Front Page
November 22, 2000

New charges keep accused forgers in County Jail

By Karl Isberg

Two Pagosa area residents were back in the Archuleta County Jail this week as more charges related to thefts and forgeries of stolen checks were levied against them.

Roy Gilmore, 23, and Kelly Gilmore, 22, were arrested Nov. 18 by Pagosa Springs police officers. There was a Durango Police Department arrest warrant out for the couple, listing charges of burglary, and local officers pressed forward with charges of forgery and burglary related to incidents in Pagosa Springs.

The two Pagosans were no strangers to the confines of the local jail.

The Gilmores were arrested Nov. 14 by Colorado State Patrol Trooper Nick Rivera after they purchased a pair of geckos at a Durango pet store with an alledged forged, stolen check and set out for home. The couple was taken first to the Archuleta County Jail then transported back to Durango where bail bonds were posted to free them from the La Plata County Jail.

Following their release, Durango authorities connected the Gilmores with thefts from cars and churches in Durango involving checks, purses, wallets and cellular phones. A warrant was issued for the arrest of the couple.

Pagosa Springs officers assisted Durango officers in executing a search warrant at the Gilmores' home and, in the process, discovered evidence that led them to believe the couple was involved in recent burglaries of businesses in Pagosa Springs. Also, at least four stolen checks allegedly forged and used by Kelly Gilmore turned up at Pagosa business establishments.

Law enforcement authorities were notified Nov. 18 that the two suspects were at a business located west of town on U.S. 160 and proceeded to the scene where they arrested Kelly Gilmore. Officers then learned she had brandished a box knife when confronted by a citizen prior to her arrest.

Roy Gilmore was arrested shortly thereafter near the intersection of Vista Boulevard and Bonanza Drive, in the Vista subdivision west of Pagosa Springs.

Both suspects were booked into the Archuleta County Jail on burglary charges listed in the Durango warrant. Kelly Gilmore was also charged with four counts of forgery, two counts of burglary, and felony menacing by Pagosa Springs authorities. Roy Gilmore was charged by local police with two counts of burglary and with possession of drug paraphernalia.

At a Nov. 21 advisement hearing, Archuleta County Court Judge James Denvir determined there was not probable cause to bind the defendants over on the local burglary charges. He set bail at $20,000 for Kelly Gilmore, in light of the four counts of forgery and the felony menacing charge, and set a bail amount of $100 for Roy Gilmore. Each suspect is also being held in lieu of $10,000 bail - the amount set by the La Plata County Court relative to burglary charges against them in Durango.

Pagosa Springs Police Chief Don Volger said Judge Denvir's decision will not halt his department's attempt to find evidence linking the Gilmores to some if not all of five burglaries of Pagosa businesses during the past month.

"We're not going to let the investigation die," said Volger. "We have, at this point, reasonable suspicion, and hopefully we can develop probable cause to file charges concerning other incidents. We are going to try to put together a case."


Crash victim in serious condition

By Karl Isberg

A Pagosa area resident, Micah Hildebrand, 26, remained in serious condition at a Farmington, N.M., hospital Tuesday being treated for injuries he suffered in a Nov. 17 one-car crash south of Pagosa Springs.

Colorado State Patrol Trooper Nick Rivera reported the accident occurred near milepost 3 on the Lower Blanco Road at approximately 7 p.m.

Hildebrand was the driver of a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix and was motoring westbound on the Lower Blanco Road when he lost control of the vehicle as it came through a turn. The car skidded, rotated a quarter turn, then left the roadway going airborne off an embankment. The car rolled on its side, hit a tree with its top, then rolled back to its wheels before it came to rest.

Bill Bright, of Emergency Medical Services said his agency responded to the scene with two Quick Response Vehicles, a rescue truck and an ambulance. Bright reported Hildebrand was trapped in the vehicle. He said it took EMS personnel nearly an hour to free the victim.

Bright said Hildebrand was "unresponsive" upon arrival of EMS crews at the scene. He said the victim suffered "multi-system trauma, involving head, chest and abdominal injuries." He also reported that a passenger in Hildebrand's vehicle was not injured in the crash.

Hildebrand was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center at Farmington by Air Care helicopter. A hospital spokesperson said Tuesday Hildebrand was in serious but stable condition.


Officials reject 4.8% budget hike

By John M. Motter

County elected officials met Tuesday morning in an attempt to iron out budget differences.

Each elected official is required to prepare a budget for that official's department. It is the responsibility of the county commissioners to oversee and approve the entire county budget, including those of the other elected officials. It is also the responsibility of the county commissioners to prepare a balanced budget.

County Manager Dennis Hunt is the county budget official. Hunt also works at the pleasure of the county commissioners. Consequently, he takes orders from the commissioners.

The budget process begins when all elected officials and department heads prepare a list of their respective needs. Those lists are forwarded to Hunt. Hunt prepares budgets for areas of government not included under elected officials other than the commissioners or department heads.

After receiving the want lists from elected officials and department heads, Hunt calculates anticipated revenues. In the beginning, budget requests for next year topped anticipated revenues by about $1.2 million. After meeting with elected officials and department heads, that amount has been trimmed to about $800,000.

Hunt said he accomplished the trimming by removing capital improvement requests from budgets under his direct control and transferring some funds from road and bridge into the general fund budget. All of the elected official budgets are included in the general fund.

At the Tuesday elected officials meeting, Gene Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners, suggested that if all capital expenditures are removed from the general fund, that a balanced budget might be achieved by giving each elected official and department head a 4.8 percent increase over the year 2000 budget. Discretion over how to allocate the 4.8 percent would remain with the individual elected officials and department heads.

Most elected officials are asking for more than a 4.8 percent increase. A particular issue has been salary increases. Any raises would have to come from within the 4.8 percent limit.

Crabtree suggested the other officials award salary increases now and forget any capital expenditures.

"Check with us this coming February," Crabtree said. "By then we may know if we'll have money for capital expenditures."

Virtually all of the elected officials present rejected the 4.8 percent proposal.

"You do this to us every year," County Clerk June Madrid told the commissioners. County Assessor Keren Prior and Sheriff Tom Richards agreed with Madrid's comment. They were likewise in agreement with her statement that "You cut us to bare bones every year at budget time. You say 'wait and see; there may be more money later.' Then we never hear from you. We learn that you are spending all kinds of money from contingency funds. We don't have that option."

"You put salary limits on us," Madrid said. "Then you hire somebody from my department and pay them $2 an hour more than I can pay. That isn't right."

The contingency fund referred to is income received into the general fund in excess of the amount anticipated at budget time. This year's contingency income amounted to something over $500,000. The commissioners have approved about $1.2 million in expenditures from that contingency fund, expenditures not budgeted at the beginning of the year. A large proportion of those expenditures went to creation of the county solid waste department.

Other elected officials argue that commissioner priorities are wrong and unfair. They say their fixed expenses are as important as commissioner fixed expenses. They say the commissioners are not allowing them enough money to operate their departments properly.

The commissioners argue that much of the problem is tied to the 5.5 percent statutory limit on revenue increases. The 5.5 percent limit conflicts with county operating costs that are increasing parallel to the county's 8 percent growth rate.

No accord was reached Tuesday. State law mandates preparation of a balanced budget before the end of the year.


Chimney Rock fire destroys mobile home

By Karl Isberg

By the time Pagosa Fire Protection District firefighters arrived at the scene of a Nov. 17 blaze on U.S. 160 west of Pagosa Springs, all they could do was protect structures in the vicinity as a house trailer burned to the ground.

Firefighters went outside district boundaries when they received word a house trailer located at a trailer park adjacent to the Chimney Rock Restaurant approximately 17 miles west of Pagosa Springs was ablaze.

Word of the fire was relayed to the district at 6:48 a.m. and 17 firefighters responded to the scene with an engine, two tankers and a command vehicle.

"When our people arrived," said Fire Chief Warren Grams, "the structure was fully involved. There was not much we could do about the trailer. We were concerned, however, about the exposure of adjacent structures and one of them did sustain some heat damage. At that point, we just wanted to keep the trailer park from burning to the ground."

Grams reported the trailer was completely consumed by flames. "Due to the extent of the fire," he said, "we won't be able to ascertain the cause."

The trailer was occupied by Jeremy and Felicity Brousseau and their two young children. Members of the family escaped the blaze.

Bill Bright of Emergency Medical Services said an EMS crew treated Jeremy Brousseau at the scene for burns on his wrist and shoulder and for an injured foot. He said Brousseau refused transport to a medical facility.


Highway funding cutbacks won't affect tunnel

By Richard Walter

The Wolf Creek Pass tunnel project currently under construction will not be halted by the Colorado Department of Transportation as some persons believed after stories out of Denver late last week.

Richard Reynolds, regional CDOT manager in Durango, said the initial portion of the project which has caused daily traffic stops and overnight closures, was funded long before the contract was awarded to Kiewit Construction Co. of Littleton.

The actual tunneling project, he said, will be completed under the contract by April 2002.

Funds for additional work on the project, such as approaches and portals, would be delayed by CDOT until the 2003 fiscal year which starts July 1, 2002.

Keying the anticipated delays is state reaction to voter approval of Amendment 23 in the Nov. 7 general election. That Constitutional Amendment establishes state school funding, effective Jan. 1, at rate of inflation plus one percent for a period of 10 years and then levels it at the annual rate of inflation thereafter.

State officials said the voter-approved mandate means a shuffling of funding is necessary. Some say the state is a year behind in refunds of excess revenues to taxpayers under the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights and as a result the state will not have enough to pay the refund and put money aside for education funding next year.

Therefore, they say, the state must turn to diversion of funds intended for highway construction to make up the difference.

Reynolds said the region actually loses, at least temporarily, in excess of $34 million, $15.5 million of that for completion of the Wolf Creek Narrows project, and better than $18 million tagged for improvement of U.S. 160 from Farmington Hill east of Durango across Florida Mesa toward Pagosa Springs.

Hopefully, he said, "funding for both will be restored for fiscal year 2003 when the initial shortfall has been recovered.

"However," he added, "there is an additional problem arising from the delays. The annual inflation rate on construction projects is running from 7 to 9.8 percent so estimated costs for projects already on the books will obviously rise accordingly."

For purposes of simplification, if you round the inflation rate off to 10 percent of $34 million in estimated project cost, you are adding another $3.4 million to the anticipated total construction cost before the funding ever becomes available.

