Front Page
November 16, 2000

Budget process pits elected officials against each other

By John M. Motter

County government is generally a good example of democracy in action, that is, until the annual budget season rolls around. During the budget dogfight, elected official is often pitted against elected official.

Greed and selfishness are not normally the cause of the problem. Conflict is built into the system by the state constitution and laws governing the organization and operation of county governments in Colorado.

Elected to run various branches of the county government are the assessor, clerk, three commissioners, coroner, treasurer, sheriff and surveyor. Because the coroner and surveyor basically run one-man departments with minimal budgets, they won't be dealt with in this article.

Responsible for developing separate budgets each year are the assessor, clerk, commissioners, sheriff and treasurer. When viewed as they would be on an organization chart, each of the elected officials is on the same plane, that is, one cannot boss another. All of the elected officials' budgets are contained in the county's overall general fund, although certain expenditures such as capital improvements may be in separate funds.

The disagreement comes because the county commissioners adopt and certify the county budget, including the budgets of other elected officials. The commissioners set the tax rates used to provide income to support the expenditures of each department. Consequently, because state law requires a balanced budget; the commissioners must either raise enough money to meet everyone's expenditure hopes, or the commissioners must persuade the other elected officials to lower their expenditures down to the expected income level.

This year, as an example of the dilemma facing the commissioners, County Manager Dennis Hunt says budget requests by the various elected officials and department heads exceed anticipated revenues by about $1.2 million. In the eyes of the commissioners, that $1.2 million must be trimmed.

Beneath the commissioners' line of authority and budget umbrella are the county manager's office, county finance office, county planning and building permit departments, building maintenance, road and bridge, and other funds not specifically allocated to other elected officials.

When everyone works together the process works. When one official believes another official is grabbing more than a fair share, a dog fight results. That is what happened last year. In the eyes of the assessor, clerk and treasurer, the commissioners persuaded them to lower employee raises in their departments, then gave larger raises to personnel working under the commissioners. The other elected officials vowed last year that the disparity would not occur again.

County Manager Hunt, along with the county finance department, is responsible for assembling the first draft budget. The process began several weeks ago when Hunt asked each elected official and department head to submit budget requests. Some give and take between the commissioners and other elected officials has already taken place during weekly elected-official meetings. The give and take began in earnest Tuesday when the commissioners initiated a review process, going one-on-one with elected officials and department heads.

In the past, the process has been one-sided, according to County Assessor Keren Prior.

"They (county commissioners) listen to us justify our requests, but they mostly remain silent," Prior said. "In the past, they issued a memo asking us to hold payroll increases to some percentage increase over last year. This year, they are denying that that happened."

Following are the preliminary 2001 budget requests of the assessor, clerk, and treasurer before any cuts have been made.

County assessor

For the year 2001, the assessor is asking for expenditures totaling $383,150. That amount includes $303,560 for personnel. Prior has seven employees in her department.

The year 2000 assessor budget asked for $341,155, including $270,055 for personnel. Capital expenditures are not included. Actual expenditures for 2000 are not available. Actual expenditures for 1999 amounted to $298,740, including $228,370 for personnel.

"Basically, I am charged with appraising about 930,007 acres together with improvements having a total value of over $1 billion," Prior said. "This year a work force study done for me by the State Department of Taxation says that I need 10.75 people to do the job. I have seven people, one more than the department had in 1988."

There are consequences if Archuleta County appraisals do not meet state mandated requirements, according to Prior.

Governmental real estate appraisal values in Colorado are determined by market values and are established by the sale value of recent, comparable properties. Once a year, the state conducts a sample survey in Archuleta County to determine if the values used by the county assessor match sales looked at by state officials. An error margin of plus or minus 5 percent is allowed.

"If I am outside of the allowable margin of error, the state can send in a team to re-appraise the county," Prior said. "The county must pay all of that team's expenses."

County property appraisals are tied to school funding in Colorado. Under ordinary circumstances, the state makes up any needs not covered by local appraisal levels. If the state learns that local appraisals are not as high as they should be, the county can be required to pay the difference plus interest.

"The commissioners must supply me with the people and space to properly do my job," Prior said. "If the state determines they are not, the state can force them to do so.

"I have several long-term, very skilled people," Prior said. "That's why I can get my job done. If those people quit, I'll have to hire two people to replace them. I have a couple of people working for less than a living wage. My goal is to bring them up to the pay level of people in other county departments doing similar work."

Prior's preliminary budget asked for an increase of about 12 percent. After an elected officials' meeting, she agreed to cut that to about 6 percent. At the regular commissioner meeting Tuesday she was asked to cut that to 3.5 percent. The county assessor's salary is set by the state at $41,714.

County clerk

County Clerk and Recorder June Madrid is asking for $270,845 to operate the county clerk's office. Of that amount, $233,820 is dedicated to personnel. Madrid's year 2000 expenditures budget amounted to $233,885 with $194,920 set aside for personnel. The actual expenditures of the clerk's office during 1999 were $234,560 with $193,000 used for personnel expenses.

Madrid is also the county's elections officer. The county clerk's elections budget for 2001 asks for approval of expenditures of $48,410, including $29,000 for personnel. Last year's election budget called for spending $62,590 with $25,210 going for personnel. Actual expenditures for the election budget in 1999 were $43,300. Of that amount, $23,490 went for personnel.

In the year 2001 election personnel budget, $23,400 is allotted for the election clerk, and $23,400 for election judges. The county clerk's salary is set by the state at $41,715.

County treasurer

County Treasurer Traves Garrett joined Prior and Madrid last year in protesting raises given county employees working under the commissioners that exceeded raises given her employees.

"I understand our responsibility to the taxpayers, but if one department is asked to hold the line, every department should do the same," Garrett said. "I am staffed as low as I can and still get the job done. That means that all of my people are key people. If I lose one, we can't do the job."

For the year 2001 budget, Garrett is asking for an expenditures budget of $239,690, including $152,670 for personnel. Last year's budget amounted to $220,525 including $150,270 for personnel. Actual expenditures for 1999 were $220,675 with $143,290 allotted for personnel.

In the capital improvement budget fund, the assessor is seeking $10,700, the clerk $30,000, and the treasurer zero. The assessor contemplates purchasing a copier valued at $7,700. The clerk contemplates purchasing $20,000 of vault space for records storage and spending $10,000 for new computers. In the election capital improvements budget, Madrid is asking for $65,000 to purchase a vote counting machine.

The county treasurer's salary is set by the state at $41,715. The county treasurer is also compensated $8,000 a year for acting as public trustee.

Budget totals and hoped-for expenditures will undoubtedly change greatly before the commissioners adopt and certify a final county-wide budget during December.


Superintendent search committee issues first report to school board

By Richard Walter

The 15-member committee appointed to assist in the search for a replacement for retiring School District 50 Joint Superintendent Terry Alley made its first report to the school board Tuesday, via Alley.

Alley, who announced earlier this year that he will step down at the end of the school year, said the committee drafted specific qualifications they would like to see in any candidate for the board.

The committee said candidates should have a masters degree in school administration; possess or be eligible for a Colorado administrator's license; have successful experience as a classroom teacher and building principal; and have successful experience as a central office administrator or superintendent.

The search committee report said the district will notify candidates it is seeking a leader who has successful experience in the following areas:

Curriculum development and student assessment; grant writing; facilities management; budget and finance; public relations; personnel management; legal issues; understanding of technology; and sensitivity to cultural diversity.

The committee suggests the successful candidate should be approachable, have high energy, be innovative and receptive to new ideas, encourage working as a team and be active in the schools and community.

Each candidate will, if committee recommendations are accepted, submit a letter including reasons for applying for the job; a current resume; current letters of recommendation from a board member of the applicant's current district, building principal, teacher and parent in his or her present district; a portfolio of accomplishments (including newspaper articles, letters, certificates, etc); and transcripts of all college and university course work.

The committee also recommended the candidates be required to submit written response of not more than one page to each of the following:

1) Your approach to building a sense of teamwork among members of the school board

2) Dealing with issues that may arise in a diverse community

3) Describing your leadership style

3) Give your opinions on two current educational trends

4) Answer how you would implement these trends in a school district

5) Write a letter to the students of the district telling them what sets you apart from other candidates. (This suggestion made by the student representatives on the committee.)

After hearing the list, Director Russ Lee suggested "letters of recommendation are worthless. No one in his right mind would send us one which was not supportive.

"We don't even use them in industry, any more," he said, "mainly because of the possibility of litigation. If we give someone a bad recommendation he can sue. If we give him a good one and he fails on the job, the new employer can sue."

With reference to items 3 and 4, Director Carol Feazel suggested candidates might select one trend they considered good and another one they were against. "They obviously wouldn't want to tell how to implement something they did not approve of.

"We might be more realistic," she said, "if we required one trend they favor and one they disfavor. We'd likely get a better scope of their educational values that way."

Lee said he would like to see the list ask candidates "if they are familiar with and if so what their opinion is of the Alfie Kohn educational philosophy. I don't want a superintendent who thinks the Alfie Kohn theory is not the way to go."

Randall Davis, board president, said he liked Lee's suggestion for addition of the Kohn question. "After all," he said, "we have it started in all our buildings now."

Davis also said a substitute teacher had suggested to him that it might be wise to have a special committee in each school building draft a list of specific questions for superintendent candidates and have the candidates visit with staff in each school to answer them.

"I think that would give the staff a chance to interact and feel a part of the selection process," Davis said. "I think we'd get some worthwhile feedback and would get the candidates into each school to see and be seen."

Alley told the board the search committee will meet again at 5 p.m. Dec. 6 and by the next board meeting he will have a timeline ready for consideration which will take into account beginning of advertising, end of the advertising campaign, deadline for applications, schedule for interviews and visits to candidates' current job site.

He also told the board it must begin to consider length of contract, salary offered and various supplemental benefits to be offered before the advertisement is placed.

Alley suggested each person answering the ad be sent a four-page brochure outlining the educational aims of the district, its assets and potential liabilities, and details about life in the Pagosa Springs area.


Executive session held after debate

By John M. Motter

Archuleta County's commissioners engaged in a spirited debate Tuesday before saying yes to County Assessor Keren Prior's request for an executive session based on personnel grounds.

State law permits government boards to conduct executive sessions under certain specific conditions. An executive session means the public is excluded.

"We need to know what for, and we need a vote of the board to go into executive session," said Commissioner Bill Downey. "We need to let Keren explain why she wants an executive session."

During the executive session, matters concerning county personnel would be discussed as well as the county audit, Prior said.

When asked by Commissioner Ken Fox who would be in the executive session, Prior asked that the three commissioners, County Clerk June Madrid, Sheriff Tom Richards, and commissioner-elect Alden Ecker be allowed to join the meeting.

"Why Alden Ecker?" Fox asked. "He is not seated as a commissioner yet."

"He does affect the question," Prior answered.

"I am not comfortable entering an executive session without legal counsel," Fox said.

"Can we do this in open session now?" Downey asked County Attorney Mary Weiss.

"If you feel an executive session is not appropriate you can proceed," Weiss said. "If you are dealing with county employees, they may have a choice."

"It's okay with me if the county attorney joins us," Prior said.

Ultimately, the commissioners voted to go into executive session to determine if they needed to go into executive session. Voting for the executive session were Downey and Fox. Voting against the executive session was Gene Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners.

That executive session lasted from 9:45 until 10:30 a.m. When it ended, no announcement was made or explanation given on the topic of discussion.

Prior was on the agenda prior to the executive session. She has asked the county to reimburse her $366 for fees she paid a private attorney.

"We're being asked to reimburse Keren Prior $366 for personal legal fees," said County Manager Dennis Hunt. "She talked to a personal attorney after we received Tom Breed's letter."

"Those were not personal expenses," Prior said. "Those were expenses connected with my role as county assessor. I was accused as assessor of Archuleta County. That makes the county responsible. I defended my office against allegations concerning the 1988 assessor's term before I was in office. I did go to the county attorney, but she didn't help me. That's why I obtained outside counsel."

The commissioners deferred action on Prior's request that the county pay the attorney fees, choosing to conduct research first.

Prior produced a letter from Breed absolving her and the county treasurer's office from any of the contentions contained in the year 2000 audit report. Breed is retained by the county as outside auditor.

Finally, the commissioners agreed to solicit applicants for a vacancy on the Southwestern Water Conservation District board created by the death of Ernie Schutz.


Veterans' Day salute features students' essays on patriotism

By Richard Walter

A handful of American war veterans and several hundred high school students joined the family of a Pagosa Springs military legend for an early Veterans' Day salute Thursday in front of the high school.

Featured were members of the family of the late Reuben R. Marquez, to whom the annual patriotism writing contest sponsored by American Legion Post 108 is dedicated.

With Marquez' daughter, Ruthe Marquez West, emceeing the program, three elementary school students were honored for their essays and three high school students received plaques and cash awards for their entries on what patriotism is and what it means to them as individuals.

Third grade winners from Pagosa Springs Elementary School were:

Wesley Vandercook, first; a tie for second between Josie Snow and Tasha Rayburn.

High school winners were:

Lyndsey Lucero, third place; Katie Bliss, second place; and Ross Wagle, first place. (His entry accompanies this story.) Bliss was the only winner not present. She was in Denver with the volleyball team for state playoff competition.

The Legion's Robert Dobbins, who served in all three major branches of the American military, keynoted the salute to Marquez, describing how, as a 17-year-old he told his parents in the San Luis Valley that he wanted to volunteer for war action.

They initially told young Marquez he was crazy to want to go to war but he was adamant and finally the parents relented and drove him to Pueblo to enlist. Since the United States was not yet officially in the war, he was allowed to join a British military expedition force and saw action throughout North Africa and on the European continent.

After America entered the war, he was transferred to a U.S. unit. He was a prisoner of war, captured by the Germans in North Africa, but escaped and was awarded the Bronze Star. He was wounded twice in action at Bastogne. Somehow, he lived through the ravages of that experience and returned to America. The family moved to Pagosa Springs in the 1950s. Marquez was active in American Legion activities, served on the town board, and was employed by the U.S. Forest Service.

His home on the 200 block of Pagosa Street was one which always had the American flag flying outside. His daughter Ruthe told of his love for writing, how he recorded special events in his life, and how, until his death last year, he wrote daily his thoughts on life in America and in particular in Pagosa Springs. Each day his diary entry started with, "I raised the flag this morning."

It was that love of writing which prompted the family to support the annual patriotism understanding and writing competition.

