Planners leery of Wolf Creek Village
By John M. Motter
Concerned that a private development proposed for construction at the top of Wolf Creek Pass may have negative impacts on Archuleta County, county planners have compiled a list of issues they feel Mineral County has not adequately reviewed during preliminary plan public hearings.
A 287.5-acre, winter-summer destination resort called The Village at Wolf Creek is being proposed for construction on Wolf Creek Pass immediately adjacent to the Wolf Creek Ski Area.
"At full build out, The Village at Wolf Creek could have a population of 5,000 people, about one-half the current population of Archuleta County," said Mike Molica, the director of county development for Archuleta County. "That kind of change has to have a huge impact on our county."
Because The Village at Wolf Creek is located in Mineral County, all development and building permits must be obtained through that county. The Village is being treated as a planned unit development according to Mineral County regulations. The first step of that process, the preliminary development public hearing, was conducted by the Mineral County commissioners June 29. A final hearing will be conducted in approximately one year.
Although not legally required to accept public comment concerning preliminary development following the June 29 public hearing, Mineral County Manager Les Cahill has invited input from neighboring counties.
Scot Ferris of the Archuleta County Planning Office attended the June 29 hearing.
Following Ferris' presentation to the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission, Molica was authorized by the commission to develop the following list of Archuleta County concerns and forward them to Cahill.
The concerns included:
- Economic impacts - A regional economic impact analysis should be performed detailing the anticipated impacts (both positive and negative) to Archuleta County
- Transportation - At Mineral County's June 29 county commissioner's meeting, the developer verbally stated that they anticipated the majority of the guests/owners will arrive at the project via vans or limos, from the airports in Durango and Alamosa. Archuleta County therefore questions why the developer is then proposing to construct 4,267 parking spaces (at full build out). In order to fully assess this issue, Archuleta County believes that a market analysis should be provided, as part of the submittal
- Employee housing - How many employees are proposed to be housed on site? What is the proposed number of employee housing units? Where would the housing be located on site? What percentage of the overall number of employees will be housed on site? For those employees not housed on site, how will transportation to the site be provided?
- Fire protection - How will this be handled? This was not addressed in the submittal
- Waste water - Archuleta County understands that 378,270 gallons per day (at build out) will be discharged from the project. Where will the waste water be discharged?
- Solid waste - How will this be handled? This subject is not addressed in the submittal
- Medical services (facilities/clinic) - How will this be handled? This subject was not addressed in the submittal
Molica's statement said that overall, Archuleta County officials are very concerned about the high intensity of development proposed for the 287.5-acre parcel. "Given the sensitivity of the high altitude ecosystem, we question the project density (2,172 dwelling units at build out) and the proposed commercial square footage (222,100 square feet)."
Molica said, " it is our understanding that Mineral County is beginning the process of developing a new comprehensive master plan." He therefore expressed concerned about the timing of this application, in light of Mineral County's master planning process. He said he believe it would be beneficial to review at least portions of this project utilizing the county's new master plan.
Although he understands the need to review the entire project on a comprehensive basis, Molica suggested that Mineral County require the project to be a phased project and that the county consider only the initial phase at this time.
Molica concluded his comments by encouraging the Mineral County officials to review the later phases of this project utilizing their new master plan as a guide.
The proposed project anticipates the construction of single-family housing, multi-family housing, hotels, shops of all kinds, restaurants and bars, and other buildings.
Assessor denies auditor's charges
By John M. Motter
County Assessor Keren Prior told the county commissioners Tuesday that she denied independent auditor Tom Breed's July 18 allegations that Prior had submitted false time records in order to award bonuses, and other allegations.
"I do not appreciate not being given a chance to talk or explain this before the public meeting," Prior said. "I intend to meet with the auditor. I will report back after that meeting," she said.
Also Tuesday, a $793,555 contract for paving Meadows Drive and South Pagosa Boulevard was awarded to Strohecker Paving and Asphalt of Pagosa Springs.
Work on rebuilding and paving the two Fairfield Pagosa roads should begin next week and end in about six weeks. Money for the project was formerly scheduled for the town-county Lightplant Road project. When that project was postponed, the county shifted the money to Meadows Drive and South Pagosa Boulevard.
In other business the commissioners:
- Postponed action on a request to provide an additional senior meal each week. The $10,800 grant the county recently received for senior meals may not cover the cost of adding one meal a week, according to County Manager Dennis Hunt
- Approved the $251,000 bid of Weeminuche Construction Co. to build a new cell at the county landfill south of town on Trujillo Road. When completed in about 45 days, the new cell will provide space for solid waste disposal for about five years. With engineering and other expenses, the total cost of the new cell will be about $285,000
- Delayed acting on Sheriff Tom Richards's request that fees be raised for serving civil process papers in Archuleta County. Although a raise had been authorized by the governor in 1996, Commissioners Ken Fox and Bill Downey asked to find the meaning of "actual cost" in legislation referring to civil service collections, and also to determine the actual costs incurred by the local sheriff's department
- Approved two lot consolidations; approved the improvements agreement and final plat for Elk Park Meadows; approved the final plat for the replat of Hidden Valley Estates Unit 1; and listened to a presentation concerning The Village at Wolf Creek
- Granted a special events malt, vinous, and spirituous liquor permit to the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs
- Approved the 1999 audit as presented the previous week.
Early voting continues
County Clerk June Madrid said she wants to remind local voters that early voting began Monday and that the Archuleta County Clerk's Office is the only early voting precinct.
The clerk's office hours in the county courthouse are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for voting. Madrid said voters who wish to do so will be able to vote early until Aug. 4.
For more information about early voting or the upcoming primary election phone 264-5633 or 264-2950.
Land trade proposed in Nat'l Forest
By John M. Motter
The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comments on a proposal to exchange 104 acres of national forest lands adjoining Lindner Ranches in Hinsdale and Mineral counties for 160 acres of private lands within the San Juan National Forest boundary in the Silver Creek watershed 2 miles northeast of Rico in Dolores County.
Lindner owns several ranches in the Pagosa Springs area. The ranch involved with the land exchange is located on the East Fork of the Piedra River and was formerly known as the Notch Ranch.
"The land being exchanged does not involve any rights of way or Forest Service trail accesses," said Paul Beaber, a Forest Service land surveyor and realty specialist from the Durango office.
Under the proposed exchange, Lindner Ranches will be able to consolidate land ownership adjacent to the Pagosa Ranger District by acquiring national forest lands intermingled with private lands near the East Fork of the Piedra River.
"Private ownership of these federal lands will allow Lindner Ranches to undertake important river restoration activities," said Adam Poe, Western Land Group representative.
U.S. Forest Service's acquisition of the 160-acre private inholding near Rico will benefit the public interest in many ways, according to a Forest Service news release.
"It will protect the town of Rico's watershed in the Silver Creek drainage, secure legal public access to the Circle Trail and Forest Development Road 551, and enhance recreational opportunities," Beaber said.
Public comments will be accepted until Sept. 2. All written comments should be sent to Forest Supervisor Calvin N. Joyner, San Juan National Forest, 15 Burnett Court, Durango, CO 81301.
For more information, contact Beaber at 385-1205.
Cancer relay nets $12,660 in Pagosa
By Richard Walter
There was drama.
There were tears, hugs, and laughs.
There was tedium . . . and for some, exhaustion.
For all, there was a sense of purpose, a kinship of caring about those who have fallen to cancer and those who have beaten it - even for the shortest of times.
For the dozens of Pagosans who participated in the American Cancer Society's 18-hour Relay for Life starting at 6 p.m. Friday, it was a show of dedication to the cause - finding a cure for cancer.
As banners throughout Town Park indicated, "There is no finish line until a cure is found."
The effort resulted in $12,660 collected for the cancer fight, with the combined total of the two returning teams - San Juan Outdoor Club and Rotary Club - accounting for half of all the money raised.
The top fund-raising team, however, was Curves for Women, one of the three new teams participating. They raised $4,200, including a 100 percent matching donation from their company.
Other new teams in the march this year were Families 4 Families and First Place.
There were lighted luminaria along the River Walk and out onto Hermosa Street in memory of persons who had lost they lives to the disease and honoring many who have overcome the killer.
The event was kicked off by 17 survivors walking through an arch of triumph and then forming to lead all participants in the opening lap around the park area. Leading the group was summer resident William Riggs.
There were people with a length of recovery ranging from a few weeks to a woman who had survived 48 years after overcoming cancer. Multiple varieties of the disease were represented among the survivors and at least one woman was in recovery from two separate types - seven years from kidney cancer and three from lung cancer.
Participants in the Survivors' Victory Lap, in addition to Riggs, were Lili Pearson, Bob Huff, Lois Gibson, Jim Haliday, Dori Blauert, Marti Capling, Rose Perea, JoAnn Sager, Dawn Walker, Suzan Zeder, Larry Bartlett, Jim Hancock, Ann R. Roberts, Pamela Bomkamp and Mamie Lynch.
Perhaps the key thought of the event was best explained by a grouping of luminaria in front of the gazebo stage to form the word which signified the aim of the project: HOPE.
Two amendments, four candidates on ballot
By Richard Walter
Four candidates and two proposed by-law amendments are on the ballot sent to Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association members, ballots which will be tallied during Saturday's annual association meeting.
The session is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon.
Proposed by-law amendment No. 1 would add Article IX - Safety, Health, Security, General Welfare. Specifically, the proposal, calling for a yes or no vote, says:
"Public Safety Department - There shall be maintained an Office of Public Safety, with appropriate staffing, to perform crime prevention, emergency fire, safety, and health duties, surveillance of residences and businesses, animal control, and, when and if authorized under the provisions of state law, perform law enforcement duties."
Petitioners who succeeded in placing the question on the ballot, say non-law enforcement duties should be retained by PLPOA, especially those stated in the proposed amendment. They argue the services are not provided for in the current sheriff's contract and are essential for the safety, security and welfare of members of the association.
They also contend the proposal is not in violation of any law, Articles of Incorporation or Declarations of Restrictions.
An opposition statement furnished by the board of directors, argues the proposed bylaw "would require PLPOA to perform crime prevention, emergency fire, safety and health duties, surveillance of residences and businesses, animal control and if possible, law enforcement, and that the board attorney advises "tremendous liability would be created for PLPOA."
"If a home is robbed, a business burglarized, or the health of a resident compromised," the statement says, "PLPOA could be liable for not having sufficient staff to have prevented the occurrence."
Without the amendment, the board statement says, "PLPOA may provide such services but is not required to do so."
The attorney also advised the board that PLPOA employees would have no police powers, could not exercise traffic control and would have limited ability to intercede or arrest if a crime were observed or a call for help received.
The board argues existing law, fire and hospital services are supported by taxes and PLPOA residents should not pay double for those services.
Voters also are being asked to amend existing Article V, Section 8, para. (b) "Irregular Vacancies - The board shall appoint an individual to fill the unexpired term."
The five-section proposed amendment says the board shall appoint a "Member in Good Standing to serve out the term vacated, provided that term would have expired at the next annual meeting;" calls for a special election, to be held with the regularly scheduled election of directors, to fill the term if it would not have expired at the next annual meeting; if the vacancy occurs within 90 days of the next annual meeting, the special election would be held at the following year's annual meeting; provides that a person appointed in accordance with the amended bylaw may be a candidate in the special election; and provides that anyone elected to an abbreviated term in special election cannot be denied eligibility to serve two full, consecutive elected terms after the abbreviated term.
There was no opposition statement and the petitioners for the amendment said it is necessary in order to assure that majority representation on the board will always consist of directors chosen by the property owners.
Four persons, one an incumbent, are seeking election to the board. Posts to be filled are those of Judy Esterley who resigned in May and whose term ends with this special meeting; the post of incumbent President John Nelson, whose term also expires; and the post of appointed Director David Bohl, who is a candidate.
A permanent resident for three years and a parttime resident for seven, he holds an MBA with a major in finance, a BS in business administration with a major in accounting and has experience as a financial and business analyst and in personnel management.
A 20-year Army veteran with two combat tours in Vietnam, he has also worked in housing management, economic development and housing development on Indian reservations throughout the Rocky Mountain area.
Bohl's statement of candidacy says, in part:
"For the past two years the PLPOA has been in a constant state of turmoil. I believe my work experience, background and education can be instrumental in helping to return stability to this community. The Pagosa Lakes area is expanding at a rapid pace. Due to this expansion, the needs of the community are changing. The most important issues facing this board in the future are road maintenance, community parks and trails, and recreation center expansion.
"Millions of dollars are being spent on completion of roads. There are no comprehensive plans developed on how to maintain them. Close coordination must be done with the county to develop a master plan for road maintenance, including a inventory of which roads the county will maintain and which roads are not included in the county's area of responsibility. A budget and work plan must be established for those roads which are not the responsibility of the county. We do not have equipment or staff for this purpose.
"A master plan has been developed for the establishment of a parks and trail system within Pagosa Lakes. I believe that this plan should be supported and funded to improve the recreational capacity for residents and connect the Pagosa Lakes community with the National Forest trail system."
Bohl also calls for a survey of property owners to determine their interests with reference to possible expansion of the recreational center, improved communication with property owners, and leaving management to the general manager and staff.
Thomas A. Cruse
He and his wife purchased a home in Meadows 2 in 1992, and became full-time residents in July 1999 when he retired as Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
Prior to his Vanderbilt experience, he served in engineering management positions with Pratt & Whitney Aircraft and Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. He has also worked with Boeing Co. and Carnegie-Mellon University. He is a consultant with the Air Force, NASA and some aerospace companies, work which does have travel requirements.
