Front Page

December 28, 2000

Christmas fire destroys home, guest injured
By Karl Isberg

A Texas resident was injured in a Christmas morning house fire, but tragedy was narrowly averted by her timely discovery of the blaze and the evacuation of other occupants of the home.

Judy Cauthen, 57, of Houston, Texas, was a visitor at a house owned by Ovie and Joan Peterson at 217 Cloud Cap, in the Lake Pagosa Park subdivision west of Pagosa Springs. Cauthen, her husband, the Petersons, and the Petersons' son Dan were asleep when a fire began on the middle level of the three-story structure, said investigator Diane Fryar of the Pagosa Fire Protection District.

"Everyone was sleeping on the top level of the house when Mrs. Cauthen got up," said Fryar. "She noticed the smoke and roused the others."

An emergency page went out at 5:54 a.m. and the fire district responded with 25 firefighters and four pieces of equipment.

In the meantime, said Fryar, occupants of the house left the building. All but Judy Cauthen went out windows to decks then over railings to the ground below. Cauthen, said Fryar, had a back problem that prevented her from jumping to the ground and she chose to make her way down a stairway "through smoke and flames, clad in her nightgown."

When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found the structure fully involved in flame. Fryar said firefighters battled the blaze for more than three hours. "We believe we saved the lower level of the house," she said.

According to Fryar, the fire "probably had its origin in the vicinity of a gas furnace on the second floor of the home - possibly a defective furnace."

Fryar said she does not believe smoke detectors were installed at the house and added that the structure is now too unstable for further investigation.

The fact Cauthen woke when she did, said Fryar, prevented certain disaster. "It's unbelievable the occupants got out. The house had a lot of tongue-and-groove paneling and the way the stairway was situated, another five minutes and the people would not have been able to escape."

An ambulance crew from Emergency Medical Services tended Cauthen. EMS Director Bill Bright said Cauthen suffered second-degree burns to 10 percent of her body, including burns to the palms of her hands, the soles of her feet and portions of her lower body. She was transported by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center of Durango.

A Mercy spokesperson said Wednesday that Cauthen was in good condition and her release from the hospital was imminent.

Anyone wishing to donate food or clothing to Joan and Ovie Peterson can take items to their temporary residence at 36 Jubilee Court. The family is also in need of a queen mattress set. For more information, call 731-9926.

Court space urgently needed
By John M. Motter

Providing space for court-related activities is one of the budget problems facing Archuleta County.

The eventual construction of a new courthouse will ultimately solve the problem. With the idea of building a new courthouse in mind, the commissioners have purchased land for that purpose on Hot Springs Boulevard south of the post office and across the street from the new town hall now under construction.

In the meantime, the county commissioners are wrestling with temporary solutions to help get through this year.

Prodded by a letter from and a work session with County Judge Jim Denvir, the commissioners have agreed to provide additional office and storage space some time this year.

In his capacity as county judge, Denvir takes care of certain cases through the county court. In addition, Denvir takes care of certain cases that move through the Sixth Judicial District court system.

On top of Denvir's work load, other judges from the Sixth Judicial District use Archuleta County court facilities.

"I know that a long-term solution has been discussed and will take a number of years to implement," Denvir said. "But our immediate needs are such that it would be appropriate for the commissioners to consider renting office space nearby or renting a portable structure."

Denvir's immediate request was for two offices in the courthouse for use by the probation department and use by the public service coordinator. Also requested was another 500 to 750 feet in the courthouse for secure storage of files and supplies.

Vastly increased caseloads were listed as creating the need for additional space.

"In July of this year," Denvir said, "we equaled the number of civil filings in county court for all of last year. This level of growth appears likely to continue and calls for immediate action. In addition, there will be legislation introduced this year which will likely provide for an additional district court judge for the Sixth Judicial District in the next two years. At present, we have neither office nor court space for such a new position."

While justifying maximum use of existing facilities, Denvir pointed out that "the jury room doubles as an office for the Useful Public Service Coordinator and triples as storage space and space for the microfilm reader. It, like the library, is used by the alcohol evaluator, domestic violence evaluator, assistant district attorneys, public defender, and private attorneys.

"We are at the breaking point," Denvir stated. "I know that you are aware of the statutory (state law) obligation to provide adequate court facilities."

Conditions are so bad, Denvir pointed out, that attorneys confer with clients in the hall space in front of the courtroom, even while mingling with others attending the trial.

In the past, Denvir has held court in the commissioners meeting room when the commissioners weren't meeting.

The only action taken so far by the commissioners is to budget for outside storage units in the 2001 budget. No action has been taken concerning additional office space, but a promise was made to revisit the subject early in 2001.

Discussed was an option of moving the driver's license examiner outside of the courthouse and turning over that space to the court system for office space.

It was suggested that the driver's license examiner office could be moved to the county road maintenance building on U.S. 84 just south of the county fair grounds.

Property tax bills coming in mid-January
By John M. Motter

The inevitable is about to happen. Property taxes are coming. Property tax bills will be mailed out from the Archuleta County treasurer's office about mid-January.

As always, the property tax statements include the amount of taxes due a number of taxing entities, depending on where the property owner lives. For the year 2001, there are 17 taxing entities within Archuleta County.

Each taxing entity levies a property tax based on the assessed value of property within that entity's boundaries, as calculated by the Archuleta County assessor. The tax rate is established by the elected governing board of each of the entities.

Property taxes will be due on all forms of property including residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural. This article deals only with single-family residential property.

State law dictates that only 9.74 percent of the assessed value of single-family residential property is subject to property tax. Consequently, the mill levy applied by any district against residential property will be levied against 9.74 percent of the assessed value of that property. For example, taxes due on a $100,000 residence will be levied against $9,740.

In Archuleta County, using a fictional $100,000 residence for comparison purposes, the ranking of each entity by taxes due is: Bayfield School District 10 Jt. - $383.04; Pagosa Springs School District 50 Jt. - $323.85; Archuleta County - $168.08; Ignacio School District 11 Jt. - $155.43; San Juan Village Metropolitan District - $149.53; Aspen Springs Metropolitan District - $117.27; Alpha-Rockridge Metropolitan District - $97.40; Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District No. 1 - $70.52; Piedra Park Metropolitan Improvement District - $61.96; Pagosa Fire Protection District - $39.61; Pagosa Springs Sanitation District - $35.12; Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District No. 2 - $30.19; Upper San Juan Hospital District - $25.92; Pagosa Springs - $16.36; Upper San Juan Library District - $14.61; San Juan Water Conservancy District - $3.42, and the Southwest Water Conservation District - $3.16.

Since the area of some entities has a larger assessed value, those districts may collect more total tax money even though they have a smaller mill levy. A look at the assessed valuation, mill levy, and total property tax income for each taxing entity in the county follows.

Because the tax rate in the Bayfield School District is 39.326 mills, the owner of a $100,000 home in that district will have to pay $383.04 to the district. Only a few Archuleta County residents live within the Bayfield District. Consequently, the Bayfield school budget only receives about $20,260 from Archuleta County residents.

With an assessed value of $151,357,520, and a total mill levy of 33.250, School District No. 50 Jt., Pagosa Springs, expects to receive revenues of $5,032,635 from property taxes for its 2001 budget. The amount from property taxes due School District No. 50 Jt. on a $100,000 home in the district amount to $323.85.

Many citizens blame the county for their property taxes. In truth, only a small amount of the tax bill is levied by the county. The county's tax rate for the 2001 budget is 17.257 mills, slightly more than half the rate for Pagosa Springs schools. County taxes on a $100,000 home amount to $168.08. Because the county's assessed value is $158,191,480, the county expects to collect $3.96 million in revenue from property taxes.

The Ignacio School District expects $100,835 in tax income from Archuleta County taxpayers. School property taxes due on a $100,000 home in the Ignacio School District amount to $155.43, about half the Pagosa Springs and Bayfield rates. The Ignacio school tax rate is 15.958 mills.

Located along the San Juan River north of Pagosa Springs, the San Juan Village Metropolitan District has an assessed valuation of $2,219,680 and a tax rate of 15.352 mills. The district's income from property taxes during 2001 should be $34,080. Taxes due this entity on a $100,000 home are $149.53.

Aspen Springs Metropolitan District's principal task is taking care of roads at Aspen Springs. This district has an assessed valuation of $8,031,620 which should generate an income of $96,700 using the tax rate of 12.04 mills. The tax bill due the district on the $100,000 home will be $117.27.

The primary function of the Alpha-Rockridge Metro District is to take care of roads in the Alpha-Rockridge area. The district has an assessed value of $3,358,780 and a tax rate of 10 mills generating $33,590. On the $100,000 home, the tax will amount to $97.40

Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District No. 1 provides water and sewer services for the Fairfield Pagosa subdivisions west of Pagosa Springs and north of U.S. 160. PAWS District No. 1 levies 7.24 mills on an assessed value of $58,016,350 for revenue of $420,040. The owner of a $100,000 home in the PAWS service area will pay $70.52 to the district in property taxes.

Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District No. 2 provides water for the Fairfield Pagosa subdivisions south of U.S. 160, for Pagosa Springs, and much of the area surrounding Pagosa Springs. The assessed value of PAWS No. 2 is $57,169,850 with a mill levy of 3.099. The owner of a $100,000 home in this district will pay $30.19 in property taxes to the district.

Piedra Park Metropolitan District is located at Arboles and has an assessed valuation of $2,011,300. The district's 6.362 mills tax rate generates $12,796. The owner of a $100,000 home within the district will pay the district $61.96

The Pagosa Fire Protection District, possesses an assessed valuation of $134,261,940. The district's tax rate of 4.067 mills will generate an income of $546,045. For the owner of a $100,000 home, that means a tax payment of $39.16.

Pagosa Springs Sanitation District provides sewer service in and around Pagosa Springs. It is undergoing change. Based on the tax certification by the county commissioners last week, PSSD has an assessed valuation of $23,168,230 with a tax rate of 3.4 mills generating an income of $78,770. Taxes due on the $100,000 home amount to $33.12.

