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June 15, 2000

Search ordered for plat survey errors

By Richard Walter

Errors in the original plat survey of Lake Forest subdivision may or may not be serious enough to cause major problems but the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association is willing to spend up to $15,000 to find out.

That was the outcome of a long discussion Thursday spurred by General Manager Walt Lukasic who said initial research indicates some errors may be as little as 8 or 10 inches but others could be 10 feet or more per lot.

"We need a starting point to find out where the errors are and how significant they are," he told the board of directors. "We are specifically worried about whether they'll affect street and utility line easements."

He asked the board for authorization to contract a survey and creation of an overlay for the original plat map so that specific lot variances can be located. "We need to know how far the domino effect may have reached," he said.

Director Fred Ebeling noted $25,000 had been budgeted for survey work this year and suggested that fund be utilized for the effort. "If there turn out to be relatively few discrepancies," he said, "we may be able to just amend the original plat as opposed to replatting and going through the whole planning commission and county board approval process."

Emmet Showalter, speaking from the audience, cautioned that "even if you get affirmation from two thirds of the Lake Forest residents to go ahead with the survey, you risk spending the money and having it go down the drain if not all owners agree."

New Director Franceso Tortorici asked if Lake Forest is the only subdivision where the errors have occurred and a member of the audience said Meadows 4 has many lots with plat errors and they need correction, too.

Ebeling said PLPOA has no authority to go into other subdivisions that were not part of the Fairfield Communites Inc. bankruptcy settlement.

Showalter said he feels the error in Lake Forest started from one misplaced back line marker and then progressed up the line from there.

On Ebeling's motion, the board agreed unanimously to contract David Maley to conduct the survey and overlay platting at a cost not to exceed $15,000 without additional board approval.

In other action, the board:

- Directed Lukasic to explore the options available for disposing of several unwanted vehicles, a boat with no motor and a trailer, all of which are in need of repair. Director Jim Carson asked that it be noted the board is not selling all its vehicles, just those not needed and that at least eight others remain on hand and in use.

- Heard Director David Bohl report he had spent several hours in the past week examining the treasurer's reports "trying to find out what we have and what we need." He asked for a meeting with the Finance Committee to delineate where the association's finances stand

- Confirmed the Finance Committee as a permanent standing committee of the board.

- Adopted a resolution amending the Environmental Control Committee's plan review procedure to specify that if a "complete submission of plans is not acted on within 30 days of formal filing, it shall be considered approved as submitted." The board approved the change unanimously, to take effect immediately.

- Approved the nomination of Earl Eliason and appointed him an alternate member of the Economic Control Committee.

- Tabled the appointment of Dahrl Henley as chairman of the Rules and Regulations Committee until members of the board have had an opportunity to interview her.


New state rules irk school officials

By Richard Walter

Many aspects of new state laws regarding operation of public school districts have Pagosa Springs officials upset, but one specific regulation discussed Tuesday has school district directors irate.

Superintendent Terry Alley told the Archuleta School District 50 board that Senate Bill 133, passed in the last session of the legislature, will allow individual teachers to remove (suspend) a student from the classroom twice, and on the third offense, expel the student for the remainder of that term.

There are some built-in safeguards such as meetings with parent-student-teacher and administrator, but the initial decision would rest with the classroom teacher. The law requires the principal of the building involved to find a spot for the student.

Board President Randall Davis said that ruling is one of the most controversial in the new state laws. He said he will have the District Review Committee examine the specific wording of the law and recommend action for the board to take.

Other specifics of the new laws outlined by Alley include these mandates:

- Implement of a specific student dress code more stringent than that now in effect locally along with a district-wide dress code for teachers and other school staff

- Conduct an annual inspection of every district building for safety hazards. (Alley noted this is done locally as a matter of routine but is not yet a matter of official policy)

- Identify at-risk students and develop of a plan to help avoid their suspension or expulsion

- Spell out the students' right of free expression, noting therein that they may be held accountable for any threats they may make

- Change student progress testing procedures to include diagnostic development data

- Require all 11th graders to take college placement tests whether or not they plan to attend college.

While thumbing through voluminous files on the new legislation, Davis asked Alley, "Do you share my concern regarding these bills and what they will do to us?"

The superintendent answered in the affirmative and said that the administrative staff met recently with the two area representatives in the state legislature, Rep. Mark Larson, R-Cortez, and Sen. Jim Dyer, D-Durango. "I don't think anyone from our group came away from that meeting encouraged," he said.

While both men voted for the educational reform package, Alley said, they admitted they do not consider themselves education experts. "In fact," he said, "we were told they take their cues from legislators who have classroom experience and are considered the experts in the House and Senate."

Speaking from the audience, Windsor Chacey said, "It is not going to get any better. Legislative action is going to destroy local esprit de corps and local control of education, including curriculum." She suggested the board keep track of state school board candidates and their positions on educational reform, letting them know how the laws are affecting those who must implement them.

Elementary School Principal Cyndy Secrist asked, "How do we keep teachers motivated when they are faced with legislative action which hamstrings them?

"These bills," she said, "put a damper on creativity. Our teachers love teaching and the legislature is trying to tell them, in effect, it must be done by rote, you can't show any initiative."

Prior to the discussion, a group of three elementary teachers had presented a 15-minute update of their classroom linking program in which entire classes advance as a group from grade level to grade level.

The experimental program has been a huge success in terms of score improvement because of continuity of curriculum, flexibility to meet individual student needs, less transition time from level to level, and extension of educational standards.

Keeping children together through the first three years, they said, eliminates a sense of anxiety in the youngsters, increases communication levels for both students and teachers, heightens accountability from teacher to teacher and allows development of spiraling curricula in which each teacher knows the building block level achieved in the class the previous year.

Secrist told the board, "The kids are the beneficiaries. I'm really excited about this program. The group was balanced from the beginning. There were no weighted choices, it was not a select or preferred group, just a homogeneous student grouping.

"The only downside," she said, "is that there is only one set (so far) of linking classrooms and no fourth grade link yet."

Chacey told the board it should take programs like that one and demonstrate for the state legislators the kinds of things they will eliminate with their new laws. "Market what you're doing well and make the legislators know you don't want it to end," she urged.


Taxing districts are facing insolvency with TABOR 2

By John M. Motter

Voter approval of a proposed constitutional amendment labeled TABOR 205A will sound the death knell for most local taxing districts, auditor and certified public accountant Michael C. Branch told the San Juan Water Conservancy District board of directors Tuesday.

Branch is auditor for the water conservancy district, as well as the Upper San Juan Library District, Pagosa Fire Protection District, Upper San Juan Hospital District, and nearly every other taxing district in Archuleta County. Branch presented the annual audit to the SJWCD board Tuesday.

TABOR 205A is a proposed constitutional amendment authored by Douglas Bruce and entered on the Nov. 7 ballot through the initiative process. Bruce is author of the original TABOR (tax payers bill of rights) amendment. Consequently, TABOR 205A is referred to as TABOR 2. In simplified form, TABOR 2 calls for a $25 tax credit for each Colorado taxpayer from each taxing entity. That $25 goes up by $25 each year.

"What that means for you," Branch said to the SJWCD board, "is that when I get my tax bill from you, I'll get $25 off for me and $25 off for my wife. You won't get anything. Districts with a low tax rate will go broke the first year. It will take a little longer for the county and school district, but the results will be the same.

The water conservancy district has a mill levy of 0.351 mills. Single-family residences in Colorado are appraised at 9.74 percent of market value to arrive at assessed value. The mill levy is then multiplied against the assessed value to arrive at the amount of property taxes due. For example, for a house appraised at $100,000, the water conservancy district property tax due would be $3.42. Obviously, a husband and wife's $50 tax credit would mean no tax due on the house and no property tax income from that source for the SJWCD.

The library district's property tax rate is 1.507 mills. Using the same $100,000 house, the property tax due the library district is $14.68, again less than the $50 tax credit due a couple. The fire district, with a mill levy of 3.575 mills tax on the $100,000 house would be due $34.82 in property taxes, still less than the $50 tax credit. The list could continue with similar implications.

A report analyzing TABOR 2 prepared for the Colorado County Assessors summer conference shows the San Juan Water Conservancy District losing almost 80 percent of its property tax revenue, the hospital district losing almost 27 percent of its property tax revenue, and the library district losing about 45 percent of its property tax revenue.

In other business, the SJWCD board:

- Learned from Branch that the district's financial affairs are in good shape except for the threat from TABOR 205A

- Approved a $250 donation to the League of Women Voters

- Continued discussion concerning raising money for the second phase of the Lower Blanco River restoration project. Application is being made for a $350,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency through the Colorado Department of Public Heath and Environment. Permission slips are being sought from property owners along the proposed route of restoration. A grant is not expected before next year.


Christian men's group assists Romanian town

The Pagosa Springs Christian Men's Breakfast Group loaded a large sea container destined for Iasi, Romania, Saturday morning.

Code named "Romania 2000," the project's goal involved collecting 2,000 bags of clothing or other winter items to be shipped to Iasi in the year 2000. This goal was reached with 1,900 bags of clothing plus 538 boxed new blankets.

The idea of undertaking this sizable project began in the fall of 1998 when Pagosans Tom and Beverly Evans started looking for a way to send warm clothing to Romania, where Pagosa friends Bill and Reita Hawthorne were at that time working with a mission project. The Hawthorne's stories of the street children and the struggling economy cried out for action. After many phone calls, it was learned that a church in Bullard, Texas, was sending a shipment to the city of Iasi, near the Ukraine border. Space was available, but with a deadline that was only 10 days away. So with help from the Methodist Thrift Shop, the Evan's truck was tightly packed and headed out for Texas. Once there, Beverly thought, "We can do this in Pagosa someday." So last fall, with the help of co-chairman Nita Heitz, a second collection of items for Iasi, Romania began.

This presented members of Community United Methodist Church with the challenge of completely filling an 8-foot wide, 8-foot tall, by 40-foot long sea container with bags of good quality clothing for the residents of Iasi. Many members of Community United Methodist Church became involved with the donations, maintaining quality control and the bagging of the clothes.

In time, United Methodist congregations in Cortez, Dove Creek, Dolores, Mancos and Marvel became active in gathering quality items for the project. Learning of the benevolent undertaking, the Pack Rack and United Peoples Help Ministries thrift shops likewise contributed toward the project.

Initially, donated items surged in for sorting and bagging, but things slowed a bit after the collections reached the 1,500-bag mark. It was close, but the goal had been 2000 items.

Co-chairmen Beverly Evans and Nita Heitz began to wonder if the magic number would be reached. Their doubts were short lived. On the very day their concerns were expressed, they received an unexpected phone call.

The caller was Richard Williams, director of the MEDICS International Global Distribution Center in Mangum, Okla. Williams asked, "Could you use some blankets? How about coming to get about 500?"

The blankets were available because of a missionary in Russia who had expressed a wish for about 100 blankets for the poor and cold people in his town. When Williams contacted the Sunbeam Corporation, his request was answered most generously . . . with 120,000 blankets.

The warehouse in Mangum normally stays quite full with medical equipment and medicines which are sent to places of need around the world, so suddenly there was a storage crisis because of 17 truckloads of blankets were on the way. But a man in Tulsa heard of this need and offered warehouse space because his business (kitty litter) had not found the outlet he had hoped for. Then the very next day he received the long-awaited call from Pet Smart, saying that they wanted his product on their store shelves.

Thanks to this chain reaction of blessings, the goal was met. The large steel container would indeed be filled.

The Pagosa shipment, like the one from Texas, was arranged by Church Resource Ministries, a non-denominational mission agency headquartered in Anaheim, Calif., that approves only five such shipments each year. The items sent from Pagosa will be used to stock several thrift shops in Iasi, where they will be offered for a small price or even given to the poor.

