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December 14, 2000

Havens sues hospital district, county

By Karl Isberg

A complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief filed Dec. 4 at Archuleta County District Court questions two recent excess revenue and spending ballot issues in Archuleta County and asks the court to either declare affirmative votes on the issues void or to limit the lifetime of excess revenue collection and spending to a specific period.

The action was undertaken by Chromo resident Fitzhugh T. Havens.

Havens' complaint relates to elections in which voters authorized Archuleta County and the Upper San Juan Hospital District to collect and spend revenues in excess of constitutional limits for an indefinite period of time.

Havens questions both entities in terms of the so-called TABOR (Taxpayers Bill of Rights) amendment to the Colorado Constitution. TABOR restricts entities to a yearly increase in revenue collection and spending determined by a complex growth-related formula. The restriction can be exceeded by a vote of the people.

The court action also questions the legality of the elements of the hospital district ballot issue in terms of the Colorado Revised Statutes, which place a limit on yearly revenue increases for special districts.

Voters in Archuleta County went to the polls Nov. 2, 1999, and, with a 57 percent majority, authorized the county (with no increase in property tax mill levy) "to collect and spend, or reserve for growth related issues, all excess revenues and other funds collected during 1999 and each subsequent year from any source, other than that generated by the Archuleta County mill levy . . . provided no local taxes shall be increased thereby."

An 80 percent majority of votes cast in a May 2, 2000, election were in favor of authorizing the Upper San Juan Hospital District "to collect, retain and spend all revenues and other funds collected from any source, effective January 1, 1999, and continuing thereafter. . ." provided the district does not increase its mill levy above 1.854 mills.

The complaint states, with respect to each entity's "de-Brucing" of TABOR restrictions, that "Havens . . . believes that Section 3(a) of TABOR limits the length of time that a ballot issue may seek to waive the revenue and spending limitations contained in Section 7 of TABOR to a four-year term."

"As I read TABOR," said Havens in a Dec. 13 telephone interview, "a taxing entity is supposed to calculate excess revenues every year, and refund the excess the following year, unless the voters allow them to keep it every year. Another section (of TABOR) was put in to alleviate the burden of an annual election, to allow the voters to decide every four years. I believe the voters should be allowed to regularly revisit the right to collect and spend excess revenues and that collection and spending of excess revenues not go on forever. This makes it difficult for anyone who wants to challenge it, having to go through the petition and initiative process."

As a result, Havens asks the court to issue a judgment that the Colorado Constitution, Article X, sec. 20(3)(a) limits the length of time that a ballot issue may waive the revenue and spending limits to four years and to find the two local ballot issues are in violation of the Colorado constitution and are either void or must be deemed effective for only a four-year period.

With regard to the hospital district issue, Havens expresses a complaint based on the 5 1/2 percent limit put on yearly special district revenue increases by the Colorado Revised Statutes 29-1-301(1). Havens asserts a ballot "may not, under any circumstances, permanently waive the limitations on statutory tax levies" imposed by the statutes; that a ballot issue "that seeks to allow a special district to increase tax levies beyond the limits imposed by C.R.S. 29-1-301(1) is only effective for the current year in which the request is made; and that such a ballot issue "must be for a specific period of time."

Havens states the hospital district "on the other hand, believes that a ballot issue may permanently waive the limits on statutory tax levies" imposed by the statutes and that the effective term of the issue need not be limited to a specific period of time.

In his request for injunctive relief regarding the TABOR limitation, against the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners, Havens asks if the court finds the ballot issue is void, that it issue a permanent injunction enjoining the county from enforcing the ballot issue; and that the court order the county to comply with TABOR regulations and refund any revenues collected from 1999 forward that exceed TABOR limitations "until such time the electors of Archuleta County approve a ballot issue that constitutes an effective waiver of the revenue limitations. . . ."

In the event the court decides the Archuleta County ballot issue is effective for four years, Havens asks the court for an injunction restraining the county from enforcing the ballot issue for any year beyond 2002.

Havens asks for similar court injunctions concerning alleged TABOR violations in the hospital district ballot issue.

With regard to alleged violations of statutory limitations by the hospital district, Havens asks the court to declare the ballot issue void and to issue a permanent injunction to enjoin the district from enforcement, to order the district to comply with the statutes until voters can approve a proper waiver, and to order the district to refund any revenues from 1999 forward that exceed limitations contained in the statutes until an election takes place.

If, states Havens, the court finds the hospital district ballot issue effective for calendar year 1999, he asks the court to restrain the district from enforcing that portion of the ballot issue that waives limitations on statutory tax levies for any year beyond 1999, and to order the district to refund excess revenues collected in year 2000 and forward.

"This is strictly a question of law," said Havens of his action. "The only way to get the TABOR issue into court is to take this action. I've contended this aspect of TABOR has been ignored for several years (with many, if not most taxing entities in Colorado undertaking similar "De-Brucing" measures). This particular thing has not been challenged in or ruled on by the courts. It is an important issue; that's why it's in TABOR."

Spokespersons for Archuleta County and the Upper San Juan Hospital District said Tuesday their legal representatives will file responses to the Havens' action within 20 days.


Youth lose special friend in Carl Bolt

The youth and outdoorsmen of Pagosa Springs lost a special friend when Carl Bolt Jr. passed away at his home in Pagosa Springs Friday, Dec. 8, 2000.

Mr. Bolt was born to Carl and Ottilíe Naiman Bolt in Ayer, Mass., on Feb. 4, 1929.

After growing up in Lowell, Mass., Mr. Bolt received an Associate of Art degree from Tri-State College in Angola, Ill., and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Chicago with a major in mechanical engineering.

He married Genevieve McCarthy Bolt, who was to be his wife for 41 years, on Sept. 1, 1950, in Arlington, Va.

Mr. Bolt served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 1953, he became an engineer for the Fitzpatrick Company of Elmhurst, Ill. which designed and manufactured food processing machinery. During his 23 years with Fitzpatrick Company, Mr. Bolt was an active member of the National Society of Engineers. Upon his retirement from the Fitzpatrick Company, the Bolts moved to Pagosa Springs where they owned and operated the Pagosa Springs Trading Post from 1976 to 1990. Mr. Bolt served as the official Pagosa Springs weather monitor for the National Weather Service from 1981 to 1990.

Strong supporters of the local youth programs, for many years the Bolts provided each graduate of Pagosa Springs High School with a laminated copy of their diplomas that had a microfiche copy of each student's high school transcript embedded in the lamination.

Mr. Bolt was active in the Pagosa Springs Lions Club as well as belonging to the National Rifle Association, National Association of Hunting Clubs, Ducks Unlimited and National Elk Foundation.

An avid outdoorsman, Mr. Bolt loved fishing, camping, talking about and exercising his Labrador retrievers. He also enjoyed baseball, computers, shopping for new cars, traveling and dining out with his wife "Gen" who preceded him in death in 1991.

During his retirement he divided his summers and winters between Pagosa Springs and his home in Las Cruces, N.M., and traveling with his close companion Mrs. Virginia Sheets.

Mr. Bolt is survived by his sons, Donald Bolt of Aurora, Ill., and Paul Bolt of Stockton, Calif.; his daughter, Barbara Bolt Reinke of Stilwell, Kan., and Mrs. Sheets of Pagosa Springs. He also is survived by his sister Rosalie Shoeman of San Diego, Calif.; and his seven grandchildren, Stephan, Leah and Derek Bolt of St. Charles, Ill., Karl and Kendall Bolt of Stockton, and Aaron and Ethan Reinke of Stilwell.

Funeral services for Mr. Bolt were held earlier this week. Father John Bowe held a rosary service at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church Tuesday evening. Father John conducted a Mass of Christian burial at Immaculate Heart of Mary Wednesday morning. Burial followed at Hilltop Cemetery.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be directed to the Heart Hospital of New Mexico care of Vince McVittie, 504 Elm Street N.E., Albuquerque, N.M. 87102.


Mall occupancy denied; Festival of Lights moved

By John M. Motter

Failure of the Ridgeview Mall to pass a final building inspection has forced the fourth annual Festival of Lights candlelight service scheduled for tonight at 7 to relocate to Community Bible Church.

In addition, Mountain Christian Fellowship, a local church group which has been meeting in the mall, will have to find new quarters until the discrepancies are cleared. Fitting the same category are the developer and his agent who've been using an office in the building.

Because the building failed its inspection, the county building department is refusing to issue a certificate of occupancy until 13 discrepancies noted during the inspection by county building inspector Mike Croft are cleared up. A list of the discrepancies was not available at press time.

"These are safety issues and we can't allow public use of the building until the discrepancies are cleared," Mike Mollica, director of county development, said Wednesday afternoon. "It's highly unlikely these can be cleared up in time to get a certificate of occupancy for tomorrow night."

Of concern to the county planning department, but not bearing on the certificate of occupancy is the apparent super abundance of light emanating from the Ridgeview Mall parking lot.

Lighting is a feature addressed by county subdivision regulations. A compromise is desirable between enough, too much and too little light.

Enough light should be provided to protect public safety, according to Mollica, but not so much light that neighbors are kept awake at night or the glare from the light becomes a safety factor for motorists.

County regulations require developers to install outside lighting that aims the light beam directly at the ground. The idea is that the light beam will reveal the proper route to follow, reveal any obstacles to walking or driving, and discourage assaults on shoppers using parking lots.

At the same time, light should not radiate from the lighted areas into the homes of neighbors or create a glare making driving in the neighborhood difficult. More than one person attending a meeting of the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission has objected to lighting that obscures the night sky full of stars.

Lighting became an issue Tuesday when developers of the Ridgeview Mall asked the commissioners for a partial release of the improvements agreement securing certain work required at that development. The two-year improvements agreement is slated to expire July 26, 2001.

Among the building requirements secured by the improvements agreement are utilities, paving, lighting, landscaping and cleanup.

Installation of all of the utilities has been completed as certified by letters from the utility companies on file with the county planning department, according to a planning department report.

Also completed is the first layer of asphalt on the parking lots with a thickness varying from 1 1/2 to 2 inches and certain parking space marking.

Still to be completed, according to a report from the county engineer, is another layer of asphalt bringing total thickness up to at least three inches, striping for the parking lot following paving; drainage and grading including seeding, landscaping, and an irrigation system; cleanup of debris and construction material; and final approval of the lighting that is installed.

The applicant must have an engineer test the final layer of asphalt and all remaining improvements must be reinspected. A performance bond in the amount of $136,000 is in place and will remain in place until July 26, 2001.

County planning officials argue that the lighting installed in the parking lot at Ridgeview Mall is too bright and is aimed in the wrong direction. They recommend that either the fixtures be changed to comply with county rules, or some type of shield be installed around each fixture directing the light beam straight down.

The commissioners approved developer Billy Chenoweth's request for partial release of the improvements agreement with certain conditions.

Among those conditions were that the lights in the parking lot be made to conform with county regulations within the next 30 to 60 days. The paving was ordered completed by June 1, 2001, but an exception will be allowed if bad weather interferes. In any case, all improvements are to be completed by July 26, 2001.

Affecting occupancy of the building are two items related to fire protection as specified by the Colorado Division of Fire Safety.

First, the builder must demonstrate that the fire alarm system is continually and automatically monitored prior to occupancy of the building. Second, the builder must demonstrate that the tamper switches of the fire protection system are functional prior to occupancy of the building. The builder was given 120 days to take care of these two fire protection issues and a couple of minor fire protection issues.

Chief Warren Grams of the Pagosa Fire Protection District inspected the fire protection system Wednesday and, while noting a few minor items requiring correction, approved occupancy.


Davis named to all-state school board

By Richard Walter

For the second time in three months, Randall Davis, president of the board of education for Archuleta County School District 50 Joint, has been named for an exclusive honor.

The Colorado all-state school board awards program annually recognizes five individual school board members and one whole board for outstanding leadership.

The program contends these members demonstrate excellence in board leadership, sound reasoning, foresight in planning, and the ability to build relationships. Individuals are nominated for the honor by their school board and whole boards are nominated by the superintendent.

Winners were selected by a committee consisting of a former school board member, a past all-state school board award recipient and a past president of the program. Members of this year's selection committee were Darrell Cooper, former Alamosa school board member, Jerry Westbrook, former all-state award recipient and Elizabeth Anderson, past CASB president.

Named in addition to Davis were Ron DeSautell of the Monte Vista district, Jeffery Ferguson of Lewis-Palmer District near Colorado Springs, David Ritchey of the Kit Carson School District and Larry Yates of the Aurora Public Schools.

The citation for Davis said, in part:

"Randall insists on the development of sound district policies and refers to those policies when making decisions. He believes in looking at all sides of an issue and strives to see that all viewpoints are heard. Randall deals with all issues that come before the board in a calm, intelligent and thoughtful manner, and he maintains the dignity of each individual who appears before the board.

"Randall may best be described as a relationship builder. He encourages active participation by other board members. He insists on staff input into decision making. He often points to the need to have students represented on district committees. He encourages parent involvement in school activities and community use of district facilities. And finally, before making decisions, he always asks the question, 'what is right for the students'?"

Earlier this year Davis was named for the McGuffy Award as an outstanding supporter of education.

The red apple symbolizing that award was presented to him Tuesday night by Superintendent Terry Alley.


New school chief could get $80,000, 2-year pact

By Richard Walter

The time-line is in place and details for specific advertising were ironed out Tuesday as the board of education for Archuleta County School District 50 Joint set into formal motion the search for a replacement for Superintendent Terry Alley.

The position will be advertised at a minimum salary of $80,000 which will be negotiable depending on the selectee's qualifications and experience.