"And," Reynolds said, "no project is contracted before full funding is available. We believe the cost factors and funding will work themselves out when the legislature has a chance to evaluate the funding of specific programs and their importance both regionally and statewide."

The expectation is that there will be a one-fiscal-year delay on project completion while funding catches up.

Pass closures halted for holiday

Night closures on U.S. 160 over Wolf Creek Pass have been suspended for Thanksgiving week.

Daytime work will end by 5 p.m. today (Nov. 22) and will be suspended until 7 a.m. Monday, Nov. 27.

Construction of a 950-foot tunnel has been requiring full nighttime closures of the pass Monday through Thursday for several weeks. After this week, the closures will resume until severe weather conditions cause crews to suspend nighttime operations for the winter.

During the closures, motor carriers have been advised to use U.S. 84 and Colo. 17 through Chama, N.M., a detour route that adds about 36 miles to the trip. New Mexico has temporarily waived its restrictions on vehicles exceeding 65 feet, allowing these motor carriers to proceed through the detour.

On Wolf Creek Pass, there is a width restriction of 12 feet through the construction zone during working hours only.


Inside The Sun
November 22, 2000

Sheriff says county's funding hampers employment campaign

By John M. Motter

Archuleta County Sheriff Tom Richards is responsible for three departments of the county government: dispatch, the jail, and public safety. As the chief fire-fighting authority in the county, Richards is also responsible for a budget financing certain fire-fighting responsibilities.

The proposed dispatch expenditures budget for 2001 totals $288,230, the jail budget $575,740, and the public safety budget $608,450.

Included in the proposed dispatch budget are $272,100 for personnel, in the jail budget $395,740, and for public safety $496,350 for personnel.

"I'm not asking for more people, but I am asking for raises," Richards said. "Our problem is, we hire people, spend money to train them, and then watch them move on to departments that pay more money than we do. The commissioners are asking us to limit raises to three and a half percent. What I especially want to raise are the people at entry level. "

Entry level salaries in the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department are $22,000 a year, according to Richards.

"They can go across the street to the town of Pagosa Springs and get $26,000," Richards said. "Alamosa starts them at $24,000, Monte Vista $26,000, Rio Grande County $23,000, Salida $27,000 and Chaffee County $25,000.

"It just doesn't make sense," Richards continued. "We spend about $8,000 to send a new recruit through the law enforcement academy. Then it takes a couple of years on the job before they can make an independent decision. The first independent decision they make is to get a higher paying job somewhere else. They can get another $2,000 a year at Bayfield. Silverton is paying $25,000."

In addition to employee raises, Richards is asking for two new vehicles with which to replace high-mileage vehicles now in service.

Dispatch actual expenditures were $196,525 in 1999 with personnel expenditures of $188,420. The 2000 dispatch budget was $259,390 with personnel expenditures of $247,080.

Jail actual expenditures for 1999 were $519,680 including personnel expenditures of $355,155. The jail budget for 2000 was $519,180 with $357,200 for personnel.

The public safety expenditures budget for 1999 totaled $513,550 with personnel expenditures of $407,690. The public safety budget for 2000 was $479,435 with personnel expenditures of $406,835.

The county sheriff's fire control budget proposed for 2000 is $11,680, including $4,425 for personnel. The 1999 actual expenditures for this budget item was $20,610. The 1999 expenditures budget for this item was $7,874, $4,425 for personnel.


Commissioners agree to pay treasurer's outside legal fees

By John M. Motter

The Archuleta County commissioners, by virtue of a 2-1 affirmative vote, agreed to pay about $366 for attorney fees incurred by County Treasurer Keren Prior.

Voting to pay the bill were Gene Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners, and Commissioner Bill Downey. Voting nay was Commissioner Ken Fox.

Prior consulted with an attorney other than County Attorney Mary Weiss after talking with Weiss and being dissatisfied with the response. She then asked the county to dip into the general fund to pay the outside attorney.

At issue were statements from an outside county auditor concerning certain activities connected with the assessor's office. Prior felt the need to obtain a response to the auditor's comments in defense of her office.

Prior asked the county to pay the bills because, "this was an issue concerning the public office, not a private issue."

When introducing Prior's request at last week's commissioner meeting, County Manager Dennis Hunt referred to the expenses as personal lawyer's fees.

The commissioners postponed action last week allowing time to research the matter.

At this week's meeting, Fox said he thought that Prior should have obtained commissioner approval before consulting with the outside attorney. For that reason, Fox opposed the payment.

Downey moved to approve the payment after saying the commissioners have some responsibility because they have no written policy concerning the matter. Downey's action to approve payment included a requirement that Hunt immediately begin drafting a policy requiring elected officials to obtain prior approval from the commissioners before seeking payment from the county after consulting outside counsel.

In another action Tuesday, the commissioners appointed Rex Shurtleff and reappointed Betty Shahan to the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission. Shurtleff will replace Julia Donoho, whose term expired. Shahan asked for another term in order to continue her role as a spokesman on the board for ranching interests. Donoho asked to not be reappointed.

The planning commission's board members are unpaid volunteers who serve three-year terms and normally meet twice a month. The planning commission is an advisory board which reviews various subdivision applications, then presents recommendations to the county commissioners.


Chances good for Thanksgiving snow

By John M. Motter

Along with the traditional turkey, chances are good for snow on the Pagosa Country Thanksgiving menu, according to Doug Baugh, a forecaster from the Grand Junction National Weather Service office.

A storm system carrying a 40 percent chance of snow or rain showers should move into Pagosa Country late today and linger into Thursday morning, Baugh said. The chances for snow are better at higher elevations, but should include Pagosa Springs, Baugh added.

Holiday temperatures should range from the low 40s during daylight hours, down to the teens at night, Baugh said.

The Wednesday-Thursday storm should clear out Friday, but another system moving in late Saturday and early Sunday could repeat the Thanksgiving weather menu, according to Baugh.

Unlike the storm early in the week which will be focused on southern Arizona-New Mexico as it moves from west to east, the weekend system will be further north and could deliver more moisture in Pagosa County, Baugh said.

The periodic storms crossing the Four Corners region every three or four days are typical weather patterns for this season, Baugh said.

Pagosa Country received no snow or measurable precipitation this past week at the National Weather Service gauging station located at Stevens Field.

High temperatures for the past week ranged from 46 degrees Monday down to 36 degrees Nov. 16. The average high temperature for the week was 34 degrees. This week's low temperature was zero degrees Nov. 16., the highest low temperature was 13 degrees Monday. The average low temperature for the week was six degrees.


Complaints halt Community Plan

By John M. Motter

The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission and county planners met Nov. 22 expecting to adopt an already much revised Archuleta County Community Plan.

Instead, they were met by approximately 70 persons who filled all of the chairs and spilled down the hall from the commissioner's meeting room in the county courthouse. Those people seemed to be mostly from the Chromo and Arboles sections of the county. None of them liked portions of the proposed plan recommending the creation of scenic river corridors in the county. Also under fire was language defining and locating wildlife habitat and migration corridors.

In general, the opponents objected to language in the proposal they felt threatened private property rights and individual rights to develop property.

As a result of the recommendations of those in attendance Wednesday night, members of the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission board advised county staff to remove references to the creation of scenic river corridors from the proposed plan. Language relating to wildlife facilitation is also being changed.

"This is the kind of turnout we've been hoping for all along," said Mike Mollica, director of county development. "I'm glad we received this input before we approached the county for regulations implementing the plan. Now we can go back to the drawing board and make changes that come closer to meeting everyone's approval."

The proposed Archuleta County Community Plan is the result of nearly a year's work coordinated by consultants Four Corners Planning and Design Group of Durango. Development of the plan included three series of meetings conducted in specifically designated regions in the county, including Chromo and Arboles. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of county residents participated in the meetings.

Being developed as a guide for defining and regulating growth in the county, the plan is advisory in nature and when ultimately adopted, will supplant the county master plan.

Implementation and enforcement of concepts contained in the plan is the responsibility of the county commissioners.

November 22, 2000

A time to give thanks . . .

Dear Editor,

Last Friday I was enjoying a day of snowboarding with friends at Wolf Creek.

That afternoon, during a hot chocolate break, my brand new snowboard was stolen.

Davey Pitcher, Pat Dodd, Bill Tremarld and their crews reacted quickly and left no stone unturned.

Although the board was never recovered, I just wanted to say a big public "thank you" to everyone who pitched in to help try to find it. The names are too numerous to mention and there's just as many whose names I don't know.

Thanks to Burt Adams who spent his afternoon scouring the parking lots when he could have been taking runs.

A snowboard is just a thing, it can be replaced, people who help others out, however cannot.

Thanks again.


Mark Frings

Refresh memory

Dear David,

I agree with Ernest Jones' comments in his Nov. 16th letter, "Note Distasteful."

In addition, I would like to offer a correction to your editor's note to which Jones refers. You began, "After two terms as county commissioner, former Commissioner Chavez lost the District 2 nomination to a Democrat challenger in the party's primary election." I doubt that my memory is playing tricks on me when it tells me that Chris Chavez served consecutively three full terms to which he had been duly elected. This isn't the first time you've made that mistake.

Another thing in my memory is a story about a conversation Chris was having with another county commissioner at a national meeting of county commissioners. Chris made a reference to a friend, or friends, and was interrupted with, "you're telling me that you are in your third term as county commissioner and you still have friends?"

Perhaps in fairness to you we should consider that the same thing could be said in reference to editors and publishers. But you could do a better job of researching the facts in cases like this. After all, you don't have to drive down to the library, courthouse or SUN office to look into the archives to refresh your memory.


Earle Beasley

P.S. I enjoyed your Dear Folks column "Enjoying Thanksgiving early," Nov. 16. Thank you for sharing your pleasure at being loved, appreciated and enjoyed by your grand children. I know the feeling. Having known their fathers as students makes it even more meaningful to me.


See you all soon

Dear Editor,

Just wanted to drop a line to all the people in Pagosa from San Diego to let everyone know that I get out of the Marine Corps in January.

My wife and I will be moving back to Pagosa. Born and raised in Pagosa, a "Blanco Boy," Zackary Dylan Beeson son of Debbie and Corky Beeson married Michelle Nicole Sauer daughter of Terrie Williams and Craig Sauer on Nov. 27, 1999, in Reno, Nev. Our one year is coming up shortly and we just wanted all of our friends and loved ones to know we will see them all soon.