Proceeds from these shops will provide employment for 60 Romanian Christians and will help fund many local projects including a potato farm, a wood-working shop, a street children's home, summer camps for children, sporting events for orphans, and a church. Soon to be completed is a small medical clinic and a library. The goal of Church Resource Ministries is "to aid the Romanian believers in moving toward self-sufficiency in ministry as they learn to become less dependent on Western aid. To help the Romanian church become a witness in the business community while providing employment for its people."

The truck carrying the cargo container left Pagosa Saturday morning, bound for the port of Houston, with a tentative arrival date in Romania set for late July.


No rain, but winds aplenty in forecast

By John M. Motter

Pagosa Country residents will suffer through another week of high temperatures and no rain, unless a weather change unforseen by National Weather Service sneaks into the area. The threat of mandatory water conservation measures remains and the threat from wild fires grows.

The forecast through next week calls for no rain, but lots of gusty afternoon winds, according to Doug Baugh, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction.

Temperatures should be cooler tomorrow and Saturday because of a front moving into the northern mountains from the Pacific Coast. Moisture is likely in the northern mountains, but not in the Four Corners area, Baugh said. High temperatures will remain in the mid-80s to low 90s, except for the Friday and Saturday dip into the 70s. Low temperatures should range between 40 and 50 degrees.

Rain pelted local roofs during the wee morning hours last Friday, but when the downpour stopped only 0.09 of moisture remained in the weather service rain gauge.

"That wasn't enough to change the threat of drought," said Carrie Campbell, general manager of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District. "Step 1 of the drought plan is still in effect. We're asking people to voluntarily conserve on water. Only water lawns and gardens between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. and use common sense."

If no rain comes during the next week or 10 days, PAWS may consider mandatory rationing, Step 2 of the emergency water plan. Under Step 2, home owners could only water on alternate days. People with even numbered addresses would be allowed to water on days of even date and people with odd numbered addresses would be allowed to water on days of odd date.

The water level in Hatcher and Stevens reservoirs is approaching one foot below the spillway level, according to Campbell. Water level at the spillways is one of the determining factors for going from Step 1 to Step 2 of the water conservation plan.

Meanwhile, land in the lower elevations of the San Juan Basin received only 37 percent of average precipitation during May, according to information compiled as of June 1 by the National Resources Conservation Service in Denver. The water year total is only 60 percent of average. A saving grace may be the 109 percent of average reservoir storage levels in the San Juan Basin. Those storage levels do not include the reservoirs supplying water for the Pagosa Springs area.

At the same time, measurable snow is virtually nonexistent in the high mountains. Stream flow of the San Juan River measured in town apparently peaked in early May, approximately one month ahead of the usual June 7 peak date. Regarding rivers in Archuleta County as recorded June 1, the Blanco River measured at the Blanco Diversion point was running 41 percent of average, the Navajo River at the Oso Diversion point was running 42 percent of average, the San Juan River at Carracas was running 50 percent of average, and the Piedra River near Arboles was running 57 percent of average.

Inflow of Navajo Lake was running 48 percent of average June 1, while the inflow of Vallecito Reservoir was running 66 percent of average on the same date.

Controlling local weather is a high pressure area located over the Pacific Coast, Baugh said. The clockwise weather pattern generated by the high pressure area forces water-laden winds from the Pacific Ocean to move to the north and drop into the Rocky Mountains from the north. The consequence is no rain in the Four Corners area.

The change that would bring the monsoon season with its abundant rainfall to Pagosa Country involves shifting the high pressure area to Texas. When that happens, the clockwise winds pick up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and drop that moisture in the Rocky Mountains. The monsoon season normally arrive in late July, but could come earlier this year because weather patterns in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are running about one month ahead of the usual schedule, according to Baugh.


Alcohol link suspected in fatal crash

By Karl Isberg

A Parker man died Tuesday in a one-car rollover accident on Wolf Creek Pass.

Rodman Stewart, 51, died after he was partially ejected from a 1999 Ford pickup truck driven by Tim Schield, 43, of Littleton. According to Colorado State Patrol Corporal Randy Talbot, the crash occurred at 10 p.m. The two men, said Talbot, were traveling to Pagosa Springs on a business trip.

Bill Bright, of Emergency Medical Services, reported Stewart suffered a fractured neck and died at the scene of the accident.

Talbot said CSP Trooper Nick Rivera was the first law enforcement officer at the scene following the crash. EMS dispatched a Quick Response Vehicle, an ambulance and a rescue truck to the Pass. A tanker and command vehicle from the Pagosa Fire Protection District were also called to the accident site.

A CSP investigation of the crash showed the westbound truck rolled two and a half times at milepost 161, less than a mile east of the Wolf Creek Overlook. The truck was traveling at an estimated 55 miles per hour, said Talbot.

Schield told investigators he saw something move across the highway and turned his vehicle to avoid it. The pickup hit gravel on the north shoulder, slid broadside onto the highway and rolled.

The truck came to rest on its top. The passenger door to the truck was open, and Talbot said Stewart was found partially outside the vehicle. It has not been determined, said the corporal, whether Stewart was wearing a seatbelt.

Talbot reported a passerby helped Schield from the wrecked vehicle. The driver was taken to Mercy Medical Center at Durango and a hospital spokesman said Wednesday the Littleton man was held for observation after suffering chest and abdominal pain.

Initial tests indicated alcohol use might be a factor in the accident, said Talbot and if further tests confirm alcohol use on the part of the driver, a charge of vehicular homicide could be filed against Schield.


Inside The Sun

Cassidy Medical Building rising

By Karl Isberg

A new building is going up just north of the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center on South Pagosa Boulevard.

When the building is complete and opened in September of this year, it will signal an expansion in space at the clinic next door.

The new building is named the Dodie Cassidy Medical Building, in memory of the late Dodie Cassidy who served as a local EMT for 10 years and sat as member of the hospital district board of directors for five years, beginning in 1992.

A local company, Goodford LOC, is building the new 4,000-square-foot facility and will hold a lease on the property for 50 years, at which time the property will revert to the hospital district.

The company is handling leasing arrangements for tenants. At present, two tenants currently occupying offices at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center are set to move to the building when it is complete: Mercy Home Health and Hospice, and the physical therapy unit. Goodford partner Bob Goodman said his company will consider lease requests from "board-certified tenants."

Upper San Juan Hospital District executive director Bill Bright said the addition of the Dodie Cassidy Medical Building to the medical campus on North Pagosa Boulevard will fuel further expansion at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center.

"What this will do for us at the center, once the physical therapy and Mercy operations move to the new building, is allow us to use existing space to enlarge our urgent care area and provide extra patient rooms," said Bright. "Also, this summer, we will begin the addition of up to 2,000 square feet to the Mary Fisher Center, primarily to the family practice section, for additional exam rooms and offices."


Ditch erosion silting Lake Pagosa

By Richard Walter

Serious erosion problems in the ditch carrying water from Stevens Lake into Lake Pagosa are the apparent cause of excessive silting problems in Lake Pagosa.

That was the initial finding in a Drainage Committee report submitted to the PLPOA board of directors last week. Larry Lynch, acting on behalf of Pierre Mion, told the board a local hydrologist has volunteered to work with them on finding a solution.

Lynch said David Rosgen will help them find a way to mitigate the problem by slowing down flow in the ditch and redirecting it to the middle so erosion of the ditch walls can be controlled.

He said the cost for survey and design of a corrective plan would run under $2,500.

Director Fred Ebeling, noting the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District has the water rights to all the bodies of water in Pagosa Lakes, said they should be involved in finding the solution.

"We own the lake bottoms but not the water, " Ebeling said. "We need to have negotiations with them." But Lynch said the survey and design needs to come first.

He said the inlet area is very shallow but drops to about six feet at 200 yards from shore. The sediment from the ditch and increased nutrients lead to weed growth which is drawing homeowner complaints.

Asked if the most effective option would cost $200,000 to $300,000, Lynch said a more likely long-range figure would be $1 million to $2 million and that would involve full-scale dredging.

Lynch said he has applied $4,000 worth of a new weed killer this spring and is beginning to see some effect. In addition, parts for a new aeration system approved by the board are expected to arrive next week and that will help, too. He suggested delaying any additional steps for at least two weeks to see what happens with the new treatments.

Director Jim Carson, referring to discussions last year of palliative remedies for the lakes, asked Lynch, "What's your best guess about when we'll have to have long-term plans and spend big dollars for these waters?"

Lynch said, "The lakes are 30 years old now and can last another 30 years if we keep in control of specific areas. If we control the silting, we'll control the health of the lakes indefinitely."

He and several board members also noted the area is a nesting place for the Western grebe which is an endangered species and "whatever we do there must take their protection into consideration."

Lynch also submitted to the board the long-range master plan for trails and recreation which was subject of a public hearing a week earlier.

He said the public reaction was generally favorable and asked the board to receive it as a focal point for future development, not as a plan carved in stone, but as a guideline to what can be done and where it can be done.

Carson said he had attended the hearing and views the plan as "a long-term vision and a short-term plan. I think the lone objector really just wanted the trail past his property at grade level rather than elevated as plans showed."

Director John Nelson, chairing the meeting, suggested any action be delayed until two new board members appointed that evening can be given copies and have time to study the contents.

Director Ebeling said he views the plan as well thought out and developed. "I used to be fully against it, " he said, "but now I'm 100 percent for it."

Nelson agreed with the plan's viability, but suggested, "It is not critical to adopt it at this meeting. It is very good and worthwhile but we need to let the new members have time to review it before they're asked to vote on it."

The board agreed.


Two PLPOA board vacancies filled

By Richard Walter

Two relatively new Pagosa Lakes residents were appointed last Thursday to fill Property Owners Association board vacancies created last month by resignations of President Rod Preston and Director Richard Hillyer.

Preston's seat will be filled by Richard Manley and Hillyer's by Francesco Tortorici.

Manley said he has lived in Lake Pagosa Park a little over a year. He is a 20-year Navy veteran who rose through all nine enlisted ranks to retire as an officer. He later served as director of a social services agency in Mesa, Ariz., during which time the unit's annual budget increased from $300,000 to more than $2 million.

Asked by a member of the audience what he felt his best asset to be, Manley said "raising money and administering operations."

Tortorici is a resident of Twin Creek Village where his home was completed last year.

He has a civil engineering background and construction supervisory experience including work at Los Alamos.

He thanked the board for giving him an opportunity to serve the community and received a round of applause from the audience.

The two appointments leave one vacancy on the board following the resignation of Director Judy Esterley. That term will expire next month and will be filled during the regular election process at the annual meeting.


Mobil equipment tax proves hard to collect

By John M. Motter

Collecting taxes has never been identified as a fun job. Particularly onerous is the job of collecting taxes on special mobile equipment. As the old saying goes, It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

In Archuleta County, that someone is June Madrid, the county clerk and recorder. The process of collecting special mobile equipment taxes really requires cooperation among the county clerk, treasurer and sheriff.

Special mobile equipment primarily refers to movable construction equipment such as backhoes, bulldozers, trenchers, and such, according to Madrid. This equipment is taxed according to a formula based on the initial cost and weight of the equipment. For example, a piece of 1993 equipment costing $248,000 was taxed $1,300 last year. The tax is also referred to as a specific ownership tax, a form of personal property taxes.

"The bad thing about this tax," Madrid said, "is people don't voluntarily drop in and pay it. We have to hire someone to go to construction sites to find this equipment."

Deputy Brad Dennison does the dirty work for Madrid by visiting construction sites around the county. Mobile equipment on which the tax has been paid will contain a license tag. Non-mobile equipment, such as a trencher, will contain a sticker.

On equipment that is unlicensed or has no sticker, Dennison jots down the particulars about the equipment and gives the information to Madrid. Madrid calculates the amount of tax due and sends a bill to the owner. If the bill is not paid within 10 days, a distrain process is initiated. The county treasurer is notified. The treasurer, in turn, notifies the sheriff. The sheriff can take possession of the equipment and, ultimately, sell it at public auction.