Each winner received a cash award ranging from $5 to $75.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, as ordered by Presidential decree - in commemoration of the signing of the armistice agreement that ended the fighting in World War I at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918 - Veterans' Day was celebrated Saturday at the American Legion Hall. The guest of honor was Wagle.

There was an empty chair at the banquet table. It was reserved for America's POW and MIA service personnel.

"Reuben would have saluted that idea," said one Legion member.


Saturday services set for Jewell L. Walton

Jewell Lorraine Walton, a lifelong resident of Archuleta County, passed away in Pagosa Springs at the age of 88 on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2000.

Services for Mrs. Walton will be conducted by Rev. Mack Jones at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. Internment will follow at Hilltop Cemetery.

Mrs. Walton was born in Pagosa Springs to Olaf and Agnes Marie Donaldson Walton on Feb. 18, 1912.

A member of Mountain Heights Baptist Church and Rebekah Lodge, Mrs. Walton was an entrepreneur who owned and operated restaurants as well as a trailer park. Her favorite pastimes were painting and cooking.

Mrs. Walton was preceded in death by her husband, Bernice Walton.

She is survived by a sister, Shirley Brooks of Phoenix, Ariz.; two sons, Bernice W. Walton of Bloomfield, N.M., and Donald Walton of Weaverville, Calif.; a daughter, Margie Padilla of Farmington; 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

The family requests that all floral arrangements be sent to Pagosa Springs Funeral Options at 243 Pagosa Street.


Another downtown burglary reported; police suspect link

By Karl Isberg

Another in a series of recent burglaries of local businesses is being investigated by members of the Pagosa Springs Police Department.

According to Chief Don Volger, the Below Wholesale shop in the 400 block of Pagosa Street was burglarized during the late-night hours of Nov. 10 or the early morning hours of Nov. 11.

Volger reported the thief or thieves gained entry to the store by prying open the front door. An undetermined amount of cash was taken and Volger said there is a piece of jewelry of undetermined value missing from the shop.

Officers added the burglary to a string of similar crimes the department is investigating - incidents the chief believes might be related.

A break-in occurred at the Pagosa Veterinary Clinic on Cemetery Road on Oct. 26. That burglary resulted in the loss of $500 cash and $1,200 in checks.

Two businesses located at the Mountain View Plaza on Put Hill were entered Oct. 28. A cash register with an undetermined amount of cash was taken from Angela's Flower Shop and a CD player, CDs and jewelry were stolen from Felicities Salon.

An office in a building located on the southeast corner of 2nd and Pagosa streets was burgled Oct. 31, resulting in the loss of a cash register, its undetermined cash contents and keys to other offices in the complex.

As of Nov. 14, said Volger, both stolen cash registers had been recovered. The cash register taken from the office at 2nd and Pagosa streets was found under the U.S. 160 bridge over the San Juan River at 1st Street. The second register was found by a passerby near U.S. 160 west of Pagosa Springs.

"We're assuming many of these incidents are related, because of the time frame," said Volger. "It is a good bet the two burglaries downtown are related to the entry at the veterinary clinic. And, of course, it is reasonable to think the two burglaries in the one building at the Mountain View Plaza are linked. Perhaps they're all related to the same perpetrator. Our investigators are still working on the cases and we hope anyone seeing any suspicious late-night or early morning activity will report it to us."


Inside The Sun

PLPOA urged to retain two defibrillators

By Richard Walter

Defibrillators are becoming routine equipment on airliners, in airports and at many public locations where large numbers of people gather.

So, asked former PLPOA Director Mojie Adler, "Where are ours?"

Her question came during a board discussion Thursday of what to do with remaining unsold merchandise left over from the former PSO operation.

General Manager Walt Lukasik said three of the units are among the items left over and are included in the list of things he would like to take to auction in Durango on Dec. 9.

He said the units were offered to the Pagosa EMS operation but were rejected.

Director Jim Carson suggested at least two of the units should be kept on hand, one at the recreation center and one at the clubhouse. "Those are areas where we have people all the time," he said, "and it has been proven defibrillators save lives."

On the recommendation of Director Fred Ebeling, the board agreed to list and sell at auction all materials deemed expendable or unusable by Lukasik, with the exception of two defibrillators, if they are automatic as was indicated.

Many of the things to be auctioned include items, like weapons and radar units, which can be sold only to law enforcement agencies.

Lukasik told the board neither the county nor town made bids on the items but that a bid is being negotiated with state police for some of the material.

In other action Thursday, the board:

- Weighed options for dealing with winter icing problems on the sidewalk surrounding the clubhouse building. Lukasik said the problem is not snow cover, which is easily removed, but the melt water which falls directly to the sidewalk and freezes over "creating a potential slip-and-fall liability." Staff suggestions for a solution included a $5,270 heating pad which can be shoveled and plowed over; or roping off the area completely during winter months. After lengthy discussion, directors agreed to block off the walk this winter while working out a more permanent solution including an engineering study before winter 2001

- Allotted funds for a Christmas dinner for the 25 employees and their wives or significant others. Specifically the board authorized $20 per person up to $1,000 for the affair, specifying no alcoholic beverages would be allowed

- Learned that Cathy Gallagher, recently appointed to the Environmental Control Committee, has had to resign for health problems. The board approved advertising for volunteers to serve on various commissions with PLPOA benefits stressed

- Heard director and treasurer David Bohl report that a draft budget proposal is expected to be ready for the December meeting. He also reported two CDs were purchased in the past month, each for $50,000 - one for the physical plant fund and one for the recreation center fund

- Heard Director Francesco Tortorici plead for full enforcement of rules regarding home construction. Tortorici noted there were 91 homes built in 1998, 101 in 1999 and 169 already this year. Too often, he said, builders fail to respect rights of adjacent property owners. We get reports about violations, he said, but not about punishment. Ebeling agreed there has been a problem but said, "We are in the process of changing the contract agreement so the builder, not the owner, contracts with PLPOA. We'll have jurisdiction and they'll comply with our regulations or be taken to court," he said.


Essay: What it means to be patriotic today

By Ross Wagle

Patriotism is defined as devoted love, support and defense of one's country or as national loyalty. It is a simple definition really, yet there is a much deeper meaning to the word.

The first thing that comes to mind for most Americans when they think of patriotism is someone who dies for their country in a war. This is one of the truest forms of patriotism indeed, yet one can be just as great a patriot without going to war. Consider a teacher. Isn't he doing the country just as much good by educating its citizens as a man going to war for his citizens? Or what about the woman who volunteers at the soup kitchen on her day off? Patriotism comes in many shapes and forms and it is a great trait to possess.

Devoted love of one's country. This means to stand by your country at all times and do whatever it takes to better your country. One example of bettering your country is to vote. By voting, you choose a representative, president, etc., to make your country, state or community better. By becoming apathetic and not voting, you show no love or respect for your country. Respect is also a key factor of loving one's country. If you love something, don't you also respect it? To respect your country you must also recognize the fortunes you possess because of your country and you can't become complacent and believe all your fortunes are there without a cost. By always trying to improve your country, you can show your love for your country.

Support of one's country. To bear or hold up your country you must be involved in your community and abide by the laws put into place. Community service is one of the greatest ways to support your country. Doing trash pick ups, doing manual labor for free to help a family in need, and helping at an orphanage are all great examples of how you can support or even improve your country. By following your country's laws and not causing any trouble in your community, you do a great deal to support your country. Doing these things demonstrates a true support of your country.

Defense of one's country. One of the truest attributes of a patriot is to feel obligated to defend your country in a crisis. Those who fight in wars are some of the greatest patriots you'll find. The people who fought in the Revolutionary War felt obligated to preserve their inalienable rights. This is a form of defense of your country. Even those who fought in the two World Wars were trying to defend our country. The wars in foreign lands directly affected our economy and we simply could not stand by and watch a genocide take place. The people who fought in those wars showed patriotism by fighting for a just cause and following the best interest of our country. Defending one's country is undoubtedly a genuine quality of a patriotic person.

Patriotism is truly a complex and useful personality trait. To be a patriot you must show devoted love of your country through respecting your well-being and striving to ameliorate your country. One must also support his or her country by participating in their community and by being a law-abiding citizen. Lastly, they must feel an intense desire to protect or defend their country if their country is threatened. Patriotism is a great quality to possess and requires many duties.

Writing this essay affected me in a couple of ways. I was forced to reevaluate the extent of my patriotism. For example, I realized that I take for granted that I live in the best place on the planet and now I understand better how important it is to try to preserve the prosperity that I have for the future. I also recognized the fact that I need to become even more active in my community to demonstrate that I possess patriotism.

This essay also made me see the apathy of many Americans these days. Unfortunately, I think that the attribute of patriotism is slowing leaving Americans' hearts. I realize, though, that I should lead by example by participation in my community, following laws, etc., to work toward solving this problem.


County begins budget talks, pay hikes weighed

By John M. Motter

It's budget crunch time at the county courthouse. Adopting a county budget is the responsibility of the county commissioners. The process can be painful and full of pitfalls.

For example, how should the commissioners juggle increasing employee insurance costs against a perceived need to provide raises for some or all of the 126 county employees?

After looking at health insurance costs of several providers, including a plan available through Colorado Counties Inc., Archuleta County decided back in 1989 or 1990 to self insure. Self insurance means the county collects some money from county employees, allocates some money for the funds themselves, and pays all covered claims from the money accumulated in the pot.

The size of the insurance pool is driven by the amount of claims turned in by insured county employees. Last year, the county provided over $448,965 to pay employee health insurance claims, according to Dennis Hunt, the county manager. During 1998, the county paid about $166,290. Since the plan started, the county has cut checks totaling an average of $390,000 a year to cover employee insurance claims.

Stirring the pot this year is an estimated need for $589,000 to fill the fund for the 2001 budget. Why the jump from $166,290 in 1998 to $448,965 in 1999 to $589,000 for the coming year?

"Basically, increased employee claims are driving the increase," Hunt said.

The increase is also tied to the cost and benefit formula driving the county's stop-loss insurance policy, according to Hunt. The stop-loss policy is used to protect the county from the impact of a very large claim. Avemco Insurance Co. currently is providing the stop-loss policy. The annual county-wide premium for the stop-loss policy was $8,900 in 1999, $11,700 in 2000, and is expected to again be about $11,700 for 2001.

What has changed is the level at which the stop-loss policy kicks in. During 1999, the stop-loss policy, on any individual claim, paid all costs in excess of $20,000. That kick-in point climbed to $25,000 in 2000 and remains at that point for the 2001 budget. As a result, on each claim exceeding $20,000 to $25,000, the county will pay the amount between $20,000 and $25,000. In the past, that amount was paid by Avemco. Premiums for the stop-loss policy are paid from the county's self-insurance fund.

The county pays the cost for employees. Employees pay for dependent coverage, after choosing one of several scenarios, or no dependent coverage at all. Under the first scenario, the employee pays $75 a month to cover a spouse. Under the second scenario, a single-parent employee pays $110 a month to cover one child. Under the third scenario, the employee pays $200 to cover the entire family. Employees also have the option of accepting dental insurance. The county pays for employee dental coverage, but the employee must pay to add dependents to that coverage.

Of the $578,000 needed to fund this year's self insurance program, the county expects to contribute $398,065. About $180,000 remains to be collected. Using last year's employee contributions totaling about $73,000, a $106,935 shortfall would result, the basis of the county's problem. Should the county budget another $106,935 for the fund in order to maintain the level of employee insurance? If so, should the county also give employee raises? Or should the county decrease insurance benefits to a level covered by the available money? The county could even decide to discontinue all or part of the group insurance.

If the county levied each of the employees a proportionate share of the $106,935, the cost for each of the 78 employees with dependent coverage would be about a $1,370 a year to continue with the same coverage as before.

Instead, the county is looking at a compromise between insurance costs and raises, asking department heads to lower payroll increase requests to about 3.5 percent in exchange for increasing each employee's dependent contribution by $50 a month, $600 a year. Collecting $50 a year from each employee with dependent coverage increases the employee-contribution total to $46,800, leaving a short fall of about $60,135. The county would make up the shortfall.

How would a $600 additional annual insurance cost balanced by a 3.5 percent raise affect take-home pay for employees at various income levels? A person earning $20,000 a year pays the additional $600 for insurance and receives an additional $700 before taxes in income for a net gain of $100 a year, less than $2 a week. Obviously, ignoring income taxes, the more one earns, the more one benefits from the proposal. An employee earning $30,000 a year would net $450 a year, an employee earning $40,000 would net $800 a year, and an employee earning $50,000 would net $1,150 a year.

The county's group health insurance plan is managed by a private firm called Intercare Health Plans. Intercare Health Plans tracks all income and expenses and calculates monthly premiums so that sufficient money will end up in the county fund to pay all claims.

Individual employee premiums for health insurance for 2000 compared with the rates for 2001 follow. Not included are dental plans.

There are 48 employees with employee-only coverage. During 2000, their monthly premium was $195.95, all paid by the county. During 2001, their monthly premium will be $237.50, also paid by the county.

Medical for an employee with a spouse receiving coverage - there are 46 - was $305.95 during 2000 with the employee paying $75. During 2001, that premium jumps to $372.50 with the employee contributing $125.

Medical for an employee with a child receiving coverage - there are seven - jumps from $365.95 in 2000 to $445.50 in 2001. During 2000, the employee pays $110, during 2001 $160.

Medical for an employee and his entire family receiving coverage - there are 25 - climbs from $465.95 in 2000 to $549 in 2001. The employee pays $150 in 2000, $200 in 2001.

Some time between now and the end of the year, the commissioners must make a decision resolving this question and many others as the county's 2001 budget unfolds.


Business owner's plea for suit support rejected

By Richard Walter

In an impassioned plea to the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors Thursday, Pagosa Springs businessman Allan Bunch said, "I come crying for an advocate to bootstrap the process" of putting county officials in their place for defying the voice of the public.

Bunch, neither a Pagosa Lakes property owner nor a resident, was introduced to the board by former director Mojie Adler.

Bunch said he has lived in Archuleta County 10 years and has watched "with concern the roller-coaster ride Pagosa Lakes has taken with the county. They wouldn't listen to you and they won't listen to the other voters."

He said the issue came to a head over the recent use tax proposal when the county commissioners "rushed it onto the ballot and stepped on the revised statutes in the process. I find their actions incredibly indifferent to the feelings of the public."

Bunch said he had talked with many attorneys around the state who agreed the county's actions "were flagrant violations of statutes."

"I never had a concern about the validity of a use tax, but I had concerns with the process. They listen to the public but ignore what is said. They race into bad decisions in complete defiance of any concern for the public."

