Front Page

July 20, 2000

Wednesday crash landing sends two to hispital

By Karl Isberg

A Pagosa pilot made an emergency landing Wednesday morning resulting in serious injuries to himself and his wife, and minor injuries to three passengers.

James Carey, 61, a member of the local Archuleta County Airport Authority board of directors, was piloting a Cessna 310 dual-engine plane and took off from Stevens Field at approximately 10:45 a.m. The plane developed unspecified trouble and Carey, an ex-commercial pilot, put the craft down in an empty field south of U.S. 160, across the highway from the Pagosa Springs Golf Course.

The plane was severely damaged but there was no fire at the crash site.

Carey was taken by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center at Durango.

Carey's wife Pat, 58, was sitting in the passenger seat of the plane. She was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center by Air Care helicopter.

Three passengers were seated at the rear of the compartment: Kari Holmberg, 28, and her children Wade Prentiss, 5, and Kale Prentiss, 11 months. Holmberg and her children were taken to Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center, examined and released.

According to Deputy Sean Curtis, witnesses said Carey's plane flew over the Pagosa Lodge property at a very low altitude. Once the plane hit the ground, said Curtis, it traveled only 144 feet before coming to rest.

Bill Bright of Emergency Medical Services transported James Carey to Durango and spoke to the pilot during the trip. Bright said Carey reported the Cessna could not gain altitude. "Mr. Carey said he had the problem where he couldn't gain altitude and he shut everything down, slowed the aircraft as much as possible, and let it touch down," reported Bright.

Stevens Field manager Tim Evans said he believes Carey and his passengers were bound for southern California at the time of the landing and he commended Carey for his ability as a pilot.

"In my 10 years at this type of job, this was the best emergency landing I've ever seen," said Smith. "Jim did a wonderful job."

Smith said a salvage company was scheduled to take the airplane to a National Transportation and Safety Board facility at Greeley where the wreckage will be investigated to determine the cause of the accident.

A Mercy Medical Center spokesman said both Careys were listed in serious but stable condition Wednesday afternoon, with each victim scheduled for surgery. James Carey's worst injury, said the spokesman, was a fractured right ankle. Pat Carey suffered a spinal fracture and possible internal abdominal injuries.


Senior travel, bonuses only glitches in audit

By Richard Walter

Archuleta County's financial condition and money management systems have continued to improve in the past year, county commissioners were told Tuesday.

Tom Breed, reporting on his firm's audit of the county system, noted the general fund revenue in 1999 was more than $246,000 over budget despite a decline of 9 percent from 1998.

Both sales tax income and receipts from fees collected by the treasurer were up. He suggested the commissioners might want to review the treasurer's fees since the office is charging for transactions that other counties do not charge for.

In the same fund, expenditures were over budget by $134,205, mainly due to a capital lease figure which was not included in initial budgeting. Despite being over budget, expenditures from the fund declined 10 percent of $433,000 from 1998.

Administrative cost was up, but under budget and public safety expenditures were up $50,000. Overall, in the general fund, the ending balance increased to $1.5 million while $3.5 million was expended. "You spent $190,000 less than your income," Breed said.

The road and bridge fund was over budget by $110,000, "mainly because you were conservative on revenue estimates," Breed said. Revenue declined $77,000 but the core sources - property taxes and highway user taxes - both increased.

Expenses were $29,418 over budget, all attributed to the Eightmile Mesa Road project and associated county expenses. Overall, expenses in the fund were down 29 percent, or $455,000.

Breed noted that costs for snow removal, administration and capital projects all declined during the year.

The road and bridge fund balance at the end of the year was just under $1 million, up $84,000 from the previous year.

The biggest problems encountered in the audit, Breed said, were in the senior citizen programs, particularly as they handled travel cash payments, and in payment of year-end bonuses.

"The procedures used (for senior trips) were inadequate and susceptible to misuse," Breed said. "The problem resulted from having participants make payments in cash and not running that revenue into the books."

The transactions did not make it into the county's financial records, he said, "and that circumvented purchasing and budget policies."

He recommended that in the future all funds so received be deposited directly with the county treasurer, with no expenses deducted, and that all payouts be made by regular county warrants.

In answer to a question by Commissioner Gene Crabtree, Breed said, "No one in the county financial department had any idea what was going on."

He said his investigation indicated the county was subsidizing 50 percent of the direct cost of each trip. "It is obvious," he said, "that they weren't charging enough. The intent was to make it self-supporting, but the procedure wasn't understood. Hidden costs were never recorded."

He recommended establishing a written pricing policy for all senior trips with the stipulation that either the finance director or county manager approve them.

The bonus issue involved some departments paying bonuses that were not budgeted, Breed said, noting bonuses can be a beneficial employee-management tool but must be in the budget process.

The county plan had no set course and often involved inappropriate criteria, he said, "such as how much money was left at the end of the year in the salary line item budget."

He said the county assessor continued to submit false time records in order to award bonuses, "an action both illegal and inappropriate."

"If bonuses are included as a line item in the budget," he said, "then the problem is eliminated because the records must be specific."

When asked by Breed if she wanted to say anything about his evaluation, County Assessor Karen Prior declined to comment.

Noting the budget process for next year is to begin soon, he urged commissioners to direct department heads to include bonuses in their budget requests as part of salary cost, and to make sure they are aware bonuses should be based on performance.

Breed's other recommendations included:

- Improve jail occupancy records to make it easier to determine how many prisoners are housed at any specific time, the sources of those prisoners and the sources of incarceration expense and remuneration

- When changes in assessed valuation occur between the time a tax levying district is notified of its anticipated value and the time it is given a total assessed valuation to be levied against, the district should be notified of the change. Otherwise, he said, the district could levy too little or too much

- When utilizing developer escrow accounts, they should not be dual accounts with both the developer and the county. The loan authorized signature should be that of the treasurer

- Have the department heads give specific responses to the evaluations of their departments to the chairman of the board of county commissioners.


Dog critical after being tossed into hot springs

By Karl Isberg

An Oklahoma man threw his dog into the Great Hot Spring Wednesday, and was burned when he entered the water to rescue the animal.

The incident occurred at approximately 11:30 a.m. at the geothermal spring located west of Hot Springs Boulevard in downtown Pagosa Springs.

An Emergency Medical Services ambulance crew was called to the Pagosa Veterinary Clinic to aid a man who had suffered burns and was reported to be going into shock. The page from central dispatch reported the victim waded into the hot spring to retrieve an animal, that he then transported to the veterinary clinic.

According to personnel at the veterinary clinic and EMS officials, Shay McCurdy, 25, of Oklahoma City, said he was bicycling on the River Walk adjacent to the Great Hot Spring. McCurdy told EMS personnel he put his dog in the spring to cool her off, not knowing the temperature of the water is 140 degrees.

When it became obvious the dog was burned, McCurdy attempted to pull the animal from the water. In its confused state, the dog bit McCurdy, so the man stepped into the water to affect the rescue.

McCurdy was transported to Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center, where he was treated for first- and second-degree burns on his lower legs before he was released.

The dog was reported alive and under sedation at the veterinary clinic Wednesday afternoon, suffering burns and the loss of most of her hair.


Angry homeowner; commissioners trade barbs

By Richard Walter

"Why is a roadway eligible for county snow removal if it is not eligible for maintenance at other times of the year. Is it a liability issue?"

That question was asked of county commissioners Tuesday by Francesco Tortorini.

The Twin Creek Village resident was leading up to a contention that if liability is an issue, it should be so even when there's no snow.

He said Twin Creek Circle "is deteriorating immensely, mainly because there are at least a dozen 'spec' houses being built in the area and construction traffic is unending.

"You have said you will revisit your moratorium on acceptance of roads for maintenance," Tortorini said to the commissioners before asking, "Have you? Is there a timetable?"

Commissioner Gene Crabtree said he and others on the board had toured the roads in the area but have not lifted the moratorium. "We want to see how the budget comes out before committing. Nothing is settled on what roads, if any more, will be accepted."

Commissioner Bill Downey said the board may review the policy.

"Prior to or after the election?" snapped Tortorini.

"During budget consideration," said Crabtree.

"Wouldn't it be judicious to put it in the budget?" Tortorini asked. "You need to establish a priority. I wonder if you even know that 39 percent of all the property tax paid in the county comes from Pagosa Lakes. That should account for some degree of returned service."

Somewhat irritated, Crabtree said, "Everyone in the county uses roads that are not in their district. We represent all of the county and must look at it as a whole. Money must be used where it is needed most. Until we find out what kind of money we have available, we don't know where to commit. Some rough roads may have to remain rough roads."

"If it isn't a liability question," Tortorini replied, "I lose the logic. Why should residents have to pay road and bridge taxes if you're not going to maintain the roads anyway?"

Commissioner Bill Downey said, "I have to echo the chairman's comment. We have a responsibility to all of the county, not just one particular area. There are a number of places in the county which have elected to take on road maintenance themselves, and they are pleased with the result."

"Are funds they pay for road maintenance passed on to them?" Tortorini asked. "It is only proper that the percentage of road and bridge tax they pay be passed through to them."

Downey said HUTF funds are distributed. He also said the bulk of taxes collected in the state come from Front Range communities. "Yet we have state highways here and the state maintains them. We don't see Front Range communities objecting."

But the confrontation continued.

Gene Cortright, another Pagosa Lakes resident, asked if the commissioners had given any consideration to a plan offered them several weeks ago by Fred Ebeling of the PLPOA board of directors. "Is there any timetable for an answer?" he asked.

Downey said he'd been in contact with Ebeling. "Only after he called you," replied Cortright.

Crabtree said he'd looked at the proposal and has questions, but has not talked to Ebeling.

Cortright replied, "I'd hoped the board would look at all options. It is unfair of you not to consider it with the election coming up."

"The election has nothing to do with it," snapped Crabtree. "Not for you," Cortwright said, "but your two cronies will be gone after it."

With Crabtree saying he resented the implication the board was stalling for political reasons, Cortwright huffed, "I'm talking issues, not personalities. Don't attribute that to me."

Crabtree had the final word. He adjourned the morning session for lunch. Cortwright did not return for the afternoon session.


Survivors' lap will open Relay for Life Friday

Relay for Life is back this weekend in Town Park. Organizer Leslie Patterson said several teams will be walking for 18 hours throughout the night to support the American Cancer Society. This overnight commitment aims at recognizing that cancer never sleeps, so it is important that persons concerned with combating the disease do likewise.

Patterson said last year's event in Pagosa raised $13,600. That total placed Archuleta County at No. 1 in fund raising per capita in Colorado last year. Already this summer, Durango has raised just over $40,000 in its 11th annual Relay for Life. Cortez raised over $27,000 in their first year. "So now it's time for Pagosa to do it again. So please support those team members who are going around town raising money this week," Patterson said.

The teams will be camping Friday night in Town Park with team members taking turns walking from 6 p.m. Friday until noon Saturday. All Pagosans are welcome to attend and watch as the teams demonstrate their commitment to the cause.

According to Patterson, the walk should be interesting because there is "some serious competition between the San Juan Outdoor Club and the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club." She said Rotary wants to "protect the pig" - a very large piggy bank awarded to the top fund-raising team. Rotary won the prized pig last year, but the Outdoor Club is reportedly returning with a "vengeance" to claim it this year. The Outdoor Club had the most participants last year and the group is back with just as many participants this year.

A Survivors' Victory Lap and the Light of Hope Luminaria Ceremony will again be two special features of the Relay for Life activities. The Survivors' Victory Lap opens the Relay for the Life at 6 p.m. on Friday. Local cancer survivors will be guests of honor as the main motivation for this event. Cancer survivors who would like to participate in the Victory Lap should call Cindy McCormick at 264-7707, or should show up at the Survivors' Table in Town Park on Friday at 5:30 p.m. to get a commemorative T-shirt and to register on the cancer survivor roster.

The Light of Hope Luminaria ceremony will be set up on the San Juan River Walk course through Town Park at dark Friday night. Organizers will be selling the luminaries for $5 Friday at Town Park. The donation allows the purchaser to write the name of a cancer survivor or someone who was lost to cancer on a paper-bag luminaria. The candle-illuminated bags will be placed around the walk's path through the park in recognition and remembrance of the donors' loved ones. The luminaries also will light the way for the teams as a reminder why they are involved in the Relay for Life. Some inspirational readings and all the names on the luminaries will be read at 9 p.m. on Friday. (Persons who would like more information about this ceremony, should call Nate Weisz at 731-4643, or should visit the Luminaria Table in Town Park anytime Friday afternoon before 9 p.m.)


Pagosa woman dies in traffic crash on 151

By Karl Isberg

A Pagosa resident, Hanne Skov Jensen, 72, died July 16 following a one-car accident on Colo. 151 west of Pagosa Springs.

According to a Colorado State Patrol investigation conducted by Trooper Nick Rivera, Jensen was northbound on the highway in a 2000 Subaru at approximately 5:45 p.m. when the vehicle went off the right side of the roadway near milepost 9. The Subaru went through a fence, hit a ditch embankment and went airborne for 25 feet. The vehicle landed on its wheels, rotated and rolled onto its side.

The CSP report indicates a seat belt was in use and noted the airbag in the car deployed during the crash. The victim remained inside the vehicle during the crash.

Jensen was transported by Air Care helicopter to Mercy Medical Center at Durango where she succumbed to multiple injuries.

Another Pagosan was involved in a multi-vehicle crash near Bayfield July 11 and charges are pending against the man for his part in the fatal accident.

Troy Persson, 23, of Pagosa Springs, was eastbound in a Dodge Dakota pickup truck on U.S. 160 approximately 6 miles east of Bayfield at 2:50 p.m. when his truck veered into the westbound lane of the highway.

Persson's truck collided with a westbound vehicle driven by a Missouri resident then continued on and collided with another westbound vehicle, driven by Richard Stroup, 67, of Apache Junction, Ariz. Stroup's wife Carol, 64, was killed in the crash.

A Durango spokesman for the CSP said Wednesday the district attorney's office was asked to file at least five charges against Persson: vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, two counts of careless driving resulting in injury, and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or driving under the influence of drugs.


Inside The Sun

Special Interest group seeks funding

By Richard Walter

Two special interest groups asked county commissioners Tuesday to support their efforts to acquire Greater Outdoor Colorado grants for their projects by indicating the county would participate financially.

Making the requests were representatives of Southwest Land Alliance and the Lower Blanco Homeowners' Association.

Speaking initially for the land alliance, Bob Bigelow, chairman of the National Heritage Survey Project, said, "we consider open space our business and GOCO funding will help us pursue that end."

Ron Chacey, an alliance board member, said the group, if the grant is approved, would be the administrating agent.

Keying the group's request was Peggy Lyon, a botanist working with the state, who conducts surveys of ecosystems and biodiversity under auspices of Colorado State University.

Specifically, they asked the county to pledge to commit $10,000 to the project which would take about a year and would identify rare plants and animals found in the county.

Lyon said three persons would be involved in the survey program and that there would be no trespass on private lands. "We'd go on only with permission."

"Potential conservation areas would be delineated for your information, ranked on a scale of one to five for significance," she said. "They would also get both a state and global rating for highest biogeological significance.

"We would provide overlays of significant areas which would be available for comparison when considering special projects. Slides will show plants and animals of significance and the areas in which they are concentrated along with specific breed migration trails," Lyon said.

Commissioner Ken Fox asked the group if such a project would "open a Pandora's box with reference to disturbance of habitat for protected species," and was assured it would not. The only protected species here, Lyon said, are the bald eagle, peregrine falcon and "a specific cactus variety."

She told commissioners, "This is our first step. If the county is not supportive, we probably would not even submit the proposal."

County Planner Mike Mollica told the board he'd "support them 100 percent. Their work would have great value in the planning process. The more informed planners are, the better. The net result would be a data set merging nicely with our own which would delineate topography, vegetation, soil types and condition, wildlife corridors, etc."

Chacey told the board the town, PLPOA, Water Conservancy District and others will also be asked to participate with matching funds and in-kind work. "We'd also ask the county to be the lead agency in the GOCO process with Southwest Land Alliance as a partner," Chacey said.