Equipment tagged or licensed anywhere in Colorado is allowed to work in Archuleta County without paying an additional fee. Equipment from out of state must obtain a Colorado license or sticker.

County income from this source has amounted to about $30,000 a year since 1994, according to Madrid. She expects that income to climb to about $50,000 this year because of Dennison's diligence.

Dennison earns about $1,000 a month for performing this task on his own time after completing his duties as a full-time deputy sheriff. Because he is in uniform while performing the tax notice research, Dennison is paid at a time-and-a-half rate.


$17 million school district budget approved

By Richard Walter

A $17 million budget for operations in the 2000-01 school year was adopted Tuesday by the Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education.

Business Manager Nancy Schutz outlined the budget and an accompanying appropriation ordinance totaling a little over $15.5 million.

Schutz said the budget reflects a 3.2 percent increase over last year but there is an anticipated slight decrease in the mill levy. She said the exact figure won't be determined until final assessed valuation figures are received from the county this fall.

It should be noted that the appropriation figure does not meet the budget figure because $1.465 million in usable funds already exist in reserve accounts.

Specific fund budgets include: $11.55 million in the general fund; $374,200 in the Grants Fund; $1.435 million in Capital Reserve; $1.28 million in Bond Redemption; $340,000 in Food Service; $900,000 in Trust/Donation; $900,000 in the Insurance Fund; and $220,000 in the Student Activity Fund.

Schutz said the budget includes step salary increases under the existing salary scale, the addition of two clerk-driver positions, and a new vocational education program. She said all of these items are budgeted on a presumed zero-growth factor in enrollment.

If there is an unexpected increase in enrollment, she said, "we can amend the budget until Oct. 15."

Asked about bonded indebtedness by Director Russ Lee, Schutz said the 1981 bond issue (remodeling the then existing high school and enlarging the elementary school) has been paid off and payments are starting in the next budget year on the 1996 bond issue (building the new high school).

The board unanimously adopted the budget as presented, with Directors Carol Feazel and John Forrest absent.

Superintendent Terry Alley, commenting on a related financial matter, called the board's attention to the possible financial destruction of taxing districts if the proposed Tax Cut 2000 (TABOR 205A) measure is approved by state voters this fall.

He urged board members to study the proposal, which basically calls for progressive $25 annual reductions in property tax, income tax and vehicle tax.

"If this passes it will mean disaster for the state's school districts, particularly rural districts like ours," Alley said. Whereas the state now makes up the difference in a district's cost and its ability to pay, he pointed out, "approval of this measure would take the funds the state is using and leave many of us high and dry."

He suggested it is a measure which should be fought by all districts.

In other action Tuesday, the board:

- Approved the employment of Chantelle Ray as an additional fifth grade teacher (there were five applicants, all on staff); and on the recommendation of the administrative staff, approved hiring Scott Anderson as head high school cross country coach. He was one of three applicants, all from outside the current staff.

- Accepted and scheduled for implementation next month an administration recommendation based on meetings with school bus drivers to expand the nine-member District Review Committee to include one driver. Alley said the drivers felt they were not properly represented in transportation planning. The plan also calls for giving each driver one day of annual personal leave while reducing the number of sick days from five to four. And, the plan will put drivers on an equal basis with other non-certified staff in qualifying for additional salary for completing additional training. In brief, the increase would be $200 for completing 30 hours of training

- Received for study a proposed update of the district's public use of facilities policy. Alley said the existing policy had not been updated in many years and was confusing and inconsistent. The new policy would spell out specific rental rates for different types of individuals and organizations and the fees and security deposits they would be required to pay

- Tabled until at least next month the adoption of a District Mission Statement. Board President Randall Davis asked for the delay because he wanted all members present to make the decision. At the same time, Alley noted new state laws regarding education will require all school districts to have a mission statement which includes specific wording about safety within school facilities.


USFS analysis of Piano Creek plans continues

By John M. Motter

U.S. Forest Service environmental specialists continue to analyze public comments about proposed changes to East Fork Road requested by the developers of Piano Creek Ranch.

The road is located about 8 miles north of Pagosa Springs and connects U.S. 160 with a valley along the East Fork of the San Juan River located approximately 6 miles from U.S. 160 in an easterly direction.

Piano Creek's developers propose a year-around, member-owned guest ranch on 2,780 acres of private land located in Mineral County. Property will be contracted on a timeshare basis. A contract approximating $500,000 cost to the user purchases two months time in either individual living quarters or a central lodge. The developers hope to attract 295 members. Proposed amenities include horseback riding, fly fishing, skiing, golfing, hiking and other activities available in an outdoor, mountain environment.

Most of the road reaching Piano Creek has been designated as a Forest Service road and its maintenance supervised by the Forest Service for many years. During pioneer times the road was surveyed by the U.S. Army and used by pioneers to access the San Juan Basin. As civilization developed in the Basin, the state of Colorado maintained the road. State appropriations for maintenance ended following the 1911 flood which resulted in devastation of the lower portion of the road passing through a canyon. By 1916, the state constructed and opened Wolf Creek Pass as an alternative to the pioneer route.

Subsequently, under Forest Service care, the road has been closed to automobile traffic during winter. Snowmobilers and cross country skiers have continued to use the road during winter.

In order to obtain year around access, Piano Creek has asked permission from the Forest Service to improve the road, including winter snow removal.

The Forest Service cannot refuse reasonable access to private property reached across Forest Service property.

Usage of the road will increase by an estimated 75 trips per day. Before granting approval, the Forest Service launched a study designed to gauge the impacts improving the road could have on the surrounding environment and community. Piano Creek must pay the cost for any road changes and for any studies ordered by the Forest Service.

The initial step of the Forest Service study was called a scoping process. During this process, the Forest Service invited public comment. The public comment period ended April 5. Public comments will be included with other information to help the Forest Service decide whether to require an environmental impact statement or an environmental assessment study as a condition for meeting Piano Creek's request. An environmental impact statement is an involved study which could be costly and require considerable time when compared with the lesser requirments of an environmental assessment.

By the April 5 deadline, the Forest Service had received 942 public comments in the form of letters, e-mail, petitions or by telephone. Of these, 72 comments were made during an initial scoping period in July 1999. An additional 45 comments were postmarked after the April 5 deadline.

Of the 942 responses, 522 showed preference for an environmental assessment. Last week, the SUN erroneously juxtaposed this number, saying the report showed 522 responses preferring the environmental impact statement.

The primary reason for preferring an environmental assessment to an environmental impact statement, was because an environmental impact statement had been conducted on the property and surrounding area just a few years ago when a ski area had been proposed for the property. Responders preferring the environmental assessment said another environmental impact statement would be a waste of money.

Initial scoping by the Forest Service is expected to be completed in two or three weeks. At that time, a decision will be made choosing between whether to conduct an environmental impact statement or an environmental assessment.


Rep. Larson warns against effects of Tabor 2

By John M. Motter

A strong warning against the state initiative process and two initiatives in particular, was sounded by Rep. Mark Larson, R-Cortez, the principal speaker at the annual Archuleta County Republican picnic held Saturday at Centennial Park.

Larson spoke against the initiative process first at a townhall meeting in the county commissioners meeting room, and again later at the Republican picnic held on the banks of the San Juan River behind the courthouse.

"If some of the initiatives we expect to see on the November ballot are approved by voters, it will trash the concept of republican government as envisioned by our founding fathers," Larson said.

In particular, Larson warned of TABOR Amendment 205A, known popularly as TABOR 2, an initiative launched by Douglas Bruce, the father of the first TABOR (taxpayers bill of rights) amendment. Larson also warned against growth Initiative 256A.

"We live in a state whose economy is growing at an annual rate of 7 or 8 or 9 percent," Larson said. "Before TABOR, the state had a law limiting budget growth to 6 percent. I supported TABOR, but I've since learned it was unnecessary because of the previous law. Bruce doesn't care about state government or the welfare of the people. He is an anarchist."

Bruce's latest proposal, according to Larson, will provide tax cuts of $25 per year per taxpayer and that will "increase by $25 each year. If approved, the cuts will be additive because they apply to each taxing entity."

Affected will be utility customer and occupation tax and franchise charges; vehicle sales, use, and ownership taxes; yearly income taxes; property taxes; income and property taxes equal to yearly revenue from sales and use taxes on food and drink; and income tax equal to yearly revenue from estate taxes.

"We (the elected members of the Colorado House and Senate) are doing our job," Larson said. "Bruce says we are not doing our job."

Archuleta County will be particularly hard hit if TABOR 2 passes, Larson said, because Archuleta County is the ninth fastest growing county (percentage wise) in the nation over the past 10 years. Economies with growth rates in excess of the 6 percent limit will be especially hard hit by the TABOR proposal, according to Larson.

Initiative 256A is one of four growth initiatives likely to be on the November ballot, according to Larson.

This initiative alters the state constitution by requiring voter approval of future areas of development. Included are residential, commercial, and industrial land in cities and counties. One-sixth of the land area of future areas of development must be contiguous with areas currently developed or proposed for development. Areas proposed for future development must be able to be served by central water, sewer, and roads within 10 years of their approval as growth areas. The provisions of this proposal apply to counties with populations in excess of 10,000 people. Counties with fewer than 25,000 people can be exempted by voter approval.

The objection to this proposal is that it involves a huge invasion of private property rights, according to Larson.

County Sheriff Tom Richards emceed the Saturday ceremony. After the presentation of flags by a local color guard from American Legion Post 108, eight of the 10 Republican candidates for county commissioner gave six-minute talks. Barbecue followed the talks. A dunking booth followed the barbecue. Each of the commissioner candidates was subject to dunking.



Proud to be a NIMBY

Dear David,

I'm proud to be a NIMBY, and as such, allow me to do a little recap for you as to how this whole NIMBY Nation, in reference to the proposed concrete batch plant, began.

This is not a "bashing" issue as someone last week claimed, this is a growth issue. A minor few, have chosen sides and taken this extremely personally. It is not a personal issue, it is not about being best friends with the concrete plant owners, it is not about thanking them or not thanking them. It could be anyone building that batch plant, it could be my best friend, it could be Bill Clinton (OK maybe that's not a good example) it could be you David, and that is still not a suitable location for a concrete batch plant. That is the issue.

These are the questions: Is that site a good land use? What are the impacts on the surrounding areas? Is that a logical place for a concrete batch plant?

As an added issue, I take exception to someone who claimed last week "get a grip" and pointed out we have strip malls all over the west side of our community, so why preserve the beautiful corridor of U.S. 160 east? Sounds to me like she was saying "It's already bad, so why not make it worse?" Talk about arguments that will not stand. To compare a heavy industrial use to a strip mall . . . well, it's not even a comparison.

And finally, the reason NIMBY Nation was born; we were informed that the batch plant owner was trying to skirt the conditional-use permit process as he did not think it applied to him and therefore had asked for a grandfather variance. We were left with little choice but to raise our voices in opposition. Because of this, the populace as a whole has become informed and better educated as to the fact that our county has some tools in place to regulate our incredible growth spurt. At this time, the matter will go through the proper chain of command; (the planning department, the planning commission, finally the county commissioners) however, remember in our free enterprising nation we are allowed to have a voice.


Steve Alger

WWII memorial

Dear David,

Although this letter is on behalf of the not-yet-built World War II Memorial, let me start with an observation. In our activities involving fire protection and water issues over the last 13 years my wife and I have agreed that Pagosa Country is indeed unique. We have never lived in a community where its citizens have displayed such willingness to contribute their time and resources to worthy causes.

On each Tuesday during the last five weeks - thanks to the generosity of Will Spears of KWUF - I have been privileged to host a program in which a local World War II veteran has been interviewed about his combat experiences. We have asked for donations to this long overdue Memorial to be erected in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial - a fitting site to honor the 16,000,000 men and women who served in uniform and especially the over 400,000 who were killed in action. It's unbelievable that such recognition has not yet been made despite the passing of 55 years since these happenings.