Saying he would "consider it a civics lesson," Bunch told the PLPOA board he wants to challenge the county in district court and came to PLPOA because "you are a representative body with a bigger defense fund than mine."

Director Fred Ebeling asked Bunch what PLPOA would gain from such an action.

Bunch said it would be to their advantage to help create a county board which is "responsive to we the people."

"The commissioners do not have the concerns of the people in mind," Bunch said. "I've seen the things they've done to and with Pagosa Lakes and the problem here may be just the tip of the iceberg.

"They need to know why they're there, need to listen to the people and take what they have to say into consideration. We gave a valid input of position on the use tax question and what we had to say was ignored."

Director and board president Richard Manley told Bunch "this area has long been in an adversarial relationship with the county and this board has determined to end that relationship with one of cooperation and working in concert.

"It is my opinion that we are not going to antagonize the county over a moot point - after all, the use tax proposal failed - and we are not going to spend $10,000 to $15,000. It is contrary to what we want to achieve, a level of cooperation with the county which has not existed before."

"But," argued Bunch, "they first have to listen."

"Right now," replied Manley, "we're in a good position as a board to speak to and with the commissioners toward solving problems. I don't think we want to jeopardize that over a dead issue from the ballot."

"We (board members) were told we should involve ourselves with the commissioners on roads," said new Director Gerald Smith, "and we will get it done. Both boards have a new complexion and we'll have to test each other's blush to get it done."

As Bunch referred again to the commissioners as men "of outstanding arrogance," Director David Bohl said, "we hope and believe this relationship will change."

And Director Francesco Tortorici, acknowledged he had been in a similar confrontation with commissioners where "they listened but ignored my comments. It is not a comfortable position to be in. This board is trying to create a spirit of cooperation and I believe we will do so."

Manley, concluding the discussion, told Bunch, "It is entirely possible that a year from now one of us may be standing where you are and suggesting an adversarial action. We want to make it work without coming to that."


Trooper captures forgery suspects

By Karl Isberg

An Archuleta County couple allegedly used a forged stolen check Nov. 14 to buy a couple of geckos at a Durango store, and were captured by Colorado State Patrol Trooper Nick Rivera west of Pagosa Springs as they attempted to return home with their newly-acquired reptiles.

Roy Gilmore, 23, and Kelly Gilmore, 22, reportedly used a stolen check to purchase their geckos at a Durango outlet. After the transaction was complete, a suspicious store owner alerted authorities and a description of the Subaru driven by Kelly Gilmore was radioed to law enforcement agencies.

According to CSP Corporal Randy Talbot, Rivera spotted the eastbound vehicle on U.S. 160 as it passed Cat Creek Road west of Pagosa Springs shortly before noon. Talbot said Rivera followed the vehicle until it turned off the highway at Turkey Springs Road and pulled into the Turkey Springs Trading Post parking lot.

Rivera verified the vehicle's license with his dispatch operator, approached the vehicle and obtained Kelly Gilmore's driver's license and an ID card from Roy Gilmore.

After calling in the information on the license and ID, Talbot said Rivera took Kelly Gilmore to the rear of her car, then had Roy Gilmore exit the passenger door and stand at the front of the vehicle. When Rivera approached Roy Gilmore, said Talbot, the man ran from the scene.

Rivera gave chase and, eventually, Gilmore ran across U.S. 160 to the south side of the highway, traversed Stollsteimer Creek and headed up a hill near Hurt Drive - one of the main entry streets to the Aspen Springs subdivision.

The trooper returned to his patrol vehicle and detained the female suspect. Rivera called for back-up help from local law enforcement agencies and members of the Archuleta County Sheriff's department and the Pagosa Springs Police Department responded to the scene. Officers tracked Gilmore, and Rivera took the man into custody after he found him hiding behind a bush.

Officers took the two suspects to the Archuleta County jail where they were held until officers from the Durango Police Department arrived to transport them to the La Plata County jail. Kelly Gilmore was reportedly held on a charge of felony fraud by check. Roy Gilmore was held on a charge of being an accessory to forgery.

The geckos survived the ordeal, and were returned to the Durango pet store from whence they came.


Break from storms due next week

By John M. Motter

A weak disturbance may pass through Pagosa Country early this weekend, according to Gary Chancey, a forecaster from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

Beyond Saturday, Chancey said, local residents should benefit from drying conditions and a break from the series of storms that have swept across the area periodically over the past two weeks.

"Thursday, Friday, and Saturday should be partly cloudy with a slight chance of snow showers," Chancey said. "High temperatures should range between 25-35 degrees with low temperatures ranging between five and 15 degrees."

Over the next 10 days, following this weekend's disturbance, skies should be relatively clear and no precipitation is in sight, according to Chancey.

The low-pressure zone that has been controlling weather over western Colorado for the past few weeks is moving east, Chancey said. In it's place, a high-pressure area will generate clockwise winds bringing cold temperatures, but little moisture, from the north.

Last week, Pagosa Country residents received 9.25 inches of snow, elevating the November snowfall total to 9.75 inches. Total precipitation for the month reached 1.28 inches. About 6.76 inches of snow was measured by 7 a.m. Saturday.

Monday night, mercury in the thermometer plummeted to minus 10 degrees, the coldest night of this fall and winter season. Below freezing temperatures last week ranged from the minus 10 degrees up to 22 degrees. The average low temperature for the week was 13 degrees.

Last week's highest temperature was 48 degrees on Thursday. The lowest high temperature was 22 degrees Monday. For the week, the average high temperature was 37 degrees.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reveled under 70 inches of snow at the summit Wednesday morning with 57 inches of snow at midway. During the past week, 46 inches of new snow descended on the winter resort.


PLPOA accounting system should be ready Jan. 1

By Richard Walter

The membership mandated move to return accounting operations in-house at Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, is moving rapidly ahead with computer software on order and due this week.

Hard drives and computers also are on order and a printer has already arrived.

Walt Lukasik, general manager, told the board of directors Thursday that he had received 13 resumes in response to advertisements for computer system personnel and that he plans to talk with seven of those who replied.

He said his staff will do telephone interviews with all of them and then narrow the field to two who will be brought in for personal interviews.

Lukasik said he expects to have all computer system elements on hand by this weekend but a date for personnel employment is uncertain, pending interviews.

When director Gerald Smith asked about the one-year contract with Colorado Management and its 90-day escape period, Lukasik said the firm has agreed to 30-day extensions of the canceled contract, with advance notice.

Richard Manley, director and board president, said if there is to be a 30-day extension of the contract with advance notice "we'll have to act this month, unless we authorize a telephone consensus."

Director Fred Ebeling, noting a telephone consensus requires 100 percent approval under association bylaws, moved that Lukasik and Director David Bohl (board treasurer) be authorized to jointly approve the 30-day contract extension, if needed.

Directors hope the system will be operating by Jan. 1, but it will depend on the training of personnel yet to be hired.

There also is some support on the board to run parallel systems at least through January so there will be backup in case of any system failures.

GOCO grant compromise produces 'a deal'

By Richard Walter

"It is a deal."

That was the summation Thursday by Walt Lukasik, Pagosa Lakes Property Association general manager reporting on a solution to a long-standing problem with a Great Outdoors Colorado grant for trail construction.

The $60,000 grant, approved by GOCO several months ago, hinged on Archuleta County, as the coordinating agency, advancing the funds and then recouping them at a later date from GOCO.

Lukasik said Larry Lynch, PLPOA's property and environment manager and Roxann Hays, county engineer, had worked out an alternative plan that was agreed to by all parties.

Under the compromise, the contractor will apply for disbursement directly from GOCO. Lukasik said, "He (the contractor) agreed, GOCO agreed, and we have a done deal. The county will still serve as the project coordinator and the town of Pagosa Springs will remain involved."

On another recreational front, Lukasik reported the Recreation Center Committee had found a replacement for the center's treadmill at approximately $2,000 less than the $6,500 the board had approved earlier this year. The new treadmill will cost $4,365.

The same committee reported it had received four bids for painting and staining in the pool area ranging from a low of $3,080 to a high of $9,790.

In answer to a question from the board, Lukasik said the same specifications were sent to all four bidders and that each contractor has been in business for some time.

Directors expressed concern that there was such a diversity of quotes based on the same specifications with Director Gerald Smith saying "there's a lot of difference between $3,000 and $10,000. I'm uncomfortable just saying 'let's accept the low bid.' The middle bids are not that far apart."

Finally, the board agreed to have Lukasik and Directors David Bohl and Francesco Tortorici examine all four bids, in ascending order, and make a final recommendation to the full board.

The work is to be done without draining the pool because, Lukasik said, it takes six days to get the pool back in service after it has been drained.


Parental student transport mileage fees may rise

By Richard Walter

Parents who live more than 3 miles beyond a school bus route and transport their students to the pickup point daily, may be in line for additional school district mileage reimbursement.

Nancy Schutz, school district business manager, told the board of education Tuesday that a number of parents have complained that the current 12-cent per mile payment is insufficient.

"And," she said, "it is a policy which hasn't been revisited for several years." She said she polled other area school districts and found repayment policies in the area "range from zero to 32 cents a mile."

"Last year, we paid out a little over $4,000 in parent mileage refunds," Schutz said.

She said the district's transportation department was questioned and a spokesman agreed 12 cents per mile is not enough. "It has been agreed," she said, "that it is cheaper to pay mileage than to run a bus."

Director Russ Lee said he sees no problem "in raising the rate to 15 cents per mile for two round trips daily by those parents involved."

The board seemed to agree and announced it will vote on the proposal at its December meeting.

In other action Tuesday, the board:

- Heard Superintendent Terry Alley report on state election results, particularly the passage of Amendment 23 which, he said, will give the district more adequate funding in the future and that it will be known earlier in the budgeting period exactly how much the district can expect to receive. The approved amendment sets state funding at the rate of inflation plus 1 percent for the next 10 years and at the rate of inflation thereafter. Since the rate of inflation is based on the Boulder-Denver area, he said, the district will know by March each year what its funding will be. Lauding the approval, Alley said, "It gives us a leg up on the future after the decade of the '90s which was the worst ever for school funding."

- Conducted a 35-minute executive session with Alley and John Rose, director of district transportation, but did not announce any results or actions from that session

- Heard Alley report a number for school district policies are being studied for amendment and to update them. For example, he said, some policies have not been updated to take into consideration the existence of the new high school and the realignment of the other school buildings; dress codes mandated by the state this year are not more stringent than what already existed, but will be adapted so that all items which apply to students will also apply to staff; and the teacher review and classroom supervision policy needs some fine tuning to bring it in line with new state policy

- Approved the administration's recommendation to name Rick Schur, Curtis Maberry and Denise McCabe as assistant junior high girls basketball coaches and Michael Wedemeyer as a volunteer high school assistant wrestler coach. All three basketball aides will coach C-teams which have 54 girls signed up for the season.



Keep your neighborhood neighborly

Dear Editor,

Well, it's Sunday afternoon and I have just returned from the clinic after having seen yet another gunshot dog from Aspen Springs. I have to wonder what kind of a place this is that people shoot their neighbor's dogs without even first calling them or at least calling the animal control officer. I will admit that as an animal lover and veterinarian I am biased toward the animals, but I have known the last three dogs that have been shot and know that they are very nice dogs that would not hurt anyone.

As a free-range state it is legal to shoot animals that are harassing livestock but I would think that instead of a "shoot first, call later" attitude it would make for much better neighbors if we called first. I was told that two of these animals were nowhere near livestock at the time they were shot. Of course if you get no response to your call by all means do what you have to do to protect your livestock but at least try calling first.

The law enforcement is also involved in this. In two of the shootings I have had very good response from the sheriff's department but there was no need to call me when Nicki was killed outright. Nicki's owners are telling me that the district attorney is "dragging her feet" and if this is true I have to wonder if its open season on any dog in Aspen Springs or in any other neighborhood in Archuleta County.

Really, if you have a problem with your neighbor, be it their dog, their noise, garbage in their yard or anything else, be a good neighbor. Talk to them before you take matters into your own hands; you might be surprised at the response and you will keep your neighborhood neighborly instead of turning it into a war zone.


John A. Eustis, DVM

 Assumes too much

Dear Editor,

Chris Leleievre doesn't know me, assumes far too much. Barking dogs and stray dogs are a serious problem in our community surrounded by forest and forest animals. You newcomers need to pay attention. Keep your dogs and your livestock on your property. We don't let our 4-year-old kids run free in the forest nor our dogs that act like 4-year-olds all their lives.

As a lifelong dog and cat owner I don't advise anyone killing dogs or any animals and my letters over a 20-year period will attest to my love of other animals. I don't go around shooting dogs, but it has been my experience that problem dogs cease to become a problem when warned by the sound of a .22 rather than the sound of my voice.

By the way, dogs and coyotes have never been a problem to cattle. Dogs are a huge problem to our wildlife as are cats that kill our song birds. Pet owners are the biggest problem. Know what your kids and dogs are doing all the time and then you won't have to worry about their safety.

Perhaps if the dog laws were enforced in this county I wouldn't be writing my so-called "negative opinions." Chris should spend a year in Unit 6 of Aspen Springs before he judges our opinions. If I had a quarter for every sleepless night because of barking dogs . . . I have probably seen as many as 10 shooting dog complaint letters to the editor in the past 20 years. They are all sad. It is time we started educating our newcomers to the laws.

Ron Alexander

PS. Unlike, some citizens, Archuleta County Sheriff's Department and DA's office, I do not have the expertise in Jurisprudence to judge and try another person in the letters to the editor.

Only 50 years ago

Dear Editor,

I have been reading Richard Walter's columns and have enjoyed his embellishments. However, I think it's time he does a little research on his articles to correct mistakes.

The column about the football game can easily be verified by the archives of the SUN. I believe if he would do some research he will find that the last six-man football team fielded by Pagosa was in the fall of l949 and Blaine Thompson was the big gun. The next year 1950-51 was the first time that the school had an 11-man team. Richard was a sophomore starter at that time.

The first game of the season was against Ignacio and early in the game Henry Stollistiemer picked up a fumble and ran for a touchdown, the only score that Pagosa made and we were defeated. The last game of the season was against Ignacio (not Bayfield) and yes it was at the rodeo grounds and the mud was extremely deep. Pagosa had been waiting all year for the return match and had many aerial plays. But due to the mud, Ignacio had a much heavier team and Jerry Young was the Ignacio full back and they defeated Pagosa again - not a 0-0 game. After the game coach Smith had gotten permission for the team to go into the Los Baños swimming pool to wash all the mud off of the equipment - I would have hated to have had to clean the pool.

