Front Page

July 6, 2000

Ordinance sets design guides for west

By Karl Isberg

An ordinance passed July 3 by Pagosa Springs Trustees sets design guidelines for an area located at the west end of town, paving the way for similar planning in other parts of town.

Trustees approved the creation of the D4 Zoning District, setting design guidelines and a review process for development within the district. The area in question includes four parcels of land on the south side of U.S. 160, across the highway from the Pagosa Springs Golf Club course. A small piece of land on the north side of the highway, at the junction with Piñon Causeway, is also part of the district.

Elements of the ordinance were created following interaction between owners of properties in the designated area and town officials. Residents from adjacent, unincorporated properties were also invited to attend planning meetings.

In the ordinance, trustees signaled a desire "to create a means to draw a reasonable balance between private property rights and the public interest in preserving Pagosa Springs' unique architectural flavor by ensuring that design guidelines be carefully considered within the D4 district for impact of the property's contribution to Pagosa Springs' character."

Guidelines are described in the ordinance as "a flexible tool, an alternative to prescriptive zoning requirements, allowing each new development to be responsive to the distinctive character of its surroundings."

Developers within the D4 district will communicate with town staff members prior to the issuance of building permits to "work toward an acceptable and viable final project design." According to the ordinance, the cooperative activity will involve "attention to architectural compatibility, pedestrian mobility, lighting, signage and landscaping to ensure quality development, while avoiding visually chaotic and confusing roadside business."

Other elements outlined in the ordinance include consideration of site planning, access issues, circulation of pedestrian and motor traffic, parking, screening, open space and drainage.

Architectural style will be part of development planning in the district as will orientation of structures relative to natural features of the landscape, internal streets, highways and planned open spaces. Building forms and materials, and setbacks are addressed. A maximum building height in the district is set at 35 feet.

A design review process is established to provide developers with all information needed to proceed on a project in the D4 district and to facilitate the cooperation between developer and town staff. The process involves a pre-design conference, preparation of a preliminary development plan, and submittal and approval of a final development plan. All plans will be reviewed by town staff members and, upon approval of the final development plan, a building permit will be issued.

"This kind of administrative review process is used in many communities," said Town Planner Chris Bentley. "It allows for more sensitivity to the unique qualities of each site."

The design review process does not apply to subdivision of properties. Subdivisions must include a sketch-plan phase as well as reviews by the town planning commission and town trustees. The subdivision process requires public hearings as part of the sketch-plan, preliminary-plan and final-plan stages.

The type of cooperative planning effort set for the D4 district could soon extend to other areas of town.

"There's the potential to grow off the architectural guidelines for other neighborhoods in town," said Town Administrator Jay Harrington. "Our goal is to do specific neighborhood plans and the D4 situation could be a model for the process. We've been approached by business owners in certain areas and some residents have approached us. We need to write implementation tools for our Hot Springs Boulevard development plan before we take on any other projects, but when we are ready, it will depend on what residents in specific neighborhoods want," Harrington said.

In a related matter July 3, trustees passed an ordinance adopting pedestrian impact fees for land development activities in town that generate pedestrian traffic.

The ordinance acknowledges the fact the "construction of new subdivisions and developments within the Town is generating significant amounts of pedestrian traffic and demands for pedestrian traffic improvements. . . ."

With further recognition that they find "one of the primary roles of subdivision and development review is to ensure that essential public services and facilities are provided," board members agreed to install "a rational system for identifying growth-related costs incurred for providing pedestrian improvements made necessary by new development. . . ."

Impact fees assessed in developments will "accurately reflect actual growth-related capital costs." Harrington said the fee schedule will be reviewed annually by town staff, based on linear foot costs of pedestrian-traffic improvements and construction costs. The fee will guarantee developers shoulder "a roughly proportional share of the cost of providing new and enhanced pedestrian traffic improvements."

All fees collected will be used for construction of sidewalks and other improvements, with none of the revenue being used by the town for periodic or routine maintenance, personnel costs or operational expenses.


Deputy debate continues

By John M. Motter

Archuleta County commissioners are expected to decide next week on whether or not to fund the hiring of two deputies to replace three being lost when the Public Safety Office at Fairfield Pagosa goes out of business July 15.

Discussion of the topic is expected to be scheduled for the regular weekly meeting of county commissioners starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the commissioners meeting room in the county courthouse. The agenda is not normally posted before 9 a.m. Monday. The Colorado Open Meetings law only requires posting of the agenda 24 hours in advance of meetings under ordinary circumstances.

A workshop Friday attended by the commissioners and representatives of the county sheriff failed to produce a clear indication of what the commissioners might decide.

Sheriff Tom Richards has asked for two new deputies and three police vehicles to replace the deputies and the vehicles being turned loose by the Pagosa Lakes Property Owner's Association.

Under the most recent arrangement between the county, the sheriff and the PLPOA, Public Safety Office deputies are hired and supervised by the country sheriff. That arrangement is being terminated Saturday based on a 60-day notice provided the county from the PLPOA.

Because the law enforcement service at Fairfield Pagosa has involved a level of service in excess of the level the county was willing to provide, the PLPOA had paid the county to cover the expense of the additional level of service.

Even though Richards is asking for two deputies, he is asking to purchase three vehicles formerly used by the PSO.

"We have one vehicle with more than 200,000 miles on it," Richards said. "If we can replace it with the third car, it will save the county a lot of money. The other two cars will be for the two additional deputies. I'm just thinking about the safety of my officers."

The PLPOA has asked the county to pay $60,000 for the three vehicles. Included on the vehicles are light bars and other accouterments used on police vehicles, but not including radar. The light bars and accessories cost about $5,500 per vehicle. A lease-purchase arrangement allowing the county to pay $20,000 a year has been advanced by the PSO.

Richards argues that two new deputies will be needed to replace the three being turned loose Saturday.

"There are 6,000 people at Fairfield Pagosa who will be losing police coverage," Richards said. "We normally have one deputy on patrol at Fairfield Pagosa and another deputy in the rest of the county."

One question the commissioners face is, can the county afford two additional deputies plus vehicles and how will the county pay for such an unbudgeted item? The cost of salaries and benefits for two deputies is estimated at about $70,000 a year, about one-half that amount for the remainder of the year 2000.

The county started the year 2000 with $567,620 in an undistributed surplus fund based on actual 1999 revenues in excess of estimated 1999 revenues. Additional beginning balance surpluses are noted as line items in the 2000 budget.

It has been suggested that the cost of the additional deputies be taken from the undistributed surplus.

About $360,980 of unexpected expenditures have already been taken from the $567,620, according to Dennis Hunt, the county manager. The balance remaining in that source is $206,640.

There will probably be no need for additional deputies in the 2001 budget if the current request is filled, according to Richards, but a year will be needed to evaluate the impact of the two new deputies. Richards would not promise that additional vehicles or other equipment will not be requested next year.

"If growth continues, we will have to evaluate at that time what the needs of the department are," Richards said. "It is our job to fill the law enforcement needs of the people."

The way Colorado law works, the sheriff and other elected officials are responsible for developing a budget and overseeing expenditures from that budget. The county commissioners, however, are responsible for final approval of the sheriff's budget and for raising income to satisfy budget needs. Consequently, the sheriff cannot hire deputies or make other expenditures in excess of agreed-upon, budgeted amounts without the commissioners approval.

"For myself," said Commissioner Gene Crabtree, "I'd like to see spending under next year's budget be limited to whatever is in the budget. We have to hold the line unless we get a major emergency."

"Hiring these two officers is an emergency," said Capt. Otis May, who assisted Richards with the sheriff's office presentation.


Fire ban remains intact on county public lands

A fire ban is still in effect for the San Juan National Forest, San Juan Field Office-Bureau of Land Management lands, Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Indian reservations, and Mesa Verde National Park.

On these public lands, the following activities are banned due to continued high fire danger:

- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal broiler, or coal or wood burning stove. (This restriction applies everywhere, including fire grates in developed recreation areas and high-elevation Wilderness areas formerly exempt from fire restrictions this year.) The use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns or heating devices that use pressurized liquid with a regulated flame (such gas propane stoves) are still permitted for use

- Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material

- Operating a chainsaw

- Using an explosive

- Welding or operating a torch with an open flame

- Fireworks, as always, of any kind.

According to officials with the San Juan Public Lands Center in Durango, persons who violate the fire ban risk fines.

For more information, contact the Southwest Colorado Public Lands Center at 247-4874.

To report a wildfire on public lands, call the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 385-1324.


Fairfield Pagosa paving could take 3 weeks

By John M. Motter

The paving of several roads in Fairfield-Pagosa should be finished in two or three weeks, according to Roxann Hayes, the Archuleta County engineer.

Included among the roads scheduled for paving are Vista Boulevard, Bonanza Avenue the west end of Park Avenue, and portions of North Pagosa Boulevard. The work is being financed from proceeds of the $6.5 million bankruptcy settlement among Fairfield Communities Inc., Archuleta County, and Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association.

Completion of these projects will bring to an end nearly all of the work anticipated in the settlement agreement.

"There may be a few small items remaining," Hayes said, "but this pretty well wraps up the work scheduled. When these paving projects are completed, we'll look at how much money we've spent, how much money we have left, and go from there. I expect to finish all of the bankruptcy road work this summer."

Crews from Weeminuche Construction have either finished or are in the process of spreading a new rock base, leveling, and compacting a new road bed for Vista Boulevard, Bonanza Avenue, the west end of Park Avenue, and portions of North Pagosa Boulevard. All of the rock work and road-bed preparation will be completed before paving starts.

The paving has been subcontracted to Strohecker Asphalt and Paving Co. of Pagosa Springs. Paving should be completed within two or three weeks, according to Hayes.

"There are a lot of variables that affect the pace of paving work," Hayes said, "including weather, equipment failures, and some things that can't be anticipated."


Condo, timeshare thefts mount; 57 incidents listed

By Karl Isberg

Local law enforcement officers are investigating a series of thefts during June and early July in areas adjacent to the west town limit of Pagosa Springs.

Since June 4, 57 incidents have occurred at condominiums and timeshare units west of Pagosa Springs. Most of the incidents were thefts from unlocked autos, and most of the autos were owned by visitors to the area.

Deputy Tonya Rogers said items taken in the thefts include fishing equipment, cellular telephones, cameras, video cameras and compact disc players.

Rogers said the investigation of the incidents continues, with no suspects identified and no confirmation that all of the incidents were committed by the same person or persons.

The deputy warns owners of vehicles to "definitely keep all vehicle doors locked and take valuables inside your residence. Also, report any suspicious persons or activities by calling central dispatch at 264-2131, or by calling 911."


Voters face Monday registration deadline

If you plan to vote in the statewide primary elections Aug. 8 you have a Monday deadline facing you - if you're not already registered.

Voters must be U.S. citizens, at least 18 years old on or before Aug. 8 and a resident of the precinct in which they will vote for at least 30 days before the election date.

Residents not already registered must do so before now and 4 p.m. Monday either in the local driver's license office, public assistance office or county clerk's office in order to vote in the primary election. For Archuleta County, all three offices are in the county courthouse. The courthouse is not open weekends.

If you move before Monday, state officials said, but remain in the same voting precinct, go to your regular polling place on election day and complete a change of address form. If you move out of the precinct but remain in the county, go to the county clerk's office to complete a change of address. If you move out of the county, go to the clerk's office in the new county.

If you move after July 10, you must return to your old precinct to vote or acquire an absentee ballot to vote there.


Inside The Sun

Batch plant public hearing sceduled Wednesday

By John M. Motter

A busy agenda is expected for the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. July 12 in the County Fair Building.

