didn't you see where the ball went?
Caddy: Well, it doesn't usually go anywhere, Mrs. Smith. You caught me off guard.
- Facts on golf:
In primitive society, when native tribes beat the ground with clubs and yelled, it was called witchcraft; today, in civilized society, it is called golf. Golf is a game in which the slowest people in the world are in front of you, and the fastest are those behind you.
Golf was once a rich man's sport, but now it has millions of poor players.
The secret of golf is to hit the ball hard, straight and not too often.
There are three ways to improve your golf game: take lessons, practice constantly, or start cheating.
- An amateur golfer is one who addresses the ball twice - once before swinging, and once again, after swinging.
- Many golfers prefer a golf cart to a caddy because it cannot count, criticize or laugh.
- Golf: a five-mile walk punctuated with disappointments.
Golf: Golf got its name because all of the other four letter words were taken.
- A few facts about golf include that a golf course is an inland course and if the course is by the seaside, it is properly referred to as a golf links. And this one; there are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball.
- Two men were talking at work on Monday morning.
"What did you do this weekend?"
"Dropped hooks into the water."
- And this is absolutely my favorite golf joke.
A man was about to tee off when he felt a tap on his shoulder and a man handed him a card that read, "I am a deaf mute, May I play through, please?"
The first man angrily gave the card back, and communicated that "no, he may not play through, and that his handicap did not give him such a right." The first man whacked the ball onto the green and left to finish the hole.
Just as he was about to put the ball into the hole he was hit in the head with a golf ball, knocking him out cold. When he came to a few minutes later, he looked around and saw the deaf mute sternly looking at him, one hand on his hip, the other holding up four fingers.
Visitor traffic up, diplomats return
We have two new members to share with you this week and three renewals. Not a bad way to enter the week, not at all.
We welcome Ena and Robert Shipman who bring us Rocky Mountain Window and Door located at 301 North Pagosa Boulevard, Suite 15, in Greenbrier Plaza. The Shipmans offer Norco and Loewen Wood Windows and Doors, Milgard Vinyl Windows and Doors, Heat-N-Glow Fireplaces, Cultured Stove and Taylor Garage Doors. They provide sales, service and installation. For more information about Rocky Mountain Window and Door, please call them at 731-3925.
Manuela Heaton joins us with a second business this week and renews with another. We're delighted to have the Piedra Laundromat located at 120 Piedra Road. This is a self-service Laundromat open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. This is actually where I head when I need to wash my king-sized bedspread which is too big and heavy for a normal machine. The Piedra Laundromat boasts a machine that can handle larger pieces and get them clean as can be. You can call 731-4000 for more information.
We're happy to renew the membership of Manuela's other business, the Pagosa Laundromat and Carwash located at 126 North 4th Street, as well as those of Linda Gill with Mountain Landing Guest Quarters located at 345 Piedra Road, and Patsy Harvey with Interior Dreams located at 301 North Pagosa Boulevard.
They're back, and we couldn't be happier to welcome them with open arms. Our Diplomats have returned for the summer and not a minute too soon. The visitor traffic has really picked up at the Visitor Center and has presented a real challenge to Morna, Suellen and me with trying to get things done and host as well.
I held three workshops, and our Diplomats went on two tours to acquaint themselves with some new businesses and some existing businesses they hadn't seen in a long time. I want to thank Eddie and Troyena Campbell at the Branding Iron Bar-B-Q Restaurant and Mark Mattern and Joe Tarver at Domino's Pizza for providing lunch after the tours. I also want to thank Tony Simmons who owns and operates The Brew Haus for providing the homemade root beer, ginger ale and cream soda to complement the pizza. Bill Goddard at The Choke Cherry Tree spoiled them with hand-made caramels and a jar of jam for each. Faye and Gary Bramwell of Astraddle a Saddle gave them tickets for their chuckwagon dinner, and Glen Raby of the Forest Service gave each a pass for a day at Chimney Rock. Well deserved treats, to be sure, for the best volunteer team in the state.
Allow me to share our list of Chamber of Commerce Diplomats so that you can thank them when you next see them: Carol Adams, Phyllis Alspach, Georgia Balsinger, Patsy Braune, Stu and Marti Capling, Dick and Barb Colre, Joan Cortright, Pat and Georgi Curtis, Mary Daltroff, Betty Delaney, Terrisa Diestelkamp, Marguerite Flick, Judy Galles, Nancy Giordano, Paige and Jean Gordon, Ann Graves, Carol Gunson, Ron Gustafson, Shari Gustafson, Mary Hart, Rosie Hatchett, Phil and Nita Heitz, Mary Ann Huff, Ron and Sheila Hunkin, Al and Pat Jodoin, Susan Kanyurk, Elaine Lewis, Bob Malson, Anita Mathers, Ella McNatt, Sylvia Murray, Charlotte Overley, Ray Pack, Barb Palmer, Dick and Lorraine Raymond, Jean Sanft, Joan Slavinski, Rose Smith, Mary Standefer, Lee Sterling, Bob Stewart, Bruce and Nettie Trenk, Gloria Vanderwheele, Dalas and Carrie Weisz, Rita Werner, and John and Maureen Widmer.
These are the folks who greet over 40,000 guests at the Visitor Center and allow the staff to stay behind the scene and get our work done. We are ever so grateful to each and every one and are delighted that their "work year" has begun. Special thanks to those who covered our weekends over the winter during our shortened hours.
Be sure and pick up your tickets for this very special event at the Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books, Plaid Pony, Ruby Sisson Library and the Wild Hare. Performance dates are June 2 and 3, and the Pagosa Springs High School is the place to experience something altogether different from anything you have seen on a Pagosa stage.
Tony Osanah and Cary Valentine will be featured in this production which brings together the music of Peru, Brazil, Bolivia and Native America. The evening will also include guest appearances by local musical dignitaries, John Graves, Charles Martinez and Lee Bartley. As you might have suspected, this is a collaboration of the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters and the Pagosa Springs Arts Council.
Cary Valentine is a familiar Pagosa presence to those who attended "Nunsense" and the recent Pagosa Pretenders "Aladdin" production, and who have heard a mighty fine jazz quartet appearing around town. He's the percussionist with the big ole smile who always seems to be having a better time than anyone around. Cary has known Tony Osanah for many years and has great respect for Tony's musical expertise. He was kind enough to share a tape of Tony's music with me, and I must say he is astonishing with his range of both music and instruments. Tony's music is haunting and rather irresistible - you must hear it to believe it. I'm extremely excited about seeing it all in person, and I intend to do just that on June 2 and 3. I will be the one selling tickets and hope to see all of you at this unique musical treat. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. Please call us at the Chamber for information at 264-2360.
Touch of the Tropics invites you to attend their Grand Opening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Please join them to meet their staff and enjoy refreshments at 302 Pagosa Street (formerly Cimarrona Gallery.) You will also have the opportunity to enter your name in a drawing to win a free massage with a nationally certified therapist, a free herbal consultation with a master herbalist, a tanning session or an aromatherapy steam spa session. There will be many lucky winners at the drawing to be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday, and you need not be present to win.
Regular summer hours of operation at Touch of the Tropics will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, beginning May 31. Be sure and watch for their announcement about educational workshops in the near future. Please call 264-6471 for more information, and we hope to see you all this weekend.
Yikes, the time has just crept up on us again, and we need to be getting real serious about our quarterly newsletter, the Chamber communique, which means you need to be getting those inserts to us at the Visitor Center as soon as possible. They need to be in our hands by May 31. It's as simple as bringing us 700 inserts announcing your news, new product, new location or just whatever it is you want to share - and a check for $30 - and we do the rest. It's the most economical way I know of to share marketing information with the entire Chamber membership. We encourage you to use colorful paper and use both sides if you like. Get right on it, kids, and just call Morna at 264-2360 with any questions.