Having had extensive experience in both professional and voluntary organizations, Cruse said, "I understand the importance of a civil atmosphere in both direct and indirect dealings between board members and PLPOA members, and between the board the operational staff and manager.
"Frankly, I come to this election with mixed emotions. So much anger and discord seem to characterize the PLPOA board decisions in the past that the position is not attractive. I do believe, however, that as property owners and residents each of us has a responsibility to safeguard the common interests in ways that are honest and ethical by being willing to stand for election from time to time. I also believe that it is important that we, as voting members of PLPOA, have candidates in numbers greater than the openings. I certainly hope that this is the case this year.
"Some specific concerns I have for the future are open communications with members through e-mail, newsletters, minutes and open meetings. I recognize that the board does have to make tough decisions and stand by them. However, the decisions should clearly reflect the needs and the will of a well-informed membership. I believe the PLPOA should have its priorities straight and publicized; it should not be involved in providing services that other communities get from the property and sales taxes except under the most exceptional circumstances."
He also cited the value of the recreational center and said it should continue to provide adequate space and facilities; said paved roads are a concern as a solution to air pollution and driving safety; that all board members should be elected - "the ballot is the right place for correcting policies and procedures, not the Pagosa SUN!"; and that the operations of PLPOA should be in the hands of qualified professional staff directed by a professional manager. "The board must be the link between PLPOA members and policies and should not be micro-managing daily operations."
Mary E. Fletcher
"After living in this community 20 years," she said, "I feel the Association has become far more controlling of, rather than serving to, our community.
"As stated in the Declarations, this Association was charged with promoting the recreation, health, safety and welfare of all its members. This goal has been lost in many personal agendas and an overwhelming goal of driving up property values. The community must have a broad-based range of members in order to remain healthy. Even the smallest community must have a place for those who serve as well as those requiring that service.
"In order to support this wholeness, we need not only services and recreation for the more affluent, elderly and retired, but also for those people, single and married raising families with children of all ages, who provide the work force needed in this growing community. This must include recreational opportunities within each neighborhood . . . where families can go with their children to burn off energy . . . with durable picnic and bench facilities . . . a concerted effort to provide them and promote their use is long overdue.
"Over the 20 years I've been here, the association has had a Public Safety Office providing for the health, safety and welfare of our community. At times this has also included law enforcement; that was only one duty assigned to our officers. Over the past few years I believe that one duty has overwhelmed the thinking of both the officers and members of the board. Prior to this our officers provided a much more rounded service and had many levels of specialty training aimed at serving our community and protecting our members from the hazards unique to our area. Even without law enforcement duties, I believe the public safety concept is vital to our community. We need it to supplement security, emergency medical and fire services. Having been involved personally in these services for 19 years (I know) the need for dedicated first responders is more critical now than ever.
"There are few in this community whose point of view on these topics I cannot appreciate. I understand the concern over Association dues and will do all I can to see to it services are provided in a cost efficient manner."
Born in Kansas City, Kan., Fletcher was educated in Tulsa, Okla., is married and has two children. She and her husband, Tom moved to Pagosa Springs in 1980 and their children were educated here. She has been actively involved in the youth soccer program in a variety of capacities; has been a volunteer firefighter for 19 years and an EMT for 18 (15 as an intermediate); was employed as a dispatcher/jailer in the Archuleta County Sheriff's office; and has been employed by the Upper San Juan Hospital District for the past 13 years.
Gerald G. "Jerry" Smith
Raised in Kansas and Oklahoma, Smith served in the U.S. Navy and has BS and MS degrees in industrial engineering from Oklahoma State University.
He retired as a small business owner in Austin, Texas, in 1993 after having had jobs with Remington Arms, Lear Inc., Collins Radio, Sunbeam Electronics, Control Data Corporation, Commercial Credit Corporation and working as a senior insurance and finance executive.
His statement of candidacy said, in part:
"It is the shared concern of us all to preserve if not enhance the beauty and value of our property. This is the main reason that the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association was created and should be its principal focus. In the four years I have been here, however, I have seen what I believe to be ineffectual actions and the formation of apathy and animosity among members as the products of the PLPOA board's efforts. It is for this basic reason that I seek election to the PLPOA board: to help restore positive focus and help achieve results in our collective best interest. I believe this can be accomplished with a few simple realizations and practices.
"First, it is important that the board adheres to its already established Articles of Incorporation and By Laws. Using this as a common foundation, the board should initiate and support actions designed purely to maintain or increase property values and ensure the safeties and satisfactions of the membership at large. This should not just be the main focus of the board, it should be its only focus.
"Second, it has been clearly shown time and again that when a private or individual agenda becomes the motivation of a board member it serves only to generate conflict among board members and even property owners and does nothing to serve the membership. I myself have no private or individual agenda, nor any intent or aim other than to support and abide those actions in keeping with the established and prevailing documents. Further, I will take any reasonable action to persuade others to act only with the representation of the property owners, forgoing individual or private opinion. The PLPOA board exists only to serve property owners to the collective interest of all members and individual bias has no place on the board.
"The Pagosa Lakes property owners constituency is a diverse group of people. It is clear that there are many reasons for the choice of ownership here, and obviously there will be a diversity of opinion concerning most issues and challenges the PLPOA will face . . . disparate ideas and opinions can be successfully combined for the benefit of all."
Community mourns loss of JoAnn Turonis Haag
JoAnn Turonis Haag of Pagosa Springs, formerly of North Arlington, N.J., died July 24, 2000, in Farmington, N.M.
JoAnn celebrated 60 years of life with numerous family and friends at her home this past weekend. Ironically, everyone was there Tuesday to celebrate her life which was suddenly taken on Monday.
She is survived by her husband, Robert F. Haag; their five children, Robert, Susan, Gary, Jody and Jamie; seven grandchildren, Matthew, Jason, Garrett, Nicholas, Christina, Rylan and Melissa; and her siblings, Lydia, William, Eugene and Cheryl.
A memorial mass was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parrish on Tuesday. An additional memorial mass is also planned for Monday, July 31, at Queen of Peace Church in North Arlington.
The family requests that anyone wishing to make contributions, do so to San Juan Regional Medical Center administration office, 801 W. Maple St., Farmington, NM 87401, earmarked for JoAnn Haag.
Vandalism continues, three arrested
By Karl Isberg
One rotten apple. . .
The town of Pagosa Springs has developed an extensive parks and recreation system during the past decade, designed for the use and enjoyment of local residents, but it seems a small number of people are intent on ruining the experience for everyone else.
Vandals have been active in town parks this summer, with distressing regularity.
Local police are working to eradicate the problem and parks department employees are hurrying to repair damage when it occurs.
According to parks superintendent Jim Miller, vandalism this summer has "run in cycles. During the summer, we've had some kind of vandalism at least two nights each week. Last weekend, from July 20 to July 23, something happened each night."
Miller said much of the vandalism is minor: broken light bulbs, damaged sprinkler heads, and the like. In such cases, as with instances of graffiti, Miller attempts to clean up the damage as quickly as possible, "to remove the vanity factor from the activity."
Other instances involved greater damage, and they were reported to law enforcement officials. Miller cited damaged toilet facilities at Town Park and South Pagosa Park.
"Last weekend, we had words carved in the bathroom doors at South Pagosa Park," sad Miller, "and someone tried to disassemble the picnic tables at that park. They used a wrench to take the bolts out of the tables."
Miller believes the majority of people who use and enjoy the town park facilities take good care of the properties. "It's so discouraging that a few people are making it difficult to provide services for the rest of the folks in town," he said. "We spend a lot of time cleaning up after a very few people. The community needs to express a strong attitude toward this kind of destructive activity or the problem will get worse."
Pagosa Springs policemen have developed cases related to four incidents of park vandalism this summer.
According to Captain Chuck Allen, vandals destroyed dividers in the men's restroom at South Pagosa Park on June 2. A door was destroyed at the same facility on July 15, and damage was done to another door on July 24. American and Colorado flags were stolen from the park flagpole on July 25.
Law enforcement officials made some progress in their battle against vandals with the arrests of three suspects and the apprehension of a juvenile suspect in connection with damage done July 20 at Town Park .
According to Allen, an observant neighbor noticed four individuals destroying picnic tables at the park and called authorities. Allen said the suspects fled when police arrived at the park.
Three suspects were captured by deputies Tim Evans and Karn Macht. The deputies arrested Adrian Ulery, 22, and Jessie Stoddard, 21, both of Pagosa Springs. The third individual caught by the deputies was an unnamed juvenile suspect.
The fourth suspect, Alan Ulery, 21, of Pagosa Springs, was found by Chief Don Volger the next day and brought to Town Hall where he was arrested by Allen. The suspects were charged with felony criminal mischief.
Allen said police patrols near the parks have been increased. "We will continue to attempt to deal with his problem," said the captain. "We need more people in the neighborhoods near the parks to get involved, to call us when they see something happening."
Forest Service fire crews kept busy here
By Karl Isberg
While recent massive wildland fires in southwest Colorado captured the headlines in national news, local U.S. Forest Service crews kept busy during the past two weeks containing a number of small blazes in and near Archuleta County.
According to Jim Shepardson of the Pagosa Ranger District, 11 small fires occurred in the area since July 13. All the blazes were detected and controlled before they grew to unmanageable size.
On July 13 a Forest Service crew went to the vicinity of the Boot Jack Ranch east of Pagosa Springs and put out a tenth of an acre fire.
July 14, a similar-size fire ignited near the east side of Williams Reservoir northwest of Pagosa Springs and was controlled by a fire crew.
Two small fires occupied the attention of Forest Service firefighters on July 15: the first on Trail Ridge, near Williams Creek northwest of Pagosa Springs; the second at the East Fork Campground, on the East Fork Road northeast of town.
A fire on private land in Chromo on July 16 consumed a quarter acre before a fire crew contained it. An acre and a quarter of brush and timber burned near Devil Creek, on the southeast side of Devil Mountain west of town.
A quarter-acre fire south of Middle Mountain, near the East Monument Road northwest of Pagosa Springs drew a Forest Service crew on July 18 and firefighters returned July 19 to the same general area, to the east side of Middle Mountain to put out a quarter-acre fire.
A half acre of forest land was involved in a fire on the east side of Devil Mountain on July 21.
Four U.S. Forest Service smoke jumpers based at Grand Junction parachuted to a site near the First Fork Road northwest of Pagosa Springs July 23 and battled a half-acre wildfire.
Topping off the two-week list was the so-called "Unit 3" fire (named for a former Forest Service prescribed burn area) near the Blanco River campground on the Lower Blanco Road, southeast of Pagosa Springs. Thirteen Forest Service firefighters worked to control the three-quarter acre fire and crew members were at the scene July 25 finishing up the work.
"Most of our efforts during the past two weeks involved use of a helicopter," said Shepardson. "With the fires burning west of us (in the Mesa Verde and Cortez areas), a lot of equipment has been used over there, but we still used a helicopter to fly equipment in to our smoke jumpers and to ferry them out when they finished their work."
Shepardson said all the local fires with the exception of one were caused by lightning strikes. The fire at the East Fork Campground started from a campfire.
A Forest Service air crew is flying over the forests in Archuleta County on a daily basis, looking for fires. "We had a lot of lightning on July 25," said Shepardson, "so we were hoping to fly the area twice on Wednesday."
Local Forest Service fire crews have been lucky, said Shepardson. While fires ignited nearly every day during the last two weeks, the number of fires has been manageable.
"Things have been happening at good times," he said. "The fires haven't happened all at once. When you get six or seven fires in one day, things get difficult. With the big fires to the west of us, there are a lot of resources available nearby. We still have a helicopter available from Durango; it's just a matter of who calls for it first. And there are a lot of air tankers at Durango right now, so we can divert them, if necessary."
Aluminum cans can provide scholarships
By John M. Motter
Recycled aluminum cans could provide scholarships for deserving Pagosa Springs graduates through a program initiated by the Archuleta County Solid Waste Department.
All money received from the sale of aluminum cans brought to county solid waste transfer stations is being used for a scholarship fund, according to Clifford Lucero, director of ACSW. Started during the spring of this year, the program has already accumulated $596.
The plan is to provide a $500 scholarship for a year 2000 graduate who needs financial support and has not already received support or scholarship money from another source.
Pagosa Springs High School counselor Mark Thompson will supply the names of three students to a committee consisting of Erlinda Gonzales of the Department of Social Services, Lucero, Sheriff Tom Richards, and Tracy Allen, county finance director.
Citizens may support the scholarship program by leaving aluminum cans at the county's solid-waste transfer stations.
Turnout great for candidate grilling
By John M. Motter
A crowd of 150 to 200 persons listened to county commissioner candidates answer questions posed by the local chapter of the League of Women Voters and questions from the audience Tuesday night at the county fair building.
The candidates forum was presented by the League to acquaint voters with the candidates whose names will appear on the Aug. 7 countywide primary ballot.
"From the comments I've heard, it was the best forum yet," said Windsor Chacey, long-time spokesman for the local organization. Chacey emceed the night's proceedings. "Everything went smoothly and started and ended right on time."
Archuleta County voters are faced with what may be a record number of candidates for county commissioner positions representing Districts 1 and 2. Republican candidates in the District 1 race are Michael Branch, Julia Donoho, incumbent Commissioner William Downey, Patrick Horning and Nan Rowe. Republican candidates in District 2 are Alden Ecker, John Feazel, incumbent Commissioner Ken Fox, Ralph Goulds, and Jim Willingham.
J.B. Smith, the lone Democrat in the race, is a candidate in District 2.
The candidates were seated alphabetically behind tables at the front of the room, District 1 candidates to the left of the podium, District 2 candidates to the right.
