Front Page

January 11, 2001

Commissioners hint cooperation will key the new beginning

By John M. Motter

Team work and communications were the theme Tuesday as the Archuleta County commissioners conducted their first meeting of the new year.

From the "I solemnly swear" of the swearing-in ceremony through the "here's what I'd like to see" of an afternoon work session, the new board spent the day organizing and planning for the coming year.

The day began when newly-elected commissioners Bill Downey and Alden Ecker raised right hands and took the oath of office administered by County Judge Jim Denvir.

Following the swearing-in ceremony in the upstairs courtroom, the three-member board convened downstairs in the commissioners meeting room and as a first order of business, reorganized.

Gene Crabtree was re-elected chairman of the board, Downey vice chairman. In other first-of-the-year business the board designated banks as repositories of county money, specified a policy for signing county checks and warrants, designated a site for posting meeting agendas, and reappointed County Manager Dennis Hunt as county budget officer.

A significant change was made in regard to rules governing agenda posting required by Colorado law as part of open meetings requirements. The law requires that the agenda be posted in a public place at least 24 hours prior to a meeting. Failure to do so renders the meeting illegal.

Under this year's board, the time for placing entries on the agenda ends at noon the Friday before the regular 9 a.m. Tuesday meeting. An agenda will be available sometime Friday well in advance of the state requirement.

The agenda change was made at Crabtree's suggestion and by unanimous vote of the board.

"This will give us time to study the items on the agenda and do any research we need to do before the Tuesday meeting," Crabtree said.

Each week's agenda will be posted on the bulletin board in the hall outside of the commissioners meeting room, as in the past. In addition, an agenda will be posted at the post office and a copy will be provided to KWUF for broadcasts over its AM and FM stations prior to the Tuesday meeting.

The check and warrant signing policy is not changed. The signature of at least two commissioners is required. Exceptions are made concerning certain checks connected with Social Services and the self-insurance program. In instances where timeliness is a consideration, Hunt is authorized to sign.

Plans were made to conduct commissioner work sessions, elected-officials work sessions, and department head meetings on a regular basis through the coming year. Specific timing of the meetings is being worked out.

"As a commissioner, I feel it is my responsibility to know what is going on in the county," said Ecker. "I don't want to run departments headed by other elected officials, but I'd like to know about things that affect the county."

On another tack, the commissioners voted to terminate the road advisory committee they shared with the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association. That joint committee had been appointed to advise the commissioners concerning expenditure of funds received under the Fairfield Communities bankruptcy agreement. Some members of the committee were appointed by the commissioners, others by the PLPOA. All of the settlement funds have been spent, excepting some set aside for right of way and utility issues.

"The advisory board did a great job," said Crabtree, "and we should send them a letter of thanks."

The commissioners approved a request from the developers of Elk Park Meadows allowing portions of Hawthorne Drive to be built with a grade of 10 percent, slightly in excess of the 8 percent limit specified in county subdivision regulations. The deviation had already been approved by Roxann Hayes, county engineer, the county planning department; Warren Grams, chief of the Pagosa Fire Protection District; and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

After listening to a report on bus service from Tina White, the county transportation director, the commissioners decided to review the entire operations of that department before taking action. White reported that bus services provided by the county for New Year's Eve celebrators had been successful.

During the afternoon work session, each commissioner listed things he thought should be accomplished during the coming year.

Downey suggested the commissioners should remain active in Colorado Counties Inc., affairs through the coming year, and that the county should get out of maintaining subdivision roads.

"Along that line we're happy maintaining our own roads in Alpha-Rockridge," said Ecker, a resident of the subdivision that formed its own road improvement district. "Some folks want county taxes broken up among the districts, but I don't favor that," Ecker said. "The county needs the money to maintain the arterial roads used by everybody. I don't mind paying additional for better roads in my area.

"It's also going to come up to address the moratorium (on accepting additional subdivision roads into the county maintenance system). I don't think it was meant to be permanent," Ecker added. "I'd like to see an inventory of roads and establishment of road maintenance levels. We need a five-year road plan."

Concerning roads, Crabtree advised that steps be initiated toward widening a portion of the Lower Blanco Road that has been the source of complaints from citizens of that area.

"We also need to review county salaries to establish some kind of consistency among departments," Ecker said. "Maybe we need a step chart."

"I want to implement at least an annual employee review," said Crabtree. "We can do it in our areas and we can encourage other elected officials to do the same."

Crabtree also favored employee exit interviews.

The commissioners discussed commissioner participation in hiring interviews for top-level positions in employment areas under commissioner control.

Also discussed were the hiring of an animal control-building code compliance person, separation of the building department from the planning department, revision of the personnel policy, courthouse parking problems, a requirement that contractors be voluntarily registered with the county after showing proof of insurance, the establishment of various user fees, and the publication of an informational book for newcomers to the county.


Search for new school chief in high gear

By Richard Walter

The search for a replacement for Terry Alley as superintendent of schools for Archuleta School District 50 Joint moved into full speed today.

The board of education approved the formal brochure to be sent to applicants Tuesday night, with some minor changes requested by directors, most notably the addition of hunting as one of the "things to do" in the Pagosa Springs area.,

"That is one of the things which draws thousands of people here," said Director Carol Feazel. "We need to emphasize everything good about our area."

Alley said the change could easily be made and said the brochure would go to the printers today.

The official start of the advertising campaign for the position will come next week when it is posted in a number of professional journals and at regional colleges and universities. The campaign will continue to Feb. 15, including a presentation beginning next week on the district's Internet Web site.

Feazel asked if that posting can include photographs of the area, "maybe even the various school buildings in the district. Pictures are an aid and cause people to pay more attention."

Alley announced his intent last summer to retire at the end of this school year, culminating a more than 30-year tenure in the Pagosa Springs school system. A 15-member search committee, including two high school students, has helped the administration and board define the type of leader they hope to find as his replacement.

On-site interviews with two or more finalists will be conducted and visits will be made to the home towns of the finalists to find out more about their local reputations. It is anticipated the person selected will be under contract by June 1. Alley has agreed to stay on as a temporary advisor to assist the new school leader in determining the parameters of the job.

A minimum salary of $80,000 annually has been established, a figure negotiable depending on experience and education.

In a separate staff move Tuesday, the board approved an administrative recommendation to add J.B. Forrest to the athletic department as a junior high school boys basketball coach. Forrest is a graduate of Pagosa Springs High School. Larry Lister, junior high principal, said the position was necessitated by the huge number of students who turned out for the school's basketball program this year.


Dry weather marked the second half of 2000

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


Colorado Division of Wildlife officials said an effort to reintroduce lynx to areas in and near Pagosa Country was going well. The DOW tracked animals with satellite monitored collars. Dual collars, broadcasting both radio and satellite signals were attached to each animal released during the spring in the San Juan and Rio Grande national forests. Sixty-seven of 96 animals released since February of 1999 were still being monitored by the DOW during summer months.

Dry weather conditions continued to plague the area. Longtime residents anxiously awaited traditional mid-July monsoon conditions, hoping rainfall would replenish rapidly diminishing water supplies. Water levels at several local reservoirs dropped significantly during the first and second weeks of the month.

Fire danger remained high and U.S. Forest Service firefighting crews responded to 13 small blazes in a two-week period between July 12-26. Crews used helicopter support in their efforts to extinguish many of the fires and stayed on the alert for more activity as frequent lightning strikes, unaccompanied by rain, hit the area. Vigilance was necessary as 19 more fires were started by lightning during the last week of the month.


A low voter turnout marked the Aug. 8 primary election in Archuleta County. A mere 25 percent of eligible voters - 1,830 of 7,528 - went to the polls. Republican primary races were at the top of the election agenda and two candidates emerged from the mix in the Archuleta County commissioner primaries. William M. "Bill" Downey won the primary race in District 1 defeating four other candidates with his 503 votes. Alden Ecker garnered 665 votes to defeat four candidates in the District 2 race.

Work began to install a second traffic signal in downtown Pagosa Springs. Crews installed poles and mast arms for signals at the intersection of U.S. 160 and Lewis Street. Installation of the lights and crosswalk signals was part of a project that included reconstruction of the intersection of 5th and Lewis streets.

An historical preservation ordinance was approved for the town of Pagosa Springs. The ordinance was the creation of a committee formed by town trustees in 1999. The new ordinance included criteria for the designation of historical landmarks and historic districts, as well as criteria and procedures for review and approval of proposed alterations to, or removal or demolition of, designated historic properties.

A fire ignited by lightning Aug. 3 near Cabezon Canyon southwest of Pagosa Springs grew to become the largest local blaze of the season. A firefighting effort using teams from the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies reached a peak Aug. 12 when 228 firefighters from 13 states, aided by air tankers and helicopters, battled the 796-acre fire. Mop-up operations at the site began Aug. 16.


Construction costs of $2,088,990 were set for a new town hall on Hot Springs Boulevard near its junction with Apache Street. Excavation and dirt work at the site was complete in late summer with the rest of construction set to begin in September. Completion of the 12,000-plus square-foot facility was set for spring of 2001 with town offices moving to new quarters in June or July.

A controversial application from a local company to operate a concrete batch plant adjacent to U.S. 160 east of Pagosa Springs was approved by a unanimous vote of the Archuleta County commissioners. The plant, its location and its proximity to residential areas, was the center of a swirl of controversy at a public hearing held by the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission and a public hearing held by the commissioners. With their approval, the commissioners included a long list of mitigations recommended by the county planning staff.

A Colorado Supreme Court decision ended a five-year legal battle between local government entities and a group seeking to put a question on the ballot concerning a redistribution of sales tax revenues between Archuleta County and the town of Pagosa Springs. The proposed ballot issue was supported by a group calling itself the County Road User's Association. The proposal recommended the 4 percent of sales tax revenues split evenly between the county and town be redistributed, with 3 percent of sales tax revenues going to the county. After the county commissioners denied placement of the proposal on a ballot in 1995, a lengthy court battle ensued. The matter was closed when the Colorado Supreme Court ruled the county commission had the right to review ballot proposals for compliance with the County Sales Tax Act and that the County Road User's Association proposal did not meet procedural requirements of that Act.


The ski season got off to a flying start as Wolf Creek Ski Area opened for business Oct. 28. There were 28 inches of natural snow at the summit for the opening of the area which, the year before, suffered from a drought during the autumn and early winter.

Other activity on Wolf Creek Pass was less exciting for residents of the area and a pain for motorists negotiating the drive across the Continental Divide. Nighttime closures of the Pass began in mid-October, with the roadway closed 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., Monday through Thursday. Closures were undertaken to facilitate major construction work on the east side of the pass involving realignment and enlargement of the highway and construction of a tunnel. Traffic was also halted for extended periods of time by a repaving project on the west side of Wolf Creek Pass.

The last day of the month brought the first measurable snowfall to downtown Pagosa Springs. Icy roads provided for numerous fender-benders. More significant amounts of snow fell in the high mountains in the area, adding to an increasing early-season snowpack.


Countering a low voter turnout for primary elections in August, 62 percent of eligible voters in Archuleta County went to the polls for the Nov. 7 general election. Bill Downey, unopposed on the ballot, was tabbed as county commissioner in District 1. Alden Ecker defeated Democratic opponent J.B. Smith in the county commissioner race in District 2. Voters overwhelmingly approved ballot questions allowing all elected county officials except county commissioners to serve more than two consecutive terms in office. A county use tax proposal was rejected by more than a three-to-one margin.

If anyone was wondering about the rate of growth in Archuleta County, statistics concerning building permits issued by the county through Nov. 30 clarified the situation. There were 567 permits of all types issued up to the Nov. 30 date. Single-family residence permits totaled 334, compared to 229 for the previous year to date. There were 12 commercial permits issued, down from 13 in 1999.


The cost of staying warm in an "Alpine Paradise" continued to grow. Citizen Utilities, a natural gas provider for Archuleta County and much of the Western Slope of Colorado, increased prices in April, July and October of 2000, boosting the rate by nearly 60 percent. Citing increases in natural gas prices, the company made another rate increase request in December, asking for a 17.9 percent overall increase effective Jan. 1, 2001.

