Enhanced fire service rating could cut home insurance
By Karl Isberg
Owners of properties located within Pagosa Fire Protection District boundaries could find their fire insurance payments going down in the near future, following a recently announced change in the fire insurance classification for the district.
In July 1999, evaluators from the Chicago-based Insurance Services Office Inc. came to Pagosa to perform a survey of the fire-fighting capabilities of the district - the first such survey conducted since 1987.
After the 1987 survey, the fire protection class was set at 6/9, indicating the district met certain requirements for structures within six road miles of a fire station and for structures outside the six road-mile distance.
The new and approved classification, 5/10, involves structures within five road miles of fire stations and those outside that limit.
Without going into details, district fire Chief Warren Grams said Wednesday the new classification indicates the district is able to serve a much larger area than it did in 1987, and serve it more effectively.
"When the district was evaluated in 1987," said the chief, "we had two fire stations. One station was at Town Hall in downtown Pagosa Springs and the other was on North Pagosa Boulevard, near U.S. 160. Since that time, the district has grown to 141 square miles in size, with five stations. We now have stations at the east edge of downtown Pagosa Springs and on North Pagosa Boulevard, with other stations at Turkey Springs, Lake Hatcher and on U.S. 84, south of town."
Grams said district stations house five engines, five tankers, an aerial truck, three squad trucks and a reserve vehicle.
Evaluators considered the placement of stations and equipment, and also checked the availability of water for firefighting efforts.
"They flowed hydrants at random locations," said Grams, "and at the schools, the supermarket and apartment complexes. All told, they flowed 33 hydrants and the hydrants had to support a minimum flow of 3,500 gallons per minute or the amount specified by building design."
In those parts of the district without fire hydrants, Grams said his department "had to show we could shuttle water to a site and flow 250 gallons per minute, uninterrupted, for two hours. We had to do this three times for the evaluators."
When the results of the survey finally arrived at the district, the news was good.
"We've been looking at this goal for more than four years," said Grams. "We built stations, bought new equipment and gave our firefighters the extensive training needed to provide the services needed to acquire this rating, and we're thrilled with the results. For a volunteer fire department to get this rating is a real feather in the caps of firefighters, staff and the members of our district board of directors. This happened because of a collective effort by all parties."
A letter to board president Bill Clark from Insurance Services Office Inc. states the "new classification may result in a decrease in advisory property insurance calculation for many insured properties within the district. The change will effect properties to a degree depending upon the type of building construction, the hazards of occupancy and other factors. Insurance policyholders should contact their agent or insurance company to determine the effect this change in classification might have on their policies."
Grams reinforced the message from the evaluators.
"New rates will probably go into effect sometime near the first of the year," he said. "If you live within five road miles of a fire station, you could accrue benefits - perhaps as much as $215 per year for a $100,000 house. But people need to contact their insurance company, because those companies will probably not contact the homeowner."
County reps are seeing red again
By John M. Motter
The red tags are back. When attached to a county road sign, a red tag means the road is not scheduled for county maintenance. Absence of a red tag means the county maintains the road.
Tuesday's 2-1 commissioner vote to continue with the red tag program is the latest in a long line of commissioner actions surrounding the use of red tags that date back to March of this year.
Voting Tuesday for installing the tags were Commissioners Gene Crabtree and Ken Fox. Commissioner, Bill Downey, voted against the tags.
The commissioners were first exposed to the idea of marking the roads as to whether maintenance is or is not performed by the county when they visited Montezuma County earlier this year.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time," said Downey.
It is an idea that has bounced up and down since it was first proposed for Archuleta County. Most of the confusion, however, has swirled around procedures rather than the fact of installing the tags.
Specifically, Fox and Downey have contended Crabtree acted on his own and without approval of the entire board of county commissioners while attempting to procure the tags and have them installed. They have also accused Crabtree of dishonesty by saying he had talked with county road supervisor Kevin Walters concerning the signs only to learn later that Crabtree had not talked with Walters.
Last week, Fox and Downey canceled an order to purchase the signs while waiting for Walters to provide the board of county commissioners with information requested some weeks earlier.
Tuesday, Walters presented the information. According to Walters' report, there are 220 roads not currently signed as "Not Maintained."
At a minimum, Walters reported that an estimated 880 signs will be required if it is assumed four signs will be needed for each of the 220 streets. Each of the signs, or red tags, will cost $2.50 for a total purchase price of $2,200.
Based on existing county experience, the total cost of signs including labor will reach $5,527, about $3.78 each.
"That isn't the end of the cost," Walters said. "For various reasons, the signs disappear and need to be replaced. There will be an ongoing maintenance cost."
Fox's motion to install the signs included limiting the purchase to 220 signs at a cost of $2.50 each and limiting the entire cost to $5,527. County road crews are to install the signs at locations they deem appropriate whenever time permits. The idea is to mark all unmaintained roads in the county. (Excluded and not to be marked are roads in three metropolitan improvement districts, private subdivision roads, U.S. Forest Service roads serving residences not included in the county's Schedule A maintenance agreement with the Forest Service, and private easements not dedicated for public use. Also not included are county roads where no road signs exist.)
In opposing continuation of the program, Downey said it "had not been well thought out from the beginning by all three of us," and to continue is "throwing good money after bad." The amount of dollars is not the issue, according to Downey.
Fox said he voted yes because, "We have already put up 300 signs and we'd have to take those down. We have normal sign maintenance anyway, so that isn't an issue."
Crabtree didn't explain his Tuesday vote. Walters opposed the idea.
"We've completed a GIS survey of county roads and people can call us if they want to know the status of roads," Walters said. "I'd rather put the money into a Web page where they could go and find out about the roads."
Some of the problems with the program cited by Walters include: there are not signs or posts on many street corners; some of the 300 red tags already installed have already been removed, i.e., installation is not a one-time effort; additional, unresolved maintenance issues remain; if newly repaired Fairfield Pagosa roads are added to the county road maintenance list, will road crews have to go out next spring and remove red tags installed this winter?
Supreme Court upholds sales tax decision
By Karl Isberg
A five-year legal battle over whether a ballot initiative would be put before the voters of Archuleta County ended with a Sept. 18 decision by the Colorado Supreme Court.
The decision ends an attempt by a group calling itself the "County Road Users Association" and its principal members Earle Beasley and Fitzhugh Havens, to place an issue before the voters in Archuleta County seeking to change the distribution of sales tax revenues to Archuleta County and the town of Pagosa Springs.
On June 1, 1995, the County Road Users Association submitted the text of a proposed ballot issue and proposed wording for a submission clause and ballot title to June Madrid, Archuleta County clerk and recorder
The Road Users Association proposal sought to amend Archuleta County resolutions that imposed countywide sales taxes approved by voters in the county at elections in 1968, 1983 and 1994. The resolutions had established a total 4 percent county sales tax (the state of Colorado receives a 3 percent sales tax, the county and town split equally revenues from a perpetual 2 percent sales tax).
By agreement between Archuleta County and the town of Pagosa Springs (where the vast majority of local sales taxes are collected) revenues from the total four percent sales tax were split equally.
The Road Users Association proposal split the revenues from the 4 percent sales tax differently, giving the county 75 percent of the revenues and the town 25 percent of the monies from the tax. Additionally, the proposal required the county to distribute two-thirds of its sales tax revenues into a road improvement fund with 1 percent going to the county's general fund.
Archuleta County approved the title submission and petition format and petitions were circulated to place the initiative on the Nov. 7, 1995 ballot. The petition was submitted to the County Clerk and the requisite number of signatures were verified.
On Aug. 20, 1995, the Board of County Commissioners denied the Road Users Association request to put the proposal on the November ballot.
A complaint was filed by the Road Users Association in district court asking the court to compel the county to put the proposal on the ballot. The town of Pagosa Springs entered the process as a co-petitioner and intervened.
The town made a motion of summary judgment and the trial court granted that motion. In doing so, the district court agreed with the Archuleta County board of commissioners and found the Road Users Association petition "did not comply" with requirements defined in the Colorado Revised Statutes, and stated "the County has no duty to present it to the voters."
An appeal was filed by the Road Users Association and the Colorado Court of Appeals reversed the district court decision. The court of appeals ruled the county did not have the authority to "pass on whether the petitions comply with the implementing statute or whether the implementing statute is constitutional." In essence, the appeals court ruled the Road Users Association proposal should be put before the voters and its validity decided in the courts at a later date.
That court also held that a judicial review of the "validity of the petitions or the procedure followed in the petitioning process would be premature," and ordered the matter to go to a vote.
Following an appeal by the county and town, the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the court of appeals erred in holding that "the county has a ministerial duty to submit CRUA's proposal to the electorate of the county," on whether "the court lacks jurisdiction to determine the validity of CRUA's proposal," and whether "the county has a duty to submit the proposal to the electorate despite its purported failure to comply with . . . statutory criteria. . . ."
Oral arguments were made before the Colorado Supreme Court in May of this year. Archuleta County was represented by County Attorney Mary Weiss. The town of Pagosa Springs was represented by Denver attorney Robert Cole. The County Road Users Association and its respondents Beasley and Havens were represented by Durango attorney William Zimsky.
In its decision, the Colorado Supreme Court held "that the County Sales Tax Act imposes a discretionary duty on a county to review a proposal for compliance with the procedural requirements of the County Sales Tax Act prior to presenting the proposal to the electorate."
Further, the state supreme court held "that courts maintain jurisdiction to determine whether a ballot initiative complies with the procedural provisions of the County Sales Tax Act."
Lastly, the supreme court concluded "that CRUA's proposal fails to comply with these procedural requirements."
As a result, the supreme court reversed the court of appeals' judgment.
There is no appeal of the supreme court's decision.
"The Sales Tax Act requires certain elements be in a petition," said Weiss when questioned about the ruling. "The petition from the road users did not have those elements. The supreme court decided the court of appeals was wrong and decided the propriety of the matter was not at issue. This has been going on since 1995; we're pleased to finally have a conclusion and to know the county was right taking the action it did."
County Commissioner Gene Crabtree said Wednesday that he and his fellow Commissioners Bill Downey and Ken Fox (none of the three were seated as commissioners when the process began in 1995), "are pleased we're finally putting this issue to rest. I'm sorry it took so long to get the decision we needed. The decision by the court clears the road for bigger and better cooperation between the county and town in the future, and I am looking forward to it."
That future would have been clouded had the Road Users Association position been validated by the court.
Voters living in Pagosa Springs went to the polls April 4 and approved a measure to collect and keep up to 3 percent of the sales tax, "if and only if the existing sales tax is repealed, repealed and readopted, determined not to be effective, or expires in whole or in part in an amount greater than one percent." The town was prepared to take 80 to 90 percent of a 2 percent sales tax approved in the county-wide election in 1994, as well as the town's 50 percent share of the perpetual 2 percent sales tax.
Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon said he is "elated by the decision. It's exciting to know we succeeded in doing something that is fair and for the betterment of the town and county alike. This is the end of it and I am glad it has been put to rest."
Beasley said Wednesday he had not finished a review of the supreme court action, but said he was "not surprised" by the decision.
"I still think," said Beasley, "the reason it took them so long to make a decision was they needed to find a way to justify what they wanted to do all along. Counties, municipalities, courts, legislatures - nobody wants citizens to have right of initiative or referendum. That's what this whole thing was about from the beginning: we wanted the citizens to vote on this and the county commissioners didn't. That was the issue. I always believed, if you didn't like the proposal, and you were objective, you'd say 'put it on the ballot and we'll campaign against it.' But, when you get down to it, most elected officials don't want private citizens interfering with what they want to do. We simply asked the court to direct the county to do what we believed was right. I'm glad we did it."
Community mourns passing of Becky Silva
Local resident, Rebecca M. Silva, passed away in the home of her family on Sept. 14, 2000.
"Becky" was born in Velarde, N.M., on Oct. 11, 1924 to Lucas and Margarita Martinez. She married Seferino Silva in Pagosa Junction on Sept. 20, 1941. Together they had one daughter and three sons, Margie, Joe, Gene and Richard, all of Pagosa Springs. Mrs. Silva was a lifelong homemaker and mother. Her favorite love was to visit with her family and friends.
Mrs. Silva was preceded in death by her husband, Seferino Silva; her son, Gene Silva; her mother, Margarita Martinez; her father, Lucas Martinez; two brothers, Felipe and Ruben Martinez; and a sister, Adelia Martinez.
She is survived by her daughter, Margie Lucero and her husband David Lucero, and her sons Joe Silva and wife Donelia and Richard Silva and wife Michelle, all of Pagosa Springs.
Her surviving siblings include brothers, Joe G. Martinez of Espanola, N.M., and Arthur Martinez of Velarde and sister, Eufelia Martinez of Espanola. She will also be greatly missed by her 14 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren, as well as her numerous nephews, nieces and friends.
A recitation of the Rosary was held for Mrs. Silva on Sunday, Sept. 17. The Mass of Christian Burial was held on Monday, Sept. 18. Both services were conducted at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church with Father John Bowe officiating. Interment took place at Hilltop Cemetery.
Road rebuilding spawns questions
By John M. Motter
County plans to rebuild portions of North Pagosa Boulevard attracted criticism at the weekly meeting of county commissioners Tuesday.
North Pagosa Boulevard runs from U.S. 160 through a large number of the Fairfield Pagosa subdivisions west of town in a northerly direction until finally connecting with Piedra Road.
Funds from the Fairfield Communities Inc. bankruptcy settlement were used to pave North Pagosa Boulevard during the past two years. Because portions of the recently paved road are in bad shape, the county has decided, before snow flies this winter, to repave those portions of the road which are failing. The estimated cost of the latest project is $283,000.
The most recent paving project is being criticized from two sources.
First, a gravel pit operator is criticizing the process used by the county to purchase gravel for the North Pagosa Boulevard project. Second, Commissioner Gene Crabtree is criticizing the county for not repairing the road properly with the bankruptcy funds.
Concerning the bidding process issue, in a letter addressed to Crabtree and dated Sept. 12, 2000, Ron Hitti, president of Commercial Rock Products Inc., complained that even though his bid of $55,000 for supplying crushed rock was the low bid, the county awarded the bid to A & M Construction for $63,450. Hitti argued that his low bid should have been accepted and further, that county projects exceeding $50,000 should be put out to public bid. He said that the county, by taking bids by solicitation only, is violating state law.
During project planning, total costs were separated before determining how bids would be let, according to Kathy Wendt, administrative assistant to the county commissioners. Since county road crews and equipment are doing a major portion of the work, including hauling the gravel, the county sees no need to include the value of county work when determining bid limits, Wendt said. The cost of work done by the county was separated from the total.
The estimated costs of gravel and asphalt requirements were also separated. Because the county estimated the cost of gravel at less than $50,000, no formal bidding process was initiated. Instead, county road supervisor Kevin Walters called several local gravel suppliers before making a decision. A & M Construction was chosen over Commercial Rock Products because the A & M Construction source is nearer the application site, according to Walters. The proximity of A & M Construction to the application site should result in a lower total cost using the A & M Construction bid, according to Walters. Walters promised to keep the gravel cost below $50,000, even if the gravel must be hauled from county stockpiles located down the San Juan River below Pagosa Springs instead of being purchased from an outside source.
Asphalt paving for the project, because the cost of asphalt paving is expected to exceed $50,000, is being put out to bid later this month, Walters said.
Concerning the second issue, Crabtree asked why the job wasn't done right the first time? If North Pagosa Boulevard was recently paved using bankruptcy settlement funds, why is it being paved again using county funds? Why isn't the contractor, Weeminuche Construction, being held accountable?
The new paving job is failing because a good base does not support the new asphalt surface, Walters said. About 20 percent of the newly-surfaced road has failed. Quality control testing of the new work evaluated the asphalt, but did not evaluate the road base because no work was done on the road base, Walters said. The new asphalt paving was properly done.
A decision was made to pave as much as possible and not look at or conduct any tests on the road base during the planning process after bankruptcy funds were received, but before road work was started, according to County Manager Dennis Hunt. Involved in the decision to not look at the road base, according to Hunt, were the county, the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, and a road advisory committee appointed jointly by the county and the PLPOA.
From the audience, Gene Cortright said he and two other members of the road advisory committee present at the Tuesday commissioner meeting do not remember being part of any decision to not evaluate the North Pagosa Boulevard road base.
Crabtree questioned the process used by the county to evaluate road work. He pointed out that Western Technologies has performed road testing on county roads in almost every instance and the county has had many road problems, including Eightmile Mesa Road and Piedra Road.
"Shouldn't the county ask for bids for the road testing," Crabtree asked.
Hunt said road testing is included in the general bid package. Road builders winning bids to build county roads hire and pay for road testing, even though the testing is done according to county specifications. Hunt said the practice is standard across the nation and is used for state and federal road building projects. Western Technologies is licensed and bonded and cannot afford to do anything but a good job. Hunt said the county has benefited from the process.
What to do with 'leftovers' puzzles PLPOA
By Richard Walter
An inventory of equipment left over when the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association Public Safety Office was dissolved has left a passle of items on the "what do do with" list.
General Manager Walt Lukasik told the PLPOA directors at their Sept. 14 meeting that there are several usable items and many that probably don't fit that category. The list includes specialty products which might be donated and items which should stay in the realm of law enforcement.
Such things as EMT kits, evidence kits, shotguns and vials of rabies vaccine were left behind when PSO operations were halted. Lukasik said other items for office operation like stationery, paper clips, glue, etc., were absorbed into the PLPOA office management.
"The real question," he said, "is specifically what we should do with these other items . . . and the ones I named are just a few of those on hand."
Director Fred Ebeling said he had examined some of the materials and agreed that "some of it should be sold, some given away and some used in our own operations."
Ebeling urged that a board committee be named to work with Lukasik to evaluate which items are usable, which should be sold, which should be donated and which should just be destroyed.
Board President Richard Manley agreed and named Directors David Bohl and Gerald Smith to the evaluation panel.