Zackary and Michelle Beeson

Court's finances

Dear David,

I just finished the Nov. 16, edition of the SUN and found Mr. John Motter's reports on the budget wars to be very informative and his ability to personalize the inner workings of our local government to be very interesting. So, as I was reading, I began to wonder why there was no mention of the county court and its finances. There are thousands of dollars in fines being collected by that part of the county government each and every week, that is a lot of money. My two-part question is this:

A. Where does all of that money go?

B. Who does the accounting of those funds?

This is budget time and there is always a fray over the limited amount of funds available. Just where does all of that money go? Could you have Mr. Motter do a piece as clear and concise on this subject as he has done on the other workings of our county fiscal matters. I look forward to reading your response or Mr. Motter's story. Keep up the good work.


Gregory Eugene

Editor's note: The county court is a state agency and as such is not part of the county government. Its judge and clerk are employees of the state.

The county court is empowered to collect dog-at-large fines for the county since it is related to a county ordinance (not a state statute). The county collected $75 for the county in dog violations during October.

Also, a state-mandated percentage of the salutatory fines that are applied toward the state's law enforcement assistance fund that are collected through the county court goes to the county ($184.24 was directed to the county in October). The remainder of the monies the county court collects go to the Colorado State Treasurer.

Thankful to all

Dear David,

This is a time to be thankful for all of our blessings. Colorado Housing, Inc. would like to say thank you to the Pagosa community for all the help that we have received over the past five years. The vast majority of people in Archuleta County have been super helpful and supportive of CHI's self-help home ownership program. Subcontractors, suppliers, county building officials, churches, service clubs and neighboring property owners have all helped CHI staff and home builders construct quality self-help homes. Because of this great support CHI has completed 68 homes from Pagosa to Cortez, 50 of these are in Archuleta County. CHI also has 14 homes under construction, six here in Archuleta County, four in La Plata County and four in Montezuma County.

Thanks folks, you are great neighbors.

In partnership,

Raymond P. Finney

Executive Director

Heartfelt thanks

Dear Editor,

I would like to extend a most heartfelt thank you to all of the emergency personnel that responded to the accident on Lower Blanco Road (County Road 335) last Friday night. Your careful and efficient care saved the life of one of my best friends; the driver of the car (in which I was passenger) involved in this horrible accident. The conditions in which you were working were very challenging and your efforts are greatly appreciated. The driver of the vehicle remains in critical condition and everyone's prayers are truly needed.

Again, thank you to the wonderful emergency personnel who responded to our disaster. Also, a great big thank you to whomever it was that called in the accident . . . we're not sure who you are, but our deepest gratitude goes out to you . . . you are all life savers.


Francis X. Galloway

9HF in jeopardy

Dear Editor,

Our annual 9Health Fair for Pagosa Springs is in jeopardy. The 9Health Fair is a non-profit organization that is statewide. Pagosa has approximately 200 volunteers and many businesses that help make our fair happen. It is all volunteer work - none of us are paid.

The 9Health Fair benefits the entire community by bringing in low cost blood tests, PSA for men and free medical screenings for those 18 and older. Many of the tests/screenings are not covered by insurance and this is a wonderful benefit to our community. Last year even though we had a big snow storm over 500 people came through the 9Health Fair.

Our dilemma is that we have no source of income to pay for the janitorial and use fees that the School District 50 Joint board has instituted. Pagosa Springs High School is a wonderful location as it has parking, tables, chairs, rooms and is centrally located. It is the only large facility that can house our 9Health Fair.

The 9HF has served Pagosa a lot of years and we cannot afford to lose it. Creative ideas and suggestions are needed so that our community can continue to have the annual 9Health Fair next April - please contact, Lili Pearson 731-5159 or Mary Brooks at 731-2568.

All sites have timelines and we need to advise Denver whether or not we will have a health fair.

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Lili Pearson

Great loss in fire

Dear Editor,

Early in the morning hours of Nov. 18, the home of Jeremy and Felicity Brousseau burned to the ground at Chimney Rock Restaurant. Caesar, 2 years old and Angela, 7, were saved from the fire, which rapidly consumed everything. Lost in the fire were all their worldly possessions, including all the tools Jeremy uses to make his living as a mechanic and as plant operator at Canyon Sand and Gravel, which just closed for the winter season. He was badly burned and broke his foot while saving his family from the flaming mobile home.

Please open your hearts to this family's loss in the spirit of the Christmas season. Those wishing to help the Brousseau family get back on their feet can give a donation to the Brousseau family account at the Bank of the San Juans across from the post office. Anyone wishing to contribute household goods, or tools can call 749-4196 or 731-4707, or drop them at the Turkey Springs Trading Post.

Time is of the essence here because the Brousseaus don't have insurance, winter is here and the children are young. They have lost everything.

Sincerely yours,

Robert and Teresa Scott

Wake up owners

Dear Editor,

I am writing in regard to the ongoing problem of roaming dogs in Aspen Springs and the incident where someone's dog was shot for being on their neighbor's property. The owners of the dog that was shot are trying to press charges against the person that shot the dog. I do not know the details of this incident, but I do know that when a dog owner is cited by the sheriff for dogs at large or nuisance barking, it's the owner of the dog that pays the fine, not the person who complained. The dog that was shot was loose and on someone else's property because the owner somehow allowed that to happen. The dog would still be alive if the owner was responsible enough to see that their dog could not get loose and roam. If anybody should be charged with cruelty to animals, it should be the owners of the dog, not the person protecting their property. Wake up dog owners, you are responsible for your pet.


Jim Stone

Protect family pets

Dear David,

It is hunting season and all animals are restless. The snow drives the deer out of the high country and into neighborhoods. Your family dog is eager to take trail to the scent and wiggles his way out of his secured fence. Then bang, your neighbor pulls out a shotgun and blows your dog's head off. This has recently occurred in our neighborhood leaving a family devastated and surrounding neighbor's fearful that their dog could be next.

I realize that a rancher has the right to shoot a dog who is threatening his livestock. But, if my neighbor's dog cursively wanders onto my property I can shoot to kill. Go figure. As subdivisions are built and neighborhoods grow with them come children and family pets, where nine out of 10 homeowners have a dog and most homes are separated by only an acre of land. Our laws protect wild animals from random killings - why can't we protect our neighborhood pets from being executed by a gun happy neighbor.

You can't pull into a parking lot without finding several trucks with a dog. At many retail outlets I am first greeted by the family dog and I think this is great. So come on Pagosa, take a stand to protect our family pets by calling the district attorney's office and expressing your view. The execution of domestic pets within subdivisions must stop. This behavior is barbaric, immoral and these animal killers should be prosecuted.


Mrs. Cindy Warring


25th Anniversary

On Nov. 28, 1975, we got married on the East Fork Ranch (Piano Creek now), in a snowstorm, on horseback, and I've been Astraddle A Saddle ever since. Happy Silver Wedding Anniversary Gary.

Love, Faye Bramwell

 James Kirkham

Pfc. James Kirkham, son of Jimmie and Dot Kirkham of Pagosa Springs, graduated from Infantry Basic and AIT training at Fort Benning, Ga., on Sept. 14. Upon returning to Pagosa Springs in October, he participated in 20 days of hometown recruiting and 10 days of personal leave. He reported to Fort Myer, Va., as a member of the Third Infantry Regiment on Oct. 28. This regiment is better known as The Old Guard. Its primary function is protection of Washington, D.C., but also guards The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, cermonorial details at Arlington National Cemetery, The Colonials, The Fife and Drum Corp, and presidential ceremonies at the White House. He will graduate from CORDS, a special training for all Old Guard members, on Nov. 24 and will then be assigned to duties at Arlington National Cemetery. He qualified as a sharpshooter and received an Army Service Ribbon. James obtained his private first class rank because he is an Eagle Scout and for his efforts in recruiting prior to entering infantry basics training.

A 2000 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, Kirkham joined the Army in June.

 Ashleigh Corell

Pagosa Springs High School Senior Ashleigh Fleenor Corell has been accepted by the Up With People program for the July 2001 tour. Up With People is a non-profit organization, providing entertainment, on -the-job experience as well as community service to the United States and 17 countries abroad. Corell will tour with 139 performers, who join the group from many different countries including the U.S.A.

Corell has spent a majority of her life in Pagosa Springs. She continues to serve her community through many areas of volunteer service.

Her tour with "Up Wit People" will take her all over the world for one year. She will participate in all aspects of the tour program including production, choreography, as well as entertaining. She plans to attend the University of Hawaii following the tour.


Sports Page

Coaches tab Ross IML Player of the Year

By John M. Motter

Pagosa senior Tyrel Ross is the football Player of the Year in the Intermountain League, chosen by a vote of the League's head coaches.

Joining Ross on the IML all-conference team from Pagosa Springs' league champions are Ronnie Janowsky, Clint Shaw, Josh Richardson, Michael Vega, Garrett Tomforde, Nathan Stretton and Pablo Martinez.

Adding frosting to the cake, Pirates coach Myron Stretton was named coach of the year for the second consecutive year. Stretton's Pagosa gridders have not lost a league game since 1998.

Ross, whose No. 10 jersey has been in the Pirates' lineup for four years, was named first-team tight end on the all-conference squad, as well as first-team linebacker. Ross will be eligible to play in the Colorado High School Coaches Association all-state game next June.

Shaw and Richardson, both seniors, are all IML first teamers for the second consecutive season. Shaw has played on the varsity squad since he was a freshman. He has earned a first-team birth at running back the past two seasons. Richardson, also with four years of varsity experience, was named to the first-team offensive line.

Joining Shaw in the first-team all-conference backfield is junior quarterback Ronnie Janowsky. Janowsky has played on the varsity since his freshman year, when he started several games for the injured Ronnie Martinez.

Pagosa's Michael Vega was selected to the first-team defensive line and as an honorable-mention selection on the offensive line. Vega is a senior.

Two Pirates, both seniors who play in the defensive backfield, gained spots on the all-conference squad. Garrett Tomforde was chosen first team as a defensive back. Nathan Stretton received honorable mention.

Given honorable mention honors on the all-conference defensive line were junior Caleb Mellette, a defensive end, and sophomore Pablo Martinez, a linebacker.

Named to the all-conference team from other league members were:

Monte Vista - Marco Tortorelli, first-team running back; Nathan Roberts and Jason Schneider, first-team offensive and defensive lines; Titus Trujillo, first-team defensive line; Brian Wright, first-team punter, honorable-mention offensive line, honorable-mention place kicker; Jacob Jones, first-team offensive receiver, honorable-mention defensive back.