After opening remarks by League president Carolyn Ullrich, Chacey instructed the candidates and audience concerning rules for the night's proceedings. The rules included an opening statement by each candidate, questions prepared by the League, questions from the audience, a chance for rebuttals by the candidates, and closing statements by each candidate.
Banned were questions concerning the application for a proposed concrete batch plant and other issues the sitting commissioners might have to decide in the near future. Any facts or information the sitting commissioners (Downey, Fox and Commissioner Gene Crabtree) received at the meeting might be used as evidence to show bias when the same commissioners conduct hearings on those subjects in the future, according to Chacey. The League's stance on these questions was based on advice from County Attorney Mary Weiss.
The League also wanted to be fair to candidates who may be elected and not put them into the same situation as the sitting commissioners, according to Chacey. Direct questions concerning growth and county road policy were banned, but answered anyway by many candidates as long as the answer involved general philosophy and no specifics, according to Chacey.
A League question asked of all candidates was: "What plans do you have to make government more effective, efficient, responsive, and responsible?"
Some of the typical, paraphrased candidate answers were:
Smith said county government cannot be run like a business. The county could conduct night meetings so people who work during the day could attend. The commissioners should not try to micro-manage the other departments.
Feazel gave one-word answers based on having the commissioners take action.
Donoho argued for change in the organizational structure and following Colorado County guidlelines more closely, putting the voters at the top, all elected officials on the same plane, and having the county manager assist the commissioners. She suggested the public should be present while legal issues are discussed.
Goulds recommends revising the way things are done by having the commissioners set policy and supervise the county manager.
Most important, according to Rowe, is to involve all residents of the community in all actions.
Ecker advocated better communications between various branches of county government and between the government and the people.
Do like we do in business, Branch said, define the problem, look at the alternatives, make a decision, then move on down the road.
"I agree with Branch," Fox said, "but I think we need to know where the road goes before we make a decision."
Horning called for restructuring county government because "what we're doing isn't working."
Add a week to the agenda, Willingham suggested, so there will be time to look agenda items over. Hold at least one night meeting a month. He said the commissioners need to take control.
Questions from the audience included: Are you for county zoning? Why? Do you favor affordable housing? What will you do to bring clean, light industry to the county with decent wages and benefits? Describe your position on the county manager's job.
Most of the candidates agreed in their answers on most of these questions. All favored zoning of some kind; all favored affordable housing; all favored bringing in light industry of some kind. But, some recommend tax breaks for new businesses and others did not. All described the county manager's position as being one of an administrator reporting to the commissioners, who are fully responsible for conducting county business.
At the end of the program, the League members passed out printed fact sheets containing biographical information about each candidate plus seven topical questions and candidate answers.
"The fact sheets will also be inserted in the SUN this week," Chacey said, "and available at the county library, the chamber of commerce office, and the senior citizens center."
Wounded vet walks for Memorial
By Richard Walter
Tom Schepers is a man on the run.
Not from the law.
Nor is he an energetic athlete eying Olympic status.
The 54-year-old Vietnam War veteran from South St. Paul, Minn., is a man with a mission - to raise awareness of and to honor the 16 million Americans who served in World War II.
He notes that 672,000 of those personnel were wounded and 406,000 gave their lives to protect our freedoms.
Schepers passed through Pagosa Springs last week on a 5-month, 3,300-mile run for World War II veterans. He is running to raise funds for the planned World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Carrying a large American flag, Schepers runs with a limp.
It is not from blisters acquired during his trek nor from a sprain. He was shot through the leg and foot while serving in Vietnam and was not expected to walk again. He received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his actions in that war.
With dedication and determination, supporters say, he began to walk again - and then to run - and run, and run and run.
Committed to increasing veteran awareness, Schepers said, he has logged over 3,500 miles on behalf of both Korean and Vietnam era veterans. And now the World War II veterans are receiving the same support.
Schepers left Camp Pendleton, Calif., on June 6 (D-Day) and is expected to arrive in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 11 (Veterans' Day), the scheduled groundbreaking date for the National World War II Memorial.
His run through the Colorado mountains after leaving Pagosa Springs will put him in Denver on Aug. 1. Then it will be on to Kansas City Aug. 30, Minneapolis-St. Paul Sept. 16. Milwaukee Oct. 2, Chicago Oct. 6, Pittsburgh Oct. 30 and finally, to Washington.
Schepers' run is a volunteer effort with no paid employees. It is supported by the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Minnesota, a non-profit organization. The Memorial campaign is not funding the run but all proceeds in excess of expenses will go to the fund.
Donations may be made to WWII Veterans Run, Bremer Bank, Attn: Kathy Wolner, 6800 Cahill Ave. E., Inver Grove Heights, Mn., 55075. For more information, interested residents can call toll free at 1-800-594-9746 or contact his website at www.wwiiveterans run.com.
Schepers, being interviewed on the move while passing through downtown Pagosa Springs, said he is "greatly impressed by the community and its vistas. I'll be back," he said. "I want my wife to see this beautiful country."
Texas church youth group serves the area
By Richard Walter
If you've seen groups of young people working on Habitat for Humanity houses, assisting youngsters in summer camp, mowing lawns, pulling weeds or singing in the park this week, you more than likely witnessed some of the activities of a 92-member church youth group from Waco, Texas.
The teens, seventh graders through high school seniors, are part of a Baptist youth organization which makes a major mission trip once every two years. The last, in 1998, was to Los Alamos, N.M.
Jan Gohring, an adult sponsor with the group, said they've also been to Washington, D.C. The youngsters work closely with Habitat for Humanity in the communities they visit, as well as assisting in vacation Bible schools without regard to denomination.
They are staying at Community Bible Church, but on Tuesday morning, for example, were assisting at Community United Methodist Church and at the Methodist Thrift Shop.
On Tuesday afternoon some assisted on a Habitat home on the town's south side, others worked in a summer sports camp, and still others painted picnic tables.
The teens, who will be in Pagosa through Friday, will also assist the elderly of the community in weeding, painting, clearing brush, etc. (To call for their services, contact Community Bible Church at 731-2937.)
Traveling in a 12-vehicle caravan, the group has a team of cooks which accompanies them and prepares all their meals.
Mrs. Gohring said, "The planning and prayer for each mission trip begin two years in advance, and the actual detail preparation takes several months."
On the job, the teens weren't bashful about getting their hands and clothes dirty. They were tarring, working a chalk line, driving nails and caulking joints on a house under construction on South 5th Street.
But they took a well-earned break when the owner brought out homemade, fresh sopapillas and cold soft drinks.
Still no rain in forecast for Archuleta County
By John M. Motter
Rain in any quantity is unlikely during the next week, according to Gary Chancy, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction.
"Look for mostly sunny with highs ranging from the upper 80s to the low 90s," Chancy said. "Low temperatures should be in the upper 50s or low 60s."
There is a slight chance, maybe 10 percent, for rain showers, according to Chancy. A high pressure area is sitting over Farmington, N.M., Chancy said. The clockwise winds around the high are picking up a little moisture over Texas and swinging it around to the Four Corners area.
"That high will move to western Arizona over the next few days," Chancy said, "which means more dry air. By the weekend, the high may move into New Mexico, which increases the possibility for rain."
Meanwhile, firefighters and water providers have joined the rest of the Four Corners population in a daily skywatch, hoping for signs of rain.
"We're keeping a close watch on the reservoir levels," said Gene Tautges, Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District assistant general manager. PAWS supplies drinking water to Pagosa Springs and the surrounding subdivisions.
PAWS has asked water users to voluntarily be careful how they use water. Its officials continue to ask that outside watering be performed only between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. They ask that any unnecessary or wasteful consumption be stopped.
If significant rainfall is not received in the near future, mandatory water rationing could be required, Tautges said. The slight rainfall received this month has not helped relieve the danger of running out of water.
Several clues are used as guidelines for mandatory rationing. One of the clues is the surface level of water in Hatcher and Stevens reservoirs, the two supply reservoirs for water users in the subdivisions west of town.
Measured are the distances between the reservoir surfaces and the spillways.
That distance at Lake Hatcher is now 32 inches, according to Tautges, and at Stevens Lake it is 23 inches. The point at which mandatory rationing may be implemented when reservoir levels drop to 60 inches or more below the spillway.
"The thing is, the surface level will drop faster as the water gets lower," Tautges said. "Hatcher has dropped 5 inches since last week and Stevens 4 inches."
The town's water is obtained from the West Fork of the San Juan River. One of the mandatory water conservation trigger points for that portion of the system is when water flow in the West Fork drops below 20 cubic feet per second. San Juan River stream flow in town was 20 cubic feet per second at 9:30 yesterday morning, according to Tautges. The streamflow on West Fork is much more, according to Tautges, because of the number of irrigation divisions between town and the West Fork collection point.
"We're watching the stream flow carefully," Tautges said. "Current conditions are more like we normally see in August."
Last week, 0.02 inches of precipitation was recorded at Stevens Field, the official National Weather Service station in Pagosa Springs. Sunday's rainfall brings the July total to 0.67 inches, well below the long-time average of 1.63 inches.
Coming soon is August, normally the wettest month of the year. Average precipitation during August is 2.52 inches.
The mercury climbed to 88 degrees Friday, the hottest day this past week and the hottest day of the Year 2000. The average temperature last week was 85 degrees. Last week's low temperature was 52 degrees recorded July 19. The average low temperature was 56 degrees.
GOCO grants $65,000 for Navajo Valley conservation
By Richard Walter
A conservation project in Archuleta County's Navajo River Valley is getting a $650,000 boost in the form of a Great Outdoors Colorado grant from lottery proceeds.
The GOCO board announced the grant Monday to The Conservation Fund to help acquire future conservation easements on 7,100 acres of agricultural land, natural areas and nongame wildlife habitat on ranches in the valley.
Specifically, The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit land conservation organization, will accept a donated conservation easement on the Catspaw Ranch and is working to acquire easements on another 3,000 acres in the area.
The Catspaw Ranch, GOCO said, is one of three ranches involved in the conservation plan. Catspaw is part of the former Hughes Ranch in the upper Navajo headwaters area.
David Kirk, a spokesman for the Conservation Fund, said the easement will help protect the Navajo River watershed. GOCO said that area provides habitat for black bear, elk, mountain lion, bobcat, mule deer, bighorn sheep, eagles, peregrine falcon, the Rio Grande chub, the roundtail chub, the boreal toad, the northern leopard frog, the southern plateau lizard and both Rio Grande and Colorado River cutthroat trout. The watershed also provides prime elk wintering range.
The targeted parcels extend along several miles of the Navajo River corridor and are part "of a spectacular viewshed in the valley. According to GOCO officials, "This project will anchor The Conservation Fund's efforts to protect the entire watershed."
Kirk said Catspaw owners challenged the Fund to seek a GOCO grant with promise of easements for land of matching value. The initial request, he said, was for $1 million, "so the actual easement tract may be proportionately smaller in order to achieve the value match."
This open space grant brings Archuleta County's total grant awards from GOCO since 1994 to $1.6 million. Previously funded projects include the Pagosa Springs Wetlands, San Juan River Conservation Project, South Pagosa Park and the Pagosa Area Trails Project.
GOCO representatives said approximately 10,818 acres in nine counties will be protected by the funded projects.
Sales tax income rising
By John M. Motter
Archuleta County sales tax collections for June of this year totaled $353,725, a 12.95 percent increase over June of last year. For the year 2000, sales tax collections are up 7.32 percent over 1999.
A 7 percent sales tax is levied in Archuleta County. Of that amount, 3 percent is retained by the state and the remaining 4 percent divided equally between the town and county.
The county's share is apportioned among the general fund, road and bridge fund, and road improvement fund. The town's portion is used for capital improvement projects.
Prior to the Year 2000, 1999 was the record-setting year for sales tax collections in the county. If the current pace of Year 2000 collections continues, a new record will be established this year.
Concern for the decreasing rate of sales tax collection increases has been expressed by County Manager Dennis Hunt. After the June 1999 collections, the 1999 year-to-date collections were 13.83 percent ahead of June 1998. June 1999 collections were 16.96 percent ahead of June 1998.
So far this year, $1,918,700 has been collected for sales taxes in the county. The county's half of this amount has been apportioned $383,740 to the general fund, $479,675 to the road improvement fund, and $95,935 for the road and bridge fund.
Sales tax collections are regarded as one indicator of the condition of an economy, since they are directly proportional to retail sales. Increased sales tax collections means increased retail sales. Increased retail sales indicates that consumers are willing and able to spend money, a good sign according to some economists.
Meant more than medals
For the past several years it has been my privilege to serve, from time to time on the American Legion Color Guard as we were requested to lead the parades for various community patriotic and other celebrated events. It has been an honor which I believe we all appreciate, to carry the colors of our country and to once again wear the uniforms of the units in which we served.
It has been particularly gratifying to see the respect shown to our country's flag by the children and the younger people in the crowds that line both sides of the street on the parade route. I have been appalled, however, to observe the total lack of respect demonstrated by such a large number of older persons, who appear to be totally ignorant of the protocol of courtesy called for upon the passing of our national colors.
I grew up during the World War II years and, on more than one occasion, have observed such ignorance and/or discourtesy given prompt physical education by a, perhaps, overly patriotic bystander. Since that time I have had the privilege of serving in three of my country's military services, in two of her wars and a couple of other small side events that are long forgotten or seldom mentioned, so perhaps, I am being over sensitive. However, I have heard quite a large number of similar comments from other people in the community, many of whom never served in the military, so I believe my feeling are shared by, at least, a few others.