The Planning Commission is an advisory board which, in conjunction with county planning and building department staff, reviews building and land use proposals to guarantee complicity with county regulations in those areas. In addition, the USJRPC, in conjunction with county staff, writes legislation relevant to county building, development, and land use planning.

After adopting a stance for or against a specific development proposal or proposed development legislation, the Planning Commission passes its recommendations on to the county commissioners. County commissioner approval is required before any proposal approved by the Planning Commission can become law.

A public hearing will be held this coming week by the Planning Commission to gather public input concerning a concrete batch plant proposed for construction about four miles north of town on U.S. 160. The owners of the batch plant, Hard Times Inc., has applied for a conditional-use permit.

Meanwhile, the first conditional-use permit issued in Archuleta County was approved by the county commissioners June 27. Winning Solutions has been allowed to construct a new, single-story building containing approximately 13,000 square feet in the Cloman Industrial Park near Stevens Field. The building will contain about 2,000 square feet of office space and almost 11,000 square feet of warehouse space.

The main use of the building will be to house the firm's Pagosa Springs sales and corporate headquarters. All wholesale and direct-to-consumer products for the firm's Miracle of Aloe product line will be processed in the building.

The owners intend to take advantage of the additional space to expand and to provide a location to house the warehouse and fulfillment center currently housed in Dallas. The move from Dallas is expected to take place within two years.

An additional use of the building will include an internal letter shop for mail order brochures and bulk mailing for the local community and residents of the Four Corners area.

A second conditional-use permit has been approved by the Planning Commission, but has not reached the commissioners yet. The Planning Commission attached several conditions to the approval, particularly concern that irrigation water running on and across the property be channeled so that it won't pick up and forward any contamination downstream.

The second permit was requested by Buckskin Towing and Repair L.L.C., for a property located just northeast of Pagosa Springs on U.S. 160. The firm expects to operate a towing and automotive repair facility in Unit B of an existing building on the property. The existing building is located on Parcel A in the HIS Subdivision.

The proposed business will be in a building owned and operated by the applicants. Other uses of the building include a boot repair shop and a taxidermy shop, both previously approved for a limited-use permit.

All of the businesses will be located in the 3,000-square-foot, two-story building. An additional 5,600 feet outside the building will be used for automobile storage. The applicants also own Parcel A of the HIS Subdivision, located immediately north of Parcel B. Parcel A will be used to gain access to Parcel B.

The vehicle storage area will be located behind the building and stretch to a 20-foot high shale bluff. Water seeping through the bluff and onto the property has been identified as a possible source of contamination if it runs across the parking lot. Therefore, the developers are being required to capture and divert the water around the parking area.

The storage area will have a gravel surface. The graveled area will be designed to intercept potential contamination through the use of a drainage swale line with a material to prevent ground water penetration into the storage area's subgrade. The swale will drain into a "stormcepter" which will trap all water and direct it to a storage vault. The stormcepter is designed to contain oil and solids in a separation chamber, for appropriate removal and disposal.

An 8-foot high metal fence will be erected around the storage area for the purpose of screening the storage area from public view. Fencing requirements are specified by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The Buckskin Towing conditional-use permit has been approved by the Planning Commission and by county planning staff. The approval contained certain conditions. When those conditions are met, the permit application will be forwarded to the county commissioners to consider for final approval. No date has been established for placing the proposal on the commissioners agenda.


Weekend will be both wet and dry

By John M. Motter

Pagosa Country will remain wet and dry through the coming weekend, according to Jerry Smith, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction.

"It's going to be mostly drier," Smith said of the coming weekend. "Thursday's temperature (today) should reach 90 degrees. There is a slight chance of afternoon and evening thundershowers Saturday and Sunday. High temperatures should range from the mid-80s to the low 90s."

A front moving in Monday could bring rain to the Four Corners area, Smith said. So far, conditions needed to bring the long awaited summer rainy season to Pagosa Country are absent, Smith added. The summer rainy season is referred to as the monsoon season.

Voluntary water restrictions remain in effect, according to Gene Tautges, assistant manager of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District. PAWS supplies drinking water for Pagosa Springs and the surrounding subdivisions.

"The little bits of moisture we've had recently are helping and, for the most part, people are cooperating by using water carefully," Tautges said. "Still, the lakes continue to fall. If we don't receive significant rainfall soon, we might have to consider mandatory water rationing."

The voluntary rationing program asks users to water only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Mandatory rationing would require users to water only during the hours mentioned and provides a penalty for violators. More strict rationing rules can be enacted.

Last week, 0.38 inches of precipitation were captured at the official U.S. Weather Service measuring station at Stevens Field. On Thursday last, 0.34 inches of rain fell, bringing the June precipitation total to 1.66 inches. Since the long-time average June precipitation in town is 0.91 inches, June 2000 was considerably wetter than the average.

Still, drought conditions prevail and fire bans are in effect throughout the area. One cause may be the lack of precipitation since the beginning of the year. By month, precipitation in town has amounted to: June - 1.66 inches, May - 0.16 inches, April - 0.54 inches, March - 3.93 inches, February - 0.93, and January - 1.32 inches, a total precipitation from Jan. 1 through June 30 of 8.55 inches. The long-time average precipitation for the same time frame is: June - 0.91 inches, May - 1.21 inches, April - 1.29 inches, March - 1.61 inches, February - 1.29 inches, and January - 1.85 inches for a long-time average of 8.16 inches.

Even though precipitation for the year is slightly above average, precipitation over the last three months since April 1 is only 69 percent of average. A big factor affecting local moisture conditions is the below-average snowfall recorded in the mountains this past winter.


Planning a wedding Cost just got cheaper

By John M. Motter

The cost of getting married just became less expensive in Colorado. Not that the state is offering two-for-one rates.

For years, in addition to the regular $10 marriage license fee, the state has collected an extra $10 for the Colorado Children's Trust Fund. This fund was set up in 1992 for battered children. The battered children's fund continues to exist, but will be funded with money collected during the divorce process instead of from marriage fees, according to Archuleta County Clerk June Madrid.

A considerable amount of change is on tap in county clerk offices across the state, according to Madrid, who recently returned from a statewide meeting of county clerks. The purpose of the meeting was to update county clerks on the latest legislative changes affecting their departments.

The rules governing changes in the marriage license process are contained in HB 00-1025, said Madrid.

New laws have been passed concerning the registration of motor vehicles, Madrid said. Motor vehicle registration fees are currently divided into two parts. One part is the license fee based on vehicle weight and depends on the vehicle's tax class, that is, whether the vehicle is a car, truck, or trailer. The second part is the license fee based partly on the age of the vehicle. This fee decreases as the vehicle ages and is a form of property tax.

Owners of a vehicle not in use can get the first part of the registration fee waived, but not the second part, Madrid said, because the second part is a kind of property tax based on the ownership and not the use of the vehicle.

HB 00-127 goes into effect Jan. 1, 2001, and changes license fees. It allows the base of the license fee to go down as much as 25 percent with a minimum decline of $2.50, depending on the vehicle tax class and weight.

HB 00-1140 took effect July 1 and changes the second part of the process for calculating vehicle ownership tax for registration fees. It changes the formula used by the clerk's office to calculate taxable value. Taxable value is the figure on which ownership tax is based. Currently, the ownership tax is based on either 75 percent or 85 percent of the manufacturer's suggested retail price. The choice between 75 percent and 85 percent is governed by the vehicle class, that is, whether it is car, truck, or trailer. The change allows the clerk's office to use the same percentage of the manufacturer's suggested retail price or of the actual purchase price, whichever is lower.

Concerning license plates, Prisoner of War, Disabled Veterans, and Purple Heart plates may now be placed on vehicles weighing up to 6,500 pounds. Previously, the limit was 4,500 pounds, thereby exempting some of the larger pickups.

After July 1, pickup owners must show proof of insurance before registering the pickup or renewing plates. This requirement applied to cars only in the past.

Finally, the state sales tax rate is being dropped from 3 percent to 2.9 percent effective Jan. 1, 2001, according to Dorothy Dalquist, spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Revenue.

"There was a large surplus and the last legislature wanted to make refunds to the public without writing everyone a check," Dalquist said. "The bill for this passed during the last session. This is a permanent reduction regardless of whether there is or isn't a surplus. It may not sound like much but it amounts to $70.9 million a year across the state."


Who becomes a rough stock rider; and why?

By Richard Walter

He makes an average of 50 rodeos a year, most of them in the southwest - right now, competing in bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding and chute doggin'. He is currently the number one ranked performer in his professional rodeo association.

A rodeo arena circuit rider, you think? One of those guys who lives for the thrill of competition between man and animal?

You're right. And you're wrong.

Richard A. "Tex" Hall was in town Tuesday for the third day of the Red Ryder Roundup, one of the many rodeos he rides in every year. Tall, slender, long-legged and well-spoken, with a slight Texas twang, he comes across as the quintessential rodeo performer, the guy who rides rough stock simply because it's there.

He's not just a rodeo performer, however.

Hall is a graduate of United States Military Academy at West Point, a career Army man carrying the rank of major. He is as dedicated to his military profession as he is to rodeo.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Hall was a self-described skinny, but fast football player in high school who suffered one too many injuries. I went to my coach and told him I had to give it up. He told me I wasn't a quitter, and that he was surprised I'd lasted as long as I did. He said I'd find something else.

Hall wasn't sure what that would be.

He had friends in the school's rodeo club and joined simply because they were there. One day they talked him into getting on a bull and he covered it for the full mandatory eight seconds.

"First ride. Success! It all got started then," he said matter-of-factly.

Then came a nomination to West Point and while there he got involved in New England rodeo. Not everyone knows it, he said, but rodeo is a big attraction in Northeast America.

"It gets into your blood like a disease," he said of rodeoing. "You just have to perform. If you have another profession, you devote yourself to it so that when you need time for the rodeo arena, it can be made available."

His accomplishments indicate he's performed at ultimate levels in both careers. He has advanced through the officer ranks to the rank of major. He has trained a company of recruiters and holds a BA in engineering.

On the dusty, sometimes bloody fields of rodeo endeavor, Hall is currently the top-ranked all-around performer in the Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association. He's ranked first in both bareback and saddle bronc riding, third in bull riding, and fourth in chute doggin'.

Stationed now at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, he is also a member of the New Mexico Rodeo Association where he ranks ninth in saddle bronc riding and fourth in bull riding. He won the bull riding competition at the NMRA Rodeo on Edkar Wilson's "Taos Fiesta", the 1999 bucking bull of the year. The same year he was runner up NMRA rookie of the year in saddle bronc riding. He has also won first-place trophies in bareback events at Italian-American rodeos in Italy and won all-around cowboy and major events performer awards at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Where does he find time to be both a rodeo performer and a career military officer?

Sometimes, he said, it comes hard. His wife is his scheduler, making the calls and filing the entries; picking the travel routes and determining how much time is necessary to reach the rodeo and return to base. "Without her," he said, "It would be almost impossible. And besides, I've got girls ages 8 and 2 who need a dad at home as much as possible, and we know that won't always be possible in the military."

"Rodeo people worldwide are a family," he said. "People who participate are involved in the business of rodeo, not just the thrill of performing. All of them experience the same highs and lows. They live to make it attractive to others. Some might not be 100 percent physically, but they'll still compete and often come out on top."

"There are no quitters in rodeo," he said. "You might attempt to do too much, but you won't quit."

Rodeo consists of "great people who've done awesome things," he said, citing the story of Freckles Brown, a 46-year-old Oklahoma performer who did what no one before him had been able to. Brown, nearing the end of his career at an age well past the normal for bull-riding, was put into the arena aboard an animal named Tornado, a bull that had never been covered - in 200 attempts. Brown halted that streak and made a name for himself.