Bayfield - Jay Miller, first-team running back; Coltin Duran, first-team offensive line; Jon Qualls, first-team place kicker, honorable-mention defensive back; Devon Catron, honorable-mention defensive line.

Centauri - Nathan Shawcroft, first-team offensive line; Tyler Hostetter, first-team return specialist; Brandon Hostetter, first team defensive back; John David Jordan and Derrik Brady, first-team defensive line.

Ignacio - Kevin Hronich, Calvin Parks, honorable-mention offensive line; Lupe Huerta, honorable-mention defensive line.

Stretton handed out Pirate football letters and awards last Thursday at a banquet held in the junior high school cafeteria.

At the end of the season, the Pirate roster contained the names of nine seniors, 13 juniors, 16 sophomores, and 16 freshmen. Pagosa's junior varsity squad lost one game during the season, splitting with Alamosa, while winning seven games and playing to a tie with Dulce.

Also honored at the Thursday night banquet were water boys Ryan Charles, Sackett Ross, Roy Vega, and Spur Ross. Bryce Paul was honored as manager. An injury kept him from playing.


Soccer coaches name 16 as all-conference

By Richard Walter

Five Pagosa Pirates soccer players were named this week for all-conference honor, two on the 11-member Southwestern 3A All-Conference Team and three more to the five-member honorable mention list.

Named to the all-conference squad were senior offensive midfielder Daniel Crenshaw and left striker Zeb Gill.

Named for honorable mention were defensive mid-fielder Jordan Kurt-Mason, right striker Mike Pierce and goal keeper Matt Mesker.

Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason said he feels all of his nominated players "should have been on the top list. They all deserve it."

He said each coach was asked to submit a list of nominees from his own team but was not allowed to vote for his own players. Each nominee was ranked on a scale of 1 to 16, with 16 being the highest vote possible. Crenshaw received 28 points and Gill 25. Kurt-Mason and Pierce each had 20 and Mesker 16.

The first team was dominated by Telluride and Ouray with five and three representatives, respectively. Topping the list with 35 points each were Lucas Saunders of Ouray and Tyler Erskin-Hawk of Telluride; next came four Telluride players, Sean McCarthy with 33, Brad Atkin with 32, Chad Kipfer with 31 and Erik Andrews with 29. Shane Carrick of Ouray also had 29 and Brock Denton of Ouray had 28. Colin Macmillan of Crested Butte rounded out the top list with 25 points.

Dan Leonard of Ouray with 23 and Jenna Velardi of Crested Butte, with 20, rounded out the honorable-mention list.

Coach Kurt-Mason said Bayfield was not included in the balloting because they did not submit their team registration in time to Colorado High School Activities Association.

He also said the league may be divided into two divisions next year with Pagosa Springs, Telluride, Ouray and Crested Butte in one division and Bayfield, Center, La Veta and possibly one more school in the other division. After league meetings last week, he said, the divisional makeup is still in flux.

The Pirates, who ended their season with a 6-0 loss to Denver Christian in the state playoffs, have made it into the playoffs in each for their five years and Kurt-Mason is hopeful of a similar performance next year. It will be tough, however, he said, to replace his departing seniors, Crenshaw and Pierce.

At the team banquet held last week, the players selected sophomore Kyle Sanders as the team's top offensive player and fellow-sophomore Reuben Coray as best defensive player. Crenshaw, team captain, was named by his teammates as most inspirational, Coray the most improved player and Tyler Petersen, who made the team but was unable to play all season because of an injury, was named most dedicated. He attended every game.


Lady Pirates prep for Cortez tourney

By Richard Walter

A scrimmage against two schools from higher classifications followed by four days of practice are all that remains of the preseason schedule for the Lady Pirates basketball team.

By that time coach Karen Wells will be well on her way to determining game plans for the Cortez Invitational Dec. 1 and 2. Pagosa will open the tournament at 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, against the Farmington High School junior varsity squad.

A win would pit Pagosa against the winner of the 6:30 p.m. game between Delta and Cortez at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. A loss against Farmington would send the Ladies against the Delta-Cortez loser at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Before their final home practice sessions next week, the Lady Pirates will host both Durango and Cortez in a scrimmage situation at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Wells said she's been really pleased with the intensity of the players in practice so far.

She has determined the 10 players who will make the trip to Cortez.

Wells plans to take Andrea Ash, Nicole Buckley, Meigan Canty, Ashley Gronewoller, Tiffanie Hamilton, Katie Lancing, Carlena Lungstrum, Amber Mesker, newcomer transfer student Shannon Walkup and newcomer exchange student Beata Svendsen.

Svendsen and Buckley will be 2 of 4 swing players between the varsity and junior varsity. Two others will fill the same capacity but right now at least four girls are battling for those positions and Wells is not ready to name the final two.

Hometown fans will get their first chance to see the girls play when they co-host the Wolf Creek Classic in the Pagosa Springs High School gym Dec. 8 and 9.

They will play Doherty High of Colorado Springs in the second girls division game of the day at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7.

The Ladies will play Bloomfield, N.M., at 11:45 a.m. on Dec. 8 and will face Montrose at 6:45 p.m. the same day.

All of the Lady Pirates games will be played in the high school gymnasium, but some games in the tournament will be played in the Mamie Lynch Gymnasium at the junior high school.

Other teams participating in the girls' division of the invitational will be Nucla and Gunnison.

Community News
Chamber News
By Sally Hameister

Pick up Citizen/Volunteer forms

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 that 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.

Wolf Creek Trailblazers

The Wolf Creek Trailblazers would like to invite anyone who might be interested in joining their group to a 7 p.m. pot luck dinner and meeting Dec. 14 at the Community United Methodist Church on Lewis Street. With all the white stuff we've already experienced this year and the super-early opening of Wolf Creek Ski Area, this promises to be an amazing year for snowmobiling and hence a timely year for joining the Trailblazers.

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.


Congratulations to the folks at Bank of Colorado on their recent groundbreaking at 205 Country Center Drive next to City Market. We can look for the completed facility in June of 2001. Lots of Chamber members involved in this project, and we're happy to recognize them. Architect, Maggi Dix Caruso with Envelopment Architecture designed the facility that is being built by Curt Johnson with Custom Homes by Curt Johnson (Curt is also a former Chamber Director.) Also involved in this project is Gus Gustafson with Gustafson Consulting and subcontractors Stoltz Construction. We all look forward to the completion of the new Bank of Colorado.

Christmas Shoppe

Please join all the folks with the Pagosa Springs Arts Council at the opening reception for their Olde Tyme Christmas Shoppe Nov. 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the gallery in Town Park. This will give you the opportunity to socialize and enjoy some goodies as well as support our local artists. Local arts and crafts will be available to fill all your holiday shopping needs. The gallery will be open Nov. 30 through Dec. 23 Tuesdays through Saturdays 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Join us for holiday cheer.


We welcome two new members this week and nine renewals. We're awfully happy that these folks took time out of the busy pre-holiday days to join us. Makes us happy as clams.

We first welcome Ellen King with Mercy Orthopedic and Sports Therapy. I am so sorry that I couldn't make their Open House but hope to get over there in the near future for a tour. These professionals offer solutions for rehabilitation and fitness. Physical, occupational, speech therapy. Their specialties include orthopedic and sports medicine and many wellness/fitness programs including Pilate's and personal training. To learn more about Mercy Orthopedic and Sports Therapy, please call 731-3303. Thanks to Ken Harms for recruiting these folks.

Byron and Karen Greco join us next with Rock House Haven Vacation Rental. Rock House Haven offers a cozy, unique fully furnished vacation rental with three bedrooms, two baths and located in the downtown area. You're within easy walking distance to the hot springs, shopping and restaurants with just a short drive to skiing and winter sports as well as summer activities. Thanks to member Lois Hill for her recruiting efforts for which she will receive a free SunDowner pass. We love it.

Renewals this week include Kennie and Roger Persson with Las Montanas Mexican Restaurant; John Porter with A Reading Society and Ensemble currently performing at Loredana's Restaurant the second Thursday of each month; Bob Parker with Buckskin Cabin Rental; Eddie Campbell with the Branding Iron Barbecue; Troyena Campbell with Diamond C Antiques and Trading Post; Nancy Hammond with Basin Printing and Imaging; John Steinert with Juan's Mountain Sports; Judy Smith with 160 West Adult R.V. Park; Carol and Gary Dillard with The Corner Store Inc. and R. Michael Bell with R. Michael Bell & Associates, Inc., Architects and Engineers. Minny thanks to all.

Christmas a'plenty

Christmas in Pagosa will be held at the Visitor Center Dec. 2 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 "Infamous Chile Dinner" which will take place 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 at 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, so 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 that your business, family and/or organization is 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.


Cruising with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

Focused on the interior image

I've been thinking about Norman Rockwell and Thanksgiving. Maybe you are too.

There's the table, with the crocheted lace cloth. There are mom and dad, and three or four adult children and their spouses, and several grandkids, and maybe a baby on a lap or in the high chair.

Dad, the patriarch, is at the head of the table, and mom is placing before him the platter, laden with the largest turkey in the western hemisphere. As Charles Dickens says of just such a bird, in "A Christmas Carol," "He never could have stood upon his legs, that bird. He'd have snapped 'em off short."

Mom was probably up by 5 a.m. to get that sucker stuffed and in the oven. Of course she made the family's favorite stuffing, or dressing, if you're from the South, with plenty on the side. And maybe a little of the cornbread kind too, for the favorite son-in-law. And she peeled the potatoes, and cooked up the cranberry sauce, and got the dough rising for her special rolls.

Everybody around this table looks scrubbed and shiny. The boys' hair is slicked back. The girls are in pretty dresses with white lacy collars. Mom is wearing an apron, for gosh sakes. The old-fashioned kind with the bib top.

Everyone is beaming.

Isn't this just how it happens at your house?

I used to need this image. I used to try and recreate it, although our family was a lot smaller and I had less material to work with. Maybe there were a few years when we pulled it off. Before real life intervened and our kids grew up and went to the far corners of the country.

And of course, the Norman Rockwell image was already out of date by the time I started.

So now I'm just focused on the interior image. This year I'm trying to make a list of the things I'm thankful for.

There are some things we're expected to be thankful for. Family, friends, health. The important things. So I'll list those first.

I'm thankful first of all that I'm home - here in Pagosa, in my own log house, with the meadow and the mountains. I'm thankful for cold days that don't feel cold. I'm thankful for sunshine most of the time. I'm thankful for the snow, because it means a lot of the people around me are happy and thankful too.