PLPOA board applicants face filing deadline
Two vacancies are available on the PLPOA board of directors. One term will expire July 2001 and the other will expire July 2002. The association is looking for volunteers to fill these vacancies. If you are a member in good standing, a permanent resident and have an opinion and the will to do something about that opinion, please apply by June 2.
PLPOA's Lakes, Fisheries and Parks Committee will host a public meeting on June 1 to discuss long-range plans for parks, trails and outdoor recreational areas in Pagosa Lakes. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be held at the Pagosa Lakes Community Center.
In a study conducted by American Lives Inc., new homebuilders seek communities that are quiet and have minimal traffic and that have open space and trails in which to enjoy the surroundings, according to the Trust for Public Land. As a resident of Pagosa Lakes for 16 years, I also seek the above quality-of-life issues and benefits. There are many greenbelts in Pagosa Lakes, some ideally suited for recreational access while others will remain untouched. Equally true are differing opinions of property owners. Some want the greenbelts untouched. Others would like to use these available lands to create walking paths. Some say why create walking paths when we are surrounded by many acres of national forest and wilderness.
Property values of lands adjacent to open space or greenbelts don't automatically inflate, but depend on the open-space characteristics and the orientation of surrounding properties. Those that are most likely to increase in value are those properties that:
- Highlight open space rather than highly-developed facilities
- Have limited vehicular access, but some recreational access
- Have effective maintenance and security.
These are observations raised by Jonathan Brewer, senior business economics mayor from Wilson, N.C., in an article regarding the value of open space.
Yes, the issues are complex and often times the not-in-my-backyard mentality comes into play. The Lakes, Fisheries and Parks Committee wants input from property owners . . . the committee seeks your suggestions and it wishes to do what is most beneficial for all concerned.
Mark your calendar for next Thursday evening. You can help the committee identify which greenbelts to make recreationally accessible and if acquisition of more open space is desirable. Do you have an opinion?
Advanced art students' works go on exhibit here tonight
New summer hours for the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Currently on exhibit at the gallery are works by Charla Ellis' high school advanced art students. I'm told the May 18 opening reception for that show was a lot of fun and highly successful.
The names of three talented young people were inadvertently omitted from last week's column: seniors Jodie Blankenship, Aaron Renner and Damian Gruber. After graduation, Aaron plans to continue his work with photography; Jodie and Damian have not yet decided about future art study.
Student work will be on exhibit through May 31. Be sure and drop by to see the show.
On June 1 a new exhibit begins: "The Playful Heart," works by Janice Sandeen. Her inner landscapes and authentic self-expressions are executed in oil, pastels, watercolor, dimensional wood, wood and mixed media, and woodblock prints. Janice taught and chaired the Wood Program at the California College of Arts and Crafts for five years before leaving to explore other facets of culture and ecology. Currently she teaches creative dance at San Juan Living Arts. Plan to attend the opening reception of her exhibit from 5 to 7 p.m. at the gallery at Town Park. As always, delicious refreshments will be served.
Summer Arts camp 2000 takes place June 5 to 22, for young people entering grades 1 to 9. Camp will meet Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in the high school art rooms.
Morning and afternoon sessions offer instruction in all forms of artistic expression - pottery, painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, mask making, fiber art, creative playthings and crafts from many cultures.
Get an application for Summer Arts Camp 2000 at the gallery in Town Park. You have to hurry because the registration deadline is June 1. Sign up for morning or afternoon sessions, or both) Tuition is $90 for one session; $170 for both sessions. Scholarships are available, based on financial need.
Contact Tessie Garcia at 264-2229, ext. 357, or at 731-5916. All information you provide is confidential. Also, if you would like to volunteer to help at the Camp, please contact Tessie.
Archuleta County Recycling Committee, Pagosa Springs Rotary Club, Pagosa Springs Arts Council, Archuleta County School District and Pagosa Springs Women's Civic Club have all helped to make this program possible. Thanks.
The annual Spanish Fiesta will begin at 7 p.m. on June 16 with the Concerto Espanol and Bailables Folklorico, performing in the high school auditorium. Festivities continue June 17, with the Fiesta parade at 10 a.m. and the Fiesta in Town Park all day. There will be a street dance from 7 to 10 p.m. at the park.
Dancers, musicians and other entertainers, as well as food vendors and arts and crafts booth vendors can call the Arts Council at 264-5020 for more info or to sign up. But hurry.
Also coming soon, the Pagosa Players and Kings' Men will present William Shakespeare's "A Mid-Summer's Night's Dream" on June 3. This is part of the group's Family Dessert Concert Reading Series and takes place at WolfTracks Coffee Company and Bookstore. Then, over the July 4 weekend and the following two weekends, PPKM will present "Romeo and Juliet" at Shakespeare in the Pines. Watch the Preview for more info.
Pagosa Angel Box Painters meet the third Saturday of each month at the Community Bible Church to paint "memory boxes." The boxes are donated to hospitals, where they are given to parents who have lost infant children. They are designed to hold mementos such as birth and death certificates, wristbands and footprints. For more information, contact Cathy Magin at 264-5597.
We'd like to let all you writers out there know that a Pagosa Writers' Support Group is forming. Dues are $15 for a five-month session, beginning June 20. Call B.J. Stewart at 731-6009 for more information.
The Arts Council is in need of a small copy machine. If you have one you'd like to donate, please give us a call at 264-5020.
New Mexico trip clouded by fires
We have two very special birthdays among our seniors. Bruce Muirhead's 80th birthday was May 15, and Mary Muirhead's birthday was May 16. Our best wishes go out to this wonderful couple.
Congratulations to Dorothy Million, our dedicated photographer, she recently won first place in a photo contest.
The seven seniors who went on the trip to Santa Fe/Albuquerque arrived back in Pagosa Friday night. We were quite concerned that they might get caught up in the New Mexico fires and not be able to return when scheduled, so we are happy they made it home safely. They report that they had a wonderful time and thanked Kurt Killion, their driver, for being so helpful. And speaking of the fires, we certainly send our sympathy and prayers out to all those who have lost their homes or have been affected in other ways. What a tragedy.
We are happy to announce that Stella Carter's condition has improved dramatically and she is home from the hospital, though she won't be back to work for a while. We just learned that Mary Archuleta is in the hospital. We hope Mary will soon recover and be back with the Center. We should keep these ladies in our prayers. Also, Jewel Walton is residing at Pine Ridge Nursing Home now so we hope folks will go by to visit with Jewel.
On May 24, we were treated to a visit from Kate Lister's second graders. It is always a treat to get to visit with these adorable children - wish they could come more often.
The Creede Repertory Theatre season is here again and there are some interesting shows lined up. We have trips to Creede planned for June 9 to attend "Charley's Aunt;" for June 16 to attend a country western musical "Pumpboys and Dinettes," and for June 30 to attend the "Mousetrap." Tickets will be $12 per senior provided 10 or more go, so please sign up soon on the sheets at the front desk of the Senior Center if you are interested in attending. For the information of those not traveling with the Seniors, there are matinees on Wednesdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and evening shows are at 8 p.m.
Lynn Muirhead, daughter-in-law of Bruce and Mary Muirhead, and Tom Breed were our honored guests recently. Also, we were happy to have Raymond Burk (Elaine Nossaman's grandson) with us. Raymond will be graduating from high school soon. Congratulations. On May 15 we welcomed Mary Gurule, Arthur Ruiz and Jesus Viallalobos. We hope to have you folks join us again in the near future.