Tornado later became the first bull in the Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs where hangs a notation that he was defeated only once, by a man too old to be riding bulls but one who wouldn't quit.

If you're going to be a success in the field, Hall said, "You've got to want to rodeo, want to always improve, to learn a little more. The same credo holds for the military life. You have to want to succeed, not to just perform but to perform at the best of your ability and to expand the range of that ability."

He sees new signs of growth in rodeo, noting "youngsters find it a challenge and if you can challenge youth to perform, they will find new sources of success in themselves."

Hall said it is up to the performers themselves to debunk the myths of rodeo life.

"Ignorance is not a bad word," he said, "It just indicates a lack of knowledge. The life of the animals being ridden is always improving. If you take all the emotion away and look at it from a business standpoint, stock is healthier than ever."

The stock contractor has his life tied up in the stock he provides and can't afford to have an injured or ill animal performing. "The stock is a tremendous investment and the owner wants it to be the best performing stock possible," Hall said.

The riders, too, want to test the top animals, he said. "Every cowboy wants the toughest, best animal, wants it to perform at its best. Every rider respects the animals, no one wants to see anything happen to them."

If there's any doubt about an animal, he said, "the breeder will leave it at home, give it a chance to get well and then perform at its best."

The riders, too, need to get the most experience they can, to learn from losing and to learn from watching. And every person interested in rodeo life, Hall said, should try to attend a rodeo school. He, for example, attended Sankey Rodeo Schools for all three of the rough stock events in which he performs.

Hall provides a new perspective of what and who a rodeo performer is.

It could be anyone with the desire to perform.

It could be the spit-and-polish West Point graduate.

In this case, it is.


Roadside vendor's permit expires

The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting at 7 p.m. July 12 in the County Fair Building.

The agenda includes:

- Call to order

- Hard Time Concrete Inc. - Request for a Conditional Use Permit for a concrete batch plant. The proposal will consist of a 5 yard portable, concrete batch plant with a dust collector for the cement silo; a mechanic shop; a screening/wash plant; two wash ponds; stockpiles of gravel; and parking of construction equipment, including both commercial and agricultural. Located on approximately 8 acres at the southeast side of East Highway 160 at 5379 E. Highway 160. Legal description for the property is SW 1/4 NE 1/4, Section 28, Township 36 North, Range 1 West, N.M.P.M.

- Elk Park Meadows Final Plat Review - Request for a final plat review of the Elk Park Meadows Subdivision. This 360-plus acres will be subdivided into 55 lots and will be developed in three phases. Located approximately 5 miles west of the intersection of U.S. 160 and Pagosa Blvd. along the north side of U.S. 160. Legal description for the property is S 1/2 Sec. 23, N 1/2 Sec. 26, South part of Sec. 22, T35N, portions of R2 1/2W and 3W, N.M.P.M.

- Archuleta County Weed and Pest - Request for a variance from limited impact use permit Section 10.4.10 of the Archuleta County Land Use Regulations, which reads: "All streets, alleys, driveways and parking areas within the project shall be paved." This project is located at the Archuleta County Road and Bridge Department, 1122 Highway 84, Section 18, Township 35 North, Range 1 West

- Lucky's Place - Request for a conditional-use permit consisting of one office/service warehouse building having 5,760 square feet This is a single-story building to be located on Lot 23C, Replat of Village Service Commercial. The property is located at 97 Hopi Drive at the corner of Hopi Drive and Bastille Drive

- Archuleta Economic Development Association - Request for a variance from Section 9.2 (d) of the Archuleta County Land Use Regulations, which reads: "For clarification purposes only. Limited Impact Uses may include, but are not limited to the following uses: Industrial Establishment - which is located within an approved subdivision and which is less than 2,000 square feet in gross floor area." This variance would apply to Lots 1-10, in Cloman Industrial Park, on Cloman Blvd., Section 9, Township 35 North and Range 2 West, N.M.P.M.

- Herrman-Schlicting Minor Impact Subdivision - Request for an extension of time to complete a minor impact subdivision preliminary plan review for a property located on the south side of Cascade Avenue, approximately 2/10 of a mile from the junction of Cascade Avenue and Buttress Avenue. This property is adjacent to Pagosa Meadows Unit 4

Scott Minor Impact Subdivision- This item was published and the surrounding property owners were notified, but this item has been deferred to the Aug. 9 Planning Commission meeting. Public comment will be taken at the Aug. 9 meeting

- Other business as may come before the Commission

- Adjournment.



Serious thought

Dear Editor,

By the time this letter appears, the property owners in Pagosa Lakes will have received their annual newsletter. One of the ballot issues is a proposed amendment to the bylaws of the Association regarding maintaining a Public Safety Office Department.

The con statement submitted by the PLPOA board of directors is completely erroneous in spite of so-called quotes from "our attorney."

For starters, their "our attorney" evidently was not familiar with the Declarations of Restrictions when she gave her "opinion." The Declarations of Restrictions mandates that the Association use funds collected for police and fire protection to its membership and that such funding be made a primary priority. It has been suggested by the opponents to this amendment that the Association could be held liable for failure of the Association to prevent specific crimes. This observation is without merit. Nothing in the proposed amendment makes the Association a guarantor against crime. There would be no liability beyond that imposed by the common law of negligence, which applies to any function of the Association. That an Association employee might be negligent and proximately cause damage does not mean that the otherwise lawful activity engaged in is a violation of the law.

It is also a matter of record that the Association has maintained a Department of Public Safety through all the years of its existence (approximately 25 years). During some of those years, its public safety officers were not commissioned under state law to make criminal arrests. Such activities by the Public Safety Office were not a violation of the law.

The four board members making these monumental decisions were not elected - they were appointed to their positions. Currently there are no elected members serving on the board and at the time of the decision to cancel the contract with the sheriff, only those four members were left on a board that normally consists of seven members. By making the decision to eliminate the Public Safety Office and discontinue the services required in the Declarations of Restrictions, these four board members are in violation of the Declarations, therefore, are not "members in good standing" (as defined in the bylaws) and not qualified to be board members. The shield from personal liability for serving on the board is removed if the board member knowledgeably violates the Declarations of Restrictions.

So, PLPOA members, give the proposed bylaw amendment some serious thought before casting your ballot. The Public Safety Office has always been one of the most important amenities of property ownership and the current property owners relied on this amenity in their decision in buying their property.

Mojie Adler

Ridiculous contract

Dear David,

Pagosa Lakes Property Owners have a great deal to think about before the annual meeting that will be held this year on July 29. One issue I would like to bring to the good folks attention is the contract between PLPOA and Colorado Management & Associates, based out of Denver.

Thousands of dollars each month is sent out of our economy to this so-called "professional" management group, that is currently handling our accounting. While the $12,000-a-month fee has been reduced since PLPOA directly hired Walter Lukasik as general manager, who by the way is a prior CMA employee with no college degree, the property owners are in my opinion definitely not getting their bang for the buck. Believe me, I have firsthand knowledge because I worked there until I resigned in May of this year.

For many months during this contract PLPOA bills were being paid 60-90 days late on a regular basis. Unfortunately for them, businesses in Pagosa Springs have been at the mercy of being paid by CMA during the past year. Here's the process. The bills are received at PLPOA and PLPOA's staff codes them for accounting purposes, then they are sent to CMA in Denver. CMA prints the checks, then sends them back to PLPOA. CMA does not even mail the bills out, because they have to be signed by board members locally. The property owners get this small amount of work and a simple financial statement for six thousand plus a month. Wondering what the plus is? CMA invoices the property owners for every copy, stamp, phone call and other miscellaneous charges they say aren't covered in the contract. Stop by PLPOA and look at the monthly invoice, it's an outrage. Let's not forget the thousands they are making from the property owners for the "transfer fee" on property bought and sold.

I'd like to encourage all property owners to come to the annual meeting and request that the PLPOA board of directors cancel this ridiculous contract immediately as it's not due to expire until December 2000, and could be extended further.

By the way, wouldn't you think the general manager of PLPOA would have more to occupy his day than to complain to the editor about misspelling his name in the SUN?

Best wishes,

Barbara Bohl

Pagosa Lakes Resident

Update on activities

Dear Editor,

I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the activities of the State Board of Education over the last few months.

The Colorado State Board of Education has the responsibility of writing and implementing the rules and regulations for the education laws passed by the legislature.

Some of the most critical ones that we have dealt with this last year are accreditation of school districts' teacher licensure and preparation, and the Governor's most recent education initiative that includes a report card for each school (not school district).

My personal feeling and perspective has always been to leave as much detail up to the local schools as the law would allow.

For example, the state standards of what students should know at each grade level is designed by the state. However, how a school teaches students and specific curriculum is the choice of each community. The accountability is in the state tests, the Colorado Student Assessment Program, and other local assessments.

Even though there has been some controversy over the state tests, they are valid tests and they give our state an honest benchmark. The reporting of scores to reflect each individual school district's unique student population and situation is an issue that we will address in the accreditation contracts and the implementation of the Governor's school reform program.

We have set a new course in Colorado with our recent standards for teacher preparation and the strong coalition with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education through its executive director, Tim Foster. The 16 universities that teach our new teachers will be required to have those programs totally correlated with what we expect our children to learn in Colorado. That will include how to teach the basic reading skills - not just philosophy of education.

I have disliked the program for licensing assessments for Colorado educators - tests required for all teachers - since I took office. Thanks to a new law presented by my husband, Senator Ken Chlouber, we have removed three of the four tests. These were costly, not effective, and just created more bureaucracy for Colorado educators. The content areas for teachers will remain - the other components will be addressed where they should be in the college that educate our teachers.

Capital construction remains a priority in some of our districts. The settlement of the lawsuit that is upcoming and a new piece of legislation that sets aside $190 million with help as a start to assist needy districts to maintain and improve their buildings.

School safety is paramount in our minds. All of us look at this issue in a entirely different light since the Columbine tragedy.

It is the State Board of Education's feeling, "that we must stop disrespecting those who urge discipline and values. This is a legitimate voice of the American people. We must remember, respect, and unashamedly take pride in the fact that our schools, like our country found their origin and draw their strength from the faith-based morality that is at the heart of our national character. Throughout our history, our people have demonstrated a remarkable capacity for moral courage and self-renewal in times of great danger and challenge."

Now, as adults, we must face our responsibilities, as the guides to our children, to promote higher expectations not only in academic achievement, but moral decision-making about right and wrong.

I am proud to be a part of Colorado and our education program. We have great students, families, and teachers. I am committed to high student achievement, local control of schools, parental choice, and responsibility for the education of all children.

It is exciting to be a part of school reform that does not throw out the old ways, but builds on what we do that is right and gives opportunity to all students in Colorado.


Pat M. Chlouber, Vice Chairman

Colorado State Board of Education

Third Congressional District

Some value

Dear Editor,

In contrast to newspaper publishing, stable cleaning is honorable work. My Dad called cleaning the barn, "Christian labor."

At least the material we stable hands shovel has some value.

Bob Dungan


PS. It's okay folks. Dave and I have been ribbing each other for more years than most of you have been here.

Free reportage

Dear Editor,

Here's some free reportage for you. The Economic Development District Region No. 9 unearthed this forlorn gem: that tourism/development are important factors in our economy here - 78 percent worth. How much time did this discovery take them?

Here's another thing their bright lights have brought us: funding and support for the same type of businesses that we already have would be easier to set up than totally new businesses. Really? They've spent all this time at the public's and our kid's futures expense to tell us that they would attempt to install only those businesses that would compete with current businesses that have somehow made it on their own? If it takes some real work to get some decent industry here, then they'd rather not do it. What's wrong with work? Their studies are nothing but redundant nonsense and this is what qualified experts have done for us? What a waste of trees.

