Fourth grade reading marks rise; writing scores low
By Richard Walter
Fourth graders in Pagosa Springs scored well above the statewide averages in reading but below average in writing in tests administered in early spring. Results were released Wednesday afternoon.
Seventy-six percent of Pagosa's students scored 98 percent proficiency or above in reading compared to the statewide average of 62 percent.
Writing scores indicated 55 percent of local students were only partially proficient while 28 percent were proficient or above. Statewide, 34 percent were listed as proficient or above, an increase of 10 percentage points over last year. Ten percent of Pagosa's students had unsatisfactory writing scores.
Bayfield, the only other regional school covered in the initial listings received, scored 84 percent on the reading test compared to Pagosa's 76, and 41 percent in writing proficiency. Fourteen percent of Bayfield's tested youth had unsatisfactory writing scores.
Pagosa school officials had not had time to evaluate the scores against previous performances, but said that while results were higher than last year there still is work to be done. Both Superintendent Terry Alley and elementary school Principal Cyndy Secrist were out of town Wednesday.
State Education Commissioner Bill Moloney issued a press release indicating the improved scores statewide this year show "there will be no valid excuse next year, when students' test scores will be used to grade how well schools are doing under a new law."
Maloney said, "There won't be a single school or district with any legitimacy or any credibility that can say we can't do it, it's too hard or you can't do it with these kids."
The law, crafted by Gov. Bill Owens, requires the Colorado Department of Education to assign letter grades to schools based on student performance on standardized tests. The state board also will assess sanctions against schools that receive a failing grade three years in a row.
"The real story," Moloney said, "is at the local level. This tells you who is carrying the ball and who is dropping the ball."
The upward movement statewide was particularly welcome at the fourth grade level, state officials said, because both reading and writing scores had been stagnant for the past two years. They noted 64 percent of fourth graders passed the reading test this year compared to 59 percent last year and 57 percent in 1997, the first year the tests were given.
Three men sentenced in 1999 kidnapping
By Karl Isberg
Three Archuleta County residents charged with kidnapping following their arrests in Arizona in 1999, were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Phoenix on July 10.
According to Kathy Colbert of the U.S. Attorney's Office at Phoenix, Terry Patrick Yerton, 48, of Arboles, was sentenced on two criminal counts by U.S. District Judge Paul G. Rosenblatt. Yerton received a 70-month sentence on a charge of kidnapping and a 60-month sentence for conspiracy to commit kidnapping. The sentences will run concurrently. Yerton also received five years supervised release as part of his sentence.
Michael John Yerton, 51, of Pagosa Springs was sentenced to concurrent 37-month sentences on the charges of kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and also given five years supervised release.
Edward Daniel Laue, 34, of Pagosa Springs was sentenced to concurrent 51-month sentences on the kidnapping and conspiracy charges, with five years supervised release.
The incident that led to the arrests of the three men began in Pagosa Springs in the early-morning hours of April 13, 1999, when the victim of the crime, Dennis Barrett, 47, of Pagosa Springs was forcibly taken from his home.
According to law enforcement reports, Barrett was put in a sleeping bag and placed in the back of a rental truck, held at gunpoint, taken to Terry Yerton's residence at Arboles, then to the airport in Cortez where a vehicle transfer was made.
Barrett escaped his captors later in the day at a fast food restaurant in Kayenta, Ariz., and local police arrested the Yertons and Laue. The perpetrators were held in federal facilities since their arrests.
Colbert said Tuesday there is no indication where the three Pagosans will be sent to serve their sentences. She said, to her best knowledge, the trio will be transported to the federal prison at Florence where they will be evaluated. "The Bureau of Prisons can then send the prisoners to facilities located all across the country," she said.
Water levels still dropping; monsoon could help
By John M. Motter
Apprehension is not normally a weather term, but the air in Pagosa Country is heavily laden with apprehension these days.
The questions creating the apprehension are: When will rain fall in quantities sufficient to eliminate drought conditions? Will mandatory water rationing be required before the rain comes? Will the San Juan River through town dry up?
Weather forecaster Joe Ramey of the Grand Junction National Weather Service office may have the answer to the first question.
"Right now, a bubble of high pressure is resting over western Colorado," Ramey said. "The chances of getting rain with the high setting there are pretty slim. There is a good chance the high will move east early next week and some rain showers could move in, maybe Sunday or Monday. I hate to forecast that far ahead, but the monsoon season will begin sometime and early next week looks like a good opportunity."
In the meantime, Ramey predicted widely scattered showers for Wednesday evening, today, and again tomorrow and Saturday with a 20 percent chance for rain. Temperatures will remain above normal.
"A lot of small variables must come together for the monsoon season to begin," Ramey said. "The conditions for that season have been knocking at the door, but not quite breaking through. That should change soon."
Monsoon rains traditionally hit Pagosa Country during mid-July. During the monsoon season, moisture originating in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean off Baja California is dropped on Pagosa Country.
Carrie Campbell, Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District general manager, keeps at least one eye focused on the clouds these days. She and her associates will make the decision to implement mandatory water rationing if conditions require such a move.
"Every morning I look at all of the clouds and think we're going to get some rain," Campbell said. "So far, it just hasn't happened. We have received a little rain, but we need a substantial amount to avoid water rationing. I hope people don't think the scattered showers we've received have been enough to fix the problem. We're still asking people to use water very carefully. The decision to go to mandatory rationing is reviewed on a day-to-day basis. People will probably have a two-week notice if that decision is made."
PAWS follows a series of prescribed steps before implementing mandatory rationing. One of those steps is gauging the water level in Hatcher and Stevens reservoirs.
The level of Hatcher Reservoir was down 26 inches below the spillway on Tuesday of this week. The lake dropped six inches in the six days prior to Tuesday, according to Campbell. The first mandatory rationing trigger point is reached when the surface of Hatcher Reservoir drops to five feet below the spillway.
The level of Stevens Reservoir was down 20 inches below the spillway on Tuesday of this week and had dropped three inches in the previous six days. The level one conservation initiation trigger point, mandatory water rationing, for Stevens Reservoir is also five feet below the spillway.
A number of other factors are considered before mandatory water rationing is implemented.
Water consumption over the four-day Fourth of July celebration in Pagosa Springs was significantly less this year than if was in 1999, according to Campbell. Last year, the three PAWS water treatment plants purified about 12.3 million gallons of water over the four-day holiday celebration. This year, the amount of water produced during four days was down to 8.6 million gallons.
PAWS officials hold their breaths during the Fourth of July celebration because the demand for water often keeps the treatment plants running at capacity around the clock. At times, production capacity has been exceeded by demand. For reasons not entirely clear, the demand this year was lower.
Concerning the final question, no one knows if the San Juan River will dry up. Many old timers say it has happened in the past. They also say that this is the lowest they have seen the river this early in the season.
The San Juan River in town may be running at the lowest rate ever since record keeping started in 1936, according to the Durango office of the Colorado Water Resources Division. Only 62 cubic feet per second of water were flowing through town as measured at the gauging station July 10. The previous low for the same date was 118 cfs. The average daily flow on July 10 is 469 cfs. The lowest volume ever recorded since 1936 was the 9.7 cfs measured Oct. 5, 1956.
Streamflow records prior to 1936 are available through the Colorado Water Resources Division, but they are not complete. The method of measuring was different making comparisons with current readings misleading.
Last week, only 0.01 inches of precipitation were measured at the official National Weather Service station located at Stevens Field. The total rainfall for July of this year is .05 inches, well below the long-time July average of 1.63 inches. So far during the Year 2000, 10.31 inches of precipitation have been measured at the Stevens Field site. The long-time average for January through July is 9.79 inches.
The average high temperature for July 5 through July 11 was 84 degrees, topped by 87 degrees Monday. The average low temperature last week was 44 degrees. A 43 degree reading July 5 was the lowest reading for the period.
Sheriff switches stance on PSO
By John M. Motter
The problem of how to replace law enforcement services formerly supplied by the Pagosa Lakes Public Safety Office and paid for by the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association is being handled internally by Sheriff Tom Richards.
Richards' decision is a change from his former approach since learning of the PSO disbandment plans of the PLPOA. Prior to Tuesday's meeting of county commissioners, Richards had asked the commissioners to fund the addition of two officers to his department.
By asking the county to appropriate additional funds for the two officers, Richards placed in the laps of the commissioners the decision on whether or not to hire the two additional deputies. By deciding to hire the additional deputies through his already approved budget, Richards shouldered the decision himself, and relieved the commissioners of the decision.
Until Saturday, three officers with their equipment and vehicles will remain on duty through the PSO.
"Our plan is two hire two additional deputies," Richards said at Tuesday's county commissioners meeting. "Those two deputies won't be assigned exclusively to the Fairfield Pagosa area; they will be assigned to shifts the same as other officers. There will be deputies assigned regularly to Fairfield Pagosa, but the coverage will be less than it formerly was. Remember, we are using two deputies to replace three deputies. Obviously, there will not be as much coverage."
Richards said he has enough money in his budget to pay for the deputies for an unspecified period of time. If the new deputies are hired Aug. 1, about $14,000 will be required for salaries through the end of the year. The cost of benefits and other, associated costs was not estimated by Richards.
"You heard the commissioners," Richards said afterward. "They told me to come back if I run out of money before the end of the year."
No action was taken on a proposal that the county purchase three police-equipped vehicles from the PLPOA. If the vehicles are purchased, the cost is expected to be borne by the county, thereby requiring commissioners approval of the purchase.
The county is waiting for the PLPOA to submit a proposed contract for the possible vehicle transaction. The PLPOA board of directors is expected to act on the proposal tonight.
Tentatively, the PLPOA has suggested the county pay $60,000 for the three vehicles. Various payment plans have been considered, but the one most discussed was a $20,000 per year, three-year lease purchase agreement.
From the audience, Charles Hawkins, a Fairfield Pagosa resident, told the commissioners that the PLPOA has no right to sell the vehicles to the county without going through a public bidding process.
"I, or anyone else, has as much right to purchase those vehicles as the county," Hawkins said.
"I assume that the PLPOA board has the right to act on behalf of the PLPOA," said Mary Weiss, the county attorney. "On that basis, I assume they have the right to sell the vehicles. Any other problems out there are their problems (the PLPOA's) and not the county's."
Richards has not said what he will do if the officers are hired and the vehicles are not purchased.
Sarnow mass Saturday
A mass of Christian burial for Christine Lea Sarnow will be conducted 10 a.m. Saturday at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church with Father John Bowe conducting the service. Father John will conduct a rosary at 7 p.m. Friday at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.
Christine passed away at home Tuesday morning, July 11, 2000.
The Christine Sarnow Memorial Fund has been established at The Bank of Colorado located in the Country Center City Market. The fund will be used to help with the family's cancer-related medical expenses.
At the family's request, an obituary will be published in the July 20 edition of the SUN.
Two rescues test EMS teams
By Karl Isberg
Emergency Medical Services crews were involved in two unusual events during the first week of July.
On July 5, teams from EMS and Upper San Juan Search and Rescue were called to a remote location near the Middle Fork Trail, 25 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs.
Philip Craig Morton, 26, of Lubbock, Texas, fell down a steep slope next to what Bill Bright of EMS called, "a very narrow game trail," and was seriously injured.
Morton was one of three hikers on the trail when the accident occurred at approximately 11:30 a.m. An unidentified member of his group walked to the Middle Fork trailhead, drove to the Sportsman Supply and Campground and called authorities.
An EMS crew consisting of paramedic Kathy Conway, and EMTs Brandi Power and Larry Asked hiked to the victim, following footprints to find their way. A second crew of EMS and Search and Rescue members attempted to bring medical evacuation equipment to the scene of the accident. The first crew was able to reach Morton and started treating him, but the second crew was unable to transport equipment over the precarious route.
Local medical evacuation helicopters were unavailable to assist in removing Morton from the area, so a U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter and medical team flew to Pagosa Springs from Fort Carson, near Colorado Springs. Bright joined the helicopter crew at Stevens Field and flew with the medics to the Middle Fork site.
"They lowered an Army EMT and equipment on a line," said Bright. "Kathy (Conway) had administered pain medication to the victim and our team, which then included Karn Macht, had him ready to go."
Morton was flown by the Army crew to Stevens Field, where he arrived at 8:40 p.m. He was then taken by an Air Care helicopter to Mercy Medical Center at Durango.
A Mercy spokesman said Wednesday that Morton was treated at the hospital for a fractured lumbar spine and discharged on July 10.
"All our people performed very well in adverse conditions," Bright said of the mountain rescue. "And the crew from Fort Carson did a great job."
In the second incidence, an EMS team responded to the Chromo area on July 7 to care for a local resident who was struck by lightning.
Kenneth Lanier, 57, of Chromo, was fishing in the Navajo River adjacent to the Navajo River Road, two miles from the junction with U.S. 84 when he was struck. Lightning hit the fishing pole held by Lanier, blasting the graphite rod into limp fibers. The bolt entered Lanier's body near his shoulder and exited his lower body.
An unidentified companion of Lanier went to a nearby residence and phoned for help at approximately 2:40 p.m. A Quick Response Vehicle stationed at Chromo responded to the call and an ambulance was dispatched from Pagosa Springs.
Bright said Lanier suffered burns in the incident, but no internal injuries.
Lanier was taken by ambulance to Stevens Field and was flown by Air Care helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital at Albuquerque. He was released from the hospital and returned to Chromo July 9.
Road maintenance policy unchanged
By John M. Motter
The county road maintenance policy has not changed, Gene Cortright, a member of the joint county-PLPOA road advisory committee learned Tuesday at the regular meeting of the county commissioners.
Included among the unchanged policies is a moratorium against accepting additional roads into the system for maintenance.
"We've driven around the county looking at roads, but we have not settled which roads we intend to maintain and which will be excluded," said Commissioner Gene Crabtree.