It's been a while since we thanked Daylight Donuts for the delicious donuts they provide for the seniors - a big thank you to these generous folks.
The "Seniorcize" program at the Senior Center needs donations of aerobic exercise tapes, especially those by Richard Simmons. You can drop them off at the Senior Center (8th and Zuni streets) Monday through Friday. Seniorcize offers free, easy exercise sessions for senior citizens with the movements accompanied by some great music. Seniorcize meets at the Senior Center from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Participants are encouraged to wear loose, comfortable clothing and tennis shoes that provide good arch support.
Turkey Grand Slam calls for a large mouth
A recent article in a large metropolitan daily paper tells more about turkeys and turkey hunting than you probably want to know.
There are four different sub-species of wild turkeys in this country: Osceola, Merriam's, eastern, and Rio Grande. (Don't ask me which kind lives around here.) Turkey hunters sometimes try for what they call the grand slam, which is to shoot one of each kind in a single hunting season. Since the Osceola lives only in south Florida, this necessarily involves a lot of time and travel.
The article described a hunter who has made 16 grand slams in two years. You know he needs a life.
This guy carries six - count 'em, six - different kinds of callers. Three are known as box, slate, and gobblers calls; a hunter carries them in his little kit bag and works with his hands. Three are called diaphragms, and they sound like a boss hen, a subordinate hen and a young hen. How different can those calls be, and why would a tom care?
You put a diaphragm in your mouth, press it against the roof of your mouth and then blow, I guess. Mr. Grand Slam carries all three in his mouth at once, so he can be ready to make whatever kind of call he wants without fumbling in his pockets. Sounds kind of crowded to me. I hope he doesn't stumble.
But, like I said, this guy needs a life.
My good friend Buck carries one kind of call, a wooden box with plungers, that makes squawking noises: hen sounds, guaranteed to attract an amorous gobbler. Buck doesn't want to sound like a gobbler himself; too much chance for an eager hunter to take a shot at the sound without checking it out.
I went out hunting again with Buck, just a few days before the turkey hunting season ended. We went to a place where he swore there were turkeys. He had been there a couple of days before, he told me, and heard them. Two big toms, or gobblers, one on either side of a small creek valley, gobbling fiercely at each other.
We drove out near the National Forest, and parked the car. Buck switched off the ignition and turned to me.
"The rule is," he said sternly, "If a gobbler comes in, I'm going to shoot it. If it's a jake, I'll let it go."
"You mean I can't go cough, cough, and let it know we're there?" I asked.
"Not if it's a gobbler," he said.
"How will I know the difference?"
"You'll hear a big boom," he answered.
We started off through the shadowy pine woods, pausing every now and then to listen for birds waking up in their roosts. Nothing. "People have been working on the fence line here," Buck whispered. "Might have driven the turkeys farther up the ridge."
We walked on. I was conscious of myriad waking-up bird chirps and calls - robins, doves, an occasional owl.
Two loud clucks that might have been hen turkey sounds.
I was also aware of how much noise we made in the pine duff, the crackling of cones and small branches under our boots. Hard to sneak up on anything.
We made our way clear to the end of the ridge without hearing any turkeys. Below us spread a picturesque high meadow with a couple of small ponds in the center. I caught a quick glimpse of a coyote before it blended into the grasses and disappeared.
And that was all the animal life we saw. No deer, no elk, no turkeys, no squirrels. Not even a tick. Gray predawn colors resolved into the various greens of grass and tree. The sun rose above the ridge and illuminated the lilac and white of the milkvetch flowers around our feet.
Buck thinks that the fierce winds of the previous couple of days, the same ones that raged around Los Alamos, had driven the game into more sheltered places.
We admired the morning panorama for a while longer, and then we headed back to the car. In the thick cover of dry needles under the pines, we passed bare circles where strutting toms had swept the ground with the wings, and there was other turkey sign. But no turkeys.
Speaking of turkey sign, I told a Texas friend about the different hen and tom turkey droppings, as Buck had shown me. She said, "I think Buck's pulling your leg about 'J-shaped' turkey poop. My guess is it's S-shaped." That's it! That's all I'm going to say about turkey sign. I am not going to get into a discussion of Texas Rio Grande turkeys and Colorado Merriam turkeys and the differences in their droppings. I am absolutely not going there.
I hope Buck's not bothered by the lack of game. I hope he doesn't think I'm a jinx and quit offering to take me along. Because I've come to agree with hunters that being out in the woods and communing with nature is pretty wonderful. After two times out, I can say that I really like hunting. I'm just not sure about shooting.
"You still need to field dress a turkey," says Buck. I don't think so. But, since there were no birds, Buck didn't get a chance to shoot. And I didn't have to cough or sneeze or holler, "Shoo, turkey."
The best part of hunting is still the walk in the woods.
Education Center graduates 32 to work force
Congratulations to all of our graduates. Thirty-two young people will complete their high school diploma or GED through the Education Center during this school year. That's 32 of our Pagosa youth ready to continue their education or proudly enter the work force.
Twelve of our graduates will receive their high school diploma through the Archuleta County High School - the Education Center's alternative high school program. This makes a total of 26 high school graduates who received their diploma through the alternative high school during its three years of operation. There were six graduates during the first year, eight the second year, and twelve this year. Several of our alternative high school graduates are now successfully pursuing college degrees, and several others are in the Armed Forces.
Three young people are graduating this year with a high school diploma completed through a distance-learning format from NDIS, the North Dakota Independent Studies program. Seventeen area residents, youth and adults, have completed all five parts of their GED high school equivalency test this year. Seventeen others continue to study for the GED and eight have already passed one or more sections of their GED.
If you know and see any of these young people, congratulate them on a job well done! Our Archuleta County High School graduates are Jessie Daugaard, Crystal Stahr, Kristy Archuleta, Danny Salas, Chad Carreras, Anjelica Gallegos, Beau Pack, Shayla Rivera, Michelle Herrera, Philip Lowery, Nichole Frank and Jeremy Gallegos. NDIS graduates are Rebecca Jackson, Kira Staggs and Lynne Harvey. GED graduates are Mindi Romine, Misty Barela, Cimarrona Lattin, Wendy Jasso, Maria (Lupe) Gallegos, Breanna Lindberg, Cody Bass, Jillian Flathers, Samantha Jones, Michelle Meyers-Zellner, Elizabeth Honan, Floyd Capistraud, Lauren McIntyre, Amber Montoya, Jennifer De Bello, Chad Ward and Dennis Morris.
Here is a brief summary of the 1999-2000 alternative high school year.
The program staffing included the addition of Bob Hemenger as a full-time teacher and Jenine Marnocha part time. Classes have been offered 38 hours a week during both daytime and evening hours. With the addition of 12 new computers and a T1 Line, the students have been extensively utilizing online services to aid in research projects and general information gathering.
We continued to utilize the Community United Methodist Church classrooms, as our space would be obviously overcrowded otherwise. However, the Education Center's building will be twice the size next year, due to the addition currently underway. Thank you to all of the community support! This building expansion should sufficiently house up to 50 students, which we have decided is the optimum number for the program. Following meetings with school district administration, our staff has formed its own student revue board that has the ability to recommend individual course of study modifications to the district superintendent.
During this school year, students have completed nearly 1,000 hours of service learning activi ty through partnerships with the Seeds of Learning Family Center, Inc., Colorado Housing Inc., and various other community sites.
