Electrical storm ignites string of wildland fires
By Karl Isberg
A late-season thunderstorm Sept. 21 ignited wildland fires in Archuleta County that required responses from several local agencies.
According to U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jim Shepardson of the Pagosa Ranger District, the electrical storm that passed over the county in the afternoon and evening of Sept. 21 "is unusual for this time of year. Lightning ignited a fire on BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) land and while we were on our way to help the BIA the next day, we spotted a fire in the Burns Canyon area, about 10 miles southwest of Pagosa Springs."
Shepardson said the fire was located on private land between the Burns Canyon Road and Unit 6 of the Aspen Springs subdivision.
Three firefighters from the Pagosa Fire Protection District were at the scene and five firefighters from the Pagosa Ranger District responded with two engines. The firefighters worked to cut a line around the fire. An Archuleta County fire crew arrived with three engines and a bulldozer to cut the fire line and surround the blaze.
A Forest Service contract helicopter based at Durango made a number of water drops on the Burns Canyon fire.
"The county crew with the dozer got the line cut," said Shepardson, "and we did some burn-out to get the land back up to the fire line. The fire burned approximately 10 acres."
While the helicopter pilot flew to the scene of the Burns Canyon fire, he spotted a 15-acre blaze in the Valle Seco area, on U.S. Forest Service land 12 miles south of Pagosa Springs.
"The pilot spotted it when he came over to Burns Canyon," said Shepardson, "and we responded with an engine, five firefighters from the Pagosa Ranger District, four from Bayfield, and a dozer." The Forest Service firefighters worked Sept. 22 to cut a line around the fire and completed it that night.
"We also ordered a Type-2 crew from the Rio Grande National Forest," said Shepardson.
With 25 firefighters at the scene Sept. 23, the Valle Seco fire was labeled "contained" by the end of the day.
"We had another fire ignited by the storm," said Shepardson. "It was on East Toner Road in the Upper Piedra area, about 15 miles northwest of town. It was about one acre in size and fortunately the rain pretty much extinguished it. We are monitoring that site today (Sept. 25) with six people."
Conditions in the national forest are still dry, said Shepardson, with factors coming into play to mitigate the situation.
"One thing we're starting to get," he said, "are cold nights. This helps put fires out. But, the danger is still something to worry about. One problem is with frost: It cures out the smaller fuels in the forest. A lot of people think a little rain takes us out of our serious fire condition. It doesn't do it; our larger fuels haven't had enough moisture to keep them from drying out."
Local fire crews remain ready to respond to wildland fires in the county, as they have done 80 times during the current fire season.
"We've thought the fire season might be over several times so far," said Shepardson. "We were wrong."
$1.05 million grant for airport
By John M. Motter
A grant of $1,054,900 has been received for engineering and land acquisition at county-owned Stevens Field, the county commissioners learned Tuesday while meeting in regular session.
"Basically, we have the money now," said Tim Smith, the airport manager. "We can get to work."
The money is a grant from the Federal Aviation Commission and requires a 10 percent county match. Already in the year 2000 county budget is $57,000 earmarked for land acquisition at the airport. Tuesday the county budgeted another $60,212 to the project thereby elevating the county commitment to $117,212, equaling the 10 percent required county match.
Engineering and land acquisition is expected to cost $1,172,112 - $891,930 for engineering, $250,000 for land acquisition.
Washington Infrastructure Airport Services of Denver was awarded the engineering contract last March. Engineering should be completed in time to advertise for construction bids this coming November, according to Smith. Initial runway construction should begin next summer and the entire project should be complete by 2004, Smith said.
The scope of work anticipates rebuilding the north runway and other improvements that will upgrade Stevens Field to an FAA C-2 designation, Smith said. C-2 compatibility will allow large corporate jets to use Stevens Field.
Cost for the entire project will not be known until the engineering study is complete.
"We expect the federal government to pay for 90 percent of the actual construction costs," Smith said. "The county is required to come up with a 10 percent grant, but the state will probably cover half of that."
In 1995, the county recorded 12,000 take offs and landings at Stevens Field. Thus far this year that number has swelled to 16,000 and by 2005 the number could reach 25,000, Smith said.
Land acquisition is necessary at both ends of the runway in order to meet FAA runway protection zone requirements, Smith said.
Natural gas rate hike totals 58.85%
By John M. Motter
A natural gas consumer price hike totaling about 60 percent is the result of market conditions outside the control of Citizens Utilities, according to Dave Freeman, division manager for Citizens Utilities in Colorado.
In this area, Citizens Utilities supplies natural gas to consumers in Archuleta County and a portion of La Plata County in the Bayfield vicinity, Freeman said. Natural gas price increases are general and about the same throughout the nation, Freeman added.
Citizens Utilities has asked the Colorado Public Utilities Commission for a 10.85 percent rate increase to start Oct. 1.
"We should know by Oct. 1 if the PUC is granting the request," said Freeman, whose office is in La Junta.
The 10.85 percent October price increase is in addition to the 48 percent price increase Citizens Utilities secured for this area during July. Together, the increases amount to 58.85 percent, the cost increase natural gas users will see on their bills if the October gas price hike is approved.
"What is driving this," Freeman said, "is the price we are paying for natural gas. Our cost has gone up about 100 percent and we have to raise our rates in order to stay in business."
For years, natural gas supplies were plentiful and consumer demand relatively soft, according to Freeman. The soft demand was the result of using coal or other energy sources for industrial purposes, rather than natural gas. Because the price of natural gas remained low, little search was made for new sources and little investment made in providing facilities for moving natural gas to larger markets.
All of that has changed recently, according to Freeman. Electrical power generating companies and other commercial users are replacing coal with natural gas as an energy source. As a result, natural gas supplies are in great demand, driving up the price. The industry has not had time to respond to the increased demand by finding new sources or investing in the facilities needed to move gas from existing sources to larger markets. When they do respond, the cost for capital improvements is very high, Freeman said.
"We realize, because the 48 percent increase was made during July when natural gas consumption was low, that consumers haven't really been faced with the shock of the price jump," Freeman said. "That shock will come when they start heating this fall. An additional shock will come if we get bad weather this winter after several mild winters. People will be using more natural gas, and at a 60 percent higher cost."
Freeman suggested two steps to help mitigate the shock.
First, certain people, because of age, physical handicaps, or for other reasons may be eligible for assistance through the LEAP program administered through the county social services office. Interested persons can learn more about LEAP locally by calling Archuleta County Social Services.
Second, Citizens Utilities has a program allowing gas users to pay a fixed monthly amount throughout the year. The fixed payment program avoids the shock of higher winter gas bills. The total paid will be the same. For information concerning the fixed monthly payment plan, Freeman advises local citizens to call the Pagosa Springs Citizens Utilities office at 264-2192.
Boilini bags clubs for state
By Richard Walter
He struggled with his game all year.
He wasn't satisfied with his swing and what he felt was his inconsistency.
He'll be Pagosa Springs High School's first ever representative in the state high school golf finals.
Luke Boilini finally put together his game in the regionals last week in Rye/Colorado City and fired a 78 to make the list of top10 individuals who advanced from the tournament to state playoff action.
Boilini will participate in Class 4A play Monday and Tuesday on the River Valley Ranch Course in Carbondale.
When asked about his performance in the regionals, Boilini said, "Finally, everything came together and I was able to do the things I should have been doing all season."
Asked about being the school's first representative in the state golf championship, he hesitated, then grinned, and said, "It's and honor and will be a real challenge."
Coach Kathy Carter agreed. "It was exciting for him," she said, "and I think it will pave the way for what we need to do for next year. With Luke only a junior, it will give some impetus to our program to have had a state playoff contender."
She noted the Pagosa team finished a respectable seventh in the 27-team regional with only the five Pueblo area schools and Alamosa High School topping the Pirates.
Carter said one of the problems the Pirates encountered on the regional course was lack of practice. They arrived early but found a junior varsity tournament in progress. They got to play only six holes before they had to stop for the day.
Josh Postolese, who had been the Pirates' team leader most of the season, ran into a buzzsaw of errors on the first hole and shot a 9 to open the tournament. That led to his shooting a 46 on the front nine before recovering and blistering the back nine in 36 for an 82 total.
Chris White, the third returning letterman on the squad chipped in with an 84, giving the Pirates a 244 total for the tournament.
Carter said she expects next year's team to be stronger depthwise because this year's freshmen gained some valuable varsity experience. "With Luke to anchor us and the progress I've seen in Garrett Forrest and Danny Lyon this season, along with experienced juniors, we should have a good overall squad next year.
"But," she cautioned, "they will all have to work hard next summer so they'll have a competitive edge when the season starts."
Boilini, she said, will "have to be on his game again next week. He'll be one of 84 individuals in the hunt for honors and you can bet every one of them will shoot in the 70s. But he goes in knowing he's competing with the cream of the crop and wouldn't be there if he didn't belong."
The team members celebrated their season effort and gave Boilini a send-off with an end-of-season barbecue fling at the Pagosa Springs Golf Course maintenance building Tuesday evening following a final round of golf.
Means of collecting proposed use tax debated
By John M. Motter
Techniques for collecting a county-wide use tax were the subject of a county commissioner work session held at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
The county has placed an item on the Nov. 7 general election ballot asking citizens to vote on a proposed 4 percent use tax to be levied on building materials.
Tuesday's work session was attended by owners of local building materials supply stores and focused on methods for identifying and quantifying materials subject to the tax.
As proposed, the use tax will be levied only against building materials on which a sales or use tax has not already been paid. For example, building materials purchased in Archuleta County are taxed 4 percent for county and town use, plus 3 percent for state use. Consequently, the purchaser of those materials will not have to pay the 4 percent use tax.
Given another scenario in which a builder purchases building materials outside of Colorado and uses them in Archuleta County, that builder could be required to pay the 4 percent use tax if unable to prove payment of a sales or use tax somewhere else.
The county collection process as currently envisioned requires the builder to present an affidavit containing the cost of a permitted building to the county building office. It will be assumed that one-half of those costs are for building materials. The 4 percent use tax will be levied against the cost of materials at that time. If the builder can show the 4 percent has already been paid as a sales or use tax, no payment will be required. If the builder cannot show payment of the 4 percent, payment to the county will be required at that time. If the 4 percent requirement is not met, a certificate of occupancy will not be issued on the building.
It was suggested that, at a later date, the county assessor's valuation of the building be compared to the builder's affidavit. If a substantial difference exists, the builder will be required to pay the difference.
A final process for effecting the collections has not been decided upon by the commissioners. Additional workshops will be conducted in conjunction with members of the building community until a process is agreed upon.
County officials estimate that no use or sales taxes are paid on about $8 million worth of building materials used in Archuleta County each year.
Collection of use taxes is regarded as a partial solution to increasing county costs related to growth. Income from the use tax, if approved by voters, will be devoted to growth-related expenses.
New double-bunk beds ordered for county jail
By John M. Motter
An expenditure of $5,114 for four additional inmate double-bunk beds for the county jail was approved by the county commissioners while meeting in regular session Tuesday.
The beds were requested by Sheriff Tom Richards in order to "avoid sending inmates outside the county."
In order to meet American Jail Association standards, said jail Capt. Mencor Valdez, each bunk bed also requires a six-man table with attached chairs, and storage compartment.
"If we farm the inmates out, it will cost the county $50-per-day per inmate," Valdez said.
Addition of the four bunk beds will completely fill the current jail to capacity, according to Valdez.
"We are at maximum expansion of the current jail," he said.
"In the future if we exceed capacity, I'm not sure what we'll do," Richards said. "We're looking into using leg bands (containing radio transmitters) and maybe talking to the judges about reducing sentences."
Helping fill the current jail are inmates who have not been to trial or sentenced, but are being held pending trial because they cannot afford bonds. About 75 percent of the current inmates fit this category, according to Richards.
In other business Tuesday the commissioners:
- Conducted a public hearing concerning the formation of Lakeside Hills Metropolitan District, then approved the service plan submitted by the district. The development is located adjacent to Echo Lake. The district contains six Colorado property owners and about 25 out-of-state lot owners.
The next step for creating the district involves filing the proposal with the district court judge. That judge will schedule an election Nov. 7. If the six eligible in-state voters approve district formation, the district will set about devising means for funding water, sewer, and road improvements.
- Listened to a citizen request the widening of the extreme lower portion of Lower Blanco Road in order to accommodate school buses. The county contends the road cannot be widened without a large outlay of money, perhaps more than current traffic warrants. School district bus supervisor John Rose told the commissioners the situation is safe and he will monitor bus traffic there regularly and make changes as warranted
- Listened to a monthly progress report presented by Erlinda Gonzalez, county Social Services superintendent
- Listened to a report from Russell Crowley concerning emergency management conferences
- The commissioners agreed to place on next week's agenda consideration for disbanding the "Vision Committee," formed to help the county formulate growth plans. Members of the committee are Karen Aspin, Julia Donoho, John Applegate, Mary K. Carpenter, Lynda Van Patter, Steve Schwartz, Mary Madore, Ron Chacey, Lauren Huddleston, Paul Ulrich, Dick Moseley, Fran Jenkins, Jo Bridges and Bob Moomaw.