Full-time county employees received good news prior to the holiday season - a $1,400 pay raise, minus deductions for dependent coverage under the county insurance plan. Officials also announced the assessed valuation of property in Archuleta county grew to $158,191,480, meaning county taxpayers will see a tax credit of 3.88 mills when they receive their property tax bills.

A process for hiring of a replacement for retiring Superintendent Terry Alley was set by the school board of Archuleta County School District 50 Joint. The minimum $80,000 per year job, with a two-year contract term, will be advertised in newspapers, professional journals and at area colleges and universities beginning Jan. 15. Deadline for applications was set for Feb. 20 with applicant screening complete by Feb. 28. Candidate interviews will take place March 5-9 with a final selection made by April 16 and a new superintendent in place by July 1.


Hinsdale approves Piedra plan

By John M. Motter

The Hinsdale Upper Piedra Area Comprehensive Plan was approved Monday by the Hinsdale County Planning Commission meeting in the Archuleta County courthouse.

"The great thing about this plan is, it was citizen initiated," said Richard Grice of Four Corners Planning Inc., a Durango consulting firm hired to write the plan.

A survey of landowners and multiple planning meetings during more than a year were used to learn what the residents and land owners in the area want in the plan. Nearly all said they want the area to retain its rural, agricultural nature.

A vision statement for the plan summarizes citizen wishes in these words: "The Hinsdale Upper Piedra community planning area possesses a distinctly rural sense of place, which is derived from historic and on-going ranching operations, minimal development, significant wildlife resources, and its important outdoor recreation opportunities and cultural resources. The area is indeed special, with large open spaces and vast public lands. Residents aspire to protect these characteristics through land use planning."

While advisory in nature, the plan recommends many actions which would limit economic development of the area. More than one person at the meeting voiced concern at the rapid development of the Pagosa Springs area and the Vallecito area and said they hope the plan will prevent similar development of the Upper Piedra area.

The plan is being forwarded to the Hinsdale County commissioners for their consideration. County commissioner approval of the plan is not necessary. However, followup legislation enacting the intents of the plan into law must be done, if at all, by the county commissioners.

Lake City is the Hinsdale County seat. The area involved in the plan generally includes that portion of Hinsdale County located south of the Continental Divide's southerly crossing of Hinsdale County. It is reached by way of Piedra Road which starts in a northerly direction from U.S. 160 just west of Pagosa Springs.


PSHS grad 'fair' after Denver head-on crash

By Karl Isberg

A former Pagosa Springs resident and 1996 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, Jasper Hammond, 23, was critically injured Jan. 2 in a car crash in Denver and is recuperating at a Denver hospital.

Hammond, the son of local physical therapist Steve Hammond and a geology major at the University of Colorado at Boulder was on his way home from work on Interstate 25 just north of Denver when his Mazda pickup truck was stuck head-on by a stolen sport utility vehicle involved in a high-speed police chase.

According to Denver Health Medical Center spokeswoman Sue Spaulding, Hammond's condition at the time of his arrival at the hospital was critical. By Jan. 5, said Spaulding, Hammond underwent surgery and was upgraded to serious condition, suffering massive injuries to his abdomen and chest as well as a broken pelvis.

Spaulding said Wednesday that Hammond "is doing well. His condition has been upgraded to fair and he is off the ventilator. He is getting better but he will be with us for at least another week."

A Boulder benefit has been organized for Jan. 19 to assist Hammond, his fiance Katrina and their soon-to-be-born child.

Local residents wanting to send get-well messages can do so on the internet at or by mail to Jasper Hammond at Denver Health Medical Center, 777 Bannock, Denver, CO 80204.


Allard cancels Pagosa Springs town meeting

U.S. Senator Wayne Allard notified the SUN Monday that he must postpone his town meeting in Archuleta County that was scheduled for Jan. 12 from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Pagosa Lakes Club House, 230 Port Avenue.

Sen. Allard, R-Colo., said the postponement was necessary because he had to "return to Washington, D.C., for the confirmation hearing of Donald Rumsfield. Rumsfield has been nominated by President-elect George Bush to be Secretary of Defense."

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Allard learned about the hearing for Rumsfield during the weekend.

Allard said, "I am very disappointed I will not be able to be in Pagosa Springs for my scheduled town meeting on Friday, but duty calls. The town meeting will be rescheduled for later this year and I hope no one has been inconvenienced."

Having served in the U.S. Senate for four years, Sen. Allard's statewide town meetings are a continuation of his first-year pledge to annually visit each of the county seats in Colorado during his first term in the Senate.

Inside The Sun

Many Ranger District roads closed for winter

When National Forest roads become unsafe for motorized travel in winter, they must be temporarily closed for public safety and to protect road surfaces from damage.

However, according to Pagosa District Ranger Jo Bridges, such local roads remain open to other winter activities, including snow shoeing, skiing and snowmobiling.

The following roads in the Pagosa Ranger District (which are usually open in summer) are currently temporarily closed to motor vehicles other than snowmobiles:

Black Mountain (FDR 661); Blanco River (FDR 656); Blue Creek (FDR 012 at forest boundary); Buckles Lake (FDR 663); Castle Creek (FDR 660); Devil Mountain (FDR 626 at forest boundary); East Fork, (FDR 667 at forest boundary); First Fork (FDR 662); Fourmile (FDR 645 at forest boundary);

Also, Jackson Mountain (FDR 037); Kenney Flats (FDR 006); Left Hand Canyon (FDR 024); Middle Fork (FDR 363); Mosca (FDR 631 at Weminuche Valley); Nipple Mountain (FDR 665 just past Echo Canyon Road); Plumtaw (FDR 634); Price Lakes Road (FDR 731); Snowball (FDR 646);

Also, Snow Springs (FDR 628); Trail Ridge (FDR 639); Turkey Creek; Turkey Springs (FDR 629 lower end from forest boundary to .75 miles southeast of Brockover Mesa Road); Valle Seco (FDR 653); West Fork (before the first bridge, FDR 648); West Monument (FDR 630); and Willow Draw (FDR 722 between Mill Creek and Fawn Gulch Roads).

For further information, contact the Pagosa Ranger District office, 180 Pagosa Street, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The telephone is 264-2268.


Teachers brace to administer battery for state tests

By Richard Walter

Pagosa Springs teachers are bracing for a barrage of testing procedures required under the Colorado Student Assessment Program through March 9.

The board of education for Archuleta County School District 50 Joint heard the schedule Tuesday from Superintendent Terry Alley who noted the procedures will be harder this year because third grade through sophomore students have been added to the must-test list.

Testing locally in the state mandated categories will begin Feb. 12 but all schools will have separate testing schedules. While juniors and seniors will not be added to the state testing rolls until next year, all juniors will be required to take ACT tests April 25.

Alley said results of the testing are expected to be back in district hands by June 1 and will be reflected on the first school district report cards issued by the state on Aug. 15.

Alley told the board Gov. Bill Owens has reversed his stand on at least two phases of the testing procedure. Instead of numerical or alphabetical grades for the school districts, they will now be rated, on the basis of student test performance, as excellent, good, satisfactory, fair or poor; and the ACT results, for this first year of testing only, will not be figured into the high school's over all grade.

The superintendent said the next month and more will be a statistical nightmare for teachers, particularly at the high school level, where each teacher must familiarize themselves with a variety of rules for each specific set of tests.

In answer to a question from Director Carol Feazel, Alley said all testing must be done during regular school hours.

Reporting on a separate issue, Alley said the district has been notified it is to be the recipient of a four-year, $210,000 grant for an after-school tutoring program for fifth through eighth graders.

He said the grant, coordinated by former Education Center director Tom Steen, would allow three parttime program coordinators and utilize high school students who meet the requirements, as paid student tutors for the program.

In addition to enhancing educational opportunity, the program will also aid students in mastering understanding of, music, theater and modern culture.

Alley said he had been notified Tuesday by telephone of the grant approval and that more details of the program will be presented at next month's board meeting.


Six vie for three Chamber director seats

Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual membership banquet and election of directors Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. at Pagosa Lodge. As featured in this week's Preview section of the SUN, this year's activity will follow a New Orleans Mardi Gras format complete with costumes, four buffet areas, cash bar, presentation of awards, casting of ballots and announcement of the three newly-elected directors.

Provided by the Chamber, the following are brief biographical sketches of the six candidates who are seeking election to the three seats that are to be filled on the chamber's board of directors:

Matt Bachus is the membership director and ranch manager for Piano Creek Ranch where he and his wife, Jennai, share duties. In 1998, Matt and Jennai moved to Pagosa Springs from Granby where they were the general managers of the King Mountain Guest Ranch. Prior to his life in the ranch hospitality business, Matt had a small business restoring and finishing log homes, he was a youth camp director for a teen leadership program and even spent several years as a professional actor, both on stage and on camera. Why the chamber board? Matt would be honored to have the opportunity to serve and promote the business community and lifestyle of Pagosa Springs. Additionally, Matt's job involves successfully promoting this area to people all over the world (that is, when he's not changing light bulbs, plunging the toilet, etc. - Piano Creek Ranch is a start-up company, after all). And finally, being 6-foot-5 really helps when it comes to hanging decorations.

April Bergman has managed to greatly impact the female population of Pagosa Springs in just two short years as owner of Curves for Women. Having built a highly successful business here, April has been able to open another Curves in Alamosa and will soon open a third in Monte Vista. April and her husband, Joe, who owns Cutting Edge Builders, and their two children have been active participants in many charitable organizations during their short time in Pagosa. Last year, Curves in Pagosa won the coveted "Pig" award for raising the most money for the American Cancer Society. April's organizational skills have enabled her to thrive in Pagosa for the past 2 1/2 years, and she is anxious to share in making Pagosa the best that it can be in the future. She feels the opportunity to serve on the chamber board would be a great way to contribute to the community which she and her family love.

Angie Dahm and her husband Mark own and operate WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company. They moved to Pagosa from Denver in April 1999, but have owned property here since 1983. They have spent every holiday and long weekend for the last 10 years visiting and discussing how to move to and make a living in Pagosa. Their daughter, Heather, is a seventh grader at the junior high and is enjoying everything the community has to offer. Thor, their 6-month-old black Lab definitely keeps the family busy. Both Angie and Mark's parents also live in the community. Angie was a dental hygienist for 21 years, and Mark is a chemical engineer. They are pleased that WolfTracks has become such a meeting place for the community and that they have met and made friends with so many wonderful people. Angie would welcome the opportunity to serve on the chamber board and give back to this beautiful community that has welcomed her family and her business with such enthusiasm

Linda Delyria moved to Pagosa in 1980 from Carmel, Ind., and currently occupies a home in Holiday Acres with her two children, Courtney, 17, and Michal, 12. She loves cooking (and owns over 400 cookbooks), dancing, football and being involved in her children's sports. Linda has been active in the community serving on the Pagosa Springs Town Board and the Upper San Juan Planning Commission for seven years. She is currently the treasurer for the Archuleta County Republican Party. Linda manages the Tile Store with 16 year's experience in floor coverings. She has seen Pagosa grow and change over the years and believes the chamber is very important to the community. She would be honored to serve on the board of directors.

Will Spears is the owner and operator of KWUF AM and FM Radio in Pagosa Springs. The radio station and the chamber of commerce work together frequently and spend each Wednesday morning discussing the latest chamber news on "Good Morning, Pagosa!" This kind of cooperation makes good sense and benefits the entire community. Will is also a member of the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club. Although they are relatively new to Pagosa Springs, Will, Christie and their three children are quickly growing to love this fine community, its wonderful people and the many fun events taking place here. What a joy it has been to embark on this kind of business venture in this particular community - not to mention participate in all that the great outdoors has to offer in this part of the world. Will brings with him a business background, plus experience, and would enthusiastically welcome the opportunity to be an active participant on the chamber board of directors.