The initial contract term, the board agreed, should be two years.

On Alley's recommendation, the board agreed to advertise in several professional journals and newspapers and to place notices with area colleges and universities, from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15.

The deadline for applications for the job will be Feb. 20 with screening of the applicants to be completed by Feb. 28 and personal interviews scheduled March 5-9 with visits to home communities of the finalists beginning March 16.

The final selection will be made April 16 and the person selected will be seated July 1.

A brochure will be sent to each applicant outlining general information about the district and the community, aspects of the school facilities and data on annual budgets and educational program development.

Referring to guidelines the board adopted this summer for the selection process, Randall Davis, board president, wondered aloud, "Why did we require applicants to have experience as a building principal?"

Alley said the search committee recommended it, feeling that experience is a necessary prerequisite to successful school administration.

"I have a concern that we might overlook someone well qualified," Davis said. "Perhaps a veteran teacher who was moved up to an administrative post without experience as a principal. If we substituted the word preferred for required, we might get more applicants."

No action was taken on his recommendation, but the directors scheduled a special meeting for 7 p.m. Feb. 20, to iron out specific questions they will want to ask each candidate they select for interview. Alley suggested the board may also want a joint meeting with the search committee to hear its ideas on questions which should be asked, noting that group will meet Feb. 7.

The two-year term for the initial contract offer was a compromise among board members. Some felt one year was insufficient to fully evaluate and would cut down the number of applicants. Others felt three years would put the district at risk if it found the selected person was inadequate for the job.

The initial salary figure was determined after board members looked at pay scales of other schools in the state of similar size. Director Russ Lee noted Telluride had the highest pay for a superintendent and the lowest enrollment of those districts surveyed.

"They have to pay for a cost of living which is much higher than in other communities," Alley said. Similarly, he said, Burlington has a modest scale with a larger student body.

The board agreed that the offer for this district should come close to the average salary offered in those other districts surveyed.

Davis said, "It is critical that we give as much as we can afford to get the type of professional we want."

Lee said the $80,000 figure is "an excellent minimum. We have so much to offer as a community we don't have to pay higher to entice candidates."

Director Clifford Lucero agreed with the $80,000 minimum level, adding, "I wouldn't be surprised if we opt to go higher for an excellent candidate who wants to come here."


Flu vaccine finally arrives, clinic schedules announced

San Juan Basin Health Department will provide two flu vaccine immunizations in Pagosa Springs next week.

The first clinic will be held at the Country Center City Market Tuesday, Dec. 19, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. A second clinic will be held at the Pagosa Springs City Market Wednesday, Dec. 20 from 9 a.m. to noon.

The immunizations will be administered free for individuals with current Rocky Mountain HMO, Medicare Part B or Railroad Medicare cards. The insurance cards must be presented at the clinic. The immunizations will cost $8 for persons not covered by Medicare or Rocky Mountain HMO.

For more information, phone 264-2409.


Inside The Sun

Timber Ridge funds escrow to fulfill promise

By John M. Motter

With a cashier's check for $139,760 dated Dec. 8, 2000, Colorado Timber Ridge Ranch paid in full for release of rights of way and open space within Timber Ridge Ranch Phase 2.

The check was placed in escrow by High Country Escrow, the entity responsible for filing on behalf of the land development firm, a partial release of a deed of trust for property fitting that legal description.

Only three days had elapsed since the Dec. 5 meeting of county commissioners during which the developer had asked the commissioners to sign a final plat and release the improvements agreement for Phase 2.

At the Dec. 5 meeting, County Attorney Mary Weiss said that a deed of trust encumbered all of Phase 2, including streets and open space dedicated to the public and to the property owner's association. Until payment of the deed of trust concerning the public land, Weiss argued, the county was at some risk if the lien holder foreclosed for some reason. A foreclosure against those lands could make it difficult for lot owners to reach their property.

The developer argued that this was the first time Archuleta County had considered enforcing payment at such a time, including the handling of Phase 1 for the developer. Therefore, the developer was not prepared for this contingency.

Further, the developer argued, payment of the deed of trust could not be made until lots within Phase 2 were sold to raise money for the payment. Compounding the problem, lots cannot be sold by a developer until the plat is approved by the commissioners and recorded by the county clerk.

"We have 15 lots under contract (for sale), we have a good past record with you, and we will place the necessary money in escrow within a couple of days," promised Mike Mitchell, Timber Ridge's managing broker. Timber Ridge also possessed written permission from the lien holder releasing the encumbrance against public land, according to Mitchell.

In addition, High Country Escrow wrote a letter to the county promising immediate payment against the trust deed with any funds placed on escrow by Timber Ridge.

The commissioners granted conditional approval of the final plat and release of the improvements agreement at the Dec. 5 meeting, conditioned by the developer's promises.

After fulfilling the promises, Mitchell asked the commissioners not to adopt a policy requiring that indebtedness against public land be cleared before land within developments served by the public land can be sold.

"If you adopt such a policy, you will make it impossible for smaller developers to continue," Mitchell said Tuesday. "With the new financial requirements, only the rich will be able to participate."

"We're working on alternative approaches," said Weiss. "Maybe if the lender will agree to subordinate the deed of trust to the plat, maybe some kinds of releases. I'm sure we can work out something."

"What you are saying is reasonable," said Commissioner Bill Downey. "We don't want to make it so small-family operations are priced out of business, we just want to do what is necessary to protect the county. If it can be done without placing a financial burden on small development, I have no problem with it."

Colorado Timber Ridge is a multi-phase development located near the southwest town boundary. Total acreage of the land being subdivided is approximately 1,178 acres formerly owned by the Gomez family.

As proposed, Phase 1 consisted 76 single-family residences on lots containing approximately 3.8 acres each. Phase 2 consisted 50 lots on 209.2 acres.

The remaining Timber Ridge acreage is yet to be developed including an industrial park just west of Put Hill and south of U.S. 160.

Outside legal fees need prior OK

By John M. Motter

Elected county officials and county employees must obtain approval from the county commissioners before hiring legal counsel other than the county attorney if they expect reimbursement from the county, based on a policy approved by the commissioners while meeting in regular session Tuesday.

The new policy is a response to a request by County Assessor Keren Prior for reimbursement. Unsatisfied with the results of dealing with County Attorney Mary Weiss concerning a matter, Prior consulted with an outside attorney, then asked the commissioners to pay the attorney fees.

Prior argued that the outside legal consultation concerned her official duties as county assessor. She further argued that reimbursement should come from the county and not from the assessor's budget.

After some wrangling and research, the commissioners agreed to pay as Prior requested, but ordered Weiss to prepare a policy stipulating that future payments in like circumstances not be made unless prior approval is obtained from the commissioners.

Weiss's original draft of the new policy referred only to elected officials. The commissioners directed that "county employees" be included in order to cover any future contingency.

The vote approving the new policy was unanimous by Commissioners Gene Crabtree, Bill Downey and Ken Fox.

The new policy reads:

"The Board of County Commissioners of Archuleta County recognizes that there may be times when the Archuleta County Attorney is unable to provide legal advice to an elected official or employees as a result of a conflict of interest or when specific expertise is required on a particular matter. In the event that an elected official (or county employee) seeks legal advice from legal counsel other than the Archuleta County Attorney, it shall be the policy of Archuleta County that such legal fees shall be the responsibility of such elected official (or county employee) unless the Board of County Commissioners has previously approved the use of outside counsel and the resulting legal fees."


School district value rises, mill levy drops

By Richard Walter

Archuleta County taxpayers will get a break from their school district when they receive their tax bills next year.

The board of education of District 50 Joint acted Tuesday to enact a general fund mill levy of 26.886 compared to last year's levy of 27.479. The decreasing levy against an assessed valuation which rose from $143 to $151.35 million means lower taxes for the public.

Nancy Schutz, school district business manager, said the total mill levy of 33.250, including 5.364 for bond and interest retirement (down almost a full percent) figured against the increased assessed valuation, will mean revenue for the district of $5,078,320.

That breaks down to $4,106,340 in the general fund and $971,980 in the bond and interest fund.

Director Russ Lee commented, "It has gone the way we promised the voters it would."

"It's great to see our plans working the way we said they would," said Director Clifford Lucero as he moved to adopt the levy ordinance as submitted. It was approved unanimously, with Director Carol Feazel absent.

Schutz also reported to the board that the administration had received some complaints about the recently amended travel reimbursement policy.

She said some parents who are reimbursed for transporting their children to the school bus stop when no route is available to them believe they should be paid for mileage from their home to the school rather than the bus stop.

To clarify the board's intent when it increased the mileage allotment to 15 cents per mile last month, Director Lee said the wording should be changed to read the mileage is payable "to the nearest point of the bus route or to the school, if no route is available."

The amended wording was approved.

Still dealing with school finance, Superintendent Terry Alley reported on a meeting in Colorado Springs of the Colorado all-state board at which a Rural School Coalition was proposed.

The intent, he said, would be to have schools outside the metro areas combine their forces to get more even distribution of state funding.

"The recently announced hikes in funding," Alley said, "are not going out on a logical basis. Instead, the funds are being delivered in great part as grants and few rural schools have professional grant writers like the metro districts do."

As a result, he said, rural districts hope to combine forces and, as a group, utilize a professional grant writer to seek more even fund distribution.

The board agreed to help in formation of the coalition by advancing $240 on a 15-cent per pupil basis as initial funding for the unit.

Lee, making the motion for approval, said, "The cost is not much compared to the benefits we should receive." The board agreed unanimously.


Sports complex work will get overall master plan

By Richard Walter

A mobile ticket booth which can be moved from one location to another at the Pagosa Springs High School sports complex and a modern restroom and concession stand facility are in the works.

Kahle Charles, athletic director, told the board of education Tuesday that the ticket booth will be done as an Eagle Scout project with the school district providing the materials.

He said the current concession stand is incapable of keeping up with the demands of larger crowds attracted by the new lighting system on the football field, and that even four portable toilets are insufficient for the area.

He said the overall plan for the area will also call for pathways for handicapped and wheelchair-bound persons who want to witness sporting events but find access difficult now.

Director Clifford Lucero said, "This is a must. We need to get it bid as soon as possible. We're developing a beautiful complex and this will be one of the key elements."

Board President Randall Davis asked if there is sufficient money available in the capital reserve fund to act on the development now and was assured there is.

Superintendent Terry Alley said the whole complex will need to include the rebuilt track in the overall plan and suggested the need to secure an architect to develop a total complex plan including track layout, restroom placement and access for all.

Director Russ Lee agreed with both the urgent need of facilities and with Alley's recommendation. "An overall concept plan developed by professionals will give us a first-rate facility. Even if we have to do it over two budgets, we need to have the conceptual and engineering records in hand."

Lucero added, "This is a great opportunity for us to plan ahead. We need some of these items by next school year. We need the overall plan for the foreseeable future."

When Davis suggested it would be a good idea to give some public recognition to all those who were a part of the field lighting project, Charles told the board it already is being done.

"We ordered and just received a permanent plaque naming all the volunteers involved, and plan a modest individual award for each of them."

The board agreed to have Alley contact the firm which engineered the high school construction and has topographical data on the entire school site about development of a master plan for the sports complex and a time frame in which it can be completed.

More snow may be on the way

By John M. Motter

Get out the sleds and snowmobiles. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, a white Christmas in Pagosa Country.

Almost eight inches of snow fell in town this past week and more is on the way, according to Gary Chancy, a forecaster from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

Chancy said yesterday, "There is a 40 percent chance of snow today decreasing to 30 percent tonight. High temperatures should be around 35 degrees with lows between 10 and 15 degrees."

A slight chance of snow showers remains tomorrow with high temperatures remaining in the mid-30s, according to Chancy. By Saturday and Sunday it should be dry locally with partly cloudy skies.

"We're staying in the same pattern," Chancy said, "with rapid, west-to-east upper-level storms moving through every 48 hours or so."

Today's storm will move out Friday night, but its replacement should start moving in Sunday night bringing snow showers Monday morning, according to Chancy.

Last week 7.75 inches of snow was measured in town, bringing total December snowfall to 7.75 inches. Since the first measurable snowfall of this season Oct. 31, 22.5 inches have fallen in town. Based on National Weather Service records kept for most years in town since 1938, September snowfall averages 0.1 inches, October snowfall 2.9 inches, November snowfall 10.6 inches, and December snowfall 22.2 inches for a total of 35.8 inches for the last four months of the year.

The high temperature recorded in town last week was 42 degrees Dec. 7. High temperatures recorded between Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 ranged from 42 degrees down to 31 degrees Dec. 12. The average high temperature for the period was 36 degrees.

The low temperature recorded in town last week was 17 degrees captured Dec. 6. Low temperatures ranged between the 17 degrees and 21 degrees Dec. 8 and again Dec.11. The average low temperature for the week was 20 degrees.

Unless the thermometer plunges significantly below any reading captured so far this month. December 2000 will go down in history as a relatively warm month. The thermometer has dipped below minus 30 degrees during four of the last 51 years. A record December low of minus 35 degrees was recorded Christmas Day, 1990. During the same time frame, a low of minus 20 degrees or colder was measured 13 times, and a low of minus 10 degrees or colder 40 times. The warmest coldest temperature was minus 1 degree on Dec. 29, 1986. The coldest temperature during the current month has been 14 degrees recorded Dec. 3.

Meanwhile, conditions remain exceptional at Wolf Creek Ski Area where 23 inches of new snow have fallen during the past seven days. At the summit, the snowpack is 68 inches, slightly above the 60 inches recorded at midway.