No money for trails
By John M. Motter
The Archuleta County commissioners reaffirmed support of a trails system proposed by the Pagosa Lakes Property Owner's Association, but specified that the county will not contribute money for the project.
Last week, the commissioners reached conditional agreement with the PLPOA regarding a $65,000 GOCO grant the PLPOA is seeking to help fund construction of the trails. The commissioners authorized County Manager Dennis Hunt to sign the contract when Hunt is satisfied the conditions are met. Hunt placed the item on Tuesday's commissioner agenda in order to receive clarification of certain points.
The agreement is necessary because the PLPOA does not meet GOCO requirements as a government body entitled to receive grant funds. The county's involvement includes sponsoring the grant because the county is qualified to receive GOCO grant money.
County Engineer Roxann Hayes will supervise the work. Hayes' work associated with the project is valued at $5,000 and is considered a contribution by the county.
At Tuesday's meeting, the county learned that if the GOCO grant is awarded for the trails project, GOCO procedures specify reimbursement of construction costs after the project is completed. Consequently, someone or some entity must spend $65,000 during construction and the pending project's completion.
"I don't believe the county ever intended paying anything toward this project other than the county engineer's time," said Commissioner Bill Downey.
Commissioners Gene Crabtree and Ken Fox agreed with Downey. Therefore no action was taken at the Tuesday meeting. Final approval of the contract is still pending.
First freeze recorded; monsoon could return
By John M. Motter
Freezing temperatures officially hit Pagosa Country for the first time this fall. The thermometer dropped to 32 degrees Saturday. As if to show the Saturday freeze was no fluke, the mercury dropped another notch to 28 degrees Sunday, then 25 degrees Monday, before bouncing back to a balmy 39 degrees for a low Tuesday night.
Locally, official National Weather Service readings are taken at Stevens Field.
As to the forecast for the coming week, "The weather is trying to go back to the summer, monsoon pattern," said Doug Baugh, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction. "There is a high-pressure ridge across the West with the high centered just south of the New Mexico-Mexico border. The pattern is drawing moisture from Mexico into our area."
The unseasonal monsoon pattern should change to a more normal zonal pattern by early next week, according to Baugh. The zonal pattern describes air flows from northern California and the Pacific Northwest that control Pagosa Country weather through much of the fall, spring and winter seasons, according to Baugh.
Today's forecast predicts a 30 percent chance of rainshowers and thunderstorms with high temperatures in the mid to upper 70s. A slight chance of rain remains for Friday, but by Saturday and Sunday conditions should be drier as the monsoon conditions move away. Temperatures over the weekend should range from highs in the 70s to lows in the 30s.
"It should be the beginning of Indian Summer," Baugh said. "Indian Summer is that season following the first freeze when the weather is milder."
Snow blanketed the higher elevations of mountains north and east of Pagosa Springs this past week. Officially, 0.38 inches of precipitation were measured at Stevens Field, 0.23 inches Thursday and 0.15 inches Saturday.
High temperatures the past week ranged from 76 degrees last Thursday down to 68 degrees Sunday with an average high temperature of 72 degrees. Low temperatures ranged from the low of 25 degrees Monday up to 39 degrees Tuesday. The average low reading was 33 degrees.
The date of first frost in Pagosa Country has been quite consistent since 1995. In that year the first frost, 32 degrees, was recorded Sept. 12. Since then, the first frosts each year are: 1996 - Sept. 19 - 30 degrees; 1997 - Sept. 24. - 32 degrees; 1998 - Sept. 22 - 31 degrees; 1999 - Sept. 20 - 31 degrees; and 2000 - Sept. 23 - 32 degrees.
I would appreciate anyone who witnessed the accident at the Hogs Breath last Friday about noon to contact me at 731-3478.
A large vehicle hit my parked small, white convertible and left the scene. There is a $50 reward for a name or license tag.
Read SUN on web
I am pond scum. Worthless. I feel so dirty. I don't deserve to go on. I feel so cheap. I read the SUN on the Web and I ain't sent ya a dime. How could I ever expect forgiveness for this terrible sin against humanity? Should it cost more on the Web due to expedient delivery or more if printed and mailed due to it being a valuable, original masterpiece? Questions, questions, questions. And you thought infinity was complex.
Respectfully and indebtedly yours,
We are writing in regard to the bear break-in in the upper Blanco Basin. We are about to recover from the damage done.
However, we wish to clarify a typo error specifying the duration of time between the 911 call and the arrival of Mr. Mike Reid, Division of Wildlife.
He arrived in approximately 45 minutes at our house which is 20 miles from Pagosa Springs.
The DOW officers have not only been very helpful and supportive, they have represented our state very well.
Chris and Stena
Preserve the gains
Vote no on Amendment 21 to preserve the gains which our community has made through the unselfish efforts of countless volunteers. Passage of this measure would progressively bankrupt the vital services provided by our special districts.
An illustration of the progress we have made was provided in last week's SUN with the announcement that the Pagosa Fire Protection District had improved its insurance classification from a "6" to a "5." This potential savings in insurance dollars was accomplished only after a four-year preparation, culminating in an intense final year of activity involving thousands of man-hours (woman-hours, too) from 65 volunteers, the professional staff led by fire Chief Warren Grams and district manager Diane Bower, and the splendid cooperation of board member and Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District assistant manager, Gene Tautges.
Vote no on Amendment 21 to keep our special districts alive.
In the last 11 years PFPD has increased its coverage area seven-fold and still managed to gain a better insurance rating. Positive efforts such as this can only be protected by your no vote on Amendment 21. We need to defend those advances to which so many of us have contributed. Fire protection in Archuleta County goes clear back to 1948 when Dick DeVore and many fellow citizens formed the Pagosa Springs Volunteer Fire Department. After the Fairfield area began to develop a host of volunteers such as Roy Vega, and Jack DeLange formed the Pagosa Fire Protection District. Tremendous community support with generous donations of labor, materials, land, and money has been the story of this successful growth. Donations of $52,188 in finances and $236,510 in land and materials from 768 donors and countless hours of labor from 330 volunteers under the direction of volunteer construction superintendent Dusty Pierce has resulted in the construction of Stations 3, 4 and 5 and the current remodeling of Station 2 along with the acquisition of nine fire vehicles.
Can we afford to forfeit the gains made by this community by failing to vote no on Amendment 21?
The comments above deal with only one of our local government entities. Yet similar stories exist among the other now-endangered special districts. Are we ready to move the Ruby Sisson Library back to one room in the Town Hall? We have invested too much in volunteerism to have our services destroyed by another poorly-conceived Douglas Bruce amendment. We have consistently passed de-Brucing issues to negate the impact which the TABOR Amendment has had on local government.
Now is the time to protect our investment of time and money in the provision of local services. Vote no on Amendment 21 on Nov. 7.
As one charged with communications I have not done too well. The meeting I announced for those interested in PLPOA communications was held on Aug. 30, not Sept. 30 as given in my letter to you published on Aug. 24. A dedicated few found their way to the meeting in spite of my communication error.
As noted last week and this week with display ads in your paper, the PLPOA board is holding a town meeting next Monday, Oct. 2, starting with refreshments at 6:30 p.m. I sure hope I get it right this time and that those wishing to do more about PLPOA communications will give me their names at the town meeting.
For those out of town, the highlights will be put on the Web site at www.plpoa.com and questions or issues can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
PLPOA Board Member
We all lose
"I do not deny the possibility that the people may err in an election; but if they do, the true remedy is in the next election." - Abraham Lincoln
We taxpayers were fooled by Mr. Douglas Bruces' "Taxpayers Bill of Rights" in 1992. But by taking the hint from Lincoln's aforementioned quote, we "de-Bruced" to keep our service districts up to snuff. Now we are faced with another Bruce proposal in Amendment 21, which will change the state constitution forever. If he succeeds this time we won't be able to overturn it by the ballot and we'll lose our library the first year and our fire and EMS services in the next couple (two or three) of years.
It is not right that our services should hinge on the votes of this state's more populated areas (Front Range) who never built our districts to start with and who don't pay for our services.
Please contact anyone you know in Denver, Colorado Springs, etc., and lay it out to them that $25 in the hand will kill us folks in rural Colorado. We will all lose if this Godforsaken, misguided amendment passes.
Ruby M. Sisson
Friday afternoon started the weekend off with the chamber of commerce wine and cheese extravaganza. It was nice to meet old and new friends dressed in black and white with a touch of red. Sally, her staff and volunteer's outdid themselves. A great time had by all.
Friday evening was the three one-act plays at Pagosa Lodge called "Three 4 Dinner" directed by Zack Nelson. It is amazing how much talent we have in Pagosa Springs.
Saturday morning the weather was not good for ballooning, but we had a nice breakfast with a pilot and his crew. Saturday afternoon the rains came and canceled the balloon glow, but the food and music (Rio Jazz) at the Fairfield tent was outstanding. Saturday night was the Whistle Pig directed by Bill Hudson with an outstanding performance by Paul and Carla Roberts and cast. They must have played over 15 different musical instruments from around the world. Throughout the evening many talented magicians played to a large audience.
Sunday morning was gorgeous. We flew in Roy Leonard's balloon called "Radiance" viewing the snow capped mountains and the changing of the colors. What a beautiful sight. Sunday afternoon there was a 10-hour fund raiser for Special Olympics. Local talent was featured including the "Would Be Trio, Rio Jazz, Jamming Jeff and Dog at Large." Special Olympics raised approximately $1,700. Sunday evening was really the highlight of the whole weekend as Up With People was playing at the high school. Talk about talent. Around 150 young students from all over the world performed the musical production, "A Common Beat," sponsored by Pagosa Springs Rotary Club and KWUF, the whole town came together to make this a successful event. Both performances were sold out. Many new friendships were made and I am sure that the students will always remember Pagosa Springs as a beautiful and hospitable town.
Remember the saying, "It only happens in Pagosa."
Proud to be a full-time resident of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.
I would like to thank the author (Jake and Leslie Montroy) of the "Go Home" letter to you from a couple of weeks ago (Sept. 14). Their acknowledgment of Piano Creek Ranch Corporation's restoration of the old feed building (San Juan Supplies) on Lewis Street was well deserved. I was a carpenter on that restoration and I'm proud to have been a part of it.
During the course of that project I met the people who run the place: Kurt, Nancy, Matt, Jannae, and the guy who seems to be in charge. It is true, they are nice people. But just because they are nice doesn't mean their development is good for Pagosa Springs.
The primary argument for the Piano Creek development seems to be, "It's private land, they can do what they want." What a bunch of bull. If someone bought land in town and wanted to open a striptease club, they would be run out of town before you could get a letter in the paper.
I would be right there on their heels with everyone else.
The real question to me is "what kind of community do we want to build?" Vail, Breckenridge, Aspen and Ketchum, Idaho, are all communities that catered to high dollar development. In each case the money came in and the taxes and home prices went through the roof. The primary source of income in those towns is low-paying service jobs. The average working person has little or no chance of saving enough money to buy their own home.
And what about the valley of the East Fork of the San Juan River? Do you want to see and hear helicopter traffic going to and from the proposed Piano Creek helipad while you're hiking on Quartz Ridge?
And if you think that valley needs a golf course I think you've spent too much time looking at the mountains from your living room windows. What's wrong with the golf course we have?
I chose to live here because it seemed like the kind of community where, for many, filling their freezer with elk in the fall and having a garden makes a significant difference on the year's cash flow and quality of life. These are the people I feel we should build our community for.
Help save Pagosa Springs for real people. Piano Creek Ranch go home.
NASA balloon, my fanny. Here are the top 10 real and truly "logical" explanations ("TTRATLE" in government speak) for the appearance of the silver thingie in the sky above Pagosa last week:
1. It was a "hot air" balloon, and because there is more hot air per capita in Pagosa Springs than in any other city in the country, except maybe Washington, D.C., it was able to maintain an elevation of 120,000 feet for some time.
2. It was sent here by "Big Brother" and carried surveillance equipment with x-ray capabilities meant to keep an eye on us here in Pagosa to make sure we're all "productive citizens" who are properly paying our taxes, consuming, and feeding the machine.
3. It was sent here by Santa Claus and carried surveillance equipment with x-ray capabilities to see who's naughty and who's nice.
4. Who cares?
5. It was sent up by Claude and Ethel Wiltergrass, recent retirees from the city, to check out available real estate on which to build their "summer home." They're looking for space big enough for a 7,000-square-foot house, a 60-foot RV, a truck capable of pulling it, his and hers matching SUVs, and their "little" Mercedes sedan. They don't really care if this real estate has a view of the area, but want to make sure everyone in the area has a view of their "improvements."
6. It was sent out by the U.S. government to track a deadly nerve gas that "accidentally" escaped testing facilities. Symptoms of this gas include diminished reasoning capabilities. Satisfied that the gas had indeed been this way, the balloon moved on.
7. The beef and dairy industries sent it up to measure methane gas levels caused by, um, "venting" bean-eating vegetarians in order to further discredit their health efforts and prove once and for all that beef "rules."
8. The people at the National Inquirer are getting desperate for sleaze, aren't they?
9. The government, in renewed efforts to cut waste, spent several hundred G's to send up the balloon to peek into backyards so they could study citizen's possible wasteful habits. The balloon then self destructed on preplanned schedule, crashed to the ground, and rendered all equipment on board useless.