The disappointing part of this otherwise inspiring experience has been in the small number of donors, despite the generosity of those who have responded and of the 16 contributors who acted before this campaign. In light of past experiences the only conclusion we can reach is that we have failed to "get the word out" sufficiently despite the continued notices by Sharon Pinkerton in her Veterans Corner. That's the reason for this letter - to inform. Listen to KMUF-AM on June 20 at 9:05 a.m. and June 27 at 8:05 a.m. to hear the fascinating stories of Bruce Muirhead and Glenn Bergmann as we conclude our radio series.

There are two ways in which you may help us as we approach the ground-breaking, tentatively scheduled for Veterans Day, 2000: (1) send your tax-exempt check made to "World War II Memorial Fund", P.O. Box 4244, Pagosa Springs, CO 81157 or (2) pick up a direct-mail form at any of Pagosa's seven banks and follow the enclosed directions. In either procedure you may honor a relative or friend who contributed in service or on the home front by including him/her in The World War II Registry of Remembrances.

What better Father's Day present could be found than honoring your dad or grandfather through such a gift? Please help us build the World War II Memorial. But hurry-fewer than seven million of the 16 million who served are still alive and we're losing our comrades at the rate of 1,000 each day.


Bill Clark

Field Representative

World War II Memorial Campaign

Future home

Dear Editor,

My husband and I are NIMBYs and very proud of it. Several years ago, we began looking for some mountain property that we could both afford and enjoy when we can take life a little easier. After traveling throughout New Mexico, Utah, Montana and all of Colorado we found Pagosa Springs. We immediately fell in love with this quaint and lovely town and knew we had found our future home. We bought a very small piece of property in the San Juan River Village.

Never once during our travels did we look for property in an industrial park, next to a factory, near a high-traffic commercial location, nor a cement batch plant. These locations were and are not where we want to live. So, we are definitely NIMBYs in the true sense of the word and why shouldn't we be? We have worked, and continue to work, very hard for our future. We have struggled for many years to save for our home in Pagosa. We cannot imagine having to share our home with a noisy, smelly, polluting cement batch plant - can you?

Although Archuleta County has absolutely no zoning laws, which is incredible to us, property owners still have a responsibility to maintain the integrity of a community and neighborhood. Just because we own property does not give my husband and I the right to erect a recycling plant on it. Why should the Webers have the right to erect a cement batch plant on theirs? It will be ugly, noisy, and will pollute the air and water. It may provide jobs for a few, but the deterioration to the surrounding beauty and the demise of the area will far surpass any small economic benefit.

A cement batch plant has a place in a highly industrial and commercial area - not a quiet, charming, beautiful community. We vehemently oppose this proposed use of the Weber's property. We definitely do not want it in our backyard.


Selma Carrillo Frey

Tucson, Ariz.

Library donation

Dear David,

The Pagosa Springs Junior High and Intermediate School Library would like to take this opportunity to recognize specifically Kim Moore and Marti Hoffmann and all the realtors of the Pagosa Springs Area Association of Realtors for their most generous donation of $3,000 to our library. We really appreciate your efforts to add books to our library.

We are truly blessed in Pagosa Springs with these individuals that make the effort to make our schools better, who unselfishly give of their time and money to make this a better place to live. Thanks Kim and Marti for all your hard work and to the many realtors, students, teachers, and individuals who participated in the third annual Walk-a-thon.

Thank you all.

Shelley Frye,

Pagosa Springs Junior High-Intermediate Library


Dear Editor,

Your editor's note appended to my "Dismayed" letter of June 1 stated that the structure in question was a concrete retaining wall. This not only trivializes the issue of a building permit being issued after the fact, but is also incorrect. Had you been at the May 23 commissioners meeting, you would have heard for yourself, as did I and at least 20 other attendees can attest, that the subject under discussion was a large metal structure.

Ralph Goulds

Editor's note: According to officials in the county building inspector's office, the retaining wall required a building permit which was issued after the fact. The metal building was built on land that is assessed and taxed for agricultural use. The building was likewise assessed and taxed for agricultural use. Therefore the building did not require a building permit nor has one been issued for it. The phone number for the building inspector's office is 264-4785.

Oppose opening

Dear Editor,

We would like to add our names to the list of residents in San Juan River Village who are adamantly opposed to the proposed opening of the cement batch plant. The potential pollution of the river is, of course, our most urgent concern, but we also worry about the noise pollution, air pollution, and light pollution in our quiet area. We already know that driving onto U.S. 160 has to be a careful process; we can't imagine the added hazards brought by heavy cement trucks creating even more traffic on the highway.

There is already a designated industrial park in Pagosa. Why can't this cement batch plant be located there?

It was somewhat reassuring to read in the Pagosa SUN newspaper last week about the extensive studies to be conducted by various government agencies before the plant can be opened. We would urge you to carefully consider the findings of these reports before you make your decision. We would also urge you to carefully consider the welfare of the residents of San Juan River Village. Should one businessman be able to so adversely affect the lives of so manypeople?


Elson and Sibyl Heiman

Raise the issue

Dear Editor,

As a NIMBY and proud of it, I am writing to correct a few misunderstandings about our opposition to the concrete batch plant. First of all, you must understand that "our back yard" is Archuleta County. Second, is that we are following the "Rules of Engagement" which the proposer of the heavy industrial plant tried to skip around and get "grandfathered" before we caught on to the scheme. And third, we have never been vigilantes as one of the candidates for county commissioner implied in your highlighted letter box. We have only done what interested citizens should all be doing, ie., bring out issues and voice our concerns and opinions to the public. We have tried to find out the almost Byzantine paths that one must take to deal with these issues that eventually effect all the people of Archuleta County. John Motter's article did finally lay out the process and it has been most helpful to us. But writing letters to inform the public was only the first step and it has produced results. People are now informed as to the process and know what to do to make themselves heard.

We never expected to make laws, rules, and regulations via letters to the editor. We only wanted to raise the issue to public consciousness and head off an individual from skipping the new planning process set up by the county commissioners. You have your editorial page and we have our letters to the editor. This seems fair to me.

Now that the proposal is back in the correct track, we do plan to oppose it in every legal way possible; as we feel it is not a friendly thing to do to one's neighbors, or the land and rivers and wildlife. And remember, it will be everyone's water that is polluted when the Vista plant comes online south of town. Heavy industry belongs in an industrial park where it can be adequately monitored.

James L. Knoll III MD

Navy log

Dear Editor:

I often read that the Korean Veteran's are known as the "forgotten" veterans. I'm happy to report that the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., has established the "Navy Log" in an effort to honor all naval veterans that have served our country. The Navy Log includes Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Mariners. The Navy Log has thus far collected the names, service information and photographs of over a quarter of a million service personnel. All enrollments form a part of America's enduring naval heritage, a permanent and publicly accessible video register available for reviewing at the Naval Heritage Center next to the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue, midway between the White House and the Capitol, or on the Memorial's Internet web site,

David J. Michael, Master Chief, USN Retired

Dale City, Va.

Write to: U.S. Navy Memorial Log, Dept A,

701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 123

Washington, D.C. 20004-2608

(800) NAVY-LOG x 716

David J, Michael, NCCM(SW), USN (Ret.)

Director, Navy Log

Closest person

Dear Editor,

Being the closest person (100 yards) across from the proposed concrete batch plant on U.S. 160 east . . . I am driven to express my thoughts . . . along with a plea to our county commissioners. First . . . a little background on where I've been, where I'm coming from, where I might go.

The family homestead in California, survived the 1906 earthquake, but toppled under a mall just across a small creek. Somehow, I tolerated 30 years of urban renewal in Albuquerque, before relocating in most beautiful Pagosa, Colorado. I'm on my third summer on the east end of Elk Meadows, comfort-camping. A modest lifestyle, like so many of us. The river roar, chipmunk chatter, bird chirp'ness.

All I can say is, "A concrete batch plant right on the bank of the San Juan River? On one of the remaining pristine corridors in the southwest?" If I were one of the neighbors heavily vested, I'd call the National Park Service for a prescribed burn. The proposed polluter doesn't fit.

It's like a hog farm next to the chamber of commerce . . . A beer joint next to a church. Enough.

To Misters Crabtree, Downey and Fox. It is my fervent wish that your faculty of sight (def: vision) is not that of other "politico-pioneers of progress" who go to a proctologist for an eye exam. A plea to our commissioners three: Oh . . . say can you see, and when you do . . . let being be.

Chuck Logan

Part-time announcer and

productive member of the Pagosa Society and

all-the-time protectorate of a pristine Pagosa.

P.S. I am not a tree hugger (although at times . . . depending on the curvature and grain. . . wood can be enticing).

Happy wave

Dear David,

What happened to the Pagosa Country habit of passing your neighbor and the happy "wave" of howdy? I don't see many returning my wave anymore. Let's bring back the local tradition.

Mary Miller

Reconsider project

Dear David,

Some local residents have wondered why the Forest Service or some other agency didn't purchase the East Fork Ranch when it was for sale. The answer is that the Forest Service did indeed try to purchase the ranch. The information I have is that the Forest Service offered $12 million, and they were out bid by the Piano Creek Ranch investors, who offered $16 million. Currently Piano Creek Ranch is trying to get enough takers at $500,000 each so that they can pay off Dan McCarthy, the owner of the former East Fork Ranch, and still have enough money left over to begin construction.

If Piano Creek Ranch fails to get enough money, they will have to reconsider their project, and possibly even sell the ranch. In the meantime, other land trust organizations have become interested in the East Fork valley. These organizations would be in a position to purchase the ranch at a tidy profit to Piano Creek Ranch. Then these organizations could put a conservation easement on the ranch, and sell the property to others, such as the Forest Service and private individuals who are willing to buy land with a conservation easement on it.

There are many things that can be done by individuals who are interested in trying to stop the Piano Creek Ranch development. To learn more please visit their website at


Kurt Raymond



Walter Herrmann

Walter Herrmann passed away on June 4, 2000. Memorial Services will be held at 10 a.m. at Heights Cumberland Church - Moon Academy in Albuquerque, on Saturday, June 17.

Dorothy Tubb

Dorothy Helen Sain Tubb, 84, a former summer resident of the Pagosa Springs area, died Tuesday, June 6, 2000.

A resident of the Los Alamos and Albuquerque, N.M., areas since 1951, Mrs. Tubbs is survived by her husband of 64 years, Clarence Tubb of Edgewood, N.M.; sons, Gary Tubb and wife, Susan of Seabrook, Texas, and John Tubb and wife, Pat of White Rock, N.M.; daughters, Susan Woy and husband, Rod of Shawnee, Kan., and Karen Bryant and husband, Garry of Edgewood, N.M.; 21 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and sisters, Mary Ellen Walden and Edna Mae Clawson, both of Shelbyville, Ill., Wanda Lee Medler of Assumption, Ill., and Juanita Juvae Compton of Lakewood, Ill.

Mrs. Tubb attended First Baptist Church in Tijeras, N.M., for many years. Her children remarked that there was nothing extraordinary about their mother except that she was an extra-ordinary wife and mother who loved unconditionally. She was selflessly devoted to her husband and family and she will leave a void in the lives of all who knew her.

Services were held at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 10, 2000, at First Baptist Church in Tijeras with Pastor John Torrison officiating. Interment followed at Sandia Memory Gardens. Pallbearers were Gary Tubb, John Tubb, Rod Woy, Garry Bryant, Jimmy Neil, Roy Neil, Jim Payn, and Louie Bryant. Honorary pallbearers were Dick Medler, Frank Compton and Wayland Baker.



Carrie Ann Lammert

One Pagosa Springs resident was among the more than 4,000 receiving degrees May 21 at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

Carrie Ann Lammert, daughter of Cindy Warring of Pagosa, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in geology.