It was the first formal assignment for Smith who had been sworn in minutes earlier after his appointment to fill a two-year unexpired term was unanimously approved by the board.
Surplus vehicles which are inoperative and had been a bone of contention for several weeks, were hopefully sold by last weekend.
Lukasik told the directors the vehicles were to be towed Friday to Durango and were to be part of a public auction of surplus at LaPlata Fairgrounds Saturday. He said, other PLPOA vehicles which had been leased to the Archuleta County sheriff's department were returned Thursday and are being inspected for wear and degree of deterioration before making a decision on how or whether to dispose of them. There had been suggestions that at least one and possibly two of the vehicles could be used by PLPOA code enforcement and lakes management personnel.
In conjunction with that discussion, Bohl said one new problem being encountered is that "current policy with reference to disposal of special assets (other than the police vehicles) requires us to list each item separately and ask for bids. That becomes cumbersome, especially with special-use items like spotlights and sirens."
Bohl proposed a code amendment which would allow sale of all such items without individual listing and bidding.
Lukasik said it appeared a language change in the code rather than an amendment would satisfy the need and was told to prepare that item for discussion.
Memorial service today for Banks
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Robert "Bob" Banks will be held at 10:30 a.m. today (Sept. 21) at the Pagosa Lodge.
A resident of Pagosa Springs for many years, Mr. Banks died in California on Aug. 19, 2000. It was his wish that a memorial service be held in Pagosa. All who knew him are invited to attend.
Inside The Sun
Plan to change land use designation debated
By Richard Walter
A property owner's complaint that his residence is endangered by a plan to convert all of Ridgview Subdivision to commercial designation led to angry exchanges Thursday between himself and the developer.
In the end it took a stern reprimand from Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association President Richard Manley to retain decorum.
Homeowner Tim O'Connell had asked to be on the agenda to voice his concern that his home, one of three residential sites in the small subdivision on a U.S. 160 frontage road, would be imperiled by plans to change the entire subdivision to commercial use.
Citing a similar move three years ago when the PLPOA board sent the developer a letter directing that 100 percent of the property owners had to approve a similar proposed change, he asked the drafting of a new letter with similar wording.
"As the only homeowner in the subdivision," O'Connell said, "I'd have no voice." Contending he had been told new regulations require only a 75 percent vote of property owners, he added, "I have only one vote and the subdivider is the major land holder. My rights to enjoy my property are endangered."
O'Connell said he had told the developer, Bill Chenoweth, that "he could buy my house and do as he wished with it, but he didn't. Now he wants to change property values by changing classification and I'm asking that the 100 percent property owner requirement be reinstituted to protect my interests."
Director Fred Ebeling told O'Connell, "The association has promulgated regulations to be adhered to if people want to change uses. According to the declarations of restrictions, property owners do not have to go through the association to get the proper number of votes."
If a developer wants the association to act as facilitator, Ebeling said, "he has to abide by our regulations. If he does not invite us, we have no authority to say how many people must sign. The use may be amended by a majority of the owners of record."
"You're telling me the association has no responsibility to get involved?" O'Connell asked. "If that's the case, why did you act three years ago?"
"We were asked by the developer to facilitate the move," Ebeling replied. "In this case we were not involved."
"Then where do I go for help?" O'Connell asked. "Do I have to hire an attorney?"
"Yes," said Ebeling. "We don't have legal authority to get involved."
Director Tom Cruse said, "Since this seems to be an important issue and we don't seem to have a definitive answer, I'd like to know specifically what happened three years ago. I don't think the explanation we've heard is complete. I'd like the general manager to study the background and report to us."
At that point a man from the audience asked if he could be heard on this subject?
When Manley asked his name and relationship to the issue, the answer was, "I'm Bill Chenoweth."
"Proceed," said Manley.
"Three years ago I went through the association because I thought I had the votes to achieve the change needed," he said. "Tim didn't want commercial use. After the vote letter, I dropped the plan to concentrate on development of the mall (Ridgview, which is now leasing).
"People (now) are looking more and more for commercial property," he said, "particularly smaller tracts and there are few of them available."
Chenoweth said he had offered O'Connell several contracts on his property, "but he rejected them."
"Not true," interjected O'Connell. "Those weren't contracts. I never saw anything but a bunch of handwritten notes."
"He has his property on the market," Chenoweth countered. "And it's valued at $20,000 more now than it was three years ago."
In answer to a question from the board, Chenoweth said he owns 51 percent of the property involved.
When O'Connell again argued, "No contracts were offered," Manley said the subject had been exhausted and "it is obvious we have no control over whether the major property owner wants to change classification.
"We are not involved and I will not let this floor become an arena for personal animosities," Manley warned.
Sheriff, fire chief lift county-wide burning ban
By John M. Motter
Sheriff Tom Richards, in conjunction with fire district Chief Warren Grams, lifted the ban against burning outside fires in Archuleta County. After announcing the decision at the Tuesday meeting of county commissioners, Richards said county residents still need to obtain a permit from his office before starting outside fires.
In other business Tuesday the commissioners:
- Agreed to waive fees for a county minor impact subdivision connected with transferring property from Pagosa Springs Enterprises to the county. The rationale for waiving the fees is "it merely means transferring money from one county pocket to another." The property involved includes the county extension office and a site for future county fair buildings
- Agreed to fund a budget overrun of $2,570 connected with this year's Archuleta County Fair
- Approved a conditional-use permit for a 0.96-acre extension of an existing 8.32-acre gravel pit located at Juanita and known as the Klett Construction Materials Extraction Operation
- Approved a conditional-use permit for Aspenwood Townhouses, a 6,400-square-foot building containing four individual townhouses and located at 301 Talisman Drive
- Approved the consolidation of Lots 7 and 8 in Piedra Park Subdivision No. 1
- Approved the correction of a subdivision near the intersection of Catchpole Drive and U.S. 84 bringing the subdivision into compliance with county subdivision regulations
- Approved the final plat for Powell Minor Impact Subdivision located on the south side of U.S. 151 between Arboles and Allison
- Gave conditional approval to a minor change in an FAA grant application being submitted for Stevens Field. The condition is that the county attorney approve the application after reading the change.
Wolf Creek closures expected
By Richard Walter
Construction began Monday on the Wolf Creek Narrows portion of a massive reconstruction program on the east side of the pass.
The initial project consists of blasting, excavation and tunneling and officials of Kiewit Western Co. of Littleton, the general contractor, warn it will be necessary to stop traffic in both directions for up to 45 minutes at a time at various times throughout the day.
The traffic stops will be between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Fridays.
Night operations also are planned for the project from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Thursday during which the highway may be closed completely. Actual closure dates will be announced in advance and travelers and commuters are urged to set their travel plans accordingly.
The highway will be completely open and free of stops during weekends from 3 p.m. Friday through 7 a.m. Monday.
This phase of the project is expected to continue into 2002.
A release from the contractor said "safety of the traveling public is our primary concern and we apologize for any inconveniences."
Specific date closing information will be available through the state's Traffic Operations Center at (800) 353-6604. Kiewit will also post a public information number at the construction site.
Nights are colder, but still no official frost
By John M. Motter
Pagosa Country nights are getting colder, but, despite reports of scraping ice from windshields and snow on the mountains to the north, a freezing temperature reading has still not been captured this fall at the National Weather Service metering station at Stevens Field.
Flashes of autumn brilliance are visible from town as the mantle of aspen trees girding the San Juan Mountains begin their annual metamorphosis from green to gold and red.
The coldest temperature officially recorded this past week was 34 degrees Tuesday night. Cold temperatures for the week ranged between 34 and the 43 degree reading with an average low reading of 38 degrees.
Weather conditions for Pagosa Country should remain about the same today and tomorrow, according to Doug Baugh, a National Weather Service forecaster in Grand Junction. Today should be partly cloudy and a little breezy with highs in the high 70s or low 80s.
Tomorrow, there is a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms with high temperatures in the mid to upper 70s and low temperatures in the low to mid 40s.
A cooling trend could move in Saturday and Sunday with a slight chance of showers in lower elevations and snow possible in the higher mountains. Low temperatures could drop into the upper 30 degree range, according to Baugh.
Pagosa Country and western Colorado is under the influence of a westerly flow of cooler air, Baugh said. Some time within the next 10 days, a storm front should move in from northwestern Canada. It isn't clear how far south the storm will drop, as the polar jet stream dips into the United States. There is a good possibility for snow in the northern Colorado mountains with a slight chance the winter-like activity could drop to the Four Corners area.
Pagosa Springs received no measurable precipitation last week. The highest temperature recorded was 84 degrees Sept. 17. The average high reading was 80 degrees.
Donaldson wants office more accessible
By Richard Walter
"We're trying to make the business of the state accessible to all the people of the state, the rural areas as well as the metro complexes."
Donetta Davidson, Colorado's appointed secretary of state, had that opinion as a cornerstone of her remarks in an interview with the SUN Friday as she brought her campaign for election to Pagosa Springs.
She said the office has a new Web site (www.sos.state.co.us) which is updated constantly and has drawn praise from many sectors for its accuracy and completeness.
"We're attempting to make government really for the people," she said. "We want our office to be the place where they can find out what's happening at a given moment."
Citing election operations for example, Davidson said her office keeps up-to-date records available on the Web site with reference to how much a candidate has collected in donations and how much he or she has spent. "We have data on special issues and pro and con on their potential effects."
On election night, she said, "we keep tabs on all the legislative races around the state with regularly updated totals provided by the county clerks periodically during election night." Often surprising, she said, "is the amount of interest there is in a remote legislative race by people in Denver."
Asked what is involved in getting an initiative on the ballot, Davidson said the verification of signatures alone "is a monstrous task. We had to hire 60 temporaries to handle the verifications for the issues on the upcoming ballot.
"We ran temporary staffs of 40 in the daytime and 20 at night for 14 days to determine legality of signatures on every proposal submitted," she said.
"The process involves checking to see if the requisite number of signatures has been submitted. Then we have a computer program that will search out specific signature lines to check. Then there's a random sample of 5 percent of all petitions turned in. If 90 to 110 percent check out the issue goes on the ballot. If the total is under 90 percent it doesn't make it."
Davidson said she receives a master registered voter file from every county and it is updated regularly. "That way our computer program can tell at almost any moment which signatures are valid and which are not."
Her office has a $400,000 budget for dealing with initiatives. But that is not the only cost for getting an item on the ballot, she said. The Legislative Council is required to publish the so-called "Blue Book" which details every ballot proposal and is mailed to every registered voter.
The Council must also review each initiative for legality of wording and that requires research time. And Davidson's office is also required to publish legal notices at least four weeks prior to actual balloting in every designated "legal" newspaper in the state.
"It would be hard to put an exact figure on the cost to get a single initiative on the ballot - for all those reasons," she said. Sometimes the same person will file more than one. One man filed six in one day, she noted, and "Douglas Bruce has filed more than a hundred of them."
Davidson promises efficiency in the office if re-elected to a full term of her own and is campaigning on a motto which says: "I see the Secretary of State's office not as a government agency, but as the business office for the state. Customer service comes first."
Born into a military family in Liberal, Kan., in 1943, she became a Coloradan shortly thereafter when her family moved to Two Buttes and then to Las Animas where they settled.
She served as Bent County clerk and recorder from 1978 to 1986; director of elections in the Colorado Department of State from 1986 to 1994; was Arapahoe County clerk and recorder from November 1994 to July 1999 when she was appointed Secretary of State by Gov. Bill Owens. She succeeded Vikki Buckley who died in office less than a year after being elected.
A Republican, Davidson is opposed for the office by Democrat Anthony S. Martinez; Patricia P. Baker of the Reform Party and Johanna C. Fallis, a Libertarian.
"Tell the people," she urged, "that we're there to serve them. We want to be on the leading edge of making government really of the people. We need their input as much as that of our own advisors."
CSAP scores show 'need to improve': Lister
By Richard Walter
"The standards are set above grade level so it's not surprising there would be some lower than we'd like scores."
That was part of Pagosa Springs Junior High School Principal Larry Lister's reaction last week to the release of individual school performance results on the statewide Colorado Student Assessment Program tests administered last spring in mathematics and science.
Statewide, just 33 percent of the eighth graders tested were proficient or higher in mathematics and 45 percent were proficient or higher in science.
For Pagosa's 130 students tested in math and 131 in science, the scores were below the state averages with 24 percent in math and 41 percent in science.
"It is obvious," Lister said, "that we need to improve. We will use this data to evaluate and improve our curriculum and instruction procedures and thus improve the learning opportunity for the student in the classroom."
He said the school will, with the scores as a basic starting point, hold teacher workshops with the specific focus of improving test scores in future years.
"We'll do an item-by-item analysis of the tests and focus on improving our programs. We'll share data with accountability committees so they can enforce the need for study at home," Lister said.
The testing "creates a rigorous challenge for us," he said, "but it is one we intend to meet."
A number of school administrators statewide contended that their eighth grade enrollments last year were unusually large, thereby effecting the teacher-to-pupil ratio appreciably.
Lister said that might have had some effect in Pagosa Springs, too, where class sizes last year were at 26 to 27 students per teacher while the norm strived for is 25 or fewer. The ideal would be 20 but the generally accepted level is about 22, he said.
While Pagosa Springs' scores were comparatively low statewide, they ranked just above the middle of the pack when compared with 11 other junior high schools in the Southwest Colorado quadrant.
Bayfield, Mancos, Dolores, Durango, Sanford (in math only) and Telluride scores were higher. Center, Del Norte, Ignacio, Monte Vista, Cortez and Sanford (in science only) scores were lower.
For purposes of comparison, Bayfield's 89 tested students scored 40 percent proficient in mathematics and 56 percent in science; Durango tested 363 students and they scored 37 percent in math and 63 percent in science; and Ignacio scored 8 percent in math and 33 percent in science with 79 eighth graders tested.
Numbers of students tested were not available for the other schools in this compared dozen, but the scores included:
Center, 7 percent in math and 9 percent in science; Del Norte, 21 and 32 percent respectively; Dolores 23 and 53 percent; Ignacio, 8 and 33 percent; Mancos, 50 and 57 percent; Monte Vista 21 and 34 percent; Sanford 26 and 40 percent; and Telluride, 62 and 56 percent.
After the scores were released statewide, State Commissioner of Education William Maloney described the results as disappointing but not surprising given recently announced scores on national math and science tests.
The CSAP tests were given to 53,881 students statewide in the first year for the testing program at eighth grade level. Over the next several years the state plans to phase in increased testing so that all students are tested annually in reading and writing in grades three through 10 and in mathematics from grades five through 10.
Under the CSAP enabling legislation, schools will be given state report cards with letter grades based on their students' performance on the tests. The first such report cards are due for release a year from now.
Deteriorating vacated structures vex PLPOA
By Richard Walter
Proper maintenance of vacated structures wherein ownership is in question was a vexing issue Thursday for directors of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association.
Director David Bohl, citing "some properties deteriorating below even minimum acceptable standards," asked that the Rules and Regulations Committee draft a code of enforcement "with sensible standards to apply to properties like this."
"I have a problem with asking that," said Director Fred Ebeling. "I can visualize that in order to cover all the bases we'd have a foot-high stack of rules. I think instead we should go to the declaration of restrictions.
"If there's a complaint and an inspection is suggested," Ebeling said, "the board members should go out and look at it. I don't think a long list of rules would be workable."
Director Tom Cruse countered, "Subjective evaluations of current problems can create big problems down the road. I think standards of maintenance rules can be workable without being terribly wordy."
Ebeling said the Rules Committee "can't adopt anything. It can only recommend."
General Manager Walt Lukasik said he did not believe it (property inspection) would be "more than a once-a-month action for the board."
Bohl said it would take a two-thirds vote of the board to initiate corrective action but not to identify a problem. "The property in question now," he said, "should have been condemned years ago. It is a disgrace to the community."
Director Francesco Tortorici said there is an ongoing review of the association's code of enforcement and suggested rules for this type of situation should be included in that.
Association President Richard Manley said, "I tend to agree, but I don't want to split hairs on subjective issues. It should be known that this board will be responsible for the bottom-line decision."
Ebeling suggested the title code enforcement is "unfriendly" and that it should more politely be called neighborhood regulations. "But, going to the code would take six to eight months for action and this problem needs a solution more quickly."
When Manley asked Lukasik to examine what other homeowner associations do to combat the problem of "deferred maintenance" and to come back with a report, the general manager agreed.
"But," Lukasik said, "you should know the property in question has gone into foreclosure and the attorneys involved indicate there is a prospective buyer who plans to upgrade the property to livable status."
"Great," said Manley, "but we still need something more to guide us when and if the question arises again."
Resurvey markers key factor in road dispute
By Richard Walter
A Stevens Circle resident told Pagosa Lakes Property Association directors last week that he and representatives of La Plata Electric Association had stopped resident James Turk from building a roadway on association property and over a utility easement.
Rick Jewell said Turk, who has holdings in the Martinez Canyon area, had been dozing a roadway and cut down several trees "including four on my property," in order to create a roadway to his own site, Jewell said.
When the work entered electric line easements, he said, Russ Lee of La Plata Electric advised Turk to stop.
Asked by association President Richard Manley what Turk's reaction was, Jewell said, "There are exploratory flags out there as part of your own resurvey operation to determine correct property boundaries. He took those preliminary markers as gospel bounds.
"He needs to be stopped, at least until your survey is done," Jewell said.
General Manager Walt Lukasik told directors that he and Larry Lynch had inspected the Turk operation and said, "the big concern is that if the resurvey moves the points of boundary, there will be a big problem. This is a driveway from a roadway, not a roadway itself," he said.
"If the resurvey leaves the line where it is," Lukasik said, "the driveway will not be on our property."
"He was warned by La Plata to stay off the easement," Jewell said. "And they (La Plata) indicated they will be replacing that line next year as part of an ongoing modernization of the power distribution system."
The board took no action, but directed Lukasik to keep an eye on the situation pending completion of the resurvey.