Dress codes, teacher evaluation policies readied for adoption

By Richard Walter

A series of policy proposals and amendments, most necessitated by recent state legislation, were discussed by the board of education of Archuleta County School District 50 Joint Tuesday and will be adopted at the January meeting.

Included are long discussed dress codes for both students and staff, and more frequent staff evaluations.

Superintendent Terry Alley said the dress codes, which give principals latitude to decide if a specific mode of dress is disruptive even if not specifically included in the code, is patterned after one which has been successful in the Albuquerque schools.

He said the proposed codes have been presented to both staff and students and though the students had some questions, there was no negative feedback. "Both groups realize we have been ordered by the state to meet certain basic concepts of dress and understand we have no choice but to comply," he said.

The discussion on teacher evaluations took the majority of the board's time. The code requires two evaluations per year for probationary faculty members, one observation per year for teachers not on probation, and a written evaluation put in the record every three years.

Board President Randall Davis said, "I have a problem with this. I'm uncomfortable with the concept. If we're going to progress toward the Alfie Kohn theory of education, we'll benefit by more frequent evaluations. Once every three years is too long an interval. We need more frequent screenings so remedial measures can be taken if a teacher is not performing up to our standards.

"On the positive side," he said, "the teacher stands to gain more on frequent feedback from principals. I don't think this is unrealistic."

Cyndy Secrist, elementary school principal, objected that more frequent formal reviews would have her doing nothing but continuous evaluations of her staff: "Eighteen (evaluations) a year and alone. My evaluations are thorough. My efficiency would go down if I were required to do that many every year."

She said the law requires evaluation of "certified" personnel as well as classroom teachers and Alley agreed.

Davis still opined that "once ever three years gives the potential for not enough feedback to administration on staff performance."

Secrist said the more informal daily contact with every teacher and the classroom visits she conducts help her keep track on a daily basis of any problem that might be developing. "If I see something that way, I can sit down with the teacher immediately and discuss the situation. That is ongoing evaluation and exchange of ideas. I find that more helpful."

Bill Esterbrook, high school principal, told the board "The job of principal has changed drastically in the last 3 to 5 years. Once we felt we had time to map out our week's activities. But increased enrollment, increased legal demands and those things which just walk in the door have demanded changes in the way our time is used.

"New constraints have been built in," he said, "and as a result it is a much tougher job now."

Director Russ Lee said, "My concern is that we may have kids in a classroom where the teacher is not functioning efficiently."

Esterbrook said the daily interaction with teachers helps immensely and "It is also a good time to pass along the compliments that come in. Teachers rightfully love being told someone appreciates their efforts."

Director Clifford Lucero said, "It has been my experience that when you see a red flag you can act immediately, you don't have to have a planned time for action."

Davis asked, "Isn't it possible you could have a teacher go without adequate feedback by infrequent evaluations?"

Esterbrook had an emphatic no.

"I don't think any classroom problem will go unattended," Esterbrook said. "There is no time when we don't have a good idea of what is going on in the classroom. If there is a problem, a student, a parent or another teacher will let us know if we are not already aware."

Secrist said, "A final evaluation is good, but good evaluation goes on daily. It doesn't happen in two or three 30-minute evaluations but on evaluation which is ongoing all the time.

"More often than not," she said, "when I do an evaluation I learn from the teacher."

In other action Tuesday, the board:

- Tightened language to update and eliminate obsolete data in classroom suspension and expulsion policy and in operation of the sick leave bank policy

- Approved administration recommendations to hire Justin Martin as a school bus driver to replace Donna Mundy; Greg Peck as a school bus mechanic full time (from probationary status); Jesus Villalobos as a high school custodian to replace Anthony Sanchez who resigned; and Michael Wedemeyer as high school C-team wrestling coach.


Community plan

Dear Editor,

Regarding the community plan status and the importance of public involvement in the ongoing process - the plan has not come to a halt as you headlined Nov. 22.

In September workshops, participants were given a final opportunity for input before the plan went forward to the planning commission for adoption. These subsequent planning commission meetings drew some new input from another 120 persons, many who had not attended any workshops.

An October meeting (52 attendees) provided much additional input. Here, the planning commissioners were largely influenced by the development community. Document changes reflect their various concerns, as well as those of two county commissioners, whose comments heavily influenced the planning commissioners' ultimate decision to liberally water down the plan.

A November meeting (68 attendees) included mostly large landowners, whose concerns about potential loss of private property rights were expressed. This led to removal of all language regarding any type of "corridors" - scenic, river, and potentially, wildlife.

Those interested in what results are strongly advised to attend the planning commission meetings. Here the plan is analyzed word-for-word to ensure that the final document is both understandable, enforceable, and a fair representation of the coy- munity's overall vision.

What I heard in the workshops was that citizens are tremendously willing to consider any plausible options to entice/support landowners to keep their properties scenically attractive and environmentally healthy. I think, deep down, most of us want this, but there's fear about how we can achieve it. No one has a plan to take anything away from anyone - we're actually searching for ways to reward and benefit those most able to protect the area's quality and beauty for future generations. As long as we maintain the area's natural beauty, newcomers will likely pay more for properties that are closely surrounded by it.

Since a master plan is advisory, not regulatory, it's important that the community's "vision" stays reflected in its content, otherwise, our intentions will be lost. The citizens' desire to find ways to benefit and support large landowners in maintaining the beauty of their lands will not be a governmental motivation if the action to stimulate discussions with large landowners is not addressed in the plan. Their "to-do" list is just too long.

Let's not rush document changes without a friendly exchange of solutions between opposing viewpoints so peaceful resolution to appease fears about the future is possible. The best way to get a final plan that truly represents a community's "vision" is for all citizens to be involved.

Two upcoming Planning Commission meetings both start at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, but their locations and topics differ: Dec. 27, commissioners' meeting room (courthouse) - most chapters reviewed, but Chapter 5 land management will not be discussed. Jan. 24, PLPOA Clubhouse, Port Avenue - exclusively covering Chapter 5, with Colorado Department of Wildlife presentation. Keep in mind that public input is limited to two minutes (maximum), so be specific on your concerns.

For a copy of the draft plan, call 264-5851, ext. 1152.

Peace on Earth,

Karen Aspin


Water dowsing

Dear Editor,

I wonder if you could help us out. We're trying to track down a documentary that was on cable access TV in Colorado a few years back. It was about two gentlemen in Pagosa Springs who had learned some secrets of water dowsing from a Chinese man called Mr. Lee, and how they could not only find water on a property but also redirect it by striking the ground with rebar. If you have any idea of the men's names, whether they're still in the area, or how we might get a hold of the film, we'd be very grateful if you'd e-mail us at alura@la

Thanks much,

Laura Bulkin

Taos, N.M.


Article incorrect

Dear David,

It was nice to see an article about the various religious holidays that are celebrated this time of year. I don't know from whom or where you received your information, but some of the facts in the article were incorrect. This year Chanukah (spellings of the holiday are optional) begins on the night of Dec. 21. The Jewish calendar is a 13 month calendar and all holidays are prescribed by the calendar. Each year, various observances fall on different days from the year before.

The celebrations in various parts of the world and in this country vary from region to region and family to family. Some of the ones in the article were different from what I've seen or heard over the years. Since the holiday is celebrated in winter, it is easy to say that Jews have it as a substitute for Christmas. And it gets Jewish parents off the hook. However, that is not why the holiday is celebrated. Chanukah is a celebration of fighting and overcoming an enemy who despoiled the Temple and attempted to stop the Jews from practicing their religion. This holiday celebrates religious freedom, which most Jewish people have been taught and understand.

Finally, the information about gift giving on the Purim holiday is either incorrect or some kind of regional anomaly. That is not what that holiday celebrates.


Judy Esterly


Designated drivers

Dear Editor,

'Tis the season for celebration at holiday parties with family, friends and co-workers. Because those of us in southwest Colorado know the importance of celebrating responsibly, the holiday party designated driver is this season's hero. And across the country, Americans recognize designated drivers as an important group of people. A recent poll shows 92 percent of the public endorse the designated driver concept as an excellent or good way to curb drunk driving. And 12 million adults say they have been a designated driver or have been driven home by one.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's recently released 1999 statistics, drunk driving fatalities are down 41 percent since 1982, and designated drivers certainly deserve some of the credit. Obviously, there is still room for improvement and more work needs to be done, but when it comes to reducing drunk driving fatalities, we all make a difference.

As adults in our community make plans for holiday parties, please remember that responsible drinking is everyone's responsibility. Make designated drivers a part of your party planning.


Dave Haley



Last day together

Dear Editor,

For those of us in Pagosa Springs who were privileged to host members of the cast of Up With People in September, the news in the Durango Herald on Dec. 7, hit real close to home. Here is the e-mail we received from one of "our girls" yesterday:

Hi everyone,

I have some unfortunate news and I apologize for telling you all so informally. On Dec. 7 we were all informed that Up With People as an organization is suspending operations. It's due to lack of funding (as this is a non-profit organization). This means that my time with Up With People is finished. My cast, Cast B, gave their final performance last night. This has really hit me hard, as well as everyone in Casts A, B, and C, host families, real families and the other 18,000 alumni around the world. There really are no words to explain the feelings I am going through.

Today is our last day together as a group and tomorrow we all go our separate ways. For now I have no set plans except I will stay in Europe. I hope to return back to the states around the middle of March. I plan to do some backpacking through Europe with a friend or two. This won't compare to what a year in Up With People would have been like, but I'm telling myself that everything happens for a reason. Thank you to all of my host families that have made the past five months unbelievable.

Love, Tracy

Submitted by her hosts,

Frank and Marilyn Hutchins


Website tedious

Dear Editor,

Your weekly website is beginning to look like an obituary page. News of local deaths is important to local people of course, but aren't most of your readers computer users living in other areas? I for one would be more interested in other local news items, rather than presentations which lately have been focused on deaths. Surely there are more interesting matters that can be featured on your rather limited website.

When I am in Pagosa Springs I enjoy your paper very much. Your website is becoming tedious, however. Thanks for your consideration, because I really love Pagosa Springs and think you can do better.

The Jansons in Tucson


Coming together

Dear Editor,

Recent headlines in the Pagosa SUN cause one to realize the impermanence of life. In two weeks we've had, what, five or six deaths as front page articles. How fitting to have a memorial service coming up this evening, the 14th, at 7 p.m. in the new Ridgeview Mall.

The holidays can be a mixed bag of emotions. Some joyous, others sad. Sad in that we miss our friends and relatives who have died, and joyous in that we had the opportunity to share some of our life with them.

Our fourth Candlelight Service provides a point in time when we, as a community, can come together to remember those who have died, share the comfort of the living and rejoice in the knowledge that everyday we awake we have the opportunity to enjoy the gift of life.

Please join us, indoors, (for the first time), at the Ridgeview Mall across from Los Amigos tonight at 7. Hugs and warm refreshments can be savored by all.

Richard Miller

Hospice of Mercy


You don't care

Dear Editor,

United we stand, unarmed we fall.

Don't vote, don't care, it will go away. It's not your problem, is it? No one to vote for, you say? Excuses galore, too busy, too tired, etc. I've heard them all.

And yes, it will go away. People in this country are hacking away, ever so slowly at the Constitution of the United States of America. So as not to be noticed.

Then without warning, it's too late. You will be sitting there and your door is busted down, by the powers that be at the time looking for firearms, and you say to them, "I didn't do anything."

That's right, you didn't do anything. Because you don't care. So pack you bags and move to a country where you don't need to vote.

This country is going to heck in a hand basket. And you are carrying it.

This letter is being written to make you mad. Mad enough to care, mad enough to get involved.

What would you have done, if George Washington came to your door needing help to beat the queen? Tell him you have run out of balls for your musket?

Yours truly,

Jody Ray Morris


Planes flying low

Dear Editor,

I am sitting here waiting for my heart rate to slow back down to normal. Once again I have been awakened from a deep sleep to the sound of a small airplane coming so low over my house it literally rattled the windows.

My question is: Do we really need these planes flying so low over the residential areas at 3 a.m.?

Sherri Sawicki


Letter of refute

Dear Editor,

Last week a picture of me appeared in the Pagosa SUN receiving an award given by Jean Bruscia, District Manager of the American Cancer Society, for the work I supposedly did on behalf of the Road to Recovery.

This letter is to refute the mostly false scuttlebutt that I designed the award plaque, paid for it and hired a local actress to present it. Early this year I experienced a minor case of quadruple by-pass and this flimsy event was used, by my enemies, as an excuse to take the lush job of coordinator of the Road to Recovery volunteer drivers away from me.

I know that when Mamie Lynch took over the 50 volunteer drivers would find out that I had been goofing off more than doing my job. OK, so what if Mamie should have gotten the award, that's not my problem.

Have good holidays,

Lee B. Sterling


Robyn Miller

Pvt. Robyn A. Miller, graduated from basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. on Nov. 30, 2000. She is attending AIT training at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Robyn is the daughter of Robert and Sandra Miller.


Sports Page

Pirates 3-0 in Wolf Creek Classic

By John M. Motter

Behind a stifling man-to-man defense, Pagosa Springs shut down Aztec, N.M., 53-45 Saturday night, the Pirate's third win without a loss in the Wolf Creek Invitational Basketball Tournament last weekend in Pagosa Springs.

The Pirates opened tournament play Friday with a 49-28 victory over Dolores County, then stopped Montrose 50-32 early Saturday afternoon.

Despite going three and 0, Pagosa narrowly lost the tournament championship to Gunnison. The Cowboys also earned three wins, beating Nucla 61-60, Aztec 52-45, and Dove Creek 71-31. Pagosa Springs did not play Gunnison.