Sports Page

Fast-pitched home debut entertaining

By Richard Walter

Two relatively new Pagosa Lakes residents were appointed last Thursday to fill Property Owners Association board vacancies created last month by resignations of President Rod Preston and Director Richard Hillyer.

Preston's seat will be filled by Richard Manley and Hillyer's by Francesco Tortorici.

Manley said he has lived in Lake Pagosa Park a little over a year. He is a 20-year Navy veteran who rose through all nine enlisted ranks to retire as an officer. He later served as director of a social services agency in Mesa, Ariz., during which time the unit's annual budget increased from $300,000 to more than $2 million.

Asked by a member of the audience what he felt his best asset to be, Manley said "raising money and administering operations."

Tortorici is a resident of Twin Creek Village where his home was completed last year.

He has a civil engineering background and construction supervisory experience including work at Los Alamos.

He thanked the board for giving him an opportunity to serve the community and received a round of applause from the audience.

The two appointments leave one vacancy on the board following the resignation of Director Judy Esterley. That term will expire next month and will be filled during the regular election process at the annual meeting.


Payne homes to lasso trip to rodeo nationals

By Richard Walter

Dusty Payne of Pagosa Springs is trying to rope himself a state title this week and with it earn a return trip to national high school rodeo competition.

Payne and his team roping partner, Colt Roberts of Durango, are among 12 members of the Basin High School rodeo team competing through Saturday in the Colorado High School State Rodeo finals in Greeley.

Only the top four finishers in each event in the state finals qualify for the nationals, scheduled next month in Springfield, Ill., but because finalists receive 1.5 times the number of points they would receive in a regular season rodeo, even the lowest-ranked riders are dangerous.

John Rice, co-coordinator of the Basin team with his wife, Wendy, said, "You have a chance of winning 35 points in the state finals in any event. If you've got 50 points already, you have a real good chance of getting in the top four to go to nationals."

He noted the Payne-Roberts team now stands in seventh place statewide, but is only 13 points behind the second place team of J.W. Borrego of Grand Junction and Jesse Elchter of Eagle.

"In places two through seven there's a lot of movement available," said Wendy Rice. "They're all real close going in. It's going to come down to the short-go. As long as they don't get stressed by it, I think they can make it into the top four."

Two rodeos will be held daily through Friday with the short-go to determine nationals competitors slated Saturday night.

Community News
Chamber News
By Sally Hameister

Get references before signing contracts

We have three new members to introduce to you this week and two renewals. Somehow we just continue to move right along with our membership numbers and are ever so grateful to be approaching the 715 mark. It's nothing short of astonishing.

New member number one this week is Jenny Lee Stewart who brings us Angela's Flower Shoppe located at 2035 West Highway 160, Suite 101. Jenny is a full-service florist specializing in locally grown interior plants, color baskets and plant maintenance. Angela's Flower Shoppe is where flowers become art and plants are forever green. Please call 731-1182 for more information about Angela's Flower Shoppe.

Our second new member this week is the Chile Mountain Cafe with Carolyn Feller and David Hammer at the helm. The Chile Mountain Cafe is located at 301 North Pagosa Boulevard in the Greenbrier Plaza. These folks offer a comfortable dining experience with soups, salads, sandwiches, and daily specials with an international flavor as well as wine and beer. The Chile Mountain Cafe would like to be your breakfast, lunch and dinner destination and can be reached by phone at 731-6550.

Our third new member is Pamela Lein who brings us KFLM-FM 95.9 located at 493 Terrace Avenue, Cumbres Mall in Chama, N.M. KFLM-FM is Chama Valley's only FM radio station with coverage including Antonito, and Dulce and Espanola, N.M. The format at KFLM includes country, Spanish and adult contemporary. For more information, please call (505) 756-1617.


Our renewals this week include Sue Gast with Bank of the San Juans located at 305 Hot Springs Boulevard and Jerry Caves with Sunrise Construction, Inc. located at 2383 West U.S. 160. Thanks to all the new members and renewals for your support.

Call, call, call

A few problems have surfaced lately that I feel could have been completely avoided if folks had required a list of references before signing a contract and called on those references. When you think about it, you wouldn't dream of hiring an employee before making at least three reference calls to former employers, yet we pay people phenomenal amounts of money for services or products without knowing a thing about their past performance. What we know in the employer/employee business is that the best indicator of future performance is past performance under similar circumstances. When people come to you offering costly services and you are unfamiliar with them and/or their services, ask for a reference list before you sign on the dotted line.

I can't emphasize enough how many calls we receive here at the Chamber asking about any and all kinds of businesses in town. The callers want to know if these businesses are members of Chamber, how long they've been in business, etc. This is a clear case for Chamber membership - when folks call with questions about you and your business, we are delighted to sing your praises and vouch for your reputation in the business community. Among other things, the Chamber acts as your advocate and heaven knows, we can all use every advocate we can get. At any rate, take the time to learn about a business before you contract for their services. You'll save yourself a lot of aggravation and money.

Spanish Fiesta

Grab those dancin' shoes and get ready for the annual Spanish Fiesta, "Viva la Familia Cultura Y Tradicion," coming your way this weekend. The Fiesta kicks off tomorrow with Concierto Espanol Y Bailables Folkloricos at the Pagosa High School auditorium at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:30). The evening features El Tigre, Los Ninos de Santa Fe, Gillian Yanez Berrich and Colores Latinos. Tickets are $10 for adults and $2 for children 12 and under and can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books, Pagosa Springs Art Council Gallery and WolfTracks Coffee Company. Don't miss this colorful, exciting evening.

The Fiesta begins Saturday with the Kiwanis Spanish Fiesta Parade followed by a great big ole party in Town Park with royalty, performances, celebrities, dances, lessons and games. Performances by Baile Espanol de Santa Fe, Variety Express, El Tigre, local Gillian Yanez Berrich and Antonio Reyna will be followed by an appearance by television celebrity, Nelson Martinez and freestyle bicyclist Jose Yanez. Sharman Alto will be giving dance lessons and there will be a dance contest. At 7 p.m., there will be a street dance in Town Park with local musical favorites, Variety Express, featured. Admission for the full day of fun will be $5 for adults and $2 for children 12 and under.

We thank the Kiwanis Club of Pagosa Springs, the Pagosa Springs Arts Council and the Colorado Council on the Arts for their generous support of this very special weekend. Please join us for a celebration of this treasured culture in our community.

Summer solstice

Tomorrow evening, a Full Moon Program will be presented at Chimney Rock Archaeological Area. The program includes hiking to the Great House Pueblo just before sunset and a presentation on the archaeoastronomy of the site will be given as the full moon rises over the San Juan Mountains.

On June 21, a special Summer Solstice Sunrise Program will be offered. The program will include a short hike to an archaeological site that may have been used for solstice observations by Chimney Rock's inhabitants 900 years ago. Glen Raby of the Forest Service will meet participants at the gate to Chimney Rock between 4:30 and 5 a.m. and conduct the hike and presentation on the ancient astronomy. Advance reservations are required for both special programs and must be prepaid. The cost is $7.50 per person. To make reservations, call 883-5359 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Gorgeous baskets

Thanks to Mountain Greenery and Ace Hardware for the beautiful flower baskets they furnished for us to deliver to all the businesses that so graciously supported our "Beautify Pagosa" program this year. Suellen and I had a ball delivering said baskets to a chorus of "oohs" and "aahs" by the recipients. Special thanks to David Brown of Bootjack Management Company and Jo Ann and Alden Ecker for donating baskets to the Chamber for our discretionary dispersal. We found extremely grateful homes for each and every one and thank you for your generosity. Thanks to all once again for supporting this program. We sure love it.

Free counseling

Jim Reser will be here on June 27 to give you all kinds of great, free business counseling. Jim is the director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College and has been offering this service for quite some time. Whether you're considering opening a new business or need help with your existing business, Jim is the man you want to talk with. It's yet another of your valuable Chamber benefits, and we like to see you take advantage of those little jewels. Just call Morna to make an appointment with Jim.


Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

Weather hampers kid's fishing derby entrants

PLPOA's annual Kid's Fishing Derby was held last Friday at Hatcher Lake. We had a modest turn out this year, due to some questionable weather, but we still had 15 participants brave it. The winners this year were James Gallegos in the 12- to 16-year-old category, Luke Harrison in the 8- to 11-year-old category and the winner with the biggest fish of all was 7-year-old Andy Proctor in the 7-and-under category. The children enjoyed fishing and hot dogs and some great prizes. Every kid received a prize this year.

Southwest Outdoor Volunteers will be sponsoring a volunteer workday on Saturday, June 24, to begin work on construction of the Stevens Draw Trail that will access Martinez Canyon. We will meet at 9 a.m. at the PLPOA administration office parking lot. Lunch will be provided. Bring a good pair of gloves, sunscreen, a hat, and drinking water.

PLPOA has started an adopt-a-street program this summer. There have already been several sections of streets adopted by area residents for litter control. Help keep Pagosa Lakes looking beautiful and adopt a street (or part of a street). The PLPOA will provide trash bags, pick up full bags along roadsides, and will also provide signs designating that street as having been "adopted." Please call Larry Lynch at the PLPOA office (731-5635) for more details.

A PLPOA sponsored open duplicate bridge group meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. Bridge players are invited . . . bring a partner. The complex permutations involved in the bid for the right to name the trump suit or declare no-trump is splendid exercise for the mind. Join the group and give yourself the opportunity to keep those synapses firing.

The indoor basketball hoop at the Recreation Center has been taken down and all basketball traffic directed to the outside court. This was done to free up both racquetball courts for racquetball/handball games. Early morning and evening games on the basketball court or sand volleyball court are delightful and most definitely a social happening. See the groups gathered there in the cool evening hours and join them.

Pagosa Lakes property owners are invited to a newsletter mailing social at 9 a.m. Monday. A continental breakfast will be served.

San Juan Outdoor Club's summer schedule just came to me. It's extensive, exhaustive and you may have to take an early retirement to keep up with the entire summer's itinerary. All the warm weather hoopla started in May and will go into the end of August. The activities include camping, whitewater rafting, hiking, wildflower walks, 4-by-4 adventure and picnics and barbecues and all that good summer food. The club's activities are available to members. Annual membership dues are $15 for a single and $20 for a family. Membership application is available from SJOC president Dalas Weisz or by writing to SJOC, Box 3856, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

I'm not a horse woman but my friend Erica DeVoti is and an outstanding one at that. Erica recently did an endurance ride down in Chimayo, N.M. She and Czar, her horse, had originally trained for the 50-mile ride but Czar suffered a gash in his leg a few weeks before the race and that threw their training off. So they did the 25-mile ride instead. Both rider and horse were confident about their conditioning for the 25-mile distance and Erica allowed Czar to pick his pace - which turned out to be quite speedy. No race tale is complete without a mishap. Part way into the race, the fender and stirrup broke off Erica's saddle and she had to ride with one leg in and one leg free while carrying the fender. They also lost a water bottle and one of two blankets slipped off. It was an adventure in truly beautiful country.

For the 25-mile ride there is one veterinarian check where the horse must pulse down to a heartrate below 60 before he can be looked over by another vet. The vets then carefully examine the horse to make sure it is fit to continue. Erica's Czar pulsed in first at the vet check where they then had a mandatory half-hour rest before continuing on strongly for the rest of the distance. At the finish line, Czar also pulsed in first and in the 25-mile ride the time ends after the horse pulses down to below 60. Erica is very pleased with Czar's performance and I am very proud of those two. Erica's next ride, a 50 miler will be in Montana. We wish Erica and Czar happy trails.


Arts Line
By Pamela Bomkamp

Open house tonight at gallery

Summer Arts Camp 2000 is already underway and the children and instructors are having a great time.

If you have not signed your children or grandchildren up for this wonderful camp, late registration is still open. We have space available for the afternoon sessions of the last week. Fees will be pro-rated.