I'm thankful that my mother's hip is mending well after her surgery. I'm thankful that she'll be walking soon even if it means she has to use a cane. I'm thankful we can put off for a little longer that time when her independence will wane and change to dependence.

I'm thankful for a husband who didn't protest (too much) when I spent most of the last two months in California trying to help my mother.

I'm thankful that I'm still sane after spending all that time with my mother. She has a lot of "stuff." Her house is pretty crowded.

A few days after she came home from the hospital, I started washing her kitchen walls. That should tell you how desperate I was.

Hotshot called up. "What are you doing?"

"I'm cleaning the walls."

"Did you say climbing them?"

"Climbing comes next, after they're clean."

My mother came home from the hospital on election day, so there was some distraction on the television that evening. And the next day, and the days after that. It was like telling time by the second hand, but she kept the machine on for hours at a time. With each new commentator or "expert," and you know there was a different talking head about every 15 minutes, she'd say, "There's another one!"

My mother is getting a little hard of hearing, so she plays the TV pretty loud. And since she was mostly in bed, resting, her sound of her bedroom TV filled the house at all hours. The only place I could escape the noise was in the shower. I spent a lot of time in the shower. I stayed there until the water ran cold. I washed my hair daily. It hasn't been this clean since I was a teenager.

I'm thankful for my kids. For our son who says, "I love you, Mom." For our daughter-in-law, who works hard to help us get to know our terrific granddaughter, in spite of vast distance between our home and theirs.

I'm thankful for our daughter, who talks with me as a friend and brings her own special joy into my life.

I'm thankful for e-mail, which lets me keep in touch with friends all over the country. While I was at my mother's, these supportive friends who kept reminding me to save some time for myself. We're concerned about the caretaker, they kept writing.

Well, everybody, the caretaker is doing okay. The caretaker is home for Thanksgiving. Not a Norman Rockwell picture exactly, since our family is scattered across the country. But we're together in our hearts. And I'm concentrating on the real spirit of the holiday. Being thankful.


Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

Clarks among 10,000 at 'timless tribute'

It was a wonderful day for Bill and Glenda Clark: the occasion was attending the National World War II Memorial Groundbreaking Ceremony last Thursday - Veteran's Day, Nov. 11 - held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Bill had the honor to be the Field Representative for the World War II Memorial Campaign from Archuleta County.

Ten thousand people attended this historical event. President Clinton broke ground for the Memorial declaring it a "timeless tribute" to the bravery and sacrifices of those who fought in World War II.

The monument has been 13 years in the planning. It will be built on a 7.4 acre site between the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool, placed so it will not obstruct the line of sight between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

The gate opened at 10 a.m. and the Clarks were there and got good seats on the 29th row. The entertainment included five of the army's best swing bands. This was all before the ceremony began.

Among those in attendance was actor Tom Hanks, national spokesman for the memorial. Hanks won an Oscar for his portrayal of a World War II infantry officer in the movie "Saving Private Ryan." He gave a reading from one of Ernie Pyle's columns.

Others included WWII Veteran Senator Bob Dole the national chairman of the World War II Memorial Campaign, retired Gen. Colin Powell, and descendants of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Winston Churchill.

In a letter to the editor (Nov. 9, 2000), Bill Clark wrote that 46 local contributors gave $2,975 to this project. Money is still needed. Thanks for any contribution.

Casa project

Carmen and Curtis Miller donated a framed Georgia O'Keefe print valued at $450 to Casa de los Arcos to be raffled. The Millers will do the drawing and notify the winner on Nov. 27. Tickets are $1 each and can be purchased at the Casa office. The telephone there is 264-4828.

The Casa residents will decide how to use the money from this benefit - whether for items for the recreation room, plants and flowers, yard furniture or other tangible items. Casa is a seniors and disabled housing unit subsidized by HUD and has its own board of directors. Its budget does not allow for the purchase of the items that the proceeds from this raffle will.

Many people think that Casa de los Arcos and the Senior Center (also called El Centro) are connected because they are next door to each other, but this isn't so. The Senior Center is run by the Archuleta County.

Blood drive

The United Blood Services, a non-profit organization located in Durango, conducts monthly blood drives in Pagosa Springs. These are usually held on the last Thursday of the month. Sites alternate between the Community United Methodist Church and Mountain Heights Baptist Church - between the hours of 2 to 6:30 p.m. Prospective donors must be at least 18 years old (17 with parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds.

Those who have undergone surgery but wish to give blood should contact the Durango office at 385-4601 to consult with them as to the possibility of giving the blood. Type of surgery and medications make a difference.

If you would like, you can make an appointment to give blood by calling 385-4601. The response from Pagosa Springs has been very good. But because there is a greater demand for blood during the holiday season, it is hoped that more people will volunteer.

Fun on the run

Murphy's First Law for Wives: If you ask your husband to pick up five items at the store and then you add one more as an afterthought, he will forget two of the first five.

Kauffman's Paradox of the Corporation: The less important you are to the corporation, the more your tardiness or absence is noticed.

The Salary Axiom: The pay raise is just large enough to increase your taxes and just small enough to have no effect on your take-home pay.

Miller's Law of Insurance: Insurance covers everything except what happens.

First Law of Living: As soon as you start doing what you always wanted to be doing, you'll want to be doing something else.

Weinter's Law of Libraries: There are no answers, only cross-references.

Isaac's Strange Rule of Staleness: Any food that starts out hard will soften when stale. Any food that starts out soft will harden when stale.

The Grocery Bag Law: The candy bar you planned to eat on the way home from the market is hidden at the bottom of the grocery bag.

Lampner's Law of Employment: When leaving work late, you will go unnoticed. When you leave work early, you will meet the boss in the parking lot.

Arts Line
By Stephanie Jones

A look at the history of PSAC

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery is currently closed, but mark your calendars for the gallery's reopening reception for "An Olde Tyme Christmas Shoppe," Nov. 30, 5 to 7 p.m. at the gallery at Town Park.

Local artists will sell their holiday arts and crafts, including hand-painted silks, wreaths, leather, photos, sheep skin boots, cards, soap, ornaments, candles, scarves and much more. The gallery show runs Nov. 30 to Dec. 23. Winter hours are in effect: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

PSAC history

The PSAC is one of Pagosa's greatest assets, and many of you may wonder just how the Arts Council came to be.

Its roots stem from a group of people interested in the arts who met at the Wild Rose, (the first Rose restaurant originally located on Lewis Street, where Ray's Hair Care is now). The restaurant was opened in the summer of 1982 by John and Jan Hayes, who let artists showcase their work in the restaurant.

For a while, the group of artists met upstairs in the Adobe Building on Lewis Street that now houses the Bear Creek Saloon. Eventually, they moved downstairs to the back of the building and opened a cooperative studio and retail shop.

Due to the success of their early endeavors, the artists' group knew there was need for an organized art association. In 1987, the Rocky Mountain Institute held an Economic Development Workshop in Pagosa and the idea of an Arts Council received the most interest from the workshop participants. Michael Kinsley of the Institute worked with Joan Rohwer and others, providing encouragement and technical support.

Joan Rohwer, a stained glass artist and owner of Moonlight Books, was instrumental in keeping the artists united as they worked to develop the arts organization. She designed the PSAC logo. The articles of Incorporation for PSAC (notarized July 8, 1989) listed the board of directors as Joan Rohwer, Tammy McDowell, Ken Morrison, Melissa Coll and Michael Hughes.

The first year (1988), the Arts Council accomplished a great deal. The photo contest was held in conjunction with the arts and craft festival and the photos were displayed at Moonlight Books. Two fundraisers were set up: the sale of grocery certificates and the Elegant Affair.

In April 1989, PSAC received it's nonprofit status from the IRS. The same year, Tammy McDowell spearheaded the Arts Equity Program, a statewide effort in which art councils and school systems worked together. Tammy and Jan submitted grant applications for expanding the school program. The newsletter, later named "The Petroglyph," and the workshop/lecture series were also started that year.

On May 1, 1991, the town leased the cabin in town park to the Arts Council. The building previously was occupied by the Chamber of Commerce. The grand opening for the PSAC Arts Center and Gallery was May 22, 1992.

Past presidents of the Arts council include Joan Rohwer, Tammy McDowell, Jan Brookshier, Phyl Daleski and Carol Fulenwider. The current PSAC board consists of Jeff Laydon as president, Jennifer Harnick as vice-president, Jennai Bachus as treasurer, Stephanie Jones as secretary and Clare Burns, Bruce Anderson and Doris Green as members-at-large.

Thank you to all of the founding members and volunteers for creating the Pagosa Springs Arts Council.

Artist applications

Artists interested in exhibiting at the Gallery in 2001 can pick up applications at Moonlight Books, WolfTracks or the gallery. Exhibit opening receptions are on Thursdays with each exhibit running for two weeks.


If you would like to start receiving the benefits of PSAC membership, applications can be picked up at the gallery. Several discounts in town are available to members, including discounted ballet classes at San Juan Dance Academy, a free 8x10 photo included with a sitting at Pagosa Photography, 20 percent off all online orders with Uncle Zacks Old West Webtown, and more.

February elections

The nomination committee is currently working on getting the ballot ready to elect board members at the PSAC annual meeting in February. All PSAC members are encouraged to attend the annual meeting and vote.


Veterans Corner
By Mike Diver, VSO

Many not aware of new benefits

The Veterans' Millennium Health Care and Benefits Act was passed as Public Law 106-117 on Nov. 30, 1999. Many provisions of the Act are still in implementation and I have found that many veterans are not aware of the new benefits provided by the Act.

The Veterans' Millennium Act:

- Directs VA to provide needed extended care services for any veteran with a 70 percent or higher disability or a service-connected need for such care. This authority expires in 2003 unless extended or made permanent.

- Establishes pilot programs to test alternatives to institutionalized VA care and assisted living services through contract arrangements. The pilots would last four years (2003). None are scheduled for this area.

- Authorizes TRICARE-eligible military retirees a specific eligibility for VA health care. Military retirees enrolled under this authority would not be required to make co-payments for non-service connected care. The Act requires DVA and DoD to forge an agreement to implement this provision by Sept. 1, 2000. None has yet been reached

- Allows Purple Heart (PH) recipients with no VA-rated disability to be enrolled in Priority Group 3. PH recipients get free VA inpatient/outpatient services; however, they continue to pay a co-payment for prescriptions written for non-service connected conditions.