Upper San Juan Hospital District has an assessed valuation of $153,974,360. The district's tax levy of 2.661 mills is expected to generate $409,725. The owner of the $100,000 home will pay $25.92 to the district.

Pagosa Springs has an assessed valuation of $29,093,260. With a mill levy of 1.680, the town expects revenues of $48,475 from property taxes this coming year. The owner of a $100,000 home in town will pay $16.36 to the town.

The Upper San Juan Library District's assessed valuation is the same as the county's, $157,679,260. With a tax levy of 1.5 mills, the district expects to collect $236,967. The owner of a $100,000 home pays $14.61 to the library district.

The assessed value of the San Juan Water Conservancy District is $125,682,420. An income of $44,115 is expected from the tax rate of 0.351. The district will receive $3.42 from the owner of the $100,000 home.

Southwestern Water Conservation District has a $158,191,330 assessed value tax base in Archuleta County. The directors expect to earn $51,255 with the 0.324 mill levy. The tax bill for the owner of a $100,000 home is $3.16.

The taxes paid by the owner of a $100,000 home will be more than the amount due any single entity because each home is located within more than one district. For example, an owner of a $100,000 home in Pagosa Springs pays taxes to School District 50 Jt. - $323.85; Archuleta County - $168.08; Pagosa Fire Protection District - $39.61, Pagosa Springs Sanitation District - $35.12.; PAWS No. 2 - $30.19; town - 16.36; library district - $14.61; SJWCD - $3.42; SWCD - $3.16. Therefore that owner's property tax bill will be $634.40. Of that amount, only $16.36 is levied by the town.

The figures used in this article are approximations. The actual amount due on any tax bill may vary from the examples used in this article.

Looking at Millennium's beginning

Editor's note: The following is a series of brief accounts of some of the top news stories reported in the SUN during the first six months of the year 2000.

January

The Y2K problem failed to materialize in Archuleta County, leaving some residents with abundant supplies of bottled water, myriad canned goods, and a great sense of relief. With all local governmental systems proceeding ahead full speed, crews were able to handle the first significant snowfall of the year Jan. 1 and 2. Nearly 7 inches of snow fell in Pagosa Springs during the two-day period.

Local sales tax revenues rose to record levels. A 1999 Archuleta County sales tax total of $4,193,256 was announced and was a 12 percent increase over revenues collected the previous year. Revenues are divided evenly between Archuleta County and the town of Pagosa Springs. The county's share of the sales tax revenues go to three funds: a road improvement fund, the Road and Bridge Fund and the General Fund. The Pagosa Springs share of the revenues is put into a capital improvement fund.

The election year, with party primaries and a general election looming, got off to a fast start as six candidates signaled an intent to run for two seats on the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners. The town of Pagosa Springs announced three seats opening on the Town Board of Trustees.

February

The landfill business again became a county concern in February as Archuleta County took over direct operation of the county-owned landfill and transfer station. The landfill had been managed by a private waste hauling and disposal company. Clifford Lucero was hired by Archuleta County to head the newly-developed Solid Waste Division.

Pagosa sports icon Glen Cope announced his retirement as coach of the Pagosa Springs High School cross country program. Cope started the program in 1984 and coached the boys' and girls' teams from that date. Cope's boys' teams captured three regional championships and qualified for the Colorado State Championship Meet on 13 different occasions. Pirate squads took second place at the Class 3A state meet in 1988 and 1993. Under Cope's direction, Lady Pirate teams won three regional championships and made the trip to the state finals eight times. The Ladies finished second in the state in 1999.

Police recovered four weapons stolen from a Pagosa Springs business in a January burglary. Pagosa Springs police officers arrested one Pagosa resident and identified a second, juvenile suspect. Four handguns were found at a Cortez residence as a result of a cooperative investigation between the Pagosa Springs and Cortez police departments.

March

Local history was on the move as one of the county's most significant artifacts, the Gomez Store, was moved from Pagosa Junction to Pagosa Springs. The historic building, with contents intact, was closed in 1971. The building, constructed in 1911, was moved to a site adjacent to the Fred Harman Art Museum

An all-time record number of skiers were on the slopes at Wolf Creek Ski Area March 14 as the area rebounded from a slow start to the season. There were 4,887 skiers at Wolf Creek March 14 and nearly that number - 4,732 - purchased lift tickets March 13. The previous record day was March 16, 1999, with 4,625 skiers.

A sale of $2.95 million in revenue bonds gave Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District the capital needed to move ahead with renovation and expansion of the Vista wastewater treatment plant that serves numerous subdivisions and properties west of Pagosa Springs. At the same time news was received concerning the sale of the bonds, work continued to construct a new water treatment plant at the Vista site.

April

Pagosa Springs voters approved a measure designed to protect the town's share of sales tax revenues collected in Archuleta County. The measure determined that, if any alteration be made to the current even split between town and county of 4 percent of the 7 percent sales tax (3 percent goes to the state of Colorado), the town will take 3 percent of the sales tax collected within town boundaries. The move was made in light of an existing lawsuit, since dismissed by Colorado courts, that proposed a 75-25 percent split of the 4 percent sales tax with Archuleta County taking the lion's share.

A long awaited project to reconstruct the intersection of Piedra Road and U.S. 160 took a step forward when the Colorado Department of Transportation indicated it had money to fund improvements to the intersection. Improvements include an island demarcating the right-turn-only lane from the westbound highway to Piedra Road and installation of a traffic signal. Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County were set to facilitate a coordinated relocation of the intersection of Eagle Drive with Piedra Road to a site north of its present location immediately adjacent to U.S. 160.

May

Voters in four special district elections approved collection and spending of revenues in excess of TABOR limits imposed in the Colorado Constitution. Voters gave the thumbs-up to the Pagosa Fire Protection District, the Upper San Juan Hospital District, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and the San Juan Soil Conservation District, allowing the entities to collect and spend more than the 5.5 percent yearly increase in revenues and expenditures permitted by TABOR.

Members of the largest class in the history of Pagosa Springs High School completed their local academic careers at a May 27 graduation ceremony. Diplomas were awarded to 118 graduates.

Election tension continued to build as the number of county commissioner candidates certified to run in the Aug. 8 primary election rose to 11. Ten of the candidates poised to make runs at the two available seats on the commission were Republican, one was a Democrat.

Republicans ready to fight to represent the party in the race in District 1 were incumbent Bill Downey, Nan Rowe, Michael Branch, Patrick Horning and Julia Donoho.

In District 2, Republicans eyeing the primary prize were incumbent Ken Fox, Alden Ecker, Ralph Goulds, John Feazel and Jim Willingham.

J.B. Smith was the lone Democrat certified and sure to run in the November general election as a candidate in District 1.

June

Extremely dry conditions in Pagosa Country worsened as the month progressed. U.S. Forest Service firefighters were mustered in the area and ready to deal with blazes, and the agency based slurry bombers and helicopter attack crews at the Durango airport. Firefighters from the Pagosa Fire Protection District and Forest Service crews extinguished numerous small fires during the month, with a flurry of activity at month's end. Dry conditions and a lack of natural foods forced bears into increasing contact with the local human population and officials of the Colorado Division of Wildlife urged residents to take precautions to minimize attractions for the hungry omnivores.

With dry weather, water availability became a central concern for officials at Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District, the county's largest treated water provider. Rainfall during the previous month measured only .15 inches and PAWSD spokespersons urged district consumers to limit watering of lawns and other landscaped areas and to be careful not to waste water with excessive use of washing machines and dishwashers. Water rationing was held out as a last-ditch solution to a severe water shortage.

A controversy was formally initiated when the Archuleta County Planning Commission accepted a request for a conditional-use permit to allow operation of a cement batch plant at a site on the east side of U.S. 160, approximately 4 miles north of Pagosa Springs. A number of property owners and residents living near the site expressed opposition to the plant and the issue was set to become the focus of a land-use battle.

Former Pagosa resident, Linda Little, passes away

Former Pagosa Springs resident Linda Gale Little died unexpectedly at the John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2000.

Services are to be held at 10 a.m. today, Dec. 28, at Community United Methodist Church.

Mrs. Little, 47, was born on Sept. 17, 1953, in Providence, R.I., to Jack and Jean De Leonardis.

At the time of her death, she was employed at the John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. However, most people in the Pagosa area remember her as an employee of both The Pagosa Springs SUN and Old West Press, and as an active member of Community United Methodist Church. She was involved in the church's handbell choir, vocal choir and the youth group at the church. She was also very involved with the Boy Scouts of America program in Pagosa.

Mrs. Little was preceded in death by her son, Larry. She is survived by her daughter, Larinda Little, and her son-in-law, Mike Little, of Littleton.

Inside The Sun

Stormy Saturday and then more sunny days
By John M. Motter

Relatively warm and dry skies will greet Pagosa Country residents during the first week of the new year.

"Look for partly cloudy skies with high temperatures in the 30s and low temperatures ranging from five to 15 degrees through the coming week," said Jeff Colton, a forecaster from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

The only exception to the clear and warm scenario, according to Colton, will be Saturday when a weak storm system will shepherd mostly cloudy skies into Pagosa County. The clouds should move on without leaving moisture. Skies should then return to partly cloudy and remain that way into the middle of next week.

Controlling weather conditions in this part of the Rocky Mountains is a stationary high-pressure ridge.

More severe weather is likely to set in before the month of January passes, based on weather records kept since 1938 in Pagosa Springs.

January snowfall has averaged 27.1 inches over the past 51 years. Pagosa Country typically receives more snow during January than any other month. December is next to January in the average amount of snowfall with 22.2 inches, followed by February with 18.8 inches, March with 16.8 inches, November with 10.6 inches, April with 5.5 inches, and May, September and October with less than three inches. At least a trace of snow has been reported in town during every month except July.