In all fairness, there was a very positive event that took place during the Fourth of July parade, that I am compelled to mention. I volunteered for military service because I was raised with a strong sense of duty to my country. I never asked for nor expected anything more than the privilege of serving. But, during the parade, just after we passed 3rd Street, as we were passing a large group of people, a quiet, young female voice said "thank you" I did not see who that lady was but, if she has the opportunity to read this, I want her to know that those two words, which sounded like they came straight from her heart, meant more to me than all the medals I managed to accumulate in 22 years of active military service.
Robert E. Dobbins
Major, USMC (Ret.)
Your reporter, Mr. Richard Walter, misquoted me, along with others in the audience of the monthly PLPOA meeting held July 13 (Squad car lease pact extended 60 days.)
My first comment was "there is nothing in the proposed amendment to the bylaws concerning the PSO about law enforcement . . . "; not "in the PSO code" as reported by Mr. Walter. PSO code and a bylaw amendment are "two different breeds of cats."
I started out my next comments with informing the board and the audience that if they suffer from "math anxiety" - not "math fatigue" as cited in Mr. Walter's rendition - they should leave because they would not understand the facts that I was about to present. I then called the board's/audience's attention to the following facts: "There are 169 days left after the 15th of July 2000, when we no longer will have a Public Safety Office. Based on the budget for the year 2000 and the dues levied and collected for the entire year, the budgeted amount for the PSO was $36.25 per unit (which computes to $ .0990437 per day). This further computes to $16.74 (.0990437 per day times 169 days) per unit to be refunded to the property owners, since we will not have PSO services. With the budget projection of 7,620 units, a total of $127,558.80 is owed the property owners. Is the board ready to issue 7,620 checks for $16.74 each?" I did not say "I see a loss to PLPOA of $67,000 plus."
There were other misquotes of other members of the audience, but I will let the other misquoted persons take care of their own. However, I insist that my statements be accurately reported.
Editor's note: Math fatigue was not published as a quote. The dollar amounts you cited were rounded off.
Although you and I have substantive differences concerning county road maintenance, your views are a welcome addition to the debate. Let us hope they will prompt the commissioners to end their silence and provide meaningful, timely input into the discussion - something they have been loath to do.
My basic position remains: In the absence of an equitable revenue distribution plan, see below, taxpayers should not be assessed for services they do not receive; nor should they be denied common services such as road maintenance, law enforcement, etc. because their property is suburban rather than rural.
Your editorial suggests that because Pagosa Springs residents pay both town and county road taxes - while receiving only road services from the town - such pleasures should properly be extended to members of metro districts. We both know that these two entities are not at all comparable. Whereas the town is an independent political entity and is governed by its own council, metro districts are creatures of county government. The county grants these districts limited jurisdiction over specific matters, such as roads and parks; the districts have no other authority. The county even decides which roads may be included, or excluded, from a district at the time of its formation.
It is true that residents of several local subdivisions have formed metro districts which typically provide better maintained roads than those cared for by the county. But your editorial forgot to mention that these special districts were formed out of necessity because neither the developer nor the county would maintain their roads. And their decision to form a district had nothing to do with "responsibility" or any desire for "local control" of their roads, as the commissioners have indicated. Nor are metro district residents pleased to be paying county road taxes when they receive no road services - not even snow removal - as you suggest they should be.
A promising solution to the road maintenance controversy was presented to the commissioners nearly two months ago by Fred Ebeling. Last week, when I asked the commissioners if they had come to any conclusions about the plan, they appeared to have temporary amnesia. The plan would distribute among metro districts an equitable share of road and bridge's total revenues based on a district's road mileage in relation to total county road miles. Currently, only about half of such revenues are "passed through" to the districts to partially offset road and bridge taxes collected from them. Fred's plan would go a long way toward eliminating serious questions of fairness among existing and prospective metro district members regarding the county's current system. The commissioners, however, appear disinterested in having any serious discussion of the plan - with Fred, the road advisory committee, or the PLPOA.
Finally, may I suggest that your reporters refrain from attributing "direct quotes" at public meetings unless the quote is either accurately recorded or verified by the speaker.
Editor's note: My July 20 editorial stated that persons who own property in the town of Pagosa Springs pay county taxes, as do those who own property in metropolitan improvement districts, but receive no services from the county road and bridge department. The county agrees to serve as an agent for a metropolitan district. Metropolitan improvement districts are not creatures of the county, they are formed by a vote of the people who own property within the proposed district. The county does not grant the independent metro improvement districts any jurisdictions. The powers and responsibility of metro districts are established by state statutes. The roads in the Loma Linda subdivision were built to county standards. The property owners in Loma Linda are pursing the formation of a metropolitan improvement district to maintain their roads.
I must strongly disagree with your ideas of what is right and proper action for the county regarding its road responsibilities. Citizens of any governmental entity normally and rightfully expect their government to take care of the roads that provide access from their homes to schools, churches, businesses, stores, etc. The county should take responsibility for the maintenance of all roads that were built to county specifications, unless it was clearly set forth at the time a subdivision was approved that the county would not maintain its roads. In the past it was county policy to accept roads for maintenance that were built to county specifications. Home and lot purchasers relied upon that.
For over a year the commissioners have been threatening to stop maintaining subdivision roads. Until they quit waffling and tell us what they are in fact going to do, nobody knows how to proceed.
I have submitted a proposal to the commissioners for equitable pro-ration of all county revenues for roads so that every road is allocated its fair share. Thus each taxpayer knows that his road gets a fair share of his taxes and of other revenues the county receives for roads. Any metro district or other entity which maintains roads would thus get its fair share for all the roads that it takes care of. The county would have all the rest to use for the roads it maintains. In this manner the residents of the metro districts would not be short-changed as they now are. If they want better maintenance than their fair share could pay for, they have the option to tax themselves for roads of as high a standard as they desire.
The county has accepted and maintains over 75 miles of the 116-plus miles of Pagosa Lakes roads. It also maintains roads in at least 14 other subdivisions as well as a number of roads serving residential areas not in subdivisions. What will the county do about roads which are not in subdivisions if it ceases to maintain subdivision roads?
Subdivision roads must not be discriminated against compared to other roads which primarily serve residences. Every road must be given equal and fair consideration with the same criteria used to decide whether or not it will be maintained by the county.
It must be understood that the three or four areas which have formed metropolitan service districts did so because their developers did not build the roads to county specifications and refused to do so. The county rightfully refused to accept those roads for maintenance. The residents therefore had no course of action except to form an entity to take care of their roads. On the other hand, all the roads in Pagosa Lakes and some other subdivisions conform to county specifications and should be maintained by the county in return for the road taxes that are paid by those served by such roads.
Editor's note: Pagosa Lakes is not a subdivision. It is a name coined by a property owners association to identify 27 separately named and separately platted subdivisions that were to be developed by Eaton International Incorporated. The original developer and its successor both specifically disclosed to potential purchasers that the county might not accept the roads in these subdivisions into the county maintenance system.
Will not sit idly by
I am writing this letter in response to the (July 20) letter written by a Mr. Ruben Luna of Aspen Springs in regards to WolfWood Refuge.
I will not sit idly by while a part-time Coloradan takes it upon himself to speak for the community of Aspen Springs. I am also a resident of this community full-time and ask only that Mr. Luna consider everyone when he decides to promote himself as community spokesman. Personally I believe everyone has a right to their own opinion but when Mr. Luna included the "neighbors" of WolfWood Refuge in his criticism he evidently did not do his research. His opinion is not backed by all.
WolfWood Refuge is a dream shared by more than Craig and Paula Watson. I have been a volunteer there for over a year and own two wolf-crosses myself. A brother and sister who to this day would not be here had Paula and Craig not intervened and rescued the puppies from bounty hunters on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. Sadly enough, the adult wolf-crosses were slaughtered in the incident and the puppies orphaned. Had the Watson family more help at the time maybe the adults could have been saved also.
WolfWood Refuge is a state licensed facility that rescues animals that would otherwise be destroyed because of their wolf bloodline. Being a native of Pennsylvania, I was saddened to find out that the wolf was no longer a part of Colorado's great eco system. When I found out about WolfWood I was excited to find two other people with the same passion as my own in regard to this beautiful animal. We are not alone. Many others in this community will stand behind WolfWood and I take this opportunity to ask those of you who volunteer and help out to write the editor in support of this cause.
If anyone in the community is curious as to what really is going on at WolfWood, come to the facility and you will be given a tour and once you hear about the horror stories the animals have been through, you will have new respect for the sacrifices these people make in order to provide for these animals.
I'm sorry that there are people in the community who consider these animals a nuisance. If the same people put as much effort into helping as they did into slander and negativity wouldn't this place be a much better home for us all? This same ignorance brought about the eventual extinction of the wolf in this area. That I can personally sit on my porch, and listen to the rising chorus of howls in the late evening that sends chills down my spine is a godsend. If Pagosa Springs cannot embrace this organization as its own here in WolfWood, then all the senseless slaughter of wolves in the past means nothing. Help us keep this dream alive as a part of WolfWood. Support WolfWood Refuge.
Wave of the future
I'd like to respond to Gene Cortright's letter of last week regarding county roads and special districts.
Special taxing districts are the wave of the future. I know because I reside in San Juan River Village Metropolitan District and I own commercial property in the East End Improvement District in town. In San Juan River Village, the special district manages roads, water and sewer for our subdivision. It is a small flexible organization made up of my neighbors with similar needs.
Face it . . . This county is overburdened by road issues and it would be fiscally irresponsible for the county commissioners to add additional road expenses. I further suggest that any candidate for county commissioner that advocates bringing more roads into the county system will never be elected in this county.
And why would you want to be maintained by the county? With a special district you and your subdivision neighbors decide where, when and how to spend your special district tax dollars. If you want curbs and gutters, street lights and paved roads then great, tax yourselves at the rate necessary to pay for those improvements. However, if you and your district neighbors only want basic, well-maintained gravel roads then that's a viable choice too.
How Mr. Cortright can call special taxing districts unfair defiles logic. Mr. Cortright advocates letting the county management decide how to spend my tax dollars. Sure. Let's give our money to the bureaucrats in the courthouse and let them make those road maintenance decisions with our tax money. Is that a good decision? No. It's obvious Archuleta County is struggling just to keep up with planning, building, road maintenance, waste management, etc. Do you think the county will spend your money as frugally and as well targeted as you and your neighbors? Of course not.
Mr. Cortright's time spent sniping at the county commissioners could be far more productive if he got together with his subdivision neighbors and began the formation of a special road district in his area of the county.
Those who care
I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who participated in raising money for cancer research and honoring those who survived and those who we lost.
I was very upset to see only five groups who out of their heart took part in this all-night walk-a-thon to raise money for such a needed cause. It was so unreal that all of the businesses, churches and etc. couldn't come out and support such a worthy cause.
Shame on you chamber of commerce - I really don't want any excuse - I thought for sure you would have a group there.
Sure hope to see all of you out there next year to become a "family town" who "cares."
Madeleine "Maddy" Heath
Money being spent
Who says you can't get much for a buck these days. Just go on down to PLPOA and ask to lease one of their police units and you will walk away with the deal of your life. A $40,000 vehicle for one buck for one year. The contract with the sheriff ran out two Saturday's ago and the board was kept from selling them outright to the sheriff so they opted to continue the lease for another 60 days. Now 60 days later with more miles and abuse they will have gone down in value even more. How fortunate for the sheriff, cause now he can even get them for less than before.
Speaking about money. Where is the tax money that is to go to the road and bridge for the upkeep of our roads? And where did the sheriff come up with the money in his budget that he spent four weeks trying to get out of the commissioners for more personnel?
I know for a fact that we didn't have enough snow to be removed nor are the roads being graded to get rid of the washboarding. So where is the money being spent? Maybe on Dennis Hunt's capital projects.
Mr. Tortorici and Mr. Cortright rattled the commissioners on the road question but did not get any satisfaction, just angry responses. Funny how someone gets angry when they do not have the answers.
Here's an idea. If your elected official does not know the answer to the public's question they should not make something up thinking it will do. Instead find out the answer and tell the truth. Politicians and truth in the same phrase?
For sure the PLPOA, County Commissioners and the sheriff's department should be put into Lee Sterling's Brain Dead Society Hall of Fame.
Show us the money and where it has gone.
Error on issue
I was rather angry when I read John Motter's article about the batch plant hearing (Batch plant hearing rescheduled for Aug. 23). Recently some of the property owners and neighbors of San Juan River Village hired an attorney to represent them in an environmental case against Hard Times Concrete Inc. These people were not representative of all the property owners in San Juan River Village and were urged not to use the name San Juan River Village in the naming of the group. Against this urging they named their group San Juan River Village Friends for the Environment or SJRV-FFE.
The part of the article that angered me was the part that stated "Barbara Green, a Denver attorney retained by the San Juan River Village Property Owner's Association." Barbara Green was hired by The San Juan River Village Friends for the Environment not by the San Juan River Village Property Owner's Association.
This issue has caused great strain on our subdivision and this error, though I know is not intentional, will cause even more upheaval. I feel that this error was made because of the likeness of the names.
To verify this information, you can contact either the San Juan River Village POA President Dr. Jim Knoll or contact the attorney, Barbara Green.
Thank you very much for your time.
San Juan River Village Property Owner
What would be wrong if we, the property owners, at PLPOA used our excess budget and vehicles to enhance the safety and security of Lakes Hatcher, Pagosa, Village and Forest?
What would be wrong with a lake wardens, safety and enforcement department, separate from our professional lake management employee?
What would be wrong with hiring full-time lake wardens, trained in enforcement and water safety?