Wayne Wilson and his wife, Donna, made Pagosa their home in mid-1997, followed soon thereafter by their daughter, Rhonda, and husband, Adam, owners of Pack N' Mail Plus Inc. and their children, Grant and Noah. In 1998, another of the Wilson's daughters, Angela, settled in Pagosa. Wayne is a certified public accountant and has earned the American Institute of CPA's Personal Financial Specialist designation. He is also a certified financial planner. He is licensed to practice in both Colorado and Louisiana and has established his practice here specializing in personal financial planning. He is an active member of the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club, the past chair of the Estate and Financial Planning Committee of the Louisiana Society of CPA's and has served on the Colorado Personal Financial Planning Committee. Wayne sees the chamber as an essential element in the growth and prosperity of our community and would consider it an honor to serve on its board of directors.


Emergency fund for Rivas

An emergency fund has been established at Wells Fargo Bank in Pagosa Springs to help with medical costs and travel expenses for the family of Freddie Rivas Jr., a tow truck driver seriously injured Dec. 29 when struck by a vehicle he had towed from a Mill Creek Road embankment.

Rivas suffered a fractured pelvis, fractured hip and spinal misalignment in the incident.

He has undergone a total hip replacement after being transferred from Mercy Medical Center in Durango to St. Anthony's Central Hospital in Denver. He had a second surgery for repair of the pelvic fracture and was transferred on Friday to a rehabilitation center in Denver where he will probably spend several weeks.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund may make donations to Wells Fargo Bank specifying they are to be used for the Freddie and Tina Rivas Fund.

Three community businesses are also collecting donations for the fund.

Elkhorn Cafe, Pagosa Bar and Car Quest Auto Parts will deposit all donations received in the special account.


School bus line may be extended on Colo. 151

By Richard Walter

A growing number of Pagosa Springs students from the Arboles area may require extension of the bus route down Colo. 151 next year, but the plea for that move which was expected Tuesday did not take place.

Superintendent Terry Alley told the school board that Steve Jaramillo was to have presented the argument but he did not show up for the board's meeting.

Alley said Jaramillo has talked several times with John Rose, transportation director, about extending the line.

In answer to a question from Director Carol Feazel, Alley said the route extension was tried a few years ago but parents were concerned about the early hour necessary for their children to be ready.

Alley said the district does have a number of students now from the Arboles area. "The state's open enrollment rule," he said, "allows us to accept out-of-district students. On the other hand, we cannot extend the bus route beyond our district boundary lines."

He said that means the route extension could go no farther than 11 miles down Colo. 151 from U.S. 160.

Responding to a question from Director Randall Davis, board president, Alley said there was no need to act on the request immediately. "In fact," he said, "it would make more sense to wait until the opening of the next school year and determine specifically how many students would be affected. We have until Oct. 1 to finalize bus route plans for the next school year."

In other action Tuesday, the school board:

- Adopted several policies and amendments that had been discussed in previous meetings, including increased mileage for parents who transport their students when no bus route is available, student and staff dress codes, designation of responsibilities for the District Review Committee, formal programs for certified staff evaluation, and a state-mandated program for classroom suspension and expulsion

- Heard Director Russ Lee explained a La Plata Electric Association request for an easement across school property south of the high school building. He said the easement may not be needed, pending negotiations with another property owner who opposes the planned electrical installation which would aid in rerouting power in case of regional breakdowns

- Directed the administration to determine status of school property in the Pagosa Lakes area which was used as a midget car race track last year. Directors said at least 200 tires which had been used for barriers at the track have been pushed to the middle of the area and there has been no site restoration which was required if the track usage were terminated. Alley told the board he had made repeated unsuccessful attempts to reach racing club promoters by telephone. He was directed to submit district demands for cleanup of the property by letter and asked for action. In the meantime, the district will do some "dry-land seeding" to attempt to return the site to a "natural grass state."


False, incomplete emergency calls hamper lawmen

By Karl Isberg

It's the proverbial double-edged sword.

Cutting edge technology.

The cell phone.

Cell phones can be used for an exchange of important information, or they can be used to carry on inane and loud conversations in restaurants, theaters and check-out lines at grocery stores.

Cell phones can be used to report emergencies and bring aid to people in distress, or they can be used to confuse dispatchers and emergency responders, leading to a potentially harmful waste of time and resources.

Local law enforcement officials and emergency responders face an increasingly common phenomenon when they are paged to an incident or accident by Central Dispatch: cell phone callers who relay partial information to dispatchers, or who do not remain at the scene of an accident to clarify information for responders.

"We had three calls on a recent accident near Chimney Rock," said Bill Bright, Emergency Medical Services director. "Not one of the callers stopped and each of the calls relayed slightly different information and location. We had no option but to consider that each call related to a different incident."

Bright said this type of occurrence is common. "It puts our crews and other drivers on the road in a precarious position," he said. "Any time you have emergency vehicles responding as quickly as possible to a scene, you increase risk. Secondly, these incomplete calls or indeterminate calls pull our resources from the central area where 90 percent of our calls originate."

Bright offered this advice for people using cell phones to report emergencies. "Cell phone callers should stop at the scene and provide accurate information," he said, "where a return call can be made if necessary. If the call cannot be completed because of transmission problems, the caller should move to a clear transmission area, make the call, then return to the scene."

The number of false or incomplete emergency calls to local dispatchers is growing exponentially as cell phone technology makes its way to more and more people.

Central Dispatch spokeswoman Julie West said the department, which handles all local 9-1-1 emergency calls, received 1,928 erroneous 9-1-1 calls in the year 2000. These calls did not require law enforcement, medical or fire response.

"About 75 to 80 percent of these calls," said West, "would be classified as 9-1-1 calls where the caller mistakenly dialed 9-1-1. Many of the calls were also calls where only static was heard. In those cases, the caller was advised to find a better transmission location and call back. Very few of the calls were actual emergencies. The other 15 to 20 percent of the erroneous 9-1-1 calls were either wrong numbers or hang-up calls."

Sylvan Salem of Central Dispatch had additional information for people seeking assistance via 9-1-1 emergency calls and who grow frustrated and hang up.

Salem said anyone calling dispatchers needs to be aware that for each additional device added to a phone line - computer, modem, fax machine and the like - a delay can be experienced in the time it takes to connect the 9-1-1 call to dispatch operators. Salem said additional devices do not interrupt the tones heard by the caller: the caller hears the phone ring repeatedly. In such a situation, said Salem, the phone at the dispatch office might not ring before the caller loses patience and hangs up.

"People need to know that we are not necessarily receiving the call, despite the fact they hear the phone ring. Please keep the line open until it is answered. If the call is important, you must relay the information to us so we can contact the proper authorities or responders."


Another storm brewing for the weekend

By John M. Motter

Local weather should remain unsettled through the coming week with storm systems moving through every two or three days, according to Jim Daniels, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"It looks as if your weather will remain unsettled for some time," Daniels said. "Thursday should see increasing cloudiness with a chance for overnight snow showers. Friday should be mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers and that's the way it should go through Wednesday. There is a chance for rain instead of snow during the afternoon. The chance for showers is less starting Monday."

Daytime temperatures should be in the 30s or low 40s, according to Daniels, with lows in the teens.

A north-south low-pressure trough continues to dictate weather conditions over the West, Daniels said. Later in the week, winds could shift to a more westerly flow.

The first measurable snow of 2001 dropped on Pagosa Country Tuesday. As gauged at the official U.S. Weather Service station located at Stevens Field, 2.75 inches of snow containing 0.14 inches of moisture fell Tuesday.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reported Wednesday at 6 a.m. that there were 68 inches of snow at the summit and 55 inches at midway. Four inches of snow had fallen over the last 24 hours.

Temperatures last week ranged from a high of 48 degrees Saturday down to a low of 1 degree Saturday night. The average high temperature for the week was 43 degrees while the average low temperature for the week was 7 degrees.

Historically, January snowfall averages 27.1 inches. The highest January temperature of record was 66 degrees measured Jan. 15, 1944. The lowest January temperature ever recorded was minus 42 degrees Jan. 13, 1963. The monthly mean January temperature is 19.8 degrees.


Impact of forest road ban being weighed here

By John M. Motter

The Clinton administration's action last week banning the construction of new roads in much of the national forest will impact Forest Service operations in the San Juan National Forest, according to Rick Jewell a Forest Service spokesman from the Pagosa Ranger District Office.

"Our experts are still analyzing the action," Jewell said. "It is a little early to speak with assurance about the impacts of the ban."

No roads that are presently open in the San Juan National Forest will be closed as a result of the ban, Jewell said.

At the same time, no new roads will be built in the 633,000 acres of roadless area now scattered across the San Juan National Forest, according to Jewell. Neither will there be any motorized trails built in the roadless areas.

The major impact will be the cessation of traditional forest service management techniques such as thinning and logging in the roadless areas, Jewell said.

On a nationwide scale, the plan will protect 58.5 million acres of timber affecting 38 states.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or letters to the editor email us at:


Can't shop Pagosa

Dear David,

I have to agree with the letter from Mr. Ron Alexander printed in last week's paper (SUN Jan. 4) about accessibility in Pagosa.

Our son is in a wheelchair and has not seen the inside of very many Pagosa stores. Access to the stores is just the beginning too, most businesses are so crowded that the doorway is as far as a wheelchair can go. It's really a shame and I realize the disabled are few in Pagosa Springs but it does keep us from "Shopping Pagosa."

Randy and Nana Bishop

Meeting delayed

Dear David,

I must apologize as the disciple of communication that the promised second PLPOA Town Meeting has been delayed until Feb. 12. Personal pressures over the holidays led me to ask the rest of the board for the one month delay, which they graciously granted. But, I neglected to let the all-important participants, the property owners, know of this delay. I apologize.

The meeting on Feb. 12 will get more publicity but its focus will be on issues of parks and recreation within the Pagosa Lakes area.

Tom Cruse

PLPOA board member

Wave at camera

Dear David,

Hi to all our friends in Pagosa. We miss all of you and wish y'all the happiest new year. Earl and I enjoy reading and keeping up with Pagosa on the Internet. Plus the real bonus is to be able to pull up the Pagosa Cam.

However I am so glad it is warmer here. We are all doing great and Kelley and Karie have grown so much since we left there. They would like to say hi to their friends also. When you drive by the courthouse wave at the camera, because you never know we could be watching you.

Earl, Bobbie Jo,

Kelley and Karie Gibbs

Costa Rica

After her victory

Dear Editor,

It certainly didn't take her long. Shortly after her election victory, the First Lady, New York's "junior" senator (in name only) began issuing her edicts.

The Electoral College, in elegant operation for the duration of the Republic, must be abolished. "We are a very different country than we were 200 years ago," she recently announced. "That means it's time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our presidents." She called the system "an anachronism," and declared that she had "felt that way for years."

Being First Lady was never enough. Neither is Senator. Does anyone think Hillary Rodham Clinton will be content to long remain merely a single voice out of a hundred? One percent? One vote? The United States Senate isn't nearly big enough for Hillary.

The Democratic Party, united, as it appears to be behind the prospect of her celebrity senatorship, has no idea what it's in for. Hillary is about to inject her M.O. directly into the bloodstream of the Congress. The august rules and traditions of the Senate are about to be blown apart.

Anyone in her party who has ambition and designs on power had better realize one thing; from this moment forward all ambitions and designs on power must be employed in the service of Hillary. Constituents are no more; they are overruled. And heaven help anyone who crosses her. It will be a blood bath.

The press courtiers will continue to advance her cause. At her first post-election news conference, they begged: Will she run for president? "No," she declared, "I have no ambition for higher office. I'm going to serve my six years as junior senator from New York."

I dare anyone to find a single person in America that's been paying attention who believes that one.

Jim Sawicki

Native speaks out

Dear Editor,

As a native of Archuleta County, I feel the need to respond to the recent, unjust closure of yet another national forest access.

The Valle Seco Road has been accessible to the people of Archuleta County for innumerable years. Over the last 40 years, I myself have used the road on many occasions for forest access during different hunts.

The Forest Service from time to time graded that road, not to mention the fact that they built all the ponds alongside it, including those that are now on the private land; all of this constitutes upkeep. Therefore, the way I see it, all fences and property lines aside, that made it a forest access.