"I can tell you we don't have enough money to take care of all of the roads we already have," said County Manager Dennis Hunt.
Cortright expressed concern that no maintenance is being planned for roads paved during the last two years under a bankruptcy settlement agreement between the county, the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, and Fairfield Communities Inc.
Cortright also pointed out that, if the county expects certain localities within the county, such as the collection of subdivisions west of town, to form road districts to pay for their own road maintenance, then the county should define its maintenance policies.
"How will you decide what you are going to do and what you aren't going to do?" Cortright asked. "We need to know what you are going to do so we can plan our alternatives. When are you going to decide?"
"We have to decide road by road," Crabtree said. "A lot depends on the budget next year. We'll do the snow plowing. Maintenance will be dictated by the amount of money available."
"The Bechtel Study made two key points," said Commissioner Ken Fox. "First, we must consider raising about $65 million just for new road construction and rebuilding certain roads. That does not include the cost of any maintenance. Second, the study suggested we consider methods for raising money including impact fees and an increased mill levy. We attempted to raise the mill levy from 3-1/2 mills to 10 mills and the voters turned it down. We need to consider forming special districts, municipal districts, and an increased mill levy."
"We'll start to work on these problems during the late August budget session and following the primary election," Crabtree said. "There is a saying, 'it was gravel when you got here and it will be gravel when you leave.' I know that is facetious, but we can't do anything without money."
Fox pointed out Bechtel is conducting a traffic count update on the roads, which will give the county more recent data for decision making.
In general, the commissioners agree county road policy has not changed, the maintenance moratorium is still in effect, changes will be considered during the election process, and the moratorium may or may not remain after budget changes are adopted.
Cortright concluded that "the only thing you have is a moratorium against making any decisions."
School asbestos removal complete
By Richard Walter
Asbestos removal from Pagosa Springs Elementary School has been completed and the mandatory air quality test by an independent facility was highly successful last week.
Members of the board of education for School District 50 Jt., were told Tuesday that the contractor is installing new ceiling tiles and light fixtures in the building this week and indications are work will be completed by the contract completion date Sunday.
Superintendent Terry Alley told the board the air test was conducted by a Colorado Springs firm which rated the work "highly successful."
Director Russ Lee, acting as president pro tem, asked if it is true the district will be responsible for the removed materials in perpetuity and Alley confirmed the responsibility.
"It is stored underground in New Mexico at a government-approved site. All waste removed from our building is labeled with the source and date of removal. We are forever responsible for that material."
Later in the brief meeting, while discussing bill payments, Alley called the board's attention to the request for payment of $107,000 to the firm which conducted the asbestos removal, noting that payment will leave about $60,000 unpaid pending final inspection and restoration of parking lot areas damaged by company trucks. He said the firm has acknowledged the damage and agreed to repair it.
In other action Tuesday, the board:
- Agreed to shorten three bus routes as recommended by Transportation Director John Rose
Involved are Routes 4, 5 and 8 serving, respectively, the Upper Piedra, Fourmile Road and Cat Creek Road. Rose said the Upper Piedra route now involves a 12.3-mile trip one way to pick up a single student; the Fourmile Road trip is 3 miles one way for two students; and the Cat Creek Road trip is 10 miles one way to pick up three students, "and two of them are my own."
Rose said better allocation of bus services is needed to serve the burgeoning student loads from North Pagosa Boulevard, Pagosa Lakes and Aspen Springs areas.
The board agreed to the changes, specifying the four families involved be notified of new student pickup points before school opens.
Rose said all three routes affected are roadways in poor repair which necessitate unusually heavy wear on school buses - "particularly the Cat Creek Road route which we consider to be the worst road in the county as far as accessibility to school buses is concerned.
"We've had to chain up more for mud on that road than for snow and ice," he said. "Fourmile Road," he said, "is rapidly deteriorating and becoming hazardous for all traffic."
In other business Tuesday, the board:
- Heard Alley report that 40 out-of-town enrollees are expected for the Alfie Kohn workshop Aug. 8 at the high school. He said the district hopes for about 160 persons to be involved, including local staff.
- Approved a staff recommendation amending policies relating to school bus drivers. Specifically, the changes will allow the drivers to elect one representative from their ranks to serve on the District Review Committee; grants salaried drivers five days of leave per year with each allowed to use one day for personal leave; and provides that drivers be included in the salary incentive program whereby they can qualify for increases in pay by completed additional training.
Chip and seal project readied
By John M. Motter
Work will begin in about two weeks on the application of a new chip and seal surface for several roads located in the Pagosa in the Pines subdivision west of Pagosa Springs.
GMCO, a Grand Junction firm, won the $50,627 contract to do the job. Among the roads being resurfaced are Cloud Cap Avenue from Piedra Road to the spillway, then south on Park Avenue to Carlee Place, along Carlee Place to Handicap Avenue, and all of Handicap Avenue.
In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:
- Appointed Jim Carey to serve on the Archuleta County Airport Authority Board
- Accepted the partial release of a deed of trust the county holds on the Wildflower Subdivision. The release is connected with the sale of Lot 47. The county originally held a deed of trust on all of the lots in the development. As lots are sold, that portion of the total is released from the trust deed
- A hotel and restaurant liquor license renewal was granted Sports Page Bar and Grill
- A public hearing was conducted and two special events permits were issued, one to Wild Women of Southwestern Colorado and the other to the Pagosa Springs Lions Club. The meeting agenda neglected to label the agenda item under which the special events permits were issued as public hearings
- A change of premises permit was granted the Italian Kitchen
- County Clerk June Madrid was granted permission to allow early voting to begin before the normal 10-days-prior-to-election early voting period for the Aug. 8 primary election, and before the 15-days-prior-to-election early voting period for the general election Nov. 7. Madrid, the county's election official, did not specify when early voting will begin following the commissioner's action, but it will coincide with absentee voting.
"We're implementing a new computer process in connection with this," said Noreen Griego, deputy county clerk. "As soon as we get the computer system working, we'll announce a date for early voting."
County building continues at record pace
By John M. Motter
Building in Archuleta County through the first half of the year 2000 continues at a record pace, if the number of building permits issued by the county building department is used as a measuring stick.
By June 30, the number of building permits of all kinds issued by Archuleta County reached 288, a 122 percent increase over last year at this time. At the same time last year, the number of permits issued by the county for all purposes was 236.
The number of permits issued last year was an all-time high, amounting to 517 permits by the end of the year. If the current pace continues through the year 2000, the new record will be 576 permits.
In town, 29 building permits have been issued from Jan. 1 through June 28. The total value of the town permits is $3,363,000. They are issued separately from and in addition to, the permits issued by the county.
By category, the town permits include four for new commercial buildings, eight for alterations to commercial buildings, six for new residential buildings, and 11 for alterations to residential buildings.
Of the 288 permits issued by the county, 170 were issued for residential buildings. Last year at this time, 112 house, or residential, permits had been issued. The number of mobile home permits has dropped from 40 last year to 32 this year, while the number of commercial permits has climbed from six last year to seven this year. In the final category, timeshares, the number of permits issued this year is seven, compared with none last year by June 30.
"The only thing I can say," said Jerry Mount, a county building official, "is, there are a lot of owner home builders here. This gives me a big concern because the county has no regulations in place guaranteeing that someone who starts a home will finish it in a timely fashion. An unfinished house with building materials scattered around can be ugly and detract from the neighborhood."
Mount moved to Archuleta County this year from Georgia, where he was also involved with building inspections.
"Down there," Mount said, "people were required to put up the outer shell before the framing inspection was completed. That way, if it took two or three years to finish, the construction site did not look like a trash heap."
Individuality distinguishes home building in Archuleta County from that in Georgia, according to Mount.
"People here are building their dream homes," Mount said. "Here we see more custom work, more out-of-the-ordinary homes. By the square foot, homes here are more expensive."
School facilities use policy amended
By Richard Walter
The policy governing community use of school facilities was amended by unanimous vote of the board of education Tuesday.
Superintendent Terry Alley, explaining the old policy was inconsistent and often hard to understand, said the amended document spells out who may lease facilities, for what purpose and at what price.
The policy sets a five-phase priority of use schedule leading with, understandably, school sponsored activities. Following in order are town and county recreation, local youth groups, non-profit community organizations and non-profit community organizations charging admission.
Rates for use of school facilities include $75 per hour and a $200 deposit for the high school gym; $50 per hour and a $100 deposit for the junior high gym; $40 per hour and a $100 deposit for the intermediate school gym; $35 per hour and a $100 deposit for the elementary school all-purpose room; $75 per hour and a $100 deposit for the high school commons area; $20 per hour and a $50 deposit for all classrooms and libraries; $50 per hour and a $50 deposit for school kitchens; $100 per hour and a $200 deposit for multiple use of facilities; and athletic fields and computer labs by special arrangement only.
The amended policy also carries a 12-point list of provisions organizations using the school facilities must follow:
(1) School facilities will only be rented to recognized, local, non-profit organizations. Facilities will not be rented to private individuals
(2) All organizations must designate one individual to be the contact person and be responsible for the facility
(3) All required school district use forms must be completed and submitted prior to the date of use
(4) Groups are responsible for the cleanliness of the area used and for any damage done to the area. A damage deposit will be collected for use of all facilities and will be returned if the area passes an after-use inspection
(5) A cafeteria employee will be assigned any time a kitchen is used and the renting organization will pay the employee's current hourly rate
(6) The building principal shall determine if any school personnel are needed for an activity or event. The renting organization will be responsible for paying the hourly rate for the additional personnel
(7) Special permission must be obtained to install any scenery, equipment, furniture or decorations. All decorations shall be fireproof or fire retardant
(8) All fees and deposits must be paid prior to use
(9) Programs or camps that are conducted by a school district staff person shall not be charged a use fee provided (a) the staff person is not receiving any payment for the activity; (b) the activity is related to his/her district contract assignment and (c) the activity is for the benefit of school district students
(10) Organizations conducting activities for the school district's children shall pay a use fee that is 10 percent of the normal use fee for the area being used. They shall still submit a deposit and pay for the cost of any personnel assigned by the principal
(11) If the activity of an organization is for the "exclusive" purpose of raising money for scholarships or for a school district program, the organization will not be charged a use fee. The organization will still submit the required deposit and pay for any school personnel required to be present
(12) An organization needing to use several rooms in a building shall be charged a multi-use fee of $100 per hour and pay a deposit of $200.
Five hirings fill school district staff
By Richard Walter
The Archuleta School District staff has been completed for the coming school year with school board confirmation Tuesday of contracts for five new teachers, two of them pending receipt of certification.
Hired on administrative recommendation were:
- Tanya Garcia, who did her student teaching in Pagosa Springs three years ago and has been employed by Dulce schools since then, to be a first-second grade multi-age classroom teacher
- Phillip Rizzo, a teacher in Dulce for the past five years, as a first grade teacher
- Dawn Hollenbeck (pending certification) who recently completed her student teaching here, under a federal grant program as a second grade teacher
- Scott Vaillancourt (pending certification), a teacher in Dolores for several years who is now working on his master's degree
- Dan Stephanus, a teacher now in the Jefferson County school system as an elementary school day-treatment teacher
Superintendent Terry Alley said staff representatives were involved in all interviews with prospective teachers. He said the district, like others nationwide, is currently seeing a declining number of applicants.
He said there were 35 applicants for the elementary school positions and that the hardest job to get applicants for was the day-treatment post because of the sensitive nature of the work and the extra training and screening necessary.
Aspen Springs firms face state charges
By John M. Motter
Three Aspen Springs businesses have been charged with violating certain provisions of Colorado laws governing prospecting or mining.
Charges against the three firms will be considered at the July 26-27 meeting of the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board in Denver, beginning at 9 a.m.
The charges can be either substantiated or denied. As an alternative, a declatory order might be issued exempting these activities from the requirements of a reclamation permit.
If the charges are substantiated, consideration will be given to a notice of violation, cease and desist order, corrective actions, and civil penalties for conducting a mining operation without an approved reclamation permit.
Specifically, the local businesses may have been engaged in excavating and hauling material off site, according to Tom Gillis, senior environmental specialist at the Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology office in Durango. The materials in question are unpermitted construction materials and top soil. A permit is required to allow excavation of top soil or other materials from one site and transporting those materials to another site, Gillis said.
Petroleum products, coal, and geothermal products are exempted from the these particular regulations. Exemptions are also allowed under some circumstances when the excavated material is being moved from one site to another when the sites all have the same owner.
Landowners conducting excavations connected with permitted building activities on their own property are also excluded from the mining regulations.
"Actually, about 90 percent of the work we do is in connection with gravel-removing activities," Gillis said.
In the local case, a written complaint sent to the Division of Minerals and Geology led to the charges being considered by the Mined Land Reclamation Board. When the agency investigator inspected the site, the additional cases turned up.
"Sometimes people who sell topsoil or gravel are not aware that they are mining and that the state requires them to obtain a permit," Gillis said.
The three local firms listed on the agenda for the Mined Land Reclamation Board meeting are Woodland Homes/Woodland Properties II, Stoltz Construction, and Jerry Rayburn and Carol Muratides.
County sales tax collections at record pace
By John M. Motter
Archuleta County sales tax collections for the year 2000 continue to climb at a record pace. Through May of this year, sales tax collections total $1,564,976, 6.13 percent higher than the amount of sales taxes collected through May of 1999.
Last month, County Manager Dennis Hunt cautioned that the rate of sales tax collection increases was slowing, a red flag to be observed when planning to spend county money. At the end of April, total collections for the year 2000 were only 1.8 percent ahead of collections through April of 1999.
Last year, sales tax collection increases from March through the end of the year were all two-digit figures, topped by a year-to-date 23.49 percent increase for April. The year-to-date increase for May of 1999 over May of 1998 was 13.18 percent. Total collections for 1999 were a record $4,193,256 with the biggest collection months being September, October, November and December.