10. It was a UFO, sent here by another planet to continue the search for Earthly intelligent life forms. Having failed yet once again, it moved on. (You'd think they'd learn by now.)
Maggie Valentine Inskeep
I would like to follow up on the letter by Jim Dressler last week, "Red Tag Plan."
My impression is that the county commissioners have been fiddling while Rome (the recently reconstructed Fairfield roads) burns. They are apparently pretending that they are ostriches, putting their heads in the sand hoping the problem will go away, i.e., a metropolitan district.
As Jim pointed out we are paying substantial property taxes to the county, some (most?) of which are earmarked for maintenance of roads in the county. Yet our roads are not to be maintained?
I suggest that the county needs to step up to the bar to accept its responsibility and insert into the county system for maintenance any road that has been verifiably built to county standards. Further the county needs to come up with a plan for road maintenance. The high-use roads, obviously, should be maintained more often. Perhaps a lightly-used road in a subdivision would only be maintained once every other year, for example.
If the red tags stay I (and I will encourage others to do the same) intend to apply for a reduction of the assessed value of my property on the basis that non-maintained roads are seriously depreciating the value of my property.
I will also fight the formation of a metropolitan district tooth and nail.
Why should we pay more taxes for what is already a county responsibility?
If the county stays on its present course it can expect at some point in the future seriously reduced property values and problems with access of emergency vehicles over what were once good roads.
Archie Mac Millan
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped make the 15th annual Colorfest Balloon Rally such a delight to be involved with. Even though mother nature may have dampened our ability to fly and glow on Saturday, it certainly didn't dampen our spirits. A huge thanks goes out to Christine Clifford, Terri House and Morna Trowbridge. They were my right arms, and their ability to read my mind and finish my sentences lightened the load and made my job so much more enjoyable.
Thanks also to Michelle Martinez and Denise Mudroch for all the contributions, errands, friendship and support. You won't be able to get out of it next year. My husband Mike keeps me motivated, takes care of last minute details, puts out the fires and is always available to give a hug. Love and adoration to you.
The many local businesses that participated as sponsors must be commended, as their support is what made the rally possible. We also appreciate our local lodging hosts who provided complimentary accommodations to our out-of-town balloon pilots.
Once again, the gang down at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center provided us with administrative, emotional, moral support and a lot of other kinds of support. They hosted and toasted our pilots and their support is deeply appreciated.
Thank you as well to the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association for allowing us to launch from behind the Recreation Center on Sunday and we also thank Fairfield Pagosa for allowing us the use of its activity tent for the pilot lunch Sunday afternoon.
A tremendous thanks goes to our pilots in appreciation of their hard work in raising money for Camp Cascade through Hospice of Mercy Medical Center. Thanks to the wonderful pilots who flew their balloons in the Colorfest Rally, we were able to present Heather Welther, Camp Cascade director, with over $1,100 on Sunday to benefit the Camp. Thanks to all of our sponsors that donated to our pilot's envelopes as well. This is an important part of our rally each year and a cause that we hold close to our hearts.
Last, but not least, we want to thank everyone who came out to be a part of the chase crews. Without you, we would never have left the ground. I hope I haven't forgotten anyone, so to cover all my bases, thanks again Pagosa, and get ready for Winterfest 2001. February will be here before you know it, and we'll start the fun all over again.
I want to tell those of you who were not "host mom and dad" for the Up with People cast that you missed out on the chaos, clutter, chatter and love that these kids brought with them. I had so much fun with them. It was really great of the local businesses to treat them special and they appreciated it so much. Especially the Spring Inn. There was quite a group of them at the Hot Springs on Friday night. What fun we had tub jumping. We do have a great community here and they all felt it. We should be proud of ourselves.
I have a few questions regarding the repaving project on North Pagosa Blvd.
First, I would like to know which county official authorized paving over an untested road base? Is this official still working for the county? If so, why?
Anyone with any knowledge of engineering should know that if you don't have a good base, whatever you put on top of it will fail. Whoever authorized this paving should be terminated immediately for negligence. He (or she) obviously doesn't know what they are doing. I work for a construction company and I know if I made a stupid decision that cost my company over a quarter of a million dollars I wouldn't have time to say boo before I was fired. Why should it be any different because it's taxpayer funds instead of a private company?
In closing, I wonder why more taxpayers don't seem very upset over this fiasco. It seems to me that $283,000 is a lot of money that could have been spent on any number of other useful projects, instead of just wasted.
P.S. Perhaps the SUN, being the newspaper of record of Archuleta County, should hire an investigative reporter to look into the waste and/or misuse of taxpayer funds.
Editor's note: The three officials who approved the recommendations of the Road Advisory Committee regarding work on North Pagosa Boulevard were elected by the voters - they are not hired or fired. The Road Advisory Committee was appointed by the county commissioners based in part upon recommendations from the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association.
Focusing on skills
Thank you for the articles you published on the violence prevention talks held at the high school last week (Sept. 7). Hearing the perspectives from the students was a highlight. For several years, Pagosa's fifth and ninth graders have been participating in a ropes course at Sonlight Camp. This course teaches students team work, communication and conflict resolution skills. Students, teachers and administrators are to be commended for participating in this program in these earlier years. Thanks to Sonlight staff for their partnership to make this student experience possible.
Hats off to these dedicated people for focusing on skills that can help prevent violence in our schools. Keep up the good work.
Carol Pierce Philips
Other than oil
It is time to develop another energy source other than oil. We are going to follow one or the other of our political parties until we are starving and freezing to death. If you think I'm a crack pot, then it should be easy to find heating oil without dipping into the emergency reserves.
I want to thank everyone who has worked on getting our new stoplight in, especially the town administration. This has been a project in progress for many years. Sometimes it takes being a squeaky wheel to get results.
The next step is to keep pressure on the Colorado Department of Highways, the town and the county to encourage them to move quickly to get lights at Piedra Road and Pagosa Boulevard. I know the Piedra lights are in the plan, but with a few squeaky wheels, maybe we can get these lights in before someone gets killed.
P.S. Contact Richard Reynolds to thank him for our new light and to encourage him to expedite our next two lights: Colorado Department of Transportation, 3803 North Main Avenue, Suite 300, Durango, CO 81301.
Recognizing a hero
I would like to recognize a real "hero" among us. My friend, Catherine Looper, is an instructional aid at the elementary school. She was one of the adults on playground duty a few weeks ago when the children were attacked by bees. As you may recall, 17 children were stung and one child was stung nine times. This was obviously very frightening and painful for these little ones.
Mrs. Looper was the adult closest to the children and they ran screaming to her for help. She swatted bees away and pulled the shirt off one boy (he had bees crawling out of his shirt at the neck line). In the midst of all the hysteria and panic she calmly worked to get the bees away and directed the children to quickly get inside and away from the danger.
Now you may be thinking that she was just doing her job and for most of us that would be true. But what you may not realize is that Mrs. Looper is extremely allergic to bee stings. The other two times in her life she was stung, she was hospitalized both times. So when you think about Mrs. Looper's actions, wouldn't that be like one of us jumping into a pile of rattlesnakes to rescue someone? Her actions were very brave to say the least.
Mrs. Looper was stung once. It took the EMTs awhile to stabilize her. She was given attention and medication immediately and for that I would like to thank our wonderful school nurse, Maureen Margiotta, for her expertise in handling this crisis. Can you imagine the chaos? Mrs. Margiotta you are a true professional and I thank God you're here for our children and staff. I know there were many school employees involved that day in helping with the crisis and they all deserve a big thank you.
There are heroes among us everyday doing extraordinary things and for the most part going unnoticed. So I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Mrs. Looper and let her know how appreciative we are to have a person of her character working with and taking care of our precious children.
Fine tune the plan
The third and final round of neighborhood meetings on the Community Plan were held during the last two weeks. Many county and town residents turned out to hear what the planners had to present after taking input from the previous rounds of public meetings in May and February. The next step in the process is to fine tune the plan, taking into consideration the recent comments; and then to present the plan, first to the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission, and then to the board of county commissioners, for adoption. If you were unable to attend a recent meeting, you may pick up a copy of the draft Community Plan at the county planning department in the courthouse. Additional comments will be accepted for a short time. The 25th of October is the expected date for plan presentation to the planning commission. This will take place at a public meeting in the evening, so anyone interested is encouraged to attend.
P.S. David, enclosed is a copy of the plan for you. I didn't notice you at any of the meetings.
Lynda Van Patter
I've been to your site several times to check out the weather and get a mini vacation by looking at your weather camera picture. Why does the picture always look the same with the exact same vehicles? Are you no longer updating it every half hour? I love the idea of a regular updated picture. Hope you keep it up.
Editor's note: The SUN includes the National Weather Service link on its Web page for the readers' information and enjoyment, it does not maintain or operate the camera. The address for the National weather Service Camera System's Web site is http://www.crh.noaa.gov/gjt/pagosa.htm
Not out of line
If memory serves me correctly, the SUN of several weeks ago contained three letters chastising local gas stations for the exorbitant price of fuel. I believe the word "greedy" was used more than once. Since then we have driven over three thousand miles through Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, and my overall impression is that the price of gasoline in Pagosa Springs is probably not out of line.
At the time we left Pagosa Springs, unleaded gasoline was selling for $1.699. The price in South Fork was roughly $1.75. Gasoline was a little less in Denver, which one would expect. We did find cheap gas (about $1.50 per gallon) in Torrington, Wyo., but the price was back up to $1.699 in Rapid City, S.D. The price in northwest Iowa was about $1.55 per gallon for a gasoline-ethanol blend. Kansas was not too different, and the price didn't really fall until we got to Oklahoma and Texas. I filled up this morning for $1.389.
I have felt in previous years that the price of gasoline in Pagosa Springs was higher than it needed to be, but I did not have the same feeling on this trip - it is high everywhere. It seems to me that the major refiners have found a way to closely regulate the price of gasoline; prices seem to be remarkably uniform in a given region and it is a waste of time to look for a bargain.
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.
Town of Pagosa Springs
Where were you born and raised?
"I was born in San Benito, Texas. I was raised in Fort Garland, in the San Luis Valley.""
Where were you educated?
"I graduated from Sierra Grande High School in Blanca, Colorado, in 1992. I graduated from the Law Enforcement Academy at Trinidad State Junior College in March of 1999.
When did you move to Pagosa Springs?
"July of this year."
Tell us about your family.
"I was married to my wife Vicki four weeks ago, on Aug. 26."
What work experience did you have before working for the Town of Pagosa Springs?
"I worked as a meat cutter just after I graduated from high school. After I went to the academy I worked for the Costilla County Sheriff Office for a year."
What do you like best about your work?
"What stands out is that the people in town are so friendly. It's a great town; I fell in love with it the first time I came here."
What do you like least about your job?
"There's nothing about it I don't like."
Wade and Cora Woolsey have shared 50 years of life together. On Sept. 29, 1950, they were wed by Father Rogero Bernard at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs. Best man and matron of honor were V.A. "Vic" and Ethel Poma. Wade and Cora were born in Archuleta County and have been life-long residents. They were high school sweethearts and have remained sweethearts ever since. A reception at their home in South Pagosa on Friday, Sept. 29, is planned for the couple.
Dr. Randall Davis
Dr. Randall Davis, president of the school board for Archuleta School District 50 Joint, has been honored by the Colorado Association of School Boards as a 2000 McGuffey Award Winner.
The McGuffey recognizes local school board members who bring to their school board work both the head and heart of committed and passionate service. The award was named for the McGuffey reader, a textbook published in 1836, which not only transferred knowledge, but also promoted certain virtues required to fulfill the responsibilities of citizenship in a free society.
Davis was chosen for the award by his school board because for most of his tenure he has served as board president.
The citation said: "He has provided excellent leadership and stability during his time on the board. He has provided leadership in the passage of two successful bond issues. He provides a balance and strength during times of controversy and always asks the board to consider "what is best for the students' when making decisions."
The children of Todd and Jann Pitcher announced this week that their parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary yesterday, Sept. 27. Photo courtesy of the children
'Flat' Ladies turn into Wolverine killing cyclone
By Karl Isberg
With a 15-6, 15-4 victory over Bayfield Sept. 21, the Lady Pirates' volleyball team boosted its season record to 3-1 and moved to 2-0 in Intermountain League standings.
While Bayfield coach Denise Close and the Wolverine players thought they had been through a cyclone by evening's end, the Ladies had played their flattest match of the season to date. Several of the Ladies were suffering the effects of a virus, and the overall team performance lacked zip.
Bayfield mustered one lead during the evening when the Wolverines built a 1-0 advantage in the first game. The teams tied at 3-3 and, from that point on, the Wolverines played a game of catch-up they could not win.
The Pagosa offense piled up the points with ace serves by Nicole Buckley, Meigan Canty and Tiffanie Hamilton. Kills by Ashley Gronewoller and Katie Lancing, and a stuff block by Hamilton added to the total. A perfectly-placed ace serve by Canty to the back corner of the court put Pagosa in front 8-3.