Commissioner Gene Crabtree suggested the commissioners take the request under consideration but noted, "We can take no final action until the budgeting process is completed. We don't know if the money will be there."

"It is difficult to proceed without a county pledge," said Chacey. "It would not be a viable project without you. If you give us your support , we can go to others. If we wait until the budget cycle we're a year behind and would have to compete with other entities for GOCO project funding."

County Manager Dennis Hunt suggested that the board could agree to put the amount in the tentative budget with the intent to include it if the cash is available.

Chacey agreed that would suffice for now.

Then, it was the Blanco representative's turn.

Jerry Curtis, a member of the board of both the property owners association and the water conservancy district boards, reminded commissioners of the 1.1-mile demonstration project completed last year on the river and asked for support for new phases of the waterway improvement.

He thanked the county for participation in the earlier project and asked for a commitment to $6,500 "or more" for the project.

Curtis said the initial project has resulted in vast improvement of habitat, improved water flow and "even some swimming opportunities."

Commissioners voted unanimously to draft letters of support for both projects and to work toward including them in the upcoming budgetary process.


PAWS pushes enlargement of U.S. 84 water line

By Richard Walter

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District Board pushed ahead Tuesday night with plans for enlarging the water service line running south along U.S. 84.

Carrie Campbell, managing director, said the board agreed to budget for expanding the line from the current six-inch pipe to one of 12 inches or more.

The improvement would add needed pressure to homes served by the line and provide additional service capability for the area in the future.

The line extends to the Squaw Valley entrance off U.S. 84 just south of the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park.

Campbell said the improvement is part of an ongoing long-range plan to provide additional service in underserved areas within the district.

At the same time, the board began the paperwork to apply for a Corps of Engineers permit for enlargement of Stevens Reservoir in order to create additional storage for the rapidly growing district.

In other action, the PAWS board tabled until its August meeting the consideration of bids for water treatment plant work and for additional pipeline equipment.


Batch plant hearing rescheduled Aug. 23

By John M. Motter

More than 100 people who visited the county fair building July 12 expecting to participate in the public hearing for the proposed Hard Times Inc. concrete batch plant learned the meeting had been rescheduled to Aug. 23.

Hard Times Concrete Inc. has applied to Archuleta County for a conditional-use permit allowing operation of the batch plant. The July 12 public hearing was the first concerning this issue, which has drawn considerable opposition.

Steps for obtaining a conditional-use permit involve submission of facts concerning the proposal to the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission followed by the gathering of facts and holding of a public hearing by county planning staff and by the planning commission. If the planning commission recommends approval of the proposal, it is forwarded to county commissioners for final action, since the planning commission is an advisory board. County commissioner approval is necessary before a special-use permit can be issued by the county.

Notice was posted earlier that the first item on the planning commission agenda - Hard Times Concrete Inc. - had been canceled. Many of the folks who showed up either had no opportunity to learn of the cancellation, or came to the meeting just in case.

Causing the cancellation was a misunderstanding concerning which neighbors the batch plant proponents should notify. County regulations require the developer, in this case Hard Times Inc., to provide written notice to all owners of property located within 500 feet of the proposed project. The notice must be sent at least 30 days before the hearing.

In this case, the proposed batch plant is situated on approximately eight acres located on the southeast side of U.S. 160 about 4 miles northeast of Pagosa Springs. Consequently, using that eight acres as a base, the developer mailed notices to 10 property owners.

Further investigation revealed that the developer owns 230 acres in the area, most of it on the opposite side of U.S. 160. If the entire 230-acre parcel is identified as the building site, the number of parcels within the 500-foot requirement jumps to about 60 notifications.

The Archuleta County planning staff agreed with Barbara Green, a Denver attorney retained by the San Juan River Village Property Owner's Association, that additional notifications should be mailed out. That decision was the basis for canceling last Wednesday's meeting.

Included on the list slated for notification are all property owners within 500 feet of the 230-acre parcel, the San Juan River Village POA, and all special districts levying taxes within the 500-foot notice area

New planning commission chairman Lynn Constan notified folks streaming into the meeting room that the first item on the agenda had been canceled. The planning commission board then set the Aug. 23 date for a special meeting to consider the batch plant. (The Aug. 23 meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Vista Clubhouse at Fairfield Pagosa.) About 10 minutes later, after learning of the new date for the hearing, most of the people in attendance streamed back through the door.

The planning commission then considered the following business:

- Final plat approval was granted for the 360-acre Elk Park Meadows residential subdivision located approximately 9 miles west of Pagosa Springs on the north side of U.S. 160 opposite the Happy Camper RV park. The development contains 65 single-family lots of about five acres each. Water is to be supplied by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District. Sewage will be handled with septic systems. The Elk Park Meadows final plat will be forwarded to the county commissioners for final approval.

- Archuleta County was granted a variance allowing the construction of an 814-square-foot building without building the paved access road specified in the county's limited-use impact permit requirements. The building is located near the county garage and maintenance buildings on U.S. 84 south of Pagosa Springs. The county garage parking lot is not paved.

Cody Ross objected to the variance. Ross asserted that if he had made the same application, the variance would not have been granted. Ross said a double standard exists making it easier for the county than for private business to build and develop properties.

Planning commission member David Durkee voted against the variance.

- The planning commission approved a conditional-use permit for Lucky's Place, a 5,760-quare-foot building located at the corner of Hope and Bastille drives. The building will contain three 480-square-foot office spaces and three 1,440 square-foot warehouse spaces. Based on approval by the planning commission, the permit request will be forwarded to the county commissioners for final action.

- Approval was recommended for a variance requested by the Archuleta Economic Development Association. The applicant asked that a variance be granted for any request in Cloman Industrial Park Phase I that would be prohibited from going through the limited use impact process because the proposed building contains less than 2,000 square feet.

The planning board recommended moving the limit from 2,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet with conditions that the variance apply only to unsold lots 1,5,7,8, and that the AEDA obtain a letter from the appropriate lot owner granting the AEDA permission to act on behalf of the lot owner concerning the variance request.

The entire issue may become moot in the near future because county planning staff is rewriting the applicable ordinance to move the upper limit to 10,000 square feet. At issue is the amount of time required for applicants to journey through the permitting process before they can build. Buildings smaller than the limit may be approved by planning department staff. Buildings larger than the limit must go through the entire planning process and ultimately to the county commissioners.

From the audience, J.R. Ford, a local developer, objected that the variances give AEDA a competitive advantage when selling lots in competition with private developers.

- A one-year extension was granted the Hermann-Schlichting minor impact subdivision application.

- On an item not on the agenda, but submitted by the Director of County Development Mike Mollica, the board by "consensus" agreed to allow North Cove Planned Unit Development to sell property and convey title. Mollica was given permission to act based on an assortment of head nods and grunts of assent from board members attempting to give the impression they weren't voting.

North Cove Planned Unit Development consists of nine condominiums. Under county rules when the final plat was approved, the condominium plats could not be filed until all nine of the condominiums were built and approved. Under Archuleta County law, no sales can take place on a piece of property going through the subdivision laws until the plats are filed.

Mollica was given permission to treat the North Cove Planned Unit Development as a phased development with the first three condominiums, already built, as Phase 1. The result is that the developer can file the plats for Phase 1 and sell the first three units. The final six condominiums will be built in future phases.


Pagosa airport No. 1 on FAA funding list

By Richard Walter

County Manager Dennis Hunt and representatives of the Archuleta County Airport Authority met in Denver last week with FAA members and were assured the local airport "is still number one for funding in this region," Hunt told the county commissioners Tuesday.

Hunt said the purpose of the visit was to tie down the FAA's commitment to the county and to get the process moving on runway improvements.

Initially the federal agency wanted right-of-entry resolutions to any property within one mile of the airport, Hunt said. "I objected strenuously," he said, "and after lengthy debate they agreed."

However, Hunt said, "The FAA insisted on compatible land-use control around the airport's area of influence. Now we can start the process of establishing free zones on both the south and north ends. The understanding is that funds will be committed this year. "

Hunt said the preliminary estimate for the project is $6 million, with the county responsible for 10 percent in matching funds.

The estimate is being prepared now, he said, for a "C-2 status", 100-foot-wide runway. Hunt said the whole process is expected to pick up speed after July 28.

In other action Tuesday, the commissioners:

- Approved a resolution consenting to dissolution of Pagosa Springs Sanitary District and formation of a general improvement district in the same geographical area.

Jay Harrington, Pagosa Springs town manager, told commissioners the town and sanitary district put the issue of dissolution to voters last year and they agreed. "We'll keep the same mill levy but the town will operate the area as a general improvement district."

Much of the former district has been annexed to the town, he said, but some areas along Trujillo Road and in Pagosa Hills are not within town boundaries, necessitating county approval of the plan.

Harrington said nothing would change in the way of service except that a level of double taxation would be eliminated. There will be a ballot item in the November election on final formation of the district. "If it fails," Harrington said, "we'll go back to the old format."

- Moved to call the bond for an incomplete road improvement agreement in South Shore Estates after repeated efforts to get satisfaction from the developer, Fairfield Pagosa, went without results despite two extensions since the initial improvement agreement expired in 1997. County Attorney Mary Weiss said, "They've done an engineering report but have made no repairs. There is no contractor on site and they have refused to comply with any rules regarding warranted road work."

On a motion by Commissioner Bill Downey, the board voted to call the bond for work completion, with legal actions to be handled by Weiss.

- A final plat and an escrow fund of $24,400 was approved for the Coal Creek Ranch development on US 160 at the base of Yellow Jacket Pass. Improvement plans met all county standards. Approval came with the stipulation that adequate street signage must be provided. The omission of the signage requirement was considered an oversight since it had been discussed earlier.

- Commissioners accepted final paperwork on Quartz Ridge Ranch subdivision, a 7-lot development on Fourmile Road and authorized release of $4,261 held in escrow as a road maintenance bond.

- Lot consolidation proposals were approved for properties in Lake Hatcher Park, Pagosa Highlands Estates and Aspen Springs. A revised lot consolidation in San Juan River Village was approved restoring words accidentally omitted from the original board resolution.

- A request for a variation from paving requirement was approved for an 814-square-foot site adjacent to the county's road and bridge department's headquarters south on U.S. 84. The site will be used for weed control chemical storage and the action had been recommended by the planning commission.


County urged to fight Initiative 256

By Richard Walter

Members of the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission made an impassioned plea to county commissioners Tuesday for opposition to Initiative 256, a statewide ballot proposal which they feel would destroy local property values and result in huge tax increases for all property owners.

They said the proposal is strongly supported by Front Range cities and counties in an attempt to control sprawl by establishing growth boundaries around existing committed areas.

Under the initiative proposal, they said, construction would only be allowed in subdivisions that are 50 percent built out or which provide central sewer and water to every lot.

"The policy would be counterproductive for Archuleta County," said commission chairman Bobra Schaper. "What we're doing in planning for the future here is a much better way. On the surface the initiative seems like a good idea but it would be retrogressive."

Planning commission member Julia Donoho said the proposal would seriously impact $252 million worth of land in the county, noting that the land now has 915 tracts which are not currently subdivided.

All said the cost to the county could never be recouped because the local housing industry would be put out of business, assessed valuations would drop and huge tax increases would be needed to meet existing budgetary needs.

Combined with the detriments of the pending "TABOR 205", they said, all local service providing entities would be forced to end their existence.

The planning board urged the commissioners to:

- Take a strong stance opposing Initiative 256 and educating the public about the probable impacts on the county

- To lobby Colorado Counties Inc., and participate in opposition to the initiative

- To ensure the planning department is prepared in case the initiative passes, understands the impacts and ramifications and can be ready with growth boundary delineation by the November election

- Investigate as soon as possible the possibility of placing a referendum on the November ballot to exempt the county from the initiative should it pass

- Be prepared to have budget and plans for 2001 reflect possible drastic changes and impacts on the county as discussed earlier

- Have the planning department pursue defining a "valid development application" and follow in the footsteps of Aurora to have an application process which will deliver a finding of "valid development application."

Donoho told commissioners it is apparent that Denver can decide the issue for the whole state. "We must be aware of the possible ramifications. I've read it all nine times and every time I find something new."

Placing a proposal on the ballot to exempt the county for four years would be a legitimate tool, the planning commissioners said, but there is every indication the county's population will exceed the 10,000 figure that is the population limit for county exemption requests. (The commissioners were told later that the county's current population will probably top the 12,000 mark.)

Planning commission member Betty Shahan said the initiative is a big concern for ranchers like herself who are close to retirement. "This thing will limit what I can do for my kids with my property," she said. "Voters of the county would have to approve any plan that changes the character of the property and that means the value would drop appreciably.

"It doesn't look like they'd be willing to let us change the land-use pattern," she said.

County Attorney Mary Weiss said she, too, had read the initiative proposal many times and "there are many issues that would affect us all. The biggest issue is the value of non-built property on the economy in general. It will be devastating to all of us. Businesses and careers will cease to exist."

Planning commission members said "unique properties in the county will be destroyed. In effect it (the initiative) will nullify the planning commission and the locally controlled process of growth.

"It would be the end of planning at the local level. The end of control at home. The legislature didn't act on the issue because it is too diverse," said Donoho.

Commissioner Ken Fox suggested, "We should look to the (59th) congressional district for solidity but the Front Range is in control. We face an uphill battle."

Commissioner Bill Downey said he is "strongly opposed to the initiative" and "any local movement against it will have my full support."

"We need to take steps to be prepared in case it passes," he added.

Commissioner Gene Crabtree, reacting to Weiss' opinion, said "there's nothing to stop us from trying (to opt out)," and directed her to examine the "legal procedures necessary and report the steps necessary back to us as soon as possible."

Jay Harrington, Pagosa Springs town manager, told both groups "at least half of the cities in the state are backing the initiative. Colorado Municipal League is neutral on the issue, supporting a more educational process and how to deal with it."

County Planner Mike Mollica told the board he had attended a regional meeting last week along with more than 40 other county planners. "Most of the county representatives were opposed and the cities either supported it or were neutral."

He said it is "mandatory that cities and counties work together to oppose this move. It appears this is a Front Range problem that is being given a statewide exposure," he said.

"I suspect it will be approved and then will go to court. We'll have to deal with it. The opt-out idea is worth a try even if it results in a one-year moratorium on building," Mollica said.

Harrington told the board the two-pronged slash at government by TABOR 205 and the initiative "will force service agencies - fire, hospital, rescue, sewer and water for example - out of operation. They would take the major hit and all services would be forced to end."

Fox, Downey and Crabtree all lauded the planners for their concern, and said they would initiate, immediately, formation of a local task force to coordinate opposition to the proposal and to education the public.


Donation paves medical center expansion

By Karl Isberg

A recent donation to the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation has paved the way for an expansion of the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center.

Bill Bright, Upper San Juan Hospital District executive director, said local residents Dave and Carol Brown gave the foundation $125,000. That donation, said Bright, will allow construction of a 1,600-square-foot addition at the clinic to begin this fall.

New space on the west side of the Dr. Mary Fisher facility on South Pagosa Boulevard will house six examination rooms, one treatment room, two office spaces for physicians and extra space for clinic nurses. Bright said construction is expected to be complete by mid-winter.

The expansion will cost an estimated $250,000 and Bright said foundation members will raise the remaining funds through grants and additional donations.

Dave and Carol Brown have made other significant donations to assist local medical services. The couple provided two $50,000 donations during the last two years in order to help Emergency Medical Services establish round-the-clock staffing at the ambulance barn.

"The Browns' generosity has allowed us to increase our staffing," said Bright. "Their donations allowed us to add personnel so we have at least one paramedic on duty at all times and two paramedics on site most of the time. As a result, we can respond much quicker to medical emergencies in the community, at any time we receive a call."


Village at Wolf Creek hearing end

By John M. Motter

The Village at Wolf Creek, a planned unit development located adjacent to the base of Wolf Creek Ski Area, could have a population as high as 5,000 people at full build out.

A public hearing concerning the preliminary development plan for the proposal was conducted in Creede June 29. Creede is the county seat of Mineral County in which the development is planned.

"That hearing pretty much concluded the legal requirements for public hearings for the preliminary stage of this development," said Les Cahill, Mineral County administrator. "Of course we will continue to welcome input from the planning departments of surrounding counties."