In the event of a tie, the tournament title is awarded the team with the largest victory margin. Gunnison's victory margin for the three games was 48 points, Pagosa Spring's victory margin 47 points.

"I'm naturally happy that we won all of our games" said Kyle Canty, the Pagosa coach. "I guess I was most impressed with the way we played defense against Aztec during the first half."

Pagosa's boys now have four wins for the season, against a single loss.

As to not winning the tournament, Canty said, "I guess I should have had someone defending closer on that last three-pointer during the Aztec game. But, we didn't play any of the games to run up a score. We wanted to play the best basketball we could and at the same time give all of our boys a chance to play."

The three-pointer referred to by Canty was a final buzzer banging desperation shot by Aztec's Cody Picard. That score narrowed the margin of the Pagosa win over Aztec sufficiently to give the tournament title to Gunnison.

Pagosa dominated the all-tournament team chosen by coaches of participating fives. Named from the Pagosa squad were David Goodenberger, Micah Maberry and Tyrel Ross. Joining the Pagosa trio were Justin Tate of Gunnison, Mike Epright of Nucla and Picard of Aztec.

The Pirates travel to Montrose this weekend to participate in the Black Canyon Invitational Tournament. Pagosa opens play tomorrow in the Lloyd McMillan Gymnasium at 4:45 p.m. against the Gunnison Cowboys. Saturday, the boys play Rifle at 8:15 a.m. in the auxiliary gym, then close out at 3:15 p.m. in the same gym against Olathe. Last year in the Black Canyon Tournament, Pagosa defeated Gunnison 56-43, Olathe 54-48, and lost to Rifle 50-40.

Following the Black Canyon tournament, the Pirates take a break over the Christmas holidays. Play resumes Jan. 4 when they host Bloomfield, N.M., in a non-league encounter. Intermountain League play begins Jan. 12 when Pagosa travels to Bayfield. Pagosa's IML opponents are Bayfield, Centauri, Ignacio and Monte Vista.

Pagosa 49, Dolores County 28

The Pirates opened in swashbuckling fashion against Dolores County. Before the Bulldogs could unsheathe their swords, Pagosa was on top 12 to zip. By the end of the initial period, Pagosa led 12-4 and Canty was substituting freely.

Pagosa led 31-14 at hot dog break time, and 45-18 at the end of the third period. The Pirates' defense smothered any scoring hopes the Bulldogs had, while Maberry, Ross and Goodenberger piled up the buckets. Maberry topped Pagosa scoring with 16 points earned from a variety of moves in and around the basket. Ross contributed 12 points, 10 in the second period on the scoring end of a potent fast break, and Goodenberger added 10 points.

Daniel Crenshaw, with four offensive and five defensive rebounds for a total of nine, topped the Pirates in that department. Pagosa recorded seven blocked shots, led by Todd Mees with three blocks. Gooden- berger led in assists with five, Ross in steals with seven. Pagosa hit 23 of 49 field goal attempts for a 46.9 shooting percentage, 0 for 4 on three-point tries, and 3 for 6 from the charity stripe.

Pagosa Springs 50, Montrose 32

After losing to Aztec in its opener, Montrose came out firing against Pagosa Springs. A pair of treys put the Indians on top 6-0. Pagosa was forced to play catchup, something the Pirates didn't accomplish until the closing seconds of the first half. During the catchup chase, Pagosa's offense slowed down the Indians and a pair of treys by Brandon Charles got the Pirates started.

The first-quarter score was Montrose 12, Pagosa Springs 11. Pagosa added nine second-period points to five for Montrose to take a 20-17 halftime lead. Riding on the strength of seven points by Ross, five points by Goodenberger, three points by Crenshaw, and two points by Maberry, Pagosa stretched its lead to 37-25 by the end of the third period. The final period was more of the same. The Pirates outpointed their opponents 13-7 during the period.

Pirate scoring was balanced with Goodenberger and Maberry each racking up 13 points, Charles 10 points, and Crenshaw and Ross seven points each.

Goodenberger was Pagosa's leading rebounder, grabbing 10 boards for the game. Maberry captured seven rebounds and turned in two blocked shots and three steals. Pagosa took 39 shots from two-point range and connected 17 times, a 44 percent shooting accuracy. From beyond the three-point arc, Pagosa hit 3 of 11 attempts, an accuracy of 27 percent. Pagosa's free-throw accuracy was 50 percent based on 7 of 14 shooting.

Pagosa 53, Aztec 45

Aztec entered the tournament in the favorites' role. Last year, the Tigers played in the New Mexico 4A championships final game. During the Wolf Creek Classic, Aztec was handicapped because three starters were required to take ACT tests Saturday. Those three players tossed in 33 points in the first Aztec game during which they beat Montrose. Gunnison beat Aztec 52-45 Saturday morning with the three starters gone.

Those starters were back for the game against Pagosa Springs Saturday night, but it didn't matter. The Pagosa five played defense with a special determination, limiting Aztec to six first-quarter points and only 14 points at the half.

At the same time, Maberry broke loose for 16 first-half points, helping Pagosa build a 19-5 first-quarter and 34-14 half-time lead. Aztec came back in the second half to outscore Pagosa 31-19, but it was a case of too little, too late.

"That was the best defense I've seen our boys play in a long time," Canty said of the Pagosa first-half effort. "We forced them out of their game plan."

Maberry was Pagosa's leading scorer with 26 points based on 12 field goals and a pair of free throws. Goodenberger added 12 points, Ross seven points, Lister six points and Chris Rivas two points.

Pagosa shot 49 percent from two-point range, connecting on 18 of 37 tries. The Pirates made 2 of 8 from three-point range for a 25 shooting percentage. From the free-throw line, Pagosa hit 11 of 18 for 61 percent accuracy.

Goodenberger was the Pirates' top rebounder with seven rebounds, six from the defensive end of the court. Goodenberger also was tops in assists with five and picked up one steal. Maberry and Darin Lister each had three steals and Lister contributed four blocked shots.


Ladies lose Classic Title tilt to Montrose 36-27

By Richard Walter

"Don't be bitter, just get better!"

That was Lady Pirates coach Karen Wells' admonition to her team this week after it dropped a 36-27 championship game to visiting Montrose Saturday in the Wolf Creek Classic.

"We go to their tournament this weekend and we need to go up and take back our pride," Wells said.

That loss was the concluding action in the girls' bracket of the Pagosa Springs tournament and came on the heels of successive victories for the Ladies over Doherty of Colorado Springs junior varsity, 46-43 and over Bloomfield (N.M.), 55-43; and Montrose wins 60-29 over Bloomfield and 51-32 over Gunnison.

Wells said her drills this week were focused on perimeter defense and improved passing on offense. "Our turnovers are killing the planned offensive movement," she said, "and we absolutely have to cut down on them."

Noting Montrose ran a sagging zone against Pagosa's two tall post players, Wells said the offense knew what to do to counteract that ploy but did not react to her repeated instructions.

Pagosa vs. Doherty

Starting a junior, a sophomore and three freshmen, the Spartans looked on paper like fodder for the Lady Pirates' grinding machine.

But paper is also used to record action and Doherty provided plenty of that. In fact, a barrage of 3-pointers (eight for the game) including five by sharpshooting guard Amy Aguilar, had the Pagosans on the run for a while.

Aguilar opened the game with a trey and Katie Lancing answered with a driving layup for Pagosa. An outlet pass to Aguilar resulted in another 3-pointer and the visitors were up 6-2 with just over a minute gone.

Then the Ladies turned to 6-foot-3 Ashley Gronewoller who pumped in six of her 14 game points in the quarter, most coming off assists from her post partner, Lancing, who had five of her game-high 20 points in the quarter. Pagosa was up 13-10 at the period break.

Doherty opened the second quarter with a driving layup by Laura Snider, cutting the Lady Pirates' lead to one, and another bomb from Aguilar giving Doherty a two-point lead. That was the end of the Spartan's scoring for the half, however, as coach Wells clamped on a tight shifting zone for the rest of the period. Gronewoller had four points in the quarter, Lancing added three and sophomore guard Shannon Walkup contributed an 8-foot pull-up jumper after faking her defender with a dribble hand change.

Doherty opened the second half with another quick burst featuring a lay-up by freshman guard Jenny Custer and, of course, another trey by Aguilar, cutting Pagosa's lead to 22-18.

The Ladies got four of those back on putbacks by Gronewoller and Lancing added two on a corner feed from Tiffanie Hamilton. But Pagosa's only other point in the period was a charity toss by Lancing.

The Spartans were not going to be intimidated by Pagosa's height or reputation and the Ladies seemed reluctant to challenge the 3-point shooters. Snider drilled two more threes, Aguilar added another, Custer chipped in with four points and freshman Kate Ter-Schwarz came off the bench to add a pair.

Senior guard Meigan Canty opened the final quarter with a 3-pointer of her own and also hit four of four attempts from the line in the quarter to notch all of her seven points for the game in the final frame. Patricia Henson, the Spartan's junior post, garnered her only points of the game with a 12-foot jumper and a free throw as the Spartans closed the gap again.

Walkup hit a driving layup for Pagosa and moments later Lancing was fouled while scoring a layup and converted the free throw. Sophomore forward Michelle Pape answered with a deuce for the Spartans.

Lancing was fouled on the return trip downcourt and canned both ends of a one-and-one. After Hamilton added a free throw, Lancing answered with the last of her 20 points and Pagosa led 46-42 with 27 seconds on the clock.

Aguilar drove the lane and was fouled by Gronewoller. She stepped to the line and hit the first shot cutting the lead to 46-43 but missed the second shot. Pagosa turned the ball over with 5.4 seconds and Doherty had a chance to tie with a trey. But the Spartans helped the home team out by committing their own turnover with 2.3 seconds left and that was the game: 46-43 for Pagosa.

Pagosa vs. Bloomfield

The Lady Pirates jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead against Bloomfield with Gronewoller and Lancing leading the way before Bloomfield's 5-foot-3 senior guard Tammi Duncan put the Bobcats on the scoreboard with a long 3-pointer at 5:07. After Gronewoller scored again the Bobcat's 5-foot-9 forward Claudette Frausto hit from the corner and the Pagosa lead was 12-5. Walkup hit a driving layup and Gronewoller and Lancing each added field goals and single foul shots for a 20-7 Pagosa lead after one period.

Bloomfield fouled Lancing on the opening play of the second period and she converted one of two from the line. Bloomfield sophomore Kaycie Jackson replied with the first of her four field goals for the game and Duncan hit a pair from the line to make the score 21-11.

Carlena Lungstrum, subbing for Canty, got one of those back on a free throw but missed her second attempt from the line. Hamilton intercepted the Bobcat's lead-out pass downcourt but was called for charging. With Pagosa leading 22-13, 5-foot-5 Bloomfield sophomore Kayla Brown hit a trey.

After Lancing and Gronewoller each countered with field goals, Lancing added a free throw and Pagosa, outscored 13-10 in the period, was up 30-20 at the half.

With Canty, Gronewoller, Lancing and Walkup all scoring early, the Lady Pirates rebuilt their lead as the Bobcats were held to seven points in the third quarter, three on another long bomb from Brown.

Leading 43-30 to open the final period, coach Wells substituted freely, giving every player dressed some tournament action. Andrea Ash turned in her only three points of the game in the period, Hamilton added a field goal, Lancing a field goal and two free throws, Walkup a field goal and Nicole Buckley and Lungstrum each added charity tosses in a 12-point period.

The Bobcats got three field goals from Jackson, one each from Harrison, Fox, Valdez and Finch and free throws from Finch and Valdez to outscore Pagosa 13-12 in the period and leave the final score at 55-43 for the Lady Pirates.

Pagosa vs. Montrose

The 3-point shot which had victimized Pagosa for the whole tournament came into play early as Montrose's 5-foot-4 senior Gina Davenport drilled one from far out to open the scoring. Then 5-foot-8 junior Janel Sutton added a deuce to put Montrose up 5-0.

Lancing drove the lane and dished back to Gronewoller who converted Pagosa's first points of the game at 4:35 and drew a foul which she converted to cut the Indians' lead to 5-3.

Then came the most unusual action of the game.

Montrose's No. 14 was sent to the scorer's table to substitute, but there was no 14 on the roster submitted for the official lineup for the game. In fact, eight of the numbers on the Montrose lineup had been changed from the list submitted prior to the tournament.

The result of this mixup was an "administrative technical foul" against Montrose. After the lineup was revised to include Carly Hornbeck as No. 14 instead of 44 as submitted, Lancing was sent to the line and hit both free throws to knot the score at 5-5. Gronewoller added two field goals on assists from Hamilton and Lancing and added one free throw before 5-foot-6 junior Jenny Evans fired in a trey for Montrose to leave the first quarter score at 9-8 in favor of Pagosa.

Then came the turning point in the game, a 19-6 second quarter burst by the Lady Indians, a period in which the Lady Pirates could do little right. They scored only two field goals, one each by Lungstrum and Gronewoller and a pair of charity tosses by Lancing.

Montrose scored the first eight points of the period on two field goals by Davenport and one each by Sutton and Emily Gibson. After Evans hit a trey at 3:29, Montrose was up 19-11. Then Sutton and Sisneros scored back-to-back driving layups off Pagosa turnovers.

When Gronewoller scored the final basket of the quarter, Montrose led 27-13 at halftime and the writing was on the wall.

Both teams struggled early in the third period with bad passes and missed shots. Canty finally broke the ice with a long trey and Hamilton added a short jumper to cut the Indians' lead to 29-20. Sara Klippert converted a pair of free throws for Montrose and the score at the end of a quarter in which both teams scored only five points was 32-20.