Another instance of their profound clairvoyance was when they said that there was quite a diversity of industries here. Their research should have shown that there is absolutely nothing here except the economy of tourism/development.

They also deluded themselves into saying that tourism is industry. Industry elsewhere has paid for tourism/development here. Tourism is not industry.

Somebody asked if the 10 percent growth rate was sustainable, but so what, they were just inquiring about cancer anyway.

This board with all of its abilities did not show that every business that locates here is just another place to spend money instead of make money.

This involved study was about economics and it left out the fact that poverty is part of economics. Or, is poverty now just a historical illusion? Does this mean that $1 million is based on another $1 million instead of zero? What about environmental poverty - this was not included either. Surely the physical environment is worth something.

This outfit also used a lot of special terminology so this means it had something to sell. It's one more shill for tourism. They don't fool me.


John Feazel

PS. Is it a district or a region? Answer: since it's all bogus it doesn't matter.

Editor's note: It's a region.

Christian message

Dear Dave,

While watching Peter Jennings host a program in June called, "The Search for Jesus," I felt moved to respond. The only place I could think to address my concerns publicly was the SUN.

Jennings' approach to the historical Jesus was simply a rehash of what any liberal seminary teaches. Misrepresentations and downright errors were many.

Jennings quizzed Professor Croissan about the biblical narrative concerning Christ's virgin birth. Croissan replied that Greek and Roman mythology are full of such tales. Why should we disbelieve theirs and believe ours? Jennings obviously took it as a rhetorical question, and moved on.

I'll give one compelling reason why we can believe the Christian story as opposed to stories of Greek and Roman mythology. One of the unique contributions of the Hebrew religion to religious thought is the concept of ethical monotheism. The Hebrew concept of God that became normative was that there was only one God, and that this God was ethical, trustworthy, dependable. This concept of God's nature was thoroughly ingrained in Judaism at the time the Christian story emerged. While pagans might have bought the story as just another act of their capricious gods, Mary remonstrates with the heavenly messenger, "How can this be, since I know not a man?"

The second question was one raised about the integrity of biblical manuscripts containing the Gospel story. It is true that there is a gap of some 200 years between the writing of the originals and that which we presently have.


1. No other body of literature of comparable antiquity has manuscripts nearly that close to the originals. Seven to 900 years is the usual distance between author and available copy.

2. No other body of literature of comparable antiquity has nearly as many manuscripts for references as does the New Testament.

Do scholars use these excuses to write off key events in Caesar's Gaelic wars?

As Christian communities started growing throughout Asia Minor and northern Africa, they sought to avail themselves of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) and St. Paul's letters to growing churches. These manuscripts were often copied and recopied over many years in total isolation, having no way of comparing for errors or distortions.

Today, hundreds of these have been gathered from every corner of the old Roman Empire. Minor discrepancies do appear, but no major story, doctrine, or belief, has been challenged as a result of some new manuscript exhibiting a diametric contradiction or contradictions.

The orthodox Christian community cannot produce the original manuscripts of the New Testament documents, neither can liberal scholars produce authentic canonical Christian documents that prove their theories of gradual informational corruption.

Recent archaeological finds of Christian tombs in the Jerusalem area that date prior to A.D. 70 show inscriptions that read "Jesus Christ our Redeemer," followed by the sign of the cross. These translate into the clear concept that Jesus was the Messiah; his crucifixion was an act of eternal redemption to those who believe. It remains the authentic Christian message.

Rev. Phil Janowsky


Dear Editor,

The Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta Club would like to express its gratitude to all the volunteers who helped at the 20th Annual Spanish Fiesta. Without the community involvement in this traditional celebration of the cultural heritage of Pagosa Springs, we would lose a wonderful legacy of life that should be preserved.

This year the Spanish Fiesta included many activities and performances that were very appealing to all ages. The vision of children dancing is always a delight. The sound of music is so inspiring. To see teenagers playing with such excitement and enthusiasm, it is hard to imagine just how much positive influence they give to others. Young love to years and years of marriage, many couples enjoyed the fun. Grandparents' laughter and dancing, singing and eating helps hold on to the memories of the past. If that were all the Spanish Fiesta accomplished, it would be a success.

After 20 years, this tradition needs more support than ever. As the town grows so does the need for family oriented, cultural and artistic activities. If children are our future, they need to better understand the past. It takes a whole lot of work to make an event of this kind happen. The volunteers that came forward to help this year are to be commended. All those that helped in the past 19 years are to be commended. Every year has its own set of circumstances. Obstacles and uncertainty will always be a part of the effort. The benefits of working toward a common goal and giving unselfishly of ones time and money, is at the heart of voluneerism.

Planning, organization, promotion, clean-up, and donations were all volunteered. On behalf of the Spanish Fiesta Club of Pagosa Springs a big thank you to all those who helped make the 20th annual Spanish Fiesta such a great time for everyone.

Viva la Familia, Cultura y Tradicion!

Jeff Laydon

Badly needed

Dear Editor,

Methyltertiarybutylether (MTBE) is a high octane, low air-polluting gasoline component which is going to be removed from the gasoline supply by government rule because it leaks into the drinking water supply. This is bound to make the gasoline supply shortage worse, driving the cost even higher.

MTBE gets into the water from leaking storage tanks. Since MTBE is only a small part of the gasoline blend, nine times as much other gasoline components also leak into the earth when the MTBE is leaked.

What one can't understand is why doesn't the answer to the problem be fix the leaking tanks. Instead, the government removes MTBE from the gasoline thereby losing a good non-air-polluting, high octane component at a time when both are badly needed.

A little more help like this and we can count on $3 per gallon prices soon.

E.H. Mergens


Dear Editor

I was at the Spanish Fiesta celebration two weekends ago, and I just want to say a few things. As a former resident of the Pagosa Springs area, I want the people of Pagosa Springs to know that they are very lucky to have such a hard working group of people willing to put together this celebration for the community. Thank you for such a great job, Spanish Fiesta Club.

There was only one thing that bothered me about this celebration though. That is Nelson Martinez. Not necessarily about his singing because that was very nice, but it was his offensive jokes. As a former recipient of the Spanish Fiesta Club's scholarship, I know that this event is to help fund the high school scholarship monies that the Spanish Fiesta Club gives each year. Therefore, it is to be a family/community oriented event. Some of the jokes Mr. Martinez said that day were very unprofessional and offensive. For such a professional to come out to the community in such a way with his "jokes" was disgusting. Didn't he realize that there were people of all ages there? This was not a single age group of people, but a variation of ages. He showed no respect for his elders - saying jokes about his mother, which is such a high moral standing within the Hispanic community. He showed no respect for the children - calling one an unkind name. Oh yeah, many laughed at his "jokes," but if it would have been my child or mother, I would not have put up with it. I am saddened that such a "professional" would be so unprofessional. What kind of impression did he leave on the children by saying these jokes? That's it's okay to be disrespectful to your elders and to your peers. That is the impression he left on me with his jokes. In consideration for next year's Spanish Fiesta celebration, I would hope that the Spanish Fiesta Club would make some regulations to their performers agendas.

Josephine Petterson

Loaded question

Dear Editor,

A question that has been put down over the ages is, How much is a human life worth? Very loaded question.

Back in high school I vaguely remember somewhere around $1.97 worth of chemicals, add water and there you were. With inflation we might be worth $10 to $15 now. Well according to our President Clinton and the U.S. government, Elian Gonzales is worth 6 million dollars. That's almost 1 million dollars per month for an immigrant to stay here.

It might make sense to some Americans, but I am not one of them. I've seen the 6 million dollar man on TV but never the 6 million dollar boy who took America for a ride - until now.

Just remember folks, when you go ask Uncle Sam for a federal loan, disaster funds, unemployment, etc., you are worth 6 million dollars. Don't give up.


Steve Rugger


Dear Editor,

I have been coming to Elk Meadows campground for about 14 years now and was shocked to hear that a cement batch plant was going in almost across the street from this campground. I can't understand how this could possibly be approved to the detriment of a long-term business in the area. The facility is environmentally questionably being located near the river. In addition the heavy truck traffic on and off the road is a hazard. If that were not enough, it will ruin the business that has been successfully operating for 32 years.

If this were such a great opportunity for the gentleman who owns the land then why doesn't he place it in his own front yard or is he aware of how obnoxious it would be?

This will cost Elk Meadows business because who wants to have to listen to the noise, see the dust (which is environmentally unsafe), and see the beautiful land ruined by heavy industry. (I wonder if the required environmental impact statement has been done.)

I understand there is a plan for an industrial area, why not place it there where any normal planned community would? Why destroy one business and create a mountain of dissension in the area?

Certainly this man has a right to do with his land as he sees fit, but in so doing he must consider his neighbors and how this will effect them. It seems there is no concern for the neighbors since the plan moved ahead without the required permits in an attempt to conceal what was happening. As protectors of the community you have a responsibility to protect all people living here. Elk Meadows brings in tax revenue to this community and provides a living for Don and Barbara Palmer. How about protecting a long-time business in the area?

Yours truly,

Steve Sanderson

Yuma, Ariz.

A regular visitor to Pagosa Springs

Illegal motto

Dear Editor,

The great state of Ohio's motto, "With God, all things are possible," has just become illegal. That's right - thanks to the brilliant legal work of the American Civil Liberties Union the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed last month that the 1959 state motto is an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the federal court held that the words had no secular purpose and appeared to be a government endorsement of Christianity.

I am not a student of scripture in anyway. But I've been told that the phrase is taken from the Bible, specifically Matthew 19:26. A 1998 federal decision had allowed the motto as long as its biblical origin was left out. But that just didn't set well with ACLU. They knew where it was from, even if no one else did, and they didn't want to see such dangerous words on state tax returns anymore. Congratulations.

But more work needs to be done. I have heard that God might have been unacceptably mentioned in some very old documents on display in government buildings in Washington, D.C. The ACLU had better get cracking - it's high time some court declared the Declaration of Independence unconstitutional.

William Jefferson Clinton just may have appointed enough liberal Democrat judges the past eight years to make that one happen; a scary thought.

But I hope ya'll had a glorious and patriotic Independence Day America. There were enough patriots from sea to shining sea to ensure that one became reality. God - guns and guts -will keep America free.

Jim Sawicki



Hazle Neill

Hazle Neill, 91, died July 1 at Pine Ridge Extended Care Facility in Pagosa Springs.

Hazle was born in Shattuck, Okla., but lived most of her life in the Denver area. She was preceded in death by her husband, Guy Water Neill.

Hazle was a member of the Daughters of the Nile, Friends of the Library and the Pagosa Women's Civic Club. Hazle owned and operated apartments for old age pensioners. She was a loving care giver to many through the years.

She loved the game of bridge, backgammon and life. Her garden and her animals meant so much to her. She passed away with her humor intact.

Hazle is survived by her beloved sister, Elizabeth Anderson; her daughter and son-in-law Gilbert and Lenore Bright; grandchildren Kristina and Frank Embree, David Bright, Steven and Loretta Bright; and two grandchildren, Michael and Rachel Bright.

Private services will be held. Contributions in Hazle's memory may be made to the Ruby Sisson Library or the pine Ridge Extended Care Facility.



Todd Shelton

Todd D. Shelton of Century 21 Wolf Creek Land & Cattle has been awarded the Certified Commercial Investment Member designation by the Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute. The designation was awarded June 23 during Institute meetings in Chicago.

The CCIM designation is earned upon completion of a graduate-level curriculum and attainment of a level of qualifying experience. Approximately 6,500 professionals currently hold the CCIM designation, with another 5,500 pursuing it.