We have seen this year's student body becoming much more proactive than those in the past, as they are realizing their ability to make a difference. Activities reflecting this to date include a fund raiser for injured resident Bobby Girardin, where they raised over $1,700 through donations and a benefit dance, and the awarding of $8,000 to five community non-profits, through the El Pomar Foundation. Students raised $500, to which El Pomar added $7,500.
Fourteen members of the student body also attended a recent Archuleta County Commissioner's meeting, where they spoke in support of a local YCPI grant, and were commended by the commissioners for their participation and contributions. Students have also been active with the League of Women Voters, and are continuing to branch out into the community. Off-campus trips have included rock climbing and caving in Durango, and a trip to the high-ropes camp in Monte Vista. Students have planned all aspects of a multi-day camping trip to the Canyon Lands in Utah and are currently producing a video that summarizes their year's experiences.
Summer reading program readied
Mary tells me she is ready for the big show - our summer reading program. Last year, more than 200 local youngsters took part in the festivities. This year's theme is "The Magic of Books on Stage."
We have new books, wonderful prizes, and surprises for the children of all ages who sign up during the week of June 12. This is a program for all ages. We encourage everyone to take part in the six-week program. Reading and other skills are lost over the vacation if they aren't used regularly. This is a fun way for children to keep learning skills sharp. And we have things for preschoolers, for moms with babies, for grandparents and everyone else. Age makes no difference. Come in the week of June 12 and see what's up. Everything's a secret until then.
Effective June 1, we are extending the checkout time from two weeks to three weeks. This is an experiment to see if it will help cut down on the overdues for our patrons. Please remember you may call on the phone and renew material that comes due. The newest best sellers will still be let out for one week only to help cut down on the waiting period. Each book is stamped with a "date-due" on the back of the book when it is checked out.
We have experimented with computer issues since we started offering the use of our computers free of charge. Several problems have occurred, resulting in the need for new policies. People often say they know how to use the equipment when they don't. Subsequently, the time involved, and the cost of fixing the hardware is very high. Some people have taken advantage of the time on-line, while others have not paid for their copies. Many users fail to read the contract they signed, and have attempted to use the equipment for the wrong reasons.
Because of these problems,we hereby give public notice that, as of June 1, one computer will be reserved specifically for e-mail only, and will have a time limit of 30 minutes per day. Two other computers will be reserved for legitimate web research with a limit of one hour per day. The two web computers may not be used to receive e-mail. One computer may be used for word processing, and is not hooked up to the Internet. (We also have an electric typewriter for public use.) Abuse of these policies can lead to loss of computer privileges.
Our own Cathy Dodt-Ellis had one of her book reviews published in "Colorado Libraries." The book "U.S. Government on the Web: Getting the Information You Need" is a comprehensive guide to resources on the Internet. According to Cathy, this teaches readers how to appraise resources, approach research, and solve problems. Once again, congratulations to Cathy for representing our library at the state level.
Librarians are compelled to make lists. Maybe David Letterman is a closet librarian. Anyway, we have a list of the top 100 books held by 3,971 libraries in the U.S. This list is courtesy of OCLC, the major cataloging company used by libraries.
"In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-run Companies" by Thomas Peters, has held the number-one position since 1989.
Bob Woodward has authored or co-authored the most titles on the list: "The Brethren," " The Final Days," " Veil," and "All the President's Men."
Most of the books are reference and nonfiction bestsellers. Others in the top ten are "Megatrends" by John Naisbitt; "A Manual for Writers of Term Papers," by Kate Turabian; "Familiar Quotations" by John Bartlett; "Closing of the American Mind," by Allan Bloom; "A Brief History of Time," by Stephen Hawking. "Iacocca," by Lee Iacocca; "The Elements of Style," by William Strunk Jr.
Our Library has nine of the top 10 books. "Iacocca" fell apart and was discarded.
If you would like to see the complete list of the top 100 books, ask for it at the desk. Three children's books made the list: "Owl Moon," "The Polar Express," and "The Way Things Work." We have all three.
According to Forbes Magazine, online education may be the next big thing. Education now competes with medical care as the biggest single industry in the country, and many people are beginning to invest in the online universities and adult education. It will become a big export item. Developing nations can use better-trained workers. Companies will buy training for their employees sooner than the individual consumer. Online training will be one of the perks in the tight job markets.
Materials came from Marty Capling, Donald Mowen, Bill Miller, Don and Felicia Costa, Lupe Henrichsen, Victoria Landon, Barbara Lindley and Elizabeth Anderson.
Financial help in memory of Jacob Hershey came from Genevieve and Ralph Phelps, Elizabeth Feazel, Wayne and Betty Farrow, Gil and Lenore Bright, the staff and board members of Sisson Library, and Friends of the Library.
The Library will be closed Monday for Memorial Day. Have a safe holiday.
Two special days
It is fitting that Memorial Day and Graduation Day
share the same weekend. Memorial Day pays respect
to those men and women who served their country in combat. They are recognized for their commitment, and in some cases their supreme sacrifice, to preserving freedom.
Graduation Day 2000 will recognize 118 students who are part of the 90th commencement exercise for Pagosa Springs High School. For many, the day will mark their achieving a long-sought personal freedom.
Because of the loss of loved ones, Memorial Day is a quiet day of solemn reflection. Never-fading memories are shared and revisited. Unfulfilled dreams and hopes are recalled. Pride, appreciation, respect and sadness intertwine as they try to fill the void.
Because of the earning of a diploma, commencement is an emotional kaleidoscopic mixture of tears and laughter, relief and regret - a measured ending that creates an apparent limitless beginning.
Though the lives of loved ones have ended, Memorial Day provides a protracted opportunity to ensure that their memories continue. There is some comfort in knowing that their lives were not spent in vain.
So I encourage the graduates to please survive the celebration of their newest achievement.
It has been many years since everyone in Pagosa asked the same question the morning after graduation - "How could it have happened?" It's impossible that someone you know could die in an auto accident at such a joyous time.
The cold finality of the facts recorded in the accident report accompanying the fatality answer the "how." The report does not address the "who."
Who provided the alcohol? Who sold it at a store? Who served too much at a party? Who left it in an easily accessible spot? Who thought: Just this once won't hurt anyone. Who helped make Graduation Day 2000 one that no one wants to remember?
The graduates' final lesson should not address the undying truth that choices cause consequences.
David C. Mitchell
Traveling Pagosa's 'Myways'
Earlier this week a friend asked if I thought recent events with the PLPOA would lead to the end of the supposed wall of division separating folks living in town from folks residing in Pagosa Lakes.
That wall fell a long time ago.
It was knocked down by the stream of traffic that drives down Put Hill every morning as folks out there drove to work at their employment sites down town.
Now its pulverized by the even larger stream of bumper-to-bumper congestion that travels both directions on Put Hill every morning and evening.
However, not being in Texas, a discouraging was heard. The old wall tumbled down only to be replaced by a second wall that separates the folks in Pagosa Lakes who think its still 1980 from the folks in Pagosa Lakes who know times and conditions have changed in the town, county and Pagosa Lakes.
It's the proliferation of walls causing division in other parts of the county that concern me. I'm baffled by the folks who throw up walls with their petitions and letters as if they are the anointed defenders of the community they invaded.
There may be strength in numbers but it's obvious there is confusion in NIMBYland. A few weeks back an opponent to Paul Hansen's proposed RV park wrote to say commercial projects should not be developed in the "pristine' valleys along U.S. 84. These crass displays of greed should be restricted to the decadent byway of U.S. 160. They don't belong on "Myway 84."