On another road issue, Realtor David Gundling told the board he has clients prepared to build on several cul-de-sacs in Trails Subdivision and "they want to know if the roadways are going to be finished."
He said they have all utilities already in but the roadways are incomplete. "They wonder why these roads weren't finished when the ones in Chris Mountain Estates were finished although there are no utilities at all there," Gundling said.
Director Fred Ebeling said, "The Fairfield (Communities Inc.) settlement funds that came to PLPOA did not provide enough money to finish all the involved roadways."
He said there was a decision to build to or beyond properties where homes already were inhabited or were under construction. At that time, there were no homes on the cul-de-sacs.
But, Ebeling said, "all the leftover funds from the settlement were put into escrow and are drawing interest. They are to be doled out to property owners who want to create improvement districts to construct roads to their homes. The amount of money available will be divided by the number of lineal feet of roadway still not done.
"Currently," Ebeling said, "that means about $18 per lineal foot is available . . . and it could be slightly higher because of the interest accrued."
He also said the association has brochures to help residents learn how to form an improvement district.
Ebeling also explained that the Chris Mountain roadways were covered by the county's settlement funds from Fairfield Communities Inc. and not by PLPOA's portion. "We had no control over how they used their share," he said.
Traffic problems also concerned others in the audience.
One person asked if there are rules prohibiting commercial vehicle use on residential thoroughfares and was advised there are none.
Ebeling said "all our roads are dedicated to the public, therefore all are public roads. We can't restrict use."
"What about all the cement trucks using residential streets as through-streets?" asked another audience member. "There's no restriction," was the answer.
Director Tom Cruse asked if the county has weight limits on the streets and Ebeling said there are limits on some "but they're rarely enforced."
On still another road issue, Bill Chenoweth told the board, "I just finished paving Navajo Trail (Drive) this week and traffic is already moving at 60 and 65 miles per hour. I asked the county about installing speed limit signs and enforcing them and got a bewildered look. I asked the sheriff for more patrols and was told 'We drive that road occasionally.'
"Then I went to the highway department," Chenoweth said "and suggested installation of a stop sign at Navajo and Seminole (drives). They agreed and I said I'd pay for the signs.
"That's become the fastest drag strip in the county," he said. "I live there and I'm scared for my life. Hopefully the stop signs will help, but we probably won't see the sheriff enforcing anything out here."
Chenoweth also said the highway department is considering an additional stop sign at Navajo Trail Drive and Ute Drive.
Cloud seeding program set on Pine watershed
By John M. Motter
A cloud seeding program affecting the western San Juan Mountains is expected to start Nov. 1, according to Lawrence M. Hjermstad, manager of Western Weather Consultants LLC, a Durango firm.
The program is designed to increase precipitation between the Dolores and Pine rivers and at elevations of nine thousand feet and higher, according to Hjermstad. Archuleta, Hinsdale, and Mineral counties are not part of the primary target area.
"The border areas are a little gray," Hjermstad said. "We can't control the limits of precipitation with absolute precision."
Contracting for the weather modification project are Southwestern Water Conservation District of Durango, Dolores Water Conservancy District of Dolores, and Durango Mountain Resort (Purgatory Ski Area).
In order to conduct the weather modification activities, Western Weather Consultants has applied to the director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board for renewal of a permit granted during the mid-1970s in connection with weather modification activities conducted to benefit the San Luis Valley.
The permit renewal application anticipates weather modification activities from Nov. 1, 2000, through March 31, 2001, and continuing for the next nine consecutive years through 2010.
Results expected for the modification are an increase in the snow pack and precipitation in the primary target area for recreational use and to provide additional water supplies for agricultural, industrial and domestic uses.
Western Weather Consultants conducted cloud seeding operations in the southern San Juan Mountains and the San Luis Valley from 1978 through 1985-86, according to Hjermstad.
"We used research gathered at that time to conduct cloud seeding operations that took advantage of weather systems coming in," Hjermstad said. "The result was a change going from drought conditions to normal. We had a positive effect with the heaviest snow years we've had creating a heavier snow pack and recharging the ground water storage systems."
The program was stopped in 1985-86 and the region has suffered from drought conditions most of the time since, Hjermstad said. Now, ground water supplies are almost depleted and reservoir reserves low.
Cloud seeding will be conducted by the release of silver iodide particles from several strategically located ground generating stations, according to Hjermstad.
Before the state approves the permit renewal, a public hearing is being conducted at 1:15 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Fairgrounds Extension Building Meeting Room, 2500 Main Avenue, in Durango.
PLPOA communications panel plans web upgrade
By Richard Walter
When Tom Cruse ran for election to the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors earlier this year, one of his promises, if elected, was to facilitate better communication with members.
Toward that end, after he was elected, he sought and was named to chair an ad hoc communications committee and made his first report on the committee's actions Thursday.
"I was reminded," he said, "that this was not the first such committee, that a lot of work had been done before. We appreciate that action and intend to build on it."
Cruse said one thing the committee has found is that "there are a lot of home owners here and a lot of property owners, many of whom do not plan to ever build. Our newsletter is the only means of communication for many of them," he said.
Noting the association has a Web site, he said, "we intend to improve it and hope that for many it will become the principal means of communication with the association."
He said the committee plans to host newcomers' meetings twice a year, with explanations of association rules and a chance for newcomers to the community "to find out who and what we are."
The committee also plans an open town forum at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 with the entire facility available to the membership. Roads will be the theme for the session and the Road Committee will be on hand to answer any questions.
Scheduled on the agenda under new business, property owner Bill Jaeger broached concerns with reference to a subdivision proposed along Piedra Road across (east) from Pagosa Highlands Estates. Jaeger presented watershed maps and voiced fear there will be pollution of the association's lakes as a result of the development, noting the project, at build-out, will require a million gallons of water daily and the means of disposing of the waste water.
Director Fred Ebeling informed Jaeger that the association owns the bottom of the lakes but Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District owns the water, and that his fears would more correctly be addressed to them.
Jaeger said he would do so but wanted the association to be aware of the possible effects the development could have on association members.
In other action Thursday, the PLPOA board:
- Approved the appointment of Catherine Gallagher to an alternate position on the Environmental Control Commission
- Ratified a Great Outdoors Colorado trail grant agreement, subject to formal forwarding from Archuleta County after County Manager Dennis Hunt has reviewed it - the agreement contingent on whether or not Hunt made changes in the final draft
- Heard Treasurer and Director David Bohl report the Financial Committee is working on a revised budget and has found several accounting deficiencies that, though minor, are being corrected
- Heard Dahrl Henley make a presentation in opposition to the November ballot issue called Amendment 21 - the so-called tax cut amendment. She urged the board to join opposition to the proposal by adopting a formal resolution. After what one director termed "your eloquent presentation," the board told her the bylaws prevent them from "attempting to influence legislation" and that the formal resolution she sought could be construed as such an effort. She agreed, but urged each of them, as individuals, to write letters of support.
County sales tax collections continue record pace
By John M. Motter
Sales tax collections in Archuleta County for the year 2000 continue at a record pace, according to an August report released by the county.
August sales tax collections totaled $444,684, up slightly from the $443,258 collected during August of last year. For the year 2000, sales taxes collected in the county through August amount to $2,893,731, 9.18 percent higher than the $2,650,484 collected by this time during 1999.
"While sales tax collections are higher this year than they were last year," said County Manager Dennis Hunt, "I'd still like to point out that collections through August of last year were up 14.83 percent over the preceding year. The rate of increase is down this year."
The August collection total for this year is also down from the July total of $530,346. The July total this year is the largest amount ever collected in Archuleta County. Last year, the largest monthly collection was the $469,988 taken in during October. August was the second highest month for sales tax collections during 1999.
A 7 percent sales tax is levied in Archuleta County on most retail items. Of that amount, 3 percent is retained by the state, and 4 percent is divided equally between the town and the county. The town's portion is used for capital improvements. The county's portion is assigned to three funds.
So far this year from sales tax receipts, the county has apportioned $723,433 to the road improvement fund, $578,746 to the general fund, and $144,687 to the road and bridge fund.
It can be taken without a fight
Today (Sept. 11) I am leaving to join the United States Army. It was a difficult decision for me to join under the present administration. However, I feel I have a duty to serve our country and give back some of what our country has given to me regardless if our Commander in Chief would not serve in the military when he was called.
America is still the best country to live in and we are still free. America is a democratic-rule by the people. We still have the power to change what is wrong. That is why I encourage those who do not vote to do so. Your vote does count and enough votes can change the course of a nation.
Your freedom was paid for with a heavy price. It was not given without a fight, but it can easily be taken from you without a fight. Don't forget those who paid the price for your freedom and remember those who still serve to guarantee that freedom. That is why I am serving proudly in the United States Army for the greatest asset one could possess, freedom.
I would like to credit my love for my country to my hero and my dad, a Vietnam vet, and to my best friend, my mom, who has supported my decision from the beginning. Also, thank you to all those who have supported me and encouraged me and helped me to believe in myself.
Goodbye for now.
Pvt. Robyn A. Miller
United States Army
More home sites
A new subdivision has been proposed where Meek Ranch is located on Piedra Road with 155 home sites on 239 acres. This development is against all things the people of the county have expressed about what they want for a community plan.
It's located in a scenic corridor and a critical migration area according to the maps presented at the Community Plan meetings. With 10,000 home sites already platted in the county, why are more home sites needed at this time? Have these meetings been productive? Have our voices been heard?
Time will tell.
Rod and Gayle Dornbusch
P.S. If you don't want your fire insurance rates to sky rocket and if you want an ambulance to show up if you ever need one, don't let a few fight for a better quality of life for all. Get out and vote no on Amendment 21.
Red tag plan
Regarding the "Red Tag Plan" (on county roads), there does not seem to have been much planning done.
Considering the haste with which (County Commissioner) Gene Crabtree is pushing this project, one has to wonder what his hidden agenda is. How can a thoughtful person start a project without knowing what the cost is going to be? How is it that no commissioner knew how many roads they were turning their backs on? How much money is going to be saved? What are the long-term consequences of such a plan? Why was the Pagosa Lakes area targeted? What really are the commissioners trying to do by hastily implementing an incomplete plan that starts and ends with Pagosa Lakes?
Everyone can appreciate the problem of having limited funds for road maintenance. Everyone can understand that some roads should receive more attention than others. However, the red tag on a road sign is a declaration that the county will never ever do anything to maintain that road. The citizens who live along the road will still be expected to pay their taxes so that other people's roads will be maintained. But those who live on red tagged roads will eventually be denied significant county services, for which they must still pay taxes. As the tagged roads weather and wear, it will someday be impossible for an ambulance or fire truck to reach the residents along the road.
It is one thing to say you cannot provide current levels of maintenance on some roads. It is quite another thing to say you will never ever spend a nickel of my tax money on my road. It is time for taxpayers to rethink who we have empowered to make such foolish decisions.
Native of Pagosa
I am not the type of person to step into the political arena much less express my views, but after attending the public meeting Sept. 7 for Hard Times Concrete Plant, I feel it's time a "native" of Pagosa Springs stands up and voices an opinion.
For three hours that night, I sat and listened to people voice their opinions about what a detriment the concrete plant was going to be to their "vistas and property values." I can't comment about the property values, because as any native of Pagosa knows, it's usually feast or famine around here. There is no real means of gauging property values. It depends greatly on the economy. But I can make a comment or two about the "vistas."
I am a native of Pagosa Springs. I was born and raised here, my mother was born and raised here, and my grandmother and her mother were also born and raised in Archuleta County. I believe that classifies me as a true native. I've listened to people talking about living here for "X" amount of years. What about the people that have lived here a lifetime? You didn't see us jumping up and down, screaming, pitching a fit when you moved in and built your "fancy" homes and around our vistas. No, what you experienced was a community welcoming you with open arms. And fortunately, people, part of the community that welcomed you with open arms was Weber Sand and Gravel.
The concrete plant is a great idea and business opportunity. Not only will it bring work to our community, but it will also bring in competition to an industry that has no competition in our area.
I think people need to worry about what is in their own backyard and clean it up before they start trying to tell the surrounding neighbors what they can and can't do with their own property. As for the Palmers trying to sell their campground, maybe they should lower the price. If it hasn't sold in two years of being on the market, chances are the asking price is a bit too high.
Just a few lines to complain to you about my paper. It's been getting here over eight days late, I know it's not you guys there in the office but I used to get my paper the latest three or four days, but now eight days. I still haven't gotten Aug. 31 yet.
I think the post office there really needs to work and get the mail out.
It's taking seven days to get here.
Tony A. Gallegos
Willows in park
Yesterday, my wife and I went down to Town Park for a picnic lunch. It was a beautiful day and we wanted to enjoy ourselves and watch the river. Having recently retired and moved here from Chicago, one of the reasons we moved here was to enjoy the beauty you have here.
That is why I can't understand why the town is not maintaining the park's beauty by not cutting down or removing the willows along the riverbank. Everyone knows willows are nothing more than noxious weeds. They will get thicker and thicker so not even a bull elk could push through them, let alone any human be able to get down to the river bank. These willows are now more than head high. A fly fisherman there was also upset after losing two flies in the willows. It just doesn't make sense. By next year, we won't even be able to see the river.
Now I know something about maintaining stream banks after a career in the planning section of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Some, I'm sure would argue to allow the willows to stay to hold the stream bank. That would be OK if it weren't a town park where people come to enjoy the river.
The solution is simple. Kill out the willows along Town Park's river bank and replace it with rock rip-rap. This will support the stream bank and won't block the views of the river. I suggest using native stone that would also look natural. There's no reason why our beautiful town park should be taken over by willows. Pagosa Springs needs to get rid of the willows in the park.
Arlis P. Gunzel
Retired U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers
Wouldn't it be wonderful if all new commercial construction was governed by codes so that each new structure resembled the two-story log building on the north side of Put Hill about midway.
Get out and vote
Isn't it amazing how 123 words have the potential to do so much damage to the state of Colorado? Douglas Bruces' Amendment 21 only contains that many words, but there aren't enough words to describe the damage he will inflict on our community if his amendment passes.
Here is something new to consider: Our fire district has recently been upgraded to a "5" by Insurance Services Organization, the organization which certifies fire departments/districts in the United States. Because of that, homeowners in Pagosa Springs should expect their fire insurance rates to be lowered by their carrier. Good news? Not if Amendment 21 passes. A representative of one of the largest fire insurance carriers calculates that if our fire district is eliminated, "no frills" fire insurance policy on a home valued at $125,000 (ask a Realtor and you'll find that is about average these days), would cost about $2,500 a year, after a $1,500 deductible. That $25 tax cut looks a little puny now, doesn't it?
Douglas Bruce is reported to be an attorney. That doesn't make him smart, just educated. His amendment is poorly thought out and very deceptive. Let's face it, one of life's real lessons is that "you don't get something for nothing."
Tax cuts are great, but not at the expense of services for our community.
Get out and vote, and vote no on Amendment 21.
Our Services (SOS)
I have supported environmental organizations for years, and have given time and money to advocate preservation of open spaces and wildlife habitat; and to stop destructive ventures such as clear-cut logging and industrial pollution. I have stood up for so-called "tree-huggers" when they have been maligned by the press, industry, politicians and general public. Last fall, I enjoyed a slide presentation given in Pagosa Springs by photographer John Fielder, who revisited places that had been photographed by William Henry Jackson in the late 1800s. At the presentation, a petition was circulated advocating that citizens plan for growth and future development.
I have participated in the public workshops to develop a county-wide plan for growth for Archuleta County, and have been impressed by the diversity of community members working together to achieve a common vision which includes preservation of open space and wildlife habitat, clean rivers, night sky, local heritage, economic stability and affordable housing. I have also been impressed by the facilitators' work in tying together all the input they have been receiving from local residents. The county plan is now in its final stages of development, and should be implemented this fall.
I am hoping our county plan does not get hijacked by Initiative 256/Amendment 24 (Citizen Management of Growth), which will be on the ballot this November. This amendment was spearheaded by Fielder, its proponents wish to change the Colorado Constitution to add an article requiring local governments to delineate areas committed to development, and to plan for growth with citizen input and approval. This initiative sounds much like what we have been doing in Archuleta County over the past year. However, Amendment 24 very specifically defines the areas in which construction would be permitted, and may impose inappropriate restrictions on our county. If passed, construction would only be permitted in subdivisions which are already 50 percent built up, or which have a central water and sewer system. In some areas, people who have legally bought land in good faith may be prohibited from building their homes. There are some exceptions to the definitions, but at this stage it is unclear how the amendment would be implemented.
I am not an advocate of no-holds-barred development, nor do I believe that people have the right to do whatever they want on "their" land. Quite the contrary; I would likely support an initiative requiring that communities plan for growth and restrict development to delineated areas and needs. These specific limitations need to be developed by each community taking into consideration local realities; precisely as the residents of Archuleta County have been doing for the past year.
Supporters of Amendment 24 claim that 103,000 people signed a petition supporting it; however voting for "citizen management of growth" may subject us to an amendment that is too narrowly defined to belong in the state constitution.
Get a copy of it for yourself from the commissioners' office and inform yourself before this November.
It's not your place to make a correction like the one Kelly Mackey, caretaker of the B.J. Meek ranch is making reference to.
The point that Kelly Mackey missed is that another beautiful part of Pagosa is being destroyed in the name of money.
People who come here for a visit and find Pagosa's beauty come back to live and then end up changing it by taking a part of that beauty away. They come here to get away from the big city with its bad air, traffic jams, crime and just too many people only to start changing it to what they were trying to get away from. You are as much of the problem by working for such a person.
The spelling of a name is not the issue here, but saving the area for its beauty is - not to mention another migratory path that the animals use will be destroyed and forced to move elsewhere.
Here is something to keep in mind. The elk were plains animals until the humans forced them to move to the high country. Where will we force them to go now?
Take a stand!
It's great to be back on the last page of your "Letters to the Editor" section . . . at least that's where letters regarding the East Fork Valley/Piano Creek Ranch (PCR) are typically banished.