Andy and Angela Matlock were married June 3 at a ceremony in Pagosa Springs. They honeymooned in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Angela is the former Angela Smith. She and Andy graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 1989.

The couple will reside in Pagosa Springs.



Mr. and Mrs. Ben Franklin of Pagosa Springs, along with Mr. and Mrs. Larry Walton, Pagosa Springs, are pleased to announce the marriage of Jonathan and Selena Hughes.


Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Lee Hines of Fort Worth, Texas, and Pagosa Springs are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Julie Ann, to William Allen Branch, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael C. Branch of Pagosa Springs. Julie is the granddaughter of Sue Adair Chiles and the late Morton Perrin Chiles Jr., long-time residents of Pagosa Springs.

Julie is a 1994 graduate of Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, Calif. She received her BS degree in nursing from the Harris College of Nursing, Texas Christian University at Fort Worth in 1998. She is presently employed as a surgical nurse at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Bill is a 1994 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School. He received his BS degree in business administration from the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley in 1998. He was awarded his MBA degree on May 13, 2000, from Texas Christian University. He is presently employed by East Texas Property Management of Tyler, Texas.

The couple plan to be married on April 21, 2001, in the Robert Carr Chapel at Texas Christian University.


Community News

Chamber News
By Sally Hameister

LPEA flag crew keep Old Glory waving

Once again we are indebted to the folks at La Plata Electric Association for risking life and limb to get our Chamber flags back in place for the gazillionth time. The flags, albeit beautiful, fall prey to Colorado winds and other destructive elements and require frequent mending.

The guys at LPEA are always the ones who take them down and put them back up, and this latest crew included Phil Dietrich, Steve Lynch and Jake Wills. Debbie Bass at LPEA informs me that they like to send Steve Lynch on this particular mission because he doesn't require a ladder (inside joke - if you know Steve, you'll understand.)

At any rate, we are grateful to Mike Alley for arranging the flag gig and to all the guys who have attached and reattached those blasted flags.

Petunia queen

Firma Lucas is our Petunia Queen, and we want to thank her once again for all her work on our downtown baskets. She is the lady who creates those baskets and nurtures them at the Ponderosa Garden Center until we are ready to put them up in mid-June. She also works with us in designing the creations along Pagosa Street and the mural flowers and actually comes to check in with us while we're playing in the dirt. Thanks so much, Firma, for once again getting us going on our summer beautification program. We do appreciate you so much.

Thursday zanies

The Thursday Night Live Group will appear once again July 13 along with good food, good music and plenty of silliness. July's presentations include SPUF Radio, "My Friend Irma," "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and the special SPUF Radio panel of candidates for county commissioner. The doors open at 6 p.m., and seating is limited, so advance tickets are strongly advised to assure a seat for this popular group. Tickets for this evening are $15 and include live music, a buffet dinner and the performance. The themes are adult oriented, so children are not encouraged. Please give John Porter a call at 731-3671 for more information about Thursday Night Live.

The reunion

Our wonderful Mountain Harmony Ladies Barbershop Chorus is proud to announce their upcoming production, "The Reunion" to be held at the Methodist Church on Lewis Street, at 7 p.m July 29. Please join them for the dialogue, humor and vocal harmonies combined to tell the story of the St. Agnes by the Sea School for Girls and their celebration of the retirement of their choir director, Ms. Beulah McLanahan (played by Kate Terry). Waiting for their director's appearance, the ladies reminisce by singing old songs from their school days.

During their reminiscence, they are visited by special guests played by "Durango Junction," the Durango Men's Chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. Tenor John Randolph, lead Dick Patrick, bass Bob Swanson and baritone Carroll Peterson will regale you with their own barbershop entertainment. This special evening will also include an "Afterglow" held backstage with all the performers, with refreshments and, perhaps, a little impromptu quartet performance.

We'll certainly talk about this more in the future but encourage you to mark your calendars for July 29 and this special production, "The Reunion."


HRH Karl Isberg who edits these articles has admonished me - in a good way, of course - but, nonetheless has encouraged me to "mix it up" in my column and not feel honor-bound to always list new members first. Since I live to make him happy, as we all do, I have attempted to comply. The new members and renewals will now appear here and there, willy-nilly in the column until the Iceman becomes bored with that. That being said, allow me to introduce our two new members and three renewals.

Peter Hughes joins us with Back in the Ladle located at 117 Navajo Trail Drive next to the Hogs Breath Saloon. I caution you that this shop will open in September, so don't run down there right this minute, but I do want you to know this is a coming attraction. Back in the Ladle will be complete kitchen shop featuring cookware, bakeware, utensils, gadgets, some electric, peppermills, cookie cutters, a wedding registry and much, much more. We will be delighted to pass along the specific opening date for this store but want to welcome Peter and Claire right now.

Our pal, Valarie Quick, joins us next with the Webbe Driving School located here in Pagosa. The Webbe Driving School provides behind-the-wheel instruction and is the only state-certified drivers' education school in Archuleta County. Third party license testing is also available. For more information, please give Valarie a call at 731-9814.

All of our sweets and snack lovers will be delighted to welcome Janet Allen with the Mountain Man Nut and Fruit Company located at 63 North Pagosa Boulevard in the Pagosa Country Center. Janet offers fine nuts, dried fruits, candies and a full ice cream parlor featuring banana splits, sundaes, malts, ice cream cakes and smoothies. If you would like to call for more information, please give Janet a ring at 731-1142.


Our renewals this week include Yale Espoy with Sticky Fingers, LLC, d.b.a. Isabels Restaurant and Maurice Woodruff with Woodruff Enterprises, Inc. Thanks to all.


Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

Burgundian countryside a dreamy aspect of France

Early this summer I took a trip to France with my family - husband Tom, son Shawn, daughter Courtney, Shawn's girl friend Mariah and our dear Pagosa friends, Debra and Reid Kelly and son Jackson. Naturally, while in France, we visited all the most famous sites, but it was the less grandiose experiences gained from pedaling and running through the tradition-rich country that truly sealed my enjoyment of the trip.

Aldous Huxley once said that for a European, "the greatest charm of travel in the new world is the high ratio of its geography to its history." For an American in Europe, the charm is the reverse. From the spires on the skyline to the paving stones beneath your feet, there are constant reminders that history runs deep and dense. Soldiers fought, diplomats genuflected, crusaders gathered, witches burned, peasants marched, poets composed their verses and the philosophers their thoughts, and painters waited for the light. And no matter how slowly you stroll, and how diligently you peruse your guide book, there is never enough time to absorb it all.

I did the obligatory museum and cultural fling of Paris and then saw some more on the run. You might think that's the worst way to experience history. You are wrong. The exertion and the speed, the concentration and the rush of sensation, all work together to give the experience a new intensity. I did laps through the middle of the Jardin des Tuileries, past the statuary of pensive men and raging animals. Then I went straight into the middle of the Louvre courtyard, back through the Tuileries gardens again, past the gold-tipped obelisk in the Place de la Concorde and then took a straight shot down the Champs Elysees to the huge Arc de Triomphe. I passed some of the most popular shopping in Paris along Champs Elysees but I passed it on the run. I may have been out of breath but at least I wasn't out of pocket.

In Burgundy, we tackled the Burgundian countryside at the slow yet exquisitely exhilarating and private pace afforded by bicycles - shipped from home. For the cyclist, Burgundy presents itself is a distillation of the dreamiest aspects of the French rural tradition. The landscape is one of vast vineyards, peaceful cow and goat pastures dotted with snug little stone hamlets, elegant chateau and the occasional imposing medieval castle crowned with glistening harvest-hued Flemish tiles. Many of the land's traditions and sites appear doubly novel because our bicycling cast a magic spell when combined with exploring unknown and foreign pockets of intrigue.

The food in Burgundy remains some of the richest and most heartily traditional in all of France. Dinners can easily last for four hours - snail is not just eaten here, it is emulated. Ingredients like double cream, unpasteurized cheeses, butter, bacon, and beef are revered rather than reviled. Wine is omnipresent and coffee thick and caffeinated. Biking here does indeed have a way of instilling a keen appetite on many levels for all things Burgundian. So, of course the total cycling experiences inevitably involved guiltless indulgence in regional specialties, of which the mere mention at home would be cause for cardiac arrest.

Since we wanted more out of our time than ideal enjoyment and since we wanted to be a part of the Burgundian wine community, we worked in a vineyard. The vineyard Chevrot Domane belongs to friends of Gene and Joann Cortwright of Pagosa Springs. We learned swiftly, worked well and amply represented American spirit of industry. There's even a standing invitation to return for the September grape harvest and a chance to learn more about the French wine industry.

After leaving Burgundy, we traveled by train to the Loire Valley, without the Kellys who had to come back to their law practice in Pagosa and summer classes for Jackson had started at the American University in Paris. My family and I were comfortably and royally set up in a rented cottage on the grounds of Chateau Beauregard in the Loire. The chateau was built in the 16th century by King Francis I and our cottage housed many generations of gate-keepers. In spite of our plebeian heritage, we were given full access to the royal walled landscaped gardens and hunting trails.

We saw far too many chateaus in the Loire. They were magnificent monstrosities and a constant reminder of the excesses of the nobility. This is one example where the French creed of moderation in moderation has gone astray.

I'm a person who travels with my eyes, ears and mouth open, and my primary insight into a place often begins with getting a grasp of its food. I'm much better at remembering the taste of my travels than at taking reams and rolls of photographs for future reminiscing. So, I recreate France - not yet well at this point - in my kitchen in Pagosa. You eat, therefore you are.


Arts Line
By Katherine Cruse

SunDowner music, catering were tops

The current exhibit at the Arts Center and Gallery in Town Park is one you won't want to miss. Titled "The Blanco Basin," it features watercolors by Ruth Carr and Donna Brooks, baskets made of pine needles and other natural materials.

Ruth has worked in watercolor for 15 years, studying with a number of different artists. Her lovely work captures views of the beautiful Blanco Basin in every season and every locale. (I found myself trying to see if I could spot where she might have been sitting for particular scenes.) There are also a few paintings showing Texas sites, since Ruth divides her time, and her painting, between Texas and Pagosa Springs.

This is not the first time the gallery has been fortunate enough to feature basketry by Donna Brooks. These are coiled baskets made with our local Ponderosa pine needles, sewn together with raffia. Some are sewn with yucca fiber, which Donna makes by pounding yucca leaves into creamy white fibers. A time-consuming process, indeed, but with a lovely result.


The Pagosa Springs Arts Council hosted one of the Chamber of Commerce's famous SunDowners June 28. Beautiful music was provided by Lisa Hartley, Belinda Baum and Dave Krueger. Enzo's Catering and PSAC members provided some great goodies.

Thank you, Bruce Anderson, for taking photos, and Jeff Laydon for pulling it altogether. Those who attended had a chance to admire two partial exhibits - Jan Brookshier's photos and Roberto Garcia's sculpture were coming down while Donna Brooks' pine needle baskets and Ruth Carr's watercolor paintings were being installed.

The following night the gallery hosted another reception to mark the opening of the Brooks/Carr exhibit, with more great food and a special centerpiece created by Jennie Lee of Angela's Flowers, featuring her daughter's hiking boots. Very clever!

Relay for Life

If you've been paying attention, you know that the annual American Cancer Society's Relay for Life is coming up soon - July 21 and 22 to be exact. The Pagosa Springs Arts Council will again be participating in this important fundraising event. It starts Friday evening at 6 p.m. at Town Park and goes through the night. (This is fun?) The Arts Council will have a tent in the Park. There'll be music and food and entertainment to keep the hardy walkers (maybe joggers too) awake and feeling good. Breakfast is served on Saturday morning.