- Authorizes VA to cover emergency care for uninsured veterans, provided the veteran had obtained VA care within two years of the medical emergency. Save your receipts, VA may pay back to May 2000.

- Restores medical care, education and housing benefits to remarried surviving spouses formerly eligible for those benefits, upon termination of the remarriage.

Other provisions in the Millennium Act expand fundraising authorization to expedite building the WWII memorial; authorize establishment of six new national cemeteries in the U.S. (none in Colorado); extend the VA Home Loan guarantee program for selected Reservists through 2007; authorize Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for surviving spouses of former POWs rated totally disabled within one to four years just prior to death; authorize the VA to raise prescription co-payments; establish monthly and annual caps on multiple prescriptions; and revise co-payments on outpatient care for "higher income" (means-tested) veterans.

As provisions of the Act are implemented, I will provide updates on the implications of the changes for our local Veteran population.

For more information on your Veterans' benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans' Service Office located on the lower floor of the County Courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the FAX number is 264-5949, and E-mail is The office is open 8 to noon and 1 to 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.



Good time for thanks

It is not unusual for editors of weekly newspapers

to turn to Abraham Lincoln when faced with

providing an editorial Thanksgiving week. The norm is to quote the proclamation President Lincoln issued October 3, 1863, to initiate the first annual National Day of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving week 2000 does not provide the normal setting. Considering the uniqueness of the ongoing presidential election in the United States and circumstances involving Palestinian leader Yassar Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak; this Thanksgiving season calls for a change.

Yet even this week, the words of Abraham Lincoln offer insight and give a perspective to national and world affairs that appear to be totally out of control.

Responding to a question from L.E. Chittenden who at the time was register of the U.S. Treasury, Lincoln said:

"That the Almighty does make use of human agencies, and directly intervenes in human affairs, is one of the plainest statements of the Bible. I have had so many evidences of His direction - so many instances when I have been controlled by some other power than my own will - that I cannot doubt that this power comes from above.

"I frequently see my way clear to a decision when I have no sufficient facts upon which to found it. But I cannot recall one instance in which I have followed my own judgment , founded upon such a decision, where the results were unsatisfactory; whereas, in almost every instance where I have yielded to the views of others, I have had occasion to regret it.

"I am satisfied that when the Almighty wants me to do or not to do a particular thing, He finds a way of letting me know it. I am confident that it is His design to restore the Union. He will do it in His own good time."

Though seemingly unrelated to Thanksgiving, Lincoln's words are words of assurance at times like these. The truth of his words is an assurance for which I am thankful.

David C. Mitchell


Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Thankful to make the deadline

Dear Folks, .

It's not the love of money, words are the root of all our problems.

I learned this yeserday while visiting with the undersheriff. Our conversation had innocently started with a discussion of the listings for TV programs.

Unbeknownst to me, the listings that are applicable to users of satellites discs are not applicable for folks who use cable TV. Apparently the names of the programs and the times of the programs remain the same over both forms of transmission, but the numbers of the channels differ greatly.

As oft times happens. One word led to another and before you know it someone is insulted, and eventually that someone finally realizes it.

So in a fit of frustration the undersheriff exited stage right while spouting a series of derogatory comments about the "once mag-something-or-other editor."

Though I once had a working familiarity with Bayou talk and its various inflections, it's a hard dialect to understand when being loudly mumbled by someone who is rapidly departing through a doorway. It sounded as if the undersheriff was mumbling something about his mistaken misconceptions of the "magn . . . (something or other) editor," and that he was "never coming back."

Naturally, John , Richard and the ladies in the front office thought Thanksgiving had come early when they heard the "never come back" bit. Of course Karl and I have heard those words too many times.

Hoping to determine the dearly departing shots of the undersheriff, I reached for my dictionary and started scanning the "magn . . ." words.

Magna Charta led the listing and obviously wasn't the answer I sought. So I moved on down the page in search of an answer.

Rather than an answer, I found a three-part multiple choice question.

It's all in the day of the life as an editor to have to match yourself up with either "magnanimous - generous in overlooking injury or insult"; or "magnate - very influential person"; or "magnesia - used as a laxative."

The two-syllable word "deadline" likewise caught my attention yesterday.

Though I know its meaning, I'm yet to understand how it works. It gets very confusing every Thanksgiving.

In order for a weekly newspaper of general circulation to obtain and maintain a second-class mailing permit, said newspaper must have an edition to the post office on the newspaper's stated publication day 52 weeks of the year, continuously and uninterruptedly year in year out.

The only time this requirement varies is when the designated publication day is a national holiday and therefore the post office is closed. Whenever a holiday interruption occurs, the newspaper is required to be at the post office the day before the national holiday.

Naturally, this requirement moves deadlines and press runs ahead one day. In the SUN's case, the news reports that normally are hurriedly written on Wednesday must be completed by Tuesday so that that week's edition can be off the press and to the post office by Wednesday.

For some undefinable reason, the Tuesday deadline is easier to meet than the regular Wednesday deadline. Somehow or other, even without the extra 24 hours; the reports on the Tuesday morning meetings, the Monday arrests, the fires, accidents and the other events that occurred since Wednesday night a week ago still get typed, edited, proofed, corrected, re-proofed, poured and pasted up with headlines and photos.

The same is true with the display ads, classified ads and the legals. They are all completed and ready to go to the darkroom and eventually onto the press by Tuesday and to the post office and news racks by Wednesday.

I don't undserstand it, but I'm thankful that it happens.

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


25 years ago

200 pounds of drugs seized

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 the 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

More on 'The Widening of Wolf Creek Pass'

We continue this week with the conclusion of "The Widening of Wolf Creek Pass" by Ray Harris. The story was given to Harvey Catchpole by former County Treasurer Tinnie Lattin, who, in turn, gave it to me. At this point in the story, the state engineers have come to Pagosa Springs to meet with Harvey Catchpole Sr., the area's road commissioner, about the need to appropriate more money to the Wolf Creek Pass road.

The remainder of the story goes: "It wuz Catchpole's job t' take them engineers out over th' new road an' let 'em see fer themselves, if it wuz narrer or not. So he did. Riley an' Malone wuz th' engineers' names. Inta Catchpole's car they crawled an' headed fer Wolf Creek Pass. Said Reilly: 'This is a fine road, Catchpole, in fact one of the best pieces of construction I've ever seen.'

"Said Malone: 'Yes indeed, Catchpole, and I see the grades are such that a car never needs to go more than into second to pull any of them.'

"Below them wuz Box Canyon. The bottom o' it is jist 'bout 1800 feet. Says Catchpole t' th' engineers, who hed bin enjoyin th' ride: 'Take look at thet drop off thar, if ya want t' see somethin' purty.'

"Malone an' Reilly looked down an' wuz quiet. I ain't seen many men thet cud talk much when they looked ofer thet cliff.

"'She's sure a deep one,' says Malone. An' jist then th' right front wheel o' Catchpole's car hits a boulder or somethin' an' slides over th' edge. Nobuddy sed a word fer a whole minit. Then Catchpole sez: 'Well, if ya fellers has th' nerve t' git over an' hold up on th' fender, I'll stay here an' drive her back on th' road. I think we kin do it.'

"Well, them engineers hed whut it tuk. They found foot-holds on th' edge o' th' cliff. Th' motor started. It wuz a long moment, thet one. Th' old car rocked, th' back wheels spun, an' back on th' road we got her. Nuthin' wuz sed. They wuz a quiet pair on th' road back. They cud still see themselves fallin' thro space an' spruce tops. Mebbe they imagined how it wud be if th' road wuz wet.

"Catchpole, Reilly an' Malone wuz havin' dinner thet evenin' in Don Williamson's Cafe, an' Catchpole hed sed nuthin' 'bout th' appropriation, he jist waited. 'Reilly,' says Malone, 'I reckon there's a spot or two on that Pass that could stand widening, don't you?'

"Reilly grinned, 'Well, there's one I know about anyhow.'

"Malone, who wuz th' head engineer, looked at Catchpole an' says: 'Well, I guess you'll get your appropriation. That game trail of yours does need widening, but Catchpole, tell me: 'How long have you been practicing that trick of getting one wheel over the edge? She's sure a dandy.' "


Food for Thought
By Karl Isberg

Color coded tags would control drivers

You know who you are.

You think you're clever, cruising along in your nifty four-wheel drive, high-profile SUV.

You think I don't know.

But, I do.

You're a problem. A big problem.

And soon, everyone will know.

I can't allow you to continue on, the risk is too great.

I'm outing you, before you're unmasked by disastrous circumstance.

I'm going to let everyone know who you are - make it official, make you the object of bureaucratic attention. That's how important this issue is.

I'm going to tell the whole world that you are. . .the worst winter driver in the history of the automobile.

I'm behind the wheel of my truck.

I'm listening to a radio program on NPR. Two denizens of Georgia are bickering about which region of their state grows the best onions.

I'm stuck in a line of cars a half-mile long. I am not moving.

I can barely see the highway intersection up ahead; the line of cars on the highway stretches as far as the eye can see in both directions. Vehicles are bumper-to-bumper, the automotive tangle moving at less than five miles per hour.

One of the radio commentators says something about Vidalia and there is a pause in the debate.

I scream.

It is only November. We are experiencing a day of modestly poor fall weather, with a bit of snowfall and slightly slick roadways. There is a legion of amateurs on the road, timid paws tightly gripping steering wheels, sweat beading on furrowed brows, teeth clenched, brains washed by a fear-tinged chemical broth.

And we're not even to winter yet!

It is clear: when and if winter arrives, local roadways will be hopelessly gridlocked. Our transportation system will grind to an agonizing halt; it will take hours to negotiate a four-mile trip.

It is all because of you.

You know who you are.

I watch anxiety-ripped drivers - like you - creep along at a snail's pace, and I have a horrible thought: I realize you have never experienced a real San Juan winter. You've never seen roadways that look like bobsled runs, berms of snow on each side of the snow-packed avenues higher than the roofs of cars and trucks. You've never had to negotiate unplowed roads with three feet of newly fallen snow.

As the radio debate turns to the proper way of drying a perfect onion, I realize most recent immigrants (this is you) will stay in Colorado until our false economy grinds to an agonizing halt. You will, in other words, be here this winter. The prospect is ghastly. We need a solution to our winter driving dilemma. Fast!

By the time I finally creep to the intersection with the highway, I have a plan. My plan is Draconian, but a desperate situation calls for a desperate solution.