It reconfirmed a lesson I learned during my three years on the fraternity-sorority enhanced campus of Southern Methodist University - wealth is not an indicator of intelligence or common decency.
It reminded me of something else I learned during my years in Dallas - the least expensive place for a college student to rent was the vacant servant quarters located on the back boundary of many large homes in certain residential areas. Maids, chauffeurs, yardmen and such were okay as long as they stayed in their place.
A similar mind set of building invisible walls has infested Pagosa. Those who provide services or comforts for others, should be relegated to the back alley. It follows the popular economic principle of "I've got mine Charley, you're out of luck."
This style of wall building surfaced a few years back when certain folks started revising covenants and restrictions so as to ensure that Colorado Housing and Habitat for Humanity houses "stayed in their place." A somewhat similar strain developed in Holiday Acres.
Another recent letter reminded me of walking into a wall. The writer, an active resident of San Juan River Village, wrote to strike a discordant cord against the would-be developers of Piano Creek Ranch. His letter addressed the fact that the ultimate timeshare development would require installing and operating a waste water treatment facility, formerly known as sewage plants, some 6 or 8 miles upstream from the sequestered San Juan River Village.
Evidently such threats to health, safety and property value were totally alleviated, or ignored a few years back when the folks at the River Village shut down the subdivision's highly inadequate sewer plant and replaced it with a new facility that evidently satisfied the requirements of the state health officials, EPA and Army Corps of Engineers. Anyone who travels that area of "Myway 160" knows the new lagoons are about 5 miles upstream from Pagosa, adjoin the highway and are above the river. Evidently the builders of the San Juan River Village sewage treatment plant danced to a different tune. Or else a piano sounds better when it's being played in your own backyard.
A few years back I wrote about the dreaded "Z word" coming to Pagosa. It was evident that zoning or some other form of enforceable land-use regulations needed to be adopted.
In the meantime, it looks like our latest influx of backyard protectors will valiantly ride in on their white SUVs and unselfishly" save us from ourselves. They'd "like to be your neighbor," but first they must finish building their walls.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers.
County sets growth meeting
Taken from SUN files
of May 29, 1975
Chairman Ray Macht said the Upper San Juan Planing Commission will meet in Arboles next Thursday night. It is the first in a series of similar meetings in the outlying parts of the county. Arboles was selected as the site for the first meeting since that area is experiencing development and is growing faster than other outlying areas in the county.
Riley Hill, a veteran of World War I, took part in the Memorial Day ceremony at Hilltop Cemetery Monday. Hill, a long-time resident of this community, served in the U.S. Army during World War I, and appeared complete in his "doughfoot" uniform from that war.
Telephone service in the community has gone from bad to worse the past several days and it appears as if any immediate improvement may not take place. About April 27 a tree fell on one of the toll lines owned by Mountain Bell between here and Durango. When it was repaired a mud slide took out another portion of the same line.
Highway construction work on Wolf Creek Pass has started again. A lot of earth work is going on at the present along with culverts and drain pipes being installed. Motorists driving across the Pass should be aware travel may be slow.
Jury's verdict - 'not guilty'
On the Sunday following the August 1892 shooting of William Howe by Juan Montoya, Howe's body was exhumed for an autopsy to be performed. Remember, when Montoya was arrested by Sheriff William Kern following the shooting, Montoya admitted he shot Howe, but claimed it was in self defense.
Dr. Woods of Chama, N.M., performed the autopsy. He determined that no bullet had penetrated any vital part of Howe's body. He had died from loss of blood. Woods also found that two bullets had entered Howe's shoulder from the rear, thus suggesting the shooting was not in self defense.
The trial was moved to Durango and finally took place in January of 1894. Witnesses for the prosecution were E.M. Taylor, Victor McGirr, James Latham, Mrs. Flora Thompson, William Dyke, D.L. Egger and Mrs. J. Latham. Witnesses for the defense included Juan Montoya's brother, D.C. Montoya, F.A. Gross and A.A. Putnam.
Montoya took the stand in his own defense telling his tale and showing the scars from the wounds he received in the skirmish.
Testimony from witnesses presented the following facts: On the afternoon of Aug. 25, 1892, there were people gathered at the home of William Howe following the burial of his child. Sheep were being driven by the Montoyas on the south side of the San Juan River on unfenced lands belonging to the Howe brothers. On this day, Juan Montoya guarded a flock of sheep on a mesa near the Howe home. Under the pretense of purchasing a sheep, the Howe brothers and Joe Mann approached Montoya.
Eyewitness testimony was that the Howe brothers, well armed, "ascended the fifty-five foot bank at some distance apart - approaching the Mexican rapidly from different directions." At this point stories vary as to who fired the first shot. The result of the shooting - the death of Archuleta County Commissioner William Howe.
The case was sent to the jury at 11:35 p.m. After being out 15 minutes with only 11 of those in the jury room, the jury's verdict was "not guilty."
This tale remains one of the more interesting in our county's history. It was the first one that caught my eye when I started writing Legacies 15 years ago in May 1985. I'm thankful for having this opportunity to learn and my thanks go to the many individuals who have shared with and taught me over the years.
'Tango' can't keep pace with 'Three Kings'
This week I'd hoped to entertain you with a review of "Three Kings" (1999), a very good movie written and directed by David O. Russell and starring George Clooney, Ice Cube and Marky Mark Wahlberg (I'm not making up these names).
But "Three Kings" was too much for me. One way to put it is that it's a better movie than I am a reviewer.
I will, however, tell you a few things about it, just in case you're curious. First of all, it's set at the tail end of the Gulf War, aka Operation Desert Storm. For you kids out there in the Preview-reading audience, that little skirmish happened about a decade ago. This bully from Iraq, Saddam Hussein, started picking on Kuwait, a neighboring country that was very small, but very rich, especially in oil.
Then President George Bush asked Saddam to leave Kuwait alone. When Saddam refused, Bush drew a line in the sand, Saddam crossed it, then Bush proved once and for all that he wasn't a wimp by bombing the daylights out of Baghdad. Then, a bit of boom, a bit of bang and we had won the war, Saddam had become a kinder, gentler leader, and Bush - just months before his approval rating dropped to an embarrassing 29 percent - announced that we had "kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all."
That's pretty much how I remember the war from watching it on CNN. I remember scud missiles, Patriot missiles and video-game footage of air strikes. All the deaths were invisible; so as far as I know, there were no mangled bodies, no amputations, no sucking wounds.
So I took all these preconceptions with me into a viewing of "Three Kings." Well, those dang liberal Hollywood filmmakers have done it again. Writer/director Russell would have us believe the Gulf War wasn't much cleaner than the Vietnam War that gave us that nasty syndrome Bush referred to. While there were no body counts or rice paddies in the Gulf War, there were, apparently, the usual lies, betrayals, abandonments, butcherings, mangled bodies, amputations and sucking wounds. That can't be!
In any case, Russell certainly knows how to make a movie. His plot is complex (so much so that it's hard to follow), his characters fully fleshed out and believable, and his cinematography borders on the expressionistic. Instead of showing what the film's setting "really looked like," he shows, from time to time, what it felt like to the characters involved.
Just a word about the plot, because, really, I have to move on to the movie I'm actually going to review: Three American soldiers (four, actually) decide to steal some of the gold from Saddam that he had stolen from Kuwait. In order to pull off this heist quickly, they will have to turn their heads while Saddam's henchmen terrorize, murder and mutilate some civilians, including women and children, who are accused of heading an uprising against him.
This part of the story suggests that the Americans had promised to help these people get rid of Saddam, but then left them twisting in the wind when the war was over. That can't be! Should the "three kings" act with a similar lack of conscience? Or should they answer to a greater good and save some lives at the risk of losing all that booty?