It's a special event for a wonderful cause. Call Joanne Halliday for more info or to volunteer; she and Jim will be co-captains. And yes, this is fun!

Outdoor drama

You have two more weekends to see the second annual Shakespeare in the Pines, a production of "Romeo and Juliet" by the Pagosa Players and Kings' Men. Better hurry up and get your tickets. The play is staged outdoors in the Lake Front Theatre at the Pagosa Lodge. Tickets are $10 and $8, and they're on sale at Wolftracks Bookstore, the Plaid Pony in the Lodge, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Next exhibit

Plan to attend the next opening reception at the gallery in Town Park 5 to 7 p.m. July 13 to see "Portraits of Pagosa and World Influenced Ceramics," the works of Victoria Kaiser-Kimball and Kathryn Holt. As always, delicious refreshments will be served.


Pagosa Angel Box Painters meet the third Saturday of each month at the Community Bible Church to paint "memory boxes."

The boxes are donated to hospitals, where they are given to parents who have lost infant children to hold mementos such as birth and death certificates, wristbands and footprints. For more information, contact Cathy Magin at 264-5597.

The PSAC is grateful to Mountain Greenery for continuing to provide lovely flower arrangements for the gallery in Town Park. Thanks!

The Arts Center and Gallery at Town Park is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Besides viewing the wonderful changing exhibits, you might check out some of the works for sale by other local artists. Visitors can take home a unique and special reminder of Pagosa.


Senior News
By Janet Copeland

Barbershop quartet trip needs volunteer drivers

Sally Hameister, I hope you will forgive my lapse in memory. The hanging baskets you donated to the Center are gorgeous. Thank you so much.

There is a free barbershop quartet and fair happening in Silverton on July 15, which should be great entertainment. Our quandary is that we won't be able to provide bus transportation for our seniors to attend so if anyone is willing to help out by taking a couple of folks along, please call Payge at 264-2167.

We were happy to have some returning/new guests on Wednesday: Roby Fox (mother of our County Commissioner, Ken Fox), Bill and Marilyn Landis and Nichole, and Joyce Richter (sister of Doris Kamrath). Hoppy Hopson has returned from his travels. Welcome back everyone.

Many thanks to Carol Thomes, Mae Boughan, Eva Darmopray and others for the exercise tapes donated for our senior (over 50) exercise program. We would still appreciate more tapes so we can offer a variety in our program, if anyone has tapes they are willing to donate. The exercise sessions are each Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10:30 a.m. for intermediates and 11 a.m. for beginners so everyone join in to get healthy.

I hope everyone took note of the headlines on last week's Pagosa SUN - that Citizens Utilities has requested a 48 percent rate increase for gas. This will definitely impact most of us and I hope everyone will contact the gas company/Public Utilities Commission to protest.

Cruising with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

Hidden cans her lone act of littering

Once, about a hundred years ago when I was a teenager, I went on a Sierra Club "can clean-up" trip. This was an organized week-long trip. We hiked into a part of California's Sierra Nevada that was heavily used by fishermen, and heavily trashed too, to bag and pack out all the metal we could find.

We poked around deserted campsites. We clambered along lake edges, fishing under the rocks for shiny aluminum.

Near our base camp there was a fishing lodge, with a main building and a bunch of little cabins. Our leaders discovered the lodge's dump, where cans, and probably everything else, had been buried for the past 50 years. Maybe longer. In two days our group of 20 or 30 people only managed to uncover and bag about a fourth of the accumulated rusty metal. I suspect the lodge owners thought we were nuts. Either that, or an answer to prayer, as the dump site was about filled to capacity.

Several of us on that trip were teenagers. And there was one young man who was between the adults and the kids. One person who was old enough to buy alcohol and young enough to want to associate with us. Even as we all labored to remove cans from the dump, he went inside the main lodge building and bought a couple of six-packs.

That afternoon, when the day's work was finished, we kids sneaked off with him to a secluded spot surrounded by boulders, where we drank beer and felt grownup. We knew the group leaders would disapprove. So, I have a confession to make. Are you ready? We tucked the empty cans under the rocks.

For all I know, they're still there.

Granted, twelve cans aren't many, compared to the thousands that the can clean-up project hauled out of the mountains that summer. But for me, it was a pretty heady and daring thing to do.

With the exception of that one deliberate act of littering, I've been pretty good. On every trail I've hiked, in the remote parts of the high country or in state parks close to home, I've stopped to gather up stuff that got dropped - little tuna cans, candy and cheese wrappers, bits of rope, cigarette butts. (Though, I have to tell you, I can't understand how people can smoke at 12,000 feet elevations, where just breathing seems hard enough.)

When we came here with the Explorer Post, we had a couple of goals. We wanted to hike at least 50 miles, so that our teens could earn Boy Scout 50 Mile patches. And we wanted to teach respect for the wilderness. That included bringing out trash. Ours and any other stuff that we found along the way. We burned out our food cans and crushed them and carried them out in plastic bags. We fished little bits of aluminum foil out of dead ashes, and stowed them into the bags. We found old rusted cans and trash left by former campers and packed that out too.

I'd like to think that most of this stuff wasn't left by backpackers. Not because we're perfect, but because canned food is usually too heavy. No backpacker would have toted that much into the mountains on his back - his knees would have buckled.

A few weeks ago I joined other members of my church to pick up trash along our 2 mile assigned stretch of Highway 160. Maybe you do this too, with your church or club or fellow employees.

About 15 of us assembled in the parking lot to receive our bright orange vests, our sturdy orange trash bags, and our assignments. We worked for about 2 hours, scrabbling among the weeds along the highway, feeling cars and pick-ups whoosh by, and towing our increasingly heavy plastic bags.

Highway 160 through Pagosa Springs gets a lot more travel, and trash, than any back-country Wilderness trail. You can group the trash into various categories.

Construction debris - a rusted set of screw driver bits, small boards, bits of fiberglass insulation, pieces of wall board. You could imagine this flying off the back of some pickup truck or a trailer on its way to the dump.

Accidental debris - fan belts, windshield wiper blades, a shredded paper towel, a doll's hair ornament.

Actual trash - fast food containers, straws, plastic drink container tops. These things were already garbage; they just didn't make it to the proper container.

I found two bottle caps. At least there were no aluminum can pull tops. Remember those? From the days before they changed the design to pop tops? Pull tops were little metal hoops with handles, useful for making your own chain mail shirts.

And of course, there were cigarette butts. "Pick them up at your discretion," our organizer instructed.

Now, I know that nobody reading this column would toss a cigarette butt. Just some other people. Besides, some of my best friends are smokers. I used to be one, too.

Of all the trash, these little cylinders are the most numerous, the most irritating, and the most offensive. I can imagine any of the things we picked up that morning blowing out of a car window, or off the back of a pickup, by mistake, but not cigarette butts. They're a NIMA item. Not In My Ashtray - I'll toss this in your space. You deal with it.

And no matter how many I gather up, the trash sack never seems to get much fuller. Unlike the big stuff, picking up cigarette butts doesn't leave me with any feeling of accomplishment.

So why pick up trash? Other people's trash, at that? I guess because it means a little less junk to have to look at. A little less evidence of other people's presence on a trail or a road. A little less chaos in our lives, perhaps.

Or maybe the reason is no more logical than the that of the mountain climber who said, "Because it's there."


Drop quote:

I found two bottle caps. At least there were no aluminum can pull tops. Remember those? From the days before they changed the design to pop tops? Pull tops were little metal hoops with handles, useful for making your own chain mail shirts."


Library News
By Lenore Bright

Friends annual meeting, sale July 14

Our favorite event is coming up - the Friends annual meeting and book sale.

Back in 1983, the Friends of the Library organization became a 501 (C) 3 tax deductible corporation in order to raise money to build a library.

The Friends were closely connected to the Woman's Civic Club, historically the main sponsors of the library. They were successful and the Sisson Library opened in 1989. Since that time, the Friends have continued to support the purchase of books, and other materials through a variety of fundraisers.

You're invited to the annual meeting at 6 p.m. July 14 at the Fairgrounds Extension Building on U.S. 84. There will be a quick meeting and refreshments, after which you are invited to preview the sale and buy. Annual memberships can be purchased at the door. Cost for a family is $10, individuals are $5 and students are $2. Lifetime memberships are $100.

Please RSVP as soon as possible to 264-2209 so we will know how much food to prepare. Judy Wood and her committee would appreciate help with some hors d'oeuvres. There is a sign-up sheet at the library.

The public book sale will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 15. Proceeds go toward buying new materials.

Deja vu

It was disheartening to read the headline in last week's SUN that announced the library would be gone if TABOR 205 passes.

How odd that one man, a lawyer from California who now lives in Colorado Springs, can have the power to close our library. I am too distressed to discuss it coherently right now. Mr. Bruce doesn't seem to favor any tax-supported services such as your fire protection, the EMS ambulance service or public schools, to name a few.

His previous TABOR amendment has cost taxpayers millions in money and lost services. Nearly every small government in Colorado has "debruced" once the taxpayers understood what TABOR really meant. Now Bruce is back with another version that will be in the courts for years and will cost us all much more in loss of services and wasted money.

I trust everyone running for county commissioner understands what the future holds for all of us if this amendment passes, and I hope the candidates will voice opinions on the subject before the election.

Holiday complications

Since this article had to be in early, I do not have the summer reading program winners for this week. Come by the library to find out who won.

More than 300 readers are now signed up. There are lots of eager young readers in our town. I trust there will be a summer reading program next year. I trust there will be a library for them next year.

Special thanks

The drought has us all on edge. Until our lands are wet and safe again, we will continue to worry. We thank all of the volunteer firefighters in the county who do their best to protect us from the devastation we've seen in other areas. Can you imagine what it would be like if we didn't have them to count on? I wonder if they will be here next year?


Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

Museum Friends seek game sponsors

The Pioneer Museum is on the move.

To begin with, members are forming "Friends of Archuleta County History," a fundraising group to support the museum. The Friends will hold fundraisers. For a starter they are looking for sponsors to cover the cost of their first fundraiser, a board game called "Pagosa Opoly," based on the classic board game.

The way it works is that everything on the board is for sale. The board has 40 spaces as well as "Historic Document Cards" and "Fate Cards." Names of purchasers will be included on the board. The Friends are looking for Archuleta County Ranch Names and "Historic Documents" to be included.

The Friends are trying to pre-sell the board spaces in order to get a good sampling of the businesses to be represented, and to know how many games to order.

A display of "Pagosa Opoly" is set up at the Pioneer Museum.

For more information call Twyla Brown at 264-5092.

Alumni club

One of the country's largest and oldest sororities, Pi Beta Phi, now has an alumni club based in Pagosa Springs.

With so many visitors and part-time residents in town during the summer, they want visiting Pi Phis to know that they are warmly welcome to attend a no-host luncheon meeting 11 a.m. Saturday at Victoria's Parlor Restaurant, 274 Pagosa Street. "Stress the luncheon part more than the meeting," advised Carole Howard with a laugh. "We get together mostly for fun and camaraderie." To attend, call the club's president, Lisa Scott, at 264-2730 by July 8.

Howard and Scott are two of the club's nine charter members. Other Pagosa members are Jennifer Harnick, Marilyn Chipps, Melissa McDonald and Janna Ranson. The women come from nine different chapters, eight different states, and have lived and worked in four or five times that number since their undergraduate college days. They're writers and homemakers, business executives and community volunteers. Other members live in Chromo, Cortez and Durango. The club has grown to 13 members since it was established on March 20.

Ideas and volunteers

An effort is being made to gather people who belong to historical societies such as DAR, SAR, Magna Carta Dames, Colonial Dames, etc. for a luncheon (or dinner) meeting featuring a speaker versed in history. Please call Kate Terry, 264-2529, for further information.