Recently, over a cup of coffee, Mr. Gene Crabtree told me of how the old homestead, which is just inside the private land, was set on fire. He stated that when he, as owner of the property, complained (which he had every right to do), that is what started the whole deal.

I quote Mr. Crabtree in saying, "The Forest Service told me to close it down, and I did."

He also mentioned to me that the Forest Service was interested in trading a different piece of land for the land he owns in the Valle Seco. I found this to be an interesting bit of information, and I thought the people would too.

The forest land, that runs between the private land there offers more opportunity for hunters who are after big game, than the private land does, and everybody knows that.

There is a local outfitter who leases the ranch there for the hunting privileges, who benefits in a big way by the road being closed to the public?

Which brings me to the question of, who's really scratching who's back?

It's obvious by now that the Forest Service and Mr. Crabtree have both played some part in the closure of this road, which is causing so much grief. If indeed this was a necessary thing to do, then why won't either take the credit for this decision that has affected everyone around here.

Maybe its easier to keep pointing fingers and going back and forth, but the bottom line is, they need to share the blame.

We all know that closing the Valle Seco Road was the wrong thing to do; now who's going to fix it?

They need to be fair and make it right.


Jene Snow

Purely accidental

Dear Editor,

I'm writing in regards to the article in this week's paper (SUN Jan. 4) headlined "Tow truck driver hurt; rammed by car he freed."

Troy Stewart is my husband and is a great father and friend. The article presented him as callous and reckless, when in all reality it was a complete accident. He was asked to get in our truck in order to help the wench get it out as it was stuck pretty good. He didn't realize that the two beers he had drank while calling and waiting for the tow truck to arrive would result in such a catastrophe. You see, right as the truck came up out of the ditch completely, Troy had seen the driver out the left side view mirror and didn't realize he (Freddie Rivas Jr.) was going to run between them as he was still backing up. We were all in such shock when it happened - it was purely accidental. He wasn't driving under the influence of alcohol, but merely trying to help out.

Anyways, we just wanted to apologize to Freddie and his family and friends; my husband wasn't being careless or reckless, but rather unexpecting the accident.


The Stewarts




Louis Silva Jr.

Memorial services are pending for Louis Silva Jr., who died Saturday, Dec. 30, 2000, at University of New Mexico Hospital. He was 21 years old.

Mr. Silva lived in Grants, N.M. He was preceded in death by his father, Louis Larry Silva and grandfather, Antonio Abrain Silva.

He is survived by a daughter, SeaAndra Silva of Albuquerque; his mother, Peggy Armijo and stepfather, David Armijo of Grants, N.M.; two brothers, Joel Silva of Grants and Brandon Silva of Ignacio; a sister, Chantell P. Silva of Ignacio; and numerous aunt, uncles and cousins.



Ross Wagle, a student at Pagosa Springs High School, will travel to our nation's capital for a behind-the-scenes look at federal government as a participant in the Presidential Classroom Scholars Program, a leading civic education program. The program will take place Feb. 10 to Feb. 17.

Joining hundreds of high school students from across the country and abroad, Wagle will take part in seminars presented by leaders representing each branch of government, the military, media and business. Additionally, students are scheduled for a private tour of the White House, appointments with their senator's and representatives' offices and a visit to a foreign embassy.

Presidential Classroom calls for outstanding student leaders to become active citizens. To participate, students must be juniors or seniors in high school, hold a B average or higher or rank in the top 25 percent of their class, and be involved in community or school co-curricular activities.


Pagosa Profile

Get to know the people who make Pagosa work.

The Profile puts a face to the name of one of the many neighbors who serve our community.

Phil Starks

Waste Water Treatment Plant Operator

Town of Pagosa Springs

Where were you born and raised?

"I was born in Southhampton, England. I was in England three months before the family moved back to the United States. For the most part, I was raised in Albuquerque."

Where were you educated?

"I graduated from Sandia High School in Albuquerque, in 1983. I attended Eastern New Mexico University at Roswell, and received an associates degree in Applied Science with an emphasis in aviation."

When did you move to Pagosa country?

"I began coming here when I was 12 years old, cross country skiing. My parents bought a cabin in the Lower Blanco area in 1976. We bought a home here in December of 1999."

Tell us about your domestic situation.

"My wife Liz and I were married in 1997."

What work experience did you have before your employment by the Town of Pagosa Springs?

"Most of my work experience has been in aviation. I spent 7 years in Germany on a contract with the U.S. Army to repair helicopters. I worked on 747s in Australia for a company called ASTA and worked in California for Martin Aviation. I spent two years working for U.S. Customs servicing drug enforcement aircraft. Once I moved here, I worked for La Plata Electric. I started work for the town last November."

What do you like best about your work?

"The people I work with."

What do you like least about your job?

"People who don't care about the water system. Some people treat the system as a trash receptacle, not as a waste water system. They forget the water eventually returns to the San Juan River."


Sports Page

Tiger's lair mystique is no problem for Lady Pirates' safari

By Richard Walter

The sign high above the floor reads "Welcome to the Jungle".

It is the home of the Tigers, Aztec variety.

The Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates sailed ashore Saturday, went on a safari into Tigerland with their Lanc(ing) at the ready, prodding the home team into a Walk(up) the plank and a dive into the wake of a Pirate ship in full sail.

The early foray into the bush wasn't exactly a runaway for Pagosa but it parlayed 11 first quarter points from Katie Lancing, with six from her front court running mate Ashley Gronewoller and a deuce from Andrea Ash into a 19-16 lead at the end of the period.

Lancing gave notice early that she was junglewise, fending off defenders and either going to the basket herself or lobbing inside to Gronewoller for easy layups. Lancing had the first three points for Pagosa, hitting the first of two free throws after she was fouled while shooting and then grabbing the rebound of her missed second shot and laying it in for a 3-0 Lady Pirates lead.

Turnovers, a season-long problem for the Ladies, contributed to a tight first quarter and allowed Aztec, riding the shooting of guards Karen Green (five points in the quarter) and the long range sniping of Janice Wing (two treys and a deuce for eight points) to stay close.

And, the Lady Pirates got into a tough spot when Gronewoller picked up three first quarter fouls and added a fourth midway through the second period.

Gronewoller and Lancing each had five points in the second period and Tiffanie Hamilton chipped in with her only four points of the game to give Pagosa a 33-28 halftime lead.

At the break, coach Karen Wells told her team they had reached her "tolerable level" of turnovers and that for each additional ball loss committed they'd "be running lines."

"We've just committed too many mistakes with the ball this year," she said. The Ladies apparently got the word, adding just three more in the second half for a game total of 13.

When Gronewoller had to go to the bench with her fourth foul there was some consternation among the Lady Pirates' fans.

Enter Walkup.

The sophomore super sub came in as Wells went to a three-guard lineup with Lancing dropping back to a single post and Hamilton working the wings and crashing the boards for five of her seven game rebounds in the third period.

Walkup came off the bench shooting but missed her first three field goal attempts. In the same time frame, however, she had two of her four steals in the game and three of her five assists.

Without Gronewoller inside, Aztec's coach apparently felt his team could double-team Lancing down low, put a chaser on the ball, and fear little from the balance of the Lady Pirates.


With Walkup running the floor like a crazed lion chasing a tiger, driving the lane and then passing out to either Ash or point guard Meigan Canty, the Tigers found themselves between a rock and a hard place in their own lair.

When Walkup drove, defenders had to cut her off. Canty, who entered the game ashen-faced and suffering from a severe cold, quickly canned a three-pointer and moments later added two on a 12-foot pull-up jumper off Walkup's feeds back from the lane, forcing the Tigers to come out of their double-team inside.

The result? Three quick buckets inside for the swashbuckling Lancing. Those six points were her total for the period. Added to the five each from Canty and Walkup, the third period ended with the Lady Pirates stalking the jungle cats and leading 49-38.

Aztec was limited to two field goals in the period, much of that attributable to the hounding, aggressive defensive play of Walkup who seemed at times to be in three places at once.

Gronewoller returned to action in the fourth quarter, spelling Lancing. She added a field goal and a charity toss to give her 15 points for the game, but missed 4 of 5 foul shots before fouling out.

Lancing and Walkup each had five points in the quarter, Canty and Amber Mesker each had a field goal and Ash was 1 for 2 at the line.

Green wasn't about to let the game go easily. The Tigers' leading scorer added nine points in the period, hitting 3 for 4 from the field, including another trey, and adding a pair of charity tosses to give her 18 points for the game.

She got little offensive support from her teammates, however, and a lot of harassment from Walkup every time she touched the ball.

The 67-57 Pagosa victory gives the Lady Pirates an 8-2 record heading into defense of their Intermountain League title, starting with a Friday contest at Bayfield and a home encounter Saturday against Monte Vista.

Lancing led Pagosa with 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting from the floor and 6 of 11 from the line. Gronewoller had 15 despite her limited playing time and Walkup had her first double-figure game for the Ladies with 10, including 6 of 10 from the free throw line as she was repeatedly fouled while driving the lane to open up the Tiger defense.

The balance of the Lady Pirates' scoring was distributed among Canty with 7, Hamilton with 4, Ash with 3 and Mesker with 2.

Lancing led the team in rebounds with eight, but Gronewoller and Hamilton were right behind with seven apiece. Walkup had three, Canty and reserves Carlena Lungstrum and Nicole Buckley each added a pair and Ash had one.

Walkup and Hamilton each had five assists, Lancing chipped in with four and Ash and Canty each had a pair.

Walkup had four steals, Gronewoller and Lancing two apiece and Ash, Canty, Hamilton and Lungstrum each added one. Gronewoller turned in three blocked shots and Hamilton, one.

And then the Lady Pirates' ship sailed out of town, another victory tucked into their treasure chest.


Three thirds for Pirate wrestlers in Rocky

Martinez, Richardson, Bolini score

By Karl Isberg

Everything was right for a perfect Rocky Mountain Invitational wrestling tournament- weather, organization, participation.

Fifteen teams and a number of unaffiliated and non-varsity competitors arrived at the Pagosa Springs High School gym Jan. 6, bringing enough fans to fill the bleachers at the gym. Some of the teams were among the best in the region, including wrestlers sure to make their marks at upcoming state tournaments.

A young Pirates team jumped into the mix and by day's end had finished 12th in team competition that saw Alamosa emerge in first place, Aztec, N.M., in second and Centauri in third.

Leading the way for the Pirates were three wrestlers who took third place in their respective weight classes: Michael Martinez at 103 pounds; Josh Richardson at 171 pounds; and Luke Boilini at 215 pounds.

Martinez continued his exceptional freshman outing, winning 2 of 3 matches at the Rocky for his third-place finish.

In his first match of the day, Martinez faced off against another talented freshman and a member of a San Luis Valley family wrestling tradition - Joel Polkowski of Centauri. Martinez controlled the match and won a 7-4 decision.

Kyle Riddell, of Dove Creek was another matter. Riddell finished second in Class 2A at last year's state tournament, and his experience showed against Martinez. The young Pirate was pinned in the second period.

In his fight for third place, Martinez played the takedown-escape game with Casen Eldridge of Monticello, Utah. Martinez took Eldridge down three times and allowed the opponent four escapes to win the match 6-4.

"I'm real happy with Michael," said Pirates coach Dan Janowsky. "He continues to get better and he's active the entire match. At the beginning of the year, Michael had good defense. Now, he's wrestling well off the bottom and his offense on his feet has improved."

Richardson kept on pace for a fine senior season, winning 2 of 3 matches for third place at 171 pounds.

Barry Rapp of Durango was first on the agenda and Richardson dominated the Demon nailing a fall three minutes and five seconds into the match.

A 9-2 loss to eventual tourney champ Shea Van Gieson of Alamosa put Richardson in the fight for third.

Adam Chacon of Antonito could not pull the wagon against Richardson. The Pirate controlled the match from beginning to end, defeating Chacon 8-1.

"I feel good about Josh," said Janowsky. "He lost his only match to the champion, but Josh came off the mat after the loss correctly analyzing why he lost. We're looking forward to a rematch with the kid at the tournament at Alamosa Saturday. I really liked Josh's last match; it was intense and Josh responded to that intensity, turned it on in the right way and beat the guy decisively."