Under Mineral County land development rules, the county commissioners have 30 days from the June 29 public hearing in which to act on the preliminary plan. That action could be approval, disapproval, suggested changes, or referral back to the planning commission for more study, Cahill said.

"The developer has told me, because of the complexity of the proposal, that he might ask for a 30- or 60-day extension before the commissioners act," Cahill said. "I haven't received that in writing."

Even when the commissioners act on the preliminary proposal, the county approval process is not ended. Following that approval, the developer has a full year in which to submit a final proposal, according to Cahill.

In addition, facets of the plan are interwoven with U.S. Forest Service property and regulations. The adjacent Wolf Creek Ski Area is located on Forest Service land. Access to the private property on which the Village at Wolf Creek rests is across Forest Service lands.

The Forest Service placed other development limitations in the contract under which the developer acquired title, Cahill said. One of the limitations is on the height of structures in an action related to visibility.

It is not clear yet what requirements the Forest Service will place on the developer, Cahill said, but the Forest Service could be a big player in the development permitting process.

A 2,172-unit development is anticipated including commercial, hotel, multi-family, and single-family uses. The resort is being planned for year-around use, according to Cahill.

Some specifics of the development include 2,172 units on 185 lots spread across 287 acres. Another 111 acres will be left alone as open space. The units will contain 5,176 bedrooms and 4,532 parking spaces. Commercial space is expected to cover 222,100 square feet.


Pass projects will tie up traffic

By Richard Walter

Get ready for a season of traffic delays on Wolf Creek Pass.

A Littleton firm is the apparent successful bidder for a pavement rehabilitation project stretching from Treasure Falls at the west base to the summit of the pass.

The Colorado Department of Transportation announced Kiewit Western Co., at a July 6 bid opening, quoted a price of $4,631,734.50 for the 7.6-mile project.

Included in the job, all in Mineral County, will be underdrain installation, guardrail replacement, minor drainage work, signing and striping. While no start date is specified, completion is expected in 100 days after the contract is formally awarded.

Bahram Seifipour, resident engineer for CDOT Region 5 in Durango, said the bid opening was as a readvertised project.

At the same time, CDOT announced it will accept bids Aug. 10 for an approximately 12-mile project on U.S. 160 on the east side of Wolf Creek Pass.

That project consists of initial widening and tunnel construction in what is referred to as the Upper Narrows (sometimes known locally as The Chute). Work elements include rock and soil cuts, ground nail walls with "shotcrete" facing, rock fall mesh, tunnel excavation and initial support.

There is a mandatory pre-bid conference for this project at 9 a.m. July 20 in the offices of Carter and Burgess, 1123 West Avenue, No. C, Alamosa.

Bids for the project will be accepted only from pre-qualified bidders attending the Alamosa conference. Project completion date is set for May 31, 2001.


Help wanted: The sign that's seen almost everywhere

By Richard Walter

Pagosa Country employers are desperate for dependable - and affordable - workers.

"Help Wanted" signs grace windows in dozens of businesses and better than two full pages of help wanted advertisements ran last week in the SUN.

One business owner told the SUN he can't keep people, even paying substantially more than the minimum wage and offering hours to suit the workers' schedules.

"On Monday (July 10)," he said, "I had two call in sick and two who just didn't show up for work. Later I found all four had taken jobs with a nearby firm at 50 cents an hour more."

His lament was echoed by another businessman who said, "It is becoming almost impossible to attract good, dependable help who want to work." This businessman said he may be forced to cut back hours of service, particularly on weekends.

A third told the SUN, "We could get summer teen help but they'll be going back to school in a month and we'll be in the same boat again - at least until the big tourist seasons are over after hunting season. Then it will be only a short time until the winter skiing season begins and we're loaded with customers again."

Employers are not alone in their desire to attack the problem.

Martha Garcia, an employment specialist with the new Southwest Colorado Workforce Center in Pagosa Springs, said she has lists of people seeking work but one of the big problems she's encountered is that "a great many don't want to work weekends and when you have a guest-oriented economy like we have here, weekend work is almost a necessity.

"I hope to establish a working relationship with both employers and job applicants," Garcia said, adding, "employees need a living wage and in this area one can't make ends meet on $6 or $7 an hour."

While food service and tourist accommodation providers seem to be the hardest hit among the employers seeking help, they are far from the only ones. Health professionals, farm workers and secretaries with computer skills all are in demand.

Drivers, auto technicians, realtor aides, tile and carpet installers, construction workers and bakers can find jobs if they wish. Nurses aides, caretakers and bank tellers can also be included on the list.

Accountants, electricians, framers, mortgage loan specialists and - well, you get the point - almost any profession you can name is in demand.

"If we want dependable employees," Garcia said, "we may have to teach employers that they have to increase wages and offer some additional benefits."

Having just completed her first three months in the Pagosa Springs job, Garcia said she is developing a data base on both jobs available and job applicants, based in part on those who have applied for unemployment compensation.

"I hope to work with area employers to see what their goals are and help educate them to the fact workers are available in a wide variety of fields if given a living wage," she said.

Part of her job is getting to know all the employers, a task she is just attacking, Garcia said. "They need to know we're available to assist both them and potential employees."

Garcia also hopes to start an employment education program in conjunction with the high school so that prospective student employees have a source for learning about good work ethics.

"Too many young people know nothing about what having a job means," Garcia said. "They need to understand what the employer wants and needs in terms of workplace performance and what they can afford. They also need to understand what they have to offer the employer."

She cited a state operated summer youth program in the Denver area in which employers, asked to rate the performance after the program ended, were extremely displeased with the lack of work ethic among the participants. "They showed up when they wanted to or didn't show up at all. Some did what the employer required and others refused because it was too hard."

"The work ethic was missing," Garcia said, adding, "it isn't something you just turn on like a light. Parents are partly to blame, here. Youth have to be trained to understand they're not going to start a job at the same rate an experienced person would get."

"My job in Pagosa is going to be getting both the employers and prospective employees on common ground so each understands what the other has to offer," Garcia said. "It's a job of making both understand how they can mutually prosper."

She believes the influx of new residents and the resulting service businesses have had a marked effect on the job market. "It wouldn't be surprising," she said, "to find someone learning who the best employees are at a rival firm and offering them a slightly higher wage to switch jobs."

"Fifty cents an hour more is $4 a day more and that's $20 a week. It begins to add up," she said.

Employers need to keep in mind the housing cost here is among the highest in the state with relation to percentage of employee income, Garcia pointed out. "It is evident," she said, "that employers need to relate their wage scale to the prospective employee's cost of living."

She also believes there may be many new businesses which opened without first examining the work force available and the wage level it would take to staff their establishments.

"Growth is inevitable," she said, "but it can be devastating without proper planning."


Squad car lease pact extended 60 days

By Richard Walter

Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association is still owner of three squad cars it leases to the Archuleta County Sheriff - for at least another 60 days.

But the road to that status took a convoluted series of proposed resolutions, defeated motions, withdrawn proposals and public lambasting of county commissioners during the PLPOA's regular meeting last Thursday over inaction on road maintenance (see separate story in this edition).

And it took some 11th hour negotiating by association general manager Walt Lukasik to exact the squad car lease extension before the contract expired Saturday.

The action began during the public comment portion of the PLPOA board meeting when former director Judy Esterly said a resolution on the agenda calling for sale of specialized assets (specifically squad cars) needed "to be tightened, not castrated."

Prior to 1998, she said, disposition of PLPOA properties termed outdated or unneeded often meant employees took the items home because fair market value had not been established. In 1998, a resolution establishing methods for disposal at or above fair market value was approved.

That meant, she insisted, that all items should be offered at bid. "Thus, if someone outbids the county for the squad cars, those bids have to be accepted."

The stage was being set for a board dilemma when Tom Evans of Meadows 4 said Director Jim Carson's recent statement indicating the board was not canceling the Public Safety Office but was, instead, canceling a contract with the sheriff, was inaccurate and misleading.

"If we have no officers, we have no PSO," Evans said. "Our security and the security of our property is my concern."

"Until we've resolved with the county the disposition of law enforcement," Carson replied, "we are not doing away with PSO. If someone here has a backup plan, put yourself on the agenda and we'll consider it."

Director John Nelson, chairing the meeting, agreed with Evans, in part. "Essentially, you're right. We're eliminating PSO as is, but the board has not yet considered whether or not to employ future security officers."

Mojie Adler, another former director, told the board there is nothing in the PSO code about law enforcement. "A security force is a different breed," she said, "they're two separate operations. We're not asking for peace officers, we're asking for public safety officers."

"If we do away with PSO," asked an unidentified member of the audience, "what happens if we have a drowning in one of our lakes? Who is responsible? Who do we call? I fear a real tragedy here."

"Call 9-1-1," was the board's answer. "How long will response take?" the man asked. "Long enough to get a deputy out of the coffee shop," another audience member quipped.

A few minutes later, Nelson introduced the proposed resolution on the agenda pertaining to "Sale of Specialized Assets," saying the proposal specifically includes emergency vehicles and "allows us to recoup fair market value on their sale.

"These are items we cannot sell to the general public because of their specialized nature," he said, noting the three vehicles are equipped with flashing lights, licensed frequency radio equipment and power bars.

"I believe this is a reasonable, positive step forward," Nelson said, adding, "it will allow us to dispose of unneeded assets while keeping safeguards to produce fair market value."

Director Fred Ebeling argued the proposal, as drawn, was too broad-based and proposed in its place that the board approve sale of the three police vehicles to Archuleta County for the stipulated price of $60,000 "as determined by Blue Book reference as fair market value."

New Director Francesco Tortorini argued that Ebeling's motion could not be acted on without a board decision first on the resolution already presented in the agenda. "We can't replace something we haven't formally considered," he said.

When Nelson said Ebeling's motion was not acceptable unless it were proposed as a resolution to replace the agenda item, a call from the audience again asked, "What's wrong with open bidding?"

"Nothing," replied Nelson, "but it would require additional board expenditure for removal of all the safety equipment first."

Former PLPOA legal counsel Jerry Sawatzky, speaking from the audience, challenged legality of the proposed sale. "There was a decision by this board to fund PSO for the year 2000. Dues have been collected with the stipulation that a specific portion of those funds be distributed to Public Service Office operation."

Nelson said the board has authority to change that spending plan. "Budgeted funds do not have to be spent," he argued.

Sawatzky, not satisfied by that explanation, said he had read the legal opinions given the board, but argued, "There is a specific issue of legality not being considered. The declaration specifically states that funds accumulated as a result of charges levied must be used exclusively for police and fire protection."

Director Richard Manley said, "Perhaps, as stewards of the homeowners' money, and the fact we don't know the result of the vote by homeowners on the ballot sent out with the newsletter for the annual meeting, we should table Mr. Ebeling's motion for 30 days, and I so move." After a second by Director Dave Bohl, the board voted 5-1 to table, with Nelson casting the lone "no" vote.

Carson then attempted to reintroduce the resolution on the agenda minus some specific language regarding "limited use" and "restricted buyer base." His motion was seconded by Nelson and Tortorini agreed it would be more appropriate.

But the audience was not satisfied.

Randall Mettscher volunteered to strip the safety equipment from the vehicles at no cost and to find a buyer for the radios and electrical equipment. "Then you could open the sale to public bid and recoup much more than the price you propose. You spent $40,000 for each of those cars. You should get much more than $60,000 total for the three vehicles."

Former PLPOA President Rod Preston, who resigned during the board's May meeting in the wake of a board vote to end the contract with the sheriff's office, said, "This board resolution is designed strictly to be able to sell. It was drummed up just for that purpose The objective was obvious; kill the PSO. It is a disgrace!"

Gene Cortwright, also speaking from the audience, said, "I take no pleasure in this because it will seem that I'm aligned with the opposition. I will not dispute the counsel's comments. But you have a moral authority to take the high ground and approve the motion on the floor."

In a show of hands vote, a 3-3 tie meant the motion died. And the audience returned to the attack.

Adler, citing math fatigue, called the board's attention again to funds collected in dues for PSO operation. "The year will have 169 days left after Saturday's planned PSO demise. Based on dues levied and collected for the entire year, it would mean you need to refund $16.74 to each owned unit - a total of $127,558.80 - and you're planning to sell for $60,000. I see a loss to PLPOA of $67,000 plus."

Ebeling argued the budget is meant to establish a guideline for expenditure, not a mandate to spend. "The mere fact we have allocated funds doesn't mean we have to spend them. We can carry funds over into the following year in the general fund."

Finally, Manley tried again to close the debate.

"Recognizing the dilemma we've left our general manager in, I move that we authorize him to negotiate a 60-to-90-day extension on lease of the vehicles to the county, with the transfer of all support costs on the vehicles to the sheriff's office."

Seconded by Carson, the motion was approved 5-1, with Nelson again casting the lone opposition vote.

On Friday, Lukasic contacted Sheriff Tom Richards about the extension vote and later discussed the issue with County Manager Dennis Hunt. Lukasic said that the paperwork was signed when both sides agreed to wording of the extension agreement.

Sunny days, cool nights and no rain

By Richard Walter

Weekend rains, which left better than half an inch of moisture at Stevens Field, apparently are a thing of the past, at least for the next five days.

Doug Baugh, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said there is little hope for more rain for Pagosa in the near term because a high pressure zone is stationary over Arizona and the monsoon moisture pattern has been pushed to the east.

"You'll have sunny days and clear, cool nights with daytime highs probably hovering around the 90-degree mark," Baugh said.

He said moisture associated with the Arizona high will push north into Nevada and northern Utah, but will probably circle around the Four Corners area, leaving Pagosa Country high and dry.

Local observations at Stevens Field recorded .20 inches of precipitation Friday, a quarter inch Saturday and .15 inches Sunday.

High temperature during the period from Wednesday (July 12) through Tuesday, was the 85 degrees recorded on the last day of the period. The low was 49 degrees on July 12. The average high for the period was 82 with an average low of 51.

While the rain helped alleviate some of the high country fire danger, water officials are still cautioning residents to be conservative in their use patterns and the nighttime only watering advisory remains in effect.

Carrie Campbell, Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District general manager warned, "We can't let the weekend rains fool us. We are keeping a close eye on dropping lake levels and praying for more rain."

In the meantime, she said the PAWS board thanks all residents abiding with the voluntary conservation program and urges them to continue the effort.


Record 16,705 PLPOA ballots mailed out

By Richard Walter

A record number of association newsletters containing ballots and return-to-sender envelopes were mailed this year to Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association members.

General Manager Walt Lukasik told board members Thursday that 16,705 individual mailings were accomplished.

He also said the staff was disappointed in the turnout of volunteer helpers for the mailing and that an alternate method should be studied for next year.

Director Jim Carson suggested the association might save money if it sent ballots only to boards of directors of timeshare units. While Lukasik said he'd have to study that alternative, Director Fred Ebeling said it would be illegal unless the boards of directors were specifically authorized by their membership to act in their behalf.

Under the law, he said, "people who own an interest in a timeshare are property owners and entitled to vote."

Lukasik noted the majority of questions received since the mailing have been about timeshare owners and their rights.

In other action, the board:

- Accepted after lengthy discussion, the Conceptual Master Trails Plan which had been presented last month following several months of planning and a public hearing.

Prior to acceptance, Ebeling said he had received a letter that day from a property owner on Park Avenue in Pines 2, complaining that if the plan were followed as submitted, his 53-foot frontage would be reduced to 38 feet.

Larry Lynch, parks and lakes director, said he had talked with the property owner and the association will be happy to work with him toward an amenable solution. Director John Nelson noted the issue is "acceptance of a conceptual plan. It can be amended as development continues."

- Approved on a 4-2 vote a committee recommendation to grant the association's insurance contract to Wells Fargo Insurance.

Dissent came from directors who argued it was not the lowest bid received.

Former directors Judy Esterly and Dick Hillyer, who were members of the committee making the recommendation, explained there had been questions submitted to all three bidders. Only Wells Fargo answered the questions specifically and with dollar amounts, Esterly said.

Director Dave Bohl wanted to know if dam coverage is included, noting three of the association's four dams have never been insured.

Esterly said there was a verbal agreement and "we will demand that it be in writing in the final draft."