Volunteers are needed to help Greg Wood in building a pottery kiln (ancestral puebloan replica) for his workshop July 26-28. This is a Chimney Rock program. Call Tom to volunteer, 759-6311 (cell), or at home, 375-6419.

Volunteers are also needed to fulfill Chimney Rock programs. Call Glenna Jackman at 731-2766 to see what is needed.

Please send requests for volunteers to Local Chatter.

Fun on the run

A man was brought to Mercy Hospital, and went in for coronary surgery. The operation went well, and as the groggy man regained consciousness, he was reassured by a Sister of Mercy waiting by his bed.

"Mr. Smith, you're going to be just fine," the nun said while patting his hand. "We do have to know, however, how you intend to pay for your stay here. Are you covered by insurance?"

"No, I'm not," the man whispered hoarsely.

"Can you pay in cash?"

"I'm afraid I can't, Sister."

"Do you have any close relatives, then?"

"Just my sister in New Mexico," he replied, "But she's a spinster nun."

"Nuns are not spinsters, Mr. Smith," the nun replied. "They are married to God."

"Okay," the man said with a smile, "Then bill my brother-in-law."



Opening closed gates

It's common knowledge that it does little good to close the gate after

the cow is out of the barn. I admit it's late, but I was out of town

three weeks ago. So it was last week before I learned of the county's latest gate-closing incident.

A little over 25 years ago a rancher convinced the county commissioners to lock a gate across a Forest Service access road that ran through his property on the northerly end of Snowball Road. Following strong opposition by the public, the question was researched and the commissioners reversed their earlier action. The gate remains open today, and though the county does not provide regular maintenance for the road, picnickers, hunters and partygoers continue to use the public roadway which traverses private property.

About 15 years ago concern for safety rather than nuisance led to a rancher taking the initiative to lock a gate across Eightmile Mesa Road that ran through a portion of his property. Though there wasn't much public outcry, the commissioners and the county's attorney researched the matter. Having been used by the public for more than a prescribed number of years, the road was determined to be a "proscriptive right of way" and the lock was removed and the gate opened.

Last week, while reading the June 22 edition of the SUN, I learned a county resident had expressed concern about a locked gate that traverses private ranchlands. The closure prevents the public use of an established access road to national forest lands in the Upper Blanco Basin.

Two of the commissioners, as did the county attorney, agreed that locking the gate was illegal and that the public should not be locked out from using the road.

As with the situation with Snowball Road about 25 years earlier, the argument was made, and I'm sure rightly so, "People come in and abuse the cattle, they throw parties and litter. There are vehicle problems with ruts and such. They have a right to close the road."

The argument was made by Commissioner Gene Crabtree. It's natural to assume the "they" the commissioner referred to referenced the Regester family who was mentioned in the article. However, for some reason the commissioner failed to mention that the "they' could also refer to the Russell family, who like the Regesters, own ranch land that is traversed by the road in question. He also failed to mention that he is related by marriage to the Russell family, and that he manages one of the family's ranches in the county.

I do not question that the public not only uses the road, but that some of the public abuses the surrounding property owned by the Regester and Russell families. However, I do question why Commissioner Crabtree failed to acknowledge his personal involvement, or conflict of interest, in the matter when presenting his argument or when discussing the matter with county employees. In a sense, his silence locked the vast majority of the public out of knowing all the facts about the matter.

I'm reminded that the audience responded with laughter March 20 at a League of Women Voters candidates forum when a county commissioner appointee answered, "Learning the job," when questioned about his accomplishments during his 18 months in office. I imagine others joined in the laughter the following morning when the comment was probably repeated in the various coffee shops in town.

To the casual listener, needing 18 months to learn the responsibilities of being a county commissioner is somewhat amusing. But in the noncasual environment associated with one of the more demanding jobs in the county, the answer was more honest that humorous.

The truth is, being a county commissioner is no laughing matter. The position demands a total commitment to openly serve others - specifically all of the citizens of the county. Its lessons are demanding and require undivided attention to learn.

Providing leadership is a top priority. But a leader must not only march in front of those he hopes to lead, he also must be totally up front with the folks he promised to represent and serve. David C. Mitchell


Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Price warp hits Pagosa's pumps

Dear Folks,

Letters, letters everywhere but not the ones you'd expect.

Folks never fail to write when gasoline prices in Pagosa are higher than those in surrounding areas or where their cousin Billy Bob "who drives an 18-wheeler pays for gas when he fills his rig in downtown Moline, Kansas, when making a cross-country run."

Some folks swear that gasoline prices in Pagosa are controlled by factions of a godless conspiracy that's out to overthrow the Republican Party, National Football League, Women's temperance Union and all aspects of professional wrestling as we know it in modern-day America. Therefore it's their patriotic duty to write a letter to the editor in an effort to protect our inherent right to buy gasoline at bargain-basement prices. (Will the older readers, assuming someone out there is reading this, please explain to the younger readers, assuming that there are some young folks who can read, what a bargain-basement price is.)

Yet for some reason, these same folks fail to send their editor a letter whenever gasoline prices in Pagosa stay at some of the lowest figures in the state. Surely it must be some form of reverse conspiracy.

Being a person who struggles with spelling conspiracy, I find myself lying awake nights wondering what's the meaning of it all or what ominous power is behind Pagosa's low gas price phenomenon.

Oh no. I've done it again. Will someone please write and tell me whether it's a phenomenon or is it a phenomena? It would be phenomenal if I guessed right the first time I wrote it.

While on the topic of the correct usage of phenomenon and phenomena, is more than one Pokemon a "Pokema"?

Have you noticed that the folks who complain about higher gasoline prices are the ones driving Detroit's latest "Status' Ultimate Vanity" models or the fashionable "Stretch Pickup Trucks" that barely make it from gas pump to gas pump.

Could it be that the gas shortage and resulting high prices are being driven by the proliferation of consumption rather than problems with production?

Any day now all these concerns and many others like them will be resolved by the prolific letter writers of Pagosa. I'm sure there are still many folks out there who think a letter to the SUN helps influence OPEC, the World Bank, European Common Market, Alan Greenspan, U.S. Postal System and all others who control our day-to-day existence.

Fortunately, neither of the automatic video cameras that are constantly focused on our every movement along the main roadway of Pagosa project the low gasoline prices at the local pumps. Rather than price wars, the numbers are more like price warps.

To the uninitiated, the local dealers are simply setting us up for some high-in-the-sky apple "pi" price. (Yes, pie are round and cake is square, but multiply 3.14159 by the diameter and you get the circumference of an apple.)

But it is much more than that, the numbers are not controlled by the dealers. They part of the continuing conspiracy that determined the numbers for the snow depth at Wolf creek Ski Area would be at a long-time low last season. They determined that the numbers for this summer's rainfall would fail to meet the norm. Now it's our gasoline.

Like I say, it's keeping me awake nights. If something doesn't change soon, the number of misspelled words and grammatical errors in the SUN will drop so low that subscribers will think they are reading a genuine newspaper. It's downright scary.

If we're not careful, even well-intentioned letters to the editor will be powerless against the dilemma of the declining numbers. It's starting to give me gas. But that's better than "gas and worms."

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


25 years ago

Radio station tower goes up

Taken from SUN files

of July 10, 1975

A tower for Pagosa Springs' new radio station was erected this past week. The tower is 350-feet tall and is located near the southwest corner of town. KPAG is expected to go on the air shortly after the first of August.

A new member, Bennie Johnson, was appointed to the town board at a regular meeting of the board Monday night. Mr. Johnson replaces Worthe Crouse who resigned recently. In another action, Ben Lynch was named as mayor pro tem to fill the vacancy in that office left by Mr. Crouse. Because of the change, Mayor Jim Cloman changed town board committee chairman appointments.

Building permits for any structure are now required in Archuleta county. This requirement became effective June 30. The new county regulation generally deals with requirements that a structure not be placed in a natural hazard area such as one subject to flooding, rock or mud slides, wildfire or other conditions hazardous to life or property.

Sailboat races were held at Navajo Lake near the Arboles Marina last weekend during the July 4th weekend. More than a dozen boats participated in the races and there were at least that many more sailboats that did not enter the races.


By Shari Pierce

SW Colorado's most talented quilters

I am fortunate to have spent my holiday weekend with some of southwest Colorado's most talented quilters. Most of the quilts on display at Quilt Fest 2000 were produced by local quilters and were wonderful pieces. The few quilts that were not locally produced were older or antique quilts that belong to family members or local collectors.

There were four antique quilts and an exquisite crocheted bedspread from the Nossaman family. This family is one of the pioneer families of our county. There were also antique quilts on display belonging to another pioneer family, the Machts. Antique quilts such as these are especially dear to me. Quilts of old were many times produced out of necessity and with materials at hand. Some of the older quilts on display had incorporated flour and sugar sacks and were made of many scraps of different fabrics - far different than the quilts of today, many of which are made with exquisite fabrics produced by companies that cater to quilters.

One of the antique quilts at the show had a block that was set in a different orientation than the others in the quilt. This led to questions about why a quilter would do that. One of many things I learned this weekend is that often a quilter would purposefully make a mistake in their quilt as a symbol of their humility, recognizing that God is the only one who is perfect. Fortunately I don't have to plan ahead to sew a mistake into my quilt, they just tend to creep in on their own.

Other quilts entered into the show included the Piecemakers Y2K Challenge quilts. After the 1998 show, quilters were challenged to complete a twin size or larger quilt in time for this show. There were 31 quilts on display for this challenge and they were remarkable. Cindy Vermillion Hamilton won the viewer's choice award. Cindy is a gifted quilter who is nationally recognized and happens to reside right here in Pagosa Springs. This same quilt also placed second at the American Quilters Society show in Paducah, Ky. This is quite an accomplishment and we are so fortunate to have her talent in Pagosa.

Many hours of hard work by many hands were required to put on a show like this. I feel honored to belong to this group who share a common bond in their love of quilting and who can help each other in producing a quality show for their community. I know of no women in this group who quilt for any other reason than a sheer love of the process and product. The quilts they make will be their legacy to future generations.


Pacing Pagosa
By Richard Walter

Some early rodeo names still here

Looking through old newspaper files can be an adventure in itself but when looking for a specific nugget of information it can be time consuming and frustrating.

That notwithstanding, it was interesting to look at the issue of the Pagosa Springs Sun from fifty years ago, a year when July 4 fell, as it did this year, on a Tuesday.

Big news was the parade which opened the two-day (you'll note this year's celebration was a four-day affair) Red-Ryder Roundup and the lists of winners in the many events.

The fairgrounds, the paper noted, was one year old and drew record attendance of 3,000 for the two-day rodeo, 2,000 on them on July 4 itself.

The parade, which preceded the second day of the rodeo, featured a number of floats including the winner entered by Quarter Circles Ranch. Second was the Fashion Bar entry and Beta Sigma Phi had the third place float.

Other category winners included best dressed boy rider under 12 - Sandy Dunlap; best dressed girl rider under 12 - Doris Crowley; best decorated rider and horse - Mrs. Donald McCoy; and best novelty entry - Vic's Texaco.

Some, but not many of the rodeo event winners had names which can still be associated with Pagosa Country.