The most January snow ever recorded was 108.9 inches, nine feet, during 1957. That was the most snow ever recorded during one month in town. During January of 1979, 76 inches of snow was recorded in town and during January of 1949, 70.4 inches were measured. January snowfall in town has topped 50 inches eight of the last 51 years, 30 inches 15 of the last 51 years, and 20 inches 30 of the last 51 years.

The least snowfall ever recorded during January was 0.8 inches during 1986.

January's monthly average temperature is 19.8 degrees. The extreme minimum January temperature in town occurred during 1963 when the mercury plunged to minus 42 degrees. January minimums have dropped below minus 30 degrees seven times over the last 55 years, below minus 20 degrees 27 times, and below minus 10 degrees 49 times during the same time frame.

Planning sessions face citizens in Archuleta, Hinsdale
By John M. Motter

Local citizens face the prospect of attending several planning meetings as the new year unfolds.

The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission has meetings on tap during which development and adoption of a proposed community plan will be the central theme.

Also scheduled are public hearings conducted by the Hinsdale County Planning Commission and the Mineral County Planning and Zoning Commission.

Hinsdale County is located directly north of Archuleta County and has Lake City as its county seat. On the south side of the Continental Divide, Hinsdale County includes land reached by way of Piedra Road including the east and middle forks of the Piedra River, the Williams Creek area, and the Weminuche Creek area.

The Hinsdale County Planning Commission public hearing is scheduled Jan. 8 at 10 a.m. in the commissioners meeting room of the Ar- chuleta County Courthouse. The purpose of the hearing is to receive public comment concerning a land use plan proposed for the Upper Piedra Area and southern part of Hinsdale County.

Persons unable to attend the public meeting may submit written comments to the County Administrator, Hinsdale County, P.O. Box 277, Lake City, CO 81235. To ask questions or receive a copy of the proposal, call (970) 944-2225 or (877) 944-7575.

Mineral County is located north of Archuleta County and east of Hinsdale County. Its county seat is Creede. On the south side of the Continental Divide, Mineral County includes the upper reaches of the east and west forks of the San Juan River.

A pubic hearing has been scheduled by the Mineral County Planning Commission Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Mineral County Courthouse. The purpose of the hearing is to receive public comment on The Founders At East Fork, LLC subdivision, a 150-acre, 30-unit subdivision located in the southern end of Mineral County on the East Fork of the San Juan River.

"This property is located within the boundaries of the proposed Piano Creek development," said Les Cahill, the Mineral County manager, "but it will not be known as Piano Creek. A cluster development with private ownership of property is proposed."

In Pagosa Springs, a public discussion of the third draft of the Archuleta County Community Plan was discussed. Chapter 5 of the community plan was not included during the discussion. Chapter 5 will be discussed at a public meeting Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. in the commissioners meeting room.

Ski turnout 'good', expected
to improve
By Richard Walter

Wolf Creek Ski Area had "good but not record" turnout for the first five days of the long two-holiday winter break.

Rosanne Haidorfer-Pitcher, Wolf Creek marketing director, said it is traditional that skiers stay home to celebrate Christmas and then hit the road for the ski area.

Consequently, she said, "the 28th, 29th and 30th have traditionally been the heaviest use days of the holiday season."

She said the bad weather in Texas this week may have delayed some of the regular skiers, but she expects with the clearing the past two days, usage will dramatically increase.

Tuesday was the heaviest use day thus far this holiday season, with 2,078 skiers. Other figures for the long Christmas weekend include 1,384 on Friday, 2,643 Sunday, and 1,528 on Christmas Day.

New Year's, when it follows a weekend as it will this year, is normally not so busy because out-of-state skiers need time to get back home for school and jobs on Tuesday.

As of Wednesday morning, there was 68 inches of snow at the summit of the ski area and 56 inches midway, and roads were dry.

Sewer line to serve east 160 ready to leave drawing board
By Karl Isberg

For years plans were drawn, petitions circulated, studies done - all with the intent of running a wastewater collection line along the U.S. 160 corridor east of the boundaries of the town of Pagosa Springs and the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District.

Finally, reported Pagosa Springs Town Administrator Jay Harrington, work will begin to make one of the plans a reality: a sewer line from the sanitation district system to a point near Day Lumber Co. serving properties immediately adjacent to the highway.

"Ideas have been recycled for several years," said Harrington, "but now it appears we will actually see construction occur."

Town staff members have been an integral part of the planning, since the sanitation district turned day-to-day management of district operations over to the town four years ago. Harrington reported the project is well-funded.

"We secured a commitment from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment for a $300,000 grant," said Harrington, "and we anticipate a loan of $150,000 from that same agency (formerly the Colorado Health Department) as part of the Colorado Water Pollution revolving fund."

The first phase of the sewer line project involved commitments for at least 52 water taps by owners of properties in the proposed area. "We needed commitment for 52 taps," said Harrington, "in order for the project to make financial sense. We're within that range now, so we told landowners we will start the engineering on the project." A local firm, Davis Engineering, was asked last week to present a proposal as soon as possible.

Total project cost is estimated at $575,000 and property owners using the new line will pay a higher equivalent tap fee than owners of properties in the rest of the district. The residential tap fee within current district boundaries is $2,000; tap fees along the new line will cost $3,000, with part of that amount used to pay down construction debt. Slightly higher user fees will also adhere to use of the new line.

"Hopefully," said Harrington, "the engineering will be complete this winter or by early spring. We won't bid the construction until the district collects all the tap fees. We are hoping this is complete sometime this spring and that the line will be finished by next year."

When the line is in place it will be able to serve only 120 equivalent taps, due to constraints on the collection system as it enters town limits. The number of taps is also limited by the fact the state does not want its funds used to promote growth per se - a reluctance balanced in this case by the fact the state is concerned about the potential for failure of private wastewater treatment systems next to the San Juan River in the project area.

"What this means," said Harrington, "is if there is a significant development out there, it could utilize a major portion of the balance of taps."

Development or no, construction and use of the line will eventually bring properties into the town of Pagosa Springs via annexation.

Annexations will occur when the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District is dissolved, but voters in the recent general election ensured the dissolution will not occur for some time.

Directors of the sanitation district placed an issue before voters May 2, 2000, asking to dissolve the district, with ownership and operation of district facilities given over to the town. The move was warranted by the need to eliminate layers of government and duplication of efforts by the district and the town.

Voters approved dissolution contingent on a positive vote at the November general election for proposals to create a general improvement district to handle existing sanitation district debt and to transfer that debt. A general improvement district would isolate sanitation district debt from those town residents who do not use district services. The town board of trustees would act as the board of directors of the general improvement district and the creation of the entity would not require an additional mill levy.

In November, voters approved the formation of the general improvement district but did not approve the transfer of Pagosa Springs Sanitation District debt to the new entity.

With the stalemate at hand until another election can be held concerning debt transfer, town trustees formed the general improvement district but the sanitation district was forced to remain in existence and continue its management agreement with the town.

"We anticipate an April 2002 election for the okay of debt transfer and the dissolution of the sanitation district," said Harrington. "Once that happens, the annexations can proceed."

Some work the holiday shift with a smile
By Richard Walter

You were opening the gifts, sipping the eggnog and wondering how to put your youngster's new bicycle together.

While you hosted the family for Christmas dinner and savored the flavors of special dishes, some Pagosans were where they are every day - hard at work.

A tour of the community found the nerve center of the county, the sheriff's office dispatch center, manned by Sylvan Salem and Matt Strickland - with plenty of doughnuts and coffee to keep them going.

At the Everyday Store, Johnny Romero and Pat Bremer were busy filling tourists requests for snacks and soft drinks to be consumed as they motored to and from the ski area at Wolf Creek.

Bob Cebula and Sarah Bentley at Poma's Pit Stop kept the coffee brewing and sold "a lot of tire chains" to those suspicious of the mountain roads and continued winter storm warnings.

Bev Flaming at Conoco East said the most often asked question of the day was "where can we get something to eat?" A drive-around inspection proved the obvious, none of the restaurants this reporter checked in Pagosa Country were open on Christmas Day.

Christopher Young at Holiday Inn Express, in Santa's helper gear, was manning the front desk and cleaning windows when the SUN caught up with him. He said business was "fairly good" for the area's motels as skiers came in from all around the region for a holiday gambol on Wolf Creek.

Others spotted were a tow truck driver moving the remains of a two-car accident at 7th and San Juan streets, who was gone by the time the photographer found a place to park out of the stream of traffic at about 12:30 p.m.; a state plow whipping the early morning dusting of snow off Pagosa Street while spreading some ice melter; and ambulance and EMS rescue vehicle drivers heading to a late evening incident somewhere east of town.

For the most part, Christmas was a day of family gatherings, welcome gifts, surprises galore and telephone calls to and from loved ones too far away to make it here for the holiday.

For the select few, it was a day of work. A job to be done so that others might enjoy their Christmas day off.

Letters

Kudos for helping hands

Dear Editor,

This letter is to all the generous people of Pagosa Springs and those from outside the area who were involved with Operation Helping Hands. Thank you for all your help in making my family's holiday a joyous one. People like yourselves show what the holiday season is all about, giving, not receiving.

Due to circumstances beyond my control (divorce and layoff), my financial circumstances have changed considerably. I am doing my best to keep things going, but my priority is paying my bills and keeping food in the house. That did not leave much for making it a happy holiday season for my sons. Thanks to your help there will be gifts under the tree and a special holiday dinner.

God bless all of you for what you are doing for folks like myself. Again thank you for making this holiday season a happy one.

Name withheld by request

Send information

Dear Editor,

I am a fifth grade student at Pershing Elementary in Rawlins, Wyo. I am writing a report on the state of Colorado. I am gathering information about your state and am asking if the readers of your newspaper would like to help me by sending information to me. I would like to receive maps, postcards, pictures of historical places, and information on the symbols of your state.

Please send anything you feel would be helpful to me at school at this address: Briele c/o Mr. Mann, Pershing Elementary School, Pershing and Davis Streets, Rawlins, WY 82301.

Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Briele

Moving on

Dear Dave,

Sixteen years ago I had had enough of the big city (Denver), so I moved to Pagosa Springs. I moved to Pagosa because I wanted to live in the mountains. The same mountains I grew up visiting, camping and hunting in since I can remember. I didn't try to change Pagosa into something I envisioned as "better"; I just lived there.

I got involved in serving my community: EMS, fire department, sheriff's reserve's. One day I was offered a full-time position at the sheriff's department. Because I thought I could make a difference, I accepted. It meant a huge cut in pay, loss of friends, rotating shifts, occasional weekends off, and my wife and I having to make some lifestyle changes to make ends meet. But, I wanted to serve my community doing something that is not always appreciated. I put up with unfounded ridicule, sometimes expounded by this very paper. I worked countless hours trying to make the sheriff's department a better place to work, and it to work harder for the community.

Don't get me wrong, I know what comes along with being in "public service." Some people believe we (in public service) should be thankful to the people who pay our wages. I was always thankful (never beholding). I also always felt I gave far more than I got. Some would disagree, particularly those who I didn't give in to, or who disagreed with my decisions, or with the policy of the department.

I have moved on. At least a few in the Pagosa community will be glad to see me gone. After all, I represented what they are most afraid of. I have been sued for doing my job, had eggs thrown on my cars and house, had little "nastygrams" written in words from newspapers left on my driveway; while I was away at training my house was nearly broken into with the goal of doing God knows what to my wife. I lived with, and accepted as part of the job, these kinds of things.

Some hoped I would talk about the internal workings of the sheriff's department in this letter. If you want to know what is going on, or what is being done, then ask the person you elected. Everyone answers to someone. But the questions must be asked to be answered. How you determine an honest answer from one that is contrived, I will leave to you.

I did not leave because of money. I left for many reasons, many are no one's business; but surely my leaving will be the subject of rumors for some time to come. I want it to be clear that pay is an issue at the department. Archuleta County citizens have no reason to complain about the quality of law enforcement they are getting. The work load is no where near the level of any of the big departments, but it is no less dangerous, stressful or demanding. Retention of quality employees, whether a dispatcher, detention officer or patrol deputy, will continue to be impossible at the current pay scale.

To those who I worked with, and who I count as my friends, I will sorely miss you. I am so sorry that I didn't get the time to say goodbye to all of you. I feel good that I believe I made a difference, and all of you share in that.

Tim Evans

Conflict of interest

Dear Editor,

It's hard to believe your reporting of yet another of Commissioner Gene Crabtree's conflict of interest powerplays.

We all know that Valle Seco Road is a public road. However Gene Crabtree's family closed off access to this road and our public access is threatened. During the last commissioners meeting (Dec. 19), when Commissioner Crabtree was confronted with this road access issue he never once recused himself from the discussion. This is a blatant conflict of interest and I'm sure the citizens of this county don't want Mr. Crabtree determining the outcome of public access to Valle Seco Road while at the same time his family advocates closing the road to public access.

When Mr. Crabtree stated at the last meeting flatly: "Does the county want to spend 50 or 60 thousand dollars to take this to court?" What do you suppose Mr. Crabtree advocates? He's threatening Archuleta County with a lawsuit from his family while at the same time wielding the gavel of the county commissioners. Shame on you Commissioner Crabtree.

I applaud Commissioner Downey for bringing the Valle Seco Road closure issue up at this meeting. It's a sorry state of affairs when Mr. Downey has to force the discussion of this issue on Mr. Crabtree.

This isn't the first time Mr. Crabtree has tried to exploit his position as county commissioner. You'll remember the "Regester Road" issue in the Blanco Basin. Funny, that mess also involved his family's property.

Mr. Crabtree's closing comments on this Valle Seco issue were: "It's ridiculous to discuss some of this stuff in front of the people that come in here." Pardon me, Mr. Crabtree but the whole point of a county commissioners' meeting is to discuss any and all issues presented by Archuleta County citizens. Whether they involved your family or not.

Sincerely,

Jeff Greer

Time of crisis

Dear Editor,

This is a call to unite for a neighbor in a time of great crisis. The community of Pagosa is a small yet cohesive one in which in times of disaster, great love and support is shared by each and every one of it's members. As you may or may not have heard, one of our local families has experienced such a life-changing tragedy. These people have shared so much with our community - giving of themselves the fruits of their labor, in the form of wonderful foods and fresh produce from their gardens, created and shared with the love from their very hearts and their souls. Their tragedy . . . the loss of their home and all of their pets and treasures the night before Thanksgiving can never be erased. The work of two years of almost single-handedly building their abode was destroyed in a matter of less than 30 minutes as a result of a battery exploding. Their dreams dashed, their hopes questioned, yet they are still with us. They are committed to continuing and they will succeed.

These girls are a tribute to the courageous spirit of all of us who call themselves Pagosans.

We are proposing a benefit fund to assist these fire victims to help them regain some of their losses. There was no insurance obtained yet on the house.

They are committed to helping initiate the requisition for a fire district for the southern section of U.S. 84.

Anyone wishing to assist them by donating to this fund and helping Daniele and Barbara in the recovery of their life's investments, may contact Kim Moore at 731-4065, as a Christmas wish for these girls to keep up the good work and as a sign of our love for them and for all of us.

Thank you,

Kim Moore and

Friends of Enchanted Valley

Gas line cut

Dear Editor,

If you mention the gas line cut at Mid Iron and Park that left a lot of people out of gas Monday night please mention that it was mis-located by Citizens Utilities by more than seven feet and was not the fault of the excavator or the company doing the work there.

Thanks,

Steve Sewell

Deep Fork Backhoe and

Western Energy Services

Editor's note: As reported Dec. 21, Dave Freeman, Citizen Utilities regional manager, said the break was probably not the fault of the subcontractor.

Newspaper award

Dear Editor,

It is our pleasure to announce that the Pagosa Springs SUN was nominated by American Legion Post 108 in Pagosa Springs to receive our annual small market newspaper award. The nomination was received by our American Legion Department of Colorado Public Relations Committee and we are happy to announce that your paper and the Estes Park Trail Gazette tied for this honor. Your on-going support of the American Legion is greatly appreciated. Your newspaper truly is involved in making your community a better place to live and for this you are to be recognized.

Sincerely,

Charles "Pat" Smith

Department Adjutant

Denver

Great community

Dear Editor,

For 14 years, most of you knew me as Debbie at the post office, the one that forwards your mail, or Diane Pancoast's daughter. With my recent lengthy illness, you've learned my name, Debbie Swenson.

I am stunned by the outpouring of prayers and love, the cards and letters wallpapered my hospital room for almost six weeks. It really meant so much to my recovery to know about the prayers and love being sent to me. The phone calls and visitors made me feel less isolated, when they were allowed. Thank you, all of you.

I made it home to Pagosa Springs on Nov. 30 and a beautiful day it was, I cried at the beauty of our wonderful community. I looked up community in the dictionary, "people who live in one place and share some things." This word describes us well, the sharing and giving is beyond words. It's so helpful to have your kids brought home from school and/or the groceries brought over. We haven't hardly had to cook since I've been home. You'd be surprised at the little things that really help a lot, especially since I can't drive yet. I didn't realize how independent I was, not being able to jump in the car and go is very hard.

A special family gave our children a Christmas to remember. They brought gifts for us all and we can't say thank you enough. Christmas is the season of giving and you gave with all your hearts. May you be richly blessed in health and happiness.

The giving hasn't stopped there, a medical relief fund has been set up at Rio Grande Savings to help us to pay the bills.

I am trying to return to work in February, at least part time, I'm still sleeping 12 to 14 hours a day. I appreciate the support of my coworkers and friends and customers and hope to be back forwarding your mail soon. Thanks to you all and we wish you all good health and happiness in the New Year.

Debbie Swenson

People and places

Dear Editor,

Hello Pagosa Springs, I'm looking for old friends.

In 1956-57 I lived in Pagosa Springs and have always wanted to return. So far it hasn't been possible, but who knows what will happen. Some of the people and places that I remember are: Nora Carpenter; Johnny Johnson; Mrs. DeVore (fourth grade teacher); Mrs. Giordano, also a teacher; the Trujillo community; Helen King; Rosie, Bernadette, Zebedaiah and Lolita Martinez; Charlie Vavack; and the Perea family.

We lived for a while in a lumber camp owned by the Bellardi family . . . can anyone tell me where this was in relation to Pagosa?

Any information than anyone can give would be appreciated. My e-mail address is jwiles@hland .ncsc.k12.ar.us.

My name when I lived in Pagosa was Judy Wavrick. I was in third and fourth grade.

Thanks to all.

Judy Wiles

Obituaries

Linda Little
(please see front page)
Sports Page

Stats tell story as 6-2 Ladies gird for IML
By Richard Walter

True sports fans are statistical nuts.

They want to know who scored, how many points they scored, how they scored them and how they are performing to date in the season.

With the preseason tournaments concluded for the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates, we offer this statistical look at how they are performing individually.

While the Ladies still have two pre-league tilts scheduled against New Mexico schools, this gives an unofficial look at performance levels prior to the scheduled opening of the Intermountain League season against Bayfield Jan. 12.

As might be expected from a pair of post players who have been named to the all-tournament team in each of the three preseason competitions, 6-foot-1 junior Katie Lancing leads in total points with 134 in eight games, an average of 16.75 per game; and her 6-foot-3 junior running mate Ashley Gronewoller follows in total scoring with 106 points, an average of 13.2 per game.

Running third on the scoring charts is 5-foot-7 senior guard Meigan Canty with 51 points, including three 3-pointers in six attempts, for a per game average of 6.37.

Tiffanie Hamilton, a 5-foot-10 senior forward comes next with 32 points for a 4 point per game average. Next is 5-foot-5 sophomore guard Shannon Walkup with 23 points coming off the bench for a 2.87 point per game average.