- Confirmed appointment of Sarajane Meyers to chair the Code of Enforcement hearing panel; Dave Pearson as a regular member of the Environmental Control Commission where he has served since May 1998; and confirmation of Earl Eliason as a regular member of the ECC to replace Don Geiger whose term expires Aug. 6.

- Appointed Dr. Ron Clodfelter as parliamentarian for the PLPOA's 2000 annual meeting which is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon July 29, and approved the agenda for that session.

The agenda approval came after a proposal to eliminate the traditional invocation and Pledge of Allegiance with a moment of silence was defeated on a 4-2 vote on a motion by Director Richard Manley seconded by Director David Bohl.

- Skipped an agenda item to consider contracting for uniformed security services for the meeting after Nelson said he didn't think it would be necessary.

- Named Manley to serve as temporary acting president for the annual meeting because Nelson will be out of town and unable to attend.

- Adjourned into executive session to consider two pending legal matters.


PLPOA members urged to 'pressure' county on roads

By Richard Walter

A record number of association newsletters containing ballots and return-to-sender envelopes were mailed this year to Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association members.

General Manager Walt Lukasik told board members Thursday that 16,705 individual mailings were accomplished.

He also said the staff was disappointed in the turnout of volunteer helpers for the mailing and that an alternate method should be studied for next year.

Director Jim Carson suggested the association might save money if it sent ballots only to boards of directors of timeshare units. While Lukasik said he'd have to study that alternative, Director Fred Ebeling said it would be illegal unless the boards of directors were specifically authorized by their membership to act in their behalf.

Under the law, he said, "people who own an interest in a timeshare are property owners and entitled to vote."

Lukasik noted the majority of questions received since the mailing have been about timeshare owners and their rights.

In other action, the board:

- Accepted after lengthy discussion, the Conceptual Master Trails Plan which had been presented last month following several months of planning and a public hearing.

Prior to acceptance, Ebeling said he had received a letter that day from a property owner on Park Avenue in Pines 2, complaining that if the plan were followed as submitted, his 53-foot frontage would be reduced to 38 feet.

Larry Lynch, parks and lakes director, said he had talked with the property owner and the association will be happy to work with him toward an amenable solution. Director John Nelson noted the issue is "acceptance of a conceptual plan. It can be amended as development continues."

- Approved on a 4-2 vote a committee recommendation to grant the association's insurance contract to Wells Fargo Insurance.

Dissent came from directors who argued it was not the lowest bid received.

Former directors Judy Esterly and Dick Hillyer, who were members of the committee making the recommendation, explained there had been questions submitted to all three bidders. Only Wells Fargo answered the questions specifically and with dollar amounts, Esterly said.

Director Dave Bohl wanted to know if dam coverage is included, noting three of the association's four dams have never been insured.

Esterly said there was a verbal agreement and "we will demand that it be in writing in the final draft."

- Confirmed appointment of Sarajane Meyers to chair the Code of Enforcement hearing panel; Dave Pearson as a regular member of the Environmental Control Commission where he has served since May 1998; and confirmation of Earl Eliason as a regular member of the ECC to replace Don Geiger whose term expires Aug. 6.

- Appointed Dr. Ron Clodfelter as parliamentarian for the PLPOA's 2000 annual meeting which is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon July 29, and approved the agenda for that session.

The agenda approval came after a proposal to eliminate the traditional invocation and Pledge of Allegiance with a moment of silence was defeated on a 4-2 vote on a motion by Director Richard Manley seconded by Director David Bohl.

- Skipped an agenda item to consider contracting for uniformed security services for the meeting after Nelson said he didn't think it would be necessary.

- Named Manley to serve as temporary acting president for the annual meeting because Nelson will be out of town and unable to attend.

- Adjourned into executive session to consider two pending legal matters.


New Civil War grave marker to be dedicated 

By Richard Walter

George W. Dowell, who died in Pagosa Springs on Oct. 4, 1916, is getting a long-delayed Civil War veteran grave marker and a salute from Nickerson-Mullins American Legion Post 108 in Pagosa Springs.

Dowell, born Marcy 18, 1833, in Columbus, Ind., enlisted in the U.S. Infantry on Oct. 4, 1864, in Columbus and served in Private Company D, 140th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers. He was honorably discharged July 11, 1865, in Gunsborough, N.C.

Jeff Mills, legion commander, said a dedication ceremony for the new marker will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in Hilltop Cemetery. Included will be the playing of Taps and a 21-gun salute.

The Legion lauded the paperwork of Ann Oldham seeking official designation of Dowell as a Civil War veteran and the work of Sharon Pinkerton with the Veterans Administration archives to produce dozens of pages of information.

The data they accumulated on Dowell was sufficient for the VA to order creation and delivery of the headstone.

Legion officials say they are aware of at least five more unmarked veterans' graves in Hilltop Cemetary, but have been unable to locate relatives of those buried there to begin VA paperwork.

The Legion post is also planning an Aug. 27 salute to Korean War veterans at the post home on Hermosa Street. Details will be finalized at the monthly meeting Aug. 9 and details will be released thereafter.



Terribly wrong

Dear Editor,

Fifty seven thefts of cars at timeshare condos in one month. Something is terribly wrong.

How about a little undercover work after the first five thefts. How about a video camera of the parking lot installed after the first 10 thefts. I don't know why anybody would want to stay at Fairfield after hearing of such an epidemic of crime.

I don't see any excuse for this at all. This is just plain shameful investigating.

Ron Alexander

Road policy

Dear David,

On Aug. 8, we voters will decide whether two of our incumbent commissioners will be returned to office for new four-year terms. Among several issues of concern, one of the more important is road maintenance.

For nearly a decade, a moratorium on accepting additional roads into the county maintenance system has been in effect. Although the current commissioners did not set this bad policy, they accepted and even expanded its provisions. In Pagosa Lakes, for example, most of the roads built prior to the moratorium met county standards and were accepted into the maintenance system. Moreover, at the commissioner's insistence, the roads which were built in Pagosa Lakes last year - under the $7,000,000 Fairfield Settlement Fund which the county administered and supervised - were also completed to county specifications.

The commissioners now insist that, due to lack of funds, nearly all subdivision roads - whether built to county standards or not - will not be maintained by the county. The new policy ignores recommendations which a joint Archuleta County-PLPOA road committee made to the commissioners over two years ago: hold a series of public meetings to consider fair, alternative ways of maintaining county roads.

Instead, the commissioners convened a single meeting at which they orchestrated the virtues of only one option: set up special taxing districts in each of the county's subdivisions to assume responsibility for road maintenance - at the expense of property owners living in subdivisions. Of course, subdivision residents are to continue to pay the same road taxes as property owners who do not live in a subdivision. In other words, road taxes paid by property owners residing in subdivisions will be used to subsidize upkeep for roads not located in subdivisions.

The unfairness of this policy insults one's intelligence. It shifts the cost of maintaining many roads in the county from general taxpayer roles directly to subdivision property owners; coincidentally, it also makes the commissioners look good in the eyes of non-subdivision residents because their subsidized roads will be better maintained than ever before.

Individual members of the Road Advisory Committee, who were appointed by the commissioners, have repeatedly urged the county to consider policy measures that are nondiscriminatory. But there is little room for optimism because the commissioners continue to embrace the patently unfair special taxing districts for subdivisions. Indeed, they are unwilling to give us a timetable for implementation of their discriminatory policy or tell us which subdivision roads we are to maintain - at least until after the election.

Voters who want to make informed decisions at the polls should insist that the incumbent commissioners, as well as their challengers, clearly articulate their positions on existing road policy and on other issues of concern.


Gene Cortright

Editor's note: Rather than at the commissioner's insistence, roads built in Pagosa Lakes last year with monies from the Fairfield Communities Inc. Bankruptcy Settlement Agreement were built to county specifications due to county regulations and the terms of the subdivisions' original improvement agreements and the eventual settlement agreement.

Retail store?

Dear Editor,

I was wondering if there was any news in the town of Pagosa Springs concerning a new ALCO retail store being built there? And if so when would it open?

Thank you for any information on this matter.

Kim Deaver

Editor's note: As reported a few weeks ago, ALCO is currently conducting work under a foundation building permit. A final plat has been issued on the condition that the foundation work satisfactorily addresses specified drainage issues. Late November 2000 had been targeted as an opening date.

Not taking sides

Dear Editor,

How can I defend myself in writing if somebody (Christopher Smith) did not read what would have prevented the necessity of this defense to begin with; i.e. something I already wrote?

I dislike seeing somebody hijacking the SUN in order to browbeat and extort viewpoints from any candidates; however, this shows that they were willing to take the bait.

With his approach he may actually have found the only one who did not take sides on this issue-concern-item and who does not knuckle under to extortion. He could be a genius.

The only way to solve any problem involving people is not to take sides. A commissioner has to also be a judge. The job description says so. Who failed?

And, the worst time to make a final decision on anything is when all sides are upset.

Very perceptively,

John Feazel

Sixth generation

Dear Editor,

Thank you so much for running the picture of the little red-head child on the front page of the paper last week (July 6). As a footnote, you might be interested to know that her name is Riley Mae Shaw and that she is the great-great granddaughter of Red Ryder's "Doc Buttons."

Dr. Button was a Pagosa Springs physician in the 1940s and 1950s. He married Ilamae Olson who was a Pagosa Springs native. They were good friends with the Harman's and as a consequence, Dr. Button became the inspiration for the fictional character, Doc Buttons in Mr. (Fred) Harman's famous comic strip. Riley Mae, a sixth generation native of southwestern Colorado, is Ilamae and John Button's great-great granddaughter.

The Fourth of July parade was Riley's first parade and it was just wonderful that you chose her pretty little face for the front page.

Thank you,

Suzanne Garcia


Great asset

Dear Editor,

I am a teacher who recently completed a school-to-careers externship with the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of this "Teachers in the Workplace" experience was to become acquainted with the job skills that high school students need to develop to pursue a career in a similar workplace.

What a wonderful experience I had. The chamber staff and all the volunteer Diplomat ambassadors were welcoming, thorough in my orientation, and always cheerful. Their positive and professional skills are a great asset to this community. Pagosa is lucky to have such a well organized chamber promoting its member businesses. My business is a chamber member. My appreciation for what these folks do for us has been greatly enhanced by this up-close look at the chamber's day-to-day operations.

Thank you to Sally, Suellen, Morna and all the Diplomats who welcomed me into their workplace for this school-to-careers externship. As a result, two of my lesson plans, integrating geography, language arts, technology and workplace competencies, will be published in a curriculum development book designed to link academic standards with career relevance. Thanks again to the Pagosa Chamber staff and volunteers.


Sally High

Missing cooler

Dear Editor,

The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs held its annual Pet Pride Day celebration July 15 to raise money for the animals of Archuleta County. Pet Pride Day is a fun day with lots of contests, events, and booths in Town Park. The Canine 9K race was held as part of that event. Thirty-seven runners and walkers participated in the race to benefit the Humane Society.

It was a hot morning and although the race started at 8 a.m. with a distance of 9 kilometers or slightly over 5.5 miles, the runners and walkers needed water along the way to stay hydrated and allow them to run or walk at their peak capacity. Unfortunately, the cooler with fresh cool water and cups that was placed along the race course "disappeared" before our volunteers made it to the site. As a result, the race participants had no water during the event. Several of the runners had to walk at the end of the course because they did not feel able to continue running without water.

The cooler was a large 20-gallon, red, hard-sided cooler with a white lid. It was placed near a fire hydrant on the grass along Light Plant Road, beside the driveway to a small ranch. It had 5 gallons of artesian water in it, some ice, and a new packet of plastic cups. The cooler was the personal property of Dr. Scott Anderson of Pagosa Chiropractic, a loyal sponsor of Humane Society events. It was placed along the race course about 30 minutes before the volunteers drove to the site to hand out water. When they arrived, the cooler was gone.

Pagosa Springs has always been a safe community with honest citizens, and not a place where you must padlock your possessions to the nearest tree to avoid theft. We felt that the cooler would be safely waiting undisturbed, in its spot by the road on the race course for that short period of time before our volunteers arrived. We believe that the cooler was picked up by mistake by someone who thought it had fallen off a truck or been abandoned along the road.

We ask whoever picked up the cooler to return it to the new Humane Society Thrift Store at 269 Pagosa Street. It can be placed outside in the donation area or taken inside the store. We will be thankful for the return of this item. Thank you very much.

Debra Kelly

Race Director

Different story

Dear Editor,

This is a response to the article written by Helen Richardson on June 22, "House wolves hybrids." Ms. Richardson would do our community a favor by sticking to writing fiction. Her article clearly is one of an uninformed and biased person, sorry to say that she could do our community a big favor by first learning how the many neighbors feel about the Watson's hybrids.

Ms. Richardson would be writing a different article if she was kept awake most of the night by the loud habitual, and persistent howling and barking dogs, her thoughts would certainly be different if she could not enjoy a moment of peace during the day as the inferior dogs cry under the attacks of the more dominant dogs, and how would she feel if she was awakened every morning at 4 a.m. by the loud and habitual barking and howling of these hybrids? Ms. Richardson would certainly be writing a different story if she had to breath the obnoxious fumes exuded from the many pounds of excrement the Watsons' dogs produce during the day, our neighborhood smells as if a methane tank has exploded within our surroundings.

Is Ms. Richardson aware that many neighbors have filed numerous complaints and have petitioned Judge Denvir to compel the Watsons to remove these howling animals and rubbish from their unsightly premises? Is Ms. Richardson aware that the Watsons are flagrantly violating Colorado State Nuisance Laws, as well as Archuleta County Resolution 92-66.

All the petitioning neighbors have resided in this community many years, the Watsons are newcomers who in the very beginning assured our neighbors that their intentions were only to have a dozen or fewer hybrids, clearly a dishonest intent on their part.

Enclosed are some pictures depicting what Ms. Richardson calls a "sanctuary." These pictures show the trashy surroundings, a kennel surrounded by trash and car bodies, unsealed trash containers on the road and within 200 feet of our neighbors, exposing these neighbors to breathe the obnoxious and unhealthy odors from the dog feces.

Ms. Richardson, please do our neighborhood a service, visit and inform yourself on how we actually feel about the Watsons' pests.

By the way, where are the Watsons during the day and night, or do they care?

Ruben Luna

Editor's note: The accompanying photographs showed the discarded beds of two pick-up trucks, a commercial metal dumpster with its lids closed and two commercial plastic trash containers that had rubber tie-down restrainers on their lids.

Rational response

Dear editor,

I read John Feazel's advertisement in the July 6, 2000, edition of the SUN and it answered perfectly what Christopher Smith and his SORE requested.

John's name does not belong on the list of non-responders. His was the only rational pro-county response to an irrational situation which would still solve the issue.

As long as people have more money than brains they'll keep throwing it at each other and Archuleta County and the environment get caught in the middle.


Jason Moore

Nothing but fiction

Dear David,

I am responding to the rumor that is going around about our property on U.S. 160 east. We have no intention of putting in a junkyard on this property.

Because the state categorizes any automobile that is inoperable as a "junk" vehicle, we had to apply for a junkyard permit in order to repair vehicles that were inoperable when brought to our shop or that were to have their transmissions or motors removed, repaired and then replaced.

We are following the county's conditional-use plan. Only vehicles needing mechanical repairs will be parked at this location. All of them will be stored behind an eight-foot fence or inside the shop. The vehicle storage area behind the fence will be equipped with a "storm ceptor" to trap grease, oil, and other contaminants so that pollutants don't run into the drainage ditch. We have submitted a landscape plan for this parcel. We are required to pave our parking lot and to install curb stops and striping. These improvements are all bonded. Therefore, if they are not completed to county specifications, the county will call our bond and "do it for us." The requirements will get done. All of our plans are public record and are welcome to public review.

Some say that we will "junk up this property just like we have our current location." Has anyone ever seen us advertise anywhere, anyplace, or at any time: "Wanted - Junk Cars"?

I don't want those cars in my yard. But, any time the town police, sheriff's department, Colorado State Patrol or even a private citizen calls and says, "we have an abandoned car that we need you to pick up," if we don't respond, who will? Would people rather see U.S. 160 and 84 littered with abandoned cars or would they rather that we haul them away so others don't have to see them?