Boilini, a junior, used a workman-like, controlled style to fashion his third-place win at 215 pounds.

Justin Ratzlaff of Alamosa was Boilini's first opponent and the Pirate decisioned the Mean Moose, 4-1.

A 3-1 loss to the eventual winner of the weight class - James Patrick, of Aztec - sent Boilini to the fight for third place.

Centauri's Andrew Arellano provided Boilini with a tough match, but the Pirate prevailed, 3-1.

"Luke is tough to beat," said the Pagosa coach. "He certainly doesn't beat himself. We're going to work hard on developing more offense while he's on his feet, but Luke is an excellent leader; he sets a good example in that he doesn't psych himself out. He sticks to the plan and he always puts himself in a position to win a match."

Several Pirate varsity wrestlers won single matches at the Rocky.

Cliff Hockett earned a win by decision at 130 pounds over Randy Curtis of Dove Creek.

Trevor Peterson decisioned Centauri's Robert King at 145 pounds.

Despite his team's finish in the overall standings, Janowsky was anything but disappointed with results he considers important: the day-to-day improvement of elementary skills by individual wrestlers.

"When I evaluated why we didn't finish as high at the tournament as I expected," said the coach, "I understood the situation. For one thing, we drew some very tough guys at many of the weight classes. Some of our wrestlers, like Jesse Trujillo (112 pounds), drew two exceptional wrestlers right off the bat. What I like, is the fact I see steady improvement. I don't think we are as far behind most of these teams as the standings at the tournament indicate. "

The key, said Janowsky, is the head game.

"Our physical skills are coming along," he said. "Mentally, we hurt ourselves. A fair number of our kids are wrestling below their abilities because we haven't mastered the mental aspect of the sport. They're better than they think they are; they simply don't believe in themselves. We'll continue to drill on certain techniques, to the point that those techniques are all they'll think about. We'll give them a plan to stick to. Then, we need to get each guy to believe in himself and believe in the plan. It's doable. I have a good feeling about this. You throw out the team score at our tournament, review what our guys are doing, and you see we are making progress."

The skills, those plans, that progress, will have another chance to surface Saturday at the Alamosa Invitational.

The Alamosa tournament is a relatively small, dense-pack affair. The event features a compact roster of high-octane teams including the hosts, Aztec, a team from Oklahoma City, Douglas County, Montrose, Pueblo East and perennial Class 3A power Rocky Ford.

"This tournament is kind of like the 'Wednesday' of the season," said Janowsky. "It's like the peak of the work week. It's a climb to get to this point. It'll be a tough day Saturday and a tough tournament."

Action at Alamosa begins at 9 a.m.


Pirates edge Bloomfield, Eagle Valley

By John M. Motter

Pagosa's basketball team invades the Wolverine's lair at Bayfield tomorrow night. The game is Pagosa's first in defense of the Intermountain League title the Pirates captured last year by going unbeaten during the regular league season.

The contest should be a nail biter for fans, according to Kyle Canty, the Pagosa coach. Bayfield is 6-3 in preseason play while the Pirates are 7-3 for the preseason after beating Bloomfield 54-51 and Eagle Valley 58-52 this past weekend.

Canty, in his fourth season at the helm in Pagosa, and Jeff Lehnus, in his second year as head coach at Bayfield, were careful to say nice things about each other.

"Bayfield is having a good year and they are playing with a lot of confidence," Canty said. "They've only lost three games. We're going to have to be our best to stay with them."

"We've gotten off to a good start," Lehnus said, "but Pagosa is the head dog in this league. If we aspire to the top, we have to beat teams like them. We lost by eight points to Bloomfield, 10 points to Aztec, and four points to Piedra Vista. Pagosa beat some of those schools, so they must be pretty strong."

Lehnus sees the IML as very strong with no clear-cut leader after Pagosa Springs. Offense for the Bayfield team means taking what opens up, Lehnus said. On defense, the Wolverines mix it up by using a man-to man-defense, zones, or combinations as the occasion demands.

Over in Monte Vista, Pat McCauliff is in his first year as head coach. He's been with the program nine years.

"Pagosa has to be favored for the title," McCauliff said. "They have all of those starters returning from the team that went to state last year. Beyond Pagosa, it's anybody for second place, but Centauri looks strong. We'll find out about Centauri when they come over here Friday night."

Monte's Pirates were heavy favorites to capture the IML crown last year, but lost to Pagosa twice during the regular season. They came back to capture the post season tournament and reach the final eight at state along with Pagosa Springs. Graduation hit them heavily, but they've only lost twice this season, once to Buena Vista and once to Del Norte.

McCauliff is continuing a Monte tradition of using the whole court. His team will swarm around the ball on defense, trying to force turnovers.

"We try to fuel our offense with the defense," McCauliff said.

The Monte D exerts floor-length pressure through most of the game. When it works, Monte scores.

"Teams with strong guard play give us the most trouble," McCauliff said.

"When the season started, I didn't think Monte would be so good because they lost so much to graduation," Canty said. "I expected Centauri to be the strongest team, then Bayfield, Ignacio and Monte Vista. Now at the end of preseason play, I have to think that Monte is going to be very tough."

Pagosa 54, Bloomfield 51

Two weeks of Santa Claus cookies and no practice were obvious when Pagosa took the floor against Bloomfield Jan 4. By halftime, the Pirates had committed 17 turnovers and missed an uncounted number of lay ups. Pagosa's rustiness showed up on the scoreboard where the Bobcats led 27-21 at halftime.

Canty admitted to a greater-than-usual voice volume in the locker room at halftime when he talked to his cagers about taking care of the ball. Something worked because Pagosa out scored its rivals 33-24 during the second half, enough of a comeback to capture the game.

Team scoring down the stretch gave Pagosa the game. A trey by Darin Lister midway through the third period seemed to rally the Pirates, just when things looked bad. Ross buried a lay up with 2:49 left in the third giving Pagosa its first lead of the game. Ross blitzed the nets for 13 third-period points to help Pagosa come back.

The lead see-sawed back and forth during the final period. With about two minutes left in the game, and Bloomfield on top 51-47, the Pagosa boys proved their mettle. Micah Maberry stuffed a put back, Goodenberger racked up a deuce, and Crenshaw bombed from outside the three-point circle to give Pagosa its sixth win of the preseason, 54-51.

Ross' 16 points topped Pagosa in that department, followed by Crenshaw with 14 points, Maberry with 10 points, Goodenberger with 6 points, Brandon Charles with 5 points, and Darin Lister with 3 points.

Goodenberger snatched 18 rebounds, followed by Maberry with nine rebounds. Goodenberger and Jason Schutz each blocked two shots. The top assist man was Goodenberger with four, while Maberry's three steals led in that department.

Pagosa 58, Eagle Valley 52

Pagosa and Eagle Valley squared off in neutral Buena Vista Saturday night. Pagosa had beaten Eagle Valley 59-50 during the regional round of the state playoffs last year.

Both teams started slow, but Pagosa managed a 9-6 edge by the end of the opening period. With a trey and two free throws, Crenshaw had five of Pagosa's points. The second period was a standoff as each team tallied 12 points. Pagosa led 21-18 at the end of a low scoring first half.

Canty's boys picked up the pace during the third period by outscoring their opposition 17-10. A wild final stanza began with Pagosa on top 36-28. Eagle Valley managed 24 final period points, but Pagosa answered with 20 points to register the win.

Maberry's 16 points led the Pirates' scoring parade; followed by Crenshaw with 13 points; Ross with 11 points; Goodenberger with 7 points; Charles, Lister, and Schutz with 3 points each; and Chris Rivas with 2 points.

As he has done all year, Goodenberger topped Pagosa in rebounding with 12. Ross was next with eight rebounds. Maberry threw in one block. Charles came through with five assists and three steals. Ross contributed three assists and three steals.


Community News

Chamber News

By Sally Hameister

Don't miss Membership Mardi Gras

The buzz for January is definitely the big party on Jan. 20, and you certainly don't want to miss it.

Lots of folks have already been in to make their reservations for our Second Annual Membership Mardi Gras at Pagosa Lodge, and some have even mailed their check and information to us. We're very excited about our big annual party and are expecting a record turnout of members anxious to shed the January blahs with a wonderful night out.

The festivities will begin at 6 p.m., and we are strongly encouraging costumes once again. We will award prizes to the best female costume and the best male costume just to make it worth your while. Last year, some were a tad shy about wearing costumes but vowed to wear one this year when they saw all the terrific ensembles that walked through the door that night.

From 6 to 7:30 p.m. you may visit the four stations of Mardi Gras to enjoy the food, drink and company of your fellow members.

In the Bayou (South Face) you will find fried catfish, crab cakes and seafood stuffed mushrooms, and at Bourbon Street (the bar) you can have a drink accompanied with peanuts and pretzels. The French Quarter this year will be found in Chez Pagosa and will feature Cajun spiced chicken strips, Jambalaya and hush puppies. To end on a sweet note, you can head for the Red Hot Jazz room (Pinon) for King Cake and bread pudding. Of course, if you are the lucky devil to find the baby in your piece of King Cake, you will win a free membership for the year 2002. Cash bars will be available in the Bayou (wine and beer), the Pinon Room (full bar), and, naturally, the bar.

At 7:30 p.m., we will all head into the Ponderosa Room for the awards ceremony and predictable silliness. Best Costume prizes will be awarded at this time along with Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Pagosa Pride awards and honorable mentions. You will be asked to vote for three new directors, and we will bid tearful good-byes to our three departing directors: Lauri Heraty, Terry Smith and Don McKeehan. You can also count on a lot of silliness throughout the night because our board seems somewhat dedicated to irreverent junior high school humor. Practical jokes have become a part of our existence to spell off the long meetings and hard work that miraculously take place. Don't miss it.

Tickets for this event are available at the Visitor Center for $22 and, of course, your ticket provides you with a complimentary mask, beads and a commemorative Mardi Gras cup. Deadline for reservations is Jan. 17, and you want to be sure to meet this date because tickets at the door will be $30, and who needs that? Call us or come by with your reservation as soon as possible to be a part of a very festive evening.

Call 264-2360 for more information.

Airport advertising

Those of you who fly in and out of the Durango Airport have seen the Pagosa Springs advertising display and the accompanying brochures provided by five local businesses.

One of those businesses has opted out of this opportunity this year, so we are announcing that availability on a first-come, first-served basis. The fee is $50 per month to place your brochure in the airport rack, and all you need to do is provide them with adequate brochures and they will see to it that your supply is replenished in the rack as needed.

We have always considered this an excellent way to capture the attention of visitors arriving in Durango looking for places to go, people to see and things to purchase. If you are interested in this advertising opportunity please give Morna a call at 264-2360. There is only one slot, and I assure you that it will go very quickly - these just don't open up often.

Renewal reminders

We have changed our renewal policy and want everyone to be aware they won't receive as many "gentle reminders" as in the past.

It was our policy in the past to send a renewal membership form to you about a month in advance of your annual renewal date, to give you plenty of time to give it to your accountant, scare up the dough or whatever. Then, if we didn't hear from you, we sent three reminders, and if we still hadn't heard from you, I made a final phone call threatening to do unmentionable things to you if you didn't renew right away - and that worked almost every time.

We decided this was excessive behavior and decided on a much saner way of doing things. We will still send your form about a month out from your renewal date, but will send just one more reminder after that. It will be clearly marked "Final Notice" in red to get your attention and hopefully gain a prominent position on your "To Do Rather Soon If I Get a Chance" file. Just remember it's your membership dollars paying for all the paper and postage to remind folks, and we will definitely save money and use it in more productive ways with the new system. This doesn't mean, of course, that I won't call you with the same old threats I used in the past. . .because I will.

Movin' members

Members Ken and Jan Harms of Harms Photo/Graphics Associates have designed and built a new studio at 980 Doc Adams Road, offering greatly expanded creative services and enhanced digital capabilities. The new studio boasts both Mac and PC design platforms for image creation and publishing. New Kodak Professional digital cameras provide online photo proofing and in-house digital retouch and archival printing in record time. A 20-foot ceiling height provides adequate space for special studio photography needs - and the view of the San Juans, the La Platas and Chimney Rock doesn't hurt. Phone number and mailing address remain the same. For more information or to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding any graphic design or photographic projects you are considering, call Ken at 731-2700.