Not that I blame you. Despite your distaste for the controversy, both pro and con, I appreciate your willingness to tolerate publishing differing points of view on this complex and thorny issue.
First, I'm happy to report that the Friends of East Fork event at the Town Park last Saturday was a great success - man, you missed some great photo-ops. Despite what the "Enemies of East Fork" (um, that would be Piano Creek Ranch) would want you to believe, this was not a gathering of tree-hugging eco-terrorists from outside of Pagosa. In fact, I personally know local supporters of Friends of East Fork from many walks of life. Supporters include tourists, new residents, and families that have lived here for generations. Friends of East Fork members include hunters, fishermen, skiers, horseback riders, mountain bikers, and hikers. They are teachers, business owners, musicians, retirees, restaurant workers, ranchers, builders, professionals of all sorts. Heck, we've even got a real estate agent.
There are literally hundreds of local residents that have signed a petition calling for our decision makers to protect the East Fork Valley's wild character, and prevent its destruction through inappropriate development.
The developers claim that they are acting as benevolent protectors of the land, by only developing 10 percent of the property. That would be because only 10 percent of the property is buildable. The majority of the property is a steep north-facing mountainside. You can see a map of some of the proposed developments for yourself at Moonlight Books. Let's see PCR put a conservation easement where their mouths are, and "truly" protect the rest of the land.
Have you noticed that most of PCR's strongest supporters are typically those who stand to gain the most from the development? In contrast, I applaud those local businesses that have had the guts to stand up to this abomination, and risk losing business from taking a stand.
If you feel strongly about the inappropriateness of this proposed development, please get involved! Support these gutsy local businesses. Check out www.sanjuancitizens.org to see what you can do. We can send a message loud and clear that PCR's plans are unacceptable.
Editor's note: Letters to the editor are placed in alphabetical order based on the last name of the writer
Can't sell Pagosa
Near the springs of Pagosa, good ole' boys are making the deals/ they get what they want cause they know how to grease the wheel/ You scratch my back pardner and I'll scratch yours/ It's those GOBS . . . and they're living right next door./
Our race of the commissioners has just come and gone/ We're left with a stench of something gone terribly wrong/ If all the citizens would have turned out to vote/ We could have effected change instead of just rote./
In our beautiful county, income and growth seem Priority 1/ While life quality and environment seem fast on the run/ It's fools who follow rules with no difference between wrong and right/ When you "poop in your nest" . . . you don't get good sleep at night./
Remember Rosa? Remember that Beanfield War?/ You can't sell Pagosa, just ask the Indians next door/ Greed, corruption, and silence just aren't right/ Lay down your apathy, Archuletans . . . stand-up for what's right./
Self righteousness is, indeed, a lethal germ/ They'll look through your mail for making those GOBS squirm/ Industry on the river or wilderness for the rich is not right/ Join the concerned Archuletans . . . stand-up for what's right./
What is this, now? You want me to do as I say:/ Tear-up my real estate license and give my nine rentals away?/ Sorry, but payments on my HumVee and backhoe are due/ Before I level that hill to build a house for my second cousin: Hugh./
David L. Snyder
Eagle Soar Free"
Preston Eugene "Gene" Waller passed away Sunday, Sept. 3, 2000, at his Pagosa Springs home after an extended illness.
Born April 27, 1922, to Wordy and Ethel Jane Waller, Mr. Waller was a native of Baton Rouge, La., and had lived in Pagosa Springs for the past five years.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 32 years, Mrs. Doris Waller; two sons and daughters-in-law, Preston Barry and Ruth Waller and Dwight Paul and Annalisa Waller; a daughter, Diane L. Caillais; a stepson and stepdaughter-in-law, Dwight D. and Monica Kincaid; a stepdaughter and stepson-in-law, Lois A. and Stewart Green; three granddaughters, Michelle Fairchild, Dawn Waller and Kristen Caillais; two great-grandchildren, Brayden and Bari Fairchild; and three sisters and two brothers-in-law, Elizabeth McBrier, Frances and Aubrey Wells and Peggy and Gary J. Price. He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother-in-law, Noah McBrier and mother-in-law Doris Johnson.
Mr. Waller was baptized in June 1950, and served faithfully as a minister for Jehovah's Witnesses for more than 50 years.
Memorial services were held at LaBelle Aire Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, conducted by Ralph Vallet. On Mr. Waller's behalf, donations may be made to Hospice of Mercy, 3801 North Main Avenue, Durango, CO 81301.
The family offers special thanks to his devoted caregivers.
Morris W. Golosky, 84, passed away Sept. 11, 2000, in Pueblo.
Mr. Golosky was born Feb. 14, 1916, in Toronto, Canada. He worked 34 years for Denver Rio Grande Railroad as a switchman until his retirement in 1976. He was a member of United Transportation Union.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Mrs. Adela Golosky of the family home; children, Dolores Butler of Pagosa Springs, and David Golosky of Pueblo; nephew, Seymour Golosky of Toronto, Canada; grandchildren, John Laydon, Barbara Laydon, Jim Laydon, Jeff Laydon, Jason Laydon and Daniel Butler; and eight great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Abraham and Luby Golosky; seven brothers and sisters.
By Joe and Pat Lee
The residents of the Chromo community were very saddened recently by the passing away of Wynona Eaklor on Sept. 6, 2000. "Nonie" as she was affectionately known by family, friends and neighbors was born here in Chromo nearly 93 years ago to P.C. and Sara Crowley. Nonie was the third of six children brought up in this ranching family.
She married Harry Eaklor in 1929 and together they raised three children; Jack, Jacquelyn and Bill. She is survived by two of her children; Jacquelyn Baxtrom of Chama, N.M., and Bill Eaklor of Lumberton, N.M., as well as several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Mrs. Eaklor was a vital, active part of this ranching community until she retired from riding and running cattle in 1998. She was both a lady and a cowboy admired and respected by all those who knew her. She will be sorely missed.
Mrs. Eaklor is survived by her brother Asher Crowley of Kansas, her sister, Iola Shahan, of Pagosa Springs and her sister-in-law, Bernice Crowley, of Chromo.
Sadly the Chromo community has lost several of the notable pioneers of the area in recent years, Dutch Crowley, Babe Shahan, Frances Bramwell and Dorothy Schutz among them.
An article about Nonie Eaklor's unique life appeared in the Aug. 21, 1997, edition of the SUN as part of a series titled "Last of the Old Time Cowboys" by John M. Motter. Do yourself a favor folks, look it up and read it. Nonie Eaklor's life is worth remembering. We are privileged to have known her.
Get to know the people who make Pagosa work.
The Profile puts a face to the name of one of the many neighbors who serve our community.
Pagosa Springs High School
Where were you born and raised?
"I was born in Boulder. I spent some of my high school years in southeast Colorado, in Springfield."
Where were you educated?
"I graduated from Springfield High School in 1979. I attended Southwest College in Oklahoma City, then went to Christ for the Nations in Dallas, where I received an A.A. degree. I received another associates degree from Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs. I earned a B.S. in a cooperative program at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood and Metropolitan State College at Denver. I got my M.A. in counseling from Adams State."
When did you move to Pagosa Springs?
Tell us about your family.
"My lovely wife Becky and I have three children: Silas, 6; Isaiah, 5; and Adeline, 1."
What work experience did you have before working at Pagosa Springs High School?
"I worked construction while I was in school. I taught for two years in the Aurora public school system at Aurora Central High School, then moved here and taught math at Pagosa Springs High school for four years before becoming the counselor. I'm now in my third year as counselor here."
What do you like best about your work?
"I really like being with the kids, communicating with them and learning about their lives - the good things and the bad things."
What do you like least about your job?
"What I like the least is administering standardized tests. The kids don't like taking them, and I don't like giving them"
Ladies' scoring machine geared up for Centauri
By Karl Isberg
With more than a week's rest since they defeated Durango, the Lady Pirates were anything but complacent Sept. 16, beating Centauri in the first Intermountain League match of the year, 15-1, 15-7.
Any questions about rust in the gears of the Lady Pirates' machine were answered quickly when Pagosa grabbed a 3-1 lead before bunching together a series of two-point runs to go ahead 9-1.
Pagosa blockers got to the point of the Falcon attack throughout the first game of the match, making life difficult for Centauri's two tall middle hitters - Cindy and Erin McCarroll. Ashley Gronewoller, Katie Lancing, Tiffanie Hamilton and Meigan Canty put an impenetrable wall up at the net and the Falcons were unable to surmount the obstacles.
Meanwhile, Pagosa got earned points from Gronewoller when the Lady Pirates' middle hitter put two Falcon overpasses to the floor. More points followed on two stuffs by Gronewoller and one by Lancing; on a kill off a backset from Lancing to Canty, a tip by Hamilton, and an ace by Andrea Ash who served the last six points of the game.
"I thought the team played nearly a picture-perfect game," said Lady Pirates coach Penné Hamilton. "Katie mixed her sets well and it was nice to see our attack come from Meigan on the right side. I told Katie and Meigan they needed to run the set and attack from the right side, and they did it well."
Ash started the second game of the match with an ace serve and the Ladies shot out to a 3-1 lead with a Falcon setting error and an ace serve by Lancing.
Despite suffering some breakdowns in the passing game - with the Falcons seemingly content to play the ball over the net to the Pagosa back row - the Lady Pirates continued to score and extended their advantage to 7-1.
Two Lady Pirate hitting errors and a Falcon kill produced a three-point run for the visitors, but Canty answered with another kill off a backset.
Hamilton scored with an ace and with Pagosa ahead 11-5, the teams traded points and bogged down in a series of mistake-plagued sideouts. Gronewoller turned the tide, regaining serve with a kill, then hitting an ace. Hamilton killed twice to put Pagosa on the verge of the win, 14-6.
Centauri gained a final point on a Lady Pirate hitting error. Hamilton took back the serve with a kill from outside, and a Falcon hitting miscue gave the game and match to Pagosa.
Considering the margins of victory over Centauri, the Lady Pirates' hitting totals were not particularly high, revealing the number of mistakes by Centauri that led to points for Pagosa.
Gronewoller had six kills in 14 attempts, for a .428 average. Hamilton hit at a .444 clip, going 5 for 9. Nicole Buckley was 5 for 13 from her outside hitter position, finishing with a .384 average. Canty and Ash each had two kills during the match.
Lancing totaled 16 assists against Centauri, and hit three ace serves with no serving errors. Ash scored points with two aces.
On defense, Ash led the way with eight digs and produced eight serve-receive passes with only one passing error. Buckley provided seven digs during the match.
Lady Pirate blockers dominated the net during the first game, but had fewer opportunities in the second game. Gronewoller and Hamilton each had solo blocks. Lancing, Hamilton and Canty contributed to tandem blocks during the match.
"In the second game the girls started feeding Centauri's momentum," said Hamilton. "We called a timeout and we told them to focus and get the ball back. They calmed down and got the win."
IML play continues tonight, as Pagosa hosts Bayfield. Matches with the Wolverines are fueled by a longstanding and sometimes bitter rivalry. Bayfield, like all other IML teams, is seeking what has been impossible during the last six seasons - to beat the Lady Pirates. The Wolverines have come close during recent seasons, but have fallen short of the mark.
Bayfield has a 5-3 record. First-year coach Denise Close inherited a team that lost much of its offensive strength from the previous season, but the Wolverines are getting point-production from hitters Lindsay Dallison, Andrea Zink and Andrea Cusick, with sets from senior Nikki Walker.
"We need to do the same things against Bayfield that we did against Centauri," said coach Hamilton. "We need to attack effectively from each point on the net and we need to play good defense. We have to take care of our side of the court and let Bayfield try to deal with what we send over. Our girls need to continue to get better at the little things in our game that need improvement."
Play against Bayfield starts tonight at 5 with C-team competition.
Following the Bayfield match, the Ladies travel to Montrose Saturday to play twice in one day - against Class 4A Montrose and perennial 3A power Olathe.
Montrose plays in the 4A/5A Southwestern League and has a fairly young team this year. The Indians are 3-6 on the season, but can mount a strong attack with senior outside hitter Holly Kent and junior middle hitter Genelle Sutton.
Olathe's season record stood at 8-0 as of Sept. 18, after the team won the season-opening Gunnison tournament and cruised to victories over Hotchkiss, Basalt, Meeker, Rangely and Roaring Fork.
Pagosa and Olathe are not strangers. The Lady Pirates met and defeated Olathe at the 1999 3A regional tournament, 15-9, 17-15. Olathe lost six seniors from the 1999 squad but returns five players with varsity experience.
"We don't know much about Montrose," said Hamilton, "but we love to play teams from bigger schools; the experience is good for us. As for Olathe, the one thing about their team last year was they hung in there against us and the other teams at the regional tournament. They were scrappy; you have to earn your points against them because they won't go down without a fight."
Action at Montrose begins with a 1 p.m. junior varsity match against Montrose, followed by the varsity match. A junior varsity match against Olathe follows, with Pagosa and Olathe varsities finishing the day.
Scrappy Pirates bow to gridiron Goliath
By John M. Motter
The Pagosa Springs Pirates hope to break a two-game losing streak tomorrow night when they host Bloomfield at 7 p.m. in Golden Peaks Stadium.
After dropping consecutive games to New Mexico Class 4A powerhouses Kirtland and Piedra Vista, the Pirates are priming for Bloomfield, another New Mexico school that plays in the same league with Kirtland and Piedra Vista.
Last week, the 4-0 Bloomfield squad edged one of Pagosa's Intermountain League opponents, Bayfield, with a 7-0, closing minutes victory.
"I feel we have a good chance against Bloomfield," said Myron Stretton, the Pirates coach. "They're pretty big, probably bigger than us so it will be another tough game. If we continue to improve, know our assignments, and execute, we have a good chance of winning. They don't have as much talent as Kirtland or Piedra Vista."
Stretton had good things to say about the Pirates, despite their 35-6 loss to Piedra Vista, a Farmington school ranked No. 4 among 4A schools in New Mexico.
"We played better than before, made fewer mistakes on offense and defense," Stretton said. "If you improve every week, good things have to happen by the end of the year."
Pagosa won the coin toss Saturday and elected to kick off. The choice looked like a good one.
Twice Pagosa's scrappy defense forced Piedra Vista to a fourth down effort during the Panther's initial possession. However, the Panthers met the challenge both times. With fourth and three on the Pagosa 39-yard line, the Panthers' Brent Peterson scampered for 24 yards to the Pirates 15 for a first down. Again Pagosa dug in. On the first play, the Pirates threw the Panthers back to the Pagosa 20-yard line. On the next play Pagosa surrendered three yards. On third down, Pirates Josh Richardson and Matt Ford slammed Panther quarterback Jason McClelland to the turf back on the 21-yard line. Would Piedra Vista try a field goal or go for a first down? The answer soon developed when McClelland kept the ball again and this time raced 21 yards to the end zone. When Nathan Hamson kicked the extra point, Piedra Vista was on top 7-0 with eight minutes left in the first period.
Pagosa Springs failed to move the ball on its first possession.
After Darin Lister's punt rolled dead on the Piedra Vista 45-yard line, the Panthers needed five plays to reach the Pirates end zone. This time, a Pirate got a hand on the extra point try and with 4:33 left in the period, Kirtland led 13-0.
The Pirates took over on their own 24-yard line following Jason Kerns' 16-yard kickoff return. The Pirates still couldn't solve the Panthers' defense and Lister again punted to the Piedra Vista 45-yard line. Six plays later, Pirate Nathan Stretton recovered a Panther fumble to give Pagosa a first down on its own 37-yard line.
From that point, the Pirates launched a sustained drive. On consecutive carries, Clint Shaw moved the ball to the Piedra Vista 41-yard line and a first down. Quarterback Ron Janowsky then stepped up and carried twice, gaining another first down on the 24-yard line. Shaw broke loose again around the right side for another first down. Then Janowsky kept the ball on a quarterback option and crossed the Piedra Vista goal line for what proved to be the Pirates only TD of the game. Piedra Vista blocked Lister's extra point try. With 10:55 remaining in the second quarter, Pagosa had closed the margin to 13-6.
Following Lister's kickoff, Pagosa pinned the Panthers back on their own 8-yard line. After holding Piedra Vista for two downs, the Pirates were penalized for unnecessary roughness giving the visitors a first down on their 24-yard line. Five plays later, the Panthers scored their third touchdown. McClelland completed a pass for a two-point conversion as the Panthers stretched their lead to 21-6 with 8:22 remaining in the second period.
Both teams battled on equal terms through the remainder of the second period. Highlights for Pagosa Springs were a pass interception by Lister to stop the Panthers deep in the Pirates territory and a completion from Janowsky to Tyrel Ross for a first down. Despite being knocked for a flip after going high into the air while making the reception, Ross held on to the pigskin.
After receiving the second half kickoff, Pagosa put the ball in play on its own 28-yard line. After runs by Nathan Stretton, Shaw, and Lister were unable to move the ball, Lister boomed a 52-yard punt to the Panthers' 20-yard line.
The New Mexico squad used 17 plays and almost nine minutes of the third period to march 80 yards for the Pathers' fourth touchdown. The extra point put Piedra Vista in front 28-6. The third period ended with Piedra Vista in possession of the ball after Brent Peterson intercepted a Janowsky pass.
The two teams played a defensive standoff through most of the final period until the Panthers scored on a pass from 12 yards out during the closing minutes. The Panthers' successful PAT kick made the final score 35-6 in favor of the visitors.
Exhibiting a never-say-die spirit, Pagosa threatened one more time following a long run by Shaw that gave the Pirates a first down on the Piedra Vista 21-yard line. This time the Piedra Vista defense stiffened and the Pirates' drive died on the Panthers' 18-yard line.
Pagosa Springs' season record dropped to 1-2 with the loss.
Around the Intermountain League last weekend, Monte Vista beat Salida 34-12 to boost their record for the year to 2-1. Bayfield lost to Bloomfield 7-0. Ignacio lost to Dolores County 18-7, and Centauri lost to Sanford 14-12. Bayfield, Ignacio, and Centauri are 1-2 for the season.