Once these cars are hauled away, it is a lengthy process before they can be shipped away for crushing. Once the proper paper work is complete, we must pay a driver, fuel, and insurance to haul them to Durango to the nearest crusher. We aren't paid anything for that service. (Persons interested in knowing what we must go through to dispose of them, please contact me. I will furnish them a copy of the applicable state regulations.)

In a perfect world, there would be no junk cars. But this isn't a perfect world. We do have junk cars and somebody must do something with them. Why must those in the towing business shoulder that load and then have to listen to people tell us how awful we look?

We love Pagosa Springs. We are not trying to do anything that would be detrimental to its beauty, its people, or its image. If anyone has questions regarding our intent, please feel free to ask us. Don't believe what is being spouted as fact when it is nothing but fiction.


Cody and Dawn Ross

Buckskin Towing & Repair

A Bozeman

Dear David,

I'm in Bozeman, Mont., not Mizzoula. Mizzoula's nice, but Bozeman's great.

Clark Sherman

Illegal ways

Dear Editor,

Regarding Christopher Smith's illegal way of operation, a political action group dealing with the batch plant. I am opposed to the location of the batch plant. Had he followed legal ways of doing things by contacting me by mail as required by state law, he would have gotten a response.

His ad last week was false, and he gave myself and the Republicans only two and a half working days to respond. State law requires 14 days, fair play and common sense also requires that.

His concern about the batch plant is of course a good issue. His illegal tactics are not. Since he has a problem with this, his ad and follow-up ad have been forwarded to the secretary of state. This will inform him of proper political action rules, with fines and possible jail terms of illegal actions.

I will also be serving him a $2,000 small-claims suit for slander.

I am in opposition to the present location of batch plant. Had he really wanted a response he would have followed the rules.

What would appear, is that he is a front organization for two Republicans.

He also does not mention that I am a good Democrat, and placed me in an ad with all the Republicans. Bad, bad.

I support his concerns, but not his tactics, it will cost him.


J.B. Smith

Democrat for County Commissioner

Information wanted

Dear Editor,

Hi. My name's Phil Sparnenn I'm a cartoonist based in Melbourne, Australia. I noticed a reference in your paper to a Greg Gummersall, is this C. Gregory Gummersall the artist?

If you've got a spare five minutes I'll explain. I went to a market a few years ago, a fair few miles out of Melbourne and while browsing through all the bric a brac I found a print/litho framed, but covered in dust, it was called "vertical horizon," 50 of 90 and signed in pencil by C. Gregory Gummersall 79, I'm assuming 1979. Anyway I liked it and bought it off the bloke who was selling it, I didn't pay much for it , but I liked it. I asked the bloke if he knew the artist, he said he didn't even know how he got it, so how the heck was he going to be able to tell me who the artist was!

Now all the years I've had it I thought it was by an Australian artist. I asked a few friends if they knew an Australian artist by the name of Gummersall, and nobody did. Anyway, I hung it in my studio and gave up trying to find out who the artist was. Tonight while trying to avoid doing anymore cartooning I got on to the Internet, the print is above my computer, so for some reason I typed in Gummersall. The search engine brought up a couple of references to C. Gregory Gummersall "American Artist" and a Greg Gummersall in your paper. I couldn't find any e-mail address for Greg Gummersall.

I was wondering if he is a local and he is the artist, if you could pass this e-mail onto him. All I would like to know is a little bit about the print and the artist. I'm also trying to figure out how it ended up in a market 90 miles out of Melbourne, Australia. I know your not a post office but if you can help it would be appreciated.

Phil Sparnenn

Chili contest

Dear Editor,

Because of my disingenuous character, I have been forbidden from honchoing another County Fair Chili Contest. I'm most grateful, that in a gracious act of forgiveness, and in deference to Patty's social position, the editor of the SUN has permitted me to assist Granton Bartz in any way that doesn't involve money or food. Mr. Bartz, either by greater ability or to show me up, has designed a Chili Contest like no other. He has already arranged for about 20 prizes worth over $1,500 valued from $20 to $200.

When you phone me to enter the contest, and you would have to be pretty dull not to, if you ever had any interest in making "green hot, green mild; red hot, red mild; or the most unusual" do it!

There are two outstanding reasons to enter: One, the money collected from chili taster/judges and donations will all go to the Spanish Fiesta Fund. Two: This time I will not demand kick backs.

Lee Sterling

Fantastic turnout

Dear Editor,

I just finished reading your July 6 release on the net and did not see any mention of the fantastic turnout of the high school reunions held at the gym on July 2nd.

If this is an oversight on my part and there is an article pertaining to this event and those folks attending, I would be interested in purchasing such copy. This was one of the most memorable vacations I have taken to return to "my hometown." Those who put forth the effort to arrange such a wonderful gathering of friends should be congratulated.

Butch Willett

Carson, Calif.

Editor's note: The Scene page of the July 6 Preview section of the SUN featured a montage of nine photos that were taken at the reunion. The top photo was of Butch Willet and his wife. We are sending you a copy. It pays to subscribe to the SUN - you receive the photographs and other segments that are not posted on the Internet.


Dear Editor,

Three of the four people shown in the commentary section of the July 13 edition have no idea of reality when it comes to supply and demand.

Oil and gas prices are dictated by several factors:

(1) A depletable natural resource should not be traded on the futures market

(2) America imports about 58 percent of their daily usage. U.S. reserves are just not there

(3) OPEC can control the price by raising or lowering production. Like it or not, the USA is controlled by OPEC.

Water is a depletable natural resource. Try putting it on the futures market and look at your next water bill.

Onshore U.S. oil and gas exploration is at a severe low point. Seismic exploration is at a severe low. Work costing $25,000-$30,000 per square mile in 1998-99 is going begging at bid costs of $8,000-$9,000 per square mile in 2000.

Well spacing in the U.S. can be 40 acres to 80 acres for oil. In Saudi Arabia well spacing is 3.1 miles.

Nobody offered to help the thousands of laid-off oil and gas workers when oil was $10 a barrel. Incidentally, the offered price for oil is generally $2.50 per barrel lower than the posted price you read in the paper.

I'm sorry folks, but cheap fuels are going away. OPEC would like to control prices at about $25 a barrel.

We need to consider alternative energy sources, conservation, recycling and smaller vehicles. The US. is not going to become energy independent.

People who believe that also believe in the "Tooth Fairy" and Santa Claus.

E.C. Woodruff (geophysicist)

Denton, Texas



Eva Espinosa

Eva Marie Espinosa passed away due to cancer on July 2, 2000, in Denver.

Born July 17, 1918, to Lorensita and Frank Duran in Currens, she was preceeded in death by her husband Simon Garcia and her daughter Marie Castro and her sister Emilia Villareal.

Mrs. Espinosa is survived by one brother, Fred Duran of Salt Lake City, Utah; 13 children, Jose Garcia of Grand Junction, Randy Armenta of Cortez, Chris Garcia and Dolores Armenta of Pagosa Springs, and Petra Lake, Virginia Martines, John Garcia, Andy Garcia, Frank Garcia, Sophie Guiterrez, Paul Garcia, Nea Heart, and Joey Armenta, all of Denver. She also is survived by numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nephews and nieces.

She will be greatly missed.

Daniel Ribera

Marine Sgt. Daniel Gabriel Ribera went home to his maker when he passed away on July 14, 2000, as a result of an auto accident in San Angelo, Texas. He was attending school at Goodfellow Air Force Base. Sgt. Ribera had been in the Marine Corps for over four years.

A rosary for Sgt. Ribera will be held at 7 p.m. at the San Juan Catholic Church in Pagosa Junction on Friday, July 21. The funeral services will be Saturday at 12 p.m. in Pagosa Junction with interment following the mass at the Rosa Cemetery.

Sgt. Ribera was born March 21, 1975, to Daniel and Linda (Serreyn) Ribera in Alamogordo, N.M. He graduated from Tracy Area High School in Minnesota in 1993. He was an avid athlete while in high school and was actively involved in various activities throughout his life. After attending the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque for a year, he transferred to Mankato State University in Mankato, Minn., for two years. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1996 and was trained as an avionics specialist. He had recently reenlisted and was attending Special Intelligence school at the time of his death. While in the Marine Corps, Sgt. Ribera received the following medals: Navy Marine Corps Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Rifle Expert badge, and Pistol Sharp Shooter badge.

He is survived by his mother Linda L. Ribera from Tracy, Minn.; his father, Dan Ribera of Caracas, Colo.; a sister, Monica Ribera of Albuquerque; grandparents, Mauricio and Maxine Ribera, lifelong residents of Archuleta County, residing in Caracas; grandmother, Evelyn Serreyn of Marshal, Minn.; and several uncles and aunts from the Serreyn family. He is also survived by his Ribera uncle, aunts and their families who include Mauricio Ribera of Corvallis, Ore.; Maxine Sena of Layton, Utah; Waldo Gomez of Pagosa Springs; Patrick Ribera of Denver; Ramona Perue of Laramie, Wyo.; Irene Ribera of Denver; Chris Ribera of Tiffany;Valentin Ribera of Bloomfield, N.M.; Arabella Ribera and Josephine Patterson of Denver - all who are Pagosa Springs High School alumnae.

All his family and friends will miss their "Hijito."

Christine Sarnow

Funeral services for Christine Lea Sarnow, 28, were held Saturday, July 15, 2000, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs.

Christine died in her home in Pagosa Springs July 11, 2000. She was born April 4, 1972, in Page, Ariz.

During high school, Christine was active in her church youth group, band, choir, Madrigals, drama, poms and cheerleading. She graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 1990. On Dec. 29, 1990, she married Andre Sarnow.

Christine worked as a nanny-housekeeper in Albuquerque and in Pagosa Springs. She acted as the youth minister at Holy Ghost Parish in Albuquerque. She was also active in church activities in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

Christine loved children and was a homeroom parent for her son Skye's class as well as working in the PTA. Her hobbies were Jazzercize instructing, camping, hiking and crafts. She loved to play cards and board games with family and friends.

Christine is survived by her mother, Debra Stowe of Pagosa Springs; her father, Thomas Hoyt of Kingman Arizona; her husband, Andre Sarnow and son Skye of Pagosa Springs; her sister, Angela Stayton of Kenosha, Wis.; her brother, Cody Stowe of Pagosa Springs; her grandparents, Donald and Peggy Tucker of Pagosa Springs and Marvin and Juniece Hoyt of Orderville, Utah; her mother- and father-in-law. Marcella and Stuart Sarnow of Pagosa Springs, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

The Christine Sarnow Memorial Fund has been established at the Bank of Colorado in the Country Center City Market. Contributions may be mailed to the Christine Sarnow Memorial Fund, c/o Bank of Colorado, Box 3460, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Antonio Silva

Antonio "Tony" A. Silva, a lifetime resident of the Pagosa Springs area passed away July 15, 2000, at Colorado Springs.

Tony, was born April 21, 1926, in Salida to the late Seferido Silva and Adelina Sandoval. He spent his years in the Pagosa Junction area, ranching, sawmill labor and loved to break horses. In 1953 he married Elsie Martinez.

He is survived by sons Anthony of Albuquerque and Jerry and Allan of Colorado Springs; daughters Patricia of Colorado Springs and Marie of Albuquerque; sisters Carmen Martinez of Pamona, Calif., Rosalie Martinez of Grand Junction and Naomi S. Holland and Martha S. Phillips both of Pagosa Springs; and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Memorial services will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 22, 2000, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church with Rev. John Bowe officiating.



Jeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson, the son of Lynn and Curt Johnson of Pagosa Springs, showed his 4-year-old gelding appaloosa, Zippity Split, at the Appaloosa Nationals on June 27 in Oklahoma City.

There were a total of 42 competitors in the 13-15 Western Pleasure class and Jeff placed seventh. At the Nationals only the top ten competitors are placed.

The Four Corners Appaloosa Horse Club would like to congratulate Jeff on his great showing at the Nationals.

The next All-Breed Open Horse Show sponsored by the Four Corners Appaloosa Horse Club will be held Sept. 23 at the Sky Ute Arena in Ignacio, starting at 9 a.m. For further information contact Jack Adams at 264-2960.



Sarah Riggs and Jonathan Grady, along with their parents Herman Riggs of Pagosa Springs and Jan Riggs of Colorado Springs and Dennis and Mg-Anh Grady of Colorado Springs, would like to announce their engagement and plans to wed. Jon is currently a mechanic at Daniel's Chevrolet and Sarah will be graduating from Noble School of Cosmetology very soon. They will be married Aug. 25 in Colorado Springs and plan to celebrate their lives together there.

Sports Page

Pine Cone Classic draws 28 teams, 112 golfers

The Pagosa Women's Golf Association hosted its annual tournament, the Pine Cone Classic July 11 and 12.

Every year the tournament gets bigger and better. This year's tournament was no exception as it proved to be the biggest in history with 28 teams consisting of 112 women from as far away as Denver; Colby, Kansas; Moab, Utah; Albuquerque and California competing for some fabulous prizes.

The format was a four-woman best ball. The scoring was based on the best ball of two of the players, gross and net for two days. There was a cocktail party and dinner at the home of Judy Woods after the first day of play. The awards luncheon was held at Pagosa Lodge following the tournament on Wednesday.

The low-gross winners in the first flight were the Durango/Hillcrest team of Mary Lieb, June Lowry, Daphne D'Agostino and Nona Speak with a score of 300. Playing outstanding golf, Speak shot 77 each day to help bring her team its first-place honor.

Second gross also went to a team from Durango/Dalton Ranch - Doris Douglas, Dolly Turner, Cindy Brynarski and Sally Miller with a score of 304. The team that won third gross was from Farmington/San Juan and consisted of Sandie Gates, Pat Lanier, Bettye Sharpe and Linda Akins. They finished with a score of 314.

The teams that won first and second low-net were from Pagosa. Jane Day, Julie Pressley, Debbie Hart and Vicki Buck won first low-net with a score of 244. Debbie Hart shot an 85 the second day of play. It was a personal best for her and very much appreciated by her teammates. Jane Stewart, Barbara Sanborn, Pam Lewis and Marilyn Smart won second low-net with a score of 246. Two Durango teams tied for third place with a score of 247.

Low-gross winners in the second flight were from Farmington/Piñon Hills. Dorothy Garner, Sylvia Hooper, Sue Branson won with a score of 347. The Durango/Hillcrest team of Della Griffin, Marilyn Fiala, Karen Gallegos and Sharon Podlesnik took second low gross. The "dream team" of Audrey Johnson, Sue Martin, Susan Dennis and Carrie Weisz won third low-gross. This ladies thought they didn't have a chance after the first day of play, but they played an outstanding round of golf the second day. Their score was 354.

First low-net in the second flight was won by a team from Durango/Hillcrest. Barbara Carmen, Wilma Sexton, Sue Casey and Dee Ballinger won with a score of 235. Durangoans Linda Lex, Joan Lee, Audrey Hawn, and Sheila Gephart took second low net. This Pagosa Team was truly a surprise winner with a score of 254. This team didn't know if it would even get to play until the day before the tournament. Injury and mishaps plagued the members of this winner.

Although no one won the hole-in-one prize, a $5,000 cruise provided by Cruise Planners, Marilyn Smart won closest-to-the-pin and a $50 gift certificate on that hole. Denise Arand won longest drive for handicaps of 19-36 on Wednesday. Pat Criger won longest drive for handicaps of 0-18 on Wednesday. Closest-to-the pin awards went to locals Julie Pressley and Kristen Kissock in the closing round.


Community News
Chamber News
By Sally Hameister

Free car washes planned this weekend

This is the weekend that you need to head on over to the Visitor Center to receive your free car wash compliments of your friendly local Chamber of Commerce board of directors and staff.

We decided that during these dry, summer days, you might enjoy a dust-free, dirt-free car for just a few minutes, and we are prepared to do that for you. It's our way to show our appreciation for your support and membership throughout the years and, frankly, to have some fun and this board is very, very big on having fun. It would seem that there are a few select board members who just love to play in/with water, and this is just our way of directing all that energy and activity toward a good cause.