What would be wrong with providing lake wardens with motor boats to better do their job?
What would be wrong with teaching children and adults fishing, and water safety?
Is the present system of using underpaid senior citizens with limited authority, using their private vehicles, not insured for commercial work, a proper and legally correct way to monitor the enforcement and safety of our valuable lake resources?
What would be wrong with making our property owners happy by making some decisions that enhance our quality of life and property values?
William G. Riggs
Editor's note: Your questions offer some valuable possibilities for a board that focuses on the wants of its constituents.
Shocked to hear
I have been coming to Elk Meadows camp ground for about 14 years now and was shocked to hear that a cement batch plant was going in almost across the street from this camp ground. I can't understand how this could possibly be approved to the detriment of a long-term business in the area. The facility is environmentally questionably being located near the river. In addition the heavy truck traffic on and off the road is a hazard. If that were not enough, it will ruin the business that has been successfully operating for 32 years.
If this were such a great opportunity for the gentleman who owns the land then why doesn't he place it in his own front yard or is he aware of how obnoxious it would be?
This will cost Elk Meadows business because who wants to have to listen to the noise, see the dust (which is environmentally unsafe), and see the beautiful land ruined by heavy industry. (I wonder if the required environmental impact statement has been done.)
I understand there is a plan for an industrial area, why not place it there where any normal planned community would? Why destroy one business and create a mountain of dissension in the area?
Certainly this man has a right to do with his land as he sees fit, but in so doing he must consider his neighbors and how this will effect them. It seems there is no concern for the neighbors since the plan moved ahead without the required permits in an attempt to conceal what was happening. As protectors of the community you have a responsibility to protect all people living here. Elk Meadows brings in tax revenue to this community and provides a living for Don and Barbara Palmer. How about protecting a long-time business in the area?
Over the years I have had an opportunity to closely observe the duties and activities of the various boards of Archuleta County commissioners. These are wide ranging, and involve a steep learning curve for new commissioners. The good ones put in long hours and continue the learning process.
I have read with dismay some campaign ads proposing quick fixes for various issues. Are they aware of existing regulations on these issues? Are they proposing to replace them? And if so, with what and why? I've read that some candidates have supposedly taken a position on certain public issues without the benefit of either facts or a public hearing. If this doesn't scare you, it should.
We have seen it happen before. People are elected based on campaign slogans purporting to "fix" what isn't broken; drastic changes take place without regard to consequences; and months or years fly by before reality sets in.
Progress is taking place in our county. We now have land use policies that protect our community and its environment while minimizing governmental interference with private property rights. Innovating planning and growth management techniques are being developed and encouraged. Citizen involvement is at an all time high.
The past few years have shown we, as a county, are on the right track to controlling our future. It's taken us years to get here; let's not lose it now.
In answer to your July 12 editorial, attacking my position on Weber's concrete batch plant.
The final decision as to whether to allow Weber to continue to occupy an illegally-constructed concrete production operation is purely a location versus land-use issue and whether the batch plant conforms to the current Land Use Plan (L.U.P.) of Archuleta County. Only that issue can legally decide whether a conditional-use permit (C.U.P.) should be granted. This C.U.P. is granted by politicians. It is thus a political issue and politics is thus the only tool of those who disagree with the location of this industrial use next to preexisting residential and recreational uses have to fight such nonsense.
Four candidates out of 11, responded to my (July 6) ad and their answers were published (July 13) as I promised. Candidates John Feazel and J.B. Smith have since written the editor their position concerning the concrete batch plant, at this location, as did candidates Nan Rowe and Ralph Goulds state their opposition to the batch plant location. That is exactly what the voters and general public deserve, candor from the candidates. That is what I am out to get, what are you out to get?
The batch plant is not a use by right in Archuleta County. In fact, it is a prohibited use, unless the applicant can demonstrate compliance with the C.U.P. regulations and that there will be no adverse impacts on adjacent properties. Weber can not mitigate the affects of the batch plant on adjacent properties and therefore the C.U.P. application must be denied.
The question is: Why is it there, now, at all, without these permits or process being followed?
If the county had followed its own rules, I would not have to fight this battle, write this letter, nor take your abuse, editor David Mitchell. So if you find it easier to attack the messenger, instead of rooting out and publishing the violations of the rules of law in the Weber/County fiasco, on your own volition, then go ahead. It will make us work harder.
"Independent In Everything - Neutral In Nothing" is your paper's motto. Your newspaper has left it to the "letters to the editor," written by citizens, to expose this information, instead of you leading the way. Such "looking the other way" seems to show your bias in this issue.
Yes editor Mitchell, "there is an established process and there are established guidelines" as you say. And they have all been trashed and ignored by Weber and the county. So we are left to use politics to fight politics.
This is all very divisive for Pagosa Springs. But lets keep in perspective, how it started? We, who are adversely affected, did not build the batch plant without permit one. We are merely reacting to what has been done against our best interests and that of the San Juan River valley.
This is all very absurd, indeed.
Editor's note: Alden Ecker told the SUN on the morning of July 13 that Smith's advertisement totally misrepresented and misquoted what he had said in his response. He provided a copy of a letter to "Mr. Smith" dated July 9. The statements in his letter differed greatly from those Smith's advertisement attributed to Ecker. The conditional use permit for Hard Times Concrete Inc. is on the Aug. 9 agenda of the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission. The public hearings the commission will hold on the matter is the legitimate tool for those who disagree with the conditional-use permit application.
Ties from the past
I'm a new subscriber from California. I sure enjoyed John Motter's article dated Thursday, March 23, 2000. This was on "Pagosa Junction Loses Noted Landmark."
You see, I have ties in the past with both "Gato" and Pagosa Springs.
Mr. and Mrs. James Martinez, who raised my mother, went through school in Pagosa Springs. I have always referred to the Martinez's as my grandpa and grandma.
Many years past, Grandpa Jim was the sheriff of Archuleta County. Later he owned a bar in Pagosa Springs. The big flood, I don't remember the year (October 1911), completely wiped them out. They lost their home and all their belongings.
In later years, Jim worked as a guard at Buena Vista Reformatory. Then as a deputy marshal, deputy sheriff, and finally became the sheriff of Archuleta County.
And later, prior to his retirement, he worked for the Gomez family in the store that was moved to Pagosa Springs as a museum.
My younger brother, Isidore Vigil, went through school at Pagosa High. He had quite a reputation as an amateur pugilist there. Maybe some of the old timers there would remember him.
I know the Gomez family very well, and love them all. After I got out of the service in 1945, Felix (Gomez) and I went on quite a binge. All the way from Gato to El Frances. Felix Jr. and I became close friends, he being a youngster. He had me tell him stories of my war years. I was gunner-radio operator on B-26s and B-24s.
He told me: "Someday I'm going into the Air Force and come back and buzz this place, (Gato). He kept his word. He went into the Air Force Academy and got his flying wings. I later heard that he did come back and buzz Gato. Years later, the poor guy was due to retire from the Air Force. He was sent as a military attache to South America where he was killed. They said it was an accident. Personally, I believe he was a victim of terrorism.
As a young boy, I lived in and out of both Gato and Pagosa Springs. I loved that part of the country, and how I ended up in this rat race in California, I'll never know.
Well, that's my story. I am including a negative I came across of the railroad bridge in Gato (Pagosa Junction), and the Gomez store.
I have a few keepsakes from that area, maybe some day I will make a trip out there and donate them to the museum.
Ronald F. Vigil
San Lorenzo, Calif.
I am writing in WolfWood's defense.
We are a 501C(3) state-licensed facility that is inspected regularly. We comply with all regulations. We network with other licensed shelters on a regular basis. We work with various community groups. The following is a partial list of professional organizations we deal with, most of whom have sent representatives out to inspect our shelter: Humane Society of La Plata County, Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, Humane Society for Pets Sake (Cortez), City of Farmington Animal Shelter, Arnie's Orphans (Durango), Southern Ute Animal Control, Best Friends Sanctuary (Utah), Wyoming Division of Wildlife, Navajo State Park, Coastal Animal Services, Pagosa Springs High School, Pagosa Springs Middle School, School Within a School and Wild Haven.
We have received animals from court-ruled animal cruelty cases. We have rescued animals locally and from eight different states. We are considered competent and come highly recommended by all of the above organizations.
As to the "obnoxious fumes." The pens are cleaned daily, all feces are put in tied plastic bags and disposed of in commercial dumpsters, lids closed. The dumpsters are emptied weekly.
We have lived here since spring 1996. We purposely moved to an unzoned, unrestricted area.
Mr. Luna built his house the summer of 1999. He built directly across from us, knowing that WolfWood was legally located across the road. He has never contacted us personally.
Hundreds of people have visited WolfWood. We give personal tours on almost a daily basis. Why would we show off the place Mr. Luna described. These visitors choose to leave a donation to help. They are amazed at how happy and healthy our animals are and the interaction that goes on between us and them.
We have the discarded bed of one pickup up truck, to be made into a water hauling trailer. We haul all the water for ourselves and the dogs. There is now a 6-foot privacy fence built around the area Mr. Luna objected about. It was built by people who come to Pagosa for family reunions and wanted to spend a day volunteering at WolfWood. They said it was a highlight of their trip. We have the materials to complete this fence along the sides of the property where people are near. We are scheduling another work day in August.
The wolves howl in the early morning, usually about twice, for about 90 seconds. The animals are generally quiet most of the day, they do not bark persistently or habitually, unless of course there are extenuating circumstances, like a member of Mr. Luna's family choosing to walk their dog down the street we live on, stopping in front of our enclosure and watching our animals bark.
We are planning to move. We are willing to move to an even more remote area. But what's to prevent people from moving in around us, and complaining again? We cannot keep moving the refuge.
Anyone wishing to visit WolfWood and judge the animals' quality of care. Call us at 731-9739 and arrange a visit.
Craig and Paula Watson
JoAnn Turonis Haag
JoAnn Turonis Haag of Pagosa Springs, formerly of North Arlington, N.J., died July 24, 2000, in Farmington, N.M.
JoAnn celebrated 60 years of life with numerous family and friends at her home this past weekend. Ironically, everyone was there Tuesday to celebrate her life which was suddenly taken on Monday.
She is survived by her husband, Robert F. Haag; their five children, Robert, Susan, Gary, Jody and Jamie; seven grandchildren, Matthew, Jason, Garrett, Nicholas, Christina, Rylan and Melissa; and her siblings, Lydia, William, Eugene and Cheryl.
A memorial mass was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parrish on Tuesday. An additional memorial mass is also planned for Monday, July 31, at Queen of Peace Church in North Arlington.
The family requests that anyone wishing to make contributions, do so to San Juan Regional Medical Center administration office, 801 W. Maple St., Farmington, NM 87401, earmarked for JoAnn Haag.
Car wash drew 65 fearless owners
We had a great time July 22 and thank all 65 takers in our first (of many) Chamber Membership Appreciation Car Wash at the Visitor Center. Frankly, we never dreamed that so many would turn over their cars to the motley crew in charge of washing and drying, but you did, and we thoroughly enjoyed doing something for our members. We have been searching for ways of expressing our appreciation to our members for their support over the years, and I'm delighted to say, I think we've happened upon the perfect venue. Next year, you can expect a more experienced team and just as much fun.
Our thanks go out first to those who are not board directors or staff but simply really, really good friends of the Chamber willing to give up their sacred Saturday in the name of dedication and love. Stan (the Man) Zuege, general manager of the Spring Inn, Mary McKeehan, former nun and co-owner of Old West Press and wife of our intrepid board director, (poor) Don and Doug Trowbridge, fellow voracious reader and husband of our office manager, Morna, joined us and worked like dogs for over five hours with only a donut and a little pizza for payment. Actually, I will say that Mary McKeehan was the recipient of the biggest tips for the day and proudly shared the fruits of her labor will all of us. Her total tips take for the day: 37 cents, a Tootsie Roll and a breath mint. Nice going, Mary!
We also thank board directors Bonnie Masters, Ken Harms and Don McKeehan for all the blood, sweat and tears during the day and, of course, staffers Suellen Loher and Morna Trowbridge for their unwavering dedication in the face of unpredictable hoses and endless streams of dirty automobiles.
I think if we took a poll among all the workers, new member Jim Downing, with Hydro-Force, LLC, would win star honors for the day. Jim volunteered his services, pressure washed 260 tires throughout the day and drew ooohs and aaaahs from all those who hadn't been able to read the white letters on their tires for years. My tires, for instance, read "Big Foot" although Mary McKeehan thought "Big Mouth" would be more appropriate. Then, after all was said and done, Jim power washed our parking lot before leaving. Whatta guy - thank you so much.
We also are so grateful to those who took pity on us and brought gifts. John Schoenborn thought we looked thirsty and brought some cold brew, as did our pal Jody Unger, of Copper Coin Liquor. Much appreciated, kids, I assure you. Nancy Giordano, of the Spa at Pagosa Springs, brought many bags of popcorn to keep our strength up, and we loved it. Thank you, Nancy. Thanks, too, to those who made donations - and to the seven visitors who paid full tilt for the wash.
Thanks to all for a wonderful day, and count on us next year for another free auto wash.
Those of you who attended the car wash were given the opportunity to buy a chance for a free membership for the year 2000-2001. The lucky name was drawn by one of our Divine Diplomats, Ann Graves, and the winner is - ta-da - Carolyn Feller. Carolyn and David Hammer are the new owners of Chile Mountain Cafe on North Pagosa Boulevard, and she was very, very pleased to hear that when her membership comes up for renewal next year, she won't have to pay a penny. Congratulations! That five-dollar investment truly paid off for Carolyn and David.