Half and half performance irks harriers' coach
By Karl Isberg
Following the Sept. 16 cross country meet at Shiprock, N.M., Pirates coach Scott Anderson is pleased with the progress being made by half his team, and is ready to give the other half of the team the proverbial kick in the rear end.
A lot of things were working against Pagosa runners when they took to the course at Shiprock: heat (nearly 98 degrees at race time) a tough course and a field full of excellent teams and runners. Anderson also held several of his runners out of competition due to illness or injury.
Team results and individual standings were not available by the time the Pirates left New Mexico, but individual times show progress being made by the Pagosa harriers.
"We had two of our boys out of the race" said Anderson. "Todd Mees (one of the better Pirate runners so far this season) missed because he had a cold, and Toby Gunzinger was held out to rest an injury. The course was tough, it was real hot, and we saw a bunch of very fast New Mexico runners. With all that, it is obvious our boys are making progress. Our overall pack time is getting lower and the boys are coming along well."
Travis Laverty had a good day, running against a field of athletes from more than 20 teams. Laverty finished the 3.1-mile race in 18 minutes, 43 seconds. The time shaved two seconds from Laverty's previous best finish this season.
Trevor Peterson had what Anderson called "a break-through race." The junior put together a time of 19:51, taking almost a minute off the time he posted Sept. 9 at Leadville.
Nick Tothe also had a fine run at Shiprock. The Pirate hit the finish line at 20:17, 30 seconds ahead of his previous best time.
Patrick Riley was the fourth Pirate to finish the Shiprock race. Riley had a time of 20:45.
Ryan Beavers ran a good race in New Mexico, completing the course at 24:04.
While the Pirates showed improvement and a tightening of their pack time at Shiprock, the Lady Pirates did not have one of their best days of the season.
Anderson rested Aubrey Volger, who performed extremely well in the first two meets of the season, in order to rest a minor injury.
Tiffany Thompson led the Ladies, with a time of 23:29.
Annah Rolig was back after a layoff at Leadville, hitting the finish line at 23:48. Rolig's time was nearly three minutes faster than the time she posted Sept. 2 at the Pagosa Invitational.
Joetta Martinez continued her steady improvement with a time of 25:10 - eight seconds faster than the time she posted at Leadville and nearly a minute ahead of her Pagosa Invitational time.
Freshman Lauren Caves ran in the ferocious New Mexico heat for the first time in her high school career and nailed a time of 26:44.
Amber Mesker ran in a meet for the first time this season. Mesker suffered spasms in her calf muscles and crossed the line at 28:59.
"The girls seemed to rest on their laurels," said Anderson. "In reality, they have their work cut out for them. Three Bayfield runners crossed the finish line at Shiprock ahead of our top runner and Bayfield held their No. 2 runner out of the race. Our girls have some work to do. The next two weeks, we run against Bayfield, and I expect us to get closer and closer to them, if our girls will get to work."
Pagosa runners will have the opportunity to see all their Intermountain League rivals Saturday in Manassa, at the Centauri Invitational. Most notably, Bayfield will be at the meet, as will Centauri - with a better-than-average team.
"Our boys are getting better all the time," said Anderson. "So far this year, they haven't run that much against other IML teams. We'll get a good idea where we are after the meet in Centauri. The guys are coming together."
The Centauri Invitational begins at Manassa at 10 a.m.
Golfers tee off in regional tourney
By Richard Walter
The Pagosa Springs High School golf team hopes to take some consistency into state regional playoffs today after a three-city tour ended Monday with mixed results.
Today's regional, rescheduled at the last minute, is on the Holly Dot Course serving Rye-Colorado City. The tournament was originally scheduled this Friday, later was changed to Tuesday, and over the weekend, changed again to Thursday.
Pirates coach Kathy Carter said her crew will compete against 29 teams in the regional with only one team advancing to state playoffs. Ten individuals will also advance. If one of the qualifying individuals is a member of the team advancing, his place on the individual list will be filled by another golfer.
After their play in Buena Vista, Salida and Cañon City during the last six days, Carter believes her team is reaching a level of consistency and can challenge for tournament honors.
The two-day Buena Vista-Salida match, played on different courses each day, had the Pirates finishing seventh out of 18 teams and Josh Postolese eighth in medalist honors. Postolese carded a 75 on Buena Vista's Collegiate Peaks course Thursday and an 81 in Salida on Friday.
Luke Boilini shot an 80 at Buena Vista and an 83 at Salida. Chris White had 88 and 84 respectively, and freshman Garrett Forrest chipped in with scores of 85 and 81. Eliminating the highest score for each round, the Pirates carded 240 at Buena Vista and 245 at Salida.
At Cañon City, Carter said, "I think they were tired from all the travel and were just tournament weary.
"At first," she said, "I was very disappointed with their performance in the final tune-up for the regional. But when I looked at the scores, considering the caliber of the 29 teams in the tournament and realized we still finished eighth out of 29, I took a more realistic view.
"They ( the Pirates) are becoming more and more consistent, and that's what you hope for with the big tournaments approach."
Postolese shot a 77 on the Cañon City course, followed by White's 87 and Boilini's 90.
Carter said the course for the regional gives the appearance of being an easy layout "but it is a fooler. The greens, particularly on the back nine, can be very tricky and I think that's where the tournament will be decided. The fairways are fairly wide and attractive to long shots. But you have to stay in the fairway or the greens become almost inaccessible in par."
The coach was "extremely pleased" by the play of Forrest in his freshman year. "He overcame an ear infection at Salida and shot a great round. I'm really looking forward to having him as a mainstay on the team next year."
Kaiser captures golf tourney
The 2000 Pagosa Golf Club Men's Championship tournament was held Sept. 16 and 17.
The two-day event was won by Bob Kaiser with gross scores of 80 and 71. Kaiser has been the club champion for three of the past four years. Second place was taken by Dennis Hunt with scores of 82 and 76.
The second flight winners were Lou Boilini with first-place scores of 78 and 83. Ranza Boggess took second place with scores of 85 and 85.
This week the second round of the men's league year-end championship will be held with Bob Kaiser going into the last round with a 6-stroke lead over Bob Chitwood.
This Saturday the couples championship 27-hole event will be held. Those wishing to participate can sign up at the pro shop.
'Team effort' lifts Pirates' kickers over Ouray
By Richard Walter
With what their coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason called "an impressive, complete team effort," the Pirates kicked their way to a 6-2 win over Ouray Saturday at Golden Peaks despite losing starting goalkeeper Matt Mesker with just four minutes left in the first half on a play that gave Ouray its first goal of the day.
Mesker was knocked out, literally, after he rejected a Ouray shot, dived to his left to stop a rebound attempt, and took a knee to the head as the ball trickled into the net.
After several anxious minutes, Mesker was able to walk off the field under his own power but was obviously woozy and went to the bench holding an ice bag to his head. After the game he said he was "OK, but I've got a king-sized headache."
He was replaced in goal by freshman Drew Mitchell.
The Pirates had gone to the attack early with Jordan Kurt-Mason and Mike Pierce combining on a beautiful lead, return and drop exchange at 2:33 only to have Jordan's drive sail wide right.
At 5:50 it was Daniel Crenshaw and Zeb Gill combining on a give-and-go but Gill's shot from the left crease sailed just outside the left post.
A minute and 36 seconds later, the Pirates again had a teamwork attack with Pierce taking a crossing lead from Crenshaw and passing back from deep in the right corner to middle striker Kyle Sanders whose perfect shot to the upper right corner gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Pagosa mounted a new attack at 18:44 when Crenshaw's attempt sailed wide right after a beautiful back kick drop from Kurt-Mason and 26 seconds later when Crenshaw intercepted an outlet pass and headed it to a racing Brian Hart whose shot went wide left.
At 23:10 Pierce took an angle lead from Kyle Fry into the right corner, came back out to his left, and ripped a shot that again sailed just outside the left post. But Pierce wasn't through. Two minutes and 40 seconds later, on a play almost a replica of the previous one, Pierce feinted another shot and dropped a perfect lead to Zeb Gill whose shot gave Pagosa a 2-0 lead.
With Ouray goalkeeper Caleb Rasmussen showing his mettle, Pirate attacks were blunted at 29:41 (a Kurt-Mason blast from 30 yards out), at 30:20 (when Sanders' header from a Hart lead was blocked), at 31:10 (when a 3-man rush involving Pierce, Jordan Kurt-Mason and Kyle Frye was stopped), at 33:10 (when Crenshaw's shot sailed high) and at 35:11 ( when Jordan's drive from the top of the box off a lead from Sanders was halted by Rasmussen).
That was followed by the Ouray score and Mesker's injury.
At 38:35, Mitchell got his hands on the ball for the first time, stopping a soft shot that was right on goal from Ouray's Sam Kigar.
With just 11 seconds left in the half Ryan Lister headed a lead to Crenshaw. His cross to Sanders was right on target and the ball sailed into the net. Officials ruled however, that Sanders was offside on the play and the half ended with the 2-1 score.
Despite the Pirates relentless attack, Rasmussen kept them from scoring with a series of acrobatic saves. Perhaps his best effort of the game came at 8:22 when he stopped a pointblank drive from Hart and then trapped the rebound kick from Pierce.
At 12:37, Ouray brought the game to a 2-2 tie when a penalty kick sailed to the right of a diving Mitchell.
Heartened by that goal, Ouray stayed in the Pirates' zone with crisp passing and Mitchell had to make saves at 17:09 and again at 17:51 when a Pagosa clearing pass went awry. That, however seemed to reawaken the Pagosa hosts.
Gill became a whirling, driving attacker. His cross to Pierce at 19:08 opened a corner shot saved by Rasmussen. His lead to Hart 51 seconds later had Rasmussen leaping high for the stop. Forty seconds later he found Kurt-Mason in the middle on a corner outlet and the sophomore midfielder gave the Pirates a lead they would not relinquish.
The Pirates stayed on the prowl. At 25:44 they sailed the Pirate ship into choppy Ouray waters and Hart, driving to his right, left a drop to an open Gill whose left-footer ripped into the net before Rasmussen could react and the lead was 4-2.
At 29:13 the lead climbed to 5-2 when Jordan Kurt-Mason's drive rebounded to Hart who headed it in.
Ouray's final two shots on goal came at 32:08 and 32:40, both stopped easily by Mitchell.
Happiest of the Pirates after the game probably was the fleet Crenshaw. All season he'd been stopped time and again on open drives. He had lamented repeatedly his inability to break into the scoring list.
Finally, it happened.
At 36:31, Pierce took a lead from Hart, dribbled into the left corner and then crossed the ball back out to Crenshaw in the middle. His grass-cutter drive threaded through defenders and past Rasmussen for a 6-2 Pagosa final.
A jubilant Crenshaw leaped high with fist raised, savoring the moment.
Tuesday's mistake-filled adventure against Durango started as had the Farmington performance - an early score by the opponent against a defense that hadn't yet shown up.
Durango's Cliff Bornheim found himself on the receiving end of a botched Pirate clearing kick right in front of Pagosa goalkeeper Matt Mesker just over one minute into the game. His chip shot kick floated up and over Mesker's head and into the net for a quick 1-0 Demon lead.
For most of the first half the Pirates struggled to get the ball out of midfield and into the attack zone, one key being eight missed kicks by Pirate players.
At 5:05:08 Mesker made the first of his nine first-half stops and 35 seconds later, with no defensemen to support him, came out of net to grab a loose forwarding kick just ahead of a Demon attacker.
At 6:58, the Pirates got their first shot on goal when Gill's 30-yarder on a lead from Brian Hart, sailed over the net. At the 8-minute mark, Durango's Vince Stewart took a centering lead at midfield and outraced the slow-reacting Pirate defense for a breakaway effort. Mesker played the ball and stopped the drive cold.
Mesker added saves at 9:34, 13:37, 15:32 and 16:14 before his teammates were able to mount another scoring threat.
That chance came when Gill dropped a centering pass to a racing Crenshaw whose blast from the left caromed off the right goal post and out of bounds.
The next Pirate chance came at 24:15 when Pierce's angle shot from the right, was stopped and the subsequent rebound also halted by determined Demon goalie Sean Kearney.
A minute and 42 seconds later, a drive from the left side by Gill was turned away by Kearney whose outlet kick set up a 3-man, 3-shot attack on Mesker. He blocked the first, deflected the initial rebound, but was unable to react to the third shot into the upper left corner of the net and Durango's lead was 2-0.
At 31:07, the Demons got their third goal when Drew Sima raced downfield all alone as defenders lost track of the ball. Mesker tried to cut down the angle but Sima's kick eluded him and skipped on three bounces into the net for a 3-0 halftime lead.
At halftime, coach Kurt Mason could be heard telling his players they had "to get out of la la land and pay attention to the game. There were times in the first half when none of you seemed to know where the ball was or what to do with it if you got it."
The message seemed to get through to the Pirates' offense early in the second half as they mounted their first sustained attack of the game. At 2:40 Sanders drive off a lead from Pierce was wide left and exactly two minutes later, after a spirited defensive scrum at midfield, Crenshaw broke free for a shot that went just wide left.
At 5:45, Mesker turned in another impressive effort stopping Vince Stewart's drive on a 2-on-1 break and then sprawling to his left to trap the rebound effort. One minute later Mesker was under attack again, batting away a shot from the right wing, with the ball glancing off the right post and out of play.
Durango got its fourth goal at 20:20 when Beale Tojada ripped a drive over Mesker's left shoulder on a header lead from the left corner. And, at 30:14 Stewart scored the fifth and final Demon goal, gathering in a missed Pirate kick and ripping it at ground level past Mesker's outstretched left hand.
The Pirates had three late shots on goal, all originating from header outlet passes by Lister, but were unable to break Kearney's shutout.
After the game coach Kurt-Mason told the team, "I saw some great moves out there today, but also witnessed inattention to fundamentals. You must focus on the game situation. You can't play for two minutes and quit for five. This is a full-time game and not one for spectator players."
Pirates fall despite Mesker's brilliance in goal
By Richard Walter
Lindsey Kurt-Mason sees ongoing improvement in his Pagosa Springs High School soccer team. But he also sees periodic lack of mental preparation and failure to focus.
Three games in the past week showed the great and not so great sides of his team.
They played exceptionally well in defeat by a powerful Farmington team, exhibited their best team oriented performance of the season against Ouray, and then seemed to have forgotten most of the earlier lessons in a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Durango Tuesday afternoon.
"Our defense needs to react as a unit, not as one man realizing what is happening," the coach said. "Too often we're making the wrong choices and are too hesitant on our passes. An open player won't be open forever and you need to get the ball to him at the right moment."
Prior to the Farmington game Thursday, coach Kurt-Mason warned "this will be the toughest team we face all year."
He probably was right, but the Pirates, behind an outstanding performance by Matt Mesker in goal, held the talented Scorpions to a 1-1 tie until the final two minutes of the game.
Mesker, unofficially, had 27 saves in the late afternoon game, moves ranging from the routine to the outstanding and one which could only be regarded as spectacular. He almost single-handedly kept Pagosa in the game as his teammates attempted to ignore the first 17 seconds of the Golden Peaks Stadium match.
In that first 17-second period, five of the first seven Pirates passes went to Farmington attackers and at that early mark the visitors scored while some fans were still working their way toward the bleachers.
The pressing Pirates had four off-sides calls against them in the first eight minutes and had no effective shots on goal until 12:27 when outside left winger Zeb Gill took a crossing lead from Daniel Crenshaw and drove a shot off the Farmington keeper's knee.
Many in the crowd thought the shot had crossed the line for a goal but Mike Pierce heard no whistle. "Coach has been telling us to stay on the ball," he said after the game, "so when I saw it pop loose my first instinct was to drive it in."
Drive it in, he did, the keeper sprawled flat as it sailed past him. That score was to be the first - and last for Pagosa Springs. In fact, the Pirates had only nine more shots on goal.
Mesker, meanwhile, was performing his own impersonation of an impenetrable wall. At 2:25 he stopped a 3-on-1 breakaway with a dive to his left to smother a kick from the wing. At 4:24, he had to stop a clearing kick by one of his own defensemen when it went awry. Two minutes and a second later, Mesker leaped to the crossbar to deflect a rifled shot on a corner kick by Farmington.
The Pirate's second shot on goal did not come until 16:28, when Brian Hart's drive from the box, after an intercepted Farmington outlet pass, was snared by the Scorpion keeper.
Meanwhile, Mesker was voracious in net. Nothing could get by him as he leaped, raced out after loose balls and often cut down shot angles before attackers could get a kick away.
At 25:20, the Pirates third legitimate goal opportunity was blunted when Crenshaw's drive from the head of the box sailed high over the net.
At 36:13, the Scorpions finally got another shot past Mesker but it took a 3-on-1 attack and poor transition on defense by his teammates. The score came on a header off a drop lead from deep in the right corner. The third man in the attack screened Mesker from the ball.
The half ended with the 2-1 score and a Farmington team wondering if it needed a bazooka to get shots past Mesker.
For the half, he stopped 15 of 17 shots fired at him. In the same period, the Pirates had only four shots on goal.
On a play almost identical to the one on which the Scorpions recorded their second goal, Mesker stopped a header at 4:51 of the second half and the show was on again.
With the Pirates on attack, Kyle Sanders' free kick was deflected over the net and 20 seconds later, at 10:15, his shot on a crossing lead from Pierce was blocked.
At 13:21, Jordan Kurt-Mason, who had been a defensive midfield demon to that point, got a lead from Crenshaw and broke free for a drive that sailed high to the left. At 20:19 Gill's shot from the left on a lead from Hart was snared by the Farmington keeper.
In the meantime, Mesker continued to bat shots aside, leaping to snare scoring threats and diving to stop multiple-player attacks.
After a Farmington wing was awarded a yellow-card penalty at 25:07, the Gill-Hart combination launched another unsuccessful attack, Hart's kick bouncing off the keeper's chest only to be trapped on the rebound.