Collections for May of this year were $294,427, a significant increase over the $226,484 collected during May of 1999.
A 7 percent sales tax is levied on all retail purchases in Archuleta County, including purchases within the town of Pagosa Springs. Of that amount, 3 percent is retained by the state and 4 percent is divided equally between the county and the town.
Currently, sales tax remittances are forwarded to the Colorado Department of Revenue by merchants who collect the money at the point of sale. The Department of Revenue sets aside the state's 3 percent, then returns the remaining amount to the local taxing authorities.
This system has drawn criticism from local counties and from a recent independent audit of the Department of Revenue, according to Hunt, who is on a statewide committee examining sales tax collections across the state. One criticism centers on the delay by the state in returning money to local taxing entities. A second criticism revolves around the misappropriation, or rather, lack of appropriating, of funds. About $8 million has been resting under Department of Revenue jurisdiction waiting to be disbursed, Hunt said.
Change is on the wind, however. A plan is being developed, Hunt said, effectively cutting out the state as a middle man. If and when the plan is adopted, vendors will deposit collected sales taxes in the bank. From the bank the portion going to the state will be forwarded to the state, and the portion going to local taxing entities will be forwarded to those entities. The time required for the funds to reach the local taxing entity will be reduced from 15 or 20 days to 24 hours, Hunt said. As many as two years may pass before the proposed changes are implemented in rural areas such as Archuleta County.
Another time savings will be realized by requiring that lodging taxes be paid monthly instead of quarterly, Hunt said. In the past, under the quarterly system, a lodging tax payer could be three months behind before being noticed. Under a monthly system, the delinquency will be noticed within 30 days.
In Archuleta County, lodging taxes are a major source of income for the tourism budget that is directed by a tourism panel through the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.
So far in the year 2000, Archuleta County and Pagosa Springs have each received income of $782,488 from sales taxes. The town's portion is placed in a capital improvements fund. The county's share has been apportioned $391,244 to the road improvement fund, $312,995 to the general fund, and $78,249 to the road and bridge fund.
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 any way. 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.
I did not think I would ever have to resort to writing a letter to the editor, but here I am doing the very thing I didn't want to do.
On July 4, my husband left our home in Alpha subdivision to go to the City Market on U.S. 160 and when he turned on Alpha Drive he was met by a man and a barricade. He was informed he couldn't drive down this road and he could go to downtown Pagosa by the back road as this public road (we pay taxes for) was closed to the public.
To say the least, he got very upset and let the man know that was not the American way and that he should go to town himself as he didn't live in Alpha and had no business being there unless he had proper authority.
Also, we were told that the guests we had coming could not come to our home to watch the fireworks by Alpha Drive either. These guests were coming from Ignacio and Arboles. My husband was very upset about this and he went to a very nice lady at the barricade at the highway and she let him through and he told her we had company coming and she said she would let them in.
There were also other families along East McCabe Drive very upset with the person who had done this to them (especially when their taxes had also paid for these roads). Now, my question is: Who had the authority to close our road and to tell us we cannot have company come to our house on the Fourth of July? I really thought Pagosa was a people-friendly town, but by the actions of these people I now know different. By the way, I am a native of Colorado.
Thanks for allowing me to vent my anger.
Editor's note: Officials of the town and Alpha-Rockridge Metropolitan Road District made the decisions on traffic control during the time frame involved in the fireworks display. Their decisions were based on protecting the public's safety and preventing traffic accidents on the highway.
As the local representative of the World War II Memorial Fund, I would like to express my thanks to all who made our Fourth of July float a success. Special thanks go to Art Johnson, who conceived the idea of parade participation and spent many hours in building necessary framework and arranging for material donations, to Scott Brush of Starlight Custom Homes who provided his truck and trailer and drove our entry, and to Rich Kiister of Impact Printing and Graphics, who created our signs.
I am also grateful to Seth Crain and Mike Haynes of Ponderosa Do-It-Best, Dusty Pierce of Pagosa Springs Frame and Finish, and Nate Shawcroft of UBC for their assistance and to our direct-mailer form distribution crew of Sharon Pinkerton, Kelly Bartholomew, Candace Spice, Carolyn Walker and Glenda Clark.
I was delighted to have 14 World War II veterans on the float: Art Johnson, Glenn Bergmann, Lee and Pat Sterling, Bruce Muirhead, Curl Jones, Bill Miller, Robert Baumgartner, Cecil Tackett, Ray Brown, John Walker, R.L. "Hoppy" Hopson, Chuck Pelton and Bill Clark.
Although this concludes our formal activities on behalf of building the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., the funding campaign continues. You may mail your tax-exempt check made to "World War II Memorial Fund" to Box 4244 here in Pagosa (81147) or utilize the direct-mail forms from the parade. Direct-mail forms are available in any of our Pagosa banks. We will appreciate greatly your financial support as we did your enthusiastic reception of our group in the parade.
World War II Memorial Campaign
Ms. Mojie Adler's lengthy diatribe in last week's edition told PLPOA members to vote for a proposed bylaw amendment requiring the PLPOA to have a permanent Public Safety Office. As usual, she has numerous inaccuracies.
She accuses the board of "completely erroneous statements" and an attorney of being "not familiar with the Declaration of Restrictions" because the legal opinion differs from Ms. Adler's non-professional, out-of-context, partial reading of them.
Ms. Adler obviously doesn't realize that opinions were obtained from two different legal firms specializing in property owner association law. Both firms advised that the Declaration of Restrictions state that the PLPOA "may," but not "must," provide various services to property owner members.
Furthermore, both firms advise that the proposed bylaw would present significant liability to PLPOA and PLPOA employees cannot legally carry out law enforcement.
Ms. Adler ignores the fact that when the Declaration of Restrictions was written some 30 years ago, there was only a part-time sheriff, no fire protection outside town, only an occasional doctor available in the area, only a station wagon for an ambulance driven by volunteer members of the local Colorado Mounted Rangers troop and literally no recreational facilities other than the national forest. Now, of course, we are protected by a well organized sheriff's department, top-notch fire protection and emergency medical facilities as well as varied recreational opportunities of all kinds. These services are supported by our taxes. There is no sense in paying double with property owner dues and trying to duplicate the excellent existing services.
As Ms. Adler suggests, PLPOA members should give the proposed bylaw amendment requiring a public safety office serious thought. Then it will be recognized as not only a redundancy, but most of the respondents to the recent questionnaire indicated they wanted no costly, redundant public safety operation at property owners extra cost.
Best contract ever
This letter is in response to the letter (by Barbara Bohl) in last week's SUN entitled "Ridiculous Contract."
The contract with Colorado Management Associates is probably one of the best contracts that PLPOA ever signed.
I became treasurer of PLPOA in mid December 1998. At that time, all financial matters were handled at the PLPOA office, as they had been for many years. We were spending a little over $100,000 per month. When members of the staff departed at the end of July 1999, both President Pat Curtis and I went over the books trying to make sense of our expenditures.
The board also hired CMA out of Denver. At that time, both Pat and I thought we would have to dip into reserves to make it through the year and would have to raise dues to at least $180 for the year 2000.
CMA, the treasurer, and the board worked very hard to get expenses under control. We instituted cost-saving measures and gave much needed raises to all our staff. By December, we had a surplus of nearly $300,000. We used $100,000 to fund future building plans for the recreation center and $50,000 was put into an account for future building projects such as paths, parks, etc. We funded the $40,000 trail on North Pagosa Boulevard. The remainder was used to pay bills during that period of 2000 when our annual dues had not yet been received. We had cut our expenditures from $100,000 to a little over $70,000 per month. The year 2000 dues remained at $150.
Though April, of this year, we spent $126,000 less than we had budgeted from operating expenses. Again, the Association was significantly under budget due to the continued financial efficiency of CMA, the general manager and the board. For the several months that CMA handled bill processing, we did find that there were some problems getting some vendors paid in a timely manner. But, that has been corrected.
Our general manager, Walt Lukasik, has been a great asset to the Association. His experience in real estate, property association management, management of personnel, as well as his good common sense has helped the Association with numerous problems, both financial and personnel. In short, he's an outstanding manager and an excellent problem solver.
PLPOA has prospered and thrived since its involvement with CMA. I would rather see our monthly payment of $6,000 to CMA go out of the area, than go back to the days of 1998 and before, when money was spent without utilizing proper bidding procedures, our staff was underpaid, and our property owner's dues were sometimes spent inefficiently.
I would strongly urge the board to finish out the contract with CMA which goes through December 2000. And sometime early this fall, revisit the accounting procedures for the future. Then it can select a firm whether it be CMA, a local or regional group to handle the job.
As new president of Pagosa Vision Cable, I would like to respond to Karl Isberg's recent column (Preview June 15). First, I found the column humorous, especially in depicting much of the programming that Karl missed during his outage. Second, let me apologize for the outage and address some of the serious issues Karl raised. The primary cause of outages is line cuts, which result from the high amount of construction activity in the area.
I assume Karl would not have written the column if his cable had been repaired before his 10:30 p.m. bed time. Our techs check voice mail for outages and make repairs until 10 p.m. In fact, to improve our service quality we opened an office in Pagosa Springs on June 1. We now answer all calls locally.
As far as channel selection, government regulations and local broadcasters require us to carry channels that are duplicated. I don't like it any more than our users do, but I do obey the law. Now locals will see local advertisements on these channels, not just with the "real estate blonde" or "the Roundup." We are adding more channels soon, so Karl's opportunities to buy a bowflex or that fish will increase.
I hope Karl doesn't switch to a dish. I hope he will stick with us.
Charles S. James
President Rocky Mountain Cable
As I scrolled down the "Letters" section of this week's (July 6) SUN, several came to my attention that I felt inclined to comment on.
One of Pagosa's self appointed ombudsmen had some unkind words concerning the Region 9 Economic Development District. I would like to state that this is an outstanding program that has helped many small business persons to start or expand a district business and to maintain and create viable jobs. Region 9 works with local banks to bridge funding gaps in equity so that the loans are secured with the banks always as first lien holders. Region 9 provides low-interest loans that are to be paid back. The income generated from these loans helps fund new ventures and write off some of the bad loans that unfortunately happen. This is not a hand-out but a process every bit as stringent as the banks. The Region 9 director, Ed Morlan at the time I needed their services, is to be counted as a friend and advisor to our business' start and growth two years later. We nearly had to relocate out of Pagosa because financing our expansion was limited by the banks and what we ourselves could contribute. Mr. Morlan had faith in us and found a way to "make it work." With a bank it is either pass or fail, but Region 9 still adds the intangibles to the equation.
On another subject, "The Search for Jesus" on ABC-TV was part of the historical Jesus movement. This began about 10 years ago in order to factor in what is known about the culture, society, government, mores, and Judaism at the time of Jesus's life that is not garnered from the Gospels. This is either a fanatical religious farce out to discredit Christianity or an attempt to place Jesus in a historical context as one would any Jewish citizen of the Roman Empire. I believe it is the latter and that there is only a greater meaning to his life if we understand, to borrow a phrase, where he is coming from. For some discussion of these ideas from both the historical and Gospel viewpoints check www.beliefnet.com and www.pbs.org, the Frontline series, "From Jesus to Christ."
And to my friend Jim Sawicki's formula, God plus Guns plus Guts equal Freedom, I have to wonder if he has just seen the Hollywood version of our Revolutionary War called, "The Patriot." If God is on our side I suppose anything is justified. Let us own up to our own responsibility for war. Guns and guts, sure, but God would rather be left out of that equation lest it be just another jihad, another Holy War. And God knows there have been too many of those.
I would like to express my displeasure with the proposed operation of a cement batch plant near the San Juan River Village in Archuleta County.
I have owned property in the SJRV since 1986 and am very concerned about the effect this plant will have on the quality of life, as well as property values in this area. The reason I bought property there was the beauty of the surrounding land, the proximity of the river and the national forest, and the seclusion. Having heavy industry just across the road will disturb the peace and quiet that is the primary reason most residents purchased property there. If we wanted to live near a cement plant, I'm sure there are any number of other places we could have chosen.
I urge local officials not to grant a conditional-use permit or any kind of permanent permit to the company building this plant. You may not own property in this area, and therefore have no personal interest in this operation. Please try to imagine how you would feel if you bought land in a quiet subdivision in the wilderness, and then found out that the air would be full of cement dust, and the sounds of industry would prevent your enjoyment of the location you had chosen.
If this company can guarantee that the quality of the water and the air will be totally unaffected by this operation, and that the noise level will be no different than it is now, then I have no objection to new businesses in the area. If it cannot provide this guarantee, I believe they should build their plant where heavy industry already exists.
Thank you for your consideration.
I'm glad to see your expressed concern about grammar and spelling in the SUN. But, alas, I lost some of my hope when reading the editor's "Dear Folks" of the July 6 issue. It used the expression: "Like I say. . ." which of course should have been, "As I say . . ."
Poor William Saffier, of the New York Times would have a tissey fit over that.
So know that you are loved, and we pray that we will have a genuine newspaper soon.
Only kidding, of course. We love the SUN.
Taxpayers - vote!
What is it exactly that the tax payers of Archuleta County receive for their taxes? They may think that it's very little but in fact what they get from the three commissioners is the continuing waste of their money, lack of common sense and overall stupidity and lack of knowledge in the running of this county.
At first Gene Crabtree was leaning toward not putting on two more officers in the sheriff's department but in the end he went along with the other two knowing that the county was low on funds and may not have the funds next year to keep them on. It makes you ask what may going on under the table.
The sheriff also thought he was going to get away with buying two or three of the PLPOA's vehicles without going through the proper channels. Think again because these vehicles have to go out to the public for bids before they can be sold. First the sheriff did not know that one of his officers was leaving and now he wants you to think that he did not know of the proper channels to acquire these vehicles. If you believe this I will sell you ocean front property in Pagosa Springs. When people in public office want something they will try and push it through no matter what it takes thinking the public will not take the time to investigate.