Just so you will know. Check the l950 Pagosa papers to verify this information. There still are a few people around that can relate to happenings in the early days. It's only 50 years ago. I just want to set the record straight.

Franklin Anderson

Our priorities

Dear David,

In reading your last issue (Nov. 2), I was struck by the collective irony of three complaints that appeared in the same letters column. In response to separate items from a previous issue of the SUN, all three authors passionately condemned the act of killing innocent and undeserving victims. However, one was talking about unborn children and two were talking about a dog. It's curious that the "murder" (as one writer phrased it) of a stray dog apparently generates more reader indignation than the taking of a human life. I know everyone gets their buttons pushed once in a while, but sometimes I think our priorities are just plain upside-down.

Tim Beach

Anaheim Hills, Calif.

Correct editorial

Dear Editor,

If being an editor of a newspaper were an elected position and it certainly could be since the paper is a public document, would you receive enough votes to continue your editorializing of people's letters as well as reveling in other matters of your variable mental acuity?

To correct your editorial comment: the current Reservoir Hill road is public and it does access private land. There's a certain ignoble road, also public, that accesses your/our SUN office. There's another public road that accesses your residence. Were you really trying to imply that all private land should be accessed only by private roads? How would the town residents get to their houses? Same with county residents? This would be impossible.

The current Reservoir Hill road could have been designated as a city street; thereby, affording private access and sparing Archuleta County and Pagosa Springs another road.

Editorializing makes your job a lot tougher unless it's a method of fishing.


John Feazel

Editor's note: In hopes of protecting the park-setting characteristics of the public area atop Reservoir Hill, the town did not designate the access road extending from Spring Street as a public right of way to adjoining private lands. Therefore, the owner of the property on which an individual once had a contract to cut fire wood applied for and received a town permit to build a private road to his property. Under its current specifications, the road/driveway will not be used as a public roadway.

Love your library

Dear David,

Using the SUN'S election figures, I see that the count against Amendment 21 tallied the greatest number of votes. I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you, Archuleta County. This vote tells me that you love your library and we sure do love you.

Hopefully we can now go forward with our plans for expansion to better serve this community.

Kudos must go to Darhl Henley and the SOS committee; to the Friends of the Library board and members, and to everyone who contributed time and dollars. And last but not at all least, to our very special director, Lenore Bright and her staff, without whom the impetus for our campaign would not have been half as successful.

On behalf of myself and the Library Board of Trustees - thank you, thank you all.


Kay Grams

Chair, Ruby Sisson Library

Achieving our goal

Dear David,

Please allow me to thank the citizens of Archuleta County for their support and votes in defeating Amendment 21. We have been "De-Bruced."

Achieving our goal in Archuleta County, and eventually in the entire state, couldn't have happened without the hard work of the many people who worked for us, encouraged us, and generously contributed financially to our effort. I can't thank everyone individually in this letter, but as a friend likes to say, "Who ever you are, you know who you are."

However, I must individually thank two people who stayed with me no matter if I was hysterical, or depressed, or just way over my head in the political waters. They are Lenore Bright, our librarian, who spent hours of her own personal time working, advising, and picking up the pieces of my shattered mind. The other is my husband Bob, who for nearly three months, lived in a house that would probably be declared "marginal" by the health department, and who ate some really strange meals. I, personally, couldn't have made it without them.

So to one and all, many, many thanks, and God bless.

Dahrl Henley,

Treasurer, Save Our Services

Note distasteful

Dear David,

Rarely do I disagree with your "editor's note" to submitted letters, however your note following Chris Chavez' letter in the Nov. 9 issue was particularly distasteful. The denigration of letter-writers is not really an editor's prerogative, and leaves a bad taste in the readers' mouths.

I feel Mr. Chavez is an honest man, stating his opinions as we are allowed to do, and deserves more respect than you showed in your note. My opinion is that you owe Chris a sincere apology for your uncalled-for extraneous remarks on his political history, which has nothing to do with his printed letter. I liked his letter, and feel it may represent the opinions of many county residents. After all, like it or not, unfortunately the county manger runs the county. Maybe the new board of commissioners will take back county operation and act responsibly in the best interests of the whole county.


Ernest Jones

Telling it like it is

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to last week's (Nov. 9) letter by Jim Porch. Thank you for telling it like it is.

I have two dogs which I adopted. They are dependent on me for food, shelter, love and to keep them well and out of harm's way. I am their guardian. They are like children to me. They are a part of my family. When they aren't under my constant supervision they are chained or fenced in. When I come home the first thing I do is look to make sure they are still there since I constantly worry that they may somehow escape and get run over or even shot. If a horse, goat or sheep comes through my property and tramples my landscaping I've worked so hard on, do I shoot and kill it? Certainly not.

When a horse was loose and came onto my property I tried to catch it so it could be tied until the owner was located. Thankfully another neighbor came and caught it to take to the owner. There was also the time when a goat and three baby pigs were crossing back and forth across U.S. 160. Myself and my family members herded them away from the highway out of danger until the owner could be notified. It was the neighborly thing to do.

There are many human alternatives to shoot-to-kill tactics. If the animal trespassing has threatened the lives of livestock or humans, the sheriff should be notified. Obviously contact should be made with the owner to try to resolve any problems. If these attempts fail, live traps, shooting in the air, blanks, rubber bullets, pepper spray, firecrackers or a tranquilizer gun would all probably help. But my personal favorite would be a paint ball gun so the perpetrator could be easily identified. Can't afford a paint ball gun? Small water balloons filled with dye or food color launched with a sling shot may do the trick.

In this day and age of so much violence we could use a lot more humanity and creativity than "get the gun and blow it away." And being neighborly and considerate of one another can't hurt either. It would just make life a lot more pleasant for all of us.

Catherine Villareal



Franklin Carter

Memorial Services for Franklin Andrew Carter, 61, were held Tuesday at Hood Mortuary in Durango. Bob Case conducted a Masonic service.

Mr. Carter was born in Eastland, Texas, on Aug. 9, 1939. He moved to Pagosa Springs in 1991.

He was preceded in death by his father, Mr. Truett Ornold Carter, and his sister, Judy Carter.

Survivors include his wife Stella Carter of Pagosa Springs; his mother, Mrs. Ruby Blanch Carter of Cisco, Texas; one sister, Ruby Jo Ritter of Eastland, Texas; three sons, Andy Carter of Abilene, Texas; Mike Carter of Garland, Texas; Douglas Carter of Georgia; one daughter, Lisa Wilson of Abilene; stepsons Lee and David Quick of Portales, N.M.; John Quick of Los Lunas, N.M.; Otis Quick of Salt Lake, Utah; step-daughters Catherine McDonald of Portales; Connie Williams of Harrold, S.D.; and numerous grandchildren.


Sports Page

Slow starts are Ladies' downfall at state

By Karl Isberg

It came down to a one-game playoff.

The Lady Pirates volleyball team made its seventh trip in 10 years to the Colorado Class 3A tournament, won two of three matches in preliminary round play, then faced a one-game playoff to determine whether the team would advance to a semifinal match.

A 15-6 loss to Manitou Springs in the specially-scheduled game sent the Ladies home to ponder a return trip to Denver next season for another chance to win the state championship that has eluded them for the last decade.

The route to the playoff game started the morning of Nov. 10 when the Lady Pirates (22-3) began round-robin play in their four-team preliminary pool. Competition began against Lamar which came to the tourney with a 23-2 record. Pagosa and Lamar were no strangers: the two teams met twice at the mid-season Fowler tournament and each team won a match.

Pagosa started slow against the senior-laden Savages at Denver - a tendency that was to stay with the Ladies throughout the tournament and, in the end, prove their undoing. The Ladies got the first point then saw the Savages tip and dink balls over the block to take a 9-1 lead.

Normally, a 9-1 lead at the state tournament is difficult to overcome, but the Ladies went to work, putting together a burst of two points then staving off the Lamar attack through a series of six sideouts before going on a seven-point run with Tiffanie Hamilton at the serve.

Hamilton forced a Savage serve-receive error, Lamar hit a ball out of bounds. Katie Lancing killed a Savage overpass then combined with Ashley Gronewoller on a block for a point. Lancing hit for another point, got a point with a dump over the Lamar blockers and Gronewoller finished off the flurry with a solo block.

Two more two-point bursts with a solo block by Gronewoller, a kill off the pass and two aces by Lancing put the Ladies ahead of a set of flustered Savages, 14-9. Lamar made a run, collecting four more points, before Hamilton took the ball back with a kill off a quick set from Lancing then nailed a stuff block for the 15-13 win.

The Savages were back on their heels and before they knew it, they trailed Pagosa 10-0 in the second game. Lamar gave up five points with mistakes and the Ladies got points when Lancing put a pass to the floor, Hamilton nailed a kill, Meigan Canty and Hamilton scored with a tandem block, Canty served an ace and Gronewoller swung outside to get a kill cross court.

Lamar made a feeble effort to get back in the game, getting a point with a block and a gift point on a Pagosa hitting error. Gronewoller returned serve to her side of the net with a kill to the back line. Lancing dumped the ball for a point, a Savage rotation error surrendered a point, Gronewoller scored with a block and Lamar made two mistakes to close the 15-2 debacle.

"The kids started slow," said Lady Pirates coach Penné Hamilton. "They were down 9-1 but came back and beat Lamar. From there on, our kids just stepped up and played their kind of game. We took off slow most of the season. We took steps all along to try and prevent it, but it's hard to figure why it kept happening. Against Lamar, once we started playing, we took them out of their game; after the match, you could look at their faces and see they were totally defeated."

Tiffanie Hamilton led the way on offense with five kills in nine attempts. Lancing got four kills in seven attempts, Gronewoller was 4 for 19, Nicole Buckley was 3 for 13.

Gronewoller was a force at the net with two solo blocks and three block assists. Buckley and Lancing each hit two ace serves while Amy Young had one ace during the match.

Lancing recorded 12 setting assists and had 13 successful digs to a setter during the match. Canty put eight digs to the setter.

Manitou Springs

The Manitou Mustangs sat atop the Class 3A rankings most of the season, but lost two games at their district tourney and barely made it to the state event with a second-place finish at a regional tournament. While Manitou was the fourth-seeded team in Pagosa's pool for preliminary play, the traditional power was anything but tame. The Ladies and the Mustangs battled for three games, with Pagosa winning the match 9-15, 15-6, 15-6.

Each team had a four-point swing to start the first game. Pagosa went ahead 4-0 on the basis of three Manitou errors and a kill of a Mustang overpass by Gronewoller. The Mustangs then tied the score with four unanswered points. The momentum shifted and Pagosa was up 6-4 with a kill by Andrea Ash and another blast of a Manitou overpass by Grone- woller.

Manitou's blocking tightened, with the Mustangs often throwing a triple block at Pagosa hitters. Mustang hitters came alive to put their team ahead 11-6. Each team scored once in the midst of 13 sideouts. The Lady Pirates got a point on a Manitou hitting error and scored again when Gronewoller and Buckley stuffed a Mustang hitter. Manitou then scored three unanswered points to win the game, 15-9.

In the second game, the teams tied 2-2 before the Ladies turned on the gas, getting earned points with solo blocks by Gronewoller, two kills by Tiffanie Hamilton, and kills by Lancing and Buckley. Pagosa led 9-3.

Manitou closed the gap with two points but the Ladies wrested serve from their opponents, got a kill by Ash, a point on a Manitou net violation and scored with a back-row kill by Buckley. Manitou scored its final point of the game and the Ladies charged to the win, led by a Gronewoller block and a kill from outside by Buckley.

Pagosa built a strong lead in the third and deciding game of the match, going ahead 7-1 on the basis of strong blocking and two kills by Buckley. Manitou got five points mid-game hitting effectively off the Lady Pirates' blocks, but the Ladies tightened their blocking scheme, took the ball back and ran off eight unanswered points to take the match. Along the way, Pagosa got earned points on blocks by Gronewoller, Lancing and Ash, kills by Gronewoller and Ash, and a dump from the setter's position by Lancing. The final point of the game and match was scored by Gronewoller as she soared to solo block Manitou's big middle hitter, Misty See.

"We got ahead of them," said coach Hamilton, "but we kept letting them back in the game. They did a lot of successful cross-court hitting against us, but we managed to shut that down. At that point, Manitou started to make a lot of mistakes but, they were a scrappy team - maybe the scrappiest we played during the tournament. Fortunately, when we got after them in that last game, they got lazy on defense, and it was over."

Buckley had eight kills in 30 attempts against Manitou; Hamilton was seven for 25 and Gronewoller was 4 for 16.

Gronewoller led a sturdy Lady Pirates defense at the net with three solo blocks and four blocking assists. Buckley countered the Manitou attack with 17 digs to the setter while Hamilton put 16 digs into play.

Ash had an ace serve against a great Manitou serve-receive and Lancing ended the match with 18 setting assists.

Faith Christian

The Faith Christian Eagles are a regular at the state tournament and they were the top-seeded team in the preliminary pool. When it came time for Pagosa to face Faith, the Eagles were in an uncomfortable position: with a loss to Manitou Springs earlier in the day, the team from Arvada faced elimination if their match with the Lady Pirates did not go well.

The Ladies made sure it went well for their opponents, losing the last match of the preliminary round, 14-16, 14-16.

A top level volleyball team often lives by the short-set attack.

In this most critical of matches, it was the Eagles who lived and the Ladies who perished. Time and again, Faith's middle hitters converted quick sets and the Lady Pirates failed to adjust. The Lady Pirates' attack functioned well enough to win the sideout-dominated contest, but the defense - at the net and in the back row - did not rise to the occasion.

At some point at the outset of each game, Pagosa had a lead and a chance to develop a comfortable margin. Each time, the Eagles erased the lead with the quick attack, and by capitalizing on Lady Pirate passing errors.

Despite the fact the Ladies were dogged by sub-standard play, the team had an opportunity to win each game. Faith was ahead 13-9 in the first game, but the Ladies got their blocks up and forced two Eagle hitting errors to close the margin to 11-13. With the Eagles in front 14-11, Pagosa got two aces by Tiffanie Hamilton and a point on a Faith net violation, and the score was tied 14-14. The Eagles emerged the winner with an ace and a kill down the line.

In the second game, Pagosa saw 5-4 and 6-5 leads evaporate early in the contest but with Faith ahead 13-7, the Ladies struggled back to 12-13 with great blocks and offense from Pagosa's front-row players. Faith went up 14-12 with a kill off the block, but Tiffanie Hamilton scored with a solo block, and a Faith passing error tied the score at 14-14. Pagosa simply couldn't tie up the loose ends; serve-receive and passing mistakes gave Faith Christian the victory.