I think I've said enough. This movie, which has been oddly marketed as a kind of comedy, is hard hitting and painful. It will not help you kick your own personal Vietnam Syndrome. Rather, it will give you Vietnam flashbacks. Any humor it has is of the decidedly dark variety, the kind we saw in "Catch-22."
Unable to think of anything to say about "Three Kings," I shifted my attention to "Three to Tango," right next to it, obviously, on the shelf in lovely College Park Video right down the street.
Based on the opening credits and the scenery in the first few moments of "Three to Tango," I think the film is supposed to remind us of those harmless,white-bread romantic comedies of the '50s and early '60s (before we contracted the Vietnam Syndrome, later dispelled by the Gulf War). I think Doris Day was in all of those movies, usually having some sort of G-rated battle of the sexes with someone like Cary Grant or Rock Hudson while a wisecracking observer played by Tony Randall or Gig Young or Walter Matthau provided sardonic commentary.
How is "Three to Tango" like a '50s romantic comedy? I'm not sure, really. Maybe it's because the whole plot rests on a misunderstanding. Maybe it's because Dylan McDermott is in it, and he's kind of a Rock Hudson type, sort of.
Essentially, this is a movie for people who are satisfied with (or resort to) TV entertainment. It features three of the small screen's most popular, but certainly not most gifted actors: the aforementioned McDermott from "The Practice," Matthew Perry from "Friends" and Neve Campbell from "Party of Five." So, not surprisingly, we get TV acting and, to go along with that, TV writing. We get a movie that is shallow and dull masquerading as one that is profound and insightful.
The zany hijinks begin when Charles Newman (McDermott), an obscenely wealthy developer, hires the architect team of Steinberg (Oliver Platt) and Novak (Perry) for a $90 million dollar renovation project. Steinberg is gay, and everyone knows it. Steinberg and Novak's rivals circulate a rumor that Novak is also gay. Newman buys it, and asks Novak to spy on his (Newman's) mistress, Amy (Campbell).
Novak doesn't know Newman thinks he's gay.
Here's a real surprise. On his first night of "work," Novak begins to fall for the plucky, toothy, squinty-eyed Amy. I sure didn't see that coming! Just as she begins to fall for him, she "learns" from Newman that Novak's gay. Then she just treats him as one of the girls, so they're pretty much constant companions, and meanwhile poor hetero Novak is falling harder and harder for the toothy, plucky, etc., Amy.
Think of "In and Out" meets "Tootsie." That's pretty much what you've got here. Novak's mistaken identity, for instance, helps him grow in sensitivity and empathy for gays, ultimately bringing out the best in him. Yadda, yadda.
Fortunately, it's not necessary to watch this entire movie, even though it does finally display the teeniest bit of imagination near the end. For Memorial Day weekend, "Three Kings" is a much better choice.
Recipe for Outsiders: Get on with it
High school graduation.
A big day.
There'll be a ceremony and a crowd of proud parents and happy well-wishers will fill the gym.
A procession of fresh-scrubbed grads will adjust caps and gowns and receive diplomas.
There'll be addresses chock full of meaningless blather and self-satisfied moralizing, a program crammed with congratulations, generalizations, admonitions - stuff that, without much scrutiny, passes for wisdom. Speakers will open the door to the future and ask the grads to step through. Relatives will weep.
Valedictorians will flock to the podium to make heartfelt naive speeches and scholarships will be announced.
The same young people who received accolades throughout their high school careers will receive more during the ceremony. And deservedly so: they are the top students, the best athletes, the well-behaved kids. They are the kids who brushed their teeth twice each day.
My best wishes go out to these young people; I've known many of the top grads since they started school here in Pagosa Springs, 12 years ago.
But I was never one of the best-behaved kids in school. I was not a top student.
Water seeks its own level.
I find myself pulled toward the goofs and the oddballs, toward the incorrigible and incomprehensible members of the student body, to the kids who hide in the corner, the ones in the shadow, off to the side, out of the limelight. I have an affinity for the ones who are in trouble, who are kind of confused, who are angry, who are on probation, who have problems, who survive, who somehow make it through. Against the odds.
I was one of them.
We're members of a group of sorts - an elite high school club. The Outsiders Club.
Some of our club members will graduate from the high school Saturday, and some will graduate from the alternative high school. It is to them that I tip my hat. They are my kin, my heroes.
Here's my speech for their graduation day, a speech full of meaningless blather and self-satisfied moralizing.
"Dear weird grads:
Finally, you can get your butts outta here and get on with it. Whatever "it" is.
A lot of folks didn't think you could do it. There were times you didn't think you could do it.
Most people don't have the slightest idea how difficult it was to get to this day.
I do, and because of that, I admire you.
The last few years have included large measures of difficult, frustrating, painful experience. Granted, you manufactured much of the misery yourselves, but you got a lot of help along the way.
You are better for it. Remember what Nietzsche said: 'That which does not kill me, only serves to make me stronger.' You've endured strained circumstances. You're stronger.
It wasn't easy.
Many of you were bored out of your skulls, day after day. Many of you can't pay attention to something for more than three minutes before you fly off to another universe. This is frustrating. I know. I'm still that way.
Many of you were ostracized because of the way you look or the way you speak, or the freaky way you act. If you weren't actually ostracized, you felt like you were, and that's just as bad.
Some of you are too smart, some too slow, some too messed up, some too out of control. Some of you are painfully self-conscious.
Most of you live in a world ruled by impulse. This is not easy in an environment that demands regimentation, that does not accommodate eccentricity or genuine rebellion.
It is hard to please people when you don't quite fit in for one reason or another - to please teachers and parents, to find friends.
It hurts to get into trouble once or twice (or more) and find that everyone expects you to be in trouble from that point on. Most folks don't know what it's like to find that you are a "type" of person, and not the right type of person at that.
It's difficult to get through high school when you to want to be somewhere else and don't know why or don't know exactly how to get there.
It's not pleasant to have "potential," and never realize it.
It's hard to sit in a room all day and feel like you have to bust loose, like you can't take it anymore, and to feel that way every minute of the day. It's hard to make a phone call from jail.
A lot of people don't understand the insult in being patronized. They don't understand how any attention becomes good attention - how, after a while, the kind of attention just doesn't matter any more. They don't know what it's like to get sent to detention and feel like you are home. (Take heart detainees, some club members had seats in the assistant principal's office named after them!).
Your average person has never seen "that look" on the face of other students, of a teacher or a principal.
It's a shame, because most people don't realize what you've accomplished by getting to the point where you can walk across that stage on Saturday.
It's been tough.
But, it's over!
You've made it.
And, you're all right. Like all other club members, you're nuts sometimes - but you're all right. (Don't forget, you can't be in the club if you had mommy and daddy go to school more than once, trying to blame teachers and administrators for your problems. Only cowardly cheeseballs do this. They will always be cowardly cheeseballs - nothing more).
Now that you are out of this joint, there are options on the horizon line.
Think about it. You want to draw and paint. You want to go into the Marines. You want to dork around with your computer and design websites. You want to open your own nail salon or tattoo parlor. You want to play the guitar and start a band. You want to build a yurt and hunt small animals with a bow and arrows. You want to take a couple of years off to perfect your skateboard skills. You want to write poems or hip-hop lyrics or get a job with the sanitation department. You want to hang around in the alley, smoke cigarettes and dream of traveling to Morocco or to Tucson, whichever comes first. You want to go to college and study political science. You want to get a fake ID. You want to scrounge up enough money to get a trailer with your girlfriend (boyfriend). You're unsure of your sexual orientation. You don't know what you want.