A Lady Pirate net violation gave Bayfield a point in the midst of a five-point Pagosa surge. The Ladies earned points when Gronewoller tipped a short set from Lancing, and Lancing killed the ball after a Wolverine pass went astray. The remainder of the scores were giveaways, produced by Bayfield errors.
Pagosa turned around and donated a point with a hitting error and the Wolverines scored their only earned point of the game with an ace serve. Following a point gained off a Bayfield passing error, Hamilton put the first game to bed with a kill.
Buckley started the Lady Pirates' scoring in the second game with a kill from her outside-hitter position. Gronewoller followed, blasting a quick set to the floor. Canty killed a Bayfield over-pass and the Wolverines surrendered two points hitting the ball out of bounds over Lady Pirate blocks. Buckley put her team ahead 6-0 after the Wolverines fell for a fake hit by Gronewoller in the middle.
With Pagosa ahead 6-2, Canty nailed a backset from Lancing and followed with a kill off the pass. Hamilton hit inside a Wolverine block and Buckley extended the Pagosa lead to 10-2 with an ace.
The Wolverines gained their final two points courtesy of Pagosa mistakes as the Lady Pirates charged to the win with Canty hitting an ace, a series of Wolverine errors, a kill of a quick set by Gronewoller, and a tip by Lancing.
Buckley had her most productive outing of the season. The junior outside hitter registered eight kills in 20 attempts, for a .400 average. She also performed well in the back row, with six digs during the match.
Gronewoller was 7 for 14 (.500) attacking from her middle-hitter position.
Lancing was 5 for 8 (.625) against the Wolverines. She had 17 assists during the match.
Hamilton hit five kills in 14 attempts (.357) and had six digs in the back row.
Canty hit four ace serves against Bayfield.
"Our kids seemed to start slow in the first game of the match," said Lady Pirates coach Penné Hamilton. "We talked about it during the break between games, and they picked up the intensity. We adjusted to free balls coming over the net every time we turned around, and managed to deal with them. We'll see Bayfield again on their home court (Oct. 13) and I'm sure they'll show us more of the same."
Tonight, the Ladies are in Ignacio to meet the Bobcats. Ignacio is currently tied at the top of the IML standings with the Lady Pirates with a 2-0 league record so the match is key for both teams. Play begins with a 5 p.m. C-team game.
Saturday, Pagosa travels across Wolf Creek Pass to play Monte Vista. Monte has yet to win an IML contest. The action begins with a 2 p.m. C-team match.
Olathe's 10-0 record marred by Lady Pirates
By Karl Isberg
The Lady Pirates' volleyball team played Olathe at the 1999 Class 3A regional tournament at Manitou Springs and won a tightly-contested match 17-15, 16-14.
Pagosa lined up against the 2000 version of the Olathe volleyball team Sept. 23 at the Montrose gym, facing a team that figured to be a greatly-improved version of last year's model - with a gaudy 10-0 record so far this season.
When the dust settled, it was apparent the Lady Pirates (5-1 overall) had made the improvements, as they took an emphatic 15-4, 15-1 victory home to Pagosa Springs.
On paper, Olathe seemed formidable, featuring six seniors and four juniors with regional tournament experience. Middle hitter Nicole Stender and several of her teammates looked and sounded great during warmups.
The Olathe show ended shortly after the match started.
Pagosa moved to a 2-1 lead on kills by Nicole Buckley and Ashley Gronewoller but Olathe fans remained loud, urging their team onward.
After the Lady Pirates scored seven unanswered points, the silence on the Olathe side of the floor was profound. Clouds were gathering, and chances were slim the team would forge an 11-0 record.
Buckley started the Pagosa charge with a cross-court kill from outside. Gronewoller followed with an ace serve and Tiffanie Hamilton nailed a quick set from Katie Lancing. With Meigan Canty at the serve, Olathe committed four consecutive passing and hitting errors, desperate to avoid a wall of Pagosa blockers.
The Lady Pirates surrendered three points with miscues but received a gift point of their own when Olathe made a setting error.
Ahead 11-4, it was only a matter of time before the Ladies closed the door on their opponents. Hamilton scored with an ace; Olathe committed a net violation. Gronewoller scored a point with a stuff block and Andrea Ash hit an ace serve to end the game.
Any chance for an improved performance by Olathe ended quickly as the Lady Pirates ripped off a 10-0 lead in the second game. Most of the Lady Pirates' points resulted from Olathe hitting errors - errors forced by an effective Pagosa blocking scheme.
The Ladies earned three points on stuff blocks by Hamilton and Lancing. Gronewoller slammed a quick set from Lancing to the floor and Ash scored with a kill from outside.
Olathe was reduced to tipping the ball over the Lady Pirates' blockers as the Olathe players could not earn a point in the second game. The only point scored by the team came on a Lady Pirate hitting error.
Gronewoller crushed a perfect shoot set from Lancing, sent cross-court at the top of the net, and returned serve to Pagosa. Olathe would not score again.
Pagosa moved effortlessly to the win, forcing mistakes by Olathe to collect three points, getting a point on an ace by Lancing, and sealing the victory when Hamilton put a set from Canty to the floor.
Buckley and Gronewoller each had five kills against Olathe. Buckley hit 5 for 11, for a .454 average; Gronewoller dominated the middle, averaging .555 with 5 kills in 9 attempts.
Buckley was solid in the back row with five digs. Ash had three digs during the match.
Lancing, Gronewoller and Ash each hit an ace serve against Olathe and Lancing logged 13 assists at her setter's position.
"They were gunning for us," Lady Pirates coach Penné Hamilton said of Olathe. "I watched them during their warmups and they seemed to hit sharp angles, so we adjusted for it. We started to play a bit sloppy when we were ahead 9-3 in the first game, so we called a timeout. Once we adjusted our blocking again, we took over."
The Lady Pirates return to Intermountain League action tonight at Ignacio. Each team sports a 2-0 league record. This is the first of two regular season meetings of the teams, and Ignacio coach Rocky Cundiff has put his charges through a rough early-season schedule hoping they respond with elevated efforts against Pagosa and other IML teams.
Play begins at the Ignacio High School gym with a 5 p.m. C-team match .
Saturday, the Lady Pirates play at Monte Vista. A 2 p.m. C-team contest is the first of three matches.
Height and ability fatal weapons for Pagosa
By Karl Isberg
That fact was obvious to the Montrose Indians Sept. 23 following a 15-4, 15-11 home-court loss to the Lady Pirates' volleyball team.
Skill counts as well. Height without ability is useless, and the Ladies took their season record to 4-1 by dominating Montrose in all facets of the game throughout the match.
When the Indian's top middle hitter Janel Sutton - 5-foot-8 with extra-thick soles on her shoes - stood across the net from 6-foot-3 Ashley Gronewoller and 6-foot Katie Lancing, it was obvious what forces would shape the match. Lady Pirate blockers, including Gronewoller, Lancing, Tiffanie Hamilton and Meigan Canty, controlled play at the net, preventing an Indian team that featured five seniors from mounting a sustained attack.
Montrose fans were silent soon after the first game of the match started. Pagosa reeled off nine unanswered points, scoring with stuff blocks by Gronewoller, Hamilton and Lancing, on two ace serves by Grone- woller, and on kills by Gronewoller and Hamilton. The Indians surrendered several points with errors and the Pagosa lead was insurmountable.
The Lady Pirates had an 11-3 lead on two more Montrose hitting errors when the Indians put a final point on the board with a kill through a Pagosa block. Hamilton returned serve to her side with a kill; Nicole Buckley killed from the back row; Hamilton scored from outside and another Montrose mistake gave the Ladies a 14-4 advantage. Lancing put the Indians out of their misery with a sweep off a pass from the back row.
Montrose enjoyed the lead three times early in the second game - 3-1, 5-2 and 6-4 - but could not stay ahead once the Lady Pirates went to work at the net. The Indians scored points with two blocks and three kills before the wall went up.
Pagosa tied the game 6-6 with an ace by Lancing, went ahead on a Montrose hitting error, and extended the advantage to 9-6 with another ace serve by Lancing and a block by Gronewoller.
Three Pagosa mistakes gave points to the home team and a kill gave the Indians their last lead of the day, 10-9.
With Canty at the serve, the Lady Pirates took off on a five-point run. Montrose gave up a point with a hitting error; Lancing killed off the pass then combined with Hamilton to earn a point with a tandem block. Canty hit an ace; Lancing and Hamilton again blocked the Montrose attack for a point.
The teams exchanged a series of sideouts, Montrose got a charity point, before Lancing ended the game and match with a cross-court ace serve to the sideline.
Buckley was effective from her outside hitter position, securing seven kills in 21 attempts for a .335 hitting average. Most of Buckley's kills returned serve to the Lady Pirates to end Montrose rallies in the second game of the match.
Hamilton put up a hefty .600 hitting average, successfully killing 6 of 10 attempts.
Lancing used a tip, a sweep and a kill to go 3 for 5 (.600) against the Indians.
Gronewoller was 4 for 14 against Montrose, with a .285 hitting average.
Gronewoller led the Lady Pirates with three solo blocks. Lancing had four ace serves during the match. Gronewoller hit three aces.
Andrea Ash led the way in the back row, with eight digs. Lancing had 15 assists during the two-game match.
"This was a good match for us to play," said Lady Pirates coach Penné Hamilton. "Montrose returned serve and they continued to try to mount an attack, so we had to get our blocks up. They tried to run some quick sets on us and the girls adjusted well. They put balls in play and we had to earn our kills. This was a good match to play at this point in our season."
Pagosa returns to the court tonight, at Ignacio. The Lady Pirates and the Bobcats are tied for the Intermountain League lead with 2-0 league records. A 5 p.m. C-team match starts the action.
Saturday, the Ladies play at Monte Vista in another IML contest. A 2 p.m. start time is set for a C-team match.
Pirates make Bloomfield 'formerly unbeaten'
By John M. Motter
By thumping Bloomfield 35-19, Pagosa Springs' varsity football team jumped back into the win column. The game was played under the lights last Friday in Pagosa Springs.
Pagosa fans had plenty to cheer about Friday. Their hometown Pirates struck from all over the field while battering the formerly unbeaten Bobcats from Bloomfield.
Late in the opening period with Pagosa leading 7-0 thanks to an earlier touchdown by running back Nathan Stretton, running back Darin Lister took a pitch from quarterback Ron Janowsky, slipped around the left side of his offensive line and juked 71 yards for the second Pirate score of the game. Lister's jaunt was the longest Pirate run from scrimmage this season.
Early in the second period, Caleb Mettlette scooped up a fourth-down fumble by Bobcat quarterback Alex Cummins and raced 43 yards into the end zone to give Pagosa a 21-0 lead. Late in the third period, facing a third down and 24 yards to go for a first down, Janowsky completed a pass to a streaking Tyrel Ross good for 47 yards down the right side line and a first down. During the same possession and faced with a fourth-and-six situation on the Bobcats 21-yard line, Janowsky found Lister open, this time for a touchdown setting up a 28-13 Pagosa lead.
The tone of the game was set early on by the Pirates' defense. Pagosa kicked off to the Bobcats, then, four plays later, the defense covered a Bobcat fumble on the Pirates' 35-yard line.
From there, Pagosa executed 11 plays capped by Stretton's scamper into pay dirt from the 2-yard line. Lister booted the first of his five successful extra points and Pagosa led 7-0 with 5:23 remaining in the first period.
Bloomfield started its next possession on the Bobcats' own 41-yard line. Again the Pirate D refused to budge and the Bobcats were forced to punt. Pagosa fumbled the ball back to Bloomfield on its first offensive play. Yet again, this time starting on the Pirates' 30, it was four downs and out for the New Mexico squad. Pagosa took over on the 29-yard line. On the first play, Lister scampered 71 yards around left end, kicked the extra point, and Pagosa was on top 14-0 with 53 seconds remaining in the first period.
After Lister's kickoff skidded into the end zone, the Bobcats launched their third possession on their own 20-yard line. The Bobcats moved to the Pirates' 47-yard line where, under hot pursuit the quarterback lost the ball, Mettlette found it and raced into the end zone. Lister kicked the extra point, and Pagosa led 21-0. Rack up a touchdown for Pagosa's defense.
After Lister's kickoff, the Pirates' defense again proved its mettle by forcing the Bobcats to punt from their own 25-yard line. Pagosa, in turn, was forced to punt and Bloomfield, after a poor Pagosa punt, started its sixth possession on the Pirates' 34-yard line. Five plays later, Bloomfield pushed into the Pirates' end zone. The extra point kick was good, and the Bobcats had launched a momentum shift and narrowed the Pirates' lead to 21-7 with 5:32 left in the first half.
On their next possession, the Pirates were again pinned down in the shadow of their goal posts. Bloomfield blocked Lister's punt, and the Bobcats started play on the Pagosa 42-yard line. Yet another time, the Pagosa defense stiffened forcing Bloomfield to try a field goal with fourth down on the Pirates' 13-yard line. The field goal was wide, but left Pagosa still deep in its own territory. An exchange of punts ended the first half with Pagosa on top 21-7.