Call Tessie Garcia for registration information at 731-5916.

Spanish Fiesta

Get ready for a weekend packed with fun and entertainment. Make sure to attend the Concerto Espanol y Bailables Folkloricos (Spanish Concert and folklorico dancers) tomorrow night. Doors to the Pagosa Springs High School open at 6:30 p.m. with refreshments to benefit Pagosa Springs Arts Council. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. with several groups performing. Tickets are $10 for adults and $2 for children 12 and under. All proceeds after expenses go directly to the scholarship fund.

On Saturday, make sure you get your favorite spot for the Spanish Fiesta Parade at 10 a.m. After the parade, make sure to visit Town Park for more musical entertainment, food booths, and arts and crafts booths. Town Park will open at 10 a.m. with a blessing by Father John Bowe. Admission for a full day of fun is $5 for adults and $2 for children 12 and under. Then, at 7 p.m. the street dance begins in Town Park. The dance will feature Variety Express, who will also perform earlier in the day.

The Spanish Fiesta has been generously supported by the Kiwanis Club of Pagosa Springs, The Colorado Council of Arts and the Pagosa Springs Arts Council.

Open house

We have a new exhibit opening today at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Art Gallery at Town Park. Jan Brookshier and Roberto Garcia will show their creative and artistic talents June 15 to 28. This exhibit will kick off with an open house tonight, from 5 to 7 p.m. It is a chance for you to meet the artists and enjoy their work as well as the refreshments that are served. So please attend and support your local artists.

Jan Brookshier is a photographer who also does her own matting and framing to "control the whole creative process." She says living in this area gives her an unlimited supply of photo opportunities. "The mountains are ever changing," said Brookshier, "and I watch in awe and gratitude each day the scenery that is around me."

Robert Garcia Jr. is a sculptor, who has worked at his art his entire life. He says that since college his "only employment has been with several foundries." And he has built his second foundry here in Pagosa Springs. He goes on to say that "although I am reminded that everything has been done with figurative art, I believe one can always be different and better."

Just a reminder of the PSAC Art Gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

Fashion show

On June 28 there will be a luncheon and fashion show given by the Pagosa Players. The fashion show will consist of the costumes that will be worn by the actors in an upcoming performance of "Romeo and Juliet." You must see this show. All costumes are historically accurate, original designs by Susan Feltz. The Luncheon starts at 2 p.m. at the Pagosa Lodge. Tickets can be purchased for $13.50 at the Plaid Pony, the Chamber of Commerce, and at WolfTracks Coffee Company.


Senior News
By Janet Copeland

Tina White is new Senior Center director

Mother Nature and our superb kitchen crew made for a wonderful picnic in the park on Monday. Around 60 folks turned out to enjoy the barbecued chicken, corn on the cob, potato salad, biscuits and cantaloupe. Thanks to all who helped make this possible.

Good news - we have a new director for the Senior Center, our long-time head of the transportation area, Tina White is now officially the new director. Congratulations and welcome, Tina. Tina has been around long enough to know everyone and has been the interim director while we were without one, so we know she will do a great job.

We are happy to acknowledge some new members of the Senior Center: Betty and Alex Shaw, Christine Wyman, Mrs. Eldred Thomas and her son, Barry Thomas. Welcome to our group. Also, we are happy to have some of our "summer folks" returning: Jack and Eleanor Jones, Vernon Day and Carol Adams (who is our Senior of the Week this week). Carol has been a volunteer at the Center for a long time and we are so happy to have here back with us.

Speaking of volunteers, Dorothy O'Harra has graciously given of her time and talents for quite a while by playing the piano after our meals. Thanks so much, Dorothy.

Helen Schoonover reports that her grandson, Mark Schoonover, is now recovering nicely from a kidney-pancreas transplant, after some complications. Helen thanks everyone for their prayers and asks that prayers continue for Mark's full recovery.

There is a fun trip planned for June 22 - river rafting in Durango. This is a guided trip that lasts for two hours, and cost is $26.50, including the bus ride to Durango. For those who are a little timid about rafting, they tell me we may get a little wet from splashing but there will be no severe rapids to navigate. Also, a reminder to everyone about the Flute Concert at Chimney Rock on Saturday. There is a $3 charge for the bus ride to and from, with free admission for our members. Those interested in going to either of these activities should sign up at the front desk or contact Payge.

We at the Senior Center want to thank the following organizations for contributing to the "Seniorcize" exercise program: Community United Methodist Thrift Shop, KWUF Radio, Pack Rack Thrift Shop, Pagosa Springs SUN, and United People Help Ministry Thrift Shop.

We still need donations of exercise videos, especially Richard Simmons videos, if anyone would care to help us out. The free exercise sessions, led by Jane Finley, are held Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Senior Center from 10:30 to 11 a.m. for beginners and 11 to 11:30 a.m. for intermediates. Our thanks to Jane for bringing us this program.


Cruising with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

West Fork hot spring is elusive

It's kind of embarrassing to admit this, but I've never seen the Rainbow Springs, aka the hot springs on the West Fork of the San Juan. Hotshot and I tried to find the right spot during our first trip to the Weminuche. That was 15 years ago. The plan was to hike for a couple of days on the Divide trail and then leave the group and come down through Beaver Meadow.

"You can't miss it," said our friend Steve, leader of that trip. "You go down this trail and when you get to the West Fork trail turn right. It's just about mile up the trail." Yeah, right.

We didn't have a topographic map with us, just a Xerox copy of Steve's hand-drawn map. It showed the trail, sort of, with a few landmarks. From Beaver Meadow it's about 5 miles, mostly downhill. That year the trail was plagued by nasty, biting flies. They were all over us. DEET was no help. If we dared to stop, to eat lunch, say, they crawled over our arms, our faces, our food. We covered our mouths with bandanas and kept walking, munching granola bars and trail mix.

At the trail we turned right, and the trail started back uphill. The fly attacks got worse. This was definitely the wrong direction.

I can still identify the bend in the trail where we decided to turn back, figuring no spring, hot or cold, was worth the irritation.

Ten years passed before we headed in the direction of the hot springs again. That time we started from the trailhead, heading up. We thought we'd camp at the springs and continue up the trail to the Continental Divide the next day.

Our lunch was cut short by rain. (Many of our Weminuche lunches are cut short by rain.) The rain settled down to a steady drizzle, which was obviously going to be a permanent fixture for the rest of the afternoon.

Several tents were already set up when we reached the area of the hot springs. I say area, because it was impossible to tell which of the paths to the river was the "right" one. The ground was muddy. Hotshot and I looked around, debating. We concluded maybe we weren't really hot springs people. We shouldered our packs and headed on up the trail to look for a more secluded campsite.

I know a lot of people go to the hot springs. It's a popular destination. You don't have to be an experienced hiker. I've seen folks - you probably have, too - traipsing along in flipflops, towel draped over the shoulder, dragging a puppy on a leash and pushing a baby stroller. Never mind that it's more than 4 miles, each way. Never mind that the trail seems uphill both directions. Never mind that it's already one o'clock in the afternoon and the thunderstorms are building. Hey, let's go to the hot springs!

We saw some of these intrepid folks this past Memorial Day weekend. The trail was a popular place. The parking lot was full. Heck, the overflow parking lot was full.

We passed a group of men from Texas who were looking for easy fishing. They wanted to throw the line in and pull out a fish.

The creek didn't suit them - too much flow, too fast. Where's a good lake, they wanted to know. We finally suggested they drive out to Williams Creek Reservoir, or maybe buy a permit to fish the PLPOA lakes.

There were people camped by the West Fork bridge, where we stopped for lunch. Nice young couple, with a dog. And clean. They brushed their teeth by the side of the creek, and then scooped up the water in their cups and drank it! I kid you not. It takes real faith, what with Giardia everywhere, to drink from a mountain stream these days.

Plus, you don't know where that water's been. I mean, they had just spit in it. And there they were, downstream from the springs, major destination for all those people, the ones who'd parked their cars back at the trailhead.

On our way back we met several groups of hikers, all heading for the same destination. A group of teenage boys, having a good time. Laughing. "We're going to the hot springs!" They probably heard that some people enjoy the springs in skimpy, or non-existent, attire.

After them came a young couple, wearing sandals, shorts, tank tops. One carried a plastic bottle with about 2 inches of water in the bottom. They had no pockets to conceal food, sunscreen, any other gear. Not even a towel between them.

They must have thought we were overprepared, with our day packs, boots, hats, multiple water bottles, long-sleeved shirts. But since we were as old as their parents, they were polite about it.

"Where you going?" we asked. They smiled pityingly. "We're going to the hot springs."

Not 5 minutes later we stopped to chat with another young couple. They were about the same age as the previous folks, but the resemblance stopped there. These two were weighted down by enormous backpacks. I mean huge. They had enough gear for an expedition. Hotshot and I didn't carry that much when we hiked 10 days on the Divide.

I don't know what might have been inside those packs, but strapped on the outside were sleeping pads, a first aid kit big enough to have patched up an NFL team during a playoff game, and an air horn to scare off bears.

They leaned on their hiking poles while we talked, probably glad to take a break. It was a wonder they could stand at all.

"Where you heading?" we asked, thinking maybe they'd say Alaska.

"Oh, we're going to the hot springs."


Library News
By Lenore Bright

Summer reading program spans generations

This is the big week for us. Our annual summer reading program began, and Bob Curvey brought in his little grandson to sign up. This was a red-letter day for me as it means I've been doing this for two generations! I'm tickled over this kind of continuity.

Mary and her committee have done a wonderful job preparing for this year's festivities. Children of all ages are invited to come sign up. Parents with preschoolers may sign them up too.

The program runs for six weeks and ends with a party in the park. We have many activities and programs planned. Two story times are on the calendar, from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and Friday

There is no doubt that participating in summer reading helps keep learning skills up, and reading for fun puts students on the right track.

Our summer reading program could not happen if it weren't for the great sponsors who help purchase books and prizes. This year we thank: Friends of the Library, Wells Fargo Bank, Archuleta County Board of Realtors, Moonlight Books, Lyn DeLange, Library Volunteers, and Dr. V. Alton Dohner. We ask you to also thank them for their support of this important community project.

Xeriscape garden

We're all distressed over the drought conditions. Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District has a xeriscape garden on display. Patty Renner and Julie Bissell are there from 9 to 11 a.m. every Wednesday to give tips on how to use indigenous plants that need little water.

We can all learn some valuable landscaping advice. The garden is located at the PAWS office at 100 Lyn Avenue, just off Lake Forest Circle.

We have a lot of material on xeriscape gardening. In the meantime, you're all welcome to do a rain dance at your earliest convenience.

Lee Bartley

We're pleased to have a CD featuring local musician, Lee Bartley. "Adrift in Time," is Lee's piano solos, featuring his own songs. We're all indebted to Lee for finding the grand piano for the Music Boosters.

We have a nice collection of CDs and audiotapes to be checked out. Lee's work is a welcome addition.

Online shopping

Last week we talked about the loss of revenue and how it hurts local merchants. This week we have a chilling report on the perils of online shopping. The report is several pages long and we'd be glad to give you a copy.

It tells about an actual case involving fraud, a ravished bank account and the shadowy trail through cyberspace. It led to a ring of alleged hackers in Thailand. It happened on one of the supposedly safe sites - Ask for it at the desk.

New book

Betty Feazel donated an important book, "Slipping Through Our Hands" By Tony Povilitis, with illustrations by Amy Grogan. This book is an introduction to imperiled wildlife of the San Juan Ecoregion of Colorado and New Mexico. It includes 110 wild animal and plant species, some of which could vanish from the region within our lifetime. This is a definite read for anyone interested in protecting our way of life. Our thanks to Betty for the gift.

Medicare reform

Thanks to the League of Women Voters for donating two documents on health issues in the 2000 election. They may be checked out. The guides cover five health policy topics with information to help you make informed choices for your family.