Slow down again
A week or so ago I shared the concern of a resident who had called about speeding vehicles all over town seemingly unaware of our kiddoes out of school for the summer, not to mention our visitors and all pedestrians, for that matter. The first call had been primarily concerned about the South Pagosa Park area on Eighth and Apache and prompted another call from the west side of town with a different concern. This call came from a City Market employee who stated that she "almost hit a child every day" in the City Market parking lot and was terribly concerned about their safety. Seems that kids on bikes, skateboards and motorized scooters are using that parking lot as their racing track and playground. Hopefully this will act as red flag for those creating a dangerous situation and all will be safe and sound in the end. Just remember there is very little a driver can do when someone or something darts out in front of them from between parked cars or otherwise. And, again, please slow down especially during the summer months when we have so many on foot.
Well, since I have seven new members and sixteen renewals to share with you, I'd best get on with it. What a week, huh?
New member number one is Jim Downing with Hydro-Force, LLC, doing business out of his home. It was Jim who joined us on Saturday with his miraculous power washing, so he hit the membership running, for sure. Jim offers pressure washing for homes, decks, fences, concrete, bricks, pavers and, of course, tires. He also has vacuum capabilities with no splashing or standing water for interior concrete floors, drywall cleanup, freezers and coolers as well as steam capabilities. Thanks again for all your help on Saturday, Jim, and thanks to Michael Short of Doors and More for the recruitment.
We next welcome Brett Walton who brings us Property Check, Inc. located here in Pagosa. Property Check, Inc. is professional inspection company providing inspections for residential and commercial properties. They follow nationally recognized standards (ASHI) and are fully bonded and insured. They are also proud affiliate members of the Archuleta County Board of Realtors. For more information about Property Check, Inc., please call Brett at 731-5332. Thanks to Jerry Driesens for recruiting Brett and earning himself a free SunDowner. Sam Cassidy would be proud of you, Jerry.
Robert R. Moore joins us next with restaurant, Bob's Cabin, located at 165 North Pagosa Boulevard. These folks specialize in gourmet hamburgers, and offer sand volleyball and horseshoe pits outside and pool tables and shuffleboard in the game room. You can also enjoy live music on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. For more information, please give them a call at 731-2627. Thanks to Cindy Gustafson for the membership recruitment.
Jennie and Jamie Blechman join us next with Artemisia Botanicals Company, LLC, located at 175 Pagosa Street, #2, in the AspenGrove Plaza. Artemisia Botanicals is a full-service herb shop offering the highest-quality herbal tinctures, salves, bulk herbs and spices, essential oils, body care products, consultations, gifts and more. Jennie is a certified Clinical Herbalist and a member of the American Herbalist Guild. Please call 264-1150 for more information about Artemisia Botanicals. Thanks to David Weingarden of Roberts Radio in Durango for the recruitment.
We welcome back our friend, Shirley Luhnow, who brings us Just Gourd-Jus located at 57 Tepee Place in Pagosa. Those of you who have lived here for any time at all have seen (and no doubt purchased) Shirley's amazingly unique and original hand-painted gourds. Shirley designs them as well and offers a variety of choices ranging from ornaments to large containers representative of any and all holidays and Southwest designs. I don't think I have a family member or a friend who doesn't own one of Shirley's creations, and she also welcomes custom designs - which I've done as well. Please give Shirley a call at 731-5443 to learn more about Just Gourd-Jus.
Our sixth new member this week is John Heyer who brings us North Star Mapping Company soon to be located in Durango. John is a cartographer who creates and sells maps of the Southwest United States to include Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. John just walked into our offices last week asking if we would like to look at the map he had created of Pagosa Springs - and we were so excited to see an actual map of our area. This map is available at several filling stations in Pagosa and at the Visitor Center now, thank heaven. We will give you John's new telephone number in Durango when he makes it available after his imminent move.
Last but certainly not least this week is Stephanie L. Imhoff, who brings us Great Great Divide, Inc. located at 163 Goldmine Drive, Unit C, here in Pagosa. Stephanie drove into the car wash on Saturday to inquire about the price if one were not a member. To make a long story short, I sweet-talked her into joining us again after a time in non-member status. She was a good sport and promptly filled out a membership form and check. Great Divide, Inc. deals in the sale of Big Tex Trailers and Haulmark Trailers and would be happy to answer your questions at 264-6440.
Our renewals this week include Rusty Hinger with Bruce Spruce Ranch; Cy Scarborough with Bar D Chuckwagon Suppers, Inc. in Durango; Jessie Formwalt with Appraisal Services, Inc.; Susie Stoltz with Stoltz Construction, Inc.; Soledad Estrada-Leo with Soledad Estrada-Leo Gallery and Studio; Dr. Harold R. Thompson, D.M.D., P.C., with his Family Dentistry Clinic; Helena Gunther with Market Value Appraisal Services; Allan Bunch with both the Riverside Restaurant and The Malt Shoppe; Terri House with The Pagosa Springs SUN; Barbara Palmer, Chamber Diplomat, and owner of Elk Meadows Campground; and Derek Farrah with Plantax, Inc. We're also delighted to welcome the following Associate Member Renewals: Jean Sanft, Chamber Diplomat, Ella and Sam McNatt (Ella is a Chamber Diplomat), Jack C. Threet and Ken and Angie Gayhart. Thanks to one and all. Whew!
This Saturday night at 7 p.m. the Mountain Harmony Ladies Barbershop Chorus is proud to present "The Reunion" at the Methodist Church on Lewis Street. Please join them to enjoy the dialogue, humor and vocal harmonies that combine to tell the story of the St. Agnes by the Sea School for Girls and their celebration of the retirement of their choir director Ms. Beulah McLanahan, played by our own Kate Terry. They will be joined by Durango Junction, the Durango Men's Chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. After the performance, you are invited to join the performers backstage for an "Afterglow" to include refreshments and a little impromptu quartet performance. This is a free performance and seating is limited, so be sure to arrive early to assure your seat. Don't miss this wonderful group - you can always count on them for a fabulous performance.
Our pal, April Bergman, owner of Curves for Women, informs us that she completed the big move last weekend and can now be found in much larger and more comfortable digs just a couple of doors down from her former location. The address is still 117 Navajo Trail Drive, but the new suite number is "Z". She's right behind the Hogs Breath in the former Soaring Eagle Store. Mention this article and receive a $10 discount before July 31, or call April at 731-0333 for more information about their Quickfit program.
Saturday and Sunday you can experience "Life at Chimney Rock" 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Festival of Crafts and Culture. This event offers a hands-on experience of the culture and crafts of our ancestral Puebloans and guided tours of the archaeological site. The activities and demonstrations include yucca weaving, atlatl throwing, stone tools, fire starting, petroglyphs, pictographs, pottery and spinning. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children 5-11. Please call 970-883-5359 for more information.
The Archuleta County Fair is looking for volunteers and invites you to join this wonderful annual event in a volunteer capacity. Some of the areas include set up, clean up, special events, games and contests, information booth, education tent and petting zoo, volunteer check-in, parking, attendee and vendor surveys, exhibit hall registration (note: requires data entry experience) and runners. The days available are August 4, 5 and 6, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please call Marti Gallo at 759-8124 if you would like to offer your volunteer services at the Archuleta County Fair.
Operation H-E-L-P offering reflective address signs
The Department of Emergency Services of the Upper San Juan Hospital District, through their program "Operation H-E-L-P," is offering address signs. These signs, provided at a minimum cost, will greatly assist emergency responders when you call for their assistance. Imagine you call 911 to report a loved one in need of medical help. An address is given to the dispatcher and an ambulance is sent. However, if your address is not posted in a conspicuous place the ambulance crew will waste precious time searching for the correct residence. For $15 a durable 6-by-18-inch vinyl coated aluminum sign with reflective white numbers is available by calling EMS at 731-5811. Remember, if the EMTs cannot find you, they cannot help you.
To receive a "welcome to the world" card from the President of the United States and the First Lady, send your child's birth announcement or a letter after the baby is born to: The White House, Attention: Greeting Office, Room 39, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC 20502. Include a return address and daytime phone number. You'll receive a signed card complete with official seal, the baby's name and a greeting to your newborn. Requests should be sent within six months of birth and may take several months to receive because of the huge demand.
The Aspen Ballet will present "A Children's Rain Forest Odyssey" at Fort Lewis Community Concert Hall at 6 p.m. Aug. 8. Tickets are $15 and can be obtained by calling 247-7657.
In mid June I introduced Erica DeVoti and her Arabian horse, Czar in this column. Erica and Czar are both training and competing in the sport of endurance riding. Here's an update on Erica's latest endurance endeavors. Following Erica's 28-miler in Chimayo, N.M., she and Czar went on to a 50-miler in Montana (Fort Howes, in Custer National Forest). Erica came into a midway vet check a half hour ahead of the world champion, but then they found out that the champion had taken a wrong turn and done an extra 20 miles. Oops. The latest ride this past weekend was a 55-miler in Raton, N.M. Erica and Czar went out with the lead pack and in the first 3 miles Erica lost her helmet. While attempting to retrieve it, Czar reared up and dumped her in the bushes. Horse and rider, however, finished in better shape than in their previous 50, and Czar earned all A's on the vet check, putting them closer to their goal of competing in the 24-hour 100-mile events.
This is a great family sport and with the rest of the DeVoti clan, husband Mark and their two sons, Ben and Josh, "crewing" for the horse and rider (3 to 4 hours waiting, a half hour of frenzied activity). It also took them to some great camping spots. In Raton, they camped near about 150 other horses, who were calling to each other all day (and all night). Their next ride is in August. I'll have an update for the horse lovers in Pagosa.
Youth group will help with outdoor summer work
Whew! What has happened to our "cool Pagosa summers"? I hope we are all praying for rain - it is desperately needed.
If any of our senior citizens need help with lawn mowing, cleaning up their yards, etc., please call Payge at 264-2167. She is in touch with a youth group that will be happy to help out.
Payge is endeavoring to get computer classes offered to seniors. Several folks have asked her to set this up, so speak to her about the final details.
For those who purchase "Boost" from the Senior Center, the price has gone up to $8 per case, a $2 increase. Unfortunately it seems that most of the things seniors require for health and daily living are increasing in price, and some of the politicians seem to think assistance with prescription drugs, home health care, cost of living increases etc. are unnecessary. We should all be writing our representatives in Congress/Senate to stress the need for relief from these ever-rising prices.
We are happy to welcome two returning members to our group, Judy Meyer and Erna Bone, and to have Jim and Roby Fox, and son Ken (our county commissioner) with us again on Friday. On Monday we welcomed Georgia Taylor and her daughter, Jan Day.
Congratulations to Madena Hamilton, who is our Senior of the Week. Madena is a very loyal member and we appreciate the opportunity to honor her.
Senior board members, please remember our monthly meeting on Friday, July 28.
For those who may have missed the advertisements/phone calls, Sandia Hearing Aids will conduct free hearing tests at the Pagosa Lodge, Ponderosa Meeting Room, on July 26, 27 and 28. Call (800) 329-0266 for an appointment. This is a valuable service to those of us who don't hear as well as we once did.
GPS is great - unless the batteries die
My husband Hotshot has a new toy, a cute little GPS - that's Global Positioning System - receiver. It's about 2 inches wide and 4 inches long and maybe an inch thick. Fits right in your pocket. And it knows where it is (and where you are.) Boy, does it know!
This doohickey is amazing. It can plot your walk up the driveway. When you walk along, or drive along, it leaves a "crumb trail" on its little screen, a visual tracking of the route, how far and in which direction. It keeps track of which way north is, and if you turn, the little arrow that indicates you slowly turns, as though it were surveying the landscape along with you.
Oh - I forgot - it also indicates how fast you're going. Hotshot took it out jogging. With every forward pumping motion of his arm that was carrying the GPS, the little doodad upped the rate of speed. When he put his hand up to wipe the sweat from his brow, the GPS said he was running 9 miles an hour. Wow! That's pretty good time. Maybe he should be running marathons.
We took the GPS on a walk around the block. Granted, out where we live the blocks run pretty big. We've been making this walk for years now. I know it's about 3 miles, because I drove it once. Maybe I'm off by a 10th of a mile, maybe even two tenths. After all, a Suburban with light truck tires isn't exactly a precision instrument. But 3 miles is a pretty fair estimate. It takes about an hour to walk it, when I'm not stopping to visit with the neighbors.
Sometimes we have company on our walk. One year the lab next door joined us, tail wagging ecstatically. "Oh, boy. A walk! I'm coming too. Where are we going? Oh, this way. Great! Hey, there's a rabbit! Watch me catch it!" Or chase it, anyway.
We called him to the side of the road when a car came by. I know drivers assumed he was ours. I felt that special embarrassment you get when the dog companion doesn't behave well. I wanted to call out, "He's not mine!"
Halfway round the loop, we felt responsible to make sure he stayed with us until we were back in the region of home. We didn't want him to get lost, stolen or strayed.
Last week Missy Kitty, one of our cul-de-sac cats, followed me the whole distance. I worried about her poor little feet. I worried so much that I picked her up and carried her part of the time.
But I digress.
Now that we have a GPS, I know that this hike is 2.87 miles long, including our driveway. I always thought the distance to our mailbox was about 1/2 mile. Now I know it's 0.53 miles. I always thought it took me about an hour to make the circuit. Now I know it's 59 minutes.
Without the dog. Or the cat.