You will also have the opportunity to buy a chance for a Free 2000-2001 Chamber membership which would be some kinda bargain for a $5 investment. Please join this wacky group on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. for your free car wash. No question that you will have a great time watching your board of directors and staff work their fingers to the bone and get a spiffy, clean car in the bargain! Join us.

Hot Strings

Somehow in all my thank yous last week, I didn't say what I wanted to say about our Pagosa Hot Strings, so allow me to correct that right now. They are simply amazing and have grown so much both physically and professionally in just one year that it was astonishing to listen to them at the July 4 concert.

I understand that they will soon have a new CD out there and would suggest to you that you grab it up because one of these days, their "early works" will become collector's items. We should all be so proud of these boys and Dan and Juanalee Park who have guided them both in life and music. I will say again that we all are approaching the day that we will proudly tell people that "we knew them back when." We're very proud of you, guys, and hope you will join us every July 4 as long as it's possible. Keep up the great work and know that you have a town's support for all you do.


A couple of our members have recently made the news in two different venues, and as you well know, when one of our businesses does well, we all do well. It's a very good thing when we make the news anywhere because it lets folks everywhere know that Pagosa Springs is a place worth visiting. Even those who are not wild about growth would have to concede that tourism is the major source of income for Pagosa businesses, and our guests keep us afloat. (Those who might not agree need to study the impact of last year's lack of snow in the area and the subsequent drop in numbers of skiers and visitors.)

The July 16 Travel section of the Denver Post featured our own Fred Harman Museum on the front page with a lovely article about Fred Harman Sr. and the museum. The article included pictures and some statistics that even a resident and fan like me was amazed to learn about Red Ryder and Little Beaver. The cartoon strip enjoyed more than 40 million fans and ran in more than 750 U.S. and foreign newspapers, spawned 38 movies, a decade's worth of radio shows and 40 commercial spin-offs, including the Daisy Manufacturing Company's popular Red Ryder air rifle. The article also included wonderful historical information about Harman told by his son, Fred III, who, as most of you know, acts as curator at the museum and tells the best stories ever. If you didn't see the article, please stop by the museum and ask Fred if you could read it I'm sure he would be more than delighted to share it with you.

Pat and Linda Parelli made front-page news for Pagosa Springs in the July 10 issue of the Four Corners Business Journal with a great article about the Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship International Study Center located right here in River City. Pat and Linda not only employ 50+ people at their business offices and institute, they bring in horse lovers from all over the world chomping at the bit (appropriate phrase, don't you think?) to learn all about Pat's program.

Pat and Linda recently hosted their annual Open House, and I was among the 700 folks who were in attendance. As always, I was mesmerized by what appears to be nothing short of magic. As a non-horse person, I had never before witnessed the amazing relationships between human and horse before I started attending Pat's demonstrations. During Sunday's demonstration, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the visible symbiosis, communication and rapport between a 16-year-old young woman and her horse. There was an understanding and respect that is rarely seen between two human beings let alone a human being and horse. Our warm congratulations to Pat and Linda for their ever-increasing and well-deserved success. We're awfully glad you and yours selected Pagosa Springs as your home.


Since I have nine businesses to share with you this week, I'd best get on with it. We have six new members who have joined our merry little band and three renewals.

Margaret Brush joins us as a Mary Kaye Cosmetics Independent Beauty Consultant doing business out of her home. Margaret points out that Mary Kaye is the number one selling cosmetic and skin care product, and she would love the opportunity to show you why. Please give her a call at 731-4887 to learn more about the numerous Mary Kaye products.

Margaret and husband, Scott Brush, join us with our next new business, Starlight Custom Homes, LLC, located right here in Pagosa. Scott is a custom homebuilder who builds each home as though it was his very own. To learn more about Starlight Custom Homes, please call Scott at 731-5214. We are delighted to send Lyn DeLange, owner of Pagosa Springs Welcoming Service, two free SunDowner passes for her recruitment of both of the Brush businesses. Thanks, Lyn.

Phillip Farrell joins us next with Riverside Financial Services located at 279 River Run Drive. Riverside Financial Services is your source for commercial, business and home loans. They will also help merchants set up a credit card acceptance system as well as handle Internet checks. Phillip would be happy to answer all your questions about RFS if you will give him a call at 731-4398.

Bryan Anderson joins us next with Fast Q Communications based in beautiful Phoenix, Ariz., at 4131 North 24th Street, Suite A-110. Fast Q Communications was the first company in Arizona to have a web site and would love the opportunity to help you get yours on the 'net! You can give them a call at 602-553-8966 for more information about Fast Q Communications. Thanks to Doug and Katrina Schultz of Uncle Zach's for recruiting Bryan - you will receive your free sundowner pass with our gratitude.

We next welcome Paula Watson who brings us the Wolfwood Refuge located here in Pagosa. The mission of Wolfwood Refuge is to provide a safe haven for rescued wolves and wolf/dogs and to educate the public about these special animals. They are a state-licensed 501(C)3 organization. I was able to see these animals just recently at a benefit for them at the Lori Salisbury Gallery and was astonished at their gentle dispositions and great beauty. To learn more about Wolfwood, call Paula at 731-9739.

J. B. Smith is our sixth new member this week and joins us as a Chamber Associate member. Welcome to the fold, J.B.

Renewals this week include Lynn Albers with Lynn's Heating and Refrigeration; James (Buz) Gillentine with Silver Lining Productions and Associate Members, Kennith W. and Vickie Ceradsky. Happy to have you all.

Employment laws

The 2000 edition of Colorado Employment Laws and Regulations has arrived, and we will be happy to loan it to you if you need some clarification on anything and everything you need to know to make sure you're in compliance with Colorado employment law. This 2000 edition has been revised to assure you can access all the current information.

This new book includes new chapters on Employment Practices Liability Insurance which tells you how to reduce your employment insurance liability; a new chapter on Affirmative Action; and a Dress Code Requirements chapter which will clarify when you can and cannot have different grooming requirements for men vs. women. All in all this book includes over 3,000 indexed Human Resources issues that could save you a great deal of time and money in the end. Please feel free to borrow this book whenever you like - just come into the Visitor Center and Morna will check it out for you.

Free counseling

Just another reminder that Jim Reser of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis will be here Friday and Morna (as of Monday) still has two appointments open.

Jim offers free counseling in every facet of business whether you're anticipating opening a business or creating a new business plan for your existing business. Please call Morna for an appointment at 264-2360.

See you all at the car wash on Saturday!


Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

San Juan Outdoor Club teams vie in Relay for Life

Tomorrow evening the first annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life will begin at 6 in Town Park. The 18-hour relay will go continuously through noon on Saturday. Relay for Life is a team event to raise money for the American Cancer Society's program of research, education and service. Walkers and runners from teams make this a fun event. There's food, music and games. Last year's relay reminded me of a huge slumber party where everyone was having so much fun that sleep was a scarce commodity. The two teams representing San Juan Outdoor Club last year even dressed and created team areas to follow a theme. "Alpha to Cancer" from San Juan Outdoor Club received the fund-raiser's "most creative campsite" award. Want to see what they come up with for this year? Come be a part of this campaign to fight cancer. Come cheer the participants on, and come applaud the cancer survivors as they make a victory lap around the park at 6 p.m. For more information or to become involved, please contact Cheryl Nelson at 731-2277 or Leslie Patterson at 731-4643.

The Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center pool will be closed tomorrow from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for ceiling work. Open swim will begin at 1 p.m. and close as regularly scheduled at 9 p.m.

I don't know much about motorcross racing. In fact, I don't know anything about it. However, with Rory Bissell's willingness to share, I'm slowly learning. Want to get air-borne on a dirt bike? I mean really air-borne and not just a couple of inches off the ground. This may be for you. Rory tells me that motorcross is not just for the teens and that there are increasing numbers of grown men competing. Noting the preponderance of "he" and "his" in his description, I wondered aloud about the female gender's involvement in this sport. "Haven't seen any girls doing it," Rory tells me. I'll ask Courtney, my 13-year-old. Maybe she might want to penetrate this citadel of maleness.

Rory Bissell, Jordan Rea, Casey Littleton, Justin Dikes and Nick Chavez - the motor crossing fivesome from Pagosa Springs competed in Mancos last Sunday. These boys were good. Rory Bissell placed second in the 125 cc division. In close third- and fourth-place were Jordan Rea and Casey Littleton. Pagosa Springs again came up on the scoreboard when Justin Dikes rode into first place in the 125 cc division. Team buddy Nick Chavez finished in third place. Not content with merely one first-place finish, Justin Dikes went on to win a second first-place trophy. This time in the School-boy Division. Some day there will be a School-girl Division? At the time of this article, final results were not obtained for Justin, Nick and Casey who had additional races. Ask them about it when you see them.

There is not a motorcross club as yet in Pagosa Springs. These young men who range in ages from 14 to 16 train with the moral and behind-the-scenes support of their parents. They train at a small track by the airport from April to late fall. They have traveled to competitions in Aztec and Mancos. Rory told me that he would like to race in Colorado Springs. His plans for the near future include free-style motorcross; the kind with jumps and tricks. Meanwhile mom keeps chewing tums to settle her stomach.

On second thought I think Courtney should stay focused on volleyball and basketball. I hate Tums. It brings back choking memories of the time my brother No. 1 slammed my face into a barrel of cornstarch.

Arts Line
By Pamela Bomkamp

Arts Gallery open house July 27

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park will host an open house July 27 for Steve Anderson and Jean Bean's first gallery presentation. The exhibit is named "From Out of the Unified Field." The title comes from both artists' interest in energy.

Steve Anderson is a sculptor whose ongoing studies of energy, both man-made and natural, have led him to create geometric forms based on the "phi-ratio." As Steve explains it, "All geometric forms based on the "phi-ratio" create an energy and beauty of their own. The Parthenon, the cathedral at Notre Dame, the Great Pyramid and many more, are structures based on the ratio of 'phi.'' Steve uses crystal in many of his pieces and while you might think this is a lot of scientific stuff, it is not. Energy is naturally beautiful, as are Steve's sculptures.

The title of the exhibit - "From Out of the Unified Field" - came from the show's second artist, Jean Bean. She has been in love with art and creativity all her life. Jean is "self taught, often using various media to express a contemplative observation and experience of patterns and unity of the living world." Her drawings in this show are expressions of life's energy and its ultimate flow into unity of form.

Both artists are from Pagosa Springs and both moved here five years ago. I encourage everyone to attend their opening reception and show your support for their first local show. It is a good time to ask the artists questions about their mediums as well as about their thoughts on the subjects. The reception is 5 to 7 p.m. July 27. The show will run through Aug. 9.

If you have not seen the current exhibit at the PSAC Art Gallery, you need to stop by and check it out. Victoria Kaiser-Kimball and Kathryn Holt's "Portraits of Pagosa and World Influenced" is a mixture of ceramics, watercolor paintings and acrylic photography.

Do not forget the Arts Council gallery - located just south of the stop light - is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Labor Day.

Pagosa Players

If you plan on attending the Archuleta County Fair Saturday, you need to see the Pagosa Players' one-act plays. There are two of them: "Asleep in the Wind" and "Graceland." They will be performed in the Main Tent. If you have seen any Players performances in the past, you know they can really put on a show. If you have not had a chance to see them, this is your opportunity - don't miss it.

PSAC business

Anyone interested in volunteering to help Joanne at the PSAC Art Gallery at Town Park, call her at 264-5020. It does not have to be a full-time commitment. A couple of days or a couple of hours is greatly appreciated and you will have a lot of fun.

Speaking of the gallery in Town Park, if you need a gift for someone or a souvenir to take home, why not purchase a treasure from a local artist? The PSAC gallery is not just for displaying exhibits, we also have a gift shop that sells the works of past artists and local crafters. Check it out.


Senior News
By Janet Copeland

Second picnic in the park was a big hit

Canyon Rio, I apologize for not mentioning last week your most generous donation for the Seniors entry in the July 4th parade. Thanks so much for loaning us your raft, trailer, and trailer hitch. It was greatly appreciated.

Our Summer Picnic in the Park No. 2 on Friday was a big hit. The weather was perfect, and the barbecued pork chops meal served by our wonderful kitchen crew was delicious. Thanks to everyone who helped arrange for the picnic and who set up/took down the tables and chairs.

Many of you will remember Mildred Wiggers (mother of Carol Caywood and Curt Wiggers). Carol writes that Mildred suffered a stroke in April 1999 and is presently residing at the Good Shepherd Care Center in Peoria, Ariz. They are celebrating her 90th birthday on Aug. 12 and are having a "Surprise" card shower. Cards may be addressed to Mildred at: c/o Mr./Mrs. Larry Caywood, 11275 N. 99th Ave. No. 117, Peoria, AZ 85345-5479. Mildred is a wonderful lady and we miss visiting with her at the Center. Happy birthday, Mildred.

We just heard distressing news. Carol Adams' daughter was shot in a drive-by shooting near her home in Arizona. Everyone keep Carol and her family in your prayers.

Those who went on the Ute Mountain Casino trip came back with glowing reports of the good time they had.

We hear Hannah Foster came home better off than she left. Congratulations Hannah.

Our bus trips are getting more popular all the time. Payge and Tina really go all out to plan things of interest and we should all thank them for their hard work. Be sure to sign up at the desk for the trip to Bar-D in Durango on the 26th. The food there is delicious, and lots of great entertainment.

Mike Dalsaso will be at the Senior Center Wednesday, July 26, to talk about long-term care, annuities, life insurance, Medicare and Medicare supplement insurance. The emphasis will be on defining the need and developing solutions for seniors, and on tax-saving strategies. He will present a slide show from 11 a.m. to noon and answer questions afterward. I'm sure he will discuss things relevant to most of us so I hope we will have a good audience.

June Nelson reminds us once again about the Cancer Relay Walk on July 21 (Friday). Each person will need to walk about 30 minutes during the 18-hour period beginning at 6 p.m. and ending Saturday at noon. They would appreciate donations, as well as walkers.

We were happy to have Ellen Bomer, guest of Eva Darmipray; Rose-Else Dinter, mother of Christine Wyman (Rose-Else is from Hamburg, Germany); and John and Bonnie Hamm (former Pagosa residents) visiting with us this week.

Lena Bowden, who volunteers much of her time helping at the Center was presented flowers in honor of her birthday. She asked that I thank everyone.

Mary Gurule is our Senior of the Week. Congratulations Mary.

Many of you read Sally Hameister's article in last week's Preview about traffic on 8th Street. I want to join her in asking folks to slow down when traveling that area. Our seniors come and go to the Center, as well as many who live in the area, and there is a park across from the Center where children are playing and riding bicycles/scooters, all of this makes for a dangerous situation when drivers speed. Is getting where you are going a few seconds sooner worth a life?

Cruising with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

Trail tools: Grunt, heave, push and yell

Every couple of weeks I go out and do trail maintenance work. My neighbor Buck talked me into it. He got Hotshot signed up too.

"Hey, it's a lot of fun," said Buck. "You get to spend the day on a trail, out in the woods. You get to give back a little for all the hikes you've taken in the National Forest."

That's good, Buck. Play on guilt feelings.

"How about this, then," he said. "You know the trail will be clear when you start out on a backpack trip."

Oh. Enlightened self-interest. The perfect motivator.

We cut sections out of trees that have fallen across the trail, so that hikers and horses don't have to clamber up the hill and around the brushy top or giant root ball.

We carry the tools with us - a Pulaski, a double-bit axe, a crosscut saw blade. The Pulaski looks like a combination axe and mattock. It was originally designed for use in firefighting. You can chop branches with the axe blade or dig roots (or water diversions) with the hoe part. There are sheathes on all the blades. Don't want any sharp edges exposed. The saw sheath is a piece of old fire hose.

We also carry a bag containing two handles for the saw blade, kerosene, yellow plastic wedges and a mallet to pound them into the cut on the tree. The kerosene is to clean pitch off the saw blade and keep it from sticking as we cut.

"Don't you get to use chainsaws?" Nope. We don't get to use chainsaws. They're not allowed in the Wilderness.

There are other people who do this work and get paid for it - outfitters or other independent contractors. They tackle trails in the high country. They get to ride up on horseback. We walk. We work up from the trailheads. We're the ones you're most likely to come across.