Pagosa's power hitters were in the groove against Faith. Gronewoller, Buckley and Hamilton each had 10 kills against the Eagles, and Lancing put up 28 setting assists.

Lancing had three solo blocks during the match and Tiffanie Hamilton completed two solo blocks.

Canty worked hard in the back row, with nine digs. Ash had seven digs to the setter during the match. Tiffanie Hamilton hit two ace serves.

While the Ladies could not make the adjustments to stop the Eagles' attack from the middle, there was no lack of effort on their part. "I thought our kids were trying their darndest to win the match, " said coach Hamilton, "but it seemed like we were always a step behind. We took the lead on them, but the Faith players didn't get rattled and they chipped away at us. We would get back to 14, where both teams had the chance to win, but we couldn't finish it off. It was a battle."

Unfortunately, it was a battle in which the Ladies merely had to do well - to win one game of a three-game match - in order to eliminate Faith Christian and advance to the tourney semifinals the next day.

With Pagosa's two-game loss, Faith Christian, the Lady Pirates and Manitou Springs finished preliminary play with 2-1 records. A tie-breaker based on winning percentage during pool play gave Faith Christian a free ride to the semifinals and required a one-game playoff between Pagosa and Manitou Saturday morning to determine which team would advance.

Playoff game

Pagosa's tendency to start a match slowly came home to roost in the one-game playoff with Manitou as the Mustangs beat the Lady Pirates 15-6 to end Pagosa's tournament and season.

Manitou came out hitting from the outside and got off to a 4-0 lead. Two Mustang hitting errors and an ace by Young got the Ladies as close as 3-4, but that is where the party ended. Five Lady Pirate mistakes - serve-receive errors, a net violation and a hitting error - combined with two Mustang stuffs, gave Manitou a 12-3 advantage.

Pagosa managed three unanswered points with a kill by Gronewoller from the middle, a solo block by Lancing and a Mustang receive error. The last three points belonged to Manitou as Pagosa gave away a point with a hitting error, donated another point with a rotation error, and the Mustangs set their middle hitter for a successful quick attack.

"We had a very slow start," said coach Hamilton, "so slow we barely had a chance to play. In a situation where you have only one game, you can't afford to give up a big lead to anyone. They got too far ahead and we made too many mistakes. Everyone made mistakes and you don't get a second chance."

Coach Hamilton loses three starters to graduation this year - Tiffanie Hamilton, Andrea Ash and Meigan Canty - but she expects her other players gained something from their tournament experience that they can bring back next season.

"I took an inexperienced team to this state tournament, " said the coach. "Only one of my players (Tiffanie Hamilton) had played a lot in that Denver Coliseum environment. It is a tough tournament to play, with six matches going on at one time, with bands playing, the fans so close and (officials') whistles blowing. At times during this tournament, our girls played with confidence, and at other times they played like they were trying not to lose.

"We had a good season, and overall we have nothing to complain about with a 24-5 record. We are one of the top five 3A programs in Colorado. The girls who will come back tasted a hard defeat at Denver this year. We need to remember that taste, make corrections, and get ready to fight our way back next year."


Gymnasts turn in season best

The Pagosa Springs Gymnastics team had its best meet of the season at Denver School of Gymnastics in Arvada this past weekend.

Pagosa's Level 4 gymnasts did an outstanding job in their third competition this season, according to coach Jennifer Martin.

Savannah Wedemeyer participated in her first meet ever and placed second in the all-around scoring. Re'Ahna Ray placed third, Kelsi Lucero placed fourth and Rebecca Zeller placed fifth in the all around. Martin said, "All these ladies are improving with every performance, learning many new tricks, improving their scores and receiving much applause from the crowd."

Pagosa's Level-5 entries qualified another gymnast to the sectional championships. Jordan Sirios made the required score and will join Level-5 teammates Jacey Sirios, Loren Rodriguez and Olivia Chavez in sectional competition in December.

Jordan Sirios placed eighth in the all-around with a score of 32.4 and sister Jacey placed seventh with a 32.45 (there were 28 gymnasts in the Level-5 division). Lauren Ware also had her best meet of the year improving by almost two points placing 17th in that same age group.

The Level-6 gymnasts qualified two ladies to the sectional championships this competition. Hillary Wienpahl and Shelby Stretton will both join Erin Sims at their sectional meet. Stretton added a fourth-place medal to her all-around collection. Stretton also placed third in the floor exercise and uneven bars, fourth on the balance beam and sixth on the floor vault.

Hillary Wienpahl placed first in the all-around scoring in her age group winning first-place finishes in the beam, bars and floor. Martin said Erin Sims had an excellent two-out-of-four events placing second on the beam and third on the vault.

Raesha Ray had her best meet so far this season on the vault, beam, floor and vault. Her best performance was in the vault competition where she scored an 8.2.

Coach Martin said the Pagosa gymnasts will compete in Taos, N.M., next weekend, before they start training for their sectional meets.


School letters urged for rodeo participants

By Richard Walter

The School District 50 Joint board revisited an old topic Tuesday night and the upshot of the newest plea probably will be no change in current policy.

William Anderson, local attorney, municipal judge and parent, presented a strong plea to the board of education for allowing students who take part in rodeo to be eligible for Pagosa Springs High School sports letters.

Acknowledging the school is not directly involved in the sport, except for certifying participants as grade eligible, Anderson said two other schools which send participants to the Basin High School Rodeo Club - Durango and Bayfield - allow letters for their students.

Only Ignacio and Pagosa Springs are opposed, he said.

He told the board it should not be concerned over potential liability because all high school rodeo participants are required to be insured by the Colorado High School Rodeo Association.

Anderson said more than 12,000 high school rodeo participants from the United States, Canada and Australia are members of the high school rodeo association and that Colorado High School Activities Association has recognized the sport as beneficial to the student, but has not sanctioned it.

He said rodeo athletes must meet the same grade eligibility and health eligibility requirements as any other athlete.

"To my way of thinking," he told the board, "they have to meet all the requirements but do not get the recognition other athletes do because they are not allowed to wear a school letter signifying their rodeo prowess."

Asked by board President Randall Davis his opinion of injury waivers and their effectiveness, Anderson said, "they seem to work well in Colorado. The state has tried to encourage outdoor activities and has created statutory protection in equine events such as rodeo. The waiver has been upheld in this state as long as it could be proved the person making the waiver was fully aware of what he was signing."

Superintendent Terry Alley said he had checked with the district's insurance carrier and was told the activity could not be covered. "My first concern would be if there's no coverage, what is our degree of liability for injury," he said.

Athletic Director Kahle Charles agreed with Anderson's comments about state sanctioning. "It is not a part of our curriculum," he said, "and if we allowed them to letter it would require them to meet all our other athletic requirements. It might well open the door to other out-of-school activities that would want their participants lettered - for example swimming, skiing or snowmobiling."

Principal Bill Esterbrook said the school has tried to promote the activities of rodeo participants by allowing them to be interviewed in the school, posting their achievements in the Hall of Pride, and their pictures in prominent spots when achievements warranted.

Anderson left with a plea for the board to reevaluate its position. The board, after some additional discussion, said it would vote at the December meeting, but indications are the consensus is to continue the current policy.


Community News
Chamber News
By Sally Hameister

Time for Communiqué inserts

Before things get totally out of control with all the holiday madness, give some thought to bringing in your newsletter inserts for our December edition of the Chamber Communiqué. This is the most popular one because of the obvious marketing opportunity in a month when people are in a buying frenzy.

If you are not familiar with this economical advertising venue, allow me to elucidate. It's this simple: you bring us 725 copies of your particular flyer on colorful paper (don't fold, please) and a check for $30, and we'll do the rest. Because of the wacky holiday schedule this month, we ask that you deliver said inserts by the end of the workday Nov. 22. If you have questions, please give Morna a call at 264-2360. There simply isn't a cheaper way to get your message out to the entire Chamber membership of over 750.

Citizen of the Year

Thanks to those who have already turned in the Citizen/Volunteer of the Year forms.

We have given this project a lot of time so people will have ample opportunity to give this all the thought and consideration it so rightfully deserves. Remember that in either category, it can be an individual, a couple or an organization. I'm not pushing any particular category, but just trying to encourage everyone to think outside of the box when considering folks for these time-honored, respected awards. To better illustrate my point, past winners of the Citizen of the Year include Lenore Bright, the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club, and Mary Ann and Bill Sayre. Volunteer of the Year winners include Mary Jo Coulehan, Barbara Rosner and HRH Lee Sterling - so you can see that these awards are given to those who have given so much of their time and talents to this community. A significant piece of this, to me, is that these people do what they do with no thought whatsoever of receiving a blasted thing in return. Selfless contributions are clearly the most valuable, and we are anxious to reward those individuals. Please pick up your nomination form at the library or the Visitor Center. You only have to deal with one piece of paper - "Citizen" is on one side and "Volunteer" on the other.

Christmas cards

The Chamber will not be creating new Christmas cards this year but we have several boxes of last year's cards that are as timeless as you please. They are beautiful photos taken by local artists Jan Brookshier and Sam Snyder that represent the beauty and majesty of our wonderful area during the winter season. You may purchase a box of 10 with four different styles for $15. Come down and check them out.

Pagosa Springs videos

Don't forget to purchase a few boxes of the Pagosa Springs Videos for those hard-to-please names on your Christmas list. These 17-minute beauties will please even the most difficult and discerning friends and relatives and make them ever so envious that you live here. It's a dandy gift option for you and easy as coming down to the Visitor Center to purchase. Of course, we have many other options for you both large and small, so give it a whirl before you get desperate and buy fruitcakes for everyone.


We have three new members to introduce this week, 18 renewals and one "shift" - I'll explain.

We're delighted to welcome Twila Brown with the Friends of Archuleta County History located here in Pagosa Springs. It is the mission of this organization to protect and preserve Archuleta County history and support community awareness of our past through funding, training and collections. This is the group who recently created the "Pagosaopoly" game and is enjoying great success with sales. We carry these games at the Chamber and encourage you to buy your copy soon as there is a limited supply; once they are gone, that's it. The games are $29.95. If you have questions for Twila, please call 264-5092.

We're happy to welcome Jim Fletcher back to Pagosa Springs after a time away and the predictable discovery that there's no place quite like Pagosa to call home. (Dorothy made the same discovery about Kansas, but that's another story altogether.) Jim is Vice President of Ford, Cooper and Kako, L.L.C. and acts as the sales representative for a national commercial collection agency. Please give Jim a call at 264-6624 for more information about Ford, Cooper and Kako.

Our third new member this week is David Settles with Chimney Rock Homes, Inc. Chimney Rock Homes offers single-family homes in the medium-price range with standard features which include ceramic tile floors, counter tops and window sills, solid stained woodwork, in-floor heating systems, custom-trimmed fireplaces and other custom touches often found only in expensive custom homes. Most work is done by three local families who own the company, so only a few can be built each year. Customers can expect a close personal relationship with the builders during the construction process. Please call David at 731-5232 to learn more.

Renewals this week include Eddie Archuleta with Eddie's Repair (Eddie is especially near and dear to our hearts because he handles our snow removal at the Visitor Center, and I think we're going to keep him especially busy this year); Judy Gentry at the Pagosa Real Estate Store; Joan Cole with Massage at the Springs; Scott Firth with DCI Technical Services; John Steinert with Juan's Mountain Sports; Elizabeth Young with Exclusively Elizabeth (a Quality and Personable Salon); Yvonne and Steve Giesen with Sears Pagosa; Bob Goodman with Goodman's Department Store; Rick Monks with Innovative Solutions; Lou Poma with Big O Tires; Donald A. Ford, Local Pastor with Community United Methodist Church; Susan Angelo with Pagosa Realty Rentals, L.L.C., Michael R. Barr with Affordable Kitchens; Anthony and Veronica Doctor with the Alpenglow Guesthouse; Salila Shen with Lotus Mountain Coaching Service; Tom and Pam Schoemig with Be Our Guest, a Bed and Breakfast/Guesthouse; Pam Schoemig with The Candy Shoppe Down Under; and Kathryn Heilhecker with Jafra Cosmetics International.

Our Associate Member renewals include Bob Stewart who is also one of our valued Diplomats. The "shift" I referred to above is JoAnn Laird who just "shifted" her general Associate Membership to a Real Estate Associate Membership. JoAnn, GRI, is an associate of Jann Pitcher Real Estate. It is always a smart move to become a Real Estate Associate regardless of whether or not your company is a member for this reason: Real Estate Associates are listed separately in the Business Directory, on the Chamber Web site and on the list we both FAX and send to those who call and inquire about realtors in Pagosa. Rest assured that we never recommend a specific Realtor, but we share that list with literally hundreds and hundreds of folks who call to inquire.

Thanks again

Once again I want to thank the good guys at La Plata Electric for trading out our flags. The winds this fall had played havoc with them, and they looked particularly rag-tag, torn and the very worst for wear. Mike Alley and his trusty crew had to make not one but two trips to get them all back in place, and we are as always ever so grateful to them for their eternal generosity and for their ever-lovin' cherry picker.

Christmas a'plenty

Christmas in Pagosa will be held Dec. 2 at the Visitor Center from 3 to 5:30 p.m. and will be easily as much fun for the whole family as it's always been. It's often the first opportunity that the little ones have to visit with Santa, and Jeff Laydon with Pagosa Photography will be on hand to capture the occasion with a Polaroid photo presented in a folder. We will serve hot spiced cider and Christmas cookies and Santa will, of course, have a Christmas candy cane for each little boy and girl.

At around 5 p.m., the Mountain Harmony Ladies Chorus will join us in the parking lot for their annual caroling sing-along. This group is so wonderful and the caroling is one of my favorite things. We have Ace Hardware/Circle T Lumber to thank for transporting these ladies every year to and from the library parking lot. At dusk, Santa will leave his post in the Visitor Center to go out on the deck and proceed with the countdown to flipping the magic switch to light up the entire Visitor Center and grounds. We add more and more each year to create a visual wonderland. After the lighting, you can head on over to Parish Hall for the Kiwanis Club's "Infamous Chile Dinner" which will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Plan to join us for this exceptional Pagosa Christmas tradition.

Parade of Lights

While we're on the subject of Christmas festivities, we can't forget the Second Annual Parade of Lights, Dec. 8, 6 p.m. in downtown Pagosa. We had a fabulous parade last year, and I am hopeful that this year will be even bigger and better. (Keep in mind that, like all parades, this one is subject to weather - cross your fingers.) Parade entry forms will be sent to all members or you can pick them up at the Visitor Center in a week or so. Make sure your business, family and/or organization are represented in this colorful, fun event. Cash prizes of $100 will be awarded for the Best and Brightest floats in the three categories of Business, Family or Organization. More later.


Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

Molly Driesens cited for volleyball performance

Molly Driesens, a daughter of Jerry and Joanie Driesens, was recently honored at California Baptist University for a fine four-year career as a middle blocker for the Cal Baptist Lancers. A senior, Molly finished the season with 265 kills and 96 digs. Throughout her career at CBU Molly registered more than 600 kills and nearly 600 digs. Her efforts earned her a spot on the all-Golden State Athletic Conference volleyball team for the 2000 season. Majoring in business administration, Molly currently has a 3.70 grade point average and was honored as a member of the Dean's List.

The long road to qualify for the Ironman Triathlon World Championship held in Hawaii, began for two Pagosans last year. Robbie Johnson (a former Olympic U.S.A. bob-sled team member) and Greg Sykes put in many hours of running, biking and swimming before heading out to Panama City, Fla. in November 1999 to try to qualify for the Ironman Hawaii.

The Ironman Triathlon is a grueling race consisting of a 2.4-mile open water swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. In addition to the Panama City Triathlon, a number of other races held in different parts of the world, give Ironman Hawaii hopefuls a chance to qualify. The presence of a huge contingent of fast European triathletes in Panama City did not bode well for our Pagosan athletes. Failing to qualify for Ironman Hawaii in Panama City, Robbie and Greg traveled to Lake Placid, N.Y., a couple of months later. There Greg successfully snagged one of a few remaining qualifying spots with an outstanding performance. Even though Robbie raced to a personal best time, his chance to compete in the Ironman Hawaii 2000 would have to wait another year.

In Hawaii, on Ironman Triathlon day, over 1,500 competitors took off into the ocean in a mass start. This is not an experience for the faint of heart. Kicking legs and thrashing arms make it an uncomfortable and stressful swim. Just a mere couple of days before the race, Greg had swam peacefully in the same spot among dolphins that jumped and somersaulted around him in graceful circles. Not so with 1,500 thrashing humans on race day. Greg survived the most dangerous first 300 yards. From there on, swimmers got into a rhythm and settled into a more fluid swim stroke.

Hawaii in the summer is known for its brutal heat, high humidity and gale-force winds. This year was no exception. Trying to ride into the wind, some competitors were blown off their bikes. Others had to walk their bikes through the worst parts. The heat and humidity of the day was thrust upon the athletes after they surrendered their bikes for running shoes. By mile 9 of the run, Greg's body was starting to succumb to the high heat. He took refuge in an aid station - for 20 minutes volunteers tried to lower his body temperature with ice and cool sponges. While the battle to get his body core temperature down was going on, Greg's will to finish the race began to waffle. Athletes work on endurance, both physical and mental, and the more seasoned an athlete becomes, the higher their endurance threshold. The will to cross the finish line is so strong that Greg pulled himself together to finish out the remaining 17.2 miles of running. Approaching the finish line, Greg knelt to kiss the ground that was to end this long journey. Greg wishes to thank his training partners Robbie Johnson and Tim Decker for burning those miles with him. He's also grateful to Juan's Mountain Sports, the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center and the Babiak family for their support and help.

Greg competed last Saturday in the 21 1/2-mile "Run The Rim" at Colorado National Monument outside of Grand Junction. Greg placed 8th overall in the men's division.


Senior News
By Janet Copeland

Donor provides tickets to 'Grease' at PHS

A big "thank you" goes to the lovely person who made an anonymous donation of tickets for the play "Grease." Several of our seniors will be attending the Saturday evening performance, and the Senior Bus will be available to pick folks up and take them to the performance. Most of the donated tickets have been reserved but persons desiring to attend (who have purchased a ticket) and ride the bus may sign up at the front desk or call Payge at the Senior Center.

This is the time of year we ask folks to volunteer to serve on the Senior Citizens board. The nominating committee of George Ziegler, Gene Copeland, Tina White and Bob Kamrath would really appreciate it if you are interested in serving to please notify them so they can put your name on the list to select from for the election.

We extend our sincere sympathy to Stella Carter, a member of our kitchen staff, and her family in the death of Stella's husband, Frank Carter. Our prayers are with you.

Stella celebrated her birthday on Nov. 8; our very dedicated volunteer, Lilly Gurule, celebrated her birthday on Nov. 9; and office staff member, Musetta Wollenweber and her husband celebrated their anniversary. Our best wishes go to all.

The Carruth's tell us that Jewel Walton is critically ill - our prayers go out for her and her family.

We were happy to have Ruth and Bill Carnicom, guests of Beverly and Tom Evans, at the Center on Monday. Also we were happy to have Teddy Cope back. Teddy was been under the weather for a while.

Sherry and Bill Ulery joined us on Monday but will be leaving soon for the winter. We will miss them and look forward to their return in the spring.

It is our privilege to honor Doris Kamrath as our Senior of the Week! Doris is Secretary of our Senior Board and a valuable asset to our organization.

The annual Thanksgiving dinner for Seniors, provided by the folks at Francisco's Restaurant in Durango, will be on November 21. Those desiring to attend should sign up on the sheet at the front desk so Payge will know how many to plan on, and so Dawnie will know how many to cook for here on that Tuesday. The bus will be available to transport folks so please sign up soon.

Cruising with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

Great aides ease nursing home stay

When my mother was flown home to California with a broken hip, she went directly into a nursing home. This isn't a bad facility. Medicare approves of it. But you're at the mercy of the staff, who come in all levels of skill and caring.

My mother was lucky. She had a couple of wonderful aides.

On the day shift was Remy, a woman with an incredibly wide smile and a calm and gentle manner. She's worked at the Care Center for years and years. "You're my best patient," she told my mother. Maybe she says that to everyone.

"Some of my patients are so difficult," Remy said. "They fight everything I do."

My mother didn't fight.

On the evening shift her aide was Mohammed, a man of indeterminate age, with long lanky hair. Judging by appearance, I didn't expect much. I've met some real dummies working in hospitals. I thought, well, this guy won't be much help. Wrong.

Mohammed, I'd say, we need this. Or, that isn't working. Or, my mother needs help. Whatever the request, he'd say, "I'll take care of it." And he did, quickly. When they brought my mother back from a trip to her surgeon, where she'd gone for a re-evaluation, it was Mohammed who realized immediately how sick she felt. He whisked her into bed and grabbed the kidney bowl for her, all in one swift motion.

Mohammed called all the old ladies in the home "Mum." Sort of a combination of Mom and Ma'am.

He lived with his mother. "I love my mom," he'd say. "I'm going to come and stay with your mother," my own mother joked to him.

Toward the end of my mother's stay at the nursing home, I asked Mohammed how his mother was.

"She is well. Thank you for asking," he said. "My sister is with us now," he continued. "I haven't seen her for 18 years."

"Oh?" Naturally we were curious.

Back in Afghanistan, Moham- med's sister was widowed when the Taliban killed her husband. You've probably read something about the plight of women in that tortured country, what happens when they're left without male relatives. But Mohammed's sister was lucky. Some foundation - Mohammed didn't remember the name - brought her to this country.

She had called him with the good news a few weeks earlier. "I'm in Idaho," she said. Mohammed exclaimed, "Idaho! That's close to California. Look at the map. There's only the state of Nevada in between."

His sister started filling out new paperwork. She was transferred to California and reunited with her mother and brother. "Mohammed, that's great news," said my mother. He gave her a big thumbs up and one of those power pump gestures, like the sports guys do.

One of the nurses who took care of my mother was Fabian, who came here from Czechoslovakia. I think he was ill-suited to the nursing profession. In Czechoslovakia he was an engineer, but he didn't continue in that profession after coming to this country. He told us that he wanted to study philosophy but couldn't afford it.

I think he thought of himself as an eagle, trapped in a chicken yard.

He got off to a rocky start with my mother, when he came into her room carrying what she thought was a thermometer. Of course, they don't use those old glass thermometers any more; now they wheel in some kind of machine that does all the calculating for you. But not thinking, my mother opened her mouth like a little bird. He popped in a spoonful of some liquid material.

She spat it out, spraying the sheet.

"What the h. . . was that?" she exclaimed.

"Your medicine," replied Fabian, before beating a hasty retreat.

She told me about this incident when I arrived an hour later. I headed off to find him.

"Are you the one?" I demanded. "Are you the one who sneaked up on my mother?

"Are you the one who tried to put something in her mouth without telling her?

"Are you the one - " Well, you get the picture. I was pretty excited."

To his credit, Fabian came immediately back to my mother's room and apologized. "Many of my patients can't swallow pills," he said.

"Well, I can," said my mother. "And I'm not senile, either. I want to know what you're giving me." After that, they got on well.

The sad thing is that you have to fight the system every day, even with good people.

One evening I sat with my mother in the back lounge, a large room with big windows all around, so that the sun could warm it during the day. Across the room another inmate sprawled in her wheelchair, her sweater pulled up over her face.

"Mother! Daddy!" she called, over and over. "It's cold. Aren't you cold?"

Poor thing, I thought, trapped in her hallucination.

When we were leaving, I went over to her and discovered that the window near her was open, and the night air was flowing right over her. She was indeed cold. I closed the window and found a blanket and covered her. "You'll be warmer soon," I assured her. She looked into my face. "Thank you," she said.

Now that my mother is safely back in her home, I think about the nursing home. I wonder about the people who are there for the long haul. I wonder who's taking care of them. Who's tucking them in. Who's finding a blanket when they're cold.

P.S. - as of this writing, my mother's hip has been surgically repaired and she's recovering at home.


Library News
By Lenore Bright

Intrepid trotters defy the storm

Mother Nature tried but failed to deter the many intrepid souls who participated in the Turkey Trot last Saturday. Despite the cold and snow, 38 out of 54 registered Trotters came out to support the Library and test themselves against the elements.

Here are the overall results for the female walkers: Debbie Lucero took home the gold, Marilyn Hutchins the silver, and Leigh Gozigian the bronze. In the male walkers category, Leroy Lucero won gold, Jim White won silver, and Bob Howard won bronze. In the female runners category, Terry Leroux won gold, Ming Steen won silver, and Dee McPeek won bronze. For the male runners, J.D. Kurz took home the gold, followed by Robbie Johnson with silver, and Joe Gilbert with bronze.

Twenty lucky names were drawn to win turkeys from City Market. A good time was had by all, and despite the weather we even managed to raise money toward next year's Summer Reading Program.

Special thanks again to all of our participants and sponsors, including Bank of the San Juans, City Markets East and West, Lyn DeLange, Cindy and Ron Gustafson, Jenny and John Schoenborn, Ann Van Fossen, Pagosa Insurance, Dave Ferris, Patty and Lee Sterling, Ming Steen, Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center, Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, The Friends of the Library, and our wonderful Library Staff.

We were all proud of Leroy Lucero who not only participated but won a medal after suffering a heart attack just three months ago.

Big relief

Well, we can unpack.

It looks like we'll still be in business next year thanks to the overwhelming defeat of Amendment 21. According to the Rocky Mountain News, Douglas Bruce was quoted as saying, ". . . I'm not going to lead, to follow, to finance or do anything more on this. . . I guess they now will get the government they deserve." We trust this is true and we have heard the last from Mr. Bruce.

Anyway, for now we can keep buying books so let us know what interests you may have. We will continue to appreciate your support through donations and gifts, and please continue your thoughtful memorials. We can never have enough money to buy all of the materials we want and need. We also want to continue to help support our school libraries and the new little library in Arboles.

We thank all of you who helped Dahrl Henley and the "Save Our Services" committee. Thanks to them we will have continued fire fighters, ambulance crews, and other important government services upon which we rely. Thank you, thank you.


Thanks for financial help from the Dermody's in memory of Jim and Mary Cloman, and Ernie and Dorothy Schutz.

Materials came from Bob and Carole Howard, Don Mowen, Jann Pitcher, Anne Stampfer, Julianna Whipple, Joe Gilbert, Vivian Rader, Barb Draper, Bill Carnicom, George Muirhead, Randall Davis and Bill Hallett.


Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

Dinner in Portugal after bed time

Carole Howard will give the program today for the Civic Club. Her topic is "Portugal and the Algarve." She jokes that the trip with husband Bob through the southern tip of Portugal was nowhere near as exotic as previous ones to China, Russia, and the Amazon that she's given speeches about to the Civic Club and Rotary. But, this one has many other advantages.

First of all she learned about Henry the Navigator, an explorer who is often the answer on the Jeopardy TV show. Second, Portugal has many small fishing villages with superb beaches, interesting history, and wonderful restaurants with cheap food and wine. The only negative question mark, Carole reports that the Portuguese usually do not eat dinner until 9 p.m. and she likes to be in bed then.

Local Marines had a great party last Thursday night at the Greenhouse Restaurant. It was the U.S. Marine Corp's 225th birthday celebration. November 10 is the actual birthday, the day before Veterans Day.

Seventy people attended. Recognition was given to Isaac Thomas, the youngest marine in attendance and to Patty Sterling who entered the Marines at the earliest date.

The Marines and their guests sang the Marines' Hymn and ate birthday cake besides having a great evening visiting.

Sepp Ramsperger was the emcee.

The Annual Turkey Trot held last Saturday, sponsored by the Friends of the Library, was a success in spite of the lousy weather. Some 40 people entered. Ribbons were given for age categories. Gold, silver and bronze medals were given to winners male and female, to walkers and runners. And 20 people won turkeys in a drawing. Everyone seemed to be having a good time - despite the brrrr!

Warren Grams, Judy Wood, Charla Ellis, Cynthia Mitchell, Dick Hillyer, Patty Sterling and Maureen Corell, make up the Friends Board of Directors.

The Wolfcreek Snowmobile Club will have a Dec. 14 Christmas potluck in the Fellowship Hall of the Community United Methodist Church at 6 p.m. This is a great time for members to get together and to welcome any new people who would like to join them. One just has to bring a dish of some kind. Please RSVP by Dec. 10 by calling 731-9452 or 264-2663.

The fourth annual Fashion Show and Luncheon sponsored by the women of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church was the place to showcase clothing offered by Pagosa Springs stores - 19 stores in all.

Sheila McKenzie emceed and Walt Geison was the perfect escort helping the female models on and off the stage. (There were a few male models who got on by themselves.)

The theme was "Pioneers of Pagosa." Thanks to the committee who put it together.

Fun on the run

One reason the military has trouble operating jointly is that the branches don't speak the same language.

For example, if you told Navy personnel to "secure a building," they would turn off the lights and lock the doors.

Army personnel would occupy the building so no one could enter.