Our aging population is putting strain on our healthcare system. These position papers will help put this strain in focus.

The League is a widely trusted and respected nonpartisan organization dedicated to facilitating public dialogue and debate on issues.


Financial help came from Keith and Darleen Harrison in memory of Luke Berry. Their gift will go in the book endowment fund. Mr. Berry was a good friend and will be missed. Our condolences to Emily.

Materials came from Katherine Cruse, Gerry Sue Potticary, Joan Cortright, Reba Roach, Carol Hakala, Carol Curtis, Mary Nickels, Terry Anderson and Nicholas Afaami.



Ask before buying

The familiar Latin term caveat emptor found its way into last week's

SUN. It was appropriate for an article on page 9 of section 1 regard-

ing asphalt contractors who periodically travel through the Pagosa area during the summer. Even those of us are strangers to the language are familiar the Latin admonition of "let the buyer beware."

Unless an expressed or written guarantee accompanies a purchase of goods or services, one of life's more painful and expensive lessons is the fact that a purchaser buys at his own risk.

Unless you are new to Pagosa, by now you're aware that folks should beware before buying property in Archuleta County. Especially if the property is in near proximity to a U.S. or state highway or a major Forest Service access road.

Persons traveling east on U.S. 160 might happen to notice about 12 miles east of Pagosa Springs, they are entering Mineral County. And if they are going slow enough they might notice a sign that states: "Mineral County is zoned. Building and other permits mandatory. Inquire at courthouse."

If they are traveling west and entering Archuleta County, they might notice a sign that states: "Bldg. permit required in Archuleta County. Apply at courthouse Pagosa Springs, Colo."

The difference between the two statements is the closest thing there is to a caveat emptor warning sign for persons purchasing property in Archuleta County.

Therefore, the following suggestions are offered for consideration:

Be sure the presumed or supposed property or boundary lines in fact correspond to the actual property lines that appear on the plat that is recorded in the county courthouse.

Check the applicable recorded plats to determine whether any property inside a subdivision is platted for multifamily or commercial use. Check the plats on properties that are in the immediate area of where you plan to buy.

Check for water rights, or the availability of well water or treated water. Check with state health officials to determine the location (if one exists) of a suitable site for installing a septic system if necessary.

If purchasing river front property or land in the immediate proximity of a river, check for flood plain boundaries, for permitting of gravel pits, or for any upstream commercial usages. The same applies for property that is located in the near proximity to a highway or major county road,

If the property is "next to Forest Service lands," check on past or future permits for controlled burns, timber sales, gravel pits, camp sites, hunting, firewood gathering, grazing permits or Christmas trees cutting. Check on the frequency of bear or mountain lion sightings in the area. In all likelihood, the property has long served as the backyard for the wildlife. (The potential of forest fires, whether caused by lightening or humans are obvious down sides to owning heavily timbered land or property that adjoins such land.)

If the property is "bounded by national forest," check to see if the property is accessible during the winter season.

If the property is outside a platted subdivision, be sure that the acreage has access to a county road and to utility lines. Also, check to see what the county's snow removal policy will be for your piece of property.

Check to see who owns the mineral rights.. Check for utility easements that might affect the property.

If the property adjoins pastures, the serenity usually comes with stray cattle and coyotes. Also pet owners who plan to reside in the area of working ranches should know that it's not uncommon for a cattleman to shoot stray dogs that chase cattle. Also, Colorado Division of Wildlife officers will shoot stray dogs that chase wildlife.

This list of buying suggestions is not intended to be complete. Nor is it intended to make anyone beware of making a purchase that offers the blessing of calling Pagosa home.

David C. Mitchell


Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Precautions, praise for Pagosans

Dear Folks,

Are there time you don't print a letter," is a common question I'm used to hearing.

"Yes," is the common answer.

This week's mail contained a couple of did not prints.

Both were positive. Both were extremely long. Both were discarded because of their length, not their content.

Had it not been such a busy week I might have tried to edit 328 words out of a local's mildly stormy letter that admonished folks for their lack of thinking big. Or possibly not thinking in general.

The writer took folks to task for not attending Representative Mark Larson's town meeting last Saturday morning. Her comments could have been more concise.

Cutting out quotes attributed to President Clinton's proclamation on designating the lands west of Cortez as the Canyons of the Ancient National Monument could have shortened the letter.

The concluding remarks could have been halved and the thoughts the writer hoped to convey left in tact.

In short, the Pagosa writer wanted folks to consider three concepts. One, our backyards, as in "not in my back yard," extend far beyond our property lines. Two, state elected officials could alter the attractiveness of our back yards if we don't communicate with them. And three, folks need to get involved - "call or write" - if they want their elected representatives to satisfactorily represent them. Otherwise our back yard known as Colorado could become known as "Federal" lands.

Using 880 words, the week's longest letter had a "Pulse" of its own. Editing it down to 500 words would compare with condensing "War and Peace" into a pamphlet.

Written by a pleasant correspondent from Texas, the writer offered nothing but praise for the ongoing Blanco River restoration project and Pagosa Country in general.

Evidently many of Pagosa's summer RV visitors hale from the Dakotas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas, etc.

Many are longtime returnees to Pagosa. While they are here, they "shop in your shops, we frequent your restaurants, have family who come to visit us and stay at your hotels and motels, and we worship and tithe next to you in your churches. We purchase your state license to fish, hunt or frequent your beautiful natural resources that are provided by your community, your state, and our federal government."

The most encouraging words were that "some 98 percent of us would rather have it this way than to purchase land or houses which pushes up the existing economic scale; encumbers your already over burdened resources, and makes it nearly impossible for the average person to find adequate, affordable housing, or medical care as the local cost of living escalates. No, we would rather visit, donate by our commerce and aid your economic base to help keep your taxes at a maintainable level for the average citizen."

The writer's comments reminds me of a former bumper sticker that pleaded, "Keep Colorado green, bring your Money. Then please go home." As I recall, it was one of Governor Romer's favorites.

Margaret Wilson and the folks in the Lower Blanco Property Owners Association should be encouraged to know that their efforts to restore their portion of the Blanco River are greatly appreciated.

It's always nice to receive folks' letters, but it helps if the writers limit themselves to 500 words or less. Otherwise the letters will be edited or discarded.

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



25 years ago

Bids opened on airport work

Taken from SUN files

of June 19, 1975

Bids were opened this week on two road and bridge projects, with improvements at Stevens Field airport being the first contract awarded. The other contract awarded was for road improvement and erosion control on the Trujillo Road a short distance above Trujillo. Work at the airport will consist of reseeding, water control, and some leveling to prevent runoff damage and flooding.

A high speed chase - speeds up to 115 miles per hour - last Thursday resulted in the arrest of a Los Angeles man by the Colorado State Patrol. The east-bound speeder passed through Pagosa Springs at an estimated 60 to 70 miles per hour, eluded a state patrol officer from Durango and finally stopped when his vehicle became overheated.

The old car show held at Pagosa Lodge last week drew entries from the San Juan Basin. About a dozen cars were entered. Prior to the judging the vehicles drove as a parade through the down town area.

The Pagosa Springs Jaycees, as one of their continuing projects, worked on improving the grounds at Town Park Saturday. Several trees were planted by the Jaycees in hopes of improving the appearance of the park.


By Shari Pierce

Life in Archuleta County

On Dec. 21, 1917, editor Bud Furrow of The Pagosa Springs SUN put out an extra large edition of the SUN. The issue presented informative articles concerning life in the county. It seems likely that Furrow wanted to present Archuleta County in a positive light to encourage people to move to the area. Mrs. Minnie Mote contributed an article, "Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County an Ideal Place to Live."

Mrs. Mote stressed the "advantages" Pagosa Springs offered a family. First and foremost in her story was the statement that the "saloon is a thing of the past." This was followed by statements stressing the quality of education offered the young people because "the pioneers of our town and county have never allowed their race for bread and butter to interfere with educational matters." The town also boasted one Roman Catholic and two Protestant churches.

Mote concluded her article by saying, "It would be a pessimist of the most doleful type who would not acknowledge that Pagosa Springs with its pure air and water, good schools and churches, bathing and natural advantages for making a livelihood was not an ideal place to enjoy life and rear a family."

Emma Losee shared her knowledge of the Blanco Basin area. Many people were successful in raising alfalfa, clover, timothy and wheat. Others were able to grow root vegetables and some fruits. Most of the ranches in the area cut from 60 to 160 tons of hay in addition to oats and barley.

As for housing conditions in the Blanco Basin, "most of us live in log houses, the logs cut by our own hands from our own trees." Losee reported the families were quickly outgrowing the cabins and a sawmill was badly needed.

"As to social life, we have the telephone and our young folks have dancing parties frequently and Saturdays there are always some to be met at the post office."

Under the heading of "Progressive Women" editor Furrow wrote, "Women enjoy a full mead of recognition in Archuleta County. We have among them - One physician. One osteopath. One embalmer. One preacher. One barber. One teacher. One printer. One authoress. Lady owner and active manager of the Electric Light Plant. One-half of one of the papers edited by a woman. Two hotel proprietresses besides three others associated with their husbands in business. Postmistress. Ranch woman and stock grower. Besides the treasurer, county clerk, superintendent of schools and deputy district clerk are women."


Pacing Pagosa
By Richard Walter

Courtesy takes back seat to aggression

They will never equal the enormity of a metropolitan rush hour traffic jam, but the early morning, noon hour and late afternoon traffic back-ups from downtown Pagosa Springs west to Pagosa Boulevard in Pagosa Lakes have a frustration factor all their own.

Until recently, you see, traffic jams were unheard of in Pagosa Country. You might have experienced a brief delay if there were a fire or an accident, or maybe a slight delay after a Saturday football game or basketball game, but rush hour here always seemed to come on what has become known as Pagosa Time - whenever everyone got the chance to quit and go home.

One benefit of the traffic light at 5th and San Juan Streets, when it is finally installed, should be a break in traffic patterns that will at least allow drivers a chance to turn off the heavily traveled San Juan (U.S. 160) to a side street or into a commercial area parking lot.

Of course, just one more light won't solve the total problem. The intersection at U.S. 160 and Piedra Road atop Put Hill also needs a traffic light and eventually there will be the need for another at U.S. 160 and Pagosa Boulevard.

It is all part of a sign of the times. Growth, like it or not, has come to Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County and it is spurting rapidly. For example, 240 building permits were issued in the county in the first four months of the year and 22 permits were issued in the town of Pagosa Springs.

One evening last week I drove to the supermarket between 5:30 and 6 m. and needed to make a left turn off San Juan onto either 7th or 8th Street in order to get into the parking lot.

I could see the long line of vehicles coming down the hill toward me, but expected there would be a break to allow me to turn. The break finally came - after I counted 131 eastbound vehicles and could see a long line of impatient drivers lined up behind me.

I later learned part of the problem had been a long hold-up on Yellowjacket Pass where blasting had been delaying traffic in both directions for up to an hour. All those vehicles arrived in "urban" Pagosa Springs just as our rural version of the evening rush hour was at its peak.

Vacationers, commuters to or from Bayfield, Ignacio and Durango, sightseers and folks just out for an evening drive or on the way to a dinner date found themselves gobbled up in long lines of barely moving traffic. I saw many westbound drivers veer quickly into the outer lane to avoid the backup of stopped cars waiting to turn.

I saw drivers in that lane swerve to avoid hitting or being hit by one of the impatient lane changers. I heard horns blast, saw fists waved and in one case saw a digital salute from a lane-changer who made it without being hit.

Yes, traffic woes have come to our small portion of the big wild West. And unfortunately, the same driving manners employed in the big city have come with them.

Courtesy seems to take a back seat to aggressiveness when one feels he or she has been delayed too long in an unmoving line of traffic.

The traffic light should help. Two or three more would help even more. But those would be signs of "big city life," the one thing many people came here to escape.