Usually there are three or four of us. Buck and Stretch, Hap and me. Maybe Susan. Hotshot, if he's in town. Sometimes only two of us go, but that makes a really hard day. The Forest Service people tell us which trails are blocked, and Buck says, "Okay, we'll take that one."

Trail maintenance begins in the spring, when the snow is gone and the mud has dried up.

The first time I went was last May, on the Piedra River Trail. The hike to the footbridge is probably as far as many people go. The trail winds through rocky cliffs right along the edge of the Piedra River, then follows a wide grassy meadow studded with Ponderosa pine. The hills on either side are covered with Douglas fir and aspen.

In May, the aspen at the top of the ridges on either side were just greening up. The trail was clear.

It was just a pleasant walk in the sunshine. We paused to examine sign of various animals. There were coyote scat and footprints, three-toed turkey tracks, and a couple of round padded prints that might have been made by a bobcat.

I turned back early that day. Turns out my timing was perfect. "You missed all the work," Buck told me later. "Right after you turned back, we came across three big trees across the trail, one after another."

The next week four of us headed up Four Mile Trail toward the lower waterfall. We cleared the last tree off that trail just as the first hikers of the day caught up to us.

The week after that our intrepid band started working on the West Fork Trail, which was a mess. It took two full days to clear it all the way to the hot springs, even with the addition of three Forest Service staff on the second day.

We've cleared trails in the South San Juans and most of Cimarrona Trail. The fewest trees we removed from any trail in a single day was three; the largest number was 51.

We can sometimes just drag or shove the smaller ones off to the side. But usually we have to break out the tools. Some trees are enormous. And ancient. I counted rings on one pine and estimated it had been a seedling about the time Andrew Jackson was elected president.

Often we have to cut through the tree twice, if it lies across the trail. Then we roll the cut section off the trail. A 6-foot-long section of a big pine is one heavy piece of wood. They're not called Ponderosa for nothing.

We strain and grunt and heave and push. It helps to yell a bit, too. About the time I think nothing will budge that enormous mass of cellulose, it starts to really move, like a rodeo bull fresh out of the chute. Stretch had to do a fast jump out of the way one time, when the log we were trying to shift suddenly got a mind of its own and charged him.

Sometimes, because of the way a tree has fallen, we can't saw it and have to use the axes. I'm working on my chopping technique. It's pretty sad. The blade hits a different place on the tree with every whack.

Do my strokes actually cut into the wood? Don't ask. But the guys are good about not laughing. Besides, when I take my turn with the axe or saw, they get a chance to rest.

What do we get out of this? The satisfaction of doing a useful job. Neat nametags that say "Forest Service Volunteer."

An interesting collection of scrapes and bruises. Hap is hoping to win the prize for most scratches on his face.

And we get thanks from people hiking the trails. A lot of them tell us they'd like to volunteer too, "as soon as I get the time."

Library News
By Lenore Bright

Book sale nets $4,000 minus expenses for library

We finished up another successful meeting and book sale.

Our thanks to all of the people who brought the delicious hors d'oeuvres. We had standing room only, and after a short meeting the members enjoyed first chances to buy an exceptional collection of books.

The annual report listed all of the activities and successes of the Friends through the year. Charla Ellis, Warren Grams and Dick Hillyer were re-elected for another term on the board. They serve with Judy Wood, Patty Sterling, Cynthia Mitchell, and Maureen Covell.

The financial statement prepared by Covell shows $44,331 in the book endowment, and $9,318 in the building fund. A copy of the annual report is available at the library. This year's proceeds will go toward these important endeavors.

Putting on this affair is a year-long activity and many people are responsible. Thanks to Pagosa Mini-Storage for housing the materials, Terry French for the vehicle to transport the books; Mannie Trujillo, Duwane Ramey, Warren Grams, Dick Hillyer, Jack Passant, Lu Larson, and Gil Bright for bringing the books from storage to the Extension Building.

Thanks to Frank Martinez for arranging to get the tables set up. Volunteers who unpacked and arranged the books were: Glenn Raby, Susan Kanyur, Bill and Jerry Hallett, Donna Geiger, David Copley, Kay Grams, Maggie Hart, Lee and Patty Sterling, Ann Sullivan, David Bright, Drew and Cynthia Mitchell, Maureen and Ralph Covell, Charlie and Bev Worthman, Nancy McInerney, Cathy Dodt-Ellis, Kate Terry, Judy Wood and Pat Riggenbach.

Thanks to all of you who donated material through the year. Everyone commented that this was the best selection of books ever.

Thanks to the Extension Office staff for their generous help. This is truly a community effort.

Saturday was the public sale and it was busy all morning. We made over $4,000 not counting expenses. We're already making notes on how we can make next year's sale even better. And finally, a special thanks to the Rotarians who came and picked up the left-over books at the end of the sale. The books will be put to good use.

Summer reading

This is the last week of the program. Saturday is the last day to turn in your reading logs and projects. The party will be 11:30 a.m. July 26, at Town Park. Be sure and dress up as your favorite book or movie character. We will hand out prize packets as well as refreshments. (320 children signed up this year.)

Preschool activity

We will take a week off and then we'll continue story time on Tuesdays and Fridays starting 11 a.m. Aug. 1.

Week's winners

Kelsi Lucero counted the popcorn kernals in the jar, and guessed 1200 books had been read. She missed it by five.

Readers of the Week were Emmi Greer, Jennifer Mueller, Dalton Lucero, Matthew McFarland, Will Smock-Egan, Amanda Oertel, Mason Laverty, Lucas Chavez, Audrey Miller and Caden Henderson.

Come in to see who won the other contests. There are many unclaimed prizes from weeks three and four, so be sure and check the winners list posted in the children's room.


The Chamber of Commerce brought by a number of Windows screen saver disks showing Ghost Ranch and the Plaza Resolana in Santa Fe. They are free to anyone wanting one. Ask at the desk.


Thanks for materials from Darla McLean, Kim Price, Sally Hameister, Dr. Dohner, Rita Johnson, Margaret Rouke, Joan Wiley, Mary Hannah, Joan and Harry Young, Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Bohannon, Clay Vyzralek, Crista Munro, John Graves, Rita and Frank Slowen and Joy Erickson.

Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

Mountain Harmony Concert Saturday

The next performance by the Mountain Harmony Ladies Barbershop Quartet is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Methodist Church. Admission is free.

The theme of the show is to celebrate the retirement of the long time choir director of St. Agnes by the Sea, a girl's school. Only she doesn't get there on time so the choir has to improvise singing old favorites. Joining them is "Durango Junction" from the Durango Men's Chapter of the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America.

Refreshments will be served backstage after the performance; here again, there will be some barbershop harmonizing.

This group of women puts on shows that are strictly up-beat and entertaining. Director Connie Glover's personality is full of positive bubbles that permeate the singers. They perform for many functions. Just ask.

Please call Pam Spitler at 264-0200 for more about their group activities.

Annie's cats

Annie Ryder, the Rector at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church has lost her cats. They escaped the house last week while David and Alta Northrop were moving some of their stored things. They are moving to Grand Junction. Their old house is now the St. Patrick's rectory.

The cats are Peanuts, a brown tabby with dark brown stripes and a little orange and Zoe, a tricolored tabby, mostly black but with some white and some orange.

The new rectory is located in the Hatcher Lake area. The old rectory was located in Holiday Acres. It's possible that these beloved cats could be trying to get back to Holiday Acres. Please call Annie Ryder at 731-5063 or at the church, 264-4243, if you think you might know something about them.

Friends sale

The Friends of the Library book sale last weekend was the best ever. There were fewer books to select from but the selection was excellent. The crowd at Friday night's annual meeting was larger. This is the time that people usually pay their annual dues. Seven hundred sixty dollars in dues was collected.

The sale was opened to the public on Saturday. All told, the sale of books was $3,333.

A note about Saturday's sale: People were surprised that the selection was down. And those who came late and found the pickings so slim, cried, "I should have come earlier!" (The members on Friday night bought a lot of books! ) A lot of boxes went out.

The Rotary Club picks up the left over books and disburses them to needy groups.

The annual meeting was short. After the regular business, Warren Grams, president of The Friends, got into the vital issue of David Bruce's latest ploy to "get rid of government." The Tabor Amendment (his doings) tied up the monies due Special Districts so that each has to get on the ballot in order for these monies to be released.

Now, what will be on the ballot this fall is worse. It's time that people know what's coming up.

The following is Gram's report.

What will the future hold?

Douglas Bruce, the California lawyer, who lives in Colorado Springs, is determined to dissolve all representational government. His latest ploy sounds harmless - he has a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November that will reduce property taxes by $25 a person for each taxing entity on the tax bill every year until the tax is gone. (The first year $25, $50 the next year, $75, etc.) There are some other taxes that would also be eliminated immediately.

If TABOR 205 passes (or whatever Bruce calls it) the library will have to close, and other publicly supported agencies will soon follow suit. Each of us will lose services such as the EMT's, fire protection, the hospital district, water and sewer . . . all of the services that depend on property tax support. It is probable that no local government service will remain. Can you imagine what your property will be worth if you have none of these services?

If you would be willing to help ward off this disastrous amendment TABOR 205 - Tax Refund 2000. Please let us know.

Fun on the run

"Battle Hymn of Aging"

We reach the age of sixty-five

Our golden years are here.

They tell us that the age begins

A happy new career,

For now our Uncle Sam becomes

Our permanent cashier

As we go bravely on.



Glory, glory, hallelujah!, etc,

As we go bravely on!

Our so-ci-al security

From Baltimore is sent,

We buy a little bit of food

And maybe pay the rent,

And after that, we're stony broke

And left without a cent,

But we go bravely on.

(Repeat chorus)


And as for checks from Medicare,

Will someone tell us how

They always find some doctor bills

They sadly disallow,

And dental costs, as well we know

They wholly disavow,

But we go bravely on!

(Repeat chorus)


We don't know how we made it as we live from day to day,

With income fixed and prices up,

There's always more to pay.

So, minding our arthritis

Let's get on our knees and pray

That we'll go bravely on.

(Repeat chorus)


But first of all, let us thank God

That we are still alive.

The dreams we have may still come true

When we are ninety-five!

So, heaven help us, give us strength

Our troubles to survive,

As we go bravely on.

Submitted by: Betty Abrams

Time to update policy

The county commissioners should take two long-over-due actions

on the county's road maintenance policy. First, the moratorium on

accepting more roads into the county road maintenance program should be lifted with the clarification that no additional subdivision streets will be accepted for county maintenance. The second long-over-due action would be to abandon all of the secondary neighborhood streets in all subdivisions within the county that currently are included in the county's road maintenance program.

The outdated road maintenance policy that was established in the early 1970s should have been ended years ago. With the increased population and the increasing number of subdivision streets and "ranchette" roadways in Archuleta County, the commissioners should designate which roads are main arterial roads and commit to providing them maintenance. They also should remove the secondary roads and neighborhood streets from the county maintenance system. The abandonment of maintenance should start with the county's 2001 budget and the 2001 construction season.

To argue that it is unfair for a property owner to pay a county tax which partially goes towards providing maintenance for county roads and yet receives no county services on the street that runs in front of his property is a shallow argument.

Persons who own property in the town of Pagosa Springs have always paid the same county taxes as any other property owner in Archuleta County. Yet the county does not provide maintenance for the town's streets nor does the county remove snow from them.

Besides paying county taxes that are used for maintaining county roads, persons who own property within the town also pay property taxes to the town, a portion which goes towards maintaining the town's streets.

The same is somewhat true of persons who own property within established metropolitan (road) improvement districts. These property owners pay taxes to the county yet the county does not provide road maintenance within the metropolitan district's boundaries. Besides paying county taxes, these property owners pay assessments to their metropolitan improvement district so that their roads will be well maintained.

The county's ill-advised road maintenance policy to accept subdivision roads in to the county maintenance system was established in the early 1970s. A federally required "Property Report Notice of Disclaimer by Office of Interstate Land Sale Registration, U.S. Housing and Urban Development" prepared by representatives of Eaton International Corporation stated: "As of June 1, 1973, there were 8 homes occupied in Lake Pagosa Park and 8 homes occupied in Pagosa in the Pines. There were no homes occupied in the other subdivisions (the entire Pagosa in Colorado development)."

A more comprehensive property report that was effective April 28, 1976, included the statement: "All roads in all subdivisions are dedicated to Archuleta County and the County maintains all roads when brought to County standards . . . However, if not accepted for maintenance by the County, you (the buyer) may be required to pay all or part of the cost of maintaining the roads in the subdivision." This statement was repeated in identical or similar wording during the next 13 years.

By Nov. 15, 1990, the property report listed Fairfield Pagosa Inc. as the developer, and Fairfield Pagosa as the subdivision. The updated statement on road maintenance said: "All maintenance to the roads before they are completed to County standards will be borne by us (the developer) at no cost to you. Once completed, roads are submitted to the county for acceptance, however, if the County does not accept the roads for maintenance, you (the buyer) may be required to pay all or part of the cost of maintaining the roads in the subdivision."

It's past time for the commissioners to make a decision on the maintenance of subdivision streets and ranchette roadways. It is the year 2000. It's time that neighborhood streets and secondary roadways be removed from the county's road maintenance system. David C. Mitchell


Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

The SUN shines in Melbourne

Dear Folks,

I'm glad the SUN has a Web site.

Apparently it's a nice feature to offer folks. I wish I understood it and knew more about it.

Evidently a lot of folks are accessing, logging on or whatever it is you do with a Web site. Yet they fail to realize the Web site is not the "main thing" for the SUN.

The SUN's main thing is to publish a better newspaper this week that the one that was published last week.

This includes improving content, photos, variety of coverage, appearance of display advertisements, and reducing the number of errors.

Some day I want to learn about e-mail, Web sites and the Internet.

I've always tried to work under the idea that it's my job to try to keep a level playing field in Pagosa. To try to treat everyone the same. To charge everyone the same prices. To try to provide every one the best service possible. To control my tongue and temper when dealing with disgruntled folks who want to see the editor. To keep in mind that the SUN is merely a weekly newspaper in the lower right-hand corner of Colorado. To remember the matchless value of my employees. To never assume. To ask a lot of questions before making any decisions or giving any answers. To try to find out why a mistake was made rather than focusing on who made it. (Usually it's me.) To look for a solution rather than to assess blame. To give credit for successes and to accept responsibility for mistakes.

But this e-mail thing really has me confused.

I can't imagine why would contact the SUN because, "I am interested in finding the appraisal value of an original picture of the second raising of the flag on Iwo Jima (World War II). Photo taken by Bob Campbell."

If the writer thought I needed to be told the photo related to a historic event of World War II, how did he expect me to know the value of the photo? The letter had not signature, so it wasn't published.

A July 14 e-mail about C. Greg Gummersall from sort of makes the confusion worthwhile. (The bloke's letter appears on page 5 of section 1.)

I'm an editor in Pagosa Springs. So why is cartoonist Phil Sparnenn in Melbourne, Australia, asking me if Greg Gummersall he found in the SUN's Web site archives is the "C Greg Gummersall" who signed a print of a painting he has in Australia?

Somehow our Australian friend's computer was able to locate Greg's name in our files, yet I failed to find it in my files for 2000 when I tried. (It's something about a "search engine.")

Being a product of the printed-page era, I started searching the phone books.

Sure enough, there's a Greg and Jenny Gummersall listed with a Bayfield phone number.

It took a couple of calls and voice-mail messages to connect with him. But yes sir, he's the C. Greg Gummersall the Aussie was seeking.

Greg said he was working on a ranch in Durango when he did the painting in 1979. He had some prints made at Basin Reproduction. He has no idea how "a few years ago" print No. 50 wound up in a "market 90 miles out of Melbourne, Australia."

Greg hopes to contact Phil via e-mail and fill him in about the painting and about himself.

As for the value of "an original photo" from Iwo Jima," or cleaning the smudge off the lens of the weather camera atop the courthouse, that's way over my head.

But one of these days I hope to add e-mail and Web site literacy to my job skills.