Marine's would assault the building, capture it, and defend it with suppressive fire and close combat.

The Air Force, on the other hand, would take out a 3-year lease with an option to buy.


Arts Line
By Pamela Bomkamp

Exhibit applications available for 2001

By Pamela Bomkamp

Pagosa Springs Arts Council exhibit applications for the 2001 season can be picked up at Moonlight Bookstore in town and WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company near the new City Market. They will also be available at the Town Park art gallery beginning Nov. 30, when we reopen with our Christmas Shoppe.

Speaking of our Christmas Shoppe, start saving your money. The PSAC Gallery will open its doors for its annual Olde Tyme Christmas Shoppe with a Nov. 30 reception. Local artists and artisans will sell their "holiday oriented" arts and crafts during this event, which runs until Dec. 23. This is a great place to shop for unique and often one-of-a-kind holiday artwork. We hope to see everyone there to support our local artists this season.

Artists and crafters need to start thinking about clearing out their studios and preparing for the PSAC annual Artists' Liquidation Sale that begins Jan. 1. Artists need to call Joanne at the gallery, 264-5020, for more information.

Photography contest

It will soon be time for the 13th Annual Photography Contest to be held Feb. 3 to Feb. 24 at Moonlight Books.

This year there will be several new categories. This year's categories for all entries are: Autumn Scenic, Winter Scenic, General Landscape, Up Close, Architecture, Flora, Sports, People, Domestic Animals, Black and White, Sunrise/Sunset, Patterns/Texture, Special Effects, and Other.

For a complete list of all entry rules, stop by Moonlight Books or the gallery at Town Park. The gala opening and reception will be Feb. 3 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Start snapping those pictures because the deadline for all entries is Jan. 31.

San Juan ballet

The San Juan Festival Ballet, a division of PSAC, is looking for volunteers to help with the December production of excerpts from "The Nutcracker". For more information please call Stephanie Jones at 264-5068.

Other PSAC info

If you to would like to start receiving discounts as a PSAC member, just stop by the PSAC Art Gallery at Town Park and fill out a membership form. Individual membership is $20 a year and a family membership is $30 a year.

The PSAC would like to thank Nancy Green for her creative ability and keeping up with the PSAC Scrapbook. You have given us a wonderful gift and we really appreciate it.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help Joanne at the gallery or any PSAC event, like our snack booths, please call her at 264-5020. It does not have to be a full-time commitment and it is always a lot of fun.

Do not forget the gallery in Town Park is closed until Nov. 30. It is receiving a much-needed coat of fresh interior paint. Joanne is still there to receive your phone calls and messages.


Parks & Rec
By Douglas Call

River Center skating should start soon

Cold weather and snow have arrived in Pagosa Country and that means good skiing and the start of the ice skating season.

Free skating at River Center Park will be available soon. Until then, please stay off the thin ice on the ponds behind the River Center.

Registration for youth and adult hockey is going on tonight at Town Hall from 6 to 8 p.m. Cost this year will be $200 for a family membership, $150 for adults and $50 for children. A limited supply of youth scholarships is available from the club president, Bill Anderson, 264-6044.

Hockey this year may start as early as this weekend. A hockey work day, to lay out the liner and start making ice, took place Tuesday and as soon as the ice is thick enough, skating will be available. The Hockey Hot Line this year is 264-5810 and will be updated each Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon.

Youth basketball

The youth basketball season is underway with $10 registration going on now. Registration forms are available at Town Hall and will be distributed at the schools soon. The $10 registration rate will last until Dec. 1, after which the fee is $15.

Deadline for registration is Dec. 14, when the coaches will meet to divide teams. Practices will be held during the Christmas break with games scheduled to start January 8. For more information or to receive a registration form contact Summer at the Town's recreation office, 264-4151.

People interested in coaching or refereeing this year's youth basketball season should contact Summer at the town's recreation office, at 264-4151. Paid referees are need for this year's program. A referee and coaching training program will take place in December with games scheduled to start in January.

Elks Hoop Shoot

This year's Elks Hoop Shoot will be held Dec. 9, 9:30 to 11 a.m. No registration form is needed to participate and the event is free. Participants just need to show up at the middle school gym and shoot. More information is available at the Town Hall recreation office and on the reverse side of youth basketball registration forms, available at all the elementary and middle schools.

Coed volleyball

League play for coed volleyball ended Wednesday night with Los Amigos holding on to first place. Los Amigos went into this week of play leading the league standings at 9-2, Moore Chiropractic was second at 7-3, followed by Piano Creek at 5-5. The league tournament will begin Nov. 27, after the Thanksgiving holiday. The tournament bracket is now available at Town Hall and was distributed at the last games. Contact Summer at the Town Hall recreation office for more information.

Youth volleyball

A youth volleyball clinic is in full swing with two weeks of practice left. Over 50 participants have joined in the fun this year. The league will end at the end of the month with the last practice held Nov. 29. Youth still interested in participating in the league can still do so by showing up at the junior high gym on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 8 p.m.. Registration fee for fifth and sixth graders is only $5. The clinic will not be held Nov. 22 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Recreation survey

This week, 3,000 recreation surveys were mailed to Pagosa residents in an effort to determine what recreation programs and facilities people desire in Pagosa Springs. This is the first step of a long-range plan. All property owners in the area are being surveyed and it is very important people return the survey as soon as possible. The survey will take about 15 minutes to complete and is pre-stamped so no postage is necessary for the return trip to Town Hall. Surveys need to be mailed by Nov. 30, so results can be tabulated before the holiday season. Those who do not receive a survey in the mail can pick one up at the Town Hall recreation office.


Extension Viewpoints
By Bill Nobles

Colorado spruce is nation's tree

Today - Chimney Rockers, 6 p.m.

Friday - Clover Buds, 2 p.m.

Saturday - Dog Obedience Project meeting, 10 a.m.

Nov. 20 - Rocketeers, 5 p.m.

Nov. 21 - Junior Stockman, 7 p.m.

Colorado Christmas tree

A Colorado blue spruce will stand in front of the U.S. Capitol this holiday season as a proud symbol of the richness of Colorado's beauty, cultures and communities. Following the cutting ceremony Nov. 20 near Woodland Park, the tree will travel to 19 community celebrations throughout Colorado and along the Santa Fe Trail in Kansas and Missouri. The events culminate in a lighting ceremony in front of the U.S. Capitol.

Following are some statistics about the Millennium Holiday Tree.

From one foot above the ground to the tip of the tree, the Millennium Holiday Tree is 64 feet tall and 24 inches in diameter at breast height. The species can reach a height of 65 feet to 115 feet at maturity with a diameter of 2 feet to 3 feet.

The estimated age of the Millennium Holiday Tree is 75 years. To estimate the age, forestry experts counted the annual growth rings at a breast height of 4 1/2 feet and added eight years to estimate when the tree germinated into a seedling. Although the Colorado blue spruce grows relatively slowly, it is long-lived and may reach ages of 600 to 800 years.

The blue spruce is a prolific species - one pound of seed produces between 80,000 and 163,000 seeds. Not all seeds will become trees; many of the seeds will contribute to the environment as food for birds and animals and nutrients for other plants and trees. Seeds have a built-in clock and thermometer that allow them to keep track of the number of hours of cold weather. If a period of unseasonably warm weather occurs in January, seeds know it is still winter and remain dormant until spring. Seeds also have a hard coat that protects them and prevents water absorption. The seed coat delays germination over a long period of months or years until the condition is right. Some seed coats break down in April of the first year, others germinate the second year, while others may wait five or more years.

Regardless of when a seed chooses to germinate, experts agree with the philosophy that "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."

"Trees not only connect us with nature and reinforce spiritual and cultural values, they are a dynamic part of the ecosystem in which we live," said Bob Sturtevant, conservation education division supervisor, Colorado State Forest Service.

Trees supply oxygen, watershed protection, wildlife habitat and recreation. They supply material for most buildings and for thousands of other products made from wood fiber, including pulp, paper and wood chemicals.

"Trees allow us to increase food production and income," Sturtevant said. Fruit and nuts, seeds and pods, honey and animal fodder are a few of the products obtained through small local projects that enable humans to plant and maintain trees. For example, an apple tree can produce up to 10,000 pounds of apples in its lifetime.

"The Millennium Holiday Tree will stand not only as a symbol of Colorado's beauty and culture but as a tribute to this marvelous tree species that adds so much to our quality of life," Sturtevant said.

Millennium Holiday Tree partners include the ACF Culinarians of Colorado, 302nd Airlift Wing, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado Rural Development Council, Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado State Patrol, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Program, National Park Service, USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service-Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands, Sangre de Cristo-Resource Conservation and Development, U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.


Extension Viewpoints
By Mike Diver, VSO

Town Hall meeting track VA clinic

Last week I attended an information meeting in Durango on the proposed new VA Community Based Clinic to be opened there next year.

Everything is on track and VA representatives from Albuquerque will begin hosting a series of Town Hall meetings in Montezuma, La Plata, and Archuleta Counties in January to inform veterans of the progress and scope of the clinic, and to enroll new veterans in the VA Healthcare System. Remember, you don't need to wait for the meetings to enroll. Eligible veterans can come by my office anytime and sign up for VA healthcare.

Many Archuleta County veterans have asked why the new clinic is going to be located in Durango instead of Pagosa Springs. Many believe there is a larger veteran population here in Archuleta County than in La Plata County. That is simply not true. La Plata County has approximately 3,200 veterans compared to just over 1,000 in Archuleta County. Montezuma County has over 4,000. By placing the clinic in Durango, it serves all three counties from a central location and has emergency services immediately available, if needed, at Mercy Medical Center. Locating the clinic in Durango was the right decision for everyone involved.

VFW Post 9695

The Pagosa Springs Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post is located on U.S. 160 west of town. It has recently undergone a renovation and the post is offering some new services to members and to the community at large. They now serve breakfast Monday through Friday beginning at 6:30 a.m., cost based on the selected menu; a Sunday brunch buffet from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $5.95; and dinner from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday with a different entree each week. The VFW hall is also available for private parties and the staff will cater your party for you. For more information call the VFW at 731-2424.

VFW Post 9695 and American Legion Post 108 are local veterans' service organizations that represent and support veterans' issues at the local, state and national levels. They also provide many services to the local community in a number of ways through scholarships, competitions, recognitions and sponsorship. If these organizations are to continue to remain viable and to provide needed support to local veterans and to the community, it is essential that all county veterans consider getting involved through membership and volunteer manpower. Both organizations have auxiliaries where veterans' spouses and widows can also participate.

For more information on your veterans' benefits, please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the Archuleta County Courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the FAX number is 264-5949, and E-mail is The office is open between 8 a.m. and noon or 1 and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.



Peace produces apathy

Waiting for the arrival and eventual tallying of the absentee ballots for the state of Florida has increased my already high appreciation of County Clerk and Recorder June Madrid and her staff. Besides the importance of one vote, the news of the past eight days has demonstrated the vital role county election officials play in determining the outcome of a national election.

Many Americans are surprised that an election in the United States could remain undecided this long. Many people in other parts of the world are surprised that the confusion, charges and counter charges related to the election could carry on this long without any blood shed in the streets.

National news services have provided figures on the total number of votes cast in each state and the District of Columbia. Eventually there should be a count given on how many registered voters failed to vote in the Nov. 7 election. Or there should be a count on the number of Americans who are eligible to vote, but failed to take the time or make the effort to register to vote.

It makes me wonder if there would have even been a 2000 presidential election if on a first Tuesday after the first Monday of one of the Novembers during World War I or World War II; if half of America's combat soldiers had individually elected to not fire their rifles, bazookas, machine guns, mortars, artillery, torpedoes, canons, bombs etc. - because surely the action of one soldier can't make that much difference in the outcome of a war.

Surely citizens of Third World countries must wonder how freedom, peace and prosperity can produce such mindless apathy. David C. Mitchell

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Enjoying Thanksgiving early

Dear Folks,

My Thanksgiving arrives early this November.

Last Thursday morning I drove to the Durango Airport prior to flying to Alta Loma, California, and visiting my two oldest grandchildren and their parents.

I flew TWA - tiny weanie airplane - from Durango to Albuquerque.

It's my first time to fly the Rio Grande Airways shuttle and it was quite enjoyable. The one-hour flight from Durango to Albuquerque at around 2,000 feet in elevation provided some enjoyable views of the canyons, mesas and high desert terrain. The sunset on the return flight Sunday evening highlighted the varied colors of the landscapes.

Last Thursday's flights from Albuquerque to Phoenix and then on to Ontario Airport in southern California provided both waiting time and reading time. They also provided some reassurance that there might be some jobs available for my post newspaper career. About every 50 feet there were reminders that Southwest Airline was pursuing job applicants.

The flights also gave me a new appreciation for the USA Today newspaper. Its coverage of the never-ending, ever-changing election count made for interesting reading.

About the only unusual aspect of the flight occurred during the plane's descent to the Ontario Airport. The flight attendant's voice came over the speaker to advise the passengers of procedures to follow once the plane arrived at the terminal.

I had noticed at the boarding counter that my flight, after landing at Ontario, was to continue on to Oakland International Airport. So I was surprised to hear ". . . those of you continuing on to Oklahoma . . ." as the attendant read from his printed list of instructions.

After a moment or two the attendant realized his error. On the second reading of the instructions he placed special emphasis on "those of you flying on to Oakland . . . Oakland, California . . . please remain in your seats - this plane is the one that will continue on to Oakland . . . Oakland, California . . ."

It started me to hoping the pilot for my return flight had not come from the same pool of applicants, and that it would not be his first on-the-job training flight. It also made me wonder how many times I've made similar or worse mistakes and never realized my errors nor corrected them.

I had forgotten how wonderful it is to hear a cry of "granddad . . . granddad . . . granddad" and to turn and see your granddaughter running towards you with blonde braids bouncing off her shoulders.

Also, I mercifully had forgotten what it's like to crash back to earth when the immediate questions after the obligatory hugs and kisses ask, "Why didn't you bring Grandma Cynthia? Why didn't Grandma Cynthia didn't come?"

Despite my disappointing shortcomings, Trey and Taige shared their weekend, Trey's bedroom and their bathroom with me.

Tom's team won the football game.

Trey's team won the soccer match.

Taige twisted Granddad around her little finger.

We all four rode bikes.

And Robert Frost would have been proud. We built stone, actually concrete block, fences.

This evening we're driving to the Durango Airport to pickup our two youngest grandchildren and their parents. This time Grandma Cynthia will be along.

I'm already prepared to watch Macy run through the terminal with out-stretched arms shouting "Gandma Cynthia, Grandma Cynthia . . ."