It's all out there for you.
You're all right, and. . .
You're going to graduate!
It's a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ miracle!
I won't be presumptuous and offer a lot of tips about what to do with your lives. I'm not going to lie and tell you the paths you choose are going to be any easier than what you've experienced up to now. Everyone has a wagon to pull, and members of our club pull unusually heavy wagons.
Keep your chins up. If you're knocked to your knees now and then, you already know what it's like. When a goodie two-shoes finally takes a fall or gets scuffed or dissed, they're in a new world. When a cheeseball takes a fall, they go crying to mommy and daddy. But you - you know it can't kill you. You know how to get up. Then, one of these days, a switch might go off. You might get into synch with the universe and who knows what will happen then?
And remember, things can even out in this life; there's a thrilling symmetry to existence. The day might come in the distant future when you meet the class valedictorian. He or she might tell you about the divorces and the layoff at the corporation, or moan about four unsuccessful trips to rehab. He might even ask to borrow some money until he gets back on his feet.
That'll be a nice moment.
I have only two suggestions to make: take your meds if you have to, and if you can get out bed in time to go to the graduation ceremony, do it!
I got my high school diploma in the mail, and now I regret it. I got booted out of school just after spring break and wasn't invited to the ceremony, but I should have shown up anyway.
Don't deprive yourselves of the experience. In your own ways, you worked as hard or harder than the valedictorians. It takes a lot of energy to get into trouble, to shirk the minimal responsibilities in contemporary American education. You expended a huge amount of effort making up excuses, performing as class clowns, engaging in acts of disorder and disrespect, pleading your cases in municipal court, then pulling yourselves up by the bootstraps and scrounging together enough credits to earn a legitimate exit from high school. For crying out loud, don't waste this opportunity!
I think all club members, past and present - all the goofballs and the bozos, the crazies and the television junkies, the idiot savants, the creative geniuses, the unmanageables and unmentionables, the ex-cons, the ones who graduate Saturday, and all who have ever graduated - should get together one of these days.
Hell, I think we should have a parade.
I love you guys (and gals).
If I could get us together (which, considering what we're like, would be impossible), I know just what I would feed the crowd.
Members of our club need massive amounts of carbohydrates; we tend to burn at a slower rate than regular folks and we need to lay in a supply of energy for the long term - like pythons eating puppies. As a result, I would cook a pasta dish or two, or burritos with my special chile verde. Forget the salad and that kind of stuff; that's for weepy dink cheeseballs and their mommies and daddies.
Of course, the older members of the club can drink margaritas and lord it over the recent grads - at least those who are under 21.
Dessert would be the centerpiece of our get-together. We love getting wired on high-sugar concoctions.
The perfect dessert would make some sort of reference to the high school experience.
A classic English trifle would be appropriate.
But, somewhere in the archives, I have the perfect recipe - for Berry Grunt.
For four to six servings, you need an 8-inch-square glass baking dish. Into the dish, pour a little less than a third cup of melted unsalted butter. Add four cups of frozen berries, sweetened profoundly with a cup or more of sugar. I think blueberries or blackberries are best.
Mix a third cup of sugar with a cup of flour, one and a half teaspoons baking powder, ground cinnamon (up to a half teaspoon depending on your taste), a bit of fresh grated nutmeg, and a splash of salt. Make a batter by processing a quarter cup of unsalted butter into the flour mix to get a meal-like consistency, then mixing in an egg and two-thirds cup of whole milk. Pour the batter over the fruit in the dish and add another cup of sweetened fruit on top of the batter. Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes then amp up the heat to 400 until the batter gets all toasty.
Whip some cream, slop it on the Grunt and have at it!
Sounds good, doesn't it?
So, in conclusion, to those of you who are still concentrating on what I'm saying: congratulations.
To those of you who are staring out the windows and thinking about beaches and skateboards and home theater systems with the biggest screen in the galaxy. . . it's party time!
You made it.
I'm proud of you.
"The last few years have included large measures of difficult, frustrating, painful experience. Granted, you manufactured much of the misery yourselves, but you got a lot of help along the way.
You are better for it. Remember what Nietzsche said: 'That which does not kill me, only serves to make me stronger.' You've endured strained circumstances. You're stronger."
Bristling menace made his point
As years change, so too, do some favorite spots.
High on a heavily wooded hillside above West Fork in the 1950s was one of two Hatcher Lakes in the area. The other is now Lake Hatcher in the Pagosa Lakes development.
The one above West Fork was reached by a long hike up through thick brush on a faint trail but the reward for reaching its shores was some of the best fishing to be found anywhere in the region, particularly in late spring.
A few years ago, I'm told, someone dynamited the beaver dam which created the lake and killed all the fish therein. The dam was rebuilt and today you can reach the lake by driving to a point about a quarter mile below it and then hiking a well-beaten path. There apparently, however, are still no fish.
One can see deer, rabbits and dozens of varieties of birds and millions of mosquitoes.
Another such attraction was the Gooseberry Lakes, a string of beaver ponds descending from just below a cliff high on the east side of the Blanco Basin. Each of the ponds was an angler's paradise and more than once I took a visitor on the long hike up the mountain.
Today, only the top pond remains fishable and it is now known as Opal Lake. The trail in those days involved several crossings of the stream which drained from the ponds and one in particular stands out in memory. It featured a less than sturdy appearing log which had conveniently fallen across the water and provided a walkway.
On one occasion, however, a porcupine was coming the opposite direction and a friend and I weren't sure how to react to his bristling menace. We jumped off the log into the water and hightailed it down the mountainside faster than we thought possible. We always insisted the quilled nemesis was in close pursuit. Fifty years later, however, it seems more likely he was chuckling at his pointed victory over hicks from town.
Hikes into remote mountain waterways were a way of life for those of us who had the privilege of growing up in Pagosa Country. And sometimes we didn't drive to the trails - we bicycled.
It was not unusual to see two or three youngsters returning to town with a large trout or two (often more when the bag limit was 10) in the basket between the handlebars. Whether taken from a beaver pond or from the San Juan or one of its tributaries, or one of the other rivers, the catch was the day's dinner and the anglers' pride.
That era also offered miles of fishing streams in what is now the bottom of Williams Lake reservoir. Mullins dam, which created the lake, was yet to be built and Weminuche and Williams creeks meandered peacefully through the high valley, their waters teeming with native, brook, German brown and rainbow trout.
It wasn't unusual for large family groups - fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and sometimes just neighborhood friends - to make a trip to the area a full weekend event ending with a Sunday night fish fry over an open campfire.
If you didn't want to go that far on sometimes treacherous roads, you could stop at the Piedra Bridge campground and fish either up or downstream from there. My favorite holes were downstream as the river worked its way to the box canyon and white rapids eddied into still holes where grey-hackle reds or grasshopper flies tempted the lunkers from underwater hideaways.
If you didn't want to go that far, fishing was just as good in the San Juan. One spot about two miles above town had several old wrecked cars in the waterway for some reason we never learned. But they provided breakwaters which developed deep holes downstream from them.
The largest trout I ever caught came from one of those holes. The German brown measuring 22.5 inches, weighed in at just a fraction under six pounds. I was so excited after taking nearly half an hour to land the fish that I ran to the highway where my bike was hidden and raced back to town showing it to everyone I passed.
Downtown, I ran into the Pagosa Hotel building where my mother worked in the Post Office. She seemed honestly impressed with my catch, but suggested postal patrons might not be quite as happy if I didn't get it out before the distinct aroma of fish infiltrated the mail being sorted.