What happened this week at the commissioners meeting needs to be remembered this fall when you vote to replace the two commissioners coming up for re-election. Too bad there isn't a third.
The taxpayers' money has also been wasted in putting up these red tags on street signs saying "Not Maintained." In asking who was responsible I found out it was Gene Crabtree. In asking why I found out that he was tired of getting questions as to what streets were maintained and that he was tired of the real estate agents telling buyers that all roads are maintained by the county. Since when do the county commissioners take responsibility for real estate agents actions at the taxpayers' expense? Next I asked why these tags were on streets that were upgraded last summer. The reply was that there is an upgraded list of streets that the road and bridge department has and that some of these signs will be removed. Good use of money, put them and take them down.
Remember, get involved and remember to vote.
New sign installed
I would rather see trees than signs. I find it troubling that we are beginning to see a proliferation of signs along U.S. 160. Just recently a new sign, officially designated a "Tourist Oriented Direction Sign" (TOD), has been installed just east of Pagosa Boulevard to direct tourists' attention to McDonald's, as though one could avoid seeing the establishment. The sign also includes Las Montana's restaurant.
I was curious to find out who authorized this sign and how permission to erect it was obtained. After a series of phone calls, first to the town of Pagosa Springs where I found out that the town, although also concerned about the TOD program, has no control over signs posted along the state highway. Finally, I was directed to call a company called Colorado Logos.
Apparently the Colorado Department of Transportation has authorized this company to manufacture and handle the "TOD" program. I called this company, talked to a Mr. Pat McCarthy and told him of my concern that the new McDonald's sign might be just the beginning of a trend. I told him we have many fine restaurants in this locality and they might also like to be included in the signs along the highway. He said, "Oh yes, we have already contacted them and signed up several." I asked who pays for these things and was told that the business itself pays the cost of the sign and a fee for continued maintenance. He said the Colorado Department of Transportation initiated the program to discourage installation of billboards along the highways.
I called a Mr. Dick Langoni of the DOT, and told him of my concern about the TOD program here in Pagosa Springs, and that apparently the profit incentive is encouraging this private company to solicit businesses for additional signs. He said he was also becoming concerned about its implementation in urban areas. He said the program was intended to direct tourists' attention to establishments in rural areas where they might find it difficult to locate these companies, but certainly not in developed urban areas.
Unless this practice is stopped we are going to have a clutter of signs along U.S. 160. If anyone else is concerned about sign proliferation, and I certainly hope there are, I suggest a call to Mr. Richard Reynolds, director of DOT at 385-1402 indicating concern, might discourage erecting a forest of signs along our highways. Or better yet, address a letter to: Richard Reynolds, Regional Transportation Director, 3803 N. Main, Suite 306, Durango, CO 81301.
Editors note: It might help to contact Rep. Mark Larson, R-Cortez, or Sen. Jim Dyer, D-Durango. The profit motive extends to the Colorado Department of Transportation that allows government lands to be used, for a fee to CDOT, to compete with private businesses that are restricted by the department's regulations on placing bill boards along public highways.
I was a casual listener to the March 20 League of Women Voters candidates forum. And I did react with laughter the following morning at a local coffee shop when someone mentioned an appointed county commissioner's classic response of, "Learning the job," to be a highlight of his eighteen month run in office.
Why did I chuckle? Possibly my guttural cacophony was the result of a lengthy Naval career and knowing countless wannabe leaders who were absolute reservoirs of learning yet never had a thought.
Why even a paunchy editor with a sore over-cycled bottom doesn't have to be a continual pain in the . . . and can demonstrate some leadership. How? I have a thought: Many of the commissioner wannabe's (that includes the current commissioners seeking re-election) do not have the funds to cover the SUN's fees to present their plan to the voters. Is it possible that the owner of the SUN might offer all of them a forum in a few issues of his weekly rag right before the primaries and the November finals - on his dime?
Words do mean things to a voter looking at a candidate just as a candidate who has no statements to tender. Why not give those aspirants the opportunity to express their viewpoints - blow their toes off - or otherwise. I'm confident their comments would be widely cussed and discussed over breakfast and dinner tables and in every coffee shop across the county. A positive result could even be that many of those readers would actually vote. After all - bad officials are the ones elected by good citizens who do not vote.
The election for commissioner this year will undoubtedly be the most significant event the county has experienced in many years. You have stated on more than one occasion in one of your two weekly columns that the SUN's priority will always be to publish those events and opinions that pertain primarily to Archuleta County - let the rest of the world's events pass by.
Well - you like to talk the talk - let's see you walk the walk: Lead - with your dime.
Editor's note: As it has for many years, prior to the primary election, the SUN will publish interviews with each of the candidates regarding their reasons for seeking public office. Also as in the past, coverage of the League of Women Voters of Archuleta County Commissioner Candidates' Forum for the upcoming primary election will also be published. (The forum will begin at 7 p.m. on July 25.)
Pray for health
Boy, it sure is good to see Lee Sterling back in print (letter to editor June 29). We continue to pray for his good health.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize our outstanding group of 58-plus diplomats and all their hard work that they have already given to the Visitor Center and the chamber of commerce this year. Starting May 22, we began with three diplomats per four-hour shift, seven days a week, during the summer months. This also includes holiday duty.
If it were not for our wonderful diplomats, we would not be able to get through the summer in the Visitor Center with the hundreds of visitors we see. Last year they assisted over 41,221 guests, helped keep the brochure racks stocked, beautify the chamber grounds and the downtown area, assisted in chamber events, and countless other duties that we have asked of them.
This is truly the most giving and caring group of volunteers that I have ever worked with, and I don't know what I would do without their assistance and friendship. They are the best volunteers in Pagosa. Thanks a million.
Morna J. Trowbridge
Chamber of Commerce
Office Manager and
As a member of the Archuleta County Fair Board and chairperson of the demolition derby, I just wanted to give some information about our inaugural derby to your readers.
The derby will be held at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6. We want to remind people that the derby does rely on community participation. We are not having a company come and put this on, we are asking residents of Pagosa to enter their own cars. We will be giving in excess of $500 for first prize, $300 for second prize and $200 for third prize. Entry fees will be added into the prize money. The more entries we get, the more prize money is given. We also want to thank all the sponsors that have so generously contributed. Without them, we wouldn't be able to give away such nice prizes.
Entry forms and rules and regulations can be picked up at the county extension office at the fairgrounds. The forms can be turned in at that office or, on the day of the derby no later than 1:30 p.m. The drivers will meet at that time for training. Please pick up entry forms early so you can get your cars ready. Remember, the fair is only three weeks away. Without participants, we can't have a derby.
Look for advertising in upcoming SUN issues and listen to KWUF. We are looking forward to a successful demolition derby. If you have any further questions, contact Carrie Toth, 264-9042.
What a wonderful surprise was in store for us when we returned to Pagosa Springs this summer to enjoy your climate and beautiful scenery. Many of us spend each summer at the Blanco River RV Park south of town on U.S. 84.
In summers past there were few fish in the river, access to the river was difficult and the flow was shallow.
On June 17, members of the Lower Blanco Property Owners Association gathered to celebrate the completion of the restoration of a 1.1 mile stretch of the Blanco River, beginning at the RV park. A walking tour of the entire stretch of improved river told a remarkable story.
Using nearly 1,000 boulders to form step downs, the river channel was narrowed, the flow was slowed, and deep pools and small waterfalls were formed. The purpose was twofold: to cool the temperature of the water to provide proper habitat for native fish and to allow some of the water to seep into the aquifer.
A large culvert was placed across the road by the bridge to facilitate the spring runoff, alleviate future flooding of valley residents upriver and reduce pressure on the bridge.
The Blanco River Restoration Demonstration Project took the cooperation of federal, state and local agencies, organizations and individuals - a small miracle in itself. Property owners, who had some concerns, cooperated. It was a great leap of faith on their part.
Congratulations to the San Juan Water Conservation District which was directly responsible, and to LBPOA board member Jerry Curtis who worked tirelessly on behalf of the property owners. Curtis modestly refuses the credit, stating only that "I had a lot of help." The LBPOA is seeking more funds through the San Juan Water Conservancy District to improve seven additional miles. The project should be a model for other communities.
There are unexpected benefits. The owners cleared willows from the river and are landscaping the banks to provide access at the RV park. Children are tossing in their lines and catching some nice fish. The river is now a thing of beauty. Campers have taken notice and plan to return, aiding the local economy. The rushing waters are attracting more birds. How about a birding trail? The possibilities are endless.
As campers we are concerned with the environment, preserving natural habitat and being good stewards of the earth. This project is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when people work together.
Christelle and Richard Troell, Ray and Charlene Tippit, J.L. and Nancy Tipton, Ray and Charlene Revel, Jeral and Betty Cook, Brad and Chiqui Smith, Wallace and Becky Inge, Bill and Iris Stevens, Joe and Karen Colvin, Tom and Bonnie Breward, Al and Barbara Copeland, Don and Joann Woodworth
Thanks to all
Fourth of July 2000. More parade entries. More spectators. More traffic. More pedestrians. More fireworks. More arts and crafts. Great weather. Bigger and better than ever.
I hope everybody enjoyed this year's holiday activities. From a law enforcement perspective, I think things went very well. As you know, special events don't just happen. They take extra work, extra preparation and extra effort by extra-special people.
My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all the volunteers and staff members who gave extra to make this holiday an enjoyable one. The Rotary Club members, the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce staff, the Colorado Mounted Rangers, the Pagosa Fire Protection District staff, the Town Parks and Recreation Department staff, the Town Street Department staff, troopers from the Colorado State Patrol, the Archuleta County Communication Center staff, the Archuleta County Sheriff's Reserves, the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department staff and the Pagosa Springs Police Department staff are to be commended for their assistance during the parade and fireworks display.
I want to specifically thank the members of the Colorado Mounted Ranger Troop F who helped with traffic control during the parade. Those individuals are: Jan Allison, Skip Cantor, Wayne Strauss, Gary Liescheidt, Mike Rice, Elisabeth Vowles, Larry Jelinek and Robert Penton. In addition, I want to thank Colorado State Trooper Chris Balenti who spent more than two hours directing traffic at the 8th and San Juan streets intersection.
There were obviously many other individuals who assisted and I appreciate every one. Thanks to all.
Donald D. Volger
Chief, Pagosa Springs Police Department
Enjoy fresh fruit
For the past seven years I have enjoyed getting very fresh fruit, melons and vegetables at Blondie's Fruit Stand, owned and operated, except during winter months, by John and Lou Anne Wyatt, on the east side of town. Their produce seems to be obtained when vine ripe and it's peak quality. I was dismayed when, in the late fall last year, Lou Ann told me they had sold the business, including remaining produce and the semi-permanent structure, to a local business person, and that they would not be returning.
The stand remained, and I purchased some items. Then the stand structure remained but closed to business, apparently due to the freezing weather. I assumed the new owners would reopen in the spring. Several months later as I drove by, I saw John Wyatt taking down the structure. Out of curiosity, I stopped to ask why he was dismantling the structure he had sold. He advised me the new purchaser had failed to fulfill the sale contract and abandoned the structure, that he had to dismantle the structure, and that they might return this year.
I was pleased when I saw them set up again this year. However, in late June, they advised they were having trouble regarding their permit to remain in business, and that they may be required to move every night. I hope this will not be necessary as fresh fruit and produce such as theirs cannot be handled often without damage.
They can hardly be considered "fly by nighters" as someone apparently suggested, since they've been doing business here for seven previous years. Another matter seems to be the expression they are not paying taxes. They pay sales taxes, otherwise they would be shut down by the state. They pay taxes on their food. You can be reasonably assured property taxes are considered in determining the amount of considerable rent they pay for lodging and space occupied for their business.
I understand there will be a meeting in the near future at Town Hall for further consideration of their permit to remain in business. I only hope a practical decision will be made so that I and my friends can continue to buy and enjoy this fresh produce.
Editor's note: Town officials have not discussed the payment or non-payment of related sales taxes at their public meetings. Applicable sales tax fees are paid directly to the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Mary Louise Hatch, 85, died Friday, July 7, 2000, at her home in Bayfield.
Mrs. Hatch was b7orn Nov. 17, 1914, in Batesville, Texas, the daughter of Thomas Henry Foster and Mary Anna Peace. She married George F. Hatch on May 16, 1934, in Albuquerque, N.M. Mrs. Hatch was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was a dedicated and loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She spent most of her life on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico and developed a great love for the Navajo people.
She is survived by her seven children, Elgin Strohecker and Reva Duran both of Bayfield, Georgie Ross of Pagosa Springs, Hilda King of Green River, Utah, Bonnie Montano of Las Vegas, N.M., Carl F. Hatch of Berthoud, Alan B. Hatch of Meeker; 46 grandchildren and 125 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband George F. Hatch on April 19, 1999; her father, Thomas Henry Foster; her mother, Mary Anna Foster; her brother Bonneau Foster; and seven grandchildren.
Bishop Kent Hoffman presided at funeral service at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Bayfield on July 10, 2000. Burial followed at Pine River Cemetery in Bayfield.
Hazel A. Ottaway, 82, died Tuesday, July 4, 2000, at Four Corners Health Care Center in Durango.
Services were held at 10 a.m. Monday at Hood Mortuary Chapel in Durango with the Rev. John Richardson officiating. She was cremated following the service, her ashes to be buried in Crestview Cemetery next to her husband.
Mrs. Ottaway was born Dec. 12. 1917, in Pagosa Springs, the daughter of Lymon and Lydia Davis. She graduated from Pagosa Springs High School. She married Frank M. Ottaway on May 18, 1939, in Pagosa Springs and they moved to Durango in 1942. He preceded her in death on Dec. 9, 1996.