Should Phil ever read this week's column, Gummersall's e-mail address is <greg@gummersall>

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


25 years ago

Local economy is improved

Taken from SUN files

of July 24, 1975

After a hard winter in this area the economic outlook presently is good. Unemployment percentages have dropped dramatically, bank deposits are holding up, and the tourism business is good. San Juan Lumber Co. is operating and that is one of the big helps. Housing starts are numerous over the county with most of the building being on land developments and subdivisions.

The San Juan Soil Conservation District will hold a public meeting tonight in the district courtroom in Pagosa Springs. The intent of this meeting is to inform local residents and to make final plans on the San Juan River Beautification Project through Pagosa Springs.

The SUN this week is being printed at the Grand Junction Daily Central due to the non-arrival of parts for the composition typesetting equipment. This problem will undoubtedly cause some mix-ups in this edition and make it late getting to our subscribers.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that effective July 23 Archuleta County has been accepted into the National Flood I Insurance Program. Local property owners are now eligible to buy flood insurance protection at affordable federally subsidized rates.


By Shari Pierce

What was the year 1918 like?

Late last week my regular trip to the post office brought a wonderful letter from Elaine Kachel. The Kachels and I have become friends over the years because of our mutual interest in Pagosa history. Mrs. Kachel's mother, Anna Ellsworth, left her a priceless gift - she kept a day-to-day record of events in the life of her family and the community. One of those calendars was from the year 1918 - the year Elaine was born.

From that calendar, Elaine Kachel wrote a story of the events of the year of her birth. She has graciously allowed me to share this unique bit of her own and Pagosa's past with readers.

"1918 . . . the year of my birth. I have the calendar of 1918, put out by Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. of San Francisco. On the front page it states that 1918 was the fifty-fifth year of the Insurance Company. On the back page it states that, 'The Assets, Reserve and Surplus of the Fireman's Fund are now larger than in 1905, notwithstanding its loss in the San Francisco conflagration, of more than Eleven Million Dollars.'

"What was the year 1918 like? It was during World War I, and in the era of the dreaded Spanish Influenza epidemic, as evidenced by so many entries, by mother, of the deaths of many townspeople. But it was, also, a time for social get-togethers, for rolling bandages, knitting watch caps and other services for the Red Cross. The Ladies Aide Club had many luncheons and teas for the women to do these chores.

"The main form of entertainment, in 1918, was having dinner at friends' homes and discussing the war effort. Mother often wrote entries such as, 'Had Ed and Gertie Colton over for dinner tonight,' or 'went to the Wilbur Nossamans for supper.'

"One thing I learned from the calendar, was the fact that they bought and moved into the house, where I was born, just 5 months before my birth. I was always under the impression that they had moved into this house shortly after coming to Pagosa Springs, in 1911.

"January and February of 1918 were mostly entries about all the snow falling and the delay of the train, the Denver, Rio Grande and Western, a little narrow gauge, with a branch line into Pagosa. It brought supplies and mail, each day. Mother made a point to always record when the train was late, for the Denver Post was their only source of knowledge about world events."

More of Mrs. Kachel's story about life in 1918 Pagosa next week.

Pacing Pagosa
By Richard Walter

False alarms are cause for alarm

It happened shortly after 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 11.

The call came into emergency dispatch. It was a cell phone report of a bad accident on Snowball Road. A command car was dispatched to the scene, along with a QRV unit, an ambulance, a tanker truck and a State Police officer. The phoned-in description indicated severe injuries at the scene.

Traffic pulled to the side of the narrow road as the emergency vehicles sped to the tragedy.

But, there was no accident scene.

It was one of a growing number of false alarm calls being made to area emergency service agencies. This is a summertime blight in most big cities (often attributed to young people being out of school for the season), but has not been a big problem in Pagosa Country - until now.

Since it is we, the taxpayers, who pay for the services heroically performed by emergency personnel, it is we who also support the idiocy of those who make such calls. Fire trucks, ambulances and police vehicles don't roll free of charge. Every time one of them leaves the station, the taxpayers' dollars go to work.

When calls which result in dispatch of these stalwarts of our protection are fakes, the resultant cost is a waste of taxpayer money. Reports of serious accidents, fires or acts of nature can't be ignored, but those guilty of making false reports face heavy fines - if caught.

More importantly, diverting professionals to fake crisis scenes removes them from service should a real emergency arise.

We all want to be sure that if our house is on fire, our car is in the ditch or a loved one suffers a heart attack there is someone available to give professional aid. If some of the emergency personnel have been sent on a wild goose chase looking for an accident that didn't happen, that means there are fewer on hand to deal with real tragedies.

Anyone who gets their kicks from filing false reports should have to pay the cost of dispatching personnel to the scene. Maybe that would tone down the thrill they get from watching emergency teams drawn from their duty stations for no cause.

Similarly, the sheriff's office has numerous alarm panels wired to local sites and also gets telephone reports of activated alarms at other sites from a central recording station in Denver.

Undersheriff Russell Hebert says the office receives, on average, about a half dozen false alarms a week. "They can't be ignored," he said. "We have to check them out."

The number of such calls has decreased in recent years from a dozen or more a week, "mostly in bad winter weather."

"When we get three or more in rapid succession from a single location," we charge a dispatch fee and notify the alarm owner to have it checked," Hebert said. "But rest assured, we don't let any alarm go unchecked."

Fire, rescue and law enforcement personnel have to deal with trauma every day. It isn't wise to impair their reaction time by sending them out in search of tragedies which did not happen.

The tragedy is that anyone would get delight from taking such actions.

The brighter side

Most Pagosans have at one time or another lamented the habits of visitors to the community who, they feel, are not familiar with proper means of disposal of trash. It is easy to blame out-of-towners for all the litter along our streets and highways, even when it is obviously an impossibility for them to have spread all of it.

Last week, however, it would have been easy to cite one group of visitors for exemplary behavior.

Walking the streets downtown with large black garbage bags were members of a vacationing Christian teen group sponsored by a church in Oklahoma. I watched as they picked up litter from the sidewalks and along the curbs and put it in their bags. Later, they took all the bags to a trash receptacle behind the courthouse for proper disposal.

When asked, a spokesman for the group said it is their habit, if possible, to make every place they visit better for their having been there.

It is too bad some of our resident litterers could not have been part of the group. They would have had a lesson in citizenship and responsibility that they obviously have not learned at home.

Applicable thoughts

A pair of quotations which for some reason have remained in memory since collegiate days, would seem apropos of the thoughts expressed earlier. They are:

Goethe's comment that, "Behavior is a mirror in which everyone shows his image," and Victorian England's Matthew Arnold who opined, "Conduct is three fourths of our life and its largest concern."

They are historic thoughts which project remarkably well on today's scene.

Old Timer
By John Motter

Nossaman granddaughter amplifies background

By John M. Motter

Last week, we ran an article based on a letter from Pagosa Country oldtimer Frances Coffee, nee Rock, mailed all of the way from Dallas, Texas. This week we're writing based on a letter from another oldtimer, Sara Masco. Sara hasn't moved so far, just to Yellow Jacket, Colorado, an intersection between Cortez and Dove Creek on U.S. 666.

A lot of folks here remember Sara, but, in a moment, we'll let her identify herself in a history of Pagosa Country context. Sara writes us concerning an article in "The Preview" July 6. Here is what Sara has to say.

"I hope to clarify some points. Welch (W.W.) Nossaman was my grandfather and I have a vivid memory of him since I was nearly 11 years old when he passed away Dec. 22, 1937. I well remember him relating some of his life experiences and one was, he stated several times in my hearing, that he came into Pagosa Country in August 1876, on what day I do not know. He and his companions, Lafe Hamilton and Joe Baker, built some sort of dwelling that granddad called a cabin. Baker and Hamilton didn't stay around much but granddad stayed through that first winter in his little cabin. It was an open winter and granddad thought it was a wonderful place. When the weather began to warm up the Native Americans returned. They didn't like what they saw. This was their summer hunting grounds and they had been around the hot spring for years. They were wise people and knew to head south out of the harsh winter weather that Pagosa often gets. They came to his cabin and asked for food, tobacco, etc. Granddad told them he had none. He was at that time preparing to head to Summitville because the mines were opening for the summer. When the Indians found they couldn't get anything from Nossaman they told him he was on Indian territory and they didn't want him there. He packed up and left, while they burned his cabin. He came back the next year with the same results. He, Baker and Hamilton had filed patents on what they believed were mineral claims only to learn when Fort Lewis moved in that the patents were not valid because they hadn't been surveyed or something to that affect. Welch returned to Summitville and Del Norte very discouraged. However when Fort Lewis was being built Welch came in to cut timber for the buildings in 1878-79, I believe. Welch knew timber. His father in Pella, Iowa, had owned several sawmills at various times when that area was being settled in the 1820s and 30s and later. He had grown up around sawmilling and farming. After silver was demonetized around 1883, Summitville lost out as a mining area and many mines shut down. Welch decided again to try for his homestead in Pagosa. He finally succeeded when Fort Lewis was moved to Hesperus. He married Addie Phillips in Del Norte, Colorado, on Aug. 31, 1885. Addie was the daughter of James Phillips (one of the founders of Del Norte, not to be confused with La Loma which preceded Del Norte on the site-Motter) and Sarah Fairchild. The Phillips sisters (one of them had the Hersch building in Pagosa Springs erected in 1898-Motter) were well known around the Pagosa area in the early days. Welch and Addie had three children, Sarah Theressa, better known as Terrie, born Oct. 26, 1888, Thomas Bowen, born Dec. 13, 1890, and Sallie, born 19 May 1892. Sallie died Feb. 9, 1895. Welch ranched for several years on his Pagosa ranch (now the Formwalt ranch-Motter) and was getting discouraged. He told of borrowing money to take out a ditch for irrigation on his homestead. He talked his younger brother, W.J. Nossaman (he called him Billy, but we always called him Uncle Will) into homesteading the property adjoining his, which is now Faye Brown's place. They worked on getting the ditch out for both properties. Welch raised oats for a couple of years and lost money each year. Was able to pay the interest on the debt but nothing on the principle. He finally contacted a friend in Pella (Wyatt Earp and his brothers were neighbors at Pella-Motter), and was able to borrow $4,000 with which he bought some cattle. He fattened them, sold them, and repeated the process making enough money to pay off his debts. He decided he was not a good rancher so turned the place over to his young son, Tom, and went to work for New Mexico Lumber Company in El Vado, N.M. This area is now under water due to the building of the El Vado dam. He worked for them until 1910, when the company was running out of timber at the El Vado location and ceased operating. McPhee and McGinnity Lumber Company became owners of New Mexico Lumber Company. McPhee and McGinnity was owned by two Denver lumbermen, Wm. P. McPhee and John H. McGinnity and they became interested in timber above Dolores, Colorado in what was then the Montezuma National Forest. Nossaman had cruised timber in that area about 1903 for NM Lumber Co. The large lumber mills had to look up timber years ahead of when they planned to cut in order to keep operating. In the early 1920s, McPhee and McGinnity sent Welch to Dolores to do further cruising, scouting and to be log superintendent. He then told the company men which tracts to settle. They settled on 160-acre tracts in checkerboard fashion, leaving a tract of forest land between each settled piece. Thus they were able to control the timber by leaving no access routes for competing companies."

(Next week, more from Sara Masco. Note: Welch Nossaman's life story in manuscript form is available at the Ruby Sisson Memorial Library. The folks at the library won't let you take it home, but it is a must as a primary source on early Pagosa Country history. A companion document of equal value is "The Land of Healing Waters" by Larry Masco, Sara's son.)


Video Review
By Roy Starling

Craven switches from violence to violins

This week I was hoping to have lots of interesting things to say about horror-meister Wes Craven's latest Gothic offering, "Music of the Heart" (1999), starring Meryl Streep.

Craven, as you probably know, is responsible for all those "Nightmare on Elm Street" flicks in which young people are forced to take a steady diet of amphetamines to keep from falling asleep, because if they nod off they run the risk of waking up looking like a set of crimson Venetian blinds.

But - and maybe it's just me - I didn't find "Music of the Heart" all that scary. OK, I got a few chills when Roberta Guaspari (Streep) was abandoned by her husband at the beginning of the movie, because he left her with two boys to raise. Then I was frightened when I saw Cloris Leachman (the horse frightener from "Young Frankenstein") playing Roberta's mom. When Roberta took a job teaching violin to elementary kids in an inner-city school, even though she had no previous experience, well, that was scary too.

Just the violins themselves were scary, because, unless I'm mistaken, it was a violin that made that screeching noise when Janet Leigh received her shower surprise in "Psycho."

But honestly, the only really scary thing that happened in the whole movie came near the end when, after Guaspari has taught 1,400 students over a 10-year period to play the violin, the school district chops the funding for her program. "Cuts had to be made," her principal (Angela Bassett) tells her, "and they're cutting music and art first."

As every student and teacher knows, the classroom is a place where truly horrifying things can happen, but Craven doesn't take us there very often. Instead of giving us some insight into how Guaspari was so successful with these students, he spends most of his time on her conflicts with her mother, with her previous husband, with her new boyfriend (Aidan Quinn, no relation to Anthony), with her sons, with the other teachers at her school, with her students and with her students' parents.

So even though Craven's latest effort flops as a horror film, it may cause some viewers to have nightmares - namely, teachers who are trying to get through the summer without thinking about the conflicts mentioned above and kids who are forced to take violin lessons while their friends are off shooting out street lights with BB guns and destroying mailboxes with baseball bats.

Disappointed by "Music of the Heart," I turned my attention to "Snow Falling on Cedars," director Scott Hicks' version of that must-read novel of a few years back. Part courtroom drama and part romance, "Cedars" is a kind of "To Kill a Mockingbird" in a colder climate.

Like "Mockingbird," "Cedars" takes place in a small town in which a person of color is being tried for the murder of a white man. In both stories there are children who love each other despite their racial differences and there are white people who are sympathetic to the minorities and are persecuted for their sympathies.

"Cedars" takes place on a little island off the coast of Washington state, and the minorities are Japanese. The racial tension begins in earnest when Japan bombs Pearl Harbor. Reacting to this surprise attack, the United States government snatches Japanese families from their homes and sends them to relocation camps. This process separates young Ishmael Chambers (Ethan Hawke) and his Japanese girlfriend Hatsue (Youki Kudoh). Under pressure from her mom, she writes him a letter breaking off their relationship. Chambers never recovers.

Years later, Chambers is a newspaper reporter when Hatsue's husband Kazuo is charged with the murder of Carl Heine, and it's Heine's trial that serves as a kind of framing device for this entire two-hour movie. All the details, all the history, from Chambers and Hatsue sporting on the shore to the horrific relocation to Heine's "murder," are revealed via flashbacks.

The most notable thing about this film is its photography. To head up that department, director Hicks picked Robert Richardson, a cinematographer previously known for his documentary style work for Oliver Stone in such films as "Wall Street," "Platoon," "Born on the Fourth of July," and "JFK." In "Cedars," however, there is not one trace of documentary style photography. The words "lush" and "self-consciously artsy" come to mind. It's as if Richardson hoped to enter every single frame in a photo contest.

From the opening credits, we see his fondness for extreme close-ups. In a rainstorm, we get individual raindrops. We get so close to a small fish, we can see neither his head nor his tail. We can count the fibers in a single strand of a fishnet. We get nostrils, we get eyelashes.

The entire film is either shadowy (for interior shots) or gray (for exterior shots). It's always either raining or snowing. This is the kind of movie that can cause mildew to form on your VCR heads.

Is Richardson's camera work suggesting something about myopia? About people living in the fog of racial prejudice? I have no idea, but it's kind of fun to watch for a while.

About the film's plot: The general consensus seems to be that if you haven't read the novel, you may have some difficulty sorting through some things near the end of the film. The novel goes to a lot of trouble telling you why the judge made a particular ruling. The film quickly slips this information in between a shot of the judge's gavel and another of a button on a juror's shirt (OK, I'm exaggerating a little here).

If you're looking for good acting in the film, better keep your eye on the venerable Max Von Sydow as Nils, Kazuo's crafty defender. As far as I know, Von Sydow is the only actor to have portrayed Jesus ("The Greatest Story Ever Told"), an exorcist ("The Exorcist") and the devil ("Needful Things"). Just thought you'd like to know.


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