Andrea Ash, a 5-foot-5 senior guard who has been hampered by an ankle sprain, has contributed 11 points for a 1.2 points per game average; Carlena Lungstrum, a 5-foot-7 junior guard-forward, has recorded seven points for a per game average of 0.87; junior reserve forward Nicole Buckley has added seven points for a per game average of 0.87; and senior reserve 5-foot-5 guard Amber Mesker has chipped in with six points for a per game average of 0.75.

Swing players Joetta Martinez and Tasha Andrews have each seen action in one game but neither scored.

Leading rebounders for the Ladies are Gronewoller with 70, Lancing with 62 and Hamilton with 57. Canty has 21, Ash 13, Walkup 11, and Lungstrum six.

The offensive Achilles heels for the Ladies, as they've compiled a 6-2 record in tournament play, have been at the free throw line where they're 93 for 146 for 63.6 percent and ball control, where they've committed 145 turnovers.

Lancing is far and away the free throw leader, canning 46 of 64 charity tosses for 71 percent. Gronewoller has hit 10 of 23 for 43 percent; Hamilton 8 of 17 for 47 percent; Canty 6 of 15 for 40 percent; Ash 3 of 9 for 33 percent; Walkup 3 of 5 for 60 percent; Lungstrum 3 of 7 for 43 percent; Mesker 2 of 4 for 50 percent and Buckley, 1 of 2 for 50 percent.

The turnover totals started low, 11, 12 and 16 in the first three games, and then soared to 27 and 26 before dropping back down with 21, 20 and 13.

Coach Karen Wells said the girls are being drilled daily on protecting the ball and on crisp, accurate passing and said she will tolerate no more than 10 turnovers per game by the time the league season opens.

Lancing leads the squad in steals with 26, followed by Hamilton and Walkup with 15 apiece, Canty with 11, Gronewoller with 10, Ash with four, Lungstrum and Buckley with two each.

Lancing also leads the team in assists with 20, just one ahead of Hamilton. Next in order are Canty with 14, Walkup with 12, Gronewoller with 10, Ash with five and Lungstrum and Mesker with three each.

The three treys recorded by Canty are the only 3-pointers for the team. Lancing is 0 for 5 from 3-point range and Walkup, Ash and Hamilton are all 0 for 1 outside the arc.

Conversely, their opponents have created catch-up problems with their long-range sniping. Farmington Junior Varsity, for example, had only six field goals against Pagosa but half were the 3-point variety. The following day Cortez hit 5 of 8 from 3-point range. In the Wolf Creek Classic, Doherty (of Colorado Springs) Junior Varsity hit 4 of 6 trey attempts; Bloomington hit 3 of 7; and Montrose hit 3 of 6.

And in the Black Canyon Classic at Montrose, Olathe and Montrose were each 3 of 5 from outside the 3-point arc.

Community News

Chamber News

By Suellen Loher

Deadline for Volunteer, Citizen bids

Please return your nomination forms for Volunteer and Citizen of the Year to the Chamber of Commerce by Dec. 29 . We have so many wonderful folks in our community that do so many things on a volunteer basis and never expect anything in return. Nominating these folks is a wonderful way to pay tribute to their hard work.

We will make the announcement and give out the awards at our Jan. 30 annual banquet.

New Year's Eve

Purchase your tickets now for the Pagosa Players and the Kings Men New Year's Gala fundraiser, Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person and will sell fast. PPKM will put on a production by Jack Neary called "First Night," as well as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe and Elvis. There will be door prizes and gifts, dancing to the music of John Graves and "The Blue Moon Boys," a champagne breakfast buffet after midnight, and many more surprises. This is a sit-down dinner. Call 731-3300 for more information.

Gary Morris

A New Year's Eve Extravaganza takes place Dec. 31, 9 p.m. to midnight with Gary Morris and friends. Tickets are $100 and available at the Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books, Choke Cherry Tree and WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Co. The concert will be held in the gymnasium at Our Savior Lutheran Church. The concert is to benefit building a school in Chromo. Call 264-6766 for more information.

End of the year

Please remember to get your Chamber membership in by Jan. 2 to make it in the business directory. I have been working very hard on the 2001 Directory and it will go to print soon after Jan. 2. We will print around 1500 copies, and make changes on a quarterly basis for those joining after January.

Special events

Any organization hosting special events in 2001 should get information to us as soon as possible for inclusion in the 2001 calendar of events.

Membership

We are pleased to introduce a new member to you this week and to announce 14 renewals.

Welcome to Mark Wood with Wood Paint Company, Mark offers quality, reliable painting and has been in the business since 1972. You can reach him by calling 731-5153.

Renewals this week include Tony Simmons with The Brew Haus and Simmons Says; Claudia Bishop Faubion with Bishop Publishing LLC; Dr. Walter Moore with Moore Chiropractic Health Centre LLC; John and Lisa Thurman with Pagosa Jewelry; Frank and Jeto Walsh with Pagosa Power Sports; Jenny Zielisko with Absolute Travel and Adventure Co. Inc.; Julie Pickering with Rocky Mountain HMO; Jerry and Joan Rohwer with Moonlight Books; Lvonne Johnson with Home Again; Cappy White and Monica Green with Handcrafted Interiors; and Mark Miller with Let It Fly, LLC. Associate Member renewals are John and Jenny Schoenborn, and John J. Taylor. Thank you all for your continued support.

Thanks

To our diplomat Ann Graves who helped me out Friday, I really appreciated the break to run some errands and have lunch.

Thanks to all who help make our community a great place to live and work. Happy New Year.

Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

Swim Club is seeking members

Pagosa Lakes Swim Club is looking for youth who enjoy swimming and who like to compete. Started in 1988, the swim club has developed into one of the best competitive swimming clubs in Colorado. An informational meeting will be held on Monday, January 8 at 7 p.m. in the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center. This meeting is for current swim team members and their families, and new swimmers and families interested in learning more about the team.

Porpoises, the name of the swim club, will start practices on Monday, Jan. 22. Swimmers on the team will practice Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Practices will be slightly shorter and on only two of the three days for younger swimmers. Once school is out, the training schedule beginning on Monday, June, 4 will be in the morning from 7:30 to 9:30 (Monday through Thursday).

The Porpoises' swim meet schedule begins at the end of May and continues through the first week in August. This includes possible travel to Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray, Durango, Grand Junction, Cortez and Farmington. Following the regular season, swimmers who have achieved qualifying times are eligible to participate in the Western Slope Championship and the Division I, II and III championship meets. Swimmers on the Pagosa Lakes Swim Club are expected to compete in at least four meets. Every swimmer is required to have a current Recreation Center membership, U.S. Swimming Association membership (about $35), and pay a $150-per-season swim fee. Swimmers are also required to purchase their own team suits. Mandatory participation in the annual fund raising swim-a-thon is expected. The money from the swim-a-thon covers travel expenses for the swim team coach.

When the competition gets going in the summer, registration fees at the meets run about $2 per event entered plus the cost of travel and lodging. At most swim meets, camping areas are available and you can keep your lodging cost to a minimum by camping.

The continued success of this swim program, as it begins its 14th year, will depend on the hard work of the swimmers, the dedication of their parents and the quality of training provided by coach Steve Elges. Although this is clearly a major family commitment, the rewards justify the efforts. Competitive swimming is a marvelous sport. It encourages self-discipline and builds self-confidence.

Supported by the camaraderie of the team, swimming brings out the best in every individual. Interested parents and swimmers may call Steve Elges or Ming Steen at 731-2051 for more information.

Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center memberships for 2001 are already on sale. Members with current memberships have until Jan. 5 to renew if they wish to continue use of the recreational facility. User rates remain the same as last year.

The Recreation Center will be open on New Year's day from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Recreation Center will close at 5 p.m. on New Year's eve. Happy New Year.

Senior News
By Janet Copeland

Potluck supper/dance will usher in the new year

Happy New Year. We wish everyone the best of health and happiness in 2001. We had a wonderful Christmas party at the Senior Center on Friday. I think it really helped get us all in the mood for the holidays.

Don't forget the monthly potluck supper/dance will be at 5 p.m. on Dec. 29. These social gatherings are always fun and a great way to usher out this millennium year (even though it won't be on New Year's Eve). I think we can celebrate a couple of days early. Also after lunch on the 29th will be the last Senior Citizens board meeting of the year. New officers for 2001 will be introduced.

Membership cards for 2001 will go on sale Jan. 1 for $3 each. Many local businesses are now honoring these cards with discounts so they are really quite valuable. Eva Darmopray is Membership Chairman so please contact her for your new card.

Adelina Lovato is our Senior of the Week. Adelina is one of the most dedicated members at the Center. Congratulations, Adelina.

As much as we prefer not to think about it at this time of year, tax season will soon be here. AARP has offered again this year to assist seniors with tax preparation. Persons desiring help should make an appointment with Tina, and should have all records assembled so you can take them with you when you meet with the tax assistant.

We have been offered a CPR class in February. There will be a $5 charge for just the class; for anyone wishing to re-certify there will also be a book charge. There will be an after-lunch class and an evening class offered at the Education Center. Persons desiring to take the class should let Payge know.

Cruising with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

The pressure's off, enjoy life

I love the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. It's a time to rest, to recap what's happened over the past year, to plan those resolutions.

Remember making New Year's resolutions? I haven't done those in years. When I was young, my friends and I used to make resolutions, writing them out in our best penmanship. It was something to do on New Year's Day, while the adults were in the living room, recuperating from the party the night before.

We'd hide out in a bedroom, with a plate of cookies, and carefully write out our resolutions. And what resolutions they were.

I mean, how much can a 10-year- old kid have control over? We weren't old enough to have any real vices yet. Keep my room clean, that was a biggie. Probably the biggest. One friend, the oldest of five or six siblings, used to regularly promise not to tease her little sister.

I think the appearance was more important than the resolution.

This is the week when the pres- sure's off. The kids are home, so you don't have to worry about school clothes and schedules and deadlines, at least for a few more days. And by then, the new will have gotten old, and you'll be sick of the squabbling.