Habitat search

Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County is looking for volunteers to fill key positions in their organization and will be happy to meet with anyone interested and qualified in any of these areas. Chair people are needed for the Fund Raising Committee, the Human Resources Committee, the Building Committee and the Public Relations Committee. Experience in any of these areas would be an invaluable asset, of course.

For more information about these positions, call David Conrad at 264-6880 or the Chamber at 264-2360. The mission of Habitat for Humanity is to partner with families in need and people of all faiths to provide affordable housing.


We are delighted to welcome the first new members of 2001, Carol and Bill Fulenwider who bring us their business, Denny Rose. Carol and Bill are old friends of the Chamber, and Denny Rose is the signature on Carol's beautiful watercolors. She specializes in paintings of homes, historic sites and buildings with originals, prints and cards. I am proud to have two original Denny Rose paintings in my home and enjoy them on a daily basis. You can give Carol a call at 264-6113 for more information about Denny Rose.

Our next new members are Mary Jo Schilling and Lou Poma who bring us the Hot Stuff Pizzeria located in the Pagosa Country Center (they moved from Poma's Pit Stop fairly recently). The Hot Stuff Pizzeria offers fresh-made custom pizza, hot bread stix, hot wings and cookies. You can dine in, order carryout or call for delivery. Please call 731-5202 to order your pizza or for more information about Hot Stuff Pizzeria.

Our 24 renewals this week include: Delia Fusco with Consumer Credit Counseling Service in Durango; Fairfield Pagosa, Inc.; Terry Shumaker with the Junction Restaurant and Wolf Creek Gifts; Jim Angelo with Pagosa Realty, Inc.; Melinda Baum with Colorado Pines; Larry Ashcraft with the Kiwanis Club of Pagosa Springs; Paul Nobles and Lynn Cook, owners of Four Seasons Land Company/GMAC Real Estate; Gayle Allston and Claudia Bishop with The Advantage Group. (Welcome back, Gayle); Paul Matlock with the Matlock Insurance Agency; Andrea Postolese with the Irish Rose Restaurant; Kim and Stuart Bishop with the Skyview Motel; Jeff Laydon with Pagosa Photography-Studio and Gallery. (Congrats on the new digs, Jeff); Ken Harms with Harms Photographic; Mark and Erica DeVoti with Pony Express Brochure Delivery; Mike Marchand with Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventures, LLC; Linda Schmitz with The Shirt Outlet; Jackie M. Schick with the Town of Pagosa Springs; Verna L. Lucas with The Touchstone, Pottery and Gifts; Lou Poma with Poma's Pit Stop; Shirley Brinkmann with Edelweiss Needlework Chalet; Karen Wessels with Alpha Engineering and Sue Passant with San Juan Outdoor Club. Our Associate Member renewals include our globetrotting friends, Pat and Marion Francis and our friends in Texas, A.R. and Melba Dillard. Our sincere gratitude to all.


Pagosa Lakes

By Ming Steen

Winter, snow means new sport opportunities

As I write this column, the snow is falling. How wonderful it is to have fresh snowfall. Winter is especially attractive if you play in that white stuff - be it skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledding, cross-country skiing or snowball/snowman making. For the people who find winter tedious and disheartening, it's frequently because they spend so much time shoveling snow to get rid of it. I know it needs to be done. When Shawn, my son was younger, he enjoyed cleaning snow off the driveway, walkway and deck because it was all a means toward a very creative end. The piles were eventually sculpted into phenomenal creatures that grew or shrunk with the weather. Ah, the exuberance of youth.

Wolf Creek Ski Area has managed to maintain nicely groomed runs in spite of the lack of frequent fresh snow. Now that we have this new stuff, conditions will be rather attractive. Todd Pitcher continues to groom a 10K Nordic loop out in Alberta Meadows that is suitable for both classical Nordic skiing or ski skating. There is no fee to use the cross county ski tracks. Thank you Todd, again and again for making it all happen.

'Tis the season to dust off the racquets and bring out the court shoes. Racquet ball challenge night will begin at the Recreation Center soon. Mark your calendar. Singles challenge night, from beginners to advanced, will be on Wednesday evenings. The diehards started yesterday but you can join them on the 17th and every Wednesday evening from then on. Doubles challenge night will start Monday, Jan. 15. A current Recreation Center membership or punch pass is required. We hope to see you, from 5 to 7 p.m. If you have questions, please call "Es" Berrich at 731-2051. She'll get you out on the court . . . she's almost got me there.

Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors has announced vacancies on the Code of Enforcement Hearing Panel. The panel meets on the first Wednesday of each month to hear appeals regarding covenant matters, rules and regulations. The board is inviting interested PLPOA members who are in good standing and permanent residents to apply for these volunteer positions. Application forms may be obtained from the Association office in person or by mail. Applications must be returned to the Association office by Friday, Jan. 26.

PLPOA directors will hold their monthly meeting at 7 o'clock tonight in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse, 230 Port Avenue. Members and observers are encouraged to attend. Public comments will be heard at the beginning of the meeting. The following agenda was provided by PLPOA:

- Call to order

- Approval of agenda

- Approval of minutes of Dec. 14 board meeting

- General Manager Walt Lukasik's report

- Public comments (30-minute time limit)

- Director David Bohl

- Treasurer's report

- Opening of account at Bank of Colorado for primary operating account. Board resolution for new account attached

- Committee reports

- Recreation center report, Director Tom Cruse will not be attending

- Rules and Regulations Committee, no meeting in December

- Road committee, no report

- Old Business

- For informational purposes, as previously requested, a memo to the board and copies of various complaint, violation and hearing forms

- Discussion of maternity leave benefit as contained within Revised Personnel Manual

- New Business

- Discussion of possibility for appeal regarding ECC decisions, Director Francesco Tortorici

- Replacement of Resolution 99-27. The resolution states that a certificate for any mailings concerning declaration changes must be signed by the United States Post Office stating the number of mailings and the date of mailing. Suggest changing language to Certification by the Corporate Secretary or General Manager, attested by one witness, certifying to number of mailings, contents and date of mailing, with attachments for contents and copy of the mailing list - General Manager Lukasik

- Correspondence

- Copy of letter from President Richard Manley to board of county commissioners regarding the Road Advisory Committee

- Copy of letter form Davis Engineering regarding Lake Forest Estates investigation

- Adjournment

- Executive session (one item for discussion).


Senior News

By Janet Copeland

Membership renewals open way to discounts

A big Happy Birthday last week to Ted Cope - one of our senior members that we love and appreciate so much.

The January calendars are at the front desk. The Senior Center will be closed on Monday, for the Martin Luther King holiday. Jan. 26 at 5 p.m. is our monthly potluck/dance, which is always a lot of fun. Jan. 31 we will have some fun at our "School-days dress up." Everyone who still has some clothing from their school days, drag out those reminders of long ago and lets have a little "style show."

John Larson was our Senior of the Week last week. John has been with us just a short time but is very dedicated and we enjoy having him as a member. This week we are proud to have Dody Smith as our Senior of the Week.

It has been a while since I thanked the wonderful volunteers who help at the Senior Center. We appreciate Lydia Martinez, Alice Young, Teresa Diestelkamp, Glen Kinum, and June Nelson helping this week. Payge needs a few more volunteers so she doesn't have to overwork those already helping. If you are willing to volunteer, please contact Payge Ferreira at the Center.

Our guests this week include Tora Romero, Mary Ferreira (Payge's mother-in-law), Lynn Muirhead, Mike Diver, and Frank Read - we appreciate having them and hope they will return soon.

I have been reminding everyone to renew their memberships this year. One of the benefits of obtaining membership cards is that the wonderful folks at Rainbow Gifts and Ski and Bow Rack offer discounts when you present your membership card, and Pagosa Lodge offers free swimming for our seniors. Some other businesses are contemplating offering discounts too, so the membership cards are worth more than their cost.

Another benefit of coming to the Senior Center is the free massages (one offered on Jan. 10 during the noon hour). We owe a big thank you to Massage at the Springs for this service.

There will be a CPR class offered in February for a $5 charge (for re-certification, there will be an additional "book charge"). Those interested should sign up soon.

Marion Knowles, who lives in Pagosa Springs during the summer, called Dorothy O'Harra to wish all of the seniors a Happy New Year. We miss Marion when she is away.


Cruising with Cruse

By Katherine Cruse

Thingey: Antidote for complicated devices

A few months ago I read an article - maybe it was in a Dear Abby column, maybe somewhere else - about what it's like to have a baby with severe and chronic problems. Down's syndrome, for example. Or cystic fibrosis. Or any of a number of other terrible disorders.

The author wrote, It's like planning a trip to Italy. You read about the food, the customs, the weather. You make all your reservations. You shop for just the right clothes for the warm Italian summer. Your maps and Italian dictionary and phrase books are packed.

And then you get off the plane, and you're someplace else. Holland, for example. "Wait," you say. "There's been a mistake. We're supposed to be in Italy." Not that Holland doesn't have its own charm and beauty; but Italy was what you had your heart set on.

I'd like to credit that person more fully, but I didn't write down her name. I didn't think the subject would come up again.

Well, it has. Not with a baby with birth defects, but with my own life.

When Hotshot and I moved to Pagosa, it was with the understanding that we would be doing active outdoor things - hiking and backpacking and skiing and snowshoeing and maybe bike riding. Last year was a start. This year, with the snow coming on time, we planned to be up at Wolf Creek Ski Area a lot.

Living in Pagosa Springs is our version of taking that trip to Italy. But we seem to have taken a detour to Someplace Else.

Man proposes and God disposes. Or, if you'd like another metaphor, Life is what happens while you're making other plans. Instead of driving up the Pass to ski, Hotshot and I have recently made several trips to Durango to meet with doctors. The condition we're dealing with is breast cancer.

This wasn't in the plans. Well, I don't suppose it's ever in anyone's plans. But I'm in good company. There are 180,000 new cases of breast cancer identified every year. I recently read that possibly as many as one woman in three in this country will have the disease. I know several of them. You probably do, too.

Waiting in the little mammography room, I read a pamphlet with a catchy title, something like, "Are You At Risk for Breast Cancer?" Most of the questions are designed to assess, indirectly, how much estrogen a woman's body has been exposed to. Have you been pregnant? How many times? At what age did you first get pregnant? Did you nurse the babies? At what age did you start menstruating? At what age did you stop? Did your mother, aunts, sisters have breast cancer?

Turns out, that much-ballyhooed family cancer gene only accounts for 20 percent of the breast cancer cases. In others words, 80 percent of the women who get breast cancer don't have a family history.

I took the test. I thought my odds were pretty good. If they were grading the answers, I'd have scored 90 or better in the Not At Risk category. But that was when I still thought I was going to Italy. Now I'm here in Someplace Else.

We got the word on December 1, that the lump was "troublesome for malignancy." Those were the words the doctor used. Don't you love it?

Troublesome. Suspicious is another word that's popular with the radiologists.

Apparently a lot of women get hit with this news, this "suspicious" diagnosis, right before Christmas. I suspect that they get mammograms around then, trying to wrap up the year, probably, and start the next one with a clean slate. I'm told that in some places the health care professionals would just as soon not do mammograms in December. After all, why ruin Christmas?

Hotshot and I are studying the new maps that will help us find our way around this Someplace Else, the strange new territory we've landed in. We're sliding into the diagnosis, one step at a time.

First we found the lump.

Then we had the mammogram.

Then we met with the surgeon, who showed us all the 'troublesome' things on the film and laid out the possible options.

Then we had the lumpectomy.

Then we had the confirmation from the radiologist - Yes, it's malignant. Until I heard those words, there was still a little hope that this really wasn't cancer. The Big C.

We're learning a new language, with words like malignancy. Biopsy. Calcifications. Tamoxifen. Axilla. Sentinel node detection. Stages and grades. Differentiated cells. We need a whole new dictionary.