Mrs. Ottaway worked many jobs in Durango and retired from the La Plata County Assessor's Office. After retirement, she enjoyed sewing blankets and lap robes for local projects.
She is survived by many nephews and nieces
Arboles resident Leona Jones, 86, passed away July 3. Born in 1913 in Reed, Okla., to Lonnie and Mary Bruce, she was one of three children.
She had lived in many places in Colorado before settling in the area. She was married to Lloyd Francis Jones and had three daughters.
Leona owned the Gem Village Store and Gas Station until 1974. She was a member of the Bayfield Grange and the Rebekah Lodge No. 20 of Durango. She enjoyed rock collecting and was a charter member of the Navajo Trail Gem and Mineral club in Gem Village.
Preceding Leona in death were her husband and daughters Frances Freed and Margaret Guthrie. She is survived by her sister, Josephine Grissom in California; a brother, Denzel Bruce of Rocky Ford; her daughter and son-in-law Maribel and Jesse Ellis of Durango; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She was dearly loved and will be missed by many friends, as well.
A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held at The Rock Club in Gem Village at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5. There will be a potluck lunch afterward.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Fort Lewis Scholarship Foundation, Geology Department, the
Navajo Trail Gem and Mineral Fund, Fort Lewis College, Durango.
w/2 col pic
Tawnie Williams, daughter of Ed and Rochelle Williams of Durango and David Lucero, son of David and Margie Lucero of Pagosa Springs, have announced their engagement and plans for a Dec. 2 wedding in Durango.
Tawnie, a 1996 graduate of Durango High School is a student in criminal justice and psychology at Fort Lewis College. She is currently employed by A-Med-Oxygen in Durango.
Lucero is a 1991 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School and a 1996 graduate of Fort Lewis with a degree in psychology. He is currently employed by the Southern Ute Tribe in Ignacio as a wastewater treatment plant operator.
with 2 col pic
Pauline Yago and Tyrel Davis are happy to invite their family and friends to share in one of the biggest events of their lives when they are married at 10 a.m. Saturday at an outside wedding site on Fossett Gulch Road.
The couple promises that, "Our wedding will be much different than any other wedding in the world . . ."
The couple have reserved their wedding site with the San Juan National Forest from July 14-16 for friends or family who would like to camp at the site.
Chairs will not be provided so those planning to attend are encouraged to bring blankets to sit on and to bring sunscreen. Lunch will be served to everyone in attendance following the wedding.
A reception will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Mormon Hall in Kirtland, N.M.
The northern end of Fossett Gulch Road makes a junction with the south side of U.S. 160 between Pagosa Springs and Durango. The southerly end of Fossett Gulch Road joins the west side of Colo. 151 between Arboles and the Chimney Rock Archeological Area entrance. The wedding site is located between mile markers 10 and 11 on the west side of Fossett Gulch Road.
Rodeo winners listed
The following list of winners of the 51st annual Red Ryder Roundup events was not available in time for publication last week. A purse of $60,341.92 was distributed. The contestants' prize money is shown in parentheses.
Finishing in first through sixth place in bareback bronc riding were Randy Slaughter ($647.30), Richard Slaughter ($505.70), Jack Luffy ($364.10), David Smith ($202.28), Jimmy Caldwell ($202.28) and Larry Bollinger ($101.74).
Calf roping winners were Shane Hatch ($897.38), A.J. Roberts ($742.66), Weston Crane ($587.94), Cord Crowthers ($433.22), Kyle Dutton ($278.50) and Brett Acuna ($154.70).
Breakaway roping winners were April Pablo ($881.02), Leah Stevenson ($729.12), Tammy Tenny ($577.22), Tammy Allen ($425.32), Cindy Lee ($273.42) and Amy Morrison ($151.90).
Saddle bronc riding winners were Tay Cline ($701.44), Mark Wade ($548), Jay Harrison ($394.56), Don Simpson ($219.20), Paul Esquibel ($219.20), Brandon Mayberry ($54.80) and Luke Schalla ($54.80).
Steer wrestling honors went to Dennis Garcia ($652.04), Willard Henry ($539.62), Jeremy Castle ($427.20), Sheridan Jodie ($314.78), Craig Hicks ($202.36) and Bob Scribner ($112.40).
Finishing first through eighth in barrels were Leigh Ann Billingsley ($791.42), Connie Peace ($650.10), Cathi Hadley ($480.51), Danni Scheer ($310.92), Kandace Blanchard ($226.12), Shawnda Garrison ($169.59), Sandy McElreath ($133.08) and Teresa Benson ($84.78).
Open team roping winners were Larry Cohorn and Brian Sullivan ($984.90 each); Jay Tittle and Tim Kruetzer ($815.09 each); Colson Yazzie and J.R. Dedios ($645.28 each); Wade Draper and Walter Donnell ($475.47 each), Troy and Tim Kreutzer ($305.66 each); and Wade Kruetzer and Walter Donnell ($169.80 each).
Inc. team roping winners were Ross Gosney and Duane Cugnini ($379.73 each); Mark Aragon and Wayne Wilson ($314.26 each); Fred and Stanford Salazar ($248.79 each); Duane Cugnini and Jake Poppl ($183.32 each); Paul Porter and Mike Wolf ($117.85 each); Greg Martinez and John Paul Garcia (($65.45 each).
Finishing first through ninth in bull riding were Johnny Thurston ($906.84), Tay Cline ($663.35), Luke Schalla ($663.35), Billy Terrazas ($420.05), Jeremiah Dilly ($307.76), Monte Yazzie ($307.76), Shawn Bennett ($195.47), Wacie Barta ($139.31) and Greg Harnung ($139.31).
Day money leaders were Wacie Barta ($95), Jeremiah Dilly ($95), Tay Cline ($85), Billy Terraazas ($85), Luke Schalla ($50), Johnny Thurston, ($50), Greg Harnung ($36), Monte Yazzie ($36), and Shawn Bennett ($36).
The top four spots in "kids' barrels" went to Jeotta Lytle ($252), Teresa Brevik ($189) Jenna Suazo ($126) and Charmaine Talbot ($63).
In the "scrambled egg" roping, winners were Megan Wolf and Paul Porter ($778.80 each), Ross Gosney and Don Weber ($584.10 each), and Steve Devorss and Duane Cugnini ($407.10 each).
Fourth fest best and many share gratitude
Once again we swear it was the best Fourth of July ever, and once again I think we're absolutely right!
What a festive few days we all experienced and, of course, we have many folks to thank for making it all come together. We hope the following individuals and groups will accept our undying gratitude for their efforts to create such a wonder Fourth: Terry Smith at Ace Hardware for donating a truck for the parade and concert and Jack for being our intrepid driver; the Chamber Board of Directors and Morna for their decorating time and float riding time and to the children and friends of said group - Jamilyn, Michael, Nathan, Josh, Ben, Austin, Maria, Mikaela, Max, Quinn, and Travis and Zach; Mark DeVoti and Rio Jazz for entertaining us in Centennial Park on Saturday and Sunday; Fred Schmidt and Jerry Jackson for allowing vendor RV parking; the Town of Pagosa Springs and the Parks and Recreation staff for all their hard work keeping up with all the activities all over town; Clifford Lucero for the loan of a dumpster; the Colorado Mounted Rangers for providing security for the Arts and Crafts Festival; ALLTEL for loaning Suellen a cell phone for the entire holiday; Charlie and Emily Rogers for our tents; Pagosa Lodge for hosting the delicious picnic dinner, concert and fireworks; Chief Don Volger and the Pagosa Springs Police Department and Sheriff Tom Richards and his staff for their vigilance and extra efforts to keep all of us safe and sound; the Pagosa Rotary Club for a wonderful parade; the rodeo folks for what I have been told was a wonderful event (next year, I'm going to figure out a way to attend) and last, but not least, thanks to Spud with Rocky Mountain Sanitation for assuring that we had potties aplenty here and there for all the folks. Thanks as well to all the groups for the lovely fireworks display.
Naturally, we give special thanks to Suellen for pulling off a seamless four-day Arts and Crafts Festival. She had more vendors than ever before and certainly more folks visiting the booths and buying the merchandise. She has this baby down to a science and truly does a gorgeous job. Thanks, too, to Phyllis Alspach for assisting Suellen with marking the booth space and registering the vendors. Phyllis is also one of our Chamber Diplomats, so she has contributed to this Chamber in countless ways.
If I have forgotten anyone, please forgive me, but I have tried to remember as many as my poor old brain will allow. My point is that a successful event, especially a long holiday, is no accident but the result of a lot of intense planning and labor on the part of many, many people. Thank you all for your considerable contributions to a most successful Fourth in Pagosa Springs.
"Romeo and Juliet"
This is the final weekend for this production at Pagosa Lodge, so if you haven't been, please do so. It is a very beautiful production with some exquisitely talented local folks dealing very successfully with the challenging language of a Shakespearean work. This particular play is a real tear-jerker whether you see and hear it in its original form or on the screen or stage as West Side Story (I fell in love with George Chakiris in the film many years ago and wonder to this day what happened to him). The message is as sobering and fresh today as it was when Shakespeare put pen to paper and will hopefully make us all think just a little bit more about how we deal with differences in life and in people. Please don't miss this current Pagosa Players and King's Men production playing at Pagosa Lodge this weekend. The setting is magnificent right on the lake with the mountains as a backdrop, and the costumes are simply wonderful.
Grounds open at 5 p.m. if you would like to take your picnic dinner (as we did) and enjoy the food and company before the 7:30 show begins. You can also arrange for a boxed dinner by calling Chez Pagosa at 731-4141. It does get chilly when the sun goes down, so be sure to dress appropriately. Tickets are available at WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company, the Plaid Pony in the Pagosa Lodge and the Chamber of Commerce. Adult tickets are $10 and children and seniors are $8. It's a lovely way to spend the evening, I assure you.
A concerned citizen called to express his apprehension over the speeding vehicles who don't seem to be aware that our children are out of school and more likely to be around and about town - and not always as conscious as they might be of vehicles. He is particularly worried about the area around South Pagosa Park at the corner of 8th and Apache Streets near the high school. He lives in that area and witnesses way too many speeding vehicles during the course of a day and is justifiably worried that someone will be hurt. Just a heads-up to all that drive in and about town to be especially vigilant during the summer months about small children - or pedestrians in general. Conventional wisdom dictates there is more foot traffic during the summer months than any other time of year, so we all need to exercise more control and let up on that gas pedal. Our children are our future, so let's take every caution to insure a long, productive life for each of them.
We have three new members to welcome this week and two renewals - all of whom are as welcome as copious amounts of rain would be.
We're delighted to welcome Martha Garcia who brings us the Southwest Colorado Workforce Center located at 449 San Juan Street. This organization provides employment services for employers and applicants and would welcome your call at 264-4133, extension 22. Happy to have you, Martha.
The Kroegers Kitchen Center joins us next with Jim Wendt at the helm, located at 190 Talisman Drive, B-C #2. These fine folks feature Kraftmaid Cabinets, computer-assisted design, free estimates, and pride themselves on the personal service they provide each and every customer. Stop by and say hello or call them at 731-0141 for more information.
Cindy Gustafson (Ms. Hoot) brings us our next new member, the Aspen Springs Property Owners Association located at 196 Tom's Place in Aspen Springs. We are happy to have this home owners association and thank Cindy for joining in their behalf. Cindy will also receive a complimentary SunDowner for her recruiting efforts.
Renewals this week include Christie L. Anderson, Broker, with Northern New Mexico Real Estate, Inc., located at 1512 Hwy. 17 in Chama, N. M., and our old pal and Associate Member, Emmet Showalter. Thanks to one and all for the continued support.
This is one heck of a weekend with so many activities that I just need to mention them, and if you want more information on any individual event, please call the Chamber at 264-2360.
The event madness begins with the Thursday Night Live group tonight with "My Friend Irma," "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and the SPUF Radio panel of candidates for county commissioner. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $15 for the show, buffet dinner and music. Themes are adult oriented, so children are not encouraged. Please give John Porter a call at 731-3671 for more information.
Friday and Saturday nights find "Romeo and Juliet" at Pagosa Lodge - please see the above paragraph for all the info on that.
Saturday is the Friends of the Library annual book sale, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the fair building on U.S. 84. This is a book lover's dream with lots and lots of books by your favorite authors - far more affordable than any warehouse or book club membership. I wouldn't miss it for the world, and the proceeds go to buy new books for our wonderful library.
Pet Pride Day is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in Town Park, so you will have to plan your day very carefully to work it all in. Lots of prizes will be awarded all day long in many categories to include the Best Dog Singer, the Best Fetcher and the Owner/Pet Lookalike contest. The K-9 9-K Race and One-Mile Paws Walk will also be included in the day along with the pie-throwing contest, pet inoculations, food booths, retail booths and a special presentation by Pat Parelli in the afternoon. This is a terrific day for you and your furry ones to enjoy, and all proceeds benefit the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs.
On Sunday, please join Pat and Linda Parelli for their annual Open House at the Parelli Institute located at 7110 U.S. 160 west on the south side of the highway. This is truly a divine affair every year and a fabulous opportunity to see first hand exactly why Pat and Linda have gained such respect, success and notoriety in the world of horses. Both are on hand for the day with amazing demonstrations and fascinating anecdotes about what they do. Please bring your own chairs for viewing the demonstrations, and plan to attend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You need to see first-hand what all the shoutin' is about.
In your spare time, plan to attend the Fairfield Arts and Crafts Festival being held at the Pagosa Lodge 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. You can count on seeing some dandy vendors at this event every year.
Don't even think about telling me that you're bored this weekend - it just won't fly.
Our pal, Jim Reser, director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College will be here July 21 to offer you and yours free business counseling, 9 a.m. until whenever. Jim has been the director for many years and is an excellent source of information about anything pertaining to business. Please give Morna a call at 264-2360 to make an appointment to see Jim about any business questions you might have.