You've done the decorating. Any cute idea from Martha Stewart can go back in the file to wait until next year. You don't have to grow your own ginger plants so that you can grate the roots to make the perfect dough for your prizewinning gingerbread houses. It's too late now. Nobody's interested in gingerbread houses AFTER Christmas.

You've done the holiday baking. If you didn't make those darling little cookies with the 17 exotic ingredients that had to be ordered by mail, you're off the hook. Let 'em eat chocolate chip cookies instead. Or my favorite, pumpkin nut bread. It's the only thing I bake for the holidays. I don't have to fuss with all those little shapes, and it's less likely to burn in the oven.

The presents have all been opened and exclaimed over. Well, maybe you do have to write some thank you notes. Tell Aunt Lucy you just love the door chime whatsit with the Scandinavian inscription. Lie. She's never going to visit here and see that you didn't mount it on the door.

The gift wrapping supplies have been put away. Boy, I hope so. Remember, if you had to mail stuff, you had to do it back around Thanksgiving. Or else change the décor. Wrap things in bunny paper and call them Easter gifts.

And it's a good time to read the Christmas letters. You know the kind I mean. The letters that tell of all the travels your old friends have done over the past year - little jaunts to Tuscany, where they sampled the wine and stayed at the most cunning little castles. Those page-long cheery accounts of how they stopped in Switzerland for a week of skiing, before heading up to Stockholm to pick up a Nobel Prize.

The letters that relate adventures like scuba diving in the Indian Ocean, or shark fishing off the coast of Australia. The ones that tell how their children, unlike yours, are pursuing stellar careers in brain surgery, or arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, or climbing Mount Everest. And of course these wonder kids aren't yet 30.

I like the letters that go like this - In January we traveled to X place, and had a wonderful time. In February all our kids surprised us by coming here for our 38th anniversary, and we had a wonderful time. March saw us packing up the RV for a quick trip to Florida, where we had a wonderful time. And on and on.

So I say, get busy. Get ahead of the game. Start thinking about your own bragging letter now, so you can polish it up and send it out in plenty of time to give your friends a little holiday angst next year. If you're like me, you haven't seen some of these letter writers in 25 years. Or more. Who's to know if you're telling the truth or not?

This is also a good time to deal with the tree. If your household is like a lot of others, it's time to put the tree away. Maybe you're sick of those needles. Or you're tired of crouching down to water it. (and of mopping up the spilled water.) Or maybe you just want the space back for the furniture. Get that sucker out of there!

Our house in Nashville was near a city park that was a designated drop-off site for Christmas trees. The city ran the trees through a chipper and spread them on paths in the parks, where the fresh piney smell lingered for months. The trees were supposed to be stripped clean of tinsel, but that didn't bother some folks.

Hotshot and I used to bet on when the first tree would show up at the parking lot. One year there was a tree there by noon on Christmas day. I'm not kidding.

Remember the olden days, when Christmas wasn't so rushed? We put up our tree around the 20th of the month and kept it up until Epiphany, January 6. We might fudge a couple of days, but that tree was there, glowing softly, until after New Year's day.

When we down-sized to move here, I got rid of a lot of tree ornaments, keeping only the special ones - the handmade ojos de dios, the clothespin reindeer, the woven paper baskets to put candy in, a hand-made angel and the lop-sided glittery star from the year our tree had two tops.

We were living in Connecticut. I took our daughter, then seven, to a local farm to select a tree. She and I both liked the first tree we saw. It was the right height. It was symmetrical, except - the trunk had forked a couple of years before, and there were two sturdy tops, each about 15 inches long. Well, that wouldn't do. I wanted perfection.

We walked around for over an hour on that cold snowy morning, our noses getting redder and our feet growing numb. I pointed out tree after tree. "There's a nice one," I'd say.

"I liked that first tree better," she'd reply.

Sometimes you just can't change the mind of a 7-year old. We bought the first tree. The man felled it with his chain saw, and we brought it home in the trunk of the car. We put our angel on one top and made the star out of foil and glitter for the other. It was a great tree, and it taught me that 'a perfect Christmas tree' isn't really important.

What's important is our family and friends. What's important is getting together. Eating cookies. Drinking eggnog. Taking a walk in the snow.

Enjoy this week. I plan to.

Library News
By Lenore Bright

Will Internet replace libraries? Check statistics

Some have questioned whether the Internet will replace public libraries. The first research study on the subject finds the following:

- As many as 75 percent of Internet users also use the library, and 60 percent of library users also use the Internet.

- Library users are significantly younger than library nonusers; Internet users were significantly younger than Internet nonusers.

- Use of the library and Internet were related to educational attainment. Users of both were better educated.

- Use of the library and use of the Internet were related to higher household income.

- Women use the library more than men do. Men use the Internet more than women.

- There is no evidence that use of the Internet is changing the reasons why people use the library. There is no evidence that using the Internet is affecting the frequency with which people use the library.

The library received higher ratings for ease of use, lower cost, availability of paper copy, accuracy of information, helpfulness of libraries.

The Internet received higher ratings for ease of getting there, time to get there, availability (hours), range of resources, fun, enjoyability of browsing, ability to work alone.

Reasons for non-use of the library appear to be related to lifestyle choices. There is no evidence that the reasons for not using the library are affected by use of the Internet.

It appears that we'll both be around for some time to come.

Donations

We are thankful for subscriptions to "Audubon" from Terry Hershey and "Bloomberg Personal Finance" from David Swindells. Financial help came from Jack and Catherine Threet, and Rick and Sherry Murray in memory of Rick's wonderful mother, Dorothy K. Reeves.

Short column

It's vacation time: the holidays, carpet cleaning, inventory, budget finalizing . . . that about covers it. We'll be closed Saturday for inventory, then open again Jan. 2. Happy real Millennium to you all.

Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

Toothpicks to teabags; A survival kit for the new year

This survival kit is to help you get through the new year.

Toothpick: to remind you to pick out the good qualities in others.

Rubber band: to remind you to be flexible. Things might not always go the way you want, but it will work out.

Bandaid: to remind you to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else's.

Pencil: to remind you to list your blessings every day.

Eraser: to remind you that everyone makes mistakes, and it's okay.

Chewing gum: to remind you to stick with it and you can accomplish anything.

Mint: to remind you that you are worth a mint to your family and friends.

Candy kiss: to remind you that everyone needs a kiss or a hug every day.

Tea bag: to remind you to relax daily and go over that list of your blessings.

Around town

Mark Winter and Richard and Mary Lynn Ballantine are giving the Durango Collection to Fort Lewis College. It will be housed in the new Center for Southwest Studies. The Durango Collection is considered one of the finest collections of antique textiles in the world. Mark is a former resident of Pagosa Springs. He owned and operated the American Renaissance Gallery located across U.S. 160 East from Ace Hardware.

A meeting of the San Juan Region Planning Commission will be held Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Pagosa Lakes Vista Club House on Port Avenue. This may be the final meeting. All chapters of the Community Plan will be covered including Chapter 5, which deals with land use issues.

Free spray or neuter vouchers are still being distributed at the Humane Society on a first-come, first-served basis the first of every month. Any pet owner with a dog or cat that needs to be fixed is urged to visit the Humane Society promptly on the first day of the month because vouchers are limited.

The Humane Society Thrift Store has an ongoing antique auction on www.ebay.com, the world's largest auction house. Log onto ebay.com, select the "Search" button at the top of the home page. Then select a search "By Seller." you will need to enter a "Seller User I.D." Type in packrack@pagosa.net.

Fun on the run

What would have happened if it had been three Wise Women instead of three Wise Men?

They would have asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought practical gifts.

But what would they have said when they left?

"Did you see the sandals Mary was wearing with that gown?"

"That baby doesn't look anything like Joseph."

"Can you believe that they let all of those disgusting animals in there."

"I heard that Joseph isn't even working right now."

"And that donkey they are riding has seen better days too."

"Want to bet on how long it will take until you get your casserole dish back?"

Editorials

Here and now time

A year ago the unknown prospects of Y2K produced a momentary marketplace for false prophets of doom and profiteers of supposed fail-safe survival products and investments. Now, the start of Y2K plus '01 is five days in the future.

During the past 12 months the following hodgepodge of thoughts collected in my computer's "stuff" file.

It's hard to believe politicians could get elected by promising Americans a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. Dissected and magnified, the campaign promise advocated that the head, or father, of every family would be employed, and that every family would live together in its own home. And the home's one-car garage would house the family's auto. Rather than being a quality of life, it supposedly was the American dream.

Fast forward to the infancy of the 21st century. Americans need a restaurant on every corner. And everyone 16 years old needs their own auto, television, telephone etc. It's now common for garages to have two or three doors and for fabricated families to have that many sets of parents or more.

The luxuries of the '40s and '50s became the hoped for life styles of the '60s and '70s, and the common necessities of the quality of life pursued in the '80s and '90s. Realized hopes produced hollowness, earlier dreams became nightmares and fashionable permissiveness produced social disintegration.

The vulgarities of the past were rhymed into the popular music of today. Blushing went the way of proper grammar, legible handwriting and correct spelling - it became a rarity.

Worship went from being a time of expressing reverence to being a time of entertainment and stimulation.

Suburban sprawl spilled far beyond the banks of the city limits and stagnated as rural saturation. Isolated areas once valuable because of their productivity are now exploited because of their supposedly pristine characteristics. Once productive land property is no longer profitable unless it's divided, developed and its productivity destroyed.

Rather than bemoan past decisions that produced the present, let's focus on Pagosa's here and now. Three significant planning meetings will be held during the next 28 days.

The Hinsdale County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. Jan. 8 in the Archuleta County commissioners meeting room. Public comments will be received concerning a land-use plan proposed for the Upper Piedra Area and southern part of Hinsdale County.

The Mineral County Planning Commission will hold a pubic hearing at 7 p.m. Jan. 18 in the Mineral County Courthouse in Creede. Public comment will be accepted on the proposed Founders at East Fork subdivision, a 150-acre, 30-unit clustered subdivision in the southwestern end of Mineral County on the East Fork of the San Juan River. The property is located within the boundaries of the proposed Piano Creek project.