It was - for the two of us - a great baked meal, one which stretched out over three days.
A mile farther upstream, behind Sunset Ranch and below the Fawn Gulch Ranger Station, were two other excellent fishing spots. And in the same area was one of the last of the foot bridges across the river. We never knew who built it, but often used it to get from one fishing spot to another.
Bicycling and walking went hand in hand. One led to a place where we could do the other. Time didn't matter because we were doing the natural things for youngsters in Pagosa Country.
Sometimes, however, the best fishing was even closer. Cotton Hole, known as the site where hundreds of Pagosa Country kids learned to swim just below Reservoir Hill, was also a great spot for early morning or dusk fishing. Many times I caught enough trout there to provide a good breakfast before school.
There seemed to be an unwritten fish law in those days: Few if any suckers (the fish, not the fishermen) came upstream beyond the river curve below the hot spring. If you wanted suckers, and many (myself not included) considered them a delicacy, you fished downstream from there.
One of the best spots was the old light plant ditch which veered off the river about half way down what is now Sixth Street. It was more a canal than the ditch which runs the same area now. There was no street there then, just steep bluffs up to the top of the hill. In fact, the deep water along the base of the hill was another favorite swimming hole for many area youths.
Echo Lake didn't yet exist either, but we sometimes biked to the Blanco River bridge on U.S. 84 and then fished upstream to the old CCC camp or downstream into upper reaches of the lower Blanco.
Unlike the situation today, few private properties were posted in those days. Some didn't even have fences. Usually, we'd approach a landowner and ask permission to fish. Rarely were we denied. And never did we litter the land we utilized for our excursions. Anything we carried in, we carried back out long before it became a Forest Service rule.
We never heard of whirling disease. We always found plenty of healthy fish. Despite the annual catch it never occurred to us there would come a day when trout were endangered. Thousands more were planted each year and the native crop reproduced additional thousands. It seems unnatural to consider a San Juan Basin without them.
It is, unfortunately, another way in which the pace of Pagosa has changed.
Cattle call spurs modern trail drive
By John M. Motter
They mooed and switched their tails and trotted ahead, urged on by the yips and whistles and rope snapping of the drovers. "They" were a mixed herd of cows and calves bound for summer pasture.
The cattle drive was a dream come true for Nathan Morehouse. For oldtimers along the way and in Chromo, seeing cattle plod down the highway for the first time in many years was deja vu, a return to days of yore.
Since first settlement, Pagosa Country has always been cattle country. The first cattle to call Pagosa home might have been longhorn steers feasting on high mountain grass after fording rivers and crossing mountains all of the way from Texas to Colorado. Other cattle were driven from northern Colorado to stock open ranges between Mancos and the Blue Mountains of Utah.
Overland cattle drives were not only the preferred way to move cattle, they were the only way before the iron horse came snorting up the railroad tracks to Pagosa Country. From the late 1870s on, cattle drives were a common sight in this part of the world. Even after WW II, local ranchers climbed on horses and hazed cattle and sheep from winter to summer pasture, or to railroad shipping pens, using age-old conveyance factors, four legs and a will to walk. Only recently have trucks shepherded by bull haulers taken over the responsibility of moving cattle.
Nathan purchased a herd of cattle this spring, then turned them loose on the old Carl Bramwell place on Mill Creek. That place is owned by Nathan's parents, Jim and Lucile Morehouse.
A hankerin' to do things the old way sort of attached itself to Nathan's stirrups. Nothing would satisfy, but to brand the new calves, about 90 of them, the old-fashioned way. Cows and calves are still branded - it's still the law, podnah - but the marking is usually done through the irons bars of a squeeze chute. A squeeze chute wouldn't do for Nathan. His calves would be subject to a touch of nostalgia, not to mention the whirring of a lasso and the snorting of a good cow pony.
Nathan had worked cows a bit with wranglers on the Caribou Ranch in Northern Colorado, as had partner Allen Hughes. And so, along with Cody Fahrion, Dusty Beals, and Jess Ketchum, Nathan and Allen parked their Levis on their best broncs, coiled up some rope, and went to work heeling the calves, moving them to the corral, and applying the 3A Cattle Company brand.
The branding irons were heated by butane gas instead of a campfire, but the rest of the operation was much like the old days. Many hours and several aches and pains later, 90 calves sported ID marks and a new-found respect for the wiles of a cowboy and his pony. Mama cow furnished welcome comfort in the form of a few soothing swipes of her tongue and a milky repast.
Branding the old way was not enough to satisfy Nathan's longing for the good old days. Forty-five of the cow-calf pairs were booked for summer feeding on the lush grass of a Spring Valley ranch south of Chromo, a distance of 30 miles, more or less. Why not herd the cows the old-fashioned way, one step at a time on the legs God gave them instead of loading them on a cattle truck?
Nathan rounded up his cowboy helpers, rounded up the cows and calves, bawled out "head 'em up, move 'em out," and started making tracks all over Mill Creek Road. When they reached U.S. 84, the entourage turned south, munching the roadside grass all of the way to the Blanco River.
That first night was spent on Forest Service land on the Blanco. Grub was fixed over a campfire; there was no chuckwagon. During the hours of darkness, the men took turns watching the bunched-up cattle, hoping that nothing would spook the herd and set off a stampede.
Morning came early, made palatable by strong coffee, bacon and eggs, and a desire to hit the trail. Second day travel would be away from the highway, mostly across Forest Service land to the Bigbee place on the west side of U.S. 84 in Coyote Park.
Not much of note happened the second day, except maybe when the black bear attracted the wide-eyed attention of the cow herd. While the cows were trying to decide whether to run or fight, the bear disappeared into the woods, bringing a sigh of relief to cowboys busy checking their cinch straps.
By nightfall, the cavalcade of bovines and their attendants slogged into the friendly coral of Tom Star (Bigbee Ranch) where they spent the night.
Up at first light, the cowboys pushed their bovine charges across Confar Hill, on the west side and parallel to U.S. 84. Once into the meadows on the south side of Confar, they moved the herd back to the highway for the final push. Down the highway they pushed, across the Navajo River, through Chromo, up the Spring Creek drainage, and finally into pasture.
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, happy that the project was finished.
Not much happened to upset the satisfaction of a job well done. Just a little flak from irritated motorists, a moment of uneasiness when the bear showed up, a little bit of fussing with fences and such, but no lives lost, no stampedes and nothing to keep the herders from saying,"Hey! We want to do that again next year."
Clancy and Jason Walter are proud to announce the birth of their son, Dakota Michael, born at 4:03 p.m. March 29, 2000, at Mercy Medical Center of Durango. He weighed 7 pounds, 7.2 ounces.
His maternal grandparents are Dorothy and Allen Trefethen. Paternal grandparents are Hal and Sharon Walter, all of Pagosa Springs. His maternal great-grandparents are Lee and Allen Trefethen of San Diego, Calif. Paternal great-grandparents are Birdie and Earl Ashcroft of Mancos and Lucille Walter of Las Vegas, Nev.
Lori Salisbury Gallery and Framing
Lori Salisbury owns and operates Lori Salisbury Gallery and Framing, located at 117 Navajo Trail Drive, Suite LS, in the Silverado Shopping Center. The center is just west of the intersection of Navajo Trail Drive and North Pagosa Boulevard.
One of the largest galleries in the area, the establishment features the work of wildlife artist Salisbury and bronze sculptor Kent Gordon. It also provides customers with state-or-the-art, custom framing services.
Lori Salisbury Gallery and Framing is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
For more information about the gallery, call 731-1230.