At 29:12 Mesker turned his performance from merely outstanding to spectacular.
With no Pirate defenseman back, the Scorpions came from three directions with a precision passing attack. Reading a fake from the left, Mesker moved slightly toward center net, faked coming out to his right and caught the center attacker bearing in on him with malice.
He leaped, the kick soared and there was a Mesker right hand snatching the ball out of the air. Three stunned attackers stood silent as he boomed a thundering clearing kick. Exactly six minutes later, however, a skidding kick from the right wing eluded Mesker and the score moved to 3-1.
Mesker had one great save left when, at 34:09, he came way out of net to cut down an attacking wing and blunt another effort.
Sagging from his Herculean effort, the Pirates goalie allowed two additional goals less than a minute apart as the clock wound down.
Final: Farmington 5, Pagosa Springs, 1.
Afterward, coach Kurt-Mason told the team they had hustled more in that game than at any time this year. "We are a better team right now than when we walked on the field because we know we can play with good teams," he said.
He had high praise for Mesker: "Outstanding, just outstanding"; for Crenshaw: "Forever on the move, all over the field, making great decisions and great ball distribution; and for freshman sweeper Ryan Lister: "He's getting better every game. Learning positional play. He never stops hustling."
Up, up and away for Colorfest weekend
It's here, and we're really, really pumped about the spectacular Colorfest weekend beginning tomorrow night with the annual Wine and Cheese Tasting held in the Visitor Center parking lot under a humungous tent so we're good to go rain or shine.
We have unique cheeses, exquisite wines to accompany them and some sweet endings from the magic fingers of Kathy Keyes to create the perfect evening.
The best part always, however, is the people who attend that evening and the predictable fun you are sure to enjoy. Frankly, we have a blast!
Remember, too, that you will have the pleasure of meeting and greeting all the balloon pilots that night who will be joining us to register and party. Mike and Liz Marchand of Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventures work for months and months to put together the Balloon Rally, and I promise you won't be disappointed with the fruits of their labors.
The fun begins at 5:30 p.m. and you would be exceedingly wise to purchase your tickets before 5 p.m. today at the Visitor Center to save yourself $7 per ticket. Yep, presale tickets are $18, and tickets at the door are $25. This is our way of strongly encouraging you to buy your tickets early to give us some idea about numbers. Last year, over 300 people joined us for this festive occasion, most of whom were attired in various combinations of black, white and red. Casual and comfortable are the rule, but we do love to see you in the signature color combination. We just love it that everyone gets into the spirit of this occasion, and, of course, the decorations will show off the colors as well. Please join us for one of Pagosa's most colorful events.
Pagosa Players and The Kings Men are offering "Three for Dinner" after the wine and cheese extravaganza beginning at 6:30 with a buffet dinner extending until 7:45 p.m. This same program will be available at Pagosa Lodge Saturday evening at the same times. Curtain time will be 8:15 for three short one-act romantic comedies by award winning Broadway playwrights, Ellen Byron and Don Nigro. Tickets for "Three for Dinner" are $24.50, and advance reservations are required, so you'd best get to it. You may purchase your tickets at The Plaid Pony, Wolf Tracks or Diamond Dave's.
Join us Saturday morning in the Hot Springs area for the first ascension featuring 47 balloons rising into a clear blue Colorado sky. If you have never witnessed the excitement and activity surrounding this occasion, you need to be there with your cup of Java taking it all in. It's a wonderful adventure just to be surrounded by the sights and sounds of something so totally unique. Some people live out their lives without experiencing this wonder, and you will have two opportunities this weekend to see it. Don't blow it, okay? The ascension takes place around 7:30 a.m. so you may have to set your alarm a tad earlier than you normally would for a weekend day, but it's worth it, I assure you.
Picnic and concert
Saturday afternoon around 4:30 or so, head on over to Town Park with your lawn chairs and blankets for the Colorfest picnic, concert and balloon glow. You definitely won't want to miss this evening because we have fabulous entertainment lined up for you. Our local hot group, Rio Jazz, will be joining us for an evening of their mellow, better-than-ever sounds. Bob Hemenger, John Graves, Lee Bartley and D.C. Duncan join forces to create some of the best-loved music in Pagosa. Denny Barber and his Hogs Breath gang will once again feed the masses beginning at 5 p.m. with a delicious, freshly grilled hamburger picnic plate accompanied by potato salad, Cole slaw, baked beans, pickles, iced tea, lemonade and all the accompaniments for the 'burgs. You can purchase your tickets at the Visitor Center before Saturday or right at the gate on Saturday afternoon.
We will also enjoy a short program presented by about 40 Up With People cast members who will offer two programs Sunday at the high school auditorium. We expect our Up With People group to show up about 6 p.m. at the picnic, so don't miss it. What a treat to have these young entertainers from all over the world here in Pagosa.
Weather permitting, we will all be treated to a balloon glow in the soccer field right across from Town Park at dusk. Last year, there were literally hundreds of the people who showed up for this spectacular vision. Weather permitting, of course, but right around dusk you will want to be somewhere close to the Glow.
Sunday will provide yet another ascension in the area behind the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center at 7:30 a.m. and two performances of the Up With People, "A Common Beat" at the high school auditorium. Performances will be at 2 and 7 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce, Bank of the San Juans, Moonlight Books and The Wild Hare. Adult tickets are $14 and students, senior (55+) tickets are $12. Don't miss this unusual opportunity to experience young people from all over the world creating "A Common Beat" for all of us to enjoy.
It's Colorfest weekend, folks, and our "last case of Whooping Boosterism until the Christmas holidays" (to quote local sage and cynic, The Ice Man.) Winter can be a long affair during which we might comfort ourselves with memories of a fabulous, fall Colorfest experience or suffer the guilt and agony of missing out on a great adventure. The choice is yours. It's worth the extra effort, I assure you. See you this weekend at any and all of the above-mentioned events.
United Way is way proud to present Gary Morris in concert Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium. This is their big annual fundraiser and from the calls we have already received, it's going to be a sellout crowd. I've been reading the press releases on this performer, and, believe me, they are quite impressive. He has performed in New York in "La Boheme" and "Les Miserables" with remarkable reviews.
William Kerns said in his review, "Morris takes a heartfelt, individual approach to song selection, arrangement and lyrics. And surrounded by talent, it remains his voice that stands out, his voice that true music fans will continue to want to hear."
Morris was awarded both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Song of the Year Awards for his rendition of "Wind Beneath My Wings." He played opposite Linda Ronstadt in Puccini's "La Boheme" as well as playing the role of Jean Valjean on Broadway. He also was awarded a Grammy for his "Les Miserables" soundtrack. Local folks are very excited about this concert and are enthusiastically purchasing tickets like crazy.
In view of all this, I encourage you to run, not walk, to the Chamber of Commerce, Wolf Track Bookstore and Coffee Company or Moonlight Books to purchase your tickets for this one performance. (Come to the Chamber and get your Wine and Cheese Tasting and/or picnic tickets at the same time.) Tickets for the Gary Morris in Concert are $25 for general seating or $40 for preferred seating and a special "Meet and Greet" with Gary Morris after the show. All proceeds will go to the many agencies in our community that depend upon and benefit from the generosity of United Way each year.
Two new members to add to the Chamber of Commerce roster this week, and 14 renewals. One can't ask for much more than that in a membership organization - members continue to be betty, betty good to us.
Jim Harnick, Builder, and Jennifer Harnick join us this week with Pagosa Custom Homes located in their home. These folks have been building quality custom homes in Colorado for over 15 years. They take great pride in building the highest quality custom homes in a variety of price ranges. To learn more about Pagosa Custom Homes, please call 731-3113. Thanks to Doug Schultz for the recruitment - you will receive a free SunDowner for your efforts, Doug, with our thanks.
New Associate Members this week are Rich and Carol Gunson. We are particularly delighted to welcome these folks because Carol is one of our valued Diplomats. We thank Diplomat Anita Mathers, for recruiting the Gunsons and will be happy to send off a coupon for a free SunDowner. It just doesn't get any better than members recruiting members.
Renewals this week include Summer Phillips Pierce with Summer Phillips/Goldsmith located at 123 North Fifteenth Street; Chris Pierce with Arborilogical West, Inc.; Tom Steen, Director, Archuleta County Education Center, Inc.; Gary Hodges with Grandview Cabins and RV on West Colo. 149 in South Fork; Jennai Bachus with Piano Creek Ranch located at 468 Lewis Street; Michael J. Mitchell with MJM Ranches, Land and Marketing d.b.a. Colorado's Timber Ridge Ranch; Lori Unger, Mortgage Loan Specialist with Summit Lending, 56 Talisman Drive, Suite 6C; John Hostetter, President, Wells Fargo Bank Pagosa located at 523 San Juan Street; Michael Ferrell with Rocky Mountain Maintenance; Nick Toth with Viking Construction, 295 Lewis Street; Shelley Low with The Mortgage Express located at 2261 West U.S. 160, Suite 104; Richard Bracken with Orion Homes; Dick Babillis with the Rotary Club of Pagosa Springs, and Associate Member Sylvia Murray. Thanks to all.
In all of the frantic "whooping boosterism" connected to the exciting weekend ahead of us, don't forget that Jim Reser, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis, will be here Sept. 26 to share his knowledge and expertise with you. The best part of it is that it's absolutely free of charge to pick Jim's brain about anything and everything connected to business. Whatever it is that you are lost or curious about, my guess is that Jim has an answer for you. He's been the SBDC Director for many a year now and has forgotten more than most of us will ever know about the world of business. Just give Morna a call at 264-2360 to make an appointment with Jim for next week.
High Altitude Shootout tournament this weekend
There will be a volunteer trail building effort later today, Sept. 21. Work will start at 3 p.m. after volunteers meet at the PLPOA administration building parking lot.
Work will be on natural surface trails in the Vista, Trails and Stevens Draw areas, part of a system which will eventually link with San Juan National Forest lands.
Volunteers should plan on working until 6:30 p.m. and should bring work gloves, sunscreen, good boots and a water bottle. Pizza and drinks will be served when the work is complete. Trails 2000 and the Pagosa Area Trails Council will provide tools.
If there are questions, call Larry Lynch at 731-5635.
The 2000 Pagosa Lakes High Altitude Shootout Racquetball Tournament will be held this weekend, starting tomorrow evening at the Recreation Center. The popular event, traditionally opens the racquetball tournament season in the Four Corners area that will last all the way into next June. All levels of play are welcome at the tournament. Registration forms are available at the Recreation Center and if you are going to play, do not delay signing up. For more information, talk to Esmeralda Berrich, tournament organizer at 731-2051.
This is another busy weekend in Pagosa with all the Colorfest, hot-air ballooning and performing arts happenings. On Saturday, at 7 p.m. the Pagosa Springs Arts Council presents Whistle Pig Folk Night at the Pagosa Lakes clubhouse. Paul and Carla Roberts, multi-instrumentalists, will share their talents with us. The Roberts will bring their exotic collection of instrument from many cultures for a memorable evening of world music. From the lilting 16-string Chinese cheng to the lively sounds of the Bolivian charango, this is a musical journey not to be missed. Every time I hear Carla sing my breathing slows down and I can feel myself relaxing and decompressing. Her beautiful voice calms me. If you have not heard the Roberts make their music, take advantage of this opportunity. Whistle Pig is also an open mike for musicians, poets and storytellers. The Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Avenue. For more information regarding Whistle Pig Folk Night call Bill Hudson at 731-5635.
Three for Dinner - three short one-act romantic comedies by award winning Broadway play writers Ellen Byron and Don Nigro will be presented in an exciting new venue tomorrow and Saturday at Chez Pagosa in Pagosa Lodge. This theatrical treat is presented by the Pagosa Players and the Kings Men. Curtain time is at 8:15 p.m. The play is preceded by a buffet dinner from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Start the evening out early with the Chamber's Colorfest wine and cheese tasting. Squeeze it all in-don't miss a thing. Since seating is limited, with not a bad seat in the house, advance reservations are required. Tickets are on sale at Plaid Pony 731-5262, Wolf Tracks 731-6020 and Diamond Dave's 264-9052.
Up with People will present "A Common Beat" on Sunday in two showings; at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium. This is a musical production by a cast of 150 international students. Professionally choreographed, it offers high energy in its mood and is most definitely international in its flavor. Tickets are available at Bank of the San Juans, Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books and The Wild Hare (adults $14, students/seniors $12).
Congratulations to Bill and Marguerite Flick on their 50th wedding anniversary this Sunday.
Wolf Creek season ski passes for the upcoming ski season will go on sale Saturday. The preseason prices for the 2000-01 ski season will remain unchanged from last year's prices. In addition, a credit will be given to all season pass holders who held a valid pass on closing day of the 1999-2000 season. This appreciation credit will apply only to preseason purchases of season passes. The Wolf Creek Ski Area ticket office is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The preseason sale will go through Oct. 1.
Anonymous donors seat 25 for musical
We have very generous donors again this week - these provided 25 tickets to our seniors for the Up With People "A Common Beat" musical. I am honoring their request not to be publicly acknowledged but we are so appreciative. Thanks.
It is always sad to have to report bad news - Becky Silva (mother of Ernest and mother-in-law of Dawnie, who both work at the Center) passed away. Our prayers and sympathy go out to the family.
For those who have asked about flu shots, there is a dire shortage of the vaccine this year and San Juan Health tells us they won't know when they will get vaccine until November. We hope they will be able to provide the shots shortly thereafter.
Senior of the Week is Jan Hartzell - Congratulations. Jan is a faithful member of our group and we are happy to honor her.
Many of you know that Elaine Nossamon is very dedicated to the Food Care program - in fact she and her family do most of the work in getting the food to Pagosa and distributing it. She would very much appreciate some volunteer help - you may phone her at 731-5020.
Our returning member this week is Bob Mason - we have missed Bob and Florence and are glad to have them back with us. On Monday we welcomed Dorothy Chavez, daughter of Adelina Lobato.
I just want to heap praise on those who have worked so hard in preparing for the "Greatest Volunteer Show on Earth," an appreciation dinner for our volunteers, which took place Tuesday evening - Payge and Joe Ferriera, Tina White, Susi Cochran and Joan Sager, thank you. I will report more on the "Show" next week.
Reunion: Familiar names but strange faces
In August I went to my 40th high school reunion. I don't know about you, but this was the first reunion I've attended. About 200 of us showed up, out of the 720 who graduated that year from Oakland (California) High School.
That morning I spent a couple of hours pouring over my old yearbook. Reading the dedications. Muttering, "Who IS this person?" The result was that EVERYONE'S name seemed vaguely familiar.
We gathered at a local country club for dinner and dancing and the obligatory photos. It was a strange experience. A lot of us looked at each other's name tags and said, "I'm sorry, I don't remember you."
"That's okay," was the usual response. "I don't remember you either."
I hadn't spoken with anyone there, not one, in 40 years. But I really did remember some old faces.
For instance, there was Don, who had definitely not been among the academic segment of students. Not college bound at all. Prison, we would have guessed. Now he owns his construction business. He looks happy. And prosperous.
Then there was Donna Mae. "I remember you," she exclaimed. "You were a volunteer at Alta Bates Hospital."
"Yes, for a while," I admitted, basking in the warmth of being remembered. And yes, I had once been a Candy Striper, for about two months, until I had to actually interact with a sick person.
"You took care of me when I had surgery on my face," she said.
"Nope, that wasn't me."
"Well, maybe it was after the birth of our third son," she said dubiously. "But I was sure it was later than that."
"Nope, definitely not," I said. "I left town after graduation and never lived here again."
"I'm sure it was you," she said. The woman wouldn't take no for an answer. Talk about tenacious!
I recalled a few others. Karen was there, large and jolly and hugging everyone. Her twin sister Lynn looked the opposite, intense and tan. She races cars for fun.
There was Cindy, who many years ago had told me, with great disgust, about the new singer she'd seen on the Ed Sullivan Show the night before, a guy who played a guitar and wiggled his pelvis. Remember Elvis? Remember Ed Sullivan?
We dutifully applauded Laurie, who had come the farthest distance, from New York City, where she teaches literature in a girls' school. Jim owns a Polynesian dance company that entertains vacationers on cruise ships heading for Hawaii. Joanie and her husband raise goats.
Barry has the same droll sense of humor. "What do you do?" I asked. And he answered, "I'm a dentist. It's a boring job."
Bruce looks like he's been through the school of hard knocks. Lots of lines in his face. He owns a ranch in western Kansas. He rode his motorcycle to the reunion, which made a great impression on the folks who still live in that area. Of course, if you live in Pagosa Country, motorcycles come with the territory. Some of your best friends probably ride them.
It wasn't until halfway through the evening that I remembered that Bruce had lived a block away from my house. A friend who had a crush on him in the 10th grade used to walk home with me, hoping to see him. One day she announced, "Bruce has two whiskers!" I can still hear the thrill in her voice. Unfortunately, I can't picture her face.
Barry was a great dancer. He probably still is, but now he's also a lawyer. And he writes children's stories. Barry still thinks of himself as a big bear of a guy, which is true. He's enormous. Gave me a ferocious hug. He brought his fiancée, a tiny little gal and a very friendly person. I mean, she even invites her ex to family gatherings.
They passed the microphone around after dinner and before the dancing, but the comments didn't help me remember any better. A lot of the men said how many years they had worked at the same job, and the women, one after another, told how many children and grandchildren they had. The sameness finally prompted Joy, who has lived in several places with her several husbands, to whisper, "Which boring person are we listening to now?"
Some of my classmates are now married to each other. I asked Doug (whom I didn't remember) if anyone knew what had happened to Kay, and he gave me a funny look and said, "She's my wife." Oh.
But the best story came from Lars and Janie. They looked very happy together, holding hands, beaming smiles. Maybe they even looked a little smug. Here's why.