Fortunately Payton is yet to reach the running and shouting stage. I'll be blessed to carry him while Macy starts sliding Grandma Cynthia onto her ring finger.

It's sure to be a thankful Thanksgiving at the Mitchell's place this season.

Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David


25 years ago

Commissioners okay variance

Taken from SUN files

of Nov. 27, 1975

Two men were arrested and more than 200 pounds of marijuana was confiscated following an auto accident near Chimney Rock last Saturday. One of the men tried to flee the area but was found by Sheriff John Evans after law enforcement officers tracked the fugitive through the snow.

Pagosa in Colorado's third annual Christmas Craft Show will be held in he main lobby of Pagosa Lodge next weekend, according to program director Sue Angelo. Thirty skilled Colorado craftsmen, including talented local artists, will be featured.

Application has been made for a permit to carry out cloud seeding in this area. The primary target area is described as the upper drainage basin of the Rio Grande River above Del Norte. Also included is the southeastern tip of Archuleta County.

The annual election of officers for the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center will be held next Wednesday in the Archuleta County Courthouse. Bennie Johnson, chairman of the present board of directors, said seven directors will be elected and a proposed by-law that would provide for staggered terms for the directors will be voted on.

By Shari Pierce

'The Widening of Wolf Creek Pass'

sA few years back Havey Catchpole told me of

a cute story about the widening of Wolf Creek Pass/

A few years back Harvey Catchpole told me of a cute story about the widening of Wolf Creek Pass.

The story was given to him by Tinnie Lattin who thought Harvey would be interested in it. She found it while cleaning her office when she retired from being county treasurer. And so the story made its way to me with the thought that readers of this column would enjoy it. I thought it was appropriate to share it with you now in light of the current construction project on the pass.

The story is called "The Widening of Wolf Creek Pass" and was written by Ray Harris.

"'Well, I see ya got back.' The Old Man of Jackson Mountain went right on smoking a gurgling briar as though his 'green horn friend' had been gone only for a day instead of two years. 'Did ya come over Wolf Creek Pass this time, like I told ya tu?' The old man took two or three last puffs and reluctantly knocked the ashes out of the pipe bowl, as though getting set for a period of tale letting.

"'Yes sir, I came over Wolf Creek. It's a beautiful way to come and the pass, while high an full of hair pin turns, is not at all dangerous. Just the same, I felt relieved when the old clunk touched level bottom.'

"'Nope, she ain't dangerous now young feller, but she used t' be. They been widening' th' worst part o' it fer some time.'

"'Ya know when th' State opened up thet pass, they kinda figgered it wuz t' let a few o' us walled-in natives git out ruther t' let enybuddy inta this little valley. Up thar at th' State Capital they looked on Pagosy Springs like it wuz Little America er somethin' jist as hard t' reach. Judgin' from th' little dabs o' money they put up fer buildin' th' pass ya'd a thot it wuz a sand pile we wuz cuttin' thro ruther then solid rock. Finally they got her thro. She wuz awful narrer in spots tho, an' a lot o' cars went over th' edge an' wuz seen no more. Ther wuz one awful bad spot. A good driver cud make it without no danger, but if ya wuz th' least nervous like, ya might go over th' edge an' do a eighteen-hundert-foot dive.'

"'Catchpole, the Road Commissioner there, tuk a lot o'pride in thet pass an' tried and tried t' git a little more money t' widen thet dangerous spot. Five people hed lost their lives there, so it wuzn't no bullyvard. Finally some engineers from th' State Highway Department wuz sent down to investigate. If they approved, then th' State wud appropriate th' money needed. If they didn't, then th' pass wud jist hev t' worry along as she wuz, narrer er not.'

"'The engineers from th' big town arrived in Pagosy. It wuz a big day fer th' community. We wud either hev a highway, lettin' in civilization, approved by th' engineers by night fall, or we wud hev a dolled up Indian trail, which she hed ben fer ages.'"

Next week, Catchpole's meeting with the state engineers.


Pacing Pagosa
By Richard Walter


Acts of faith link Circle of Friends

A friend is someone to whom you can tell your deepest secret.

A friend is someone about whom you care deeply.

A friend is one who is there when you need help, one who offers support without thought, who can be depended upon to say or do the right thing.

Pagosa Springs has a group of friends, or more aptly, they call themselves the Circle of Friends.

The name came before any of them had seen the Circle of Friends candle holders now gaining in popularity. It came when a group of women wanted to do something to aid a friend who was stricken with what was to be fatal cancer.

They agreed they'd get together once a week to pray for their friend. But it wasn't enough. Prayer is a mighty weapon, they learned, but affirmative action of some kind on their part was needed too.

So the circle branched out. It became a fund-raising effort buttressed by bake and rummage sales which raised funds to aid stricken residents of the community. It wasn't started as a group focused on cancer victims, but it seems that is the most prevalent disaster striking the area now.

Whether they know the person affected or not, the Circle adds them to their prayer list. And, since the first fund drive to aid their friend, have conducted two more. A third is scheduled this weekend. The power of the Circle continues go grow.

From a large group participating initially, the Circle is now down to a key four but they continue the weekly meetings, exchanging names of those who they've heard are ill and might need help.

None has any really strong religious background but all have an implicit faith in the power of their prayer. They lost their initial friend to the ravages of her disease, but their prayers, they believe, made that passing easier.

The Circle understands that families of the stricken need comfort and solace. But they also need help with expenses. They often have to travel great distances and separate themselves from the rest of the family to be with the patient.

Funds raised have no specific commitment. They are turned over without conditions to the families to use in any way they see fit. Perhaps for travel expense, a hotel or motel room, baby-sitting service to allow another family member to visit the patient, or even a monthly house payment.

A person need not be a member of the Circle to be a target of its care. Some beneficiaries have been strangers to some members and familiar to others.

As the number directly involved has shrunk, those willing to provide goods for the various fund-raisers have kept their offer open. If the Circle needs help they have a standing list of contributors to call. That makes the Circle even larger. They would welcome additional members - anyone who cares about others enough to go the extra mile.

The Circle is not willing to fold up. Members are determined to keep the power of prayer going and the support from their sale efforts flowing to those in need.

None of the families who have received aid asked for help. They just happened to be on the Circle's list. Right now, several families are subjects of their prayer, but they are trying to limit their monetary events to one a month. The next is scheduled Saturday at the downtown City Market for Susan (Silva) Garcia.

The Circle encourages those who don't wish to patronize one of their sales or a prayer offering, to join in the cause by sending a card to someone who is ill. Those who have already been helped often commented about the lift they got from cards, even from strangers and those with whom they had had troubles in the past.

Even though there may be only four at the meeting, the Circle grows each time someone new helps with the sale, sends up a prayer or mails a card.

Pagosa Springs has long had a reputation as a caring community. People traumatized by disaster find support where they never expected it. People suffering loss find solace in the kind acts of others - and each time the Circle grows.

The four women holding the Circle together are Kanaka Perea, Berlinda Vorhies, Bobbi Miller and Carol Baum. Anyone who wants to contact the Circle may call Vorhies at 883-2261.

They are focusing on critically ill patients right now, people who have to leave relatively isolated Pagosa Springs for treatment. They find themselves in an unknown environment filled with what ifs, maybes and fear.

"If they need help, they need help, no strings attached," is one credo of the Circle.

Illness is devastating for the patient suddenly removed from loved ones.

It is often bewildering for the family members who have to remain at home.

The Circle tries to close that gap, giving encouragement, strength and a sense of hope.

One of the members said something which I think we all should keep in mind:

"If my family ever has to go through a serious situation like this, I hope there's still a group like the Circle there to help."

It would be great if every resident was committed to the effort of the Circle.

It has often been said man's worst enemy is man himself.

But that enemy doesn't matter if he has a friend - or a Circle of Friends.


Old Timers
By John Motter

 Fires changed face of downtown

By John M. Motter

More years, new wrinkles. That's the story of downtown Pagosa Springs. Just as with each of us, the face of downtown Pagosa Springs changes with each passing year.

In the beginning, circa 1877-1878, when the first homes and business buildings were erected, downtown meant east of the San Juan River, mostly along San Juan Street. A scattering of buildings stretched from San Juan Street down today's Hot Springs Blvd. to the north end of the Catchpole property. At that point, the road forked.

The road to New Mexico continued down the river to Mill Creek, followed Mill Creek east to the approximate location of U.S. 84, then plunged south through Edith, Amargo, and on to Santa Fe.

The other fork crossed the river on a bridge. The bridge conveyed an old road connecting the settlements around the Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico, region with early mining camps on the upper reaches of the Las Animas and La Plata rivers. That road existed for many years before settlement of Pagosa Springs began.

Town settlement began at the approximate time troops arrived and began construction of Camp Lewis in the late fall of 1878. Camp Lewis soon became Fort Lewis. Fort Lewis was erected on the west bank of the San Juan River on what is today considered the main business area.

At that time, technically speaking, there was no town, even though there were residential and business buildings. The Army began moving Fort Lewis' troops to the Hesperus area in 1880 and officially closed the Fort in 1882. At about that time, the U.S. government ordered a townsite surveyed. Again, technically speaking, a six-square-mile area surrounding the Great Pagosa Hot Spring was part of the Fort Lewis military reservation. Anyone living within those six square miles was squatting. An exception was 80 acres immediately surrounding the hot spring committed to private ownership.

The town was surveyed and platted in 1883, the lots sold at auction in 1885. Pagosa Springs was not incorporated until 1891. By that time, businesses had begun moving west across the river. Block 21 along Pagosa Street began to take shape as the main, central business block of town. Block 21 retains that distinction until this day.

Nevertheless, even block 21 has changed face many times down through the years. Originally lined with wooden-frame, false-front buildings shaded on the front by colorful canopies, Main Street has been decimated by a series of fires so that today's look bears little resemblance to the look of the 1890s. Nevertheless, probably all but two buildings along the main block are old enough to qualify for the state and national register of historic places. The two buildings built within the last 50 years are the SUN building and the Montoya building housing the Elkhorn Cafe and Montoya's clothing store.

Even with pictures of buildings along the street, it is difficult to pinpoint who was where when. If you want to say who operated a grocery store or bar or millinery shop in a particular building, you have to know when. Just as today, people and businesses came and went.

A case in point is the photo we ran last week. We described it as a 1904 photo based on certain knowledge of a 1904 fire that burned many of the buildings on the north end of Main Street, a date given us by the owner of the picture. After running the article, we learned the same photo is contained in Robert Sullenberger's history of the area. Sullenberger dates the photo in March of 1919. He is interested because he identifies one of the burned buildings as the Sullenberger Hotel. Today that hotel is known as the Pagosa Hotel. Confusing the issue is the 1908 date on the front of the building.

Seeking to unravel the mystery, we turned to old newspapers. We found few 1904 newspapers, none of them reporting a fire. We found an account of the March 12, 1919, fire in the March 1919 issue of the Pagosa Springs SUN.

Supporting the 1919 date of the photo are advertisements in the 1919 SUN for Dickerson's bakery. Clearly visible in the photo of the fire is a building on the north side of the old courthouse building with a false front. The marquee on the false front reads, "S.H. Dickerson, Meats, Groceries, Bakery, Confectionery." Unfortunately, we have no 1904 paper to learn if Dickerson was around at that time.

Concerning the 1919 fire the SUN article reports, "It started in the kitchen of the New Albany Cafe a little before 12."

Damaged was a two-story brick building owned by A.T. Sullenberger. On the ground floor, the building contained F.L. Edmisten's Rexall Drug Store, Steven's Jewelry Store, and the Star Theatre. The second floor housed the New Albany Hotel.

The north wall of Sullenberger's building prevented the fire from damaging the courthouse in the building immediately to the north. Three buildings on the south of Sullenberger's building burned. They were Williamson's Billiard Hall, Mrs. Claude Dickerson's Millinery Store, and the telephone exchange.

Also providing information about early businesses along Pagosa Street are the Sanborn Insurance maps. These maps of Pagosa Springs are only available for 1910 and 1919. Total loss to the fire was estimated at $60,000, about $15,000 of that covered by insurance.

The 1919 Sanford map is dated in October. Below the hotel building is a note reading "badly damaged by fire." Businesses identified within the building are a motion picture theater, Edmisten's business, and the hotel office.

Interestingly, the 1919 account of the fire says the telephone exchange burned. The 1910 Sanford map shows the telephone exchange about two doors south of the hotel building. The 1919 Sanford map, dated seven months after the fire, shows the telephone exchange on the south side of Fourth Street adjacent to the alley.

Finally, we have a 1921 picture of the Sullenberger Building. It does not contain the 1908 date exhibited on the building today.

Harrison Patrick

Nick and Carrie Toth are proud to announce the birth of their third son, Harrison Patrick. He was born at 4:08 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2000. He weighed 7 pounds 9 ounces and was 20 1/2-inches long. Harrison has two older brothers, Nicholas who is 4 1/2 and Jackson who is 3.

Grandparents are Harvey Hlinka of Dublin, Ohio, Barbara Toth of Charleston, S.C. and Marcia Jones from Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Godparents are Carla and Brian Shaw of Pagosa Springs.

 Brendan Noah

Jorge and Brooke Rubio-Boitel are proud to announce the birth of their son, Brendan Noah. Brendan Noah was born at 2:24 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, 2000, in Phoenix, Ariz. He weighed 9 pounds and was 22-inches long. His proud maternal grandparents are Rolly and Pat Jackson of Pagosa Springs.

 Diana Sara Scott

Dean, left, and Spence Scott would like to announce the birth of their new baby sister, Diana Sara Scott.

Diana was born on Oct. 26, 2000, to Lisa and Bob Scott of Pagosa Springs. She weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces and was 19 inches long.

Diana's proud grandparents are Diane Lighthall, Sara Scott and Thomas Gamel, all of Denver.

 Kenzie Lynne Cordova

like to announce the birth of their new bundle of joy, "Princess" Kenzie Lynne Cordova. Kenzie Lynne was born on September 21, 2000 at 12:35 p.m., weighing 8 pounds 2 ounces and was 20 inches long.

Her maternal grandparents are Don and Becky Travelstead of Leander, Texas. Paternal grandparents are Joe and Faye Cordova of Pagosa Springs.


Business News

Jeff of all Trades


Jeff Butler owns and operates Jeff of All Trades.

Butler can deal with all phases of construction completion work, and does painting (interior, exterior and faux finishes) drywall, drywall repair, custom texturing, deck and patio cover construction, and more.

Make an appointment with Jeff of All Trades, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at 731-1996.


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