Gray Wolf Ski Club saluted for assistance
Pet Pride Day has room for more runners and walkers. You can run in the Canine 9K or Walk in Paws on Parade. You are all invited. Speed is not necessary. Both events to be held this Saturday, are part of Pet Pride Day. The 9K is a competitive race for runners and walkers. The one-mile Paws Walk is a noncompetitive walk for adults and children with pets.
Other events at Pet Pride Day include blessing of the animals, a pet fair, pet contests, pet vaccinations and micro chipping of animals for permanent identification. The Canine 9K has become one of Pagosa's best races - entertaining, fun on a relatively easy course (Town Park to a 2-mile marking on Light Plant Road and back to Town Park). Total mileage is a little over 5 miles. If you are still undecided on participating in this race, let me persuade you to do it. It's one of Pagosa's top races with lots of familiar faces and spectator support.
Please check in between 7 to 7:45 a.m. and be ready for an 8 a.m. start.
Awards ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. For additional race information, call race director Debra Kelly at 731-3710.
A special thanks to the many helpful Gray Wolf Ski Club members who showed up on June 19 to assist with the PLPOA newsletter social. It's so true isn't it that if you want something done, ask a busy person.
PLPOA directors will meet tonight for the regular monthly meeting at 7 in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. Members and observers are encouraged to attend. Public comments will be heard at the beginning of the meeting. The following agenda was provided by PLPOA:
- Call to order
- Approval of agenda
- Approval of June 8 board meeting minutes
- General manager's report
- Public comments (30-minute time limit)
- Committee reports:
- Treasurer's report, Director David Bohl
- Finance Committee, Director Bohl; A. Assignment of functions concerning the reserve funds, inclusive of forecasting in anticipation of the budget process, to the finance committee. B. Placement of "approval of carry-over excess, if any, onto the 2001 budget," on the annual meeting agenda. C. Confirmation of Jim Corboy as chairperson.
- Old Business - Acceptance of conceptual master trails plan.
- New Business -
A. Proposed resolution 2000-09, "Sale of Specialized Assets," Director John Nelson
B. Acceptance of Association insurance proposal. Of the three completed bids received, the recommendation of the committee consisting of Dick Hillyer and Judy Esterly is Wells Fargo Insurance
C. Confirmation of Sarajane Meyers as chairperson for the Code of Enforcement Hearing Panel
D. Confirmation of Dave Pearson as a regular member on Environmental Controls Committee, to replace Roger Hansen, who has resigned. Mr. Pearson has been an alternate member since May 7, 1998
E. Confirmation of Earl Eliason as regular member of the ECC effective Aug. 6 to replace Don Geiger, whose term is expiring on that date. Mr. Eliason was appointed an alternative member at the board meeting of June 8
F. Appointment of Dr. Ron Clodfelter as parliamentarian for the 2000 annual meeting, without remuneration
G. Decision as to placement of invocation, rather than moment of silence, and Pledge of Allegiance on the 2000 annual meeting agenda, as well as contracting for services of uniformed security at the meeting
- Correspondence for board's review
- Executive session (two legal issues for discussion).
Watercolor, ceramics exhibits open show
It's opening night tonight at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery at Town Park and once again we are pleased to announce a dual exhibit. This new exhibit is titled "Portraits of Pagosa and World Influenced Ceramics" and features the work of local artists Victoria Kaiser-Kimball and Kathryn Holt.
Victoria's lovely and thoughtful "Portraits of Pagosa" are expressed in both watercolor paintings and black and white acrylic photography.
"World Influenced" is certainly an appropriate description of the non-functional ceramics of Kathryn Holt. Her works have been exhibited in venues from Colorado to Mexico and as far away as China, Germany, Hungary and Japan.
These two artists have combined their talents to bring you a delightful exhibit and it all begins with a reception tonight, 5 to 7 p.m. Come enjoy the party, the refreshments and the beautiful art of Victoria and Kathryn.
Relay for Life
Be a part of the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life by joining PSAC's relay team at Town Park beginning 6 p.m. July 21 and finishing noon, July 22. The event will begin with the Cancer Survivors Walk of Courage and will continue through the night and into Saturday morning.
Team members who raise at least $100 in sponsorships will earn a Relay for Life T-shirt.
Beginning with the 9 p.m. Light of Hope Ceremony Friday, the walking path will be lit with luminarias purchased for a donation of $5 or more in memory of a cancer victim or a survivor. Glowing luminarias will be placed around the walking path to remind us throughout the night that cancer never sleeps. Walk, run or stroll for 15 minutes or more at a time and as often as you like. Whether you choose to walk or sponsor the walk, you will be honoring the courageous spirit of those whose lives have been changed forever by cancer as well as those whose lives cancer has taken.
So come join the PSAC relay ream July 21, for an all-round good time and to support the important fight against cancer. There will be refreshments all night and breakfast on Saturday morning.
If you cannot participate in the relay, you may mail your sponsorship or donation to the American Cancer Society, 86 Cimarrona Circle, Pagosa Springs 81147.
For information regarding the team and/or to purchase luminarias, call co-captains Jim and Joanne Haliday at 731-9082 or 264-5020.
A special thank you to the Westerhoff family for their very generous donation to the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. We truly appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Joanne would like to thank all the volunteers who gave so freely of their time to help in PSAC's Gallery and Gift Shop over the long Fourth of July holiday. Your help was much needed and much appreciated.
This is the final weekend for the Pagosa Players and King's Men production of "Romeo and Juliet," staged outdoors at the Pagosa Lodge Lawn Theater. Final performances are at 7:30 p.m. July 14 and 15. It's a wonderful way to spend a summer evening so get your tickets while you still can. Tickets are $8 and $10 at WolfTracks, The Plaid Pony and the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center.
The next offering by this talented group will be two one-act plays: "Asleep In The Wind," and "Graceland," performed the first Saturday in August at the Archuleta County Fair in the Main Tent.
PSAC can always use volunteers. If you are able to give a few hours of your time to help out in the gallery and gift shop or at a special event, call Joanne at 264-5020.
Looking for a special gift for a special person (or yourself)? Visit the gallery and gift shop at Town Park and make your selection from the wide variety of arts and crafts produced entirely by local artists. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, through Labor Day.
Tuesday meal plans put on hold - temporarily
Everyone take note. The planned Tuesday meals did not begin on July 11 as planned. We don't know when they will begin but we will let you know when we have more information.
All you card/bridge players who have been asking for a game day at the Senior Center, beginning yesterday, the Center will be available beginning at 1 p.m. Come on out and enjoy yourselves.
Thanks so much to Dorothy Million for the photos she took at the Senior Picnic. Dorothy is so generous with donating her pictures to the Center.
Marge Mountain is now at Pine Ridge so we hope all her friends will drop in to visit her there. Marge is a wonderful lady and we wish her well.
The Chama train ride had to be canceled because of problems. We hope to reschedule this activity when the buses get repaired.
The July 4th parade was a lot of fun, we "rowed" our way down the parade route. Thanks to all who helped decorate the bus and float and those who rode along with us. We realize the hot weather prevented some of our seniors from taking part but I'm sure they wished they could.
We welcome Neva and Wilbur Sullivan as our newest members of the Senior Center. Also, we were happy to have Shirley Snider and Elaine Nossaman's family - Lyman and Marlyn Mundy (Elaine's sis), Laurie Klapsia (niece) and her son, Bradley - join us on Friday.
On Monday our guests were Jack and Diana Iwan and Frank and Millie Goodman.
A reminder - the Silverton Barbershop Quartet performances/fair will be the 15th and 16th, and the Parelli Horse Show is also the 16th. We won't be providing transportation to Silverton but will to the horse show ($3 charge) so be sure to sign up at the front desk. There is no entry fee to either of these activities. On July 26 we will have a bus going to the Bar D Wranglers show in Durango. The cost is $21 per person for transportation and entry. On July 29 the Mountain Harmony Choral will give a free performance at Community United Methodist Church here in Pagosa. All those desiring to go to Durango or the horse show with us, please sign up at the front desk here at the Center.
Madeline Finney is our Senior of the Week. Congratulations Madeline. We appreciate you being one of our loyal members.
Our Stella Carter's son-in-law suffered a stroke recently, and former Pagosa residents, Charlene and Buddy Bates, are enduring multiple health problems. Keep these folks in our prayers.
Airline travel fun - if you get in the air
Some of our friends know, and now you all will, that my husband Hotshot has to travel a lot on business. It's the price he pays for living in Pagosa.
Since the first of March, he's flown out of here about a dozen times. No trip has gone smoothly. If there isn't an equipment failure, (airline talk for some part breaking down) then it's weather - snow in Chicago, thunderstorms in Denver, you name it. Or maybe it's job action. United Airline pilots don't have a new contract and they're not doing any overtime. Kind of like when Congress doesn't pass a budget, and the federal government ekes by, parceling out the money and the work in dribs and drabs. That's how the airlines seem to be operating.
One time he tried to come home from Washington D.C. early. Why spend the night in Our Nation's Capital if you don't have to, just so you can get up at 5 a.m. to get your early morning flight?
"Okay," said his government travel agent, "I got you a seat on this afternoon's flight out of Dulles."
Great. He caught a cab for the $50 ride to Dulles airport. He checked in at the ticket counter. Guess what?
"Your reservation is for tomorrow afternoon, not today."
Hotshot dialed the travel agent; her office had shut down for the night. He rode back into town, and got up at 5 a.m. to take another taxi ride to Dulles.
I've sympathized with him, but the trials and tribulations of airline travel didn't really get to me until recently. We went together to Nashville. I was going to a convention. He was doing a consulting job and also piggybacking a trip to two different places in New York State.
We booked out of Farmington, because there was such a good deal on the tickets. Got there a little early, over two hours before the flight. This was to humor me, since we hadn't made that drive before. I like to have plenty of time, just in case.
"Time for what?" asks Hotshot. He assured me that the real delays would come AFTER we got to the airport. He got that right.
First, the commuter flight was canceled. Equipment failure. The mechanics in Denver had to wait for a replacement part to be flown in. There was no way that plane was going to come and get us.
We rebooked through Albuquerque, and our new commuter flight got us there a whole 15 minutes before our scheduled departure to Dallas. Are you with me so far? We raced up to the gate, only to learn that they were in the process of canceling the flight. Thunderstorms were about to start pelting Dallas. Terrible storms.
It didn't help the morale of us stranded passengers, that an earlier flight to Dallas was late and just then taking off. Our plane, scheduled to depart at the very same time that this one was actually departing, was out of luck. If the logic of this escapes you - that there's room for one plane to fly into a thunderstorm-laced Dallas, but not two - then you're right in step with the young woman in line behind us. I'm a pretty good griper, and even I got tired of hearing her carry on.
So we spent the night in Albuquerque. We might as well have driven there. We got up at 5 a.m. and headed back to the airport, to make our trip to Nashville.
On the fourth day in Nashville I drove Hotshot to the airport to catch his flight to Rochester, New York. Left him at the airport and headed back to the convention center.
An hour and a half later, I turned around and there he was, suitcase in tow. Imagine my astonishment. Imagine another flight canceled. Next morning, imagine another 5 a.m. rising to get to the airport.
That was Monday. Tuesday morning he called me from Rochester with the latest news. His flight to Albany was - canceled. The next one was not until that afternoon, too late to do him any good. So he came back to Nashville.
And Wednesday we got up at 5 a.m., again, to head home. Do all these morning flights require rising in the predawn? Is it some kind of rule? Is it all for our convenience?
No canceled flights on the way home. Just an hour's delay in Denver, for a part replacement. For all I know this was the same plane that had left us in the lurch a week earlier.
A measly little ol' hour. However, the trip had left us so paranoid that we fully expected the powers that be to cancel the flight. That would be after they kept us waiting and hoping for an hour or two. Kind of like Missy Kitty, after she's caught a mouse and before she chows down. I felt like the mouse. Helpless. Caught. Might as well give up.
At least on a backpack trip, I think I'm the master of my fate. Nobody else, and certainly no equipment failure, can slow me down. Of course, I'm not going very fast anyway. If only the destination weren't so dang far away, we could hike there.
One reason people drive, I'm sure, is that they have the illusion that they're in control of their plans, their schedules, their lives. Until the car runs over a nail, or the engine overheats, or the drive shaft breaks loose.
When I was a kid, I did a lot of traveling with my parents. We completed a number of car trips across the country. I never understood why my mom used to say she was going to draw a 50-mile radius around home and not go beyond it. Now, I'm beginning to see her point.
Don't tell me about your travel troubles, or I'll tell you about mine.
Friends annual meeting is Friday
Tomorrow and Saturday are the big days for the annual book sale. Tomorrow evening we host the Friends Annual Meeting and private book sale. You're all invited to join the Friends and get first chance at the wide variety of books we'll have for sale.
Activities start at 6 p.m. in the Extension Building. Annual dues can be paid at the door. Refreshments are available, and after a very short meeting, the sale begins. Annual dues are $10 for a family, $5 for an individual, and $2 for a student under 18. Please RSVP at 264-2209 so we know how much food to have.
Saturday is the big public book sale. So much is going on in town, we trust you will get to the book sale early, then go and enjoy all of the other events. We will only be open until 2 p.m., so be early and get the bargains. Doors open at 7 a.m..
Friends of the Library support various projects including the Summer Reading Program. This year is a banner one, with 318 children signed up right now with only two more weeks to go. Friends help buy books and prizes for this important program. Your support of the book sale helps with this.
Readers of the week for the past two weeks are Tawny Zellner, Dalton Lucero, Ben Hultman, Cody Ring, Cody Madsen, Jade Zellner, Jennifer Mueller, Kelsi Lucero, Lauren Parker, Jonathan Hudson, Jesse Long, Amanda Oertel, Jacqueline Garcia, Nicholas Zeller, Rebecca Zeller, Casey Crow, Haleigh Zenz, Austin Naes, Zachary Crecelius and Aryiana Rackham.