In the 10th grade they were what we used to call "sweethearts," but their parents didn't approve. Thought they were too young. So her folks sent her away to southern California to stay with relatives and finish high school. The adults intercepted their letters and made sure the two kids didn't have any contact with each other. Lars and Janie graduated and eventually married other people. And then, a few years ago, both of them divorced, they got together again. As Lars put it, "We had a 37-year engagement."
About half the class remains on the "lost" list, including many with whom I shared agonizing times in Latin and trig and history. I hope they get "found" before the 50th.
Arboles opens new TARA Library
This past weekend marked a special event in Arboles.
The TARA Community Library had its grand opening. The library has been a dream of the members of the historical society, better known as TARA, for a long time. The library is located in a small building that was built around 1900 as a bunkhouse on the Luchini ranch. It was purchased and moved to 333 Milton Lane thanks to volunteers Steve Theys, Dennis Finn, Mike McDowell, Josh and Connor Finn, Ray Hinojosa and son Junior. It now sits on the site of the future Arboles Community Center.
After the move, many hands helped with the restoration. Bob Dungan did much of the work with help from Rachel Thompson, Seth St.Germain, Ryan and Chris Pestruski, Eric and Brandon Stone.
Jan and Dennis Schell and friends provided paint and labor. Bill Reed and Tom Appenzeller worked on electricity and the driveway. Jim Mueller and Steve Theys took care of the bookcases.
Citizens donated many books. Then followed the sorting, cataloging and shelving. Darlene Morgan, Jeanie Mueller, Rose Helms and Barbara Taborelli spent many days on this phase assisted by Marion Goodknight and Irene Gray.
A special thanks to Susan and Charles Hatfield who gave many hours of work and library "extras."
Cheryl Mahan, a visiting librarian from Florida, gave many tips and a check to support the efforts. Marsha and Paul Moreland also helped financially.
In addition to those mentioned, thanks go to Ida Theys, Linda Jaycox, Karla and Joe Peskuski, Kathie St.Germaine, Jan Schell and Tabby Taborelli.
The old bunkhouse will be a temporary library until a planned new building becomes a reality. It will house a community center and a library. Then the bunkhouse will house the historical exhibits and artifacts. The town of Arboles had to be moved when Navajo Reservoir was filled. The water covered many archaeological sites and other points of interest. The museum will feature this history.
We plan to assist TARA by providing materials and physical and financial help to achieve the goal of someday having a real branch library in Arboles. Currently we are sending down materials with Ida Theys on a regular basis depending on her schedule.
Anyone interested in helping with this project should contact Ida at 883-5344. TARA members will be writing grants, and holding many fundraisers to get their center finished. We'll all be helping with this worthy effort. Congratulations on the first step. You're invited to drop by and see this new library. Hours are from 1 to 4 p.m. Call Ida to check on the days volunteers will keep it open.
Progress Report No. 5 is available at the library to be copied. The Four Corners Planning and Design Group prepared this Community Plan which has been presented at so many meetings the past month. There is a preferred growth scenario that actively supports our citizens' vision to maintain a high quality of life, scenic vistas, wildlife habitats, other open space and the rural small town atmosphere. If you'd like to compare your vision with this one, ask for a copy at the desk.
We have a new service that is quite exciting. "Web Feet" is a subscription that is updated monthly. It lists alphabetically all of the credible websites by subject. This reference guideline will be available to all.
Feel free to come in and find out some of the unusual destinations.
The staff and board of directors have come up with the probable final computer signup sheet. Due to abuse by a few patrons, it has been necessary to tighten up the rules. Everyone will have to read and sign a new agreement. We're sorry for the inconvenience. Internet service is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Patrons who abuse the privilege will lose the right to use a computer in the future.
Civic Club bazaar
Fall is definitely here when people start bringing in their items to be won in the raffle on Nov. 4. I can't believe all of the beautiful gifts that you can win. They will be on display soon.
Pam Thompson and Sandy Martin made the storytelling quilt that has a story of its own. Mary Miller is finishing another cowboy stained glass. A money wreath, money basket, and a moose wall hanging will appeal to our gentlemen ticket holders. Remember, this year the bazaar is one day only. Raffle tickets are six for $5, or $1 each. Tickets can be purchased at the library or from any Civic Club Member.
Margaret Wilson has certainly collected a wealth of prizes. We'll try to list them all soon.
Please register to vote. The last day to register to vote in the November election is Oct. 10. You may do so at the Clerk's office in the county courthouse.
Remember, if you want to bring in handouts on any candidate or issue in the next election, we'll display them on the table. All information must be clearly marked as to whom it is from. Amendment 21 and 24 are likely to have the most information since they have such critical local impact. We encourage those running for office to bring their handouts too. We look forward to getting brochures from the state on all the ballot issues.
Thanks for materials from Donald Mowen, Margaret Brook, the Dermodys, Dr. and Mrs Ernest Jones, Phyllis Decker, Mosetta McInnis, Medora Bass, Kim Price, Scotty Gibson, John Egan, Lee Sterling and S.A. Kolman.
Music involvement reduces teen crime, study reports
Two of our local teachers on the faculty of the alternative school - Mark DeVoti and Bob Hemenger - are talented musicians. Both have professional backgrounds as musicians and both are sharing their talents with the community. That they should be on the same school faculty is coincidental, but it's nice that they are. Music is very important for us.
Ron Chacey has provided this column with a piece titled "Music Linked to Reduced Criminality" from the summer 2000 issue of "Guitarmaker." The title nails the subject: "That the greater the involvement in music, the lower the arrest record. Teens who had music education were less likely to get in trouble than students who didn't. However, those who also were involved in playing a musical instrument had even fewer brushes with the law. Those who had the most experience, including good sight-reading abilities, had a negligible arrest record."
These results are from a study that has tracked more than 1,000 residents of Rhode Island from birth to age 30. The study was analyzed by Martin Gardner of Brown University.
We are very fortunate that the public schools in Pagosa Springs have good music programs. Cutting out music (along with art and sports) is one of the threats schools face in light of potential budget cuts.
An excellent book published this year, having to do with the importance of music for the child is "The Mozart Effect for Children" by Don Campbell, the author of the bestseller "The Mozart Effect."
This is a book full of information for the parent and the teacher about music as a stimulant to the brain. Campbell maps out simple exercises to follow such as hand clapping accompanying a song or a verse.
One does not have to be able to carry a tune to do this. The very act is the important thing. One doesn't have to sing the traditional words; one can make up new ones. The idea is to keep the rhythm. His chapter on cross-crawling, the ability to touch a left elbow to a right knee - and vice versa - is informative, and also the success of music with the hyperactive child.
Mozart's music is particularly stimulating. His "Ah! Vous Dairi-je, Maman," that he adopted from an old French folk song, is the tune to "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star" and "Bah Bah Blacksheep."
The book lists songs (all familiar) according to grade level that can be used by parent or teacher. And it recommends important classical pieces.
"The Mozart Effect for Children" is well documented. It's a joy to read and inspirational. This would make a fine gift for an expectant mother or any mother, and every library, and every school should have a copy.
Fun on the run
As a crowded airliner was about to take off, the peace was shattered by a 5-year-old boy who picked that moment to throw a wild temper tantrum. No matter what his frustrated, embarrassed mother did to try to calm him down, the boy continued to scream furiously and kick the seats around him.
Suddenly, from the rear of the plane, an elderly man in the uniform of an Air Force general walked up the aisle. Stopping the flustered mother with an upraised hand, the white-haired, courtly, soft-spoken general leaned down and motioning toward his chest, whispered something into the boy's ear.
Instantly, the boy calmed down, gently took his mother's hand, and quietly fastened his seat belt. All the other passengers burst into spontaneous applause.
As the general slowly made his way back to his seat, one of the cabin attendants touched his sleeve. "Excuse me, general," she asked quietly, "but could I ask you what magic words you used on that little boy?"
The old man smiled serenely and gently confided, "I showed him my pilot's wings, service stars, and battle ribbons, and explained that they entitle me to throw one passenger out the plane door on any flight I choose."
Alternative students evaluate programs
This is the fourth year of operation for the Archuleta County Education Center's alternative high school.
Formally known as Archuleta County High School, the school originally created as a dropout recovery program has graduated over 30 students in the past three years. Graduates have entered the workforce or continued their education by attending college and vocational-technical schools. The student population is comprised of students who have dropped out of high school, or those who were at risk of dropping out for various, academic or personal reasons.
Students are empowered by having an advisory voice in many of the school policies. ACHS students negotiate their group and individual contacts which dictate lateness and absence policy. For example, students agree that anyone late to a class makes up twice that amount of time during class breaks. Students also agree to be present 90 percent of the time and to be passing 80 percent of their course load.
Along with formal academic classes which address state educational standards, the students engage in many team-building and cooperative learning projects. A service learning component involves students with the community, readies them for the workforce, and allows them to spend time job shadowing potential career choices.
When students were asked if they wanted to mention anything personal about the program, there were many revealing replies.
"The alternative high school is another option for learning. It is hands-on activities. It is about working together and expressing ourselves. We also do things for the community. it's a good school." - Devin
"We enjoy coming to AHS because of its small class sizes and the teachers. With the smaller class sizes, each of us are able to learn to work together better, and the friendly teachers make it easer to learn." - Pam and Stephen
"Last year at the school we did a lot of fun things like rock climbing, caving, and a high ropes course. I like it when we can get outside." - Jack
"The education center is not an easy way out. It is the same kind of education the public schools offer. It also gives you a chance to go out and try some jobs that you might be interested in. It teaches you how to get along in groups and in public. This school offers the kids that need more attention the chance to get the attention to do better in school and life."- Lucas
"The reason that we go to this school is because it is less systematic. You don't have to follow the same routine every single day. Every day here is different which includes activities as well as surprises. We're more open to express ourselves, and we feel more involved and a part of the game. It is more than just regular learning. You have the opportunity to learn as well as to experience what you learn hands on. We can succeed and still hold on to the information without forgetting it. Open campus helps us interact with the community." - Matt, Eric and Jordan
"The alternative high school is about meeting the students' needs to succeed and work in a positive environment to fulfill their future goals. By having the Education Center as an alternative school, our attitude toward school and our future is now rated a ten!" - Emory, Felicia, Cheral and Stephen
For more information about Archuleta County High School, or any of the other many community education programs offered by the Archuleta County Education Center, we can be reached at 264-2835.
Gallery show features Kathryn Kneip
The next exhibit at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery opens tonight.
Kathryn Kneip will display her many sculptures in bronze, wood and stone, as well as her graphite drawings of the human figure. Tonight's reception is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Please support our artists by attending these informative, entertaining and fun events.
We have successfully filled the Oct. 5 exhibit slot. The exhibit will be from a husband and wife team. Carolyn Stone will show her abstracts, painting of horses and other oils and acrylics. Her husband, Peter Reuthlinger, will display hand-stitched, exotic leather art.
Do not forget the PSAC Gallery is now operating on winter hours. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The PSAC and the Creede Repertory Theatre players are excited to present a production of "Love Letters." The dinner theater is Sept. 29. Cocktails will be served at 6:30 p.m. followed with dinner at 7 and the production at 8. Tickets are still available at the PSAC Art Gallery, Moonlight Books, the Sisson Library and Wolftracks bookstore. Arts Council members will receive a discount if they purchase their tickets at the gallery at Town Park.
While on the subject of dinner theater, the Pagosa Players will present "Three 4 Dinner" Friday and Saturday. The three one-act plays will be performed at the Pagosa Lodge. "Three" will feature "Asleep on the Wind" and its companion piece "Graceland" both by Ellen Byron, and "Mink Ties" By Don Nigro. Tickets can be purchased in advance only and are being sold at the Chamber of Commerce, Plaid Pony and WolfTracks Bookstore.
PSAC's annual "Artist's Studio Tour" is set for Oct. 21. Artists interested in opening their studios and their art to the tour are encouraged to call council president Jeff Laydon at 731-3686 or Joanne at the gallery, 264-5020. Tickets for the tour will be $8 for PSAC members and $10 for non-members. Children 12 and under are free.
If you would like to start receiving discounts as a member, just stop by the PSAC gallery and fill out a membership form. Individual membership is $20 a year and family membership is $30 a year.
A special thank you to Nancy Green for taking the time to keep the PSAC scrapbook up to date for all of us.
Anyone interested in volunteering to help Joanne at the gallery or at any PSAC event, please call her at 264-5020. It does not have to be a full-time commitment and it's always a lot of fun.
Speaking of the gallery, why not purchase a treasure from a local artist. The PSAC Art Gallery is not just for displaying exhibits; we also have a gift shop that sells the works of past artists and local crafters. Check it out.
September 21, 2000
Misusing a title
Anytime an editor titles his editorial "Accuracy is a necessity," he should be accurate in what he writes. That was the title I used for last week's editorial, but the third word of the editorial contradicted the title. I inaccurately identified Commissioner Bill Downey as "Commissioner Bill Downing."
Last Thursday afternoon when Commissioner Downey accepted my apology, I learned that it was not the first time for me to make that mistake. He said that in the past I had interchanged Downey with Downing when referring to him.
The only thing worse than being inaccurate is being inconsistent.
During my 15 years as a high school teacher, I made using the wrong name when calling upon a student a common occurrence. But because I consistently used the wrong names for the same students, in time they learned what name to answer to when called upon during class discussions.
During my 35 years of having more than one son, I likewise interchanged their first names with embarrassing regularity.
My inaccuracy with names carried over when I was blessed with having two daughter-in-laws, two granddaughters and two grandsons.
I wish that I could promise that I would not inaccurately identify one of the county commissioners or any other elected official in the future. But because of my past, I am afraid I would unwittingly break that promise. Instead, in an effort to assure greater accuracy in the future, I promise to be more attentive to what I write in hopes that I will use an individual's right name when writing an editorial.
I also hope I've based my last editorial on the fact that an elected official failed to be accurate or honest with his peers.
David C. Mitchell
Looking for Cygnus X One Star
Yesterday would have been difficult without a telephone.
Jere Hill phoned me yesterday morning just before I started my shower. Like most folks who had already seen the bright, shinny thing in the sky above Pagosa Peak, Jere wanted to know if I had seen "it."
So I put Jere on hold and walked outside to see whatever "it" was. Well Jere was right on the money. Yes sir, high above Pagosa Peak was something that would look right at home atop a Christmas tree.
The sight made it worth delaying a hot shower in order to stand on a cold porch. So I went back in and thanked Jere for phoning and assured him I would look for an answer as to what it was.
I snapped a couple of "shoot and hope" shots with a 70mm lens before I headed for the office confident that between Robert and his scanner or Karl, Richard and John and their connections, someone would provide an answer. The only problem was that it was Wednesday morning and we had a newspaper to get out.
As the day progressed, the NASA Balloon Facility at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, soared to the top of the list of likely sources.
Finally, after both sections of the Preview and the third section of the SUN were off the press and all but the last page 1 article was written, I phoned information in hopes of getting a number for the NASA operation in Fort Sumner.
When the operator failed me, I phoned the De Baca County News, the weekly newspaper in Fort Sumner. Alice Cleaver answered the phone, but she didn't have a number for NASA.
Instead, being a newspaper person, Alice gave me the phone number for Billy the Kid Motel. She assured me Elaine and Gary Gaintner, who own the motel, could give me a number for NASA.
Sure enough, Elaine answered, understood my predicament and provided a phone number. You know life is good when the NASA meteorologist who answers the phone is the son of the late editor of the Herald Press in Palestine, Texas.
So thanks to all of the above mentioned folks and meteorologist Robert Mullenax, I learned that a 650-foot tall, helium-filled balloon with a surface comparable to the Astrodome had been launched at the National Scientific Balloon Facility outside Fort Sumner at 0800 hour on 19 September. It carried a payload of about 4,500 pounds of astrophysics instruments to a height of 128,000 feet - that's about as far as folks in Chromo drive in order to shop in Pagosa Springs.
Harvard University scientists and personnel with the Marshall Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, provided the payload. Their intent was to "look upward" through the outer edges of the stratosphere in order to obtain clearer sightings of the "Cygnus X One star."
The flight ended at 1430 hours on 20 September in the general area of Grand Junction prior to "impact time." An electronic signal had released the payload and its parachutes from balloon after two global positioning systems on board determined the craft was above a safe landing area. The release mechanism also ripped open the balloon so that the 3,900 pounds of polyethylene could fall to the ground.
Four similar balloon launches are scheduled for this month so if the wind conditions are favorable, the fascinating sight of Wednesday morning could be repeated.
Mullenax said NASA customarily launches its balloons from Fort Sumner during the spring and early fall because "turn around winds" are present in the stratosphere during these seasons. Rather than traveling on their usual west-to-east course the wind currents in September are extremely light and somewhat unpredictable. The turn around winds enable the balloons and their payloads to remain in the telemetry range of the NASA facility for one or two days and send back the sought-after scientific data.
So if folks spot a bright shinny object floating above Pagosa in the next day or two, relax, don't worry, it's our tax dollars at work.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers.
Pagosans box with Olympians
Taken from SUN files
of Sept. 25, 1975
Members of the Pagosa Boxing Club had an opportunity to box exhibition matches with members of the U.S. Olympic Boxing team Saturday night. Pres Gurule boxed with ("Sugar") Ray Leonard. The Olympic boxers are training in Durango and soon will go to Mexico City to box for world titles.
What was first reported to be another cattle mutilation here this week, turned out to be false. Investigation by Hinsdale County authorities and officials of the Game and Fish Department revealed that the animals had been shot and had not been mutilated. The cattle mutilation reported last week was of a different nature and seemed to be definitely of the pattern found in other parts of the state.
Engine No. 1 of the recently formed Pagosa Fire Protection District was called out Sunday afternoon to fight its second wildfire of the summer. Five volunteers responded to the scene which was at the corner of U.S. 160 and Vista Boulevard.
Good progress is being made on the downtown parking landfill by Title X workers under the direction of the San Juan Soil Conservation District.