First day winners, for example, were J.A. Jennings in saddle bronc riding; Woodrow Dunlap, Jimmie Norton and Bill Maxwell were first through third in calf roping; Chuck Dunagan won the bareback bronc riding competition edging out Don Zimmer and Joe Crow; the team tying crown went to J.B. Wells and Willis Cox, with Jim Wells and Howard Fahrion second and Vaughn Sowards and George White third; Sam Burch captured the half-mile free-for-all with Clarence Charles second. Babe Shahan and Willis Cox finished one-two in the mens' cowpony race and Woodrow Dunlap and George White finished as the top two in the cutting horse contest; Joe Shahan beat his brother Bob in junior roping and Kayo Rowe and Don Zimmer were top performers in steer riding; and Jackie Eaklor edged Mrs. Willis Cox for the top spot in ladies cowpony racing.

Second day competition produced some new names for the winners lists:

Carl Bramwell, Bill Maxwell and Swede Hansen topped the calf roping competition; Zimmer, J.A. Jennings and Hansen led the saddle bronc riding finishers; and Joe Crow, Hansen and Luke Sandoval were the top three in bareback bronc riding; Zimmer, Ted Abbott and Lawrence Rowe were steer riding leaders; the team tying title went to J.B. and Willis Cox with Bill Craig and Mike Cugnini second and Clyde Swift and Hansen third.

In the cutting horse contest Loretta Wiescamp snared the title over male competitors George White and P.C. Crowley; Babe Shahan bested Bill Craig in the mens' cowpony race and Jackie Eaklor and Mrs. Willis Cox finished one-two in the womens' event; Bob Shahan outrode Dick Wells in the kids pony race and then defeated Bill Eaklor in the junior calf roping event.

The Sun reported one of the most entertaining performances of the two-day celebration was the mounted quadrille under direction of Reuben Connelly.

Participants in this "square dance on horseback" were expert riders Mr. and Mrs. Daily Hott, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Murray, Mr. and Mrs. H. Ray Macht, Red Sisson and Jackie Eaklor.

The rodeo committee in 1950 included several men prominent in the area's history. Woodrow Dunlap was president; Harmon Clark, Red Sisson and Percy Chambers the directors; and Glen Edmonds the secretary.

And, like today, there was other news of note, importantly, an announcement that county commissioners were seeking state and federal assistance in a war on grasshoppers.

The grasshopper menace, the paper reported, when coupled with severe drought, (another comparison to July 4 circa 2000) had wreaked havoc on hundreds of acres of pasture land in the county. It was hoped that aid would come in the way of poisoned seed which would attract and kill the hoppers.

Humor, too, had a page 1 position.

The editor took it upon himself to explain a smaller than usual newspaper in a week with, understandably, more news than usual.

"Usually," he quipped, "we can find someone else to take the blame, like the Linotype operator, proofreader, reporter, correspondents, broken machinery or some other thing.

"But this week, now, the editor just wasn't minding his business and forgot to order more newsprint. As a result, eight pages took all of the available paper and it was necessary to omit some important items.

"This wasn't brought about by the fact that not enough subscribers had paid for their subscriptions but just pure absent mindedness. Of course, if anyone owes $2.50 or $3 on the great little weekly, it could be used around the joint for something or other. Might even buy a new pair of shoes for the kid."

An independent thought and explanation for a town which has always known how to accept responsibility and/or celebrate, whether it be a state sports championship or the nation's Independence Day. The names have changed but the events still help Pagosa Springs typify the small town America spirit of patriotism, friendly competition and community pride.

Old Timer
By John Motter

County's firsts hard to pinpoint

By John M. Motter

Who was first? The answer to that question always arches the eyebrows of historians. Often, there is no clear answer. An area's early history often resembles a muddy river bottom. Where is the absolute bottom?

Identifying the firsts in Pagosa Country fits the muddy river bottom theory. No one really knows who was first. Part of the answer depends on how the question is asked. By asking who was first, do we mean who was first in Pagosa Springs or who was first in Archuleta County or who was first in the general area?

An additional question might be, What do we mean by who was first? Do we mean the first person to see the area, or the first person to build a house in the area, or the first person to build a house and stay for awhile, say several years.

For Pagosa Country the answers are unclear for all of the questions. Most of the time we assume we're not talking about the original Indian inhabitants of the area. I feel a little silly saying, 'the first man to see the Great Pagosa Hot Spring came in 1859' when there are Ute Indians around. Obviously, the statement isn't true. So when we talk about first, we assume everyone knows the Indians were here when the first white men came and we go ahead and talk about white men.

The first white men to visit the Upper San Juan Basin were probably Hispanics from New Mexico trading with Indians. There are also a large number of stories concerning lost treasures that involve Hispanics and French explorers, possibly before 1800. These stories may be true or false. Consequently, we report them as legends.

Juan Maria Rivera is the first white man I know to have visited the upper San Juan. Rivera made the journey in 1765, ostensibly while trading with the Ute Indians. Rivera is said to have penetrated current Colorado as far as the Gunnison River country. Many of the mountain and river names are said to have originated with Rivera, including the name San Juan. History doesn't tell us if Rivera originated the names or they were already in general use by Rivera and his companions who may have been in Colorado earlier.

The next written account of a white man entering the upper basin is that of the Fathers Dominguez and Escalante, who were searching for a route connecting New Mexico with California. They made their epic and well documented journey during 1776. Most historians assume that Hispanic traders penetrated the Upper San Juan frequently following the Dominguez-Escalante expedition.

Anglo fur trappers are the next group to enter the Upper San Juan, that happening in the early 1820s. Several accounts of the Taos trappers refer to trapping expeditions along the San Juan River. I am unaware of any specific documentation saying any specific trapper looked on the Great Pagosa Hot Spring or even the countryside surrounding the Hot Spring. It seems reasonable to believe, if the accounts say they trapped the Upper San Juan, that those trappers saw the Great Pagosa Hot Spring.

One of the earliest trapping expeditions to the San Juan took place in 1822 and was led by William Wolfskill, Ewing Young, and Isaac Slover. Other trappers likely to have known the valley were Old Bill Williams, Kit Carson, Peg-leg Smith, Antoine Robidoux, Etienne Provost, Francois Leclerc, and William Becknell.

The first written, eyewitness account we have of anyone visiting the Great Pagosa Hot Spring, and by extension, Pagosa Country, is that of Capt. John M. Macomb, a topographical engineer with the U.S. Army. Macomb came in 1859 with a well-equipped expedition. His purpose was to determine the viability of the Old Spanish Trail as an east-west route across the Rocky Mountains. Macomb's findings are well documented. One branch of that trail ran through what was to become Archuleta Country.

Charles Baker was the next local visitor we known anything about. Baker and some friends discovered gold near today's Silverton in 1860. The location of Baker's discovery was called Baker's Park. For years, Baker's Park and the Great Pagosa Hot Springs were the only two specifically identified locations in this part of Colorado. Baker came back in 1861, building a toll road from Abiquiu to Baker's Park. Apparently, a lot of folks learned about the gold at Baker's Park because they started coming into the San Juans in droves, many of them over Baker's toll road.

One of those 1861 visitors was Sarah Chivington Pollock who claimed to be the first white woman in the San Juans. From then on travelers, especially prospectors, probably traveled past the Great Pagosa Hot Springs regularly.

So who built the first cabin in town, in the county, in the area? Who built a cabin and stayed?

Some oldtimers point with pride to the foot pad of a cabin down on the Navajo River and a few miles upstream from Chromo Mercantile. They'll tell you Kit Carson built the cabin and lived in it while trapping in the area. Since Carson died in 1868 and Carson served in the New Mexico militia from 1861 until falling ill in 1867, I doubt if he built the cabin after 1861. In fact, I doubt if Carson ever built the cabin. I can find no mention of it in his memoirs or anywhere else. I think the story was concocted by Will Price, whose father Barzillai Price settled his family on the Navajo in 1878 or 1879. Right now I have the Kit Carson cabin story filed under legend rather than fact.

Welch Nossaman claimed to have built the first cabin in Pagosa Springs. Nossaman's cabin would have been in town not far from the Great Pagosa Hot Springs. He also stayed, but was in and out of the vicinity those first few years. Nossaman left an autobiography, but using it to date the year he built his cabin is difficult because the wording is ambiguous. Based on when Nossaman left Pella, Iowa, it would appear he built his cabin in 1876. A fact that can be verified is that Nossaman filed the first homestead claim in the county. That homestead is now the Formwalt place just east of town.

The newspaper has recorded the names of other men, such as Jacob Bader, who stopped in town years later and claimed to have built the first cabin. Another name that could have been first is Grimes. The first Grimes in the country were cattle people and we know cattle were driven into the San Juan Basin during the early 1870s. We don't know if any of those cattle were in the Pagosa area. While we're talking about livestock, it is only fair to mention that the community we know as Tierra Amarilla sprang up about 1860. As much as 50 years earlier, sheepherders had been driving their flocks into the upper Chama River Valley. Did they graze their herds in Pagosa Country as well? Not unlikely.

We also know that by 1876 Hispanics by the name of Archuleta, Gomez, and probably others were building homes and settling along the Navajo River from Edith to Dulce. Does that location count when we look for the first settler? Then there was a man by the name of Perkins over on the Piedra where Wayne Farrow and family live today. Perkins likely homesteaded in 1876 and sold out to an older generation of Farrows in 1878 because 'the country is getting too crowded."

So we ask again, who was first? What are the facts? It is a documented fact that the post office in Pagosa Springs started June 5, 1878. The application for the post office must have been completed and submitted some months earlier. According to the application, there were about 100 people living in the area. Except for a few families, we don't know who those 100 people were, or if there were really that many people. That post office and a general store were located about one mile south of the Great Pagosa Hot Spring. A bridge across the San Juan at that point, probably Baker's bridge, served a road which entered the area along Mill Creek, called Agua Fria on old maps, crossed the river at the post office, and continued up the hill west on its way to Animas City, the forerunner of Durango.

Joe Clarke was postmaster and ran a general store at the same location. Was Joe Clarke Pagosa's first settler? When town lots were auctioned off in 1885 by the U.S. government, Clarke was the biggest buyer. In fact, Clarke, acting as agent for the Pagosa Springs Co., bought all of Block 21, the downtown block which formerly housed Fort Lewis and currently is the core business block in town.

Another easy to date fact is the timing of the Army's arrival.

Those first permanent troops came from Fort Garland in the San Luis Valley. On Oct. 15, 1878, 2nd Lt. Alexis R. Paxton marched into Pagosa Springs in command of 22 enlisted men belonging to Company I of the 15th Regiment.

Other facts: The townsite of Pagosa Springs was created May 22, 1877, by Presidential Order; another Presidential Order dated Jan. 28, 1879, set aside six square miles centered on the Great Pagosa Hot Spring as a military reservation. Title to the Great Pagosa Hot Spring and 40 acres was awarded to Henry Foote of Del Norte in 1883 for Valentine Script. Forty acres south of the Great Pagosa were awarded to J.L. Byers, John Conover, and A.C. Vay Duyn. The three purchased Foote's forty acres later that year and organized the Pagosa Springs Company, an organization which operated the Great Pagosa Hot Spring until after the turn of the century.

And so when we ask yet again, "Who was first?" the answer comes back, "We don't know."



Clay Dylan Christensen

David and Teresa Cook of Pagosa Springs would like to announce the arrival of their grandson, Clay Dylan Christensen. Clay was born to Travis and Amy (Henson) Christensen, on May 16, 2000. He weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces and was 20 1/2-inches long. Clay is also welcomed by his aunt Amber and uncle Dean Brown of Durango.


Business News

Biz Beat

Below Wholesale International Marketplace

Ken and Laura Hodges are the owners and operators of Below Wholesale International Marketplace, located at 463 Pagosa Street in downtown Pagosa Springs.

Below Wholesale International Marketplace offers customers a wide variety of goods, including household items, tools, clothing, shoes, sporting goods, and more. The inventory at the store changes weekly.

Hours at Below Wholesale International Marketplace are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 264-1300.


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