This GPS device is awaiting maps that can be downloaded from the internet, or maybe from a CD Rom, or maybe from space aliens. Hotshot will be able to install maps of the Weminuche Wilderness, enter specific mountain peaks or river courses, and know exactly where we are at any point on any hike we might care to take in the Wilderness. He'll be able to tell me just how fast we're hiking and how far we have to go before reaching the evening campsite.
Gee. How did we ever manage to navigate the trails before we had these modern conveniences?
There are little caveats that come with GPS receivers. The main one is, this is a radio tracking device. It might not receive. You should bring spare batteries. If you get lost because your GPS batteries run down, that's not the fault of the device. You can't sue the manufacturer.
You better have a backup, say, a hand-held compass. The old-fashioned kind, with the little needle that points toward north. And maps, the kind you fold up and carry in your pack, are also a good idea.
Other modern conveniences are also making their way into the back country. Cell phones, which are just as annoying on the trail as they are in the movie theater, at the symphony, or (back East) on a commuter train. Can't you just imagine - you're out at Chimney Rock, for the celebrated Full Moon tour, or maybe the really special Summer Solstice Sunrise. Twenty or thirty of you. You've had the explanatory talk by a knowledgeable guide. You're sitting on your little cushion, if you brought one. The air is hushed, the mood expectant. And then some idiot starts talking.
"Hey, Alicia. Mark here. You'll never guess where I am - Chimney Rock! Man, it's beautiful here." You just want to push the guy into the kiva.
Drop his phone off the cliff.
We went hiking with some people one time who assured us that those little two way radio phones were the best invention since the automobile. You see these phones a lot at ski areas, especially during spring break. "Dad, this is Mindy. We're at the chair lift. We're going to do one more run and then, like, break for lunch. Okay?"
"You can all keep track of each other," said our hiker friends. "These phones are an important safety device." Well, maybe, if you're hiking in dense forest and can't see beyond the next tree.
On this particular hike, 5 or 6 gadget guys carried phones. One of them was the designated drag, the last person in line. He was supposed to call up the leader if someone (one of us poor souls who didn't have a phone) got hurt or lost. I don't know how. He walked faster than several of us and was soon in the middle of the group. He wouldn't have known where to find us.
And if you expected to hear birds twittering, or wind soughing through the pines, forget it. The woods were full of other dulcet calls. "Can you hear me?" "Where are you?" "Are you bringing up drag?" "No I thought Rita was."
Periodically, a fellow who had stayed back where the cars were parked checked in. "This is Mike, can you hear me?" "Yeah, Mike, we hear you great. Did you get Mike where you are, Sam?"
Getting lost began to seem preferable.
At least it'd be quiet.
Variety marks newest booklets received
Several interesting booklets came from the State Library this month. "The Senior Law Handbook 2000: a Colorado Legal Information and Reference Guide for Older Adults" is especially helpful as it covers general information that will enable seniors to better understand the state laws that affect their daily lives. This is a reference guide for older adults and is a publication of the Colorado Bar Association. It can be purchased for $11 by mail, or our one copy may be checked out. I recommend it for all senior citizens.
We received several new additions to our collection on this subject. One publication tells about some new therapies and the fact that our University of Colorado Health Sciences Center will have one of four auto-immune centers in the country. We now know that when auto-immune diseases strike, the process of self-tolerance has gone awry; the immune system sees tissues, such as cartilage in joints, as foreign and damages them. The National Institute of Health has developed, and will soon fund this new multi-institutional Immune Tolerance Network, and this will allow scientists to more easily develop and test innovative therapies in patients.
It is exciting to have Colorado University involved.
Door Online is a valuable online resource for parents who have children with special needs and professionals who provide support and service to them. It contains resources from across Colorado. The address is: www.dooronline.org.
National and local attention has focused on insuring that our school systems provide every child with the opportunity to achieve the highest standards possible. Policy makers and the general public have begun to ask questions about what is happening for children before they enter kindergarten and the first grade. What can be done to increase a child's chances for success? Can early learning experiences affect a child's ability to competently read, write, and do math? Can a child at play really be learning?
This document takes what we know about the early years and uses that knowledge to describe the building blocks necessary to give children the greatest chance of success. If you are a teacher, parent, childcare provider, elected official or anyone else concerned with children, we hope you will take time to read what is here and let us know what you think. This is a draft and you have the opportunity to comment on it to the Colorado Department of Education.
Betty Feazel donated the large three-volume final supplemental environmental impact statement on this controversial project. In order to meet senior water rights claims, a modified ALP project has been evaluated which would divert flows of the Animas and San Juan Rivers in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. It is proposed to construct a 120,000 acre-foot reservoir in Ridges Basin near Durango. The project would supply municipal and industrial water to the Colorado Ute Tribes, the Navajo Nation, the Animas-LaPlata Water Conservancy District and the San Juan Water Commission. These may be checked out.
Six weeks flew by as our young readers digested 3,732 books. Tasha Rayburn read the most with 140 books completed. Tasha is 11 and will be in third grade this year.
We had 322 readers participate, with 137 completing their contracts. The final party celebration was held yesterday at the Town Park.
Story time will continue through August, at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. Congratulations to all of the participants and their parents.
Winners this week include "Readers of the Week" Becca and Eli Stephens, Kelly and Casey Crow, Ashley Snyder, Del Greer, Billy Baughmens, Jacqueline Garcia, Carmela Lujan, Elizabeth Bliss.
Popcorn counters were Trisha Blankenship, Amanda Sutton, Lindsey Tappan, and Emily Bryant. There were 2,039 kernels in the jar.
Other prize winners are listed at the library.
Thanks for materials from Dr. Richard Ellis, Evelyn Kantas, Joan Blue, Betty and Dick Hillyer, Sally Hameister, Gloria Cook, Pat Harris, Emily Martinez, Lori Plantiko, Betsy Ferris and family, Fredrick Lovret, Russell Lee, Susan Dussell, Margaret Schwartz and Ken McNutt.
A great big thanks to Norm Vance for getting commitments for discounts on restaurant meals and clothes and gear, and for the aloe vera products and free hot tub mineral baths and showers for the firefighters coming off the fire line.
Norm, as many others are, is very thankful for their heroic efforts. If you would like to make a donation for this cause, you can call him at 264-4542.
The next locally sponsored AARP 55 Alive drivers course is scheduled Oct. 4 and 5. The cost is $10. Call Don Hurt at 264-2337 to sign up. Classes will be held at the Methodist Church, 1 to 5 p.m. each day.
The very popular Thursday Night Live, the reading theater featuring local entertainers, held the second Thursday of the month is going to rest during August and September, to resume Oct. 13. The reason is that one of the presentations (at the show) will be "a trail of prominent local citizens."
Thursday Night Live was started this past winter by John and Beth Porter. The cast included Pierre and Sandy Mion, Chris and Summer Phillips Pierce, and Lynda Brown and George Clous. Pat Ritz, Pamela Novak, and Sharon Jones have joined this ensemble. The format is that of an old-fashioned radio show. Half the material is from actual old-fashioned shows, and John Porter writes the rest - still keeping to the old-fashioned radio show format. This reading theatre is pure entertainment.
Bob Hemenger, John Graves, Lee Bartley and D.C. Duncan, professional musicians who now live in Pagosa Springs, and make up Rio Jazz, a jazz combo that has provided the community with wonderful entertainment. They will be playing for "Forever Plaid," the Music booster's production to be held Aug. 17, 18 ,19, 24, 25, and 26 and during Colorfest.
The place for "Forever Plaid" - the high school auditorium. If you are a jazz lover, this is for you. They play wonderful stuff: Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton and Les Elgard.
The Music Boosters keep bringing us great shows. Now it's "Forever Plaid," the story of four boys from the 1950s who form a band. The show is full of wonderful music people will recognize. Starring are Mark DeVoti, Bill Nobles, Chris Young and Stephen Ruduski.
Stephen is a newcomer to the Music Boosters. A music major at Fort Lewis College, he is preparing to audition at Carnegie Hall. The show is scheduled for two weekends. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for students and $5 for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce, The Wild Hare, Moonlight Books and Ruby Sisson Library.
The Rev. Annie Ryder found one of her lost cats. She was walking her dog when it took off to chase a cat. When the cat heard Annie's voice calling to the dog, out she came from under a house. Peanuts, the cat, didn't leave Annie the whole night and she "talked and talked."
The Methodist Thrift Shop needs someone to check the toys, to categorize the books, and to check the small appliances (including computers), and possibly repair them. An hour's donated time will be appreciated.
Fun on the run
How to tell if you are getting old:
If you go to the doctor and he tells you that you need an x-ray but that all he has to do is to hold you up to the light.
Flash flood closes highway
Taken from SUN files
of July 31, 1975
A flash flood near the Bartholomew Sawmill about 15 miles west of town, covered the highway with mud and debris late Tuesday night. Colorado State Highway Department crews were called out to clear the highway so that vehicle travel could proceed in both directions.
Improvement work is underway at Stevens Field airport under a joint project by the Soil Conservation Service and the county. The improvement work will improve drainage, grass will be seeded and the airport's general appearance will be improved.
Bud Brown has been named general manager of the Wolf Creek Ski Area and assumes his duties this week. Brown replaces former general manager Dean Cox resigned the position this spring in order to teach in the Del Norte school system this upcoming school year. Cox had been the manager at the ski area for the past six years.
Several recently planted trees in Town Park have been damaged by vandals. The trees which were planted by the Jaycees, have been bent and broken. Several other acts of vandalism at Town Park have been reported this year. The vandalism is under investigation by law officers.
Accounts of Mrs. Kachel's life in early Pagosa
Elaine Kachel, born in Pagosa Springs, and now a resident of Marysville, Wash., shared with me some of the events of the year of her birth. Mrs. Kachel's mother, Anna Ellsworth, kept daily notes on her calendar. From those entries, Mrs. Kachel was able to prepare a story about the year 1918 for a creative writing class she is taking.
What a wonderful example Mrs. Kachel is for us all - and how lucky we are that we can take a glimpse at life in early Pagosa through her writing and her mother's calendar entries. The following is some of Mrs. Kachel's accounts:
"As spring arrived, in 1918, the weather improved and entertainment was taking friends out for a ride in their car. Many entries were about a drive up to the Blanco Basin, or down to the Piedra River for a visit with friends.
"Dad was an avid fisherman and she wrote of his fishing treks to Williams Lake and Turkey Creek, both Rainbow Trout havens. He would come home with a full creel. Trout dinners were often shared with neighbors.
"The planting of the garden, in April, was a big event, as well as the setting of the hens on batches of eggs to be hatched out into cute little chicks. Alas, they were destined for the fry-pan, as chicken was one of their main sources of food.
"April 12, 1918, was the notation, 'A British Soldier made a Patriotic Speech tonight, and I sang a song. It rained, but a big crowd showed up.'
"April 17, they bought their house, and on April 22, began painting and cleaning. May 2, was the exciting entry, 'Moved into our house today.'
"The summer months were filled with fishing trips, canning the garden produce, evenings of card games and ball games in the park.
"On Sept. 16, Mother cooked dinner for company. Sept. 17, Dad, Wayne (my brother), and Mr. McChristle picked chokecherries, all afternoon. Sept. 18, Mother noted that she made chokecherry and crab apple jelly all day. Sept. 19, she wrote, 'Sick all day, Mrs. Bayles came.' and on Sept. 20, was the announcement, 'Mary Elaine born this A.M. at 3:30.'
"My beautiful white wicker baby buggy came, on the train, Oct. 29, and from then on Mother proudly wheeled me all over town.
"The next important entry was on Nov. 11, when word came that the war had ended. There was a big parade that afternoon, in town.
"November and December were weather related as it began snowing and continued off and on.
"Christmas Day, Dad hitched the horse to a small sleigh, and they ventured out to the Nossamans for dinner, in spite of the 23 degrees below zero weather."
Seeing the news in different ways
There's a newsman's adage which says: Rumor spreads faster than truth. It is your job to distinguish between them so your reader is fully informed enough to make his or her own decision.
Someone sees something happen and describes it to a non-witness. The second person tells the story to a third adding his own embellishments. And so the story goes until the final telling of the original incident bears no relationship to what actually happened.
Expose 15 individuals to the same incident and you'll get 15 different descriptions of what happened.
Those who were lucky enough to have Gladys Styduhar as an English teacher at Pagosa High School, as I did half a century ago, will remember her special creative writing assignments.
She'd come into the room and write a sentence or a single thought on the blackboard. "Now," she'd say, "you have 30 minutes to give me a 500-word story based on that."
At the end of the time limit, as the stories were handed in, she promised, "We'll review them tomorrow."
On that fateful tomorrow, fearful we'd not understood the meaning of the blackboard thought, we all waited in suspense as she rose, sheaf of stories in hand, and said: "Now I want you to read them for me, with the feeling you had as you pictured the event you were describing yesterday."
"Shouldn't all the stories be the same?" we wondered. After all, each of us had the same beginning point.
But they were not. There was no reason they should be, she explained, "because each of you was able to picture a different scenario based on one simple statement."
She was right. Seventeen persons in the class covered seventeen different topics, all based on the same initial premise, a one-line thought written on a blackboard.
For most of us her class was a step forward in the thought creation-writing process that had been nurtured in junior high school by teacher Ann Alice Seavy. She continuously implored us to "write your thoughts carefully, describe what you saw distinctly, and don't tell your readers what you think they want to hear."
These two women nurtured journalism careers, not just in newspapers, for more than one student taught by them to give their writing thoughtful, succinct expression.
The point is that reporters, like other witnesses to an incident, are telling their readers what they saw and heard, not interpreting it for them unless it is important to the understanding or importance of the incident being covered.
People who believe they saw a fatal accident are surprised when the newspaper tells them "three persons were injured in the crash, none seriously."