These rush hour drivers are all going to or coming from jobs, so the economy must be good. And the issuance of housing and commercial building permits indicate even more growth. Probably, they also indicate even greater traffic jams until more controls are in place.

I, unfortunately, am of an age in which horse-drawn wagons were still a common sight on the roads and streets of Pagosa Country, when cattle and sheep were still driven down the county roads to pasture in the high country, and when walking or bicycling were common means of transportation to school, work and play.

There was no traffic light then and no need for one.

But Pagosa had to grow. Its scenic location, year round outdoor attractions, hot spring and attendant health facilities all drew vacationers. And many of those vacationers went home with a desire to return full time when economy would allow it.

They told others of the mountain-valley Utopia they'd found and still more came to see where Mother Nature had pitched her permanent tent.

Those are the people who've joined old time entrepreneurs to become the movers and shakers of today's Pagosa. They've fulfilled some of their dream of having mountain views and enjoying mountain life. But they've unintentionally brought with them many of the things they left the city to escape.

One could cite things like rising crime rates, objections to what a neighbor builds, plans to build, or simply talks about. But on the whole, one of the biggest concerns they've brought to Pagosa Country is traffic, endless traffic on even the more remote roads.

There was a time when none of the roads were paved. Then came progress and U.S. 160 and U.S. 84 got macadam surfaces. Still, the streets in town and most country roads stayed unpaved and dust flying from roadways was one of a housewife's biggest daily worries.

Progress brought us hardened roadways to speed up traffic and development meant new roads leading into once pristine wilderness. Where once man was forced to walk miles to enjoy the great outdoors, roads put the thrill within a few minutes drive.

Alas, it is a thrill rapidly disappearing from the mountain scene.

Traffic signals will come. Old Pagosa is part of that disappearing panorama in which we grew up.


Food for Thought
By Karl Isberg

Tiny beings cavort inside our appliances

The tube went down at 11 a.m.

The cable is on the fritz. It's 1 p.m. and the situation is grim: code blue.

As a television addict, doing without TV is not an option.

As an extremist, it's clear I have only two choices: purchase a satellite system or . . . I can start my own cable television company.

Hey, don't laugh.

Think for a moment about our local cable service. If Larry, Moe and Curly can operate a cable system, so can I.

What situation, what frenzied state supports these thoughts?

At 11 a.m. I'm in the zone, reclining in the control module, eating a piece of room-temperature provolone, watching a repeat episode of House Beautiful, taking a video tour of an exceptional piece of contemporary architecture located in Santa Cruz, California. My picture fizzles, spits and goes to snow, accompanied by an earsplitting white noise.

This mayhem occurs just as Monique, my exotic but icy northern European hostess, prepares to enter the master bedroom, complete with curved stainless steel partition between bed and bath and a unique skylight system fashioned after the shape of a 17th Century Japanese lantern.

I want to see that partition. I adore skylights and old lanterns.

What I get is snow. White noise.

I grab the remote, hoping the outage affects one channel only.

Leeds should be playing Chelsea in English Premiere League action on Channel 29. I'm fond of Leeds; the lads are perennial underdogs.

White noise.

There should be a Bowflex commercial on Channel 9. The host has an incredible deltoid process and a nice smile. I punch in the numbers and hit the enter button.


Baron Von Richtofen is leading the Flying Circus over Belgium on Channel 18. His ominous Fokker Triplane should be coming out of a perfect Immelmann turn, bearing down on a Spad and its inept, terrified, corn-fed pilot.


I'm frantic; I punch at the keys on the remote unit. A GoGos special is scheduled on 37. I've been obsessed with Belinda Carlisle for years. I'll hasten to 37, I think, to Belinda, to safe harbor.

Nothing but fuzz.

Jacques Pepin and Julia Child? Two old friends preparing chicken chasseur?


A CNN analysis of Ugandan Parliament sessions?


I am absolutely desperate, willing to try anything.


No, not even golf.

There is fuzz on every channel.

I feel a surge of panic. I realize I have no way of knowing whether there is high pressure over Pennsylvania, whether a tropical depression is moving toward the Keys. I'm going to miss the Boogie Bass commercial where the fish sings "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

Barring a miracle, there's no way I'll watch the Mickey Rooney biography, Malcolm in the Middle, the interview with Squeaky Fromme and Leslie Van Houten, Roller Derby, Wall Street in Review, True Stories of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Kenny and Babs are featured on Blind Date at 9:30; they're going to a rib joint for dinner. Kenny likes to play with his food and pass gas in public; Babs has webbed toes. Will they like each other? I'll never know!

Worst of all, I could miss Buffy the Vampire Slayer if the outage is not repaired in a timely fashion. Buffy and Riley are engaged in an intense relationship but Riley has missed several government-mandated steroid treatments. What's gonna happen?

I undergo significant stress-induced physical change. My diastolic pressure shoots up to 150. A blowout is imminent.

There are certain products key to my existence I can procure only via television. They are not available in stores. Operators are standing by, and I don't have the phone numbers! My cable company has failed me.

How will I order a can of Leakender 2000?

What about my set of WWF Action Figures: The Rock, Mankind, The Undertaker? I plan to order a set for me and a set for my nephew Carter.

Chuck Norris is demonstrating the Total Gym. I need the 800 number for Street Corner Serenade I and II: Doo Wop Classics. How on earth will I be able to procure size-44 nylon/lycra Breezie support garments?

Who is to blame for this predicament?

Larry, Moe and Curly.

I search the phone directory and call the cable company. I reach a computerized answering machine and, after pressing 2, I leave a terse but polite message, including my phone number.

Any bets on whether someone calls back?

Any bets on whether service is restored before my head hits the pillow at 10:30 p.m.?

I'm peeved.

There are infommercials to watch. There's a trio of Tarot readers who possess uncanny abilities, and I must contact them. Just the other night, one of the readers turned over the King of Cups and told Jim his wife was having an affair. . .with her ex-husband, the carnival barker.

There's a phone number I can call to order the complete colorized Year 2000 State Quarter set, with display card. And Massachusetts is free, if I call soon. If I can get the number!

I am determined to find out where Bernice and Joyce purchased their Hoverround motorized chairs. Those chairs carried the gals all the way to the Grand Canyon.

Larry, Moe and Curly are inhibiting my lifestyle but the biggest insult is - when the screen goes black, when entropy grips the photons, when the information ceases to flow - Larry, Moe and Curly continue to drain my pocketbook.

To a staunch postmodernist like myself, television is a utility. Don't you agree? A television provider is a utility company, just like the electric company, the gas company, the water company. I need my TV, as much as I need water. Maybe more.

When your electricity goes off, do you continue to pay for what you don't use?

When the gas ceases to flow through the pipe, do you pay for what you don't consume?

Why pay the same monthly bill when your cable television service goes off for a day or two? What kind of utility is this?

You think the National Security Agency has power?

As I sit in the eerily quiet dark room, nibbling cheese and Kalamata olives, I ponder the programming I purchase each month from Larry, Moe and Curly. For a price that provides 100 or more channels of programming in a metro area, Larry, Moe and Curly give me 34 choices, none of them premium channels. Of the 34 channels, two feature the daily television schedule; two are duplicates of the Weather Channel; three are duplicates of network programming.

There are "local" channels - which not even my dog will watch.

On one local channel, we get a loop of promotions for timeshare visitors, for denizens of local motels. An ornate and unfamiliar blond wearing a goofy-looking beaded choker glues superlatives on everything and lets visitors know how marvelous and wonderful and spectacular everything is. She knows so much about Pagosa, she's probably a graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, don't you think?

The second local channel. . . well, fortunately, it's gone dark. You can watch the 1999 Red Ryder Roundup parade only so many times, no matter how many real estate ads it's sandwiched between.

I realize it's time to take a step into the 21st Century, to make a choice. I can't afford the coaxial cable I need to compete with Larry, Moe and Curly, so I'm ready for the satellite.

Most of my friends have satellite dishes - dinky discs you bolt to the side of the house. This is what I need. The little techno-marvel picks up signals from a source fixed in stationary orbit somewhere over Provo, Utah. The signals travel to a black box and emerge from the box in the form of hundreds of programming options.

How this happens, is anyone's guess. Since I don't understand the physics of the process, I choose to believe there are spirits at work - sprites encased in the satellite above Provo, specters in the dish, phantoms in the wires, and angels in the black box. There is no other explanation. I find it comforting to attribute everything I don't understand to the work of unseen spirits - positive and negative presences that operate to make my world the way it is. This belief prevents me from dealing with both ambiguity and my own stultifying ignorance.

With my satellite system installed, I'll be spared a measure of embarrassment. In the past, when asked where the spirits that rule my world are located, I pointed over my head. This was a shaky explanation, since it's apparent even to me that the world isn't the flat, middle plane in a three-tiered universe, and the moon and stars aren't cutouts in a flimsy celestial backdrop. With my dish and equipment in place, life will be easier: when questioned about my invisible helpers, I'll simply point at the black box and say, "Why, they're in there."

When I turn on my set and settle in to watch Judge Judy thrash the moral daylights out of a gaggle of low-IQ civil litigants, I'll revel in the fact that the image of the good judge is toted on the backs of thousands of incorporeal beings. All working for me!

Once the dish is bolted into place and the sprites and imps are pressed into action, I'll throw a "Hello Satellite, Goodbye Stooges" party to christen the new system.

I'll serve my guests what I choose to call "Telstar Terrifico" - a variation on a dish in Marcella Hazan's "Marcella Cucina."

I'll keep my eye peeled at the local supermarket for yellowfin tuna. Believe it or not, it shows up now and then. I'll need a pound of fish for four people.

Onions will be cooked in olive oil in a heavy saute pan over medium heat until they are soft and begin to take on a bit of color. When the onions are just about done, I'll add several chopped anchovy fillets and cook the mix until the anchovies melt into the oil.

Hazan's recipe calls for fresh, ripe tomatoes. Hah! That'll be the day!

I'll use about two cups of canned Italian plum tomatoes, chopped up and put back in their juice. Tomatoes, juice, several tablespoons of chopped parsley, a bit of chopped garlic and a diced jalapeno pepper will be added to the onions with the heat under the pan boosted to medium high. Stirred occasionally, the sauce will reduce and thicken in about 20 minutes.

Just before the sauce is completely cooked, I'll cut the fish into 1-inch cubes. I'll heat olive oil in a heavy frying pan over high heat and when the oil is hot, in goes the tuna. I'll turn the cubes rapidly to crisp each side, taking care not to overcook the fish. The chunks of tuna should be rare in the middle.

The tuna will go into the sauce with a touch of butter and be served immediately on linguine, with a bit of fresh-ground Parmesan on the side. You figure out what to serve with this dish - bread, salad, vegetable, whatever - I'm eating it alone, washed down with a light red, like a pinot noir.

With a monster helping of Telstar Terrifico and more than 150 programming options, I'll be pain-free. I'll have my new system and my indiscernible friends will make sure I receive my signals. If something does go wrong - a strike among sprites, for example, or a power failure where gremlins damage high tension transmission lines - I'm sure my friendly satellite provider will credit me for the broadcast time I miss.

I'm sure.



Roland Paul Sanchez

Ruben and Trish Sanchez, of Colorado Springs, are proud to announce the arrival of their son Roland Paul Sanchez, born at 3:29 p.m. May 23, 2000. He weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces and was 19-inches long.

His paternal grandparents are Reynaldo and Lupe Sanchez of Pagosa Springs. His maternal grandparents are Genny Smiley of Vonore, Tenn., and Paul Waltrup of Columbia, Md.

ReaLynn Huizar

Patricia Miller and Raymond Huizar are proud to announce the birth of their daughter, ReaLynn Czarina Huizar, on Monday June 5, 2000. She weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces and was 19 1/4-inches long.

Maternal grandparents are Billy and Helen Lynn of Pagosa Springs. Proud big brothers and sister are Christopher, Nicholas, Tino and Savannah.


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