Pagosa Springs received the second half kick off, but was forced to punt on its first possession. For awhile the teams jockeyed for good field position with neither gaining advantage. Finally, Bloomfield gained the advantage and punched into the end zone. A two-point extra point attempt failed and, with 4:39 remaining, the score was Pagosa Springs 21, Bloomfield 13.
Despite the pressure from Bloomfield, the Pirates refused to cave in. Starting from their own 31-yard line, the Pirates crossed into the Bobcat end zone in just six plays. The 47-yard pass to Ross highlighted the drive. After Lister kicked the extra point Pagosa was on top 28-13 with 1:28 remaining in the third period.
Bloomfield wasn't ready to call it a night. Only two minutes later, the Bobcats were back in the Pagosa end zone. Again they passed for two-points on the extra point try and again they failed. With 11:20 remaining in the game, the Pirates' lead was trimmed to 28-19.
It was time for Pagosa to panic, a reaction the Pirates refused to accept. Instead, the black and gold met adversity and turned it to advantage.
"I think the turning point of the game was when Bloomfield scored, then came back with the on-side kick," said coach Myron Stretton. "We handled the on-side kick, then launched a 17-play drive that only ended with a missed field goal attempt. I think we showed a lot of character at that point that turned the game around."
Josh Richardson covered the on-side kick to give Pagosa good field position on the Pirates' 41-yard line. Pagosa maintained possession of the football for the next six minutes, finally turning the ball over after the missed field goal attempt.
Bloomfield started on its 20-yard line with 4:53 left in the game, plenty of time to score. Instead, the Pirates' defense gave up one first down, then held the Bobcats motionless for four downs.
Pagosa took over on the Bobcats' 37-yard line with three minutes remaining in the game. Six plays later, Stretton threaded into the end zone for another TD, Lister kicked the PAT, and Pagosa now enjoyed an insurmountable 35-19 lead with just one minute remaining in the game.
Bloomfield was unable to take advantage of the final minute.
"I thought we played better than the week before," said Stretton. "There was not as much intensity, but we had better physical and mental involvement.
"I thought Caleb Mettlette turned in an outstanding performance," Stretton said. "He is beginning to learn our system and it showed against Bloomfield."
Mettlette is a 180-pound junior transfer from Texas listed on the roster as a running back and defensive end.
Stretton also praised the defensive work of safety Garrett Tomforde, who returned to action for the first time after breaking bones in his right hand. Tomforde was still wearing a padded cast Friday.
"I thought Tomforde played well, cast and all," Stretton said. "His aggressiveness was really good."
Pagosa came out of the Bloomfield game without additional serious injuries. The Pirates' offense generated 301 yards, 202 yards on the ground, 99 yards through the air. Janowsky was 6 of 10 through the air, including one TD pass.
The win over Bloomfield boosted the Pirates' preseason record to two wins and two losses. Tomorrow night Pagosa ends a four-game schedule against New Mexico teams by traveling to Taos. Game time at Taos is 7 p.m.
Following the Taos game, the Pirates open Intermountain League play at home Oct. 6 against the Ignacio Bobcats. Through four weeks of preseason play, Monte Vista has the best IML record with three wins and a loss. Last week, Monte gained revenge by beating defending state Class 2A champion Buena Vista 28-21. Buena Vista downed Monte 31-16 in the 2A title game last year.
The remainder of the IML teams, Pagosa Springs, Ignacio, Bayfield, and Centauri are 2 and 2 for the season. Last week Ignacio outmanned hapless Antonito 53-6, Bayfield clobbered Mancos 36-6, and Centauri edged La Junta 12-7.
In The Denver Post's ranking of 2A teams in the state this week, Monte Vista is ranked sixth, Bayfield 10th. IML play begins this weekend with Monte Vista at Ignacio and Bayfield at Centauri.
Pirates third in Centauri cross country race
By Karl Isberg
In the best of circumstances, cross country running is an arduous sport.
When the wind in the San Luis Valley blows at 40 miles per hour and the wind-chill becomes significant, cross country running becomes more difficult yet.
Nasty conditions characterized the Centauri Invitational at Manassa Sept. 23 as Pirate and Lady Pirate runners battled Intermountain League foes and the elements alike.
The Pirates continued to make noticeable progress at the Centauri event, showing individual and team improvement with a third-place finish, two points behind second-place Bayfield. The meet was won by Monte Vista.
Seven Pirates competed in the meet, with the top four runners compiling the Pirates' pack time for the purpose of team standings.
Travis Laverty ran the 3.1-mile course in 20 minutes. His performance gave him fifth place in the individual rankings.
Todd Mees returned to action after missing the previous meet due to illness. Mees was the eighth runner across the line, at 20 minutes 25 seconds.
Patrick Riley had a good outing on the Manassa course, securing 14th place with a time of 21:19.
The final Pirate to post a time for the team competition was Trevor Peterson. The junior crossed the finish line at 21:45, taking 29th place in the individual standings. The four Pirate runners posted a pack time of 1:45.
Nick Tothe was 39th in the standings, at 22:52.
Ryan Beavers finished at 25:36, in 46th position.
Toby Gunzinger was the 47th runner across the line, at 26:20.
"The winds were Force 5," said Pirates coach Scott Anderson. "There were whitecaps on the irrigation ponds and it was chilly. But, everybody in the race had to endure the conditions. The boys are doing well. I'm happy with the effort they are putting out; they're working hard in practice and if they keep it up, I think they might surprise everybody by the end of the season."
The Lady Pirates took fourth place in the team competition, behind winner Bayfield, second-place Centauri and third-place Monte Vista.
Aubrey Volger led the Ladies, fighting off the lingering effects of a cold. Volger finished fifth in the individual standings with a time of 24:09.
Amber Mesker seems to be returning to form. In her second race of the season, the senior placed 10th, crossing the finish line at 25:12.
Tiffany Thompson was the third Lady Pirate to finish the race, nailing a time of 25:16, good for 11th place.
Annah Rolig rounded out the Lady Pirates' pack time of 3:25 with a 25th place finish at 27:34.
Joetta Martinez took 32nd place at 28:06.
Makina Gill was 38th with a time of 29:38.
Freshman Lauren Caves was held out of the Centauri meet.
"Despite the fact their times were about four minutes off their norm," said Anderson, "the girls actually have stepped it up a notch. Now, they're in a fight to advance in the IML. They're putting forth more effort and if they take it up one more level and get their pack time closed, they're in the hunt."
The next opportunity to run against IML foes will take place Saturday at Bayfield.
"We go to the Bayfield Invitational Saturday," said Anderson, "and right now Bayfield seems to be among the class of the state. It is time for us to make a statement."
The Bayfield Invitational begins at 9:30 a.m. with junior high events. Varsity girls run at 11 a.m. followed by the boys' varsity race at 11:30.
Weather-Telluride mix unsettling for soccer Pirates
By Richard Walter
You know things aren't going right when the pen you use to keep score is frozen solid.
When the score card is so wet it could be a sponge.
When a direct pass up the middle of the soccer field is blown out the left corner without ever being touched by friend or foe.
Pagosa's soccer Pirates found themselves in a weather whirlwind Saturday that began with torrential rains in Telluride, switched to sleet, then hail and snow before running through the whole routine again and again.
Paired with wind gusts estimated at 40 to 50 miles per hour, and temperatures jumping up and down from 22 to 40 degrees, the precipitation made play difficult for both teams but Telluride found the chinks in Pagosa's winter armor and scored a 5-0 victory.
The game was not as one-sided as the score would indicate. In fact, for the final 10 minutes, the Pirates were the aggressors, time and again mounting attacks only to see their shots go directly to Telluride goalkeeper Tyler Howe-Erskine.
In his post-game comments, coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason praised his team for playing hard, never giving up and "giving it their best under trying conditions. Of course the hosts had to play in the same conditions and they are an excellent team."
Kurt-Mason was discouraged with some of his team's play, particularly their failure to use the wind to their advantage in the second half. "Too many times our clearing passes and leads were backward or to the middle instead of downfield," he said.
He cited errant passes and a pair of mental errors for the loss, noting another fine game in goal for Matt Mesker and the fact at least two players were on the field ill.
The first scoring chance of the game came for Telluride when a corner kick was caught by the wind and drifted behind the net.
The Pirates contained the host Miners at midfield on several clearing exchanges and got their own first shot on goal at 4:19 when Mike Pierce's lead from right wing got Zeb Gill into position on the left, but Gil skidded down on the wet turf as he kicked and the ball trickled right to the keeper.
At that point the rain changed to sleet, then hail, and then snow in about a two-minute period and the temperature dropped like a rock off a cliff.
At 9:01, Telluride's Alex Smith had a shot go wide left on a breakaway and a minute and 10 seconds later, after Pagosa had failed to clear the zone, the Miner's Brady McIntyre was stopped cold by Mesker on a point-blank drive from about 12 feet out on the right.
At 16:10, Smith had a drive go over Mesker's head but it hit the crossbar and sailed harmlessly on a strong gust of wind out into the parking lot. Two minutes and 30 seconds later, Mesker stopped a bristling line shot with his head as he dived to his left and was momentarily stunned. Still, there was no score.
The Miners broke the drought at 21:04 when Erik Andrews took a lead pass from the middle attacker and ripped a shot over Mesker's left shoulder for a 1-0 lead. Just 45 seconds later, after intercepting the Pirates' clearing pass, Andrews was on the attack again but Mesker came out of the goal, blocked the kick and cut down the attacker.
It wasn't until 25:06 that the Pirates got their next shot on goal, a drive by Jordan Kurt-Mason that sailed high over the net. At 27:11 Mesker made a stop on a drive by McIntyre but couldn't get to the rebound kick by Andrews and Telluride led 2-0.
Mesker had saves at 32:10 and 34:02 before the Pirates finally got another drive under way. Daniel Crenshaw, one of the two Pirates playing ill, took a drop return from Gill and broke free up the middle only to see his shot sail over the net to the left. With 17 seconds left in the half, the play was reversed with Crenshaw leading Gill in the left corner but the wingman's shot was stopped by Howe-Erskine.
The Pirates best scoring chance of the game came at 5:22 of the second half when three Pirate attackers exchanged perfect kicks - Brian Hart to Pierce who returned to Hart who dropped a perfect lead to Crenshaw. His kick was wide right.
On the ensuing outlet, however, a missed Pirate clearing pass left the ball lying directly in front of goal and Andrews ripped it in boosting the Telluride lead to 3-0.
Mesker had stops at 6:25 and 7:11 before Andrews once again drove on goal, but this time dropped a high lead to Smith who headed it in and hiked Telluride's lead to 4-0.
Hart and Pierce teamed up again at 8:51 and Pierce's header off Hart's crossing pass was stopped by Howe-Erskine.
Gill had another scoring chance for Pagosa at 11:52 but slid down again as he attempted the kick from the left wing. The clearing pass by Howe-Erskine sailed over all the defenders and Andrews streaking from the right was the only person within 10 yards of the ball. Mesker came out of net to grab the ball just as Andrews kicked and the pair collided with Mesker holding on.
Telluride's final score came on a kick from Curtis Nelson at 18:56 when, with two teammates screening Mesker, his shot bounced in front of Mesker and took a sideways turn off the icy turf.
Pirate shots by Gill, Hart twice, Kevin Muirhead, Kyle Sanders and Crenshaw twice were stopped as the Pirates were repeatedly turned away in a spirited final 10 minutes of play.
Three Pirate players, Josh Soniat, Reuben Coray and Thomas Hampton were absent for the game, but coach Kurt-Mason welcomed Trent Sanders and B.J. Jones to their first varsity action of the season.
'Positive' effort too little against Wolverines
By Richard Walter
Staggered by a Bayfield offensive onslaught that blasted 40 shots (unofficially) at Pirate goalkeeper Matt Mesker Tuesday, coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason could find a silver lining in the 9-1 defeat suffered at the hands of the Wolverines.
"We played well if you ignore the scoreboard," he said. "Our players played positive and were first to the ball 90 percent of the time. We won the ball in midfield and pulled them offsides several times with set maneuvers."
The Pirates' coach said he saw definite signs of improvement but that the team suffered letdowns in the goal box at each end. "Midfield transition was good, but we lost track of attackers at the box line. Our own attacks were better, but sometimes too hesitant."
The fact Mesker had 21 saves was only partly indicative of the relentless Bayfield attack. In addition to the nine shots which eluded him, the Wolverines had 10 other shots which were wide, high or stopped by a defender before they reached the goal mouth.
The tenor of the game was evident early as Bayfield had three shots stopped by Mesker in the first 2 minutes and 37 seconds, two shots that went wide and another save by Mesker at 6:39 before Rory Martinez scored to give Bayfield the lead just 17 seconds later. Martinez found the net on two other shots to help the Bayfield cause.
In the ensuing two minutes Pagosa's Daniel Crenshaw broke open for a 30-yard shot but it sailed over the net; 44 seconds later Martinez' shot on a breakaway went wide left; and on the return attack, Mike Pierce's cross to a wide-open Kyle Sanders resulted in another Pagosa shot sailing over the net.
At 9:39 Mesker stopped Martinez cold from directly in front of the net and a rebound attempt went wide right. The Bayfield right wing returned the ball to the head of the box where another Martinez shot sailed high on a tailing wind. Thirty seconds later Bayfield's Nick Potter ripped a drive off the right goal post.