It must have been a different crash, the original witness thinks. Or else that reporter doesn't want us to know what really happened.
I've even had people tell me, "I know the newspaper won't print this because you got paid off to hide it."
That may be true somewhere. But not on this newspaper or any other newspaper I've ever worked for.
Our job is to tell the story as we heard and/or saw it happen. Our reports are based on the facts we've compiled, not on hearsay or rumor. The presentation of the facts may differ from what you think you saw or heard at the same site, but it is based on trained analysis of information available.
Contrary to what some readers have accused the press of doing, we don't make up the stories we print. We may see it from a different perspective and may have access to more facts with which to amplify it, but the incidents we describe are reported without bias or prejudice.
Personal columns, such as this one, are the place for a journalist's personal commentary and, hopefully, insightful analysis of an issue. This is the place where an author can describe situations which are personally troubling, such as my ongoing attack on litter in Pagosa Country.
The same is true of the weekly Letters to the Editor. They allow the reader to express an opinion or to differ with interpretation of the facts as they see them. It is a constant give and take of informational data.
Confrontation and antagonism can't help but creep in occasionally. Those, however, are not the preeminent result of publication. The important accomplishment of both sides is the exchange of lucid thought and reliable data.
As the publisher often says, "We are the caretakers of your newspaper."
You have entrusted us to report the news of Pagosa Country which is important for you to know.
We happily accept that challenge.
Two locations make this week's list, the first reported by six callers.
The high school parking lot, as of Thursday morning, looked like the aftermath of a wild party. Miniature liquor bottles, empty plastic cups, empty plastic mix bottles and broken plastic containers were spread across most of the eastern half of the lot.
And, as one caller noted, there were no school-sponsored events going on which would have drawn a large crowd to the area.
The second site reported is the stretch of 10th Street from the school bus maintenance garage, past the soccer fields and around the curve of Piedra Street. Both sides, on the same morning, were littered with all sorts of garbage.
Both scenes were a disgrace.
Post Office danger
Four times in the past week I've seen vehicles enter the Post Office parking lot from the wrong side, driving past the "Do Not Enter" signs as if they did not exist.
On three of the four occasions, there was little traffic in the lot and therefore little chance of an accident. They were, however, still illegal moves.
The fourth incident could have led to serious consequences. A vehicle with Arizona license plates entered the parking lot exit at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The driver continued through the lot, around the curve in the entrance drive, and then stopped.
Two drivers entering the lot had pulled politely to the right to allow the errant vehicle to exit the entryway - only to watch him block the mailbox access lane.
Asked if he was lost, the driver said, "No, my wife's addressing a letter. I'm waiting for her to get done."
When I suggested he was violating the law, his answer was, "We'll be gone in a minute."
Nossaman county role traced
By John M. Motter
Editor's note: Last week we quoted from a letter written by Sara Masco, the granddaughter of Welch Nossaman. Nossaman built a cabin in what has become downtown Pagosa Springs, probably in 1876. Nossaman's cabin could have been the first in the county. Last week we ran out of space before we finished the letter. This week we finish Sara's comments, for which we are deeply grateful. The letter is dated July 10, 2000.
"About this time Welch sold his Pagosa Ranch to A.L. Decker from Wray, Colorado. Welch and Addie's oldest child, Terrie, married and moved from the family home. Welch, Addie, and Tom moved to the lumber company town of McPhee, Colorado, and Tom also worked as a timber cruiser. At McPhee, Tom met a city girl, Hazel Gildersleeve from Denver. Her father, Frank Gildersleeve, worked in the company commissary at McPhee. Tom and Hazel were married at McPhee, December 25, 1925. Tom was never a timber man. His heart was still in ranching. He had grown up tending the family ranch and cowboying. Contrary to his father, Tom had never had the experience of sawmilling Welch had. He went back to Pagosa looking for a ranch. He found one for sale just south of Laughlin Bridge and borrowed money to buy it. Here he and Hazel settled and had two girls, myself, Sara Ann, born February 26, 1927, and Martha Irene, born December 13, 1928. I married John Masco of the Masco-Laughlin family and Martha married James (Jim) Sharp of the Sharp-Macht family. I have two sons and six grandchildren. Martha and Jim had three children (one deceased) and 16 grandchildren, as well as great grandchildren.
"The Welch Nossaman life story is not really an autobiography. He was a humble man and the story probably would never have been written but for a long time friend, Carl Weeks, a well-to-do businessman, who insisted it be done. Mr. Weeks brought his own personal secretary to Pagosa and they sat with granddad evening after evening writing as he dictated. Granddad had previously damaged his eyes with black powder exploding in his face and lost his sight completely in the early '30's. I remember going with my parents many evenings and listening while granddad related his life experiences. I was about 8 or 9 and remember getting very tired. Other family members were sometimes there to add experiences they remembered about his life. The book is difficult to follow at times because it was written just as he remembered and happenings were not in sequence.
"As you can see from what I have related to you, I have roots in the Cortez-Dolores area as well as Pagosa where I grew up and went through school, later working in the school system for over 20 years."
Sara added the following postscript to her letter:
"P.S. Also in reference to an article about marriage licenses in the 'Sun' several weeks ago. You stated the Laughlins were related to the Teathers somehow. Yes, John M. Laughlin, son of Lemuel Luke Laughlin, was married to Mary Teather. Mary was the daughter of William Teather and Harriet Harrison Teather. Both the Laughlin and Teather families had settled early on in the East Fork area of the San Juan River. Lemuel L. Laughlin was a Civil War veteran having served with Company H of the 125th Illinois Infantry. He enlisted August , 1862, and was mustered out June 9, 1865, as 1st Sergeant. The family moved from Illinois to Saline County, Kansas where L.L. Laughlin's first wife died sometime before 1873 when he married Cynthia Manley May 8, 1873, later moving to Colorado. The Teathers were from England. The Harrisons were from Ireland. But Harriet Harrison was born in Canada as was Mary Teather. The Teathers were related to Queen Victoria somehow but we have not been able to pinpoint how. There is illegitimacy involved and it is very difficult to find records in this case. We do know the Teathers were residents of Thorne, Yorkshire, England, before coming to Canada and the United States."
Welch is described by Sara as a small man, maybe 5'2" or 5'3", with dark hair and light brown eyes. During his latter years - he died in December of 1937 - Welch and his wife, Addie, lived on Lewis Street. The first home was behind a small business on the east side of the street just down from the Lewis and 3rd Street intersection.
During his last years and while the interviews for his life story were being conducted, Welch and Addie lived in a small house on the south side of what is now the Piano Creek Ranch office on Lewis Street. He died while wintering in Albuquerque.
"He said he was sometimes called 'runt'," Sara said.
Among firsts Welch may have accomplished in Pagosa Country are bringing the first wagons down the East Fork of the San Juan and bringing the first telephone service to Pagosa Springs.
"I have the impression they built that road as they came," Sara said of that first wagon trip down the East Fork. "I also heard him talk about taking the wagons apart in order to pass some areas."
Nossaman built the first telephone line connecting Pagosa Springs with the outside world, sometime during the 1890s. Welch's wife, Addie, was Pagosa Springs' first telephone operator. That first office was somewhere on Pagosa Street, maybe just south of the Goodman store building, but Sara isn't certain.
For a change of pace, here are some school guidelines used during the 19th century. I found these in a restored schoolhouse located at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history recreation of rural life in colonial New Mexico during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The school house had been moved from Trinidad, Colorado, to the las Golondrinas site, about 15 miles south of Santa Fe.
The first set of rules, these used in North Carolina in 1848, is introduced with the old ditty, "School days, school days, Good old golden rule days: Readin' and 'Ritin' and 'Rithmetic' Taught to the tune of a hickory stick." The rules are:
1. Boys and girls playing together-four lashes.
2. Fighting-five lashes.
3. Climbing a tree-one lash for each foot over three.
4. Telling lies-seven lashes.
5. Nicknaming each other-four lashes.
6. Swearing at school-eight lashes.
7. Wearing long fingernails-two lashes.
8. For not saying, "Yes, sir," or "No sir," or "Yes, Marm," or "No Marm"-two lashes.
9. Leaving school without permission-four lashes.
10. Not bowing when a stranger enters or leaves the room-three lashes.
If you think teachers had it better than the students, what with all of the lashing, here are some 1872 rules for teachers:
1. Teachers each day will fill lamps and clean chimneys.
2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day's session.
3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.
4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings if they go to church regularly.
5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.
6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
7. Each teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.
8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.
9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, provided the Board of Education approves.
Short novel inspires long movie
Loyal readers of this column will remember that several months ago I reviewed the film "Fight Club" while it was showing at a theater in a nearby mini-metropolitan area. I wrote about it in light of its "brother" film, "American Beauty," and I noted that both were apocalyptic works, sending a serious message about the end of civilization as we know it but sugar-coating their ominous prophecies with humorous hyperbole.
Last week, I had the pleasure of teaching Chuck Palahniuk's novel "Fight Club" to a group of mature adults continuing their education at tiny Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. I also watched the film again, mainly to see if I could justify showing some or all of it in class to eat up some time while we all tried to figure out what to make of this disturbing piece of literature.
Since "Fight Club" is currently the seventh most popular video rental in this great nation of ours, I'll assume many of you already know the story and I will therefore make short work of its summary, while at the same time making sure not to give away its little secret:
An unnamed yuppie corporate pawn (who narrates both the novel and the film and is played by Edward Norton) gradually recognizes the absurdity and dishonesty of his life. He meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), an angry soap-making underground guerrilla terrorist anarchist with an encyclopedic knowledge of homemade explosives. He moves in with Tyler in a house that would make Norman Bates shudder.
The two (called "identical twins" at one point by the book's narrator) eventually form a fight club where disgruntled and emasculated service workers have the pleasure of beating each other to a pulp. The fight club progresses into Project Mayhem whose members demonstrate some truly fun ways to bring civilization to its knees, preparing the way for a new heaven and a new earth - with, ironically, the anarchic Tyler running the show.
Palahniuk's novel is one of those quick, furious, urgent reads much appreciated by those of us with short attention spans. I read most of it last summer on a flight from Albuquerque to Buffalo, and was really anxious to see the film version. I had enjoyed director David Fincher's earlier work ("Seven") and looked forward to seeing one of America's finest young actors, Norton, work his magic again.
Unfortunately, it takes almost as long to watch the film as it does to read the book. And while the film drags on, it has the doubly unfortunate effect of thinning the book's potent message while simultaneously rushing and compressing it. Norton does good work as the disintegrating narrator, but the role doesn't allow him to demonstrate the genius we saw in the otherwise ordinary "Primal Fear" or "The People Vs. Larry Flynt" or "American History X." Pitt, on the other hand, is a pleasure to watch as a punk in the old sense of the word, a sullen and defiant James Dean for the new millennium.
Perhaps because the film is so violent (the grossest scene isn't even in the book), viewers have tended to take it more seriously than they should, and some have mistakenly seen it as a hymn to machoism. It isn't. It's a satirical piece, with bloody tongue in battered cheek. We know that, for instance, due to the occasional comic ineptness of the narrator, Tyler, and Project Mayhem's "space monkey" recruits.
Still, many of young Palahniuk's concerns or obsessions or motifs survive the translation to the flickering screen. We see the need for authentic experience for those - especially men? - who lead comparatively soft and sheltered lives. "We don't have a great war in our generation, or a great depression," Tyler says. "The great depression is our lives."
We are reminded that we live in a society with a disposable mentality, where pets, friends, wives and families are put out with the trash like old Christmas trees.
We are reminded in disturbing ways of the smoldering resentment our "service people" feel for their betters as the gap widens between the rich and the poor and the middle class disappears. Apparently, many of these folks no longer believe that if they continue to do their duty they'll eventually become CEOs.
We are shown what it feels like to be 20-something and have placed on your shoulders the burden of prolonging the life of a planet that previous generations have been busy destroying. "For thousands of years," the narrator says, "human beings had screwed up and trashed . . . this planet, and now history expected me to clean up after everyone. . . . And I have to foot the bill for nuclear waste and buried gasoline tanks and landfill toxic sludge dumped a generation before I was born." Can our kids reverse the damage? Tyler doesn't think so: "Recycling is like someone who quits smoking on his deathbed," he says.
Most importantly, we see Palahniuk's belief - and I think he's serious about this one - that as individuals and as a society, we need to hit bottom in order to be resurrected. As the narrator says, "Maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves . . . Only after disaster can we be resurrected." It's to Palahniuk's credit that he can convey such a message while his readers can hear him giggling in the background.
For many viewers, however, two and a half hours of on-screen violence is too much dark humor. The chuckles begin to lodge in your throat.
Therefore, if this sounds like the kind of film you'd like to see, I suggest you read the book.
Ena and Bob Shipman are happy to announce the birth of their first born and youngest window salesman. His name is Robert Shane Shipman, he was born on Monday, July 17, 2000, at 8:15 a.m. He weighed 8 pounds, 7.8 ounces and was 20 3/4-inches tall.
Jennie and Jamie Blechman own and operate Artemisia Botanicals, located at 175 Pagosa Street No. 2, across Pagosa Street from the U.S. Forest Service office.
Artemisia Botanicals offers custom-made tinctures, salves and body care products made from organically-grown or ethically wild-harvested herbs, as well as bulk herbs, teas, spices and a full range of natural, primarily plant-derived products.
Jennie Blechman is a graduate of the Southwest School of Botanical medicine, a clinical herbalist and is available for consultations.
Artemisia Botanicals will offer classes and herb walks beginning in the near future.
Business hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 264-1150.