A public discussion of the third draft of Chapter 5 of the Archuleta County Community Plan will be discussed at a public meeting at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 in the county commissioners meeting room.

Yesterdays should provide more than memories, they also should provide the incentive to participate in the present in hopes of preventing the past from repeating itself in the immediate future.

David C. Mitchell

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

It's time to renew resolutions

Dear Folks,

This week's edition finishes up another year.

Time for New Year resolutions.

The longer I'm at the SUN, the more I'm convinced that things don't change with the passing of time.

The passing of time simply gives things an opportunity to repeat themselves.

From putting together the weekly "25 Years Ago" column, I've noticed that the news and nuances in Pagosa Springs frequently recycle themselves on a quarter of a century time frame.

This recycling process came to mind last week while I was finishing out the last out-of-the-past bit from 1975.

A letter to the editor that appeared in the Dec. 25, 1975, edition assured editor emeritus Glen Edmonds that "I enjoy your paper, but I'm a little tired of reading which (local resident) had dinner in Chama, Chromo or whatever.

"By just reading other papers you could get some ideas that could make you a newspaper rather instead of Mrs. Murphy's cow had a calf. Who gives a (darn) who went to Durango for the day? You need a fresh outlook for 1976. Try it, your customers like a change."

Fast forward to December 2000. Three weeks ago a letter to the editor expressed displeasure with the SUN's Web site. Actually it was an e-mail rather than a letter, but the writer raised some interesting questions.

One, what articles in the SUN are of most interest to most of the Web site "users"?

Two, are most of the SUN's Web site "readers computer users living in other areas"?

Three, should all of the articles and columns that are published in the SUN be included, or posted, on the SUN's Web site?

Four, are the folks who log onto the SUN's Web site readers or users?

Five, are the Web site users usual users or are they casual users?

Six, are the SUN's Web site users getting their money's worth or should they be charged a fee in order to access the SUN's Web site? (I'm told that during the almost three years the SUN has been on the Internet, a little more than 100,000 "hits" have been logged on the SUN's front page.)

It's highly likely that the writer of the e-mail is very familiar with Web sites. So there is no reason to doubt his assessment that the SUN's "rather limited" Web site "is becoming tedious."

However, it's hard to know what type of articles would be of greater interest to a greater number of the SUN's Web site users.

It's easy to know that including more color, digital pictures of the beauty of Pagosa Country, or including nothing but color digital pictures on the SUN's Web site would be the ultimate crowd pleaser.

It makes me realize how blessed and spoiled I am to live in Pagosa.

All I have to do is pay my annual escalating membership fee, in the form of property taxes, to the Archuleta County treasurer. In return, I am able to view, enjoy and experience the grandeur of Pagosa Country on a daily and nightly basis.

However, if I lived elsewhere, I too would be one of the thousands who log onto the SUN's Web site in order to maintain even an electronic connection with the people and places of Pagosa Country.

Hopefully users and readers alike will believe me when I say, the weekly resolution of myself and the wonderful folks that I work with is to make each week's SUN better than the one from the previous week. As for the SUN's Web site, please be patient, we are still getting used to how it can best be used.

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

David

25 years ago

Abel Martinez honored

Taken from SUN files

of Dec. 25, 1975

Abel Martinez, custodian at Pagosa Springs High School, was presented a plaque last week for 20 years of service to the school district. Mr. Martinez has been custodian of the high school for the past 20 years and its condition speaks very eloquently of the manner in which he has performed his work.

Cloud seeding, or rain making, has not had an adverse effect on the environment in southwestern Colorado, according to a recent report from the chief of the atmospheric water resources management of the Bureau of Reclamation. The bureau is conducting an analysis of eight seeding projects in the nation to develop guidelines for cloud seeding.

More than 200 children showed up last Saturday afternoon at the Mesa Theater for the annual Christmas party. They were guests of the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce and local businessmen at a movie and were also given a bag of candy.

Auto accidents were numerous the past week hereabouts. One truck driver was seriously injured in an accident on Wolf Creek Pass last Saturday. Potatoes were strewn along the highway just above the San Juan Overlook.

Legacies
By Shari Pierce

Light plant fire plunged town into darkness

The New Light and Power Company plant, located one mile south of downtown Pagosa Springs, was destroyed by fire the evening of Jan. 4, 1929. The fire started in the boiler room at about 9 p.m. and destroyed the building and equipment.

The plant was water powered. It was necessary to have an auxiliary steam plant for use during the winter months. It was in this section of the plant where the fire started. The blaze was well established before it was- discovered.

Plant owner Grant Shields had $11,000 in insurance on the property. Damage to the power plant was estimated to be $15,000.

Editor Charles Day of The Pagosa Journal reported in his Jan. 4 edition that it was a sure thing the power plant would be rebuilt as soon as possible. "In the meantime steps are being taken to resume operation with a new dynamo and other equipment to be used under temporary conditions and it is not probable that Pagosa Springs will be out of electric lighting more than two weeks.

The same day, editor Reef Egger, of The Pagosa Springs SUN, reported to readers, "The water situation in Pagosa Springs is acute, as the town water work's pump is operated by electric pump. However a gasoline engine is now being installed and it is thought that it will be in operation Sunday."

Egger went on to tell his readers, "The town is entirely without lights or electric power, this affecting almost every home, business house and industry in the city. The SUN was unable to print last night as scheduled, and the publication of this issue by hand power has been an effort."

Different people were affected in different ways by the lack of power. About 10 years ago, the late Bob Matthews related to me this incredible story about how the fire affected him.

"To begin with we must go back a few months to the fall of 1928. I was 14 years old. One day at school I became ill and was taken to Dr. Jackson's office. It was determined that I had acute appendicitis and probably couldn't stand the hour and a half to two hours (trip) over graveled road to Durango.

"Dr. Jackson, Dr. Nossaman and a retired nurse whose name was, I believe, Loucks, laid me out on the dining room table. Dad held a flashlight, mother kept the water hot and I was operated on. The appendix had ruptured and the doctor couldn't find it so I was sewed up and put to bed."

More next week about the fire at The New Light and Power Company and how it affected the town.

Features

Pacing Pagosa
By Richard Walter

Real joy comes from sharing

Apace with the season, Pagosans welcomed Christmas by opening their hearts, purses and wallets to make sure that not only their loved ones but those afflicted by tragedy or unfortunate circumstance were able to celebrate a moment of joy.

It is not a trait exclusive to this community but, as a visitor pointed out in a page 1 letter last week, the spirit of Pagosa typifies what many Americans often forget: The real joy in life comes from sharing its blessings.

Sometimes we all lament the laid-back pace of life in small town USA. On the surface it can be frustrating to those who come from some metropolitan megaplex, but in the end, the job gets done. And often, it will be done much better than it might have been in the big city.

A visitor mourning the loss of a father loses her purse in Pagosa Springs with a sizable amount of cash inside. Hours later she returns and learns the purse has been found by another visitor and turned in to the police department, the contents intact.

How often might you find that type of closure in the big city? More likely than not, the purse would have been relieved of its contents and the bag dumped in the trash.

Merchants came to the aid of the purse owner, trying in vain to track it in the restaurant where they ate. Police were happy to return the purse after it and its contents were identified.

And again, a visitor to a strange community found a blessing, something like those who went to a strange city to welcome the birth of Savior found the blessing they had been promised.

Now we are in the fourth of the twelve fabled days of Christmas, a prelude to the beginning of a new year. Without getting into the argument of whether this is really the beginning of the New Millennium or the end of its first year, we can assume the pace of life in Pagosa Springs will be affected to a great extent by that which causes people to leave other environs to come here.

From the days outsiders first came to utilize the "Great Healing Waters of Pagosa," through the harvesting of great stands of timber to build railroads and structures of housing and commerce in the newly developing land, through cattle and sheep ranches with stock as far as the eye could see to the current spate of homebuilding as far as the eye can see, the pace of Pagosa has always been directly related to the influx of citizens from outside.

Old-time families become fewer each year. Relatively few will still be represented when another millennium passes. But the pace of Pagosa will remain one which takes a cue from the nation's economy and at the same time maintains a rural flavor and a rustic approach to the game of life.

My own ancestors came into Pagosa Country around the turn of the century, arriving by covered wagon over old Elwood Pass. My mother recounted once how the family migrated with the itinerant sawmill camps from one contract cut to another.

Back and forth they crossed the ranges from New Mexico into Colorado and back, across the San Juans, finally coming to stay when she was about six years old. She told of the trouble crossing Elwood, how they had to lower the cattle, wagons and private property by rope over areas too narrow for them to pass.

Pagosaland was to be their new start. It offered jobs, beauty, security, and a way of life that offered a chance to utilize the skills of generations and still put down roots for those who would follow to grow on.

The surrounding mountains were her home the rest of her life. She made few forays out of the area, preferring "the majesty of what I see and know to the disarray and distrust I see elsewhere."

She once visited us in Illinois as we were awaiting the birth of our son. She marveled at the sights of skyscrapers but said they didn't compare to her mountains. She saw people of all sizes, shapes and colors but longed "to get back home to my friends."

We took her to eat in a fancy restaurant but she was aghast at the price for a meal. "In Pagosa we'd be able to feed a family for a week on what it costs for one meal here," she opined.

While that thought might not hold credence today, Pagosa remains a place where families grow gardens in the summer and can their crops to supplant their menus through the cold winter months. Children actually know where vegetables come from, and help in their cultivation and preparation.

Children in Pagosa have wide educational opportunities one would not expect to find in rural America. The community produces outstanding scholars, athletes and leaders for the future.

It is a community with a pace all its own. It borrows from the lessons of others by utilizing the newcomers and their talents. It builds on the lessons of tradition, the ideas passed down by the families who first settled its rugged countenance. It has learned their lessons and applied them judiciously to development of new concepts, the utilization of the values of heredity, history, and hope.