What I propose is a system that allows certain drivers to be on the roads during the winter, at certain times of the day and night. My system bears a resemblance to the restricted lawn watering schedules imposed in drought-stricken urban areas. I intend to submit a draft of my plan to the county commissioners as soon as next week. Hopefully, for once, they will act rationally and quickly.

We will sort all local drivers into four categories.

A driver, and his or her vehicle, will be identified with a brightly colored decal affixed to the upper right corner of the vehicle's windshield. Decals will not contain letters or numbers; we don't want to confuse local law enforcement officers with cumbersome information. Colors, they can understand; numbers are a problem.

A red decal means a vehicle must not be on the road, at any time, from Nov. 1 to May 1 of the year. Drive a car with a red decal (except during a verifiable life-threatening emergency) during the prohibition period and you're charged with a class 4 felony. The courts will deal promptly and harshly with offenders.

If the windshield of a vehicle bears a blue decal, that vehicle can be on local roadways between Nov. 1 and May 1 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and from 6 p.m. to midnight, regardless of weather conditions.

A yellow decal designates a driver who can pilot a vehicle from Nov. 1 to May 1, when there is no snow or ice on the roadway. If, for example, a yellow decal driver legally motors to town and a sudden storm deposits snow on the roadway while the driver is in town, that driver must leave his or her vehicle wherever it is parked and find a ride home with an authorized motorist. Violation of this rule will produce a Class 4 felony charge and lightning-fast, vicious retribution by society.

Vehicles with white decals can be driven by their owners anywhere, anytime.

Now to the task of determining who fits which decal category.

If you have been a legal resident of Archuleta County for at least 15 years, you are entitled to a white decal. This decal will be yours unless you violate one of a very few sanctions (note "driving your kid to school," below.)

If you resided for at least 15 years in a mountain community before you moved to Archuleta County - one that experiences a minimum four months of hard winter - you will be allowed to take a winter driving test at the county extension office. If you pass the test, you will be given a probationary white decal and your driving skills will be evaluated over the course of one winter to determine if you are to receive permanent white decal status.

A blue decal will be issued to anyone who has successfully negotiated between 10 and 15 winters in Archuleta County or can verify residence for the same period of time in a similar locale.

Yellow decals will be issued to parents who drive their kids to school, if their residence is within two miles of a school bus stop, or if the parent's place of work is more than 500 yards from a school building. A yellow decal will be issued to any driver found traveling less than 15 miles per hour on a snowpacked road or who motors along at more than 30 miles per hour on that same road surface.

Red decals will be issued automatically to anyone newly arrived in Archuleta County and to anyone who moved to the county within 10 years of applying for decal status at the courthouse. An appeal procedure is available: pass a written test and behind-the-wheel exam and there is an outside chance you can receive a blue decal. If you moved here from Texas or California, sell your SUV - you're not going to need four-wheel drive. Red is your color, no matter what.

Cringe if you will, but this system will work. Sure, at first, you'll be a bit inconvenienced, but make friends - carpool with a white decal driver.

Now, how about something tasty for those stormy days when you have to stay home instead of fouling the traffic corridors with your rotten winter driving habits.

How about a bowl of soup? After you send the kids out the door to catch the school bus, you can sit at your picture window with a comforter on your lap and a mug of hot soup in your paw while you watch the snowdrifts pile up around your new Explorer. Between bites of soup, you can make a collect call to whatever toasty clime you came from, and tell a friend all about the incredible winters in Pagosa Springs.

How about a classic onion soup?

Make your own stock for this soup. Once you're house-bound, you'll have plenty of time for cooking and for some newfound hobbies.

Have one of your friends with a white decal bring you three or four pounds of meaty beef bones - shin bones, short ribs, marrow bones - and several pounds of chuck.

Pop the bones in a roasting pan and roast at 450 to 500 degrees for at least a half hour. Roast until everything's brown.

Take the bones, a couple of quartered onions, some chopped carrot and celery, a bay leaf and a couple sprigs of parsley and put them in a stock pot with hunks of chuck. Add salt and pepper, and water to cover. Bring to a boil, skim the scuz off the surface, turn down to a slow simmer and cover. Simmer for a long time (remember, what is time to you, now that you can't go anywhere?).

Strain the stock and refrigerate long enough to allow you to separate the fat from the broth. If the broth is a bit weak, reduce it over heat.

For the onion soup you'll enjoy as you sit in your front room watching the snow fall, you'll need about five pounds of thinly sliced onion. In a heavy pot, melt a half stick of butter and add a bit of olive oil. Saute the onions over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown.

Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of flour on the onions and cook the mix for a few minutes to get rid of the flour taste. Add the broth a bit at a time. Bring to a boil, add a smidge of good red wine, a bit of thyme, salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for about an hour.

Toast a couple of medium rounds of French bread. Put a piece of toast in the bottom of an ovenproof bowl and pour soup on top. Sprinkle with grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese and pop the concoction under the broiler until the cheese melts and gets a bit brown.

Sit back, eat your soup, take in the winter wonderland outside your window. Turn on the tube and watch Oprah - she knows everything. If you get a chance, study the soon-to-be-available "Archuleta County Winter Driving guide." Take the sample quizzes at the back of the book. Practice, practice, practice. Who knows, one of these winters, you could be blue.

Pacing Pagosa
By Richard Walter


Every day should be Thanksgiving

Divestiture of debt can be a glorious feeling.

Things like paying off a 30-year mortgage, closing out a long standing credit card account or making a major purchase without charging even a portion of it can give one a glow of accomplishment.

Those are material things a person may strive for, things that give a sense of satisfaction.

This is the day before Thanksgiving, a day wives are planning or have already started preparing the celebratory feast. Children will watch giant balloon images of their favorite comic characters in Thanksgiving Day parades on television and sports fans are getting ready for their annual serving of Turkey Day gridiron treats from Dallas and Detroit.

The annual observance of a day set aside to give thanks for the bounty of the land has become, for some, simply a means of satiating appetites - for food, fun and frivolity.

Too often it is seen as merely a day off from work, and for many it is part of a long weekend that will give four days instead of two in which to achieve nothing more than escape from reality.

It is too bad we need a single day set aside for Thanksgiving. Thanking the creator is an act for every day, not just one specified by a calendar.

Health, family, home, job, house of worship if desired, are all things which should lead each of us to daily thanks. We still depend on the bounty of the fields for our sustenance just as the Pilgrims did. But few of us actually raise the crops ourselves any longer.

Farming has become a big business, with small family operations being acquired or overrun by major corporations. But still, the food they produce finds its way to our markets and then the vegetable bins at home. We eat and are satisfied. We seldom offer grace before meals as many of us were taught. Time has become the culprit. Time teases us to beat it, to get back to the job a little before the competition, to get that scant second of advantage.

If it happens that the time saved by rushing lunch or breakfast gave us the break we needed to land a new account or make a big sale, shouldn't that, also, be cause to give thanks?

Immediacy of success and recognition for acts seem to be foremost today among the thoughts of many. The person rising to the pinnacle of success most likely has someone in his or her background whose idea of success was living until the next day and the next chance to survive for still another day.

We need to remember everyone and everything that went before us as we contemplate those bounties for which we should be thankful.

This is a nation in which every person has the right to worship the god of their choice, even if their belief is counter to ours. Where else can one find a community the size of Pagosa Springs with the variety of worship opportunities that abound here.

Some people live to see beauty in their lives and find it sometimes in the most inconsequential of objects. We in Pagosa Country don't have to look for it. It surrounds us. The creator of these vistas certainly warrants our thanks - and not just on one day a year.

The freedom to express one's self - in public and in print - is one enjoyed by Americans but denied in many parts of the world. We take it for granted that we have the right of free speech. Should we not give thanks for that right?

Those who have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps are often the first to sacrifice part of their newfound success to those still struggling. Secret donors and outpourings of care and aid are often unrecognized. Both the giver and receiver need to give thanks that the acts were accomplished.

Christians give thanks for a saviour named Jesus who, they believe, gave his life to save them from punishment for sin and - if they believe - to give them eternity with God.

Mothers and fathers give thanks for the health of their children and that of all their loved ones. Children need to learn early that everything isn't set aside for them, that they have to earn rewards and that eventually, they need to give thanks for the things they receive.

Despite all the consternation over the Presidential election this year, we still need to give thanks for the freedom we have to vote for the person of our choice in this country, even if the one we choose has no chance of winning.

We often decry the actions of our elected representatives, but we can give thanks that we have the ballot box where we can vote them out of office when next they run. Freedom was fought for, won and has been defended by Americans for more than 200 years. Their actions also deserve our thanks.

A small child squeals with delight after opening a special toy or doll at a birthday or Christmas. Parents smile. They've found the right key to the child's imagination again. Another reason to offer thanks.

The list of things we should give thanks for can go on and on. For each of us the items on the list will differ but there will be a link - one which says you can't go forever living on your own ego.

Somewhere along the line we each learn to realize there are things which we have no control over that, instead, have control over us.

Please join me this Thanksgiving in offering a prayer of thanks for every day of life, both the good and bad days, and all the thrills and disappointments they have held.

And, if you are one who has not made a habit of daily thanksgiving, I urge you to consider doing so. Tomorrow, some say, may never come. If it doesn't, you've lost the last chance you had to say thank you.

And so, thanks to you all for all the memories you've been a part of.


Old Timers
By John MotterSearch for gold keyed area growth

Gold Fever! Bonanza! El Dorado! The Lost Cities of Cibola!

Nowadays it is extremely difficult to imagine the high level of excitement the discovery of gold created in the minds of 19th century folks. We all know the search for gold spurred the Spanish exploration of Mexico, Central and South America, and the American Southwest.

We know the 1849 gold strike at Sutter's Mill in California set off a migration of argonauts that led to the settlement of the West. We all know the 1859 discovery of gold near Denver led to the settlement of Colorado. On a smaller scale, we know the discovery of gold near Silverton led to the settlement of Southwest Colorado.

These days we no longer think or talk about finding gold in them thar hills. Consequently, it is difficult for us to comprehend the mind set of folks near the turn of the 20th century who believed a new bonanza might be discovered any day.

On the front page of the 1892 "Pagosa Springs News," are a high preponderance of mining and mining town news items. Even in Pagosa Springs, where there never was a successful gold strike, hope seemed to spring eternal.