There were many other prizewinners, so be sure and come see the list. Reyes McInnis, Benellen Laverty and Emily Dove guessed closest on the number of books read. There were 792 books listed and our winners each guessed 800. Congratulations to all the prizewinners. Be sure and come by and see some of their creative work
Oldest wagon road
This issue of the "San Luis Valley Historian" covers research done on what is called the Old Spanish Trail. The Trail is mentioned in many early journals, including Zebulon Pike's. The Trail starts near Pueblo and crosses the Sangre De Cristo Range over Mosca Pass near the Great Sand Dunes. Then it goes down to Taos through the San Luis Valley.
The Journal has a map and pictures of the Trail. You may make copies. Ask for it at the desk.
We receive a monthly publication from the Colorado University Natural Hazards Center. Anyone interested in the weather and what disasters it can cause, should check out this document. There is a Severe Weather Awareness Page with information on climate changes, thunderstorms, tornadoes and floods. the publication includes forecasts, warnings and preparedness guides. This publication is full of fascinating information on all types of storms.
Operation Healthy Communities sponsors this annual report that measures the health of Southwest Colorado. This document is full of great statistics on the economic condition of our county and area. It is well done and gives some direction so that action may be taken to address problematic trends. It is also an excellent tool for anyone doing grant writing. It may be checked out.
WW II Remembrances
We thank Bill Clark for bringing two cassette tapes of World War II veterans recounting some of their experiences. Art Johnson, Isiah Candelaria, Wes Huckins, George Norman, John Walker, Bruce Muirhead and Glenn Bergman are featured. These tapes may be checked out.
Harry Potter hoopla
Couldn't get over the media hype on Harry. But we cheer for anything that gets children reading. According to Anna Quindlen of Newsweek, in 1984 less than half of Americans said they had read a book that year. In 1999, 84 percent had read a book. That is great progress. Drivel television fare may be working on our behalf. But back to Harry: we have three copies of his latest adventures. Get on the waiting list. Our new three-week checkout period may help you get through the more than 700 pages.
Just a reminder - we have computers with Internet access but we have very strict rules about who can use them, about how the machines are to be used and for what purposes. Anyone under the age of 18 must have a parent with them. No games, chat rooms or downloading of materials. There are strict time limits and anyone abusing the privilege will be prohibited from future access.
We thank the Archuleta County Board of Realtors for including us in their charitable walkathon. The realtors chose to support the school and public libraries this year. This support is most welcome. Our proceeds were used to buy science project books for the children. We were able to get some excellent additions to our collection, especially the Dorling Kindersley books. We invite you in to review all of the new books we've been able to buy this year.
Thanks for materials from Bill and Glenda Clark, Emily Greer, Carol C. Mestas, Marilyn Pruter, Dave and Marilyn Copley, Donald Mowen, Kathy Isberg, Annie Ryder, Mary Nickels, Riley and Mattie Aiello, Carol and Richard Quillin, William Miller, Victoria Landon, Julie Gates, Juanita Payne, Betty Hillyer, Ron Graydon, Jon Bower, Diane Fryar, Julie Crilley and Joy Erickson.
New and old books attract browsers
The Friends of the Library Annual meeting is 6 p.m. tomorrow at the Extension Building. The meeting will be short, but before the meeting people can enjoy the refreshments and visit with each other. The gathering is one of the social events of the summer.
Membership can be paid at the door. As a matter of fact, this is when most people renew, but one can purchase any time during the year at the library. Membership in the Friends is very reasonable: $10 for a family, $5 for an individual, $2 for a student, or $100 for a lifetime membership. The cost of a membership is cheap considering all the benefits.
Following the refreshments and visiting is the big plus - the chance to preview the book sale. There are wonderful books for sale, new ones as well as old ones. Browsers have a wonderful time. There isn't a limit on the number of books you can purchase.
For the convenience of those preparing the refreshments please RSVP at 264-2209 if you think you will be attending.
A community is rated by its library and Pagosa Springs has a fine one. The Ruby Sisson Library has been the recipient of many awards. It is truly a jewel.
Saturday, the book sale is open to the public 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To list your volunteer needs, contact Local Chatter 264-2529 or turn them in at the Sun Office.
Nine Pagosa Springs skiers from the Gray Wolf Ski Club were featured on the Rocky Mountain PBS television program "Spirit of Colorado" in a segment called "The Ski Life" that aired July 5.
Focus of the Gray Wolf segment was on the history of the club as well as skiing at Wolf Creek. The program's producer, Ed Jahn, seemed particularly interested in what he called "the special sense of fellowship" that Gray Wolf members share both on and off the ski slopes.
Filming for the program took place March 23 at Wolf Creek when a PBS producer and a video photographer spent the day interviewing and skiing with 16 members of the Gray Wolf Ski Club.
"They spent virtually all day with us. But as is typical of television productions, by the time our segment appeared on TV, we were edited down to only four minutes," said Pagosa resident Carole Howard with a laugh. "Still, we all had a great time and it was a fun experience."
In addition to Howard, Pagosa residents involved in the filming included Ron and Windsor Chacey, Stan Mocha, Herb Nason, Fred Shelton, Jerry Sager, and Don and Barbara Jacobs. Seven Gray Wolves from South Fork and Monte Vista were included.
"Highlight of the filming for me was listening to some of our long-time Gray Wolf members talk about the early years of skiing both here and around the country," Howard said. "They've had some incredible experiences and have wonderful tales to tell."
"Spirit of Colorado" is a weekly program that airs 8 p.m. Wednesdays on the Rocky Mountain PBS station Channel 6 in Denver, Channel 8 in Pueblo and Channel 18 on the Western Slope. The program featuring the Gray Wolves will air again several times next fall and winter. Check the station's Web site at www.rmpbs.org/spirit/index for dates and times.
The Gray Wolf Ski Club is an association for outdoor enthusiasts age 50 and above. Founded in August 1984 with 70 charter members, the club now has a membership of almost 600 from Pagosa and the other side of the pass in the South Fork area.
Fun on the run
Old and new concerns of the baby boom generation (as they join the ranks of Senior Citizens):
Then: Long hair.
Now: Longing for hair.
Then: Acid rock.
Now: Acid reflux.
Then: Moving to California because it's cool.
Now: Moving to California because it's hot.
Then: Watching John Glenn's historic flight with your parents.
Now: Watching John Glenn's historic flight with your kids.
Then: Killer weed.
Now: Weed killer.
Then: Getting out to a new, hip joint.
Now: Getting a new hip joint.
A county employee phoned the SUN late yesterday afternoon to say that a change had been made on last night's agenda of the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission meeting The item regarding Hard Time Concrete Inc. had been deleted from the agenda. The deletion had been properly made in accordance with the process and procedure established by county officials.
As stated in previous editorials and articles in the SUN, members of the planning commission make their decisions and subsequent recommendations to the county commissioners based on the prescribed processes and procedures that have been established by the county. The decisions are not based on letters to the editor, the number of signatures on a petition, or as in the case of the latest absurdity, advertisements a private individual might pay to run in the SUN.
Though titled "Notice," the first ad stated it was "An Open Letter to all Current Candidates for the Office of Archuleta County Commissioner." It went on to contend that county voters and the public have the right to know how a candidate would respond to a specific permit application prior to the candidate or any one else hearing any of the applicable testimony, presentations and pertinent information that will be presented at public hearings that are to be held to address the application.
The advertisement's ensuing content stated the candidates could answer either: "For or Against. Your Silence will be construed as being For . . ."
Evidently Christopher Smith, the reputed manager of "S.O.R.E Save Our Rare Environment" has confused a public hearing with a private inquisition. Rather than S.O.R.E., the advertisement-notice-letter's acronym should have used the letters SORI - as in Short on Relevant Information.
The candidates had two reasonable answers to Smith's questionable attempt at public service; neither reasonable answer was for or against.
When confronted by an unreasonable person, silence is a reasonable response. Or if in an effort to calm or pacify an unreasonable person, it could be reasonable to calmly state that it would be a dereliction of duty and an irresponsible act to make any important decision on a particular issue without first being totally familiar with all of the important information that relates to the issue.
In this case, since the application process in question continues in its preliminary phase, it is not only premature for soliciting decisions, it is presumptuously preposterous to either solicit or expect an answer to such an inquisitorial question.
On page 3 of section 2 of the June 29 edition of the SUN, an article headlined "First Batch Plant Public Hearing July 12" listed six evaluation criteria that county officials are to consider when deciding for or against issuing a conditional-use permit. The same article listed four considerations the planning commissioners use as their guideline when considering a special-use permit. None of them involved responding to a notice-letter-advertisement in the newspaper.
Yes, there is an established process and there are established guidelines. They are the guidelines the planning commissioners will follow when deciding on a recommendation and it is the criteria the county commissioners will consider before making their decision.
They are strong indicators a person shouldn't waste his vacation or money in an inane effort to circumvent the process. After all, effective ads are noticeable because of their appeal, not their absurdity.
David C. Mitchell
It's hard getting ticks off my ear
It's hard to believe that this weekend puts us half way through the summer.
I can't believe the time is flying by so fast.
That's what's enjoyable about riding a bicycle, unless you're riding an extremely steep descent, things really don't fly by very fast.
Seems like I read something a few months back as to why older folks struggle at maintaining a reasonable time frame and a somewhat accurate awareness of the passing of time.
I forget now what it said.
It seems like I also recently read something about increased longevity produces increased forgetfulness.
That's some more pertinent information I can't remember.
One nice thing about this week is that it had a "workable" Tuesday.
Last week was a real attention getter with Tuesday being the Fourth of July.
Being closed on Tuesday loses some of its sheen when you know that that week's SUN must still be off the press and at the post office by Thursday morning.
It's a real blessing to own a second-class mailing permit. The only problem is that they don't come with holidays or periodic vacations.
Regardless of the situation, a fresh edition of the newspaper has to be at the post office on the prescribed day of the week, 52 weeks of the year.
It keeps life interesting. Especially for weeks like last week that had one work day missing.
It's hard to explain and even harder to understand if you don't work at a newspaper.
So I didn't try to explain last Thursday when a friend started chewing my ear because the SUN didn't have many pictures of the parade entries. I couldn't blame 'em for being "ticked off."
It was easier to express understanding rather than trying to explain that Wednesday had arrived without Tuesday's usual production.
So along with the reporters writing enough copy and the editor editing enough articles, and the proof readers doing their thing and being sure the corrections were made; there wasn't a lot of time to scan the dozen rolls of film that had been shot of the rodeo, parade, and fireworks display.
That's why I just allotted so much time for selecting photos, and just used so many photos for last week's edition.
Now that I look back, I'm surprised Todd found time last Wednesday morning to shoot all the page negatives, develop all the film and help Robert with the press runs for the TV guide and two sections of the Preview.
It's no secret that some special folks put a lot of time and effort into making the many, many floats that made this year's parade the traditional "biggest and best ever."
I wish my energy level could maintain a "biggest and best ever" pace on an annual basis.
Instead, I knew I was running out of time, and the pages would be running out of space. So after a couple of hours at the computerized photo scanner last Wednesday I went back to my desk knowing that for some things, there is next week.
Of course I can't blame folks for getting ticked off, I get mad at myself all the time.
But like I said, lately time seems to be flying by faster than ever. And it sure doesn't feel like I'm coasting.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers.
57 hired by relief program
Taken from SUN files
of July 17, 1975
Fifty-seven Pagosa Springs residents were given job assignments and reported to work this week thanks to a Title X employment relief program. Pagosa District Ranger Dan Peters said the new employees will be paid $2.88 an hour under the program that will channel workers to the Forest Service and Soil Conservation Service.
Ray Macht, planning commission chairman, said this week that the planning commission will meet at Chromo next Monday night in the old school house. This is the second of a series of such meetings in the outlying parts of the county.
Steve Corbin, a third year medical student at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, is the latest addition to the staff at the Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic. He is here as part of a preceptorship program sponsored by the Medical Student Assistance National Health Service. He will work under Dr. Ray Johnson and P.A. Gary Janssen.
One of the more colorful sights around this area during the Red Ryder Roundup was that of the hot air balloons at Pagosa in Colorado. Seven of the extremely bright and colorful balloons were popping up and down at Piñon Lake like corks in a pan of water early in the morning of July 4 and 5.
First Baptist Church in Pagosa Springs
A survey of state and local historical records completed in 1938 shows the First Baptist Church of Pagosa Springs was organized in 1896. The first settled clergyman for the church was a Reverend Payne whose tenure was unknown.
The first meetings of the church were conducted at the Odd Fellows Hall on Lewis Street until a building was erected for the church in 1903.
A lot for a church building was purchased in December 1900 during the pastorate of a Dr. Hill. The deed filed with the county clerk shows the trustees of the church at that time were S.E. Bowling, A.L. Andrews and Carrie Morehouse.
In 1903, a church was built at the corner of 3rd and Pagosa streets. Reverend W.J. Wright was the pastor at that time. The 1938 survey reported the building has "no special features, plain architecture, interior plastered, wood throughout including altar and communion."
Also in 1903, an affidavit of incorporation was filed in the county clerk's office. It read in part, "At a meeting of the members of the First Baptist Church of Pagosa Springs, Colorado held February 28, 1903 the following persons were appointed: A.L. Andrews, P.L. Scott and S.E. Bowling, trustees, with powers and duties established by and according to the rules and usages of said church." At the same meeting the name of The First Baptist Church of Pagosa Springs was adopted.
On May 11, 1908, a certificate of incorporation was filed with the secretary of state.
The church had a membership of 28 in 1910. At one time the membership had reached 40. Sunday school attendance averaged 45. By 1933, membership had declined and the church became defunct. At a later date the church was reorganized.