Growth, it has been said, is inevitable when a land has so much to offer. But growth cannot come without new lessons to be learned, new rules of survival and new tenets of truth to deal with.

We need to make sure the pace of Pagosa meets the needs of its residents, old and new. We need to walk the paths of this land with a soft tread that we not leave the footprints of progress as eyesores of economic deceit.

Pagosaland does, indeed, have its own pace. It has worked for more than 100 years. It will work for more centuries to come if we allow it to develop at its own rate and not force it to burn out with an engine overheated and run down by trying to go too far, too fast.

By the time the next version of this column arrives, we will be in a new year. May it be one in which you join me to marvel at the wonder of the pace of life, Pagosa style.

Old Timers
By John Motter

At last, rails arrived in 1905

Like most western towns around the beginning of the 20th century, Pagosa Springs wanted a railroad. In 1900, the townspeople got their wish. The Denver & Rio Grande built a spur line from Pagosa Junction to Pagosa Springs, connecting the town with the outside world by rail.

The impact of the railroad was enormous. For example, Archuleta County's population climbed to 2,117 in 1900, the year the railroad reached town. It had been 826 in 1890.

This is a continuation of a series of articles describing the coming of the railroad as seen through the eyes of Daniel Egger, editor of The Pagosa Springs News. Construction on the Pagosa & Northern Railroad started in Pagosa Junction late in 1899. After taking a few weeks off for a mild winter, work renewed in the spring of 1900. Now we pick up on the action on Oct. 5, 1900.

"The railroad is about completed," Egger wrote. "The graders will finish their work today (Friday). Steel is layed to within a half mile of the townsite, and will be finished by Tuesday. Contracts will be let for stock pens for cattle which will hold 10 cars; also a large sheep pen. These will be built immediately for the convenience of cattle and sheep men here. The freight and passenger rate on this road will not be 10 cents per mile as on other roads we happen to know of in this state, but will be a reasonable rate that a poor man can afford to pay."

"J.E. Colton reported the sale of sixteen town lots last Saturday. Verily Pagosa Springs property is getting in demand."

Arriving with the railroad were a number of new businesses. For example:

- Our flour mill is ready for business. In a few days A.D. Gallop will have a car load of corn at the mill, which he will grind for the home market. Mr. Gallop intends to get wheat later on.

- J.M. Archuleta of Lumberton came in Wednesday. He is looking after the interest of his new store, which will be built in the near future. When finished this will undoubtedly be the largest concern between Alamosa and Durango.

- Forrest Sparks is now the head clerk in Archuleta's new store, and the place looks just as neat as a pin. Frosty is all right and will work to the interest of his employer.

- Tonsorial Parlor, Mullins and Lewis proprietors, first door west of Commercial Hotel, telephone 6, satisfaction guaranteed, (on San Juan Street, north side, next to the alley west of the stove store) and Messrs. Mullins and Lewis moved their barbershop Wednesday to the building formerly occupied by Chas A. Stotts one door north of Winter & Fishers drug store.

Not everyone welcomed the railroad, especially if the rails intended to cross private property.

The following item gives a clue that some citizens hoped to profit from the rails crossing their property. The Pagosa & Northern apparently thought otherwise. They expected citizens to be so grateful for their coming that everyone would get together and donate rights of way. The following paragraph gives us an idea of how the newspaper editor - a great booster for local commerce - looked at the issue.

"It begins to look like the property owners of Pagosa Springs do not want a railroad. The working and finance committee has so far refused to solicit subscriptions towards paying the right of way through town. If the holders of real estate in town don't seem to interest themselves in having the station in town they will have no kick coming if the depot is located beyond the confines of town. And should the railroad company start an opposition town they would probably hie themselves to the woods and kick themselves."

Editor Egger was probably thinking of what had happened to Animas City when the railroad entered those parts about 1880. The citizens of Animas City were so proud of their property, they expected prices for right of way land the railroad thought exorbitant. The railroad responded by laying out a new city - Durango. It was not long before the new city swallowed its predecessor, Animas City.

Meanwhile, the railroad entering Pagosa Springs apparently had its way in court, as evidenced by the following item. It is interesting to speculate that, had they not, a new town might have been started, maybe at Sunetha - today's Fairfield-Pagosa development west of town.

"Judge J.L Russell held court here Wednesday in the railroad right-of-way cases. They were all compromised. The judge will hold court again October 30 to give the non-residents a show for their real estate, which the railroad will run through."

At least most of the necessary money was raised. C.H. Freeman solicited subscriptions amounting to $800. The town board appropriated $500. The right of way cost $1,500.

Finally the train reached town. A construction train of the Pagosa & Northern steamed into Pagosa Springs the evening of October 13, the first train into town. A large number of Pagosa citizens greeted A.T. Sullenberger as he stepped from the coach on the Rio Grande & Pagosa Northern on its inaugural run.

The initial schedule for the new rail line was: leave Pagosa Junction at 1:45 p.m.; leave Talian (5 miles) 2.05; leave Altura (12.6 miles) 2.25; leave Hall (16 miles) 2.50; leave Dyke (17.2 miles) 3.05; leave Nutria (21 miles) 3.25; leave Hatcher (23.3 miles) 3.35; leave Sunetha (26 miles) 3.45; and arrive Pagosa Springs (30.9 miles) 4.05. One half hour later, starting at 4:30, the train reversed its route and returned to Pagosa Junction.

The impacts of the new train were many. For example, excursions into the countryside for picnics were popular. Pagosa folks who hoped the new conveyance would encourage more visitation to town were sometimes disappointed.

"The excursion train from Pagosa Junction arrived about 11 a.m. A very small crowd came in, which was a great disappointment for the Pagosaites for they had all fixed their faces for a good game of ball."

Cattlemen, sheepmen, and lumbermen reaped a great benefit. Before the train arrived in town, cattle and sheep had to be driven about 30 miles to the railroad. Shipping cattle provided the cattlemen a chance to stretch their legs in Denver.

- George F. Babcock came in with a drove of cattle Wednesday evening, and shipped six cars Thursday. They will be taken to Denver, and if the market is not good will be taken to Kansas City.

- Our new railroad has shipped 16 cars of cattle the past three days. Not bad for a starter.

- Twenty-eight carloads of cattle were shipped from here last Sunday.

- Will Nossaman shipped three car loads of cattle Sunday. Will is in Denver this week looking after his cattle interests.

- Dowell Bros. shipped six car loads of cattle from here Sunday. J.C. and J.L. Dowell took them to the Denver market.

- West and McGrew shipped 18 cars of cattle Tuesday. This is the largest shipment of any one firm since Pagosa has opened stockyards.

- C.H. Freeman is in Denver this week looking for a good market for the eleven car loads of cattle.

- M.O. Brown shipped 10 carloads of cattle to Denver.

- Last Sunday 25 car loads of cattle were shipped from here to the Denver market. The following named persons shipped: J.S. Brown 21 cars, Parr Bros 3 cars. Leon Montroy 1 car.

- Lawrence Nolan of the Navajo shipped two carloads of cattle to Denver.

On November 23, a winter storm hit the southern San Juans. Even so, the train continued to reach town. The following items paint a picture of the storm's impact on the community.

- The Rio Grande, Pagosa & Northern Railroad came in every day during the recent storm.

- News is a very scarce article this week. Nearly all of the "yew lambs" in this vicinity are housed up on account of the snow storm.

- Mort Bayles is rounding up cattle for Mr. Perry. Not the most pleasant situation in the world - especially during this snow storm.

- Ward Black left for the Omaha mines Friday. He returned Tuesday and said that he couldn't quite cut it on account of the deep snow. The Omaha mines were located near the head of Turkey Creek.

- The schools have fallen off 50 percent in attendance this past week. But no wonder, three feet of snow is too hard for the little ones to wade through.

- The sheep in this section are suffering severely. Most of them are in or near Peabody Park. The snow storm caught nearly all of our sheepmen napping. Peabody Park is in the general area of today's Steven's Field. Peabody was the post trader at Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs.

- The Loucks boys returned from their famous hunt on Devil Mountain Wednesday evening and report 6 feet of snow. They also say there are several thousand head of sheep in that vicinity.

- The News erred last week in saying that E.E. Hatcher had taken his sheep to Farmington. The Hatcher sheep are still in the vicinity of Pagosa, but will be taken out as soon as the storm lets up.

- It is reported there is 12 feet of snow on Cumbres Pass.

- Since Sunday our sidewalks have been cleaned off twice a day on account of the continued snowfall.

- The sheep have all been taken out of the country with the exception of 4,000 head belonging to Mr. Candelaria. Parties have been searching for the outfit on snowshoes since the storm, but as yet have been unable to find them. They are supposed to be in the vicinity of Devil Mountain, 16 miles west of town.

- E.E Chapson was down from West Fork Wednesday. He reports good sleighing at his place.

- Monday evening (Dec. 3) the Rio Grande Pagosa & Northern Railroad brought in their first mail. Pagosa now gets her daily mail at 4:35 p.m., which is much more convenient.

And, "The Pagosa Lumber Company are a month behind in their orders, and are running night and day."

More on the railroad and the lumber companies, referred to by a local man as the "Octopus," to come.

Births
Trevor Ilias Borne

Chris and Julie Borne would like to announce the birth of their son, Trevor Ilias Borne who arrived Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2000. Trevor weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces. His paternal grandparents are Steve and Connie Prunty of Pagosa Springs. His maternal grandparents are Mark and Jackie Graham of Bellingham, Wash. Great-grandmothers Jean McKeithen and Helen Swass of Pagosa Springs also welcomed Trevor.

Weather Stats

Date

High

Low

Precipitation

Type

Depth

Moisture

12/13

30

18

S

.5

.02

12/14

32

16

-

-

-

12/15

29

8

S

3.0

.18

12/16

31

5

-

-

-

12/17

38

-6

-

-

-

12/18

34

-2

-

-

-

12/19

37

4

-

-

-