The rebound went to Kyle Sanders whose drive downfield ended with a shot wide to the right.
Mesker made another save of Martinez at 4:09:33 but less than a minute later the Bayfield striker scored from the right on a shot Mesker tipped but couldn't control and the lead was 2-0.
The Pirates got on the board at 4:14:16 when Zeb Gill's crossing lead to Pierce was intercepted by a Bayfield attacker but was stolen back by Pierce who cut directly to midfield, waited momentarily for a screen to form and shot a ground-hugger from the top of the box past Bayfield keeper Chris Smithwick.
That was as close as the Pirates would get. Twice in the next three minutes Crenshaw was stopped by Smithwick. And, at 4:19:40 Smith-wick stopped shots by both Sanders and Crenshaw in a nine-second Pirate attack. On the play, the Pirates' right-wing defender Ryan Lister was injured and carried from the field.
The next score came at the 34-minute mark and again Martinez was involved. He took a long kick from Smithwick into the right corner, dropped a floating midfield pass to Chris Carroll who headed it in for a 3-1 Wolverine lead. It was the first of three goals for Carroll, too.
Martinez scored his third goal at 37:29 when Smithwick's long outlet kick sailed over all the players on the field except Martinez who was right on track for a shot Mesker had no chance against.
That made the halftime score 4-1. Mesker had 16 saves and Bayfield had taken 25 shots to Pagosa's seven.
The second half was more of the same though Pagosa limited Bayfield to only 15 shots five of which eluded Mesker.
Additional Bayfield goals were scored by Kyle Hoffman, Zach Martinez and Gabe Powell. The Pirates had 10 shots on goal in the second half, all stopped by Smithwick.
Pagosa will play Ouray at 2 p.m. Saturday on the Ridgway field.
Kudos galore for fabulous balloon rally
Congratulations to Liz and Mike Marchand on choreographing yet another fabulous Colorfest Balloon Rally.
Weather did not cooperate as we might have liked on Saturday morning and evening, but Sunday morning was picture-perfect, and 47 balloons and many happy passengers gleefully ascended to the heavens.
My visiting relatives were treated to their first flight, and were absolutely delighted with the experience. We're already looking forward to Winterfest. Liz and Mike - thank you for another wonderful job.
Our Wine and Cheese Tasting was a rip-roaring success thanks to the hard work and dedication of many people and a beautiful evening preceding a nasty-weather Saturday.
Suellen is to be congratulated for another year of fabulous cheeses and wines. She organizes, orders and coordinates the logistics of this event each year and just gets better and better at it. Morna fields hundreds of inquiring phone calls, ticket sales and is more and more involved in the Rally side of things, helping Liz where and when she can.
Our thanks as well to the following folks for their help in making the evening so much fun for everyone: Dick Babillis and Bonnie Masters, Mark and Erica DeVoti, Doug and Judy Galles, Sue Gast, Ken and Jan Harms, Mike and Lauri Heraty, Ron and Sheila Hunkin, Don and Mary McKeehan, Terry Smith, Tom and Ming Steen, Doug Trowbridge, Dalas and Carrie Weisz and Stan Zuege.
Special thanks to Jann Pitcher who cheerfully stepped in to help Terry Smith with all the "sweet stuff." Thanks to Chuck and Gilbert of the Pagosa Springs Police Department for being there to oversee the festivities and to Emily and Charlie Rogers for providing the huge tent for us. Doug Trowbridge helped Charlie assemble that monster - thanks, Doug. No small task that.
Very special thanks to Jody and Rick Unger of Copper Coin Liquor for their careful attention to every detail with the wine selections and the excellent communication with Suellen. Jody and Rick were here for the evening and made several trips back to the store for reinforcements - a sure sign of success.
Kathy Keyes provided the fabulous desserts - brownies, lemon bars and carrot cake to die for.
Thanks to Diane and the great folks at Fairfield; we were able to salvage our picnic by using the Fairfield tent with their blessing. Thank you so much for allowing us to "borrow" the tent for the evening.
Denny Barber and his faithful crew at the Hogs Breath once again receive our "Good Sports of the Year Award." Those plucky little soldiers were forced to set up in rain, hail and wind without one whimper of complaint, and served around 170 people a delicious hamburger dinner. The 'burgs were huge and freshly grilled accompanied by Cole slaw, potato salad, really tasty baked beans, pickles, peppers, condiments and cookies. Denny has done this for us for a number of years now, and it is a tradition I treasure. We're very grateful to him for his unflagging loyalty and good cheer in the face of adversity.
Speaking of faithful: Don and Mary McKeehan were, as always, at the picnic serving wine, beer and the like. Thanks to Paradise Brewpub and Grill for donating a half keg of their fine, fine microbrew beer to the picnic.
Last, but certainly not least, thanks to the terrific Rio Jazz musicians - Bob Hemenger, John Graves, Lee Bartley and D.C. Duncan - for their tremendous flexibility in moving to a not-so-wonderful venue for their music. They were marvelous, and created a wonderful, festive atmosphere inside a tent on a rainy, windy, cold night. What a miracle. Thanks so much, guys.
We want to thank the Balloon Rally Exclusive Title Sponsors, Dahl of Durango, and the Balloon Glow Sponsors, The Source of Pagosa Real Estate. Even though the Balloon Glow was impossible because of the weather, everyone needs to appreciate The Source for Pagosa Real Estate wrote a sizable check to support that event, and we're grateful to Lauri and Mike Heraty for the sponsorship.
Despite the weather, it was yet another memorable Colorfest weekend due to the blood, sweat and tears of many people. Just twelve more months, and we can do it all over again.
Up with People
Thanks to the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club and the Spears at KWUF AM/FM Radio for sponsoring the Up With People group and bringing them to this community. I think the entire experience was an education and pleasure on both sides of the fence and one we will not soon forget. I know the host families loved the experience as did the cast members. I attended the sold-out 2 p.m. performance, and couldn't believe the talent and energy expended in a two-hour performance. I'm sure the 7 p.m. performance was sold out too and enjoyed by everyone in the audience. I hope we can look forward to seeing this group again in the future.
Health care seminar
Many people forget to prepare for the financially taxing event of long-term health care. On Oct. 11, Bob Scott of Edward Jones and Don Levine of General Electric will host a seminar that will address some of the questions surrounding the topic of long-term health care and will offer a solution for protecting your savings from the skyrocketing costs of long-term care. Bob and Don will discuss how long-term insurance can be an important tool you can use to protect yourself and your family from the financial burden of a long illness or nursing home stay. Make your reservations today for the seminar to find out more about long-term care insurance. There is no cost to attend, and you can call Bob at 731-5100 to make your reservation.
We are pleased to introduce three new members to you this week and announce six renewals. Thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedules to make our days here at the Chamber. We do love our membership.
Welcome to Chris Smith who brings us his in-home business, Century Cedar Log Homes, located right here in Pagosa Springs. Chris offers you beautiful, elegant Western Red Cedar and is a real, live specialist in posts and beams with no settling. To learn more about his specialized work, Chris invites you to join him on his Web site at www.servicelinx.net/century.html or call him at 264-5998.
Ray and Robin Ball join us next with Abracadabra doing business from their home here in Pagosa. Ray and Robin offer property management for owners who are here occasionally or routinely. They will handle maintenance, winterization, contract oversight, janitorial or routine property checks. Give them a call at 731-3005 or cell number 970-946-3508 to learn more about their services.
Christine Heinrich joins us next with Ranches' 752 located at 1012 CR 700. Christine specializes in customized horse breeding and sales whether it's for riding rough trails, show horse potential, roping and reining or endurance prospects. Ranches' 752 has it all - AQHA, IAHA, APHA and 1/4 Arabian. You can learn more about Ranches' 752 by calling Christine at 731-2517. We thank Paul Nobles for the recruitment and will send off a free SunDowner pass to Paul for helping us out with Chamber membership.
Renewals this week include Bobby Hart with the Pagosa Springs Golf Club; April L. Matthews with Colorado Skies located at 124 East Pagosa Street, No. 4 in the River Center; Sally Theesfeld with The Daily Scoop, at 124 East Pagosa Boulevard in the River Center; Bobbi Wirth with Village Interiors/Carpet One, 2381 U.S. 160, west.; James Huang with Hunan Chinese Restaurant at 180 East Pagosa Street in the River Center and Steve Butler with Studio 160 located at 2149 U.S. 160, west.
Can't believe we're already there, but it's time to grab a SunDowner for the year 2001.
It's usually Oct. 1 that we hold registration for hosting, but this year that date falls on a Sunday, so Oct. 2 is registration day this year. Because hosting these events has become so competitive, we have been forced to require your physical presence here at the Visitor Center at 8 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 2. I will also point out that this is going to be difficult to remember because it does fall on a Monday and could be easily forgotten. I will also share that last year, we had some folks out on our deck as early as 5 a.m. to secure their SunDowner - and all ten were claimed by 8:03. That's next Monday, kids, 8 a.m. here at the Visitor Center if you would like to host a SunDowner in 2001. It's strictly a first-come, first-served affair. If you are first here, you will be given your choice of the months available, etc., etc. Don't miss out or forget - we had a number of those last year who went onto a waiting list of nine or 10. If you have questions, just give Morna a call at 264-2360.
I encourage you to purchase your tickets pronto for the Gary Morris Concert, Saturday night at the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium benefiting United Way. Show time is 7:30 p.m., and I would be astonished if this isn't a sold-out evening.
It turns out this gentleman has quite a following of loyal fans who are terribly excited about his appearance here. We actually had a woman come to the Visitor Center to purchase her ticket who had planned to leave Pagosa at an earlier time until she learned about the concert. Her husband admonished her, saying they couldn't possibly stay any longer. She informed him that he could leave whenever he liked, but she was staying to hear Gary Morris. That's what I call a loyal fan.
At any rate, run out and purchase those tickets ASAP. They are $25 for general seating, and $40 for preferred seating and a special "Meet and Greet" with Gary Morris after the show. You can buy your tickets at the Chamber of Commerce, Wolf Tracks Bookstore and Coffee Co. or Moonlight Books.
Four culture groups blend in song and dance
Last Sunday's musical, "A Common Beat" presented by Up With People was quite sensational. A cast of 140 students from around the world united to put on an entertaining, high-energy performance of cultural understanding. It was the story of four culture groups, from the four corners of the world, who come together in song and dance. They began to realize that there is a common beat among them. In music, in dance, and in love, all people truly share a common beat.
Up With People would like to thank everyone in the community whose support made their visit possible. I think they enjoyed their time with us as much as we enjoyed their short visit. A very special thank you to the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club, KWUF Radio, Old West Press and the many host families.
Pagosa Springs Rotary Club is still accepting applications for two outstanding Group Study Exchange opportunities. These exchanges, one to Israel and the other to the Mexico City area, will take participants to two vibrant and interesting destinations in the world. Each is politically dynamic in the midst of unique times. For potential participants, each of these exchanges offer unique insights in a condensed format not typically available to a tourist. Participants will see and experience much through the eyes of insiders such as Rotarians, their families, professional counterparts and leaders of hosting communities. All in all, these Group Study Exchange programs are for busy non-Rotarians who want to learn about another culture in a four-week period and who like the adventure of a global experience.
Rotary International provides travel grants for Group Study Exchange participants. The exchange trip to Mexico is planned for approximately mid-April, 2001 and the other to Israel will take place in mid-May, 2001. Both exchanges will run for four weeks. Information and applications are available from Rotarians Tom and Ming Steen at 731-4596.
On Monday, Oct. 2nd, PLPOA's ad hoc Communications Committee will hold a town meeting for interested property owners to discuss road issues and any other topics as raised by attending members. This 7 p.m. meeting will be preceded by a 6:30 p.m. social time with refreshments. If you cannot make this meeting, to be held in the clubhouse, written notes may be dropped off for Tom Cruse, board member at the PLPOA office. If you have ideas, share them.
Racquetball courts at Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center will be closed for refinishing from tomorrow afternoon through Friday, Oct. 6.
Interested in duplicate bridge? A core group of serious bridge players meet every Tuesday evening at 7 at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. If you plan on joining them, bring a partner, a spouse, a friend, a neighbor or a twin sibling - anyone who can understand the mental conjugation of the game.
Have you picked up your ticket for the Gary Morris concert? Don't miss this very special opportunity to hear him perform live. This well-known singer, songwriter and entertainer has credentials and awards that go on and on. He is really outstanding and the range of his voice is astounding. Tickets for general seating are $25 or $40 if you get preferred seating with a special "meet and greet" with the artist after the show. You can purchase tickets at Moonlight Books, Wolf Tracks Bookstore and Coffee Co., or chamber of commerce. All proceeds from the concert will benefit the Untied Way of Southwest Colorado. Every cent raised will come back directly into Archuleta County to support 13 agencies that serve our community. We thank Gary Morris for donating his huge talent to make this fund-raising concert possible.
Senior board meeting moved up to today
The Up With People "A Common Beat" musical on Sunday was outstanding. Many of our seniors took advantage of the donated tickets and thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon performance. The young people/performers were very outgoing and seemed to have a good time visiting with the audience. The ones I talked to said they had a wonderful time in Pagosa and hoped to return someday.