The fourth quarter opened with Lancing firing an air ball on a three-point attempt and Hamilton fouling the Indians' Katie Twehous who missed both free throws.

Walkup drove the lane for a score and Lancing stole the outlet pass but Canty misfired on the shot from her lead pass. Sutton answered with the Indians' only field goal of the period. Lungstrum, Amber Mesker and Ash each converted free throws for Pagosa and Gibson and Sisneros matched them for the Indians to make the final score 36-27 in favor of Montrose.

As was the case in the Cortez tournament the previous week, Lancing and Gronewoller were named to the all-tournament team. Joining them were Brianne Dillon of Nucla, Patrice Henson of Doherty, and Sara Sisneros and Emily Gibson of Montrose.

For the tournament, Pagosa shot 17 of 27 from the field for 62 percent against Doherty, 22 of 45 against Bloomfield for 48 percent, and only 9 of 27 against Montrose, for 33 percent. The Ladies shot 66 percent from the line against both Doherty and Bloomfield (12 of 18 in each contest) and 70 percent on 7 of 10 against Montrose.

With their season record now at 4-1, the Lady Pirates are off to the Black Canyon Classic in Montrose this weekend. They open at 3 p.m. Friday against Gunnison, meet Olathe at 10 a.m. Saturday and face a return encounter with Montrose at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.


Pirate wrestlers showing marked improvement

By Karl Isberg

They struggle, they grow, they get better.

After a trip to Aztec Dec. 7 for a triangular meet with the Tigers and Ignacio Bobcats, and a tournament two days later at Buena Vista, a young Pagosa Pirates wrestling team heads to Bloomfield, N.M., Friday with a 4-6 dual meet record, looking for more of the steady improvement that will pay off at season's end.

Pagosa lost to Aztec 63-7 then dropped the dual to Ignacio, 39-23.

Aztec is a legendary wrestling program and, though the Tigers might be somewhat weaker this season, any match with the team is bound to be difficult. Only two Pirates won contests against Tiger wrestlers: Michael Martinez took a 9-3 decision at 103 pounds and Mark Ginn won by major decision, 13-4, at 112 pounds.

"Actually," said Pirates coach Dan Janowsky, "I thought our guys wrestled some fair matches against Aztec. For a lot of our kids, this was the first time they had visited Aztec and the first time they've been through this. I think some of them might have been a little timid, but we had some good matches."

The story against Intermountain League and regional foe Ignacio was a bit different. "We were sloppier against Ignacio," said Janowsky. "Mentally, I don't think we were as ready to wrestle against Ignacio, and we looked flat."

Martinez won his match at 103 pounds with an 8-3 decision and Ginn won again at 112 pounds with a technical fall. Sophomore Cliff Hockett won his first match of the year with a decision at 135 pounds. Andrew Martinez won by decision at 160 pounds and Luke Boilini nailed a decision at 215 pounds. The Pirates received points at 171 pounds with an Ignacio forfeit.

Buena Vista tourney

Pagosa finished the Buena Vista Invitational in fourth place in an eight-team field.

Tournament action began with dual matches in two pools.

Pagosa started the day beating Class 3A Estes Park, 41-27.

"We got off to a decent start, against a team that matched up with us" said coach Janowsky.

Ginn got a first period pin at 112 pounds and James Gallegos dominated his opponent at 119 pounds, in a 21-6 technical fall. Mike Maestas won his match at 125 pounds with a pin. Clayton Masten took a 7-5 decision at 140 pounds while Trevor Peterson (145 pounds) and Zeb Gill (152 pounds) each pinned their opponents. The Pirates won by forfeit at 160 and 171 pounds. Boilini closed out the scoring with a 6-3 decision at 215 pounds.

Next up was Buena Vista and Pagosa lost to the hosts, 41-21.

Maestas earned points with a decision at 125 pounds and the Pirates got forfeit points at 135 and 152 pounds. Josh Richardson saw action at 171 pounds and won a 9-4 decision. Boilini stepped up to the heavyweight ranks and won at 275 pounds, 6-3.

"I think our guys dug themselves into a mental hole," said Janowsky. "It started with our match against Aztec and we were getting more and more defensive. In several matches we lost against Buena Vista, we were down on ourselves. We didn't see the openings; we had opportunities to win and we didn't take advantage of them."

Things turned around, however, following an analysis of the problem. "After the Buena Vista match," said the coach, "we sat down and talked about what we were doing to ourselves. The guys got focused on executing their techniques. From that point on, whether we won or lost, we were wrestling well, trying to score points."

Del Norte was the last team the Pirates faced in the preliminary round. Pagosa cruised to a 42-35 victory.

The match was a forfeit fiesta, with the Pirates getting free points at 103,112, 125, 135 and 215 pounds.

Due to a new system of determining which weight begins action at a dual meet, Gallegos, at 119 pounds, was one of the last Pirates to wrestle. He pinned his opponent in the first period and, said Janowsky, "sealed the dual win for us."

Richardson (171 pounds) got points with a pin at 1 minute six seconds of his match.

The 2-1 record in pool action put Pagosa in a dual with IML and regional nemesis Centauri. The Falcons prevailed, 49-21.

Michael Martinez came from behind to win 7-3 at 103 pounds. Ginn scored a pin at 1:12 at 112 pounds. With points from a Falcon forfeit at 152 pounds, the Pirates' only other victory came when Richardson pinned his man at 171 pounds 35 seconds into the match.

Again, Boilini (at 215 pounds) fought a heavyweight - this time in the person of the formidable Eddie Chacon, a 1999-2000 state placer and the second-place heavyweight at last year's regional tournament. Boilini lost a 5-1 decision but his coach was pleased with the effort. "Luke is a smart wrestler, with very good defense," said Janowsky. "He does a good job handfighting, staying in position."

Bloomfield tournament

For the first time in many years, the Pirates will not participate in the Warrior Classic at Grand Junction. Janowsky chose to attend the Bloomfield Invitational instead, hoping his young athletes would wrestle more matches at the New Mexico tournament than at the notoriously difficult Warrior.

While no tourney roster was available at publication time for the Bloomfield Invitational, the field is extensive enough to require two days of action.

The tournament provides the last competition prior to the holiday break and until the Jan. 6 Rocky Mountain Invitational at Pagosa Springs.

The first of two sessions of wrestling begins at Bloomfield tomorrow at 10 a.m.

A two -session day of competition begins Saturday at 9 a.m.

"At this point of the season," said Janowsky, "we don't want to focus on the outcome of matches or tournaments. We need to concentrate on little victories during a match. I saw a lot of matches, especially in our last two duals, where I thought we were even with our opponents, where we executed well early in the match. Often, we were wrestling guys who were older and physically superior to us and we were giving them a battle. We need to look for positive things and build on them; focus on extending opponents for a longer period of time."

Going into the last matches of the first part of the season, Janowsky said he sees "really great possibilities for our guys. Right now, they're trying to get in position to keep matches in range, trying to learn how to shut a guy down and keep him from getting what he wants. We have a lot of time left in the season. I want our guys thinking they can place at regionals. I want them to get to the point where they know, if they do things a certain way, they have a chance to place and maybe get to the state tournament. Our matches have been exciting and we've tried to point out to the guys that they need to enjoy that excitement. The more you enjoy it, the more chance you'll have to succeed."



Community News

Chamber News

By Sally Hameister

Christmas concert frosted season's cake

The icing on the holiday cake for me is the glorious Christmas Concert presented annually by the Community Christmas Choir at Community Bible Church, under the flawless direction of Marie Martin Jones and accompanied by talented Melinda Baum on piano.

This year's program included Our Savior Lutheran School Children's Choir directed by Dr. Al Landes (Co-Director of the Concert), the Fort Lewis College Brass Ensemble and the Community United Methodist Church Handbell Choir under the direction of Jody Hott. Eighty-eight magnificent voices joined in song with selections from Star Carols and "The Messiah" and some stunning solos were performed by remarkably talented people. Singers, Reyanna Klein, Elizabeth Jernigan and Faith Richardson once again added a particularly dramatic dimension to this magnificent production. We owe all these wonderful people a huge debt of gratitude for the many hours they spend in rehearsal to bring us two performances of pure Christmas joy every year. Thank you, Marie and company, for providing yet another evening that truly sets the holidays in motion for others and me.

The winners are . . .

I just hope all of you were there last Friday evening for the world's cutest parade. The Parade of Lights this year was indeed all I had hoped for and more. I hope we can grow in the number of entries, but the quality of the 13 was perfection itself. Congratulations to the winners in the three categories. I was with the judges, and I can tell you that they labored over the decisions with so many worthy candidates. I truly appreciate all those who entered and would dearly love to double the number of entries in next year's parade.

The Downtown Merchants Association and the Christian Motorcycle Association tied for first prize in the Association category, and the prancing reindeer and sled representing Wells Fargo Bank took first place honors in the Business category. In the Family category, the Edward Archuleta family won first place with Mr. and Mrs. Santa atop a gorgeous animal all decked out for the holidays. Congratulations to all, and we look forward to seeing you again in next year's parade.

As always, there are so many to thank for a successful event, and we just hope that we don't forget anyone. First, thanks to Suellen and the board of directors for all the hard work on the Chamber float and, specifically, thanks to Terry Smith for allowing us to use his truck once again. Many thanks to the Town of Pagosa street crew, to Don Volger and the Pagosa Springs Police and to the Colorado Mounted Rangers Troop F for all the work before, during and after the parade. I am fully aware of the extra headaches a parade presents for all these folks, but I also know how much pleasure they bring to so many people - so I hope it all evens out in the end. We are grateful to you all and appreciate all you do, I promise.

Thanks to our esteemed judges for standing out in the cold with their Santa hats trying with all their might to select three winners from an exceptional number of floats. We are grateful to the Reverend Annie Ryder of St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, Pastor Don Ford of the Community United Methodist Church and Reverend Louis Day of Pagosa Springs Funeral Options/Mountain Christian Fellowship. They are all such good sports, and we do appreciate them.

Welcoming service

There was a lovely expression of gratitude in the letters to the editor in last week's SUN, and as much as I would love to take credit for the Pagosa Springs Welcoming Service, I feel I must clarify the different roles. The Welcoming Service is a totally independent business and not an arm of the Chamber.

Lyn DeLange established it in 1975, and literally thousands of newcomer families have been greeted by this business in the past 25 years. Lyn's motto has always been, "When you shop locally, everyone is a Winner!" and she obviously walks the walk with the newcomer packet filled to the brim with information about local businesses and non-profits. I know these things, you see, because I was the lone "welcomer" with Lyn for almost three years and presented the packet to minny, minny families. The Chamber of Commerce is, in fact, one of the numerous clients in the packet sharing information about the Chamber and encouraging them to "join up."

It is no surprise that folks are still enjoying the many bennies in the newcomer packet, but we must give all the credit to Lyn DeLange and her wonderful Pagosa Springs Welcoming Service. We are fortunate to have such a service in Pagosa.

Nutcracker ballet

You still have two evenings and an afternoon to attend the Christmas classic, "The Nutcracker" ballet at the San Juan Dance Academy at 188 South 8th Street. Tickets are available at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park and The Pagosa Kid, and I'm guessing that you can also buy tickets at the door. The performances begin at 7 tonight and tomorrow night, and there is a special kids' performance at 2 p.m. Friday. General admission tickets are $6 and PSAC members are $5. This is such a lovely holiday treat for both children and adults - don't miss it. If you would like more information, please call Stephanie Jones at 264-5068.


Two new members and 12 renewals to share this week, which is proof-positive that threats of bodily harm work every now and then. Morna brought me a list of members who were somewhat lagging in renewing, and I made a few phone calls to encourage people to send in their renewal forms. Actually, I had a great time with it with all kinds of threats and silliness. Thankfully, it worked, and I'm grateful to those who responded so nicely.

Welcome to new member Darin Mundy with Farm Bureau Insurance located at 140-A Solomon Drive. Farm Bureau Insurance is a multi-line insurance agency offering life, health, auto, home, business and farm and ranch insurance. Please give Darin a call at 731-4190 to learn more.

William L. Bishop joins us as an Associate Real Estate Broker with Northern New Mexico Real Estate, Inc. located in Chama, New Mexico, meeting all your home, commercial and land real estate needs. You can call William at (505) 756-2196.

Renewals this week include Mike Branch, CPA; Blair Timmerman with The Emporium; Scott Miller with Mastercorp Carpet Cleaning; Ben Fernandez, Marketing Director with Sky Ute Casino and Lodge in Ignacio; Stephen Saltsman or Robin Fritch with Flexible Flyers Rafting in Durango; Maureen A. Widmer with Echo Manor Inn Bed and Breakfast; Doug Lattin with DNK Auto and Truck Repair; Lee Riley with Lee Riley, I Sell Pagosa, LLC, Jim Smith Realty; Donna Kiister with Impact Printing and Graphics, LLC; Shelby Delaney with Unique Mountain Log Homes; John G. Widmer with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Echo Transport; and LeeAnn Vallegos with Music in the Mountains in Durango. Thanks to one and all.

Candlelight service

The Fourth Annual "Festival of Lights" Candlelight Service will be held tonight, 7 p.m. at the new Ridgeview Mall. Louis Day will conduct the service sponsored by Hospice of Mercy, Pagosa Springs Funeral Options and Mountain Christian Fellowship. The agenda includes great inspirational music performed by talented local musicians, words of comfort and hope, a candlelighting ceremony and warm refreshments. It will be held inside the Mall, so you needn't be worried about cold weather.


Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

Rec Center memberships for 2001 go on sale Monday

Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center's 2001 memberships will go on sale starting Monday, Dec. 18. Get one for the family or for a friend for Christmas. Skip the knick knacks, chocolates or liquor. Give something that encourages a healthy lifestyle, stretching the pleasure over an entire year and gaining benefits. If you do not have a 2000 Recreation Center membership, the early purchase of a 2001 membership will allow access to the Recreation Center immediately giving a person two weeks of free use. For holders of 2000 Recreation Center memberships, renewal by Jan. 8 is necessary to continue use of the facility. Stay motivated, stay healthy. "Right on, pass the plate."

The spirit of Christmas is beautiful in Pagosa. Over the last month, there has been much giving, sharing and caring. Churches, businesses, special groups and individual volunteers have donated and/or collected massive amounts of food and a variety of Christmas gifts for the needy in our community. This exemplifies the spirit of Christmas.

The 2000 concert of Christmas music presented last weekend by the Community Christmas Choir was fabulous.

This 88-voice choir included members from 14 churches and groups in and around Pagosa Springs, as well as the Ignacio, Bayfield and Vallecito areas. To everyone of you who made the concert happen, I thank you for your gift of music and enjoyment.

PLPOA directors will hold their monthly meeting at 7 tonight in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. The following agenda was provided by PLPOA.

- Call to order

- Approval of agenda

- Approval of minutes of Nov. 9 board meeting

- General manager's report, Walt Lukasik

- Public comments (30-minute time limit)

- Treasurer's report, Director David Bohl

- Discussion of capital expenditures under allowable IRS regulations

- Close account at Pine River Valley Bank and transfer funds to Morgan Stanley Dean Witter account

- Committee reports

- Recreation center report, minutes, discussion of Phase I expansion study and schedule of 2001 center fees

- Minutes from Rules and Regulations Committee

- Discussion of continuance of Road Advisory Committee and Standing Road Committee, Director Jim Carson

- No other Committee reports submitted

- Old business - if any

- New business:

- 2001 budget ratification

- Property owner Dick Akin to discuss perceived commercial uses within single family land-use categories

- Ratification of retirement plan for general manager previously approved at executive session of Nov. 13, President Richard Manley

- Staff Christmas bonus plan, President Manley

- Annual staff cost of living adjustment, Director Bohl

- Continuance of property transfer fee, general manager Lukasik

- Adoption of revised personnel manual

- Discussion regarding minutes and minute taking, Director Fred Ebeling

- Correspondence (if any)

- Adjournment.


Senior News
By Janet Copeland

Annual meeting and election are Friday

All signs point to Christmas. Johnny Martinez, Lena Bowden and Mae Boughan decorated the tree at the Senior Center. It is beautiful, and sure helps get us into the spirit of the holidays.

The Mountain Harmony chorus entertained us at the Center at noon on December 13th. It is always a privilege to have this group perform for us - we look forward to it each year. Thank you, folks!

Ted Cope has had eye surgery - our prayers are with her for a speedy recovery.

We had several guests on Tuesday: Lisa Montoya, Susie Kleckner, Leslie Davis, Janelle Kares. Wednesday Rosemary LaVigne joined us. Welcome to all of you and we hope you can come more often.

The Seniors annual meeting and election will be at noon on Friday. I hope everyone will come and vote for the folks who will represent them next year. Officers of this organization have a lot of responsibility and should be selected carefully.

We received a Christmas card from Martha and Ray Trowbridge (who were with us during the summer but returned to Fort Myers, Fla. for the winter). They asked me to give their thanks and best wishes to all the seniors and staff at the Center. Also, Lilly Gurule wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

As I was involved with the bazaar at the Methodist Church for the last three weeks, several folks pitched in to keep me informed of the Senior news. Thank you to all who helped. You all are great.


Cruising with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

Skiing with confidence is a gender thing

Hotshot and I went skiing a couple of weeks ago, on one of those days when there hadn't been any new snow for over a week. The surface was crunchy and hard and even icy in some spots.

The regulars, the Gray Wolf regulars, kept saying how wonderful it was. I didn't have any fun. I thought it was a lot of hard work. I told Hotshot I wasn't going again until they got some new snow up there.

Now, I only learned to ski last winter. I can do the green runs, and sometimes, if conditions are just right, a couple of the blue ones. At the Wolf Creek Ski School they sort people into ability levels. If A is a rank beginner, I'm a B. Edging up toward C on a good day.

So you can imagine my amazement when I was offered a job there. Sort of.

The offer came last month when I was getting my picture taken for the seasonal pass. The nice young woman operating the camera asked me, "Are you interested in working here? It would be part-time."

"Doing what?" said I.

"Teaching. In the Ski School." She seemed serious, so I tried not to laugh.

"Oh, no," I said. "I don't think so."

"Well, how about in the ticket office, then? We usually need help during Spring Break, maybe over Christmas."

I told her I'd think about it.

It might be fun, working in the ticket office. Maybe I'd get some of those phone calls from people in far-off places, like Louisiana. People who want to come skiing next spring. People who like a sure thing. People who want to know if they should lay out big bucks now to lock in the trip.

"Tell me, are y'all going to have snow on March 15th? Will it be snowing then?" Well, how the heck should I know?

It snowed last weekend. On Sunday we went skiing.

I had one of those days when everything goes right. You know the kind I mean? Your legs and body are coordinated. They work in unison with each other. Your confidence is high. It seems as though you really do have the hang of this stuff.

My neighbor Buck says skiing with confidence is a gender thing. He says that a lot of men and women ski the same way they listen. You remember that study? Women use both sides of their brain; men just use one. Buck says that women, using their total brains, look at that steep field of white and think, "I could get hurt here," and they go slow. Men, utilizing only half a brain, think, "Hey, this looks like fun." And away they go.

Personally, I think it's a matter of practice. On Sunday, I didn't do any of that "stop at the top and become petrified" stuff. This time, I looked and felt like a skier.

Hey, maybe I should reconsider that teaching offer.

Even when I dropped a pole getting on a chair lift, my confidence remained high. Sometimes the instructors have new students practice holding their poles in both hands across the front of their bodies. I figured that I could ski down the hill using that technique.

But just in case, I waited at the top of the lift. Sure enough, here came a snowboarder carrying a pole. Not his. Mine. The approach I made to retrieve it from him wasn't graceful, but who cares? I've been offered a teaching job.

I'm still figuring out what to do with poles anyway. People who ski the moguls, those bumps that develop over time if the run isn't groomed regularly, "plant" their poles to make turns. I've tried a little gentle planting, making turns on the regular runs, but so far nothing clicks.

Doesn't matter. I can still teach.

I'm not sure who I'd teach. Not the little kids. Their instructors don't use any poles at all. And they have to be able to pick up their charges sometimes, when they get stuck, and turn them the right direction. I'm not interested in heavy lifting.

But I have some students in mind.

Sunday, riding in the chairlift, we overheard this bit of conversation between two young women below us. "Do you know how to use your poles?" asked the first. "Not really," replied her friend. "I just kind of drag them behind to slow myself down."

Maybe she could be in my ski class.

Here's another candidate. A friend told me about a woman who had never taken a lesson and didn't know how to turn. She'd ski across the slope and fall down. Then she'd reposition her legs, push herself up facing the opposite direction, traverse back across the slope and repeat the process. Fall down. Shift. Struggle up.

It sounds exhausting, doesn't it? Most of the people I know try very hard not to fall down. It's too much work to get back up. I can't imagine doing it deliberately.

My friend had never taken a lesson either. But he showed the falling-down woman how to plant her poles downslope and turn by making little steps, pivoting her skis a bit at a time, until she was facing back the other way.

I'll bet they wouldn't offer him a job teaching in the ski school.

Maybe both of them could be in my class. Just as soon as Wolf Creek really hires me.


Library News
By Lenore Bright

Good books are always a welcome present

We will be closed Dec. 23 and 26. Be sure and check out your materials to get you through this time. We'll also be closed Dec. 30 to Jan. 1 for inventory and carpet cleaning.

Shopping ideas

In a quandary as to what to give? Good books are always welcome - especially for the little ones. There are now seven bookstores in our area; literacy is alive and well in Archuleta County. Don't forget we have Pagosaopoly and Wine Trivets for gift ideas.

New books

"Points, Pithouses, and Pioneers: Tracing Durango's Archaeological Past," by Philip Duke and Gary Matlock, is carefully researched and contains detailed descriptions of local sites.

The Animas Valley was home to a large prehistoric population that lived several centuries earlier than that of Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon. Durango's location at the boundary between the mountains and the desert offers the opportunity to investigate how they lived in a "marginal" environment. Duke is a professor of anthropology at Fort Lewis.

The holidays are supposed to be stressful. At least that's what we hear every year. Well we have a new "Stress Management Sourcebook" by Cunningham just in time to smooth out the tension.

"Pagan Babies," by Elmore Leonard has an unforgettable cast of oddballs and schemers to delight Leonard fans.

"Worst Fears Realized," brings back one of Stuart Woods's favorite characters, Stone Barrington, in his fifth novel of the life and times of the former cop, lawyer and investigator.

"How to Keep Your Teenager From Driving You Crazy," by Paula Bender discusses laying the groundwork for a more peaceful home.

"Give Me Liberty!" by Gerry Spence is his landmark personal work. It is an inspiring work empowering us and suggesting how we can free ourselves in the 21st century. His book is likened to Thomas Paine's "Common Sense."

Valley history

The new issue of the "San Luis Valley Historian" tells about wrecks on the Cumbres Toltec Railroad. Some great pictures show the episodes. This magazine is in the Hershey Collection.

Too hot

The Pagosa Fire Protection District brought over a new display that is in the library foyer. Pick up a pamphlet featuring ways to protect your home and family from cooking fires. Did you know that more than 100,000 fires a year are started in the kitchen?

The free pamphlet has a refrigerator magnet you can use to post emergency phone numbers. Pick up one at the library.


Thanks for materials from Carol Hakala, Robert Mercer, Keith Olinger, Aristotle Karas, Staci Tye, Dot Jones and Tom Knudsen.


Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

Bazaar's bank bag still missing

If you made a purchase at the Russ Hill Memorial Christmas Bazaar before Dec. 5 and paid by check and it has not cleared by your bank when you receive your next bank statement, please contact Joann Sager at 731-2302. The Dec. 4 deposit containing numerous checks is still missing. All the checks had been stamped "for deposit only" and endorsed "CUMC Supper Fellowship." The deposit was in a green Citizen's bank deposit bag. Thank you for any help in this matter.


In last week's column I included "Mary Hohns Sweet Potato Souffle." I wrote "to cook at 250 degrees." Wrong. Cook for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Then add the topping and continue cooking 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

I wrote about "the late Mary Hohn." Wrong again. Mary lives in Fort Collins. I do apologize for this mistake.

And there is an addition to the Cranberry Congealed Salad. Let the cream cheese and marshmallows (after being combined) sit for one hour so that the marshmallows will melt. Then add whipped cream a bit at a time.

For a copy of the whole recipes, please leave a message for me at the SUN office, 264-2100.

Around town

A number of years ago, Sisson Library volunteers decided to give a potluck lunch for the staff. It was to be a secret, but because it was important to know when all the staff members would be in residence, "the secret" could not be secret.

But, just for the fun of it, everyone acted as though it was a secret. The staff was cute - covering their ears and walking away when the volunteers forgot and talked about the coming event. The day was the second Friday in December - and so it has been ever since.

But this year the "secret stuff" had to come to an end (the doing so was threadbare) - but not the potluck lunch in honor of the staff.

It was a good event. This year the entertainment was for everyone to write "what I want most for Christmas." Some jumped at the idea, some scratched their heads and wrote something, and some are still thinking. But this is the list of those who filled the assignment.

Donna Geiger: a new roasting pan for the turkey.

Helen Bartlett: Peace in the world.

Kay Grams: Health and family harmony.

Patty Sterling: To win the lottery so I can give the library a million bucks.

Cindy Gustafson: Return to perfect health.

Lee Sterling: A Democrat President.

Carrie Weisz: My family to get home safely.

Don Bartlett: Continued health for myself and family.

Ann Van Fossen: Indoor or outdoor garden fountain.

Lenore Bright: The elk to be safe in my meadow.

Lynda Van Patter: For Gene Crabtree to embrace the Community Plan.

Glenn Van Patter: More snow.

Bev Papierniak: A happy, peaceful visit with our children for our first Christmas in Colorado.

Ernestine Bower: To have a president for our country.

Kate Terry: A hubcap to replace the one I lost on Highway 84.

Shirley Snider: Snow - but not on the days I have to drive.

Nancy McInerney and Cathy Dodt-Ellis: That all homeless animals find homes for Christmas.

Shirley Iverson: A healthy New Year for all.

Fun on the run

"Are you telling me those old ladies in Palm Beach can handle 15 bingo cards at one time and can't punch out one ballot?"




One editor's position

Since this column will be attributed to the editor, and are at the upper left-hand corner of page 2 section 1,the following opinions and positions are this week's editorial. Being the editorial page, this is the page the editor uses to express his opinions or position on subjects that he considers relevant in general or timely in particular.

Based on recent comments from the SUN's advertising sales staff, I'm aware that some readers have taken offense with a series of advertisements certain local businesses and individuals have placed the past few weeks. Likewise, a caller yesterday, who graciously identified himself, left a cordial message on my voice mail to say he considered the "Jesus Reigns . . ." ads to be offensive.