It may not be what we planned. It may not be Italy. But the people in this other country that we've landed in, this Someplace Else, can be pretty wonderful.

When Hotshot and I knew for sure what I had, we started letting a few friends know. Old friends in faraway places and new friends here in town.

The response has been overwhelming. Phone calls, sometimes within minutes of my sending the email. My oldest friend, whom I've known since we were six, called from Australia. I've received flowers and encouraging messages and offers to drive me to Durango for treatment, should that be needed.

I had a dream the other night, during those dark hours when the wolves come skulking around inside my brain. I dreamed that a group of people were gathered together, and someone introduced a young girl, a refuge from some war-torn country. A girl who had suddenly found herself in her own version of Someplace Else. "Can anyone here take her in and give her a home?" asked the girl's sponsors, and everyone in the room raised a hand.

That's what it feels like for me. Everyone here in the country of Someplace Else is raising a hand, offering support, making it less strange and scary.

And for that, I'm grateful.

Library News

By Lenore Bright

6,480 patrons checked out 78,635 items

We're honored to display the latest of Joe Leal's creations. Our plants are infested with wonderful bugs. Bunnies and roosters share the limelight with Joe's bears. We are so fortunate to have such a creative spirit in our community. Come enjoy the lovable creatures along with the beautiful glass pieces Joe is experimenting with now.

Year-end statistics

Thirty-two volunteers spent the morning helping with inventory at the library. Mary Jo Coulehan catered a luncheon to feed the hungry workers. Many hands make for light work, and the statistics are always of interest to us.

The year 2000 was a busy one for us. Patrons now number 6,480. That is up nine percent. There were 78,635 items checked out, up nine percent from last year. We now own 27,259 items. Guess what? We're up nine percent.

We have 60 subscriptions to magazines. Volunteers gave over 1,500 hours, close to a full-time position. I can't tell you how important our volunteers are. They keep us going.

We borrowed 940 books from other libraries (up eight percent) and loaned 20. The shocker is the number of people using the computers: 4,784! No wonder we've been busy. The ladies processed new 3,114 items.

The age of our collection is still pretty dismal but coming up slowly. Average age is 14 years. All in all, it was a very good year. This year will be even better. Oh yes, we had a baby - that is a pretty good statistic.

Medical information

It is difficult to keep up with good health articles through books as new developments are happening daily. We take several newsletters to help keep you current.

"Health & Nutrition Letter" from Tufts University is just one of the excellent resources for you. This month's issue covers over-the-counter cholesterol lowerers, and new treatments for osteoarthritis among other subjects.

Scholarship grants

We've just received word about the Gates Millennium Scholars program. To be eligible, African American, American Indian, Asian Pacific or Hispanic Americans must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants must meet federal Pell Grant eligibility criteria, and must demonstrate leadership abilities through participation in community service or other activities. For more information, call 877-690-GMSP.


We are most grateful for financial help from John Regester in memory of his father, Chuck "The Chief." This gift will go into the Chuck Regester Book Endowment Fund. Thanks also to David, Cynthia and Drew Mitchell for their generous donation.

Thanks for materials from Walter and Doris Green, Dennis Riddiford, Nancy Miguelon, Virginia Bartlett, Mike Greene, Darla Maclean, Ingrid Raubenheimer, Joyce Webb, Carol Fulenwider, Cindy Gustafson, Anne McCamp- bell and Addie Greer.

Library closed

We will be closed Saturday in order to put new carpet in the entryway.


Local Chatter

By Kate Terry

A list of special days to remember

Mark your calendar for these special days in 2001.

Jan. 15 . . . Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Feb. 12 . . . Lincoln's Birthday

Feb. 14 . . . Valentine's Day

Feb. 19 . . . Presidents Day

Feb. 22 . . . Washington's Birthday

Feb. 28 . . . Ash Wednesday

Mar. 17 . . . St. Patrick's Day

March 26 . . . Spring Break

April 1 . . . Daylight Saving Time begins

April 8 . . . Palm Sunday

April 8 . . . Passover

April 13 . . . Good Friday

April 15 . . . Easter Sunday

May 13 . . . Mother's Day

May 25 . . . School is out

May 26 . . . Graduation

May 28 . . . Memorial Day Observed

June 14 . . . Flag Day

June 17 . . . Fathers Day

July 4 . . . Independence Day

Sept. 3 . . . Labor Day

Sept. 18 . . . Rosh Hashannah

Sept. 27 . . . Yom Kippur

Oct. 8 . . . Columbus Day Observed

Oct. 28 . . . Daylight Saving Time ends

Oct. 31 . . . Halloween

Nov. 6 . . . Election Day

Nov. 11 . . . Veterans Day

Nov. 22 . . . Thanksgiving

Dec. 10 . . . Hanukkah

Dec. 12 . . . Guadalupe Day

Dec. 25 . . . Christmas

Fun on the run

A mother mouse and her three children crept out of their hole into the kitchen and began feasting on some delicious bits of food. Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, Mother Mouse saw a cat slinking toward them. The cat was between the mice and their hole.

The mother mouse puffed up her lungs and went, "Woof! Woof!" The cat turned tail and ran.

With that, the mother quickly led her children back to safety in their hole. When they were settled and breathing normally, Mother Mouse asked her children, "Now, what's the lesson from that experience?"

"We don't know," the baby mice squeaked.

"It is this," said Mom Mouse. "It's good to know a second language."



Interesting conflicts

Being an experienced and recognized syndicatedcolumnist, it is surprising Linda Chavez failed to immediately acknowledge and publicize her past involvement with an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant upon accepting the nomination to be the next Secretary of Labor. Next to trying to conduct public business in private and thereby deny the public its right to know what its public officials are discussing or doing; ignoring the ramifications of harboring conflicts of interest falls somewhere between arrogance, ignorance and wishful thinking.

Therefore it's understandable that some readers raised questions about last week's editorial that confronted a county commissioner's concern about discussing certain matters of county business in a setting where a reporter would not be taking notes. While the readers agreed with the editorial's emphasis on the importance of complying with Colorado's open-meeting law; they questioned why no mention was made of the apparent conflict of interest that arose when the commissioner in question chose to actively discuss a matter that was of interest to his family, as well as to the public. It's a reasonable question. The conflict of interest question has been raised in past editorials and has been ignored or laughed off by the elected officials involved.

Propriety, prudence, common sense, good manners, whatever it might be; elected officials who represent the town, county, school board or any other taxing entity at the local level should consider a question that was raised at the Dec. 19 meeting of the county commissioners: Does the county - town, school district, etc. - want to risk an expensive court case over this matter? The obvious answer is no.

Surely no local taxing entity wants to spend tax payers' money on defending an elected official who a private citizen has charged with engaging in a conflict of interest while conducting public business. Surely any elected official would want to avoid even the slightest implication of being involved in such a matter.

Many past elected officials in Pagosa have excused themselves from discussing or acting on a matter that could remotely be interpreted as being a conflict of interest on their part. Some have resigned from office during a meeting in order to actively discuss or to be considered for a matter that otherwise could have been regarded as a personal conflict of interest.

Tuesday's school board meeting provides both a positive and negative example. One school board member excused himself from a discussion and resulting vote that involved the eventual hiring of his son to the low-paying position of an assistant coach in the junior high school's basketball program. However, another school board member had no problem speaking on behalf of the company that employees him regarding the company's possible request to obtain a utility easement across school property south of the high school building.

To some, questioning the seemingly insignificant incidents cited in this editorial is nothing more than making mountains out of mole hills. However, the unanswered question is, how high does a pile have to be before it is no longer a mole hill?

David C. Mitchell

Dear Folks

By David C. Mitchell

Numbers color my thinking

Dear Folks,

Whaddya think?

I don't know. Whadda ya think?

Well right off I think someone is going to question the misspelling of "What do you think?"

At least some readers will.

Others won't think a thing about it.

For about the past three years Mr. Crouse and I periodically talked about what would follow the final Weld Spatters.

We knew it wasn't a "when or if" proposition. It was only a matter of when.

There would be no Weld Spatters II or an attempt to imitate Mr. Crouse's approach or style.

Some younger native old timers had considered taking up their pens as "The Next Generation," and sharing their memories of Pagosa Springs past.

They could have provided a revised version of many of the same episodes Mr. Crouse shared with his readers. They would have had their own hunting and fishing stories. Being from a later era, they would have experienced a somewhat different school and social life. They probably would have recalled some escapades about the blacksmith and welding shop that Mr. Crouse had forgotten or failed to mention.

Whereas Mr. Crouse eased into Weld Spatters with an on-again-off-again approach of periodically submitting a column, his potential followers knew a weekly column would be expected.

Whereas it's easy to write a column; it's work to write a weekly column.

One of the first things I learned at the SUN is that there are no byes, no open spots on the schedule, no vacations . . . the season lasts 52 weeks and you've got to start fresh every week.

I can't blame the next generation for not wanting to commit to producing a weekly column.

So I asked Karl what he thought about "Whaddya Think?"

After all, an endless number of legitimate issues, reasonable concerns and inane ideas surface in Pagosa Springs. There could be something new every week.

And in Pagosa Springs, you don't have to ask. Most folks give you their opinion whether you ask for it or not.

So it seemed like a good idea to ask folks what they thought about a specific issue . . . limiting the answer to a brief response.

Not knowing he was the one I planned to dump the assignment on, Karl said he thought it could be interesting.

Even after I said he would have to take mug shots along with asking the questions, Karl was ready to hit the sidewalks.

So don't be surprised if in the future someone comes up to you and says, "Hey, Whaddya think about. . .?

And no, you don't have to buy a copy of your photo or sign up for a subscription.

It's just a chance to let folks know what you think about what's happening in Pagosa springs.

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




By Shari Pierce

Mrs. Kachel's writing refreshing and priceless

Tuesday turned out to be a wonderful day. Anyone who braves the post office parking lot around noon on a weekday knows how tied up the traffic can get. So, after weaving through the jumble of cars and finding a parking space, I dashed in to check my mail.

Taking up a majority of the space in my box was large brown envelope. After I managed to maneuver the envelope out of the box without dropping the other mail out of the back of the box, I was elated to see that my friend Elaine Kachel had written.

I met Elaine Ellsworth Kachel several year ago. We share an interest in Pagosa's history. Elaine's interest stems from the fact that she was born here. Mrs. Kachel's father was an early dentist here and her mother played piano to accompany the silent movies among other activities. She had a happy childhood here in Pagosa Springs before she and her mother left to live in Washington so Elaine could pursue a better education. Mrs. Kachel came by her interest in history probably from her mother who kept notes of important events in the community on her wall calendar. Mrs. Kachel has shared these with me from time to time. And so our mutual interest in history brought us together and we have since found other common interests.

The large brown envelope was the first thing I opened upon returning to my car. Enclosed was a short note from Mrs. Kachel along with a newspaper.

Late in 2000, Mrs. Kachel had shared with me that she had received an award, the 2000 Poet of the Year Medallion, from the Famous Poets Society. She traveled from Marysville, Wash., to the Society's annual convention in Reno, Nev., to receive the honor.

That she won this award did not surprise me as Mrs. Kachel has been generous over the years I have known her. She has shared stories and poems of her life with me including a copy of a story about her childhood that she wrote for her granddaughter. Her writing is refreshing and her memories priceless.

It seems receiving this award caught the attention of a Washington newspaper that is published to provide pertinent information for today's senior citizens. Mrs. Kachel's photo was featured on the cover and was accompanied by a nice story inside.

I was thrilled to see Mrs. Kachel receive this recognition. She has always been an inspiration to me. She remains active in her community, takes creative writing courses and we share an interest in quilting. Above all, Mrs. Kachel serves as a reminder to me of all that I have to look forward to in life. Thank you Mrs. Kachel for all you have given to me and shared with me over the years.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files

of Jan. 8, 1976

Earthquake shakes this area

Residents of the area received a shaking about 11:30 p.m. Monday when an earthquake was registered in this area. The quake was said to have been centered east of Farmington, N.M. No damage was reported in this immediate area and the quake was described as one of 4.5 to 4.75 inches on the Richter scale.