Last week I mentioned the upcoming appreciation dinner for our wonderful volunteers and seniors, "The Greatest Volunteer Show on Earth" was a huge success. Payge and Joe Ferreira made the beautiful menus, and Joe (the "Chef") prepared a delicious meal, to include "High Dive Fruit Salad," "Sword Swallowers Kabobs," "Center Ring Vegetables," and "Side Show Rice Almondine," plus two beautiful decorated cakes. Payge, her children, and LaDonna Radney (her sister) had decorated the tent in a circus theme. Payge was the "ring-master," LaDonna the "barker," and the kids were clowns. Awards and grab-bag gifts were presented to all 47 attendees and everyone had a good time. Thanks again to all who helped put this on.
We want to thank Warren Grams, Pagosa Springs Fire Protection District, for speaking to our group and explaining safety services they provide on request.
The Senior board meeting, which is usually the last Friday of each month, has been changed to today (Sept. 28) at 1 p.m. at the Senior Center. We have guests from AAA and Cortez coming to Friday's meal so we wanted to have time to visit with them. Also, Friday at 5 p.m. is our monthly potluck/dance at the Senior Center. Bring a dish, your CDs or tapes, and enjoy a good time.
We have a request for volunteers to help drive cancer patients to Durango and back. The "Road to Recovery" will be qualifying drivers on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center. Please phone Jean Bruscia (247-0278), Mamie Lynch (264-5542), or Lee Sterling (731-5213) if you can help with this very important service.
Bob Mason is Senior of the Week. Congratulations. Bob and Florence left town on Monday so he wasn't able to take advantage of the honor. Hopefully we can honor him again later.
Our guests this week included Malcolm Roger, Terry Jackson, Harold Stokes, Rich Harris and Glen Kinum. We were happy to have Ray and Lila Martinez with us this week. We haven't seen them for a while.
Lilly Gurule's grandson, Lee Roy Lucero, is still having health problems and needs our prayers. Lilly reports that he is doing better and hopefully will recover fully soon.
No expectations, no disappointments
I have seen the future. When this old body gives out, when I can no longer hike or ski, I can go on cruises.
For a glimpse into this future, I recently took a cruise, with my mother, on a small cruise company that runs passenger ships on the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes, the Caribbean.
Our trip was up the St. Lawrence Seaway from Quebec City in Canada. At the eastern end of Lake Ontario we - well, the crew members - stepped down the masts and lowered the pilot house to the main deck, and we entered the New York State Canal Barge System.
Remember that old song about the Erie Canal? "Low bridge, everybody down." I don't think we passed under any bridges that low, but sometimes it happens, if the water in the canals is high.
We were 80 passengers and 15 crew members, counting Cap'n Bob and Chef Brian.
The trip was billed as a fall foliage tour. "How lucky! How wonderful!" said envious Pagosan friends. "Be sure and take lots of pictures!" It turned out to be a tad early in the season for the foliage. The maples and oaks, which will be so brilliant in a few more weeks, were still green. A few times we saw early patches of color.
"Quick! Look there," we passengers would tell each other. Also, "Don't blink, you'll miss it."
So don't ask to see my pictures.
Most of the passengers were over 70, several in their 80s. Two couples were celebrating 50th anniversaries. When we gathered in the dining room it looked like a meeting of the Gray Wolves Ski Club, without the fitness.
I felt very young.
A lot of them could have been models for the "Old Travelers" that Mark Twain described in "Innocents Abroad." He said he loved the OTs for their witless platitudes, their supernatural ability to bore, their delightful asininity, their luxuriant fertility of imagination and their startling brilliant mendacity.
We had all of it aboard this ship.
We had the connoisseurs, who'd been on other cruise lines and continually made comparisons.
We had the genealogy buff who told everyone about her great-grandfather, the ship captain from Australia who settled in San Francisco before the Gold Rush. We all heard her family history, again and again.
We had a crusty old guy whose every shirt and jacket bore some monogram attesting to his glory days with the U.S. Navy. He'd worked in supply. I imagine his job, and his pride, were rather like that of the captain of Mr. Roberts' unglamorous "bucket," with his palm tree and his delusions of grandeur.
We had the avid photographers who scampered from port to starboard and back again with every sight announced over the radio speakers. Made me wish I'd bought Kodak stock.
We had a white-haired woman who came and went alone and never spoke, until the final night, when she joined a bunch of us to drink and sing old songs.
She knew all the words and had a sweet voice. Next morning the glow was still evident, and she was full of smiles.
Of course, maybe she was just glad to be getting off the ship that day.
Near the town of Herkimer, in the middle of New York State, the rocks yield a crystal that is apparently found nowhere else, the Herkimer diamond. Polished, it makes pretty jewelry. When Cap'n Bob announced that Herkimer Lew had come on board to display and sell these crystals, there was a rush to the lounge. Someone standing by the door could have easily been crushed in the stampede.
I'm not sure anyone wanted jewelry. I think we were bored out of our minds.
By then we'd been together on this small ship for nine days. We had cabin fever. Any diversion was welcome.
When the boat (pardon me - the ship) docked each night we were lined up and ready to hit the streets. Big city or small marina; it didn't matter. Let us off.
One old gal was so anxious to disembark that she accosted the captain through the window of the lowered pilot house. He was concentrating on trying to dock the ship, carefully slipping it into a narrow space between two elegant yachts.
"Which side are we getting off on?" she demanded. "Which side?" The rest of us looked at the dock. It was pretty clear which side.
This being my first trip, I had no expectations to be met. And no disappointments.
In fact, the amount of food exceeded my expectations. The kitchen crew scraped tons into the garbage container after each meal. Most of us didn't really want sweet rolls and pancakes and toast and English muffins all at the same meal. The amounts of food, while over-generous for most of the passengers, must have suited Chef Brian, who was a very large man.
In order to accommodate 80 palates and delicate systems and all the variables, the food was bland. And heavy on the white sauce. It's been a long time since I've dreamed of food, but I did on this trip. Green chile.
Steamed broccoli. Garlic.
If anyone wants to know the name of the company, I'll tell you. Only you have to keep it secret. If you say I revealed that information, I'll deny everything.
We disembarked in Rhode Island, and the boat, I mean the ship, was going to make another round trip to Quebec. Those later passengers will see some splendid color. They will also probably be cold.
During the middle of the cruise, I was desperate to get off the ship. And then I settled into the rhythm. Up early for sailing, eat the meals, watch the locks, take a walk at night. I never tired of entering a lock, watching the deckhands tie up and the gates close, seeing the concrete wall loom above us as the water level dropped.
On the final full day, our ship rounded Manhattan Island. The sun was bright, small boats tacked back and forth, and dozens of commuter helicopters swooped to their landing pads. We passengers sat on the top deck, snapping pictures and admiring the amazing architecture.
By the end of the trip, I was already nostalgic.
May all cruise days be like that one.
Tolkein's classics can give you 'Hobbit habit'
More great prizes are coming in for the Civic Club Bazaar raffle.
Leslie Montroy donated a gorgeous jacket with monogrammed chilis, and it is featured this week. Our community is full of wonderful, crafty people. Many of them will have booths at the Civic Club Bazaar Nov. 4. And a little bird is spreading rumors that those marvelous tamales will be available again this year. Be there early to grab them up!
A copy of the library board of trustees' resolution opposing Amendment 21 is available on the political table at the library.
According to the arithmetic posed by this amendment - if the amendment passes - your library will probably have to close next year. We were invited to a press conference at the Chamber of Commerce to explain what the revenue cuts would do to each of the special districts in our county. Members of the various districts explained the cutbacks in services that would take place if this amendment passes. For more information, talk to each of the district representatives. If you would like a list of boards and members, ask at the front desk.
An analysis of all of the statewide ballot proposals is now available at the library. We have limited copies. Early voting begins Oct. 23 so please be well versed on all 12 of the state issues as well as the local races in the next few weeks.
By now all of those die-hard muggles have finished the latest Potter book and need another fantasy series just as endearing. We have J.R.R. Tolkien's classic stories that will give you a "Hobbit habit."
"The Hobbit" captured the hearts of American readers years ago, and the Tolkien series is another example of quality British fiction. For those of us who loved the "Hobbit,"and "Lord of the Rings," it's time to reread them and introduce the middle-earth to our young ones.
And to remind you, Hobbits are little people, smaller than dwarves. They love peace and quiet and good tilled earth. They dislike machines, but are handy with tools. They are nimble but don't like to hurry. They are inclined to be fat. They wear bright colors but seldom wear shoes . . . my kind of people.
"Why We Hurt: the Natural History of Pain," written by Dr. Frank Vertosick Jr., gives us a mixture of medicine, history, anthropology, inspiration and practical advice. Pain has definite value, and he helps us understand its value. Knowledge is often the first and best, analgesic.
Dr. Vertosick is a practicing neurosurgeon. He covers pain including migraine, back, angina, cancer, arthritis, childbirth and carpal tunnel syndrome.
"Wake Me When It's Funny," tells how to break into show business and stay there. This book, by talented Garry Marshall and his daughter Lori, take the reader on an intimate journey into show business from Lucy to Laverne and Shirley, and on to the movie, Pretty Woman.
In the 1970s he produced four of the five top-rated network TV series. He gives advice on how to break into Hollywood. His sister Penny Marshall writes the forward.
"All the Best, George Bush: My life in Letters and Other Writings," is an intimate and revealing look at one of America's most private public figures. Since he does not plan to write his autobiography, this collection of letters, diary entries, and memos, with his accompanying commentary, will fill that void. As the Bushes emerge as a major political family, this portrait is timely.
Just a reminder to get in shape for the annual walk-run coming up Nov. 11. More on this later.
Thanks to the following for materials: Bev Spradley, Sandy Hallen, Mary Sink, Marilyn Pruter, Dot Jones, Sue Davis, Cate Smock, Shirley Snider, Sy Kolman, Reba Roach, Jean Payne, Addie Greer, Terry Hershey, Carol Hakala, Drue Hartong, Lorna Ogden, Dick Babillis, Mrs. Hamblin, Ann Graves and Lisa Higgins.
Greene's book a must read for WWII buffs
Back in June, a book was sent to me from William Morrow and Co. I hadn't ordered it. No gift card was enclosed so I surmised that it was sent for me to review. Since then, it has become a best seller with many reviews - written, and on radio and television.
"Duty, A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War" is by Bob Greene, a syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune and Life, and the author of many bestsellers. It is about his father's service as an infantry soldier during World War II and how his father's reflections on his experience melded with those of an unexpected source - the man Greene's father said was "the man who won the war." He was talking about Paul Tibbets, who piloted the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
The book came about when Bob Greene noted his father's reference to "seeing Tibbets while shopping in a department store" in Columbus, Ohio, where both his father and Tibbets lived.
For 20 years Greene tried to make contact with Tibbets and it was only after he wrote a column that got Tibbets' attention that they met.
The men became friends and it was through this association that Bob Greene began to understand his father and his generation, and his father's ingrained sense of honor and duty.
Greene was invited to join crew members at their reunions in Branson, Missouri. He got to know navigator Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk and Tom Ferebee, the bombardier and the man who actually dropped the bomb.
Paul Tibbets was 29 when he was commissioned to assemble a team of 1,800 American soldiers to carry out a secret mission. The training took 18 months. The plane, the Enola Gay, was named for Tibbets' mother.
"Duty, A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War" is an important historical account of World War II and the eventful dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. It belongs in every library and should be read by every World War II buff.
The Ruby Sisson Library does not have a copy of this important book. Maybe someone will give them a copy.
One of Bob Green's articles for the Tribune is included in this month's Readers Digest. Greene is the author of 17 books and the co-author with D.G. Fulford of three others.
The League of Women voters of Archuleta County will hold a candidate and ballot issues forum Oct. 17.
Candidates for the following offices will speak and answer questions: state representative candidates Suzanne Garcia and Mark Larson; district attorney candidates Sarah Law, William Zimsky and Richard Jaye; Archuleta County commissioner candidates William Downey, Alden Ecker and J.B. Smith.
County and selected state ballot issues will have pro and con arguments presented by speakers, with those speakers answering audience questions.
Fun on the run
The Florida Department. of Fish and Wildlife is advising hikers, hunters, fishermen and golfers to take extra precautions and keep alert for alligators. The department advises people to wear noise-producing devices such as little bells on their clothing to alert but not startle the alligators. It also advises people to carry a can of pepper spray in case of an encounter with an alligator. It is also a good idea to watch for fresh signs of alligator activity.
People should recognize the difference between young alligator and adult alligator droppings. Young alligator droppings are smaller and contain fish bones and possibly bird feathers. Adult alligator droppings have little bells in them and smell like pepper spray.
Husband, wife show opens Oct. 5
Currently on display at the PSAC gallery at Town Park are the muti-media works of Kathryn Kneip.
This one-woman show features sculptures created with the use of wood and bronze. Additionally, there are several stone graphite drawings which Kathryn has presented beautifully on fine paper.
The common theme throughout is that of the human figure. Go to the gallery by Oct. 4 to catch a rare glimpse of this exotic show.