Not only did editor Daniel Egger devote a lot of his paper to news about mining, he missed no opportunity to paint the virtues of living in Pagosa Country. The following extractions from those early papers embellish the point.

The biggest headline of the June 9, 1892, edition trumpeted the glad tidings of a silver strike on the Piedra River. The ore was said to assay 900 ounces of silver to the ton, a rich find indeed. The location was described rather generically as 10 miles above the Piedra post office and two miles below the Weminuche. Eventually, this rich find proved to be nothing.

In the same paper, Egger notes that "Leon Montroy, with burros, has hied himself to the hills."

Leon Montroy is an early Pagosa pioneer. After leaving Canada, Montroy worked for a time at Summitville before settling in Pagosa Springs. In that never never history realm between truth and fiction known as legend, some old timers thought Montroy had found the lost treasure of Treasure Mountain.

Comment on Montroy heading to the hills with his burros is a reminder that during the early days of Pagosa Springs, miners fleeing the depths of San Juan winter snows hied themselves to Pagosa Springs where they turned their burros loose to fend for themselves. I wonder what the Pagosa Area Humane Society would have done with pens full of stray burros?

"Quite a number of our citizens are out in the hills looking for precious metals," Egger observed a little further down the page.

And why not? There was nothing so terminal about a sick pocket book that a bag full of gold dust, free for the finding just over the next hill, couldn't cure.

"Attention is called to the card of Miles Otis Pearce, assayer of Colorado Springs," Egger writes.

He is telling the reader to look at Pearce's advertisement in that particular issue of the News. In those days an assay office was not a restaurant. That is where miners took ore samples for analysis to learn if they contained valuable ore.

Then Egger turns to shameless boosterism. "With mining activities on the San Juan what's the matter with Pagosa Springs coming to the front?" Egger demands.

The implied answer is, "Hurry over to Pagosa Springs and get rich in the boom that is about to happen." Where and from whom would we hear such a pitch today? What is today's gold?

"Mr. Yule and Clarence Potter came in from Rosa, N.M., last week and are now prospecting on the Weminuche."

Folks packing into the Weminuche Wilderness area for a pristine wilderness experience today might be surprised to learn that just about every rock up there had been turned over before 1900 by some prospector or treasure hunter looking for gold. Weminuche Pass was surveyed by the Army and by railroad companies. With a slightly different decision, we could be crossing the San Juans by way of Weminuche Pass instead of Wolf Creek Pass.

"Bob Young came down from Elwood Tuesday and left some fine specimens of his ore at this place."

In this item we recognize the name of one of the pioneers of Pagosa Country. The Young brothers lived on the east fork of the San Juan River on property now included in the proposed Piano Creek development. The Youngs and others prospected all of the way from Summitville to Pagosa Springs. Elwood was a mining camp down the hill from Crater Lake near the west foot of Elwood Pass. Elwood grew large enough to merit a post office. Down the river aways and just east of Silver Creek, the fledgling community of Bowenton didn't fare so well. Lemuel L. Laughlin and his son John had a road house there for travelers crossing Elwood Pass, but they were unable to attract many permanent neighbors. Those enamored with the pristine qualities of the East Fork area were not to arrive for another hundred years or so.

"Frank Snooks was over from the Piedra Monday," Eggers tells us. "He reports quite an excitement in that vicinity over rich mineral strikes."

Plenty of folks here still remember the Snooks family. The Farrow family also lived on the Piedra, moving there while Army troops still scraped their beans off a tin plate at Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs. The early Farrows apparently were overwhelmed by gold fever while looking for a home. Family patriarch Mason Farrow, energized by gold fever, had joined the rush to California in wake of the '49 gold discovery, tested his luck near Denver, and finally walked with his family down to the "San Jons." He thought he found gold a couple of jumps up the Piedra, but the discovery didn't pan out.

In that same issue of the News Egger revealed that "Considerable prospecting is being done on the head of the Navajo River in this county. The mineral prospects in that section are very good."

Prospects at the head of the Navajo on what is now Hughes property (I think) were so good that a bunch of people including E.T. Walker with a steam boiler to power a stamp mill hurried up there. They built a hotel called the Bond House, had a school, and generally stirred up the dirt in the area digging for gold. We have never learned of any gold hauled out of the upper Navajo, except for the "Black Gold" from the Gramps Oil Field.

"Mort Clark returned from Denver last Sunday by way of Summitville, but since has returned to the latter place. He reports that he has several inventions under consideration by the patent department."

What Egger is telling us is that Clark came back to Pagosa Springs from Denver by way of Elwood Pass. He then returned to Summitville. We don't know what happened to his inventions, but we do know Clarks in this area and they still possess inventive minds. Perhaps Mort returned to Summitville to find a job. Several local men worked in the mines of nearby communities to support the families they left at home. In addition to regular pay, we are told some of the workers managed to accumulate an extra nest egg by cashing in on gold dust hidden in their pants cuffs, a lunch box, or where ever it could be hidden.

"C.M. Farrer arrived in town last week from Cripple Creek. Mrs. Farrow is still at Canon and they are yet undecided whether they will spend the summer here or at Canon. Messr. Farrow and Bell are working some promising prospects at Cripple Creek."

Cripple Creek on the west side of Pike's Peak was one of the last great gold strikes in Colorado.

"Mr. E. H. Cruston and family left here for their home at Leadville last Thursday."

We don't know anything about this family. Were they here bathing in the Great Pagosa Hot Spring? Leadville was, of course, one of the great mining centers of Colorado and the location of Horace and Baby Doe -shades of the Unsinkable Molly Brown - Tabor's Matchless Mine.

Finally in the June 9 issue of The News, Egger included a separate article describing a fire that burned Jimtown. During 1892 though it had no community water system, Jimtown was the main population center of Creede. Depending on which history book you read, Creede had a population of from 40,000 to 60,000 people, hard to envision today when all of Mineral County has less than 5,000 people. With no central source of water from which to combat the flames, Jimtown was a crackling, roaring inferno until everything was gone, not a long time we suppose. A lot of Pagosa folks checked out the rush to Creede, but most returned home empty-handed.

A couple of weeks later Egger's June 23 paper is still locked on the same theme.

"William Siegmond of Creede is in town and will probably spend some time prospecting in this vicinity," Egger reported.

We never hear of Siegmond again. Could it be that he prospected across these hills, then the neighboring hills, and from hill to hill into eternity?

"Ward and Ulysses Black arrived from Creede last week."

Some oldtimers have heard of Ward and Ulysses Black. Up at the head of Turkey Creek behind Saddleback Mountain is a pronounced fault line. Somewhere near that fault line are the remains of equipment the Blacks set up to operate a copper mine. Apparently, development reached the point that a stamp mill was moved in and set up. Again, we only hear of things going in, we never hear of ore coming out. According to Bill Warr, the water system from that mine ended up at Born's Lake.

"Samples of ore from the mine on Archuleta Mountain which assayed 200 ounces to the ton can be seen in this office."

Egger doesn't tell us who brought the samples in or whether they represent gold or silver. A look at the San Juan National Forest map tells us Archuleta Mountain is a little north of Wolf Creek Pass and can be reached via the Continental Divide trail or a trail through the Big Meadows area.

Egger's next item reminds us that miners have to eat. We wonder, do they have to eat so much?

"Eleven thousand head of sheep passed through town Saturday. They are being driven from New Mexico to Leadville."

We wonder if the Pagosa Springs editor lost any sleep counting these 11,000 sheep as they passed through town.

"A.F. Gross was down from Summitville a few days this past week visiting his family. He reports the camp prosperous."

We don't know A.F. Gross. We do know Gene and Hannah Gross operated a general store in Pagosa Springs during the 1890s. Hannah donated land for the old pioneer cemetery. We know of no Gross family descendants. Old timers know about Summitville, but an explanation may be in order for folks who don't know.

Summitville was a gold strike discovered about 1870 near the head waters of the Alamosa River. It was located at about 12,000 feet and produced large amounts of gold over the years. Several Pagosa and Del Norte pioneers were first attracted to this area by the mines of Summitville. One of the routes leading to Elwood Pass from the east side passed through Summitville.

The following item is not gold related, but interesting nevertheless. The Army pulled out the last troops from Fort Lewis in 1882. Fort Lewis was located on the main block of Pagosa Springs. Capt. Torrez, the commander of those troops, had orders to destroy the remaining fort buildings. He didn't. As a consequence, we have the following comment from Egger:

"The old barracks (enlisted men's quarters) on Pagosa Street are becoming quite a nuisance. They are no doubt disease breeders and should be removed."

On a broader scale, Egger notes: "Nearly all miner's wages in the San Juan Country will be reduced 33-1/3 percent after July 1, on account of the price of silver. Still there are a great many people who will vote for the arch enemies of silver in the coming election."

An a national scale, during the 1890s Americans debated establishing a silver or gold standard to support the national currency. William Jennings Bryan and William McKinley collided in the presidential race on that issue. It was during this time that Bryan gave his "Cross of Gold" speech, one of the most famous speeches ever given by an American. McKinley won, gold won, Bryan's speech lost, and the price of gold plummeted. Since silver fueled the economy of the San Juan Mountains, that economy faltered and the mining towns in the area began to dry up.

"Mason Farrow was over from the Piedra last Saturday. There are rumors afloat that Mr. Farrow is about to become a millionaire. The News has no definite information regarding his rich mine but unquestionably there is a great deal more in it than the parties interested feel disposed to make public at this time."

I talked with Wayne Farrow, Mason's grandson. If Mason succeeded in raising a few million dollars, he also succeeded in hiding it from his family. As we said earlier, the Farrow mine didn't make it. Since then, the Farrow family has raised beef steaks, not grub stakes.

"Archuleta County will soon become an important mining county. Reports of rich mineral strikes are coming in from all sections of the county. Development work is now pushed on the Piedra, San Juan and Navajo Rivers and on Archuleta Mountain. So far, the richest strike is reported from the Piedra County. The News hopes that as soon as the several mill runs will have been made it will be in a position to report something great. In the meantime, let us rejoice at the greatness in store for our county in which we make our homes."

Makes you want to rush over to Archuleta County and get in on the ground floor before it's too late, doesn't it?

And finally, we learn "Jacob Lane was down from Elwood the past week. He reports that prospectors are numerous in that vicinity at this present time. Some capitalists are expected in that camp in a few days."

Jacob Lane and his family were neighbors of the Young brothers and the Laughlins on the San Juan East Fork. In keeping with the times, they had high hopes. Are we any different more than 100 years later?

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