The dry kilns are back in operation at San Juan Lumber Company after a fire destroyed the control room and badly damaged the kilns earlier this spring. At present the mill has six kilns in operation, five singles and one double. Royce Dotson, mill superintendent, said the additional sawing capacity that is being installed should be completed sometime next spring.

Gene Haning, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ollie Haning of Trujillo, was named the recipient of the newly established Marion Overstag Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was established by the Overstag family for students from Archuleta, La Plata and San Juan (N.M.) counties.

John Vanderhoof, former governor of Colorado, will be the featured speaker at the annual chamber of commerce meeting Jan. 20. The dinner-business meeting will be held at Pagosa Lodge.



Pacing Pagosa

By Richard Walter


Tracking roots deep into Pagosa's past


Reading columns by fellow staffers Shari Pierce and John Motter during the last month set the stage for some important familial discoveries of my own regarding turn of the century events.

I knew that my mother's parents had migrated here from Cimarron, New Mexico Territory, where she was born in 1908. I was not aware, however, that the family had much earlier roots in Pagosa Country.

At Christmas time, Myrtle (Anderson) Snow, a first cousin, received photos from Janet McCoy, an area native now living in Arvada who has been working diligently for several years on genealogy of the Hotz family from which we all are descended.

Myrtle shared the photos with me and dates on them enabled me to find obituaries for both William Thomas Hotz and his wife, Louisa Hopper Hotz, in SUN archives, and thus I was able to fill in a little more of family history.

The couple, I learned, arrived in Pagosa Springs in April, 1900, with several of their children, one of whom was my grandfather, Marion Franklin Hotz, then 22, who died before I was born.

William Hotz was born in Belmont County, Ohio, near Martin's Ferry and across the river from Wheeling, W. Va., on April 7, 1844. He died at the Houser Mill at Sunetha, west of Pagosa Springs, on May 30, 1911, suffering an apparent rupture of a blood vessel to the brain while loading lumber on a rail car.

Louisa Hopper Hotz was born Oct. 12, 1854, in Illinois and died Dec. 19, 1926, at the Pagosa Springs home of her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Hotz (my grandmother). She was survived by a son, Robert, of Pagosa Springs (from whom Mrs. McCoy is descended) and two daughters, Mrs. Beatrice La Monda of Bernalillo, N.M., and Mrs. Ruby Burt of La Madera, N.M. At the time of her death, the home was under quarantine for suspected diphtheria and it was necessary to conduct a private burial service.

Their son, Marion, born in Illinois in 1878, migrated in and out of Pagosa Country following the growing rail lines and the lumber mills which opened up settlement of the area. He returned here permanently in 1914 with his wife, Elizabeth Lucretia ('Libby' Hilliker) Hotz and several of their children. Included was my mother, Nellie Grace Hotz, who was born in a lumber camp near Cimarron in 1908.

Elizabeth Hilliker was born in 1884 on the banks of the Purgatoire River near Trinidad, reportedly, in an Indian tepee. While no one has ever proved that fact, neither has anyone disproved it and the family has accepted it as truth. To this day, however, no one knows why a Hilliker would have been giving birth in an Indian tepee.

She and Marion were married in 1900 in Trinidad shortly before they went across the border to Cimarron. She died Sept. 30, 1952, in St. Joseph's Hospital in Del Norte after an extended illness here. He had preceded her in death, succumbing in Pueblo on June 19, 1926.

Elizabeth's father, Hiram, was born May 9, 1845, in Ohio and died in Pagosa Springs Nov. 11, 1925. His wife preceded him in death in 1904.

A veteran of the Civil War as a member of the 3rd Michigan Cavalry, he was an original member of the Ed. Hatcher Post of the G.A.R. of Pagosa Springs. He is buried in the Civil War section of Hilltop Cemetery.

Children of Marion and Elizabeth Hotz, in addition to my mother, were Goldie (Mrs. Lloyd) Anderson, William Hotz, Thomas Hotz, Robert Hotz and Muriel Hotz Snow Girardin, all now deceased; Herbert Hotz of Bayfield, Kenneth Hotz of Idaho; and Minnie (Mrs. Raymond) Johnson of Westminster.

Other children of this group who still live in the immediate area are William A Hotz Jr. of Pagosa Springs and Franklin Anderson of Allison.

It wasn't the most famous of families in Pagosa Country history but it has shown a remarkable trait of longevity, one of relatively few families still represented here which can trace its legacy back more than 100 years in this county.

(Next week: a look at how the Walter name became part of the story)


Old Timers

By John Motter

Mining hopes never panned out

El Dorado, the fabled gold at the end of the rainbow, eluded Pagosa Country.

Prospectors struck it rich throughout the San Juan Mountains, but not at Pagosa Springs. Lake City, Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, Creede, and even Del Norte and Durango trace their beginnings to gold and silver. The multitude of multi-story, brick buildings surviving in those cities is evidence of that early prosperity.

Early days in Pagosa Country were different. There was no nearby gold. Possibly as a consequence, none of the fine brick business buildings characteristic of the mining towns of the San Juans were ever built in Pagosa Springs. Not that Pagosa folks didn't hope and dream.

Pagosa folks never struck gold, but they reached a goal that was maybe next best. They obtained an in-town railroad in 1900. And with the railroad, they almost struck gold. Here is the story.

Maybe Pagosa Country's best chance to cash in on San Juan gold was the Omaha mine. A prospectus for the Omaha Mining Company claimed in 1900, the year the railroad came to town, "We have over 9 million tons of ore in sight that will go from $4 to $16 a ton. This is on the company's property, and the ore of the camp can be estimated also by the millions of tons estimated at similar figures."

A few strokes of the calculator show the mine's promoters touting a fortune of from $36 million to $144 million based on "ore in sight" and riches beyond measure around the central camp. El Dorado indeed!

Why a prospectus? Mining was a costly business involving more than just finding the ore. Gold and silver did not lie around in ingots waiting for the picking like fruit on trees. Rich ores often hid in almost inaccessible sites. A great deal of money was needed to build roads to the sites, to sink shafts, and to separate the mineral from the various forms of rock in which it was embedded. Consequently, before a mine could be developed, backers with bucks were needed. Money was what the developers of the Omaha were prospecting for in their prospectus. Back to the prospectus.

"For four and ten years respectively, the organizer of the Omaha Mining Company has been engaged in developing and working this property. It has been at the expense of much money and time that the properties of the company have been secured and offered to the public, as we will explain in as few words as possible.'

The original owner, W.R. Black, located and began work on the property in 1891. He continued the work until 1896 when, after exhausting his own resources, he sold one-half interest in a single group of eight claims to J.L. Horn. Horn was a lead mining man from Galena, Kans. Since 1895, $7,000 had been spent building a wagon road to the mine, erecting buildings, and buying mine machinery.

Equipment at the site included a "new, first-class, late improved stamp mill on the ground with a daily crushing capacity of 25 tons to a fineness of a sixty mesh screen." The same stamp mill would handle 50 tons in the same time with coarse crushing. Also on hand were a steam saw mill with a capacity of 5,000 board feet a day, a good blacksmith shop 18X24 feet in the clear located at the mouth of the tunnel so blacksmithing and timberframing is done in the same building. The track ran through the center of the building, blacksmithing taking place on one side of the track, timber framing taking place on the other.

All work from start to finish was done by gravity or machine, so few laborers would be required. All of the excavations for a large mill building and other buildings were complete with foundations in place. The sawmill was set up, but "has never been operated due to an accident while setting up the engine."

This mill would have been running in a few days had the company had the materials on hand. Instead, the parts ordered from Denver were delayed by a severe snowstorm. As a consequence, the mine opening was postponed until the following spring.

"If it hadn't been for this accident the plant would have been running and many thousands of dollars worth of concentrates and free gold would have been in the company's possession in the spring, when it was intended to put on teams to haul to the railroad at Pagosa Springs where it will be loaded on cars and shipped to Durango - the smelter city - for final treatment; the free gold being amalgamated at the mill."

Anyone contemplating an investment in mining stock would want to know the kind of formation holding the ore, and what the assays showed. The prospectus had the answers.

The formation was "in general granite, the hangar wall being granite, the foot wall dyrite, 12 feet wide; then a quartz porphyry in connection with the hangar is 30 feet of soft porphyry. The general appearance of this mountain is as solid as any found anywhere."

As tested by assayer W.W. Edwards of Denver, the assay revealed "$5.20 gold, 11 ounces silver, 5 percent lead. The deepest test was made at 168 feet. The gold is 65 percent free milling."

Larger quantities showed better results, according to the prospectus. On the surface, a test of an 18-foot lorraine showed: gold - 14/100, silver - 5-1/8 ounces, value - $6.10.

The prospectus then compared the Omaha assay with other mines known to pay dividends, claiming the Omaha was better. In addition, "the ore is of a character that mills exceedingly easy as water dissolves one-half the raw ore until it goes through a 40 mesh sieve, and yet it stands wonderfully well in the tunnel, where no water comes in contact with it."

As a consequence, if we believe the prospectus, the ore can be delivered to the mill at a contract rate of 25 cents a ton, a very low cost we assume.

The owners insist that this property offers something "unusual and entirely out of the usual as mining properties go."

After recalling the hard work of the developers and recommendations of experts, the prospectus claims, " this property and its merits have been so thoroughly tested that there is no risk for the company to take in the way of failures."

In conclusion, "we have but 50,000 shares offered for sale, the remaining 50,000 shares being retained by the original developers, Horn and Black each retaining 25,000 shares."

"The shares are all full paid stock and non-assessable, and at present are worth 33-1/3 cents a share. It is true the par value is placed at $1.00, but as soon as the mine pays its first dividend the shares will not stop at par but go to their full value, which may be hundreds of dollars."

Finally, the developers note that this is a never-ending supply of ore that may take a lifetime to work out.

Where can a man with jingling jeans go to take advantage of such an opportunity? Easy. Just visit the main office at Pagosa Springs where shares are available as long as they last. "W.R. Black will sell shares as long as they last. Hurry, because 1,000 shares were sold before this statement had gone to press."

Maybe the railroad coming to town prompted the developers of the Omaha mine, after 10 years of no railroad, to take advantage of reduced shipping costs and try to open their mine. We don't know exactly what happened to the venture, but we have no evidence that any ores were ever sold from this site.

Ray Macht, in an interview this week, said his father Harry Macht had known Ward Black, the mine's developer.

The whole thing was a fake, according to Macht, probably salted by a shotgun or in some other way. The only color was near the entrance, according to Macht. The mine was ultimately abandoned, with a considerable amount of equipment left at the site. That equipment washed down the creek during the flood of 1911, and portions of the debris still surface.

"There was an old tractor pointing out of the hole the last time we were up there," Ray said.

With a cattle ranch in the drainage below the mine, Machts occasionally rode horseback to the site, often pointing out the relic to curious ranch visitors.

Sheepherders on their way to the Rainbow Trail used to follow the road up to the mine along the way and camped overnight at the spot.

"The last time we were up there (about 30 years ago), it was barely a good horse trail," said Genelle, Ray's wife.

The Omaha mine was located near the head waters of Turkey Creek on a branch called Omaha Creek located northwest of Saddle Mountain.

More to come on the railroad and early Pagosa.


James Alec Fulbright

Holly and Brian Fulbright of Pagosa Springs were proud to welcome James Alec Fulbright into their lives on Oct. 4, 2000. Alec was born at Mercy Medical and weighed 5 pounds, 15.5 ounces and was 20 3/4-inches long.

Happy grandparents include Rod and Sharon Marler of Pagosa Springs, Rebecca Smith of Pagosa Springs, and Dave and Laura Fulbright of Fort Worth, Texas.

Jack Anderson

Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Anderson of Tempe, Ariz., announce the birth of Jack William Anderson at 8:22 a.m. on Dec. 22, 2000. Jack weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long.

His maternal grandparents are Michael and Julie Bangert of Pomeroy, Iowa, and his paternal grandparents are Franklin and Martie Anderson of Allison.

Jack joins his big brother Joseph Michael.


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