The Pagosa Springs Arts Council is pleased to show the extraordinary creations of Carylon Stone and Peter Reuthlinger. The opening for this husband and wife duo will take place at the gallery Oct. 5, 5 to 7 p.m.
Carylon Stone began oil painting at the age of 10. Later in life she went on to study at the Institute of American Indian Arts, in Santa Fe. Carylon chooses not to limit her work to a particular area or style. She uses a wide range of subject matter, and mediums. Carylon says, "I often paint from my dreams, and my perceptions of the world. I see the world through the artists eye. Mountains, horses, etcetera, take on brilliant colors not seen with ordinary sight."
Peter Reuthlinger is a self-taught artisan. A Bavarian from Germany, he has been creating leatherwork since 1975. Peter uses unique hides and furs for all of his hand-stitched pieces. He makes one-of-a-kind leather art to honor and respect the animals from which his materials come.
Join us in celebrating this fantastic collaboration at the PSAC gallery.
The Creede Repertory Theatre is coming to Pagosa Springs this weekend. The talented group will perform a dinner theater production titled "Love Letters," Saturday at the Pagosa Lakes Community Center. Tickets are available at the PSAC gallery, Moonlight Books, the Sisson Library, and Wolftracks Bookstore and Coffee Co. It is advised that this play is for mature audiences only.
Call 264-5020 for more information. See ya there!
The PSAC would like to thank Jim and Jennifer Harnick for doing a terrific job cleaning the carpet at the PSAC gallery. A thank you also goes out to everyone involved in the success of the opening night of the Whistle Pig Folk Nights.
Just a reminder: Fall and winter hours are now in effect for the PSAC gallery - open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Stuck in the past
Driving Colorado Highway 145 from Dolores to Telluride last Saturday offered many enjoyable views of aspens exchanging their summer green for beautiful autumn golds and yellows. Other than the seasonal delays caused by highway reconstruction, it was a very enjoyable mid-day round trip.
However, the enjoyment of autumn colors diminished somewhat when, during the return trip on Colorado 145 from Telluride to Dolores and then cutting across to Mancos on Colorado 184, some red and green road signs started catching my attention.
With Colorado 145 and 184 both running through Montezuma County, the numbered red and green road signs brought to mind the questionable expenditure of county road maintenance funds to purchase and install "Not Maintained" tags on applicable subdivision streets in Archuleta County.
It became evident that the road signs in Montezuma County related to alerting the county's road crews as to which roads should be maintained by the county and which roads were the responsibility of the applicable property owners. It was interesting that two of the red road signs on Colorado 184 were placed at the entrances to two separate subdivisions.
However, it was evident that the signs outside of Dolores and Mancos related to county business, not real estate transactions. The signs for the county roads in Montezuma County simply bore identification numbers rather than titles such as Avenue, Boulevard, Circle, Court, Drive, Place or Street.
So it's understandable that one of this week's letter writers would be upset over the ongoing expenditures on North Pagosa Boulevard. It's more difficult to understand why last week certain members of the Pagosa Lakes Road Advisory Committee had forgotten the written recommendations they had made to the count commissioners in 1998 on the reconstruction of North Pagosa Boulevard and similar recommendations they made a year later.
It should not be surprising that prior county commissioners would not have known about North Pagosa Boulevard's inadequate sub-base when they first accepted it into the county's road maintenance system in the 1970s. They acted in good faith with the development's engineers and supervisors.
By the same token, it did not come to light until the late 1990s that the southern portion of Lake Forest Circle that connected with North Pagosa Boulevard in the 1970s had been constructed on private property rather than in the platted right of way. Whereas that portion of Lake Forest Circle apparently had been built to county standards, it had been built in the wrong location.
It is surprising that today's county commissioners continue to follow down this same road of spending money on neighborhood streets. It is long past time for today's commissioners to take a different direction. David C. Mitchell
Must be something in the water
Be sure to sit down and rest a while after you read Ron Gustafson's letter to the editor. I was worn out after seeing the list of activities he and his wife Cindy attended between Friday afternoon and Sunday night.
It made me realize I couldn't stand up under the pace of the Pagosa retirees. I get more rest at work than most of them do with their retirement activities.
However, I must report that the SUN's social reporter failed to spy Pagosa's most dashing couple Friday evening at the annual Southwest Land Alliance picnic-business meeting.
Despite the absence of Ron and Cindy, a good time was had by all. The highlights included once again visiting with former Pagosans Herb and Enid Brodsky who now reside in the Junction Creek area west of Durango.
I wouldn't be surprised if Ron and Cindy made it to church on time Sunday morning.
My Sunday started with helping a neighbor get some of his cows and calves back across Fourmile Road and into the same pasture. It makes for a sleepless night to have some utterly stretched -out cows penned up on one side of the road and their empty calves fenced in on the other side. If you think the Up With People youngsters can captivate an audience, their performance pales when compared to being serenaded by a chorus of discontented cows and calves.
So I barely made out to Lodge in time for the Colorfest Balloon Rally. Nothing is more colorful than a blue sky full of hot air balloons wit their reflections bouncing of the rippleless water.
But after the winter we didn't have last year, the fresh white snow atop the peaks of the San Juans Mountains Sunday was the literal high point of my morning. Naturally it set folks to hoping we will have an "old-fashioned Pagosa winter."
Of course old-fashioned means one thing to one person and another to someone else. My old-fashioned winters in Pagosa just date back to 1974-75. Seems like the winter of '75-'76 was when the snow covered the fence posts down in the pasture. But it's inappropriate to term it an old-fashioned Pagosa winter since some climatology folks were operating cloud-seeding equipment up on the Hott Ranch at that time.
For some reason the sight of the snow sent a number of folks scurrying to the mountains Sunday afternoon.
One hearty group hiked up to Pagosa Peak Sunday afternoon. Cynthia and I had been invited to join them, but the clouds caused us to decline. We've never had good luck with cloudy skies and the trails to Pagosa Peak.
But it looked like the clouds were clearing over towards Wolf Creek Pass so we drove up to the summit to hike the road to the micro-wave tower. By the time we started up the road the clouds had cleared out of the area and made for some enjoyable hiking.
I learned later that Jim White and Leigh Gozigian also went hiking. They are expecting a little one and the pediatrician says they need to do some daily walks. So Jim and Leigh walked to the top of Square Top Sunday. If they aren't careful they will catch the Gustafson disease.
It's really not a malady, it's a somewhat normal response when the colors start changing in the San Juans. You know there are more things to do than you have time for, so you put off winterizing your place for one more week and head for the high country.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
Progress on phone equipment
Taken from SUN files
of Oct. 2, 1975
Microwave equipment for Universal Telephone Company is now being installed. In addition to the visible equipment, such as towers, there will also be the installation of new machinery and new electronic equipment. Local residents are encouraged by the fact that there is some visible sign of progress on the system.
Because of state requirements for schools receiving state funds, hours for kindergarten students in Pagosa Springs will increase this week. The state regulation requires that kindergarten students must be in school at least four hours and 35 minutes per day, exclusive of lunch time.
Dan Peters, Pagosa District Ranger of the San Juan National Forest, called the controlled burn at Confar Hill area last Thursday a highly successful project. Approximately 500 acres were scheduled to be burned over a one-day period. The burn was designed to cut back on the growth of oak brush in order to improve the big game habitat in the area.
Pagosa Springs Sportsman's Club will hold a rifle and shotgun shoot Sunday at the rifle range south of town. Cash prizes will be awarded in trap shooting and rifles.
Samplings of up-to-date local happenings
Last week's story about the 1907 timber cases introduced readers to Charles Day, editor of The Pagosa Journal. He was a member of the Republican Party and served a term in the state legislature as a representative from this district. I enjoy reading his writing because of his candid opinions on a variety of subjects. And, of course, he kept the community up-to-date on local happenings. Here's a sampling.
In the March 15, 1929 Journal, Day commented on politics, "In Mexico the other day a rebel chieftain, after looting a bank, gave his note for the amount taken. If that bird ever becomes a citizen of the United States I see a great future for him either in politics or higher financial circles."
July 29 of the same year Day wrote, "I used to be in favor of an overhauling of Colorado's laws, but when I got to thinking of the kind of nuts that would probably do the overhauling I voted to stay with the old mess."
Day did not hide his opinion of many elected officials. On Aug. 16, 1929, he penned, "Somebody has said that eight million of our pianos are out of tune. That's bad enough, I guess, but hardly frightful as about ten million office-holders dragging down salaries not in harmony with services rendered."
Local news was also covered including this story about an early Pagosa golf course which appeared in the Friday, April 20, 1928, Journal. "Fred Hamlin of the Citizens Bank and Ralph Ludlum of the Hersch Mercantile Company have prepared a 3-hole golf course on the mesa back of the Catholic church and are putting in spare time on the links. As yet a club has not been organized and the only requirement to play on the course is to assist in the work of improving and enlarging it."
And in October 1929, Day reported on a first for Pagosa Springs, "Today about noon an aeroplane, the first to make a landing at Pagosa Springs, flew over town and glided to a stop in the alfalfa field on the former E.T. Walker ranch a mile out on the Wolf Creek highway. It was a Curtiss Robin monoplane, a sister ship of the plane that made the endurance flight at St. Louis, and was piloted by Lieutenant Hazeltine. Later the lieutenant secured permission to have a landing in the Decker field, north of and adjoining the Walker field, and was busy all afternoon carrying passengers on short flights at $3.50 per trip. It is a cabin plane and will carry two passengers."
Shiny object united memories of Mac, UFO
There would seem to be no logical connection, but the Wednesday morning debate last week about identity of a shiny opaque object in the sky came within hours of learning of the passing of Mac Yamaguchi, widow of former Mayor Ralph "Hoppo" Yamaguchi.
Mac was in high school at the same time I was and when she married Hoppo they settled on family property on Hermosa Street near the historic home my mother and I had purchased. Services are pending arrangements to be made this weekend.
Hoppo loved to play poker and when he couldn't find a game to attend, often hosted his own.
Six to eight players would gather at his home for an evening of cards and camaraderie.
It was after one of those sessions that I saw the unidentified flying object. UFOs were big news in those days and many people thought they were spy ships manned by extraterrestrials.
I had exited Hoppo's house and was walking toward the corner of what is now Second and Hermosa when my eye was drawn to the northeast and there, seemingly hovering in a stationary position over the point of Reservoir Hill, was a circular, spinning light. A flying saucer if ever there was one.
I ran back to Hoppo's to get the card sharks to come out and view the invader. Only three believed I'd actually seen something and agreed to look.
They, too, saw the "saucer," watched with me as it continued to hover, and gasped in amazement when it suddenly darted southward at a speed almost impossible to follow. We ran to the south trying to keep track of the speeding sphere, but lost sight of it as it passed approximately over the Eight Mile lookout station.
None of us really believed there were space invaders aboard, but we were sure that what we had seen was some new American weapon. After all, it was only a short flight as the crow flies to White Sands Proving Grounds where secret weapons tests were being conducted regularly.
There had been nuclear tests in Nevada and reportedly in Utah. Some thought the object we spotted might have had some connection with those tests . . . perhaps a radiation measuring craft.
Everyone was amazed at the speed with which the object departed the area. It was almost as if someone or something on board had realized we were watching and wanted to get away as speedily as possible to avoid a confrontation.
We, of course, wouldn't have had the vaguest idea of how one might confront such an object - or even catch up to it.
In fact, we were sure that our acquaintances, if they hadn't seen it for themselves, would think we'd invented the whole tale as a means of drawing attention. After all, they might ask, what could a space visitor hope to find in Pagosa Springs?
One card player suggested we could tell people the "invaders" were really just seeking a cure for celestial body ache in the healing waters of the Great Pagosa Spring.
Too easy, too pat, we argued.
We knew what we saw. Or did we? It might be more accurate to say we knew we saw something but had no real idea what it might have been.
The consensus of those who witnessed Wednesday's aerial visitor was that it was probably a weather balloon gone astray. But there were divergent opinions: Big Brother's spy ship, invaders from Mars, the North Star, and a secret government recording device were a few of them.
In reality, as David pointed out in Dear Folks Thursday, it was a giant helium-filled balloon launched from the National Scientific Balloon facility outside Fort Sumner, N.M., at 8 a.m. the preceding day.
Rather than spying on earthbound humans, the payload, provided by Harvard University and the Marshall Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., was designed to peer through the outer edges of our universe for a clearer view of the star Cygnus X One.
Now that's the scary part.
How do we know that the spiraling flying object seen by a group of weekend card players nearly a half century ago wasn't a visitor from that mystery star?
How do we know last week's event wasn't part of our preparation for an exchange visit?
How do we know it wasn't part of a plan to return the Cygnus X One's now aging crew after they landed at Roswell in the southwest quadrant of New Mexico and were secreted from the American public for all these years?
Scientists tell us the balloon was destroyed after the scientific data collectors were dropped near Grand Junction late Wednesday. They say the balloon's remains were dropped in an area where there would be no danger to anyone or anything on the ground.
It would be a great moment if all the ideas and answers were wrong - that it wasn't really a data probe or a space invader.
I'd like to believe, instead, that it was really Hoppo and Mac saluting their old friends, anteing up, and lifting off - together again - for that great hereafter in the highest sky.