Some of the offended parties questioned whether the ads represented the position of the SUN. It is my contention that as inanimate objects, local weekly newspapers per se don't espouse positions. It is the editor or publisher who expresses positions and establishes and implements a newspaper's policies.

I have imposed a limited number policies at the SUN since late April 1981. Two of the earliest, unchanging policies during that time have been, one, neither the SUN's editor or its reporters sell advertisements, and two, no one who sells advertisements for the SUN writes editorials or reports on news events.

Just as I contend editors, not inanimate newspapers, take positions; I disagree with the "Jesus Reigns in Pagosa Springs" concept. Pagosa Springs is an inanimate municipality of corporate citizenry of diverse beliefs and unbeliefs. However, like many published advertisements with which I personally disagree, I do not think the ad in question was placed with the intent of hurting or offending anyone. Nor do I think the ad damages the credibility or the integrity of the SUN.

As for my personal position or belief system, I believe Jesus reigns in the hearts or souls of individual human beings (not nations or municipalities) who by faith have acknowledged him as their savior and lord. Such faith is not inherited through family lineage, inculcated from a culture or society, nor based on education,gender, race, nationality or citizenship. Instead, surpassing all reason, knowledge, wisdom and understanding; it is an internalized faith that graciously ". . . is the gift of God; not the result of works (human efforts), that no one should boast." Admittedly and historically, such thinking is foolishness to some and offensive to others.

Intended as clarification, not to offend the ones who placed the ad or those offended by it, it's understandable that editorials such as this will solicit varying reactions.

David C. Mitchell


Dear Folks

By David C. Mitchell

Focusing on Pagosa's treasures

Dear Folks,

I'm running late with this.

Being a child of radio's golden era, I took the time to listen to Vice President Al Gore's address to the nation. An hour later I listened to Governor George W. Bush's address.

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address has taught that only time determines whether "The world will little note or long remember . . ." the words that were spoken last night or the men who spoke them.

It's my understanding that a train ride across the Eastern Plains of Colorado prompted Katherine Lee Bates to write "America the Beautiful" that Gore referred to in his closing comments. Her words remain timely 96 years later:

"America! America!

"God mend thine every flaw,

"confirm thy soul in self-control,

"thy liberty in law."

I also got a late start because I spent part of Wednesday attending the funeral of Carl Bolt. I don't apologize that his obituary appears on the front page

Raised on radio and weaned from television, I'm almost a total stranger to the Internet, Web sites and e-mail. I admit this in hope the Jansons in Tucson and others will understand why obituaries appear on page 1 of the SUN.

Three factors - its geography, its climate and its people - make Pagosa a great place to live.

The weather, forests, rivers, streams, valleys and western terrain of the San Juan Mountains' Continental Divide attract new comers to Pagosa. It's the many wonderful folks who live in Pagosa that make them want to stay.

Obituaries about local deaths are not important, it is the wonderful folks who have passed away who are important to us. That's why whenever possible we try to place them on page 1.

We aren't focusing on deaths. We're focusing on lives of unique individuals who in their own unassuming ways made significant contributions to Pagosa.

For Pagosans, or folks who hope to someday be Pagosans, nothing is more interesting or matters more than the folks who raised families or operated businesses that left beneficial marks on Pagosa Springs.

Father John spoke to a mostly vacant sanctuary yesterday morning. With Carl having divided his time between Pagosa and Las Cruces the past 10 years, and the service being on a Wednesday, many of his old friends were unaware of the funeral.

The time lapse of 10 to 20 years makes today's page 1 headline, "Youth lose special friend . . ." somewhat inaccurate. The fledging hunters and fishermen Carl and Gen Bolt once befriended as important customers are now adults. The same with the youngsters who played on the soccer and baseball teams sponsored by The Trading Post. Owning a black Labrador whose lineage ran through Carl Bolt's Angus was a genuine status of distinction.

Because of the Bolt's formerly-young customers who continue to live here, and those who now live elsewhere, obituaries make interesting reading for many Internet users.

Pagosa is an enjoyable place to read about and to visit. And it's only natural that today's equivalent of Carl and Gen Bolt hope to eventually call Pagosa home.

I hope someday the Jansons in Tucson and others who vicariously identify with Pagosa through the limited Web site of the SUN will be able to be tomorrow's Gen and Carl Bolt or Jane and Bob Stewart or endless list of other folks whose lives once contributed to the positive news of Pagosa.

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



25 years ago

Jail escapee caught in Utah

Taken from SUN files

of Dec. 18, 1975

An Archuleta County man, who escaped from the county jail Nov. 1 has been arrested in Ogden, Utah. Utah officers, acting on information provided by special investigator Bill Richardson, made the arrest at Springerville, Utah, on Dec. 15. The escapee is being held on two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, following a fracas in Spanish Forks, Utah.

Jim Herzog announced the opening of his ice skating rink at the rear of Jan's Cafe this week. The rink is ready for skaters and lights are being installed for night skating. Herzog reports the ice is in good condition and that it will be maintained that way.

Pagosa District Ranger Dan Peters has announced that a timber sale will be bid Dec. 31. The sale involves 7,300M board feet of lumber and is located on the Lower Porcupine area approximately 9 miles east of town.

The snowpack on Wolf Creek Pass received 54 inches of new snow during a four-day period, Dec. 12 to Dec. 15, last weekend. The heaviest snowfall was reported from 8 a.m. Dec. 13 until 8 a.m. Dec. 14 during which time 32 inches of snow fell to average better than an inch of new snow per hour for that 24-hour period.


By Shari Pierce

Wolf Creek Pass, the 'great wonder'

In May 1915 it was reported the state highway engineer had determined that the route over the Continental Divide via Windy Point and Elwood Pass was not feasible. A new route would be determined.

Highway commissioner Ehrhart and engineer Maloney announced in July that "it was good policy to thoroughly investigate every route over the hill before approving any definite expenditure."

By late July San Juan Basin newspapers were calling for action. They were tired of the indecision and the "squandering of money" for numerous surveys. The SUN's position on the matter was that "three summers have been uselessly frittered away in maintaining expensive survey corps in the field without any definite results."

A decision was made August 17, 1914, and the announcement was: "The Wolf Creek route is the unanimous choice of the highway officials and has been unanimously endorsed by the board of construction, which was done on a motion of Commissioner Fred Catchpole, secretary of the committee."

The board for State Highway 15 met in May of 1915. A decision was made to immediately put out bids for construction of the road over the pass. The road would be 12 feet wide.

Now things began moving. By early June the SUN reported that 60 men were working on various aspects of the road project.

In mid-September of 1915 The Denver Times ran an article about the highway that it referred to as the "great wonder." The SUN repeated the article which said there was no better road building in Colorado than the Wolf Creek project. "It climbs the Continental Divide at grades ranging from 2 to 9 percent. Much of it has been hand hewn thru solid rock, and at some places the road skirts a precipice 1,700 feet deep far below.

An October news article put the cost of construction at $76,000 with eight miles of road left to be built. Work would continue on the road until weather halted it. This same article went so far as to predict travel in this area of Colorado would boom at least 25 percent in the following year.

It would be August of 1916 before Wolf Creek Pass was opened to the public. A celebration was held on August 21 at the summit of the new pass with an assortment of dignitaries present. Fred Catchpole of Archuleta County, who played an instrumental role in the creation of this highway was present at the ceremony.

Plans were already in the works to widen the road in the future "though it is now safe enough if strict attention is paid in driving."



Pacing Pagosa
By Richard Walter

Two stars a portent of miracle

The year was 1948. Pagosa Country was beginning to rebound after World War II, but an improved economy was still a dream aborning. For many youngsters in the community Boy Scouts was a new idea. It had been tried before but each time just faded away. Many said there were no qualified leaders because they were all involved in the war effort.

This time, however, there was leadership and a place to meet. The troop was sponsored by the Methodist Church and meetings were in the church.

There were Scout caps and kerchiefs but no full uniforms. It was, however, a group which learned quickly and wanted to fund activities for themselves.

Someone associated with the program suggested we might sell Christmas trees.

And the effort was approved. Permits were secured to cut the trees way above the terminus of First Notch Road and several local residents volunteered use of their trucks to haul the greenery out.

What no one anticipated was that the biggest storm of the year would come in the first week of December. The trucks could make it only part way up First Notch and all the trees we had cut were stacked about a mile from where they were forced to turn around.

Young Scouts of all sizes trudged through the deep drifts, shoveled and shook snow off the fallen trees and, one by one, carried them back through the snow to where they could be loaded onto the trucks.

Back in town, the sale site was established next to Lois Kinser's Diner, an old rail car converted to an eatery on the site where the SUN now stands.

The kids who had cut and carried out the trees took turns as sales crew during the weeks leading to Christmas Day. Each night, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., they were responsible for taking the cash payments, making proper change for customers, and then securing the site for the night.

It was a tough sell. Prices went all the way from 50 cents for a two-footer up to $4.50 for a 6-7 footer and money wasn't the most common commodity in Pagosa Country at the time.

We had cut 250 trees of varying sizes and by the end of the sales season, one lone scraggly pine with boughs missing down one side remained. No Scout would admit he was the one who cut this tree.

No one wanted that little tree. But it would find a home.

A troop member told us of a family in his neighborhood which had few if any prospects for a Merry Christmas. He suggested we might cheer them with a tree of their own, albeit one of the most scraggly specimens we'd ever seen.

His idea was that each member of the troop bring one ornament from home. The church sponsor offered to provide a silver garland and one industrious lad volunteered to build a proper stand for the ugly tree.

A mother made a star of aluminum foil to sit atop the tree and 16 ornaments were carefully hung, intertwined with the silver garland. A Scout and his sister joined to string popcorn for another decorative effect and still another produced luminescent plastic icicles to add to the decoration.

At last, on Christmas Eve, we were ready to deliver the tree. A parent offered use of a pickup to haul it but the Scouts agreed that would be too obvious.

"Why not use a sled?" one asked.

"Why not," we agreed.

A troop member volunteered his Silver Runner for the delivery and we came up with a ball of twine to anchor it down.

Silence was paramount if our surprise were to remain a surprise. How do you keep 16 Scouts quiet? Promise them a treat afterward.

And so we were off. The scraggly tree now a gleaming salute to the season. As the sled skimmed along with the tallest Scout pulling and the smallest walking right behind to make sure the tree didn't slip.

New snow was falling as we neared the house that Friday night. No lights shone inside and one troop member noted later that there were no wires leading to the structure.

We cut the twine and two Scouts carefully lifted the tree that had now become like a member of the troop and - snow crunching beneath our feet - carefully approached the two wooden steps leading to the door.

Somehow, the Scout-made base fit perfectly on the top step. Somehow the sound of our approach went unnoticed.

We backed off and stood silent, perhaps savoring the moment for memories such as this one.

But as we admired our production, we were struck by an object we hadn't noticed in our stealth to place the tree.

Hanging from a nail on the door was a lone 5-point star. It had been made by hand from scraps of wood and linked together with strips of baling wire. The star atop our tree stopped at the point where the wooden one began. Two stars were more than any of us had ever seen on a Christmas tree.

Silently, we eased back from the scene and then returned to the church where punch and cookies were waiting.

Someone asked if there were any special significance to a tree with two stars hanging above. No one could think of an answer.

On Christmas Day, as we opened our own gifts, we wondered if the tree had helped brighten the day for the recipient family.

The community was quiet as Christmas dawned. But from one house came news of a surprise Christmas visit.

Someone had left a decorated tree at their door, the residents said. And when they opened the door that morning they found a dozen beautifully wrapped gifts surrounding the tree.

Gifts? Where had they come from? We were as stunned as they. We knew the source of the tree, but never did we learn where the presents originated. It was suggested, however, that maybe there was some divine intent in the two homemade stars.

To this day, the Methodist church sponsors a Scout Troop and to this day the unit has devoted itself to civic awareness and assistance. Every year, for example, they collect non-perishable goods to be distributed to the needy.

A star still shines on the community. It looks down from Reservoir Hill thanks to the efforts of the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, a modern reminder of the star which led wise men from afar to a manger in Bethlehem.

The Circle of Friends told us the story earlier this year of their prayers and the events they stage to help defray expenses for families devastated by disease.

The significance of the mystery of what happened in Pagosa Springs during the 1948 Christmas season and the seemingly unending dedication of our residents to the well-being of their neighbors, often in complete anonymity, pale in comparison to the birth which took place in that stable.

If anyone doubts the generosity of Pagosans, they should visit the SUN offices where packages destined for the needy, through Operation Helping Hand, are beginning to occupy every available space.

I'm certain we'll hear of another Pagosa Springs miracle at Christmas here this year, next year and on into the future. Pagosans, you see, are miracle makers.


Old Timers

By John Motter

Business grew as rails approached

The arrival of the railroad in Pagosa Springs during 1900 was a big deal for citizens of the town. In anticipation of the economic boost the railroad would provide the community, a number of new businesses opened in town.

Adding to the economic boost, two large lumber mills employing hundreds of men sawed logs night and day. And wouldn't the Great Pagosa Hot Spring attract more health and pleasure seekers now that they could ride into town on the smooth wheels of a railroad car instead of a bumpy, 40-mile stagecoach trip from Lumberton?

In the beginning, the New Mexico Lumber Co. mill was located at Edith, the Pagosa Lumber Company mill at Pagosa Junction. Eventually, the Pagosa Lumber Co. mill ended up in South Pagosa. The two giants competed for the vast stands of saw logs in the county.

This is the third of a series describing Pagosa Country's reaction to the coming Pagosa & Northern Railroad with tracks being constructed from Pagosa Junction to Pagosa Springs.