Suit filed against Pagosa Lumber Company
One of my favorite early newspaper editors here in Archuleta County was Charles Day. He was editor of the "Only Republican Paper in the County," The Pagosa Springs New Era. Day was known for not being afraid to express his opinion. It is interesting to note that a mere two inches below his proclamation of being the only Republican newspaper, Day's policy read, "News items are always gladly received, subject to the editor's pencil. Spicy news communications are requested from any neighborhood. Local news items are always desired, but articles dealing with politics or religion are not wanted."
One issue that got Day's dander up was a suit filed in federal court against the New Mexico Lumber Company and the Pagosa Lumber Company in 1907. In his May 10 edition of that year, he took a stand on this issue, "As usual with the Denver papers those that have come to hand have already tried these cases and practically given judgment to plaintiff on the alleged pleadings. The New Era, published at the very center of the district in which the alleged irregularities or frauds were committed, is not going to make the mistake of discussing the cases except in a general way, for to undertake to do anything else might and ought to lay this paper liable to censure and punishable contempt of court. But it would be rank cowardice on the New Era's part not to resent the imputation that Archuleta county is populated exclusively or largely by timber thieves . . . "
The suits alleged the two companies had acquired timber and timber lands in "an irregular manner." The "timber lands" involved some homesteads that were "fraudulently obtained."
Apparently federal agents spent some time in Archuleta County gaining information before bringing the suits against the parties. Day devoted many inches of news space telling of the poor job done by them. "Some of them did things that would not be tolerated in any government under the sun if it was once known. For instance, the county assessor was practically accused of doctoring the records of his office; a well know citizen was threatened with prosecution for perjury because he insisted that a piece of land he had sold was not abused because he refused a doctored statement the agents had prepared."
And so it was not surprising to see Day's headline in his December 27, 1907 edition which screamed in 2-inch tall capital letters "LAW VINDICATED." He reported, "A telegram received by E.M. Taylor on Tuesday about noon brought news that Federal Judge Lewis had quashed the indictments of the eleven men charged with having committed timber land frauds in Archuleta County."
School enrollment a measure of growth
It was September, 1949, when I matriculated from Pagosa Springs Elementary School into high school. I was one of 71 students entering those hallowed halls of higher learning.
Of course, the halls were the same ones we'd been treading throughout our school years here. All classes - one through twelve - were in the same building, the one which now houses the Intermediate School.
Total enrollment on the first day of classes that year was 324, just short of 20 percent of the total student body which reported Sept. 5 to the four school buildings on the school district's three current campuses. The old school building now houses just sixth and seventh grades and total enrollment at those two levels was 253 on opening day this year, just 71 students less than the enrollment for the entire school district in 1949.
If one is to measure growth of the county in the last half century, a look at school enrollment, school construction and variety of programs offered will reveal the real picture.
This was small town USA, where everyone knew everyone. It was an era in which the last of the rural schools were closing and bus routes were transporting students from the Upper Piedra, Blanco Basin, Chromo, Pagosa Junction and points in between into the county's only incorporated municipality (a fact which still remains) for classes.
The influx of summer tourists was just beginning to be a major factor in the area's economy but the flood of hunters for the fall big game seasons was an established draw.
Even the students were given an option of two days off during the hunting season to help fill the family larders for the upcoming winter. And other days off were allowed during the harvest season when farmers had to get their hay in before the first snowfall.
It was a more innocent group which entered high school that year. They had not been exposed to the "thrills" of television or the availability of illicit drugs. For many youngsters the week's biggest excitement outside of school came at the Saturday afternoon double feature matinee (with a newsreel and serial thrown in) at the Liberty Theater where admission was 50 cents.
Football was a beginning sport for the high school where basketball had always been king, with baseball running a close second (some businesses actually closed their doors while a game was in progress so the owners and employees could see the local athletes play). For some reason we seldom had rainouts in that era.
There were no golf, volleyball, wrestling, soccer or cross country teams on which to compete. There was a local boxing club which met outside school hours and was trained by Ralph "Hoppo" Yamaguchi and Billy Lynn.
There was a school district band comprised of students from third grade through seniors. In addition to concert performances, this fledgling group fielded a marching band. There were no uniforms but all members dressed in black slacks and gold t-shirts to give a semblance of Pirate pride to their performances.
A highlight of this musical group was the bass drum wagon. The bandmaster's daughter, a third grader, was the bass drummer and obviously not big enough to carry the drum.
Someone came up with a small wagon it would fit in, decorated it in school colors and drafted a third grade boy to pull it. That wagon became a parade hit with him pulling and her walking behind striking the cadence.
Some of you may remember the school gymnasium was below ground level at the rear of the building with public seating on a balcony above the playing area stretching along the south side over the players' benches.
There were no Lady Pirates teams, but there were a number of outstanding female athletes in the school. Among them, I remember Betty O'Cana in intramural basketball, Inez Gallegos and Josephine Maez who were stars in schoolground softball games and Alene Thomson (now Mrs. Harry Cole) who could run like the wind. In July 4 events that year she was the fastest runner in her age bracket, male or female, in races held in Town Park.
Nostalgia has its place, but we can't dwell on the past. Change has been made - some good and some bad - and more changes are coming. No or slow-growth initiatives aside, change is as natural and inescapable as birth, growth and imminent death.
We of Archuleta County, the broad, all-inclusive family of Pagosa Country, are privileged to live in what many of us also regard as God's Country. We should treat it as such.
This column was written for last week but some computer grinch seated on a memory chip apparently snatched it from the publication menu.
I can picture the infinitesimal being grinning through the monitor screen and mouthing in somehow understandable computerese: GOTCHA!
Unfortunately, I didn't discover this bit of internal plagiarism until it was too late to get in last week. The good news is that with it available, I don't have to write a new offering for this week.
A tale of murder in the Blanco Basin
By John M. Motter
We are indebted to Mrs. Mary L. Wood for the following version of a 1906 murder that took place near here in the Blanco Basin. Are there any oldtimers around who remember this story?
Mary L. Wood's story
"If we dig deep enough in our family closets, we are almost sure to find a few skeletons. I found this to be true on both sides of our family tree. The remarkable thing is that the events I will tell you of, happened at about the same time. One story concerns the Weir family and the other is of members and descendants of the Harrigan family.
"It is strange I never heard discussion of either of these incidents when we were growing up; for it was probably nothing anyone was proud to talk about and quite a scandal. It was not until I began working on our family tree that these stories surfaced."
The Weir Tragedy
"John Joseph Weir and Mary Isabella McCullough were married January 22, 1846, in Scott County, Indiana. Twin boys were born of this union on April 7, 1847 in Scott County; George J. and James W. Weir. On April 6, 1848, just before the boys first birthday, the mother, Mary Isabella died and was buried in Hopewell Cemetery, Scott County, Indiana.
"John J. Weir remarried several times, so the twins were raised by various stepmothers and had numerous step brothers and step sisters. The story that follows concerns George J. and James W. Weir, so I shall proceed with the stories of their lives.
"Around 1853-55, John J. moved his family to Clark County, Illinois, having lost another wife and remarried again. So George and James finished growing to manhood in the state of Illinois.
"George enlisted in the services of the Union Army during the Civil War for a period of three years on the 15th of April 1864, giving his age as 18 (though he was really seventeen) and his occupation as a farmer. The physical description given at this time said he had gray eyes, light hair, light complexion, and 5'8" tall. He was paid a bounty of $25.
"Research in the National Archives did not produce any record of service for James W. Weir. He married Sarah Jane Miller c. 1872-73 and they produced 14 children. Their eighth child, Orla Paul Weir, figures in an unfortunate way in the following events.
"George served during the Civil War in Company H, 21st Illinois Infantry, starting as a Private and being promoted to Corporal on August 11, 1865. He was detached as Provost Guard at Brigade Headquarters, 2nd Brigade, 1st Division on June 15, 1865. He mustered out as a Corporal at San Antonio, Texas on December 16, 1865 and was due to be paid $75, the balance of the bounty. Whether he went home to Illinois following discharge is not clear, though I think it was about 1869 when he went to Kansas. He married Sarah Sophia Nichols on 21 January 1880 in Kansas. Their family grew to nine children, in Oakland Twsp., near Miltonvale in Cloud County, Kansas, where they had acquired farm land. I might add that his uncle, David F. Weir, had moved from Washington County, Indiana to Clay Center, Clay County, Indiana about 1868-69 after an epidemic of diphtheria in Indiana caused the loss of his wife and several children. Perhaps George moved to Kansas with him at that time.
"For whatever reason, George J. and Sarah were divorced on September 22, 1904 in Cloud County, Kansas. Perhaps he had gotten rather ornery as did the old veteran in the book "The Last Confederate Widow Tells her story." The divorce record states that the defendant, George J. Weir, had abandoned the plaintiff for more than one year and that Sarah could retain all real and personal property now in her possession and belonging to her, as well as forty acres of land, which were titled to the defendant, and she received custody of the four minor children.
"Following that settlement, we find George imprisoned in the county jail for non-payment of certain fees and costs. There is no date on this document and I cannot help wondering if the "non-payment of fees" was really due to lack of funds, as an account of his assets at the time of his death would indicate otherwise. The Court was petitioned for his release from his "long imprisonment" and 28 old soldiers and members of the GAR signed the petition saying he is old and his confinement is injurious to his health. Apparently the petition did the trick and he was released soon after. In any event, he became a resident of the Soldiers Home at Leavenworth, Kansas on April 14, 1905. He went on furlough from that place when he was murdered.
"In a letter dated 24, March 1906 from adjutant Heisler of the Western branch National Home for the Disabled Volunteer Soldiers it was noted that George Weir had taken furlough in August 1905 to visit Battle Creek, Michigan. This furlough was renewed February 1906.
"On March 15, 1906, this item appeared in The Durango, a southwestern Colorado Newspaper:"
Cold Blooded Murder
"'Sheriff Elmer E. Hatcher of Archuleta County wired from Pagosa yesterday to D.A. Pulliam of Durango saying, "A murder has been committed here and the accused is in custody!'
"A later telegram from the sheriff read, 'Ora (sic) Weir evidently murdered his uncle for money.'
"George Weir was shot and killed on March 9, 1906. According to Gordon Huddleston of Butte, Montana, a great grandson of the murdered man, Esther Mae Weir (daughter of George Weir and Mr. Huddleston's maternal grandmother) who was twelve years old at the time, had a dream that her father was killed which she related to her mother and sisters the next morning. Later that day, they received a telegram from Colorado confirming her premonition.
"The following report appeared in the Clay Center Dispatch of March 15, 1906:
"'Orla Weir makes confession, it is alleged, to having killed aged relative who was shot on a lonely prairie! Both men quite well known in Clay Center and of good reputation.'
"By-line Pagosa Springs, Colo. March 12. 'His cupidity aroused by the knowledgement that his uncle, Joseph Weir, had a large amount of money on his person, Orla Weir, 28 years old, murdered his aged relative last Thursday in a lonely spot by shooting him in the back with a Winchester rifle.
"In explaining the disappearance of his uncle, young Weir told a halting story which aroused suspicion. He attempted to escape but was captured by a posse after making a show of resistance. He confessed to the crime before the body was found. On his body when arrested was $5,500 in cash and checks made payable to the elder Weir, who was a Civil War Veteran.
"The body of the murdered man was found Friday night in a clump of sage brush in the Blanco Basin, a wild section of Archuleta County, about twenty miles from Pagosa Springs, where it had been unceremoniously thrown, evidently in the hope that coyotes and other wild animals would soon destroy all evidence of the crime.
"Weir had evidently been killed some distance from where the body was found and the corpse had been carried on a horse to the place it was discovered.
"Joseph Weir and Orla Weir were both strangers here, the former having arrived here about three months ago from Leavenworth, Kansas where he was an inmate of the Soldiers Home, to spend the winter with friends in the Blanco Basin. The younger Weir joined his uncle here about a month ago, coming from Clay Center, Kansas. He worked around Pagosa Springs several days as a painter, and on February 22, he filed on a homestead in Blanco Basin, adjoining the ranch of Thomas Mee, where the elder Weir was stopping. (Footnote: I believe the Mee family came to Colorado from the area in Cloud County, Kansas where George Weir had lived, for I saw the Mee name on plat maps of that county. ) Both Weirs had left the Mee home Thursday morning, ostensibly to do a little work on the near location, but shortly before noon, the younger Weir returned alone and informed Mrs. Mee that his uncle had been called suddenly to Kansas and had left on foot for Pagosa Springs to take the train. When Mr. Mee, who had been in Pagosa, returned home and questioned young Weir; he became suspicious that all was not right and insisted that the nephew give a more logical reason for his uncle's absence, but the afternoon wore away and about dark the young man departed on foot for Pagosa Springs, against Mee's protest.
"Mee immediately mounted a horse and arousing the neighborhood, some of whom had already retired, laid the matter before them. An understanding was quickly reached and while four men took up the younger man's trail, others camped in the locality where the murder was believed to have occurred, prepared to take up the search in the morning for the missing man.
"The nephew was tracked toward Pagosa Springs, and about a mile south of town, where the road enters the San Juan River valley, he was overtaken. Here he left the road and was apparently preparing to wade the river to the west side where the Pagosa Lumber Co. mills are located, near the Denver and Rio Grande depot. He was ordered to surrender and replied that he had a gun which he would use. Upon assurance that if he resisted he would be killed, he threw up his hands and submitted to arrest. He was immediately brought to town and searched. He was found to have $5,800 upon his person, about $350 in cash and the balance in checks and drafts belonging to Joseph, Weir, one paper being his uncashed pension check.
"After some questioning, he confessed to the crime and them became morose and uncommunicative, and seems to be on the verge of collapse.
"A damaging piece of evidence against him was the finding of a small revolver that he threw away when captured. He is evidently a degenerate, and while no threats were made, there was danger that, upon finding of his uncle's body, the career of Orla Weir would be short, despite the efforts of all officers in the county. The murdered man was about 65 years of age and had a divorced wife and nine children, all living in various parts of Kansas and Nebraska. Orla Weir is probably 28 years old, and his father and the man he murdered were twin brothers.
"Another news article from "The Daily News," Denver, Colorado dated March 11, 1906 and datelined in Pagosa Springs, reads in part:
"'Sheriff Hatcher and Coroner Nossaman arrived here this afternoon with the body of G.J. Weir, who was killed Thursday morning by his nephew, Orla Weir, in Blanco Basin. The jury impaneled on the case returned for a verdict that G.J. Weir came to his death by gunshot wound from a gun in the hands of Oral Weir.
"It was learned during the inquest that Weir had been killed by his nephew at the granary of the Mee Ranch, now temporarily deserted and that the murderer had placed the victim on a horse and carried him nearly a mile to a lonely place on the hillside and thrown the body in a clump of bushes where it was found. One shot from a Winchester had done the dastardly work. The ball entered the back to the right of the backbone and coming out near the ninth rib.
"When shot, the victim had been to a stooping position, as evidenced by the upward course of the ball. Death must have resulted almost instantly. Relatives have directed that the remains be shipped to Miltonvale, Kansas for interment. The prisoner has not asked for an attorney.'
"Actually, George J. Weir was only 58 years old; not 68 as they supposed, and Oral Weir was 22 years old, not 28.
"The body of George J. Weir was returned to Miltonvale, Kansas after some delay, owing to the fact that the train carrying it was snowbound on a branch line in the mountains following a major snowstorm. He was laid to rest in Oakland Cemetery.
"Orla Weir was tried and convicted of his uncle's murder before Judge Russell in Pagosa Springs and was sentenced to the Colorado State Prison in Canon City. I found him there in the 1910 Colorado census record. The court records of the trial could not be found, but the Court Docket Record Books in Criminal Case No. 173, indicate that on August 21, 1906, Orla was pleading 'not guilty.' The next day, August 22, he changed his mind and pleaded 'guilty' and a jury trial resulted in a verdict of 'guilty of murder in the first degree and fixed the penalty to be imprisonment for life at hard labor in the penitentiary.'
"From the "Durango Weekly Banner & Wage Earner" newspaper of September 6, 1906, excerpted from the "Pagosa Springs Times Observer," the following news item is taken:
"'The day before Orlia (sic) Weir was taken to the pen, he remarked jokingly that he was a carpenter and cabinetmaker, but he would learn a new trade as soon as he got to Canon City as he believed by the time he was free, there would be no more timber and consequently, no use for a carpenter.'
"I think that remark was a bit of puffery, as I have found no evidence that he was a carpenter or a cabinet maker, most of his work experiences seems to have been as a farmer and painter.
"While I was searching the records of Archuleta County Courthouse, I was able to obtain a copy of the Deposition of Orla P. Weir taken by Samuel M. Johnson on July 21, 1906. Orla was represented by Charles A. Johnson, his attorney, and he was asking that funds taken from him at the time of his arrest, which was his own money, be returned to him.
"Strange as it may seem, Orla Paul Weir did not spend his entire life in the Penitentiary, but was released at some time, which I have been unable to ascertain. According to some family reports, he was only there a relatively short time. He lived to age 97 and died in Florida in 1981!"
Dylan Lee Maley
Thomas and Melissa Maley and big brother Travis are happy to announce the newest addition to the Maley family. Dylan Lee Maley was born in sunny Orlando, Fla. on July 15, 2000, at 7:26 p.m. He weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces and was 21 1/4-inches long.
His maternal grandparents are Mack and Carolyn McCarthy of Sanford, Fla., and Larry and Julie Brunelle of Longwood, Fla. His paternal grandparents are David and Janet Maley of Pagosa Springs.
Marti and Charlie Saul are back in Pagosa Country, with a new version of Saul Furnishings, located in the Greenbrier Plaza, Suite B-9, at the corner of North Pagosa Boulevard and Park Avenue.
The Sauls opened their first store in Pagosa Springs in 1985 and operated the business until 1994. Now they are back with a staff of design professionals and a full line of furniture, lighting, carpet and tile and accessories - a source for complete home furnishings, specializing in quality and service.
Saul Furnishings is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The phone number at the store is 731-1700.