In 1939, the land where the church stood was sold to Jule and Belle Macht. The church was torn down.
Friday, June 16, 1939, the SUN reported, "The corner stone for the Jule Macht residence was laid on Monday of this week. Axel Nelson, the contractor, placed a copy of last week's SUN together with an article from the SUN of June 2nd, listing improvements made in the town this spring, in the cornerstone of the new building which is located at the corner of Pagosa and Third streets."
Calls about waste are wasted efforts
Being one who likes to pay bills locally whenever possible, I've always driven out Trujillo Road to drop off the garbage collection payment at the Waste Management offices.
Like many others, I was surprised, when I made the trip late last month, to discover the firm's local office carried a sign indicating it had been "Closed, temporarily."
The sign suggests patrons call the Durango or Farmington offices for further information.
I, unfortunately, attempted that.
I tried Durango first and got a receptionist who said she could answer no questions about service or lack thereof. When informed I was calling as both a customer and a newspaper representative, she still declined comment.
Asked if there were someone else in the office who could comment for the record, she said, "No."
Asked if she could give a name and or phone number of someone who could deal with the question, the answer again was, "No," followed by, "I'm not allowed to say anything to the press."
Resigned to getting no satisfaction from Durango, I called around until I got the name of the regional manager for Waste Management in Farmington and dialed his number.
Lee Dante was polite but obviously reticent to answer.
"We haven't decided what we're going to do with the Pagosa situation," he said. "We're trying to develop a solution."
"Wouldn't it have been prudent business to inform Pagosa residents their local office was being closed, even temporarily?" he was asked.
"Ahhh, I guess that should have been done. Give me a couple of days and I'll get a statement on the situation up to you," Dante said.
That was June 21, and still there has been no statement.
The situation with Waste Management gets even more confusing.
On Independence Day, as the long parade was forming on 8th Street, a Waste Management truck was attempting to pick up garbage and the result was a traffic nightmare for both the garbage truck driver and those attempting to position themselves in assigned order for the parade.
I don't know if all the pickups on 8th Street ever got made, but I can confirm that my garbage can - put out early Tuesday for the regular pickup even though I suspected it would be delayed because of the holiday, was still sitting there three days later.
A one-day delay ordinarily wouldn't bother me because good experiences with the previous locally-owned hauler always meant holiday delays were covered the following day and that was acceptable to customers who understand garbage collectors warrant the same holidays they get.
One gets the impression Waste Management, the world's largest disposal firm, isn't big enough to handle the portion of the Pagosa Springs clientele it still has. Or, perhaps, it is too big to care about little communities where it has contracts.
Dante told The Sun, "The biggest problem we have is getting dependable employees ... it's a touchy situation and we're looking into it."
He must still be looking, because neither he nor any other Waste Management representative has responded to our call with an official statement for dissemination to the public his firm purports to serve.
And, another call to Durango about the non-pickup, elicited this response Thursday from a different telephone receptionist:
"We tried to make pickups (Tuesday implied) but streets were closed. We were unaware in advance of any celebrations which would impede our work."
Asked when pickup of the heat-cooked garbage and its growing odor might be expected, I got a terse, "Maybe next week."
Sorry, Waste Management, that isn't satisfactory. The pickup was finally made just before 1 p.m. Friday. The truck driver told me the Tuesday pickup wasn't made because the street was closed and the substitute driver didn't know he could come in from the other end.
At least one entire neighborhood went without garbage pickup for 12 days, and that's a definite health hazard.
Since the firm bills two months in advance, I'm paid up through August. I'll expect a refund for the week in which collection was so long-delayed when I cancel the firm's alleged service and switch to the local carrier.
The whole situation confirms a sense I've developed through 40 years in this business: Bigger isn't always better.
In fact, some of the biggest firms I've encountered are among the least consumer conscious despite their national image building campaigns. Many executives firmly believe the reputation their advertising managers have created for them.
They don't, however, believe they have to perform at a level that will perpetuate the reputation because it already has been established. Too many fail to realize it is easier to destroy status than to build it.
Waste Management's lack of concern for its customers has proved that theory to me again. The firm is about to become the ex-provider for this customer.
Reader disputes story of Wirt's gun
By John M. Motter
From time to time, a reader sends us some comments after reading an oldtimer article we have written. We welcome the comments. On June 22 in "The Preview," we wrote an article about Emmet Wirt, a Pagosa Country oldtimer who lived on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation in Dulce.
Mrs. Frances Coffee, now living in Dallas, Texas, read the recent article and, stirred by her own childhood memories of Mr. Wirt and Dulce, wrote us a few lines. We appreciate hearing from Mrs. Coffee and invite letters or calls from other readers with memories of Emmet Wirt or addressing other oldtimer articles. Incidentally, during her younger years, Mrs. Coffee was Frances Rock, the granddaughter of Luke and Emma Rock. There may be some surviving folks who recall Luke Rock, the leader of a marching band in Pagosa Springs during the early years of the twentieth century.
Without further comment, here are Mrs. Coffee's observations on Emmet Wirt and Dulce.
"Dear Mr. Motter;
"Thank you for your Burns and Wirt article. I heard of Mr. Burns but I knew Mr. Wirt.
"My Grandfather, Luke Rock, was a sawyer in the different sawmills all around Pagosa, even Cimarron, N.M.
"Grandfather 'ran' the 'Indian Mill' at Wild Horse Lake (Horse Lake, ed.) south (I think) of Dulce, N.M. We saw Mr. Wirt once a week for 4-5 months because he was the Jicarilla Apache Indian Agent in the 20's. The store there was an 'Indian Commissary.' The Indians got their supplies through (or from) Mr. Wirt.
"Never did I see any gun on his person. I believe that was a 'posed picture' with the gun. There was certainly no reason to wear one when I was a child.
"In 1920 I was in the 4th grade in Biggs Mill School; the mill was on the reservation. Grandmother had migraine headaches and the mill doctor prescribed a 'change in climate.' He was right. The prevailing winds there were bringing alkali dust into the mill houses. The Indian mill needed someone to 'run it' and Grandfather seized the job and quit Biggs Mill - to change climate. The 10-15 miles away from the area - had timber, grassy meadows, and wind coming across Wild Horse Lake. Ideal! Grandmother had no more migraines.
"Grandfather ran the mill with the help of about six Indians. He spoke enough Mexican to talk to them. He could hire only Indians. The lumber out of the tiny mill was for some Indian project. They received their wages from Mr. Wirt - probably in supplies.
"Every Saturday Grandfather, Grandmother and I drove in the 1912 Hupmobile to Dulce. At the door each woman and child was handed a sucker (candy) as they entered the store. There was a pump of sorts at the back of the store where Grandfather 'got gasoline' for the car. We bought our groceries 'by the case,' or half-a-case: tomatoes, grapefruit, green beans, other beans by the sack, 25 pounds of potatoes, flour, apples (dried).
"I remained in school at Biggs' mill until the term was through, living there with a family. We bought meat at Biggs' commissary. The piece was often 10 pounds. It was cooked up immediately and sometimes smoked - to keep it 'good' until eaten.
"When enough...(lumber had been prepared)...to complete the 'project' the mill closed for the season and we went to Grant's Mill (up Mill Creek Road) for a job there.
"The Indian mill, by necessity, was seasonal because it was wide open - a roof over the carriage and saw plus boiler for steam. The water from the lake was carried in buckets for the boiler. A fire of scrap lumber was the fuel.
"The house for the sawyer's use was a very nice house - furnished. Nearby was a large barn for the 4-5 pair of horses. They skidded the logs up to the mill, drew the wagons that carried the lumber to Dulce to be stacked ready for use by carpenters who were assisted by Indians.
"Grandfather was primary care giver of the horses. When the season was over, they were driven with wagons to Dulce, then cared for by Mr. Wirt there, with Indian help.
"I guess I never knew what the lumber was then used for - never told - for I can't recall it.
"Mr. Wirt was revered by the Indians. He was very honest and understanding of the Indians. There at Dulce were two schools - one for boys, one for girls - U.S. Gov't run - the children were forced to attend these boarding schools - for nine months out of the year - then allowed to go to their parents, for three months. Incidentally occasionally the whole family would move to some other area in the reservation - and when school 'took up' the kids would be 'not to be found.' No one knew anything about them. Some white man would be 'brought in' to round up the children. Not always were all to be found. He'd give up after a month or so of looking - and leave.
"While we lived at the Indian mill, Mr. Wirt's wife died - rumored to be a suicide - leaving a daughter. Grandmother and I attended the ceremony at the house. There were only five or six white families there; carpenters, surveyor, farmer who supplied cows and sheep for meat - help in the commissary, bookkeeper, helper in the store.
"When I knew Mr. Wirt, there certainly was no 'bad side.'
"Note: Because we worked for the Indians is why we were privileged to 'buy' the food stuffs there, otherwise we couldn't have. No mill people could have."
New 'Crucible' is a pleasant surprise
Maybe you remember having to read Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" in high school. Maybe you had some trouble with the stuffy language. Maybe you got a little lost in all the "Goodies": Goody Putnam, Goody Proctor, Goody Nurse, Goody Good, Goody Tushews. Maybe you've seen the play performed, either live or on television.
Well, maybe it's time you revisited this fine work, and there's no better way to do it than to watch Nicholas Hytner's recent film version starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Wynona Ryder, Joan Allen, Bruce Davison and Paul Scofield.
I reluctantly rented this video over the weekend, chiefly because I have to teach it to a batch of junior honors students in the fall. I didn't have fond memories of the play and I was hoping the movie would be a short-cut reintroduction, a tasty visual dressing that would make this Puritan salad a bit easier to digest.
What a pleasant surprise! Hytner's version, with a screenplay by Miller himself, is lively, passionate, powerful, even riveting. I was so caught up by the quickly moving, intriguing plot and the instantly interesting characters that I gave up any effort at subjecting the work to the kind of academic analysis I've been trained to do.
Maybe you remember the plot. In the film version, the story begins with a bunch of teenage girls out in the woods late at night reading a Harry Potter book -no, wait, they're being led by the slave Tituba in a kind of late seventeenth-century rave. More specifically, they're singing and dancing around a fire, hoping to use Tituba's voodoo acumen to win the attention and affection of their boyfriends.
Unfortunately, their girls' night out is interrupted by the appearance of the Reverend Parris (Davison) and, though it's dark, he's pretty sure he sees one of them running around unclothed and he thinks he sees a frog cooking in Tituba's cauldron. After this soirée, Parris' young daughter Betty and another child in the community fall ill.
For the Puritans, this was a no-brainer: the sick children were obviously "witched" by the Tituba party. Good old cause-and-effect reasoning! It's not much of an exaggeration to say that, to our Puritan forefathers, every incident, every idea, every gesture was another move in the eternal chess game between Lucifer and the Lord.
Since this mischief surely be witchery, Parris calls in the proper authorities, first witch "scholar" Reverend Hale, then Judge Danforth (Scofield) and his cronies. These gentlemen take their vocations very seriously. They "shall not rest until every inch of this province belongs again to God."
Under interrogation, one of the girls, Abigail Williams (Ryder), accuses poor Tituba of making a pact with the devil. After Reverend Parris - weak in courage, but strong in cunning - beats Tituba within an inch of her life, she finally confesses and then Abigail and Betty start singing like a couple of canaries on speed: "I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osborn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil! I saw George Jacobs with the Devil! I saw Goody Howe with the Devil!"
Well, you get the idea. The kids have been given the keys to the Kingdom. "I am but God's finger," Abigail says. A regular Joseph McCarthy witch hunt ensues (which, of course, Miller had in mind when he wrote the play) and absolutely no one is above suspicion.
Several characters are quick to use the witchcraft scare to gain leverage in just plain old human conflicts: Reverend Parris to fight off those unhappy with his ministry, Mr. Putnam to help him win a PLPOA argument against his neighbor, and, most importantly, Abigail to get back at John Proctor (Day-Lewis) who, too late, spurned her advances in favor of his chilly wife.
I wish they'd all just listened to Goody Rebecca Nurse when she said, "Let us rather blame ourselves than the Devil."
They don't listen to her, of course. This wise old woman, one of the movie's few voices of reason, winds up swinging at the end of a rope. As so many innocent people are herded off to the gallows, victims of hysterical accusers and of judges who believe they have God on their side, Miller finds a way to let in just a glimmer of light, the possibility of a kind of heroic integrity in the midst of this madness. I won't ruin your viewing pleasure by telling you what is, but I will tell you that it involves Proctor, and Day-Lewis does some fine work in that role.
The acting as a whole, incidentally, is quite good in that, even though it's a period piece and all of these folks are speaking in "Puritan dialect," you don't notice any acting. Ryder, playing part petulant child, part woman scorned, is as good as I've ever seen her.
Over the years, people who don't believe in witches have speculated as to what made Abigail and her gang of furies behave the way they did, i.e., killing off 19 of their innocent neighbors. Were they just very fine actresses? Were they reacting to Puritan repression? Was it clinical hysteria?
In real life, the eight girls' behavior was characterized by "disorderly speech, odd postures and gestures and convulsive fits," according to a recent article in Science News. A scientist from the University of California at Santa Barbara argues that "it was not Satan but ergot, a fungus with LSD-like properties, that bewitched" the girls. Ergot grows on rye, and the girls would've ingested a significant dosage of the fungus from eating contaminated rye bread.
Too bad no one in Salem ever said, "Aye, Goody, it be not witchery, just the ham on rye!"
Manuel Campuzano owns and operates Flaco Taco, located on South 8th Street, at the intersection with Apache Street, just north of Pagosa Springs High School.
Start the day with breakfast burritos, prepared to order. Choose from burritos, tacos, tamales, red and green chiles, enchiladas and posole for lunch, or for an early supper.
All the items on the menu at Flaco Taco are prepared from "mom's recipes" and feature fresh ingredients, with no preservatives or processed foods.
Flaco Taco is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.