Among the businesses advertising in The Pagosa Springs News were several realtors, hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, doctors, and lawyers. A second newspaper, The Weekly Times, rose to challenge The Pagosa Springs News.

Reavis and Seavy advertised the "Only livery and feed store in town. Horses kept by the day, week, or month." Seeming to contradict Reavis and Seavy's claim to be the only livery in town, another ad advised, "When in Pagosa put up your horses at O'Neal's feed and sale stable."

J.E. Colton promised real estate and loans with "several ranches in Archuleta County and about one hundred lots in Pagosa Springs."

Also offering real estate was C.H. Freeman, the county clerk. Freeman's business card touted real estate and town lots, abstracts, and insurance.

Visitors could find rooms at the Commercial Hotel, Geo. W. Arnold, Prop., for $1 and $2 per day. The Commercial was located on San Juan Street west of the river where Ron Schaffer sells stoves today. On San Juan Street east of the river, the San Juan Hotel still stood after more than 20 years. Run by Mrs. Doug Garvin and Mrs. Fil Byrne, the old hotel was claimed to be "first class in all of its appointments" and offered a table "stuffed with all that the market affords."

Then there was the Patrick Hotel and Bath Houses, strictly first class and managed by Bostwick and Morgan. And offered for sale was the American Hotel on the corner of 5th and Lewis Sts., J. M. Rippy.

Legal advice of all kinds was available, for a price, from V. C. McGirr and C.B. Weeks. Dr. Mary Winter, physician and surgeon, had Telephone No. 8 and offices in the Winter and Fisher Drug Store next to Frank Blake's house. Folks who didn't like Dr. Mary could subject themselves to the ministrations of Dr. K.L. Clock, physician and surgeon, who promised to respond day or night, Telephone No. 25, and offices in the Phillips House.

Men in need of a shave or a haircut could choose between Tonsorial Parlor, Jas. Enos, Prop., first door west of Commercial Hotel; or Pagosa Springs Barber Shop, A.J. Lewis, Prop., satisfaction guaranteed. Lewis was a town pioneer and it was his shop that later took in William Mullins, the father of Earl Mullins. We don't know where Lewis' shop was in June of 1900.

Anyone with a compelling thirst could find relief from Roush & Humphrey, dealers in choice liquors and cigars, and operators of the finest bar in the city.

Chas. Schaad & Co. Bottling Works featured Milwaukee and Neff beer at 25 cents per bottle, located on west San Juan Street.

One could purchase hardware from P.M. Cockrell, meat from the Pagosa Meat Market, general merchandise from P.L. Scott.

To keep flies out of the butter and keep it from melting, The News advised readers to buy one of Gean Gross's new and up to date refrigerators.

Salt! Salt! Salt! at less than cost was available at Bowling's Mammoth Department Store. At Bowling's one could find special bargains in summer goods, ladies and children's straws, Chihuahua and garden hats, lawns, India linen, piquays, etc., at prices to suit Pagosa pocket books. Also at Bowling's were the famous 'Gold Meadow' cowboy boots, and, newly arrived, 50 dozen Stetson hats.

Another advertisement promised, "Hatcher Bros. is undoubtedly the best place to deal in Pagosa Springs. Hatcher Bros. had just received a large stock of ladies', gents', and children's shoes and a carload of 'Old Homestead' flour had just come in over the new railroad saving freight charges, a savings to be passed on to customers. "This coming week a carload of dairy and stock salt will arrive."

M.F. Clarke, carpenter and builder, claimed to be a first class workman with finishing, fancy, and ornamental work a specialty. Clarke was located next to Arnold's new hotel.

A good, square meal could be purchased at the O K Restaurant. Laughlin's had stove wood of any length furnished by W.J. Gilliam.

From Lumberton, A.P.F. Coape, taxidermist, advertised furs and pelts bought and sold, Indian curios, Navajo blankets, hay, grain and stables, and buggies to let.

Ed. Lacey, the tinsmith, had evidently come here to stay. He built a store on Fourth Street, soon to be open for business. His wife and family arrived Wednesday evening.

Mildred A. Collar will "build an ice cream parlor in her new building on Fourth, which will be called 'The Bonita.' It's a beautiful name and will no doubt be a beautiful place."

Painter Lewis was putting the finishing touches on Messrs. Buckles and Schultz large store on Lewis Street, scheduled to open the next week. "They intend carrying a stock of general merchandise and will handle nothing but first class goods." This building remains on Lewis Street where it is known today as the Bear Creek Tavern and is currently being renovated.

E.M. 'Doc' Taylor visited Durango drumming up trade for Pagosa's 4th of July celebration. Taking advantage of the approaching railroad, Taylor promised that a large number of Durangoans would arrive by excursion train running from Durango to Dyke's Station. Messrs. (the editor liked that form of address) Reavis, Seavy, and Carlisle ran a stage line between Dyke's and Pagosa.

And finally, News editor Daniel Egger announced on Aug. 3, 1900:

"The new railroad company is doing quite a passenger business. Nearly all of the customers coming from the west come in via logging camp, where Reavis & Seavy make close connections with all trains. It is only a matter of a few short weeks until the railroad company will run a coach to within a few miles of Pagosa."

More to come on the coming railroad.

Food for Thought
By Karl Isberg

Bohemian journey ends with death

As I write this, scores of legal eagles are considering a recount of votes in Marsupial County, Florida.

Some say the nation is adrift.

I say, If you shop at Hamsters R' Us, you can argue all day long and you still end up buying a hamster.

Furthermore, I say, Who cares.

I've got more important things to ponder than a presidential election. The election happens every four years. What I'm thinking about happens, in a truly meaningful way, only once.


The End. Lights out. The Maximum Nap.

There are some among us who allay the fear produced by absolute ignorance by pretending they understand death, and there are those who sidestep the awful impact of death's strangeness with platitudes and pat phrases repeated endlessly, like a mantra, to temper their anxiety.

I've heard all the options, studied all the theories, pondered the ideas.

I dunno.

I had a friend die last month. He was a couple of years younger than me. He just keeled over.


This got me thinking: Hey, this might happen to me some day!

I just wish I knew when it was going to happen.

My friend's name was Kirk. He was my friend for 35 years, and the funniest goofball I ever knew.

Actually, Kirk and I had three friendships. We met when we were young. We decided the rock and roll business was the way to go in life. We planned to join a band and go on the road, travel the highways and byways of our great land, play zany, loud music, live the bohemian life in New York City. Whoowee.

I went ahead and did it and almost killed myself. Kirk backed out, stayed behind and went to college.

He was always smarter than I.

When I got shipped home in a large plastic container, Kirk was waiting and we forged our friendship anew, at college. He loved poetry and literature. He loved to write. We started a literary journal together. We studied art together. We decided to embark on another bohemian journey, living the studio life of the avant garde artiste, sleepless, surviving on steamed milk and moldy surplus cheese from the railroad salvage store.

I went ahead and did it and almost killed myself. Kirk backed out, stayed in school, and got married.

He was always smarter than I.

Then, Kirk was gone to Canada where he lived for many years - above Vancouver in Bella Coola; in Edmonton and Toronto; and, finally, in Port Hood, Nova Scotia. He wrote, painted anal retentive images extracted from a seaside life, fished for lobster and began a pursuit of craftsmanship that would end in mastery.

Our third friendship began when Kirk returned to the States. He came back with a deep appreciation of Rimbaud, Robertson Davies, hardwoods, Courvoisier (warmed before it is consumed), the full panoply of red wines, and Indian cuisine. He also came back prepared to undertake a career.

As a writer?


As a painter?


As an alcoholic?


Kirk came back armed with skills drilled into him by one-fanged Scot carpenters in the humid cool of Port Hood. He came back to be a cabinet maker.

And be became one of the best, forging a reputation as a creator of fine furniture.

He also taught me to make vindaloo. He was a hell of a cook: a maestro of the odd food, deftly prepared.

When I moved to Pagosa, Kirk had a second wife and a new family and we ceased communicating on a regular basis. I knew - and I am certain he knew too - that our fourth friendship was just around the corner.

Not so.

He died.

Just like that.

Death's funny that way.

I was at the gym the other day, lifting heavy objects and putting them back down, contemplating recent events. I told Wally and Tony about my friend's demise, and they shook their heads. What do you do? Maybe tell a parallel story about someone who expired prematurely. Tell a story about opportunities lost?

In between sets, I told the guys about a discovery - a new, favorite website: The events of the past month caused me to take extra interest in the site. I become obsessed at the drop of a hat. Or of a friend.

Lacking platitudes and a mantra, the internet is all I've got.

You log on to the website and engage in an actuarial relationship with a computer. You enter a date of birth and a few pertinent facts and the machine tells you when you will die. It provides you with a counter that lists the seconds you have left and those seconds click off with merciless regularity.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

I am going to die Aug. 3, 2020. This stark linear calculation is enhanced by the reality that I eat and drink way too much, and that my record of indulgence and bad habits is extensive and long in the making. But, I ameliorate this with the fact that my old man was a champion of self-abuse and lived a whole lot longer than any insurance agent would have guessed. I figure if I lose twenty pounds, I have an outside chance of making it to 2030, unless Kathy shoots me. I might not know where I am or what I'm doing if I survive to 2030, but will I care?

Kathy will be there when I expire, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, probably wearing idiotic hats and gaudy floral-print dresses, and babying a Char Pei. She's not zeroing out until April 19, 2025.

I got Wally's date of birth and found out he will cease lifting heavy objects and putting them down September 20, 2011. Wally was not happy when he heard this. I soothed him by telling him Tony and I will deadlift (get it?) the coffin at his funeral. Right after the eulogy, Tony and I will do three, ten-rep sets. Temporarily mollified, Wally went back to his side laterals and yelled at the television whenever it showed the image of Vice President Al Gore.

Tony has a bit more time left to throw the iron around. He will finish his last bench press September 24, 2030, given he doesn't run his Harley into a cement truck before then.

I now visit nightly, plugging in the birth dates of everyone I know. I even check my scheduled date with the Reaper, just in case the computer wants to let me live a bit longer. So far, no change. When the clock appears in the corner of the screen, I wistfully watch a minute or two click away before I move on to another calculation.

Russell is going to move back to Louisiana in time to blink out on March 21, 2011. He needs to eat, smoke, and drink as much as possible in the little time that's left. He does these things well.

Mindy was very excited about me looking up the Big Days for her and Roy. She e-mailed their birth dates from Florida. Roy is set to expire August 1, 2024, if his high school students don't drive him to an early end. Mindy is a mere babe in the woods, not scheduled to draw her last breath until January 18, 2045. The pesky tyke is one of a few friends with more than a billion seconds left on the clock.

Donnie will report for duty at the eternal police station March 19, 2026. That gives him 26 more big game seasons to try to kill an elk with his bow and arrow.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

The bottom line: Since our mortal Chads are going to be permanently dimpled, we need something to eat and drink. Something in honor of my friend Kirk and all the family members and friends who've had their chads dimpled before us. To toast ourselves as we await the inevitable.

A little good food, some vino. . . forget the platitudes, forget the predictions . . . this situation ain't so bad.

Let's chow down on Kirk's favorite vindaloo.

Take a mess of lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into inch cubes.

Marinate the lamb cubes overnight in vindaloo paste, diluted with white vinegar. Okay, so you can't find decent vindaloo paste in Pagosa. Travel, for heaven's sake. Travel!

Patak is my favorite brand of vindaloo paste - dark, sinister, fraught with ramified flavor. Kirk brought me my first jar of Patak, from Toronto. If you keep a jar on the shelf for any length of time, no matter how tight the industrial-grade seal, the jar begins to sweat a bizarre, orangish, viscous fluid. In our paranoid Western world, this kind of activity by a food product signals a toxic situation. To a competent Indian chef, the discharge is the harbinger of culinary delight.

Slice a couple of white onions and put the slices in the marinade.

The next day, take the meat and marinade and put it in a heavy pot. Add a can of tomatoes, crushed by hand, and their juices. Add a splash more vinegar, if you dare. Bring to a boil then turn to low, cover and simmer. For hours, adding fluids if needed. Until the lamb begins to fall apart. Taste frequently and adjust the seasonings when necessary (more paste, salt, a hit of minced ginger, a dusting of garam masala). If you are weak, add a splash of coconut milk shortly before the vindaloo is complete. If you do this, do not tell anyone: it is a shameful and cowardly thing to do to this transcendental melange.

Serve the vindaloo over Basmati rice. Make sure you have a riata, or a bowl of plebeian cottage cheese nearby to aid the afflicted in their hour of need.

Strange as it sounds, I think a pinot noir is appropriate. It's relatively light, and the fruitiness balances the fire and grit of the vindaloo.

Pour a major-league portion of pinot.

Take a major league hit of vindaloo, then one of the wine.

Here's to you Kirkie.

Perhaps, we'll meet again.

I dunno.

Business News

Biz Beat

Taminah Gifts and Gallery

Karen Cox, left, owns and operates Taminah Gifts and Gallery with her husband Dean. Pictured with Cox is the gallery's "framer extraordinaire," Ohea Bealmer.

Located in the historic building at 414 Pagosa Street, formerly occupied by the Milt Lewis Gallery, Taminah continues to exhibit and sell Lewis' artwork, along with work by Wayne Justis, Claire Goldrick and Jim Shirley.

Bealmer heads up the full-service frame shop at Taminah and the business also offers a selection of gift items, decorative accessories and jewelry.

Business hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through Jan. 1. The gift shop and gallery will be closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day. After Jan 1, business hours will be 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday.

Call Taminah Gallery at 264-4225.


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